How did America remember what “socialist” means?

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I’m used to boomer generation “conservatives” equating socialism with communist dictatorships.  The boomers lived most of their lives during the Cold War era in constant fear of the communist menace.  I expect better from my fellow millennials, however, particularly the well-educated.

Marion Smith, Executive Director of “Victims of Communism” , has written an ignorant piece of red bait for Politico called “How did America forget what socialism means?”   If I were to write something with that title, I’d argue that decades of fear during the Cold War era, combined with manipulation by right-winged pundits had caused the boomer generation to forget what socialism means and instead equate it with the Soviet Union, as though Soviet style communism was the inevitable result of any attempt at a socialist economy.  As I’ve explained in one of my educational podcasts , Socialism actually can refer to a wide variety of economic systems so long as the means of production are publicly owned and the public decides the distribution of wealth.  Socialism can be anything from total communism to a community of farmers who have decided to collectively organize and share the fruits of their labor.

Mr. Smith’s article shows a picture of Bernie Sanders on the front, and then goes on to discuss the horrors of dictatorial communism, including that of the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba in particular.  His organization, “Victims of Communism”, does an excellent job of documenting the horrors that continue in Cuba.  At no point in this article, however, does Smith explain how this is in any way caused by socialism more broadly, or that it has anything to do with Bernie Sanders.  It pretty much amounts to, Cuba is socialist.  They do horrible things to people.  Bernie Sanders is also socialist.  Therefore…

It reminds me of Dinesh D’Souza’s “2016 Obama’s America” where D’Souza spends an hour or so cherry picking details like how Obama Sr. was a Kenyan revolutionary.  Many of those Kenyan revolutionaries were communistsObama Jr. loves his father and cried over his grave.  Obama must be a communist!

The kind of socialism advocated by Bernie Sanders is not Soviet style, nor Cuban.  He advocates the kind of Democratic Socialism professed by nations in northern Europe like Denmark.  If you want to criticize Bernie Sanders by criticizing Denmark’s economy, or the economies of other such systems in northern Europe, that’s fair game.  But Sanders advocates nothing close to the kinds of dictatorships seen in these countries that identify as “communist”, such as China, Cuba, etc.  Besides, China’s system would be more accurately described as “authoritarian capitalism” .  75% of China’s economy is privately owned.  The corporations exploit workers and make enormous profits, while being backed by the authoritarian “Chinese Communist Party”.

Smith is so disappointed that most of our millennial generation has “forgotten” the meaning of socialism.  By this, he means that we don’t have the same knee-jerk reaction to the word “socialism” as the half of the boomer generation with 24/7 Faux News echoing through their homes.  But these millennials haven’t “forgotten” what socialism means.  The boomers forgot.  The millennials are remembering.  The boomers on the right are still fighting the Cold War.  Someone really should inform them that the Berlin Wall came down.

I’m forgiving of the old.  They are set in their ways, and their worldview has been shaped by experiences that I’ve only read about in textbooks.  But for Mr. Smith, there’s no excuse.

Trump / Kasich ? My Prediction

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Have you noticed that Kasich has said little to nothing about Trump?  Unlike every other establishment candidate, Kasich doesn’t seem that worried about him.

I was watching CNN, thinking about the electoral map, and a light bulb appeared above my head!  In a Trump vs. Clinton race, Trump will need to focus heavily on the Midwest, AKA “the rust belt”.  These are swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and of course, Kasich’s Ohio.  These are states with a history of manufacturing, and a strongly blue collar mostly Caucasian group of voters.  Who better to help Trump win these states than Kasich?

In a Trump v. Clinton matchup, we know Trump will sweep the south simply because he is the Republican, with the exception of Florida, and maybe VA and NC.  We know Trump will win those very red and sparsely populated western, non-coastal states like Arizona and Montana.  We know Clinton will dominate New England, except for New Hampshire, and we know she’ll win the West Coast.  Florida and the Midwest will therefore determine the next President, as they so often do.

