Sunday, May 07, 2017

"A Reasonably Competent Democratic Party"-- Ah There's The Rub


Ross Douthat painted a potentially catastrophic picture of what could happen to the House Republicans-- a total wipeout isn't possible because of 135 districts with PVIs between R+10 (there are 16 of them) and R+32 (welcome to the Texas Panhandle) where Señor Trumpanzee won a whopping 79.9%. That's Mac Thornberry's district. But it's not the only one in rural Texas bogged down in the kind of backward mentality that produced results like that. There were 7 congressional districts in Texas that gave Trump over 70% of its votes. And there were 2 in Georgia with over 70% Trump voters. But that ain't nothin'-- AL-04 went for Trump with 80.4%. And KY-05-- the opioid crisis district-- almost hit 80% (79.6%).

But even if every district with R+10 or more is safe-- and I don't know anyone who considers Pete Sessions safe or Devin Nunes very safe anymore-- that leaves over 100 districts held by Republicans that are potentially vulnerable. Douthat, one of the Times' in-house right-wingers, noted that "over the last seven years, the Republican Party has engaged in increasingly elaborate political suicide attempts. The G.O.P. has nominated cranks and erstwhile witches and Todd Akin in winnable Senate races. It has engaged in Somme-esque trench warfare within its own congressional caucus, shut down the government without a strategy for winning anything out of it, and campaigned on a sub-Ayn Randian narrative about the heroic businessman and the mooching 47 percent. And then, after all its prior efforts at seppuku failed, the party nominated Donald Trump for the presidency."
The Republicans were given a gift by Trump’s campaign, a grace they did not merit: the gift of freedom from the trap of dogma, from the pre-existing condition of zombie Reaganism, from an agenda out of touch with the concerns of their actual constituents. Nominating Trump wasn’t as suicidal as it seemed only because he had the political cunning to run against the party’s ideological enforcers, while promising working-class voters not just cultural acknowledgment but material support.

As written, the A.H.C.A. basically takes Trump’s gift to the party and hurls it off the highest possible cliff. It is not just the scale of the likely insurance losses, or how much the rich benefit from repeal relative to everybody else. It’s also the gulf between that reality and what Trump and various Republican leaders explicitly promised-- insisting that their plan would deliver better coverage, lower premiums, and a lot of other things that have since taken a back seat to making room in the budget for more tax cuts.

When President Obama said-- lyingly-- that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” his party ultimately paid for it. A reasonably competent Democratic Party, with something like the A.H.C.A. to run against, should be able to make Republicans pay dearly in their turn.
But, alas, there is no "reasonably competent Democratic Party. Douthat laughs about how the Democrats are fighting internally over "over identity politics versus class politics versus making it all about Trump (and Russia?)" instead of offering a clear vision forward for America's working families. "[T]he central Democratic argument in 2018 and 2020," he suggested, "should be entirely clear: Trump is not a populist but just another pro-plutocracy Republican, and everything his party promised you on health care was a sham." Most Democrats I know are on that page already. But, like I mentioned the other day, I've talked to Democrats-- primarily the DCCC-favored Democrats from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party (Blue Dogs and New Dems) who tell me they don't know anything about healthcare and they want to talk about the kind of Republican issues that pervade Hate Talk Radio in their districts-- like how strongly they pledge allegiance to the Second Amendment.

And Douthat ended on a downer: "When a party repeatedly attempts suicide and somehow staggers bleeding into political victories instead, it is reasonable to doubt the rival party’s ability to capitalize even on the worst of blunders. So two questions loom for the Republicans who voted for this terrible bill. Can the Senate save them from themselves? And if the Senate doesn’t-- can the Democrats?" I doubt the Senate will save them, but I bet the DCCC will innoculate at least 50 winnable seats for the GOP with their Rahm Emanuel version of candidate recruitment: self-funders, Republican-lite candidates, Wall Street suck-ups and repulsive and ignorant identity politics sops. Too bad! Wouldn't you love to see a House with 135 Republican crackpots, primarily from the Old Confederacy, and 300 Democrats. Oh well, let's try to get what we can.
Goal Thermometer

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At 4:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) "Douthat, one of the Times' in-house right-wingers, noted that 'over the last seven years, the Republican Party has engaged in increasingly elaborate political suicide attempts'." Yet, the GOP holds control of the WH, both houses of congress and the SCOTUS.

2) " 'Trump is not a populist but just another pro-plutocracy Republican, and everything his party promised you on health care was a sham.' Most Democrats I know are on that page already." Too bad so damn many Democrats aren't aware of their own party's anti-(biological)people sham.

John Puma

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At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK. Finally a little something that makes sense, as far as it goes.

JP's comment takes it almost all the way there.

You have to have some sympathy for the plight of the democraps. At the same time, you have to envy the opportunities the republicans keep giving them.

The democraps are iteratively presented with the self-immolation of the republicans as they insist on doing more and more evil to their voters and lying to them saying in effect, you'll love this. Bone stupid people still fall for it because their party still hates the same as they do.

But the democraps have a problem... have had since Clinton et al corrupted them in '82 and made them the lesser evil party of money.
They cannot "BE" a party of principles and issues because they cannot possibly deliver on them. The principles of regulated capitalism (so the rich don't eat the poor) and Sherman-enforced corporations (no TBTF) and law enforcement (no bankers indicted for 10s of trillions in fraud; nobody above grunt level indicted for ordering torture) and peace and what FDR once articulated as the second bill of rights... et al.
They cannot deliver on them because all of them are in opposition to the desires of the money that Clinton et al brought in to determine policy.
Their voters, being marginally smarter and less consumed with fear and hate than the R voters, actually do notice when promises are broken and betrayed. over 10 million of them stayed home in 2010 after 2 years of spastic performances and betrayals of the giant mandate given them in 2008.

Which leaves them with only ID politics and the occupancy of the political ground ceded by republicans as they race toward the policies of hitler, Mussolini, Franco and putin.

So after 37 years of lesser evilism, meaning continual increased evilism as the left goose-steps rightward, we are seeing the democraps, MORE corporatist and elitist than ever, also embracing some of the hate-voters. They are embracing former Rs who maybe are less racist AND also those who are anti-choice (and if you think that doesn't include the blanket misogynists, you are a total fool).

All of which illustrates and validates what I've been saying since 1982. When you endorse lesser-evilism as the electoral meme, you guarantee increased evil.

At what point will the evil become irreversible? Are we there now?

Well, for those MOST vulnerable to today's latest, it'll be deadly. If the senate passes ANY of ryan's death panel, those without means who happen to become sick or injured will pay with their lives. And that's just from ONE such issue that the Rs can degrade to its lowest level... because of 37 years of lesser evilism by lefty voters.

I would argue that our lesser evilism also caused the deaths of a million in the Mideast, displacement of maybe 10 million, the rise of isis and their sister sunni terror/oppression organizations, the murder of hundreds in Europe and India by sunni terrorists and a long litany of other human misery and death.

If American voters had insisted on adherence to our own principles instead of allowing them to be traded for a little less worse leadershit, I can see a world where none of the above would have happened.


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