Jump to content
Renegade

A strategy for reinvigorating our democracy

Recommended Posts

I heard the authors of this paper discussing the topic (Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America) on NPR and found it very intriguing.  They have an interesting view on why our political system isn't delivering better results.  They look at politics as an industry dominated by two companies...a duopoly.  

 

Quote

The starting point for understanding the problem is to recognize that our political system isn’t broken. Washington is delivering exactly what it is currently designed to deliver. The real problem is that our political system is no longer designed to serve the public interest, and has been slowly reconfigured to benefit the private interests of gain-seeking organizations: our major political parties and their industry allies.

 

They claim that the current political system fails the average voter because the Democrat/Republican duopoly discourages outside competition.  Lack of competition in any industry leads to poor customer satisfaction.

 

Quote

Competing on division reinforces the parties’ differentiation from each other while enhancing their core customer loyalty. Competing on partisanship rather than by appealing to a broad range of voters reduces accountability. Appealing to the middle, or to customer groups with overlapping interests, blurs party differentiation while creating more pressure to actually deliver results. Parties, then, compete to create and reinforce partisan divisions, not deliver practical solutions. The duopoly appeals to its partisan supporters based on ideology, not policies that work.

 

Both parties work together to eliminate any outside competition.  

 

Quote

Over time, the duopoly works together to set numerous rules and practices that reinforce division and enhance separation. A series of election rules and practices—which both sides have advanced—have enhanced and expanded partisan division, resulting in more and more extreme candidates and elected officials. These include partisan primaries; gerrymandered districts; ballot access rules and fundraising biases that disadvantage independents; and governing practices in Congress that amplify partisanship, work against compromise solutions, and discourage bipartisan activity, such as co-sponsorship of legislation or cross-party consultation.

 

I'd encourage anyone to read the full paper.  It's an interesting and easy read.

 

Anyway, I really like their recommendations for the election process (explained in more detail in the paper):

- Establish nonpartisan top-four primaries:  The top 4 vote recipients, regardless of party, advance to the general election

 

- Institute ranked-choice voting with instant runoff in general elections:  This would eliminate the argument that a vote for a 3rd party candidate is a wasted vote.  It works like an instant runoff election.  In the first round, you count all the first-choice votes and (if no one got a majority) the lowest vote-getter is eliminated.  Every ballot listing that candidate as the first choice is re-counted using their second choice.  The process is then repeated by eliminating the third-place vote-getter.  

 

- Institute nonpartisan redistricting:  No gerrymandering.  

 

- Rewrite debate access rules for presidential elections:   The current 15% threshold is too high and prevents third-party candidates from competing.

 

What are your thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a creative and informative work.  All the ideas for reform are, IMO, excellent, especially ranked-choice voting. 

 

One of the most important points made in the paper is that rarely do politicians pay a political price for failure to deliver legislation that would be of benefit to their constituents.  Campaign promises are made and not kept while big interests pay for their own legislation.  Meanwhile, partisan politics demonizes the other side of the duopoly, leaving the voting public no choice but to vote for the lesser of two evils.  Instead of voting for the greater good.  In addition, the media is monopolized, reinforcing the partisan message.  And gerrymandering proceeds apace.

 

I can't help but notice that the paper is describing predominantly Republican practices.  And I'm guessing the writers are probably well-meaning, moderate, Conservative thinkers.  The paper's oft-made assertion that there are no moderates left could be a perception by the authors of moderate Democratic politicians as "extreme".  While also correctly perceiving their own party's plunge into extremism.  I looked up both authors in Wiki and although political affiliations were not given, Gehl seems the less Conservative, while I am guessing that Porter, having been a consultant for companies like Royal Dutch Shell, Caterpillar and Taiwan-Semiconductor is more to the right.  But obviously, both authors are people of intellect and integrity.

 

In the paper are suggestions we would be better-off with moderate politicians.  I don't agree with this approach.  What's necessary instead, is to make the necessary reforms and let the voters decide what kinds of politicians they want.

 

The problem is, how to break into a system that has been deliberately insulated against change.

 

Laripu made a list of reforms, yesterday:

1) eliminate gerrymandering with a simple geometric algorithm that divides each state into equal population areas

2) eliminate the  electoral college in favor of direct vote

3) make university tuition at state universities a function of grades: A+ average pays nothing. D average pays twice full freight

4) prosecute cops who shoot people without real cause

5) make the number of representatives in each state proportional to population

6) repeal the Citizen United decision

7) prevent states from infringing civil liberties

 

And I added to it:

~  Institute publicly funded elections;  Only very small individual donations allowed (Maybe $50.00 max).  

~  Reduce campaign duration to six weeks.

~  Make election day a public holiday.  Legislate nationwide mail-in ballots for those so-inclined.A

~  Make voting compulsory for the sound of mind, 18 or over.   

~  Paper ballots only (not foolproof but the most reliable method now available). 

~  Make voting legal for ex cons, no longer on parole.

~  Eighteen year term limit for Supreme Court justices.    https://fixthecourt.com/fix/term-limits/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's one problem to solve:

 

When California mistakenly recalled our governor and elected a new one, there were over 100 candidates - academics, celebrities, all kinds of people. One was Arnold Schwarzeneggar.

 

So, naturally, all those dozens no one heard of had no chance. Even if there were a majority desire to elect a type of candidate, they split the vote. And so fame and celebrity won out - everyone knew the name Arnold Schwarzeneggar.

 

How practical was it going to be for the public to get to know those 100+ candidates? For them not to split the vote even if they did? To deal with the money advantage?

Even ranked voting, which I support, wouldn't really have helped. That election highlights some problems endemic to our elections today.

It shows the need to create a more even playing field between an unknown candidate and a rich celebrity - or someone backed by plutocrat money. The need for a lot of public funding and public informing and ways to narrow down the field - that narrowing being one of the advantages of the two parties, why they're so effective.

 

Show me a system in which Schwarzeneggar would have lost that election.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

2 hours ago, bludog said:

The problem is, how to break into a system that has been deliberately insulated against change.

 

 

Laripu made a list of reforms, yesterday:

1) eliminate gerrymandering with a simple geometric algorithm that divides each state into equal population areas

2) eliminate the  electoral college in favor of direct vote

3) make university tuition at state universities a function of grades: A+ average pays nothing. D average pays twice full freight

4) prosecute cops who shoot people without real cause

5) make the number of representatives in each state proportional to population

6) repeal the Citizen United decision

7) prevent states from infringing civil liberties

 

And I added to it:

~  Institute publicly funded elections;  Only very small individual donations allowed (Maybe $50.00 max).  

~  Reduce campaign duration to six weeks.

~  Make election day a public holiday.  Legislate nationwide mail-in ballots for those so-inclined.A

~  Make voting compulsory for the sound of mind, 18 or over.   

~  Paper ballots only (not foolproof but the most reliable method now available). 

~  Make voting legal for ex cons, no longer on parole.

~  Eighteen year term limit for Supreme Court justices.    https://fixthecourt.com/fix/term-limits/

Good list. I agree.

A couple small comments on:

 

"~  Reduce campaign duration to six weeks"

 

Why? Is there an official start date for primary campaigns? , Or are you referring to start of 1st Primary to convention (nomination)?

I would like to see Iowa, NH, and South Carolina primaries held the same time as a big states like CA, FL, NY, or Ohio.

Having a couple big states vote earlier in the cycle will weed out the primary field very quickly.

Or- Have a National Primary Election day for all parties, and all candidates.

 

"~  Make election day a public holiday.  Legislate nationwide mail-in ballots for those so-inclined."

 

I would lean toward mandatory 2-3 week in-person early voting period instead of, or in addition to a public holiday.

Although I loved mail-in voting in Oregon, in-person voting is the most tamper proof method in ethically challenged states like NC, GA,& FL.

 

1 hour ago, Craig234 said:

Here's one problem to solve:

 

When California mistakenly recalled our governor and elected a new one, there were over 100 candidates - academics, celebrities, all kinds of people. One was Arnold Schwarzeneggar.

 

Show me a system in which Schwarzeneggar would have lost that election. 

 A bracket system???, like March Madness?

That would be crazy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, ExPDXer said:

"~  Reduce campaign duration to six weeks"

 

Why?

 

I was thinking of congressional and presidential campaigns.  This is in line with reducing costs in mostly public-funded elections.  I borrowed the six week limit from Australia, where it works well.

 

41 minutes ago, ExPDXer said:

I would lean toward mandatory 2-3 week in-person early voting period instead of, or in addition to a public holiday.

Although I loved mail-in voting in Oregon, in-person voting is the most tamper proof method in ethically challenged states like NC, GA,& FL.

 

I would not be against this in addition to an election day holiday, which would be a symbolic recognition of the importance of voting.  Anything that would make it easier for people to vote would be desirable.  The more people that get involved in who governs them, the better Democracy works.

 

41 minutes ago, ExPDXer said:

Have a National Primary Election day for all parties, and all candidates

 

Having different primary dates in different states makes the early ones influential, out of proportion to their importance.  The news media then run wild with it.  A National Primary Day would better reflect voters real preferences rather than what has been suggested to them.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not for shortening the election season. For one thing, it's too easy for candidates to do a marketing blitz - think how the filed changed after the first six weeks of campaigning.

 

For another, less known candidates need more time it seems to get better known. Think of Bernie at the six week mark and the end of the campaign.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, bludog said:

The paper's oft-made assertion that there are no moderates left could be a perception by the authors of moderate Democratic politicians as "extreme".  While also correctly perceiving their own party's plunge into extremism.

 

The Democrats have a few moderates left, but both parties have become significantly more partisan over the years.  There's been a lot of research into this and it's not only these authors that notice the lack of moderates on both sides.  Here's one of the dozens of graphs floating around (this one shows voting patterns in the House of Representatives) that give a visual representation of the change.

polarization-feat3.jpg

 

So, while saying 'there are no moderates left' is a slight exaggeration, we continue to head in that direction and we're almost there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, bludog said:

Having different primary dates in different states makes the early ones influential, out of proportion to their importance.  The news media then run wild with it.  A National Primary Day would better reflect voters real preferences rather than what has been suggested to them.

 

I think you're talking about Presidential primaries?  One defense of the current system is that it allows less well-known (and less well-funded) candidates (Jimmy Carter?) to compete on a small scale.  Then, they can turn that early success into a national campaign.  If we only have one big national primary, that significantly skews the results toward celebrities with national name recognition.  

 

15 hours ago, ExPDXer said:

Having a couple big states vote earlier in the cycle will weed out the primary field very quickly.

 

Why is that a good thing?  I think the 'weeding out' should be a long and gradual process.  I don't want the selection made before I even get a chance to vote.

 

14 hours ago, Craig234 said:

I'm not for shortening the election season. For one thing, it's too easy for candidates to do a marketing blitz - think how the filed changed after the first six weeks of campaigning.

 

For another, less known candidates need more time it seems to get better known. Think of Bernie at the six week mark and the end of the campaign.

 

Right.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Craig234 said:

Show me a system in which Schwarzeneggar would have lost that election.

 

It would have to be a non-Democratic system.  Republicans Schwarzenegger and McClintock polled 62% in that election.  All other candidates (Dems, Greens, Independents & other) only 38%.  No matter how you slice it, the Democrats weren't going to win that one.  

 

17 hours ago, Craig234 said:

That election highlights some problems endemic to our elections today.

 

If you're talking about the effects of name recognition and celebrity (that helped Trump win), then I agree.  But, it seems that's what people want.  Voters are like the pretty girl in high school that only dates bad boys and then complains when her dates are bad.  I think we have to fix that one voter at a time, from the grass roots up.  If there's a systematic fix for it, I don't know what it is.  Celebrity has been a big factor in winning elections since George Washington.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Renegade said:

 

The Democrats have a few moderates left, but both parties have become significantly more partisan over the years.  There's been a lot of research into this and it's not only these authors that notice the lack of moderates on both sides.  Here's one of the dozens of graphs floating around (this one shows voting patterns in the House of Representatives) that give a visual representation of the change.

polarization-feat3.jpg

 

So, while saying 'there are no moderates left' is a slight exaggeration, we continue to head in that direction and we're almost there.

Nice graph. We can only imagine what the division looks like today. What is difficult to discern is where the center line is/ was. I contend that the group of blue dots is not only separating from the group of red dots, but both groups have shifted to the right over the years. If I am interpreting this graph correctly (on the x axis), the leftmost blue dot would represent the votes on social democrat issues, whereas the rightmost dot would be a freedom caucus type issues.

What the heck is the Y axis? Got more links?

 

Anyway, this division apart, along with an overall drift to the right by both congressional groups, has driven voters to reflect the same division (via mainstream media). It should be voters that drive congressional representatives voting patterns, not the other way around.

 

This illustrates why I believe there is no such thing as an 'undecided', or 'swing' voter anymore. Attempts by moderate, or centrist candidates to win over the mythical moderate voter, or to attract defectors from the other side will not be successful, IMHO.

