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I wish I was a political scientist. I have a notion that we won't see a progressive agenda truly championed and, even, enacted in Congress until we have a different kind of Democratic party. But first, Republicans have to change.

We need to see a resurgence of GOP interest in and ability to make reasonable policy to achieve better governance and "promote the general welfare". The Preamble of the Constitution only identifies five purposes. Besides promotion of the general welfare, the Constitution exists to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to all Americans forever.

Current Republicans are trapped by orthodoxy to oppose measures that demonstrably, scientifically, promote the general welfare, even where their positions do nothing to promote any other Constitutional purpose. Ideology compels them to view general welfare in terms of protecting unborn life, yet the magical shields that isolate them from objective reality permit them to exhibit little concern for humans after birth actually brings them into existence. As I like to say, I never met a person who wasn't born.  

As long as this religious orthodoxy and other ideological fetishes hold Republicans captive, progress on the environment, defense, general welfare, budget and other issues will remain elusive, even, I fear, if Democratic majorities emerge in Congress, though I am sure that would undoubtedly be an improvement over the present situation in Congress. So, without improvement in the quality of Republicans being elected in the red states, I don't see much hope for improvement in run-of-the-mill Democrats in Congress, even from reliably blue states.  

To me, politics looks like any other battle. Aggressive opponents move toward, not away from one another. That seems as true with ideology as with any other form of weapon. As long as Republicans drift near the extreme edges of ideology and are prevented by orthodoxy from supporting good governance measures, there will be irresistible force pulling Democrats ever rightward, just to be in the same conversation. Until people in the red states start electing reform minded Republicans, and absent a full blown Green or other attack from the left, I fear it will remain hard to grow the Congressional Progressive Caucus, or, as I like to think of them, the Communists. I actrually fear that Republicans will shrink to a non-national, regional role on their way down the path followed by the Whigs before them. Perhaps someday. But in my time, I'm more concerned about Democrats emerging into a period of modified one-party dominance, without a true compass on where they should lead the nation.

I might have been a political scientist. That was the plan when I left for university and enrolled as a polisci major in the liberal arts college. But I didn't like the professor in my first semester, big lecture class. Stupid, me. Actually, I was a little bit smart, but dreadfully lazy and alarmingly ignorant. But I quickly fell for a band girl, wound up in the music department, and spent much of those years rehearsing and on national tour with a troupe of college musicians. So much for political science, until law school obliged me to consider aspects of American political history. Later, I worked for nearly a decade for a state attorney general, running several divisions and representing many State officers while campaigning for the boss through several election cycles. I represented the state election commission as their principal counsel for several years, in state and federal court. But I am not a political scientist.

I haven't the slightest idea how to test my notion that we need red states to start electing better people in order to have much chance to improve the Democratic Party. I don't know how to do that, because I'm not a political scientist. I'm just another blogger shooting off my mouth. But it makes sense to me.

Originally posted to Delated on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 06:32 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The RW racist Rs have gotten more evil (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nulwee

    FUCK the evil TGOPers. They win electricians by being evil.

    They reflect their voters, stupid and evil. Can't be fixed, need to recruit the reasonable who we can & we need to outbreed them.

    We already have too many anti-abortion Dems, & pro-money Dems.

    The Rs just lie better to get stupid people to vote for them like evil John Kasuck in my state of Ohio. He sucks and people are sorry that they voter for him.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 06:41:18 PM PDT

    •  No Republicans will mean less obstruction (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TRPChicago, Nulwee

      There will still be people trying to represent the people who elected them, namely the business community in their state; Coal, oil and gas in some states, nuclear in others will still be looking for deregulation.

      In some states that business base will be big agribusiness, maybe in other states logging interests, fishing interests military defense contractors, universities, hospitals or even insurance interests, all looking for deregulation and tax breaks.

      Wall street, big banks, credit card companies and corporate CEO's will still want to make money at the expense of everyone else. Lawyers, guns and money will still carve out more room in the decision making process for think tanks and lobbyists, its doubtful that money will cease to buy developers the right to develop public lands in the name of progress.

      I doubt we will see the same intensity of attacks on women, marriage equality, immigration, civil rights. There will be less voter suppression, and very likely more transparency in government.

      There will still be costly foreign entanglements in the middle east, attempts as nuclear proliferation, poachers ruthlessly exterminating endangered species, unmediated climate change, overpopulation, pollution and war; but there will be a chance to get some of those issues addressed rather than 37 attempts at repealing Obamacare.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 01:28:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's why Republicans are smart and Democrats (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BvueDem

        aren't. Any enemy's pillar of support should be examined as an attacking point. Republicans get away with it by gerrymandering and voter 'ID' laws--Democrats win when people turn out.

        Well, Republicans win when they get a shit-ton of money.  They do better when voter turnout is down. Their pillar is the bloodsucking corporations that make money off people suffering and dying. That's why Mitch McConnell was screaming bloody murder at that press conference when Citizens United was brought up. That was the most important part of the conference but it's been swept under his spat with the historian.

        The Republicans today are like the Democrats of the 1850s--how much did the Republicans accomplish despite the racist, reactionary Democrats during the 1850s?

        Governments care only as much as their citizens force them to care. Nothing changes unless we change -- George Monbiot.

        by Nulwee on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 04:04:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Electricians AND plumbers. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dogs are fuzzy
  •  From a different angle (14+ / 0-)

    The diarist points out that better Republicans would shift the Overton Window back into sanity.

    There is another issue, though.

    Democrats are human and Democratic office holders are at risk of slipping into arrogance and isolation from the voters unless kept on their toes. One party rule is dangerous.

    We need more and better Democrats but we also need an ethical, sane, patriotic opposition party to keep them honest. That could be done by (much) better Republicans, if the party is still salvageable.

    Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

    by Dogs are fuzzy on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 06:44:34 PM PDT

  •  Republicans Didn't Get This Way Because of Ideas. (27+ / 0-)

    They got this way because of the power of immense concentrated wealth that intends to take over and put an end to governance for the people.

    You could convince a trillion people with a good argument.

    But there's no argument on earth that can convince a trillion dollars.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 06:49:58 PM PDT

    •  Here, Here, Well Played Sir. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twigg

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:54:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Putting GOP victories all on money and wealth ... (5+ / 0-)

      ... ignores the strong presence of basic, core, mine-run conservatism in many parts of the country.

      Yes, campaign money flows into the places where it is perceived by the donors to do them the most good. But money doesn't create those places.

      Forgive me, Arkansians, but Arkansas is in the middle of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio ... even - for heaven's sake - Illinois! Money didn't put it there. It's basic, rock-ribbed removed-from-change realty those folks live in. It's not being able to see any of Gays (or only minimally tolerate the ones they think they know), it's few blacks (and the ones that aren't workin' are mochin'!), it's sending money off to the governor to spend on pensions and benefits for people making a lot more money than they are. It's not knowing hardly anyone who's had an abortion, and no one who wants one! Nobody except liberals wants one!

      Those fields can be exploited and amplified by money, but they'd there regardless. Fortunately, those fields tend to be more rural. You have to put a lot of acreage together to get a Congressional district.

      (Yes, of course, there are plenty of suburbs and urban enclaves of the "Gold Coast" Wealthy chock-a-block with Republicans. They, too, are projecting their life style and protecting their ability to stay where they are. But that wealth and resistance doesn't need more money to give it strength on its home turf.)

      Those conservatives were always there. In the south, it was the "Southern Democrats." In the late 80's and early 90's, the religious right re-energized them as "faith-based communities" took. Thereafter, organization into local politics fomented resentment to carrying ne'er do wells and bowing to more liberal views that challenged home grown ways and wisdom.

      I think we Progressives do ourselves a grave disservice to regard conservatism as chiefly a creature of big money and corporatism. Yes, it gives us a bogeyman to bash, but that's our own form of blinkered resentment. It doesn't help us be better advocates and more effective campaign strategists.