So back to Kasich.  The media has noticed that he’s been very hesitant to criticize Trump.  While Trump is almost certain to win more delegates to the RNC than any other, he may not win a majority.  That would mean a “brokered convention”.  Trump’s delegates will have to cut a deal, or maybe second place Ted Cruz might work something out sooner.  Trump is almost certainly not teaming up with Cruz or Rubio at this point.  But as things have been relatively civil (considering it’s Trump) with Kasich, Kasich only needs to win enough delegates to be able to give Trump the majority.  Also, Kasich could help Trump at least in Ohio, if not the entire “rust belt”.  Not only that, but Kasich is politically experienced, and in the establishment of the GOP.

Therefore, I’m predicting that one way or the other, if Trump is the nominee, he picks Kasich as his running mate.  Kasich could help satiate the establishment.  And more importantly, would be valuable to Trump in a race against Clinton.  About the only swing state where he’d be of little help is Florida, but then, Rubio and Jeb Bush are clearly out of the question.  Trump may fight extra hard in Florida, or write it off and focus on the Midwest.  But Trump already has his trade policy that will be well received in states that have suffered from decades of outsourcing.  Those states are always close, especially Ohio, so Trump needs any edge he can get.

Maybe I’ll be right, maybe I’ll be wrong.  We’ll see.  I just wanted to put this out there and see if I get some bragging rights after the RNC.

What the Last Clinton did to US – Part 1 our jobs

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Presidents are praised when the economy does well, and blamed when it does poorly.  The average voter doesn’t realize that it usually takes years to feel the effects of policies, and sitting Presidents are usually presiding over the effects of the previous administration.  Furthermore, the US President can’t do a whole lot on domestic policy without Congress.  With that in mind, let’s revisit the Clinton years from 1993-2000.  This is the first of three blog posts I will publish on Clinton’s legacy that we should consider before offering the White House to another Clinton.  This first blog post will consider Clinton’s “free trade” policies and how they hurt America’s working class.

Clinton was generally a popular president, and is praised for the booming economy of the 90s.  However, he had little to do with it.  When Reagan and Tipp O’Neal reformed the tax code in 1986, they made it much easier for new businesses to emerge and pay a more modest tax rate in the mid 20 percentages, rather than nearly 70%.  The Tech Boom that created all that 90s prosperity was possible in part thanks to Reagan and O’Neal working together.

So what did Clinton do?

When Clinton ran in 1992, America was at an economic crossroads.  In short, do we protect our thriving manufacturing sector and unique blue collar middle class; or do we open ourselves to free trade in pursuit of cheaper goods, with the intention of maintaining that middle class by allowing cozy office jobs to replace the old manufacturing jobs?  Bush wanted the later, Perot wanted the former.  Clinton presented himself as a centrist on this issue, supporting freer trade with some protections for working people at home and abroad.  Clinton won the White House in part on that platform.

How Clinton crippled America’s manufacturing sector

NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, was implemented in 1994.  Many manufacturing jobs went to Mexico, but the American economy thrived.  Many economists, therefore, believed it was a success.  I may lose my job at the factory, but I can learn some new tech skills, put on a short sleeve white collared shirt and a tie and become Dilbert!  Not bad, eh?

As Ross Perot noted, you can show me all the numbers you want, but if you look at what was happening on the ground, the people suffered.  I don’t mean Americans (not yet anyway) but Mexicans.  Where factories popped up in Mexico, so did poverty.  So did pollution.  So did long hours for low wages.  There were few, if any, protections for exploited Mexican workers, and the profit margin for CEOs massively increased.  We were told we’d get cheap stuff in America, but most of the cost savings of cheap labor was eaten up by upper management and shareholders.  But that’s OK, we’ve got our tech jobs, right?

We might have survived NAFTA anyway.  Mexico’s government is far from perfect, but it isn’t a dictatorship.  They do have a Constitution, they do have rights, and the people were demanding better.  Wages were starting to increase in Mexico over time.  Their economy was picking up.  In time, their living standards likely would have come close enough to American living standards that CEOs would no longer stand to make too much profit from outsourcing, and if anything would redevelop manufacturing in America to save on shipping.

They needed cheaper labor.

