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

Centrist Elites: Please Save Democracy from Democracy

Yeah, I’m going to generalize from this, but it fits a long-time pattern.

In other words, to protect democracy, there must not be internal party democracy.

This is similar to what the lawyer said when defending the DNC against a suit charging them with interfering in the primary:

‘“There’s no right to not have your candidate disadvantaged or have another candidate advantaged. There’s no contractual obligation here . . . it’s not a situation where a promise has been made that is an enforceable promise,” Spiva noted. “We could have voluntarily decided that, ‘Look, we’re gonna go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way.’”

In a state with two major parties, being frozen out of the primaries is being frozen out of democracy; having primaries fixed is fixing the election.

Democracy is terribly inconvenient in that people often do things their “betters” would rather they didn’t. However, not having a democracy is embarrassing, so folks like Spiva & Alter want the appearance of democracy without the reality.

For most of their lives, this more or less worked: They got the neoliberal drones of their dreams–Reagan, the Bushes, Clinton, Obama. Despite some protests otherwise, they weren’t unhappy with Bush, Jr.; they supported him massively, including the NYT covering up his spying program until after the 2004 election so that he wouldn’t be hurt. They certainly supported his key programs like the Iraq war.

But they haven’t understood that something changed after 2008; for a lot of Americans, the economy rolled off the cliff. Despite endless whinging, the fact is racism, anxiety, and the economy are all related, and Trump doesn’t happen if 2008 doesn’t happen and if the “recovery” isn’t bungled. It also doesn’t happen if the media sector is still functional, has a fairness doctrine, and isn’t 90 percent owned by six big players.

The elites created Trump: He is the end result of neo-conservatism, its apex product. He cannot happen in the post-war liberal regime; that mode of failure looks more like Nixon.

As for Cuomo, he’s a horrible, right-wing person who deliberately spiked Democrats when they were about to take control of the New York legislature, and is otherwise scum almost all the way down the line. No one actually left-wing likes him, some cooperate with him out of fear, as they should, because he’s a vindictive bastard.

But that doesn’t apply to Alter, because he’s not left-wing. He’s a neoliberal, anti-democratic member of the media elite.

And democracy is something they hate.

Message to elites: Citizens will more or less let you run democracies without much interference as long as you run them, substantially, for the citizen’s benefits. When you drive the economy off a cliff and laugh when it crashes, then say “Hey, the economy has recovered,” when it hasn’t, they get uppity.

Either double-down on your real desire, a police state, or live with the fact that democracy means people you don’t like get to run for office. Horrors: They might even win. I’ve had to accept this all my adult life and I have done so because I believe people have the right to choose. Even when they make choices I abhor.

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Assange, Wikileaks, and Shooting the Messenger


Why the “If You Don’t Work, You Don’t Eat” Is a Hell Ethic


  1. Cue Benjamin Yee @yben, an open politics advocate, who has applied some of his insights into creating a tool for citizen empowerment (; currently not reachable as I write this; also not mentioned on his website). Unfortunately, it’s gotten little traction, but IMO it represents the creative, optimistic problem-solving mindset need – which I respect so much more than the “prophets of doom”, who offer no hope of overcoming systemic dysfunction and corruption, short of revolution.

    Please see Benjamin Yee’s talk about the relative effectiveness of various tools, here: . Yee is a Democrat, but his teaching applies equally well to Republican incumbents. You should probably listen to all 33 minutes, but
    * at the 20:00 mark, Yee broaches the topic of the need to have a credible “theory of change”, as opposed to mindless “activism” that will likely change nothing.
    * at about the 27:00 mark, Yee starts getting into the relative effectiveness of primary challenges, which he correctly refers to as “the REAL election”.
    * one unsurprising (to me) finding by Yee is that online petitions are generally useless. Completely. He likes to tell the story of how one was simply trashed, and not even looked at.

    Besides corrupt parties, we also have to bypass the problem of a corrupt media. Cenk Uyghur recently did a segment where he covered how “MSNBC Ordered Ed Schultz Not To Cover Bernie Sanders, Then Fired Him” @ .

