Saturday, June 13, 2015

People who actually care about stuff are gross

Hillary's campaign would like to "excite the base" if only the base weren't so terrible.
They make it clear that turning away from Bill Clinton's cherished demographic of southern white moderates, and toward the Obama base of "young, nonwhite and female voters," is something they're only doing with extreme reluctance.

They describe rhetoric for the young-female-nonwhite coalition as "narrow," while a Bill Clinton-style turn toward the red states would be a "broader" strategy that would "lift the party with her."

In the Times piece, this line is followed by a slew of quotes from establishment Dems about the perils of turning toward the base. And it's capped by an on-the-record quote from Mook, Hillary's current campaign manager, who is described as "unmoved" by such concerns:

"I think everybody understands how tough it's going to be next year if we get through the primary… So I'm not concerned about hand-wringing on the strategy."

In other words: "We hate doing this, but it's the only way to win. Bear with us."

As political messaging goes, it's a remarkably perverse way to kick off a campaign. It's like going on a date and announcing before the appetizers arrive that the only reason you're here is that the person you really wanted to go out with turned you down.
It's possible to see this as a sort of reverse version of the old Clinton triangulation strategy where we openly court working class conservatives while quietly whispering "trust us" to what is presumed to be the party's more liberal base.  By this reckoning, the new strategy is to overtly court what Taibbi calls the "Obama base" (which, in this case we assume to be liberals though I would argue with that*) while whispering "trust us" to big corporate donors. 

That's really not new, though. It's basically the Obama strategy. The slight difference now is that Hillary lacks the credibility Obama once had when he was perceived as an outsider. Which is why the Democrats recruited Bernie Sanders to run his "Official Opposition" campaign concurrently with hers. 

The idea is for Bernie's fake campaign to keep the kids involved while Hillary's operatives send signals to Wall Street.  And then Bernie endorses Hillary at the convention. All those gross people who voted for him because they actually care about stuff are placated. And we can all get back to the business of being ruled by the people who actually count.

Only six months to go before primary season actually begins.

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