From a Former Republican: How the Democrats Could Win

4Q Basket Case

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Up until around 2018, I was a Republican. I still believe in the classic Republican tenets -- small government, strong military, keeping governmental interference in the economy to a minimum, etc.

But I can't stomach the recent tolerance for disinformation, conspiracy theories, outright lies, violence against governmental institutions, and marginalizing populations perceived as weak. So I no longer consider myself a member of the party.

I also can't stomach the glassy-eyed utopianism of much of the Democratic party. So I'm now politically homeless.

The Democratic Party is blowing a chance to have power for a generation. They're doing it by hating Donald Trump and his minions so much that they define themselves as being, "not them."

The problem there is they don't define what they are.

Polls show that the country as a whole is still center to slightly center-right. They're not comfortable with unrestricted third-trimester abortion. They're not comfortable teaching that anyone has inherent character traits based on skin color. They're not comfortable with no police, jails, or prison and no prosecution for minor shoplifting. They're not comfortable with not prosecuting a threat to society because of his skin color and past injustices suffered by people who share nothing with the perp other than skin color. They don't think that the best schools can stay the best by allocating admission by lottery. Merit matters. They believe that the brightest and hardest-working students can take the best education and do the most with it. They're not comfortable with people with a history of violence or mental instability having access to 50-round magazines. They're also not comfortable with the specter of Federal regulation of their Remington over/under duck shotgun. They don't believe that the solution to inflation is more spending.

They understand that when you pump $9 Trillion into the economy (3 covid relief packages of roughly $3 Trillion each), you're going to get inflation. My goodness, $9 trillion is almost $26K for every man, woman and child in the country. It's over $100K for a household of 4. And we're gobsmacked that inflation follows? What did you expect was going to happen?

They understand that when you restrict the supply of a commodity (like oil refining capacity), and demand for the commodity (gasoline) goes up, you're going to get rising prices.

They understand that the money for road maintenance has to come from somewhere. If you embark on a federal gasoline tax holiday, are you still going to maintain the roads? With what money?

Enough with the rant. Here's what Democrats could advocate that would be consistent with their principles, and would pass muster with the electorate as a whole:

- Abortion only up to the point of viability outside the womb. 5 months, give or take -- defer to medical consensus on the time frame. Before that, it's mother's choice. After that, you're ending a human life, and there's a presumption of murder.

- We teach our history, warts and all. We also teach that we've learned from that history, and our future is not dictated by our past or our skin color or anything other than our merits.

- We allocate seats at the best schools the way we always have -- by academic ability and achievement.

- We enforce the laws on the books. If we don't want to enforce them, we repeal them, not ignore them.

- We restrict people with a history of violence of any kind from possession of firearms. I don't understand the fixation on domestic violence, however it might be defined. Why not dispense with qualifiers, and for these purposes say that violent tendencies, no matter your relationship with the intended victim(s), disqualify you from gun ownership? Same thing for people with a history of mental instability.

We might be willing to talk about restoration of access after a period of good behavior / mental health, but it's a long time -- 10 years strikes me as about right, but I'm open to talks on the specifics.

- We act like the adults in the room on fiscal matters, and don't go effectively trying to buy votes with borrowed money.

- We have a well-articulated policy on fossil fuels, energy, and transportation infrastructure. If we want to encourage non-fossil fuel energy, we say that. We also acknowledge that there is no free lunch and the policy will entail higher gasoline, natural gas and electricity prices, and we will live with that for the sake of the planet. We also state how we plan to pay for road maintenance -- Teslas put about the same wear and tear on the roads as Toyota Camrys. We meter energy used to charge vehicles and tax it at the source just like we do gasoline.

OR

- We say that, for the time being, fossil fuels are literally the energy that drives the economy and our daily lives. We throw off restrictions on refining capacity, get the lower gasoline prices we want, and live with the fact that it will delay clean energy until clean becomes less expensive than fossil.

- We advocate the original Obamacare. We state that everyone must have health insurance. No exceptions. Can be through a private health insurance company. Can be through a government program into which participants will pay. But everyone has to have it. Again, no exceptions.

Bottom Line: I truly believe the Democratic party has gotten so blinded by its hatred of Donald Trump that it has lost sight of what it is. It should define itself by what it is, not what it isn't.

