There are no victories

There were elections yesterday, and the results were encouraging. Virginia flipped their state senate, and is now a Democratic majority state. Kentucky threw out their lickspittle Republican governor. This is all good news.

I’m seeing lots of happy liberals and leftists gleefully declaring that McConnell must be pissing his pants, Trump must be trembling in fear, Republicans must be dreading next year’s election. I just want to say…no, they’re not. We’re the ones who should be worried.

McConnell isn’t afraid. He’s scheming right now: what laws can he abuse, what palms can he grease, what arms can he twist, what rats need fucking, to make sure there is no November 2019 repeat in 2020. Trump is less subtle. He’s angry and is thinking about what minorities he can slander, what country he can attack, and who will be his scapegoat. He’s going to lash out and it’s going to get ugly.

Remember, when fighting sewer rats, backing them into a corner doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing to victory now.


  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    When Tony Evers won the governorship of Wisconsin from the odious Scott Walker, what’s the first thing that the still-GOP controlled State House and Senates do? Draft a bill that stripped a lot of the new Governor’s powers, that’s what! Of course, the governor took the matter to the state supreme court, a state supreme court packed with elected right-wing tools ready to rule in favor of their GOP fellows. Depending on who has the majority in the Kentucky state outhouse house, I expect their local Republicans will follow suit an work to neuter their new governor.

    There is no such thing as a “philosophical victory.” As long as the Dems think they that “doing the right thing” believing that process is going to save them, they are going to get played. In order to protect the rights of others, It’s time to adopt a far more ends-justifies-the-means ethic. If lying, cheating, and (sometimes literal) backstabbing are what is necessary to advance reproductive rights, sexual equality, LGBTQ liberty and other goals we Leftists claim to cherish, then so be it. It works for the Right, it can work for the Left.

  2. kenbakermn says

    Even if the Democrats sweep the senate, house, and white house in 2020, it will be too soon to celebrate. The Confederacy will still be out there regrouping. We can celebrate when all trace of the disease that lead to the current infection in the white house is gone. That probably won’t happen in my life time.

  3. PaulBC says

    kenbakermn@3 Too soon to celebrate? Right now, I’m wondering if it’s too soon to say “US democracy is done, stick a fork in it.” At best, the 2020 election could provide some respite, but we never even undid the damage of Reaganomics and Bush’s forever war before Trump sent us backward at an accelerating pace. Plus, I now understand that at least 35% of Americans want to turn back the modest cultural progress we’ve made over 70 years or so.

    So in short, I agree, but celebration was about the last thing on my mind. It’s going to be a long slog.

  4. blf says

    Woman who gave Trump the finger elected in Virginia:

    Juli Briskman, who lost her job after the photo went viral in 2017, won seat on the Loudoun county board of supervisors


    Also in Virginia on Tuesday, the first Muslim state senator was elected. Ghazala Hashmi, a Democrat, focused her campaign on improving education in the state […]

    Hashmi was also one of several candidates elected to state positions in Virginia who championed gun safety reform. The advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety said candidates who support stricter gun laws are now the majority in Virginia’s House and Senate, primarily because Democrats are now the majority in the state.


  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    PaulBC @ 4

    Plus, I now understand that at least 35% of Americans want to turn back the modest cultural progress we’ve made over 70 years or so.

    I often wonder how much longer our society can last as long as the Right remains a viable force in American society. It might be just worth it to cede them their own corner of North America where they can stew in their cultural and economic stupidity and stagnation, if it means the rest of civilization to progress unmolested. You Bible-humping, gun-toting, “patriots” don’t want to live under our supposed socialist, secular humanist, globalist “Big Government,” eh? Fine, meanwhile we don’t want to live under your insular, backward, and racist mixture of cut-throat plutocracy and theocratic Christianity. If we can’t live together, then we’re going to have to find a way to live apart.

    And no, I don’t give out much hope for the great demographic change that promises to sweep away the Right once and for all. I’ve been hearing how conservatism is doom since Nixon, and since then we’ve had a Reagan, two Bushs, and a Trump to contend with. Besides, even the marginalized can embrace religious and economic authoritarianism as easily as the rednecks can.

