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Post '16 Democrat Autopsy


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#1
Poe Dameron

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This is split off from the other thread since I think it's really a larger separate topic.

 

Carrie Mathison

 

Big topic- I'll try to write some more later as time allows.  But let me first say that I was wrong about 2016.  I thought Clinton would win, and in my original prediction of the GOP candidates (way back in 2014), I wrote that Christie was best positioned.  Now, to be fair, that was shortly after the scandals broke, and before we knew that story would be sticking around a while, so Christie was probably best positioned, at the time.  That being said, all of this is to say, that perhaps I have no idea what I'm talking about.  I did correctly call the previous elections on this site, right down to the electoral vote count, but maybe I just got lucky.  All I'm saying is I don't know that I have any particular insight into 2020, any more than anyone else.

I think who the Dems go with in 2020 largely rest on what message resonates in the primaries: a push to go all-in on the minority vote, or a push to reclaim lost voters in states like MI and PA.

The former is going to be popular among the Huff Post reading, blogging about SJW stuff, etc., type of voter.  The latter is going to be more popular among economic leftists, the type of people that voted for Sanders.  If the former "wins," I'd expect to see someone like Kamala Harris on the ballot.  Already there's a ton of speculation surrounding her... one disadvantage to her is she's relatively inexperienced, but Obama (and Trump, for that matter), proved that most voters don't really care about that if you say the right things.  However, it's something that could be a weakness, especially if Trump is a successful president (if he's not, I think it'll matter very little).

Now if the latter proves to win out, then maybe we'll see someone more like Elizabeth Warren.  There's this belief among the Dem circles that she can appeal to the white working class and is their leading advocate for economic leftism.  I'm not sure that I buy that- there's some evidence that she's actually not that good of a campaigner.. her victory over Scott Brown was in 2012 (when Obama was on the ticket) and the margin was relatively unconvincing, especially when compared to other senate races in MA when Kennedy and Kerry ran.

Another possibility might be someone like Cory Booker.  I know the establishment is probably hoping for someone like him, but I also know he does not excite the progressives- to them, he's basically another Clinton.  Booker appeals more to the first crowd than the second.. what would be interesting is if we saw both Harris and Booker throw their hat in the ring.

One of the Castro brothers is also a possibility.  I think it may be a little early for them though- they haven't really made their way into a prominent government position yet, so we may be a couple cycles away until they're in their prime.

I know Michelle Obama has said she doesn't want it, but people have a tendency to change their minds on these types of things, especially if they're ambitious, and I have no reason to think Obama isn't.  If she ran, I suspect it would have a similar effect to when Clinton ran, and a lot of Democrat candidates would refuse to run, leaving her relatively unopposed.

If the Dems take the second route (appealing to places like MI, PA, etc), then I could see Sherrod Brown being a possibility.  As of right now though, I don't think that route is going to win the day at the primaries.  I think the argument is going to be that Clinton lost states like NC and MI due to decreased minority turnout (especially Black turnout), and that the Dems don't really need to adopt a "rust belt" strategy to reclaim working class whites in that area.  So if I had to guess, I'd say it's somewhat unlikely that we'll see a Sherrod Brown type candidate, and a lot more likely that we'll see someone like Kamala Harris.

Then again, like I said, what do I know....

 

Poe Dameron

 

That really is such a big topic and somewhat off to the side thanks to how losing the presidency has exposed just how hollow the Democrat dominance of the last eight years has been.  While Obama was running the executive branch, Republicans took over the rest of the country and now Democrats pretty much own nothing except California and some northeast states.

 

You pretty much hit all the names on the Democrat side I was thinking.  I'll go down the list myself tomorrow probably.

 

Carrie Mathison

 

I can see where you're going with this though.  It's true that the GOP has an overwhelming control of state level legislatures and gubernatorial positions.  That being said though- I'm not sure how much that matters in terms of national presidential elections.

The Dems run someone a little more palatable to average, working class people and they win MI, PA, WI, etc.  These were all won by 1% or less.

Hell, even if Clinton (the 2008 version) was run, they may have won.  Few people seem to remember this now, but she ran a campaign of heartland America vs. the aloof coastal academic in 2008, going county by county to diners, small town halls, and the like in places like OH.  If that Clinton came out this year, who knows?

Or, the Dems could just run up the minority vote in NC and FL, with someone like Michelle Obama or Kamala Harris, and then the GOP has the same problem again.

