Think like a Republican, Vote like a Democrat

Democrats have to start thinking like Republicans. Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. Especially when real peoples lives are affected by who’s in charge.

Five keys to victory:

1) Obstruct Trump

The opposition party suffers no electoral consequences for doing so and it makes the President-the only political figure voters pay attention to-look like a do nothing loser. It was a big blow to Obama, it would be a fatal blow to Trump who’s approval ratings are already in decline and who’s competence is in doubt.

2) Always Advance Your Agenda

In 1960 the Republican Party Platform promised religious tolerance, racial equality, public housing, public health care, and acceptance of immigrants. Today’s Republican Platform has been written and paid for by far right extremists. They took over the party by making conservatism the new moderate and now by making far right nationalism the new conservative. The lesson for liberals is to always stick your principles and advance progressive legislation at every level of government every cycle. That means Massachusetts should be a petri dish for left wing ideas like Kansas was for far right ones. It means pushing Medicare for All, Basic Income, and other ‘out there’ pieces of legislation to move the national median to the left.

3) Keep Your Base Happy

I have no freakin clue why some establishment Dems are asking the protesters to simmer down. Tea Party protests followed by town hall protests convinced many swing state Democrats to abandon President Obama’s agenda, and they lost anyway. It also got the media to argue a groundswell of grassroots opposition was forming. These two things are happening today-only now our side is doing it against theirs. Jason Chaffetz in Utah got this treatment. It also means contesting every special election and hoping to catch a break. Scott Brown did this to us in 2010, we have a golden opportunity to replace two Trump cabinet officials with Democrats today. 20 Districts represented by Republicans voted for Clinton. Some with double digit swings to the left that parallel the double digit swings to Trump in the rust belt. Time to seize the day.

4) Everything Bad is the Presidents Fault

They blamed everything from high gas prices to terrorist attacks on Obama. Unlike Benghazi, the Yemen Raid disaster started in the Executive Branch and is the direct result of Trump being a poorly prepared commander in chief. It got almost no play from the left, and even some columnists preemptively warning against politicizing a tragedy. Again, hit them hard. The narrative is that this man isn’t fit to be President and needs to be checked by a Democratic Congress. Never miss an opportunity to remind voters of that.

5) Swing Voters Don’t Care About Social Issues-They Want to Feel Economically Secure

These low info, uninformed, unreliable, and ideologically complicated voters do not give a rats ass about choice, the court pick, or social justice. What they do care about is whether they feel good about America or bad about America. And that’s an economic feeling. When they feel bad about the economy so they need to know that’s the Presidents fault. Doing steps 1-4 will ensure this and make them vote to check him with a Democratic Congress.


134 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. As long as we keep it reality based.

    I don’t want to blame Trump for something that clearly is not on him. (There’s plenty to accurately blame him for anyway.) I’d be uncomfortable obstructing for its own sake if Trump miraculously comes up with a decent idea. I don’t like the idea of shouting down members of Congress any more now than I did in 2009, but by all means scream at the top of your lungs outside the venue and ask pointed questions inside. There does need to be an emotion-based narrative BUT we SHOULD show leadership on things like SCOTUS and social justice. In other words, we can walk and chew gum at the same time. I don’t WANT to become the party that believes in winning for its own sake. The stark contrast in attitude is a key reason I’m a Dem in the first place.

    • Question

      Was it leadership on SCOTUS?

      • Not sure what you mean

        JConway said the voters don’t care about SCOTUS and my response is that we need to show the leadership to make them care.

        • How does that play out?

          Do you think the Dems should refuse to move on Gorsuch?

          • That is awfully tempting...

            …considering the GOP essentially stole the seat. It happens today is the one year anniversary of Scalia’s death. I had forgotten that the election the other side thought was so important was just barely underway at the time.

        • Swing voters don't care about SCOTUS-but our base definitely does

          Swing voters care exclusively about the economy, not social issues. Something Bill Clinton understood instinctively. But opposing Gorusch helps with 1-4. Especially 1 and 3. So filibuster the shit out of him.

    • It's winning for the sake of our fellow citizens and our children

      The stakes are enormously high. So high that just about any means justify the end of restoring our democracy. Hence the second half-vote like a Democrat! The Muslim ban is apparently polling well-we should absolutely continue to oppose it since it violates the values of our country as well as our party. I’m saying don’t compromise for compromise sake or to show the government still functions. Hold it hostage as they did-and this time for the cause of justice.

      • I'm certainly not suggesting we should cave on the Muslim ban.

        I’m among those who hasn’t found a cabinet nominee I like yet. So of course don’t be afraid to oppose what should be opposed, but IFF he proposes something positive we should not imitate the GOP under Obama and obstruct for obstruction’s sake either.

        • Why even say that when we know he won't?

          IFF he proposes something positive we should not imitate the GOP under Obama and obstruct for obstruction’s sake either.

          It just gives credence to the lie that this is a normal president with a democratic mandate and a legitimate agenda. I think Democrats get lost in the details and forget how critical framing is to the political narrative.
          The right rhetorically redefined a free market health care plan as socialism and their voters and half the media propagated that. We don’t even need to redefine this presidency-it is illegitimate, it is overtly anti-democratic, and he literally is helping our enemies.

          Petr calls telling that truth lying below. I call it being honest and using rhetoric to frame this conflict to our advantage. To me, the bigger lie is to continue pretend this is someone we can do business with for the sake of appearing bipartisan.

          • I can see scenarios...

            …under which he proposes protecting entitlements or enhancing our nation’s infrastructure that may be worthy of consideration. I am absolutely NOT suggesting bipartisanship for its own sake. If his proposals on entitlements and infrastructure turn out to be awful then we shouldn’t be afraid to say so either.

            • I respectfully disagree with that

              Is there a deal that Trump could give us on those two issues that would be better than what we would get if the Democrats controlled Congress and the White House?

              This is exactly what I mean by thinking like a Republican. They were willing to ride out the eight years of Obama to gamble on a right wing trifecta. And the gamble paid off considerably.

              The days of Republicans working with LBJ to pass the civil rights act or Reagan and Tip working together to save Social Security are long gone. The shift happened in 1993 when Dole, a reasonable Republican, was going to work with John Chaffee on an alternative to Hillarycare that Bill Clinton could accept. This is how Washington worked.

              But a group of right wing think tanks argued, successfully, that they should reframe the debate and deny the very reality of a healthcare crisis and oppose Clinton tooth and nail. Independents who voted for him or Perot were upset he didn’t accomplish his main policy objective and took the blame out-on the President and the Democratic Congress. Which handed them their first house majority since 1954 and the Senate. Gingrich became Speaker over the timid Bob Michel and waged unrelenting partisan warfare to discredit and destroy the Clinton presidency.

              We saw McConnell run the same playbook against Obama. “My goal is to make him a one term President”. That should be our goal too when it comes to Trump. We want to deny him achievements which will destroy his approval rating and lead to Democrats taking back Congress and eventually the White House. Absolutely run on a positive progressive agenda to contrast with Trumps-a referendum on Trump did not work in 2016 nor will it work in 2020. But a referendum on Trump will work in 2018, as it worked against Obama in 2010 and 2014.

              • In the meantime I prefer to govern.

                You’re right – on that point we disagree. It was horrible for the country that the GOP held such personal animus toward Obama that they would even jeopardize among other things the credit of the United States. With the shoe on the other foot, it’s still horrible. Saying that a couple of things might be good in no way compromises our ability or credibility in calling out all the bad. I was raised to focus on WHAT is right rather than WHO is right.

                • It wasn't personal animus

                  It was a deliberate and correct political calculation. And I am arguing that the way you were raised-and the political system we were all raised to admire-no longer exists. Everything you, Jim, and Petr are arguing makes total sense on a level playing field. But this is not a level playing field.

