Saturday, March 12, 2016

For All Big Tents

Not to be contrary here but I feel that the confluence of Sanders and Trump will actually split the Democratic party, not the Republican.
Right now, mid-March 2016, Trump is barreling along, throwing red meat to his racist and xenophobic crowd. The rest of the Republican front-runners really have no ideological differences with Trump but have been banding together to try to keep Trump from getting the nomination.
But here's the thing: Trump has only been getting on average about 35% of the Republican vote. And Republicans have only got about 35% of the population of the US.
Trump has a solid handle on 10% of the US population. They're morons, obviously, but they're only about 10%.
Now over there on the Democratic side things are different. There's only two viable candidates for the nomination: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

Now Clinton has re-aligned her views to match Sanders on most issues. But she seems hell-bent on saying things which are just nonsense. Specifically, Republican nonsense. She said this about AIDS:
"And because of both President and Mrs. Reagan, in particular, Mrs. Reagan, we started national conversation when before no one would talk about it..."
What? I mean what? I was alive and reading papers at the time, Reagan wasn't talking about it at-freaking-all. I have no idea what alternate reality Clinton came from, but on this planet the idea that Reagan started a national conversation about AIDS is ridiculous.
The biggest difference between the Trump Republican ideology and the Democrats is Sanders. Bernie Sanders "democratic socialist," holds positions that are extraordinarily mainstream. Most Americans agree with most positions he holds on most things.
That has always been true with Bernie.
So where, with these seemingly disparate facts, are we?
Right now the Democratic party is the "big tent" party. In a rational world, Clinton would be the Republican party candidate and Sanders the Democratic one. Trump can hijack the Republican party because of a unique confluence of Rush Limbaugh-inspired drones but that does not make a national party. Oddly, a Trump candidacy would all but guarantee a Sanders Presidency if Sanders were the DNC candidate.
The real race that's being played out is between Clinton and Sanders. The Republican nomination is a circus side-show with everyone trying to out-clown one another whereas the Democratic side is two candidates who are serious.
So what happens if Trump takes the nomination and then tanks the election for the Republicans? Yeah, he'll do more than 35% of the 35%. But the problem with the way we do elections is the "winner-take-all" makes us tend to have two parties. A third party has always acted like a spoiler and then is booted from the next election.*

The question then is will the Democratic party split? Or will the Republican go? On the right there are a lot of Libertarians who would love to see a viable Libertarian party, but their numbers are just too small to be a national party. On the left the dream has always been to have some sort of socialist or labor party but again the numbers, while bigger than the Libertarians', aren't really enough to support a Socialist Party (if they had, they would have pushed out the Democratic Party years ago.)

The Republican party first ran into trouble under Bill Clinton because Clinton picked up many of the RNC's positions -- specifically the idea of shrinking the budget deficit. But he adopted some other right-leaning positions which made him less popular with Democrats.

Now the Republicans barely have a platform. All of the actual popular stuff has been taken over by the DNC, leaving the RNC with turkeys and loser issues like gay marriage and torture. What else can they take? The deficit? That's more of a Democrat thing now. Anti-NAFTA? Well, the Bernie left pretty much has that one covered actually.

Hillary Clinton represents the Republican party if the RNC were reasonable. Pro-choice because of, well, freedom. Quick to get into a war but not, you know, actively looking for one. Free-market but healthcare friendly for working people. Now it's not like Republicans are going to make HRC their candidate, but they're slavish devotion to the Rush Limbaugh fringe has made their party unelectable on a national stage.

It seems to me the real dividing line in American politics is Glass-Steagall. There's the liberal-to-left side personified by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and there's the conservative-to-libertarian side personified by those very very few Republicans who aren't insane and Hillary Clinton (and, it should be noted, Barack Obama.)

So how does this all shake out? Obviously the RNC can still win state and Congressional elections (as they have majorities in both houses). But it seems more and more that GW Bush's elections were a fluke, a statistical sputter, than a demonstration of the RNC's power to find a President.

The Republicans' having got into bed with the Evangelicals sort of got them into this mess. So it may not be the sort of thing they can extricate themselves from at all. But if the RNC becomes irrelevant at the Presidential level what is going to happen? A DNC perma-lock on the Office where the real fight is taken out in the primary (as is happening now)? Or will the DNC just split between its progressive and moderate wings?

We'll find out when Sarah Palin joins the Socialist Working Party.

*Isn't that how Grant was elected?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

More Different "Socialist" Noise

I was sort of surprised to hear the right-wing noise machine start up with the attacks on Obama as a "communist" eight or so years ago. I thought that word's inherent sillyness had played out. But there's a pocket of true believers who remember "communist" as a pejorative and are willing to trot it out and parade it around.
Pretty much since the demise of the Soviet Union "communist" has lost much of its sting. The only other major Communist party in the world is the Peoples Republic of China and -- seriously -- what about them is actually communist? They don't have a national healthcare system. It's a party-controlled state, sure. But they don't even pay lip-service to any sort of socialist ideals do they?
In any case, I think this is going to inure that middle range of undecided voters to attacks on Bernie Sanders for being "a socialist". We've been hearing so much noise about Obama being a socialist that when they hear it about Sanders they'll just be like "Oh, those guys say anything."
Here I am with my Firearms ID card. It took me from August to March to actually get it. Getting a firearms ID in New Jersey is as hard as getting a voter ID in Alabama. Of course, getting a gun license in Alabama is as easy as voting in New Jersey... Ha!