1. anne says

    After seeing so much praise for the DNC speeches of the Obamas and Biden, I wondered if I should watch them. This video makes me realize that the praise is gaslighting, as well as the speeches themselves. No question that Barack is a gifted orator, but he isn’t much more than that. I’m just glad I’m not alone in being bitterly disappointed by the Democratic party.

  2. fossboxer says

    @2 – Well, hang in there, folks. Stay negative. Another four years of Trump and you may never have to worry about being disappointed by the democrats again.

  3. mattandrews says

    Well, hang in there, folks. Stay negative. Another four years of Trump and you may never have to worry about being disappointed by the democrats again.

    I honestly think a lot of people who comment here kinda want this outcome.

    Non-insane left-leaning people: “Can we at least focus on getting Trump out of office, and then try to deal with Biden?”

    The Horde: “Fuck you! A true liberal would rather live in a Trump dictatorship with more COVID deaths and more kids in cages than vote for Creepy Uncle Joe!”

    Biden, Obama, Harris, et. al., should not ever be free from criticism, but Jesus Fucking Christ; sometimes it feels like people here are doing more to sabotage getting Trump out of office than Fox, the Russians and Wikileaks could ever dream of doing.

  4. microraptor says

    @3 Pointing out that Biden is not a good candidate doesn’t mean that we then have to vote for Trump or some pointless third-party candidate.

  5. says

    I’ll admit, I’m tired of being forced to choose the lesser of two evils. It’s been like that my entire adult life, ever since Bush vs. Gore, but I didn’t know how EVIL the evil could get until the Trump years. So I hold my nose and vote Democrat, because the alternative is horrifying.

  6. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    Matt: What it actually feels like to leftists is that folks like you, however well-meaning, don’t care if we have concerns. Which is very likely to dissuade some folks rather than engaging them.

    Watch the video. (The other) Matt never says not to vote for Biden. He is talking about Obama.

    If we don’t understand what we are going to pressure anyone who is elected to avoid, what we will not accept as up for compromise, then our vote actually means nothing. No candidate will do anything but take the easiest route unless they are forced by pressure not to.

    This is the first year I will be voting Dem, even in a blue state. But the day after, we all need to make sure that Biden does, for example, deliver on climate change.

  7. says

    It’s certainly revealing that the people who are saying “elect Biden and then we’ll hold his feet to the fire” won’t even permit criticism of Obama, who is out of office. Obviously, there is no intention to actually hold Biden’s feet to the fire in the first place — and since he’s very blatantly pro-cop, anti-protest, pro-corporation, and pro-austerity, we’re not going to see any improvements if he gets elected.

  8. fossboxer says

    @5 – With the US sitting on the cusp of national existential collapse, filling blogs with disgust that the left isn’t far enough left does nothing to address the immediate danger facing us and comes across as divided and weak. GOP strength is derived from unity, not racism or misogyny or trickle-down economics or whatever. The Mongols of Genghis Khan owed much (all?) of their success to blind loyalty, after all.

  9. Badland says

    @ Rob Grigjanis

    It’s the strawman who lives in his head. Vicar squirts all his projection and bothsiderism into it, which is how he says so dazzling pure and holier-than-us.

  10. Allison says

    It’s been said many times already, but I’ll say it again.

    I can’t help suspecting that those who argue they shouldn’t have to choose between the lesser of two evils are people who don’t stand to lose all that much either way.

    But there are an awful lot of people for whom the question up for a vote in November is where whether we’ll have an administration that wants them dead or one that doesn’t. No matter what, one of those sides is going to take power after November. We can’t afford to abstain, because our lives are at stake.

    I have no illusions about Biden and his associates. But I am confident that my life will be less threatened if he wins than if Trump wins.

    And I’ve looked at the approval ratings. The approve vs. disapprove percentages are around 45%/55% . That is too close to 50-50 to dismiss the possibility that Trump will be reelected. If enough people decide they won’t vote for the lesser evil and sit this one out (or, FSM forbid, even vote for the worse), he will get reelected.

  11. Allison says

    BTW, I can’t help thinking that the choice this time around is a little like mask wearing. Wearing a mask won’t guarrantee that you won’t get sick or even that the people around you will get sick, it will only improve the odds. Not voting is like saying that, since people will still get sick despite the masks, we shouldn’t bother with them in the first place.

  12. vucodlak says

    @ fossboxer, #10

    filling blogs with disgust that the left isn’t far enough left

    What left? Where does the left even enter into this, aside from being the people who are required to vote for center-right candidates time and again? There sure as hell isn’t any “left” on the ticket in this election, nor was there in the 4 presidential elections I’ve been eligible to vote in. We have the center-right, and extreme far-right. Those are the only choices.

    GOP strength is derived from unity, not racism or misogyny or trickle-down economics or whatever.

    And if the GOP abandoned racism and misogyny, that “unity” would dissolve overnight. There’s no “blind loyalty” there. The GOP has exactly one thing to offer their main mass of voters- they promise to hurt the people those voters want hurt, and they deliver on that promise. Their wealthy supporters get what they want, too, of course, but they aren’t the base.

    The Democrats, on the other hand, expect the unquestioning support of the left, despite telling them to sit down and shut the fuck up every single election cycle. The Democrats deliver next-to-nothing to the left, and certainly never deliver on anything that actually costs them anything, like universal healthcare or stopping endless unjust wars or reining in the prison industrial complex. Hell, even when they promise things that would cost them nothing, like ending government-sanctioned torture, they still tell us to get fucked after the election. The election we help them win every single time, because the vast majority of us vote for the scumbags anyway. Just like most of us here have said we’re going to do.

    But hey, gods forbid we complain about the treacherous, evil sacks of shit. How dare we attack the leftwing center-right fuckers we help put into to office by pointing out the evil that they do, and all the promises they break to us?

    It’s real simple- the Republicans promise their voters that they’ll hurt “those people,” and they always deliver in grand fashion. The Democrats promise their voters they’ll help people, and then they fuck us all over every single time.

    I voted for Obama, the first time. I couldn’t stomach his betrayals, and I voted Green in 2012. I voted for Clinton in 2016, because it was either vote for the hardcore authoritarian or the outright fascist. I’ll vote for Biden this November, even knowing he’ll stab the left in the back, the front, and every which side.

    Then, in 2024, the Republicans will run someone worse than Trump. This fell creature, whose form I shudder to even imagine, will win easily because you can only play the “you have to vote for the spineless lesser evil” card so many times before people lose all hope. That will be the end of democracy, the nation, and eventually the world.

    So vote for Biden, then prepare, for the end is pretty fucking nigh. Decades of voting for evil, lesser or no, have seen to that. This pandemic, and the cracks it has exposed, is all the evidence you need.

  13. anne says

    @ 3 and 4,
    I never said I wasn’t voting for Biden. One good thing, in spite of his many flaws, is that he responds to political pressure. If he wins, I will apply that pressure. Wanting my choice to be better than Biden means that I haven’t given up entirely on our political process. However, the Democratic Party seems determined to shut leftists out of the process. They’re taking advantage of progressives, knowing we have no choice. It’s frustrating that they refuse to represent the most progressive part of their electorate, especially since the Republicans gladly represent the most regressive of theirs.

    The Presidency isn’t the only office I’m voting on. I’m happier about removing Susan Collins, helping to flip the Senate, and getting Mitch McConnell out of Senate leadership. He’s done as much damage as Trump has, if not more.

  14. kalmera says

    @vucodlak I feel your pain. In high school I read Ursula K Le Guin’s those who walk away from Omelas. It perfectly described the despair of knowing something is wrong but everyone telling you to accept it.

  15. KG says

    It’s certainly revealing that the people who are saying “elect Biden and then we’ll hold his feet to the fire” won’t even permit criticism of Obama, who is out of office. – The vicar@8

    It’s certainly revealing that you tell this lie right under a video criticising Obama posted by PZ, who from everythnig he’s said, is intending to vote for Biden.

  16. KG says

    Well, hang in there, folks. Stay negative. Another four years of Trump and you may never have to worry about being disappointed by the democrats again. – fossboxer@3

    QFT. What the “I won’t vote for the lesser evil” crowd fail to acknowledge (I’m not aiming that at anyone on this thread thus far, only The Vicar has said they won’t vote for Biden, and he wants Trump to win) is that a Trump win will probably end any chance of voting in anything other than a sham election of the Putin or Lukashenko variety. Trump and his far-right backers – who now include almost all of the Republican Party – have made it clear to anyone with two brain-cells to rub together that they have no intention of allowing themselves to be voted out of power. Give them another four years, and they will have fully consolidated their hold over the judiciary, military, and executive agencies. Defeating them is a matter of living to fight another day.

  17. lotharloo says

    The debate of voting for Biden or not is complicated and it is silly that people assume it is simple. First, as I said in the other thread, Trump is not even the worst modern president. He has not started any wars whereas the previous Republican president (who is now supposedly a good guy, Michelle Obama’s BFF, and anti-Trump) started two. Second, “the lesser of two evil” argument misses the long-term effects of electing milk toast Democrats to the office. Why did Hillary Clinton lose to Trump? Part of the reason was because she an unpopular elite with no real message. Why did she win the nomination then? Because Obama chose her as the secretary of state, because Obama played nice with all the establishment.

    And now, Democrats are going with Biden. Why did he win the nomination? Partly because he was Obama’s VP and partly because of the “lesser of two evil” argument as a lot of people thought Sander’s can’t win against Trump so let’s go with this guy.

  18. stroppy says

    Ugh. Slime, huh? I’m a little tired of people working overtime to yank my emotions around. I’m already overloaded on that from Trump, thanks. Enough Vicar shit already.

    Focused anger –> Good
    Unfocused anger –> Bad

    This isn’t rocket science.

  19. billseymour says

    I, too, will be voting for Biden, not because I expect him to be any different from Republicans when it comes to foreign relations and the economy, but because I can hope that he’ll be at least marginally better on what are called social issues, particularly matters relating to race and gender. It does seem to me that the median Democrat has some basic human decency, and the median Republican doesn’t.

    I also note that 538 figured out that, if you look at Biden’s actual votes in the Senate, he almost invariably voted with the “median Democrat.” I infer from that that Biden doesn’t really have any new ideas of his own, but rather just goes with the flow. That leaves me moderately hopeful since, on the social issues I mentioned at least, the flow seems to be going in the right direction at present.

  20. fossboxer says

    @15 – Then use another word for “left”. “Right of center” or whatever you want.

    I am estranged from a family filled with MAGAs who wrap themselves in the flag. They care nothing of unemployment levels, world opinion, how the pandemic is being handled, how many people of color are being killed by the cops, ICE’s handing of children, trade disparity with China, climate change, etc. They unite around idolizing their leader and “beating the other side”. That’s all. What Trump says or does is irrelevant to his base’s tiny, collective mind, so long as it hurts “the other side”. Trump knows this and the loyalty of his base is unwavering.

    We can criticize policy all day long once we have a government that cares about our concerns. The chance to ever have one again is fast slipping away.

  21. LeftSidePositive says

    Lotharloo, the debate of voting for Biden is EXTREMELY simple and it is disgraceful and dishonest that you pretend otherwise. Firstly, do you have ANY concept of how much saber-rattling Trump has done with respect to foreign wars, and how only his incompetence and willingness to be manipulated by dictators has stopped him from going further? Nevermind the extraordinary corruption and hollowing out of our institutions internally, including catastrophic attacks on our right to vote. By pretending this is anything other than a critical fight for our democracy, you are putting your precious self-image over reality, and even the POSSIBILITY of improving our country going forward. What do you think peaceful protest is going to look like when Trump has finished installing all his cronies in the judiciary, rigged elections, and all his executive staff are no longer trying to leave themselves a path to rehabilitation after he gets voted out? People will literally be shot dead in the streets en masse.

    Also, there are NO “long-term effects of electing milk toast Democrats to the office” that even come CLOSE to the long-term effects of letting Republicans in that office. Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you?! Yeah, I have many, many complaints about Obama being too conciliatory to Bush, but that ignores, 1) that’s a long term effect of letting Bush into office and shifting the Overton window so far to the right, 2) ongoing detriments to our voting rights and allowing more money into elections are a direct result of a Bush SCOTUS creating systemic advantages for the right wing over elections for DECADES, and 3) Obama appointees are some of the last vestiges of protection we have right now. Your entire claim revolves around this “heighten the contradictions” bullshit. Firstly, in a society that has been propagandized for decades with racism and economic deregulation, the assumption that people are going to flock to leftism when society collapses is FUCKING ABSURD. Really. You ought to be ashamed of yourself for even suggesting something so nonsensical! Extremely repressive right-wing regimes usually follow political chaos, a la Muslim Brotherhood. Even when nominally leftist groups do manage to take power, they are usually in the vein of Mao and Stalin: highly repressive dictators with only the superficial appearance of leftist politics (while they tank economies and hoard wealth for themselves). All you are really saying is Ernst Thalmann’s “after Hitler, us” where lefties have assumed for 80 years that the validation of their beliefs is just around the corner, downplaying the danger of literal fascists to horrific results. Shame on you.

    Furthermore, unlike in 2016, we now have a VERY good demonstration of what “heightening the contradictions” means. It means irreversible environmental damage. It means we will have hundreds of thousands of people dying from preventable causes—a pandemic, incompetent hurricane responses, greatly increased ICE cruelty, and even undelivered medications! Our system is very far from perfect, but it is keeping a lot of people alive who need infrastructure, and if you’re willing to completely destroy it, you are showing you are willing to kill a lot of chronically ill and disabled people to get to your utopia, and the world is full of radicals willing to kill others to get to their version of utopia. The “long-term effects of electing a milk toast Democrat” is keeping a lot of real human beings alive while we do the long, hard work to convince our fellow citizens that our ideas actually have merit.

    Also, re Hillary Clinton, you are lying hilariously and disgracefully, and this disconnect from reality not only dooms your worldview to irrelevance but also shows exactly why you are a willing stooge for right-wingers. Hillary Clinton was not unpopular as long as she was not running for office. The key point you are missing here is misogyny, and that has direct implications for whether or not Americans will want to embrace an egalitarian society in response to Republicans trashing the country. Even in 2016, look at the differences in primary results of states like Michigan and Wisconsin, which Bernie people were sure showed the Rust Belt was crying out for more socialism. In 2020 they went for Biden HARD. This shows two very important points: 1) Allowing the country to fall into atrocious right wing mismanagement is practically a bad idea if you want your fellow citizens to embrace more left-wing politics, 2) Many of the male voters who voted Bernie in 2016 were more motivated by misogyny than socialism, and you’d do well to learn what you’re actually up against than pretending everyone secretly wants what you want and will embrace it as soon as you ruin the world. As for not having a message, she had the most progressive platform to date, and you insufferable purity leftists showed you weren’t worth courting, and thus enabled the strategic slide of the Democratic party to the right, which your political incompetence has been perpetuating since 1968, apparently without learning a damn thing. You’d also do well to learn that a lot of activists in 2016 preferred Hillary to Bernie because Bernie was a one-trick pony who pivoted every issue to Wall Street, minimized harassment, and was openly hostile to women and minorities expressing their unique political challenges (until he saw those were the people winning in 2018, of course, and then he changed his tune QUITE a bit!). So, don’t pretend his failure in the primary was only “the elite” choosing him, but rather a lot of engaged writers and individual voters (I include myself in this number) looking at him campaign and saying, “fuck that guy, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Do I need to mention that harassing us and calling us “corporate shills” is not going to win you any primaries the next time around? Lots of women who even voted for Bernie in 2016, or at least thought of him favorably early in that primary have since resolved NEVER to vote for him and preferred Biden after Warren dropped out (and when you lose 36-47% of the support of the most closely-aligned next contestant, that’s a damn good sign a candidate has problems beyond policy).

    Moreover, Hillary Clinton actually won nearly 3 million more votes than Trump, so it’s disingenuous in the extreme to pretend she was unpopular. But we have a governmental system that is entrenched to protect rich white people, the heirs to the spoils of slavery, at the expense of the will of the people. Similarly, attacks on voting rights, gerrymandering, and a media that just loves to misrepresent and caricature anyone to the left of Dan Quayle is a MUCH more honest interpretation of Hillary’s underperforming in the general election. That’s going to affect YOU and YOUR candidates if they ever get enough people who actually want them in a primary, so you’d do well to fight against that instead of pretend that your particular concept of utopia would magically convince the entire country if only it could get through those nefarious and all-powerful Democrats that you’re sure must exist. Maybe the fact that you can’t win a primary is something that you should learn from, and you could start listening to voters, and not antagonizing people who also want a much more liberal and/or leftist Democratic party but have just plain had it with the Nader, Stein, & Bernie folks refusing to take responsibility for splitter effects or care about any preferences other than their own.

  22. mnb0 says

    @9: “Who exactly is not permitting criticism of Obama?”
    Start with nr. 3 on this page.

    @10: “filling blogs with disgust that the left isn’t far enough left”
    Nice strawman. Biden is about as left as the pope is a buddhist, ie not at all.

    @12: “But there are an awful lot of people …..”
    Yeah, Americans first. You want critics to vote against Donald the Clown despite the other candidate going to kill many non-Americans too – exactly like Obama did. I’m sure that the relatives of the victims of the Democrat presidents will be much comforted by the idea that voters like you will have helped to save some American lives.

    @13: great analogy indeed – you have produced masks that only saves some American lives.

    @15: “Then, in 2024, the Republicans will run someone worse than Trump.”
    And so will the Democrats. And then folks like Fossboxer and Allison will bring up there “clever” arguments to vote for someone who’s more right wing than say Richard Nixon 50 years ago.
    Good job done well, “hold Biden’s feet to the fire” pretenders.

    Disclaimer: I won’t be disappointed if Biden wins (which I expect). Unlike I wasn’t disappointed by Obama either, because I didn’t expect anything from him from the beginning. I expect Biden to do nothing against climate change and I expect him to start some war, because American presidents have to be tough guys, you know.
    And I’m going to remind all liberals who will vote for him that they have supported those policies.

  23. LeftSidePositive says

    @26, you do understand that Trump’s use of drone strikes has escalated by, like, a factor of 5, right?! 2243 strikes in 2 years vs 1878 in EIGHT years, plus much less transparency about deaths & reporting (and yeah, Obama’s transparency was really bad too, but Trump’s is MUCH worse). This isn’t about “only saving American lives.” This is one side that’s seriously flawed, and the other side that is worse than them in EVERY CONCEIVABLE WAY.

    And, the Democrats will only run people worse if the Left stays disengaged. Has it like, EVER occurred to you, that it’s important to reach out to and educate the average American as to why they shouldn’t want military adventurism, rather than expecting Democrats to perfectly reflect a position for you that, while morally & empirically correct, is massively unpopular with most Americans?!

    “Hold Democrats’ feet to the fire” means hold marches, calling campaigns, stage primary campaigns for those who are insufficiently liberal for their district (and associated voter registration drives), give money to those who are more reliably voting the right way, etc. It does NOT mean sitting out elections, because that way we get the utter shitshow that was 2010-2016 with GOP obstructionism, so we can’t even TELL who the good Democrats really are, because instead we are just being hamstrung by Republicans.

  24. LeftSidePositive says

    Oh, and voting for an imperfect candidate does not mean supporting all their policies, idiot. Voting is harm reduction. We vote for whom we PREFER between defined alternatives (especially since our election rules are so immature that we have no means to deal with splitters, like Ranked Choice Voting) especially when there other major candidate is demonstrably worse.

    “I support universal free healthcare, but given that the primary didn’t go the way I want, I’m going to support expansion of the ACA instead of the (literal fascist) idiot who wants to eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions” is a completely coherent and goal-directed statement, and pretending otherwise makes you completely ignorable to the people most likely to agree with you. And, since they’re winning elections AND YOU AREN’T, you might want to engage constructively.

  25. fossboxer says

    @26 – Nothing “clever” about it and it’s not a strawman. Don’t use the word “left” then, use whatever term you want. It’s simple caution against in-fighting at this particular moment as it plays like a fiddle to the GOP base. I’m surrounded by these freaks, I see it everyday. As we all know by now, they are dangerous, and either we focus collectively to shove them aside or we kiss it all goodbye in November. I’m all for hammering the Dems to turn their bullshit around after we get them into a place where it counts.

  26. lotharloo says

    Don’t have enough time to respond to your essay. But I’ll cover a few points:
    1) Voting for Biden can be a simple decision for you. It might be a difficult decision for someone else due to how they view their voting right.
    2) Trump has done less saber-rattling then G. W. Bush who started at least one and possibly two unnecessary wars. As a matter of fact, according to Bolton’s own book, he was advising Trump to further escalate the tension with Iran with more aggressive strikes. In other words, if G. W. Bush was the president, US was very likely in a war with Iran. But we don’t have to resort to the hypothetical. # of wars started with Trump 0. # of wars started with G. W. Bush: 2. So Trump is better than Bush.
    3) My point was that one can argue that “the long term effects of electing milk toast Democrats is that US gets to have more Republicans”. You may disagree with it, but at least there is circumstantial empirical evidence for it: Clinton was a weak candidate who could only win the nomination (partially) because of the milk toast Democrat Obama. And now, Biden is a weak candidate who won the nomination (partially) because of the milk toast Democrat Obama. Again, you can disagree until you foam in the mouth, but there is at least some evidence for these arguments. So I am not really interested in your stupid arguments, I want to know what facts or arguments you can bring to the table.

