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Party Involvement

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Given the skepticism many LGM commenters consistently express over protest, you may be warmed to note the huge increase in involvement within local Democratic Party politics.

All across the country, party meetings that had once been sleepy affairs, dominated by Robert’s Rules of Order and a handful of graying activists, have become standing room only. The overflowing crowds have sent stunned party regulars scrambling to find new venues, while the surge in interest, and the coinciding fundraising boost, is enabling local chapters to hire staff and build infrastructure in previously unthinkable ways. On the national level, Democratic politicians have been rushing to respond to the sudden outpouring.

“I’m as busy this year as I was at any time last year in the heat of a huge election,” said Mark Fraley, chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Party in Indiana.

Fraley said he received 65 emails in a single weekend from people requesting to become precinct chairs, a thankless job that normally requires begging and pleading to get someone to fill. The county party has restructured and added five deputy chairs to channel all the energy, and created six new committees.

“What’s very different is that it’s made the party younger. Young people never really wanted to have as much of a meaningful part in the Democratic Party infrastructure. Now that doesn’t seem true anymore,” he said.

The story follows with a bunch of examples of individual activists and their stories.

Of course, we need both protest and political engagement. Do one or the other. But do something!

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  • Lord Jesus Perm

    I may have missed something, but people here argue over the usefulness of protests?

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      not so much usefulness as- like so many things we argue about here- “you aren’t protesting the way I would so therefore you’re wrong and counterproductive”

      • And of course a lot of the people who make those criticisms don’t ever actually bother to tell us what they think the right way is, just that the rest of us are Doing It Wrong™.

      • njorl

        It is possible to have counterproductive protests, but I’d wager that people who make that accusation are usually wrong.

      • wengler

        The people who never protest are always apt to give those who do the ‘civil rights protest’ talk. It mostly involves ‘if you wear dresses and suits, you will be taken seriously and your legislative agenda will be sure to pass’.

    • SatanicPanic

      Not necessarily here, but I keep hearing variations of “it’s not enough, you can’t just protest and expect things to change, you have to vote too!” As if that hasn’t occurred to people who attend protests.

      • ASV

        I doubt there are significant numbers of “Don’t vote!” protesters, but there are significant numbers of “Don’t get involved with the Democratic Party!” protesters in my area’s local networks. Not large numbers, but significant enough to be disruptive. Some of them are starting to select out — for example, a couple people huffed out of a Facebook group yesterday because the organizers of a pro-ACA protest outside our Rep’s office wouldn’t say that people shouldn’t carry American flags.

        • humanoid.panda

          The way I see it: judging by their signs, a small, but not vanishingly small contingents of protesters here in Philly were probably 3rd party/BernieorBust people. And you know what: as long as they learned their lesson, as vast majority of Nader voters did, I’m willing to let bygones be bygones.

          • UnderTheSun

            Perhaps you should own up to the fact that Hillary Clinton handed Trump the presidency on a plate with her failed policies and pathetic campaign. It’s not only the Sandernista who should apologize, it’s also the Clintonites.
            BTW, what’s the point of joining that bunch of political failures also known as the Democratic Party, if all the useless wankers who run it remain in control.

            • MyNameIsZweig

              The fundamentals suggested a GOP advantage going into this election. The fact that Republicans still won with the worst imaginable candidate doesn’t necessarily mean HRC ran a “pathetic” campaign (though, sure, there are things I would have done differently, both in retrospect and in real time) – it could just mean that the fundamentals model is more powerful than the effects of any campaign tactics.

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                also the estimate of deplorables turned out to be low

                • MyNameIsZweig

                  That too.

                  Also too, as Ithaqua points out below, HRC *did* get a lot more votes, so how bad could her campaign really have been?

                • UnderTheSun

                  MyNameIsZweig

                  HRC *did* get a lot more votes

                  Just because so many dirty hippies in California supported her. Without them Trump would have won the popular vote by 1.5 million.

                • Lost Left Coaster

                  Just because so many dirty hippies in California supported her. Without them Trump would have won the popular vote by 1.5 million.

                  Hey UnderTheSun don’t forget to use the sarcastic font when you write something sarcastic. Otherwise you just look like a complete idiot. You wouldn’t want that, would you?

              • Abbey Bartlet

                the worst imaginable candidate

                I think that coming after eight years of Obama plus the rise of BLM, they ran the best imaginable candidate, from the perspective of wanting to win.

                • Lord Jesus Perm

                  As Scott correctly repeats, she ran on the most progressive platform in the history of the party. That isn’t something that should be understated, but alas.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  As Scott correctly repeats, she ran on the most progressive platform in the history of the party. That isn’t something that should be understated, but alas.

                  Pardon? I’m not sure what your point is.

                • JL

                  I think people need to recognize how progressive the platform was, and I also campaigned a bunch for Hillary Clinton despite not liking her (and many of the people canvassing with me were in the same boat, actually). And we kept NH for her (and got the Senate seat), which was cool. But I also think it’s very weird the way that people act like the progressive platform was in some way Hillary Clinton’s personal accomplishment, and that people (including people who voted or even campaigned for her) who continued to find her meh based on various stuff in her career were being unreasonable because didn’t we see how great the platform was.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  I can only speak for myself, but what I found unreasonable was people who continued to dwell more on her past–some of it a quarter-century ago!–than on her present and our future.

                • Aaron Morrow

                  it’s very weird the way that people act like the progressive platform was in some way Hillary Clinton’s personal accomplishment

                  Unlike the ACA, which Obama drew up all by his lonesome.

                  Politics! How does it work?

                • UnderTheSun

                  Lord Jesus Perm – Wikileaks suggests her “progressive platform” would have lasted mere seconds if she had won the election.

                • tsam

                  What in Davy Jones’ locker did ye just bark at me, ye scurvy bilgerat? I’ll have ye know I be the meanest cutthroat on the seven seas, and I’ve led numerous raids on fishing villages, and raped over 300 wenches. I be trained in hit-and-run pillaging and be the deadliest with a pistol of all the captains on the high seas. Ye be nothing to me but another source o’ swag. I’ll have yer guts for garters and keel haul ye like never been done before, hear me true. You think ye can hide behind your newfangled computing device? Think twice on that, scallywag. As we parley I be contacting my secret network o’ pirates across the sea and yer port is being tracked right now so ye better prepare for the typhoon, weevil. The kind o’ monsoon that’ll wipe ye off the map. You’re sharkbait, fool. I can sail anywhere, in any waters, and can kill ye in o’er seven hundred ways, and that be just with me hook and fist. Not only do I be top o’ the line with a cutlass, but I have an entire pirate fleet at my beck and call and I’ll damned sure use it all to wipe yer arse off o’ the world, ye dog. If only ye had had the foresight to know what devilish wrath your jibe was about to incur, ye might have belayed the comment. But ye couldn’t, ye didn’t, and now ye’ll pay the ultimate toll, you buffoon. I’ll shit fury all over ye and ye’ll drown in the depths o’ it. You’re fish food now.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Could “cites to Wikileaks like a real source” be a bannable offense please.

                  AFAF.

