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Joe BidenCongratulations to our presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden!

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 11:37 PM

 

Established Systems

I think that we can all agree that words have meaning. Linguist John McWhorter points out that, over time, languages change. The Merriam-Webster dictionary frequently adds “new” words, which people my age should avoid attempting to use around our grown children and their friends. We do much better with those words with well established meanings.

“Establish” is one such word. It means to bring into existence, with a goal of creating a long-term thing. If a person opens a restaurant, for example, they hope that it will be successful and remain open for a long time. The Founding Fathers established a new nation, with the same goal.

“Establishment” is yet another interesting word. It means the hierarchy that holds the reins of control of the established group or organization. If we think of a chain of successful restaurants – say, McDonald's – its “establishment” is not the teenager or 62-year old flipping burgers. It's the business's owners.

The Founding Fathers limited the scope of those who could be part of the establishment in the new nation. Briefly, one needed to be a white male. There were some tensions within the Founding Fathers regarding further restrictions for leadership. For sake of making this slightly less tedious reading, let's turn briefly to Clinton family historian Sean Wilentz for two definitions.

The word “republic” comes from the root “res publica”-- meaning a “public thing” where the common good of all would be determined by the most enlightened, educated, and wealthy white men.

“Democracy” comes from the root “demos krateo” – meaning “rule of the people,” where the masses determined what defined that common good. The very though of the less educated, impassioned public having control of government was unpopular with enough of the Founding Fathers that the new country was indeed a republic in it's early years. Over the decades and centuries, it has become a mixture of republican and democratic institutions within the established government.

Some are relatively new, such as the military-industrial complex that Ike warned about sixty years ago. Among the new factors that determine the leadership within the country we find both private and public individuals and groups. We can see, for example, that a corporation has much more “freedom of speech” during political campaigns that do you or I. Likewise, a billionaire does.

Today's republican party has an establishment that tells its members what they think. Because their establishment is rigid, it was relatively easy for Donald Trump to high-jack its reins of control. And so long as it makes money for the opulently wealthy, they convince the base that Trump represents the American dream. Add the “greater than Lincoln,” and you have the alt-right's support.

The Democratic Party is an “establishment,” complete with a hierarchy within it ranks . That structure includes at the national, state, county, city and town levels. As a general rule, that is certainly a good thing, as it is helpful in our achieving election victories at each level. It would be mighty hard to have to create a new structure for each election, in my opinion.

The Democratic Party is not a rigid group, especially when compared to the republican party. The republican leadership tells its members what to think and how to behave. That does not happen in our party. Yet it would be foolish to pretend that there are not tensions within the party, as there always are during presidential primary season. There are times when the party deals with such tensions in a way that results in victories, and times when it fails to.

Different people – good people, Good Democrats – often interpret the causes and effects of these attempts to deal with tensions very differently. This can lead to intelligent, meaningful discussions between people who view events from, say, 1960 to the present in very different ways. That's a good thing. If we make an honest effort to really listen to others in a respectful way, human beings are capable of finding common ground.

It's useful to keep in mind that groups of people recognize three types of “leadership.” There are, of course, variations within and overlap between each group. The first, and oldest, is traditional leadership. This is closely associated with the tribal, “This is how our people have always done it” approach. While far more common before the industrial revolution, there are regions of the globe where it is still practiced.

The second type is “bureaucratic” leadership. This generally began taking root when populations increase. Thus, it first came into practice in China, when social stratification began. It came in force to America with the industrial revolution. Bureaucracy allows the largest number of people with the same problem, to get it resolved to an acceptable level. In modern America, we see how well bureaucracy can be in many areas, though not in the Department of Motor Vehicles if you bring in a unique or rare problem. It also led to the “Gilded Age.”

Within the republican party, the bureaucratic leadership reflects the stratified status of its membership. Good republicans who seek promotions know to wait their turn. The fact that Ivanka Trump has any role in the White House suggests that one need not earn a high rank, or have any talent to justify that position. This, obviously, is an example of stratification.

The Democratic Party's leadership structure is based upon bureaucratic leadership. It is also stratified (national, state, etc). It could not be otherwise, and remain functional

The third type of leadership is “charismatic.” This is rooted in a charismatic leader rising, often from the fringes outside of the bureaucratic structure. Others rise from within the bureaucratic structure, including – in the context of our party – JFK in 1960, RFK in '68, and Barack Obama in 2008. In each of these instances, the charismatic candidate was familiar with the bureaucratic structure. Their movements can create tensions within the Democratic Party.

In general, candidates within the bureaucratic structure run campaigns, while charismatic candidates lead movements. In a situation such as our presidential primaries, a contest that includes a movement competing within a bureaucratic campaign creates added tensions. The more successful a charismatic candidate is in the primaries, the greater the tensions. This has held true in numerous primary contests between 1960 and today,

These types of tensions have both positive and negative potentials. It depends upon how the party's establishment deals with those tensions that determines if the results are good or bad. For that determines how people at the grass roots level respond to what the party leaders have decided.

Among the numerous factors that must be taken into account is appealing to voters who are not members of our party. Doing this can determine the outcome of the 2020 elections. The number of independent voters appears to be growing. Some are definitely former republicans, some are to the left of the Democratic Party, some are young adults, and there are those who simply do not trust either party. Another potential group are those currently not registered, who do not see the connection between “politics” and their day-to-day lives, who could be registered by our party's volunteers

Good people can have different views on which group or groups that we need to appeal to, in order to cement victories in November. While it is very likely that the decision reached will determine the outcome of the presidential election, the truth is that there is not one “right” answer versus other “wrong” opinions. We can only speculate, and base our thoughts on how we interpret that which we consider evidence. That could actually lead to worthwhile discussions at every level of our party.

