Liberal NY Times writer condemns woke Democrats

November 8, 2019 • 1:30 pm

Timothy Egan is a liberal op-ed columnist for the New York Times, and has the credentials to prove it, including a share in the Times’s Pulitzer Prize for its series “How Race is Lived in America”. (He also has a National Book Award for nonfiction for his 2009 book The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America.)

It would be hard, then, for leftists to dismiss Egan as an alt-righter or white supremacist, though I suppose that, as he was born in 1954, he could be denigrated as a “boomer.” (That, of course, is ageism.) But I suppose they’ll try, as is always the case when somebody writes a piece like Egan’s latest for the NYT (click on the screenshot below):

The exemplar of someone who’s turned off by “insufferable wokeness” is Egan’s sister, who works cleaning toilets at Wal-Mart:

No matter how much I point out that Trump is trying to take away her health care protections by litigating to kill Obamacare, that his tariffs have made it harder to pay her bills, that he is the most repulsive and creepy man ever to occupy the White House, she holds firm.

Why? One reason is what she hears from the other side. Many Democrats, she says, are dismissive of her religious beliefs and condescending of her lot in life. She’s turned off by the virtue-signaling know-it-alls.

She’s clearly someone who would be tossed into (and resent being in) the “basket of deplorables” described by Hillary Clinton. Egan goes on:

It’s no mystery why so many Democrats can no longer connect to the white working class. Progressives promise free college, free health care, free child care, and scream in bafflement, What’s wrong with you people?

No doubt, some of those people are racist and xenophobic. But many others simply feel insulted and dismissed. And these are voters who can still be persuaded to save our country from a disastrous second term of a corrupt and unstable president.

Well, I’m not nearly as worried as I used to be that Trump will be re-elected. He will be impeached, but probably not convicted, but he’s now so far beyond the pale as a leader that I simply can’t believe that the American public would choose him again. And with that conviction (and of course I may well be wrong), comes a reduction in my fear that fulminating wokeness could hurt the Democrats.

But it can still hurt the country, for the woke are Authoritarian Liberals (or, if you will, Control-Leftists), and they will be a prominent segment of the future leaders and opinion makers of America. And so it behooves us to consider which parts of wokeness are worth considering and which are worth mocking the reviling.

That’s a lot of what this website does. And that’s why I liked Obama’s recent call-out of “cancel culture”, which only got him dismissed as a privileged Boomer, despite every indication of his concern for the oppressed. He did, after all, propose “Obamacare.”

And yes, I’d vote for Warren, but I’m more aligned with Mayor Pete, and so, it seems, is Egan. As an old liberal, I still find Warren not only too progressive, but hectoring, a bit mendacious, and unwilling to compromise to win an election. (Compromise, after all, isn’t a dirty word, but the essence of successful legislation in a democracy). Warren needs to tone down her healthcare promises and come up with a plan for regulating immigration that doesn’t look like open borders (she’s good with plans). Egan continues;

For the record, I’m agnostic on the Democratic field. I would vote for a tree stump if it could beat Trump. Biden, Obama and Nancy Pelosi, along with recent polling and the election results on Tuesday, all show that the best way to rid this country of Trump is for Democrats to dial back the condescension of their natural allies and dig into the gritty concerns of daily life.

Pete Buttigieg, looking to pick up the moderate left vote if Biden falters, has already taken Obama’s lesson to heart. “I’m not about being in the right place ideologically, whatever that means,” he said in Iowa last week. “I’m about having answers that are going to make sense.”

One of the biggest takeaways from the recent New York Times/Siena College survey of battleground states is that Elizabeth Warren is not connecting with the very people her policies are supposed to help. Trump beats her or runs even in every tossup state but one. The persuadable voters in these states, many of them working class, say political correctness has gotten out of control, and they prefer someone seeking common ground over someone with a militantly progressive agenda.

It’s worth remembering that nearly two-thirds of all American adults do not have a four-year college degree. Warren, the Harvard professor who recently suggested that moderate Democrats belong with the other party, could be more effective with these folks if she showed more of her daughter-of-a-janitor side.

. . .the inconvenient fact remains that a relatively small pool of working-class voters in the handful of battleground states are still likely to determine the fate of the country next year.

(Now I’m getting worried again. . . )

Democrats flipped 40 House seats in 2018 and attracted more white working-class voters — without insufferable wokedness. They hammered away on health care and kitchen table concerns. The same approach helped Democrats pull off an apparent upset in the Kentucky governor’s race this week.

Finally, Egan gives some statistics (also mentioned by Andrew Sullivan in his excellent rundown of Trump’s crimes this week). Those statistics come from the article below (click on screenshot):


Next year, Trump will be the greatest motivator and unifier for a majority of Americans poised to throw him out. For his core 40 percent, there’s no crime or debasement that will change their mindsHe can indeed shoot someone, as a focus group participant helpfully clarified this week, and likely get a pass from the Cult of Trump.

Yes, but Trump’s disapproval rating is rising (it’s now over 50%). On the other hand, what is Elizabeth Warren’s approval rating among Americans as a whole? (Someone please enlighten me). In the end, I conclude that Egan’s being a bit dramatic in his last paragraph:

But for others, those like my sister, a word to Democrats: Talk to them. Don’t talk over them. Save the piety, the circular firing squad, the shaming on social media for after the election. Otherwise, the woke will wake next Nov. 3 to a tragedy.

Still, Warren would be well advised to heed this advice if she wants to be the Democratic candidate, much less a winning one. But I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for Mayor Pete.

134 thoughts on “Liberal NY Times writer condemns woke Democrats

  1. I can so relate to this.
    I view Trump as an incompetent, vulgar con-artist.

    And yet, my “block/mute” list consists mostly of people who will *probably* vote the same way that I do.

    And then the 2016 results came in, I felt 99 percent disgust, 1 percent schadenfreude WRT the agony of the more noxious wokes.

    1. Me too. I think it might be in the best interests of the country if Warren doesn’t get the nomination. I think she would be a great asset to have in the next administration, in the appropriate office, but not as president.

      Historically it doesn’t seem like early front-runners make it to the final very often. I wouldn’t be surprised if Biden, Bernie and Warren all end up fading to the back of the pack by the time it’s all over.

      1. I also hope Warren doesn’t get the nod, but continues with her efforts for change. Unless the Senate majority changes, her policies are non-starters. If the Senate went D majority, she’d still have a hard time without abolishing the filibuster. I’m not for abolishing (yet).

        I agree with PCC(E)’s astute observations describing EW. It is very apparent to me when I see her during her speeches with the sound muted. She has horrible body language imo, and I must admit, her body language is that of a male politician. I’ve been programmed not to like that in a female. I know it’s a personal bias, I admit that; but I have to be honest.

        Caveat (we all seem to need to say this) I’d still vote for her twice if I could.

      2. I can only see Biden losing support the more people see him perform in debate.

        And the only candidate to whom I can see that support migrating is Pete.

        People like him, he’s clever, he’s prepared to compromise, he doesn’t express a kind of sneering disgust for Trump voters(as tempting as it must be), he’s prepared to set aside the incredible partisan hatred of the last three years, he’s not fond of the more overt forms of political correctness…

        And he’s a young military vet with political experience.

        He is Trump’s kryptonite. The only issue is his homosexuality, but I’m hoping the American people have been exposed to enough gay celebrities over the last few decades that the instinctive fear of queer-cooties no longer precludes someone running for president. Naive maybe, I don’t know. After all the US is very religious.

        I can tell you we in the UK would love to have a lineup of candidates even half as strong as you American liberals have.

  2. I think Egan has some of the same problems politically as many other democrats but let’s face it, it is his job to crank out the punditry and that is what he does. First problem I see is not understanding the difference between primary politics and national election politics.

    Does he really think that Warren or Sanders is going to live or die on the medicare health issue. It seems to me that he and others are so concerned about every little issue of Warrens that nothing else comes through. The idea that you must go neutral, down the middle, main stream to win is a sizable error. Clinton spent her entire campaign going down the middle. In fact, I would put something else out there that may be bothering Egan and that is, Warren is a woman. Not something he would admit, but maybe he should think about it.

    It is fine to jump on the Pete wagon but then, he may have a bigger problem than being a woman seems to bring to this party.

    1. Some of us have been on Pete’s wagon for quite some time [mainly because some relatives in Indiana have been his supporters from the beginning], and I hope that somehow a majority of voters will listen to his messages and simply not jump on the he’s gay bandwagon.

      1. Yes, I only mentioned it because no matter how much we would wish it made no difference, we also know it will to some. Just like the female president is to many.

    2. You nailed it with this:

      The idea that you must go neutral, down the middle, main stream to win is a sizable error.

      Four words: Ronald Reagan. Donald Trump.

      Clearly, moderation is not required for victory. Polls of “likely voters” (which are probably the basis for Egan’s claims) miss the fact that who is “likely” to vote depends on what the candidates are offering.

      Warren doesn’t need to tone down her healthcare promises, contra Jerry. At least not yet! Warren seems to have learned what not to do from Obama: specifically, don’t negotiate with yourself before negotiating with the opposition party.

      Compromise is something you do after you’re elected. Triangulating before elections may sometimes be a good strategy, but not as often as you’d think. Definitely not as often as mainstream pundits think. Too much triangulating turns most voters off: see exhibit A, Hillary.

      1. I agree though I would also like the candidates to acknowledge that their plans are position statements and will certainly be altered by negotiation, compromise, and contact with political reality. At the risk of sounding wishy-washy, it would make them sound more like practical politicians as opposed to idealogues. A good speechwriter should be able to tackle it.

  3. Many Democrats, she says, are dismissive of her religious beliefs and condescending of her lot in life.

    In other words they want sex ed taught in sex ed classes, history taught in history classes and science taught in science classes.

    That’s what that whole dismissal boils down to – not using the engines of state to promote her religious ideology.

    We’re pretty much all atheists posting here, are we supposed to think she’s got a fucking point when she is expected to do the same damn thing we do in every fucking election, and vote for someone whose religion she disagrees with because their policies are better? That she has to fucking swallow the same bloody insults the rest of us have had to deal with?

    1. Or she could just be saying that people make fun of her religious beliefs, whatever they are, and generally look down on her in her job. However, Egan may be talking more about people such as you that would put off just about anyone.

      1. The article is pure hypocrisy.

        When we talk about “woke” we’re talking about stuff like – cultural appropriation, complaining about people singing along to lyrics that include the N word, getting offended over what pronouns people use, or what dress a girl wears to the prom, or worrying about if someone’s skin tone matches their hair style.

        What we’re talking about more often than not is petty bullshit – and how is any of that different to what she is complaining about?

        Why is there one standard for her, and another for literally everyone else?

        I’m no fan of “wokeness” but if you’re going to demand one side set aside their petty grievance politics – then you need to demand it of both sides.

        And besides that, religion should be dismissed as an issue in politics. It is in the constitution that there shall be no religious test for the office.

        Religion should be an irrelevance – you’re not hiring a pastor you’re hiring a president, it should be based on who you think is competent to do the job.

        When religion is treated like it should matter – well that’s when issues like teaching evolution in science classes, like teaching proper sex ed over abstinence only education, like not teaching Moses as a real historic figure come up.

        This is the stuff that is on the chopping block – along with women’s reproductive rights, gay rights and a child’s right to not be forced into prayer at a public school.

        Secularism matters, not just on the basis of protecting the rights of any one group, but as a philosophy of seeing the job of government as just that – a job that needs doing, not a privilege that is fought over by different groups seeking some sort of supremacy.

        We as atheists have always had to vote along these lines – knowing frequently the people we vote for deeply disapprove of our non-belief, but still voting for them in the hopes that they would be the best people for the job, now we’re supposed to act like it is wrong to expect Egan’s sister to do the same?

        1. Atheist voters in the USA have little choice – as atheists, I mean. Even if they wish very much to vote for an open atheist, there will be none to campaign, or at least no one remotely electable. Egan’s sister, however, can choose among plenty of candidates respecting her religion. O’Rourke’s statement that religious institutions would be forced to acknowledge gay marriage or lose tax-exempt status would be interpreted by people like her as an act of hate. And I think for good reason.

          1. I don’t think the issue there is about respect, I think it is about boundaries, and very specifically overstepping the boundary set by the first amendment. I don’t think government should dictate what people believe – even in cases where I agree with it.

            Threatening religious exemptions on the basis of theology should be done very, very cautiously.

            That said O’Rourke dropped out earlier this month didn’t he?

            1. He did; and maybe it is a good thing that he did.
              The problem I see with the demands to churches to recognize gay marriage is: a mere decade ago (or, at best, 2 decades) even the most progressive politicians did not dare to advocate for gay marriage; and now, after the tide has turned, they use LGBT rights as a stick to beat their old opponents.

          2. “O’Rourke’s statement that religious institutions would be forced to acknowledge gay marriage or lose tax-exempt status would be interpreted by people like her as an act of hate. And I think for good reason.”

            For good reason? Really? You think the ubiquitous, nauseating persecution complex of American Christians, who see every incremental step towards genuine secularism as an ‘act of hate’, are justified in their delusions?

            Can I ask, are you religious? Because you seem to actively approve of the stranglehold the Christian religion has over American politics. Do you not recognise the incredible privilege that religious people, and Christians in particular, have? Why is it an ‘act of hate’ to hypothesise about removing tax exemptions from churches(many of whom do absolutely nothing to warrant those exemptions) if they refuse to recognise a basic principle of equality?

            To call that ‘an act of hate’ is very, very weird indeed.

      2. Do you really think the average Trump voter is persecuted over their religion? I live in liberal California but I’m surrounded by churches and many are seen walking to them on Sunday. The only time I persecute the religious is when they come to my door to proselytize and sometimes on websites like this one.

        1. I was only attempting to reason out what the guy was saying about his sister who worked at walmart. The propaganda fed to religious people is that we are out to get them. Even Trump says he saved Xmas. You know Merry Xmas verses our atheist Happy Xmas. You want to see churches, move to Kansas, where there is one every 50 feet.

    2. Because our brain is hard-wired to serve our survival, and hostile humans can be a serious threat, we are very sensitive to other people’s attitudes. So most people will not even see a better policy if it is proposed by a candidate looking at them with obvious hate.

      1. The same applies to the “woke” though. They’re looking at the “centrist” position as being people who look at them with obvious hate – so can you demand of them what you don’t demand of Egan’s sister?

        Why should millenials who are constantly accused of being “snowflakes” and who are constantly told they’re being “entitled” for wanting a government that actually serves at least some of their interests, be any different?

    3. I am an atheist, I post here (occasionally) and I think she has a fucking point. If you are planning to work for the Dems in the next election I suggest you fucking listen to what Egan has to say about why his sister sticks with Trump.

  4. I hear ya on this. The problem isn’t necessarily with x or y democratic candidate, it’s that they cannot win without this increasingly large woke base. The candidate needs to welcome these people into the party. I believe their ideas are fundamentally dangerous and increasingly accepted as the Overton window moves in their direction and away from true liberal values. I can only conclude that the woke Dems are an existential threat to the ideas on which this country was founded. Trump? He’ll be gone in 1 or 5 years during which he will not have enough power to do real damage to these same ideas. Not an existential threat. Merely a bull in a china shop.

    Separately, I ran across your “thumbs up” on Boghassian’s “Manual” purely by accident. Shame there isn’t more out there by him. I’m enjoying it and his “Conversations” immensely.

  5. Besides labeling, wokeness, rigidness, racism, nationalism, the loss of civility, and host of other threads that make up society, IMO, respect is near the bedrock of the problem. Both sides scream about not being respected – except there is only one way to have respect and that is to earn it. I suppose if you exhibit all the qualities that would normally garner that respect, you could still be denied it (e.g. most religions, even with their teachings of love still don’t get it from me because of fundamental weirdness and hats) and so we delve into purity. That’s why I feel President Obama’s statements merit much (e.g. “the world is messy”).

    This isn’t bothsiderism, I hope, this is fundamental human behavior.

      1. Generally not, since we know it is hopeless. Of course, right wingers have the advantage that when we disrespect them, they can cry hypocrisy. But since many of them don’t even pretend to respect out-groups…

  6. According to most estimates, medicare-for-all will cost between $3.2 and $5 trillion a year. The 2019 government spending is $4.7 trillion. That means that medicare-for-all will increase government spending by roughly 75%.

    If you add in the rest of Warren’s programs, the size of government could easily double. You don’t have to be a libertarian to have that cause some worries.

    If we start with implementing it in a few states, it might be feasible but a big bang of government spending seems certain to be a disaster.

    1. I think that health care is a perfectly reasonable thing for the government to provide regardless of the size of government needed to effectively get it done. We currently spend $3.5 trillion for a health care system that doesn’t cover 27.5 MILLION people. Covering EVERYONE for about the same cost seems like a bargain to me.

      1. I did not say otherwise. I know that trying to create a program that costs over $3 trillion a year is not going to be easy. I suggested experimenting in a few blue states so we can learn from them. Perhaps it will work well. Perhaps it will be a disaster. But we will learn in a controlled manner.

        Maryland and Delaware might be appropriate since they are close to the federal government. As long as it is not my state, I will be happy.

        1. I’ve reread your original comment, my reply and yours in an honest attempt to understand your point. Unfortunately, I’m still confused and with lots of things to do I will wish you well and move on.

