Most of you are not DNC “major donors” and as such are not subjected to my annoying emails. (You get my annoying columns instead — and the perhaps even more annoying emails asking for $3.)
Well: your luck just ran out.
Herewith two sent hours before and after the election . . . and one ridiculously long one sent yesterday.
Free emails being worth what you pay for them, don’t feel bad stopping right here and watching John Oliver again instead.
Sent: Monday, November 7, 2016 6:51 PM
Subject: ok, kids . . .
However tomorrow turns out, I wanted to say thanks.
So many of you on this list have done all you reasonably could to save mankind . . .
(well: one thing leads to another when you have a thin-skinned nut job with nuclear weapons)
. . . and to tilt the Court toward progress
(my own hope: a 5-4 +female+ majority for a decade or two, after 236 years skewed almost entirely male)
. . . and to put Americans back to work revitalizing our crumbling infrastructure; raise wages for the least among us; enact the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform the Senate passed 68-32, allow refinancing of federal student debt at today’s low rates; confront climate change – all measures economists agree would boost our economy
(and thereby help at least a LITTLE to diminish the – justified! – frustration and anger so many feel toward a government the Republicans have purposely kept from solving their problems)
. . . and to advance equal rights on every front, but especially for LGBT Americans
(an effort begun at the Presidential level by the Clintons — resisted every step of the way by Republicans — and now 80% of the way home thanks to the Obamas and Democrats up and down the ticket).
THANK YOU FOR THE INDISPENSABLE ROLE SO MANY OF YOU HAVE PLAYED.
And now I will commence to hold my breath.
Good luck to us all. The whole world is watching. Only the National Enquirer, the Ku Klux Klan Crusader, and the Russian press are hoping for anything other than a good night for us Dems.
Sent: Wednesday, November 9, 2016 6:56 PM
Subject: now what?
I assumed we were going to win last night so decided to wear my Charles Nolan suit. I thought he should be at the Javits Center, never mind that this hand-tailored suit cost literally 20 times as much as the Zara suit I bought off the rack that – inexplicably — fits me better. Charles would have been so happy to see Hillary win.
And while I was feeling sentimental, it occurred to me what last night would have meant to my mom, born the year before women got the vote, who loved Hillary and was very much part of the project to see a woman in the White House – and whose birthday would have been today – and I realized, Hey! This is the perfect way to zero out the last few dollars remaining in her estate: write a check to the Inauguration. The perfect final act in her name.
So around 7pm, Charles Nolan suit on my back and check in hand, I was feeling pretty good.
Needless to say, not for long.
At 4am I posted a brief column, titled, simply, Ugh, wherein I quoted Ted Kennedy’s appropriate dictum* (and predicted a market crash). A few hours later: Ways He Could Surprise On The Upside, wherein I linked to the magnificent way Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama conducted themselves today (and acknowledged the spectacular inaccuracy of my market prediction).
Better than either of mine is this one, from Garrison Keillor: Trump Voters Will Not Like What Happens Next.
Some of you have written or texted to ask what DOES happen next.
The short answer, simply is Ted Kennedy’s from 1980, or Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s from today.
We keep at it.
Thanks one more time to all of you who did so much this cycle – and to all of you committed to keep at it. You’ll be hearing a lot more from us in the next few weeks as we regroup. All suggestions welcome.
* “Circumstances may change, but the work of compassion must continue. It is surely correct that we cannot solve problems by throwing money at them, but it is also correct that we dare not throw out our national problems onto a scrap heap of inattention and indifference. . . . For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on. The work continues, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.”
THE THIRD, ENDLESSLY LONG ONE:
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2016 11:27 AM
Subject: NOW what?
- We got more votes.
This despite Putin’s interference, Comey’s interference, and a whole lot else taken straight from a book of speeches Trump kept by his bedside.
Also: more than half the country views our current Democratic president favorably.
In other words: There’s been no wholesale repudiation of what most of us believe.
- Even so, obviously, it’s horrible.
