February 15, 2020

Will Bernie get 0 of 219 delegates in Florida? And a more general collapse in Eastern states?

If you don't treat politics as a form of therapy-tainment, ignore most of the "analysis" coming out of the pro-Bernie media (including social media). It's not just clueless and delusional, but triumphalist at a stage where Bernie is basically tied with Buttigieg (and slightly behind in the delegate count, the only thing that matters for winning the nomination).

As usual, Aimee Terese and Benjamin Studebaker at What's Left? are among the few with any audience whatsoever who are looking at things objectively. Here's their episode on Iowa, which extends into the broader issues that are limiting Bernie's appeal this time around vs. 2016:



With two of the early states already done, intense focus is now shifting to the remaining early ones, Nevada and South Carolina. But rather than jump on this media circus, let's zoom out and look at one of Bernie's biggest obstacles coming up -- Florida. It's the 3rd biggest state by population, and will deliver almost as many delegates as Texas (219 and 228).

Last time he got killed there with only 34% of the vote, lost every Congressional district, and won only a handful of unpopulated counties. But this time he may do so poorly that he winds up getting nothing at all out of the gigantic delegate pool at stake.

Among the Florida polls at RCP, two are recent with a large sample size (in the thousands), polling "likely" rather than merely "registered" voters. Bernie is polling just 10% statewide, which would prevent him from winning any state-level delegates (he'd need 15%). And given his loss in every Congressional district and poor county performance last time, it's hard to believe that there will be at least one district where he'll outperform and get 15% at the district level. It may sound like 5 points isn't much, but that would be a 50% increase over his statewide average. Nor are there any hippie college towns where he cleaned up last time.

The only two candidates who look eligible for delegates are the two Establishment favorites -- Biden and Bloomberg, each with just over a quarter of the vote. The others are, like Bernie, around 10% or less. Buttigieg is at 11%, and could enjoy some last minute support from undecideds in order to clear 15% in at least one district and perhaps statewide. Whereas you're mostly already for Bernie or not. In one of the states most hostile to populism, it's hard to believe there will be a last-minute surge in favor of the increasingly woke socialist.

Whether Bernie gets literally 0, or lucks out and wins a handful of delegates, is not the point. It's a sign of his broader cratering from his 2016 peak -- and unlike in New Hampshire, this time attached to a far larger magnitude. He's lost not only some support to Warren, but presumably to either Biden or Bloomberg.

If Bernie got about 35% in 2016, lucks out and gets 15% this time, that leaves 20 points worth of defectors, or anti-Bernie newcomers. Lyin' Liz, the usual source of poaching his support, is only at 5-10% in Florida. That would still leave 15-20 points who switched from Bernie, or are newcomers, to a more centrist / moderate / Establishment candidate.

From polling so far, it looks like the only place where his campaign's gambit to go all-in on wokeness and diversity will pay off is among heavily Hispanic areas in the Southwest, which does include large states like Texas and California that he lost last time. It's not a Hispanic gain in general, or else he wouldn't be getting wiped out in Florida.

It remains to be seen whether his gains in California and Texas can balance out the coming destruction in Florida. And for those who don't remember 2016, he lost the primary by 12 points -- to win the nom this time, he has to vastly improve over last time. To vastly improve among the large states, he'd practically have to win the whole enchilada in California and Texas, since he's coming up empty-handed in Florida.

And though it's early, I'm sensing a major weakness in the Eastern states. In the rural Midwest (Iowa), Bernie repeated his 2016 performance (narrowly losing what amounts to a tie), with no real change in turnout. And if anything, he seems to be improving over 2016, or at least staying the same, in the West Coast and Plains states.

But in New Hampshire, there was a gigantic surge of new primary voters who were not populists motivated by Bernie, but MSNBC-addled status quo defenders. Not to mention his losses to Lyin' Liz. Beyond the sheer drop in support from 60% to 25%, he did not remain decisively above 2nd place, winding up only 1.3 points above Buttigieg. A decisive win, given his 25% share, would have been for 2nd place to have 15% or less, not right behind him.

His utter collapse of support in Florida fits into that Eastern pattern, but does not conform to a Southern, Hispanic, or Sun Belt pattern (contradicted by CA and TX).

Aside from South Carolina, where the campaign has been investing heavily solely for early state narrative value, Bernie doesn't look too good in the other Southeastern states, polling 10-20% in states where he lost last time but at least picked up 30-some percent of the vote. That, too, points to an Eastern pattern, since he is improving in the Southwest (including Texas).

If you look at the Congressional districts that flipped in 2018 to narrowly give Dems the House, they were all yuppie districts, but they were concentrated along the Eastern states, both Northeastern and Southeastern. This was not a populist surge, but a status quo clampdown akin to the Know-Nothing movement of the 1850s, only this time blaming Russia rather than the Pope for foreign interference.

The result in New Hampshire is ominous, portending an echo of the 2018 mid-terms, at least in the parts of the country where it was originally resonant -- the Establishment center back East, whether in its Northern or Southern form (the 13 original colonies, and thereabouts). Sadly for Bernie, that includes one of the biggest states -- New York -- as well as other large ones like Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He lost those all last time, but may lose even worse this time, due to the MSNBCIA outpouring.

Farther away from the power center of the nation, these hysterics don't resonant as strongly. Despite having 25 Congressional targets in Texas, including many yuppie ones, the Dems only managed to flip 1 from the GOP in 2018. Russiagate, Muellergate, Impeachmentgate, etc., must not play very well down there. They're too far away from the center of power to feel like it seriously matters which faction of the DC Deep State is being elevated or demoted at any given moment.

