Short Take: The 8% Solution

At the New York Times, David Leonhardt raises the unthinkable:

What if the Republicans Win Everything Again?

He does so for the fairly apparent purpose of motivating the troops, to remind them that despite all the noise they hear in their echo chambers, despite everything Rachel Maddow says nightly about how the Marshal of the Supreme Court will be arresting Darth Cheeto any moment now, despite the certainty that the majority of Americans are against them, it’s still possible that the Republicans could win.

Voters who lean Republican — including whites across the South — could set aside their disappointment with Trump and vote for Republican congressional candidates. Voters who lean left — including Latinos and younger adults — could turn out in low numbers, as they usually do in midterm elections. The Republicans’ continuing efforts to suppress turnout could also swing a few close elections.

If it happens, it won’t because the Democrats aren’t the better team, but because the Republicans are the evil team.

No matter what, Democrats will probably win the popular vote in the House elections, for the first time since 2012. Trump, after all, remains unpopular. But the combination of gerrymandering and the concentration of Democratic voters in major cities means that a popular-vote win won’t automatically translate into a House majority.

Both sides are doing their best to game the American psyche, to outrage and motivate their base to show up at the polls. It’s not as if Americans seem capable of making that choice for their own sake, so they need a push, a scare. What could be scarier than Trump emboldened by a midterm vindication?

The game being played, however, masks another game. Much as Trump and his Republican party enablers may be hated for being vulgar, amoral, ignorant and deceitful, the Democratic tent has grown tiny, minuscule, and no longer wants a vast swathe of America to enter, unless they’re prepared to sacrifice their lives, their families for the cause.

According to the report, 25 percent of Americans are traditional or devoted conservatives, and their views are far outside the American mainstream. Some 8 percent of Americans are progressive activists, and their views are even less typical.

The 8% of progressive Americans make a lot of noise, and the Democratic party not only listens, but has chosen to bear their standard. If this election was a choice between moderate conservativism and socially-engineered, fully-regulated democracy for the benefit of the marginalized, there wouldn’t be a chance in hell that the 8% of progressive activists would get their way. But that’s not the choice. The choice is Trump and his minions versus anybody who isn’t Trump.

The midterm elections are being promoted as a battle between validating the worst and most ignorant of right extremism and the forces of goodness, whose primary virtue is that they’re not Trump. It’s a cool trick if it works. If this election was framed as a referendum between traditional American values and the reinvention of America as the land of racism and sexism, there would be a very different perspective than if it’s framed as a vindication of Darth Cheeto.

The “exhausted majority” finds itself in an untenable position. While few moderately intelligent people can tolerate Trump, the alternative is to allow the 8% to sneak in an agenda that is contrary to their views and could never be sold, and would never be bought, on its own. There is no mainstream support for identity politics, the Victimocracy, that social justice would try to ram down our throats.

Even though we’re true believers in equality, there’s nothing equal about a government that serves the interests of a tiny minority at the expense of the majority. Is our Constitution the manifestation of racism and sexism, to be trashed for the sake of the woke? So they say.

This could never be a twinkle in the eye of the most passionate activist but for Trump. This election sets up the juxtaposition of the worst against the unacceptable, and compels us to pick one. Will we be attending hate speech re-education classes or listening to hate speech in the State of the Union? Either way, we lose.

18 thoughts on “Short Take: The 8% Solution

  1. Guitardave

    Maybe those choices are merely a reflection of the vapid, inflated American exceptionalism mind set?

    1. SHG Post author

      I subscribe to the view that we get the government we deserve. If people don’t get their heads out of their asses and stop believing that someone else is going to do the dirty work of calling bullshit on both teams, we end up with choices like this.

  2. MDD

    Even with media’s thumb heavily on the scale in support of the 8% and antifa(their new greatest generation), they can’t close the deal.

    I find winking at illegal immigration and then hiring illegals at unlivable wages and giving no thought to their living in the shadows immoral. Until Congess stops being owned by special interests like the COC and does its job, until the media stops making their POV the virtuous way, I will hold my nose and vote Trump as will many others.

