Failed and Has-Been Politicians Start New Party
The Forward Party will almost certainly go nowhere.
Reuters (“Former Republicans and Democrats form new third U.S. political party“):
Dozens of former Republican and Democratic officials announced on Wednesday a new national political third party to appeal to millions of voters they say are dismayed with what they see as America’s dysfunctional two-party system.
I’m with them so far.
The new party, called Forward and whose creation was first reported by Reuters, will initially be co-chaired by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Christine Todd Whitman, the former Republican governor of New Jersey. They hope the party will become a viable alternative to the Republican and Democratic parties that dominate U.S. politics, founding members told Reuters.
Andrew Yang? The guy nobody had ever heard of before a quixotic run for the Democratic presidential nomination? Which he followed by a failed bid to become mayor of New York City?
Christine Todd Whitman was, by most accounts, a solid governor and a mediocre EPA administrator. She followed that by a failed crusade to make the Republican Party more moderate and has pretty much been irrelevant for the last 20 years. She turns 76 in two months.
Party leaders will hold a series of events in two dozen cities this autumn to roll out its platform and attract support. They will host an official launch in Houston on Sept. 24 and the party’s first national convention in a major U.S. city next summer.
Okay. But what is it?
The new party is being formed by a merger of three political groups that have emerged in recent years as a reaction to America’s increasingly polarized and gridlocked political system. The leaders cited a Gallup poll last year showing a record two-thirds of Americans believe a third party is needed.
There are dozens of American parties. It’s just that only two of them have a reasonable shot at electing candidates to major office on other than a on-off basis.
The merger involves the Renew America Movement, formed in 2021 by dozens of former officials in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Donald Trump; the Forward Party, founded by Yang, who left the Democratic Party in 2021 and became an independent; and the Serve America Movement, a group of Democrats, Republicans and independents whose executive director is former Republican congressman David Jolly.
So, they’ve merged three groups nobody has ever heard of, took the name of the middle one, and . . . what, exactly?
Two pillars of the new party’s platform are to “reinvigorate a fair, flourishing economy” and to “give Americans more choices in elections, more confidence in a government that works, and more say in our future.”
The party, which is centrist, has no specific policies yet. It will say at its Thursday launch: “How will we solve the big issues facing America? Not Left. Not Right. Forward.”
So, essentially, it’s a party about nothing? Maybe they could call it the Seinfeld Party?
Seriously, the Underpants Gnomes had a more sophisticated plan.
Historically, third parties have failed to thrive in America’s two-party system. Occasionally they can impact a presidential election. Analysts say the Green Party’s Ralph Nader siphoned off enough votes from Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore in 2000 to help Republican George W. Bush win the White House.
You’re not helping advance their cause, Reuters.
In an interview, Yang said the party will start with a budget of about $5 million. It has donors lined up and a grassroots membership between the three merged groups numbering in the hundreds of thousands.
“We are starting in a very strong financial position. Financial support will not be a problem,” Yang said.
Cue Dr. Evil: five mil-llllll-ion dollars! That’s not a lot of money these days. Indeed, it’s not hard to spend more than that on a single House campaign.
Another person involved in the creation of Forward, Miles Taylor – a former Homeland Security official in the Trump administration – said the idea was to give voters “a viable, credible national third party.”
Taylor acknowledged that third parties had failed in the past, but said: “The fundamentals have changed. When other third party movements have emerged in the past it’s largely been inside a system where the American people aren’t asking for an alternative. The difference here is we are seeing an historic number of Americans saying they want one.”
That American people have been “asking for an alternative” as long as I can remember, and I’m not a young man. The fact that people want another choice doesn’t mean they want this choice.
Indeed, Yang and Whitman have managed to combine the politician’s fallacy (“We must do something. This is something. Therefore, we must do this.”) with the pundit’s fallacy (“What a politician needs to do to improve his or her political standing is do what the pundit wants.”) It’s true that most people think the Republican Party is too hard-right and the Democratic Party is too hard-left. It does not follow, though, that any random “centrist” alternative will appeal to more people, even leaving aside all of the massive structural barriers.
Considering that Yang, Whitman, Jolly, and company almost certainly know all of this, it strikes me that this is more grift than a serious attempt at starting a viable political party.
Dang, brutal headline here. Tell us how you really feel, Dr. Joyner, don’t hold back so much lol
Why do I get so much pushback around here whenever I point this out?
Yup. And it’s sound and fury, signifying nothing, as is typically the case with the lazy American electorate. What most Americans really want is to whine and complain then either re-elect incumbents or not vote at all.
The reason American “third parties” have failed fail is because they offer nothing the two major party coalitions haven’t been offering. This will fail for the same reason. In their WaPo purpose statement, Jolly/Whitman/Yang write:
Yeah, and if you’re looking for a party that isn’t trying to confiscate all guns, get rid of fossil fuels overnight, or legalize late term abortion nationwide but isn’t elimatimg gun regulations, denying climate change, or enslaving women with forced birth, we already have that party. It’s called the Democratic Party.
So what is the point of this?
One would think that a bunch of professional/career politicians would realize that there’s more to setting up a party than funding.
The reason that other parties fail to gain traction are:
* The extraordinary effort necessary to set up a party at the local, and then state level.
