Friday, September 22, 2017

Why Centrism Absolutely Sucks


You probably didn't hear Ann Coulter ranting and raving on Howie Carr's Hate Talk radio show Wednesday. She still trusts in what she calls Trumpism... but not so much in Señor Trumpanzee. She still wants to see him impeached. "If we're not gettin' a wall, we may as well have an attractive, dignified Republican there. We'll get better Supreme Court justices under Pence. We'll get better Supreme Court justices under Pence; we won't have to worry about Nikki Haley being sent to the Supreme Court at least."

The new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that "only a third of the public believes Trump has accomplished much as president, and fewer than 30 percent back his handling of health care, race relations and the violent episode in Charlottesville." The only thing the public likes about his tenure in office so far-- by an overwhelming 71% to 8% margin-- was his outreach to Chuck and Nancy on government funding. On everything else-- from North Korea and Climate Change to Joe Arpaio, healthcare and race relations, the public is giving a big collective thumbs down.

Respondents liked the top congressional leaders even less than Trump! In order of approval (First number is approval and the second is disapproval):
Pelosi- 25%/43%
Ryan- 24%/40%
Schumer- 18%/27%
McConnell- 11%/41%
Goal Thermometer"[W]hat stands out about McConnell and Ryan is that a sizable number of Republicans now view these GOP leaders unfavorably." Now. keep in mind that neither McConnell nor Schumer are up for reelection in 2018. Pelosi and Ryan are. Although Pelosi has a vigorous primary challenge from Berniecrat, Stephen Jaffe, her district has an unassailable D+37 PVI. Ryan, on the other hand, is in real danger-- mortal jeopardy. His reelect numbers in his own district are in the low 40s; he has a Trumpist nut challenging him on the right and, for the general election, Randy Bryce is taking away most of his independent voter support with a clear and authentic-- meaning non-DCCC-- message that goes right to what working families are thinking about. Head to head match-ups in the district show Randy and Ryan statistically tied and Randy pulling significantly ahead when voters hear a few lines of candidate bios. Ryan's district has a PVI of R+5, not easy to overcome, but doable in a wave election and doable with the exceptional attention the race is drawing because of two super-high profile candidates. (That's the Stop Paul Ryan ActBlue thermometer on the right. Consider giving it a tap and contributing what you can to Randy Bryce's campaign.)

That all said, Reid Wilson had an interesting OpEd at The Hill Wednesday-- Fury fuels the modern political climate in US. "Americans," he began "are angry about everything."
Last November, voters faced a choice between the two least-popular major-party presidential nominees ever to appear on a ballot.

Trump, the surprise winner, took over a capital as deeply divided as the country it ostensibly serves. One legislative chamber is controlled by a small cadre of the majority’s leadership, who are in turn at the mercy of a rump faction of arch ideologues. The other is torn by partisan discord that has escalated measurably for nearly 50 years, to the point of dysfunction.

After a decade of economic and cultural tumult, one in which our trust in civic institutions has fallen to all-time lows, the degradation of the nation’s political system has left American government at a crossroads. Congress is at a standstill. The two major political parties are both dealing with identity crises.

The chasms that have emerged in the wake of partisan gamesmanship and a vastly uneven economic evolution-- even before a more uneven recovery-- have become a feature of American life, not a bug.

“Our system is set up for cooperation, negotiation, those sorts of things,” said Rob Griffin, a demographer at the Center for American Progress and George Washington University. “Our system is uniquely unsuited to deal with polarization.”

...The partisan fever created by two almost evenly divided factions vying for power, and the logjam in government, show few signs of breaking without some sort of nationally unifying catastrophe.

The polarization of our politics and the wider loss of trust in cultural institutions comes amid a collective struggle to sort out the next steps in the American experiment, the stalemate among our leaders to chart a future course.

To begin, the issues at the heart of both the Trump campaign and Hillary Clinton’s campaign touched on the very questions of what it means to be an American.

The economic evolution that has sent manufacturing and extracting industries plunging while service and technology jobs surge has challenged the preconceptions of a generation of Americans accustomed to seeing an assembly line job as a path to middle-class success.

The influx of immigrants seeking a better life within our borders is speeding a demographic change already well underway due to natural growth in minority communities.

And the small towns that once defined Middle America are dying as big metropolitan areas outpace them in job creation and cultural dominance.

