Thursday, November 8, 2018

I Guess I was Wrong About the Elections

I guess I completely misunderstood what happened Tuesday night. Because this was in today's New York Times:

The Midterm Results Are a Warning to the Democrats

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Huh! That's weird. Here I thought they had re-taken the House and taken a few governorships that had been held by Republicans, but I must have misunderstood somehow.

Stop manning imaginary barricades, and start building real bridges to the other America.
Bret Stephens
Opinion Columnist

Oh, right. We forgot to build bridges to the "other America." You know, the "real" America. I keep forgetting that after every election, whether we win lose or draw it is always our responsibility - nay, our moral imperative, to reach out to the racist rubes of the heartlands who despise us and try to find common ground with them. They, of course, are under no such obligation.

For months we’ve heard from sundry media apocalypticians that this year’s midterms were the last exit off the road to autocracy. On Tuesday, the American people delivered a less dramatic verdict about the significance of the occasion.
In a word: meh.

Ah! Now I get it. See, here I was thinking that the Democrats had managed to retake the House of Representatives despite the map being ridiculously gerrymandered to favor the GOP and that that would put them in a position to be a check on the President's power. But, see, I was wrong because. . . um. . . because "meh?"

Are you interested in seeing Donald Trump voted out of office in two years? I hope so — which is why you should think hard about that “meh.” This week’s elections were, at most, a very modest rebuke of a president reviled by many of his opponents, this columnist included, as an unprecedented danger to the health of liberal democracy at home and abroad. The American people don’t entirely agree

A very modest rebuke.
I mean, okay, we didn't vote to have him tarred and feathered. I guess that would have been a less modest rebuke. But I guess that we failed to win Senate seats in such easily winnable states as Texas, North Dakota and Indiana means we must have done something wrong.

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The American people don’t entirely agree.
We might consider listening to them a bit more — and to ourselves somewhat less.

Okay, first of all, there is no "ourselves." You're not one of us. Do not group yourself in with us. You're a climate-denying Wall Street Journal opinion page alum who thinks that because he doesn't like Trump, we're supposed to hail you as some sort of #Resistance hero.

Secondly, No. No I don't think we should listen to the people who like Donald Trump. There are more of us than there are of them. We should outvote them and pay no attention to their bullshit opinions or feelings. The fact that they are okay with this pussy-grabbing two-bit Franco is reason enough to never engage with them. They have nothing of value to say.

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Hmm, maybe we should hear them out?

The 28-seat swing that gave Democrats control of the House wasn’t even half the 63 seats Republicans won in 2010. Yet even that shellacking (to use Barack Obama’s word) did nothing to help Mitt Romney’s chances two years later. 

Yeah, because that's not how elections work. Winning a bunch of Congressional seats doesn't give you any points toward your Presidential vote total.

Also, Barack Obama was, hoiw shall I put this. . . a POPULAR president. People liked him. People still like him. Very few people liked Mitt Romney. Even fewer can stand the sight of Cheeto Mussolini. There is no parallel to be drawn between 2012 and 2020.

It also underscores that while “the Resistance” is good at generating lots of votes, it hasn’t figured out how to turn the votes into seats. 

Right. If only the "resistance" had the good sense to go into these states controlled by Republican ratfuckers and undo the gerrymandering that the GOP has perfected over the last few decades.

Liberals are free to bellyache all they want that they have repeatedly won the overall popular vote for the presidency and Congress while still losing elections, and that the system is therefore “rigged.”

Oh. right. because the system is totally not rigged. The Founding Fathers totally didn't set up the electoral college and the Senate specifically to thwart the will of the majority by ensuring that low-population rural (slaveholding) states would have outsized representation. Of course not. And the fact that two of our last three presidents were elected despite getting fewer votes is totally not an indictment of our so-called representative form of government. And the fact that both of these presidents were right-wing Republicans is probably just a coincidence.  And it's perfectly fine that states with smaller populations than the city of Los Angeles get the same number of Senators as California, New York or Texas. that obviously makes perfect sense. And the fact that Republican gerrymandering has led to a situation where one party gets a million more votes for Congressmen but the other party gets more Congressmen is clearly a sign of a healthy democracy, not of the system being "rigged" to favor one party over the other!

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But that’s the system in which everyone’s playing — and one they had no trouble winning in until just a few years ago. To complain about it makes them sound like whiners in a manner reminiscent of Trump in 2016, when he thought he was going to lose. It’s also a reminder that, in politics, intensity is not strategy. You have to be able to convert.
The Resistance didn’t convert.

Right. I mean, other than taking control of one of the two chambers of Congress, the only two parts of the federal government that were available to be won. Other than that, no converting. Well, that and flipping statehouses in Colorado, Maine and New York.
Oh, and Minnesota and New Hampshire.
 And Connecticut.
But other than that, they completely failed to convert. They converted nothing except re-taking the House and those seven state legislatures.

Oh, and the governorship of Illinois.
And Wisconsin.
And Michigan.
And Kansas (KANSAS!) and Maine and Nevada and New Mexico.
Other than that, they just weren't able to convert!

I don't know how I didn't realize that yesterday!

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It didn’t convert when it nominated left-wing candidates in right-leaning states like Florida and Georgia.

Yes. Absolutely. I mean, assuming that you have no real concept of the meaning of the term "left-wing."

