Friday Talking Points [413] -- Bad Hombres And Nasty Women Unite!

[ Posted Friday, October 21st, 2016 – 17:01 UTC ]

So we had the final presidential debate this week, and Donald Trump went right on being Donald Trump, which should have surprised precisely no one by now. Our subtitle today, of course, refers to the two most amusing (or horrifying, take your pick...) things Trump said during the debate. Since then, both "bad hombres" and "nasty women" are trending online. Hey, when bad hombres and nasty women unite, anything could happen, right?

Maybe this, together with all the dark talk of "rigged elections" from Trump will finally provide a dash of enthusiasm for Clinton, here at the homestretch -- it'd certainly be a fitting end to the most bizarre presidential campaign of everyone's lifetimes. From the New York Times:

"Nasty Woman" T-shirts began selling on the internet. Naral Pro-Choice America advertised "NastyWoman" stickers.... Streams of Janet Jackson's 1986 hit "Nasty" increased 250 percent on Spotify after the debate, according to a Spotify spokesman. More than 8,000 people had taken up the phrase on Twitter by midafternoon, wielding it as a badge of honor.

Nastiness aside, last week had to be divided into "pre-debate" and "post-debate." The most prophetic article of the week came from Aaron Blake at the Washington Post, who -- before the debate, mind you -- was already noticing all of Trump's "rigged" talk. In an article titled "The GOP Is Trying To Put Out A Rigged Election Fire That It Helped Start," Blake placed the blame for this phenomenon exactly where it belongs: at the feet of the entire Republican Party.

A big problem for Republicans in all of this, though, is that they are fighting against the very same perceptions they have spent years promoting.

As Republicans have expanded voter ID laws to dozens of states across the country in recent years, the chief justification has been to combat voter fraud. Democrats have responded by pointing out just how few demonstrated cases of actual voter fraud there are (even fewer of which would be affected by voter ID laws), but Republicans have pressed forward, suggesting it's a big enough problem that it requires legislation.

The GOP's platform in 2012 included language supporting voter ID "to prevent election fraud, particularly with regard to registration and absentee ballots."

Blake then discusses the charges of media bias, concluding: "Trump's argument today is merely taking that idea to its logical extreme." The piece finishes with:

But they've done such a great job pressing claims of voter fraud and a biased media that many of them aren't just pushing back against Trump but, in a very real sense, against themselves.

We wrote more than a week ago on a similar theme (although using different examples). Republicans truly have no one to blame but themselves for Trump and all he stands for.

But to get back to the pre-debate wrap-up, last week the Post ran a story about possible voter intimidation (and even suppression) happening under the guise of a voter fraud investigation in Mike Pence's home state of Indiana:

The voter registration applications flagged by election officials in Marion and Hendricks counties "contained minor inaccuracies like missing Zip codes and area codes," [Patriot Majority USA Director Craig] Varoga said. "Based on the fact that they found (problems in) 10 forms out of tens of thousands... to launch a statewide investigation into a voter registration program is a political agenda."

Varoga said the investigation and raid were done to cripple his group's voter registration effort and to create fear and confusion among black voters. "Every single public employee involved in this illegal voter suppression and abuse of law enforcement is a partisan Republican," he said. "With every unlawful action and every partisan statement, they are providing more evidence that this is an abuse of civil rights and voting rights."

Astoundingly, Pence then made the round of all the Sunday morning talk shows -- mere days after this article ran, and none of the hosts asked him a single question about it. Want to know why people think the mainstream media is pathetic? Exhibit A. This wasn't a story from some fringe website or even from a biased news source -- it was from the Washington-freakin'-Post, and yet nobody brought it up when they had the chance. Pathetic.

Trump, out on the campaign trail before the debate, spent his time calling for Hillary Clinton to be drug tested before debating, and tearing up a TelePrompTer for fun and exercise. We are truly through the looking glass, folks. More and more women keep publicly accusing Trump of sexual misconduct, as well. Trump supporters, though, are still confident, perhaps dangerously so.

Let's see, how is Trump's campaign team doing? Well, they just lost their political director, who is going to "step back" from the campaign "for personal reasons." His job "was to focus on Trump's efforts on the ground in those battleground states," so that's probably going to hurt.

How is Trump's campaign team doing out in those battleground states? Well, they just severed ties with the state Republican Party chairman in Ohio, and they had to get rid of one of their own in Virginia as well. So, the battleground states seem to be going swimmingly for Trump.

Let's see, what else? Hillary Clinton has a huge cash advantage, heading into the homestretch. So she's going to spend some of it in Arizona, where Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders just appeared for her. She's got dozens of offices in the state already, the polls show her in the lead in this very red state, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio is polling down 15 points against his Democratic opponent. So Team Clinton smells a possible pickup, which would be historic.

Senator John McCain, already seeing "Madam President Clinton" on the horizon, casually admitted this week that of course Republicans would be united against any Clinton Supreme Court pick. This will make it so much easier for Chuck Schumer to get rid of the filibuster for such appointments next January, should the Democrats take the Senate back.

President Obama has decided what he's going to focus on after he leaves office, and it's a pretty worthy idea. He and Eric Holder are going to fight gerrymandering. This includes such things as pushing for redistricting reform and improving Democrats' position in statehouses across the country in anticipation of the 2020 Census and House of Representatives reapportionment. Democrats got their clocks cleaned in 2010, which is a big reason why Republicans have such a stranglehold on the House. Don't believe this is true? From the article: "In 2014, Republicans got 52 percent of the votes but won 57 percent of the seats." In many states that voted for Obama, the majority of the House delegation is Republicans, as well. Fighting such gerrymandering will be Obama's main political objective for the next few years, with an organization dedicated solely to redistricting reform. As noted, a worthy cause indeed.

OK, enough of that. On to the debate. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump debated for the final time in Las Vegas Wednesday night, and it was simultaneously the best night for Clinton and the best night for Trump. However, because Clinton's best is so obviously far, far beyond anything Trump could manage, she emerged the clear winner. Other than the "hombre/nasty woman" quotable lines from Trump, the debate boiled down to one simple statement Trump made: he was taking back his commitment (given in a previous debate with Clinton) that he'd abide by the election results. So, looks like no entertaining concession speech will be forthcoming late on the night of November 8th!

Condemnation of Trump's comments was swift, and came from all corners. Leading the pack are Republicans worried about their election chances, naturally, including Senators John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, Rob Portman, and Ron Johnson. McCain had the most pertinent experience to draw upon, of course, and his voice was the clearest: "A concession isn't just an exercise in graciousness. It is an act of respect for the will of the American people, a respect that is every American leader's first responsibility." Also important: keeping Sarah Palin away from the microphone during the concession speech, of course.

