Friday, August 28, 2020

Can you feel it? The winds are shifting...

The video embedded above contains a snippet from the fine documentary Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump. Never thought I would like the Mooch as much as I do right now.

Mine used to be a lonely voice, but an increasing number of Democrats are starting to understand that this thing is slipping away. This Atlantic article sums up the situation superbly: Even without the kind of October Surprise that I've been predicting, Biden could lose. Is already starting to lose.
In the crude terms of a presidential campaign, voters know that the Democrat means it when he denounces police brutality, but less so when he denounces riots. To reach the public and convince it otherwise, Biden has to go beyond boilerplate and make it personal, memorable.

Harris, a Black former prosecutor and now an advocate for police reform, seems uniquely positioned to speak to the crisis. But she has said little all week, which suggests that there might be things she doesn’t want to say. On Thursday, Harris directly addressed the events in Kenosha, affirming that Americans “must always defend peaceful protest and peaceful protesters. We should not confuse them with those looting and committing acts of violence.” She quickly moved on. Democratic leaders, from the nearly invisible mayor of Kenosha up to those on the presidential ticket, are reluctant to tarnish a just cause, amplify Republican attacks, or draw the wrath of their own progressive base (Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut deleted a tweet saying that both the Blake shooting and the riots were wrong after commenters accused him of equating the two). So Democrats continue to mute their response to the violence and hope it will subside, even though it has persisted straight through the summer.
This election year, news organizations grown more activist might miss the story again, this time on principle—as they avoid stories that don’t support their preferred narrative. Trump supporters are hoping for it.

On Tuesday night, the CNN host Don Lemon warned his colleague Chris Cuomo that riots were hurting Biden and the Democrats: “Chris, as you know and I know, it’s showing up in the polls, it’s showing up in focus groups. It’s the only thing right now that’s sticking.”
The dimwits at Kos and Democratic Underground and on MSNBC persist in the inane belief that continually shouting "GOTV! GOTV!" at other progressives will resolve all problems. No. That strategy will not work.

Stop kidding yourselves: Most progs live in blue states. Democrats already have those votes. "Woke" young people are not going to vote at a drastically increased rate -- and even if they did (which they WON'T), they are not as numerous as progressives seem to think they are. And for the most part, they don't live in the battleground states.

Right now, the Democratic Party is a shop with the words "BLACK OWNED" spray-painted across the front window. That's a good way to win votes in Baltimore. It's not how to win Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Black people are about 12.5 percent of the population. Many progressives seem to be under the impression that African Americans are far more numerous than they really are. You can't win an election if you are unrealistic.

African Americans usually vote at a high rate, which is good. Since most of them do not live in the battleground areas, increasing that already-high rate of voter participation is not the answer.

The answer is obvious: Dems must stop alienating white working people.

Unfortunately, Democrats seem incapable of doing that. Progressives keep Democrats from doing that. Talking heads on MSNBC continually assure us that Dems should not go after those voters.

That belief is the most dangerous delusion in the history of democracy.

Violence. As the Atlantic piece excerpted above makes clear, Kamala Harris won't offer anything more than a pro forma statement against violence. Joe Biden knows that he needs to take a hard "law and order" stance -- but can he?

Don Lemon is right. Biden needs to issue a strong statement against the rioters, and he needs to do so in a very visible way. He must ignore the Woke. He must ignore those who claim to speak for the black community but who are actually BernieBros.

I am convinced that a "silent majority" of black people do not want to see their own neighborhoods burn. You're certainly not helping your own cause if you help Trump get elected. No matter what rationalizations you offer, this shit helps Trump.

I don't know how many black people will read these words. Maybe none will. Nevertheless, what I'm about to say is addressed to that audience. 

I understand the need for protest. Hell, I was rooting for a far more intense uprising after the death of Freddie Grey. There should have been a massive, nationwide protest after the Sandra Bland outrage.

And yes, I would love to see Kyle Rittenhouse in Hell.

But right now, protest can only help the enemy.

"But we're mounting a peaceful protest...!" 

Haven't you ever heard the term "agent provocateur"? You are the river in which (pale) piranhas will swim. Your cause may be righteous, but any "peaceful" protest will inevitably turn violent. Even if black people wisely choose not to destroy property, the Boogalooers will toss Molotov cocktails on their behalf. They can be ever-so-helpful that way.

The goal is to create video footage of carnage in the streets. Fox will run that footage endlessly. That video will convince white working people in the battleground states that everything is falling to pieces, and that they have no choice but to support an authoritarian strongman thug.

Thus, even a justified protest will serve only to re-elect Trump -- and perhaps to end democracy once and for all.

"Are you saying we should just accept police shooting?"

Hell no. I'm saying you should solve the problem by making sure your candidate attains power.

White supremacists have infiltrated the police forces. To keep Trump in power, white supremacists will commit further outrages in order to stoke a rage reaction. They know that as long as Trump remains in office, they can literally get away with murder.

So the important thing is to make sure that Trump is tossed out of office. Biden and Harris will make police reform a priority. They have to.

"But there's power in protest...!"

No. There's power in power. There's power in making sure your guy holds the awe-inspiring authority of the presidency.

