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Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

A letter to my fellow progressives and liberals.

Okay, having fun watching the conservative side of politics implode from their own self-delusional behavior? Yes, it can be fun, in some ways, except that they may have so well fertilized the ground with conspiracy and idiocy that Donald Trump does have a legitimate path to win the White House. Not so funny anymore, is it? Unless you're in the media comedy (or standup) business, this would be a Very Bad Thing™.

And don't let the various articles from the GOP intelligentsia rending their garments and pissing themselves about Trump make you think that this Fall there's going to be some mass defection behind the voting booth curtain (does anybody still have those anymore?). Trump is exactly the candidate they want. He will be exactly the President they want.
  • He will govern like a business dictator, which fits both their ideal view of what a President does. Which is why they're constantly upset at "Imperial Obama", but don't actually do anything about it. And it goes along with their professed view that government should be run like a business (no it should not, but they think it should)
  • He hates the people they hate. This is what Trump's supporters are saying when they say "he tells it like it is" and "he says what's on his mind." What they mean is "I wish I could say those things in public" and "he isn't playing nice like we must to get along because we're scared of the other".
  • He stokes their pet concerns about "absolute security" and "kicking all these people out" even though anyone with a brain, even in the GOP, will tell you those things are impossible and would cost too much.
  • He is the school yard bully, which they love. Do I really need to explain further, do you not see the Bully/Toadie relationships. They like to talk tough, and beat their chests, and swing their dicks around like they own the place. They use the language of bullies. And the vast majority of them, faced with actual violence or having to fight, if they can't do the quick put down, the fold (how many draft deferments have been running this year).
  • He thinks he'll be able to close down the parts of government they hate. It really isn't easy to do that. Just look at the discussions around creating DoH. Once created, it takes 100 times the effort to end.
I could cite more.

Although, I should point out, part of me wants it. Part of me wants to be able to point to concrete evidence that their rhetoric is garbage are not a way to govern by allowing him to be elected and watching the economy and our lives go right in the shitter. There have been lots of experiments run on the core economic and governance beliefs of the GOP, and they've all come up lacking and typically cost 2 to 100 times more. And despite all that real world evidence they just don't believe it, they'll continue to clap harder so Tinker Bell comes back to life. They've been doing it since Pres. Reagan. No, really, there are no new ideas in their campaigns. All the grass roots tell them that what they want is someone to espouse the Real Conservative Values and they believe their current leadership just hasn't had the guts to go full bore for them. But the hell we'd all have to live through isn't worth that satisfaction. And I'm also not willing to sacrifice my friends or their futures just to prove a point.

If you think this is a bonanza for Democratic Party, you need to re-examine what is about to happen. The GOP will hold their noses and the rank and file will close up and they'll all vote for him. The ones who don't will just lose heart and stay away from the polls. Their hate of Hillary Clinton will drive them more than their fear of turning over the government to a demagogue. Conservatives are reliable voters. More of them reliably vote straight ticket than any other demographic. And they always come to the election. This is why they win off year elections. The Democratic Party hasn't been focused on statewide and national elections since the late 80s, so there isn't as big an effort to get to the polls on the off years.

Here's what the Democrats really need to come out of this and do.
  • Deep down-ticket support for candidates at the local level. That means cultivation, encouragement, and education of progressives who are willing to serve on local committees and be elected as mayors, councilmen, supervisors, etc.
  • Stop believing everyone is paying attention and knows all the ramifications of the arguments. Look at how the GOP does it, zombie arguments galore because even after being disproven, they still continue to make the same statements and argue their talking points like nothing happened.
  • Never believe the argument is ever over. The conservatives have lost on Social Security, Medicare, Civil Rights, abortion, Obamacare. Have you seen them walk away from the battlefield? They are still hell bent on making this election a referendum on Obamacare. I see you shaking your head, yes, we already had one. But they didn't get the outcome they wanted so they will do it again. And again. And again until they win. I'll point to abortion as the example. The battles are not over, get back to the ramparts and defend your ideas full throatedly. Without opposition they will wear down the public and convince them they are right. Keep beating that damn horse until it actually falls apart.
  • You have a historic opportunity to explain how all elections matter. This presidential election is about more than just the Presidency. It's about the Supreme Court with both this opening and the possibility that 3 other judges will be nominated by the next president. That's four justices and the majority of the Court. If you think a Trump presidency would give a damn about the balance of the Court, get medication. Even if he doesn't believe the rhetoric (which I think is a dangerous assumption), giving the conservatives an overwhelming majority would secure his re-election and they'd probably carve his face on Mt. Rushmore.
  • Don't beat the issue until the base doesn't want to hear it. Democrats are notorious for getting tired of an issue quickly. There will be enough opportunity that will come naturally in the course of this to remind everyone what is at stake.


So here we are, as the GOP elite allow the coronation of the person they despised. The wonks know they have no other cards to play and so will bluff with the 10 high hand they have with Trump hoping progressives shoot themselves in the foot again. And while the circus goes on, they work hard on the bread and win small victories that amount to much more. Democrats point and laugh and think the public agrees with them and understands the implications of what is being said including not actually asking for the votes of the people.

I still think Hillary has the strongest chance of winning the election. She understands the politics of the situation better than anybody. Unfortunately the party seems to be paralyzed and not willing to take the cheap shots needed to change the course (mostly because liberals hate the bitter parts of politics). I keep hearing rumors that President Obama is ginning up his electoral engine, but I see so little on the ground, it makes me worry.

The GOP registered 1 million new voters in the Youngstown area. The Democrats are calling for 3 million new Ohio voters by the end of the month.

I don't know the answer. I wish I did. That part of my brain that kept bothering me during the waning years of the GW Bush presidency has been worrying me again. "You swore an oath, Buchheit. What the fuck are you going to do about it?" I don't know.

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