Posts tagged ‘establishment Democrats’

The Democrats are Dumber than Snot

Well the Donna Brazile story broke showing how what Bernie supporters thought were all true, the cards were carefully stacked against them by the DNC, and the purse strings controlled, it turns out, by Hillary Clinton. So what did I see this morning? A Democratic pundit telling the Democratic Party and focusing on Bernie supporters, to quit squabbling and come together. How f*cking dumb is that? Come together around what? If you have taken the time to read the Autopsy, The Democratic Party in Crisis, you know he has got it exactly backwards.

One of my insightful friends said to me that we need to be going after the Tax Cut, not revisiting 2016. This is a common theme among Democrats who refuse to really look at what happened which the Autopsy does in detail and data.  And what is tells you is that the Democratic Party after the election of Barrack Obama in 2008 became irrelevant, some of that can be laid at Barrack’s feet thinking that the middle and compromise was the way forward.  We got too aligned with Wall Street and the status quo and abandoned working class people in general of all colors.  Don’t believe me and read the report. So going after the tax cut is another what they are against, not what they are for.  It has to be both.

Here is the thing that everyone ignores:

 “Since Obama’s victory in 2008, the Democratic Party has lost control of both houses of Congress and more than 1,000 state legislative seats. The GOP now controls the governorship as well as the entire legislature in 26 states , while Democrats exercise such control in only six states. Republicans now outnumber Democrats in governors’ offices by more than 2 to 1…In 2009, Democrats controlled both the state senate and house in 27 states, the Republicans 14. After the 2016 elections, Republicans controlled both branches of the legislatures in 32 states to 14 for the Democrats.”

Something is badly wrong with the Democratic Party and they are in denial.  Bernie was not the problem and may have indicated the solution, and neither were the Russians or Comey when you look at the whole period of Obama’s presidency.  The Democratic party failed to stand for anything in most voters minds.  As the report tells us:

Despite this Democratic decline, bold proposals with the national party’s imprint are scarce. Whatever the virtues of “ A Better Deal ” that Democratic Party leaders rolled out in mid-summer 2017, the months that followed gave scant indications that it ignited much grassroots enthusiasm, while one critique after another after another faulted the party’s new manifesto as too cautious, too corporate and too removed from the energizing passions of the current era. The party leadership appears to have concluded, yet again, that major structural changes are not needed, in the party or in the country. Amid all the calls to “resist Trump,” top party leaders seem to have largely pinned their hopes on Donald Trump finally going too far, an ominous echo of an electoral strategy that failed in the 2016 general election.

There are tons in this report to discuss including maybe identity politics is not a bad thing, the way forward developing real grass-roots organizations, bold programs to protect working people, and re-engaging young people who are far more progressive than the rest of the country.  Those that argue Hillary had those, the report responded with this, and I agree:

Democrats will not win if they continue to bring a wonk knife to a populist gunfight. Nor can Democratic leaders and operatives be seen as real allies of the working class if they’re afraid to alienate big funders or to harm future job or consulting prospects.

But I think the real key here is this and it has everything to do with establishment Democrats and increasing economic inequality:

Corporate domination over the party’s agenda — and, perhaps more importantly, the perception of corporate control over the party’s agenda — rendered the Democrats’ messaging on economic issues ideologically rudderless and resulted in a decline in support among working-class people across racial lines.

And what did we here this morning?  Bernie’s people need to shut up and come together.  Failure on a stick.  Unless Democrats come to grips with this report and its reality to a party that is right now irrelevant, well failure is in the Democrat’s blood. It is what they are really good at.  It is time to sweep the streets and get back to our roots, bold programs for the middle class and fighting corporate America, not becoming co-opted by them.

Democrats and Populism, or is it Populism and Democrats

Populism is getting a very bad rap in the press.  The fools describe what Donald Trump is about as populism.  Of course it is not.  Donald Trump used populism to get elected (while the Democrats ignored it), but he has no plans to actually help the common man and woman unless you consider the common man and woman corporate heads.  There is this whole connection of populism with racism, ignorance, and mob rule and that is totally wrong.

A Populist may or may not want what is good for the people, but they want what the people want.  Donald only pretended to want what the people wanted and they bought it.  Democrats on the other hand were labeled Elitists, just as the establishment Republicans were. That means they thought they knew what was best for the people regardless of what they wanted.

And you know, that is okay, because a lot of times what the people want in the short-term could be damaging in the long-term, but the other side of that coin is that you have to actually understand what the people are clambering for and then deal with it straight up, instead of ignoring it.

Now I do not have much more to say about the Donald except that he is anything but a populist, so don’t smear populism with Donald Trump.  Donald Trump could care less about the people other than to use them to get elected, and like Brexit, populism while expressing real problems, jumped on the wrong band wagon for their solutions.  We will now have conservative economic theory on steroids and that precludes any populist solutions.

