The Obama Effect and why neoliberal Democrats are struggling

After Hillary Clinton unexpectedly struggled in the 2016 election with the black vote and the women's vote, Hillary's megadonors met with potential presidential nominee Kamala Harris during a trip to the Hamptons in 2017. Obviously the idea was to double-down on Identity Politics.
Two weeks after Harris announced her candidacy, she sent out this email.

"I need to be direct: right now, we are at a real risk of falling short of our February fundraising goals. I hope you will give me a moment to explain what these monthly fundraising goals mean — and why your support matters so much.

Where is all that grassroots support?
When you run on identity, rather than issues, you walk a fine line. In Harris' case, she's getting unexpected pushback from the black community.

She went on to criticize those who question her racial identity.
“I think they don’t understand who black people are,” Harris said.

Even I know not to try to tell black people who/what is black. That's not going to go over well.
Kamala Harris is doing Identity Politics wrong. If you don't believe me, then listed to her father.

“My dear departed grandmothers(whose extraordinary legacy I described in a recent essay on this website), as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics. Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty.”

Ouch! That's going to leave a mark.

Obama effect
In politics, when people elect a new president enthusiastically expecting that he will make some major positive change, but after some time realize that things are just as they used to be. The consequence of "obama effect" is being disappointed and feeling totally politically naive.

Harris' campaign is handicapped because too many liberals were betrayed in the previous administration. The Democratic establishment has yet to realize that many people have wised up to this game, and that includes the black community.

Radio host Tariq Nasheed is one of many vocal critics who view Harris as someone who seeks the black vote but doesn’t intend to deliver a black agenda. Nasheed drew attacks from Howard Dean with a viral tweet proclaiming Harris is taking a page out of the Hillary Clinton playbook on how to pander for black votes, “Kamala has pulled her hair back so she can show her “ethnic edges”, and she’s “dancing” to rap music.” Dean responded by lashing out, “STFU. She gets to do whatever she wants with her hair.”
...Some of the uproar over Harris has been so loud that even those in the mainstream media have begun to notice. YouTube host Black Authority tweeted, “The white media is now officially acknowledging that @KamalaHarris has a Black problem. The bottom line is you CANNOT say “Black lives matter” but then say, “Vote for Kamala Harris”...

That's because her terrible civil rights record matters. She can't get away with the stuff Obama did.

Martin says that a lot of African Americans won’t give another black candidate the same runway they gave to Obama. He calls it “The Obama Effect”.

Martin explains that there are a significant number of people including African Americans on Capitol Hill, black CEOs and small business owners, and black academics who were disappointed in the 8 years of Obama. There were things they wanted for the community but they stayed silent. Martin feels there’s regret about that now and people want to hear a specific black agenda before they are willing to invest.
...Tonetalks host Antonio Moore addressed what many see as a disturbing discrepancy between Harris’s treatment of people in the black community versus a white investment banker, “She knows how to prosecute black mothers and knows how to throw black prisoners out there to fight fires, but she was right there when Steve Mnuchin was facing jail time and what she said was, ‘It was a decision my office made’”.

People are beginning to realize that there are more identities than just race, gender, and sexual orientation. A black, female politician might identify with her wealthy elite class more than her race and gender.
In which case, her policies may not be significantly different than the policies of the rich, white male politician.

If people start caring less about identity and more about policies, then the neoliberal Democratic establishment is in trouble.
Consider Joe Biden, who the Dem's center-right has been trying to convince us that we love.
Even the MSM can no longer pretend he has grassroots support.

CNN: Why Joe Biden shouldn't run for president
McClatchy: ‘Weaker candidate than Hillary’: Democrats cast deep doubt on Biden’s 2020 value
Fox: If Joe Biden runs, his presidency goes through Wall Street

2020 might be very interesting.

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Comments

i take issue with your characterization of HRC's struggle with the black vote as, "unexpected".

I sure as hell expected it, and ranted about it.

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20 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Anja Geitz's picture

@UntimelyRippd

For stating that black Americans were NOT going to stand in line at the polls for HOURS to vote for Hillary like they did for Obama.

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27 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

mimi's picture

@Anja Geitz
time out- like a child is put into a corner of the classroom for being nasty. What an arrogant bunch of people over there.

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11 users have voted.

Ich schreibe was mir paßt - in memory of Steve Biko

Anja Geitz's picture

@mimi

Over there were both arbitrary and vindictive. Fun times.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Anja Geitz the KosBots open the cages and they swoop in for the kill.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@Snode

I always imagined them as part of the cast from the movie "The Mean Girls", only with sharp teeth and acid reflux.

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4 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

https://youtu.be/O524K_r18aY
or this
https://youtu.be/AClZArsT6nM
or this
https://youtu.be/AXyNRuBJrdk
They seems to see that she's another empty suit.

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21 users have voted.

chuck utzman

TULSI 2020

Pricknick's picture

2020 might be very interesting.

Other than the ones who will be (are) accused of being russian bots, it's a snoozefest.

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14 users have voted.

Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

@Pricknick
and I bet at least one of them does, it'll be extremely entertaining.

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23 users have voted.
Pricknick's picture

@gjohnsit
And unfortunately you've named three dims, any who could run a better campaign as an independent.
I will not vote for a dim or a repug.
Th-Th-Th-That's All Folks!

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9 users have voted.

Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

@gjohnsit

Even if one of them gains some traction in the Party, they'll get slaughtered in the general. Blue no matter who might work for the bottom, but not the President. Bernie is the only one that crosses all party lines because he doesn't play identity politics.

“There are people who are very big into diversity but whose views end up being not particularly sympathetic to working people, whether they’re white or black or Latino.” - Bernie Sanders

The minute the Trojan horses start talking about $15/hr for black people, health care for brown people, jobs for women, free education for pink people, they're dead in the water. America is a melting pot. There are more interracial marriages and couples than ever before. Our women are strong, capable, and independent. Our children are black, brown, white, male and female. We don't like having our families smeared and divided.

The only one of the lot a critical mass of people will trust is Bernie. As you so eloquently pointed out, Obama made sure of that.

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9 users have voted.

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

jobu's picture

Obama was the last and most important iteration of a Bait and Switch Campaign. Important for the Plutocrats who tanked the economy first and foremost. They needed someone who could pull it off in spectacular fashion as Barack Obama did. Hell, I bit that hook hard as did a lot of hard-headed cynics from the progressive left.

In my lifetime, I have seen this B & S campaign run by Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, W, and most cynically Barack Obama. I have observed since then a steady chorus of dissent building from late 2008 (over at TOP) thru the crescendo of Bernie Sanders 2016 effort. My first ever diary at TOP was about Healthcare/Segregation and how we needed "a Letter from a Birmingham Hospital". As it was my first effort, the ObamaBots went easy on me. They gave me a gentle re-direction.

Since then, we've seen the utter desperation of the DNC and all major Brand Named Dems and allied media in trying to give us Bait and Switch 2020 either with Biden, Beto (and switch), Booker or Harris.

The good news is, It ain't workin'. The bad news, It ain't workin'. They will stop at nothing to see this thru to their desired Centrist outcome. Every Propaganda technique ever invented and maybe some new one will be thrown at us. I think we all here on this site sense this. Their Gravy Train is at stake, which at the end of the day, what matters to them most.

Regardless, it is fun to see them squirm.

edit: Birmingham Jail to Birmingham Hospital

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33 users have voted.

Is very bad to steal Jobu's Rum, is very bad...

Young people and POC who stayed away, and whites with only a high school education went in droves to Trump. These used to be reliable democrats. I guess they wised up. Kirsten Gillibrand played the feminist card and is fundraising off of Al Frankens scalp. This political cycle is going to be interesting.

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Bollox Ref's picture

That's pretty, pretty sad. If your father feels you're inauthentic/pandering!?!.....

(Edited)

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25 users have voted.

Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

snoopydawg's picture

her critics are slamming her for her tenure as attorney general of California. And well they should.

Kamala Harris’ A.G. Office Tried to Keep Inmates Locked Up for Cheap Labor

Ordered to reduce the population of California’s overcrowded prisons, lawyers from then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office made the case that some non-violent offenders needed to stay incarcerated or else the prison system would lose a source of cheap labor.

In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Plata that California’s prisons were so overcrowded that they violated the Constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. Three years later, in early 2014, the state was ordered to allow non-violent, second time offenders who have served half of their sentence to be eligible for parole.

By September 2014, plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit were back in court, accusing California of slow-walking the process, which lawyers for Harris’ office denied.

According to court filings, lawyers for the state said California met benchmarks, and argued that if certain potential parolees were given a faster track out of prison, it would negatively affect the prison’s labor programs, including one that allowed certain inmates to fight California’s wildfires for about $2 a day.

“Extending 2-for-1 credits to all minimum custody inmates at this time would severely impact fire camp participation—a dangerous outcome while California is in the middle of a difficult fire season and severe drought,” lawyers for Harris wrote in the filing, noting that the fire camp program required physical fitness in addition to a level of clearance that allowed the felon to be offsite.

Not only that, they noted, draining the prisons of “minimum custody inmates” would deplete the labor force both internally and in local communities where low-level, non-violent offenders worked for pennies on the dollar collecting trash and tending to city parks. A federal three-judge panel ordered both sides to confer about the plaintiffs’ demands, and the state agreed to extend the 2-for-1 credits to all eligible minimum security prisoners.

If that's not enough information about what she did, there's this opinion piece that was posted in the NYT

Kamala Harris Was Not a ‘Progressive Prosecutor’

Time after time, when progressives urged her to embrace criminal justice reforms as a district attorney and then the state’s attorney general, Ms. Harris opposed them or stayed silent. Most troubling, Ms. Harris fought tooth and nail to uphold wrongful convictions that had been secured through official misconduct that included evidence tampering, false testimony and the suppression of crucial information by prosecutors.

Consider her record as San Francisco’s district attorney from 2004 to 2011. Ms. Harris was criticized in 2010 for withholding information about a police laboratory technician who had been accused of “intentionally sabotaging” her work and stealing drugs from the lab. After a memo surfaced showing that Ms. Harris’s deputies knew about the technician’s wrongdoing and recent conviction, but failed to alert defense lawyers, a judge condemned Ms. Harris’s indifference to the systemic violation of the defendants’ constitutional rights.

Ms. Harris contested the ruling by arguing that the judge, whose husband was a defense attorney and had spoken publicly about the importance of disclosing evidence, had a conflict of interest. Ms. Harris lost. More than 600 cases handled by the corrupt technician were dismissed.

Ms. Harris also championed state legislation under which parents whose children were found to be habitually truant in elementary school could be prosecuted, despite concerns that it would disproportionately affect low-income people of color.

Ms. Harris was similarly regressive as the state’s attorney general. When a federal judge in Orange County ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional in 2014, Ms. Harris appealed. In a public statement, she made the bizarre argument that the decision “undermines important protections that our courts provide to defendants.” (The approximately 740 men and women awaiting execution in California might disagree).

Both articles are worth a full read. I read on ToP today in a diary about that attempted FBI coup, which they seem to be in favor of, that the country is going to need a person like Kambama who has great skills as an attorney general to clean up everything that Trump has done. The kiss ass comments stunned me even though after reading the site since Her lost shouldn't have.

Regarding jobu's comment..

Obama was the last and most important iteration of a Bait and Switch Campaign. Important for the Plutocrats who tanked the economy first and foremost. They needed someone who could pull it off in spectacular fashion as Barack Obama did. Hell, I bit that hook hard as did a lot of hard-headed cynics from the progressive left.

... some were bitching about how he looked forward instead of holding the banks accountable, but apparently he couldn't have done anything about that because he came into office with the economy in shambles and was dealing with two wars. I don't think that the wars bothered him too much since he immediately put more troops into one of them and then expanded the drone war and formed his Tuesday kill list meetings. The length that site will go to in order not to see Obama for who he is is stunning. Now watching them embrace the intelligence agencies (they are heroes) and lining up behind Kambama is astonishing. Even Shaun King is lining up with Kambama.

I laughed out loud loudly when I read what her father said about her after her marijuana gaff. Smile !!

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

snoopydawg's picture

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

dance you monster's picture

@snoopydawg

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snoopydawg's picture

@dance you monster

Good one. I'm thinking that even Hoover is off the hook. We sure got a lot of Obamavilles everywhere and more popping up by the day.

Smile

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6 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@dance you monster Ronnie still has him beat by a mile when it comes to being overrated. Bill Clinton would have to rank pretty high as well.

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Little Bill's picture

@dance you monster
I understand your point. However, ronaldreagan is* such a dangerous thing that I would like to write a comment that sounds like I don't understand your point. Obviously I'm nutty; please indulge me:

Absolutely not! ronaldreagan is the lowest gutter that this country has ever wallowed in. it (ronaldreagan)is the reason for the reaganRevolution/neo-liberalism. That is still the controlling paradigm in this country and most of the world. The reaganRevolution/neo-liberalism is nothing more profound than:

Give the businessman everything he wants.

  1. What does the businessman want? He wants all the money (i.e., all the money existing now or future).

The easiest ways to get all the money are:

  • Steal the employees' honest earnings.
  • Cheat consumers.
  • Rape the environment (when pertinent to a given business).
  • Eliminate regulations.
  • Privatize public services that citizens have to buy.
  • Do not pay taxes.

*I use the present tense (e.g., "is") because that thing still controls the world's governments, especially in the USA. My chums who are actual suburban middle-class liberals, rather than furious populists, say that I should forget about ronaldreagan because it is dead. No,the paradigm that it persuaded this country to believe in is still controlling. it, its paradigm, and its popular legacy must be annihilated root-and-branch, not just destroyed.

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People are beginning to realize that there are more identities than just race, gender, and sexual orientation. A black, female politician might identify with her wealthy elite class more than her race and gender. In which case, her policies may not be significantly different than the policies of the rich, white male politician.

Poor, exploited, and oppressed people are in abundance after 50 years of neoliberal neocons at the helm. We need all of us to come together to take down the billionaires. Slicing, dicing, and misery indexing by age, race, and gender is how they assure we never get strong enough to win. Identity politics is a tactic used by both parties.

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10 users have voted.

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

@dkmich many times yes. I think it used to be called pandering. It's what people who left the 99% a long time ago do when they try to be one of us, but just can't remember how.

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The democratic party cannot attract any candidate but careerists who all stand for the same shit.

Democrats will win or lose depending on how much people are excited about or hate Trump. Same story that progressives saw in 2016.

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Hawkfish's picture

As a former mathematician, I find the whole ID / intersectionality thing to be self defeating. Usually, the more sets you insersect, the smaller your result. This is just math.

If you want to make a larger set, you need to take the union of sets. Which is unsurprisingly also the term for the organizations that have done the most for the working class in this country.

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We can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.
- Greta Thunberg