Sunday, January 22, 2017

There's Only One Way To Stop-- Or At Least Slow Down-- Trump: Win Back The House In 2018


Thanks to the basic map of seats up and to the gross and venal incompetence of Chuck Schumer, the Senate is a lost cause until, at least, 2020. Democrats will be playing defense-- not just trying to reelect progressives like Bernie Sanders (VT), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Mazie Hirono (HI) Sherrod Brown (OH) and Tammy Baldwin (WI), but also defending the seats of undeserving conservative collaborators like Joe Donnelly (IN), Joe Manchin (WV), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Jon Tester (MT), Claire McCaskill (MO) and Tim Kaine (VA). The only plausible Democratic pickup opportunity is in Nevada, where Dean Heller sill be up for reelection. The best the Democrats could do-- in the unlikely event that the Republicans are so hated by then that the Democrats can win all their tough races in red state and win Nevada is a 51-49 split... with the GOP still ahead. And even that outcome is so unlikely as to be nearly impossible.

The House is an entirely different matter. The Democrats need a net of 24 seats. Traditional voter patterns would predict a sharp turn away from even a normal Republican president in his first midterm. And Trump is far from normal. Add to that mix the already demonstrated overreach of Republicans hell-bent on turning around the gains for working Americans from the Great Society and New Deal eras.

Goal Thermometer In George W. Bush's 2006 midterm, the Republicans lost 30 seats-- and Nancy Pelosi replaced Denny Hastert (currently residing in a federal penitentiary) as Speaker. Two years later, the Republicans, still paying for the disgust voters felt towards Bush, defeated 21 more Republicans-- that's 30 + 21. Can that be replicated in 2018/2020. Absolutely. Start here. And let's spend the next 20 months standing up to Ryan and Trump and recruiting solid progressives to run against weak right-wing sociopaths like Darrell Issa (R-CA), Jeff Denham (R-CA), Steve Knight (R-CA), David Valadao (R-CA), Ed Royce (R-CA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Tom Rooney (R-FL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Mike Bost (R-IL), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Rod Blum (R-IA), David Long (R-IA), Steve King (R-IA), Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), Fred Upton (R-MI), Mike Bishop (R-MI), Tim Walberg (R-MI), David Trott (R-MI), Jason Lewis (R-MN), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Steve Pearce (R-NM), John Katko (R-NY), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Peter King (R-NY), Dan Donovan (R-NY), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), John Faso (R-NY), Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Tom Reed (R-NY), Mike Turner (R-OH), David Joyce (R-OH), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Jim Renacci (R-OH), Ryan Costello (R-PA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Pat Meehan (R-PA), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), John Culberson (R-TX), Lamar Smith (R-TX), Mike McCaul (R-TX), Will Hurd (R-TX), Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Tom Garrett (R-VA), Scott Taylor (R-VA), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and last and far from least, Paul Ryan (R-WI).

That should be the 2 year goal-- at least 30 in 2018 and the rest in 2020. Can it be done? Absolutely, although the DCCC will make it much harder. Yesterday, writing for The Guardian, Molly Crabapple set the table-- with a cake. "Trump," she wrote, "is now our president, and no savior will stand between America and its mess. Best case scenario, the most powerful man in the world is a New York Berlusconi. At worst? Picture an elderly, vindictive trust fund brat, surrounded by kleptocrats, racists and pucker-faced spawnlings, his toy box stuffed with spy tools and death machines, the likes of which prior despots could never have imagined. It takes both skill and luck to bake a FailCake as bad as this, and you’ve got to do the prep work for years. Start with a racist celebrity liar. Soak him in media attention. Plunk him into the electoral college, a system engineered to empower slave states at the expense of densely populated cities, then subtract section four of the Voting Rights Act and add in a dash of discriminatory voter ID laws in crucial states. Next, bake upon the ashes of neoliberalism. Shred in Hillary Clinton, victim of misogyny and her husband’s scandals, who also represents everything cowardly, venal and bland about the old order. Smother the whole mess in resentment-- some economic woe, some racism, some hatred of women, some deserved loathing for our political class. Sprinkle with 'oh fuck it.'... In the new world, Hillary Clinton, the realistic, electable candidate, is neither, and institutions meant to keep populists out of power collapse like old soufflés."
Trump may have lost by nearly 3m votes, but this election is a verdict on the status quo. To win, politicians must offer more radical dreams. These can be Trumpian con-jobs, or the humane democratic socialism of Bernie Sanders.

In four years, if the Democrats become an actual party for the working class, one that campaigns in all 50 states, fights voter suppression, doesn’t court a mythical White Working Class by kicking the brown, black and queer people who still have its back, if it runs candidates who talk in real words, not Goldman Sachs platitudes, and if it fights Trump till the bloody dawn … maybe it has a shot.

To do this, Democrats must learn from their prior sins. The party will be fighting a president they themselves empowered. The Democratic Clinton built mass incarceration, and the Democratic Obama administration championed assassination by drone. The deportations, the torture, the surveillance, the crony capitalism are all part of a system created by Democrats as much as Republicans, all reinforced by adult, bipartisan voices in respectable, badly cut suits.

Trump’s promise? Things will get harrowingly, epically worse. Instead of merely rendering Muslims to secret prisons, he’ll do something “a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding” to them beneath a gold Trump marquee. You thought mass surveillance was bad? Wait until he dips into the NSA server farms, then tweets out his critics’ sex tapes. Or cheers on hate crimes before rallies of capped fanboys. Or classes protesters as terrorists. He’ll be yuge. But the man couldn’t do it without the infrastructure bequeathed to him by past administrations. Trump is not a builder. Not of skyscrapers, and not of gulags. He just makes money licensing his name.

