David Roberts Profile picture
17 Oct, 10 tweets, 3 min read
In the name of copping to mistakes, I will say, I assumed at the beginning of this race that the right would be able to do to ANY candidate what it did to Hillary. But it has really failed to touch Biden. I don't fully get it. washingtonpost.com/politics/trump…
So is the explanation:
A) Hillary had unique vulnerabilities.
B) It was misogyny -- they woulda slimed Warren too.
C) Biden has unique strengths.
D) The RW slime machine is losing its touch.

Or some mix?
Obviously one can't run such experiments, but it would sure be interesting to re-run the campaign w/ Warren (to see whether they could Hillary her or whether the 20yr headstart on Hillary was crucial) or a different old white man (to see how much teflon is unique to Biden).
Of all the explanations being tossed around in this thread, the notion that the media or the public have enduringly *learned* something strikes me as ... the least plausible of all. 😞
One more thought. The RW slime machine is very obviously trying to run the same playbook on AOC that they did on Hillary: Identify a threat early & devote years to cementing a narrative. Whether/how that works will be an interesting indication of whether anything has changed.
One more one more thought. On the question of Hillary's vs. AOC's responses to RW smears, I don't think we can overstate how utterly shitty the media situation was in the 1990s when they started in on Hillary. There was no netroots, no social media, no real LW media ...
She had no help, no recourse. EVERYTHING was filtered through a few (thoroughly white/male/misogynist) media outlets. She was left on her own to try to fight this utterly unwinnable game. AOC has a lot more resources at her disposal, a lot more left infrastructure. Which is good!
I tried to capture the can't-win, hall-of-mirrors situation Clinton was trapped in here: vox.com/energy-and-env…
It's darkly ironic in retrospect, but BOTH Hillary's "coal gaffe" AND her "deplorables" gaffe were isolated phrases yanked out of contexts in which she was *explicitly trying to reach out to & sympathize with Trump voters*.
All right, last one in this thread, I promise. Here is my extremely pissed off, extremely anguished, extremely comprehensive attempt to tell the full story of WTF happened in the 2016 election: vox.com/policy-and-pol…

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More from @drvox

18 Oct
So, last night I watched Fargo (the original movie, not the show) with the kids. It's been over 20 years since I last saw it and DAMN did it hit me different/harder this time. It is profound about humanity, about good & evil, in ways I didn't really appreciate before.
I think when I first saw it, I took the "bad guy" to be the anomaly in need of explanation -- a red streak of pure evil against the bland white background of upper midwest Normal. I thought that contrast was the center of the movie. This time around, though ...
... a different contrast struck me, namely the simple kindness & decency of Marge & Norm against the backdrop of a Normal mostly populated by people like Jerry Lundegaard -- not evil, really, just petty & shortsighted, an unwitting enabler of evil.
Read 7 tweets
18 Oct
I honestly think most Republicans don't have any problem with Russia helping Trump get elected. Not sure if any of them have come out & said so plainly, but there's no other way to explain the party's reaction to confirmation that Russia is spreading disinformation through them.
After all, "telling lies to help Trump get elected" is what everyone in the party has devoted themselves to for going on five years now. Why would they turn down help? Why would it bother them?
I know I keep saying this, but: the whole point of spending decades painting Democrats not as political opponents but as killers & monsters determined to destroy the country ... is to soften the audience up so they will accept crimes & atrocities on behalf of "their side."
Read 4 tweets
16 Oct
"Donald Trump’s re-election campaign poses the greatest threat to American democracy since World War II." nytimes.com/interactive/20…
Trump is a classic leader of a reactionary movement. He was elected to stomp in & piss all over the elites, their institutions, their norms, their precious procedures & habits. Yes, GOP elites want the judges & the tax cuts, but the base wants the cruelty & crudeness.
The problem is that reactionary movements are purely destructive. Once they piss all over everything, they have nothing to do but ... find other things to piss on, other enemies. There's nothing TO them but organized resentment. There's no generative project.
Read 7 tweets
16 Oct
Everyone is accurately calling this projection but I dunno that it's widely appreciated how *fundamental* projection is to the reactionary mindset -- it's an engine of moral self-justification that is common to reactionaries across times & cultures.
Want to see some raw projection & how it works? Read this piece about what conservatives say when there's no media or libs around. "This is a spiritual battle we are in. This is good versus evil. We have to do everything we can to win."

They are getting together & psyching one another up to suppress votes. How? By telling each other scary campfire tales about what the dread Dems are doing. They activate one another's fears until being racist & suppressing votes feels like something they simply *must* do.
Read 4 tweets
14 Oct
Don't wanna be grumpy old guy but: ACB's views on climate change really don't matter. Her legal opinion is that the vast bulk of the administrative state is unconstitutional, including the parts devoted to mitigating climate change. That's what matters.
If she "believed" climate change but still held that view, it wouldn't be any better. Conversely, if she was a hardcore skeptic but viewed the administrative state as legitimate, it would be a vast improvement. We need to start judging public figures based on their roles/powers.
I guess I just wish Dems -- both commenters & legislators -- spent more time explicitly defending a progressive view of LAW. They should be bashing originalism & defending a more sane approach. That's what is bad about ACB; that's the disagreement that functionally matters.
Read 4 tweets

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