Going to the center never works

Former President Jimmy Carter had a warning for Democrats yesterday.

"Independents need to know they can invest their vote in the Democratic Party," Carter said Tuesday during his annual report at his post-presidential center and library in Atlanta, where he offered caution about the political consequences should Democrats "move to a very liberal program, like universal health care."
...
Carter alluded to arguments from self-identified progressives that Democrats will sacrifice votes on the left if they don't embrace the liberal base: "I don't think any Democrat is going to vote against a Democratic nominee," and he insisted that he's not asking the left to sacrifice its goals, only to see that winning elections is necessary to accomplish any of them.

Carter should know something about losing elections.

There is some historical irony in Carter's analysis. He came to the White House in 1976 from the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, and he clashed with party liberals, drawing a spirited primary challenge in 1980 from Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy. Carter prevailed, but he was wounded, abandoned by Kennedy's most liberal supporters and unable to win over independents who helped deliver a landslide for Republican Ronald Reagan.

Former President Carter is much loved, but President Carter was a huge deregulator and no friend of progressives. His turning his back on labor unions and liberals led to them not showing up in the 1980 election.

Former President Bill Clinton had a warning for Democrats a couple years ago.

It's not altogether mysterious that there are a lot of people that say, well, the Republican party rewarded the Tea Party. Just tell people what they want to hear, move them to the right, and we'll be rewarded, except they didn't get anything done.
Then that's going on now in our party. If you don't deal with the fact that we are too politically polarized and we keep rewarding people who tell us things we know they can't do because it pushes our hot button, we can't go forward together.

Former President Barak Obama had a similar warning for Democrats.

President Obama on Thursday warned Democrats against adopting a “Tea Party mentality” that could lead to deep divisions within the party and harm its chances of winning national elections.
“The thing Democrats have to guard against is going in the direction that the Republicans are much further along on, and that is this sense 'we are just going to get our way, and if we don’t, then we’ll cannibalize our own, kick them out and try again,' ” he said at a town-hall meeting with law students in Chicago.
...The president did not name Clinton or Sanders. But he offered a staunch defense of his incrementalist view of politics, which has sometimes come under fire from the Vermont senator.
"That’s how change generally happens,” he said, citing the example of his signature healthcare law.
“It’s not perfect. There is no public option, not single-payer,” he said. “If I was designing a system from scratch, it would have been more elegant. But that’s not what was possible in our democracy."

Both Clinton and Obama are warning their progressive base against demanding anything from the Democratic leadership, especially single-payer health care. Otherwise the Republicans will win.
healthcare_contributions_0.png
Clinton was worried that the party is drifting too far to the left before midterm elections. He was worried that the party's progressive base would sit out the 2010 election.

Clinton railed against public ignorance, saying he did not think voters on either the left or right understood the Obama administration’s record on issues such as health-care reform, financial regulation, and curbing student-loan abuses.

“Some people on the left are so tender-minded and dogmatic that they think in abstractions and principles instead of reality… Clinton’s mission is actually getting things done.”

Disgruntled Obama supporters planning to sit out the midterms are making “a horrible mistake,” he said. “Like everything else you do when you’re mad, there’s an 80 percent chance you’re making a mistake. You’ll get the exact result you don’t want.”

Clinton should know something about progressives not turning out for a midterm election after the Democratic leadership abandoned them.

In 1994, the Democrats lost control of the House after turnout amongst labor households and non-unionized working class families declined. Polling found that upset about NAFTA’s passage and specifically about local representative’s support of NAFTA moved many traditional Democratic party voters to stay home on election day. The 1994 elections were remarkable in that low turnout — not swings from Democratic to Republican party support — decided many of the seats which switched parties on margins of fewer than 1000 votes.

wave_0.jpg
Can you see the pattern here?
Every time the progressive base starts demanding something, the Corporate Democrats warns that this will lead to electoral disaster.
They then work directly against what the party base wants, which discourages the base from turning out in the election. Thus the Corporate Democrats create the electoral disaster that they warned against.
They then vote-shame their base, which never helps.

About 11 percent of 2010 voters were 18-29 years of age, sharply down from their 18 percent share in 2008 and also down from their 13 percent share in 2006. The last time the proportion of young voters dropped this much between a presidential and congressional election was between 1992 and 1994.
...There was a sharp swing among independents toward the Republicans in 2010. The GOP carried this group by 18 points, 56-38 percent. That compares to an eight-point Democratic win among independents in 2008 and an 18-point advantage in 2006. This is by far the GOP’s best performance among this group since 1994, when they carried them by 14 points.

Conservative Blue Dog Dems were the ones crushed in the 2010 elections, after gutting the progressive agenda.

Going to the center literally never works. It always leads to disaster. In 1980, 1994, 2010, and 2016.
And Corporate Dems know it.

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Comments

WoodsDweller's picture

...their goal is to keep socialists off the ballot, not to win.
"If you vote for centrists, then it can be Democrats that gut the New Deal. Otherwise it will be the Republicans, and you wouldn't want that."

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I like this world. It's not perfect, but everything I love is in it.

@WoodsDweller
link

After a scorching summer of discontent, Donald Trump’s endless tweets and scandals have given Democrats their best chance to retake Congress since George W Bush’s second term. And yet, insurgent progressives are not limiting themselves to dethroning Republicans: they are taking aim at corporate-friendly Democrats within their own party, too.

Amid an upsurge of populist energy that has alarmed the Democratic establishment, a new wave of left-leaning insurgents have been using Democratic primaries to wage a fierce war on the party’s corporate wing. And, as in past presidential primary battles, many Democratic consultants, politicians and pundits have insisted that the party must prioritize unity and resist grassroots pressure to support a more forceful progressive agenda.

Not surprisingly, much of that analysis comes from those with career stakes in the status quo. Their crude attempts to stamp out any dissent or intraparty discord negates a stark truth: liberal America’s pattern of electing corporate Democrats – rather than progressives – has been a big part of the problem that led to Trump and that continues to make America’s economic and political system a neo-feudal dystopia.

Dislodging those corporate Democrats, then, is not some counterproductive distraction – it is a critical front in the effort to actually make America great again.

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@gjohnsit
... and watched Chris Hayes' Flint town hall with Michael Moore. He brought on a panel of young people who didn't vote in the last election. To a person, they said they didn't feel represented on the ballot, and were tired of LOTE voting. Hayes was scandalized, and tried to blame them for Flint residents getting poisoned. Didn't they see the error of their ways? Would they repent and fall into line now?

All of them said no, they wouldn't have done things differently. The lesson they learned, though, was that they needed to get involved in politics to represent themselves, since neither party was listening to people like them. Hayes spluttered indignantly, until Moore interrupted him. People should listen to what these nonvoters had to say, he quietly suggested.

A magnificent failure of the MSDNC propaganda machine.

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Please help support caucus99percent!

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@WoodsDweller I believe you have it surrounded, Mr. Garibaldi!

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

divineorder's picture

condused with going to the right, never works.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/78012.There_s_Nothing_in_the_Middle_...

There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos: A Work of Political Subversion
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There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos: A Work of Political Subversion
by Jim Hightower
3.87 · Rating details · 182 Ratings · 17 Reviews
Revised, and with a New Introduction by the Author

"I am an agitator, and an agitator is the center post in a washing machine that gets the dirt out."
--Jim Hightower

Hightower is mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore! He's also funny as hell, and in this book he focuses his sharp Texas wit, populist passion, and native smarts on America's political, economic, sc ...more

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14 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@divineorder It also begs the questions: "What center?" "The center of what?"

Anyone who can say Hillary Clinton and her supporters are the center of American public opinion with a straight face is beyond deluded.

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6 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

dkmich's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

making a hard left. They are so far right, they are the 1980s Reagan Republicans.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@dkmich No, they are the 1950s McCarthyites. The first Reagan Administration is now a bit to the left of them.

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0 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

“It’s not perfect. There is no public option, not single-payer,” he said. “If I was designing a system from scratch, it would have been more elegant. But that’s not what was possible in our democracy."

Medicare for All is exactly the opposite of 'designing a system from scratch'.

At heart, it's a one page law that simply extends medical coverage to those under sixty five.

Instead we got Obama's Rube Golberg subsidy contraption welded on to a failing private insurance 'marketplace' with government payouts that only last until 2019.

So tell me again in those dulcet tones Barack how doubling/tripling everyone's premiums and borrowing trillions in taxpayer money to prop up your buddies in the medical insurance/pharmaceutical cartels for ten years is soooo much more elegant than Medicare for All.

I'm sure your audience of lawyer wannabees will be thrilled to hear all about it.

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30 users have voted.

The drama of the deep state in full factional meltdown makes Mario Puzo look like a dime store hack.

longtalldrink's picture

She is an international teacher and thus gets to go to many other countries to teach the locals English. See? Other countries believe in learning a second language, especially English. In American, not so much. Anyway, my point is, I keep trying to get her to "come home" to the U.S. and she keeps refusing. She has been overseas for over ten years now. Why doesn't she want to come home? She and her husband say they get treated so much better in those other countries, and some of those countries are not very rich. She doesn't have to worry about healthcare, or the price of her living space being out of reach. So, she asks, why again should I come home? I really don't have an answer for her.

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28 users have voted.

Well done is better than well said-Ben Franklin

@longtalldrink currently in Germany. I've told her several times they may really want to think about not coming back to this shithole. While we laugh about this now, it really at bottom is not funny at all. And I completely realize Germany or anywhere in Europe is really not an "escape" per se since the neo-liberal warmonger disease is now fully global but if I thought I could get out of here I would very seriously consider it. While other countries are indeed neo-liberal capitalists and go along with the USs' idiotic war machinations, they don't have 1000 military bases all over the globe and do not seem to be angling for global domination while their own countries go to hell. Just my humble opinion.

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QMS's picture

@longtalldrink humanity in general is so much stronger outside the US. Need to get out more often...

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Intelligence is being redefined as the ability to repeat ever more complex instructions.

Left, right and center are poor terms these days. The two major parties have been able to define left and right largely on social issues, with both parties prostituting themselves to corporations and supporting a militaristic foreign policy. Most Republican voters want decent jobs at decent wages, good public schools and good colleges that they can send their kids to and good health care at reasonable costs, and they would prefer that we stay out of stupid wars. I see these as being "left" causes because they are inherent in the values of the traditional left all the way back to when the term leftist was coined in the French revolution. Most of the Democratic leadership can not be seen to disagree with these goals, but they will do little or nothing to implement them and will secretly oppose them. Going to the middle in the view of the Democratic Party leadership is adopting yet more corporate Republican policies. I would argue that the political spectrum as delineated by the leaderships of the Republican and Democratic parties is no longer a right/left spectrum and I rarely use right/left when I speak of these parties. I prefer to ask whose side are they on.

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@Roy Blakeley
somewhere between the Dems and the Pubs, for any and all issues.

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Sigh

As a former Democrat, repelled from voting for Democrats because of their rightist positions, I can say definitively that Carter is wrong when he says that every Democrat will vote for Democratic candidates. (Carter's comment is akin to "The left has nowhere else to go.") Thinking of that kind helped the Queen of Losers lose an election to, of all people, Donald Trump.

First, some on the left began voting Green or other newer party. Second, some on the left stay home. Third, some write in. Put together, they are not enough to win an election, but they are enough to cost Democrats an election, as proved by the 2016 electoral vote. In 2016, some Sanders aupporters I know even voted for Trump, finding his platform to be to the left of Hillary's on issues that mattered to them. Other Sanders supporters who live in purple states also voted for Trump simply to stop the archetype of a DLCer.

Democrats appear to be trying to brainwash us into continuing to believe that they are the lesser of two evils. However, inasmuch as they are trying to be a lot like Republicans, I see them as the greater of two evils. Why? Because someone has to oppose Republicans and they are only pretending to do that. IMO, the least evil is a party that opposes both Republicans and Pub Lites.

Please note that embedded in the OP is another myth that the Democratic has tried to brainwash us into, namely that incumbents should never be opposed (unless, of course, the PTB of the Democratic Party want to oust the incumbent, as with Mike Capuano). Here's an alternative version: Carter was a damaged President going into primary season, for reasons that had zero to do with Ted Kennedy and a loto to do with recession, lines at gas stations and rising costs of home heating fuel and

.

While Carter was a damaged incumbent, Ronald Reagan had many advantages as a candidate. So, claiming that Carter lost only because he was challenged from the left(ish) of the Party is bs, IMO.

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@HenryAWallace @HenryAWallace

Carter was a damaged President going into primary season, for reasons that had zero to do with Ted Kennedy and a loto to do with recession, lines at gas stations and rising costs of home heating fuel

Carter deregulated oil and gas in 1978-9.
That had something to do with it.