Point is, I'm not so sure the GOP takeover at the state level really matters in terms of presidential elections.



#2
Poe Dameron

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I'll just quickly go down the list of candidates you mentioned.

 

Kamala Harris:

 

On paper she seems the most obvious choice as next election's Obama or Rubio.  The thing is that she really doesn't come out of this election with much heat behind her.  She won a fairly quiet race in California.  Yeah, Democrats see her as a rising star, but she never had a moment like Obama's keynote speech at Kerry's convention or Rubio kicking the sitting Florida Republican Governor into the unemployment line.

 

That wouldn't matter if she were a true political wunderkind, but off the bat I'm seeing a fairly conventional Democrat in terms of appeal.  There's nothing wrong with her and if she got the nomination on a surface-level she seems like a solid candidate, but I wonder if she'd just get lost if the primary field has any large personalities within it.

 

Elizabeth Warren:

 

She's the kind of candidate that would make a Harris struggle.  If she jumps in, she'll begin as the favorite I believe.  Not because she's a great campaigner, but because she's essentially taken possession of the leftwing coalition.  And, as Sanders and Trump proved, you don't exactly need to be Reagan, Clinton, or Kennedy to get the edges of the party excited for you.

 

I agree that she has some flaws.  She essentially laid the intellectual groundwork for "You didn't build that".  But flaws are wearing well these days and doing more to attract voters than repel.  Trump and Bush connecting to voters better than a Romney and all that.  I find her to be, from the start, the candidate with the most upside on the Democrat side.

 

And if she wins the nomination (and assuming Trump runs again), it'll give us the first presidential race where both candidates are over the age of 70!

 

Cory Booker:

 

He's more or less straight out of central-casting for Democrat presidential candidates.  I can pretty much say the same thing about him as I can for Harris, though he's been on the national radar for a bit longer at least.

 

Castro Brothers:

 

You know, I've never really gotten these two.  They're perennially popular within inside baseball circles of the Democrat party, but most people have no idea who they are, and for good reason since neither have held particularly high position offices.

 

Clinton losing was a big blow to their careers.  While Clinton would likely put them in her cabinet, now they're stuck in Texas where gaining statewide office is unlikely.  It's going to be difficult to climb the ladder for the next four years, which means that they have to wait for the next Democrat president.  Which puts their first chance at a serious run all the way off until 2028 most like.  By which time they'll no longer be the new kids.

 

Michelle Obama:

 

I don't think she wants it.  I don't think she'd be a good candidate either.  This seems more commentator chatter than realistic possibility.

 

Sherrod Brown:

 

Possible.  I think he's a decent bridge for all the possible constituencies.  He's not a superstar politician himself, but he's pretty tough in a fight.  The Democrats could do worse.  His seat is up in 2018 and he's not invulnerable, but I think he might skate by simply by the virtue of Republicans having so many easier targets to go after.

 

I'll add a few of my own:

 

Al Franken:

 

Why not?  Easy to dismiss, but the more you think about it, the more it makes sense.  Trump has broken all the rules that said he could never win.  He'd definitely excite the base.  His power base is in the upper-midwest which will, obviously, be a priority for the Democrats in recapturing next cycle.  His humor might not be a perfect fit for red meat (more "I'm smarter than you" mocking that the Democrat elite like), but it was his job to connect with people on a basic level.  And, thanks to the Stuart Smalley character, he's got a campaign motto that's been in the public conscientiousness since the 80s.

 

Amy Klobuchar:

 

I'm mentioning her because she's been on a lot of lists like these over the years.  But, honestly, whenever I see her on television, the word "awkward" comes to mind.  Someone may convince her to run though.

 

Kanye West:

 

Yeah, and everyone laughed at Trump.  Guy has the ego to go for it and would instantly be in double-digits.

 

Bernie Sanders:

 

Him being four years older will just make his supporters love him all the more.  Probably would defer to Warren though.

 

 

 

I can see where you're going with this though.  It's true that the GOP has an overwhelming control of state level legislatures and gubernatorial positions.  That being said though- I'm not sure how much that matters in terms of national presidential elections.
The Dems run someone a little more palatable to average, working class people and they win MI, PA, WI, etc.  These were all won by 1% or less.

 

I know, I'm not saying Republican dominance forever.  But I am pointing out that it was an unpublished story that Democrats were quietly being hollowed out behind Obama.  It felt like Democrats were rising for the past 10 years and ushering in a period of dominance.  In fact, the stories over the past 10 years have been nothing but declarations that it was the Republicans who were going extinct.  But Democrats lose a single office and everyone wakes up and realizes that the Democrats are as weak today in terms of office holders as they have been at any point in their history since they retreated to their southern stronghold in the 1920s.

 

Even you are still focusing on presidential strength.  And I don't disagree and believe they continue to have the advantage there.  But this election exposed a gaping hole in the party where they RELY on the president, bureaucracy, and courts to pull them through.  Now, the presidency is gone, the bureaucracies will at least slow down their leftward drift, and Trump will, most likely, replace Kennedy and/or Ginsburg (maybe even Breyer and Thomas while he's at it), closing off the courts as a reliable means for governance for awhile.

 

Democrats need to figure out how to get their stuff together on the local level.  Because as much as Republicans have been accused of being a "Southern" party, the truth is that they have taken over most of the country and Democrats have retreated to further into their urban pockets.



#3
Brando

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The main problem for the Democrats are difficulty exciting the base to go vote, and being a loose alliance of different interests. 

 

If Trump proves successful on some of his economic proposals, or even is seen working for them, I could foresee even some unions endorsing him in 2020.  Unlikely, but not impossible. 


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#4
Carrie Mathison

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Some assorted, somewhat unorganized thoughts on this:

As I said earlier, where the Dems go from here is largely going to depend on who wins out among two conflicting forces. Brando, you're right that the Dems are a loose alliance of many different interests, but I would describe two main "camps" that encompass most of the party.

 

You have the SJW, identity politics wing (which also happens to be aligned with the establishment), and then you have the more "economic justice" wing, (or what I guess you could call the "Sanders" wing), made up of mostly progressives that focus on stuff like income inequality and globalization.  The first camp has most of the media, the establishment, writers, the entertainment industry, academia (for the most part), and affluent voters in the coastal cities.  The feminist camp is also pretty strongly aligned with this group.  These people are, at best, indifferent to economics, and at worst, closet rightists on the issue.  The second camp has more of your leftist "true believers," in a kinda Old Left sense, and has all your economic left-wingers, anti-corporate and anti-establishment folks, "fight the man" type of voters, anti-war voters and pacifists; but also has the support of some factions you wouldn't expect at first, for example, people that are big on clean energy.. so this camp also gets a large amount of the hippie vote.

 

Millennials are sorta split- there are probably a larger number in the second camp, since a primary focus of that camp is student loan debt.. but the millennials in the first camp tend to be the most vocal of all millennials.. i.e., they tend to be the ones that write SJW blogs, are the most vociferous in their support for BLM, put out hit pieces against people who have committed thought crimes and push for them to get fired from their jobs, are the ones advocating for safe spaces where people can hide from scary ideas and play with play-doh, and so on.

 

The SJW wing, and this is already confirmed by some of the articles we've seen come out from its usual suspects, would like to see the Dems basically double down on their prior strategy.  To them, the election is primarily a matter of driving up the minority headcount, and the really important agenda items are the in-vogue social issue of the day.  The Sanders wing would probably rather see the Dems try and re-claim the Rust Belt with an economic vision and put priority on issues like income inequality over say, race. 

 

I've already discussed above in Poe's post, what candidates we could expect to see, depending on which "wing" wins the day at the primaries (with the big caveat, of course, that the election is 4 years away and a lot can change by then).  As to which wing will win... that's an interesting question, but if I had to guess, it would be the SJW wing.  I don't have any statistical reason for this, so this is more of an educated guess than anything else.. but based on my observation, it simply feels as if that wing really is where the "heart and soul" of the Democratic Party is right now.  Or put another way, I think more of the "base" belongs to the SJW wing than the Sanders wing.  And where the 'heart and soul' of a party is, will probably dictate who ends up with more votes.  That faction of the party is clearly where the money is, where more people are, where the intellectuals of the party exist, and where your rank-and-file kinda are more sympathetic to.  A more economic message resonating with the middle class simply appeals to fewer people in the Democratic Party, than say, a strong push for something like increased transgender rights, or say, a required female quota on corporate boards (something that's becoming very popular in Europe now).  These issues just invoke a stronger emotional response from most Dems than something like, wages of blue-collar workers in Michigan.

