What Democrats Need To Understand Before 2018

As you will figure out (if you haven’t already) from watching the Vox video below, technology and globalization aren’t going away. They are two powerful forces shaping our collective lives today, two forces that, in purely economic terms, have both good and bad effects. One of the bad effects is the increasingly large money gap between the wealthy and everyone else. Most Democrats believe that government, particularly the federal government, can help mitigate the rapidly worsening income and wealth inequality that is, essentially, a plague on our economic system. Unfortunately, it is Republicans who are in the position to reconstruct our tax code—an instrument of behavior modification—and they are hard at work reconstructing it to favor, even more than it does now, their rich donors. If they are successful, their plan will not only increase the federal debt for no good reason, but leave vulnerable populations even more vulnerable, when Republicans return next year with planned cuts to social programs to address “the debt” they are now ignoring.

There has been a lot of talk about just how Democrats should confront the next wave of elections in 2018 and 2020. Obviously, one domestic policy component of any electoral strategy is to run against Tr-mpism, which means embracing diversity and inclusion and, uh, reality. Another domestic policy component is to put forward a realistic plan for expanding health coverage (can anyone say, “public option”?). And still another component is to articulate an economic vision for the country that addresses income inequality without damaging our prospects for economic growth. In other words, Democrats have to come up with a plan—one that can be simply expressed—that acknowledges the reality of the changes brought upon us by technology and globalization, without trying to roll back the clock to simpler times, when America was the dominant economic force in the world. This won’t be an easy task, but it begins with acknowledging reality (and building on the ideas advanced by the Clinton campaign last year). The video below will help:

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12 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  November 18, 2017

    Duane,

    A little off topic, but what Democrats need to now do, is to remove Al Franken from his seat and replace him with another Democrat. Despite his intelligence, despite his offense being a forced kiss and “comical?!” groping, we cannot be hypocritical condemning Trump, Moore, et.al. without dealing with our own problems. None are fit for public office, including our 42nd President.

    The current generation refers to being self aware, rational, empathetic, or intellectually superior to the norm as being “woke”. While there are few on the other side of the aisle, Democrats appear to have their fair share. This generation, the millennials and on are where Democrats need to focus their attention. Their apathy in voting in the Presidential election exhibited our inability to field the proper candidate, one with decades of terrible press.

    I’m not saying Sanders was the proper candidate, but Hillary sure as hell was not even though she was most qualified. The other side fielded a psychopathic moron and won. Until we truly are inclusive of all, the minorities, the LGBTQ, the disenfranchised, and the younger generations, then we are doomed to failure. Even with all that is now known, the Russians didn’t steal this election, we lost it.

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    •  

      I couldn’t disagree more on Al Franken. Sure, his presidential prospects (which I would have supported) are pretty much toast. But his offenses, as bad as they were, are not in “he should resign” territory and certainly not in “he should be removed from his seat” territory. As far as I can tell, there is no one who supports the charge that he actually groped this woman. If he did, that’s another matter. If he didn’t, if he simply pretended to grope her for a photographic joke, that is stupid and offensive, but it is not predatory behavior, as far as I’m concerned. I want to know more about what happened. I want to hear from others around (and some may have spoken up, but I have been out of the loop most of the weekend) who witnessed Franken’s behavior. I will take the accuser at her word until there is reason not to, obviously. But his case involves other people who can back up her claim or refute it. I want to know more (and a more comprehensive statement from Franken, expressly addressing each charge, would be nice).

      Now, on to the younger voters. According to the best analysis we amateurs have of the 2016 election, Gen X and Millennial voter turnout was up from 2012 (the millennials were up about 7%). The biggest problem for Democrats was African-American turnout among millenials:

      Millennial and Gen X voter turnout increased in 2016...and among millennials, black turnout decreased

      We can all argue as to why white millenial turnout was up (which helped Tr-mp, of course) and black millenial turnout was down (I do think a good argument can be made that the Russians stole the election via a widespread message of corruption and a microtargeted message aimed at, say, black communities and white communities, but that’s for another day). But we can’t argue, as some are, that we need to spend a lot of time appealing to the economic fears of white working class voters to the detriment of others who faithfully support the party. That is a losing formula, as far as I’m concerned. I’m with you when you say that we have to focus on social inclusiveness, but also including those who are shut out economically—whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, or whoever. In other words, if we specifically target white working class voters and their particular insecurities, many of which are rooted in a broader cultural angst, then we risk depressing turnout among other politically ascendant groups.

      And besides that, inclusiveness and economic justice for all are not just part of a winning political strategy, they are the right goals to pursue in moral terms.

      Duane

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      • Anonymous

         /  November 20, 2017

        Duane,

        Al Franken’s issues are not as severe morally or statutorially as Roy Moore’s, granted, but he is undoubtedly a cad, and IMHO undeserving of his Senate seat. Another woman has came forward:

        Woman says Franken inappropriately touched her in 2010 – CNN

        We can agree to disagree on his future. More women may come forward, or perhaps not.

        As far as the millennial vote, Pew also now states that millennials have surpassed baby boomers in quantity of eligible voters. Most do tend to vote with Democrats on the issues, but the percentages that voted for Obama as opposed to Clinton is damning of the candidate we fielded. If nothing else, Trump proved the “qualification” to lead to be moot, as it relates to an undereducated electorate, be it millennials or baby boomer.

        I do not pretend to have your grasp of national politics, but I agree 100% with the following analysis in a NPR story interviewing Asma Khalid written immediately after the election. I don’t know how to increase the percentages of millennials voting in your chart to match baby boomers 70% mark, but it will be necessary to field an Obama type but not as radical as Sanders, as opposed to another Clinton example.

        The “greatest” generation which doesn’t care about national healthcare, because they have their Medicare, doesn’t believe in globalism, and reflects back to society when LGBTQ, minorities, and government regulation like EPA, OSHA, and the EEOC were unnecessary are anachronisms among us now. At any rate, I’m with you, and only hope for the future before the GOP destroys it with themselves.

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        • Okay. Let’s agree, for now, to disagree about Franken. So far, I see nothing that would require Democrats to throw him overboard, despite his highly inappropriate behavior. I will note here, however, that his accuser (now the subject of pro-Hannity rumors, the truth of which I haven’t researched and are irrelevant if he in fact groped her) has not asked for him to resign and has accepted his apology. I will also note that Bernie Sanders has said that his fate is in the hands of Minnesota voters. So, that’s pretty much where I stand until more comes out, if it does.

          We can agree, I think, on the path forward for Democrats: nominate a presidential candidate who has the rare combination of political experience and the ability to excite base voters, which obviously includes young folks. I would add that it is possible, given the right candidate, we could sacrifice political experience for obvious intelligence and a willingness to learn the issues. The constant, though, would be someone who motivates our faithful blocks of voters, by not only taking conventional Democratic positions on the social issues, but taking positions that are realistic (like the public option as opposed to a wholesale restructuring of the healthcare system, a future goal I think is only achievable through incremental change), but someone who is willing to say to Tr-mpism what needs to be said—confidently, forcefully, and with conviction. 

          I will say also that it does Democrats no good to a) keep trashing Bernie Sanders or b) keep trashing Hillary Clinton. I’ve stated my objections (plenty of times) to what Sanders did and you, and others, have stated your objections to Clinton’s baggage, etc. I think it is now time to find good candidates from both “factions” to win the races across the country each is best suited to win. In congressional and Senate races, we may even have to support centrist-y candidates that neither you nor I would like if we had our druthers.

          And, yes, if we don’t get our shit together soon as Democrats—and if voters don’t get their shit together as voters—we are in a heap of trouble. Some days, I think the damage already done is irreparable.

          Duane

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  2. ansonburlingame

     /  November 18, 2017

    Interesting reply from this Anonymous and to an extent I agree. Russia did not steal the election. Progressives lost it, like it or not. But of course what we got in return is far worse than anything Hillary might have done or tried to do!!

