Why Democrats lose (draft)
Just a minute ago, my man Tim Facebooked a link to an interview with State Sen. Nina Turner titled “Can Dems Learn From Their 2016 Mistakes If They Do Not Acknowledge Them?”
Here’s my response. It’s what I could write in about ten minutes and could be better said with more editing, but in the interests of contributing to the discussion here we go.
What mistakes? The party apparatus keeps getting paid.
These “mistakes” are a lot less puzzling if you let go of the assumption that the Democratic Party exists to win elections or to make life better for working people. If instead you assume that the Party exists to act as the “straight man” for the Republicans and to take up space that should be occupied by a progressive party, it makes a lot more sense.
I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories for two reasons:
- They usually make no sense in terms of motivations. As Jamie likes to say, “Why would they be using ‘chemtrails’ for mind control when they already run your water supply? Why do things the hard way?”
- They tend to require a really complex backstory to even try to explain. Way too many moving parts. Lots of coincidences.
But here’s the thing. This here “conspiracy” comes down to two REALLY OBVIOUS things that you can check out for yourself:
- American politics is stuck in a two-party mold because of how the Constitution works. Strong Presidency, a Congress that doesn’t lend itself to coalitions, single-member House districts, etc. Second place counts for nothing, so you have to play for a majority, so there’s no room for a major third party. It’s called Duverger’s Law.
- Rich and powerful people want politics to go their way and make them richer and more powerful. Duh.
Put those together and it makes sense that you’ll get one party that works for rich people and another party that gets paid to lose. Doesn’t that make more sense than Democrats—who literally make their careers by being good at politics!—pursuing policies that most people don’t want, shutting down their own progressive candidates, and not even contesting vote rigging, election fraud, and disenfranchisement?
It also explains why cities are run so badly even though they’re almost exclusively run by the enlightened Democrats. The party organization gets the bulk of its funding from people who want cities to fail.
August 30, 2017 @ 4:59 pm
I’ve often felt that Democrats act like “good losers” when they lose, whereas Republicans act like “sore losers” and have a tendency to metaphorically flip the table and take their ball home.
Republicans like to shut down the government, and the more extreme ones will openly call for political opponents to be assassinated or executed. They routinely accuse non-conservatives of being traitors and non-patriots.
Democrats mostly react to this as though it’s not meant to be taken literally, hyperbole. Democrats frequently don’t play to win. Democrats: “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” Republicans: “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”
I’m not sure whether this is by design, a conspiracy, or if it’s merely a highlight in the difference of ethos between the conservative and liberal camps, but I think you may be on to something. I do see that the more center-right majority of the Democrat party is like this, while the Progressive wing tends to be more interested in winning and results, but simply can’t do it because the centrists hold the majority of the power within the party, and Progressives haven’t yet learned how to take control. Bernie came closest, but was undone by the DNC insiders who made sure that Hillary got the nomination. It’s well worth looking at everything else the Democrat party does through that lens.
August 31, 2017 @ 12:15 am
I agree that the people in the Party who we consider “progressive” are mostly pretty sincere and want to win. But they’re not the ones calling the shots in terms of candidate selection or funding, and when you get to the legislative level they’re not strong enough in numbers to force the Democratic caucus to follow suit.