Notably absent in this chorus was either GOP congressional leader, as Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell went into bunker mode, and kept their heads down all week. For Ryan it was probably a wise choice, as he had already been booed (with a "Paul Ryan sucks!" chant, no less) at a campaign event he did recently with Trump in Green Bay.

But perhaps the most stunning voice to denounce Trump was Maine's governor, Paul LePage. This is a guy who, previous to Trump's arrival on the Republican political scene, had been in the running for "craziest GOP elected official in the country" -- in fact, he almost seems to be proud of this dubious honor. LePage, after seeing the debate, said:

It's a stupid comment. I mean, come on, get over yourself. Donald, take your licks, and let's move on four years.

Wow. When you've lost Paul LePage -- when even he's saying "get over yourself" -- then your campaign is in a world of trouble.

Also bailing on Donald Trump was Michael Steele, who told an audience celebrating (!) the 40th anniversary of Mother Jones magazine: "I will not be voting for Trump." He becomes the third ex-GOP chairman to refuse to support Trump. As well as all their living ex-presidents. But inquiring minds want to know, what the heck was Michael Steele doing at a Mother Jones celebration? Doesn't seem like his type of bash, if you've ever read the magazine.

Steele didn't mince any words, either, saying that Trump had "captured that racist underbelly, that frustration, that angry underbelly of American life and gave voice to that," and admitting "I was damn near puking during the debates." Boy, with party-members like these, who needs Democratic enemies?

OK, let's check in with the experts. Steve Schmidt, one of the most savvy Republican Party strategists around, is predicting Trump won't have a leg to stand on if he decides to call the election rigged. Why not? Because:

The question is, how close will Clinton get to 400 electoral votes? She'll be north of 350, and she's trending towards 400 -- and the trend line is taking place in very red states like Georgia, Texas and Arizona.

Hoo boy. This is a Republican strategist saying this, with two whole weeks to go. Non-partisan election-watchers are predicting pretty much the same thing. The well-respected Stu Rothenberg just wrote an opinion piece titled: "Trump's Path To An Electoral College Victory Isn't Narrow. It's Non-Existent."

The mocking has even begun, from the left. Want to bet who Trump's going to blame his epic loss on? Keep this link handy, because it has a dandy little chart of all of Trump's conspiracies (and this was drawn before the debate, mind you) to pick from. Why, it could be anybody! Because as we all know, Trump's not going to take one iota of the blame himself.

Is the election depressing you? You certainly aren't alone. So here are two final items to cheer everyone up. First, legalization of recreational marijuana has hit the highest point in public opinion polling that it ever has -- a full 6 out of 10 Americans think the War On Weed should end now, totally and completely. This is an election issue, the article helpfully explains, for a big reason. Full legalization is on the ballot in California (with 40 million residents) as well as four other states:

If the Golden State, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada all vote "yes" next month, almost one-quarter of the U.S. population will soon be living in a state where recreational marijuana is legal -- up dramatically from the current 5 percent of the population that now does.

So get out and vote, stoners!

Finally, for everyone depressed at the depth of nastiness this election has sunk to, we have a cheerful and uplifting message from our neighbors to the north. Check out the video Canadians just sent us all, to convince us that America is already great. We think we speak for all Americans in saying: "Thanks, eh? That was just what we needed!"


Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

There was one grim piece of news this week, as a Republican campaign office in North Carolina got firebombed this week. Anyone -- from any political persuasion -- needs to condemn such acts of political terrorism strongly, of course, and you can add our voice to that chorus. Violence is simply unacceptable in the political arena, no matter how nasty it gets.

But we did want to give an Honorable Mention to a group of Democrats who took it upon themselves to raise some money to help pay for repairs. They set a goal of $10,000, which they reached within a few hours, and turned off the donations after hitting $13,000. This is Democrats helping Republicans in the spirit of condemning violence, so it was a silver lining to a very ugly incident.

But the rest of this section is going to be pretty short and sweet, because we are handing Hillary Clinton our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week for her debate performance, which was superb. The reason this section's going to be short is that the entire talking points section is a recap of the debate, so there's not much else to say about it here.

[It is our standing policy not to provide links to candidate web pages, so you'll have to search Hillary Clinton's site on your own to let her know you appreciate her efforts.]


Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

Hillary Clinton deserves at least a (Dis-)Honorable Mention this week as well, if the WikiLeaked account of her talking about environmentalists (whom she snarkily told: "Get a life") and Bernie Sanders supporters turns out to be accurate.

We really don't think all the leaks have damaged Clinton with the voters so far, and our best guess why this is so is either that Trump is sucking all the oxygen from the room (as he's been doing all along) with scandals that are much juicier and more prurient, or that opinions about Clinton are already "baked in the cake" and aren't going to change anyone's vote at this point. Clinton-lovers will discount the stories as Russian lies, Clinton-haters weren't going to vote for her anyway, and the Bernie Sanders supporters already suspected Clinton has held this attitude all along -- the emails are nothing more than confirmation of these long-held suspicions. With no evidence to back this claim up, though, we think that the Bernie people who are ready to vote for Hillary went through the process of accepting Clinton for who she is during and just after the national convention.

Of course, if Donald Trump weren't being such a clown on a daily basis, the email leaks might have hurt Hillary more -- if they were the only thing the press had to talk about, in other words. But again, that's just speculation.

But our true winners of the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week are Scott Foval and Robert Creamer. Nope, we had never heard of them, either. Here's the story about how they got stung:

Scott Foval and Robert Creamer, two little-known but influential Democratic political operatives, have left their jobs after video investigations by James O'Keefe's Project Veritas Action found Foval entertaining dark notions about how to win elections. Foval was laid off Monday by Americans United for Change, where he had been national field director; Creamer announced Tuesday night that he was "stepping back" from the work he was doing for the unified Democratic campaign for Hillary Clinton.

The moves came after 36 hours of coverage, led by conservative and social media, for O'Keefe's video series "Rigging the Election." In them, Foval is filmed telling hidden-camera-toting journalists about how they have disrupted Republican events. Foval also goes on at length about how an organization might cover up in-person voter fraud. In another Tuesday night statement, the Creamer-founded Democracy Partners, which used Foval as a contractor, denounced both Project Veritas and the statements caught on camera.

For getting caught talking about dirty tricks, both men deserve this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award, at the very least.

