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Would A "Tea Party Of The Left" Be Effective Or Not?

[ Posted Tuesday, July 24th, 2018 – 16:49 PDT ]

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is certainly stirring things up in a big way. After her stunning primary defeat of the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, the 28-year-old from the Bronx has become one of the leading voices for the youthful resurgence of energy Democrats are now enjoying. But precisely because she has become so visible so quickly, she is now beginning to cause some pearl-clutching among establishment Democrats (the ones who are routinely frightened by their own shadows, it's worth mentioning). They counsel the party "not to go too far left" in their eternal quest for centrism to reign supreme in American politics.

Sure, it's easy to poke fun at such timidity, since these are the people who have not noticed that politics have changed since Bill Clinton was president. Pro-business Democratic centrism might have worked out just fine back then, but America has changed. The real question is how much it has changed, and how fast. Which sets up our main question: would a "Tea Party of the Left" be a good thing or a bad thing for the Democratic Party?

This is the biggest fear of the establishment Democrats -- that a Tea Party of the Left will emerge and challenge the way Democrats do business when they are in control of at least one house of Congress. Ocasio-Cortez has fueled such fears, openly talking about creating a muscular progressive caucus in the House with like-minded Democrats. So far, the most specific fear of the establishment is that Nancy Pelosi would be denied her second stint as speaker, if the Democrats do manage to take back the House. Several Democratic candidates for House races have distanced themselves from Pelosi, some even promising not to vote for her for speaker. This isn't entirely aligned with the Democratic Socialist movement that Ocasio-Cortez is part of, though, since many of the Democrats refusing to swear allegiance to Pelosi are pretty conservative, and are distancing themselves from her in order to boost their chances of winning in red (or reddish) districts. So the Pelosi vote, no matter which way it goes, isn't going to be a good indicator of how strong a lefty Tea Party caucus would be.

Who leads a Democratic House is an important question, but whomever winds up with the job is going to face the same dynamic, just as Republican speakers have had to deal with their own Tea Party. The real question for any emergent "Democratic Socialist Caucus" (or whatever they decide to call themselves) in the House is whether they'd be effective in pushing their agenda or whether they'd just blow things up so badly that nothing gets done. That's the tightrope they'll have to walk.

The power of a caucus is in holding together as a voting bloc. Leadership must either gain their support by including their agenda items in bills, or the whole bloc will vote against the bill no matter what else it might have in it. The caucus needs to be large enough for this to be an effective veto, and it needs to hold together on important votes (or else nobody will pay any attention to it). There is already a Progressive Caucus in the House, but they don't have much weight to throw around because they seldom hold together on voting no. This is precisely why Ocasio-Cortez is proposing a new caucus, in fact.

But even achieving the two things a factional caucus needs in order to be effective (being big enough and voting as a bloc) doesn't guarantee any sort of success, as the Tea Partiers (now the "Freedom Caucus") have proven, time and time again. The Tea Partiers hold together in impressive fashion, which often denies the speaker the votes he needs to pass Republican-written bills. But the Tea Partiers have never learned how to take half a loaf. Their motto is "No compromise!" as they demand 100 percent of their agenda be included. They refuse to vote for anything which falls short. This is why neither Paul Ryan nor John Boehner has been able to get much done.

Incrementalism is a dirty word to true believers of any ideological movement, but it is the way things actually get done in Washington. So the real open question is whether a Democratic Socialist Caucus would be willing to accept partial victory on legislation, or whether they'd demand the whole loaf.

The last time Democrats had to worry about factionalism within their own ranks, it came from the conservative wing of the party -- the "Blue Dogs." The Blue Dogs were mostly successful in killing off progressive ideas they didn't approve of (like the public option being included in Obamacare, for instance). To put it another way, they were slamming the brakes on a progressive agenda rather than hitting the gas. A Democratic Socialist Caucus would, in essence, be the opposite of the Blue Dogs (which are mostly now extinct).

It's going to be hard enough for Democrats to get much of anything done for the next two years, even if they do manage to take the House. And even if a miracle happens and the big blue wave hands the Democrats the Senate in November, it'll still be hard to advance many of their agenda items. The legislative filibuster will still exist, and there will still be a Republican president at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. With those realities, nobody should expect single-payer healthcare any time soon, to state the obvious.

