Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


Garrett78's Journal
Garrett78's Journal
December 4, 2018

The Age of Presidential Candidates

The age of the last 5 Democratic presidents, upon taking office, were 47, 46, 52, 55 and 43.

Only 3 of the 45 presidents (Harrison, Reagan and Trump) have been over 65 when taking office. One died shortly after taking office. Another developed alzheimer's in office. And Trump, who holds the record at 70 years and 220 days, is nuttier than squirrel shit.

Sanders would be 79. Biden would be 78. Kerry would be 76. Warren would be approaching 72. Holder would be 70. Inslee would be just shy of 70. Hickenlooper would be approaching 70. Brown would be 68.

The vast majority of presidents have been 60 or younger when taking office.

Harris would be 56. Garcetti would be on the verge of turning 50. Klobuchar would be 60. Booker would be 51. O'Rourke would be 48. Gillibrand would be 53. Kennedy, like Swalwell, would be 40. Buttigieg would be 39. Murphy would be 47. Landrieu would be 60. Schiff would be 60. O'Malley would be 58. Bullock would be 54. Delaney would be 57. Julián Castro would be 46.

The in-betweens: Kaine (nearly 63), Merkley (64), Patrick (64), McAuliffe (nearly 64), Tester (64), Cooper (63)

It's a fact of life that with age comes mental and physical deterioration. There's no fountain of youth, even if some remain remarkably healthy well into their 70s and beyond. This is less of a concern with members of Congress than it is with the presidency.

And history suggests there's a preference for young-ish presidents.

Plus, our electorate is very diverse. And we are in the Me Too and Black Lives Matter era. Movements that are long overdue and must continue. This shouldn't be ignored when nominating our next president.

November 29, 2018

The Republican Party's Imminent Demise?

I read a lot of posts indicating that the Republican Party is at death's door. While that idea appeals to all of us, I'm afraid it's merely wishful thinking. Or premature, at least. Republicans continue to have a great deal of power throughout this country, and a tyranny of the minority system favors the GOP. With continued urbanization (i.e., concentration of liberals), an increasingly large percentage of the US population lives in an increasingly small percentage of states. The principle of "one person, one vote" is lacking. The US Senate is the embodiment of that lack. Even in 2020, taking control of the Senate will be a tall order. I'm hopeful we'll win the White House, and a 50-50 Senate would essentially give us a majority. But the fact of the matter is there are more than 20 states that remain deep red and where winning a Senate seat is not in the offing. This is also why the days of a presidential candidate winning 400+ electoral votes are long gone. Obama's 365 in 2008 is, for now, the best we can realistically hope for. I'm pretty bullish on us getting in that ballpark in 2020. With, say, a Harris-O'Rourke ticket, I see us winning back MI, PA and WI, while possibly picking up NC, FL, AZ and GA (3 states that Obama won in 2008 that I'm not so optimistic about are IN, IA and OH, though I wouldn't count out the latter).

Curtailing gerrymandering and voter suppression would certainly help our chances of maintaining a majority in the US House, though the aforementioned concentration of liberals presents some challenges in terms of drawing fair district boundaries. And I can see us getting to a point where it won't be possible for a Republican presidential candidate to reach 270 electoral votes without that party making some significant changes. But I think it's a stretch to say that's imminent, and not being able to win the presidency wouldn't necessarily spell the end of the Republican Party.

The forecasted demise seems to be predicated upon the notion that Trump has taken over the Republican Party and will bring it crashing down. But Trump is part of a continuum. He's a symptom. The rise of Trump didn't happen in a vacuum (anti-Trump Republicans may like to think otherwise, possibly to assuage their guilt over knowing they helped create today's Republican Party base). Trump's the almost inevitable result of 50 years of increasingly cruel and unhinged rhetoric and policy. As Obama said back during the 2016 campaign, the GOP has "been feeding their base all kinds of crazy for years." Decades, in fact. There was the white backlash to the Civil Rights Movement, the realignment of the party membership and Nixon's Southern Strategy in the 1960s. There was the Powell Memo and birth of the Moral Majority in the 1970s. There was Reagan's dog whistling in the 1980s (let's remember his 1980 campaign chose to kick things off with a speech on "states' rights" less than 10 miles from where 3 civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi. The dog whistle has become a bullhorn in the tiny hands of Donald Trump, but it's wrong to suggest there is a demarcation between the pre-Trump Republican Party and what we're experiencing today. Again, Trump is part of a continuum and the anti-Trump Republicans were complicit in making him possible.

