All Hands on Deck at The People’s Summit

The People's Summit
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke and then posed for this photograph with the over 5,000 leaders, organizers, activists, and followers at the 2017 People’s Summit in Chicago.

You cannot build a movement for the common people if you hold the common people in contempt. — Thomas Frank at the 2017 People’s Summit

Chicago, IL — This past weekend Jered Weber and I attended the 2nd annual People’s Summit. The first one in 2016, was held shortly after Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), went from a little known and self-described democratic socialist to the brink of the Democratic Party nomination. Taking on Hillary Clinton (D-NY), former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State in the first Obama administration, who had nearly every endorsement from Democratic elected officials and party leaders, as well as the support of corporate America, Sanders received 46% of the primary vote.

Assembling a coalition of millennials who had previously helped put then-Senator Obama over the top in the 2008 presidential primary and general election, progressives, independents, and populists, Sanders shocked the country, especially the donor and billionaire class by proving that in the Age of Citizens United, there was another way forward. There was another way to run a viable national campaign without having to offer fealty to the Super PACS, corporate lobbyists, and special interests holding the country back in the 20th century.

And what was remarkable to so many who flocked to the campaign, new and old, of all different generations and backgrounds, was that it was the ideas and message that mattered. It was the positivity of the campaign and its focus on the issues, and it was the remarkable consistency and authenticity of the candidate throughout the years.

Sanders repeatedly explained that when the people come together in common effort, they win. It was never about him, it was about a “future to believe in.” And we now know it was never about him because the campaign never ended, because ultimately, it was more of a movement than a campaign to begin with.

And that is where the People’s Summit comes in.

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The People’s Summit is first and foremost, an Ideas Summit.

Not just ideas for the future of the country, but also ideas on how to fundamentally improve and outright save our democracy. Those critical of the People’s Summit only needed to give these ideas attention at the Center for American Progress and perhaps they would not have to get mad that not everyone is falling in line and “uniting.” Before moving on to an analogy for what to think about the People’s Summit, let me just say that no matter which route one prefers to moving this country forward, there is no need to come together on the issues, on party unity, or anything other than basic civility and decency because we still have three years to go. In other words–see you in 2020.

Bubbles need to be pierced, and introspection and national conversations must continue en masse.

Now onto how to think about the People’s Summit in terms of what it means for the future.

Each year movement conservatism (or what passes as that these days) has its annual ideas conference called the Conservative Political Action Conference, put on by the American Conservative Union. Think of it as a “State of the Movement” address to conservatives from all across the country. Upcoming elected officials and advocates often get heavily promoted and featured at the conference. In addition to think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and others, CPAC gathers all of the various grassroots conservative groups and organizations from around the country. Not being included almost serves as a statement that one is not “conservative” enough or not a “true conservative.”

CPAC operates very much like an ideas and state of the movement arm of the major American political party on the right–the Republican Party.

In 2003, recognizing the power think tanks, ideas conferences and so forth had in propelling the conservative movement to electoral victories through its political arm–the Republican Party, John Podesta founded the Center for American Progress, which is both a think tank and has an annual conference. There is no mystery that the annual CAP conference and its ideas are heavily attached to the Democratic Party. But while the Democratic Party was slow to jump on the think tank bandwagon and invest heavily in the think tank model in comparison to the GOP, its adoption of that model and investment in it represent the final shunning of its historical roots as the FDR “party of the people.” Consider this, CAP founder Podesta was national Chair of the Clinton campaign, Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton, and later counselor to President Barack Obama, made several versions of this sentiment throughout the 2016 election cycle:

For every working class voter we lose, we’ll pick up 2 or 3 professional class voters.

That’s the thing with the establishment or corporate Dems. I’m not much of an ideologue, I have a governing and leadership philosophy yes, but at the end of the day I have a healthy respect for facts. A respect that is lacking in so many political leaders and those who cover and follow our nation’s politics today. I’m fine with compromising. All democracies and constitutional systems require it. However, what incentive do people who do not like to compromise their belief systems have to follow a strategy that not only is not their views in key areas, but also does not and has not won? I submit these simple truths about where the party stands in terms of electoral strategy:

And I direct these six points of logic to the failed Podesta mentality from above and a similar mentality echoed by (permanent) Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), which stated that “for every working class vote we lose, we’ll pick up 2-3 moderate Republican voters.”

  1. There are not enough professional class voters to form the consensus.
  2. The ones who realigned from the GOP to the Democratic Party did so years ago.
  3. The ones still in the GOP are rich and unpersuadable.
  4. Working class voters are more numerous and more diverse than ever.
  5. Some of them are even organized already, through this thing called collective bargaining.
  6. You can’t build a party of the people if you have contempt for the people. You have to talk directly to the people about the issues, all the people.

Please note that when I say the working class I always mean that anyone who has to work for a living to keep existing. Many choose to work for a living and that is great, but their livelihood does not necessarily depend on it, and they likely have multiple streams of passive income.

Speaking of passive income, George Soros, a major funder of CAP and constant boogeyman that the right wing media likes to use to discredit policy agenda and goals, is not too different from the Koch brothers or any other member of the billionaire class engaged in electoral politics in the Citizens United age if one does not personally agree with George Soros. And that is the problem.

