Power Politics for Democrats and Other People Who Don’t Want to Be Politically Abused
Are you ready, Democrats and other people who don’t want to be politically abused? It’s time to expand your horizons and learn about things you may have been blind to before.
So how have we been blind in the past? Well, right now, some Democrats and other citizens are hoping that the party that got elected through fake news, voter suppression, gerrymandering, and every other dirty trick in the book — hoping that party will suddenly show integrity in dealing with Trump’s actions. If we can see that party for what it is, we can understand more and get further in our political goals.
We’re going to have to fact the fact that the Golden Rule doesn’t work with the Give-em-an-inch-they-take-a-mile GOP.
Here is how the writers of the TV drama, The West Wing, put it. While I don’t believe that vicious insults are needed here, I agree that cowering in the corner is a bad strategy. What I prefer is that Democrats find out how to be powerful in ways that work.
The Republican party currently exists for the purpose of robbing the poor and middle class, to give to the rich. It’s the party that, as I write this, has a “wealth care” bill going through Congress, to give tax cuts to people who don’t need them, paid for by taking health insurance away from people who do need it. The details of the bill are secret. Why? Because knowledge is power, and the Republicans are keeping their power away from the people, and in as few hands as possible. So let’s stop holding our breath waiting for that party to sprout wings and wear halos.
No one knows if voting machine software has ever been hacked to alter election results, but that is a possibility too. Democrats have been too nice to suspect such activity or to question the risks of voting machines. The machines have a high risk of being hacked and/or of being fraudulently programmed in advance of elections.
Hackers descend on Las Vegas to expose voting machine flaws
LAS VEGAS - Election officials and voting machine manufacturers insist that the rites of American democracy are safe…
Here’s another way that Democrats, Independents, and others have been blind. We seem to have napped through decades of fake news, and only noticed that it’s a problem, now that Russia is contributing to it. There’s no point in beating ourselves up over this. We’re in a world full of distractions, where it’s sometimes hard to figure out what’s most important. But we can do better in the future.
Democrats also didn’t seem to notice that we have been losing seats in Congress since 2010. We are people who are empathic and nice to a fault, literally. We try to persuade Republicans to act nicely, while they use any method that works to defeat us in elections. We should instead face the fact that if we want our nation to have nice things and nice people, we have to win elections against people who are corrupt.
This doesn’t mean that Democrats have to cheat or to be corrupt ourselves. You don’t need to become a con artist to stand up to one.
Instead of focusing on winning the 2010 Congressional elections, Democrats were out at the Rally to Restore Sanity.
Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear - Wikipedia
The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear was a gathering that took place on October 30, 2010, at the National Mall in…
Here is a quote from wikipedia, about what happened in the election, right after Democrats spent their time and energy rallying “for sanity”, bending over backwards to be nice, saying about incivility that “both sides do it.”
“Although the President’s party usually loses congressional, statewide and local seats in midterm elections, the 2010 midterm election season featured some of the biggest losses since the Great Depression. The Republican Party gained 63 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, recapturing the majority, and making it the largest seat change since 1948 and the largest for any midterm election since the 1938 midterm elections. The Republicans gained six seats in the U.S. Senate, expanding its minority, and also gained 680 seats in state legislative races, to break the previous majority record of 628 set by Democrats in the post-Watergate elections of 1974. This left Republicans in control of 26 state legislatures, compared to the 15 still controlled by Democrats. After the election, Republicans took control of 29 of the 50 State Governorships.”
United States elections, 2010 - Wikipedia
The 2010 United States elections were held on Tuesday, November 2, 2010, in the middle of Democratic President Barack…
Now, after the election of two Republican Houses of Congress and a Republican president, one might think we would focus more on power politics and winning elections. But instead, many of us seem to be focused on showing empathy to Trump supporters. Individuals try to do this, and media publish endless articles with the apparent purpose of trying to understand these folks. Personally, I don’t find this to be the best way to use my energy to produce change, as I discuss in this article below.
But people are different, so if doing this works for you, then don’t read the article cited below. Read one of the thousands of books or articles that recommend you talk with Trump supporters. I wrote the article below to fill an unfilled need — to have at least one article for the people who don’t want to have conversations with Trump supporters, but who have been feeling obligated to do so, because almost all articles about it say it’s a good idea. It was well past time for someone to present the other side.
Talking with Trump Supporters — Don’t
Talking with Trump Supporters — Don’t
For years now, progressives have seen one article after another in various publications, about how to talk to…
What we need to do now is start asking the right questions. We need to begin the process of looking openly at what power politics is about, and how elections are won — often through fake news and swift boating of candidates and policies. Once we ask the right questions, we’ll be well on our way to getting the right answers.