    That was a great piece in the Atlantic and was a terrific explanation of the fracture. The observation that the 8% was highly educated, very likely to earn more than $100,000, very white (only 3% black which is extemely under representative) is not trivial. In other words, the white coastal elite. The fact that they are willing/trying to implement their agenda by any means is immoral. No matter how well they speak or their level of education.

    Thanks for the Palmer, btw!

    1. SHG Post author

      I’m very much a part of that coastal elite, as are my friends, and we sit around and bemoan the choices. We find Trump repugnant, but we fear identity politics will destroy America. Many will sit it out because we can’t bring ourselves to vote for Trump, but won’t be party to the idiocracy either.

      1. MDD

        As close as I can remember, with apologies to the great philosopher Geddy Lee for any errors –

        If you chose not to decide
        You still have made a choice

  3. norahc

    “The “exhausted majority” finds itself in an untenable position. While few moderately intelligent people can tolerate Trump, the alternative is to allow the 8% to sneak in an agenda that is contrary to their views and could never be sold, and would never be bought, on its own. There is no mainstream support for identity politics, the Victimocracy, that social justice would try to ram down our throats.”

    That’s about the best summation of how Darth Cheeto got elected in the first place that I’ve seen.

    1. John Neff

      I don’t think they considered it to be a real majority. After they had stripped off the left and right fringes more than half were left and they called them the “exhausted majority”. It really is the unconnected semi-rational.

      1. SHG Post author

        The only thing they necessarily agree upon is that they reject both fringes. There is no such thing as a “centrist,” per se, but merely rational people who disagree within rational parameters.

  4. Karl Kolchak

    Worse yet, that awful 8% also makes it nearly impossible for those of us who identify as leftist on economic issues and are tolerant on social issues while deploring identity politics from being able to get heard the message that economic inequality is the real threat to American democracy. The 8% don’t care about economic issues because they are the “Lexus liberals,” the ones who, for example, care more about whether Roe vs. Wade remains in force than whether some poor scared teenager who lives in a red state 200 miles from the one remaining abortion clinic in their state has any realistic chance of being able to exercise her reproductive “rights.”

    Living in the D.C. area I know so many such people, and their monumental hypocrisy on so many issues (global warming is another) never ceases to amaze me.

  5. Jake

    Of course, it’s possible. Real conservatives will keep voting for Trump and his ilk because of tax cuts. But they (and Russia) can’t do it alone, so they need to whip up the truly ignorant populists with memes about coal-mining, Benghazi, and other fake news.

    Meanwhile, as you point out, the dems need to get out the vote. More coddling Wall Street and Big Pharma ain’t gonna to cut it.

    1. SHG Post author

      The Dems will turn out their 8%, plus however many people hate progressive policy but hate Trump more. If their scheme works, it will be a remarkable turn of events where policies that run from hated to merely disliked by 92% of the electorate, and will fundamentally change American society by obliterating it for the sake of social justice, could end up implemented. It will be fun to watch what happens.

      If it happens, we can hang out together at the re-education camp, J.

      1. phv3773

        Take heart. The most the Dems can do in this election is win a slim majority in the House, nowhere near enough to implement policy. Even if they evict Trump in the next election, they may not win the Senate.

        1. SHG Post author

          That’s true, yet it will lend credence to their certainty that the majority of Americans support social justice policies. What that will mean remains a mystery, but it surely won’t mean the Dems return to a moderate party of universal liberalism rather than extremist progressivism.

  6. losingtrader

    I went to vote this morning and decided to party with the idiocracy because:
    1) It’s far easier to select a straight ticket on the voting machine
    2) I can’t wait for the massive Costco to be built.

  7. B. McLeod

    Once again, campaign season has turned worse than “wabbit season/duck season,” descending into attack ads wherein each lot explains why the other lot are despicable bastards, and not to be trusted. No focus whatsoever on trying to show that the proponents of the ads are actually better than the despicable bastards who are not to be trusted. The obvious problem being, they are not. I agree with all of them, and like most voters, I am left to work on whatever scenario might prevent any of them finding an unobstructed path to their goals.

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