      2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 05:13:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  TnR for discussion (9+ / 0-)

    An interesting diary/thought.

    .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 07:05:31 PM PDT

  •  It has been a long slide downward from our (4+ / 0-)

    Deist Founding Fathers who believed the only gift humans received from the God of Nature was the ability to reason to the current GnoP who reject reason entirely for "truth" as dictated by the greedy billionaires who own then.

    Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny--the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. John Leland

    by J Edward on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 07:05:59 PM PDT

    •  Many of the Founding Fathers became (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      J Edward

      Federalists, the party of big business, the party of Fear and Loathing that came out in the Alien and Sedition Acts, led by John Adams. Their opponents became the Democratic-Republican party of slavery, Nullification, and ultimately secession, led at the beginning by Thomas Jefferson with his own brand of Fear and Loathing.

      Then after the Federalists imploded, big business started the Whig Party, devoted to Laissez-Faire Free Trade and giveaways to the railroads and other industry. It imploded over slavery, giving way to the Republicans as the party of big business. Lincoln, it should be remembered, was a railroad lawyer, an expert on how railroads could protect themselves from confiscatory anti-railroad legislation, notably the Swamp Act, put through by the South. The Swamp Act allowed states to declare any land swamp, to seize it and sell it, even if it was land granted by Congress to railroads and mortgaged to anti-slavery immigrant farmers. Lincoln was a Whig before he was a Republican.

      Republicans later sold out the freed slaves to the Jim Crow "Redeemer"Democrats in the South and went in for a time with the plantation owners on keeping down free labor, Northern unions and Southern sharecroppers both.

      From time to time a President of whatever party broke out of the mold: Chester Arthur cleaned up a lot of government corruption; Teddy Roosevelt went after the Trusts; FDR went after the banks; Truman desegregated the military; LBJ went after Jim Crow and poverty in general.

      And then the bankers and the segregationists and the Christian Right made their unholy alliance in the Republican Southern Strategy, which is only now beginning to unravel, with loud and vicious resistance, with ever-more-draconian restrictions on abortion and other attacks on women, with demonization and oppression of immigrants, minorities, the poor, the middle class, the young, the old—even other Republicans. All under the banner of Constitutional Originalism, in the same way that the Confederacy had proclaimed that it was the Confederate Constitution that represented the true intentions of the Founders.

      It is all a continuous tradition.

      Of course, there are also the other even more important strands of increasing recognition of human rights, and growth in civil society and to some degree the rule of law. There will be more of it.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 03:20:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The actual conservatives are on the run (12+ / 0-)

    Back when the Republicans were a rational party, we could trace their brand of conservatism to Chesterton and Burke -- the basic idea was that they believed that traditional institutions -- academia, organized religion, conventional social organizations, large corporations, and yes, even government -- are the guarantors of social order and some level of national prosperity.  The Burkeans felt that these institutions evolve at about the right (slow) pace to adjust to changes in technology, population, and such.  

    Since they had a coherent worldview, it was possible to engage and compromise with traditional conservatives.  For example, more left-leaning folks could try to persuade them that labor unions belong on the list of important institutions.  Now, though, the conservatives are in hiding.  The liberal church is fading, replaced by insular evangelical congregations subservient to individual megalomaniac preachers.  The corporatists have shredded the balance among institutions, and persuaded an ignorant, xenophobic rabble that government (which they now pretty much own) is the enemy.  That rabble (think Sarah Palin) call themselves conservatives, but they've just bought the idea that if we would only uphold the Constitution, then government would evaporate, and they could stop paying taxes and protect their property with their assault rifles, and somehow the resulting anarchy would be better.  

    •  That is a great point (3+ / 0-)

      I can't remember the exact words, but a Tory friend of mine from Yorkshire described his British Conservative party as believing in slow, managed progress. His positions on almost everything didn't really match that ideal, but at least that was his stated ideal of the party

      There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

      by slothlax on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 08:54:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Liberal Church is in fact growing (0+ / 0-)

      at the expense of racist, bigoted, misogynistic, and Mammonite pseudo-Christianity. But the pseudo-Christians are far louder and quite vicious. They have recognized for a long time that they are a shrinking minority, as documented in The Incredible Shrinking Church, by former SBC President Frank Page, and are continuing to get louder and more vicious to try to make up for it.

