Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

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Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#1

Post by DejaMoo » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:45 pm

Another good read from Matt Taibbi:
Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

"The true divide in the population has never been between Republicans and Democrats, but between haves and have-nots."
:snippity:
The idea that people who want expanded health care, reduced income inequality, fewer wars and more public services are "unrealistic" springs from an old deception in our politics.

For decades pundits and pols have been telling progressive voters they don't have the juice to make real demands, and must make alliances with more "moderate" and presumably more numerous "centrists" in order to avoid becoming the subjects of right-wing monsters like Reagan/Bush/Bush/Trump.

Voters for decades were conned into thinking they were noisome minorities whose best path to influence is to make peace with the mightier "center," which inevitably turns out to support military interventionism, fewer taxes for the rich, corporate deregulation and a ban on unrealistic "giveaway" proposals like free higher education. Those are the realistic, moderate, popular ideas, we're told.

But it's a Wizard of Oz trick, just like American politics in general. There is no numerically massive center behind the curtain. What there is instead is a tiny island of wealthy donors, surrounded by a protective ring of for-sale major-party politicians (read: employees) whose job it is to castigate too-demanding voters and preach realism.



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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#2

Post by TollandRCR » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:59 pm

Indeed. Can we now persuade the DNC of this?


“The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.” Kurt Vonnegut

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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#3

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:05 pm

TollandRCR wrote:Indeed. Can we now persuade the DNC of this?
The DNC is too busy raising money.

Remember the DNC staffer who used to post here and was so proud of the DNC's money-raising accomplishments? He became unhappy with our sneers. I wonder if he was equally unhappy with the predictable results of the last two elections, predictable because all the DNC cared about was raising money.



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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#4

Post by TollandRCR » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:45 pm

I really fear that you are right. If the membership of the DNC is about the same as the membership in 2008 and 2012 and 2016, we can only hope for a Saul of Tarsus moment for them.


“The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.” Kurt Vonnegut

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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#5

Post by Suranis » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:51 pm

To be fair, his point was that that the election plans were going fine as the poll numbers were solid, not just that raising money was the way to go. And in his defense the 2014 election was going fine till the Democrats decided that it was better not to support the ACA and president Obama, at which point their poll numbers went through the floor and the guy stopped posting. I don't blame him for that, really.

With one exception (namely Hawaii's Governer), everyone that actually had Obama campaign with them and supporting the ACA won, so yeah well done Dems.

And the only reason the GOP is not out there begging for money is that they have access to the people that actually have money, whole the Dems have to scrabble for table scraps. John Oliver did a show on what a shit show fundraising in general has become in American politics, bipartisanly. Not everyone is Trump who could count on 25 hour news coverage every time he scratches his arse. Everyone else has NO CHOICE but to fundraise. If you have a better idea how to win without fundraising for advertising in a post citizens united world, I'm sure the Dems will be all ears. Because everyone that Oliver interviewed there HATES it, but they have no choice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ylomy1Aw9Hk


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#6

Post by TollandRCR » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:54 pm

Over-reliance on poll numbers was one of the causes of loss by the Clinton campaign.


“The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.” Kurt Vonnegut

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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#7

Post by Suranis » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:03 pm

And how come I'm the one being rational and pointing out things about your system, when I'm supposed to be the crazy conservative. :D
Post by TollandRCR » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:54 pm
Over-reliance on poll numbers was one of the causes of loss by the Clinton campaign.
What???? O.k. now THAT statement is coming from alternate realty X, becasue from the story that came out of the TRUMP campaign THEY were the ones relying on poll numbers which is why he focused on Wisconsin in a GENIUS move.

First Hillary ignored the poll numbers in WI which is why she lost, then she OVER RELIED on Poll numbers which is why she lost. Uh huh.

I think some people are trying to rationally and falsely attribute blame in an election where the results were not rational at all. Sorry, but in my book HRC was up against forces that had not been unleashed against any other canddiate in the history of Planet Earth, and the fact that she STILL beat Donald Trump shows that she ran a solid campaign. And you know she beat him as he is still trying to prove she didn't.

Get your brain away from blaming Hillary and start fighting the REAL demons. Who are pulling their greatest trick by convincing you it wasn't them but to blame the victim.

And, frankly, I'm sick and tired of pointing it out. Fact, Hillary Clinton Beat "the most popular candidate evah!" that we are supposed to look at for the future, Sanders, by 3.6 MILLION votes. Backing a loser becasue his name wasn't Hillary is not going to get you anywhere.

I guess I'm seperated from the daily "blame the victim" propaganda you all are being subjected to so I can see that.


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#8

Post by NotaPerson » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:23 pm

I don't know, I'm having a mixed reaction to this.

On the one hand, I've long considered myself something of a centrist (though the word I've always used was "pragmatist") and yet I'm definitely drifting more left these days, largely in reaction to Trump. Part of me wants to believe Taibbi knows what he's talking about. And I can agree that we make too much of the Republican-Democrat divide. I still remember the early polls showing that Sanders would beat Trump by a greater margin than Clinton would. I also recall reading about some Trump voters saying they would have been glad to vote for Sanders, had he been nominated by the Dems. I find myself wondering "what if.." a lot these days.

On the other hand, I find writing (from the Taibbi article) like this to be so overly simplistic as to be almost nonsensical...
Even in the most conservative possible interpretation of economic data, a general picture of haves and have-nots in the voting population would still be something like 20/80 (20 percent of Americans own 89 percent of privately held wealth, while the bottom 80 percent owns just 11 percent).

The danger implicit in these numbers to the "broadly satisfied with the status quo" types is obvious. If 80 percent of Americans ever realized their shared economic situation, they could and probably should take over government.
Now, I'm totally on board with the notion that there is far too much income inequality in America (and elsewhere in the world, for that matter). Yes, the bottom 80 percent should own more than 11 percent of the wealth. But it's obviously incorrect to say that this 80 percent of Americans have a "shared economic situation." They do not. There are plenty people in that 80 percent who struggle to pay their mortgage/rent/bills every month, and have few (if any) avenues for improving their situation. But many others are doing okay- they may wish they had more money, that they could afford to take a year off and travel the world, or they could leave a bigger inheritance to their kids, etc., but nevertheless they are "broadly satisfied with the status quo." There are also plenty of people who are currently struggling economically only because they are young and/or in entry-level jobs - but have good reason to be optimistic about their future careers in growing industries (health care, info tech, etc.). These folks too, on the whole, are not interested in any "revolution."

Needless to say, the article ignores the very real divides that exist in this country between those favor liberal ideals on various social issues (civil rights for gays and racial minorities, gun control, etc.) and those who do not. Anyone who has spent time reading comments in response to media stories or Facebook posts on such issues knows that these things divide us just as much, if not more, than the economic issue of who owns how much.

So the suggestion that anywhere near 80 percent of Americans could come together and vote for someone who promises to upset the apple cart and soak the rich in order to pay for free college and health care for all is just ludicrous.

The centrists may be wearing a black eyes right now due to the Trump election, may be struggling to see a more positive political path forward, but they still exist. In huge numbers.

Consider this: If Hillary Clinton had been a bit more likable, had not been the subject of a damned FBI investigation, and had thus walked away with the 2016 election (as I believe she would have), would people on the left now be bitching about centrists? I don't think so.


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#9

Post by Dan1100 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:26 pm

It is worth noting that what is radical economic leftism here is centrism in most of the industrialized, civilized world.

Things like paid sick leave, mandatory vacation, decent health care for all, a liveable minimum wage, paid maternity leave, etc are all centrist ideas that most rich nations take for granted as the status quo.


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#10

Post by Suranis » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:28 pm

NotaPerson wrote:... and had thus walked away with the 2016 election (as I believe she would have), would people on the left now be bitching about centrists? I don't think so.
Hell yes they would. They would be howling about Hillary just like they howled about Obama. They would be complaining that she should have won by more than what she did, and Sanders would have won by 20 points, giving Dems the House, and Senate with his coat tails...

You know I'm right.


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#11

Post by p0rtia » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:46 pm

Dan1100 wrote:It is worth noting that what is radical economic leftism here is centrism in most of the industrialized, civilized world.

