06 November 2015

Complacency

Steve M at No More Mister Nice Blog has a much-needed wake-up call which I urge everyone to head over there and read.  We've gotten used to telling each other that the Republicans are a bunch of clowns, that they're doomed by demographics, that they're so extremist and internally divided that they're on the verge of collapsing and vanishing as an effective political force.  The 2016 election is in the bag; we'll inevitably win the Presidency and make gains in Congress, perhaps even recover control of the Senate, while the floundering Republicans in their alternate-reality bubble look on in shock as they did in 2012.

I don't deny that that will probably happen.  But as Steve M points out, for a near-defunct party, the bad guys did pretty well this week.  A state which was among the biggest beneficiaries of Obamacare elected not only a Republican, but one of those anti-establishment wingnut Republicans, as its governor.  A city which had elected an openly-lesbian mayor rejected a gay equal-rights ordinance.  Dinosaurs remain formidable and dangerous right up to the point of extinction.

Even if the polls look reassuring (which is no longer unequivocally true), the results this Tuesday were much worse than the polls for those races predicted.  This reinforces the view that the growing prevalence of cell phones and reluctance of busy people to participate in surveys are making accurate polling more difficult.  Even if the polls next year show us comfortably ahead of the Republicans again, we can't count on that.

Complacency is dangerous.  It could take the edge off of GOTV efforts and the energy we need to fight the bad guys.  It could also encourage supporters of whichever Democrat fails to win the nomination to indulge in PUMA-like tantrums.  I understand the impulse; I've been there.  But we can't afford it.  The Republicans are far crazier and more dangerous than they were in 2008.  A Republican Presidential win would doubtless be accompanied by retaining Congress.  Obamacare, the Iran agreement, separation of church and state, any chance of a sane Supreme Court, all progress on fighting climate change, very likely even Social Security and Medicare -- all wiped out, plus invasions of Iran and who knows where else.  We can't take even the ghost of a chance of that happening.

You may have to fight for a candidate you have real reservations about -- Hillary's Iraq vote, Bernie's position on guns.  For that matter, Obama has just signaled a willingness to go to the mat for the TPP.  This is infuriating, but consider what a Republican in office instead of Obama would have meant:  even worse trade pacts, no Obamacare, war instead of the Iran deal, more Scalias instead of Kagan and Sotomayor (they learned from Souter and won't make that mistake again -- from now on Republican Presidents will choose only proven wingnuts for the Court).  Gore too had flaws, but no sane person can say that it would have made no difference having him as President for those eight years rather than Bush.  Nor is there any point in contrasting the Democrat with some ideal person who doesn't exist and couldn't win if he did.  Next November there will be two and only two people who could actually become President:  the Democratic nominee (whether it's Hillary or Bernie) and a raving maniac.

I'm still optimistic.  I believe we'll win.  It's just that I'm always aware of the dangers of overconfidence.  Pot smokers in Ohio, gays in Houston, and the half-million newly-insured in Kentucky are about to suffer the consequences of low turnout caused by complacency, apathy, and cynicism.  Let their plight serve as a warning for the whole country next year.

4 Comments:

Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

I hate to think like that, but I believe you are ACCURATE here in what your pointing out. The thing about this GOP, is they got an inch and they took a mile, and they act quick when they do (too quick, without thinking), that stunt they pushed in Houston as far as using the bathrooms may end up spreading like cancer now across GOP America as example. Even though the social issues are of concern, what is even more troubling to me, is the economic viewpoint of the GOP and what they are pounding ... as you know, I spent 7 years here in Dallas working for a local republican politician in his printing business in Mesquite several years back (he was a cool guy too), I couldnt figure out why he was so gung- ho against electing Bush/ Cheney and asked him why at the time? ... he told me "Thomas ... every time we get a Republican President now, businesses start closing up here in Mesquite" (that was his opinion, and his prediction was right at the time). All of what you pointed out as far as the privatization things of Medicare, Social Security to even our public schools and the list goes on ... they want to attack, their list seem's endless at that! I wish that we were not in this situation Infidel ... to me the 2014 mis-term was a disaster I refer to as the "GOP Mudslde" was bad enough, when they got so much power in the Congress, that was even worse to me.

BTW, as for your question about Dallas suburbia spare income ventures, a link in your last "round- up" posting ... I will try to look for one ... it was a local piece that some news station on the tele was covering a couple years ago here, so I didnt catch it online ... if I find something, I will email it to you. Damn man!! ... it's pouring rain out, and I was just fixin to change the oil and license plates on my car! }:-(

07 November, 2015 05:19  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ranch: On right-wing sites the Houston ordinance is being presented entirely as a matter of weirdos invading bathrooms, not civil rights. Unfortunately it was mostly people who read that stuff who voted.

Not sure I had a link about spare income in Dallas last time?

"Mudslide" is a good term for it. And there are decades of data showing that the economy grows faster under Democratic Presidents.

07 November, 2015 06:14  
Anonymous NickM said...

Ah, the eternal conundrum: best or best you can do? There are many (and this is much broader than US or any politics) of throwing good under the bus for the desire for ideal (whatever that may be). Infidel I think (and have done for years) that the biggest, best, change in US politics would be the rise of other parties. Obviously both the current ones are very broad. Perhaps too broad.

07 November, 2015 22:55  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

It's hard to imagine a third party arising in the US -- the huge size of the country means that a vast amount of investment would be necessary to build something viable on a national scale, and any sensible advocate would conclude that that investment would be better put into winning influence in one of the two existing parties.

I suppose it could happen if the Republican party finally splits in two along wingnut-vs-establishment lines -- but there are a lot of different flavors of wingnut. I doubt their half would be viable.

08 November, 2015 09:54  

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