Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Yay They (Sorta) Won - Boo They're Still Bad At This

I suppose there are three main parts of my criticism of The Democrats:

1) They're bad at the "game" - working the press, having their message and topic of discussion dominate the daily news cycle. We can argue about how much this is important for elections, or how much this is all just entertainment for weird political junkies, but I can't see it not mattering at all.

2) They're generally conflict averse and shy about using perfectly legitimate power. We can debate precisely why this is.

Number 3 is a bit more complicated:

3) The main impulse isn't, as I think people imagine, to win with a left wing coalition that expands just enough to include the notion of "the median voter." A left to center left coalition that achieves 50.1%+. Instead it's to form the rightmost possible winning coalition given the existence of the Republican party. The center left to the center right. Those suburban "moderates" they chase every cycle and would prefer to jettison "The Left" for, if possible.

For ideological reasons, and for misplaced beliefs about electoral politics, they'd prefer to be the "unity party." Like you can imagine alternative histories under either Clinton or Obama such that a new Centrist Party of Moderate Sensible Republicans and Moderate Sensible Democrats would have emerged, in practice if not in name necessarily.

For various reasons we weren't close to those moments. But that was, I think, the dream for many Democrats (and "liberal" pundits), though not many Republicans. A bipartisan consensus forever without any of the nastiness that is politics.  Let sensible people rule in peace.

Both for ideological reasons (my preferred policies) and my opinion about actual electoral politics, instead of Morning Joseph Green Room Politics, I think an enduring Left-Center Left coalition is both better and easier to maintain. I think those policies are better, and I think they are much more popular than "centrists" want you to believe (Many of these people - the pundits - are just liars, I have come to realize. Effective Mendacity.).

I think we've moved past that some. Obviously even old centrist Joey is playing a different game now. But those impulses change slowly, especially with mostly the same people in charge.