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    January 2018
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The Football.

I’m not talking about the upcoming super bowl, which is leaving people in Pittsburgh conflicted. Theoretically, we should be for the Eagles because nobody likes the Patriots. But then, we don’t like the Eagles. Oh well. I’m sure we’ll watch it anyway and will cheer whenever Tom Brady gets sacked.

No, the football I’m talking about is DACA. There’s a cynical game being played here. Political junkies have seen how this is played before. Republicans are particularly adept at playing this because they live by the sword. But as one character said to another in Game of Thrones last season, “I’m sure that cutting off people’s heads is very satisfying but it’s not a particularly good way to get people to work together.”

There will be no deal on DACA because Republicans don’t want one. Check out Greg Sargent’s Twitter thread where he explains it all. They want to dangle it out there like Lucy with the football and Democrats will go to the White House trying to make a deal on it only to have either the White House advisors or the Republican house and Senate leaders whip the football away at the last minute. They sometimes tag team each other. Ryan will call chief of staff Kelly to work on Trump to make sure he holds the line.

We’re talking about the lives of 800000 people here, cynically used as pawns in this giant power struggle.

I have no idea what Democrats are going to do but it’s rather pointless to put the blame on them for not negotiating. They don’t have the numbers on either side of Congress to force the Republicans to do anything. And it’s actually Ryan and McConnell who can’t get their own people to vote for the budget. They can’t even strong arm their own numbers to pass this horrible thing. That’s why they’re playing Lucy with the Football with Democrats, trying to wear them down to the point that they’ll accept any damn thing. As if they have a choice.

The principled thing is to hold ground. Just wait it out until the Republicans can get their own ducks in a row. We’ll see how that goes.

But one thing is for sure, the lives of 800000 Dreamers and 9 million children on CHIP and the pay of thousands of military personnel, those people are really not very important to Republicans. They’re determined to lop off some heads. It’s just not a very good way to get people to work with you.


Podcast recommendation: The Ezra Klein Show. He has the best guests, the interviews are long enough so you get the most from them. He tackles a mix of topics. Last week was the future of virtual reality, this week is with Krista Tippet, host of On Being. Tippet herself is an extraordinary interviewer who explores what we believe. She has a beautiful voice. The topic is how to oppose Trump without becoming like him. In other words, how not to lose your soul when his supporters seem to have no problem losing theirs.

Some things that Tippet gets to the heart of:

For all the magnificence of the symbolism behind Obama’s Presidency, it obscured that there was still unfinished business with respect to racism in the country. This is what this blog has been saying for years. Obama was not a predominantly civil rights person. Not like Jesse Jackson or John Lewis. Obama was an aspirational President. And a lot of academic liberals projected their idea of an end to racism onto him. Many liberals thought that voting for Obama meant that they had become better people. They failed to see the warning signs that the country was headed for a financial disaster and that Obama was being heavily funded by Wall Street and moderate Republicans. What happened after is that real racism came back with a vengeance because Obama in the end was primarily a symbol, not a solution. And it didn’t help that the Obama contingent stampeded liberals to the polls by weaponizing the word racist. We’ve gone over this before. This blog saw it in real time.

The second thing she points out that I’ve been struggling to articulate is the idea that as a country we have elevated wealth and celebrity. Trump is a manifestation of this tendency on the right to venerate his billions and his reality TV show persona.

But it’s not a whole lot better on the left when we see the reaction to Oprah Winfrey possibly running for President. Suddenly, many people on the left are just as eager to jump on her bandwagon for almost the exact same reason the right voted for Trump. She’s rich. She’s a celebrity. She’s a black woman. A twofer! What she isn’t is a politician. And when it comes to the top spot in the nation, experience counts. It’s meaningful to people’s lives in the end. This is something that the last three presidents have lacked in one way or another. Bush was a governor of Texas, a largely ceremonial governorship. Obama was primarily a lawyer who had served in the Illinois legislature (performance reviews definitely mixed) and was in the US senate for less than a year before he decided to run. He had very little practical experience in Washington. That was considered an asset because he also hadn’t been forced to make hard decisions and vote on them like Clinton had. Now there’s Trump whose selling point was being an alpha male who is going to bully people to do what the base wants. But he has no concept of what it is to actually hold office or work with other branches. Maybe that’s an asset for others. I think it’s a severe liability.

She also says we should reach out to people who have lived isolated lives and turned to Trump because they don’t hear differing opinions or only fights between the most extreme positions. But also we need to give up on people who are lost to us. I think that would include people who are still clinging to Trump no matter what he does. I think she’s right here. There are a lot of undecided voters and non-voters from 2016 that I think *are* reachable. The fact that they were undecided indicates that they were not entirely sold on Trump.

But the die hard Trump fans? I think there’s something else going on with those people. For them, there is no internal struggle. They are responding to something entirely different and no matter how you try to get through to them whether by extreme rhetoric or reason, you will be met with a brick wall. We have to write them off. They’re a minority. A dangerous minority. But their votes are never going to be up for grabs.

The Democrats are challenging every seat this year. This is in contrast to the Obama era when many seats in the south went unchallenged. Indeed this was Obama’s strategy. (Yeah, Obots, he really wasn’t a political animal. Witness what a disaster the DNC was during his presidency. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was *his* pick) Just write off the south. But what Krista is getting at is you need to present voters with local alternatives that they can listen to and respect. This I think was the key to Doug Jones’ win in Alabama. And he ran as a true blue Democrat, presenting voters with an alternative to the Republican message machine they had been hearing all their lives. Roy Moore’s pedophilic curious tendencies may have actually helped his candidacy. The race was already close before that news came out. So voters were already responding to Jones before they knew about Moore being banned from the mall.