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marylandblue's Journal
marylandblue's Journal
February 12, 2017

Thank you so much for the hearts

Two hearts! Thank you both, whoever you are!

January 29, 2017

For the second time in a week, I feel hopeful

Anyone else? People are fighting back and winning these first skirmishes.

January 27, 2017

How to Culture Jam a Populist

The whole world’s eyes are on Washington today, and not in a good way. As Venezuelans, we’re looking North with more trepidation than most today, even though — in fairness — the panic over Trump-as-northern-Chávez is premature. A politician is to be judged by what it does in office, not by what he says before he gets there. Beating Chávez historic economic demolition of the richest oil country in the world, during the biggest oil bonanza ever, leaving behind an inflation-ridden, bullet-stricken, hungry, ailing country — is quite an ask. But let’s see what happens.

Because in one way, Trump and Chávez are identical: they are masters of Populism.

There’s something soothing in all that anger. Though full of hatred, it promises redemption.

The recipe is universal. Find a wound common to many, someone to blame for it and a good story to tell. Mix it all together. Tell the wounded you know how they feel. That you found the bad guys. Label them: the minorities, the politicians, the businessmen. Cartoon them. As vermin, evil masterminds, flavourless hipsters, you name it. Then paint yourself as the saviour. Capture their imagination. Forget about policies and plans, just enrapture them with a good story. One that starts in anger and ends in vengeance. A vengeance they can participate in.

That’s how it becomes a movement. There’s something soothing in all that anger. Though full of hatred, it promises redemption. Populism can’t cure your suffering, but it can do something almost as good — better in some ways: it can build a satisfying narrative around it. A fictionalized account of your misery. A promise to make sense of your hurt. It is them. It’s been them all along.

For all those who listen, Populism is built on the irresistible allure of simplicity. The narcotic of the simple answer to an intractable question. The problem is now made simple. The problem is you.

How do I know? Because I grew up as the ‘you’ Trump is about to turn you into. I was cast in the role of the enemy in the political struggle that followed the arrival of Chávez, and watched in frustration year after year as the Opposition tried and failed to do anything about the catastrophe unfolding all around. Only later did I realize this failure was, in a significant way, self-inflicted.


January 20, 2017

Words of Wisdom from Kos

I don't think this has been posted here yet, but even if it has, it bears repeating and repeating...


"So my advice to donors and progressive groups trying to make sense of what comes ahead? Don’t try to build anything. Things are already being built. Instead, ride the wave. Let it carry you. If you are a donor, support the new leaders and institutions that arise from this (just like the Kochs spent countless millions supporting tea party initiatives). Embrace this new generation of activists, because these are the women and men who will deliver us to the promised land.

"In a time of darkness, this new resistance movement promises to not just mitigate the damage Trump and his Republican allies seeks to cause, but to build a new lasting progressive majority. So please please please, look for the best of what came before us, no matter which “side” it was associated with, and then embrace this future. Because it’ll be glorious."

January 7, 2017

US Consular Official Shot in Mexico, in Stable Condition

Source: Yahoo News

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - An American consular official was shot in Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city in the restive western state of Jalisco, but is now in stable condition, Mexican authorities said on Saturday.

Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-consular-official-shot-mexico-stable-condition-174919016.html?ref=gs

December 27, 2016

How to fight Trump with Progressive Populism

This should be required reading for all Democrats. Really gets to the heart of Sanders surprise appeal, and more importantly, how to respond to Trump.

Progressive populism is worlds apart from right-wing populism, but it is nonetheless susceptible to its own kinds of blind spots and dangers, especially concerning racial justice. To be clear, in an anti-establishment era like the one we’re in, the alternative to building progressive populism is to cede the “populist space” to dangerous reactionaries, which is a far more dangerous prospect for the interests of both racial and economic justice. Incidentally, that’s precisely the situation we’re in at the moment. But if and when we regain the populist momentum, we have to do better than previous struggles have done. The central fissure that has prevented progressive political alignment throughout the history of the United States is the tension between racial justice and economic justice frameworks. That tension played out in 2016 — dramatically in the Sanders campaign — and it will continue to be a very real tension for a long time to come. But we can step up to navigate it conscientiously and strategically. We can build a progressive populism that centers both racial justice and economic justice, and whose leadership reflects the diversity of a multiracial alignment of social forces. The millennial generation, with its promising new wave of social movements — from Black Lives Matter to immigrant Dreamers to Occupy Wall Street — may just produce leaders capable of doing this better than others have been able to do in the past. It will not be easy, but that is the task.

But how can this be the path forward not just for progressives but also for the Democratic Party if the party establishment is actively resisting such a direction? There are only two answers to this question: We’ll have to either persuade them or replace them. More precisely, once we prove capable of replacing some of them, we will have the power to persuade others. We have to start right now.


December 12, 2016

The Uncomfortable View from 1824

Or, what our real problem is

"Americans elites in 1824 successfully prevented a demagogue from assuming the presidency. The demagogue, Andrew Jackson, won a clear plurality of the popular votes and a small plurality of electoral votes...This elite success was short-lived. ..Jackson, who received only 41 percent of the popular vote in 1824, received 56% of the vote in 1828... Jackson and his allies in Congress sponsored a genocidal removal of native Americans from the south, substantially increased national support for human bondage, created a recession by destroying the national banking system, put an end to internal improvements, and scuttled plans for a national university. Jackson’s bellicosity set in motion the events that led to the Mexican War and probably, the events that led to the Civil War...

"American elites were right to perceive a constitutional crisis in 1824, but they misperceived that crisis. Jefferson, Madison, the Adams clan, and other persons associated with the framing generations loathed Andrew Jackson, a person they correctly regarded as constitutionally unsuited for the presidency because of his bigotry, proclivity to violence and lack of knowledge about public affairs. The actual constitutional crisis in 1824 was that a substantial percentage of American voters enthusiastically cast their ballots for a person constitutionally unsuited for the presidency because of his bigotry, proclivity to violence and lack of knowledge about public affairs....

"The lesson 1824 should teach 2016 is that the approximately 47% of voters who cast ballots for Donald Trump on election day is the most fundamental crisis of our time rather the accidental outcome that a person grossly unfit for the presidency was elected this time. A nation in which 47% of the voters are willing to vote for a person patently unqualified to be president of the United States (or Treasurer of the Linden Community Civil Association for that matter) is a nation in deep constitutional trouble regardless of whether by accidents of timing and whether that candidate wins or loses...

"we need to follow Abraham Lincoln, who spent almost no time during the 1850s persuading the already persuaded that the three-fifths rule was unfair and a good deal of time persuading crucial voters (by the rules of the time) that both their principles and their self-interest were better served by Republicans than Jacksonian Democrats. One hopes this lesson is learned in less than thirty years."


Edited to correct title

December 3, 2016

I found this article soothes my fears

Suggests that Donald Trump will be a "disjunctive" president, where conservativism finally fails and he is the sort of president who ushers in a surprising shift to dominance by the other party. Not that a Trump presidency will be a bed of roses, far from it, but if history is a guide there is light at the end of the tunnel.-


November 21, 2016

Donald Trump as the last Reaganite

Series of two articles on 4 possible ways the Trump presidency may play out and how it would look if he is the last gasp of the Reagan regime. It's good news for 2020 Democrats, but it will be a very bumpy ride in the meantime.


How will we know whether Trump is a disjunctive president or is a reconstructive president who is about to establish a new Trumpian regime? We really won't know for some time. But the central difference is that in reconstructive presidencies, the new leader unites an energized party around a common set of values, interests, and agendas that overwhelms the political opposition. In a disjunctive presidency, the new leader can't keep his party's coalition together and so it is every person for him or herself. This lack of unity allows the opposition party to grow stronger and enables the opposition to seize the political agenda in the next election. (Again, think of the period between 1976 and 1980, or between 1824 and 1828)




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