Even assuming for the sake of argument a Democratic House and Senate (a fairly huge assumption), how effective could a Democratic Socialist Caucus really be? Let's take a look with a generic example: The House proposes a bill. The caucus comes out against it, and demands that it be changed in a more-progressive direction. The bill is rewritten with some of these ideas included. The bill passes the House, with the caucus voting yes. The Senate introduces the bill, and it is filibustered immediately. The Republicans and Democrats in the Senate meet and hammer out a bill that enough Republicans can support to overcome the filibuster. This will, by definition, mean moving in an anti-progressive direction. The bill passes the Senate. The House is then the key -- can the Senate bill pass? Or can a conference committee come up with a compromise that both Senate Republicans and the new caucus can vote for? This is where the Democratic Socialist Caucus would be the swing vote. Would they go along with the changes if at least one of their agenda items (or even a partial agenda item) was still included, or would they come out against it and kill it outright? Could enough Republicans in the House be convinced to vote for it to overcome the "nay" votes from the Democratic Socialists?

These are the real questions, and nobody will know the answers until we face such a scenario. The Tea Partiers have an unbroken record of torpedoing such Republican legislation -- they have been very effective at saying no, in other words. But they also haven't seen much of any of their own agenda enacted, due to their intransigence (and due to the unpopularity of their agenda items, as well). Would the Democratic Socialist Caucus act the same, or would it accept partial and incremental victories? Of course, the devil lies in the details -- the example above is completely generic, and each individual bill would have very specific issues, some of which the new caucus might decide are worth fighting with all their might, and some of which they might be inclined to go along with for the sake of getting part of their own agenda included.

It's a tough tightrope to walk, because the power of such a caucus is in staying together to vote against bills. But what the Tea Party never figured out is that such power can also be used positively, to move your agenda forward bit by bit. So the big question for a Democratic Socialist Caucus is whether they'd find any compromises acceptable. That's the real question Democrats should be asking themselves, instead of fretting over the seemliness of a new lefty caucus. Unlike the Tea Party, the progressive agenda espoused by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not only pretty popular among the public, but also largely reflects the core values of the Democratic Party. Some Democratic Socialist ideas may seem a little far out to centrists, but most of their ideas line up pretty well with core Democratic ideals (or, at the very least, what used to be core Democratic ideals). The truly fringe ideas Democratic Socialists propound are never going to be supported by enough establishment Democrats to get enacted, instead only the ones that can be supported by mainstream Democrats (and the mainstream public at large) will ever make it into legislation. This is especially true when you consider the dynamic in the Senate, where Democrats will (even if they're in the majority) still have to convince a handful of Republicans to cross the aisle.

Democrats and Democratic Socialists alike believe that government can do good things for its citizens. They can argue over what is politically pragmatic at the current moment, but deep down they share a belief in the power of government to achieve good results. Rather than yanking them backwards, Democratic Socialists will be urging establishment Democrats forwards. Compromises seem more than possible, given this dynamic.

Perhaps this is the real fear of centrist Democrats. A Democratic Socialist Caucus wouldn't be the same as the bomb-throwing Tea Partiers -- it could instead be effective. It wouldn't win all its battles, and it wouldn't see its entire agenda enacted intact, but it would shift the Overton window in a much more progressive direction than Democrats have inhabited previously. So while the cry of the centrists is that a Tea Party on the left would be a horrible idea because it'll mean nothing gets done, their real fears might be the opposite -- that too much would get done. The Democratic Party is already moving away from the pro-business Democratic Leadership Council direction that was ascendant in Bill Clinton's time, and a Democratic Socialist Caucus would hasten this shift quite visibly. If they can manage to do that without merely being the unthinking and automatic "no" vote that the Tea Party has been, then I'd have to say a Democratic Socialist Caucus could turn out to be a good thing. Unlike the Tea Partiers, if they can take "yes" for an answer, they could wind up being very effective indeed.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

67 Comments on “Would A "Tea Party Of The Left" Be Effective Or Not?”

  1. [1] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    One thing to remember about Trump....first and foremost he is a narcissist who needs to take credit for anything he can boast about. If by some miracle he isn’t being prosecuted for crimes against the republic and is still in the White House, there is no reason to believe he won’t be willing to sign his name to legislation that is seen as being popular to the masses.

