I used to wonder, "what level of threat would rouse the institutional Democratic Party to actually FIGHT, fight like desperate people willing to do anything to save their country?" It's become pretty clear that there is no such level of threat. They'll politely watch it go under.
The lesson the Dem gerontocracy learned from impeachment is that it was unpopular. It lost them votes. It reaffirmed their priors that fighting back is a losing proposition. None of them reflected on how we've ended up in a social/media environment where that could happen ...
... where an openly criminal scumbag president could loot the country & the public could so fully & profoundly misunderstand the situation that they see impeachment as "partisan squabbling." Instead they just accept the polls & herd in the other direction.
What they don't seem to see is, in an environment where political media & discourse has effectively been set up to provide unlimited cover to cheaters & liars, *there is no winning*. "Talk about health care" all you fucking want, you can't win in that environment.
What none of them seem to conclude is, "gosh, the left is a sad shell. We need a robust left populist movement providing bottom-up pressure & a modern media apparatus of our own that can get our message out & combat misinformation." Just ... "run away, run away!"
If you display learned helplessness long enough, the whole system rearranges around it & it starts to look inevitable, like trying anything else would only backfire. But at this point, it's try something else or lose American democracy. Blah blah, pointless rant, blarg. </fin>

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More from @drvox

22 Nov
Wow, I didn't expect much from this podcast ("not a monolith," ok, we get it!) but it turned out to be a total mind blower. @IanHaneyLopez cuts through the "woke vs. shut-up-about-woke" debate in an incredibly productive & thoughtful way. Recommended. stitcher.com/show/the-ezra-…
One insight I wish everyone on the left could hear: the anti-racist message of siding with the oppressed & dispossessed is NOT necessarily appealing to all of the vast category of people we call "people of color." It's certainly not *automatically* appealing.
At the same time, "moderates" need to hear that racial messaging is not some separate thing from economics. The most appealing message, in surveys, is that *rich people are using race to divide & screw working people*.
Read 5 tweets
21 Nov
Let's look at a little vignette of today's GOP. @LindseyGrahamSC committed what amounts to felony voter fraud on behalf of Trump: slate.com/news-and-polit…
When news of Graham's fraud got out, prominent Democrats called for him to resign. He then used those calls to promote himself to the Trump base.
Two things worth noting about this. First, the message: there are no real rules, no neutral referees. No one *really* cares about principles. There's only a zero-sum competition. To be a loyal member of one's side is to do ANYTHING, illegal or not, to help it win. Anything.
Read 5 tweets
20 Nov
"Al Gore protested when George Bush stole the election from him, therefore Trump is justified protesting at losing in a comparative landslide in a completely clean election" is a parody of whataboutism.
I think so much about Al Gore's concession. He was utterly sincere about rising above personal desire & partisan advantage & doing the right thing for the country. He absolutely believed it. "They go low, we go high," the iconic case.
And not only did the nobility not register with Republicans, they are now using it as an example of its complete, utter opposite! Acting according to principles that transcend partisanship is INVISIBLE to the right. A part of the light spectrum they cannot see.
Read 6 tweets
19 Nov
What Trump is establishing right now is a new norm for the conservative movement, whereby "fighting for you" means disrupting the electoral process at every opportunity & rejecting results conservatives don't like. Even if he fails in this attempt, the norm will stand.
From now on, every conservative that loses an election and doesn't try to fuck up or defy the voting process will be labeled a cuck or a RINO. There's just no way to overstate how toxic this is in a democracy, far beyond the question of Trump himself.
Two things about this half-ass coup attempt, in response to lots of comments I'm seeing. First, the fact that it's likely to fail this year is NOT reason to ignore it or treat it blithely. It's establishing precedent, gearing the entire movement up for the next attempt.
Read 4 tweets
16 Nov
Listen to @mattsheffield, who worked for years inside conservative media, explain how profoundly broken it is & how its victims might be freed from its clutches. wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/s…
The most important thing Sheffield says, here & in his tweets, is that the people involved in RW media are not journalists. They are not acting on (& do not understand) journalistic principles. They are advancing the cause of US conservatism. So simple, so important, so ignored.
And what's more, they do not believe that a different approach is possible. As always, they take talk about transpartisan principles as some kind of trick, or gambit. In a zero-sum reactionary world, there are only competing groups, only group interests, nothing else.
Read 4 tweets
16 Nov
The idea that forgiving student debt would cause enormous political backlash among those who have no such debt, or have already paid it, reflects an utterly dismal view of humanity. It also strikes me as correct.
Social science suggests that most people do not have distinct or coherent views on political issues, the way the politically engaged do, but all humans are hyper, hyper sensitive to fairness & reciprocity. People will even act against their own self-interest on those grounds.
It is easy to whip up the resentments of non-political normies with appeals to fairness & reciprocity. You pay taxes & they get welfare? They get affirmative action but you don't? You worked your way through school and now these kids get it free? It's not fair.
Read 5 tweets

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