Opinion: Democrats vs. ‘deplorables’ in Montana, Georgia’s 6th District

Democratic U.S. Congresstional candidate Rob Quist delivers a concession speech to supporters, May 25. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

Three weeks remain before the runoff election in the 6th Congressional District, and Democrats are increasingly desperate to notch a victory after a couple of close-but-no-cigar finishes elsewhere. The most galling has to be in Montana, where GOP operatives feared a loss — and that was before the thuggish Republican candidate body-slammed a reporter the week of the election.

(Aside: The result in Montana would seem to be another argument against long periods of early voting. The benefits of early voting, either at polling places or by absentee ballot, mainly accrue to the two main political parties rather than voters, who too often end up voting along their usual partisan lines without all the information that would have been available to them had they waited until Election Day. Now, back to the main story …)

The 6th District race is still too close to call, but already we are seeing a good bit of hand-wringing on the left about what else Democrats have to do to win an election when — in their view — the GOP led by President Trump is in mid-self-immolation. Most of what I’ve seen is a lot less thoughtful than something Matt Taibbi wrote for Rolling Stone. Here’s the relevant excerpt:

“The unspoken subtext of a lot of the Democrats’ excuse-making is their growing belief that the situation is hopeless — and not just because of fixable institutional factors like gerrymandering, but because we simply have a bad/irredeemable electorate that can never be reached.

“This is why the ‘basket of deplorables’ comment last summer was so devastating. That the line would become a sarcastic rallying cry for Trumpites was inevitable. (Of course it birthed a political merchandising supernova.) To many Democrats, the reaction proved the truth of (Hillary) Clinton’s statement. As in: we’re not going to get the overwhelming majority of these yeehaw-ing ‘deplorable’ votes anyway, so why not call them by their names?

“But the ‘deplorables’ comment didn’t just further alienate already lost Republican votes. It spoke to an internal sickness within the Democratic Party, which had surrendered to a negativistic vision of a hopelessly divided country.

“Things are so polarized now that, as Georgia State professor Jennifer McCoy put it on NPR this spring, each side views the other not as fellow citizens with whom they happen to disagree, but as a ‘threatening enemy to be vanquished.’

“The ‘deplorables’ comment formalized this idea that Democrats had given up on a huge chunk of the population, and now sought only to defeat and subdue their enemies.”

There’s more at the link, some of which I agree with and some of which I don’t (the claim that “Barack Obama, for all his faults, never gave in to that mindset” is particularly egregious, given that Obama’s rhetoric about Republicans as president amounted to one long battle with a strawman of his own creation). But this point about Democrats writing off a large chunk of America as not just unwinnable but unworthy of their attention, except to the degree they must subjugate the “deplorables,” is essential.

The anti-elitism within the Republican Party is not, contrary to conventional Democratic wisdom, the same thing as anti-intellectualism. It is much more a reaction to the academic and cultural elites’ disdain for them: their ways, their beliefs, their values, and so on. That reaction may have evolved, in some quarters, into a kind of anti-intellectualism, but that’s not how it started out.

The “deplorables” mindset is also evident in something as cliche, at this point, as Democrats’ belief in demographics as their destiny. Pay attention to the talk among Democrats about when they will be able to win a statewide election in a state like Georgia. There is virtually no discussion of whether their message or their ideas might reach and resonate with a majority of the electorate, whatever it looks like. Instead, it’s a numbers game, as in: Will the 2018 electorate still be too white for them to win? In other words: When will our tribe be larger than their tribe?

There seems to be limited recognition that, if Democrats continue to lose market share among white voters, the increase in minority voting strength will take longer to take hold. Or, to go a step further, that if Republicans can simply make in-roads with minority voters to the tune of 1-2 percentage points per election cycle, it’s unclear that demographics alone will topple them. If that scenario seems unlikely, consider that Republicans have at least been talking about (if not quite acting on) Minority Outreach much longer than Democrats have been talking about Deplorable Outreach.

The consequences of this kind of thinking — by both sides — are too large to ignore, and the politics of it all is actually the least of our worries. At some point, the “enemy to be vanquished” may not be only a metaphorical enemy, and the vanquishing may not be limited to elections.

Reader Comments 0

318 comments
MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Now is the time for 6th District Georgians to "Rise UP' and make Georgia a state that proclaims itself committed to the FUTURE, not the PAST!  Vote OSSOFF!!

scooderpup
scooderpup

When we decided that media could present only one side of politics, we lost. Fox was the only media W would appear on. Fox vilified Clinton and obama for decades. They convinced their bobbleheads that the only thing you can trust is the dirty old men alternative fact channel. It was the only truth. All other news is false. Fox viewers are foxified. If it didn't happen on fix, it didn't happen. So we now have an illegitimately elected nut job who had to have putin help him scam the electorate via fox and Brietbart and false papers to Comey to win.

breckenridge
breckenridge

@scooderpup 

Well I'm not going to comment on all that.  But it does seem to me that people who do not watch Fox News are happier people.

lfelton
lfelton

@scooderpup So CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC doesen't play to their bobble heads? These channel are pro Democrats and yet you single out Fox. Here in lies the problem. Blame others. What are you doing to reach out to others with whom you might have a different viewpoint without the vitriol? The healing of this nation begins with us and not the media or DC.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Seriously, the 6th District needs to go to the democrats. I don't even have to wonder if Handel will become a democrat the minute she is elected, I've see that happen so many times it makes my head spin. So let's just give it to the democrats. Why fool ourselves any longer? Handle is a democrat just waiting to hatch out of her shell. 