 

There are Independent voters. Independent, (or NPA voters) are not 'undecided', or 'swing' voters, or even 'moderate, centrist' voters.

They are the most misunderstood voting bloc, (next to the 'not voting' bloc) .

Many Bernie supporters are registered Independent, as well as young voters. I'm sure some right wingers, and neverTrumpers are registered Independent.

It's a complete mixed bag. The only thing you can say for sure is that they feel alienated by both parties on 1 or more issues.

 

1 hour ago, Renegade said:

Why is that a good thing?  I think the 'weeding out' should be a long and gradual process.  I don't want the selection made before I even get a chance to vote.

I think the campaign (before the 1st primary vote) should be a long and gradual process to allow a little known candidate time to build grassroots momentum, and run a small donation campaign. Absolutely.

For instance, we have 2 declared, (and many undeclared) candidates for 2020, almost 2 years before the 1st vote in Iowa. However, once the actual primary voting starts, it should be quick (maybe same day), and representative of the population.

I think this addresses your concern. Why should Iowa, NH, and SC effectively decide the nominations before the rest of the country gets a chance?

 

The down side, as Bludog points out, is a long campaign cost more money. There is a good argument for publicly funded campaigns, and taking as much money out of the process as possible.

Until that happens, a even, level playing field for all primary candidates is all we can hope for.

 

I haven't gone through Tom Perez's plan for hold debates yet, but I somehow get the feeling he's over his head, and possibly biased.

Something about a mixing the adults in at the little kids table for debates. I don't know why an Independent debate organization can't be charged with the responsibility of managing, and arranging debate schedules. The DNC has a bad track record.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, ExPDXer said:

What the heck is the Y axis?

 

Good question.  

 

The explanation is here: The Rise of Partisanship and Super-Cooperators in the U.S. House of Representatives.    But, it isn't easy to understand.  I think each dot represents one member.  If you zoom in close, you can see faint lines connecting the dots.  These lines represent how often each member votes in agreement with each other dot.  Lines between blue dots are blue.  Lines between red dots are red.  Lines between red and blue are gray.  The algorithm places the dots next to those they agree with most often by minimizing the total length of the lines.  

 

20 hours ago, ExPDXer said:

Got more links?

 

Sure.

 

This graph shows the difference in ideology between the average Democrat and average Republican member of Congress over time–zero suggests no average difference in ideology according to their NOMINATE scores.  As you pointed out, it doesn't address whether the group as a whole is more or less liberal...just that they don't agree.

PolarCong.jpg

 

Here's another chart from the same source that shows Congress becoming more conservative as whole while Democrats become more liberal and Republicans become more conservative.

 

median_party_means_102_1121.jpg

 

Here's another.  This one is from a poll of voters, not politicians.  It shows how even our values are drifting apart. Pew Research

 

PP-2014-06-12-polarization-0-01.png

 

OK, one more (from the same article as above).  This one bugs me most of all.  It shows how negatively we view our fellow American citizens...just because they disagree with us.   I believe the partisanship is irrational and detrimental to effective government.  Although it's stoked by politicians, 'news' organizations (Fox, HuffPost, etc.) are willing partners.  This hyper-partisanship is tearing us apart.

 

PP-2014-06-12-polarization-0-02.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Renegade said:

Good question.  

 

The explanation is here: The Rise of Partisanship and Super-Cooperators in the U.S. House of Representatives.    But, it isn't easy to understand.  I think each dot represents one member.  If you zoom in close, you can see faint lines connecting the dots.  These lines represent how often each member votes in agreement with each other dot.  Lines between blue dots are blue.  Lines between red dots are red.  Lines between red and blue are gray.  The algorithm places the dots next to those they agree with most often by minimizing the total length of the lines.  

 

Wow!. Great research paper. 'Just started going through it, but it it looks like top rate analysis by real scientists.

I' ll re=post when I'm through reading.............

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Renegade said:

OK, one more (from the same article as above).  This one bugs me most of all.  It shows how negatively we view our fellow American citizens...just because they disagree with us.   I believe the partisanship is irrational and detrimental to effective government.  Although it's stoked by politicians, 'news' organizations (Fox, HuffPost, etc.) are willing partners.  This hyper-partisanship is tearing us apart.

 

I am hyper-partisan and for good reason.  The Republican party is on the wrong side of every issue.

 

~   Forced birth.  Afterwards, remove all support for single mothers and their children. Claim to support family values.

~   Fighting to end Social Security and Medicare.  Against single payer.  Pro health insurance industry.

~   Oppose entitlements and/or bailouts except for corporations and the banking industry.

~   Anti labor union.  Anti-worker.  Labor issues always decided in favor of management.

~   In favor of heavy sentences for small offenses.  Support the largest prison system in the world.

~   Against equal rights and civil liberties.

~   Promote merging of Christian church and state. 

~   Support the NRA and limitless proliferation of guns.

~   Against Campaign Finance Reform.  Favor heavy campaign spending and ever longer duration of campaigns.

~   Oppose lobby reform.

~   Consistently favor shifting the tax burden from the very rich to everyone/anyone else.

~   Support big industry freedom to pollute our land, water and air.

~   Against renewable energy and for the continued use of fossil fuels.  Against even fossil fuel efficiency standards.

~   Deny Climate Change and support all forms of unlimited carbon and methane emissions.

~   Support an unnecessarily bloated military and endless war to increase the income of a small number of war profiteers.

~   Anti-Democratic.  Voter suppression.

~   Cheat in elections.

~   Put barriers in the way of good education for all those willing and able.

~   Anti-science.

~   Support mergers and monopolies.

~   Trade in lies to the public while harboring a single main goal.

~   Champion Plutocracy.

 

Unanimous  Republican support of ALL the above policies make the Republican Party possibly the most dangerous organization on Earth. 

 

At least the Democratic Party offers hope.  Many elected democratic officials support policies on the above list.  But, unlike the GOP, not ALL democrats support ALL the above policies.  So it is not unreasonable to think the Democratic Party can reform itself.  Whereas the Republican Party seems Hell-bent on abuse and destruction.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, bludog said:

I am hyper-partisan and for good reason.  The Republican party is on the wrong side of every issue.

 

There's a difference between being 'wrong' and being a threat to the nation.  Wrong is often a question of magnitude.  For example, is defense spending good or bad?  'Right' and 'wrong' is often a question of 'how much'.  Good solutions to problems often require looking at the issue from all angles.