Things like paid sick leave, mandatory vacation, decent health care for all, a liveable minimum wage, paid maternity leave, etc are all centrist ideas that most rich nations take for granted as the status quo.
It's also worth nothing that "here" is a generalization/over simplification, and that vast numbers of us who also live "here" are well aware of this fact and indeed scream about it from dawn to dusk in every way possible to try to scrape the scales from the eyes of friends, relations, news media types, and the world at large who ignore history and basic dictionary definitions. And beat our heads against the wall every time someone suggests we don't know this (ouch--I need a cookie!).

Indeed I think that's the OP's point.


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#12

Post by TollandRCR » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:31 pm

Here is what the polls showed on the morning of election day. Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania were blue.


Here is what happened:


It was, as always in U.S. presidential elections, the state polls that mattered.

Some members of Clinton's campaign (reportedly including Bill) are reported to have urged her to travel to these battleground states, at least to Wisconsin and Michigan. She did not do so.

This GIF shows campaign stops by day from September 1 to the election. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/th ... handy-gif/

That Michigan stop was at Grand Valley State University fieldhouse in Allendale, near Grand Rapids. She had earlier gone to Detroit. The center of the state is also hurting.

Even the number of dots matters: 106 for Trump, 70 for Clinton in the last ten weeks.


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#13

Post by NotaPerson » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:23 pm

I'll say this much for this thread - it somehow inspired me to go ahead and donate to the campaign of Randy Bryce, the populist Dem who's running against Paul Ryan.

The guy has collected close to $500K in about a month's time.

In case you'd like to do the same: https://randybryceforcongress.com/about/

8-)


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#14

Post by Suranis » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:41 pm

And she campaigned in Florida for weeks and it went red. Talk to Orlicious about that. If she had been doing stuff in WI you would now be complaining that she should have spent time in Florida where there was a good chance of snagging votes and the reason you lost florida is that they felt ignored blah blah blah.

I'm sorry, but this blame the victim shit is stupid, and I'm sick and tired of it.


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#15

Post by NotaPerson » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:57 pm

Suranis wrote: I'm sorry, but this blame the victim shit is stupid, and I'm sick and tired of it.
Hillary may have been a victim of plenty of forces, but I don't think it's stupid to say she's partially to blame for having lost the election. She was a very strong candidate in some ways, yet deeply flawed in others.


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#16

Post by Suranis » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:08 pm

It's very easy to 20/20 hindsight these things. Also, people are not interested in how she is partially to blame. Sure she made mistakes and could have done some things better, but saying her EC loss is all on her for relying on polls is silly. And Trump's behavior shows he knows it too.

Those pics eoll showed could as much be evidence of voter suppression and tampering as Hillery mistakes...


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#17

Post by TollandRCR » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:16 pm

Nobody is saying that the Clinton campaign's reading of the state polls made the difference in the Electoral College. The most that I am saying is that it mattered that she did not campaign in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania at the end of the campaign. And nobody is blaming the "victim." I actually do not know who decided not to campaign in those states at the end. I do think there is likely to be some close inspection of the model that supported the campaign.


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#18

Post by RoadScholar » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:19 pm

I watched the aggregate polling obsessively, and her numbers took a serious hit when the "Hillary can't walk up stairs without help" meme (thanks, Russkies) hit, and really began to tank the day Comey said what he said about her emails. Right before the election she was close to even; the graph lines had converged.

And she still got 3 million more votes.

So no, you can't hang all of the blame on HRC. She wuz sandbagged. :evil:


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#19

Post by NotaPerson » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:23 pm

It's not 20/20 hindsight to say it was a really bad idea (a truly fucking awful one) to accept over $600 from Goldman Sachs for a few speeches, and then refuse to release the transcripts. :doh:

Nor is it 20/20 hindsight to say that being the subject of an FBI investigation is...like...a really bad thing when you're running for president.

Centrist or not, can we all just agree that a candidate is likely to do better when he/she is NOT under investigation by the FBI? Thank you.

But I think we're getting off topic, so I'll stop.


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#20

Post by p0rtia » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:31 pm

NotaPerson wrote:
Suranis wrote: I'm sorry, but this blame the victim shit is stupid, and I'm sick and tired of it.
Hillary may have been a victim of plenty of forces, but I don't think it's stupid to say she's partially to blame for having lost the election. She was a very strong candidate in some ways, yet deeply flawed in others.
Deeply flawed compared to whom? I didn't realize that "deeply flawed" was a handicap in the 2016 election.