                • UnderTheSun

                  Abbey Bartlet =

                  who continued to dwell more on her past–some of it a quarter-century ago

                  I would continue to dwell on her more recent past, her support for the invasion of Iraq and the pathetic claim that she was “conflicted” about it. Her behavior at the time and since demonstrates she’s never been conflicted about war.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  However, this course is fraught with danger. We and our NATO allies did not depose Mr. Milosevic, who was responsible for more than a quarter of a million people being killed in the 1990s. Instead, by stopping his aggression in Bosnia and Kosovo, and keeping on the tough sanctions, we created the conditions in which his own people threw him out and led to his being in the dock being tried for war crimes as we speak.

                  If we were to attack Iraq now, alone or with few allies, it would set a precedent that could come back to haunt us. In recent days, Russia has talked of an invasion of Georgia to attack Chechen rebels. India has mentioned the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on Pakistan. And what if China were to perceive a threat from Taiwan?

                  So Mr. President, for all its appeal, a unilateral attack, while it cannot be ruled out, on the present facts is not a good option.

                  Even though the resolution before the Senate is not as strong as I would like in requiring the diplomatic route first and placing highest priority on a simple, clear requirement for unlimited inspections, I will take the President at his word that he will try hard to pass a UN resolution and will seek to avoid war, if at all possible.

                  Because bipartisan support for this resolution makes success in the United Nations more likely, and therefore, war less likely, and because a good faith effort by the United States, even if it fails, will bring more allies and legitimacy to our cause, I have concluded, after careful and serious consideration, that a vote for the resolution best serves the security of our nation. If we were to defeat this resolution or pass it with only a few Democrats, I am concerned that those who want to pretend this problem will go way with delay will oppose any UN resolution calling for unrestricted inspections.

                  This is a very difficult vote. This is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make — any vote that may lead to war should be hard — but I cast it with conviction.

                  Bloodthirsty bitch.

                • Lord Jesus Perm

                  Abbey, my comment wasn’t meant to be argumentative, but to add to what you said about Hillary being the best possible candidate since people tend to outright ignore what her campaign was actually based on.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  As Scott correctly repeats, she ran on the most progressive platform in the history of the party. That isn’t something that should be understated, but alas.

                  Oh, well, obviously I agree! I couldn’t figure out how it was a response to my point about BLM was all.

                • Rob in CT

                  Thanks for posting that, Abbey.

                • UnderTheSun

                  Reply to Abbey Bartlet

                  Could “cites to Wikileaks like a real source” be a bannable offense please.

                  Except for some fakes fabricated by the DNC and its supporters, no evidence has been produced that any of the document posted on Wikileaks were forgeries. Why are you so afraid of the truth?
                  BTW, don’t you think that using the B word to refer to Hillary Clinton is sexist?
                  As for that quote from Hillary Clinton, it’s typical of the lies she and other members of the Washington neo-liberal elite used to justify their murderous policies. For instance, during the Kosovo War claims were made that 250,000 people had been killed by the Serbs, investigation later established that the true death toll was less than 3,000 and a substantial proportion of those were Serbs who had been ethnically cleansed by the Kosovans or killed by the NATO bombing campaign.

                • Dilan Esper

                  Abbey:

                  Quoting her speech on Iraq proves nothing. Her husband said, about the first Gulf War, “I would have voted with the majority but I agreed with some of the concerns of the minority”.

                  That sort of thing is classic be-on-all-sides-of-an-issue politicking.

                  Here’s a simple question– had the Iraq War gone well, do you think she would have said “that’s nice, but I really did have concerns about it and feel that Bush acted too quickly with the authority we gave him”? No way. She would have touted her support for the thing.

                  The real indicator on Hillary is this– post-Vietnam, has she ever attended an anti-war rally? Has she ever publicly opposed any war that has been debated in American politics? Has she once said the anti-war left was correct about any issue of foreign policy?

                  She is a hawk. And a lot of doves don’t like her very much for that.

                • JL

                  Unlike the ACA, which Obama drew up all by his lonesome.

                  Politics! How does it work?

                  1) I would be interested to know where I have ever given Obama full responsibility for the ACA. 2) There’s a difference between a piece of legislation that someone put a tremendous amount of effort and political capital into shepherding through as a major part of what they were doing as an elected officeholder, and a party platform.

                • Aaron Morrow

                  @JL

                  1. When you called the ACA Obamacare? That’s just as “weird” as giving Clinton credit for the DNC party platform, sorry.

                  2. Just like there’s a difference between a tangerine and a tangelo, there’s a difference between a political party platform that someone many people put a tremendous amount of effort and political capital into shepherding through as a major part of what they were doing as elected officeholders, and a piece of legislation.

                  In both cases, the differences seem to have little to do with your argument that Clinton should be denied credit for her team’s work on the platform.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Quoting her speech on Iraq proves nothing. Her husband

                  Wow, you made it nine whole words without bringing up her husband. I’m proud.

                • los

                  UnderTheSun says:

                  Except for some fakes fabricated by the DNC and its supporters, no evidence has been produced that any of the document posted on Wikileaks were forgeries.

                  I came across a Podesta gmail DKIM discussion. Apparently a few dumped mails were missing DKIM. But for huge majority, the DKIM matched, and the headers that can be faked aren’t important.
                  However, the biggest problem with the leaks are:
                  1. Almost nobody read the mails.
                  I sampled some mails that the altcucks foamed over.
                  Most mails were inconsequential (similar to discussing color of drapes).
                  Other mails were internal discussions of oppo written by GOP/surrogates, but the CSM posted them as if confessions of HRC campaign belief. Eichenwald “debunked” one of those.
                  One was a fake mail created by a satire site (like theonion).
                  Another was a fake created by an intentionally malicious hoax site. (like westernjournalism, wnd, gatewaypundit, infowars, breitbart, etc. CSM)
                  One mail was an open-ended, unfinished matter that perhaps may have become a ‘scandal’ or easily not have become a ‘scandal’ in a later mail.

                  However, recently I came across another open-ended mail. This mail had more potential to have become a (minor) scandal, but again, nobody posted what should have been a later “incriminating” mail.

                  2. GOP internal mails are certainly fouler. We know this because GOP comments in semi-public meetings have been more incriminating than implied content of Podesta mails.

                • Brien Jackson

                  ” There’s a difference between a piece of legislation that someone put a tremendous amount of effort and political capital into shepherding through as a major part of what they were doing as an elected officeholder, and a party platform.”

                  Right, when Sanders and his supporters were slogging along after March with no chance of winning, the platform was SUPER IMPORTANT and he needed as many delegates as possible to exert leverage over it. When his campaign got a lot of concessions and played a big role in drafting the final version, suddenly it wasn’t very important and also Democrats are evil because they didn’t adopt this position on Israel/Palestine that Bernie *maybe* sent two minutes of the whole campaign talking about.

                  Can we get a firm list of all of the things we’re going to have to do to “make Bernie suporters” happy for the next, I dunno, 30 years? Chasing the goalposts around gets tiring.

