Nevada Debate Reflections

The clear winner was Donald Trump.

For the first time in weeks, my wife and I watched a Democratic debate. When we finally gave in about 90 minutes in, I liked almost all of the candidates less than I did at the outset. And I’m less confident than I have been all cycle that one of them will be able to beat Donald Trump in November.

Finally, all of the plausible nominees were on the stage together. But the format was one designed to invite conflict and exasperation rather than to debate issues.

It began with a question that boiled down to, “Senator Sanders, please take a minute to attack Mayor Bloomberg.” As he dutifully complied, Elizabeth Sanders raised her hand and started bouncing up and down like a school child trying to get her teacher’s attention. Since the exchange had absolutely nothing to do with her, I was annoyed. She kept it up the whole time that Sanders attacked Bloomberg and Bloomberg tried to defend his record.

But it wasn’t Warren’s fault that she was annoying. Apparently, the rules had shifted. In the past, candidates had a right to get additional time if they had been personally mentioned by another candidate. In this contest, apparently, if you raised your hand long enough they might let you participate. Otherwise, they would go on to another version of the “Candidate 3, would you like to attack Candidate 5?” gambit.

As a result of the 90 minutes or so I could endure, I learned essentially nothing about the candidates’ positions that I didn’t already know. The format seemed designed to be about personalities and how they handled conflict.

Bernie Sanders continued to Bernie Sanders. He comes across as an angry old man but he stayed on message. But, yeah, he should release his medical records. He’s ancient and just had a heart attack.

Mike Bloomberg is mirthless and thin-skinned. He’s right that nondisclosure agreements are mutually binding and that it would be odd to release the other party from their obligations given that they’d accepted the settlement. But if you want to be President, that rule really doesn’t apply. The citizenry has a right to know what kind of office atmosphere the guy who seeks to occupy the highest office in the land maintains.

Joe Biden seems to age a year a week. He stumbled on just about every sentence. A few cycles back, he quipped every sentence that came out of Rudy Giuliani’s mouth consisted of “a noun, a verb, and 9/11.” For Biden, it’s “a noun, a verb, and Barack Obama.” Indeed, if he was watching last night, Obama must have wondered why he bothered to show up for work at all, since Joe apparently did everything.

Elizabeth Warren just seemed tired and resigned. She is, quite reasonably, frustrated that Sanders, an angrier, dumber version of her is leading the race and she’s mired in fourth place unable to get traction. But I didn’t see anything from her last night that’s going to change anything.

That leaves the two non-septuagenarians on the stage.

I feel bad for Amy Klobuchar. She’s an accomplished Senator who has managed to get much more done in that body that either Warren or Sanders. While less accomplished than Biden, she’s two decades younger and still in her prime. And she’s in the sweet spot on most issues that should appeal to Democrats and swing voters alike.

One presumes she has a personality. One doesn’t get elected to statewide office otherwise. But it just doesn’t come across on the debate stage. And her whole pitch seems to be “I won statewide in Minnesota” and “I’m a woman.” If those were going to win over voters, she’d be in double digits by now.

My first impression of Pete Buttigieg was “Is he trying to grow a mustache to look older?” Did he watch the Nixon-Kennedy debates and come away with the wrong message?

Once I got past that, though, I thought he did far and away the best in the format. He was the only one on the stage to consistently seem like he wasn’t angry or a robot. He managed to get in attacks on Sanders and Klobuchar in a way that didn’t make himself look smaller. He seemed to genuinely like the other candidates and to simply be trying to distinguish himself from them in a way that wasn’t forced or mean-spirited.

Buttigieg was also the only one who managed to get in those pre-planned gibes without stumbling on them. He had several but the one I remember is something along the lines of “If winning statewide in Minnesota was a ticket to the White House, what happened to President Walter Mondale?” I mostly remember it because I had a similar thought earlier in the day but instead of Mondale it was Jesse Ventura. Mine was actually funnier but I wouldn’t have been able to deliver it as well under the pressure of the spotlight.

FILED UNDER: Amy Klobuchar, Campaign 2020, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Kylopod says:

    He had several but the one I remember is something along the lines of “If winning statewide in Minnesota was a ticket to the White House, what happened to President Walter Mondale?” I mostly remember it because I had a similar thought earlier in the day but instead of Mondale it was Jesse Ventura. Mine was actually funnier but I wouldn’t have been able to deliver it as well under the pressure of the spotlight.

    A Jesse Ventura reference might have been funnier but it wouldn’t have been as relevant. Pete was trying to remind people of Mondale’s landslide loss where he won only his home state of Minnesota. Of course Pete’s argument was fallacious–after years of being regarded as a fairly safe Democratic state, MN went only narrowly for Hillary and sits right next to the immensely important Wisconsin, in a region that Dems desperately need right now. Bringing up Mondale is about as relevant as bringing up Alf Landon.

    Pete also repeatedly tries to blur the line between winning in South Bend and winning in Indiana at large. He kept boasting about how he was able to win in the “conservative state of Indiana,” which is sort of like if the one Republican Congressman from Maryland were to boast about “winning an election in a very liberal state.” He’s used this line before, and Amy actually got a good one in at a previous debate, when she pointed out how badly he did when he actually ran for statewide office in Indiana (which she mentioned again last night). It isn’t his fault–he’s got to find some way to puff up his thin resume. But it isn’t especially convincing.

    7
  2. Kylopod says:

    With regard to Bloomberg, it looked to me like the biggest debate disaster since Rick Perry’s “oops.” His answer on the NDA may have been technically sound, but he fumbled the answer as badly as one could imagine, and came off sounding like a sexist pig (which may not be such a problem in a GOP contest, but I suspect is a pretty large one here). You could actually hear the audience collectively groan. I looked at a betting-market site, which before the debate had him at over 30% chance of winning the nomination, the second-highest in the field. After the debate it had sunk below 20%.

    5
  3. SKI says:

    Elizabeth Warren just seemed tired and resigned.

    This is surreal.
    I’m not sure what you were watching but it wasn’t what I was watching – nor what anyone else I’ve seen comment was watching.

    30
  4. Teve says:

    @sarahksilverman

    What’s the name of the color Warren’s wearing -that’s a good one on me too but I never know how to ask for it. Purple I know but it’s different I shouldn’t hashtag this #DemDebate

    @Jessamynit

    It’s Finish Him Fuscia.

    8
  5. Teve says:

    @SKI: Sometimes people see what they want to see.

    9
  6. Teve says:

    @dukewindsor388

    Judging by Bloomberg’s performance in this debate, I’m not questioning whether he’ll be the nominee….. I’m questioning whether he’ll even still be on stage by the time the debate is over.

    3
  7. grumpy realist says:

    Huh. The consensus over at Raw Story is that Elizabeth Warren performed magnificently, tromped all over Bloomberg for an hour, and left him bleeding on the sidewalk.

    17
  8. Teve says:

    @grumpy realist: @grumpy realist: The Pod Save America Twitter account asked who won the debate and I scanned the first thousand or so replies and the answer was approximately 100% Warren. Liberal political Twitter is somewhat skewed demographically compared to the rest of the country, but the signal was enormous.

    3
  9. al Ameda says:

    Clearly Mike Bloomberg did not anticipate the attacks, or he completely underestimated the intensity of the attacks he received from all on stage. He probably thought he’d be able to brush them off with a few ‘I’ve apologized, so let’s move on …’ remarks. He was dead wrong.

    Joe did not impress, pedestrian at best.
    Pete did not impress, pedestrian at best.
    Bernie was up to it, and was willing to throw punches.
    Liz was fiery, she had to do well to carry on – and she did.
    Amy was solid, better than Joe, but nothing memorable.

    10
  10. Teve says:

    Hopefully enough people will realize that a cranky old grandpa who calls himself a socialist to tweak The Man is a worse general election candidate then Warren. Warren is basically trying to do what FDR did, save capitalism from abusive plutocrats.

    10
  11. CSK says:

    James Joyner: I must have missed that you had married again. Congratulations and best wishes for a very happy life together.

    10
  12. James Joyner says:

    @Kylopod: I think Bloomberg hurt himself by not being ready to defend himself on stop-and-frisk and the gender climate issues, especially since it was obvious they were going to be the focus of the attacks. I just didn’t learn anything on those fronts that changed my pre-existing view of him. What I did learn, or at least confirm, is that he’s thin-skinned and isn’t very good at deflecting attacks.

    @SKI: @Teve: I intentionally didn’t read media commentary on the debates before posting. The intent of the post was to give my reflections on how the debate impacted my view of the race. The consensus seems to be that Warren hurt Bloomberg and that may be the case. But I don’t think Bloomberg should have been her target; she needs to get Bernie out of the way. By attacking Bloomberg instead of Sanders, I think she helped her chief rival.

    While I think her prescriptions too radical, I vastly prefer her to Sanders. And I’m not sure she’s not a better candidate than the 2020 version of Joe Biden, who seems to have lost several steps.

    @CSK: Thanks. It happened on 15 July but I didn’t blog about it because of some complicated issues that were going on at the same time.

    8
  13. Hal_10000 says:

    If you leave out the attacks on Bloomberg, Warren did not have a good night. She was repeating her old talking points, not offering any real reason for a moderate or conservative to consider her and not staking out any new ground. For a campaign that is now in fourth place and doesn’t really have a path to victory, that was bad.

    But oh man were her attacks on Bloomberg good. She absolutely destroyed him. It was one of the few times I saw anyone from this field show the kind of flare that might hit Trump. If her campaign accomplishes nothing but taking Bloomberg down with her, I will appreciate it.

    (Bloomberg actually made a few decent points on things like fracking and was a reminder of just how far Left this field has drifted. But by then, he was an animated corpse. Someone edited his wikipedia page to list February 19, 2020 as his date of death and Elizabeth Warren as the cause.)

    Klobuchar and Pete mutually destroyed each other. I thought it was silly to hit Klobs on the Mexican President thing.

    The only thing approaching a winner was Biden, who mostly stayed out of the fray. If he can place decently in Nevada and win South Carolina, he’s back in this. If not … well …

    8
  14. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    To me last night just underscored what a ridiculous idea it would be to choose Sanders as a Nominee.
    A Socialist with 3 houses…c’mon Dems. Be better.
    And no, contrary to Sanders claim, many Vermonters DO NOT have $600,000 summer houses on Lake Champlain.
    After being intrigued by Bloomberg; it’s clear he is just a more palatable Trump.

    Warren ’20.

    9
  15. Teve says:
  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Adam Best
    @adamcbest
    Time to update Bloomberg’s Wikipedia page…

    Date of death: 2/19/2020
    Place: Democratic Debate stage
    Cause: Elizabeth Ann Warren

    Jessica Valenti
    @JessicaValenti
    Some dudes would pay a lot of money for the humiliation Warren is giving Bloomberg for free

    #DemDebate

    Meanwhile, the biggest loser of the night was unambiguously Bloomberg, who, after spending more than $400m to get into the race, may be starting to get buyer’s remorse.

    -the Guardian

    1
  17. SCOTT INTNER says:

    @James Joyner:

    I intentionally didn’t read media commentary on the debates before posting. The intent of the post was to give my reflections on how the debate impacted my view of the race.

    I completely understand that this was your unvarnished perspective. I just don’t understand how you watched the debate and came away with that perspective.

    The consensus seems to be that Warren hurt Bloomberg and that may be the case. But I don’t think Bloomberg should have been her target; she needs to get Bernie out of the way. By attacking Bloomberg instead of Sanders, I think she helped her chief rival.

    Perhaps (though she did attack Sanders as well – something that seems to be ignored in favor of narrative) but that wasn’t your issue. You thought she looked “tired and resigned” and I have no idea how you came up with that take after watching her.

    I’ve also seen other never-trump/former-GOP folk complaining she was “mean and angry” but she wasn’t flat or subdued or any other description that remotely resembles tired or resigned.

    6
  18. Scott says:

    There is punditry out there which states that the only winner is Donald Trump. I’ll try to be positive. I say good to that. Make people really afraid and not complacent. Make them want to vote.

    Downside is that people will withdraw and not vote at all.

    I vacillate between the two poles.

    1
  19. Teve says:

    Considering that several of my friends posted on social media that they were donating to Warren last night, I’m not surprised that by midnight the Warren campaign announced they raised $2.8 million yesterday.

    2
  20. Teve says:

    @Scott: check out Parker Molloy‘s tweets for a response to that, and that’s all I will say. 😀

  21. wr says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: “A Socialist with 3 houses…c’mon Dems. Be better.”

    Really? You’re going to parrot the old Republican crap that anyone on the left who favors taxing the rich should live in poverty or be called a hypocrite?

    Here’s a newsflash — socialists, democratic socialists in the Scandinavian mold, which is how Bernie styles himself — believe in prosperity, believe in owning property, believe in living well. If you doubt this, I suggest you visit Sweden and see what the property market is like. They just believe that everyone should be able to live well and not that 99% of the people should struggle all their lives so that 1% can live like gods.

    You hate Bernie? Great. I get it. But once you start adopting this kind of Republican bullshit aimed at discrediting anyone who disagrees with them, you’re in the realm of “no one really cares about climate change because Al Gore has a house and Leonardo DiCaprio flies on planes.”

    18
  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    What’s the name of the color Warren’s wearing

    Magenta.

  23. Teve says:

    @wr: yep, and also, According to RCP, Sanders’s support is at the Crazification Factor, so don’t blame “Dems” for what 27.8% of them want.

  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    Warren won, Bloomberg lost.

    The reliable gap in Trump approval, the 10-13 points is gone. It’s now 5-7 points. His approval numbers are rising.

    If he wins, especially if we lose the House – and that seems likely – we will no longer be a democracy.

    8
  25. Kurtz says:

    @Hal_10000:

    She was repeating her old talking points, not offering any real reason for a moderate or conservative to consider her and not staking out any new ground.

    These are the kind of comments that drive me nuts.

    The conservative (excluding right-libertarian) case for some form of government-led universal coverage:

    Nobody fights over the necessity of well-maintained roads. We may fight over the execution of farm subsidies, but the general consesnsus is they are needed to maintain food supplies. Nobody bitches about heavily regulated companies that deliver electricity. Apparently, most people are okay with handing hundreds of million dollars a year in subsidies to fossil fuel extraction companies.

    Why? Because those things are all necessary for a functioning economy (read: free market.) They all allow market participation for everyone.

    Healthcare is no different from those things. Health status directly impacts productivity. The system we have now uses tax credits to incentivize employers to pay large portions of premiums for employees.

    That’s great for people who have jobs for which that is feasible. For many Americans, it doesn’t work, because the tax credit doesn’t justify the cost of the premiums for their employer. This leaves those people without meaningful access to the healthcare system. This puts them at a disadvantage in the job marketplace–making the market less free.

    Even then, taking employers off the hook for premiums would save a lsrge amount of money that can then be used for better pay, re-investment, etc. You know, business expenses.

    The problem is that can’t be explained in a persuasuve manner to the public in a debate format or in a 30-second ad. Hell, most people only mildly interested in politics will skip a post like this, “tl;dr.”

    As far as moderates are concerned, it’s kind of like independents, but even less meaningful. With independents, you can easily figure out if they are closet partisans with a few questions.

    The problem with the moderate label is that it implies that they take a position based on compromise. But that isn’t the case. Moderate doesn’t mean holds no ‘extreme’ positions. It means that to the extent they hold a solidly right or solidly left view, they don’t track consistently with one side or the other.

    Meaning, a moderate could be for repeal of the 2nd Amendment, anti-abortion in all cases, for medicare-for-all, against green energy subsidies, and for deep tax cuts. A moderate could also be the polar opposite. Are they rare? Probably. But it doesn’t matter, because the moderate label still doesn’t tell you what positions they take at all.

    16
  26. Teve says:

    A friend on Facebook just now:

    Turns out “Mike will get it done” ends with “to him, and without mercy”

    1
  27. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @wr:
    First…crawl off your high horse, bitch.
    I don’t hate Bernie…I’m a native Vermonter, I’ve met Sanders, and I like Sanders.
    But he is never going to be President, because a self-professed Socialist is not going to be President. Period.
    I don’t personally care what Sanders owns. But his answer that he is just another normal Vermonter is just complete BS. In fact, it’s insulting. The median income in VT is $60K, which lags the rest of the country.
    He is going to get attacked as a Socialist, and his property is going to get attacked because of it. Pummeled. Your explanation of Scandinavian Socialism doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker…so Americans will never get it. Never. Ever.
    Bloomberg gave us a tiny preview of what the opposition will do to Sanders.
    Democrats need to find a better candidate. Because Sanders will lose the House, and any chance at the White House and/or the Senate.

    9
  28. Kurtz says:

    @wr:

    Oh look, it turns out I’m not the only person who gets irritated when Democrats parrot right-wing euphemisms, talking points, and red herrings–Reynolds railing against identity politics and (mis)pusing “virtue signalling” constantly. People around here complaining that they like their healthcare or that they sacrificed to pay off student loans.

    It turns out that two things are true: many of our putative allies are really only slightly different from Republicans; and it ain’t just GOPers who can’t correctly define socialism.

    7
  29. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kurtz:
    I’m only slightly different than a Republican? My contributions to Democrats in this cycle stand at about $30,000. I’m a public person who alienates his ‘customers’ on a daily basis with social media attacks on Trump. Just exactly WTF have you done? What have you risked? How deep have you dug into your pockets?

    You’re a legend in your own mind.

    4
  30. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    This is how it works leading up to the general. Anybody who thought that his approval rating would stay in the low 40s doesn’t understand the consistent polling patterns.

    Some of that bounce is also likely the consolidation that started during the impeachment trial. The mistake is to think that it was ‘swing’ voters suddenly approving of Trump. More likely, it was lukewarm Republicams circling the wagons.

    Anyway, a rising approval rating doesn’t automatically mean re-election, because the baseline partially determines the ceiling. He’s still well underwater.

    RCP shows a smaller gap than 538, but that’s because RCP doesn’t account for house effects in their averages. In that sense, 538 is probably more reflective of reality. But even then, Trump is well below the approval needed for sure re-election.

    Stop mistaking your pessimism for realism. I will tell you the same thing that I told you about your Sanders hate–you don’t know, so stop writing definitive posts. Nobody likes vapid punditry, so stop doing it.

    5
  31. Teve says:

    We don’t have a national popular vote election, so national polls only mean so much.

    2
  32. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kurtz:
    You mistake your Sanders love for profundity. In our last set-to you lost because you bought the turn-out theory that clearly failed to materialize in NH. Remember that? How Sanders barely scraped by a small town mayor? How 78,000 votes he got four years ago went elsewhere? How youth turn-out was actually down?

    There is as of right now, zero evidence to support the Bernie turn-out theory. Not a scintilla of evidence. None.

    If you want to be taken for anything but yet another tedious Bernie Bro who can ‘t tolerate the slightest opposition, why don’t you start by squaring the Bernie theory of massive turn-out, with the event actually on the scoreboard? Why don’t you tell us all why youth turn-out in NH was down, not up?

    7
  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kurtz:

    In that sense, 538 is probably more reflective of reality. But even then, Trump is well below the approval needed for sure re-election.

    By the way, if you actually knew anything about politics you’d know that what matters in polling is direction and momentum. 538 has been stuck on a 10-13 point gap for two years. This is the first significant narrowing of that gap. That narrowing has persisted now for a couple weeks.

    But do lecture me on the 538 average which, let’s see, I only check maybe three times a fucking day.

    3
  34. charon says:

    @SKI:

    I thought James’ entire take surreal – pretty much the precise opposite of what I saw and the reviews i have read.

    Warren is reported to be doing great with fresh campaign contributions – though – obviously – I have a bias.

    And I really thought Pete came across badly, so did Amy.

    2
  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    @charon:
    Warren was the clear winner. My wife and I both made contributions to her last night. When we were busy being little more than Republicans.

    4
  36. charon says:

    @James Joyner:

    But I don’t think Bloomberg should have been her target; she needs to get Bernie out of the way. By attacking Bloomberg instead of Sanders, I think she helped her chief rival.

    I disagree strongly. She is right to go for the easier target first plus her big issue is exactly what Bloomberg, not Sanders, is the condign avatar for.

    Sanders will never be knocked out, he will go to the convention with a bunch of delegates. Warren wants to be the unity candidate between the centrist and progressive lanes. She is probably not so eager to antagonize Sanders’ supporters.

    Also, as a sexist, racist, tax breaks for the rich guy, Bloomberg is a stand-in for Trump. Attacking Bloomberg is like auditioning for Trump slayer.

    11
  37. Teve says:

    @charon: yeah Sanders’s support is durable. It will endure. Warren was trying to strangle Bloomberg‘s campaign in the crib. Smart move.

    3
  38. DrDaveT says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    After being intrigued by Bloomberg; it’s clear he is just a more palatable Trump.

    Sorry, no. That’s like saying that warm spit is just more palatable cyanide.

    Bloomberg is objectionable in many ways, but as President he would not fill every executive agency with corrupt cronies intent on dismantling functioning government and keeping the poor poor. He would not destroy our European alliances. He would not conduct an endlessly counterproductive trade war with China. He would not encourage foreign interference in our elections. He would not kowtow to Vladimir Putin, or think he was buddies with Kim Jong Un, or play golf 127 days per year. He would not funnel taxpayer funds into his private businesses. He would not put his son-in-law in charge of Middle East peace, or anything else. He would not siphon billions of dollars out of the defense budget to pay for a vanity fence on the Mexican border. He would not promote white supremacist ideas and organizations. He would not spread debunked conspiracy theories. He would not dismiss climate change as a Chinese hoax.

    The list is endless — and is why I (literally) cannot understand anyone who has not already decided to vote for whoever is running against Donald Trump. The difference between Trump and the worst Democratic candidate is a vast gulf, obvious and quantifiable, compared to the difference between the worst Dem and the best Dem. Hell, compared to the difference between the worst Dem and the best imaginable Dem, for that matter.

    ETA: The worst imaginable Dem — someone like Blagojevich — would probably still be an order of magnitude better than Trump.

    13
  39. grumpy realist says:

    If Bloomberg can’t stand up to a “mouthy broad” (yay Elizabeth Warren!!!) how is he going to stand up to Trump?

    4
  40. jfoo says:

    @Teve: 100% correct. A surging Bloomberg moves Warren from the “outside shot with fading chances” column to irrelevance. People will not only remember that Bloomberg got derailed last night, they will remember that it was a fiery Liz Warren that did the derailing. It was both well-executed and astute.

