Hoisted from Comments: How the Democrats Lost Flyover

Although political scientists use different events as turning points in the process of the Democrats rejecting their labor/working class roots, it still took time for that emerging consensus to translate into policies that amounted to betrayal of their former base. Many point to NAFTA as a key event, although it took time for its effects to play out.

In some parts of the country, the repudiation of the interests of ordinary people was more abrupt, and the backlash sharper. Amfortas explained how it played out in Texas in the 1990s. And notice a key element: the sudden (and relatively recent) emergence of evangelicals as a political force. Reagan made much of the support of Billy Graham, but the Christian right then as only learning to flex its muscles.

And that is why I keep harping on the failure of the women’s liberation movement, as it was called then, to have abortion rights protected by statute during Peak Feminism, the 1970s. That was a winnable fight, but they put all their political chips on the quixotic goal of passing an equal rights amendment. In that era, conservative Christians were generally seen as retrograde cranks.

Stillfeelinthebern kicked off the exchange by taking offense at Hillary Clinton elbowing her way back into the press via reading her 2016 acceptance speech:

Saw the “Master Class,” in an article headline earlier this week and thought it was parody. The Clintons and the DNC have no clue how much real people across the political spectrum hate the Clintons.

Living in flyover county this is constantly evident. People in central Wisconsin feel the same way as Amafortas says about his area of Texas.

Bernie represented someone who was true to his principles, he cared about regular people, he was trusted. He carried every county against Hillary in Wisconsin. The treatment of Bernie by the consulting political class is shortsighted and more evidence of their “lack” of any expertise other than raising $$.

Having Hillary pop up constantly is pouring salt on the wounds.

From Amfortas the hippie:

out here, it was the farm bill, that ended both the peanut subsidy as well as the agora/mohair subsidy for this whole region.
i think that was 1996, but i’d hafta go look to be sure.
put my county into an immediate depression.
prior to this, this county…and the broader swath of rangeland, cotton plain and goat and sheep herds to the north and west…was solidly democratic.
LBJ(from just down the road, and who got us paved roads) and FDR(who got us electricity) were still openly revered and remembered.
but that farm bill sent us’n’s into the waiting mandibles of the Right Wing, who had already been making major moves in texas(see: Lil George as goobernator)
that opened the door to the Rightyfication of all and sundry, out here…i watched it happen.
suddenly, Rush, et alia, were on every radio(hadn’t even thought about that guy since i escaped from austin, several years prior)…and as cable came to town(town only) Fox came with it(prior to this, noone could get a broadcast TV signal without elaborate and expensive giant antennae and boosters)….and then dialup crept out this way…and that was that.
interestingly, the local preachers were instrumental in this shift to righty ideology…this place has always been small-c conservative…that’s just small, rural america(see: wendell berry)…but apparently, the lutherans, baptists and methodists got a memo from on high right around the end of the 90’s…because the sermons, etc changed into political indoctrination.
Then, the 2 steeplejacking groups arrived, and started in on dividing up various congregations…engendering fights over racial inclusion and the way they talked about the poor. several churches split asunder due to this behaviour…went from 14 churches to 23(!!)…and have finally settled into around 18(in a county with a population around 4400).
this steeplejacking had a major impact on public politics and ideology…fox and rush and the GOP couldn’t have done as well without it.

but this apparent strength of the Righty narrative is utterly reliant on such reinforcement….sustained and with the ability to exclude any alternative.
if the internet went down…or fox crumbled…it would not be possible…because the policies and the hatreds aren’t sustainable by themselves….
too many folks hurting….and way too many folks with brown people in their extended families.
that’s how little ol’ me made such giant strides in singlehandedly promoting Bernie and a New New Deal…i sit out here and think: what if it hadn’t been just me?
what if the demparty had actively campaigned out here for stuff people actually care about?
as it stands, the county demparty hasn’t had a storefront or working phone number since 2004.
the PMC rump of the local dems are all in hiding…afraid of being killed…or merely wanting to avoid having to defend themselves when uncle billy learns that they’re pinko commies who want to turn us all gay.
a few of them did manage to do a black lives matter “rally” on the courthouse lawn(2 black folks in whole county…anti mexican is the local racism that matters, here)…attended by all of 10 people..all obnoxiously wealthy and woke and wholly white…and all it did was serve as fodder for ugly jokes in the local online righty spaces(i still surveil,lol)

Eclair replied:

Nice history encapsulation, Amfortas.

Much the same in Warren County, Pennsylvania, which nestles up to Chautauqua County, NY. The latter leans a bit more to the left, due to SUNY Fredonia in ‘north county.’ And the remnants of an industrial base in Jamestown.

Warren County, where my spouse’s family settled and where dozens of descendants still live, is a mix of agricultural and extraction economies. The City of Warren has a major refinery, as well as dozens of large and well-maintained early 20th century houses. But, on the whole, poor and white. His family, chosing agriculture over extraction, was active in the Grange movement: they rallied against the monopolistic practices of railroads and espoused suffrage for women (who actually held Grange leadership positions.) And published cookbooks, of course.

And, somewhere along the way, they all became Republican. Because Republicans stand for self-reliance, small government, low taxes, business (with a small ‘b’), family, patriotism. They don’t want a ‘handout,’ or ‘free’ college. They want a job after they graduate from high school. One that pays them a decent salary with raises and a chance to become a supervisor, a couple of weeks of paid vacation, decent health insurance, and a respectable pension. Or, they want to be able to work in their own business; auto repair, plumbing, electrician. Or they want to farm; raise beef cattle or pigs, grow strawberries and sweet corn, keep the small dairy operation their great-grandfather started.

There are always the outliers, like my spouse. Who have itchy feet or ace high school calculus and want to see Silicon Valley or Broadway.

Warren County is awash in ginormous TRUMP banners and signs. On flagpoles, lawns, barns and front porches. If there is a polar opposite to ‘chosen people,’ that’s how most Warren County residents think of themselves.

Amfortas again:

Eclar: “….they want a job after they graduate from high school. One that pays them a decent salary with raises and a chance to become a supervisor, a couple of weeks of paid vacation, decent health insurance, and a respectable pension. Or, they want to be able to work in their own business; auto repair, plumbing, electrician. Or they want to farm; raise beef cattle or pigs, grow strawberries and sweet corn, keep the small dairy operation their great-grandfather started.”

a fella could win in a landslide on all that out here…if it could be credibly sold.
I am 100% certain that at least 90% of the voting public around here…and at least 70% of the rest(if it’s explained) want just that.
a life with dignity, and not too much hardship(just enough of the latter to “build character”, and such)…and a fair shake and a fair deal and some semblance of security…and of continuity…
but when you get into the nitty gritty of HOW to do all that…that’s when the cognitive dissonance kicks in.
because we had that, before…at least a lot of the grandparents of these people did(wife’s people…not so much…Bracero program, and so on)…but it was under FDR and LBJ and IKE!…and all those other damned commies that they’ve been taught to hate and fear over the last 40+ years.
“we” are 40 years behind on the indoctrination front.

Study after study has shown that once people earn enough to pay for their needs at a decent level and have some safety buffers, more money does not make them happier. In fact, high income inequality produces great positional precarity: slip a bit and you can no longer afford the tutors for your kids, your board seat at your pet charity, your ski vacations, or even your second home. These may seem silly but loss of standing translates into loss of (perceived) friends, not being able to network at the right level, not being able to send the kids to the right college, maybe even a divorce if the spouse is attached to a certain lifestyle.

These are big concerns among the professional managerial classes. They are so removed from survival needs and what it takes to have a good life that it’s not hard to see why many regular Americans view the Democrats with loathing for being fixated on these intra-caste pursuits.

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  1. DJG, Reality Czar

    Thanks for this. These are comments from some among us groundlings who always have something insightful to offer.

    First, somewhat ruefully, I’ll ask: Why is it that we can identify the deterioration and decay but cannot produce change? Or: What is to be done?

    I’m not willing to say that the drift from Democrats to Republicans is the problem. The problem is the unwillingness of much of the U.S. population to support uniform social programs for all, equality before the law, restraint by the police, a pacific foreign policy, and a real jobs policy (that includes support for unionization).

    If you think that those faults apply only to rightwingers, consider the current Assange scandal. The responses to the tweet by the ACLU that Glenn Greenwald linked to included a significant number of Assange-isn’t-a-journalist and Assange-as-Russian-tool. We also see lukewarm, if that, support for strikers among the Democrats. Have the Clintons ever heard of a union meeting that they could actually attend?

    It seems to me that rapacious capitalism and institutionalized unfairness are the sources of the current distemper. Bernie Sanders had the best analysis, but we all know that he’s old, he’s boring, he’s white. He’s not Pete Buttigieg, future of the Democratic Party.

    Yet Sanders’s ideas also appealed to Republican voters. (And I’m hard put to think of who among Republicans has appeal to Democrats. Liz Cheney? Sheesh.)

    Back to Hillary Clinton: A big question in my mind is why the populace can’t clear the clown show out of the Democratic Party. Of course, it’s a private organization, and the populace can’t clear the clown show out of Walgreen’s, Kellogg’s, or John Deere either.

    What makes the Democrats so impervious to pressures that are so obvious? [So clueless as to tolerate some washed-up mediocrity like HRC to read her never-given speech in public like some sort of horrible made-for-TV movie?]

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      It’s a class war. The Dems and Repubs are part of the same class, or they are wannabes of that class.

      Basically what I get out of what you’re asking in our current environment is this:

      why don’t members, or wannabe members, of the political social club known as Dems & Repubs switch sides and start working to help, save, empower the current losing classes of the class war?

      Then I guess I’d ask in return, what was the last battle the losing classes decisively won which made a real difference to the class war? Were they able to hold onto to their win? Is that avenue for winning still open? What was the cost? Now as a member of a political social club what’s the risk v. reward quotient?

      First, somewhat ruefully, I’ll ask: Why is it that we can identify the deterioration and decay but cannot produce change? Or: What is to be done?

      I’d suggest because we are always constantly engaged in battles or simply kept distracted. Plus the cost of waging a real war is very very high. No one will thank you for it. Especially if you win.

      I believe there’s a way, I just have no idea how one even begins to engage the real war. Some real level of social cohesion is needed among all the currently losing classes. That is still very much possible.

      e.g., The article about Big Oil over the weekend. Where’s the discussion about the strategic importance of fossil fuels and the “accounting system” supporting the global class war? It infects everything in our daily lives. Everything. Want to get off of fossil fuels, then the whole entire system supporting the global class war must be dismantled. That’s where the real war lies and the sacrifices required for something like that are too much for most people to risk.

      1. chuck roast

        Yes, “It’s a class war”, but most Americans simply don’t get that part…that the PMC and their superiors will squeeze them out of their last nickel. And to the Czar’s comment above: many if not most Americans view themselves as temporarily inconvenienced millionaires. Why else would tens of thousands of homeless people wander aimlessly around the streets wondering, “What the heck happened”, instead of throwing rocks at the nearest Cadillac?

        1. bold'un

          Does flyover matter? Remember that more Americans voted for HRC than the Donald, her problem was that they were in the wrong places. If the plurality of Americans support the current Democrat party but are not enough to get a Senate majority, does that tell us more about the party or the electoral system?
          People living along the coasts seem to have a decent enough lifestyle, thank you, so why should they vote about what may be good for flyover counties?
          But the more basic problem is that electoral politics breaks down when voting becomes tribal, with D and R places rather than D and R people.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            You go to political war with the electoral system you have, not the electoral system you wish you had or would like to have at some future time. If you want a different electoral system, you can try to change it through the Constitutional Ammendment Process, but you know how long that can take.

            In the meantime, you can try to win some of the flownover people in hopes of getting different results. Or you can choose to not bother, and you can keep getting the results you are getting, if that is your preferrence.

            1. Noone from Nowheresville

              You go to political war…

              No, no, you don’t. The electoral system is set up and maintained by the class winners. Vote because it serves the distraction. Plus there’s always a chance the people might get lucky and hit the jackpot. (yeah, bad pun) Mostly because it’s extremely important that people pay attention and try to stop the more egregious proposals and win some concessions (yeah, corn syrup soda and popcorn – another bad pun).

              But we’ll never win a class war through voting. It is however, an extremely important on-going battlefield because of its visibility.

              In the meantime, you can try to win some of the flownover people in hopes of getting different results.

              Win flownover people? Win them for what? How do people in flyover give you different results in the ongoing class war?

              The people in flyover were our canaries in the coal mines. They went on strike. They went on strike again. Small family farms and key businesses collapsed and were gobbled up by monopoly interests. Flyover workers were extracted from their communities as if they were spreadsheet resources. The people who remained compromised their pay, benefits, etc. to maintain some semblance of their old lives plus to save their communities and their way of lives. Their communities did the same.

              They’re still getting spit on for their efforts to yell from the top of their lungs about the re-ordering of society and the tacit (and now shredded) social contract of New Deal. And, yeah, some people are extremely bitter about it as they have every right to be, especially because their contributions toward the urban centers are still over-looked and mocked by ordinary people who should know better. Urban folks can’t exist in urban settings without the people and resources in flyover country. The fewer people in flyover country, the easier it is to control urban people.

              Is it that you want “flownover” people to choose better results for themselves (they are trying with the options they are given) or to choose better results for some generic you out on the coasts?

