Time for Democrats to get a BBB reality check.
Given the events of this weekend and this morning's local comment by Manchin about how he was *never* going to support any version of BBB, I'd say that the central thesis of this article did not age well at all.
Clear-eyed and realistic assessment. I don't begrudge Manchin his position. If the D majority weren't whisker thin and in ever more danger of crumbling next year under the weight of the left wing of the party, and if the stakes of who controls Congress after next fall weren't so high, a Moderate like Manchin wouldn't be of such note, and his presence and moderate positions would still be welcomed by a lot of nonpartisan folks such as myself as a countervailing force not only against whatever over the top stuff may be coming from across the aisle, but against the same coming from his left as well. Better that he live to fight another day than die what some fools would consider an honorable death.
The D's are not taking their role as the current firewall against the flames of authoritarianism licking at the fabric of our republic seriously. If they were, much more would have been done by now about the protection of voting rights and the voting process itself (read Electoral College). Party discipline would be in place and a united front would have been taking serious, meaningful and effective action on these issues, filibuster be damned.
But what do we get instead? The Squad et al co-opt the conversation and agenda with a lot of glitz and flash, suck all the air out of the room, the couple of moderates hangin' out in the joint get hosed as the bad guys for not being willing to walk the financial plank and commit political suicide, and the D's writ large end up, as usual, being their own worst enemies, and no real friends to those such as myself, all but ensuring their defeat as a majority next time around. And then who will stand up as the aforementioned firewall?
So, I just wanna' ask those Dimwits this: Considering that dollars and parchment are about equally combustible, if a pile of money meant to more or less buy yourselves a future seat in the game were burning on your left, and the document on which this nation stands as a democratic republic - and which your very oaths of office commit you to defend and protect above all else - were burning on your right, which way should you point your fire extinguisher first?
Well, we seem to already have that answer.
The only folks I'll detest more than the R's who continue to fan those flames will be the D's, if they allow them to fully catch and burn to their conclusion. Because if the R's get back the reins of power, with a blatantly partisan and invertebrate SCOTUS not even willing to hoist a garden hose, the fix will be in, literally. And there isn't a fire insurance policy in the world big enough to compensate for and fix that damage.
I was actually thinking of the New York City mayoral race, where the progressive candidate fared poorly, but your point about Buffalo is a good one.
Hooray! Give Manchin the respect he deserves. Remember when the South with the deplorables was Democratic. These people and their livelihood cannot just be canceled in the name of climate protection or gun control (Too Late). I am a llifelong Dem and a Bernie supporter but do something to save the South. As LBJ said Better to have them inside the tent pissing out then outside the tent pissing in (or something like that). Sorry, it isn't all about IDEALS. It is about POLITICS. WAKE UP before it really is too late.
I can agree with Tim. I am thankful for Joe Manchin.
"If the Democrats want to avoid annihilation in 2022, they need a different approach."
Democrat voters can't control who Republican voters vote for. Democrat voters can only control who they themselves vote for. I think a different approach could be mobilizing Democrat voters to support "purple" Republicans, such as the ten House Republicans that voted for impeachment and the seven Senate Republicans that voted for conviction.
We hear the mantra, "Country over party." But is Democrat leadership willing to answer that call by mobilizing Democrat voters to support the likes of Liz Cheney, Lisa Murkowski, and a handful of others? I’d like to see #DemocratsforCheney and #DemocratsforMurkowski trend.
I think Democrat voters can also be mobilized to try and oust wing Republicans in jurisdictions that Democrats are unlikely to win such as AZ04, CO03, GA14, TX13, etc. But first, a Liz Cheney must emerge from these jurisdictions. If one emerges, Democrat voters will have their "purple" Republican candidate.
What is crucial to this suggested approach succeeding, is that Democrat leadership commit to not run Democrat candidates in these races. On the primary or general election ballot, the choice should be a “purple” Republican, a wing Republican, or write-in. A Democrat should not be on the ballot.
My hope is "purple" voters (Democrat and Republican) will lift "purple" Republicans to victory. A Republican House with more "purple" Republicans is a win for the country. The question is, "How will "purple" Republicans govern?"
Progressives need to get practical or we gonna lose our democracy
Thank you so much for this forum!
I am life long democrat who strongly believes in no American should not receive medical treatment because of money, supporting family formation and children as it becomes untenable for young people to afford having children, for investment in public universities to avoid untenable debt, and for not seeding the huge opportunities for jobs and prosperity solving Climate Change that is costing all of us a fortune, to the Chinese.
That said, I am feeling deeply discouraged about the Democrats inability to work with Manchin in a realistic way---given the slim majority.
The democrats lost their way their way the nineties when they turned away from working and poor people and turned to well educated urban people (full disclosure--I am a well educated, relatively well off urban person). The strategy failed due to numbers (they are bad at math). Additionally the democrats failed on messaging and getting people elected in state governments that has lead to where we are today where the democrats lack the power to do stuff that is potentially very popular and take on the cult of nihilism and hopelessness that is plaguing this country.
