ERRORS: Voters said Dems are too extreme!


We can think of three possible reasons:  Last week, David Frum wrote an interesting article for The Atlantic.

In his article, Frum drew some connections between the long drive to outlaw alcohol (Prohibition) and the long drive, recently concluded, to repeal Roe v. Wade.

Once enacted, Prohibition fell apart rather quickly. So may new attempts to outlaw abortion—or at least, so Frum was prepared to suggest.

Frum's article was intriguing. On the downside, Charles Blow read the article, leading to a very strange—yet very typical—opinion column for the New York Times.

On Monday, Blow's column appeared online. One day earlier, in that same newspaper's Sunday Magazine, Jason Zengerle had penned a long analysis of the political dilemmas currently faced by the Democratic Party.

In various ways, modern-day Dems seem to be in a world of political hurt. 

Our nation's creaking electoral systems tilt the playing field against them in several major ways. Historical precedent suggests that Democrats will take a drubbing in November's congressional elections.

If that occurs, the Republican Party will take control of the House and nominal control of the Senate. In the face of this impending disaster, Zengerle's lengthy essay carried this dual headline:

The Vanishing Moderate Democrat
Their positions are popular. So why are they going extinct?

Zengerle's essay examined this central question: Should Democratic politicians adopt more moderate policy positions?

We won't attempt to answer that question; Zengerle didn't answer it either. For today, we'll merely cite this bit of news from a recent survey, news which may strike blue tribe voters as puzzling:

ZENGERLE (7/3/22): In May, CNN asked 1,007 American voters for their opinions on the country’s two major political parties. After four years of Trump in the White House, an insurrection and unsuccessful attempt to overturn a presidential election and now a Republican Party that can be fairly described as a cult of personality and is moving further right on many of the same social issues, 46 percent of those surveyed considered the G.O.P. to be “too extreme.” But 48 percent of them viewed the Democratic Party the same way.

To the average blue tribe voter, that result may be hard to fathom. By an admittedly slender margin, more respondents viewed the Democratic Party as "too extreme"—as compared to the GOP of one Donald J. Trump!

For the average blue tribe voter, that result may be hard to believe. For now, we'll offer two possible explanations for that puzzling result.

First, the comforting explanation: 

At present, our nation has divided itself into two warring tribes. The red tribe thinks our blue tribe is too extreme. Here within our own blue tribe, we think the same thing about Them.

That would be the tribally comforting point of view. We've simply split into two warring tribes. Each tribe thinks the worst of the other.

From our blue tribe's point of view, that's the comforting explanation. But a second possible explanation might go something like this:

Our blue tribe has made a lot of mistakes, and our errors have made us look bad. 

Why did 48% of respondents describe the Dems as "too extreme?" At this point, we'll offer a third possible explanation:

In part, those respondents were channeling crackpot propaganda offered by red tribe media. Without any question, a large amount of such mis- and disinformation is constantly out there.

(Also, we blue tribers like to tell ourselves that most of Those People are racists. That explains why people like Them would say that we're extreme!)

Once we note the fact that The Others are racists, we're up to four explanations! That said, is it possible that our own blue tribe just keeps insisting on scoring "own goals?" Is it possible that our well-intentioned, admittedly brilliant tribe keeps making unforced errors?

Was Charles Blow's somewhat peculiar column part of that ongoing pattern? Tomorrow, we'll start reviewing examples of behaviors and claims we might call "Our errors, ourselves."

Tomorrow: Some of what was actually said


  1. "...drew some connections between the long drive to outlaw alcohol (Prohibition) and the long drive, recently concluded, to repeal Roe v. Wade."

    Hmm. Actually, dear Bob, Prohibition is an equivalent of Roe v. Wade itself, not of repealing it.

    Feds dictating, forcing their idea of "righteousness" on the federal level, rather than allowing individual states to decide on their own.

    It is, is it not, dear Bob?

    1. Mao, of course, means the decision will be made by the elitists his Establishment bosses placed in gerrymandered state legislatures, NOT the people.

  2. Somerby gets a bit confused as he counts the explanations:

    "Once we note the fact that The Others are racists, we're up to four explanations!"

    This is an explanation for the perceived extremism of the Others, not our side. It could fit neatly under the third explanation provided, that disinformation is being spread, since this is, according to Somerby's previous essays, a kind of disinformation about The Others. That leaves 3 explanations: (1) warring tribes perceive each other as extreme, (2) we have made mistakes that make us appear extreme, (3) disinformation makes us seem extreme. It seems to be that 1 and 3 are the same explanation too, since we are not spreading disinformation about ourselves. Note that there is no explanation that says The Others actually are extreme because of their mistakes and the things they actually believe, but we are possibly not extreme (or only seem extreme in contrast to how extreme The Others are.