      It is true that None is the most rapidly growing religious category.

      You can find polling data on these questions at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 03:26:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republican ideology is ideology by design. (9+ / 0-)

    It is the result of decades of divide and conquer tactics. The purpose of which is to ultimately render the Middle Class powerless. The Republican party has tremendous financial, media, private and religious institutional support.
    They support candidates and elected officials whose goals are to create division and disenchantment with the political process. Today's Republicans are demolition crew setting charges on the key institutions that support The Middle Class. They don't want the people looking to government for solutions. Because the goals of concentrated wealth are unobstructed extraction of labor and resources.
    I am not a political scientist. But, the plan seems pretty clear.
    If I see light at the end of this tunnel--and I do see light--it's because the demands of concentrated wealth are become more and more outrageous, and the Republicans who serve them more isolated and idiotic. This won't stop anytime soon, but there will be more protests and opportunities for new leadership.

    -4.38, -7.64 Voyager 1: proof that what goes up never comes down.

    by pat bunny on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 07:36:44 PM PDT

  •  The definition of the General Welfare clause (7+ / 0-)

    has been the subject of debate since before the Constitution was ratified. From the inception of the Constitution until the 1930s the consensus was that the General Welfare meant to "do no harm" rather than a broad empowerment for the federal government. It was only during the New Deal that the consensus of the General Welfare clause was enhanced to include a more expansive role for the federal government in providing a social safety net.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 08:02:08 PM PDT

  •  what kind of person wants to run (0+ / 0-)

    on either side when the process involves raising money primarily to run 60 second attack ads? or 60 second counter-attack ads?

    its a good point, mr. obama did not have to worry much about his base, the guy with the fake tan, the show horse, and the offshore wealth who said 47% of america was trying to steal his money, he wasnt that hard to beat.

    drones are a cost effective way of generating enough new terrorists that calls to cut military spending will fail.

    by just want to comment on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:09:26 PM PDT

  •  No. With a Democratic majority, the likelihood (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Noodles, RockyMtnLib, Mokurai

    of more progressive governance and initiatives increases greatly. And they find themselves often just repairing the damage extremist R's wreak. I disagree strongly with your thesis. I think history's shown that the times we have more progress is when the Dems have strong majorities, not when moderate R's are stronger. It's not our responsibilty to turn their party around, that's not even logistically doable. Let the R's do themselves in, they're doing a terrific job of it.

    Nice thoughtful diary though, I appreciate your civil approach to ideas and strategy, tipped for your good work on this topic.

    •  At least in the '60's, your idea (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dogs are fuzzy

      that large democratic majorities were the key fails. Here's the totals on the Civil Rights Act, as an example:

      The original House version:

      Democratic Party: 152–96   (61–39%)
      Republican Party: 138–34   (80–20%)
      Cloture in the Senate:
      Democratic Party: 44–23   (66–34%)
      Republican Party: 27–6   (82–18%)
      The Senate version:[16]
      Democratic Party: 46–21   (69–31%)
      Republican Party: 27–6   (82–18%)
      The Senate version, voted on by the House:[16]
      Democratic Party: 153–91   (63–37%)
      Republican Party: 136–35   (80–20%)
      Although strong majorities of the Democratic Party voted in favor each time they could not pass the bill without those moderate Republicans.

      Before you jump on the shift of Dixiecrats to the Republican party, remember, they (and their fellow travelers) replaced moderate Republicans, not the conservative ones.

      47 is the new 51!

      by nickrud on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 01:05:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not "stronger", "better" (0+ / 0-)

      We can have more and better Democrats at the same time as fewer and better Republicans.

