Saturday, December 19, 2015

Partisanship, Ideology, and Moving the Overton Window

The last few days the Bernie Maniacs have been out in force making a real pest of themselves on Twitter. 

I try to be nice but these folks always want to argue. They don't get that I'm not interested in their proselytizing for Bernie. They want to sing his praises from a mountain top but I'm not interested in the repitiive hymns. 

He has no super PAC. Small contributions. Check Hillary's donors. I don't care about donors, I care about issues. Bernie hasn't been able to show any vote HRC took where her vote was bought. I reject the crude focus on donor lists alone. 

They say "Hillary is a Republican.' Sure, Well the Repubclians want to defund Planned Parenthood. Sounds like Hillary to me. She wants to end mass incarceration of black men. Just like the GOP right?

She wants to ensure the right to vote for minorities under attack with voter id laws and the recent SJC striking down clause four in the Voting Rights Act. 

She wants to regulate the uber economy and raise the wages of workers in the uber economy.

Yep, the GOP is with Hillary on that one. Then there's her strong stand against gun control and the NRA. The GOP is with her on that one. Oh, not so much. Bernie though kind of sounds like a GOPer when that comes up. 

Every time there is a mass shooting he says stop the shouting and talks a lot about mental illness. Now that sounds like the GOP. 

But what I really find a disconnect is the way they say they don't care about partisanship, just the issues. That is just ignorant. 

I'm sorry. Issues are important, but you know what else matters? A party. It takes a party to get things done. 

By the way my argument for why Trump would be preferable to a Jeb or Marco Rubio is the same why as Democrats you wouldn't want to nominate Bernie even if you like his stances on the issues. 

Because Trump is not a real Republican and so could do much less harm if he were President-in addition, though, he's not an ideological Republican either, which is even better. By the same token Bernie is not a real Democrat and so could do a lot less good. 

You need a party to build a coalition. The Presidency in the US is a constitutionally weak office. This is why a Holy war over Bernie going for a $15 minimum wage vs. Hillary going for $12 misses the point that neither will happen in a GOP Congress. 

Now this is not how Bernie Maniacs look at it. In their mind they think that all that matters is the candidate-the party doesn't matter. 

But sending someone into office without a party is leaving them on a little island with no way back to the mainland. Change is not usually the thunderbolt that Bernie is prophesying. He's claiming that his election would start a revolution. But change is almost always incremental. Certainly elections don't normally change things overnight. 

It's why Garry Wills argued that contrary to the common wisdom of voting the issues not the party, the most informed voters are the frankest partisans. In the long view, they know that if their party wins over time it will move the Overton Window in their direction.

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