            • Ithaqua

              Ha ha! Good one. You mean the party that won the popular vote for President by 2.9 million? That got the most votes across the nation for the House of Representatives? The party which, if you add up the three elections which have seated the Senate, has won the most votes there?

              • humanoid.panda

                Look, UnderTheSun is a moron, but let’s not go too far the other way. First off, the GOP did win the national house vote, by couple of millions. Second- the Senate is not going to change anytime soon, so gloating that if the rules were different we’d have more senators is silly. We have serious issues we need to adress, not point denying it.

                • Ithaqua

                  My mistake, I was looking at an out-of-date article about the House. The point of the Senate comparison is that in general, specifics of exactly which states have senators up for election at any time aside, the Democrats perform much better than a party of “political failures”.

                  I don’t agree that we have serious issues to address. It seems extremely unlikely to me that James Comey or a substitute thereof will manage to throw the next election. I think the press has learned somewhat of a lesson from the last election, and won’t appreciate being labelled Enemy of the People and Purveyors of Fake News for the next several years, so is rather unlikely to run the equivalent of “but emails” against the Democratic candidate while giving Trump a largely free pass. Democrats have realized that there’s no Sure Thing and are more likely to vote in the next election regardless of how big a lead the Democratic candidate has in the polls. And plenty more, but that’s enough for now.

                • efgoldman

                  UnderTheSun is a moron

                  Hit and run troll, actually.

                • UnderTheSun

                  efgoldman =

                  Hit and run troll, actually.

                  If I see intelligent responses, I will generally stop and exchange information. Unfortunately most responses demonstrate the influence of a mutation of CDS.

                • los

                  humanoid.panda says:

                  GOP did win the national house vote, by couple of millions.

                  Removing voters and destroying ballots help steal all types of elections.

                • los

                  humanoid.panda says:

                  We have serious issues we need to address

                  Agree. Doing everything better is better :-)

                  2 examples:
                  I never looked into the “Hillary didn’t visit WI after the primary” claim, but haven’t seen it debunked. If true, that was major error.

                  I see no solution to the putinbots/infowars misinfo, other than creating a similarly “unpc” counter-prop team.
                  One thing i’ve noticed is that most of the bots either run or go stupid if challenged, “fake news! waaaah.”. The bots’ fierceness is as shallow as a yapping toothless chihuahua let off the leash.

                • los

                  Ithaqua says:

                  won’t appreciate being labelled Enemy of the People and Purveyors of Fake News

                  Enemy of People ended up a joke. Even altcucks didn’t pick it up.
                  Fakenews is inconsequential, imo. Conventional news sources seem to be ignoring[1] the “fake news” whining of altcucks.

                  The altcucks live in an alt-world… except that some do vote.

                  ________________
                  1. Is CNN an exception? Recall that well before Nov 8, CNN brought Corey Lewandowski in as a Bannon spy. This precedes the altcucks’ “fake news” heel-click fad.

              • timb

                I agree. The election was a one-off

                • los

                  2016 was “one-off “only in that it was a “cusp” point (value).
                  GOP election crimes as a set are now strong enough to overcome a significant popular loss.

            • Hogan

              That’s at least a five-ruble comment.

              • Aaron Morrow

                Doesn’t FBI pay better than that?

                • los

                  Doesn’t FBI pay better than that?
                  Holy schmoly! Soros owns Comey! Soros actually hates Hillary! How could we have been so blinded by Soros money?

                  I assumed Soros was paying us to vote for Hillary!
                  Now I know why my Sorosfare check hasn’t show up in the mail for two months running.

            • Donna Gratehouse

              Frankard, a 53-year-old mother of two, voted twice for Obama before choosing Trump during last year’s election. She says Obama lost her vote because of big spending. Trump won it with his talk of law and order and the promise of bringing more jobs.

              Doesn’t sound like she wanted Bernie.

              http://www.npr.org/2017/02/22/516685557/will-trump-democrats-in-wisconsin-swing-back-to-their-party

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                those people weren’t “trump democrats” they were “obama republicans” and they went home

              • los

                promise of bringing more jobs

                Trump won’t hire her without a H-2B visa     :-)

                the younger woman accepted that Obama 1st term suffered GOP obstruction, but not in 2nd term(what?)

                low-info voters aren’t just Republicans (or ethnic Russian Ukrainians)

        • rea

          a couple people huffed out of a Facebook group yesterday because the organizers of a pro-ACA protest outside our Rep’s office wouldn’t say that people shouldn’t carry American flags.

          That makes no sense whatever.

        • SatanicPanic

          I encounter these people every now and then. They are stupid and were never going to be in it for the long haul anyway.

    • CP

      I may have missed something, but people here argue over the usefulness of protests?

      “Argue” might be putting it generously.

      You see, an argument is a series of connected statements intended to establish a proposition…

      • Rob in CT

        This isn’t arguments! This is ABUSE! Arguments is down the hall on the left…

        • CP

          Oh, this is futile!

        • efgoldman

          Arguments is down the hall on the left…

          No it isn’t.

          • los

            You call that a “hall”?

  • Maybe this will lead to more young people running for office, too. I’d honestly consider it, but as an extremely introverted, somewhat socially awkward, agnostic, transgender, libertarian socialist, I’m probably the worst possible person who could run in my rather red county, and if someone actually managed to connect my comment history here and at other places to my real name (which they might be able to do if their oppo researchers are any good) it could actually result in physical threats to my well-being if that became public knowledge, so there’s no chance I’ll ever run for office unless the culture of this country changes so much as to become almost unrecognisable.

    • science_goy

      Depends a lot on your county, but small-town dynamics aren’t always so clear-cut. If someone’s non-conforming but otherwise respected in the community, they certainly stand a chance (and in my experience a lot of people who are otherwise conservative will point to their support of that person as a badge of tolerance and cosmopolitanism). Case in point.

      • I suspect there’s a certain amount of leeway for trans people to attain office in less liberal communities, but it probably depends upon conforming to certain expected norms, which I’ve had no desire to do at any point in my life. If I were simply gender-nonconforming, I doubt that would be a good idea. That plus my lengthy history of, well, leftist politics probably isn’t a good mix, though.

        • los

          Introverted is the damning characteristic. “Unknown” becomes “suspicion” becomes “kidnaps children for satanic sacrifices”.

    • Abbey Bartlet

      One of the many reasons I’ll never run for office: good oppo would find lots of unfortunate comments around the interwebs.

      • humanoid.panda

        I feel that in the not-so-far future, naked pics and stupid internet comments will become so ubiquitous as to not pose any risks. But we are not at that day yet.

        • efgoldman

          I feel that in the not-so-far future, naked pics and stupid internet comments will become so ubiquitous

          Somebody wants to take and post naked pix of my saggy 72 year old body, well have fun.

          • los

            post naked pix of my saggy 72 year old body

            But, “Look over there, it’s Laddy Godiva – AAAAGGG, DONALD TRUMP!! MY EYES!!”

            well have fun.

            Those sadists.

            .
            So, real oppo will photoshop the pix because the only way anyone will look at your sexxxy pix is if your body looks 24 years old.
            In your birthday suit, you’re the perfect “invisible” surveillance agent.

