Saturday, November 30, 2019

Concern trolling: Toward 2020

Via KnowYourMeme.

Some pretty advanced concern trolling from Monsignor Ross Douthat, Apostolic Nuncio to 42nd Street, has him advising his conservative readers that they should pray for Senator Sanders to get the nomination ("The Case For Bernie"), finishing his column thus:
This is why, despite technically preferring a moderate like Biden or Amy Klobuchar, I keep coming back to the conservative’s case for Bernie — which rests on the perhaps-wrong but still attractive supposition that he’s the liberal most likely to spend all his time trying to tax the rich and leave cultural conservatives alone.
What is why what? Well, the idea, which he's put forward before apparently, is that Elizabeth Warren has "fully embraced the culture-war breadth of the new progressivism while Sanders remains, fundamentally, an economic-policy monomaniac" so he's a safer bet for the terrorized conservative Roman Catholic who just wants his bathroom to be safe from complicated genders and his women dead if they have an ectopic pregnancy, just in case the Democrats win.

Ross also thinks those "Obama-Trump voters" should back Sanders for the same reason because he might win—
But still: If you are a wavering Democrat concerned about both party unity and ultimate electability, about exciting all the diverse factions of your base while also competing for the disaffected, both the relative breadth of Bernie’s primary coalition and his decent polling among non-voters and Obama-Trump voters are reasons to give him another look.
—and he also suggests that Sanders actually will win:
Like other candidates, Sanders’s support has a demographic core: Just as Elizabeth Warren depends on very liberal professionals and Joe Biden on older minorities and moderates, Bernie depends intensely on the young. But his polling also shows an interesting better-than-you-expect pattern, given stereotypes about his support. He does better-than-you-expect with minorities despite having struggled with them in 2016, with moderate voters and $100K-plus earners despite being famously left-wing, and with young women despite all the BernieBro business.
in spite of his weakness among voters his age, who are as everybody knows the most faithful showers-up at the polls.

So what's Ross trying to accomplish here? Is he trying to egg on Democrats to back Bernie to weaken Warren? Or trying to egg on "Obama-to-Trumpers" to back Bernie to weaken Biden? or trying to get Bernie nominated in the hope of alienating the Boomers and reelecting Trump? ("OK Boomer.") Or seriously trying to get atheistical Bernie elected because contrary to expectations "Deus vult", the same way anti-Papists back Trump by claiming that God has chosen the adulterous gangster and grifter to save America from sin? Or has reflexive concern trolling just led him into an echo chamber of advocating things he doesn't want for reasons he can no longer sort out?

I seriously don't know. I don't even think I'd use this column as a springboard for telling people not to vote for Sanders because if Douthat says they should it's probably a bad idea.

I spent some of the day advocating Joe Biden rather than Mayor Pete Buttigieg as my own fall-back preference if Warren should not be nominated
which I already feel funny about (I'd actually rather have Kamala Harris back toward the top, to say nothing of candidates I continue to really like for even less ideological reasons, like Amy Klobuchar, or more, like Julián Castro, who might well have a better chance of winning if they had a chance of competing, but as I say I do understand Biden's appeal and am ready to work with him, or Sanders for that matter).

I mostly think Democratic primary voters are going to be best off voting the way they feel like voting, without a lot of advanced strategizing, and preparing themselves to live with a second or third choice, because the wisdom of crowds yields what it yields, which may not be ideal but is rarely intolerable. I'm seriously hating the amount of noise I'm seeing from fans disparaging Democrats not their own, talking themselves into a mood where they may really not be able to vote for the one they didn't like, as certainly happened with (some of) the Sanders supporters in 2016 (it's all very well to complain that some Clinton supporters failed to vote for Obama in 2008, but the point is it wasn't a problem since Obama won, OK?).

And to remember, if you really care about a progressive agenda, as opposed to progressive branding, that you shouldn't even be thinking about the presidential contest as much as the Senate, where the real-world difference is going to be made. 

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