As the electioneering gears up, keep this in mind

Given how Democrats and the media have dealt with them before, I predict there will be much moaning about whether a given candidate might appeal to Trumpsters. I want to vote for a Democrat of the sort that Trumpsters will hate. Trying to appease racists with a middle-of-the-road compromiser will just give us more racists in office.


  1. says

    Appeasement has such a glorious historical record, doesn’t it? The notion that Trumpists need to be placated in 2020 is dreck. His voters supported him for two reasons: (1) rich people supported him because he would elevate plutocracy; (2) poor and middle-class people supported him because he embodied their fears and prejudices—he’d hurt the people they wanted hurt.

    The Democrats need a candidate and a platform that reject the hatred and prejudice and oligarchs.

  2. patricklinnen says

    There is a reason that I continued to follow Melissa McEwan at her Shakesville blog while dropping a number of ‘progressive’ blog. While supporting candidate Barack Obama’s run for presidency, she also posted entries debunking misogynistic attacks on candidate Hillary Clinton. And further one she also posted entries debunking misogynistic attacks on Sarah Palin. [font=Comic Sans]Because, like, her political positions were so hard to difficult to counter.[/font]

    It really says a lot when a person cares more about looks or likability than policy positions. Unfortunately this does seem the best way to get hired as a TV or newspaper pundit.

  3. lotharloo says

    Given how Democrats and the media have dealt with them before, I predict there will be much moaning about whether a given candidate might appeal to Trumpsters. I want to vote for a Democrat of the sort that Trumpsters will hate. Trying to appease racists with a middle-of-the-road compromiser will just give us more racists in office.

    Exactly. This is a very frustrating habit of some liberals and Democrats who would not support someone because they think Republicans will not like their candidate. For example, it is fine if you don’t like Bernie Sanders but I talked to so many people whose primary reason for dismissing him was that “He’s not electable. His policies are too extreme, i.e., too much to the left.” Republicans elected a liar, con-artist, someone with numerous allegations of sexual assault misconduct against him, conspiracy theory peddler, nazi sympathizer, racist, sexist, and a completely incompetent fool who apparently cannot read more than a page at a sitting. And in the process they never factored in whether the “left” will like their candidate.

  4. stroppy says

    … also under the heading of appeasement, there’s generally little percentage in trying to avoid every innocuous thing that Republicans will viciously attack. They will viciously attack everything no matter what. Be stout hearted.

  5. larpar says

    lotharloo @# 3
    “And in the process they never factored in whether the “left” will like their candidate.”
    They actually factored in the opposite. Which candidate will piss off the liberals the most.

  6. patricklinnen says

    larpar @6;
    yeah no.

    Trump is all about what used to be said quietly is now said out loud, with a mega-phone. The goal of pissing off the libs, as an example sticking one’s head in the rolling coal exhaust of a 4×4, is frankly below repealing ObamaCare in favour of the Affordable Care Act.

  7. gijoel says

    There isn’t enough oxygen on this planet to argue with bigoted arseholes. Personally I hate arguing with people (thanks abusive childhood) and Trumpsters and their ilk don’t really care about what you think. I knew two of them a few years ago, and I have to say cutting off contact with them has done me the world of good.

    I hope that made sense as I’m tired.

  8. doubtthat says

    Democrats dwelling on likability is an odd take. In my lifetime, the Dems have run the candidate dubbed “unlikable” more often than the reverse – Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, Hillary…

    I do think it gets used as a catchall for bashing a candidate while avoiding policy and such, but I just don’t think the main culprits in this are Democrats, generally speaking. I think this is much more a media phenomenon. Like, Donald Trump, based on every metric, is insanely unlikable, but he doesn’t get dubbed that because the media sees a bunch of NASCAR fans speaking in tongues every time he lumbers by and decides he has “it.” Everyone hates the guy. His own family hates him.
    “Likability” has a perverse history in this country – especially when applied to women and minorities – but I really think this comic makes more sense if you replace “likability” in that frame with “electability.”

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    Don’t these people remember what happened when US voters sort-of elected that guy “you’d like to have a beer with”?

  10. HawkAtreides says

    That bottom-left panel needs to be way bigger. There are a couple blogs I read where the commenters – and sometimes the authors – will dismiss every single criticism of Obama’s Presidency or Hillary’s candidacy from the left as racism or misogyny, even when the only thing being discussed is policy issues, and even when those criticisms are coming from people who otherwise supported one or both. Too many fauxgressives willing to do the alt-right’s work for them by crying “regressive left” if the Received And Infallible Wisdom of a Chosen One is criticized in any way.