 

So I think that's where the party is going to go.  You could say the same thing about the GOP- way back in 2009, even the blind could pick up on where the "heart and soul" of the party was and where it was moving.  It was pretty clear that the party was slowly marching towards a more populist tone.. away from the Bush era neo-cons, and even Reagan era trickle-down, and a more... almost.. Jacksonian message.  The original Tea Party (and the principles upon which it was founded), were soon forgotten as the Tea Party ultimately grew and just fused with the larger GOP base, whose message was always less about, say, pure libertarianism, and more about just general anti-establishment feelings and backlash over identity politics/SJWs.

 

So even though Romney may have won the nomination in 2012... and the GOP still briefly clung on to ghosts of the past, anyone deeply involved in Republican politics could tell you that eventually a Trump-like figure was going to emerge and lead the party.  Whether it happened in 2016, or 2020, or later, it was going to happen.

 

And to be honest, I'm not sure the Dems strategy is all that bad.  The thing about it is- an election strategy of simply driving up the minority vote can win an election.  Clinton may have not been the person to do it, but someone like Booker might.  The Dems would've won had counties in PA and MI not flipped, sure.  But they also would've won had black turnout been higher in Charlotte, Detroit, and had Hispanic turnout been higher in the I-4 corridor in FL and Miami.  And given a choice between those two strategies, which strategy would you bet the Dems ultimately pursue?  I know where my money's on.. at least until we see evidence to the contrary.

 

The fascinating thing about this election is we may be seeing a realignment, which would be particularly interesting to me since we've been stuck in this current alignment since about 1964 or so (and from a purely personal entertainment/political geeking out side.. I'm itching for some change).  The prior alignment was: the GOP won the South, West, and the more conservative Midwest states, while the Dems won the West Coast, Northeast, and the Upper Midwest/Rust belt.  The new alignment, if there is one... might be something like: the GOP will win the interior South, most of the West, the Midwest/Rust Belt, and rural parts of the Northeast, while the Dems win the West Coast, the East Coast (including, possibly the entire Coastal South), and the Southwest.  I envision TX being the big battleground state, possibly the new FL.  Already TX was just barely more Republican than OH, and was less Republican than IA (one of the big stories of this election that is flying under the radar), and the same goes for AZ, actually even more so (so as much as Chalup despises his state as some deep-red territory, the truth is, it's actually trending quickly in the other direction... Trump won it by less than 4 points... it was far less Republican than OH, IA, and a host of other states.. which would've been unthinkable 10 years ago).  Another state in this same basket is a place like GA, where Clinton won Cobb County (this being a strong indicator of where I expect that state to go).

 

Of course, the counter-argument to all that is that this is simply an outlier election, and not so much a re-aligning one, and we can expect the old alignment to come back as soon as Trump leaves.  The problem with that argument, is that first- the demographic trends producing the new alignment were already underway before Trump.  I predicted something akin to the new alignment as far back as the mid 2000s, although it came about a lot sooner than I thought it would (I was thinking more along the lines of 2020 or later).  Second, for this simply to be an outlier, we'd have to see a return of the party platforms back to what they were in the previous alignment, and I'm not sure that's going to happen either.  I don't think the GOP will wake up tomorrow and suddenly transform back into Bush-era style politics, and likewise, I don't see the Dems becoming the party of the Rust Belt working class voters again.  I could be wrong, but those are my current predictions.



#5
Brando

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I would agree with that overview, but I'd also just offer that the SJWs themselves are comprised of sometimes competing interests.  Not every group can be the most maltreated group, and the insistence of the SJWs to continue to focus on the next group (ie move from gay to transgender) to the point that other groups are ignored, is definitely an area for another party to exploit. And I think that it is going to be increasingly difficult to get minorities out if your main fight is over who can use what bathroom while African Americans are facing their own, long-standing issues.



#6
Ms. Spam

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I would just like to add that the best thing they can do right now is vote Pelosi out of her position. 



#7
The Kurgan

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Some assorted, somewhat unorganized thoughts on this:

As I said earlier, where the Dems go from here is largely going to depend on who wins out among two conflicting forces. Brando, you're right that the Dems are a loose alliance of many different interests, but I would describe two main "camps" that encompass most of the party.
 