              Since many generic people on the coasts seem to believe the bs that blue states “pay for” red states (or at least NOT give the matter deeper thought) I find the thought that people living in flyover should give even more (and more) rather perplexing. Exactly how much more are you asking them to give*? And for what?

              Should they give it to the globalist or the local kingpin? My choice, if given one, would be local corruption because at least it’s still local.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Look at a map.

            The counties Hillary won were teeny itty bitty pockets. What are described as blue states are actually red states with high pop blue cities.

            Yes, with lots of people in them but geographically deminimus. The food you eat and the energy you use all come from flyover, including the red areas of places like California.

    2. Carla

      This: “rapacious capitalism and institutionalized unfairness.” Except I would change the last word to corruption.

      Criminals are in charge, and I posit that as long as we keep talking “Dem” vs. “Repub” we’re losing. It’s like talking rapist vs. murderer — one quickly turns into the other.

      1. lance ringquist

        when nafta billy clinton was singing the glories of deregulation, and copying almost word for word milton freidmans crap on self correcting, self regulating, self righting markets, i said show me a crook that is for regulation.

        i know what the GOP is, i have no illusions on that. its what the democrats became under nafta billy clinton, they made reagan look like a piker.

        when i discuss politics and economics, i always bring up what nafta billy clinton did to america and the world.

        almost everything bad facing america can be traced back to nafta billy clintons disastrous policies, and we can never recover till those disastrous policies have been reversed.

        to allow nafta billy and hillary a spot in civil society is a crime against humanity. they must be made to pay, even if its only to drive them out and isolate them.

        they are responsible for the deaths and destruction of untold countries, and billions of lives.

        1. Hayek's Heelbiter

          Don’t forget that Clinton changed the tax rule that executive compensation greater than $1m must come out of PROFITS (which would make shareholders scream if compensation went over). After the rule change, executive compensation came out of EXPENSES, which meant taxpayers would be left holding the bag, and for C*O compensation, the sky became the limit.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            That sounds like a rule for a candidate to run on changing-back to the pre-Clinton rule.

        2. the last D

          Who’s worse, bubba or obumma? Flip a coin. But remember how obumma kept on pushing the tpp even after trump’s election. ‘I am not surprised that men should do evil, but rather that they should have no shame.’ The race is to the Swift.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Obama’s personal charisma and use of “the GOP has never behaved like this and only do it because Obama is black” protected people, followed by misplaced nostalgia and promise Hillary would fix where Obama went wrong. Remember the crazy idea, she would stand up to Republicans.

      A GOP version of Pelosi would have had a primary announced in the wake of a 2010 throttling event just from a job performance review. Instead, she festered. And on and on. The Democratic leadership is such an unaccomplished group, but I suspect the survived with Obama protecting them. They don’t promote new candidates or really recruit, and the ones they do are the ones who are going to get ousted and join FoxNews like Spanberger. The GOP recruits all kinds of unrepentant republicans. Libertarians, Khrisitians, business. They don’t care. Dr Oz is running, and he’s nuts. Spanberger whines joining the civilized world will hurt her campaign. That’s the kind of trash Pelosi has brought on when she’s brought people on.

      Harris’ 28% is a sign the Obama protection is over. Where are the results? Hillary and gang switched to Russia quickly, so very few pointed out Hillary was outline resources out of swing states to run up popular vote totals. She like Obama avoided responsibility.

      1. Arabesque

        Donald Trump gets down on his knees and whispers a prayer to god every night; “Thank you dear Lord for keeping Kamala Harris out there campaigning for me”.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      The populace can’t clear the clown show out of the Democrat party because the populace doesn’t run the Democrat party – the DNC does, and they have no qualms about cheating to win.

      1. Questa Nota

        Dem resignations have been in the news, almost as if they want to get ahead of the wave. There might still be some money to extract from somewhere. That dosh, through some sinecure, board membership, news panel gig or whatnot, is best secured before the competition scrambling desperation heats up. Or the subpoenas heat up. Why not both?

        Back to observing that political progress advances one party funeral at a time.
        What if they listened, really listened, to their constituents? And acted upon those wishes?

        When did it begin? There are influences from 1968 and 1972, then again from 1980 and so on. NAFTA was a big and sad one, and those 1994 mid-terms. Don’t forget that gusher of cash from the dot com era. Somebody has to pay, they said, so why not ask or just take?

    5. Harold Benson

      Answer: Human nature. Has been the same ever since homo sapiens emerged. Some are often kind, some not. Some often in fear, some not. Some ready often to share, some not. Some greedy a lot, some not………………….some envy, some not………..on and on.

      P.S. Our culture teaches us to be happier, get more stuff, more money, more clothes, phones, vacations, big houses,…….what do you expect? People see and do. Just like Dick and Jane.

    6. drumlin woodchuckles

      The DLC-Naftacrats are beyond impervious to this. They are actively hostile to it. They sold themselves to upper class donors as being able to turn that hostility into policy. Their mission going forward is to prevent any re-emergence of New Deal Revivalism anywhere in the New Democratic Party. ( Since they wanted to hide the basic nature of their agenda, they did not rename the party New Democrats, the way the Blairites named or at least nicknamed their party New Labor).

      Their consultants’s treatment of Sanders was not “short-sighted”. It was perfectly far-sighted in terms of achieving their goal of New Deal Revival prevention. And they wanted to make a visible example of Sanders to deter any future attempts to bring some New Deal Revivalism back into the party. Which is also far-sighted in terms of the actual goal.

      So hatred for Democrats due to their perfidy is understandable. It is unfortunate that some people take that hatred to the point of giving the Republicans a pass for the ongoing Republican conspiracy to destroy the concept of changing officeholders away from Republicans by legitimate elections. It is also short-sighted, because the electoral re-engineering methods the Republicans plan to use against the Democrats in every possible future election are the same electoral re-engineering methods they will use against any and every possible new or different party officeseeker who might win an election in fact, but will be denied the office by the same Republican electoral re-engineering designers.

      1. lance ringquist

        FDR and truman over came gerrymandering. if you deliver “UNIVERSAL” concrete material benefts like medicare for all that a lot of republicans want, you will gain their votes.

        not a means tested nafta democrat policy like the child subsidy right now. when its gone, most people will just say “well what about me, i never got anything out of it”.

        “Obama didn’t prevent a depression. He prevented a New Deal.”

        and the nit wit flaunted it daily to the left, and many in the left still think he is something that he is not.

        Democratic elites are all too often the purveyors of a smirking meritocracy that offers working people very little.

        This brand of elitism would come to dominate the worldview of Democratic Party leaders and the agenda of President Bill Clinton.

        Because for anyone who takes economic inequality seriously, the chief villain of the Clinton years wasn’t Ken Starr. It was Bill Clinton.

        Bill Clintons right-wing domestic policy on a scale unimaginable to Reagan or Bush, achievements made possible only by a Democratic president willing to advance the ideological agenda of a GOP Congress.

        “Toil hopelessly or go to prison,” Frank writes. “That is life at the bottom, thanks to Bill Clinton.”

        misery breeds fascism, and Democratic leaders have consistently brushed aside the material needs of working class people for decades. It shouldn’t be a surprise that they’re looking elsewhere for solutions. It could have been prevented.


        POLITICS 03/23/2016 05:15 am ET
        How The Democratic Elite Betrayed Their Party And Paved The Way For Donald Trump
        Elite meritocracy fails working people.
        By Zach Carter

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          People who think they can conquer the DemParty and purge and burn all the DLC/DNC/ Clinton Gladios/ Obama Gladios/ Hamilton Project Gladios all the way out of it and make it a New Deal Revival party again can try that. If they believe in that, they will do their best work in that.

          People who think they can start a free-standing New Deal Revival party and grow it into a weapon of class war, class conquest and class victory without any DemParty person taint, ick, cooties or infiltrators getting on it or into it . . . . can try that.

          People with other beliefs can try other approaches.

          And we can see what makes it through the Darwin filter.

    7. Michael Fiorillo

      I think part of the reason for the paralysis is that large, lucrative sectors of the economy feed off decay and extractive wealth-seeking: private equity, payday loans, rent-to-own schemes, etc. These industries impede any kind of counter-mobilization for the public good(s), and predatory/parasitic private wealth increases in tandem with public misery.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      aside from my sort of intuitive hatred of the clintons, i wasn’t hyperpolitical back then…but i was a lay anthropologist(its how i got through junior high)
      i was working at a cafe in a wide spot in the road a few miles from town(what happens in Art, Texas, stays in Art, Texas)…and the owner, a sort of techbachelor jeff epstein wannabe) allowed this musical church group, who had moved into the area and were living in teepees down by the river(!) to have an open mike honeypot thing on sunday afternoons. one of the leaders was a hotchick guitar player…which is why he said yes,lol.
      turns out there was another such group…what became the Cowboy Church Movement.
      both of these “nondenominational” “churches”…both homeless at the time…literally infiltrated all the churches out here…except for the Catholics, of course.
      they endeared themselves to the congregations…got on the boards…volunteered…and inspired everybody with their hyperpurity and over the top faith, worn on sleeves.
      but once they were ensconced, the backbiting and conflicts arose.
      at the Lutheran church, they stirred up resentment over racial inclusion…at the assembly of god and church of christ, it was more openly about politics….soon, these churches were in open civil war with themselves.
      lutheran preacher got run off…”too liberal”…and many churches just outright split apart.
      one in particular….split from the baptists by the Cowboy Faction…operated out of the old post office, and the woman preacher was superpolitical…this was by now after 9-11…and she stated from the pulpit that a vote for Kerry was a vote for evil…and so on.

      during all this(after 2002) i was deep into my giant research frenzy into the american Right…including surveilling them locally, via duck blinds on Facebook, and such.
      so i had all the sermons emailed to one of these duck blinds, so i could observe that part of the phenomena.
      Lots of Daniel and Isaiah, and other such Old Testament end of time doom and gloom…Judges 15:15.
      all embedded in the Narrative of the Far Right.
      this all ended up with open hostility to the local dems…and drove people away from that godless group…and drove the PMC rump of the local dems into hiding.
      even to the point of the demparty float at the roundup parade(yeah,lol) being booed and shouted at as it drove around the square(my wife was on that float)…former walking tall sheriff and his thugs were there with long guns shouting at them for being Commies and loving sharia.
      it was an ugly time.
      but then the Teaparty….and dem-invisibility…and a sort of triumphalism, even as obama was gonna eat everybody…led to all this fading away…never to be spoken of….

      i don’t know how these 2 groups(teepee people and cowboy church) were formed…where they came from, why they came out here, etc etc…but it felt from the get-go like a planned thing…and entirely political…..echoes of Gladio, etc.

      1. Sutter Cane

        Amfortas, related to your anthropological findings about the cowboy church, I have been watching the transformation of my parent’s small town church for the past decade or more. They are Methodists, which always used to be one of the more laid-back protestant denominations. (Laid back enough that my transition from being dragged to church as a kid to never attending again as an adult wasn’t particularly difficult). My parents were always regular church goers but never fire and brimstone types. In fact, they were always uncomfortable around those kind of people. It’s a small town, and for older folks, the church is the center of their social life. I just remember the church of my childhood as being mostly boring, livined up with the occasional pot luck supper or volunteer drive, and largely free of politics.

        Well, attendance had been dropping for years as the olds were dying off, and young people like me moved away or stopped attending. It’s funny watching the free market competition among the different churches (LOTS of churches in the area), where if the Baptists build a new rec center, the Lutherans have to add some new capital improvements or lose congregation, as people don’t seem to be particularly loyal. Churches are chosen by amenities and social clique, not by doctrine.

        Well, the older Methodists were clearly a shrinking market so my parent’s church added a “praise” service to draw in a younger crowd. With a band, more shouting, and a generally more youthful but also more stridently conservative crowd. It made my folks uncomfortable. Now the church has two services – a “traditional” service for the olds and the “praise” service for the younger, gun happy, Black Rifle Coffee audience. In contrast to the usual stereotypes, it is the older folks who tend towards more “liberal” (which for the area, means “might have voted for a Democrat once in their lives.”)

        From watching the demographics shift for the past decade, any voters who remember a time when Democrats stood for anything even tangentially related to the interests of working people have dwindled away to nothing.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          To be fair, they always were, but American religions enjoyed westward expansion. Ministers could always go West. Now they are setting up shop in populated areas. Hence competition. With the money about there, go for the prize.

        2. Michael Fiorillo

          Thanks for these observations, Amfortas and Sutter Cane. Those of us in highly-secularized environments need to hear more of this important information, lest our ignorance become more politically crippling than it already is.

      2. lance ringquist

        what you and yves and others are discussing is what i predicted in the 1990’s, once you radicalize your people, its hard to get them back.

        what we are witnessing is what happened in the 1930’s to most central european countries, who had nafta billy clinton types running them during the depression.

        it ended poorly for them and us to.

        its hard to understand how the U.K. evaded the radicalization, but they did, they dropped out of free trade and the gold standard immediately, and only faced a recession, not the great depression.

        the longer we stick with nafta billy clintons disastrous polices, the more people will become radicalized, and accept some form of a violent reaction.

        1. Synoia

          and only faced a recession, not the great depression

          At the run up to WW II My father hired workers who lived in the West of England and Wales , who hand not worked for 10 to 15 years.

          Are we discussing the same period?

          1. lance ringquist

            yes, as the article says, it was a uneven recovery, and wales was hit hard. but the u.k. fared better than most countries in europe.


            “However, compared to other countries, the experience of the UK in the great depression was relatively mild. Helped by being one of the first countries to leave the gold standard, economic growth rates were relatively higher in the UK than many other European countries. The UK avoided the social and political upheaval often seen in other countries. Extremist parties made little headway in the UK. If the recession had been deeper, the political situation may have been very different”.

      3. skippy

        Same here as I watched those dynamics play out during the mid/late 60s and 70s in my grandparents [southern baptist] church, in a small town outside Union, MO. largely driven by new members that for some reason were compelled to drive up to an hour from a bigger town/city to this small stick church.

        Same M.O. every time, hyper friendly/pushy volunteering to insert self into political/administration aspect of the church and then unveil their special theological perspective about the canons from their rigorous personal studies … they would suck almost half of the congregation in and then the fun would start. Personally I loved the visual aids … chortle …

        Its almost like all those dusty sociopolitical terms which are magically made New[tm] by bolting on the Libertarian to the back or front of them … then for some reason the dialectal of the original term starts meaning different things …

        In other news people will not stop throwing their houses at me …

      4. drumlin woodchuckles


        I grew up in the fading warm afterglow of the “Sixties”. I vaguely remember ( and have vaguely read from HST among others) that some of the refugees from the bad aftereffects of the Hippie Movement and its apparent failures to conquer the culture and become the new mainstream on its own Hippie terms . . . . went on to become Jesus Freaks. I don’t think they were funded or recruited to become Jesus Freaks. I think they diddit on their own. Were the “teepee people” you referrence an offshoot or branch of the Jesus Freaks?

        Was their usefulness suspected and did they get funding and organization after their unorganized emergence by whomever thought they would be a useful tool? If indeed anyone thought they would be?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          as trotkyists became neoconservative…so did Jesus Freak hippie people become Right Wing Christofascists.
          they believed in the Belief du jour…but that Belief, considering the open wounds all over america, then and now…changed.
          fault drifted away from imperialism, and into satan’s plan….
          i’ve not delved too deeply into the Jesus Freak Movement…but yeah, there’s prolly something there worth studying.

          but to my knowledge, there are no former hippies out here…and i know of only one former Jesus Freak(right wing conspiracy theorist and failed mother….she’d give ya the shirt off her back)

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      A while back I recall reading about a Mellon descendant who was funding an movement that was sowing discord among main line protestant denominations on the issue of homosexuality. IIRC they made considerable “progress” in the Episcopalian and Methodist churches.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        That would probably be Richard Mellon Scaife and his Scaife Foundation, which was a huge Right funder in the ’80’s and ’90’s. I believe it has disbanded, but supported a lot of evil s#×+ back then. He/they were very big on Reagan’s pet narco-terrorists at the time, the Nicaraguan Contras.

  2. Robert Hahl

    The way I remember it, fear of revisiting the Great Depression led to military Keynesianism after the war, which led to a bubble of prosperity and democracy, which was reversed by lowering taxes leading to inequality, and eventually putting the rich back in charge of both political parties, followed by them doing what they have done. These were not mistakes of policy. They did what they paid to do. Keeping the rich on a short leash seems like the only thing that has ever worked.

    1. Larry

      Agreed. The ruling classes had a real fear of communism as well. We still throw that term around and wage hot or proxy wars against he bugaboo of communism. The ownership class though isn’t serious about this threat anymore. Witness them handing our vast productive economy over to the lowest bidder and ultimately creating the strongest communist nation since the Soviet Union.

      Now they must police thought of a restless people who have very little to look forward too. For the conservative set it’s a patriotic vision that anybody can make it in America with a taste of dog whistling. For Dems it’s idpol and singing to the PMC while throwing crumbs at the blue collar union base that continues to dwindle. And the culture wars a perfect battle front to distract the little people that the rich of all political persuasions only care about their own bottom line.

      1. BillC

        “The ruling classes had a real fear of communism as well.”

        Yep. IMHO the greatest misfortune of the European (and to a lesser extent, American) working class since the great depression was the dissolution of the USSR.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          You’re absolutely right; it was catastrophic to lose a polar counter balance to the “Free World” that was at least nominally (and sometimes actually) pro-worker and anti-imperialist.

      2. flora

        For the conservative set it’s a patriotic vision that anybody can make it in America with a taste of dog whistling.

        And it’s working, particularly in immigrant communities. The non-paywall excerpt from Matt Taibbi’s latest – part 1 of his coming series about the Virginia race as seen from Loudoun county.

        Loudoun County, Virginia: A Culture War in Four Acts

        A furious controversy in the richest county in America was about race, all right, but not in the way national media presented it. Part one of a series


        Much like rural areas losing priced supports and subsidies established in earlier Dem administrations, Loudoun county parents see the public k-12 schools losing the Dem estab support they once had, and consequently see their school-age children’s future success put in doubt. It’s a powerful motivator to try the other party.

        From the longer article:

        “Democrats have traditionally owned the education issue, leading by twenty, even thirty points in polls for decades. But recent surveys have shown slippage to something closer to a dead heat nationally. Among other things, this means Prior is likely right that Youngkin’s win was due to new coalitions of Republicans and defecting Democrats forming over education. These are not necessarily alliances of white voters, either. In places like Loudoun, where roughly a fifth of the population is Asian or South Asian, the reason for at least some of those defections is not so hard to figure, if you bother to ask.”

    2. LowellHighlander

      And I believe that Oliver Stone and James W. Douglass have made a compelling argument that any U.S. President who dared to cut back on military Keynsianism – in other words, the dominance in economics and politics of the country by the Military-Industrial Complex – would be removed. And was.

  3. Rob Urie

    New paper from NBER that makes the case that NAFTA correlates highly with the move of the American working class away from the Democrats.

    Strange that so many educated people prefer the deplorables thesis to the idea that if you end people’s livelihoods, they tend not to vote for you.

    It’s almost as if they have a vested interest in not seeing what is in front of their eyes.


    1. Left in Wisconsin

      But since NAFTA was mostly a Republican thing (negotiated by Bush Sr., who of course would have signed it if he had still been president when the time came), the notion that it was the Dems who “ended people’s livelihoods” is mistaken – it was completely bi-partisan and the only (D/R) pols opposed to it at the time were Dems. It is still very hard to find a Repub who is against NAFTA.

      So either it wasn’t NAFTA, or NAFTA was a stand-in for something else, or the Repubs have done an amazing job of getting people to forget how NAFTA came to be.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “…the Repubs have done an amazing job of getting people to forget …”

        how do the repubs win?
        by making it look like it’s something else besides whoring for the rich and powerful.
        dems still glory in rubbing against the elite at galas….like it means they’ve won or something.
        but goptea…while themselves rubbing against power…have convinced their base…and now a great chunk of the unwashed…that they are really fighting against bad stuff.
        this was done by targeted near monopoly media presence, innuendo/whisper, shameless pandering and lashing themselves to The Narrative Framework.
        and we can’t forget the repetition of the demonology: dems are :far left, left, radical left, communist, socialist, fascist(!), racist, hate america, the enemy, in bed with our enemies, weak, cowardly, surrender feteshists, hate god, want to spread/enforce(sic) atheism and gay sex and on and on…ad nauseum…
        repeated 24/7 for 50 years, and expanding from direct mail into every earbud and facebook feed and whatever earshaped canal into consciousness comes along…relentless.

        dems have done nothing of the sort, of course.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Those Dems who would have done that were carefully purged and burned out of the DemParty, starting with the McGovern supporter types.

      2. lance ringquist

        the reason why we must educate the people before they become radicalized, is your post left in wisconsin.

        nafta was bills baby period. the GOP may have wanted it. but there were still some new dealer types in the democratic party that put a stop to it.

        nafta billy clinton quickly side lined the new dealers, and “NAFTA” was 100% bills baby.

        a prediction was made in 2016 and it was not me, that we better hurry up and reverse nafta billy clintons disastrous polices before its to late, well , its to late now.

        Own up to NAFTA Democrats: Trump is right that the terrible trade pact was Bill Clinton’s baby

        If the Democrats want to reclaim a progressive identity, they must own up to the dreadful mistakes of the past

        Acknowledging past mistakes is the only way to learn from them. When it comes to terrible trade deals, we need to learn fast.


        Own up to NAFTA, Democrats: Trump is right that the terrible trade pact was Bill Clinton’s baby
        If the Democrats want to reclaim a progressive identity, they must own up to the dreadful mistakes of the past
        By Paul Rosenberg
        Published October 2, 2016 12:00PM (EDT)

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If the Dems want to reclaim a progressive identity, they have to create a progressive-action reality.

          Most of the Dems today lean into their hard-won anti-progressive identity and work to maintain the anti-progressive action reality they worked real hard to create.

          It would require a thorough-going decontamination of the current personnel there in order for newer seekers after a progressive identity to create some space to occupy.

          Occupy the Dems?

        2. Left in Wisconsin

          nafta was bills baby period.

          You are completely wrong about this but I would guess you already know that.

          1. lance ringquist

            it was. it was dead, gone, kaput, bill brought it back from the dead, even added more to it, then pushed it through, he had to sign it also. its bills baby, sorry.

            the article is correct.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Not buying it at all. Bill pumped for it during his presidential campaign! That is where the Perot line about the sucking sound of jobs going to Mexico came from!

            Rep. Peter DeFazio has a better memory than you do:

            Economic advisers to President Clinton predicted that if the U.S. passed NAFTA, the U.S. would enjoy trade surpluses between $9-$12 billion and create thousands of new jobs. DeFazio knew that would not happen. The reality was the loss of an estimated one million family-wage jobs in the U.S.


            It was Congressional Republicans who voted it through. It would have been easy for Clinton to veto it but he didn’t.

            1. Left in Wisconsin

              The point I was making, in response to Urie’s claim, is that it is odd that NAFTA lost the working class for the Dems when NAFTA was a completely bi-partisan thing, almost entirely negotiated by the Bush administration, with the only opposition coming from some Dems, obviously not Clinton. (Well, Perot too and Pat Robertson.) I’m not even disagreeing with the article Urie notes, just pointing out that it should be a question of interest to people why anti-working class policies hurt Dems but don’t seem to hurt Repubs.

              I was at the UAW at the time. I know exactly how NAFTA went down and what a disaster Clinton was.

              1. lance ringquist

                americans only see what the president does. its a matter of fact, and its our history. presidents have been put up on a pedestal.

                and that really took off under FDR and Truman.

                the buck stops here!

                the deplorable only see the president who made outrageous lies about free trade, then signed them into law.

                “thomas frank, Bill Clinton said they have no where else to go, so we can cater to the wealthy and let the middle class die off: but as frank said, that is why trump won: Thomas Frank on the Democratic Party, Their Credibility Trap, and the Beleaguered Middle Class.”

                “Trump was right to spike the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He is right to demand a sunset clause for Nafta. When this devious, hollow, self-interested man offers a better approximation of the people’s champion than any other leader, you know democracy is in trouble.”


                Bill Clinton accomplished a Republican agenda and Obama allowed the Tea Party to steal the economic populist. Gore lost because he lied about free trade.


                “If you go back and look at the actual legislative accomplishments of the Clinton era, there’s five of them. Do you want me to list them for you? Well, let’s see if your viewers can guess what they all have in common. The first was NAFTA. They got this done right after he became president. Remember, the Republicans couldn’t do it, Clinton got it done. The second was the crime bill of ’94. The third was bank deregulation and also telecom deregulation. The fourth was welfare reform, and the fifth was a balanced budget.

                These are … when I say these are his main achievements, he had a lot of smaller achievements that I agree with, but these are the big ones that his admirers at the time boasted about. If you read biographies, friendly biographies of Bill Clinton, these are the things that they boast about. All five of them are Republican achievements. All five of them are Republican measures that Clinton got done, that the Republicans themselves couldn’t.”

            2. lance ringquist

              actually nafta billy clinton fought hard for nafta, he personally stumped for it amongst democrats, and changed a lot of minds.

              it was a republican policy that they could not get passed. in fact, nafta billy clinton got almost the whole republican agenda passed.

              “President Bill Clinton, after hinting at a rejection of globalized trade policy during his campaign, fought hard for passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993.”

              in my neck of the woods, you broke it, you own it.

              nafta would have never passed without nafta billy clintons ferocious, relentless pushing to get it passed.

              it took a democrat, bill clinton, to full fill reagans trickle down dream and now we have trump: China, NAFTA devastated the U.S. manufacturing sector and the middle class with it creating the bust of 2008


              “Then came North Atlantic Free Trade Association, initiated by President George H. W. Bush and eventually signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Clinton promised that NAFTA would “promote more growth, more equality… and create 200,000 jobs in this country by 1995 alone.” Of course, he failed to mention how many hundreds of thousands of jobs would be destroyed at the same time, but few noticed such nuances at the time. (It’s worth noting that his economic team was headed by Bob Rubin, CEO of investment mega-bank Goldman Sachs.)”

            3. drumlin woodchuckles

              My memory is that Clinton bribed, extorted, bullied, etc. enough Democratic Representatives away from the Democrats’ numerical majority in the House and swung them over to support the Republicans in the House ( who were still a numerical minority as-I-remember) to add up to a majority for NAFTA. Had every single member of the Democratic House majority voted against NAFTA, it would have been defeated in the House.

              But Clinton worked his hardest ( along with Dem Congs like Pelosi) to get enough Democrats to support NAFTA to create the House majority vote for NAFTA. So Clinton does indeed deserve special credit for getting NAFTA done.

    2. lance ringquist

      you are a great economist, love your stuff. you name names. you put a face to the terrible policies.

  4. farmboy

    …the 95 farm bill was the offshoot of the Republicans Contract with America and was going to end ag subsidies, it was called “Freedom to Farm”. It contained a declining amount of subsidies over the 10 year budget life of any legislation but defense spending. Ag is the only sector of the US economy and body politic to support the Contract and R’s bragged about ag being able to support itself. Food stamp cuts are always popular with R’s, but the only way any farm legislation ever gets passed is the inclusion of SNAP benefits and in the last decade or more, conservation. The coalition of rural and urban interests has propelled the legislation and is the product of collaboration between Bob Dole(R) and George McGovern(D). Environmental regulations touted by D’s is anathema in flyover country even though Nixon formed the EPA and gets straw manned continually and is subject to regulatory capture. Ending subsidies was supposed to leave production ag with subsidized crop insurance as the “safety net”. That idea and consensus has collapsed. Concurrent with the push to end subsidies was the industry wide effort to dismantle state grain boards like those in Australia and Canada. Ag was a big supporter of Nafta and international trade deals and was pushing for TPP, which hollowed out the leftover manufacturing in the US and ruined small plot, heritage corn in Mexico. Flyover country is the backwash of globalization, left behind to fend as best it can, it was up for grabs until the democrat party shrunk itself to the beltway, K street, and Wall Street. Now it’s a punching bag for raging populists, given to wild swings of irrelevance, bouts of revival, and slow disintegration. Not my father’s post WW2 bucolic bipartisan Thanksgiving.

    1. lance ringquist

      By adopting centrist, fiscal conservatism, Bill Clinton succeeded everywhere Ronald Reagan and GHW Bush had failed: he cut social security, weakened unions and signed NAFTA. This precedent created a new mold of Democrats in Congress that seldom resembled FDR’s New Deal vision of an interventionist government that worked for the average American worker. It is in this coalition of economic fiscal, social liberal Democrats that Bill Clinton cut the Democratic ties to its traditional base; the middle class, blue collar worker who benefited from FDR’s New Deal was now slowly being cut away from the vision of the Democratic Party. The Trump Presidency is the consequence of abandoning this traditional base.


      The Clintons Destroyed the Democratic Party
      Yianni_Papadatos November 10, 2016 AMERICAS, UNITED STATES

      April 11, 2017

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      I assume you mean to say that it was ClintoNAFTA which ruined small plot farm agriculture in Mexico, exactly as intended. Because TPP was not yet in existence ( and still isn’t quite in existence).

      Small vestiges of small farm agriculture still survive here and there in Mexico. It is a small handful of small farmers in Mexico who are supplying the heirloom varieties of corn and beans to Masienda.com which Masienda.com can then sell to American buyers. ( And if a culinary nationalist community arises in Mexico, to Mexico itself more and more.)

      Here is the Masienda.com website where you can look at the kind of heirloom corn and beans which a few small farmers in Mexico are still staying in business growing and selling to an appreciative audience.

      1. Eclair

        Nice resource, drumlin woodchuckles, thanks.

        We have been experimenting with growing dent corn, so called because of the small depression on each grain. It’s for drying, then grinding into meal. I have more or less been successful with the growing and drying part and am working on getting the grains off the cob …. have some very sore thumbs! I unearthed a hand grinder from down in the cellar, made by a Mexican company (Molina de Mano Azteca) cleaned it up and replaced a missing part. Once I get enough loose corn, I will grind away. Our small town has refurbished its old mill, originally water-powered, and a group of volunteers will grind away for anyone who has bushels of grain. So far, they produce corn meal and buckwheat (which grows well on poor soil) flour.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          That same Masienda company also sells culinary-grade calcium hydroxide ( “lime”) for turning ground corn into nixtamalized masa. They also sell a book on how to do it. ” Nixtamalizing” either the whole kernels or the ground up meal is what unlocks a locked-up nutrient ( I forget whether it is niacin or riboflavin or what) and makes it available and digestible. Here is a link to an article about nixtamalization.


          ( When I have a longer time-period I will offer some hopefully interesting thoughts and links about corn).

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I have been growing a kind of dent corn called Hickory Cane in my very small garden, trying to get it more Michiganized over time. I have been doing it long enough that I am attached to it.

          Perhaps a corn variety to look into for global warming survival might be Painted Mountain. Here is a website with some articles about it and other things, and little embedded links to more articles about it if one reads deeply enough.

          There are some other sources for unusual or little-known corn seed with a web presence. I don’t know how good their seed is or how reliably available it is. I know the entries are interesting to read.



          I didn’t offer links to better known places like Seed Savers Exchange Catalog, Shumway Seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, etc. because they are easy to find on the interwebnet, even in the teeth of obstruction and opposition from today’s search engines.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          A way to find links to obscure possible sources for 1 or 2 interesting corns is by typing the name of a kind of corn and then typing the word “image”, and a whole lot of images will come up. If you use the http://www.alltheweb.com search engine to do this, you will get a better set of more relevant images than what google will bring up. And alltheweb ( yahoo) will also post the URL from which each image came. So if you see an interesting-seeming URL, you can click it and see if you find something worthwhile.

          Here is an example. I type the words . . . zapalote chico corn image . . . to call up all those images.

          I go from image to image, looking at each URL. If an URL seems interesting, I click it just to see. So I looked at 22 images in sequence, and image 22 had an interesting URL called this . . . . https://gochenourseeds.com/

          Gouchenor Seeds is a little blog by a blogger in East Tennessee who grows a few kinds of corn and does some breeding of them and writes about all this. He also sells some corn seed from time to time and his blog offers a point of contact for buying some. He has worked with Zapalote Chico and Cuzco Giant and some others and sometimes sells seed of some of them.

          This is just one example of what this method of aggregated-images wormhole-URL click searching can lead you to. Tiny little blogs or companies which the official search-term engines will never permit you to find. Never. Ever.

  5. ex-PFC Chuck


    “Reagan made much of the support of Billy Graham, but the Christian right then as only learning to flex its muscles.”

    In one of his books (probably Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back) Frank Schaeffer, whose father Francis was one of the founding leaders of the religious right political movement along with Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, et al, asserts that in the late 1970s they actually hired a market research firm to test which issues would resonate the most with their targets in the church pews. The results identified homosexuality and abortion. It appears one of them has withstood the test of time.

    1. marym

      There’s ruling class funding and organizing involved in many right-wing moral panic “grass roots” movements. If those movements represented a threat to the ruling class or substantive material protections or gains for flyover, they would have been crushed or coopted. They only serve to elect anti-working class pro-elite Republicans instead of anti-working class pro-elite Democrats.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      If I remember correctly, Richard Viguerie was the guru of Right-wing direct marketing in that era, but I think he was a True Believer, not just a hired gun.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        many, if not most, of them were True Believers.
        Viguerie was at the meeting with Weyrich and one of the Howards(can never remember) at the saint louis hojo, in the lobby…circa: soon after roevwade….wherein they settled on abortion as the main rallying cry to gin up a guerilla army to win the country back from the new deal.
        all this on a literal napkin, no less.
        all this has been a slow motion coup and couterrevolution…and a lot of the most virulent right wingers, we mustn’t forget…were former trotkyites…and had studied saul alynsky and lenin and paid close attention to the methods of the ussr, et alia in winning hearts and minds.
        these tactics and strategies were then applied to the Mindfuck, and to building that army.

        where we are cannot be chalked up to mere accident…there was a Plan…and it’s been riotously successful.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          Yes. To me, agreeing with most everything said above, the real questions are: why does the Repub BS sell and why does the Dem BS not sell? Or, why are the Repubs so much better at politics than the Dems? (Of course, the Dems do generally win the popular vote in national elections, so a big part of this is the ability to game the system. But that is a big part of what politics is.)

          And I think the answer is: they have a lot more practice and experience. One, the Kochs and the rest of the business right have been trial and error-ing for the last 40-50 years and have really learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. And, two, the Dems all moved away from flyover, so while they continue to try out new focus-grouped strategies, they don’t have anyone on the ground in flyover to tell them what sells and what doesn’t. (Hint: what doesn’t sell is a new focus-grouped strategy for every new election.)

          Lest anyone thinks this reflects well on the Bernie left (of which I consider myself a member), as lousy as the Dems are at politics, they continue to kick our ass time after time. So, in terms of political talent, we are looking at Repubs > Dems > Bernie left ( > hard left).

          1. lance ringquist

            the difference is who is more dangerous, THE GOP which knows that everything they say is complete economic nonsense, or feverish believers, that is the nafta billy clinton type that actually believes the economic nonsense.

            around half the electorate identified themselves with the new deal democrats.

            nafta billy wiped all of that away, and today the deplorable are radicalized, it matters not what the trump types do, in the eyes of the deplorable, trump is not nafta billy clinton.

            now you have marco rubio, and josh hawley all sounding trump like, and the nafta democrats have nafta joe biden, who was nafta billys right hand man, and a whole army of nafta democrats supporting them. who are making no attempts at all at reversing nafta billy clintons disastrous policies.

            1. marym

              Clinton’s policies were a key turning point in forwarding the post-war conservative project of ending the New Deal and establishing corporate power, but there’s a bipartisan elite commitment to free trade, the upward transfer and concentration of wealth, and war.

              White people in flyover being justifiably angry at Democrats and voting for Republicans – who have held the presidency for 12 of the last 21 years, wield power in Congress whether in the majority or not, win local and state elections at every level, and appoint lots of judges – has done nothing to change the direction of the policies that sent their factories to Mexico and China, their farms to Big Ag, and their kids to war.

              At what point do white people in flyover engage with the reality of what their own votes and priorities have contributed to that reality, and start a movement that isn’t just exclusionist identity politics?

              Adding: Stanford-Yale elite Josh Hawley doesn’t care about the working class any more than the Clintons. He in fact voted to disenfrachise several million of them by rejecting the electoral votes from AZ and PA.

              https://www.stlamerican.com/news/editorials/hawley-out-of-the-mainstream-on-minimum-wage/article_f328b44a-b17b-11e8-9f60-4ffb24f85dc7.html (minimum wage, right to work)

              1. lance ringquist

                but nafta was dead. nafta billy said he would not revive it, once he won, it was one of the first things he did.

                nafta was billys baby, nafta billy clintons disastrous polices were even further to the right than reagans, brad delong even admitted to that.

                nafta billy was on t.v. daily touting the glories and wonders of free trade economics. he pushed the stuff through, signed them with glee, and that is what the deplorable remembers.

                because all of the rotten things that have happened under free trade to the american worker, they remember who did this to them.

                once you radicalize your people, its hard to get them back.

                you want democrats to win again, then they better self reflect, and dump the nafta democrats and work hard to reverse nafta billy clintons disastrous policies.

                most americans are like any other peoples across our planet, they are not to deep into policies and economics. they want to drink beer, eat, have sex and watch sports.

                but they do remember who did them wrong.

                new study on the death of despair not only scientifically links bill clintons disastrous polices to the carnage, but also point out its affecting blacks and hispanics also

                The authors take as a given that the “China shock” after its WTO entry in the early 2000s was a crippling blow to US manufacturers already in decline. And just as that policy (as well as NAFTA and successful anti-union efforts) decimated blue-collar workers,


                More on Deaths of Despair: New Study Links Early Job Loss to Higher Rates of Overdose Deaths and Suicides
                Posted on July 27, 2020 by Yves Smith

                1. marym

                  I don’t want Democrats to win. I want good people with good policies to win. Thus I take issue with conservative Republican voters as much as with Democrats when they elect terrible people with terrible policies.

                  1. lance ringquist

                    agreed. but only one way out of this, reverse nafta billy clintons disastrous polices.

                    and still today to many people think the democrats are fighting for them.

                    name names to the policies, make it stick, and the nafta democrats will wither away quicker, and we can start over.

                    glossing over the nafta democrats only makes the day of reckoning worse.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Because it was President Clinton who succeeded in making NAFTA, MFN for China, American membership in WTO, China membership in WTO, etc. into real achieved law, treaty, agreement, etc.

            After that aggression against tens of millions of heretofor-Dem-voters, those tens of millions will never buy the Dem BS after what the Dem Party did to them and their descendants unto the Abolition of Free Trade, or unto forever.

            1. lance ringquist

              that is correct. people who worry about fascism do not understand what free trade and the W.T.O. are, they are corporate governance over sovereignty, a classic example of fascism.

              Truman beat back the fascists after the war when they tried to get a corporate free trade regime over the world. trumans Gatt stood for five decades till nafta billy clinton came along.

              fascism finally has won the day under nafta billy clintons disastrous policies.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              Clinton and Obama wanted a new style of Fascism . . . . an inclusive Woke Rainbow Nation kind of Fascism.

              Adolph Reed seems to have spotted that when he noted that the Clintobama Dems wanted an oligarchy with proportional racial representation among the oligarchs, a sort of Rainbow Oligarchy. And they sell real hard the con that more Black Oligarchs means more Black Justice Progress.

              And of course the Goldman Sachs feminists sell every FemOligarch who breaks through the Tiffany Glass Ceiling as a victory for Womens’ Justice Rights.
              All that is needed is some Drug Queenpins to go with the Drug Kingpins, for example.

              And so forth.

              That’s our Dems these days.

                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  Unless he is relieving himself urinarily, and you happen to be “downstream”.

                  Same as with any other color of CEO.

          3. the last D

            The best analysis of the democratic party’s fall from electoral success, in my opinion, is a single statement written by Rob Urie for Counterpunch on October 25, 2019. In an article titled “The DNC versus Democracy,” Mr. Urie wrote: “Through their embrace of neoliberalism, Democrats destroyed the livelihoods and economic prospects of the working class, and thereby made themselves class enemies of their historical constituents.” A profound analysis stated so simply, and elegantly, that I keep coming back to it Thanks, Rob. And, Amfortas, isn’t it a way of saying you should have danced with the ones you brung?

          4. Stillfeelinthebern

            Republicans know marketing. They know how to sell. Tru*p was a master at marketing. He knew how to present an idea and then read the reaction of an audience. Then go with what worked. All very basic elements of marketing. Politics is all about marketing. Dems suck at marketing.

        2. Susan the other

          If the “Plan” was to defuse angry uprisings and pockets of bloody revolution while gradually finding solutions for the total train wreck of contradictions we call “democracy” – then I agree. Because the country never succeeds in accumulating enough effective vision to solve the underlying chaos – which, imo, begins with our archaic 18th century constitution and our fixation with the pursuit of personal profit. It was a step better than most feudalism, but nobody ever had the vision to find practical ways to keep us from each other’s throats. So an open forum might give everyone time to think about what is really possible if we demanded a dialog on a new constitution. Undoubtedly it would take decades in fits and starts, but there’s nothing as effective as clearing the air. Imo that’s why religion does not work – it’s just a temporary shortcut to appeasing everyone’s anxiety but it never addresses actual earthly messes. Too icky.

        3. JEHR

          Amfortas: I’m sorry to be saying this, but I would very much like to read the interesting things that you write on this site. But, I cannot follow your illogical punctuation or your lack of sentence structure and loss of capital letters. Please keep the reader in mind when you write such interesting (but undecipherable) words. Good sentence structure by the writer is important for good understanding by the reader.

          1. Richard

            Amen. Yours truly does not read anything that doesn’t have capital letters and punctuation (at least approximately) where they should be.

            1. lance ringquist

              some of us, i know me for sure. can barely trust what i read or write. i spent a good part of my school child hood locked in a closet everyday after being bullied and laughed at, including by the teachers.

              i am glad for Amfortas post, i enjoy them.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                thanks, lance.
                i have my habits.
                i’m sorry if they bother people.
                i reread every post at least 3 times.
                i can’t undo the Joyce/Beat/Lost generation influence.
                i also can’t undo that i grew up reading the Cambridge Press version of everything(the s instead of the z)–since that’s what my local library had.
                hence, s’s often look ‘right’, to me.(get kinda OCD about z in words like “civilization”)
                be thankful that the intertubes didn’t evolve such that we had to use handwriting to communicate in this remarkable fashion.

                ie: I YamwhatiYam.

                1. lance ringquist

                  you are welcome! i try to stand in others shoes as often as possible. i know what many people have had to overcome in their lives. i certainly have had my share for sure.

                2. tegnost

                  ie: I YamwhatiYam.

                  doesn’t bother me any…
                  Proper english is stodgy and clipped.
                  Give me the olden english any day, or gertrude stein, which is basically the same thing.

              2. Jasbo


                +1 for appreciating
                the YamwhatiYamelised points of view
                however cummings-like
                they maybe typed

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  “Missed a kick at the
                  refrigerator door
                  it closed anyway”

                  -Kerouac, some western haiku’s.

                  “I am large, i contain multitudes”


                  I honestly can’t help it.
                  that’s how i think and write.

                  be also thankful that i don’t transcribe all this phonetically(a la Faukner) from speech…lol…
                  East Texas Drawl…”hog” is a ten syllable word.
                  run the King’s English thru a Deliverance Filter and there i am

                  and, sometimes, even i can’t read my handwriting…and i have been printing everything since 6th grade(because they told me to just forgo all the cursive)

                  1. eg

                    My grade 8 teacher, Mrs. Mulder (God rest her soul) forbade me to use my illegible cursive — she taught me a form of printing with little tails that connect the letters so as to pass for a form of quasi-cursive. I still use it today on the rare occasions that I’m not typing.

          2. Basil Pesto

            Depends on the ability of the reader. I find it easy enough to meet Amfortas’ writing halfway, but then I grew up reading not just in books but on the internet as well.

            Moreover, idiolects – even written ones – are to be celebrated generally speaking, not condemned. They make life just that little bit more fun and interesting, even the annoying ones.

          3. Michael Fiorillo

            Standard writing is not the same as good writing, and Amfortas is a good writer, his style mirroring his refreshing lack of orthodoxy. His comments are also highly informative, and his style less difficult to understand than many more formally “correct” writers.

            1. orlbucfan

              I look for Amfortas’ comments. He is extremely knowledgeable, and I agree with just about everything he writes. BTW, I have the equivalent of 3 degrees in literary and linguistical analysis. I was also a professional proofreader for several years.

          4. eg

            I had the same initial reaction to Amfortas’ posts, JEHR, and at first would just skip them. After a while I got used to the rhythm, and now I miss them when he isn’t posting.

            Be patient!

  6. Randy

    “Because Republicans stand for self-reliance, small government, low taxes, business (with a small ‘b’), family, patriotism. They don’t want a ‘handout,’ or ‘free’ college. They want a job after they graduate from high school. One that pays them a decent salary with raises and a chance to become a supervisor, a couple of weeks of paid vacation, decent health insurance, and a respectable pension. Or, they want to be able to work in their own business; auto repair, plumbing, electrician. Or they want to farm; raise beef cattle or pigs, grow strawberries and sweet corn, keep the small dairy operation their great-grandfather started.”

    I mean, this is just incoherent. You can see the results of small government, low taxes, business, etc. promoting government, because those have been the priorities of both parties for decades now. Spoiler alert: it’s just led to consolidation of all businesses into a couple of monopolies per industry and the government being unable to do things like effectively respond to a pandemic.

    What kind of government can make sure people can get good jobs and not just crummy mcjobs but one that’s vigorously active in regulating the economy? Maybe, say, with some sort of an industrial policy? When Trump talks about the good old days of jobs and this resonates with that crowd, he’s talking about the forties and fifties when the US government was so powerful and involved in regulating the economy it was nationalizing and running entire industries. This lasted until the Supreme Court said “okay WWII is over and FDR is gone, knock it off already” (see: Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer), and then the slide to neoliberalism began.

    I don’t want to be a PMC liberal whining about the dupes, but this is what it is. I don’t know how to overcome this. The democrats certainly don’t, and they don’t want to anyway since they just want to be the business party but woke.

    1. praxis

      The small government stick blows my mind every time i run into it. It’s a garbage fantasy that completely ignores the functions and reality of power.

      I have pretty much nailed down my responses along the lines of.

      You have two choices:

      Have some sort of democratic participation in the monopoly


      Be completely powerless and property of the monopoly.

      The monopoly is not going away. And if it does…………

      However, I have found discussions with the indoctrinated have become increasingly difficult. it is simply becoming impossible to navigate the sheer amount of nonsense floating around.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “However, I have found discussions with the indoctrinated have become increasingly difficult. it is simply becoming impossible to navigate the sheer amount of nonsense floating around.”
        but as someone said, “chaos is a ladder”.
        and as someone else said, “the cracks are where the light gets in”…
        even people all but engineered to tolerate a lot of cognitive dissonance have their limits.
        the inner conflicts and outer nonsense get to be too much…and people withdraw.
        end up wandering around the margins of the Cave, not minding the flickering lights any more…and can therefore sometimes be lured closer to the cave entrance by some ideological koan/chickenbone or another.
        i figger, the more such people turning away from the Cave Wall…and even wandering closer to the exit…the better, when the balloon goes up.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The goal is to win and pass good policy, not save souls.

        The silent majority or critical mass minoroty is still more important than the loud Republicans, everyone knows is a loud Republican. Non voters don’t vote for reasons. Two of the reasons are expectations they are alone or no one asks.

        Take O’Rourke’s 2018 Senate race. 115k votes was the difference. 500 votes per county is what is needed. A better candidate, higher name recognition, or a better early organization (can almost always be better) and no more Ted Cruz.

        Even people who register voters. It’s not just about the people they register. It’s about the bug in the ear of people who need to fix their registration or run it for groups. Even if Amfortas doesn’t change a single mind of anyone he speaks to, he is reaching out to people who only hear GOP blather. Those people are way more likely to vote than thy were before.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          A better candidate, higher name recognition, or a better early organization

          Well, that is what I call “politics” and that is why I say the Repubs are better at it than the Dems. Having said that, I think it is demonstrably false that the Dems lose because their candidates are worse (which is not quite what you said) – look at who the R’s can get elected! (Ron Johnson beat Russ Feingold here in Wisconsin, twice!!, and no one with a brain believes he’s a better politician or had a better organization.) I think the Dems lose (in flyover) because people don’t know, or trust, what they stand for. Which only raises the question, why do they trust the Repubs?, since they are selling at least as much BS as the Dems. To which I answer, trial and error. Lots of it (40-50 years).

          The reason why people like Manchin and Tester have so much power in the Dem Party is because they are among the few with credibility in flyover, so the rest of the Dems are in awe of them and know (or at least believe in their bones, even if they are incorrect) they need them.

    2. Janie

      Randy, 09.01: re Trump’s good old days being the 40s and 50s. I always agree with Trumpers that there was a lot good about those days, especially Eisenhower tax rates of 91 percent at the margin, plus a few more economic policies, plus beware the MIC.

      1. lance ringquist

        ike also said he would not reverse the new deal, and he would not reverse trumans trade policies.

        to the average person, that was universal concrete material benefits.

  7. LawnDart

    Farmboy: Flyover country is the backwash of globalization, left behind to fend as best it can, it was up for grabs until the democrat party shrunk itself to the beltway, K street, and Wall Street.

    That pretty-much sums it up right there, though the 1990s also saw the D’s actually turn against– not merely cast-aside, but turn against– their long-time allies, stalwart supporters and foot soldiers– the poors.

    1. barnaby33

      Yes but why? In, “The People No,” the author argues that it was driven by the poors continued support for the Vietnam war.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        So the Dems got revenge on the poors for supporting the Vietnam War? I myself think that was some of Clinton’s motivation for Free Trade. Revenge on the working poors for supporting the Vietnam War and voting for Nixon against McGovern.

        1. lance ringquist

          its their hatred of working people who stand in the way of immense profits. nafta billy just replicated thatcher, she got rid of unions by going the free trade route.

          1. eg

            NAFTA Billy’s direct UK doppelgänger is actually Tony Blair, not Thatcher, who was more directly the UK Reagan.

            Thatcher claimed that her greatest triumph was Tony Blair. She was right, because he represented the wholesale surrender to neoliberalism by UK Labour, the erstwhile party of the working classes, mirroring the US Democrats “heel turn” on their former working class constituency along with the poors.

            1. lance ringquist

              i agree, also reagan can say nafta billy clinton was his greatest achievement!

              it took a democrat to get the republican agenda through.

  8. Jake

    In central Texas, the PMC dems have decided that with just a few hundred millions more dollars from the city budget over the next few years, they will be able to “END HOMELESSNESS.” And a lot of activists and other idiots believe them, or at least want to believe them. What this has created is a flow of people from other parts of the state, and other states, to Austin in hopes of receiving assistance. In reality, there is a housing shortage in Austin and people with good paying jobs can’t afford to live here. So all the people who need assistance were dumped under the highway over passes all over town by the mayor and city council, with absolutely no plan to get people assistance. The activists are screaming ‘homes not handcuffs, don’t criminalize homelessness!” and then advocating that must continue to allow camping all over the city, but not realizing that more and more people are coming to Austin and there is no help for them here. The republicans are jumping on this, making the city council and mayor look like fools at a time when democrats should be winning. Voters easily overturned the city’s repeal of the camping ban, but it appears it is far too late. The damage is done. Anytime I see yet another camp, I blame the democrats. The democrat socialists are at least as bad here as well. And when I say ‘camp’, I’m being generous. When I was young I learned about minimum impact camping. A friend who learned the same jokes with me about the maximum impact camps that are all over Austin. Feces not just on the ground, but on the walls and columns under highways, just 50 feet from a porta poddy. Huge piles of trash that was pulled from nearby dumpsters and spread around all over, meth heads panhandling and attacking people in their vehicles regularly. And then there’s the shopping carts. So many shopping carts. Creeks turn into toxic flows during storms, needles, trash, feces all flowing through the neighborhoods. And the city absolutely will not admit they have made a huge mistake. These democrats and democrat socialists in central texas seem like they don’t want to win elections. But if we just give them several hundred million more dollars after the last several hundred million, somehow these incompetent fools will be able to end homelessness forever. Sad.