  41. wr says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: “Bloomberg gave us a tiny preview of what the opposition will do to Sanders.”

    Yeah? How did that work out for Bloomberg?

    5
  42. charon says:

    @Teve:

    Sanders’s support is durable. It will endure.

    What can you say about Sanders anyway? He is a known quantity, WYSIWYG.

    2
  43. wr says:

    @Teve: ” Warren was trying to strangle Bloomberg‘s campaign in the crib. Smart move.”

    Exactly. Because Bloomberg had bought a lot of favorables with all those ads. If he could have stood up as the same guy we see on TV, he might have gotten a lock on super Tuesday. But she kicked his legs right out from under him…

    5
  44. Jen says:

    The press for ideological purity is partially what made me leave the Republican party. And now I learn that Democrats don’t appreciate my vote or perspective either, if I dare stray by supporting moderate candidates whose approach I agree with, rather than signing on to every policy idea including M4A that shuts down private insurance and free college.

    This is how to lose an election. I am in a teeny-tiny swing state with 4 measly Electoral College votes which absolutely could matter depending on how things go in the Midwest.

    Stop the circular firing squad, and let the process work.

    9
  45. SKI says:

    @Jen: Holy strawman, Batman! *rolleyes*

    Just because some individuals who support a particular Democratic candidate are righteous jerks with no tolerance for dispute, that doesn’t mean that *Democrats* as a whole are – particularly given that a majority of the Democratic candidates don’t support M4A and a majority of the primary voters so far have voted for candidates who don’t support M4A.

    If you are “learning” that, you aren’t paying attention or are deliberately trying to learn that.

    5
  46. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Legend in my own mind? Lol, no. You have no clue who I even am, so this dig is indicative of your self-obsession–dripping with anger toward anybody who thinks you bloviate.

    Additionally, that statement is more reflective of you, Mr. Public Person. Stop acting like you’re goddamn Salmon Rushdie. Let me guess, you get mobbed on the street by fans and foes alike, right?

    Read the last part. Neither of us know. That’s the point. And to the extent that polls show what appears to be a trend, it only matters in context of how polling behaves at x point before or after an election.

    Again, next time, read what I write. When you use phrases designed by the right to dismiss leftist ideas, you give it credibility. The point: the phrase “virtue-signalling” is a rhetorical device used to avoid engaging an idea. It’s a straw.

    This has all been explained to you. But you don’t read to understand, you read to respond– the hallmark of a fake intellectual.

    Let’s recap. All of the following things have been explained to you, and some of which, you criticize correctly but for the wrong reasons:

    -rejection of social categories and labels.

    The efficacy of such rejection is clearly nil. Ironically…

    -the misunderstanding of some of the tactics on the social left.

    Again, you are correct. But your rejection of categories is sourced from the same philosophical basis as their tactics–social and economic institutions wield power differently from authoritarian government, but are no less a threat to liberty. Categories aren’t imposed by government fiat, rather those categories are embedded in socioeconomic institutions amd practices.

    -chicken littling about rising approval of Trump without understanding how polls work or how they change given events in the news or proximity to an election.

    -using the phrase virtue signalling. I helpfully traced the origin of the phrase in a comment, and pointed out why it gained traction. It’s a sophisticated straw argument.

    In your post about categories and identity politics, you parenthetically acknowledged you have a trans kid. Oops. That’s a textbook case of virtue signalling.

    Worse, you misuse the term when criticizing the activists who interrupted a Buttigieg speech. Again, there are myriad valid criticisms to be made here, and you chose the worst one. Sorry, public activism isn’t in any way virture signalling. In fact, it’s the opposite.

    I baited you by mentioning you in a response to someone else. You responded predictably.

    Equating political donations to action is exactly the mindset that keeps the system safe from meaningful reform.

    Equating the ability to give money with worth is exactly what a Republican does–evaluating the value of a person by thier net worth.

    :sniffs air: Yup, I know that smell. Fraud. You don’t respond to in-depth criticism of your posts, because you don’t have the tools or knowledge to combat it. A serious intellectual would go gain that knowledge. Nah, much easier to dress the part.

    Intellectual fraud. Fraud liberal. Fake public figure. And I think I’m a legend? Please. Go learn self-awareness, you fake fuck.

    The only difference between you and Guarneri is that you are a better writer and take the time to (sometimes) make a full argument. An eloquent ignoramus is still an ignoramus.

    Being intellectual isn’t being smart. Being intellectual is about process. Your process is flawed.

    Now go masturbate thinking about how smart you are. It’s more useful than your comments.

    I’ll keep looking for you on the cover of People.

    7
  47. DrDaveT says:

    @Jen:

    Stop the circular firing squad

    I couldn’t agree more. There should be only one important issue this election — namely, that the GOP has become an organized crime syndicate, and has already taken over the Executive Branch and the Senate. Every other issue you can name — climate change, wealth inequality, health care, immigration reform, trade policy, whatever — is significantly less urgent than that. The incessant message of every candidate on the stage, the context for every proposal, should be that while they have significant policy differences with their colleagues, the important thing is to get the crooks out of the White House before it’s too late to save America.

    9
  48. Not the IT Dept. says:

    James: congratulations, ditto.

    If defeating Trump is an existential requirement for our country to get its act together, then a lot of the Dem candidates need to take a hard look at whether they are perfecting the art of attacking each other or preparing for going head to head with Trump. Because we’re in a different world now and that’s the only fight that counts.

    If Trump and the GOP are so terrible – and make no mistake, they are – then clawing at each makes it easy for voters not to take them seriously.

    Like I said in another thread, Bloomberg has the flaws of his generation and we heard about them last night, but the hard reality is that there are a lot of Americans who won’t care. He’s the only candidate Trump would dread facing. Nothing last night changed that.

    Note to James: Biden has a hell of a lot more right to talk up Obama after working with him for 8 years than Giuliani does talking about an event that he handled well for a few days and then bungled afterwards. Not the same things at all.

    7
  49. Gustopher says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    First…crawl off your high horse, bitch.

    When making your angry attacks, could you find a different word? One that doesn’t suggest that the reason someone is awful is that they are like a member of a marginalized group?

    “Motherfucker,” perhaps. Or “asswipe.” But not “cocksucker,” as that would be just as bad.

    11
  50. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kurtz:
    1) I never implied – indeed the idea is laughable – that I am likely to be mobbed. What I said was that what I say, I say out in the open, as a person who has to stand by it. For example, when I call out Evangelicals as fake Christians, my books come off school library shelves. Actual consequences.

    You keep insisting you’re a genius. I don’t think anyone here believes it.

    The rest of your unhinged rant I’ll file under #Cult46.

    From my tweets last night:

    Michael Grant
    @MichaelGrantBks
    #DemDebate The winner at Hour 1 is clearly Warren. Bloomberg is the big loser so far. I mean, I was willing to give the guy a chance, but he didn’t do his homework. His answers are ridiculously off.

    Michael Grant
    @MichaelGrantBks
    I am an open-minded guy. I was willing to give Bloomberg a shot. But what the holy fuck was that? Write checks, Mike, pour money into senatorial races, you’d be a mensch. But you’re not the guy for now. #DemDebate

    Michael Grant
    @MichaelGrantBks
    Join me in supporting Elizabeth Warren via
    @actblue
    Donate to support Warren for President
    Donate to Warren for President. Your grassroots support keeps us in this fight.
    secure.actblue.com

    Yep, the very picture of a secret Republican.

    2
  51. Jen says:

    @SKI: I probably shouldn’t have commented, but I’ve seen several variations of this today (not just here, but elsewhere) and it is definitely ticking me off.

    I of course know that this is just part of the election process, but dang if it doesn’t irritate me every 2 years. Having *worked in* Republican politics, I know full well I identify more closely with Democrats and vote that way. The suggestion that I’m practically a Republican is laughable and eye-rolling, and that’s probably how I should take it–with a laugh and an eye-roll.

    3
  52. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jen:
    If you’re not in the Bernie Cult you’re a Republican, don’t you know that?

    4
  53. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Nice to see you finally coming around to support Warren. Does this mean we can finally stop talking about the DNA test BS?

    5
  54. Kurtz says:

    @Jen:

    So don’t vote for Dems. And please, don’t vote in the primary.

    My point isn’t to be dismissive of you or your views. But if that’s the reason why you left the Republican party, I am not sure that there is a place for you in the Democratic party either.

    The problem for Democrats is that by moving to the right to gain voters, they abandon their philosophy. If their goal was to be a conservative party, then they would be a conservative party. But they aren’t. Nor should they be.

    As it stands, you rewarded the GOP approach of the last few decades by voting for them. And then left once they took the action (nominating Trump) you incentivized.

    Seriously, I have no problem with your views. Not only do you have the right to express them and act on your principles, but a functioning democracy needs conservative viewpoints and intellectual diversity. But you’re not going to use your status as a voter with no ideological home to gut the Democratic platform.

    Trump didn’t change the GOP, he is the natural outcome of the tactics and platform of the party.

    I’m sorry, but you all made this mess. The Dem voters have enough problems nominating candidates who reflect their preferences without you watering down their platform.

    8
  55. Gustopher says:

    Mike Bloomberg is mirthless and thin-skinned. He’s right that nondisclosure agreements are mutually binding and that it would be odd to release the other party from their obligations given that they’d accepted the settlement.

    You’re wrong about the NDAs. NDAs are routinely used to silence victims, and hide patterns of abuse, and they can easily be dropped.

    4
  56. Teve says:

    The primaries are supposed to be about brawling. Then in the summer everybody comes together and sings Kumbaya. This literally happens every single cycle. Go back and look at some of those debates in 2008. Shots were fired.

    1
  57. Kingdaddy says:

    The comments here remind me of the bitter conflict between Socialists and Communists during the Weimar Republic.

    6
  58. Jen says:

    @Kurtz:

    As it stands, you rewarded the GOP approach of the last few decades by voting for them.

    I don’t expect everyone on this site to know my full history, but I stopped voting Republican around 2 decades ago.

    So don’t vote for Dems. And please, don’t vote in the primary.

    This is insane. Are you really demanding straight-up party purity? In the Democratic Party? I’m pro-choice; I’m going to vote Democratic. I believe in free public education and feel strongly that it should be supported with tax dollars, and not bled dry through dubious homeschooling funding schemes, or funneled to religious schools. I’m going to vote Democratic.

    I could go down the whole list, but I won’t bother–it is profoundly offensive for you to suggest that the party doesn’t need my vote. It does. Seriously, this is really, really offensive and you need to maybe take a beat or two and think about what you’re recommending here. I am far left of most Democrats in Midwestern states, and we don’t have a national election for president, we have 50 state elections for electoral college delegates.

    17
  59. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    I gave my first donation to Warren on 8-30-2019, again on 9-24-2019, and again last night. I have her t-shirt. Her minions text me daily and email me on the hour.

    I also gave money to Buttigieg, Klobuchar and IIRC Cory Booker, because I wanted to keep them both in play. I have given nothing to Biden or anyone else.

    Analysis and support are two different things. She mishandled the DNA story. I didn’t say it made her a bad person, it was just a bad political instinct. I’ve liked her from Day 1. But who I like is irrelevant to analysis.

    ETA: I can find no evidence that I gave Booker money. Must have been my wife.