* Finding enough people to be in leadership positions at the county level
* Ballot access
* Ground “troops”
* All of which is necessary, and it still won’t make a damn bit of difference where it counts: securing electoral college votes (and that’s just for President, all of the down-ballot races need members of this “party” for it to really take hold)
Clearly, these people know this. Which means one has to ask: What the hell are they doing? Because this is yet another doomed-to-fail effort given the way in which our system is set up.
My question is simple: Are the going straight for a Presidential run? Or are they going to concentrate on state-level offices and work up to Congressional bids later on?
If it’s the former, they’re going to get nowhere. If it’s the latter, they might have a chance of making some impact. I would certainly like to see a centrist party make some headway and give people more options. I’ll wait to see what their platform is, and what specific planks they choose.
Yet another attempt at a “third party” in a system that will inevitably devolve to two parties.
It doesn’t take much effort to predict how this will end up.
In Mexico the federal government provides plenty of public financing to political parties. Many of the small ones are jobs programs for party leaders, who like sucking at the taxpayers’ teat. The twist is these parties have to garner a minimum of votes in a given cycle, else they lose their accreditation as a party and don’t get any more funding.
This is not the case in the US, but there are donors with more money than sense, or who need tax deductions but lack the cash to actually influence policy.
IMO, it should be possible to build a third party from the ground up, starting in one state and spreading to others in time, assuming they can deliver anything worthwhile in the meantime. Then they may grow more. But this is the work of decades, not an election cycle.
And, as the wingnut party has proved, it’s best accomplished from within one of the duopoly parties (it still took decades).
I don’t think anything will work or change the dynamics unless it is bottom up politics.
Tangentially, I’ve been thinking about why our city politics seem to work to create a fairly well functioning city government. One answer is that we are a mayor/city council form of government where the mayor is first among equals on the city council and the city is run by a hired city manager. The other answer I think is that our elections for mayor and city council are officially non-partisan, meaning that there is no party affiliations on the ballot. Now everyone knows the party affiliation of the mayor and city councilors but somehow the deemphasizing of the party affiliation reduces the friction and allows the focus to be on problems and issues.
As Jen said (grossly paraphrasing), you can’t get anywhere going unless you are successful locally.
@DK: As was pointed out at LGM, this platform is triangulating between positions that a handful of Dems on Twitter call for and edicts laid down by the Republican Supreme Court. Their entire party is going to be made up of unemployed never-Trump pundits.
@Mu Yixiao: “Are the going straight for a Presidential run?”
I, for one, eagerly await the Yang/Gabbard 2024 campaign.
In the US, the closest to a third party that has attempted to build a ground-up, operation is the Green Party and that has been p!ss poor. Beyond a few city council seats in liberal cities and the odd state rep, they haven’t shown much. But, the paucity of results from what has been a serious attempt to build a 3rd party shows how difficult it is.
Forward will fail as well.
That’s not what the polls show though. All the “too hard-left” things poll really well with the general public and with individuals subgroups, it’s just 70+ years of labeling anyone left-leaning as “commie” has left a mark. It’s gotten to the point where conservative complain about elitist Marxists without a hint of irony. While the GOP is increasingly and openly calling for fascism and Christian Nationalism, Democrats get scolded because some people don’t understand what a pronoun is or how it works (looking at you @lavern_spicer)
I will say this: It’s interesting that all the “liberal” techbros and rich “activists” like Yang and Musk all seem to have gone right-wing lately. Much like Trump, they affected a veneer of liberalism because that’s what was popular. The circles they ran in favored a liberal bent so they played the part. Now? Now that they getting called out for their nonsense, suddenly the Dems are “too far left” (again, think of Musk’s odd “I didn’t move, YOU moved” Overton window chart) and it’s cool to let their inner libertarian jerk flag fly. Pretending they’re the reasonable one and everyone should listen to them panders to their egos; of course they want a new party they can lead that represents what they think is “middle” and “sensible” but doesn’t seem to match what the people thinks or wants. Make some money, get some attention AND get to complain about cancel culture when it inevitably fails? Now where have it heard that before……
@Sleeping Dog: “Forward will fail as well.”
Only if you assume it’s intended to win seats rather than rake in cash for a handful of political consultants.
So much BS here (the new party, not James). Picking just one – “The People” say they want a new Party either because they are actively engaged and have very strong opinions about something, in which case the last thing they want is a more middle of the road Party, or because they are not that interested in politics and feel anxious when it comes time to vote and so they default to the universal, “a pox on both their houses!” or “Congress is broken” and then say they are crying out for change. In this latter case they will eventually just add this new party to the vague background hum of “Politics” that torments them once every couple of years and if they vote will continue to base their vote on the same things they have always based their vote on. “We’ve always been Dems”, or “My brother in law is a Dem and he’s an asshole so I’m a Republican” or “John F Kennedy/Ronald Reagan was such a handsome man! So I’m a Dem/Repub”.
@wr: Ding, Ding, Ding! We have a winner!
This feels like the next obvious step for the Lincoln Project crew, to raise money and run some ads that nibble around the edges and make a group of never Trumpers feel like they Are Doing Something About It (TM).
