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A Horse Named Stranger

US Politics: Ted Cruz - A Tale of two Snowflakes

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1 hour ago, SFDanny said:

We have more than two parties, but when it comes to presidential politics, and most federal and state level politics, third parties are a disaster. All kinds of structural and historical reasons for this, but the reality is that the Democratic Party is the only realistic political organization for change in a nationwide context. A horrible reality, but a reality nonetheless.

The only reason this is true is because of the system we are using. If we go to a different system, it no longer matters nearly as much or at all. 

Furthermore, giving parties more power over their representatives is almost always a Good Thing. 

1 hour ago, SFDanny said:

If one is determined to create a new political party that can make a difference, then it seems to me the only real road to do that is through running third party candidates on the local level and building an organization through that experience. Want a real socialist party? Let's try to run a major US city and show people how we would be different. 

Counterpoint: want multiple parties? Go to the local and state level and pass laws that allow this to happen. You want MMPR? You can get it at the local level and state levels. You can get ranked choice voting. You can get multiparty coalitions. You can show exactly how good they are.

1 hour ago, SFDanny said:

Otherwise, building a new party gets to be only an exercise in how to narrow one's influence in the political struggles that make a difference. I'd much rather see the left follow the example of AOC and DSA in running inside the Democratic Party and actually pushing political solutions from where people are.

That's why you don't build the party first, you build the framework to allow multiple parties first.

1 hour ago, SFDanny said:

Since the New Deal, and especially since the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act victories in the 1960s the people of this country, in their glorious diversity, have more and more chosen the Democratic Party as the political organization of choice for progressive change. One can bemoan that choice and struggle to change it. Or one can participate in the movement through the choice people have made.

Self isolation, from where the people are in a quixotic party building endeavor is nothing short of political suicide. Even worse it is destructive in achieving  progressive gains. Ask the people who built Henry Wallace's Progressive Party about how that worked out. If you can find them.

Sorry, Ser Scot, but on this one we disagree.

You're really missing the point he was trying to make. The goal is to first enable multiple parties to succeed. Then allow them to exist. I agree that right now, as it stands, third parties are a way to consolidate power on the other side. The point is to change how it stands right now. 

Until you do that you shouldn't bother with talking about 3rd parties. It's useless and counterproductive in almost all cases, and in a select few cases it is fine and toothless (like AOC or Sanders being 'democratic socialists' but caucusing with the Democrats and making deals with them to be their representative). What I want is a system that allows for multiple parties to exist and be useful that also doesn't hurt my actual values, and for that structural change has to happen first.

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44 minutes ago, Karlbear said:

The only reason this is true is because of the system we are using. If we go to a different system, it no longer matters nearly as much or at all. 

I agree with many of the points you raised, but at the end of the day the system will probably never change to the extent it badly needs to.

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1 hour ago, Tywin et al. said:

I agree with many of the points you raised, but at the end of the day the system will probably never change to the extent it badly needs to.

Yes! I agree completely, which is why in general I think dreaming about third party anything is pretty much a nonstarter.

But if you ARE going to do that, start with changing the rules so that multiple parties are encouraged or at least viable without fucking over the voter or their policy choices.

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50 minutes ago, Karlbear said:

Yes! I agree completely, which is why in general I think dreaming about third party anything is pretty much a nonstarter.

This is why infiltrating a party is much smarter. Just look at Bernie. As I've said repeatedly, he won the long game even if he'll never be president.

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But if you ARE going to do that, start with changing the rules so that multiple parties are encouraged or at least viable without fucking over the voter or their policy choices.

Sure, but that's mostly going to happen in blue states and while it's a good thing, it will bite them in the ass now and then.

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3 hours ago, Karlbear said:

Furthermore, giving parties more power over their representatives is almost always a Good Thing.

This is quite the dubious normative claim, especially during periods of rampant polarization.  To the extent I almost suspect you're being facetious.

58 minutes ago, Karlbear said:

But if you ARE going to do that, start with changing the rules so that multiple parties are encouraged or at least viable without fucking over the voter or their policy choices.