[Since they just got fired and are now private citizens, our policy is not to provide contact information for such persons, sorry.]


Friday Talking Points

Volume 413 (10/21/16)

Before we dig in to the talking points, we have a program note for everyone. This column will not appear next weekend, because even though we're deep into election season, it will also be the last calendar day I'll be posting before Hallowe'en. Since Mondays are now "Electoral Math" column days, I can't actually post my yearly spooky column on Hallowe'en itself, so that's what you've got to look forward to next Friday. Fair warning, and prepare to be scared silly by next week's column. And I've already done last year's Hallowe'en column on Trump and Hillary, so I'm going to have to get extra-creative this year. Stay tuned! Since it's Hallowe'en and all, I can ironically say: "Same bat time, same bat channel!"

Speaking of amusing slogans from television shows, we do have one note to add to the excerpts from Clinton's debate performance, simply because we have a rather juvenile sense of humor. Clinton, talking about the economy, said the following: "So now we've dug ourselves out of it, we're standing, but we're not yet running. So what I am proposing is that we invest from the middle out and the ground up, not the top down." This immediately brought to mind the scene from The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror VII" where one of the aliens (Kang and Kodos), disguised as Hillary's husband Bill, during a presidential debate, uttered the immortal line: "I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!" Hey, we warned you we were about to get juvenile....

With that out of the way (ahem), let's get to the more serious parts of the debate. Hillary Clinton brought her chef's knives to this debate, and promptly filleted Trump up one side and down the other, which is why we're running such an extended amount of the transcript today. Hillary had her best debate night yet this week, and it's worth taking a look back at all the different ways she sliced Trump up.


Hillary Clinton's Best Debate Moments

Clinton started off with an excellent answer on what she'd look for in a Supreme Court justice, which is certainly worth reading for anyone who intends to vote for her for that very reason. But we've already got a ton of material here to work with, so you'll have to look it up yourself on the debate transcript (which takes far less time to read than watching the whole debate).

The first truly notable moment was when Hillary made a case she should have been strongly making from the start: Donald Trump uses undocumented workers, so how can anyone believe anything he says on the issue?

Now, what I am also arguing is that bringing undocumented immigrants out from the shadows, putting them into the formal economy will be good, because then employers can't exploit them and undercut Americans' wages.

And Donald knows a lot about this. He used undocumented labor to build the Trump Tower. He underpaid undocumented workers, and when they complained, he basically said what a lot of employers do: "You complain, I'll get you deported."

I want to get everybody out of the shadows, get the economy working, and not let employers like Donald exploit undocumented workers, which hurts them, but also hurts American workers.

Trump, tellingly, didn't even attempt to answer this charge, likely because he knows it is both true and easily provable.

In the segment on the economy, Chris Wallace tossed both candidates a softball, essentially asking them why their economic plan would create more jobs than their opponent's. Now, for some context, for the past week or so, a certain groupthink had been emerging from the punditocracy. All the inside-the-Beltway types decided that what Clinton needed to do during this debate was to "make the case" for why she wanted to be president. This is rather jaw-dropping, because that's exactly what she's been doing for months, out on the campaign trail, but whatever. In any case, I thought her answer to the jobs question was her best summation of why she wants to be president, and (hopefully) will shut up all those loose lips at the Georgetown cocktail parties. [This was just previous to the amusing Simpsons-like quote, we should mention.]

Well, I think when the middle class thrives, America thrives. And so my plan is based on growing the economy, giving middle-class families many more opportunities. I want us to have the biggest jobs program since World War II, jobs in infrastructure and advanced manufacturing. I think we can compete with high-wage countries, and I believe we should. New jobs and clean energy, not only to fight climate change, which is a serious problem, but to create new opportunities and new businesses.

I want us to do more to help small business. That's where two-thirds of the new jobs are going to come from. I want us to raise the national minimum wage, because people who live in poverty should not -- who work full-time should not still be in poverty. And I sure do want to make sure women get equal pay for the work we do.

I feel strongly that we have to have an education system that starts with preschool and goes through college. That's why I want more technical education in high schools and in community colleges, real apprenticeships to prepare young people for the jobs of the future. I want to make college debt-free and for families making less than $125,000, you will not get a tuition bill from a public college or university if the plan that I worked on with Bernie Sanders is enacted.

And we're going to work hard to make sure that it is, because we are going to go where the money is. Most of the gains in the last years since the Great Recession have gone to the very top. So we are going to have the wealthy pay their fair share. We're going to have corporations make a contribution greater than they are now to our country.

That is a plan that has been analyzed by independent experts which said that it could produce 10 million new jobs. By contrast, Donald's plan has been analyzed to conclude it might lose 3.5 million jobs. Why? Because his whole plan is to cut taxes, to give the biggest tax breaks ever to the wealthy and to corporations, adding $20 trillion to our debt, and causing the kind of dislocation that we have seen before, because it truly will be trickle-down economics on steroids.

So the plan I have I think will actually produce greater opportunities. The plan he has will cost us jobs and possibly lead to another Great Recession.

At the end of the back-and-forth on the economy, Clinton scored a great shot, in a line she should have been using prominently in all the debates. Make it personal!

There's only one of us on this stage who's actually shipped jobs to Mexico, because that's Donald. He's shipped jobs to 12 countries, including Mexico.

But he mentioned China. And, you know, one of the biggest problems we have with China is the illegal dumping of steel and aluminum into our markets. I have fought against that as a senator. I've stood up against it as secretary of state.

Donald has bought Chinese steel and aluminum. In fact, the Trump Hotel right here in Las Vegas was made with Chinese steel. So he goes around with crocodile tears about how terrible it is, but he has given jobs to Chinese steelworkers, not American steelworkers.

Once again, Trump had no answer to any of these charges, because he knows they are true. Instead, his argument devolved into: "You should have stopped me by changing all the laws!" He fundamentally misunderstands the role of First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, and insisted that Hillary Clinton should have singlehandedly revamped the tax laws during her "30 years" in public life. Clinton was ready for this, and pounced. This was one of the best moments in the entire debate for her, in fact.

HILLARY CLINTON: He raised the 30 years of experience, so let me just talk briefly about that. You know, back in the 1970s, I worked for the Children's Defense Fund. And I was taking on discrimination against African-American kids in schools. He was getting sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination in his apartment buildings.

In the 1980s, I was working to reform the schools in Arkansas. He was borrowing $14 million from his father to start his businesses. In the 1990s, I went to Beijing and I said women's rights are human rights. He insulted a former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, called her an eating machine.

DONALD TRUMP: Give me a break.