    The old guard Democratic insiders are still suppressing reformers, such as the Justice Democrats (; but, at least these fights are occurring, which is more than I can say from what I know about the Republican side of the swamp. Unfortunately, AFAIK, even these fights aren’t being SYSTEMATICALLY being youtubed, catalogued, and databased. If they were, this repository of fights with the Democratic side of the swamp could itself be used as a tool to RECRUIT, RECRUIT, RECRUIT into disruptive voting blocs, much like the Democratic mainstream using any controversy – real or not, significant or not – to fund RAISE, RAISE, RAISE. Such voting blocs which could eventually grow big enough to install their own candidates, as opposed to the lesser task of just ‘firing’ a swamp member during a primary.

    It took only 9 years for the partly populist, reform group “5 Start Movement” to rise to commanding political power in Italy. I’m not knowledgeable about Italian politics, but I doubt that the home of the Italian Mafia was any more amenable to reform than our own cesspool.

  2. different clue

    Can the official DemParty actually prevent primaries from taking place? If not, the primaries are a good place for various kinds of Berners to run primary opponents to mainstream Jonestown Clinties and Jonestown Obies. The second stage of each district and/or statewide battle action would be for the Berners to vote against every Jonestown Clintie or Jonestown Obie which gets itself nominated.

    The long term goal is to purge, burn and exterminate every trace of Clintonite filth and Obamazoid pus from out of every corner of the Democratic Party . . . to make it a party of Real Democrats once again. And make it a tire iron in the hands of those who seek Lower Class Majority advancement.

  3. Heliopause

    The economy is creating lousy, insecure jobs like crazy:

    One thing to keep in mind when reading a pundit of any political stripe is that they are one of the very lucky few who get to do something they enjoy — telling the rest of us what to think — for a living. 90% of the work to be done in this world is some combination of dreary, dirty, dangerous, poorly-paid, or insecure, and our neoliberal betters are making sure that the proportion that are the latter two just gets higher and higher. Maybe some day it will dawn on them why we don’t all just fall in line, but I’m not holding my breath.

  4. someofparts

    Post about a book you and I can’t buy. Someone else bought it so we could not read it.
    It was originally published in German. The book tells the part of the world that gets to read it how many members of the American press are literally on the CIA payroll.

    This is a three-part series on the large crop of people running for Congress as Democrats who are former employees of the CIA and other branches of the national security state.

    This article suggests that our hostility toward opposing political parties is a function of our dislike of our own party. The less we like our own party, the harder we double down on hating the other guys. Puts all that hysterical Trump-bashing in perspective I’m thinking.

    This last link is thematically similar to what Ian is saying in his post. I just think it’s interesting that I had to go to a conservative website to find this, especially when contrasted with Democrats who are trying to fill Congress with CIA stooges.

    Also, down here in Georgia we have a version of the Cynthia Nixon/Cuomo contest. In our contest for governor there is an attractive minority candidate, firmly in the pocket of the banks, and an alternative candidate who looks to be a genuine help-regular-people grassroots-funded politician. Guess which one Kos is backing.

  5. Webstir

    Yup. I’m reading more and more along these lines. I hit Yves with this link about a week ago:
    I literally couldn’t believe what I was reading.
    And I think you’re right Ian. Without the neoliberal over-reach we don’t have Trump. But I’m actually kind of warming to him in the respect that he is draining the swamp. It’s just that, removing the water only exposes the swamp creatures, it doesn’t necessarily remove them. And so yes, we are seeing in real time all of the bi-partisan neo-liberal snakes slithering for cover due to the impossibility of Trump.
    I think it’s delicious.

  6. Mojave Wolf

    Go Cynthia Nixon! (I realize that’s not the point of the post, but yeah, Go Cynthia!)

    @different clue: the dem establishment will have to run primaries or face a full scale revolt, but I’m sure they’ll try to get away with rigging them if people like Nixon get too close to winning. (not that I wish to make too many inferences based on their recent track record or anything). Hopefully people are paying too much attention for them to pull it off going forward.

    And several different groups that have sprung up in the wake of the Sanders candidacy are running genuinely progressive left-wing candidates in primaries. Hopefully the best of them will do well.

    Also, relevant to both the post and dc’s comment — there were a surprising number of “mainstream” dems posting online–not sure if any made it to TV or print–about how Trump’s election called into question whether democracy was really such a good idea, after all. I viewed these things both as actual real considerations in the mind of the people saying them, and as trial balloons floated to gauge the response. Hopefully it was sufficiently negative that the idea has been dropped, at least in a formal sense. Some of them actually seem like decent people, too (if you want an example, Peter Sage is the only one I can recall offhand, which may be somewhat unfair to him in this context, since he doesn’t seem to be a proponent of groupthink at all, even tho he very much is a fan of mainstream dems and seems, shall we say, highly dubious of lefty types)

    You’d think the party elites, who mostly are reasonably bright people, would start to wake up to the reality that if your message is too weak to get people to actually support it when primary challengers force you to say something other than “the other side is worse”, then maybe there is something really wrong with the message.

    To the “she has no chance” people, if any are on this site–yes, she has an uphill climb because Cuomo has incumbent’s advantage, massive name recognition, people seem to still like his father, etc, and he’s got the whole Democratic Party institutional apparatus and the mass media behind him, but it’s a fairly simple calculus–if enough people vote for her, then she will win (provided the votes are all counted accurately). It’s still, technically at least, a free country and a place where votes decide who gets in office. If it’s about to be otherwise, then we might have to start seriously considering the less pleasant alternatives to bringing about change, and no one wants those.

    To be fair, though, actual real lefties and Bernie supporters can be just as bad about silencing dissent or framing violations of the party line as being in league with genocidal evil as mainstream dems (that a higher percentage of the actual real lefties at least probably really are sincere when they say it is not necessarily a comfort) (it occurs to me I probably don’t qualify as an actual real leftie in the minds of many, to which I say, okies, whatever, I’m comfortable with both left and liberal, call me what you want). I just posted (very belatedly) in the open thread with a link to an outstanding article by Meghan Murphy on this topic.

    Back to the main point of Ian’s post–yes, very much a long-term pattern. Going back at least to the deliberate destruction of Howard Dean’s candidacy (followed by the co-opting of Dean into their camp; he’s now become what he used to rail against) to the minimization and belittling of Kucinich to the outright hatred that flared up towards Bernie and the left when it looked like he might stop their anointed one, to the genuine horror of both parties that Trump won, simply because he breaks decorum and doesn’t follow a script (no, I don’t think anyone who is now defending Bush as “a *real* American president despite his destabilizing the whole world and kicking the surveillance state into high gear is actually so horrified at Trump because of his policies or personal morality; yeah he’s awful but he still hasn’t done nearly as much damage as Bush and you could argue he hasn’t been worse on balance than Obama; I sufficiently dislike him that I won’t make that argument but the case is there to be made)

    Full agreement that the economy has finally gotten so bad that it’s impossible to cover it up by manipulating statistics and that is the main reason the elite types lost control of the narrative, but I also think there’s a fundamental unease and even terror working at a subconscious level for a lot of people, over both the upcoming/already ongoing environmental catastrophe, which people sense even if they don’t acknowledge the severity of it, and the increasing sense of being out of control and miserable even among people who are doing alright, money-wise.

  7. Hugh

    Neoliberalism is Wilsonian liberalism redux. As I have said many times here, the main tenets of Wilsonian liberalism were its paternalism, elitism, and rabid anti-populism (as well as pro-corporatism and international interventionism). For the Democrats as the liberal party, being anti-democratic is baked in. It is an essential part of who and what they are. We saw this back in 2016 where the Democrats completely rigged the process for Hillary Clinton, the quintessential liberal in the very worst yet historically correct sense of that term. And while that sham was going on, we also saw the godawful Republicans run an actual democratic process which resulted in the nomination of Trump. Now Trump is exponentially dreadful, but he was the only Republican candidate who injected any populism, albeit phony, into his campaign. Nobody forced the rest of the Republican field into being a bunch of Establishment hacks. My take is that the Republicans had a good process but bad inputs whereas the Democrats had a bad process which would have discredited the result no matter what that result was. And in the event, Hillary Clinton, the result was also bad.

    For those who remember other election cycles, this no primary approach reminds me of the old Democratic excuse of the need to “keep their powder dry,” to avoid all conflicts except on really important issues. But even when an important issue did arise, the Democrats just made more excuses why they couldn’t fight. In 2008, they controlled the Congress and the Presidency and they still couldn’t act. Why? Because they wanted to be bipartisan even though Mitch McConnell had made it his stated policy to obstruct everything. And then too there was the make-up of the Democratic Caucus. The Democrats had gone out of their way to push the most conservative, least progressive candidates possible, even in the those situations where a progressive would have won. So then they used these conservative Democrats as another reason they could not act, that they needed to keep their powder dry.