    The rest of your post is stupid drivel and I don’t have the patience or the motivation to respond to it.

  27. logicalcat says

    Once again leftists smug in their own sense of enlightenment refuse to self reflect and acknowledge their own failings. I notice most of the points Leftsidepositive points out remain unchallenged.

  28. logicalcat says


    Any idiot can call something stupid or an arguement bad evem when they sre not.if you dont want to engage, fine. But dont bullshit.

  29. says

    @mnb0 #26:

    I expect Biden to do nothing against climate change and I expect him to start some war, because American presidents have to be tough guys, you know.

    Assuming you’re right, how is that different from Trump? If it’s not, then how is it relevant for choosing between Biden and Trump?
    Trump has no interest in the environment and, wars or not, he has certainly managed to kill a whole lot of people; from individuals (like Suleimani), through allies (like the Kurds that were left to be slaughtered), and to his own people (whatever fraction of corona deaths could have been avoided, if he hadn’t deliberately sabotaged the response).

    I completely sympathize with the feeling that all the options are bad. However, as matter of fact, all the options are bad. I wish it was different, but it’s not.

  30. LeftSidePositive says


    1) Voting for Biden is, inarguably and unequivocally, a simple decision for ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE. “How you view your voting right” is nonsense on par with “how I as a mother understand the harm of vaccines.” Reality actually matters, and you are responsible for how your views align with observable results. The effect of spoiler voting and your obligations to your fellow humans are not matters of opinion, they are demonstrable matters of fact, as spelled out in the rest of my points that you were too cowardly to address rather than admit you have no legitimate counter-argument.
    2) As I have already said, wars are not the only measure of horribleness, and Trump isn’t refraining from fighting them. Being catastrophically disorganized is not a virtue here. More to the point, have an academic discussion of whether GWB or Trump is worse all you want (I for one am furious that GWB is being rehabilitated, and yes, I’m still furious Obama didn’t send him to the fucking Hague where he belongs), but the ultimate point is spoiler voting got us BOTH of these evil men. Republicans are terrible and have been for 50 years, and making excuses for spoiler voting is deeply immoral and causes needless suffering and death.
    3) No, there is categorically no valid argument that the long-term effects of voting for Democrats is anywhere CLOSE to the short- AND long-term harms of allowing Republicans to get power. You are FUCKING LYING that Clinton was a weak candidate. She was an EXTREMELY well-prepared, qualified, popular candidate who was hated by the GOP for being a strong, intelligent woman who was pilloried for trying to make American’s lives better WRT healthcare, the role of women, etc. Do I agree with every compromise she made to get what she thought was the most good actually done? Of course not! She’s still a white lady of a certain age and she made a lot of mistakes, but relative to her peers in government she was absolutely a force for good. Do you have ANY idea how stupid “leftists” sound repeating warmed-over GOP misogynist talking points from the 90s?! Are you really surprised large swathes of the electorate, especially women who had to navigate multiple bad situations in their own lives, didn’t exactly come running to a challenge candidate when this is the way you all behaved? (See above, my points on Warren supporters, which, full disclosure, I was). More importantly, she was torn down by right-leaning corporate media who made everything into a horse race and downplayed Trump. They will do THE SAME THING to everyone you support so you might as well make common cause with the victims of this treatment and fight it, rather than retconning this kind of right-leaning propaganda into your spurious narrative of Clinton being “a weak candidate” (and then continuing to be surprised that you don’t win primaries when women over 30 avoid you like the plague!).

    AND ANOTHER THING, if Obama is “milk toast” (by the way, the correct spelling is milquetoast), then why is he so diabolically good at convincing people to vote for people he supports?! You might want to learn that the candidates you describe as “milk toast[sic]” might be so relative to ideal policy, but they are MASSIVELY MORE POPULAR than your chosen candidates, and you really need to work on changing hearts and minds rather than sabotaging the Democratic party for not immediately giving you what you want, even though it’s much less popular with the majority of Americans than their current platform. It would serve you well to learn that the Democrats did not turn toward neoliberalism of their own accord, or abandon the common people. The common people abandoned THEM. After the Civil Rights Act, most of white America decided investment in social infrastructure wasn’t what they wanted if they had to share it with Black people. Studies in Universal Basic Income were abandoned out of fear it would make women more free to leave their husbands. Democratic candidates were abandoned by voters IN DROVES, and THAT is why Bill Clinton is the triangulating corporatist he was (or maybe he, personally, always would have been that, but that’s why he was able to WIN when Dukakis & McGovern couldn’t). The leftist belief that the country would flock to their ideas is simply not supported by reality, nor is the average American crying out for more socialism! Note, for instance, the relative lack of success in purple states/districts among progressive candidates in 2018. It’s important for you to realize that there’s about 30% of this country that is genuinely, absolutely, hatefully fucking evil, and they absolutely want to hurt every part of the citizenry that is not a straight, white, Christian male. They’re not some idle threat the Democrats made up to scare you into supporting the ACA, and they won’t abandon their racism, sexism & homophobia if you offer them free health care. Then there’s about 30-40% of the country that are self-interested, lazy, and uninvolved, and that leaves about 30-40% of the country that has many flaws but, to varying degrees, wants to make the world a better place. You’d do well to use your vote for harm reduction given the circumstances, and actually WORK toward convincing as much of the reachable population that your ideas are actually good, rather than throwing us all to the whims of absolute evil when you don’t get your way in a primary.

    Oh, and by the way, you didn’t actually provide any evidence that you claim supports your arguments. Like, two assertions about “weakness” and “milk toast” and ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENTIARY SUPPORT. Nice fucking try.

    The rest of my post had thorough, coherent arguments about the costs of protest voting and your willful refusal to truly understand the forces that really sink Democratic candidates (and it’s emphatically not that the average American would enthusiastically vote for more socialism if only it were offered in a general election!). But great job just calling all that actual analysis “stupid drivel.” Wow, you really seem like someone who is committed to honest introspection.

  31. LeftSidePositive says

    @2, et al: it’s a question of focus. Right now, the matter is between Trump and Biden, and we need to focus on the ways that Biden is better than Trump, because that’s how elections work. On November 4th, or as soon as the winner is announced, the ALL our energy needs to go to “Here’s what Obama did wrong in his own domestic and foreign policy, and also in dealing with Republicans and the criminality of the Bush administration, and here’s why we shouldn’t do the same thing again.” We should be writing letters and calling all our representatives, we should be vocal about who should be primaried for failing to live up to our expectations. Let’s stage several rallies to call for criminal prosecution of Trump, Barr, McConnell, etc. But to do that we have to WIN first. Let’s not pull a Comey and be so concerned with being tough against the presumptive Democratic winner that we accidentally let the Republican win!

  32. says

    Off-topic, but:
    Hey LeftSidePositive. I remember you from years ago on the Atheist Experience blog. I hope you’re doing well.

  33. LeftSidePositive says

    Hi, LykeX!

    Thanks for remembering! Life is good, just quite a bit more busy than back in the Elevatorgate days. I’ve had to institute a “read only, don’t comment” rule, but I break it occasionally because I. Just. Fucking. Can’t! with spoiler voters, especially after the horror show of the last 4 years.

    I hope you’re well.

  34. logicalcat says

    All options are bad all options are the lesser evil including the option of being hardcore antiestablishmentarian. Becaise the whole “lesser evil is still evil” nonsense is and always was a reductionist strawman that can be applied to any stance. Its juvenile. Democrats are complex humans whose actions are exactly that, human. When you reduce them down to such a simple concept it makes it easy to set yourself above it, hands clean with a very convienient excuse not to look at our own flaws critically. Basicaly tldr version the left use democrat villification to avoid being engaged and accepting responsibility.

    Does this mean you shouldnt hold them accountable? No, please do so. Just do it through voting. Like Right wing groups taking over a party to fit their needs we can do that too. And they unlike us didnt constantly bicker about how not as right wing their candidate is. Hold them accountable in way that actually matters otherwose its just bullshit virtue signaling.

    You know what else doesnt help? Pretending that past presidency somehow invalidates this one. I mean sure, if the left plans on taking the moral high ground it will be. Funny that moral high ground. Never seems to be anywhere near a government position where we are the ones who get to make mistakes. Guess that moral high ground is too far from positions where we are the ones who get to make descisions involving human lives. Good thing about that is we never have to feel accountable if we dont play the game. Maybe we should be a little more grounded tho.

    Im glad Bernie and AOC gave up on you fools. They are actually working with the “lesser evil”. And their actions habe given the left more hope in mainstream and party acceptance than any of you who wish to tear that away.

  35. logicalcat says


    One of the reasons i noticed how usess leftists were was in 2016 when they were a little too concerned with Clinton winning than the man using actual fascist rhetoric. It was a red flag. And made me rethink everything i heard about Clinton. When I looked into it i found that most of it was dishonest propaganda. They made her out to look way more evil than she actually is. Its fucked up and i lost faith in leftism. Hell i still dont think they learned their lesson from 2016.

    None of this is an endorsment to not criticise her role as a politician. Just do so honestly.

  36. Nathan Mauk says

    I cannot believe we have someone here in the comments arguing not only (1) that Trump has been a better president than G. W. Bush because Trump started fewer wars, but (2) that Trump is better than any Democratic presidential candidate because we can just assume that any given Democrat would start at least one war. Setting aside that specious assumption, since when is number of wars started the only metric by which presidents should be judged?

    Also, it’s spelled milquetoast.

  37. lotharloo says

    1) Again, you have a particular view of what it means to vote, i.e., you argue that there are only two options: vote for Biden, or vote for Trump. I am not disagreeing with that view. I am saying that there is a reasonable argument that puts forward a proposition that there are actually three options which includes “not voting”. I guess you are ill-educated in world history in general to assume this option does not exist but throughout history, “boycotting elections” because people have fundamentally disagreed with the system or with the choices has been one of the ways humans have expressed their political will. It is a valid option. If someone decides to make that choice, I think it is within their right.
    2) “wars are not the only measure of horribleness,” yes but seeing as most Trump policies are at the level of a generic Republican president, the fact that he has started 0 wars makes him better than GWB. Also, wars is one of the worst things a president can do. Just consider how much US wars have fucked up the region. Being better than GWB is a very low bar to clear but I bring this point up to illustrate that in general people over-estimate how bad Trump is or have a very US-centrist view of the politics. Again, you have no rebuttal.
    3) ” You are FUCKING LYING that Clinton was a weak candidate.” You really have a poor grip on reality. One reason why she was a weak candidate is that she lost to Trump. The second reason is that she has very low, in fact -10 or lower favorability rating. Some of it is due sexism and some of it was due to right-wing media having a decades long advantage in poisoning the public opinion with non-sense talking points and conspiracy theories and so on. But you cannot attribute all of it to those factors.
    4) Obama was an outstanding campaigner, and one of the best orators of current times. He is extremely smart and capable. But that did not translate into policy as the OP video shows. So yes, in overall, he was not a very effective president.
    5) “you didn’t actually provide any evidence that you claim supports your arguments. Like, two assertions about “weakness” and “milk toast””. I did regarding Clinton. Regarding Obama, he accomplished very little, despite Democrats having the control of senate and the house initially. He could not follow up on a lot of his major promises and to top it off, Republicans stole a supreme court seat. That’s enough evidence to show how weak Obama was policy-wise. You might also want to watch the video at the top for more.

  38. consciousness razor says

    There has to be pressure on Biden now (and during the primaries but that time has passed), because it’s patently stupid to hold off on that until after he’s already gotten what he’s wanted (i.e., the job and everything that comes with it). Obama certainly didn’t move left after his elections and neither did Bill Clinton, despite the criticisms they both received, because we already put them in power. If you give them power and simply wish later on that they use it well, expect disappointment. You shouldn’t have been sleepwalking your way to voting booth, and your dreams probably won’t come true.

    So what do you think serious, non-bullshit pressure looks like? It’s saying, prior to the election, something along the lines of “this job isn’t a fucking gift to you, and it’s not some honor bestowed every four years to some member of the nobility. You are getting it because you will do A, B, C, etc. That’s what the job requires, so do that or don’t waste our time, because nobody needed you to be a candidate.”

    Then the question for us is what all of those items should be. It’s not even remotely satisfactory for him to merely be better than Trump, so don’t act like it is. If you can’t come up with anything more, that is a big problem. And it’s definitely our problem, not Biden’s, because he wouldn’t have any problem with getting the job for next to nothing. It’s bad enough that Biden has barely any ideas of his own, but it’s really alarming that other voters practically insist that none of us should have them either.

  39. indianajones says

    So, I am a disinterested, as opposed to uninterested, observer from the southern hemisphere and I wonder as a few questions for everyone:

    Suppose the upcoming US election was the very first time one was able to engage politically. You’ve turned 18 or got citizenship or whatever. On top of that you are an intelligent and engaged person who wants to base your decision on the common good. Which way do you go? Trump, Biden or don’t vote? I put voting 3rd party in your electoral system as being equivalent to not voting btw. Now consider that no one can change the past. Is anyone else voting that day in a functionally different position? Why or why not?

    Voting for Trump would be a non starter because, well, intelligent and engaged. Personally I would tend to also dismiss the ‘not vote even though I can’ position in the hope of getting better options later too. That being about the only credible reason not to vote I have seen advanced. Accelerationists don’t fit the intelligent criterion for mine, are lazy to boot and can go fuck ’emselves. So, small and scrawny chicken in the hand generally being better than a feast of fat turkeys in the bush. Leaving just the one option. No?

    A lot of the arguments I see here and elsewhere from The Vicar et al seem to be extolling the merits of my fat turkeys above. Would that be a fair characterization or does my analogy from Aesop’s fables et al suck?

  40. LeftSidePositive says


    1) No, there is absolutely no reasonable argument about any other electoral action besides voting for a major party candidate with our current election rules. Yes, “not voting” is an option the same way that injecting bleach into your lungs is “an option” for curing covid. In other words, it’s ineffective, stupid as shit, and will kill lots of people. You fucking indefensible monster. You are not “boycotting elections” under the current system in the United States. There is no requirement that a candidate get a certain percentage of votes or a certain percentage of the population, and no mechanism for respecting a boycott. Not voting means “I don’t care” no matter how much you whisper ad-hoc justifications up your own ass. You are passively allowing the worst actors to obtain and consolidate power, and idiots like you have facilitated the rightward slide in this country since the 60s, because you can’t be arsed to think rationally about the consequences of your actions. It is someone’s right not to vote, but that doesn’t change the fact that a person who chooses to use their rights that way instead of defending their fellow human beings is an absolute piece of shit and should be categorically treated as such.

    2) Again, no one cares if you think Trump is worse than GWB. GWB is not on the ballot right now (and, I will point out, the thing that clinched his win was idiotic purity leftist voters, so chew on that for a while!). But, more to the point, Trump is undermining our very elections in a way that Bush never did, which has gone far beyond what we thought “generic Republicans” were capable of (and installing John Roberts and firing the US attorneys who wouldn’t partake in his voter suppression schemes were way worse than people acknowledge). Once we no longer have ANY meaningful accountability at the ballot box and our democracy is functionally gone, which it will be if Biden doesn’t win, what check will there be on Trump’s wars? And, more crucially, on Putin’s wars and those of his proxies since that’s who Trump’s “non-interventionism” is benefitting! And don’t forget that Trump has dramatically escalated drone strikes (even beyond Obama’s unacceptable levels) and letting Turkey attack Syria, etc. etc.

    3) I can’t even FATHOM how detached from reality you have to be to consider Clinton a “weak candidate” because she lost to Trump. Firstly, the brutal fact is that Trump was a very strong candidate. He got more votes than Romney, and he energized a racist, angry base that is deeply attached to him. Only with his colossal failures around COVID have we really seen the average American conclusively turn on him, and much of his base still believes in him. I know you want to think that Americans all want what you want, but that’s just not true, and throughout your comment you’ve conflated “strong candidate” with “candidate that agrees with you” in a way that is not only logically incoherent but also hilarious given how bad you guys are at winning elections.

    You can’t just brush off the effects of sexism, right wing media, seemingly-centrist media running on horserace antics, false equivalence, and conspiracy theories, because—and pay attention because this is at least the third time I’ve said this—ALL OF THOSE THINGS WILL AFFECT YOUR CANDIDATE TOO (yes, even the sexism, even with a male candidate: go back and read some Maureen Dowd columns about Al Gore!). It’s also victim-blaming which is a fucking shitty thing to do. Moreover, one of the big reasons she lost to Trump (despite winning ~3 million more votes, let’s not forget) is a bunch of idiots in PA, MI, and WI thought it was “safe” to protest vote, so it’s ludicrous to call being a victim of distorted perceptions being a “bad candidate”!

    4 & 5) Again, stop conflating electoral strength with how well someone agrees with you, especially when there is no indication whatsoever that your position leads to electoral success. And it is utterly ridiculous of you to cede power to Republicans and then act all shocked that Democratic presidents can’t accomplish jack shit with their obstructionism. And again, most of the things in the video, while absolutely abhorrent, are supported by the median American voter. There is no amount of sitting out elections (oh, excuse me, “boycotting” … jerkoff motion) or supporting vanity candidates that is going to change that, so you need to work on changing hearts and minds, not on throwing tantrums when you aren’t presented with what you already want.

  41. LeftSidePositive says

    @42, consciousness razor:

    Man, I’m SO fucking glad all your “non-bullshit pressure” has really moved Clinton to the left! Look how well her administration’s going! And you guys really made the Gore presidency so effective too, so thanks for that!

    You really have ABSOLUTELY no idea how politics, leverage, or power works, do you!?

    Right now, we simply have no leverage: our choices are Biden or Trump. There is nothing you can do right now to “or else” Biden, unless you’re willing to doom another couple hundred thousand Americans to death, which 1) makes you a fucking monster, and 2) really makes me question why you are so outraged by people dying from imperfect policy if you are willing to sit by and enable mass death on a larger scale in a fit of pique. Either Biden will win or Trump will win, and committing to things that appeal to you may not necessarily appeal to other voters, and AGAIN, you lefties need to stop pretending your positions are more popular than they are (even when they’re actually good policy, the average American can be turned against them way too easily). Furthermore, there is no mechanism whatsoever that states a politician actually has to abide by what he says on the campaign trail, so you’re going after nothing but aesthetics (which makes sense for a bunch of purity lefty idiots who are willing to let literal fascism take hold just because some Dem said something nice about the ACA!).

    Most pressingly, and the reason there’s so much pushback to this kind of discourse at this time, is that while you imagine you’re “putting pressure” on Biden, you’re really just giving other purity leftist idiots an excuse not to do their civic duty, and the result of this kind of false equivalence between Biden and Trump is not going to make Biden want to be more liberal, but will definitely discourage lefty voters from bothering. Think about the consequences of your actions.

    And, once someone is in power they want to STAY IN POWER. I can’t believe I have to explain this to you. They don’t want primary challengers, they want money for their next campaign and those of their colleagues, they don’t want to have marches around the White House about their failings, they don’t want FOIA requests embarrassing them, they don’t want avalanches of angry phone calls clogging up the lines. THAT is where you could actually do some good. Hell, Republicans even freaked out about the first iterations of the Muslim ban and on repealing the ACA because (even though they were already in office!), and had to bow to public pressure.

    And it’s INCREDIBLY stupid of you to point to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama as not moving far enough left during their time in office because both of them famously had Republican congresses after their first two years, where not only could they not do anything, we couldn’t even tell which Dems would be the turncoats or the monkey wrenches in the machine that we need to primary, because differences between Democrats get flattened out by Republican obstructionism. Of course, I wish both B Clinton and Obama were more liberal than either man was actually inclined to be, and I don’t think they would have been eager to do everything I wanted even if they had a cooperative Congress, but the fact is they did a lot LESS than they would have if they had people IN POWER moving them to the Left.

    Furthermore, the reason the average voter rushed to safe-seeming Biden and was willing to give him the job for “next to nothing” as you put it, was that they were traumatized by Trump. You didn’t have any pressure to put on Dems to move left because the average Democratic primary voter was bargaining with the median general election voter, especially because the Left has shown themselves to be untrustworthy political partners. But please, go on and preen about how “not Trump” isn’t good enough for you, when purity voters created the situation where a major chunk of primary voters ACTUALLY RESPOND TO POLLSTERS that “not Trump” is the single most important thing to them. Again, you need to learn that your personal preferences are WAAAY off those of the typical voter.

    Finally, you do realize that candidates can’t actually hear you when you say “this job isn’t a fucking gift… ” etc., etc., when you vote?! You either vote for them or you don’t. Your vote is indistinguishable from the voter who’s a lifelong Republican but is angry about Covid, or the low-information voter who just thinks Biden seems friendly, or the swing voter who hates the idea of socialism but really needs the ACA. The way you put forth actual policies is in the primaries and by staying engaged throughout the term in office, not “wishing” that they use their power well. Sheesh.