It should also be noted that multimember at-large districts violates federal law.  Kinda:

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Both the 1941 and 1967 laws are still in effect. The 1967 law, codified at 2 U.S.C. § 2c, requiring single-member districts, appears to conflict with the 1941 law, codified a 2 U.S.C § 2a(c), which provides options for at-large representation if a state fails to create new districts after the reapportionment of seats following a census. The apparent contradictions may be explained by the somewhat confusing legislative history of P.L. 90-196 (2 U.S.C. § 2c), prohibiting at-large elections. [...]

The decisions in Branch v Smith further complicate things:

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In the first concurrence (written by Justice Scalia, joined by the Chief Justice, Justices Kennedy and Ginsburg), a plurality of the Court interpreted the at-large option in Section 2a(c)(5) as merely a "last-resort remedy," being applicable only in those cases where time constraints prevent a single-member plan from being drawn in time for an election.14 According to the Scalia concurrence:

§2a(c) is inapplicable unless the state legislature and state and federal courts, have all failed to redistrict pursuant to §2c. How long is a court to await that redistricting before determining that §2a(c) governs a forthcoming election? Until, we think, the election is so imminent that no entity competent to complete redistricting pursuant to state law (including the mandate of §2c) is able to do so without disrupting the election process. Only then may §2a(c)'s stopgap provisions be invoked. Thus, §2a(c) cannot be properly applied—neither by a legislature nor a court—as long as it is feasible for federal courts to effect the redistricting mandated by §2c. So interpreted §2a(c) continues to function as it always has, as a last-resort remedy to be applied when, on the eve of a congressional election, no constitutional redistricting plan exists and there is no time for either the State's legislature or the courts to develop one.15

On the other hand, in a second concurrence (written by Justice Stevens, joined by Justices Souter and Breyer), a separate plurality of the Court, while agreeing that the district court properly enjoined enforcement of the state court's plan and drew its own single-member plan under 2 U.S.C. § 2c, concluded that Section 2c "impliedly repealed" Section 2a(c).16 In a dissent, Justice O'Connor, (joined by Justice Thomas), found that when federal courts are asked to redistrict states that have lost representation after a reapportionment, and the existing plan has more districts than the new allocation permits and no new plan has been promulgated with the correct number of districts, the courts are required to order at-large elections in accordance with 2 U.S.C. § 2a(c).17

 

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Just now, DMC said:

This is quite the dubious normative claim, especially during periods of rampant polarization.  To the extent I almost suspect you're being facetious.

Nope, I totally buy into this. Parties suck, but weak parties suck more than strong parties do. Being able as a party to choose certain people over others means you might not get some really good people - but you'll almost certainly not get excessively horrible ones, and that's a pretty important feature.

Weak party power means someone like Trump can win, well, a whole lot. Strong party power means someone like Trump almost certainly can't win, unless the whole party has gone over to him already. 

Just now, DMC said:

It should also be noted that multimember at-large districts violates federal law.  Kinda:

The decisions in Branch v Smith further complicate things:

 

Yeah, I know. For federal offices it's essentially a constitutional amendment that would be required. State and local legislations and whatnot have a lot more leeway, however. 

Furthermore, there are probably ways to deal with at least the house districting; you could have state laws that say that some seats every 2 years are rotating per district, and some are at-large, and these change from election to election so that (for instance) every 4 years your districts become free-range. While you can't get rid of the district part, you can (I suspect) have your own statewide decision on how to fill those districts. 

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11 minutes ago, Karlbear said:

Nope, I totally buy into this. Parties suck, but weak parties suck more than strong parties do. Being able as a party to choose certain people over others means you might not get some really good people - but you'll almost certainly not get excessively horrible ones, and that's a pretty important feature.

The notion that the combination of weak parties and strong partisanship is a toxic mix does help explain a lot.  However...

13 minutes ago, Karlbear said:

Strong party power means someone like Trump almost certainly can't win, unless the whole party has gone over to him already.

The bolded is the problem - which we're seeing right now - and why I'd never make such a broad claim.  The potential dangers of increasing the party's power over its officeholder/seekers under a centrifugal atmosphere resulting in more and more extreme parties are rather apparent.