                  The GOP has twisted the process so badly that it is broken beyond repair. Following proper procedure in the hope of restoring those broken norms is a fools errand that will only result in more conservative policy victories-and more importantly-more conservative changes to the process of governance that will make it even harder for us to compete.

                  As it is we are not competing on a level playing field as 3 million popular voters could attest to. We are not competing on a level playing field against big business when it comes to campaign spending. We are not competing on a level playing field when it comes to voting rights, or gerrymandering, or media fairness.

                  When one party takes control of the government and uses the mechanism of government to make it harder for the other party to compete, when one party makes it all but impossible for the other party to govern when it has the presidency and than makes it all but impossible for the other party to check it when it has the presidency, we are not talking about the Madisonian republic but a Bannana one. And we are *this* close to living in a banana republic. I can’t emphasize it enough.

                  The only way to repair it is to do everything we can to engineer another Democratic trifecta and use that to push through the remainder of FDRs domestic agenda while also pushing through sensible reforms that make our democracy stronger. Banning campaign spending, banning gerrymandering, expanding the House, making DC and PR states with equal representation in Congress, making the Senate democratic, proportional representation, public financing. All of those reforms will make it a level playing field and make it possible to have a battle of ideas again. Right v left v center and let the voters decide.

                  Until then, this is no longer a fight about left v right, but about democratic v authoritarian. And we should use ever lever of power currently at our disposal to save whats left of our government so that we can use it when we are in power to reform it so that its democratic again.

                  Eliminating the Electoral College,

                  • You were saying...?

                    It appears you short-circuited your comment. I still don’t want to employ a tactic just because it appeared to “work” politically. I also say if the GOP opposed things (even in some cases that which they previously supported) only because a certain individual, in this case Obama, agreed, that is the very definition of personal, albeit for political reasons. It fails my test for considering proposals on the merits only, which to me remains the only legitimate barometer for support or opposition. Frankly your way reminds me of the goals of our foreign enemies who want to disrupt our way of life, to induce us to give up our liberties in the name of security. If we change our ways on account of what they do, then in a very real sense the (political) terrorists have won.

                    • That's fair

                      I think it’s good politics to oppose Trump, oppose Gorusch and you would oppose them both on the merits as well. So we aren’t in dramatic disagreement

                      We both think it highly unlikely Trump would put forth a reasonable agreement on a policy we care about, so whether to obstruct that or not is a moot question for now.

                      I think we have a strong case to oppose all his remaining confirmations on the merits as well as to score points. I think we have a similarly strong case to oppose repeal since none of the replacements on offer at good, it scores points and is correct on the merits. I think you’ll be with me on my tactics based on your own merits for quite sometime. The chance they come into conflict is low.

                    • Did you still have more to say about eliminating the EC?

                      That’s where your above comment left off.

                    • It's a priority if the Dems retake Congress

                      And enough states to make it happen.

                    • EC

                      I pledge allegiance …. and to the Republic…….

                      Instead of worrying about changing the rules to facilitate making it easier to have the “tyranny of the majority” be the law of the land I thought you especially wanted to work on educating the people on civics and crafting a message which is so plain and well articulated that the Dems would win in a landslide. If we go to simple “majority rule” we should also dismantle the Senate, where Rhode Island holds the same sway as Texas.

                      If we do make drastic changes to the Republic, states and individuals should be given the opportunity to secede and re-align to areas where they can feel their government represents them. Maybe the partitioning of India
                      in 47? could be the model. Liberals to the coasts, Conservatives to the middle.

                    • You can do both

                      Educate the public and win back some of the Obama-Trump voters with a better message. It won’t be gone by 2020, and the Rust Belt realignment still favors Trump. Speak their language, listen to their concerns. Imagine if Republican candidates were forced to campaign in New England and Democrats in the Deep South. Every campaign would be a 50 state campaign every time.

                      The Senate already serves the function of giving equal weight to smaller states. By passing the Wyoming Rule (simple house majority) we can shrink the disparity in the House and possibly make the EC more democratic if we have to keep it. I’d

                    • You cut off your comment again!

                      I’m OK with some parts of our government being more democratic and some less. I strongly believe in a Senate with equal representation. My problem with the EC as currently constituted is that we pretend for months that the presidency is a popular election, then say sorry folks, there was a problem with the math so the people aren’t going to get their choice after all. We don’t elect federal judges either, which is fine, but we also don’t pretend that we do.

                    • That one shouldve been deleted

                      There was no thought after that dangling I’d. The hazards of using a mobile phone.

                      If we equalize House representation that would solve a lot of problems. The next Democratic trifecta should work on that and eliminating the EC. I agree with you that the EC served a purpose, and maybe if we still had conventions and strong state parties I’d be more inclined to it. But, with a primary system that has thus far not produced a nominee in either party without a popular mandate-the expectation that the general should produce a popular mandate is a lot higher and required.

                    • What do you mean by equalizing House representation?

                      I assume you do not mean make it like the Senate with all states equal and if you do I would strongly oppose that.

                    • Oh no

                      I referred to the Wyoming Rule above, which means no district should be larger than the smallest at large district. Which in this case is the 540,000 in Wyoming at large. That would take us from 435 to 546. We haven’t adjusted House size since 1913, and have nearly doubled in population since then. That would likely benefit Democrats in the short term but in the long term it would force the GOP to the center or at least to compete more for minority and urban voters.

                    • Since it has a name it sounds like a proposal previously floated...

                      …so being a civics geek I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of it. I’ve actually long thought it should be 600, which makes a lot of math easy for supermajority requirements. I’d give every state a third Senator too which would allow every state to elect one Senator in each biennium.

                    • first thought

                      Just what we need more leaders collecting pensions. Guess my cynical side is showing.

  2. Yes!

    I agree with all.

    More explicitly on #4 – it’s the President AND THE Republicans. Trump is a unique political being and easier to isolate from a party than any other recent President. Trump and his garbage needs to be hung around the neck of every GOP member of Congress. I think that’s what you meant, but I think it needs to be more explicit. Democrats need to make that link and not just hit Trump alone.

    And on #2 – Where are the blue states expanding voting rights? MA in particular could do much more. I’m still not sure what Galvin is up to.

  3. I agree that the Dems should become the party of obstruction to Trump, but

    they should also provide a positive message to middle class voters, in particular. They need to show that they recognize the concerns of working class voters who have seen their jobs and economic stability sliding away for a decade or more.

    Trump spoke directly to this class of voter; but, at some point over the next two years, it will become apparent that Trump’s promises were empty. The Democrats need to find a way to fill that void with promises of real jobs.

  4. "Obstruct everything"

    Hard to see a good future if this is what both parties do when out of power.

    • I can

      It’s a good future where the Democrats are back in power. And maybe they can crush the Republicans so bad that they move back to the responsible center. They haven’t been there in over a decade-so why keep compromising with the hostage takers? How do you meet in the middle on a fundamentally unconstitutional piece of policy like the Muslim ban? How do you meet in the middle on a full Obamacare repeal?

      • Dumb

        I think this is really dumb for two reasons. First, tactically. After 2010 the Republicans controlled the House of Representatives and thus could block legislation. Right now the Republicans control both houses and the White House. So the situation is different now than it was in the Obama administration. The party out of power does not have the ability to “obstruct everything,” except by persuading Republicans. So yes to public pressure on Republican legislators, no to “obstruct everything.”

        Second, if both parties want to annihilate the other, then we are in long-term trouble. I understand that the GOP, as they say, has not been acting like a normal party for a long time. I don’t know what the answer is, but I do think the answer can’t be “hit them over the head for long enough that they come to agree with us.”

        • Oh Ted how quickly you forget recent history

          After 2010 the Republicans controlled the House of Representatives and thus could block legislation.