In 2000, Clinton’s last year in office, he did something much, much worse than NAFTA.  Clinton signed a bill to “normalize trade” with China – to permanently lower tariffs and phase out quotas.  Unlike Mexico, China is run by a strict oligarchy – the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  Elections are but a rigged formality where the candidates are chosen by the CCP, and the people “vote” for them.  There is an official constitution, but it’s a joke.  The people of China have as much rights as the CCP will allow them to have.  Therefore, whereas Mexican workers can vote for better laws, form unions, etc. Chinese workers have no such recourse.

But for US, this was particularly harmful and couldn’t have come at a worse time.  The tech bubble was bursting, a recession was beginning, and just when we needed to fall back on our manufacturing base, Clinton was handing it over to the Chinese Communist Party.  As it currently stands, our trade deficit with China is astronomical.  As you can see from the US Census, we import from China about 4 times as much as we export to China.  They’re beating US 4 to 1!

Meanwhile, the American middle class is crippled.  We were told that “free trade” would improve our standard of living.  The only people who benefit are the uber-wealthy in both China and the US.  CEOs these days are paid on average over 200 times what their employees are paid.  In 1965, CEOs usually made about 20 times their employees.  Ya know, back in the old days.  Today, average wages in manufacturing are above $19 an hour, but these jobs now.  Manufacturing made up nearly 40% of GDP when Clinton took office, but that has dropped to under 17%, so by more than half!  Meanwhile, the average retail associate earned just above $9.50 an hour.

In my next blog post, I’ll discuss how Clinton favored Wall Street and banksters over the American people.  I’ve broken this into three parts because as I did more research and developed more solid arguments to support my position, I realized that it was about to turn into information overload.  My blog posts are often used to spur debate, and I’d like such debates to focus on one topic at a time.

Notes:

While this politifact article rates Ed Shultz’s claim as “half-true”, it still acknowledges that at least 32,000 factories have closed since these “free trade” deals began 

For further info on the plight of Chinese workers, visit www.chinalaborwatch.org/

 

Trump and Emotional Politics

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Some are angry with Trump, others are angry at Trump.  Either way, Trump evokes lots of anger.  The anger at Trump is certainly justified.  Trump has claimed that Mexico sends its worst people into America, including rapists and drug dealers.  To be fair, he also said “…some, I assume, are good people.”  Trump’s views on Islam are far more disturbing.  He has called for shutting down mosques in the US, and banning Muslims from entering the country.  Some have tried to justify this by bringing up former President Carter’s temporary ban on Iranians during the hostage crisis.  It’s one thing to ban people from a particular country with whom we have hostility.  It’s another to ban an entire world religion, especially considering that some Muslims are native born American citizens.  How do you ban them?!

So, in short, Trump is nuts!  And I am deeply concerned that all of the anger he is able to invoke will cause large segments of the middle and working class population in America to vote against their own interests…by voting for Hillary Clinton!  Trump, for all his faults, knows that we can’t continue to allow China to erode our manufacturing sector.  Though he may seem like a “shoot first, aim later” type, he also has enough sense not to get us tangled up in the Syrian civil war trying to attack both sides (The Assad regime and ISIS).  Trump wants to focus on going after ISIS, while Clinton seems to think we should try to take out ISIS AND Assad.  Most of the political establishment wants to take out ISIS AND Assad!  This is pure lunacy!  You don’t go into the middle of a bloody civil war, and start attacking both sides.  If you must get involved, pick a side.  Otherwise, instead of killing each other, they both kill you instead.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, IS the establishment.  She’s Dick Cheney in a pants suit and a “D” next to her name instead of an “R”.  She has a long history of supporting “free trade” agreements that cripple the economy for working Americans, and her husband signed the devastating “China Free Trade Act” into law in 2000.  (Recession of 2000, weak recovery, and “Great Recession” follow…coincidence?)  Blacks and Hispanics are hit the hardest, by the way.  On foreign policy, Clinton, like any Republican neocon, claims that ISIS exists because we didn’t take out Assad!  This is your “serious candidate”?  She seriously thinks that we can take out ISIS by attacking the very regime that is also fighting to take out ISIS?  If Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul, Carson, etc. ever proposed a foreign policy so utterly absurd, the media would be all over them talking about how unrealistic it is and how it shows their lack of “experience”.  But Clinton, Bush, Rubio are free to propose these kinds of lunatic foreign policies and be only politely questioned by the mainstream media.  Sure, once in a while a journalist might mention, “psss….you know Assad is on the other side of the Syrian Civil War, right?  He is fighting against ISIS, right?”

