Self-Inflicted Wounds

Progressives running the political organizing group Wellstone Action directed their energies toward “work with communities of color and the LGBTQI community.” When the late Sen. Paul Wellstone’s sons raised the issue of focusing as well on economic issues and the plight of working class voters, they were ousted from the group.

Related: Democratic pollster Charles Cook recently wrote, “It’s not clear that Democrats fully understood why they lost the last presidential election and why their congressional gains were so paltry….” He added, “I met last week with leaders and members of a manufacturing union that was still livid over the Obama administration’s ‘war on coal’ that they believe put many of their members out of work or cut their hours,” and concludes, “A bit of self-reflection rather than just scapegoating might be in order.”

More. Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. is “done trying to understand Trump supporters”:

Besides which, is there really so much left to “understand?” Not from where I sit. Long before Trump even existed as a political force, many of us noted with alarm the rise of a backlash among right wingers deeply angry and profoundly terrified by the writing on the demographic wall. Said writing foretold — and for that matter, still foretells — the declining preeminence of white, Christian America.

A basket of deplorables, clinging to their guns and religion.

9 Comments for “Self-Inflicted Wounds”

  1. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Democrats have always been disorganized, undisciplined and fractious. It is both a strength and a weakness.

    Reply
  2. posted by MR Bill on

    “I belong to no organized political party: I’m a Democrat.”-Will Rogers
    Of course, some of us don’t want to belong to a party where the day’s talking points are distributed by the folks deciding the day’s agenda..

    Reply
  3. posted by MR Bill on

    And the “War on Coal” is a right wing propaganda effort, to characterize a perfectly sensible environmental protection program as “attacking coal wotkers”..Other alleged “attacks” include the sort of worker safety regulations that Republican Don Blankenship went to jail for, after his malfeasance killed 29 workers. The Democrats actually proposed retraining and economic development programs to give jobs to the Coal industry, which is dying of its own poor economic position. Republicans needed a tax cut for the wealthy, and couldn’t find such things..
    The propaganda that pushes a “war on Coal” is a right wing project, and like so many of these ideological efforts, is aimed at hurting Democrats politically.. It is a lie, plain and simple.

    Reply
  4. posted by MR Bill on

    And about that “clinging to Guns and religion “ quote :
    “Over at the Washington Post, James Hohmann has a piece about several recent “deep dives” into areas of the country that voted for Obama but then switched to Trump in 2016. The overall message is that working-class folks in these places are tired of liberals looking down on them and always calling them racists. That’s a big subject, and I have my doubts that it accounts for an awful lot of Trump’s appeal. It’s been true for a long time, after all. But here’s an interesting quote:

    “One of the places I would agree with the hardcore Trump people, they’re tired of being treated as the enemy by Barack Obama,” said Dennis Schminke, 65, a retired manager at Hormel, the company makes Spam in Austin, Minn., an area just north of the border with Iowa….Schminke said Trump’s appeal there was born in part of resentment toward the Obama presidency. “His comment, the whole thing, it’s been worn out to death, that clinging to God and guns, God and guns and afraid of people who don’t look like them, blah, blah, blah. Just quit talking down to me,” he explained. “I despise Barack Obama. I think primarily because I don’t think he thinks very much of people like me. That’s just the long and short of it.”

    What’s interesting is what’s not said here: namely that Obama made this comment once; he apologized for it quickly; and he was careful never to say anything similarly condescending again.

    So why does this guy think it’s been “worn out to death” when it was a single remark that Obama made ten years ago? Is it because Hillary Clinton and John McCain made hay with it during the 2008 campaign? No. Even that only lasted a few weeks at most.

    The reason is Fox News and the conservative media more generally. They repeat these comments forever. Hell, they’re still pissed off about a Post article suggesting that evangelicals are “easily led,” and that was 25 years ago. Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” comment will probably still be making the rounds on Fox in 2050.

    Now, Fox couldn’t make this stick if there weren’t a kernel of truth to it. The funny thing is that it’s always struck me as bipartisan. As near as I can tell, coastal elites do look down on folks like Schminke, but conservatives are every bit as condescending as liberals. Hell, conservatives have even weaponized their condescension with the endless fundraising scams aimed at folks like this. The big difference is that (a) conservatives are as careful in their language toward rural folks as liberals are toward people of color and (b) conservatives have a lot of policy positions in common with rural voters, just as liberals do with blacks and Hispanics.”Kevin Drum , https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2018/05/middle-america-hates-us-they-always-will/

    Reply
  5. posted by MR Bill on

    From the Village Voice’s greatly esteemed Roy Edroso
    “The Age of Trump has conservative intellectuals in an embarrassing predicament: Trump has either turned conservatism into, or revealed conservatism to be, nothing but a gigantic grift, so who needs conservative intellectuals? When Republican tax cuts are such a brazen payoff to the super-rich that even tax-hating voters don’t believe it will ever trickle down, and when Michael Cohen taking obvious bribes from AT&T and Novartis exemplifies “draining the swamp,” how could anyone listen to a right-wing pencil-neck talk about conservative policy without laughing?

    But don’t worry about the pencil-necks, they’ve found a way around this dilemma by escalating the decades-long culture war, diverting their audiences’ attention from the real issues with little melodramas in which conservatives are oppressed by Black Panther, Wonder Woman, and Shakespeare in the Park (boo!), then are rescued at the last minute by right-wing stars like Kid Rock and Kanye West (hurray!).

    And now conservatives even have their own Wingnut Avengers for their Infinity Culture War: the Dark Intellectual Web, a group of conservatives and crypto-conservatives whose unifying principle seems to be that liberals are mean and therefore out of step with the millions of Americans who have never heard of the Dark Intellectual Web.”-https://www.villagevoice.com/2018/05/14/conservatives-cheer-the-latest-right-wing-supergroup-the-intellectual-dark-web/

    Reply
  6. posted by David Bauler on

    Wellone Action was setup -as I recall – to focus on (1) general candidacy 101 and a selection of core economic justice issues.

    Wellstone wisely focused on a few specific policy areas that connected to a wide range of working and middle class voters.

    Yes, he had a progressive civil rights voting record. His gay rights record was better then most US Senators, but it wasn’t a priority issue.

    Reply
  7. posted by David Bauler on

    Minnesota politics are not easy for outsiders to fully understand. But, no doubt Stephen and others will try, because, well, um, ‘reasons’.

    Wellstone was a liberal DFLer who won because he had the personality, street cred, internal discipline and focused on a core set of policy ideas.

    Reply
  8. posted by Jorge on

    Something sure smells funny in that story, but one can’t always tell where funny smells lead.

    There are lots of ways to handle controversy within boards of directors, and I think summary removal of the loudmouths is among the worse options when the controversy is over ideology or tactics. But it seems the options begin to dwindle when the controversy is about money, a subject that some people have the most absurd notions about.

    “It’s not clear that Democrats fully understood why they lost the last presidential election and why their congressional gains were so paltry…”

    They’ll have it figured out by the presidential primary.

    “Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. is “done trying to understand Trump supporters””

    Well, good. It’s been almost two years already. One would hope he’d have stumbled on the truth by accident at least once since.

    “The Age of Trump has conservative intellectuals in an embarrassing predicament: Trump has either turned conservatism into, or revealed conservatism to be, nothing but a gigantic grift, so who needs conservative intellectuals?

    1) I think it makes a difference whether Trump made conservatism a grift or it was already one to begin with. Trump will be dead and buried long before American conservatism.

    2) On second thought, maybe not. Both statements are sound interpretations of progressivism, too, and yet I still believe in politics anyway.

    The overall message is that working-class folks in these places are tired of liberals looking down on them and always calling them racists. That’s a big subject, and I have my doubts that it accounts for an awful lot of Trump’s appeal.

    That’s perfectly reasonable. Even so, I think trends like that have gotten worse over the past half-decade. People have moved from seeing others not just as silent political opponents, but the enemy, people to be exposed and attacked. There’s less anonymity, and that is being made to matter.

    Reply
  9. posted by Lori Heine on

    Rah-rah…shake those little pom-poms.

    These worthless pieces of crap…these totally disgusting excuses for human beings…are playing us yet again. An as their little whores, their paid tools, like the bloggers who write this propaganda. Quit being idiots, and being fooled by it.

    Reply

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