I'm with Suranis on this. I'm also tired of people (not implying you, here Nota, since you're talking about plenty of forces) who think there is one core reason for the loss, or one foundational reason. Complex, and non-linear. So many of these these wildly frustrating Dem on Dem discussions are based on "I have the right reason" "No, I have the right reason." It's economics! It's racism! It's the money! It's the media (raises hand)! It's Russia! It's the alt-right's fear-mongering! It's the blue collar wo- ... oh sweet Jesus I can't even say it.

Off topic: Victim-blaming is an interesting phenomenon. I've followed murder trials for years, and as night follows day, if the dead person doesn't get blamed, the parents of the victim are blamed by a certain portion of people. Boggles the mind, to watch people discover the flaws in the parents and magically connect those flaws to the murder as if they're Glenn Beck with his white board. Victim (the dead person)-blaming by proxy.


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#21

Post by maydijo » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:02 pm

NotaPerson wrote:
Now, I'm totally on board with the notion that there is far too much income inequality in America (and elsewhere in the world, for that matter). Yes, the bottom 80 percent should own more than 11 percent of the wealth. But it's obviously incorrect to say that this 80 percent of Americans have a "shared economic situation." They do not. There are plenty people in that 80 percent who struggle to pay their mortgage/rent/bills every month, and have few (if any) avenues for improving their situation. But many others are doing okay- they may wish they had more money, that they could afford to take a year off and travel the world, or they could leave a bigger inheritance to their kids, etc., but nevertheless they are "broadly satisfied with the status quo." There are also plenty of people who are currently struggling economically only because they are young and/or in entry-level jobs - but have good reason to be optimistic about their future careers in growing industries (health care, info tech, etc.). These folks too, on the whole, are not interested in any "revolution."
This. Exactly this. Our household income is close to the median household income for Australia. In Sydney or Melbourne, with a Sydney or Melbourne sized mortgage, we'd be struggling. But because we made a decision to move to a rural area and pay cash for a house*, our living expenses are very low. We have a good work-life balance, and our income is enough to meet our needs and enough of our wants**. The trade-off, of course, is that well-paid jobs are few and far between here; we've traded increased income for time. But the point is, just because we're pretty much smack-dab in the middle, it doesn't mean we're feeling hard-done-by. We've consciously made choices that affect our income, and we feel very fortunate that we're in a position to consciously make those choices - many people don't have that luxury. A revolution would likely not benefit us too much; if money becomes a priority, we can make different choices, but revolutions are tiresome and bloody and really, who could be bothered, when we've got it pretty good as it is?

*I inherited some money. My family earned its money the old-fashioned way, by stealing land from the natives.

**We don't have very many wants, which also helps us to be satisfied with the status quo. Some neighbours of ours have fewer marketable skills (and refuse to go back for further training or education) and a spotty work history (they think nothing of quitting their jobs to go on a vacation), and predictably, they also a much lower income; but they have A LOT of wants. If they find an extra $5 in the savings account they'll spend it, and then tell me how poor they are. They'd love a revolution. I don't think they understand that, in their circumstances, actually getting an education and sticking with a job for more than 6 months would probably be easier and more beneficial for them.



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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#22

Post by Suranis » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:27 am

NotaPerson wrote:It's not 20/20 hindsight to say it was a really bad idea (a truly fucking awful one) to accept over $600 from Goldman Sachs for a few speeches, and then refuse to release the transcripts. :doh:
Who else has been asked to release fucking transcripts of their speeches? That's as asinine as saying "all he had to do was release his Birth certificate." So on, name anyone else that was asked to give transcripts of their speeches as a private citizen. I'll wait.

Do you actually think she keeps a copy of every single speech she has ever made in a filing cabinet somewhere? It was a nothing, Sanders knew that she couldn't give a transcript of a speech because she didn't have one as such, and she should have told Sanders to fuck off when he blabbered about it, rather than humm and hay about how to refuse to give something she didn't have. Sanders wouldnt have been able to give reasnscripts of specific speeches either. Besides, guess what, pretty much EVERYONE in politics has made speeches at Goldman at one time or other. Irish Politicians have.
Nor is it 20/20 hindsight to say that being the subject of an FBI investigation is...like...a really bad thing when you're running for president.

