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Polls Show Being Anti-Trump Isn't Enough to Beat GOP

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Sanders: Had the youth.
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With six months to go before the midterm election, new national polls are showing that the Democratic Party's much-touted momentum to gain control of the House has stalled out. The latest numbers tell us a lot about the limits of denouncing Donald Trump without offering much more than a return to the old status quo.

Under the headline "Democrats' 2018 Advantage Is Nearly Gone," CNN reported Wednesday that nationwide polling found "the generic congressional ballot has continued to tighten" -- "with the Democrats' edge over Republicans within the poll's margin of sampling error for the first time this cycle."

With so many gerrymandered districts as well as widespread voter-ID laws and other GOP-engineered voter suppression, Democrats will need a substantial margin in vote totals to prevent Republicans from retaining a majority in the House of Representatives. (The prospects are worse in the Senate, where Democrats are defending a lopsided number of seats this year.)

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While "47 percent of registered voters say they back the Democratic candidate in their district, 44 percent back the Republican," according to CNN. "Voters also are divided almost evenly over whether the country would be better off with the Democrats in control of Congress (31 percent) or with the GOP in charge (30 percent). A sizable 34 percent -- including nearly half of independent voters (48 percent) -- say it doesn't matter which party controls Congress."

The CNN survey comes on the heels of other grim national polling. A recently released Reuters poll concluded that "enthusiasm for the Democratic Party is waning among millennials."

"The online survey of more than 16,000 registered voters ages 18 to 34 shows their support for Democrats over Republicans for Congress slipped by about 9 percentage points over the past two years, to 46 percent overall," Reuters reported. "And they increasingly say the Republican Party is a better steward of the economy."

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Young people overwhelmingly supported Bernie Sanders during his 2016 campaign for president. With their votes in Democratic Party primaries and caucuses two years ago, the young showed that they want truth about the destructive effects of corporate power -- and forceful action against its manifestations, whether economic injustice or climate change.

Overall, the latest generation of adults is negative about the demagogue in the White House. But most Democratic leaders aren't offering a clear and compelling alternative. As Reuters put it, "Although nearly two of three young voters polled said they do not like Republican President Donald Trump, their distaste for him does not necessarily extend to all Republicans or translate directly into votes for Democratic congressional candidates."

Six months ago, the independent report--titled Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis -- pointed out that young people "increasingly want politics to be for something profoundly positive rather than just against Republicans." As a member of the task force that worked on the report, I was struck by how the top echelon of the Democratic Party keeps trying to insulate itself from -- and fend off -- the tremendous energy that mobilized behind Sanders during the primaries.

In short, the Democratic Party is still dominated by elected officials and power brokers who appear to be deeply worried that a future progressive upsurge of political engagement could loosen -- or even end -- their corporate-funded grip on the party. As the Autopsy report said, "Emerging sectors of the electorate are compelling the Democratic Party to come to terms with adamant grassroots rejection of economic injustice, institutionalized racism, gender inequality, environmental destruction and corporate domination. Siding with the people who constitute the base isn't truly possible when party leaders seem to be afraid of them."

The Sanders campaign was "mostly propelled by millennials," the report noted, and the campaign "turned what conventional wisdom had pegged as an obscure, 2-percent campaign into a photo finish with the establishment's preferred candidate. Once the nomination was settled, much of this grassroots energy dissipated as the Clinton campaign declined to adopt positions like single-payer health care and free public college that resonated with young voters."

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Those kinds of positions have gained some traction in the aftermath of 2016, but they still have a steep climb in the hidebound upper reaches of Democratic Party power. For the people atop the party, it's so much easier and more comfortable to selectively denounce Trump -- while opposing genuinely progressive agendas that would really challenge income inequality or take aim at the warfare state's bloated budget or cross up the big donors who funnel vast quantities of money into the party.

With the world facing the dual threats of climate change and nuclear holocaust, it's no exaggeration when Noam Chomsky describes the present-day Republican Party as "the most dangerous organization in human history." The latest national polling reflects the reality that Democrats' feeble partisan maneuvers are ill-suited to ousting the Republicans from power. Methodical grassroots organizing will be necessary -- to bring down the GOP's deranged leadership, and to defeat the forces of corporate power and militarism that continue to hold sway at the top of the Democratic Party.

This article first appeared on Common Dreams.

 

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Norman Solomon is the coordinator of the online activist group RootsAction.org and the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He is the author of a dozen books including "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning (more...)
 

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Richard Stitt

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The late comedian George Carlin was asked shortly after the 2004 election why he thought John Kerry and the Democrats lost. His answer (paraphrasing), "When the other side has you speaking their language they've got you."

The media remain focused on Trump and fixated on his inanities in spite of their self-recriminations in buying into his recent Spygate claim. Now, everyone is talking about Spygate. That's the art of the con for Trump. Make everyone else speak your language and force the media to carry the message.

In the meantime as this article points out, there are myriad injustices that get lost in the name-calling and mudslinging. Health care, poverty, exorbitant college tuition, automation and job training in critical non-manual skills are all languishing as congress dawdles and tries to figure out which programs to fund, i.e., the military industrial welfare state vs. domestic spending on things like infrastructure and growing income inequality.

As tenuous as the Democrats' chances are for taking over the House in November they will disappear completely if Trump, predictably, gets our country into a war with either Iran or North Korea. That's when Trump's poll numbers will soar. America, sadly, is once again thirsty for its own generation's war. And as we know, you never, ever criticize the president in time of war.