    I don’t do “hope.”

  6. consciousness razor says

    If lying, cheating, and (sometimes literal) backstabbing are what is necessary to advance reproductive rights, sexual equality, LGBTQ liberty and other goals we Leftists claim to cherish, then so be it.

    Those aren’t necessary. (The dishonesty is all you … and more of your murder fantasies? Get help.)

    It works for the Right, it can work for the Left.

    No, it can’t work that progressives engage in lying, cheating, and literal backstabbing. We have to care about those things too — you mentioned “other goals,” remember?
    Assholes like you don’t care, but that makes no difference.

  7. Akira MacKenzie says

    “Murder fantasy,” eh? And here I thought my desire to see evil utterly destroyed was healthy.

  8. Akira MacKenzie says

    cr @ 7

    No, it can’t work that progressives engage in lying, cheating, and literal backstabbing.

    Well, I’m sure the Right will appreciates your co-operation, because they lie, cheat, and backstab, and they’re winning.

  9. PaulBC says


    And here I thought my desire to see evil utterly destroyed was healthy.

    Not as far as I’m concerned. You do realize that “evil” is an abstract concept. Do you have a workable plan for this? Even George W. Bush only promised to rid the world of evildoers. And how’s that working out? I guess he’ll get back to it after he finishes a few more paintings. Last I checked, we still had evildoers.

    So no, it’s not “healthy” to desire that which is impossible (like eliminating all “evildoers”) or worse that which is nonsensical like the total destruction of a concept. I mean, I guess it’s healthy to say “I’d like it better if it was this other way.” but using this view to justify murder is not healthy, even as pure fantasy.

    I mean, maybe your whole thing is performance art. I have no way to know, but if you’re serious as in past thread about killing Nazis preemptively based not on actual physical threats but self-identification as Nazis, then No. That is not “healthy”. It’s fucking unhealthy. Get some help, man.

    By your logic, should we have just “liquidated” the ranks of German Nazis after WWII? There were some trials, imprisonments, and some executions. (And I do not support the executions, but I don’t lose a lot of sleep over these guys either.) There were some notorious evasions of justice, like Mengele, and some dubious rehabilitations, like Wernher von Braun. But there was definitely not a policy of “It’s a Nazi! Kill it! Kill it!”

    There’s a reason why Laura Roslin’s line “throw it out the airlock” is intended to be chilling. It suggests fear that has turned to violence with power. We on the left are supposed to be against that, even if it sometimes poses a disadvantage.

    If your goal is mere survival, then I guess I understand your approach to threats. However, I don’t think that in practice you follow your own advice, and if you took a step back, you would see that the only thing you could gain by this approach is pure survival. I want much more than that.

  10. Akira MacKenzie says

    PaulBC @ 8

    I mean, maybe your whole thing is performance art.

    No, my whole things is that I’m tired. I’m tired of the way things are and I’m tired of slow, plodding change.. I’m tired of watching my civilization rot rather than advance, and I’m tired of being told that the agents of that decay deserve the same rights as those who are desperately trying to improve things. I’m tired of feeling impotent. I’m tired of watching the Left wave signs and placards at the side with AR-15s, thinking chanting and protesting impresses their enemies. (I assure you, I live with a whole family of right-wingers. They aren’t impressed by peaceful protest at all.) I’m tired of being tired. I want to get out of this shithole country and away from the right-wing fuckwits who surround me. I want things to change, drastically, but I realize that’s only going to come to this nation through fire, destruction, and more than a little bloodshed. If death is cost for a better world, then I’ll happily embrace it.

    If your goal is mere survival, then I guess I understand your approach to threats.

    The only way our species is going to survive is to accomplish Leftist goals. If those “threats” seek to stop those goals from being accomplished, then I think my approach is certainly justified.