    2. It doesn’t have to cost that much. The UK spends less than £150 billion on healthcare. Everybody is covered and nobody has to be bankrupted by their illnesses. Multiply that by six for the US population and you are still just about under a trillion pounds or just over a trillion dollars.

      The money can be found – the US is spending several trillion dollars on healthcare already. The trick is to divert it from the insurance corporations to the government, or rather to whomever provides healthcare on behalf of the government.

    3. I don’t know where you’ve gone wrong in your calculations but since there are many countries poorer than the US that provide reasonable health care to their citizens AND keep their roads and bridges maintained, I know for a fact that you are wrong.

      1. My numbers are basically correct and it is a little insulting to blindly assert that I am wrong without any citation. If you disagree with my numbers in the future, please provide evidence.

        “A recent study by the Urban Institute said federal spending on health care would increase by roughly $34 trillion [over 10 years] under a single-payer plan similar to Medicare for All.”

        “Current U.S. government spending is $4.746 trillion”

        1. You simply ignored my point so don’t expect me to do a lot of research to disprove your numbers. How do you account for other countries being able to provide health care without breaking their budget?

        2. “Current U.S. government spending is $4.746 trillion”

          Government spending isn’t a problem if it is paid for. Debt and deficit is tied to income or taxes. Massive unfunded tax cuts have driven the deficit and the debt.

          Total government spending tells us little about healthcare spending and its relation to increases or decreases in projected private healthcare spending.

          In 2018 Americans spent 3.65 Trillion dollars on healthcare, government and private. Forty percent more per capita than the next highest, Switzerland, twice as much as the average. Yet America doesn’t even cover all citizens and many, perhaps most are chronically under-covered by their insurance should they find themselves in a medical emergency.

          The calculated increase for government funded healthcare does not take into account reductions in private healthcare costs which would at least partially go towards government costs.
          Taxes go up, healthcare insurance costs go down.

          The projections don’t take into account savings in the system from reduced overhead, negotiated prices and cost containment that is seen in almost every other country. Some of which is specifically prohibited currently under US law, for instance the government negotiating for better drug prices for Medicaid and Medicare, even though private insurance companies can and do negotiate for lower costs throughout the system.

          Even so Americans pay the highest costs for prescription drugs in the world. Insulin costs 5 times what it does in Canada, for a drug that has been available for century.
          Even opioids are absurdly expensive, drugs that have existed for hundreds of years that are made by the ton for next to nothing in Chinese factories and Afghan warehouses.

          Healthcare costs continue to skyrocket well beyond inflation. The current system is unsustainable. Bankruptcies will continue to rise, uninsured will continue to rise.
          The system is deeply broken, provides decreasing outcomes for ever increasing costs. Tens of millions don’t have insurance, even those with insurance face bankruptcy. Those without insurance and who are too poor to pay aren’t counted in healthcare statistics, for instance waiting times and cancer survival rates.
          As poor as American healthcare outcome statistics are, the reality is even worse.

          Those who can pay or have insurance subsidize those who do not but with massive levels of bureaucracy and profit taking that create perverse incentives in a system with non-fungible products/services.

          All that said improving the healthcare “system” will probably be one of the most intractable problems in America’s history. Especially since Republicans don’t seem inclined to do anything but keep the status quo sans the ACA. And lie about their intentions.

          I think healthcare will get very bad for a lot of people before it gets better.

          State by state could work except most of the uninsured and under-insured are in red states.

          1. As Columbo says “Just one more thing…”

            Healthcare costs are rising about 3 to 4 percent a year. Compounding.
            That means costs will double every 18 to 24 years, if increases stay at current levels. They have been higher in the past.

            Long before the ACA was implemented businesses were dropping healthcare plans. Pension plans were reducing and dropping healthcare plans.

            This will accelerate. Those who don’t want change because they don’t want to lose their good insurance plans, this can, probably will happen anyways to a large number of people. Costs will rise, deductibles will rise, out of pocket costs will rise, just as they have been doing for the past three decades. Over that period most wages have been stagnant.

            Change is coming, one way or another.

            1. “Healthcare costs are rising about 3 to 4 percent a year.”

              I wonder how much of that is driven by maximizing investor return, as opposed to, say, nurses’ and other allied health care professionals’ salaries.

        3. “My numbers are basically correct and it is a little insulting to blindly assert that I am wrong without any citation. If you disagree with my numbers in the future, please provide evidence.”

          Well, in your original post, the one to which Paul was replying, you asserted you were right without any citation, so it seems rather unfair to criticise him for doing the same. It was only in a subsequent post that you provided any links or evidence.

          “the size of government could easily double”

          What does this even mean?

          And again, why is it impossible for the US to do something many poorer nations have managed to do for half a century-plus?

          1. And I was being criticized for not giving citations for someone else’s arguments. All I claimed was that the fact that most rich countries provide decent health care for their citizens. I don’t think that’s in dispute, is it?

      2. Perhaps if the Dems said, “We want the government to take over the health care system, eliminate private insurance, and we’re going to pay for it with a 60% tax rate on the median income citizen, like Denmark”, they might have more credibility. Instead, they pretend that that rich guy over there can pay for all your health care, so it’s free for you.

        1. I think you are unfairly characterizing their position. You are conflating the promise of better health care covering more people with the need for a more progressive tax system to reduce income inequality.

          The claim about private health insurance is also mischaracterized, though I will admit that the candidates are at least partially responsible. I don’t think it would be possible to eliminate private health insurance without an explicit law prohibiting it, which, as far as I know, no candidate has proposed and would probably be unconstitutional. Also, most if not all of these other rich countries have private insurance to fill needs that the government-backed plans don’t cover. I see no reason why this wouldn’t arise in the US under a new system. In fact, it already exists to fill Medicare gaps. I would guess that private insurance would be more reasonably priced in such an environment as it would have to compete for business much more than it does currently.