    My point in all this is that the Democrats rig their process because the party machine and its leaders want to ensure the most status quo, least progressive, least populist result.

    One further point, Chris Coontz, the Democratic Senator from Delaware, who voted present so that the awful Mike Pompeo could get a positive recommendation from the Senate Foreign Relations committee. Coontz voted present because a Republican Senator was absent giving a eulogy for a friend. Coontz’s action has been dressed up as something noble. But what it represents is yet another aspect of this. What’s really important is not standing and fighting for your constituents. It’s about being a member of the club. So a hawkish, anti-gay nutcase gets the official Establishment’s imprimatur for State. And the Democrats find a way to mount only a token opposition while making it as easy as they can for a bad nominee, a deranged President, and a Republican party in meltdown. Why? Because that’s who they are.

  8. NJRubble

    Before I get all nit-picky I should say I pretty much agree with your substantive points here. That said, I am less certain about some of the inferences here. For example, it doesn’t necessarily follow that because someone is anti-primary they are anti-democratic. For most of this country’s history, primaries were not the dominant selection mechanism for Presidential candidates. It is fairly safe to observe that the rise of the primary system (which has plenty of problems of its own) coincided with the decline of the cohesion of the major political parties. The net result of this has been to introduce an element of instability in the selection process in that it is far easier for an outsider to either capture the nomination (Trump) or disrupt the pre-existing internal party consensus (Sanders). If we start with the proposition that political parties are a means to an end (power) rather than an end in themselves, then it is not anti-democratic per se to suggest that party power be reconsolidated so as to obtain political power. That’s not to say that it can only be done that way: the GOP has established itself as a power partly through forcing a lockstep mentality on those who are elected and partly on the notion of submerging differences so as to focus on common goals, ala the uneasy coalition that FDR created.

    I think part of the difficulty in dealing with talking about political parties as democratic institutions is that there are couple of different and not necessarily coherent dimensions here. I would start by positing distinctions between the between elites and the major political parties (and their internal or institutional elites), and the voting public. The issue for the Democratic Party is that while the party may, to some extent overlap elite thinking, it no longer maps to the voters. Another, related issue is the issue of legal control of a political party. Who owns and operates the institution known as a political party? (Strictly speaking it’s not correct to say that a party must be governed through an internal voting process; legally, though not practically, as private entities occupying one of those funny interstitial spots that Americans seem to love to create they can more or less do whatever they want.) Additionally, elite dominance of a party is not precisely the same thing as elite control of the machinery: In the past, political elites controlled the party. I’m not trying to be coy and suggest that financial elites weren’t instrumental in party dominance; what I am trying to suggest is that even in an era of top-down party control, it was possible for the party elite to diverge from the financial elite. So all of these issues are in play at the same time.

    With the consolidation of financial power, the Republicans are now controlled wholly by financially elite types, who, aided by reactionaries have booted the Republican political elite.. The Democrats have engaged in the inverse process: rather than purging the political elites from the party as the GOP has, the Democrats have kept the political elite, but their allegiance is also to the financial elite. In both cases, the party is essentially a hollowed-out shell. Now, assuming no new party will be created it is true that the primary system, for all its faults, is now the only way to give any space to an outsider candidate.

    My opinion (as opposed to an analysis with what we like to call evidence), is that the Democratic Party elites have fairly clearly demonstrated that the voters find their stance untenable. This in turn creates a kind of conflict of interest for them, because their positions depend upon the financial elite, not the voters. It is, I think, unreasonable and impracticable to expect those people to act against their interests. By extension, this means that either a different party must come into being or the party elite must be replaced. If the public manages, somehow or other to expel the current elite, they will then be faced with the same choice as to whether they should take the cash or act against their betters. Then, even assuming that comes to pass, the question then arises whether, in the absence of a catastrophe that is rapid and obvious (1929) it is possible to run against the financial elite and win. I don’t know the answer to that one.

    One other small point: I agree that pretty much anyone should be able to run. That said, there is a certain risk in permitting it, in the sense that you may get a competent version of Trump. At that point your only defense against, say, immediately turning the US into a police state is the other institutions of government. I am not saying that therefore open primaries are a bad thing, merely that if democracy is the overarching goal, to what extent should limits on it exist so as to preclude its self-destruction. It is not an academic exercise to decide where and how to draw the line between permitting irrational/poor outcomes and permanently self-destructive outcomes. I don’t think that is what Democratic Party elites mean, though.

  9. I’m not against primaries. I’m against “party” membership to participate.

    We have to stop doing what we are doing. It isn’t working.

  10. Sid Finster

    Liberal capitalist democracy is not “default condition” for humanity by any means; rather it is the aberration, made possible by a combination of social and economic factors. The default condition is something more like Mughal India or medeival Italy.

    What we are seeing now is the reversion to mean, except that our rulers have tools of surveillance, control and destruction far more terrifying than anything that a Genghis Khan or a Stalin ever dreamed of.

  11. Carla

    The unthinkable happened in Ohio: the Cleveland Plain Dealer which led the movement to recall Dennis Kucinich 40 years ago when he was the Boy Mayor of Cleveland (the recall narrowly failed) 10 days ago endorsed Dennis for the Democrat nomination for Ohio Governor:

    The next day, the Cordray campaign made sure accusations about Dennis’ “links” to Bashar Assad were all over the media and so finally today, the P.D. came out with this:

    Somebody over at NC just quoted the title of a soap opera I’m old enough to remember: “As the World Turns…”

  12. bruce wilder

    This is what a “free” corporate advertiser-supported media and big donor supported politics looks like. If you want a better politics, a politics that represents your interests and not their interests, be prepared to pay for it, up front.

    Jonathan Alter, Phillips Andover and Harvard, is a fully synthesized “progressive”, designed and designated to play a “liberal” voice on teevee and radio, where, of course, he justifies torture, promotes privatizing education and rationalizes the failures of Democratic “centrism”. His role is to occupy the mind-space allotted to the “left” and stop any and all spontaneous populist or socialist democratic opinion from breaking out into the open and discredit it when it threatens to do so.

  13. Altandmain

    I suspect that the elite are definitely heading to the police state direction.

    The brutal reality is that the elite hate the idea of a real democracy. They have created a plutocracy pretending to be a democratic society. UN a genuine democracy, it is likely that the ill gotten economic gains if the rich would quickly be redistributed in a far more fair manner.

    I think that one of the consequences of the elite being so out of touch with the people is that they have no understanding of their source for their legitimacy. It is to provide the people a high standard of living. People supported the system for that reason.

    When the system became an extractive system where the extractive rich stole the overwhelming majority of the economic gains for themselves at the expense of the people, the system began to lose legitimacy.

  14. EmilianoZ

    Too much democracy kills democracy.

  15. “In a state with two major parties, being frozen out of the primaries is being frozen out of democracy; having primaries fixed is fixing the election.”

    Which is a good reason to break the duopoly. Primaries, in which the state pays for ONLY the Big Two (which now have only 22% and 27%, respectively, support, according to Gallup) to choose their candidates, merely perpetuate the problem. They’re openly discriminatory, especially in closed primary states like Oregon.

    The duopoly depends mostly on STATE laws. In some cases, like Georgia, they can be defeated with court challenges, because they’re blatantly unconstitutional. And they’re accessible in states with the initiative, like Oregon or Maine, which is holding its primary this year using Ranked Choice/Instant Runoff Voting, thanks to a huge citizen effort.

    But ultimately, it depends on millions of Americans voting, out of habit, for parties they know do not represent them. You have nothing to lose but your chains.

  16. Too bad our “democracy” is fake, as the Gilens and Page study showed. That’s at least partly because Americans tolerate control by the duopoly parties.

  17. realitychecker

    Is it too radical to point out that political campaigns are run by professional PR people and strategists, who care not a whit about promoting or respecting democratic principles, but rather (and only) about winning, and for whom the ‘message’ is the only tool they have to use, so they use what works on the big numbers regardless of any democratic or even moral principle that might be shattered in the process of securing that win.

