Biden, particularly, is just another Hillary with a dick (one presumes) and no backbone, no vision whatsoever, just a thirst for power and an eagerness to sacrifice all of his values to the highest bidder. Nasty shit, there.
When the Democratic Party become this way? Climate change… evade, evade. Top concerns, evade, evade… only the not-normally-Dems were willing to say “it’s all fucked.”
Why do you even need Republicans if the Dems are just willing to bend over and take it? When did they lose their vision for, well, absolutely anything at all?
I think a lot of it comes down to the 60s, 70s and 80s. Carter, Dukakis, McGovern, Humphrey, losing the southern white vote and rural white vote. Then the billionaire class made it clear the democratic agenda was not acceptable.
Democrats are terrified if they do anything that anyone finds controversial that they will lose like dukakis did.
I think the last time the democrats had a spine was lbj and fdr.
Probably Reagan v. Mondale 1984, when it became clear that good policy doesn’t necessarily win elections when faced with simple emotional appeals. And the good policy without winning elections is as valuable as a million dollar check with no signature.
Something the far left doesn’t realize is there are actually a lot of moderates and centrists in America, in fact more people identify as “moderate” than “liberal.” Among Democratic voters (i.e. the people the party is supposed to advocate for in governance) there are more moderates than liberals. I find it bizarre how many leftists and progressives don’t realize a lot of these “cowardly” politicians aren’t cowards at all. They just aren’t leftists. They pretend to nod to your stupid and intractable political movement because they have to do so in order to get out of the primary, then they actually run as themselves when talking to the country–the majority of whom are not zany leftists who want everyone’s health insurance taken away and replaced by a government program and who want to pay reparations to the great-great-great grandchildren of slaves.
Are there craven and cowardly politicians, who do vacuously jump from position to position with no spine? Sure. Mitt Romney is a great example. John Kerry is probably another one. Biden and Hillary? I think they’re just legitimate centrists, most of their policy positions have decades of history and rational change behind them. Both have done a few flips or flops or singular issues for political expediency, but to my observation neither showed signs of just changing their entire political DNA at a whim (as Romney actually has.) It’s kind of like Barack Obama had to come out as being against gay marriage in 2008 even though he almost certainly wasn’t. I don’t think that made him a “spineless politician”, I think Barack mostly stayed true to his political positions in 2008 and as President. He probably regrets the gay marriage flip, and he eventually flipped back. But most politicians actually elected to high office have probably made “bitter compromises”, the ones who don’t have a name: Bernie Sanders, who has accomplished nothing of substance in 30 years in government.
On the issues, the majority of the public are liberal. And over 50% of the democratic party now identify as liberal, up from maybe 30% around 20 years ago.
Also as a leftist I’ve watched the GOP become more and more conservative, insane and authoritarian and it hasn’t hurt them in the polls in the slightest. So I don’t understand why conservatives telling democrats we can’t follow our values should be heeded. Conservatives have followed their values and it doesn’t hurt them.
The reality is most voters are either locked into one of the two parties, or they are low information voters who barely understand what is happening. Neither group is going to be negatively affected by a partisan swing.
There’s an important difference in the normal voters both parties have. Let’s take a look at the most recent Gallup poll. They’ve been tracking self identified political ideology since 1992.
Overall the US is 35% conservative, 35% moderate, and 26% liberal.
By party affiliation:
Democrats: 51% liberal, 34% moderate, and 13% conservative. You are nominally correct. Given the margin of error for the poll the party is basically equally split between liberal and not liberals. Any claims of a liberal majority are effectively meaningless.
The GOP has an almost 3 to 1 ratios between conservatives and non-conservatives. They rely more on independent votes that pulls in more moderates. Still the party skews solidly conservative and generally campaigns like it. The Democratic party is effectively equally split between liberals and non-liberals. The party looks like a coalition between a solidly left party and a center left party-party systems. That compromise with the center matters quite a bit more for Democrats than it does for Republicans. Presidential candidates ignore that reality at their general election peril.