Trump bragged openly about sexual assault, kidnapped children, can't form a coherent sentence - making George W. Bush seem articulate by comparison - and he's plagued by scandals (to put it mildly), yet he's been able to maintain a 40% approval rating. 40% is not good by any means, but his rating has been far steadier than any of his predecessors in spite of being the definition of atrocious. We shouldn't dismiss the possibility that a much more intelligent, politically-savvy and charismatic demagogue will come along. At this time, it's not at all clear that such a person wouldn't garner enough support to put Republicans back in the driver's seat. We better be ready, rather than convinced the Republican Party is dead man walking.

In the immediate term (2020) and in the long run, the smart money's on the Democratic Party outlasting the Republican Party (especially if we find a way to drastically boost turnout). Rather, I should say that the smart money's on demographic shifts and social evolution favoring Democratic Party principles and forcing the Republican Party to change or be replaced. But there may be an extended intermediate period during which the Republican Party is able to hold onto power throughout much of the US. We must continue to educate, inspire, boost turnout and be vigilant.

Then again, maybe climate change will make all of this moot.

November 27, 2018

Newsflash, "working class" is not synonymous with "white."

Far too many people don't seem to get (or want to get) that Democrats do better than Republicans among the working class. The problem is nobody ever uses the phrase "Black working class" or "Latino working class." It's as if "working class" - like "real Americans" - is synonymous with white. Well, guess what, it isn't. Although it may be unintentional on the part of some, it's downright racist to suggest that it is. And it feeds into this notion that we must nominate a white man for president in 2020. That's bullshit and it needs to stop.

November 26, 2018

Electing more women and persons of color matters.

I see people being dismissive of the objection to Democrats nominating a white man for president in 2020. Well, guess what, research shows that electing those who are more likely (there are always exceptions, of course) to view the world through an equity lens has positive consequences.

The global scholarship leaves no doubt: Women in political office make it a priority to advance rights, equality and opportunity for women and girls, in a way and to a degree that men in power overwhelmingly do not.

A large body of research has been devoted to answering a fundamental question: Do women substantively represent women more effectively than men do? In hundreds of studies examining large data sets of roll call votes, bill sponsorship, laws enacted and other measures the answer is clear. "Across time, office, and political parties," political scientist Beth Reingold writes in a comprehensive review, "women, more often than men, take the lead on women's issues, no matter how such issues are defined."

Such findings don't mean that all female officeholders seek to advance women's rights, or that women govern only from the standpoint of gender. But the research does speak strongly to the fact that women and men in power have different priorities.

And then there's the danger that if women aren't at the table, they might be on the menu. In late 2009, the all-male Senate Democratic leadership team met privately to decide what would be included in the final Affordable Care Act. They eliminated a women's healthcare amendment that had passed overwhelmingly in committee, and that included coverage for such things as contraceptives and mammograms. The amendment's sponsor, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), had to demand its reinstatement just as the caucus was about to vote on the final bill.


That's not the only reason I want Kamala Harris to be the next POTUS, but it is a factor.
November 26, 2018

On the tactic of projection, the Gish Gallop and nutty beliefs.

Here at DU, we often discuss the Republican tactic known as "projection." Republicans accuse Democrats of misdeeds that they themselves commit, or they claim success for things Democrats have done. Sadly, this tactic is effective. When Democrats accuse Republicans of that which they've been accused of, Democrats can appear defensive and the Republican goal of obfuscation is met. Simply confusing the public is a victory for Republicans.

But I don't recall hearing Democratic members of Congress talk about this in their various TV appearances, and I think that needs to change. Most don't follow politics as closely as we all do. Not everyone understands that Republicans are intentionally taking advantage of ignorance. Maybe this is wishful thinking, but perhaps we can somewhat pull the rug out from under Republicans by getting it into the public consciousness that Republicans are essentially taking reality and flipping it on its head. Just a thought.

I think the same goes for what's known as Gish Gallop, something the likes of Kellyanne Conway have perfected. I know there's only a limited amount of time and so much to discuss. And I understand that discussing issues of the day is most important. But I think it's also quite important to raise awareness about these tactics, for Democrats to say, "Look, this is what Republicans are doing. They're using the Goebbels playbook. Don't be fooled by it."

