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    November 2018
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    • Know Your Enemies
      An enemy is someone who means you harm and has the means to inflict it. A friend is someone who has wants to do good for you, and has the means to bestow it. I once wrote primarily to predict and to change the world. I now write to help a few people, those who […]
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I’ll take it.

I watched the results pour in until Conor Lamb won then I couldn’t take it anymore and spent the rest of the evening watching BBC Queen documentaries.

Kudos to Nate Silver and the other data analysts at FiveThirtyEight for getting it right. Yes, it sucks to lose even more seats in the senate but this was a very difficult year for Democrats to pick up seats. And now we can see the institutional bias of the founding fathers baked right in. The map is wildly out of sync with the country at large.

Somebody recommended this Ron Suskind op/ed in the NYTimes yesterday about the backlash from 2008 and I’m going to recommend it to you. It’s about how we got to this place where we are barely holding on to our democracy by the thinnest of threads. He places a lot of blame on the forces that got Obama elected and what a poor politician he actually was.

No, no, don’t try to rewrite history. He might have been cool, suave and debonnier and I think it’s great that we finally had an African American president. But he was the wrong POLITICIAN for the time we lived through and that was clear from the very beginning of the primary campaign.

And here’s another thing about Obama that did us no favors: he weaponized the word “racist”. It became a dirty word that his campaign threw at his own side when any one of us dared to step out of line and disagree with him on policy or anything, really. He took the punch out of that word. Because when everybody is a racist, nobody is. It gave a lot of real racists license to start practicing again. We here at The Confluence still have the word “racist” in the list triggering the moderation queue. I did that because I saw no reason why we should have had to defend ourselves when our differences were based on a whole myriad of other issues. Banning that word is what kept this site alive. Racism itself was still a real and ever present danger that got trivialized in 2008.

That was the legacy of the Obama campaign in 2008 on the Clintonistas who bore no ill will towards African Americans but who recognized that the use of that word was intended to shut us up and force us into line. We came back to the Democratic Party eventually but there were millions of “old coalition” Clinton supporters whose anger was manipulated by the founders of the Tea Party and they eventually became Trump Supporters.

Then there was the Republican strategy to capture Congress in perpetuity by winning state houses and gerrymandering the Congressional districts, something that we are only now starting to claw our way back from. Where was the DNC when the Republicans started making headway in this regard during Obama’s terms? In Chicago. Stuffed full of highly paid consultants trying to figure out how to get regular Americans to sign up for what turned out to be a discount coupon for healthcare with a lot of “cannot be combined with other offers” in fine print. Think of all the people who lost their homes to foreclosure during Obama’s terms.

I could go on but I did actually go on for 8 years like a voice screaming in the wilderness. The actual events and aftermath of the 2008 primary will eventually be written, probably by someone like Suskind or Michael Lewis but in the meantime, we have to live with it.

Our quest stands on the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail. Democrats don’t have a lot to work with here but they are charged to do the best they can for the next two years when hopefully some of the rest of the country comes out of its spell.

Our morning music fits the times we live in. Take it away Queen:


Tweet du Jour from Man in the Hoody:


Say what you will about her but Nancy Pelosi gets a lot of credit for pulling this off in the House.

As does Hillary Clinton who encouraged so many women to Run For Something.

Republicans hate them because they’re powerful.

57 Responses

  1. Thank you, Riverdaughter!  As always, your site is the place to go for clarity and finding people that share our lonesome desperation from seeing our country dismantled slowly by surely by the extreme right. Your site has been my refuge from before the fateful 2008 election campaign. I know about these matters of seeing your country shredded into pieces. I lived and worked as a journalist in my native country, Argentina, when the Junta forced on us their sinister experiment on repression. I know we can lose democracy at any time. It is frightening. 

    Thanks for being there for us.Best, Isabel Garcia Cintas

    • I agree. Thank you RD for this Oasis of thoughtfulness.

      And yes, we need to stand behind Nancy Pelosi, a strong and powerful woman.
      Though we may not agree on everything, unity in the democratic party is a must for the sake of our Democracy.

