You wouldn’t fire a coach or players if they had a single bad game or even a bad season.
Cory Giles
1

As a general rule, I don’t think the left advocates “crazy things” in terms of policy. There are certainly kooks out there who literally believe in Marxism—and I think if you get a few drinks into some of the more adamant socialists, you might get them to admit they’re not far from that position—but I don’t think that represents the mainstream position, even among leftists. I think they tend to advocate “crazy things” in terms of political strategy. One’s views may be eminently reasonable, but they do no good if you can’t translate them into actions.

In terms of the concrete policies you laid out, I only partially agree with the first bullet point (I don’t think Obama was particularly bloodthirsty and eager to start droning kids; I think he sat through enough genuinely scary classified briefings that he started to feel he had no alternative), although diplomacy is always preferable when it’s an option. But I completely agree with the other three. I do think identity politics has gone too far when college students are cordoning off their public university’s quad as a racially-motivated “safe space,” or complaining that their dining hall’s shitty sushi is cultural theft. And in addition to just being stupid, it’s a legitimate political image problem.

As far as the gerrymandering goes, I’m not sure those citations are all that relevant. They’re both from the aughts; the major gerrymandering push happened after the 2010 census. It’s also worth noting that successful gerrymandering in most cases will increase the competitiveness of districts, if you’re just looking at the margin of victory. The goal of the gerrymanderer is to move as many of your “wasted votes” as possible out of safe districts and into districts you’d otherwise lose, which you’ll now hopefully win, but also by thin margins.

If you look at the popular vote totals for congressional elections this decade, they paint a pretty consistent picture. In 2010, Republicans got 51.7% of the popular vote for House seats, but 55.6% of the seats. In 2012, Democrats actually won the nationwide popular vote, but still ended up with 33 fewer seats than the GOP. In the 2014 and 2016 elections as well, Republicans ended up with House representation disproportionately higher than the rate of popular votes they received. (All data from Wikipedia pages like this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_of_Representatives_elections,_2016)

It’s also likely (or at least plausible) that if HRC had won, Democrats would have ended up with the Senate as well. That’s just how these things seem to work. The Wisconsin and Pennsylvania races were both pretty close, and those two would have put the chamber at 50–50. There was no way in hell they were going to win the house, mainly due to the “structural issues” described above.

Just curious, what happened in the 2016 primaries that so soured you on the Democratic party? You think the contents of the leaked emails were that damning? They struck me as exactly the kind of banter you’d expect from party staffers (all of whom have strong political views, or they wouldn’t be in that field in the first place), and I don’t think they revealed any sort of deliberate or coordinated attempt to derail the Sanders campaign. Why risk that to unethically aid a candidate who won the popular vote by a wide margin and had all the superdelegates locked up?

The truly infuriating thing about those email leaks is that they were clearly intended to turn HRC and Sanders supporters against each other, and thus indirectly aid Trump. They worked like a charm, and are still doing collateral damage to the liberal/leftist cause. It’s OK to be angry about something you read in there—even if I think the anger is misplaced—but it’s inexcusable for people to ignore the bigger picture and not realize they were manipulated into sabotaging their own cause, likely by a hostile foreign power’s intelligence service.

As far as the future of the party goes, there aren’t a lot of organizations in any field where “fresh blood” is immediately elevated to top-tier management. Career officials don’t just surrender their turf without a fight. On a grand scale, that’s probably a good thing; if random people could just walk into random organizations and demand to be in charge, most organizations would be very short-lived. But they didn’t have to create a Deputy Chair position for Ellison, and Perez—who was actually considered pretty left-leaning until this race began—has been bending over backwards to solicit the support of the Bernie crowd. Could it all be for show? I guess. I can’t read anyone’s mind. But I think it’s worth giving them a chance, if only because it will be much easier to effect meaningful change if you have a major political party behind you.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Michael Baker’s story.