So that turns me to the Democrats.  How did the party of working man become so elitist?  Well I am going to refer to the arguments made by Thomas Frank in his book, Listen, Liberal:  Or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People, as they are quite convincing.  But first I would like to point something out.  There is a very large difference between a Democratic Elitist and a Republican one.

As I will argue in a minute, Democrats have decided that education is the solution to all problems, and the best and brightest should be our leaders.  Through them we can discover the best solutions to our problems.  On the other hand Republican Elitists are focused on conservative ideology, the only solutions are those that follow conservative ideology.  Those that hold most tightly to those principles are the Elitists of the Republican Party, the Establishment so to speak.  So one is focused on finding the best solutions based upon their perception of the problem, and one is focused on finding only ones that meet an ideological test.

Now with that firmly in the back of our minds, what did happen to Democrats and how were they perceived as out of touch with working white America?  Well Frank argues that the party has become the party of the professional managerial class, lawyers, Doctors, engineers, scientists, programmers, even bankers, and left the common man behind.  This has happened over many many years and Obama is part of the problem.  Basically he does two things, he describes the rational that got us here and then tracks the actual evolution of the party to reject the New Deal Democrats.  So let me try to summarize.

Democrats, as I do, believe that government should be run by the best and the brightest.  But here is where, according to Frank, we lost our way.  The best and the brightest all came up through education and because they have surrounded themselves with clones of themselves, they see the answer to everything as access to education.  It is also a society of meritocracy.

Again nothing wrong with that except that blaming the victim easily enters into the mix.  If you are not educated and smart you only have yourself to blame.  It is very similar to the Republicans fatal flaw, the belief that if you work hard and have discipline you will get your just rewards.  If you don’t, you will be poor and deserve your fate.  Therefore no action is required and any action taken is self defeating and rewarding failure.  Sadly, in many ways the elitism of the Democrats can be used in the same way to write off the Rust Belt and white middle class America who wants their guaranteed jobs back.

He, Frank, then takes us on a history journey showing how FDR was in fact one of the best and brightest, yet he brought many people into his administration who were not part of the clique, but understood the real challenges of working people.  Contrast that with the Clinton Administration which really did in the unions.  While Bill got elected talking a populist agenda, what he then did was to favor the professional class and stiff the working class.

Frank gives us a test.  He asks us to name Progressive or liberal things Bill Clinton got accomplished that were important to improve the lives of working people.  Yeah, he did get the minimum wage raised, and raised some taxes, but then there was NAFTA, cutting off welfare, deregulating the banks, tough on crime, and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  What we remember of the Clinton days were the great economy, but that was really the result of the Dot Com boom that had little to do with anything Bill Clinton did. Frank does not look kindly or either Bill or Hillary during this period and it would seem that he has the facts to back up his view.

In many ways, Frank tells a story of the Clinton Administration moving purposely away from New Deal Democrats to embrace the professional managerial class.  The world was changing and either you evolved with it or you deserved your fate.  Unions and working class were old and needed to be jettisoned.  But can everybody enter the professional managerial class, and in case you haven’t noticed, that no longer guarantees success either?

My thoughts here are that true the world is changing, and I too feel that the white middle class is going to have to evolve as the global markets and automation impact their guaranteed jobs. But education, while it will help some and should certainly be available to all, is not really going to solve the problem.  The Democratic Elites isolated themselves from their working class root thinking and those white working class workers had no other alternative, then along came a Trump to rip the rug out from under them.

I personally think Frank has nailed it.  We became elite boobs just like the Republicans, our solutions informed by our bubble in which we filled it with other elites who had profited and succeeded from the existing system.  It was too easy to cast off those outside our bubble as deserving their fate by not moving with the times and all becoming programmers.

Bernie Sanders tapped into that feeling that Democrats no longer represented the working man.  He understood that as Republicanism and their conservative economics actually rewards economic inequality as an end in itself, Democrats were doing the same thing with meritocracy and the belief that education solves all problems.  They were tone-deaf to problems of white middle America who were looking for a champion.  Sadly they did not get Bernie, but the snake oil salesman.

I would say, that as a Progressive I probably fell into that trap of looking down at white middle class America.  No, their jobs are not coming back, and their attraction to a Trump type candidate is horrific in and of itself. On the other hand education would help, but what about automation and the real pressures of the global economy?  Their choice was bone head stupid, much like Brexit, and self-defeating.  They have put America in a very dangerous place.  But they also had real concerns everyone was writing off and sent a strong message that establishment Democrats have failed, and no longer represent their interests.  You want our votes, you have to earn them.

What is required of Democrats is not to pander as the Donald did to populist demands, but to take those real populist concerns seriously and sell solutions that really work, not time travel back into the past.  That will require political courage because you can’t do like Trump did and promise them you can turn back the clock. You have to come up with a more egalitarian solution that preserves capitalism, but capitalism that works for all of us.  Heard any of those solutions yet?

