Feb 06

Optimism, if you like.

Personally I think Institutional Democrats are too vacuous, venal, and vain to take anything like the positive steps outlined in this piece. I would suggest instead scorched earth Teabagger style primaries to make them fear us since they have refused on numerous occasions to act in our interests and indeed continue to do so. The manifest corruption and incompetence of Trump’s Cabinet selections has drawn the merest ineffective lip service tokens of resistance from our elected representatives and the only meaningful action to thwart his autocratic ambitions came from a George W. Bush appointee.

I invite you to consider that irony the next time they come begging for your cash or your vote.

We should reward the good ones? Which ones are those? There is not a single Democratic Senator who has consistently stood against Trump’s choices, The one who has come closest is Gillibrand of New York. Instead what we see is the same old Beltway Bait and Switch where Democrats will oppose 1 or 2 selections to burnish their credentials in the secure and certain knowledge that enough of their Quisling comrades will defect to ensure confirmation anyway in accordance with D.C.’s bi-partisan fetish worship where only Democrats must compromise.

Fire them all.

Democrats will never lead the resistance against Trump, but they can join it
by Alan Pyke, Think Progress
2/6/17

A gap has opened up between federal officeholders with a “D” next to their names and the wide majority of Americans who do not like President Trump. Staunch Senate resistance to Trump’s ill-suited and ethically challenged cabinet nominees last week suggests some in Washington are beginning to wise up. But the week also offered more evidence that Democrats believe voters will reward them for cooperating with Trump where possible — a misguided notion that would leave the party standing apart from protesters and resistance groups, and create a political vacuum strong enough to swallow the party for good.

For all the party’s faults, and all the harm its corporatism has done to left-of-center political ideas and public policies, further breakdown in Democratic cohesion and backbone would leave Americans without any meaningful opposition to Trump’s backward ideas — and no hope of rescuing the world’s largest free society from self-inflicted oblivion.

People who seek political office tend to view themselves as leaders. But Democrats find themselves instead following a wave of energy they cannot claim to have originated. While it may sting the ego to be behind the leading edge of anti-Trump resistance, the party and its individual members have a perfect opportunity to position themselves as joiners, helpers, and colleagues of a budding populist movement.

Both the Democratic Party and the country are better served by these leaders becoming a part of that movement rather than by attempting to manage it — or appearing to betray it in the name of Beltway compromise.

Some influential people inside Democratic politics remain concerned that the party will be penalized if it cannot find at least token opportunities to cooperate across the aisle. These forces are now in retreat, but their ability to shape thought inside the highest levels of the party was in full view during the first week of Trump’s presidency. Policy dilettante Ben Carson won unanimous approval from Senate Banking Committee Democrats to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development — even liberal hero Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Trump’s national security nominees and Commerce Secretary pick got ample Democratic support too.

The initial stirrings of a real resistance movement in Washington run contrary to an old party conviction — one that guided Democrats into their early capitulations, and which still lurks behind wishy washy statements on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and in closed-door meetings about “Triangulating Trump” on infrastructure and trade.

Leaders think that Republicans will operate in good faith so long as Dems do likewise. If they show how reasonable they can be, the moderate thinking goes, Schumer’s gang can pick off some Republican votes on the truly odious nominees.

Trump’s approval ratings are already down from the record lows that greeted his inauguration. Millions are already in the streets marching against him. He is bringing sycophants to the CIA to clap for him in front of the press. He’s telling Congressional leadership that voter fraud is real because a golfer told him a story once. His political brand is emboldening the men’s-rights crowd and the modern white supremacist movement, two allies sure to further taint his reputation.

I’ll stop here to explain that Bernhard Langer, the supposed source for this lie, utterly denies he said anything of the kind. Besides, he is a German Citizen and uneligible to vote in the United States though he has been married to Vicki Carol, who is, since 1984. He’s accepted German government honors as recently as 2016, has an honorary OBE (British Knightood) and was honorary co-captain of the European Ryder Cup Team in 2004.

Don’t believe my ‘Fake News’? Try Wikipedia

In January 2017, the US president Donald Trump used a short story about Langer’s failed attempt at voting in the USA to justify an investigation of voter fraud in the United States presidential election, 2016. The story was covered in several media outlets. Since Langer was a German citizen, he was not eligible to vote.

To continue-

The few voters who pay obsessive attention to political news may notice Democrats’ commitment to being the adult in the room and reward it. But most Americans won’t see or hear about or understand the intricate machinery of Democratic grownup-ism. They will instead see flashes of Democrats collaborating with Trump, blurring the brand distinction between a Democratic vision for the future and Trump’s bug-eyed retreat into fear and vengeance.

Digging in to fight every battle, on the other hand, would ensure that even casual viewers hear Democrats blasting a constant bullhorn of objection, defiance, and “no.” Becoming the party of no in opposition to Trump would put Democrats on the moral high-ground. The approach urged by party moderates, though, actively privileges a different, stodgier set of values over those of justice, equality, tolerance, and broad economic opportunity.

Senate collegiality is a value. Continuity of administrative competence in Washington agencies that directly touch Americans’ lives every day is a value. Deference to the 46 percent of 2016 voters who put a madman in the White House is a value, too. But they are not ideas that can rekindle a party.

Centrist triangulator Rahm Emanuel is recommending “a measured approach to Trump opposition [picking] only specific fights with a tight game plan,” per Politico. The four Democrats who voted to confirm oil tycoon Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State on Wednesday seem to agree. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) seems to share Emanuel’s vision: Resistance, but on a leash.

The absolutist rejection of Trump policies on Capitol Hill is a prerequisite for Democrats’ resistance efforts. But it is not, on its own, a resistance movement.

For years, political business has been done through the media. A member wishing to signal opposition to executive policy issues a press release, sends staff out to brief reporters, waits for news outlets to produce coverage of their action, then holds up that coverage in campaign ads and floor speeches. It’s a complicated, slow kabuki show that relies on many intermediaries to relay a simple thought to the public.

Democrats can now afford to abandon complex media signalling in favor of simple meatspace doing. The House members who went to airports in Virginia and New York last weekend to directly confront the Executive Branch officers of Customs and Border Patrol were bypassing old, slow, carefully worded tactics in favor of direct action.

But the most prominent elected Democrats, most notably Pelosi, settled for publicly condemning Trump’s rogue law enforcement clatche from the safety of a keyboard. The airport confrontations were so far a one-off. They weren’t hard evidence of a nascent wing of direct-action resistors within the party, but they did put a marker down for how the party’s elected officials could live up to their rhetoric in the coming months and years.

It’s time to use procedural maneuvers to force Republicans to go on the record saying “no” to doomed legislation that would reject Trump’s agenda. It’s time to look someone like Ben Carson in the face and say, “I am voting against you because your boss is an evil man whose success threatens the foundations of our nation-state.” It’s time to stand in front of cameras and call on every American public servant who believes in the Constitution to disobey any directive the administration imposes that contradicts the law or rescinds civil liberties.

It could not matter less that Democrats don’t have the numbers to pass legislation or block nominees, as pundits obsessed with Washington’s normal political order insist. They must prove to the public and media that they are not a party of “well, maybe in this case” but one of “none of this may be allowed to stand.” A political party that’s always been allergic to absolutists must now embrace absolutism.

If there are in fact any Trump moderates, they are severely outnumbered within his movement by dyed-in-the-wool anti-liberals genuinely eager to ban Muslims, wall off Mexico, and lock up every black woman who cusses at a cop. Democrats can speak to the gettable independent voter and say “no” to all things Trump at the same damn time — and there is simply nothing they could ever say that would split loyalists from their glib, TV-savvy president.

So instead of trying to out-argue the ogre in the White House, Democrats must bypass him and the national media figures that jump at his every little mendacity like a crow leaps at a shiny pebble. They must communicate directly with the people. And in doing so, they must surrender their sense of being entitled to call themselves leaders — and embrace instead the power of following.

Federal Democrats who physically joined airport protests and demanded an audience with Border Patrol agents were engaged in an act of followership. They wielded their particular authority on behalf of a shared ideal without pretending to be responsible for these shows of left-populist defiance.

If Democrats choose to continue the old tactics of begging political media referees to cover their oh-so-adult compromises, they will stand zero chance of reaching Americans who don’t eat, sleep, and breathe politics. Trump is speaking directly to his supporters, including the ones who may be a bit skeptical of his regime. He’s deftly manhandling the political media in the same way he did throughout his election campaign, promising voters that only his truth can be relied upon.

In such circumstances, it behooves Democrats to operate as resistance followers or co-pilots rather than would-be generals isolated inside a Capitol Hill bubble.

Whatever hiccups Democrats face in incorporating themselves into populist resistance efforts or in reconnecting with disaffected voters, the important thing is that they recognize they cannot be conciliatory toward Trump’s ideas.

Folks, if it wasn’t abundantly clear before it certainly is so now, we know< what happens when you vote for the “lesser evil”.

You get evil.

1 comment

  1. Vent Hole

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