    A theory that doesn't allow the reality of extremism over there, strikes me as itself disinformation about the division between left and right. There could be some other possibilities:

    (1) People have swallowed the constant preaching of bothsiderism and feel they have to call the left extreme if they are going to call an obviously extreme right, extreme too.

    (2) People have picked up on the constant right wing propaganda about left wing extremism (spread by the right), and consider the left to be extreme overall, but wouldn't label any of the left's specific issues or proposal to be extreme if they were asked about them individually. That means they don't actually consider the left extreme.

    (3) People consider the methods of the left (i.e. protests) to be extreme but not the things they are protesting about (the issues).

    (4) People have no idea what they mean by extreme and have applied the term differently when talking about the left vs right. Talking about leftists as socialists or communists has been around forever, promoted by the right wing, so calling the left extreme is a knee-jerk reaction, whereas the idea of a fascist or white supremacist right wing is a relatively new idea.

    (5) People have been told that any form of extremism is a bad thing, so they all want to be moderates, even when they are not. So 48% choose centrism or moderation as the normative good thing to be, whether the questions is about the left or the right.

    There have been several studies of the extent to which either side has moved further from center. These agree that the right has moved way further right whereas the left has stayed about where it always is, in terms of actual political positions. I doubt that the general public is aware of the truth about this respective political positions of the parties. That means these responses must be about perceptions and perceptions are about the media and disinformation campaigns (such as on Fox News), not based on voter analysis over time.

    Somerby's essay today seems to be based on his perceptions of the ideas in a couple of opinion pieces, not the reality of actual political positions on issues, or political accomplishments (obstructed by Republicans since 2000) either.

    1. longtime Howler readers know Bob finds only one take on racism acceptable: that their is no such thing.

  3. When Somerby proposes that the left has made mistakes that make it appear extreme, and then discusses an op-ed written by Blow, calling it "very strange—yet very typical," it seems obvious that he is calling Blow's work one of the mistakes contributing to a public perception of extremism.

    Oddly, Somerby never closely examines whether the predictions of gloom and doom about the "world of hurt" that the Democrats are supposedly going to be in for the midterms are true or not. Will there be a bashlash due to the overturning of Roe v Wade? Will there be blowback on Republicans due to the 1/6 hearings? Will redistricting give Democrats a boost? Somerby doesn't know and he doesn't care sufficiently to speculate. He just buys Zengerle's prognosis hook, line and sinker, because it accords with his own preferred narrative about how screwed Democrats always are -- despite winning in 2020 with a huge number of "wasted" votes, and even picking up two unexpected senate seats in GA!

    Somerby also fails to note that the NY Times always, ever single election, runs these Democrats in disarray stories. It is always telling us that Democrats are losers and have major problems, and it jumps on every story Republicans push, about Hillary's emails or Benghazi or Clinton cash and now Hunter Biden and Biden's supposed frailty and inflation is always going up (never down, as it currently is decreasing) and recession is coming, and Biden is ineffective (despite his major legislative accomplishments) and so on ad nauseum. Somerby treats these as facts, without examination. What kind of media critic does that?

    Meanwhile, Biden's favorability is the same as other incumbent presidents who have won reelection. Biden has said he is running if Trump runs, but it is by no means true that Trump will be the Republican nominee. It is common for the opposition party to win the midterms, but not a foregone conclusion, especially under today's unusual circumstances. Why can't he wait and see what happens, while urging liberals to get out the vote and lay the groundwork by campaigning extra hard? That is what actual liberals are doing. Instead, Somerby writes these essays which seem designed to (1) be critical of Blow, who incidentally is black, and (2) discourage Democrats and suppress liberal votes. What Somerby writes here is no help to liberal efforts at the polls. I think that is no accident but YMMV.

    1. Here is an example of a NY Times story today, typical of the kind of anti-Biden tripe that appears nearly every day:

      "Will the Abortion Debate Keep Moderate Women in the Democrats’ Camp?

      Worried about inflation and dissatisfied with President Biden, many moderate women have been drifting away from Democrats. Now the party hopes the fight for abortion rights will drive them back."

      Note the implicit assumptions that Dems dislike Biden and that inflation is still going up. Neither is true.

      Dems I know are conflicted about Biden. They like what he has done but are frustrated by the gridlock imposed by Sinema and Manchin (NOT Biden) siding with Republicans. No Dems blame Biden for the overturn of Roe v Wade. But Biden's age is a factor and most would prefer a younger candidate, assuming one can be found that would defeat Trump (or another Republican nominee). We don't know who will be the 2024 nominee, but we will support whoever is running against Trump or another Republican.

      That is not the same as Dem moderates fleeing the party or women being upset with Biden, or anyone being "disappointed" in something that was not Biden's fault -- the blame is with Republicans and Sinema and Manchin.