  2. Me too, time to celebrate and plan for 2020 100 women now join the next Congress and they come in all shapes and sizes, wonderful, so proud, bravo DNC, DCC. 7 Governorships flipped away from tRumps red swamp…sad Cordray didn’t win but Scott Walker bites the dust, cherry on top. And Democrats now control the House, Pelosi is back. But not in my District we are gerrymandered +14 Repugs and won’t change until the new State Constitutional change goes into effect in 2021. Still pending is the number of State House seats that also flipped to Dem which will be massive. Overall a nice incremental change, good ground work for a truly center big tent party that empowers a diverse District approach for the future.
    Also obvious in the result, Repugs are doomed in 2020, that Base wont vote for any candidate but a red meat white male and they wont vote for a women against a (generally white) male (mia love, Bar, Hillary) ; and they have no use for a candidate that is not white; all a combo easy to beat in 2020. Repugs are truly the past now and the States that voted for open racist like Flordia, Iowa, SD, Missouri, Ind, Ohio etc will reap what they sowed further decline.

    • …The biggest losers of the night evangelicals and white rural Americans they have boxed themselves out of the future, toast, and rightly so!

  3. He was overwhelmed as we all said he would be. He (or his wife) was also determined not to take risks for fear of upsetting his gravy train for the rest of their lives. But most glaring void for me was the absence of any action plan for the SCOTUS gutting voting rights.

    • Pm, i read somewhere that Jarrett was the Obama whisperer, always making sure he did nothing that would tarnish his historic presidency. It was in the context of the timing of the Osama raid; he had nixed it several times before he (she?) would let them go in.

      • Yeah, I can believe that and have read similar stories about Jarrett. Lost opportunity.

      • I remember reading that Jarrett became the advisor that Obama and Michelle trusted. She became so trusted that she was a frequent overnight visitor to the residence. They relied upon her to cover for Obama’s immaturity. And I wish I could remember in which book I read this. If I can remember, I’ll reply, but it was a few years ago.

  4. Yeah, imagine that! {And did they really deliver the presidency to trump?}

    • You know they are going to attribute that to Hillary being such a bad candidate, right? I blame that electoral death blow entirely on the Russians and their American collaborators.

      • My theory, FWIW, is that there is evidence of vote manipulation and hacking in the 2016 election by the Russians but that the national security apparatus will not ever want that to come out for very good reasons. The main reason is that EVERY office in that election from all of those states would immediately be called into question, and those seats whether Republican or Democrat would be challenged as illegitimate. It would be chaos and conflict. So, we may never know.

        • Good point as always RD but what if the facts show that while the hackers may have hacked both sides, they worked actively on behalf of one candidate to the detriment of the other? It may be just a rumor, but it has been said that Russia hacked the repubs too but never released any of their campaign emails. At least at the prez level, we know Putin despises Hillary and made 45* his bitch. To challenge other offices would require evidence/motive of some kind, no?; something more than collateral damage/right place, right time. Prove the case you can. The election was rigged either to install the orange putrescence or to destroy her presidency if she took office. Therefore, trump and Pence are illegitimate. Which is the greater risk if left unchallenged, those two or all the other electees who may have benefited indirectly from this act of cyber war against our sovereignty? If it had to go to the SC, both Gorsuch and Kavanaughty would have to recuse. The thought of just shoving this unprecedented crime under the rug because we “can’t handle the truth” (or the mess) or because there is no remedy in the Constitution for a stolen election, burns my cookies! I want the good gals and guys to win, dammit!

  5. THIS is the best news ever. People are listening. People are paying attention. If the Dem House parades all the corruption that is going on with trump and his cronies these next two years, even more majorities will not support him. Period.

  6. Accountability is knocking on the door!

  7. Media is a problem.

    • Well, the problem is that they’re not really “the press” in the way we’ve typically thought about them. They’re infotainment outlets, at least if you’re talking about the cable outlets: “news” branches of enterprises whose primary business is entertainment. Like it or not, fear-mongering is great TV and sells a lot of ads. So is outrageous and bombastic rhetoric. Trump is a natural at this. He’s pretty much impossible for them to resist.