That seems to extend all the way out to California, although there are pockets of Resistards there too -- and yet, far less of a presence than in their bi-coastal counterparts along the East Coast. And evidently not so much in the Pacific Northwest or Hawaii (good ol' Tulsi).

Something to keep your eye on. It's extremely dangerous for his campaign to see an MSNBCIA revolt even in New Hampshire, where they are relatively less reflexively pro-Establishment. By transitivity, the other states along the Bos-Wash power corridor will show even greater declines from 2016 for Bernie as concerned citizens yuppie cable news junkies pour out in order to save our democracy from the dark pall of fascism. Apparently this pattern will extend all the way down to Florida.

February 14, 2020

"I Sub Myself" by the Replinyls (song for parasocial Valentine's Day)

No emo whining about Valentine's Day -- we're out of the vulnerable phase of the 15-year excitement cycle. Time to start having fun with things again.

What better way than an ironic take on the parasocial character of relationships in these too-online times? Ironic in the fun-loving sense -- an unabashed celebration, disguised by self-deprecation. (As opposed to ironic in the joy-killing sense -- raw deprecation of others, disguised by adulation.)

We're entering the first year of the restless warm-up phase of the cycle, so the following tune from 1990 could not be more apropos:



* * *

I scroll myself, I want you to scroll me
When I get banned, I want you to parole me
I stop myself, I want you to F5 me
I unfollow myself, I want you to subscribe me

I won't stalk anybody else
When I come to browse you, I sub myself
Ohhh
I won't stalk anybody else
Oh no, oh no, oh no

You're the one who makes me bust brain cells
The start and end on my timeline
When you're logged on, I'm always lol-ing
You're gonna swipe me right

I crash my site, and feel you restore me
Think I would die if you clicked on ignore me
Though there's ten-thousand tweets, I'm gonna fully explore you
Just feed me red meat, I'll forever simp for you

I won't stalk anybody else
When I come to browse you, I sub myself
Ohhh
I won't stalk anybody else
Oh no, oh no, oh no

I scroll myself, I want you to scroll me
When I get banned, I want you to parole me
I stop myself, I want you to F5 me
I unfollow myself, I want you to subscribe me

I won't stalk anybody else
When I come to browse you, I sub myself
Ohhh
I won't stalk anybody else
Oh no, oh no, oh no

I'll stalk you
I won't stalk anybody else
When I come to browse you, I sub myself
Ooof, ooof, ooo-ooof, aaahhh

I won't stalk anybody else
When I come to browse you, I sub myself
Ohhh
I won't stalk anybody else
When I come to browse you, I sub myself

I sub myself...

February 12, 2020

Left-right love-hate pop-punk (spin on Miley's "7 Things" for leftie babes drawn to populist bros)

To continue the Valentine's Day theme, I'm struck by the mutual fascination between leftie babes and populist bros, and channeled it into a love-hate song about reconciliation and realignment, to lift our spirits in these overly polarized times.

These girls feel bored and restless and lonely just hanging out with the same incestuous clique of internet leftoids (or right-wingers, in the guys' case). Then there's the widely acknowledged pattern of girls (on all sides) finding left-wing guys not-so-appealing, and having to hate-fuck hot guys who are moderates or conservatives in the culture war.

It's not just hotness, though -- girls want a guy who's complex and puzzling, almost to the point of infuriation. They want to build dramatic tension by being tragically torn between liking his light side and hating his dark side. Why can't he just be one type, and make himself simple to figure out and react to?

That's why these restless, curious-minded girls are drawn not to generic conservatives, but those who frustrate their innocent worldview, committed to left goals on economics and foreign policy and right goals on society-and-culture.

I'm making the relationship an online one, where most of these fascinations take shape.

The love-hate tone calls for an endearingly bratty wild-child singer and audience -- those who were born, and later came of age, during the restless warm-up phase of the 15-year excitement cycle. Born in the early '90s, adolescents in the late 2000s (and matching the current shift into that phase, leaving the vulnerable phase of the late 2010s).

The tune is one I'm sure they'll remember, "7 Things" by Miley Cyrus, 2008. (In my lyrics, "MAGA" rhymes with "saga".)



* * *

I'll problematic-fave this:
"Strong border and single-payer"
Though the reasoning sounds devious
The father instinct's there

You chose Obama, then went MAGA
It's so illogical to me -- still I care

And now we're scrolling stale takes
We can't rekindle rebel flames
Until you've read my thread:
The problematic things about you

The problematic things about you
Bro brain, kink-shame, you're so mature
You talk sweet, you like slurs
You make me clap, you make me "yikes"
I don't know which replies to hide
Your frens, they're spergs
When you post like them, get no converts
I wanna simp for the king I know
The most problematic thing of all time that you do:
You make me fave you

It's awkward and it's silent
As we await election day
But what I need to see from you
Your support for Bernie's dream

And when you meme it, I'll retweet it
If you next it, I'll receipt it

Let's be clear
Oh I'm not logging off
You're solving problems this year

The problematic things about you
Bro brain, kink-shame, you're so mature
You talk sweet, you like slurs
You make me clap, you make me "yikes"
I don't know which replies to hide
Your frens, they're spergs
When you post like them, get no converts
I wanna simp for the king I know
The most problematic thing of all time that you do:
You make me fave you

Though sometimes I'm literally shaking
From the takes you share online
You still restore my faith in humanity, no lie

The faith-restoring things about you
Your stare, your size, your bold replies
When we chat, I fantasize
You make me clap, you make me "yikes"
Now neither one I'll have to hide
Left-right timeline
When we're realigned, 50-state landslide
I wanna simp for the king I know
The most faith-restoring thing of all time that you do:
You make me fave you

February 11, 2020

Blame Warren, not Tulsi, if Bernie doesn't soar in New Hampshire

Since Tulsi was not seriously contesting the Iowa caucus, leftoids could not blame her for getting a few percent of the vote that could otherwise have gone to Bernie. She has been campaigning in New Hampshire, though, so expect her to get several percent there. But because the NH race will be close, as in Iowa, this time the leftoids will target her if Bernie gets another statistical tie, which looks likely.

The left shut their mouths while Lyin' Liz Warren came back from a near flame-out at the end of 2018, when she broadcast her DNA results that proved she wasn't even remotely Native American. Indeed the left helped her come back -- she was about as good as Bernie, just not totally. She was a solid progressive, not a neoliberal, a populist firebrand, and of course a woman. They were on the same team, would pool delegates at the convention, and together destroy the Establishment.

Roughly half of Bernie's 2016 coalition -- the more yuppie demographics -- defected to Lyin' Liz, and they hardened their allegiance to her because they've had more than a year of zero punishment from the left for defecting. If anything, they've seen signs of encouragement from the left. They can still switch to Bernie, but it will take a lot more effort now that they're so strongly attached to Lyin' Liz, who they were only vaguely happy-clappy about at the end of 2018.

After sucking up 20% of the vote in Iowa, Lyin' Liz is set to suck up about 15% in NH -- far more than Tulsi will. Warren, not the DNC, cost Bernie a solid win in Iowa. If he essentially ties or even loses NH, that will also be due to Warren, not the DNC. Because the left opened the gate to this progtard Trojan Horse, they are ultimately the ones responsible for Bernie's failure to decisively win the early primaries and knock the Establishment off-balance.

Suppose that the DNC rules allowed Tulsi to get a few delegates with a 5% share of the vote (current rules say you need 15% in a district or statewide to be viable for getting delegates). Is there any wonder whether Tulsi would pool those delegates with Bernie at the convention? She endorsed him last time, resigned as the vice-chair of the DNC over its flagrant interventions to derail his campaign, and has come to his rescue several times during the primary -- most recently when Lyin' Liz stabbed Bernie in the back by lying that he told her a woman could not become president.

Would Lyin' Liz pool delegates with Bernie? Of course not -- she refused to endorse him last time, put no skin in the game to help Bernie's campaign, indeed entered the race precisely to split up his previous coalition, and has repeatedly stabbed him in the back with ridiculous lies (he said a woman couldn't be president, he receives dark money and I don't, etc.).

Anyone who complains about Bernie's lack of a blow-out victory in NH, like the one he enjoyed in 2016 (winning over 60%, with Hillary getting less than 40%), should have been single-mindedly focused on destroying Warren in total. Her history, record, funding, image, everything.


Instead, they whine about Tulsi, who might get 5% and who has helped Bernie so far. Would that 5% have turned out if Tulsi had not been campaigning? I doubt it. They're most sympathetic toward Bernie, so assuming they turned out, and there were no Tulsi, they would go to Bernie. But you can't assume turn-out -- we don't have mandatory voting, let alone in party primaries.

Tulsi draws more from Indies than from hardcore Democrat partisans, which makes them less eager to vote in primaries. And they're clearly turned off by the shift Bernie's campaign has made vs. 2016. He's more of a standard-issue woke progressive call-everything-fascism type this time, just one who's offering Medicare for All -- including everyone all over the world, a woke neoliberal poison pill which is designed to prevent it from receiving broad support.

I think the Tulsi voters supported Bernie in 2016, but would have mainly stayed home in apathy due to his more woke yuppie focus this time around, at least at the primary stage. They're plainly not very excited for him this time, and Tulsi is simply responding to that rather than causing that to begin with -- it was the prog left in general who changed Bernie's campaign, not Tulsi.

In that way, Tulsi votes are non-votes -- they're not for a major candidate, and are letting people know that the voter would otherwise have stayed home. But these lesser candidate votes allow for transparency, if the major candidates want them back. If they stay home, their motives are opaque. Was Bernie 2016 too woke, or not woke enough? If you stay home, no one can know which direction you lean in on that matter. But if you show up to vote Tulsi, you're letting them know which direction they'll have to change toward in order to get your vote.

That's how it works with third-party candidates in a general election. When I voted Nader in 2000, I had absolutely no intention to vote before I'd heard of his campaign. I did not vote for any other office that election. And I didn't vote again until 2016, when it again felt like a candidate was promising major change on the theme of globalization (voted Trump in the primary, when it mattered, and then the general).

Most Green Party voters in 2016 would not have shown up if the only choice were Clinton or Trump -- and they let the two major parties know in which direction to change if they wanted to get their vote in the future, rather than let their motives remain an opaque mystery.

Third parties do not cause voters to feel lukewarm about a major candidate, they are a reaction to an existing lukewarm sentiment. It is the major candidates' fault for not exciting them enough to turn out on election day. Turn-out can never be assumed, especially in a nation with far lower participation than other modern nations, and especially at the primary stage.

The hint from Iowa is that turnout in 2020 is set to be mostly flat vs. 2016 and far below 2008. Even less reason to expect or demand people to show up on primary day. Motivate them, or don't complain when they stay home.

Tulsi voters -- and Nader voters before them -- are doing the Democrats a favor. They're overcoming their inclination to just stay home, and at least signal their preference in case a major candidate wants to get them. Such voters' "involvement" does not affect the outcome, because their vote would not have gone to any major candidate without the minor candidate on the ballot -- they would have simply stayed home.

In casting a third-party vote, they remain just as uninvolved in the battle among the majors as if they'd stayed home. But at least they're helping the majors learn and improve by signaling what such voters need to show up on a certain side in the battle among the majors. Without that signal, the majors would have no clue and waste their time, money, and effort trying to figure out what to offer those who cast no vote at all.

This is all the more reason to have been savaging Warren and disciplining her supporters throughout 2019. Unlike Tulsi voters, they are hardcore Democrat partisans who are reliable primary voters, and already showed up to vote in the last Democrat primary (for Bernie). So the vast majority would still have shown up this time, if Warren were not in the race. And they would have mainly stuck by Bernie.

The left has gotten it completely backwards because they're too similar to Warren and her supporters -- professional-class progressives, regardless of how they "present" to the public on social media. The left must be kept out of any attempt to realign the Democrat party, or its successor, into a new era after the current neoliberal era.

February 8, 2020

Aimee Terese Ramones-inspired left-right love song

To lift the spirits of both our anti-woke left princess and her unconventional following of deplorables, here's a little serenade to kick off the week of Valentine's Day.

The childlike nature of the original lyrics and tune are perfect for the coming-of-age feels that suffuse this inchoate political realignment of ours. Left and right are getting restless, and no longer want to stubbornly stay on their own separate sides of the room during the school dance...


[Tune]

Hey leftie girl
I wanna be your groyp fren
Petite leftie girl
I wanna be your groyp fren

Will you sub me, Ames?
Do me a fave?
Will you sub me, Ames?
My commie fave

Because I wanna be your groyp fren

Hey leftie girl
I wanna be your groyp fren
Petite leftie girl
I wanna be your groyp fren

Ooh ooh ooh
Ooh ooh ooh
Ooh ooh ooh
Ooh ooh ooh
Ahhh

Because I wanna be your groyp fren

Hey leftie girl
I wanna be your groyp fren
Petite leftie girl
I wanna be your groyp fren

Will you sub me, Ames?
Do me a fave?
Will you sub me, Ames?
My commie fave

Because I wanna be your groyp fren

Hey leftie girl
I wanna be your groyp fren
Petite leftie girl
I wanna be your groyp fren

Hey leftie girl
I wanna be your groyp fren
Petite leftie girl
I wanna be your groyp fren

February 6, 2020

Progressive professionals have fragilized Bernie's coalition

In the wake of the attempted theft of the Iowa caucus from Bernie, it's important to understand the process that put him in such a fragile state to begin with, where a small perturbation could drastically affect the overall outcome. In some states like New Hampshire, he may prove robust to such perturbations because he'll have such a giant lead. But in no states, or nationwide, does he appear what Nassim Taleb would call anti-fragile, or benefiting from attempts to hurt him.

This is due to the class and ideological make-up of those who have steered his coalition / campaign / movement post-2016.

Four years after a tie in the Iowa caucus against the representative of the neoliberal status quo, Bernie Sanders has scored another tie in the Iowa caucus. He'll do better than the others in New Hampshire -- just like four years ago. Might narrowly win rather than narrowly lose in Nevada. And won't get wiped so thoroughly in the non-white states on Super Tuesday.

Four years ago he lost the popular vote by 12 points, so with a showing so far in 2020 that is only meagerly better than last time, he can expect not to win this time either. The only open question is whether he ekes out a plurality of the popular vote and delegates, then gets denied the nomination when all the other candidates pool theirs against his at the convention -- or whether he loses the popular vote already by the end of the primary voting, presumably by a narrower margin this time around (say, 5 points or less).

The signs that the Bernie coalition needed to see in Iowa to expect a groundswell of support in 2020 vs. 2016 largely turned out the other way, foreshadowing his likely ultimate loss. The three main signs:

1) Failed. A surge in overall turnout, indicating that he was drawing out of their houses all sorts of people who normally don't vote in Democrat primaries (non-voters or GOP crossovers). They would have been the cavalry coming to the rescue if his regular army had gotten themselves surrounded. Turnout was about the same or lower from 2016, nowhere near the surge of 2008. If anything, turnout skewed even more toward college-educated voters, who favor yuppie candidates like Warren and Buttigieg, not the bottom 80% that Bernie is relying on for a revolution.

2) Succeeded. A fracturing of the centrist / machine lane of his opposition. It split into multiple candidates -- Biden, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar -- all of whom scored in the double digits, rather than voters coalescing around one to overwhelm Bernie.

3) Failed. A consolidation of his own lane, the populist / progressive / non-machine lane, i.e. by eliminating Warren. National polling from last year showed that his 2016 coalition had more or less evenly split into Bernie loyalists and defectors to Warren (along with some going to Buttigieg, and with Bernie being the 2nd choice of the greatest share of Biden supporters). His team needed to prevent Warren from entering, or from enduring in the double digits if she did enter. Instead she sucked up 20% of the popular vote in Iowa, not so far from Bernie's 27% share.

The progressive professional faction that has hijacked Bernie's coalition over the past several years is directly responsible for the two failures, and acted against the one success.

By gradually molding Bernie into just another prog, with the sole exception of the single-payer healthcare issue, the professional-class progs have alienated the would-be surge in turnout among irregular primary-stage voters.

