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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

2016 Election Analysis - Part 2: Enough Of The Hand Wringing

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 12/06/16 16:59

by Dave Mindeman

Democrats are hand wringers. It's just a fact. They nit pick and squabble in the primaries. Get uppity about platform minutia - and then start the blame game when the Party loses the election.

With Obama as President, the Democrats still had a vital say in policy for the country. But, the fact is, we have been on a losing streak where it really counts....in the states and in the legislatures.

Republicans have manipulated how we vote, who gets to vote, and in drawing the lines for voting districts. It has been systematic. And it has been effective.

Democrats always seem to be under the false impression that policy and issues are what drives elections. They are only about 30% right in that regard.

While Democrats obsess about climate change, and income equality, and foreign wars....Republicans work the district lines, voter suppression, and purging the voter rolls.

And it works. Clinton is winning the popular vote by over 2.7 million votes, but lost the electoral college because of 1% losses in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. WI and MI have Republican governors and legislatures. PA has GOP Senate and House.

Votes for Democratic Congressional candidates exceeded votes for GOP candidates, yet the Republicans have a big majority in Congress.

And the Senate is still held narrowly by the Republicans.

But the clear problem with Democratic strategy is the continued losses in the state houses. This is where the Congressional lines are drawn - this is where the legislation that most affects people's lives happens.

Hand wringing and assigning blame may be cathartic in a personal way, but it is useless when it comes to solving our problem.

Democrats have concentrated on urban populations and they have been effective in persuading urban dwellers that the Democratic Party is their party. But in rural America, the Democrats have failed. Not in policy...but in getting out a message regarding what the Democrats have done for them. Republicans have not done anything, policywise, to improve the lot of rural America. In many ways, they have fostered the policies that have obstructed their progress. Net neutrality, broadband, agricultural trade, and transportation policies of the GOP are working against rural development.

Democrats have spent so much time on voter ID, technology, and polling, that they have lost the basic elements of any campaign....

Message, narrative, and responsiveness.

Democrats need to focus their future endeavors on building the party from the ground up again. Local races matter. Legislative majorities matter. Governors matter.

Enough of the hand wringing. Enough of the blame.

Fix what matters and begin again.
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2016 Election Analysis - Part 1: The Media

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 12/04/16 23:13

by Dave Mindeman

When evaluating this election, one of the first things to look at is the media. The Fourth Estate took a beating this year and frankly, they have not recovered.

The news media is an important part of any democracy. Without a probing and investigative media presence, we become, well, Russia.

But the MSM lost its way this year. Stuck in a corporate necessity of being profitable above all else and the emergence of Trump as the perfect tabloid candidate, they fell into the trap of monetary expediency and hype...losing the essence of their job - reporting the facts and calling out propaganda.

Trump fed them an insatiable amount of "news" items. Items that the 24 hour channels craved and needed to keep an audience. And with the need to follow the moving trainwreck, the media sank deeper and deeper into the same supermarket tabloid type reporting that they are supposed to avoid to keep them out of the gutter. Trump was the bright shiny object they could not look away from.

But something worse eventually appeared. A deep double standard.

Hillary Clinton was the "conventional" candidate and the media gave her conventional coverage. Her speeches were covered in excerpts. Her policy positions given some scrutiny but none of that was as interesting as Trump.

But there was one unconventional aspect to the Clinton campaign. The e-mails. The e-mails were different. They had a story line that fit the tabloid narrative and which the Republicans were all too willing to embellish. The e-mails were used to define her even though most of it was innuendo and even though exhaustive investigations came up with nothing. A long drawn out FBI report which should have been concluded long ago was treated like desperate breaking news every time there was a leak or interim report.

The e-mails became the defining issue - even though Bernie Sanders said enough and even though some journalists began to question the over coverage of the situation.

Meanwhile, the MSM could never come up with a standard for covering Trump. He was so different that they felt they had to cover everything. The 24 hour channels covered his rallies in their entirety. His Tweets would become the quote of the day. It was so unusual that they gave him a pass on his language, his abuse of Constitutional procedures, his lack of policy, his misogynistic behavior, and his horribly insulting attitude to every group in the country. These are all things that would destroy the conventional candidate. They would have destroyed Hillary, George W, or any other past candidate. The need to understand the staying power of Trump would cause the media to dismiss and under cover all the various Republican candidates that would try to stand up to his abusive tactics.

It is almost as if they enjoyed the new type of campaign...even though Trump made the media part of his abuse and attacks. The more he insulted them, the more coverage he would get.

This double standard penetrated every aspect of coverage. When Hillary would misstate something, it was big news. Trump seldom uttered a word of truth but his lack of facts was simply lumped into a totally false "both sides do it" narrative.

And Trump would lead the media into black holes of irrelevance. Hillary's health? Hillary's "stamina"? Hillary's conflicts of interest? Hillary's Foundation access?

All of her issues paled in comparison to Trump's illegalities with his Foundation. His refusal to get rid of his business conflicts. His orchestrated "doctor" evaluations. And his total denial of releasing his tax returns. And even more disturbing, the lack of investigation into Russian interference in the election.

Trump moved the narrative and the media was all too willing to follow along.

The Fourth Estate failed in this election. They failed miserably. They did not protect the public interest. They did not do their important job to protect our democracy.

It is ironic to me that we have had more coverage of Trump's business conflicts after the election than we did before Nov 8th. His business model hasn't changed. It was always the same. And he has made no effort to ease any of those conflict problems.

But we did get ad nauseum coverage of the damn e-mails.

The media doesn't have to be popular in this democracy....but they do have to be competent.
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Future Predictions

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 12/01/16 18:33

by Dave Mindeman

After watching Trump as President-elect and mulling over his cabinet picks, here is a list of the things that will happen in the next 4 years.

1. There will be a nuclear detonation somewhere on the planet.

2. Vladimir Putin will expand Russian territory.

3. The US will have an economic recession.

4. Trump will have a nuclear confrontation with North Korea.

5. Medicare will be saved by US Senate...barely.

6. The Trump-Ryan relationship will sour and become a GOP problem.

7. In two years there will be rumblings of impeachment for Trump.

8. Cory Booker will rise to major Dem Prez contender.

9. The national debt will rise under Trump.

10. Job losses and rising unemployment will begin in 12 months.

11. Trump's investment in infrastructure will be scaled way back.

12. National open carry law will be introduced.

13. Supreme Court will swing back to solid conservative.

14. Roe v Wade will be on the docket late in Trump term.

15. Assad will win Syrian war as Trump pulls out entirely.

16. Tensions between Israel and Iran will escalate.

17. Pakistan and India will go to the brink of nuclear war.

18. At least 15 million Americans will go back to being uninsured.

19. Out of pocket expenses for health care will go up at least 50%.

20. The 1% will get another big tax cut.

There is the list.

Have a wonderful, optimistic day.

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