- We need to put tremendous effort and resources into driving presidential-scale turn-out in 2018 to take back Congress, state legislative chambers, and governors’ mansions. Instead of the 36% or so who turned out in 2014, what if we got more like the 58% who turned out in 2012? These folks know how to vote; we just need them to do it every two years instead of every four. That’s a huge “just” – but we have an equally huge incentive to plan and build toward that. Or as close to it as we can come. If our 2018 turn-out could exceed Republican turn out by 5 percentage points (45% to 40%, say), the whole world would change.
- In the meantime, we should applaud when he does something good and fight and scream like crazy when he is poised to do something awful. Which looks to be more or less non-stop.
- I so admire the way President Obama and Secretary Clinton fulfilled their roles in wishing Trump success. And a good cop, bad cop strategy may work best. If he’s smart, Trump will quietly call on President Obama (the good cop) every few minutes to find out what the hell he should do – as he obviously has no clue.
- The DNC needs new leadership and to step up its game. Much healthy, urgent discussion is underway. But the party itself does not have to change that much.
There ends the executive summary. For those with an interest in elaboration on that last point – #6 – here’s what I told a delegation of Chinese Communist Party officials Monday morning as part of a regular dialog they have with Republican and Democratic Party officials.
It is an honor to be here with you. My visit to China three years ago — what I learned and the hospitality you afforded us — were extraordinary. Please let me take this opportunity to thank you again.
Last week, more than 61 million Americans voted to elect the most qualified person ever to run for President. A million fewer voted to elect the LEAST qualified person ever to run.
Given the quirks of our system – and just as happened 16 years ago — the candidate with fewer votes will soon be sworn in as our President.
I was proud of the exceptionally thoughtful way Secretary Clinton and President Obama congratulated the President-Elect and urged us all to keep an open mind and root for his success. I share those views.
But like all Democrats, I also share the world’s deep concern.
That is not the light-hearted way I had planned to lead off today when I began drafting these thoughts a week ago. I had planned to playfully rib my friend, college classmate, and counterpart Tony Parker, Treasurer of the Republican National Committee . . . and offer to cede my time to him, because I am very interested to hear his thoughts on the future of the Republican Party.
And still am. Even though it will soon control both houses of Congress and the White House, I think the future of the Republican Party is not entirely clear.
The future of the Democratic Party, I think, is.
We will remain the party of the people, where we’ve been for a long time, one click left of center. Some of our members will be two or three clicks left of center and some dead center or a click to the right. But broadly speaking, we’ve been the party of labor — and will continue to be.
We’ve been the party fighting for the rights of those who lack full equality . . . be they women, African Americans, LGBT Americans, the disabled or others — and will continue to be.
When I was first elected Treasurer in 1999, our then Chairman said the same thing wherever he went. He said: “We don’t care whether you’re white or black or brown or purple – you are welcome in the Democratic Party. We don’t care what religion you are or how big your bank account is – you are welcome in the Democratic Party. We don’t care whether you walked in here or rolled in here, what gender you are or what gender you like to hold hands with. So long as you like to hold hands, you are welcome in the Democratic Party.”
That’s the party I think we will continue to be. And on that last issue alone – who you like to hold hands with – there’s been amazing progress at absolutely no cost.
It cost nothing for Secretary Clinton to declare in Geneva in 2011 that “gay rights are human rights” or for President Obama to say in his Second Inaugural Address that “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law” or for the Supreme Court to grant people like me the right to marry the person we love. But to millions of us seeking to lead happy, constructive lives, it has made all the difference in the world.
That’s the kind of progress the Democratic Party believes in and will continue to strive for.*
We’ve been the party trying to shift the balance of wealth and power, now so tilted to the wealthy and powerful, back toward the middle class. And will continue to be.
When I was growing up, the top tax the wealthy paid on their last few million dollars of dividends was 90% until John Kennedy lowered it to 70%. That was still too high, in my view; but George W. Bush brought it down to 15%, which – again, in my view – was too low.
Their party wants to cut the tax on the wealth that billionaires like the President Elect leave to their children from 45% to zero.
