super screwsday–millennial’s wasted votes

I want to be excited for all the anti-establishment energy. I really do. Voting for change is great and if change were at hand, I would be breaking out the confetti myself.

But today I am a bit bummed. While I wrote a few weeks ago that all this outrage gives me genuine hope for the future, millennials are about to learn that 2016 is most assuredly not the future. Reality inflicted depression is a sadly common state for a Curmudgeon.

Setting aside for the moment the probable winners and losers coming out of Super Tuesday, the wasted votes become clear when you think not about the vote at hand, but about 2017. Whether you love Billionaire Bloviations or are Feeling the Bern, the hard reality is that after the votes are counted, the winner must govern.

No job was ever more properly described as cat herding than the American Presidency.

The special interests and self-dealing have long ago metastasized in the Congressional organs. That which passes for governance on Capitol Hill was aptly summed up by Senator Bob Dole speaking of his Republican Senate during the Clinton Administration:

Our intent will not be to create gridlock. Oh, except maybe from time to time.

Dole. What a comedian.

Another comedian, David Letterman, was typically droll when he more recently observed:

It was announced that President Obama and his wife, when they’re finished in Washington, are moving to New York City. The guy just can’t get enough gridlock.

As much as newcomers to the political scene want to believe that Mitch McConnell’s declarations regarding Obama Supreme Court nominees was something way out of line, it was but an ordinary1101760308_400-1 manifestation of the altered reality inside the Beltway. This is just the way things work in Two-party Hall and your vote for an anti-establishment President will not change this.

Just ask Jimmy Carter.

We had an interesting conversation over the family dinner table last night about the Bloviating Billionaire. Like all conscious Americans, my son is concerned about what the election of the other outsider as President might mean. I reassured him that America is far too resilient to succumb to even a long run of bad Presidents.

 

There is plenty of evidence of American resiliency in this regard: The Pentagon Papers, Watergate, the Nixon Pardon, the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the Iran-Contra Affair, Read my lips, no new taxes, Coffee Klatches, the Blue Dress, and of course my personal favorite, Mission Accomplished. And that is only the last half-century’s greatest hits.

We’ve got this.

One person’s resiliency though, is another’s intransigence. Congress was designed to resist change by founders who were concerned that passions should not rule over reason. So while we can survive the Bloviator in Chief or a Congress refusing to feel the revolutionary bern, nothing significant will change other than perhaps the growing voter angst.

It will be a shame if passionate progressives waste their angst chasing the every four year Presidential promise fairy dust. You can have real transformative progress, but that necessarily starts with the real grassroots. Today’s Congresscritters are yesterday’s state legislators and local officials.

This is a tough business. We need young people patiently dedicated to building new parties and reforming old institutions. We need a new focus on holding our elected officials accountable to their words and for their misdeeds. We need to get busy raising expectations at every level of government.

This is a work of decades—not a single Presidential kerfuffle.

If you go to the polls and pull the same levers we have been pulling for over a century, you can go tell somebody other than this Curmudgeon about your demand for change. History informs us of these truths if one is willing to learn. Thus educated, we can know with certainty that voting for Republicans or Democrats is not a progressive act. To think that such a vote is progressive is cute, but delusional.

Better luck next election Millennials.

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28 thoughts on “super screwsday–millennial’s wasted votes”

  1. So Romney, the guy with an elevator for his cars, just gave a speech saying Trump is too greedy.

    BEST ELECTION EVER!!!

    I need to go watch the new season of “House of Cards”, but even the genius Kevin Spacey can’t match this. If this is the world ending, I am going out laughing my ass off.

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  2. WordPress bites!

    RealDeal said:
    “I’m still trying to figure out how the GOP got this bad. What they are doing seems simply crazy. I’m right of center myself, I think, but they appear to be in a different world.”

    Yep… it’s like nothing I have ever seen before. It would be entertaining, but then you say.. “this isn’t a miniseries on HBO”. That debate last night was three 3rd graders. Heck… giving them too much credit… first graders.

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  3. “Whether you love Billionaire Bloviations or are Feeling the Bern, the hard reality is that after the votes are counted, the winner must govern.”

