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Could Elizabeth Warren Have Won?

For Democrats, leaving Donald Trump in office is not only good politics – it is the best chance for fundamental realignment of American politics in more than a generation. Mr. Trump is three years into destroying what we know as the Republican Party. Another two years just might finish it off. Trumpism spells electoral doom for the party.
A Bigger Prize Than Impeachment
Joe Lockhart (NYT 4/23/19)

Could Elizabeth Warren have won? How about Bernie Sanders? We will never know, of course, if these “socialists” would have emerged victorious. Still it is more than an idle question. Although the peaceful transition from THE LOSER to the winner has yet to begin and may never happen even after the Electoral College votes, it’s not too early to think about the next election.

More precisely, the Democrats have decisions to make about how to govern during the Biden administration. Perhaps even more importantly, the Democrats have decisions to make about how they wish to portray themselves and be portrayed to the general public.

By now it is no secret that the elections did not work out how the Democrats had hoped. Battleground states in the presidential election turned out to be no contest such as in Florida and Ohio. States where Biden was thought to have had a huge lead became if not nail-biters then much closer than expected. True, as the votes continue to be counted, Biden did better than any presidential challenger candidate since the Depression vote in 1932, but more was hoped for.

The Senate votes were also a surprise. The expected pickups didn’t happen and the close races were even close yet alone won by the Democrats.

The less said about the results in the House for Democrats the better. They are just holding on to the House as the Republicans seem to doing in the Senate. That is not what was expected to happen either.

Democrats lost another governorship and didn’t pick up any state houses either. So much for Lockhart’s wishful thinking.

I have been saving the cutout of the Lockhart op-ed piece from April 2019, waiting for the right time to use. I think now is the time. He went on to write:

Republicans today are the party of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson – a coalition that, in the face of every demographic trend in America, will mean the long-term realignment of the federal government behind the Democrats.

I don’t know if anyone has asked Lockhart about that op-ed piece including about these two quotations. It would be interesting to know what he thinks given the recent elections.

On a descriptive level, Lockhart is exactly right. The Republican Party as a party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Reagan no longer exists. Even as a party of Nixon it no longer exists. To understand the Nixon presidency one must differentiate his criminality from his policies such as on China or the environment. And despite the current infatuation with some other minor news networks, the Trumpican Party has been the party of Fox and its friends and allies. In this regard, Lockhart’s assessment was and has remained accurate.

While Lockhart thought the unfit President should be impeached on merit, he took the daring view that there were political advantages to keeping him in power. He even called keeping him in power a “dream scenario.” To have the impeached President complete his term meant the Republicans would be stuck with him. Putting aside the unforseen 250,000 reasons to have him removed, Lockhart optimistically concluded:

“Allowing Mr. Trump to lead the Republican Party, filled with sycophants and weak-willed leaders, into the next election is a greater prize (than impeachment and removal from office). Democrats have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to realign American politics along progressive lines… “

It turns out Lockhart was better at describing the Trumpican Party then in understanding the American electorate. Perhaps if this Joe had listened to another Democratic Joe he would not have been surprised that his electoral prophecy went unfilled. Let’s step back in time. In his column in Time on January 6, 2016, Joe Klein noted after listening to the Democrats, “ …I heard Democrats proposing policies that appealed to many of these groups (meaning “tribes”), but few that appealed to Americans as a whole.” He elaborated on that point in his column on July 25, 2016:

“If nothing else, the progress in Dallas implies that the Democrats’ divisive identity politics – the sorting of constituencies according to ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation – is beginning to seem dated too.”

Then why is it still the Democratic policy four years and another presidential election later?

By contrast Democratic advisor David Axelrod recently wrote “People are hungry for a sense of community” (9/29/20 NYT), consistent with what Klein advocated and far different from the world of Lockhart.

Tim Shriver, head of the Special Olymipics, had said something similar to Tom Friedman as reported in an op-ed piece on March 4, 2020:

“I interact with enough Republicans and Democrats through the Special Olympics to know how starved they both are for the country to be pulled back together, so we can do big stuff together again.”

Shriver bemoaned how the disunity is making people sick and depressed. He regretted that so many Americans can’t even talk to members of their family, colleagues at work, and friends because of politics. We don’t need the coronavirus to keep us apart on Thanksgiving. Shriver declared:

“A lot of Americans are starving to be part of something lager than ourselves, something that loves us and needs us like building America together again, solving big problems together again, dreaming big dreams together again.” Already last April, Friedman stated Biden needs to appoint a national unity cabinet which is not the same as a check-the-boxes hyphen cabinet.”

