Monday, November 14, 2016

We Can Blame the Voters or Blame the Elite. Only One Choice Offers a Way Forward


You can't defeat predators like these by fighting with your neighbors

by Gaius Publius

The next phase for the fight for the soul of the Democratic Party is on.

The left is awash in tears and anger at the moment (as are dyed-in-the-wool Clinton supporters, who are "the left" in only some cases). Angry people lash out, and the frequent target of Democratic anger over the election of Trump is suddenly the voters themselves.

In other words, the "deplorables," to use Hillary Clinton's unfortunate, inaccurate and overly broad characterization. Or, in other other words, fellow members of the suffering middle class, many of whom would have voted for Sanders in the general election, had they been allowed to.

Which of these characterizations you choose, the first or second above, will determine whether you see the world in "the left vs. the right" terms or "the rich vs. the rest" terms, and also whether you wish to continue the failed American struggle against the elites, or improve your chance of winning it.

Obviously, I choose the latter, improving our chances to win the struggle, and I'm not alone. The editors of Jacobin are here to explain:
We have no illusions about the impact of Donald Trump’s victory. It is a disaster. The prospect of a unified right-wing government, led by an authoritarian populist, represents a catastrophe for working people.

There are two ways to respond to this situation. One is to blame the people of the United States. The other is to blame the elite of the country.

In the coming days and weeks, many pundits will be doing the former. Frightened liberals have already written explainers on how to move to Canada; last night, the Canadian immigration website went down after a surge of traffic. The people who brought us to this precipice are now planning their escape.

But blaming the American public for Trump’s victory only deepens the elitism that rallied his voters in the first place. It’s unquestionable that racism and sexism played a crucial role in Trump’s rise. And it’s horrifying to contemplate the ways that his triumph will serve to strengthen the cruelest and most bigoted forces in American society.

Still, a response to Trump that begins and ends with horror is not a political response — it is a form of paralysis, a politics of hiding under the bed. And a response to American bigotry that begins and ends with moral denunciation is not a politics at all — it is the opposite of politics. It is surrender.

To believe that Trump’s appeal was entirely based on ethnic nationalism is to believe that a near majority of Americans are driven only by hate and a shared desire for a white supremacist political program.

We don’t believe that. And the facts don’t bear it out.
First, on the facts:
This election, in the words of New York Times analyst Nate Cohn, was decided by people who voted for Barack Obama in 2012. Not all of them can be bigots.

Clinton won only 65 percent of Latino voters, compared to Obama’s 71 percent four years ago. She performed this poorly against a candidate who ran on a program of building a wall along America’s southern border, a candidate who kicked off his campaign by calling Mexicans rapists.

Clinton won 34 percent of white women without college degrees. And she won just 54 percent of women overall, compared to Obama’s 55 percent in 2012. Clinton, of course, was running against a candidate who has gloated on film about grabbing women “by the pussy.”
There's much more, but the bottom line is this: "This was Clinton’s election to lose. And she lost."

You Can't Defeat the Rich by Fighting With Your Neighbors

What's required to win this moment in history — to dismantle, in my phrasing, this era of hyper-predatory capitalism and the government it has wholly captured — is a politics focused on just that, dismantling the power of the owners of great wealth to control government, and also (necessarily) dismantling that great wealth itself.

You can't take down the boss who controls the company town by focusing on the transgressions of your neighbor. She's as much a victim of the boss as you are. You must focus on the boss.

And this moment, in this post-Clinton, post-Obama era and the wreckage it has wrought, is the moment we've been handed to do it in. Not a bad moment, when seen that way. The agents of greed on the right are insurgent, but the agents of greed on the left are limping and wounded. What an opportunity, and what a shame, if one of those agents is allowed to heal and grow strong again.

I'll focus on defeating the Republicans in due time — there are ways with Trump, who ran as an unusual Republican,  at the helm. But for now let's focus on defeating the corporate Democrats and doing the work that Sanders started — by replacing the corrupt many who run their organizations with the honest few who deserve to lead it going forward.