Neither party is seriously committed to taking on big, unaccountable, but organized money in politics.

If you are super-rich in America, or anyone really who can sit on their hands making millions in passive income revenue streams, and if your preferred party (whether Dems or GOP) does not win, you always have the other major party to protect your interests for the most part, with only a few exceptions.

It’s the same model. Controlled by the donor class, and dependent on the labor of others to keep itself in power both politically and economically.

And this is where the People’s Summit comes in. Ideas and voices, organizers and activists, leaders and followers that were shunned or not invited to CAP.

I would argue the People’s Summit is an ideas conference, that allows for networking, learning, and updating on the “state of the movement”, similar to CPAC. As of now, it is without a political party attached to it, but I have no doubt, shall a viable third party arise in the next few years, it will be called the People’s Party and it will have started and spear-headed by the 5,000 or so people that have attended the Summit, and those that followed along online, etc.

The central organizing goal of the movement, like the Republican Party, the last third party to replace a major party before in the 1850’s with slavery, is the biggest moral issue of our time — economic inequality and the forces that continue to make it worse, organized big money in politics and legalized bribery and corruption.

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A Future Beyond Party Labels and Endless Partisan and Media Sensationalism. A Future that is not just Resistance, but Beyond Resistance

In the weeks to come, this website will be recommitting itself to trying to churn out regular content the best we can. Apologies if we miss the mark on that front, as we all have busy lives in addition to written commentary, podcasting, etc.

This weekend the third season of the Agreeing Loudly podcast will be on just one topic and prompt: the Third Party option.

In addition, I’m hoping to finish up three articles in a “state of” series on the nation, the Democratic Party, and the Republican Party.

Bernie Poll
While we will never know for sure if “Bernie Would Have Won” — what we do know is that he is easily the most popular politician in America. And while there are loud voices among those 20% of self-identified Democrats that do not like him, especially in the media, corporate America, and on the Twitter-verse, the facts are that the “BernieBro” or lack of diversity myths do not hold up to scrutiny.

If this coalition translated to the electoral college, which I understand is a big leap of logic this far out, but bear with me here, if that DID happen, you would not just see a Sanders victory over the most unpopular presidential candidate of all time (candidate Trump) but you could possibly see the first genuine popular vote AND electoral college landslide since 1988 (and to a lesser extent 2008).

 

My Constructive Criticism of the Summit.

First of all, folks at the summit of all stripes were amazingly self-reflective of what could have gone better not just for the movement, but also for the 2016 Sanders campaign for President.

My two points for potential improvements to next years Summit.

  1. Get a vets or foreign policy-focused speaker to talk about and call for a national “Peace and Security” movement. There are massive levels of economic implications to our #ForeverWar policy that tie into the larger issues presented by the movement. The social and economic costs in caring for our veterans and veterans issues have been some of the best policy work that Senator Sanders has done, so it only makes sense to feature this going forward.
  2. Reach out to Republicans concerned with the direction of their party, big money in politics, and the growing, unsustainable levels of economic inequality. Perhaps this one will be more controversial, but if we’re truly to talk to everyone, we have to mean it. And we see evidence every day, not so much amongst Republican political leaders but we do see it amongst the rank and file and they are growing uncomfortable with the Trump-led GOP. The GOP is dominated by the interests of the donor and billionaire class even more so than the Democrats most years, and disillusioned Republicans becoming former Republicans would be a key feature of any future coalition, especially in current red to light-red states.

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The participants were divided on the question of a Third Party movement, but were engaged, passionate, and committed to the future no matter what — it’s an “All Hands on Deck” strategy for saving democracy for all and creating a 21st century economy that works for the many and not just the few. 

Division is nothing new in this political age. Like the rest of the country, there was a split in views at the Summit. Progressives and populists committed to taking on the corporate state are divided on how best to achieve the desired results of taking on big money in politics and tackling the moral issue of our time–the highest levels of economic inequality in a century. 

My unscientific observations of the sentiments is that the People’s Summit activists, organizers, leaders, and followers prefer starting a vital third party movement in this country. This is a sentiment I agree with more and more each day. However, for the time being, reforming the Democratic Party by taking it over seems to be the immediate goal and interest. A goal that has seen mixed results, winning some small battles early on, but losing the more high-profile battles like the DNC Chair election, California Democratic Party Chair election, etc. What is clear though is the ideas and message is winning over public opinion in America at-large. Significant portions of the speech last Saturday highlighted that.

And what is vitally true, is that we have now reached a 1955 William F. Buckley moment for progressives that this website had called for in 2015 and 2016 throughout the Presidential campaign as all of us ranted and raved about how badly the Democratic Party was going to bottom out in the coming years.

Progressives and populists have finally come to terms with the failure of the current model of the Democratic Party, and from this day forward–everyone knows that change will not come from the Democratic Party, change can only be brought to the Democratic Party. And the more and more party leadership grasps onto and protects their hold on power, even in the name of electoral viability (which is a ridiculous reason when you’ve lost nearly every election), the more and more power the movement, independent of any party control–will be. One way or another, the neoliberal and professional class consensus is over. And thank God for that.

