Friday, August 12, 2016

Come on in!

Update: Hi MBRU readers! Thanks, Blogenfreude!

Image from Adam Goodheart (2011), The Civil War Awakening, via Mr. Jensen's U.S. History Class in Waverley, Nebraska (great website, Mr. J!).

Corey Robin writes:
I’m on record as saying that Clinton is going to win big-time in November. I’ve believed that for months (even when I was rooting for Sanders, I believed Clinton could beat Trump and said so). The latest polls only confirm what we’ve seen, with a few exceptions, for a year now: in a match-up between Clinton and Trump, Clinton wins.
If, however, I were a big booster of Clinton and if were at all worried that she wasn’t going to win in November, here’s what I’d be doing...
Followed by a list of ways in which those worried big boosters could be cadging and cuddling "every member of the left who is a potential Clinton voter but is skeptical or leaning toward Jill Stein or thinking about sitting this one out", as opposed to "castigating them as reckless, irresponsible, childish, purist, fanatical, immature, incompetent, cultish, blinkered fantasists of the revolution, and so on," and so on...

I'm a Clinton supporter who's been convinced she's unlikely to lose for some time, much more so as the situation has developed over the last couple of weeks, and if I'm wrong I'm pretty sure those people won't be enough to make a substantial difference, if he's talking about who I think he's talking about, so I guess this post isn't directed at me.

So it's OK if I make fun of Dr. Stein? Thanks, Corey!

No, there's another reason for doing as Robin advises, not connected with the election as much as the next four years—not because she needs the votes but because she needs the ideas.

As we seek to preserve and extend the mind change of the past eight years into the future, to firm up and broaden the legislative progress from health insurance to tax progressivity to financial regulation and fairness in the criminal justice system and all the other causes in which the population as a whole has started to get invested, and begin a larger change toward social investment and decreasing inequality and ending all the different kinds of discrimination that we've become so much more openly aware of, everybody ought to be participating, whether they feel inside the system or outside it.

In 1860, when the newish Republican party made its first plausible run at the presidency, the convention didn't choose a radical like William H. Seward or Salmon P. Chase as their candidate but somebody with a more compromising, trimming kind of presentation, somebody who talked a lot about being friends with his opponents, and played down the slavery issue in favor of emphasizing his personal story of struggle and work, radicals (including the youthful Wide-Awake movement) didn't walk out on Abraham Lincoln but pushed him, and pushed abolition to the front of the agenda. They saw something in him that they could respond to and encourage, and they did it.

In 1932, three years into the calamity of the Great Depression, when Democrats nominated an apparently airheaded aristocrat with a cigarette holder who seemed to think it would be a good idea to cut public spending and balance the budget, a Popular Front of leftists of different stripes didn't throw up their hands in despair but worked with him to develop the medley of programs that became the New Deal. They recognized Roosevelt's intelligence and ability to listen and capacity for work, and they helped push him in the best direction.

I really don't see why the same thing shouldn't happen again. It's been happening, in fact, in the Sanders campaign's work in the Democratic platform committee and the campaigning of all those people (Warren, Franken, Tammy Baldwin and Sherrod Brown) who saw the possibilities earlier on and of Noam Chomsky, who sees how very limited the possibilities are but is convinced it's worth working on! You don't have to like Hillary to vote for her, I get that (though I do kind of like her—I've liked her in different ways for a long time), but just recognize that there's a place here where your voice can be heard.

This is an extraordinarily pregnant moment, as the Republican party collapses, and as so many Americans (though not a majority of the celebrated undereducated white dude interest) have been getting more awake. It's going to be fun to have the sense of winning!

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