 

If you look at the way you framed the issues, you've created a straw man on just about every point.  For example, very few Republicans see themselves as "anti-worker" or "against equal rights" or "anti-science".  No honest, well-meaning Republican would frame the issues using the terms you did.   Too many people refuse to talk to the real person standing in front of them.  Instead, they talk to the imaginary Mississippi plutocrat racist or the apocryphal San Francisco communist welfare queen that they've been led to believe represents the other side.  Sure, extremes exist, but they're not the norm or even the majority.  They make the news precisely because they are the extreme.  This focus on the extreme prevents real dialogue, compromise, and progress.

 

19 hours ago, bludog said:

The Republican party is on the wrong side of every issue.

 

How is this even possible?  Looking at it objectively, scientifically, how can that happen?  There are literally hundreds (maybe thousands?) of issues.  Even if they tried, even if they wanted to, how could they possibly manage to pick the wrong side on every single issue?  I would say that anyone who believes that Republicans are always wrong has turned off their critical thinking and accepted groupthink.   

 

It is not my intent to be a Republican apologist.  The extreme partisanship that grips both parties has an especially tight hold on the GOP.  Sometimes, their actions fall right in line with your straw men.

 

But, I don't believe matching their extremist partisanship is the answer.  Democrats shouldn't be a mirror-image of the Republicans.  Hate from the left and the right does not cancel out.  It creates a feedback loop.

 

Have you ever been in a loud, emotional, painful argument/fight with someone you care deeply for?  One of those arguments when you drag up stuff they did 10 years ago?  An argument where you refuse to admit your own errors because that would be a sign of weakness and give comfort to the other person?  How did it end?

 

I feel like that's where we're at with partisan politics in this country.  You can't 'win' a fight like that.  We need to work things out.  Divorce won't turn out well for anyone. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Renegade said:

If you look at the way you framed the issues, you've created a straw man on just about every point.

 

No straw men.  Unfortunately, it's that bad.  The Republican Party is possibly the most dangerous organization on Earth.  Especially dangerous in their refusal to acknowledge climate change and their anti-science stance.  And dangerous in their denial of responsibility to conserve natural resources and fight pollution.   But also dangerous in their little mentioned, advancement of Plutocracy.  Within the Republican Party, these attitudes are unanimous.  It would be hard to trot out even one Republican lawmaker who is not in favor of maximum exploitation of the environment and does not support the furtherance of Plutocracy.   They usually vote as a block, with few, if any deviations.

 

Those who want to see straw men will find them.  Those having a good grasp of reality will not.

 

4 hours ago, Renegade said:

I would say that anyone who believes that Republicans are always wrong has turned off their critical thinking and accepted groupthink.   

 

The list of issues, although incomplete, is original to me.  It did not come from any publication or pundit.  And the Republican stance is given on each issue.  For instance, "Support the NRA".  How many Republican lawmakers can be cited who don't support the NRA and vote in favor of it?  Another example:  "Anti union, anti-worker".   What elected Republican official supports labor unions?  Compare that to Congressional Democrats where some approval of labor unionism can be found.  Going through the list issue by issue will yield similar results.

 

Of course some Republican lawmakers may be found who, for instance, claim to pro-worker.  Or even a rarefied few who claim to be pro-union.  But their voting records will belie their rhetoric.

 

4 hours ago, Renegade said:

It is not my intent to be a Republican apologist. 

 

A difficult position to avoid when advocating the toning-down of strong opposition to regressive and destructive policies, many of which threaten the very future of our children.

 

4 hours ago, Renegade said:

But, I don't believe matching their extremist partisanship is the answer.  Democrats shouldn't be a mirror-image of the Republicans. 

 

How should we should deal with Conservative mocking, taunting and insults?  Should we listen patiently and then try to explain our positions?  Should we strive to conduct reasonable dialogue?  Check out NHB.  Try to "reason" with the Conservatives there.  Try to be civil with them.  See what it accomplishes.  In the Conservative area where I live, I have heard similar.  But being that these are my neighbors, I keep quiet and only listen.  However, I have heard the occasional Liberal try to exchange views.  It is not a good way to maintain civil contact with this community.

 

Except for some very few outlets, Liberals do not have a Right Wing Talk Machine.  I hear its content being parroted constantly and repetitively;  From Limbaugh to Fox News.  In fact, some of my neighbors watch nothing but Fox, hours on end.  Large numbers of Conservatives are programmed to be hostile to Liberals in a way that center-left MSNBC or CNN does not promote.

 

4 hours ago, Renegade said:

Hate from the left and the right does not cancel out.  It creates a feedback loop.

 

Hate is everywhere when one is searching.  A list of issues of which one party is on the wrong side, is not hate.  Sarcasm, mocking, taunting and insults would be.   In most cases where Liberals are concerned, the term  "disapproval" would be more descriptive.   In an atmosphere where most of the inflammatory rhetoric comes from Republican politicians and pundits, any "feedback loop" is given extra momentum from the right.  The Right Wing Noise Machine runs 24/7/365 and is nationally pervasive.  Democrats have nothing like it.

 

In one way, hardcore Conservatives are misled.  They have been deceived by entertainment, often masquerading as news.  But they have also bought into a party that makes them feel so much better about their own racism and general intolerance.  They have embraced rhetoric which justifies their denial of women's rights and control of their own bodies ...  Their hate of LGBT ...  Their immersion in Tribalism; The Cult Of Ignorance and hostility to science ...  Their opposition to sensible gun checks.  Republican rhetoric enables them to be proud of their own moral shortcomings.  And in return for illusory self-esteem, Republican voters stab themselves and their loved ones in the back by supporting politicians intent on moving wealth to the top.

 

And Republican politicians and pundits have given ordinary core supporters a language with which to combat Liberals.  It is a sarcastic language of disdain, taunting, mockery and insults.  They practice it all the time among themselves, talking to imaginary Liberals.  I know because I hear it.  When I lived in NYC, I never heard anything like it from Liberals.

 

The US is experiencing a wider divide now than at any time since antebellum days.  Now as then, a kinder, gentler approach by the group which is already on the receiving end of much of the abuse, is not going to do much good.  Republican policies must be vigorously opposed by those who care about the well-being of our society.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Renegade said:

For example, very few Republicans see themselves as "anti-worker" or "against equal rights" or "anti-science".  No honest, well-meaning Republican would frame the issues using the terms you did.   

 

Most Conservatives are convinced that modern Conservatism is beneficial.  So, of course no Republican would frame the issues as I did.  Someone who disapproves uses different language than an true believer.  And although, I agree, very few Republicans see themselves as anti worker, against, equal rights, or anti-science, they vote for lawmakers whose legislative records show the opposite.