If you want real resistance, look to the people who fought, and are still fighting, this infrastructure. Indigenous activists. Radical lawyers. Prison solidarity networks. Abortion funds. Churches converted into sanctuary spaces. Anarchists who hold noise demonstrations outside of jails in the freezing January night, so humans inside know they are not forgotten.

These groups are even more vital because Trump is not alone. His presidency is the showiest example of a global love affair with fascism; soft rich boy he may be, but he’s a bloated pea in the Duterte, Erdoğan, Putin, Modi pod.

In a chaotic world, many people want two things-- identity and Daddy. They long for a leader who promises not just to keep them safe, fed and emotionally validated, but to accomplish these things by punishing an imagined Other-- the impure, foreign, unreal source of all the homeland’s humiliations.

Depending on the country, this Other may be black, Kurdish, Mexican, gay; dancing at a nightclub, doing drugs or wearing a hijab. She may be an impoverished refugee or a decadent urbanite, but she is always looking down her nose at the decent, demagogue-supporting majority. She’s always laughing.

Of course, that silent majority doesn’t exist, and neither does that Other. They’re stock figures in an authoritarian’s playbook, substitutes for solutions in our complex, impure, interwoven world. Economic justice is just the first step to beating fascists, orange-colored or otherwise.

We need to fight for each other, every last one of us. Not to “tolerate,” like one tolerates painful shoes, but to proudly say that this world belongs to all of us, and that we’re not going anywhere. Ethno-nationalists are escaping from neoliberalism’s cracks, just as they crawled forth from the rot of 19th century empires, singing the same false and bloody tune. On the page, and in the streets, we must write a better story.

We have four years.
She's right, except for one thing: we have two years, not four, not if there's going to be anything left in four.

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At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

... So you think that putting in 170 less racist fascist corporatists will be "WINNING" back the house?

You think the money that owns it will allow 170 actual, you know, liberals (of the uncorrupted variety) to occupy its hallowed chamber? You think the fully money-owned DCCC and DNC will allow 170 liberals to displace the money's chosen shills?

As long as the Democrap party is owned and run by the big money, that isn't going to happen. The money is just fine with things the way they've designed it (320 or so corrupted with some mix of Rs and Ds; and 15 or so irrelevant liberals and progressives).

As long as we elect democraps, the money gets exactly what they want... and we will continue to validate that **WE** lefty voters are dumber than yak shit.

At 10:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our problem isn't the DCCC/DNC. It's people who use words like "Democraps" being totally okay with electing state and local representatives who prevent legal votes from counting.

The Republican President is a billionaire who has filled his cabinet with billionaire cronies, and you're talking about Democrats being the problem moneyed party... that shows us you are totally and completely incapable of being objective.

In 2018 we should focus on taking state AG and SOS positions and reversing the laws and policies that allowed this election to be stolen from the people. In 2020 we should put as much effort into state and local as we do in federal so we can remove the firewall the Republicans have set up that makes them act as if they can't possibly lose by shitting on their constituents.

If we can do these things, we will win in every election after 2020 until the Republicans either stop acting as if their constituents can't vote, or retake state and local positions and reinstall disenfranchisement policy.

At 11:02 AM, Blogger samuel glover said...

Worry more about state legislatures. Electing to Congress a pack of corporatist tools who happen to wear the Team Dem logo means fuck-all, really. You want to build a viable left coalition that can actually do something? Then focus on elections for office **below** national level. Let the necrosis of the national Democratic Party run its full course.

At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone here familiar with the corporatist effort to hold a Constitutional Convention? They are one state away from having enough state willing to support such an effort. They have managed to push the necessary resolution through something like 20 state legislatures, and there is an organized push funded with corporate money to make it happen in those GOP-controlled states which haven't yet done so. Once they get the Convention, they will ensure that only corporate-friendly articles are in place while those which benefit mere humans are expunged.

Are you ready for corporate-controlled legislatures to select the Senators who represent your state? Kiss the 17th Amendment goodbye!

Equal rights? Adios, 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th Amendments!

Expect most of the Bill of Rights to be altered to impose a State religion and to muzzle the media, to alter your rights against self-incrimination and to be deemed innocent until found guilty by a jury of your peers - IF you ever actually HAVE a trial, and so very much more. If that makes you curious, read up on Germany's Enabling Acts.

It CAN happen here - and it is in progress. Do not expect the Democratic Party to sacrifice its connections to Big Money to save the basic law of your nation. They are too far down the road to the Dark Side that they can't see how to reverse course. It will be a done deal long before any grass roots effort can get organized enough to have an effect - provided such efforts aren't declared illegal in the meantime.

And forget about protesting! That corporatist lackey Obama left Trump some mighty powerful and grossly unconstitutional laws to deal with those of us who dare resist being assimilated.

But on this last, look at the bright side. You'd know for a fact whether or not there really are FEMA camps waiting to be filled with liberals and progressives who oppose corporatism.

At 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:11, how you gonna get red states to elect any lefties if they don't have to count votes? How are you going to get better results in even blue states if the party can decide whether and how to count votes? Bernie voters were caged in NY ferkrissakes.

If you stick with the current Democrap party, the absolute best you can hope for is that blue states might continue to be blue and that the DC contingent of the slightly less racist fascists will always be owned by the corporations and the less racist fascist billionaires.

You're never going to change something that has so much money enforcing that it NOT change.
And you're never going to turn a gerrymandered state from red to blue unless something better than the Democrap party makes 100 million eligible voters come out of hibernation.


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