The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Biden Will Run on Fear, Trump Will Run on Hope

The reason one should run for office is to act on one’s beliefs about what a good society is.

When people, or a party (Democrats), run on whether they are electable, they aren’t actually running on anything but hatred for an incumbent.

That means that the incumbent controls, even more than normal, whether you win or lose. You can only back into power.

Right now we have the spectacle of Democrats running against their own base (as is very common, Clinton certainly did, so did Obama, but with more concealment). Obama won because Bush was really unpopular, and Clinton lost because Obama had fucked up the economy.

But if Clinton hadn’t run against her base, she probably would have won.

People are reluctant to vote for candidates with whom they disagree. Is this surprising? Is this new?

Is it, instead, crazy to think otherwise?

(I am fundraising to determine how much I’ll write this year. If you value my writing and want more of it, please consider donating.)

Unless Biden’s support among likely Democratic voters crashes out, this is the de-facto Democratic plan. Biden voted for Iraq and is unapologetic about it, and Trump will kill him on it. He was for NAFTA and Trump will kill him on it. He was for a bunch of other policies that Trump can’t attack him on, but left-wingers won’t forget he’s been for basically ever regressive policy possible for his entire career.

Making bankruptcy impossible for students, by the way, is also one of those policies.

So Biden will probably win the nomination, thanks to The Onion making him into “Uncle Joe,” (an act for which they should be ashamed) and Democratic party members actually being centrists, but the left-wing voters needed to, like, actually win an election are likely to not come out. The only thing motivating them will be fear of Trump.

That means that Biden will run on fear, and Trump will (again) run on hope.

That’s not a good campaign to run, and it means that Trump determines Biden’s fate; Trump is in the driver’s seat. He has to fuck up for Biden to win.

He might, for sure. But perhaps hoping for our enemies to fuck up and having no positive plan beyond “I’m not my enemy” isn’t a good way to campaign, or govern.

(And Biden will be a disaster as President. Terrible economic policies and terrible foreign policy. A complete clusterfuck.)

Oh well.


The Terrible Ethical Calculus of Catastrophe


Week-end Wrap, June 2, 2019


  1. nihil obstet

    Running for nothing but how terrible the other candidate is is another bad lesson the so-called centrist Democrats think they learned in the late 70s, early 80s. The Republicans followed their consultant Lee Atwater into quite extraordinary negative campaigning. All the studies seemed to show that raising your opponent’s negatives is more effective than emphasizing your own positives. That has given Democrats a way to campaign once they abandoned their support of the non-professional classes.

  2. StewartM

    Your post summarizes what I’ve concluded, Ian.

    1) If Biden is the nominee, he’ll essentially run HRC’s playbook of “I’m the real Republican in the race” which drove down Democratic turnout and lose (plus likely also translate to Democratic losses in Congress and the statehouses);

    2) If Biden wins nonetheless, he’ll pursue the same neoliberal economic policies and neoimperialist foreign policies (the two are linked) that will lead to a further more right-wing, more fascist-like, Republican winning in 2024 or 2028.

    Either way, they’ll be no progress for the critical next 12 years or so on anything that matters.

    Of the two, Biden losing in 2020 is marginally preferable, as the Democrats are more effective in combating Trump’s awful proposals than they would be in combating Biden’s. But we’d be screwed either way.

  3. S Brennan

    Ian, I know your are just using the lexicon of the day, [correctly].

    But, calling Al From’s DNC policies “centralist” is crazy when compared to historical reference points established in the 20th century. Yes, the Democratic party [1978-present] is more progressive than the slave-owning, Jim-Crowing, Gilded-Aging [D]’s up to & including Woodrow Wilson but, compared to post FDR [almost 100 years ago btw], the top ranks of the Democratic is right wing reactionary.

    Yes, today’s Democratic party is inclusive of minorities, they do want all groups to partake in, or be subject to, modern day debt slavery, modern day colonialism and a kinder-gentler form of corporate fascism enforced through an Orwellian domestic surveillance program. Today, that domestic spy program controls speech, [see Assange] and in tomorrow’s dystopian future it will control thought. To call that “centrist”, through the lens of the 20th century experience is itself, the definition of Orwellian doublespeak.

  4. Mallam

    Absolutely extraordinary that you saw Trump’s campaign of fire and blood and saw that as “hope”. His acceptance speech for the nomination was filled with law and order rhetoric, citing crime statistics out of context, and bashing immigrants. That’s not running on fear? The entire conservative movement operates on fear! That’s how he won! Every analysis says your economic anxiety argument is a bunch of bullshit. These are racist voters who were animated by the salience of immigration, and Donald Trump promised to restore whiteness to its proper hierarchy. Everything about his presidency exemplifies what he campaigned on. I said it during the debates when you insisted “oh he said people won’t die in the street” as “health care”. That’s not what voters paid attention to or heard when they voted for him. They heard “boots to immigrants faces”. Maybe you think his presidency offers hope. Certainly many white voters think so.

    Nonetheless, since the black president isn’t in office anymore, racial salience among voters is lower than it was in 2016, so many of the same voters might not be activated and animated by his rhetoric as they were in 2016. Or rather, racists are still going to correlate for a vote for Trump, but many past Trump voters won’t have “race, immigration” on their minds when they enter the voting booth.

    By the way, voter turnout is going to be through the roof for 2020, and nominating Biden isn’t going to stop that from happening. It will set records. Because many voters want Trump gone. That’s all that matters to 40%+ of the country (55% of voters definitely will not vote for him, according to polling right now). Whether increased turnout is good for the Dems or Reps remains to be seen, but I suspect it’ll benefit D’s for the presidency, hurt D’s in some marginal districts, hurt in D’s in Alabama (sorry, Doug Jones), and help D’s in Texas, Arizona, and Georgia. That’s because R’s are reliant on old voters, and old voters always vote anyway. An increase in millennial participation from 45% to 60% will provide more net votes (especially when its 65-35, D) than olds who were at 65% rate increased to 70%.

    There will be paralysis until old people stop voting R, or they die. Too bad for the rest of us that there isn’t much time left. Millennials first started flexing muscles in 2017 elections (VA and NJ elections, see also Corbyn’s showing then, although his Brexit attachment is scaring them away). 2018 built on that. 2020 will continue. Voters don’t become “voters” until they’re ~45. 2028 might be when the bottom falls out for the Reagan Revolution.

  5. Herman

    If Biden wins it will mostly be due to the really intense polarization that is occurring among some segments of the population. That is what is behind the theory that the economy won’t help Trump as much as previous presidents because today people are less likely to split their ticket and more likely to vote purely based on partisanship and identity markers. Trump’s best bet is the same as in 2016. Win independent voters in areas like the Midwest.

    The theory that I have heard in favor of Biden is that he can win some of the white voters that Trump won in 2016. Disillusioned Trump voters could be especially ripe for the picking. How well Biden can do that is really unknown but it is not an entirely ridiculous strategy. The theory is that Biden will carry minorities and white liberals anyway, what else will they do, vote GOP? Of course, the danger is that the Democratic base will stay home and Trump will win enough white independents to win again.

  6. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Hi, Mallam. I guess you can see why I quit hanging around here very much. You might want to consider moving on as well. Wonkette is a nice place, and the Confluence is thoughtful.

  7. StewartM


    By the way, voter turnout is going to be through the roof for 2020, and nominating Biden isn’t going to stop that from happening. It will set records. Because many voters want Trump gone. That’s all that matters to 40%+ of the country (55% of voters definitely will not vote for him, according to polling right now).

    One, being against Trump does not equal a vote for Biden. Plus if Biden is leading the D ticket and runs on his record (which I think he will) that will drive down D vote yugely. Obama got fewer votes in 2012 when he had revealed himself to anyone paying attention as a fairly conservative president, economically speaking, and Clinton got fewer still in 2016.

    Note people who heartily agreed with Clinton that Trump was not qualified to be president and who detested him did not turn around to vote for her. I see no reason that will change. Trump was yugely unpopular in 2016 too, but that didn’t mean that he couldn’t beat yet another Third-Way DLC-Dem.