 

The use of sarcastic, taunting or insulting language would have fit better with someone who wants to belittle.  I strongly suggest spending a few weeks in NHB, debating with Conservatives.  It might shed a new light on the subject.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, bludog said:

I strongly suggest spending a few weeks in NHB, debating with Conservatives.  It might shed a new light on the subject.

 

LOL!  No thanks.  There was a time when a person could have a good discussion there, but I'm afraid that time has passed.  About once every 3 months I'll click the link and look at every thread on the first page.  I think it's been a few years since I saw a good logical discussion.  If those folks are representative of the general population of conservatives, then your partisanship is on point.

 

On 12/8/2018 at 12:57 PM, bludog said:

No straw men.

 

OK, I'm not going to spend much time on this.  It makes me uncomfortable defending people I disagree with.  But, just one for an example and then I'm done:

 

On 12/7/2018 at 12:17 PM, bludog said:

~   Fighting to end Social Security and Medicare. 

 

Let's do a fact check....   

 

From the GOP's web page: 

Quote

 Current retirees and those close to retirement can be assured of their benefits. Of the many reforms being proposed, all options should be considered to preserve Social Security. As Republicans, we oppose tax increases and believe in the power of markets to create wealth and to help secure the future of our Social Security system. Saving Social Security is more than a challenge. It is our moral obligation to those who trusted in the government’s word.  GOP.com

 

Independent opinions:

Quote

Wyden said, "Republicans in Congress are plotting to take away Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security."

Some key Republicans, including Ryan, have long argued in favor of overhauling entitlement programs such as these by reducing the amount of money spent on them. However, no Republican proposal has been made to "take away" any of the three programs cited in the tweet. In addition, Wyden glosses over just how far away from passage even a more modest overhaul would be.

We rate it False.   -Politifact

 

The Washington Post gives the claim "4 Pinocchios" , their worst rating.


So, even though I disagree with specific Republican proposals (i.e. privatization of Social Security), the claim that they want to "end" the program is a straw man (or false statement, if you prefer).  It's also not helpful for resolving the program's very real funding issues.  

 

On 12/8/2018 at 12:57 PM, bludog said:

How should we should deal with Conservative mocking, taunting and insults?

 

Like an adult dealing with children.  When your child acts like a 3 year-old, it doesn't help to descend to their level.  Let the Republicans make fools of themselves, if that's what they want to do.  But, don't join them.  I believe independents & undecideds are watching, hoping for adult leadership.

 

On 12/8/2018 at 12:57 PM, bludog said:

The US is experiencing a wider divide now than at any time since antebellum days.  Now as then, a kinder, gentler approach by the group which is already on the receiving end of much of the abuse, is not going to do much good.

 

Shouldn't we try something different this time, given how poorly things turned out last time?   Aren't you the pacifist?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Renegade said:

Like an adult dealing with children.  When your child acts like a 3 year-old, it doesn't help to descend to their level.  Let the Republicans make fools of themselves, if that's what they want to do.  But, don't join them.  I believe independents & undecideds are watching, hoping for adult leadership.

 

Congressional Democrats, too many of whom need to grow a spine, have been reacting to angry, insulting Republicans with civil discourse for about 35 years now.  No one respects this.  And, on the not unreasonable assumption that the behavior of Democratic lawmakers affects voter opinions, the results have been devastating.   Republicans have gained increasing control of government, resulting in significant harm to the people, except for a tiny group, at the top.  

 

It would be foolish for Democrats to abandon their political convictions and passions in favor of civil discourse.  It's been said, that "politics is war without bloodshed".  This is often the case.  It behooves those who wish to win, to battle with spirit.

 

1 hour ago, Renegade said:

Shouldn't we try something different this time, given how poorly things turned out last time?   Aren't you the pacifist?

 

While it's true that I don't believe in the unnecessary bloodshed and misery that war brings, I'm the opposite of a pacifist when it comes to politics.  In politics, activism is the avenue to improving the lot of the American people.

 

1 hour ago, Renegade said:

LOL!  No thanks.  There was a time when a person could have a good discussion there, but I'm afraid that time has passed.  About once every 3 months I'll click the link and look at every thread on the first page.  I think it's been a few years since I saw a good logical discussion.  If those folks are representative of the general population of conservatives, then your partisanship is on point.

 

When I first moved to this heavily Conservative area, I would have guessed that the Cons in NHB represented the extreme.  I've been here 12 years now and I can say, for sure, that at least half of the Conservatives here would fit right in.

 

1 hour ago, Renegade said:

The Washington Post gives the claim "4 Pinocchios" , their worst rating.

 

The arguments of both WAPO and Politifact are basically that cuts, even large ones, to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security do not constitute ending the programs.  As respected as these sources are, I disagree.  I think it is the "death of a thousand cuts".  Pun intended.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, bludog said:

The arguments of both WAPO and Politifact are basically that cuts, even large ones, to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security do not constitute ending the programs.  As respected as these sources are, I disagree.  I think it is the "death of a thousand cuts".  Pun intended.

 

Republicans also use this same 'slippery slope' logical fallacy to attack many good liberal ideas.  Doesn't it make you mad when they do that?

 

It's true that Republican ideas would cause disaster if taken to extremes.  However, I believe the same is true of some Democrat ideas.  Most Democrats instinctively know that they'd never take it that far.  I think most Republicans believe the same thing about their ideas.  

 

15 hours ago, bludog said:

When I first moved to this heavily Conservative area, I would have guessed that the Cons in NHB represented the extreme.  I've been here 12 years now and I can say, for sure, that at least half of the Conservatives here would fit right in.

 

Ask your conservative neighbors if they want to get rid of Social Security.  I'll bet you lunch that very few, if any, will say yes.  I don't know anyone who wants that.

 

I'm not even sure what goes on in the NHB represents the real opinions of real people.   I think they treat the NHB like a game.  Although I've never played, I imagine it's like Orcs and Humans in World of Warcraft.  They've sorted themselves into two teams and now they just log on to see how many points they can score.  There is no real discussion.  At this point, NHB is dead to me.   The NHB's extremism chases away all the reasonable people and thus becomes more extremist.  It's a feedback loop, like so much of our modern political discussion.  How do we break the cycle?  Maybe I should jump in with the piranhas and see how many I can tame.

 

My other problem with NHB is the pace.  I'm only good for a post or two every day (and sometimes not even that).  On NHB, a single thread can get dozens of posts every day.  I can't keep up.