I mean, last time, Georgia Democrats nominated the moderate centrist daughter of  a long-time Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, and she came within 8 percentage points of winning. This year, they nominated "left-wing" progressive Stacey Abrams, and how much did she get creamed by? I forget. let me Google that real quickly. . .

Oh yeah, What a blunder!

If only she had been a bit less "Left-wing" she surely could have won as an African American female Democrat in a Confederate state that hasn't elected a Democrat to the governorship since 1999. And in which her opponent also served as secretary of state overseeing the election process. Clearly it was her "left-wingedness" that was the culprit here!

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It didn’t convert when it grew more concerned with the question of how much Trump did not pay in taxes than with the question of how much you pay in taxes.

Yes. Exactly. Everywhere you went, you heard Democrats talking about Trump's tax payments or lack thereof. Oh, the television was just full of political ads wherein Democrats complained about Trump not paying enough taxes. That totally happened in real life.

Also, tax "relief" should totally be a winning issue for Democrats. People who vote based on their perception that their taxes are too high can easily be convinced to vote democrat. I mean, it's not as if they thought that Barack Obama had actually raised their taxes when he hadn't. Right?

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It didn’t convert when Chuck Schumer chose to make Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court the decisive political test of the year. 

Yeah. What a huge mistake to oppose the nomination of a drunken sexual predator to the nation's highest court. What were they thinking? People love drunken sexual predators!

Although. . .

By championing Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump and the Senate GOP have successfully accelerated a female exodus to the Democratic Party on the cusp of the first national elections of the #MeToo era. The latest Fox News poll, released on Sunday, says that burgeoning opposition to Kavanaugh is being driven by suburban women, who believe Christine Blasey Ford over Kavanaugh by a margin of 17 percentage points. The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll says that opposition to Kavanaugh is notably driven by women over the age of 50. 

 It didn’t convert when it turned his initial confirmation hearing into a circus. It didn’t convert when media liberals repeatedly violated ordinary journalistic standards by reporting the uncorroborated accusations against Kavanaugh that followed Christine Blasey Ford’s.

A circus. Yes, that's what it was. A circus. Democrats objected to confirming the drunken sexual predator without at least hearing testimony from one of his accusers. Send in the clowns! And those reporters! Reporting things! Don't get me started on the reporters reporting uncorroborated accusations against Kavannaugh! Why, they breathlessly repeated all manner of claims about him murdering Seth Rich and Murdering Vince Foster, and Telling the Marine Corps to let Americans get killed in Benghazi and molesting children in a pizzeria! Oh, those darn liberals always repeating these unfounded accusations!

It doesn’t take a lot to get the average voter to tell you what he doesn’t like about Donald Trump: the nastiness, the divisiveness, the lying, the tweeting, the chaos, the epic boastfulness matched by bottomless self-pity. . .
Then again, what does the average voter think about the people who pompously style themselves “the Resistance”? 

Yes, if any of the hashtag resistance army had actually been on the ballot, that would certainly have been an issue! Good point!

Then again, what does the average voter think about the people who pompously style themselves “the Resistance”? I don’t just mean the antifa thugs and restaurant hecklers and the Farrakhan Fan Club wing of the women’s movement, though that’s a part of it.

Are you referring to the Luis Farrakhan who endorses Donald Trump? Is that the Farrakhan who has a "fan club" within the women's movement? I mean, if you say he does, I'm sure he does, I'm sure you're not being a spurious, disingenuous shit-weasel or anything.
Although, I gotta say, I think most normal people enjoy seeing Nazis get punched, so maybe the atifa "thugs" aren't such a huge problem?

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Yup! Still funny!

I mean the rest of the Trump despisers, the people who detest not only the man but also contemn his voters (and constantly let them know it); the ones who heard the words “basket of deplorables” and said to themselves: Bingo. They measure their moral worth not through an effort at understanding but by the intensity of their disdain. They are — so they think — always right, yet often surprised by events.

Yeah. Why can't you jerks be more respectful of Trump's supporters? They certainly respect your right to your own views. It's not like they would ever call you "deplorable." Sure, they might call you "libtard" or "cuck" or "soy-boy." But never deplorable!

Oh, and if you're a woman they might call you a b*tch or a c*nt. Or if you're Jewish, they might call you "oven-ready" but never "deplorable!"

Remember, as a left-of-center person it is YOUR responsibility to reach out to the other side with friendship and respect no matter how much they despise you. It is never ever their responsibility to try and understand you or find common ground with you. Even though there is no olive branch that you can ever offer these people that they won't slap out of your hand and accuse you of trying to hit them with, always remember that it is YOUR job to understand where THEY are coming from and not the other way around.


I was a charter member of this camp

[ Ron Howard voice: "He was not a charter member of this camp." ]

Intellectual honesty ought to compel us to admit that we achieved precisely the opposite of what we intended. Trumpism is more entrenched today than ever. The result of the midterms means, if nothing else, that the president survived his first major political test more than adequately. And unless Democrats change, he should be seen as the odds-on favorite to win in 2020.

So, in conclusion: Democrats winning is bad for the Democrats. Having nearly every candidate that Trump endorsed lose is a sign of Trump's electoral state. War is peace, freedom is slavery. And if you, like I did, thought that the Democrats had done pretty well in these midterms, well you obviously don't understand politics.