Smashing the Republican Party

Let's not kid ourselves about what's possible in the next election.

In this morning’s post reflecting on Jimmy Carter’s observation that 80-year-olds aren’t up to the strains of the Presidency, I casually noted that I would prefer that the Democrats nominate a young, moderate governor.

Longtime commenter @Kit responded:

James, do you really think that the serious problems currently ailing the country, along with the significant challenges looming ahead, can be met by a moderate Democrat? At this stage, the very idea strikes me as (I’ll be tactful) wishful thinking. Today’s Republican party and everything it stands for must be smashed, and it’s simply not in the nature of a centrist to undertake such action.

While an understandable position, it misapprehends both our political culture and the reality of current American politics.

The first step to reversing the damage done by Trump and company is to defeat them next November. I think a moderate is more likely to be able to do that than someone threatening radical change. While I personally support something like Medicare-for-all, the Sanders-Warren platform of taking away the private health insurance that middle-class Americans currently like is going to turn away people who would otherwise like to see Trump gone. Ditto Beto O’Rourke’s perfectly understandable but politically stupid line about taking away people’s AR-15s.

The notion that we’re somehow going to “smash” the “Republican party and everything it stands for” is itself wishful thinking. Absent a new Constitution or flagrantly violating the norms of the current one, it’s not possible under our system.

A moderate Democrat will be able to put us on a different course and reverse most of the radical changes enacted by Trump on immigration, climate, and various regulatory issues. Hopefully, they’ll be able to tamp down the dangerous animosities against immigrants, people of color, and the LGBTQ community.

But we’re not going to enact some 21st Century New Deal absent something like a combined Great Depression-World War II. Great change requires great consensus, and we simply aren’t anywhere close to that right now.

Absent cataclysmic events, our system tends toward evolutionary rather than revolutionary change. The Democratic Party, stung by losing five Presidential elections out of six between 1968 and 1988, moderated and won the popular vote in six of the next seven. The GOP will be harder to persuade since their Electoral College advantage has given them the White House twice despite losing the overall vote. But they’ll be forced to change if they continually lose.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Politics 101, U.S. Constitution, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor 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. mattbernius says:

    The notion that we’re somehow going to “smash” the “Republican party and everything it stands for” is itself wishful thinking. Absent a new Constitution or flagrantly violating the norms of the current one, it’s not possible under our system.

    Thank you for writing this. Cosign 100% — in particular the second sentence.

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  2. Mikey says:

    the private health insurance that middle-class Americans currently like

    Eh, nobody really likes it. They may prefer it to what they’ve been misled into thinking universal coverage is, but when it comes down to it, you would be richer than Bezos if you had a dollar for every American private insurance horror story.

    And besides, it’s certainly possible–and already done in many countries–to have a publicly-run payment system while maintaining private health insurers and providers.

    To your overall point: I think you’re right, which is why it’s important to push the Overton window of American political discourse to the left. Currently the default is so far right that things the citizens of other countries take for granted–the aforementioned universal health insurance, actual worker protections and benefits, actions to reduce human influence on climate change–are here considered “radical.” Unfortunately, “moderate” generally boils down to useless tinkering around the edges, so we never really get anywhere.

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  3. al Ameda says:

    The very fact that Trump was elected should tell everyone that the Republican Party is not going away. The GOP has hardwired the system to win Presidential elections without a majority or plurality of the vote.

    Even if Trump is dragged out of the White House in shackles and an Orange Jumpsuit, he will have a lasting legacy on the Supreme Court and other federal courts with his appointments. Mitch McConnell is complicit in all of this too.

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  4. drj says:

    I can’t speak for Kit, of course, but I strongly suspect s/he wasn’t trying to say that the Republican Party should be physically smashed.

    But each and every GOP policy and position should be delegitimized and exposed as the con jobs that they are.

    The only thing the Republicans stand for is “fuck you, I got mine” and owning the libs. Republicans are not patriots. They do not stand for family values.

    I don’t think that e.g. Biden has the stones to point that out.

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  5. michael reynolds says:

    We won’t smash the GOP in 2020. But the GOP as currently constituted cannot survive as a truly national party unless they stop being what they are. Let’s be clear: the Republican party is now unmistakably a white supremacist party. Which is not great positioning if you look at the demographics. People on the Left jumped the gun by about twenty years with triumphalist talk of a majority-minority United States, but it’s still coming, it’s still happening.

    Voters today are about 70% white. Twenty years ago it was closer to 80%. In ten years the voter base will be less than 70%. Twenty years on, less white still. Like climate change, that’s happening, it’s baked in. So is the age issue – Republicans are older than Democrats, and young voters go 2 to 1 for Democrats. So is the education gap – educated voters overwhelmingly support Democrats. So is the religious issue – white evangelicals are in free fall with anyone under the age of 50. The GOP has put all its chips on white/uneducated/rural/evangelical and there’s just no way that’s a good position to be in.

    The GOP is like Cadillac. They used to have a reputation. But when the world needed high-mileage vehicles, they missed the target. When the market shifted to well-crafted German and Japanese cars, Cadillac failed to meet those standards. When the world wanted SUV’s and crossovers, they missed again. Cadillac now sells cars only to old people and short of a meteor shower taking out Stuttgart, Munich and Nagoya, it’s well on the road to a shutdown.

    In 2012 the GOP did their famous autopsy and concluded they needed to build small, well-crafted SUVs. And they went right out and built a wallowing pig of a sedan. It got them through 2016, but no rational observer can conclude that the GOP is healthy. It’s a sick party, a dying party. It will survive out in white/uneducated/rural/evangelical areas, but that will just cement its irrelevancy.

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  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    So, this post is particularly interesting in the context of Doug’s most recent post.
    You’re saying:

    The notion that we’re somehow going to “smash” the “Republican party and everything it stands for” is itself wishful thinking.

    Emphasis, mine.
    The logical take-away from Doug’s post, when zoomed out to the grand scale, is that the Republican party actually stands for NOTHING.
    No…we are not going to “smash” the Republican party any more than we smashed the Mafia, or the drug Cartels, or any other large and pervasive criminal enterprise. The most we can hope to do is to weaken it, keep it in check, and limit the on-going damage it is capable of doing.
    The idea of Conservatism has much to offer the nation. Indeed, James’ description of what the Democrats should do…something more evolutionary than revolutionary…is actually a Conservative notion and has a great deal of worth. I mostly concur. But let’s be clear…that is not what the Republican party is, or has been, for decades. Republicanism and Conservatism are two profoundly different things. The sooner we stop conflating the two, the easier it will be to move forward in a manner that is healthy for the country.

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  7. Kit says:

    Great change requires great consensus, and we simply aren’t anywhere close to that right now.

    I think we have already undergone great change, and without great consensus. We have one party that has no problem flagrantly violating norms, in case you haven’t notice. Removing this cancer is, I admit, wishful thinking, but so is the belief that we can simply gently evolve from where we now find ourselves. The environment, simply to take what I feel tops the list of urgent problems, will not be fixed by merely reversing Trump’s actions. We cannot muddle through this one, but that’s what a centrist approach entails. The world is on fire, we are living through a second Gilded Age, half the country lives in an echo chamber that studies have shown leaves consumers more poorly informed and those who totally ignore the news, assault weapons mow down people every month, our institutions have rotted… The list goes on and on, and we talk about these issues constantly here at OTB.

    I think our generation is mostly made up of those who had it so easy that, in our very bones, we cannot imagine the whole dream ever ending. But our vacation from history will soon come to a close, and I suspect future generations will read about us and shake their heads in wonder. Unless, a younger generation steps forward, that is. They might try and fail, but at least they will have tried. And despite her age, I think Warren captures the spirit that says major changes are urgently needed.

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  8. charon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Let’s be clear: the Republican party is now unmistakably a white supremacist party.

    It is also a religious party, a Christian party. More than 60% of the over 65 are white Christians, 22% are white evangelical.

    Demographics:

    22% of 18 to 29 group are white Christian, 8% are evangelical. Not the demographic wave of the future.

    (This data perhaps 3 or 4 years old now, from Pew polling)

    (Because it is a mostly religious party, it is incapable of change, made up of people who “know what they believe and that settles it.”)

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  9. Stormy Dragon says:

    Ditto Beto O’Rourke’s perfectly understandable but politically stupid line about taking away people’s AR-15s.

    2 out of 3 people agree with Beto’s position. Furthermore, do you really think any of the people who aren’t going to vote Democrat over AR-15s were really going to vote Democrat anyways?

    A moderate may be more popular then a more radical candidate, but most of that additional popularity is going to be with people who would never vote for a Democrat regardless of how much they like them.

    This election is going to be more about turnout than cross-over appeal.

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  10. Stormy Dragon says:

    Great change requires great consensus, and we simply aren’t anywhere close to that right now.

    It’s coming sooner than you think. If I can beat my Strauss-Howe drum again, we’re currently in the crisis phase of the current saeculum, which began right after world war II, and the societal consensus that came into being then has broken down, and we’re in the process of fighting over what the new consensus will be.

    I don’t know exactly what that new consensus is going to look like, but over the next 10 years, it is going to happen.

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  11. gVOR08 says:

    I sometimes think of basketball as a metaphor for our politics. Basketball rules require two teams for a game. The Constitution requires two teams. Unwittingly perhaps, but so, as Dr. T often points out. Republicans are, and long have been, the party of the establishment and of money. As such, they have a built in advantage. This advantage was disrupted by the Depression and WWII, but it’s back. So for the last few decades the Republicans have been the Harlem Globetrotters and Democrats have played the role of the Washington Generals. They get to play, but the deck is stacked against them. That may be changing.

    It’s possible for a third party to arise, but only by replacing one of the existing parties. It’s more likely we retain “Democrats” and “Republicans”. But one or both of those parties may change considerably while retaining the name.

    As Dr. T noted in a recent post, our parties are weak, candidates define the party. If TX and FL turn blue, or at least bluish purple, candidates will slowly and clumsily adapt. I expect that right now there are California Republicans conferring with their wealthy donors on how they can get out from under the shadow of Trump and appeal to Hispanics and educated soccer moms.

    The Republican Party probably cannot be destroyed, but it can be weakened to the point it will change. Would it be a fundamental change or just a different con to get the rubes to vote for policies favoring the wealthy? I don’t know, but I suspect the latter. I’m pretty sure that if Trump loses biggly in 2020, by 2022 you won’t be able to find a Republican pol who admits to ever having supported him. Even Lindsay Graham will have just been trying to maintain some moderating influence.

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  12. mattbernius says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    2 out of 3 people agree with Beto’s position. Furthermore, do you really think any of the people who aren’t going to vote Democrat over AR-15s were really going to vote Democrat anyways?

    […]

    This election is going to be more about turnout than cross-over appeal.

    Yes to all the above. BUT… did 2016 teach people nothing?

    Yes, the numeric majority of Americans support gun control/regulation. But *WHERE DO THOSE MAJORITIES LIVE?!* And how do those locations map to the electoral college map?!

    Again, the Democrats won the popular vote and yet lost the electoral college vote.

    I realize a lot of people here don’t want to hear this, but gun rights are very popular in more rural states and areas. And that makes them an issue that will turn out voters who, while not in love or even like with Trump, will vote against Democrats over this issue. And that is a recipe for losing the Electoral College again while winning the popular vote.

    If you want to carry Pennsylvania or Michigan, this is a really, REALLY, bad hill to die on.

    For more on the need to not lose any more of the white non-college vote, the following thread from Dave Wasserman is really enlightening:
    https://twitter.com/Redistrict/status/1173620599773683713

    This is going to an election that will come down to increasing turn out among Democrats and left-leaning independents, in particular in key areas, while minimizing turn out of Republicans and right-leaning independents.

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  13. Jay L Gischer says:

    I don’t necessarily take Sanders or Warren seriously on the “Medicare for All”. It became clear to me during the 2016 cycle, that voters were hungry for simple slogans that told them about the candidate’s aspirations. It didn’t matter if those aspirations were patently unattainable. It’s more that they showed an absolute commitment. Whereas Hillary’s stumping was full of things that were completely attainable, but her speech was full of qualifiers and carve outs. This is why people said they trusted Trump more than her.

    This does not make sense to me personally. This is not what I want. I do not think of Trump or Sanders as more trustworthy. But it’s clear to me that many do.

    Like you, I would have liked a moderate governor to win the D nomination, but none of them has got any traction at all. The thing I remember is that any marquee program has got to make it through Congress, which is going to be a very tough slog. I hope Congress focuses on fixing Obamacare instead. Maybe adding a public option, which would be great for people in certain places where insurance isn’t available.

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  14. Moosebreath says:

    @Kit:

    “I think we have already undergone great change, and without great consensus.”

    In addition, in areas where there is great consensus, great change has not followed. And by and large, this has been because the Republicans have been “flagrantly violating the norms of the current” political system. It is the common thread in actions ranging from extreme gerrymandering and mid-decade redrawing of voting maps to ensure Republican majorities to the failure to hold hearings on Merrick Garland’s nomination to the actions in several states to change the governor’s powers once a Democrat is elected to the recent actions to hold a vote to override the North Carolina’s governor’s veto of the state budget on September 11, after promising that no substantive votes would be held while legislators would be at ceremonies.

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  15. Stormy Dragon says:

    @mattbernius:

    did 2016 teach people nothing?

    I’d say precisely the same thing: Trump won because of low turnout by Democrat voters who stayed home or voted third party or abstained because they were unenthusiastic about Clinton.

    To win, the Democrats need 50,000 more votes in PA, MI, and WI. It’s much easier to get them by getting 50,000 Democrats who sat out in 2016 to go to the polls then it is to get 50,000 unrepentant Trump voters to switch.

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  16. charon says:

    @Mikey:

    Eh, nobody really likes it.

    They like it while they have it, maybe. Anyone with a serious preexisting condition in their family understands “job lock.”

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  17. Fortunato says:

    @Kit:

    I think we have already undergone great change, and without great consensus. We have one party that has no problem flagrantly violating norms

    Ditto that, Kit.
    Merrick Garland, anyone?
    Each and every day brings a fresh new debasement of yet another norm, precedent or law established throughout 232 years of governance.
    And continued proof was on full, flagrant display in yesterday’s Lewandowsky debacle.
    And it’s no longer limited to the Federal govt. You’re all surely aware of what happened in NC a few days ago.

    Krugman kind of knocked it outta the park a few days ago in –
    Republicans Don’t Believe in Democracy
    Do Democrats understand what they’re facing?

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  18. gVOR08 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Martin Longman argues that this is a persuasion election, not a turnout election. (Sorry, paywall, but I believe there’s a free membership option.) His argument is basically that heavy turnout on both sides is already determined. Nobody’s staying home, so any gains to be made are by switching votes.

    The gun strokers are locked in as Trump voters. Nothing to lose by pissing them off. But maybe a few Responsible Gun Owners(tm) who’d be OK with red flags and background checks will be turned off by Beto’s comment. On the other hand, as Jim Hightower remarked, “There’s Nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.” Maybe we should let Democrats be Democrats to drive turnout. I don’t know if Longman is right or not. I guess that’s why the parties spend a lot of money on pollsters and focus groups. I hope they know.

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  19. Stormy Dragon says:

    @gVOR08:

    I forget where I saw it, but last week I saw a good article showing data suggesting that the biggest driver of cross-over voting is the enthusiasm of the candidate’s supporters. i.e. that to the extent that Obama->Trump voters were a thing, it wasn’t that Trump’s policy’s persuaded them, but the enthusiasm of Trump’s base supporters.

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  20. gVOR08 says:

    I found, while collecting the link at @gVOR08: that Longman has a new post up, relevant to this thread.
    https://progresspond.com/2019/09/17/how-red-states-are-turning-blue-in-the-era-of-trump/
    The gist is well expressed by his title picture, a U Haul truck.

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  21. James Joyner says:

    @michael reynolds:

    We won’t smash the GOP in 2020. But the GOP as currently constituted cannot survive as a truly national party unless they stop being what they are.

    I think that’s right. The Democrats are less cohesive these days than the GOP but they’re much more broadly appealing to those under 50. The GOP can’t sustain themselves on elderly whites without college degrees, a rapidly shrinking demographic.

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  22. James Joyner says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    James’ description of what the Democrats should do…something more evolutionary than revolutionary…is actually a Conservative notion and has a great deal of worth. I mostly concur. But let’s be clear…that is not what the Republican party is, or has been, for decades.

    Oh, I agree. I’m just arguing that the system vastly constrains what can be done rapidly.

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  23. James Joyner says:

    @Kit:

    I think we have already undergone great change, and without great consensus. We have one party that has no problem flagrantly violating norms, in case you haven’t notice.

    The GOP is 80% of the problem but we’ve had a bipartisan pushing of the envelope for years that Trump has driven a truck through. Senate majority leaders of both parties have, going back to the Clinton administration, increasingly made obstruction of the White House the norm if the two bodies are controlled by different parties. Mitch McConnell went nuclear under Obama, taking it to an extreme conclusion, but we had precedents going back to at least the Bork fight. Presidents of both parties have increasingly used Executive Orders, Executive Agreements, and other quasi-Constitutional devices for getting around this gridlock, for understandable reasons. Honestly, if Trump were doing so more competently, he’d have been able to do much more damage than he already has.

    I don’t know how we pull back from the tit-for-tat game. But the Republic won’t survive if we don’t figure it out.

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  24. drj says:

    @James Joyner:

    The GOP can’t sustain themselves on elderly whites without college degrees, a rapidly shrinking demographic.

    That’s why the GOP loves vote suppression, gerrymandering, “we’re a republic, not a democracy,” “the real America,” and a Supreme Court that won’t let Democrates legislate.

    They will NOT be playing fair. Their dream is an illiberal faux-democracy. And they will work to get it.

    They already did it at the state level.

    For instance in Wisconsin: in 2018, Democratic candidates for the state assembly received 205,000 more votes than Republican candidates, which led to a 27-seat advantage for the latter party.

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  25. Gustopher says:

    A moderate Democrat will be able to put us on a different course and reverse most of the radical changes enacted by Trump on immigration, climate, and various regulatory issues. Hopefully, they’ll be able to tamp down the dangerous animosities against immigrants, people of color, and the LGBTQ community.

    The Republican Party’s main thrust these days is dangerous animosity against immigrants, people of color and the LGBT community. It’s what gets them votes.

    And the rest… unless Democrats retake the Senate and play ruthless hardball, the best we can hope for is Obama-style executive action in the face of obstinate opposition. Which might be enough to make us a little more comfortable.

    But we’re not going to enact some 21st Century New Deal absent something like a combined Great Depression-World War II. Great change requires great consensus, and we simply aren’t anywhere close to that right now

    And that’s the rub, isn’t it? Climate Change is a crisis. It has all the severity of a combined Great Depression-World War II, and then a whole lot more, but slow moving. It’s the doctor telling us to quit drinking because our liver isn’t up to the task, and maybe try eating fruit, and us saying “well, yeah, but I don’t have to quit drinking, do I?”

    Were at a point where we can either;
    A) Just try to make ourselves comfortable as we succumb to liver failure
    B) Try to stop the damage

    We are more likely to be successful in our goals if we pursue A. But our goals will not end well. But, we’ll be comfortable as our livers fail, at least up until the last bit.

    B is a long shot at this point. And I would sell out every Democratic Party constituency and value to get it, but right now there aren’t candidates who are going to be radical on climate and sell out everything and everyone else to get there. So there’s nothing to be done but to hang onto the ones that promise everything, and hope for the best.

    And if that doesn’t work out, maybe 2024 won’t be too late. It will definitely be worse, but maybe not too late. And maybe there will be some big, showy climate crisis in the meantime that panics everyone.

    And if that doesn’t work… Biden will only be 86 or so in 2028, and a Biden Administration would be so much more comfortable.

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  26. al Ameda says:

    I think my comment is in ‘moderation’ jail

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  27. Fortunato says:

    @James Joyner:

    Senate majority leaders of both parties have, going back to the Clinton administration, increasingly made obstruction of the White House the norm

    Really?
    Am I mistaken, or is there a Mount Everest of context missing from this proclamation?

    I’m mean, sure Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) shot dead Johnny Ringo in Tombstone.. but I’m not sure one can make a case for “both sides”.

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  28. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I hope Congress focuses on fixing Obamacare instead. Maybe adding a public option, which would be great for people in certain places where insurance isn’t available.

    I agree with this…although I would make it available everywhere, with conditions.
    But, honestly, by the time anything like it passes I’ll already be on Medicare.

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  29. michael reynolds says:

    One other point: California used to be a Republican state. Nixon and Reagan were both Californians. We went GOP in the presidential elections of 1980, 84 and 88. Then that stopped, but we still had Republican governors. And then that stopped. So we still had a Republican legislature, and now that’s over.

    Today the GOP still exists in California, but no one cares.

    In 1988 George H.W. Bush got 51% of the CA vote. Trump got 31%. Total collapse in about 28 years. Read those tea leaves, America.

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  30. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Fortunato:

    I’m mean, sure Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) shot dead Johnny Ringo in Tombstone.. but I’m not sure one can make a case for “both sides”.

    I’m your huckleberry…

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  31. mattbernius says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    To win, the Democrats need 50,000 more votes in PA, MI, and WI. It’s much easier to get them by getting 50,000 Democrats who sat out in 2016 to go to the polls then it is to get 50,000 unrepentant Trump voters to switch.

    I am not remotely suggesting that people will switch. I think this is a turnout election. And I realize I’m beating a drum here, but I think we need to seriously think through issues that will activate the opposition base.

    What I am arguing is that there are certain issues, like gun control, that are far more likely to trigger opposition votes than necessarily activate the existing Democratic base. Again, it’s why I keep point to the example of bear baiting in Maine.

    @gVOR08:

    Martin Longman argues that this is a persuasion election, not a turnout election.

    I realize that this is “my experts versus your experts” but looking across polling and election experts, most experts (from the Cooke Political to the Daily Kos) see this as entirely the opposite — that this is going to be a turnout election. Which makes sense looking at the last few election cycles — going back to at least 2006.

    My gut (admittedly often wrong) is they are right. And that’s why I’m particularly concerned about this type of issue as I think you’ll find there is a not insignificant portion of Republican voters who might not vote for Trump but will undoubtedly vote *against* gun control.