    You keep mentioning millennials, but it will be the millennials who will detest “Uncle Joe” the most and not show up or vote third-party, the same as 2016. So it will be the D old vote versus the R old vote, the two “veal pens” in combat, and the R veal pen will always beat the D veal pen.

    Even if Bidens wins, his betrayal of every progressive and Democratic constituency and his insistence that the real problem with American politics is that Dems don’t first get Mitch McConnell’s stamp of approval on everything before advocating it will drive down vote totals even more YUGELY is 2022, so the Rs will retake Congress.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of this re-run. I think most voters agree.

  8. someofparts

    Well, for anyone counting on millennial voting to save us from Fox-watching geezers, don’t forget to factor in our new variable. If we wind up with a cluster of states that effectively make abortion illegal, that might lead to some measure of migration by the young, for those in a position to do so. (Especially in a population that, because they are young, are less likely to have marriages and children yet.) So we could wind up with a skew in the millennial population, with some states full of the young and others relatively empty of them.

  9. RobotPliers

    \”Absolutely extraordinary that you saw Trump’s campaign of fire and blood and saw that as “hope”\”

    Trump and his supporters hoped for fire and blood, Clinton and her supporters feared fire and blood. Hope won, fear did not. Its a shame the candidate of hope wanted such terrible things, but then, the candidate of fear didn\’t want to do much good anyway.

    Obama was the candidate of \”hope and change\” in 2008 and he won too, though its a shame he did such terrible things and squandered his time in office.

    One wonders how much longer we can have our hopes dashed before the people turn to a man on horseback.

  10. someofparts

    Here’s a point from Democratic Strategist:

    “Trump was very aware of this phenomenon. During his victory tour after the election, he at one point praised black voters for staying home, a function, he claimed, of the appeal of his pitch.

    “’They didn’t come out to vote for Hillary,’ Trump said. ‘They didn’t come out. And that was a big — so thank you to the African-American community.’”

    According to reporting from Bloomberg shortly before the 2016 election, the campaign was working hard to ensure that they didn’t. A senior campaign official told reporters Joshua Green and Sasha Issenberg that they had “three major voter-suppression operations underway,” including one aimed at dampening turnout among black voters. In part, the Bloomberg report suggested, that included running under-the-radar ads on Facebook tying Clinton to the 1994 crime bill.

    If that sounds familiar, it’s because Trump is already pulling the same stunt with possible 2020 opponent Joe Biden, calling the 1994 crime bill “a dark period in American History” that the former vice president should apologize for, and contrasting that with Trump’s involvement in criminal justice reforms that “helped fix the bad 1994 Bill.”

  11. different clue

    I just had a wicked thought . . . what if a President Biden opening the door to a President Fascist after him is no accident? What if that is the secret plan the top-level Biden-backers have in mind right from the start?
    What if Biden is their secretly-chosen false-flag stealth fascist assigned the task of foaming the runway for the real fascist to be chosen to run after Biden?

    About the bar charts that Ian Welsh offers in the post: I don’t know if the Black voters of Milwaukee were considered “progressive” or not. Or if they are considered a different category of voters than the “progressive” voters. But I have read that just the Milwaukee black voters who DID vote for Obama but who did NOT vote for Clinton in 2016 . . . was a bigger number of non-votes than the little sliver of votes-for-Trump that won Wisconsin for Trump. If all these Milwaukee Black voters had perceived themselves to be having a reason to vote for Clinton . . . and if they had come out and voted for Clinton, they would have delivered Wisconsin to Clinton by a margin wide enough to drown out the bare-sliver majority for Trump.

    But they didn’t come out to vote. Why not? Because Obama made them all poorer by 2016 than what they had been in 2012. And Hillary ran on Obama’s achievements. Turns out that just enough Milwaukee Black voters considered Obama’s negative decomplishments to be no achievement at all and they did not vote to give yet-more-Obama another whirl. I wonder how this fits in with Mallam’s theory of the White Racist Vote.

    By the way, I note with amusement the little troll who claims to have “quit hanging around here very much” but yet who seems to be hanging around here enough to keep making the occasional comment.
    If Mallam wishes to take the little troll’s advice and stop hanging around here, would it be any loss to the rest of us? It would be no loss to the rest of us if the little troll truly “quit hanging around here.”

  12. MojaveWolf

    Full on agreement w/Ian here (and w/Stewart & S Brennan & Nihil above).

    The propaganda machine is going full court press for the disaster trio of Killer B’s (Bidet, Beavis & Butthead) w/Kamala waiting in the wings as party savior should they falter to try and make sure the Dems doom the world, with Warren as the emergency backstop if throwing a few extra crumbs of pretense is necessary (despite general servility to the cause of late, Warren has shown signs of independent thinking in the past so is ONLY an emergency backstop and primarily a tool to attack and siphon votes from the Bernie/Tulsi wing).

    Biden has two ways to win: (1) The propaganda works, and people are sufficiently easy to manipulate and critical thinking skills have been destroyed to such a degree that a majority of Democratic voters believe Bernie is a doddering old agent of Putin who was a sore loser in 2016 and tried his best to sabotage HRC, whilst Tulsi a war-mongering Assad toady and also a Putin plant and really still believes everything she did as child raised in an ultra-conservative household, whilst Trump is Hitler 2.0 and Biden is the stable hand who will return us to the good old days of everything before 2016, when all was golden and everyone was happy and the world was on the right track to paradise, or at least pretty damn nice.

    (2) Cheat cheat cheat cheat. Hey, it worked in the 2016 primaries and in the Cali 2018 elections and most people didn’t even notice, and all the “OMG Russia HACKED OUR ELECTIONS!” folk have yet to back paper ballots (good grief, they aren’t even more than dubiously lukewarm for the much easier to fix “paper trail”; even that seems to bother them); I’m pretty sure they have what they view as very good reasons for opposing truly verifiable ballots, and it’s not just contributions from Diebold. If they’re going to do this, his negatives don’t matter, and I’ve been wondering since they started pushing him about a year ago.

  13. MojaveWolf

    Oh, forgot to mention–if Biden or any of the centrists win, probably time to kiss this world goodbye.

    Not saying give up, cause like Bernie and Dylan Thomas, I’m all for raging against the dying of the light and going gently into the night of letting everything you love die is not for me, but realistically, if the corporatists can manage to keep their hold on power, there’s no hope of avoiding at best the societal collapse Ian sometimes talks about and at worst full on biospheric collapse.

    Should a corporatist tool get the nomination, at least keeping Trump in power MIGHT cause them to FINALLY learn something in time to swerve away from the worst consequences of their past courses of action.

    I can’t type that without going LOL at this point; we see what they learned from 2016. I think there’s a better chance someone wakes up a bunch of giant monsters to save the planet by killing the humans. Bernie, Tulsi or , most likely, say Adios and oh so sorry, planet that once nurtured us without ever realizing we were about to murder you.

  14. Stirling S Newberry

    Wait till the first debate.

  15. Hugh

    I agree with Stirling. Wait for the first debate. At some point, Biden has to move beyond his vapid “I’m not Trump and that’s enough” and A) defend his awful record and B) stand for something. I would add that what Biden has in common with Hillary Clinton is that both are dreadful campaigners.

    What Democrats have going for them is Trump fatigue and women energized over all the recent anti-abortion, anti-woman reactionary insanity. What they have going against them is not so much Trump but their own leadership, of which Biden is a part. The Democratic leadership’s sole genius is in selecting the one candidate who can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  16. StewartM

    MojaveWolf on the MSM treatment of the Democratic campaigns…I watch MSNBC, and from what I can see it’s not just that they push for Biden, they also prepare for the possibility of any Biden alternative (Beto, Pete, Kamela, Cory, etc). Meanwhile, Warren gets an occasional interview while Bernie is talked about but never talked to or invited for any interviews.

    But the interesting thing is that they interpret Trump’s jabs at Biden thusly: “Ooh! ooh! ooh! Trump and his campaign realizes that Biden is the strongest candidate to defeat Trump, and thus make him enemy #1” and then go on to say that paradoxically, the effect of Trump’s attacks among Democratic voters appears to elevate Biden in the polls and thus is self-defeating.