  8. Wonderful post RD and congrats on Conor Lamb.

    • Don’t forget our other victories. We got Gov Wolf for 4 more years and he is excellent.
      AND we got John Fetterman as lieutenant governor. THAT is AMAZING.

  9. I’ll list a few probably too lengthy thoughts after a very long and exhausting night, following two years of political misery.

    1. I agree about Obama. He did nothing to build the Democratic Party, we lost an immense amount of seats nationally and locally. The bitterly amusing thing was that no one blamed him for it

    2. A good night, but of course so disappointing to lose those Senate seats. Yes, if the media had not spent the last few weeks carrying Trump’s water for him, it would have made a difference. The absolute inability to stop the stream of Far Right Judges being put on courts, is the biggest long-term problem gong forward. The only small hope is that Mueller’s report will be so devastating that Trump and Pence will be forced out of office, making Pelosi president.

    3. It seems almost impossible for Democrats to win the Senate any time soon. Those red states simply will not vote for a Democrat, unless, as Donnelly and McCaskill and Jones were gifted with in their earlier races, the Republicans run an absolute monster. And it is the rural voters who get to run much of the country because of an absolutely outmoded electoral system, where a few very small states set up in the 1870’s or so, get the same amount of senators as California, which has around 100 times their population. Of course, this cannot be fixed, unless somehow millions of Californians decide to move to those states, which would immediately turn them blue, due to the inane system we have. Right now, there are almost no Senate seats which the Democrats can pick up in 2020, outside of Maine, and maybe another one or so. These tiny red states automatically get two right-wing senators who are allowed to control the senate and then the judiciary.

    4. Winning the House was absolutely imperative. Democrats did a great job in organizing and voting in many districts. Yay for Ga6th Dem! Of course gerrymandering meant that winning the congressional ballot by a whopping 9%, only got us 30 seats or so, which is ludicrous, but not commented on very much by the media. Democrats start with at least a 5% handicap every cycle? What kind of system is this? One made in 1790, well intentioned, but simply inappropriate with 37 states more than the 13 we started with.

    5. I am so glad to see Scott Walker lose. Also Rohrabacher and Kobach, among others.

    6. Winning many governorships will help in redistricting.

    7. It is such a shame that Gillum and particularly Nelson lost. We lose every Florida race by 1% or less. I have serious doubts about the entire Florida election system, and of course many votes are suppressed. Strangely, Floridians voted overwhelmingly to allow former felons to vote. That’s 1.4 million, many African-Americans, whose vote this time would have won those two key races in Florida. I shudder to think how bad it will get in Florida with the red tide running unabated under climate change denier DeSantis. I wonder if Graham or Levine would have fared better than Gillum, had either won the primary.

    8. Beto did so well, but I thought that he would lose by about 3-4%, just too many Texans who will never vote for a Democrat.

    9. Arizona is another state which I cannot stand. McSally is a horrible person. Democrats never win anything in Arizona, even though it initially seems promising.

    10.. I suppose it is mostly worthless and enervating to follow the news much for a while. It always leads with Trump, what he says, what new lies he spouts. It really is not worth it, he is a very bad and stupid man who is not somehow going to change for the better. I have no real idea why the media is so fascinated by him, he is totally predictable, and awful in every human quality. The media has created a TV show out of him, and it should be taken off the air.

    11. The task for Democrats in the House will be to act like they are trying to do some good things for the country, while not giving Trump any achievements. After listening to him insult and mock every Democrat for two years, why would they want to work with him? If they want to save the country, they need to undermine him at every turn, while not looking spiteful about it. The surest bet in the world is that the media will immediately tell the Democrats “not to overreach,” whereas they have no problems at all when the Republicans run a scorched earth campaign in every aspect of our lives.

    12. I appreciate having this forum to be able to share some thoughts, and to vent; and also the people who contribute their ideas as well. Going back to RD’s opening essay, it does indeed seem to me that the 2008 primary campaign was where a very wrong turn was taken. one which many did not want to consider, because they were so excited about the idea of some kind of transcendent figure who somehow could soar above the realities of politics, and create a fantasy world of nonpartisan bliss.