President Carter put forth a new plan for gradual decontrol of oil prices from June 1979 to September 1981; however, concerned with the possible wealth transfer from consumers to oil producers under decontrol, the President instituted the Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax of 1980. President Reagan lifted all remaining oil price controls in January 1981, ahead of the schedule outlined by President Carter.
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@gjohnsit
That's what the OP, HenryAwallace, said!

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@gjohnsit

but everyone who voted knew about the lines at gas stations, even those who didn't own cars.

The point of my prior post, however, was that Carter did not lose that election because Kennedy damaged Carter. Had Carter been unopposed in the primary, Reagan still would have defeated Carter. https://www.nytimes.com/1979/06/10/archives/carters-standing-drops-to-ne...

Yet Democrats keep pointing to that election as justification for supporting crappy incumbents over worthy challengers from the left. Blaming Kennedy also reinforces the myth that leftists lose elections. And it's all bs.

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ggersh's picture

I thought they were entertainers, not BS politicians

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4 users have voted.

“To be lynched is a crime. To be poor is a crime. To defend the poor is to plot to overthrow the government, the vulnerable are being cordoned off and silenced. The vociferous are being incarcerated.” Arundhati Roy

snoopydawg's picture

Except that you didn't bring the change you said you would now did you Barry? Nope you did not.

I see no reason to vote for democrats when they say things like this or do things like this. Guess I shouldn't be surprised by what Carter said, but I am. People might be able to find affordable housing without habitat for humanity if they didn't have to spend so much on health care, but they do because Barry didn't have the guts to pass single payer.

Read yesterday that it's okay if blue dawgs in red states vote for Kavanaugh because if they don't then they won't get reelected. Okie dokie then. Make sure that the blue dawgs that vote with the republicans are reelected even if it means that the country suffers from decades of Kavanaugh rulings.

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11 users have voted.

Maybe democracy exists somewhere as being more than a propagandized lie, but democracy certainly does not exist, and cannot exist, within the global alliance for evil.

@snoopydawg Then the dems control the house/senate, set the agenda for proposing legislation. The blue dogs vote against it. Then dem leadership bemoans how they can't get enough votes to pass legislation. So please send money so the dems can get a super duper majority....next time, maybe.... Easy peasy.

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snoopydawg's picture

@Snode

Amazing how people will defend blue dawgs isn't it? This line of reasoning doesn't even make sense, but the people who think like that think that the last 3 democratic presidents did the best they could. Under the circumstances I guess. Clinton got the republicans to vote with him and Obama let them walk all over him.

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10 users have voted.

Maybe democracy exists somewhere as being more than a propagandized lie, but democracy certainly does not exist, and cannot exist, within the global alliance for evil.

@snoopydawg

"How's that hopey changey thing working for you?"

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Azazello's picture

The 1994 vote was a sea change worse that it would seem by reading this article.The total number of votes cast that year was pretty much unchanged, but not only did the rank and file Democrat boycot the election, they were replaced by first time religious right voters. In other words, not only anger over NAFTA, but fear and rage over Hillarycare. I saw a similar result in 2010; the Democratic vote was not that badly effected, but there was a large surge in Republican votes, in other words, Obamacare rallied the Republican base, not the Democratic.

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A PROUD Hillary hater since 1993

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@doh1304

there was a large surge in Republican votes, in other words, Obamacare rallied the Republican base, not the Democratic.

had an overall +/- poll differential of -40% in 2010.

Voters (especially Gooper voters) hated it.

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4 users have voted.

The drama of the deep state in full factional meltdown makes Mario Puzo look like a dime store hack.

Unabashed Liberal's picture

1) Carter's a nice man--he was my Governor; but, he's always been a ultra-fiscal conservative. So, not surprised at his 'recommendation.'

2) The DCCC and several other outside Dem-affiliated military organizations/PACs have recruited scores of ConservaDems--many women, former military/CIA/Natn'lSecurity/StateDept personnel/officials--to run in the scores of House 'Open' seats.

Therefore, expect to see an unprecedented number of ConservaDems seated on the Dem side of the House (this November), likely to put the current Blue Dog Mafia--their words, not mine--to shame.

Anyhoo, here you go--

WSWS - If the Democrats capture a majority in the House Of Representatives on November 6, as widely predicted, candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus will comprise as many as half of the new Democratic members of Congress. They will hold the balance of power in the lower chamber of Congress.

Here's the websites/bio of just '3' of scores of Dem MIL/CIA/NATN'L SECURITY/STATE DEPT candidates. All women.

ABIGAIL SPANBERGER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE

MIKIE SHERRILL, FORMER NAVAL ACADEMY GRADUATE, NAVAL HELICOPTOR PILOT, AND FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR

and,

AMY MCGRATH, RETIRED MARINE LT COLONEL/FIGHTER PILOT

And there are dozens more like them running as Dems in the midterms.

I could be wrong, but I imagine that the Dem Party Leadership is quite happy to see several more left Dem candidates (ACO, Gillum, Abrams) running, since their candidacies appear to be keeping many Dem Party activists from noticing the success of the DCCC's and military PAC's 'Red To Blue' Program.

The most concerning part of this (for me), is that almost all of these folks are thirty-something's. So, if the Dem Party Leadership is successful in this endeavor, we'll soon witness a massive sweep of the Party by conservative fiscal/war hawks--possibly, for many decades to come.

(Case in point--Feinstein's pushing 90, and still refuses to step down, or at the least, not run again.)

Blue Onyx

"Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong."
~~W. R. Purche

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7 users have voted.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

k9disc's picture

This is insane. Either they have the ballot box rigged or we're hurtling towards an Article V.

I could see Republicans winning more seats, actually, especially with anything resembling a campaign.

We're 1.5 months from the election... Where is the horserace? Is this normal?

So strange.

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6 users have voted.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

Amanda Matthews's picture

He let Brzezinski loose In Afghanistan and we are paying for that ignorant move to this very day.

In 1979, serving as national security advisor, Brzezinski convinced President Jimmy Carter to approve a plan to provide covert CIA aid to opponents of the pro-Soviet government in Afghanistan.

Carter signed the secret and deeply fateful directive on July 3 of that year. In launching the effort, “we knowingly increased the probability” of a Soviet invasion, said Brzezinski in a 1998 interview.

When that invasion occurred months later, Brzezinski told Carter, “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War.”

To accomplish that goal, the Carter and Reagan administrations, along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, funded, organized, transported, armed and trained Salafist extremists to fight the Red Army in a holy war on behalf of Islam. Among those who joined the cause were future al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad.

The enduring global impact of this 10-year program bears emphasis: The CIA and Saudi GID recruited jihadists from all around the Muslim world, creating relationships and networks that would evolve into not only al Qaeda, but also ISIS and many other Salafist terrorist groups across several continents.

https://28pages.org/2017/05/28/zbigniew-brzezinski-godfather-of-al-qaeda...

We’d have been better off if Roslyn had been running the administration.

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6 users have voted.

I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

In 2006 and 2008, which gave the Democrats large majorities in both houses of Congress, and also gave them the White House and a president with a 65% approval rating and a 63-million-person nationwide organization bearing his name. They responded in 2009 and 2010 by moving to the right on energy, climate change, taxation, warfare, human rights, election integrity, the rule of law, the governmental budget, labor, immigration, and the economy (am I missing any? please chime in if you think of an issue I haven't listed here).

They've won one significant race since: the Presidency, in 2012. They haven't won a Congressional election since. And while they were under Obama, well...

democratic-losses-under-obama-2009-257-house-seats-57-senate-25289665.png

We rallied behind their unity candidate (probably because he was campaigning as more progressive than he actually was); in return, he (and they) gave us boodles of right-wing policy, including enshrining some Bush policies in perpetuum; the only significant win they've had since then went to Obama. That was obviously about personality and the glamour of having been the first Black president, because as soon as he left they suffered the most demeaning failure in a presidential run possible.

Who knows, if they shriek loudly enough about how terrible Trump is, and run enough former Bush administration officials as progressive Democrats, maybe they'll conjure up a big blue wave. After all, one of Obama's last acts was to put the Department of Homeland Security in charge of our elections infrastructure, so they might actually do it.

Those of us with open eyes know that it doesn't matter a damn whether they get a blue wave or not. They had a blue wave; we all saw what they did with it.

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7 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

lotlizard's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal  
And pressured Federal workers to observe and inform on each other with his “Insider Threat“ program.

https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/special-reports/insider-threats/article...

Though I guess one could argue that your list did already cover all those areas, as coming under the heading of “human rights” . . .

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The Aspie Corner's picture

They're going full right-wing. Fucking pigs.

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6 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@The Aspie Corner Like I said: Center of what?

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

to move to the left.

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3 users have voted.

Sigh