    The message that works is the message that gets used by the PR geniuses. The more dishonest that message is in securing the win, the greater the personal glory to the PR strategists.

    You can’t beat that system by obediently following the rules it prescribes for non-members.

  18. Jessica

    The gradual breakdown of the democracy theater and the more naked exposure of elite control is a sign not of their strength but of their collective stupidity and incompetence.
    This will not change because the collective incompetence of the elites is caused by the fact that they have no role left to play in the development of humanity and therefore there is nothing to hold them together but their greed.
    In earlier times, such degenerated elites would have been replaced by another set of elites from the outside. They survive now only because the global system has not left any large area ‘outside’. Thus, the challenge to the current elites may have to come from somewhere that is ‘outside’ in some other sense. One possibility is that the system will continue to exclude more and more people until it has created an ‘outside’ within itself.

  19. someofparts

    Webstir – Actually, as far as draining the swamp, someone pointed out that what Trump’s base means by that phrase is draining the swamp of liberals. Maybe that explains the confusion among said liberals when his base proves to be unconcerned about astounding levels of corruption in his administration. They think draining the swamp meant ending corruption, which it never did to his base.

    According to international standards for mastery of a language, the majority of Americans only have command of our own language at a beginning level, if that. Honestly, how trifling does someone have to be to be too lazy to learn their own language? Kind of makes the objections to bilingual education ironic, doesn’t it? I mean, if we can’t use Spanish in our schools then, in a sense, we are declining to use language in our schools at all, since we don’t really use English either.

  20. someofparts

    Also, and pardon me for being squarely off-topic, but something seriously messed up is going on at Kos. My profile over there was hacked with a very offensive, bigoted message. I do not believe that Kos would be okay with that if he knew it were happening. So now I wonder if the administration at his site has been infiltrated by trolls unbeknownst to him.

  21. someofparts

    Well, more serial posts.

    Just wanted to point out that only the Democrats have superdelegates. The Republicans don’t.

    Maybe that’s why the right-wing rabble can take over the Republican party, but the left-wing rabble get stopped by the Vichy Democrats every time. Guess if our rulers want to make sure that any upheaval ahead swings fascist instead of socialist that’s the way to do it.

    Also Webstir – that post at Yahoo was ghastly. I wonder why is propaganda so repulsive? Sometimes I think English is becoming a language that operates like an infected bloodstream.

  22. bruce wilder

    Just got around to reading Webstir’s Yahoo! news Link above — as promised it makes a case very much like the pieces cited in Ian’s OP: more corruption, less democracy, please!

    It is funny because I would make similar background arguments about the value of mediating institutions. Elsewhere, one sees much criticism of Obama and Clinton for their determined neglect if not outright destruction of the Democratic Party as a functioning and capable organization, but there is not much notice taken of recent developments, even while decrying 50 years of decline.

    It is maddening to be presented so frequently with arguments that involve such disappearance of facts.

  23. Hugh

    realitychecker, I agree so much of modern politics is about winning for no purpose other than the accumulation of power, wealth, and privilege. Help the rest of us? You’ve got to be kidding.

    Jessica, I look at it that they have simply stolen too much to cover it up or explain it away.

    someofparts, love the swamp comment. re kos, something has been seriously messed up there for years, ever since Moulitsas made it clear that he was nothing but a hardcore Democratic operative and enforcer.

  24. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    The Evil Satanic Smoke-Filled Rooms System gave us the New Deal, victory in WW2, unparalleled prosperity, the Great Society, civil rights reforms, and MEN ON THE FUCKING MOON.

    What has the Good Holy White Folks of Real Amurka Populist System given us, to equal or surpass those things?

  25. Webstir

    someofparts: thus the irony, the recognition of which is a fairly reliable marker of intelligence.

    realitychecker: Yup. It’s an important observation. From which I posit: the PR geniuses are simply playing out capitalisms version of vote maximizing.

    I find it fascinating how rapidly neoliberal’s incessant application of profit maximization to institutions that don’t lend themselves to competition has completely corrupted those once august institutions. Press. Politics. Medicine. Education. On and on. It just tears the soul out of them.

  26. “Unfortunately, AFAIK, even these fights aren’t being SYSTEMATICALLY youtubed, catalogued, and databased. ”

    Just published on Thursday is “Democrats Face Left-Wing Backlash For Choosing Primary Winners Ahead Of Time” @

    While not rising to the level of “SYSTEMATICALLY…catalogued”, there is at least hints that progressive reformers may be catching on to this aspect of a long term fight. This article says, “The Intercept on Thursday published audio of House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer pressuring progressive candidate Levi Tillemann to drop out of a Colorado primary, to clear the field for establishment candidate Jason Crow.


    (emphasis mine)

    This one-off example of evidence being gathered, and then disseminated later on for a political
    educational and political purpose, is something that needs to be scaled up, and made into a SOP.

  27. someofparts

    Looking back over the conversation here, I thought this last link might be helpful. It cleared up some things I did not understand and it seems important, in a staying-focused-on-reality kind of way.

    It’s a decent breakdown of what the different organized groups within the party do and don’t do. Struck me as a good thing to know to keep our own thinking grounded.

  28. I corresponded with Benjamin Yee about the status of his website, which is designed to legally enable the masses to lobby, with financial rewards, Congress critters in the same way that special interest lobbyists ply their trade.
    He has not abandoned the website, and didn’t even know that it was down. He lost his developer, and has put the project on hold.
    I have suggested that he develop a programming API, so that bloggers can display up-to-date citizen lobbying financial information when they writing about a given Congress critter, especially in the context of the shiftspark-defined issue.

  29. nihil obstet

    Democratic campaign PR strategists don’t seem to be trying to maximize vote-getting. Their audience isn’t the voting public — their audience is the politicians who hire them. So the campaign firms can lose race after race, but as long as they flatter the politicians that the losses have to do with the failings of the voters, so the politicians don’t have to change themselves, their policies, or their relationship to large donors.

  30. realitychecker

    @ Hugh

    I think we would all do better analysis if we keep in mind that the power game is all about power, and none of the significant players are on our side in any meaningful way. And it is embarrassingly childish to make heroes out of any of them for that reason.

    Believing that our ‘leaders’ are motivated by high-minded principles is just part of the American mythology.

  31. realitychecker

    @ Webstir

    PR is what you turn to when the truth won’t do.

    I am fascinated by the interplay and contrasts between the myriad American mythologies and the contrasting behaviors that we see on a continuous basis.

    How many heroes have we set up for uncritical worship, knowing in our hearts that they will be torn down after we have been duped into believing in them? And vice-versa, of course.

    If only we were teaching the kids how to do critical thinking . . .

  32. different clue

    The ” big donors” keep funding mainstream Democrats as long as those mainstream Democrats can keep Sanderistas and other left-leaning liberadical insurgents from winning primaries . . . . or if they win primaries, at least forcing them to lose elections. The “big donors” wish to prevent any kind of New Deal Revival. The mainstream Dems know that as long as they can prevent any New Deal Revivalist challengers from getting elected or even nominated, that they will keep getting the big money from the big donors. And as long as the current crop of Democratic PR strategists can successfully advise and guide the mainstream Dems in preventing any New Deal Revival Democrats from emerging, the mainstream Dems won’t swap out the current PR strategists for another crop of different PR strategists.

    The way to slowly destroy the DNC ( and all its fellow travelers and all they stand for) is to vote against every DNC/Clintonite/Obamazoid – approved candidate every single time such a candidate gets nominated and runs. And until the mainstream Dems have been destroyed and driven out of politics and out of public life, they will conspire against every New Deal Revivalist in every way they can.

    For example, if Sanders were to defeat the mainstream Dems and win the DemParty nomination for running for President, all the Clinton supporters and all the Obama supporters will vote against Sanders to make Sanders lose . . . . just as their ilk voted against McGovern to make McGovern lose in 1972. But since I already know that, I will vote for Sanders in the primaries anyway, in hopes of getting him nominated so that the Clintobamazoids are forced to come up out of their sewers and vote against Sanders in the light of day. That would further expose the true nature of Clintobama supporters and would bring us closer to exterminating the Clintobamazoids from out of the Democratic Party ( and hopefully from out of politics and public life altogether).

  33. Webstir

    PR is what the one-percent turn to when the truth won’t do.
    Lying is what the rest of us do.

  34. realitychecker

    Yes, but there are cut-rate PR people, too. 🙂

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