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 06:36:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How right you are: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aspe4, Whatithink, Simplify
    progress on the environment, defense, general welfare, budget and other issues will remain elusive, even, I fear, if Democratic majorities emerge in Congress,
    Of course they will remain elusive, even if the Democrats control Congress and the Presidency.

    Recall that a few years ago, the Democrats had such a position.  Yet they were stymied by that mighty filibuster - but oh how they tried!  (/sarcasm)

    Here's the thing:  Today's Democratic Party will never advance truly progressive economic policy.  The proof is in the fact that something (usually the filibuster) always stops them.

    Keeping in mind the filibuster could be eliminated with a simple majority vote in the Senate.  But of course, the refrain is "well, if we get rid of the filibuster how will we stop the odious GOP when it controls the Congress?"

    Which is unadulterated Bullshit.

    Did the Dems use the filibuster to stop Bush II's Supreme Court Nominations?  No.

    Did the Dems use the filibuster to stop Bush II's Tax Cuts for the Wealthy?  No.

    Did the Dems use the mighty filibuster to stop Bush II's Patriot Act?  No.

    Did the Dems use the filibuster to stop Bush II's Iraqi War Authorization?  No.

    So.. if the Democrats don't actually use the filibuster.. yet they refuse to eliminate it.. then the only logical conclusion is that the Democrats use the filibuster as an excuse for why they don't advance progressive policy.

    It's as simple as that.

    It really is.

    And if that isn't enough, remember that Obama - head of the Democratic Party - has publicly praised the Wall Street Predators who are destroying the middle class.

    Remember that is is Democratic Obama who pushed through Free Trade Job Offshoring with Columbia, Panama, and S. Korea.

    Remember it is Obama's Department of Justice which proudly proclaimed that Wall Street can't be prosecuted.

    Waking Up Yet?  Had Enough?

    Or shall we yet again clap at the Kabuki Theater of the Absurd?

    The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:22:08 PM PDT

    •  If Democrats Ever Gained a Permanent Majority (0+ / 0-)

      all those former republicans, or people inclined to become republicans, would run for office as Democrats.

      "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

      by Aspe4 on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 06:28:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Too true.. another aspect to consider: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aspe4

        Recall that when the Democrats had total control they expended their Kabuki efforts over Healthcare "Reform"?

        Recall that it was predicted the GOP would wander in the "desert" for a generation?

        And then.. miraculously.. almost as if by design.. the Republicans came roaring back when the Democrats failed to deliver on Change You Can Believe In.

        And once the R's got control of the House, it became infinitely easier to play the Kabuki game of "the R's stopped us.. we were tricked, etc.."

        The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

        by Johnathan Ivan on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 07:33:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  for me it goes beyond just eventually better Dems (4+ / 0-)

    I still put my country before the party (yes I get it wanting better Dems is because we think they are better for the country).

    As an American, these people are reactionary, illogical, undemocratic, unpatriotic, and frightening. They blatantly disregard Roe v Wade ie the Constitution as interpreted by the SC in enacting their unconstitutional laws. They claim officially that they are to "protect women" but will  admit publicly in unguarded moments that the purpose is to outlaw or end abortion in their states as much as possible. IT is clear that the forced birther movement is religiously motivated because no science says that a human embryo is special and sacred beyond the value of any other mammalian embryo. Again they have no compunction to go against the separation of church and state and shove their own religion down other people's throats.

    What they are doing is unprecedented, immoral, and un American and we should use those latter two terms and say why over and over again because they know what they mean. It is undemocratic and unAmerican to make laws that have the intent to decrease the access to voting for certain sections of the population. Like manslaughter vs murder 1, the degree of perceived evil is around what the purpose was...and they admit privately and occasionally publically in unguarded moments that those laws are not really to protect from voter fraud (which isn't factually based anyway) but are in fact to seek to disenfranchise people of a certain hue or socieconomic status.

    THe Republicans nowadays function as if Progressives are actually a true enemy and not their countrymen and women. The are using any means necessary to win. Voting rights used to be sacred only a decade ago or less...remember the VRA was passed intact by nearly unanimous votes as recently as 2006.

