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Member since: Wed Aug 19, 2015, 04:47 AM
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There are 2 narratives that the Democratic Party absolutely must change.

No more so-called "respectability politics." No more playing nice with the devil in hopes that the devil will finally reciprocate. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 10,000 times...enough already.

Trump, Republicans in Congress and Trump's cabinet pose a clear and present danger. If Democrats can't engage in smash-mouth politics even now, all hope is lost.

For far too long, Democrats have been utterly ineffective in combating the following 2 narratives:

1) government as a bogeyman

2) "liberal media"

As we all know, Republicans have done all they can to make government dysfunctional, and then they bash the monster of their own making to support their ideology. This is, admittedly, made easier by Democrats not doing enough to stand up to the hijacking of government by multinational corporations. Government is, at least in theory, a body of the peoples' representatives. So, in that sense, Trump talking about taking power from the government and giving it back to the people is nonsensical (but it's also going to resonate with the Republican Party base and Libertarians). It needs to be pointed out repeatedly that Trump and Republicans in aggregate are out to destroy "government of the people, by the people and for the people." It needs to be pointed out repeatedly that Trump and other Republicans have corrupted their way into government jobs (via voter suppression, dark money, corporate media, gerrymandering and foreign government intervention), all the while bashing the government that they've made dysfunctional. The hypocrisy, lies and contradictions must be pointed out repeatedly. Such as Trump claiming he'll drain the swamp while surrounding himself with Wall Street tycoons and lobbyists. We must not lose sight of the fact that Trump ran a fraudulent "University" for which he was successfully sued, and is now engaged in numerous conflicts of interest. Trump committing and bragging about sexual assault, a crime, must not be allowed to leave public consciousness. The overt bigotry of Trump and those he surrounds himself with must be kept under the spotlight. It must be pointed out that Trump is the father of the Birther movement and that tens of millions of Americans subscribe to patently false beliefs that are too absurd for words, because - as Obama said - the GOP has been "feeding its base all kinds of crazy for years."

And those things must be pointed out repeatedly every time Democrats appear in the media or at rallies. Meanwhile, Democrats should point out that a responsible media, the bulk of which is now owned and operated by just a handful of giant corporations, once existed to a much greater extent than it does now. Democrats should point out that a responsible media wouldn't promote false equivalencies, refuse to fact-check, obsess over spectacle, kowtow to corporate sponsors, or need Democrats to come on the air to point out that which the media should be reporting because it's their professional duty to do so.

Yes, I'm advocating that Democrats bash the media via the media. Republicans have been doing it for decades and it's paid dividends.

Yes, I'm advocating that Democrats call out the Republican Party for engaging in dog whistle politics and for influencing its base to subscribe to bullshit. The vast majority of those who make up that base are never going to vote Dem regardless, so trying to appeal to or go soft on Republicans is in error. Some of the more reasonable Republicans (an increasingly rare species) might become embarrassed enough to stop supporting the cra cra. Meanwhile, some of those who don't usually vote would probably appreciate a bit of brutal honesty. Democrats need to reach out to that enormous percentage of folks who never or almost never vote.

Lastly, Democrats should talk about all that constitutes "the commons" (public parks and infrastructure, a stable climate, clean air and water, etc.) and why Republicans threaten that which we all benefit from and rely upon.

"The Narrative of Normalization"

My apologies if this has already been posted: https://medium.com/being-liberal/the-narrative-of-normalization-a7ea8d3c4d0c#.s52ply8lw

Follow the link to read the whole piece, but here's an excerpt:

That a presidential nominee who you praised for not being a typical politician (one who goes back on their promises) will go back on their promises…..but only the ones you don’t like (like cutting YOUR government support or maybe that Muslim registry that DID sound kind of scary). The ones you liked he’ll do. Absolutely.

That nearly every person who has either lived through or studied Hitler’s rise to power suddenly, all at once, decided to become melodramatic and overwrought. For no reason.

That he says what he means and you like that. Except for the stuff that you swear you weren’t okay with him saying. You’re not a racist or anything. That was just bluster. But the stuff you agree with wasn’t just bluster; it was totally sincere. You are able to tell exactly which things are bluster and exactly which things he has high integrity about.

That a guy who lies almost every time his mouth is open was totally telling the truth to you. Totally. And sure he lies all the time, but he’s right about all the stuff you agree with him about. Yep.

That a presidential nominee who bragged during nationally televised debates about scamming freelance workers and spent twenty-five million to settle a fraud lawsuit can be trusted to know exactly where the water’s edge of “conflict of interest” is between his personal investments and US interests and doesn’t need the slightest oversight.

That a presidential nominee who bragged during nationally televised debates about scamming freelance workers and spent twenty-five million to settle a fraud lawsuit totally wasn’t saying anything he had to to win so he could defraud YOU.

That these appointments aren’t terrifying at all. Breathtaking cronyism in a historically uneducated and inexperienced cabinet with a bent towards white supremacy and anti-LGBTQ+ policy is only alarming because everyone on the left is a sore loser.

That Republican paranoia about shit that Obama never said he would do (like taking away your guns) was justified, but our fear of explicit campaign promises is blowing things out of proportion.

From a Salon article:

In no way do I wish to turn this discussion into a focus on Bernie Sanders, and I'm hesitant to even bring this up, but I think the following quote from a Salon article is instructive:

The point Sanders has attempted to make over the past two years, it seems, is that class can help transcend other social and cultural divisions and promote an economic solidarity that would go a long way toward overcoming deeply entrenched parochial beliefs and attitudes.

I think that's backward and may result from Bernie living in the whitest state in the US. I think those deeply entrenched beliefs and attitudes prevent economic solidarity. Those beliefs and attitudes are largely what enable the economic conditions we decry. Strategically diminishing racism is key to sustainable progress. As the Salon article points out, polls suggest a majority of Americans agree with Bernie's position on various economic issues, but it's that 'psychological wage' (feeling superior to and more deserving than 'The Other') that stands in the way. Otherwise we wouldn't see tens of millions of people repeatedly voting against their 'class' interests.

And, as I've posted previously in this thread, anti-racism is key to the success of the labor union movement.

Will everything from the Postmortem forum be lost, or can threads be moved?

I'd really like to see the following thread get moved to General Discussion before the Postmortem forum is deleted:


Ungovernable 2017

For those who have not yet seen this: https://www.ungovernable2017.com/

Did Trump actually do better than Rubio or Bush or Cruz or Kasich would have done?

Popular is the notion that Trump made for a much worse candidate than some of the mainstream Republicans who sought the nomination. I question that assumption. Although we'll never know for sure, I can't help but wonder if turnout for Trump was actually substantially higher than turnout would have been for a different Republican candidate.

As one author put it, "Trump’s appeal is cultural, rather than economic. It’s a mix of anti-elitism, anti-political correctness, and white identity politics, not carefully cultivated policies. The fact that we’re talking about the white working class, instead of just the working class, is a pretty big clue."

Simply put, Trump's appeal is extremely strong (cult-like) among the Republican electorate. As Obama had said during the campaign, the GOP has been "feeding their base all kinds of crazy for years."

For another thing, Trump was able to dominate the news cycle day after day, week after week, month after month. And I doubt the negative press turned off many (if any) of his supporters--in fact, it probably inspired them. So, when the media wasn't talking about Clinton emails, it was all Trump all the time.

Lastly, neither the anti-trade nor the anti-establishment narrative really holds up to scrutiny, as I've written repeatedly. Major proponents of the TPP won even more easily than Trump did, those backed most strongly by Sanders did worse than Clinton, the re-election rate of incumbents was even higher than normal, and so on.

In other words, I don't think Trump's appeal is as rooted in anti-establishment sentiment as some would have us believe. I think his appeal is much more visceral than that.

Again, did Trump perhaps do better than any of the other Republicans would have done? I think it's possible, if not likely.

The racial wealth gap "worsens political and economic outcomes for the entire country."

I've written before about how social justice encompasses economic justice, which runs counter to the understanding of many. So, of course social justice and economic justice both matter, but not quite for the reason some seem to think. The latter is one component of the former.

I wrote about how it's important to have a proper appreciation for how historical injustices (both race-based and sex-based) continue to impact the present if one hopes to win the Democratic Party nomination. Institutional/structural racism and sexism (both past and present) continues to impact wealth/assets, advancement opportunities, access to certain jobs and schools, access to housing, loan contracts, dealings with law enforcement, court proceedings, health, and on and on and on.

As the subtitle to The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates reads, "Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole."

I've also pointed out that the vast majority of Trump supporters are Birthers, which should make clear how absurd it is to suggest that only a fraction of his supporters are motivated by white identity. Not to mention the abundance of other clues.

And I've most recently written about the dog whistling that's behind |the "working class whites" narrative, about how Democrats need to create a new narrative and not further the existing one.

Now, I'm encouraging everyone to read an article on just how stark the racial wealth gap is and why addressing it, specifically, matters. Excerpts follow:

The typical black household now has just 6% of the wealth of the typical white household; the typical Latino household has just 8%...

The median white homeowner’s house is worth $85,800 compared to $50,000 for black homeowners and $48,000 for Latino homeowners.

Much of that disparity comes from the gap in the home values in white neighborhoods versus the neighborhoods where people of color live. The roots of the gulf stem at least as far back as the 1934 National Housing Act, which redlined black neighborhoods, marking them as credit risks. Though redlining was outlawed in the ’60s, the effect persists today in the form of neighborhoods consisting mostly of people of color that have high poverty rates, low home values and declining infrastructure.

Discriminatory lending also exists today: Mortgages obtained by households of color tend to have higher interest rates.

“Even if you graduate from college, as a black college graduate, you’re faced with discrimination. So you might have done everything right, achieved the skills you need to succeed, but you won’t see a higher return. The other issue with education is that black college graduates come out with higher debt levels so they start out behind in terms of asset building,” says Ruetschlin.

Causes include the fact that blacks and Latinos are less likely to have jobs that include employer-sponsored health care, a retirement plan or paid time off. The net result is that families of color spend more of their savings on dealing with life’s emergencies such as out-of-pocket health care. Or, they have fewer wealth-building vehicles, such as tax-advantaged accounts, available to them.

Other factors stem back to homeownership and education: A child whose parents were steered into a low-income neighborhood with a low-quality school has decreased chances of obtaining a four-year degree, which also then cuts off future job opportunities. Additionally, although it is illegal, discrimination on the basis of race or national origin endures, whether unconsciously or overtly.

Those who are truly concerned with wealth inequality will grasp that the "rising tide lifts all boats" approach is insufficient.

Why draw a distinction between the working class and the white working class?

Is it because people think working class is synonymous with white? Is it that the dog whistle, implying persons of color don't work, has infiltrated your consciousness?

Or is it because you realize a portion of working class whites (though certainly not all) have much different priorities or desires than the working class as a whole?

If it's the latter, why do you suppose that might be?

I suppose some might say it's "geographical," as if there aren't millions of working class persons of color in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, etc. Not to mention all of the working class whites in those states that undoubtedly voted for Clinton. Again, we're talking about a portion of working class whites. So, again I ask, why does that segment have much different priorities or desires?
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