    But maybe, just maybe, Trump’s team knows this? They take jabs at Biden to boost his candidacy and count of the Trump derangement syndrome because they WANT Biden to be the Democratic nominee, knowing full well that he has all of HRC’s baggage plus more (remember, HRC was forced to grudgingly come out against TPP, but *Biden still supports it*–how will that play out in the Rust Belt?).

  17. scarn

    Biden probably won’t be the nominee. He will flame out when election returns demonstrate that only old-ass people answer telephone polls, or there will be a brokered convention where some other corporate tool is anointed, or Bernie or Warren clinch it and open space for the possibility of Imperial decline with some more social democracy than we have now.

    @ Mallam: If you think Trump’s message is one of fear then you inhabit a social world that inhibits you from understanding Trump as his supporters understand him. That does not mean that your perspective is wrong, but it discounts the reason Trump mobilizes masses of supporters. His core support believes that he is going to deliver material benefits to the nation by stopping immigration, ending eggheaded environmental restrictions, rebuilding the US industrial plant, ending unfair trade deals, ending useless foreign wars, ending federal graft, protecting America’s Christian heritage, and fighting the globalist liberal media. For them, this is a message of hope and redemption. If the Democrats’ response to this is “Trump is scary” then they will probably lose again. If their response is a different set of policies that provides hope for material benefit, then they will probably win. Biden, in my opinion, does not provide those policies.

  18. Z

    I think the only way that Biden gets the nomination is if the brokered convention comes into play, but the sad thing is is that that is a probability at this point in time.

    The polls are bs, they don’t sample the population by economic class only by the identities that our rulers wish to divide us by. The polls, like damn near everything else in the U.S., serve our rulers. Also, it is difficult to get reliable economic information on voters so that hinders the accuracy of polls. The fact is though is that the hispanic software programmer’s and the hispanic construction laborer’s concerns have a lot less overlap than the hispanic construction laborer and the white cab driver. And the the blue collar working class votes primarily upon their financial security. That’s how Trump won.

    If Bernie wins the democratic nomination, it’ll be a cakewalk to the presidency for him. If Biden does, Trump has a good chance for a 2nd term. Biden is tailor made for Trump to beat.


  19. S Brennan

    I still think Biden is a macguffin, Kamala is the chosen one.

  20. The claim that 55% of the voting public will “never vote for Trump” rests on two very frail legs. One is that all of them are telling the truth, which is unlikely. I don’t know very many people, but I know eight people who say in public that they would never vote for Trump and admit privately that they will actually vote for him. The second is that all of the people who say they won’t vote for Trump will vote at all. Some will not vote for Trump, but they won’t vote for anyone else either.

  21. Joan

    I agree with this comment: “I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of this re-run. I think most voters agree.”

    I am a millennial and have always had the policy of “vote anyway” but I’m probably going to abstain from voting for the first time. The lesser of two evils is a terrible way to view voting, and it really is unclear which one is less, if you put Biden and Trump on the ballot. If Bernie isn’t on the ballot, I’m not going to bother. I’m tired of voting for someone who then starts drone wars on my behalf.

  22. Ché Pasa

    I’ve never thought Biden would be the Democratic nominee. He’s more of a place holder while the rest of the field sorts itself out and realizes that none of them is really up to a presidency that’s been shredded by the current occupant of the throne. Biden is there to comfort the bewildered and disconsolate — which he seems to be doing very well.

    Biden is selling a Restoration, and that’s very appealing to a lot of Americans and people around the world who hope for the kind of stability they think was the rule pre-Trump, but… the presidency has been fundamentally changed under Trump and his cronies, and I don’t think there’s any real going back.

    Biden must know this as must the factotums of the Democratic Party who are reveling in his current high poll numbers. They will say he’s what the People want. Some of them, sure.

    But it’s wrong to say his pitch is Fear. No, his pitch is “going back” to the way things used to be, the way things are supposed to be, the way things were meant to be. For those who have been hurt by or are discombobulated by the Trump regime, that’s a very powerful pitch. He’s selling something that very many people want to buy — and believe they need.

    He’s selling the premise that It Will Be OK. Again.

    The other Dem candidates are not really focused on that factor; they are more driven by the Fear Factor, the fear of what could be if Trump and his cronies are not stopped. Dead in their tracks.

    Their pitch is for something else again, something better — if we all work for it harder, blah blah. It’s not a Restoration. It’s not comforting or comfortable. It’s dedication and desperately hard (collective) work to stave off the Apocalypse.

    Trump sells chaos and confusion with a gold-plated gloss. A Tough Luck, Sucker con game. A lie a minute, who gives a shit load of bunkum, but who cares as long as he can get away with it and his fan base is kept entertained?

    It’s not just the pseudo-reality shit show. He’s simultaneously providing a powerful and deep-seated faction of the high and the mighty with some of their most treasured and long-sought after desires: unlimited power to do as they will however they might with the least interference of a pesky government imaginable; the corporate-friendliest courts since the last Gilded Age; and the restoration of patriarchy and Christian domination through the US Imperial Sword as God Himself deemed it must be. Powerful stuff.

    Ultimately, I don’t think any of the current candidates will be the Democratic nominee. But who the Dark Horse might be, I haven’t a clue.


    So Biden will probably win the nomination, thanks to the Onion making him into “Uncle Joe,” (which they should be ashamed of)……

    Satirizing politics and news has created quite an entertainment industry with publications like the Onion and shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report leading the way. Many have followed suit. For example, SNL is much more tribally political than it was in its first several decades. It’s now completely off-the-hook and over-the-top.

    These shows and/or publications are a contradiction. On one hand, they do a great job of revealing what utter nonsensical propaganda the media is and what scumbags politicians & leading figures are, but they then take that enlightened, instructive perspective and neutralize it by laughing satirizing it away. By laughing at it all, it has the effect of dismissing and neutralizing the catalyst that could otherwise serve as the motivation for people to get up off their asses and think & do for themselves rather than relying on a terminally corrupt system to do it for them.

  24. Z

    If there is a brokered convention, I also think that Harris will be the one that our rulers will ultimately try to push through. She’s neo-liberal certified: essentially stands for nothing other than her self-interests. It will create a nice story line heavy on identity politics: a black woman trying to break the gender barrier to win the presidency, to get for women what Hillary had “stolen” from her from the same disgusting, misogynist opponent. That will be the narrative our rulers will try to sell.

    But a brokered convention is also the only way that Biden will get in. I believe that the poll numbers are greatly exaggerated for him in terms of how many people are actually committed to vote for him. Most of his “support” is up for grabs, it’s not a strong following, there’s nothing he offers that anchors it, and his numbers are inflated as is. He’ll never get enough votes from the people to get the nomination. Neither will Harris. Sanders might. Beto is a tool being funded to slice delegates away from Bernie in a big delegate state. That’s part of the value to our rulers for the Harris nomination as well, and of course to rope in the duel identity draws of being a black female. Mayor Pete is being funded to net some identity-based gay voters and the cool, vapid millineal professionals (not that all millineals are vapid or are even particularly vapid compared to other generations and identity groups).

    Warren doesn’t have enough charisma and is not cynical enough to play her gender card to the hilt to get the votes to win the nomination outright and there’s no way our rulers will broker her nomination; she’s an enemy of the 1%. She’s a policy person and would be a great running mate with Bernie and I think would make a fine vice-president, probably one of our best ever. Bernie is more of a big picture person and Warren is into the details. They would make a good governing team. It would be great to have her working with him to change things more towards the 99%’s favor. She sincerely cares about people and values justice, as does Bernie obviously.

    Harris is similar to Palin personality wise, though much smarter. She’s as tight as a wire. I’m not sure she has the disposition to be successful in a long campaign. She will start to tatter. She also will have to answer for some of her past anti-crime, anti-defendant zeal that particularly hurt people of her own race, whose support is crucial to stand her up as a credible candidate to emerge from a filthy, backroom brokered convention.



    That being said, regardless of who is POTUS, nothing’s going to substantially alter the trajectory. The Green New Deal doesn’t even address the root of what ails us and the planet; Growth. Listen to the boffins.

    Exponential Economist Meets Finite Physicist

    Alright, the Earth has only one mechanism for releasing heat to space, and that’s via (infrared) radiation. We understand the phenomenon perfectly well, and can predict the surface temperature of the planet as a function of how much energy the human race produces. The upshot is that at a 2.3% growth rate (conveniently chosen to represent a 10× increase every century), we would reach boiling temperature in about 400 years. [Pained expression from economist.] And this statement is independent of technology. Even if we don’t have a name for the energy source yet, as long as it obeys thermodynamics, we cook ourselves with perpetual energy increase.


    There will be paralysis until old people stop voting R, or they die.

    There will be paralysis until EVERYONE realizes that voting is not the palliative they believe it to be. It hasn’t worked so far.

    What does anyone think Bernie will accomplish with a Republican-controlled Congress or even a Democrat-controlled Congress? Neither party, both of which are owned by the Plutocracy, would cooperate with him even if he miraculously got the nomination and beat Trump which we know will never happen.

    D.C. is the safety valve for the status quo hierarchy. Politics is the art of making the possible, impossible.

  27. Z

    What perhaps will destroy the viability of the Harris candidacy: the vast majority of black women will find her gratingly unrelatable to on a professional, economic class, and personal basis.


  28. Tom

    Andrew Yang has promise, talking about giving every American a Dividend, basically UBI by another name. He justified it on Fox News by stating that since Companies have our personal information and are using it to make profits, every American is thus entitled to a $1,000 a month just so businesses have the privilege of our information.

    The only news organization giving him any coverage is Fox and even their hosts couldn’t fault his logic for the Dividend with Gutfield looking convinced.

    Congressman Tlaib is unviable in this racist atmosphere which is saddening but it is what it is.

    John Bel Edwards is the best out of the group though he isn’t running. He has shown what Democrats can do when they adopt a pro-life, pro-gun platform and then use it to beat the Republicans over the head on healthcare and social programs, making them look like hypocrites and shaming them into voting for those programs.

  29. Dale

    I just turned 71, so suppose I should die now so the Millenials get a chance. Naw, don’t think so. I’ve been a staunch Democrat my entire life. My first political activities were as a youngster supporting Adlai Stevenson’s run again Dwight Eisenhower…twice. He lost btw. But recently I’ve given up on the national Democratic Party. The 2016 Democratic National Convention sealed the deal; they’re as corrupt as their Republican peers. Super delegates, huh? So I voted Green Party. And unless Bernie or Tulsi wins the nomination, I will continue to do so.

    I truly respect the people who contribute to Ian’s blog here. You are great folks. That said you all seem to be prime examples of Einstein’s definition of insanity. The D and R parties are not going to change. Wishing and hoping that they will is utter nonsense and a total waste of energy. Poles. You still believe in poles? Who did they tell you was going to win in 2016 right through the night of the elections? Is either party even realistically talking about the real issues that confront us; population overload, resource depletion, climate change, unending war?

    We Americans seem to be related to lemmings. Nothing will change the direction we’re on until economic chaos, climate destruction, or some black swan forces us to. Then there won’t be zombies coming down your street. It will be starving hordes looking for the can of Spam and packet of Koolaid you have hoarded in your basement. Keep doing the same old, same old and that is what we are all going to end up with. It doesn’t have to be this way, but I’m pretty sure none of you are really willing to make the changes necessary to keep it from happening.

  30. different clue

    The Democratic Party has pre-tilt engineered its nomination process to prevent any one of the 4 Decent Democrats ( Sanders, Warren, Gabbard, Gravel) from winning the nomination on the First Ballot. Once no-one-single nomination-seeker wins the First Ballot; the Superdelegates are free to vote in every subsequent round of balloting. The intent is that not a single one of the Superdelegates will vote for one of the 4DDs ( 4 Decent Democrats). The Superdelegates will all divide their votes among the CCCs ( Catfood Cluster Candidates). If enough ballots reveal the Superdelegate preference beginning to coalesce around a certain Catfood Candidate, the Convention Masters will keep the balloting going until a Catfood Candidate can be nominated by ballot. If no Catfood Candidate can win a nominating majority, the the Convention Masters will broker the Convention to the Catfood Candidate of their Insider Choice.

    That was the design. That is the plan for how to exploit that design which was engineered to make that plan workable.

    The 4DDs have only one single First Ballot chance to get a 4DD nominated. The only way they can do that is if they . . . and all their hundreds of thousands of volunteers and workers in the field . . . AND all their millions of primary/caucus votecasting supporters . . . . all study and understand and generously support the following concept: Whichever 4DD batchload of delegates looks to be coming in second and third and fourth among the 4DD Delegations should all eagerly and enthusiastically and unanimously vote for the leading 4DD on the first ballot. If all those voting numbers add up to the 50 per cent + 1 that a nominee-wannabe must win the First Ballot by, then that 4DD will BE the Nominee. That would require each of the 4DDs and all of their supporters to understand that any one 4DD is to be viewed as a tire iron, a Mighty Tire Iron of Justice to swing into the Grinning Teeth of the Catfood Democrat Establishment. I can see an inducement to sell the concept. Whichever 4DD arrives with the most delegates will automatically commit to making the second-placing 4DD the Vice Presidential Running Mate, and the 3rd DD the next highest Cabinet Officer after that, and the 4th DD the next highest Cabinet Officer after THAT. That might be the mutual 4-way pledge and inducement needed to get the whole 4DD community to attempt this one single Hail Mary Long Shot Pass at conquering and grabbing the Nomination for a 4DD Nominee.

    The 4DDs will have only that one chance. After that , the only thing the 4DD delegations can do is to refuse to permit any stop to the balloting ever. EVER. They can make the nomination into an unbearable torture process for the Catfood Democrats until the Catfood Leadership imposes a Catfood Nominee by brute force. The kind of brute force which assured Humphrey’s defeat in 1968. The 4DD community will have to force the Catfood Democrats to set themselves on fire in the streets just like those South Vietnamese Buddhist monks used to do in the 1960s.

    If I can’t have a 4DD nominee, then I want to see the Catfood Democrat Party exterminated from existence . . . and I will base my voting on what will get me closest to the goal of Catfood Democrat Extermination.

  31. StewartM


    John Bel Edwards is the best out of the group though he isn’t running. He has shown what Democrats can do when they adopt a pro-life, pro-gun platform

    You mean the guy who flamed out in 2008 after a few caucuses and primaries shows the way to D salvation? Please,

    Nor does elbowing the Rs for the 28 % anti-abortion vote or the 38 % or so who want gun availability to be the same or less than now seem like a winner. Even if you break the abortion question down to the state level, there are only like seven states where the anti-abortionists have a clear majority (> 10 %). Not to mentions the baggage that many of these people carry, you’d not have to just please them on guns and abortion a lot more.

    Unless you’re going to make the D party a replica of the R party on social issues (guns, gays, God, and minorities) then why should these vote D when the Rs give them everything they want? This is not to say that the distress of these people is not economic in nature; it’s just they don’t share your mechanisms. To an evangelical, for instance, the fact the economy is shitty and the despair they see around them is a result of American turning away from Yaweh, and marginal tax rates and trade treaties and minimum wage increases are irrelevant, what needs to happen is that we have to make Christianity the de facto state religion again–by compulsion if necessary.

    As someone who lives in Appalachia, I think there is real opportunity for the Dems to make inroads here with a populist economic agenda, but you won’t be winning over the convinced evangelicals and probably not the strident gun aficionados. Gun owners are a declining portion of the electorate, while there are more guns in the US there are fewer and fewer people owning them. Most people here don’t own a gun either, and those I know who do aren’t fanatic about it.

    But what you seem to be advocating, Tom, is essentially fascism–a populist economic agenda (that likely does little in practice to change the essential nature of the economic system) coupled with appeals to a return to a mythical social and cultural order. I say “mythical” because America was never really that way–there was no original right to bear arms individually, that was invented in the Heller case, there were firearms restrictions in colonial America and the Old West alike, just like pretending that non-European, non-Christian, non-heterosexual, non-“other” people didn’t exist in popular culture such as TeeVee shows (like, where are the black folks in the Andy Griffith Show, supposedly set in North Carolina?). And the whole philosophical underpinning of fascism–elitism by individuals or a particular group–undercuts the egalitarian underpinnings of progressive economic policy.

    You have to remember that a fascist, while he/she may complain about the people at the top, essentially believes the capitalist system is proper and right and produces fair results. They are not for essential change of the system, they just want “the right people” be in charge to fix things. And how can you propose a message that “everyone deserves” to have a piece of the economic pie when you’re also quite openly saying that “some people DON’T deserve” (the ‘others’) to have it as good as you?

  32. DMC

    Yang also backs a national value added tax, so that what the state giveth, the state taketh away as well.

  33. different clue


    I have already said that I would meet the anti-abortion anti-immigration people halfway. I support legal abortion and oppose illegal immigration. If that is not enough for them then I have nothing more to offer.

    Belief in anti-womanitic forced-childbirth slavery is an evil and immoral belief. If the “heartlanders” you speak of demand that I give them the anti-womanitic forced childbirth slavery they want in order to get the immigration-prevention I want, then I would prefer to let the “hearlanders” you speak of all drown and burn. Let them drown. Let them burn. There will be no compromise with utter evil.

  34. S Brennan

    StewartM is arguably right about one thing. The Gun issue alone loses [D]’s about 38-44% swing voters in rural areas. That’s why Republicans have done much better in Senate and Presidential elections, it’s not the bleeping Russians, it’s not bleeping racism and it’s not the bleeping Electoral College, it’s dropping 38-44% of swing voters on every election that contains rural areas.

    Rural areas [like the one I live in] don’t see much gun violence.

    Rural areas [like the one I live in] don’t have police services like densely populated areas. Call the sheriff in the middle of the night because somebody is breaking in, be prepared to wait over an hour on a good night…2&1/2 hours on a busy night. The sheriff [assuming he’s not answering another call] might be only 15 miles away as the crow flies but, he has to drive down a river valley, then cross over and then drive up “your” river valley. Alternatively, shine your laser sight on the door peep-hole/window and the meth-head will be making tracks. Rural people will not vote for government disarmament that leaves them at the mercy of criminals.

    Gun violence, when you stop calling suicides “homicides” is an overwhelmingly urban phenomenon, in fact, it’s really just a few zip codes, disarming law abiding citizens will not stop urban gang violence, indeed, Mexico [which is far more like the US than England] proves just the opposite, take guns away from citizens and gangs will have free reign.

    Still the Democrats persist…and why is that? Because our rulers know damn well why the founders put the 2nd amendment in the US Constitution. See my comment above:

    “Today’s Democratic party is inclusive of minorities, they want all groups to partake in, or be subject to, modern day debt slavery, modern day colonialism and a kinder-gentler form of corporate fascism enforced through an Orwellian domestic surveillance program.”

    Was it just me…or didn’t I hear a Senator[D], who represents New York’s financial interests, publicly threatening a sitting President with the violence CIA is well known for? That was quite a sight. Completely lost to most “Democrats” is that the CIA was most certainly involved with the assassination of a very popular President[D] because…the plutocrats did not like the results of an election. Today’s “Democrats” sleep with vipers.

    A great number of American Citizens do not trust the US Government when it says, “after we disarm you, we will start protecting you”…nor did the founding fathers btw. By my count, Democrats have been willing to, repeatedly, lose state & national election for four decades in order to disarm American Citizens in contravention to our constitution…why? Because the plutocrats have a plan that requires a disarmed populace…”austerity” is a very nice euphemism for robbing the nation blind.

    Want less gun violence? Stop glamorizing it in films and other media outlets! Oh, but wait, that could hurt the [D] donor base, at least the ones lacking the ability to tell a good story that does not include gratuitous scenes of violence to paper-over a feeble story line.

  35. anon

    It’s made me upset recently how the typical Dem neoliberals like Biden and Harris continue to surge in the polls. We have no one but ourselves to blame. The Democrats in the USA keep nominating the wrong people. At least the Republicans vote for strong candidates who will deliver on what they want.

    I so wish that Sanders had more name recognition to win the nomination in 2016 because that was his year to beat Trump. I believe 2008 was Hillary’s year to win the national election had she ran against a white guy and not Obama who came off as much more charismatic and groundbreaking at the time. Now there are so many candidates running and Sanders age has been off-putting for a lot of voters.

    I’m still solidly behind Sanders. Warren would be my second choice. I would love to see Gabbard or Yang in the VP role. Unfortunately, it looks like the Democratic Party and its voters will shoot themselves in the foot once again by nominating Biden or Harris. If Biden wins the nomination, I think Harris would be one of his top VP choices if she’s willing to accept. I’d rather vote for Beto O’Rourke than those two.

  36. bruce wilder

    I agree with other commenters that
    Biden = Fear;
    Trump = Hope
    is not an accurate enough description to capture the dynamics. I do agree that voters-who-will-choose-not-to-vote would be a key to the outcome of a Trump v Biden matchup.

    Ché Pasa’s Biden = Restoration where what is being restored is an imaginary status quo ante of stability and decency, a “normal” where the world is basically OK and if it is isn’t, if “normal” is under threat (and it is always only a threat — anything that actually happens goes down the memory hole), it is because the evil Republicans made them do it.

    Trump = Hope does not work descriptively, because Trump in fact is in general outlook one of the darkest and most pessimistic Presidents we have ever had. Ostensibly, Trump is offering a different brand of Restoration, reaching back further into foggy and wistful memory toward an imaginary status quo ante of Make America Great Again, but he is doing so from a rusty, corrupted personal worldview in which almost everyone is untrustworthy and lies and cheats and betrays, painted over with an hypomaniac’s compulsion to sell himself with public hyperbole.

    It is tempting to venture an analysis founded on my brilliant insight into “what is really going on” behind the smokescreen of slogans and posturing, but I am not sure I have a brilliant insight on which to build; in grave doubt, I will give it what is sure to be an embarrassing shot.

    In a politics which is just a front for letting the powerful do what they will — and the powerful are not the people we elect — there is a built-in tension in any candidacy between the shiny illusion being presented and the ugly reality any sentient person must at least suspect will be delivered.

    So, Biden is promising an illusion of Restoring Normal and fronting a policy of allowing the System to continue the beatings.

    It is tempting to invoke symmetry and assert that Trump is doing the “same” or equivalent thing: promising the illusion of MAGA while fronting an even more naked Kleptocracy than Biden.

    In the symmetrical view, both candidacies (I won’t say “candidates” here because the candidacy is a construction of political operatives more multifarious than the individual playing its dramatic central role) are effectively promising beatings, just for different groups of people: Trump for the scary Muslims or Hispanic immigrants, obviously; Biden, more implicitly for the deplorable flyovers.

    The other candidate — the greater evil — can serve as a reference point for building a narrative of convenient denial of reality supportive of the illusion being fronted. So, lots of Democratic voters somehow convinced themselves that Hillary Clinton was not a candidate of Goldman Sachs, not a war-monger, et cetera because Trump was worse. And, those same Clinton voters bought a narrative that identified Trump voters as fools, whose views and concerns could be disregarded as tainted by racism.

    As the illusions grow more tattered and unbelievable, the number of people who simply drop out of the electoral system become ever more important to the strategic calculus of the people running the campaigns. Those who completely stop believing cannot be allowed to participate.

    There is also the problem that simply letting a kleptocracy run wild can become worrisome even to some of the kleptocrats.

    Trump fronts a nationalist impulse on the Right that seems genuinely worried about trade and China. The mainstream narrative, driven by a business and financial elite that is quite comfortable with the status quo, is that Trump is a bull in the China shop of free trade and international comity (as if!). Democrats seem remarkably reluctant to admit Trump might have a point.