Media did a lot to get us into the situation we’re in now, as Peter Daou has documented well, with the 600 consecutive days of Hillary Clinton email coverage during the campaign. Then there’s the media habit of “covering both sides” even if one side is lies. Media also love to showcase celebrities, like the billionaire reality TV star Trump, so they gave him billions of dollars worth of free air time during the campaign.
This is not to detract from the excellent work of many journalists. But many editors, even in mainstream media, are letting too many lies go by, and hiring liars for “balance.” Even the New York Times recently hired a climate science denier, whose words in the newspaper were quoted by Scott Pruitt to justify Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement.
The public needs to demand truth & fairness from media. Otherwise, media overall are likely to keep selling us — and themselves — down the river, even while Trump keeps trying to destroy their credibility.
Here’s to the Power of the People to Demand Truth and Fairness from Media
We live in a time of great change. We’re starting to awaken from our slumber.
Fake news, lies, and negative campaigning work well to get candidates elected. These didn’t work against Obama. There were a number of reasons for that. One is that he rose up very quickly to enter the presidential race when most Americans had never heard of him. So Right Wingers were unable to get the head start on bashing him that they were able to get with Hillary.
But we can’t depend on that happening again. Obama is the exception that proves the rule. And even Obama couldn’t ever get a Democratic Congress elected, to support him on his legislation, after his first 2 years in office.
Americans are very much in denial about how vulnerable we are to propaganda and fake news. Because we value independence so much, we like to think of ourselves as highly independent, and not easily influenced. However, there is no other good explanation, other than the influence of fake news, for why and how so much of the American population recently and suddenly shifted in their attitudes toward Russia, the federal deficit, and a number of other areas.
Here’s a bit of history of how negative campaigning has worked most of the time to win elections.
The political scientist who saw Trump's rise coming
In the summer of 2015, most of the political world still thought Donald Trump's candidacy was a joke. Norm Ornstein…
Here’s an account of the methods pioneered by Fox, and then used by other Right Wing TV, radio, newspapers, Internet sites/podcasts and social media, to addict viewers to fake news.
FEAR & UNbalanced: Confessions of a 14-Year Fox News Hitman
How Roger Ailes & Fox News Got Rich Scamming America’s La Z Boy Cowboys and Selling Out America’s Soul
Media keep trying to normalize Trump and his followers — as if everything that is said and done in politics is normal and reasonable. Media outlets have chased “balance” and “covered both sides” as if they were equally valid, while the Right side of politics went further and further to extremes. In that way, media themselves went further & further to the Right.
The “middle” or balance point goes further Rightward, when the Right side goes further Right. Many editors still seem clueless about doing this and about thus leading the public to elect more and more Right Wing public officials. Media still let the average of the Right And the Left, define what is normal.
Another issue that most mainstream media are clueless about is authoritarian followers. Authoritarian followers go where they are led by their authority figures, and believe what they are told. There’s no point in checking back with them each time Trump betrays another promise to them. They are highly unlikely to change their passive follower behaviors.
Are you sitting down while reading this? Here is a particularly ugly reality that we all need to face. Abusive, narcissistic, or psychopathic people rule a lot of the world. Of course, we all want to be brave super heroes. But the reality is that most people are passive, or at least not powerful enough to effectively stand up for themselves in many situations.
In many countries, nothing stands in the way of abusers, to block them from abusing others. In regions like North America and Western Europe, only the laws, the legal system and the government stand between abusers and many of the people who could potentially be abused or defrauded. And that doesn’t always work either. Justice doesn’t always prevail.
Since only the government and its laws stand between abusers and many of those who could be abused, think about what happens when we fall asleep at the wheel and allow one or more abuser types of people to be elected to government. That’s right: Abuse & corruption on steroids.
The good thing about Donald Trump is that his behaviors are starting to wake a lot of people up. People are organizing, running for office, and joining activist groups. Now we need to make our actions count, by focusing on actions that have the most likelihood of success in taking power back. The leaders of the Rally to Restore Sanity had good intentions. However, we need to learn from that experience of failure, so that this time we can take actions that will work.
Here are a couple of articles written by people who are trying to be real about what power politics is. One of the authors disagrees with Indivisible in ways that I do not. I think we need to leave no stone unturned — to try many different methods of resistance all at once, to see what works. I don’t necessarily agree with the solutions in these two articles. But at least they are not in la la land, expecting Republican candidates in Republican-safe gerrymandered districts to suddenly lose their Congressional seat to a Democrat, or expecting GOP Congress members in safe districts to care what a Democrat wants, who calls their office about a bill on which they will vote.
All Worked Up and Nowhere to Go | Amber A'Lee Frost
I did not anticipate how the death of the radical British writer and theorist Mark Fisher would haunt me, but I am…
The Top 5 Reasons to Burn your Indivisible Guide
The left is getting its ass kicked by the GOP and the Trump Administration. Hard.
