I've been blogging at BMG since 2006 and am a seasoned progressive canvasser, communicator and field organizer. I'm a Cambridge native living in Chicago. I can be reached at jpconway88@gmail.com, on twitter or facebook.

Person #886: 325 Posts

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  1. Interesting hypothesis (0 Replies)

    I would’ve been really offended by this take five years ago and we would’ve had a real row about it. Hard to really argue with at this point. I think the laity, individual clergy, some bishops and the Pope are all doing their best to articulate the compassionate message that income inequality is the biggest moral challenge to humanity right now and the cause of sin from crime to abortion. But most bishops are stuck in a pre-Vatican II mindset. Although Chicago and San Diego have liberal bishops, most fit the Dolan/Chaput mode of culture warriors who justify voting against the faiths economic and social teachings in exchange for stridency on abortion.

    Michael Baxter is a Catholic theologian you’d enjoy reading. He has a response to the religious liberty controversy over contraception and gay marriage by pointing out the US was never really a Christian country. It was founded on genocide and slavery and has perpetuated an unjust distribution of goods through free market economics at home and imperialism abroad. Another take I would’ve been offended by five years ago that I can’t really argue against today.

    I’m actually excited by the “post-Christian” landscape. It’s more post-Christendom and that’s a good thing. Our imperial faith has gone back to the catacombs and we can model ourselves off the Bonhoeffer church that opposed Hitler. Trump is no Hitler-but any religious leader aligning with him has abandoned their faith for worldly principles and gain. Atheist friends have been asking me about attending services to at least find fellowship and I’ve recommended the UUA or Ethical Society. Ironically it could be that Trump ends up being an evangelist for liberal Christianity and liberal religion more broadly.

    My wife and I are happy to attend her fathers church when we can, Bible study at the church she works at with a snarky pastor our age who’s become a dear friend, and the occasional Sat night mass at the local RC when we can’t make it on Sunday morning. Like you, I’ve made it a point to more actively attend religious services this year as a response to what’s happening. And when we move back to Boston it’ll be a fresh start with church hopping. I expect the TEC is a little more Broad church liturgically and Christian theologically in Boston than it is in Chicago.

  2. I like this auto correct (0 Replies)

    rpromlfoers=prolifers. The new bqwhatever?

  3. I'd move all kids to Medicare (2 Replies)

    But agree this is a fantastic start. You’d think the Catholic Church and other rpromlfoers would be up in arms demanding Finnish pre and post natal care- but you’d be wrong. My wife and I want to have a big family but we are making peace with the fact we can’t afford one. Two is probably as high as we can go.

    Our friends, both bankers, are having an unexpected Irish twin are each making six figures and are looking at seeing the bulk of their income after expenses go towards health insurance and daycare for the kids. The wife wants to stay home-she wants to do what the social conservatives want. The dad wants to stay home/he wants to do what the feminists want. Neither of them can afford to take the time off.

    Dems could really make a strong play as the pro-family party as I’ve argued before if they focus on stuff like this. It’s not just working moms anymore-at affluent parents facing the crunch. She’s a Hillary Dem and he’s a Gary Johnson/Kasich Republican but both loved Bernie on this issue.

  4. And I hear others (not you) dismissing them entirely (1 Reply)

    It’s been an incredibly difficult conversation to have, and one where my wife and I don’t see entirely eye to eye. She had no problem with the Obama speech to Wall Street and viewed it as a critique of ‘being President while black”. My point is it’s corrosive if any President-especially a Democratic one-goes down that road. Similarly she gets angry that white working moms she is attending nursing school with voted for Trump and feels dismissed by them. And I won’t begrudge her those feelings-they did.

    But they are also right to feel dismissed by the Democratic Party. Both angles of this can be true. Absolutely every single Trump voter put their needs ahead of women, immigrants, Muslims, and people of color. I have never argued otherwise. Many of them will continue to do so if given a choice between a socially progressive populist and continuing on the Trump train. But many of them might not-and those are the minority of Trump voters I am interested in targeting.

    Larry Sabato has found that nearly 20% of Trump voters in the five states that flipped to him voted for Obama twice. I think that 20% can be won back. And in a race where 70,000 voters split across those state made the difference that is an important gain. Even half of that 20% would be enough to bring back PA, WI, and MI. Restore some of the firewall that Trump breached. I think making investments in OH can help that state as well. And its investing in Nina Turner and Tim Ryan alike. We need a bigger bench, a browner bench, and a more blue collar bench. And I don’t think those needs have to be mutually exclusive as you and John make them out to be.

  5. I am confused by your statement Tom (1 Reply)

    All of the candidates I discussed are strongly pro-choice. All support raising taxes on the wealthy and all support civil rights and civil liberties. Ossoff in particular is running against a candidate who wants to defund Planned Parenthood and has been strongly endorsed by them.

    To say Ossoff is pro-choice is an understatement — he’s such a staunch supporter of reproductive choice that Planned Parenthood Action Fund endorsed him and reportedly donated millions of dollars to his campaign.

    Where am I suggesting moving to the right on any social issue? I am arguing that in some districts is better to run as an economic centrist like Ossoff and in others its better to run as an economic populist like Quist. Nowhere am I arguing for a socially conservative candidate as part of this strategy.

  6. Hillary would've been great in 2004 (0 Replies)

    I think all key liabilities in the 2008 and 2016 cycles (experience, hawkishness, closeness to Bill Clinton) would’ve been unbeatable assets in 2004. Her mistake was thinking she needed two terms before she could run, a mistake Obama didn’t make, and a mistake Harris and Gillibrand won’t make if they are looking at 2020. And I say this knowing my 16 year old self wouldn’t have been mature enough to recognize this. I did vote for her this year with the knowledge she would do a good job and the expectation she was going to win. But her time has past.

  7. You and I aren't most voters (2 Replies)

    Most voters don’t get excited about resume candidates and would rather hear about a broad vision for the future of the country that they can relate to. In this department, Obama did a better job than Hillary, Romney, or McCain. In this department, the other Clinton did a better job than his rivals. Gore-running on the same record and with the same policies wasn’t able to deal with ‘the vision thing’ and lost to someone who had a new vision for his party (‘compassionate conservatism-which was a total joke).

    Trumps vision is foul, odious, and dangerous. But it is a vision-one that is distinct and different. And we have to have a similarly compelling vision in order to fight it. The people want someone willing to fight for them-I am glad our senior senator and Bernie Sanders are there to push this in the Democratic Party. I am still somewhat fearful the think simply being ‘Not Trump’ is enough-maybe it should be-but it isn’t. And we have to adapt to the new reality in order to win.

  8. We'll have to agree to disagree on the past (1 Reply)

    I hope you concede that Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in America, that Elizabeth Warren in her book argues that Democrats need to do a better job talking to working people, and that both of these individuals and their policy prescriptions are the way forward. I know you back single payer and a host of liberal legislation-and I think we are finally seeing a climate where our nominees can run on those things as well. Let’s embrace it!

  9. Re: Big Tent (1 Reply)

    I want to be clear that I think the party’s presidential nominee ought to be in the lefty populist mold of a Sanders, Warren, or Sherrod Brown. There is just no way we get to 270 without winning back WI, MI, and PA. We have to make a serious play for OH again as well and defend MN. Those have to be solid blue states again. I see GA, AZ, and TX shifting enough for 24′, but not enough for 20′. And beating Trump has to be our first priority.

    So how do we do this?

    Back Ossoffs in the 23 R districts carried by Hillary Clinton. Back Quists and Thompsons in the 12 D districts carried by Trump, and in some of the R districts carried by Trump by small margins. Basically-play to the middle in the Sun Belt and to working class voters in the Rust Belt.

    My ideal ticket balances between those two strategies while putting the Rust Belt agenda first. Somebody like Brown, Bullock or Franken on top with someone like Gillibrand, Booker, Hickenlooper or Warner on the bottom.

  10. My brother loves Booker-and I love my brother (1 Reply)

    Precisely because he works in pharma and thinks he’s a pro-business Dem. My brother was also moved by the rush to the airport and the testimony against Sessions since his church does a lot of work with refugees and he adopted black kids and has really become a lot more vocal about BLM.

    And he’s not alone-there’s a lot of Democrats who feel that way. Who like the mix of liberalism on civil rights and moderation on the economy. I want the party to be Big Ten enough to include them-I also think it has to be big enough to include social democrats and blue collar populists.

    And I think we have to be big enough to recognize that candidates we personally disagree with play better in other districts. The Clinton crowd has to concede the Sanders strategy is our best play in the Rust Belt. The Sanders crowd has to concede Ossoff is the best play in emerging purple states like GA, AZ and TX.

    I’d love Booker on the ticket to balance out a populist like Brown. But the DLC wing has to recognize the momentum is with the populists and it may have to put its economic agenda on the back burner or a tolerate a bottom half of the ticket for a little bit until the political climate warms to its messag again. Right now populism has to be in the drivers seat-but centrism is a needed co-pilot.

  11. Not to mention he didn't hit her on the emails (1 Reply)

    He magnanimously (and foolishly in hindsight) took them off the table in the first debate. A favor with which the Clinton team has repaid him with blame and sniping. Had Bernie recognized the Clinton team conceded NH earlier and gone after her more directly in the beginning he might’ve won IA. Literally a few coin flips the other way and he would’ve been the front runner after IA and NH.

    Bernie’s mistake was playing to make a point and not playing to win-his campaign didn’t scale quickly enough to take advantage of his surge. So I’ll concede to the criticism that his campaign for the nomination wasn’t as well run as hers-but it also was designed from the outset to be a message campaign and not a viable path to the nomination. By the time Weaver recalibrated it was too late. One silver lining for 2020 is that we will have far more candidates to choose from.

  12. Sorry Paul! (1 Reply)

    You’ve been one of the few willing to listen here and your insights have been fundamental to my own. And you called out the Clinton problems in MI and PA before I did.

  13. Great Fred! (0 Replies)

    Those are the communities right here where progressives need to get active.

  14. I agree with this (1 Reply)

    There is no way we would have had success then with the agenda I am proposing now, I also believe we haven’t had success now following the same agenda from back then. This is what I am arguing.

    My point regarding Modale and Dukakis is that they were in fact far less liberal than popular imagination remembers on economic issues. Few progressives in Massachusetts remember Dukakis as a liberal firebrand. Read Barnett franks book-he backed a liberal challenger against the Governor in 78′. Part of the reason he lost to King from his right is that he had Ackerman to his left. Also our party nominated King in MA-which voted for Reagan twice. We had a far more conservative electorate back then.

    Let’s not pretend Hart or Hollings would’ve beaten Reagan or Gore would’ve beaten Bush. Or that McGovern in 84 or Paul Simon in 88 would’ve won it from the left. It was a far more conservative electorate. Nixon and Reagan were pretty unbeatable in their re-elections.

    Scoop Jackson 76′ is an interesting road not traveled since he was a liberal on single payer and civil rights but a hawk on Russia. So he’d have been far more effective at Carter at using the majorities to pass progressive economic legislation while far less ineffective on managing foreign affairs. But the post-Vietnam post-Watergate electorate didn’t want a hawish insider. Similar currents doomed Clinton in both of her runs. 2004 was the best year for her and she would’ve beaten Bush.

  15. Wise words Tom (1 Reply)

    I’ve been encouraging my non-religious friends to join those intermediating institutions like Rotary or even a church like the UUA that welcomes any belief. But like minded people need places to gather and influence their communities through service and outreach and it’s critical the center-left looks beyond the political organizations to also reach out to those intermediaries.

    That’s exactly how the conservative movement gained its foothold. Goldwater loss and Reagans win are also good instructors that if the center can shift rapidly to the right in a generation-the reverse can be true. Its up to all of us to do the work.

  16. Send me an email at least (0 Replies)

    I’ve been meaning to run some ideas by you

  17. I'm starting to feel like you don't understand how they work now (1 Reply)

    The policies and politics of that era no longer fit the needs or desires or the country’s electorate. We had a great depression level event and you’re still arguing for Republican lite centrism? If there was ever a time to revive the principles of the Roosevelt Democrats its this time. You’re overeducated and underemployed like I am-and you still want the hedge managers to get a tax cut and face time with the last President?

    Because that’s the way politics works? It doesn’t work like that anymore-look who’s in the White House and ask yourself why. The center of the 80s and 90s doesn’t exist anymore-the new center is angry about trade and immigration and we have to propose constructive alternatives to assuage that anger. Doubling down on trickle down lite ain’t it.

  18. Who do you want in 2020? (1 Reply)

    I’d bet you a clean centrist like Booker loses to Trump. I would bet you 2016 Warren loses to Trump (but 2012 and maybe 2017 Warren has a fighting chance). A guy like Tom Periello, Sherrod Brown or Al Franken could beat him.