      Tomorrow, the NY Times may run an article about how nervous seniors are as they watch the stock market jitters and lose their savings, blaming Biden (of course) for instability in the market. There will be no mention about decreases in inflation, or revised predictions about recession, or about Sinema and Manchin becoming more cooperative on upcoming legislation or anything that might be encouraging to Democrats. The NY Times doesn't believe in encouraging us.

  4. There seems to be a cottage industry of failed or self-exiled former Democrats who are engaging in a centrist, moderate, no labels position. They have staked out a position in what they consider to be the middle and use their voices not to critize the right but to work against the left. Some are so-called moderate Republicans who have always been Republicans but speaking to a liberal audience. Andrew Sullivan comes to mind -- someone who likes right-wing fiscal policy but is too racist to be a Democrat. Another is Bill Maher, who is too sexist and racist (against Asians and Muslims) to be a Democrat but rejects the right's attacks on personal freedoms, and so skews a bit Libertarian but has donated to Democratic candidates such as Obama but hating "wokeness" which he considers an extension of PC culture. Bari Weiss, Glen Greenwald, and their ilk make their living criticizing the left's extremism, calling out wokeness, feminism, cancel culture, CRT and the other tropes invented on the right. Meanwhile righties such as David Brooks and Bret Stephens call themselves moderates while arging against climate change and promoting a false bothsiderism. Somerby seems to have positioned himself within this group, arguing a failed balancing act on the fence while only ever attacking the left, never the right, defending the miscreants who attempted a coup against our government, and promoting racism and sexism, like today's attack on Blow (the only left wing example of failed Democrats today).

    This is not truly the center of political thought, because it promotes no ideas, policies, programs, and exists mainly to attack the left from a specious but non-existent position. To be a moderate, one would have to express actual opinions beyond simple criticism of others -- Somerby never does that -- other than saying that we need to talk to The Others, listen to them (and presumably find points of agreement, although Somerby never suggests any), and recognize the huge mistakes of extremism made by Democrats (while Somerby stipulates to but then defends the extremism of the right).

    No thank you. Democrats will not win the midterm elections by being so weak as to whisper mea culpa at Somerby's insistence while failing to promote our own achievements and plans to make this a better society. While the right continues to fear-monger and invent new lefty schemes, such as drag queen reading sessions in public schools (something that has never occurred anywhere).

  5. Does Somerby doubt the history of the use of alcohol recounted by Blow? Is Somerby unaware that the same principles apply to the use of alcohol to keep the urban working poor in line? Women were primary movers of the temperance movement because so many men and boys spent their wages drinking in bars instead of bringing wages home to desperate wives who needed the money to raise children and pay rent. The drunken brawls and public drunkeness were a serious urban issue at the time that prohibition was enacted. Domestic violence was at a peak, as were industrial accidents caused by drinking on the job. Prohibition was a women's issue because of the impact of alcohol on families among the working classes in cities. And that drinking was also a way to undermine unionization and other reforms, so alcohol was an instrument of social control accompanying industrialization.

    Why should Somerby know this? He is of Irish heritage. He must be aware of the stereotypes of drunkenness that are part of Irish heritage, largely due to the dominant Irish position in the American working class. The Irish political machine used to pay immigrant voters in alcohol on election day. Prohibition arose as a serious public health issue because of the way alcohol was used for social control and Blow is correct in the ways it was used with other subjugated groups. Note the assumption that these same groups are stereotypically unable to hold their liquor, compared to white upper classes. Being drunk became associated with being a member of the under classes, even though all people become intoxicated if they drink enough. Religion was the opiate of the masses, but so was alcohol, and later other drugs.

    Somerby's ignorance about such issues suggests he never took an American History class covering this period while at Harvard. So, instead he mocks Blow, even though Blow is correct about Prohibition and the uses of alcohol. Personally, I think comparing Roe v Wade to Prohibition makes little sense, but Somerby isn't interested in such issues. His main concern is to attack Blow again, on his way to attacking Democrats.

  6. This excerpt of a piece on Substack is being said in conjunction with a critique of Michael Hobbes (a liberal podcaster, not that other Hobbes.)

    It’s description of the mindset now is dead-on. So are the writer’s comments on Chris Hayes.

    “I think Hobbes says something about just what it means to be a “liberal,” for lack of a better term, these days. Liberalism has in recent years sloughed off whatever remaining status it had as a coherent political project - an effort by temporary allies to join together despite philosophical differences to achieve a specific and material purpose. Instead, liberalism now functions ontologically, as a form of Being, and specifically of Being Good. The quintessential 2022 liberal is someone who does not want to achieve anything, but rather to be something - an ally, a friend to the movement, one of the good ones. Achieving is beyond the point; the point is to occupy a space of existential goodness. For people like Hobbes, politics is not a thing you do but a thing you are. And what Hobbes is, naturally, is a guy who already knows the answer to every question. In reality, politics is amoral, being right has absolutely no inherent function in the world, and achieving actual moral ends requires precisely the kind of compromise that Hobbes sees as below his exalted station, but no matter. Being Good is Being Good”

    1. Yeah. It's basically a form of religious fanaticism. A cult.

      Ironically, in some respects it's reminiscent of Puritanism. According to wikipedia: "Those referred to as Puritan called themselves terms such as "the godly", "saints", "professors", or "God's children"." See: professors!

    2. The current warmongering corporate Democratic Party and their social media trolls have strayed so far from traditional liberal values that it is necessary to avoid coherent policy discussions.

    3. Oh, here, I found it, from Matt Taibbi:
      "Matt Taibbi: Lastly: I grew up in the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s. A liberal was the person who was willing to talk about anything, had a sense of humor, was willing to entertain far-out ideas, didn’t get offended easily, and would’ve had a theoretical discussion about anything. Then all of a sudden, it feels like in the last five years this dynamic has just been turned on its head..."

      ...we'd say it's been happening for far longer than "the last five years", but yeah, 11/9/2016 is the date when they turned completely brain-dead...

    4. I don’t want to live in a world where Republicans aren’t reminded on a daily basis that they love Trump because he gave a HUGE tax break to establishment elites.

    5. willing to talk about anything, had a sense of humor, was willing to entertain far-out ideas, didn’t get offended easily, and would’ve had a theoretical discussion about anything.

      Anyone who believes this describes the current republican fascist party is an idiot. I grew up in the 60's and Taibbi is an idiot.

    6. Did they have grammar class back then? '60s is the proper usage of the apostrophe.

    7. "the important"

    8. Who's your favorite open-minded republican pol, asshole? Ted Cruz? Donald J Chickenshit? MTG? Mitch? Kevin McCarthy? Jim Jordan? Chuck Grassley? Gentleman Gym Jordan? The list goes on and on. Just a slew of them to pick from, wouldn't you agree?

      Republicans will campaign around the country on anti-CRT bullshit, anti-LBGT bullshit, anti-inflation bullshit, and when they take over will proceed to give their corporate owners more tax breaks, under any regulations that their owners don't want and work to destroy SS and Medicare. Fucking Taibbi is an idiot.

    9. @12:19 PM
      "Anyone who believes this describes the current republican fascist party is an idiot."

      It does describe at least one republican fascist, dear dembot.

      Matt Walsh, author of a documentary What is a Woman?.

    10. @12:38 I don't have any favorite open-minded repub pol. They really suck. Which is the main reason why the dems need to get their shit together.

    11. 12:38 whataboutism.

    12. So you can't understand the point of view that the crappiness of the repubs is the very reason dems need to improve. Any mention of dems needing to improve is a tacit endorsement of repubs? Does that about sum it up?

    13. It's funny, you ask so much of the democrats and so little of the republican party. I wonder why?

    14. Because I want the democrats to win. Is that clear enough?

    15. Hasn't anyone noticed that Somerby never mentions in what way the Democrats need to improve, other than "listening" to the right? He says everyone hates the Democrats but doesn't say why. Given the right-wing talk machine spewing hate via Fox News, it isn't surprising that Fox viewers hate Democrats, but is that the Democrats' fault? How? The article Somerby is supposedly discussing (Zengerle) itself references a poll showing that Democrats are fine with Democratic Party approaches. It isn't Democrats who hate Democrats.

      Our challenge, as always, is to register Democratic voters and get them to the polls. It is a waste of time to try to convert Republicans into Democrats. As shown in the polls discussed by Zengerle, there aren't enough of them available to be recruited.

      It is true, however, that Independents have been swinging more toward Democrats after the 1/6 hearings.

    16. "never mentions in what way the Democrats need to improve"

      No, that's false.

    17. Because I want the democrats to win.

      That is bullshit. Why don't you ask Claire McCaskill what it will take to win in Missouri? I am sure she's chock full of recommendations. Let me guess, throw your base under the bus?

    18. Anyone critical of dems is not a dem, I get it... "discussion" over.

    19. "Because I want the democrats to win."

      More dead people voting -- that's the ticket!

    20. Right, an audit that found only 2 wasn't enough to substantiate Trump's claim to have found over 4000 deceased people voting. That's called "lack of evidence".

    21. Fool. I am critical of dems all the time. I just don't think it is helpful to listen to "concerned" conservatives like David Brooks.

    22. Anyone critical of Dems on public websites like this one pretty much isn't a Dem. Crticism happens in party organizations and at party meetins and conventions. It doesn't happen in a public space where it may negatively affect Democratic prospects during an upcoming election.

      You don't air dirty laundrey in public -- that's why the Republicans were so upset with Cawthorn when he told the press that there were drug and sex orgies happening among Republican members of congress.