    Sanders, Warren and Gabbard represent elements in the Democratic Party that are worried about a kleptocracy and/or military-industrial complex running wild. Whether a Biden candidacy would incorporate any of those concerns in any form seems unlikely, given the precedent set by the Clintonites of exile and exclusion for Sanders supporters in the Party, plus the insistence on attacking Trump via the Russia,Russia,Russia narrative.

    Biden is a far less perfect Anti-Trump than Buttigieg. If the thesis that Biden is a placeholder occupying space to keep Sanders or Warren from becoming inevitable is correct then the early debates are a trial period to test out whether Buttigieg or Harris or Booker or Yang or someone else are marketable. If anyone can be elected on pure hot air filling an Anti-Trump balloon with no other commitment to policy specifics (other than Silicon Valley friendly nostrums), Buttigieg, a favorite of Morning Joe, is it.

    Some sort of weird alliance has formed between the Democrats and the Deep State embedded in the so-called Intelligence Community and Military-Industrial Complex. I guess it is really hard for me to see the shades of grey that put Trump at odds with the foreign policy establishment or the Intelligence Agencies. To my simple mind, they should love a belligerent authoritarian like Trump. But, there is something they do not love about him.

    I look on the Economy as the joker in the deck. A recession is coming on and seems timed for the election year. A business recession could well reveal some of the deep rot in the American economy. I do not know what people will make of Uber collapsing or an uptick in precarity. I suppose the plan is that those people suffering or those who care about the suffering continue to believe that voting cannot possibly matter. (And, I agree with other commenters that voting for a Bernie isn’t enough in any case, you need a Congress filled with AOC-types on the left and some sort of local booster conservatives on the right.)

  37. different clue

    @ S Brennan,

    You make a good point about guns, gun rights and gun necessities. It is not fair to try disarming small town and rural people because the denizens of certain Major Metropolitan Sh*tholes can’t handle their guns.

    I have sometimes suggested adding the Four More Newest Freedoms to The Four Freedoms which FDR made famous.

    Freedom of Hate Speech.
    Freedom of Personal Guns.
    Freedom of Personal Drugs.
    Freedom of Driving While Black.

  38. MojaveWolf

    Lots of great comments; will just chime in on a couple —

    @Stewart — ITA, I think Trump would be doing mental cartwheels if the Dems nominate Biden, that’s his best chance to win again, and probably why he wants to keep the media Biden-centered

    @SBrennan — Couple of ver good comments; agreed that Kamala makes the most sense for the corporatists to actually get behind; either they’re keeping her off-center now to swoop in later, or she pissed someone off somehow, or her failure to get immediate top-of-the-polls traction frightened them and they really are as gutless and unimaginative as we sometimes think they are;

    also mostly agreed on the guns–absolutely on the rural bit, I’m in the same boat as you are, most people here have guns and we have almost no gun violence and if someone tries to break into your house you want the gun (and people almost never break into houses when someone is home out here, only when they’re gone, probably also gun-related in a good way), and it’s idiotic to count suicides with the homicides.

    @DC — yes on the necessity of defending women’s bodily autonomy & reproductive freedom! & on the need to eventually coalesce around a candidate on the left, though we have plenty of time. Especially if other states are like Cali where I think (I read this a while back & can’t remember for sure?) the delegates get split among the people who get over 15% off the vote, with those people getting not only all their own delegates but the remaining ones split proportionately based on their overall vote totals? This seems so stupid it’s hard to believe it’s real, but I could swear I remember reading that is how it is going to be here.

    Tulsi is my first choice but if this is how the system is going to work, and the polls stay as they are, I will be voting Bernie when we get to primary day, for that reason as well as the ones you gave.

    @BruceWilder — the deep state doesn’t like Trump because despite his frequently bellicose and occasionally frighteningly stupid rhetoric, he has thus far avoided invading anyone, and so far stopped their plans for a middle eastern proxy fight w/Russia that could theoretically last forever or even turn into a shooting war with Russia, which I think the MIC actually want, because they think they can keep it contained and we will always win and control the escalation to whatever we want. He may be loathsome and self-centered, but he has this much sense, at least. The MIC-preferred candidates need someone easier to control or more willing to play ball. See: Biden, Buttigieg, and probably all the media acceptable candidates.

    Note on Warren: I’m surprised so many still like her. As with Beto (and I sometimes wonder about Yang and a couple of others), the main point of her campaign seems to be to siphon off support from and weaken Bernie. I was once a fan, but not for a long while.

    Note on Buttigieg — don’t underestimate this guy. I dislike him intensely but he’s very bright and quick on his feet and speaks really well and the corporate media loves him. We saw what that combo of attributes did for Obama. “1st white gay male President” doesn’t equate to “1st black president” as a narrative, plus people wanting hope and change are a little more skeptical now, otherwise we’d be in trouble.

    Sad true story: The first time my naive idiot self saw Obama speak, at the DNC convention in 2004 I think, I ran to get my wife, saying “you have to see this guy! he’s the future of the democratic party!” She watched, said, “I don’t get it; he’s just another politician speaking in meaningless platitudes, maybe a little phonier than most.” Alas, we were both right.

    Again, lots of great comments from lots of people.

  39. Tom

    StewartM ,

    America is culturally a Christian Nation, it should not be controversial to say this. Rather than run from it, Democrats need to use it to bash Republicans into voting for progressive policies or look like hypocrites.

    John Bel Edwards spent 2008 in Louisiana as a State Representative. He was tied up there and won by the way.

    He won the Governor’s race by flipping Republicans into his camp by being Pro-life and Pro-gun, capitalizing on the numerous mistakes the Republican Leadership made that turned off their voters.

    Under his Governorship, Medicaid has expanded to more people, healthcare costs to citizens have been cut in half, LGBTQs are no longer discriminated against in employment, and he got the Republicans to go along with this due to him being pro-life and pro-gun and then bashing them into going along or looking like hypocrites.

    You don’t fight Misogyny with Misandry, and nothing is more Misandrist than abortion. You fight it by renewing the social contract between men and women that recognizes we have different biological roles to fulfill.

    Again this should not be controversial.

    This is where the UBI comes in, whether $1,000 or more adequately $2,000 a month, is key to ending this pointless Feminist Harpy War on Men. With this many women forced to work to keep afloat, can quit and raise their children which in turn will improve their academic, social, and emotional development which is better for society as a whole.

    For others, this will double their paychecks, enabling them to break out of debt or start a business or even go on a vacation. Hell they could even tell their bosses “fuck you asshole, I’m out,” and find better work.

    With stabler finances, fewer marriages will fail, fewer children will be left adrift in broken neighborhoods, people will have more time to socialize, have bargaining power with bosses, etc.

    But only if we recognize we have to stop murdering our future with abortion and instead go after the Republicans for their hypocrisy and shaming them into voting for progressive policies.

    Or we keep abortion, meaning the Heartland opposes us as they don’t want to be seen as supporting murder, which entrenches Republicans who cock block progressive reforms we really need, and our society collapses.

    What is more important to you? Abortion dividing this country at the worst time to be divided or a functioning society that bands together to face climate change head on because we gave up abortion and got the Heartland’s support?

    Choose. Because soon it will be too late.

  40. StewartM

    SBrennan and Mojave Wolf (plus others)

    Saying that an individual right to own firearms is one invented by Heller need not imply that any restriction is good or bad policy. It just says that governments *can* impose restrictions, it is within their power. Personally, I am not against the private ownership of any non-nuclear weapon, as long as I’m satisfied that the weapon is in good hands, which I think would be the focus of most regulations.

    (Heck, I was told that a WWII Eastern Front re-enactor group not too far away (8th Guards Mechanized Corps, such groups exist now!) who found some old Yugoslav T-34/85 tanks for their group to use in their costly hobby, but the State Department nixed the deal, for gawd knows why. Someone buying and owning such old hardware would not be a problem, as it would be horribly expensive to maintain, you have to make the spare parts oneself, etc, which is why they are own by organizations such as these (the Confederate Air Force comes to mind). Still, you can find them on sale:

    So yeah, own your own tank, if you want. Just fill out the paperwork and meet the requirements).