The base of Trump’s support is highly emotional, and often dismissed as a bunch of narrow minded poorly educated whites who hate diversity.  Trump does appeal particularly to working class whites who have been feeling the shaft from the establishment for decades.  He also seems to have a sizeable portion of the black community supporting him, for many of the same reasons.  They are angry at career politicians, and they are angry that their job opportunities are diminishing.  As whites are losing their middle class status, blacks who were reaching so close for middle class status that they could feel it at the tip of their fingers have had it yanked away and sent to China.  Most of them haven’t considered the policy positions I’ve laid out above.  They vote for Trump with their hearts, not their heads.  But even if by pure chance, emotions have led many to the perfectly logical conclusion that Trump is preferable to the establishment, were there better choices?  Of course!  Jim Webb and Rand Paul, to name two.  But neither of them can stir the emotions of the masses like Trump, or Sanders.

And so, the current narrative from the main stream media goes something like this…

There’s a lot of anti-establishment sentiment.  Instead of looking at experience and qualifications, voters are angry, and that’s why Trump and Sanders won in New Hampshire.  But neither has executive experience.  Neither has much electability. 

Then the interviews follow, where the media speaks to pundits who sound something like this…

(Insert Clinton, Rubio, Bush) is clearly more qualified than (insert Sanders, Trump, Cruz) as he/she has a history of getting things done.  Many may be excited by (Sanders, Trump, Cruz) but his policies are very unlikely to pass through Congress.  (Clinton, Rubio, Bush) on the other hand, knows how to work across the aisle and get things done.  And (if Clinton) we’ve never had a woman president before!

Let me break it down for you.  None of these candidates will get much of what they propose in domestic policy!  None of them!  We live in the era of congressional obstructionism.  Congress has learned that the people praise the president when things get done, and blame the president when they don’t.  Therefore, it is in the best interest of the opposite party in Congress to block anything and everything until they get 110% of what they want.  If Clinton becomes president, the only way she’ll get funding for whatever domestic programs she wants from Republicans (and remember, Republicans only need 41 out of 100 Senators to block everything via filibuster), is to give, give, and give.  I’m sure if she bloats the military budget by another $200 billion, slaps new sanctions on Iran and stations troops on their border, the Republicans will let a little birth control subsidy or two slip into an omnibus budget bill which will include massive tax cuts for Wall Street.  And Clinton will say, “See?  I’m a progressive who gets things done!”  Nothing will be done about job loss to SE Asia, and little to nothing will be done to curb risky behavior by the big banks.  Much of “Dodd/Frank” is still up to interpretation by the President, and don’t expect Clinton with all her Wall Street/big bank support to interpret Dodd/Frank in a way that her financial campaign support doesn’t like.

A Trump Presidency would probably look more like this.  There will be no wall on the border of Mexico.  Yes, technically the President is already legally authorized to build a wall, but that cost bucks!  We ain’t got ‘em.  And Mexico is not going to build a wall for the US on their border.  Here’s the good news for you Trump supporters, if he wins…and for all of us who work for a living (including Sanders supporters and misguided Clintonites).  Even if Congress does nothing about trade, simply based on current trade agreements, Trump can enforce portions of these agreements against currency manipulation.  He can and will slap tariffs on China at least, if not many others who suck our jobs.  On foreign policy, there will be no ban on Muslims.  It’s blatantly unconstitutional and impossible to enforce.  But here’s the good news!  Trump knows that ISIS is the enemy.  Not Assad, not Iran, and certainly not Russia.  He’ll be firm when negotiating with Iran, but he knows that we need to focus on ISIS.  While the establishment candidates seem to think we can take out all of the bad buys and democratize the world, Trump knows better.

So, in short, I am not moved by Trump’s populism.  With Paul out, if the Democrats nominate Sanders, I’d choose Sanders over Trump.  Sanders can win, but it’s an uphill battle for him.  In the more likely “Clinton vs. Trump” scenario, I’ll take a reality show patriot over a “serious” candidate whose loyalty is with the international community, Wall Street, and the global banksters.  Some say, “Vote blue no matter who!  There’s too much at stake to let the Republicans win!”  I say there’s too much at stake to let the establishment win.  We can’t afford to keep losing our manufacturing jobs, and we can’t more neocon military adventurism that destabilizes the Islamic world further empowering ISIS.  If I have to hold my nose and vote for Trump, so be it!

