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How Did We Lose WI,

December 27, 2016

MI, PA, (and OH) ?

As the end (of this novel) draweth nigh, I must get in a page on this question—even though I don’t know the answer(s), if only because I can’t help but think out loud about it. There were, of course, multiple reasons; but I want to focus on three possibles.

Off the Cliff Notes version: weak party; weak campaign (in those states, at least); black voters stayed home.

Full Text version (reflecting a major source, including data on black voting %):

(A) Weak Party. The thought here is that the Dem Party lost the 2016 election in 1988-92 when it went Reagan-lite, and then ’92-2000 when it developed it’s Clintonite R-lite policies and party Establishment, and then 2008-16 when Obama continued those policies and Establishment. The result was that the working-middle-class of the Rust Belt (across color, gender, and whatever) became economically insecure, and lost it’s belief that either the R Party or the D Party cared about that. A master con like Trump could then successfully claim to listen, to care, and to be both able and determined to provide the desired security: jobs that pay an adequate income for an ongoing, decently working-middle-class, life style [another take on that]. In the Rust Belt, the Dems and their candidate could not erode T’s claims, because they could not convincingly make that case for themselves.

(And if, btw, we continue to bring more people up into the working-middle-class, we’ll have to provide them with that security too! Alongside robots.)

(B) Weak Campaign. First, though, this accurate and well-deserved praise of Hillary Clinton as a campaigner and person.

But voters decided against her with the damnedest thinking.

(1) By this year, it was clear that the Clinton-Obama Dem Establishment was allied with the interests of the filthy rich, and would do what it took to protect the interests of their owners (and their own interests as the Established). Hillary was part of the economic rigging that threatened the working-middle-class of the Rust Belt.

(2a) Politics today runs on archetypal imagination and communication. Applying that major motif of this novel, I think H did not succeed with Rust Belt voters by means of story, image, or conversation. I won’t say much about that here, but of course I think it’s very big. It engages the individual and collective imagination (including the local group, e.g. small town, imagination) powerfully, at a very deep level of brain activity.

As I’ve presented on other pages, T used all three of those, very effectively.

(2b) Indeed, during the period 2000-2016, the Clintons established their family and political story and image, as the very globalizing jet-setter wealth-getters that ground dust into the eyes of Rust Belt voters.

(2c) And then, H condemned those voters of the Rust Belt who were vulnerable to T’s con, by calling “half of them” (apparently the half-wits) a basket of “deplorables.” Friends, “deplorables” is not a working-middle-class word. They know it, but it is outside their conversational vocabulary. I spent almost all of my life in an area that I watched join the “Bible Belt” and then become the “Rust Belt;” but I have a doctorate in English, and yet, I don’t use the word, “deplorable.” That is an elitist word. It’s a word of polite company and well-dressed afternoon cocktail partiers. And even then, it’s tinged with inside-group, dismissive, light comedy. That moment was H’s “47%,” and it seemed to come as naturally to her as Romney’s moment came for him.

Unlikeable? Can’t be trusted? Tin ear?

(2d) And then, H didn’t campaign in WI. Say what?!

At any rate, I have that beef with the “third way” Dems. Binge drinking?  Suicide?  Opioids?  You have to wonder.

So okay. Having thought all that, let’s also think, once more (and many more times after this):

Every individual vote for T, by any voter who was paying the least attention, was foolish, and what’s more, immoral. There is no excuse for it. Even faced with a dilemma of two bads. It’s beyond deplorable. Don’t even go there. And if you went there, it’s already past time to come back.

In the direct vote, majority democracy that we recently came close to achieving, but very recently saw nullified by the aristocracy again, Hillary Clinton was elected President. T lost the election.

Nevertheless, it’s time to leave Reagan-lite behind.

It’s also time to leave behind the cobbling together of coalitions to make a majority. It’s time, instead, to take a stand on universal principles, goods, and the issues that follow from them. For instance, black lives matter as a matter of humane and democratic principles of justice, not just as an interest group. Black lives, under targeted attack, matter especially, to all principled lives, as does anyone who is targeted by the lawless, the bigoted, and Trump.

If you ask me, 2017 had better be the year when the Dem Party becomes the Progressive Democratic Party.

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