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Lest any wonder, this is why I have so long despaired of the contempt so much of the mainline Democratic Party has shown towards poor whites since Clinton was in office. One is entitled to be horrified at the state of mind of the Southerners, but the key states that led to this were Midwest states and a key demographic was former union members who the Democratic party abandoned some time in the '70s so that they could compete with Republicans for the big bucks from Wall Street. Compassion should have had a much greater role in the treatment of those whose lives were devastated by "off shoreing". So many were left in misery, and then Trump appealed to them. Democratic elites did it to themselves. Poor whites and union members were key constituencies for JFK and RFK, after all.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 02:55:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed. This was absolutely a DNC failure. There's no point blaming Trump or even the voters.

They didn't feel like Clinton was ever on their team. All Trump had to do was say "I'm on your team" to pick up their votes.

The reality is irrelevant, because the vote should never even have been close.

Trump was an open goal for a solid progressive candidate with working class credibility, and the DNC completely failed to understand that. Instead they wheeled in Clinton, with more baggage than a Louis Vuitton store, and sort of hoped she and she and they could browbeat their base into supporting her.

I realised recently that the Left is loosing everywhere because while we still believe we have a lock-down on community and belonging, the Right has moved to own those.

Most voters see the Left as patronising scolds, not as representative equals.When you combine that with the pro-corporate wheeling and dealing behind the scenes of the so-called third wayers, you get nothing good.

You can blame the media for a lot of this, but not for all of it. The message is only convincing because it's not entirely untrue. People will start voting for the Left again when they start to feel represented. I honestly don't know what that will take in the US and the UK.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 03:09:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you feel Corbyn does not represent people as an equal?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 04:38:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Corbyn is a transition leader, he's revealing more and more each day that, however necessary he is to energise the left, he will always be in opposition. Not because he doesn't see the people as equals, but because the people think he's less than them

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 05:22:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
People vote for an illusion of authority and credibility, not for actual competence.

People are easily fooled.

Corbyn has credibility among his base but not among voters outside the base. He clearly doesn't have authority over his own party, and has even less among external voters.

The best we can hope for is that he'll help deselect the Blairite timeservers and open up the MP lists to ordinary people from outside the Westminster bubble. I'm sure he'd like to do that, but I'm not convinced he can push it through.

Shadow Brexit Minister Keir Starmer is looking interesting. He has solid credentials as a successful high profile human rights lawyer, he's much younger than Corbyn, and probably much more intelligent too.

If anything he's too groomed and photogenic, which makes me suspicious. And I'm not sure anyone knows where he stands economically.

But from outside the inner circle he looks like a plausible upgrade with potential.

Corbyn's response to Brexit has been slow and pitiful. A lot of members are disappointed and angry, and if Corbyn ran for the leadership against a convincing alternative like Starmer he'd likely lose.

This would be terrible for the Tories. People are desperate for real opposition, and as soon as it appears the Tory lead will start to crumble.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 07:01:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" and probably much more intelligent too."

Considering Corbyn's phenomenal record of being on the right side of history, even when at the time it was far from obvious, I find that a rather strong comment to make.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 07:15:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is not enough to be right, a politician must persuade others that they are right, must make a case for doing the right thing. Be persuasive, not just to convince your friends but to nullify your enemies protests and thus win over the undecided.

Corbyn does not do these things. As TBG says, in a fast moving political environment he not only looks leaden footed, but his first response to challenge seems to be to go into a locked room with his friends and sulk.

God knows, I've supported Corbyn against the Blairites because to me their neutered Tory-friendly "effectiveness" is worse, but I'd drop him tomorrow if a better candidate came along

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 07:26:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Starmer's statements are carefully crafted and full of subtle implication.

Of course he's a lawyer and that's his job, but he does seem to be very good at it. Blair had much the same talent - he can encapsulate a complex issue in a pithy talking point that sounds self-evident and reasonable, even when it's actually outrageous.

Blair pushed it too far and people got sick of the spin. But as a talent, it shouldn't be underestimated.

Corbyn just tends to say "This is what I believe, and you should too." He doesn't seem brilliant at thinking on his feet when challenged.