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  32. michael reynolds says:
  33. SKI says:

    @James Joyner:

    we had precedents going back to at least the Bork fight

    You need to find a new example. This one is completely flawed and only makes sense if you believe that the Senate is not allowed to disagree with any nominee. Bork got Committee hearings, a Committee vote and a Full Senate Vote. There was bi-partisan opposition and his nomination was rejected. There were no “games” played or partisan rulings in terms of procedural changes. THIS WAS NOT NEW It goes back to Rutledge’s failed nomination as Chief Justice under George Washington!

    Bork only matters because spoiled brats didn’t like being thwarted from their effort to nominate a complete extremist.

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  34. mattbernius says:

    @SKI:

    Bork got Committee hearings, a Committee vote and a Full Senate Vote. There was bi-partisan opposition and his nomination was rejected. There were no “games” played or partisan rulings in terms of procedural changes. THIS WAS NOT NEW It goes back to Rutledge’s failed nomination as Chief Justice under George Washington!

    Thank you. This keeps needing to get repeated. Bork was an awful nomination. The “worst” thing that happened to him was Kennedy’s speech. Its also worth noting that Democrats warned Reagan that if he nominated Bork it would be an ugly fight.

    But he got a vote. And when he didn’t pass, then another nomination got a confirmation vote in an election year where there was going to be a new president elected (1988).

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  35. Fortunato says:

    @mattbernius:
    Anthony Kennedy.
    Previously appointed to the Ninth Circuit by Gerald Ford.
    Nominated by Reagan on Nov 11, 1987, confirmed on February 3, 1988, by a vote of 97 to 0.

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  36. MarkedMan says:

    @Mikey: I currently live in a neighborhood with a lot of Federal Government employees and they are awesomely ignorant of what health insurance is like without several million participants in the pool imcluding Congress critters and rule writers. My wife just had a conversation with two very liberal neighbors who simply could not believe that arguing with insurance companies was a normal part of medical care.

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  37. charon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Good piece, I noticed Robert Jeffress mentioned. Jeffress, Jerry Falwell Jr., Franklin Graham, all the rest of the big name Christian right leaders are wealthy people. All of them are without exception vociferous energetic Donald Trump supporters.

    Why? Getting wealthy comes from identifying a market and serving that market. So, having noticed Trump’s popularity on the right, they all found it prudent to be Trump sycophants. That became a bandwagon they all got on, which means the rank and file are being relentlessly propagandized with pro-trump claims. Some are pretty outlandish, Trump gets compared to biblical figures like King Cyrus and Queen Esther.

    Perhaps Trump is appealing as a big “Alpha Male” because rather than in spite of the adultery, pussy grabbing, stalking HRC in a menacing way on the debate stage etc.

    It should not take much imagination to find reasons the Christian Right looks like a pack of hypocrites to outsiders.

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  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer: I think it’s possible to take Warren and Sanders seriously on Medicare for All and still realize that because of the systems by which our government operates (or fails to, if you prefer), the closest we’ll come to Medicare for all during the next 8 years would be fixing the dysfunctions in the ACA and guiding states toward accepting the idea that “Medicare for The Uninsured Working Poor and Medicaid Patients” might be a good idea.

    As you can see, it doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker, and diehard Conservatives are going to scream “Soshulizum !!!” Are there enough voters who understand nuance to do the mental math problem here? I don’t know, but you won’t find out by “kicking Trump’s ass” in the debates and trying to persuade Republican Evangelicals to vote Democratic. Democrats will need to get out their own party in the “White Working Class Majority States” mentioned above as well as all the other states, as far as that goes.

    But I suspect you already realize all of this, so thank you for writing a comment that allowed me to try to add to the conversation.

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  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @charon: As a person who had health insurance only sporadically between the ages of 35 and 55–including a period where my coverage had a maximum lifetime expenditure (by the insurer) of $100,o00–allow me to add that no matter how bad the insurance your company provides is, it is still better than nothing (the other option on the continuum).

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  40. James Joyner says:

    @Fortunato:

    I’m mean, sure Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) shot dead Johnny Ringo in Tombstone.. but I’m not sure one can make a case for “both sides”.

    Kilmer stole that movie, which is among my favorites. But he goaded Ringo throughout the movie trying to provoke a gunfight.

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  41. Kathy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It would rankle a bit having to thank religious nuts for turning people away from religion. But I have to admit it’s a good thing.

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  42. James Joyner says:

    @SKI: @mattbernius: In hindsight, I agree that Bork was an awful nominee. But the longstanding precedent was the Presidents were entitled to have their SCOTUS nominees confirmed, so long as they weren’t corrupt and incompetent. Bork was a weirdo with some severe baggage but widely considered brilliant. He got the top rating from the ABA. And Kennedy, Biden, and others wildly distorted his record in a smear campaign. It set a precedent that would justify a much more aggressive and nasty fight over future nominees.

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  43. michael reynolds says:

    @James Joyner:

    widely considered brilliant

    Some day we should make a list of all the people widely considered brilliant who turned out to be putzes.

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  44. Barry says:

    @michael reynolds: “We won’t smash the GOP in 2020. But the GOP as currently constituted cannot survive as a truly national party unless they stop being what they are.”

    I disagree – they have a very good chance at long-term dominance:

    They have and are able to get away with massive voter suppression and gerrymandering. I don’t how many percentage points that’s worth, but we will find out.

    They are highly organized and disciplined. The Dems in Congress can’t even defend well. They aren’t keeping their votes protected (see voter suppression) and they can’t use the House’s powers worth a lead penny.

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  45. Jay L Gischer says:

    @James Joyner: Just for the record, it was Bork who finally pulled the trigger and fired Eliot Cox as Special Prosecutor after both Elliot Richardson and William Ruckleshaus resigned rather than do that. Everyone in the Senate knew that. Reagan knew that.

    (As a side note, Ruckleshaus became president of Weyerhauser afterwards, and as such I worked under him in the late 70’s and was proud to do so and proud of him.)

    So, there were major grudges there. Bork was a political apparatchik, and had no business on SCOTUS. AND, he had some weird views, too.

    But yeah, Bork got “terrible” treatment. I’m not sure where this feud ends.

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  46. Barry says:

    @James Joyner: “…but we had precedents going back to at least the Bork fight.”

    In the Bork case, an open extremist servant of Nixon got an up or down vote and lost; Reagan promptly nominated a replacement, who was confirmed.

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  47. Teve says:

    Martin Longman

    side note, back in the day I used to read Washington Monthly’s Political Animal blog every day, but then something changed and it went from a chatty, interesting blog, to just long, tedious-ass pieces that I stopped giving a crap about.

    I wonder what happened that caused that, but not enough to make me want to go back and study its evolution.

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  48. Moosebreath says:

    @James Joyner:

    “Bork was a weirdo with some severe baggage but widely considered brilliant.”

    I would argue that Bork’s weirdo views were so far outside the mainstream that he was incompetent at the core duties for being a Supreme Court Justice.

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  49. An Interested Party says:

    In the Bork case, an open extremist servant of Nixon got an up or down vote and lost; Reagan promptly nominated a replacement, who was confirmed.

    I’d love to know why that got downvotes…every word of it is the truth…we can talk all day long about “wild distortions” and “smear campaigns” but it remains the case that Republicans, and only Republicans, have denied a president’s choice for the Supreme Court a hearing and an up or down vote…only Republicans…

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  50. Guarneri says:

    I must say, its pure comedy gold to put forth the notion that the Republican Party is doomed when the public and actual face of the Democrats is heavily populated with Beto’s, AOC’s, Bernie’s and Schiff’s, and their bizarre policies.

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  51. wr says:

    @Teve: ” but then something changed and it went from a chatty, interesting blog, to just long, tedious-ass pieces that I stopped giving a crap about.”