After the election Friedman quoted Harvard professor Michael Sandel:

“…the Democratic Party continues to be more identified with professional elites and college-educated voters than with the blue-collar who once constituted their base. Even so epochal an event as a pandemic, bungled by Trump, did not change this.”

He might have added that just as the Republican Party is no longer the party of Lincoln, the Democrats are no longer the part of FDR. They are woke now and are too busy attacking America to have time for the racist flyover people who accept THE LOSER as their Lord and Savior, the Chosen One, Blessed Be his Name. Lockhart’s prophesy proved wrong because he misunderstood the American people. Sometimes the people he mistakenly limits to their hyphen identity end up thinking of themselves as Americans instead.

What does this mean moving forward? The Democrats are likely to become more woke and not less despite the results of the 2020 elections. Woke Democrats are likely to commit even more microaggressions against the American people than they have so far. Woke Democrats are likely to be even less tolerant than they have been so far. Woke Democrats are likely to be even more judgmental than they have been so far. They are likely to make Fox’s job easy. Fortunately for the Democrats the likelihood also is that the Republicans will not regain control of their party from the Trumpicans and the 2024 nominee will be Trump or Trump-tainted….and they still may be disappointed with the election results.

When Experts Are Wrong, Criticize the People: The Unmovable 42%

The Warning Democrats Ignored

Imagine a hypothetical where the experts are wrong. Yes, I know how difficult that must be to grasp, but try. Suppose there is a disconnect between what actual people in the real world do and what the experts say the people should do. Naturally, the difference can’t be due to an error by the experts so it must be due to the people. They are too stupid to know what is in their own best interests. If only they would be guided by the wisdom of their betters, everything would be alright.

STRANDED ON THE MOON

I first became aware of the shortcomings of the experts at some corporate retreats/training programs. There we were, a group of strangers gathered together to learn from the experts.  As part of the training in one exercise we were divided into smaller groups of probably ten people each. The problem posed to us was that we were stranded on the moon (pre-Matt Damon on Mars) or at another training session in the desert. We were never stranded on an island after a three hour cruise.

The instructors then gave each group a list of 20 items. They asked us to rank the items based on their potential contribution to our survival. After a short time, each group presented its rankings to the collective group. Then the instructors compared our rankings to those of the experts.

One of the 20 items was a gun. I always ranked it last. I always was outvoted.  The experts also ranked it higher. On the moon, the gun’s recoil could propel someone across a crevice. In the desert, the sound of the gunshot might attract the attention of the search party.

At this point, I suspect some of you have realized the absurdity of the expert opinion in the real world. Even Hollywood knows such expertise flunks the reality test. In the real world, the gun represents power. Assuming the existence of alpha males in the group or mean girls/queen bees, the gun meant there would be a battle to control it and therefore the group. It would not be used to propel someone across a crevice or to attract searchers, it would be used to kill or threaten to kill someone. Maybe at some point there would be a struggle for the gun, the good guy would prevail, fire the last bullet to get the attention of the searchers just before they disappeared over the horizon, and get the girl but that was not what the experts had in mind. Interestingly, I never proposed giving one person the gun and another person the bullets but as I recall the exercise did not allow for such creativity. Anyway, the lesson learned was that people may be experts in the lab without knowing squat in the real world.

WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS (2004)

The book What’s the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America by Thomas Frank was another exercise in false expertise. The thrust of the book was to resolve the dilemma of why so many Americans vote against their economic and social interests. There had to be something wrong with these people since culture war issues trumped their economic and social concerns. It would be like supporting candidates who consistently favored tax cuts for the rich while giving you nothing. How could people be so dumb as to be shafted again and again while cheering the very people who exploited them? What’s the matter with these people?

The publication date of 2004 is most revealing. That election year was the last time and only time in the Baby Boomer Era a Republican presidential candidate won a majority vote. If it was written say a year before the publication date, then it was five years before Sarah Palin called for taking back the country and 13 years before the then long-time Democrat and Clinton supporter conned Republicans into thinking he cared about the little people the elitists fly over. To put those years in perspective, it means the Democrats had 13-year notice on the 2016 election and learned nothing during the interim except to pour more oil on the fire. Still it is questionable whether or not the Democrats have learned that there is nothing wrong with the people of Kansas except the way they have been treated by the elitists.

THE WAR OF NORTHERN AGGRESSION

With Civil War, the smug superiority of the condescending arrogant self-righteous elitists really shines through. Everyone knows the war was really about slavery. Everyone knows the claim abut state’s rights was just a smokescreen for the real cause of maintaining slavery. Everyone knows that the proponents of the Lost Cause are really backwards subhuman racists who should not be welcomed in polite society.

