Cartoon: The Democratic Coalition

If you enjoy these cartoons, please help me make more by supporting my Patreon! A $1 pledge means a lot to me.

This cartoon was originally published by The Nib.


When one of my cartoons is published by a site – in this case by the wonderful folks at The Nib – I don’t have any control over when the cartoon is published. This cartoon, for example, was drawn months ago. But since it’s not connected to anything in the news cycle, The Nib held on to it until they had a hole in their publication schedule (or so I assume). Which is fine with me – the cartoon is seen by many more people this way – but it’s odd to be waiting for my cartoons to show up, like a bus that doesn’t keep to any particular schedule.

Anyhow, they’ve published it now (yay!).

One thing that made this cartoon weird experience is that, a couple of months after selling it, I couldn’t find the email where I’d discussed it with The Nib folks, and I started worrying that I’d just imagined selling it. I finally gave up and emailed my editors at The Nib to ask them if I’d really sold it or if I’d just been having freelancer delusions. That was an odd email to write.

Anyway, about this cartoon: Everyone who I’ve shown this cartoon to has had the same reaction – a rueful nod or chuckle by the time they read the third panel, since by then it’s pretty obvious where this is going, and then they smile and say “yup, exactly” or something like that.

For literally my entire life, there’s been this push/pull between the Democratic party and its constituents from marginalized groups. It’s easy to see the electorial logic behind this – the Democrats want to win, and one way to do that is to go for the marginal voters, that tiny minority of voters who could go for either party. But that alienates the base – and rightly so – and the Democrats can’t win without their base, either. Part of the fight is always fighting to keep the Democratic party from triangulating its base right out of the party.

(Every time I read an interview with a group of could-go-either-way voters I get depressed, because they generally don’t follow politics closely and have virtually no idea of what either candidate’s positions are, and these ignorants are the people who decide who runs the country.)

As far as the art goes, I think it’s all right. At the time I finished this cartoon, I was exhausted from drawing all these tiny figures and decided that adding more detailed coloring (shading and highlights) would take forever and not actually add anything to the gag or the readers’ experience. But looking at it now, months later, I wish I had done the shading. Maybe I’ll go in and add it sometime.

I do like the way that some characters who are barely visible in panel one get gradually revealed as the strip goes on.

Transcript of Cartoon:

Panel 1
This panel shows a diverse group of people, all listening to a smiling white man in a suit and tie. In the background is a light blue curtain.

SUIT DUDE: If the Democrats ever want to win again, we need to focus on core issues, not secondary issues! Let’s start by putting reproductive rights behind that curtain.

Panel 2
The same scene, but now a woman who was in the front of the crowd in panel 1 is now gone.

SUIT: That’s better. Oh, and let’s put immigration issues behind the curtain. Black Lives Matter and all that race stuff better go too.

Panel 3
The same scene, but several more people – including a Latinx family and a Black man – are now out of sight. There’s now only eight people in the much-shrunk crowd (counting a baby held by a man in the crowd).

SUIT: Poverty issues and unions and lgb issues and single parents and definitely trans issues – get behind the curtain.

Panel 4
Now everyone is behind the curtain (which is bulging a bit due to how many people are crowded behind it), except the man in the suit. He turns to the viewer, and with a big grin and an expansive arm gesture, says:

SUIT: See? Now this is a winning coalition!

This entry posted in Cartooning & comics, Elections and politics. Bookmark the permalink. 

56 Responses to Cartoon: The Democratic Coalition

  1. 1
    cody says:

    I shook my head and said “nope, that’s a false choice” because the idea that the Democratic party needs to choose between economic issues and quote-on-quote “identity politics” is a false choice, mostly put out by the party centrists who claim it has to be one or the other. It doesn’t have to be. It’s not either/or, it’s both/and.

    The Dem leadership has largely abandoned going after economic issues that would help the working class (living wage, single payer), and when progressives point this out centrists respond with “oh so you want to throw everyone else under the bus!” Uh, no, nobody said that, but that’s a very cynical and underhanded way to phrase it if you want the party to continue its failed electoral strategies of sniping for moderates and conservatives.

  2. 3
    Jokuvaan says:

    Actually I think a bigger issue is the ignorance about militant Islam and the republicans riding on it.
    If by 2020 Europe is burning but the pretense continues then it will be no surprise if Trump gets re-elected.

  3. 4
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    “If by 2020 Europe is burning”

    How likely do you think that is

  4. 5
    desipis says:

    I think the biggest problem with this cartoon is the way it portrays people as having only a single issue. Common issues such as workers rights, reducing economic inequality, etc. would likely affect all those people who went behind the curtain, so those people should still be standing front and centre.

  5. 6
    Jokuvaan says:

    “If by 2020 Europe is burning”

    How likely do you think that is

    Well as things are going I fear its only a matter of time.
    The estimated number of Jihadists in europe is over 50 000, they are gathering arms, explosives and munitions.
    And they openly boast about how they will conquer Europe.
    Sure they might launch their Tet-offensive in 2021 or later. Its not a easy feat to equip and organize such a large force.

  6. 7
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    Sounds like someone’s been getting most of their information about Europe from American conservative media.

    The impending demise of Europe at the hands of Islamicism (and before that communism) has been predicted by the American right as coming “in the next few years” for the last 50-odd years. I find it unlikely that -this- time, they’ve got it right.

  7. 8
    Mookie says:

    I shook my head and said “nope, that’s a false choice” because the idea that the Democratic party needs to choose between economic issues and quote-on-quote “identity politics” is a false choice, mostly put out by the party centrists who claim it has to be one or the other.

    No, it’s put out by allsorts, including people who are not at present members of the party or likely to vote for them (and they sometimes mess up whether it’s the lefties or the liberals balking at yucky stuff like gender and race) and self-identified lefties who view identity as self-imposed, limiting, and divisive and, as you say, standing in the way of a greater freedom connected to issues of economics.

    The Dem leadership has largely abandoned going after economic issues that would help the working class (living wage, single payer)

    Their candidate for president last year had some pretty extensive economic policy proposals, including the triad she aimed to be her legacy: professionalizing and then subsidizing daycare, extending and universalizing parental leave, and dramatically expanding early childhood education programs. The freedom and economic and professional opportunities that would have opened up for families and for children from marginalized communities with historically low access to higher education and training and apprenticeships in trades — avenues to that access that begin with their parents — would be broad and lasting.

  8. 9
    Jokuvaan says:

    Sounds like someone’s been getting most of their information about Europe from American conservative media.

    The impending demise of Europe at the hands of Islamicism (and before that communism) has been predicted by the American right as coming “in the next few years” for the last 50-odd years. I find it unlikely that -this- time, they’ve got it right.

    I think you just proved my point.
    EU intelligence and European military intelligence among other things do not rely on American conservative media.
    And Jihadist activity in Europe IS rising.
    Btw people in the part of Europe that got dominated by communism didn’t really like the experience and EE is still catching up.

  9. 10
    Mookie says:

    The Dem leadership has largely abandoned going after economic issues that would help the working class (living wage, single payer)

    Also, Obama’s been out of office for less than eight months. In the eight years preceding, he, Pelosi, and Reid managed to get ACA passed, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    Sanders’s single-payer bill has a co-sponsor in Harris, as of this week. Despite the brou-ha-ha getting there, Perez is a boon — substantively and optics-wise both — for the party as chair of the national committee, and his legacy as Labor Secretary is equally impressive. There’s no need to misrepresent what the party has achieved and wants to further achieve and what the country has to lose if the former victories are rescinded and the latter plans obstructed, which its opposition is threatening to do at every turn. How that constitutes abandoning working class America, I can’t imagine, unless one’s attention span and working memory are both malfunctioning, or you define economic issues as something other than environmental protections, subsidizing healthcare, regulating banks, raising wages, or, as Democrats did in June of this year, trying to prevent their Republican counterparts from restricting and capping flood insurance, reducing subsidies, and raising premiums (a handful of whom only reversed course this past week after millions of their constituents, many poor and rural, started filing claims for damages post-Harvey).

  10. 11
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    “I think you just proved my point.
    EU intelligence and European military intelligence among other things do not rely on American conservative media.”

    Do you have direct access to ‘EU intelligence’ or European military intelligence sources?

  11. 12
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    For the record, I was more talking about American conservatives’ predictions in the 70s and 80s that Western European countries would be overcome by the Soviet Union. I’m obviously aware that the USSR controlled most of Eastern Europe.

  12. 13
    jokuvaan says:

    Do you have direct access to ‘EU intelligence’ or European military intelligence sources?

    I can read the official public warnings they have given, only MSM does not consider them too newsworthy for some bizarre reason.
    Also I do have some insight like I doubt we are going to need Arabic alphabet while dealing with russians.

    For the record, I was more talking about American conservatives’ predictions in the 70s and 80s that Western European countries would be overcome by the Soviet Union.

    Well that concern was not without cause.

  13. 14
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    “I can read the official public warnings they have given”

    None of these warnings say that Europe is going to “burn” or anything equivalent.

    “Well that concern was not without cause.”

    It didn’t happen though, did it?

  14. 15
    jokuvaan says:

    None of these warnings say that Europe is going to “burn” or anything equivalent.

    Well not directly but you don’t have to be a genius to piece it together.
    https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/50-000-militant-islamists-in-europe-warns-top-security-chief-1.624849

    Why do YOU think that it will NOT escalate to the point that will make Trump&Co seem foresightful?
    What do you base your optimism on?

    It didn’t happen though, did it?

    Yes but what if there had been less action and deterrence to prevent it?

  15. 16
    Mandolin says:

    i mean, if the cure for Islamic terrorists/attackers is nazis, then the cure is at best no better than the disease.

  16. 17
    Mandolin says:

    I’m willing to agree that Islamic murder/terrorism are scary and a problem. (And it feels like some conservatives don’t think people with my ideology agree with that?) But I don’t agree about the scope of the problem, or many of the proposed methods for fixing it.

    So, I definitely favor gathering intelligence to help prevent attacks. Continued surveillance and awareness? A+ keep going.

    I’m guessing ortvin feels the same. So there’s nothing contradictory in his position when he says it’s reasonable to take into account that an incident didn’t happen; his argument does not inherently require that he favor discontinuing the efforts which made the prevention possible.

  17. 18
    jokuvaan says:

    i mean, if the cure for Islamic terrorists/attackers is nazis, then the cure is at best no better than the disease.

    Nazis? Where did that come from?

    Though it is true that the longer the problem is allowed to grow the harder the correcting move will be.
    However USA is pretty safe in this regard hiding behind the ocean and Trump.

  18. 19
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    “Why do YOU think that it will NOT escalate to the point that will make Trump&Co seem foresightful?
    What do you base your optimism on?”

    My day to day experience of living in Europe, and absence of credible sources to contradict that experience.

    The fact that there are 50,000 Islamists living in Europe doesn’t mean Europe is likely to “burn”. There are definitely more than 50,000 neo-Nazis living in Europe, and probably more than 50,000 militant animal rights activists. Does that mean they’re likely to “burn” Europe too?

    For context, the micronation of San Marino has a population of 60,000. So, San Marino is more capable of “burning” Europe than the Islamists are, if numbers are so determinative.

    I have no trouble believing there are 50,000 Islamists in Europe. It doesn’t follow that they will “burn” Europe.

    “Yes but what if there had been less action and deterrence to prevent it?”

    Those among the American right who believed that Europe was going to collapse before the USSR had two main prescriptions: the dismantling of European welfare states and the abandonment of modus vivendi with the Soviet bloc. Neither of those was comprehensively followed. So, by the standards of those who raised the spectre of Soviet domination, deterrence was not practiced, and yet their predicted scenario did not occur.

  19. 20
    jokuvaan says:

    My day to day experience of living in Europe, and absence of credible sources to contradict that experience.

    Doesn’t really prove anything one way or the other. I have also been going around without any issues in a migrant dominated block where they uncovered a terror cell.

    The fact that there are 50,000 Islamists living in Europe doesn’t mean Europe is likely to “burn”. There are definitely more than 50,000 neo-Nazis living in Europe, and probably more than 50,000 militant animal rights activists. Does that mean they’re likely to “burn” Europe too?

    Militant islamists! The number of islamists total is way higher.
    Also Neo-Nazis are a old suppressed threat. They could be a factor in a perfect storm but there is no hesitation to crack down on them. They do not have much of safe areas or popular support to rely on. They lack foreign funding, supplies or reserves. There is no hesitation to critizise, disprove or mock their narrative.
    There is no significant whitewashing of their past or ideology.

    And militant animal rights activists? I’m not sure you could find 5 of them in europe. Militancy is just something that goes against their ideology by nature.
    Heck almost all animal rights activists refuse or would refuse to undergo military service.
    The worst they have done is arson on empty facilities.

    For context, the micronation of San Marino has a population of 60,000. So, San Marino is more capable of “burning” Europe than the Islamists are, if numbers are so determinative.

    San Marino has a military of something like 7000 troops. The Swedish Armed Forces for a example have about the same 50 000 manpower which might be the tip of a iceberg for all we know.

    Anyway time will tell but should the left not be concernced about increasing religiously motivated misogyny, attacks on free speech and LGBT discrimination?

  20. 21
    Joe in Australia says:

    “Freelancer delusions” is a funny expression and brightened an otherwise bleak day, so thanks.

  21. 22
    Dreidel says:

    Ampersand:
    The cartoon is competently drawn, doesn’t need any more details like highlights or shading — but Cody (#1 comment above) is correct that it’s off-base politically because of all the Democratic constituents that it doesn’t show.

    The “Suit Dude” mentions “core issues” (presumably things like economic growth and jobs creation), but the cartoon doesn’t show any “core issue” voters that the party needs to win elections. Instead, it falsely depicts the Democratic Party as consisting only of marginalized and special-interest groups.

  22. 23
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    The issue isn’t interest groups. Every initiative has an effect; everyone is interested in something; everything affects an interest group.
    Good politicians all play to interest groups at some point, on both sides.

    The issue these days seems to be that the dems are becoming captured by a certain brand of progressive ideology. And that ideology seems to have an unusually large percentage of groups who pay more than a normal amount of attention to exclusion of people who are not in the interest group, akin to a “purity test” of sorts.

    Compare “We think everyone should worship weekly in our church” to “we think everyone should worship weekly; also, anyone who fails to agree with our demand to worship weekly is a heathen and will be shunned.”