16 minutes ago, Karlbear said:

Furthermore, there are probably ways to deal with at least the house districting; you could have state laws that say that some seats every 2 years are rotating per district, and some are at-large, and these change from election to election so that (for instance) every 4 years your districts become free-range. While you can't get rid of the district part, you can (I suspect) have your own statewide decision on how to fill those districts. 

This seems quite complicated and who knows how this (or any) court would rule.  It'd be a lot simpler to just amend/repeal the 1967 law, albeit granted I suppose it's much more realistic that one state could try to circumvent the statute than Congress actually doing something about it.

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The push for Shalanda Young to replace Tanden is gaining steam:

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“Ms. Young is a proven budget expert and is well qualified for the job,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. [...]

“While I am hopeful for Ms. Tanden’s nomination, I cannot say enough good things about Ms. Young,” said Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “She is widely respected by members on both sides of the aisle for her expertise."

 

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1 hour ago, DMC said:

The push for Shalanda Young to replace Tanden is gaining steam:

 

I'm going to keep an eye on this since I don't know much about Young and in my brief initial search hasn't turned up much on her so I'm withholding judgement on her specifically until I've seen some analysis.

That said, this kind of feels like the type of empty virtue signalling that liberal love to do. This idea that just putting women or people of color in positions of power solves anything is hogwash. It's like the idea that we need more female CEOs, as if those girlboss CEOs aren't going to be the same soulless demons who think only of the bottom line and amassing wealth and power. All you've done is put a nice coat of paint over this exploitative structure and use it as a shield when your critics rightly call you out. I can't tell you how many times my criticisms of Biden have been met with people talking about how his cabinet is the most diverse ever rather than addressing the actual substance as if it makes the criticism less valid.

Every time I see shit like this, I remember this Fred Hampton quote

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We don’t think you fight fire with fire best; we think you fight fire with water best. We’re going to fight racism not with racism, but we’re going to fight with solidarity. We say we’re not going to fight capitalism with black capitalism, but we’re going to fight it with socialism.

Now I'm under no delusions that it will be socialism, at least for the time being it won't give Joe Biden is not going to allow that, but we can't just be checking diversity boxes or slapping a new coat of paint on the systems to maintain the status quo.

ETA: I want to make it clear that I'm not saying I don't want women and minorities in these sorts of positions, they often offer invaluable life experiences and perspectives that are going to be necessary in creating a more just and equitable future, we just can't allow ourselves to be blinded to the fact that people of all races and genders can have an interest in maintaining the status quo and perpetuating systems of injustices, especially those in the upper echelon of society where the people who tend to be considered for those sorts of jobs come from.

Edited by GrimTuesday

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51 minutes ago, GrimTuesday said:

That said, this kind of feels like the type of empty virtue signalling that liberal love to do. This idea that just putting women or people of color in positions of power solves anything is hogwash.

I know you're trying to make a larger point but this is absurd.  She's more qualified than Tanden - as well as Ann O'Leary and even Gene Sperling for this particular post.  She'd essentially be going from overseeing the budget for the House to overseeing the budget for the Biden administration.

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10 hours ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

Hum?

My argument that privatizing gains, while socilazing costs/losses is not a new/unique Texan idea of capitalism.

Your beef is, that the state is paying (tax payer) money, to the citizens, who then pay the companies. While you don'T object to the states cutting out the middle man (so to speak) and just hand over the money/cover the losses of business directly. Is that argument?

I could've missed something, but I didn't see anywhere where Bird was in favor of bailing out the businesses at all.

 Texas, like Nevada, Florida and a few others chooses to not collect state income taxes. When these expenses arise, they shouldn't get to shift the burden onto the federal taxpayers.

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3 hours ago, DMC said:

The notion that the combination of weak parties and strong partisanship is a toxic mix does help explain a lot.  However...

The bolded is the problem - which we're seeing right now - and why I'd never make such a broad claim.  The potential dangers of increasing the party's power over its officeholder/seekers under a centrifugal atmosphere resulting in more and more extreme parties are rather apparent.

Maybe? My gut feeling is that Trump would never have gotten the nomination or even been sniffing near it if stronger parties made it so that, well, randos from the interwebs couldn't just declare themselves running under whatever banner. Now? Sure, now it's the party of Trump and that isn't going to change for a while. 

3 hours ago, DMC said:

This seems quite complicated and who knows how this (or any) court would rule.  It'd be a lot simpler to just amend/repeal the 1967 law, albeit granted I suppose it's much more realistic that one state could try to circumvent the statute than Congress actually doing something about it.

Yep! Realism and temporary measures over actual effective governance - the American way!

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1 minute ago, DMC said:

I know you're trying to make a larger point but this is absurd.  She's more qualified than Tanden - as well as Ann O'Leary and even Gene Sperling for this particular post.  She'd essentially be going from overseeing the budget for the House to overseeing the budget for the Biden administration.

Like I quite clearly said, I don't know enough about her to make a call one way or another for her in particular. I see that she is very well qualified, so I have no problems with her on that front. That said, you could, in theory, say the same for any number of folks that the Republicans have put into positions like this so it is silly to pretend that ideology shouldn't be considered when assessing a nominee.

Where my issue, and the larger point I am making comes in is from the mutterings about how Gene Sperling being next in line after what now looks like the inevitable failure of Tanden's confirmation was getting some push back on the basis that it would throw off the gender balance within Biden's top advisors. As I said, we've already seen the Biden administration and their courtiers use the fact that Biden's cabinet  is diverse as a defense against criticism from the left and right, and this cynical weaponization really rubs me the wrong way.

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1 minute ago, Karlbear said:

Maybe? My gut feeling is that Trump would never have gotten the nomination or even been sniffing near it if stronger parties made it so that, well, randos from the interwebs couldn't just declare themselves running under whatever banner. Now? Sure, now it's the party of Trump and that isn't going to change for a while. 

Yep! Realism and temporary measures over actual effective governance - the American way!

But you also have the issue that you get entrenched moderates like Joe Crowley and Eliot Engel who just never go away. If the party got to pick who ran under their banner, there is no AOC, there is no Ilhan Omar, there is no Corey Bush. That leads to an almost insurmountable barrier of establishment gatekeeping and the freezing out of those who are outside of the party orthodoxy.

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3 minutes ago, Karlbear said:

Maybe? My gut feeling is that Trump would never have gotten the nomination

This would be true - if not for perpetually increasing polarization, particularly within the GOP.  If you want structural changes to grant stronger control/influence to the party organization, who do you think is gonna win that battle and who do you think is gonna get purged based on the last forty years within the GOP?  Even if Trump never existed, my money is on the crazies.

5 minutes ago, GrimTuesday said:

That said, you could, in theory, say the same for any number of folks that the Republicans have put into positions like this so it is silly to pretend that ideology shouldn't be considered when assessing a nominee.

I get it, you want to make sure she's not a deficit hawk, or would ideally want a leftist in there.  Unless you think she's been a mole infiltrating the Democratic members of the Appropriations Committee the past 14 years I think it's safe to assume she's just as progressive as O'Leary, Tanden, and Sperling. 

More importantly, my main objection is to you saying her appointment feels like "empty" virtue signaling and they're "just" putting her in there because she's a black woman.  You wanna make your standard complaints about "establishment" Dems not doing enough, whatever, but don't implicitly denigrate Young's qualifications to do so.

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3 minutes ago, GrimTuesday said:

But you also have the issue that you get entrenched moderates like Joe Crowley and Eliot Engel who just never go away. If the party got to pick who ran under their banner, there is no AOC, there is no Ilhan Omar, there is no Corey Bush. That leads to an almost insurmountable barrier of establishment gatekeeping and the freezing out of those who are outside of the party orthodoxy.

Maybe? Depends a lot on the actual party. Furthermore, what you'd get in an actual functioning multiparty system is that AOC and the like would have formed their own party (or joined with a more liberal one) and then they wouldn't have to be worrying about the Dems at all. I personally think that the democratic party would have accepted folks like AOC without any real issue - even running against older dems - because that's also a stated goal too, and the stakes of getting one house representative aren't comparable to, say, the POTUS. 

I'll also note that the Democratic party is actually a lot stronger structurally than the Republican one. The shitty but potentially popular candidates DO have a hill to climb - significantly more than in the Republican party. 

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3 minutes ago, DMC said:

I get it, you want to make sure she's not a deficit hawk, or would ideally want a leftist in there.  Unless you think she's been a mole infiltrating the Democratic members of the Appropriations Committee the past 14 years I think it's safe to assume she's just as progressive as O'Leary, Tanden, and Sperling. 

More importantly, my main objection is to you saying her appointment feels like "empty" virtue signaling and they're "just" putting her in there because she's a black woman.  You wanna make your standard complaints about "establishment" Dems not doing enough, whatever, but don't implicitly denigrate Young's qualifications to do so.

I mean, there is space for one progressive to be better than another progressive, and I want the best progressive for the job. I'm not trying to in any way denigrate Young herself in any way, though admittedly in retrospect I can see where it may come across that way, so much as a larger system.

This is so much bigger than Young, and the Democrats, it's an issue of culture. We see this all the time, where a company hires a woman or a minority, or slaps a pride flag on their branding for a month because they know that it will get liberals to go out and buy their products or excuse their shortcomings because they are "woke". It actually goes beyond not doing enough, it entrenches the systems that we toil under because there are a whole lot of people who just consume, and are not thinking critically about what they are consuming. Does Nike slapping a rainbow flag on their running shoes or running an ad supporting Kaepernick make it any less true that they are exploiting foreign labor? Does Pete Buttigiege get a pass for the work he did in South Bend gentrifying the historically black and lower income parts of his city as well as firing the black chief of police, in large part due to influence by one of his top donors, because Buttigiege is gay? Co-opting social justice and racial equity does not make the sins of these groups any less true or egregious, and the Democratic party is in bed with these groups just the same as Republicans. This isn't an issue with the Dems, it's an issue with the broader culture.

1 hour ago, Karlbear said:

Maybe? Depends a lot on the actual party. Furthermore, what you'd get in an actual functioning multiparty system is that AOC and the like would have formed their own party (or joined with a more liberal one) and then they wouldn't have to be worrying about the Dems at all. I personally think that the democratic party would have accepted folks like AOC without any real issue - even running against older dems - because that's also a stated goal too, and the stakes of getting one house representative aren't comparable to, say, the POTUS. 

I'll also note that the Democratic party is actually a lot stronger structurally than the Republican one. The shitty but potentially popular candidates DO have a hill to climb - significantly more than in the Republican party. 

I'd love to see third parties, but until things seriously change, we're not going to see them in the US.

To say that the Democrats would have accepted folks like AOC is kind of weird considering in the last election we just had the DCCC create a policy to blacklist any vendors who worked with those trying to primary sitting Democratic members. Those in power do not easily relinquish it, and if you give them a mechanism, you're just going to end up with a ruling a elite who pick their challengers in a way that ensures their continued grip on power.

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13 minutes ago, GrimTuesday said:

This is so much bigger than Young, and the Democrats, it's an issue of culture. We see this all the time, where a company hires a woman or a minority, or slaps a pride flag on their branding for a month because they know that it will get liberals to go out and buy their products or excuse their shortcomings because they are "woke".

I hardly think the solution to this problem is to reflexively jump to such a conclusion when you admittedly don't know anything about the candidate.

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I did not have Grim Tuesday griping about the "virtue signalling" that replacing Tanden (who he has called a ghoul) with a qualified black woman on my 2021 bingo card. 

The response to criticism of "the most diverse cabinet" is no inoculation to criticism - I agree - however this as a response ain't it. Expending breath over concern that a black woman's (potential) appointment is essentially affirmative action (as you seem to have put it) and broadly axe-grinding capitalist culture is pretty offensive. Those arguments are valid and utterly separate from Young's potential nomination. You've assumed she's not qualified or not ideally qualified for the sake of your argument. The optics there don't reflect well.

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