I think Bernie really did have it right, whether it is trade, jobs, minimum wage, education, you name it, the real issue is economic inequality and how to make sure we all share in the wealth of the country.  Democrats really haven’t addressed that and their moves to the left looked like shallow pandering which drove white America away from them. Can’t wait to see where Mr. Frank takes me next.

Where To?

What really happened? More importantly, how does the Democratic Party respond?  I think after a day of thinking about it, I know what happened.  Said simply, an establishment politician was not going to get elected.  There has been an ongoing argument about whether or not Trump supporters were economically threatened.  As the argument goes, most of his supporters were in fact above average in middle class income so the idea that this was about economic insecurity must be wrong.  Wrong conclusion.  The more you have, the more you have to lose and people worrying about their economic well-being are reflecting a fear of what the future brings, a true malaise about our direction.

So with this anxiety about  the future, what also became apparent was that the general population was fed up with the gridlock in Washington.  It’s been eight years and nothing changes.  So there was a real distrust of establishment politicians that seem to be out of touch with what is going on and had sold them out.  That is why we got Trump and Sanders. When Jeb Bush went down the message was flashing in neon lights and Democrats ignored it.  They just figured that was the dysfunction in the Republican Party. Neither Trump or Sanders were considered establishment politicians and both seemed independent of the establishment power base.  On the Democratic side, the establishment and a majority of Democrats missed all these signs, and many felt it was Hillary’s turn.  And from a change point of view and resentment turning to hatred of the establishment, she was very problematic.

When she beat Bernie many of us rallied around Hillary, even though we (even me) knew better.  But that is the process and that is who won the nomination.  We tricked ourselves about what this election was really about, rejecting the establishment to bring about real change.   We convinced ourselves that she represented real change, and maybe she did, but no one from the voting population were going to elect someone from the establishment. So Hillary’s challenge may have been impossible, convince us she was not the establishment, trustworthy, and about real change.  Couple that with the emails, both from her server and Wikileaks, Bill and Foundation issues,  Comey throwing a Grenade into the process, and the fact that establishment Democrats never really understood what was going on, and she was doomed from day one. And yes, there was some misogyny in there too.

Arguing she would be a great president misses the point. She was not the candidate that could win. She was simply the wrong candidate for the wrong time.  Now, this is not meant to normalize what happened. Half the electorate (note that only 51.2% of the eligible voters voted which ought to tell something) that voted chose a pathological liar, racist, misogynist, xenophobe, nativist, ignorant, tyrannical, and quite frankly danerous man to lead the nation.  At the bottom of this blog* is a list of  some of things he has promised to do in his first 100 days that goes against our core values as a nation.

So the shock that this could happen is spawning real anger among Democrats.  And it is focused where it should be, at the DNC, its leadership, and establishment Democrats.  Let’s face it, their leadership and strategy has lost us the House, Senate, Presidency, and the majority of statehouse and governorships.  There is a record for you. So the question is where do we go from here? Two things have to be recognized.  First the strategy of the Democratic Party as the moderates who will work across the aisle has failed totally (This raises real questions about whether Schumer is the right guy to lead the Senate minority).  Secondly, the old leadership that tried to suppress Bernie and the real life blood of the Democratic Parties future, Progressivism, needs to be gone.  Here are two young Democratic women describing their feelings and listen particularly closely to the young Muslim mother and activist describing her shock at the outcome of the election and then her anger at the Democrat Party (Chris Hayes):

But probably the best summary of that anger was from Tavis Smiley on Lawrence O’Donnell last night:

There is real anger and the Democratic Party, as it should be, is in shambles.  The way forward is clear if we don’t listen to establishment Democrats and listen to Tavis and the two young women above.  It is to embrace a new liberalism called Progressivism and all the young people and their energy.  It is to start drawing lines and standing for something.  Eight years the Republicans obstructed government and they won.  It is time to do our own obstruction for what is right.  Donald Trump is a threat to everything we stand for and looking for compromise is capitulation.  Say hello to an eight member Supreme Court.  Say hello to just saying no.  People who tell you the American people just want people to work together are full of shit.  Look at this election. Some Democrats say well what about an infrastructure bill which would help the country.  I say okay as long as there are not strings like the end of funding for Planned Parenthood.  No more balance good with evil.  It simply has not worked. The fight has just begun and it is about everything we stand for.  Get establishment Democrats out of my sight!

Donald Trumps attacks on America in his first 100 days.

* FIRST, propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress;

* SECOND, a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health);
* THIRD, a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated;
* FOURTH, a 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service;

* FIFTH, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government;

* SIXTH, a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.
On the same day, I will begin taking the following 7 actions to protect American workers:
* FIRST, I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205
* SECOND, I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership
* THIRD, I will direct my Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator
* FOURTH, I will direct the Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately

* FIFTH, I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.