    You are correct, you can’t govern with the current Republican party. Even when the Dems had full control, including a filibuster-proof senate, individual GOP senators had enough power to block governing. So you are also correct that if Bernie wins (or Hillary ), McConnell and company will just stay in block-everything mode.

    So what really happens if Trump wins? (No, I have not been drinking). Does this really break the GOP as we know it today. That sounds really good, if it means it permanently transforms the Republicans into a legit governing partner with the Dems. If it moves them from their one note party of “tax cut trickle-down” and government shutdowns, to a party that fixes infrastructure and debates safety-net needs in the 21st century, might be worth the horrible price of electing Trump. Then again, things can always get worse. If one ends up wishing they had McConnell back… I can’t even go there.

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    1. What you ignore here is that which you always ignore: the Democrats, when in the minority, have been every bit as obstructive as the Republicans.

      You are in deep denial about how things work inside the beltway OF. The Democrats profit from the dysfunction as much as the GOP. I may have to write a post on the filibuster and democrat dominated congresses of the not so distant past. I am still amazed that folks don’t see this obvious reality.

      All that said, I do agree that the current manifestation of the GOP is especially dysfunctional. The GOP has done an amazing thing: they have managed to make the Democratic Party look good, You may get your complete GOP meltdown OF. The last debate was telling.

      The GOP is going to lose this election and lose big. I for one hope they can’t pick up the pieces and we get the emergence of some viable alternatives.

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      1. “What you ignore here is that which you always ignore: the Democrats, when in the minority, have been every bit as obstructive as the Republicans.”

        Seems like “what you are obstructing” kind of matters. The GOP shutting down the government to try and kill The Affordable Care act for the 60+ time is BAD obstruction. The Dems blocking the GOP from privatizing Social Security, right before the 2008 economic meltdown is GOOD obstruction.

        You are kind of a “process only” guy… not really big on “what the process accomplishes”. 🙂 That’s why you really have to start with “what you are for”.

        Here is an example of saying what you (ME, in this case) are for:

        – government common good (services) NEVER privatized
        – healthcare as a right
        – nobody goes bankrupt from medical bills
        – separation of church and state
        – progressive (VERY) taxation, no FLAT taxation
        – business startups assisted, tax minimized, but mature business taxed more
        – progressive growing safety-nets (i.e. paid maternity leave) for new moms
        – government funded medical care for kids with special needs
        – free public school, including college
        – for federal equal rights, not state rights
        – government produced medicine and drugs, drug companies don’t set price, they merely manufacture
        – for “limited” wealth (bet that one blew some gaskets)… supposedly Ben Franklin considered it for Philly state constitution
        – law that limits public company CEO compensation to 40? times average worker pay, perhaps private business also.
        – laws that prevent employees from being pawns of a business owner, employee gets a say, more share of profits

        That type of thing… not the “for liberty against politicians”.

        We do share the “puppy dog” thing, however.

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      2. I’m still trying to figure out how the GOP got this bad. What they are doing seems simply crazy. I’m right of center myself, I think, but they appear to be in a different world.

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  4. “But, I don’t want to duck your attempted call-out either. In general terms, I’m for liberty and against politicians. I’m for an effective government that keeps the playing field level, and against knee-jerk statism that thinks more government is always the answer. I am for social justice, but against those who would mindlessly impose solutions without pragmatism. I’m for just enough government to keep American on the progressive track, but absolutely against anything more than that. I am for thinking before leaping.”

    I bet you could put hyperlinks in that boilerplate, and I could drill down 10 levels and never find anything of substance. Ironic you hate politicians… you talk just like one. 🙂

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    1. “I’m for an effective government that keeps the playing field level”

      I’m not, the free market takes that feeble government and creates the Koch brothers. Government has always been the only countermeasure to being subservient to the robber barons. Liberty is always defined as freedom from government. Where does the worker go to get freedom from their a$$hole boss, or the business owner getting rich while workers barely get by.

      Level playing field is not enough… a progressive playing field that doesn’t make our society a playground for the few is required. We have a massive income distribution problem, not a redistribution problem. We could have had incrementle progression post FDR, but Reagan happened. Government is ONLY countermeasure, everything else is just shiny objects. When the people quit buying the “fear government” myth passed down by the old folks, then they can treat government as any other enterprise. Listening babybird Millennials… “Government is you”, not the evil space alien that has shown up to steal your liberty. Your healthcare right is just as much a liberty as your free speech… Don’t let the fossils tell you otherwise.

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      1. RD… talking to me? If so, yes, humor… playing with Prof’s previous jab that Bernie’s superdelegates were the FBI. I was just commenting on the fact that Hillary just won 85%+ of the non-white vote on Super Tuesday. All of Bernie’s state wins were states with a smaller percent of black vote.

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      2. Curmudgeon: “This blog comment facility does not work very well.”

        WordPress has an attractive layout, but the comment facility is incompatible with discussion that is more than an inch deep, and that has always been this blog’s modus operandi – beating a horse into a smoothie.

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  5. “What you are saying here makes sense…not much good if you have the same old Congress.”

    Actually, what you just said makes some sense… if you keep the same old Republican party not much good. It has been entertaining to me that the Republican voters this election caught up with us Dems… we have all reached our limit with this Republican lot now… starting with McConnell. Seriously… 300+ million people… and this is what we get.

    But that is a far cry from Curm making any sense here. He is stuck on the stale lame “equivalency argument that both parties are at fault”, We only have one government-hating party. It’s not rocket science that people elected that hate government won’t be very good at it. They subterfuge with words like “limited government” or “slow government down”. Next time you need a surgery, do these people go find a “limited, slow” surgeon. It boggles the mind. Don’t feed the Curm… it just encourages him. 🙂

    I voted against the Republicans and against Hillary’s $300,000 speeches today. It would be hard to call that a “wasted vote”, because I felt really good the rest of the day. I will not feel nearly as good when I cast a vote for those $300,000 speeches in the general. That said… certainly would feel better than with a President Trump (or if you watch John Oliver… President Drumpf).

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    1. I’m glad you feel good OF. Really.

      Call me stale and lame if you wish: evidence…that most inconvenient of things for the political class…is overwhelmingly on my side. Why don’t you tell me about all the change that happened when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House? I have never questioned that either party will advance their nominal agendas if in power, only the extent to which that is significant.

      Feel the Bern OF…while it lasts. It won’t last much longer. And come November, you will be casting your vote and I’m going to bet you support those $300,000 speeches. You will hold your nose and vote for “the lesser of the evils” and continue to be an enabler of the Tony Podestas and Hillary Clintons.

      And that is the equivalency. Money drives Two-party Hall and if you want to change that, you and the other Republocrats have to change your behavior. As they say, expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity.

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      1. Curm:
        “And come November, you will be casting your vote and I’m going to bet you support those $300,000 speeches.”

        Yep… that’s why I said it in my post.

        OF:
        “I will not feel nearly as good when I cast a vote for those $300,000 speeches in the general.”

        Curm:
        ” I have never questioned that either party will advance their nominal agendas if in power, only the extent to which that is significant.”

        It occurs to me you never really say what government policies you are for, just one-way traffic of failures you are against. Most of your blogs are about “what you are against”. I could repeat that when the Dems had a 60 filibuster-proof senate, they passed The Affordable Care Act, Dodd Frank, avoiding an economic depression… but you are setting up a debate where I am to measure that against your “phantom policy goals… benchmark”. I guess all that Lawyer “schoolin” taught you not to play your hand until absolutely necessary.

        Perhaps if you voted, you would be less “Disenfranchised”.

        Perhaps if you wrote about what you are for, you would be less “Curmudgeony”.

        Just sayin… 🙂 We already have a political party who spends every waking moment telling what they are against… tax cuts and Reagan being the few exceptions.

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      2. “Money drives Two-party Hall and if you want to change that, you and the other Republocrats have to change your behavior.”

