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Have the democrats learned enough? I doubt it.

Background to my question here:
a) In 2016 they nominated someone that had been the object of unbridled hatred of a decent-sized (and growing) portion of the populace for 25 years. A cottage industry had built up hating on HIllary Clinton. Millions (or dozens of millions) of Americans in effect had backed themselves into a corner and said they would never vote for HIllary Clinton. Never mind whether they had good reasons for this. This was what our fellow Americans had told us. OK, so that was the person that the Democrats chose to nominate.

One can debate the issue of whether it is ok to back down in the face of such hatred, and it certainly at the time did seem worth discussing whether any of the antipathy to HIllary had validity or perhaps the opposite was true and it was exactly the sort of misogyny that should be challenged, but I think in the end, there were some lessons there for the Democrats to learn about LISTENING to the folks who are going to cast votes. This includes conservatives and those whom you regard as unworthy.

b) scroll ahead to four years later. The nominee is appearing to be another older-generation politician who doesn't seem to say much, and when he does, seems to have average-or-higher foot-in-mouth disease. I don't know much about where he stands on some issues, but if he is the Democratic response to the man who is one of the worst (if not the worst) threats to the Constitution who has ever occupied the White House, then I question if that shows whether the Dems have listened properly. Maybe I'm just not hearing the good things that Mr. Biden is saying. I can say that the vetting process I'm hearing about for the VP nominee seems ok to me.

kmaz 7 May 22

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Most liberal demoncrats( like those who post here) are ignorant. To stupid to realize you cannot win without moderates. All the talk of open borders, socialization, and printing the dollar into the dirt.... scares these people away. It screwed the dems in 2016 and will screw them in 2020.

Veteran, that's not exactly how I would put it, but I think there's enough there that I have hit "like". The way I'd put it I guess includes that many Democrats choose to be tone-deaf. They may pretend to themselves and others that everyone who doesn't agree with them is not very bright and they may throw in that those disagreeing folks are somewhere on the right-wing nut-bar spectrum, but in reality many of the people who do not buy the entire progressive or left-wing agenda are willing to think and listen and reason and have parts they buy and parts they won't buy into. The question for Democratic strategists for 2020 should be to engage with those (many) folks and find common ground and lay out that common ground and not just be offensive dismissive jerks about the task of laying out what the Democratic candidate and party stand for in 2020.


After Clinton lost, the democrats did no reflecting on their defeat. They engaged in shameful scapegoating. They blamed everyone but themselves and took no responsibility as leaders ought to do.

Now they are running the same failed neoliberal strategy with a very similar but, amazingly, slightly worse candidate and they are expecting better results. Well perhaps it will work out for them, not because of their actions but rather in spite of them. They might manage a win due to Trump's incompetence and the lucky timing of the economic downturn occurring during the election year.

It's not just you, I'm not hearing the good things that Mr. Biden is saying either. I've heard plenty that drives people away like his vow to veto a rational single payer healthcare system and his recent remarks to a black man stating that black people aren't black if they don't vote for him.

Against Trump, it really should be a simple easy victory but the democrats insist on giving us choices that are difficult to stomach which drives down turnout which makes it less likely for Trump to lose. I don't actually think they care about winning all that much. I think Biden's nomination had a lot more to do with keeping Sanders away from power than it did with attempting to remove Trump from power.

Some good points, thanks for writing them out.

Biden's remark about "ain't black" the other day was somewhat breathtakingly out of place. DOES HE WANT TO WIN OR NOT? If he does not want to win, then why is he running? It reminded me a little of Hillary's deeply damaging remark about "deplorables". The apparent honesty of both remarks was not in itself wrong, but both remarks are wrong, in my view, at least in part because many undecided voters who could go either way actually do earn and deserve (at least, to one degree or another) the respect and best thinking of the candidates, and in those remarks the candidates are showing they do not really have that respect and are not showing a drive to win votes with good respectful effort-filled thinking.

The facile "otherization" (if that is the right term) of anyone who would vote the other way (and we've seen a little of that on display even here in the other responses) for a job candidate has some significant issues with it, and they include these points:

  • It fails to honor that many who vote for a third party or for the other party are to a large extent motivated by a desire to go against another candidate and not "for" the candidate for whom they have cast their vote. This is undoubtedly true, to one degree or another, for many (what percentage is hard to say) of the folks who voted for Trump. Some of those are votes that could be won over to the Democratic side in the next election if some work is done to identify issues that the candidate could address better.

