ChrisWeigant.com

Freelance Democratic Autopsy Document Released

[ Posted Monday, November 13th, 2017 – 18:12 PST ]

For a long time now, I've been calling on the Democratic Party to go through the same soul-searching exercise that Republicans did in 2013 after losing a presidential election. The GOP, back then, put out an "autopsy" or "post-mortem" document which examined why they lost and offered suggestions for improving the party's chances in the future. Democrats, I thought, would have been well-served by the same sort of self-examination after 2016, but it never actually appeared from the national party. Because it still hasn't appeared from the national party, a group of Democrats have been inspired to create such a document on their own. This new document can be viewed on the site democraticautopsy.org, and it is well worth a read by anyone who cares about the future of the Democratic Party.

Of the four listed authors, three have ties to the Democratic Party apparatus, including a member of the board of the California Democratic Party (and current chair of the California Democratic Party's Progressive Caucus), as well as a member of the State Central Democratic Committee member (and ward chair) of New Mexico. One is a founder of RootsAction.org, "an online activist group with 1.3 million active supporters," and one is a "communications specialist, researcher and writer who works for an international non-government organization" (N.G.O.). Two of the authors had ties to Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign, but the document is not any sort of "Hillary-bashing" exercise at all. It is not a relitigation of the Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton primary battle, although it does examine the flaws of both the party and the candidate in order to draw its conclusions. The document is a sweeping overview of what the authors feel is wrong with the party, and how the party should change to improve these flaws.

In fact, the document even includes a rather remarkable quote from Hillary Clinton's campaign memoir What Happened, one that I had not previously seen. In it, Clinton admits that Bernie's campaign style was worthy of emulation rather than mockery:


Bernie proved again that it's important to set lofty goals that people can organize around and dream about, even if it takes generations to achieve them.... Democrats should reevaluate a lot of our assumptions about which policies are politically viable.... I criticized Bernie's "free college for all" plan as providing wasteful taxpayer-funded giveaways to rich kids. But it's precisely because they don't benefit everyone that targeted programs are so easily stigmatized and demagogued.... The conclusion I reach from this is that Democrats should redouble our efforts to develop bold, creative ideas that offer broad based benefits for the whole country.

That is a truly remarkable bit of self-reflection, because Clinton's entire primary campaign was premised on ridiculing Bernie's ideas as being "pie in the sky" which would never, ever actually happen, while offering up her own incrementalism to the voters instead. At the time, I used the phrase "Dream Small!" to show how this didn't really translate into a campaign that could inspire voters to get to the polls. Campaigns are supposed to be aspirational, in other words, which even Clinton now seems to understand.

But again, I don't mean to focus on the Hillary/Bernie primary battle either, because the document is far more comprehensive than that. It starts with a blunt warning, that the Democratic Party has really tried to shift the blame for their 2016 defeat onto external factors, rather than examining anything within the party which needs correction. Rather than chasing "elusive Republican voters over the Democratic base," the document warns of the erosion of that base seen in 2016:

After suffering from a falloff of turnout among people of color in the 2016 general election, the party appears to be losing ground with its most reliable voting bloc, African-American women. "The Democratic Party has experienced an 11 percent drop in support from black women according to one survey, while the percentage of black women who said neither party represents them went from 13 percent in 2016 to 21 percent in 2017."

. . .

Inadequate outreach extended to Latino voters as well. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus critiqued the Clinton campaign's strategy, saying it did not hire enough Latino consultants who had experience working within the communities that outreach efforts were meant to target. This shortcoming should have been addressed well before the campaign ramped up. In 2014, Albert Morales, then the Hispanic Engagement Director at the Democratic National Committee, proposed a $3 million plan aimed at raising voter turnout in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Texas. Despite the meager cost, the plan was nixed. "I just asked for what I needed," Morales said. "I ended up getting closer to $300,000 and it all went to radio.... It was just pitiful." (This $300,000 for Latino outreach in those five states ended up being less than a third of the $1 million the campaign-coordinating Super PAC Correct the Record pledged to spend on social media accounts to counteract anti-Clinton comments on Twitter and Reddit.) The lack of funding was compounded by poorly-timed spending; the Clinton campaign did not launch a sustained Spanish-language ad campaign until September, putting her well behind the calendar successfully implemented by the Obama campaign in 2008 and 2012.

The document later points out that of the $514 million the party spent on contractors during the 2010 and 2012 elections, only 1.7 percent went to minority contractors. The document calls for much better engagement with people of color, women, and rural voters including farming families.

But the biggest warning is about the Democratic Party's continued romance with Wall Street and big business, which makes economic populism either impossible for the party to champion or an election-year-only stance of convenience that later turns out to be nothing short of a cruel lie:

The party has attempted to convince working-class voters that it can advance the interests of the rich and working people with equal vigor. This sleight-of-hand was more feasible pre-2008 economic crash, but it has since lost credibility as inequality grows and entire communities are gutted by free market, anti-union, anti-worker ideology and policy. The champions of the growth-raises-all-boats mythology had their chance and they failed the vast bulk of working Americans. President Obama, with his unique political skills, preempted and co-opted economic populism to some extent (though it surfaced briefly and strongly with the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011/2012), but it re-emerged with Bernie Sanders' insurgent primary campaign. In her 2016 general election loss, Clinton was outflanked on economic messaging by Trump's huckster appeals to anti-NAFTA and anti-free-market sentiment.

. . .

The surge in populism (which can be broadly defined as a dislike of "the establishment"), brought on by widening inequality and economic stagnation, will be filled by some political force or other -- either the cruel and demagogic forces of the far right and its billionaire backers, or a racially diverse and morally robust progressive vision that offers people a clear alternative to the ideological rot of Trumpism. The mainstream Democratic storyline of victims without victimizers lacks both plausibility and passion. The idea that the Democrats can somehow convince Wall Street to work on behalf of Main Street through mild chiding, rather than acting as Main Street's champion against the wealthy, no longer resonates. We live in a time of unrest and justified cynicism towards those in power; Democrats will not win if they continue to bring a wonk knife to a populist gunfight. Nor can Democratic leaders and operatives be seen as real allies of the working class if they're afraid to alienate big funders or to harm future job or consulting prospects.

The perception that the party is in the pocket of big business is especially acute among younger voters. Young Democrats are much further to the left in their views than the party establishment, and they do not see much in the way of an inspiring message from party leaders:

This generational shift was on stark display during one post-election CNN town hall when an NYU student cited the Harvard poll on millennials' loss of trust in capitalism and asked Rep. Nancy Pelosi about the party moving left "to a more populist message" on economic issues. The Minority Leader bolted out of her seat and insisted, "I have to say, we're capitalists, that's just the way it is" before letting out a chuckle. The combination of knee-jerk dismissal and "just the way it is" cynicism perfectly distilled the problem the party has selling itself to today's youth.

The section on the youth vote ends with an excellent metaphor, stating that young voters "increasingly want politics to be for something profoundly positive rather than just against Republicans; who want a movement, not a chore."

The document does delve into some of the external problems the Democratic Party faces, but concludes they aren't doing nearly enough to combat Republicans in areas such as voter-suppression laws:

Working to defeat restrictions on voting rights should clearly be a top priority for Democrats, augmenting battles through the courts with coordination efforts between grassroots activism and the party apparatus. Yet the Democratic National Committee has not made such work a staffing priority. "In the past, the DNC had one full-time staffer focused on voter protection," The Nation reported in late May 2017. The magazine described the upcoming progress of the DNC's new Voter Protection and Empowerment Unit: "The new unit will have four staffers."

. . .

This is about more than just increasing voter turnout. It is about energizing as well as expanding the base of the party. To do this we must aggressively pursue two tracks: fighting right-wing efforts to rig the political system, and giving people who can vote a truly compelling reason to do so.

One way to do that is to respect the grassroots movements, but as the document points out, Democrats are often more comfortable merely offering lip service rather than true commitment or support:

Social movements cannot be understood as tools to get Democrats elected. The ebb and flow of social movements offer a rising tide in their own right that along the way can lift Democratic Party candidates -- if the party is able to embrace the broad popular sentiment that the movements embody. Candidates' lip service to social movements is commonly understood as such; failing to make genuine common cause with grassroots outlooks can undermine campaign enthusiasm, volunteers, online participation, recurring small-dollar contributions, and turnout at election time.

The document also provides suggestions for change. These range from the very specific -- such as changing the rules the D.N.C. follows towards the presidential primary process and the elimination of convention votes for superdelegates -- to broad-based ideological changes the authors feel are necessary, such as ending Democratic support for what the document calls the "perpetual war" waged since 9/11. Trump was able to appear more antiwar than Clinton precisely because Clinton refused to wholeheartedly come out as antiwar herself. But it wasn't just Clinton who felt this way:

Like the Clinton-Kaine campaign, the national Democratic Party's 2016 platform was in tune with foreign-policy approaches popular among elites. A bloated military budget remained sacrosanct and uncuttable (except for the bromide of eliminating "waste"). Giving a thumbs-up to U.S. war efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and beyond, the platform endorsed continual U.S. warfare that has expanded to many parts of the globe since late 2001. That warfare has been terribly harmful to countless people -- but hugely lucrative for military contractors. Overall, the Democratic Party leadership has refused to make a distinction between truly defending the United States and waging interventionist wars. The party's top leaders have conflated U.S. warfare in many nations with defense of our country. This stance is politically damaging and vastly destructive.

The document concludes with a call to progressivism, and a call for Democrats to start listening a lot closer to what the grassroots and the base is actually saying. It also notes that a large part of the problems the Democratic Party faces existed before Hillary and Bernie even announced their candidacies. The decline in Democrats' power in state legislatures and governors' offices began under Barack Obama, after all. The conclusion the authors reach is that the party really needs to divorce itself from the ongoing romance with Wall Street, and instead put people before corporate interests:

Operating from a place of defensiveness and denial will not turn the party around. Neither will status quo methodology. When discussing the loss of the presidency, we deny ourselves a deeper assessment if the conversation is limited to Clinton and Sanders, what their campaigns and supporters did and didn't do, and what should have been done. In fairness to Clinton, much of the party's weakness was in place well before her 2016 run. What must now take place includes honest self-reflection and confronting a hard truth: that many view the party as often in service to a rapacious oligarchy and increasingly out of touch with people in its own base.

Revitalized progressive populism -- multicultural, multiracial and multigenerational -- means fighting for genuine democracy. Outmoded narratives and facile calls for "unity" must be replaced with a new vision of politics that is explicitly inclusive and participatory. The party must learn how to speak a populist tongue that is in sync with real advocacy for a clear agenda, putting public needs above corporate profits. An imperative is to find common political denominators that are inspirational and practical, cutting across demographic lines while building foundations for social advancement and a humane future.

The entire autopsy document, while long, is well worth reading in full for anyone truly concerned with the direction of the Democratic Party. This was not an official document, so some might dismiss it out of hand as merely the grumblings of a few Bernie supporters. This would be a mistake, because if you read it in its entirety the concerns it raises reach far beyond the contest for the last presidential primary. Sure, it's not an official document, but it was written for the sole reason that such an official document does not exist. The party, as the document points out, seems content to explain their loss last year as being due to external factors -- therefore no change must be necessary. This is also a fallacious way of thinking.

When Republicans went through this exercise, they produced a document that made a lot of sense. Then the party as a whole completely ignored it, and doubled down on their exclusion of minorities to pander to angry white voters. This, it has to be said, did work -- Trump won, after all, while heading in pretty much the exact opposite direction from all the GOP autopsy's recommendations.

Democrats, however, are a little better at addressing problems within their party -- or, at the very least, they should be. This freelance autopsy was written before last week's electoral victories for Democrats, so it may be discounted by those in the party who feel they're on such a roll now that they don't need any advice.

But sooner or later Democrats are going to have to face the fact that their party just hasn't been all that good at matching the enthusiasm bubbling up from their own grassroots -- whether protesting the One Percent, institutional racism, or how rigged the American system feels to those in the middle class and at the bottom. The suggestions contained within this document offer a way for the party to reconnect with its own voters. It charts a new direction and a new focus for the party that really should not be ignored. In fact, it should be required reading for everyone on the Democratic National Committee.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

20 Comments on “Freelance Democratic Autopsy Document Released”

  1. [1] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CW-
    Welcome back!

  2. [2] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: Clinton's entire primary campaign was premised on ridiculing Bernie's ideas as being "pie in the sky" which would never, ever actually happen, while offering up her own incrementalism to the voters instead.

    I believe this statement is truer of HRC's first campaign for the White House against Barack Obama, but Clinton's ENTIRE primary campaign was premised on ridiculing Bernie's ideas? Did I miss something? I don't remember Clinton's campaign as doing all that much ridiculing of Bernie's ideas since they largely agreed on just about every issue except firearms.

    So help me out here, seriously: When did all this ridiculing of Bernie's ideas take place? HRC didn't have to ridicule Bernie all that much and pretty much laid off him because if I recall correctly, the majority of Clinton's primary campaign was spent focused on a multitude of issues regarding Trump's daily tweet or bullshit du jour and NOT Bernie Sanders at all.

  3. [3] 
    Kick wrote:

    To clarify [2] above, I'm meaning that it might have served HRC well to focus more on the concerns of Bernie's supporters and all Americans and less on the Trump BS of the day... but alas, the US press thrives on that daily barrage versus the very issues that concern people regardless of Party.

  4. [4] 
    TheStig wrote:

    The condensed version accessed from the link is long, the full pdf goes even deeper. My first impression is favorable, the authors are in the sweet spot of the party food chain, high enough to understand the politcal machinery in detail, low enough to speak very frankly. I' m sure I'll be parsing even the short version for weeks.

    I have come to believe the primary process as we now know it has neutered both major parties by turning them from leaders into followers. Ditch the primaries, hold local, state and national conventions with wide participation by activist, card carrying members. Put some ordinary passionate people behind the policy, as opposed to political consultants and ad "men"with dubious loyalties. Politics should be messy at the lower levels. We have made a mistake by creating a faux sanitation. Representative government has been scrubbed to within an inch of its life yet it is dirtier than ever. Trump is the master caution light flashing in our eyes.

  5. [5] 
    TheStig wrote:

    AP reports Sessions came out swinging before the Senate.

    "In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer all of your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory," Sessions said in prepared remarks to the House Judiciary Committee. "But I will not accept, and reject, accusations that I have ever lied under oath. That is a lie."

    The ol' faulty memory defense. His best seems pretty faulty at best, and at worst is just a second round of lies from a conspirator.

  6. [6] 
    neilm wrote:

    how rigged the American system feels to those in the middle class and at the bottom

    This is the message that will resonate - and it is basically the populist message the Republicans used in 2016 and earlier - it is time for the party of Labor to call out the party of Capital - time for a "class war" as the right will try to call it.

    The Republican Party is coming apart - the pressure that kept it together has been released with the results of the 2016 election and we can see the cracks opening between the religious nuts, the libertarians and the country club/chamber of commerce types.

    We need a compelling speaker articulating big vision ideas around a central theme of "We will make America work for regular Americans" - good healthcare, good education, and a good retirement for every American, not just the rich

  7. [7] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    neilm-
    And if the compelling speaker wants citizens to believe that they will make America work for regular Americans a good way to demonstrate a big vision idea and their commitment to regular Americans would be to commit to financing their campaigns with small contributions from regular Americans rather than demonstrate their allegiance to the Big Money interests by taking Big Money contributions.

  8. [8] 
    Paula wrote:

    This is an outstanding article about how the campaign manager for Dem David Reid running for a House of Delegates slot in Virginia, harnessed the energy of the waves of resistance groups that popped up spontaneously after Blotus election. Kathryn Sorenson, the young campaign manager, shows how it needs to be done these days.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/13/magazine/how-the-resistance-helped-democrats-dominate-virginia.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=1

  9. [9] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Inspiring article Paula. Reminds me that I need to renew my subscription to NYT!

    Neilm

    "We need a compelling speaker articulating big vision ideas around a central theme of "We will make America work for regular Americans" - good healthcare, good education, and a good retirement for every American, not just the rich..."

    I confess that candidate sounds a lot to me like a Bernie. That said, a Bernie in 2018/20 may only be viable because of Nasty, Incompetent, Lying, sell his grandma for a quarter Donald Trump...and the Republicans too craven to stand up to him. Every choice needs clear a frame of reference. Boy howdy, the USA has one now. Trump is the dead albatross around the GOP neck, he will only continue to ripen over time.

    That said, Democrats all too often whiff at the plate. I take nothing for granted. I'll be canvassing in my home district - which leans Republican. My key virtues as an operative are: semi abundant spare time, stamina (rolling winding hills) and a good understanding of dog behaviors.

  10. [10] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Sessions has shot down the Republican cries for a special prosecutor to investigate "The Dossier." Weak case he says. El Trumpo will not be pleased. Nor are Republicans who need material, weak will do, for the cable news arms race.

    It seems to me that Sessions is threading a very small needle between angry Dems and Reps. Remember the video of the guy in the wing suit who flew through the cave in China? Sessions is trying to pull of something like that. Risky, yet compelling. An unlikely extreme sportsman. I wonder if he knows how to use a GoPro?

  11. [11] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    If it weren't so serious, the GOP obsession with Hillary would be quasi-comical. Like the gunman who keeps shooting at his already-finished victim until he's emptied his gun, the Republicants can't stop going after her.

    Perhaps they are, like the President, stuck in a temporal loop regarding the election. Every time Trump brings it up I think, it was as much a shock to him as it was to us. Maybe it created a sort of PTSD that makes him think it could unravel unexpectedly.

    Feeling trapped, Donald? We know how you feel.

    But as Jerry Nadler went to some pains to point out today, even though she got five million more votes than Trump, Hillary didn't win. She's a private citizen now, and holds no federal office. Moreover, pursuing the prosecution of political rivals is a particularly 'banana republican' thing to do.

    But Trump, ever eager to play the role of tinpot dictator, continues to tweet that 'Americans are angry' that Clinton hasn't been prosecuted.

    The good news is that even Sessions knows that's a bad idea, at least for now.

    Also, catch the bit from John Oliver's latest show on the subject of "whataboutism" for a clear-headed way to sort this subject out.

  12. [12] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Don Harris [1] -

    See, I just knew you were going to like this one, somehow...

    :-)

    You should read the whole autopsy document, you'll absolutely love it.

    Kick [2] -

    (see: all the Democractic primary debates, for starters...)

    Sigh. OK, I went and looked one of them up (from an extended article I wrote on the subject a while back). Here's Clinton on healthcare, mistakenly suggesting that Bernie's plan consisted of "(1) remove Obamacare, and then (2) start debate on Berniecare, which will take years." No, seriously, that's what she was insisting on the campaign trail. Here she is from January of 2016:

    I want you to understand why I am fighting so hard for the Affordable Care Act. I don't want it repealed. I don't want us to be thrown back into a terrible, terrible national debate. I don't want us to end up in gridlock. People can't wait. People who have health emergencies can't wait for us to have a theoretical debate about some better idea that will never, ever come to pass. People can't wait. Your daughter calls and says she has a mass in her forehead, you can't wait. You quit your job to take care of your sick daughter -- something I think a lot of us can relate to -- you can't wait.

    I bolded that one bit, just in case you missed it. On issue after issue ($15/hr, free tuition for all at state colleges, marijuana legalization, reining in Wall Street, etc., etc.) this was indeed precisely what Hillary did. Read that quote from her book in the above article -- if she can admit it, looking back, why can't you?

    Or, if you need further proof, look up some of those primary debate transcripts. There are plenty of examples to find in them.

    -CW

  13. [13] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Kick [3] -

    Re-reading [2] and [3], I think you may be conflating Hillary's primary campaign and her general campaign in your mind. She did attack Trump's tweets, but not so much until she had sewn up the nomination.

    I'm not a Hillary-hater or anything, and I do applaud her for the quoted passage in the article, because (as I stated) I hadn't heard those excerpts before. Bernie campaigned in poetry. You can argue he wouldn't have been able to govern in prose, and that's debatable. But Hillary tried to campaign in prose from the get-go, and that's just not how you win elections (that's the very basis for the whole "campaign in poetry/govern in prose" metaphor, in fact). Her husband could do both (in masterful fashion), but Hillary just couldn't seem to do the first part of it.

    -CW

  14. [14] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    TheStig [4] -

    The PDF is longer? I viewed the full document (in html), copied and pasted it to Word, and it was like 26 pages long. Are you saying the PDF was noticeably longer? Let me know...

    That is an excellent point about the spot on the food chain the authors are in, I have to say. Hadn't thought about that, but you make a good point.

    [5] -

    Watched the first hour or so of Sessions. His memory loss seems to be awfully specific at times, if you know what I mean.

    Heh.

    Paula [8] -

    Thanks for the link, I will check it out. I've read other articles that quoted people inspired to resist Trump who tried to join local Dem groups, but found them either non-existent, exclusionary, or otherwise unwelcoming. Some decided to take over such groups with a show of strength, and some decided to just form their own structure outside the official Dem tent.

    The party really needs revitalizing from the bottom up, that's for sure. But it seems to be happening, at least haphazardly.

    The GOP went through this (with all the anti-abortion and Moral Majority people) long ago -- committed people with fierce determination decided to take over the party from the inside. It took years (decades, even), but if the effort is strong enough and has enough stamina, it can indeed be done.

    TheStig [9] -

    I wish you well. But I had to comment just because your last line was so funny. In life, it is often the little things that matter the most, and politics is no different. Woof!

    Balthasar [11] -

    I have a similar, but slightly different take. Both Clintons are really done with politics (at least directly). Hillary's never going to run again. They will (of course) try being "Dem elder statesmen" and "kingmakers" behind the scenes, but they'll never run for anything again.

    Because of this, all the GOP obsession with Hillary just looks to the public like looking backwards. Dems can point to this in the future as how "the GOP can't get anything done except for hounding their former political opponents," and it will likely resonate with the voters.

    -CW

  15. [15] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW-14

    My mistake - I misinterpreted the "full text" link to the pdf. The verbiage seems the same.

  16. [16] 
    Kick wrote:

    TS
    4

    I have come to believe the primary process as we now know it has neutered both major parties by turning them from leaders into followers.

    In so many ways than imaginable... yes, yes, and absolutely; TS says exactly what I was trying to say without being able to put it into proper words.

    Perhaps future candidates would be well served to refuse to follow and be prepared to explain as many times as necessary: "I don't have a comment about the inane BS tweeted out by the halfwit this morning or any other day; I suggest we ignore the distractions and focus on serving the people."

    Refuse to follow. Lead or get out of the way.

  17. [17] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    TheStig -

    Yeah, it confused me too, because the full doc actually starts off with the "recap" highlight section. But then you keep scrolling down, and the full document appears... glad to know I read the whole thing!

    -CW

  18. [18] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW
    12

    (see: all the Democractic primary debates, for starters...)

    All 9... count them... 9 of them? I saw them already... very repetitious.

    Sigh. OK, I went and looked one of them up (from an extended article I wrote on the subject a while back). Here's Clinton on healthcare, mistakenly suggesting that Bernie's plan consisted of "(1) remove Obamacare, and then (2) start debate on Berniecare, which will take years." No, seriously, that's what she was insisting on the campaign trail. Here she is from January of 2016:

    I want you to understand why I am fighting so hard for the Affordable Care Act....

    A speech she gave from Des Moines, Iowa, early in the primaries.

    On issue after issue ($15/hr, free tuition for all at state colleges, marijuana legalization, reining in Wall Street, etc., etc.) this was indeed precisely what Hillary did.

    Really? Are you trying to prove my point with these examples? ;) While it without question applies to a few issues and to the early primaries, like I said, I believe it is truer of HRC versus BO and applies less during the latest Democratic presidential primaries. Take your statement and apply it to a few issues.

    $15/hr: Clinton's entire primary campaign was premised on ridiculing Bernie's $15/hr idea as being "pie in the sky" which would never, ever actually happen. Nope because it had already happened in Seattle in 2014, and New York State was working to enact it, which they did in April 2016 in the middle of the primaries, which HRC actually supported, but nationally she advocated for a nuanced position of $12/hr minimum wage. The United States is a big country with vastly different regional labor markets, and states like Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and rural areas in many other states aren't at all equipped to cope with a nationwide increase to $15 so she therefore took a nuanced position. Alas, American voters don't do "nuance" very well and just wanted to hear $15/hr period without all the incremental details included in the enacting of the policy. The Berners then labelled her as against a $15 minimum wage and ridiculing it.

    Marijuana: Clinton's entire primary campaign was premised on ridiculing Bernie's legalization of marijuana idea as being "pie in the sky" which would never, ever actually happen. Nope. HRC supported the use of medical marijuana and to the best of my recollection didn't ridicule Bernie's position on this as "pie in the sky which would never, ever actually happen," and why would she when it had already happened in some states?

    Read that quote from her book in the above article -- if she can admit it, looking back, why can't you?

    In my response to your statement, I said I believed it was truer about HRC versus BO than it was HRC versus BS... so I clearly have no issue with admitting she did it. Besides, she didn't admit her "entire primary campaign was premised on ridiculing Bernie's ideas as being pie in the sky which would never, ever actually happen." She admitted that she learned that "it's important to set lofty goals that people can organize around and dream about, even if it takes generations to achieve them."

    Read this quote from Hillary's book and see if this might apply here:

    That’s what it was like in policy debates with Bernie. We would propose a bold infrastructure investment plan or an ambitious new apprenticeship program for young people, and then Bernie would announce basically the same thing, but bigger. On issue after issue, it was like he kept proposing four-minute abs, or even no-minute abs. Magic abs! Someone sent me a Facebook post that summed up the dynamic in which we were caught:

    BERNIE: I think America should get a pony.
    HILLARY: How will you pay for the pony? Where will the pony come from? How will you get Congress to agree to the pony?
    BERNIE: Hillary thinks America doesn’t deserve a pony.
    BERNIE SUPPORTERS: Hillary hates ponies!
    HILLARY: Actually, I love ponies.
    BERNIE SUPPORTERS: She changed her position on ponies! #WhichHillary? #WitchHillary
    HEADLINE: “Hillary Refuses to Give Every American a Pony”
    DEBATE MODERATOR: Hillary, how do you feel when people say you lie about ponies?

    *****

    It's becoming apparent that Americans don't like "nuance" and don't want to hear policy details, i.e., the "devil in the details." Word of caution to Democrats, though, about setting lofty goals that Americans can rally around and dream about; they cost money, trillions of dollars, and there's a happy medium in there where policy is concerned and best take care not to paint yourself too far into a corner wherein your opponent simply lists your "dreams" one by one and explains to Americans that the price tag is breathtaking, to the tune of trillions of dollars, and that "of course the Democrat Party wants to give you a $15 minimum wage because half of that will be going straight to DC in order to pay for that list of dreams they're promising," that this money will come straight from their wallets in the form of huge tax increases. Those are some details Americans understand. I'm not saying not to dream big or have a big dream; I'm just saying to do it in such a way that your big dream can't be characterized as a national nightmare.

  19. [19] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW
    13

    Re-reading [2] and [3], I think you may be conflating Hillary's primary campaign and her general campaign in your mind. She did attack Trump's tweets, but not so much until she had sewn up the nomination.

    HRC had a lead of 191 pledged delegates after Super Tuesday, March 1, not including the blowout lead she held with super delegates since Democrats tend to vote for candidates who are actually Democrats (go figure). The primaries continued through mid June while the press made it actually seem like they were neck and neck but Bernie had been eliminated on March 1, mathematically speaking, of course.

    So I think what we have here is a simple case of me taking you literally with your use of the words "entire primary campaign" when I remember her basically coasting to the win after March 1 while lobbing softballs at Bernie in the remaining almost 4 months and primarily dealing with the Trump BS of the day. :)

    I'm not a Hillary-hater or anything, and I do applaud her for the quoted passage in the article, because (as I stated) I hadn't heard those excerpts before. Bernie campaigned in poetry. You can argue he wouldn't have been able to govern in prose, and that's debatable. But Hillary tried to campaign in prose from the get-go, and that's just not how you win elections (that's the very basis for the whole "campaign in poetry/govern in prose" metaphor, in fact). Her husband could do both (in masterful fashion), but Hillary just couldn't seem to do the first part of it.

    I think a lot of that is a gender thing too. It is frequently assumed that male candidates can deliver on their "poetry" while women are expected to have detailed plans regarding how they'll accomplish the exact same poetic thing. Do you think if candidate Hillary Clinton advocated for a national $15 minimum wage that she'd be allowed to just promise it and not be required to explain how she could deliver on it in rural areas and states like Arkansas and Mississippi? Do you think candidate Clinton could make a poetic promise to rein in Wall Street and/or break up the big banks without an explanation of how she'd go about accomplishing that using the limited powers of the presidency? It is assumed by many that men naturally know how to accomplish things, while women are generally expected to explain how. Sure, attitudes are changing... but slowly. :)

  20. [20] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW
    14

    I have a similar, but slightly different take. Both Clintons are really done with politics (at least directly). Hillary's never going to run again. They will (of course) try being "Dem elder statesmen" and "kingmakers" behind the scenes, but they'll never run for anything again.

    Because of this, all the GOP obsession with Hillary just looks to the public like looking backwards. Dems can point to this in the future as how "the GOP can't get anything done except for hounding their former political opponents," and it will likely resonate with the voters.

    Take care to understand that this nugget applies equally to that faction of Democrats/Bernie supporters who seem to be equally obsessed with looking backwards and hounding Hillary... how it does resonate. :)

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