    In conclusion, everything you believe about political engagement is wrong on every conceivable level so please stop poisoning the discourse with self-defeating bullshit.

  42. lotharloo says

    This discussion is making no progress. I don’t see any counter point worth responding to and I think all the relevant points have been made. Any potential reader won’t get more from this discussion.

  43. LeftSidePositive says

    The discussion is making no progress because you’re wrong, you can’t refute my points, and you are too far up your own rectum to recognize the horrific consequences of your bullshit performative purity for the lives of millions of Americans. You are the political equivalent of creationists, flat earthers, climate change denialists, and anti-vaxxers, and you’ll never learn from your idiotic need to be more pure and important than all us common rabble who actually vote in order to effect our best attainable outcome. OF COURSE you don’t want the discussion to progress, because you have nothing of value to say and you refuse to admit you’re wrong.

    But, I do hope any potential readers will see how thoroughly shallow your worldview is, and how much it depends on utter denialism about American voters and what we’re actually up against. So… thanks for showing us your whole ass, I guess!

  44. consciousness razor says

    LSP, in that whole mess, you didn’t have a single thought to offer about what the next president needs to do. I mean, you can hate the left all you want and blame everything on them, but even the most muddle-headed of “centrists” can usually manage to spit out something which at least sounds like an idea.

    And now that I think about it…. If you expect to get any of their votes, then how is this supposed work? Are they also supposed to STFU while you hector them and accuse them of shit they didn’t do? Or is there a different type of response prepared especially for that class of potential voters?

  45. LeftSidePositive says

    CR, that’s because THAT’S NOT WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT RIGHT NOW. We are talking about our moral obligation as Americans and as humans to prevent deaths and protect our very democracy. Yes, I have plenty to say about what I would like policy to be (and I’m not a “centrist” — my preferred positions are Medicare for All, Universal Basic Income, free daycare & pre-K, free undergraduate and graduate education, carbon taxation, abortion on demand and fully federally funded, protections for gender minorities in employment, housing, and medical care, decriminalizing all recreational drugs and releasing all nonviolent drug offenders, a ban on private prisons, firing and investigating all leadership in every police department with a single police brutality case, and prosecuting members of the Trump AND Bush administrations and demanding major players get lifelong prison sentences) … I’m just not an idiot when it comes to when to focus on what, and right now the focus needs to be on VOTING FOR BIDEN AND EVERY DEMOCRAT ON YOUR FUCKING BALLOT IN ALL RACES.

    And stop holding your vote hostage as this prize that we’re supposed to win and flatter you for it. 170,000 Americans have died needlessly from COVID alone. If that’s not a big enough deal for you to realize that ALL your effort needs to go into voting for Biden and making sure every American is registered and has a plan to overcome voter suppression, then you’re a worthless fucking idiot who won’t work toward the common good no matter how important it is. Your vote is not a fucking rose you give to your courtly love who writes you the best sonnet. It is a means of protecting the most vulnerable in our society, and anyone, like you, who even PRETENDS your ego justifies leaving your fellow Americans to die because you didn’t get everything on your wishlist, is actively doing violence.

  46. consciousness razor says

    It sounds like you would say the next president needs to be very serious about the pandemic, doing whatever is possible to stop the bleeding.

    The specifics there are not clear, but that’s one thing at least. And I think that much is certainly not negotiable. This means it’s not part of some fanciful “wishlist” that strawmanning bullshitters like you conjure up to scare people into not thinking clearly about what our government has to do.

    Every single fucking time a Dem fails at this — simply doing what the country needs, whatever that may be — no matter what the calendar or the clock say, no matter how convenient it may be for you, that should be “WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT,” asshole. They need to work for us and on behalf of us, not themselves or their donors, or else they are not for democracy. And if you don’t like it that the latter sort ought to be fired, because we do not owe them a spot in the government and will not let them take the country from us, then neither are you.

  47. lotharloo says

    You are just a dumbass on the internet with opinions which are not backed up by much reading or expertise.

    To the few who have followed this boring discussion, I recommend reading what the actual philosophers or experts say on the matter. There are a lot of interesting discussions to be read. For example try,
    For example, the expressive theory of voting is quite interesting:

    The expressive theory of voting (G. Brennan and Lomasky 1993) holds that voters vote in order to express themselves. On the expressive theory, voting is a consumption activity rather than a productive activity; it is more like reading a book for pleasure than it is like reading a book to develop a new skill. On this theory, though the act of voting is private, voters regard voting as an apt way to demonstrate and express their commitment to their political team. Voting is like wearing a Metallica T-shirt at a concert or doing the wave at a sports game. Sports fans who paint their faces the team colors do not generally believe that they, as individuals, will change the outcome of the game, but instead wish to demonstrate their commitment to their team. Even when watching games alone, sports fans cheer and clap for their teams. Perhaps voting is like this.

    This “expressive theory of voting” is untroubled by and indeed partly supported by the empirical findings that most voters are ignorant about basic political facts (Somin 2013; Delli Carpini and Keeter, 1996). The expressive theory is also untroubled by and indeed partly supported by work in political psychology showing that most citizens suffer from significant “intergroup bias”: we tend to automatically form groups, and to be irrationally loyal to and forgiving of our own group while irrationally hateful of other groups (Lodge and Taber 2013; Haidt 2012; Westen, Blagov, Harenski, Kilts, and Hamann 2006; Westen 2008).

  48. lotharloo says

    From the same link on the question of mortal obligation for voting:

    3. Moral Obligations Regarding How One Votes

    Most people appear to believe that there is a duty to cast a vote (perhaps including a blank ballot) rather than abstain (Mackie 2010: 8–9), but this leaves open whether they believe there is a duty to vote in any particular way. Some philosophers and political theorists have argued there are ethical obligations attached to how one chooses to vote. For instance, many deliberative democrats (see Christiano 2006) believe not only that every citizen has a duty to vote, but also that they must vote in publicly-spirited ways, after engaging in various forms of democratic deliberation. In contrast, some (G. Brennan and Lomasky 1993; J. Brennan 2009; J. Brennan 2011a) argue that while there is no general duty to vote (abstention is permissible), those citizens who do choose to vote have duties affecting how they vote. They argue that while it is not wrong to abstain, it is wrong to vote badly, in some theory-specified sense of “badly”

  49. LeftSidePositive says

    @50, I would say the next president needs to not be Trump. We are at risk of losing our democracy right now, and until we fix that, nothing else fucking matters. If you can’t see that, you are my sworn enemy, and I see no point in being nice to you or trying to persuade you, since the most proof I can possibly imagine in the form of literal mass graves and assaults on voting rights is happening, and you can’t seem to be fucking bothered. Shame on you.

    We’re not trying to “scare you into not thinking clearly about what our government has to do,” you fucking idiot. Who we should vote for in a particular election is a completely separate question from the long-term trajectory of the country (and also, even if you were advocating a position popular with the majority of Americans—and you’re not!—just demanding candidates promise you things on the campaign trail is a very, very stupid substitute for effective praxis). We’re trying to communicate to you that almost half of this country is absolutely fucking evil and will take away the ability to do anything good for GENERATIONS if you don’t cooperate with some people who don’t exactly agree with you. Your refusal to join with your next-closest allies (who are more popular than you and therefore have a greater mandate to set the agenda than you do!) has caused hundreds of thousands of needless deaths, for which you and your ilk are morally responsible. It’s also why no one trusts you for shit and no one wants to try to attract you to their political coalition, because it’s all risk and no reward, and you are a bunch of assholes who care more about preening about what would be perfect than what actually happens as a result of your actions or inaction.

    Every single time a Dem fails at delivering your preferred policy positions, remember that your preferred policy positions are a minority of the electorate and you haven’t actually convinced others why they should support you. If your policy positions are actually more popular than that Dem will admit, then primary them.

    And yeah, the calendar and the clock fucking matter, you irresponsible nitwit. Right now, all your pontificating is not helping any disenfranchised person vote, and it’s making a fuckton of excuses for entitled trust fund cosplay leftists who think they’re too precious to vote. It doesn’t pressure Dems, it doesn’t make your agenda more likely to be achieved. It just gives cover to spoilers and non-voters. It’s counting your chickens before they are hatched, while they are left to die in a mail distribution center sabotaged by postmaster general with an ideological vendetta and a massive conflict of interest which he’s also going to leverage to take away people’s voting rights.

    And one of the main reasons politicians don’t work on your behalf is that PEOPLE WITH YOUR BELIEFS DON’T FUCKING VOTE. And don’t pretend that not supporting you is “not supporting democracy” when you are actually a tiny fringe position.

    And GREAT FUCKING JOB pontificating on how bad Dems need to be fired. Did I mention you have no fucking idea how politics works?! We have a first-past-the-post voting system. That means if you refuse to support a Dem in a general election there will be a Republican in that office, and they are actually fucking evil. Your entire worldview seems to imagine all political thought as existing only between Democrats and lefties, and you have an astounding failure to see that Republicans actually exist and have a major base of support from people who really, REALLY like their hatefulness. Allowing them to run roughshod over our country is profoundly irresponsible.

    I was going to say you were the emblematic of the very apex of stupidity in lefty self-defeatism, but then lotharloo joined in again, so you’ll have to console yourself with a strong second place.

  50. LeftSidePositive says

    lotharloo, you are a MONUMENTAL fucking idiot. I mean really. Just never trust your own brain any farther than you can throw it, on any subject ever.

    Do you seriously not understand the difference between a DESCRIPTION of an idea and a JUSTIFICATION for that idea? Like, do you know those are different things? Do you understand that a bunch of last names and years in in-text citations does not inherently mean that an idea is good or relevant? How fucking stupid are you?!

    DESCRIBING the way that some people vote to express themselves is just a description. It doesn’t show that such behavior is good or effective. It doesn’t show that it brings about meaningful change, holds institutions accountable, or results in outcomes those voters want (as mentioned in the piece, those voters are “ignorant of basic political facts”!). When we are discussing the morality of voting, we’re actually talking about the 175+k people who have died, and the all-out assault on our democracy from a fascist wannabe dictator. We’re talking about the demonstrable rightward shift politics have taken since the 1960s, especially exacerbated by the left refusing to engage politically. Just quoting someone DESCRIBING idiotic voting patterns and psychological tricks that human minds play on ourselves when we are lazy and irrational, is not the same as defending a practice as an actually good idea.

    Moreover, your citing of philosophers who faff about with elaborate frameworks to describe different ethical beliefs about voting is just a massive ipse dixit fallacy. A belief does not become good just because a published author writes about it with a lot of five-dollar words. For you to actually be contributing to this discussion, you would need to show verifiable historical evidence that not bothering to vote actually effects positive change in a system with rules similar enough to ours to be comparable. Citing philosophers rambling on about what they think moral duties mean is pretty fucking weak sauce when there’s an actual tyrant who has no compunction about leaving Americans he hates to literally die. What the fuck is wrong with you?!

  51. lotharloo says


    Moreover, your citing of philosophers who faff about with elaborate frameworks to describe different ethical beliefs about voting is just a massive ipse dixit fallacy … Citing philosophers rambling on about what they think moral duties mean is …

    Yeah, I nailed you: a dumbass on the internet with 0 expertise and lots of opinions. Instead typing essays, learn to shut up and read.

  52. John Morales says

    lotharloo, I’m not from the USA, so this — except for his administration’s environmental record, which affects the whole planet — is academic to me, but extant circumstances are plain as day: either Trump or Biden will be POTUS after the electoral college casts their votes, and the popular vote has an effect on that. There is no realistic third candidate.
    Any vote that might have gone to Biden but which does not means one less vote to counter however many votes Trump gets. It ineluctably follows that whoever does not wish for Trump to gain a second term should vote for Biden if they care to use their vote.

    (The corollary should be obvious)

    As for LeftSidePositive being “a dumbass”, well, yours is sonorous, in contrast.

  53. lotharloo says

    @John Morales:
    That’s a fine argument and it shows that for you the decision is simple. And that argument is extremely simple and easy to understand It is also very common. However, if you go ahead and conclude that therefore the entire debate is simple, then you will be laughed at. For start, you are read
    Or you can search for publications on ethics of voting third party and you’ll see that the debate is not straightforward at all.

    I’m not arguing for not voting. I am not arguing for voting for Biden. I am not arguing for voting third party. I am simply arguing that the debate is complicated and this is backed by the large number of philosophical publications on ethics of voting.

  54. Jazzlet says

    I’m not from the USA either, but who the USA elects as president has an impact all over the world despite the fact that we can’t vote in your elections. Vote, all of you whatever your beliefs are, getting Trump out is more important than anything else you can do. And if you really care about what happens in your country help make sure others are registered to vote and can get to the polls to vote – that is where your all your efforts should be spent at the moment. Otherwise you are suppporting the facists whatever you intend.

  55. Jazzlet says


    I’m not arguing for not voting. I am not arguing for voting for Biden. I am not arguing for voting third party. I am simply arguing that the debate is complicated and this is backed by the large number of philosophical publications on ethics of voting.

    At this moment in time this is irrelevant and a waste of energy that should be put to making sure that those in communities that are being intentionally deprived of the vote actually get to vote. It is a luxury the world can not afford for you to indulge.

  56. says

    @lotharloo #57, thanks for finally admitting that you are really not even trying to respond to LeftSidePositive’s arguments but are just fapping furiously in public. LeftSidePositive is talking about the specific situation the world – yes, the world, not just the USA – is in right now, whilst you condescend by musing about generic philosophical principles. Nowhere in that link you provided is talking about Biden and Trump, but – and that is a real kicker- even so, I think (after cursory reading) that it supports what LeftSidePositive says about the specific situation we are in now. I do not think the author of that article would be too pleased with how you are using their work here.
    See paragraph 3.2

    Still, the irresponsible voter is much like a person who volunteers to shoot in the firing squad. Her individual bad vote is of no consequence—just as an individual shot is of no consequence—but she is participating in a collectively harmful activity when she could easily keep her hands clean.

    Not voting for Biden increases the likelihood of Trump’s victory due to how US elections work. Trump’s victory increases the likelihood of exacerbating and continuing multiple disaster.

  57. Rob Grigjanis says

    If a killer asteroid were on an impact course with Earth, you might think there are two options; collaborate to destroy/divert the asteroid, or just curl up and accept our fate.

    But no! It’s more complicated than that! The truly thoughtful person would scour the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy to see if there are any deeper, more subtle issues that might need addressing. And then ponder them at length rather than rush to judgment.

  58. lotharloo says

    LeftSidePositive has no arguments, only assertions. Okay, one argument: Trump bad. very very bad. very very very very bad. Biden no so bad. So vote Biden. Also [insert random capitalized word] [insert a few insults] [insert 15000 lines of text]

    About paragraph 3.2. I don’t think your understanding of the paragraph is correct. Try to read the entire article. First, it is premised on argument that in an election, almost always a single vote does not matter. That paragraph builds on that. It is trying to address the question that, “If one votes does not really matter, then can one bad vote be immoral?” It is not talking about not voting. The clean-hands principle that the paragraph talks about does not apply to not taking an action. The clean hands principle applies to moral repulsion of participation in a collectively harmful act.

  59. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    One need look no further than the folks like the Vicar, Lotharloo, mnb0 to understand why the left weilds zero power in this country. Rightwing nutjobs started collaborating with the Rethugs when they were only minor league evil, and now they own the fucking party.

    It doesn’t matter that their ideas aren’t feasible, because they will never have the power to implement any of them. They are so inflexible that the force Dems to look to the right for support, because the only way they get any support from the left is by capitulating to their demands. But hey, at least they can feel pure and superior.

  60. says

    Sure, ray, because the left supposedly turned the 2016 election for Trump with their protest votes, but they wield no power. Never mind those progressive policy proposals Biden’s adopted since he became the presumptive nominee. Perhaps this is an admission that he’s lying about all that? Admittedly that would not surprise me.

    And I like the domestic-abuser theory of Democratic politics you have there, they look to the right because ‘you made me do it!’ As if Democrats have never capitulated to the right’s demands. As if the Biden candidacy were not capitulation to anyone’s demands.

    Yes, never mind that elephant in the room the moderates never talk about, those millions of Obama-Trump voters whose influence on the 2016 election was almost certainly greater than a few thousand protest votes for Jill Stein (fucking Russian stooge). Black voters saved Biden because they understand the nature of the Democratic party. It’s full of white folks who will protest vote for Trump.

    But maybe those estimated 6-9 million flippers were all just mad Bernie or Bust voters. I wouldn’t know, I voted for Hillary. And I’ll be voting for Biden, no doubt. I already have a Biden-Harris sign in my yard! If there are that many, though, perhaps capitulating to their demands might be wise.

  61. lotharloo says

    If I were an American, the decision for me would be easy and I would vote for Biden. And the most convincing argument would be something like this: which is an ad featuring Chomsky that talks about global warming. The reason that this is most convincing is that 1) Trump will be horrible on GW. 2) Biden will have a positive effect. So on this issue, the choice is not the lesser of two evils, it is a good choice vs an evil choice and that is why this argument is very convincing.

    In general, for some people the “lesser of two evils” argument doesn’t work. They just have a different outlook on their right to vote and they have different values. And every single time, people just repeat “Trump very very very bad, Biden not so bad” line without understanding why it is ineffective for those people and then they get aggressive, frustrated, and resort to insults.

  62. logicalcat says

    I noticed that once again the purity fools fail to account for the fact that what we are suggesting is things that right wingers do to control their politicians and keep them in check. So its already been tried before at least three times with the evangelicals, tea party and alt right. Three different radical third parties who supplanted the establishment and control an entire political aprty and all done on the merits of voting and being engaged in primaries.

    So fools like Lotharloo can post appeals to authority by philosophers all he wants while tonetrolling, but objective verifiable reality shows otherwise.

    Leftists don’t vote. Too busy feeling superior and above all that. Like celebrities singing Jon Lennons Imagine during the pandemic it makes them feel good and loot virtuous but in the end its all for show while people suffer.

    Like i said earlier. That moral high ground never seems to be anywhere near a position of power where we are the one who get to make decisions this time around.


    Democrats appeal to moderates because its easier and more reliable. Republicans appeal to radicals because it gives them an edge voting wise and they know that radical right wingers are reliable voters. Left wing radicals are not reliable voters. and they anti Hillary propaganda during 2016 influenced the obama-trumpers. the propaganda reached key states and florida easier. Thats why we are mad at the purists, because they essentially form another branch of right wing propaganda when they are supposed to be on the left. They have a lot more power than they think. they just wield it like fools.

  63. LeftSidePositive says

    Lotharloo, there is a HUGE difference between maladaptive psychology being complicated and an actual moral imperative being complicated, and you are conflating the two ridiculously. Just because there are people who believe nonsense doesn’t mean there is a “debate.” There’s a lot of cognitive biases that are being exploited in numerous complicated ways to facilitate climate change. That does not in any way mean there is a legitimate “debate” about climate change. Yes, WE KNOW there are people who vote to “express” themselves. The point is: THAT’S A HUGE FUCKING PROBLEM. Yes, WE KNOW some people have different “outlooks” and “values” about voting, and the point is THOSE PEOPLE ARE FUCKING IDIOTS WHO ARE GETTING PEOPLE KILLED.

    There are reams and reams of philosophical discussions about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. It doesn’t change the fact that angels aren’t real, and that’s quite a simple, unequivocal conclusion to be drawn from all available evidence. You’re literally trying to pull a Courtier’s Reply on PZ Myers’ own goddamn blog!

    Moreover, you have been blockquoting philosophical texts without understanding what they mean (I mean, you quoted a passage about people who are “irrational” and “ignorant about basic politics facts” as though it described a valid and meritorious position!). You even edited out what I said to you about the difference between repeating authoritative-sounding quotes and actually having relevant historical evidence to back up your arguments, and then tried to claim I had only opinions! By the way, you have failed to engage honestly with ANY of my arguments about the consequences of protest voting and the way the US political landscape differs from what you assert about “milk toast [sic] Democrats.” You have ignored substantive evidence I have given you such as demonstrated media bias, voter turnouts in 2016, the lack of success of “Our Revolution”-type candidates in purple races in 2018, and changes in primary votes between 2016 and 2020.

    Oh, and Biden won’t be perfect on climate change, because politicians aren’t perfect on anything, ever. The logic you just described holds true for literally every single issue in existence: Healthcare. Tax policy. Judges. LGBT rights. Police accountability. Trump will be horrible. Biden will have a positive, albeit incomplete effect. Literally fucking everything. So why the fuck have you been wasting our fucking time?

    Also, now that you’ve conclusively lost this argument, don’t try to pretend you are describing other people’s relationships to voting as “complicated” (& AGAIN, people can have very complicated psychological reasons for doing harmful things, which does not change the fact that the resulting action is stupid and harmful!). You YOURSELF have been trying to justify why not voting for Biden could be valid throughout this entire thread. We can all see what you’ve written. And, if you actually have supported voting for Biden, why have you been wasting our goddamned time?