Submitted on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 2:16:57 AM

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The late comedian George Carlin was asked shortly after the 2004 election why he thought John Kerry and the Democrats lost. His answer (paraphrasing), "When the other side has you speaking their language they've got you."


The media remain focused on Trump and fixated on his inanities in spite of their self-recriminations in buying into his recent Spygate claim. Now, everyone is talking about Spygate. That's the art of the con for Trump. Make everyone else speak your language and force the media to carry the message.


In the meantime as this article points out, there are myriad injustices that get lost in the name-calling and mudslinging. Health care, poverty, exorbitant college tuition, automation and job training in critical non-manual skills are all languishing as congress dawdles and tries to figure out which programs to fund, i.e., the military industrial welfare state vs. domestic spending on things like infrastructure and growing income inequality.


As tenuous as the Democrats' chances are for taking over the House in November they will disappear completely if Trump, predictably, gets our country into a war with either Iran or North Korea. That's when Trump's poll numbers will soar. America, sadly, is once again thirsty for its own generation's war. And as we know, you never, ever criticize the president in time of war.

Submitted on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 2:17:40 AM

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John Zwiebel

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I still ain't votin' for no God Damn corporatist.

I know some of you might be getting tired of hearing this, but tough. Susan Sarandon told Chris Hayes what was going to happen and he laughed with incredulity.

Well, here it is. If the choice is a Republican Corporatist or a Democratic Corporatist, both members of the Oligarchy...

I ain't votin' for no God Damn corporatist.

Submitted on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 6:08:21 AM

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Reply to John Zwiebel:   New Content

But don't you wish you could cast your vote against at least one of them?

Submitted on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 9:58:24 AM

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Kristine Hoggatt

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Yes, wouldn't it be nice to vote against the corporatists? This would mean (1) the corporate-controlled media would stop telling everyone that voting for a third party candidate is wasting a vote, and (2) the Dems would actually field candidates worth voting for.

My senator (Donnelly) just voted for criminal torturer Gina Haspel for head of the CIA. How can anyone in good conscience vote for people like that?

Submitted on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 3:32:28 PM

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BFalcon

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It is still a long way.

And Democrats thus far keep winning.

Trust Trump, he will lose it.

Submitted on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 6:36:08 AM

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Burl Hall

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Perfect response: In short, the Democratic Party is still dominated by elected officials and power brokers who appear to be deeply worried that a future progressive upsurge of political engagement could loosen -- or even end -- their corporate-funded grip on the party. As the Autopsy report said, "Emerging sectors of the electorate are compelling the Democratic Party to come to terms with adamant grassroots rejection of economic injustice, institutionalized racism, gender inequality, environmental destruction and corporate domination. Siding with the people who constitute the base isn't truly possible when party leaders seem to be afraid of them."


In my view, we need a total overhaul of the system. The system is not just the politicians and others. We are. For example, in my idea regarding pollution, global warming, etc, all of these are participants in our general philosophy that says that "MAN" rules the roost. In my humble opinion, our world is Natural. Meanwhile, on a spiritual perspective, Nature is who we are. For example, Daniel Geere and Rob Kall have the Nature of those who care about what is going one in the world. Its in their hearts. Carlin, by the way, was right on target. If I"m getting the title right, one of his last shows. .youtube.com/watch?v=9dY4WlxO6i0&t=7s


Submitted on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 2:26:23 PM

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Although I agree that we are in the system, too, the two parties have an almost complete lock on candidates for public office. First, one has to be extremely wealthy or well-connected, or must be a sychophant who is willing to do the most egregious acts in order to garner campaign funding.

Second, even when progressives try to run - like Bernie Sanders, and more recently, Levi Tillemann (who was told by Stenny Hoyer that he should step aside) - they are thwarted by the Dem machine.

I think we have to face facts: the Dems do not want progressive candidates, officials, or policies. They are just as embedded with Wall St. as the Republicans.

Submitted on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 3:41:56 PM

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It is out system of voting that is the fundamental reason we have only two political parties with any real chance of winning. Until we change our voting system there is little chance for a third-party to take root; if one does then one of the three parties will disappear before long. But perhaps, if Sanders decides to run as an independent next time he would have a chance of winning election. Still, that would probably be only a brief interruption in two-party rule - though a welcome one.

But there are many other voting systems we could turn to instead. Some of them actually encourage the establishment of multiple parties.

Submitted on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 5:55:21 PM

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The American political landscape is absolutely sterile...a desert...dry...dead...only the howling hot winds of dread and despair, disturb the otherwise silent wasteland...every now and then, a cloud of political bats flush out of the dark caves in which they dwell in between feeding-time, planning, scheming, how best to sustain themselves from the barren, fossilized emptiness...

Planet earth is not a suitable place for an entity like the US...the illegitimate union construct views this miraculous orb as a "threat" to its "national security", consequently investing in a perpetual orgy of death and destruction against anything and everything that might catch its attention...

"Young voters"...? -- ...how can they make any difference? -- They don't understand anything, they are unaware of the process of mental annihilation they have been subjected to since birth...they have no memory of "911", so how could they care? Submission and obedience is all they need to care about -- Do Not Protest! -- ...it offends the ruling custodians...Total Global Subjugation is the agenda and such a quest does not have room for "diverging views"...prepare to comply and accept...

Submitted on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 6:08:21 PM

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