 

A Picker’s Guide to Breaks at Amazon

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Taking a break at Amazon is hard work!  But if you follow these 12 steps precisely, then with a little practice, you can achieve your goal of successfully taking the allotted 15 minute break without going over and having the dreaded “Time off task”, which you’d likely have to explain to one of those clip board people.  It may seem a nearly insurmountable task to achieve all of these things within 15 minutes and have any time at all to actually, ya know, take a break, but these steps will help you to succeed at the Amazon break.

  1. When you are about 3-4 minutes from the time you start your break, you should find an easy item to scan, but don’t scan it yet!  When you get to your next bin, make sure the item is there, and be absolutely sure.  Then, scan the bin, and take the item, but do not scan the item.
  2. Then proceed with the unscanned item in your tote towards the conveyor belt, and go as close along the conveyor as you can to the break room.
  3. Carefully monitor the time, and when it is the exact minute when your break begins, scan that last item, finish out your tote, and send it on the conveyor. Note that your break officially began when you scanned that last item, and everything you do after that is on your time, even finishing out the tote.
  4. Leave your cart in an out of the way place, but take your scanner and water bottle (if applicable).
  5. Now log out of your scanner as you approach the scanner station and place the scanner in its proper place. And then walk as fast as you can towards the break room.  Pump those legs!  You can rest them a little when you’re picking again, but right now, its break time!  So get to it!
  6. As you approach security, be sure to take anything out of your pockets that would set off the metal detectors and take off your belt if your buckle normally sets it off. Get through security.
  7. Now enter the breakroom very quickly. Pass anyone who is walking slowly, but do not bump in to anyone. Amazon is serious about safety in their warehouse.
  8. You have likely already used up 4-5 minutes of the allotted 15 by now, so quickly find your snack and take any seat you can find. DO NOT FILL YOUR WATER BOTTLE WHILE ON BREAK!  That eats up precious break time, and there are water coolers in the pick aisles.   Instead, take a seat and devour your snack.  If you are prone to heart burn, you may want to have Tums available.
  9. After devouring your snack, be sure to leave yourself at least 5 minutes to get back and scan that first item. As you pass the security desk on your way back, chew those Tums if you have them and pump those legs again!  Don’t worry, I know this is hard, but break will soon be over.  So hang in there!
  10. Grab a scanner, don’t worry about the battery yet. If the battery is low, you’ll be able to change it at one of the help stations AFTER you’ve made your first scan, to avoid time off task.  For now, log in quickly, and pray that your first scan is near.  If it is on the third floor at the opposite end, then it’s time to pump those legs like never before.  You can relax after your break, but you must get to that first scan within 15 minutes of your last scan before break!
  11. Find a cart on the proper floor. Any cart will do.  After making your first scan, you can change to a better cart if you don’t like the first one you find.  That way, you don’t get time off task.  Now, after finding any cart you can find on the proper floor, take only one tote.  Taking two totes may be more efficient, but it wastes precious break time!  Take only one, scan it, get that first scanned pick, and now, take a deep breath.
  12. If you’ve accomplished steps 3 – 11 in 15 minutes, you have succeeded in your goal! Now, find a second tote, no hurry.  Fill your water bottle if you need it.  If your battery is low, change it the next time you pass a help desk.  Try not to take more than 5 minutes between scans while doing these things, but otherwise, you can relax a little as you make these final steps outside of the precious 15 minute break, so that you can actually get back to work.  The first few scans after break are just “token” scans, to show that you are officially “on task”.

 

I hope the above tips are helpful.  Note that if you are over by 1-3 minutes or so, they are unlikely to make an issue of it.  But if you are 20 minutes between scans, you’ll likely need to explain it to one of those clip board people.

Good luck to you at Amazon!  Seriously, the place has its quirks, but canning the sarcasm now, I liked my peak season experience overall.  I made some good bonuses, lost about 10 pounds, and I find working with my hands very rewarding.  Lastly, I must say, and I’m being completely honest here, that Amazon really values safety in the work place.  It is a warehouse with lots of equipment and people working very hard physically.  All of the safety regulations are in place for a reason, so please follow them.

Will African Americans leave the Democratic Party?

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The Democratic voting base today is a minority coalition.  It is an alliance of African-Americans, Hispanics, gays and lesbians, transgender and transsexuals, third wave feminists, and atheists.  Of these “minority” groups, African-Americans seem the most loyal.  For decades, blacks have voted at least 90% Democratic.  However, the Democrats expect more of them, and give less in return, as I’ll explain shortly.

First, note that blacks were won over by the Democratic Party gradually from about the 1930s until the 1960s.  There is plenty written on this subject.  For this blogpost, I only want to highlight that blacks were won over when the Democratic Party delivered results for them, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.  But not a lot has been done for the black voting base of the Democratic Party since the early 1970s.

For those who say that racism is history, let me just give you a glimpse of reality.  In the US, Blacks are over five times more likely to be in prison than whites, and more than twice as likely as Hispanics.  Some will say that it has more to do with poverty than skin color, but Hispanics on average are no more affluent than blacks.  Look into “Institutional Racism” if you want to learn more, but in short, blacks are far from achieving genuine racial equality.

Do the Democrats care about African-Americans anymore?

Despite the overwhelming institutional discrimination still faced by African-Americans, very little is said by most Democratic politicians, and Republicans usually deny it’s even happening at all.  (OK, so there’s Rand Paul and … Rand Paul.)

Now consider the Democratic Presidential candidates.  Of the five who attended the CNN Democratic Debate, two of them have strongly pushed for criminal justice reform: Jim Webb and Martin O’Malley.  Martin O’Malley hasn’t polled above 5%, and Jim Webb didn’t have an ice cube’s chance in hell.   Who is at the top?  Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.  Whenever you hear a speech from either of them to the Democratic base, they highlight their LGBT credentials.  They highlight a “woman’s right to choose (abortion)”.  After alienating the socially conservative half of the working class, Sanders will start highlighting his populist economic policies.  Clinton will try to convince the base that she’s a progressive too.  But you hardly hear a peep about continued racial injustice, criminal justice reform, de facto segregation of public schools, unequal housing, or any of the other structural barriers to racial equality that particularly affect African Americans.  It’s not that Clinton or Sanders don’t, in principle, support racial progress, but they don’t seem to hold it high on their priority list.

The Fragile “minority coalition” – black interests are not Democratic interests

Blacks are often misunderstood to be “hard core liberals”.  Yet they are about as reluctant to identify as “liberal” as most whites nationwide.  Think Progress is just one of many examples of “white liberals” who can’t make sense of this.  The reality is that most blacks may vote Democrat, but they are not “liberals”, they are not “conservatives”, and they are not “moderates”.  Ideological diversity is a privilege enjoyed by whites in this country, and to a lesser extent Asians and Hispanics.  But African-Americans have too much at stake to ponder ideology.  The long history of oppression they’ve faced has forced them to always think of the common good of the black community, sometimes called black utility heuristic .*

Black Americans largely support the economic agenda of the Democratic Party.  Most of them want a higher minimum wage, protection of American jobs (which Clinton suddenly claims to care about lately), stronger safety nets, better funding for better education, etc.  But on the moral issues, like gay marriage and abortion, many don’t know this, but blacks are actually the most conservative demographic in the country.  According to this 2015 Pew Poll, only 41% of blacks support same-sex marriage, compared to 59% of whites.  That 41% is as high as it’s ever been for them, and it’s still not a majority, despite the popularity of this issue.

In the CNN Democratic Debate, Hillary Clinton passionately railed against “continued discrimination against the LGBT community”, even though they have the right to marry anywhere in the US now.  With that issue resolved, what could possibly be left?  Yet we hear more from Rand Paul than Hillary Clinton about criminal justice reform and the link to high unemployment rates among blacks.

So gays are making progress.  Transgender people are making progress.  Third wave feminists even are making at least an impact of the Democratic Party itself.  The Democrats continue to court Hispanic voters with promises of immigration reform, such as the DREAM Act.  Yet nothing is being done for African-Americans, and they are on average much worse off than any other demographic.  Most Democrats proclaim LGBT rights as the “new civil rights” movement, but they haven’t even achieved the goals of the old civil rights movement.