That includes disaffected voters with no particular affiliation, as well as the Trumpian populist reservoir that I've been arguing for years that Bernie should be registering, organizing, and mobilizing for Democrat primary day -- whether or not they'd stick with him in the general, at least help him over the main obstacle of all the Clinton and Warren cucks among the Democrat base, since Trumpian populists hate both of them with a passion and were sympathetic toward the Bernie of 2016 (as was Trump himself).

Especially in Iowa, where this reservoir put Trump over the top by nearly 10 points in a state that not only voted for Obama twice, but has been a solid blue state, except for 2004, all the way back to 1988. Iowa voted for Dukakis when Illinois, California, Vermont, and Maryland voted for George Bush.

But to the professional progs, this just makes them crypto-racists or even crypto-fascists who never should have been allowed to vote Democrat for all those decades. Worse, it's in flyover country with rectangular-shaped counties. No way on Earth could those Trump voters be motivated to turn out for the other party's Trump on caucus day.

OK, then: leave all those would-be voters on the table, and wait for a deus ex machina to deliver shitloads of new caucus-goers. For atheists, professional progs sure do stake a lot on divine intervention.

The flipside of this is that turning Bernie into just another prog has made him too similar to Lyin' Liz Warren. They're two peas in a prog pod, as far as most voters are concerned. And the professional progs were directly responsible for softening or outright rehabilitating Warren's progressive bona fides during 2019, equating her with Bernie, and concern-trolling Bernie on identity politics issues that Warren could dominate him on (reparations, open borders, and the like).

Only a few people on the left with any audience whatsoever were crying to eliminate Warren in early 2019, go scorched earth on her neoliberal record, and either bully her voters into un-defecting back into Bernie's camp or at least scare them into sitting out the primary. Aimee Terese's Twitter account was the clearinghouse for this faction (her own, and what she re-tweeted), along with her podcast What's Left? that she co-hosts with Benjamin Studebaker.

In true black humor fashion, she had her account suspended right as Lyin' Liz stuck the dagger in Bernie's back on a national debate stage, depriving him of 20% of the Iowa caucus, and promising to continue bleeding his support till the bitter end. At least you can still hear her analysis (and mellifluous voice) on her podcast. She still tweets under @whatisleftpod, but in a more muted way to avoid detection by the commissars, rather than her natural manner as a Levantine prophetess thundering down condemnations of all the ways that the people have abandoned God's ways, what punishments God will mete out of they persist in their blasphemy, and what they must do to return to the path of righteousness.

I was making the argument to split the non-Bernie vote as many ways as possible, while specifically preventing the spoiler Warren, all the way back in January of 2018. But then I was only part of the online movement that helped Trumpian populism win both the primary and general against all odds, while predicting most of what happened in 2016, so what would I know this time around? *

The only good news for the Bernie coalition in 2020, the professional progs have done their damnedest to prevent at every step of the way -- the fracturing of the lane occupied by Biden and the others. They should have welcomed Buttigieg, Bloomberg, Steyer, Klobuchar, etc., who would eat away at Biden's share until no single one of them could overwhelm Bernie. Obviously none of them would eat into Bernie's share.

Instead, they have treated it like a video game (in their most commonly used analogy), where they're going to defeat the lesser bosses before defeating the final boss, Biden. Back on planet Earth, driving Buttigieg et al into low single digits or even out of the race, only consolidates those anti-Bernie voters behind Biden (or whichever one remains after the others are eliminated). In the total opposite way of a video game, if the lesser bosses are defeated, it ends up strengthening the final boss -- perhaps to such a degree that he becomes unbeatable.

But when your primary draw into politics is the entertainment value, especially in a serial drama form, then what good is keeping all the lesser candidates through till the end, where the hero dispatches several weak enemies, rather than gradually conquering his way up to one final worthy fuckin' adversary?

They want to see a different bad guy defeated every month or so, and then it's on to another quest in another land where the next bad guy is camped out. Every several episodes, a threat-battle-resolution with one bad guy, repeated over several cycles until the season finale. If all the bad guys hang around the whole season, and they can't really pose much of a threat to the hero, then there's no real battle or catharsis until the very end, and viewers will get bored and restless.

It's telling that the professional progs have largely left Warren alone, while savaging the others. They don't view her as the final boss -- that's Biden -- so shouldn't she be one of the lesser candidates who gets eliminated sooner rather than later, and in a scorched-earth humiliating fashion to fulfill their revenge fantasies?

Nope: they have no seething fantasies of revenge against Warren, since she's a good yuppie prog like they are. And so are her voters, who largely overlap with the audience or clientele for professional progressives. If professional progs torched the Warren voters, they would be putting themselves out of business too, and they're not about to sacrifice their own livelihood for the greater societal cause. Christ, they might have to move back to Michigan and leave all their status points behind in Brooklyn!

If you want someone who fantasizes about revenge against Warren, you'll have to deputize a whole bunch of Trump voters into your posse. But that goes back to the original problem of polarizing and alienating the population rather than building a broad coalition.

The Trump campaign faced these problems in 2016, since the conservatard movement was bitterly opposed to him and largely settled on Cruz early on. Only a small faction of high-profile conservatives were Trump loyalists (Ann Coulter among commentators, Alex Jones for the talk radio audience, and Jerry Falwell Jr. for the evangelical audience).

They were willing to sacrifice the ties to friends and colleagues within the conservative world, if it meant getting Trump through the primary and into the White House. There's almost no one of similar stature within the progressive world who's ready to cut ties to their fellow progs in order to get Bernie the nomination.