    1. Arizona Slim

      As mentioned umpteen times before, I get around town by bicycle.

      And so did one of my best friends. After she changed jobs, she continued to commute to work on her bicycle. But then she noticed that her route was brimming full of camps occupied by the, ahem, unhoused.

      Being a woman alone on a bike on a trail that can’t easily be seen from any road, she felt unsafe. So, she stopped commuting by bike. She drives now.

      Mind you, this is one of the most hardcore bike commuters I’ve ever met. And now she no longer is.

      Me? If I’m riding and I see one of those camps, I scurry past it like my tires are on fire. Why? Because, in my part of the world, homeless does not mean harmless. People have been attacked, and I don’t want to be one of them.

      1. peon

        The deification of the homeless is something pushed by the PMC who do not have to live in close proximity to a homeless encampment. I am not heartless and do understand that the mentally ill and addicted are living on the streets. That being said I do not want them living in the neighborhood park I frequent. This is another stupidity that is killing support for the dems and liberalism in general. Women that I know who are avid bicycle riders are universally afraid of riding solo on their bike trails. It used to be mostly at dusk because of men. Now it is anytime because of the homeless encampments along the way.

    2. jhallc

      I think the democrats can be pretty good at getting rid of encampments when they want to (see Occupy Wall Street). I also believe the 100’s of millions of $$ thrown at trying to solve the problem isn’t much compared to the $$ handouts given to the wealthy PMC from both parties. You can blame the Social Democrats all you want but, they are not responsible for the camps being there in the first place. That took coordinated action by both the Neoliberal D’s and Republicans over the last 40 years.

    3. Copeland

      So homeless people are flocking to Austin, from other parts of Texas, and even from other states, because they think there is assistance for the homeless, but there actually is not assistance for the homeless, so they’re all ending up under bridges? Doesn’t really sound plausible. Or are you saying the money for assistance was found, but it is not being spent on homeless assistance? Are you saying they got the money, but they mucked up the plan for assistance?

      1. Cali Badger

        Situation similar in the Bay Area where it’s less difficult to (physically) survive: “not too hot, not too cold, just right.”
        SF pours ‘uge amounts into resolving homeless/unhoused issue. Oaktown has put up lots of tiny structures. Caltrans has fenced off many of the under freeway options so that population is constantly shuffled around. But whatever efforts are made, the tents on the streets and the crime/drug dealing continues, seemingly unabated.
        it’s not a local problem, some consider it a wealth distribution problem. (“The Horror!”)
        Doubt that any of the Dim/Repug coalition has any intention of addressing such a root cause.

    4. Adam W

      What… this makes very little logical or evidential sense. Homeless people are moving to Austin b/c of a city budget allocation… over the next couple years… Others might suggest homelessness is a result of cratering, uneven economy and the absence of affordable housing.

      Sadly, this comment is more about using a conversation around “PMC” as a springboard to demonize people without homes.

  9. Bob

    From here – not exactly fly over but close – the ds seem unable to make any effort other than their safely reliable, big city strong holds. A blind eye is turned when the most egregious gerrymandering, curious P3 contracts, perjury in Federal Court, odd issues with ballot shortages or semifunctional voting machines (only in d strong holds) become the norm.

    At times it seems as if the ds are not even trying and in their own way are colluding.

    As far as the PMC class why has none of the pollsters had their feet held to the fire for the disastrous showing of the 2020 races ? After all if candidates rely on flawed data flawed result should be expected.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      You really have to understand many larger donors are just rich versions of the worst local committee Democrats. They watch cable news and get excited for someone from tv. The courtiers tell these people how great they are and how they are making a difference and then find excuses. Russia, bees, Republicans, African Americans not voting in sufficient numbers, and so forth.

      The state of the GOP, it’s a rump party, is such that a Democrat who hasn’t lost isn’t likely to lose a seat anymore. They don’t really need to change. Loom at the age of the Team Blue leadership. It’s a joke to the Soviet Politburo. AOC is a greater threat than any Republican.

      The courtiers like James Carville immediately began blaming unidentified wokeness with nary a mention of Terry McAuliffe or Pete’s pals running the campaign. There were wall to wall ads, and they were terrible and cheap. At one point, there was a Terry ad with a guy from PA. The former Governor can’t find someone from Virginia. That might cost money or require work. They had plenty of money, so where was it going?

      My home town area had 6 to 8 organizers in 2008, probably more with the Congressional race for a smaller population. Team Blue had one this year. Those organizers in 2008 probably cost 200, 250 k all together for the stretch. They could easily get 10k more votes. Terry did this across the state. 90,000 votes was all it would have taken. That takes work and money not going to the courtiers, but not that much. If the money goes to field organizers it won’t go to James Carville who enjoys blind faith of donors who don’t see this or pay much attention to politics beyond the next party. They have the ultimate trump card which is the Team Clinton electoral success over the years is such that any partisan Democrat who gave them money was throwing it away.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Before Youngkin’s election, the Ds controlled the governor’s mansion and the legislature, yet Virginia remained a Right to Work state: say no more.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Yeah, but they passed the anti-Dominion legislation i put together in the mid-00’s. They did some other good things too. They just didn’t run on them or even bother to ask people to vote.

          Voter registration is a huge deal. Renters move, and registrations don’t get followed up on. You need people running these operations full time employment to get them done.

          There were no tablers at the UVA games this fall. What were the UDems doing? Nothing. They usually hang out in front of Cohn’s. Groups like UDems because of student turnover aren’t always led by self motivated people. They often need to be pushed. That means paying someone to hound the kids until they do it.

          Betrayal and poor policy are issues, but the weren’t doing basic stuff.

        2. lance ringquist

          BINGO!!!! and the deplorable despise the clintonites because of that. the days of sweet talking their way in is over.

          every race gets tighter and tighter, till they lose and keep losing. 2020 was a joke, even 2018 was a joke, no big blue wave at all. 2018 was merely a trickle.

          there were a lot of seats that changed hands by just a few votes.

          a wave is where big time votes are pile up in many seats that changed hands.

  10. Beachwalker

    I live in Gary Indiana, a kind of nexus twixt Chicago and the dreaded Trump heartlands of rural Indiana. If I drive a few miles east I’m in the cornfields. Every mile west takes me deeper into the megalopolis.

    The elephant in the room that is missing in this thread is the dismal corruption of the urban Democrat machines that run so many cities, including Chicago and Gary. Yes, I know, the Republicans are corrupt too, but if you live in or near Chicago or Gary or probably any other urban center, the corruption and mismanagement of the Democrats are in your face all the time. And that’s the way it’s always been. JFK got elected with a big dollop of help from the Daley machine, – a dollop that was probably of questionable legality – and again I’m sure the same kinds of stories abound throughout the country and its history. And after so many decades of this hijinx no one with any brains is going to believe that the party has any principles or aspirations that it won’t sacrifice for expediency.

    In some people’s dreams the Democratic party is salvageable if it could only focus on it’s own best FDR-inspired impulses. But that possibility is, at best, very, very remote.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      aye. the goptrumpian trope of “corrupt democrat run cities” has a lot of truth in it.
      i only see that from afar, given where i live.
      but i must point out: our one city in the county, where 3500 of our 4500 souls live, is operated on a “nonpartisan” basis…as in no party affiliation allowed on the ballot for mayor or whatever.
      on one hand, it wouldn’t matter, since things like the sheriff are decided in the gop primary…and local dems are locked in their hillforts…but on the other, it provides a sort of dirty lens into the supraparty nature of corruption:
      prolly 80% of the people who win local elections…outside of sheriff….would, in a more open and nuanced world…be centrist democrats.
      the mayor’s letters in the paper, and similar from city council people, are carefully worded masterpieces of threading the needle…so as not awaken the ire of the yelling splittle crowd(this was particularly evident during 2020 pandemic times)
      they rarely get into the weeds of partisan rancor, and try…largely successfully…to remain above it.
      and this has allowed them to do major work on infrastructure over the last 30 years…mostly with state and federal grants…and almost to the level of sewer socialism.
      this fact is one of those things that a tight knit and isolated frontier place learns to look away from…to not even see…and to never mention in polite conversation.
      (like when the county judge gets drunk at the rodeo,lol)
      but at the same time, there’s been a repeated round of “updating” and/or “modernising” things like zoning rules…which have the not-so-stealthy effect of facilitating the land speculators and would-be slumlords…easier to weaponise the rules.
      the aforementioned bevy of de facto centrist liberals, quietly getting real things done…turn a blind eye to this skulduggery….and even manage to profit from it via familial ties
      everybody really is related to everybody out here–nepotism cannot be avoided, and serves as yet another obscuring cloud for ordinary corruption…

      so, my point is, that municipal//local gov corruption is not really a party thing…either party.
      the real difference is how each party sells it, covers it up…or exposes the methods of the “other side”…ie: what rhetoric, what to ignore, etc.

      1. TMoney

        The old party machine could be relied on to deliver votes in exchange for concrete material benefits for their votes. Tammany Hall provided early uneven, corrupt social benefits – but that was more than enough to lock up the votes of freshly arrived poors to New York.

        Chicago Aldermen used to work the same way – but the rot had set in long ago, Mike Royko’s columns (esp the earlier ones) provide details on how and why, but even as Royko became a grumpy pre-Fox news reactionary, the corruption (donor’s win) continued – the benefits for voters stopped stopped.

        Now it’s voting by muscle memory only and even that seems to be weakening but with no real alternative to vote for – what else are you going to do ? Apathy might not a solution but it’s not irrational for most people.

  11. George Phillies

    “The City of Warren has a major refinery, as well as dozens of large and well-maintained early 20th century houses. ” which I quote because it relates to a claim made yesterday that wooden houses unlike brick houses do not last. A well-maintained (roof leaks fixed immediately, repainted or restained regularly) wooden house will last for centuries, and local homes here have, though occasional major renovations for modernization are needed.

  12. Eclair

    Well, I’ll do a Lambert …. ‘blushes modestly.’

    I had little contact with my spouse’s very large extended family, tons of 2nd and 3rd cousins, once or twice removed, in Warren County until his retirement in 2017 when, after decades in SoCal and Denver, we moved to his family’s place in Chautauqua County. I felt somewhat like an anthropologist dropped among an alien tribe.

    We helped out on one cousin’s farm, spending days picking strawberries, sorting tomatoes and cleaning potatoes and selling at the farm store. This cousin died in 2019, aged 58. Victim of high-deductible health insurance?

    We buy our maple syrup from another cousin and hang about his farm on late on summer afternoons, watching the cows march from the pasture to barn for evening milking. And, there’s the annual Warren County Fair, where we sit in the Dairy Barn, next to the prize cow and watch as two of the 4-H granddaughters scrub her poop-laden tail with purple shampoo (the human kind,) to remove the ‘yellow’ from the pure white plume. Then hang out at the Grange Hall food bar, operated by more family members. We’re now the official hosts of one of the several annual family reunions: each branch of my spouse’s prolific family has their own.

    They’re not my tribe. Or, not the tribe I aspired to when I moved away from a dying east coast industrial city. We don’t discuss current politics. But one elderly cousin recently whispered to me that she believed abortion should be available and recounted the story of her mother becoming pregnant with her 6th child and the family doctor telling her that bringing it to term would kill her. He performed the abortion, quietly. And, this weekend, we received a call from a cousin; her son, aged 60 had died suddenly. The usual story: no decent job, divorce, unemployment, ill health. Add another death of despair …. the 3rd, or maybe 4th, among the male cousins.

    So, why, as DJG asks in his comment, can we identify the deterioration and decay but can’t manage a solution? I don’t know. We feel fractured and beset. How do we as a society manage to merge together these disparate entities. Technology that enables us to communicate instantly and in a relatively unfettered way, spreading rumor and falsehoods as well as truth. A Planet that is heating, drying, flooding, storming, burning, because of fossil fuel use and industrial pollution. Millions of marginalized people, including climate refugees and an increasingly disparaged and discouraged working and farming class with skills and gumption. (Some glimmer of hope here with recent labor activity!)

    Faced with any huge task, we need to break it down into manageable chunks. But how?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      you extended adopted familia is analogous to my little county: one keeps the peace by avoiding conflict. …so religion and politics is glossed over or ignored.
      i will note…both in my county and in my own far flung and diverse family(and my wife’s)…those most likely to break this rule are the more rabid right….that crazy uncle, korean war vet…and john bircher…who just can’t keep his mouth shut…as if it’s his mission to root out communism, especially in his own family…bullying his wayward nephews, etc into getting back on the right track(here, wave this flag around)

      but this prohibition on conflict producing topics makes it very difficult to adapt to change…especially the negative kind.
      during worst of the pandemic, middle 6 months of 2020…all the local leaders were quietly doing things to respond, more or less rationally, to the problem…but, as i said, threading the needle, since it was apparent even then that the pandemic was being insanely politicised.
      so there was encouragement to wear masks…but always with a caveat appended regarding sacred freedoms and choice…
      again, it was masterfully done…and is akin to your aunt or whatever whispering her truth to you.

      1. Eclair

        Yes, Amfortas! “…..those most likely to break this rule are the more rabid right…” Like the husband of a Warren County Commissioner who, upon being introduced to me, literally at the bedside of my spouse’s dying cousin (she was taking a selfie with the poor guy, intubated and tied to his bed, probably for her campaign literature) hissed, without any preamble, “New Yorkers are killing babies.” (Like, we live in the next town over. It just happens to be on the NY side of the line.)

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            why, yes…i happen to love herring!
            where is this “rabid left”?
            i’d like their address.

            or are you talking about antifa and the woke people?
            maybe commie joe biden?


  13. Carolinian

    If we are talking about Southern flyover shouldn’t we be talking about Civil Rights which, as LBJ correctly said, would “lose the South for a generation.” Lyndon knew his peeps. It was really the 60s, before Roe, when this transition happened. SC, my state, began its party switch then and followed Senator Thurmond into the Repubs. One has to remember why Texas and the rest of the South were Dems in the first place and that goes back to the Civil War or even before. The slavery conflict also had a strong religious element but it wasn’t about religion and I seriously doubt the current alignment is either. Roe was just a tactic for the party of big business to lure some popular support. Farmers too are businessmen and often depend on cheap labor to pick their crops. And in the modern era farmers are often big businessmen. The reality is that the Republican party is their natural home.

    As for Civil Rights, that lost generation is now over and things have changed. I’ve read that all the cities in Texas are Dem. It’s the vast other that isn’t. But I wonder how much these ancient political parties matter. In the future the majority of people, me including, may be registering as “I.”

      1. Carolinian

        I don’t think your article really disagrees with me or with Lyndon. After all 1964 to 1994 was a generation. And I wasn’t saying that the solid Dem South turned into the solid GOP South all at once. Worth noting that one of the biggest opponents of NAFTA was my town’s one time most prominent citizen and ultra Republican, textile magnate Roger Milliken.

        And I’m not totally disagreeing with the above post either. One can’t deny that the South has always been much more religious than the rest of the country with the GOP “family values” mantra of the 80s being their version of “woke.”

        But I do think in this mixture of many things it was Civil Rights that got the GOP foot in the door.

        1. lance ringquist

          it helped, but that does not address how fast and deep the south went GOP. from Kentucy downwards, nafta devastated textiles. when pillowtext went, what a blow. then the furniture manufacturers to china, was the final blow.

          before nafta there was still a good mix of democrats in the south like hollingsworth, who was dead set against free trade, and kept winning till he retired.

          there even was some unionization, that all got wiped away. no wonder the south went GOP so fast.

          now the GOP is sweeping the midwest, something unheard of 30 years ago. its like a earthquake.

          in my state solid democratic districts since the new deal, are either flipping, or so close to flipping its only a matter of time.

          the nafta democrats are losing pennsylvania, michigan, wisconsin, west virginia used to be solid democrat, iowa is wavering badly. democrats used to win in MO. a lot. when was the last time that happened.

          when the MOOG autoparts plant in st. loius which was a union town went to nafta billys mexico, it devastated MO. the MOOG plant was many city blocks of a large complex.

          there was less wealth for the deplorable in the south, that is why they went so fast. there was far more wealth in the north, but that’s gone now, so you see how fast the flipping is happening in the north.

          if the nafta democrats lose the states mentioned, plus maybe minnesota, even illinois, they will become a small regional party. the donor class will ignore them then, because they will no longer be useful.

          1. Carolinian

            Mine was a textile town with low paying brown lung inducing mill jobs. I’m not sure they were as devoted to their industries as you think. The Republicans in my area helped to bring somewhat higher paying auto plant jobs among others.

            Here’s suggesting a big reasons the Dems have gone down here is that they just aren’t very interesting in competing for Southern white votes. Put a lot of it to the national Dem leadership.

            1. lance ringquist

              but those jobs were a god send to many of the workers. without those jobs, what happened?

              why the workers became radicalized.

              its not that the nafta democrats will not cater to the whites. its that nafta democrats will not cater to anyone that is not rich, or tied to the rich.

              remember, lots of blacks and hispanics worked in those places also.

              today those people are moving to trump. and i do not blame them at all. we can call anyone a deplorable and stupid and be shocked at minorities voting for trump. except, peel back the label and look at what caused them to act like they do.

              most people are happy bolting two things together all day long. it provided them with a home, food, and some leisure time to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

              nafta billy clinton took that all away, he is the poster child, and americans are not forgetting it.
              its nafta billy clintons disastrous polices PERIOD!

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well . . . we’re talking about the non-South . . . . the MidWest, the West except for Pacifica, dominated as it is by heavy coastal urban populations who thought they could make a fortune from their country’s misfortune.

    2. Mike

      For those of us in closed primary states, registering Independent means we have no voice in selecting candidates, and that’s where the rubber meets the road. “The essence of oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance, but the persistence of a certain world-view and a certain way of life, imposed by the dead upon the living. A ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate its successors. The Party is not concerned with perpetuating its blood but with perpetuating itself. Who wields power is not important, provided that the hierarchical structure remains always the same”. http://www.george-orwell.org/1984/16.html

  14. juno mas

    Yves, thanks for enticing this discussion. Didn’t think it would be interesting—the commentariat changed my mind.

  15. Peter from Dallas

    Reading this discussion on how the Democratic party lost the flyover part of the country is crystalizing the question I’ve been pondering for a while now – are the Democrats on the verge of losing the poor / working class blacks?

    It seems like they’ve been riding on the civil rights bills the passed under JFK and LBJ, the painting of the right as racist, and the indifference of the Republican party towards the black population to keep the blacks voting for them. But relying on inertia without providing tangible benefits only works for so long. This is especially true if you’re also actively doing things that are making life worse for them.

    One of the outcomes of the BLM movement was the defund or reduce the funds to the police. This idea was embraced by various Democrats at all levels. Coupled with this was the release of a lot of people from jail in due to Covid, has resulted in a huge crime / murder wave in most cities, predominantly in black communities. The black community is one of the most vaccine hesitant groups out there, so the vaccine mandates and requirements are disproportionally hurting them. The lockdowns and service industry shutdowns seemed to hit the black community especially hard. School closures place an extra burden everyone, but your poor urban families more than most. Finally, the rampant inflation is crushing the bottom end of social economic class more than most, which again is where the majority of the black population resides. I know many of these problems started under the last president, but the current administration kept them and made them worse.

    I’m also seeing what could be earlier signs of at least some parts of the black community moving towards the Republican party. The last president, in a last minute pandering attempt for votes, proposed a program to help blacks establish their own business. That weak attempt still seemed to swing more votes his way than in years passed. Since then, there have been prominent black politicians running under the Republican banner in big elections, from the biggest Republican challenger in the California recall election, to the Virginia lieutenant governors race, to the leading candidate in the Georgia senate race.

    So I can’t tell if I’m reading too much in to this, or if this is really the beginning signs of at least a significant portion of the black vote leaving the Democratic party.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      But relying on inertia without providing tangible benefits only works for so long. This is especially true if you’re also actively doing things that are making life worse for them.

      But it does work for the Repubs! That’s what is so confusing.

      1. lance ringquist

        i am no trumper, but trump did deliever some concrete material benefits to americans and minorities.

        name one universal concrete material benefit that nafta billy clinton, or empty suit hollowman obama deliever?

        same with nafta joe biden, he owes me $600.00.

        the nafta democrats have set the bar so low, that anyone can step over it with little or no effort.

        the sooner you realize this, the better it will be for you.

  16. Jackman

    This conversation make me wonder: shouldn’t we all just register as Republicans and try to pull the center of that party slightly left, instead of pretending we’re going to reform the Democratic Party?
    The Dems are done, cooked, finished. Their brand is hopelessly tarnished for most Americans. The political landscape is also structurally built against them, between the Senate, gerrymandering, and SCOTUS. And as if that’s not enough, the party’s hook, line, and sinker affection for a particularly illiberal form of identitarian politics as a substitute for economic populism will ensure there will always be a steady diet of woke intolerance for the right to feed on, stories that many Democrats also find cringingly uncomfortable.
    I suspect we’re entering a moment where the right is in complete ascendance. It will be ugly and unpleasant, maybe worse. But maybe not. The question for many of us is: what’s the best, most effective posture here? I’m honestly not sure that most Democrats are not better off trying to shave the worst impulses of the GOP down by joining their party. Perhaps bolstering some of the impulses of economic populism that already exist there. Maybe that’s absurd, maybe it’s hallucinating, maybe we’ll only move the needle inches, but I find the Democratic chess position at this moment beyond hopeless, and the impulse, which is now reflexive amongst most progressives, that our fate is to simply keep beating our heads against the wall of the DNC and liberal establishment, or join a third party in an act of performative disgust, something that perhaps we should look at.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      I’m not sure which impulses you are suggesting we could affect if we all became Repubs but the notion that the Repub Party is at all open to rank-and-file pressure on the issues that really matter is ludicrous. The Koch’s and the business right haven’t spent the last 40-50 years figuring out how to make hot-button politics work just to let the plebes have their say.

      1. lance ringquist

        the kochs owned nafta billy clinton.

        brad delong was nafta billys economic advisor, he was a cato inst. fellow.

        lets remind everyone on how the GOP became the over whelming dominant party in america today: BRAD DELONG, bill clinton was a disaster, everything he did was complete utter economics nonsense that made things worse

        BRAD DE LONG: bill clinton kept on pushing farther and farther and farther to the right with our policies, so that we’re actually to the right of the Republican Party’s own representatives in Congress

        he seems to have been cured of libertarianism, he says he was a shill, bill clintons economist comes clean: We were a disaster. Everything we did was a disaster politically. Economically, the left’s view of the world is a lot more accurate than ours was. So a number of our policies, presumably, really need to be changed, even just in terms…


    2. Mike

      RE: ” shouldn’t we all just register as Republicans and try to pull the center of that party slightly left…”
      It’s been suggested that this be done with the NRA: have sensible gun law supporters join en masse and take over. Great idea, been suggested for other causes as well, but never worked. Lack of coherent cohort and acceptable leadership being the main reason. SEE: Occupy Wall Street, inter alia.

  17. Synoia

    This thread suggests the US is following a classic example of Decline and fall of Empire.

    To understand it better, British history has much has some examples of decline and fall, however, a larger body of decline and fall history is contained in Chinese and Roman History.

    Civilization is a Chaotic process , which lurches from one meta-stable equilibrium to another.

    1. Randy

      It’s hard not to feel that way. I increasingly wonder about trying to get citizenship in another country through a relative. Or learning mandarin. It’s only going to get worse when the feedback loops from climate change get going. No hope, no future.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        China won’t be much fun when Global Warming gets a lot hotter. The ChinaGov will solve its water and food problems by buying up resource land all over the world, getting more and more resented.

        And when the ChinaGov decides to drain all the rivers that begin in Chinese Tibetistan back into Heartland China and leave exactly zero water for all the downstream neighbors, then China will be half-surrounded along its whole southern border by bitter hateful countries.

        Fun times?

  18. Susan the other

    How the democrats lost flyover? Offshoring. Raising the question, Well if we had kept our industries functioning and our economy benefiting everyone in the country, how long would it have lasted; would this isolated prosperity still be in operation? That’s interesting to think about because there always comes a point when human populations come up against each other over resources. Usually in nationalistic wars. So here’s another thought: we haven’t had WW3 yet – we’ve managed to keep it at bay – although I would say that the last 25 years have been a virtual world war. The world is now dangerously overpopulated and polluted and we’ve got global warming and destructive climate change… but we haven’t had a world-war-blowout so far. The trade off could have been, probably was, evening out global inequality. Here in the US by internalizing it. Some countries did better than others. Up to now I’d say that the EU did a good job of preventing the worst inequality; the Russians; the Chinese as well. Here in the US we definitely saw this coming in the 70s. And our industrial leaders panicked, imo. Where were they going to exploit labor and the environment to make the profits they were used to; to pay for social equality? And by the 80s our dear Democrats had caved. They decimated labor without a second thought. Because the alternative was to lose world power; prestige and wealth. I personally think it has been a complete debacle. And it is time to admit it. Because there are ways to make life livable for everyone and repair the planet and the whole agenda. And we need to start discussing the future.

    1. Questa Nota

      Off-shoring, rightsizing, re-engineering and variations all reduced people from subjects to objects.

      Once that small step was taken, it was much easier to rationalize abandoning communities and avoiding the stories about the inevitable destruction, squalor, ruined lives and so many other ills.

      If a politician of whatever party could treat people like people, and demonstrate how to deliver on that, such politician would get attention at the grass roots level. That would work in flyover country as well as the big city or suburbia. It works less well around the Beltway as too many have vested interests in maintaining their consensus.

    2. lance ringquist

      no one will debate this guy for obvious reasons, its why there is all this distraction about trump

      Franklin argued, the American manufacturers could not survive unless they were protected from low-wage competition

      GDP in america under protectionism was far superior for workers than nafta billy clintons poor GDP performance

      To sum up, the free-trade/market policies are policies that have rarely, if ever, worked

      Few countries have become rich through free-trade, free-market policies and few ever will.

      under world wide protectionism, world GDP grew higher and more equitable than under free trade

      Dr. Ha Joon Chang plainly through historical records proves that free trade is bad for the poor and democracy


      Saturday, April 4, 2015
      Free-market policies rarely make poor countries rich by Dr. Ha-Joon Chang

  19. Gulag

    “… a life with dignity and not too much hardship and a fair shake and a fair deal and some sense of security and continuity…”

    I would argue that such apparently purely material-sounding goals also have embedded within them a yearning for a sense of cultural limits–an understanding that our present cultural narrative articulating primarily a story of liberation of the self from any type of anchorage has been found to be inadequate to dealing with our present crises.