This goes both ways. There are undoubtedly people who voted Democrat (myself among them) not primarily because we were inspired by the message of the Democrat but at least in large part because we were so totally against what the Republican had to offer that we thought it necessary to do almost anything (for some of us - up to and including casting a vote for a candidate we very much did not like) to try to prevent the Republican candidate from achieving office. In my own case, I have voted Democrat for President since 2000 (having never before voted for a Democrat for President, going back to '84) in each case because of how concerned I was to counter what I regarded as the awfulness of what the Republican candidate offered. My level of distaste for the Democratic candidate varied here from election to election, but it was always there. For me, a big motivator in each of those five elections was to do everything in my power to help my country avoid a grossly false defender of freedom, property rights, and business.

  • There is no such thing as a politician who is wrong in all ways and on all issues. By being so summarily dismissive of folks who would vote for Trump, Democrats miss the opportunity to stake out a much more defensible approach to the race and to discussion in general.

  • Personal attacks and bad logic are a problem throughout many discussions. I'm not sure exactly how to classify the flaws in logic that go with arguing that someone belongs to a certain group and so their vote may be dismissed ("deplorables" ) or counted-upon ("ain't black" ), but I think it doesn't help move us toward focusing on issues rather than on personal attacks.

All of these points necessarily include some gross generalizations but I think would be worth some time of Democratic Party strategists to consider them (if they really want to win, which so far as I am concerned, is a very big "if" ).


That is indeed a very big if. I've seen little to suggest that they do desire victory or even that they intend to resist the president. We have had control of one house of Congress for sometime and Pelosi has almost completely greenlit Trump's agenda. She engaged in some political theater in the form of an ill advised impeachment which was doomed to fail but she hasn't actually opposed him on much. There was the shutdown over wall money. Not over whether or not the wall would be funded but over just how many billions Trump would get, and he got what he needed. Otherwise, the House has been very cooperative with Trump.

It seems to me that the democratic establishment is content with Trump in control. They aren't actually all that different from him on policy because the democratic party has moved so far right and with him in power, they are able to maintain their own grip on power by playing off of the hatred people have for Trump. They don't need to work hard to move the country forward, all they have to do is superficial stuff like calling Trump names and the money comes rolling in.

To answer your question of why they are running if they don't want to win, here's my take. The two parties are two sides of the same coin. They are funded by and govern for the same set of elites so they have the same general goals and therefore, it doesn't matter all that much which one of them wins. The republicans are the obvious right wingers who overtly fight for a conservative corporatist agenda. It's a little more complicated for the democrats. On the surface, they are the liberal party but their true function is to capture whatever enthusiasm and political influence is generated by the left and then funnel it into the democratic support behind establishment candidates where it is then purposefully squandered. It's no coincidence that the party was so decisive and capable against the Sanders movement but is then so inept and spinless when negotiating with republicans. They start every negotiation from the center and compromise their way to a right wing outcome. I think this is purposeful because it is what the ruling class wants and they control both parties through their bribes, sorry, I mean campaign contributions.

There is of course some competition and differences in ideology between these two parties but they have much more in common than what separates them and they both view their true political enemies as the outsiders who might actually make some real fundamental changes and rock their gravy boat.

Both four years ago and now it had little to do with trying to win and everything to do with keeping Bernie from power and the White House.


What if Hillary had won in 2016? Now that we can see confirmed the extraordinary antipathy that so many have for her (and so very many of them were up-front about this, having stoked that antipathy for 25 years leading up to 2016), and we can see with the similar antipathy for Pelosi that the misogynistic right-wing witch-hunt mentality continues and finds plenty of willing participants (and finds tacit compliance from others on the right who may not share the level of antipathy but who do not challenge it much) .... if Hillary had won, is it possible that the United States might not still exist? Probably it would still exist, but I'm just pointing out, given the striking antipathy toward Hillary Clinton from so many, it seems worth asking how they would have responded to a Hillary Presidency complete with some of the tone-deaf obliviousness that she and many of her supporters were capable of manifesting toward those who tried to make clear how objectionable they thought her Presidency would be to them.

Anyway, I'm familiar with the "Republicans-and-Democrats are two sides to the same coin" discussion and if I were younger I'd be a bit more into it, but it's just not as interesting to me any more. There are differences. One key difference is that the Dems don't pretend to be on the side of capitalism, business, and individual liberties as defined through property rights. The Republicans do pretend this, and often I try to say, or want to say, to some of the Republicans who seem to buy into this pretending: How stupid can you be?

But there is plenty of stupidity to go around and one might as well ask of the Democrats - do you really think that you can win just based on your belief in your own moral righteousness? How far do you think your indignation against Trump is going to get you? When the Constitution is laid waste (even more than it is) after Trump gets elected again (or is declared the winner by the election system, however corrupt), and probably when hundreds of thousands or millions more are dead attributable to his incompetence... when those things happen, what are you going to say?

"Oh, that was just the deplorables voting, there was nothing to do be done about it."

If that is more or less the answer that so many Democrats are planning, then my own personal comment is that yes, we are milling about and having these conversations in the midst of levels of intellectual bankruptcy from so many of our fellow Americans... not only the fools that buy into the more ridiculous aspects and demagoguery and law-breaking that Trump has to offer, but the fools on the left that decline to do any work to listen to their fellow Americans and give more thought to their positions. Notwithstanding the ugliness and chaos of the vast numbers of intellectual bankruptcy cases that are taking place on both sides of the aisle, in the face of trying to address a desperate life and death situation on par with the Great Depression or either of the World Wars, that answer will not be acceptable.


Trump is the sore, people are hoping that Biden will be the scab that will be picked off later. However, it may turn into cancer.

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn, reveals how both parties, controlled by the wealthy, using religion, racism and divisiveness have screwed all of us over the years. And they intend to hold onto that power to the detriment of everything.

I wish that book were required reading for all citizens, at least all voters.


There are likely as many true, loyal “Democrats” as there are Union members. They’re not a monolithic block. They are where the term ‘herding cats’ come from.. But, they are the only organized national alternative to a party that represents wealth … while tossing social crums to it’s uneducated (voting) minions.

In 2016 Democratic contenders knew what they were up against: the most qualified candidate for president in US history. And - they well remembered the fight to the finish she’d given Obama in 08. But, she’d been pilloried too well ..and targeted by the worst of the world. A seemingly ‘fresh’ candidate caught fire, it went to his head, and finished her off..

Republicans have money, spend it, and don’t care to waste it. Their dirty campaigns have become nonstop, given media outlets devoted to airing their filth. And that’s only what we see.. What we don’t spot are the tiny but constant ‘social media’ trolls (like around here) who constantly chew away at anything ‘Democrat.’ Feeding voter apathy is a big one … ‘oh, why vote, they’re all crooks anyway’... ‘What’- ‘your guy was beat by that guy’ -- ‘then why vote!’ Crap like that.

Scroll ahead four years … the best Democrat candidates were frightened of the angry Socialist who killed HRC’s candidacy … and all took a step backward.. Moderates likely begged Biden to run the only ‘recognizable Democrat’ … as the pack filled with a little bit of everything else.. Biden decides to run (I suspect against his true desire), the moderates of the nation sifted through them -- and eventually chose Biden, by a serious majority - so here we are.

So, go with a candidate who’ll load his Administration with truly the best people, will actually choose who should become the first female VP, work with a Congress he knows to claw back some seriously lost ground … allow a couple Supreme Court Justices to be replaced with (hopefully before either die) good ones, delegate and promote more than I suspect anyone on the far left imagines, and very likely retire for good in 4.5 years… Deal, or no deal - America..?

Varn Level 8 May 22, 2020

It wasn't Hillary or "the Democrats" It was the fact that Donald Trump was the Great White Hope. Same reason for Brexit. White America loves him, he's their version of MLK. He feeds off racism and white supremacy. If the African American voters don't come out this time, they deserve Trump. I don't.

I can't argue with most of your comment, but another part of Trump's appeal, at least last time, was the anger and betrayal that most white Americans felt about how the Dem party has abandoned them in favor of the rich and corporations. Of course Trump was completely lying to them about how he was going to change trade policies and economic policies to help Americans in the lower classes, but at least he seemed to hear their anger and validate it, as well as say he would change things in their favor. Hillary refused to recognize or validate their anger, much less promise any help for those left behind in the economy, plus, she and Bill were already identified as part of the Dem establishment that had betrayed and left behind average Americans in favor of the rich and corporations. She could not convincingly lie to Americans the way Trump could about this because she was already so identified as part of the problem with the Dem party.


Democrats don't love to dislike own leaders. They are hoping for a good leader but the dislike for Hillary and Bernie is their own doing, they have sowed it, and fertilized it. Both had a golden opportunity to win... Hillary after a very popular own-party president and Joe running against a very unpopular president. Both cannot capitalize and even win own party voters' votes. They are driving own voters to go vote for Trump or site own the elections. That is called motivation and excitement in Democratic terms.

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