I do not say these things lightly. After all, I am a member of the professional class in this country, but I also think that the younger cohorts of the professional class (Gen X and millennials, those under 45 or so) have far more in common (because of issues with student debt, broader acceptance of diversity, etc.) with the concerns of the working class (now more diverse than at any time in American history) than the concerns of the professional class consensus, whose obsession with incrementalism, education and innovation as a key to mitigating inequality (when in reality, it’s rationalizing it), and insistence that all problems can be solved from Harvard or Yale yard, Wall Street or Silicon Valley, New York City, Chicago, or Los Angeles, or by lawyers or financial service professionals, etc.

If the leadership of the party would rather go down on the Titanic, so long as they have a first class seat, then so be it. The overriding focus of the People’s Summit was not to re-litigate the 2016 election, but to move beyond just merely resisting what the Trump administration is doing, because guess what? That only goes so far, both in practical day-to-day terms and in electoral terms.

Folks, the only way out of this is to win elections, and to win elections you need a party willing to adopt a better message. A message capable of capturing a large majority of the nation and turning out and inspiring more voters than at any other point in modern U.S. history, because there are significant obstacles in gerrymandering and voter suppression to overcome.

The ideas and message of the folks who attended the People’s Summit were not welcome at the CAP conference this year, so we took them to our own conference, in the same state where the last successful third party movement in America took off from, Illinois.

The Republican Party was founded as an abolitionist party to end the immoral practice of slavery in this country. Similarly, if neither major party takes seriously the issue of big money in politics and the fact that we are in a 2nd Gilded Age, then it is highly likely that the movement makes a clean break. But as of now, in practical terms, the prevailing consensus was that there is not enough time for 2018, and undecided about 2020.

One of the conference speakers Thomas Frank (writer, historian, and co-founder of the Baffler), put it best at the end of his most recent book “Listen, Liberal!” which was written almost as if he already knew the 2016 electoral result, even though it was published in the summer.

Direct solutions are off the table for the moment… Democrats have no interest in reforming themselves in a more egalitarian way. There is little the rest of us can do, given the current legal arrangements of this country, to a build a vital third-party movement or to revive organized labor, the one social movement that is committed by its nature to pushing back against the inequality trend.

What we can do is strip away the Democrats’ precious sense of their own moral probity–to make liberals live without the comforting knowledge that righteousness is always on their side. It is that sensibility, after all, that prevents so many good-hearted rank-and-file Democrats from understanding how starkly and how deliberately their political leaders contradict their values. Once that contradiction has been made manifest–once that smooth, seamless sense of liberal virtue has been cracked, anything becomes possible. The course of the party and the course of the country can both be changed, but only after we understand that the problem is us.

This Week on the Interwebs

The Controlled Burn
A lot happened this week, but I keep coming back to the Joker line in The Dark Knight, sometimes people just want to “watch the world burn.” Not much unites the country these days, but one thing nearly everyone under the age of 45 can agree on, the status quo has not been working for some time.

Beginning a new regular-to-semi-regular series on this website, an internet and news of the week round-up that will be graph-laden and told in a very ad-hoc manner. For the article and commentary news round-up, Pat Meacham has you covered.

Depending on your perspective, this week was either the beginning of Watergate Part II (dir. by Oliver Stone, I’m assuming….), or just another week of the “liberal conspiracy media” trying to ruin the Trump agenda. We’re not doing a very good job as a society of “piercing bubbles” so far, although I will continue nonetheless.

Approval 2 (Boomer Division)
We just crossed the 100 days marker not too long ago, here is where Trump stands, and keep in mind this was before the Comey firing. Most importantly, look at the general trend of the erosion of trust and support for Presidents (in line with eroding support for other American institutions) over the years. Post-Watergate I, partisanship was high but then confidence was briefly restored before returning with a vengeance as soon as the boomer generation assumed complete control of all elected branches of government (Fmr. President Clinton and onward).
Approval 1
Yes, President Trump is different than previous times of polarization and partisanship. He is the most polarizing President in the history of polling. This graph is from right after the inauguration. 
Russia GDP Growth Rate
I don’t pay much attention to the particulars of the Russia investigations. I have no doubt in my mind Putin and Russia wanted Trump elected. Why? 7 straight quarters of negative GDP growth. Russia under Putin has not thrived at all, just the opposite. And if our nation emulates their system we will suffer the same fate (minus differences in natural resources, etc.) and even more stagnant growth (more on this later).

….while we’re on the subject of the future of U.S. public policy…

And America
From the Willy Wonka Honest Trailer on YouTube–check it out if you have time. Hilarious and also this…
What Obesity Used to Look Like
More than 1/3 of U.S. adults are obese and 17.5% of children, couple this with the damning statistic of 20% of U.S. children being in poverty (obviously, through no fault of their own), compared to 4.8% for the Netherlands, there is a lot of room for improvement beyond meaningless and mostly symbolic statements like: “the children are our future.” The obesity crisis has gone under-reported in the U.S. media and has been but one of many reasons that there is no easy fix to the U.S. health care system.

Speaking of….

Fate of 18 Midterms on Older Boomers
If you think the impact of the AHCA passing will surely deliver both houses of Congress to the Democratic Party, think again. You’re counting on a demographic who has voted reliably Republican or Democrat for some time. 
Truth
Ain’t this the truth….
The Pre-existing condition
Please tell me again how the “children are our future?” And why did Hillary Clinton not run on ending child poverty? “It’s Time” to do X, Y, and Z would have been a far better appeal than “I’m With Her” or “Stronger Together”, but I digress. All of this assumes the elites of the Democratic Party knew what they were doing.
Math Is Hard For Fox News
Fox News has had cosmic justice enforced on them in abundance lately. Scandal after scandal, but they can still trot out their old reliable trademark of using accurate statistics to incredibly mislead people. Jeez… if only former President Obama had pressed the job creation button on January 21st…

While we’re on the subject of President Obama, the following undermine GOP arguments that he spent too much during his administration.

So it looks like it wasn’t wild spending, but rather something else that has caused the new normal of sluggish growth. It certainly isn’t sluggish for the wealthy and big corporations….ah, the “job creator” class, what an utter myth.

Consumers create jobs for the most part and workers create value. And until even the so-called “capitalists” of this country understand that, we’re going to suffer from stagnant growth because…. the masses are nearly out of money because…. see below.

Distribution of Income During Expansion
The story since the late 70’s has been unequal growth, wages not rising with productivity and inflation, and its starting to catch up with us no matter who is in charge. Why? Because Tom Frank is right–there is no “party of the people” right now and hasn’t been for some time (circa late 70’s, notice a trend here?)

This has led to a distribution that looks like this….

wealth in america
Clearly, something will have to give here.

There are some that will keep banging the drums for the “magic”, but most working people pounding pavement and trying to take care of their families know the truth–the link between effort and reward is gone and has been for some time.

Want to know what’s behind the actual American carnage and why none of 45’s and the far-right to Alt-Right cabal’s policies will work? Because there is a fundamental disconnect between the world that elites inhabit, and organized money protects, and the actual reality of what is going on and has been the trend in American life for some time.

And this is why the most relevant historical force in the 2016 Presidential election was not Donald Trump–but rather it was Bernie Sanders.

He has proven that small dollar donations can break the donor class monopoly of our political system, or at the very least has proven you can put up one hell of a fight and maybe next (demographically speaking) things will break your way. If it is not broken up, it’ll be hard for much of anything to be made “great”again, although I’d very much settle for “good” outcomes at this point.

Indeed, Mr. Norris was right. We are cursed to live (or fortunate to live?) in interesting times. Anyone who has been following developments between the Alt-Right and far-left clashing on college campuses lately, or developments like this can conclude that we are cursed to live in interesting times.

So I keep coming back to the Joker and “watching the world burn.”

There are those who have settled into the world as it is and those (overwhelmingly under 45) who are dreaming of the world as it should be. I think the common thread that binds a lot of millennials, most Gen-X’ers, and younger folks together will be our desire to “burn it down.”

The key difference will be what type of burn. At the outset I showed a “controlled burn” that farmers utilize to help the soil and rotate crops. I believe the controlled burn is far preferable to what the Alt-Right is and wants, which I will call the “moral hazard burn.”

The Moral Hazard Burn
That’s all for now, folks.

Take care of each out there. And stay tuned for Agreeing Loudly and the Margin of Error.

Episode 43: Welcome to Trumpdome

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The Agreeing Loudly crew joins forces with The Margin of Error’s dynamic duo to discuss what happened in the 2016 election and what it means for the future.

Will America survive a post-Trump world? Will Pat make it through Justin Norris’s explanation of the polls and 538’s statistical model? And what happened to Carson? Find the answer to these questions and more on another exciting episode of Agreeing Loudly Coast to Coast. Too cool for school? You can also direct download this month’s episode.

2016 Election Preview & Predictions: Part One – the Presidency

trump-vs-clinton-slide-1
Agreeing Loudly contributor Troy Olson predicts Hillary Clinton will make history and be elected the first female President of the United States by a comfortable margin on Tuesday, November 8th and he further predicts that his predictions will be more accurate than Dick Morris, because Dick Morris is professionally and wildly wrong about everything.

Two weeks from today the seemingly endless 2016 Presidential Campaign will wind to a close and the voters (those that have not voted early, which I highly recommend if your state allows for early voting. This will be organized into three parts.

Today will be the Presidential Election itself. One week from today will be the Congressional elections in the Senate and House. And the day before the election will be the Gubernatorial and state legislative elections. I’m doing it this way for two reasons: one, the Presidential election has historically been very static in the weeks leading up to the final vote and especially in this election, everyone has feels very, very strongly about well….something. Two and most important, the President isn’t a dictator. At best, the President has third most control of any politician in this country over daily lives. The individuals that have the most at stake in who becomes President, members of the United States armed forces, vote at alarmingly low rates.

Presidential Election Predictions

The Popular Vote. 