Ambition and greed for the few versus service to the many. Didn't someone once say, "He who would be greatest must be the servant of all"? Must have been a Democratic Socialist talking that way.


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At 10:21 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Quote - " But for now let's focus on defeating the corporate Democrats and doing the work that Sanders started — by replacing the corrupt many who run their organizations with the honest few who deserve to lead it going forward."

Yes that's the goal we must focus going forward & we will win this.

At 12:23 PM, Blogger jvb2718 said...

Quite true. Yet, we were given a candidate who could never be believed as a champion of the 99.99% in the struggle against capture by the .01%.

And the one who COULD have been viable as such was both screwed out of the nomination by the elitist candidate (and her machine), he also just didn't seem to resonate with voters as he could have. And THEN he betrayed his "movement" voters by turtling and joining the elitist machine.

And if you "defeated the corporate democrats", you'd have insufficient numbers left to field a basketball team. That party is, now, *ALL* corporate. They don't admit it... but pay attention to what they do (and refuse to do).

There were about 150 million eligible voters who did NOT vote for the American Mussolini (who looks like cheney III by his appointees). 60M voted for the corrupt neoliberal neocon warmongering money whore trying to masquerade as a liberal populist... and 90M or so didn't vote.

Ever since 2000 when cheney/bush won with a similar portion of eligible voters, I've suggested that a party or candidate that appeals to the OTHER 2/3ish of eligible voters would be a perpetual winner. Yet none has yet emerged (that anyone noticed).

Clearly the Democrats are not this party. They are so thoroughly corrupt and fetid from the DNC chair on down to the staffs of each corrupt senator.

The Greens are ideologically a good candidate.... yet they never get any attention nor votes. Stein got, what, around 1% this time?

In **THIS** election, between the 2 most vile candidates anyone could imagine, why did so few look at the Greens? Fearful? Lazy? Stupid? IMO, absolutely yes.

So how do you take that electorate and make them smarter and light a fire under them in the next 2 years? Or even the next generation?

And do it before drumpf and/or democrats finish destroying the shell of what's left of the usa.. and even the world???

At 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Did you or did you not just read what Gaius Publius wrote? He said "don't blame the voters." 99 percent of the voters think the Greens suck, and that their candidate sucked.

At 1:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Greens seem to remain somewhat below the radar even after all these years. Is it that hard to get onto the media? What if the Greens did like Bernie and Trump and had huge rallies, and generated a lot of buzz? What was it about Sanders that Stein could not do? Did the Democratic Party help Sanders get started in the national media? Stein is in the media. Why did one take off and not the other? Financing? Marketing? Message?
Frankly, I've never been all that inspired by Stein's delivery or message.
And given the way Warren and Sanders turtled...I"m not trying to be a purist by any means. Sanders came closest this year to someone who told it like it is, and wasn't afraid to be imperfect. It made him distinctive. This, in part, was the same thing that Trump has.
Can Stein do this?

At 8:04 AM, Blogger jvb2718 said...

Good points. Yes, the media won't make as much money covering the Greens or Socialists, so they ignore them. Yet CNN (I think) did hold/cover a town hall between Stein and Johnson.. so maybe the door was cracked open this cycle.

Yes, Stein is no firebrand and does not create controversy... even if anyone pays attention. And the Greens have no money, what with no superpacs nor any oppressive ground game for fundraising, ala the DNC.

And also, this time only, those of us who know what's needed had Bernie to follow and support... until he turtled and set his "movement" ablaze. It's plain now why Bernie pulled his punches the whole time... he was planning to capitulate and he didn't want to poison any of the lefty electorate with truth about $hillbillary. He did his sheepdog job pretty well. But nobody could ever make $hillbillary palatable to very many actual lefty voters.

