28.4.16

WHAT DIFFERENCE, AT THIS POINT, DOES IT MAKE?

A Common Dreams writer frets about the outcome of the Democrat primary in some down-ticket races out east.
A disappointing election night for progressives ended Tuesday with two establishment Democrats, Katie McGinty and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, winning their respective U.S. Senate primary races in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Van Hollen won against Rep. Donna Edwards, both of whom were running to replace Sen. Barbara Mikulski, in a contest that highlighted racial, gender, and class divides in the Maryland Democratic Party.
I'm not sure what this carping about "establishment Democrats" is. The tussle, if there is one, is over symbolism, not substance.  The party platform will be substantively bad no matter who stands on it.
At a union hall in Prince George's County Tuesday night, Edwards gave a passionate concession speech that criticized the Democratic Party's faux-progressive mantle.

"To my Democratic Party, you cannot show up in churches before election day, you cannot sing the first and last verse of 'Lift Every Voice and Sing,' you cannot join hands and walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and call that post-racial and inclusion," she said to cheers and applause.

"To my Democratic Party, let me say that today Maryland is on the verge of having an all-male delegation in a so-called progressive state. So what I want to know from my Democratic Party, is when will the voices of people of color, when will the voices of women, when will the voices of labor, when will the voices of black women, when will our voices be effective, legitimate, equal leaders in a big-tent party?" she said.
Does it really matter what church or mosque the candidate attends, or what kind of marriage the candidate is in or out of, or what potty the candidate uses, as long as Baltimore is a paradigm of what Democrat ward-heeler politicians do?

Meanwhile, the establishment Republicans are having trouble managing play in Two No-Trump, and Roger Simon sees in a Trump candidacy a chance to pry some of the Democrats' victims away.
The African-American community is in a miserable condition that has been getting worse for decades and has reached its nadir under Obama -- two-parent families disappearing, unemployment rates skyrocketing, incarceration rates catastrophic, drug addiction epidemic. We all look on in despair as gang members shoot children in the streets of Chicago and murders -- almost all black-on-black -- proliferate in Baltimore after years of decline.

What is to be done about all this? Hillary Clinton will certainly have plenty to say, but it will all be the same old disingenuous bilge. She can't be part of the solution because she -- like the Democratic Party she has served loyally for almost her entire life -- is part of the problem. For reasons of moral narcissism and political expediency, beginning with the Great Society that party has set up a system in black communities that has trapped African-Americans into a non-stop cycle of government dependency, turning them into what talk show host Larry Elder dubbed "victocrats," believers in perpetual victimhood, a self-fulfilling prophecy, if there ever was one. The #blacklivesmatter movement is only the most recent avatar.

Many black people -- just not the brilliant minds like Thomas Sowell and Elder -- know this. They are just constrained by the atmosphere in their communities, the evil influence and machinations of those like Reverend Al and Maxine Waters, against speaking up.  Others have simply given up. It's hard to blame them. How do you break this cycle?

Enter Donald Trump.
That's going to call for specifics. But here, some of the groundwork already exists.
As luck would have it, one of Trump's signature campaign goals -- bringing jobs back to America -- refers directly to one of the key problems of black America -- rampant unemployment. But it gets more specific. Trump speaks continually of American corporations -- Carrier, Pfizer, and Ford, among others -- moving their factories out of our country to lower their taxes and other costs, while we lose jobs.

What if Trump were to propose that those corporations could return to America tax free (for a certain amount of time), if they were to build those new factories not in foreign countries but in our own disadvantaged communities? (This is a variant on the old Jack Kemp opportunity-zone idea.) In the case of a Ford, Trump could go further, talking to the UAW and asking them to reduce their minimums in those communities as well (for a similar amount of time) until the local work forces were sufficiently trained and the factories humming. The man who invented, or at least wrote, The Art of the Deal should be able to get this done. It would be a win, win, win for everybody.

Republicans always claim capitalism is the true motor of society and that earning a decent wage for honest work is far better for the psyche than a welfare check. And they're right, of course. But they don't do anything to demonstrate it -- all talk and no action. This is their opportunity.
Perhaps a Republican Congress would go along with such a proposal.  Undoubtedly the usual ankle-biters would carp about the usual tax breaks to the rich.  And the unions would seek a restoration of the Treaty of Detroit.  But the current U. S. workforce is more like a third world workforce than a workforce that can participate in the creation of knowledge-intensive advanced-technology goods for exports, as used to be the basis of the U. S. comparative advantage.

Thus, the mugging by reality might have to go on, and get worse rather than better.  Hence Chicago Boy Jonathan.
The candidacies of Trump and Sanders are in large part responses to public concerns about the problems [Lord] Salisbury describes. They are inadequate responses, likely to fail politically and on their own terms and eventually to be superseded by other responses. The pot will continue to boil at greater or lesser intensity depending on who gets elected and what follows. It seems unlikely that the underlying problems will begin to be solved unless the voters develop a realistic understanding of what needs to be done, and start electing politicians who are both willing and competent to do it. It may be a while.
We have much to look forward to.

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