        2. I am a federal retiree with a lower middle class income. I have a federal health plan, which is supposedly now, or once was the best in the country, at least until Congress voted to opt out of it. I ran the numbers, and lo and behold the cost is around 30% of my income. Toss that on top of my taxes and I come out paying at between 45% and 50% total. I’m below the median BTW. So, yeah, we could divert that money away from for profit insurance companies without that much pain, especially if everyone was in the system. Why does insurance need to be for profit anyway? Why can’t it be more like a credit union? It’s not like anyone is going to come up with better or more efficient actuarial tables to justify competition in the free market.

  7. I am rooting for Pete despite his religious proclivities as I’m confident that he would keep them out of his governing. I’m hopeful that his few comments about “scripture” might be enough to override some religious voters’ concerns about his sexuality.

    1. The biggest problem for mayor Pete is he does not seem to have much support from African Americans. This is really the base of the democratic party and maybe he can get it if he should win the nomination. Low turn out in this area is what killed Clinton.

        1. I read that, I take the post too. Funny thing now is, maybe Bloomberg is going to join the 17 still in this race. Now the democrats can have a really rich guy in there. Steyer is only worth 1.6 billion so he will be the low end billionaire.

        2. I read that article but failed to find it convincing. The author’s message seemed to boil down to “Not all black people are the same. Some of us like Mayor Pete.” Maybe but it doesn’t address Mayor Pete’s “black problem”. He even acknowledges that this is a challenge for him.

          1. The thing is that a lot of the black deeply religious are voting Democrat, while the same deeply religious whites, who would oppose a gay president, vote Republican anyway (all that ‘predominantly’ of course).
            Even if it is true that 60% of black voters would have no problem with Mr Buttigieg’s sexual orientation, it means 40% would have. I think a Democratic candidate simply needs more than 60% of the black vote.
            So no, maybe convincing, but not really the point, not really relevant, re Buttigieg and the black vote.

            1. Yes, and one has to weigh the votes he would lose due to his black problem and his gay problem against those he would likely gain from being a moderate with presidential demeanor.

              1. For all clarity, I think he would probably make a great president. I’d vote for him any day, even if his opponent were not Mr Trump, but another modern day Republican candidate.

  8. Although I think Mayor Pete is an excellent candidate, I can’t imagine enough voters would forgive him for his unbiblical sexuality. So, in order to have a chance at defeating tRump, the Dems will have to pick almost any of the others. I think Bloomberg, even, would have a decent chance and he’s been fighting for liberal causes with his own money for a long time. Maybe his hat in the ring will make Warren tighten up her “plan”.

    1. It’s kind of ironic really. Adultery makes the top 10 Biblical don’ts but homosexuality is limited to a couple of appearances in obscure unreadable books like Leviticus. Guess which one of the two Trump is guilty of.

      1. What if tRump turned gay. You think his base would care? I think many would (wild speculation since tRump’s base is an enigma).

          1. There are definitely people that are less gay than others and bounce between hetero and homo relationships. I know one or two, but not intimately. 😉 Perhaps they are bisexual, perhaps by definition, though it is a continuum of attitudes and behaviors.

      2. You are right, of course, but you will have a hard time explaining that to a staunch, even very Biblical, Christian.
        Adultery is natural, a weakness, a mistake that can be forgiven, homosexuality is unnatural, an abomination, just read the story of Sodom!

          1. I suspect the average fundamentalist Christian is more motivated by the shrill leadership than the texts themselves. The leadership, in this case, is touting tRump as the messiah.

      1. Yes, I think an independent candidate appealing to some democrat leaning independents, will be the surest way Mr Trump can win re-election.

  9. Hmmm, You know it, and I know it.
    The slate of Democrats (excluding Bloomberg) are mediocre, shallow thinking, lacking in excellent leadership skills like JFK, RFK, Clinton. Except for one or two, they are inexperienced in successful massive program planning, financial acumen, and social programming implementation.
    Some are compromised. Like Biden, the only one with some experience seems to be living in the sixth dimension.

    1. Well, you convinced me. I’m going to vote for Trump, who clearly is not mediocre, shallow thinking or lacking in excellent leadership ship. And, of course, who else would you want for successful massive program planning, financial acumen,and social programming implementation?

      By the way, JFK seemingly lacked all the attributes you cherish. So did Lincoln. In 1932, most pundits considered FDR totally mediocre.

      1. Yes, Lincoln was so uneducated. Maybe spent a month or two in a school. Clearly the most uneducated president in our history but nearly always the smartest guy in the room.

        1. “Clearly the most uneducated president . . . .”

          Well, likely the most FORMALLY uneducated president. (Andrew Jackson might have him beat in that regard.) In my modest and limited knowledge of presidential educational attainment, he appears to have been at least the equal of John Quincy Adams (claimed by someone whose name I forget to be the most educated president – I went to his house in the Boston area some years ago, and was impressed by his library) in intellectual curiosity. I’d say that Lincoln – an autodidact if there ever was one – is the more admirable, considering the obstacles put in his way. Another author I read said that Lincoln was not widely read, but, in the areas in which he did read, he read deeply, such as the Bible and Shakespeare. In a questionnaire he filled out during his one term as a U.S. representative, in response to a question about his level of education, he replied, “deficient.”

      2. Ah, Historian, that is one of the best comebacks I’ve read on this site. So succinct and to the point. I’ve been laughing for the past 5 minutes.

    2. So true. However will they deal with the towering intellect in the White House? With his extraordinary political exp- …okay, well, with his phenomenal speaking ski- …with his breadth of kno-

      …Actually, I think they might be alright.

    3. “The slate of Democrats (excluding Bloomberg) are mediocre…”

      Thanks for the laugh! You like Stop and Frisk Bloomberg who bought his way into politics and the 2019 race? Really? That’s rich (pun intended).

    4. Historian replied more effectively to that than I could, but I think you are wrong to consider all democratic candidates mediocre.
      Ms Warren is very well versed in economy and is quite a strategist, Ms Klobuchar is brilliant, as is Mr Buttigieg. Mediocre is not a term I’d use for them.

      1. Though Warren is well-versed in economics, many such people have pretty crazy ideas that they stick too in the face of massive contradicting evidence: Laffer and all of Trump’s economic charlatans come to mind.

        I believe Warren knows her economics but I don’t like her plans to split up technology companies. They need to be regulated but splitting them up just causes damage. Her anti-globalism and love of tariffs are also wrong, IMHO.

        1. I think in splitting up big technology companies she just wants to follow in Teddy Rooseveldt’s footsteps 🙂

        2. The only recent historical example in this country about splitting up technological companies (I exclude the railroads in the last century) that I can think of is splitting up Bell Telephone. That worked out pretty good as I recall. Worked pretty good with the railroads too, come to think of it.

          1. I think the “breaking up” solution applies to situations where competition has been eliminated by one company “cornering the market”. It probably does have application in the modern context when a tech company uses dominance in one sector to compete unfairly in another. Microsoft attempting to extend their OS dominance to the web browser market is a good example from the 90s. I see a few problem with the breakup strategy:

            – It is usually too late as it can only be applied well after the problem has already happened.

            – It doesn’t help small companies whose competitive environment does not register on general public and legislative radars.

            – It makes no attempt to uncover basic principles of unfairness that could be codified into preemptive policy.

            THis last item is perhaps the most important one. Some of these basic principles are being talked about currently. A good example is the current discussion about the responsibility of social media companies to monitor and, perhaps, restrict speech and advertising on their platforms. This is a good discussion but “breaking up” Facebook and Twitter will do nothing to resolve it.

  10. When those that voted for Trump complain about the woke talking down to them, I think it is an excuse that allows them to indulge in the Trump way of thinking. How many of them have been shot down over social media by woke liberals? A tiny few is my guess.

    “No matter how much I point out that Trump is trying to take away her health care protections by litigating to kill Obamacare, that his tariffs have made it harder to pay her bills, that he is the most repulsive and creepy man ever to occupy the White House, she holds firm.”

    None of these things have anything to do with wokeness. They are eminently defensible, logical positions. If the Trump voters actually disagrees, thinking Obamacare really hurts them, the tariffs are helping them and are a good thing for the country, let them defend those positions with reasoned argument. Instead, they complain about the liberals talking down to them.

    While the liberals DO talk down to them, it is no defense for Trump and his positions or for voting for him. They are members of a club that Trump created that demands loyalty and the right to hold their ideas no matter what others might say. There is strength in a shared identity. You may privately think the club uniform is ugly and stupid but be damned if you are going to quit because of it.

    That all said, liberal politicians know they can’t say the things the rest of say. Calling Trump followers “deplorables” is a bad idea if you are a politician. Hillary Clinton was quite tone deaf or lacked the necessary self control. I worry that the Dem candidates, while they don’t share Clinton’s failings, are not very inspiring. I do like Mayor Pete but I doubt he is going to be able to win. Similarly for Bloomberg. The rest would likely lose against Trump is my guess.

    1. I tend to agree. The woke are a pain, often silly, but the problem is nowhere near the insanity and brain washing of the right.

      I wonder how many Trump supporters are stuck in a bubble where all they see is constant reinforcement of their view? Right wing media is a constant barrage of talking points, lunacy, conspiracy stories and worse.

      We might hardly see these woke stories of stupidity and excess but the right are told all liberals and Democrats are like this. Stories are told out of context and blown out of proportion. I recall a right wing story of how you can’t ask people where they are from anymore, or you can get fired. Based on a federal government arbitration ruling.

      In reality a government employee kept asking a minority where she was from. Over and over and over, despite her, his boss and personnel telling him to stop. Eventually he was rightly fired for harassment.
      Of course the real story was never told on Fox News, Alex Jones, Beck, or any of the rest.

      Need I remind people about the yearly War On Christmas? To most of us it’s a joke. To Fox News it’s a way to get ratings and keep the base angry. To many religious, its reality even though the vast majority don’t give a damn if you say merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. Now there is supposedly a War On Thanksgiving.
      Preachers and right wing Youtube ‘celebrities’ are talking about killing liberals and Democrats.

      According to these people Obama is a Muslim (a majority of Republicans still believe this) who was born in a different country, who was out to create Sharia law. He wanted to put Christians in FEMA concentration camps. He tried to take over Texas with the military. He caused the 2008 financial collapse, by running for president.

      These are people who have said they won’t stop supporting Trump NO MATTER WHAT.

      But it’s our fault for being unreasonable and dismissing their beliefs.
      I’m rolling my eyes and shaking my head.

      1. Yes! Great examples. I doubt any Trump supporter could give a reasonable explanation of how they could vote for someone who supported birtherism. Most would avoid answering the question. The rest would say that Trump used to believe that but doesn’t anymore. You wouldn’t accept that excuse from a cheating spouse.

      2. I ran across this article on the Oberlin “menu is cultural appropriation” fiasco.
        Turns out it was widely misrepresented. Not only by the right’s media and blogs but by most media who just ran with right wing media exaggerations.

        “Oberlin College’s banh-mi ordeal started, innocently enough, in a journalism class.”

        “A Vietnamese student told Ferdinand Protzman, the lecturer teaching a news-writing course in the fall of 2015, that some international students had concerns about food in the cafeteria being passed off as authentic when it fell far short.”

        The right exaggerates and magnifies the problem of the woke.

  11. “Many Democrats, she says, are dismissive of her religious beliefs…”

    Which Democrats? None of the current Presidential candidates are—none even dare to proclaim themselves an atheist. And it would be political suicide for most other political candidates to be dismissive either. As for the woke folk, they practically CODDLE religion—most of recent New Atheist-bashing articles are by leftie/wokies who worry mean old Dawkins will deprive the little people of their comfort blanket.