    I recently read that millennials are now demonstrating the “fact” that their generation is NOT getting better jobs, making more money, living better in general, than their parents generation. Base on observing my 11 grandchildren, I would agree, to an extent. Why? More important, what could or should be done to improve the vision of the American Dream for each generation. I add, if Millennials are not finding improving standards of living, happiness, etc. then watch out for the newly emerging Generation Z or whatever they are now called. To me at least, that is a clear downward trend in generational “improvements”, how each generation lives a “better life” in America.

    If I can pick a time when I, personally, was “launched” into adulthood, I would pick Jan 20, 1961, six months before I entered (a brutal and very demanding) college. I was in DC when JFK said “Ask not …….”. Today 10’s of millions of Americans scream, daily, demanding their “country” (government) do more for them, with little thought as to what they must do, more, for themselves.

    If I could change just one thing today to dramatically improve the ability of one generation to “do better” than the previous one, I would put the eggs into the basket of public K12 education and then wait a generation or two to see if it worked. Only when Americans demand high levels of performance from themselves will we find continuing improvement from one generation to the next. No one will “give” anyone else such high standards of performance and for damned sure we can’t raise enough taxes to even try to “give it away”. High levels of performance as measured peer to peer will cause improvement over time for individuals.

    Anson

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    • Anson,

      Although it depends on what one means when one says “Russia stole the election,” I am in the camp that says had it not been for Russian influence, Clinton would have won. Thus, I would say Tr-mp stole the election with Russian help. How’s that?

      As I have tried to make clear, technology and globalization are causing a disruption of our post-WWII national economic dominance. Across the world, the U.S. is now facing stiff competition everywhere. I have argued that Democrats, rather than espousing reactionary policies toward such developments (we shouldn’t want to stop technological advances and we are too far down the road to stop the flattening of the economic world), we have to fashion forward-looking policies. Those policies will include ones that you don’t like, Anson, but I don’t think your recipe of personal responsibility (which Democrats enthusiastically embrace also) is all there is to fixing what is wrong. Income inequality is not simply a matter of folks not working hard enough. Plenty of folks work their asses off and still don’t get close to realizing a life featuring a decent home, good healthcare, and money enough to send their kids to college, and so on. The problem is deeper than the “high levels of performance” you suggest is lacking. It is structural, which is what Democrats are trying, in sometimes ineffective ways, to fix.

      Duane

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  3. Anonymous

     /  November 18, 2017

    Anson,

    Get over yourself! Your party of Republicans has a chairman in Alabama, Jerry Pow of Bibb County, that said he would vote for Moore even if he did commit the crime against the 14 year old. The man would vote for a pedophile! And stated it publicly! We have not descended to your party’s level of sleaze at this point, perhaps you should try to influence your own ranks!

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  4. ansonburlingame

     /  November 19, 2017

    And here we go again. It is NOT “my party”, etc., etc. Moore is nothing more or less than a quintessential “Boss Hog”, a fat, arrogant red neck using gods to damn others for not agreeing with him! Despicable and I don’t need a bunch of women (girls) coming out of a closet to see that for myself.

    trump is equally despicable and I don’t need Duane’s blog to convince me of such. It becomes however, what to do with (or to, or for) trump, NOW that becomes the question on the table. How do we govern America, given another “boss hog” (I prefer “damned Yankee”) in the White House. GOPers did the same thing Dems are now doing, stalling, stalemating, moralizing to heaven and hell to PREVENT trump from governing while the country continues to head in the WRONG direction (but a DIFFERENT, “wrong” direction”) this time around.

    You will only have to wait 3 more years to change that situation. But God only knows when it ever heads in the “RIGHT” direction, as no one knows (other than the gods) what that is today and get unified to do it!!

    I currently have 11 Millennials in my family and most (but not all) of them is struggling, complaining, worrying, etc. If you tell them voting Dem is going to resolve their problems I will then point to Detroit, etc. to show them how such government worked out for baby boomers and Gen X residents of those continuing hell holes! No one has it right yet and I see no one with a clue to getting it right for America, yet!

