Still, what does this all mean for Democrats, and the larger Left, moderate-to-far? Frankly, not a helluva lot unless "we" get our shit together. And at local and grassroots levels, I think there's a lot to be hopeful about. But as 2017 has at times sped, and at others crawled, forward, the initial Moment of Unity has all but dissipated. Instead, you have Tom Perez purging the left flank of the Dems from many official positions in the party. Twitter, a medium I've excused myself from because, frankly, I wasn't helping, is basically a hammer fight between Dems who supported Hillary and those who supported Bernie.*
Much of this was spurred on by What Happened, a tome whose very existence spurred endless controversy. For the record, I hold these three semi contradictory opinions:
1) Hillary had every, every right to write that book. Many of the "she should just disappear" people are the ones who jumped down her throat two days after she didn't weigh in on Harvey Weinstein. For many, there's a perverse fascination that turns every issue into a referendum on Her. It's stupid, and unless you want to have a lot in common with Newt Gingrich, you should fucking stop.
2) Jesus fucking Christ could the timing have maybe been a little bit worse? COULD YOU HAVE SPECIFICALLY PLOTTED IT OUT SO YOU COULD DO MORE TO DAMAGE THE PARTY YOU STROVE TO LEAD? The book could have come out on the year anniversary, or two years later, or after the 2018 midterms, or maybe just any time besides six months later. As such, it re-cast the terms of the Dems as H vs. B, instead of a coalition finding its mission statement.
3) I didn't read it. I spent the last six years of my life in Seattle's Literary Scene, so the number of out of touch, classist, self righteous, "liberal" patricians I've met is uncountable. I voted for Her and told others to vote for her, goddammit, but reading a whole tome of H Eat Pray Loving her way out of the guilt of handing America over to Fascism because she hired tech bros and robots to run her campaign. . . well.
That said, the clips from it that bothered me weren't the ones where she talked about Bernie Bros-- that's basically what her fans are paying to read. It's the red meat. The clips that bothered me were, in fact, more policy based, and more telling. When talking about the hardships faced by rural communities and small towns, her basic take is "We need to create more opportunities in the Cities, so the kids can move." It confirms the Right's talking point that Liberals Don't Care About You Unless You're Rich and Hip**.
If you're not already sick of the topic read A Wonk on the Wild Side. It's the most thoughtful critique of the book by someone who's actually. read. it. that I've seen. Admittedly, no one at The Baffler is gonna be too sympathetic to someone who goes to the Hamptons to relax.*** But Lehman shows a remarkable sympathy towards the human being, while examining the policies and ideas that got us here.
Because this didn't start in 2016. Dems didn't hemorrhage house seats in 2010 because of Hillary Clinton. Dems didn't lose most of the governorships across the nation because the Bernie Bros sabotaged them. It wasn't Russia that flipped the Senate in 2014. There has been a rot in this party for years, but said party still remains the most viable political options for people who give a shit about other people and want results, instead of just stickers. As Mueller circles his wagons, and Republicans start to shed their faux loyalty, Dems need to figure out what to do and fast-- because the world is on fire.
And I'm pretty sure there's something worse than Donald Trump out there, waiting.
*It's stupid that I have to, but I think my next one of these Tepid Takes will be a run down of my Complete Opinions About Bernie Vs. Hillary.
**It's a sign of the right's sickness and sadism that "hip" can also just mean a Person of Color, or Gay, or Trans, etc. That when Dems are defending the rights of poor black people, the right casts it as some sort of Hollywood Stunt. This doesn't mean, however, that the Rich part of the equation can't be examined or that Dems shouldn't get smarter about messaging.
***The next person who whines about "reverse classism" or "that's ALSO discrimination" can put their head through this nice little wooden collar I've made for them. . .
Tepid takes is a new series of occasional, usual anecdotal musings a few days to months after the fact, usually around politics or social issues, for when a status update or series of tweets simply won't suffice.