owlmoose: (Obamoose '08)
This is it folks, this is the big one. I don't need to tell you that, I suppose, but here we are. Even in California, where my Senators are firmly No-votes and leaders in the resistance, there are things we can do to stand up and fight -- here's a short to-do list for anyone who lives in a state with two Democratic Senators.

A few links on healthcare:

And other things:
  • The Brookings Institution put out a scathing editorial on voter suppression in the United States, a good overview of recent court decisions with some damning statistics.

  • The Associated Press published a report on the effects of gerrymandering, and it's not pretty.

  • It probably shouldn't come as a surprise that the Democrats lost the special election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District, and in fact the narrow loss continues the trend of being competitive in districts that ought to be safe GOP, but given how much effort and money we poured into that district, it's also understandable that people were disappointed. But the rush of pundits and BernieBots to blame Nancy Pelosi for the loss is both a headscratcher, and almost unbearably stupid. Charles Pierce explains why.

  • And maybe before you get too invested in demonizing one of the most powerful women in the Democratic party, maybe you should consider who is in the trenches, doing the actual work in places like the Georgia 6th.

  • Meanwhile, another Congressional special election flew completely under the radar: the South Carolina 5th. The Republican won that seat as well, but by an even smaller margin. This is not a seat that any polls suggested ought to be competitive, and the Democrats spent almost no money here. This ought to scare the GOP; we'll see if they heed the warning.

  • Maryland and the District of Columbia have sued Donald Trump for violations of the emoluments clause and other conflict of interest laws.
owlmoose: (quote - bucket)
owlmoose: (avengers - a little help)
I'm sure no one really wants to think or talk about anything other than the House's narrow passage of the AHCA today, the bill that's intended to replace Obamacare and dismantle our entire healthcare system in the process. It's terrible, awful, and terrifying for a lot of people; I don't expect to be affected in the short term myself, but the ripple effects could be tremendous if this bill becomes law. It's hard to know what the odds of that happening are. The GOP got away with this in part by rushing the AHCA through before the CBO could prepare its report on how much the updated bill will cost, and how many people it will affect, and that report is expected to be ready before the Senate can vote. It's also commonly thought that the House bill is too draconian to pass the Senate as-is, but if the Senate softens it up too much, it might not survive another House vote. (Never forget: the GOP got this bill through the House by insuring fewer people. I think about that, and compare it to Obama's fruitless efforts in 2009 to win even one Republican vote for the ACA, and it makes me want to cry.) But never underestimate what this group of thugs, bullies, and fascists is willing to do. That said, if you are feeling defeated today, I recommend you to this Twitter thread, which I found a small beacon of hope on a dark day. Friends, we were dealt a setback today, maybe the worst one since January 20th; it's okay if you need a little time to rest and regroup. But I hope you come back refreshed and ready to fight another day. The marathon continues.

Some other stuff that happened:



Today's fun link: The Sandwich Alignment Chart. "What is a Sandwich" is possibly my favorite low-stakes debate topic, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if we come back to this one.
owlmoose: (quote - questions)
I didn't take my laptop with me on my East Coast trip, mostly because I figured we'd be out and about a lot, especially in New York. I was mostly correct in this, so I fell a little behind on world events while I was gone, which is probably just as well.

  • I found this overview of the violent protest in Berkeley this Saturday to be a good and thoughtful summation of the situation. As usual, it's more complex than you might think from headline news. It's not really Trump supporters vs. anti-Trump; it's the latest evolution of a long-running conflict between the white supremacist right and the anti-fascist left, with the white supremacists using more moderate Trump voters as cover.

  • From The Nation, "Fear of Diversity Made People More Likely to Vote Trump." This is a nice way of saying that Trump voters were racist (or, to take it a little more broadly, xenophobic, but the poll discussed by the article asked questions specifically about race and racial anxieties). The article never comes out and uses the word "racist" but the implication is clear. I'm getting a little frustrated by the mainstream media's inability to call racism out by name, even left-leaning publications like The Nation, but at least they're still raising the issue.