And yes, Biden really is your guy. Black people voted for Biden in the primaries. Personally, I would have preferred Cory Booker; he would have much more freedom to speak right now. But black people didn't go for him: They went for Biden. So why would they undermine Biden in the general?

"You want us to stay silent forever?"

Hell no. As I said, I thought that the black community should have exploded after Freddie Grey. I was shocked when the Baltimore "uprising" petered out so rapidly.

"If not now, when?"

November 4. Go crazy then. Until then, the all-important directive is this: Don't fuck up this election.

"But there's only so much we can take!"

There's only so much Mother Earth can take. Right now, we have a president who insists that Global Warming is a hoax -- even though the evidence clearly indicates that man-made climate change is real, and that we can't wait another four years to address the issue. Have you seen this?
Climate crisis: Global warming could rapidly destroy Antarctic ice shelves with ‘major consequences’, study suggests
"Maybe it's time for us to have our own nation..."

You want to live in your own nation on a dead planet?

Doesn't it make more sense to make sure that the candidate you chose becomes the most powerful person in the world?

The accelerationists, the neo-Nazis, the Alt Rightist -- this evil movement has wormed its way into our police departments. Not all cops want Civil War II, but a few do. They will kill and kill and kill in order to provoke a rage reaction. Under cover of authority.

A rage reaction is a human reaction. It's perfectly understandable. But that same rage will elect Trump -- and, in all likelihood, doom the planet.

WAIT UNTIL NOVEMBER 4. Unleash Hell then.


Anonymous said...

I know what you mean. There is such a convenient, mainstream media narrative here. As there was in 2016, when it all went agains Hilary.

Now, I think that while there is a shift in breeze, there is another breeze present, against Trump. This had been lacking in 2016.

I know that the GOP and its backers own pretty much everything and everyone of note. But there is a level of disgust with Trump, his fetid swamp, family and troop of stooges, that which not even the Clintons had managed to arouse, aside from the far right.

Not an optimist here. It will take a near miracle to get Trump out of the WH. But he stands exposed for what he is as nobody has before the election.

Resist. Work, Donate wisely, Vote!

Anonymous said...

It is too late.

Perhaps if Biden had demonstrated strong leadership early on, the violence could have been nipped in the bud. Instead, Biden took cover in his basement where he attempted to figure out the political calculus of violent protest but completely missed to the growing political hazard.

Violence will continue to drive the electorate to the right and there is nothing Biden can do to stop it. Biden can't control the violence. No one can. Any attempt to control the violence at this point would would fail and only serve to make Biden look even more frail and feckless.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Aaaaaaaand The Elephant In The Room goes unmentioned, as is normal on this site...

Anonymous said...

Joe - I always enjoy your take on events, I feel like we get too much programmed info on the news, with no real discussion. What is your take on Kyle Rittenhouse and Kenosha? I agree that he needs a slap upside the head for venturing to an area of unrest, underage, with a rifle in hand. He is certainly guilty of illegal possession of a weapon. But from watching the many videos it sure seems like he was repeatedly pursued and attacked. Am I not seeing something? I see a strong argument for self defense. At the same time, it all seems a little convenient for those in the gun lobby as it supports their ideal of a “lone white guy, with a gun, laying down law and order”, when he really should have been home reading comic books or the like.

Anonymous said...

There was nothing any one could have done about the violence. It was all instigated by right wing thugs.

Things quiet down, the right wing death squads, aka police, go out and shoot a black man in the back (somehow failing to kill him). Seven times. Easy: Instant Riot.

It is designed to make Biden look weak, but their stooge is in the White House, so it’s hard to figure how Biden can reclaim the high ground here.

But he must, or all is lost.

If Biden looses this, there is nobody coming to bail out Democracy. Only a line of enemies, starting with Cousin Vlad to finish kicking us into the gutter.

And of course, General Covid-19 will continue its grim reaping.

And, then there’s the Big Threat, for which it may already be too late. xkcd illustrates this point in the best way I’ve seen. Link:

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Uh, before some of you lot start preparing for seppuku:

Biden is doing better on Aug. 29 than HRC or Obama ever did on Aug. 29 of their runs.

After you click the link, there is a box at the right of the linked page which links to the same day in 2016, 2012, and 2008.

When was the last time Texas--Texas--was a swing state?

But of course, I remember the All-Conquering Power of White Fear of Black Riots, and so how the Rodney King riots gave Bush Senior a free ride into a second term in the White House--oh wait, that did not happen, did it?

You see, the Stupid White Folks had a greater concern--namely, a severe recession--in 1992, just as they did in 2008, and do today. Plus, this year, they have what caused the recession--the pandemic, and the abject failure of Benedict Donald and the Treason Party (fka GOP) to handle the pandemic effectively, as governments in other high-tech democracies, such as South Korea and New Zealand, have done. Indeed, our reactionaries' forcing people back to work and school will make the rates of infection and death spike upward. The surviving voters will remember who inflicted that on them and their loved ones.

Yes, the Stupid Bullshit Culture Wars are powerful. They are NOT ALL-powerful.

And, as our country gets browner and browner, their political power will shrink with each passing year.