Six Days on the Road

I got home after midnight, so it might even qualify as seven days -- I was just about five hours short of seven full days, in fact. I'm back home now.

The big lesson of the DNC is that it was exactly unlike the RNC on the question of real democracy. The RNC was chaotic in the hall, but eventually followed the will of the voters against the party elites, as you will remember.

The DNC ran exactly the other way. Everything that happened at the DNC was designed to create the greatest possible show of unity, in the face of a massive revolt by the rank and file voters.

There was a big walkout of Bernie delegates on Tuesday. It's not clear how big, because the media spent more time debunking numbers that were too big (in order to suggest that there was really nothing to the story at all). Reports of up to 700 walkouts are probably overstated. Reports of 150 -- which is around three times as many as the Dixiecrat walkout of 1948 -- might not be unreasonable. I met a number of delegates in the protest areas, and heard more of them speak. The cameras I saw didn't reflect the big number of empty seats.

Bernie Sanders himself was apparently pressed into trying to force his delegates to agree to electing Hillary Clinton by acclamation. That provoked a movement by the protesters to march on the convention on Tuesday afternoon, and was what apparently provoked the walkout -- after the delegates defeated that attempt, and had placed their votes against Hillary Clinton.

There were a lot of boos inside the building before the walkout on Tuesday, and fewer afterwards. In addition to just having fewer people to boo, though, I gather that the Democratic party installed noise machines designed to overwhelm the booers with fake applause. I didn't see that personally, but it would fit.

There were reports that the Democrats hired seat-fillers to fill the empty seats left by Bernie delegates. I saw a media report "debunking" that story too. OK. But I also met a rather drunk black man on the bus home Wednesday night who claimed, before I'd read any such stories or any purported debunking, to have spent the day in the convention hall in just that role, where he claimed to have met several leading Democrats during the course of the day. Now, he was trying to impress this girl he was hitting on at the time. Maybe he was making it up. Nevertheless, the stories he was telling lined up perfectly with the reports that the media was trying hard to debunk later.

I would just like to state that, in decades of being around many radical thinkers on both the left and the right, I have never heard such passionate profanity directed at Hillary Clinton as I heard from the progressives this week. I don't say that to condemn the progressives, who were badly cheated by this whole process. Their anger is righteous, even if it has indecent expression on occasion. (Another thing covered up by the media, I gather: you're supposed to think that hateful sexist language is the preserve of the right, but it was way more intense at the progressive protests this week than I've ever heard from a right-winger of any kind.)

Meanwhile, of course, the protests themselves were designed to erect another means of control that would prevent the DNC from being embarrassed on television. The protests were confined to 'free speech zones' at least some distance from the convention hall. The official protest groups bought access to the microphone by agreeing to be confined away from television cameras. Mostly, in return for submission to this system, they were left alone to say what they wanted to say. However, during the "Black Men for Bernie" protest -- which happened to occur the same afternoon that the last of the Freddie Gray charges were dropped -- the police invaded the "free speech zone" in force, with lots of zip cuffs at the ready.

It wasn't necessary. The Black Men for Bernie were furious, but they restricted their objections to the free speech they'd signed up to provide.

The only people who stormed the barricades were a band of anarchists on Wednesday night. There weren't enough of them to do more than create a spectacle, though, because every kind of cop in America was there in as large a number as could be provided.

The show of party unity you watched on television was just that: a show. The Democratic Party is going into this election divided like never before. They've brought it on themselves through corruption of their own electoral systems, as revealed by the DNC email leak as well as what is now multiple studies. The DNC chose to favor the interests of the powerful, rich, well-connected Clinton machine instead of obedience to a real democratic contest. They deserve to bear the consequences of that decision.


Tom said...

Opportunities abound. Do you think there is any way to approach the disaffected and move them in our direction?

Grim said...

Which direction is ours?

Anonymous said...

Toward individual responsibility and personal liberty, with a gradual shift from federal "charity" to stronger local efforts and support? That's my personal "direction."


Grim said...

I think you could enlist them in anti-corruption efforts -- what Trump refers to as breaking the rigged system. I don't think you can persuade them away from socialism or towards limited government. They believe the government exists to do good things. We believe the government exists to protect certain natural liberties, and not much else.

In the short term, I think many will vote Green instead of Blue. In the long term, you might find particular issues on which to make common cause (e.g., anti-TPP because it removes self-government and gives it over to international non-democratic bodies -- that's a big one for them, as for me).

Tom said...

If we could all just get together and nuke corruption, that would be a huge improvement. Pass a bunch of transparency laws with felonious teeth, and reduce government immunity to good faith.

Require government agencies to employ the same accounting procedures businesses are required to use. Make the whole government live up to their own rules.

Tie the bureaucracy up in transparency and reporting "red tape" the way they tie businesses up.

Also, during a Trump presidency, it should be easy to get Congress to take back some of the power it has ceded the President.

Anonymous said...

We have transparency laws. But when you have a United States Attorney General who uses the excuse that he does not read his own work-relate mail, and you have a major political party that accepts such an excuse, the rules and laws do not matter.

The USSR had a wonderful Constitution, which they suspended on an emergency basis for a little over seven decades.


Tom said...


I really don't think the USSR is a reasonable comparison, to be honest. It's bad here, but not that bad, yet. On this proposal, you need to exercise your imagination.

The transparency laws we have don't have teeth, for one thing. Let's dangle personal fines and prison over their heads. Let's reduce immunity to good faith so citizens can sue negligent or maleficent bureaucrats personally. Let's establish clear individual bureaucratic responsibility for every action and every record. Let's make simple negligence (not even gross negligence) the standard for indictment and conviction. Let's give doing anything that undermines the democratic process (like targeting political opponents) long, hard sentences.

I think we can make changes in how government works, if we want to.

Grim said...

I think we can make changes in how government works, if we want to.

Can we? These protesters wanted to. They made a lot of effort in that regard. They may -- if the studies on election fraud are accurate -- have done enough work to have had the votes.

In a way, that's the real question. It's the one on which their interests and ours absolutely do align.

Tom said...

If enough of us pursue it, yes. That's why I'm thinking about alliances. If all of the disaffected got together on a few proposals that would simply improve the system, then I think so.

Focus on EJUSA's election law proposals first. Then use the elections to focus on transparency. Then, split up again and go after each other as usual, but with a better system.

But I'm probably just dreaming here.

Ymar Sakar said...

Pass a bunch of transparency laws with felonious teeth, and reduce government immunity to good faith.

Haha, use the government's enforcement branch to shrink the government's monopoly on power?

That's like the serpent eating its own tail in the perpetual Ourobus.

Realistically, humans can't do that.

Tie the bureaucracy up in transparency and reporting "red tape" the way they tie businesses up.

And to do that, you would need a bureaucracy bigger, stronger, and tougher than the government's current bureaucracy.