Hillary Clinton (D) – 48.0%

Donald Trump (R) – 43.0%

Gary Johnson (L) – 5.0%

Evan McMullin (I) – 2.0%

Jill Stein (G) – 1.5%

Other – 0.5%

What to Watch For:

  1. West Coast polls won’t close for awhile, the popular vote will look closer than it ends up because heavily Democratic states like California, Oregon, and Washington have not reported yet.
  2. The big surprise here would be Evan McMullin finishing ahead of Jill Stein. This is because I expect some Stein supporters to come home to the Democratic Party and because Jill Stein has been incredibly underwhelming all cycle, just like in 2012. While I respect the enthusiasm and some of the principled stances of members of the Green Party and Jill Stein herself, like Gary Johnson, she has been way out of her element all cycle. In her defense, the normally funny John Oliver struck a low blow when he made fun of her for playing in a very-early 90’s Indigo Girls sounding rock band. There are many other reasons to not support Jill Stein for the highest office in the land, there is no need to ridicule someone’s incredibly healthy hobby or past career.
  3. I rounded to the nearest .5% for simplicity sake.
  4. I also think a good slice of the traditional GOP (as in they voted for Romney and McCain) electorate who are dissatisfied with Trump as nominee come home, we’ve already been seeing evidence of this the past few days.

The Electoral College.


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Hillary Clinton (D) – 323 EVs

Donald Trump (R) – 209 EVs

Evan McMullin (I) – 6 EVs

Explanations: 

This is the danger of making predictions two weeks out but I will discuss a few with you.

  1. Iowa (GOP) – has been trending GOP the last few cycles, has two GOP Senators, a GOP Governor, and is a state I was personally on the ground for in 2008, a spectacular experience, and 2010, still the biggest landslide defeat I and another member of this podcast has ever been apart of. It was a brutal cycle, but unlike other parts of the nation, the red trend and swing in Iowa is real and could be a harbinger of things to come in the Upper Midwest generally.
  2. North Carolina (DEM) – is this the new Virginia for the Dems? I think so. But it will still be razor thin if the polls state as they are in the final two weeks. I think most of the close MoE states will ultimately break Hillary Clinton’s way because she actually has an organized campaign on the ground, unlike Trump.
  3. Florida (DEM) – another state that the GOP could have easily had this cycle on their column had they not nominated Trump. Expect Marco Rubio to run 5-6 points ahead of Trump here. If this state is called for Hillary before 11 PM, we’ll have a shorter night.
  4. Georgia and Arizona (stay GOP, but someday…) – these are two must-holds for Trump. If Hillary pulls off the upset in Georgia, she has won in a landslide. If she wins in Arizona as the polls show now, she has possibly won more electoral votes than Barack Obama did in 2008. I see both of these states ultimately staying the lightest of red, but they will continue to slowly trend blue in upcoming cycles at the local and statewide levels.
  5. Ohio (stay GOP) – this is the state I feel the least confident about, but I think Trump pulls this one out and benefits from lower youth turnout in college towns, combined with a noncompetitive Senate election in the GOPs favor. Large turnout by key Democratic constituencies kept this in Obama’s column in 2012. If Ohio is won by Hillary it will be on the strength of the ground campaign, where investments are considerably less than they should have been due to Hillary having easy paths to 270 without Ohio and incumbent GOP Senator Rob Portman being up by double digits.
  6. Nevada (DEM) – a state that has always been strong for Hillary Clinton, both in the 2008 and 2016 Democratic Primaries and in 2016 General Election polling. This is also part of a broader blue trend over the past decade in the Southwestern United States that includes New Mexico, Colorado, and perhaps soon, Arizona.
  7. Utah (Independent) – discussed further below. I see McMullin pulling this off with just over 30% of the vote, followed by Trump and Clinton being somewhere between 20 and 30% of the vote.

Turnout. 

54% 

Clinton – 5 best and 5 worst states.

Best: California, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Vermont.

Worst: Utah, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Idaho, West Virginia

Trump – 5 best and 5 worst states.

Best: Wyoming, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Kentucky, Kansas

Worst: Utah, California, New York, Vermont, Maryland

Bold Predictions: 

  • Evan McMullin wins the state of Utah and its 6 electoral votes.
    • Why? Because the significant Mormon population in Utah does not trust or like Trump for a variety of reasons and because he is a favorite son who is on the ballot there, as well as 10 other states (a few of which he will also do relatively well in considering he has received next to no attention by even non-major party standards). Overall, McMullin is on the ballot in 11 states and those states, especially Utah and Idaho will drive his 2% national margin.
    • Evan McMullin, a career CIA officer and former Peace Corps member and just 40 years old, will then run and win office statewide in Utah once Orrin Hatch retires, which he will do relatively soon because unlike the Democratic Party, the GOP actually builds a bench, cares about its farm system, cultivates talent, and despite its image as being an old white guy who is afraid of change, they have considerably more young leaders than the Democratic Party does.
  • Voter Turnout, despite this historic election, is lower than in 2012 and is the lowest since 2000 when George W. Bush controversially defeated Al Gore to win the Presidency.
    • Why? Because despite declarations on the ALC2C podcast and on The Margin of Error podcast – fear and hatred of the other side only drives turnout to a point. To reach historic or large (by American standards) turnout you need a positive, optimistic, and hopeful message and the candidates need to have above-the-water favorability ratings. 
    • Favorability ratings are about likability and are a better assessment of a candidate. Approval ratings are the assessment of how well a President is doing their job.
    • In the last six decades, the two years where turnout was the highest were in 1960; where both John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon had sky high favorability ratings. In 2008, while much lower than the famous Kennedy-Nixon election, Barack Obama and John McCain had the highest favorability ratings of the modern political age throughout most of the campaign. This was quite an accomplishment considering the era we live in right now – characterized by increasing government gridlock and partisanship, vitriol, and the public losing trust and confidence in American institutions.
    • Simply put, voting FOR something is always more desirable than voting AGAINST something. Fear and hatred of the other side does and has worked politically in past decades, but only if it is combined with lower turnout, which is ultimately the goal with those campaign tactics.

Winners: 

  • Clinton, for breaking that glass ceiling and making history.
  • The world, for avoiding a Trump Presidency, an idea that terrifies many around the world to no end. Gambling on a personality as volatile as Trump with the largest nuclear arsenal at his fingertips would strike fear into the hearts of a lot of people. They’re not alone.
  • 2020 GOP nominee, who gets to face an incumbent that enters office with -9 to -10 favorability ratings and the general historical trend of an incumbent party not securing a fourth consecutive administration unless it is the Great Depression and WWII. In other words Hillary Clinton will have to do a very, very good job as President and have a lot of voters actually think that to have a fighting chance at re-election. Of course the caveat to this is if the GOP still… cannot get its act together for a national election, which brings me to…

Losers: 

  • Trump, not for losing the election, although that I’m sure will bother him considerably. No, he is a loser even if he wins by some miracle because he has dragged American politics and the honor of the highest office in the land to perhaps its lowest point in our history. Barack Obama, no matter what you thought of his policies, is a basically good and decent man. While I disagree with Mitt Romney, John McCain, and George W. Bush on policy, I always believed they woke up each day wanting to do what is best for their country. Trump has ran this campaign for the glorification of his own ego, has further divided an already divided country, and through his hateful and spiteful rhetoric, has brought out the worst sides of some of us.
  • His supporters, who will be cast aside and derided by most of the GOP elite after this loss. Some have reached Donald Trump’s levels of despicable behavior throughout this campaign cycle, many have lost faith in the two-party system and the economic system as well, and no matter why they are voting for Trump, they all still deserve a country and political leadership who serves the public trust and common interest, rather than special interests. As do all Hillary Clinton, Evan McMullin, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Pirate Party, etc. supporters.
  • 2018 Democratic candidates for office, who will have their work cut out for them at the start and suffer from a third straight midterm backlash to a Democratic administration.

Two weeks to go. Congressional predictions to come next week. Gubernatorial and state predictions to come the day before election day.

Don’t boo. Vote. 

Episode 41: In the Interest of Sanity

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On this episode of Agreeing Loudly Coast to Coast, Jered, Pat, and Troy bid farewell to the summer by discussing their hopes (and concerns) for the Minnesota Vikings. In addition, they continue their attempts at political commentary and discuss the end of the tragic Jacob Wetterling saga, the pipeline insanity of North Dakota, and whether the health of Hillary Clinton (or her body double) really matters. Meanwhile, Bill is lost in the wilderness somewhere training to be a Pokemon master.

Will Pat have words of wisdom to share, now that he’s joined the ranks of fatherhood? Does Jered have any faith in this year’s Minnesota Vikings? Will Troy’s new catchphrase catch on? Tune into this week’s episode to find out! Or do the cool thing, and direct download it instead.

Episode 40: Three White Guys Talk Politics…and It’s Not That Bad

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After a month long hiatus, we’re back with another fun-filled episode! This week your dutiful host (Jered) is joined by the legendary Pat Meacham and sporadic guest host and Agreeing Loudly contributor, Troy Olson. Sadly, Bill is once again in self-imposed exile trying to come to terms with Donald Trump’s drop in polls, but with any luck he’ll be back on the next episode.

This week we bring back the fabled Sports Round Up segment where we discuss the recently departed Rio Summer Olympics, the fate of the Minnesota Vikings, and a hypothetical scenario involving the Twins and David Ortiz. Also, a lot has happened in the world of presidential politics over the last month and we do our best to give our diverse, white male perspective on the state of the race.

To celebrate our return to the airwaves after more than a month absence we have decided this is the beginning of a new season. Will anyone care? Tune in to find out! Or save your data, and direct download it instead.

Intro 0:00

Sports Round Up The Rio Olympics, Vikings, and Twins Realities 3:43

Political Parrots 29:41

The State of the Presidential Race 29:41 Outro/Where to Find Us 49:47

The Coast to Coast Podcast #39: RNC GO

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After another multiple week hiatus, Bill and Jered return with special guest Justin Norris to discuss the Pokemon Go craze and the Trumpsanity of the recent Republican National Convention.

Will the Jered and Bill be able to catch them all? Can Justin’s wisdom save us from the Trumpocalypse? And most importantly, where is Pat? Tune in to this week’s episode to find out! You can also direct download it here.

Conversations with the Ghost of America’s Future Past

America's Future Past

Lost in the madness of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week is that Agreeing Loudly snuck two reporters, Carson Starkey and Troy Olson, through the picket line to give our readers this inside scoop on what things are like on the floor. Here is a snapshot of their interactions throughout the week. 

Carson

It’s a good thing our veteraniness got us through security. All we had to do was show them our DOD credentials, I’m wearing this beard, and like that we’re in. Good call on getting the haircut just prior though. Our fake Heritage Foundation cards also came in handy. Props to our interns for those.