    • ” I agree about Obama. He did nothing to build the Democratic Party, we lost an immense amount of seats nationally and locally. The bitterly amusing thing was that no one blamed him for it ”

      I’d go further – he was downright destructive. Losing a bunch of state legislatures just in time for post-2010 redistricting was a disaster. I blame this on a fatal combination of narcissism and inexperience.

      He was also far too weak to press his political advantage when he had it – had he been willing to provide real mortgage relief and an aggressive jobs program (as Hillary proposed in 2008), the recovery would have been stronger and Dems would have been in a much better position for 2016. A real health plan would have helped, too. Of course, Harry Reid’s deep-seated terror of the filibuster wasn’t particularly useful, either.

      As for 2020, the numbers are almost as bad for the Republicans next time around as they were for the Democrats in 2018. Class 2 has 21 Republican Senators and only 12 Democrats, so they have more seats at risk. A lot of it hinges on who the Presidential candidate ends up being and whether s/he can appeal to red and purple state voters who aren’t committed right-wingers. Trump is already starting to wear thin – people (even in Red America) might be pretty sick of him after another 2 years.

      It would probably be helpful (particularly in purple states) if we didn’t suppress our own turnout by forecasting a massive Presidential landslide. Dems need turnout.

      • Don’t forget he left the DNC in debt to the tune of something like 24 million. I just have to wonder if he didn’t have vultures picking up money there or something. And the very same people complained about Terry Mac running the DNC and yet he didn’t leave a mess like Obama did.

  10. RD, I am so glad your blog spot is still going strong. It’s been very inspiring to see many posters still here who were here at the beginning.

    I remember watching the DNC RBC fiasco in 2008 and joined here shortly after. Plus, I had the pleasure of meeting you when we were PUMA’ing (is that now a verb, lol) in Denver during the DNC convention.

    And, here in CO, we are officially blue, Governor, AG, Sec of State and the State Legislature.

    We all continue the long climb to reclaim the people’s representational government, rather than minority rule. The good news, we have each other 💕

  11. While I was glad the Heidi Heitkamp took a principled stand against Kavanaugh, I am sorry that she lost her re-election bid for the Senate. And I wish we could have kept Claire McCaskell and Joe Donnelly.

    In January, my Congressional representative will be Lauren Underwood, a Democrat. I’m also glad that Sean Casten, also a Dem, won over his opponent in DuPage county which has been a very Rethuglican county.

    I spent a few minutes reading the NY Times Pick of the comments to the Ron Suskind op-ed this morning. The Times Picks are comments that represent what other commentators to a column have written as well. There are always going to be people who excuse Obama’s lack of progress on issues because of the amount of opposition Obama faced. Had Obama focused on fixing the economy, he would have had more political capital for other items on his agenda. I remember reading many of Paul Krugman’s op-ed columns that the stimulus package that passed Congress was insufficient for the Great Recession or that Obama did not negotiate a good deal on deficits, the Bush 43 tax cuts, or for social programs.

    It’s also good news that there are going to be Democratic governors in many states and we have begun to rebuild the party after the losses in the Obama era.

  12. Thread with receipts

  13. Tester declared the winner in Montana. That is good news. 46-54 feels a bit better than 45-55, and also means that Democrats need four Senate pickups in 2020, plus the Presidency, to get legislation through. Tester’s apparent win is important.

    • I can think of two right now that are going down in 2020. One is David Perdue and the other is Corey Gardner. There are probably going to be even more than 4.

      • From your mouth to God’s ear, as my shtetl-dwelling ancestors were wont to say.

        • The map is supposed to be bad for the GOP in 2020 and 2022 much like they are going to be in the situation for those two elections like this election was bad for us.

    • One thing Tester’s victory shows is that it’s possible to win and hold a Senate seat in Red state, if you’re sufficiently aggressive about turnout and concentrate on wining issues like health care and strong financial regulation and have strong local ties.