And I don't care what anyone tells me to do. I have seen stupid voters outnumber captured voters (leftys with no real good choices) in every cycle since '76. The Reagan memes (russophobia, greed, racism, misogyny, homophobia, fear, "trickle down", ageism and so on) have been debunked by experienced, yet they are affirmed at the ballot box every time.

Stupid people keep doing the same thing and hope for different results.
Not stupid people try something else and hope for different results. That's why I've been voting Green and progressive down-ballot.

At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Usually I wholeheartedly agree with you Gaius, but not this time. First, it is not one or the other. You do not have to choose. It is not so simple. You cannot let Trump's supporters off the hook and only focus on the Dems. Unfair and wrong. They are adults and must be held accountable for their votes and the consequences. Sympathy for their economic woes does not justify supporting Trump. They supported a racist, psychiatrically impaired, megalomaniac. Their choice. Their ignorance. And we will all suffer for it. Were the German Nazis let off the hook after WW II? No, Europeans and Americans hated the Germans for decades (for good reason - they tried to take over the world! (And my family is Jewish and they GASSED many millions of people for Christ's sake). It took a long time for that wound to heal. It will take our country a long time, too, if we have the luxury of getting back on track as a democracy. Was the South immediately forgiven for their segregation and murder of blacks? Now these thoughts have risen back to the surface. Trump's voters chose to ignore his zillion faults, thinking he was their hero and would solve their problems, and they cannot be excused. Will they have no responsibility when Trump starts his deportation of innocent people who happen not to be white? Really? They are innocent and blameless? LA and Denver cops are already saying they will not participate.

If you think kumbaya with Trump's supporters via better economic platforms by the Dems will help, I think you are wrong. Their are into their emotions, their negative feelings toward other Americans, whom they seem to blame for their woes, not reality.

Of course, your other choice, looking at the Democratic party and its huge errors and stances, is a must and critical. I do not in any way deny that. If they do not reinvent, they will go down.

At 9:45 AM, Blogger Gaius Publius said...

If you think kumbaya with Trump's supporters via better economic platforms by the Dems will help, I think you are wrong. Their are into their emotions, their negative feelings toward other Americans, whom they seem to blame for their woes, not reality.

Thanks, but that's not my point at all. If particular supporters show themselves to be racist by their actions, then condemn that by all means. But don't broad-brush all Trump supporters, as is being done today, as deplorable. We want to separate out, and attract, the ones who might have been Sanders supporters, for example, in the general election, if Sanders had been the non-Trump choice.

That's my only point. Don't blame (all the) voters. Blame the elite. It's a better way forward and it acknowledges the fact of a more complex electorate.


At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not all voters. But everyone who supported $hillbillary over Bernie in the primaries and general **AND** everyone who voted for the combover Nazi monster over the neoliberal neocon corrupt lying DNC monster NEED to be blamed.

One can but speculate why our election system is set up so that 19% of the nation can dictate to the 81%. Or why 90 million eligible voters almost never vote.

But a choice between Bernie's policies and $hillbillary's RECORD should have been Bernie by 50 points... and the DNC didn't strip and flip half the votes.
And a choice between herr Nazi combover and $hillbillary should mean that only the dumbest of the dumb lefties and all the racists, misogynists, anti-semites and billionaires would bother to vote.

So ... are there 59M dumb lefties and 59M xenophobes and billionaires? Or are there just a lot of really stupid people voting.

I don't see many other possibilities.

At 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're citing the highly problematic CNN/Edison exit polls to prove that Hillary did worse with Latinos than Obama. This is untrue. If we look at good polling to Latino voters & look at how Latino counties voted, Latino turnout was higher in 2016 than it was in 2008 or 2012 & it broke far more strongly for Hillary than it did for Obama either time.

At 11:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Latino voters showed up in record numbers and delivered record margins on behalf of Democratic candidates in 2016. Per the Latino Decisions election eve poll, Latinos backed Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 78-19% margin.

However, if you rely on the national exit poll numbers regarding Latino voters, you’d come to a very different conclusion: that Clinton’s margin was just 65-29% and that Latino turnout declined in many key states compared to 2012.