        Well, one half of Two-party Hall just had a hostile takeover. I think we can safely say the GOP voters followed your advice and changed their behavior. The GOP vote counts on Super Tuesday matched the 2008 Dem primary vote counts… and they chose the self-financier.

        So you are halfway home… I will warn the DNC you are coming.

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      3. OF, thanks for attempt to call me on the carpet. I didn’t work, but the attempt is endearing.

        ”It occurs to me you never really say what government policies you are for, just one-way traffic of failures you are against.”

        I actually think this is a fair criticism up to a point. One thing I learned writing this thing for the earlier four year period is that I always got more response when I voice things as anti- rather than pro-. I think that has to do with rhetoric and the way people respond.

        But, most of my pro- positions are easy to discover based on the more commonly expressed anti- sentiments.

        In caucuses in iowa aren’t the problem: you are, I wrote about pulling the levers of Two-party Hall as an evil. This continuing theme defines this blog, of course, but the pro- is easy to find here: I support third parties and the substantive dialog they would engender. Lately I’ve started to think of myself as more “anti-partisan” than anything, but that is another blog post.

        In called on the carpet bombing, I berated the hyperbolic nature of political discourse in America. Clearly, I’m for substantive discourse and not sound bites.

        You get the idea. Part of my answer is that this is my chosen voice.

        I’ve considered writing an “About Me” page with some heft, but that seems self-indulgent. I’d rather let my positions appear through my words. And I have a substantial record here that covers a great deal of that for which I stand, though I’m very open to affirmatively stating my views when someone asks.

        But, I don’t want to duck your attempted call-out either. In general terms, I’m for liberty and against politicians. I’m for an effective government that keeps the playing field level, and against knee-jerk statism that thinks more government is always the answer. I am for social justice, but against those who would mindlessly impose solutions without pragmatism. I’m for just enough government to keep American on the progressive track, but absolutely against anything more than that. I am for thinking before leaping.

        And, I’m for puppy dogs.

        Yeah…I think that sums it up.

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  6. Awesome post Curmudgeon. But I am a sucker for Letterman.
    I thought you were making the case that the Bloomberg candidacy could make a difference though. What you are saying here makes sense…not much good if you have the same old Congress.

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    1. Thanks RealDeal. I do think Bloomberg could make a difference, I just doubt that he would bring about the long term institutional change we need. It is more a hope than anything else: just maybe some viable alternatives to Two-party Hall could arise. There is a big voter block to be had out there and this is what Bernie and Trump are tapping into.

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      1. Curm.: “I do think Bloomberg could make a difference.”

        Is this the Bloomberg who thought the way to State enforced good health was to ban, in the land of Liberty, large soft drinks? What underlying philosophical positions does Bloomberg have that would create a positive difference to America in general? I don’t see it, but then, I only know superficially of his distaste for rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

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    2. You know me better than that Prof… I’m interested in breaking the back of Two-party Hall. Bloomberg doesn’t interest me because of any stated position be it sincere or not. If America is wakened from its stupor over these two parties who don’t give a damn about you, me or our collective future, then I consider that a positive.

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      1. Curm.: “If America is wakened from its stupor over these two parties…”

        Bwahahahahaha. 80% of Americans could watch their candidate-of-choice slaughter an innocent child before their eyes and still pull the lever in November. What this country needs is a gold old fashion Soviet Union collapse. They have to not trust that the old way can fix it. They must be oppressed and impoverished beyond their wildest dreams. When the average family sees a mobile phone as a luxury for an adult, when currently it is seen as a necessity for an 8 yr old, THEN a significant percentage of the populace will look outside the status quo. Currently the vast majority want their bracketed letter candidate over their opponents bracketed letter candidate, yellow and blue dogs lack of qualification are not a barrier.

        The good thing is, with $19 Trillion debt in the stew, promises aplenty in the debates, and Janet Yellen alluding to destroying savings, currency, and trust even further with negative interest rates, I see my path to liberty and a collapse of imperialism far more imminent than circuitous election cycles.

        I hope you’ve started your victory garden. Gonna need it either way.

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      2. I wish there were edit and delete options on these posts. In my previous post “gold” should be “good”.

        Like

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