Where Is My Political Party?, &
BRIEFLY NOTED: FOR 2022-06-15 We
FIRST: Where Is My Political Party?
Why is there no democratic party infrastructure? Why is there only a network of semi-grifter consultants sending me panicked fundraising emails of which they get an excessive cut?
Micah Sifry: Messaging Won’t Save Democrats; Community Might: ‘Lux and his colleagues found… populist economics: tax the rich, hammer corporations for price gouging and profiteering, bring jobs home, help small businesses against corporate monopolies are all themes that resonate and also offer an answer to voter concerns about rising inflation…. These voters are sick of “partisan bickering” and not receptive to political messages from either part…. This rings true to me. Politics as it is practiced today, in the form of messaging wars on television and online, is just too far from most people’s lives…. “Candidates and party committees should be spending time doing things like sponsoring community events like [Ohio Senator] Sherrod Brown’s ‘movie nights,’ which he does in the old movie theaters of Ohio’s mid-sized towns, where the theme is to build community spirit and togetherness. Or they could set up events that were community health clinics where people come in and get health care assistance that they couldn’t otherwise afford. Or Chautauqua style events, where musicians, community theater performers, poets, and community organizations spend a day in a community.” Even better, I’d add, instead of opening campaign offices for a few weeks, stocking them with fresh-faced volunteers from out of town, and then closing as soon as the election is over, Democrats could invest in year-round community centers like the union halls of old, where people gathered to socialize, have a beer and talk politics. Unfortunately, Lux is a rarity among his colleagues. I don’t think Democrats are likely to shift the tens of millions of dollars they now have slotted for expensive ad campaigns this fall into community fairs or mutual aid programs. They’re going to keep doing what they’ve always done and pray for a different result…
The communications I—I—get from people who position themselves as members of the Democratic Party are, typically, things like this:
A fundraising email—and I screen all of these out. But there is one set I don’t: once I missed an email from the excellent Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown because I had screened out @sherrodbrown.com (and if my brother had not warned me that the excellent Colorado Senator Michael Bennet was looking to talk to me, I would have missed one from him as well. But what does Sherrod Brown send me? This:
This… does not make me feel close to the party. But there is no way for me to order much more like this:
A weekly email to me without even an implicit money ask, but with (a) a real set of poll questions; (b) an open-ended ask for what’s worrying me; (c) if I do write in the “worrying me” box, a personal response from my block or precinct or local or affinity party branch head teling me my concerns are being pushed up the chain; and (d) wild dreams for what we hope we will be able to do after the next election plus (e) realistic assessments of what we will be able to do before the next election—that is what would make me feel much more connected. Follow that with a monthly fund-raising email, and I would be a much more contented money-cow that would be more easily and effectively milked.
In fact, back when Biden nominated my one-time student Lisa Cook for a Federal Reserve Governorship…
The White House did call, asking me to write things about how she would be a valuable addition to the Federal Reserve Board. (And she will be: she scraped in with 51 supporters, including Kamal Harris—but all 50 Republicans were opposed.) I said that I would be glad to—if the White House gave me the number of someone in White House Legislative Affairs willing to be yelled at, for Biden, as best as I can see, did not go to the Republican senators and offer to renominate Republican Worthy Powell (rather than replace Powell with Brainard) in exchange for Republican votes for his choices of non-bankers. (“My people really want Brainard. I would be happy with Powell—if I were sure that he would hear all points of view, especially non-banker points of view, in the meetings in the Eccles Building. If some of you will support these non-bankers, I can see my way to renominate Powell. Otherwise…)
They did not deliver someone to yell at. I pushed hard for Lisa Cook’s confirmation anyway. I am still waiting for a “thank you”…
It is conventional to blame this state-of-affairs on George McGovern, and on his rule changes that replaced the local-administrator core of the party with a media-consultant-activist core. But I do not think that can be true, for the Republican Party today is in much worse shape than the Democratic one.
Neil Fligstein & Adam Tooze: (The Banks Did It: An Anatomy of the Financial Crisis <https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6A05Hi6XjU>:
Very Briefly Noted:
W. Stanley Jevons (1865): The Coal Question <https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.224624/page/n36/mode/1up?view=theater>
Alex Shephard: The January 6 Committee Is Telling a More Honest Story About Trump Than the Media Has:’The larger story it’s telling about Trump’s plot to steal the election is much more important than supplying a steady diet of fresh scoops… <https://newrepublic.com/article/166819/january-6-committee-media-scoops>
Stephen Holmes & Ivan Krastev: The Light That Failed: Why the West Is Losing the Fight for Democracy <https://www.amazon.com/Light-That-Failed-Losing-Democracy-ebook/dp/B07VWL1V3Z/>
Francis Fukuyama: Liberalism & Its Discontents <https://www.amazon.com/Liberalism-Its-Discontents-Francis-Fukuyama-ebook/dp/B09DBDMGMR/>
Twitter & ‘Stack:
Michael Pettis: The very smart Brad DeLong… thinks there is a very good chance that China will get caught in the middle-income trap. I am not sure what the middle-income trap is, but whatever it is, I agree with him…. As the Chinese economy slows sharply in the coming years, this will be interpreted by many to mean that Beijing didn’t read enough Milton Friedman, whereas in fact the problem, as I see it, is that we all didn’t read enough Albert Hirschman… LINK: