Bernie Sanders traveled to Mississippi to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death. Along the way, he got distracted, turning his attention to the failures of the Democrats and President Obama
“The business model, if you like, of the Democratic Party for the last 15 years or so has been a failure,’ said the Vermont Senator.
“People sometimes don’t see that because there was a charismatic individual named Barack Obama. He was obviously an extraordinary candidate, brilliant guy. But beyond that reality…”
There’s a fundamental question of (lack of ) political intelligence at work here: What we know about 2016 was that voters who voted for Obama ended up for the Orange Man. Dissing Obama doesn’t help with that basic calculus, if anything it reveals an arrogance about the so-called progressive cause, an arrogance that is altogether too white.
Second, the Bernie comment simply feeds the separation of the progressive left — largely a suburban phenomena — and the urban communities of color. if there is one sure way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, this split is it. In Michigan in particular, the two communities need to work together to take back the key state offices, otherwise we get Gov Schuette.
Rod Dreher goes on a snark about the youth rallies
Considering the varying meanings of fearless (often as a synonym for “bold”), this sort of objection is rather crabbed. But consider the cowardliness of politicians, the craven response to the gun lobby that renders them incapable of doing anything. Why? For fear of funders, of being pilloried, of being kicked out of the tribe. Fear is baked into conservative politics. The march of the students, if nothing else, reminds us what can be done when one puts aside the political fear.
The one truth about the Russian indictments is that the President has nowhere to go. Before, the claims of “Fake News” could be used as a way of keeping a backdoor open, a certain (im)plausible denial. David Remnick quotes Jake Sullivan to spell this out
“This is a direct rebuke of the President’s ‘witch hunt’ narrative, that it was all invented from the start,” Jake Sullivan, one of Clinton’s closest policy and campaign advisers, told me. “These are meticulous criminal indictments showing that there was a campaign of interference to support Trump and to hurt Hillary. This also establishes a predicate crime, a criminal conspiracy—and that means that, if there were U.S. persons, or U.S. persons connected to Trump, involved, then they will be criminally exposed. What Mueller has done is to establish a criminal conspiracy.”
The only question now is who else is within the ramparts of the besieged White House? And will the king by some connivance, escape?
Charles Blow highlights one of the saddest truths about the Russian interference with the 2016 electoral cycle: the dampening of the minority, and especially the millennial black vote. They may have been woke to their cause, but they went to sleep as to their interests.
According to a May Pew Research Center report, “The black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election.” The report said that the number of naturalized citizen voters was up from 2012 and the turnout rate for women was mostly unchanged from 2012. And while the percentage of eligible millennials who said they voted in the last election rose among every other demographic group, it fell among black millennials.
This is a version of “What’s the Matter with Kansas” only on the left. In the name of ideals, one votes against one’s own interests. The result, not surprisingly, is a sort of sideways movement of despair, a righteousness of the put-upon and the defeated.
The righteous, solitary vote can convey virtue when it is the subject of reflection and affirmation of ideal, but what happens when what looks like our opinion is the result of manipulation? As Blow has it, “what we do now know with absolute certainty is that in making their electoral choices, black folks had unwanted hands on their backs, unethical and illegal ones, nudging them toward an apathy built on anger.”
Sometimes Woke is not woke.
Evangelicals may not like President Trump the man, but they surely like President Trump the champion — their champion. All this became agonizingly clear in the recent Politico interview with Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council.
What’s remarkable in the interview is the abandonment of a Christian idealism for the realism of politics, the kingdom of this world.
Evangelical Christians, says Perkins, “were tired of being kicked around by Barack Obama and his leftists. And I think they are finally glad that there’s somebody on the playground that is willing to punch the bully.”
What happened to turning the other cheek? I ask.
“You know, you only have two cheeks,” Perkins says. “Look, Christianity is not all about being a welcome mat which people can just stomp their feet on.”
Franklin Graham adds his own take on Evangelicals and the President
“I appreciate the fact that the president does have a concern for Christian values, he does have a concern to protect Christians—whether it’s here at home or around the world—and I appreciate the fact that he protects religious liberty and freedom.”
What Graham and others are doing is to place an imagined outcome — the thought — in place of the actual performance.
Whom communities vote for is largely structural in character; we can think of it as a sort of central tendency. So university towns lean one way, traditional CRC communities consistently lean another way, and President or no, there is little reason for them to vote differently. The variability will be in their enthusiasm expressed in voting, funding, and volunteering – the stuff of retail politics.
For the Dutch community, who they vote for is less important than minding their own understanding of what holding political office means. This comes to the fore because of the President and his highly transactional value system which corrodes approaches based on principle, or for that matter, custom. One of the distinguishing characteristics of Dutch involvement in politics in Michigan has been the willingness to hold to broader goods than just partisanship. At its best, this resulted in a more rounded, more three-dimensional approach to politics and the societal problems politics sought to address. This value system with its sense of the public good is something that should be nurtured, even as the approaches that would corrode it (e.g.. a certain President, or a tendency to identity politics) be resisted.