    The interesting writers left, and the ones who replaced them write two pieces, over and over again: “Here’s something you already knew about how fucked up the system is presented as if it’s shocking and original” and “Democrats should beware falling into some trap that every Democrat is already aware of.” They love the “this has never occurred to anyone but us before, but Trump could win and it will be your fault” pieces.

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  52. wr says:

    @Guarneri: “Schiff’s, and their bizarre policies”

    Yes, that wacky Adam Schiff and his bizarre policy: “Committing treason is bad.”

    I can see why you hate him.

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  53. Teve says:

    @An Interested Party: 1-6 downvotes just means some of the trolls are around. The mentally underdeveloped get votes too. 🙂

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  54. Teve says:

    @wr: I’m glad I’m not the only person who noticed a change over there. I never bothered to pin down exactly who left and who arrived but I just slowly stopped going there anymore.

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  55. dennis says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Stormy, I most certainly will vote for the Democratic nominee. Unless, the party adopts that hell-yes-we’re-gonna-take-your-AR15 shyt. Then, I’m sitting out. As I said before: this is white people’s problem to fix, anyway. They don’t give a shyt how or why we PoC vote.

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  56. drj says:

    @James Joyner:

    And Kennedy, Biden, and others wildly distorted his record in a smear campaign.

    I don’t believe this.

    Bork:

    * opposed civil rights legislation;
    * opposed Griswold v. Connecticut (which outlawed the prohibition of contraceptives);
    * opposed Roe v. Wade;
    * in general believed that the state should have wide discretion to involve itself in individuals’ lives;
    * believed that the First Amendment only covers explicitly political speech (i.e. not artistic or scientific speech or expressions).

    And, of course, he was willing to obey Nixon’s blatantly illegal order to fire Cox.

    What did Kennedy and Biden say about Bork that was worse than this?

    Serious question.

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  57. becca says:

    @SKI: thank yew.

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  58. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner:

    But the longstanding precedent was the Presidents were entitled to have their SCOTUS nominees confirmed

    Republicans have been stating this as fact for a number of years but I have yet to see any evidence it was ever true. Given the “advise and consent” clause I think it more likely Presidents consulted with leadership before they picked and so the nominations went through without incident (for the most part). But starting in the Reagan/Gingrich Era Republicans started valuing sticking a finger in the eye of Democrats more than getting things done.

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  59. Fortunato says:

    @James Joyner:
    Kilmer was truly remarkable. And yes, he did goad Johnny Ringo into that fight.

    But Johnny Ringo and ‘The Cowboys’ (the Red Sash Gang) were doing to Tombstone the very thing Mitch McConnell and his Red Sash GOP Gang is trying to do to our Democratic Republic, and to working and middle class Americans.
    Our ‘Tombstone moment’ may be upon us and it seems long past time Democrats find ourselves a “Lunger”.

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  60. drj says:

    But the longstanding precedent was the Presidents were entitled to have their SCOTUS nominees confirmed

    This is… questionable at best.

    To wit: Johnson’s nominee to replace Earl Warren as Chief Justice was filibustered by the Senate, which allowed Nixon to appoint Warren Burger.

    Of course, Johnson’s candidate, Associate Justice Abe Fortas, remained on the Court (albeit for a short while), but Fortas’ projected replacement had to withdraw his candidacy.

    As a result, the Republicans and Dixiecrats got another not-so-liberal SC Justice instead.

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  61. Teve says:

    Theodore Kaczynski did impressive work in complex analysis. Not just brilliant, he was a prodigy.

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  62. gVOR08 says:

    @James Joyner:

    Bork was a weirdo with some severe baggage but widely considered brilliant.

    Charles Krauthammer was, IMHO, brilliant. He used it to become the most skillful liar I’ve ever read. Perhaps other qualities should also be sought in a Justice.

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  63. wr says:

    @Teve: Oh yeah. It’s gone from must-read to “oh my god I can’t stand the idea of getting back to work, isn’t there one more thing I could look at first.”

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  64. mattbernius says:

    @James Joyner:

    Bork was a weirdo with some severe baggage but widely considered brilliant. He got the top rating from the ABA. And Kennedy, Biden, and others wildly distorted his record in a smear campaign.

    From my readings into the case, the further you look into the Bork issue the less clear cut his defense becomes. From the start he was an incredibly polarizing figure that had no where near the support the Reagan thought he had.

    Yes, he received a top rating from the ABA, but the actual vote was apparently divided (it was a panel of 15 and the deliberations and final tallies were not recorded). See the Tribune’s coverage from ’87: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1987-09-10-8703080406-story.html

    Likewise, in other places Doug and others have pointed to a number of specific decisions and writings that demonstrated how his views were not out of line with how they were characterized. I mean, hell, in his friggin’ confirmation hearing HE DEFENDED A POLL TAX! in 1987!

    In both committee and on the floor Republicans crossed over to *vote against him.*

    Bork’s nomination was an act of hubris on Reagan’s part and never should have happened.

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  65. kb says:

    @michael reynolds:

    And it can happen faster than that.
    In the UK Labour went from having 41 Westminster seats out of 59 in Scotland to 1 seat. In 5 years.

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  66. mattbernius says:

    One other note on Bork, it’s worth noting that while “Bork” has become this great sticking point (and verb), everyone seems to forget about Meyers, who was essentially Borked by her own party.

    If the role of the Senate truly is to be an advise and consent rubber stamp, then what happened to her was arguably worse.

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  67. Gustopher says:

    While I personally support something like Medicare-for-all, the Sanders-Warren platform of taking away the private health insurance that middle-class Americans currently like is going to turn away people who would otherwise like to see Trump gone.

    “Medicare For All” makes a better bumper sticker than “Honestly, we will be lucky to get a public option on the ObamaCare exchanges”.

    And, electing someone who supports Medicare For All is going to put the pressure on the Joe Manchins of the party to accept the compromise of a public option — to start with a public option we would end up with probably nothing, even if we get a Democrat in the White House and both branches of Congress.

    Retreat to reasonable, let the opposition take a victory lap at us “only” getting a public option.

    ——
    And, yes, I would probably let States put poor cancer patients into a wood chipper if it meant we could get meaningful action on climate change (including an electric wood chipper), but that’s not a compromise that’s currently on the table. Pity Jay Inslee dropped out.

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  68. Matt says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Hi I’ve voted Democratic since 2004 and I find Beto’s statement to be more than a bit chilling. I voted for Hillary last presidential election and I even voted for Beto last election when he lost to Cruz. I will tell you that Beto’s comment has caused me and others in my circle of friends to decide not to vote for him in the future. I don’t like Cruz but I don’t like Beto’s shameless pandering to whoever/whatever to get attention/votes either. It also makes me hesitant to even bother voting in the next Presidential election. It’s a hassle to vote and I only bother because the Republicans have been fcking insane for a while now…. AKA I vote against the GOP more so than vote for the Democratic party. Now if the Democratic party would embrace universal healthcare, proper taxation of the rich, and such I’d find some motivation to vote for them.

    I’m a mayor Pete supporter even though we disagree on gun control. Pete’s been reasonable and intellectual about gun control related possibilities and I appreciate that.

    edit : Someone seems to be selling “just not for President” bumper stickers because I’ve seen a few Beto stickers on the back of various cars with the above mentioned sticker stuck on top…

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  69. An Interested Party says:

    Hi I’ve voted Democratic since 2004 and I find Beto’s statement to be more than a bit chilling.

    I wonder if the relatives and friends of all of the people killed in mass shootings involving the weapons he wants to outlaw would find his statement to be more than a bit chilling…

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  70. Matt says:

    @An Interested Party: Well considering more people are killed each year by punches and kicks I can’t be bothered to care that much. Hell more people die every day in car accidents. There’s a huge list of things that kill more people yearly and you don’t care about any single one of them because they can’t be used for your own selfish reasons…

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  71. dennis says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Now, take that argument, turn it around to apply to GoP’ers asking the same about abortion, then explain why they shouldn’t have their way.

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  72. Matt says:

    @dennis: In the past I’ve commented here that guns were to Democrats like abortion is to Republicans. Mentioning guns is one of the few ways to cause leftie Democrats to lose their mind…

    I have to agree with James P some here in that the way to the future isn’t to get Democratic party members to act like Republicans… I hope he’s doing well.

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  73. DrDaveT says:

    @dennis:

    Now, take that argument, turn it around to apply to GoP’ers asking the same about abortion, then explain why they shouldn’t have their way.

    Because fetuses aren’t people.

    What do I win?

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  74. steve says:

    The rumor was always out there that Bork fired Cox in return for a future SCOTUS nomination. In that case then not confirming based upon corruption, one of the conditions James says was permissible for denying confirmation, would apply.

    Steve

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  75. An Interested Party says:

    There’s a huge list of things that kill more people yearly and you don’t care about any single one of them because they can’t be used for your own selfish reasons…

    You don’t know completely what I care about and yeah, I’m just so selfish to want to prevent one way of killing people that we can actually do something about…

    @dennis: Yes, Republicans care a lot about abortions…a shame they don’t seem to care as much about children…

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  76. gVOR08 says:

    @Matt:

    Hell more people die every day in car accidents. There’s a huge list of things that kill more people yearly and you don’t care about any single one of them because they can’t be used for your own selfish reasons…

    Auto accidents kill roughly the same number of people every year as guns. I don’t understand your claim that we don’t care. We regulate the heck out of cars and have brought the death rate per vehicle mile way down. There is extensive regulation of vehicle design. States license both cars and drivers and require proper insurance. You good with similar requirements for guns?

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  77. Kit says:

    Just my luck: one of my rants kicks off its own post but I couldn’t be online most of the day.

    @James Joyner:

    I don’t know how we pull back from the tit-for-tat game. But the Republic won’t survive if we don’t figure it out.

    We seem to agree that the Republic hangs in the balance, and that Republicans are overwhelmingly to blame. So, yeah, I think that any solution will not involve going over or around them, but straight through them. The following issues must, in my opinion, be addressed:

    1) Swap draining: aggressively prosecute people at all levels who have broken the law, going back as far in time as the law allows (watch out those of you that tortured). And I would not follow the traditional strategy of using small fish to catch big ones, but rather the opposite: let people who actively undermined our institutions get a few years knocked off for turning in their underlings.

    2) Get the money out of politics. Tax the rich. Big money out of campagnes. Stop the revolving door between governmental regulators and business.

    3) Ensure an informed citizenry. Get educational standards up to first-world standards (even if this will not bear fruit for at least a generation). Ensure that outlets of propaganda such as Fox News cannot broadcast (damn difficult, I admit). Hold Google and Facebook responsible for the hate they allow to fester.

    4) End voter suppression. Gerrymandering, of course. All nonsense that keeps people from voting (ultimately, voting should be easy and as automatic as possible).

    To the extent that D’s get caught up in this net, well too bad for them.

    While I support gun control, immigration reform, and healthcare, those issues don’t matter to the same extent.

    The ultimate goal is to move on the environment. This will require us to think deeply about how the economy is structured.

    So, I see deeper causes than merely getting the boys and girls in the Legislature to play better together.

    Bringing it all back to the beginning, because of the above I do not see how a moderate Democrat could ever fit the bill.

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  78. James Joyner says:

    @MarkedMan: @drj: My statement was that Presidents were entitled to deference absent evidence of corruption or incompetence. Fortas was corrupt. A couple of the Nixon nominees were incompetent. But we really didn’t start voting down nominees on the basis of ideology until quite recently. Even after Bork, Scalia and RBJ got confirmed unanimously.

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  79. Kit says:

    I should have added that I believe the result of carrying out the above actions would be to effectively smash the Republican party.

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  80. drj says:

    @James Joyner:

    My statement was that Presidents were entitled to deference absent evidence of corruption or incompetence. Fortas was corrupt. A couple of the Nixon nominees were incompetent. But we really didn’t start voting down nominees on the basis of ideology until quite recently.

    This is simply not true.

    I am not here to defend Fortas, but it is relevant to note that the scandal that forced him to resign from the Court only became known after his failed nomination as Chief Justice.

    Even more importantly, you seem to have ignored the text I linked to:

    In June 1968, Chief Justice Earl Warren informed President Lyndon Johnson that he planned to retire from the Supreme Court. Concern that Richard Nixon might win the presidency later that year and get to choose his successor dictated Warren’s timing.

    In the final months of his presidency, Johnson shared Warren’s concerns about Nixon and welcomed the opportunity to add his third appointee to the Court. To replace Warren, he nominated Associate Justice Abe Fortas, his longtime confidant. Anticipating Senate concerns about the prospective chief justice’s liberal opinions, Johnson simultaneously declared his intention to fill the vacancy created by Fortas’ elevation with Appeals Court Judge Homer Thornberry. The president believed that Thornberry, a Texan, would mollify skeptical southern senators.

    That’s from https://www.senate.gov/, by the way.

    I think we can safely conclude that Fortas’ liberal record caused his nomination to fail.

    Bonus material from Wikipedia:

    Senator Thurmond spent considerably more time raising awareness of the Supreme Court’s overturning of a number of obscenity rulings dealing with pornographic films, which Fortas had consistently voted in favor of on First Amendment grounds. Thurmond obtained some of the films in question and played them in the Senate building while the hearings were out of session, eventually admitting them to the official record. He was lampooned in the press as a pornographer himself for these tactics—the showings became the “Fortas Film Festival”—but the association of Fortas with some of the films’ strip-teases and especially the rape or homosexual sex depicted in one called Flaming Creatures was effective. Many, including Nixon adviser Pat Buchanan, credit Thurmond’s efforts for ruining Fortas’s nomination.

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  81. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @James Joyner: As far as I’m concerned, Bork permanently forfeited his right to any consideration for SCOTUS when he was Nixon’s willing accomplice in the Saturday Night Massacre.

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  82. SKI says:

    @James Joyner:

    But we really didn’t start voting down nominees on the basis of ideology until quite recently. Even after Bork, Scalia and RBJ got confirmed unanimously.

    As noted above, this isn’t true. It isn’t close to true. As I mentioned up thread, George Washington had a nominee rejected. That rejection was for political/ideological reasons – he opposed the Jay Treaty.

    Let me be both clear and blunt: OVER 20% of ALL SCOTUS NOMINATIONS HAVE BEEN UNSUCCESSFUL

    Of the 44 Presidents in the history of the United States, 41 have made nominations to the Supreme Court. They made a total of 162 nominations, of which 125 (more than three-quarters) received Senate confirmation. Also, on 12 occasions in the nation’s history, Presidents have made temporary recess appointments to the Court, without first submitting nominations to the Senate. Of the 37 unsuccessful Supreme Court nominations, 11 were rejected in Senate roll-call votes, 11 were withdrawn by the President, and 15 lapsed at the end of a session of Congress.

    So, the real question, James, is *why* you are so convinced that this practice is (a) new and (b) unusual? Who is selling that story? and why are you believing them?

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  83. wr says:

    @Matt: “Hi I’ve voted Democratic since 2004 and I find Beto’s statement to be more than a bit chilling”

    Yes… but you’re a gun nut.

    You seem to be singularly unaware that you come across as obsessed with your ability to own weapons that can murder dozens of people in seconds, but it is the only topic you post on with passion. When there are discussions of the morality of gun ownership, you flood the internets with near-pornographic accounts of the technical specs of the weapons you love. In your mind, your desire to own these objects far outweighs anyone’s concern about the harm they cause.

    And that’s all fine. Free country and all that.

    But please don’t expect me to take you seriously when you give us the not-in-anger-but-in-sorrow statements about how the current conversation about guns is just so darn extreme you are finally going to be driven not to vote. For years, ANY conversation about regulating gun ownership has been far too extreme for you.

    We get it. For reasons I will never pretend to understand, gun ownership to you is the single most important fact of your life. If that’s your life, knock yourself out — but please don’t expect me to worry when you warn me that anyone is going too far left on gun control.

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  84. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner: The notion that the Senate should set aside their constitutional prerogatives and confirm virtually anyone the President nominates has always struck me as absurd. Why should this be the norm? It has a very George-Will-ish aspect to it: a reasonable sounding norm invented out of whole cloth to push forward a specific Republican goal (confirmation of Bork) that upon closer examination makes no sense whatsoever, and that will be trashed by Republicans the minute it is inconvenient.

    Here’s what the norm should be: A sitting president should be able to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court and the Senate leaders should work with them in good faith, recognizing the will of the people in the president’s election but at the same time not caving in and approving an extremist.

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  85. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Kit:

    The following issues must, in my opinion, be addressed…

    So, Warren, right?

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  86. michael reynolds says:

    @dennis:
    Sometimes an issue is an issue, and sometimes it’s just a blind for an entirely different issue. Abortion is not, and never has been, about the fetus. No one on either side gives a rat’s ass about a fetus.

    I’d offer this analogy: deficits. When Republicans talk about the bad effects of deficits, the cost, the drag on the economy and all the rest, do you think it’s really just about prudent economic decisions? Or do you think maybe it’s really about white people upset that black and brown people are getting something from the government? Because as soon as we need another trillion in deficit spending for defense, or to pay off billionaire tax dodgers, we always find it, and no one in the GOP utters a peep.

    When it comes to abortion the issue is not fetuses but women. If Republicans actually gave a fk about a fetus they’d give an equal fk about children, and they clearly don’t. They care only so long as ‘caring’ allows them to control women. As soon as the fetus becomes a baby, they lose all interest.

    The gun issue is about frail masculinity, and about race-paranoia, and about domestic abusers, and yes, a teeny tiny bit about hunters. If it was about home security gun manufacturers would be falling all over themselves to make ‘safe guns’ that require a bio marker. If it was about hunting we’d be laughing at the losers who thought they should hunt deer with a thirty round magazine. The gun issue is about insecure men, racists, and spousal abusers and people who are all three.

    No one cares much about some guy in a rough neighborhood having a .38 for protection. No one cares about the deer hunter with a 30-06. The problem is people buying large numbers of guns and stocking up more ammo than they’ll ever need for any purpose other than gunning down people who look like you, or speak another language, or who come from the same middle-eastern tribe as me.

    You need to wise up on this issue. Those stockpiles of weapons and ammo are for blowing a hole in you and your wife and your kids just as soon as some unhinged white man thinks he’s found an excuse.

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  87. gVOR08 says:

    @James Joyner:

    My statement was that Presidents were entitled to deference absent evidence of corruption or incompetence.

    What @MarkedMan: said. Where the hell is that written? Why is someone well outside the legal mainstream entitled to automatic confirmation as long as you can’t prove he was bribed?

    As an aside, despite not sitting as a Justice Bork still managed to completely screw up anti-trust law in this country. Think how much more damage he could have done on the Court.

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  88. gVOR08 says:

    Agree almost completely. There was recently a study showing strong correlation between anti-abortion and anti-woman attitudes.

    My one disagreement is,

    Or do you think maybe it’s really about white people upset that black and brown people are getting something from the government?

    That’s how they sell it to the rubes, not what it’s about. What it’s about is rich people not paying taxes.

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  89. MarkedMan says:

    @michael reynolds:

    No one on either side gives a rat’s ass about a fetus.

    While I agree with your overall point, I disagree strongly with this and suspect that if you think about it you will too.

    One of the thing that makes abortion such a difficult subject is that one side spouts an absolute, “Life begins at conception”, that is semantically meaningless and leads to an impossible value system (all IV personnel should be on death row). But people have absorbed this as truth and they feel righteous in defending it. We in turn feel righteous in pointing out it is absurd and that a fetus is not the same as a person. But we go way too far with the above statement and legitimately anger people who feel that only a psycho would feel that way and therefore can be dismissed. Look. You have kids. When your wife was pregnant did you “not give a rats ass about the fetus”? Did you sit there like an accountant as they developed, with no emotional investment until the day they popped out?

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  90. mattbernius says:

    @MarkedMan:

    While I agree with your overall point, I disagree strongly with this and suspect that if you think about it you will too.

    Seconded.

    This is one of those areas where, IMO, rational thought and reasoning tends to break down. At some level there can be no fundamental 100% agreement on Abortion. And I think both sides need to accept that there are deeply held personal beliefs and convictions on both sides that are incommensurate and will prevent that from ever reaching consensus.

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  91. Kit says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    So, Warren, right?

    Hell, yeah! No one else comes close.

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  92. michael reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    My wife was pregnant 40 years ago. Having the kid would have been a disaster, for the kid as much as for us. So we got an abortion. Here’s how much it mattered: we keep forgetting it ever happened.

    If these pro-lifers love them some other folks’ fetuses, how come they don’t love their children? Do they support birth control to limit the number of abortions? No. The morning after pill which acts before a fetus can form? No. How about free care for indigent mothers? No. Childhood nutrition? Nope. A future of drastic climate change for those loved kids? Nah, that’s all fake news.

    Any issues with ripping little brown children from the arms of their mothers and sticking the kid in a cage? No. How about losing the kid? Cool. How about building a wall so that desperate refugee children can die of thirst on the wrong side of that wall? Absolutely fine with that.

    Gee, I love cars, but only up the point they leave the factory. Then, screw ’em. I love good food, but only while it’s being prepared, once it’s plated I’m indifferent.

    It is bullsht. I’m not saying they don’t think they care, or that they don’t work themselves up into mawkish weep-fests, but it’s still bullsht. Women have a power men do not and men can’t stand it. The women who’ve bought into that patriarchal crap are evangelicals – heavily patriarchal – and Catholics who officially can’t allow a woman no matter how pious to join their all-male child rape club. Surprisingly (!) less patriarchal religious groups are pro-choice or at least neutral.

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  93. michael reynolds says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Adding a point: professed beliefs are not worth the paper they’re not printed on. They’re vapor absent actions. Tell me you believe in an omnipotent, omniscient God and then casually defy that same God? Your professed belief is bullsht. Tell me you believe abortion is murder but you oppose sex education, condoms and birth control? Your professed belief is bullsht.

    It’s great fun to strike a pose that lets you look down on your fellow man. It’s a very different thing to actually prove you have those beliefs by reflecting it in your actions.

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  94. wr says:

    @wr: Hmm. Colt just announced they’ve suspended production of the AR-15 for the commercial market, and will only make them for the military.

    I wonder if the gun makers are able to sense a shift in the country that the devoted gun-lovers can’t perceive…

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  95. An Interested Party says:

    Tell me you believe abortion is murder but you oppose sex education, condoms and birth control?