Troy

Right. You’ll have to send my regards to Bruce Wayne for loaning me this hair gel. Combined with this suit I’m sporting and my premature 45 year old-ness, we got through no problem.

Carson

Lost in all this madness is that the election will be relatively close still.

Troy

Agreed. Will there be coattails? A backlash against Trump? A wave seems unlikely.

Carson

It does. Ted Cruz didn’t exactly change the game last night. In a society where nobody is persuadable, Hillary will still have to campaign mistake-free. I predict no coattails. Not if Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has anything to say about it.

Troy

And what can we say about Sen. Tom Cotton from earlier in the week? Early 2020 names for him: do you prefer Senator Horseface or Cotton Gin?

Carson

Cotton Gin. Too perfect and appropriate.

Troy

Agreed. Senator Horseface is too mean. It’s merely a gift his last name is actually Cotton. It could have been the nickname anyway….God knows Eli Whitney’s invention condemned black people in this country to decades more of slavery.

Carson

True.

Troy

I won’t lay that at Whitney’s feet though, white people could have used that invention to create factory precession in plants and taken the path of the other great American labor tradition (the northern one), where technology replaces blue collar manual labor jobs.

Carson

The American pursuit of Free Labor goes ever on. Different problems, same outcome.

Troy

Our ability to sleuth at this convention reminds me… has anyone ever assumed you were a Republican?

Carson

Absolutely. All across the South. In a great many conversations. Those were hilarious moments.

Troy

I can see that. I had the opposite experience recently. The two or three liberals in Mississippi somehow found me and engaged me in conversation. (the music overhead stops) Uh oh… looks like they’re running out of Ted Nugent songs to play at this convention.

Carson

No other popular music options. It’s either Nugent or Toby Keith.

Troy

That’s a short list.

Carson

Well Pat Boone is too old to perform live these days.

Troy

That’s too bad, his Kayne West cover would have been great to see, although it likely wouldn’t have worked too well. It’s not 1953 anymore.

Carson

Yeah, the public might not tolerate that as well as they did in the early days of rock n’ roll. Demographics have changed, or so I thought prior to being here.

Troy

It could be 1953 if you redressed this stage and arena. I wouldn’t know.

Carson

Neither would the attendees. They still aren’t aware. (Carson shows Troy a Ron Burgundy meme of “We are laughing” and they both have a self satisfied, smug liberal chuckle).

Troy

So apparently the Back to the Future screenwriter admitted what we knew already, Biff Tannen is based off of Donald Trump.

Carson

Obviously.

Troy

You can especially tell with the second movie, the alternate 1985 timeline.

Carson

And the outcomes wouldn’t be all that off-base.

Troy

Which brings me to our Super Tuesday coverage where we used the Doc Brown “screwed into this tangent” / alternate 2016 Presidential Election bit. Can we just take a minute her and pat ourselves…or rather our pointy heads in peak self satisfaction for calling this entire election cycle?

Carson

I know right? At a time when the standard outcome playbook is in tatters too. We did exercise some solid foresight.

Troy

It’s especially amazing because surrounded by us being right are “professionally wrong” buffoon writing articles about how crazy and unpredictable this election has been.

Carson

We just keep building a trail of evidence for deserving that ad revenue investment. Or switching teams and working for Heritage. I’m not sure.

Troy

The ruthless pursuit of the truth goes on.

Carson

It’s like early Woodward and Bernstein.

Troy

Which is what we build toward when all hell breaks loose in 2018 to 2020. Starkey and Olson breaking the story. Our source–Sore Throat, we refuse to give up.

Carson

I like it. Good throwback/homage reference.

Troy

Of course Sore Throat will be the thousands of Fox News viewers shrieking hysterical rage at Benghazi.

Carson

That’s why their voices are sore. It’s understandable. They can’t NOT watch cable news. They might miss vital updates.

Troy

Still…I feel like we owe it to ourselves to go check out the Heritage Foundation table to see if they have any openings.

Carson

Agreed. It’s not like we’re missing anything.

***Carson and Troy walk off into a corner of the crowded Cleveland, OH arena, will they ever be seen or heard from again? Find out next time on another Conservations from the Ghost of America’s Future Past***

What you just read may scare you, I know it scares me.

However, there is still something we can collectively do about it.

We can change the future…. if we try.

Sorry Liberals, Hillary Clinton’s Nomination in the Year 2016 Is Not Progress…

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…rather, it’s more a statement of our slowness in the realm of social and culture life and justice in comparison to the rest of the world. We may have been pioneering and cutting edge in the realm of human liberty and self-governance in 1776, but we’ve been surpassed since. If you want to find things we’re #1 at, look to the economic and innovation realms.

It’s true that Hillary Clinton will be the first nominee of a major party for President of the United States. Yes, this is historic. However, it’s not nearly as historic as some liberals would lead you to believe.

The real progress is that now by popular acclamation, women can be democratically elected as the preferred choice of a majority of voters as the Presidential nominee for a major political party in this country. But it should have happened years ago.

Not only were women qualified to be President before Hillary Clinton, but they proved they were.

