Friday, January 17, 2020


This tweet from a Los Angeles Times reporter is getting a lot of attention:

As I just said on Twitter, this doesn't surprise me. It's politics as lifehack. She's looking for One Weird Trick that will solve all of America's problems. Revolution! MAGA! A gay millennial! The only surprise is that she's not supporting Andrew Yang, the ultimate lifehack candidate.

Let me add that I understand people's hopes for an easy way out of our political rut. Republican game-theory politics -- the notion that any win for a Democratic president (or, now, for a Democratic Speaker of the House) is a loss for Republicans, so the only course of action is a denial of any possible "wins" -- leaves voters who aren't committed to either left or right thinking frustrated with all politicians. And ultimately, whether David Brooks believes it or not, we're in this mess because capitalists want all the money for themselves and a small upper caste of people who run their businesses -- they won't share the wealth, so the middle class is shrinking and very few people manage to move out of poverty. We have a right-wing party that distracts the Volk with Two-Minutes' Hates against Democrats and other real or imagined enemies while never trying to deliver for the people, and we have a liberal(ish) party that's constrained by the wealthy whenever it wants to do something effective for ordinary citizens.

So voters like Melissa want someone who looks new and different. One Twitter commenter responded, "Could also just be a frustration with establishment politicians." I could say with a sneer that Sanders is a career politician, that Buttigieg is, if not a politician with decades in office, then certainly the ultimate careerist establishmentarian, and that Trump is a millionaire real estate mogul's billionaire real estate mogul's son. But it's true -- they're all "different." Being
"different" is the brand identity they all share.

We need to keep trying to help ordinary citizens, even though the wealthy and powerful will resist. It means electing more progressives where we can, but it might at times mean electing moderate Democrats and working to push them to the left. (Republicans can't be pushed.) Meanwhile, Melissa and others like her will look for the "new." She's probably lost to us this year. Let's look for voters who aren't, and work both within and outside the system to make their lives better.

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