    The continuously telling sign…are there any major anti-abortion groups that promote sex education and birth control?

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  96. dennis says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Yeah, but they say that fetuses ARE people. Look, Dr. Dave, I’m as appalled at these senseless killings as anyone. But as long as there are crazy chucks running around hollering for a race war, I.am.not.giving.up.my.arms. Nosiree. I don’t find being a soft target for these nutcrackers anywhere near appealing. Of course, 24 years of law enforcement has me conditioned to being armed. I can’t help it anymore.

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  97. dennis says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The gun issue is about frail masculinity, and about race-paranoia, and about domestic abusers, and yes, a teeny tiny bit about hunters . . . The gun issue is about insecure men, racists, and spousal abusers and people who are all three.

    The problem is people buying large numbers of guns and stocking up more ammo than they’ll ever need for any purpose other than gunning down people who look like you, or speak another language, or who come from the same middle-eastern tribe as me.

    I do not disagree with anything you said, Michael. Remember last month when you schooled me on the fact that Whites are still the majority, and that any race war will end badly for minorities? Well, that is why I’m not giving up my arms. Yeah, I’m definitely insecure about crazy white men lately. I’m definitely race-paranoid. Not a spousal abuser, though.

    Apart from the fact that I carried arms for 24 years and am just used to being armed, I’m not willing to be a soft target for one of these crackpot chucks to gun me down on a bright, sunny day. Nope. I’ll give up mine when EVERYBODY gives up theirs.

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  98. wr says:

    @dennis: “I’ll give up mine when EVERYBODY gives up theirs.”

    Well, that’s kind of the idea of mandatory buybacks…

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  99. dennis says:

    @wr:

    Yeah, sure. That’s not gonna happen. Look, do you remember when Cliven Bundy and his clan called for all those militia assholes to go help him out against the gubmint unlawfully taking his cattle? And said militia assholes were pointing sniper rifles at federal agents? Do you really believe THAT bunch is going to comply with mandatory buy back laws? Get real. They are a lawless bunch who believe America is for THEM, and the rest of us can go kick rocks. Nah, I’ll keep my arms, thank you.

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  100. Matt says:

    @gVOR08: Only if you include all gun related deaths including suicide (suicide being responsible for the majority of gun related deaths). The person I was responding to was talking about mass shootings not all gun deaths. So your “point” is irrelevant to the conversation that was ongoing.

    I don’t understand your claim that we don’t care.

    What have you done to get universal health care for everyone in this country? What have you done to help alleviate inner city violence? Do you volunteer as an EMT? Do you volunteer as a life guard even? See you don’t care about saving lives unless it aligns with your hobby horse..

    We regulate the heck out of cars and have brought the death rate per vehicle mile way down.

    We also regulate the heck out of guns. Every time I start citing said regulations the response here is a collective ear covering and “neener neener I don’t care about your gun porn!!!” instead of a reasonable conversation about the laws.

    You good with similar requirements for guns?

    If you would actually read my posts you’d already know the answer. That’s too much effort though because you know the gun people are evil and want to kill everyone so why bother reading their post right?

    @wr: Oh and here’s exactly what I was just talking about. Another one that cannot be bothered to read what I posted and instead has decided to substitute their own version of what they want my posts to be.

    The rest is emotional drivel that has no connection to reality or my posts here. I don’t even know why you bothered.

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  101. Matt says:

    My advice to the Democrats on guns is the same advice I give Republicans when it comes to abortion.

    Want to lower the number of abortions each year? Then get to work on stopping the abortion from even being considered. Get to the root of the problem and that is the terrible sex education in this country and the lack of ease of access to contraceptives. Give people the knowledge and tools to avoid becoming pregnant and the whole abortion thing will sort itself out over time. Oh but we can’t do that because sluts something something bible or something…

    Want to lower the number of people killed each year? Then get some work done on the root of the violence and the people pulling the trigger. Banning “assault weapons” would reduce yearly murders by less than 1% at MOST assuming you make every single gun magically disappear. That’s a straight fact. Get to the root social and economic issues that cause people to be dissatisfied/angry and you’ll achieve a vast improvement in all aspects of American life. Oh but we can’t do that because then we’d have to face the reality of how fucked up we are as a people in this country and it’d be hard. So much easier to make token actions like banning objects…..

    EDIT : Also we as a country need to grow up when it comes to mental health and treatments. Some people need help to function normally in society and we should be providing it for the good of all. I consider mental health to be a core part of universal healthcare as a result.

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  102. Matt says:

    @wr:

    Colt just announced they’ve suspended production of the AR-15 for the commercial market, and will only make them for the military.

    That is NOT what Colt said.

    Firearms manufacturer Colt says it is suspending production of its popular AR-15 semi-automatic assault-style rifle for the civilian market, saying it will concentrate instead on fulfilling contracts from the military and law enforcement.

    While law enforcement will sometimes use the AR-15 they tend to use the m4 and m16 variations far more often. The military has no use for the AR-15… The contracts mentioned are NOT for AR-15s. Those contracts are for real assault rifles such as the M4 or m16a3whateveritisnow. I believe colt is still making some handguns for the military too. So there is certainly some other stuff too.

    That lie of yours was positively Republican/conservative of you…..

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  103. An Interested Party says:

    Then get to work on stopping the abortion from even being considered. Get to the root of the problem and that is the terrible sex education in this country and the lack of ease of access to contraceptives.

    That will never happen, as most of the people who are opposed to abortion are also opposed to sex education and easy access to contraceptives…

    Then get some work done on the root of the violence and the people pulling the trigger.

    Oh, you mean like a CDC study of gun violence…a pity that many of the same people who are opposed to sex education and contraceptives also oppose such a study…

    Also we as a country need to grow up when it comes to mental health and treatments. Some people need help to function normally in society and we should be providing it for the good of all. I consider mental health to be a core part of universal healthcare as a result.

    Once again, there is a ready-made solution for that too, but certain people also oppose that…

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  104. wr says:

    @Matt: That “lie” of mine is exactly what it says in the article you just quoted.

    To wit: My lie — “Colt just announced they’ve suspended production of the AR-15 for the commercial market, and will only make them for the military.”

    The article — “Firearms manufacturer Colt says it is suspending production of its popular AR-15 semi-automatic assault-style rifle for the civilian market, saying it will concentrate instead on fulfilling contracts from the military and law enforcement.”

    Is my “lie” that the military doesn’t want AR-15s and thus “fullfilling contracts” means making other kinds of guns? Wow, you’ve really got me there! I mean, this completely undercuts my point that Colt has decided not to make more assault weapons for popular consumption.

    And now you may lecture me on how “assault weapons” are different from “assault-style weapons” because that’s what’s really important here.

    Look, I’m sorry I called you a gun nut. I should have simply said you were a tedious bore incapable of understanding the big picture relating to gun ownership in this country because you were so obsessed with your hobby you can’t imagine any real American not sharing your fetish. Now can we be friends again?

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  105. Matt says:

    @wr:

    Is my “lie” that the military doesn’t want AR-15s and thus “fullfilling contracts” means making other kinds of guns?

    This is your lie.

    Colt just announced they’ve suspended production of the AR-15 for the commercial market, and will only make them for the military.

    Colt did not quit making AR-15s for the commercial market so they could concentrate on making AR-15s for the military. As I said the military doesn’t want ar-15s they want real assault rifles…

    And now you may lecture me on how “assault weapons” are different from “assault-style weapons” because that’s what’s really important here.

    Well considering assault weapon is a vague made up term from the 90s there’s nothing to argue there. You can call anything an assault weapon..

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