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Old 12-08-2017, 04:50 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Do the public expect too much from politicians, and is this going to lead to endless wave elections

About 25% of the electorate are strong conservatives, about 25% are strong liberals.

I get the impression a lot in both groups want their parties to be very ideologically pure, and also want as much of America under the rule of their ideology as possible. But if you only represent 25% of voters (no matter if you are conservative or liberal) that means the other 75% do not identify with your group.

Combine that with the ideological base using primaries to push the parties further and further to the left or right, and calling anyone who has ideological impurities a RINO or DINO.

But most of all, I'm wondering if the public just expect too much from politics. Politicians have power, but they don't have all the power. They are just one lever among many in what makes the world go round, and federal politicians are just one form of politician (along with state, city, county, etc). But I get the impression that people are expecting politicians to have amazing answers to all these complex problems, and they don't. Even if they did, they couldn't enact them.

So are we looking at a world where people will get angry at party A, then vote party B in in a wave election, then 2-10 years later get mad at party B and vote party A in in a wave election, then 2-10 years later get mad at party A and vote party B in in a wave election? Are we just going to keep flipping back and forth as the public get upset that neither party can offer them what they truly want (tons of services combined with low taxes, and solutions to major problems that politicians do not have the power to solve)? If party A wins, then party B's base becomes enraged and energized while party A's base becomes demotivated and calls them RINOs/DINOs and doesn't show up? At the same time, the general public get upset that party A couldn't provide massive improvements with little effort? Then switch parties, do it again?

2018 and 2020 will likely be democratic wave elections.

But 2006 and 2008 were democratic wave elections. 2010 was a GOP wave election.

I'm of the opinion even if the democrats win big in 2018 and 2020, the public will just vote the GOP back in in 2022 in another wave.

Is this the new normal?
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Old 12-08-2017, 06:43 PM
FlikTheBlue FlikTheBlue is offline
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I’m sure my opinion is in the minority but IMHO I think that if the Democratic waves in 2006 and 2008 needed to be just a little bigger, with 60+ solid Democratic senators when Obama took office in 2008. Had that happened the obstruction McConnell was able to cause in 2009 and 2010 could have been overcome. The Republicans would then not have had a wave victory in 2010 and we wouldn’t be in this situation.

Last edited by FlikTheBlue; 12-08-2017 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 12-08-2017, 06:50 PM
FlikTheBlue FlikTheBlue is offline
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I edited my first sentence poorly. Apologies for the bad grammar.
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Old 12-08-2017, 07:25 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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If the democrats had wanted to, they could've abolished or changed the filibuster. You can change filibuster rules on the 1st day of a new session with 51 votes (or 50 votes & VP). The democrats didn't want to change them, just as the GOP didn't want to change them after winning in 2016.

Even if the dems had abolished the filibuster, they still would've lost. Like I said in my OP, I think people expect too much. The dem base expected a lot from the democrats and got disappointed. So they didn't turn out as much in 2010, while the GOP base was enraged and showed up in force.

It wasn't a blowout, 39 million people showed up to vote for the democrats in the house vs 45 million showed up to vote GOP in the house in the 2010 election. But still, that 6 million vote difference flipped the house and gave the GOP 63 seats.

Thats what I mean. In a presidential year election, each party (in the house) gets about 60 million votes. In a midterm, each party gets around ~40 million votes in the house.

If 2-3 million democrats are demoralized enough to stay home, and 2-3 million republicans are enraged enough to vote (who'd normally stay home) that is a 4-6 million vote difference. That vote difference flips the house.

Are we looking at things like this over and over (especially in the house, but also the senate)?

Then again, the 2006 and 2008 waves came after one party rule had gone on too long. So did the 2010 wave. The GOP had one party rule in 2005 and 2006. The dems had one party rule in 2009 and 2010. The public seem less willing to flip the house when there is divided rule and one party doesn't control the presidency, house & senate at the same time.
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 12-08-2017 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 12-08-2017, 07:44 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Depends on the issue. Sometimes we expect too much, sometimes too little.
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Old 12-08-2017, 08:47 PM
FlikTheBlue FlikTheBlue is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
If the democrats had wanted to, they could've abolished or changed the filibuster. You can change filibuster rules on the 1st day of a new session with 51 votes (or 50 votes & VP). The democrats didn't want to change them, just as the GOP didn't want to change them after winning in 2016.