It should offer the middle 2/3 (geographically and ideologically) of the population ideas they can support.

And it shouldn't let itself get dragged into litmus-test arguments that only thin slivers of the population truly support or are affected by.

If it does, I think it can win. If it doesn't, well, James Carville has already advised (his words, not mine), "Woke got its ass kicked. It's not a winning message."
 
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TIDE-HSV

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Oct 13, 1999
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Up until around 2018, I was a Republican. I still believe in the classic Republican tenets -- small government, strong military, keeping governmental interference in the economy to a minimum, etc.

But I can't stomach the recent tolerance for disinformation, conspiracy theories, outright lies, violence against governmental institutions, and marginalizing populations perceived as weak. So I no longer consider myself a member of the party.

I also can't stomach the glassy-eyed utopianism of much of the Democratic party. So I'm now politically homeless.

The Democratic Party is blowing a chance to have power for a generation. They're doing it by hating Donald Trump and his minions so much that they define themselves as being, "not them."

The problem there is they don't define what they are.

Polls show that the country as a whole is still center to slightly center-right. They're not comfortable with unrestricted third-trimester abortion. They're not comfortable teaching that anyone has inherent character traits based on skin color. They're not comfortable with no police, jails, or prison and no prosecution for minor shoplifting. They're not comfortable with not prosecuting a threat to society because of his skin color and past injustices suffered by people who share nothing with the perp other than skin color. They don't think that the best schools can stay the best by allocating admission by lottery. Merit matters. They believe that the brightest and hardest-working students can take the best education and do the most with it. They're not comfortable with people with a history of violence or mental instability having access to 50-round magazines. They're also not comfortable with the specter of Federal regulation of their Remington over/under duck shotgun. They don't believe that the solution to inflation is more spending.

They understand that when you pump $9 Trillion into the economy (3 covid relief packages of roughly $3 Trillion each), you're going to get inflation. My goodness, $9 trillion is almost $26K for every man, woman and child in the country. It's over $100K for a household of 4. And we're gobsmacked that inflation follows? What did you expect was going to happen?

They understand that when you restrict the supply of a commodity (like oil refining capacity), and demand for the commodity (gasoline) goes up, you're going to get rising prices.

They understand that the money for road maintenance has to come from somewhere. If you embark on a federal gasoline tax holiday, are you still going to maintain the roads? With what money?

Enough with the rant. Here's what Democrats could advocate that would be consistent with their principles, and would pass muster with the electorate as a whole:

- Abortion only up to the point of viability outside the womb. 5 months, give or take -- defer to medical consensus on the time frame. Before that, it's mother's choice. After that, you're ending a human life, and there's a presumption of murder.

- We teach our history, warts and all. We also teach that we've learned from that history, and our future is not dictated by our past or our skin color or anything other than our merits.

- We allocate seats at the best schools the way we always have -- by academic ability and achievement.

- We enforce the laws on the books. If we don't want to enforce them, we repeal them, not ignore them.

- We restrict people with a history of violence of any kind from possession of firearms. I don't understand the fixation on domestic violence, however it might be defined. Why not dispense with qualifiers, and for these purposes say that violent tendencies, no matter your relationship with the intended victim(s), disqualify you from gun ownership. Same thing for people with a history of mental instability.

We might be willing to talk about restoration of access after a period of good behavior / mental health, but it's a long time -- 10 years strikes me as about right, but I'm open to talks on the specifics.

- We act like the adults in the room on fiscal matters, and don't go effectively trying to buy votes with borrowed money.

- We have a well-articulated policy on fossil fuels, energy, and transportation infrastructure. If we want to encourage non-fossil fuel energy, we say that. We also acknowledge that there is no free lunch and the policy will entail entail higher gasoline, natural gas and electricity prices, and we will live with that for the sake of the planet. We also state how we plan to pay for road maintenance -- Teslas put about the same wear and tear on the roads as Toyota Camrys. We meter energy used to charge vehicles and tax it at the source just like we do gasoline.

OR

- We say that, for the time being, fossil fuels are literally the energy that drives the economy and our daily lives. We throw off restrictions on refining capacity, get the lower gasoline prices we want, and live with the fact that it will delay clean energy until clean becomes less expensive than fossil.

- We advocate the original Obamacare. We state that everyone must have health insurance No exceptions. Can be through a private health insurance company. Can be through a government program into which participants will pay. But everyone has to have it. No exceptions.

Bottom Line: I truly believe the Democratic party has gotten so blinded by its hatered of Donald Trump that it has lost sight of what it is. It should define itself by what it is, not what it isn't.

It should offer the middle 2/3 (geographically and ideologically) of the population ideas they can support.

And it shouldn't let itself get dragged into litmus-test arguments that only thin slivers of the population truly support or are affected by.

If it does, I think it can win. If it doesn't, well, James Carville has already advised (his words, not mine), "Woke got it ass kicked. It's not a winning message."
Lord, I can agree with so much of that. I like "politically homeless" better than "independent." We disagree economically - and I know I'm arguing with a former banker. The inflationary spiral was really begun by the appalling Trump tax cuts and the resulting bloated deficits. The cash injections during the pandemic avoided a major recession. In fact, I was in fear of an out and out depression, without them. The money was pushed into a moribund economy. As I said above, I think would have had inflation, because of pent-up demand. It was inevitable. I don't want even to contemplate what would have happened with the country except for those spending bills. We have the degree of inflation we have now because of Putin's war and its resulting artificial oil crisis. We'll just have to agree to disagree on that point. Now, let's start getting back to economic reality by reversing the Trump tax cut for the rich...
 

4Q Basket Case

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Lord, I can agree with so much of that. I like "politically homeless" better than "independent." We disagree economically - and I know I'm arguing with a former banker. The inflationary spiral was really begun by the appalling Trump tax cuts and the resulting bloated deficits. The cash injections during the pandemic avoided a major recession. In fact, I was in fear of an out and out depression, without them. The money was pushed into a moribund economy. As I said above, I think would have had inflation, because of pent-up demand. It was inevitable. I don't want even to contemplate what would have happened with the country except for those spending bills. We have the degree of inflation we have now because of Putin's war and its resulting artificial oil crisis. We'll just have to agree to disagree on that point. Now, let's start getting back to economic reality by reversing the Trump tax cut for the rich...
Actually, we agree on more economically than you might think. It comes back to balancing revenue and spending. We can debate how best to do that, but if we're both saying they need to be in synch, that's a huge starting point.

I agree that there needed to be some federally-sponsored covid spending. Kind of parallel to TARP and the bailout of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns in 2008, the economy would have imploded without it. With the covid spending, I just think they overdid it by at least double, and maybe more.

And I'm not sure reversing the tax cut for the rich would result in enough revenue to matter all that much in the scheme of US fiscal policy. But it could play a part.

Regardless, if we agree that the budget should be balanced through an economic cycle, we can hammer out how to do that.

BTW -- I know you know this, Earle, but for those who think a balanced budget every year is either (1) common sense or (2) anathema, it's through the cycle. Which means deficit spending in recessions, and running a surplus in the boom times. Through an entire cycle, they cancel each other out and you're at a net of zero or close to it.

Trouble is, we love the deficit spending -- Whoohoo!! Free party on Uncle Sam!! -- not realizing that Uncle Sam is us, and the party's not anywhere close to free, because.....

We're not so great on maintaining a surplus in good times.

The left says we need to spend it, and the right says we obviously don't need the revenue and therefore need to cut taxes. Neither comprehends that a surplus in good economic times is an integral part of long term fiscal policy, and will be consumed in the deficits during the next recession. We therefore shouldn't either (1) raise spending, or (2) lower revenues, in order to erase it. Part of the plan, therefore steady as she goes.

Bonus Points: Who was President the last time we passed a balanced budget?

Answer: Democrat Bill Clinton. The budget year was 2001, but he was president when it was passed in 2000.
 
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DzynKingRTR

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Actually, we agree on more economically than you might think. It comes back to balancing revenue and spending. We can debate how best to do that, but if we're both saying they need to be in synch, that's a huge starting point.

I agree that there needed to be some federally-sponsored covid spending. Kind of parallel to TARP and the bailout of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns in 2008, the economy would have imploded without it. With the covid spending, I just think they overdid it by at least double, and maybe more.

And I'm not sure reversing the tax cut for the rich would result in enough revenue to matter all that much in the scheme of US fiscal policy. But it could play a part.