    Since you wrote about BLM, I’ll use that as an example: BLM addresses a lot of things which actually have broad appeal to a lot of people: it is bad for a country to mistreat its citizens; it is bad for police to be corrupt; it is bad for police to be violent without cause; it is bad for police to violate the constitution. Obviously, we should be and can be better than this; we should all try to reach that goal.

    You can talk about it in all sorts of relatively-universal cross-aisle ways. There are a ton of reasons to be angry if police are mistreating black people. That is a fight all folks should join. Civil rights for POC is a fight which many people have joined.

    However, that fight does not require everyone to adopt a progressive worldview generally. Nor to use BLM as a starting point for sweeping societal changes: “End all deportations!Give all black people, including illegal immigrants, free education for life! Divest from fossil fuels! (yes, really.)

    And so on. Unlike the idea of “let’s all follow the Constitution and stop harming citizens!” those things have much less cross-aisle social support.

    But those are all things which are part of the BLM platform. Even if you believe black lives matter, if you show up at a BLM rally and you openly talk about those other things being ridiculous, you would be shunned. Just as if you show up at a “women’s rally” to oppose Trump, but you oppose reproductive rights, you will also be shunned.

    Or, “fighting white supremacy”. If you asked me before I read some analysis, I’d have told you that I strongly opposed both overt and covert white supremacy. Who doesn’t, right? Well, apparently me, since apparently I am myself a covert white supremacist, because I think stuff like a “euro-centric curriculum” is OK in the US; because I think we can have immigration restrictions; because I enjoy taking Columbus Day off work; and because I do not “believe” all POC (or anyone else, FWIW.).

    If you believe in some of the goals of the progressive umbrella but don’t pass sufficient purity tests, the Democrats do not seem to want you. It isn’t that they are playing to interest groups; it’s how they are playing to interest groups.

  23. 24
    Josh says:

    the Democrats want to win, and one way to do that is to go for the marginal voters, that tiny minority of voters who could go for either party. But that alienates the base – and rightly so – and the Democrats can’t win without their base, either. Part of the fight is always fighting to keep the Democratic party from triangulating its base right out of the party.

    Do the Republicans do this too? I sort of think not. What do they do instead? Could the Democrats do that too?

  24. 25
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    ” They could be a factor in a perfect storm but there is no hesitation to crack down on them.”

    Do you think there’s a hesitation to crack down on militant Islamicists in Europe? If so, does your opinion on this come from the same “European Union intelligence” and European military intelligence sources?

    “Anyway time will tell but should the left not be concernced about increasing religiously motivated misogyny, attacks on free speech and LGBT discrimination?”

    There’s room to be concerned about something without thinking it’s going to “burn” a subcontinent.

    Just to clarify I’m not arguing that Islamicism in Europe is insignificant. I just don’t think the continent is going to “burn” because of it in the near future.

    I think no Islamic group in Europe is in a position to pose a serious ongoing threat to the institutions of any European state, let alone Europe as a whole. And I would challenge you to find any credible source that contradicts that. (And no, intelligence reports citing the presence of 50,000 Islamicists is not a contradiction).

    So once again, the idea that Europe is on a slippery slope is a very old idea among the American right, one almost totally divorced from evidence. The American right is very much the boy who called wolf – Europe is always about to destroy itself, and providing warnings for America about the urgent necessity of fulfilling the right’s policy preferences (which ironically never really change despite the diversity of Europe-burning threats over the decades).

  25. 26
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    As an aside, if you think European Neo-Nazis have no popular support (especially compared to Islamists), and there’s no whitewashing of their history, I really don’t know what to say to you. Except perhaps that you might want to google “Jobbik”

  26. 27
    jokuvaan says:

    Do you think there’s a hesitation to crack down on militant Islamicists in Europe? If so, does your opinion on this come from the same “European Union intelligence” and European military intelligence sources?

    If compared to neo-nazis then yes there is a double standard.
    Then again nazis didn’t have the foresight to make Hitler a prophet and their ideology a religion or Mein Kampf a holy book.

    There’s room to be concerned about something without thinking it’s going to “burn” a subcontinent.

    More concern and less indifference would be nice.

    I think no Islamic group in Europe is in a position to pose a serious ongoing threat to the institutions of any European state, let alone Europe as a whole. And I would challenge you to find any credible source that contradicts that. (And no, intelligence reports citing the presence of 50,000 Islamicists is not a contradiction).

    Not right now but for now there is nothing halting the increase of the number of islamists or their influence.
    The much hoped integration has proven to be a failure in this regard so far.
    And the Paris attacks and Brussels bombings were carried out by one cell with a strength of some 20 men. 2500 times more attacks would certainly look like Europe is burning and impressions and feelings is what got Trump elected.

    So once again, the idea that Europe is on a slippery slope is a very old idea among the American right, one almost totally divorced from evidence. The American right is very much the boy who called wolf – Europe is always about to destroy itself, and providing warnings for America about the urgent necessity of fulfilling the right’s policy preferences (which ironically never really change despite the diversity of Europe-burning threats over the decades).

    Not totally, not anymore…

    As an aside, if you think European Neo-Nazis have no popular support (especially compared to Islamists), and there’s no whitewashing of their history, I really don’t know what to say to you. Except perhaps that you might want to google “Jobbik”

    *shrugs* Not much, not significant, at least on the scale of all of EU for the time being.

  27. 28
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    It seems to me that the left could benefit by being less in favor of gun control, but maybe I’m missing something.

  28. 29
    Ben Lehman says:

    @Nancy Lebovitz

    I’m not really a huge gun control proponent, but it’s not entirely clear that that’s the case.

    There are plenty of pro-gun Democrats that run in states like Montana where guns, and access to them, is both a necessity and an important political issue. Some of them win. Very few of them pick up Republican voters, for the same reason that the rare pro-choice Republicans don’t pick up Democratic voters: whatever the personal view of the politician in question, giving the Democrats control of the House or Senate makes gun control more likely. (Similarly, giving Republicans control of the House or Senate makes abortion restriction more likely.)

    This is sound political reasoning, but it also means that there’s not a lot of votes to pick up on these issues.

  29. 30
    Ampersand says:

    Do the Republicans do this too? I sort of think not. What do they do instead? Could the Democrats do that too?

    The Republicans successfully gerrymandered until they really don’t need to worry about anything but what the extreme right of their base thinks. In other words, because of gerrymandering, the typical Republican in the House is a lot more worried that they might lost a primary, than they are that they could lose an election.

  30. 31
    Ampersand says:

    I shook my head and said “nope, that’s a false choice” because the idea that the Democratic party needs to choose between economic issues and quote-on-quote “identity politics” is a false choice, mostly put out by the party centrists who claim it has to be one or the other.

    The original cartoon included “poverty” among the list of issues. Is poverty an “identity politics” issue?

    Anyway, after reading your comment, I edited the cartoon to include “unions” – not including unions in the first place was an oversight.

  31. 32
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Ampersand says:
    September 4, 2017 at 6:16 pm
    Is poverty an “identity politics” issue?

    Apparently, the answer remains “yes”. Discussions re poverty, like most discussions, are all filtered through the lens of current politics. Which, in this case, is heavily focused on interest groups.

  32. 33
    Gracchi says:

    @Ampersand

    Poverty can be framed as an identity politics issue, if anti-poverty policies are proposed that are based on race, gender or such, rather than objective criteria (like income). Or alternatively, if the policies that help all poor are presented as merely helping some races, genders, etc.

    In general, I would argue that a main feature of identity politics is racializing, gendering(, etc) topics which are not inherently racial, gendered, etc and/or greatly exaggerating the extent to which race or gender is significant.

    The logical consequence of this is that those who get the sense that the Democrats are willing to help them are more willing to vote for the Democrats, while those who get the sense that they are not going to be helped, even when they have a legitimate need, will be less willing to vote for the Democrats (and often will be very resentful).

  33. 34
    RonF says:

    The Republicans successfully gerrymandered until they really don’t need to worry about anything but what the extreme right of their base thinks. In other words, because of gerrymandering, the typical Republican in the House is a lot more worried that they might lost a primary, than they are that they could lose an election.

    The typical Democrat in the House is a lot more worried about a primary challenge than he or she is about losing the general election as well.

  34. 35
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    There’s a lot of internal conflict in poverty talk and much of it arises from interest group issues.

    1) For what I hope are fairly obvious reasons, it is necessary to openly discuss and acknowledge reality, insofar as need to understand the facts on the ground are an important predicate to changing them.

    2) Anti-poverty work is mostly
    ….(a) changing poor people, hoping to help them succeed;
    ….(b) giving them stuff, hoping to help them succeed; or
    ….(c) changing third parties, which is much more complex.

    3) Out of those, what is arguably the most effective way, when it works, is “changing poor people”. This is obviously hard, albeit possible.

    4) But when you talk about poor people you are often implicitly (or explicitly) discussing a group of disempowered folks of a certain race/culture.

    5) When you talk about changes you generally need to explain justifications as a reason for the change.

    6) As a political rule, you can’t easily say certain negative things about races/cultures. Not everyone feels that way of course, but the strength of this rule seems to have a positive correlation with folks who are interested in and capable of reducing poverty.

    7) So in some cases, one of the most effective ways of reducing poverty (“change poor people”) is rendered entirely ineffective (“that’s offensive/racist!”) by the same people who are trying to reduce poverty. That’s the Catch-22.

    Haidt’s article discusses this in more detail.

  35. 36
    RonF says:

    I think no Islamic group in Europe is in a position to pose a serious ongoing threat to the institutions of any European state, let alone Europe as a whole.

    It seems to me that the Rotherham child sexual abuse scandal and the refusal of law enforcement in numerous European countries to inform people of the nationality of criminal suspects shows that the law enforcement institutions of Europe have been corrupted by a fear of accusations of racism against Islam.

    The fact that there are 50,000 Islamists living in Europe doesn’t mean Europe is likely to “burn”.

