KEVIN'S LIST: TCU beat Tarleton State!


Also, Maggie Hassan beat Bolduc: In some ways, this is a day for blue tribe celebration.

A political bullet has been dodged. In this morning's New York Times, Bret Stephens and Gail Collins breathe a sigh of relief:

Bret Stephens: Gail, remember the old Rolaids ad that asked, “How do you spell ‘relief’?” I think the answer is “m-i-d-t-e-r-m-s.”

Your thoughts about last week’s results?

Gail Collins: Feeling pretty chipper, Bret. The House breakdown looks like nobody’s going to be able to get anything much done, but that’s definitely not the worst possibility...

Bret: If Herschel Walker loses the runoff in Georgia, I’ll be ecstatic. Simply the fact that every election denier who ran to become the top election official in a battleground state lost is a cause to uncork the champagne.

No one's going to get anything done! To a certain established class, that may seem like a decent outcome. Meanwhile, Stephens is hoping we can beat Herschel Walker! 

More on Bret and Gail's assessment below. For now, we'll direct you to the following fact:

Early in this year's college football season, TCU beat Tarleton State, 59-17.

A few words of explanation:

TCU (Texas Christian) runs a big-time football program. In the current Associated Press poll, they're rated as the fourth best team in the nation.

On the other hand, there's a fairly good chance that you've never heard of (the estimable) Tarleton State. Almost surely, you've never heard of the Tarleton State football program.

A bit of information:

The state involved in the name "Tarleton State" is the well-known state of Texas. The leading authority on the school offers this thumbnail sketch:

Tarleton State University is a public university with its main campus in Stephenville, Texas. It is a founding member of the Texas A&M University System and enrolled over 14,000 students in the fall of 2020.

John Tarleton Agricultural College was founded in 1899 with an endowment from settler John Tarleton. The college became a member of the Texas A&M University system in 1917. In 1949 it was renamed Tarleton State College then became a four-year degree-granting institution in 1959. Tarleton gained status as a university in 1973, adopting its current name. 

We're willing to say there's a reasonable chance that you've never heard of Stephenville, Texas. Again, the authority speaks:

Stephenville is a city in and the county seat of Erath County, Texas...As of the 2020 census, the city's population was 20,847, and it is the principal city in the Stephenville Micropolitan Statistical Area. Stephenville is among several communities that call themselves the "Cowboy Capital of the World."

For the record, Stephenville is a bit less than two hours southwest of Dallas. 

Warning! Within our tribe, we tend to roll our eyes at communities with nicknames like Stephenville's. If you stick with us a moment, that will lead us to Kevin Drum's List.

Tarleton State has been around a long time. If you've never heard of the (estimable) school, that may be because, to its former credit, it never had a big-time football program. 

Recently, Tarleton State decided to change. The relevant history follows:

Tarleton State University athletics currently competes at the NCAA Division I level in the Western Athletic Conference. They were admitted into the WAC on July 1, 2020, therefore ending their 26-year stint at the Division II level with the Lone Star Conference...

Tarleton left the LSC and Division II in July 2020 to join the Division I Western Athletic Conference. Because the WAC does not sponsor football, Tarleton football will play as a Division I FCS independent. 

Tarleton State has had a Division I football program for just the past two years. Who else has Tarleton State played this year?

They've also played Eastern New Mexico, Southwest Baptist, Southern Utah and Utah Tech. TCU played them this year because it would be easy to produce a very large victory margin.

That's part of the way college football works. That brings us to some of the victories Democrats won this year.

Especially on the Senate level, some of those victories were achieved at the expense of highly beatable opposition. In some widely reported instances, the Democratic Party actually spent money supporting those Trumpist candidates during the Republican primaries, assuming that they'd be easy to beat.

Now that those candidates have been defeated, our blue tribe can indeed breathe a sigh of relief. That said, riddle us this:

In a possibly post-Trump future, will our candidates be able to defeat more electable Republican nominees? We would be strongly inclined to call that a known unknown. Consider:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep—but the crackpot candidate Don Bolduc received 45% of the vote as he lost the New Hampshire Senate race to the estimable Maggie Hassan. 

On the gubernatorial level, the baldly disordered Kari Lake has been defeated in Arizona—but she has been defeated by less than one percent of the vote.

Gail Collins is "feeling pretty chipper" about living in a world where "nobody’s going to be able to get anything much done," but that is very much a first-world, upper-end attitude.  We've been living in that world for decades now, and our politics—and our national discourse—have been relentless clown shows.

Our blue tribe is feeling triumphant about the fact that we beat Don Bolduc! In effect, that was a win over Tarleton State. It doesn't tell us if we can compete on a higher level in the years to come.

Whether we know it or not, our blue tribe politics is a repulsive mess. On the intellectual and moral levels, our massively self-impressed tribe has long been a miserable joke, especially in the face of a world full of Sarah Cuauros.

On occasion, people in Stephenville notice such facts. In large numbers, they vote for Republicans. Are there things our tribe could do to start peeling such voters away, perhaps making Texas winnable?

In this year's elections, Donald J. Trump's massive disorder gave us a bunch of opponents we could defeat. But if the GOP moves beyond the disorder Trump, how will our game be then?

At least for now, the massive disorder of Donald J. Trump has rearranged the basic blocking and tackling of American election-year politics. How ridiculous has it become? Here's Bret Stephens' assessment of the candidates we managed to beat this year:

Bret: [T]he main takeaway from the election comes down to a line in E.E. Cummings’s poem “i sing of Olaf glad and big,” about a conscientious objector during World War I.

Gail: OK, an E.E. Cummings reference wins you the round, even before I hear it.

Bret: In the poem, Olaf says, “there is some stuff I will not eat,” although the actual word he uses is a bit more pungent than “stuff.” And what Americans said last week is that—however else they feel about inflation or crime or the overall direction of the country—they aren’t about to eat stuff when it comes to reproductive rights, election denialism and Republican candidates who have the intelligence of turnips and the personalities of tapeworms.

Tarleton State is an estimable school with a nascent football program. By way of contrast, our blue tribe has now shown that we can beat "Republican candidates who have the intelligence of turnips and the personalities of tapeworms."

If the GOP moves beyond the disorder of Trump, will we be able to beat stronger candidates?  The answer strikes us as highly unclear. 

That returns us to the intriguing, seven-point list Kevin Drum assembled last week. Are there things our tribe could do to improve its overall game?

Tomorrow: Pathways to defeat


  1. tl;dr.
    "To a certain established class, that may seem like a decent outcome."

    Make no mistake, dear Bob: it's not just a decent outcome, it's fuckin' unbelievable.

    Seriously, dear Bob: not believable. With generic national vote of R +4.3%, the distribution of House seats can't be R: 220. It should be R: 240.

    We know it, and you, dear Bob, know it., what is it, dear Bob, election fraud? If it's not, what could it be?

    1. Dear Bob, I'd wager a large sum, dear Bob, that there is a perfectly good explanation, dear Bob, for the statistic Dimbot "Mao" cites (assuming it's even accurate, dear Bob), and that the explanation, dear Bob, has nothing to do with fraud, dear Bob.

    2. Stop annoying the troll.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. "That's part of the way college football works. That brings us to some of the victories Democrats won this year."

    Somerby has started a tradition of listing the trivial articles he must wade through to get to the news that matters, every Sunday morning in the Washington Post.

    Today, he makes us wade through a bunch of sports trivia before discussing anything political in his own blog, purportedly analyzing the mainstream media.

    All that sports nonsense is his excuse for complaining about the treatment of the good decent citizens in red America, but the listing of who has which kind of football team is boring, boring, boring to anyone who doesn't fill their empty hours watching young men throw a ball around. Why on earth does Somerby think this is interesting, much less important, to anyone except himself and his fellow sports fans? And why should this be given priority over the many more important topics in the news these days?

    It is only a matter of personal preference. To Somerby, his own person preferences matter and those of other people do not. It is as simple as that.

  4. "We've been living in that world for decades now, and our politics—and our national discourse—have been relentless clown shows."

    With this sentence, Somerby ignores all of the very real accomplishments of the House, Senate and President Biden since his election. These are considerable, stacking up well against the first two years of all previous presidencies. This, not defeating MAGA Extremists, is why so many people came out and voted for Democrats in the midterms.

    Somerby does not understand that we are living in a country that is split 50-50 between Republican and Democratic voters. He has built a straw man that the red candidates should be easy to beat, but the red voters don't look at it that way. They LIKE their extremist candidates and they voted for them. Democrats managed to get more of their vote out despite voter suppression efforts on the right. Many of those blue voters were first-time voters, including women and young people (especially among minorities). THAT made a difference.

    Somerby mentions Kari Lake's near victory. Arizona is a retirement state with many conservative and especially extremist voters. Yes, she looks like a mess to us blue voters, but she doesn't look that way to her extremist base. They didn't go away in the midterm -- they voted for her. It is thus an accomplishment that Democrats won the governorship in Arizona.

    Somerby is trying to say that we should have done better, but on what basis? He asks about whether Democrats can defeat "more electable" Republicans. The term more electable means that they are harder to defeat and more likely to win. Why shouldn't they win in places where more red voters live? Somerby never asks whether MAGA Extremists are going to be able to defeat blue voters in states like NY and CA, does he? It is the same question.

    The answer to Somerby's question lies in demographics. Eventually there will be fewer boomers (older people are more likely to be conservative). Eventually there will be more Hispanic voters nationwide (Hispanics still went 75% for blue candidates outside FL). Eventually Trump will be gone and the MAGA brand will tarnish, which may release 30% of Republicans to vote for more reasonable candidates. Eventually, we will revise our voting procedures to prevent foreign meddling, hacking by Russia, and infusions of cash from the Saudis. Yes, things are expected to change.

    Somerby is back to his routine of suggesting that the Democrats need to change things by becoming more Republican. THAT is not going to happen, no matter how many conservative opinion columnists he quotes in his blog. Any more than Somerby himself is going to go back to being a liberal, much as we might all wish it would happen. He is stuck in his groove and eventually he will retire.

  5. "will our candidates be able to defeat more electable Republican nominees?"

    If Republican nominees would drop the bigotry signaling, they could pick-up a a few percentage points of voters they aren't getting, while losing more than 25% of the vote they get now.

  6. Kevin Drum (at Somerby's link) says this:

    "At the same time, it's also true that Democrats tend to lose more than Republicans do when they're perceived as extreme."

    This is not true. According to The Guardian:

    "Progressives had a lot to smile about as they woke up on Wednesday morning, after many of their preferred candidates won crucial races in the US midterm elections.

    House progressives held on in closely fought races and appeared poised to expand their ranks, even as control of the lower chamber remained up for grabs on Wednesday. Dozens of progressive members of Congress secured re-election, including embattled incumbents like Angie Craig, whose Minnesota district was considered a toss-up."

    Biden himself has been governing as more of a progressive than a moderate and he has been getting his legislation passed, despite an obstructionist moderate like Manchin and a sellout like Sinema. Democrats ran on his accomplishments and won the midterms.

    Drum is not a political pundit. He is a guy who likes to make charts and graphs, with a blog. He has no background or training in political analysis and he, like Somerby, has drifted steadily rightward.

    1. Since the runup to the invasion of Iraq.

    2. Like Somerby, Drum is an unrepentant neoliberal whose analysis is always in service of their neoliberal agenda, and is always wrong.

      When you get things as wrong and as badly as Drum, you should just bow out. Drum will not because they have a burning desire to dominate progressives. Drum is a sad lost soul.

      There is no such thing as a centrist in politics. The left wants equality, and the right wants hierarchy, particularly when it comes to who has the power to make policy decisions.

      You can support medicare for all etc all you want but if you prefer hierarchy over egalitarianism, then you are right wing.

      Drum and Somerby both suffer from the Dunning Kruger effect; supposedly they are unaware that they are some of the dullest knives in the drawer.

      They always get it wrong, brush off any flakes of self awareness and keep going, because they do not care about anything, they have no ideology, they only want to dominate, just like all right wingers.

  7. "Tarleton State is an estimable school with a nascent football program. By way of contrast, our blue tribe has now shown that we can beat "Republican candidates who have the intelligence of turnips and the personalities of tapeworms."

    What do these two things have to do with each other? Nothing whatsoever. Is Somerby trying to imply that blue states have no state colleges with football teams? On what planet?

    Bret Stephens used the e.e. cummings poem to talk about Republicans. Stephens is a conservative himself. We on the left didn't call Republicans turnips. Stephens did that.

    Women came out to vote, including many first-time voters, because women don't like what happened with Trump's conservative court apointees who overturned Roe v Wade. Somerby has never discussed this, nor even acknowledged that influence on the midterm results. To read Somerby, you'd think only men voted. He thought there would be a red wave, ignoring the increase in early voting ballots and new registrations. He has not mentioned it at all since the election. Why? It is the most obvious fact about what happened.

    To Somerby, it is as if only turnips matter. I wouldn't be surprised if that were true, given that he only mentions women here to despise them.

  8. “the crackpot candidate Don Bolduc received 45% of the vote as he lost the New Hampshire Senate race to the estimable Maggie Hassan. “

    New Hampshire is essentially a swing state. There is a strong Republican contingent there. It was pretty much a Republican state for much of its existence. Its state house has flipped a number of times recently. It has traded Democratic for Republican US House representatives and state governors and vice versa.

    Hassan won her previous race against Kelly Ayotte by just 0.1% of the vote. Presumably, Somerby wouldn’t call Ayotte a crackpot (although who can say for sure).

    In Arizona, Mark Kelly won his previous race (in 2020, against McSally) by 2.4%. This time, he won by 4.9%.

    Politics these days is highly tribal, so one would expect close races in swing states like Arizona or New Hampshire. That’s why they’re called swing states.

    I’d also like to know on what basis Somerby calls the current crop of Republican candidates “crackpots”, rather than people who know precisely what they are doing.

    1. "New Hampshire is essentially a swing state."

      Meh. New Hampshire is a good state. ...or was, rather. Ruined by greedy brain-dead Massachusetts liberals occupying, in recent decades, the southern part: around Nashua, mostly. Oh well.

    2. "Oh well."
      More like, "hell yeah!"


    3. Yeah. While we do hope that good people of NH will Live Free again eventually, the exodus of liberal rats jumping the ship of the liberal paradise of MA is unlikely to stop anytime soon... Alas...

    4. NH makes a living off those visitors from MA seeking cheaper cigarettes (no tax) and tattoo parlors.

  9. Speaking of someone with the personality of a tapeworm, Bret Stephens…

  10. I think Somerby intended to link to Drum's 7-point list of Democratic flaws, but this is where his link actually goes:

    If you read on down, he comes back to that list of things CENTRISTS don't like about liberals. But Centrists are not red voters. They are not going to support MAGA candidates and that means they were not important in the midterms. Centrists hold their noses and vote Democratic because they are not conservatives.

    This is why Somerby's idea that appealing more to centrists might win more votes for Democrats. There are no moderate red voters who might change parties and vote Democratic. Further, centrists are not the same as independents. Independents have tended to vote Republican by about 75% in past elections. In these midterms, more Independents voted for Democrats because they disliked the extremism of the MAGAts.

    This is the main dynamic in Boebert's close race. A strong Democratic candidate has swung Independents to his candidacy in the face of Boebert's obvious craziness. Frisch may or may not win, but the point is that he is running in a solid red district that has few Democrats but has attracted Independent support (and a lot of Democrat money). Is this possible in every Republican rural district? No. This is happening because Boebert has been such a moron, got herself kicked off committees and has accomplished absolutely nothing for her constituents. It is not realistic to think that Democrats can do this elsewhere simply by being nicer to red voters (and perhaps following college football?).

    So this idea about attracting more centrists to vote Democratic by frustrating the progressives is not going to fly. It makes no sense at all, whether Drum says it, or Somerby, or any of the numerous political pundits who have analyzed it. The Democrats best strategy is, as always, to get out our vote and appeal to our base, because we outnumber Republicans when we do that. And that is how Democrats win elections.

    Republicans know this and have been working hard to skew the playing field, via gerrymandering (which is where there current swing in the House is coming from), via voter suppression, and via dirty tricks (sending out disinformation about election dates and polling places). And yes, their strongest appeal is to racism and bigotry, fear and hatred. If one of their true believers had not gone overboard and attacked Paul Pelosi, they might have won the midterms.

  11. Almost everyone will agree that we live in a deeply troubled society. One of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world is the Democratic Party, so a discussion of the psychology of Democrats can serve as an introduction to the discussion of the problems of modern society in general.

    The two psychological tendencies that underlie modern Democrats we call “feelings of inferiority” and “oversocialization.” Feelings of inferiority are characteristic of modern leftism as a whole, while oversocialization is characteristic only of a certain segment of modern Democrats; but this segment is highly influential.

    1. I'll take feelings of inferiority and oversocialization any day over hatred, bigotry, violence, sociopathy and religiosity, combined with lack of empathy and disinterest in helping others.

      I wouldn't confuse Somerby's daily diatribes reviling liberals as a reflection of how liberals feel about themselves.

      One of the outcomes of the many studies of the relationship between self-esteem and academic performance is the realization that high self-esteem is an outcome of achievement, not a precursor to it. One can have the lowest self-esteem and achieve great things. Paradoxically, people who have little to claim in terms of achievement can have very high self-esteem, such as gang members. Look at Donald Trump. He will score high in self-esteem (he says he has the biggest brain and the best words) and yet he is a horrible human being. Adler said that we all have feelings of inferiority because we are born small and helpless, but that it motivates all accomplishment in adulthood. It is not a bad thing but an essential part of the human psyche, on both the left and the right.

      Whatever Democrats may be, at least we are not criminals and bigots. That is the modern choice -- seeking progress at personal expense or seeking self-interest within an extended crime family.

      I predict that later historians will chalk all of today's craziness up to the brain fog of covid. But the crazy is more on the right than the left. Democrats may occasionally want you to use some awkward pronouns, but Republicans are attacking their opponents with hammers (and AR-15s). Which sounds crazier to you -- be honest.

    2. "Feelings of inferiority” means not only inferiority feelings in the strict sense but a whole spectrum of related traits; low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, depressive tendencies, defeatism, guilt, self- hatred, etc. Modern Democrats tend to have some such feelings (possibly more or less repressed) These feelings are decisive in determining the direction of.the Democratic Party. Face it.

    3. 1:41-I guess we’ll just have to deal with our feelings of powerlessness as we exercise power in the Senate and the presidency for at least the next two years.

    4. @1:41 -- these sound like the feelings Somerby is trying to instill in Democrats (or perhaps feels himself and is projecting onto them), but this is not how Democrats feel as a group. All people are occasionally down; these feelings belong to individuals not political parties. Psychologists do not lump all of those terms together under a heading such as "feelings of inferiority." They do sound like the way someone depressed might feel, but Democrats are not depressed in any sense and do not feel inferior.

      Most of the Democrats I know are committed to their values because they believe in them and think that's how a good person lives their life, not out of deficiency. This all sounds like pop psychology derived from some right wing book trying to demonize Democrats. The misuse of psychology to harm others is part of what I have been chastizing Somerby for doing, but he isn't the only one using such a technique.

      And he is still doing it today, as he claims that Kari Lake must have psychological problems. When you see someone doing this, you should be extra suspicious and careful, since (1) a professional psychologists wouldn't participate in something like that, (2) pop psychology is not professional psychology nor is it academic psychology, (3) even a claim of mental illness requires evidence to support it. Simply calling the people you dislike, disagree with or oppose politically some name such as mentally ill, doesn't make you right or them wrong. It is disinformation, propaganda and name-calling, especially when Somerby does it.

      In summary, you are throwing around terms and you don't know what you are talking about.

    5. 1:41,
      Republicans think of Democrats (especially minorities) as inferior -- therefore Democrats must think of themselves as inferior too.

      No, that isn't how it works. Republicans ARE inferior on every measure (jobs, health, income, divorces, drug abuse, education), so they need to bully others in order to feel better about themselves. Pushing women around and hating those who are different is the mechanism by which Republicans stave off their own recognition that they ARE inferior. Republicans went for Trump because he makes them feel better about themselves.

    6. One of the most depressing things to me about the Democratic Party is it now has a kind of directionless quality. A kind of eschatological malaise has settled over the whole party. All notion of any forward movement toward a transcendental ideal has been put aside for the exploration of idiosyncratic political visions. And I grant you: this is a tension between the individual platforms and the notion of an attractor or a collective political ideal that is asking to be expressed.

      But this is the same dichotomous tension that haunts the individual in his or her relationship to their cell phone. We don’t want to be lost in ego, but on the other hand, when we completely swallow the Democtatic Party platform whole, we have no sense of self. The ideal seems to be a kind of coincidencia oppositorum: a kind of literalizing of politics where what we have is somethng called the Democratic Party , but we perceive it as the American people proving anew that freedom is best secured by a government that is responsive and compassionate and committed to justice and the rule of law.

    7. If more Republicans could write doubletalk like this, they would be thought of as the smart ones.

    8. And @4:00 is admitting that he is depressed, thereby showing that Republicans have all those "feelings of inferiority" too!

    9. Feminist Democrats are desperately anxious to prove that women are as strong and as capable as men. Clearly they are nagged by a fear that women are not as strong and as capable as men.

      Democrats in general tend to hate anything that has an image of being strong, good and successful.

    10. 4:00 PM,
      Silly wabbit. MAGA is a cult. You aren't supposed to have any sense of individuality -- in fact that is the whole point. To be subsumed by something larger than oneself, rich as Croesus and strong like daddy, who promises so much Winning! America has always emphasized individuality, which has minimized the appeal of authoritarian dictatorship previously, but perhaps the struggle with covid and the uncertainty of the future have caused the weaker on the right to seek comfort in unity under Trump. Wanting to be told what to do is nothing new.

      The majority vote in an election is always characterized as the Will of the American people. Yes, it is Democratic this time (mostly). But winning an election doesn't make Democrats autocratic rulers. Republicans have input and must exercise their agency in a collective process. This is about process, not party will. And yes, all those candidates have their own agendas. When you elect a Democrat, you hope they will not turn out like Manchin or Sinema (if you are not a Republican).

      So cheer up. Our democratic engine runs on individualism guided by our nation's shared ideals. To the extent that the right abdicates its ideals, it leaves itself in the hands of either a dictator-wannabee like Trump/Putin or the Democrats. It is not impossible for Republicans to wake up and become a principled party again, but it will take some work.

    11. 4:18

      Words like “self-confidence,” “self-reliance,” “initiative,” “enterprise,” “optimism,” etc., play little role in a Democrat's vocabulary. They are anti-individualistic, pro-collectivist. They want society to solve everyone’s problems for them, satisfy everyone’s needs for them, take care of them. They are not the sort of person who have an inner sense of confidence in their ability to solve their own problems and satisfy their own needs. Democrats are antagonistic to the concept of competition because, deep inside, they feel like a losers.

    12. Democrats nvest most of their energy into taking care of others, not being taken care of themselves. That fact undermines your theory.

    13. "...their energy into taking care of others"

      Whoa. Interesting choice of words, dear dembot.
      Is it "taking care" as in mob-speak or whore-talk?

    14. Democrats want to replace the world “primitive” by “nonliterate.” They seem almost paranoid about anything that might suggest that any primitive culture is inferior to our own.

      Many Democrats have an intense identification with the problems of groups that have an image of being weak (women), defeated (American Indians), repellent (homosexuals) or otherwise inferior. They feel that these groups are inferior. They would never admit to themselves that they have such feelings, but it is precisely because they do see these groups as inferior that they identify with their problems.

      So it goes in the Democratic Party.

    15. Nonliterate is descriptive not judgmental.

      The rest of this is conservative bunk.

    16. Most democrats can't be gaslit by your nonsense because most democrats have more than 2 brain cells.

      Republicans always talk about optimism and self reliance because male Republicans all suffer from having a small penis, such as yourself; therefore, Republicans have to be optimistic that their women will someday stop sleeping behind their backs with Democrats, but until that day they have to rely on themselves for sex.

    17. Democrats have have changed. They are a kind of cybernetic coral reef of organic components and inorganic political policies empowering grassroots voters. They have become a force which takes unorganized raw ideas and excretes technical political coalitions that transcend the normal definitions of politics. Democrats and the left are like an enormous collective organism of data banks that forecast agencies and our computer networks and the many levels at which we are connected in the universe. The monkey is out of the bag. It is a kind of millenarian transformation of man where the will of the electorate is exteriorized as the apotheosis of democracy, and it is that eschatological event which is casting enormous shadows backward through time over the historical landscape. That is the siren calling Democrats across a new millenia toward pure imagination whose aspirations are entirely titanic in terms of winning elections.

    18. "They are anti-individualistic, pro-collectivist."
      Add "top-down decision-makers", and you've described the U.S. military.

    19. The Democrats can't get the US Military's thing out of their mouth, can they?

  12. Of the items on Drum's list, how many are real and how many are based on Republican disinformation about Democrats?

    o They think we're too lax on crime.

    This is not true of Democrats. Nor are crime rates rising except murders during covid. Democrats have proposed ways of letting non-violent criminals out of prison during covid, but otherwise are not lax.

    o They think we're constantly making up stupid new rules.

    Non-specific. Is this about pronouns or business regulations or environmental protections? I would dispute the word "stupid" and suggest that these be weighed against the benefits of enforcing such rules.

    o They think we want to let in too many illegal immigrants.

    Democrats are in favor of enforcing borders too, just more humanely. The idea that Dems favor open borders is Republican disinformation.

    o They think we want to spend money endlessly and drive up the debt.

    Not factually correct -- the biggest deficits have happened under Republicans. Dems have been concerned about paying for programs for decades now. And look at Bill Clinton's budget surplus.

    o They were appalled by the looting and rioting during the BLM protests of 2020 and think Democrats should have denounced it more vigorously.

    Dems have denounced violence vigorously. Studies showed that Dems didn't commit the looting and rioting, just the protests, which were 95% peaceful. Meanwhile Proud Boys and Boogaloo Bois were found to have gone to protests to clash with "antifa" and start race riots and their desired civil war. There have been arrests and court convictions of such agitators, who are not Democrats. Looters are mainly opportunists taking advantage of the protest to steal, not Democrats and Democrats do not support them.

    o They think wokeness is ridiculous. They want us to stop talking like academics from another galaxy.

    Woke is a term from the African American community, referring to someone aware of their own history. It was repurposed by the right wing to attack Democrats who support civil rights.

    All academics talk like citizens from another galaxy. That is not going to stop because academic terms are needed to capture meaning that doesn't exist using everyday language. They are talking to each other, not everyday people. Republicans don't have to listen to them if they are not interested in the nuances being discussed. Engineers and physicists are just as bad as social scientists in that regard.

    o They do not like being called racist.

    They should stop being racist then. The point of calling people racist is to deter them from racist behavior via peer pressure (social disapproval). Civil rights is an important Democratic issue and Dems are not going to abandon it in order to be better liked by Centrists.

    Quite a few of the items on Drum's list come from complaints by Tucker Carlson and his ilk. We Democrats do not take marching orders from the right wing.

    1. This idea, that Democrats need to move to the center in order to win more elections, becomes more and more preposterous upon reflection. Drum clearly states it, Somerby does his usual, linking to Drum, but never clearly taking a position.

      The implication is that Democrats (or progressives, or liberals, or whatever term drum/Somerby wish to conflate) are extreme. This is preposterous.

      First of all, for House races, candidates win by appealing to the voters in their district, not some mythical “centrist” voter.

      Secondly, take a random issue, say minimum wage. Democrats are for it, Republicans against it. There IS NO centrist position. And supporting minimum wage isn’t extreme. One can argue about the size of the minimum wage, but abolishing it seems extreme.

      Take abortion. The extremes would be “ illegal under all circumstances” and “ legal under all circumstances.” Very few advocate the latter. Democrats support the consensus view, which was essentially Roe v Wade. It is the Republicans who are extreme.

      Taxes? Democrats support raising them on corporations and the wealthy a certain amount to fund social programs. Republicans want to abolish taxes. That is the extreme position. And on and on.

      So it comes down to a “perception” that Democrats are extreme, and that is almost entirely driven by the media.


    2. "Very few advocate the latter."

      Oh yeah? And what about the recent CA state constitutional amendment? It doesn't seem to stipulate any conditions whatsoever.

      ...and that's the whole state of CA. And CA is a big, big state. How does it fit into "very few"?..

    3. Without looking at the specifics of California’s proposition (which is currently winning with 66% of the vote), I will amend my original formulation to state that the argument is between “abortion is illegal under all circumstances” and “abortion is a woman’s right.”

      There is no centrist position.

      Thanks for the clarification.

  13. From Digby:

    One of the most disempowering things Democrats have done is to essentially brush out their party's footprints into the past. We don’t have a clue as to how we got here. Most Democratic voters can’t think further back than the first Nixon administration—let alone, you know, the arrival of the Vikings, the melting of the glaciers, so forth and so on.

    Most (but not all) Democrats have been disempowered by a rational tendency to deny their irrational roots, which is kind of an embarrassment to politics because politics is the special province of the disincarnate intelligence.