Frank Moraes has a good post up about the direction that progressives might take in light of the minority rejection of "liberalism" last Tuesday and, specifically, the problem that is being widely discussed about how - outside of the open racism, xenophobia, and misogyny what are, let's not kid ourselves, a big part of Il Douche's appeal to a basketful of deplorable white people - to fire up the Democratic base.
His first point, on the Electoral College, is indisputable. The damn thing is nothing but a ridiculous vestige of the slavery era. But, since it was designed specifically to over-represent the slaveowning South (and, thus, white landowners in particular) but has morphed into overrepresenting rural whites, for the Republicans that’s a feature for them not a bug.
Frank seems to think that they'd be good with 86ing it. I'm not so sure. For all that they make mouth-noises about how much they haaaaaate it it’s worth noting that it’s 40% failure rate was a felix culpa for the Party of Personal Responsibility. If the GOP was being honest I think they’d admit that they don’t reeeeally want to chance relying on the popular vote in presidential elections...
Here’s the thing on the “Democratic base”, and the same problem I have with all the morning-after analyses that blame the Democratic Party for not being more responsive to the “economic anxiety” of the white working class.
If the Democratic Party doesn't want to become the straightforward "non-white party" there has to be some appeal for non-racist, non-xenophobic (basically, "non-asshole") whites. One problematic element for Clinton was her close ties to things like globalization and "free trade" agreements lile the TPP and NAFTA. The single strongest arguments that Bernie Sanders' supporters are using for this loss is that Clinton did nothing, or even attempt, to deploy Bernie's populist, anti-globalization/offshoring, anti-inequality platform.
The idea is that if the Democrats provide ideas to help with "economic anxiety" that they could have peeled off the non-asshole white voters from Drumpf.
The problem of non-intellectual/semiskilled living-wage jobs isn’t going away. The “problem” isn’t so much that those jobs are being stolen by Mexican rapists (tho the willingness of undocumented immigrants from the southern tier of the Americas to take piss-poor-nonliving-wage-jobs DOES have a lot to do, IMO, with the continuation of those jobs as piss-poor-nonliving-wage-jobs) but that
1) barring tariff protections, restrictive trade legislation, and a massive forceful reduction in capital mobility those jobs are going, or gone, and won’t be coming back, and
2) many of those that ARE here are being rapidly automated.
A Democratic party that stood for an end to that would have real problems. The press, neither knowning nor caring to know the technological and fiscal issues, would hammer it as the Party of Luddites and the Party of Protectionism. The People of Wal-Mart would shriek like gelded hogs as the price of cheap plastic crap soared. Manufacturers would whine and squeal about being forced to employ buggy-whip manufacturers...
Don’t get me wrong; I think that the Democratic Party needs to think hard, and come up with SOME kind of better solution to issues like global trade, trade agreements, deindustrialization and offshoring than they have.
But I think the problem is that, very much like climate change, this is an insanely tough challenge, a very, very complex issue and one that would require a massively complex, interlocking system of legal, economic, social, and political changes to solve...if, indeed, it IS solveable.
And you also have to factor in that our political system is ridiculously poorly designed to solve problems like that. Our public is ridiculously poorly prepared to inform itself, think through, and vote intelligently on problems like that. Climate change is, IMO, the canary in that coal mine and We the People have done horrendously on that issue.
So...while I agree that the Democrats need to do “something” about this whole “economic anxiety” problem I’m not sure that they can arrive at a solution that will carve off enough of the white nationalists who want to hear Trump tell them that he’s gonna build that big, beautiful wall and bring all those jobs back in a shopping cart also filled with rainbows and cuddly puppies.
This goes for Bernie and the "Revolution" movement, too, by the way. I think his message on trade agreements and economic inequality was and is a good one. I think the Democratic Party needs to embrace it, and become more openly...perhaps not "counter-globalization" but more intelligent on globalization. Right now the DLC/Clintonist message is "Globalization! It's What's For Dinner!". That's fine for the sort of Democrat that books a suite at Davos, but the rest of us? We're not getting much out of that, and the lack of enthusiasm showed bigger than hell this past Tuesday.
But. Even if Bernie closed the trade loopholes, kiboshed the TPP and NAFTA, and got a top tax bracket back in the 90's...the problems of deindustrialization and automation wouldn't go away, and I'm not sure whether Bernie and the Sanders Movement has thought about what happens the day after the TPP is burned down to ash, either.
I'm saying that I think the the Democratic Party needs to move Bernie-wards on trade and globalization. I'm ALSO saying that I'm not sure that solves the problems that make this issue such a perfect one for a demagogue like Trump.