    Finally, yes there are people who are too stupid and egotistical to recognize the very real world consequences contained in a lesser of two evils argument. You could have spent your time on this thread talking about how to effectively change their minds, if you had any useful ideas in that regard, but instead you’ve spent your whole time here carrying water for their bullshit and pretending it’s deeper and more defensible than it actually is. You have made bullshit assertions about the “long-term effects of electing milk toast [sic] Democrats to the office” but never actually articulated any of them besides people who have earned good will with the electorate retaining credibility with them, which is 1) not at all surprising, 2) doesn’t prevent you from doing any consciousness-raising, and 3) is NOWHERE near the absolute fucking destruction and mass death that results from the short- and long-term effects of letting the GOP win. So, stop making excuses for purity-voting idiots, and if you actually have constructive ideas as to how to change their minds, why haven’t you shared that wisdom with us yet?

  64. LeftSidePositive says

    @Tytalus, 64:

    There is a major difference between squandering power to disastrous ends and actually being an effective force for one’s own political goals. Leftists can be idiots who cleared the way for Trump (which is not a “supposedly”—Stein’s votes exceeded the margin of victory in all of the Blue Wall states that would have been the difference in Clinton winning, so if Stein voters had voted intelligently, we wouldn’t be in this clusterfuck right now. That is absolute, unassailable fact. And, since voting effectively is a moral obligation, those Stein voters are morally responsible for their negligence and the resulting deaths and suffering!) AND Leftists can also fail to use their power to actually achieve their intended goals. There’s no contradiction there.

    For the record, progressive policy proposals are getting adopted because there are OTHER liberals/leftists who are actually doing the hard work to organize for those things, not the temper-tantrum throwers.

    And it is, in fact, entirely possible for political actors to effect changes in others’ political actions, for better or for worse. It’s pretty fucking rich to conflate that with an abuser saying “you made me do it!” Democrats slide right when THAT IS WHERE THE VOTES ARE, because that is how a democracy works. It is literally possible to make someone else do a thing based on the position they’re in as a result of one’s own actions. And no, they aren’t turning right to “punish” the left (let us yet again pause to marvel at how leftist discourse imagines the entire political landscape as an argument between themselves and Democratic leadership, and completely ignores the vast majority of Americans!). They’re turning right because that’s what is getting them votes. But nice try, there.

    And who exactly do you think is capitulating with the Biden nomination? I don’t know how to explain this to you, but despite Biden getting only tiny amounts of campaign funding and remarkably few major endorsements until after others had dropped out, PEOPLE VOTED FOR HIM. Yeah, I’m flummoxed by it too, but it’s not like the DNC chose him over the will of the people. That WAS the will of the people (even though I disagreed with it then and I am still bitter about it now). Why did so many people choose Biden? Because they, as individuals, were scared from what Trump had done to the country and wanted to play it safe. So, lesson here: it’s a bad idea to refuse to vote for “the lesser of two evils” because individual, frightened voters will perceive their strategic interests as better served by playing to the center the next time around.

    And the Obama-Trump voters aren’t relevant here, because this is a discussion about self-defeating lefties. Granted, there were a not-inconsiderable percentage of Bernie -> Trump voters, because the Left has a problem with misogyny, unfocused rage, and a desire for quick fixes in some corners of its movement. But, the vast majority of Obama-Trump voters weren’t lefties with lofty principles and bad praxis, they were low-information voters who voted for anyone who would promise “change,” or they were socially conservative and voted Obama in 2008 because of how badly GWB broke the economy (and Obama had a massive drop-off—3.5 million votes!—in 2012). Those people are too erratic to really reach effectively, whereas lefties who pretend to care about the environment, mass incarceration, democracy, public health, drone strikes, etc., etc. should be a reliable voting bloc, but they have been shooting themselves in the foot since 1968.

    I don’t think the election right now is about “capitulating” to anyone’s demands. There is a broad, even unwieldy, coalition of people who do not want Trump to be president. We can’t promise all of them what they want, but it’s vital that we all recognize that we need to pull our weight and save our country. And no matter what we do, the GOP will accuse even Joe Fucking Biden of literally being to the left of Stalin, so … shrug. Right now, it’s just getting as many people registered and practically able to vote, and to make sure that people who have the luxury of voting easily due to their privilege are not duped by anti-voting propaganda in our activist spaces.

  65. LeftSidePositive says

    The third sentence of my comment in #67 should read “to facilitate climate change denialism.” Oops.

  66. vucodlak says

    The left votes overwhelmingly for Democrats although, reading this thread, you’d never know it.

    It’s not the 63 million people who voted for Trump who are responsible for Trump, oh no, it’s a couple of thousand people who voted third party. Those people were leftists. How do we know this? Because they did something we hate. All those 2016 Stein voters would definitely be Democrats if they hadn’t had the option to vote for Stein- they wouldn’t have abstained, none of them would have voted for Trump or the libertarian, no, they would be Democrats if they weren’t such stupid fucking leftists.

    What do we know about leftists, based on this thread? Well, they certainly don’t vote. Except for those who voted for Jill Stein, who we must remember are solely responsible for the election of Donald Trump, leftists don’t vote. Ignore, please, all the leftists here who’ve said they are going to vote for Biden, who voted for Clinton in 2016, because LEFTISTS DON’T VOTE. The all-caps makes this a true and incontrovertible fact.

    Don’t those people know they owe us their votes, to say nothing of their unquestioning allegiance? Why don’t they vote like we tell them to vote, in between our screaming at them that they’re “fools” and “FUCKING IDIOTS?” Why aren’t they sitting down, shutting up, and “VOTING FOR BIDEN AND EVERY DEMOCRAT ON YOUR FUCKING BALLOT IN ALL RACES” like we tell them too, and like many are going to/have regularly done?

    It is an interesting thing, the contradictory powers of the leftist. On the one hand, evidence shows that they vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, but this can’t be true, because LEFTISTS DON’T VOTE. On the other hand, leftists are singlehandedly responsible for Donald Trump because they, er, voted for someone else. To think, they’re simultaneously completely responsible for the worst president in US history and all the massive destruction he’s caused, and yet they have no power at all, fit only to be used as punching bags every election cycle by the real people whose thoughts and opinions matter

    I think I understand now. It’s not that leftists how no power, it’s that leftists have all the power, both positive and negative, so that everything they do is immediately canceled out. Or maybe they’re more like the Devil, that most nefarious fellow with the red pajamas and the pitchfork, in that they’re responsible for every bad thing that happens, yet strangely powerless against their ostensible enemies.

    Yes, that’s it! Leftists, WHO DO NOT VOTE, vote only for the wrong people, and vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, are the Devil. Perhaps next time, in lieu of a couple of dozen essays, we can just say LEFTISTS ARE THE DEVIL and be done with it. That’s certainly a political message that’ll win you a lot of friends.

    About 63 million of them, give or take.

  67. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Tytalus, Oh, look. Somebody never learned to read for content. I said nothing about 2016. I merely pointed out that the key to getting power is allying yourself with others who share a part of your agenda and gradually pushing your agenda to the mainstream.

    That is what Dems will do–they will look for allies to advance their agenda. If they don’t find them on the left, they will look to the right. And the left has proven entirely too unreliable to take seriously in American politics.

  68. LeftSidePositive says

    @vucodlak, #70:

    Short version: the leftists who vote for Democrats are not the problem, so they’re not who we’re talking about here. The people who refuse to vote or who vote stupidly identify as leftists, so that is the fastest way to communicate about them. Don’t be obtuse.

    Long version: if you have any idea how to change the minds of those 63 million Trump voters, I’m all ears. But they really want to perpetrate the cruelty and horror they’ve inflicted on us. This isn’t a question about assigning blame, it’s about what actions can result in reduced harm. Leftists claim to hold values that should show them that Trump was abhorrent, and yet they chose to “express themselves” rather than vote intelligently. I don’t know how to get a racist, misogynist climate change denier to stop being those things, but it is frustrating as hell to see people who claim to be against racism, misogyny, and climate change denialism allow those things to take actual power. Frankly, I don’t even think the purity voting leftists here are reachable. They are just as entrenched into their own egos as Trump die-hards, and they truly do not care who gets hurt as a result of their electoral self-expression. They’re fucking evil, and they will misrepresent every fact they can to continue their bullshit self-indulgence. The point here is to make them unwelcome in all decent activist spaces so people legitimately frustrated with Democrats and the political process don’t fall for their bullshit and go to the dark side. They should be treated with the same firm boundaries as anti-vaxxers and climate-change denialists.

    And it wasn’t “a couple of thousand people” who voted third party. It was over 100,000 Stein voters in the Blue Wall states alone. We know they’re leftists because they voted for a left-identified candidate, you disingenuous shitbag! And yes, ALL American citizens have a civic duty to vote, and to vote effectively. Third party candidates saying their followers would have just stayed home (Nader tried that BS too!) are normalizing political disengagement and ceding power to the most authoritarian and repressive elements in our society. That is absofuckinglutely unacceptable, as we have discussed repeatedly above. It is especially unacceptable when very privileged people CHOOSE not to vote when other Americans are barred from voting by various subterfuges, and could be protected by the support of those who are able to vote. Stein voters claimed to care about leftist causes, so why are you pretending they would be equally likely to vote for rightwing candidates? Why do you need to lie to yourself like this?!

    Also, in a first past the post voting system, voting for a tiny minority vanity candidacy is functionally the same as not voting, and the same criticisms apply, so grouping leftists who vote 3rd party with leftists who don’t vote is not the smoking gun contradiction you think it is, champ.

    No one has a problem with leftists who voted for Clinton and who are voting for Biden (except those who go to absurd lengths to justify other people not voting and then claim innocence because they personally voted, because—and I can’t believe I have to spell this out—if you personally vote for the best candidate but persuade 5 people not to, your political actions are a net negative!). If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t fucking wear it. And if you need to install a browser extension that replaces every mention of “leftists” here with “leftists who refuse to vote for a major party candidate whether they belong to the subset of ‘election boycotters’ or the subset of ‘third-party vanity candidate supporters,'” make yourself happy, but don’t pretend that it’s some kind of gotcha that we’re using a shorthand that is COMPLETELY easy to understand in context instead of typing all that out.

    Stop pretending politics is a fucking game, you smug superficial asshole. You don’t “owe” the Democrats your votes. You owe every American and indeed every human on earth who could get sick and/or die as a result Trump’s malevolence and incompetence, a chance not to die. This isn’t difficult. There are tens of millions of people in this country who are consumed by hatred and actively want to harm their fellow human beings. The way our election laws work right now is that the candidate that gets the highest absolute number of votes, even if it is just a plurality, gets power. There is a “fascism” coalition and there is a “not-fascism” coalition. You owe it to every human being on the planet to fight the Fascism Coalition, BECAUSE THEY’RE FUCKING FASCISTS. The people who have done the work to put together the Not-Fascism Coalition are imperfect, they’ve made compromises I don’t like, and they genuinely believe in policies I think are wrong, but that’s where the people fighting fascism are, and if you want to fight fascism, that’s where you need to be. Your vote is not an ice cream cone that you personally deliver to Joe Biden because you personally like him. Your vote is a sacred obligation to your fellow human beings who could get hurt and die from the wrong people being in power.

    NO ONE is saying Dems should have “unquestioning allegiance.” Why do you need to strawman? We’ve talked at length about how to EFFECTIVELY move the party to the left but why this is not a good time to do that, because there is a fucking election coming up!

    And if your faction had won the primary, you could tell the centrists how to vote. But we had a process for determining who would lead the Not-Fascim coalition and you guys lost it (and you lost it worse in 2020 as a direct result of your antics in 2016). The fact that you would prioritize getting back at other members of the Not-Fascists rather than realize that you need to focus on fighting the Fascists does, in fact, make you fools and fucking idiots. You’ve shown you care more about your identity as cooler and deeper than anyone in the Democratic party, you’ve shown you won’t be swayed by concessions in the Democratic platform, pleading, or indeed 175,000+ dead people. There’s no point in engaging with you. We’re not “telling [you] how to vote” because we feel like it, we’re telling you what the actual stakes are in the actual political moment in which we find ourselves right now. The fact that you don’t actually see the horrific consequences of Trumpism (and the GOP’s true colors of the last 50 years showing themselves to horrifying extremes!) on its own terms but instead perceive this political situation as a drama between your feefees and Democrats arbitrarily demanding you “vote like we tell [you] to” shows how utterly disconnected you are from reality.

    Voting for someone else other than a major party candidate is not being “singlehandedly” responsible for Donald Trump, you disingenuous strawmanning asshole. It’s being the “but-for.” It’s being a group that COULD HAVE been the decisive factor to save all those lives in the last 4 years, but chose not to help. Anyone who didn’t vote for Clinton in 2016 or who is making excuses for not voting for Bide now is morally responsible for that, even if there may be other people in a parallel universe who could have picked up the slack for them and saved them from the consequences of their refusal to engage.

    And it really isn’t difficult to understand that a group can be the difference of relative strength between two coalitions, but not enough to be powerful on their own, because this is how plurality voting works. From the last time I had to explain this on this blog:

    Here, let’s look at some math. Imagine an election where there are four main factions with the following popularity:
    39%: shit sandwich
    15%: vegan
    36%: vegetarian
    10%: carne asada
    Now, the carne asada faction has basically no chance to win anything, but they are the margin of victory, and if they don’t turn out, we get shit sandwich. See how a group can be essential to win but totally unable to win on its own? It’s not that hard. And, more to the point, there are vegan voters who will be actively turned off by the vegetarian party incorporating some of carne asada’s wish list (for instance, how Sanders-backed Dems did worse in the 2018 general compared to moderate dems).

    [ETA: just to make the parallels more obvious, let’s also assume the vegan group is minimally engaged in politics and is liable to being duped in large numbers that the shit sandwich either doesn’t contain shit or is free of “cruelty to animals” unlike the eggs and milk in the vegetarian option. They’re swing voters with minimal information and erratic political behavior, just like we see in the real world.]

    So, no. It isn’t a contradiction that idiotic purity leftists were the decisive factor that finally tipped the balance in Trump’s favor in 2016, but they are also not powerful enough to do anything on their own. And being a useful idiot for factions you disagree with isn’t really “power,” so as much as you may want to insist this is some incomprehensible paradox, there is in fact no contradiction between “your stupidity and negligence had catastrophic consequences” and “you aren’t effective at achieving what you claim to want in the world.” You know, someone who left a gas burner on can be damn effective at burning down a house, which doesn’t mean they could actually build a house.

    So nice fucking try, idiot.

  69. billmcd says

    The office will be filled. Votes not cast will not be counted as votes of ‘no confidence’. Abstention only amplifies the voice of everyone who doesn’t remain silent. So yes, it’s a ‘legitimate’ option. It’s also a rampantly self-defeating one.

    There’s a similar moment to take issue with in the video: The whole rant about ‘then why are you supporting ANYONE who wants an office where WAR CRIMES are inevitable?’ Well, because the office will be filled. Period. So you choose your best option out of the two who have a real chance to win. Otherwise, you’re just increasing the odds of the worst option winning.

    I take issue with some of the other points the video raises, as well. It presumes an even more unitary, authoritarian executive than we have. For example: the issue of the ACA being passed to forestall a true public option. The ACA just barely passed the Senate, even with a Democratic hold on 60 seats, and even that was uncertain. Many of the Senators from the Western/Midwestern states—including Democrats—only came aboard because there were specific incentives provided for them, pretty much personally.

    There was no chance of a ‘true public option’ passing the Senate. None whatsoever. It would have remained deadlocked even longer than the ACA, and with the death of Ted Kennedy, completely stalled as the Democrats lost the 60th seat. Even worse, the 2010 Tea Party wave that cost the Democrats the House and the Senate would have absolutely killed any possibility of health care reform. After all, it’s something they’d been trying to achieve since the Nixon administration.

    I don’t disagree with the underlying premise: We should all be working to get better candidates into positions to be elected. My first choice was Liz Warren, because Bernie’s got a long history of not actually knowing how the hell to get shit done, or get the people he needs to work with him. If he did, he’d have been the nominee 4 years ago.

    But fixing that means doing a lot more than ranting on the internet, and it means a lot more than attacking a popular former-President for not being perfect. The whole point on same-sex marriage, with all of its smarmy outrage, made me think of FDR’s ‘now make me do what I want to do’. Of course politicians respond to public opinion. If you want politicians who’ll behave the way you want them to, you have to MAKE them. You have to present them with the clear ‘this is what the people want’, because otherwise, they’re going to try to conform to public opinion as much as they feel they can, so they can keep doing the things they want to do in the margins.

  70. logicalcat says


    Why yes, Jill Stein voters dont vote. I mean they clearly didnt want their vote to be counted in any meaningful way. -.- so here I am giving them what they want and not cointing them. We good?

    Its pretty obvious if younwerent being dishonest that when we say “leftists dont vote” we mean some but not all dont and when we do its in a self defeating and useless way amounting to nothing except virtue signaling. After all, im on the left. So is leftside, and we voted. Its pretty obvious we are talking about a specific group of people and yes those people are fool (and constantly dishonest as we have seen here).

    But hey dont let me stop you from usong that particular strawman. #notallleftists.

    Yall need some self reflection. The left have real huge problems and pretending otherwisw is like those American exceptionalist idiots who cant see the bad because they already started from the position that they are great from the get go.

  71. logicalcat says

    Also someone here dont remember who called the purity fools “cosplay leftists”. Thats not fair to cosplayers. Cosplayers KNOW they are fake. They know its all pretend and they are not really Goku, or Sailor Moon, or whatever. Theres no dishonesty there.

    No, these fools are not cosplayers they are simply posers. The poser left.

  72. LeftSidePositive says

    @75, yeah, that was me. Good point. Several of my favorite writers use it, so it’s gonna be a tough habit to break, but I’ll try!

  73. vucodlak says

    @ LeftSidePositive, #72

    if you have any idea how to change the minds of those 63 million Trump voters, I’m all ears.

    Do you really think I would share it with someone who so clearly despises us? But alright, it’s not like I’ve got anything better to do.

    Let me tell you a short story about my home town:
    It’s dead.

    The why of that takes a little telling. Who killed it isn’t especially complicated, though. Democrats killed it.

    I used to live in Illinois, where Democrats have had most of the power for a long time. Those Democrats in Springfield and Chicago had an idea in the ‘70’s- why not dynamite some of the levees down south, and make a nice lake for the rich fucks to play in?

    My home town, which has been there for at least 150 years (considerably longer, really, but the Civil War is as far back as I know for absolute certain), would have been one of dozens destroyed by this plan, and so the people of the area fought back hard. They won, and the plan was scrapped. So the Democrats in Springfield and Chicago decided to fuck us over every way they could.

    Nevertheless, the area remained strongly Democratic. Why, we still had the federal government to look to, and they did a decent job of keeping us safe from the river. The locals, too, were always Dems- the Republicans rarely even bothered to run.

    Then the feds came in and offered us flood insurance, for the first time ever, under the Obama administration. Only… it came with a catch. No one was allowed to build anything, unless it was built to ridiculously expensive standards for “flood mitigation.” This is an area where a lot of people had at least one cardboard window, because they couldn’t afford to replace glass.

    People complained, so the feds withdrew all their protection. They refused to even maintain the levees in the area. In 2016, a flood came through on New Year’s Day, and wiped a town to the south of us off the map. The federal response was, essentially: ‘sucks to be you.’ Which was still more of a response than we got from the state.

    That was the last fucking straw for a lot of people. I was dismayed to see Trump signs going up in a lot of lifelong Democrats’ yards, but not surprised. The Democrats had betrayed us one time too many, and Trump at least pretended to give a shit about the rural US. It was a transparent lie, of course, but the Dems had screwed our area over too many times.

    I still tried to convince people that the Republicans and Trump had to be opposed at all costs, that he was a wannabe fascist and a liar, but what I could say to convince them that Democrats would be better for our town? Nothing. The man from Illinois had already screwed us over, and the woman running after him was promising to build on his legacy.

    The Republicans, of course, weren’t going to be a bit better, and they were in large part to blame for our woes on the national level, but the Democrats offered us nothing at all to hang on to. So a lot of people chose the devil they didn’t know. For far too many that was Trump, although a few voted third party.

    You know how a lot of those people became lifelong Democrats in the first place? Massive public works projects, starting during the depression. Socialism, in other words. Leftism. The same thing Democrats have run away from for decades, alienating people like those who used to be my neighbors.

    One of those public works projects had protected my town from floods. Now that’s abandoned, breached, and the Democratic response remains “fuck ‘em.”

    I don’t live around there anymore; pretty much the only people who do are those with nowhere else to go. Which is a lot of them. Still, I suspect a lot of people who voted Republican (or maybe third party) for the first time in the last election won’t bother to vote at all, this time. After all, what does voting for either side have to offer them? Although maybe a few who voted Republican will try third-party this time. What have they got to lose?

    Stein voters claimed to care about leftist causes, so why are you pretending they would be equally likely to vote for rightwing candidates?

    A lot of them wouldn’t have voted at all. That’s the point of my little story above- neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have anything at all to offer large swathes of the population anymore. Okay, maybe “large” is stretching it, but those hundred thousand you’re blaming? Yeah.

    Sure, those third party voters ought to care about kids in cages and plagues and fascism and disenfranchisement, but I can tell you first hand that those things are abstractions that matter a lot less to people who are one wet spring from losing everything they have than having a roof over their heads and a job to pay for food.

    Oh, and spare me this bullshit about their votes being a product of great privilege. I grew up there. They could definitely be worse off- everyone can be worse off- but they wouldn’t still be living where they are if they had the kind of privilege you’re talking about. I mean, trust funds? I went to school with people who didn’t have electricity or running water, who lived in houses with broken windows, who squatted in buildings that would have been condemned if our county could have afforded a building inspector. Shit, we could only afford to staff the courthouse once a week, and the sheriff’s department once had all but one of their cars repossessed.

    It’s abundantly clear that you don’t give a shit about the problems of a bunch of poor folks living in Bumfuck Southern Illinois, but if put together all those little, out-of-way dirt poor towns you get a lot clearer idea of why 100,000 people might ‘throw their vote away’ on a third party candidate. After all, if you’re going to lose no matter what the outcome, you might as well try something a little different.

    if you personally vote for the best candidate but persuade 5 people not to,

    Like I’ve said a thousand godsdamned times before, I tried to persuade people that it would be better for everyone if Clinton won, but what the fuck did you expect me to tell my neighbors? That Clinton actually gave a shit about us? That a Clinton-helmed government was going to be one tiny bit better for our little slice of the country than an Obama-helmed government had been? Nobody would have bought a transparent lie like that.

    You owe every American and indeed every human on earth who could get sick and/or die as a result Trump’s malevolence and incompetence, a chance not to die.

    Believe it or not, I understand my responsibility in this matter far better than you seem to be capable of.

    There are tens of millions of people in this country who are consumed by hatred and actively want to harm their fellow human beings.

    Oh, really, there are some bad people out there who want to hurt those who are different? Golly, I wonder what it would be like to meet up with some of them?

    Oh wait, I have! But you know what really scares me? It’s that, sometimes, I think the malice in the Very Fine People who beat me and maced me and shoved a hammer up my ass was but a mote before the mountain of hatred that’s inside me. I swear, sometimes I think I will truly choke on it, that it render me literally blind, that it will pour out of every orifice in a red-black tide and drown me, and it scares the hell out of me.

    But I am a coward. Cowards don’t do anything, not ever. They’re too afraid. I tell myself that; over and over I chant it like a fucking mantra because a part of me seethes with such malevolence that I’m terrified of what I might do. So I hide, I barely ever go outside, I don’t have a life, I don’t dare, because I am a coward and I’m so afraid of what a part of me wants so badly to do.

    And you know it isn’t a bad temper I’m talking about here, because I learned to control that a long time ago. It’s not about a desire for revenge either- a part of me wishes that people who hurt me most weren’t already dead, but anything I did to them wouldn’t be about revenge. That would just be an excuse to hurt someone. Revenge wouldn’t bring me peace. It wouldn’t make me happy either, because I’ve carefully cultivated a sense of disgust for the act of hurting someone, but there was a time when I took a simple pleasure in pain and destruction.

    I’m not a sociopath. I feel empathy and guilt and shame, I can’t stand to watch people suffer… and none of that changes the fact that I’m a monster. I don’t know why. Probably there is no why. I’m just a fucking monster.

    So, please, don’t lecture me about hate and the desire to harm. I’m full of the former (most of it for myself but there’s plenty to go around), and I’ve caused far too much of the latter. And while we’re at it, don’t lecture me about the consequences of supporting men like Trump- I’ve been there too.

    I think it would be best if I just walked the fuck away for the evening.

  74. kurt1 says

    @66 a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    It doesn’t matter that their ideas aren’t feasible, because they will never have the power to implement any of them. They are so inflexible that the force Dems to look to the right for support, because the only way they get any support from the left is by capitulating to their demands. But hey, at least they can feel pure and superior.

    Great the unfeasible demands of:
    * providing healthcare to all citizens
    * doing something about climate change
    * not selling the entire country to goldman sachs
    * ensuring a livable wage for working people
    * maybe imprison less people and never do it for profit

    horrible, what monsters would want to enact something like that?!
    Sure “the democrats” are forced to ally with the Right who is against all those things, because working on those issues with the left would be complete lunacy! And yes, you have to “capitulate” to the demands of people who you want to vote for you. That’s how democracy is supposed to work.

  75. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Kurt1, Please, the lofty leftists in the US don’t collaborate with anyone. Hell, you guys can’t even be arsed to vote in a non-Presidential election year. You guys turned on Obama before he’d even named his cabinet nominees. You refused to support Liz Warren, despite her well though out and thoroughly feasible policies. You guys can’t even be bothered to learn how the US system of government works. You want to elect a President in your image and have him rule as a dictator. That is not the US system.
    I favor all the policies you mentioned, but I am willing to try to pass legislation that falls short of that if it actually makes things better for people with net worth less than 7 figures. Obamacare is an example–it was far from ideal, but it passed both houses of Congress and got a Presidential. And it meant that millions had health insurance for the first time! However it had zero votes to spare, and the Dems got bloodied badly in the off-year elections, when they faced nothing but criticism from the left and lunacy from the right. Hell, even if they’d passed Medicare for all, it wouldn’t have helped with the left, as they didn’t even bother to vote!

    Here’s a news flash, Sunshine. Any of those policies you list is going to need 60 votes in the Senate–and Dems won’t have 60 votes, let along 60 solidly progressive votes. So, fine. Sit on the sidelines and fill superior, while the rest of us try to salvage what is left of the country.

  76. LeftSidePositive says

    @vucodlak, 77:

    That’s some interesting revisionism there, dude. You do realize we can all look up the congressional and presidential voting patterns in southern Illinois and realize you’re full of shit, right?

    I’m seeing a lot of red on those maps since the Nixon era for president AND congressional representatives, so forgive me if I don’t buy your bullshit that “Democrats” killed your hometown, or that the area remained strongly Democratic, or that the response to a single flood changed all these people’s voting patterns. This shit is a matter of public record.

    First off, this whole thing is nothing more than a “What’s The Matter With Kansas?”-style apologia for the midwest voting Republican. And as I already described above, the Democratic party did not “abandon” working class voters: working class voters abandoned THEM as soon as they had to share resources with women and people of color (and the voting records of southern Illinois show this pattern quite consistently). Stop pretending working class voters are little political lambs who can be helplessly duped by Republicans. Nope. They LIKE the racism and resentment, and if they really cared about class-conscious politics when the Democrats moved more rightward (because that’s what Americans were voting for, as you guys always leave out!), they could have held rallies for their preferred policies. They could have primaried reps who did not meet their needs. And anyone who decides “well I’ll just vote for the party that’s even less aligned with my interests” is 1) the architect of their own misery, and 2) extremely unlikely to turn out for socialists (case in point, for all your insistence that southern Illinois was disillusioned with Dems being insufficiently left, a quick glance at a map will show the entire region MASSIVELY preferred Biden over Sanders in 2020, which doesn’t fit with your “the poor dears fell to racism as the next best thing from the socialism they truly wanted after the flood!” model). I’m SO fucking sick of this working-class, salt-of-the-earth caricature that exists only in leftists’ heads who is furious with Democrats about NAFTA so they support Republicans who overwhelmingly support NAFTA. Bullshit. They like the GOP’s vindictive culture war shit and NAFTA is an excuse. It’s less of “oh, well, might as well vote for Republicans because actually advocating for my true interests is apparently impossible” and more of “my economic fortunes have dwindled so dammit I’m ENTITLED to indulge my racism!” We’ve seen this for decades and you’re not fooling anyone.

    And AGAIN, it is a moral obligation of every American to vote and to vote effectively. So no, I’m not going to be sympathetic to people who give up on politics and don’t vote or vote third party, and then act all upset that their needs aren’t being met. And I’m further disgusted with leftists trying to justify not voting as a political choice. It’s self-defeating, hurts a lot of other people, and then you also expect us to pity those who got themselves into that mess? Fuck that, man. And why, exactly, is The Left so willing to forgive and center the feelings of those salt-of-the-Earth working-class “accidental” Republican voters for the harm they’ve caused, but fucking HATE Democrats who, for all their faults, achieved the ACA and at least do a hell of a lot more for infrastructure than the GOP has since Eisenhower?!

    Finally, if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t force it on your foot and declare yourself a martyr for insisting on wearing it. Twitter and Instagram “leftist” influencers who advocate non-voting and have familial money (and a bunch of insufferable assholes many of us know from our college dorms!) are a demonstrable group, and that does not mean that every non-voter belongs to that group. Reading is fundamental, dude.

    Those last few paragraphs are WAY too far up your own ass for anyone to care, dude. Just do your civic duty and vote, and stop telling yourself fairy tales about the political actions of those around you, especially when it doesn’t match up with the evidence of how those regions actually voted.

  77. LeftSidePositive says

    @ kurt1, 78:

    Sure “the democrats” are forced to ally with the Right who is against all those things, because working on those issues with the left would be complete lunacy!

    I mean, yeah, it is complete lunacy to cater to a political constituency that is the least likely to vote.


    blockquote>And yes, you have to “capitulate” to the demands of people who you want to vote for you. That’s how democracy is supposed to work.



    It is high fucking time the Left realize they’re actually a tiny minority of the country. Don’t claim that you are representative of The People and insist that holding your positions is “how democracy is supposed to work” when you can’t win a fucking primary.

    Democracies depend on votes, dude. They’re capitulating to the centrists who ACTUALLY TURN OUT TO VOTE. And no, Democracy does not work by voters passively waiting for the perfect candidate to fall into their lap, and the candidate you want is not the same as the candidate everyone else is going to want. And if it is, you can win a primary. If it isn’t, regroup, work on outreach, and learn from other voters. But don’t be a massive flake and then be surprised that no one wants to take the political risk of appealing to you.

  78. kurt1 says

    Medicare for all is incredibly popular and has a majority support, yet Biden would not sign it, even if it were to magically land on his desk. And you all are mad at some online leftist cardboard cutout, because you fear Biden might lose (which, like with Hillary, will be the fault of the tiny minority of Leftists). Severe case of internet brainworms.

  79. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Yes, Medicare for all is incredibly popular, but not with the folks who actually vote.

    Dude, have you ever wondered why it is if your policies are so popular, you remain a tiny minority of Leftists?
    [Let’s see if the penny drops.]

  80. LeftSidePositive says

    Kurt1, did you notice that Biden actually won the primary? Like, he had very little money and very few big name endorsements, and individual people chose to vote for him?! If M4A were actually as popular as you claim, why didn’t Warren or Sanders sweep the primary?

    And please learn the difference between polling and electoral politics. Polls can generate radically different answers depending on small phrasing differences, and when something is actually on the ballot, people may well fall for whatever smear campaign the right wing cooks up about it. Remember Hillarycare? Remember the ACA? Remember those fucking “death panels”?! But, you could actually be a major force for good in making sure popular ideas have electoral advantage, BUT ONLY IF YOU VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS WHO ESPOUSE THEM in the primary and then consistently vote for Democrats in the general. This is not difficult.

    And M4A, or indeed any healthcare improvements are SIGNIFICANTLY more likely to happen with Biden at the Resolute desk than Trump. This is not in dispute.

    Oh, and by the way, we’re not mad at “some online leftist cardboard cutout” but the actual real hundreds of thousands of people who decided to be total idiots and vote for Jill Stein (a move which has condemned hundreds of thousands of people to preventable deaths!) instead of thinking ahead. We’re mad at how people whose policies we agree with on paper have made themselves fucking irrelevant since the 1960s and haven’t noticed that their purity praxis IS NOT FUCKING WORKING and people are dying from the Republicans in charge.

    We’re mad that you irresponsible fucking idiots refuse to acknowledge and atone for the harm you’ve done. We’re mad that you keep spinning bullshit about how a bunch of embittered midwestern and southern racists would totally flock to your brand of socialism EVEN THOUGH YOU CAN’T WIN A FUCKING PRIMARY instead of actually trying to convince and organize people. We’re mad that policies we genuinely want are politically toxic because half the people who support them would rather spend their time publicly wanking than actually voting for people who seriously try to make them happen. We’re angry that the major standard-bearer for those ideas in 2016 was a lazy curmudgeon who pointlessly alienated women and people of color, made no effort to show he was up to the specifics of actually achieving those policies, and spent 2016-2018 trashing identity politics. We’re mad that this standard-bearer railed against superdelegates as undemocratic and then expected the superdelegates to overthrow the will of the voters in their favor. We’re mad that his supporters fell for Russian propaganda and warmed-up anti-Clinton smears from the ’90s and he did fuck all to stop it. We’re mad that he put Stein voters and insufferable, incompetent twitter trolls in charge of his 2020 campaign. We’re mad that when women and people of color chose not to support Sanders for these reasons, his supporters acted like “the elites” and “the DNC” was against them, and insisted we must hate his policies on paper, instead of noticing real problems with his movement (let’s take a moment to notice how many of these Our Revolution types were defending a revenge porn perpetrator JUST LAST WEEK). We’re mad that these supposed “leftists” who trashed Elizabeth Warren for criticizing Sanders and running her own damn campaign when they swore up and down in 2016 they weren’t sexist because they totally would have supported her. We’re mad that Joe Rogan & his supporters apparently deserve compromise but people who have worked for the Democratic party and actually made positive change in the world are evil for basic political pragmatism. We’re mad that you assholes STILL see your vote as something to boost your own ego instead of something to use to the benefit of your fellow Americans. We’re mad that you insist on perfection (except for white dudes who enable racism & misogyny—they get allowances, natch!) but have NO regard for the consequences of actual electoral results and the mechanism of actual elections, or who dies as a result of your actions.

    So yeah: get your shit together. And don’t be surprised that you can’t win and that no one takes you seriously when you act like this. Don’t be surprised that the people who actually earned the right to set the Democratic agenda through WINNING PRIMARIES expect to actually do that, instead of believing your hordes of non-voting adoring supporters are just around the corner.

  81. Rob Grigjanis says

    LeftSidePositive @80:

    You do realize we can all look up the congressional and presidential voting patterns in southern Illinois and realize you’re full of shit, right?

    Maybe you should spend more time looking stuff up before insulting people. For example, Alexander County. Click on ‘show’ for Presidential election results. Oh, and a bit of recent history of the county.

  82. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    One of the issues that often trips people up is the favorability issue–an issue may poll favorably without actually changing anyone’s vote. Gun control is a good example. It is overwhelmingly popular, but it is not deterministic in whether a candidate gets a vote. Same is true with M4A, climate action…

  83. LeftSidePositive says

    Rob, do you seriously think I had time to read up on every single county?! On a congressional district level, voters from southern Illinois frequently trended red before the flood, which invalidates vucodlak’s point. Moreover, your links don’t say what you think they do—the country trended red BECAUSE OF LARGE-SCALE EMIGRATION OF BLACK RESIDENTS in addition to white voters aligning their socially conservative politics with the Republican party—basically the same as midwestern “Reagan democrats” have been doing for decades. Which is what I told vucodlak when he tried to pull the “the common man is helpless in the siren song of Republican politics because the heartless Democrats have abandoned him and they will eagerly embrace my offer of socialism!” I mean, Alexander County lost OVER SIXTEEN PERCENT of its population between 2012 and 2016:

    Don’t you think that might have a slightly bigger impact on the changing voter preferences of the county than “because flood”?! I mean, I highly, highly doubt the percentage leaving were a random assortment of representative political views in the region.

    More to the point, none of that addresses WHY Democrats have been moving rightward (hint: people didn’t vote for Dukakis or Mondale! And you might want to reckon with how being anti-Vietnam and pro-universal-basic-income worked out for McGovern, plus a lot of mental health ableism about his VP. These are not the results we should expect if the American people would flock to socialism if only it were offered to them). Pretending that “the Democrats abandoned the common voter” is convenient for self-defeating leftists because it lets them ignore what the common voter actually wants, and that those Republican voters are morally responsible for their electoral spitefulness, and aren’t joining with them to support leftism for a reason. It’s easier to pretend the Democratic party are the only political actors with agency, and it just makes the left irrelevant and gets people killed when they let Republicans take over.

  84. Rob Grigjanis says

    do you seriously think I had time to read up on every single county?

    I didn’t have to. It took about 5 minutes. You were calling vucodlak out about voting patterns. You were wrong.

    Bloviating twits like you are simply incapable of recognizing their own bullshit. Just change the subject and keep typing…

  85. logicalcat says


    He didnt change the subject. He addressed it and you ignored it. Just like everyone else in this discussion you ignore Leftside point and declare it bullshit. You are the third one to do this.


    I dont think these people care or understand the history of the democratic party. Too caught up in their own propaganda. The republicans figured out that the average person doesnt understand economics so during the cold war they realized they can paint anything to the left of nixon as communism when its not and it worked. Leftism became incredibly unpopular.

  86. gwelliott says

    @88 For a ‘Bloviating twit’ LeftSidePositive is making a powerful amount of sense. Beware of sounding like the ‘Gotcha’ guy…

  87. logicalcat says

    I also want to add once again that everyone ignores my simple point. That in the past a radical minority party managed to capture a political party and mold it to their own. Evangelicals, tea party, and now woth the alt right. And they did it through voting Republican. They dont play our game. We can emulate what they did but for the better of our country.

  88. LeftSidePositive says

    Rob—what the fuck are you on about?

    I was ABSOLUTELY correct that congressional districts for most of southern Illinois (which was all the direction I was given to work with!) have shown the usual Reagan-Democrat trend of turning red, and that it has nothing to do with Democrats not being liberal enough. A cherry-picked county does not prove your point ESPECIALLY since there are major confounding factors of that county having an unusually high representation of Black people in its civic life (so much so that it got mentioned on its Wikipedia page!) in prior decades, and that balance of power is changing rapidly as those Black people are moving away. This supports the fact that racial realignments are FAR more salient to working class white voters siding with Republicans, and NOT that they are helpless without socialism being offered to them, much less that a simple flood could explain sociological forces that have been going on in that county for decades. (Also, if you’re so sure the flood made them turn against establishment Democrats, why did Alexander County support Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary with the second-highest rate of ANY COUNTY IN THE STATE at 60%, and support Biden in the primary in 2020 with SEVENTY-THREE percent?! That seems a hell of a lot more consistent with the area being Democratic because of a higher proportion of Black voters than in most of rural Illinois, and accordingly supporting Clinton and Biden over Sanders, while the relative population of Black voters in that county is going down, so the general election went to Trump.)

    This has direct implications for the Left. They are, currently, a small minority of the electorate. They have two options:

    1) Work with various types of liberals, who are generally a diverse coalition that wants freedom, equality, healthcare, infrastructure investment, and worker protections, but who often tack to the center because these positions are toxic to large portions of a resentful white electorate, or
    2) Refuse to vote for Democrats because they won’t give us everything we want, right now. Count on the white working class flocking to third-party candidates, or wait for the United States to fail from Republican mismanagement to “heighten the contradictions” so the average person will join in building a socialist utopia on the ashes.

    If the white working class is not, in fact, eager for socialism and would actually prefer corporatists as long as they hate women, gays, and black people as much as the white working class still does, that strongly indicates the Left is not working from a position of power among the proletariat, doesn’t have a mandate for their policies among The People (coded as white dudes who do manual labor), and would achieve more of their goals by working within the Democratic party, making them able to pass necessary policy, and holding them accountable INTELLIGENTLY when they are able to but do not (you never know who will be the turncoat Dem that you should have gotten rid of years ago, if you only have 49 Senators! And if you let Republicans win, the average Dem will think they need to be more like Republicans, and this has continued since the 60s). It also means that if the country does collapse under Republican governance, The Actual People are much more likely to enforce a fascist theocratic hellscape than a socialist utopia, so it’s probably better to reform an existing, albeit flawed, system.

  89. Rob Grigjanis says

    gwelliott and logicalcat: LSP accused vucodlak of lying about the voting record in the county he lived in, based on…what exactly? And it was easy to find a county which did match vucodlak’s description. To me, that’s just unacceptably lazy bullshit regardless of who does it, and it does their credibility no favours. To you, it’s no big deal, and pointing it out is playing ‘gotcha’ because you like LSP’s points? Noted.

  90. LeftSidePositive says


    #89: I’m actually a she :-)

    #91: thoroughly agree. With such a clear model of taking over a party in a few generations, leftist abstention looks even stupider than it did in 2000 (and that’s saying a lot). The one thing I will have to acknowledge is a slight advantage the theofascists had in taking over the Republican party is that when the right gets more extreme, they make rich people richer, so the rich are happy to financially support the insurgents. When the left gets more extreme, it affects rich peoples’ bottom line, so donors help the establishment. Right-wingers also help media conglomerates so that affects the general election as well. That’s no excuse for the left ceding electoral power, obviously, but it means it does take a bit more work than the Tea Party had to deal with! It’s also why we desperately need Ranked Choice Voting so I can vote for whom I really want and still have a back-up in the “safe” Biden equivalent.

  91. Rob Grigjanis says

    LSP @92: You said vucodlak was lying about the voting record in his own county, based on your overall impression of southern Illinois. As long as there is one example which fits vucodlak’s description, your accusation is bullshit.

    The fact that you pull the ‘full of shit’ trigger so easily, and then disingenuously defend your own bullshit, does not speak well for you.

  92. LeftSidePositive says

    Rob—it was based on ACTUALLY LOOKING UP CONGRESSIONAL AND PRESIDENTIAL VOTING RECORDS IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS. As I said, I based it on congressional districts, not counties, so the particular trends of Alexander county collapsed into that district being much more red than vucodlak let on, and flipping earlier (the 2014 midterms). Remember, he never said Alexander—you went looking for that yourself, and, for the record, he still hasn’t confirmed that’s even his county! Moreover, despite you thinking Alexander County is some kind of gotcha, you are still not dealing with the fact that its actual electoral history 1) points to a much more racialized and sociological explanation than “they gave up on the Dems after the flood,” and 2) the primary voting behavior does not support your thesis that voters are craving socialism after this event.

    You just cherrypicked a county (without confirmation) and you haven’t dealt with the fact that it, even if it were vucodlak’s county, it does not say what he thinks it says about electoral politics, as I have detailed extensively. Moreover, the fact that it is one tiny little speck of more-reliable blue than the rest of rural Illinois (apart from Jackson county, a still-blue college town) should clue you in that its trajectory reflects some particulars to its own situation rather than some Great Truth about Real Americans (bleghgh) and the Democratic Party. Note, that rather than “bloviating” I actually looked into what you asserted, found it didn’t match the thesis and said why. You, on the other hand, seem to have found something that supported your case, and stopped looking into any more detail that might validate or invalidate your knee-jerk assumption.

  93. LeftSidePositive says

    @95, you do realize, don’t you, that even if a single county did flip to red in 2016, vucodlak is still full of shit if his explanation for WHY is wrong?

    You do realize, that I didn’t say he was lying—I said he was being revisionist, and the voting patters in Southern Illinois do in fact show that there was a lot more Reagan-Democrat behavior in the region that’s more likely than his morality tale?! Are you claiming his hometown was an island of socialism that was immune to those trends? I couldn’t counter the specifics of his hometown BECAUSE HE DID NOT PROVIDE THEM. And your assertion that finding one county that flipped is dispositive is a Texas-sharpshooter fallacy that completely ignores the issue here is over the CAUSES of the working class voting Republican (wrt their readiness to embrace socialism and the validity of third-party voting or nonvoting as leftist praxis).

    And I’d love to see you actually substantiate what in my critique was “disingenuous”…

  94. consciousness razor says

    Evangelicals, teabaggers, and alt-right/white nationalists have made it abundantly clear what they expect/demand from their government. They’re not pointlessly saying nonsense like “just don’t be the other candidate and that will be enough,” because they’ve got actual ideas (awful ones).

    There hasn’t been a significant trend in which lots of them convinced themselves somehow that it would count as a genuine success, if it were merely the case that a particular person is elected and that is literally the only important result. There weren’t lots of them claiming, repeatedly and emphatically, that they shouldn’t make any concrete stipulations about what their candidates ought to do with the power granted to them. No doubt, there were plenty who were willing to bend a little here and there, to consider certain things to have priority over others, to make alliances with some outside their very narrow group, and so forth. But they weren’t taking it as a guiding principle for themselves that there shouldn’t be any substantial policies or government actions which they consider central/essential to their political faction.

    For example, evangelicals want the country to be consistent with their religious/theocratic worldview. Their influence on the political environment consists of (1) having some core goals that were not in dispute among themselves, and (2) trying to implement those things in some actual form in the real world (usually but not always via the Republican party). They were not thinking their only important/realistic goal was to vote for a candidate who isn’t the other candidate, while having nothing definite to say about what their chosen candidate is supposed to be doing, much less insisting that there had better not be anything definite like that (so if you’ve got ideas of that sort, get rid of them or STFU).

    Poorer/working-class people are of course a larger group, and a different set of issues are relevant. So there are differences worth nothing. But it’s completely absurd to believe they shouldn’t have goals or standards to set for themselves, that they shouldn’t express those things openly, be critical of those who aren’t doing a satisfactory job, and so forth. The upper classes in general obviously won’t like it, but nobody should’ve been asking them for their approval or permission. And if for whatever reason you’ve got nothing but contempt for the left, we don’t actually need to listen to your “friendly” advice either. It would probably be as useful to us as listening to the fucking evangelicals.

  95. consciousness razor says

    That should’ve been “So there are differences worth noting.” Maybe they’re also worth nothing, but that’s not what I meant to say.

  96. Rob Grigjanis says

    LSP @98: You (once again) @80:

    You do realize we can all look up the congressional and presidential voting patterns in southern Illinois and realize you’re full of shit, right?

    That’s in response to vucodlak describing the voting pattern in his own county. You’re saying we can look up the voting patterns to see that he’s full of shit (i.e. lying) about his own county. But lo and behold, when we do a quick search, there is such a county. That he doesn’t name it isn’t an excuse for your lazy accusation.

    And I’d love to see you actually substantiate what in my critique was “disingenuous”…

    See above. You know that Alexander County is a counterexample to your ‘full of shit’ accusation about the voting record, yet you persist in ignoring that, and saying you’re correct about other stuff. The smell of weasel is strong.

  97. LeftSidePositive says

    Consciousness razor bat signal lights up

    Consciousness razor: Are OTHER people getting roasted as self-indulgent lefty poseurs several meters up their own ass? How dare they! Vomits up totally ridiculous strawman argument that fundamentally misunderstands the nature of the criticisms we have been making of the Left for months

    Me: Don’t worry, consciousness razor. We never forgot that you’re a massively irrational dumbass.

    Does ANYTHING in that wall of text say ANYTHING about the fact that Evangelicals ALWAYS AND RELIABLY VOTE FOR REPUBLICANS? Even if those Republicans weren’t perfect, they ALWAYS voted. Why the actual fuck can’t the Left learn from this?

    The reason we’re always begging you to cooperate and vote for what we have is that YOU IDIOTS DON’T FUCKING VOTE FOR MAJOR PARTY CANDIDATES IN GENERAL ELECTIONS. The fact that the Democratic party is so wishy-washy is hugely dependent on the fact that they can’t count on their base, and that for 1968-2006 basically the only way they could win ANYTHING was by playing to the center.

    Here is how the Evangelicals managed their takeover: They VOTED. They voted for EVERYONE who was a Republican in every election. They ran candidates at state & local offices. For school board and dog catcher. They made political PARTICIPATION (not just pontification) crucial to their identity. When someone disappointed them, they didn’t sit out general elections (because only fucking idiots do that—hi!), but rather they PRIMARIED those opponents. Because they were so well-organized and had credibility within the Republican party, those primary challenges were often successful. But, no matter how the primary went, they ALWAYS voted in the general election, and made a big show of telling their supporters to vote too.

    The way they got to the point where they didn’t have to compromise was by VOTING. They got Reagan into power. Then they supported more and more rightward candidates at every level. They showed there was no political cost to catering to them because they were reliable VOTERS. Once they had demonstrated their ACTUAL POWER over and over again by VOTING and by WINNING PRIMARIES, then they didn’t have to make any concessions. But it took multiple cycles of getting more and more extreme to get there.

    The Left, on the other hand, has just sat out and expected people to come to them, and has lost influence for DECADES.

    No one is saying you shouldn’t have standards. We are saying YOU LOST THE FUCKING PRIMARY. Badly. Like, worse than 2016, which itself falsifies the whole “heighten the contradictions” argument/strategy of “punishing” the Democrats to move them more left (I woulda thought the Iraq War should’ve been enough to show you that strategy sucked, but hey, whatevs). When you respond to not getting your way in 1968, 2000, 2010, 2016, and have just a general pattern of never sullying yourself to vote, you have no credibility with other voters. Your candidates did LESS well in 2018 compared to generic Dems. You can’t carry yourself as a kingmaker if you don’t make kings. You should respond to a primary loss by still doing what’s best for the country (and yourselves!), mobilize voters, and then you will have good will for the next round. Do you seriously not understand that there are whole constituencies who will never vote for the progressive wing because we perceive at least some of them as untrustworthy, ineffective posers, even if we like their policies on paper?

    So, if you want to be as successful as the evangelicals, VOTE in every election, every race. PRIMARY the representatives who aren’t meeting your standards, but don’t EVER be the reason the opposition party is free to win. Organize actual voters so they want what you want, and in a few election cycles, you can take over the party if people actually want what you want. But NEVER, and I mean NEVER allow any Republican to win any office or EVER threaten not to vote. That’s what the Evangelicals did, and that’s why they get what they want. Why is that so fucking hard to understand?

    Any fucking questions?

  98. LeftSidePositive says

    Oh, and consciousness razor?

    Another thing: the reason we have contempt for the left is that YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN WILLING TO HURT PEOPLE WHEN YOU DON’T GET YOUR WAY. How many people died in the Iraq War because you idiots were too fucking pure to vote for Gore? How many needless deaths in Katrina? From healthcare reform being stalled by a decade? From COVID? From Hurricane Maria? From escalated drone strikes? From homelessness? And then, just like we can see in this very thread, you guys fucking lie about the results of your inaction, pretend that Gore would have been just as bad, and continue to discourage building a political coalition. You guys are in the political wilderness because you’re not trustworthy, and people are genuinely hurt by the policy clusterfucks that your refusal to understand electoral politics has caused. Don’t whine that you’re being treated contemptuously when you continue to behave contemptibly.

  99. LeftSidePositive says

    Rob @100:

    Are you seriously under the strange misconception that I was saying there was categorically never any geopolitical division of any size in southern Illinois that flipped to red for the first time in 2016? Um, dude. You are not reading at a level of comprehension adequate for this discussion.

    The issue here is CAUSALITY. Vucodlak was claiming his town (again, the only thing I knew of which was that it was in southern Illinois, not a particular county) fell to conservatism because Dems abandoned them, and that a flood made them flip to Trump. I (quite rightly) pointed out that the region had been showing the same fluctuations into supporting Republicans that was entirely consistent with long-term rural white realignment since Nixon (and accelerated by Reagan), so I didn’t find it credible that “the flood” was a believable explanation for the flip or that these voters would flock to socialism if it were offered.

    Moreover, Alexander County is a ridiculously bad example for this “the working class really want socialism!” argument. What it actually shows is, “this region used to have a more established Black community than neighboring areas, but then they disproportionately moved away.” That does not say anything about how the white working class longs for socialism, and it ESPECIALLY given that its Democratic party still reliably votes for establishment Democrats.

    “Full of shit” doesn’t only mean lying, dude. It can also mean drawing totally unsupported conclusions/making invalid implications/cherrypicking to create a wrong/misleading narrative.

  100. consciousness razor says

    I am a voter, in every primary as a matter of fact. I never said otherwise.

    And I haven’t been just imagining all of the bullshit about “purity” that people like you spew constantly. It very conveniently makes an appearance when, for example, the poors have “radical” ideas about having actual power and being equals in society. I guess they just need to learn that their betters are not so pure as they are.

    In #53, you yourself refused to concede that the next president needs to take the pandemic seriously. Is that too much of a “purity test”? I don’t fucking know or care, but you still felt that you had to counter my rather uncontroversial statement, like so:

    @50, I would say the next president needs to not be Trump. We are at risk of losing our democracy right now, and until we fix that, nothing else fucking matters.

    Before that, you acted like I’m the one who thinks people dying from the pandemic doesn’t fucking matter. (Where did that come from? Absolutely nowhere.)

    For you, it’s just another cheap piece of bullshit that you think you can use to your advantage, without making any commitments of your own. Of course, it’s incoherent, but that doesn’t stop you. You would have to admit that you were wrong or even simply that at some point you had misspoken. I don’t care how … but get your head out of your ass. Just try it sometime. It may not be as bad as you think.

  101. Rob Grigjanis says

    LSP @103:

    You are not reading at a level of comprehension adequate for this discussion.

    Right back at you, sunshine. The ‘full of shit’ was clearly directed at the voting record in vucodlak’s county, not the reasons for it. It’s right there in plain English for all to see.

    But by all means throw out some more walls of text with all-caps words, ‘cherry-picking’, and ‘um, dude’. That works really well.

  102. LeftSidePositive says

    @consciousness razor, 104:

    You are an idiot and a liar. I NEVER “refused to concede that the next president needs to take the pandemic seriously.” WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? This is why your faction has no political influence, because you don’t have a fucking shred of intellectual honesty.

    I have REPEATEDLY throughout this thread, highlighted the pandemic as one of the most obvious and horrific examples of the consequences of allowing Trump to be in power. I think it pretty logically follows that I think “the next president needs to take the pandemic seriously.” I can’t imagine what the fuck is wrong with you that you think that is a “concession.” LITERALLY WHAT?! My point has been that our focus needs to be on getting Trump out of power (for reasons most obviously including the pandemic) and all other pontificating is counterproductive right now.

    And yes, you are acting like the pandemic doesn’t fucking matter. You are a CONSTANT apologist for nonvoters and you have absolutely shit ideas about how political pressure works, and you have refused to grow in your understanding of the situation even despite the horrors of the pandemic becoming more manifest. You say shit like

    “It’s not even remotely satisfactory for him to merely be better than Trump, so don’t act like it is.”

    And in previous threads you repeatedly give TONS of pushback to anyone who stresses the importance of voting for the Democrat in the general election. You lie about our policy preferences. You misrepresent our goals. You constantly pretend that people here who are desperately scared of Trump and the end of our democracy are pro-Biden, which we are definitely not, even when we’ve told you multiple times that the results of the primary are out of our (and the DNC’s!) control and that we’re very upset about how it went. You frequently minimize the dangers of Republicans—including on the pandemic!—so yeah it’s fair to say people dying from the pandemic doesn’t fucking matter to you. You literally fucking claimed celebrity endorsements for Nader justified his run and ignored the atrocities of the Iraq War:

    More fun facts: he was endorsed by Phil Donahue, Willie Nelson, Bill Murray, Linda Ronstadt, and 2 of 3 Beastie Boys (apparently not Mike D). Still trying to wrap my head around that.

    Seriously, guys… consciousness razor actually said something this stupid…

    All of your actions in this comment section on multiple articles have shown that you care more about lip service to your political preferences than how those policy preferences can actually be realized in the real world.

    And, no, our complaints about purity do not “conveniently make[] an appearance when, for example, the poors have “radical” ideas about having actual power and being equals in society.” Our complaints about purity come up when idiots let Republicans win, killing at least hundreds of thousands, and probably millions, of people, and make it even harder for poor people to get actual power and become equal in our society. If you could read you’d have noticed that by now.

  103. LeftSidePositive says

    Consciousness razor:

    Will you, right now, commit to these promises:

    1) I, consciousness razor, promise to vote for Joe Biden in the presidential election.
    2) I, consciousness razor, will educate anyone who advocates non-voting or protest voting that this election is too important to treat as symbolic, and encourage them to vote for Joe Biden.


  104. LeftSidePositive says

    @Rob, 105:

    The ‘full of shit’ was clearly directed at the voting record in vucodlak’s county, not the reasons for it. It’s right there in plain English for all to see.

    No, it clearly wasn’t. I very clearly cited CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS, not counties (since he didn’t give me a county or the name of the town!), to show that the region was following the general trend of the rural midwest becoming more Republican-identified, and (crucially) that this massively undercut hid “democrats abandoned us!” narrative since the region (specifically, IL-12, which was my best guess) was voting red in the Nixon and Reagan years). A couple blue islands aren’t that surprising since mid-size towns tend to be little islands of blue. I was clearly referring to trends in the region and how they cast doubt on his stated reasons. This is not difficult.

  105. gwelliott says

    One of the thing that saddens me is that even now, we’re still arguing in the same style that we were back when the endless thread was a thing. I would argue that LSP has made a well evidenced and coherent argument, and a few people on here are deciding that they are either going to misrepresent it, or just not listen. I expect that from Vicar, as I’m reasonably convinced they are unsalvageable, but I expected better from CR et al.

    This isn’t an appeal to unity at all cost. I’d argue it’s clear that LSP isn’t happy that Biden won, but is advancing the idea that it is critical to form a solid voting bloc to ensure the ACTUAL FASCIST AND HIS ADMINISTRATION BURN. She has also made a decent argument about how the system will respond. I get that some of you are pissed that you didn’t win, but you didn’t. I’m not American, but I was hoping for Warren as she seemed the best balance between a practical approach and a left aligned outcome. Both she and Bernie crashed out. Whether you attribute that to DNC interference (and as a Corbyn supporter, I know what it feels like to watch the political machine turn on decent politicians and destroy them) or the fact Biden GOT MORE VOTES (which he did, in most of the important Democrat demographics), doesn’t matter at this point. Come November you will either be figuring out how to drag Trump out of the White House, or you’ll be figuring out how to leave the country before you get strung up for not worshipping him.

    If you want to insist that finding a single county outweighs a well evidenced trend from districts, fine. If you want to argue that Biden will be as bad as Trump, you’re delusional, but that’s your privilege. But if you believe that you have to minimise harm to others, you need to get Biden in, get Democrats in at every level, and then drag the fuckers kicking and screaming to the left. Bernie and Warren have already put a lot of pressure on Biden’s platform, and it seems about as good as you are likely to get at the moment. Get it in, then keep working. Or whinge, and watch 2016 happen again, with absolute certainty that hundreds of thousands will die as a result. Seems simple enough to me.

  106. vucodlak says

    @ LeftSidePositive, #80

    I’m seeing a lot of red on those maps since the Nixon era for president AND congressional representatives,

    Did I say “all of southern Illinois was solidly Democratic?” No, I was talking about my hometown and its immediate environs. Like I said, I don’t get out much, but I sure as fuck know my own hometown better than you do.

    so forgive me if I don’t buy your bullshit that “Democrats” killed your hometown,

    Whether you wish to believe it or not, the fact remains that it was Democrat who originally proposed blowing the levees (Paul Simon, I believe), it was Democratic-majority state legislature that had to be fought to prevent that from happening, it was and is a Democratic-majority state legislature that since abandoned our part of the state as punishment, and it was under a Democratic president (from Illinois, no less) that the feds finally told us “You’re on your own.”

    Now is it fair to blame Obama for that last bit? Not entirely, but it’s also not unreasonable to expect a Democrat from Illinois to look out for Illinoisans. When FEMA and the Army Corp of Engineers abandoned us, it felt like a personal betrayal. Again, not entirely fair, but it fit in with a long term pattern of conscious neglect.

    or that the response to a single flood changed all these people’s voting patterns

    If there was any further proof needed that you haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about, it’s this “single flood” business. I said that the flood of January 2016 was the last straw for a lot of people, and it was.

    2016 was a bad one, coming on faster than any flood in a living memory. On Christmas 2015 things were fine. Then it spent the next week raining, especially to the north, and the Mississippi came up so fast that the entire town had to be evacuated (by order of the town council) on New Year’s Day. It was a given that the levees would fail- it was just a question of where the river overtopped them first. Now, it had been planned that the Corp would raise the endangered levees before 2016, but obviously that went out the window when they abandoned us. Ultimately, my hometown only survived because the levee broke south of us, and wiped out a different town.

    The problem, however, wasn’t a single fucking flood. Off the top of my head, we’ve had major floods in 1993, 1995, 2009, 2016, and 2019. Those are just the ones I’ve lived through. In 1993, most everyone who had someplace else to go left for a couple of months; we were sure the levee would fail, in spite of the regular maintenance. Several levees did fail that year, but ours held. In 2019, the floodwaters came up through the unrepaired levee breach south of town and cut the town off for months, as well as destroying a lot of homes around the town’s periphery. That’s why the levees are pretty much the issue in my hometown.

    First off, this whole thing is nothing more than a “What’s The Matter With Kansas?”-style apologia for the midwest voting Republican.

    I don’t care about the greater Midwest or its voting patterns. I’m talking specifically about my hometown, and actual, real grievances with the Democratic Party. What is this bullshit about NAFTA? Who the fuck said anything about trade? For that matter, who said anything about “class?” Do you have even the faintest inkling of what you’re talking about? I say I come from a small, poor-ass rural town, and you’re having fantasies about upper-middle class suburbs.

    for all your insistence that southern Illinois was disillusioned with Dems being insufficiently left

    The. Levees. Nowhere have I claimed my hometown was a bastion of socialist revolutionaries- it was socialist policy that turned a lot of people in the town Democrat during the depression, because those policies kept them fed, gave them work, and protected them from the rivers. Gods know I heard enough stories about the Great Man FDR from my grandpa and his buddies, and from grandmother and her 9 siblings. All the old-timers remembered that, but the Democrats turned their backs on most of that legacy a long time ago. I hate to keep banging out the same note, but the levees were just the last straw.

    The Democrats literally didn’t give a shit whether our little part of the country drowned. Hell, they’d tried to make it happen themselves. That’s not a fucking “purity test” no matter how many times you repeat the lie.

    a quick glance at a map will show the entire region MASSIVELY preferred Biden over Sanders in 2020,

    The fuck do I care about Sanders? I voted for Sanders this time because he and Biden were the only candidates left by the time my current state held its primary, and Biden was second-to-dead-last on my list. And yes, I preferred Sanders to Clinton in 2016 (for the same reasons I preferred him to Biden this time), but he sure as fuck wasn’t my first (or second, or third) choice this time around.

    I say the following only to address one more snowflake in your avalanche of lies, and NOT because I have any interest in debating the fucking primary again:
    I wanted Elizabeth Warren, full-stop. I’ve wanted Warren for president practically since she entered the Senate, and I wish she’d run in 2016. She didn’t; the only options in the primary were Sanders and Clinton. I still think Sanders would have been a better presidential candidate than Clinton in 2016, given the massive anti-establishment backlash that gave us the quivering orange turd in the White House, but I also have no interest in relitigating the 2016 election again either.

    I supported Clinton in 2016, urged others to do the same (contrary to yet another of your lies), and I voted straight-ticket Democrat. Pretty much the same shit I’ll be doing this year with Biden. You’re right, I criticize them both heavily on this forum, where most of the readers are grownups who understand that you can hate a candidates guts but still believe it’s your duty to vote for them.

    One more time: Sanders isn’t, and never was, my first choice. He’s not my fucking messiah, he’s not a hill I have any interest in dying on, and I dearly hope he doesn’t run again. I don’t absolutely hate him, though I came pretty damn close after he shivved Warren in the debates, but there are so many better candidates for the leftist cause. Like Warren. Or Julian Castro, my second choice. Harris was originally my second choice, but she dropped to third during the debates, and now, well, I’ll just watch and see.

    So save the anti-Bernie-or-Buster rage for someone who gives a damn, and don’t try to lump me in with them.

    So no, I’m not going to be sympathetic to people who give up on politics and don’t vote or vote third party, and then act all upset that their needs aren’t being met.

    And what about the people who’ve voted for the Democrats and not had their needs met? Do you give a single fuck about them?

    I’m not saying it’s smart to vote for Republicans. I’m not claiming it’s morally defensible to support Trump, or to abstain from voting against him. I’m saying only that I understand the despair of my former neighbors. Hell, I share it- at least six generations of my family have lived in that town. I still believe it’s my duty to vote against Trump, and I tried my best to convince my family and neighbors that it was best if they did too, but screaming at them about how they’re a bunch over-privileged class-conscious leftist poseurs ain’t gonna change their minds.

    Twitter and Instagram “leftist” influencers who advocate non-voting and have familial money (and a bunch of insufferable assholes many of us know from our college dorms!) are a demonstrable group, and that does not mean that every non-voter belongs to that group.

    If anybody who is left in my hometown pays any heed to what any Instagram/Twitter influencer has to say on any subject, I doubt very much they’re even old enough to vote, and they definitely aren’t trust fund kids. Anyone who has anywhere else to go is out of that town. So are a lot of people who didn’t have anywhere else to go, for that matter.

    Just do your civic duty and vote, and stop telling yourself fairy tales about the political actions of those around you, especially when it doesn’t match up with the evidence of how those regions actually voted.

    You’re basically telling me “Don’t believe your lying eyes, believe ME.” Sorry, but I know my town, I know my county, and it doesn’t fit your narrative.

    From your #87:

    Moreover, your links don’t say what you think they do—the country trended red BECAUSE OF LARGE-SCALE EMIGRATION OF BLACK RESIDENTS

    Okay… I had to take several deep breaths before I responded to this one but… why oh why do you think those black residents left, hmm? Why do you think people are abandoning the county en masse? Could it be because, oh, I don’t know, their houses and places of work either already washed away, or are in serious danger of doing so, perhaps? Could it be all the infrastructure that’s been destroyed and left to rot in the last couple of decades? Does that sound at all plausible to you?

    Alexander County is indeed the location of my hometown (McClure, if it matters). Cairo, the county seat, where a plurality of the county’s residents (including most of the county’s black residents) live sits at the joining of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. At least one of those floods nearly every spring. The cities flood walls haven’t failed yet, but it’s only a matter of time. Springfield doesn’t care, Chicago doesn’t care, and D.C. doesn’t care.

    I don’t deny that there is a lot of racism in Illinois, including in my hometown and county, but local racism isn’t what has driven black residents out of Alexander County. I have no doubt that racism plays a role in why Alexander County in particular has historically been screwed over by the Democrats and Republicans in Springfield, but for all the people of Alexander County the most pressing problem is the rising water on their doorstep.

    From your #96:

    Moreover, the fact that it is one tiny little speck of more-reliable blue than the rest of rural Illinois (apart from Jackson county, a still-blue college town) should clue you in that its trajectory reflects some particulars to its own situation rather than some Great Truth about Real Americans (bleghgh) and the Democratic Party.

    I wonder how many other “tiny little specks” have, in their own utterly insignificant ways, turned their backs on one or both parties over the past couple of decades over issues like those afflicting my hometown. Ah well, it hardly matters; surely their populations can’t add up to more than a few hundred thousand, and we all know that so few people couldn’t possibly influence a presidential election.

  107. LeftSidePositive says

    @vucodlak, #110:

    You seem to be missing the key point of context here: whether or not Democrats were inadequate is not the issue, and no one is arguing that they are perfect. What I AM saying is that the reason your town swung rightward instead of pursuing effective activism is not possible to disentangle from the rural white working class’s general patterns of resentment toward women, people of color, LGBT people, and social change in general that has driven these populations to the right, ESPECIALLY when nothing in your story indicates that allying with Republicans would be remotely effective for the community’s stated needs.

    So, you had a lot of floods and a lot of infrastructure concerns. Ok. How does that make voting for Republicans any more rational? Why wasn’t “primary these representatives who are not meeting our needs” the response instead of “oh, well, let’s try this other thing that is even less likely to work!” I’m not trying to blame the community for political disengagement, and I know that political literacy is hard. But this has very direct implications on the notion that refusing to engage in electoral politics is praxis, or that communities like this one would get behind a more socialist candidate. And that’s what we’re discussing on this thread.

    I mean, when Democrats fail Black communities, they don’t go running to Republicans. They organize, they boycott, they try to raise awareness with celebrities, they support candidates for office, but they are MUCH less likely than embittered disaffected white social conservatives to let their communities turn Republican (unless their votes are actively suppressed, which is a different matter).

    More pointedly, I propose that your little town was trending more red than you realized for a long time, and a big driver of that was the same cultural resentments that drove most Reagan Democrats. Yes, there were legitimate complaints about infrastructure, but the thing that prevented them from adopting effective political organizing and instead self-defeating rage that supported a party even MORE hostile to infrastructure was most likely cultural resentment. And, critically, that matters for how the Left strategizes.

    And NAFTA being used as an excuse for the Rust Belt voting Republican is the same TYPE of issue, hence why I brought it up (it’s such a common example, I’d expect most people to be familiar with it?). It’s a policy where Dems are demonstrably bad, but why is it these working-class white voters seem to only hold Democrats responsible for it, when the Republicans they’ve been voting for since, were in favor of it then and continue to pursue those policies now? It’s racial & cultural resentment looking for an excuse to justify itself. And, critically, when people are motivated by resentment, they’re not going to flock to socialists offering 1940s New Dealism if they have to share those benefits with “the other.”

    Also, my comment referred to the community in context of the white WORKING class, so where the fuck are you getting anything about “upper middle class suburbs?” Can you even read? I spoke about trust fund socialists misinterpreting the political expressions of the working class. I never said the residents of your town WERE the trust fund socialists. I already even specifically told you not to cling to that criticism if it wasn’t relevant to you!

    Nowhere have I claimed my hometown was a bastion of socialist revolutionaries-

    Then why is any of this relevant to a thread about people justifying non-voting or voting third party because they imagine The People want socialism?

    All the old-timers remembered that, but the Democrats turned their backs on most of that legacy a long time ago.

    AGAIN, you cannot gripe about the Democrats “turning their backs” when the median American voter shifted MASSIVELY away from government spending after the Civil Rights movement, and stopped voting for Democrats who supported those things. That is the whole point of what I’ve been trying to tell you, and you just declare you don’t care about broader voting patterns? But, dude, that’s the whole fucking point.

    The Democrats literally didn’t give a shit whether our little part of the country drowned. Hell, they’d tried to make it happen themselves. That’s not a fucking “purity test” no matter how many times you repeat the lie.

    In all seriousness, do you have any idea what this conversation is even about? My objection is WHY WOULD ANYONE THINK VOTING REPUBLICAN WAS IN THEIR BEST INTEREST IN THIS SITUATION. You haven’t answered that. You haven’t even tried. You’ve adopted the framing that Democrats are the only ones with political agency or obligations. I offered numerous examples of what a healthily political community could do in response to neglect from their leaders. You haven’t engaged with any of those.

    Dude, I brought up the primary not to get five paragraphs about your feelings on the primary, but to show that these communities aren’t crying out for leftist revolutionaries. The argument from leftists has been “Democrats abandoned the working people and they couldn’t tell any difference between them and Republicans, but if you ignore all the actual people in the Democratic primary who actually voted and overturn the results to give us our socialist candidate, that will win back the white working class!” That’s the whole point of this mentality of “punishing” the Democrats for not being leftist enough and how they “deserved” to lose to Trump since they ran a “weak candidate.” My point is that your community’s story of hardship does not support this political model, so why are you bringing it up? What are you trying to prove with it?

    And what about the people who’ve voted for the Democrats and not had their needs met? Do you give a single fuck about them?

    I AM a person who votes for Democrats and rarely gets her needs met from them. Everyone here is. The point is, why do you not consider these people responsible for taking action that’s actually likely to fix their situation? Why are they used as an example of justifying non-voting on a thread under a video about why Obama was too far to the right, and where commenters feel this is an incredibly bad time strategically to minimize the differences between Biden and Trump, and the usual performative non-voting idiots are spouting their usual bullshit?

    I say I come from a small, poor-ass rural town, and you’re having fantasies about upper-middle class suburbs.

    I really think you need to slow down and read what I’m actually saying. Like, you understand this thread isn’t entirely about you, right? That I have also been replying to and referring to arguments made by other people? No one is saying that the people in your town are the over-privileged ones (and class-conscious politics means freeing themselves from the shackles of their oppressors and advocating for their working class interests, which is THE EXACT FUCKING OPPOSITE of being the privileged ones. Sheesh!). We’re saying that the over-privileged commentators are spinning yarns ABOUT the desires of the people like those in your town, not FOR the people in your town. I’m saying the working class in your town is not voting in a way predicted by the purity poseur leftist model.

    Also, we’re not screaming at the people in your town who are not effective political actors. It’s hard to be an effective political actor with minimal resources. But, we DEFINITELY are upset with the purity leftist poseurs who are justifying THEIR OWN non-voting or protest voting by using the people in your town as props and pretending that the people in your town want what Rose Twitter says they do (and that this apparently justifies Rose Twitter refusing to vote for Democratic candidates, according to Rose Twitter). I don’t know how to reach people who are so disengaged and disempowered as the people in your county. But I do know that enough people who have the means to be very engaged in politics, who spend time on Pharyngula, who fancy themselves activists, think that not voting for Biden is a good idea, and if they would change their minds, we could have a safe win and get started on the hard work of rebuilding. You have been one of these people, and your post about your hometown only functions in this thread as an attempt to justify non-voting FOR THE IDEOLOGICAL NON-VOTERS HERE (not for the disempowered non-voters your story is about). Otherwise, why did you even post it?

    You’re basically telling me “Don’t believe your lying eyes, believe ME.” Sorry, but I know my town, I know my county, and it doesn’t fit your narrative.

    You’ve made so many basic errors of reading comprehension I genuinely don’t think you even know what my narrative IS.

    Okay… I had to take several deep breaths before I responded to this one but… why oh why do you think those black residents left, hmm?

    Do you even have a thesis here? What point do you think you’re making? What do you think I’m saying?

    Here, I’ll spell it out for you:

    The claim that “this county shifted to Trump because its residents were persuaded by Trumpism when Democrats didn’t meet their needs” is a fundamentally different claim than “this county is now Trumpist because non-Trumpist members disproportionately left.”

    Again, this is a discussion about whether it is a good idea for leftists of the sort who read Pharyngula (and Rose Twitter, Jacobin readers, etc.) to choose not to vote for Biden, and a big component of that is the claim that Democrats are at fault for running “weak candidates” which (they claim) have driven working class voters into the Republican party. At a most superficial read, a district flipping would support this view, but the fact that the flip was due to demographic changes and not as many people changing their minds has direct implications as to whether rural white voters can be persuaded back by socialism.

    I wonder how many other “tiny little specks” have, in their own utterly insignificant ways, turned their backs on one or both parties over the past couple of decades over issues like those afflicting my hometown.

    But is that a good idea? Is that a model that we here on Pharyngula should adopt? Is running on open socialism the way to bring these people back from Trumpism in the short term?

    Also, the “tiny little specks” was in reference to clusters of population density that tend to be blue (e.g. college towns), and are therefore different from their surrounding rural environs. You know, the “blue archipelago”… but I’m starting to suspect you don’t have the level of background knowledge of political discourse to know what other people are talking about, and are commenting wildly based off your unfounded misinterpretations.

    Ah well, it hardly matters; surely their populations can’t add up to more than a few hundred thousand, and we all know that so few people couldn’t possibly influence a presidential election.

    Dude, saying something is evidence of a highly localized situation and should not be interpreted as a broad trend that informs our national electoral strategy is not saying that those individuals don’t matter. It’s saying that we have to make sure the claims we make based on these examples are truly valid and not cherry-picking. Again, I really think you need to read more carefully.

  108. LeftSidePositive says

    Vucodlak, let’s try this from a different angle:

    In no more than five sentences, why do you think your town’s story as shared in comment #77 is relevant to this thread? You brought it up as an explanation of how to change the minds of Trump voters: what point were you trying to make, and what should we—politically engaged liberal, left-leaning, or leftist atheists—do as a result of it?

  109. logicalcat says

    Logical fallacies all over the place. Isnt this suppose to be a skeptic blog?

    Also Leftside my bad for misgendering. Also also if democrats run weak candidates then what does that make leftists who cant even run candidates other than the one (Sanders) and when they do he loses? If democrats are weak then leftists are anemic which I think is our point.

    Even Warren and AOC+the rest of the crew have more to do with established democratic voters (especially the latter) than they do with left independents.

  110. consciousness razor says

    And in previous threads you repeatedly give TONS of pushback to anyone who stresses the importance of voting for the Democrat in the general election.

    I’ve pushed back against people who are dismissive about all of the legitimate problems that people (including myself) have with candidates like Biden and Harris.

    Go ahead and stress the importance of voting. If we had a more democratic system as I would like, it would be even more important, but let’s put that to the side. My concern is what I just said it was above. Is that clear? If you won’t even try to understand that, there is no point in me wasting any more of my time.

    You lie about our policy preferences. You misrepresent our goals.

    Who are you even talking about, with this “our” stuff? You mean yours?

    While we’re on the subject, you misinterpreted my comment #48. I don’t care if you consider yourself a centrist. I was saying that even centrists can typically spit out some ideas, as pathetic as they may be, which is a statement about centrists as a group.

    You frequently minimize the dangers of Republicans—including on the pandemic!—so yeah it’s fair to say people dying from the pandemic doesn’t fucking matter to you.

    No. Just no. The entire thing: no.

    You literally fucking claimed celebrity endorsements for Nader justified his run and ignored the atrocities of the Iraq War.

    That quote is literally me stating the fact that those particular celebrities endorsed him (among other individuals/groups, which I had also listed).

    It was an odd mix of people which I found funny, so I brought it up. Now you’ve mangled this simple thing into something else entirely. I don’t get how anyone could think an endorsement “justifies” a presidential run, and I never said any such thing.

    In that thread, in case anyone cares, I argued to GerrardOfTitanServer that “protest votes” (if that’s what you want to call them) for Nader in the 2000 election did have effects on the Democratic party, for better or worse. I think that is probably true. Gerrard had claimed such things don’t happen, so I disputed this. So the fuck what?

    Also, to say that I have in any way “ignored the atrocities of the Iraq War” is simply ridiculous, and fuck you for that.

    LSP, you’re just frothing about a whole lot of nothing, so maybe I should just leave you to it.

  111. logicalcat says


    Since you barely have brought anything useful to the table while LSP have actually brought real salient points maybe you should just leave it to her. You didn’t even understand her point. She’s not saying to dismiss valid concerns regarding Biden and Harris. Shes saying to exercise some strategic thinking in how you go about doing that. And while I’m on this subject my contribution to this is that I want the left to be less dishonest in their anti-establishmentarianism and have some self reflection on our failings and on where we went wrong. Because I see Democrat bashing as an excuse to not fix our failures or even acknowledge their existence.

    I will say however that people here have the tendency to unfairly lump you in with the rest of the fools as Ive seen in other threads. Thats where the “frothing” is coming from, because there are genuinely real people here who don’t give a shit about the harm their rhetoric and propaganda has brought.

    And for the record when she said “our goals” she means the goals of the left. We want positive change right? Well, we’ve given everyone here our game plan and as far as I can see no valid argument against it has been brought forth. Hell many have downright dishonestly shut it down without valid reasoning and in the case of the points Ive been constantly putting out there, I get ignored completely.

  112. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    CR: “Go ahead and stress the importance of voting. If we had a more democratic system as I would like, it would be even more important, but let’s put that to the side.”

    The irony here is that the key to getting a more democratic system is more people who value such a system actually voting. I think the key is preferential voting–that way, no vote is “thrown away”. It would make elections competitive again, foster cooperation and I think it would restore a modicum of civility to the system, since no party could have a monopoly on power.

    Maine has done it. The rest of us need to turn up the pressure on our representatives to do so as well. Our color palate needs more than red and blue.

  113. KG says

    I’ve pushed back against people who are dismissive about all of the legitimate problems that people (including myself) have with candidates like Biden and Harris. – consciousness razor@114

    Which people are you talking about? And where have you done that, specifically, in a way that could not be taken as saying people should not vote for Biden?

  114. Rob Grigjanis says

    LSP @108:

    I very clearly cited CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS, not counties

    Sorry, but all-caps still doesn’t help you. What you clearly actually wrote, and which I have now quoted a couple of times, was

    You do realize we can all look up the congressional and presidential voting patterns in southern Illinois and realize you’re full of shit, right?

  115. says

    I don’t know which choice is the least shitty one – voting Trump hoping Dems will be crushed and progressives will raise (Dems will not care, being the leaders of the resistance is the easiest job in the world, so chance of success there is laughable), not voting, hoping the amount of votes lost will make Dems rethink their strategy (they won’t, see above) or holding your nose and voting Biden hoping he can be moved on the issues once elected (he won’t, his whole life is about denying the left reasonable wins and keeping rich people rich and poor people poor). It would require protests and riots with cable news being all out against revolutionaries and troublemakers.

    So basically, I don’t see any way to convince the progressive leaning voter to any of the options above. I can’t rank them because all of them have an unknown probability to turn out into worse or less worse scenario, some of them will bring the most evil quick, some of them will be less evil immediately but will destroy any hope for progress.

    One thing I can say with some small amount of certainty is that Biden went full on after moderate vote – the only thing he wants from the left is to criticize him for being republican lite, to ridicule Trump’s message that Biden is a radical left. It may be working strategy or not, as Chuck Schummer said “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”

    But leftist know what Lawrence O’Donnell said is true. “If you want to pull the major party that is closest to the way you’re thinking to what you’re thinking you must, you must show them that your capable of not voting for them. If you don’t show them you’re capable of not voting for them, they don’t have to listen to you, I promise you that. I worked within the Democratic Party, I didn’t listen or have to listen to anything on the left while I was working in the Democratic Party because the left had nowhere to go”.

    So all of you people who want to shame others to vote Biden no matter what, do you really think you will be successful with a strategy that basically amounts to “If you don’t relinquish all your power and vote in the despicable senile alleged rapist who hates you, you are part of a basket of deplorables”?

    I don’t feel like I can persuade anyone to change their mind on how to vote, but I am sure as hell vote shaming and insulting those who don’t want to vote Biden will not make them change their mind.
    So decide – do you want to convince those who don’t want to vote Biden, or are you here just to score some points on the social ladder by virtue signalling how reasonable you are and how effectively you slam, thrash and lash out on those who disagree with you?

  116. Rob Grigjanis says

    Gorzki @119: Maybe I’m incredibly naive, but I don’t see what all the typing is about, and why some adults can’t seem to grasp this rather simple concept;

    One day every four years, vote the lesser of two evils (or weevils if you like) to slow down the rot, and you know, maybe actually save some lives.
    The other 1460 days, work to fix the system instead of whining about how unfair it is. Support local progressives, start/join demos, etc.

    The focus on the one day every four years, and the endless philosophizing about the ‘correct strategy’ for that one day, is just fucking weird.

  117. LeftSidePositive says

    Hey consciousness razor, I notice you conveniently ignored the question of what you’re actually going to do this election? Why the fuck haven’t you clearly & concisely stated your position there?