You have the SJW, identity politics wing (which also happens to be aligned with the establishment), and then you have the more "economic justice" wing, (or what I guess you could call the "Sanders" wing), made up of mostly progressives that focus on stuff like income inequality and globalization.  The first camp has most of the media, the establishment, writers, the entertainment industry, academia (for the most part), and affluent voters in the coastal cities.  The feminist camp is also pretty strongly aligned with this group.  These people are, at best, indifferent to economics, and at worst, closet rightists on the issue.  The second camp has more of your leftist "true believers," in a kinda Old Left sense, and has all your economic left-wingers, anti-corporate and anti-establishment folks, "fight the man" type of voters, anti-war voters and pacifists; but also has the support of some factions you wouldn't expect at first, for example, people that are big on clean energy.. so this camp also gets a large amount of the hippie vote.

The leftist media is more or less savaging itself over this presently.  I'm not sure I'd hand victory to the SJW wing in this case - they have a lot of assets, but also a ton of critics, and a tendency to turn on themselves over ideological and demographic purity.  Contrast that with the general curse that hangs over the US economic left - when have they ever been successful?  I think they have a collective death wish, personally.  A large number of smaller blogs and news sites, and the YouTube skeptic community (for what they're worth) are blaming excessive political correctness for Clinton's defeat, while a smaller number of larger culturally progressive sites - HuffPost being quintessential but by no means the only one, are doubling down on the evil Hitler white males narrative.  

 

Being on the front lines of all of this and an albeit minor standard bearer for the second camp, as you put it, what I can tell you is that it is divided to some extent by race (despite the nagging presence of race realists on the alt-left) and to a considerable, nay overwhelming extent, by gender.  The economic left vs. the IdPol'ers is a very, very, VERY thinly disguised battle of the sexes, with the alt-left (basically national socialists) being overwhelmingly male and the neo-Marxist (think leftypol on 8chan), neo Keynesian and post Keynesian old left only slightly less so.  

 

Why this is so: we are critical of IdPol and most of these people are virulently anti-feminist.  A lot of them use terms like "Brocialist" quite openly and proudly.  I look like Germaine Greer compared to a lot of these people.  Let that sink in.  Plus, I think the male mind is just naturally more attuned to numbers, economic calculations and the like while the female mind is just more feely and relationship oriented.  Mars vs. Venus in a very big way.  I suspect that a lot of it is also feminist theory strongly implying female moral superiority over males being kind of an ego stroking thing for a lot of them.  I constantly get flagged in the blogs and social media groups I admin on because some "amazon womanist" is wondering why we're not quite as worked up about muh vagina and muh melanin as she is, or some red/black ancom cuck white knighting for them.  There's usually nothing to be done except to ban them.  I also ban alt-rightists and white supremacists all the time.  They're not as edgy as they think they are after you've seen the thousandth Pepe the Frog in a Nazi Uniform Profile pic.  Blah!

 

On top of all that, there's lingering tendency for men to still be breadwinners and thus a bit more concerned about economic matters overall.   Plus, the more tin-foil hat oriented of these sorts figure that Wall Street is backing the IdPol'ers as a means of disrupting working class solidarity - a kind of race and gender reversal of the LBJ quote in Carrie's signature.

 

Of course, there's plenty of exceptions to this rule - lots of cringy male feminists out there.  Women on the alt-left are an oddity, but a LOT of gays - cis white gay men in particular and transgender people.  All kinds of them.   A lot of them have been put off feminism by run-ins with TERFs - trans exclusionary radical feminism.  Trans women are pretty much the most vocal and intense anti-feminists and MRAs these days.  I find them a bit annoying, personally.

 

I suspect that at some point a very tenuous alliance will emerge of these two factions.  More Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren types will hopefully emerge from the woodwork as time goes on.  I could take or leave their feminism and BLM sympathies, but better them for being economic leftists than Neo-Conservative Inc., which is already the way it looks like things are headed once the Donald actually takes office.



#8
Poe Dameron

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Well, in the 2020 watch, Kamala Harris had her big debut today and... well she did Barbara Boxer proud I suppose.  She asked the standard Democrat questions about gay marriage and climate change, which would be understandable if the nominee in front of her wasn't testifying to become CIA Director.  Insert joke about forgetting which committee she was on here.

 

 

Maybe this hits liberal erogenous zones or something, but this strikes me as an intensely unserious line of questioning for the Intelligence post.  I don't think the Democrats understand that they're in a new world where Obama isn't in the White House anymore and these priorities don't have the legitimacy brought by a president who will back them up.  With a President Clinton they could have continued, but they didn't get her.  Without that spin control, they're going to find it very difficult to control the narrative about these sort of priorities and are in deep danger of losing the ear of the country outside of the bubbles they travel within.





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