          Yes and how did they get that majority? Was it by working with President Obama to pass a free market alternative to socialized medicine or was it by calling that very alternative socialism and shouting about death panels at vulnerable Democrats in the summer of 2010? It even worked in Massachusetts and elected Scott Brown.

          They manufactured grassroots discontent with the Presidents policies and rode that wave back to a majority where they obstructed the rest of his agenda, held the debt ceiling hostage TWICE, and broke precedent by holding a Supreme Court Seat vacant for the rest of his term. And they would’ve totally done it for Clinton’s term too.

          The Trump administration is already imploding, the best thing we can do is stand out of its way, point at it and call it the Republicans fault. Which it is. Their tactics worked and should be adopted otherwise we will continue to lose and bad things will happen to innocent people.

          We have been in long term trouble for the last three decades and its because Gingrich and his successors politicized the lawmaking and oversight process so badly that it’s lost any shred of objectively providing a check and balance to the Presidency. Simply a black check to a Republican when they are in power and grinding all lawmaking to a halt when a Democrat is. It’s the single biggest contributor to our failed political process. Don’t take my liberal word for it-the centrist conservative Norm Ornstein at the AEI wrote a book on it.

          • King of missing the point

            I don’t disagree with you about the GOP’s malfeasance in 2008-2010. I just mean to say that if both parties act that way forever, what’s the future?

            • "Kind of" missing the point

              The typo in my title is a good one, but it wasn’t intended!

            • I'm not sure

              I do know our future if we roll over and meet them in the middle is one full of creeping authoritarianism, environmental degradation, minorities living in fear, and the workers of all races continuing to get screwed by big business. So we have no choice but to fight. What you propose is unilateral disarmament. The balance you seek will be restored when mutual destruction is assured.

              • I see nothing in Ted's comments...

                …to suggest he is willing to “roll over” on the issues you mention, and certainly not unilateral disarmament. I’m very disappointed that you seem to have adopted this attitude with so many of us today. It’s not at all like you.

            • Ted, what's the alternative?

              I think Democrats could and should present an ethical attack on the GOP. Personally, I think the facts and truth are pretty damning about the party’s direction and behavior. (As James notes, it’s been 30 years of the GOP rejecting political norms and replacing them with unyielding partisanship). But people have to accept the those facts first.

              The (evil) genius of the Republicans has been the realization that the public won’t enforce many political norms, and if they don’t do it, no one else will. We’re now at a point where the White House blatantly lies every single day, and voters don’t care. Fox News, which has partaken of fake news in the past, has accustomed hard-line GOP to alternative facts. So how do we make the American people realize that we can’t fight GOP radicalism alone?

              It will take cooperation and some degree of compromise in order to get things done in government. The GOP’s version of compromise is “Do what we want.” Until they change their tune, it’s impossible to cooperate. We can’t annihilate them, and I don’t think obstructing everything is going to work. But we should not capitulate for the sake of a bipartisanship that can’t exist with the GOP.

              • Not sure the voters don't care

                Maybe many of HIS voters don’t care, but there’s probably a reason his approval ratings are so underwater, especially for a first month presidency.

                • They aren't that different from the popular vote though

                  He’s at 40% now, which is historically awful and means he hasn’t gained any new supporters, but it does mean most his supporters have stuck with him. He lost the popular vote, if we include all non Trump votes, by about a 55-45 margin. It’s now 60-40 against Trump, but when you pit him against a ‘generic Democrat’ his margin improves slightly (though he still loses) and when you pit him against Sen. Warren he manages to win (though her name recognition is still a lot lower than his). So not sure what that means, I would think (and hope and pray) another month or so if these bombshells get it lower but you do not know. I’ve overheard guys at the deli counter say they are glad the Russians stole it since they hate Hillary so much (in purple county IL).

                  • But compared to other first month Presidents...

                    …he is historically low. Most others get a honeymoon period where even those who didn’t vote for him patriotically want to give a new POTUS the benefit of the doubt and wish him well. Beating Warren and her measurably lower name ID seem surprising, but maybe that’s because I’m from MA. I’d love to see a study of political psyco-analysis on what it is exactly about Hillary that makes people hate her so much. Really, what did she ever do to them?

              • Not sure

                Mark, I’m not really sure. I think a good first step is to prioritize. It seems to me we have to distinguish in our own minds between things that are actively dangerous to the constitutional system or our foreign alliances (campaign against judges, illicit foreign influence, undermining NATO, etc.), things that are “merely” illegal (executive order to the extent it applied to green card holders, for example), and things that we don’t like or that are unwise but that are legal (e.g., increased deportation of illegal immigrants, shifting of the tax burden in regressive directions). No doubt different people will prioritize things differently, and as a member of the more, ah, moderate branch of the party I guess I might prioritize differently than many BMGers. But the first thing to understand, I think, is that not everything is a crisis—some stuff will just be “ordinary” bad Republican government. The first step, I think, is to sort this out. Then it’s possible to discuss what to do about particular issues. And by sorting things out like, this, I think we will see that “oppose everything!” cna’t be the right answer.

                • I think we're pretty much in agreement.

                  I’m cautiously partisan on my Facebook page, which is my latest soap box. My public persona is such that I have to be reasonably, not unreasonably, partisan. That’s how I can be effective.

                  I don’t agree with opposing everything either. I couldn’t get upset about Elizabeth Warren giving Ben Carson a pass, for example. We have to be the Republicans with a difference. The difference is reality and some degree of normalcy. In our highly partisan country, we can’t afford to have our actions dismissed as merely partisan.

                  • OK, but Ben Carson isn't qualified for HUD either.


                    • I didn't think he was. I'm not sure

                      Warren was right to vote for him either. But the hissy fit in response was silly. Partisanship for the sake of partisanship is one thing. Partisanship for the sake of symbolism is another.

                    • Both sides made a hissy fit-but trendlines matter

                      In the long scheme of things it’s just one vote. So anyone who reacted to this as a betrayal by Warren overreacted. But, it was definitely a bad vote. Especially since there were no consequences to voting no and no benefits to voting yes. I think the more Democrats internalize the tactics of McConnell the better they will perform in 2018. By continually motivating their base through fights both symbolic and substantive and by pointing out to swing voters that Trump didn’t deliver on his promises. Both/and.

                    • And this is conditional

                      I am not saying it was bad governance when they did it and good governance when we do it. It was bad governance for their own policy objectives since they Nahas a President willing to work with them in good faith. Similarly, if we were dealing with President Kasich I wouldn’t be making this argument.

                      So salting the earth partisanship is bad-but it’s the lesser of two evils when dealing with the unique threat Trump poses to our democracy not just on our policy priorities.

              • I should add...

                … that for me the biggest issue is not particular policies but the President’s unfitness as a human being to hold office. If Mike Pence were president, I wouldn’t be happy about it, but I also wouldn’t be losing sleep about the future of the country.

                • My spouse is a green-card holder

                  I’ll tell you that there is nothing “mere” about the illegal and dishonest attacks on green-card holders. It is not a violation of Godwin’s law to speak out when a government behaves in ways reminiscent of Germany in 1939. Green card holders own property just like anybody else. When they are forcibly prevented from entering the country, that amounts to a taking of that property. This policy threatens and hurts innocent men, women and children — spouses prevented from returning home, parents prevented from visiting desperately ill children, and a host of similar abuses.

                  The most disturbing aspect of the immigration order scandal, in my opinion, is still being under-reported — the extent to which federal authorities such as the custom’s police and TSA agents simply ignored valid federal court rulings blocking the implementation of the illegal order. We saw this at Logan, and we saw this in other airports.

                  Donald Trump’s unfitness for office is a huge issue. The inability or unwillingness of our political system and media to constrain his flagrantly illegal and unconstitutional orders is also huge.