    1
  60. Gustopher says:

    @James Joyner:

    The consensus seems to be that Warren hurt Bloomberg and that may be the case. But I don’t think Bloomberg should have been her target; she needs to get Bernie out of the way. By attacking Bloomberg instead of Sanders, I think she helped her chief rival.

    I think Bloomberg made the case against Sanders better than Warren could have, so there wasn’t a need for her to go after him that much.

    And how does Warren go after Sanders anyway? Their positions are very close. Does she say “Bernie, I love you, but you’re a pie-in-the-sky idealist driven by force of will who isn’t smart enough to grab half a loaf if offered”? That’s the biggest difference between them.

    1
  61. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kingdaddy:
    Oh, you hear those echoes, too? Also 1968 and 1972.

    2
  62. Matt says:

    @Hal_10000:

    reminder of just how far Left this field has drifted.

    You know that’s funny to read because thanks to some history lessons here recently I discovered that the Republican president from 1969-1974 created the EPA AND OSHA while signing environmental protection bills. That same GOP president also pushed for affirmative action and signed a minimum tax on the wealthy. He also pushed for UBI and healthcare reform that was far to the left of the ACA. Yet I’m supposed to believe that the current batch of democrats have “drifted to the far left”…

    I’m so tired of that stupid talking point….

    13
  63. SKI says:

    @Gustopher:

    And how does Warren go after Sanders anyway? Their positions are very close. Does she say “Bernie, I love you, but you’re a pie-in-the-sky idealist driven by force of will who isn’t smart enough to grab half a loaf if offered”? That’s the biggest difference between them.

    That is pretty much what she said last night to eb fair… it just didn’t fit the narrative that she isn’t attacking Sanders so it gets ignored.

    Bernie has started very much — has a good start, but instead of expanding and bringing in more people to help, instead, his campaign relentlessly attacks everyone who asks a question or tries to fill in details about how to actually make this work. And then his own advisors say, yeah, probably won’t happen anyway.

    Look, health care is a crisis in this country. We need — my approach to this is we need as much help for as many people as quickly as possible and bring in as many supporters as we can. And if we don’t get it all the first time, take the win and come back into the fight to ask for more.

    and

    WARREN: Yes, because I am. Look, Democrats want to beat Donald Trump, but they are worried. They are worried about gambling on a narrow vision that doesn’t address the fears of millions of Americans across this country who see real problems and want real change. They are worried about gambling on a revolution that won’t bring along a majority of this country.

    2
  64. James Joyner says:

    @Gustopher:

    NDAs are routinely used to silence victims, and hide patterns of abuse, and they can easily be dropped.

    Sure. But the whole point is you can either fight it out in court for years, causing damage to both parties, or accept this settlement now and shut up.

  65. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Joyner:
    None of which forbids Bloomberg from canceling those NDA’s. This, above all else, is what killed him last night. He walked right into it and his response was, in effect, “Hey, no fair, I got away with it back then!” To imagine that would fly with Democrats in 2020 is a sign of a man so arrogant he couldn’t be bothered even to think about it in advance.

    6
  66. James Joyner says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Oh, we’re in full agreement. I think he’s absolutely within his rights to enforce those NDAs. But if he does, he doesn’t get to be the Democratic nominee for President.

    4
  67. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: ” I can find no evidence that I gave Booker money. Must have been my wife.”

    Well, giving money to your wife was definitely a better investment than giving it to Booker…

    5
  68. Gustopher says:

    @Kurtz:

    The problem for Democrats is that by moving to the right to gain voters, they abandon their philosophy. If their goal was to be a conservative party, then they would be a conservative party. But they aren’t. Nor should they be.

    There are a lot of conservative Democrats. Everyone on that stage was running far to the left of Bill Clinton. Even Bloomberg.

    Everyone on that stage was running even further to the left than Joe Manchin — the man who, assuming the Democrats retake the Senate, would become the thorn in our side limiting what is and isn’t possible.

    There are basically three things that make a Democrat.
    1. Support for greater equality
    2. Support for greater economic freedom of the lower and middle classes
    3. Belief that government can move the needle on 1 and 2.

    If Jen can come on board for that (or James Joyner, or anyone, whether or not there is a J in their name), then they should be welcomed.

    There’s no point in getting all bothered by differences in plans that aren’t going to happen. M4A isn’t going to happen. Free college isn’t going to happen.

    If we’re very lucky, we will get a partial solution that will make people hungry for more — like ObamaCare sacrificing the public option, and now the public option is the furthest to the right any of our candidates will go.

    Take the partial solution, and then push for more. Yes, that involves some compromise and some allies that aren’t going to be as pure as you.

    Further, these are special times. The Democrats are less of a liberal party and more of an anti-fascist party, because that’s what America needs now. The fact that there’s anything liberal on he agenda is a bonus.

    13
  69. EddieInCA says:
  70. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    Hah! I gotta be honest, at the moment the money flow is very much the other way. I’m taking some time off to play with scriptwriting, financed by Katherine. At the moment I’m a house husband with a hobby.

    2
  71. Teve says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    Kingdaddy says:
    Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 11:53
    The comments here remind me of the bitter conflict between Socialists and Communists during the Weimar Republic.

    I decided many moons ago that I was going to ignore anybody who said ‘I support candidate X and candidate Y sucks’, as I expect Putin will be financing a lot of that this year.

    4
  72. Michael Reynolds says:

    @EddieInCA:
    What are millennial’s going to do after Bernie crashes and burns? They love to rant about Boomers whose every stupid move they seem determined to repeat, right down to the by-way-or-fuck-you coalition-building politics, and the resuscitation of the Generation Gap. Boomers grew defeatist and cynical and bought McMansions in the suburbs they once despised. I doubt McMansions will be an option for this generation. But at lest we’ll get some great protest music! Right? No? How about some really cool memes?

  73. Matt says:

    @EddieInCA: Yes a liberal from California beat a conservative from South Dakota. Nothing has changed since the last time you linked that.

  74. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I don’t think he was unprepared at all. I think that a small army of lawyers has gone over those settlements, trying to find the worst things that would come out, and that Bloomberg and his political consultants decided that taking the hit for the NDAs is going to be less damaging than letting women speak.

    They’re probably annoyed with him for going off script when he said that there were no complaints against him personally other than, perhaps, a few people who took offense to a joke he made. (There was booing when he said that, by the way)

  75. Gustopher says:

    @Kurtz:

    The problem is that can’t be explained in a persuasuve manner to the public in a debate format or in a 30-second ad. Hell, most people only mildly interested in politics will skip a post like this, “tl;dr.”

    Two points:

    1. The audience for this debate is already bought into the need for universal health care, and is only divided by how the government should insure it, so it’s an argument that doesn’t need to be made. @Hal_10000 is simply not the audience right now.

    2. If Warren does become the nominee, she better figure out how to make that case in 30 seconds or less. (Same with Sanders)

    3
  76. Mister Bluster says:

    1972 The good old days…‘I’m Behind Him 1000%’

    1
  77. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Matt:
    That may be the most clueless historical take ever.

    2
  78. Scott says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I know everyone loves to bash millenial’s but I think no one what to put themselves in their place.

    I have three kids, born 1988-1997. They were pretty fortunate growing up solidly middle class and managed to get their degrees debt free. They are well read and well informed.

    Still, what is it they are looking forward to? Basically, they want their parents life. However, they see the deficit and debt rising through the roof. Social Security and Medicare looking shaky. Wages not keeping up, etc.

    So which politician is offering what? Republicans are offering guns, abortion, and grievance. And healthcare rationing based on ability to pay. Democrats are offering support for education, healthcare, etc.

    Which would be more attractive and which would you choose if you were a young person?

    As a parent (65 and about to collect SS), I kind of despair for their future and strategize on how to protect them the best I can before I’m gone.

    1
  79. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    The smarter answer would have been, “Actually, Senator Warren, I think you’re right, which is why my lawyers are looking into it with an eye to making everything public unless the other party objects.”

    They’d of course still be looking into it eight months from now. At that point he’d either be out in which event there would be no follow-up, or he’d be the candidate, at which point the follow-up would be tepid at most.

    2
  80. just nutha says:

    @Kurtz:

    This puts them at a disadvantage in the job marketplace–making the market less free.

    I have literally never met a conservative who believes that disadvantage to workers makes the market less free. If you have, congratulations, that makes you unique in the world. What I normally hear is some BS about using the opportunities provided better, so it’s “their fault ” that they don’t have good insurance, wages, job security, etc.

    3
  81. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Scott:
    I’m in the same spot. Kids born 1997 and 1999. I don’t bash millennials – they’re my employers, and many of them have some of my intellectual DNA in their systems. But they’re every bit as lousy at winning friends as we were. They do it with social media bullying, we did it with Yippies in the streets.

    I’m the same age as you are. Neither of us is likely to be around 30 years from now. (And next week is far from a sure thing.) My kids will take the brunt of climate change. My kids will grow up competing with robots in a downward wage spiral. They’ll live in a corrupt and lawless country.

    OTOH, we spent our formative years with thousands of nuclear weapons on a hair trigger pointed right at us. And we had Vietnam. And assassinations. And race riots. I grew up in a country where I was routinely ridiculed and threatened for having long hair, and where we were threatened and had to move because my mom tutored black kids.

    Boomers are far more sympathetic to Millennials than the Greatest Generation was to us. And again: 58,220 people, mostly Boomers, have their names on a black wall in Washington, having been yanked unwillingly from their homes to die for a lie. So, I sympathize with millennials but only to a point. They are not history’s greatest victims.

    2
  82. Hal_10000 says:

    @Kurtz:

    I’m somewhat supportive of universal healthcare. I am not supportive of a ridiculous single payer plan more generous than any nation on Earth that would double the size of the government, have a budget greater than the GDP of Germany, be created entirely from scratch and be funded/run with gigantic assumptions that make no sense. Even Bernie, who at least would raise taxes on the middle class, only pays for half of it. Warren has a ridiculous wealth tax (which most countries have abandoned as useless) that is now paying for six or seven things at once.

    And that’s just a small part of the agenda being pushed here, which includes banning fracking, banning nuclear (if you’re Bernie), apparently powering our civilization through magic spells, endless identity politics, open borders, a national abortion policy that legalizes it up until birth, free everything, etc., etc. All paid for by “the rich”. You can get lots of positive Twitter feedback and commentary on that. You’ll get lots of upvotes on a board like this. You can’t win an election on it.

    5
  83. Matt says:

    @Michael Reynolds: It would be if it wasn’t true. Nixon was from California and as president signed and pushed for policies that are far to the left of the modern Democratic party. Nixon was to the left of McGovern even… Sure Nixon and McGovern talked about UBI but it was Nixon who was on board with healthcare reform that was to the left of the ACA. Then there’s the EPA OSHA affirmative action and all that stuff on top that Nixon signed/pushed for.

    Look on google for “last liberal president” anndd you get Nixon…

    Hell there are hundreds of articles by right wingers/conservatives calling Nixon a Liberal going all the way back to his era..

    Nixon himself hated on Buckley and other right wingers..

  84. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Matt:
    Historical context, please. Without context Lincoln was a Nazi. Liberal and conservative are relative, not absolute terms.

