Tuesday, November 17, 2020

To Fracture the Right, Capture the Center

Cannon here. Sorry I've been away during these rather momentous days; I'm trying to finish a long-overdue project. I have a fair amount to say about the madness in Georgia, which cannot be understood properly unless you are following Jennifer Cohn's tweets. 
We should note, however, that the Georgia Secretary of State seems to have Lindsey Graham boxed in. That is to say: More than one witness claims that Lady G committed a crime
Biden has made noises indicating that he will follow an "all is forgiven" policy when it comes to the crimes committed during the past four years. I hope that he is saying such things simply to keep the bad guys off guard. The crimes committed during the past four months should be enough to see this whole sorry Q-approved crew frogmarched off to the pokey. The Democratic brand cannot be mud-free until the Republican brand is proven -- conclusively and irrefutably -- to be what it truly is. 

And that brings us to the following important essay by D-Jay...

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To Fracture the Right, Capture the Center

By D-Jay

Day-by-day, three things are becoming more and more likely:

1.  The will of the people is going to prevail. Joe Biden will be inaugurated on January 20th as the 46th President of the United States.

2.  Donald Trump will leave as big a mess as he possibly can for the new administration to deal with, and his acolytes are likely to cause trouble – bad trouble - for years to come.

3.  The fate of the world still hangs in the balance, but we now have 2 – 4 years to start getting things back on track.

If the presidential election had gone the wrong way, all would have been lost. With Biden’s solid victory, however – and the failure (so far) of Trump’s surprisingly inept efforts to annul the results – we have one more chance to save the world, literally.

History has shown us that when power-hungry despots gain too much authority, war and social collapse all-too-often follow. Narcissists all, they always want to extract a little more wealth for themselves and their cronies, squeeze one more ounce of blood out of their subjects, and gain the upper hand over rival leaders. If subterfuge fails, military force is fine. It fits their tough-guy self-images nicely.

With nuclear weapons in their hands, a confrontation of unrestrained tyrants would be little short of apocalyptic. If Trump had prevailed in the election, that is exactly what I think would eventually have happened. With Donald at the helm, America’s isolation and decline would have continued the rapid acceleration he set in motion four years ago. By the time another four years past, China would probably have surpassed the U.S. in terms of military as well as economic and technological strength. The soft power that has flowed from the example of American freedom and democracy would also be little more than a wistful memory.

The only way for Trump to have stopped this would have been war.

Unleashed at home, it is also hard to imagine that he would want to keep on bending the knee – and kissing the butt – of Russian President and Oligarch-in-Chief Vladimir Putin. Like a rising gang boss, Trump would have wanted to expand his turf…and to become the don at the head of the table. Having hobbled the press completely after another year or two in power, Trump would also have been in a position to wave off any kompromat Putin might use to threaten him as “FAKE NEWS!”

What better way to put Vlad in his place than a strong dose of U.S. military might?

And these cheerful scenarios don’t even consider the greater threat posed by climate change. Four more years of Trump and I doubt it would have been possible to pull ourselves back from the brink.

So we’ve got another chance to put things right…but what a task it will be!

Having had four years to see exactly what kind of man Trump is, and what kind of leader he was, 73 million Americans said, yeah – that’s our guy. That’s what we want.

It’s horrifying beyond belief.

More than anything, it shows how divorced from reality almost half the country has become.

We can blame this on Trump, but it has been decades in the making. It won’t be undone so easily - but undone it must be.

73 million Americans – or at least a significant portion thereof – need to be deprogramed and returned to the real world. 73 million people need to be brought back to a world that bases itself on provable facts, not wild-eyed conspiracy theories and the dear leader’s latest self-serving pronouncements.

How can such a thing possibly be done?

To even start we must first of all understand four things:

  • Our opponents – Who are they? How did they get this way? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • Ourselves. – Who are we? How can such a diverse group possible cooperate effectively? What are our strengths and weaknesses?
  • What makes our opponents cling so fervently to such a delusional view of the world?
  • What it is about us that repels our opponents so much that they willingly prefer Donald Trump to what we are selling?

Over the next few months, if not years, I expect to be writing a lot about these issues – and the myriad knotty problems that flow from them.

To get the ball rolling today, let me start with one simple proposition:

To return the country to sanity it is essential that we fracture the Right – break apart the seemingly monolithic 48% of the voters who cast their lot with Trump and the power structure behind them.

To start this process, we desperately need to capture the center, peel off that group who broke for Trump this time, but still function with a bit of sanity.

Can we lure them away from tent Trump by jettisoning anything that might be interpreted as wild-eyed socialism or anarchy and replacing it – in the jargon at any rate – with a philosophy that might be called, “Common Sense Centerism?”

A few examples:

Don’t push now for Medicare for All, but add a robust public option to Obama Care.

Don’t demand reparations for past racial injustice, but implement government investment policies which benefit historically disadvantaged communities, be they located in inner cities or Appalachia.

Don’t ever, ever, say, “Defund the Police,” but carry out an honest effort to reform our justice system in ways that will be fairer to all – racial minorities most definitely included.

Push hard for voting rights by stressing the traditional American value (if not practice) of one-person, one vote and wrapping up the effort where it belongs – in the American flag.

Don’t speak so loudly about the need to tax the rich more, but constantly point out that America was built by working men and women, not a bunch of oligarchs and trust-fund brats, and that trickle-down economics are a sham. Ordinary people having enough money in their pockets to live their lives in dignity and buy the things they need is what makes for a powerful economy, not the ultra-rich playing stock market and investment games.

You get the idea.

Fortunately for us, this sounds an awfully lot like the agenda of our President-elect, Joe Biden.

Now all he needs is Trump back in Mar-a-Lago, or better yet, where he truly belongs –

Prison. And a cooperative Senate…which will probably be the subject of my next piece.

Stay tuned!


margie said...

I read somewhere that Heidi Heidcamp? Said that one way Trump kept the base is to refuse to be "judged ". Those 70M that voted for him feel judged (for good reason) and naturally hate it.
Second thing I heard somewhere is a politician saying to the public "work with us in containing Covid and in return stay alive to vote me out of office in the next election ".
My point is that we need to use the same kind of language and actions Republicans use to reach the brainwashed and get them to stop taking all of us off the cliff with them. I am not advocating falling to their level, just learn to talk to half of our population in a way they understand.

Anonymous said...

Joe - All good points. I am quite critical of many aspects of today’s Democratic Party. I want to see all of us being as free as possible as god intended us. I want to see freedom of speech in every possible way (there is no hate speech, but much speech is certainly stupid!). Each of us has the right to believe whatever we want. This recent Democratic Party flirtation with cancel culture doesn’t play in the center. Middle America hates that noise. If the Dems are actually serious about doing anything worthwhile they have to turn a new leaf. They have to: Move on from Nancy Pelosi, Get the spotlight and the voice mike away from AOC, Shut down the green new deal nonsense, put BLM and Antifa in its place, turn off cancel culture, jail rioters per the law, and the like. Anything less will feed the republican narrative. If the items I just mentioned don’t come to pass over the next 12 months we will see the Republicans take the house and pick up seats in the senate in 2022. And Joe will be neutered. That’s the facts. Please dialogue on this topic!

Anonymous said...

The Obama-Biden administration's CIA instigated and entangled the USA in brutal wars in Libya, Ukraine, Syria, and Yemen. Trump is the first president in 39 years to not start any new wars, but OK, if Trump had four more years he would definitely start a war with his "friends" in Russia and North Korea.

Anonymous said...

Good post. Looking forward to more.

FDR understood that solving the problem of economic hardship and uncertainty was essential to ensuring that Democracy could continue in a modern industrialized society. That’s why the right wingers have taken such effort to destroy his legacy.


Sen. Heitkamp is pretty smart. Tough for a N. Dak. Dem to get elected to the Senate, but of course she’s out now. Still worth listening to her.

One of the most if not The most damaging influences in American politics and society has been Rush Limbaugh. He led the pack of demagoguery that has done such damage to our democracy.

It has thus far been found that it has not been possible to produce a counter to the clever demagogue Limbaugh. Even people who don’t listen to him mouth his “ideas.” He owns the minds of many tens of millions of people who think that he’s the funniest source of truth. Until Trump came along.

In this project, those are the difficulties we face. I’ve tried a couple of times to talk with those folks, and failed to make any headway because they are true believers. I guess that finding out how to approach them in their own terms would work.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, I’ll look forward to additional posts about “deprogramming” those 73M.

A few random thoughts:

A lot of people vote for conservatives by default, and aren’t necessarily hardcore Trump fans. I think sometimes the media narrative mistakes Trumps base for GOP’s. In disentangling the two bases, it’d be interesting to discuss red states or counties with higher rates of split-ticket voting this cycle.

I’m curious about the relevance of Macron’s centrist party - it seemed very promising to me at first, tho currently looks unpopular to lots of French folks. I wish we could recognize that centrist views/competency have some inherent merit (it’s easy to espouse extreme opinions), tho I’m sure “centrist” means different things to different people. The Swamp is a great HBO doc about how the campaign finance, and current media environment, both reinforce extreme opinions. A post on distrust of experts/technocrats would be interesting too.

There is some value in considering more what brings us together rather than what keeps us apart. It’d be great to engage with a right wing blogger and write parallel posts to the question “What makes America great? Not, what are great things about America. But at our core, what things fundamentally make us great?”

Just random thoughts on my end, looking forward to DJ tackling these areas

Anonymous said...

If we want to engage “that half” of the population and get them to participate on the basis of things that are actually important, we the dems have to keep the dialogue on the things that actually matter in middle America. It’s actually quite simple. Nancy and Chuck need to lay off trans, gay, BLM, and throwing the “racist” label around. Simply stop trying to “change” people and those things they consider to be their culture. If we could keep the dialogue on jobs, fair taxation, and decent medical care we would pick up votes. Every time we kow-tow to BLM or another fringe group we will lose votes. About 2/3 of the senate seats that were up for reelection this year were Republican. In 2022 it’s the other way, with more Democratic seats at risk. We are going to lose seats in 2022. For example, Joe Mancin in WV is a Democrat in a deep red state. With today’s current polarization he is toast. Several others are at risk as well.