      Somerby's assumption that Democrats are not self-critical is ridiculous.

    23. Obviously the objective of these concern trolls is to demoralize and suppress the dem vote.

    24. Don't worry, dear dembot: dead people aren't easily demoralized.

    25. I don't want to live in a world where Loudermilk gives tours and stairwells are photographed.

    26. Well, it can be prevented by deploying 25,000 troops to the Capitol. Unfortunately, we hear, there are some doubts that all of them are loyal...

    27. If criticisms of Dems cannot be done publicly and no criticism of the Democratic party is allowed by anyone who is not within the party itself, one has really all the evidence they need that the party is massively broken.

    28. There is no reason to waste time with ratfuckers while trying to develop democratic strategy and plan GOTV efforts etc. There are no candidates who hire Republicans on their campaign staff, on the chance they might have a valid criticism. This idea that any Republican is going to help Democrats with useful suggestions is ridiculous. Republicans are the "win at any cost" party. Why would they help Democrats do anything? And how could you trust them?

      This is about as stupid as Somerby gets. But I do think that people here pretending they want to help Democrats (while saying nothing whatsoever helpful) are most likely concern trolls and a waste of time to argue with. If you want to help Democrats, just vote Democratic in the midterms. This isn't rocket science.

    29. Anonymouse 12:19pm, Taibbi’s description was about the free-speech loving…do your own thing, but let me try to persuade you why this is important … liberals of old.

      Anonymices have congregated on a blog in order to write long-winded screeds essentially calling Somerby a demented woman-hating Russian agent simply because Somerby is not Chris Hayes.

      I don’t know if the public could accurately describe what Democrats want outside of drag queen story hours, lessons in the historical and current culture of inveterate white privilege, and helping the Ukraine.

      I’d more easily believe that there’s more, if I could glean why you seem fine with this focus and ready to defend it, and so with being defined this way.

    30. Mao, as usual, I've read your posts here about these dead voters with interest, in the vain hope that maybe you'd say something that didn't sound like a dementedly obsessive wingnut. Oh well. But I think it's worth noting that the dead who did vote in the 2020 presidential election overwhelmingly voted in favor of the loser, ex-Potus Trump. Everyone knows that.

    31. @5:51 PM
      As usual, we appreciate your faithful devotion, dear dembot.

    32. Here's some advice to help Democrats. Stop funding the military industrial complex and address class issues and the dual economy that distributes all the spoils to the people on top and leaves the rest of us with insecure, low-paying jobs and oftentimes, lots of debt.

    33. Anonymous 537 you disingenuous cunt. You act like any criticism of Democrats is automatically from a Republican you fucking lying disingenuous piece of shit troll. Go to hell.

    34. Nobody here has called Somerby Russia loving, to my knowledge. He tends to stay away from that topic.

    35. Cecelia said: "I don’t know if the public could accurately describe what Democrats want outside of drag queen story hours, lessons in the historical and current culture of inveterate white privilege, and helping the Ukraine."

      The Democratic party adopts a platform at each Democratic convention during presidential election years. It represents what Democrats stand for, and the president runs on it. Democratic candidates at all levels have websites where they describe their stands on various issues and their proposals for addressing the important problems they see in their districts. They run ads that discuss these proposals as well. They do a great deal less posing with guns and dogs and children, and they talk about what they are for, rather than what they are against.

      Compare one of Lauren Boebert's ads against any democratic candidate's campaign videos and you will easily see the difference.

      I live in CO and here is Jared Polis's campaign statements. At the top of the webpage it says: "My top priority as Governor is keeping the people of our state safe. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has been hard at work to detect and contain COVID-19 and has been partnering with federal and local health departments."

      Below his photo it says: "Governor Jared Polis is an entrepreneur, education leader, and public servant. After launching several successful companies, Governor Polis committed himself to making sure other Coloradans had the opportunity to pursue their dreams through founding schools for at-risk students and new immigrants and started nonprofits to help veterans. Prior to serving as Governor, Polis served on the State Board of Education and represented Colorado's 2nd Congressional district."

      After Introducing the Lt. Gov and his husband, Polis lists Key Issues. These include the Economy, Education, Health availability and affordability, and the Environment. These are pretty standard for most Democrats.

      Go compare this to Mastriano's webpage (running for Gov of PA). Or any other Republican candidate for Governor. You don't have to remain ingnorant about what Democrats tend to stand for.

    36. @6:27 -- Of course the criticisms of Democrats here are from conservatives, mostly trolls. Why would any Democrat be here defending Trump, arguing in support of Somerby's misogyny, praising anti-intellectualism, and agreeing that Biden should just give up and let Trump win in 2024?

      There is no serious criticism of Democrats in these comments. No one here thinks Somerby's complaints are valid except trolls like David in Cal, Cecelia, AC/MA, Leroy and similar conservatives who are Somerby's choir of fanboys.