    I think the residents of Paris might have a different perspective on this.

  36. 37
    Ampersand says:

    The typical Democrat in the House is a lot more worried about a primary challenge than he or she is about losing the general election as well.

    Well, the way gerrymandering works is to lock in a majority for one party, but at the cost of making everyone more secure. If I can design my state’s districts to make as many Republicans as possible “safe,” I’m going to inevitably pack a disproportionate number of Democratic voters into a couple of weirdly-shaped districts, which has the side effect of making those districts safe as well. But nonetheless, the gerrymandering in the current era is being driven by Republicans, not Democrats. And that gerrymandring is often done in racist ways.

    Finally, although almost all politicians are concerned to some degree with their base, I think it’s pretty clear that Republicans legislators are (by and large) more concerned with kowtowing to their base than their Democratic counterparts – there are now almost no national elected Republicans who are moderates. By consistent measures, the GOP has gotten a lot more conservative than the Democrats have gotten liberal.

    (Both those graphs use this as their source.)

  37. 38
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    ” 2500 times more attacks would certainly look like Europe is burning and impressions and feelings is what got Trump elected.”

    Do you think 2500 Paris-level terror attacks a year – that would be about 6 or 7 every day – is a likely scenario in the Europe of 2020?

  38. 39
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    @RonF: It’s interesting, most Parisians (even moreso than most French people) don’t feel as fatalistic about the possibility of undending terror in Paris as Americans do. Especially conservative Americans.

    I’ll leave it up to you as to who is more likely to be right… although if it’s the latter, I wonder if you would view as authoritative a left-wing Parisian perspective on 9/11.

    Big picture: When Americans talk about Europe, they are usually talking about America and simply using Europe as an interpretive tool, using preconceptions about Europe to reach a preordained point. This isn’t even restricted to conservative Americans (although that’s the example that brought this up).

    Lots of people complain that Americans are disinterested in the world outside the USA, but I would prefer that to this kind of faux-concern.

  39. 40
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    The fact that there are 50,000 Islamists living in Europe doesn’t mean Europe is likely to “burn”.

    It is very odd to compare the threats from Islamism and Nazism without noting the obvious differences.

    Nazis: small; no worldwide presence; no serious backing; shrinking. Of the Nazis worldwide, it’s likely that the vast majority of them are in Europe. There is no group of Nazis who are trying to get in.

    Islamism: large worldwide presence, not at all limited to Europe; covert or overt backing by major countries and political groups; currently in the process of trying to form their own entire country; rapidly growing. Of the Islamists worldwide, the vast majority of them are NOT in Europe, and there are purportedly groups who are trying to get in.

    There is no Nazi Germany any more; there are no Nazi fighters any more; the same is not true for Islamism. There are a lot of Islamists in the world who are NOT in Europe, and there are a whole bunch more folks (hundreds of thousands? Tens of millions? For sure there’s a lot more than 50k) who are somewhat-to-fully supportive of various Islamists and their goals, as per the various Pew polls and such. Those include some very rich, powerful, connected countries and their leaders. And their influence is growing.

  40. 41
    jokuvaan says:

    Do you think 2500 Paris-level terror attacks a year – that would be about 6 or 7 every day – is a likely scenario in the Europe of 2020?

    Thats not too likely, the whole point of coordinated attacks is overburdening the response.
    More likely a average of 50-100 attacks per day for 25-50 days. The first phase of the Tet-offensive for a example lasted about 62 days.
    We don’t really know when, where and how but what we do know is that they will hardly just give up without a fight and prefer to go out with a bang.

    I’ll leave it up to you as to who is more likely to be right… although if it’s the latter, I wonder if you would view as authoritative a left-wing Parisian perspective on 9/11.

    Big picture: When Americans talk about Europe, they are usually talking about America and simply using Europe as an interpretive tool, using preconceptions about Europe to reach a preordained point. This isn’t even restricted to conservative Americans (although that’s the example that brought this up).

    Lots of people complain that Americans are disinterested in the world outside the USA, but I would prefer that to this kind of faux-concern.

    The american left is not really much better as far as using preconceptions about Europe to reach a preordained point, goes.
    Besides faux-concern is still better than denialism or indifference.
    To fake motivation is better than no motivation at all.

  41. 42
    RonF says:

    Amp, @ 37:

    In looking at the first link, it shows as part of an explanation of what gerrymandering is an example of 3 different ways to divide up an area made up of 60% one party and 40% of another into 5 different districts. It shows one example of 5 districts as 5 long, thin columns that each consist of one party and says that because the percentage of the districts that will vote for a given party in the area represents the percentage of party voter distribution it represents a fair apportionment. It shows another example with 5 compact districts each of which has the party that has the majority in the area with the same percentage of majority as the party does overall and claims that since this gives all 5 districts to the majority party, it’s unfair.

