Another Heavy GOP seat Flips to DEM

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The Romulan Republic
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Re: Another Heavy GOP seat Flips to DEM

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-03-18 04:54pm

Dragon Angel wrote:
2018-03-17 11:08pm
You know, a problem I have with you (and I'm sure others experience this) is that you jump to conclusions so fucking often that it is very difficult to discuss something with you without having to also discuss whatever Interpretation Of The Day you have of my posts. I already have to deal with that shit from someone terminally prone to it in real life and if you start that here, I'm not going to bother with this.
I'm honestly not sure what false conclusions you feel that I jumped to.

Both Soontir C'boath and to a lesser extent you are making what I feel are overly-broad attacks on the Democrats, and in Soontir's case going so far as to say that he'll register as a Republican, and posting an article advocating splitting the vote between numerous small, narrow third parties (any criticisms of those points are directed at him specifically, and not at you). I made no presumption so far as I recall as to your motives for doing so.

If it is simply my accusation that you were implying a "both sides" narrative, I'll address that momentarily.
Before you say that I'm attacking your character, because dear god I already know you're going to,
Well, you kind of are. That you evidently feel justified in doing so does not change that.

And if I am quick to pounce on that sort of thing, it is because I have a very long history on this board of people trying to make the topics I post in about me, rather than about the topic. I could cite examples, but I suppose that would be treading into vendetta/thread derailment territory. Suffice to say, I would probably be less touchy on this point if people did not keep forcing me to defend myself, rather than the topic of the thread- then blaming me when I do so.
please note that from the start I've been suggesting a way for the Democrats to avoid becoming that exact kind of caricature.
Which is something we absolutely need to discuss, but my point is that they are already being branded as that sort of caricature, regardless of the reality of the situation. And that has real consequences.
In your first reply to me, you accused me of having no nuance and calling them just like Republicans when you and Simon were, guess what, discussing the possibility of more Republican deserters joining the Democrats.

And I just go :wtf:?
I was responding to this:
This is why they are running as Democrat. This is why they don't have (R) next to their names. Ostensibly they are supposed to hold onto what makes a Democrat a Democrat and not a Republican.
Perhaps it was not your intent, but I do not think it is unreasonable to interpret that as basically saying that Democrats who are conservative, who compromise, or who aren't sufficiently pure in their adherence to whatever one defines as Democratic values are no different from Republicans.
I don't know whether you're aware of this or not, but the worst interpretation has me seeing you arguing in bad faith. So, I recommend that you stop forcing me to shadowbox a strawman. If every possible discussion about the Democrats from me may lead to you accusing me of acting like a mindless moderate, then you in essence make discussion of them impossible.
Err, what?

I certainly never accused you of acting like a mindless moderate. If I was going to accuse you of anything, it would be of being part of the "no compromise" segment of the Left (ie, the opposite of a moderate), but I didn't even do that, and I wouldn't feel justified in doing so based on your arguments in this thread.
I already implied that if I was unfortunate enough to live in Alabama, I would've voted for Jones anyway, simply because his opponent was a literal puppy-kicking cartoon villain. However, I want you to consider this: Why was Jones the candidate? Why couldn't someone who would truly support Democratic principles run instead? Why did Jones have to take that space?
That is a good question. And I don't think we have any disagreement here.
Since Moore was that bad, in theory, any other candidate could have also beat him. Yet, somehow Jones was the one who ended up there. Could the Democrats not have scrounged up someone else who won't just go with two thirds of what the Republicans propose anyway? Is that such a high bar to pass?
It shouldn't be, but I also wonder how many Democrats are willing to invest their time, resources, and reputation to run in a district that, until the child-groping came out, was largely considered a write-off?

I think that in either case, the main problem here is that a lot of the Dems have a defeatist mentality. A belief that they cannot win in red states, and can only compete in swing states by nominating moderates/conservatives.

I think the string of successes this year, in the face of Trumpism, may be starting to cure the party of that- but I think its a problem that will likely only really be fixed by a string of victories and the retirement/death of most of the old guard. And even then, it will only be solved if younger progressives remain active in the party, rather than writing it off and going third party/independent/Trump/not voting (Please note that I am not accusing you of advocating any of those things, only referring to the larger context in which this discussion is taking place).
It does not have to end with Republican-lites taking up valuable Democrat positions. If the only possible oppositions Democrats can give to puppy-kicking cartoon villains are Republican-lites, then the Democrats are fucked. That is not a statement without nuance. That is just mathematical fact. They will have lost their claim toward promoting liberal values.
The reason I would criticize such statements is because they come off as treating specific candidates run in specific districts or states as somehow representing the entire party. The Democrats do not only run "Republican-lites"- they run a spectrum of candidates from the likes of Doug Jones to the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. That's the nature of a big tent party, which is the only way that a party can be consistently viable at the national level in a democratic or semi-democratic system.

Would I like to see the party shift more to the Left? Yes. Am I going to accuse the entire party of betraying liberal values if some Blue Dogs are run in conservative states or districts? No.

Yeah, progressives in Alabama had a shit choice. That's a problem that we need to work on as a party. If a progressive challenges Jones in the next primary, I'd probably back them. I'm just worried about people painting the party with too broad a brush, and the way that that (intentionally or otherwise) feeds into efforts to divide the vote.

Because when we have a party that increasingly embraces and is backed by literal fascists controlling our government, that ought to take precedence to fighting our internal battles. I'm no friend of the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party, or the "Blue Dogs", and I would hope that my posting record speaks to that clearly. But when we are in imminent danger of being overrun by literal Nazis, well... I won't go so far as to say that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but I will at least try to pull my punches against people who are also opposing the Nazis, whatever other disagreements we may have. I'm sick of fighting other Leftists, I'm sick of fighting Centrists, and the only reason I ever do so is because I see someone else stirring up those divisions.

Everything I have argued in this thread has been ultimately motivated by my opposition to neo-fascism, and my belief that we need to unite as many people as possible in common cause against it.
Just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating, I searched for "Kremlin" and found in your posts responses to me and Soontir where you implied that either of us was falling for Russian propaganda by even hinting at third parties. Can I take this as you withdrawing that implication?
Can you quote where exactly you feel that Simon and I implied that anyone supporting a third party was falling for Russian propaganda?

If I did somehow imply that, I retract it entirely, and apologize. It would be unfair to make that presumption about the motives of everyone who goes third party.

I do not retract my conclusions about the practical consequences of going third party under the current circumstances, which are based in simple math and the realities of the American political system.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Another Heavy GOP seat Flips to DEM

Post by Dragon Angel » 2018-03-18 04:58pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 01:47pm
Well, I would fondly hope that Russia won't keep futzing with our election cycles literally forever, or that once we learn to watch for it, and after Trump gets investigated to pieces for profiting from it, it may start doing a candidate more harm than good if the Russians are trying to throw out swarms of bots on his behalf.

[Of course, if the Russians are really clever bastards about this, and history suggests that they can be, they could start supporting everyone with bots and just laugh at the trollish results. But at least that's a problem that cancels itself out in terms of who wins the elections, probably]

However, I recognize that this isn't really a refutation of your point.
I can only hope that our government wisens up to this, because if it holds true that sitting politicians are able to brazenly conduct Russian interests and can interfere with justice related to them without consequence, then this discussion we're having now will be entirely moot.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 01:47pm
The question I was trying to get at earlier is, what happens when this abstraction meets the road? We're looking at an election here where people running as Democrats are taking seats that are historically very secure for Republicans, in large part because of how massively unpopular Trump is and how unpopular the congressional Republicans have become. These special elections are mostly happening in Republican-held districts, generally "deep red" ones. It is not obvious that progressive candidates would be able to carry them. And yet, comparatively right-wing candidates running as Democrats seem to be able to do so, in districts that normally vote Republican by huge margins.

So what's your argument here? I see a couple of interpretations:

1) That progressives at or around the Sanders benchmark would have as good a shot at winning in those districts/states as guys like Conor Lamb and Doug Jones. So the Democratic Party should run such progressives in such races instead.

2) That it honestly does not matter if Democrats-in-name-only like Lamb and Jones win in those districts/states, because they're just crypto-Republicans and for all practical differences it means nothing. There is no point in tolerating or welcoming such individuals in the Democratic Party.

Is it one of those? Both? A third thing I haven't thought of?
The first part of this only makes sense if you consider the end result wearing partisan-colored glasses. From a partisan perspective, of course anything that could unseat the Republicans would be an "effective" strategy. You could adopt any political trick, even screwing your constituency, if you just aimed to get more seats with not much other consideration. Trump managed to do that for the GOP with his conning of non-establishment supporters (who hopefully aren't Nazis) into believing he'd actually do something for them. In the short term, if you can get voters to believe voting for you is the right answer by pulling the wool over their eyes, why not?

In the long term, this is extremely shortsighted. If you screw your constituency, then it's like conquering a hill with a giant regiment but then only leaving two soldiers to guard it. The enemy will take advantage of this obvious weakness and retake the hill with great ease. The weakness of Doug Jones in particular is him acting against much of his constituents' needs, and if he continues on that path those constituents simply will not bother voting for him again. It may end up spilling toward any other Democrat who may primary him. It's a "victory" only in style, with very little substance to maintain it.

Conor Lamb is a Democrat with pro-choice views who won a red district as well. I mean, he's not my ideal progressive obviously, but at least he's meeting that standard. Hell, a trans woman won a State Senate seat in Virginia of all places, unseating an incumbent who wanted to put up bathroom bills. This may not be as farfetched as you mortally fear it is.

For the second part, to answer your question, see above. Yes, I believe progressives like that would win. They wouldn't even need to be fully Sanders-level progressive; at the very least, they shouldn't betray their own voters by "compromising" their own platforms to nonexistence. They shouldn't just become Republicans in Democrat clothing.

Actually, do you and I just have a difference in image as to what a Republican in Democrat clothing looks like? Your five criteria don't match an obvious majority of the Democratic electorate either. There are a lot of pro-firearm Democrats, off the top of my head I can think of organizations like the Liberal Gun Club or Pink Pistols for example. They would not mind a candidate who held pro-gun views.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 01:47pm
Okay, but to be blunt, some of the same accusations could have been leveled at Repeat Obama.

For political offices that are relevant at the national level, how far left do we expect our candidates to be? It's reasonable to say that no national-level Democrat (major committee leaders, presidential candidates) should be teetering on the edge of "y'know, before Tea happened, I'd be a Republican" territory. But is everyone noticeably to the right of the Sanders line suspect? Where's the limit?