    Also, just based on the gun owners I know, many of them would agree with my sentiment, so I don’t agree with SBrennan’s electoral consequences argument. The position that you have any personal *right* to own a firearm was never supported by any judicial interpretation of the Second Amendment until it was invented out of thin air in 2008 to make the NRA (the gun manufacturing lobby) happy.

    Rural areas [like the one I live in] don’t see much gun violence.

    Hmm, not true. Rural areas have fewer gun homicides in absolute terms, but in terms of rate they can be as violent or more violent than many urban areas. To whit:

    Map of US gun homicides by county:

    Map of US gun ownership rates by state:

    Now the correlation isn’t clear either way, I’d rate it ~ 0.5. You have states like Montana that have high rates of gun ownership and low rates of gun violence, and also rural sections of SC, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas that have high rates of gun ownership and high rates of gun violence. You have urban areas like Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City with a very high homicide rates but also major cities like Minneapolis, Boston, Seattle, Portland (Oregon) and Austin that have low rates. You also have some low gun ownership states that include some high gun homicide rates.

    But overall, there is also a lot of overlap with gun ownership and gun violence and the lack thereof. Mind you, this includes just gun homicides (not suicides) and probably furthermore excludes attempted homicides using a firewarm. But rural doesn’t = ‘safer’ and urban doesn’t = “more violent”. This should be clear once you go outside the US, as cities like Taipei, one of the most densely packed places on the planet, have a crime rate so low it would be the envy of any US city, town, or county.

  41. MojaveWolf

    @Stewart — I generally avoid the gun arguments because my thoughts are somewhat muddled, and worse, will make neither side happy so I’m likely to tick off everyone. For the most part, we really aren’t arguing; I think the second amendment can be read either way and guns are not a primary voting issue in either direction for me (I agree w/S Brennan about the practical effect of guns in rural areas; I tend to avoid the 2d amendment argument on either side), tho Cali has enacted some damn stupid laws about ammo and kind of guns that are in line w/Ian’s surveillance state post.

    I think a lot of the anti-gun types tend to conflate suicide w/homicide in the “gun violence” stats for rural areas; honestly if people want to kill themselves you may or may not think that is an acceptable option and yes guns make it easier and quicker and more certain (tho not entirely certain; and when it doesn’t work that’s usually a way worse tragedy than if it had); but mixing people shooting themselves w/people shooting others is just plain wrong-headed, unless a big chunk of the shooting themselves is by accident (that would be in accord w/my personal ideology, others may differ).

    I think the “open carry everywhere” people are just plain loopy, and don’t have any problem w/banning assault weapons or background checks, tho background checks wouldn’t have stopped a lot of shootings, and it’s worth pointing out that back in the day, anyone with the cash could walk into a hardware store and buy top of the line assault weapons, and mass shootings were not a thing, so S Brennan’s comments about culture are at least partially accurate, tho the sheer increased numbers of people and greater crowding may also have something to do with it, along w/a general sense of displaced panic and misplaced anger as people perceive everything going further and further off kilter in the world w/no sense of what to do to make it better.

    i.e. there are experiments showing that if you crowd too many rats together, they tend to self-destruct as colonies even w/all their wants provided, and also if people have a strong sense of impending doom and feel helpless, they may pick weird things to focus on, and in some of the less pleasant or more screwed up or just plain mean people, this will give rise to increased violence.

    And yes, I take your point that the violence will be less effective w/out guns; like I said, my thoughts on this muddled and shall make no one happy who has strong feelings on either side. People SHOULD be able to have guns and actually kind of need them in rural areas, where I’m pretty sure crime would skyrocket if you took nearly everyone’s guns away, because good God any help would be 100@ certain to show up long after any confrontation is over; and criminals aren’t too stupid to figure this out, or just people looking to settle scores, or just plain bullies. Also some people hunt for food, how do you tell who has a gun for what reason, etc.

    On your side, a lot of people clearly are too stupid and irresponsible to be allowed near guns (see: idiots who give their little kids AK 47’s w/predictable results, or complete dumbasses like the aquaintance who pointed a friend’s rifle at my head in high school to demonstrate how safe guns were if you knew how to check if they were loaded, and then laughed when I dove behind a bed, this being at a small gathering after a funeral , after one friend of mine was accidentally killed by his best friend, who pointed a rifle at his head and said “damn I wish you were a buck” and pulled the trigger, having missed one single bullet that was still in the gun; one kid dead and the other went to the asylum for a while).

    How do you draw whatever line you want to draw? Different people are going to disagree, and much as I would like to I don’t see how you make different rules for different types of settings, which would help a lot, other than letting different municipalities make up their own rules, which then has the problem of people outside said municipalities bringing things in, etc. There’s also the issue of “look at all the guns/ammo already out there”, making it go away isn’t really an issue.

  42. S Brennan

    SM says people may own guns “as long as I’m satisfied that the weapon is in good hands”.

    He, like many other megalomaniacs, is under the impression that others must behave in accordance with his wishes. This imperial sense of entitlement is exactly what makes friends of mine buy more guns/ammo than they honestly need, this is what drives many to machine their own untraceable receivers, they know that the final goal of all gun control advocates is gun confiscation.

    Although they love war, few [D]’s serve in the Army/Marines nowadays, consequently, few own the civilian version of weapons they were trained on. So rather than disarming violent urban gangs, which would might upset neighborhoods that reliably vote [D], today’s “Democrats” seek to solve the urban homicide problem by going after those who live peacefully in rural areas.

    I own an AR in a larger caliber, I do not think it is the “best” carbine I could own but, unlike SM, I served and I was trained by the US Army to use a carbine that was similar to what I now own. The US Army’s M-16 A1 that I trained on and used was an automatic weapon, my weapon is NOT. However, the US Army trained me, they paid to have me fire my weapon just south of 10,000 times, that’s a lot of practice, a lot of muscle memory, that is why I like the AR, it’s familiar. There is nothing magical about the AR, any pistol has the same fire rate, often with powerful rounds and is much more easily concealed. Indeed, pistols are involved in north 85% of all gun homicides nationally, semi-automatic rifles on the other hand, average around 2%, AR are lower than 1%. Every year, knives kill more people than AR’s, let that sink in. Gun confiscation laws like WA & CA’s hope to solve gun homicides by concentrating on only 1 % of the problem. They, in all honesty, would get better results confiscating knives.

    So why the public fear? The media, which encourages violence through it graphic & gratuitous depiction, likes to use military style weapons. The media knows the vast majority of young men “have better things to do” than serve in the military. To the well born urban elite, military weapons are unfamiliar and can be given magical qualities that a naive mind will accept. That is why we see the mentally ill chose these rifles, these sick minds see villains do magical things with AR’s. Most times the media’s depictions are laughable and contrary to media depictions, reality has shown, that those individuals who immediately fight back, instead of cowering in fear, are successful in ending the attack. Still, the media insists that we cower in fear while awaiting the gunman’s execution. Why…why are we taught by corporate media to offer no resistance? Ask yourself that.

  43. Hugh

    “You don’t fight Misogyny with Misandry, and nothing is more Misandrist than abortion. You fight it by renewing the social contract between men and women that recognizes we have different biological roles to fulfill.”

    How wonderfully 7th century of you, Tom. For those of us living more than a millennium later, what blithering BS.

  44. NRG

    For Joan. First, the generations ahead of you are using the political and economic system to screw you and your generation over, and make your lives worse so the remains of theirs can be better. Voting for President does not offer the possibility of making a large impact on this problem. Not voting offers even less. It differentiates your point of view from the non-voting masses in no way.

    Second, I would encourage you to take a closer look at Elizabeth Warren. When our country suffers under a President whose corruption is exposed, as with Nixon, we tend to elect the most morally courageous candidate in response, as with Jimmy Carter. Warren has supported impeachment on ethical grounds, and fought against many of the ways in which her generation is screwing ours. Examples include the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau she first proposed and later got passed into law, and her vehement public opposition to the Biden-backed bankruptcy bill that exempted student loans from being discharged with bankruptcy. I would love it if she were 25 years younger, with a more fully modern perspective, and I say the exact same thing about Bernie Sanders. That person doesn’t seem, so far, to exist in this race. Maybe Jay Inslee?

    More generally, for the Kamala Harris supporters, do you understand what prosecutors do? Do you understand the utter corruption and depravity of the criminal justice system in America? Ask Michelle Alexander. Being not only involved in that system, but so deeply embedded that you are the chief executive of the very worst part of it for a population of 50m? Disqualifying, in my mind. It’s a horror show, and being on the “we advance by achieving a 99% conviction rate” side of it is really awful.

  45. S Brennan

    NRG, Jimmy Carter was the 1st of the neocolonialist*/neoliberal** [D]’s.

    *see E Timor…

    **who do you think deregulated natural gas, airlines..etcetera?

  46. NRG

    As to Carter, you’re not wrong about his time in office being a mixed bag, though I’d argue that invading Vietnam was surely a largely Democratic neocolonialist action, S. Brennan.

    He was also the most ethical candidate in the race, which was the point of my analogy.

  47. StewartM


    You twist an argument that “there’s no right to own, personally, a firearm” into an attack on whether or not you, personally, should be allowed to carry one. Which I find *weird*.

    As for “elitist”, there were laws restricting firearm ownership and use in both colonial times and in the Old West. In the 19th century, 28 states had carry restrictions, 14 outlawed ‘brandishing’, 9 banned ‘dangerous weapons’, 11 required registration, 20 forbade guns in specific places, and 2 regulated storage. Where all those people back then “elitist” too?

    If I or anything else own or set up or use something that can possibly injure or kill anyone, there are regulations and laws regarding all that, and usually for good reason. There are chemicals I can’t order as an individual nor store in my garage, without at least meeting certain requirements, due to their potential health, physical hazards, or environmental hazards–is that ‘elitist’ too? Is that some trampling of some sacred right? I probably have at least at as much or more experience with chemicals than you have had with guns. But I don’t pretend there is some sacred ‘right’ for me to be able store a tank of diethyl ether in my garage (an explosive peroxide former on standing).

    Like I said, I usually have no problem with most people owning a weapon, though I think weapons should be regulated in the degree of their potency. Meet the requirements, and you’re fine.

    And also–read what I wrote again. There are many urban areas which are safer than rural areas. My area, Appalachia, has had a long history of violence, ‘up thar in the hills’, including feuds (some of which go back within my lifetime; one area not 20 miles away from where I sit now). Rural does not mean ‘low gun violence’, and here–in the very bosom of white Protestant Christian Anglo-Saxon culture–we have had it in spades, at least as bad as in any urban center gangs. Bob Childress described his childhood in the Blue Ridge of Southwest Virginia as one of rampant alcoholism (even the preachers at church showed up drunk), weekly killings (often ambush killings, sometimes by someone who wasn’t angry with you but you happened to be in the family of the person he/she was pissed at) and crime. The Old West had nothing on us; there was one local instance where after someone had been arrested for a crime, their family showed up with guns at a courtroom, blasted the judge and sheriff and everyone else away, then took their family member back home with them.

    Also it can’t be all video games and media because countries that play the very same games and watch the very same movies have far lower rates of gun violence; heck the lower-violence and higher-violence areas in the US play the same video games and watch the same movies.

  48. S Brennan

    “Also it can’t be all video games and media because countries that play the very same games and watch the very same movies have far lower rates of gun violence”

    Ignorance or casual lie, dunno but, regardless, it discredits you.

    Mexico has some of, if not the toughest gun laws in the world and it’s firearm homicides rate exceeds the USA by a factor of 3-5…and that’s not even taking into account that the USA cynically intermingles suicides with murders to more than double our gun homicide rate.

    There is no correlation between gun laws and homicides*. However, homicides and culture have extremely strong links, which is why 80% of all gun homicides occur in about 30 of 42,000 US zip codes.

    Those seeking to confiscate the weapons of law abiding citizens have a childlike belief in their infallibility, impervious to real world data and SM stridency makes that point clearly.

    Those seeking to confiscate the weapons of law abiding citizens have a childlike belief that violence has no cultural root. That repetitive exposure to violence by media outlets has no effect even though, study after study has shown that vulnerable youth [see above 30 zip codes] are profoundly effected by repeated exposure to violence.

    And yet, today’s “liberal” goes into apoplectic fits should anyone suggest we revive media standards to discourage the transmission of violent media material across state lines. Nope, the only answer to gun violence is to repeat Mexico’s failed experiment while ignoring the roots of violence.

    And Mexicans are not a violent people but, it’s criminals sure the hell are. And those narcos know, anytime Mexicans get fed up with how they are being treated and start arming themselves, the drug lords can call in the Mexican Army to disarm any resisters. This happened just a few months ago just outside Acapulco, the only people who can carry weapons in Mexico are criminals.

    Those seeking to confiscate the weapons of law abiding citizens want to bring Mexico’s tragic situation to the US, unlike SM, I think when a policy is shown to be a complete and utter failure it should not be repeated in the hopes that repeated often enough it will work.


  49. StewartM


    Mexico has some of, if not the toughest gun laws in the world and it’s firearm homicides rate exceeds the USA by a factor of 3-5…and that’s not even taking into account that the USA cynically intermingles suicides with murders to more than double our gun homicide rate.

    One, Mexico has a culture of corruption in its law enforcement and bureaucracy; made worse by the power of organized crime. Laws on the books mean nothing without enforcement.

    Two, the intermingling of suicides and homicides cuts both ways. You can also have homicides classified as suicides. In Alabama, my former college landlady told me a story of a local “suicide” where the supposed victim shot himself, with a shotgun, TWICE–IN THE BACK-and would have to re-load and re-cock the gun between the two shots. Yet the coroner classified it a suicide.

    That, and also, from hearing a recently-deceased friend who described her horror-story of a childhood near here, in a small town about 120 miles away, assaults and shootings often were not even reported and thus escape any database. That’s true far more in rural areas than urban.

    However, homicides and culture have extremely strong links, which is why 80% of all gun homicides occur in about 30 of 42,000 US zip codes.

    That is an absolute number, not a rate. Large urban centers have more people, and thus if they have the same homicide rate, even less, and have a larger total number. Rural areas can have a higher rate, but the absolute total will be less. That explains that stat in a nutshell.

    Anyone with an anthropological bent knows of rural agricultural or horticultural societies, where the population density is more akin to our Midwest or even our Mountain West, that yet have homicide rates up in the hundreds per 100,000–ten times or more of Chicago!!–let along Copenhagen, Tokyo, or Taipei. Violence is not about urbanization, and even our cities with gangs aren’t as violent.

    And moreover, guns are just as much a part of culture as video games. I too believe that violent video games tend to make people more aggressive, as well as graphic violence in movies. Indeed, the whole cop movie/hero movie genre reinforces some very bad social attitudes, about some people being irredeemably evil and that the police ‘only get in the way’ of true justice. But while I too agree with you about that, it doesn’t seem to be an overly strong predictor.

    Those seeking to confiscate the weapons of law abiding citizens have a childlike belief in their infallibility, impervious to real world data and SM stridency makes that point clearly.

    Show me a law–any law–that’s infallible. Does that mean we have no laws? Many criminals are never prosecuted or convicted, does that mean we repeal all laws?

    You’re using a strawman argument. I have said, repeatedly, that saying while there is no *right* to have a firearm, having restrictions and requirements on their ownership does not mean that people cannot or should not possess weapons. We require a license to drive too, and yet most people can and do drive cars. Plus we have to register them too every year! Same deal.

    Those seeking to confiscate the weapons of law abiding citizens have a childlike belief that violence has no cultural root.

    Again, you separate guns from culture. Guns are a part of US culture, you can’t criticize “US culture” separately from guns.

    Gun ownership and the widespread availability of guns is at least a moderately strong, positive factor, in homicide rates (even when you exclude the US):

    Now is gun ownership rates and availability the only factor? Hell no! There are any number of other factors too, I don’t deny that. And you have to tackle all of them, not just one. But it’s downright silly to deny that guns are part of the problem too.

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