Even if the dems had abolished the filibuster, they still would've lost. Like I said in my OP, I think people expect too much. The dem base expected a lot from the democrats and got disappointed. So they didn't turn out as much in 2010, while the GOP base was enraged and showed up in force.

It wasn't a blowout, 39 million people showed up to vote for the democrats in the house vs 45 million showed up to vote GOP in the house in the 2010 election. But still, that 6 million vote difference flipped the house and gave the GOP 63 seats.

Thats what I mean. In a presidential year election, each party (in the house) gets about 60 million votes. In a midterm, each party gets around ~40 million votes in the house.

If 2-3 million democrats are demoralized enough to stay home, and 2-3 million republicans are enraged enough to vote (who'd normally stay home) that is a 4-6 million vote difference. That vote difference flips the house.

Are we looking at things like this over and over (especially in the house, but also the senate)?

Then again, the 2006 and 2008 waves came after one party rule had gone on too long. So did the 2010 wave. The GOP had one party rule in 2005 and 2006. The dems had one party rule in 2009 and 2010. The public seem less willing to flip the house when there is divided rule and one party doesn't control the presidency, house & senate at the same time.
I think 2005 and 2006 are long enough ago that the political environment wasn’t as polarized. Regarding the current senate it seems that they have functionally gotten rid of the filibuster. Obamacare repeal failed 49-51 and not 40-60. The tax bill passed 51-49, not 60-40. If the Democrats had managed to pass universal healthcare instead of Obamacare in 2009 the 2010 cycle would not have been a Republican wave. If there had been over 60 senate Democrats in 2009 IMHO Democrats would have passed universal healthcare instead of Obamacare and the people would have been happy and voted D in 2010.

Last edited by FlikTheBlue; 12-08-2017 at 08:47 PM.
  #7  
Old 12-09-2017, 01:54 AM
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Whack-a-Mole Whack-a-Mole is offline
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The demographics are changing.

Conservative's base are mostly old people. Old people are not long for this world and the millennial generation is distinctly liberal and a larger voting bloc already (they just are not as reliable voters but that is changing too).

Conservative days are numbered. They've stacked the deck as best they can but it won't save them in the end. The pendulum is swinging back to liberal.

Republicans I think know this and are doing a last gasp by putting in many judges and laws that will take years to undo.

They will be in the wilderness soon.

Last edited by Whack-a-Mole; 12-09-2017 at 01:55 AM.
  #8  
Old 12-09-2017, 05:32 AM
Fuzzy_wuzzy Fuzzy_wuzzy is offline
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Originally Posted by Whack-a-Mole View Post
The demographics are changing.

Conservative's base are mostly old people. Old people are not long for this world and the millennial generation is distinctly liberal and a larger voting bloc already (they just are not as reliable voters but that is changing too).

Conservative days are numbered. They've stacked the deck as best they can but it won't save them in the end. The pendulum is swinging back to liberal.

Republicans I think know this and are doing a last gasp by putting in many judges and laws that will take years to undo.

They will be in the wilderness soon.
This sounds similar to the Emerging Democratic Majority argument; an argument now rejected by it's original proponents.

Liberals tend to become more conservative as they get older. This will continue to some degree or another. More significantly what the above post also fails to take into account is the coming squeeze to discretionary(and even non discretionary) spending headed our way. As the boomers retire government finances are about to become screwed. How this plays out with the electorate is as yet unknown, but it will be a game-changer electorally. Current coalitions are almost certainly about to shift within a decade or so.
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:37 AM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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One of the two authors of that book (John Judis) has recanted. The other author (Ruy Teixiera) still believes in an emerging democratic majority.

The GOP is doing far better among the white working class than it did in 2002, which negated most of the demographic trends towards the democrats.

I'm not sure what millennials get out of supporting the GOP. Millennials tend to support doing something about climate change, universal health care, gay rights, women's rights, minority rights, income inequality, lack of job security, etc. Republicans are hostile to all these things. I fail to see what millennials will get out of voting GOP unless either millennials change their values or the GOP changes their policy stances.
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
About 25% of the electorate are strong conservatives, about 25% are strong liberals.

