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Why the Wave Election of 2018 Could Mean Nothing

2017 December 30
by Ian Welsh

Trump is a historically unpopular President. The bills passed by the Republican Congress are hated.

In 2018, the United States will likely see a wave election, with control of the House and possibly the Senate returning to the Democrats.

I remember a similar election, one I followed closely as my job: 2006. The Democrats took the House, and did virtually nothing with it. They did not meaningfully oppose Bush.

Then in 2008, Democrats took the House, Senate, and Presidency and used it to pass an inadequate stimulus, a flawed healthcare plan (which, yes, has helped some people), and some technocratic fixes, while basically running an austerian, neoliberal policy regime: They bailed out bankers, collaborated with banks to take away houses from homeowners through fraud, increased drone murders, and so on.

They then lost control of the House and Senate, lost about a thousand seats at State level, and eventually lost the Presidency to the most unpopular Presidential winner in history (running a candidate who had the second highest negatives of any major party candidate ever).

All of this happened for a simple reason: The Democrats governed badly. Yeah, the worst part of 2008 was patched over (something which would have happened anyway–financial crises and recessions end), but basically the economy never, ever became good for most Americans again. We saw an actual decrease in life span for many Americans, we saw the rise of the opiate crisis, we saw the percentage of people with jobs never recover.

It was catastrophic, and the Democrats didn’t fix it.

Yeah, they did some good. But they didn’t do much and they did a lot of harm.

Fed up, enough Americans in the right places decided to try the other side.

Now the other side has revealed themselves as even more rapacious and incompetent, and Americans will then go back to Democrats.




This ends ONLY when one party or the other decides to govern to the benefit of a significant majority.

Democrats did this under FDR and they basically controlled DC for 5o years or so, until they fucked it up by failing to handle the oil and inflation crises of the 70s–at which point, they decided to go along with Republicans in getting rid of the economic and political policies which made the previous period of great prosperity possible.

So, there are some signs that Democrats are beginning to get it: increased support for single payer, anger over various internet monopolies, and so on.

But when they win, they have to actually DO IT. Especially once they have a President, they must just ram through the right shit. 51 votes in the Senate is all it takes if you are serious. That’s a choice.

Until they do…




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111 Responses leave one →
  1. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    January 7, 2018

    dc – as you well know, science has conclusively proven that all population groups are exactly equal in average intelligence and behavior. Therefore, whenever differences are observed, it follows logically that there is some nefarious reason behind it. For example, although Somalis have very low IQ on average, we can attribute this in part to the white supremacists who design IQ tests sprinkling their exams with topics that only whites would know about, such as regattas, indoor plumbing, and Hitler biographical details.

    Similarly, there is a proven discovery of hard science called “stereotype threat” — basically, if you see people like you portrayed as unintelligent, you will actually score lower on any IQ test. So, for example, due to Hollywood bias, no blacks were portrayed as contributing to the moon landing, which in turn causes blacks to do poorly on IQ exams (kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy with retroactive efficacy). Likewise, portrayal of whites as dumb hicks in Jewish and east Asian media causes whites to have lower average IQ scores than those groups. I could go on, but you get the general idea.

    In sum, science has proven that once bigotry has been eliminated once and for all, each population group and individual will be able to attain above-average intelligence.

  2. realitychecker permalink
    January 8, 2018

    @ dc

    Well, OK, as long as you were linguistically motivated. πŸ™‚

    I was surprised . . .lol.

  3. different clue permalink
    January 8, 2018


    Yes, linguistically motivated. Dummheit, dummkopf, etc. I hope other people will start using “dumm” instead of “dumb” when they want to mean ” really really stupid”.

  4. realitychecker permalink
    January 8, 2018

    @ dc

    Yes, amigo, I’ve always known you were a cunning linguist. πŸ™‚

    (And, fortunately, I have a German girlfriend.)

  5. different clue permalink
    January 10, 2018


    I have learned that you are partially half-right about Somali society having a widespread rape problem. How did I learn that? By random listening to BBC last night. Here is a little written item loosely inspired by the interview with a Somali legislator-activist last night.

    What the legislator claimed is that Somali society used to have people-enforced sanctions against rape, back when Somalis lived on the land and families’ young daughters herded the family goats. This legislator/activist claimed that the rape-load has gone up with the large-scale urbanization of Somali society, an ongoing exodus from the land, and the rise of aimless unemployed youth in town and city settings.

    While there is no way you could have known about the absence, and suddenly the presence of a law against rape in Somaliland, you would have had plenty of time to learn about those other aspects of where the rape is coming from. So why didn’t you know about this stuff? Why should I have to find out about these things from a random BBC news show and then a back track web search instead of getting it from you when I asked? Why had you never bothered to find any of these facts to support your assertion about Somali rape culture so you could supply those facts when asked?

