Sunday, December 18, 2016
Dear Democratic Party....
The election wasn't stolen, the Democratic party lost.
Dear Democratic Party:
You may have noticed that I unsubscribed from your various e-mail feeds. And you probably noticed that I stopped sending money in response to the latest pleas.
If I was on Facebook I would have unfriended you. If I was on Twitter I would have stopped following you as well. But of course only idiots are on Facebook or follow people on Twitter - as I am sure you all do.
Why the sudden lack of interest you say? The problem is one of externalization. Since you lost the election in November - and make no mistake you lost it, Trump did not win it - you have been looking for excuses as to why the election was unfair or how it was stolen from you.
Yet all along during the election process, people have been saying that the election was Hillary's to lose. The idea that Donald Trump could win the White House was seen as ludicrous. The only way Hillary could have lost the election would be through sheer incompetence.
And that is exactly what happened and what you need to come to grips with. These so-called swing States were far more important than people thought, and yet Hillary failed to visit some of them during the campaign, and the get-out-the-vote effort was lame to say the least.
Yet the Democratic party wants to blame Vladimir Putin for "hacking" e-mails. The media loves to report this story, but the reality is that the emails were not hacked but rather someone in your office gave Vladimir Putin their username and password in response to a so-called social engineering e-mail. This is not high technology cyber warfare, this is the same bullshit that Nigerian scammers use to snag unwary grandmothers on Yahoo. You could have done better than that.
What's more, the data found in these e-mails turned out to be nothing. However you allowed your opponent to set the agenda by reacting in fear to the disclosure of these emails. People say where there's smoke there's fire, and you were putting up a smokescreen for months.
If you read my blog, and I doubt you have, you'll note that I harp on the term externalizing a lot. In their personal lives, people love to blame their woes on unseen others. Liberals like to blame the 1%'ers or the Wall Street fat cats or the big evil corporations. Conservatives like to blame welfare Queens, spendthrift congressman, and of course Democrats.
Rather than take action in their own lives and assume responsibility for the mistakes they've made in their lives, people blame these unseen others as the root cause of all their problems. "If only" some external thing could be changed, their lives would be perfect. At the same time they refuse to change things that are within their direct control in their lives.
So rather than sit down and examine what went wrong in the election - what the Democrats did wrong - the Democratic party is wasting a lot of time and energy blaming Trump, blaming Putin, blaming hackers, blaming fake news, blaming anybody except themselves. The reality of an election is that you should be prepared for all these things, all these eventualities, and be able to respond and deal with them. The Democratic party did a poor job of this and needs to assume responsibility for such a poor response. You need to own this.
Similarly, the Democratic party needs to understand why they lost by slim margins in many Midwestern states which turned the tide for Trump. Unfortunately the answer the Democratic party has come up with is that they weren't liberal enough. It is hard to believe but people in the Democratic party are seriously arguing that the reason why Hillary didn't win was she wasn't liberal enough rather than not middle-of-the-road enough.
The opposite, is in fact true. What caused people in the Midwest to vote for Trump or not vote at all, was the Democratic party catering to the far left wing. It didn't help that the entire summer was spent with Bernie Sanders - who is not even a Democrat - attacking Hillary over and over again. Bernie Sanders did the devil's work, or more precisely Donald Trump's work, for him. This is a classic example of the Democratic party in self-destruct mode. And yet some in the party are talking of promoting Bernie Sanders as a candidate, or bringing in more far-left individuals to lead the party.
This is, of course, madness. What most Americans want - the vast majority - is middle-of-the-road politics. Most Americans are not enamored of far-right Republican thinking, nor are they enamored of far-left Democratic thinking. No one wants to give away their tax dollars to people even if the motivations are noble. Similarly, people don't want to see tax cuts for the rich or businesses unfettered by any regulations whatsoever. What people want is compromise, which is why they often elect the president of one party and Congress from another.
Sadly, the Democratic party felt it needed to cater to the Bernie Sanders wing - again irony because he isn't even a Democrat but rather as a socialist "independent" who crashed the Democratic party this year. Emphasis on issues like transgender bathrooms and the like only serve to alienate the middle-of-the-road Americans in the Midwest of the United States, a demographic the Democratic party needs to win in order to win elections.
Winning the popular vote really doesn't mean anything. We are all well aware how the Electoral College works, and indeed this is exactly how it was supposed to work. Yes, it is true that Hillary won by a landslide in California and the votes in California put her far over in terms of the popular vote. However our founding fathers must have visualized that one or two strong States could end up overpowering others in the popular vote, and that's why they created the Electoral College - to give other states a voice in the process.