                  • Not to mention the mass deportations are slowly beginning

                    Just under he radar-but he is not just deporting criminals but people who’ve been here for years, unlawfully, but are otherwise strong contributors to their communities and economies. Many of them with native born American citizens as children and spouses. The broken system is not their fault, deporting them won’t create jobs for unemployed Americans, and the cost of enforcement to our budget, our economy, and our values and image abroad will be enormous.

                    • Arrested while seeking domestic abuse protection

                      Happening right now:

                      A hearing in El Paso County in Texas went from ordinary to “unprecedented” last week when half a dozen Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents showed up at a courthouse where an undocumented woman was seeking a protective order against the boyfriend she accused of abusing her.

                      The woman, a citizen of Mexico who was living in El Paso had been driven to the courthouse by a victim’s advocate from the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence, a shelter for victims of domestic abuse where she had been living.

                      She left under arrest.

                      “This is really unprecedented,” El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal told The Washington Post.

                      This has to be stopped.


                    • Dumb, un-American, but not illegal


                  • Mine too!

                    My wife is a LPR also. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Nazi comparisons are wrong here. But I don’t want to discuss the point further on this thread.

                    • Make the comparison to Stalin then

                      I profoundly disagree with you.

                      Godwin’s law pertains to gratuitous comparisons. The framer of Godwin’s law,
                      Mike Godwin, wrote in 2015 (emphasis mine):

                      First, let me get this Donald Trump issue out of the way: If you’re thoughtful about it and show some real awareness of history, go ahead and refer to Hitler or Nazis when you talk about Trump. Or any other politician.

                      Our current administration is behaving in ways remarkably similar to Mr. Hitler’s. More importantly, AMERICA is reacting to Mr. Trump’s propaganda in ways that are dangerously (in my view) similar to the reaction of pre-WWII Germany.

                      I get that you are disturbed by the comparison. GOOD. That’s the point.

          • Redmap

            Yes and how did they get that majority?

            I’d say Project Redmap – while the National Dems were neglecting the local stuff the Republicans were focusing like a laser starting in 2009 (reeling from their losses) on the upcoming 2010 census and the resulting redistricting opportunities it offered. They targeted smaller cheaper state elections where major influxes of cash could swing local races and thus local state assemblies offering the chance to re-do the districts in their favor. I’d recommend reading Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy by David Daley as essential reading. Dem leaders like Martin Frost were warning about this years ago as did down ticket Democrats who were pretty much ignored by the national leaders who were solely focused on the national stuff And those national leaders were often in districts themselves that were imminently safe in California and the north east so they were oblivious to the dangers – classic example of the coastal elites being disconnected from the realities outside their bubbles.

            This worked hand and hand well with the Koch Brothers and their peers flooding moneys into those initials and others – Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer I find a depressingly perfect companion read to Daley’s books to see how these things worked together so well.

            This stuff is key and needs to be discussed more IMO.

            • Absolutely

              That’s a great book and a real primer in how we have to start playing hardball and playing it on small fields as well as large ones. They are literally writing us out of power. They are literally trying to destroy democracy by limiting the franchise to their voters. There is no compromising with that. You have to eliminate it and move on.

              • Yup and another

                Plus it kind of ties into an aspect of Dems and progressives that drives me nuts – where if the President is a Democrat folks just go to sleep and ignore things. I hate to say that if HC had won then most folks would continue to ignore how truly f*cked things have become at the lower levels in losing ground to the R’s and how many things folks accepted as good because a D did them but now recognize as bad because an R is ratching it up a level (or 19 levels!)

                I hate, hate, hate to reference the Spike Lee movie School Daze but there is a great scene where as the tensions continue between the characters – we get the final screaming of “WAKE UP!”

                But I babble….

                • You're not wrong

                  11 months ago I was about the only friend I knew who wanted to run for office and make politics better. Most people thought I was nuts leaving a good job for 22 hour days criss crossing the state and campaigning. Now they are fired up and keeping me fired up after burning out! I am advising two friends from high school on city council campaigns. Another’s boyfriend on a school committee campaign. And plenty more of my friends in other parts of the country are asking me how to run. With on exception these are all women and/or people of color. So I hope we get our shit together. Lord knows this is our last shot.

    • accidental downrate.

      Meant to uprate.

    • when a so-called 'progressive' stops progress

      you know we’re in for it.

  5. Some reasons this won't -- indeed can not -- work

    0) Winning is not the only thing. For someone who proudly wears their Catholicism on their sleeve, this is possibly the most anti-Catholic thing you’ve ever said.

    1) Republicans are better at “Thinking like a Republican.” As a practical matter, the fox can’t be out-foxed.

    2) People who have shame and a conscience who make a habit of thinking like people who have neither shame nor a conscience either get wearied and disheartened easily OR they find it necessary to close off that part of themselves that knows shame and or has conscience in order to continue… leading to actually and actively doing things without shame or reference to a conscience… which is how we got into this situation in the first place.

    3) Doing the wrong thing, even if you can convince yourself that it is for the right reasons, is still doing the wrong thing.

    • How is my religion relevant? And how does it make your case?

      most anti-Catholic thing you’ve ever said.

      I actually would agree with my Pope that this President isn’t Christian and is imposing a rather satantic and un American vision upon the rest of us. And fighting it is every Christian and non-Christians moral responsibility. Apparently its a moral responsibility you’re uncomfortable with.

      Catholic Social Teaching is all about care for the poor, the immigrant, the refugee and a foreign policy based around diplomacy and a politics based around consent not fear. Trump is the antithesis of all of this-thus blocking his agenda is exactly how we protect those principles.

      • your religion is exactly, precisely and comprehensively based upon

        a man who gave his life to refute the very statement:

        “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”

        • In politics it is

          And to defeat creeping facism it is. Bonhoeffer would agree.

          • I very much think Bonhoeffer would disagree...

            In politics it is (0+ / 0-) View voters

            And to defeat creeping facism it is. Bonhoeffer would agree.

            … and if he were here to talk to you today the first thing he would say is that true resistance — rather than ego and gamesmanship — begins with a refusal to change who you are and what you believe, even unto the arena of politics.

            That means that, if you are a Catholic, you are to believe that martyrdom is more important that political victory. That is the singularity upon which Catholicism is founded.

            It also means, if you take Bonhoeffer seriously (rather than as a mere debating tactic), you are to struggle with the questions before you in love and as part of your search for righteousness… and not in a perverse admiration for the tactics and outcomes of the “other side.”

            • Wrong

              Bonhoeffer was a pacifist Christian who renounced his pacificism to defeat Nazism. He took up arms against his own country and countrymen to protect Jews and other enemies of the state. He did not meekly accept his death. Speaking of Catholic theologians-the Just War tradition of Augustine nicely argues my point for me. It’s always a sin to murder, but its a venial sin to murder in the name of self defense.

              Similarly, Christ’s sacrifice was meant as a blood atonement for the sins of all mankind, and as I believe it to be-although this is less orthodox-for all time. He did not simply die for the sake of dying. He died for a greater cause.

              Similarly, the allied democracies waged total wars and committed what we would call war crimes today (carpet bombing civilians) to beat a greater evil. Sometimes you have to commit evil to defeat evil. Killing is always wrong, but killing nazi’s is a necessary wrong.

              Obstruction is always wrong. Partisanship is always wrong. But sometimes they are necessary wrongs and necessary evils we have to commit to regain the upper hand over a foe who disregards the rules. Sometimes we need to bend the rules too to defeat that foe. As a white male you have the luxury of keeping your hands clean, but I don’t want my brown wife’s citizenship revoked. I don’t want to see my Muslim friends interned or prohibited from seeing their families. And that minds grinding this Congress to a half. Because this Congress and this President is incapable of doing anything good.

              • So take up arms?