How the Democrats will lose them

It won’t happen all at once.  The Republicans, long ago, had the majority of black voters.  They were the party of Lincoln, after all, and they did end slavery.  Following that, however, the Republicans became increasingly disinterested in African-American issues.  They still, in principle, supported some basic civil rights policies in the 1920s and 30s such as anti-lynching legislation, but these issues were low on their priority list.  Consequently, the Republicans slowly lost black voters to the Democratic Party.

The Democrats will likely lose them the same way.  As Republicans prioritized big business friendly policies and appeasement of the then very racist white south, over equal rights for blacks; today’s Democratic Party prioritizes LGBT rights, abortion, immigration policies, and appeasement of the financial sector.

Furthermore, consider that African-Americans are mostly very religious people.  What could be more important to a once enslaved people who relied on their faith to lead them to freedom – then religious freedom?!  However, the left would have us believe now that “religious freedom” is synonymous with homophobia, and that, to them, is the equivalent of racism.  But the calls for religious freedom from the right will certainly be heard by black worshipers.

The one problem with my prediction – Where will they go?

I’m sure the Republicans of the 1920s thought – It doesn’t matter if we pass anti-lynching legislation this year, this decade, or this century.  It isn’t like blacks are going to vote Democrat.  Not the party of the Confederacy!  The Republicans, at their peril, took their black voting base for granted.

I’m sure the leadership of the Democratic Party likewise thinks it can continue to procrastinate on criminal justice reform, continue to blame Republicans for underfunded public schools in black neighborhoods, while putting their real energies into keeping funding for Planned Parenthood.  It’s not like blacks will go Republican, right?  Not the party of Lincoln!  Not the party that ended slavery…uh oh!

I don’t know if the Republicans will capitalize on this opportunity or not.  The party base is mostly older white people.  In short, most of them do not see themselves as racists, but they largely support the institutions that yield racially unjust outcomes.  I’ve watched Rand Paul slowly gain popularity among this group, then become outspoken against racial injustice in the criminal justice system, and suddenly plummet in the polls.**  It’s likely that this base of the GOP will resist efforts of the party to highlight criminal justice reform anytime soon.

There’s also the remote possibility that a viable third party could emerge.  However, that has about a Jim Webb’s chance in a Democratic Primary.

If the GOP plays its cards right, it could win back the descendants of the people they once helped free from slavery***.  Because of that old white voting base, I don’t expect this to happen quickly.  But as blacks become increasingly fed up with the Democratic Party, first they’ll stay home more often, then some Republican politicians will ask – How can we get them to vote for us instead?  And then it will begin.

How will Democratic elites respond if they lose the black voting base?

Democratic elites once took my white, working class ancestors for granted.  As I’ve explained before, white southerners switched Republican for a wide variety of reasons.  But the elites of the Democratic Party, and most of the academic establishment, claim that white Republicans are just racists who can’t get over the end of Jim Crow.  They speak of a “southern strategy” and racist “dog whistles”, while ignoring our real interests.

If I’m right about this, and blacks leave the Democratic Party over the next few decades, will Dem. elites take responsibility for how they neglected their black base, just as they neglected the white working class base?  They can’t claim racism, not against black people, right?  Only white people can be racist.  Maybe they’ll blame homophobia.  They will be able to find some examples I’m sure of certain prominent blacks who are anti-LGBT.  George W. Bush, after all, made some inroads in the black community with his opposition to same-sex marriage.  I wonder if they’ll claim that Republicans have a homophobic “dog whistle” that only homophobic black people can hear.

Then, I also wonder how they’ll lose the Hispanic vote by the end of this century.  Democratic Party elites have a propensity to shoot their party in the foot, despite gun control.  By all democratic (small “d”) logic, they should be mopping the floor with Republicans.  Republicans wage wars we can’t afford, tax the poor, subsidize the rich, send our jobs to South-East Asia, and blame the underemployed working class for being lazy.  But Republicans also know how to capitalize on the blunders of the “liberal” elite.

