April 18, 2018

With GOP-ers not campaigning as populists, only choice is Bernie Dems

On the theory that the GOP is undergoing a transformation from a globalist into an anti-globalist party, or from an elitist party into a populist working-class party, we should see legions of GOP candidates campaigning on these transformational themes.

We're approaching the first midterms after the purported foundational event of the transformation -- Trump's winning the nomination and then the general election in 2016. And primary season is coming up, so that would be the best time for internal differences to be emphasized.

Populist candidates should be using that phrase, or at least key policies associated with it -- tariffs meant to bring high-paying manufacturing plants back to America, "I don't want people dying in the streets" just because they're too poor to afford the hospital bill (which the government will pay instead), and so on and so forth.

Anti-globalist candidates should be talking about unwinding our failed empire that spans much of the globe, beginning with the Middle East and Afghanistan -- "I stand with President Trump when he says we should pull out of Syria right now," etc.

And yet, the ads that are saturating cable news right now are the same old cuckservative crap that the voters decisively rejected two years ago. If we wanted a "Constitutional conservative," we would have voted for anyone but Trump -- that's their slogan, not his.

While they are shamelessly trying to appropriate his name -- "Trump conservative" -- it means nothing without saying which parts of Trump's platform back then, or policies right now, you're latching onto. Tax cuts, deregulation, and conservatives on the courts? BORRRINNNG. Been there, done that -- that's what got us into the mess that we elected Trump to start digging us out of.

They don't mean "Trump conservative" in the sense of seeking massive cuts to the empire-support side of the budget. Or that, even if you did want to preserve the imperial project, at the least you would ruthlessly negotiate down the prices paid to the weapons manufacturers and defense contractors -- get more for less! Shrink the deficit and debt! Balance the budget!

Nope. Not one sign of wanting to reform the gravy train going to the elites within the GOP sectors of the economy, who will continue to get massive bailouts and bubbles inflated on their behalf by these ridiculous dinosaur candidates.

Hilariously, none are running on "repealing and replacing Obamacare" -- wouldn't want to remind the voters of how pathetically little you accomplish if they cast their lot with you! And again, in the supposed re-alignment of Trump's time, there should be a whole new crop of GOP-ers saying, "Send me to Congress, and I'll work with President Trump to undo the Medicare D law that says they have to pay whatever gouging prices the drug monopolies demand. We're going to negotiate down those prices so fast, it'll make ya head spin!"

With zero Republicans anywhere running on the combination of issues that delivered Trump his upset victory, it's the same ol' slap fights between the closeted homosexuals appealing to the country club yuppies, and the crazy-eyed ideologues appealing to the Tea Party dead-enders.

And remember, this is at a time when there are record retirements from the Congressional GOP -- entirely among the mainstream "governing" wing of the party, symbolized by the Speaker of the House himself. If the Trump "movement" were going to seize power, rather than remain isolated on the fringes, this is the only window they're going to get. If instead a bunch of country clubbers and Tea Partiers fill these record number of uncontested slots, the Trump candidates would have to wait years for another such ripe opportunity.

Translation: there is no Trump movement. There may be a good amount of popular support for it, but there is absolutely nobody running to meet that demand. Why? Because the GOP is an ossified party at the very end of its dominance, which began nearly 40 years ago under Reagan. They didn't even give the voters Trump -- he staged a hostile takeover, which they fought bitterly every step of the way.

A terminal-stage party does not respond to its voters, who it takes for granted, and it cannot adapt to new problems. If you thought the GOP would learn the lessons of 2016, you thought wrong. They're just going to ride it out until the Bernie revolution takes over the government, and whine impotently about socialized medicine.

Just as the dethroned Democrats did after Carter's failed attempt to transform it away from the New Deal / Great Society paradigm, the Republicans in the Bernie era will continue running legacy candidates because they will see the Bernie take-over as just a fluke or a brief nightmare that they'll soon wake up from.

The Democrats ran New Deal style candidates in '84 and '88 -- and got crushed. They had to submit to the Reagan revolution and run a semi-liberal variation on the Reaganite themes if they wanted to win, and they finally got that with Bill Clinton -- took them long enough, though.

The Republicans in the Bernie era will not run a populist or isolationist at first. They will not accept that their formerly dominant paradigm has been superseded, and they will continue running Reaganites like Nikki Haley in 2024, and Marco Rubio in 2028, both of whom will get obliterated. Maybe by 2032, they'll get with the program and run a Tucker Carlson / Ann Coulter ticket.

The populist-nationalist Trump supporters must be realistic about when their issues will actually take over the party -- it will only happen when the party elites are forced to do so in order to win elections. So far, since 1980 they've been doing OK on the Reaganite paradigm. They're going to have to see the Bernie revolution take over the Democrat party, and then win with a general electorate for several cycles, in order to accept that as the new reality, where Trump's old platform will be the right-wing variant on what the people now want.

For that matter, how many Bernie-style candidates are running on the Democrat side? A whole bunch. They even have them all listed in one convenient page so you can check who to vote for in your elections. That is the sign of a re-aligning and reviving party, rather than a backward moribund party.

In the meantime, before the GOP finally gets a clue, your only choices for populists are on the Democrat side, albeit so far only among primary candidates. But that just means you should vote in the Democrat primaries, to advance populists into the general election, since there are no populists to advance out of the GOP primaries, where your vote would be wasted.

And some Democrat primary candidates will be guilt-free choices, since they may have supported Trump over Hillary! Dennis Kucinich, running for Ohio Governor, was on Fox Business an awful lot in 2016 saying he wanted Bernie, but that Trump was hitting the right notes on trade and re-industrialization, foreign policy, preserving the social safety net, etc., which Hillary was not interested in, and how shameful it is for Democrats that Trump is so easily stealing all these old New Deal issues away from the party.

To reiterate, the GOP will never give you populist candidates unless they see that as a winning strategy on the other side, forcing them to compete on the same winning issues on their own side. Right now, the other side in their minds is still Hillary Clinton and neoliberalism, so they only need to offer the right-wing version of that -- Reaganism.

The Democrats have already seen populism win on the other side -- Trump's nomination and then winning the general. They now have to compete on those populist issues if they want to stay relevant, and that will drive the Bernie take-over of the party.

The GOP does not react this way to Trump's success because he is not the other side to them, so they don't feel the pressure to fight populism with populism. Trump is, in their minds, a fluke internal to their party -- not the thing they need to beat Democrats.

Likewise, the Democrats did not see Carter, the skeptic of the New Deal, as necessary to defeat Republicans -- they assumed he was an internal fluke, and kept running old-style New Deal candidates well into the Reagan revolution. But the Republicans saw Carter's success on the other side and realized that in 1980, they needed to run Reagan rather than New Deal-friendly Republicans, if they wanted a solid answer to Carter's program of deregulation.

So, as strange as it may seem, if you want Tucker Carlson in 2032, you have to vote for Bernie first in 2020.


  1. Both of the parties have shown themselves to be ossified and unresponsive to change. I think it is voters who will be forced to understand there is no meaningful change within the system. The dem establishment still slaps Bernie progressives into line whenever they get too strident. Also, Bernie progressivism is implicitly white middle and upper middle class. Other races and ethnic groups care little for this brand of politics and anything that doesn't meet their approval is dead on arrival in dem politics. Black bloc voting alone makes a Bernie insurrection unlikely. I knew Bernie was finished in the primaries the moment he lost South Carolina by something like 20+ points.

  2. Dem Establishment surrendered to Bernie last year when 16 Senators joined him in his "Medicare for all" healthcare bill. Just one year before, they were calling him a "pie in the sky" idealist whose crazy ideas could never be supported. This is just the first domino to fall.