If we draw the line far enough to the left, we get a very committed party that probably loses all the time. If we draw the line far enough to the right, we get a big party that can't do anything and is sprawled out over too wide an ideological spectrum to agree on anything. It is right and proper that you point this out.

At the same time... well, where do we draw the line? What do we do when things that actually happen... happen?
The line should be drawn at a set of progressive positions ideally plus or minus several levels in the Sanders standard, but at the very least not putting gains made during Obama's presidency on the chopping block. It seems Democrats like our friend Tim Kaine are too willing to do just that. My difficulty with believing in the Democrats' resolve lies in their utter weakness toward defending even their own damn politics.

We don't need to pick up any random chucklefuck who thinks they can get away with "business as usual". After Trump won, there were many calls to appeal more toward white voters and forget the marginalized. That's obviously stupid, but by picking up more otherwise-Republican candidates, it will only be a slow and painful death ending at the same goal.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 01:47pm
To win which seats? The 'deep red' seats that swung Republican even in 2016 when Trump was running and it was... fairly clear that congressional Republicans were going to do more or less what they're doing now?

Do we run progressives in those states now, figuring on them to win in 2018? Or are you talking about other, historically blue or at least purple constituencies?
Both. I wouldn't say it was fairly clear to the deep red areas. It was clear to us, yes, and to everyone else who voted for Hillary or didn't vote period, who saw through Trump's grand promises and acknowledged his vitriolic disregard for people of color, women, Muslims, ...

But there was an apparently nontrivial portion of his voters who blinded themselves toward all of that. They literally thought we were all being unfair to him. They couldn't believe he was that cartoonishly bad and incompetent. I saw so many people whom I thought were liberal turn around and vote for him, to the extent that for a little while I doubted my senses and thought I was insane. They were formerly either liberal, moderately liberal, or at the very least tolerant of Trump's targets, but then did a total 180 and supported him in spite of their beliefs. Some have regretted it, some are still feeling a crisis of faith, and some have decided to stick with their faith until the bloody end.

You and I can think they were obviously idiots, but it still doesn't change the fact that it wasn't clear to them Republicans would screw them over. I mean, damn that takes a monumental level of inattention to current events, but humans are all too capable of that I guess?
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 01:47pm
You could equally well argue that the same is true socially so what's the point of voting at all? A lot of us millenials thought Obama would be a progressive candidate in 2008. Now we're left either saying "sellout" or "he did the best he could with the shitty situation."

I'm not sure to what extent the problem is "the Democratic Party as such is flawed," and to what extent the problem is that BOTH parties have a more radical 'base/fringe' faction that each make up 10-15% of the American population, BOTH of which are screaming at their respective parties for being insufficiently committed to The Cause.
Well, how much of the "did the best he could" half do you want to risk leaking toward the "sellout" half?

Obama was such an extreme mixed bag that did well enough to have the former half in the first place. He didn't uphold many or most of his promises, but he did at least achieve several things we hoped would last well after his presidency. Democrats like Tim Kaine look at those and either actively support undoing them, or being terminally negligent in fighting to keep them alive. The only important matter to them is craven politics, their constituency may as well be sent to the slave pits for all they care.

Those Democrats won't even have that half that will give them the benefit of the doubt. They will only have voters who will view them as sellouts. You don't want that sentiment growing beyond the local level.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 01:47pm
What ever guarantees anything for anyone? I mean, candidates can say they care about the working class and then literally be Donald Trump. Aside from trying to gauge candidates' honesty and treat their actual stated positions as at least a rough guide to their real ones (plus or minus a likewise calculable factor for how honest they are)... What can ever be done about this issue? There is NO guarantee that candidates won't disappoint you, especially if they're in a position to pick up two votes by disappointing you but only one (yours) by doing what you want.

This is a sad yet empirically confirmed fact. I'm not a fan of it, and I'm not resigned to it, but if I let it stop me from voting every time I'll never vote at all.
I wasn't applying this on a blanket case. My terminal level of doubt would apply to such a candidate who'd fit the criteria you'd listed, with an emphasis on point 5. If they were anti-choice or anti-queer right off the bat, I would have no confidence that they would continue with their other stated positions.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 01:47pm
Now, I'm not going to ask you to vote for a candidate you reasonably suspect of being anti-queer, because that hits you, personally, right where you live. I understand that. It would be fucking ridiculous to expect you to jump on a political grenade like that.

And yet the question remains: If such a person steps up to the plate and runs as a Democrat, in a district that normally leans Republican by something like 57-43 or 60-40, and it looks like he's winning... Well, we know what you'd do. But what exactly should the Democratic National Convention do? What should Democrats as a whole do? Be happy, sad, deeply troubled and ambivalent?

It's like, if the Democratic Party doesn't do everything in its power to advance queer rights, because its efforts to fix health insurance take precedence, all the queer people can reasonably complain that they are being thrown under the bus.

And if the Democratic Party doesn't do everything in its power to fix health insurance, because its commitment to queer rights takes precedence, all the straight people with no health insurance can reasonably complain that they are being thrown under the bus.

The queer people with no health insurance are miserable either way.

And I'm not telling you, or anyone, how to feel about that, or who to vote for because of that. But the tradeoff still exists, there is at least some extent to which excluding candidates over their deplorable stances on one issue may undermine the party's ability to accomplish another issue. And while we may accept that as the cost of doing business, we shouldn't pretend that it's just Not A Thing.
They should be alarmed that their platform is being coopted. A Catholic candidate like the one you listed would probably be in favor of a "religious freedom" discrimination bill that could reach as far as giving hospitals the permission to reject queer people, or state and federal social workers to reject any marginalized applicants purely because of their bigotries. Even if he did vote for healthcare fixes, which I still highly doubt he would, queer people would effectively be left behind to rot. Or maybe Muslims, if religious freedom allowed discrimination of religions he didn't like. Or people of color who aren't middle class. See where this goes?

The Democrats' reputation for healthcare and equal rights would regress among very voters who wanted to believe in them. They will lose those voters if they forget about them. All the improvements for the privileged, but built on top of sacrifices from the marginalized. What kind of a society would we be if we congratulated ourselves for that kind of a Pyrrhic victory?
"I could while away the hours, conferrin' with the flowers, consultin' with the rain.
And my head I'd be scratchin', while my thoughts were busy hatchin', if I only had a brain!
I would not be just a nothin', my head all full of stuffin', my heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry, life would be would be a ding-a-derry, if I only had a brain!"

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Re: Another Heavy GOP seat Flips to DEM

Post by Dragon Angel » 2018-03-18 07:06pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-18 04:54pm
I'm honestly not sure what false conclusions you feel that I jumped to.

Both Soontir C'boath and to a lesser extent you are making what I feel are overly-broad attacks on the Democrats, and in Soontir's case going so far as to say that he'll register as a Republican, and posting an article advocating splitting the vote between numerous small, narrow third parties (any criticisms of those points are directed at him specifically, and not at you). I made no presumption so far as I recall as to your motives for doing so.

If it is simply my accusation that you were implying a "both sides" narrative, I'll address that momentarily.
Sometimes it feels like you have an overly sensitive trigger finger toward criticism of the Democrats. Any time someone calls them out on proceeding with a stupid tactic and tries to tell them don't act like the Republicans and give them more ammunition, I can play a mental game of predicting whether you'd jump in and yell that we're being too tough and too harsh.

Soontir already made his case that he doesn't care for third parties and would rather primary for candidates like the Justice Democrats. When I'm able to register for the Democratic Party (can't right now because legal shit) I intend to do the same. You just jumped on us without considering that maybe we're speaking with a harsh tone, either here or elsewhere, to get our own party to wake the fuck up already.

You really need to dial it down and stop concluding that we're all your cartoon impression of us believing Democrats are just as insane as Republicans. You do this all the time.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-18 04:54pm
Well, you kind of are. That you evidently feel justified in doing so does not change that.

And if I am quick to pounce on that sort of thing, it is because I have a very long history on this board of people trying to make the topics I post in about me, rather than about the topic. I could cite examples, but I suppose that would be treading into vendetta/thread derailment territory. Suffice to say, I would probably be less touchy on this point if people did not keep forcing me to defend myself, rather than the topic of the thread- then blaming me when I do so.
Have you perhaps considered that not everyone is doing that because they're out to get you?

I could go into specifics but yes, this topic isn't about you, so I'll let this pass for now.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-18 04:54pm
Which is something we absolutely need to discuss, but my point is that they are already being branded as that sort of caricature, regardless of the reality of the situation. And that has real consequences.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-18 04:54pm
I was responding to this:
This is why they are running as Democrat. This is why they don't have (R) next to their names. Ostensibly they are supposed to hold onto what makes a Democrat a Democrat and not a Republican.
Perhaps it was not your intent, but I do not think it is unreasonable to interpret that as basically saying that Democrats who are conservative, who compromise, or who aren't sufficiently pure in their adherence to whatever one defines as Democratic values are no different from Republicans.
We have always been at war with Eastasia.

I mean, what else do you want me to call them, directly or metaphorically? If they walk like Republicans, talk like Republicans, but wear a camouflage that says "Democrat", that's like saying an executioner who is about to release the guillotine is a surgeon who is going to operate on your brain. That's not even going into the fact you have ignored that you and Simon were discussing letting them into the Party. Which is why I even made my first response.

Apparently from this I can gather that if they call themselves Democrats, but have terrible liberal-to-leftist politics, that's still enough to consider them Democrats ... I guess.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-18 04:54pm
Err, what?

I certainly never accused you of acting like a mindless moderate. If I was going to accuse you of anything, it would be of being part of the "no compromise" segment of the Left (ie, the opposite of a moderate), but I didn't even do that, and I wouldn't feel justified in doing so based on your arguments in this thread.
This has to do with how you act, but as we're not getting into this discussion, moving on...
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-18 04:54pm
It shouldn't be, but I also wonder how many Democrats are willing to invest their time, resources, and reputation to run in a district that, until the child-groping came out, was largely considered a write-off?

I think that in either case, the main problem here is that a lot of the Dems have a defeatist mentality. A belief that they cannot win in red states, and can only compete in swing states by nominating moderates/conservatives.

I think the string of successes this year, in the face of Trumpism, may be starting to cure the party of that- but I think its a problem that will likely only really be fixed by a string of victories and the retirement/death of most of the old guard. And even then, it will only be solved if younger progressives remain active in the party, rather than writing it off and going third party/independent/Trump/not voting (Please note that I am not accusing you of advocating any of those things, only referring to the larger context in which this discussion is taking place).
Yes, yes. Excellent. We can find some common ground here.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-18 04:54pm
The reason I would criticize such statements is because they come off as treating specific candidates run in specific districts or states as somehow representing the entire party. The Democrats do not only run "Republican-lites"- they run a spectrum of candidates from the likes of Doug Jones to the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. That's the nature of a big tent party, which is the only way that a party can be consistently viable at the national level in a democratic or semi-democratic system.

