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Official 2020 US Election: Democratic Party Discussion

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On another note, the latest Morning Consult is out, and compared to the last full week one with an over 10k sample size (June 17-23), we got the following changes:

Biden: -7
Booker: -1
Buttigieg: -1
Harris: +8
O'Rourke: -1
Sanders: +-0
Warren: +-0

Also, despite his good performance in the first debate, Castro is still only at 1%



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Jaicee said:

I think we're approaching the end of our ability to reach agreement on the particular range of topics we've been discussing here lately, as areas of disagreement appear to be expanding at this point (e.g. surrogacy, etc.), so I think it's time we wrapped up this particular sub-convo and got back to focusing on the actual topic of this thread, which is of course the Democratic Party primary contest. It's clear at this point that you are simply of a more individualistic mindset than I am. I'd like to get back on-topic anyway because, while these are issues that obviously interest me a lot, it's taking up a lot of my time an energy to reply fully and appropriately on these matters and we seem to have reached an impasse.

That said, I will briefly highlight some of Dr. Jeffreys' disagreements with identity politics (which is a concept I'm not sure you have a very academic understanding of, to judge by your wording above). I think it might be best to hear her speak about the matter on her own terms, so I'll leave you with this podcast interview from 2016 where she spoke about exactly that. You might find it interesting! She's a good speaker who communicates complex ideas in plain, understandable language. It's a quality that made her a good educator. (I will add though that her use of the term "socialist feminists" therein refers specifically to Marxist feminists. "Socialist feminist" is a classical, '70s/80s era term for Marxist feminists.)

I feel that calling me individualistic mischaracterizes me, but perhaps in relation to you I am? I feel a lot of these disagreements stem from a continued misunderstanding of each others positions. I agree we're getting off topic though. Thank you for the discussion. I'll confess that my psychology bachelor's never touched on an academic definition of identity politics, but Merriam Webster seems to back me up.

"politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group"

That was my understanding of identity politics, and the dictionary seems to agree. I won't be blamed for what academia has done to that definition that makes you think I'm that off base with it.

I nonetheless checked out your link, and it was indeed...interesting, though it mostly confirmed to me that radical feminism is a form of identity politics. The familiar language of discomfort with cultural change was there. There was a gatekeeping of feminism present that reminded me of white nationalists tendency to gatekeep the American identity. It is really starting to sound like she herself, and indeed you yourself, are lesbian separatists or draw your political ideology from them. It was ironic hearing her describe identity politics as though she wasn't guilty of it herself. The interviewer and Dr. Jeffreys speak as though radical feminism is the only true feminism. Their talk of gender identity and transgenderism makes a strawman of the entire concept. You can't just dismiss transgenderism by calling MTF transgender individuals "men that put on a dress" and accuse them of being men that want to draw feminists efforts away from women. That podcast is a bit of an echo chamber where the interviewers, the guests, and presumably the typical audience all just know that radical feminism is the only feminism, and seem to use the terms feminism and radical feminism interchangably, and openly accuse other forms of feminism of not being real feminism or being "what passes as feminism nowadays" as the host said at one point.



Bofferbrauer2 said:
Jaicee said:

Back to election news:

As you probably know, the U.S. women's soccer team recently won the World Cup (YaY!). As you may also know, there was a bit of a spat in the lead-up to that development between President Trump and the co-captain of the American team, Megan Rapinoe, wherein Rapinoe pledged not to accept any commemorative invitation to the White House if her team was victorious (which she was in no danger of, considering that the Trump Administration has extended only one such invitation to a mere women's team to date) and Trump responded by saying that Rapinoe should "win first" anyway. Her team went on to indeed win their second consecutive World Cup, with Rapinoe receiving the golden shoe for scoring the most goals. (Surprise! No White House invitation has been extended in response so far.)

Public Policy Polling subsequently surveyed Americans on whether, if Rapinoe ran for and secured the Democratic Party's nomination for president, they would vote for Trump or her in the general election. The results were as follows:

Megan Rapinoe: 42%
Donald Trump: 41%

Rapinoe wins (at least in the popular vote anyway). On the basis of absolutely no qualifications for the office whatsoever. Needless to say, Rapinoe is unlikely to run for president, but what this finding suggests is that voters, at least at this moment anyway, seem to believe that almost anyone could do a better job of leading the United States than our current president. So do I.

So, can we say Trump got soccered? Or that Rapinoe kicks the idiot ball?

According to that link, the idiot ball is for people who are normally competent and makes them idiots. Trump doesn't need the idiot ball. He's always incompetent. If anything, he is the idiot ball, because he makes all his allies look like idiots when they try to defend him. 



HylianSwordsman said:

I feel that calling me individualistic mischaracterizes me, but perhaps in relation to you I am? I feel a lot of these disagreements stem from a continued misunderstanding of each others positions. I agree we're getting off topic though. Thank you for the discussion. I'll confess that my psychology bachelor's never touched on an academic definition of identity politics, but Merriam Webster seems to back me up.

"politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group"

That was my understanding of identity politics, and the dictionary seems to agree. I won't be blamed for what academia has done to that definition that makes you think I'm that off base with it.

I nonetheless checked out your link, and it was indeed...interesting, though it mostly confirmed to me that radical feminism is a form of identity politics. The familiar language of discomfort with cultural change was there. There was a gatekeeping of feminism present that reminded me of white nationalists tendency to gatekeep the American identity. It is really starting to sound like she herself, and indeed you yourself, are lesbian separatists or draw your political ideology from them. It was ironic hearing her describe identity politics as though she wasn't guilty of it herself. The interviewer and Dr. Jeffreys speak as though radical feminism is the only true feminism. Their talk of gender identity and transgenderism makes a strawman of the entire concept. You can't just dismiss transgenderism by calling MTF transgender individuals "men that put on a dress" and accuse them of being men that want to draw feminists efforts away from women. That podcast is a bit of an echo chamber where the interviewers, the guests, and presumably the typical audience all just know that radical feminism is the only feminism, and seem to use the terms feminism and radical feminism interchangably, and openly accuse other forms of feminism of not being real feminism or being "what passes as feminism nowadays" as the host said at one point.

I think we're basically done here (on these topics anyway), but will just say a few things for clarity:

1) I'm not against female separatism. Jeffreys is a female separatist. In principle I support it, in fact, as at least a temporary tactic for consciousness-raising. As to whether it's a viable, long-term objective or whether instead more confrontation approaches to making revolution (such as women's strikes that shut down society, as the March 8th movement mobilizes) are preferable in that regard is, in my view, an open question. Make no mistake though: radical feminists are called that for a reason, not just as an aesthetic choice.

2) As Jeffreys pointed out, there is indeed such a thing as lesbian identity politics. I would point out that the distinction is made clearer by the fact that lesbian identity politics have sometimes been wielded against lesbian feminists. I mentioned the broad definition of the term lesbian that lesbian feminists (as Jeffreys) often use before. This broad definition of the term has historically been used by some lesbians who were "born this way" to complain that lesbian feminism is a form of cultural appropriation by fakes. Don't get me wrong, cultural appropriation is a real thing, but aesthetic appropriation isn't what political lesbianism is about; it's about transforming society for the benefit of all women rather than concerning one's self with only a small percentage of the female population. There is a difference.

3) I feel that comparing me to neo-Nazis is highly disingenuous and more than a little over the line.

There is no need to reply to this post unless you just want to. I was just making those points because they cried out to be made.

Last edited by Jaicee - on 11 July 2019

People have wondered what it will take for a Democratic candidate to best Trump in a significant chunk of rural America, where Trump managed to improve upon the typical Republican performance in 2016. The top five voting issues in my community in this coming election are:

1) Drugs
2) Drugs
3) The Economy
4) Drugs
5) The Economy

As things presently stand, the economy is a winning issue for Trump in my community because the fact is that there is indeed demonstrably more economic activity occurring in general here (more businesses, more jobs, etc.) than at any point during the Obama years today. People here simply compare that to the Obama years and figure Trump must be doing something right. Poor and working class people here (which is the vast majority of people in my town) don't especially care about HOW the economy improves as long as their lives improve. Low-income people are very pragmatic that way overall. Most aren't that ideological in any direction, so if the local economy is still propelling as it is today on election day of next year, it will be almost impossible for any Democratic candidate to win running on economic issues. But as the experts have pointed out, the U.S. economy is on fragile footing at present, highly dependent on the steady expansion of both public and private debt. Any sudden shock, any significant contraction of the money supply, could conceivably yield a recessionary situation and if that should happen between now and election day of next year, it will be the end of Trump's political career.

The real weakness for Trump here is the drug issue though. The opioid epidemic. Epidemic levels of alcohol addiction. For that matter, everything from marijuana to heroin is a growing issue here. Even tobacco is making a major comeback among younger people here owing to the popularization of the new e-cigarettes. But opioids and alcohol are the main problems. But my point is that drugs are a major issue here and nobody believes the drug situation has improved since Trump took office. If anything, it's gotten worse, so whatever the White House may be doing about it isn't having any impact here on the ground. This is a major weakness for Trump here. As I've said before, people here will listen to anyone who will address the drug problem. The Democrats would do well to make a point of doing so often.

When Elizabeth Warren visited the small town of Kermit, West Virginia in May to address the opioid crisis (thus becoming the only Democratic candidate so far to visit West Virginia: the most pro-Trump state in America according to the polling, and also among the very poorest), the press, and apparently Warren's own advisers too, were surprised that she actually won applause at points and that many residents had positive things to say about her after the visit, if only because she bothered. I wasn't surprised. The Democratic candidates need to do much more of that type of thing to make inroads in small town America. They need to visit and they need to talk about the drug issue. In fact, I think it would be a very good idea for the Democratic Party to organize a whole debate around the drug issue specifically. THAT would communicate to rural America that the party gives a shit about them.

Last edited by Jaicee - on 13 July 2019

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Jaicee said:

I think we're basically done here (on these topics anyway), but will just say a few things for clarity:

1) I'm not against female separatism. Jeffreys is a female separatist. In principle I support it, in fact, as at least a temporary tactic for consciousness-raising. As to whether it's a viable, long-term objective or whether instead more confrontation approaches to making revolution (such as women's strikes that shut down society, as the March 8th movement mobilizes) are preferable in that regard is, in my view, an open question. Make no mistake though: radical feminists are called that for a reason, not just as an aesthetic choice.

2) As Jeffreys pointed out, there is indeed such a thing as lesbian identity politics. I would point out that the distinction is made clearer by the fact that lesbian identity politics have sometimes been wielded against lesbian feminists. I mentioned the broad definition of the term lesbian that lesbian feminists (as Jeffreys) often use before. This broad definition of the term has historically been used by some lesbians who were "born this way" to complain that lesbian feminism is a form of cultural appropriation by fakes. Don't get me wrong, cultural appropriation is a real thing, but aesthetic appropriation isn't what political lesbianism is about; it's about transforming society for the benefit of all women rather than concerning one's self with only a small percentage of the female population. There is a difference.

3) I feel that comparing me to neo-Nazis is highly disingenuous and more than a little over the line.

There is no need to reply to this post unless you just want to. I was just making those points because they cried out to be made.

I didn't mean to make that comparison to use the stigma of Nazism to throw shade at your ideology, merely to make clear that I find separatism and identity politics distasteful no matter where I see it. Radical feminism is not ideologically comparable to Nazism, and I apologize if I made you feel like I was implicating that, and agree that doing so would be disingenuous. Thanks again for the discussion, Jaicee.



We now have two full weekends' worth of post-debate national polling out, so I think we can now safely assess what the impact has been.

Real Clear Politics pre-debate polling average:

Biden: 32.1%
Sanders: 16.6%
Warren: 12.4%
Harris: 7%

Real Clear Politics polling average as of now (July 13th):

Biden: 26.8%
Warren: 15.2%
Sanders: 15.2%
Harris: 15%

So basically, there's now a somewhat closer race that includes a virtual three-way tie for second, with all the other candidates polling basically where they did before the debate: in the single digits. Most of the difference is obviously attributable to Harris's debate performance, which has enabled her to win over many of Joe Biden's supporters in particular. The debate doesn't seem to have had a major effect for Elizabeth Warren, but her previous trajectory of slow but steady polling gains, substantially at the expense of Bernie Sanders, has continued. (In other words, Warren's momentum appears to be less dependent on debates than Harris's.) I think it's worth noting those specific dynamics...

Biden voters --> Harris camp
Sanders voters --> Warren camp

...because they suggest one potential future for this campaign. Namely, in one potential eventuality, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren could emerge as the two finalists competing for the Democratic nomination, with Harris as the default candidate of the neoliberals and Warren as the candidate of the progressives. That situation would mark a definite shift leftward for both ideological camps, and therefore also for the center of political gravity in the Democratic contest itself.

How would such an eventuality shake out? Who would most likely win in that situation? It's impossible to tell at this stage, though I suspect it would be Harris. The Democratic Party, since the early 1970s, has been composed of three main groups -- women, younger voters, and people of color -- with the victor of the Democratic primary battle usually being the candidate who wins over the balance of two of those groups. For example, in the 2016 Democatic nominating contest, Hillary Clinton won the balance of women and voters of color, while Bernie Sanders had the balance of youth support. In 2008 likewise, Barack Obama won over voters of color broadly and also younger voters, while Hillary Clinton won among female voters. (Incidentally, the candidate most favored by working class people lost in both cases.)

As things presently stand, between the Biden rivals, we see Kamala Harris leading among Democratic-leaning people of color, Elizabeth Warren among women, and Bernie Sanders among younger voters. Younger voters would be competitive, and potentially decisive, territory in a Harris vs. Warren primary battle. That's the main group who they'd both be competing for most likely, but female voters may also be moveable in either direction. Harris, however, would have the advantage overall in that Warren to date has a polling weakness among voters of color that Harris doesn't, so that group would probably be less moveable than the other two. Harris would also have the advantage of just being somewhat more palatable, I think, to the business world, and therefore would likely win the "electability" argument.

Last edited by Jaicee - on 13 July 2019

Bernie didnt really lose much. Bernie supporters are loyal.



jason1637 said:
Bernie didnt really lose much. Bernie supporters are loyal.

True enough! But it's also been this same slow drip process for months now, not just since the debate. And there are a lot more months to go between now and the Iowa Caucus. You see what I'm getting at. It's not over for him by a long shot, but the current overall trajectory favors Warren emerging as the de facto finalist for the Democratic Party's progressive column.

I was just suggesting that as one notable possibility as to how things may wind up.



jason1637 said:
Bernie didnt really lose much. Bernie supporters are loyal.

He dipped lower directly after the debates, but recovered through this last week.

The next weeks and next debate will become very interesting.

Also, in the early states, Biden does pretty poorly, while Buttigieg is doing surprisingly well: