Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
– H.L. Mencken
I am now convinced that the republican party, with its relentless support for Trump, favoritism for the rich, racism, and anti-environmentalism, is a clear and present danger to whatever shreds of democracy the US has managed to build. In other words, the party is a threat to all of our lives and well-being, which justifies an extreme response – ideally slightly short of Mencken’s recommendation. Then, I started thinking about how it is that the democrats manage to lose, and how both parties are generally incompetent, and I realized that they know they need eachother and they’re using the endless conflict as a way of controlling and guiding the entire political dialogue, by opposing caricatures of eachother and endlessly tweaking the Overton window.
The problem is that the republicans were scamming the democrats: they actually wanted to win. Lately they’ve been cheating so much harder than usual that the time for stealth is over: they’re going to try to control the whole thing for the forseeable future. Why? Well, they’re not stupid, they’re just corrupt, nasty, vicious, liars and they can read the reports about demographics as well as the rest of us. They probably realize that this is their last stand. The demographics of the US are already pushing toward a time when the country will be dominated by mixed-raced coalitions and young people, I.e.: “game over.” Surely the republicans don’t believe (as Steven Miller seems to) that it’s impossible to deport enough people to shift the hispanic vote, but that’s their rallying cry; it’s the sound of a wounded beast waiting for the huntsman to put it out of its misery. Except the huntsman is the democrats, which means that they are more likely to use their knife to hamstring themselves than to cut the republican party’s throat. The democrats, for example, are in the process of pissing off one of their most dynamic power-blocs (black women) by thinking seriously about running Joe Biden or Beto O’Rourke.
It’s as if they don’t want to win. Because, they don’t. Look at how, after a massive mid-term defeat that crushed the republicans plans in many states, Nancy Pelosi was quick to hoist the white flag of “bipartisanship” in order to spend her effort paying back the uppity non-white young women who were upsetting the apple cart. Aside from the Benghazi!-like media circus of the Mueller report, the democrats have stayed focus and punished Ilhan Omar for speaking truth about Israel, and re-worked internal rules to say that if someone “primaries” an established democrat (like Alexandria Occasio-Cortez did) they won’t get a seat at the table. It’s as if they had their enemies back to the cliff, and it was time for the spears to be wet one last time, but the democrats sat down to bicker about who didn’t pay their share on the restaurant tab.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
The “confounded base” Shakespeare is referring to is not the democratic electorate, though it may as well be.
Here’s what the democrats should be doing:
- raise the black flag
- stop trying to win away republican voters
- obliterate the republican party
- fall into a shambles arguing between centrist democrats and more radical democrats
- peel the centrists off and make them irrelevant
Let’s look at this piece-wise:
Raise the black flag: That means “no quarter” – i.e.: surrender will not be accepted. The democrats don’t know how to fight that way and they need to learn. The first order of business is to make it clear that their agenda is to destroy the republican party and there is a very very narrow window for any republicans who are thinking of leaving the party to do it now, because otherwise, when the battle is over, they will not have careers even as lobbyists. Nobody will talk to them, except maybe “Give me a small order of fries with that.” The democrats have consistently signaled that it’s business as usual in Washington and the republicans have gone laughing to the bank every time. That needs to stop. Did you notice how Mitch McConnell came out and said “we are going to kill all your legislation!” and nobody blinked, because we now expect that from republicans. Democrats need to be saying “we are going to kill your entire history and re-write you as the guys who fiddled while Rome burned. Not only will you not write any legislation any more as republicans, we’re going to rip out everything you’ve done once your party has been conclusively crushed.” It wouldn’t be payback for Trump’s bizarre hatred of Obama, it’d be an expression of justified hatred on the part of the electorate, and it’d stick. Genghis Khan famously refused calls for “bipartisanship” when some town or other opposed him; the time for that was before the first arrow flew – after that, the black flag was up and the best thing anyone would have to say to the loser was “you made a big mistake.”
Stop trying to win away republican voters: The republican party is the part of old white people. I say again: the republican party is the party of old white people. The democrats are, too, but they need to let go of that or they’re going to also be subject to further destabilization (aka: “rock the boat”) as younger less successfully propagandized people and 2nd generation immigrants start to vote. The democrats seem to have the idea that running a pasteboard cut-out of an oligarch, like Joe Biden, or a young copy of a pasteboard cut-out like Beto O’Rourke, is going to appeal to the newly forming power-blocs of young people, black women, and hispanics. The democrats think that “oo, look, he speaks better spanish than Ted Cruz!” might carry Beto to the white house. Or that it’s Biden’s turn, finally. If they want to win, they’ll stop trying to argue with republican voters and get every democratic state governor to put a tickbox on drivers’ license applications and college enrollment that automatically enrolls students and drivers to vote. Stop trying to argue over the racist deplorables! They aren’t worth it.
The single largest non-aligned power-bloc in the US is “does not vote” – which is nearly half the voters. Young people, educated people, tend to vote for democrats. The republicans know that this is their achilles’ heel which is why they have been so assiduously pursuing voter suppression. The democrats need to tag the republicans with “They don’t want you to vote. Why?” then point at wealth inequality and how corporations are creating shit jobs and buying legislation from the republicans. The way to push the republican party off the cliff for once and for all is to increase the voting population by 20% – also, restore voting rights to the people who wound up on the losing end of the war on drugs and make sure they remember that the republicans cooked that gem up out of the depth of their racist little hearts and they deserve to be voted out of office en masse as a thank-you.
As I have mentioned elsewhere, you cannot claim to be serious about the economy, jobs, public health, or infrastructure, and not talk about the US’ imperial military budget. Democrats need to hit hard on the fact that the US is a command economy, it’s just commanded by Lockheed-Martin, not labor collectives. There is an easy route the democrats can take to dealing with this: instead of cutting it back, pass legislation requiring defense contractors to create a certain number of jobs instead of giving them to coastal elites. Democrats should also require that large corporations that negotiate tax subsidies, like Amazon, Google, etc., must create jobs and train people. The democrats could make huge headway if they went into coal country and started telling people, “we’re negotiating with Lockheed-Martin to get you coal miners re-trained as CNC machine operators.” Have you noticed the current crop of democrats (with the exception of Alexandria Occasio-Cortez) appear to be ceding the job-creation narrative to Trump? They’re too busy screaming “Benghazi!” about the Russians and this is an issue that would force the republicans by responding the only way they could, to stop funneling money to corporations. Ha, ha, ha, I’m just kidding. Bringing young voters and 2nd generation immigrants into the workforce and onto the voter rolls would obliterate the republican party.
The democrats can’t/won’t hoist the black flag because their leadership – specifically Nancy Pelosi – is part of the problem. None of them need jobs, their kids don’t need jobs, they’re all millionaires, so: “Benghazi!” Trump was able to outright lie about creating jobs at Carrier and Ford and the democrats don’t seem to realize that the sincere cheers for Trump are when he lies about jobs.
Obliterate the Republican party – I saw a trial balloon float by the other day about several states mulling over legislation that you cannot run for office in that state (including running for national office, since the states control the polling) unless you’ve released your taxes. That’s a weak implementation of a good idea. The legislation should say that you can’t run unless your taxes are all paid up, and the IRS will do an independent public audit of all candidates. Someone who has been embezzling from the government is not a viable candidate is the key point. Every attempt to gerrymander or suppress votes should be pushed into the line-light and hung around the party that pushed it’s neck. I don’t think the democrats are as bad as the republicans but if they get more power, they’ll find such chicanery impossible to resist. The point is to look at the favorite tricks of the republicans and expose them, then render them ineffective. Push the system to the point where the only thing the republicans can run on is their merits and there will be no republicans in 8 years.
The democrats should be spending their time teaching the electorate what evil bastards the republicans are, and let the chips fall where they may. The new voters coming into the rolls will take care of the rest. Here’s another issue: gun control; the democrats shrink away from gun control because they know it’s an issue that greatly energizes their opposition’s base. So they… do nothing. That’s not going to impress either the republican gun nuts or the many liberals who are willing and ready for a productive discussion around gun violence. What is a fantastic election year issue is allowed to leave a lingering stench like a woodchuck that crawled up under the porch and died, because the democrats don’t want to fish it out and get rid of it. America’s secret wars and the unbridled destruction we cause is another topic that the democrats could make good work on: “sure, it was a democrat, Obama, who invaded Syria, but he did that in secret and we would have stopped it if we had known.” Well, for that move to work it’d have to not be an obvious lie.
Step back and look at what the democrats are doing, and you’ll realize they are only making a surface opposition to the republicans. It is ridiculously sad. They’re not even playing ball, let alone hard ball. They’re sitting back and watching the republicans brew a constitutional crisis, then they refuse to prosecute Trump because they don’t want to cause a constitutional crisis. Hello? That’s like being in a boat, in a flood, after a hurricane swamped your house, and worrying if you forgot and left the shower running. Bring up some cops from New York and arrest Trump for tax fraud. Sure, the Secret Service would try to stop them. It’d be a constitutional crisis. Let the cops have an interesting conversation while the cameras are all running. The problem is that the democrats cannot use certain republican actions against them because they’re in on that scam, too. [charity navigator] The first trick for getting rid of the republican party is to get rid of the republicans that are in the democratic party. Yes: I just said there are “liberals” that are not pure enough.
Fall into a shambles arguing between centrist democrats and more radical democrats – The truth is that the republicans and the democrats are both part of the US permanent war and empire party. Those people are the ones who are conspiring for “bipartisanship” – i.e.: bipartisan global domination. The republican party needs to be obliterated politically, then its stealth members need to be marginalized and mooted. Let me give an example of how that plays: “you can’t favor workers, job creation, or infrastructure if you’re sending a big chunk of everyone’s tax money to weapons-makers.” I just want one democrat to point out that the “Green New Deal” is cheaper than the F-35 and would work better. Just one.
In the meantime, the democratic party has to step forward and say “we have standards and beliefs. Get with it.” and stop cringing and hiding under the couch when someone says “they’re communists!” By the way, the correct response to that is: “No, but we favor some social programs, as do communists, socialists, and labor unions. Do you support the workers? Doesn’t everyone, who’s not a wage-slaving tax cheat?”
Peel off the centrists and make them irrelevant – centrists are politics’ equivalent of the agnostics; they’re lazy and intellectually incurious enough to think the problem through, so they just say “it doesn’t matter.” Well, it does. Here’s a piece of how to slice that problem: focus on issues not alignment. An honest centrist would be the person who is arguing middle-of-the-road courses all the time. It might actually be the right thing, sometimes, in some places. I don’t think neo-liberal centrism survives having its agenda deconstructed and examined in the light of everyone else’s politics because it looks suspiciously like, “I do what my lobbyist tells me.”
I’ve gone on enough. I don’t think any of this is going to happen and the democrats are going to continue to be a problem, as they have for decades. Watch how the democrats screw Bernie Sanders out of the nomination, and run someone who can lose against Trump and his extinction-burst base. Then, they will blame the Russians.
The republican party did an amazing job of redirecting the Tea Party (which was a sort of radical chucklefuck conservative rebellion against party politics) into being an ideological power-base in their party. I used to think that the same thing might happen with the democrats, and I had hopes that a socialistic democrat Tea Party like movement might emerge. Pelosi is already doing everything that she can to strangle it in its cradle.