    Anson

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    • Anonymous

       /  November 19, 2017

      Anson,

      Get real, and drop your pretenses. Koster was more conservative than Greitens, did you vote for him? Now is when you hide behind your secret vote. I did and voted for Hillary as well while holding my nose. When was the last time you voted for a Democrat? I know that is your priviledge to refuse to answer, but at least the asshole in Georgia had the guts (and lack of morals) to say he would vote for a pedophile before he voted for a Democrat.

      The millennial as in my family are all successful and do not whine as you have suggested, but we both know income inequality is at its greatest level since the 1920’s.

      https://www.stlouisfed.org/on-the-economy/2016/june/how-has-income-inequality-changed-years

      This is not because, as you suggest, a lack of ambition or motivation or education. This is entirely due to the greed of the upper 1% and the politicians they have bought and paid for to do their bidding. Now how exactly do you fix that? The conservative method of less taxes on the rich to induce them to trickle down on us? Piss on us is more like it. To point at Detroit, and blame the job losses and financial situation on liberal policies is ridiculous. I wouldn’t claim to be a manner of the GOP either, they have sold their souls to a psychopathic leader. Let me know when you vote Democratic, because pissing off your vote on a write-in is equally ridiculous.

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  5. Anonymous

     /  November 19, 2017

    Anson,

    Excuse my temper, but it seems damn simple, we have a choice of two parties for a government. One is currently killing the CHIPS program for children, for Christ’s sake. The have elected a self-admitted “woman groping” psychopathic “yankee” con men to the presidency. You only have two choices of party, which one represents your beliefs? The one with a majority in Congress and the Presidency yet has failed to pass any meaningful, visionary laws.

    The only thing the GOP has accomplished is destroying anything related to Obama’s tenure. Take away national healthcare, which is ridiculous when over a dozen civilized nations offer such. Neuter the EPA, OSHA, etc… Planned Parenthood, rural hospitals, and the list goes on for days. If this is “conservatism” and in what you believe, there is nothing left to say. If you disagree with this, then you shouldn’t ever vote GOP again, because that is exactly what they are doing.

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  6. ansonburlingame

     /  November 20, 2017

    Anonymous, whichever one you might be, I “excuse” your temper. I react the same way with progressives believing their way is the only way.

    If possible, check out Monday’s George Will column in the Globe. He once again denigrates the “blue state management” approach seen for decades in such places as “Detroit”, but in this case he once again takes aim at Illinois and the fiscal turmoil in that one state. For decades the evidence of such Democrat approach to fiscal management, and thus “government”, has increasingly shown failure that forces the downward trend in “quality of life” issues seen all over the American landscape. When I write “Detroit” I actually mean such larger scale failures in “government” that show we cannot “tax our way out of the mess” created by government providing more and more but demanding less and less from citizens. “Ask not………” being my point, again.

    11 Millennial grandkids but only two that are clearly on track, so far, to be self sufficient and “happy”. The others are in turmoil and I yet to see recognition on their part as to “why”. What do you want to “do” in your life is a confounding question to each of the 9 still struggling and each is old enough now to be able to grasp the meaning of that question but not able to articulate an answer. It boils down to “make a lot of money and be creative”!!!

    There is NO government program, no additional source of wealth, no “better school(s)'”, no anything else that can provide an answer to such a fundamental question for a young adult. They must find the answer(s) within themselves and then commit to the effort needed to make it happen. At some point, no decision is worse than a “bad decision”.

    I can also assure you that the “top 1%” have nothing to do with the turmoil seen in “my Millennials”. Hell, 4 of them already have such wealth. The other 5 have all the “help” they need as well, yet ……… No tax policy, border control (or lack thereof) program, etc., etc. is going to improve their chances of becoming self sufficient and happy. It is now up to them and I sure don’t like how the future is unfolding for them, now. As for Gen Z, I thank God I don’t have to deal with that crowd as a grand parent now as I am sure it is only going to get worse for them.

    Anson

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