  14. This is remarkable. Iowa’s Stephen king did the same thing and trump must have thought he could yell at the reporters too (don’t think he used this tone before)

  15. Sessions out. Hope it’s Mueller Friday.

    • Time for big names to go out there on tv and everywhere and scare the shit out of trump. We are not a banana republic yet.

  16. The pundits last night were ridiculous. This is one of the largest blue waves we have ever had as a nation and they did nothing but say “it’s not a blue wave” not a single person talking about the very real voter suppression efforts and vote purging. GA rigged their elections ahead of time by the very guy who is looking for a promotion. FL results fishy as well… Claire McCaskill named vulnerable to Russian interference.. Heitcamp losing by the disenfranchisement of indigenous people? Where are the checks and balances? Where are the paper trails? Where are Democrats rightfully screaming about voter suppression and civil rights abuses?

  17. Just an anecdote – a pundit last night on MSNBC called Lucy McBath who is a mother of the movement ‘likeable’ and suggested that was why she was up. Smdh

  18. Obama urges reconciliation? WTF is wrong with this man…???
    See on CNN.

    • There can be no reconciliation with these evil people. Not liking conflict is one thing, but there are times when it is necessary, and this unquestionably is one, and has been so. We have a small majority in the House, and now we should reconcile with Trump, who is about to try to turn the Justice Department into a mob concern? Democrats and the people who worked so hard to elect them, do not need to hear this kind of rhetoric.

    • He’s Neville Chamberlain. After so many people being falsely accused of being another Chamberlain we now have actual Nazis and someone suggesting we reconcile with them.

  19. On the bright side, according to Vanity Fair Trump is “very depressed”.

    • Oh, gods, what does his depression look like? Hopefully he is being watched around the clock, sans iPhone, and locked in a room away from the nuclear codes for the safety of our nation.

      • In his case he’s probably trying to commit suicide with KFC.

      • Somehow I think Mattis has had all that stuff locked away from Day One. Apparently he expects Don, Jr. to be indicted.

  20. It’s hard to know how this all plays out. Once the Republicans got the extra Senate seats, I assumed that any small chance that 67 Senators would convict, would be completely gone. So how would it all end up? Trump probably could not be indicted while in office, under previous DOJ guidelines, though not law. As I understand it, the ultimate that could have been done, was for Mueller to have written his report, given it to Rosenstein, who presumably would give it to Congress. The fact that Congress is now controlled by the Democrats, is a major plus. But even so, it is Congress which would impeach and the Senate convict. And if they will not, then what?

    Even if Whittaker violates the Special Counsel Regulation by cutting Mueller’s funding, or does any other violative oversight, what is the recourse? I do think that Trump’s approach, undoubtedly based on advice from his insiders, is to just ignore the law, ignore the Regulations, ignore everyone, because he believes that they cannot touch him. Remember the old crime movies, where Cagney or Robinson would snarl, “You can’t touch me, copper!”? The voters could do it, but the elections are over, and the media stupidly spent its time covering a caravan fraud. So Trump waited until the elections to mitigate the damage, and now feels free to do what he wants. He would burn down every institution to save himself, his family, and his Russian handlers. I have read that the Democrats in the House have threatened to call Mueller to testify in open hearing, so that he could tell what he has learned. But even so, Trump’s people would not care, and there is no upcoming election to get rid of him. This is the presumed endgame which Trump is going for. “I’m here, you can’t get rid of me, it’s all fake news, they are all against me, and I’m going to do whatever I want, and you can’t stop me.” Can they?

    • The thing about impeachment is that while the house cannot remove him they can force the senate to hold a trial. And that would be a trial that everybody would watch with all the evidence being presented against Trump for maybe quite a few weeks. So after all the evidence is presented the GOP might just decide to end it all and get rid of him. The strongest case against impeachment is it takes a long time. It would actually be better if his cabinet pulled the 25th amendment but again, you would be relying on the GOP to do the right thing and they never do. But he would be fine with burning the entire country down and the GOP would just sit around and wring their hands and say how concerned they are but do nothing to put out the fire.

    • 2020 senate is our only hope. The house exposing him could hopefully spark enough public outrage but even so, you know Russia will be ready to re elect him.

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