Spot on Tim. We need Manchin to fight another day. There’s a long term play here and the gotcha now tactics of the left will be a one and done. Who will be left to champion the cause of democracy then? As a voter without a party, no party is better than what the Democrats want to rush through. Thanks for enlightening me about what Manchin is up against. It helps temper my frustration with him.
"But for those who are ostensibly trying to influence Democratic party strategy, turning" [anyone in the party that resists the left radical agenda even though the Democrats hold on to only a thread of majority that would not exist if not for the pandemic]" into the bad guy and railing against him is profoundly stupid. And it is actively harming the Democratic party’s stated goals."
Really... the Democrats believe they have a mandate with only Kamala The Terrible's vote... or they don't care and will ramrod their radical agenda down the throats of more than half the country that does not want it... just because they can. In any case, one does not need to go too far in explaining Manchin other than to concur that he is rational and his party is bat poo crazy.
Don't the House members elected in 2024 confirm the 2024 presidential electors? Pretty sure they do. So even if republicans take back the House in 2022 that's no guarantee they'll keep it in 2024.
Great article Tim, I agree 100%. As a former dairy farmer who grew up in upstate New York, I really see the divide between those of us who are voting democratic not because we are liberal but as a bulwark against the new Trump Republican Party and coastal elite Democrats who live in a world all their own. If they don't wake up and start running Manchin-like candidates in the red/purple rural districts and states then they have no hope of winning future majorities. I am extremely worried about the 2024 presidential election with a republican controlled house.
On the A. B. Stoddard article:
At least two dems that I know of have tried this approach.
Hillary Clinton did it. She focused her campaign on how terrible Trump is and would be. The research I've read says her campaign had less issues oriented ads than orange man bad ads. She lost.
Terry McAuliffe did it most recently in his Virginia's governor race. He spent most of his time, in between putting his feet in his mouth, trying to tie Youngkin to Trump. He lost.
In both cases Trump and Youngkin talked about issues more than their democratic opponents did. They won.
But A. B. wants democrats to do it all again and expect different results?
Manchin is the only Democrat determined to make my family $3,600 poorer next year than it otherwise would be, and also the only politician in Washington with the power to carry this out. Forgive me if I don't join in your celebration of Senator Manchin.
I subscribe to Bulwark because I decided my mental health would likely improve if I did not watch my favorite channel, MSNBC; nor daily hear about the craziness of Fox. It has proven to be a wise decision.
I think that my party, the Democratic Party, meaning those who have been elected, are running to be elected and those who invest a lot of treasure, spend way to much time fighting each other. I am not pleased with the far left wing of the party, who want to exert their power and think they earned it this past election. I agree with you that this party is not looking at what people want or need.
Thank you for your thoughtful commentary.
WRT JVL's post today and "The relentless drive to eliminate slack from the system."
In a certain sense I think JVL is correct--while being (also) fundamentally incorrect. maybe, however, it is a matter of perspective.
I would not describe what occurs as eliminating slack. I would characterize it as maximizing profit (within particular bounds)... actually, it isn't even maximizing profit, it is maximizing shareholder value or return to the owner (in case of a private holding), quite a different thing.
Not all slack is eliminated, only particular kinds of "slack." A truly relentless drive to eliminate slack would not have as much highly paid top level management types as a lot of these firms have had over time. They would not be paying out large severance packages/golden parachutes to failed managers.
It is my general sense (corroborated by the experience of my wife, who is a business consultant for small and medium sized companies) that many companies are not very efficient. There is a LOT of slack (but it is slack that puts money in the pockets of the right people and the slack is often very intentional). I hear stories--they are both amusing and horrifying at the same time (horrifying in the level of greed and malfeasance and willingness to cheat and break the law--amusing in the stupidity often displayed).
It seems that the "right" people get security (as defined by JVL) but the security for peons is "slack."
Now, THEORETICAL capitalism might be what JVL describes--but that exists only in books and dreams... and is a rarely adhered to ideal.
In the end, political success is built upon activating the EMOTIONS of the people you want to vote for you in order to get them either afraid enough of the enemy to vote for your side or angry enough to vote for your side. The GoP has succeeded at this at an epic level.
Selling hope and aspiration is a third and poor choice, especially in a society of political cynicism such as ours. We have gone far too many decades where the electoral branches of government have failed to visibly deliver... or, when they have delivered, have failed to demonstrate that in a substantive way to the people.
The common man is more convinced by the anecdote that he/she hears than the data that is presented. They don't understand the data or even really want to hear it or think too much about it. STORIES sell things. Narrative is king. Their logic is the "small" logic of narrative as informed by preconceptions, not actual logic or reason. rationalization rather than reason built upon bias and anecdote and "everyone knows."
I am trying to think of a current Democrat that is a good story-teller and I am drawing a blank. Obama was a bit better than many, but the problem was he was black... and visibly educated and sometimes a bit too sarcastic.
Tell good stories. Get people angry. Get people afraid, let them believe that you will save them (because in their fear and anger they will believe you out of desperation--just ask the GoP about that--because that is what they have been doing all these years).
Yes, it paints a bad picture of how people make political decisions. Guess what, people make political decisions for bad reasons. Look around you.