Thing is there is a wide spread of what is “liberal”… that slim majority would self-identify as liberal but not as hard Left. So for example, an overwhelming majority of Ds prefer their candidate to be willing to work together with the opposition to get shit done, including making compromises. The OP would think of that as “spineless” but it is by far the majority opinion within the party.
Your values are not always “our” values. WE can agree that they are close to each other’s and far from the far Rights values but just because we both identify as liberal does not mean we agree on all things.
sigh The Democratic Party is a political party. If you really and truly believe that a political party would arise that would be first and foremost devoted to making everything fair and providing a helping hand to all of the disenfranchised, while at the same time managing to receive corporate contributions on the scale that the Democratic Party receives them, you are insufficiently cynical.
The Democratic Party is the tightrope-walking party that likes to get those votes, the votes of people who do like the notion of making everything equal and fair, but it wants to do only as much of that as it must in order to make a sufficent number of those voters come to the polls; it does not want to jeopardize the investments it receives from the status quo, and it is a status quo party.
That’s a little bit unfair, i suppose; the individual Democratic politicians often do want to make as much progress (in the sense of “a progressive party”) as they possibly can. But they have a “realpolitik” attitude towards the corporate financial interests in America. I have the sense that what they wish for is for enough pragmatic concrete unavoidable reasons to emerge to push corporate America into a reluctant embrace of yet another progressive police. And when there’s a critical mass thereof, they, the politicians, will push for it.
With regards to the Republicans, they don’t want to retaliate in kind because their stock in trade is that reputation for fairness and for democratic participation. They seem to feel (with some justification) that if they don’t look any different to voters than the Republicans, just another political party that cares about absolutely nothing but increasing their own power, that they’ll lose more than they gain.
It looks like you’re correct about the present-tense, but it doesn’t actually change the argument. When people blast the Dem’s political leadership for being spineless it’s often directed at long term figures of the party, like the Clintons, Biden, etc. For the vast, vast majority of those politicians careers the Democrats were not >50% liberal (a number that on researching it further, appears to have not happened until 2018.) There’s also little evidence to me that most of these politicians were “closet leftists who pretended to be centrists.”
To me, it’s spineless to pretend to be someone you’re not because you’d rather have a cushy government job than stand up for your actual political beliefs. I see very little evidence guys like Biden, either of the Clintons, Pelosi, Senator Chuck, Steny Hoyer etc are secretly ultra-liberals and have just been pretending different for decades. These people largely reflect a very mainstream set of positions within the Democratic party, even if those positions may not be mainstream on the (infamously leftist) SDMB, or other far left internet communities like Daily Kos etc.
I point to someone like Mitt Romney as my example of spineless because he appears to have no meaningful political positions. When he tried to beat Ted Kennedy for Senate in the early 90s in Massachusetts he was quick to defend himself as pro-choice, and had a number of other frankly liberal positions. Was that the real Mitt? I don’t know, it’d be weird for someone raised in a traditional Mormon household to be pro-choice, but maybe it was. But that Mitt later ran for Governor of Massachusetts and ran Massachusetts for four years. Then later had two runs for President, during which he magically shifted on healthcare, abortion, and almost every other meaningful political position he has ever held. I don’t believe that was a “genuine evolution”, I think that is spineless political opportunism.