Would I like to see the party shift more to the Left? Yes. Am I going to accuse the entire party of betraying liberal values if some Blue Dogs are run in conservative states or districts? No.
Then you should stop entering discussions assuming your ideological opponents are accusing every Democrat in office, every candidate who is running, or every candidate who ever will run of betraying liberal values. You talk about speaking of a "greater context" but your words fail to elaborate a difference between the people you are talking to and this greater context. That I consistently see this happen means it is not our fault you are being misunderstood.

The Party, however, feels it's free to smear its own candidates on the progressive end of politics. It gets way too cozy with the corporations. Among other self-destructive tendencies. These are actions that cannot be disputed. The Party would frequently rather screw their own candidates over than have their platform change toward Progressivism. There are countless examples of these antics performed by the Democratic leadership and you act as if Soontir and I are tilting at windmills.

Stop reacting badly to people who have grave criticisms about the Party and start trying to better understand why we would have these criticisms.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-18 04:54pm
Yeah, progressives in Alabama had a shit choice. That's a problem that we need to work on as a party. If a progressive challenges Jones in the next primary, I'd probably back them. I'm just worried about people painting the party with too broad a brush, and the way that that (intentionally or otherwise) feeds into efforts to divide the vote.

Because when we have a party that increasingly embraces and is backed by literal fascists controlling our government, that ought to take precedence to fighting our internal battles. I'm no friend of the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party, or the "Blue Dogs", and I would hope that my posting record speaks to that clearly. But when we are in imminent danger of being overrun by literal Nazis, well... I won't go so far as to say that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but I will at least try to pull my punches against people who are also opposing the Nazis, whatever other disagreements we may have. I'm sick of fighting other Leftists, I'm sick of fighting Centrists, and the only reason I ever do so is because I see someone else stirring up those divisions.

Everything I have argued in this thread has been ultimately motivated by my opposition to neo-fascism, and my belief that we need to unite as many people as possible in common cause against it.
I have bad news for you and everyone else: The neofascists aren't going away. For the foreseeable future, we are going to have neofascists as opposition because the Republicans have crossed the Rubicon. We're going to have to fight them possibly for half of our remaining lifetimes.

Our political landscape is going to be affected by them no matter if we win or lose.

However, if we let it slide that Democrats put forth more centrists and conservatives and sabotage progressives, we ignore a festering problem that could implode the Party later on. The Republicans ignored their hard right factions until they infested and took over the Party. I and others like me don't want our party to be taken over by the same breed of craven politicians who let that happen.

They can't keep using an oncoming threat of fascists forever to cow their constituency into voting. They have to add substance to their message. And other things I've already detailed to Simon.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-18 04:54pm
Can you quote where exactly you feel that Simon and I implied that anyone supporting a third party was falling for Russian propaganda?

If I did somehow imply that, I retract it entirely, and apologize. It would be unfair to make that presumption about the motives of everyone who goes third party.

I do not retract my conclusions about the practical consequences of going third party under the current circumstances, which are based in simple math and the realities of the American political system.
Not Simon, just you. In your response to Soontir after calling him a collusion denialist:
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-16 11:35pm
And no, Russia didn't create this mindset. But it did its best to stoke the flames, as did Trump. Why? Because they want to reform the Democratic Party? Because they want to help minorities in America? Or because the most effective way to conquer is to divide the opposition?

So I'm not saying that it all came from Putin. I am saying that the fact that Putin (and Trump) is pushing this line should make you question weather its really in your best interests.

Nothing makes me sick at heart like watching self-styled Leftists and reformers repeating Trump and the Kremlin's propaganda, because they're so fixated on their vendetta against "establishment" Democrats that they'll hand the country to fascists instead.
To a lesser extent in a post before, you ended with this in reply to me:
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-16 09:40pm
Again, the Trump campaign, Republicans, and the Kremlin have all actively tried to encourage third party movements on the Left. Why? Because they want to fix the Democratic Party? No, because they want to break it utterly- and with it any organized resistance to them at the national level.
Which, on its own, probably wouldn't have raised any flags but maybe an eyebrow from me. Combined, it felt like you were unnecessarily painting us as useful idiots for Putin.
"I could while away the hours, conferrin' with the flowers, consultin' with the rain.
And my head I'd be scratchin', while my thoughts were busy hatchin', if I only had a brain!
I would not be just a nothin', my head all full of stuffin', my heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry, life would be would be a ding-a-derry, if I only had a brain!"

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Re: Another Heavy GOP seat Flips to DEM

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-03-18 07:19pm

Dragon Angel wrote:
2018-03-18 04:58pm
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 01:47pm
The question I was trying to get at earlier is, what happens when this abstraction meets the road? We're looking at an election here where people running as Democrats are taking seats that are historically very secure for Republicans, in large part because of how massively unpopular Trump is and how unpopular the congressional Republicans have become. These special elections are mostly happening in Republican-held districts, generally "deep red" ones. It is not obvious that progressive candidates would be able to carry them. And yet, comparatively right-wing candidates running as Democrats seem to be able to do so, in districts that normally vote Republican by huge margins.

So what's your argument here? I see a couple of interpretations:

1) That progressives at or around the Sanders benchmark would have as good a shot at winning in those districts/states as guys like Conor Lamb and Doug Jones. So the Democratic Party should run such progressives in such races instead.

2) That it honestly does not matter if Democrats-in-name-only like Lamb and Jones win in those districts/states, because they're just crypto-Republicans and for all practical differences it means nothing. There is no point in tolerating or welcoming such individuals in the Democratic Party.

Is it one of those? Both? A third thing I haven't thought of?
The first part of this only makes sense if you consider the end result wearing partisan-colored glasses. From a partisan perspective, of course anything that could unseat the Republicans would be an "effective" strategy. You could adopt any political trick, even screwing your constituency, if you just aimed to get more seats with not much other consideration. Trump managed to do that for the GOP with his conning of non-establishment supporters (who hopefully aren't Nazis) into believing he'd actually do something for them. In the short term, if you can get voters to believe voting for you is the right answer by pulling the wool over their eyes, why not?

In the long term, this is extremely shortsighted. If you screw your constituency, then it's like conquering a hill with a giant regiment but then only leaving two soldiers to guard it. The enemy will take advantage of this obvious weakness and retake the hill with great ease. The weakness of Doug Jones in particular is him acting against much of his constituents' needs, and if he continues on that path those constituents simply will not bother voting for him again. It may end up spilling toward any other Democrat who may primary him. It's a "victory" only in style, with very little substance to maintain it.
So... if I am understanding your argument correctly, the idea is that if the (left-to-center) part of the electorate in these districts is "tricked" into voting for a candidate that is 'no different from a Republican,' this will then backfire and they will give up, thus rendering the victory hollow, pointless, and temporary?
Conor Lamb is a Democrat with pro-choice views who won a red district as well. I mean, he's not my ideal progressive obviously, but at least he's meeting that standard. Hell, a trans woman won a State Senate seat in Virginia of all places, unseating an incumbent who wanted to put up bathroom bills. This may not be as farfetched as you mortally fear it is.
Trivial nitpick point the first: Roem won a comparatively urban/suburban Virginia district, which is a very different order of problem than winning in rural Virginia. Much like most other states of the Union, Virginia has a substantial urban/rural divide, and the urban voters lean farther left than the rural voters. The exact details and balances are why Virginia is traditionally still though of as a 'red' state, but there are plenty of places in Virginia where you could carve out very safe 'blue' districts if you put your mind to it. The long-term incumbent Roem ousted was a Republican, yes, but her victory wasn't quite the same order of miracle it would be in, say, rural Mississippi. This is just me making a detailed remark about the specific demographics and politics of Virginia out of pedantry, not me saying your fundamental point is invalid. As to that...

...

Point the second: I'm not expressing fear. The extent of what I'm saying is, and again it helps to actually read my literal words, and NOT accuse me of being fearful...

"It is not obvious that progressive candidates would be able to carry them."

I'm not saying it's not true. I am extremely familiar with the idea that counterintuitive statements about reality may nevertheless be true.

But it is not so obvious that it should be treated as a given, axiomatic truth without considerable investigation and explanation. And if you are basing your reasoning on this assumption (that is, that progressive candidates running as Democrats in historically red districts as opposed to centrist-ish ones will do better in the short and/or long run)... Well, I'd like to hear your explanation of why you expect this to be true.

Which you appear to be trying to do, but I'd like to be clear on what you do and don't expect to happen, what you do and don't expect the consequences to be, and so on.
For the second part, to answer your question, see above. Yes, I believe progressives like that would win. They wouldn't even need to be fully Sanders-level progressive; at the very least, they shouldn't betray their own voters by "compromising" their own platforms to nonexistence. They shouldn't just become Republicans in Democrat clothing.

Actually, do you and I just have a difference in image as to what a Republican in Democrat clothing looks like? Your five criteria don't match an obvious majority of the Democratic electorate either. There are a lot of pro-firearm Democrats, off the top of my head I can think of organizations like the Liberal Gun Club or Pink Pistols for example. They would not mind a candidate who held pro-gun views.
See, the thing is, I know people who would say "this guy you're talking about is a Democrat in name only and should be thrown out of the party, rejected, defunded, and primaried." Context being irrelevant to them.

To me, it is not a trivial question whether any given person I'm talking to would do that.

So I'm trying to figure out: what does it MEAN to be the person who groans whenever a right-leaning Democrat wins an election? What, exactly, do people who feel this way want? What do they expect to happen when they get what they want?
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 01:47pm
Okay, but to be blunt, some of the same accusations could have been leveled at Repeat Obama.

For political offices that are relevant at the national level, how far left do we expect our candidates to be? It's reasonable to say that no national-level Democrat (major committee leaders, presidential candidates) should be teetering on the edge of "y'know, before Tea happened, I'd be a Republican" territory. But is everyone noticeably to the right of the Sanders line suspect? Where's the limit?

If we draw the line far enough to the left, we get a very committed party that probably loses all the time. If we draw the line far enough to the right, we get a big party that can't do anything and is sprawled out over too wide an ideological spectrum to agree on anything. It is right and proper that you point this out.

At the same time... well, where do we draw the line? What do we do when things that actually happen... happen?
The line should be drawn at a set of progressive positions ideally plus or minus several levels in the Sanders standard, but at the very least not putting gains made during Obama's presidency on the chopping block. It seems Democrats like our friend Tim Kaine are too willing to do just that. My difficulty with believing in the Democrats' resolve lies in their utter weakness toward defending even their own damn politics.
To be fair, I do think that the Democrats are proving less willing than I'd like to take the "party of 'no' " hat away from the Republicans, who wore it profitably through something like 14 years of Democratic presidential administrations.

But then the question is, what do we do when people who are on the wrong side of this line insist on calling themselves Democrats, running in districts Democrats historically lose, and winning?
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 01:47pm
What ever guarantees anything for anyone? I mean, candidates can say they care about the working class and then literally be Donald Trump. Aside from trying to gauge candidates' honesty and treat their actual stated positions as at least a rough guide to their real ones (plus or minus a likewise calculable factor for how honest they are)... What can ever be done about this issue? There is NO guarantee that candidates won't disappoint you, especially if they're in a position to pick up two votes by disappointing you but only one (yours) by doing what you want.

This is a sad yet empirically confirmed fact. I'm not a fan of it, and I'm not resigned to it, but if I let it stop me from voting every time I'll never vote at all.
I wasn't applying this on a blanket case. My terminal level of doubt would apply to such a candidate who'd fit the criteria you'd listed, with an emphasis on point 5. If they were anti-choice or anti-queer right off the bat, I would have no confidence that they would continue with their other stated positions.
I'm... not sure I actually understand what you are saying here.

I mean, one interpretation of your position, and it is a very justified one, is that you could never trust such a candidate because they won't look out for you personally, regardless of what else they might do for anyone else. That's totally fair and respectable.

But there's a broader argument you, um... I think you might be making? Could you confirm/expand/clarify/deny?

Because if the thing I think I see there is there... Is your argument that a candidate who doesn't nail their colors to the mast on the subject of gender equality and queer rights can't be trusted NOT to fold and play 'craven politics' on other issues like economics or foreign affairs?

Because that's... interesting, and you know, I'm not rejecting that argument or dismissing it. Is that a thing you believe?
They should be alarmed that their platform is being coopted. A Catholic candidate like the one you listed would probably be in favor of a "religious freedom" discrimination bill that could reach as far as giving hospitals the permission to reject queer people, or state and federal social workers to reject any marginalized applicants purely because of their bigotries. Even if he did vote for healthcare fixes, which I still highly doubt he would, queer people would effectively be left behind to rot. Or maybe Muslims, if religious freedom allowed discrimination of religions he didn't like. Or people of color who aren't middle class. See where this goes?

The Democrats' reputation for healthcare and equal rights would regress among very voters who wanted to believe in them. They will lose those voters if they forget about them. All the improvements for the privileged, but built on top of sacrifices from the marginalized. What kind of a society would we be if we congratulated ourselves for that kind of a Pyrrhic victory?
So, to keep this from happening, should the Democratic establishment/intelligentsia/party organization/activists as a whole be explicitly scorning and rejecting the support of politicians who fail certain key litmus tests?

If so, which ones?
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Re: Another Heavy GOP seat Flips to DEM

Post by Dragon Angel » 2018-03-19 12:36am

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 07:19pm
So... if I am understanding your argument correctly, the idea is that if the (left-to-center) part of the electorate in these districts is "tricked" into voting for a candidate that is 'no different from a Republican,' this will then backfire and they will give up, thus rendering the victory hollow, pointless, and temporary?
Being tricked was one possible tactic. Others could include biasing their choices toward conservatives or centrists, and/or sabotaging progressives. Making sure candidates in their desired districts are as close to the establishment Democratic line as possible. While still keeping up the "vote for us or the fascists win" campaign line.

All great if you only want to try to get your numbers higher without other considerations. Not ... so great if you want quality to go along with your quantity.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 07:19pm
Trivial nitpick point the first: Roem won a comparatively urban/suburban Virginia district, which is a very different order of problem than winning in rural Virginia. Much like most other states of the Union, Virginia has a substantial urban/rural divide, and the urban voters lean farther left than the rural voters. The exact details and balances are why Virginia is traditionally still though of as a 'red' state, but there are plenty of places in Virginia where you could carve out very safe 'blue' districts if you put your mind to it. The long-term incumbent Roem ousted was a Republican, yes, but her victory wasn't quite the same order of miracle it would be in, say, rural Mississippi. This is just me making a detailed remark about the specific demographics and politics of Virginia out of pedantry, not me saying your fundamental point is invalid.
Then we go to Lamb, who won a district that was very for Trump and had people predicting Saccone would take it. In Texas, Democratic voters preferred the progressive candidate despite her being slandered by her own party and chose her to advance. We'll see what happens in Texas since people are voicing concerns just like yours that a progressive may be too much for those in her district, and we'll see if Lamb does not end up pandering to the worst of conservatism anyway...
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 07:19pm
Point the second: I'm not expressing fear. The extent of what I'm saying is, and again it helps to actually read my literal words, and NOT accuse me of being fearful...

"It is not obvious that progressive candidates would be able to carry them."

I'm not saying it's not true. I am extremely familiar with the idea that counterintuitive statements about reality may nevertheless be true.

But it is not so obvious that it should be treated as a given, axiomatic truth without considerable investigation and explanation. And if you are basing your reasoning on this assumption (that is, that progressive candidates running as Democrats in historically red districts as opposed to centrist-ish ones will do better in the short and/or long run)... Well, I'd like to hear your explanation of why you expect this to be true.

Which you appear to be trying to do, but I'd like to be clear on what you do and don't expect to happen, what you do and don't expect the consequences to be, and so on.
The way I see it, what else is that but fear? It's not obvious either that the realistic path is to use conservative candidates in them. Moore lost because he was a puppy-kicking cartoon villain, so anyone who wasn't a neoconfederate pedophile could have hypothetically beaten him. Conor Lamb won despite being pro-choice. Going further back to North Carolina, Roy Cooper defeated the sitting governor who had destroyed his own reputation with his rampant transphobia.

(...and Cooper, after being elected, said he would be all too willing to compromise with the Republicans. Sigh, again.)

It seems that there is more real, physical evidence for my beliefs to work, against your hypotheticals. From my vantage point, it looks a lot like this doubt about non-conservative or non-centrist candidates in those districts is much more rooted in fear than something empirical. That doesn't mean it can be easily dismissed or that my beliefs are "axiomatic", but it does mean that we should question what we would believe is "common sense" in these cases.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 07:19pm
See, the thing is, I know people who would say "this guy you're talking about is a Democrat in name only and should be thrown out of the party, rejected, defunded, and primaried." Context being irrelevant to them.

To me, it is not a trivial question whether any given person I'm talking to would do that.

So I'm trying to figure out: what does it MEAN to be the person who groans whenever a right-leaning Democrat wins an election? What, exactly, do people who feel this way want? What do they expect to happen when they get what they want?
It means they not only do not want just business as usual any longer, they want to be able to trust that a candidate won't go with the Republicans two thirds of the time. I'm not sure how many different ways I can say this.

There will be people who will react more harshly than me, and/or people who have much stricter standards than I do. There is a varying diversity of opinion as to what we should do when we're faced with these candidates. I voted for Hillary, others I know also voted for Hillary, but others I know voted for the Greens or refused to vote at all. Some people say we should stick with the lesser of two evils, some say we shouldn't bother ... in hindsight, Tim Kaine somewhat vindicates the latter's stance, though I'd still disagree with it now of course because, obviously, wannabe God Puppet Emperor Trump is here.

I don't want the gains we have made in the last few years collapsing in the next few years because several people in my party were myopic enough to think making those sacrifices would be at all worth it. MLK talked about the difference between a negative peace and a positive peace. A negative peace in today's context is a forced presence of "order", where injustices still reign but at least we don't have fascists! A positive peace is where there is actual justice, actual equality, and people in power invested in making sure we do not lose those.

The Democrats, to me and people of my stance or more extreme than me, don't seem entirely up for the task of having a positive peace, rather preferring negative peace and endless bikeshedding rather than doing real hard work and fixing the main problems.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 07:19pm
To be fair, I do think that the Democrats are proving less willing than I'd like to take the "party of 'no' " hat away from the Republicans, who wore it profitably through something like 14 years of Democratic presidential administrations.

But then the question is, what do we do when people who are on the wrong side of this line insist on calling themselves Democrats, running in districts Democrats historically lose, and winning?
At some point we have to ask ourselves the question: Are these people actually advancing the Party along the lines the Party purports to stand for? I'm like, trying to say this in umpteen billion different ways and I don't know how many more ways I can say it. If a "Democrat" takes a position but doesn't support the Party's platform to a meaningful extent, are they even a Democrat any longer?
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 07:19pm
I'm... not sure I actually understand what you are saying here.

I mean, one interpretation of your position, and it is a very justified one, is that you could never trust such a candidate because they won't look out for you personally, regardless of what else they might do for anyone else. That's totally fair and respectable.

But there's a broader argument you, um... I think you might be making? Could you confirm/expand/clarify/deny?

Because if the thing I think I see there is there... Is your argument that a candidate who doesn't nail their colors to the mast on the subject of gender equality and queer rights can't be trusted NOT to fold and play 'craven politics' on other issues like economics or foreign affairs?

Because that's... interesting, and you know, I'm not rejecting that argument or dismissing it. Is that a thing you believe?
...You suggested a Catholic candidate who fit five bullet points. I took special issue with one of them, not just for my own sake but for others who are in my marginalized group or alongside it. I pointed out that a Catholic who would be anti-choice would also be a candidate who is anti-queer. Either one of them is a deal-breaker because in this Year of Our Lord 2018, there is no valid reason why a Democrat should be anti-choice or anti-queer.

This debate has been long had on both sides and I was under the mistaken impression that the Democrats had nailed their colors to the mast on both of these issues. Then I find out there is a hypothetical candidate who would rip the colors right off that mast. If these had already been solved issues, then the Democrats propping up this kind of candidate would tacitly support that ripping. How can I trust that they won't allow the other colors to be ripped off as well?

Is this something so alien to your understanding that you treat it as a strange curiosity? Because that, I would find as equivalently interesting. If this is something you just didn't grab from your reading of me, then that's another matter and strike this sentence from the record.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 07:19pm
So, to keep this from happening, should the Democratic establishment/intelligentsia/party organization/activists as a whole be explicitly scorning and rejecting the support of politicians who fail certain key litmus tests?