  85. Matt says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Yes in context Nixon was a liberal hence the whole lot of articles in his era decrying him as a liberal. Hence Nixon himself bashing the right wingers including their patron saints during that era…

    EDIT: According to the right wingers here and everywhere else the Democratic party has been veering HARD LEFT for decades now yet Nixon is still to the left of them…

  86. Kylopod says:

    Here is Ed Kilgore’s thorough debunking of the McGovern myth:

    https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/08/no-democrats-are-not-in-danger-of-another-mcgovern-disaster.html

    And just to be clear, Kilgore isn’t a Bernie-Bro or a leftist. Though he was a McGovern precinct chairman in 1972, he was later a member of the DLC. He knows what he’s talking about.

    I would add (and I made this point last week) that people are plucking from its historical context the crucial importance of the Southern realignment. Kilgore goes into it somewhat, but let’s just say the notion of “moderate” vs. “liberal” back then was heavily tied to a candidate’s relationship with the South. Dems had lost the South over civil rights—but without yet making up for it with gains in the Republican strongholds of the Northeast and Pacific Coast that would eventually migrate to the Dems—and for the next few decades there emerged a two-tiered system in which the Southern states remained solidly Democratic at the state level but tended to vote Republican in presidential elections—except when the Dem candidate was one of those local Southern politicians, as was the case with Carter and Clinton. This two-tiered system eventually collapsed (Al Gore’s loss of the South in 2000, including his home state of Tennessee, was the turning point), but the crucial thing is that you can’t separate the question of left vs. center in this period from Yankee vs. Southern. New England native Paul Tsongas ran to Clinton’s right in the 1992 primaries but would almost certainly have performed more weakly electorally, due to his lack of appeal in the South.

    But don’t trust me; read Kilgore’s essay in full.

  87. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Matt:
    The liberal-conservative dichotomy in that era was about Vietnam, race and commies. Nixon was a nasty commie hunter from HUAC days, a supporter of the war, mobilized the ‘hard hats’ and the ‘silent majority’ to go after all them damn hippies, and powered up the arms race by going to MIRV’s. And on race he put the GOP squarely behind exploiting the Democratic shift to support for Civil Rights.

    The fact that Birchers didn’t like him is irrelevant. Calling him a liberal is absurd.

    McGovern opposed Vietnam, opposed the embargo on Cuba, supported Civil Rights, called for decreasing the defense budget, opposed sending weapons to questionable regimes, pushed to increase food stamps and on and on.

    Calling him a conservative from South Dakota – a state he lost in the presidential race precisely because of his liberalism – is nonsense.

    3
  88. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You keep insisting you’re a genius. I don’t think anyone here believes it.

    The rest of your unhinged rant I’ll file under #Cult46.

    Except I prefer Warren, dipshit. I’ve stated this several times in the past. But my reasoning isn’t some nebulous, silly electability argument. It is because of health, age, and persona. Plus, her policy plans are more detailed, thus more likely to have a chance of implementation.

    I’ve not used the word genius in reference to myself, ever. EVER. For a writer/editor, you don’t read well do you? Add that to the list of your fraudulent attributes.

    Please, point me to the post that implied I am a genius. I just spent time and effort understanding things. It has definitely cost me in terms of income potential. But you know what? I’d rather be poor and intelligent than rich, opinionated, and intellectually sloppy.

    How many times do I have to directly explain what I criticize you for before you will acknowledge it? Oh right, you won’t because it’s easier to look the part of an intellectual than be the part.

    Again, between the two of us, only one of us makes a reasonable argument.

    You: Sanders is unelectable, because he calls himself a socialist. Michigan union members fought hard for their insurance and won’t want to give it up. Old people don’t like socialism, they vote more than other groups. Specific evidence for such claims? Non-existent. Generic evidence? Sure, but generic evidence ought only be used when specific evidence doesn’t exist.

    Me: Sanders may not win, but to say he cannot win is absurd. He has the highest favorability spread of all the Dem candidates. (specific evidence) The state polls of “union-heavy” Michigan show him well ahead of Trump. (specific evidence, but subject to significant statstical noise) A Gallup poll that showed that 23% of self-described conservatives and 51% of moderates would vote for a socialist candidate. (again, specific evidence, but subject to statsitical noise)

    Only one of these positions is reasonable. Only one them risks the bias of personal preference coloring analysis.

    The most salient flaw in your analysis is that you substitute your caricature of Republican voter for actual Republican voter. You do that to any Dem voter with whom you disagree.

    What you don’t understand about a conservative Michigan union member is that they turned to the GOP because of the same thing that you criticize Dems for: identity politics. You know a Dem they would consider supporting? Sanders. You know what Dem they wouldn’t even conisder? Warren. For them, the former speaks to them; the latter ignores them.

    The 2004 Sirota piece I suggested you read the other day takes a jackhammer to the foundation of your argument. It points out that long-serving Dems in dark red districts survive on economic populism. That speaks to rural, white voters. What doesn’t speak to them is focusing on discrimination of minority identities. Because from their perspective, they face the same struggles.

    I get why people are uncomfortable with populism, but they fail to make the crucial distinction between social populism (‘real America’) and economic populism (the economic system is designed to funnel money to the top.)

    It’s not that your criticisms of Sanders himself are invalid. Some of them are valid. But they cannot collectively bear the load of your conclusion.

    Sorry, but your shallow arguments deserve the criticism I give them. Your attitude deserves the criticism I direct at you personally.

    I’d be less insulting if your rhetorical approach showed humility rather than arrogance. You’re a thin-skinned, loud-mouthed asshole who can dish out the insults but can’t take valid criticism. You’re a case study for Dunning-Krueger.

    Doing it publically just makes you an exhibitionist–it doesn’t give you intellectual credibility. Actually it sounds a little like virtue signalling.

    Skin in the game is fine, that’s laudable. But you, unlike someone like Trump, actually know what you are. But you prefer to look at a funny mirror when you look inside yourself.

    Instead of showing true courage and confronting your flaws, you paint them onto others. Then you act like pissing off a bunch of eschatological lunatics who won’t buy your books anymore is some courageous act of self-immolation.

    Here’s a thought: some of them will still buy your books. Just like the people who swore they were done with the NFL because of Kaepernick, but continue to watch. Or the Americans who burned their Beatles records, some of whom still couldn’t keep themselves from buying Sgt. Pepper.

    That wasn’t a rant, by the way. Nor was it unhinged. It was 100% accurate. It directly criticized your thinking process. Just because you can’t take it in stride is indicative of the fragility of your ego.

    Some people actually know what they’re talking about. You do, but only to an extent. You’re a prime example of the adage, “a little knowledge is dangerous.” You resort to dismissal, because it is easier than figuring out what you get wrong.

    It’s great that you went from a life of crime to working in publishing. That story–redemption–is part of the promise of America.

    But you traded actual criminal activity for intellectual thuggery–you didn’t earn your ideas, you stole them from others and failed to understand their value. Your fences may not know the difference, but those of us who are serious curators of ideas do.

    One more thing: I don’t question the quality of your mind. Rather, I complement you. That’s another difference between the two of us. I don’t measure another person’s intelligence by their views. I do, however, assess one’s credibility based upon how they arrive at their conclusions and how they respond to criticism.

    In short, I don’t measure the quality of one’s argument by alignment with my views. You do. You may be smart but you lack intellectual integrity and self-awareness. You lash out as a defense mechanism. You do it to me even though we both have aligned policy goals.

    Being wrong isn’t the mark of a stupid person; being correct isn’t the mark of a smart person. You are the latter, but if you wish to live up to your potential, you must recognize that your foil is an equal. That’s true and honest intelligence.

    I may be an asshole to you, but if I thought your mind wasn’t worth the effort, I would not spend time responding to you. I’m insulting toward you as a rhetorical device to show you how some people perceive you. Your style is entertaining, your writing is sharp, and you sre correct a lot of the time. But it some ways, it is counter-productive–you make enemies of people who are on your side.

    I can point out your errors just as easily as you can point out the errors of Trump supporters.

    I criticize those who call for us to court people like Joyner, because in the end, his support for a Dem candidate in 2020 isn’t reflective of his actual preferences. Trying to earn his vote, in my view, is classic short-term thinking that has weakened the Democratic platform since the 80s.

    That doesn’t mean his opinion (or Jen’s) have no value. It just means that their opinions are better placed eithin the context of a center-rifht party or as a swing voter, because if the Democratic party continues the triangulation tactic, it ceases to be the political representation of the left.

    Eliminating a conservative party is bad; eliminating a liberal party is bad. No functioning republic will survive if the parties represent a choice between conservative and more conservative.

    I post to test my ideas. I post to show others their errors. And sometimes, people who diasgree lead to me modifying my own views. I don’t expect to be correct all the time. I don’t expect to be recognized as a “genius,” because I have done nothing to warrant that label. But I am smart. I am well-read enough to know what I am talking about.

    I’m open-minded to everyone, including those with whom I fundamentally disagree. (think: Andy or Joyner) You treat me, a political ally, with disdain. It pisses me off because my criticisms of some of your posts are well-founded and well-evidenced. It pisses me off that you’re dismissive, because it is cowardly, and that’s disappointing.

    Given your general tone and intelligence, your sensitivity surprises me. I’m not perfect in that regard either. I am probably too aggressive toward someone like Jen. But it isn’t my whole persona here.

    It should be clear to you that I’m not firing stray bullets. Because of that, it’s time for you to show courtesy to me. I don’t expect deference, but I do expect you to give me some respect.

    If you don’t, my claims about you being a fraud are true. You assess me without pushing back against the warrants to my claims. You make claims about me without even knowing who I am. That’s Guarneri-level bullshit. You’re better and smarter than that.

    Ball is in your court, Michael.

    3
  89. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “Take the partial solution, and then push for more.”

    I believe that is exactly what Warren said when someone accused her of flip-flopping on M4A.

    1
  90. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “The smarter answer would have been, “Actually, Senator Warren, I think you’re right, which is why my lawyers are looking into it with an eye to making everything public unless the other party objects.””

    That’s definitely better than what he said, but I wonder if an arrogant billionaire can get away with that post-Trump. That is so transparently Trump’s game, and the other Dems are already comparing Bloomberg to him…

  91. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Liberal and conservative are relative, not absolute terms.

    Not if you want them to mean anything at all. There are nice objective measures of these things, such as the DW-NOMINATE scoring system.

    Nixon, as you note, was an economic liberal and a social conservative. That species is extinct, but if it still existed it would probably reside in the GOP, despite having achieved its pinnacle with FDR. Being pro-maintain-discrimination is not an acceptable Dem position any more.

    The reverse — economic conservative and social liberal — is thriving today, mostly within the Democratic party. (See above.) Bill Clinton rode that wave, which is still out there.

    3
  92. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kurtz:
    Oh, look, actual state head to heads in swing states:

    WISCONSIN
    Among registered voters in Wisconsin, President Trump leads the Democratic candidates by between 7 and 11 percentage points in head to head election matchups:
    Trump tops Senator Amy Klobuchar 50 – 39 percent;
    Trump leads Senator Elizabeth Warren 51 – 41 percent;
    Trump beats former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg 49 – 41 percent;
    Trump tops former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg 49 – 41 percent;
    Trump defeats Senator Bernie Sanders 50 – 43 percent;
    Trump is ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden 49 – 42 percent.

    PENNSYLVANIA
    In Pennsylvania, the picture is nearly reversed. Among registered voters in Pennsylvania, President Trump trails Biden, Klobuchar, and Bloomberg by 6 to 8 percentage points in head to head election matchups, while Sanders, Buttigieg, and Warren are in tight races with the president:
    Biden is ahead of Trump 50 – 42 percent;
    Klobuchar leads Trump 49 – 42 percent;
    Bloomberg leads Trump 48 – 42 percent;
    Sanders has 48 percent and Trump gets 44 percent;
    Buttigieg receives 47 percent and Trump has 43 percent;
    Warren gets 47 percent to Trump’s 44 percent.

    MICHIGAN
    Among registered voters in Michigan, the Democratic candidates range from narrowly ahead to essentially tied with President Trump in head to head election matchups:
    Sanders narrowly tops Trump 48 – 43 percent;
    Bloomberg has a slight lead over Trump 47 – 42 percent;
    Biden has 47 percent and Trump gets 43 percent;
    Warren gets 45 percent, while Trump receives 43 percent;
    Buttigieg gets 45 percent and Trump has 44 percent;
    Klobuchar receives 45 percent to Trump’s 44 percent.

    Being ever so much smarter than I am, maybe you’d condescend to point out the great Bernie advantage. Because what I see is that Bernie is running equal with Biden in Wisconsin, both losing by 7 points; behind Biden in Pennsylvania, where Biden leads by 8 and Bernie by 4; and Michigan where Biden beats Trump by 4 and Bernie beats him by 5.

    Where is that progressive wave again? Can you find it in those numbers?

  93. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Yeah, you’re correct here.

    Calling Nixon not all that conservative isn’t the same as calling him a liberal. In fact, Nixon is a good example of how far-right the Republicam party has moved since that time. He only appears liberal because the GOP has become a cesspool of insanity.

    Hell, Goldwater would have trouble with some of the anti-environmentalist Republicans. He never reconciled his political beliefs with his beliefs about the natural world.

    1
  94. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The smarter answer would have been, “Actually, Senator Warren, I think you’re right, which is why my lawyers are looking into it with an eye to making everything public unless the other party objects.”

    That effectively frees the other party to speak immediately, which is not what he wants. It says “we are not going to pursue people violating the agreement’s NDA”. Someone will jump the gun and speak out.

    Something along the lines of “this was litigated in private, and I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest to relitigate it in public” would be seen as a threat.

    I don’t think there’s a good answer to this. The best answer for Bloomberg may be to take the punch, and try to move on.

    I’d suggest having a third party review and summarize, so people know it’s just bad language, and not rape, but Bloomberg doesn’t want to even say how many cases there were, likely because that number is high.

    (I would kind of love summary with a graph that shows sexual harassment by Bloomberg has been decreasing year over year)

    1
  95. Gustopher says:

    @wr: And it didn’t land.

    It’s absolutely the contrast she needs to draw — whether by attacking him, or praising him — but she’s not getting that message through.

  96. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kurtz:
    I have a suggestion. Emotions are running high. I don’t think you and I are actually very far apart on the issues. And I suspect we’re boring everyone else.

    How about we shake hands, both agree to vote blue no matter who, and proceed on an assumption of good faith?

    4
  97. Gustopher says:

    @Matt:

    EDIT: According to the right wingers here and everywhere else the Democratic party has been veering HARD LEFT for decades now yet Nixon is still to the left of them…

    I think that you’re missing how many decades ago Nixon was, and how far to the right this country went in the 1980s.

    The Democrats have been moving far to the left since 2000 — which would be decades. The Democrats are also pretty damned conservative if you compare them to the New Deal Democrats, the Great Society Democrats, and, arguably Nixon*.

    The Republicans meanwhile have swung further towards the Know-Nothing Far Right…

    ——
    *: Nixon was far more of a mixed bag… for every liberal policy there were two conservative ones, plus the southern strategy, plus the authoritarian creep.

    1
  98. Gustopher says:

    @Kurtz:

    It points out that long-serving Dems in dark red districts survive on economic populism. That speaks to rural, white voters. What doesn’t speak to them is focusing on discrimination of minority identities. Because from their perspective, they face the same struggles.

    I get why people are uncomfortable with populism, but they fail to make the crucial distinction between social populism (‘real America’) and economic populism (the economic system is designed to funnel money to the top.)

    I’m pulling that out of your giant wall of text because I think it’s an important point — if there’s evidence of it.

    I don’t think Joe Manchin is an economic populist though. Maybe John Tester.

    Doug Jones ran more on not chasing after teenaged girls at the mall, but he’s a special case.

    The best evidence that I can see that economic populism works is Donald Trump. He hasn’t governed that was, but he sure as hell ran that way.

    2
  99. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Where is that progressive wave again? Can you find it in those numbers?

    Not to defend Kurtz, but if the wave is in terms of turnout, it wouldn’t necessarily show up in the polling numbers.

  100. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    FFS, Michael. You put words in my mouth repeatedly. I never said I was smarter than you. I have repeatedly told you that you’re smart. I’ve repeatedly told you that you’re a good writer, though with the caveat that your writing skills are sharper than your intellectual process. If I called you stupid or said I am smarter, then I apologize. It is definitely not reflective of my overall view of you, nor is it reflective of how I see myself.

    But when I call you a fraud, it is a decision to use your rhetorical style to show how people will respond when you use it. Though, I must confess that I do think you’re a bit of a fake liberal. And if you continue to refuse to acknowledge your errors, then I will stand by my claim of you being an intellectual fraud. Because you can have a high IQ and not be an intellectual.

    Again I’ve explained all this, and I really don’t want to do it again. See my post above, I’ve already explained exactly why I respond to you more aggressively than the others here.

    I write clearly. When I get a response that suggests misunderstanding, I go back to make sure that I was not unclear. If appropriate, I issue a mea culpa and clarify. If not, I try a different rhetorical approach.

    Here’s the thing about the Quinnipiac poll, you’re still responding to a straw. My only contention has been that your Sanders is unelectable argument is absurd. My contention throughout this now days long fight is simply that your conclusion is too strong for the evidence.

    If anything, the PA and MI polling shows just how wrong you are to take your position on Sanders. And look at that! He has the highest vote share among the Dems in Wisconsin!

    Your pessimism about the election may ultimately be correct. But if Sanders is the nominee, don’t blame it on that. Place the blame where it belongs–voter supression in states like Wisconsin.

    Again, I’m not claiming that only Sanders can win. I’m claiming that the Conservative/Moderate/Liberal and Republican/Independent/Democrat labels are too broad to be useful when predicting voter behavior.

    It’s not that they are not predictive at all, it’s that they don’t predict the behavior of all people who self-identify with those labels. In closely contested elections, miscalculating the behavior based on broad categories can be the difference between winning and losing. A white union member may respond to Bernie’s message differently from what would be expected based on self-identification.

    The best candidates are able to connect to voters beyond self-imposed labels. They are able to tsilor their message to get people to forget the constraints they place on their views.

    There is plenty of evidence that Sanders is good at that. Is it enough? I don’t know. But neither do you.

    “Progressive wave?” I’ve never used that phrase in my life. Stop confusing me with a Bernie twitter troll. I’ve said many times, I prefer Warren.

    Two of my close friends, both of them female and brown, are Bernie supporters. I argued against them. And urged them to support someone like Warren. They didn’t budge. Your view of the demographics of Bernie supporters is just flat out wrong.

    I take a different approach about achieving long-term goals from the one you take. That should be okay with you. We are on the same side. But my arguments are more nuanced and better evidenced.

    In fact, even though I disagree with you about your portrayal of identity politics, my approach accounts for it. If potential swing voters or Republican voters see it the same way you do, then the Dems should switch to a more race-neutral explanation of their economic politicies.

    Incidentally, I suspect this is part of how Yang gained traction against conventional wisdom. His UBI is politically palatable, because it isn’t discriminatory–everyone would get it. Deep-red Alaska has its own UBI, thry just call it something different.

    Once again, my pushback against you isn’t because you’re wrong. It’s that you’re not correct or incorrect, but you act as if you’re 100% correct about something that can only be known after the election.

    Honestly, it sells your intelligence short. Show your mind some respect, even if you think little of mine.

    1
  101. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:

    I don’t think there’s a good answer to this.

    Indeed. It may have something to do with him being, you know, a sexist pig. Personal experience (not related to anything sexual) suggests: cop to it, admit you fucked up, explain what you’ve learned, promise to do better. I don’t apologize for my criminal past by saying ‘it didn’t work out,’ as he did on stop and frisk. Of course it didn’t work out, I fucking stole money, duh.

    I don’t know why this is so hard for people. No one’s going to forgive you if you can’t start by confessing your sins.

  102. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @wr: Not Michael, but my take is that the answer depends on how well she and her posse react to hearing “Pocahontas/Faucahontas” for 5 or 6 months.

  103. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kurtz: I’ve seen your comments a fervent and honest declarations of an unabashed leftist with no particular malice toward others. With this comment, I’ve removed the “no particular malice” part of my opinion.

    I’m sure that you don’t care, understand, but you’ve diminished yourself.

    2
  104. Tyrell says:

    @Kylopod: Bloomberg looked totally unprepared and was off balance the whole time. Warren threw him some pitches that he could have hit out of the park.
    This looked and sounded more like a bunch of third graders out on the playground.

  105. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kurtz:

    you act as if you’re 100% correct about something that can only be known after the election.

    In the interests of honesty – a late-acquired virtue in my case – it’s a deliberate stylistic choice as well as being core character. My first girlfriend used to talk about how I never entered a room, I paraded in. My wife has bitched for 40 years about my ‘voice of God.’ At the same time, I don’t know anyone here who will more easily admit an error than I will. I learn by debate. I propose an idea and see whether anyone can knock it down. When they can, I thank them for improving my on-going education. I have a clear hierarchy of goals in my mind: I want to know the truth, or at least as much of it as I can. That trumps everything to me.

    Now, you may read all that as rich entitled old white guy exercising his privilege. In fact I’m a high school drop-out who grew up in trailer parks, spent 22 years on the run from the law, 10 years waiting tables (I can do a 13 ingredient Caesar at tableside in under two minutes, hell yes,) and two years cleaning toilets and pushing a vacuum on Cape Cod. During which time I became an influential restaurant reviewer and an international bestselling kidlit author.

    So, some of my arrogance is well-earned. Some of it is a deliberate style, which is always tongue-in-cheek. And some of it is just to piss people off because I like to poke people with a stick.

    5
  106. Gustopher says:

    @Tyrell: Well, most third graders don’t have a long history of sexual harassment, and a whole bunch of NDAs.

    I don’t see how anyone can knock that out of the park. Not even with an appeal to cooties.

    I could almost see “I don’t always have a good filter — and when I’m in the wrong, When a stupid comment or joke hurts someone, it’s easier to just open up the checkbook than to litigate things either privately or publicly. Why put people through that?”

    1
  107. Michael Reynolds says:

    And since I’m sure there’s huge interest in doing a 12 (not 13, that’d be the spinach salad) ingredient Caesar in two minutes:

    Two forks, one wooden bowl.
    Squeeze half a lemon.
    Add 3 or 4 anchovies and a clove of garlic and mash them with the two forks.
    Swirl Worcestershire sauce once around the bowl.
    Drop in an egg yolk and a teaspoon of Dijon.
    Using your twinned forks whip the egg yolk mixture as you drizzle in about a quarter cup of oil. (Whipping it emulsifies, helps it stick.)
    Add an ounce or so of vinegar.
    Croutons. Romaine. Parmesan. Pepper.
    And plate that thing. Boom!

    2
  108. Kurtz says:

    @Teve:

    You are one of the posters I respect the most, even if I am critical of some of your views. You rarely make unsupported claims. But I really don’t need anyone to defend me on this.

    You may disagree with my argument and that I am being insulting toward Reynolds. But I am treating Michael how he treats others.

    My position is that saying Sanders cannot beat Trump is based on air. But that doesn’t mean I think he is the best candidate, but even if I did, there is better evidence for that than is for the Never-Berners who swear he can’t win. This is galling in light of how 2016 turned out.

    Now, I do take other positions, but I do not portray them as absolutely correct. See below.

    My position that he may be stronger than other candidates is also solid, but more debatable–he can only be attacked as a socialist. But that isn’t as big a liability as it is portrayed here.

    He cannot be attacked on identity politics grounds (significant liability to anyone not a liberal) or consistency (one of the things that drew people to Trump was that he said things without regard to how it would play.)

    The mis-read from Dems like Michael is that Trump voters are racist and stupid. But that is only true for some Trump supporters. And even if the hypothetical white union member in Michigan is racist, it doesn’t mean he’s fucking David Duke.

    A populist economic message will speak to him, as it has in the past. Assuming that a populist message must be based on race or immigration status is a mistake. Focusing only on Trump’s racist appeals is myopic. He also told them that he would give them healthcare and good jobs.

    The part that is less certain, but still posibly true is something that I have argued, but not in the past few days.

    It’s that Obama and Trump reflect what may still be the animating principle of the people who will decide the election–change. This relates to why Bernie’s consistency (read: stubborn) may actually be an asset. If there is one common refrain in American life, it’s that politicians are all liars and scammers.

    It seems counter-intuitive that they would vote for someone who is clearly both of those things. But his willingness to be anti-PC made him seem authentic. Clinton, for all her positive attributes, has never seemed authentic even to supporters.

    The calculus is actually more rational than it is given credit for by most Dems–it was a choice between two lying scammers. But one of them is willing to say things that he thought even if it came at a cost versus the other one who only said things that were focus-grouped and workshopped, so it is unlikely to be a true reflection of her views.

    If this read on the electorate is correct, the absolute worst decision would be to nominate someone who behaves and speaks like a politician. That pretty much describes every other candidate outside of Bloomberg.

    The last part I have argued is that if Trump is as dangerous as is portrayed, then why are we trying to placate the policy prefernces of people like Bill Kristol or even our own beloved host Joyner? (I respect Joyner, but not Kristol.)

    If Trump is as dangerous to the Republic as they say, they would be duty-bound to vote for the Democrat. If they threaten to vote third party, then well, perhaps their anti-Trump messages are posturing rather than honest.

    All of these things make sense. They are logical. But the priors may be off, and that would make them wrong.

    But the very first one, the one that sparked this nasty fight, is the only reasonable position to take. That Sanders may not be able to win, but to say with certainty that he cannot win is not rational.

    To say Sanders cannot win is the same as the 2016 version that said Trump cannot win. It’s based on nothing specific.

  109. DrDaveT says:

    @Kurtz:

    In fact, Nixon is a good example of how far-right the Republicam party has moved since that time. He only appears liberal because the GOP has become a cesspool of insanity.

    No. Seriously, no.

    Creating an Environmental Protection Agency to prevent the short-term interests of business from crapping the national bed really is a liberal policy. Creating OSHA even more so. Introducing actual price controls to rein in inflation is as far left as you can get without outright nationalizing industries. It’s not just contrast with the current GOP Lord of the Flies touring company that makes those look like liberal policies.

    3
  110. Gustopher says:

    @Kurtz:

    You may disagree with my argument and that I am being insulting toward Reynolds. But I am treating Michael how he treats others.

    I forget who it was — clearly one of our greatest thinkers — but someone said “#bebest”.

    (Also, the wall of text just bores him, if you really want to get under his skin, then short, sharp, very pointed jabs are the best)

  111. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    Nah, that doesn’t work, either. I’m immune to words. You have to hit me with either needles or math.

    There are two things that are Kryptonite to me: syringes and paperwork. Why do you think I’m fucking around here all day today? I’m supposed to be poring over my bank statements and Amex bills looking for travel expenses (in multiple categories) and web hosting expenses and WTF is a recurring $2.99 to some business with a partial and unpronounceable name, and rationalizing why Hulu is a research expense.

    I’ve voted to raise my own taxes, and I pay them, if not happily then without more than two drinks’ worth of whining. But goddamn I hate this shit, I hate it, I hate, I hate it. I’ll send you the damn money, isn’t that enough? Do you have to torture me first? Just send me a bill, FFS, don’t make me do accounting.

    2
  112. Gustopher says:

    @Kurtz:

    But the very first one, the one that sparked this nasty fight, is the only reasonable position to take. That Sanders may not be able to win, but to say with certainty that he cannot win is not rational.

    Bernie is not going to win with a conventional campaign. The conventional wisdom is 100% right about that.

    And you can’t just shout “the system is rigged against you” without offering an alternative — and I don’t see that alternative coming from any of our candidates.

    We need to play identity politics with white small town voters, offering something other than a hatred of brown people. If we don’t, then a hatred of brown people wins because, hey, it’s something.

    I want to hear “the system’s rigged against you, and here’s what we’re going to do about it…” and then something that brings jobs, community and hope to smaller cities. Something other than “your city sucks, move to Seattle” which has been our effective policy for the past 40 years.

    Just spitballing…

    1. Identify key industries that we want redundancy and domestic production of — I’m thinking pharmaceuticals, at a minimum, and just violate trade agreements on them, or renegotiate.

    If 70% of our pharmaceuticals come from China, and China is shut down due to covid-19, that’s a national problem. Similarly, we discovered that a lot of medical supplies were being made in almost exclusively in Puerto Rico and there were shortages — we want three locations for redundancy.

    2. Play with payroll tax rates to make large cities less attractive. This is at a federal level, so it’s not playing states off against each other. Seattle, San Francisco and New York don’t need more growth — it’s creating problems for those cities (not as bad as the problems for the smaller cities), and we need to spread the work around more. I’m thinking raise payroll taxes, and then put a discount in based on apartment vacancy rates where the job is located.

    Make it much cheaper to put jobs in declining cities to prevent that decline. Add in rural and semi-rural broadband subsidies to make it easier for satellite offices to work with the company hq.

    3. Vigorous enforcement of anti-trust laws — if companies consolidate, the jobs are consolidated and removed.

    4. Immigration rates tied to unemployment — partially tossing a bone to the racists, partially a deflection of “immigrants are taking my jobs”, partially a back door to more immigration.

  113. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Cool. You know who you are like? Me. I kind of thought that already, actually. But anyway, thank you for that post.

    Some of the details are different. I knew about your criminal past, and I probably could have guessed about your childhood economic circumstances. I grew up in a more comfortable financial situation, but nowhere near median middle class. Basically, decent, safe neighborhood without many luxuries. I went to a decent public school in a rural suburb of a shithole minor city.

    I grew up in a devout family in a non-mainstream Christian sect. I broke away. But it’s easy to see how my life would have been much different without the religious aspect. As such, I didn’t really have the intellectual support that I needed when I was young.

    I managed to not become a criminal, though I have a minor record (I like my weed). I spent many years waiting tables. But it was mentally draining for me, because I am an introvert and for all the energy that I can spend reading and thinking, the forced social interactions really made it hard for me to do anything worthwhile.

    I don’t have the physical mannerisms, though occasionally I parade into a room. It just feels awkward for me. I do have a distinctive voice. I also have a lot of hair, so I guess I have that on you ;).

    Different details and paths, but a similar outcome in attitude. Though you managed to find financial success, something that I have found difficult. I do have some things now that I didn’t before, so wish me luck.

    For the record, I didn’t see you as typical, privileged old white guy. I actually find you interesting and intelligent. We agree on pretty much everything except some aspects of strategy. I do think my view of the electorate is a little more detailed and nuanced, but it may not matter in the end.

    Even a lot of the things I pushback on, particularly the categories/label argument, I agree with your intention and your conclusion. But I don’t think we are politically or socially at the point to reject them. I do, however, think that our party should avoid overt identity politics as much as possible. Solving economic issues will likely go a long way to addressing the disparities that make it necessary in the first place. But some level of identity politics is inevitable, even if not labelled as such.

    But, as I said, I take issue with certain language you use as a practical matter. It may not seem fair to stick you with it, because I know where you stand. But I stand by my criticism of it, and urge you to re-think, because it potentially gives some ground for nothing in return.

    The Republican crack earlier was a little unfair, but it was a valid response to your 30k donations comment and an extension of the last two paragraphs. At that point, I was in full-on pugilist mode, and you desrve something more conciliatory. So I apologize.

    But I think I have been unfairly maligned by you lately. I’m pretty good at forming full arguments and supporting them. My personal views are internally consistent and earned through hard work. Of course that gets complicated by practical politics.

    I took aim at you, because you told me my analysis was shoddy in a personal way. First of all, I am quite positive it is not, at least in terms of process. Secondly, i take an enormous amount of care in qualifying what I write and not running with flimsy evidence. Hence, why my position isn’t that Sanders is the best candidate, but that portraying him as having no path to victory in the general is based on faulty reasoning.

    I suppose my expectation in return was for you to at least acknowledge that you may have let your preferences overwhelm a clear picture of the election. It seems like you walked 10 feet past the end of the pier, but haven’t looked down so you are not yet falling.

    I’m just asking that you don’t treat what I say as if it was coming from a troll. My views are not unfounded, nor are they ideological cheerleading. They are actually fairly rigorous, particularly by internet standards.

    Honestly, both of our comments are typically better argued than most op-eds at major publications.

    Also, I called you out on things that, quite frankly, I have to supress as well. I also want to scream into the void. But both you and I can be better than that. So let’s fucking do it, brother.

    2
  114. wr says:

    @Tyrell: “This looked and sounded more like a bunch of third graders out on the playground.”

    Says the man who regularly posts that lines at amusement parks are too long and Doritos and soft drinks cost too much.

    1
  115. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Hulu is a research expense”

    You’re working in TV. You have to understand what is being bought, what is working, what is not. All your TV should be expenses. (Assuming you’re doing this all through your loan-out…)

  116. wr says:

    @Kurtz: “Also, I called you out on things that, quite frankly, I have to supress as well. I also want to scream into the void. But both you and I can be better than that. So let’s fucking do it, brother.”

    Right now, everyone’s nerves are rubbed raw. People are frightened and no one sees a sure way out. So tempers flare and we — well, many of us — start fighting with people with whom we’re in almost total agreement.

    We all — well, many of us — need to chill a little. But when we fail at that, let’s all remember that whatever fights we get into here don’t actually have much to do with the person we’re fighting with… and we can all — well, many of us — go back to being friends when tempers cool.

    3
  117. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Dave, I probably wasn’t entirely clear. Michael is correct, Birchers aren’t the only standard for conservatism. Just as the Kochs aren’t the only possible Libertarian view. But the Kochs and the Birchers successfully sold the idea that to be anything other than their definition was to be something other than conservative or libertarian, respectively.