Note(s)

*I already know that white liberals will opportunistically retort with rhetorical questions like “Who are you to talk about the black experience?  What do you know about it?”  Never mind that white liberals have made their academic and political careers out of pretending to know what African-Americans face.  I don’t pretend.  I’ve never walked a mile in their shoes.  But I do listen to them.  And much of what I state in this blogpost is based on what I’ve either heard from many of them, or read, as you can see in some of my links below.

**Rand Paul is more recently picking his numbers back up.  He was about fourth or fifth last I checked… there’s still plenty of time before the Iowa caucus.

***Really, black slaves freed themselves.  The Republicans supported them when they saw how it would help them win the Civil War.

Link(s) for further consideration:

Another prediction that blacks may leave the Democratic Party:

http://atlantablackstar.com/2015/09/08/democratic-monopoly-on-black-voters-may-be-evaporating-as-seismic-political-shift-is-predicted/

Despite my tone above, I really don’t have a problem with gay people or their newly obtained marriage rights.  If you want to know what I think exactly on that subject:

https://politicallywag.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/i-dont-care-if-gays-marry-and-neither-should-the-government/

Shamy Breakup – Advantage Amy

First, SPOILER ALERT if you’re not up on Big Bang Theory!

Sheldon and Amy seemed a perfect couple when they first met.  They’re both scientists, both severely nerdy, and socially awkward.  However, from early on, Sheldon always had the slight advantage.  Sheldon decided the status of the relationship.  He decided when they were just friends.  He decided when they become “boyfriend/girlfriend”, and he drew up the “relationship agreement”.  While he had the advantage, he did have to consider Amy of course.  After all, Amy drove him to start the official relationship by temporarily dating Stuart (the comic book guy) to make Sheldon jealous.  But even then, Sheldon was calling most of the shots.  Well, the short version of their history is that from time to time, Amy would nearly end it, and Sheldon would give in a little more.

If they both started out socially awkward with nearly identical personality types, why was it Amy who always wanted more, and it was Sheldon who would give in just a little each time?  Both became friends with Penny, and here’s the important part.  Penny is friends with both, seems to care about them both as individuals, but has always been rather neutral about their relationship.  Penny pushed each of them to break out of their shells.  Amy was easier than Sheldon.  It wasn’t long before Amy was going out for drinks with them, dancing, expressing her attraction to other men, such as the loveable but incredibly dumb Zack.  While Amy broke out of her shell, Sheldon only peaked out of his.  Amy then attempted to help him more, but with little success.

In the end, Sheldon was too self-absorbed, and too determined to stay in his comfort zone, and Amy had enough.  And so, Season 8 ended with Amy saying she needed some time to think about them.  Season 9 begins with Sheldon chasing after her, but doing a poor job of it.  It was too little, too late.  Who would have thought that SHELDON, yes, SHELDON, would be chasing after Amy while SHE is the run rejecting HIM?!  This is the same Amy who pretended to be sick just so that Sheldon would take care of her, according to the terms of their “relationship agreement”.  Well now, for once, Amy has the advantage.

I don’t know what will happen with them, but I think they’ll get back together.  I normally embrace the principle “male comrades before women who sell their bodies for money” (AKA “Bros before hoes”).  But in this, I’m on Team Amy.  She’s been wonderful to him, and he doesn’t show her enough appreciation.  I know it’s hard for him to deal with people in general, including Amy, but while they can be forgiving and patient, he needs to meet them, especially Amy, half way.  If they do get back together, Amy will likely have the well-deserved upper hand for a while.  Sheldon will have to come back on her terms this time.  Amy is a cute, nerdy girl with a personality that is just outgoing enough now (thanks to Penny) that she will have other options.  Sheldon?  Unlikely.  He’s beginning to realize just how good he had it.

When we last left off (Season 9, first episode), Sheldon concluded on an angry note.  He’s finally going through what most men go through in their teens.  It needs to happen.  It’s unpleasant, but healthy.  He’ll be angry at women, angry at Amy, but it will pass.  I hope that before they get back together, which I’m sure they will, I hope Amy dates around a little.  She could use the XP, and dating “normal” guys might remind her what is so unique about Sheldon.  For all his faults, he’s certainly one of a kind.