CLINTON: And on the day when I was in the Situation Room, monitoring the raid that brought Osama bin Laden to justice, he was hosting the "Celebrity Apprentice." So I'm happy to compare my 30 years of experience, what I've done for this country, trying to help in every way I could, especially kids and families get ahead and stay ahead, with your 30 years, and I'll let the American people make that decision.

Hillary Clinton obviously watched the recent PBS documentary, which presented both her life and Donald Trump's in exactly the same format -- switching back and forth on the timeline to show what each was doing during each decade. The documentary was well worth watching, but Clinton's answer distilled it into a few paragraphs. Nicely done!

Wallace then asked Trump directly about all those women who had been making sexual misconduct and sexual assault charges against him. Trump insisted that they had all been "debunked," despite having no evidence whatsoever to back this claim up.

Clinton was obviously ready for this exchange, too. Once again, the most effective weapon to use against Trump is his own words, quoted back to him.

CLINTON: At the last debate, we heard Donald talking about what he did to women. And after that, a number of women have come forward saying that's exactly what he did to them. Now, what was his response? Well, he held a number of big rallies where he said that he could not possibly have done those things to those women because they were not attractive enough for them to be assaulted.

TRUMP: I did not say that. I did not say that.

CLINTON: In fact, he went on to say...

CHRIS WALLACE: Her two minutes -- sir, her two minutes. Her two minutes.

TRUMP: I did not say that.

WALLACE: It's her two minutes.

CLINTON: He went on to say, "Look at her. I don't think so." About another woman, he said, "That wouldn't be my first choice." He attacked the woman reporter writing the story, called her "disgusting," as he has called a number of women during this campaign.

Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. He goes after their dignity, their self-worth, and I don't think there is a woman anywhere who doesn't know what that feels like. So we now know what Donald thinks and what he says and how he acts toward women. That's who Donald is.

This led to the most-mocked moment of the night, when Donald Trump stated: "Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody." The crowd responded with: "(LAUGHTER)" prompting Wallace to shush them.

Clinton then spiked the football in the end zone and did a dance. She tied Trump's treatment of women to his treatment of, well, everyone.

CLINTON: Well, every time Donald is pushed on something which is obviously uncomfortable, like what these women are saying, he immediately goes to denying responsibility. And it's not just about women. He never apologizes or says he's sorry for anything.

So we know what he has said and what he's done to women. But he also went after a disabled reporter, mocked and mimicked him on national television.


CLINTON: He went after Mr. and Mrs. Khan, the parents of a young man who died serving our country, a Gold Star family, because of their religion. He went after John McCain, a prisoner of war, said he prefers "people who aren't captured." He went after a federal judge, born in Indiana, but who Donald said couldn't be trusted to try the fraud and racketeering case against Trump University because his parents were Mexican.

So it's not one thing. This is a pattern, a pattern of divisiveness, of a very dark and in many ways dangerous vision of our country, where he incites violence, where he applauds people who are pushing and pulling and punching at his rallies. That is not who America is.

And I hope that as we move in the last weeks of this campaign, more and more people will understand what's at stake in this election. It really does come down to what kind of country we are going to have.

Wallace then prompted Trump's biggest mistake of the evening -- one that is still reverberating throughout the country -- when he responded: "What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense." after being asked whether he'd accept the election's results. Since Trump had been focusing on many claims that the election was about to be "rigged," Clinton was once again ready to pounce.

CLINTON: Well, Chris, let me respond to that, because that's horrifying. You know, every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is, is rigged against him.

The FBI conducted a year-long investigation into my e-mails. They concluded there was no case; he said the FBI was rigged. He lost the Iowa caucus. He lost the Wisconsin primary. He said the Republican primary was rigged against him. Then Trump University gets sued for fraud and racketeering; he claims the court system and the federal judge is rigged against him. There was even a time when he didn't get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him.

TRUMP: Should have gotten it.


CLINTON: This is -- this is a mindset. This is how Donald thinks. And it's funny, but it's also really troubling.


CLINTON: So that is not the way our democracy works. We've been around for 240 years. We've had free and fair elections. We've accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them. And that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election. You know, President Obama said the other day when you're whining before the game is even finished...


WALLACE: Hold on. Hold on, folks. Hold on, folks.

CLINTON: just shows you're not up to doing the job. And let's -- you know, let's be clear about what he is saying and what that means. He is denigrating -- he's talking down our democracy. And I, for one, am appalled that somebody who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that kind of position.

This may have been the moment when Hillary Clinton absolutely put the election away, folks. But there were two final zingers that are also worth pointing out. The first came when Trump tried to use his "Bernie Sanders said you have bad judgment" line, in an attempt to woo Bernie voters to his side. Clinton answered back with the answer she really should have had ready all along.

CLINTON: Well, you should ask Bernie Sanders who he's supporting for president. And he has said...

TRUMP: Which is a big mistake.

CLINTON: ... as he has campaigned for me around the country, you are the most dangerous person to run for president in the modern history of America. I think he's right.

And finally, the biggest jaw-dropping moment ever witnessed in a modern presidential debate by a Republican. Sure, the whole "election's going to be stolen from me" thing was astonishing, but this was downright shocking. Hillary got Trump to admit something no Republican has ever (to our knowledge) said in a debate since at least 1980. Clinton teed it up:

You know, back in 1987, he took out a $100,000 ad in the New York Times, during the time when President Reagan was president, and basically said exactly what he just said now, that we were the laughingstock of the world. He was criticizing President Reagan. This is the way Donald thinks about himself, puts himself into, you know, the middle and says, "You know, I alone can fix it," as he said on the convention stage.

And then Trump, a few responses later, just flat-out admitted something that will surely guarantee to keep a large number of Republicans from voting for him:

Because I did disagree with Ronald Reagan very strongly on trade. I disagreed with him. We should have been much tougher on trade even then. I've been waiting for years. Nobody does it right.

Badmouthing Saint Ronald of Reagan? With tens of millions of Republican voters watching? Somebody please explain why, exactly, some Democrats were afraid to let Hillary Clinton debate so much during the primaries? If she can get a Republican to admit he disagreed with Ronald Reagan on national television, then we have to conclude she's one of the best debaters we've ever seen.

[That's it for this week, for anyone who made it all the way to the end of this tome -- see you all again in two weeks, for our final Friday Talking Points before the election!]

-- Chris Weigant


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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post


29 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [413] -- Bad Hombres And Nasty Women Unite!”

