Friday, December 20, 2019

You can't draw Republicans out of a fantasy with facts


    The first question at Thursday night's debate of Democratic presidential candidates was a good one. A lot of Americans, PBS's Judy Woodruff asked at the start of the sixth and final debate, do not perceive the need to impeach and remove President Trump: what are they going to do to convince those Americans otherwise? It cut to the heart of the problem—a lot of Americans like this guy, despite everything he does and says, so even if—please God—Trump is voted out of office in 2020, then the Republicans will just revert to the fanatical opposition they were during the Obama years, dragging their feet at every improvement, pining for power to be returned so they can get back to dragging this country back to the Mayberry 1958 box diorama going on in their heads. 
     Six of the seven Democratic candidates punted, regurgitating their various talking points. Only Andrew Yang even tried to answer, but his response—we're going to address policies that matter to them and eventually the scales will fall from their eyes, and damn the media for focusing on this impeachment nonsense—was infused with the wishfulness that trips up Democrats so much. 
     “What we have to do is we have to stop being obsessed over impeachment, which unfortunately strikes many Americans like a ballgame where you know what the score is going to be and start actually digging in and solving the problems that got Donald Trump elected in the first place," he said. "The more we act like Donald Trump is the cause of all our problems, the more Americans lose trust that we can actually see what's going on in our communities and solve those problems.”   
     Which could work, were Trump backed with fanatical frenzy because he was solving the problems of white America, other than the problem of living in a fearful fantasy world and being desperate for a strongman messiah to tell them everything's okay. No clever twist on clean energy is going to sway those people. What Democrats need is a counter image of their own for everyone to gather behind. I don't think promising policies will do the trick. Obamacare was an important, necessary change in America's policy toward health insurance, and it was still maniacally opposed by the people it would help most, the way areas of Britain that most benefited from the European Union were also the places most dead set against it. The sad truth is that much of America lives in a Fox-fueled alternative reality where no exciting new policy is going to reach them. 
     That's the bad news. The good news is the Democrats don't need to reach them all, only to peel off a few percent and lure them away from the newly-impeached liar, bully and traitor leading our country to ruin. It's possible. But pretending the deep schism in America doesn't exist, or that the fact-averse can be lured across the divide if only you bait your hook with the right big wriggling juicy fact, strikes me as unhelpful, at best, and at worst the kind of losing strategy that, well, keeps Democrats losing. The key to overcoming nearly half of America lost in a dreamworld is not to enter a dreamworld of our own. 

12 comments:

  1. Truth Neil. For those of us who believe that facts and truth will change all people it is a hard pill to swallow. But the sooner we do, the better. Facts and policy tweaks won't change most of these Trumplings. Winning the next election is our only shot. Or Trump completely screwing something up so badly even his supporters have to see it. He has been the luckiest sob on earth so far. No ecological, economic or foreign policy disasters to deal with. Can that hold?

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  2. Democrats need a strong, clear and reasonable voice to rally every progressive voter and rational fence sitter behind the Democratic candidate, followed by a campaign targeted and thorough in the swing states that elected the Cowardly Liar. This means no reservations or recriminations from the losing candidates but unequivocal and enthusiastic support from them for the party's choice.

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  3. Given the current state of political buffoonery, I've reached the conclusion that Trump will win the 2020 Presidential election. Here is a scenario that could work for the best. If Congressman Justin Amash agrees to run as the Libertarian Party candidate, he would be a viable spoiler. There are Republican conservative voters who are displeased with Trump's antics, like his total disregard for the growing deficit. Democrats would be wise to help a third party candidate like Rep. Amash to participate in the presidential debates.

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    1. Republican support of Jill Stein worked wonders for trump.

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  4. The only hope for Republican sanity is a movement of the rational conservatives who have been silent thus far. The recent announcement by Rick Wilson about such a group that includes Steve Schmidt and others, urges Republicans to swallow hard and vote for anybody but Trump. If they can strip just a few percent from 2016 Trump voters, it could be enough.

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  5. Turnout! Turnout! Turnout!

    The picture brings to mind Chicago in the middle of the last century, when one took a date for a drink at the Tip Top Tap and looked down on the splendid spectacle of all the lights coming on in the city. An unobstructed view.

    Tom

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    1. That turnout will have to be for Biden, with the Bernie Bros and the rest of the pinkos getting behind him. The real question right now is: CAN he win? Can he get the fence-sitters and independents to back him? Without their support, it's four more years of American Hell.

      And, hey, I'm so old that I can clearly remember when the Allerton Hotel was one of the tallest buildings on Michigan Avenue, back in the heyday of Don McNeill and His Breakfast Club on ABC Radio. I marched around the breakfast table with my grandmother, as a pre-schooler. Don McNeill had a longer run on the airwaves (1933-1968) than either Johnny Carson or Bob Barker. At various times in the Fifties and Sixties the program originated from the Allerton's Tip Top Tap, and the show was my very first thought when I saw the sign in the image.

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    2. In the early 80's I was involved in some upgrade work at the Allerton Hotel. The top floor was closed, but had signage for the Clouds Room. The ceiling was a black dome with white dots. Beautiful even while undergoing renovation, it was like looking up at the night sky. The sub-basement had a large boiler converted from coal to natural gas. There were small gauge tracks on the floor leading to a heavy iron door, no doubt access to the City's underground tunnel for coal deliveries.

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  6. Yes, turnout. But who's going to turn out? If the candidate is not a person of color, will African Americans stay home? If it's not Bernie, will his supporters pout instead of voting? Will millennials be sufficiently moved to put their phones down and go vote? If it's not a woman, will the PUMA cry start again?

    If Biden continues leading the polls (for whatever they actually mean), how about a Biden/Stacy Abrams tickets. People like Biden and you get a smart, capable African American woman as VP. Abrams needs to be every Democrat's choice for VP.

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  7. Dumb question but are you on vacation Neil? I haven't seen you in the paper this week...

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    1. No, not dumb. Yes, vacation. We are only allowed to carry five vacations days into next year. The rest we lose, so I have to burn off surplus vacation days in December. Semi-vacation. I'm still working on stuff, just nothing running in the paper. Back on Monday.

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