      If you have actual complaints about Democrats, take it to an actual Democratic website.

      No Democrat I know uses the word cunt. They don't use the other unkind words either, so that is another giveaway you might want to work on, if you seriously want to convince anyone you are liberal.

    37. @6:54 Democrats do use unkind words. Just last week, Lori Lightfoot, the Democratic Mayor of Chicago, publicly said, "Fuck Clarence Thomas." Sounds racist as well as crude.

    38. Anonymouse 6:49pm, what happens in Colorado, stays in Colorado.

      You can thank your media “helpers”.

    39. David, not racist but definitely crude. She didn’t use the c-word or the n-word. Just language you hear in r-rated movies.

  7. Blow is a dangerous combination of stupid and hateful.
    48% know the Democrats are extreme because their top concern is whether children will get to see mentally ill drag queens or teachers read them stories and confuse them about gender and sex. Transgressive perversion defines the party now.

    1. Today’s daily reminder that Right-wing snowflakes threw a childish temper tantrum just because black peoples votes counted in the 2020 Presidential election.
      You’re welcome.

    2. Back in the early 60s, social science researchers conducted studies that found that people who are gay, trans or otherwise divergent sexually are not mentally ill. That finding was incorporated into the revision of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) used by psychologists and psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.

      When Republicans call "drag queens" mentally ill, they are making up their own disinformation to excuse their own discomfort (something they should take up with a shrink instead of persecuting others). Children are not confused by drag queens. They are taught gender roles and notice that they don't fit them very well, which leads to questions as they get older. The traditional roles are what confuse them.

    3. "Back in the early 60s, social science researchers conducted studies that found that people who are gay, trans or otherwise divergent sexually are not mentally ill."

      Whoa, this is amazing. Not only not a single one of them was mentally ill is the early sixties, but not a single one of them will ever be mentally ill?

      Were those (alleged) amazing studies done by government scientists, by chance?

    4. The comparison was to heterosexual people, not to a standard of zero mental illness. They are no more mentally ill than heterosexual people as a group. Being gay is not a form of mental illness (according to mental health professionals), nor does it tend to be accompanied by other forms of mental illness to any greater extent than being heterosexual does. Calling someone who is a "drag queen" (whatever is meant by that term) mentally ill, is a misuse of the term "mentally ill" unless you know that person's specific mental health history. Those who casually slander divergent people are not stating facts based on knowledge about those specific people -- they are using the term as a slur. Also note that mental illness is covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and discrimination based on that specific disability is prohibited by law unless it interferes with performance of one's job.

      Pretty much all research on mental health issues is done with government or foundation grant funding. That doesn't mean it is biased, unless you want to accuse mental health researchers of being corrupt. But you present a good demonstration of how people deny realities they don't agree with or like.

      Having a divergent sexual identity or being attracted to the same sex, is not a form of mental illness. The tendency of right wingers to call others perverted or sick tends to identify them as extremists and intolerant people.

    5. People who cannot accept their sex and sex-associated gender and try to “transition” into something they cannot be, screaming bloody murder when others won’t participate in their delusion, are mentally ill. Those who encourage this condition are also mentally ill. People who expose children to this sickness are abusers. This accounts for a majority of Democrats.

    6. I will take a mental health professional’s word ahead of yours. Mental health eval is part of the transition process.

    7. @6:39 PM
      "Being gay is not a form of mental illness (according to mental health professionals)"

      That, dear government scientist, is not a "finding" of any "studies", but a political decision of the academia establishment.

      They, the psycho-establishment bosses, decide to classify perversion as normality. And, for that matter, to classify perfectly normal children as 'autistic'.

    8. And everyone is catching on. Academia is ruined for a generation at least.

  8. Bob is stupidly trying to pretend it’s possible for a Democrat to be more condescending towards Republican voters than Republican politicians are.

  9. Should liberals reconsider their values? Could the democratic party strategy avoid "own goals"?

    There isn't time for that, as we have to point out daily that the others are bigots and Bob is a fake liberal. It's hard work!

    1. There is nothing wrong with liberal goals, values, issues, programs, statements or the character and skills of our candidates. Voters simply need to look at what the Democrats propose, look at what Republicans propose, and make their choice.

      When Hillary ran, she was criticized for an over-reliance on polls, for triangulation, for being manipulative of voters (a sexist trope). Now Somerby seems to be suggesting that Democrats aren't worrying enough about their image, self-presentation,. He isn't talking about the substance of the party but about appearance. It is the same approach he has chastised and that voters are repelled by (because of its phoniness). I don't think he has our best interests at heart when he does this.

    2. Oh woe is me, woe is me. Who should I vote for? The Democratic Party or the Fascist Party who tried to pull a coup and are now hard it work changing laws making the right of citizens to vote for the national candidate of their choice no longer operative. So hard. Yes we better get our act together.