  1. [1] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey CW

    As someone who disagrees with the Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Hillary AKA the neolibcon establishments views on trade, which have decimated good US manufacturing jobs and rewarded those doing it with tax breaks... subsidizing this disastrous policy... I fully support anyone who challenges them on the issue... even if they are hypocritical elitist scum.

    In particular, criticizing Reagan is very endearing.
    A real Democrat would be praising that criticism and doing so as well.
    A Dem supporting pundit commending Hillary for this just exemplifies how far Democrats have strayed from their roots.

    I understand the supposedly politically clever nature of the attack.
    But Obama's praise for Reagan was sickening, and Hillary attacking Trump for criticizing Reagan is sickening too.
    He dang well deserves criticism.
    It is historical revisionism to pretend otherwise.

    If this were happening in another reality, where Democrats were vigorously opposing the job killing, anti-union, offshoring ideology of Republicans, I would think it was clever too.

    But they aren't.
    They've actively embraced the ideology of Republicans and Wall Street corporatists to the detriment of our country.

    Sorry, but you considering this the best moment for Hillary is flat out depressing.


  2. [2] 
    altohone wrote:

    Pt. 2

    "President Obama has decided what he's going to focus on after he leaves office, and it's a pretty worthy idea. He and Eric Holder are going to fight gerrymandering."

    Obama partnering with his appointed Wall Street/torture coddling collaborator Eric "revolving door" Holder for a post-presidency worthy cause is likewise disheartening.

    Just a reminder that it was the disastrous failures of Obama For America who dropped the ball on rallying the base in 2010 that led to the Dems "getting their clocks cleaned"... not just gerrymandering. Actually, dropping the ball is too generous, since Obama worked against the activist base in a manner that depressed turnout.

    "Hillary Clinton deserves at least a (Dis-)Honorable Mention this week as well, if the WikiLeaked account of her talking about environmentalists (whom she snarkily told: "Get a life") and Bernie Sanders supporters turns out to be accurate."

    Uh, it's not the "Wikileaks account"... they're just the messenger, not the author. Hillary had the chance to dispute the authenticity of the leaks in the debate, and she didn't. So, you questioning the accuracy is very odd.

    "We really don't think all the leaks have damaged Clinton with the voters so far"

    The leaks may not be harming Hillary with voters, but the activists who were disparaged are none too pleased. One was quoted yesterday saying something like "the emails are nothing more than confirmation of our long-held suspicions (sound familiar?)... Hillary's honeymoon will be short lived, if not non-existent".


  3. [3] 
    John From Censornati wrote:


    "Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week are Scott Foval and Robert Creamer. Nope, we had never heard of them, either."

    Creamer has shared the HuffingtonThing's politics page with you forever.

  4. [4] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    "Steve Schmidt, one of the most savvy Republican Party strategists around"

    The guy who brought us Sarah Palin.

  5. [5] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    "we are handing Hillary Clinton our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week for her debate performance, which was superb"

    I thought that her Rudy Ghouliani jokes last night were pretty great, but I wish she had told him that he needs to smile a little more. Still, it was some excellent trolling and he'll probably act out as planned.

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    JFC [4]

    Did you see Game Change?

    I think Steve Schmidt deeply regrets his role in that and probably loses a lot of sleep over it, still.

    We all make mistakes, you know. Some of us are responsible for bigger messes than others ...

  7. [7] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    agree with you almost completely about the reagan quip. reagan was a veritable pioneer at screwing over american labor. donald deserves credit for pointing it out then and for refusing to back down from it now, in spite of the political implications stemming from reagan mythos. donald's irreverance for political myths is one of the reasons so many people support him in spite of everything.

    CW is correct, however, that hillary was very clever to get donald to commit that particular "washington gaffe" (i.e. accidentally telling the truth) on the final debate stage.

    as to obama's goal of taking on gerrymandering, i think you're selling the effort short. gerrymandering, along with campaign finance, is one of the main factors that prevents the voting public from having a real voice in government. i understand and appreciate your skepticism about the president's real commitment to fair districting nationwide, but it's still an incredibly important topic that has not gotten a fraction of the attention it requires. computer modeling of voting districts has made gerrymandering so bad that even if citizens united were overturned tomorrow, the vast majority of incumbent representatives and state legislators would still be practically untouchable.

    we can criticize obama all we want for becoming an establishment politician who plays within the unfair system. however, i believe he really does understand what makes the system unfair and has his eyes on a few things that might change that unfairness.


  8. [8] 
    altohone wrote:


    We're going to have to agree to disagree.

    With minor tweaks in one direction or another, we've been living under Reaganomics for 40+ years.

    Corporatist Dems pretending that their minor tweaks amount to an ideological difference worthy of cheering while they maintain growing inequality is a Big Lie too many have swallowed.

    This debate "zinger" that inverts the left/right economic divide for supposed political gain perpetuates the Big Lie, just like the undeserved praise.

    Your faith in Obama despite his track record that includes losing Democratic control in Congress is touching... like being touched by Donald Trump touching.

    Gerrymandering absolutely needs to be addressed so that a much needed challenge to the corrupt establishment can advance. But the people Dems should put in charge of the effort shouldn't be defenders of the corrupt establishment. There is a real risk the effort will suffer from intentional failure.

    More importantly, winning back the statehouses in blue and purple states so that Dems can regain control over the process for 2020 requires running candidates that will energize and mobilize voters.
    Milquetoast neoliberal corporatist candidates is not part of a recipe for success.

    People are not happy with the status quo.


  9. [9] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Donald Trump has released a list of all the things he will not do in the first 100 days he is not President of the United States. It's like 9 a YO year kid's list to Santa Claus, if the kid is named Pugsley Adams. Long list, put nasty Hillary in the detention closet, give all the hot girls in class Wet Willies, make the next door neighbor build an expensive fence etc. Santa thinks, "this little SOB is getting socks and underwear in his stocking."

  10. [10] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    I'm optimistic but by no means ready to be glib. It may be less likely than it was two weeks ago but Donald could still conceivably win. That thought should keep ANY democrat sober.


  11. [11] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Al wrote [7]: There is a real risk the effort will suffer from intentional failure.

    So you're saying that America's first black President would deliberately sabotage his own initiative because he's not 'actually' liberal enough?

    Do you hear yourself? That has the atomic weight of a Trump argument.

  12. [12] 
    neilm wrote:

    We are seeing one of the great weaknesses of a system designed for only two parties - there is no chance of regional or "none of the above" parties.

    In the UK, Scotland basically has its own party now. In Germany the Green Party is a force to be reckoned with, and in France the far right have the FN.

