Why I have so little confidence in the nice liberals with big egos: four reasons

1) Everyone is totally engaged in a debate over whether or not Donald Trump is a "fascist." Maybe he is. But, as I've pointed out in a previous diary, it's a weird sort of fascism that allows people the same freedom of speech and freedom of political action that they would have if Donald Trump were not President, and which in fact celebrates freedom. And indeed it is true that Donald Trump has shown what William I. Robinson calls "fascist tendencies." Robinson, for his part, projects "21st-century fascism" into the future. But, honestly, if this were 20th-century fascism, the type that actually came to fruition as fascism, you would not be reading this diary right now because it would have been censored out of existence. The state would be busy reimposing Jim Crow, and denying women rights in the manner specified in The Handmaid's Tale. It would have abolished democracy altogether, in a way that would prohibit those yelling the word "fascist" the loudest from voting him out of power. It took Adolf Hitler less than two months to establish a permanent dictatorship; Donald Trump has had four years at the pinnacle of power and does not appear to be even close to having the powers Der Fuhrer had. There is, by the way, a term for the ongoing dictatorship at the heart of our situation, the dictatorship that has persisted before Trump and during Trump and will persist after Trump; it's called "inverted totalitarianism," and it pervades the writings of Sheldon Wolin. Yet we are all obliged to call Trump a "fascist," in a sort of mandatory panic.

Saner voices have seen Donald Trump for what he is: an asshole and a troll. Yeah, let's vote him out of office, because who the f*ck likes being trolled? But those voices do not win the day, because there is nothing grandiose about not wanting to be trolled, nothing earth-shaking about saying "gee, aren't you tired of Trump's trolling of us? Let's get rid of him because he's a pest." There is also, I suppose, the attempts to abolish the Postal Service, privatize the public schools, and destroy the EPA. I put this stuff under "pest" because it's not clear that the Republicans under Biden won't try to do these same things under the radar. ("Under the radar," here, means "out of MSNBC's visual range.") The nice liberals with big egos thus appear immature for not being able to admit their (and indeed our) quotidian motive behind their (and indeed our) hatred of Trump.

2) The nice liberals with big egos are going to "Dump Trump, Then Battle Biden." But there really is no precedent for the nice liberals with big egos actually taking on the party they've put so much energy into supporting so far, as against those evil Republicans. Is there going to be some point at which the nice liberals with big egos all say "okay, the Republicans are no longer worse, so you all have our permission to battle Biden"? It's easy to be skeptical about promises to do something that has never happened before, and that, given the way the system is set up, won't be likely to happen. The nice liberals with big egos need a contingency plan for when their vows to "battle Biden" do not reach audiences, and when the Biden administration tells us all "what are you going to do, vote Republican?". Such a plan would start, but not end, with the Movement for a People's Party.

3) The nice liberals with big egos still can't admit to the great forfeiture of Democratic Party power that happened under Obama. All branches of the Federal government, 12 governor's seats, and 900+ seats in state legislatures, from (D) to (R). It was the primary event of politics in this century, and it escapes their notice. When confronted with its reality, their explanations are lame to the point of not being credible. Come on, folks -- Obama preferred a party which didn't fight for anything YOU believed in, and all the while you were worshiping the ground upon which he walked. Admit it!

4) The nice liberals with big egos insist upon vast overestimates of the power of the Left in a situation in which the Left really has damned little in the way of any power at all. The Left had a lot of potential power in those two short periods in which Bernie Sanders was running for President. You could hear the conversations opening up -- Medicare for All, College for All, the Green New Deal. Okay, so let's go back to that atmosphere, and really put some enthusiasm into it. Or at the very least let's start with a realistic estimate of the power we have, and of the extent to which we've squandered that power by supporting neoliberals like Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Obama, and Clinton Two.

So there it is. If the nice liberals with big egos want to restore my confidence in them, there's where they can start.

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

You and I have our (Mostly semantic?) divides, but this some of your best work: Succinct, plain, grounded in a molten iron core of fact, and with just the right magnitude of punch.

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

Pluto's Republic's picture

The nice liberals with big egos insist upon vast overestimates of the power of the Left in a situation in which the Left really has damned little in the way of any power at all. The Left had a lot of potential power in those two short periods in which Bernie Sanders was running for President.

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There is vast power on the Left. But it is definitely not stored up in people. The power is stored in a compelling vision that has never fully emerged from the Age of Reason. The Left are walking the only available path to a survivable future. It is a win for all humans. The collective ideology feels very correct, hopeful, and just. It's true that potential power gathered around Bernie — but only because he proposed that we collectively invest in our citizens health and education and upgrading our public service infrastructure to invigorate the nation and eradicate poverty. In any other developed nation, Sander's policy proposals would be utterly banal and pedestrian.