Now try listening. Confederates call the war the “War of Northern Aggression.” Why? Maybe they assigned that name to the conflict because it genuinely expresses how they felt.  Just as we know from feminists that rape is about power and not sex, so we should consider that for the Confederates, the war also was about the violation of their home. In the Union, the exploits of Sherman and Grant are heroic, to the people who lived on the lands ravaged and devastated, the view was different. “Damn Yankees” is not a slavery-based approbation. It is a response to the mentally and morally superior people who are the elect of God (or the goddess) who never tire of telling Southerners that they are inferior people. Today there are two peoples it is still acceptable to demean and insult: Nazis and Southerners. And then the mentally and morally superior people wonder why such degenerates vote for Trump. Obviously it’s because they are racists who want to bring back slavery. Then the superior people pat themselves on the back and bask in their moral superiority.

THE POLITICALLY CORRECT AND 2016

By now there is no excuse for not knowing that Politically Corrected People (PCP) were more of a determinant than Putin in deciding the 2016 election. I am not going to repeat here example after example from previous blogs or from the ones I have been saving, where Trumpicans express their revulsion at the PCPs. If anything, that revulsion has intensified. Snowflakes in schools and colleges cringing at the mere sight of murals or sound of words! The toppling of statues! The declaration of superiority with the capitalized B in black! Truly the American world is coming to an end. Democrats have expressed no desire to celebrate America…such declarations would only antagonize the Woke who want to replace July 4th with 1619.

Trumpicans may not know anyone who died from Covid-19, but they all have stories to tell about another action against America taken by the PCPs, they seen them on Fox.

As it turns out, Trumpicans are voting for their self-interests but no one until the candidate who thinks with his gut actually listened and understood what those interests were. If people are voting against their economic and social interests perhaps something else is more important to them. Perhaps telling people over and over again they are backward, inferior, and consigned to the demographic dump heap of history isn’t an inspiring message. Perhaps telling people they have nothing to look forward to isn’t an inspiring message. Perhaps elevating people here illegally to the same level as those who are here legally isn’t an inspiring message.

If this country is to remain a single country, a big “if’, then it will become necessary for people to talk to each other. That is not possible now. Neither party is attempting to transcend the differences that divide us. Centrifugal forces rule the day. Thomas Friedman suggested Joe Biden should go on listening tours to Trumpican areas. Not preaching tours, nor haranguing tours, nor lecturing tours, but listening tours. Even Donald Trump tried a town hall with people who are not loyalists. Never again. It didn’t go well. He will never expand his base. Can Biden do better? Does his empathy and sympathy skills extend to people who oppose him? If he expects to govern then he will need to listen to the Trumpicans as well as to the Woke.

MAD DOG BANISHED TO THE CORNFIELDS: TWILIGHT ZONE EPISODE BECOMES REAL

Still Waiting! (For Better or Worse, December 15, 2018)

Rod Serling (and Gene Rodenberry) had an extraordinary ability to foretell our present situation. So many episodes seem to be about today it. In this blog, we turn to:

It’s a Good Life 

Written by Rod Serling
Directed by James Sheldon
Originally broadcast Nov. 3, 1961

The comments and descriptions on the websites about the episode tell the tale we are now living. They come from imdb.com and Wikipedia mixed with some comments of my own.

On an isolated family farm, a young boy with vast mental powers, but lacking emotional development, holds his terrified family in thrall to his every juvenile wish.

This is a portrayal of a nightmare. It’s one of those things where you hope you’ll wake up. It’s about an entire community that has been taken over by a child brat who is totally self-centered and sociopathic. He probably doesn’t realize the error of his ways. Any effort to educate him would result in being “sent to the cornfield.” This is a state of limbo. When your adversary has no conscience, he cannot be approached in a rational way. This story is about fear. Not only are the people under constant threat, the world the boy is creating is one that is becoming bleak and vacuous.

As you read the opening narration please keep in mind that the story is about an actual six-year old in mind and body and that he has actual supernatural powers. These two considerations mean the story is not an exact parallel to the real world but the fundamentals ring true as even in the real world an immature child can have great powers at his command.

Opening narration

Tonight’s story on The Twilight Zone is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction. This, as you may recognize, is a map of the United States, and there’s a little town there called Peaksville. On a given morning not too long ago, the rest of the world disappeared and Peaksville was left all alone. Its inhabitants were never sure whether the world was destroyed and only Peaksville left untouched or whether the village had somehow been taken away. They were, on the other hand, sure of one thing: the cause. A monster had arrived in the village. Just by using his mind, he took away the automobiles, the electricity, the machines because they displeased him and he moved an entire community back into the dark ages just by using his mind. Now I’d like to introduce you to some of the people in Peaksville, Ohio. This is Mr. Fremont. It’s in his farmhouse that the monster resides. This is Mrs. Fremont. And this is Aunt Amy, who probably had more control over the monster in the beginning than almost anyone. But one day she forgot. She began to sing aloud. Now, the monster doesn’t like singing, so his mind snapped at her, turned her into the smiling, vacant thing you’re looking at now. She sings no more. And you’ll note that the people in Peaksville, Ohio have to smile. They have to think happy thoughts and say happy things because, once displeased, the monster can wish them into a cornfield or change them into a grotesque, walking horror. This particular monster can read minds, you see. He knows every thought, he can feel every emotion. Oh yes, I did forget something, didn’t I? I forgot to introduce you to the monster. This is the monster. His name is Anthony Fremont. He’s six years old, with a cute little-boy face and blue, guileless eyes. But when those eyes look at you, you’d better start thinking happy thoughts, because the mind behind them is absolutely in charge. This is the Twilight Zone.

At the beginning of the show, the child is playing with his animals. He loves playing with his animals. They are right out of central casting. And since he likes science fiction he can makes his animals into any form he wants. They can even speak out of both sides of their mouths if he wants them to just as he does. But eventually the child tires of his toys who sometimes have minds of their own and they are disposed of, banished to the cornfields where this field of dreams is a nightmare.

The people live in fear of him, of the uncertainty, of never knowing what the child will say next. They constantly tell him how everything he does is “good,” the best ever, the greatest ever whereas everything before him was the worst ever. Never having experienced any form of effective discipline, the child does not even understand that his actions are wrong. He thinks everyone should want to play on his team and that he has his pick of the best and the brightest in the land. He is confused when his father tells him that the neighbors are reluctant to let their children play with him and join his team after he sent several of his playmates to the cornfield.

One night each week, the child gives the townsfolk one hour of television, which he creates and projects onto the family TV set. The adults gather around in his living room, squirming uncomfortably as child shows them a vision of Fox and Friends with screaming dinosaur talking heads engaged in a gory battle. Unable to voice their real feelings, they tell the child that it was far better than what used to be on TV. Everything now is the greatest ever.

His aunt Amy whose brain had been “fixed,” says “I kind of liked it a little better when we had cities outside and could get real television.”
The child’s mother replies, “The child’s television is much better than anything we used to get.”
The child’s father adds: “Why it’s fine. Why Fox television is the best thing we have ever seen.”

After the program is over, the adults celebrate Dan Hollis’ birthday. He gets two presents from his wife: a bottle of brandy – which is one of only five left in the village – and a Perry Como record. Dan is eager to listen to the record, but he’s reminded by everyone that the child does not like singing and he must listen to it at home. Getting drunk from the brandy, he starts complaining about the miserable state of the town, not listening to the record, and no one singing “Happy Birthday” to him. The child at first ignores him after telling him to be quiet. Dan eventually snaps with repressed rage surfacing and confronts the child.

You monster you, you dirty little monster…. maybe some man in this room; some Republican with guts, somebody who is so sick to death of living in this kind of a place and willing to take a chance will sneak up behind you and lay something heavy across your skull and end this once and for all.
Somebody sneak up behind him. Somebody end this now….
Will somebody take a lamp or a bottle or something and end this.

The printed word cannot capture the intensity of the anguish of this emotionally wrought person who can no longer endure the reign of the child, who does not act anonymously or after the fact but face to face.  Aunt Amy tentatively reaches for a fireplace poker but no one has the courage to act. The child banishes him to the cornfield. The adults are horrified at what he had done but no one does anything,

Then Thomas Friedman said, “I believe that the only responsible choice for the Republican Party today is an intervention with the president that makes clear that if there is not a radical change in how he conducts himself — and I think that is unlikely — the party’s leadership will have no choice but to press for his resignation or join calls for his impeachment.” But Friedman’s words were as flat as his world and everyone at Fox just laughed.

The child then causes the stock market to drop and the snow to fall even though it’s summer and the crops have not been harvested. The father then smiles and tells the child in a terrified voice, “…But it’s good you’re making it snow. A real good thing. And tomorrow… tomorrow’s gonna be a… real good day!”

Is there anything more dangerous… than a spoiled, selfish, stuck-up little brat who always gets his way?

Closing narration

No comment here, no comment at all. We only wanted to introduce you to one of our very special citizens, little Anthony Fremont, age 6, who lives in a village called Peaksville, in a place that used to be Ohio. And, if by some strange chance, you should run across him, you had best think only good thoughts. Anything less than that is handled at your own risk, because if you do meet Anthony, you can be sure of one thing: you have entered The Twilight Zone.

How did Rod know?