@Sleeping Dog: Wouldn’t you add in the Libertarians? They do seem to have a fairly regular presence on some state ballots. Granted, here in NH they seem to have decided that running as Republicans is an easier path to getting elected, but they really aren’t that shy about their actual affiliation. I don’t really know if that’s a success or failure.
Yang and Christie Whitman? For this scheme had even a slight chance they’d need a whole lot more star power than that.
Now, get me a third party with Oprah, Tom Hanks, Michelle Obama, Joe Rogan, Warren Buffet and Stephen King, and we can talk.
Except the prez election, the Libs are pretty inconsistent. I’ve noticed more activity from the Greens, but maybe because of where I’m looking.
As long as they siphon off votes from disgruntled ex-GOPers — those who can’t seem to bring themselves to support any Democrat — more than from disgruntled Democrats, I’m cool with that …
Forward is also there to save the GOP by reducing the number of disaffected Republicans that vote for Democrats
Most of those things only poll well in the abstract. Once you start getting into specifics about costs and trade-offs, support generally plummets. Of course large majorities of people love the idea of free health care, better infrastructure, better schools, a cleaner environment, higher paying jobs, etc. when it can all be paid for by raising taxes a little on “the rich” and without having to give up anything else or risking any sort of negative impact on the economy.
I obviously agree the GOP’s increasing drift – ok, headlong rush – toward anti-democratic authoritarianism is a much bigger problem and more immediate danger than anything the Dems or the Left in general are doing. That said, the increasingly extreme and, yes, authoritarian nature of the Dem/Left positions on race and gender issues (and their insistence on injecting those issues into virtually every other issue) isn’t just about stupid pronoun fights. While I would agree that describing the Dem base as “hard left” on economic issues is just stupid, describing them that way on the panoply of race and gender related issues is legit and concerning. If the GOP wasn’t so transparently evil now, I suspect the squishy middle would be trending Republican rather than Dem these days precisely because of the Dems’ “hard left” turn on race/gender issues.
And here they are. All 42 of them.
Politics1-Directory of U.S. Political Parties
Good post, James. I loved the “Seinfeld Party” crack. Too true. I read through the post thinking of snarky comments, only to find you already hit them, underpants gnomes, Dr. Evil, “this is something”, the pundit fallacy. Good work. It comes down to Yang wants another fifteen minutes of fame, or would it be his first 15 minutes?
The key paragraph from Forward’s (are they going to steal Hillary’s campaign logo) WAPO editorial is,
So, as seems to be standard practice, they contrast far left rhetoric with what Republicans are actually doing. And who’s in the “sensible center” as so defined, actual Democratic office holders. And what’s Forward’s position on these issues? They neglected to say. But it sounds like they could best support their centrism by voting Blue, no matter who. Someone commented that Thomas Friedman writes a column every year bemoaning that no one ever offers voters positions that amount to Obama’s platform.
Twenty years ago I used to say city government worked because there wasn’t much ideology. What are the liberal and conservative positions on trash pickup? Pick up the trash.
It’s a sad comment on our politics that rabid libertarianism has permeated everything to the point there now is a conservative position, “Don’t pick up the trash, let everyone use private contractors.”
That’s the easy part.
What happens before? Is home trash separated or not? And what happens after? landfill, recycling, incinerator, etc.
But the trash would still be picked up.
What hard left turn on race and gender are you talking about? One black president in 200+ years? One Latina SCOTUS judge? One Asian VP?
The idea that using someone’s preferred pronouns or recognizing systemic racism is a hard left turn is purest nonsense. The former is just simple courtesy and the latter is an irrefutable fact.
@gVOR08: …and discover that your town not dealing with garbage and leaving it up totally to “The Free Market” means you have to worry about bears in the kitchen.
Motte and bailey.
We do not have trash pickup as a function of government in my town. We have a town dump (“transfer station”) where residents drag their refuse. It’s open 3 days a week. We bring our actual trash there (it gets deposited into a compactor) and bring our recycling there too (there are bins for metal, paper, scrap material/bulk waste, tin cans, aluminum, and glass).
For those who do not want to go through the effort, there is a private company that you can contract with to pick up trash and recycling.
We do also have bears, but issues with them are few and far between. For now.
Probably 90% of my Twitter followers list pronouns. I don’t, precisely because it seems impolite to me. It’s not my business to tell you how to talk about me. ‘Address me as such and such,’ seems absurd because a) I don’t have the right to tell you how to talk, b) I’m not going to remember your name, let alone your pronouns, and c) I DGAF what pronouns you use for me.
Too many people on the coasts (and Austin) don’t realize, they really don’t, that they’re living in a bubble just as bad as they one they accuse their enemies of living in. And they don’t see how the rhetoric pushes away voters that can be persuaded on policy. Dem policies are popular. Dem hectoring people on labeling…? Not so much.
And Andrew Yang? Really? No one is going to line up behind Andrew Yang for anything.
I could go through just about any post or comment on OTB (including my own) and criticize something – syntax, word choice, punctuation, etc… If I did that for a week people would quickly figure out just how alienating it is. Don’t say X, say Y. Don’t put the verb there, put it here. You’re overusing commas. The flow in this sentence would be improved if you did X. And look at this echo effect!