I'm perplexed that the Left cannot sustain this vision and the power of their convictions without a leader spoon-feeding them a narrative. Leaders come and go. And they change. People should be able to generate the power of an idea that is inevitable, anyway, if we are to survive at all.

The Left is the doorway to the only future there is.

We finally have the technology that is required to build it to scale.

[Edited]

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"There will be no end to the troubles of States, or of Humanity itself, until Philosophers become Kings in this world — or until those we now call kings and rulers truly become Philosophers." — Plato
Cassiodorus's picture

@Pluto's Republic -- the more we see stuff like "Leftists and anti-authoritarians have a responsibility to vote out Trump" (as eviscerated previously) paraded over self-identifying "Left" media. Without the energy that one saw with the Bernie Sanders for President campaigns, "The Left" is, in America, a projection of nice liberals with big egos.

In this projection, "the Left" is a mythical community of people with the magical power to save us from Republicans, which is why they were blamed for the defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016. In this bullsh*t version of American history, they failed to use their magic in 2016, and so we got Trump. Sinning Übermenschen, repent! Nobody who watched MSNBC cared that, in the real world, Trump won in 2016 because razor-thin margins in the upper Midwest voted for him, and that those margins became visible because many of those in WI, MI, PA, OH, and IA who had previously voted for Obama were not motivated to vote for Clinton or Trump in 2016. So you had people who were not leftists who had previously voted for a President who was not a leftist, who failed to vote for either of two candidates, both of whom were not leftists. and so we got Trump. But this reality was of no consequence to MSNBC's audience, who all agreed that it must be "the Left" that was responsible for electing Trump, because they fell under the spell of the Green Party or of Russian trolls or something like that. The nice liberals with big egos totally failed, and fail, to challenge this delusion.

Now, maybe there's a real Left in America. But we won't know for sure unless we can tear away the shroud of delusion that envelops American political thinking.

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"Be a loyal plastic robot for a world that doesn't care." -- Frank Zappa

Pluto's Republic's picture

@Cassiodorus

I had decided to change my earlier answer the moment I wrote it. It was very late and I had no idea you were responding to it until I saved my new edits. I really didn't change the meaning of my response, but I changed the way I expressed it.

I completely understand the nuances you are expressing, and agree whole heartedly with your characterization of the misunderstanding and the Democratic delusion that lies at its core. Personally, I think of it as brain damage caused by their exposure to Cold War propaganda at a young age.

So you had people who were not leftists who had previously voted for a President who was not a leftist [Obama], who failed to vote for either of two candidates [in 2016], both of whom were not leftists. and so we got Trump.

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And so they blame the Left monolith for their self inflicted injuries. Exactly.

Now, maybe there's a real Left in America. But we won't know for sure unless we can tear away the shroud of delusion that envelops American political thinking.

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I realize now that no one in the US is able to see the Left. Except for active members of the Left. Even the Intelligence community is blind to the the Left. This explains a great deal.

The existence of the Left was suppressed and denied from the very beginning in the US. Two hundred years later, the Progressives are their proxies for the missing Left. The Progressives, however, are not the authentic Left. They are actually Left-leaning Centrists in the Democratic Party. This is a convenient misunderstanding for everyone involved.

I maintain that there is a Left and it is very powerful.
After all, they funded two big-league, Presidential Primaries with small personal checks.
They also posses a Powerful Advantage:
They are the idea whose time has come.
I, for one, can see them.

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"There will be no end to the troubles of States, or of Humanity itself, until Philosophers become Kings in this world — or until those we now call kings and rulers truly become Philosophers." — Plato
Cassiodorus's picture

@Pluto's Republic That makes it a lot clearer.

The left needs a leader to spoon-feed their rank-and-file a narrative because all of those campaigns to put neoliberals in the White House diminish it, and then once said neoliberals are in the White House, said Left spends all of its time either 1) defending neoliberals, and by extension neoliberalism, or 2) being publicly "conflicted" because "the Republicans are worse." Elections like the one that happened Tuesday spread apathy.

The demographic setup in which the election appears to be a very narrow Biden victory reveals a lot. A President who did everything he could to destroy his own chances at re-election will end up having narrowly lost (unless something weird happens) because the only thing that really opposed him was a campaign based on "vote Biden because team spirit y'know" or whatever lie of Biden's that Biden's supporters told themselves. And it appears to me that the number of swing states is going down. For the most part the map looks what it looked like in 2016. It appears that Biden will have flipped Wisconsin, Michigan, and Arizona to get to 270.

How is it that the forces that made this result possible won't just intensify? Won't we all just be asked, from Day 1 of the Biden administration, to shut up about anything bad it does because "the Republicans are worse"?

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"Be a loyal plastic robot for a world that doesn't care." -- Frank Zappa