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Name: Mister Rea
Gender: Male
Hometown: Houston
Home country: Moon
Current location: afk
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 48,808

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mostly harmless

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Honestly, this year I really do feel bad for people who consider themselves "sensible Republicans"

because apparently they don't know what the world "sensible" means.

My big fear: This is 1988 all over again.

I don't know how long you've been around politics. But I remember a guy in 1988 named Mike Dukakis. Competent, a little weak on the stump, but a proven performer in political administration. He started the Fall campaign with a 17 point polling lead over Poppy Bush (a universally ridiculed and idiosyncratic candidate), which is far better than Clinton's 9 points over Trumpenstein.

How did Bush win and reverse those numbers, winning with a 7% spread in November? He repaired relations with the conservative base and appealed to independents and hammered away at Dukakis's fundamental weaknesses as a candidate.

I don't think we should ever, ever underestimate the conservative populace's earnest willingness to rally round their One Strong Man. The wingnuts did it for Poppy Bush in 1988 (and cashed in their chips throughout the first Bush White House--mostly with SCOTUS nominees and killing condom-based AIDS prevention programs in Africa--fuck all yall conservative motherfuckers very much). Did they like him? No. Did they trust him? No.

But they pinched their noses and voted for him because if there's one thing a conservative has a talent for, it's willingly suspending doubts about a flawed man in service of a higher cause, and then marching along with the crowd. I'm sure there's some evangelists out there already figuring out how to convince their flocks that Donald Trump is just like that adulterous, murdering, corrupt, vainglorious King David. Hell, he's already married to Bathsheba.

(Yes, in this analogy, Goliath would be Howard Stern--do not trouble the minds of the Right or question the mysteries of the Lord)

But I digress. Well.

In our corner, apparently (and give me a minute here, guys, sniff) we've got our establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton. Now, I respect Clinton. She's done great service for the nation. But she's never provided that spark of inspiration that unites broad groups of people. Her negative are high--something Dukakis in his 24 point drop never had to contend with. She doesn't give the sort of inspiring speech that gradually or even temporarily wins over her opponents. Bubba had it. Godfuckhim, even Dubya had it, though to be fair, only when he had 9/11 at his back (it never worked on me or you, of course, but he quite deftly managed to parley his passing popularity into getting his Congressional agenda passed--and frequently he personally was more popular than his atrocious policy agenda). Obama, obviously, has that inspirational spark by the bucketloads.

By contrast, Secretary Clinton has been just barely able to beat Bernie Sanders for the nomination in a fight that has, unfortunately, exposed a lot of fundamental fissures within our party. Yet look at all her advantages. She had millions of dollars just drop into her lap--so many millions that she hardly made an effort to do real grass roots fundraising. The corporate media all but shut down all coverage of Sanders, a crotchety old septuagenarian with a harsh regional accent most associated with cranky misanthropic neighbors on sitcoms, a man who wasn't even a Democrat a full year ago, a man from a tiny state that even other New Englanders think is idiosyncratic, and on top of that he calls himself a Socialist. And this is the guy she's barely able to beat, even with the endorsements of practically every politician on Capital Hill and every state house? Oy.

Don't get me wrong. I love Bernie. But I won't kid myself that he's only ever been a stand-in for Elizabeth Warren.

Let me diagnose the problem right now, my beloved fellow Democrats. We suffer from overconfidence. We suffer from hubris. All this chatter about the Republican Party breaking up misses one key point. Republicans and conservatives are followers. They are by nature hungry to belong to something bigger than themselves. They want a big daddy to tell them what to do. They worship at the altar of Mammon and are about to nominate the golden-haired living son of Mammon... and they will do and believe anything to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House. They will even swallow Donald Trump's outright mockery of the Bible as straight Gospel quotations just to believe that they're voting for the right side.

The time for Democratic Party in-fighting is just about over. I acknowledge my imminent defeat. But the people among the Hillary supporters who are crowing victory and now demanding that we all concede the day and fall in line behind the nominee are talking to the wrong fucking party. Republicans fall in line. How else do you explain Rednecks for Romney or College Graduates for George W. Bush? Democrats are cats; we won't be herded. You gotta open up a can of tuna fish if you want us to come to your kitchen. The job isn't of the losers to fall in. The job is of the winning side, the leaders of the party, to give us something to believe in. You've GOT to win the Bernie voters over--which is how it should be in a democracy. Hell, half the Bernie voters aren't even Democrats. He's pulling his votes from independents and new voters who are still developing their political philosophies. That's exactly who you have to win over to beat Trump. Don't think for a second he doesn't have a plan to win over pro-reform voters. Clinton has got to get there first with a bigger offer.

Berners can be won over, but the appeal has to be genuine. This would be unexplored country for Secretary Clinton. She's been so scrutinized, so abused by so many powerful, hate-filled people over the years, that she's simply not inclined to be open and generous of spirit even on the eve of victory. She's not just inexperienced at keeping it real; she's quite bad at it. She plays that "I'm an outsider cause I'm a woman" card as if it's fooling anyone. No, Mrs-heir-apparent-to-the-president-of-the-United-States, you're not an outsider. You make a quarter of a million dollars telling something secret to Goldman Sachs; you're not an outsider. You had most of the Superdelegates in your pocket before a single vote was cast. You keep an enemies list with numerical rankings, confident that you'll be able to do payback on anyone who crosses you. I'm not stupid. I fucking know you don't have a bottle of hot sauce in your purse. You're not an outsider. Don't insult me.

The biggest complaint among us Sandernistas is that we're losing our democracy. In a democracy, the voters are sovereign and the leaders are simply public servants. This is how it should be. Clinton needs to approach us, give us concessions, bargain with us, pitch her cause to us in terms we understand and will believe. Don't pull up in a limo and talk about how hard your struggles are. You caved on $15/hour. Cave to us again--not on every issue; you did win, after all--but give us a reason to come into the fold. This is how bargaining and compromise work in a democracy. That is how leaders lead, at least among Democrats. That is how you win.

Trump has one path to the White House, and it runs straight thru Hillary Clinton

He's been busy imploding himself lately, so it's not too much of a worry. But Secretary Clinton's fragility as a candidate was all out on display this weekend. Like a bad boxer, she's got a glass jaw. Her plan was to have this nomination sewed up by now. The battle plan has not fared well under field conditions and she's not adapting to the new circumstances well, despite having a massively superior air game to Sanders.

She'll win the nomination in the end, but I gotta wonder how well she'll hold up in the fall running against Trump, who has not but an air game. The one thing she's not doing--and she desperately needs to do this--is leave the door open to Sanders supporters. She's doing damned little to try and win them over, which needs to start happening yesterday. Of course they won't desert Sanders now, but she needs to make them jumping ship for her campaign an attractive prospect.

Meanwhile, I'm sure Trump's out there, trying to see how he can game the electorate and pick up some gullible progressive votes by playing his bogus can't-be-bought card. He obviously can be--his brand is for sale to the highest builder and his campaign's debt will only be erased by corrupt lobbyists and bundlers coming in after the election to bid out favors from the federal government. So at this point, Trump has a major financial motivation for winning the race, and thus the motivation to go out for a job that, frankly, he probably never really wanted in the first place.

Oh, democracy, you can be so silly sometimes.
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