    I can’t help noticing that your function in these threads is to vomit up a lot of noise to antagonize people who support voting strategically, and supporting those who don’t. You shift the goalposts, conflate arguments, and then back down from the implications of the arguments you’re making (or why those points are salient), misrepresent others’ positions so you can argue an irrelevant point that no one even disagrees with, but the net effect is that you are ALWAYS making life difficult for the people who want our votes to be effective, and ALWAYS supporting people who vote stupidly, radically shifting the goalposts for defending them, and never really committing to a firm position. AGAIN, you’ve refused to take a clear position, even in response to a direct question. I can only conclude that you are a weaselly, dishonest player in this and all discussions.

  118. LeftSidePositive says

    To consciousness razor, in more detail:

    I’ve pushed back against people who are dismissive about all of the legitimate problems that people (including myself) have with candidates like Biden and Harris.

    BUT YOU’RE LYING ABOUT THEIR POSITION. NO ONE here is dismissive of Biden or Harris’s legitimate problems. We’ve told you so multiple times. We’re talking about what to ACTUALLY DO, given the electoral situation that we’re in. And, at the moment, that is being as enthusiastic as you possibly can for Biden and Harris, and encouraging everyone you know to vote for them, to vote early, and make sure their vote is counted.

    Like, you do understand that Democratic campaign operatives don’t read Pharyngula, right? Do you understand that the net effect of your insistence on repeating your rants about “standards” and “non-bullshit pressure” is not going to be to reach them or convince them of anything, because they’re not the audience here. But, what the effect of your words HERE, with THIS AUDIENCE is to validate people who don’t want to vote, and there are a lot of them commenting and reading. That’s why those of us who actually care what happens to this country are angry with you.

    Go ahead and stress the importance of voting. If we had a more democratic system as I would like, it would be even more important, but let’s put that to the side.

    The purity left’s refusal to understand the importance of voting is what has made this system less democratic over the past decades, as I have explained to you repeatedly.

    My concern is what I just said it was above. Is that clear?

    No, nothing you say is ever clear. You spew off-topic nonsense, you misrepresent people, you ignore people who tell you WHY they are focusing on what they are focusing on, you go on long tangents about Nader and Evangelicals and NEVER once engage with arguments about the mechanism and causality of those actions, and instead insist that we just “hate the left” instead of engaging with our repeated and clearly-articulated arguments about the demonstrable harms of protest voting as to why focusing on electing Democrats is most important right now.

    Who are you even talking about, with this “our” stuff? You mean yours?

    Everyone in multiple threads who has stressed the importance of voting for the Democratic candidate in the general election. You have repeatedly implied they are ignorant of the problems with him, and that we “hate the left” for being frustrated that you idiots repeatedly squander your influence and let Republicans hurt the country.

    I was saying that even centrists can typically spit out some ideas, as pathetic as they may be, which is a statement about centrists as a group.

    But we have already told you that this is not the topic of the discussion, and WHY it is not the topic of the discussion. If you want to make a case why it’s actually a good idea to talk policy instead of getting your guy in office, please reread my comments in #35, #45, and #49. You are so far up your own ass with this nonsense belief that talking about policy is relevant right now, that you completely missed me explaining to you WHY THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA. And yet you were so stuck in your framework that you kept looking for policy in multiple comments that were specifically explaining why I didn’t think it was appropriate to talk policy and the importance of other activism right now.

    You frequently minimize the dangers of Republicans—including on the pandemic!—so yeah it’s fair to say people dying from the pandemic doesn’t fucking matter to you.

    No. Just no. The entire thing: no.

    Um, absolutely YES! Actions speak louder than words. We can see you pontificating on your political wish list instead of agreeing on the importance of voting. We can see you making excuses for non-voters and third-party voters. All of this decreases the chance of Biden winning the presidency, and therefore increases the chance of Trump winning (or stealing) the presidency, not to mention Republicans in all other offices, which will perpetuate the mismanagement and malevolence of Republicans during the pandemic. Your actions on this thread have repeatedly shown you care more about crowing about your stance than considering the actual consequences of your actions, even when the stakes are mass death from a pandemic that will be dramatically worse if one of those sides win. Ergo, you do not actually care about people dying from the pandemic. QED.

    It was an odd mix of people which I found funny, so I brought it up. Now you’ve mangled this simple thing into something else entirely. I don’t get how anyone could think an endorsement “justifies” a presidential run, and I never said any such thing.

    See, this is you weaseling around again. You were replying to people who were understandably angry about third party voters, and you jumped in to defend third-party voters by citing Nader’s influence. Gerrard says protest voting was bad strategy. You quoted that and then said he “influenced Dems.” That, to any reasonable person, means his influence was actually good, or you wouldn’t say it to counter the assertion of “bad strategy.” Then you tried to use endorsements as an indicator of his influence. This is in a discussion about the ethics of protest voting, so you think his influence justifies protest voting (or you wouldn’t bring it up) AND endorsements were the major example you gave of that influence. Also, bringing up “an odd mix of people that you found funny” is pretty fucking inappropriate given the horrors of the Iraq War that Nader facilitated through his vanity and splitting. Finally, when you had no argument, you tried to claim any changes the Dems made in their party, for good OR for ill, relevant to Nader’s run even when you then conceded you couldn’t show causation. This is why you’re a fucking weasel.

    But AGAIN, the whole thrust of your argument was “Nader good, actually” until you kept morphing it and moving the goal posts and ultimately arguing nothing (while ignoring my arguments to causality of a RIGHTWARD shift in elected Dems during the GWB admin, demonstrable examples of similar or better leftward evolution happening when Dems were in power in the Obama years, and minimizing the short-term horrors that Nader helping Bush led to). While you repeatedly have no coherent point and don’t engage honestly, I again point out that you’re always on team “nah, don’t vote like it matters.”

    Here is the thread again for anyone who wants to check receipts:

    Also, to say that I have in any way “ignored the atrocities of the Iraq War” is simply ridiculous, and fuck you for that.

    But YOU DID. Multiple times on that thread. Every SINGLE time I brought up the Iraq War as a cost of supporting Nader instead of joining a coalition that could have defeated Bush. I reread the thread. The closest you came to acknowledging it was blaming Gore for being “too centrist” without being intellectually honest enough to realize that he won the Democratic primary by a huge margin and insisting, ridiculously, that not appealing to your faction makes someone “weak” when your faction couldn’t win the primary! You even said, after Iraq was mentioned repeatedly as a consequence of allowing Bush to win:

    Even when they lost, it was still only an election result.

    You’re a worthless fucking ghoul.

  119. KG says


    So all of you people who want to shame others to vote Biden no matter what, do you really think you will be successful with a strategy that basically amounts to “If you don’t relinquish all your power and vote in the despicable senile alleged rapist who hates you, you are part of a basket of deplorables”?

    The message is, rather: “If you don’t do what you can to prevent a fascist seizure of power you are part of a basket of deplorables.” Are you really so stupid you can’t see that if Trump retains the Presidency, the likelihood of you or anyone else in the USA having the chance to vote in anything but a sham election in future is close to zero?

    I don’t feel like I can persuade anyone to change their mind on how to vote, but I am sure as hell vote shaming and insulting those who don’t want to vote Biden will not make them change their mind.

    Do you have any, oh, what’s that stuff… oh yeah, evidence for that thing you’re “sure as hell” about?

  120. logicalcat says


    You, like all the others who hold this position that not voting somehow can convince democrats to move left, are ignorong the points i put up.

    The history of the democratoc party is that they appeal to the center right because leftists dont vote and the history of the republican party is thay radical rightists take over the party usong the power of voting. And it happened three time with the evangelicals, tea party, and the trunp right/alt right. The last example is especially important because everyone here aparently has no memory of 2016 where trump was an outside very mich disliked by the republican establishment and yet won the primary on the strength of his radical voters who actually fucking vote.

    The left when it comes to electoral politics are fucking idiots who fail to understand basic concepts and ignore objective provable reality. We need more self reflection.

    Also pointing out that Biden is an “alleged rapist” doesnt mean shit when the left routinely dishonestly villify centrist candidates with conspiracy theories. Or did you forget that Clinton was accused of being a war criminal (shes not), orchestrator of Seth Richs assassination (she didnt and this conspiracy is fucked up), rigging the primary (lol), and helping to defend rapists. The last example is especially telling of left dishonesty. She was the lawyer for an accused rapist and they tried to make doing her job as a lawyer evil somehow. And when I looked into it, turns out she recused herself from being his counsel so in leftists eyes she did do the right thing risking her professional career and yet they choose to omit that. Because the easiest way to villify someone is to accuse them of rape, but unlike Biden shes a woman* and rape accussation wont fly.

    *yes im aware women can rape too. But general idea is that its a man thing. Fucked up as it ignores victims of female rapists.

  121. havocoverkill says

    @LeftSidePositive, I just had to delurk to say: Thank you for your efforts! Even if you will never get through to everyone here, you definitely crystallized and put into words the things about the purists’ arguments that have bugged me for a while here which in turn will help me argue with the puritans IRL. I have other windmills in life to assault and I lack the time, passion, knowledge, and writing skill to joust with these as well. So again, thank you (and the others who are rooted in the real and not treating the election like their own personal social experiment), your efforts are not in vain.

  122. LeftSidePositive says

    @logicalcat, #124: Thanks for answering that so I didn’t feel compelled to! Man, gotta love that attitude of just swanning into to conversation ignoring Maude knows how many counterpoints that have already been made, and just expecting us to start over!

    @havocoverkill, #125: Thank you so much for your kind words!

    I have other windmills in life to assault

    This is an awesome turn of phrase and I’m totally going to steal it. Thanks!

  123. consciousness razor says


    I notice you conveniently ignored the question of what you’re actually going to do this election? Why the fuck haven’t you clearly & concisely stated your position there?

    Why fucking bother? Once again, I will be voting, like I always do, including in every primary. You have either confused me with someone else, or you think that I must agree with everything that someone else says, if I ever fall on the same side of an argument with them. Sorry, but that’s not really my style. If that kind of nuance isn’t your thing, okay, but it’s probably going to be okay if I’m not just like you.

    So…. Do you need this information for anything? No. If I say one thing here but something changes between now and November, when it’s actually time for me to vote by casting a secret ballot, do I need to report back to you then? No. Have you given me any reason to feel like I should want to be cooperative and participate in your little inquisition? No. Even if you were being much less of a presumptuous bullying asshole, would I have the time to respond to everything you write? No. So what is the point?

    Besides, you already misrepresent me as often as it suits you. If reading comprehension failures don’t cut it, you have all of your own assumptions to fill in the gaps. So take anything I’ve said and just do more of the same: twist it into whatever you want. If it’s too absurd, some probably won’t buy it, but just go nuts with this shit for all I care. It doesn’t matter.

  124. LeftSidePositive says

    @Consciousness razor:

    AGAIN: will you vote for Joe Biden in the general election?

    That is a simple question. It should only take you a single word, not three paragraphs. Why is that so difficult???

    And by the way, we need this information to determine whether or not to trust you in this discussion, and whether we should consider you worth speaking to & engaging with in this space. It’s necessary to nail down what you’re even arguing FOR, since you generally take up a lot of space without actually stating clear positions or standing by your arguments. You’re being a fucking weasel, but your weaseling is ALWAYS against those who advocate for voting for Democrats in the general election, and ALWAYS makes excuses for third-party voters. The amount of para-arguments, tangents, non-sequiturs, examples with implications you won’t defeat when called on it show that you are not intellectually honest or trustworthy.

    And, no, I presented your actual words and fairly represented them in summary and in contextualization of when you said them. The fact that I’m not actually misrepresenting you is pretty clear from the fact that you are such an apologist for non-voting and third-party voting that you won’t even answer a simple question.

  125. Rob Grigjanis says

    LSP @128:

    AGAIN: will you vote for Joe Biden in the general election?
    That is a simple question. It should only take you a single word, not three paragraphs. Why is that so difficult???
    And by the way, we need this information to determine whether or not to trust you in this discussion, and whether we should consider you worth speaking to & engaging with in this space.

    JesusHChrist, you’re a fucking arsehole. Is that the royal ‘we’?

  126. LeftSidePositive says

    Hi Rob, thanks so much for tone trolling! That’s almost as helpful as willfully misinterpreting a single line in a comment to someone else and clinging to it like a gotcha for multiple superfluous comments after I’ve explained it to you multiple times!

    And in this context, “we” refers to everyone who has been strung along by consciousness razor Gish Galloping and misdirecting their way around the comment section, wasting our time and engaging in major intellectual dishonesty. You know, people like me, logicalcat, Gerrard, KG, indianajones, havocoverkill, John Morales, ec. When one is referring to multiple people, one of whom is oneself, “we” is the normal pronoun for such a thing.

    Anything else I can explain to you?

  127. Rob Grigjanis says

    LSP @131:

    Anything else I can explain to you?

    No. I’ve seen enough. You’re the sort of odious bloviator supposedly on my side that I’ve seen far too much of in my 65 years. It’s all about you being correct about everything you say, and shitting on people who disagree with you. You have your fans, and good for you. To me, you’re just another self-important idiot to be ignored henceforth.

  128. LeftSidePositive says

    Hi Rob!

    You did a really great job of being an utterly useless pedant. Thanks so much for utterly ignoring how I explained my actual position to cling to your little bit of pedantry! It was especially contributory to the discussion when you refused to listen to others who pointed out to you that you might have misinterpreted and were ignoring my explanation. And, oh golly, it’s just SOOOO impactful when you gripe about how “it’s all about you being correct” when you aren’t actually grasping repeated clarifications of the point, much less actually refuting anything.

    Did you know that if you had actually seen enough, you could just choose not to comment?

    Have a great evening! :-D

  129. kurt1 says

    @134 WMDKitty — Survivor

    You have my support. You brought well-reasoned arguments and cited your sources. CR and Rob just can’t handle being proven wrong.

    This is hilarious because it perfectly encapsulates the current moment of the Biden campaign and his online supporters. You already are on the same side, nobody in this thread got convinced of any opposing argument. LSPs goal seems to be to pressure people into voting, some of whom stated multiple times that they will, by being a selfrighteous asshole. Which is an utterly inefficient and borderline moronic tactic. Being obsessed with whom randos online will vote for is one of the dumbest, most inefficient things to begin with. But pat yourselves on the back for wasting your time and achieving nothing.

  130. logicalcat says

    Hey Kurt you forgot the part where we feel that they act as apologists and provide cover to the ones who dont want to vote or want to cast protest votes. But hey the trend here is to ignore our positions and strawman so dont let me stop you.


    Why yes, LSP is correct about everything he said and why not shit on the people who are not only wrong but dishonestly misrepresent his positions and resort to cheap character attacks?

    The whole “you just want to be right…” Is the same line of stupid thinking theists used to do when arguing with atheists and what right wongers donwhen arguing with liberals/leftists. It doesnt work when they use it and it sure as hell doesnt work when you do it. You’re basicaly making having a coherent argument built on facts into a negative.

  131. LeftSidePositive says

    @kurt1, 134:

    This is hilarious because it perfectly encapsulates the current moment of the Biden campaign and his online supporters.

    Stop trying to “make ‘fetch’ happen” with pearl clutching about ‘Biden supporters.’ First, no one here is actually a Biden supporter—we’re a bunch of people WAY to his left who are very frustrated that the result of purity voters abandoning Clinton was that the Democratic rank-and-file has compromised even MORE to the right than she was. Second, and more importantly, “toxic online behavior” became a visible campaign issue when Bernie supporters in 2016 regularly harassed, doxxed, sent rape & death threats, & hounded Clinton supporters off social media:

    And, critically, Bernie and his surrogates insisted the Bernie Bros were a “media myth” instead of setting clear norms.

    But, now that “toxic political fandom” is in the public consciousness, you guys try to use that trope to pretend sincere, on-topic criticism is the same thing. No.

    You already are on the same side,

    No, there are very obviously two different sides to the question “is it ok to vote 3rd party and/or refuse to vote?” here.

    nobody in this thread got convinced of any opposing argument.

    By that logic, we could just abandon atheist spaces altogether! Rightwing Christians aren’t going to be convinced of any opposing argument! Of course, we all know that the point of public debate is to convince the OBSERVERS not the people who have a vested interest in the position they’re supporting publicly. For instance, see my comment #47 when lotharloo similarly tried to play the “this discussion is making no progress” instead of actually engaging with the (frankly irrefutable) counterpoints we made in response to him.

    LSPs goal seems to be to pressure people into voting,

    No, my goal is to make non-voting poseurs unwelcome in activist spaces. You would know that, because I’ve already said—directly, with my words—what my goal is in comment #72:

    The point here is to make them unwelcome in all decent activist spaces so people legitimately frustrated with Democrats and the political process don’t fall for their bullshit and go to the dark side. They should be treated with the same firm boundaries as anti-vaxxers and climate-change denialists.

    some of whom stated multiple times that they will,

    Reading is fundamental, dude. For one thing, I have said—directly, with my words—that I am pressing consciousness razor to an explicit commitment of their position because they have been shifting the goal posts in this discussion and many similar ones on other threads. See comment #122. I’m really making my motives very clear for you. AND, notice that consciousness razor has only said they “will be voting” but has refused to state whether they’re voting FOR BIDEN, which at the moment is an absolutely necessary step for preventing the country from falling to mass death and fascism (of course, it’s not SUFFICIENT to save the country, but necessary & sufficient are two different things!).

    by being a selfrighteous asshole.

    I’m sorry I’m not chill enough to brush off hundreds of thousands of dead Americans, and probably well over a million dead worldwide, that happened directly because Republicans obtained power when protest voters on the left refused to join in a coalition to defeat them. I’m sorry that I’m just too inflexible for you what with my noticing-votes-have-a-demonstrable-effect-on-the-world.

    Being obsessed with whom randos online will vote for is one of the dumbest, most inefficient things to begin with.

    Um, you do realize voting isn’t just about your individual self, right? Voting isn’t what kind of food you like, whom you fuck, or what music you play. It is an act of civic engagement whose results affect other people. Doing direct harm to others, or allowing harm to happen through negligence, is a matter of public concern and not something you can brush off as only relevant to oneself.

    Moreover, when “randos” online are publicly advocating or defending non-voting and/or protest voting, it makes other people more likely to buy into their flawed, ineffective, self-defeating worldview. I already addressed this in comment #72. So yes, if I can get a few lurkers to realize why protest voting is bad, that will have demonstrable effects not just in their votes, but in how they talk to their friends and whom they support on other social media spaces, which has an iterative effect. This has already been illustrated in comment #125.

    But pat yourselves on the back for wasting your time and achieving nothing.

    If that were really true, you’d just ignore me… but you’re howling like a hit dog and would quite obviously prefer that I don’t challenge your nonsense, so I will keep challenging it as vociferously as I can, thank you very much.

    For instance, I noticed that what set you off and made you write your comment was someone expressing support for my efforts, which rather validates the points from comments #72 and #125… you seem to find shifting social norms in favor of leftists/liberals voting intelligently to be threatening, hmmm?

  132. logicalcat says


    I forget. Was Rob the one who got on your ass for not being clairvoyant enough to know which specific county Vucodlak is from when Vucodlak himself did not specify? Was it Rob or another one of the useless fools desperately trying to play gotcha?

  133. LeftSidePositive says

    @logicalcat: I’m still a she :-)

    You’re not the only one, oddly enough. It is actually funny how many people assume I’m male from my writing, and I don’t really know why. Like, IRL I’m very femme & have always been, and even got teased in elementary school by other girls for liking dresses too much! And yet, even in comment sections of feminist/women’s issue blogs where the commentariat is like 80-90% female, if I started arguing with a sexism apologist they’d accuse me of “white-knighting” instead of realizing I was another woman who’d had it with their bullshit. Weird.

  134. LeftSidePositive says

    @logicalcat, 139:

    Yeah, Rob was the one who was on and on about the one particular county. Oddly enough, when I Ctrl-F’d his name to respond to something else, I see that he’s anti-protest-voting and pro-coalition-forming, so I really don’t understand his vitriol on that point or need to cling to it.

    To the best of my ability to parse the situation, he seems to understand “full of shit” to only mean deliberate lying, whereas I consider it equally applicable to cherry-picking, obfuscating, misleading, and reaching for unfounded conclusions. I would have thought we could have cleared up that after a few replies, but he still wants to cling to it, for reasons that escape me.

  135. logicalcat says

    Real talk. Its ingrained mysoginy. I see someone writing great, intelligent, and articulate points and my brain defaults to male. Im trying to work on it and be better.

  136. LeftSidePositive says

    Understood & I appreciate the introspection. See what a better world we can have when we admit shortcomings & grow? There are those on this comment thread who could learn from that…

  137. LeftSidePositive says

    Just gonna leave this here for 3rd party voters:

    I mean, maybe, juuuuuust maybe, if your idea of praxis in electoral politics is something that Republicans see and WANT TO SPEND THEIR OWN MONEY to make it easier for more people to do the thing you’re doing, then maybe you aren’t doing effective praxis, and you’re just a useful idiot for corporate elites?!

  138. anbheal says

    Dumbest thread comments on Pharyngula, ever. Just go out and vote, you self-righteous douche-bags.