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The Lesser Of 2 Evils & Top Down Politics Of The Democratic Establishment Offers False Hope

Let's Start On Long Island-- And End In Arizona


The future of the Democratic Party?

The congressman from NY-03, Tom Suozzi, decided to run for governor against a meh incumbent who was chosen by Andrew Cuomo in some self-serving calculus when he was picking a lt. governor. Actually, Kathy Hochul is much worse than meh. Suozzi, however, is a New Dem who wasn’t capable of making an effective populist case against a fellow corporatist. He lost, badly— coming in third with just 13% of the vote.


The Long Island district he gave up has a D+4 partisan lean and a PVI of D+2. To replace him, the Democrats seemed to look around to find a Republican-lite corporate candidate— and there were plenty to chose from. There was one outstanding progressive running: Melanie D’Arrigo, the FDR Democrat in the race. Foolishly, the establishment and then voters overlooked her and instead chose between the 3 conservative Democrats. Sam Bankman-Fried found the most conservative of the 3, Josh Lafazan, and pumped a half million dollars into his race in just one week. The other two Democrats running, Jon Kaiman and Robert Zimmerman were also pointless, anti-progressive Democraps, the type of inconsequential and trivial political hacks that have helped turn the Democratic Party into what it is today. Zimmerman won the primary with 35.8% and while Kathy Hochul was losing Nassau County to Trumpist Lee Zeldin (moving the county from a D+10 result for Biden to a shocking R+11), Zimmerman lost NY-03 by more than anyone could have predicted— or even imagined:



This morning, the NY Times asked a question that they should have asked a couple months ago: Who Is George Santos, this guy with the fictional résumé? Or maybe Zimmerman, had he been a vaguely competent candidate, could have discovered what The Times did. “Santos,” reported Grace Ashford and Michael Gold, “whose election to Congress on Long Island last month helped Republicans clinch a narrow majority in the House of Representatives, built his candidacy on the notion that he was the ‘full embodiment of the American dream’ and was running to safeguard it for others. His campaign biography amplified his storybook journey: He is the son of Brazilian immigrants, and the first openly gay Republican to win a House seat as a non-incumbent. By his account, he catapulted himself from a New York City public college to become a ‘seasoned Wall Street financier and investor’ with a family-owned real estate portfolio of 13 properties and an animal rescue charity that saved more than 2,500 dogs and cats. But a NY Times review of public documents and court filings from the United States and Brazil, as well as various attempts to verify claims that Santos, 34, made on the campaign trail, calls into question key parts of the résumé that he sold to voters. Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, the marquee Wall Street firms on Santos’s campaign biography, told The Times they had no record of his ever working there. Officials at Baruch College, which Santos has said he graduated from in 2010, could find no record of anyone matching his name and date of birth graduating that year. There was also little evidence that his animal rescue group, Friends of Pets United, was, as Mr. Santos claimed, a tax-exempt organization: The Internal Revenue Service could locate no record of a registered charity with that name.”


Zimmerman, a meaningless candidate who stood for nothing at all beyond Democratic establishment claptrap and careerism, was the perfect foil for Santos, whose “appearance earlier this month,” continued The Times report, “at a gala in Manhattan attended by white nationalists and right-wing conspiracy theorists underscored his ties to Trump’s right-wing base. At the same time, new revelations uncovered by The Times— including the omission of key information on Santos’s personal financial disclosures, and criminal charges for check fraud in Brazil— have the potential to create ethical and possibly legal challenges once he takes office.”


After Lafazan lost the primary, SBF found another corrupt conservative POS to back

Today started for me with a brilliant guest column by in The Times by Thomas Frank, Liberals Have Been So Busy Not Losing, They’ve Forgotten How To Win. He never mentions Hochul, NY-03, Long Island, Nassau county, Lafazan, Kaiman, Zimmerman, D’Arrigo, or even Suozzi. But his cautionary tale is as much about all of that as it is about almost anyplace else in America, where the Democratic Party just is not living up to what people once expected from it. Statewide, Florida and Ohio don’t even have functioning Democratic parties any longer.


Frank noted that ever since he started paying attention, “virtually all the country’s political dynamism has been located on the right. They brought us Prop 13, the Reagan revolution, the Gingrich revolution, the Tea Party and Trumpism, each successive explosion securing some new tax cut or making some grand deregulatory thrust before exhausting itself and leaving the stage. That there will be another explosion soon, picking up where the last one left off, is almost a certainty. Readers of this paper don’t need me to detail where this is going or what it has cost us: the inequality, the deindustrialization, the downfall of our middle-class society, the refusal to play by the rules. Suffice it to say that in the face of all this, chronic stalemate is simply not good enough. There is only one realistic way out of this impasse: The Republican Party must be defeated overwhelmingly and for years to come. It can be done. Liberalism has done it before, and not all that long ago: Franklin Roosevelt’s Democrats won five straight terms in the White House and controlled the House of Representatives, with a few brief interruptions, from 1931 to 1995.”


Easier said than done? Sure— with candidates like Kathy Hochul, Robert Zimmerman and Jon Kaiman (who is already plotting a doomed run against Santos in 2024). But what about with candidates who are running to deliver for working families. The Democrats as an institutional party largely gave up on that when Bill Clinton took it in a decidedly corporatist direction, making it, in Rich’s words, “constitutionally incapable of such a feat, let alone building and sustaining the sweeping popular movement we must have if we are ever going to do something about deindustrialization, systemic racism and global warming. To defeat the right, we must first completely rethink the left.”


Recall, briefly, where the modern Democratic Party comes from. It was born, essentially, in a centrist backlash against a traditional left party that (it was said) foolishly talked the populist language of class conflict. What had to happen, party reformers declared, was a move to the “vital center,” outreach to Republicans, a voyage to a place beyond politics where everyone agreed about free trade, innovation and balanced budgets.
When Democrats did those things, strategists and party leaders argued, affluent professionals— members of the well-educated “learning class”— would flock to the big tent. There would be consensus. Electoral victories. Affluence (for some) in the coming knowledge economy.
That was the plan. And it succeeded. The “New Democrats” won the war inside the Democratic Party, defeating the traditionalists. They were given many chances to rule. They triangulated and sought grand bargains. Today we live in the future to which they built their celebrated bridge, with a deregulated Wall Street, a devitalized heartland and college diplomas held up as the answer to all problems. Turning their backs on the populism they loathed, our future-minded, new-style Democrats declined to take the opportunity offered by the 2008-09 financial crisis to remake the financial system. Instead, some of them came to identify with that system.
In some ways, liberalism from the top down has worked out as intended. The highly educated are now solidly Democratic, and the wealthy are moving rapidly our way. Today the party’s candidates often raise more money than Republicans. Despite President Biden’s intermittent blue-collar sympathies— and despite the party’s ramped-up language about conquering racism and defending democracy itself— the strategy of the 1990s still seems to be the strategy of today: courting the learning class, winning the affluent suburbanites, talking about how innovation will save us, reaching out to Republicans like Liz Cheney. And despite inspiring victories like John Fetterman’s in Pennsylvania, according to exit polls, the party continues to hemorrhage working-class votes.
The combination of high net worth and high moral virtue that the Democrats offer is a richly satisfying blend for some voters, a perfect summary of how they see themselves. For party leaders, it has meant something even better: lucrative second careers at Silicon Valley behemoths, compounds on Martha’s Vineyard and presidential libraries that surpass those of the Republicans in soaring monumentalism. If perpetual stalemate is the price the country must pay for such things, maybe it’s a bargain.
For all their love of creativity and innovation, however, there is a deadly lack of imagination in the way modern Democrats play the game. Leaders assumed for years that demographic change was automatically going to yield future majorities, and by implication that nothing visionary or transformative was required of them. Traditional Democratic constituent groups, they seemed to think, could be easily satisfied with noble rhetoric. Then, surprise, the Republicans found some clever way to win them over.
Sizable majorities of Americans desperately want traditional liberal measures like universal health care and economic fairness. But actually, existing liberalism, with its air of upper-crust contempt and its top-down moralism, rubs this deeply democratic nation exactly the wrong way.
These things are obvious when viewed from a certain distance, but liberals, intoxicated by their own righteousness, can never figure it out. They keep expecting the right to die off, as if poisoned by its diet of wickedness, and yet the Republicans persist, dreaming up new culture wars against the “liberal elite,” radicalizing themselves continually along the way, refusing to succumb.
And what do liberals do? We did in. We cheer for our side, we cheer some more, we demand that everyone else also cheer. We react hysterically to bad news, we refuse any analysis that doesn’t begin by ascribing Satanism to the GOP, and we go on Twitter to scold those who don’t measure up to our standards in some way. This is not strategy. It is fandom.
If politics were baseball, this might be appropriate. But in a democracy, we are not just spectators. Beating the Republicans overwhelmingly will require much more.
If I have learned one thing thing from the experience of the past few decades, it is that America cannot expect genuine reform to come from Democratic Party leadership or enlightened technocrats in Washington; it must come from the bottom up. It must be demanded by ordinary people, in solidarity, coming together by the millions in a social movement capable of sweeping all before it. Unfortunately, liberals don’t build such movements these days: What we do is purge them, police the unruly public via social media and write off wayward voters as sinful or beyond redemption.
An extremist Republican Party may indeed be one of the country’s biggest political problems, as the president has suggested. But liberalism from the top down, which has prevented Democrats from capturing the imagination of what ought to be a Democratic era, is certainly another. And that, at least, we can do something about.

Let me go a teeny tiny bit further than Frank took it: our enemies are not the Republican Party per se; our enemies are— and have always been and will always be— conservatives. It doesn’t matter if they are Republicans or Democrats… or from no party at all.


"Free At Last-- Kyrsten Sinema" by Nancy Ohanian

5 Comments


Allen Sommerby
Allen Sommerby
Dec 21, 2022

i can't believe the NYT let Thomas Frank anywhere near their establishment rag of a newspaper ... fucking mind blowing

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President Clinton was not the only cause of the current Democratic Party. At least a dozen top ranking Democrats are named in Al From's <em>The NEW Democrats And The Return To Power</em>. Clinton was only the Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) before starting his campaign. They decided the New Deal was obsolete and set about destroying it. All the current "leaders" of the Democratic Party were active members of the DLC before it dispersed in 2008. Between Blue Dogs, New Democrats, and the Law Enforcement Officers/CIA representatives and senators I don't think the party is salvageable.

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dcrapguy
dcrapguy
Dec 20, 2022
Replying to

on the button!!

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dcrapguy
dcrapguy
Dec 19, 2022

Thomas Frank gets closer than anyone else has... but still refuses to get there.


"To defeat the right, we must first completely rethink the left.”


if you want to defeat the nazis, the left has to completely retool. and that means euthanizing the "left's" party and starting over. y'all been tryin for over 5 decades with the democraps. please heed Einstein's advice here. for a change.

quit trying the same thing every time and failing. do something... ANYTHING different. you couldn't possibly make things worse than they already will be.


"America cannot expect genuine reform to come from Democratic Party leadership or enlightened technocrats in Washington; it must come from the bottom up."


america will never get any reform from…


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The op-ed is by Thomas Frank, not Frank Rich. I guess we all have our days, right, Ezra?

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