Thursday, December 15, 2016

Phony Oppositions and Score Settling

Josh Marshall, a favorite of mine, emphasizes these points:

The Putin and Comey issues are beside the main point.  `Yes' they probably swung the election.  But why was it so close?  Hillary Clinton's weaknesses played a role.   Would Sanders have done better?  There is little reason to think attacks on "the billionaire class" would have defeated the billionaire celebrity who won. And nothing was ever invested in attacking Sanders by the right.  He was too useful because his attacks on Clinton as a tool of Goldman Sachs gave Trump an issue - draining the swamp.

Small samples run the risk of being unrepresentative but let's look at our town in Maine - 100% white Friendship.  The price of fuel is low and lobster high.  The Adventist church lot is packed on Sundays.  The lobstermen's parking areas are packed with de rigeur pickup trucks.  Times are good.

In 2012 681 voters cast ballots.  Romney won 360 votes.  Obama 321.  But in 2016 746 voters cast ballots. Trump won 475.  Clinton won 271.  The increase in voters is huge.   The Democrats lost 50 votes.  The Republicans gained 115.

So what happened - why was there such a marked shift to Republicans, who dominate governorships and state legislatures? Like an onion there are many layers.   In varying combinations  whitelash, rural insurgency, cultural resentments, economic dissatisfaction often converged - in Friendship and across the country. The  GOP's voting upsurge changed the electoral map. - gwc

Phony Oppositions and Score Settling

by Josh Marshall // Talking Points Memo

***What is the 'something'? I don't pretend to have the entire answer or even a particularly original one. Some part of it is the underestimated, inherent difficulty of winning a third presidential term. But that's not all of it. While I believe Democrats have many good economic policies, I don't believe they have an adequate and overarching theory of the problem of wage stagnation or ever-increasing economic insecurity (a interlocked series of economic and political problems) or a set of policies and a politics to address it.

That doesn't mean they're ignoring it. That doesn't mean anyone else has a better set. But what Democrats have is not enough. Holding the presidency for eight years combined with a still accurate belief that their constituencies are growing while the other party's is shrinking has led to a deep deficit of political organizing in all fifty states. Democrats had this as recently as a decade ago. But it atrophied.

As much as anything there is a revolt against the increasingly urban and non-white America symbolized by the 'Obama coalition', one that combines racial backlash, economic decline and cultural marginalization. There is something there that goes far beyond anything that can be addressed by a more class based politics alone.***


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