* SIXTH, lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward

* SEVENTH, cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure

Additionally, on the first day, I will take the following five actions to restore security and the constitutional rule of law:

* FIRST, cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama

* SECOND, begin the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on my list, who will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States

* THIRD, cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities

* FOURTH, begin removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back

* FIFTH, suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting.

Yeah, this is not the America I know anymore and we have to have a whole new battle plan.

The Correct Problem, The Wrong Solution

Talking heads have a narrative about Donald Trump that is only partly correct but in this exchange, they are starting to get it.  I was listening to Meet the Press on Sunday and the following occurred:

Yamiche Alcindor, National Political reporter for the New York Times:  When I go to these Rallies for Pence and for Donald Trump  and I talk to people they really don’t feel as though the Republican Party really stuck with them.  They felt like the party just doesn’t understand the anxiety they are feeling both about the economy and healthcare. In some ways they sound like people who voted for Obama. I am working on some things where I ask them if they voted for Obama and they say that even with him they thought there was going to be change and the economy was going to do better.  So the Republican Party 75% of them, is not who the establishment said they are.

Eliana Johnson, Washington Editor of The National Review:  I think there will be. not an enormous, but significant segment of the electorate who feels that when Trump talks about a rigged election, doesn’t necessary feel that the election is rigged, but that the system is rigged against them that they haven’t gotten the attention from either party that they deserve and I think it is borne by both parties.  I don’t think at this point that the debate is about whether or not the Republican Party needs to reach out to minorities, but it is how to do that.  Is Immigration the magic bullet, or is moderating the some of the party’s stances on entitlement reform or the welfare state.  Is that a more constructive way to do it?

Thomas Friedman, New York Times Columnist:  I would take it one step deeper if I may.  I think we are at the single greatest technological inflection point since Gutenberg invented of the printing press.  I think the working place is being fundamentally transformed and what Bill Clinton said back in 1992 just doesn’t apply any more.  What did he say at that convention?  He said if you work hard and play by the rules you should be in the middle class.  Good luck with that.  Today you have to work harder, work faster, retool and re-engineer…I use to say when I graduated from college I got to find a job.  When my daughters graduate today they have to invent a job.  That’s what is new all right? You may get lucky and get your first job you did not have to reinvent and nobody wants to trust the people with that truth because it is really scary.

Chuck Todd: Does the Clinton campaign get this?

Yamiche Alcindor, National Political reporter for the New York Times: It is hard to say they get this because you hear them talking about giving people opportunities they still believe if you go to college or you do this (Chuck:  Like Bill Clinton), it sounds like they are saying that this is the America you have, this is the American dream.  But then when you talk to people who have four degrees or in a Master’s program, they can’t find jobs or they are living in a basement with their parents. Those are people who are maybe voting for Bernie Sanders or maybe solidly Trump supporters both people overlap in their life experiences.

There is a lot to unpack here and they range from the coming civil wars in both parties about the direction of the parties, the message that the establishment still misses, and whether Hillary is still too wedded to the establishment to get this critical change in the electorate.  More on that in a minute. Let me start with the insight that the Donald (and Bernie) got it.  As Yamiche Alcindor put it, there is wide-spread anxiety about the economy and more importantly their place in the world.  Both parties in one form or another failed or ignored this middle class.  While trade is the scapegoat, they know they are losing ground and here is the really, really important point made by Tom Friedman, the American Dream, if you work hard and follow the rules you will succeed, does not work any more for many people. As Yamiche Alcindor described her friends, they did that and can’t find a job.  In the words of both Bernie and Donald, the system is rigged (or dysfunctional or both).

Now comes the solutions.  Donald tapped into this like the exquisite con man he is.  The Republican Party had laid the basis for his rise by using the blame game (race, nativism, xenophobia) to further their conservative ideology that only really served the wealthy.  So from the Republican (Trump) side what we got was be afraid, blame others, some populism (kill trade deals, and protect entitlements), and conservative economic theory on steroids.  There was little thought about how economic inequality was growing  and what the real systemic problems were, except everyone in Washington was incompetent and elect an outsider.

So what we have here is correct identification of the problem, wrong solution.  Trump quickly took over the Republican Party because most of their base gets that the Party does not serve them anymore, but were still imbued with the be afraid politics and misinformation they had been continuously feed for all these years through the conservative think tanks and radio shows, not to mention Fox News..

On the Democratic side we got the fight between Bernie and Hillary.  Bernie got it and really laid out the problem and the road to fixing it, economic socialism.  But he lost to Hillary for a couple of reasons.  First, Democrats were not ready for reality yet.  Bernie was too extreme and even Democrats want to move into this carefully.  Many are still victims to deficit fears and have not really understood that the system no longer works for them.