If so, which ones?
I want to say I've already answered this, but maybe the answer is still not clear, and I'm tired right now so perhaps I'll leave this question for another post.
"I could while away the hours, conferrin' with the flowers, consultin' with the rain.
And my head I'd be scratchin', while my thoughts were busy hatchin', if I only had a brain!
I would not be just a nothin', my head all full of stuffin', my heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry, life would be would be a ding-a-derry, if I only had a brain!"

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Re: Another Heavy GOP seat Flips to DEM

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-03-19 11:50am

Dragon Angel wrote:
2018-03-19 12:36am
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 07:19pm
So... if I am understanding your argument correctly, the idea is that if the (left-to-center) part of the electorate in these districts is "tricked" into voting for a candidate that is 'no different from a Republican,' this will then backfire and they will give up, thus rendering the victory hollow, pointless, and temporary?
Being tricked was one possible tactic. Others could include biasing their choices toward conservatives or centrists, and/or sabotaging progressives. Making sure candidates in their desired districts are as close to the establishment Democratic line as possible. While still keeping up the "vote for us or the fascists win" campaign line.

All great if you only want to try to get your numbers higher without other considerations. Not ... so great if you want quality to go along with your quantity.
See, I'm looking at this, and to me it seems equivalent to "this red-leaning district is so red-leaning that even their idea of a blue candidate is (so far) a disappointing shade of magenta. If so, so forget the magenta blue-in-name-only bozos. Either find a way for a true-blue candidate to win this red district, or concede it, because these magentas are going to be the death of us."

I'm guessing that isn't what you meant, but I'm having trouble understanding why it doesn't become an effective summary of your position. Rather than drag you through the weeds on this one... can you maybe focus in on this? And on one other thing I'll outline in a bit?
Then we go to Lamb, who won a district that was very for Trump and had people predicting Saccone would take it. In Texas, Democratic voters preferred the progressive candidate despite her being slandered by her own party and chose her to advance. We'll see what happens in Texas since people are voicing concerns just like yours that a progressive may be too much for those in her district, and we'll see if Lamb does not end up pandering to the worst of conservatism anyway...
Uh... if you're heavily concerned about Lamb pandering to conservatives, then is he still a good example of the premise that progressives can win races in red districts? Or are you concerned that he's going to be just another blue-in-name-only magenta candidate?
The way I see it, what else is that but fear? It's not obvious either that the realistic path is to use conservative candidates in them. Moore lost because he was a puppy-kicking cartoon villain, so anyone who wasn't a neoconfederate pedophile could have hypothetically beaten him. Conor Lamb won despite being pro-choice. Going further back to North Carolina, Roy Cooper defeated the sitting governor who had destroyed his own reputation with his rampant transphobia.

(...and Cooper, after being elected, said he would be all too willing to compromise with the Republicans. Sigh, again.)
In which case, as with Lamb, the problem is that Cooper is being a disappointing magenta candidate.

We can zero in on people like Lamb and Cooper and probably Doug Jones on this one issue and say "look, commendable progressive views!" But on the whole, they're still facing the political reality that voters in their constituency tend to swing red, and that if they don't adopt a certain amount of redness as protective coloration their path to re-election is at best uncertain.

What we'd want, in order to support your position, is evidence of deep, true, sky-blue candidates winning in historically red districts. But the examples you cite seem to be of candidates who run as blues, then disappoint you by being too reddish. Which seems to me to be as good a support for my position as it is for yours, if not better.

Am I missing something here?

I guess that's the other main thing I'd like to call into question.
The Democrats, to me and people of my stance or more extreme than me, don't seem entirely up for the task of having a positive peace, rather preferring negative peace and endless bikeshedding rather than doing real hard work and fixing the main problems.
Okay, and that concern can be taken in two directions. Or both of them.

One is "the problem isn't the distribution of ideological beliefs among the party, the problem is that the party isn't structured or inclined or disciplined to assemble its distribution of beliefs into an organized, motivated body committed to constructive change." Like, you could have a very pro-fixing-stuff party that is "center-left" on the American political spectrum. It wouldn't fix everything that everyone wants or even needs fixed, but it could be committed and motivated to achieving certain specific goals. And that party would look rather different than the Democrats as we know them, even if the weighted average of what its membership believed wasn't that different.

The other interpretation is "the party doesn't contain enough True Blue left-leaning people, and contains too many iffy shaky magenta people."

And at this point I'm having a bit of trouble trying to address both of these two stances, because they're kind of different.

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Re: Another Heavy GOP seat Flips to DEM

Post by Dragon Angel » 2018-03-19 06:38pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-19 11:50am
See, I'm looking at this, and to me it seems equivalent to "this red-leaning district is so red-leaning that even their idea of a blue candidate is (so far) a disappointing shade of magenta. If so, so forget the magenta blue-in-name-only bozos. Either find a way for a true-blue candidate to win this red district, or concede it, because these magentas are going to be the death of us."

I'm guessing that isn't what you meant, but I'm having trouble understanding why it doesn't become an effective summary of your position. Rather than drag you through the weeds on this one... can you maybe focus in on this? And on one other thing I'll outline in a bit?
I think we're on different pages here.

What I'm describing is if the Democrats only consider an election by their candidates' abilities to pull in high numbers, then they could use any tactic, promise high then break it, promise low and never go up, sabotage candidates who promise high, propose infinite candidates who promise low, etc. that they perceive to be the best way to win an ostensibly red district. But who votes for Democrats? Who votes for Republicans? Where do each of these sides get their information from? Would they vote for the other side? Would they vote at all if their chosen side fails to convince them?

There are Independents of course, but they are always wild variables that can be either blue or red. Then there are registered Democrats and registered Republicans. For what reason would a registered Democrat vote Republican, or a registered Republican vote Democrat? We've covered the former already; they probably would either not vote or protest vote if their candidate is sufficiently disappointing. How about the latter? Why would a Republican vote Democrat, when the Republicans have nearly always proven to be consistently conservative? (unless said Republican is a neoconfederate pedophile, then voters just don't show up for them there)

If the Democratic Party cannot find a single candidate in a red area that isn't magenta, or find the will to bring in a fresh blue candidate, or if they actively work against a blue or at worst violet candidate, then that is indicative of a greater problem within the Party. People generally vote Democrat because they don't want a Republican. You cannot out-Republican the Republicans, or compromise your message to fit theirs. Not without destroying your message and your base.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-19 11:50am
Uh... if you're heavily concerned about Lamb pandering to conservatives, then is he still a good example of the premise that progressives can win races in red districts? Or are you concerned that he's going to be just another blue-in-name-only magenta candidate?
The extra language is more about my bracing myself for disappointment than anything else. I already said Lamb is not my ideal progressive; the reason I listed him there is because aspects of his victory go against the wisdom that we must run disappointing magenta Democrats in deeply red districts. So, that is my concern. Time will tell if he stays pro-choice or his other stated liberal positions for his whole career.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-19 11:50am
In which case, as with Lamb, the problem is that Cooper is being a disappointing magenta candidate.

We can zero in on people like Lamb and Cooper and probably Doug Jones on this one issue and say "look, commendable progressive views!" But on the whole, they're still facing the political reality that voters in their constituency tend to swing red, and that if they don't adopt a certain amount of redness as protective coloration their path to re-election is at best uncertain.

What we'd want, in order to support your position, is evidence of deep, true, sky-blue candidates winning in historically red districts. But the examples you cite seem to be of candidates who run as blues, then disappoint you by being too reddish. Which seems to me to be as good a support for my position as it is for yours, if not better.

Am I missing something here?

I guess that's the other main thing I'd like to call into question.
There are three problems with your assessment:

(note: I will be from here until the next quote using an impersonal "you" referring to a hypothetical candidate who may run Democrat, not to you yourself specifically.)

1. It sets up a catch-22: If we run Democrats, then we have to support red policies or our reelection prospects are uncertain. If we support blue policies, then we'll lose to Republicans, who will support red policies anyway. Might as well just resign ourselves to being conservative then! That's the safest way for us to get reelected, right?
2. It presumes that the people who voted a seeming "blue" Democrat into office would not care that this Democrat would betray the platform they had voted for.
3. It leaves out a very important elephant-in-the-room question: Why are they even running for office then?

For 1, it's the definition of defeatist. If you have high ideals, and you run on those ideals, but then you become so myopic about your reelection possibilities that you forget why you were voted into office in the first place ... you've lost the game. That's it. You've condemned yourself and your platform because you won't even try putting your platform into action. Despite voters giving you your sweet title for the purpose of putting that platform into action.

For 2, building on 1, your constituents cast votes for you because you made promises to them and they liked those promises. You're running for office, I assume, because you want to make your city, county, state, or the nation as a whole a better place, and your promises reflect that from you. If you don't manage to put a meaningful amount of your platform into action, then your constituents will see it as a betrayal, and they will simply not vote for you any longer. It would take too much time, energy, or money to support you in any way and they won't feel a need to support a candidate who has proven themself to be a liar.

For 3, building on 2, well... What do you think running for an office is about? Is it about seeking to maintain the security and stability of your governed region and hoping to make it better? Or is it about self-aggrandizing and getting a sweet ass title? Maybe also getting lots and lots of money from corporations you'd sell your soul to?

It seems that the politics the establishment Democrats resign themselves to, following this model, leads to candidates who practically only care about the prestige of being in office, the title. If you aren't running to promote the Party's stances and work for the people who gave you that power, what makes you any better than any other aristocrat given a government position purely for a title? Being a central figure in government, I would hope, would imply that you are working for the people. That's the purpose of a democratic government. If people did not care about what you, their candidate, pulled, then why have a democracy? We might as well have an oligarchy where multimillionaire and billionaire lords rule over fiefdoms across the nation, and We the People are nothing more than peasants.

The people put you into power for a damn good reason. If you think you can maintain your high position without carrying out the wishes of the people, then the people will strip your title because they can no longer trust you. The people will either find a replacement for you or, failing that, not vote for you and your faithless party at all.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-19 11:50am
Okay, and that concern can be taken in two directions. Or both of them.

One is "the problem isn't the distribution of ideological beliefs among the party, the problem is that the party isn't structured or inclined or disciplined to assemble its distribution of beliefs into an organized, motivated body committed to constructive change." Like, you could have a very pro-fixing-stuff party that is "center-left" on the American political spectrum. It wouldn't fix everything that everyone wants or even needs fixed, but it could be committed and motivated to achieving certain specific goals. And that party would look rather different than the Democrats as we know them, even if the weighted average of what its membership believed wasn't that different.

The other interpretation is "the party doesn't contain enough True Blue left-leaning people, and contains too many iffy shaky magenta people."

