By The Numbers, Part 2: Who’s Our Champion Now?

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(This is the second of three posts regarding Democratic attitudes and performance, both in the election and at present. Part 1 showed how the Democratic Party  has rapidly shrunk, even after the election, and showed the public attitudes toward its leaders and their GOP counterparts. There will be some overlap in my references to certain data through the three posts.)

I’m often accused of “relitigating” the Democratic primaries because I still vocally support Bernie Sanders (who is now in Democratic Party leadership and is their frontman in most of their actions against Trump) and I occasionally still criticize Hillary Clinton (who is now…uh…tweeting sometimes, I guess).

The main reason I do this is because I am, like many progressives, fighting to strengthen the party through reform, trying to force a failing party away from the corporatist policies and out of the calcified bubble of privilege which led to its catastrophic failures in the past quarter century. Part of that is very much a frank look at where it failed in the last election, both with its presidential candidate and with its national strategies.

Another part is actively countering those who do not want the party to change, or who are themselves still litigating the primaries. While I may post things like, “Hillary Clinton not only didn’t even go to Wisconsin to campaign, she bought seven times more TV ads in Los Angeles than she did in Milwaukee,” I see other folks post things like, “I fucking hate Bernie Sanders, Trump is his fault.” I hope you’ll recognize that my posts are generally a sharing of information, not invective, while much of what I see from those standing in defense of Clinton and the entrenched party establishment is pure venom. I often feel my skin crawl after reading through a thread from these folks.

Mind you, #NotAllClintonistas. I’m not saying no Clinton supporters offer reasoned arguments, nor am I saying all Sanders supporters avoid nasty invective. There is a lot of anger out there, and a hell of a lot of people are blinded by it and, often, not actually as informed as they should be. There are a few lefty folks in my feed who are my natural allies, who share very good information, but will often veer into crazy land and make their posts unshareable because I don’t want to be associated with irrational nonsense, even if offered up with otherwise sound info.

While many on the left who disagree with me seem to detest progressive voters, I harbor no ill will toward Clinton supporters, though I do think all of the data we have available strongly indicates that the Nader effect during this election wasn’t a third party vote in the general, it was a Clinton vote in the primaries. I understand why some folks thought she was the better choice even though I don’t agree. Those voters voted for her because they believed in her, or at least believed in her greater electability. And to whatever degree they support a Democratic party which serves the actual needs of the American people, they are my allies.

As for the folks who spew hate toward Bernie and toward the left, I am relieved to discover that, though very loud, they are in a nasty little minority, even among Democrats (just as the nasty Bernie supporters are a sliver of the community, just as they always were, no matter how much the DNC and Clinton campaign tried to insist otherwise).

According to a recent poll by YouGov and The Economist, Bernie Sanders has:

56% favorability among all Americans
(higher even than Obama’s 53%)

80% favorability among registered Democrats

85% favorability among liberals

31% favorability among Republicans
(that’s right: almost a third of Republicans actually like Bernie)

53% favorability among all men

58% favorability among all women
(note that’s higher than among men because, you know, “Bernie Bros”)

52% favorability among all whites

64% favorability among all Blacks
(note that’s higher than among whites, and most “Bernie Bros” are supposed to be white)

58% favorability among all Hispanics
(ditto)

61% favorability among “Other” races
(ditto)

86% favorability among those who voted for Hillary
(note that on the day of the election, Hillary had 43% favorability, exactly half Bernie’s number here, not even a majority, and 56% unfavorability)

27% favorability among those who voted for Trump
(you know, all those voters we’re told Bernie absolutely couldn’t have gotten; Trump, by the way, had 39% favorable/60% unfavorable on election day)

Bernie Sanders finished the primaries as the most popular politician in the country, and he remains so. So don’t be surprised when people champion him for continuing to champion us, or when they voice regret that he didn’t get the chance to beat Trump, or when they simply say good things about him. He isn’t old news, he is, arguably, the current leader of the Democratic party, at least to the American people. And to the degree the Democrats embrace him and his policies, they have a greater chance to prevail.

(Oh, and in case you’re interested, Elizabeth Warren has a 34% favorability among all voters. Just so you know where the other “progressive champion” stands.)

And as for those acid-spewing Bernie haters on the left, I assume they’re in the “very unfavorable” category which makes up a pathetic 6% of Democrats. Nurse that grudge, beeyotches, you’re so insignificant you’re basically the margin of error.

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By The Numbers, Part 1: How Democrats Continue To Lose

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(This is the first of three posts regarding Democratic attitudes and performance, both in the election and at present. I think it’s vital that the party recognize what really went wrong, and where they continue to fail. There will be some overlap in my references to certain data through the three posts.)

Some interesting polling figures from Gallup:

Since the election, national party affiliation for Republicans has gone up slightly, from 27% to 28%.

National party affiliation for Democrats has gone down more significantly, from 31% to 25%. This is a record low in the past seventy-five years.

National party affiliation for Independents has gone up even more significantly, from 36% to 44%.

I suspect that the tiny bump for the GOP is more from the excitement of retaking power from the other party (or, in this case, pretty much nearly obliterating the other party) than it is a referendum on Trump. For comparison, Democrats jumped from 33% to 36% between Obama’s initial election and his inauguration.

But the Democrats have lost FOURTEEN MILLION members since the election. To get a sense of this number, in the Democratic primaries last year just under thirty million votes were cast; the Democratic party has lost nearly half as many voters as participated in its primaries. This is pretty fucking incredible considering how appalled, enraged, and terrified the left has been about Trump’s victory over Clinton. The left may be woke, but it ain’t happy with its presumptive champions, at all.