I get the impression a lot in both groups want their parties to be very ideologically pure, and also want as much of America under the rule of their ideology as possible. But if you only represent 25% of voters (no matter if you are conservative or liberal) that means the other 75% do not identify with your group.
...
But I get the impression that people are expecting politicians to have amazing answers to all these complex problems, and they don't. Even if they did, they couldn't enact them.
I've emphasized the clauses I want to comment on. While it is hard for politicians to do great good(*), it is not difficult for them to do great harm, as we've seen quite recently.
(* - The closest to great good in the last decade was Obamacare but it wasn't the single-payer silver bullet the 25% strong liberals wanted and may end up a failure because of that.)

And, more generally, where Mr. Clark goes astray is in equating the extreme right with the extreme left. The extreme right has gained power and is now stealing billions and even trillions as fast as it can, with both hands. The D's? Do you consider Ms. Hillary a leftist? If Sanders had been elected do you think Congress would have passed a left-wing agenda? Yes, there have been strong pushes leftward on some social issues (gay rights, sex harassment) but these have been driven by the grassroots, not top-down from Democratic politicians.

We have two parties: a D party which has moved from left-of-center to center; and an R party which moved from right-wing (Reagan) to extreme right (Cheney-Rove) to batshit insane (Trump-Ryan).
Any pronouncement on contemporary U.S. politics which starts with an equivalency between D and R is ipso facto fallacious.
  #11  
Old 12-09-2017, 11:31 AM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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My point was more that I think the public expects too much from politicians. I think the public want tons of services combined with low taxes. And many want services for themselves but not for other people. Also many want full employment and great jobs everywhere which isn't possible due to competition and automation. Lots of people want the aggressiveness and power of going to war, without the losses of life and trillions of dollar spent.

The public expect too much from politicians (all good without the bad, but many only want the good for themselves), which leads to people getting burnt out and indifferent. So maybe the public will get burnt out, indifferent, disappointed and angry enough until one party has one party rule for the presidency, house and senate. Then they'll do the opposite and vote the other party in for one party rule. Then back again. The GOP had one party rule from 2005-2006. The dems had one party rule from 2009-2010. The GOP has it from 2017-2018 (will probably lose the house in 2018) and the dems will probably have one party rule in 2021-2022.

The ACA wasn't that bad. It is far better than not having it, and hopefully it'll pave the way for single payer.

The democrats could've used reconciliation to pass supply side tax hikes but they didn't. Part of that is because we were in a severe recession, so I can't blame them. But they had the power if they wanted to do so.
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 12-09-2017 at 11:33 AM.
  #12  
Old 12-09-2017, 11:50 AM
D'Anconia D'Anconia is online now
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I'm not sure what millennials get out of supporting the GOP. Millennials tend to support doing something about climate change, universal health care, gay rights, women's rights, minority rights, income inequality, lack of job security, etc.
What does government, at any level, have to do with job security?
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Old 12-09-2017, 10:41 PM
marshmallow marshmallow is offline
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Yes, the public switches between one party to the other as the ruling clique is revealed to be corrupt warmongers; may as well give the other guys a shot. Not sure what else you expect the masses to do when trapped in a duopoly, aside from picking up a pitchfork.

Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Any pronouncement on contemporary U.S. politics which starts with an equivalency between D and R is ipso facto fallacious.
The Republicans are a bunch of crazy ghouls who want to eat the poor right now.

The Democrats, the level headed and pragmatic adults in the room, want to bleed the poor for as long as possible, then throw their dried up husks in a private prison and turn them into legalized slave labor. Democrats want to use every part of the buffalo.
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:03 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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What does government, at any level, have to do with job security?
Government policy can affect outsourcing, insourcing, permatemp work or automation.
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 12-09-2017 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:16 AM
FlikTheBlue FlikTheBlue is offline
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Yes, the public switches between one party to the other as the ruling clique is revealed to be corrupt warmongers; may as well give the other guys a shot. Not sure what else you expect the masses to do when trapped in a duopoly, aside from picking up a pitchfork.



The Republicans are a bunch of crazy ghouls who want to eat the poor right now.

The Democrats, the level headed and pragmatic adults in the room, want to bleed the poor for as long as possible, then throw their dried up husks in a private prison and turn them into legalized slave labor. Democrats want to use every part of the buffalo.
Which Democratic policies try to bleed the poor? Their support for universal healthcare? Supporting taxes on the rich to have a stronger social safety net? Improving access to higher education? Support for stronger environmental regulations and a stronger FEMA that benefit the poor because they are less likely to be able to afford to move away from areas affected by disasters?
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Old 12-10-2017, 03:52 PM
igor frankensteen igor frankensteen is offline
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I disagree with your overall analysis, Mr. Clark. I think it's a political myth that people want everything, and don't want to pay for it. That chestnut is very popular with Republicans and other oligarchs, but it isn't supported by the facts as I've seen them. I think what most people want, is much more rational: they want, of they are suffering privation, to be able to see that doing so, actually works to fix things. Just as the average person is willing to pay extra to get a better car, or a nicer house, they are willing to pay more taxes, if they get better government services or other results from that. They rebel, when they suffer for apparently nothing.

In turn, I don't think that the "wave elections" you refer to, are due to voters "expecting too much." I think myself, that they are due to the political parties themselves, being either out of touch with the voters, or even due to them knowingly lying to the voters, in order to get elected. From there, it is often more or less external circumstances, that trigger the seeming "wave" votes.

In my lifetime, for example, I saw the Democrats win the Presidency with Kennedy, because Kennedy looked "nicer" than Nixon; then when he was murdered, the Democrats stayed in power for a variety of reasons, including sympathy about the murder. But the combination of the mess in Vietnam, with the beginning of the end of the post-world war 2 American free economic hegemony ride (nothing to do with either party), led to Nixon taking over. Then Nixon destroyed the reputation of the Republicans by covering up Watergate, and got Carter elected. Carter did nothing wrong, but lost to Reagan, due to the external event of the Iranian revolution, and to the ongoing, though gradually improving economic mess which began much earlier. Reagan benefited tremendously from a combination of his acting skills making him look stronger than he really was, as well as the entirely chance occurrence of the economy taking off as a result of the computer revolution of the early 1980's. Then the economy tanked again, due to "Reaganomics"actually being a debacle, and so the Democrats came back into power again. Clinton benefited from another mostly external economic boom (another bubble unfortunately), and so despite his peccadilloes in office, he was easily reelected for a second term. Bush junior BARELY squeaked out a (debatable) win against the Democrats, because the Democratic nominee was a horrible public speaker, and because the economy was rumbling negatively again.
Bush got lucky, and 911 happened. That made him a shoo in for reelection, as was made clear when people were asked after they voted, whether they thought Bush winning would be bad for the country or not, and they said "yes, but I don't think we should change horses midstream, so I voted for Bush anyway."

Anyway, I think you can see where I'm going. I don't see that the voters were mindless, or knee-jerk in why they voted as they did, each time there was an apparent good reason to change directions.

I did notice one relatively new wrinkle, though. That is, that the Republicans have simultaneously become vastly better at propagandizing America, while at the same time, have undercut themselves by purposely lying to various Americans, for expediency sake. That is, they PRETEND to strongly oppose abortion, and to support "states rights," in order to trick certain groups into helping them gain power, and they've managed to fool the Democrats into thinking they have to offer Republican style solutions (such as the ACA) to the problems of the day, but once in office, the GOP again and again, fail to follow through on their promises, instead reverting to voting tax cuts for themselves ( they did it under Reagan, under Bush, and now again under Trump). That's why the Tea Party came into being, after all. Those people were fed up with the Democrats, but they were also fed up with the Republicans.

My best guess for the 2018 elections, based on the fact that although Trump's polls are horrible, but the Democrats have shown NO leadership whatsoever, is that again, the Democrats will not gain enough seats to change the nature of Congress. They are currently make the identical mistake that the Republicans made a decade back, of assuming that it's enough to catch a Republican in a lie, or accuse them of screwing around on their wife, to get elected, and they therefore don't need to actually formulate any policy ideas. And since the economy has been improving steadily since the mess in 2005, unless it suddenly tanks soon, Trump will get to take credit for it, and will easily win in 2020. This, despite the fact that more Americans despise Trump, than approve of him. That wont be because voters expect too much from politicians, if anything, it's because they expect too little.
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