And fortunately, this minority found a broad resonance in the population. Lots of people who don't consider themselves true conservatives were only too happy to vote Trump in the primary, and then general. And most important of all, these newcomers were not turned away by movement gatekeepers, but were welcomed aboard. Tattooed women who liked it when they heard that Trump talks dirty and grabs pussy -- they may not fit in at the suburban country club with GOP regulars, but Republicans didn't care. It was a political movement, not a social club.

So, even though Lyin' Ted Cruz (the Lyin' Liz Warren of the right) battled it out until the bitter end, he still wound up fully 20 points behind Trump, with Rubio a further 5 points behind him. No way is Bernie going to finish 20 points over Warren, let alone Biden, Buttigieg, or whoever it is in that lane.

The last party realignment required the GOP to expel their cultural gatekeepers -- the evangelical Christians. They were still allowed to vote in GOP primaries, and for the GOP general candidate, but they were gradually stripped of their cultural gatekeeper role once the Reagan revolution kicked off. They needed a big tent to go from the tiny opposition during the New Deal era, to the dominant party during the neoliberal era. Libertarian economics and militarist foreign policy were more important than cultural conservative issues.

For the next realignment to succeed, the Democrats must expel their own cultural gatekeepers -- the woke progressives. Oh sure, they can still vote in Dem primaries, and for the Dem candidate in the general. But their toxic alienating effect on the general population must be cleansed from the party's image and reality, if they want to dethrone the GOP as the dominant party and usher in a new multi-decade regime.

The mass media-entertainment industry, and the info-tech sector (especially the online content cartel), seem to be the most invested in woke progressive culture. So that leaves the finance sector as the Democrat party patron that can pull the plug on the gatekeeping progs. Simply pull their funding, which ultimately comes from their money-printing at the central bank or Wall St. investment banks. Or de-financialize them -- don't let them have a bank account if they're going to keep carrying on with their progtard bullshit. Maybe having trouble paying their bills will be enough of an incentive. None of this will interfere with their money continuing to make money, since woke progressive gatekeeping is not baked into the business model of a bank, unlike much of the media content and online social media platforms.

In any case, this is all stuff that will have to happen over the next 4 years, as the professional-class progs have fragilized Bernie's coalition too much this time. Bringing in the non-progs and even anti-progs to his coalition will make it anti-fragile -- the more Lyin' Liz tries to out-prog Bernie on cultural issues, the more back-up he'll get from culturally conservative populists. Otherwise he continues to be fragile, and it'll only take a few little interventions to bury his campaign altogether.

* I've largely stopped trying to reach a general left / Bernie audience after trial-and-error. Did they want someone who knew what the hell they were talking about, or were they just into politics as therapy-tainment, especially in the revenge fantasy sub-genre? Mostly the latter. Alrighty then. Only the Aimee Terese wing of the left (the anti-woke faction) actually give a shit about winning and changing things in a realigned populist direction.

If you're an Indie or a GOP populist, they're the only ones worth interacting with. On the plus side, it does include some media figures with large audiences, like Michael Tracey, Kyle Kulinski, Jimmy Dore, and others, who are happy to go on Tucker's show to reach a broader audience and bring them aboard the Bernie train. Hopefully the woketard backlash against Joe Rogan hasn't scared him off of supporting Bernie's coalition.

This faction can be identified electorally by supporting "Bernie and Tulsi" rather than "Bernie and Warren" or some other combination. The woketards who fragilized Bernie's coalition are lukewarm toward Tulsi at best, and are hysterically hateful at worst, because she is a realigner rather than a polarizer -- the opposite of AOC.

February 3, 2020

Before Shakira went ethnic upon arriving in the US market

For the first time since the late 2000s, I made it a point to tune into the Super Bowl halftime show live.

I was worried that, like last year's show, it would be mining songs from the previous vulnerable phase of the 15-year excitement cycle, the early 2000s, since both Shakira and Jennifer Lopez have songs going back that far (unlike Lady Gaga and other recent performers). But in a sign of the changing of the cycle into the restless warm-up phase, Shakira played a set list that was evenly spread out between vulnerable, warm-up, and manic phases.

The closest song to where we are in the cycle was "Hips Don't Lie," from an album released during the first year of a warm-up phase (2005). If she had left that one out, it would have signaled our still being reluctant to leave the emo-phase cocoon. But it looks like the changing of phases is right on schedule. Especially compared to the most emo of all Super Bowl halftime shows last year, where Maroon 5 left out all their bouncy hits from the late 2000s and early 2010s.

But enough about that aspect of the performance. What really struck me was the periods that she did leave out -- namely, anything before her crossover into the US market (except for a brief passage from "Ojos Asi"). I assume that's standard for her tours, but for the Super Bowl halftime, you've got a far broader captive audience than your existing fan-base. Plus, you probably won't get to play to such a large audience again -- don't you want to survey the whole of your musical career, to memorialize it?

The usual story about her crossover plays up the angle of "selling out" -- but that is wrong because her two big albums in the Latin American market, during the late 1990s, were both released by major labels. It's not that she went from indie to corporate, but that she changed from ethnically nondescript to an ethnic persona -- primarily a Latina, and secondarily a Lebanese (as shown by her doing a zalghouta, or ululation, during the halftime show).

That also relates to her sexual persona, which was already present during her Latin American market period, but was not specifically a "Latina hottie" persona. She was the hot rocker chick -- no connotation about her race or ethnicity, but the sub-culture she belonged to (alternative rock, girls who had funky hair, wore leather pants, etc.).