            .
            Semi-seriously, there’s so much fakery, many people won’t believe when seeing real vid.

        • JL

          I agree on both counts. Eventually literally everyone of prime office-running age is going to have embarrassing stuff about/said by them on the Internet and the bar for what is too embarrassing for elected office will have to change.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            I’m not thinking about embarrassing things so much as highly unelectable political statements.

            • This is likely 100% true. If oppo researchers proved dedicated enough, they could find plenty of words I’ve written that would be sure to piss off almost anyone even remotely right of centre, and plenty of other words I wrote (over a decade ago, to be fair) that would be sure to piss off almost anyone even remotely left of centre. At some point, society is definitely going to learn to shrug off embarrassing shit people posted online decades ago, but we’re definitely not there yet. By the time that there’s absolutely no one in the country without a substantial internet presence going back decades, such details will no longer be newsworthy.

              (For that matter, there was a nude photo of me floating around the internet for awhile, and may still be – I haven’t checked, because I don’t really care in the slightest. Said photos would probably also render me unelectable for the time being if someone tracked them down, though.)

              • tsam

                I’m a Navy SEAL. People tried opposition research on me. They’re all dead now.

          • los

            JL says:

            everyone of prime office-running age is going to have embarrassing stuff about/said by them on the Internet and the bar for what is too embarrassing for elected office will have to change.

            “So i did inhale.. a lot”
            voters: “meh”

            “I love grabbing p**sy”
            voters: “meh”

            “I bit the head off of your twin brother.”
            voters: “meh”

            “where’s a leppo?”
            voters: “what’s a leppo?”

            “I will bomb Finland.”
            voters: “kool!”

          • Ahuitzotl

            or noone will run for office at all :)

    • CP

      I’d honestly consider it, but as an extremely introverted, somewhat socially awkward, agnostic, transgender, libertarian socialist

      Wise people know their limits.

      I did phone-banking, door-knocking, and data entry for the MD Democrats all of last summer. I wouldn’t do anyone any favors by running for office or any kind of public position – too thin skin and I’d end up bogged down in “someone on the Internet is wrong” side arguments not entirely unlike Trump by my first week in office. Trick’s to figure out where you can do the most help…

      (Although I did run into at least a couple people who said they’d never run but, IMO, absolutely had what it took if only for city council or whatever).

    • JL

      I’ve considered it (and signed up with Run for Something), but I don’t know what the hell I would run for. The politics of the town outside of Boston that I live in are…except for “For the love of all that’s holy, can we fix the damn roads?” not anything I care about (if only I lived two blocks over in an actual city). The ratio of energy to benefit would be much worse than I get from my activism. My state rep is pretty good, my state senator is usually good and sometimes not as good as he ought to be but extremely dedicated and popular. My US rep is good, my senators are good. My Governor’s Council rep is bad and plagued by various mini-scandals including lying about her endorsements, but the Governor’s Council is kind of a silly anachronistic entity anyway, and she’s strangely well-connected, and other people’s challenges to her have not gone well.

      I would also be questionable in most districts, as a bi genderqueer atheist Jew dem-socialist type with a substantial history of left-activist Internet commentary and a past arrest record, but this area is blue enough that that might not be the hindrance that it would in most places.

      I’m also considering, after my first postdoc (assuming I actually manage to both finish my damned dissertation this year and get hired for a postdoc), applying for an AAAS science policy legislative fellowship, where I’d spend a year as a legislative-assistant-approximation for a senator or representative or congressional committee.

      I applied to Tufts’ one-week summer school on the mathematics of gerrymandering and redistricting, which is meant to train PhDs in math and math-adjacent sciences to be expert witnesses in court cases and hearings on gerrymandering and redistricting. Maybe I can help that way.

      • randy khan

        I applied to Tufts’ one-week summer school on the mathematics of gerrymandering and redistricting, which is meant to train PhDs in math and math-adjacent sciences to be expert witnesses in court cases and hearings on gerrymandering and redistricting. Maybe I can help that way.

        Truthfully, that would be more valuable than running for local office – you could have a state-wide or even broader impact. And it would use your existing skills.

        • los

          agree. technical specialty.

  • Steve LaBonne

    I’m increasingly hopeful that a sleeping giant has awakened. I’m a civil service employee and can’t do partisan political work until I retire in 4 years, but I intend to volunteer at the local Dem HQ in my red Ohio county after that- this can’t be a one-shot deal, we have to stay as woke as the right has been all these years. Of course, it’s the protests that provided the energy that motivated people to do this as well as putting them in touch with one another. Protests and electoral activism feed each other.

  • shah8

    After the big ship hits the iceberg, cracks up and sinks, and you find yourself in the middle of the North Atlantic…If you decide to dog-paddle your way vaguely in the direction of Newfoundland, you *are* doing something. It could even be a good outcome! You might hit one of them lifeboats!

    But it’s not a very sufficient level of doing something.

    • SatanicPanic

      And, here it is.

    • Philip

      If you’re going to troll, at least put some effort in. This is sad even by your low standards of LGM-baiting.

      • This level of effort would’ve been more appropriate on a comment trolling today’s post on Jonah *faaaaart* Goldberg, because Goldberg puts the same amount of effort into his arguments.

    • randy khan

      And if the other people from the ship work together, pulling people into the lifeboats, gathering useful things from the debris, etc., everybody’s chance of surviving goes up.

    • humanoid.panda

      We are doomed! DOOMED! ALL HOPE IS LOST!

    • shah8

      *shrugs*

      I mean, I don’t really care about being called a troll as this is just a comment, but I’m being helpful (or simply just pessimistic). Read too much history, and too much current events to believe that protest qua protest does anything in and of itself, and protests has a nasty habit of being coopted.

      But then, white people aren’t all that familiar with having an adversary that doesn’t see them as human or are entirely shameless and corrupt.

      • humanoid.panda

        DOOMED SO DOOMED NO HOPE REMAINS!

        *shrugs*

        • shah8

          Well, yes. Internal emigre here, drinking my nice tea.

          I’m simply going to wait for the folks that have nothing to lose enter and lead the fray.

        • Hob

          Actually, for the best version of that effect, you should use MMO-speak: “/me shrugs“. Just in case there was any doubt that the speaker regards this as literally a game.

      • Rob in CT

        The whole damned point of this post is that it’s not just protest – that it’s translating into people getting involved in other ways.

        • humanoid.panda

          Also, you know, we have at least some evidence that protests have a real world significance: hard to believe legal system would be so harsh on Trump’s ban sans the protests, and the GOP is visibly in dissaray on ACA repeal, again because people are shouting.

          • Brien Jackson

            Numbers beget numbers too. Our local party here in red county Maryland are growing steadily in large part because additional members are giving us more visibility and making people feel like it’s worthwhile (and safe, frankly) to get involved with us too!

            • humanoid.panda

              This is why the whole “should we appeal to Trump voters” argument is so tedious. There is literally no downside in becoming more active in areas where Trump won: at the very least, you are going to shave some margins. At best, you will find people who can talk to local concerns, and show their neighbors not all Democrats are gay atheist Muslims.

              • kvs

                There’s a difference between organizing progressives in majority conservative areas and appealing to Trump supporters themselves.

          • JL

            From the start, Trump has been vulnerable to protests. He was upset about the checkpoint blockades mucking up his inauguration. He was upset about the Women’s March turnout. And he does silly shit that makes him look bad to people in the middle when he’s upset. Plus, the protests have developed people’s organizing skills and connections, which begets more protests.

            Plus there’s all the historical evidence, both domestically and internationally, that protests have an impact. Domestically, there’s everything from the early 20th century labor movement, to women’s suffrage, to the Civil Rights Movement, to Stonewall and its sequelae, to ACT UP (not to mention enough contemporary ones that I don’t want to start listing them for fear that I’ll have a brain fart and exclude someone important). Protest was an important component of all of those.

            • ericblair

              Just take a look at authoritarian countries. The leaders consider mass protests to be existential threats. The goal of a lot of authoritarian actions is to atomize the population, to make sure that everyone is suspicious of each other and no power blocks exist outside the state. Mass protests bring people together to show them that they aren’t alone, and here are the people that you can work with to fight the powers that be.

              Or you could just fall to pieces at the start, piss yourself, and hide in the closet until they come for you. Whatever.

              • burritoboy

                But they are only a part of the story. If mass protests and engaging the masses is all you do, you probably won’t have the elite buy-in you need when push comes to shove. See the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

                • humanoid.panda

                  Right, but we do have the elite buy in. People like our moderate Senator Casey don’t rush from white tie events to protests if there is no elite buy in, and the courts slapping the ban indicates that even Republican jurists are not going to be Trump’s troikas..

                • randy khan

                  The speed with which the elite buy-in came on these protests is really impressive. In my case, my governor, both Senators and my representative all went to Dulles Airport not only to join the protests, but to engage with CBP to try to help, and the state attorney general filed suit immediately against the EO. (Not to mention that my representative skipped inauguration and went to the Women’s March.) And we saw similar actions all across the country.

              • burritoboy

                Also, we shouldn’t forget that liberal representative democracies are intentionally atomizing as well. They are explicitly intended to reduce political passion. Think about the intense, all-encompassing political life of democratic Athens and compare that to the political life (barely existing) in modern democracies.

                • los

                  all-encompassing political life of democratic Athens

                  was the 55 year old street “hag” beggar invited too?

                  .
                  but this thread, above, is “clicking” well with me.

                  imagine if these energetic efforts had happened during two months before Nov 8 election…

                  To swing 2018 hard, we must distribute crystal balls in August.

              • Junipermo

                This is a great comment.

                I live in NYC, and went to the women’s march in DC. I cannot tell you how much of a difference it made to my mental state to see so many people there, reminding me that there are good, well meaning people, from all over this country, even as we suffer under this current shitshow of an administration. I live in a blue city in a blue state and was rattled to the core by the election, so I can only imagine how awful blue voters in red states must have felt on November 9. But people are getting active, fighting for our country, all over the country, in red and blue areas. People ought not to underestimate how meaningful this is.

                • tsam

                  Right–and people get the idea that these protests somehow hurt our message, but when a Women’s March is one of the biggest marches of all time, it makes a very clear statement that is not in the least bit hurtful.

                  That Women’s March was an absolute masterpiece.

                • los

                  That Women’s March was an absolute masterpiece.

                  Yes. Genius. Organizers must remember to distribute marijuana cookies to black bloc two hours before the next march.

            • tsam

              From the start, Trump has been vulnerable to protests. He was upset about the checkpoint blockades mucking up his inauguration. He was upset about the Women’s March turnout. And he does silly shit that makes him look bad to people in the middle when he’s upset. Plus, the protests have developed people’s organizing skills and connections, which begets more protests.

              No, he’s not upset–why else would he be trying to criminalize protesting? I’m sure he feels it’s a necessary expression o OH FUCK I CAN’T DO IT WITHOUT LAUGHING

        • Hob

          Shah8 has never been one to pay much attention to the whole damned point of the post. He doesn’t troll exactly, just talks about whatever thought just crossed his mind in a vaguely supercilious and world-weary tone, always framing it as an insight that everyone else has missed, regardless of whether it’s been addressed many times already or not, and if anyone presses him to engage more directly or clarify his thoughts, you get “*shrugs*”. He is (or was, I haven’t been keeping up with it) a regular on Crooked Timber where his shtick was the same. Basically a slightly less aggressive version of Bob McManus.

      • rea

        I guess we should all just kill ourselves, then. You first.

      • SatanicPanic

        protest qua protest does anything in and of itself

        And there it is again. When you find someone saying “we just protest it will fix everything” please tell them they are stupid. Until then you’re not helping anything.

      • MaxUtility

        White *men* may not be all that familiar, but I’m not sure I’d say white *people* aren’t. Seems to me that (as usual) a lot of women are doing the hard work of both protesting and making more concrete change.

      • Little Chak

        The “stupid white people” line is especially rich given the the, erm, Civil Rights Movement, and the fact that PoC were front and center in the mobilization of the Women’s March, and most every protest since.

        But do go on about how protest is just about white people looking to assuage their guilt while not actually doing anything useful. (And ignoring pretty much the entire OP.)

      • Hogan

        I’m being helpful

        Perhaps you’re not the best judge of that.

      • YRUasking

        No but seriously, what are the lifeboats in this metaphor?

    • No Longer Middle Aged Man

      And yet here you are, on an internet comment board, protesting about other people actually getting out and doing stuff. Umm, I certainly will look to you for thoughtful input and guidance. Meantime, while you flounder out there in the middle of the North Atlantic, you might add the story of the SS Indianaoplis to your apparently vast reading of history.

      • Origami Isopod

        Shorter shah8, any comment thread: “I’m morally better and smarter than all the rest of you.”

        • tsam

          “By way of proof, here’s an internet comment”

        • SatanicPanic

          Anyone making the case that being chicken is the smart thing to do really can’t claim the moral high ground.

    • CP

      And, as if on cue…

    • los

      shah8 says:

      After the big ship hits the iceberg, cracks up and sinks, and you find yourself in the middle of the North Atlantic…If you decide to dog-paddle your way vaguely in the direction of Newfoundland, you *are* doing something.

      severe hypothermia kicks in quickly…

      Have you tried asking George Soros for a raise?

  • “I’m as busy this year as I was at any time last year in the heat of a huge election,” said Mark Fraley, chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Party in Indiana.

    I can find this encouraging and still wonder if the energy will last when the most a lot of these people get out of it is more fund raising emails. I tried to phone bank or volunteer for about six different Congressional campaigns last year – went to the website, clicked volunteer, entered my information – and only got contacted back by one of them. Everyone else just sent me a daily money beg.

    Local party work is a little different than that, but I don’t feel unreasonable keeping my expectations low, especially given how expensive even a small state campaign can be.

    • kvs

      The article says Monroe County Dems are doing what they ought to with the increased participation: building more infrastructure. Which is what you’d expect in a Democratic stronghold with strong ties to the College Dems at a large public university.