  • Of all the various takes inspired by the United Airlines debacle last weekend, I was most interested in Vox's history of airline industry deregulation and consolidation, and how that's led to current miserable flying conditions. It also answered a mystery that has long puzzled me: whatever happened to America West? (Answer: they bought out US Air and kept the US Air brand, so through various mergers they're basically now American Airlines.)

  • From The Washington Post's Daily 202 newsletter, poll results show that the change in support for military intervention in Syria is driven entirely by a massive swing in Republican opinion. Only 22% of Republicans approved of potential airstrikes in 2013, when Obama sought permission from Congress to punish Assad for using chemical weapons against civilians; today that number is 86%. (Democratic opinion is nearly unchanged, from 38% to 37%, well within the margin of error on the poll.) But sure, tell me that their opposition to Obama was principled.

  • I really appreciated this interview with political scientist Marcus H. Johnson on the problems with Bernie Sanders and his approach to fighting Trump, and the problems with infighting in the Democratic Party.

  • As you might therefore guess, I'm not on board with primarying every moderate Democrat under the sun in 2018 (please stop making noises about Dianne Feinstein; I don't love everything she does, but she has serious seniority in the Senate, and she flexes those muscles when it matters). But there are exceptions, and it seems like these eight New York Democrats who caucus with the Republicans are prime candidates for some challengers.

  • It's a little too depressing to go back and chronicle the events that led up to the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court now that the damage is done, but I did want to share the article about his purported plagiarism, largely because it was a centerpiece of Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley's epic filibuster last week, which I caught part of. Merkely wasn't blocking any particular vote by speaking overnight; it was mostly a protest move. But I found his effort inspiring anyway.

  • Jill Filipovic on why it's a problem that Mike Pence won't eat a meal alone with a woman who isn't his wife. This is not an uncommon stance among a certain strand of conservative Christian -- it's known as the Billy Graham Rule, because the evangelist famously pioneered the practice when Christian leaders were getting caught in sex scandals. It's still offensive in that context, but when a world leader adopts the policy, it's flat out discrimination. What if Pence becomes president, and has to take a private meeting with Angela Merkel? Will he insist that his wife be in the room? It's a system-wide problem, too, as this survey of female Congressional staffers shows -- they report being routinely excluded from after-hours networking opportunities because it would require them to be alone with male members of Congress.

  • On the good news front, recent local elections in Illinois elected a record-shattering number of Democrats to office. Includes a video from Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, who runs a boot camp for people planning to run for office. It's called Build the Bench, and of the twelve alumni who ran in this cycle, at least eight of them won. This is exactly the kind of effort we need to be putting in, and I hope we see it spreading across the nation.

  • On that note, and related to my comments about primarying moderates above, here's a "List of Things Progressives Should Do Before Primarying Joe Manchin", moderate Democratic Senator from West Virginia. I'd add the caveat that if West Virginia progressives believe it's worth putting in the time and effort to mount a primary challenge to Manchin, then more power to them, and I'll support their efforts. (Same for Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, etc.) But on the national level, I absolutely agree that everything on this list takes higher priority.

  • Jill Filipovic has been killing it in her editorials for Cosmopolitan lately, and this piece on abortion rights as a precondition for economic justice is no exception.
owlmoose: (ramona flowers)
I was mostly offline for a few days last week -- Wednesday through Friday. It turned out those were some pretty eventful days to be offline.

  • Montana's probably-failed vote by mail bill is mostly notable for the state Republican party's opposition letter, in which they straight-up said that they opposed it because it made it too easy for Democrats to vote. They aren't even pretending to make it about voter fraud anymore, are they?

  • This New Yorker article builds a compelling and terrifying case for how the White House halted the US House investigation into the Russian election shenanigans with the active help of US Rep Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee. Democrats are making louder and louder calls for an independent investigation like the 9/11 Commission; it's pretty obvious that we're never getting to the bottom of this otherwise.

  • This Twitter thread is a good explanation of how the GOP broke the ACA by refusing to fund the risk corridor (in which the federal government would help insurers with the cost of covering higher-risk patients). It also links to an article explaining what the risk corridor is and how it was supposed to work, as well as detailing the problems with it now. It's hard not to think that the GOP purposefully made the ACA worse to drive public opinion toward getting rid of it.

  • Of course, we all know how well that worked out. We need to keep wary -- there's no doubt that Paul Ryan will try to kill the ACA again. But for now, we all live to fight another day.

  • The other big story last week was the Neil Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination. The Democrats are, as usual, weighing whether to fight or cave. Myself, I don't particularly care about Gorsuch or his politics; the person who deserves the first committee hearing and up-or-down vote is Merrick Garland. That Supreme Court seat is stolen, and I will never feel differently, and I am perhaps angrier at the Democratic party for letting the GOP get away with it than I am about anything else they've ever done, up to and including the loss of the 2016 presidential election. The Democrats need to consider that rolling over on Gorsuch will demoralize their unusually energized base. Can they afford to do that, when a victory in 2018 depends so heavily on voter turnout? Time will tell, but I still hope the Democrats stand their ground on this one.

  • Here's an article on "blue lies" -- lies that are meant to reassure a group while being obviously false to people outside that group -- and how they might explain the rise of Trump. I think it explains a lot of other political phenomena, too; Bernie Bros come to mind, and climate change deniers.

  • Men Just Don't Trust Women, and This Is a Problem: A thoughtful article by Damon Young looks at the ways in which men don't trust women to speak their emotional truth, and how this wreaks havoc not just in relationships, but throughout public life.

  • In news that surprises no one, the cuts in the White House budget bring the most pain to the people they purportedly "help" by cutting taxes. Newsflash, GOP: most of the people helped by government social programs aren't the ones who make enough money to be paying a lot of taxes.

  • This article on liberal transphobia was a hard read, but an important one, especially in the wake of the controversy sparked by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and her comments about trans women. It's not always an easy issue for cis women to confront, but we need to get better at it. I also recommend Raquel Willis's response to Adichie. I want to make it clear that I admire so much of Adichie's work and think she is an important voice for the feminist community to support, but she got it very wrong here, especially in her attempts to respond to the criticism.

  • For the "actors who were born to play their characters" file, Chris Evans lays out his feelings about the Trump presidency in an Esquire interview. Also, in case you missed it, it's worth checking out his Twitter fight with David Duke.


Today's fun is politics-related, but I couldn't not include a link to the best hashtag of recent weeks, #GOPDND, which re-envisions GOP politics as the worst Dungeons and Dragons campaign ever. The Mary Sue has a good roundup.
owlmoose: (think)
Anyone else think that they referred to last night's speech as an address rather than his first State of the Union as a ploy to keep expectations low? Just me? Okay.

  • If it was intentional, it sure seems to have worked -- mainstream media spent last night and today falling all over themselves to congratulate the president for his ability to read words off a teleprompter without melting down. Way to set a high bar, folks. At least some articles, like this commentary from NBC, pointed out his lack of substance and a fair number of the "alternative facts" contained in the speech.

  • Meanwhile, the known rabble-rousers at USA Today posted an editorial calling for Congressional Democrats to get serious about potential impeachment.

  • This week in "I Miss Jon Stewart": Stewart's appearance on Late Night with Stephen Colbert on Monday, 2/27, in which he compared the media's relationship with Trump to a bad breakup and advised them to move on. Nice analogy. I wonder how long they'll wait before taking it to heart?

  • A special election for three seats in the Connecticut state senate was a wash, with all three seats remaining in the hands of their original party, but both Democratic-held seats were won easily, while the race for the GOP-held seat was more competitive than it had ever been. Democrats also held a state senate seat in Delaware, won narrowly in 2014, by over 10 points on the strength of 33% turnout -- which is huge for a special election. There's plenty more of these coming, so keep your eye out. Here's an article about some upcoming US House races in Montana and Georgia -- the Georgia seat, especially, could be key to gathering momentum for the midterms.

  • I would say the dominos are falling when Darrell Issa -- terrible GOP rep from Southern CA, who led some of the worst investigations of Obama and Hillary Clinton, and was largely responsible for the California recall election that brought us the Governator, and who came very close to losing his seat in a district that Clinton won in 2016 -- is calling for a special prosecutor to look into the Russia shenanigans, but he walked it back just a day or so later, so.... *shrug* Talk is cheap, folks.

  • My main feeling about the election of a DNC chair is to be glad its over, so now the party can buckle down and get to work. But what really elevated the whole thing to a non-event to me was Tom Perez, immediately and without rancor, naming Keith Ellison vice chair to unanimous approval. This way, we get both of their voices in party leadership, and Ellison gets to keep his seat in Congress (although nothing prohibited him from staying on, he had promised to resign if he'd won). As far as I'm concerned, this is a win-win. As for the people who tried to turn this into a proxy battle to re-litigate the primary, meh. If you're leaving the party over this, you were looking for an excuse to go. See ya bye bye now.

  • One of the big stories last week was members of Congress ducking constituent town halls during their recent recess (mostly Republicans, but not exclusively -- I don't think Pelosi or Kamala Harris had one, and I know Feinstein didn't). Lots of folks are calling them out, but none better than Gabrielle Giffords.

  • Another thing you might have heard about was the Department of Education pulling guidance to schools that explicitly protected the rights of trans students. Bad as this news is, no laws have actually changed here, just the federal government's mandate to interpret them a certain way. The National Center for Transgender Equality provides a FAQ explaining what it all means.


Lastly, for today's bit of fun: here's a livetweet of a cow escape in upstate New York. Watch the gifs, revel in the puns, and read all the way down for a happy ending.
owlmoose: (narnia - edmund coat)
I probably need a catchier name for this project....

Not much this time because I actively avoided posting news and politics links while I was in Hawaii. A few gems, though.

  • A quick rundown of the attempt of Congressional Republicans to defang House ethics rules and the almost immediate reversal. The two main takeaways: public outcry sometimes works, but we have to keep watching them like hawks.

  • I found this Tweetstorm on this history of reconstruction from [twitter.com profile] arthur_effect (Arthur Chu) to be both informative and thought-provoking, in terms of what might happen next in this national backlash to progress on civil rights issues.

  • Another on the "Third Reconstruction," from Rev. William Barber, the leader of North Carolina's Moral Monday movement. Moral Monday is an excellent model for liberal resistance, and I hope more of us can adopt it.

  • Very good takedown of the idea that Hillary Clinton lost "working Americans". It largely boils down to the media's limited definitions of "working" and "Americans" (i.e. white men in very specific kinds of jobs).

  • From Brookings, a blueprint for what path the media should follow to cover the incoming administration.
owlmoose: (quote - flamethrower)
I've been thinking I'm sharing most of the best resources I find on Twitter and Facebook these days, and given the speed at which things have been happening since the election, good stuff sometimes gets lost in the social media firehose. If I noted the best of those links and posted them here, say on a weekly basis or so, would people find that useful and/or interesting?

I'm a librarian; curating and sharing information is what I do. If I can take that task on in a way that helps people, I feel like I should. So I'll try this for now, but if folks have feedback or suggestions, definitely let me know.



And now for something completely different: NPR's Monkey See blog is putting together a Pop Culture Advent Calendar, sharing one perfect pop culture moment from 2016 per day. I love this idea, and perhaps in its spirit, I should make sure to include at least one happy or uplifting thing in each links collection. We can't have four years of unalloyed misery, no matter how bad things get -- that way lies burnout and despair. As I've said before, we need to take our bright spots where we can get them, even if it feels like trying to keep a candle lit against a firehose. This is my candle, and I will do whatever it takes to keep it burning.
owlmoose: (Default)
I spent far too much time today posting to Facebook about the election. (I actually made a post apologizing to my friends for getting all up in everyone's notifications to yell about the Voting Rights Act.) But I also came across a few gems, which I would like to share here. Hopefully soon I will have brainspace to think about other things, but not yet.



That's all for tonight. I shared a number of these on Twitter, which seems to be my main home for linkspamming these days. If people are interested, I'll try to do the occasional round-up, but for the latest-greatest, follow me over there at [twitter.com profile] iamkj
owlmoose: (don't boo)
But probably still a little scattered, since I didn't get much sleep last night.

1. I wasn't expecting this because nobody was expecting this. Reportedly, even the GOP's internal polling showed Donald Trump heading for defeat. And yet, here we are. Between this massive miss and Brexit, I hope polling organizations put some work and thought into figuring out what went wrong and how to fix it. Or, if polling is broken past the point of fixing, come up with something to replace it.

2. I do not want to see a single TV segment, article, thinkpiece, Facebook post, or Tweet discussing the issue of low turnout (and it was VERY low for a presidential election, not much over 50%) that does not mention the Voting Rights Act. Voter suppression wasn't the only factor, of course. I don't want to oversimplify the situation. But 2016 was the first presidential election since the Supreme Court effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act, and the 2016 president-elect is a white nationalist. This is not a coincidence.

3. Relatedly, we white people have got to step up and own the truth that Trump is our problem. There is no way to shirk the blame anymore. I'm sure you've all seen the maps going around: how women voted, how Millennials voted, etc. But those maps are lacking some important context: no matter how you slice and dice the demographic data -- by age, by gender, by education, by income -- in every category, more white people voted for Trump, and more people of color voted for Clinton. (The only exception I could find was white college educated women, who just barely went for Clinton. That's a pretty narrow demographic.) None of us get to shirk responsibility on this one. We need to do a better job of educating our friends, our families. I know it's hard. I know it sometimes hurts, especially when it means confronting people we love. But it is long past time for us to step up. Although I'm still figuring out what this means in my own life, considering that I live in a pretty liberal, anti-racist bubble even among the white folks I know, including most of my family, I am committed to finding some way to do more.

4. In some respects, I'm not entirely sure where to go from here. I suspect a lot of people are feeling this way. It should not have taken the election of the worst presidential candidate in American history to be a wakeup call -- that's another mistake we need to own. But, again, here we are, and my preference is always to focus on what comes next. I hope the Democrats can manage to pull together and present a united front rather than lining up for the usual circular firing squad. Unfortunately, I've already seen a number of attempts to point fingers around inside the left. I'm not saying that it isn't useful to figure out what mistakes, if any, might have been made (see above re. polling). But if we are to fight for the future, and we MUST fight for the future, we need to do it together.

Stay safe, everyone. Mourn, heal, and get ready. Hillary Clinton may have lost the presidency, but I still believe we are Stronger Together. May that be her legacy, and may that be how we move forward.

Well, fuck

Nov. 8th, 2016 11:41 pm
owlmoose: (quote - flamethrower)
I'm too deeply in shock to say much of anything yet. Maybe I'll be ready tomorrow.

Be kind to yourself for as long as you need. Then when it's time, we get up and keep fighting. The voices of hate and fear may have won today, but I'm never going to stop shouting back.

In the bank

Nov. 7th, 2016 12:10 am
owlmoose: (Default)
Although calling people I don't know on the phone is, like, number five on the all-time list of things I most hate to do, I bit the bullet and spent some time today phone banking for Hillary Clinton, with a few friends. The process was largely automated -- I didn't dial the calls myself, but entered my phone number in the system and the system then called me, and continuously connected me to voters -- and I had a script. It was still a little intimidating, especially at first, but once I got into the swing of things it was okay. It helped that we were mostly calling likely supporters, such as registered Democrats and people who have a history of voting Democratic in the past. I was actively calling for a little less than two hours, and I probably spoke to about twenty people, not counting hangups and disconnections. (Since California is beyond safe at this point, we called voters in Ohio. They're probably pretty sick of us by now, so I can't 100% say I blame anyone!)

Not everyone was supportive -- I got a couple of outright Trump supporters and one obvious Hillary hater, and a few undecideds who weren't willing to talk about their concerns. There were also a few people who said they were uncomfortable discussing their voting choices, which I more than understand. But I reached enough people who were enthusiastic about casting their vote for Clinton to make up for it. Like the 90-year-old lady who proclaimed she would never vote for Trump, "not for a million dollars." And the man who reached excitedly for the phone when I told the woman who answered that I was with the Clinton campaign, and informed me that his whole family were Hillary supporters. "God bless Hillary Clinton," he said. "She's going to be the next president of the United States." "I surely hope you're right," I said, and couldn't help smiling. There was also the boy sharing a table with us in the call center. He couldn't have been more than twelve, and he was brilliant: following every detail of the script, talking with such conviction about his support for Clinton and sharing his enthusiasm with every supporter he reached. His mom sat next to him, beaming with pride, and we all beamed back at her. That kid, and every kid like him, is hope for the future.

I know these two hours I put in isn't much, compared to the many, many hours and days of volunteering that some of my friends have undertaken. But I'm glad I did participate today. It was good to get down there, spend some time with fellow Clinton supporters, and get an inside glimpse at just how well-oiled a machine this campaign is.

Just two more days to go. I can hardly believe it. I can hardly wait.
owlmoose: (quote - irritatingly weird)
I have decided that I need a bit of a hiatus from election news. Though I haven't really talked about it here, I feel like keeping up with the presidential election has overwhelmed the rest of my media consumption, and is also really stressing me out. It's not like I can do anything about the latest update to the 538 forecast, or the false equivalences being drawn between the candidates, or the ten million ballot measures that I need to research and vote for. So I've started a 24 hour hiatus as of about 10pm tonight. Which means no Twitter or Tumblr or Facebook, no other news sites, no 538, no RSS feeds.

As soon as I made the decision this afternoon, I started to relax, so we'll see how it goes. And whether I'm able to stick to it. :)
owlmoose: (B5 - londo oh dear)
It was... something. I'm very glad I watched with friends, both IRL and online, with Twitter almost continuously open. It was really validating to know that other people were WTFing at the exact same things as me.

Obviously I haven't been talking much about this presidential campaign. In a way, there's both too much and not enough to say. Right now it feels like there isn't much left to do besides continuously reload 538 and pray.
owlmoose: (stonehenge)
You've probably noticed that I've written very little about this presidential primary season -- my last and so far only post on the subject was in November. That doesn't mean I don't have thoughts, of course. I've shared plenty on Twitter (by far my most active social media presence these days), and sometimes Tumblr posts as well, and it's all but taken over my Facebook feed (although I took a break from posting election-related content myself from about March through Clinton mathematically clinching the nomination). But my journal hasn't really seemed like the venue to share them. Until now.

Because there's no way I'm letting a milestone like this go by without marking it down for posterity. On Thursday night, July 28th, 2016, I had friends over to watch Hillary Clinton become the first woman to accept the presidential nomination of a major political party, giving her a very real shot to become the first female President of the United States of America. We cheered and we cried and we broke out a bottle of champagne. As I watched her speak, I thought about the generations of women who worked and fought and died for this moment. I watched women and men basking in the glory of a victory they may have never expected to see. I looked at the faces of girls in the audience, rapt with attention and brimming with possibility. I took it all in, and I relished it. Sure, it's not exactly a surprise -- this has been the anticipated outcome of the 2016 Democratic primary since at least 2008 -- and yet there's a part of me that couldn't believe it was happening, that still can't quite believe it's real.

I've always hoped to see a woman become president in my lifetime, but for many years I assumed that the first female president would be a Republican. My reasoning? It seemed more likely to me that a moderate Republican woman (think Elizabeth Dole, or Christine Todd Whitman) could attract support from moderate Democratic women than the other way around, and that such support would be necessary to offset the people who simply couldn't vote for any woman as president. Also, any viable female presidential candidate would need to project a tough image: in particular, be a strong supporter of the military. And until not so long ago, those were policy positions associated with the Republican Party. So I thought it made sense that a centrist Republican would be more likely to break through this particular glass ceiling.