    3. " we have to point out daily that the others are bigots and Bob is a fake liberal. It's hard work!"

      Don't forget the censorship. Reading every tweet, every fb post, watching every youtube video -- to erase all heresies off the face of the earth -- now, that's really hard!

    4. "There is nothing wrong with liberal... look at what Republicans propose"

      As usual, unable to look at any consideration that improvement might be possible for the left without immediately resorting to "but... the right!" "Left better than right!"

      Caveman grunt grunt.

    5. @1:36 -- the Right had no platform in the 2020 presidential election. Trump didn't bother to hold a convention and there was no platform statement presented to voters. That means there were no issues or proposals or programs for Republican voters to consider.

      That has to be taken into consideration because of how unusual it is in modern politics. The person, Trump, was the Republican Party's sole proposal.

      Next to a party that has no platform, it is hard to argue that Democrats are including the wrong planks in their platform.

    6. Well illustrated. We should go club 'em on the head and steal their good caves.

    7. Didn’t you try that on 1/6? How is that working out for you?

    8. No time to answer, I have to go get a new irony meter.

  10. Will the Dems get killed in November? Perhaps. Bob used to at least wait until after the actual election to start gloating. What will happen if the Dems actaully DON'T get killed? Bob will write about it about as much as he did the Sussman being found not guilty.

  11. "By an admittedly slender margin, more respondents viewed the Democratic Party as "too extreme"—as compared to the GOP of one Donald J. Trump!"

    No, this is a misreading of what the poll asked. The poll did not ask respondents to compare Democrats to Republicans. It asked separate questions about Democrats and Republicans. Zengerle says this clearly:

    "46 percent of those surveyed considered the G.O.P. to be “too extreme.” But 48 percent of them viewed the Democratic Party the same way."

    The CNN Polls on which Zengerle bases his remarks says this:

    "...perceptions of each party's alignment with the mainstream are about equal. Roughly half of the public, 52%, say they see the views and policies of the Democratic Party as generally mainstream rather than too extreme, with 54% saying the same of the Republican Party. Partisans are generally comfortable with their own party: 90% of Republicans see the GOP as mainstream, and an identical 90% of Democrats consider their party to be mainstream. Just 13% of Americans view both parties as too extreme."

    This also suggests that there is only 13% support for a new moderate party, or for the centrist, bothsiderist approach Somerby has been advocating. These results show that Democrats are fine with their own party, Republicans fine with theirs, and about half of both parties view the others as too extreme, while not many want to inhabit the middle ground.

    Somerby way misinterprets what Zengerle says too, warping it to fit his own preferred narrative.

    1. CNN posted this. CNN.

      (Btw: Debra Messing is tired of carrying the Biden Admin.)

    2. Hard to get narcissists to care about anyone but themselves (Messing and Sarandon, not Biden).

    3. That’s their job, but her response is pure narcissism.

  12. Yes, being for equality is an extreme position these days.

  13. IMO the reason liberals come across to some as extremists, is because their traditional solutions are no longer needed. Some succeeded, particularly civil rights -- an incredible and wonderful success. It's now illegal to discriminate against blacks or just about any other group. Furthermore, I think most people consider such discrimination immoral.

    Some liberal policies failed, such as the War on Poverty. After literally trillions of dollars, poor and dysfunctional neighborhoods persist.

    So, what's left for the Dems? They can offer solutions to poverty, but who believes the new solutions will work? These programs are properly regarded as payoffs to one group or another. Dems can offer solutions to racism and bigotry, but that battle was pretty much won. So liberals' new solutions sound radical to most of us. E.g. requiring that schools have some boys shower in the girls' locker room.

    1. Republicans have proven over and over again they are incapable of governing.

    2. David, the poll data says that liberals are not coming across as extremists.

      You just seem to make stuff up. First, there may be laws against discrimination, but that doesn't mean it has been eliminated. Laws must be enforced and that has been the problem ever since the laws were passed. Second, the war on poverty made a big dent in poverty, greatly reducing it. Those gains have been rolled by by subsequent Republican administrations, but the data doesn't support the idea that it didn't help. Third, Democrats don't regard anti-poverty programs as payoffs to anyone, not even the poor. Fourth, the battle against bigotry has clearly not be "won" when you have 21 year olds shooting up Jewish people at a 4th of July parade, and 304 other shootings this year alone, many of them motivated by bigotry.

      I think the odd way you think about American history and politics is to blame for your extremist views. I don't know of any schools that are asking boys and girls to shower together. There is usually the opportunity for modesty even when girls shower with girls and boys with boys. You come around here with this ridiculous shit and pretend that liberals are the problem?

    3. "...and leaves the rest of us with insecure, low-paying jobs and oftentimes, lots of debt."

      Go back to school. Start with community college until you can find a better job. Even McDonald's is paying for employee's college tuition these days. Income inequality is no excuse for allowing yourself to languish at the bottom of the job market.

    4. @5:57 You say that anti-discrimination laws are not always enforced. No doubt that's true. However, in my experience it's more common that organizations bend over backwards to attract blacks -- often applying lesser standards to attract more blacks. This is especially true of colleges and it's also true of employers, whether public, private or non-profit.

      See JUDGE RULES High School Girls MUST Shower With Boys…Girls Have No Right To “Visual Bodily Privacy”
      By Patty McMurray | Apr 24, 2019

      JUDGE RULES High School Girls MUST Shower With Boys…Girls Have No Right To “Visual Bodily Privacy”
      By Patty McMurray | Apr 24, 2019
      Maybe you think that boys who identify as girls shouldn't be called "boys", but to the girls showering with them, they're boys.

    5. Please also cite a publication or url. We can’t track this down with just what you provided.

  14. A survey of 8000 prison inmates found the following:

    "• A plurality of white respondents back President Trump, undercutting claims that people in prison would overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.

    • Long stretches in prison appear to be more politicizing: The more time respondents spend in prison, the more motivated they are to vote and to discuss politics.

    • Perspectives change inside prison. Republicans behind bars back policies like legalizing marijuana that are less popular with GOP voters on the outside; Democrats inside prison are less enthusiastic about assault weapons bans than Democrats at large.

    • Political views diverged by race. Black respondents are the only group pointing to reducing racial bias in criminal justice as a top concern; almost every other group picked reducing the prison population as a key priority."

    Over at No More Mister Nice Blog, people in the comments are blaming Democrats for messing up the 21 year old right-wing shooter who killed 6 and wounded dozens more by firing at parade goers on the 4th of July (near a Jewish Center he had previously attempted to enter):

    1. Steve M. continues:

      "Someday someone will figure out how to, y'know, record talk radio broadcasts and monitor other right-wing media outlets. You know what I suspect they'll find out? That much of the crazy talk in the atmosphere, the stuff that poisons politics in America -- like, say, the belief that drag queen story hours are more dangerous than AR-15s, or the notion that the CIA organizes mass shootings and the FBI was responsible for January 6 -- have been spread by talk radio and other right-wing sources that are so goshdarn difficult to keep tabs on. Eventually, it might dawn on the Times that most right-wing voters believe a lot of crackpot stuff, not just crazy talk about the 2020 election, and right-wing media is why."

      There is Media Matters and Right Wing Watch (a project of People for the American Way), but the sheer mass of ridiculousness spewed here is so exhausting to combat, while new versions emerge daily. It is a good thing that Republicans are the main people listening to their news sources, because if we had to debate this shit all the time, it would be too time consuming. Fortunately, a large segment of the public recognizes crazy when it hears it. I don't know how such people have been innoculated by truth, but they don't get suckered the way the majority of Republicans, especially Trump supporters, are. Somerby used to care about that question, but lately, he keeps urging his readers to spend more time over at Fox. That is the biggest indicator that he doesn't have his readers' best interests at heart.

    2. Drag queen story hour and other perversions Democrats are obsessed with pushing on decent Americans are much more dangerous to my young daughter than an AR 15. They are more
      likely to contaminate her surroundings and ruin her life.

    3. So don’t take her to story hour. It was in a San Francisco public library, not a school. You might not be comfortable in California either. Hearing someone speak Spanish might ruin her life too.

    4. "So don't take her to the library you pay for."
      Other parents shouldn't be allowed to expose their kids either.

  15. The notion that Democrats are too extreme is propaganda.

    Just a few numbers:

    61% of the American public say they support abortion.

    67% say they support stricter gun control.

    71% say they support gay marriage.

    Ie, majority support for the liberal position.

    81,268,924 supported Biden, versus 74,216,154 voted for Trump.

    The Democratic half of the Senate represents 41,549,808 more people than the Republican half.

    The house vote in 2020 was 77,529,619 for Democrats vs 72,760,036 for Republicans.

    There is broad support for Medicare and Social Security, both programs created and implemented by Democrats, over the strenuous objections of Republicans screaming against them all the way.

    The people of my red state Arkansas voted overwhelmingly to increase the state minimum wage. The Republican state legislature tried to undo it, fortunately they were unsuccessful.

    It goes on. And on. And on.

    It’s instructive to look back at FDR. He was a pragmatic liberal, creating programs to help people. And he was labeled a communist and a socialist by none other than the republican party of that day. And what did FDR do? Of course: he sat down with the Republicans to collect some of their best ideas….umm, nope. FDR welcomed their hate. Remember that? He scorned their know-nothingness.

    The French have a saying: plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

  16. Ask how many support drag queens twerking in children's faces and teachers telling them they can be a boy or a girl.