                On the other hand, I think Petr is on shaky ground, theologically speaking, to claim that Christ died to refute Vince Lombardi.

                • Win the midterms

                  Pay any price and bear any burden to win the midterms. That’s the only way to restore checks and balances against the executive. And the best way of achieving that is following the GOP playbook when it was in the minority in 2008-2010.

                  • And hope the GOP follows the Dem playbook.

                    I’m of the school that says Republicans are elected by Dems who stay home, especially when Dem Presidents don’t defend their record. I strongly believe THIS is the reason for GOP takeovers in 1994 and 2010. In both years if Democratic Presidents AND Congressional Dems had gone to the mat over health care reform, we might have actually had ourselves a fair fight rather than letting the GOP frame the issue.

                    • Yes

                      And this is why 1-4 on my list are so important. It’s to keep our base fired up and mobilized to turn out. This is the most important midterm election in our lifetime. Truly this time.

                  • Winning the midterms is absolutely right

                    In some old political newsletter I read that losing by a lot is better than losing narrowly, because you are freed from the obligation of trying to run the government and you can just concentrate on an electoral strategy.
                    I don’t know what the best strategy is for winning the midterms, though.

                    • I laid out my case in five steps

                      And I am open to alternatives.

                    • Here's the problem with aping the Republicans' obstructionism. . .

                      . . . it’s Donald Trump.
                      People turned to a demagogue because he said “I’m the only one who can get things done.”
                      You want more demagogues? Grind things to a halt just to make sure nobody else can take any credit.

  6. This is the old dilemma

    I spent some time thinking about this, and I can see jconway’s point, but petr is also correct. Christopher’s first comment captures it beautifully.

    We aren’t Democrats because they are Republicans. We are Democrats because we are Democrats.

    We could IMPROVE in areas where there is head-to-head competition, but if they, for example, go after the DoE, we have to defend it because we care about the damage caused if it goes away.

    Which is not to say the GOP just destroys, but they (by their accounts) think government is the problem. So they gain when government shrinks, and we (and our people) lose.

    I think I’ve mentioned this before, but hard line conservatives hold power partly by being willing to lose. We aren’t — we care more. So we try to make the best of our losses.

    In the end, I’d rather be us.

    • You're confusing means and ends JimC

      Think like a Republican means using their tactics to stop the Trump agenda and retake Congress. Vote like a Democrat means we are still fighting for a progressive agenda. Nowhere have I argued moving to the right-if anything I am arguing the opposite.

      • The ends are the means

        I know you didn’t argue for a move right. But we don’t obstruct, we enable.

        • On the contrary

          If we don’t obstruct, we enable.

          Are you saying you’d vote for Gorsuch? Are you saying a filibuster is not called for? Are you saying what they did to Garland shouldn’t be avenged? Since turning the other cheek rewards them for their bad behavior and gives them an incentive to continue it indefinitely.

          Fighting them tooth and nail and opposing every single nominee and every single law this administration wants to put forth-an administration with no democratic mandate to lead I might add-is the only way forward. What’s the point of an opposition party if it doesn’t oppose?

          • In turn

            I said none of these things actually, but I’ll answer.

            > Are you saying you’d vote for Gorsuch?
            Probably. By all accounts he’s a solid judge.

            > Are you saying a filibuster is not called for? Are you saying what they did to Garland shouldn’t be avenged?
            It most explicitly should not be avenged. We don’t want to take that route.

            > Since turning the other cheek rewards them for their bad behavior and gives them an incentive to continue it indefinitely.
            That ship sailed, with Nixon if not FDR. They behave badly by our standards.

            > What’s the point of an opposition party if it doesn’t oppose?
            Um, to govern? We are in the governing phase now. We oppose when they go too far, but we don’t oppose reasonable nominees.

            • Thanks Jim

              I sincerely appreciate that you are making reasonable counter arguments with which I can make reasonable objections. It is truly a model other posters should follow.

              Probably. By all accounts he’s a solid judge.

              What does this get us? It is rewarding bad behavior. It rewards them for holding that seat vacant and defying norms. What concessions do we get from conservatives for doing this? That they will be nicer when we have the White House? The Garland episode is proof that they will not be. Especially since Republicans ranging the gamut from Cruz to McCain were ready to hold that seat empty if Clinton had won the electoral college.

              Their argument-which was specious at best-was to let the people vote. 3 million more Americans wanted a Democrat to replace Scalia on the court. That issue is settled. I see no reason to give them the stolen seat. We win no Congressional seats by taking the moral high ground.

              It most explicitly should not be avenged. We don’t want to take that route.

              Why? What bad thing happens if we take that route. That they will retaliate by ending the filibuster? Good-we should’ve done that years ago when we were in charge.

              But you’ll say we should reserve the filibuster for a truly bad justice like a Justice Sessions or something. Well what will they do? They will vote to get rid of the filibuster at that stage. So at the end of the day the filibuster is already as good as dead.

              What we do by this is remind the American people and our own base that this seat was stolen, we avenged it, and they should come out in the midterms to punish Donald Trump and his party for engaging in this malfeasance. This fight keeps our base mobilized and ready to fight in 2018. Unilateral surrender achieves nothing, gets us nothing in return, and rewards their bad behavior. It means they will do it again and again when we have a Democratic President.

              That ship sailed, with Nixon if not FDR. They behave badly by our standards.

              ? There has been no other instance of the Senate refusing to grant a qualified justice a hearing using the excuse that an election was 11 months away. This is a uniquely unprecedented escalation in the judicial wars and one that we have to respond with in kind.

              > What’s the point of an opposition party if it doesn’t oppose?
              Um, to govern? We are in the governing phase now. We oppose when they go too far, but we don’t oppose reasonable nominees.

              Governance has only happened in my lifetime when a single party controls all the branches of government. Right now the Republicans are governing. We are opposing.

              The Republicans have zero incentive to work with a single Democrat to advance a single one of our goals while we are in the minority. Our only goal should be to retake the majority and the only way to do that is to oppose this President’s agenda.

              The Democrats gave Bush tax cuts and the Iraq War to be bipartisan in 2002 and were rewarded by losing their seats and Senate majority. The Democrats fought Bush on Social Security in 2005 and were rewarded with a Congressional majority. The Democrats fought Bush in 2008 and were rewarded with a majority and the Presidency. The Democrats ran away from their own President in 2010 and the Republicans obstructed his agenda and were rewarded with a majority which they retained in 2014 by continuing to fight him while our own side ran to the right and away from Obama and lost.

              You play to your base to win a midterm, you don’t play to a (largely ficitonal) median voter by being reasonable and bipartisan. And there is nothing to gain by being reasonable when the other side has given no indication that it is willing to be an equal partner in governance.

              You end an abusive relationship by leaving the abusive partner and getting an outsider to bring him to justice. You don’t keep cooking him meals hoping he stops the beating.

              • A ha

                I was trying to think how to answer, and then you handed it to me.

                You end an abusive relationship by leaving the abusive partner and getting an outsider to bring him to justice. You don’t keep cooking him meals hoping he stops the beating.

                WE CAN’T LEAVE. There is no other party that can challenge the GOP. For the country’s sake, we have to do what we can.

                Believe me I understand your frustration. We surrender too soon, too often. But I think that Mitch’s karmic retribution for Merrick Garland may still be coming.

                Also, tangentially — Merrick Garland? Nice enough chap, but no one was going to take to the streets over him. I’ll bet HRC would have put forth a different name,

                • You misread me

                  There is no other party that can challenge the GOP

                  Precisely-which is why we should challenge the GOP. Which is why I rejoined the Democrats and helped convince my friend and former boss to follow me in the door. This isn’t about abandoning the Democrats. They are the victim in my analogy. This is about teaching them to fight back and fight back in a way that will empower them and their needs again.

                  HRC would’ve put forth a different name and the Republican Majority would’ve held that seat vacant until we regained the majority. That’s my point. It’s not about Garland or Gorsuch-it is about restoring balance to the force. And you don’t do that by turning your light saber off and letting Vader kill you-sorry Obi Wan. You do it by fighting back on every front.

                  • Let me be even clearer

                    Under normal circumstances with two reasonable political parties that disagree on the means but agree on the ends of governance, Gorsuch should be confirmed. Hell had they put Garland on the court and RBG retired and Trump made this pick-id confirm him. Even if that makes the balance swing back 5-4. You can go back in the archive and see my arguing the same for Roberts and blaming us for going too hard on Bork. I absolutely agree with this common sense reform that would fix the process.

                    But these are not normal conservatives, this is not a normal president, and their nearly thirty year behavior will only be curtailed when they are shut out of government entirely for a sustained period in time and come back to the center. And that only happens if we oppose them and have our base beat their base and show the swing voter we are fighting for their economic security and protecting them from the ravages of do nothing Trump. Then we can go back to normal, until then we fight fire with fire or we get burned.

      • you're confusing truth with lies.

        Think like a Republican means using their tactics to stop the Trump agenda and retake Congress.

        For a Democrat to “think like a Republican” and to use their tactics is a form of deception. It is employing something that isn’t true. It is not ok to say 2+2=5, under any circumstances because 2+2 will never equal 5. For someone who cares about something to act like they don’t is a form of deception.

        If you don’t really feel obstruction is an appropriate strategy, A) why do it? and 2) are you going to be able to get away with it any better than any of the other lies you’ve told in the course of your life?

        • Than what's your alternative strategy?

          You show me your roadmap. Always a critic and never a proponent.

          • What lie have I told?

            That Trump thinks my wife is an alien who doesn’t deserve citizenship, and who’s people should be prohibited from immigrating to this country. That my in laws Indian best friend may be forced to leave this country. That my co-worker Jose may be deported back to El Salvador where he will die.

            This is a life and death presidency for thousands if not millions of Americans. We have no choice but to fight it. Failure to fight it means committing a sin of omission in response to these crimes.

            Also this is our last chance to get back in power. After another eight years of Republican government they will rewrite enough laws so that our democracy is one truly in name only. I am not kidding. This is not hyperbole. They want to destroy both small and large l liberalism once and for all. If we refuse to defend ourselves our movement and our democracy will die-and thousands if not millions of lives will be ruined. I cannot stress this enough.

            • none that I know of...

              What lie have I told?

              I have no idea. I don’t accuse you of a specific lie. I say you seem to be striving to be a decent human being who has a passing relationship with truth and therefore 1) likely to have told a lie sometime in the past and b) likely to have been troubled by that fact to the detriment of whatever outcome you wished when the lie escaped your lips.

              I try not to tell lies. First because they are lies… second because I’m not good at it.

              To think and act like a Republican, when you are not a Republican is a mask: at best a form of concealment, at worst outright deception. Even if you were comfortable with the simple practical applications of this, you are unlikely to be very good at it without a whole lot of practice.

              • Ok you clearly didn't read past the title

                ‘Think like a Republican” means playing the parliamentarian hardball Mitch McConnell to take back the majority in 2010. Period. It doesn’t mean thinking like they do on issues. Hence the modifying phrase ‘vote like a Democrat’. We should still be unapologetically progressive and inclusive-if anything that is what I am strongly proposing in agenda items 2, 3, 4 and 5.

                It’s 1 you have a problem with since you think obstruction as a tactic is evil. But it’s not when the policies you are obstructing are demonstrably unconstitutional and immoral.

          • I've told you my "roadmap" several times...

            Than what’s your alternative strategy?(0+ / 0-) View voters

            You show me your roadmap. Always a critic and never a proponent.

            … you didn’t attend. It involves holding on to truth, for truths sake. It means not to use truth as a weapon — indeed, not to use any weapon at all — but as an anchor, and a reference so that I not get lost in the desires of my ego. It means not to hate so that when the hate burns itself out — as it always has and always will — someone is there with love.

            Your strategy is to manipulate your way to a victory. To mask your true intentions because you don’t think ‘most people’ can handle them, and to play fast and loose with reality for the sake of temporary, momentary, entirely illusory, victory. You are doing this against people who are a thousand times more practiced at deception and a million times more comfortable with manipulation. You will lose.

            My ‘alternative strategy’ is to call a racist a racist. It is to call a sexist a sexist. It is to ask those who would vote for a racist, “are you a racist?” It is to ask those who condone sexist things ‘ are you a sexist?’ It is to confront people with the prejudices that surround them and to force them to make a choice: accept or reject. If most of them eagerly accept the label ‘racist,’ then that is the truth of it and I will likely forgive them and die. What other can I do?

            • We are talking past each other

              What I am tactically proposing here is to act toward Trump as the Congressional Republicans did towards Obama as a means of preventing him from passing his agenda and retaking Congress. In no way am I arguing we have to lie or manipulate events to do this. This is what ‘vote like a Democrat’ means. We maintain our core principles but we adopt their tactics of resistance that ultimately were successful.

              So what morally righteous tactics are you proposing that are different from that? Calling Trump a racist, a sexist, and opposing every single one of his racist and sexist policies appointments is precisely the kind of tactics I am calling for. Playing hardball. Playing to win. Who said that somehow involves lying about what we stand for or manipulating the voters? Those are the politics of compromise and accommodating the right have always failed, and will fail again.

              • I don't think so at all...

                We are talking past each other

                I think we understand each other pretty well. You just want some wiggle room to act as you see fit and I’m just not going let you have it.

                • What wiggle room?

                  I think at least half the conversations you have on this forum, and not just with me, are lengthly digressions from the thread starter where your obtuse reasoning is alienating allies. I shouldn’t have to adopt your epistemology in order to have a conversation with you. Those aren’t fair rules of engagement.

  7. #5! #5! #5!....should be #1!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Swing Voters Don’t Care About Issues-They Care About Feelings

    And they do not see themselves as part of any one particular demographic group.

    They are the couple where she works at Walmart and he drives a truck and both make about the same about of money and work men and women who make the same as they do so all this talk about “equal pay” means squat to them. They have two kids and their health insurance under Obama sucks just a little less than it did before but it still sucks. Reproductive Rights are not on their radar. Minority rights ain’t up there either. They do not see themselves as racists. They just know that their parents were able to retire in Florida and odds are they will not get that chance. They just know that the banks got bailed out and their neighbor lost his job and his house was repossessed.

    And they know that the Democratic Party has no outreach for them.

  8. Bruno Gianelli put it best

    Because I’m tired of working for candidates who make me think that I should be embarrassed to believe what I believe, Sam! I’m tired of getting them elected! We all need some therapy, because somebody came along and said, “‘Liberal’ means soft on crime, soft on drugs, soft on Communism, soft on defense, and we’re gonna tax you back to the Stone Age because people shouldn’t have to go to work if they don’t want to!” And instead of saying, “Well, excuse me, you right-wing, reactionary, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-education, anti-choice, pro-gun, Leave It To Beaver trip back to the Fifties…!”, we cowered in the corner, and said, “Please. Don’t. Hurt. Me.” No more. I really don’t care who’s right, who’s wrong. We’re both right. We’re both wrong. Let’s have two parties, huh? What do you say?

    Petr and Jim are welcome to cower in the corner. I’m gonna fight. Since it’s my wife and our future children and their citizenship on the line.

    • I don't cower.

      Petr and Jim are welcome to cower in the corner.

      Wear the mask long enough, James, the face moves to fit it. Your strategy is to wear that mask. It won’t be long before you cross that line. Then what will you do in the name of winning?

      Since it’s my wife and our future children and their citizenship on the line.