Meanwhile, establishment Democrats seem largely committed to falling in line behind, rather than challenging, the existing power structure. Nancy Pelosi’s declaration “I don’t think people want a new direction” is their guiding star.

Progressive Democrats, and left-leaning independents, want to seize the energy of the populist wave that formed around Bernie Sanders and reform the party or, failing that, to topple it and replace it with an actual progressive party. In spite of establishment resistance, they are making some progress. For instance, Bernie Sanders is now part of Democratic leadership (a nice gift to all those who keep saying that the DNC was justified in unfairly favored Clinton, in spite of its own regulations and public declarations to the contrary, because Bernie isn’t a Democrat) and is in many very visible ways leading the charge for the party against Trump. And the Democratic party in California was recently taken over by progressives inspired by and endorsed by Sanders, with similar battles being waged across the country.

Whatever side folks fall on, it’s clear that the Democratic party isn’t doing itself any favors with its strategy of general capitulation to Trump with intermittent bits of ineffectual political theater to show how tough they are. If they stood united and uncompromising, even as they inevitably lose the fights because they lack the numbers, they would probably at least slow the emaciation of their party. And if they started making more sincere moves away from corporatism and toward progressivism, they’d likely start regaining some of those lefty independents they’ve lost.

Some other interesting numbers, these from a recent poll by YouGov and The Economist, give us an idea how our leaders are perceived:

BARACK OBAMA
Favorable: 53% Unfavorable: 43% Net: +10%

NANCY PELOSI
Favorable: 25% Unfavorable: 47% Net: -22%
(Yep, the party figured someone with numbers like that should be in charge of the minority in the House. “I don’t think people want a new direction” indeed.)

CHUCK SCHUMER
Favorable: 23% Unfavorable: 29% Net: -6%
(Better than Pelosi, at least. And he’s been making some statements in support of Bernie Sanders and a more progressive direction for the party, but time will tell how sincere he is…)

DONALD TRUMP
Favorable: 42% Unfavorable: 50% Net: -8%
(and his numbers are, of course, falling. Because fascist shitbag.)

PAUL RYAN
Favorable: 33% Unfavorable: 41% Net: -8%

MITCH McCONNELL
Favorable: 20% Unfavorable:42% Net: -22%

BERNIE SANDERS
Favorable: 56% Unfavorable: 32% Net: +24%
(Bernie’s numbers have always been great in his state, and by the end of the primaries he was, and remains, the single most popular politician in the country. His favorability among registered Democrats is 80%. The only other member of our little group who has majority favorability is Obama, and he has both a lower favorable score and an 11% higher unfavorable score than Bernie.)

ELIZABETH WARREN
Favorable: 34% Unfavorable: 34% Net: 0%
(Warren’s numbers will likely spike, at least for a short time, due to her capitalization of Mitch McConnell’s tactically stupid dis of her this week. But as progressive warriors go, she’s still far behind Bernie, likely because of her sitting out the primaries and then boldly endorsing the winner. That wasn’t exactly a profile in courage or principle and it really pissed off a lot of people.)

HILLARY CLINTON
Favorable: 40% Unfavorable: 54% Net: -14%
(This, of course, is largely how Hillary did from the time she entered the race to today. There are lots of things that contributed to her loss, but no one can honestly deny that her historic unpopularity was one of the biggest. She had been “tested,” we were told, but all that ultimately meant was that she was so deeply flawed that she had no business at the top of a national campaign. I mean, c’mon, Trump is a monstrous buffoon crapping all over the world and she’s still less liked than he is.)

So, make of all that what you will. To me, it all points to a Democratic party that does indeed desperately need to go all in both on solid obstructionism (at least symbolically) toward Trump and on the pursuit of truly progressive policies. And they need to look to progressive leaders like Bernie Sanders to lead them back out of the wilderness instead of maintaining a status quo that is just running them deeper and deeper into oblivion.

Are You A Rational Republican…?

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Are you a rational Republican who gets annoyed at all the invective and satire and fiery rage directed at your party simply because of the actions and policies of an enormous majority of your fellows?

Stop. Just stop. Stop being defensive and butt-hurt. More importantly, stop being a Republican.

I know, I know. You’ve always been a Republican. You believe in fiscal responsibility and blah blah blah. Your friends are Republicans.Your daddy and mommy were Republicans. Your great grandpappy and grandmaw were Republicans. Hell, Abraham Lincoln was a Republican.

Republican. You keep using that word, I don’t think it means what you think it means. Not any more.

The Republican party is not the party of Lincoln. Not any more. And if you don’t support the actions of this monstrous Republican president, or the goose-stepping boot-licking quislings that make up the entirety of the existing Republican power structure (as has been the case for many years), or the unfettered ignorance and bigotry of the overwhelming Republican base, then maybe it’s not the party of you any more either.

You identify as Republican because you think being Republican means a lot of things that it probably actually does not any more, if it ever really did. That’s a lie you’re telling yourself. Stop it. Why lie to yourself and cast your lot with horrible people who are very actively destroying everything good and noble and beautiful about our country? Why do that to yourself? Why do that to the rest of us?

Stop. You don’t have to be a Republican. You don’t have to be anything but an American. Party loyalty can be a poison. Don’t be a part of a big ignorant herd, giving loyalty and power to those who do not deserve it. Just stop.

At the very least, you won’t have to keep getting your feelings hurt by people speaking truth to fascism.

NOTE: This goes for Democrats too. The Democratic party isn’t the party of FDR any more either, not by a long goddamned shot, though at least it’s not a burning church of hatred, ignorance, and authoritarianism. But blind, uncritical loyalty to them can be just as poisonous and unproductive.