    Trump’s need to please could work out well for the Dems if they take both houses.

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I hope they don't settle on the Democratic Socialist Caucus for their name. It will render ineffective anything they try to do, without a doubt.

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I mean, why ask for trouble?

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    In any event, the caucus or it's name isn't the problem for Democrats.

    The problem for Democrats is that they still don't have a winning message, let alone the ability to communicate it. Can we say Trump's second term?

    That is the lesson they can learn from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. How to develop a strong and effective message and communicate it clearly and concisely. (They might want to watch Bill Maher's first show back when Cortez will be one of his guests.)

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Why won't the Democrats just try to unite and forget about separate caucuses?

    If they can't unite around a winning message during the Trump era, then they are a lost cause.

  6. [6] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    a tea party style movement on the left would probably be ineffective because the left encompasses a much broader range of viewpoints than the right, and it would be near impossible for such a group to build consensus on a single platform.

  7. [7] 
    Aloysius McG wrote:

    CW:

    " Incrementalism is a dirty word to true believers of any ideology, but it is the way that things get done...."

    I consider this a very important inclusion in your excellent post. The demographics favor progressives in that older white males will be disappearing and younger, darker voters will take our place. As things are now, the older demographic votes at a higher rate, and taking positions or using descriptors which are anathema to many of us in this 55+ community will risk failure.

    This may not matter in 2018 if the current debacle which is the Trump administration brings the young out and lukewarm Republicans are repulsed enough to stay home. However, if self-described " Socialists" are adamant that, for example, "ICE" MUST be abolished", I think that many in my age group will read that as "Communists" want to "open our borders to terrorists", a step too far for them to negotiate. We need to recognize that turning the ship of state to the port will be a decades long endeavor. Incrementalism and good policy are the way to succeed.

  8. [8] 
    Aloysius McG wrote:

    I was interested to find after the above post that The Hill reported the recent HarrisX poll found that 76% of Americans said they would not vote for a "socialist".

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Four more years.

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    I was interested to find after the above post that The Hill reported the recent HarrisX poll found that 76% of Americans said they would not vote for a "socialist".

    And that says it all..

    Like I have said before ad nauseum...

    Please, Democrats.. PLEASE go full on socialism..

    It will guarantee a GOP Majority and a GOP POTUS for the rest of our life-times...

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    Four more years.

    Six, Liz... Six... :D

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    This may not matter in 2018 if the current debacle which is the Trump administration brings the young out and lukewarm Republicans are repulsed enough to stay home. However, if self-described " Socialists" are adamant that, for example, "ICE" MUST be abolished", I think that many in my age group will read that as "Communists" want to "open our borders to terrorists", a step too far for them to negotiate.

    Once again... Pearls of wisdom..

    But your Democrats won't listen.. They are hysterical, hateful and bigoted...

    But you get points for spelling it out accurately.. 100 quatloos for you.. :D

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    That is the lesson they can learn from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. How to develop a strong and effective message and communicate it clearly and concisely. (They might want to watch Bill Maher's first show back when Cortez will be one of his guests.)

    Cortez's problem is she was a pretty big deal in her little pond.. She is like Trump in that regard, she could make grandiose pronouncements that the few (relatively) in her district overlooked because she was the new shiny...

    Now that she is out in the big pond, her views and her pronouncements are actually being laughed at and questioned and she has had to back pedal furiously...

    If you think Cortez is the future of the Democrat Party, then the Democrat Party has no future...

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    If they can manage to do that without merely being the unthinking and automatic "no" vote that the Tea Party has been, then I'd have to say a Democratic Socialist Caucus could turn out to be a good thing. Unlike the Tea Partiers, if they can take "yes" for an answer, they could wind up being very effective indeed.

    I am ALL for the Democrat Party coalescing around socialism and I especially encourage Democrats to USE the Democrat Socialist Caucus as their moniker...

    Please, Democrats.. Do this.. Get right on this and make it so...

    I am not joking.. I really think Democrats should go all in for this...

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    Please, Democrats.. Do this.. Get right on this and make it so...

    I am not joking.. I really think Democrats should go all in for this...

    The GOP is nipping at yer heals, Democrats..

    Republican challenger pulls even with anti-Trump Democrat in solid-blue Oregon's governor's race: poll
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/07/25/republican-challenger-pulls-even-with-anti-trump-democrat-in-solid-blue-oregons-governors-race-poll.html

    Democrats need to go full-on socialism before it's too late!!!

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    Elizabeth Warren supporter arrested after allegedly assaulting US Senate challenger
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/07/25/elizabeth-warren-supporter-arrested-after-allegedly-assaulting-us-senate-challenger.html

    Along with going full on Socialism, Democrats ALSO need to fully embrace the Mad Maxine doctrine of getting up angry mobs and violently harass ANYONE that doesn't toe their Party line...

    THAT is the ONLY way that Demcorats can convince American voters...

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Fake Indian Elizabeth Warren Suggests 50% Democrat Tax Rates – Calls Trump Tax Bonuses “Crumbs”

    Thanks to President Trump’s tax cuts and reforms 90% of American wage earners have a higher take-home pay this year.

    Over 3 million working Americans have received Trump tax cut bonuses as a result of the Trump tax reform law.

    But fake Elizabeth Warren wants to take that all away.

    Elizabeth Warren told CNBC Democrats will end the Trump tax cuts if they take power in November.

    Warren also promoted a 50% tax hike on American earners.
    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2018/07/fake-indian-elizabeth-warren-suggests-50-democrat-tax-rates-calls-trump-tax-bonuses-crumbs-video/

    Oh yes.. yes definitely... Democrats need to full on embrace these ideas...

    It will cause a voter turnout unparalleled in the annals of history..

    Com'on. Demoncrats!!!! Get behind these ideas!!

    "It's the only way to be sure."
    -Ripley, ALIENS

    :D

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    And in other news...

    http://www.theamericanmirror.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/HillaryClintonlifealert1-e1532392391170.jpg

    In her run up to her 2020 POTUS run, Hillary sports a muumuu...

    Homer Simpson wore it better... :D

    And what's up with the LIFE ALERT message?? Are her handlers abandoning her???

    To think that worn out husk, rode hard and put away wet, shell of a person could have actually be our President..

    I shudder at the thought..

  19. [19] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "Maybe we should get our own midget with a broom."
    -O Brother, Where Art Thou?

  20. [20] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Tea Party = Effective Targeted Marketing + Dark Money. Neither is particularly new in politics. It is a new label on an old wine in an old bottle.

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    Testing something..

    Oregonlive

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    FORUM REPORT..

    Wordpress pukes when you put oregonlive in a URL, IE www and oregonlive and dot com...

    Just a heads up...

    Please ignore all entries in the NNL Filter...

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    Speaking of Democrat socialists...

    Feds: Portland ICE protesters spewed racist insults
    https://tinyurl.com/yar5pzr3

    Looks like ya'all Left Wingers are putting Mad Maxine's and Weigantia's advice into practice.

    Go big on name-calling, angry mobs and violent harassment right before the mid-terms..

    What could possibly go wrong for Democrats?? :^/

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz Peek: Why Chuck Schumer’s about to have a very bad week (hint: It’s the Trump economy, stupid)
    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/07/25/liz-peek-why-chuck-schumer-s-about-to-have-very-bad-week-hint-it-s-trump-economy-stupid.html

    Gotta hand it to Democrats...

    The Trump capitalist economy is roaring and the Democrats' response???

    Socialism....

    That's like bringing a wet spaghetti noodle to a gun fight.. :D

  25. [25] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    The Tea Party from the Left is a much tougher climb.

    The Tea Party had a very simple message- government is bad and taxes are too high. And as Stig pointed out it had Big Money behind it.

    The Tea Party from the Left has a laundry list of issues and Big Money is mostly not interested.

    So while you are exploring other options, why not inform citizens aboot One Demand and the current opportunity to mobilize some of the 20-30% of voters that vote in presidential elections but don't vote in off year elections?

    Think of it as a Tea Party for Everyone Else (80% of citizens want the Big Money out of politics).

    This could actually benefit the Tea Party from the Left as they would be more likely to embrace this campaign financing model in 2020 (as many are already half way there) than the establishment Big Money Democrats.

    This could move the Overton window on campaign financing much faster and maybe even put the Tea Party from the Left in the majority of the Democratic Party leaving the establishment Big Money Democrats as the minority faction.