Here is another solution: voting with your wallet, through boycotting companies. This web site lists companies to boycott, if you disapprove of their actions.
Many solutions will be needed. They can be tried all at the same time, to see which ones work best. We can’t afford to leave any stone unturned. One solution is to work to end the fake news that won the 2016 election. We can also GOTV for Democrats for Congressional elections, and then support everyone in government who is doing the right thing. We may also need to pressure Congress and any future Democratic candidates to respect the will of the people. Candidates’ donors or their lobbyists are always in touch. Constituents need to be too.
Voting and fair access to voting are important. My state uses paper ballots. I’d love to see all states do that, because electronic voting machines are vulnerable to fraud. Voter suppression also needs to be stopped.
Working at state and local politics and community activism is at least as important as winning national elections. We need to build back up Obama’s grassroots organization that the Democratic party let fall away.
Inside the Fall of Obama's Grassroots Army
As we now know, that grand vision for a postcampaign movement never came to fruition. Instead of mobilizing his…
When people see other people working together, having fun, and getting things done for their communities and/or their nation, many of them naturally want to join in and participate. Some of them may even be people who voted for Trump. If some of them turn progressive and want to help, then good for them and for us.
Campaign finance reform will definitely be needed. We’ll have to elect and support politicians who will carry out campaign finance, so that candidates can get elected without being beholden to big money donors.
A lot of what Trump does and says, tells us about who we are — Americans as a whole. Most humans are “snowflakes.” We descended from the early humans who ran away from the lions and so lived long enough to reproduce — not people who engaged in hand to paw conflict with them.
Many Trump supporters cower in terror of problems about which Trump says “Only I can fix it.” Most Democrats seem just as afraid. But in our case, it’s more likely to be a fear of doing what is necessary for our party to acquire power. The comedian Bill Maher did an interesting editorial about this subject, called Get Low.” I think he has a point.
New Rule: Get Low
Bill challenges Democrats to face the reality of the current political climate and meet Republicans on their level.
Here’s an unapologetic liberal who illustrates Maher’s point. It seems to be a wrestling tradition to insult people, which isn’t generally a good idea in normal conversation. I am not advising being rude or angry toward other citizens who, for all we know, might join us in our cause one day. However, we could use more liberals who speak out clearly about what we value and believe.
Wrestling's new villain named himself 'Progressive Liberal.' Hillary's on his shirt.
It was a strange sight, even for the "sport" of professional wrestling. A wrestler holding a microphone faced an…
Another part of the solution is to start having a Democratic outrage machine that lets people and institutions know that it’s not okday to treat Democrats unfairly. The GOP uses their own outrage machine often. The Democrats currently don’t have one. This results in media and other institutions sometimes bending over backwards to please Republicans, trusting that if this results in unfairness to Democrats, that Democrats will suffer silently. Here’s an essay I wrote about how this process may have led to Donald Trump’s election, by way of James Comey’s fear of the Right Wing rage machine.
Why the Democrats Need a Rage Machine — now that fear of the Republican Rage Machine Led James…
James Comey may have determined the outcome of the 2016 presidential election outcome, by releasing the news that…
Standing up for the values we believe in is important. An outrage machine is needed for the Democratic party to stand up for itself toward the press and politicians.
In communicating with individuals. speaking about one’s values is helpful — rather than bashing people, as is done so often do on the Internet. That just divides and conquers people. Rather than bash someone else, why not speak up persuasively for your own values?
How to End the Feud between Hillary Dems vs. Bernie Dems and Unite
How to End the Feud between Centrist Dems vs. Leftist Dems and Unite
Accusations, arguments and demands have been swirling around on the Internet, between members of two groups: Centrist…
One more part of the solution is to educate ourselves about the psychological disturbances of some of the people we have to deal with as political leaders. Here are some good books about psychopathy to get you started in reading about it.
The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry
In this madcap journey, a bestselling journalist investigates psychopaths and the industry of doctors, scientists, and…
Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work
Let's say you're about to hire somebody for a position in your company. Your corporation wants someone who's fearless…
We should also all become familiar with the term malignant narcissism.
Malignant narcissism - Wikipedia
Malignant narcissism is a psychological syndrome comprising an extreme mix of narcissism, antisocial personality…
Unfortunately, not as much has been written about about malignant narcissism in business, government, or other organizational settings, as has been written about how it affects families. I’ll update later if I find a book that is educational about this.
Readers, please comment below this article, if you find a useful book on this before I do. To survive, and eventually thrive, we need to be the opposite of psychopaths & narcissists. We need to help each other. So please help me, and each other, out by finding useful books and other resources, as well as by finding or creating practices that work to solve the problems that face us as a nation.