Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sunday Long Read: Don't Care If You Like Her, But Vote For Her

Over at the Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky lays down the brutally pragmatic reasons for voting for Hillary Clinton: the Republicans cannot be allowed to win the White House in 2016.

So this isn’t about love. It’s about a deal between Clinton and liberals. It’s strictly business, and it’s about work. The work of maintaining Democratic control of the White House and keeping the loony right at bay for another four or eight years. The work of trying to move the country forward to a post-supply side economic paradigm. And, yeah, the work of electing our first woman president.

If you don’t love Hillary, let me offer you two things to love:

1. A liberal majority on the Supreme Court for the next 30, 40 years. You know that the next president may name three or four new justices. Two liberals, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, will likely retire soon. A Republican president would be able to expand the conservative majority to seven, replacing the two aforementioned with two more Alitos or Scalias. Sit with that.

President Clinton, on the other hand, will replace them with liberals and may replace Anthony Kennedy or Antonin Scalia, or both, with liberal justices (I’m not wishing illness on anyone here, just being actuarial about things). We haven’t had a liberal Supreme Court majority in this country in 35 years. Such a court would reverse loads of terrible Rehnquist-Roberts era decisions—it would restore voting rights, reverse school re-segregation, revisit the Second Amendment; at the same time it would uphold Roe, defend affirmative action, endorse workplace anti-discrimination policies for LGBT people, and on and on. And those are just the things the Court does that generate the big headlines. Corporate personhood; workers’ rights; campaign finance laws;campaign finance laws (right, I wrote that twice). If you are a liberal and these things aren’t awfully important to you, well, it’s hard to understand exactly what sort of liberal you are.

2. A coming civil war in the Republican Party, and the hope/prayer of a little moderation on its part. When a party loses two consecutive presidential elections, the losses can be chalked up to the appearance of a charismatic candidate and, then, the powers of his incumbency. But three; that’s when people have to start looking hard in the mirror.

Certainly, there will be some in the GOP who’ll trot out the “we weren’t conservative enough” argument if their side loses. But say Clinton wins with somewhere between Obama’s 2008 total of 365 electoral votes and his 2012 performance of 332; say 347 (Obama’s ’12 map plus North Carolina). A party that has won 173, 206, and 191 electoral votes, respectively, in the last three elections is a party that’s simply never going to have a prayer of hitting 270 without some major changes.

For one thing this would be great fun to watch. If the party goes crazy(er), it could split in two. And if it decides to respond with sanity, there’s a great silver lining in that for Democrats and for the country: Tea Party power will wane, non-extreme Republicans won’t fear Club for Growth-financed primary challengers so much, and some of them will actually make compromises and legislate!

I could go on, but you get the idea. What I’m talking about here is not just a handful of policies. I’m talking about the bulk of the Reagan-Gingrich-Bush legacy. Obama could not undo it because he had to deal with the Great Recession. But eight more years of a Democratic presidency can do exactly that—undo it, across a whole range of fronts.

And to add my own two cents, there are people who believe that there's a distinct chance that Hillary Clinton will not advance liberalism.  To those folks, I say there's a precisely zero percent chance that a Republican president in 2016 will do so.  Like it or not, when it comes to political power, we are in a two-party system.

Choose a side.


Scopedog said...

"....there are people who believe that there's a distinct chance that
Hillary Clinton will not advance liberalism. To those folks, I say
there's a precisely zero percent chance that a Republican president in
2016 will do so."


And yet in 2010 I heard that if Obama had a Republican Congress, he'd move to the Left. I also keep hearing how the Supreme Court "doesn't matter and it's a scare tactic". I keep hearing how Bernie Sanders will magically fix everything and how we should celebrate because a REAL Progressive is running, not a phony like the Black Guy in the White House who betrayed us or that no good C-word who only got into office because of her husband who was President (and must share her husband's sins). I keep hearing how everything sucks and how the NSA is watching us jerk off in front of our computers. I keep hearing how Rand Paul is more progressive than Obama and will make a better President than Hillary. I keep seeing 20-year old Right Wing talking points about Hillary showing up on "liberal" sites like Smirking Chimp, Alternet, and Crooks and Liars. I keep hearing how "both parties are the same!". I keep reading how Obama and Hillary are really Republicans (or "tactical Republicans" as one @$$hole comment over at Balloon Juice put it).

What I don't hear from the people making these claims is political reality. What I don't hear are plans to take Congress from the GOP. What I don't hear is anger over the fact that minorities What I don't hear is anger DIRECTED at the GOP, where it should go, instead of aiming it at a President and former Senator/SoS who have done a helluva lot to pull the country back from the abyss.

Thankfully, people like Tomasky, Bob Cesca, Milt Shook, and you, Zander, are giving us a whole lot of political reality. I hope that enough people wake up and face the truth about 2016.

RepubAnon said...

Plus, there's a 100% chance that a Republican presidential win in 2016 would be even worse for the country as a whole, and liberals in particular, than George W's victory by Supreme Court fiat in 2000. For starters, imagine a Supreme Court where Justice Roberts is considered part of the "liberal" wing. Consider what happens when a Republican Congress and a Republican President eliminate all corporate regulation, revoke all anti-pollution laws, enact "tort reform", start a war with Iran...

RepubAnon said...

Frankly, I still consider Hillary to be a Rockefeller Republican - of the type driven from the current Republican Party as "RINOs." I'll definitely vote for her if she's nominated, though.

To anyone considering making a "protest vote" in the general election, I'd point out how successful Ralph Nader's run against Al Gore was in strengthening civil liberties and improving environmental regulations. We got George W Bush, Dick Cheney, and the Supreme Court decisions overturning campaign finance reform. I don't think the country could recover from another 4-8 years like that.

Scopedog said...

"I don't think the country could recover from another 4-8 years like that."

Agreed. All of the progress done by President Obama and the Democrats would be trashed. And don't get me started on the GOP being able to take a hatchet to Obamacare.

Like you said, we would get _something_ from Hillary, as opposed to _nothing_ from the GOP. Why some on our side still don't get this is beyond me. They can take their "protest vote" and shove it.

Scopedog said...

Oh, it's easy to imagine. But some refuse to, because they still cannot let go of the (false) idea that both parties are the same.

Horace Boothroyd III said...


Nothing to add but the observation that our friends in Kossackistan are gloating over this opportunity to use the Democratic Party (which, by the way, is fascist - and they literally use the word "fascist" the ahistorical nimrods) to advance their Red/Green coalition interests. They openly announce their intentions to milk the Sanders thing as long as they can before slipping back into third party vanity candidate mode.

But Zandar, I am already sold. My vote would go to Andrew Cuomo, that odious git, if he happened to be the Party candidate. I would grit my teeth, hold my nose, and dunk my head in that barrel of raw sewage in order to keep the Republicans out of power while I build the Social Democracy movement from the bottom up. When enough of us have persisted long enough, we will control the power and the Centrists will have to beg for scraps that fall from the table - while the double dealing purity trolls will be told to go pound sand.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

Which is the stupidest idea in the history of stupid ideas. When Bush gave away two trillion dollars to his cronies and threw the country into the disastrous land wars in Asia (all the fault of the Democrats, of course, because they did not fight hard enough to stop him) not even the Naderites had the drawers that a President Gore would have been as bad if not worse. But now, with Bush a faded memory and everything being Obama's fault (because DINO), people have returned to that age old bleat: not a dime's worth of difference between the two parties.

Scopedog said...

Agreed. How quickly we forget the damage done by Bush II and company.

True story--in 2000, I was arguing with a friend who insisted that he was voting for Nader and dismissed my concerns about Bush because to him, Al Gore was the worst candidate. Even when I brought up Bush's disastrous term as Governor of Texas, he waved it off and waved Alexander Cockburn's "Al Gore: A User's Manual" under my nose and kept insisting that the Democrats were worse than the GOP and that Nader would "save the world".

Of course, Cockburn never wrote "George W. Bush: A User's Manual" because he did not have to. When all the white-hot rage of the Left is focused on Democrats only, the GOP is conveniently ignored and can do whatever they want, because the Left will toss the blame to Democrats. It was jaw-dropping to see it happen in 2000; it beggars belief to see it happen in 2015 in light of the eight years of President G. W. Bush and the GOP rule of the House and then the Senate starting in 2011.

RonB2 said...

Forgive me if everyone knows this term, but I am new to it:

Scopedog said...

Yep--I definitely remember seeing this a couple of years back. And the term is spot-on.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

Sweet baby Jesus, I just about died laughing. Seriously, my wife thought I was having a stroke.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

The thing that really gets me is how there is - as a matter of demonstrable fact - nothing especially leftish about any of these people. They set up a great big howl about liberals or progressives or populists or what ever the slang of the day for their claque might be, but the words mean nothing beyond "I hate Hillary" or "I have a grudge against the Democrats." When pressed on what exactly they are trying to accomplish, they babble empty slogans that not only would fit easily into the Democratic Party platform but in fact ARE parts of that platform. Idea that the Democrats have been trying for years to make these things happen but the practicalities are trickier than you might think, that gets quashed by screams of SELLOUT and CORPORATE WHORE and my personal favorite LYING THIRD WAY NEW DEMOCRAT FASCIST STOOGE. When you try to float a practical route to a universal National Health Service that is anything other than a simpleminded Single Payer scheme, or suggest an honest to God leftist idea like nationalizing the credit system to rationalize the mobilization of capital and non-financial resources and accomplish needed public works, they quickly become bored and wander off to shout at rocks - and pieces of fruit, and garden trowels, and Jane Hamsher: God, I loved that line in the video.

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