Can you find that in the Democratic party? Sure. But I struggle to identify any of the major, national-figure Democrats who really fit that definition. I’d suggest maybe Bill Clinton does, because he actually had a history before he was President of being at least outwardly fairly liberal (although this wasn’t dramatically reflected by his actual actions as Arkansas Governor, and after the 1994 Midterms all of his rhetoric permanently shifted rightward.) Hillary on the other hand had a pretty consistent set of policy positions, some of which she maintained as First Lady in spite of them probably costing her politically, and she only gradually changed them over many years, generally following a process through which many Americans changed their opinions over time. That’s a real process–America didn’t go from thinking of gay marriage as an aberrant monstrosity in the 90s to mostly accepting it in the 2010s because literally all the old people died, a huge portion of the country had a genuine change of heart on the topic. The various crime bills represent a similar issue, a lot of younger people probably don’t remember it but crime was genuinely very high in the 70s and 80s and into the early 90s, before it started its famous, long decline. Crime was promoted as a catastrophic thing in our country, on the nightly news, all the “news magazine” shows like 20/20, 60 Minutes, it felt like half the TV shows of the 80s/early 90s were crime shows set in the major cities, which were frequently depicted as dystopian hellscapes. A huge portion of the country was outraged about crime and severely angered by what they saw as an overly lax criminal justice system. It’s not at all surprising that politicians of the time would have shared similar views and acted accordingly.
It’s also not surprising as higher quality sociological/terminological research has been done, as the consequences of these actions have been examined over the following decades, that people have a natural shift in positions. I don’t think Biden was spineless for supporting the heavy handed criminal justice reforms of the 90s because most of the country genuinely thought they were necessary and proper. I don’t think he’s spineless for going back on his views 30 years later, because most of the country has had a chance to learn better.
I would also warn when you say most of the country wants “liberal policies”, you need to actually dig a little deeper into the reality on that. Medicare for All is remarkable in how well it polls when people know the least about it, before even addressing that it would entail people losing their private insurance, if you just mention it will raise taxes, support for it falls to the mid-30s/low-40s in various polls, making it not even a majority position anymore. Slavery reparations I think are opposed by something like 80% of White America, which is the kind of number that means you’re angering more people than you can afford to anger and still win a national campaign in the electoral college–food for thought, the GOP doesn’t plan to let you guys keep the details vague on these things.
In very general terms, Democratic party voters want to have thoughtful solutions to the many problems in the country. They want these solutions to work, and to help as many people as possible. They often disagree on how to implement these solutions or which problem is most important. They require that politicians follow certain norms, and if they do not, they are tossed (Al Franken). A major source of discord is how the party should treat corporations - some in the party are happy to take corporate money and work on behalf of corporations. Others distrust corporations, and want to see them completely disengaged from the political process. Others want corporations eliminated entirely. The Democratic Party has to walk a fine line, and not piss off any of these disparate factions.
In fighting an election, most Democratic voters want to hear truthful, positive statements from their candidates. There is little tolerance among most for lying, or attacks (to a degree, some are “allowed”, but egregious lying or attacks are not). There is a sense of “fair play” and honour. Again, this is generally true. There are certainly exceptions, but there is a tendency to return to the mean - generally fair play. For some, this is called “spineless.”
Republican voters, on the other hand, value winning and strength first and foremost. Winning the game (and it is a game) is everything. They like simplistic solutions to complex problems - sometimes because they really don’t understand the complexity, and solutions that look at multiple points of view confuse them and make them feel stupid. Give them a simple soundbite every time. It really does not matter how you win, because the whole point is to win. Lies and attacks are OK with these voters. In fact, as we have seen recently, baseless attacks, name calling and juvenile language coming from the White House is celebrated. These voters like bullies. This is called “strength”.
I don’t think the spinelessness is inherently about moderate v. liberal. The ACA was a fundamentally moderate program, and most Dems ran away from it in 2010 through 2016 like it was a fire at a toxic chemical plant.
Nice propaganda there, did it come from the kremlin or directly from trump? :rolleyes:
Climate change? No evasions. Every Dem candidate I have seen believes in it and wants to work towards helping end it. Most GOP candidates wont accept the science and are just burying their heads in the sand. Or the politicos KNOW Global warming is here, but are afraid to say anything. Spineless.
And the GOP? who there is willing to stand up to trump or McConnel?? Who is willing to call out the pussy grabber? Who will admit that trump got aid from the kremlin?
Was the Republican Party always such a spineless shitshow?