Friday, August 11, 2017

A Gangrene Analogy

Sigh. Centrists are still blaming Trump's election on third parties.

Since no amount of data will ever convince them, I have decided to appeal to their unreasoning prejudice with an ugly analogy they might like. Of course, this won't work. But this might at least help them grasp what I am talking about. Let's start with some uncontroversial facts that I have mentioned before:

1) Third parties exist, have always existed, and always will exist. Period. 

2) They take away from both major parties, both collectively and individually.

3) But they are never a serious factor unless one major party really fucks up. 

For example, there were third parties when Barack Obama ran in 2008 and 2012. They did not cease to exist during that time. But he didn't need to worry about them for some reason. Why?

Because he had charisma and inspired. Also, he didn't lose the Rust Belt because a) he saved Detroit with the auto bailout and b) he actually seriously campaigned in the region instead of blowing those voters off as Hillary Clinton did on top of defending NAFTA. Most Clintonista arguments hinge on forgetting that President Barack Obama ever existed, but I'll explore that in another post.

The point here is: If your excuse for losing is "We would have won too, if it weren't for you meddling kids," then maybe you should factor for the existence of third parties. Because a strategy that doesn't is, by definition, a spectacularly stupid strategy. Hinging voter turnout solely on guilt trips is also obviously ill-advised. Obama did not do that. He was more than just "not John McCain" or "not Mitt Romney."

So, what's my analogy? Germs. Third parties are like germs.

I expect centrists will love this analogy because germs are tiny and dangerous. And of course because the analogy is sufficiently insulting to third parties. I'm honestly surprised they haven't made it themselves.

Yeah, germs are tiny; but they are also always there. Germs get in everything. They are literally in the air we breathe everyday and wishing them away will not work. Nor will guilt trips. So, when you cut yourself, clean the wound, apply disinfectant, and a bandage. Do this immediately. Do NOT let it fester.

Politically, this means do not betray labor or patronize progressives if you are a Democrat. If you or your predecessors have in the past, make credible amends and tend to those wounds. Obama did that and thus won. He got that these constituencies are the foot soldiers in the ground game of any campaign. As I wrote before, they do the shit work of making cold calls and licking envelopes. Who shows up for Democratic Party phone banks? Mostly hard hats and hippies. Sapping their enthusiasm is self-sabotage.

Evangelicals perform the same function for Republicans. Any GOP candidate who didn't attend to their issues would be seriously weakened - to say nothing of the consequences openly mocking them. There is a reason why "shooting yourself in the foot" is a durable idiom. Don't bash your party's activists. Don't shoot your foot soldiers in their feet. They can't canvas neighborhoods as well after that.

Well, the Democrats' foot wounds have been festering for decades - ever since yuppie fuckwit Gary Hart declared the New Deal coalition dead in 1974. Centrists have been using salt instead of disinfectant.

So, if you do neglect to disinfect your wounds or bandage them up and find yourself getting your leg amputated because of gangrene, do not blame the fucking germs. Blame yourself.

Because third parties only have the power you give them.


  1. It's absolutely amazing to me how the left has refused to learn the lessons of the past couple elections & is instead trying to cling to wishfulfillment so as to not acknowledge the profound evil it caused in 2016. To the extend the American left has returned to existence it succeeded in becoming just powerful enough to be the straw that broke the camel's back that prevented the election of Hillary Clinton.

    Clinton campaigned vigorously in PA as did her top surrogates e.g. Joe Biden, and she still lost. Clinton & Kaine also campaigned in Arizona far more than Biden & Obama did in previous elections. Airzona & was indeed a hell of a lot closer than it was for Obama either time. Clinton didn't campaign in Texas but she also did A LOT better in Texas than Obama did in 2012.

    The problem with Hillary Clinton is that she was actually too far to the economic left & was way too much a candidate of anti-racism. Bill Clinton & Barack Obama ran campaigns significantly to the right of Hillary & they won election & reelection.

    Hillary did not talk about reducing the national debt or deficit (she at most said she wouldn't increase the debt) whereas Obama & Bill talked about it a lot in both of their campaigns. Hillary campaigned on reducing the age of when people can qualify for Medicare to 55 whereas Obama campaigned on raising the age to 67.

    Barack Obama in his two elections & Bill in '96 pretended that racism was essentially over & they won. Bill Clinton in his 1992 campaign did minor racist dog whistling--nothing close to the dog whistling Reagan or Bush Sr. did but still dog whistling-- & he was rewarded with being the only Democrat since LBJ to win white working class voters.

    Hillary began her primary campaign by embracing black lives matter's call for criminal justice reform & united we dream's calls for immigration reform to a degree well beyond anything Obama ever did & in the general she became the first Democratic candidate to ever say "systematic racism" & her "deplorable" comment was the exact opposite of the Sister Souljah/Recky Ray Rector/damning Jeremy Wright strategy that Obama (and even more Bill) used to win.

    Face facts: Hillary lost because she was too economically left for America & too concerned with facing white racism head on.

    Centrists are made at Jill Stein because despite the fact that Hillary was too economically & socially leftwing for America, she could have won if Steiner votes had sided with her. Hillary alienated lots & lots of moderate & center-right white voters that traditionally vote Democratic by being so much of an economic & social radical (unlike Obama & Bill), but if the far left hadn't been present this loss wouldn't have proven fatal.

    Tell me something. If being a strong progressive is a great way to get elected as a Democrat then why did Shenna Bellow & Rick Weiland lose in 2014 & why did Russ Feingold lose his seat in 2010 & then lose again in 2016--he did worse than Hillary--despite his campaigning on a solid pro-labor agenda?

  2. Bill Clinton & Barack Obama & Joe Biden & John Kasich were all throughout 2016 & even today more popular than Hillary & (in the case of Obama & Biden more popular than Sanders too).

    What do all of these MEN have income besides they fact that they are MEN? All of them ranged from minorly to significantly to Hillary Clinton's right on policy.

    If you don't want to say that Hillary lost because she was a woman, you're going to have to acknowledge that she lost because she was too economically & socially liberal.

  3. Full disclosure: I think it is possible to read the data of 2016 such that Hillary lost because sexism is still prevalent among Americans. I prefer to, however, to interpret her defeat as due to her being way too much of economic & socialist leftist rather than her being a woman.

    I did not want someone as leftwing as Hillary to be the 2016 Dem nominee--I wanted Biden or Webb or Chafee & I even toyed with the idea of Martin O'Malley--but I think sexism is evil so I honestly hope that the reason for her defeat is her far left policy positions rather than her being a woman.