      If your wife married you for you, then don’t change you, to protect her. It won’t work. It can’t, possibly work. You’ll lose everything.

      • Whats your alternative?

        What would you do if you were a Senator? Would you confirm every Trump appointment and hope for the best? Or would you fight? That’s my only point. Fighting is the only answer.

        • If I were a Senator...

          What would you do if you were a Senator? Would you confirm every Trump appointment and hope for the best?

          I would confront every nominee with the record. This means, for example, to ask Jeff Sessions straight out and forthrightly “are you a racist?” I would not ‘position’ myself. I would seek neither ‘angle’ nor ‘leverage.’ I would first ask Sessions if he is a racist. If he answers in the affirmative, I would then turn and ask the remaining Senators if that’s what they want to vote for… If he answers in the negative, I would confront him with his past and ask him why he thinks he’s not a racist when his history clearly demonstrates that he is.

          I have no strategy guaranteed to commit a specific outcome. It just might be that both Jeff Sessions is racist and a majority of Senator would willingly vote for a racist. If that’s the truth, that’s the truth.

          But I wouldn’t let my fellow Senators get away with rationalizing their vote. I would, under those circumstances and just as forthrightly, ask them if they are racists. I would confront them and require that they either accept or reject. I would not accept a muddle-ground: a half-way mushy evasion of responsibility.

          It is as simple as that.

          Starting in South Africa, and then in India Gandhi deliberately provoked police to beat him and his supporters. He didn’t do this just to demonstrate their resolve, although that was part of it, but to force the question upon the actual policemen who would do the actual beating. Some of them beat protesters enthusiastically and mercilessly. Others found they didn’t have the stomach for it. But for Gandhi, not a single policeman walked away without knowing which side they came down upon.

          MLK Jr did the same thing in Birmingham and in Selma and elsewhere. He not only demonstrated the resolve of the protesters but exposed the cowardice of the Jim Crow state who used either surrogates — dogs and fire hoses, for example, in order that they never come in direct physical contact with the protestors… , or cover of night and white hoods. MLK took that away from them. He wouldn’t let them do their dirty deeds at arms length or under cover of night. Daylight. Sunlight. There was no way to evade responsibility

          That’s my strategy. It doesn’t involve either corners or cowering, whatsoever.

          • Cool

            Glad we agree on strategies and tactics and you’re welcome to recommend my post. Let’s oppose everything this President does using the facts-I have not argued otherwise.

            • not cool

              Cool(0+ / 0-) View voters

              Glad we agree on strategies and tactics and you’re welcome to recommend my post. Let’s oppose everything this President does using the facts-I have not argued otherwise.

              You have in fact argued for a specific, and duplicitous, methodology. And you have argued that this methodology is necessary for victory. I have not agreed with your tactics and I have refuted them as means to victory. In fact, when asked for an alternative (twice) I provided alternatives that refute the specific duplicity you advocate: specifically non-violent confrontation that depends entirely on truth and light and no masks… And so now you’re claiming the alternative in fact the compatible. This is not so. I will not recommend this post. You are welcome to feel a measure of shame.

              • Where?

                You have in fact argued for a specific, and duplicitous, methodology.

                You are welcome to feel a measure of shame.

                I’m not in the business of shaming the people I disagree with-I prefer dialogue. Which is something you make exceedingly difficult with everyone you interact with on this forum.

                • If you prefer it...

                  I prefer dialogue. Which is something you make exceedingly difficult with everyone you interact with on this forum.

                  … you should make an attempt to do it well. Blaming me for your unwillingness to read with anything approaching comprehension isn’t a very good start.

    • Bad day?

      No one’s cowering. Not sure why you’re trying to bait us with that rhetoric.

      • Sorry Jim

        I am not trying to be personal and I didn’t mean to single you out like that. I am saying I think the ends are all that matter now since our very freedoms are at stake. And you don’t win a total partisan war by tying one hand behind your back in the name of comity. I wouldn’t feel so strongly if the stakes were not so high. And yes it is a bad day.

        The first deportation wave has gone through and people I befriended in Chelsea could be affected. A Russian agent was our national security advisor for three weeks. Other friends can’t visit relatives in the Middle East. Middle Easterners are being profiled by the CPD on the CTA today. Blue states and blue cities won’t protect my friends. I have no time for pretending to be bipartisan or hoping our partisan enemies will be reasonable.

        • So oppose those things...

          …with all your heart, all your mind, all your spirit, and all your strength. I suspect everyone here is standing right next to you and those affected. Nobody is calling for bipartisanship on rights violations.

    • That last line was uncalled for!

      I see exactly NOBODY objecting to calling a spade a spade! I just think that if and when any hearts come along it is OK to admit that too. Yes, fight like heck for our ideals, principles, and values, but let us not sink to their level of obstructing for its own sake.

      • Nobody obstructs for its own sake

        McConnell did so to regain his majority and it worked. He did so to block a progressive replacing Scalia on the court and it worked. He did so to advance his policy agenda at the expense of yours.

        I am arguing we should do so since it’s a tactic-a tactic is only evil if it serves an evil end. It’s not evil if it is serving the end of preventing Trump from doing bad things and bringing the Democrats back to a majority. And it’s a tactic that is proven to work.

        I am saying too many liberals make the mistake of equating playing tactical hardball with being dishonest or unfair. It’s not. If anything it’s the only means we have at our disposal since we aren’t in the majority. It’s to grind the gears of government to a halt and prevent Trump from achieving his goals. This makes him unpopular which makes our party more popular. Which allows it to win more elections which allows us to govern. That is how modern politics works.

        There is no realistic universe where progressive governance happens if the Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House. So why pretend that it’s possible to work with these people? Obstruct them on the hill and you will defeat them at the ballot box.

        • By for it's own sake...

          …I meant for any reason other than the merits, or because we can. By all means vote no down the line, but we should fight because we can honestly say we believe the proposal is bad for the country, and preferably have alternatives we can present to the public at the same time.

          • I disagree there

            As I stated above. I believe that if they bring a knife to a fight we bring a gun. And if we can gain more politically by obstructing than cooperating we should do so. The stakes are too high to allow Trump to get re-elected or to continue to govern a trifecta. I wouldn’t feel this way if the GOP gave any interest in genuine compromise or moving to the center. They have not, so they do not deserve any cooperation.

            • We shouldn't co-operate because they deserve it...

              …if we co-operate at all (and I think you are ascribing that attitude to me more than I intend), it’s because the American people will benefit.

              • The American people will MOST benefit from a Democratic President and Democratic Majority

                And the only way to ensure that happens as quickly as possible is to obstruct everything President Trump proposes to do. For all the grief I’ve received for working in the UIP and occasionally criticizing Democratic partisanship I am surprised you and the other lifers don’t agree. I am saying lets be as partisan as possible and maximize the power our party has to affect policy. We enable Trump and expand his power by working with him on any issue.

      • Whats the point of the 'moral high ground' if we lose our democracy?

        If millions are thrown off their health insurance and thousands of people are deported-some of them to their deaths?

        I really think you, Jim and Petr are underestimating the effectiveness of the rights parliamentarian tactics and fail to realize that only be adopting them can we regain the majority we lost. They are literally redrawing and rewriting the rules so that only their voters will count in future elections.

        We are already seeing Red State legislatures propose mandating electoral votes by congressional district which will enshrine the gerrymandered districts for all time and prevent a Democratic president from occurring again. I really think the stakes are so high that total partisan warfare is the only play we have.

        • the point is...

          Whats the point of the ‘moral high ground’ if we lose our democracy?

          … the democracy itself. Give up on the moral high ground and democracy becomes just a way of keeping score between shifting alliances of thugs. Pretty soon, one thug is going to become stronger than all the rest and declare himself emperor. Good bye to all that democracy, then.