Lastly, I'd like Democrats to speak bluntly about the dangerous absurdity of so many people believing the kind of nonsense mentioned in this article: https://www.rawstory.com/2018/11/10-incredibly-fake-facts-trump-supporters-think-true/. We aren't going to win over those who are nuttier than squirrel shit, but perhaps we can prevent more people from joining their ranks by making it embarrassing to be so gullible and misinformed.

Just a few thoughts on a Sunday night.

November 25, 2018

The misreading, intentional or otherwise, of the election results is infuriating.

Instead of being because there are dangerous, Nazi-sympathizing lunatics in charge, we're told the reason we took back the House is because people want more bipartisan compromise with said lunatics. Never mind that we lost Senate races pretty badly in MO, IN, TN and ND with candidates who indicated they would compromise with the lunatics. Never mind the right wing funding behind the anti-Pelosi nonsense.

It's essentially the white working class/economic anxiety bullshit all over again.

Huge turnout helped flip seats in Southern California, Arizona and elsewhere, so now some are saying it was the "50-state strategy" at work, as if there aren't still a bunch of states that are unreachable precisely due to racism and sexism. The idea being that a "populist" message that shuns "identity politics" can win anywhere. Yes, we have a Senator in Alabama and once again we have a governor in Kansas, but it took unbelievably atrocious opponents to make that happen. Meanwhile, Corey Stewart got over 40% in a blue state. Corey fucking Stewart, y'all.

November 23, 2018

Here's how I view what one might reasonably consider the 10 battleground states heading into 2020:

MI/16: likely Dem
PA/20: likely Dem
WI/10: likely Dem
FL/29: toss-up
NC/15: toss-up
AZ/11: lean Rep
OH/18: lean Rep
GA/16: lean Rep
TX/38: solid Rep
IA/6: solid Rep

I'm feeling optimistic, so I could see us winning 100+ electoral votes from that group, which would give our nominee 330+ electoral votes (assuming we hold onto all of the states Clinton won). 360 or so electoral votes is as close to a "landslide" as we're likely to see at this time. Obama won 365 in 2008. The days of someone winning well over 400 are long gone.

I think if we nominate Kamala Harris, we are going to see record Democratic turnout (70+ million votes for Harris and her running mate, be it O'Rourke or Klobuchar or Landrieu or whoever). But there are still 20+ states that we simply can't win.

There were many factors at play in MI, PA and WI in 2016, but I'm fairly confident that they'll be back in our column on 11/3/2020. I don't think we should give up on Ohio, but I suspect Iowa is going the way of Missouri. I personally wouldn't call Texas a battleground state yet, but it's headed that way. Florida is absolutely still in play, especially in presidential elections. Same goes for North Carolina. We can compete in Arizona and Georgia, as well.

November 20, 2018

11/19 Rachel Maddow: Popular Vote vs. Seats Won

It can't be said enough how desperately we need to put an end to gerrymandering. Pause the video at the 24:27 mark:

Wisconsin State House
popular vote: 53-45
seats won: 36-64

Pennsylvania State House
popular vote: 53-45
seats won: 46-54

Michigan State House
popular vote: 52-47
seats won: 47-53

North Carolina State House
popular vote: 50-47
seats won: 46-54
November 14, 2018

The divide within our party has been misdiagnosed.

As I've been saying for 2+ years, the white working class/economic anxiety narrative is both absurd and racist at its core.

We make a mistake when we frame the divide in the party as being over policy positions, or "far left" vs. centrist. This contributes to the dominant media narrative that says right wing extremism is normal but things like single-payer and free college are crazy ideas. Nobody loves the white working class narrative more than right wingers. It serves them quite well.

There is a divide within our party, sadly, but it's over this notion that people vote Republican due to white economic anxiety (the implication being that persons of color don't experience economic anxiety and aren't 'working class') and that Democrats put too much emphasis on 'identity politics' (ignoring the fact that economics dominated Clinton's campaign). This bullshit narrative is subscribed to by leftists (like Bernie Sanders), centrists (like Tim Ryan), right wingers and media members. I've been deeply bothered by that narrative ever since it appeared on the scene. And it's terribly sad that so many fail to see how detrimental it is.

November 9, 2018

Jonathan Lemire tells Brian Williams there's a fear Trump will incite violence against the press.

Um, isn't that kind of like saying Republicans fear that Democrats will take back control of the House? Or that some fear the Titanic might sink?

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Aug 19, 2015, 03:47 AM
Number of posts: 10,721

Journal Entries

Latest Discussions»Garrett78's Journal