the cowardly new york times.
i haven't been political in a little while. apart from one or two (todd)snide(r) remarks about the president being a totally amoral, irredeemable dipshit. so i figured i better get back into it this week. especially after such a political week at the brewpub! ... we were very lucky to have had presidential candidate pete buttigieg in the space, raising funds for his dark horse (as they say?) candidacy. but i don't know what dark horses have to do with anything. let's just call it an unlikely bid for the presidency.
so here's my takeaway: democrats are still democrats. democrats are still gonna cower in fear. they're still gonna let you down. they're never gonna get the courage of the conviction that their voters have. and why is that? well, a couple reasons. first, the entire world is organized so as to disappoint the democratic voting bloc. political power still derives most frequently from money. and people with money usually want to keep it, and acquire still more. and the policies supported by the vast majority of dems would make that difficult. and second, the media is part of that world. so there's nobody to give voice. to give song. to give scream-song. to ride down a hill in the bay no-handed on a bike, scream-singing a singalong song, controlling every inch of movement from side to side, front to back. to give voice to those policies supported by the democratic voting bloc.
in a way, i feel bad for the dem leadership: republicans have tricked their base into ignoring their own economic interests and voting around social and cultural issues (most of which republican pols do nothing about once in office). whereas the dem base comes back to economics time and again. and demands actions by dem pols that make it hard for dem pols to raise money for their reelection bids. like, republican voters demand state action on guns and god. and republican pols gladly give it to them! or pay enough lip service to satisfy their voters. and then they do what they want on economics: that is, they satisfy their rich base. they pretend to believe in free markets in order to justify deregulation and tax cuts.
whereas dem voters demand action on the green new deal, for example. or medicare-for-all. and they get all hot and bothered. and dem pols can't even pay lip service to this without risking their own jobs. because the wealthy most certainly *do not*, as a class, support such policies. even the most apparently liberal tv aunts and movie car salesmen among them.
i guess this is only half-true. dem voters are just as focused on social and cultural issues as pub voters. i think instead the *thing* is the narrative. something i wrote extensively about after the shithead was elected: republicans have constructed this perfect narrative about freedom. that single word has come to define their party. and it's bullshit. we know they don't care about freedom. the list of freedoms above, to say some. they care about the freedom to own guns. and to hurt your fellow woman if it means that you gain a tic. those are the two freedoms they'll protect to death. but that's enough! that's enough to define the entire republican project! they've crafted an impenetrable narrative. it's so easy: republicans believe in freedom, so they'll save your guns and they'll keep the government out of your pockets. they've put together a voting bloc whose only interest in economic policy revolves around the freedom to make money without the government touching it. so, there really ain't any positions that their voting bloc wants them to adopt but that their donor base despises.
that consistency between messaging and the derivation of political power is something democrats haven't figured out quite yet. or maybe they had once upon a time, but they've lost their way since the mid 70s. who knows... they might be able to throw something together if they picked back up the torch of the "little guy". people love the little guy. and the little guy, in numbers, is so much more powerful than the big guy. and little guy policies are easy to understand.
anyway... back to the question of why dems are so disappointing. as i said, first, the world is organized against policies that dems support: in short, in a democracy like ours, politicians can't win reelection without kissing really rich asses. and rich people don't like expensive policies. and second, the media is part of this structure.
dig it: a new iowa poll came out. commissioned by the des moines register. you may have heard about it. specifically, that the frontrunners in the democratic presidential primary are joe biden and bernie sanders. or, at least, if you watch cnn or read the new york times you would have heard that.
but the poll discovered something *way more interesting* than that horserace nonsense: 91% of dem voters in iowa support the green new deal. 84% support medicare-for-all. that's voters in iowa, certainly not the most liberal dem voters in the nation.
can you imagine republican voters supporting policies in such proportions and republican pols ignoring them? nancy pelosi won't allow either policy any floor time in the house. and all you hear from dems is "but how do we get their practically?" presidential candidate pete buttigieg was very nice. and very earnest. but when he spoke about healthcare, he said "we have to work toward medicare-for-all!" see what he did there? "work toward". and his plan for working toward medicare for all is to make it some sort of public option on the super classy and functional healthcare exchanges that developed as part of obamacare. and if such a plan affords satisfactory, efficient healthcare to the folks who choose it, we can expand it. or shit, it might expand naturally.
but there we are again! a half measure! fear! of a policy supported by 84% of iowa dems! in a race in which only dems are voting! ... we negotiate with ourselves before the other side even enters the fray. obama taught us so well.
to be clear: i liked mayor pete a lot. he was articulate. he was earnest. he knew that we had just opened our joint. and he congratulated me and our team. and asked how we were holding up. that's super good politics. the guy is a natural. ... and also: i'd tend to support a public option personally. his route seems totally sensible. the point here is that even a dark horse candidate with nothing to lose isn't grabbing onto these extremely popular policies, and there's a reason: doing so would jeopardize his capacity to raise money for the rest of his political career. (to say nothing of the fact that he represents a very right-wing state. which actually proves that he's got a lot more courage than some more prominent dems like boring uncle joe biden.) i can very much relate to mayor pete's struggle. and don't envy it. but that's the problem i'm talking about: most dems are still grappling with an inconsistency between their best narrative and the derivation of their political power. (granted, this ain't true of sanders, but i'm not sure bernie is old enough yet. is someone as young as bernie even allowed to run?)
and then the media: did any of you hear about that part of this poll? did the new york times even mention it? at the very end of their article about biden and sanders and the fucking horserace, they mentioned that the green new deal and medicare-for-all had *widespread support*. talk about burying the lede. liberal media bias my ass. there's no way progressive policies have any shot whatsoever if the supposed paper of record can't even find the courage to discuss them. (we can hate the new york times, too!)
anyway. end of day: support the little guy. the stranger. no matter what the media says. no matter what your favorite politician says. eventually, i have faith, the little guys will unite and express their power. in the form of one man or one woman. and maybe the dems will be there to take the lead. maybe the greens will. maybe the republicans will. who knows? who cares?
but you can never go wrong if you keep fighting for the forgotten little guys and gals.
the cowardly new york times.