          That’s exactly what happened to the Roman Republic, the French Revolution and the Weimar Republic. Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler… take your pick, they’re all the outcome of exactly that progression.

          When you decide winning is more important, of more value, more vital, than the reasons for winning, that’s the outcome.

          • I am saying we are already at that point

            Give up on the moral high ground and democracy becomes just a way of keeping score between shifting alliances of thugs. Pretty soon, one thug is going to become stronger than all the rest and declare himself emperor. Good bye to all that democracy, then.

            And if we do not retake the Congress in 2018 than you can kiss democracy goodbye. And the only way to retake it is via the means I described above.

            “Democracy is like a bus, as soon as I reach my destination, I get off” President Erdogan in Turkey.

            Trump like Erdogan, Putin, Chavez or the other thugs he admires does not value our democracy. This is not something you could say about any other President we have had. He was elected despite not having a majority of Americans select him for the presidency. Our democracy is already broken by definition thanks to the electoral college, which GOP legislatures are racing to make even more unfair and less democratic. GOP legislators federally and at the state level are deliberately making it harder to vote. They are doing this so that they can take charge and pull the drawbridge behind them to prevent us from ever again having a seat at the table.

            When dealing with those forces you should use every tactic at your disposal to remove them from office and retake control. Our party is now literally the Democratic party. As in-the party that believes in democracy. Their party is trying to recreate the oligarchic antebellum Republic where only white property owners could vote and everyone else was fucked. I am not joking and this is not hyperbole.

            • so...

              And if we do not retake the Congress in 2018 than you can kiss democracy goodbye. And the only way to retake it is via the means I described above.

              … You asked: “Whats the point of the ‘moral high ground’ if we lose our democracy?”

              I replied noting the relationship between the moral high ground and democracy and that, in the absence of that relationship, it’s just thug v thug.

              Your response is, “yabbut we’re going to lose the democracy so we better just skip to the thug part.”

              No. We’re not going to do the thug part. We aren’t made that way. You won’t win. You can’t win. They are better at being thugs. Even if they were not better at being vicious, you’d get to the top of the heap through extra-democratic means and soon learn you’d lost both the high ground and the democracy.

              They are doing this so that they can take charge and pull the drawbridge behind them to prevent us from ever again having a seat at the table.

              Hey. White boy. Wake up. “Ever again” is a long time. Frederick Douglass never, physically, got a seat at the table, but he’s here now, ready to guide us. What’s more important to remember is that every last slaver who physically opposed and deliberately oppressed him is forgotten like so much snot in a handkerchief. You act like you’re the first person to ever be disenfranchised and this gives you all the license in the world to go full thug on somebody. It doesn’t. Lots of people have suffered more than you and stood up to it. You will too.

        • So we fight those on the merits.

          What’s so hard about this? We should oppose those proposals with everything we have. Again, I see nobody suggesting otherwise.

          • Oh, and on matters touching on people's rights...

            …we should never hesitate to take the WH to court either.

          • I see Jim and petr suggesting otherwise

            Jim is suggesting we should confirm Gorsuch since it’s ‘the right thing to do’, and has yet to offer any rebuttals to my rebuttals on why that is a bad idea. You are suggesting that if Trump wanted to do things voters like such as build infrastructure or expand Medicaid that you would work with him.

            Doing the former depresses our base and ensures we lose the midterms. And we get what in return exactly as a concession from the right? We reward their bad faith behavior on Garland. Doing the latter lets Trump look above the fray and take the credit while getting the Democrats nothing in return. It helps rather than hurts his re-election.

            I am agreeing with all three of you that Mitch McConnell was a bad patriot for wanting President Obama to be a one term President and pursuing a scorched earth strategy of obstruction to achieve that end. I am also recognizing that it worked towards helping him realize his policy goals and eventually lead his majority under a Republican President. Following that strategy will enable the Democrats to lead our future majority under a future Democratic President.

            I also think President Trump having a single term is not only good for big D Democratic policies but literally necessary for small d democracy to continue to exist in this country. So we are being good Patriots by ensuring he is a one term President and ensuring he fails. No, I would not be making this argument if John Kasich or Marco Rubio were President. I’d be in the JimC camp.

            • So you would let people who may benefit from Medicaid...

              …wait four years for an expansion, or allow roads and bridges another four years worth of deterioration, over politics? Sorry, my conscience won’t allow that, especially the former. Besides, that would give us credit too I would think. We also need to remember that Trump won by constitutional fluke, with a well-timed assist from James Comey. Let’s not make McConnell out to be such a political genius here.

              • Yep

                McConnell waited eight years and got rewarded with carte blanche to do whatever he wants. I am confident we would get better Medicaid, better infrastructure under a Democratic president. Additionally, doing so restores the checks and balances against the executive that we currently do not have with the least qualified, most racist, and most corrupt executive in our history. I cannot understate that.

                • Hitler built highways too

                  There are some things worth fighting for that are more important than mere policy.

                  • And the Autobahn is a great system...

                    …richly deserving of it’s moniker as I’ve heard “Hitler’s one and only good idea.” It inspired Eisenhower to builder our Interstate Highway System. Only difference being we name our system after Ike, while I would not advocate naming anything good after Hitler. (Plus, let’s be careful about triggering Godwin.)

                • McConnell got lucky...

                  …and I refuse to play games with people’s health care. Frankly, that’s an argument from a position of privilege not everyone enjoys.

  9. TLDR

    Me: its good politics to oppose all of Trumps policies, good or bad.
    Christopher: its good politics to oppose Trumps bad policies, and good politics to support his good policies
    JimC: its good politics to oppose some of Trumps bad policies, accept other bad ones as the price of losing an election in a democratic system, and good politics to work within that system in the minority for whatever scraps we can get
    Petr: your guess is as good as mine

    • I would slightly amend my line...

      …to add that it is also good GOVERNANCE to support his good policies (and for that matter oppose his bad).

      • In the short term yes

        In the long term when there is no means of impeaching him, no means of stopping them from altering the electoral college and voter qualifications even more so than they already are, it’s bad governance.

        Here’s two scenarios.

        We find out in February 2018 beyond a reasonable doubt that President Trump directly worked with Russian intelligence to sabotage Hillary Clinton.

        In Scenario 1:

        Democrats worked with President Trump and some Republicans to overcome Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to repeal and replace Obamcare with something more progressive. Voters like this and reward President Trump and his party with more seats (bearing in mind ticket splitting is a thing of the past, last eight midterm results directly tied to presidential approval rating)

        In Scenario II:

        Democrats broke no compromise, Paul Ryan override Trumps veto and repeals ACA. Trump approval ratings tank. Democrats retake Congress.

        Now in Scenario I it is impossible to impeach President Trump. In Scenario II we now have the means to impeach President Trump. And in Scenario II we are in far better position to take back the Presidency in 2020.

        So this is what I mean by recognizing how game theory works and applying it to the business of winning modern elections.

        • But doesn't scenario 1 also demonstrate...

          …that Trump is capable of coming around and just might have some redeeming qualities after all? Of course if we first find out about Russia as you suggest we should be going after him BEFORE we get to health care. Good governance is almost by definition a long term project while politics focuses on the short term. The tragedy of Richard Nixon is that in a lot of ways he was our last liberal president and I especially wish he had gotten further with health care, but his demons got the better of him and he was rightly forced from office.

          • Nixons a great example

            Trump could be the incarnation of FDR and I would oppose his re-election and be open to investigating him for impeachment. We are at Iran Contra levels week 3, Watergate is not far behind. Unfortunately there were good Republicans like Howard Baker to ask what the president knew and when did he know it. Zero of them seem capable of that today. And if they will continue to rubber stamp his agenda obstructing that rubber stamp to check the president is our moral duty as well as the only political avenue back to a majority.

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Fri 28 Apr 11:56 AM