    How does the left deal with the apparent human need for worship, authority, ritual, purpose and belonging if both the narratives of Christianity and Progress are now dead?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      one of these things is not like the other.
      narratives…and mores and folkways for that matter…can change.
      each of our need for food water shelter some sense of belonging and community do not, at the root, change.
      this, for instance:”an understanding that our present cultural narrative articulating primarily a story of liberation of the self from any type of anchorage …” is one take…one way of seeing.
      it is the one chosen for us by the lords of the manor and their shire reeves.
      it is not the only lens, by far.
      but switching lenses is hard…and can be scary(who knew there were little lobsters in all our eyelashes?).
      so it takes either some catastrophe in BAU(including this cultural BAU)…or, contrarily, enough comfort that one is not continually feeling harried, harassed and hated.
      the New Deal was, after all, a method of preventing both Fascism as well as state communism.

      comfortable happy people don’t tend to join armed gangs or storm the bastille.

      of course, the method chosen thus far to keep this kleptocratic mess going on and on is that of fear, uncertainty and doubt…combined with rampant fomented hatreds.
      i would suspise that this approach has limits….the machinists that run the Great Wurlitzer may, themselves, end up eaten by the mobs they have created.
      it would be much cooler to try the other way.
      give everybody good healthcare, and let us see if the national mood changes any.
      we’ve spent50 years heading in the opposite direction,, after all…and i’d say the results of that experiment are in.
      we should learn from the experience.

  20. Copeland

    I agree with the gist of the article regarding the uselessness of team dem, but this part from eclair has always caused some cognitive dissonance:

    “Republicans stand for self-reliance, small government, low taxes, business (with a small ‘b’), family, patriotism. They don’t want a ‘handout,’ or ‘free’ college. They want a job after they graduate from high school. One that pays them a decent salary with raises and a chance to become a supervisor, a couple of weeks of paid vacation, decent health insurance, and a respectable pension. Or, they want to be able to work in their own business; auto repair, plumbing, electrician. Or they want to farm; raise beef cattle or pigs, grow strawberries and sweet corn, keep the small dairy operation their great-grandfather started”

    Are all republicans super healthy? Are all Republicans able to do all of the above things without any problem whatsoever? Do they not know anyone who is not super healthy and can’t pursue these paths? Amfortas I’m sure can comment on this oddity of the conservative brainwashing.

    If any Republicans do understand that not everyone can succeed as outlined above, how do they propose dealing with these folks under a “small government, low taxes” system?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      the true believer gop-er, in my experience, would likely have healthcare…not ever worry about dinner, etc.
      lower down…in the people who vote but don’t go out of their way to meet the candidate when he comes to town…(*including the people who don’t vote but live the goptea idealism–ie: trailer trash conservatives…sorry mods, but it fits…they exist in great numbers)…who pay peripheral attention to news and such…
      well, if they need healthcare, they try to get medicaid(of foodstamps, etc). they deserve it, you see…Real Americans, and all.
      i know lots of people like this.
      the mental contortions are impressive.

      (*these latter are the real “deplorables”, but they aren’t monolithic, and cannot be relied upon to vote….they’re just naturally right wing.(sans 9-11 and then obamamania and then trump, these folks have been on their way to extinction. they must be fed strong medicine to continue))

  21. Tom Bradford

    I’m an outsider whose perception of the US comes almost entirely from what is dramatic enough to make the mainstream news here – entirely drama and/or scandal – and from NC and its commentators. Thus it might be somewhat jaundiced. However from all this it seems clear there is something rotten in the state of the US political system. And this can only be the fault of the US citizenship. You get what you vote for.

    I’ve noticed even here in the NC comments writers state that they’ll vote for a particular party because the other has no chance of winning, as though being on the winning side was the only thing that mattered. I’ve read, too, comments from people who say they’ll vote for the rabid Right to punish the Left for not being Left enough for them. And this from what I generally regard as an informed, thoughtful bunch of people. In a wider picture interviews with voters in the street carried here during US elections seems to show a firmly entrenched tribalism, a “my party right or wrong” personal identification with and commitment to a flag that reflects a firmly entrenched American exceptionalism – “My Country right or wrong” with emphasis on the ‘My’ – that allows no self-examination or analysis.

    That’s not unique to the US, of course, but it does seem much more prevalent and powerful there. Here in my neck of the woods I voted Green in several elections when I knew they had no chance of winning anything because I believed in them. In doing so was aware I was depriving the leftish party standing against the rightish party of support that might let the rightish party into Government. But in each election the Green vote grew a little bigger and gained a little more credibility until after a decade it actually broke through and is no longer a ‘wasted vote’. Which, indeed, in hindsight it never was.

    Today’s Guardian has a piece on the corrupted Republican party and the threat still posed by Trump (which might be referred to in ‘Links’ – I haven’t been there yet). This appals me, and it appals me because however corrupt and rancid any political party is and however it misuses the power it has, that power was given to them by the voter.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i vote strategically only when absolutely necessary…like when one of the guys running for sheriff was a known nutter(sheriff is decided in the gop primary).
      i voted against him in the gop primary and was inundated with goptea crazypants mailings for 15 years(one can only have so many dartboards)

      but in the main, i vote my conscious…wont vote for a right faux dem.
      vote green, mostly…and if that ain’t available, i’ll even vote Libertarian.

      but we amaericans are in a pickle as far as choices go.
      demparty keeps sending up right wingers where i live and vote…so what am i to do?
      and neither party is a membership organisation, with internal checks and balances and methods of democratic control.
      remarkably, the gop has more internal democracy than the democratic party..but this does NOT mean that lefties can storm the gop…a la the Free State Movement…and finally win power…there are checks against that, not even including the vast and intertwined media/opinion machinery.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps any new party that a bunch of people form should be a membership party, not a committee plantation. So the voting members can vote it to become one thing or another.

        And since American culture values “free” as being “worthless” , membership should be charged some money for. Not a middle-class amount of money . . . . a working-class amount of money. But still, something.

        It might even set up its own charged-for Party Newspaper(s) and/or Newsletter(s) . . . as the Democratic Party did in the President Jackson period. They might even have a sense of humor and label their flagship newspaper The Biased Liberal Press.

    2. Copeland

      When you look at what the Dem party did to Bernie Sanders last two elections you perhaps can start to see that what most people want here in the USA just doesn’t matter, the system is so convoluted that actual democracy doesn’t stand a chance.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      ” You get what you vote for.”

      Wouldn’t it be pretty to think so?

      When the DemParty engineers a fake outcome in two back-to-back primaries in order to deprive the SanderBackers of their probable victory ( getting Sanders), it may still feel easy to sell that line, but you will find it hard to make the sale.

      Here’s an apocryphal saying from the past to illustrate the problem. ” They said if I voted for Goldwater, I’d get a war in Vietnam. Well . . . that’s what I did. And that’s what I got.”

      Sometimes your little aphorism is true. McGovern versus Nixon for example. But not often anymore.

      Goodculture Americans might think about putting more of their effort into growing and spreading the Goodculture and attriting, degrading and wearing down the Badculture. And not waste so much effort on the decoy tarpit of politics and electoralics.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      The Republican Party is carefully engineering the State by State electioneering and balloting machinery and laws so that it can declare Trump the winner even when the not-Trump wins by anywhere up to a landslide.

      If/ when the majority of one of these states votes for the Not-Trump and Trump is declared the winner by the Republicans’ finely re-engineered legal regimes, Secretaries of State, State Legislatures, etc., then “you get what you vote for” will be demonstrated to be entirely obsolete and in fact hallucinatory.

      Don’t think so? “Watch . . . and learn” as Dr. Zoidberg likes to say on Futurama.

      In the teeth of that, what can the ” want betters” do? Probably only steady patient Cultural Siege Warfare. The Goodculture people will have to try and outnumber and outsurround and degrade and attrit and reduce the wealth, power and survival of the Badculture people. And let “elections” take care of themselves.

    5. mike

      RE: “..there is something rotten in the state of the US political system. And this can only be the fault of the US citizenship. You get what you vote for.” Yes, there is something rotten in the US political system: The closed primary system. We only get to vote for candidates selected by the most committed i.e. rabid minority plus the party leadership. “The essence of oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance, but the persistence of a certain world-view and a certain way of life, imposed by the dead upon the living. A ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate its successors. The Party is not concerned with perpetuating its blood but with perpetuating itself. Who wields power is not important, provided that the hierarchical structure remains always the same”. http://www.george-orwell.org/1984/16.html
      AND: “….however corrupt and rancid any political party is and however it misuses the power it has, that power was given to them by the voter.” Yes; within the constraints mentioned above. And now, since Trump, we have another applicable quote: “The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.” – wrongly attributed to Stalin, but internalized by Trump et al: “Trump urged Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, in early January to ‘find 11780 votes’ to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state”. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/02/trump-georgia-elections-official-brad-raffensperger

  22. Gil Schaeffer

    Friends, you are over thinking this. Since 1988, the Republican Presidential candidate has won the popular vote exactly once, yet they held the presidency for twelve of the last twenty-eight years. As for the Democrats, their attitude toward humane government policies is captured in the images of the Chicago cops beating demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic Convention and George Meany golfing with Richard Nixon in 1972 to symbolize his opposition to McGovern. The Democratic Party’s role is to crush any progressive sprouts that might pop up in this political desert. Is the Democratic Party an intelligence agency false flag operation? The facts suggest so.

  23. Librarian Guy

    Both parties are parties of Mammon, of the financial elites, FIRE sector generally, and increased Oligarch and impoverishment and immiseration of the majority of people. As well as Cop Culture, Empire, and Moral Panics about anything they are too boozhie and cowardly to understand. They are cruel, predatory and soulless. (And no, I’m not a conventionally religious person in any way, my political values come from humanism, to the extent that such a thing is even possible in such a cruel, rat-race society.) The elected Dems have mastered kiss-up, kick-down as effectively as the R’s, but pretend to have their cake and eat it too with “tolerance” for LGBTQ folks, women (to a point, though of course they care nothing for poor women, or poor people generally, who haven’t been worthy of even brief rhetorical mention since Jimmy Carter’s era.) I mean, most R’s are openly monsters. D’s are slightly preferable to be around, I can’t imagine them wanting to bash queers for “fun” or lynch black people or take a weapon to a BLM protest to then incite violence and kill someone on “the Left” . . . but they ultimately serve the same Master. The Dem’s believe in Thatcher’s TINA just as much as the Rs do and they will NEVER allow the 40+ years of redistribution of wealth UPward to stop . . . Obama was proof of that (& crowed about it, we saved Wall Street’s ass from the pitchforks), of course, just the 3rd and 4th terms of Jr. Bush, but with a fake eloquent calm that reassured the suburban pod-people. I agree, Hillary is a millstone around the Dem “brand’s” neck, always completely reactionary even back to her college days when she quietly lobbied at her private college that her peers oppose the Vietnam War “quietly” and not like those shrill, dirty hippies. Anyway, yes, the Dems are there to crush any REAL social change, or hope thereof, and play the B-Team, Alan Colmes-style pencil necked geek to get pushed around by the manly men Red meat eating Right. It’s all over, folks, at least as far as electoral politricks goes. . . if there is an answer (?) it lies elsewhere than the Elite duopoly of No Hope No Change Ever. The Bernies and AOC’s are there to feint that the Dems “care”– since they cannot even win the tiniest scrap for their voters (which I’ll admit Sanders at least did decades back, before the MSM fully joined the Oligarch troika and it hardened & calcified), it is now evident what they are and who they serve as well.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      FTA:”The Generals exist primarily as a part of the Harlem Globetrotters’ act, effectively being stooges for the Globetrotters. While the Globetrotters play tricks and spectacular displays of skill for the crowd, the Generals attempt to play a “normal” game of basketball. The Generals’ games involve playing genuine basketball at times, but also not interfering in the Globetrotters’ tricks. Almost every game has ended in a resounding win for the Globetrotters.[2] ”

      1. Librarian Guy

        Thanks, Amfortas. Yes, you will see that I have used this Washington Generals analogy myself for years in old comments. It is no longer hidden at all what the Dims are, it’s just sad that Bernie pulled the wool over some people’s eyes (mea culpa, myself included, I donated to him in the last 2 presidential cycles), but like I said, they won’t even throw their voters tiny scraps now. Their message to voters was on Melania’s altered jacket, “I don’t care, do you?”
        One hopes the “voters” are smarter than Skinner box rats and will stop pushing a lever that gives no food pellet. . . sadly, social conditioning means that at this point the electorate is not there yet. Chapo Trap House joked that if 2024 is a Hawley-Kamala race we may have 30,000 votes nationwide, but sadly that’s not likely (Kamala could even get slightly more than that from the PMC goons, & Trump or his stand-in will have a solid corps of self-destructive, authority worshiping nihilists). The system, no!! Voting is like drinking Drano, it will not lead to anything positive for those who do so.

  24. Cali Badger

    As a well worn bumper sticker on a neighbor’s truck reads:
    When republicans are in power man oppresses man, with the democrats it’s the opposite.”

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