Tuesday, January 28, 2020

A War on Four Fronts

Whether it's a fight over policy or a presidential elections, in modern politics Democrats are always forced to fight a war on four fronts.

First, Democrats must always struggle against an opposition party of bigots and imbeciles, led by a gang of vandals and madmen.

Second, Democrats must push back against a cynical political press and it's pathological Both Siderism in the face of overwhelming evidence that Both Sides are most emphatically not equally and oppositely to blame of the failure of American political institutions.
Third, Democrats must continue to slog forward in the face of sustained fire from the Jill Stein/Glenn Greenwald Left for whom any solution to any problem other than "Blow everything up and start over!!!" is counterrevolutionary treason and worse than four more years of Trump.

And fourth, Democrats must contend with the fact that no matter how sonic boom loud or clarion clear their words and ideas may be, they will always fall on the deaf ears of the 50% of the country who are completely checked out and do not know or care about any of this.

And while Republicans need only worry about using their vast media empire focused on keeping their homogeneous, ignorant, racist base whipped up and all goose-stepping pointed in the same direction, to get anything done, Democrats must continuously fight this four front war while trying to hold together an incredibly diverse and volatile coalition.  From Ezra Klein in the NYT:
Put simply, Democrats can’t win running the kinds of campaigns and deploying the kinds of tactics that succeed for Republicans. They can move to the left — and they are — but they can’t abandon the center or, given the geography of American politics, the center-right, and still hold power. Democrats are modestly, but importantly, restrained by diversity and democracy. Republicans are not...

Appealing to Democrats requires appealing to a lot of different kinds of people with different interests. Republicans are overwhelmingly dependent on white voters. Democrats are a coalition of liberal whites, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and mixed-race voters. Republicans are overwhelmingly dependent on Christian voters. Democrats are a coalition of liberal and nonwhite Christians, Jews, Muslims, New Agers, agnostics, Buddhists and so on. Three-quarters of Republicans identify as conservative, while only half of Democrats call themselves liberals — and for Democrats, that’s a historically high level.

As a result, winning the Democratic primary means winning liberal whites in New Hampshire and traditionalist blacks in South Carolina. It means talking to Irish Catholics in Boston and atheists in San Francisco. It means inspiring liberals without arousing the fears of moderates. It’s important preparation for the difficult, pluralistic work of governing, in which the needs and concerns of many different groups must be balanced against one another.
So since we're all going to lob bombs at each other during the primaries, how about sticking to flashbang grenades that temporarily stun, and not bunker-busters designed to so cripple a primary opponent so brutally that, even if your favorite candidate wins the endorsement of the Democratic Party, they will limp into the general election mortally wounded and having left nothing but bitter resentment in their wake?

Yep, Still in Twitter Jail


RedHawk said...

Now THIS is political commentary! I've got a friend (or ten) who've been asking why Republicans never seem to have Democrats circular firing squad problems.

bill said...

The political press is NOT cynical. They are calculating. Their aim is to keep an audience and sponsors fueling their performance art. Without a baseline of objective truth and accepted historical facts, they need only present today's backenforth in a seemingly contextual way. Not against any backdrop of reason or sanity. Yes, it's crazy, we all KNOW it's crazy, so we're gonna show you how crazy it was today, then hold forth on the overall craziness of it all.

What's your argument? You want folks to grasp WHY it's crazy? How does that sustain long enough to take hold? You're right, of course, but today's crazy narrative only reinforces the script.

bowtiejack said...


W from Kentuckystan said...

I appreciated Eric Alterman's article in this weeks edition of The Nation. He blasts both-siderism! Especially as represented by the NYT.

W from Kentuckystan said...

I think you might appreciate Eric Alterman's article in this weeks edition of The Nation. He blasts both siderism, especially that represented by the NYT

E.A. Blair said...

Link, please?

Anonymous said...

Democrats also have the problem that the Purity Angels don't seem to care about any policy or progress short of America becoming Denmark, which will never happen. Why? The "swing state" low information uneducated white bigots are easy picking for Republican lies, hate and demagoguery, and the slave state protecting "2 senators per state", regardless of population, has killed our democracy.

Marc McKenzie said...

Not to brag, but...you just out down what I realized way back in 2000 when Gore was subjected to the four-front war. And as we saw with Gore, and with Hillary, you can win the popular vote and still lose because of the EC...and that was due in no small part to the third front that you described.

But many thanks for this, Driftglass--becuase it is the cold, blunt truth and we'd better be ready to fight that four-front war and win it this year. To quote a certain commander, "There is no other option".