    Here we have altohone expressing the unrepresented (at the state and national level) left wing frustration with the system, the Tea Party battling for control against the populism of Trump and the country club/chamber of commerce factions in the Republican Party. Then we also have the attitude that if you vote Green or Libertarian you are throwing your vote away.

    Many people I know are Green, but see the Democrats as the only way to get at least some outcomes they want.

    I'm no political scientist, but is there any possibility of the system changing to accommodate a wider range of viewpoints and parties?

  13. [13] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    alto said,

    Just a reminder that it was the disastrous failures of Obama For America who dropped the ball on rallying the base in 2010 that led to the Dems "getting their clocks cleaned"

    By "disastrous failures", you mean the ACA? Obama had pledged to be known as the "bipartisan President" and had bent over backwards in his attempt to work with the Republicans in Congress up to this point; unaware of their pledge to be the "Party of NO" in response. Some version of the ACA, whose framework was the brainchild of Republicans, would have been introduced by the McCain if he'd won the White House, and the GOP's hatred of the ACA stems more from the fact that Obama gets credit for what was supposed to be one of the biggest jewels in the Republican Party's legislative crown than from any issue that they have with the Act itself. Democrats chose to distance themselves from the ACA instead of standing up and defending it, and they lost their re-election bids in 2010. Making Obama take the full responsibility for the 2010 voting results is convenient, but misleading.

  14. [14] 
    altohone wrote:


    Why are you starting with a straw man argument?
    Since you claimed that's what I'm arguing, I will.
    On economics, Obama is far from liberal.

    Obama's top donors were all Wall Streeters.
    He served them well.

    Interesting that you called him "America's first black President" (as if that were relevant to this discussion), because his Wall Street friendly policies allowed the criminals who targeted black people in their massive fraud to go unpunished.

    College educated blacks and Hispanics lost 70% of their wealth in that fraud... not their income... their wealth. As a percentage of the population, they were disproportionately victimized.

    Inequality got worse in every year of Obama's presidency.

    Hillary (unconvincingly) distanced herself from Obama's TPP because of opposition from liberals and progressives.

    Obamacare was written by the Heritage Foundation... a conservative think tank.

    Obama's (abandoned) proposal for corporate tax reform was proudly deemed revenue neutral.
    (did you catch Elizabeth Warren railing against this idea yesterday?... that's because tax revenue from corporations used to amount to 30%... now it's only 10%).
    Wanna take a guess at who is paying more?

    Should I go on Mr. Projection, or are you going to keep attacking me like an ignorant Trumpeteer?

    Obama's kowtowing to the corrupt establishment (just like Hillary) suggests he will continue to serve them.
    They seem pretty happy with the results from their gerrymandered Congress.
    I'm fairly certain they will be just as happy with whatever "results" Obama gets too.

    But, hey.
    If you want to present evidence that suggests otherwise, I will consider it.


  15. [15] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    I'm no political scientist, but is there any possibility of the system changing to accommodate a wider range of viewpoints and parties?

    To be overly optimistic, I would have to say yes, with the qualifier that it will take an iron will and some major changes to the electoral system, far past just the good ole' gerrymandering and campaign finance changes that are preached with regularity.

    I think that for other parties to have a seat at the table we need to get rid of the electoral college and go with OPOV. In my opine it is a relic of a time when information was not so easily available to all and the fact that vote tallies took some time to report. the EC served it's purpose for the time, but it has since passed. Without the EV I am of the opinion that anyone who wants to win votes and govern effectively (or "with a Mandate") would in fact have to campaign across all 50 states and would have to moderate their platforms to attract enough of the independents to achieve a winning majority of the popular vote, unlike now where a majority of the money raised is spent in just 11 or so "battleground" states...Talk about disfranchisement.

    The other thing that certainly has to go is big money in campaigns...perhaps it should be limited to you are not allowed to spend more than you will earn in one election cycle. Of course this would have to go hand in hand with a restoration of the "fairness" doctrines and having them apply to the cable news outlets as well...this time around.

    Then there is gerrymandering...'Nuff said there...

    Perhaps, we also need to change how we are verified to vote and the registration of voters. I myself am a big fan of how some other countries do this by issuing a voter ID card that is nationally recognized as being not just a form of ID to vote, but also as a national form of ID that is universally recognized. This card is issued typically when you are 18 and you are not given the opportunity to opt out of voting or being registered to vote. The real kicker for this concept is that the first card and subsequent renewals are free but if you lose it it costs you ... and since the VID card is universally accepted as ID not many people lose them...these systems are designed to be inclusive and error on the side of inclusiveness vs. the trend in our country of being exclusionary.

    We also need to badly update the voting process itself, perhaps by starting out with a national set of guidelines for voting times/dates and ballot layout guidelines for federal offices ( I think the devil will be in the details for local offices and states like CA that have the "proposition" system). Should it not be that no matter where you go in this country the ballot for federal offices and the process to vote be the same? It would certainly go along way towards removing the confusion and uncertainty that we currently have in some places, especially in today's economic system of moving to where the work is vs. staying in one place working for one employer until you retire. I am also a big fan of making absentee voting or vote by mail (ala Oregon) more accessible for all, and for those that insist upon standing in the booth and "pulling the leaver" we should have either a national holiday or election day should be on the weekend (god forbid we give a poor working schlep time off to vote).

    I could go on forever over smaller things...But...time in the departure lounge grows short for me...Suffice it to say that unless we embrace and discuss reshaping our current electoral process to enable the populace to determine the direction of the country over the will of two major parties that receive billions to elect someone who will represent their interests that only gets paid millions (POTUS one election cycle) than it is safe to say that there will be no seats available for third parties at the table.

    I think that some of the above changes are worthy of discussion if we really want third parties to be viable...

  16. [16] 
    altohone wrote:


    You can use a "the buck stops elsewhere" argument if you want, but Obama was the leader of the Democratic party.

    I fully agree that Pelosi should have lost her leadership position due to her failures, but that doesn't absolve Obama. Tim Kaine was leading the DNC in 2010, so he deserves a mention as well. The Dems in Congress who distanced themselves from Obama (for the wrong reason) certainly share some blame, though Obama is the one who failed to rally them behind him or effectively counter the Repub hypocrisy. Of course, "I passed the Republican plan" wouldn't have exactly motivated Dem voters.

    I find it truly odd that you admit that Obamacare was the Republican approach to health care reform (written by the conservative Heritage Foundation), and yet you absolve Obama from the consequences.
    That's a serious disconnect. Millions of Dems took to the streets to push for the public option, and Obama stabbed them in the back.