And the truth is, I would have raised a glass to that theoretical Republican, too. Chances are I wouldn't have voted for her, but I still would've cheered her accomplishment. The fact of a woman, any woman, being poised to take the highest office in the land is a blow against sexism. A small one, to be sure, if the woman in question campaigned on a regressive platform. But a blow nonetheless. And whatever you think of Hillary Clinton, her policies, and the trajectory of her political career*, you cannot argue that she hasn't made promoting equal rights for women and girls a priority throughout her life.

This isn't the end of the battle, of course. Electing a female president wouldn't end sexism any more than Barack Obama's election ended racism. We need more women and people of color -- especially women of color -- at all levels of government, from local positions to the White House and beyond, before we can truly say that we've won anything. (I think of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her vision of an all-female Supreme Court.) But just as Obama's candidacy was an important step along that path, so is Clinton's, and I hope we can hold this progress going forward.

*Which is not something I intend to argue about here. I'm happy to have substantive debate about Clinton as a politician and a candidate on another day, but that's not the point of this post. This is a moment to celebrate, for me and millions of others, and I intend to make the most of it.
owlmoose: (think)
As I'm sure anyone who's known me for even a little while knows, I'm a liberal. I embrace this term whole-heartedly, unlike a certain political party that's been running from the word for as long as I can remember. Despite this, I have always been and intend to remain a registered Democrat. The Democratic Party has been a part of my identity as long as I've been aware of politics (and that's about as long as I can remember -- my parents are both political, both Democrats, and have always talked discussed the issues through that lens). I have my issues with the party, to be sure, but they do a pretty good job of putting issues I care about at the center of their platform, and I want to support that.

Still, I am pretty far to the left of the party on most of the substantial issues, especially economic issues, so you would think that I would be a lock as a Bernie Sanders supporter. But I'm not -- in fact, I'm still very much on the fence regarding whether I will vote for him or Hillary Clinton in the California primary. Fortunately, this is several months away (March 2016), so I have plenty of time to decide. Somewhat ranty aside. ) As I consider my options, I offer this advice to all the Sanders supporters I know: as you spread the word about your candidate and how much you love him, consider your target audience.

It seems to me that the strategy of Sanders supporters so far has been to reach out to disaffected voters: younger people who have never voted, independents, and others who feel like no one in politics is standing up for them. I am all in favor of this type of outreach! I think it's really important, and something that the Democratic establishment has not done very well in the past. But it won't be enough. If you want your man to win the Democratic nomination, and especially the general election, you are going to need the support of people who are engaged with the party establishment, and to win over not only undecided voters, but some percentage of people who currently support Hillary Clinton.

Here are some ways not to try and win me over:

  1. Painting Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party as evil conservative forces that must be destroyed. This is a bad strategy for several reasons, first because you are going to alienate those of us who identify with the party and/or Clinton as a candidate. Second, putting these kind of wedges between the left and center-left is bad for the general election, when we need to come together behind whoever wins the nomination. I can't believe that anyone who supports Sanders would rather see any of the GOP candidates in the White House than Hillary Clinton. Finally, it's just not true. Like most Democrats, Hillary is center-left, and she's actually more liberal than Sanders on a few issues (gun control, abortion, civil rights in some areas). If you look at her actual positions and record, she and Sanders are really not that far apart.

  2. Confusing Hillary with her husband. Hillary Clinton is not Bill Clinton. She has her own viewpoints and way of doing things, and showed her own style of leadership as Secretary of State. And she is NOT responsible for anything he did while he was in office. (Even if she publicly supported his initiatives at the time -- could the First Lady have realistically done anything else?) This is a terribly sexist thing to do, because it suggests that she doesn't have ideas of her own and/or that he's really going to be in control if she's elected. So just don't do it.

  3. Just -- anything that comes off as sexist, okay? We had enough misogyny in the 2008 campaign. There's no reason to sink to it.

  4. Anything that's not focused on the issues, really. I said up above that Hillary and Bernie aren't that far apart, but they're far enough apart that there is a meaningful conversation to be had about their differences. They have different priorities, and different ideas about the details of how they would tackle the problems this country is facing. If that were the conversation, I'd be dreading the all-out primary season a whole lot less.


  5. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this in the coming months (and months and months and months), but I'll leave it here for now. I look forward to an actual productive debate on this topic. Let's hope that's even vaguely possible.
owlmoose: (think)
Maybe so, but they got the wrong bums. The Republicans are cruising to an easy takeover of the Senate, and seem to have picked up a number of governorships as well. I'm not sure how much this changes anything on a practical level, though. Even if the GOP has a Senate Majority, it's not enough of one to get anything done, any more than the Democratic majority was before. Certainly not enough to override any presidential vetoes. And despite all the hand-wringing I saw on MSNBC about Republican governors in blue states as harbingers for 2016, it's not like New England and the Mountain West haven't had Republican governors before. Remember, it's not so long ago that Mitt Romney was the governor of Massachusetts.

I really do continue to boggle at the Democratic inability to capitalize on success, though. People like the Affordable Care Act! Why do you keep running from it?

Meanwhile, I did of course vote this morning. California is rather insulated from the national stuff because Jerry Brown was reelected in a walk, and neither of our US Senators were up this year. We also had slightly less of the proposition-related ridiculousness this year, although "less" is not "none". But it looks like almost nothing I voted against is going to pass, and nothing I feel strongly about is going to lose, so that's generally okay.

If only the midterms being over meant that we were done with election nonsense for awhile. But alas, it seems that will be with us always.

Off Year

Nov. 5th, 2013 06:38 pm
owlmoose: (think)
Because San Francisco runs its municipal elections on a weird schedule (mayor, DA, public defender, and sheriff the year before a presidential election; treasurer and a few other offices the year after), I voted today. Go me.

Of course, it wouldn't be an election without a few propositions in the mix, so we had a few of those as well, including a particularly annoying example of zoning-by-ballot-box. As a result, I find myself in the unusual position of supporting a well-funded developer who is opposed by organizations like the SF Democratic Party and the Sierra Club. Why? Because the developer got their approvals exactly like they were supposed to -- it's not the developer who's trying to take an end-run around the city planning process. This is one of my major beefs with San Francisco: we can't have a coherent, comprehensive city plan, because whenever someone either wants or doesn't want a project, it ends up on the ballot. So everything happens piecemeal, based on the whims of whoever can be bothered to come to the polls in that particular year. This is especially a problem in these off year elections. I cast my vote after work, around 6pm, and according to the counter on the ballot reading machine, I was only the 26th person to do so in my precinct. Off-year elections are decided by a tiny, tiny percentage of the voting public.

Anyway, my irritations with the California proposition system are many and well-documented, so I won't go off into the full rant today. ;) But it's democracy in action, for good and for ill.
owlmoose: (tea - it's good for you)
Today was tea and snackies and the library with SE, then dinner with T, then the new series of Top Chef -- is it too soon to say that this cast looks promising? Then Nate Silver was on The Daily Show, and can I just say how much I love that one of the emerging narratives from this election cycle is pundits versus mathematics, and by just how much mathematics is winning?

Also, it looks like we will have 20 women Senators in the 113th Congress, and while some part of my brain is yelling at me ("20%? That's a freaking disgrace is what that is, why are you so happy?"), the rest of me is very, very happy.

I will likely have more to say about these things when I am not sneaking in my post for the day before I have to run off to bed. 'Night, all.
owlmoose: (Obamoose '08)
Not just because the president was re-elected, although this is, in my view, a very good thing. But so many other things have made me happy: the first out lesbian elected to the Senate, the first Asian-American woman in the Senate, a disabled female veteran going to the House of Representatives, New York state sending its first Asian woman to the house of representatives, two men who said idiotic things about rape losing their Senate races, two states legalizing pot, same sex marriage legalized in two states (Maine and Maryland) and probably also a third (Washington), and for the first time ever, it looks like voters will be rejecting an anti-marriage equality amendment to a state constitution, in Minnesota.

We are making history here, and making our voices heard. And it is awesome. If Proposition 30 passes (and at last count it was trending upward), my night will be complete. (Although I would have liked to see California ban the death penalty. But it's too popular here; it was never going to happen. I'll content myself with raising a bunch of money for education.)

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