 

15 hours ago, bludog said:

It would be foolish for Democrats to abandon their political convictions and passions in favor of civil discourse. 

 

Who said anything about abandoning political convictions?   Why is this an either/or?   Why can't people with political convictions discuss them civilly?   Personally, I don't find passion persuasive.  To me, passion is a sign that a person's emotions have overridden their logic.  That makes me look at whatever they say with increased skepticism. 

 

15 hours ago, bludog said:

While it's true that I don't believe in the unnecessary bloodshed and misery that war brings, I'm the opposite of a pacifist when it comes to politics.  In politics, activism is the avenue to improving the lot of the American people.

 

I believe you can be an activist without being an extremist, but admittedly, these two are somewhat related.  And, almost by definition, an activist is a partisan.  But, in the past, even our partisan activists treated each other with respect (usually) and were willing to compromise for the good of the people.  Republicans need to do that now.  To a lesser degree, so do Democrats.  People at all levels need to check themselves.  This egotism than any one person or group has all the answers is not helpful at all. 

 

When our political discourse ceases to include real discussions of facts and logical solutions to problems, our government will not work.   When all we have is vitriol, lies, name-calling, and posturing for the extremes, I'm afraid it will lead to violence.  War is politics continued by other means.   When civil politics ceases to function, what comes next?  Violent politics?  When Democrats and Republicans see each other as 'a threat to the country', what should they do about it?  Some will seek solutions that don't involve free and fair elections.  You mentioned that the last time we saw a situation like this was during the antebellum period.  I think you're right.  I think we need to be very careful now.  We are starting to see the far fringe of both left and right act violently for political reasons.  If we don't rein in the rhetoric, it could get worse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Renegade said:

Ask your conservative neighbors if they want to get rid of Social Security.  I'll bet you lunch that very few, if any, will say yes.  I don't know anyone who wants that

 

I already know what they think.  They are divided in half.  Those who are pro SS are mildly taunted by the antis for "not getting it".  I don't think you realize how extreme things have got in Conservative land.   It's easy to cultivate illusions in from an ivory tower.  Sometimes what's needed is a reality check. That's why I suggested a stint in NHB.

 

7 hours ago, Renegade said:

Who said anything about abandoning political convictions?   Why is this an either/or?   Why can't people with political convictions discuss them civilly?   Personally, I don't find passion persuasive.  To me, passion is a sign that a person's emotions have overridden their logic.  That makes me look at whatever they say with increased skepticism. 

 

Being passionate about political convictions needn't translate to torrid displays of emotion.  What it means to me, being motivated enough to preserve stamina and commitment over the long-term, even when under attack. 

 

7 hours ago, Renegade said:

To me, passion is a sign that a person's emotions have overridden their logic.

 

Now I'll ask you a similar question.  Why would you think that a person, passionate about the issues would allow their emotions to override their logic?   Quite the contrary:  Any passionate person of good intelligence quickly comes to realize that an evenly presented case is usually more convincing than an agitated exhibition.  

 

7 hours ago, Renegade said:

Republicans also use this same 'slippery slope' logical fallacy to attack many good liberal ideas.  Doesn't it make you mad when they do that?

 

Sometimes concern about a "slippery slope" is entirely justified.  For example:  When Republicans see a slippery slope in gun regulation, I tend to agree that, despite protests to the contrary, many Liberals true intent is to ban guns altogether.  (The right and wrong of it is another matter).   But other times, cries of "slippery slope" are deceivingly used for political advantage. Each case must be looked at objectively.  

 

After years of listening to Republican politicians talk about Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, I have come to the conclusion that these programs are on are a slippery slope toward termination.  Most Republican lawmakers really do want to end these programs, but will not say it openly.  Instead, they dance around the subject.   But they realize it can't be done all at once, without political consequences, and must be done in stages.

 

More later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Renegade said:

I'm not even sure what goes on in the NHB represents the real opinions of real people.

 

As I attempted to communicate previously that I have heard the exact same types of things where I live.  And it's pervasive.

On 12/9/2018 at 2:05 PM, bludog said:

When I first moved to this heavily Conservative area, I would have guessed that the Cons in NHB represented the extreme.  I've been here 12 years now and I can say, for sure, that at least half of the Conservatives here would fit right in.

 

 

7 hours ago, Renegade said:

 I think they treat the NHB like a game

 

If one is going to last in NHB, it must be treated like a game.  That doesn't put any kind of damper on the expression of repetitive talking points, taunts, insults, etc ...  The same kind heard in red areas, at least the one where I live.

 

8 hours ago, Renegade said:

I believe you can be an activist without being an extremist, but admittedly, these two are somewhat related.  And, almost by definition, an activist is a partisan.  But, in the past, even our partisan activists treated each other with respect (usually) and were willing to compromise for the good of the people.  Republicans need to do that now.  To a lesser degree, so do Democrats.  People at all levels need to check themselves.  This egotism than any one person or group has all the answers is not helpful at all. 

 

When our political discourse ceases to include real discussions of facts and logical solutions to problems, our government will not work.   When all we have is vitriol, lies, name-calling, and posturing for the extremes, I'm afraid it will lead to violence.  War is politics continued by other means.   When civil politics ceases to function, what comes next?  Violent politics?  When Democrats and Republicans see each other as 'a threat to the country', what should they do about it?  Some will seek solutions that don't involve free and fair elections.  You mentioned that the last time we saw a situation like this was during the antebellum period.  I think you're right.  I think we need to be very careful now.  We are starting to see the far fringe of both left and right act violently for political reasons.  If we don't rein in the rhetoric, it could get worse. 

 

It takes two to tango, and one side won't dance.  Most of the aggression is initiated and perpetuated by the Right.  That's precisely why the LO Rm was created on LIBERALFORUM.  That was quite some time ago when there were many more Liberals here than now and offensive, Cons started making their their appearance in some numbers.

 

What Democrats need to is take back government so it can work for the people again.  And we won't do it by rolling over and playing dead.  It would be a shame if we get so intimidated that we tread on tiptoes for concern of violence. 

 

8 hours ago, Renegade said:

It's true that Republican ideas would cause disaster if taken to extremes.  However, I believe the same is true of some Democrat ideas. 

 

Everything depends on the definition of "extremes" here.  I am a Democratic Socialist and don't consider it "extreme".  Neither has it caused disaster, where it exists today ...  Anything but.  I do consider pure Socialism and Communism extreme.

 

8 hours ago, Renegade said:

It's a feedback loop, like so much of our modern political discussion. 