Moving further to the Left didn't do much to secure California's electoral votes, but it did a lot to put the votes of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania at risk. Catering to the whims of Bernie Sanders with the Democratic party platform didn't change the vote outcome in the blue States at all. Vermont was never in play.
Pandering to issues like free college or forgiving student loans, even if it comes from the most noblest of instincts, ended up alienating people never went to college or never would. Whenever we talk about making something "free" somebody else has to pay for it, usually someone who isn't getting that free thing.
Some in the Democratic party on the far left, actually welcomed a Trump Presidency. They feel that Trump will push things so far to the right that Americans will be desperate for any answer and will even vote for a socialist candidate or for nationalized healthcare in response to the extremes of Trump.
This is a disreputable tactic that has been used historically by communists and fascists to get people to vote for extreme political solutions. If there is violence in the street or economic upheaval, people will vote for a strong man or for overhaul of their economic system, even if such moves seem radical.
Sadly, this seems like the direction the Democrats want to move in and it is a tactic which will likely fail. Americans seem to have inherent distrust of socialism and government solutions.
The other problem for the Democrats, is that Trump's economic policies may actually work in the short-term, much is Bush's economic policies did. By reducing regulations on the energy business and stripping environmental regulations, many businesses will indeed prosper at least in the short-term.
However as we saw with the Bush Administration, this sort of crony capitalism devolves into a kleptocracy, and eventually the economy collapses as it did in 2008. Speaking of which, there a lot of working class people who sincerely believe that Obama was at fault for the economic collapse of 2008 even though Bush was in the White House at the time.
Sadly the Democrats did little to debunk this notion, or the notion that Bill Clinton somehow caused the housing meltdown through something called the Community Reinvestment Act. In our online world, silence is deemed equal to assent. If you fail to respond to fraudulent accusations, they spread like wildfire.
In that regard, the spread of fake news should have come as no surprise the Democratic party. The Democrats promised to have a "Truth Squad" that would be debunk various fake news stories and act aggressively in damping them down. However during the election it seemed that the Democrats felt that ignoring fake news was the best strategy. I would think a better strategy would be point out that the news was indeed fake and ask voters to ask themselves if they want to vote for a candidate who spreads fake news stories.
Too late, the Democrats are realizing that allowing fake news to spread and failing to respond to it it was the same problem John Kerry had with swift-boating. Saying that you won't dignify ludicrous stories with a response in today's world is akin to admitting they are true.
I'm sorry to break up with you like this, but until you get your act together I'm not sending you any more money, and I doubt very many other people will. Speaking of money, all throughout the previous elections you have decried the influence of big money in elections. And yet during this election, Hillary outspent Trump by 2 to 1 and still managed to lose. It sort of puts the Citizens United decision in perspective - big money doesn't always win elections, but issues and candidates do.
Investing money in political campaigns - and it is an investment - isn't a worthwhile if the strategy of the campaign was destined to lose. And the Democratic party strategy right now is a complete loser, blaming other people for their own problems, and arguing that the party is too conservative, not too liberal.
For small donors like myself, giving money to such a train wreck is just wasting valuable cash. To big money donors, is simply a poor investment, as big money donors usually expect their candidate to win, and expect some sort of payback as a result.
There are only two years until the midterm elections. You really need to get your shit together before then and boot Bernie Sanders out of the Democratic Party and move the football more toward the center of the field. In four short years we will have another presidential election, and you will need a really well-vetted killer candidate to win that election. It should be someone who is popular, middle of the road, and without a long train of baggage.
Don't get me wrong, we all like Hilary, and no doubt she is a very smart woman and would have made a good president. However she had a long negative history, and a core group of people, particularly working-class people, seem to hate her guts for no apparent reason. Maybe it is her personality, which comes across as slightly stilted and wooden. Maybe it is the long history the Clintons have, producing controversies both real and imagined. For whatever reason, it is very hard to overcome these negatives, and the working class people were the votes that were needed in the Midwest.
The party needs to start grooming a candidate today for 2020 and making sure that candidate is nominated without some messy primary battle like we had this time around. If this means putting some cement shoes on Bernie Sanders and dropping him in Lake Champlain, so be it. Maybe it is time to go back to the smoke-filled room in selecting candidates, rather than letting a chaotic primary process take place. This time around the primary process didn't seem to serve either party very well which is how we ended up where we are.
Democratic party, get your shit together!