    Show me the 16 GOP Senators who have signed onto something equally "extreme" on the Trumpian populist-nationalist side. The closest bill would be the RAISE Act, and that received zero co-sponsors aside from the originators Cotton and Perdue.

    White working class is 100% on board with Medicare for all, raising the minimum wage, going after the finance sector, and generally redistributing wealth downward instead of upward.

    The Dem party elites know there will be a revolt next time if Bernie doesn't get the nomination -- that already cost them the election last time (Bernie would have done much better than Clinton, although still would've lost), with so many angry Bernie voters either staying home or voting Trump.

    Now that they've seen populism win for their rival party, they are forced to take it up themselves to win back the Obama-to-Trump voters, to motivate turnout among Dems who stayed home last time, etc.

    They won't care if some 70 year-old black Boomer wants their identity politics uber alles -- that will lose the election, which has been proven in 2016, and is not just a hypothetical.

    Ironically the same superdelegates who trashed Bernie last time may come to his rescue this time -- to save the party from its crazy election-losing voters, who in 2020 will be those pushing ID politics at any cost. The Bernie revolution will be the sensible compromise that has a good chance at winning the general election, taking back Congress, and clawing back the state legislatures and governorships -- there is simply no alternative on the Dem side to populism. They won't re-conquer one single office if they stay stuck on identity politics.

  3. The ID pol Dems are too fragmented vs. Bernie, giving the trailblazer a key edge in the primary.

    Last time, the resistance to change was consolidated from the start around a single status quo candidate, Crooked Hillary.

    Next time, there could be a dozen old-way candidates, which will shred the counter-revolutionary vote into many tiny pieces. No one of them will come close to the consolidated Bernie vote.

    And just like that -- bye-bye dinosaurs obsessed with cultural identity masturbation (sometimes referred to as Boomers).

  4. Cardi B praises FDR, gets Bernie re-tweet, for Social Security -- which is framed as the *real* way to make America great.


    Dems realize they have to steal back the populist platform from Trump, rather than offer another stale multi-culti version of Reaganism.

    And here we have a famous woman of color (Afro-Caribbean) talking about the social safety net instead of why white people are evil. Gives props to old straight white man, FDR, knowing his current descendant is another old straight white man, Bernie.

    Millennials of all races are more into Bernie than Boomers of their same race. And given how precarious non-white Americans' standard of living is getting, vs. the Boomers having it easy their whole lives, even non-white Millennials are more concerned with material issues than airy-fairy cultural crap.

    In 2016, Black Lives Matter shut down Bernie's speech in Seattle. In 2020, Cardi B will headline a Bernie-or-bust concert in Brooklyn.

    Meanwhile in 2020 the GOP will still be running anti-populists and globalists, with all of Trump's old pop-nat surrogates banished from the picture.

    Only one of the parties is ossified and unresponsive.

  5. Would you feel comfortable proffering an opinion about Jeremy Corbyn? He is still very much undersiege by his own party. Nigel Farage for that matter, too.

  6. "When Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the opposition, one of two things had to happen. Either the Overton window had to shift to allow for the reflection of views held by the leader of the official opposition and his myriad supporters, or the leader of the opposition had to be castigated and humiliated as an unreasonable lunatic. Corbyn’s rational scepticism on British involvement in the conflict in Syria is a key moment in this process. Despite the fact Corbyn’s scepticism is supported by a wide swathe of diplomatic and military opinion within the UK, it has to be portrayed as fringe, extreme and irrational."


    And I loved this, from the same article, which is relevant to themes discussed so much here of corruption during the neo-Gilded era:

    "...Save the Children was paying its chief executive £370,000 and had become a haven for New Labour politicos on huge salaries, which was why it was so involved in pushing a pro-war narrative in Syria. When Justin Forsyth and Brendan Cox – both massively salaried employees who came into Save the Children from the revolving door of Gordon Brown’s office – were outed over sexual predation, that seemed a natural result of “charities” being headed by rich party hacks rather than by simple people trying to do good."


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