      Party infrastructure is going to vary and so will results. It’ll be up to the leaders and members to find useful ways to organize and sustain the energy. Like contacting their Members of Congress and talking to other voters to contact their Members. Then getting those people to join the party, too.

      Likewise, campaigns vary. If you genuinely want to help the campaigns, show up at their offices even if they haven’t called you back. If they don’t know what to do with you after that, then you can write them off as hopeless. Plus, it’ll give you an opportunity to tell them to upload their volunteer signups into their voter contact database and call those people.

      • los

        If they don’t know what to do with you after that, then you can write them off as hopeless

        MUTINY11!

  • Brett

    I was feeling pretty glum over this Vice article on the NoDAPL protest melting away, but this has revived some of my spirits. I hope it persists through to 2018 (which feels so far away now).

  • Brien Jackson

    And strangely enough, despite getting involved in some dozen groups in the local area, I’ve yet to encounter any purity ponies or one single person who thinks Tom Perez will destroy the party!

  • kvs

    One thing this shows is that the heighten the contradictions crowd aren’t wrong about the strategy’s catalyzing potential. But that doesn’t change that it’s unethical to advocate for potentially massive harm in the near-term to create the opportunity.

    • humanoid.panda

      There is a balance here. “Yay that Trump is president because now we can avoid the messiness of having a President who has does things we dislike sometime” is stupid. On the other hand, pointing out that in the American system, victory sows the seeds of defeat is a useful activity, in that it helps avoid despair.

      • Rob in CT

        it helps avoid despair.

        And, ideally, complacency.

      • kvs

        I disagree that “there’s a balance here” is the way to describe it. There’s no cheerleading awful outcomes here.

    • shah8

      *blank stare*

      “The heighten the contradictions crowd” is wrong precisely because of the current state of play.

      Post the damned disaster is too damned late. A million woman march onto the NYTimes or Washington Post as they report on the newest EMAILS revelations would have done something that leads to a materially better outcome. A million woman march NOW, for all intents and purposes, is just a street party for the bemused fascists (and frankly, yeah, this current situation is basically a fascist political arraignment).

      Sure, there’s a bit of an organizing outburst. Oh! Lots of new ACLU cardholders! New Dems signing up for the local units! That is still a teaspoon of sugar for a vat of hydrochloric acid. We live in a world where South Dakota ignores and repeals a legal voter-led movement. Sign laws that allows drivers to mow down and kill protesters. We live in a world where the North Carolina Repubs are barely prevented, for now, from instituting a one-party state. We live in a world where Michigan Republican deny localities democratic rights and control of funding/activities. We live in a world where the media can be relied on to blast EMAILS or YELLOWCAKES, and when the preferred people and policies of their owners are instituted, go back to pretending to have journalistic values.

      We also live in a world, that has governments invested with unprecedented power to surveil and immiserate anyone it sees as a serious challenge to its power. Practically the only thing that *can* be safely done is simply to watch and wait for the chickens to come home and roost (I think economic implosion will get here before ecological or war), and there is no guarantee that the aftermath will be better. I am not a narcissist and I need no fluffing about of my POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        so if you aren’t a narcissist, what *is* the word for a person whose apparent purpose in commenting is to 1) talk about how smart they themselves are and 2) tell everyone else how stupid they are?

      • kvs

        And then there’s this, which completely missed the point.

        • shah8

          I missed no point. I was contradicting your posited “Worse the Better” crowd’s more “correct” (as far as you are concerned) point about the catalyzation. That it is out of place in time.

          • kvs

            Citing a bunch of local examples which are, in fact, generating local responses disproves nothing. Your national example of the press coverage leading to Trump’s election is exactly the catalyzing event that’s leading to a national trend of organizing and movement building that we’re talking about.

            Surveillance and the potential for harm are different from actual harm or the explicitly stated intent to cause harm. But even that led to both Manning and Snowden taking action.

            Movements start with organizing. So you have to be exceptionally dour to dismiss these things out of hand.

            • humanoid.panda

              Surveillance and the potential for harm are different from actual harm or the explicitly stated intent to cause harm. But even that led to both Manning and Snowden taking action.

              In my day job, I am a Soviet historian. And one of the most striking things I’ve read is a description of how the Soviets totally and utterly destroyed civil society in the Baltic states within weeks of their invasion -with nothing more sophisticated than index card catalogs. The notion that technology makes organizing especially hard is a red herring.

      • SatanicPanic

        If you’re wrong, guess where you’ll be 20 years from now? In that sad group of people who saw evil happening and were too chicken to do anything. If you’re right, who are you to tell people the best way to deal with the failure of our system of government? Go away, you’re not helping anything.

        • shah8

          It will be a fond pleasure to be alive and basically okay twenty years from now. That’s full of win win win.

          I’m chicken because I’m fucking terrified. And I know full well *why* I should be terrified.

          • SatanicPanic

            Wow, that’s just pathetic. You see people in danger and your first choice is to run and hide, and, worse, you encourage others who are inclined to act bravely to do so as well. Having morals doesn’t preclude you from being terrified. If you’re too chicken to act, shutting up is the least you can do. And stop trying to claim you know more than the rest of us. We’re all terrified, we all have as good a guess at what’s coming as you do.

          • randy khan

            I’ve said this a bunch of other times, but it seems I’ll be repeating it infinitely for the next few years. You have to assume that action can bring a positive result. There’s no other way to think about where we are and where we could end up that makes sense.

            Put differently, the current situation is a variation of Pascal’s Wager, with three options instead of two:

            1. Everything will be fine in the end whether or not you do anything.

            2. The dark ages will return whether or not you do anything.

            3. Action will prevent the dark ages from returning.

            In scenarios 1 and 2, action makes no difference either way – it can’t make things worse and it won’t make things better (with a footnote – in scenario 1, you’ll feel better about yourself if you do something, as there is no a priori way to distinguish between scenarios 1 and 3 from an individual’s perspective). In scenario 3, action brings a benefit (much like Pascal believing in God if God exists), and inaction brings harm. So you always should opt for action.

            • nixnutz

              I’m not sure my complaint is particularly applicable to this situation but the problem is in assuming that any action will bring a positive result. And your wager doesn’t help to prove that, it assumes it, in the same way Pascal’s wager assumes that his Christianity would satisfy God.

              But again, I don’t really think counterproductive action should be a major concern.

      • Aaron Morrow

        Sure, there’s a bit of an organizing outburst.

        Sure, the Roman Empire had a bit of a road-building outburst.

      • ColBatGuano

        I am not a narcissist

        Citation omitted.

      • los

        shah8 says:

        A million woman march onto the NYTimes or Washington Post as they report on the newest EMAILS revelations would have done something that leads to a materially better outcome

        Yes.
        So, how to motivate a millions march BEFORE the election?
        Encourage enthusiasm for take-no-prisoners victory. “52% is a win, but not enough!”
        Envisioning the value of a landslide should motivate even when a slight win is already expected.

  • JL

    Of course, we need both protest and political engagement.

    Exactly! They aren’t at odds, they’re fights on different fronts.

    • Origami Isopod

      Yes, this.

      • tsam

        + another

        If there was ever a time in recent history when we need to use every tool in the shed, this is it.

  • burritoboy

    Ok, I’m going to be the asshole here. I live in a place where there’s multiple protests every single day. Effectively, there is also only one political party. (for those of you who haven’t figured it out yet, I live in San Francisco.)

    The result? Well……not so wonderful. We San Franciscans are basically a bunch of privileged rentiers, and political energy is actually fairly low. Oh, we’ll protest the national government’s policies all the time, but we lack much energy or ability to look at our own problems – especially the ones we created for ourselves. We’ll protest Trump or Bush, but ask people around here to do something against homelessness………and you’re not going to get a huge response. We’re the world leaders in giant protest puppets (I think we invented them), but we’re not so good in actually being a just polity.

    I can’t dignify our “politicians” with that name. They’re trivial wankers. Our current mayor is a placeholder non-entity and the previous one was a male model (actually, that’s insulting to most male models. Our particular one is unusually shallow and moronic for a male model). Our board of supervisors is a bunch of randoms whose job is to prevent any hints of affordable housing while simultaneously uselessly mouthing various platitudes about how liberal we all are.

    • Junipermo

      OK, so what are you doing about it?

      I really don’t get this complaint. I don’t live in SF so I’ll take your word for it that the politics there are as you say. But so what? Civil Rights protesters were up against something much, much tougher than greed and indifference, but they went out there and did the work. It was painstaking, it was literally fatal to some and injurious to many others, but they did the work and forced the country to change.

      If you feel that strongly that homelessness and lack of affordable housing is a problem in SF then get out there and do the work. I get that it can be frustrating and that change is slow. But whining about how no one is listening and no one cares won’t get you what you want. And frankly, considering the much more challenging circumstances many marginalized people have fought against in our country over the years, it’s also unbecoming.

      This country is facing a potentially existential crisis right now with you-know-who in the White House. We don’t have time for self pity.

      • Philip

        And in fact there’s growing political mobilization over these things in San Francisco. It’s hard and takes time to push back on the fauxgressives who’re really just rich people who grew up around gays, but it’s possible and some people are trying.

      • burritoboy

        I agree, but here’s precisely where I’m trying to locate the problems. There’s a strong disconnect here between comparatively strong local party enthusiasm and any sign of movement forward.

        And this is in a city that has plentiful protests and better than average enthusiasm for local party involvement. Compared to anywhere else, this is probably the largest strongly progressive city in the USA. There are other places as progressive or more progressive, but they’re usually much smaller college towns.

        And the results here aren’t really that stunning, either on the local, state or national level. Even in some very narrow sense, we aren’t even a reliable generator of strong political talent. (This is why I harp on the string of astonishingly mediocre mayors and the very lackluster board of supervisors).

        There’s a problem, and it won’t entirely be fixed by more enthusiasm for party building and involvement. I have no idea precisely what the problem is, but it does exist and can’t just be handwaved away.

        • Junipermo

          Then it sounds like people in SF need to work on finding more and better candidates for various offices.

          There’s no magic formula here, and change never comes quickly.

          • los

            no magic formula here

            High cost locations have uncommon problems.
            Despite a large government budget (though offset by those high costs), I suspect that the solutions aren’t so obvious as building a health clinic in an isolated rural “nowhere”.

        • Hob

          I don’t understand what you think “comparatively strong local party enthusiasm” means. You started out by saying “political energy is actually fairly low” and “effectively, there is also only one political party”, which are both more or less true (although as I said below, if you’re only looking at one particular class, then your judgments about “political energy” are going to be skewed). And you mentioned that there are lots of protests, but I presume that’s not what you mean by party enthusiasm, since those protests aren’t Democratic Party events. I’d normally think that that phrase referred to things like people getting directly involved in things like the DCCC and Democratic clubs and campaigning for local candidates in primaries… and I can’t say I’ve seen a hell of a lot of enthusiasm for those things here compared to other cities, in the last 15 years or so. Maybe something like the Matt Gonzalez campaign in 2003, but that was an outlier.

      • Hob

        I kind of suspect that burritoboy’s reference to “affordable housing” might not be so much a call for progressive action, but rather the kind of thing that we hear all the damn time from the “moderate” faction in SF: “The way to create affordable housing is to open up market-rate development everywhere and maybe get rid of rent control too, because supply and demand will eventually bring prices down, even if that means that in the near term they just build luxury housing and everyone else gets evicted. And if you don’t agree with that, then you’re a NIMBY elitist who doesn’t want anyone else to be able to come to San Francisco.” That theme has been hammered on so long by the SF Chronicle and the real estate lobby that it’s become conventional wisdom even among people who consider themselves liberal. (Unfortunately it also shows up a lot on LGM; djw goes there whenever he decides to opine on San Francisco matters from Seattle, and there are a half-dozen commenters with the same point of view, who will probably stop by any minute now.)

        I apologize if I’m jumping to an incorrect conclusion there, but I don’t know how else to explain the idea that the entire Board of Supervisors wants to “prevent any hints of affordable housing”.

        • Hob

          Regardless of whether that’s where burritoboy is coming from, it’s very relevant to his original question about why a lot of progressive stuff doesn’t get done around here. We have “one political party” in the sense that Republicans per se don’t have a foothold here, but their niche has been filled by the “moderate”, hyper-business-friendly type of Democrats that Mayor Lee is the figurehead for. They’re of course more socially liberal than actual Republicans, but they’re effectively the conservative party, very closely aligned with each other and with their financial backers, pretty dismissive of community-driven movements (Lee’s allies have even proposed getting rid of district elections, to prevent anyone like Harvey Milk from ever happening again), and quite willing to play on “sensible people with good jobs vs. the old hippies and the scary homeless” sentiments that appeal to a surprisingly large part of the population here.

          Burritoboy’s description of Newsom as “a male model” makes it sound like he got elected just because people are shallow and liked his looks. But Newsom campaigned very specifically on a “homeless people are mostly drug addicts and we should make them go away” platform (dressed up in a welfare restructuring proposal that had a couple of good points, but the nature of the campaign made it very clear what kind of voters he was aiming at), with very heavy support from business groups, in a very familiar conservative style. There is a pretty big political faction that will reliably get behind that kind of thing, and the same kind of money that backs Republicans elsewhere will happily back them. Dianne Feinstein didn’t come from nowhere.

          In other words, it’s not just that progressives would easily succeed here if only they could get their act together. There is flakiness for sure, but there’s also real opposition.

        • burritoboy

          I want to confiscate as much wealth as possible, bulldoze as many single-family houses as possible, and build so much high-rise public housing that we shame fucking Shanghai. Which would be…..precisely what the Board of Supervisors would view as apocalyptic.

          • Hob

            Thanks for clarifying. But your position relies on some assumptions that I don’t think are true.

            Building a bunch of low-income housing doesn’t actually require “bulldozing as many single-family houses as possible”, even if you think the latter would also be a good idea. There are places where it could be built without displacing current residents. (And please don’t tell me that that’s a NIMBY attitude; plenty of buildings that were originally “single-family houses” are currently occupied by multiple renters who, under your plan, would be shit out of luck during the years in between a new project being started and becoming habitable. The ones that really are still single-family houses are in outlying areas that don’t have anywhere near the infrastructure to support high-rise blocks.)

            The conflict in recent years within the Board isn’t over whether new projects should be built. It’s over things like this, where one faction is trying to direct the funding for low-income projects toward what are really luxury developments with tiny “affordable” set-asides (and other dodges like defining “low-income” based on a city-wide median, so that if there are lots of Twitter employees in one area, the greater need in another area doesn’t matter). When progressive Supes push back against this, and propose plans that try to aim the money where it’s most needed and avoid evicting more people, they get accused of being obstructionist… and people buy that, as you’re doing now.

            That’s if you’re talking about low-income housing within private developments, which is unfortunately all we have. “Public housing” in the real sense is a non-starter in the current environment, but that’s because the money isn’t there and there is no plausible mechanism by which it will be there; we were able to (badly) maintain previous projects due to federal funding which is now gone. Just saying “confiscate the wealth” is not a plan. I believe the city could be way more aggressive with business taxes, but that’s a far cry from what it’d take to support a fully public system (and maintain it in the future when the boom ends and the revenue stream dries up). If you really think that the Supes are all a bunch of do-nothing wimps because they’re not literally kicking down Mark Zuckerberg’s door and shaking him upside down till gold falls out, well… okay.

    • tsam

      We San Franciscans are basically a bunch of privileged rentiers, and political energy is actually fairly low. Oh, we’ll protest the national government’s policies all the time, but we lack much energy or ability to look at our own problems – especially the ones we created for ourselves.

      And what makes you think Sanfran is special or anomalous in this respect?

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Sort your shit out, San Francisco.

      Doesn’t say much about the usefulness of protest in general, though. Also, it seems to me like there might be a hell of a lot there in SF that you guys take for granted that was actually hard won through protest.

    • JL

      We’ll protest Trump or Bush, but ask people around here to do something against homelessness………and you’re not going to get a huge response.

      This sounds like an argument for expanding protest (and other forms of action) to local politics, not a case against protest.

      There are plenty of historical examples of effective local-politics protest. To pick one example, disability rights protests in Denver in the ’70s were instrumental in winning disabled people’s access to public transit there. They also had a very useful long-term effect on the national disability rights movement. To pick another, the Montgomery bus boycott was local politics. To pick a third, Seattle protesters recently got funding restored to a bunch of homeless shelters so that they could reopen.

    • Hob

      We San Franciscans are basically a bunch of privileged rentiers”

      Speak for yourself, please. If your point of view is so narrow that you literally can’t see the non-upper-middle-class segment of the population, or don’t think they have any political relevance, then you are part of the problem and no one should listen to your analysis of the situation.

      • Hob

        Either that, or you don’t know what “rentier” means and are using it as a synonym for “having a white-collar job” or something… which would still be a skewed view of the city, but at least less wrong.

      • burritoboy

        Hob: If I had seen the non-upper-middle-class segment of the population here actually have their own politics or even their own life goals – as opposed to simply wanting themselves to become as ludicrously wealthy as the most inane techbro does – that might indicate to me that they have their own meaningful political existence. As it currently stands, they don’t, and thus ultimately, have only the most minor political relevance.

        On a higher level: It’s much worse than you’re willing to admit. I don’t think anybody has political relevance in San Francisco, because I don’t think we actually have politics here in a substantive sense. We’re allowed to make spectacles for the rest of the country to watch, but which are mere entertainments. The protests here aren’t going to change the rest of the country’s mind, but the protests simultaneously aren’t about any local problems either.

        • Hob

          Hob: If I had seen the non-upper-middle-class segment of the population here actually have their own politics or even their own life goals – as opposed to simply wanting themselves to become as ludicrously wealthy as the most inane techbro does – that might indicate to me that they have their own meaningful political existence.

          Fucking hell. People poorer than you don’t even have their own life goals. Okay, I regret having engaged with you at all, goodbye.

          (Also, fuck you for the “willing to admit” thing. People who don’t agree with you can actually just think you’re wrong, not secretly think you’re right but be afraid to “admit” it.)

  • postpartisandepression

    I have to say that I have seen the same thing in Dallas. I live in a very Republican section of the city and there are dem women clubs and coffees and protests popping up everywhere. All looking for some way to fight back. I saw NOTHING like this after the 2000 election when the Supreme Court threw the election to Bush and I only saw a small fraction of this in 2008 during the Hillary Obama primary fight and then all those people just faded away.

    I went to a protest just yesterday against Pete Sessions. The bottom line is I have joined lots of groups and am starting to mobilize everyone I know and meet to build a coalition that is focused on taking back Congress in 2018. My advice – don’t sit around and wait for someone to tell what to do. Slogan Taking back my government one congressman at a time

  • shah8

    Man, at first look, it’s really weird the sort of vituperative reaction to pointing out the inadequacies of promoting “protest” as a means of instigating renewed civil society and civil rule.

    I mean, I’m not against the idea of protest in the least. I’m just a little too b.l.a.c.k. to think that this will do much. When black people or NA come out to protest, white people love to bring out military equipment, with lots of white people on the ground itching for the chance to use them (and quite willing to use “nonlethal rounds”, natch). Even for white people–should protest or movements ever feel the least bit threatening, authoritarian forces will lash out. They did so during the WTO protest in Seattle. They did so when it came to Occupy. And just because Trump isn’t *exactly* like Buzz Windrip, and just because Trump doesn’t *quite* have Minutemen, doesn’t mean that the S.L. novel’s warnings about the difficulties of *repair* are irrevelent, okay?

    I mean, you all can lambast me all you want, it’s not like I seriously care. *fakes a smirk to the cameras* It’s not like I’m not going to be right or right-ish. At least take what I say seriously, for the sake of all the non-whites who might want to participate in civil society.

    • shah8

      Some of these new bills might just actually become law. Or the people with guns and shields will pretend it’s not suspended or “there’s confusion”…

      http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2017/02/22/arizona-senate-crackdown-on-protests/

    • burritoboy

      They don’t like you pointing it out because, ultimately, their idea of politics is so empty that they don’t know how to do politics besides a few gestures (primarily protests, but also the letter-writing campaigns, etc.). Worse, they don’t yet realize they don’t even know how to begin to think about politics.

      • Rob in CT

        The fuck is this even supposed to mean? Do you think this is insightful?

        • Ahuitzotl

          it’s more understandable if viewed with his interpretative-dance simulcast

        • burritoboy

          For you, it means hit the books – no, not the garbage social science you would prefer it to mean. Hit the real classics, preferably something not originally written in English.

          • Rob in CT

            For you, it means hit the books – no, not the garbage social science you would prefer it to mean.

            I don’t know who you’re talking to, but it’s not me.

            Hit the real classics, preferably something not originally written in English.

            Wow, that narrows things down.

            Also: “Protest is meaningless, read a book!” is pretty funny.

            Also, too: I actually haven’t been protesting (I’ve mostly been donating). I think the people who have been are doing a pretty good job, though.

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