She was like a mix between Alanis Morissette of that time, and Charli XCX during the early 2010s (who did not play up her half-Indian background). Wild and extraverted, but with a tender and introspective side as well, that made it impossible to dismiss her as just another wild-child slut who you would pump-and-dump in real life. Anxious attachment style, bordering at times on clingy, rather than an aloof alpha queen bee or a maneater. A very distinctive and infectious personality.

They also wrote songs with a vocabulary higher than a middle-schooler's, use of figurative devices, wordplay, and so on. It made her sound more mature and singer-songwriter-y. When they turned her image into a Latina sex bomb, there was no need to make her sound poetic. Not to mention that in her native language, there's a broader and deeper range of emotional delivery than in English, which she picked up during her 20s.

Once in the US market, she has an exotic sex appeal, which plays her up as so much more carnal than the Puritanical natives. But earlier among her Latin American audience, she was not cast as an almost primitive carnal creature -- rather, a modern babe with a curvaceous ripe bod, a baby doll face, and a dark waterfall of hair.

To the limited extent that she performed an ethnic persona in that period, it was not Latin but Arabic / Middle Eastern / Lebanese, as shown in the song and video for "Ojos Asi". Near Eastern culture is exotic to Latin Americans, while any of the Latin cultures themselves would clearly not be. Still, it was really only that one song that tapped into her Levantine exotitude, and overall she had no specific ethnicity or exotic angle to her recorded music or stage presence.

Shakira thus underwent a Latina-fication of her persona (and somewhat a Leb-ification), not a corporatization. The battle over who "owns" her is not between indie fans and mainstream fans, but members of different ethnic groups -- is it Hispanics, or Lebanese / broader Middle Easterners? After that belly dance and zalghouta before a global audience, the Middle Easterners are staking their claim to her cultural territory.

This development is similar to the Afro-ization of Prince, which I covered when he died in 2016. Everyone was acting like he was a "black musician" who belonged to "black people" and whom only "black commentators" could discuss -- rather than a New Wave / rock god who belonged to Americans in general. That was such a shock to see at the time -- I don't recall that process in place in 2007 when he played the Super Bowl halftime show, where he went out of his way to make it non-racial rather than black-themed.

I first covered the ethnic nature of Shakira's crossover way back in 2007. I'm nothing if not consistent and loyal in my musical tastes. I first got turned on to her in 1999 by a Spanish class presentation, downloaded a bunch of her Latin American songs during college, and never got into her crossover stuff. (I do love "Hips Don't Lie" in a dance club setting, though, where it remained a staple well into the 2010s).

The main points and predictions of that post seem to hold up over a decade later. White people use ethnic-branded music as woke virtue signaling, and the quality of woke-branded culture is far lower than what would have been produced by those ethnic groups back in their own more homogeneous countries where they don't have to pander to the demand for exotitude. And this trend has not aided in cultural assimilation of immigrants, but has only led to their tribal boosterism where they stake a claim on some major cultural figure as their own, and every other group has to submit an application to them in order to enjoy it, discuss it, or do literally anything with it.

So, let's conclude with a look back at Shakira's music and persona when she was catering to her own people's market. Unfortunately all the YouTube videos I embedded in that ancient post have since disappeared. Here's the best I can reconstruct it. There are official music videos with better sound/visual quality, but I want to highlight her stage presence to emphasize that she was not a Latina sex bomb, but a hot alterna-rocker chick (of no particular ethnicity).

I included an English version of "Inevitable" because it was performed on the Rosie O'Donnell Show before a US audience in the late '90s, and it shows that her persona was still the same as it was in Latin America at that time. No pandering to "Latina sex bomb exotitude" just because the audience was American.

"Pies Descalzos, Suenos Blancos"



"Ciega, Sordomuda"



"Inevitable (English)"



"Moscas en la Casa"



February 1, 2020

The anti-woke left against rootlessness

Great discussion from Aimee Terese and Benjamin Studebaker on the What's Left? podcast, with several variations on the theme of rootedness vs. rootlessness (as well as criticism of the MeToo movement). Unlike generic leftists, they're against rootlessness and anomie, and are in favor of preserving and conserving the distinct character of things, places, and collectives over time. A refreshing example of the overlap between the cultural left and right, provided both are populist in their economic goals.



That's also an indictment of most of the leftist media / social media / podcaster world, who glorify being transplants to the courtier zip codes, while bad-mouthing their roots as backward garbage dumps. It's the same libertarian Satanism as you find among the mainstream right. Today's elites are mainly split between culturally left libertarians and culturally right libertarians (i.e., who support all the degeneracy that left libertarians do, but like to complain about non-white people on the internet).

Right-wingers like to say that if we import enough Third Worlders, it's no longer America -- and the same goes for everyone living in Brooklyn being from outside the Mid-Atlantic, it's no longer New York. Under a regime of free markets uber alles, cities and countries become mere brands controlled by elite brand managers who shape it in whatever ways will deliver the most profit from the consumer base du jour. Radically alter that consumer base, and radically alter the product being offered.

Not only do we have to close the national borders to foreign scabs, we have to make moving around internally more difficult, to protect cities, states, and regions from being chewed up and spit out by status-striving carpetbaggers. It's bad enough when a rural person is forced into an urban area, but that can at least be contained within a state or region.

When the top 20% of society all struggles to converge on the same 10 cities -- really, a handful of courtier magnets within those cities -- then it's only feeding the problem of elite over-production. They have no right to occupy that land, and long-time residents and political stewards ought to be exercising power to prevent such a deluge of new residents, despite the higher profits it would deliver to private-sector slumlords and employers.