And at this point I'm having a bit of trouble trying to address both of these two stances, because they're kind of different.
Honestly, in the context of the American political spectrum, actual center-left practices within the Democrats would be an enormous improvement to what we have now. Sanders himself is often described as center-left outside the USA. In comparison, Obama was centrist-to-center-right. The Democratic leadership acts like stubborn asses when the people who vote for them want them to take a center-left approach, and the more they do that the more they lose their voters' faith.

To get back to your question though...

Those interpretations aren't mutually exclusive. The distribution of ideological beliefs is much too tilted toward purple/magenta--with scattered patches of blue--and the Democratic leadership is not inclined for whatever reason to work with those patches. Like I said above, we're not at center-left in government as a nation, so we can't even get to the fixing what some-percentage-not-everyone wants stage. Certain Democrats like the 16 who had cosigned to deregulate the banks even drag the Party down like an iron ball chained to their feet forcing them to the bottom of the sea.

Thinking we were actually center-left in our national government within the last decade is a delusion. The ACA for instance is a hack that was forced to be centrist when it didn't have to be. It's still a good improvement, don't get me wrong here, health insurance before the ACA was horrific. That doesn't change how it is still a hack. It still needed a lot more improvement that ... we probably won't see now for a long time.

We need the Party to detach that iron ball and rise back up for air before we can think of becoming center-left at all.
"I could while away the hours, conferrin' with the flowers, consultin' with the rain.
And my head I'd be scratchin', while my thoughts were busy hatchin', if I only had a brain!
I would not be just a nothin', my head all full of stuffin', my heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry, life would be would be a ding-a-derry, if I only had a brain!"

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Re: Another Heavy GOP seat Flips to DEM

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-03-19 06:55pm

Dragon Angel wrote:
2018-03-18 07:06pm
Sometimes it feels like you have an overly sensitive trigger finger toward criticism of the Democrats. Any time someone calls them out on proceeding with a stupid tactic and tries to tell them don't act like the Republicans and give them more ammunition, I can play a mental game of predicting whether you'd jump in and yell that we're being too tough and too harsh.
Well, yeah. I'm hardly the only person in these discussions with an itchy trigger finger, so to speak, but I am very guarded against such criticism, both because some of that criticism is intended to undermine the party and/or split the opposition to Trump, and even when it isn't, if it is not phrased very carefully, it can end up inadvertently playing into the narratives that are intended to benefit Trump.

I'm especially wary now, because we are ramping up to the 2018 election, which I honestly believe may be our last chance to get out of this mess without dictatorship or a full-blown civil war, and weather we can win that election in the face of voter suppression, propaganda, and possibly outright fraud will be determined in large part by how enthusiastic the turnout is for the Democrats.

That doesn't mean that there are no legitimate criticisms- I've had plenty of hard words to say towards the Democratic Party leadership myself, on this board and elsewhere. But I also think that its not a bad idea to prioritize stopping the fascists, even if that means pulling our punches a little when criticizing other opponents of the fascists.

That said, again, my general philosophy is "Go Left in the primaries, Democrat in the general election." There are exceptions to that, of course, depending on which state/district you live in, who the candidates are, and what is politically feasible in a given race. For example, it makes no sense for a Vermont progressive to vote Dem for Senate when we all know Bernie is going to be the strongest candidate. But this is my general rule.
Soontir already made his case that he doesn't care for third parties and would rather primary for candidates like the Justice Democrats. When I'm able to register for the Democratic Party (can't right now because legal shit) I intend to do the same. You just jumped on us without considering that maybe we're speaking with a harsh tone, either here or elsewhere, to get our own party to wake the fuck up already.

I'm trying my best not to conflate your argument with Soontir's. Please don't take everything I address to him as directed at you. If its meant to be directed at you, I'll say as much.
You really need to dial it down and stop concluding that we're all your cartoon impression of us believing Democrats are just as insane as Republicans. You do this all the time.
Again, I'm trying not to conflate the two of you. You did compare conservative Dems. to Republicans as well, but I haven't seen anything to indicate that you are advocating third party votes.

Soontir... like I said, he says he's not pushing for third parties or trying to destroy the Democrats, then posts an article without comment that advocates doing exactly that- then acts outraged when I accuse him of trying to prop up third parties at the expense of the Democrats. Either he is debating in bad faith and being willfully disingenuous, or he is suffering some serious ideological blindness, such that he does not recognize that he is contradicting himself. But you are not him, and my comments towards him are not directed at you.
Have you perhaps considered that not everyone is doing that because they're out to get you?

I could go into specifics but yes, this topic isn't about you, so I'll let this pass for now.
Thanks.

And yes, I have considered it. At some point, though, I really don't much care why they do it (to me or to anyone else), when the result is the same either way- thread derailment after thread derailment.
We have always been at war with Eastasia.
I'm not sure how this reference applies here, to be honest.
I mean, what else do you want me to call them, directly or metaphorically? If they walk like Republicans, talk like Republicans, but wear a camouflage that says "Democrat", that's like saying an executioner who is about to release the guillotine is a surgeon who is going to operate on your brain. That's not even going into the fact you have ignored that you and Simon were discussing letting them into the Party. Which is why I even made my first response.
Okay, but then you're basically admitting that you're equating them to Republicans. Which is a problem to me because "aligns with the Republicans on some issues" is objectively not the same as being a loyal Republican partisan, and because the "both sides" narrative, in all its pat, cynical oversimplification, has utterly poisoned our political dialog to the point where a large percentage of the electorate seems to be so myopic that it is honestly incapable of differentiating between a Centrist establishment candidate and a committed Nazi.

They might have been able to pass as mainstream Republicans twenty or thirty years ago, but I doubt they could now.
Apparently from this I can gather that if they call themselves Democrats, but have terrible liberal-to-leftist politics, that's still enough to consider them Democrats ... I guess.
Of course not.

But if they call themselves Democrats, actively contribute to/campaign for the party, and vote with the party a majority of the time, including at least some major parts of the platform... then I think its fair to say that they are Democrats, even if they stray to the Right on certain issues more than we might like.
This has to do with how you act, but as we're not getting into this discussion, moving on...
Okay then.
Yes, yes. Excellent. We can find some common ground here.
Good.
Then you should stop entering discussions assuming your ideological opponents are accusing every Democrat in office, every candidate who is running, or every candidate who ever will run of betraying liberal values. You talk about speaking of a "greater context" but your words fail to elaborate a difference between the people you are talking to and this greater context. That I consistently see this happen means it is not our fault you are being misunderstood.
I have tried to be clear. It is possible that I failed, but I also think that a lot of people here are predisposed to interpret anything I post in the most hostile and negative light possible. That said, I will endeavor to be more clear in the future.

I do not assume that anyone who disagrees with me is accusing the entire party, however. I respond to comments that appear to be making overly broad generalizations. I accept that sometimes people are sloppy with their language, and that I should not take everything literally. But this is a topic where I think it would be beneficial for people to be as precise as possible. I'll try to do so in future, and would appreciate it if others make the same effort.
The Party, however, feels it's free to smear its own candidates on the progressive end of politics. It gets way too cozy with the corporations. Among other self-destructive tendencies. These are actions that cannot be disputed. The Party would frequently rather screw their own candidates over than have their platform change. There are countless examples of these antics performed by the Democratic leadership and you act as if Soontir and I are tilting at windmills.

Stop reacting badly to people who have grave criticisms about the Party and start trying to better understand why we would have these criticisms.
I do understand, at least in part. Have you forgotten literally everything I wrote in favor of Bernie Sanders during the Primary? There is a struggle going on in the Democratic Party, between the overly-cautious Centrists, and progressives. That struggle matters, and its one we need to fight.

Just not at the expense of the struggle against the actual fascists.
I have bad news for you and everyone else: The neofascists aren't going away. For the foreseeable future, we are going to have neofascists as opposition because the Republicans have crossed the Rubicon. We're going to have to fight them possibly for half of our remaining lifetimes.

Our political landscape is going to be affected by them no matter if we win or lose.
Yes, this is, sadly, likely.

At the same time, the effects are (as I know you are well aware) vastly worse if they win than if they lose.
However, if we let it slide that Democrats put forth more centrists and conservatives and sabotage progressives, we ignore a festering problem that could implode the Party later on. The Republicans ignored their hard right factions until they infested and took over the Party. I and others like me don't want our party to be taken over by the same breed of craven politicians who let that happen.
You could also argue that the state of the Republican Party today is in part due to an increasing demand for ideological purity and moving further and further to the Right, until only people who were at least tolerant of fascists, if not fascists themselves, were viable candidates at the national level.

I don't want the same thing to happen to the Democrats going the other way- where we purge the party of anyone who isn't "pure" enough a socialist or progressive.

That said, this is a legitimate concern. Which, again, is why I favor backing progressives in the primary, but Democrats in the general election.
They can't keep using an oncoming threat of fascists forever to cow their constituency into voting. They have to add substance to their message. And other things I've already detailed to Simon.
The threat of fascism is, of course, an entirely legitimate one, and a very good reason for voting Democrat. But you are correct that we need a platform which offers stronger incentives for progressives to vote for the Democrats. In particular, I think a party endorsement of Single Payer Health Care might do wonders.
Not Simon, just you. In your response to Soontir after calling him a collusion denialist:
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-16 11:35pm
And no, Russia didn't create this mindset. But it did its best to stoke the flames, as did Trump. Why? Because they want to reform the Democratic Party? Because they want to help minorities in America? Or because the most effective way to conquer is to divide the opposition?

So I'm not saying that it all came from Putin. I am saying that the fact that Putin (and Trump) is pushing this line should make you question weather its really in your best interests.

Nothing makes me sick at heart like watching self-styled Leftists and reformers repeating Trump and the Kremlin's propaganda, because they're so fixated on their vendetta against "establishment" Democrats that they'll hand the country to fascists instead.
To a lesser extent in a post before, you ended with this in reply to me:
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-16 09:40pm
Again, the Trump campaign, Republicans, and the Kremlin have all actively tried to encourage third party movements on the Left. Why? Because they want to fix the Democratic Party? No, because they want to break it utterly- and with it any organized resistance to them at the national level.
Which, on its own, probably wouldn't have raised any flags but maybe an eyebrow from me. Combined, it felt like you were unnecessarily painting us as useful idiots for Putin.
I stated a fact- that Trump and Russia both propped up third party movements in an effort to divide the opposition. And I drew from that the conclusion that it is probably not in the Left's best interests to support third party movements.

I can see how the comments about Leftists repeating Russian propaganda could be taken the way you did, though it was not directed at you. Of course I am aware that not everyone who advocates third parties is doing so because of Russian propaganda, or is doing so with malicious intent. But that does not change the fact that they are (for whatever reason) employing a tactic that their enemies very much want them to employ.

However, it was a clumsy and needlessly provocative way to phrase it, born out of frustration. I apologize.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Another Heavy GOP seat Flips to DEM

Post by Dragon Angel » 2018-03-19 09:23pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-19 06:55pm
Well, yeah. I'm hardly the only person in these discussions with an itchy trigger finger, so to speak, but I am very guarded against such criticism, both because some of that criticism is intended to undermine the party and/or split the opposition to Trump, and even when it isn't, if it is not phrased very carefully, it can end up inadvertently playing into the narratives that are intended to benefit Trump.

I'm especially wary now, because we are ramping up to the 2018 election, which I honestly believe may be our last chance to get out of this mess without dictatorship or a full-blown civil war, and weather we can win that election in the face of voter suppression, propaganda, and possibly outright fraud will be determined in large part by how enthusiastic the turnout is for the Democrats.

That doesn't mean that there are no legitimate criticisms- I've had plenty of hard words to say towards the Democratic Party leadership myself, on this board and elsewhere. But I also think that its not a bad idea to prioritize stopping the fascists, even if that means pulling our punches a little when criticizing other opponents of the fascists.

That said, again, my general philosophy is "Go Left in the primaries, Democrat in the general election." There are exceptions to that, of course, depending on which state/district you live in, who the candidates are, and what is politically feasible in a given race. For example, it makes no sense for a Vermont progressive to vote Dem for Senate when we all know Bernie is going to be the strongest candidate. But this is my general rule.
To be honest, I can understand that worry at least, even if I disagree with the solutions you and Simon would imagine are necessary. I'm the type that likes to think in the long term and if certain short term solutions seem good at first glance, I need to know if they can be viable to contribute to the long term or if they are disproportionately self-destructive. I'm just not convinced that more Democrats who would have been Republicans in a world with a sane Republican Party is in the former category.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-19 06:55pm
I'm trying my best not to conflate your argument with Soontir's. Please don't take everything I address to him as directed at you. If its meant to be directed at you, I'll say as much.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-19 06:55pm
Again, I'm trying not to conflate the two of you. You did compare conservative Dems. to Republicans as well, but I haven't seen anything to indicate that you are advocating third party votes.

Soontir... like I said, he says he's not pushing for third parties or trying to destroy the Democrats, then posts an article without comment that advocates doing exactly that- then acts outraged when I accuse him of trying to prop up third parties at the expense of the Democrats. Either he is debating in bad faith and being willfully disingenuous, or he is suffering some serious ideological blindness, such that he does not recognize that he is contradicting himself. But you are not him, and my comments towards him are not directed at you.
I have a different outlook on that, but I'll let him respond and leave this subject be.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-19 06:55pm
Thanks.

And yes, I have considered it. At some point, though, I really don't much care why they do it (to me or to anyone else), when the result is the same either way- thread derailment after thread derailment.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-19 06:55pm
I have tried to be clear. It is possible that I failed, but I also think that a lot of people here are predisposed to interpret anything I post in the most hostile and negative light possible. That said, I will endeavor to be more clear in the future.

I do not assume that anyone who disagrees with me is accusing the entire party, however. I respond to comments that appear to be making overly broad generalizations. I accept that sometimes people are sloppy with their language, and that I should not take everything literally. But this is a topic where I think it would be beneficial for people to be as precise as possible. I'll try to do so in future, and would appreciate it if others make the same effort.
To be honest too, I could be less acerbic as well. Lately I've been noticing that when I'm more tired or some part of my chronic pain is especially bad, I come off less coherent and more furious than I'd like. Which I've tried to mitigate by just backing away from topics whenever it becomes especially bad, but it can leak on occasion. Ah well...
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-19 06:55pm
I'm not sure how this reference applies here, to be honest.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-19 06:55pm
Okay, but then you're basically admitting that you're equating them to Republicans. Which is a problem to me because "aligns with the Republicans on some issues" is objectively not the same as being a loyal Republican partisan, and because the "both sides" narrative, in all its pat, cynical oversimplification, has utterly poisoned our political dialog to the point where a large percentage of the electorate seems to be so myopic that it is honestly incapable of differentiating between a Centrist establishment candidate and a committed Nazi.

They might have been able to pass as mainstream Republicans twenty or thirty years ago, but I doubt they could now.
I used the reference out of irritation because I've known the Republican Party and its antics since high school, and the changing Overton window in the USA bringing Republicans of old into the same part of the political spectrum as Democrats now, depresses me so much about our prospects. It's great to be open-minded and be fluid about our beliefs, but we can't be so fluid that we forget historical mistakes and accidentally bring the people who made those mistakes into our party to make them again. We don't need more corporatism, we don't need more deregulation, we don't need more rugged individualist bootstrapism (if this isn't a real word I'm coining it right now).

There has to be a line that this country cannot cross and one party has already lost its marbles and will never return from it. We don't need the other party to follow that exact same road. We need to make sure we can stop it at some point and I am not convinced we have the measures or capability to do that.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-19 06:55pm
Of course not.

But if they call themselves Democrats, actively contribute to/campaign for the party, and vote with the party a majority of the time, including at least some major parts of the platform... then I think its fair to say that they are Democrats, even if they stray to the Right on certain issues more than we might like.
That balance, in my view, strays to the Right far too many times. I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree here.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-19 06:55pm
I do understand, at least in part. Have you forgotten literally everything I wrote in favor of Bernie Sanders during the Primary? There is a struggle going on in the Democratic Party, between the overly-cautious Centrists, and progressives. That struggle matters, and its one we need to fight.

Just not at the expense of the struggle against the actual fascists.
Nah, I have not forgotten. I thought you were sometimes savagely attacked for unfair reasons. It's possible though to grow a blind spot and lose sight of what we should be achieving; gods know I have sometimes, and have seen others do so in either direction. We need to keep our attentions paid toward the Overton window in our party, because what I and many others are desperately afraid of is looking away for a second and within that, having Republican-lites flooding our ranks. I want to keep the fascists out too, but not at the Pyrrhic expense of losing the Democratic Party we know.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-19 06:55pm
You could also argue that the state of the Republican Party today is in part due to an increasing demand for ideological purity and moving further and further to the Right, until only people who were at least tolerant of fascists, if not fascists themselves, were viable candidates at the national level.

I don't want the same thing to happen to the Democrats going the other way- where we purge the party of anyone who isn't "pure" enough a socialist or progressive.

That said, this is a legitimate concern. Which, again, is why I favor backing progressives in the primary, but Democrats in the general election.
Inasmuch as there is ideological purity, ideological purity on the Left and the Right are not really comparable.

In the USA's context, right wing ideological purity means more power given to the State and its military, less power given to the people, and corporate influence grows outer space high. Left wing ideological purity is ... mixed. There, as I see it, are multiple categories, which I can probably describe as Social Democracy versus Democratic Socialism. Given all possible progressive beliefs we see as achievable, the differences between these sides are that one is fine with capitalism, but with many more restraints to it in movements not unlike the busting of the early 20th century, and the other wants to dismantle capitalism as much as can be, and institute measures like guaranteed universal income along with socialized healthcare and schooling.

The two sides, of course, intermix in beliefs and are more a spectrum than a binary, but there are certainly adherents to the extremes. I honestly don't know where I stand in them since everyone seems to use those terms differently, but from the above definition, I am probably much more on the Democratic Socialism side than Social Democracy. My point here without rambling on is that unlike the Right, we do not really have an effective unity on what we would consider ideologically pure.

There are also the fringe extremists, like the Stalinist communists, but I consider them statistically insignificant because they are just so few in number compared to the rest. Unlike the Right, we don't have to worry much about authoritarians taking over the Party because we are doing just fine marginalizing them to a corner anyway. Our more significant corners of purity are too busy squabbling amongst each other for either of them to gain complete control.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-19 06:55pm
The threat of fascism is, of course, an entirely legitimate one, and a very good reason for voting Democrat. But you are correct that we need a platform which offers stronger incentives for progressives to vote for the Democrats. In particular, I think a party endorsement of Single Payer Health Care might do wonders.
Heh, now to convince the old guard of that...
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-19 06:55pm
I stated a fact- that Trump and Russia both propped up third party movements in an effort to divide the opposition. And I drew from that the conclusion that it is probably not in the Left's best interests to support third party movements.

I can see how the comments about Leftists repeating Russian propaganda could be taken the way you did, though it was not directed at you. Of course I am aware that not everyone who advocates third parties is doing so because of Russian propaganda, or is doing so with malicious intent. But that does not change the fact that they are (for whatever reason) employing a tactic that their enemies very much want them to employ.

However, it was a clumsy and needlessly provocative way to phrase it, born out of frustration. I apologize.
Thank you. I'll drop this too then. There's so much else to worry about than squabbling between ourselves about Russia.
"I could while away the hours, conferrin' with the flowers, consultin' with the rain.
And my head I'd be scratchin', while my thoughts were busy hatchin', if I only had a brain!
I would not be just a nothin', my head all full of stuffin', my heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry, life would be would be a ding-a-derry, if I only had a brain!"

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Re: Another Heavy GOP seat Flips to DEM

Post by Dragon Angel » 2018-03-19 09:36pm

Dragon Angel wrote:
2018-03-19 09:23pm
In the USA's context, right wing ideological purity means more power given to the State and its military, less power given to the people, and corporate influence grows outer space high.
Quick addendum since I literally just missed the edit window, this should also include possible religious influence and definite high restrictions on borders and immigration.
"I could while away the hours, conferrin' with the flowers, consultin' with the rain.
And my head I'd be scratchin', while my thoughts were busy hatchin', if I only had a brain!
I would not be just a nothin', my head all full of stuffin', my heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry, life would be would be a ding-a-derry, if I only had a brain!"

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Re: Another Heavy GOP seat Flips to DEM

Post by Napoleon the Clown » 2018-03-20 11:54pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-17 08:16pm
Napoleon the Clown wrote:
2018-03-17 06:49pm
The Democratic party, as things are, does not stand up for the things they claim to believe on a consistent basis. There are individual Democrats that do, but the party in general does not.

No matter what some may claim, the general consensus among Democrats is not "ban all guns" and you know it. So number 4 is a dishonest one to use as a "purity test" sort of situation in the first place.
Oh, hell no. No, it is not dishonest. I will explain why, but I think I'm within my rights to expect you to take that back.
People that vote Democrat are not anywhere near universally of the view that owning a gun should not be/is not a right. The issue is that there should be some controls on who gets guns, what guns are available, and how readily. If you intended #4 to be "believes there should be unfettered access to all firearms" then it would be an honest, relevant question. Voters would not consider "guns are an important right" to be an issue. Most, in fact, would agree with the sentiment.
See, what I'm not sure you caught here is that this is about the "is-ought" issue. I'm talking about what the Democratic Party ought to do. Because the official stance of the party as an organization is pretty much "big tent." That is, if you are willing to vote against the Republicans significantly more often than not, the Democrats are willing to vouch for you if no candidate capable of beating you in a primary emerges.

The argument being advanced by others (e.g. Dragon Angel and yourself) seems to be that the Party ought to adopt a "small tent" approach. That the party should be narrowing the internal Overton Window of "this is what you can believe and still be considered a real Democrat" in hopes of cultivating greater sincerity and motivation among its ranks. Because as it stands, the party is accepting all these DINOs who are 'no better than a Republican' and who will throw us all to the wolves the first time the Republicans say to do so.

So then I turn that around and say "okay, if the Democratic Party did what you wanted, how would that look in practice?" I proposed a fairly consistent worldview that might plausibly be held by, say, a blue-collar Catholic who leans left on economic issues but right on a lot of social issues.

The person in question is who they are. That's a reality. How we deal with it is the question I want to ask.

...

Now, suppose you are chair of the DNC. You are faced with the object-level question of what to do with this person. They just won the Democratic primary for a race in the House or Senate, in a Republican-leaning constituency.

Do you support them or not? Do you disown them for their views on abortion, gun control, or both? What, specifically, would you do? What would you counsel some larger collective body to do? That's the question I'm trying to ask and get an answer to.

If I'm understanding Dragon Angel's argument correctly, the proper response is to shun people like Conor Lamb for being DINOs. Do I have that right? Would you support a similar course of action? Am I mistaken about this?
Steps the DNC can take to make the Democratic party more firmly resemble an actually progressive party:
1. Endorse candidates who support progressive policies (safe-guarding people against health insurance fuckery, being in favor of protecting LGBT rights, preserving access to abortion, at minimum not being hideous shits on immigration, not being a goddamn warhawk, not being beholden to Wall Street)
2. Release an actual platform saying they support these things.
3. Supporting these things to the best of their ability when the piper comes calling instead of goddamn caving.
4. Declining an endorsement of a candidate that wins a primary (perhaps because there was no challenger) that drastically fails to uphold one or more of the above or just generally doesn't seem to support many of the things above.
5. Oh, and less hostility toward people who aren't registered as Democrats but would like to at least be heard... There was so fucking much "You're not a registered Democrat, fuck off!" during the 2016 primaries. Why the fuck would I want to vote for a party that doesn't even want to hear me out on what I'd like out of a candidate unless I kiss their ring and grovel? I don't owe them shit.
Number 5? Yeah, I would side-eye the hell out of any Democrat that wants to help the Republicans end it because all it will do is make abortion less safe and be a net harm on society. We don't need anybody giving the Republicans a hand on the matter.
Okay, so does that mean there is no such thing, or should not be allowed to be such a thing, as an anti-abortion Democrat? Is that issue to be a litmus test for anyone who seeks the Democratic Party's permission to run with a (D) after their name?

Again, what are the object-level implications of this statement of yours? What do we do, politically, with a hypothetical person who wishes to run as a Democrat, strongly opposes abortion, but things single-payer health care is important, wants to restrain corporations, and absolutely loathes what the current Republican Party is doing to democratic institutions?
If a person utterly betrays progressive ideals, as I mentioned in response above, the DNC can withhold endorsement. The RNC is refusing to endorse the goddamn Nazi in Illinois.
Okay, but WHICH ONES? This is not a trivial question. We can't just look at every single insufficiently liberal person and say "they defy us on an issue we can't budge on" without doing the kind of moronic crap that results in the left losing elections even when 60-70% of the population supports left-leaning policy proposals.

We need to be able to pick a specific, 'lean' and focused list of core values and stick to them consistently, and welcome everyone who is on board with that message. Or at least willing to live with that message while helping us overthrow the enemies of that message.
Honestly, it's hard to even say because, again, the Democratic party can hardly be said to actually stand for something. I would say that not wanting to outlaw abortion is a pretty damn big one. There's room in the Democratic party for people who are morally opposed but understand that it's a situation where people will die when they shouldn't if you outlaw it. That women will still find ways to terminate pregnancies. That unforeseen reasons for ending pregnancy that relate to the health of the mother can come up. That there will be net harm trying to outlaw it. Actually taking an active interest in protecting the very groups that consistently get Democrats elected would be nice, too.

But, there is no actual platform. So how can a list of the most basic, bare-bones desires even be made? I'd love to see the Democratic party actually have a platform to rally people around. "I'm not gleefully sadistic" is not an inspiring message, and with how... diverse... policy positions are among the Democratic party are at this point this is about the only thing that the Democratic party itself campaigns on.
Okay, well I'm seriously asking you, what do you think the list of essentials is? At what point are we literally better off kicking someone out of the tent for not agreeing with us on a specific issue or set of issues, even if they agree with us on other issues?
Being actively hostile to the platform I outlined above should be a point where the DNC will not endorse the candidate. Regular betrayal of positions. Utter refusal to even fight for proclaimed positions.

Here's the problem I see with a Democratic party that welcomes literally anyone that wants to call themself a Democrat (and make sounds about opposing Trump): That's not much of a party. Simply being an opposition party is destined to fail. You're not gonna motivate people by saying you're the lesser of two evils, or by saying "The other guy is pure evil, I'm not evil!" By welcoming people who are anathema to progressive principles you feed the narrative that Democrats are not substantively different from Republicans. By having not true platform, by welcoming those who vote in favor of corporate excess, by endorsing those that only start speaking out in favor of equal rights for a minority group once 51% of the nation is in favor of these rights... You alienate people who sincerely believe in progressive policies. By claiming to be a progressive party and then not being a progressive policy, you stab progressives in the back. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. That's what's going on. There are progressives who are unconvinced that the Democrats will actually stand up to the Republicans. That are unconvinced that Democrats will side with the middle class and lower class instead of megacorps and wealthy donors. Progressives are becoming disillusioned with a party that doesn't really seem to push all that hard for progressive policies.

The Democratic party, by standing for nothing of substance beyond "not literal fascists" is going to slowly weaken itself and its ability to win votes. People outside those red districts/states, people in purple/swing voting groups may start saying "The Democrats won't represent me, I'm going to vote third party." Even if the candidate in that area actually professes progressive views, because seeing a huge swath of Democrats that do not stand for progressive ideals and still get hearty endorsements from DNC leadership makes it harder to believe that these self-professed progressives are actually progressive.

Believe it or not, there are places where simply having a (D) next to your name means you cannot win that election. Those are not the seats we should be deeply concerned with winning. Might there be a need for slightly more conservative-leaning candidates in more reddish, yet still purple areas? Sure. But by constantly diluting the progressive image, you're going to drive away people who want a party that will stand up for something when pressed, that actually has some uniting principles behind it. The DNC can't simply content itself with thinking about how to win seats come next election. Certainly, that needs to be on the radar. But they need to consider down the road. A business that concerns itself only with quarterly performance is going to hurt in the long run, and the same idea applies to a political party. Keep the near-term in mind, but actually take into account the long-term consequences of a short-term gain.

If the tent gets too big, it will collapse in on itself.
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houser2112
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Re: Another Heavy GOP seat Flips to DEM

Post by houser2112 » 2018-03-21 08:28am

Napoleon the Clown wrote:
2018-03-20 11:54pm
Believe it or not, there are places where simply having a (D) next to your name means you cannot win that election. Those are not the seats we should be deeply concerned with winning. Might there be a need for slightly more conservative-leaning candidates in more reddish, yet still purple areas? Sure. But by constantly diluting the progressive image, you're going to drive away people who want a party that will stand up for something when pressed, that actually has some uniting principles behind it.
Maybe not the deep red House districts, but the purple districts like the one Lamb won the Dems absolutely should go for. Deep red states, if they seem ripe for the taking like Alabama when it ran a child molester, should be strived for. Senate seats are very valuable, and there are more red states than blue states. The thing is, Moore notwithstanding, I don't think a more liberal candidate would have won Alabama. Even against a child molester, Jones barely won.
The DNC can't simply content itself with thinking about how to win seats come next election. Certainly, that needs to be on the radar. But they need to consider down the road. A business that concerns itself only with quarterly performance is going to hurt in the long run, and the same idea applies to a political party. Keep the near-term in mind, but actually take into account the long-term consequences of a short-term gain.

If the tent gets too big, it will collapse in on itself.
To continue this analogy, the Democrats are a business that is losing money. Yes, they should keep an eye to the future, but they need to take steps now to ensure they have a future. They control neither the presidency, the House, nor the Senate. Only a flimsy Senate rule gives them a shred of power there, and only the fear of lacking the filibuster themselves should the Democrats gain control again has stayed the Republicans hands to abolish it. Their tent is rather more like an umbrella at this point.

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Re: Another Heavy GOP seat Flips to DEM

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-03-21 04:28pm

I think there need to be certain things that are considered core Democratic principles, but that list should be kept fairly concise, to absolutely the most essential points, and we should be flexible on everything else.

The core policy points, I would think, are:

-Opposition to Trump/Republicans. Willingness to protect the Mueller investigation, respect its results, and impeach Trump.

-Support for legal equality for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation/identity, religion, or nation of origin.

-Protection for the Dreamers, followed by (but not conditional upon) comprehensive immigration reform, including both reasonable border security and an easier pathway to citizenship.

-Support for a social safety net, including preserving, and not cutting or undermining, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. This is pretty much universally agreed on by Dems as is.

-Progressive taxation: Ie, the rich pay a higher rate than the poor. I think that this is pretty near-universal too- the only differences will be on the details/exact rates.

-Universal background checks for guns. I think this is something almost everyone supports. Trying to demand that all Democrats adhere to the most hardline anti-gun policies would be a non-starter.

I also think that the party platform should officially endorse Single Payer Health Care, although I would not demand that the party withdraw support from any individual candidate who opposed it.

Pretty much everything else, I think, we can afford to be flexible on. But that's just my view.

Edit: In fact, I would say most of these points have universal or near-universal agreement from Dems as is. The main ones to work on changing peoples' views would be the last one. Elsewhere, its mostly just a matter of stiffening spines.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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