“The things that we’re fighting about are fundamentally different visions of what America is,” said Lee Drutman, a political scientist at New America. “There’s never been a democracy as diverse or unequal as the United States.”

Blame lies, too, with the leaders sent to Washington. Politicians, like anyone, are driven by incentives, and in a moment of hyperpartisanship the overwhelming incentive is to demonize the other side-- as Trump has with immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally, or to a lesser extent as Clinton did with her “basket of deplorables” remark.

More broadly, that demonization has set communities against each other: Rural residents resent the elitism of urban cores. Race relations between whites, blacks and Hispanic-Americans are degrading: About 60 percent of minorities say race relations are generally bad, according to a Pew Research Center poll released last year, and another Pew poll showed 43 percent of whites and an incredible 74 percent of blacks fear race relations will get worse. About 6 in 10 Republicans and Democrats say they fear the other party’s agenda, a four-fold increase since the mid-1990s.

“Concerns about the other tend to be more prevalent than before, but what that other is isn’t clear,” said Emily Ekins, director of polling at the Cato Institute.

Some blame the media for playing up conflict and increasing divisions in the country. Arguably, no industry has undergone a longer and more sustained disruption than the communications industry.

Decades ago, Americans consumed the vast majority of their news from one of a small handful of sources, concentrated in the nation’s largest cities. Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in America, and even robust local newspapers consumed Associated Press content or raced to match the New York Times.

Today, the rise of partisan media outlets has supplemented conservative talk radio and in turn has been supplemented by the internet’s ability to spread dubious news.

“You have basically the information network that stitched America together now cracking apart,” said Laura Quinn, a Democratic data analytics expert.

“We don’t even start from the same set of facts anymore,” said Billy Piper, a Republican lobbyist and former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

In a political system with a bias toward slowing progress, most observers see three potential paths ahead, two of which are unlikely and a third that is unpalatable: a radical change to existing rules, the rise of a third party or a continuation of the intractable morass of the status quo.

...“The anger that comes with being presented with those two extreme choices has led to the gridlock and paralysis and political failure,” Quinn said. “Donald Trump’s narrative is simply: America is in a zero-sum game. Pick your tribe and arm yourself. And if his narrative wins, that’s the future that we all have to look forward to.”
Wilson's positions are those of a dyed-in-the-wool Beltway centrist, so his little-of-this-little-of-that/both sides perspective is what informs his writing and the way he sees politics. He will always equate the failure on the right-- Nazis, fascists, Trumpists-- with a desire to see an equally extreme left, something that doesn't exist. A real world equivalent of the far right of the Republican Party would be nothing like the vision Bernie Sanders and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. A significant-- now dominant-- strain of the Republican Party, neo-fascism, has nothing "balancing" it inside the Democratic Party with which to draw any equivalence except false equivalence. There is no opposite faction inside the Democratic Party-- not even close. The furthest left members of Congress, say Mark Pocan, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, Barbara Lee and Jamie Raskin, are all firmly within the mainstream of American politics-- straight out of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt vision of U.S. governance. Now compare that with someone like Roy Moore, who is about to be nominated by the GOP for an Alabama Senate seat. Or sociopaths like Steve King (R-IA), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Lamar Smith (R-TX) or Louie Gohmert (R-TX) or anyone else from the profoundly anti-democratic Steve Bannon wing of the GOP. A by-product of Trumpism is that GOP centrists like Dean Heller no longer have a natural constituency within the GOP. Centrists like Wilson don't want to understand that, don't want to understand that with every fiber of their beings. It kills the whole shitty narrative they live their lives by. After all, their stinking vision of a happy centrist politics created Paul Ryan out of a gym instructor and former Weinermobile driver.

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At 6:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

why does it suck? because "centrism" keeps moving rightward as the democraps move rightward. because democrap "centrism" means fellating and facilitating corporate rule, even/especially the unlawful ones. because doing so means human beings get ratfucked more and more to pay for corporate desserts. because it means the quality of democrap candidates has been plummeting for 40 years and when a good one comes along, he is shunned or defrauded by the party so they can maintain their corporate purity.

it also sucks because voters just play along like the democraps are still FDR's party. Because of this, the party's decay has never been slowed or stopped, much less reversed.

It sucks because **WE** fucking suck.


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