    THis party makes Bush 2 look like a moderate and reasonable man.

  •  Eventually, we'll have a three-party system (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aspe4, greenbell

    ...if the Republicans keep alienating everyone who is not ultra-conservative to the point that they would have a difficult time just to win 33 1/3% of the national popular vote in presidential election. Once that happens, there's every incentive for progressives to leave the Democratic Party and form their own party.

    "It's not enough to be in the majority, you have to stand for something." -Russ Feingold

    by DownstateDemocrat on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:54:08 PM PDT

  •  Here's my opinion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Noodles

    At one time, Republicans were fairly reasonable. Nelson Rockefeller was a liberal Republican (who didn’t get nominated for President in 1968, but if I’d been old enough, I might have considered voting for him). Even Barry Goldwater, the right wing Republican who lost big in 1964, was gay-friendly (I think he had a grandson who was gay).

    I think the problem is that the Republicans have become more and more extreme. More extreme in their Christianity (so they hate gays and uppity women who want equal rights and abortion rights), more extreme in their hatred of taxes (even for necessary spending), and more extreme in their racism against blacks and hispanics. There are no liberal Republicans left (except in Maine, maybe) and hardly any middle of the road Republicans left. Their numbers are dwindling because the demographics are against them. They won’t be able to get a majority unless they change their ways.

    Republicans are losing among women, Hispanics, African-Americans, young people, LGBT people, and lots of other groups. They can’t expect to win the Presidency any time soon. When Texas becomes a Democratic state (which it will), they won’t even have that.

    "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

    by Dbug on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:43:52 PM PDT

    •  But if all we do is keep telling them that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nickrud, Dbug

      they are losing women, Hispanics, African-Americans, LGBT is just makes them more rigid and fearful.  Even a leftie like me gets annoyed around here when people tell me Democrats don't need old white seniors or when people go on their anti-Catholic rants.  Democrats may win the demographic war in the end but there is going to be a lot of pain in the meantime if Democrats just raise the temperature by doubling down on the racial and cultural divides.  

      And while we're rigidly divided on race and culture, the plutocrats steal us blind.

  •  What will change them are Dems who won't play ball (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aspe4, XenuLives

    Until we have some strong leaders who stop trying to go along with the GOP's failure of orthodoxy and ideology little will change. That means leaders who will explain why things our party did in the past show they are still viable and which, after 50 years or so, need to be tried again. We need leaders to challenge Neocon economic failures at every turn. Who will champion fairness from economic fairness of income and taxation, to fairness at the ballot box, for women's rights and LGBT rights nationwide.

    And they need to threaten the corruption of Washington with something new - to put an end to paying for a seat to hold office. No more bowing to lobbyists. No funding for PACs and 527's and what have you from any source that is not someone who is a flesh and blod individual and any amount of political spending over $500 per year is public record - no exceptions.

    Progressives aren't populist because we're not offering a solution to corruption and details of how Keynsian economics made us the most prosperous nation on Earth in the late 40's through the 60's. We won in 2012 when the Dems spoke the Occupy message of equal opportunity at all levels. We need someone to champion that by putting a wall between money and political office.

    I think that' s something that your average conservative might agree on.

  •  It is important (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftOfYou

    to have a worthy opponent to keep everything in perspective. Right now our opponents are unworthy assholes and we are stuck fighting battles that have little or nothing to do with running the country.

    ...and who, disguised as rambler american, mild mannered commenter for a great Democratic web blog, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way.

    by rambler american on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 04:19:51 AM PDT

  •  The Whigs did not shrink and fade away (0+ / 0-)

    They were shattered by the issue of slavery.

    About half the part broke off and formed the Republicans.  A significant portion of the rest, including pretty much all the Southern Whigs became Democrats.

    Yeah, there was a tiny rump that was neither briefly, but in the end most of those became Republicans.

    The modern equivalent would have been the Tea Party fracturing the Republican party...and all the moderates and establishment Republicans becoming Democrats.

    That didn't really happen.  The Moderates became Independents-who-vote-Republican-anyway.  The establishment types co-opted the Tea Party.  

    The result is a party with a majority in the house that can't govern, with no end in sight.  But at the state level they're governing in all kinds of truly scary ways, because the caucus there has no significant opposition...they can pass Pro-business legislation AND religious nuttery legislation.

  •  You have this backward. (5+ / 0-)

    The move of the Republicans to the extreme Right actually goes back to when the DLC took over the Democratic Party.  The DLC moved the Dems so far to the right on economic, military, civil liberties and foreign policy issues that the poor Republicans, always the party of the 1%, had to move to Crazyland to prove they were more the tools of the Kochs than the Dems.

    A good example is heath care.  In the 90s, the Repubs wanted to enact an insurance mandate and hand over gobs of money to the medical insurance companies.  Good politics for the country club set.  But Obama co-opted them by adopting their policies.  Now, to prove they're different from the Dems, the Repubs must adopt the "die quicker" stance.

    The same thing is happening with foreign policy and civil liberties.  And unions?  Repubs try to actively destroy them while Dems sit silently by and do nothing.

    Since the Dems keep moving to the Right on everything but identity politics issues, eventually the Republicans will have to fall off the edge of their flat Earth in order to differentiate themselves.

    •  Identity politics (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OutcastsAndCastoffs

      Everyone is getting played with the identity politics.  Both parties are using it to distract from the looting and pillaging on economic issues.   I mean I do not care what race or gender gets elected if they still steal my Social Security in order to pay for listening to my phone calls and reading my mail and otherwise funding the MIC and keeping the billionaires safe from the threat of a middle class.

    •  Sorry, but you have this backward (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nickrud

      After Goldwater's loss, the John Birch Society types (Tea Party predecessors) began a decades long process of taking over the Republican Party.  Eventually, they were able to unite the money of the corporate interests with the people power of the right-wing churches and they succeeded.  The result was Ronald Reagan.  

      Meanwhile, the Dems New Deal coalition fractured in the 70's, mainly over race (Johnson's prediction that civil rights would costs Dems the South coming to fruition).  It was in THIS context that the DLC types sought to make Dems more "business-friendly" so that they could raise some of that sweet, sweet campaign cash that Repubs were getting from big business.  

      After this, Clinton arrived and used triangulation as a strategy, which Obama has done at times as well.  But it all began with Democratic attempts to gain support from the business community.  

      Repubs will continue to go off the deep end no matter what we do.  They're aren't doing that in response to the Dems.  What Dems need to realize is that they should stand on principle rather than try to inhabit all of the available space left empty by Republicans.  

    •  A not-minor correction (0+ / 0-)

      in the mid-nineties it was not Obama, it was Hillary Clinton.
      To the extent that any one person is responsible for America not having single payer health (and I chose that issue just because it is easiest to use as an illustration) it is Hillary.

  •  You say something a few of us (0+ / 0-)

    (including yours truly) have been saying for awhile.  It's not good in the long run to have one of our major parties basically be a far-right party.

    Look at Germany, for instance.   Before the Nazis came along, the major right-wing party there was the National People's Party, or Nationalists.  That party never accepted the Weimar Republic, and worked almost from day one to overthrow it.  William Shirer put it bluntly in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich--the fact that the Nationalists were a far-right party rather than a mainstream conservative party was a big reason for the failure of Weimar.

  •  It starts with better Democrats... (0+ / 0-)

    in my opinion, because better Democrats will make the contrast with the current crop of Republican nutjobs (the overwhelming majority of Republicans) even starker and, because they are better, might also be better able to make the case that they are an actual alternative for red state independents, Republicans and even some conservatives.

    In my opinion, having better Democrats will force Republicans to find better Republicans (i.e. those willing to work with the opposition to find solutions and compromises that work to solve problems).

  •  WTF? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ronald England, burlydee

    "I need my spousal abuser to be a better person."

    No.  the only person you can change is yourself.  If progressives want better Democrats, focus on electing better Democrats, not electing better Republicans.  The Republicans are an anti-American, lost-cause lot; best to spend our time NOT spent electing better Democrats explaining just how vile Republicans are.

    The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

    by TheOrchid on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:27:18 AM PDT

  •  I have long contended that many modern Republicans (0+ / 0-)

    see politics as a culture war.  They see their way of life under attack, and they blame Democrats.  The policies that they favor are not the main point.  They are just tools to oppose Democrats.  That is why they can blithely abandon positions that they held previously.  

    Obama's attempt to take them seriously and accommodate their views was actually a threat to them, since it undermined their way of differentiating themselves, and it forced them further to the right.  The key is to give them back their old turf and oppose them from reasonable Democratic positions.

    As things stand, Democrats are preferable to Republicans, but just barely.  I wish we had a viable socialist, green, or labor party.

  •  A tad off topic, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftOfYou

    Political scientists don't really deal very much with politics oddly enough. Maybe in undergrad, but at levels that really matter, it's a very dull study of very, very specific subjects that are analyzed through statistical regression again and again and again.

    Trust me, not all it's cracked up to be. You didn't miss out on anything.

    Kind of like 1 out of a million economists are like Paul Krugman where they get to openly share their opinions because of their high status, and the other 999,999 are doing research.

  •  from a red state perspective (0+ / 0-)

    this makes total sense to me.  here in AK the state GOP is locked in a death struggle between the R-mods and tea party types, with the tea party currently on top but the mods favored to win in the end.  it is definitely an advantage for the dems if that is the outcome.  

    the state might turn blue in time.  2024, maybe.  but until then, if we want any progress -- to stop retreating toward the 1950s or the gilded age -- the only way to get there is via a brokered coalition with all the D legislators and the moderate Rs.

  •  The disconcerting part is (0+ / 0-)

    Democrats have an edge because of demographics but it's a small and fragile one against a radicalized political party. Obama basically had to get record turnout from his base to defeat Republicans who at this point have an angry and mobilized older white base and all of America's wealthy institutions (besides academia) with them.

    In other words until our electoral advantage becomes decisive we need to focus on incremental change and protecting parts of the status quo that have given us a safety net.

     We can't risk doing anything that might let the barbarians in the gates. If the means some compromised policies that move our politics inches to the left instead of miles then for right now, so be it.

  •  the process used by republicans the last 25 years (0+ / 0-)

    to decide what candidates and legislation to push and support went more and more through the local and national talk radio blowhards, who have been channeling the main RW think tanks, and a lot of rove until obama won.

    those state megastations, many with university sports logos on them, are essentially the power centers of the GOP- dedicated to selling and rationalizing the insanity to 50 mil a week.

    the state level RW blowhards have a lot to say from those giant soapboxes - and in most state elections the GOP candidates who best channel the national talk radio (tea party) gods have the best chance to advance.

    as long as the left keeps ignoring RW radio and keeps giving it a free speech free ride forget real progress soon.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 12:52:54 PM PDT

  •  There's an easy way to do that (0+ / 0-)

    Democrats should leave the party and join the GOP. Democratic elected officials should change parties en masse, and all join the GOP. We would totally rule.

  •  With all due respect, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burlydee, Dogs are fuzzy

    the Dems should not waste time worrying about a better more sane, Republican party.  Unfortunately we can't do a thing about that.  What we need to worry about is our own party drifting farther and farther from its ideals, abandoning our principles (including our beloved New Deal, Great Society programs, etc.), essentially  becoming a more compassionate form of a conservative party to please the corporate media and wealthy donors.   Our party must differentiate itself; and we need better leaders to communicate our message effectively.  I don't follow every detail coming out of Washington today, but all I hear are politicians of both parties complaining,  debating the pros and cons of austerity, and/or reacting to some insane proposal set forth by the Republicans.  What is the Democratic agenda anyway ?  And if we have one, why are our leaders not more aggressively communicating OUR plans for the future to the public?  

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