Peace,
H2O Man
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply Established Systems (Original post)
H2O Man Feb 2020 OP
Laelth Feb 2020 #1
H2O Man Feb 2020 #2
Uncle Joe Feb 2020 #3
H2O Man Feb 2020 #6
TwilightZone Feb 2020 #4
H2O Man Feb 2020 #7
blm Feb 2020 #5
H2O Man Feb 2020 #8
MuseRider Feb 2020 #9
H2O Man Feb 2020 #10
H2O Man Feb 2020 #11
PETRUS Feb 2020 #12

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 11:41 PM

1. That's a serious essay. Well done. k&r n/t

 



-Laelth
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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Response to Laelth (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 11:49 PM

2. Thank you!

 

It's a print-out of a conversation I had going inside my head after reading a good post about super delegates. I enjoy reading posts that various people add on this forum that takes a stand on an issue that has the potential to unite or divide our party. Then I think about how their opinions fit into the larger picture.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 12:09 AM

3. Kicked and recommended.

 

Thanks for the thread H2O Man.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 11:06 AM

6. Thank you!

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 12:12 AM

4. "Good people can have different views on which group or groups that we need to appeal to"

 

I would argue that we need to appeal to as large an audience as possible and shouldn't necessarily look at including or excluding anyone based on which "groups" they belong to. Groups have a wide variety of members who have a wide range of ideologies and beliefs. I think we lose if we narrow our focus too far in the pursuit of, for lack of a better phrase, ideological purity.

Of course, that doesn't mean that we should appeal to, say, white supremacists. But, from a higher level, I don't think we should summarily dismiss groups based on stereotypes or simplistic views of what they represent. This kind of dismissal is pretty common, particularly in a partisan environment like DU.

For example, there's been much consternation about Joe Biden and others appealing to moderates and even some disaffected conservatives by indicating that they would try to work across the aisle to get things done. The knee-jerk response is often that bipartisanship doesn't work in our current environment, so why bother, yet most of the bills sitting on Mitch McConnell's desk were at least somewhat bipartisan in some form - either they were co-sponsored by at least one Republican or had some Republican support.

That doesn't mean that we're going to get them to work together on major legislative items, of course, but we need to understand that many, many people are largely apolitical and/or highly dislike the hyper-partisan nature of American politics. We're not going to appeal to those people by being even more hyper-partisan.

Similarly, writing off moderate Democrats or Democrats who are in states that we won't win in November is misguided. Down-ticket races can be extremely important, especially in places like Texas where, while we're unlikely to win the state at the presidential level, continued momentum in retaking the state legislature should be a primary goal, and there are many House and Senate races that are important in our quest to retain and regain those houses. Battles like that will take place in many states where our nominee is unlikely to win. There's more to this election than the top spot.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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Response to TwilightZone (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 11:11 AM

7. Very well said!

 

I appreciate that!

My friend Rubin used to say that people should focus upon "Yes!" rather than "No!," since yes tends to be so much more positive. Your message reminded me of that! For nothing is "impossible," unless one (or more) decides it's too difficult, and opts to not try. I think that holds true for every election in 2020, from president to town council. We should be a united front, fighting on all fronts.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 12:52 AM

5. ((Waterman))

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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Response to blm (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 11:14 AM

8. Thanks, blm!

 

It's a big day! I hope that all of our candidates have a good showing in SC. Then on to Super Tuesday. We have outstanding candidates -- including, of course, Senator Warren. I've always liked her, and think that she would kick Trump's behind.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 12:02 PM

9. Bookmarked!

 

Will read later when I have the time to sit and clear my head. Right now I tried but I cannot hold a thought. Thanks in advance, I know it will be worth waiting for.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #9)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 12:30 PM

10. Thank you!

 

I re-read it this morning. and could swear I heard Jimi Hendrix singing the second verse of his song "Somewhere." I could be wrong, of course, but would prefer that we show the inhabitants of those UFOs that we've got this.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #10)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 12:31 PM

11. ........

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 02:04 PM

12. Some thoughts:

 

In my opinion, the presence of a movement-style campaign (or campaigns, plural) has as much to do with the social context in which it arises as it has to do with the presence of a charismatic leader, although I suspect both are necessary ingredients. To some extent, I think certain types of leaders emerge when there are existing tensions. That is to say, the leader gives form and voice to sentiments that were there already; he or she doesn't create the tensions, he or she only makes them more visible. In such situations, and I think this applies now, one election alone - regardless of the outcome - isn't likely to resolve the tensions. Actions subsequent to the election (including but not limited to governance) might calm or inflame the tensions, but the election itself is unlikely to "settle" anything.

To get uncomfortably specific, there are people saying that a Bernie Sanders nomination will fracture the Democrats and doom the party's prospects in November, and there are people saying that failing to nominate Sanders - especially if he goes to the convention with a plurality - will have that effect. As nearly as I can tell, both of those opinions are largely restricted to a certain kind of political cognoscenti (well represented on DU), and not nearly as common among the general population (including regular voters who aren't as caught up in the meta-conversation as the media and DU). The vast majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning people I talk to about this year's election do have (sometimes severe) opinions about the various candidates, but intend to vote for the nominee no matter who it is, and some of them don't care at all who the nominee is. I truly believe the party could fracture and fail, or unite and win, with any number of the candidates. That is to say, I think it could go either way regardless of who the nominee is. The identities and behavior of the candidates is a factor, but only one among several considerations and not necessarily the most critical.

PS. I also started to type out some thoughts on "establishments" and "democracy," but I've already written twice as many words as you see above in this post, and I'm not done. So I think I'll cancel that plan, or perhaps just postpone it.

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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