    And now that you know these facts are out there . . . thanks to me and not to any research of your own . . . what do you plan to do about finding out whether Somali society had a rape problem back when it really was thoroughly rural subsistence based or whether the rape problem has emerged after the decay of Somali rural economics and the urbanization of large numbers of Somalis as the Somali legislator/activist being interviewed claimed?

    And don’t you think you should begin gathering facts and evidence about all the other things you assert in case people begin asking you, in all sincerity, how you document and support those assertions? Don’t you want to impress people here and try changing minds?

  6. realitychecker permalink
    January 10, 2018

    @ dc

    Bless your heart, you have such good impulses and inclinations.

    BUT, you should realize by now that the Internet is not a place that limits access only to scholarly types lol. Or people who know how to do a reality check, for that matter. Or people who give a damn about how foolish they make themselves look.

    And Blizz is by no means the only disappointment in this regard. Most here are on the left, and many of those are sloppy beyond belief.

    It is frustrating, but that’s what we have to wade through to get to the few comments, and interact with the few commenters, that are deserving of careful consideration.

    OTOH, I believe reputation does matter, and, eventually, we get to know who to take seriously and who to just shake our heads about while we pray they never find their way into our immediate vicinity.

  7. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    January 10, 2018

    @dc – all the information you need to know about Somalis, in order to conclude that they will have low intelligence and high rates of violent crime, is that they are black — that’s it. This goes for black populations in Africa, and the African diaspora in every other nation. While I’m sure there must be some few exceptions to this heuristic, I’m not aware of any.

    The questions you’re asking are anthropological – those are interesting, for sure. (I have a book down on my reading list Africa: Biography of a Continent by John Reader which may answer some of them.) My glib reference that you latched onto was coming from a political question — if you let these people into your country (we do), they will commit rapes and murders at a high rate (they do). Personally I’d rather avoid that.

    I was giving you troll responses because I didn’t think you were serious. If you actually were, then I apologize. In general, though, it’s not useful to try and persuade someone using facts, when their metaphysics or ideology has already decided the question. If you don’t know what I mean by this, please take a look at this blog post. Discussing this issue with a leftist is futile, because they are already resolved that there can be no biological differences.

    It’s as if I say I prefer dogs to cats, because they are more affectionate — and then a leftist will tell me that, well, actually, while observed affection may be mostly higher in most dog species, it’s not universally true (some breeds of dog are not affectionate ever, and even the affectionate breeds aren’t always). Furthermore, these differences are only due to the history of how dogs have been selectively bred according to human preferences, and if we remove those structural inequalities, then the affection gap will disappear. Therefore, I shouldn’t prefer dogs because it’s not really true to say they are affectionate, (and anyway, it’s bigoted).

  8. different clue permalink
    January 11, 2018


    The nice thing about the Internet is that every reader is sitting by hermself without a meatspace crowd of people gathered around herm yelling at herm to ” Read this! No, read This. No, read THIS!”

    And the nice thing about any blogthread is that every person reading it and/or typing a comment is also sitting alone without the meatspace crowd yelling in herm’s meatspace ear about what to say and how to say it. So the non-lazy person is free to disregard the lazy people and post a non-lazy comment after non-lazily reading and thinking about all the comments and the post that went before.

    And it gets better. Every non-lazy reader-writer can decide to skip the lazy pieces or at least not even respond to them. The non-lazy reader-writer can even develop the skill of quickly skim-sniffing a comment to see if it is non-lazy or non-trashy enough to deserve more time and attention. And the non-lazy people can talk to eachother through the fog of lazy and nasty comments. That way, a comment section can become a bucket of sewage with diamonds in it.
    One just has to find the diamonds. But that will only work if those of Diamond Mind take the time to throw some diamonds into the bucket of sewage.

    God made a scroll button.

  9. realitychecker permalink
    January 11, 2018

    @ dc

    Nothing there that I would disagree with.

    But, I really come here hoping to have good high-level discussions that I can learn from. Same as when FDL was my online home. I’m happy to share what I have already learned, but self-interest brings me here more to try and learn what other thoughtful people, i.e., Ian and the others here that I respect, already know that I do not.

    The distractions from that are just annoyances to be endured.

  10. different clue permalink
    January 11, 2018


    Well, the high-level discussion-seeker can come here and seek out the other high-level discussion-seekers among the threaders. They can have a high-level discussion hidden in plain sight among all the low-level discussion-filler material. It can be done, as long as one becomes okay with taking that approach.

  11. realitychecker permalink
    January 11, 2018

    @ dc

    Well, sure, that’s what we are trying to do, isn’t it? πŸ™‚

    But some come just to disrupt, and that makes it more difficult.

    Still do-able, though.

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