The Problem With Being the Good Guys

THEY apparently wish to win at any cost and do not wish to play fair.

WE are tired of being patsies etc etc and wish at this point to play hardball.

Problem: if the game boils down to “screw the principles, the only thing that matters is conquering the position and ruling”, every single one of our side’s advantages — our appeal as the better side of the argument, our appeal as the more rational and the more compassionate approach — are utterly irrelevant.

Interestingly and provocatively, it may be that this particular time around, their fundamental inefficiency and lack of competence, especially on the international stage, makes them unappealing to the usual suspects in a Power Overthrow end game. But I’m not complacent about counting on that. And as an intellectual exercise I’m still left disturbed by the overall problem anyhow.

My gut says communication is power and that the way to win is to focus on making sense to the maximum number of people; to play the chess-game shit but not to get mired in it to the point that it starts to look to everyone like there’s no material difference between the adversaries, that they’ll both say and do anything to win and that neither have any principles.

I never understood the people who claimed Democrats don’t win because they “play by the rules” and that “they’re just too nice”. I think it masks the utter incompetent of the Democratic Party, the aftermath of 2016 had prominent Democrats claim they wouldn’t make the “same mistakes as last time” but then continue to do the same mistakes of last time in 2020.

The problem here is defining actually who are the good guys.

Particularly in the American political context where seemingly God is on one side whilst the angels on another.

I started a thread about this (tangentially) a few hours ago.

I don’t mean to sound “Both Sides”-ish, but as someone who visits a wide variety of liberal and conservative message boards (such as Democratic Underground or TigerDroppings), one could literally take selected posts/comments, delete the keywords to conceal identity, and make people play a guessing game - “guess who posted this, a liberal or a conservative?” and people would really miss 50% of the time.

“We are the side that is too wobbly while the other side is stalwart and united as a bloc”

“The other side cheats and plays dirty and has no qualms, we are too honorable and nice”

“Our opponents will stop at nothing to destroy America, nothing is beneath them, they have no shred of decency”

“We are soft, they are hard and sharp”

Republicans are ace at whipping the vote among their members. They vote in lockstep almost no matter what.

Democrats rarely do.

I think the difference is the democrats have a much bigger tent. They include such a broad swath of interests that they can almost never get everyone to pull in the same direction at once. If they did they’d be unbeatable.

Republicans, on the other hand, have a much smaller base to answer to. As a result the minority can hold sway and they do. They very reliably vote as a bloc and that beats liberals who are all over the place every time.

I’ve seen it here on the SDMB. Clinton supporters convinced she was the anointed one. Some are indistinguishable from MAGA types. Not kidding. Kinda scary.

The Post-2008 election euphoria among Obama suppprters and their wild ideas make it seem like he was literally going to be Donald Trump of the left. I was seeing people predict (in a good way) he was legitimately somehow going to figure out a legal loophole and ban almost all guns.

This biggest difference between the parties in this regard is that the Democrats have a lot of conflict between their financial backers and their voters, whereas the Republicans have financial backers and voters that tend to either be more aligned or care about different things.

This first of all means that protecting norms because if there’s a generally understood process and it moves slowly, you can keep your existing compromises between the two groups, and you don’t need to justify every time you don’t give one of the groups a concession.

It also means that to get the entire caucus aligned for something like healthcare reform either means you have to bring the healthcare lobby into the room when you roughly plan what you’re gong to put in the bill, or have to fight with tons of individual senators and congressmen to get them to resist the financial pressure their under.

“Democrats fall in love. Republicans fall in line.”

Most issues in this world don’t distill well down to bumper-sticker slogans.

This one ? I think it’s a pretty reasonable summary.

In this upcoming Trump-nominee confirmation vote, it’s all but assured that Democrats will be a unanimous 47-0 against the nominee. The speculation is all about whether any Senate Republicans will defect to the D’s, not the other way around.

While Ginsburg was still alive, the 4 liberal justices voted together in lockstep more often than the conservatives on the bench.

Democrats typically don’t win because they have extraordinarily poor party discipline and disorganized and uncoordinated messaging. In other words, you may have AOC on one side saying something inflammatory, and other Democrats saying other stuff that’s contradictory to all that, and Biden in the middle trying to coordinate it all without repudiating what any of them say.

Meanwhile, the GOP is busy goose-stepping in lock-step like robots, with everyone on the same page throughout the country, at least publicly. Everyone says the same BS, whether or not they actually believe in it, or even think it’s good.

So undecided voters look at the DNC and likely sometimes have trouble trying to interpolate out the actual party position from what extremists like AOC and Bernie say, and what moderates like Buttigieg, Harris and Biden say. Meanwhile, the GOP has ONE message, and everyone’s on board, and so are their pet media outlets.

This time around, from what I see, it seems to be dividing up like this:

One side is the fear-oriented side, which is apparently triggered hard by demonstrations, rioting, illegal immigrants, and change. They’re the ones who tend to vote GOP, because the GOP panders to those fears and offers a remedy to the things they’re afraid of.

The other side tends to view Trump’s administration as an affront and threat to our government and our democratic system. Most of them are voting for Biden because they view Trump as a direct threat.

The big question is how many people are going to be more afraid of rioting/disorder/etc… than they are the incipient gangrene of our system. I don’t know how that’s going to play out- it does seem like a lot of the older generations are very concerned with the demonstrations, etc… more so than is probably rational.

This, I think, gets to the heart of the issue.

The problem with the Democratic Party, and the American left in general, is that they have a really bad habit of forming circular firing squads at the drop of a hat, oftentimes over pedantic bullshit that most voters couldn’t care less about.

The Republicans too have their factions. You have your more libertarian types, who I’m sure would be happy to ditch the religious right if they felt it were electorally feasible. You have your moderates, who are keen on following norms and traditions and playing by the rules,even if they don’t always abide by the spirit of the rules. And then you have your Trumpers, who don’t give a shit about any of that, revel in playing dirty, and would love to bury the establishment and piss on its grave.

When push comes to shove, however, all those factions line up and march in lockstep with their leader. And even if many of those folks don’t particularly like their leader, even if they secretly despise their leader, they’ll still fight tooth and nail for him.

Which are? What 'same mistakes"? I cant see them.

Were the dems incompetent in 2008 when they won with a black man? Or in 1992?

Look, there were issues and problems in 2016, but not enough to call the whole party incompetent.

Not vs trump.

Look, back in the Great War, it would be hard to pick out the Good Guys- pretty much everyone was a warmongering imperialist power.

But in WW2, it really was a war vs evil, the Nazis and Imperial Japan with their war crimes, etc.

trump has shown he is evil, and so is Mitch. Concentration camps, racism, forced sterilization, letting Americans die from Covid for politcal points, so many lies it is impossible to count, assaults on women, etc etc. trump is a despicable piece of shit. Re-electing him may well sound the death knell of American democracy.

There is a clear choice this year.

I’ll preface this post by acknowledging I have not an iota of evidence to substantiate this opinion, but one thought that runs through my head over and over again is that Democrats communicate to voters like they are the victims, and that they try to appeal to victims and everyone’s sense of victimization.

On one hand, I get that - they’re trying to protect people who are vulnerable, but too often, I think they’re message just comes across as whiny and weak. It’s not the look you’re aiming for if you want power. That’s why I kinda agree with what Bernie Sanders has tried to say as delicately as he can: Yes, by all means, oppose racism, but the fact that appealing to BLM and Dreamers is not going to win elections. Elections won’t be won with promises to be less racist than Republicans; they’ll be won by selling better economic policies that will convince people that they will have an economy in which they can find work.

Not at all. The hard core of the GOP is the racists and the evangelicals. The big money comes from the super rich, industrialists, bankers, businessmen. Not the same groups at all.

Democrats do win. We won the House last election. We have won the presidency recently.

Yes, we lost in 2016 vs trump. So? Shit happens, that was a unforeseen combination of russian bots, the Comey memo and a host of other things. And- it was a very close election.

Not meaning to hijack the thread, but Cite?

There were a lot of people who liked Clinton and thought that she was a better than Sanders or Trump, but that doesn’t make her the Annointed one (unless I suppose you posit that Trump or Sanders is the Annointed one and so by saying Clinton is better than them makes her such by the transitive property).

If people here really thought what you claim there would be people here who would want her to have run in 2020, but no on other than hopeful conservatives suggested it.


I think a lot of the difference also comes from the parties philosophies.

By their nature Democrates are idealistic and favor collectivism. Their eventual goal is a world where we can all work together for the greater good. So getting power by unethical means works against this ideal world that Democrats are striving for.

Republicans on the other hand are more individualistic and Darwinian. It’s a jungle out there and the only person I can/should rely on is myself. If I play by the rules I’m just leaving myself open to getting screwed by someone who doesn’t, so I need to make use of every advantage I can get.