Regardless, if we agree that the budget should be balanced through an economic cycle, we can hammer out how to do that.

BTW -- I know you know this, Earle, but for those who think a balanced budget every year is either (1) common sense or (2) anathema, it's through the cycle. Which means deficit spending in recessions, and running a surplus in the boom times. Through an entire cycle, they cancel each other out and you're at a net of zero or close to it.

Trouble is, we love the deficit spending -- Whoohoo!! Free party on Uncle Sam!! -- not realizing that Uncle Sam is us, and the party's not anywhere close to free, because.....

We're not so great on maintaining a surplus in good times.

The left says we need to spend it, and the right says we obviously don't need the revenue and therefore need to cut taxes. Neither comprehends that a surplus in good economic times is an integral part of long term fiscal policy, and will be consumed in the deficits during the next recession. We therefore shouldn't either (1) raise spending, or (2) lower revenues, in order to erase it. Part of the plan, therefore steady as she goes.

Bonus Points: Who was President the last time we passed a balanced budget?

Answer: Democrat Bill Clinton. The budget year was 2001, but he was president when it was passed in 2000.
Wasn't that with a Republican congress?
 

4Q Basket Case

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Wasn't that with a Republican congress?
Good point. I looked it up, and the House of Representatives was pretty even at 211 D / 223 R / 2 I. The Senate was less so, at 45 D / 55 R. Also, times were less partisan than they are today -- cooperation across the aisle was not unheard of then.

Still, Clinton did sign, and with those thin margins, a veto would have been about impossible to override.
 

DzynKingRTR

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Good point. I looked it up, and the House of Representatives was pretty even at 211 D / 223 R / 2 I. The Senate was less so, at 45 D / 55 R. Also, times were less partisan than they are today -- cooperation across the aisle was not unheard of then.

Still, Clinton did sign, and with those thin margins, a veto would have been about impossible to override.
I had to look it up too. Honestly couldn't remember.

It was a novel concept. Democrats and Republicans actually working together.
 
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81usaf92

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Dan Carlin always called the term “being a political alien” but I guess political homeless works as well. The truth is that both sides have screwed me over directly with policy equally over the years that I say that best thing is for both parties to die and us to start over, but it’s hard not to admit that Republicans have found a truly dangerous doctrine that is winning for them. The Democrats know this but rather fight for lesser things on their Christmas list and fight amongst themselves instead of beat the Republicans.
 

NationalTitles18

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Not to be contrarian or anything, but I do look at it in a slightly different way regarding where my political home is...

I am building my own political home.

It's a work in progress, but it's mine.

I don't want to live in someone else's home or apartment or tent or anything else that isn't mine.

If it falls into disrepair then it's on me to get it fixed.

If I don't like something about it then it's on me to change it.

And I know I can't fully trust anyone else to do the needed work without following through with oversight and accountability for the job I "hired" them to do, and before I "hire" them I better do a little vetting and serious consideration.

And Lord help if my trust is violated... you'll never work for me again and everyone who will listen will know.

I want many things done, but I have one overriding concern now: Preserve our constitutional representative democracy, because everything else hinges on that.
 

DzynKingRTR

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I feel homeless too. Only extremists can survive primaries and then you're stuck with people moderates can't vote for, only against. I've voted Libertarian the last several presidential elections, but look at it mainly as protest vote.
So have I. And I have been told from both sides that I was the reason X candidate won.
 

TIDE-HSV

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so, if the situation is so dire, what exactly is it that keeps folks from voting democratic. do you have to agree with everything?
I'm sorry, but I just don't believe in protest votes. I just don't. You are very fortunate, in that GA seems to have turned purple. There are less-bad Republicans, just as there were less bad Democrats, back in the one party Democratic days. Sometimes, you're forced to vote for the man or woman, rather than a label. I understand folk who vote protest. I just don't do it...
 
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92tide

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I'm sorry, but I just don't believe in protest votes. I just don't. You are very fortunate, in that GA seems to have turned purple. There are less-bad Republicans, just as there were less bad Democrats, back in the one party Democratic days. Sometimes, you're forced to vote for the man or woman, rather than a label. I understand folk who vote protest. I just don't do it...
i hear what you're saying, but there are fewer and fewer less-bad republicans, and in many cases around the country, none. it almost seems like a chicken and egg problem
 
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