Joseph Cannon said...

I agree with you, anon 12:49. One clarification: There's a difference between "laying off" BLM, gays, the transgendered and so forth and the toleration of injustice. Injustice must NEVER be tolerated.

But the Dems in recent years are now seen as a coalition party of ethnic groups, and that is disastrous. I am a throwback. I think that politics should primarily focus on economics and class, not race and sex. If we can get back to the old definition, we might actually be able to solve some of our problems.

I think one of the reasons why progressives focus so much on race is that the literature is so much easier to read. Nobody likes to read about economics.

That's why "Marxism" has received an absurd redefinition: People now think that Marx was talking about race, not about economics. The ghost of Marx himself must be screaming "NOOOOOO!" from his grave in Highgate, but nobody cares. "Capital" is a difficult book to read, and today's college students just won't read tough books. But some of them DO want to call themselves "Marxists," because doing so seems chic and shocking.

And so they have created a "Marxism" without Marx. Jackasses like Jordan Peterson are aiding them in this delusion.

And now the Republicans have, somewhat successfully, tarred the Democrats as a "Marxist" party, even though they are anything but.

The situation is beyond absurd.

margie said...

Dems can not shelf BLM or immigration for long, not after the black and latino vote essentially allowed the Biden presidency. That would be a betrayal. No, but Dems can follow policies and pass legislation agreeable to these groups without slapping a glittery Racial label on them. Then again, good laws and policies without the PR, will go unnoticed. So, there are no good options and every fork in the road comes with it's own thorny bushes.

Anonymous said...

So basically what you're saying although we won the election because we are the majority we should be shy,or modest,about it. We should cater to their stupid believes and unfounded fears. We should hush the minorities who got us here to calm the deplorables. I don't know about that, also i have no doubt that Biden from day one will start on such plan. He has nothing else.

Joseph Cannon said...

Nobody said anything about HUSHING anyone. Anon, as long as racists like you keep dividing the country, we will never have the unity necessary to deal with climate change. You obviously care more about your hatred of white males than you care about human existence on this planet.

Anonymous said...

Great topic and post and an interesting discussion.

We don't have to hush anyone -- we have to concentrate on what works.

The media loves talking to the Squad because they generate controversy. The same is true for many of the extreme left. They are entitled to their ideas (and there may be merit to some), but most of their ideas are not what is going to get the country voting Democrat again and making America a better place for all, including them.

We can support (not defund) police departments, while improving the culture of police departments and making sure bad police pay a price for criminal decisions. Too many black people (and those of other races) do die unnecessarily by bad police action. I do understand the slogan of BLM, so that the focus is on the disproportionate number of black people who have been killed by police. However, police have difficult jobs and too many are killed on the job. The person who came up with the defund the police slogan was either an idiot or a Republican under cover.

I was encouraged that PE Biden appears to see things the same way.

Similarly, trans people should be protected and free to live their lives as they choose. It it is hard to explain why a separate restroom would not be an adequate solution for anyone who does not identify with their apparent or birth sex and does not appear to be the sex designated for the bathroom they choose to use. Republicans have been effectively using restroom issues against Democrats since the ERA. (I was young but I repeatedly heard, "It'll make men and women have to use the same restroom!!") They have used this issue to say Democrats want men to be able to get into women-designated restrooms. We need to defuse that Republican bomb, while protecting trans people.

I believe we have already made a crack in the Republican party -- that's why some Republicans voted for Biden but voted Republican down-ticket. We need to show them a reason to re-elect President Biden when the time comes. If we can run more centralist Democrats in such elections, I think we will do better in congressional and local races. If they have to respond to questions about how they are going to defund the police, they will likely lose. That seems to have happened to some Democratic candidates in this election, which is a crying shame.

Marc McKenzie said...

"Biden has made noises indicating that he will follow an "all is forgiven" policy when it comes to the crimes committed during the past four years."

Be careful with this, Joseph, because a lot of progs are already tearing their hair out over this without really looking at what has been said and what it really means.

Biden has already said that no, he is not going to pardon Trump or anyone associated with Trump.

And what people are missing is that Biden has said that he will leave the DOJ alone, and let it return to being independent. THAT should scare the shit out of Trump and company. Biden is not going to lean on the DOJ, and if the new AG wants to go after Trump and company full blast, then they will not be held back.

See, when people moan about how Biden needs to declare that he will go after Trump and the GOP, I have to roll my eyes and curse like Malcolm Tucker under my breath. Wanna know why? Because the President is not a prosecutor. Trump broke all sorts of laws by directing the DOJ to go after his political foes, and that was wrong, period. Now are some expecting--no, wanting--Biden to do this? Then how are we any better than the GOP?

Why can't we admit that Biden knows his shit due to his time in the Senate and as VP, and that he's not going to give the GOP or the media rope that they can hang him with. Leaving the DOJ to do its own thing is the best thing Biden can do now.

Just had to get this off my chest, and congrats on finishing the children's book! Good luck with it (and thanks for reminding me that I need to get started on my own project...if this year has taught me anything, it's that life's too short).