The exit polls would have you believe that Donald Trump spent 15 months demonizing the Latino community and then grew the Republican vote share among Latinos compared to 2012; that the Latinos’ share of the electorate declined compared to four years ago in states such as Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada; that nearly one-third of Latinos in Nevada voted for Trump – despite the Democrats’ success up and down the ballot in NV in 2016; and that the same exit polls that, by their own admission, are “not designed to yield very reliable estimates of the characteristics of small, geographically clustered demographic groups,” are more accurate than a massive sample poll designed solely to accurately gauge Latino voters.

The bottom line is that the national exit polls, once again, got it wrong when it comes to Latino voters (see here for background on why exit polls do not accurately capture Latinos).

The numbers defy common sense and the facts on the ground. This is not a mere academic exercise or a story simply about methodology. At a time when the Latino and immigrant communities are vulnerable and fearful given the election of Donald Trump, an accurate assessment of the community’s performance in the 2016 elections and its electoral power is of huge consequence. Selling the Latino vote short, as the national exit polls do, essentially diminishes – even disenfranchises – Latino voters at a moment of maximum peril.

As Politico highlighted:

"After starting his campaign by calling Mexicans rapists, promoting a ‘deportation force,’ and appealing to white nationalists, had Trump actually done better among Latinos than Mitt Romney? Nope, contended a coalition of Latino groups this week. They’re placing their faith in a poll conducted the night before the election by Latino Decisions, a firm that specializes in studying Hispanic Americans that found 18 percent of Latinos voting for Trump. That’s a “record low” for a GOP presidential candidate, said National Council of La Raza president Janet Murguía at a press conference with other Hispanic leaders on Thursday. “It is an insult to us as Latinos to keep hearing the media ignoring the empirical data that was presented by Latino Decisions.”

Matt Barreto and Gabriel Sanchez of Latino Decisions write in the Washington Post that detailed precinct analysis of heavily Latino counties is confirming heavy Latino turnout for Clinton:

“Starr County, Tex., is 96 percent Latino; there, Trump won just 19 percent of all votes cast. In Florida’s Miami-Dade County, the heavily Cuban precinct 419 — which had cast only 28 percent votes for Obama — jumped to 49 percent for Clinton, a 21 point increase. In the heavily Puerto Rican precinct 210 in Kissimee, Fla., Clinton defeated Trump 80 percent to 17 percent. In New Mexico’s Las Cruces, precinct 80 cast only 9 percent of its votes for Trump. And in Milwaukee District 12, precinct 233, which is 77 percent Latino, the vote was 88 percent for Clinton to 9 percent for Trump. There are literally thousands of similar results across majority-Latino precincts in the country. The national exit polls apparently did not conduct any interviews in these Latino enclaves.”

At 11:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was fundamentally an election about racism & white supremacy.

From her very first campaign speeches in 2015 right up to the end Hillary ran the most explicitly anti-racist campaign in American history while her opponent was a racist, Islamophobic demagogue. She lost because the country is far more racist than I genuinely thought it was.

At 7:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The country is probably no more racist today than last year. But herr drumpf re-normalized it.

Under obamanation we lost voting rights (via the SC, but not a peep from the Ds nor obamanation) which primed the pump. The nascent hate was coaxed from just under the surface by drumpf's overt call to action and the media's silence and SOME affirmation in response.
The R elites, ever conscious of their base, could not condemn it and did not.
The D elites, always trying to attract as many from the right and ignoring the entirety of the left, were extremely tepid in response.

This is now evil gets normalized. Or re-normalized in this case. If we are to retake the ground gained by the marches and activism of the '60s, more will have to act, bleed and die. Pathetic how fucking stupid americans can be.

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

If ratified, this election has done precisely that recommended : removed the DEM BS (Bush Shadow) Barry-0, Billary Und Jeb! and their patron, Poppy of teh burning Bushs' (CIA) "Company" from absolute control of the country !


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