Continue reading

The Gentrified Revolution

For all of Bernie Sanders’s rhetoric about the ills of income inequality and class warfare, in Los Angeles his message was most popular in gentrifying precincts. Dissecting the spacial aspects of why his presidential campaign failed offers important lessons as the movement he inspired looks to the future.

by Allan Branstiter

LA County

The Los Angeles Times published a fascinating and telling interactive map displaying how each of LA’s precincts voted during the Democratic Primary on June 7th. My first impression of the map was that of shock—Hillary Clinton absolutely dominated Bernie Sanders throughout the Los Angeles County. The map basically depicts a sea of blue swamping little boroughs of pinko insurgency.

Aside from the degree of Clinton’s victory in Los Angeles, a close look of the precinct results offers progressives a few important lessons as they plan for the future.

Progressives Still Need to Engage Racial Injustice

If you want to make a Sanders supporter bristle, just talk about the fact that the core of his support tends to be comfortable, highly educated, and white. While Sanders made several important (albeit uncomfortable) overtures towards racial injustice and won the support of high-profile African-American intellectuals and activists like Killer Mike and Ta-Nehisi Coates, black and brown folks still voted largely for Clinton. This holds true in LA, where Clinton did very well South Central cities like Compton, Carson, Inglewood, and West Adams.

Southcentral

White Sanders supporters have been struggling for months to understand why their message of economic and social justice is not resonating in non-white communities. While I have a few theories, I certainly don’t claim to have the answers to this problem; however, I am certain that Bernie and the vast majority of his supporters failed to engage racial problems in a way that convince minorities that they saw their issues (poverty, discrimination, segregation, crime, mass incarceration) as more than abstract political issues. White liberals are adept at talking about racial justice, but they’re not very good at engaging racial injustice.

This map can help us explore this issue from the perspective of racial spaces, and how the old adage “Pay attention to what white folks do, not what they say” might help nurture a truly biracial progressive movement in the future.

 

Sanders Won the Gentrification Vote

The second thing about this map was the fact that Sander’s core of support roughly mapped out the gentrified/gentrifying areas of Los Angeles. This is important to understand because—despite what well-meaning realtors, developers, independent book shop owners, and young urban professional sincerely believes—gentrification is economic and racial violence.

Sadly, where we see concentrations of Sanders supporters on this map, we also see areas of intensifying economic and geographic displacement on the ground. For example, check out the South Beach area:

SouthBeach

Lakewood and Long Beach (located southern of Signal Hill on the map) serve as somewhat affordable bedroom communities for white middle class entertainment, tech, and corporate professionals working north in Downtown and West LA. With this population comes good public services and commercial development. On June 7th, these communities were either evenly contested, with the trendier parts of town going for Sanders.

To the north and east are the communities of Carson and Compton, where precincts went solidly for Clinton. The fact that they are also largely African-American, poor, and neglected is a result of decades of urban redlining, economic predation, and systematic racism. In the past Long Beach and Lakewood worked endlessly to keep surrounding blacks out of their suburbs, but today the area is losing African-American residents due to poor economic opportunities, rising costs, crime, and persistent neglect. In their place are thousands of house flippers, land developers, and white middle class “settlers.”

The browns and blacks who remain face an increasingly precarious housing market, low paying service jobs, and heavy policing. Sure, they have a Trader Joe’s now, but their overall quality of life is stagnating. Considering these facts, it should come as no surprise that poor non-whites did not embrace the enthusiasm for Sanders displayed by their well-meaning but ultimately aloof white neighbors.

The South Beach phenomenon can be seen elsewhere in Los Angeles. For example, Sanders had a lot of support along the I-10 corridor in West LA, where a growing tech sector in “Silcon Beach” (Venice Beach) and the extension of the Metro Expo Line from Downtown to Santa Monica have fueled the displacement of poor Hispanics and blacks in the area:

WestLA

Then there’s ground-zero of LA gentrification—Silver Lake, Echo Park, Highland Park, and Eagle Rock are all hotly developing boroughs with large white populations that voted for Sanders. In fact, one of the most notorious instances of racial displacement occurred in Elysian Park when Chavez Ravine (a Hispanic community) was forcefully emptied and bulldozed to make way for Dodger Stadium:

SilverLake

Long story short, if we’re going to talk about why Sanders did poorly among racial minorities, we need to discuss the failings of white liberalism. We should first begin by dispelling the ideal that all forms of racism—be it segregation, discrimination, neglect, or gentrification—are implicitly motivated by racial malevolence. We need to acknowledge the fact that good “woke” people who espouse even the most inclusive notions of racial justice can also unthinkingly sustain a system of racial inequality. Doing so might alleviate the burden of whiteness felt by white Sanders supporters, and hasten the arrival of a more inclusive and productive progressive movement.

Parting Shot—Clinton Won the Rich and Older People Vote

As a true blue leftist with significant disdain for the outsized influence of wealthy people in the Democratic politics, I should also point out that Clinton won overwhelmingly in the enclaves of ca$h money in LA. Brentwood. Beverly Hills. Pacific Palisades. Westwood. Pasadena. All went for Clinton. Clinton also did well among older Democrats in the ‘burbs: Covina, Beverlywood, Studio City, Encino and the Valley more generally. On the other hand, Sanders did well in Hollywood, where he gummed up traffic and wooed the starry-eyed youths living along Sunset Strip.