    It could also break some of the connection between the dark money financing the Tea Party and some of the rank and file Tea Party voters.

    If you inform citizens aboot this idea and it catches on, you will realize that you haven't seen fear anywhere near the scale of the fear you will see from the establishments of both current major parties when citizens unite against both of them instead of succumbing to the divide and conquer strategy of the Big Money interests controlling both current major parties.

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The Democrats (and, more importantly, America) have another problem.

    And, that is the devolutionary media culture, obsessed as they are with shiny objects.

  27. [27] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    When was the last time the news media focused on the policies that the Trump administration is implementing, across the board?

    No, it's not the fake news, it's the asinine news.

    Americans should pay more attention to the media abroad like, for instance, the BBC - if they want to know what's going on in their own country, let alone the rest of the world.

    Trump was actually more right than many would like to think when he said that what you are seeing and hearing is not what's happening!

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    The Democrats (and, more importantly, America) have another problem.

    And, that is the devolutionary media culture, obsessed as they are with shiny objects.

    Yep.. And even worse.. The media is only obsessed with shiny objects that further a partisan agenda that is at odds with what every day patriotic Americans want..

    When was the last time the news media focused on the policies that the Trump administration is implementing, across the board?

    No, it's not the fake news, it's the asinine news.

    I'de say the problem is both...

    Trump was actually more right than many would like to think when he said that what you are seeing and hearing is not what's happening!

    And THERE is the problem in a nutshell.. Those consumed by the Leftist HHPTDS don't like to THINK that President is actually correct about something..

    So, they just ignore it..

  29. [29] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Trump was actually more right than many would like to think when he said that what you are seeing and hearing is not what's happening!

    Of course, by that I meant not a compliment to the Trump administration but a warning to the people to search for the truth of what this administration is up to and that they won't find it in most of the American media.

  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I just heard a CNN anchor listen to a little known Republican representative or senator say that Obama gave billions of dollars to Iran to stop their nuclear program. Full stop.

    And, what did the anchor say about that?

    Nothing, naturally.

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    And, what did the anchor say about that?

    Nothing, naturally.

    Because the MSM won't say anything that could be used against Obama...

    And while the claim as to WHY Obama gave billions to Iran is subjective, it IS factually accurate to say Obama DID give billions to Iran either immediately prior to the completion, or in the immediate aftermath of the JCPOA...

    This is well documented...

  32. [32] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    The accuracy of Trump's statement is not as important as the meaning and purpose of his statement.

    There is often enough truth in what Trump says (or at least enough for his supporters).

    But it is doubtful that Trump was talking about the lack of truth and perspective from all media, just the media that would criticize him.

    For example, how the MSM, alternative media and even CW ignore the 50% of citizens that don't vote in off year elections and an opportunity to get these citizens to participate for a productive purpose in 2018 instead of wasting their vote by not voting.

  33. [33] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    CW: A note about activists: they're often delusional. Right now, I think that anyone that thinks that the proper response to our irresponsible child President is to wallow in sophomore polo-sci is delusional.

    To the contrary: this is the best opportunity ever for the Democrats to stand up and take the role of Responsible Adults, and say, "enough!" to the shenanigans of both far right and far left. We should say, "America is not your science fair experiment, and playing loose with national security isn't funny or cool. Put the country down, back away, and let's see then if we can fix it."

    To put it differently: the only man to ever reduce Trump to a microbe publicly was Obama, who took Trump down in large part by poking at his legendary ego. "It's decisions like these that would keep me up at night," said Obama, while secretly in the middle of a tense mission to get America's top villain.

    "Trump has gotten too big for his britches," a mother of four said to me recently, and given the surge in that demographic among Democratic voters, it's a motto worth considering.

    "Nobody ever spanked [Trump]," she told me matter-of-factly. "Obama did", I answered. "I know", she replied, and gave me a little wistful smile. She'd get it - she'd come out and vote for us, but only if we don't try to lecture her like a guy at the dorm we just smoked a big spliff with.