Because politics is 90% persuasion with optional fine-tuned compromise where necessary, he's hardly ever super-effective even when he's correct.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 09:49:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your claim - and my comment - was about intelligence. Please don't move the goalposts.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 10:24:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are many forms of intelligence - academic, conceptual, mathematical, linguistic, visual, musical, social and emotional.  A successful political leader needs to be particularly strong in the last two, but allegedly, these are not strong points for Corbyn. This means he has difficulty creating personal alliances and allegiances with large numbers of people with whom he may have some disagreements on other grounds.  

Sometimes such an alleged weakness is as much situational as personal. Someone with very strong but minority held convictions may find it difficult to achieve widespread personal allegiance and affection whatever their personal charms. Churchill was quite unpopular until a situation arose which required his particular strengths and people will forgive much in a leader who has brought them success.  He was dumped unceremoniously when people wanted a different set of qualities in their leader.

The problem with Corbyn is that his time may already have come and gone. Labour badly needed to get away from its Blairite recent past and he was well placed to put distance between them and Blair, as he had opposed Blair all his career.  However now, post Brexit vote, a new approach is needed, and he may be a prisoner of his past.  One can admire his integrity in refusing to bend with every changing breeze, but he needs to show a new vision and approach for a new era.

One of the key components of true leadership is identifying and grooming new talent to replace you when the time comes for you to go.  Many leaders are too insecure or egotistical to do this and Corbyn hasn't had much time or opportunity to do so.  Even Merkel has failed terribly on this point.  But the bottom line is that Labour is now in limbo and could well lose its place in the duopoly that is English politics to the Lib Dems if May calls an early general election to obtain a mandate to invoke A50 (by engineering two votes of no confidence in her own Government).

If Labour loses its place in that duopoly it could well be destroyed for at least a generation. There is almost no place for a third national party in a first past the post single seat constituency electoral system. That would be a terrible legacy for him and his allies, so he needs to appreciate how high the stakes are.  But so far, labour doesn't seem awash with credible alternative talent.  The leadership rivals to date have been a joke. He needs to decide who his best replacement would be and give them a really high profile position. Perhaps Mair is the guy; I don't know.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 09:42:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where did I move the goal posts?

Lawyers need to be gifted at verbal reasoning and have the social intelligence required to project authority and to be persuasive. They need to be able to think quickly and respond succinctly. In what sense are these not specific forms of intelligence?

Do you think Corbyn is as intelligent as Obama or Bill Clinton? Corbyn isn't stupid, but I don't think even his most ardent fans would claim that he belongs in the intellectual stratosphere.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 12:51:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, being persuasive and responding succinctly are not forms of intelligence. And certainly not debating either.
They may require intelligence to be performed (although in the case of debating too much intelligence is a hindrance, unless coupled with a lot of dishonesty), but intelligence derives from intellego. "I perceive", not "I project".

His record of being on the right side of history is simply outstanding. Certainly far superior to Clinton's. Dismissing his intelligence feels very presumptuous.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 04:43:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We will have to disagree on that. To understand very complex things requires a great deal of intelligence.  It require genius to make them appear simple.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 05:04:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Requiring something and being something are different things.

If we need to disagree on that, then language has ceased to be.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 06:06:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And on top of that, so far nobody had been talking of making something complex appear simple (I assume that you meant appearing simple without travesty - Trump repeatedly makes complex things appear simple, but I don't think it is a sign of genius).

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 06:08:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well do you have an example of such a politician in recent memory? Yanis Varoufakis is one of the best public speakers I know and he could make a very convincing case for his position in maybe ten minutes of allotted time. The Guardian ran 1:50 minutes outtakes when he was elected and then gave some low effort summary. The opportunity to convince the undecided comes only rarely when you don't run on think tank drivel. There is no free media time for leftists. And why would there be? Covering abominations like Trump or Farage at least can give a member of the professional classes a smug feeling of superiority. A socialist droning on about social justice and how the system that works for them doesn't for most people can only make them uncomfortable.
by generic on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 03:10:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Being right on the issues prematurely comes from having a useful frame of reference, Socialism in Corbyn's case. Most other politicians have muddled frames at best or look to what others are doing at the worst. But I agree being right is not enough. He has played a vital role for saving Labour from a complete disintegration, however.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 12:59:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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