    Nevertheless, in 2008, Obama For America had millions of eager volunteers, and Obama sent them home... the "I'll take it from here" approach which Dems always conveniently forget happened (despite the criticism he received).

    We also shouldn't forget that under Obama's leadership, the nominally Democratic Congress also failed to act on increasing the minimum wage, union organizing, environmental regulations and a host of other issues that might have motivated Dem voters for the midterms and countered the discontent about the ACA.


  17. [17] 
    altohone wrote:


    "Here we have altohone expressing the unrepresented (at the state and national level) left wing frustration with the system"

    Well, supposedly there are some Dems at the state and national level who claim to represent the left.

    The fact that they aren't making these arguments effectively and set them aside for the sitting president and their fellow party members in Congress, and then join in defending the false representation claims by the current candidate is the basis of my frustration, and the reason I left the party.

    Rather than trying to convince Dem loyalists to abandon the lesser of two evils mantra, at this point I would hope that those who would like other viable options or those who feel as I do who live in deep red or deep blue states recognize that voting for Jill Stein will not threaten a Trump presidency.

    If the Green party can surpass the 5% threshold, they will qualify for federal funding that might allow for a better shot at representation at the state and national level.

    Until the money in elections issue is tackled, that achievable goal is a necessary step.


  18. [18] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    not that it necessarily means anything, but this weekend gallup handed the president his best approval polls in a VERY long time. friday he was at 57%, today back to 54%. i know CW's got bigger fish to fry data-wise, but it's at least worthy of note.

    you'll have to forgive the optimism...


  19. [19] 
    chaszzzbrown wrote:

    [16] altohone

    Well, supposedly there are some Dems at the state and national level who claim to represent the left.

    Are there any elected officials, at either the Federal or State level, across the entire US, who have a valid claim to "representing the left", in your opinion?

  20. [20] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:


    I find it truly odd that you admit that Obamacare was the Republican approach to health care reform (written by the conservative Heritage Foundation), and yet you absolve Obama from the consequences. Millions of Dems took to the streets to push for the public option, and Obama stabbed them in the back.

    So what does the liberal version of the Freedom Caucus call itself? God forbid the Republicans come up with an idea that works as well as RomneyCare did in MA! The ACA was never going to pass with the public option attached; it barely survived without it! Remember, Al Franken was not declared the winner and the Dems did not have the votes needed to force legislation through the Republican blockade until late into the President's first year. Compromise gets things passed! I know that only the things important to you should be allowed to pass, but in the real world it's better if all parties get some of the things they want than for none to get any of the things they want! While I would have preferred the public option being passed as part of the ACA, I know that the millions of people who could not get health insurance prior to it passing are thrilled that Obama chose to compromise!

  21. [21] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    [19] Listen,

    Exactly correct. Thank you. Well put.

  22. [22] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Balthasar [20]

    Appreciate the compliment!


  23. [23] 
    altohone wrote:


    History is replete with US presidents twisting arms and using the bully pulpit to advance their legislative priorities.

    Obama not even trying, and then claiming compromise was necessary is a total cop-out that requires considerable self delusion to believe.

    And, btw, the public option is a position Obama campaigned on in 2008... so it (supposedly) wasn't just important to me.
    The suckers in the Democratic party won't hold her to it, but Hillary recently embraced the public option too.

    We will likely never know, but I personally believe and I think there is considerable evidence suggesting that Obama's devotion to bipartisanship despite Republican obstructionism wasn't a naïve flaw, but rather an excuse to dismiss the priorities of the left (who made his victory over Hillary in the primaries possible).
    He needed an excuse (that didn't alienate the left) to pursue a neoliberal corporatist agenda exactly like the one the majority of Dem voters rejected by choosing him over Hillary.

    The evidence suggests that is who Obama is, and that the positions and policies he campaigned on were simple pandering.


  24. [24] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    History is replete with US presidents twisting arms and using the bully pulpit to advance their legislative priorities.

    But history was made by the Republicans immediately following Obama's inaugural address when they decided to become the Party of No -- refusing to support any legislation that Obama endorsed that would be considered "good for America" by Americans, regardless of the consequences. They planned on making Obama out to be a liar for claiming he would be known as "the bi-partisan President", and would later brag about how the better a piece of legislation was for the country, the harder they had to fight to block it! This includes the historically unheard of act by some Republicans of voting against legislation that they, themselves, had introduced, but ONLY AFTER Obama signaled he supported it and would sign it into law if it reached his desk. This wasn't a case of Republicans voting against legislation based on philospophical or even political differences of opinion! This was Republicans making the sole determining factor as to how they would vote on legislation being whether or not Obama supported it. There is no way to sway a person's decision on how to vote on a piece of legislation when the content of said legislation plays absolutely NO part in their decision making process.

    I am well aware that Obama campaigned for the public option, but again, not every goal is obtainable. If the Republicans would have been willing to work with the President, I think our country would be in a far better place than we are economically currently.
    I find your attitude to be just as obstructionistic as the Republicans, though. "Give in to ALL of my demands!" as your only acceptable plan of action just does not work in the real world.

  25. [25] 
    altohone wrote:


    For the record, I am ignorant about the specifics on the vast majority of state politicians, so I can't really answer the question.

    But on the federal level, you are asking a question that few Democrats dare ask... and the answer isn't easy.

    The answer depends on who you are asking, and whether you are talking about it being issue specific, political expediency or ideological purity... where not even Bernie qualifies.

    Many here consider me hard left, but the Green party or democratic socialism isn't actually anywhere close to as far left as the Socialist party... yes, there is one and they have candidates and everything... and the Communist party still exists too, which is as hard as you can go.
    Some people here think I'm an extreme leftist for wanting adherence to the rule of law and our Constitution... though by definition that's centrist.

    Bernie did amazingly well despite his shortcomings on certain issues, so the answer also comes down on a spectrum, with most voters on the left not requiring purity.

    But, if you look at the Dem party as a whole, the platform says mostly yes, their actions say mostly no.

    It's hard to say if the individual Dems who take a stand on issues and policies they know will never pass into law qualify as having a valid claim to representing the left. There's a story going around that politicians lie, and until there is a vote on legislation that can actually pass, doubts will remain.


  26. [26] 
    altohone wrote:


    That's a nice story you're telling, but legislation did pass Congress that Obama supported (and not just in the first two years when Dems controlled Congress).

    I think Obama only used the veto four times, so he officially supported everything else that passed.

    Come back to reality... it sucks, but that's life.