  34. [34] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Depending how you define tea party, the left already has had one and it worked fairly well, but split the party in the end. Ron Paul had tea party demonstrations in his runs for president to which the current tea party co-opted for their own thing. I think there is definite similarity and some cross over support between the Ron Paulers and Bernie Sanders supporters. That fervor could be useful, but drop the socialist branding unless a serious counter can be made to decades of Ronald Reagan anti-socialist one liners...

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    Balthy,

    To the contrary: this is the best opportunity ever for the Democrats to stand up and take the role of Responsible Adults, and say,

    "Get an angry mob together and start harassing anyone and everyone who doesn't agree with you!!!"

    You see, Blathy... That is EXACTLY ya'all's problem..

    You want to be as hateful and hurtful and bigoted and intolerant as you accuse Trump supporters of being..

    But want to be CONSIDERED the "responsible adult"..

    You can't have it both ways, sunshine..

    If ya'all want to be the "responsible" adults??

    Here's a wild thought...

    ACT LIKE IT!!!

    Duh....

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    If ya'all want to be the "responsible" adults??

    Here's a wild thought...

    ACT LIKE IT!!!

    Duh....

    Of course, that "ya'all" was directed towards Democrats in general, not anyone specifically here.. :D

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    Starting today, Democrats should all start speaking with one voice whenever Trump's name arises, by attaching one simple word as a defining taunt.
    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2018/07/17/comrade-trump/

    Tell me, Blathy...???

    Is that "being the responsible adult"???

    Not be any definition I have ever heard of...

  38. [38] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    If ya'all want to be the "responsible" adults??

    Here's a wild thought...

    ACT LIKE IT!!!

    Strangely, we agree on this. Renaming ourselves "socialists" is just a change of hats, replacing a worn one with a gaudy one. We're not playing dress-up. The stakes are real ones, goddamnit.

  39. [39] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Tell me, Blathy...???

    Is that "being the responsible adult"???

    Not be any definition I have ever heard of...

    Oh stop it. A Trump supporter has no standing to lecture anyone about responsibility, decency, or marital infidelity. I'll play your game when you admit that your hero is an ignorant, overgrown child, in waaay over his head...

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    Oh stop it. A Trump supporter has no standing to lecture anyone about responsibility, decency, or marital infidelity.

    And yet, I am doing a really bang-up job of doing just that.. :D

    Like I said, ya want to pretend yer the adult but you are acting EXACTLY as you accuse Trump supporters of acting..

    This is fact..

    I'll play your game when you admit that your hero is an ignorant, overgrown child, in waaay over his head...

    And yet, his poll numbers are Odumbo-poll numbers, and the country is humming right along.

    Where are all the catastrophes you promised us??

    Stock market crash, economic decimation, World War III

    Where IS it all, Blathy???

    It's only a figment of your hysterical and wishful imagination..

    What are you going to hang your hat on when the GOP makes huge gains in the House and Senate???

    What will you do then???

    Serious question. I am curious..

    Strangely, we agree on this. Renaming ourselves "socialists" is just a change of hats, replacing a worn one with a gaudy one. We're not playing dress-up. The stakes are real ones, goddamnit.

    Kudos.. You recognize the fallacy of turning Hard Left.. Good for you..

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What should be included within a winning Democratic message and who would be the perfect Democratic candidate for president to communicate that message effectively?

  42. [42] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Kudos.. You recognize the fallacy of turning Hard Left.. Good for you..

    Of course I recognize the fallacy of turning hard left. I also recognize the fallacy of wearing diapers outside my pants. It's just not as useful or universally approved of as one thinks it would be.

    If I were a more suspicious man, I'd think that the whole idea originated on the right, or in the Kremlin. It's that bad.

    And yet, his poll numbers are Odumbo-poll numbers, and the country is humming right along.

    Despite a small bump (measured before Helsinki), Trump's approval rating still hovers in the 45 percent range. Moreover, those that disapprove of Trump are now 52% of the electorate, and are more enthusiastic in their disapproval than their counterparts as well. I wouldn't have a party over that.

    Where are all the catastrophes you promised us?

    Puerto Rico, Helsinki, Singapore, Charlottesville, Brussels, Quebec and along the US border with Mexico, just to name a few...

    I heard that the other day Republicans voted to water down the endangered species act. Trump will sign that. The catastrophes just keep coming.

    What are you going to hang your hat on when the GOP makes huge gains in the House and Senate?

    If such a thing were to happen, the first thing I'd do is advocate for the firing of the heads and principals of the DNC and DCCC for failure in the face of overwhelming opportunity. Our odds aren't great in the Senate (which is 'rigged' by fate this year to be not as target-rich as the House), so an outright win for Democrats there would come as a welcome surprise. We should be able to at least achieve parity in the House, which for practical purposes would be as good as taking it entirely, which would also be welcome. Those are my field markers.

  43. [43] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Liz [41]: What should be included within a winning Democratic message and who would be the perfect Democratic candidate for president to communicate that message effectively?

    If you're asking me, I think I covered that in [33] to some extent. As for who.. I like Joe, and think he'd be great (my brother disagrees because of Joe's age). But it's really to early to discuss that part - often the perfect candidate pops up out of nowhere, as was the case with both Obama and Bill Clinton. Never underestimate the power of a newbie.

  44. [44] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Federal Judge has allowed an emoluments case to proceed against Trump. It would be an irony indeed if the thing that finally brings Trump down is the corruption in plain sight.

  45. [45] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Senate is broiling (not just grilling) Pompeo. Some of the toughest language is coming from Republican Bob Corker.

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    If I were a more suspicious man, I'd think that the whole idea originated on the right, or in the Kremlin. It's that bad.

    Of course you do.. You are so enslaved by Party, you cannot see that THEY would come up with something so bad..

    That's yer problem.. You can't think straight due to Party slavery...

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    Puerto Rico, Helsinki, Singapore, Charlottesville, Brussels, Quebec and along the US border with Mexico, just to name a few...

    No, you promised us World War III...

    And you think HELSINKI is comparable???

    "If you think 6 minutes is forever, I feel sorry for your wife."
    -Freddie Mercury, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

    Face the reality, Balthy.. Ya'all's hysterical fear-mongering has been exposed as nothing but hysterical fear-mongering... :D

  48. [48] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Balthasar,

    I agree that it's too early to discuss individual democratic presidential candidates but, it's never too early to talk about the kind of candidate in terms of the requisite attributes and qualities that you would look for in a democratic presidential candidate.

    I'm talking less about personalities than what the perfect candidate might bring to the table.

    For instance, I would like to see a Democratic candidate in 2020 who has a full understanding of what the existential issues are and a clear vision for meeting the challenges they pose.

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    For instance, I would like to see a Democratic candidate in 2020 who has a full understanding of what the existential issues are and a clear vision for meeting the challenges they pose.

    The problem, Liz, is that the issues that we will face in 2020 are simply not known nor knowable...

    It's entirely possible that by 2020, President Trump's genius will be appreciated and the Democrats will put up a token candidate realizing that President Trump is unstoppable...

    Think 1984 or 1996...

  50. [50] 
    Michale wrote:

    WASHINGTON—The European Union delegation meeting with President Donald Trump Wednesday agreed to consider changes in its trade policies in an effort to ease relations with the U.S., according to a European official in the room.

    The official said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and his top trade official Cecilia Malmström agreed to work with the U.S. administration to lower industrial tariffs on both sides, increase LNG exports and soy beans to Europe, and align regulatory standards to allow for medical devices to have better market access in Europe, the official said.
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/ahead-of-eu-meeting-trump-rails-at-domestic-critics-1532524795

    SO much for ya'all's wishes of an EU/US Trade War....

    Sorry, suckers.. No Trade War for you... :D

    Once again.. Ya'all are ALWAYS wrong.. :D

  51. [51] 
    neilm wrote:

    I've decided, after much reflection, not to grow 50,000 tons of soy beans - how much of the $12B do I get?

  52. [52] 
    Michale wrote:

    Once again, Trump makes the deal and comes thru for the American people. Gods it just must KILL ya'all.

  53. [53] 
    neilm wrote:

    What do you mean handing out $12B for doing nothing is socialism!

  54. [54] 
    neilm wrote:

    Once again, Michale is dodging reality.

    Now, about that $12B of socialism ... maybe Treasonous Trump can form his own caucus, the "Republican Socialist Caucus".

    His Top 5 Socialist Policies are:

    1. Blowing a hole in the budget
    2. Putting up trade barriers to protect businesses from competition
    3. Protecting the little guy from the elites
    4. Being pro-Russia and cozying up to communist leaders
    5. A $12B welfare package for not growing crops

    Stand aside Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Republican Socialist Treasonous Trump is already out socialisting you!

  55. [55] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Nielm-
    Are so sure you have number 3 the right way around?

  56. [56] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    If we can afford 12 billion for farmers to not grow crops then shouldn't we be able to afford 12 billion toward a basic minimum income?

  57. [57] 
    Michale wrote:

    Once again, Michale is dodging reality.

    Says the guy who refuses to accept the reality of President Trump and his Odumbo-esque approval numbers.. :D

  58. [58] 
    Michale wrote:

    Trump announces major trade concessions from EU officials on soybeans, energy, tariffs
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/07/25/trump-announces-trade-concessions-from-eu-officials-on-soybeans-energy-tariffs.html

    OOOoooooooo That just KILLS ya'all, don't it.. :D

  59. [59] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    It's entirely possible that by 2020, President Trump's genius will be appreciated

    Guffaw.

    Once again, Trump makes the deal and comes thru for the American people. Gods it just must KILL ya'all.

    They agreed to talk is all, and to suspend Trumps ridiculous tariffs. Essentially the same play as a guy who's been holding a gun to your head who puts the gun down, then congratulates himself for saving your life.

    This is the way mob bosses operate.

    OOOoooooooo That just KILLS ya'all, don't it..

    No, I'm actually glad to see Trump back down a little bit. I hope he makes it a habit.

  60. [60] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Says the guy who refuses to accept the reality of President Trump and his Odumbo-esque approval numbers..

    "your guy was once as unpopular as my guy is"

    Yeah, that's something to be proud of.

  61. [61] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Neil [54] Stand aside Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Republican Socialist Treasonous Trump is already out socialisting you!

    Don [56] If we can afford 12 billion for farmers to not grow crops then shouldn't we be able to afford 12 billion toward a basic minimum income?

    Well of course. We've basically had socialism in America since the founding fathers established the postal service in the constitution. I get that.

    But the 20th century taught us to be wary of avowed socialists because the term is vague enough to cover a raft of bad behaviors as well as some good ones.

    So in terms of political platforms and party identification, I'd avoid the term 'socialist' like it was a meat fart.

    It's already an outdated term anyway, nowadays akin to discussing the Whig party platform. Northern Europe and China each have their own versions, for better and worse, and Putin seems to be inventing a new version of his own, a sort of Nationalist Socialism - what could go wrong with that?

  62. [62] 
    neilm wrote:

    So let me get this straight:

    1. Treasonous Trump runs around announcing tariffs.
    2. EU and Japan agree to free trade agreement
    3. EU agrees to free trade agreement talks with US

    This is a win for Treasonous Trump Michale?

    The EU are happy to have FTAs - they always have been, subject to protecting French farmers of course. We love free trade deals as well, like the TPP with S.E. Asia (which Treasonous Trump pulled us out of) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the EU (which Treasonous Trump also pulled us out of).

    So, TT walks away from a FTA with the EU (TTIP), imposes tariffs that are matched by the EU, then agrees to FTA talks with the EU (who hand him the text of the TTIP) and this is a win.

    You're right, I'm tired of "winning" when it means losing then getting back to where we started.

  63. [63] 
    neilm wrote:

    Treasonous Trump could adopt his own version of Socialism. But instead of being International in nature, he could make it his own.

    Perhaps he could call it "Make America Great Again Socialism", but that is a bit long, and the term "American Socialism" has already been taken.

    I've got an idea. What about "National Socialism"?

    What do you think Michale, would you be a National Socialist if Treasonous Trump asked you to be?

  64. [64] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    that was in very poor taste.

  65. [65] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    par for the course.

  66. [66] 
    Michale wrote:

    Yep...

    "Tis true, tis sad.. Tis sad, tis true"

  67. [67] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's all reminiscent of the TOS Episode, GALILEO SEVEN...

    Neil is Ensign Boma and I am Commander Spock..

    "Spock, I would insist on a burial, even if it was YOUR body back there!!"
    "Mr Boma!!!!"
    "Well, I am sick and tired of this Vulcan machines!!!"
    "That's enough outta you!!! Mr Spock is a ranking Commander of the service!"

    Hysterical emotionalism...

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