 

A large portion of the Right, in the US is being taught a political brand of uncivil discourse, driven by a vast Right Wing Noise Machine with which the Left has nothing to compare.  In this way, many of those on the Right are thrown "red meat" every day.  They are given impetus to carry on a one-sided war of insults against Liberals. And they are taught the language to do so. It's no wonder that some Liberals return fire.  And well they should.  This does not fit the description of a "feedback loop".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

19 hours ago, bludog said:

I already know what they think. 

 

So, you haven't asked them?  Real people, in person...not NHB avatars?

 

19 hours ago, bludog said:

They are divided in half.  Those who are pro SS are mildly taunted by the antis for "not getting it".  I don't think you realize how extreme things have got in Conservative land.   It's easy to cultivate illusions in from an ivory tower.  Sometimes what's needed is a reality check. That's why I suggested a stint in NHB.

 

Perhaps you are right.  I'll think about it.   SS might be just the topic to take up.   It's an issue that needs to be addressed.

 

15 hours ago, bludog said:

If one is going to last in NHB, it must be treated like a game.  That doesn't put any kind of damper on the expression of repetitive talking points, taunts, insults, etc ...  The same kind heard in red areas, at least the one where I live.

 

Oh, I know I wouldn't last.  I get no joy out of taunts & insults, whether delivered or received.    In the past, people would read one of my sentences and then extrapolate that I was a socialist or a fascist (depending on which sentence they read).  It totally messed up their paradigm that I refuse to be either a Democrat or a Republican.  I'm just me.

 

19 hours ago, bludog said:

Now I'll ask you a similar question.  Why would you think that a person, passionate about the issues would allow their emotions to override their logic?   Quite the contrary:  Any passionate person of good intelligence quickly comes to realize that an evenly presented case is usually more convincing than an agitated exhibition.  

 

When I said, "To me, passion is a sign that a person's emotions have overridden their logic", I was talking about visible passion.  I have no idea what really goes on in someone's thought process or how passionate they may be on the inside.  In a political discussion, this visible passion usually takes the form of anger.  Initially, the passionate person states their case in a reasonable manner.  Then, when the other person doesn't immediately 'get it', the passionate person becomes upset.  They refuse to consider counter-arguments or facts that don't support their case.  Eventually, they become angry, demonstrated through name-calling and unsupported accusations.   It's at that point that I become wary that the passionate person is no longer thinking clearly about the issue.

 

14 hours ago, bludog said:

A large portion of the Right, in the US is being taught a political brand of uncivil discourse, driven by a vast Right Wing Noise Machine with which the Left has nothing to compare.  In this way, many of those on the Right are thrown "red meat" every day.  They are given impetus to carry on a one-sided war of insults against Liberals. And they are taught the language to do so. It's no wonder that some Liberals return fire.  And well they should.  This does not fit the description of a "feedback loop".

 

You (rightfully) decry the Republicans for learning and speaking a certain language of insult against Liberals.  And yet, Democrats do the same thing.  Terms like "Right Wing Noise Machine" are trigger words.  They trigger an emotional response from the other side, raising barriers and preventing communication.  They clearly signal that the speaker has no respect for the listener's opinion and no intention of engaging in an open-minded discussion.  

 

I may not be using the term 'feedback loop' correctly, but it seems to fit.  Feedback loop definition: "the path by which some of the output of a circuit, system, or device is returned to the input".  D's are mean to R's because they're mean to us.  R's are mean to D's because D's are mean to them.  The meaner they are, the meaner we need to be.  How is it not a feedback loop when we return their output right back to them as an input and they do the same?

 

In a war, everyone is just 'returning fire'.  At some point, as the nation is destroyed, it ceases to be important who fired the first shot.

 

15 hours ago, bludog said:

What Democrats need to is take back government so it can work for the people again.  And we won't do it by rolling over and playing dead.  It would be a shame if we get so intimidated that we tread on tiptoes for concern of violence. 

 

Democrats had control of government and did very little.  Yes, they passed the ACA, but now the Republicans are causing it to fail.   Republicans had control of government and did very little.  Yes, they passed a huge tax cut, but I'm sure the Democrats will reverse it when they get the chance.  We spend too much time trying to 'win' control of government and too little time trying to do good together, now.   Forty years ago, the two sides would debate and compromise in order to move the nation forward.  Now, all they do is plot and scheme how to 'win' control of government.  

 

1906 law that created the FDA was bipartisan

1935 law that created Social Security was bipartisan

1965 Civil Rights Act was bipartisan

1965 law that created Medicare was supported by about 50% of Republicans in the Senate & House

1970 law that created EPA was bipartisan

1990 expansion of the clean air act (under 'W" no less) was bipartisan

 

Many more examples exist.  Now, we only pass laws when one side 'controls' government.  Then, when the other side gets control, they undo whatever the first group did.  This is no way to run a country.  Bipartisan laws are much more effective and long-lasting.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Renegade said:

Democrats had control of government and did very little.

 

This is painfully true and there is a good reason.  Too many Democratic lawmakers were, and still are, taking corporate PAC money, to win campaigns.   And once ensconced, they get money from lobbyists.  These Neoliberals favor free-market capitalism, just as Republicans do.  But they tend to be Liberal on social issues, which the corporations usually don't care that much about.  Issues like racial parity, LGBT rights, women's rights, and the like.

 

A small but growing Democratic movement has arisen in Congress, for lawmakers to disavow taking corporate PAC money;  Making it more likely that they will respond to the will of their constituents and not corporations.

 

8 hours ago, Renegade said:

Forty years ago, the two sides would debate and compromise in order to move the nation forward.  Now, all they do is plot and seme how to 'win' control of government.  

 

1906 law that created the FDA was bipartisan

1935 law that created Social Security was bipartisan

1965 Civil Rights Act was bipartisan

1965 law that created Medicare was supported by about 50% of Republicans in the Senate & House

1970 law that created EPA was bipartisan

1990 expansion of the clean air act (under 'W" no less) was bipartisan

 

Many more examples exist.  Now, we only pass laws when one side 'controls' government.  Then, when the other side gets control, they undo whatever the first group did.  This is no way to run a country.  Bipartisan laws are much more effective and long-lasting.

 

This is true also.  Bipartisan measures are far more durable than either party acting by itself.   Bipartisan government was possible as late as 1990.  The rise of the massive Right Wing Propaganda Machine (political correctness aside), has made bipartisanship unlikely, today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Renegade said:

So, you haven't asked them?  Real people, in person.

 

If I hadn't heard real people, here in Conservative land, give their opinions on whether Social Security should be abolished, I would not have said "I already know what they think".

 

13 hours ago, Renegade said:

You (rightfully) decry the Republicans for learning and speaking a certain language of insult against Liberals.  And yet, Democrats do the same thing.  Terms like "Right Wing Noise Machine" are trigger words.

 

What would one call it?  The Right Wing Information Machine"?  That would be giving a false description, causing a naive listener to be deceived as to the nature of the machine.  I, for one, refuse to protect Republican deceitfulness.  The phrase, Right Wing noise/propaganda/disinformation/indoctrination machine, is not a mischaracterisation. 

 

On the other hand, Republicans mischaracterise Democrats all the time.  For instance, pundits and their adherents saying  Democrats are Communists ...  Which is a perfect example of Republicans parroting their disinformation machine.

 

First a pundit, then an adherent.

 

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/06/29/charles_hurt_new_generation_of_democrats_are_communists.html

Charles Hurt is an American journalist and political commentator. He is currently the opinion editor of The Washington Times, Fox News contributor, Breitbart News contributor, and a Drudge Report editor. Wikipedia

Quote

Charles Hurt: New Generation of Democrats Are "Communists

 

 

'Washington Times' columnist Charlie Hurt told FNC's Tucker Carlson on Wednesday that the Democratic Party is undergoing a "Tea Party-esqe" reckoning with the radical left. Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unseating New York Rep. Joe Crowley, mainstream Democratic leaders are in danger of having their seats swiped by "Democratic Socialists."

Hurt also said that like the Tea Party in 2010, many of these new Democrats are, "a little rough around the edges."

"You look at some of these Tea Party candidates, they weren't the best candidates... but at the end of the day, they were Constitutionalists like Mike Lee. They might be annoying, but they loved the country."

"These people are communists," Hurt said, about their Democratic counterparts. "And that is a real problem. Democrats are going to have to contend with this, and this is not the last sitting Democrat who is going to be ousted by some socialist who wants free stuff for everybody that comes out of nowhere."

 

 

https://www.dailyrepublic.com/all-dr-news/opinion/letters-editor/democratic-party-party-of-communists/

Quote

Democratic party, party of communists

Jack Batson’s column in the DR opinion section Aug. 8 spurred yet another rendition and this rebuttal.

His column is a fantasy of accusations. Conservatives do not see the color of the president’s skin. We see the color of his politics and all other modern liberals. Riddle me this, Batman. Why did the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) endorse Obama in 2008 and 2012, or Bernie Sanders in 2016 and finally Hillary Clinton?

 

Rewind to January 2015. The CPUSA declared: Working with the Democratic Party is key. In May 2016, John Bachtell, the national chairman of the CPUSA, expressed his “. . . pleasure with the progressive evolution of the Democratic Party. The Communist agenda has been totally absorbed by this mainstream party. President Obama has taken this country further down the road than we could ever have hoped to do on our own.”

Who’s living in a fantasy world? These are facts, not a theory or conjured-up war.

-snip-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/11/2018 at 1:25 PM, bludog said:

What would one call it?  The Right Wing Information Machine"?  That would be giving a false description, causing a naive listener to be deceived as to the nature of the machine.  I, for one, refuse to protect Republican deceitfulness.  The phrase, Right Wing noise/propaganda/disinformation/indoctrination machine, is not a mischaracterisation. 

 

On the other hand, Republicans mischaracterise Democrats all the time.  For instance, pundits and their adherents saying  Democrats are Communists ...  Which is a perfect example of Republicans parroting their disinformation machine.

 

If you can't see that each side mischaracterizes the the other, then you are a true partisan.  It may help win votes.  It does not help the nation or its people.  I'm not talking about the substance of the positions.  I'm talking about the lack of real engagement and willingness to discuss, debate, and compromise.

 

On 12/10/2018 at 4:17 PM, bludog said:

It takes two to tango, and one side won't dance.

 

It's been a while since I went to a dance, but I'm reasonably sure some things haven't changed.  For example, I doubt you get many dance partners when you call her a racist, plutocratic, worker-hating, climate-destroying, science-denying ignoramus...even before you've said "hello".   If I wanted her to dance, I'd probably start with something like..."I hear you have some very interesting political ideas.  Would you care to discuss?"  Sure, they usually say no anyway, but every once in a while, they say yes.   

 

Having been a conservative, I guess it's easier for me to see how the liberal message (full of ridicule, self-righteousness, and disdain) is received.  It's completely ineffective.  No...scratch that.  The current liberal message is actually counter-productive in the way it's received by conservatives.  I want very much for the liberals to do a better job of engaging with conservatives, because that's what helped me.

 

When I first joined NHB, under a different screen name many years ago, I was a conservative.  There were a few (certainly not all) liberals around back then who were willing to treat me as a real person and engage me in long and painful debates on various issues with a minimum of name-calling.  We, with reasonable respect, exchanged ideas, quoted facts, and made logical arguments.  Over time, I realized that in some cases (SS, climate change), I was just wrong.  In other cases, I discovered another point of view I'd never considered that needed to be weighed and respected.  And, I don't believe it was all one-sided, either.  I believe they learned as much as I did.  In still other cases, I realized I really wasn't conservative in the first place.  I had been influenced by the 'halo effect' (assuming that because the party was right on some issues some of the time, they must be right on all issues all the time).  That's when I deserted the conservative 'team' and became a renegade, refusing to claim any ideology or let any group speak for me. 

 

Where does the intellectually curious person go today to discuss their ideas?  The internet seems to be a great big cesspool of hate.  In real life, people avoid talking politics as much as possible.  Just the thought of asking a neighbor what they really think makes people anxious.  Have we lost the ability to exchange ideas?   In science, no idea is sacred.  If you have evidence, facts, a hypothesis...your argument will be considered.  In politics...no.  Whether we're D or R, our first question is "What's the source of this information?"  If it comes from 'the other side', we immediately discard it (propaganda!  lies!) without even considering its merits. 

 

I give up...nothing left to say right now.  My style of political engagement is an anachronism.  I'm going back to my escapist entertainment for a couple days.  After a while, I start to get overly passionate and need a break. 

 

Maybe a few years from now, when there's still been no effective government action on any of the major problems facing the nation, voters will wake up and realize they need to stop attacking each other and work out real solutions.  Or maybe not.  Maybe one side or the other will work itself into enough of a fanatic frenzy to REALLY take control of the government, in which case we could end up like Venezuela (leftist) or Turkey (right-wing).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×