  11. unclefrogy says

    the problem isn’t that the right-wing has been resorting to all the “dirty tricks”, lies and propaganda, bribery and cheating for years no. It is because the left-wing has been timid and genteel in their opposition, trying to stick to the “high road”, and thus appearing gutless afraid of being seen as aggressive falling for the right-wing talking points.
    the right -wing as can be clearly seen is corrupt and their tactics are corrupting to themselves.
    there is no need to follow them down that dead end path it surely does not lead to any where resembling the left wing ideals. Truth and exposure are far better, being blunt and clear. Attacking them on their “game” who pays, how they cheat what they really do and how it works to further their own personal greed.
    If they are not engaging in that kind of crap then they are probably going to be reasonable but just with differing ideas and understandings. The rest of them are would be dear leaders and their lackeys and worse. strip them naked in front of the cameras and let the chips fall where they may.
    uncle frogy

  12. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    So, allow me to tack in a slightly different direction. It is never too early to celebrate, but even as we celebrate, we should never relax. That is the whole thing with those of us on the left. We don’t care if they worship their sky daddy. We don’t care i they have conservative values. We don’t want to impose our values on them. We’d frankly rather just get on with our lives and try to help out other people as much as we can. It’s not about belief, but about doing.

    I was disappointed when I found out that Emma Goldman probably never said, “If I can’t dance at the revolution, I won’t come.” However, she should have.

    Here’s the thing, conservatives–even more than most people–are driven by fear. Whatever you do to ratchet up those fears makes them more desperate and more dangerous. Whatever you can do to ratchet down the fear levels–short of compromising your own values and human decency–makes them ever so slightly less nasty.

    So, celebrate every win. Meet down by the taco truck on the corner and eat and dance and sing and tell stories and jokes and celebrate. Maybe, they’ll eventually see we’re having much more fun than they are–even as we watch them like hawks.

  13. PaulBC says

    Akira MacKenzie:

    Maybe you just need to make a clean break from a toxic environment, including geographic location and family members. Seriously, I understand being tired and disgusted, but it is pretty disturbing to read about thoughts of preemptively killing “Nazis” and I can think of a host of reasons why it’s not likely to be a “good idea” before even getting into the ethics. “Backstabbing” as a metaphor is something different, though I don’t see it as a great advantage either, since it usually means a willingness to attack those on the same since. The left needs solidarity, not more backstabbing.

    I think the left does need to practice tougher politics. The right has been eating our lunch at the level of the judiciary. We need to be smarter and more effective, and it’s a lame excuse to say we win a moral victory because our enemies are ruthless. The only victory that counts is one that can lead to real change. So I am in not ways an advocate for “civility”. I am simply opposed to some of your statements.

  14. Akira MacKenzie says


    blockquote>Maybe you just need to make a clean break from a toxic environment, including geographic location and family members.



    Sigh… I’d love to, but between my student loan payments and my lousy pay rate I don’t make enough to live on my own. I live with my right-wing father in the shitty rural/suburban town I was raised in out of necessity. It doesn’t seem like I’m going anywhere soon.

  15. John Morales says

    “Have you heard the news?
    The dogs are dead
    You better stay home
    And do as you’re told
    Get out of the road if you want to grow old”

    (Sheep, Pink Floyd)

  16. says

    @#14, PaulBC:

    It has been obvious that the left needs to toughen up since about 1980. Instead, the left has let the party which claims, at least, to be on their side in some nebulous way (don’t ask them to explain how, unless you like to hear “we passed a right-wing bill, but watered it down slightly so it wasn’t quite as far to the right as it might otherwise have been” over and over again) get infiltrated and taken over by people who say they would be Republicans if Reagan weren’t as dead on the outside of his head as he always was on the inside. And criticism of these people is not tolerated by people who claim to be “progressive”, which means that any hope that things will actually get better not only requires the dislodging of Republicans and the leadership of the Democrats, but also a large swath of Democratic voters.

  17. PaulBC says

    WMDKitty — Survivor@18

    Gimme a break. I am not defending Nazis, and no, I will not stop condemning preemptive murder.

  18. Susan Montgomery says


    “Your reason, clouded and stunned by your conscience, has lost the ability to distinguish what is truly good for the people from what you imagine to be good, the imagined good dictated by your conscience. You must keep your reason pure. If you don’t want to or can’t, then it will be the worse for you. And not only for you.”