Outside of work, no one likes a copy editor. The phrase, ‘well, actually,’ is not a way to make friends.
@grumpy realist: How do you know when an ideology is really just a clown car? When they get the chance to run an experiment on their beliefs, it turns out bad… and then they ignore it, never talk about it and make no attempt to learn from it. The Libertarians have had several such experiments at the town level and even managed to take over a whole State for a significant period and each time it ended up in a shitshow. Have libertarians examined these failures and learned from them? Absolutely not. They don’t even talk about them. And if you bring it up, it’s all hand waving and “no true Scotsman”.
@Michael Reynolds: You, as a writer, may have better luck but I can’t imagine a more off-putting start to a sentence than, “I am so exhausted with having to constantly educate you people”.
The entirety of Libertarianism is, ‘You’re not the boss of me!’ Which is why it’s one thing to be a college libertarian barely out of childhood, but by age 25 if you’re still one you’re just an immature asshole.
To which the answer has to be, ‘Well, member of a powerless minority, if you don’t have the energy to educate and reach out, don’t complain when you don’t like where things go.’ Do the fucking work. Gays carried that load for decades before getting what they wanted. So did women. So did (do) Blacks. So did Jews.
Meh. LA County has more Republicans than the entire state of West Virginia and several other deep red states. Nancy Pelosi is from California, yes, but so are Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan. In Los Angeles, you can find every imaginable subculture and a neighborhood for just about every nationality and language.
This may be a bubble of sorts, but “just as bad” as lily-white-with-some-blacks English only MAGAville exurban Georgia where I grew up? Not even a little bit. It’s cute that Pick Me Liberals like to self-flagellate this way tho. “Oh we need to understand their economic anxiety!” Nah, you need to have grown up integrating an elementary schools amongst the Marjorie Taylor-Greenes of the world as I did, then you’d know they’re just mean, stupid bigots. The scolding myopia of folks like AOC can be irritating, but she’s not “just as bad” as Lauren Qobert. Sorry not sorry!
True, AOC is irritating but not evil.
That doesn’t alter the fact that the party trying to make positive change needs to be smarter about how they go about trying to achieve it. When you’re losing ground – and we are – it’s time to take a look at your own strategy and tactics. We could start by wondering why we are losing ground with Hispanic voters who we desperately need.
There is limited bandwidth. Note how Ukraine was the Big Story a month ago and now it’s not, because it’s been replaced by other stories? It’s not that people switched sides on Ukraine, it’s that there is a limited attention span, a limited period of time to reach an audience. So if you clog that bandwidth with irrelevancies, guess what? No one hears anything else.
If Prog A has just one minute to reach Con Y, what should Prog A say? I don’t like your use of pronouns?
I assume that with Wang behind it, their big goal will be a presidential candidate. I look forward to seeing how many states there are where they can finish all the necessary paperwork. The Libertarians are the best at it of the various third parties, have been at it for decades, and some years they don’t make it to the ballot in all 50 states.
My state is one of the easiest, which is why we had 23 candidates for president on the ballot for 2020 (of third parties, the Libertarians did best with 52,000 votes, then the Greens with 9,000, then downhill fairly rapidly from there).
I saw this last night and did not have time to write anything up.
Three immediate reactions:
1. Yang really, really needs to turn in his “Math” hat.
2. If some group really wants to form a viable third party, their best chance is to try to create a regional party, around regional issues, in a place dominated by only one party — not try some quixotic national strategy.
3. Primaries, primaries, primaries. Have I ever mentioned how primaries make it highly unpalatable for serious candidates to try and compete via third parties? It is easier to play in the R or D sandbox than to go third party (see, e.g., Trump, Oz, Vance, etc.).
Well, actually all my friends are pedantic.
@Jen: Extending your thoughts about the need for a “local” political organization, have the people in the Forward Party considered how their Forward Party candidate elected President is going to carry out the platform of their constituents with no sympathetic/partisan Congresspeople? Especially in a system where the partisan divides are as pronounced as ours are.
@Mu Yixiao: “Or are they going to concentrate on state-level offices and work up to Congressional bids later on?”
The “or” that you outline might well work–over the course of a generation or two. (Look at the Greens in Europe for a possible comparative. And most European nations already have multi-party systems.) But if that’s the case and the successful plan, you probably are already too old to need to know their platform. (You noted that you are 50-ish, right?)
@wr: 😀 😛 😀 😛
DK – I hear you. But I base my comments on spending a whole lot of time in Cedartown, Rome, Dalton, and Chatsworth, GA, You’re not going to get those people to ever vote for a Democrat. Ever. That’s Marjorie Taylor Green territory.
But Douglasville, Alpharetta, Marietta, Lithia Springs, Austell, Roswell, Kennesaw, Duluth, Jonesboro, Stockbridge, Athens, and the rest of the outer burbs…. you convince 5% to switch in those suburbs, you win all of GA because that’s where the population is for the state,
I agree with you that there is no comparison with AOC and MTG, or Matt Gaetz or Jim Jordan. But the fact remains that separate from AOC too many progressives don’t know how to read the room. We need some Jon Testers and Sherrod Browns in places like Georgia and North and South Carolina. We need people that will vote with Nancy Pelosi and Chuch Schumer, regardless if they don’t know which pronouns to use. The GOP is putting up some batshit candidates up for election in 2022 midterms. If Dems are smart, they’ll run some center-left candidates in these races, rather than progressive bomb throwers. Mark Kelly wouldn’t win in California. He will win in Arizona, and he’ll be a reliable D vote, unlike Sinema, who I hope gets a primary challenger in 2024.
Maxine Waters is great for her district. Someone like her would be a bad choice running for Senator in Arizona.
Time will tell what they do.
@Michael Reynolds: Ukraine gets less airtime because it’s no longer new, and the pro-Putin opposition to Ukraine isn’t resonating.
There have been a few “why are we spending $X on Ukraine when we have Problem Y at home?” complaints by people who oppose spending anything on solving Y. But again, not really resonating.
It will be back if Republicans retake congress — post election, and when the Putin lobby has more hands on the levers of power.
As far as AOC goes — let’s just assume she’s annoying. Why is it a problem nationally that she is annoying, but not a problem that MTG is annoying and fucking insane? Or Ted Cruz (who’s pronouns are “kiss my ass”, and we should respect ass choices)
Why is it that both the mainstream left and all of the right turn their venom towards the left? Is it simply the rules of the game that we have to live with (like the electoral college), or are we playing the game wrong?
I guarantee that if AOC was replaced by someone far more boring and moderate, the target for derision would just move one Representative to the right. So there’s nothing to gain by getting rid of her, or getting her to be quiet.
I want her out there, staking out positions far enough to the left that people like Senator Tester can say “I’m a Democrat, but pretty moderate” and take some pretty lefty positions.
And if that means AOC needs a solar-powered pronoun pin with novelty pronouns, so be it.
But we also need to find a way to make Republicans who stand with the insane wing of their party pay a price for doing so. And that’s where we fail.
@Sleeping Dog: The relative lack of success of the Greens in building a movement here is reflective of the Greens not being a particular match to American mainstream goals, aspirations, and desires. We’re not, in aggregate, people who will “vote Green” any more than we will vote Communist or Socialist. A fascist party might get some traction here though. (Put in a call to Marine LePen to see if she’s got space on her calendar for some consulting.)
@wr: As long as they’re mostly cannibalizing their own, and I doubt that there’s much money to be had outside of their circle, why would I care? Even sheep need to be sheared every so often.
@Stormy Dragon: In that case, it’s a duplication of efforts. The Libertarian Party already serves that function.
Actually, all pedants are my friends.
@Just nutha ignint cracker: Exactly. I suppose they would say something like “we’ll build the coalitions based on the topic” but that is a f*ck ton of work.
To say that you’ll need to develop coalitions and whip votes EACH AND EVERY TIME you have a presidential priority is insane. The reverse situation is also notable: whichever party has the House and Senate passes bills and…what? How does a 50/50 Senate with a tiebreaker vote from “The Forward Party” operate?
What they are really trying to do, I think, is recapture a middle of the road issue narrative. It won’t work for the reasons James has outlined–the Seinfeld Party descriptor is apt.
Because the DNC has failed to deliver on the promises it made while campaigning. And AOC, Bernie Sander, Elizabeth Warren, etc. aren’t the people who have been blocking everything.
The actual problem is not a messaging problem. It’s a substance problem where the progressives have been reliable team players for the last two years while the supposedly wiser moderates have repeatedly sabotaged the administration in the name of their own personal agendas.
All the stuff about AOC’s messaging is just a distraction from the that.
It’s a fact of human nature regardless of party or persuasion that a large chunk of people are concerned about themselves and their issues to the exclusion of everything else and so are indifferent enough to others that they aren’t even those people might have other things they are concerned about. And even where there is general agreement on an issue their most pressing need is to check to make sure the person is correct in how they agree.
Back when Republicans were making an attempt with non-Hispanic minorities it always fascinated me how, when queried about why they weren’t making inroads with said communities, would respond that, “We have to get better at educating people on how our economic policies are better for them.” Never, “We need to listen better and find out what their interests are and see where they overlap.” Just – “We need to educate them in proper thinking” and said with a total unawareness of how off putting they were to everyone they were nominally trying to reach.
I actually don’t know if AOC falls into the progressive side of that trap, because she is only asked to weigh in on “her” issues. But she’s a smart person and truly seems to have empathy for people in general and not just “her” people, so I would be very surprised if she was terrible at constituent services or ignored the old lady in her district whose primary concern was that the plants in the local, non-federal park aren’t getting enough water.
@Stormy Dragon: Or, you know, maybe you could ask them.
BTW, has anyone seen any Democrats other than Yang tied to this? Because I’m wondering if a frequent Tucker Carlson guest who has never held office or served in any Democratic administration or organization actually qualifies as “and Democrats” just because they claim to be one.
Well actually, that’s only half of libertarianism. The other half is the expectation that the rest of us will, like indulgent parents, make that work for them, to make sure they suffer no consequences for doing whatever they feel like.
This. A few days ago while I was discussing with fellow liberal friends who whould be on the Democratic Ticket in ’24, I suggested Jon Stewart, someone with liberal credentials and is more familiar with modern media than 90% of current Democrats.
I’m acting under the assumption that Joe will decline to run and the process will be wide open.
Now, I’m sure people can come up with other media-savvy possibilities, but if we end up with a bunch of excitement-charisma-free candidates under the age of 70 then we deserve to consigned to the Jersey Meadowlands for final services.
I think an honest mission statement from them would read: “We would like the status quo, but without so much shouting. Less partisan gridlock resulting in nothing getting done, and more just not trying to do anything. And cut taxes on the wealthy.”
@Gustopher: But doesn’t tax cuts for the wealthy make sense if your platform is “don’t do anything?” It seems reasonable to me that such a plan would cut the amount of governing being done and allow for pretty generous tax cuts targeted at the segment of society that will most benefit from them.
Words fail me… This doesn’t help. Kinzinger is correct.
He’s not. Rhetoric like this gains you no new followers and alienates some who are persuadable.
I was a long time Harris fan, but alot less so lately. She’s exposed herself as a lightweight, sadly.
@EddieInCA: You are missing absolutely 100% of the context, which Kinzinger deliberately omitted, and thereby falling for the right’s utterly dishonest framing.
The event she was speaking at was for BLIND PEOPLE. Makes a bit of a difference, doesn’t it?
Kinzinger is certainly on the right side of January 6, but don’t forget: he’s still a Republican. And they lie.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
Snark if you wish. But had there been more tax cuts, Jeff Bezos would have nearly gone into space twice by now rather than just once. I hope you can live with that on your conscience.
@EddieInCA: Here’s the context Kinzinger dishonestly omitted.
Why Vice President Kamala Harris mentioned her blue suit at a disability rights meeting
If there’s one thing we can count on Republicans to do, it’s to fight with every fiber of their beings to NOT include anyone they don’t believe is “normal.” Mostly that’s LGBTQ people, but if they can score some cheap points by sliming the VP for including blind people, so much the better.
If you’re explaining, you’re losing.
If she had said, ““I am Kamala Harris. I am sitting at the table wearing a blue suit.” there would have been no issue, and there wouldn’t be a viral moment. She’s either hopelessly out of touch with the current political environment, or she’s incompetent. She’s not incompetent.
The context doesn’t help as much as you think it does.
Interesting that you accuse others of doing what you yourself do. You focus on the blue suit, and ignore the pronouns.
@EddieInCA: Oh yes, it’s always about the pronouns. I guess disabled people can’t also be LGBTQ?
And if you think her not stating her pronouns wouldn’t have meant a viral moment, I have a spiffy bridge over the East River for sale, cheap.
@Mikey: If she had simply referenced her blue suit, it might have been tweeted around as a funny/bizarre thing taken out of context, but it would not have served as an example of the Dems’ current gender-obsession nonsense, and it wouldn’t have been politically damaging. Moreover, if she was honestly just describing herself for the benefit of the blind people in the audience, as opposed to deliberately using activist-approved nonsense phrasing to make a base-pleasing and everyone else-alienating point, she wouldn’t have stated her preferred pronouns, she would have simply said, “I’m a woman wearing a blue suit.” So spare us the faux-naive routine about this being totally reasonable and acceptable to all in context.
It seems Harris was speaking with people about the Americans with Disabilities Act, some of whom (though not all) were visually impaired, not necessarily blind. After all, if they were completely blind the fact that her suit was blue would be completely pointless. They were also masked, which could make it harder for the visually impaired but not blind to tell who is speaking. There were possibly deaf people present as well, with a sign-language interpreter. Therefore I can see the sense in introducing herself as the woman in the blue suit.
The problem with the pronouns is it’s simply jarring and unusual. We might be better off as a society if people commonly did so (I’m not sure) but to the vast bulk of people it just sounds odd. Even odder in the context of a meeting around disabilities. Politics is the art of persuasion, and if your introduction strikes people as forced or strange, you’ve already lost.
I disagree with Michael Reynolds when he said earlier that he thinks it’s rude to tell people how he wants to be referred to. I find the opposite to be true-whether it’s a name (Mike vs Michael, for example) or a pronoun, I think it’s rude to NOT refer to someone how they prefer. But that of course means they have to indicate what they prefer, so I can’t consider it rude for them to tell me.
But I also think it’s odd and unnecessary to use it in all contexts. By introducing herself that way she signaled to everyone there that the political issue about gender identification was at the top of her mind, not the disabilities the actual audience deal with and what the meeting was about. And it allowed the entire coverage (left and right) to get hijacked away from the actual issue under discussion. That’s bad communication, as Michael Reynolds keeps trying to point out.
Consider, she could have said: “I am Kamala Harris. For the visually and auditory impaired among us, I’m the woman sitting at the table wearing a blue suit.” She could have added “African-American” in front of “woman” and it would make sense as well.
She identifies herself. She gives a nod to the subject of the meeting and makes it clear she’s aware of the primary topic. Everyone is informed she’s a woman, and since the overwhelming default for that is she/her (which she prefers) there was simply no *need* to introduce the strangeness (to most of our ears) of the pronoun introduction.
I don’t care what pronoun people use, and I don’t think most people care. I’ll respect it if you want me to use a particular pronoun (and I think most people would as well; the exceptions tend to be loud a-holes so they get more attention, but most people simply don’t care and will be polite by default). It’s just bad politics and communication to force that into your introduction, and if and until our societal norms are very different it does feel very forced.
Honestly, I’d vote for something close to that, as would most centrists, I think. Seems to me the essence of centrism / moderation is that things are generally pretty good as-is and no radical changes are required.
@R.Dave: Oh, I don’t think it’s acceptable to all. The bigots and haters on the right will always have some shit to sling whenever anyone states their pronouns.
I’m just past having any fucks to give about it.
And you know what else? Every time we accept this bigoted framing, the bigots win. Every time we say “oh, we can’t be inclusive because we might alienate some straight white guys” the bigots win.
I’m hard over on this because people I love have told me how inclusion helps them deal with the fact they aren’t the default. They have told me it helps them deal with the horrendous anxiety they often feel simply moving through daily life in America. They have told me it helps them have hope that the future will be better.
@Just Another Ex-Republican: I think you’re missing the key point: nothing matters.
Whatever she does, she’s going to be pilloried by the right for it. Drop the pronouns and it still sounds odd and will be used for mockery.
I was bothered by the blue suit description, as while she was wearing a suit that is blue, it’s a much lighter shade of blue than a traditional blue suit, and I think she was giving a false impression of herself.
But it also wasn’t for me, and the disabled community is divided on these things anyway. But it’s what they wanted at this event. When in Rome…
I wish she was the type of person who would pop in front of a camera and release a statement that said:
But that’s really not her style. (I would be a big fan of her if that was her style)
(Gillibrand today, in reference to the Republicans deciding to spitefully vote down healthcare for vets, literally said “I agree with Senator Tester: this is bullshit.”
I think it’s the right tone, and kudos to Senators Tester and Gillibrand for calling out the obvious bullshit)
@EddieInCA: I’m sorry people have pronouns. I don’t know what else to tell you dude…
But guess what? Harris ain’t running for shit for several years. (And then she will lose, if she’s at the top of the ticket, or be immaterial if she is not…)
@Just Another Ex-Republican:
How do we move “societal norms” without actually doing the things that move them? Do we simply expect that one magical day in some indeterminate future we’ll wake up and voila! Universal acceptance of stating pronouns!
I know you know that’s not how societal change works. We didn’t get to same-sex marriage because gay Americans stayed in the closet, you know? That’s a right people fought for.
May your children and grandchildren be straight white men, and wealthy enough to protect themselves from the effects of climate change.
This. I haven’t been on board with the whole pronoun thing, but seeing as pronouns are what the worst demographic in America wants to have their latest stupid, hysterical, tantruming meltdown about, I’m definitely going to jump on the bandwagon.
Oh come on, you know the answer. Crazy is them, we are supposed to be reasonable, tolerant, and above all genuinely concerned about people who need help. Our brand is social security and Obamacare. Things people actually care about. Are we talking a lot about choice, SS, Medicare, Obamacare, climate change, gun control or any of the other things that people actually approve of? No, our message is we’re canceling Dave Chappelle.
Of course all MSNBC covers is MTG and Ted Cruz, and of course Fox covers our most radical voices on social issues. This is the game. We should stop being stooges. We should be heard talking about choice, the rule of law, Medicare, SS, Obamacare and not renaming schools, Defund etc…
There’s a symbiosis between progressives and MAGAts, they feed each other red meat. I’m proposing that we stop playing the enemy’s game, and play ours instead. STFU about the college kid issues – except for climate change and wiping out student debt – start talking wages, choice, programs and rule of law, and even, dare I say, provide some vision.
Try looking at the world from the POV of a 45 year-old working man with a mortgage, too many bills, kids he can’t buy shoes for and no college education. Do you think that guy wants to hear some young woman from Park Slope lecture him on his word choices? Do you not hear how condescending and contemptuous we sound to that man? That man wants to take care of his kids and feel like he has some dignity. And you’re telling him, ‘Well, actually. . .”
I don’t think it is just bigots and haters on the right who find the pronoun thing weird and obnoxious. In fact, I think it’s precisely that framing that makes it so obnoxious and so politically toxic for the Dems.
With all due respect to the people who feel that way, I think they’re employing a mistaken coping strategy. They will never be more than a tiny minority of the population, and they will never stop being different from “the default”, so linking their personal well-being and sense of self-acceptance to a project of convincing or browbeating everyone into pretending otherwise is a doomed approach. They would be much better served by recognizing that the default doesn’t and never will include them and simply accepting that that’s ok.
Oh that is such fucking bullshit.
First, AOC is not crazy. You might find her annoying, but she isn’t crazy.
Second, having a chunk of the Democratic Party concerned with SS, Medicare, Obamacare, climate change, gun control AND being inclusive isn’t a huge lift.
I can assure you, folks like Senators Tester, Hickenlooper, Manchin and the like aren’t going around making queer folk the number one issue and lecturing coal farmers about pronouns.
And, at a point where Republicans are riling up their base by claiming anyone who isn’t perfectly straight in every aspect is a child molester, throwing the queers under the bus is literally going to get people killed.
And it wouldn’t get us anywhere anyway. They would just double down until and keep hurting people until eventually we would be getting the moderate Democrats supporting queer folk because even Joe Manchin is opposed to death camps (if only because burning gay people competes with coal)
You might be in a spot where you can risk that and use your Mighty Morphing Middle Managers* money to get your kid out of the country, but some of us have to stay here.
And quite seriously, I would rather the right wing culture war and attacks on queer folks stay on pronouns as much as possible, because their next steps (groomer shit, etc) are truly dangerous. It’s not a backlash to pronouns, it’s hatred and a desire to make queer folks just disappear.
There isn’t a serious effort to tie the average Republican politician to MTG the way there is to tie the average Democrat to AOC. It just doesn’t exist.
*: I noticed you asterisked out chunks of your most googlable property the other day, didn’t I? So I’ve renamed it badly and wildly incorrectly because it amuses me, and in keeping with the “keep it hard to google”. It’s a respectful disrespect.
That’s a hell of a way to talk about Black people.
Ok, you weren’t talking about Black people, but I assure you someone was using those same arguments about Black people 50 years ago. And 40. And last week.
I will say this — we need more stereotypical, flamboyant, effeminate, funny gay sidekicks on TV. There’s everything wrong with that image, but it’s a hundred times less damaging than what the right portrays queer folks as.
When the inbred idiot from Appalachia meets a gay person, I want them less concerned that the gay guy is a child molester, and more concerned that this gay guy is a little broken because he’s not fabulous and funny enough.
Anytime a show needs some comic relief I want that role filled by a silly twink, or a catboy or a sassy and sarcastic (but hot!) lesbian. Want a Bea Arthur type? Aging trans woman.
This is probably my hottest take — we should be actively trying to replace vile stereotypes with dramatically less worse stereotypes.
This is gaslighting bullshit, Fox News propaganda, and a bold faced, flat out lie. An easily-debunked, Trump-level lie.
Dems just announced a huge climate deal yesterday. Literally. Biden just signed the the biggest gun control legislation in 30 years. Choice is now the cebterThe Democrats
Comments like these highlight a major problem in America: too many a certain demographic are either delusional, dishonest, or brainwashed, living in a fake news fantasyland of phony boogeyman. They are determined to rewrite reality based on their irrational fears and outdated worldview, to protect their batshit obsessions onto normal people.
Nope. Democrats are absolutely right to oppose transphobic bigotry, but for a person to declare Democratic politicians and activists in 2022 are more focused on Dave Chappelle than on Dobbs and Roe? Lol wow, what a liar!
Politically toxic with whom? The soon-to-be dominant majority of youth voters? The Pennsylvania voters giving Fetterman a double digit lead over Dr. Oz? The Georgia voters giving Raphael Warnock his polling lead over Herschel Walker?
Oh, wait, I know: politically toxic with the concern trolls who insisted Pelosi would cost Democrats the House in 2018 (love how that’s been memory-holed), who swore Loeffler and Perdue would defeat Warnock and Ossof on 5 Jan 2021 (also, conveniently, memory holed), and who are now informing us that Democrats are more focused on cancelling Dave Chappelle than on climate change, guns, and abortion. Which, you know, is blatant lie.
That analogy doesn’t work though, as the black Civil Rights movement that you’re invoking was, at its core, simply fighting for black people to be included in existing institutions and legal frameworks on an equal basis, not to eliminate or radically redefine those institutions and frameworks. A much better analogy to the current trans movement is the gay rights movement in the 70s, 80s and early 90s. There were the radicals who wanted to redefine all sexuality as falling on a spectrum or even being an oppressive, socially-constructed illusion, to toss aside the default gender performance expectations, to recast marriage as an inherently oppressive institution that needed to be radically changed or even eliminated, etc. And then there were the “normies” who more or less rejected all that nonsense, accepted that their sexual orientation was different than most people’s, but who otherwise just wanted to live normal, everyday lives like anyone else, with the one exception being that they happened to love and be attracted to people of the same sex. The latter group largely won the intra-community fight and were incredibly successful at shifting public opinion in their favor and securing their rights. That’s more or less the exact situation that trans people are in now, except the radicals are winning their intra-community fight by a mile, and as a result, they’re predictably losing the broader public opinion fight they actually need to win to secure their rights. And in the process, they’re making themselves and their fellow trans community members utterly miserable by linking their happiness and self-contentment to the ultimately doomed project of transforming, rather than integrating into, “normie” society. I’m arguing that the trans movement should course-correct and instead follow the “normies” of their LGB predecessors.
Tell me you don’t really know gay people without telling me you don’t really know gay people.
If you knew how many of those “normies” were in (happy, fun, loving) open relationships, then you’d know that gay people never, ever wanted to emulate straight people’s abnormal mediocrity. Live like everybody else? Uh, no. We wanted to live better, freer, more transcendent lives than y’all. And many of us are.
The slogan was “We’re here, we’re queer, get used it it” nor “We’re here and we want to emulate your boring, outdated social norms that have lead to embarassingly high divorce rates.” Because, ew, no thanks.
“Grift” is a bit harsh. Let’s just call it a sophisticated GoFundMe operation for a bunch of people who for one reason or another can’t find a PAC, media organisation or “think tank” to pay them to talk about politics.