Second, there was a strong reaction from Democratic women that this was Hillary’s time.  Third, African-Americans did not know who Bernie was and were solidly behind Hillary.  But Hillary still struggled until she moved left.  Now in this case we have maybe identifying the correct problem, and maybe having the right answer.  In Bernie’s case he got it and he provided Progressive answers that were the right solution.  In Hillary’s case, she did not get it (calling herself a moderate), and being pushed left.  The issue today is does she get it or is she just calibrating for votes?

As Eliana Johnson put it, the system is rigged.  Not the election process, but governing and being responsive. We are approaching the final vote for President and as Yamiche Alcindor tells us, Hillary may not get it that the American dream does not work any more for many people.  So do we have establishment Democrats who just want to restore a system they don’t understand is fundamentally broken?  The release of the Wikileaks emails raises real questions about whether Hillary and her team understand this fundamental truth that requires fundamental changes.  Clearly many of Hillary’s plans and policies will address some of the issues, but like moving the chairs around on the Titanic, may not address the root problem.  That is why it is maybe it is the right solution. If the approach is too slow, 2020 could be an interesting election.

And that leads us to what is not discussed very much, the civil war in the Democratic Party that is coming.  The day after the election both Parties will have to come to terms with their factions.  We have focused on the Republicans, but the Democrats may have an even bigger struggle.  Until we recognize that the fundamental way we do business is broken, and the point Thomas Friedman made, it is not your father’s economy anymore, politics will continue to be dysfunctional.  At the level of identifying the problem, the Republican base and Bernie supporters got it right.

At the level of fixing the problems, Republicans don’t have a clue and would have to become a totally different party to be successful. How that plays out will be entertaining at best. Democrats have opted for a milder, gentler form of solutions that may also fail.  Establishment Democrats, like establishment Republicans can’t go back.  So the real fun begins on November 9th when we see what kind of a Congress we have and whether Hillary surrounds herself with the old school or moves to see that without change and fixing how the system is rigged*, she will not be successful.

*The system is rigged to favor the wealthy.  It’s primary symptom is growing economic inequality.  Until we fix all the things that allow the market place to function, but that the gains are shared more equitably, nothing will change.  This will require fundamental changes in tax law, intellectual property rights,  trade policy, and the role of government in investing in our future.  Establishment politics has become dependent on the existing system for power and funding.  But to effect change, the existing system has to be radically changed.  Power and money will oppose this every step of the way because it will change who benefits most from the system.


Establishment …

Republicans or Democrats.  Both suffer from the same folly, thinking the old guard just needs to restore itself, that this election was just an aberration, Trump and Bernie were just flies in the ointment.  Let’s do a quick pass by Republicans and then focus on Democrats because they are going to win the Presidency.

Republicans (establishment) have always been in denial or at least walled off from reality.  They depend on their rather white working class base and they have ignored their needs.  That was not by design, but by utility.  Their policies can’t help the base.  The Republican primary season was a giant flashing light to establishment Republicans, yet today as the reality of the Trump defeat grows, they think they can reconstitute the old party, that the Trumpees have learned their lesson.  But the problem persists and those that supported Trump are not going away.  They want change and they don’t trust establishment (for good reason) Republicans to bring about that change.  I am leaving out all the racism, nativism, xenophobia, because both establishment and new Republicans seem to embrace fear as a motivator.

Republicans have to realize that the entitlements they so hate, are needed by most of their white base.  And here is the real kicker, flow down does not work for the base.  It just continues to increase economic inequality.  The Republican establishment’s primary problem is that while their policies benefit the status quo and the wealthy, their base gets left out in the cold.  We hear Republicans talking about new ideas (usually revolving around flow down/trickle down on steroids) but there really aren’t any.  To actually help the tea party base they so desperately need,they would have to become moderate Democrats in many respects.  They could not sell free ride policies like tax cuts that pay for themselves and wild growth.  They would have to stop blamming others and face some facts about their failed ideas.

So on the Republican side, they are going to have a battle royal to see where the party goes and if they can connect with the voters in the future.  One thing they are terrified of is that if Hillary could pass some of her agenda and it works, they are dead meat.  So that sets up another obstructionist dysfunctional Congress if the voters have not turned the real trouble makers away.  Okay, enough about Republicans.

Democrats face a similar problem from their establishment side.  In the Democrat’s case the establishment candidate won out over the real change candidate in the primary, but in doing so, Hillary had to move left on many issues.  Again, whether you are Republican or Democrat the underlying dynamic is change and rejecting establishment politics.  The Wikileaks release of emails is making it clear that what the Progressives worried about is true.  Hillary has surrounded herself with establishment Democrats who think we can go back to business as usual and that those pesky Progressives are “freaks”.  Leaks of John Podesta’s and others email has made it clear there is a lot of calibration going on.

Just as an aside, I would fire the lot because they did not see this email problem coming and use more secure communications.  It kind of puts the whole issue in a nutshell of last years thinking to get your emails hacked and not understand that what is in cyberspace will be hacked.  They are thinking like 1990’s Democrats as the establishment Republicans are thinking like 1990’s Republicans.

But what many have noted is that the Donald is such a flawed candidate (an understatement) that this should be a 50 state romp and it is not.  Hillary is a weak candidate and if you followed my blogs, the issue from the undecided, millenials and people wanting to reject the Donald is that they want real change and they want someone they can trust.  It is a given that they have rejected establishment thinking.  Hillary promises that change but has not closed the deal on trust.  Then we have the Wikileaks revelations that demonstrate that she has surrounded herself with the very problem people want to get away from.  When they did not get that when she described herself as a moderate, that was emphasizing politics as usual, you have to wonder what planet they are on.

Hillary is going to win and the only question is by how big a margin and what happens in Congress.  If it is a Republican Congress it is very likely we will get Obama 3.0 and in 2020 we will be seeing a much better Trump character running against her if she is not primaried.  But like the Republicans, after the election, let the games begin.  If she fills her important cabinet positions with establishment Democrats she is going to see major pushback from progressives who want to see changes in the way the White House deals with Wall Street.  

My advice to Hillary, which of course is now rapidly disappearing in the universe at light speed, is simply to get out of her circle and take stock.  She has good instincts if she is not captured by the Establishment where she is comfortable. What is driving this campaign is change, with people so desperate for it they support Donald, a dispicable human being, over her (or vote third party).  She has to make the case that she will bring change and that she will standup to Wall Street.  Surrounding yourself with the Establishment who according to their emails so distain Progressives makes a lot of us wonder if she ever got the message.  And what is really going to be interest as we are all focused on November 8, is what happens afterward, because the Democratic Party may also be facing a civil war.

One last thing.  The fact that this late in the campaign we (Progressives) are having this doubt about Hillary is the last thing she needs.  She needs everyone to get out and vote.  But the hack in my mind is self inflected, again.  And it indicates to many of us who have moved with the changing environment, that her team has not, and now they are caught with their pants down and alienating the ones who brought real excitement to this campaign.  I would fire the lot of them.

Who Nailed it Today

That would be James Kwak in the Baseline Scenario Blog.  We know we have Hillary and we need to get behind her and we will.  But we also know it is just more of the Democratic establishment and doing the same thing and expecting different results.  That is what James documents in his blog and here are some exerts.  The first is in answer to Clinton supporters that says we should be happy about Hillary:

…the Clinton camp, however, who insist that I should be happy that Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, and that this is actually a good thing for progressives—defined loosely as people who want higher taxes on the rich, less inequality, stronger social insurance programs (including true universal health care), and better protections for workers. The argument is basically that Clinton is (a) more pragmatic, (b) more skilled at getting things done, and (c) more likely to be able to work with Republicans to achieve incremental good things, while Sanders would have simply flamed out in futility.

To which my first answer, which I’m sure I share with many other liberals is: Yes, I know how the Constitution works already. I know we have three branches of government, and that the Republicans control Congress.

He then points out that while moderate Democratic Presidents have made some moderate middle of the road compromises (remember Obamacare was a Heritage Society and Mitt Romney proposal) the country has tended to the right.

And that’s exactly the point. We’ve had centrist Democratic presidents for sixteen out of the past twenty-four years…But when it comes to the structural factors that govern the changing tides of history, it turns out that having a Democrat, any Democrat, in the White House doesn’t count for much. This is what has been going on in Congress since Bill Clinton was first elected (data thanks to the Vital Statistics on Congress project).

…Having Democratic presidents who actively try to position themselves in between the two parties—Clinton beginning in 1995, Obama occasionally, such as in 2011—certainly hasn’t helped. More important, though, have been those structural factors. One is that Republicans have just been crushing Democrats at the state level. 

…The entire political system has been tilted more in the Republicans’ favor, to the point where the presidency is the only prize that Democrats can fight for on equal terms—because all we need is one charismatic (Obama) or well-connected (Hillary Clinton) candidate who can raise tons and tons of money.

…What’s the lesson here? It isn’t that Bernie Sanders could accomplish more than Hillary Clinton in four years against dug-in Republican opposition. He couldn’t. It’s that having a president isn’t enough. We need a movement. That’s what the conservatives have had for decades: embryonic in the 1950s, quixotic in the 1960s, on the rise in the 1970s, ascendant in the 1980s, and increasingly institutionalized, entrenched, and ideologically extreme ever since. We need to stop thinking that winning the presidency more often than not is a long-term strategy. What we’re doing isn’t working. It needs to change.