    As for “likability”, and even “electability”, they seem to have become substitutions for “moderate”. Given how far right our Overton Window has shifted in just the ~40 years I’ve been alive, the “moderate” of today was a staunch conservative in my childhood. It’s flabbergasting to see that anyone so much as mentioning a tax bracket above 40% is considered a far-left socialist who wants to destroy America when we survived just fine with brackets higher than that pre-Reagan (the top tax bracket was at least 50%, and often higher than that, in every year from 1932 through 1986 if I’m reading the history right). It’s doubly mystifying to see Democrats tear down left-wing candidates as “unrealistic” or engaging in “magical thinking” for saying that even a reversion toward the brackets we had during the first term of the GOP’s patron saint Ronald Reagan might generally help pay toward government-funded non-military services.

  11. says

    the Dems have run the candidate dubbed “unlikable” more often than the reverse – Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, Hillary…

    What’s unlikable about any of them? What you’re describing is the effectiveness of the media in dubbing perfectly ordinary, competent people “unlikable”.

    Yet somehow a washed-up, union-busting actor, a former head of the CIA, and bumbling incompetent alcoholic are played up as “likable”. Because they were Republican.

  12. doubtthat says

    @PZ Myers

    I mean, I’m 100% with you. I think “likability” is this bizarre, arbitrary concept applied to certain politicians by the media in an entirely capricious manner, save for it always gets attached to Democrats or people on the left. I heard Elizabeth Warren described as “unlikable” the other day, which, huh?
    My objection to the comic was just what you point out: I don’t think “likability” arguments are near the top of the problems the left (broadly speaking) has internally. That’s media shit.
    But Hillary Clinton was just the nominee, and everyone who voted for her or supported her in the primary knew that the broader culture, lead by the media, considered her “unlikable.” And yet she was the nominee, so I just don’t see how that’s a valid criticism of Democrats or the left or the primary process.

  13. says

    I’m not so sure that “likeability” is exactly what the Democratic establishment has been chasing. They haven’t been going for candidates who want to be your friend.

    What they have pushed is the idea that a Democratic candidate for President should actively kick the base in the teeth to try to attract Republican votes. (That was very explicitly Hillary Clinton’s strategy in 2016, as confirmed by Schumer in the famous interview.) There is a perception on the part of the Clintonian side of the party that there are Republican voters who are somehow “moderate”, who can be peeled off from the Republican vote by careful messaging and positioning, possibly because so many of them are basically Republicans themselves. (Supported Reagan’s NAFTA, both the Bushes’ Iraq wars, strong anti-drug laws, etc.)

    I haven’t seen any evidence that these mythical “moderate” Republicans who might change their mind actually exist — the group that I know exists is disaffected leftists and former-Democrats, who often don’t bother to vote because the party is in the hands of basically-Republicans. I suspect that there aren’t actually a lot of people in the US who are really undecided about which party they’ll vote for if they vote, the question for the overwhelming majority is whether they will bother to vote at all. On that score, polls have suggested for decades that the Democrats would pretty certainly win if they could get all their sympathizers to show up to the polls — but they keep backing candidates whose idea of campaigning is to show off how quickly the can stab the base in the back (Hillary Clinton), or who campaign to the base and then balk at carrying out anything once in office (Barack Obama — over 90% of Americans, regardless of party affiliation, wanted a smackdown of the financial sector in 2009… can you name the single person who went to prison for the banks’ role in the 2008 meltdown, who served less time than Chelsea Manning?). The former is a direct invitation to not vote, and the latter has taught voters to ignore the party’s messaging even when it seems like it might be worth voting.

  14. starfleetdude says

    I think the word ‘likability’ in that cartoon is just another way of saying “don’t vote for a candidate who is insufficiently left”. Beto O’Rourke is possibly the most charismatic Democrat in the mix for the Democratic nomination in 2020, and his personal appeal is something to consider, even if he’s deemed by some to be so much centrist neo-lib scum.

  15. lanir says

    The compromise with racists is simple and straightforward. It’s the same compromise you have with people who have committed horrible crimes.

    When they stop acting out their worst impulses and ask to rejoin society, let them.

    That’s all. No backsliding without serious consequences. No mandatory forgiveness. No rejoining in a place of prominence, they’ve screwed up and need to re-earn any positions of respect they may once have held and that includes extra proof they won’t abuse our trust again.

    Racism isn’t necessarily the same thing as a serious crime but it can lead to or excuse serious crimes. So I personally feel the same revulsion toward racists that right wingers feel toward immigrants who have murdered someone. So a similar treatment is required. Exile isn’t practical and I can’t for the life of me see the death penalty as anything other than state sanctioned murder so this is the only reasonable option that remains.