We are the party that typically puts bold investment in the future ahead of tax cuts and budget cutting. And will continue to be.
I am heartened to think that the President Elect may persuade the Republican Congress to put millions of Americans to work revitalizing our crumbling national infrastructure – something President Obama urgently proposed in September 2011 that the Republican Congress blocked.
We’ve been the party that seeks to protect the environment – and will continue to be.
We’ve been the party that tries to make voting easier, not harder – and will continue to be.
We’ve been the party that, over the last few decades, typically wins the popular vote in presidential elections. I think that will continue as well.
So what will change?
For starters, obviously, the formal party leadership will change in February, as it does every four years.
There will be a new chair – possibly Keith Ellison, possibly Howard Dean, possibly Martin O’Malley, possibly a vibrant young Hispanic leader – there are a great many exciting possibilities. And there will likely be changes among the other nine elected officers as well (all of whom, by the way, are unpaid for their work).
Whoever the new chair and officers may be, they will continue to promote the party’s progressive platform, and look to do better in two broad areas:
First, to better connect with tens of millions of fine working class Americans who vote Republican even though we believe their personal prosperity would improve if they voted with us.
Second, to better use our resources in turning out voters in both mid-term and presidential years.
There will also be a look at how the primary process might be improved. For this purpose, a Unity Commission has been established, with 6 members named by Secretary Clinton, 5 by Senator Sanders, and 3 by the DNC chair. My own guess is that whatever changes are recommended to the Rules Committee will be fairly minor.
Three larger electoral changes I’d like to see are outside the purview of either party, but perhaps worth mention.
One is so-called Instant Run-Off Voting, where voters get to vote for both their first-choice, who might be a third-party candidate like Ralph Nader or Ross Perot, but also their second-choice, who might be Al Gore or George H.W. Bush. That could inspire more people to engage in the political process – while also better reflecting the preference of the electorate.
Second is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which has been adopted by 10 states and the District of Columbia, accounting for 165 of the necessary 270 electoral votes. In the somewhat unlikely event enough other states joined, pledging to cast their electoral votes in accordance with the national popular vote, the candidate with the votes would always become president. What a concept.
The third are movements like Florida’s “Fair Districts” initiative. Florida is a state that leans slightly Democratic but whose state legislature and whose Congressional delegation, because the way voting districts have been drawn, has been overwhelmingly Republican. A few years ago, more than 60% of Florida voters approved a referendum mandating that districts be drawn more fairly. Republicans fought it in court and the legislature, but it has now finally gone into effect. The result, I hope – in Florida and wherever else this sort of reform can succeed – will be not only to more fairly represent the voters, but also to make districts more competitive. Meaning that moderate candidates will stand a better chance against extreme hardliners than they do now.
In my view, America NEEDS more moderate Republicans like my friend Tony Parker and [his Republican colleagues there with us Monday, a former Bush cabinet secretary, and a former RNC chair].
We disagree on a great many things, but in a good-humored and constructive way.
I look forward to hearing what he has to say, and to finding common ground wherever possible.
If any of you are still with me after all that: thank you for your passion, your commitment, your resources, your suggestions, and your continued help, all of which we need and greatly value.
*Later in the day I got to remind them that 3 of our 9 DNC officers are openly LGBT, that there are probably 100 million or so LGBT Chinese (I asked gently and respectfully whether they knew how many of their 88 million party members were LGBT; they did not), and that religion – such a motivator of our opposition here – is not an issue in China. And that the Old Testament basis for condemning us probably stemmed from the need for population growth – again, not something China currently needs to promote. (In short: I had fun.)
Can you imagine having to read endless stuff like this and give the DNC $10,000 or $100,000? That’s patriotism.
Have a great weekend.
Quote of the Day
SOCIAL SECURITY: The very first check, for $22.54, was paid in 1940 to a Vermont woman who had paid $22 in Social Security taxes. By the time she died, in 1974, aged 100, she had collected $20,944.42.~.
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