    Basically, I reject that premise. The idea of apportioning districts is not to ensure proportional representation for given political parties. Note that nowhere in the Constitution are political parties even mentioned, never mind given an official role in government. The idea is to give geographic regions representation, not political parties. And since the Democratic party’s base tends to more geographically concentrated than the GOP, the House is going to skew GOP.

    Here’s an example for you. Take a hypothetical state. Similar to Illinois, it has a big city in one spot which is surrounded by suburbs, with farms taking up the rest of the State. The population distribution is such that the city would make up one district by itself, the suburbs two, and the rural area one; 4 districts in total. A natural division would be to divide up the state into districts in just that fashion. Now say that the city is 90% D/10% R. The ‘burbs are 55% R/45% D and downstate is 70%R/30% D. The overall voter distribution would be 52.5% D / 47.5% R. According to that article, a “fair” apportionment would result in 2 D and 2 R districts. But that would require making districts that look like snakes or salamanders (part of the origin of the term “gerrymander”) combining voters from 2 or 3 different regions that have disparate cultures and interests. Keeping the districts geographically compact gives 3 R / 1 D. That’s depicted as “unfair”, but it’s actually the opposite of gerrymandering.

    As far as the measurements of political extremism vs. moderation go, I note that the article is written by a bunch of academics, all of whom hail from UCLA, UCSD (one is currently elsewhere but apparently spend much of his time at one of them). A bunch of academics from the west coast have a methodology claiming that the GOP has gotten more extreme than the Democrats? I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here. I’d have to dig pretty deep into their methodology and then have a look at critiques thereof to accept that, and I don’t have the time, so my default is to discount them.

  42. 43
    AJD says:

    The idea of apportioning districts is not to ensure proportional representation for given political parties. Note that nowhere in the Constitution are political parties even mentioned, never mind given an official role in government. The idea is to give geographic regions representation, not political parties.

    I thought the point of apportioning districts is to ensure equal representation for all persons.

  43. 44
    RonF says:

    Yes, but location, not by political preferences.

  44. 45
    Ampersand says:

    Ron. here’s a (much less in depth) description of the same research from FoxNews:

    Yet even as more citizens go to the middle, the politicians are marching to the political extremes. According to an analysis of congressional voting records by Professor Keith Poole of the University of Georgia’s Political Science Department, the Republican caucuses in Congress have become dramatically more conservative since the 1960s. At the same time, he says, the Democratic caucuses have remained largely unchanged in their moderate, left-of-center leanings. His comprehensive research is available online at http://www.voteview.com.

    Anyway, I’m sure you’ll have some excuse to dismiss anything that doesn’t fit in with your ideology.

  45. 46
    Ampersand says:

    Yes, but location, not by political preferences.

    By “political preferences,” you mean who actual voters want to have in government.

    I think that should be what political elections are about. I think the consent of the governed matters, and a system that systematically guarantees that the minority party wins, and never has to change to persuade more voters to vote for them, is corrupt, antidemocratic, and wrong.

    Democracy is not perfect, but it’s better than the alternative – and a system that guarantees the minority party remains in control is not democracy.

    I think what voters prefer matters. You think what voters who live in rural areas prefer matters, and everyone else’s vote deserves to be worth less. Why is that? Do you think people who live in New York City are worth less as citizens? Do you think that living in a small state makes people morally superior?

    The last time a Republican won their initial election to the presidency with a majority of the vote was 1988. Don’t you find that at all troubling? Do you think the preferences of the majority of voters should be completely irrelevant?

    Your views do have the Constitution on their side. But they are also profoundly antidemocratic, and profoundly immoral.

  46. 47
    Harlequin says:

    RonF: If you think it’s bad to draw districts in strange salamander-shaped ways to adjust the partisan representation of Congressional delegations, and that districts should be drawn in a sensible geographic fashion, then you, too, ought to be very angry at the redistricting choices made by a number of mostly Republican state legislators, and opposed to a number of current Congressional maps.

  47. 48
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    RonF is right. We should not give any consideration to preserving party voting when it comes to redistricting. We will, of course, but that is a political reality and not an ideal.

    Districts should be drawn as compactly as possible. The problem comes when folks try to wrap in “common interests” or “common characteristics,” which makes it difficult. As an example: do you have more common interests with a neighborhood which matches your demographics and income and zoning, but is two miles away? Or do you have more common interests with the place five blocks from you (but on the other side of the highway) which is much richer/poorer, different demographics, suburban rather than urban, etc?

    My own preferred solution is radical redistricting favoring compactness and ignoring party affiliation, but with a delayed (10-15 year) rollout. The country will be very different then, and people will have ample time to consider where they want to end up. The rollout reduces risk immensely. Besides, “common characteristics” don’t make a ton of sense; neighborhoods change radically, often over just a few decades.

  48. 49
    RonF says:

    Harlequin, I agree with you. Perhaps I need to point out again that I am not a Republican and have voted for a Democrat for my Congressman in almost all of the last 12 elections. I think that gerrymandering is wrong regardless of whether it is engineered by politicians to ensure their party is represented or by judges to ensure that particular races or ethnic groups are represented.

    Amp, it seems to me, and please correct me if I am wrong, that you are arguing that districts should be drawn so as to ensure that the proportional representation of the two major political parties in a given State’s House delegation is the same as the proportional vote for those parties in the State overall. From a purely democratic viewpoint that may make sense – but we don’t live in a democracy. We live in a republic, and with a Constitution that guarantees a republican form of government both to the country as a whole and to the individual States. The Founders considered making us a pure democracy but being reasonably familiar with history knew that pure democracies don’t work all that well. Now, I don’t think that districts should be gerrymandered to give parties, races, ethnic groups, or any other entity a particular advantage (and I live in a D +2 State when it comes to gerrymandering). But I don’t think that extraordinary measures should be taken to obtain a particular political balance either. I pretty much favor creating district boundaries along existing political boundaries (municipal/county lines) or natural ones (e.g., rivers).

  49. 50
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    “we don’t live in a democracy. We live in a republic”

    Oh dear

  50. 51
    Chris says:

    Yes, a republic is a type of democracy.

  51. 52
    Duncan says:

    Jokuvaan: “If by 2020 Europe is burning”

    Well, in 2017 the Middle East is already burning, thanks to multiple wars of aggression either directly by Christian America and Europe (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya) or indirectly through their clients (Yemen). There are far more crusaders than jihadists involved in these wars, whose human toll has been very great and is growing by the day. (Dubya wanted to call his war on terror a crusade, but his PR people persuaded him it didn’t look good.) And that’s just talking about the present; historically, the devastation has been even greater (all of the Americas, for one). So, something should really be done about Christians, don’t you think? They’re a real threat to world peace.

  52. 53
    Kate says:

    Well played, Duncan @52!

  53. 54
    jokuvaan says:

    Well, in 2017 the Middle East is already burning, thanks to multiple wars of aggression either directly by Christian America and Europe (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya) or indirectly through their clients (Yemen). There are far more crusaders than jihadists involved in these wars, whose human toll has been very great and is growing by the day. (Dubya wanted to call his war on terror a crusade, but his PR people persuaded him it didn’t look good.) And that’s just talking about the present; historically, the devastation has been even greater (all of the Americas, for one). So, something should really be done about Christians, don’t you think? They’re a real threat to world peace.

    First of all I didn’t really see anyone trying to justify it by religious reasons or for spreading christianity nor even supporting atheism/agnostism at the expense of Islam.
    Secondly are you suggesting that europeans are guilty by association for deeds by USA?

    France – On 20 January 2003, Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said, “We think that military intervention would be the worst possible solution,” although France believed that Iraq may have had an ongoing chemical and nuclear weapons program. Villepin went on to say that he believed the presence of UN weapons inspectors had frozen Iraq’s weapons programs. France also suggested that it would veto any resolution allowing military intervention offered by the US or Britain. The most important French speech during the crisis was made by De Villepin at the Security Council on the 14 February 2003, after Hans Blix presented his detailed report. De Villepin detailed the three major risks of a “premature recourse to the military option”, especially the “incalculable consequences for the stability of this scarred and fragile region”. He said that “the option of war might seem a priori to be the swiftest, but let us not forget that having won the war, one has to build peace”. He emphasized that “real progress is beginning to be apparent” through the inspections, and that, “given the present state of our research and intelligence, in liaison with our allies”, the alleged links between al-Qaeda and the regime in Baghdad explained by Colin Powell were not established. He concluded by referring to the dramatic experience of “old Europe” during World War II.

    Germany – On January 22, German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, at a meeting with French president Jacques Chirac, said that he and Chirac would do all they could to avert war. At the time, Germany was presiding over the Security Council.

    If so then we are destined to support Trump by default.

  54. 55
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Ampersand says:
    September 6, 2017 at 12:27 am

    By “political preferences,” you mean who actual voters want to have in government.

    I think that should be what political elections are about. I think the consent of the governed matters, and a system that systematically guarantees that the minority party wins, and never has to change to persuade more voters to vote for them, is corrupt, antidemocratic, and wrong.

    That seems like a really odd thing to say because it seems to me that the parties have changed significantly. Many of Bill Clinton’s views from the 90s have a lot of overlap with many views held by current Republicans, for example. Bernie Sanders’ views would have landed him in the uber-left of Democrats in the 90s, but they are gaining popularity now. There’s some quip which is akin to “current republican attitudes are the same as democratic attitudes a generation ago” and it’s closer to true than not. Both parties are changing.

    Anyway, the “parties don’t change” argument seems wrong.

  55. 56
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    @Duncan: I think it’s a stretch to say that the Yemen war is caused by “christians”.

    The Saudis are a lot of things, but compliant vassals of the USA/Europe who enact western agendas they definitely aren’t.

    The USA/Europe may turn a blind eye to the war and assist for mercenary purposes, but the origin of the war lies in internal Saudi priorities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *