> political strategy
I’m glad you distinguish between policy and political strategy. In many ways, that’s what this discussion is really about. I have basically been arguing that although the left is portrayed as strategically inept and the moderates strategically savvy, the moderates’ strategy has been anything but successful. Again, that’s all we know — we don’t know if the left’s would be more successful.
> As far as the gerrymandering goes…
What is not in dispute is that, as you say, A) gerrymandering has increased since 2010, although it existed before, and B) the popular vote/representation ratio is out of whack. I am disputing whether A is a primary or even major cause of B. There are many alternatives, most notably the tendency of Democrats to self-segregate into large coastal cities and a few big states, that might cause B while simultaneously all the nefarious efforts of the Republicans like A are largely in vain.
The points I was referring to with those citations is that they were examining the question “is gerrymandering effective?”. If it *is* effective, then an increase in gerrymandering in 2010 would benefit R’s, otherwise it would have little effect. Surely more recent citations would be better, don’t know if it has been studied recently, but I see no reason to think the answer to that question would have changed even if the magnitude of gerrymandering has.
I am not an expert on this. I just wanted to point out that the actual cause of “win the popular, lose the electoral/Senate/House” is not as clear-cut from the data I have seen as “it’s all the nefarious Republicans’ doing.” You will recall 2000, where the same thing happened before any of these initiatives really started.
> I don’t think Obama was particularly bloodthirsty and eager to start droning kids; I think…he started to feel he had no alternative
Yeah. There is an enlightening interview he had with Bill Maher in 2016 on this subject. Obama said basically that “yes, we shouldn’t be the world’s police…but the world is relying on us on a variety of issues, and if I have to err in a direction, that direction will be towards keeping Americans safer”. It’s an eminently reasonable packaging of neoliberalism, but it’s still neoliberal foreign policy.
The problem is that there is so much uncertainty in these things that if you have a bias of “always err towards security”, you will in practice end up with a foreign and military policy (and military spending regime) indistinguishable from that of a Republican. I don’t question his motives, only the resulting outcome and policy.
> 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?
Not exactly. First, the primaries soured me more on the media than on the party per se, although it did that too. I have long been told by my right-leaning friends how biased NYT, WaPo, and my other regular media outlets of the time were. I laughed them off until I saw how they treated HRC versus Bernie. I do believe those outlets don’t generally lie or make up facts, but that their interpretations, analysis, and selection of coverage is agenda-driven. I find NYT’s current ads about “buy a subscription because Truth is important” to be darkly funny now, along with the media’s attempt to equate “we don’t make up flagrant lies like Trump” with “we’re objective”. There is a grain (and only a grain) of truth in what Trump supporters say about the MSM.
Bernie supporters had at least a strong suspicion well before the DNC e-mails that the “establishment” was throwing its weight behind HRC and against Bernie in various ways. Endorsements, funding, debate scheduling, superdelegates, etc. But in Fall 2016-Spring 2017, we were conspiracy theorists for saying so, and probably racist sexists to boot. The e-mails were just solid proof of what we already suspected. It was also considered racist to point out that South Carolina primary results aren’t as important as purple state votes when it comes to choosing a general election candidate.
So there was a huge stack of grievances long before the e-mails, and never an apology for or acknowledgment of any of them, only admonishments to “get in line for the greater good, or else you’re basically a Trump supporter”. Then the Tim Kaine pick, inevitable pivot by HRC towards the center, etc, all the way down to Tom Perez today. The entire sequence of events screams “we don’t give a shit what the left says or thinks or wants, but we’re entitled to your vote and support”.
Tom Perez seems to be a nice guy and unlike many, does care what the left thinks. I would be totally fine with him if he hadn’t been recruited specifically and unnecessarily to block the left’s candidate of choice. Vast improvement over DWS, that’s for sure.
Of course I was never expecting to be elevated to Senior Party Poobah Emeritus overnight. Only to be listened to and ideally have a few ideas acted upon if they gained consensus. I think my local party did try, if feebly. The national party does not seem to even be trying.