    Arcady and Boris Strugatsky. “Prisoners of Power”

  19. PaulBC says


    No, seriously, just gimme a break. The day I find myself in a real group of people who are seriously plotting violence is the day I decide that group has been infiltrated by enemies who are trying to destroy it from within. I am not saying “violence doesn’t work” because I don’t make universal pronouncements. I can state unequivocally that I want no part of it.

  20. PaulBC says

    Another thing is this. There is nothing shameful about being a refugee, particularly when faced with overwhelming odds against survival. The day violence looks like the most effective solution to any problem is the day I pack up, plead with the people I care most about to come with me, and get the fuck out. Sorry, you can call it cowardice, but when it comes to that, I am not in it for the glory. I can contribute in peace time. In war, you can look for somebody else.

  21. consciousness razor says

    Don’t worry, PaulBC. Obviously, WMDKitty was just “defending you,” which as we all know is the same thing as “not murdering you.” You probably wouldn’t like the alternative, which of course is murdering you.
    But no doubt, it was a shitty thing to do, “defending” you like that. You totally didn’t deserve that either.

  22. Susan Montgomery says

    @23 I would call it cowardice even without your permission. As someone on the sharp end of the lance, someone who couldn’t run even if they wanted to, I would ask you to bear in mind that for us, it’s not about glory but survival. And that’s always worth fighting for.

  23. John Morales says

    Because you would, but you haven’t. Duh. ‘Would’ is a conditional modal verb.

    (Can you really not distinguish between, say, “”I would call it cowardice” and “I call it cowardice”?)

  24. Rob Grigjanis says

    John @28: Pedantry fail. There are non-conditional idiomatic uses of “would”, like “I would ask that you…” or “I would say so”.

  25. PaulBC says

    Well, I interpreted it as “I would call it cowardice” if you actually fled instead of staying here to Kill Nazis™ with me, which is totally fine. I’m sure people have called me worse than a coward. (Wait, I was called a Nazi defender just recently, so I have proof of it.)

  26. Susan Montgomery says

    @31 Fine, have it your way.

    “But we in it shall be rememberèd—
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
    This day shall gentle his condition;
    And gentlemen in England now a-bed
    Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
    That fought with us…:”

  27. PaulBC says

    There’s a fine line between that and “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.” I can envision situations in which good people are pushed by circumstances to kill and and when lives that might have produced something great in peacetime are reduced to “heroic” memorials. But it’s mostly crap. I have more heroes who are refugees than “heroes” and they did more in peace than in war. Violence may sometimes stop greater harm–but never as often as its advocates claim. It is not a good in itself, and poetry that presents it as such is the most toxic drug known to humanity.

  28. Curious Digressions says

    McConnell isn’t afraid. He’s scheming right now:…

    He would be doing that anyway, regardless of his opposition’s victory or celebration.

    Also, if you kids are sneaking out at night in stocking-cap masks to snipe Nazis, for f****sake, don’t leave a manifesto.

  29. logicalcat says

    The left cant get anywhere because they are either politicaly imcompetent fools who do not understand that progress requires a slow progression and want a bloody revolution which they fool themselves into thinking will somehow magically make the country better all the while ignoring the fact that most of the casualties of said revolution would be the ones they pretend to care about.

    Or they are just virtue signalers who care more about looking antiestablishmentarian than actually doing anything useful.

    You want change out of this shitty life. Vote for it. Taking local elections is a good start.

  30. aramad says

    Did you just compare attacking random right wingers in the streets (possibly fatally) with WWII?? My god, none of you lot have any sense of perspective whatsoever.

    They also forget two things:
    The far right has more guns and more propensity for violence. Declaring war with them is myopic.
    Revolutions born in blood – but for noble reasons – are famous for being just as bad as the earlier regime it overthrew. “Meet the new boss / Same as the old boss” and all that. I guess they think good intentions mean they are immune to that…? Which is odd, considering that this blog took ‘intent is not magic’ as a sort of mantra.

    But I’m assuming each of these keyboard warriors keeps their fighting strictly verbal, and even then, only behind their monitor/phone.