    Just because Nixon enacted some liberal economic policies, doesn’t mean he was a liberal. He was an authoritarian. He was racist, though conservatives and Republicans don’t have a monopoly on that, even to this day. He was a John Wayne American–he supported traditional social values.

    Still disagree?

  118. Kurtz says:

    @wr:

    Oh sure. This is happens in hotly contested primaries.

    Though, I should point out that I don’t have as dark a view of a potential second Trump term. I have a feeling that he will be pretty much a lame duck from day one. Of course, RBG probably can’t hold out another four years, so maybe…

    Shit, we gotta get this fucking right.

  119. Kurtz says:

    @Gustopher:

    See, I don’t think so. I think Michael is genuinely interested in ideas. But he is an editor and writer, which kind of puts a premium on readability.

    Unfortunately, what sells books isn’t necessarily good argumentation. So even the most voracious readers aren’t exactly learning a whole hell of a lot. And having to read through things quickly doesn’t lend itself to reflection.

    He’s also an arrogant asshole, with good reason, but that does tend to create blind spots. I was thinking about Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who is brilliant and an excellent writer. The best thing about Taleb is that he is often correct; the worst thing about Taleb is that he is often correct. This describes Michael as well.

    I recently referenced Brave New World and Neil Postman’s argument that “serious” TV is dangerous because the medium itself trivializes its content. He drew heavily upon McLuhan for his argument.

    I wanted to get this right, so I did a quick search. I did get it right, but I had forgotten this passage:

    This was, in spirit, the vision that Huxley predicted way back in 1931, the dystopia my father believed we should have been watching out for. He wrote:

    What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture.

    I highly recommend reading this.

    It actually kind of burns me that I had forgotten it. I read it a lot as a debater. Damn, time vanishes and memories pixelate.

    Anyway, Postman’s argument, more fleshed out is that the written word can be evaluated for truth, or it can spark debate about whether it is true. Either way, it demands engagement. An image, for Postman, doesn’t contain that quality. It is evaluated by whether it is engaging or not.

  120. Kurtz says:

    @Gustopher:

    Yeah, I think we are beyond conventional campaigning, at least for this year. But I think that Sanders, like Trump, is unconventional on his own.

    But the Dems have been trying to solve a conundrum for decades – – how to win without moving too far from its policy vision.

    In this case, most people are arguing to go with the pragmatic approach–nominate someone who can pick up votes from Republicans repelled by Trump.

    I can get behind that in the general, but I’m a little concerned that it may backfire. Not to trivialize war, or make enemies out of fellow Americans, but it strikes me as using conventional forces to fight asymmetric enemies.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like the candidates, other than Bloomberg. Biden’s cognition seems to have slipped, otherwise he would be fine with me.

    But I have the feeling that sending in a traditional politician will be read by the the less partisan Trump voters as more of the same from the Dems.

  121. DrDaveT says:

    @Kurtz:

    Just because Nixon enacted some liberal economic policies, doesn’t mean he was a liberal.

    Let me see if I can say this without sounding snide… I’m not trying to be snide.

    In one breath, you criticize the Birchers and Kochs for trying to impose a single definition of ‘conservative’ on everyone, and in the next you try to impose a single definition of ‘liberal’ on everyone. As a former debater, you should know better.

    It was not “some liberal economic policies” — it was a sweeping agenda of liberal economic policies, pretty much without exception. And, to paraphrase our host Dr. Taylor, policy is whatever you do — Nixon’s inmost thoughts are irrelevant; only the policy actions matter when characterizing his administration. Lincoln was a total racist; his policies were not.

    Do you object to the social/economic dichotomy? Why is it important to claim that Nixon wasn’t an economic liberal, despite the fact that all of his policies were? Is the social dimension the dominant one in your mind, in that it determines whether one is really a liberal or a conservative, left or right, regardless of economics?

    5
  122. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Nah, that doesn’t work, either. I’m immune to words. You have to hit me with either needles or math.

    There are two things that are Kryptonite to me: syringes and paperwork.

    Challenge accepted.

    1
  123. Teve says:

    In the 24 hours since the debate started, Warren‘s campaign has raised over $5 million.

  124. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Well this thread was entertaining…. not surprisingly, the white liberal camp was enthralled with Warren’s “takedown” of Bloomberg. Maybe…maybe not.

    But from my foxhole, Bloomberg had that “Bitch continue…” look on his face while he let her punch herself out in Round 1. Not only is he going to bury her in ads over the next 2 weeks. In Round 2..if this guy is the ruthless prick everyone says he is… I GUARANTEE he’s got a counter-punch haymaker waiting to waylay her. Remember the little nut punch Harris served up to Biden? How’d that turn out?

    What you actually saw last night was the beginning of the end for Warren.

    5
  125. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Good point. Dave, you can call my arguments bad if they’re bad. But, just don’t treat a poorly formed argument as indicative of, shall we say, a cognitive deficit. 😉

    The potential tension occurred to me while I was posting it. I think, at the time, I had a better answer in my head than I do now. In my defense, I deleted a large portion of my post that may have clarified what I meant.

    So let me give it a shot now with the caveat that you probably have me beat regardless. What I was trying to get at was that the Birchers and Libertarians treat any government intervention in the economy as inherently authoritarian.

    This is what I mean when I say that they imposed an idea of conservatism/libertarianism that basically limited it one view. The biggest difference was that the Kochs (the sons, not the father who was a bircher) don’t seem to give a shit about traditional social structures. They are mainly concerned with economic interventions, defending any material disparities as reflective of abilities as determined by market forces.

    To flip it in terms of what I would see as a corresponding left movement would be the same criticism that Michael levels at the social left. That if you don’t fight cultural appropriation and microaggression, you’re a fascist. That limits liberalism to one particular view in the social realm.

    None of those views can capture the complexity of socioeconomic relations. So that would be my criticism of the two sides of the same coin. All take an inherently limiting view of what it means to be x.

    Try as I might, I have been guilty at times of taking similar stances. Thankfully, I have enough respect for you guys (including Michael) to trust that if you’re talking me away from a dangerous ledge, it’s for good reason.

    However, the social-economic dichotomy is an important point to extend. One can believe in the safety net, and the need for government intervention to maintain free/fair markets, but still believe in a society that discourages behaviors deviant to traditional norms and that natural hierarchies exist between different groups. I’m not entirely sure how to characterize that.

    Is that a clearer point?

  126. Kurtz says:

    @Guarneri:

    Maybe, but not for any reasons you would know about.

    You see, when knowledgable, intelligent people argue, it can get ugly and personal. When people are testing ideas, it can lead to dumb results. Tinkering with objects or ideas is what leads to innovation.

    Nobody exists in a vacuum. In fact, when smart people isolate themselves, they risk turning into Ted Kaczynski.

    I get that you subscribe to the great man theory of history. But it’s a myth. Edison was a visionary. Same with Jobs. But the issue is that without teams and intelligent people around them, they can’t do much.

    You’re still an unimaginative coward with no original ideas about the world.

    3
  127. Kurtz says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Out of curiosity, what is your view of Stop and Frisk? Does it impact your view of Bloomberg?

    1
  128. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Oh, one more thing, I should have block quoted your post, so I didn’t forget this. My wording of “some economic policies” was not intended to imply that he had a mixture of economic policies. It was poorly worded.

    It was meant in the sense of, advocating for some lefty economic policies does not a true liberal make. But even that is probably unfair, as it feeds into your correct objection to what I did.

    Seriously, not in top form right now.

  129. DrDaveT says:

    @Kurtz:

    One can believe in the safety net, and the need for government intervention to maintain free/fair markets, but still believe in a society that discourages behaviors deviant to traditional norms and that natural hierarchies exist between different groups. I’m not entirely sure how to characterize that.

    I don’t think there is a way to do it on a single linear scale. That’s why left/right and liberal/conservative break down — because there are people who believe in safety nets and government intervention and such, but only for white Anglo-Saxon male Christian heterosexual Americans, or whatever other definition of “real Americans” or “the right kind of people” they are working with. People who believe strongly in universal government-funded healthcare, so long as it doesn’t provide contraception or abortion services. Etc.

    In the long run, I think we’ll find the association of “conservatism” with “free markets” to have been a temporary historical aberration, foisted on the world by the Vienna School and the University of Chicago. Conservatism has always been about preservation of power structures and minimization of social mobility. Libertarianism is just a means to that end, among others.

    2
  130. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kurtz: I’ve been Stopped and Frisked…just not in NYC. It mostly resulted in direct hatred for the police in uniform…not city officials. Look, Bloomberg is a prejudice Boomer like most white people his age. And yes, that includes Biden, Sanders, and Warren. It appears he’s using his money to make amends and advance thing Black people care about. I dont think the Stop and Frisk attacks will have much of an affect on him.

    I predict if Biden doesn’t win SC…black (over 40) support moves to Bloomberg. We dont have the luxury of eliminating racists from our lives so you have to go with the ones who offer the best deal (eg LBJ)

    2
  131. An Interested Party says:

    Kurtz – you could use a good therapist.

    You should give him the contact information for yours, although judging by your posts, you need to spend some more money on a better one, as your current one isn’t helping you at all…

    Look, Bloomberg is a prejudice Boomer like most white people his age.

    Actually, Bloomberg was born in 1942, which makes him more of a member of the Silent Generation…but just out of curiosity, who are some prominent white Boomers who aren’t racist? Thanks in advance…

    1
  132. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @An Interested Party: I think that Bush Jr, Bill Clinton, and Schwarzenegger…are a few exceptions of prominent white Boomer politicians that were the least affected by the ocean of negative media stereotypes they grew up absorbing about black people and have them in their personal social circle. There are no doubt others but in 2020, if a politician’s personal social circle is self segregated into only white people that is a strong indicator. I can appreciate that lower level state and local politicians in places we dont live (like iowa) don’t get opportunities to socialize with non whites…but their no excuse for national politicians in DC…aka chocolate city

  133. Matt says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Calling him a liberal is absurd.

    Yet some of his contemporaries on the right did so often based on what I’ve seen in articles from the era. Seems writing in Barry Goldwater was a thing to do back in the 1960s. They only joined the fold and went for Nixon because he was by far their best hope of defeating the Democratic party at that time. National Review in particular had quite a lot of attacks on Nixon for failing to be conservative.

    Calling him a conservative from South Dakota – a state he lost in the presidential race precisely because of his liberalism – is nonsense.

    Saying he lost because of liberalism and only liberalism is nonsense. He lost due to a variety of factors including his chosen running mate.

    https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/02/why-bernie-is-not-george-mcgovern-and-2020-isnt-1972.html

    @Michael Reynolds:

    we spent our formative years with thousands of nuclear weapons on a hair trigger pointed right at us. And we had Vietnam. And assassinations. And race riots. I grew up in a country where I was routinely ridiculed and threatened for having long hair, and where we were threatened and had to move because my mom tutored black kids.

    Millennials experienced that with thermonuclear warheads. While we didn’t have race riots we certainly had a lot of riots in a similar vein. Where I grew up there were a whole lot of KKK members including members of the police force. Which was odd as my hometown was 99.9% white. God forbid a black family move into town. I would expect similar problems as what you experienced if someone had actually tried to tutor a black kid. Also even remotely appearing to be gay was grounds for a beating.