Recommended essay in the NY Times

The opening paragraphs alone are enough to endorse it, for the understated view of the situation.

By Anand Giridharadas. Non-paywalled link.

Polls swing this way and that way, but the larger story they tell is unmistakable. With the midterm elections, Americans are being offered a clear choice between continued and expanded liberal democracy, on the one hand, and fascism, on the other. And it’s more or less a dead heat.

It is time to speak an uncomfortable truth: The pro-democracy side is at risk not just because of potential electoral rigging, voter suppression and other forms of unfair play by the right, as real as those things are. In America (as in various other countries), the pro-democracy cause — a coalition of progressives, liberals, moderates, even decent Republicans who still believe in free elections and facts — is struggling to win the battle for hearts and minds.

The pro-democracy side can still very much prevail. But it needs to go beyond its present modus operandi, a mix of fatalism and despair and living in perpetual reaction to the right and policy wonkiness and praying for indictments.

NY Times

Team Fascist has been more successful because they are more experienced and determined at engaging the electorate at psychological and emotional levels. A liberal response based in various dry policy issues doesn’t engender similar loyalty or enthusiasm. To Giridharadas’s taste, the Inflation Reduction Act is better policy than the student loan cancellation which he says is something of a mixed bag—but the latter has the chance to be life-changing for voters who will not forget it, and the former is more abstract, and wasn’t sold to voters as a liberal accomplishment. Not for the first (or last) time, Republican candidates are taking credit for the capital improvements in their districts financed by a law they voted against.

I was also endeared to the article by its pointing out the Democrats are much better at asking you for money—over and over again—than at fostering a sense of participation and membership. It’s always nice to have priors confirmed, when he points out how the Right uses church groups, shooting ranges, and other places to cement emotional membership. There are too few Democratic groups doing the same. We can be proud of belonging to just such a group.

Fighting Fascism should be, occasionally, fun. Not just the constant feeling of dread.

Minutes from the Oct 9 meeting

We spent time writing letters. Many letters. Many races.

Link for Grandmothers for a Brighter Future.

Our acquaintances fall on both sides of Berkeley Measure L (bonds). Here is part of an email for a Town Hall in favor of L. (Yes, that is tomorrow.)

Please join us for a Town Hall
Wednesday, October 12 7:00 – 8:30 PM – BY ZOOM
To Learn About Measure L
RSVP by Clicking HERE
Measure L is a Bond Measure to Renew Berkeley
Pro-L Town Hall Invitation

We will be at College and Ashby on Friday, October 14, at 4:00 to hawk our Defend Democracy yard signs.

Note, I have recorded money given to me for signs from Bruce and Jane. There are two of you whose donations I missed; please let me know who you are.

Meeting Sunday 9/24, 4:00 pm

Usual place. As I mentioned before, we will have special guests by Zoom. We will, of course, put them up on a screen here, but anyone who doesn’t plan on attending in person can watch with this link. Please join this a few minutes’ early: to prevent any embarrassing Zoom-bombing, you won’t be admitted until I can approve that we know you. (The Zoom part of the meeting will start at 4:30.)

Any friends who may want to donate… the link is above.

Let me also mention that Mandela Barnes is the only 50/50-or-better Democratic Senate candidate with fundraising woes. The Republican SuperPACs are coming to rescue Ron Johnson, if they can; they are cutting their losses by conceding Arizona and redirecting the ad money.

Updated minutes from the Sept. 14 meeting

The signs have arrived.

Bruce says the CA Dem Party has young liaisons with Indivisible full of energy.

We will have a Zoom link for the Michigan session at the next meeting. Those of you unable to come to the physical meeting chez nous, will have to register to get it, so we don’t have any Zoom accidents. (I’ll post the registration link when I get it.)

By the way, on the list of who doesn’t need our money although she is great, I see that Katie Porter (CA–47) finished June with a mere $19 million on hand. Her opponent had a little over $1 million.

Hang on to optimism

Judy Stacey sent me a link to today’s Debbie Downer NY Times story. The premise: take the error in Biden’s favor in the 2020 election and apply it to the 202 Senate race. We know there were some big misses in 2020 polling and not in our favor, either.

If you do that, Warnock (GA) and Cortez Masto (NV) are barely holding on, Mandela Barnes (WI) is well behind, and Val Demings (FL) is trailing by double-digits, which I suggest is absurd.

Once you get past this terrifying tableau, they start to discuss why the premise may not hold at all. And then we come to the important part: Dems have outperformed their pre-election polls in every special election since the Dobbs decision. The big polling misses come from not understanding who is coming to vote. There’s evidence that who is coming to vote this November will be younger and more female than usual. And that’s why we should be optimistic.

Peltola wins

As I indicated Sunday, Palin needed over 60% (apparently 66%, after the first round was fully tallied) of Begich second-choice votes. In the event, Palin got just over 50%, not enough, with the remainder split about evenly between Peltola (28%) and Blank/Invalid (21%). Yet another Democratic overperformance.

UPDATE: Representative Peltola and I share a birthday 16 years apart. And it is today.