  27. [27] 
    altohone wrote:

    pt 2

    "I am well aware that Obama campaigned for the public option, but again, not every goal is obtainable."

    Particularly if you don't try to attain them.

    "If the Republicans would have been willing to work with the President, I think our country would be in a far better place than we are economically currently."

    Very true, but Obama didn't need to win over the Republicans to pass the public option, he only needed to win over one Republican and one sniveling Lieberman... or two Republicans.

    "I find your attitude to be just as obstructionistic as the Republicans, though. "Give in to ALL of my demands!" as your only acceptable plan of action just does not work in the real world."

    I think you need a nap.
    Criticizing inaction is "obstructionist"?

    "All my demands"?
    Obama claimed it was his too.
    1- the public option
    2- ???
    Sorry, what other demand was I making... I lost track.


  28. [28] 
    chaszzzbrown wrote:

    [24] altohone

    For the record, I am ignorant about the specifics on the vast majority of state politicians, so I can't really answer the question.

    E.g., looking at the Green Party's site:

    the vast majority (64/100) are in California; none in CA hold a rank higher than county supervisor. For the other states, none hold a position higher than Deputy Mayor.

    That is not to say that they are not honest, good people seeking to further positive results; but they have a very limited scope of action.

    On the other hand, we could look at Democratic Party elected officials; virtually all of whom, despite any good they may have done, have cravenly thrown their lot in with the war criminal and corporate shill Hillary Clinton (to adopt your rhetoric).

    The answer depends on who you are asking, and whether you are talking about it being issue specific, political expediency or ideological purity... where not even Bernie qualifies.

    Right. I guess my point was: a) I was asking you, not a hypothetical someone; and b) as you note that Sen. Sanders is cravenly supporting the war criminal and corporate shill Hillary Clinton (again to borrow your rhetoric), well... I wonder why you even vote or are involved in the political process at all. There is clearly no hope.

    On the other hand, the Lily Ledbetter Act was passed in 2009 through the efforts of war criminal Barack Obama and his war mongering Wall Street-bought cronies - when it would never have even seen the light of day under a President John McCain had he been elected.

    So from my point of view, even granting that everyone currently serving in public office is compromised in one way or the other, it still seems quite reasonable to me to not only prefer one 'war monger' over the other; but to actually act in one's favor; even while remaining firmly in opposition to some of their proposals (and this opposition is a valuable service).

    Many here consider me hard left, but the Green party or democratic socialism isn't actually anywhere close to as far left as the Socialist party... yes, there is one and they have candidates and everything... and the Communist party still exists too, which is as hard as you can go.

    Gasp! Don't tell me there's still a 'Spartacist League' as well? Anarchy in the U.S.? Where's my fainting couch!?

    I can't speak for others, but I don't process your approach as 'hard left' on some simple continuum from Left to Right, because I find that sort of linear classification to be a bit out of date, even when it comes to purely macro-economic matters.

    Same-sex marriage doesn't automatically fall out from a belief that workers should control the means of production. Trade unions don't ensure an end to white privilege (and may even impede such a resolution). It's complicated!

    Mostly, I'm interested in coherent arguments about policies that attempt to address things I think are important in our complicated world; and which acknowledges that every policy has winners and losers.

    Some people here think I'm an extreme leftist for wanting adherence to the rule of law and our Constitution... though by definition that's centrist.

    If you read 'right-wing' sites like (a practice I recommend), they also regularly assert that they are only wanting adherence to the rule of law and our Constitution. So there's a bit more going on here - different people bring a different meaning to those catch phrases; and therein lies the tale. :)

  29. [29] 
    altohone wrote:


    Yes, the two party system dominates our country.

    No, there aren't any Dems that I'm aware of that truly represent the left (but I did temporarily register as a Dem in order to vote for Bernie)

    Generally, things are broken down as federal, state and local level... so none of the green party members are at the state level. I assumed you were talking about elected Dems.

    There is complacency by Dem voters in tolerating the rightward shift in the Democratic party that began with corporatist warmonger Bill Clinton, and has continued ever since... yet Dem voters retain an affinity for diplomacy over war, SS, Medicare, fair wages, progressive social issues, etc.

    The Wall Street coddlers throw down a bone here and there in order to placate elected Dems who haven't abandoned all their principles, to retain the votes of good, left leaning Dems and to prevent the rise of a viable third party on the left. Mostly these bones are in the form of legislation on social issues, which doesn't upset the establishment one bit.

    Why do I bother?
    Because agitation from the left reminds Dem voters that these issues matter.
    Because agitation from the left makes those bones they toss come more frequently.
    Because agitation from the left forces them to toss bones on economic issues every once in a while that do upset the establishment.
    Because agitation from the left prevents the rightward shift from occurring more rapidly.
    Because agitation from the left forces Obama and Hillary to pay lip service to economic and foreign policy issues that exposes them as hypocrites when they pursue them.
    Because agitation from the left creates space for challengers like Bernie who cause major headaches for the Wall Street coddling corporatists.
    Because agitation from the left may make it possible for someone like Bernie to actually succeed, and does help those like Bernie and Warren to win at the state and federal level.
    Because fighting for what is right isn't optional for some people.

    The "reform from within" wing of the Democratic party you are touting as the better approach serves a valuable purpose, but they are pathetically weak kneed.
    Agitation from the left both supports them and makes them appear more moderate.
    But as much as they pat themselves on the back, they are failing miserably on economic and foreign policy issues... generally one step forward, two steps back.
    That is the harsh reality.

    About a week ago, our CW comrade Balthy said (roughly) that tolerating fraud on Wall Street and murder to support US interests was a reality that Dems needed to accept. He later claimed it was hyperbole when I called him out on it, but it's not. It is actually exactly what the establishment wants Dems to accept... and it is exactly what Dems have tolerated from Obama and know they will get from Hillary, and they just bend over and take it.

    If ever there was a valid argument against the reform from within approach, that's it.
    The membership dues for that club are far too steep.

    I don't bother with right wing outlets, because the mainstream outlets feature their swill constantly, and their ideas pollute every comment section on every decent website.

    That said, some Repubs and the libertarian wingnuts particularly aren't always wrong when they rail about rule of law and the Constitution... just most of the time.

    Their anger about crony capitalism is valid populism.
    Their support for reigning in the NSA violations was key to the pathetically minimal restrictions that Congress passed after the Snowden leaks.

    But mostly they are catering to regressive Scalia type readings of the Constitution or just seeking political gain via hypocritical selective enforcement of the laws which they allow Repubs to break without any objection.


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