    Still, perhaps this poor woman is regularly plagued by mobs of random Democrats who show up outside her house and yell “God doesn’t exist!” at all hours of the night. Or perhaps the head of the local Democratic Party keeps leaving copies of “God Isn’t Great” on her doorstep. But the most likely explanation is that this woman is just a Fox News watcher and low-information voter who can’t stand the idea that America isn’t as Christian as it used to be.

    I suspect she wouldn’t be satisfied until atheists and any other non-Christians either converted or took a vow of silence. And it’s very comical for the Trump-lovers and far-rightwingers to demand respect from people they regularly vilify and despise. Funny how bad Christians are at turning the other cheek…

  12. Like Egan, I know people who will support Trump, no matter what, as you say. I sometimes chide them for being so willfully ignorant and in complete denial of verifiable facts. The believe all of the lies you mention, and also believe that Trump and his court appointees will make abortion illegal.
    Thus, for me, they are not worth much effort regarding voting. What we must do is to make sure that anyone and everyone who has at least one iota of concern about Trump and his lackeys vote to rid of us of this despicable scum.

    1. Democrats have also succeeded in the past couple of elections by focusing on concrete issues affecting the working class, like health case costs. The Republican efforts to destroy Obamacare and limit Medicare turned out to work in the favor of the Democrats. Targeting and focusing on the direct needs of voters in various constituencies, rather than taking stands in the culture wars, is what wins elections.

      1. I agree and I expect climate change to be another such issue. Most people see it happening all around them now and are not beholden to the oil industry like their politicians.

        1. Sadly Mr Inslee is out of the race. He was my preferred candidate among the initial odd 20, precisely because of that.

    2. On thing we liberals must do is let the Trumpers silently change their minds. If someone who voted for Trump thinks they made a mistake, they should be allowed to vote against him in 2020 without anyone noticing. Trump knows this too and that’s why he’ll pump up the divisiveness as we approach election day. He will attempt to remind them that they paid their Trump Club dues and they should think about their sunk costs.

      1. I think you may have a point, Paul, about letting the Trumpites silently change their minds, instead of our constantly badgering them.

          1. Oh,me, too, though I fear it’d only be counterproductive. Living in Canada I don’t run into too many Trumpites. I don’t think my L.A. brother can possibly actually like the moron, but he would never vote Dem, and we don’t discuss politics for the sake of our respective blood pressures. None of my American friends (except possibly one) can stand the guy.

  13. I cannot agree with this article. It conflates what was once called “social justice warriors” (people engaged in vapid, über-hostile, buzzword-infested, self-righteous call-outs on social media) with anti-religious, and allegedly too left wing rhetoric. To me these are three completely separate things that don’t share analysis nor answers.

    In the last election, the social justice or woke faction rallied behind Hillary Clinton, and helped kick Bernie Sanders out of the race. She was touted as the better candidate, because, according to loud voices (aided by top brass politicians like Albright) she’s a woman. The Sanders-supporters were called “Berniebros” (i.e. “white male” jocks) who were “brogressive” at best — the disparaging term when someone holds apparently progressive views, but not of the correct identitarian type. All of this echoed what happened to Occupy Wallstreet years earlier: that immensely successful movement put class and income inequality front and centre (99%) was destroyed by the identitarian woke faction. So much so that I can’t entirely shake off the feeling the rapid rise of wokism was in part astroturf, rather than grassroots (seeing corporations eagerly embracing wokeness only nourished the suspicion). Big money must know that Republicans and their Tele-Evangelical bandwagon of money-worshipping racists is going out of fashion, and is held together by gerrymandering, Moscow Mitch, advertisement and corruption?

    But Hillary Clinton was a right wing candidate, too, just like Trump. Maybe not quite the Thatcher, but I put her rightwards of Merkel, who is already a Conservative. That’s “moderate left wing” I guess in the USA. Biden and Pete are right wingers, too, like most of the Democratic candidates. Maybe the gender was the issue after all, and putting up a male Clinton will work? Maybe voters who rather want to stay home just like last time see the whip that is another term of Trump, and now the Democratic strategy to win hearts, called “the lesser evil”, will work with a second attempt? If Biden or Buttigieg are nominated, the US really deserve another term of Trump.

    1. Occupy Wall Street was a ridiculous organization right from the beginning. They explicitly had no demands and didn’t really have an identifiable agenda other than they hated Wall Street and were going to camp out in that park forever. It was the protest equivalent of a hissy fit.

      I understand how economic inequality can make people angry but simply declaring the rich and powerful as the cause is not a rational solution.

  14. If Trump gets thrown out all anyone will have to worry themselves with is who wins among democrats. I think if they get testimony on TV of the X national security director it could make the difference. He wants to talk and claims to have more on this impeachment subject than the congress already has. For some reason he seems to want cover, asking for a judge to give him the okay. That is BS but maybe the democrats can find a way to accomplish what he is after.

  15. “And yes, I’d vote for Warren, but I’m more aligned with Mayor Pete, and so, it seems, is Egan. As an old liberal, I still find Warren not only too progressive, but hectoring, a bit mendacious, and unwilling to compromise to win an election. (Compromise, after all, isn’t a dirty word, but the essence of successful legislation in a democracy).”

    Yes!!! (Says another old, white, male boomer.)

    1. This white female boomer agrees with you on Warren. I’d rather have Pete or Amy. I also like Cory, but don’t think he has a chance.

      1. Amy Klobuchar is actually my FIRST choice. I cannot figure out why she is not ahead. She is smart, sensible and articulate. Go figure.

        (I guess the fact that “Klobuchar” is underlined in red as I write this says something.)

        1. Per a NY Times article a few months ago, she’s not the most congenial boss to work for, to put it mildly. I personally have a problem with that. I trust that she has improved in that regard.

          1. I don’t know the details but my guess is that such complaints would not have been covered if Warren were a man. Being tough and demanding on those that report to you is a good thing in a leader. Of course, the details are important.

            1. My comment was about Klobuchar, not Warren. Perhaps I have made a mistake in my response. In any event, I’m not going to vote for anyone who treats her/his subordinates egregiously shabby.

    2. I think gay, small-town Mayor Pete is far more electable than Warren with her radical policies. Maybe eliminating private health insurance and taxing wealth will someday be mainstream, but right now it will simply re-elect Trump. Priorities, people!

      1. I agree with you but it is hard to tell how much anti-gay sentiment there is out there. When Obama was elected, I thought it proved that racism was much less than I had supposed. Then Trump got elected and the opposite seems to be the case. BTW, I am also a Mayor Pete fan.

        1. I agree with your concern. I would like to know how much of a problem it is. African American religious folk could be turned off, but (call me pollyanna), I believe they will vote for what really matters to them, and against Trump. In general, I believe well-meaning religious people will vote for the principles Mayor Pete represents. The lying, hypocritical evangelicals and anti-gay bigots who support Trump are unreachable, of course.

          1. I really think media has a great effect on people in this respect. Ellen, Will and Grace, etc. So many sitcoms have a lovable gay character, so many shows have gay hosts, so many singers are gay.

            It shows that people don’t really care as long as the gays are cuddly and unthreatening, which Pete very much is. It’s sad that gay candidates have to stifle their sexuality, but it’s electoral politics and there are ugly compromises.

            So I think Mayor Pete would wipe the floor with Trump in debates, and I’m optimistic enough to think he would win an election against him.

            But if anyone thought 2016 was ugly, nasty, low and degrading just imagine the Republican, Trumpworld campaign against a gay candidate. It would be

            …I can’t finish the sentence, because it’s impossible to describe the depths to which they would sink to smear Mayor Pete.

    3. Why assume any primary candidate is “unwilling to compromise” when, historically, all of them do?

      It’s just that the pivot to the center typically comes AFTER the primary is over.

      Primary season is when candidates are trying to differentiate themselves from one another. And unfortunately for the people who just want a dull centrist candidate who won’t need to pivot because they’ve already set up permanent residence in the center, Biden’s got that category on lockdown.

    4. I’m sure Ms Warren will be willing to compromise, not just to win an election, but as president too.
      She is a bit mendacious indeed, but only a bit, not excessively so, and which politician isn’t? Compared to the present incumbent -admittedly a low bar- she is a paragon of honesty and clarity.
      As for hectoring? Not really, much less than Ms Harris, not to mention Mr Trump.
      Look, she’s not my favouritr candidate, but I think she would make a great president, easily in, say, the top quarter.

    1. If the stock market was all that matters, they might be right. But the election is a year away and who knows where the stock market will be then. And the stock market and the economy is not all that matters, or Trump’s favorability would not be ~40%.

      1. Wall Street is a Trump watcher, not a Trump supporter. (This I know for sure.) Moody’s is just keeping their investors buoyant. They have zilch cred re. 2020.

    2. No doubt they are correct, because they are Moody’s. (Re: Don Rickles: “He’s great – just ask him – he’ll tell ya.”)

  16. “But for others, those like my sister,”

    Egan gives it away in that last paragraph. He wants to believe his sister is not in the 62% “support no matter what group.” The list of things that she is willing to tolerate is already pretty long. She is in that 62%, no doubt addicted to Fox-n-Ews, and won’t change her mind unless and until Fox does.

    Egan says “these are voters who can still be persuaded to save our country from a disastrous second term of a corrupt and unstable president.” It sounds nice, but he has no actual evidence to support that claim. Hoping or wishing it was true doesn’t make it so.

  17. So should Warren, and other candidates, lie now or lie later? or both?

    “Save the piety, the circular firing squad, the shaming on social media for after the election.” But people don’t want it then either.

    The democrats (and republicans) have ignored the peoples’ business for years. Now with an election in the offing it’s promises of unlimited largesse, at the peoples’ own expense of course. Anyone with any sense can see that the promises will not and can not be kept and that those making them are just grifters out to gain power for their own purposes. Many of those the democrats need may not have college degrees but many of them have enough sense to read a BS meter.

    1. You are right in observing that their plans, as currently specified, will not likely be made law. This would be true regardless of what plan was proposed. However, I see no reason to suggest that they are lying about their intentions. Sure, they present them in a favorable light but they are expected to have a positive outlook, right?

      1. Of course they are lying if they are promising something they know cannot happen. No ‘not likely’ about it, there’s no way to pay for it all. They are also lying if they take the advice given and change their positions to be more appealing just because that will, they hope, get more votes. Don’t cut any of these grifters democrat or republican any more slack. They don’t deserve it

        1. Obama’s promise was “hope”. That’s pretty hard to question, even if things don’t get any better (though they actually did).

  18. “I can only conclude that the woke Dems are an existential threat to the ideas on which this country was founded. Trump? He’ll be gone in 1 or 5 years during which he will not have enough power to do real damage to these same ideas. Not an existential threat.”

    Yeah, that whole “unitary executive” thing where the president is above the law, not an existential thing at all. This isn’t just a case of false equivalence you’re positing here, but existential blindness.

    1. Yet he is not, nor will he be treated as being above the law. I don’t think you need to worry about this. Even then, I can see how he may seek to profit from his illegitimate immunity, but will he destroy foundational values?

      The value-ranking based on ethnicity by the woke, the rising hostility to free inquiry (and speech), the narrative that this country’s founding values are so tainted by association with slave-owners that they are beyond repair, the creeping assaults on support for due process, and the spreading of these ideas from the campus to the HR departments and government institutions, are indeed, in my opinion existential threats.

      We may disagree about the relative risks, but it appears to me that you are underplaying these threats.

Leave a Reply