Centrist or not, can we all just agree that a candidate is likely to do better when he/she is NOT under investigation by the FBI? Thank you.
There was only one person under FBI investigation when Americans went to the polls, and his name was not Hillary Clinton. Hell the fucker gave the fact he was under investigation by the IRS as a reason why he couldn't release his financial information!

Hell, she was only under investigation for, what, a month, and t started after she had declared her candidacy, and when the report came out it barely mentioned her, but seriously critisised the practices of every OTHER sec of state. It wasn't her fault that was caught up in a general investigation of IT practices in the State Dept where she did little or nothing wrong. The email shit was a nothing, and Comey said she wasn't guilty of anything in May, and from then on she wasn't under "FBI investigation," but Trump was.Its not her fault that the media kept mentioning emails in between their 70 hours a day coverage of Trump wiping his ass on live TV.

Or should she not have run because in the future she and her opponent would be investigated? How the hell was she to know that? Tarot cards?

Seriously, you have to be twisted up to be saying that Trump was not affected by his investigations but it was bad for the victim, and it was the victims fault that people lied about her, and the media kept chanting" but her emails" in responce to every one of Trumps scandals. I bet you are going to say she shouldn't have run because she said mean things about Monica Lewinsky, and ya that was another attack I heard before the Media settled on the Email shit as the attack Du Jour. Ya, a woman doesn't like a girl who fucked her husband, oh the humanity!!

Yeesh.


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#23

Post by Mikedunford » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:39 am

I think most of the reason that Clinton lost comes down to external factors like Russia, Comey, etc. I think at least part of the reason she was in a position where those factors could become decisive is due to her weaknesses as a candidate.

And I'm definitely not behind the idea that centrism is the problem. Irrational tribalism, on the other hand...


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#24

Post by Slartibartfast » Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:49 am

Off topic and I don't care.

Do any of you really think Tollie is scapegoating or baselessly blaming Hillary? If so, shame on you! It's like every time someone tries to start an autopsy someone else starts complaining about them desecrating the body. I'm sick and tired of this unscientific scolding. Hillary made mistakes. Hillary was a deeply flawed candidate. The campaign relied too much on polling that was egregiously wrong.

None of these things is in doubt. A scientist must be their own worst critic. If you are not willing to subject yourself or your leaders to that level of scrutiny and criticsm then your opinion is inferior to those that are. Sorry, but that's just the plain truth as well.

It is never pleasant to admit our mistakes, but it is a necessary step to fixing them and avoiding them in the future. If the election of Trump is not a wakeup call that politics as usual won't work anymore then we may as well give up. I, for one, refuse. Even if I am merely raging against the dying of the light, I'm going to keep advocating the best known principle for understanding the universe: science.

If anyone wants to address the merits of what I said, fine. I'm more than capable of defending my position or owning my mistakes as needed, but if you want to shame or scold those of us with the integrity to honestly examine the causes that led to President Trump, then maybe you should consider the possibility that you don't understand as well as you think you do.

Sorry if this is harsh. I normally go over posts like this dozens of times, but I have no power or internet and my phone is down to 20% charge and I'm tired of seeing myself and others shamed, scolded, and misrepresented for expressing our honest scientific viewpoint.

Plus what Mike D said.


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Re: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

#25

Post by listeme » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:15 am

That's kind of a weird piece. I know it's opinion. It's chock full of opinion.
Our media priesthood reacted with near-universal horror at the election in Britain. We panned the result in which Labour, led by the despised Corbyn, took 261 seats and won 40 percent of the vote, Labour's largest share since hallowed third-way icon Tony Blair won 40.7 percent in 2001.
Eh?

Priesthood, horror, despised, hallowed, icon -- these are manipulative words, and they're very good ones. Also, not all that accurate from my following of the coverage of the election, and I followed it pretty damn closely.

Anyway, my real beef with this piece is that it's only about economic centrism. (And there is such a thing!) But the omission of the very large part of the tent who cares about social policy is, well, glaring. Occupy was important. So is BLM. This reinforces the idea that some of us have that the economic progressives have no care for the so-called identity politics, for what it's worth. (As does carrying on for eight months about the working class whites.)

If there's a place for moderates in social policy, then there's a place for moderates in economic policy. (In the big tent.)


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