Crucially, the existing deeply rooted elites of those cities have a vested material interest in keeping out the scabs at their level of the class pyramid. Old wealthy New York families would rather not have to pay 10 times as much to hold onto their positions, just to outbid the legions of elite families who hail from outside of New York, whether they're coming in from Chicago or China.

That opens up a strange bedfellows alliance between the top and lower layers of the class pyramid, within a city / region, and makes it much more feasible in the short-term since there would be buy-in from the local elites (until the bottom 80% become collective actors again).

If you're somewhat new around here, I covered these themes in depth during 2014-'16. I mainly looked at the temporal pattern, where rootlessness tracks the status-striving and inequality cycle (high during the Gilded Age, falling during the Great Compression, soaring again in the neoliberal era). But I also looked at psychological and sociological differences between transplants and natives in a state or region.

The obvious link is between status-striving and transplanting in pursuit of ambition (vs. reining in your ambition and remaining where you came from), but there are others as well. Search the blog for "rooted," "rootless," "transplant," etc. to find those old posts, which should be a subset of the "geography" category tag.

If you're an older reader, give What's Left? a listen to hear similar conclusions being reached by those who are more culturally liberal. Follow "them" on Twitter (@whatisleftpod), where Aimee Terese posts after having been censored off of her own account by an anarcho-liberal witch hunt -- all for pursuing realignment with those who are culturally conservative or moderate while being populist on economic matters and anti-interventionist on foreign policy.

It's not quite the same as her old account, maybe just because of the avatar being impersonal on the new one. She could change the avatar to her Red Bull selfie, modified with a #FreeAimee banner underneath. There's just something about that iconic avatar that soothes her fans and triggers her haters, it's unbeatable.

January 28, 2020

MeToo moral panic officially dead, as theme of rape / trauma disappears, leaving only generic non-physical "sexism"

About a year ago, I noted that MeToo was winding down during the final year of the vulnerable emo phase of the excitement cycle. The refractory state that people are in during the vulnerable phase makes them hyper-sensitive to unwanted social contact, and primes them to resonate with the theme of unwanted attention or contact, or with victimization in general.

The hysterics were trying to MeToo Bernie at the very end of 2018 and beginning of 2019 -- not by accusing him directly of sexual assault, but by airing accusations against former staffers and aides of his, insinuating that the leader had a culture of sexual harassment and violence in his political operation. Then they went after Biden for being a handsy creeper who had a pattern of unwanted sexual touching toward female staffers.

Neither of those attacks stuck, which showed that the hysteria was dying down, but not over with -- after all, the mainstream press spent multiple news cycles stoking the theme of rape.

By now, as we enter the warm-up phase of the excitement cycle, the hysteria is over with altogether, and before long a full-on backlash will erupt. The latest round of attacks relating to the battle of the sexes was Lyin' Liz lying that Bernie said he didn't think a woman could be elected president. There is not even a tangential aspect of rape, physical harassment, touching, trauma, invasion of personal space, or any related part of the overall theme.

The lying press, including half or more of the left, have tried to smear Bernie indirectly by pointing to politically incorrect statements made by Joe Rogan, who has only said positive things about Bernie and Tulsi during this electoral season, and whose favorable comments the Bernie campaign put into a video clip. But they didn't involve the theme of rape or any physical harm by men against women.

If anything, Rogan's "problematic" statement was anti-rape in theme, as he said he didn't want men dressed as women to fight in the mixed martial arts ring against actual women. Anyone claiming that cross-dressing men should have the right to pummel a woman's skull in, against her desire (she would only want to fight other women), are clearly the women-haters and rape apologists.

But that doesn't matter, because identity politics is for elites only -- and culturally liberal elites have decided that tranny degeneracy, up to the point of allowing someone with male hormones and muscle to beat the living shit out of a woman, are to be sanctified by woke norms, and that the collective protection of women from violent men must be sacrificed if necessary.

In any case, neither Rogan himself nor his legions of listeners were accused of physical harassment or sexual violence. They were smeared with generic accusations of toxic masculinity, sexism, problematic beliefs about women, etc.

By this point in the excitement cycle, the feminazis have realized that the theme of rape does not resonate anymore with a morally panicked audience. So they have to fall back on all-purpose accusations that someone does not adhere to woke gender norms. OK, BFD then. They can impotently hector us all they want at this point, but it won't be an outright witch hunt that is feeding and being fed by a morally panicked mob.

This reflects the normalization of our energy levels -- they are no longer plunged into the refractory state, but are returning to baseline, albeit not rocketing off onto another spike just yet. We are only entering the warm-up phase now, not the manic phase, which will hit during the late 2020s. Not being hyper-sensitive to unwanted contact anymore, we aren't marks for appeals to protection from unwanted violation of physical privacy. If you don't want to be touched, reject the person or go somewhere else or whatever -- it's not going to overload your nervous system and be the end of your life.

In this new "back to baseline" state, we don't feel the need for a savior to swoop in and rescue us from all the would-be rapists out there. This will generalize into no longer feeling the need for saviors in general to deliver us from would-be victimizers -- and that will end the leftist bubble since roughly 2015, as well as the Trumpist bubble of the same time. But that's a topic for a separate post.

(In the meantime, see here for an analysis of these leftist "savior for the victims" bubbles occurring during the vulnerable phase of the cycle, and then evaporating after that phase is done with.)