I wouldn’t call Hillary Clinton the lesser evil. She isn’t evil. I think she will be a decent president (except when it comes to foreign military intervention, where she frightens me, but a good deal less than Trump does) and she will more or less hold the line against conservative extremists for at least four years. And, of course, it will be nice to join the ranks of civilized countries that have chosen women as their leaders. But she’s the candidate of the Democratic status quo, and the Democratic status quo isn’t working.

It is what I have been trying to say here, but many are missing that critical message.  We keep electing a President to change the country and we keep sliding rightward.  Bernie offered a movement, Hillary the status quo.  If the status quo is all I can get, I will vote for Hillary, but as Paul Simon used to sing, we are “slip sliding away”. Where is the excitement in that?

Hillary has to be a changed person and a real progressive and while she has leaned that way in the Primary, we have seen glimmers of the old Hillary as she told us about incrementalism (which has totally failed us) as progressivism, and then dusted off Bill to run the economy.  It was status quo Democratic politics peeking out from behind her pants suit.  That is where the trust thing comes from that Hillary supporters can’t understand about Bernie supporters.  Our best hope is to elect her and push Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to lead the Democratic Party as a check on her.  It will be an uphill fight because the Democratic Party is loaded with establishment Democrats.

Passing in the Night

It truly amazes me that many Democrats, especially older ones, don’t get the great malaise in the country about, well, Democrats.  It was best exemplified by an interview with James Caravelle, a huckster for the Clinton campaign where he explained, “Democrats are on the ascent and they want to throw all that away for someone who is not even a Democrat?”

First of all, don’t vote for Bernie because he is not a Democrat is an argument that speaks volumes about the establishment’s failure to understand  young voter’s disenchantment with the Democratic Party.  Whatever you want to say about all things President Obama and the Democrats were able to accomplished in the last eight years, it is lost in the reality that the House and Senate were lost, and the State Houses went mostly Red. Tactically we won some battles, and strategically we are getting our butts kicked.  The Senate can’t even confirm a moderate to conservative judge.

Barney Frank, another shill for the Clintons, was debating a shill for Bernie whose name slips my mind about Hillary and Bernie.  Barney spread the usual disinformation about Bernie, especially that he would end Obamacare.  What was telling about this debate was how angry the spokesperson for Bernie got as Barney tried to belittle Bernie with half-truths.  Multiply that by about 100 and you get the feeling many young people feel about establishment Democrats who tell us we should just anoint Hillary.  Oh, and going negative is not critiquing her votes, positions or her taking money from the financial sector in the past.  It is an honest discussion of her past establishment credentials.

What I think you are seeing among the young is a feeling that business as usual will not work.  Roger Cohen in a NYT piece this morning put it like this:

Hillary Clinton’s chief predicament, apart from the trust issue, is that she represents the past in a world where the post-cold-war optimism that accompanied her husband’s arrival in the White House almost a quarter-century ago has vanished. To embody continuity these days is political suicide.

And if she keeps playing traditional politics by sending out the establishment to attack Bernie, she is losing the battle to win the war.  It is truly amazing to me when you try to explain why Hillary might be a liability or that she is part of the establishment Democrats who got to the top playing in a system we think is the fundamental problem, and it is like they didn’t hear you.  Usually you get something like “She is an experienced politician who is tough and earned her stripes.  She is best equipped to take on the Republicans.”  That sentence sums up what they don’t get about a system we don’t think works anymore.  Once more Mr. Cohen:

 There is a global backlash against rising inequality, stagnant middle-class incomes, politicians for sale, social exclusion, offshoring of jobs, free trade, mass immigration, tax systems skewed for giant corporations and their bosses, and what Pope Francis has lambasted as the “unfettered pursuit of money.”

The backlash takes various forms. In the United States it has produced an angry election campaign. The success of both Donald Trump on the right and Bernie Sanders on the left owes a lot to the thirst for radical candidates who break the mold. Trump is unserious and incoherent; Sanders is neither of those things. But they both draw support from constituencies that feel stuck, reject politics as usual, and perceive a system rigged against them.

Hillary is perceived as part of that system by many young Progressives.  The latest leak in Panama was not so shocking that the rich and famous hide their money and don’t pay taxes, but that our governments for the most part look the other way.  To get ahead and rise to the level of Senator one has to play in that sandlot and Hillary’s comment about accepting quarter of a million dollars in speaking fees because “that’s what they offered”, again speaks volumes about her obliviousness to being part of the system of pay to play that young people reject.  Or oblivious to the fundamental changes necessary to restructure our government.

I think there is a real anger out there and instead of harnessing it, Hillary is stoking it to her detriment.  It is because she, like many people in the Democratic Party are oblivious to the real problem, politics as usual.  Wheeling and dealing in a broken system, no matter how good a wheeler and dealer you are, still gives you broken policies. The Democrats have another problem in their Super Delegate system which further exacerbates the perception that politics are rigged.  And the most amazing thing of all is that Hillary and many of her supporters are blind to this perception by the voters of the future and it could well be the Democrats downfall.

Is Bernie perfect? No.  If he fails the voter revolution can he change anything?  Yes, because he is finally leading the nation and making the argument that half a loaf is not good enough.  He is finally saying we have to get money out of politics and he has not been a primary beneficiary in the pay to play rigged system we have.  It puts progressive policies on the front burner instead of moderate Democratic establishment politics that have slowly turned the nation red as we compromised away what we stood for.

New Hampshire

Well in a nut shell, I told you so.  But New Hampshire is not the nation and we will see.  Basically the Republicans have broken into three factions, the populists favoring Trump, the ideologue conservatives favoring Cruz, and the establishment GOP favoring, well, right now Kasich, but could be Bush, and doubtfully Rubio.  Maybe the rest of the bunch will start to bail out.

This does not bode well for Republicans as the NYT reported this morning that there was trouble in the House now between Paul Ryan and the Know-Nothing’s.  Kasich is a moderate on social issues, but an ideologue on the economy wanting a balanced budget amendment.  And when we get into the south ideologue conservatives may prevail.  Nothing really changes and that is the issue.

The big victory by Trump is a wakeup call to the establishment that they have never delivered and voters are deserting in an anti-rational fit. From my point of view, the real problem for Republicans is that they have nothing.  Trump is running on smoke and mirrors since nobody really knows what he would really do.

The ideologue conservatives are running on nonsense that feeds a small but reliable base, and they coupled with the establishment candidates are recycling old failed economic ideas and policies.  “Vote for us.  We will take back and restore America by running on the same policies that got us in this mess in the first place.  Be selfish and only think about yourself.”  See Mad as Hell, or Just Recognizing Reality Part I.

But the real wakeup call last night was to the Democratic establishment.  Again, this is New Hampshire and we will see if Bernie can maintain it, but it is starting to dawn on main stream media and the Democratic establishment that there is a Democratic establishment and there is a revolt against it. See Matthew Yglesias’ Bernie Sander’s is the Future of the Democratic Party.

I sit on a hill in the middle of a vineyard so I am not down among the multitudes feeling the Bern, but here is what I know.  Most of us liberal Democrats are disgusted with our party.  Harry Reid has caved on more issues than I care to count.  The filibuster being the most important one ceding control of the Senate to the Republicans who finally won it in the last election.

The Party has been controlled by the moderates which in case you haven’t noticed it, are Republican lite.  And the country moves rightward.  There is a great deal of frustration about that and many of us hold the establishment Democratic Party responsible. Hillary, who would probably make a great President, made a strategic blunder in telling us she would carry on President Obama’s administration. Incrementalism is what got us in this mess.

What mess?  Well, a Republican Congress with a shot at the White House that is carrying on an attack of everything that has been accomplished.  They came roaring back after being banished in 2008 because the Democrats inspired no one to vote in off-year elections because they stood for nothing except compromise which got them no where.  It was hard to draw a line in the sand and say this is what Democrats will fall on their sword for.

Hillary is associated with the establishment.  And she has been tone death to that.  She told us she is best equipped to work with other side.  Working with the other side is the Democratic problem.  They are not going to work with us and that strategy has been highly successful for them.  So what we got was the feeling the best we are going to get with Hillary is more Obama, holding back the Know-Nothings.

President Obama still doesn’t really get it as he travels to Springfield Illinois this morning to fight a battle he does not understand:

“It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency,” he said then, “that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has often gotten worse instead of better. I have no doubt that a president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide, and I guarantee I’ll keep trying to be better so long as I hold this office.”

They are not ever going to work with you nor is rational debate, facts and data going to make a difference. Hillary is following into this same trap as she sells as a moderate or a process that means “progress”.  It is not going to happen in today’s Washington.  Matt Yglesias above got it right:

Sanders’s core proposition, separate from the details of the political revolution, is that for progressives to win they need to first organize and dominate an ideologically left-wing political party that is counterpoised to the ideological right-wing Republican Party.  

The Democratic Party needs to be shaken up, and he realizes and runs on reality.  We will change nothing unless we have a voter revolution that changes Congress. Hillary thought she could win based upon claiming she is a moderate Democrat who will fight for change.  That’s the establishment that generally has failed to bring it.  It is boring.

We will see if Bernie can deliver that voter revolution, but I think he can.  Just think about all the negatives around Bernie Sanders and then wonder what is going on.  I will tell you, it is the yearning for real change and positions that we are willing to fight for.  You know that red one thing the Democrats have never been able to draw.

Oh, and one more thing:  The establishment thinks the South will be the downfall of Bernie.  I am not so sure.  African Americans have been taken for granted by the Democratic establishment and if Bernie can convince them he doesn’t, well, Hillary is in real trouble.  To summarize, the world has changed and the Democrats are in denial about who they are and how they are perceived.  Bernie is tearing that up.