They are all democrats and we are all fools.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Jon Tossoff has promised to reduce the size of our government, take care of our veterans, reduce the budget deficit and increase the size of our military. These are the same things the Republicans campaign on but never produce once they are in office. It always seems to be mccainized with them. So I say we elect Tossoff and hold him to his word.


Go Tossoff!!


MAGA!!

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

I'm serious. Maybe jon tossoff can unlock the government and get it back to doing the People's Business instead of stroking itself all day long. I've tried all sorts of Republicans and that hasn't gotten me squat.


I'm a democrat now.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Kyle, can you help me put in a request to change my name again? I know that this is a long and drawn out, tortuous process, I'd just like to get a head start on things. 


Tell them to change it to AndyFasciiDemocrat.

lfelton
lfelton

@AndyManUSA#45 So one freshman Democrat House member can change Washington when two successive Presidents have failed. Good luck with that. 

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

I do not approve of President Trump's job performance any longer because he has not prosecuted obozo or clinton yet.


In fact, I'm regretting my vote.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Everybody wants to investigate except us. To hell with us. You have lost my vote of confidence. As one former leader says, they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a flamethrower. 


Where's the fighting spirit gone to?


(Vote tossoff)

scooderpup
scooderpup

I'm curious. What crimes exactly did obama commit? Because I'm sure, that the highly partisan republican congressional witch hunting committee that spent millions investigating Hillary and finding NOTHING to indict her on, would have found something in Obama. Remember whe Trump was going around saying Obama was A Kenyan Muslim ,which is is a silly lie, but he lies on an hourly basis.

breckenridge
breckenridge

The envelope please........and the winner for the Delusion Of The Year thus far is.......


DEEP STATE!

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@breckenridge Please, do try to explain what your mindless comment even means. We are all wondering. Our President can't even make a telephone call without a recording of it coming out within minutes of him hanging up. That means there is some a**hole in the government that thinks it is his job to oversee the Executive Branch. Wanna bet this a**hole has never won an election? 


You're an idiot.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@breckenridge @AndyManUSA#45 You wouldn't even know about Flynn's involvement with the Russians if it wasn't for some a**hole in our government that thought it was his job to oversee the Executive Branch.


Are you incapable of thought?

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@breckenridge Well, of course he is. This is the same person that denies he was created. There is not much brain activity with this one.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Starik @AndyManUSA#45 @breckenridge Why? You're not supposed to live forever on this Earth, dude. Think about it for a minute. This is your test, are you going to give it all for the Earthly pleasures or do you store your treasures in Heaven? You really do need to read the Bible.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Starik @AndyManUSA#45 @breckenridge According to your justifications, shouldn't Republicans be able to wiretapp democrats, release the info to our media and make big hay out of it? (Keep in mind who runs the Justice Department these days.)

Jackalope
Jackalope

The problem here is that you haven't SEEN sleaziness at all. All you've done is HEARD sleaziness from unknown, unnamed, "anonymous" sources. You haven't actually seen one single person come forth and say they witnessed anything at all.

Starik
Starik

@Jackalope "you haven't SEEN sleaziness at all." I can read a tweet.

breckenridge
breckenridge

@Jackalope 

Well Jack this is why there is an ongoing investigation.  Neither of us know if there was any wrongdoing by those within the Trump administration, or by Trump himself.

And those that are certain one way or the other.......lying partisan hacks.

scooderpup
scooderpup

Actually, the electoral college voted. And many of them were illegal. But yeah, you won. Many Americans , poor, and middle class, disabled Americans. lost. Bigly. Yay. For,you.

breckenridge
breckenridge

The first and, by far, the greatest reason is this: They do not believe that America is engaged in a civil war, with the survival of America as we know it at stake.

Civil War? That's really funny. In a, you know, completely stupid sort of way. 

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Comedian Kathy Griffin is now possibly the focus of a Secret Service investigation after photographs surfaced of her holding a bloody decapitated head resembling the commander-in-chief. 


Investigation? Do they not have a photo viewer on their computers? This is not inciting violence? Why is she still a free woman?

MarkVV
MarkVV

Kyle: “The most galling has to be in Montana, where GOP operatives feared a loss — and that was before the thuggish Republican candidate body-slammed a reporter the week of the election.”

Why is that surprising? Aren’t those voting for this “thuggish candidate” also the people who voted for Trump, the candidate who said “"I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters."

lfelton
lfelton

@MarkVV Nice try. Montana has one at large House seat the entire state votes for. A state which has Democrats as the Governor,4/5 state offices and the US Senate is split. 

Starik
Starik

"Make America Great Again." What time period do you have in mind for American greatness?  When, exactly was that?

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Starik  I could be a real pr--k to the left and say American greatness has prevailed up and until the Obama rein as president. I would be, if we consider historical facts absolutely correct. Nine eleven under GWB ushered in a national patriotism that we haven't seen since. The left has prevailed in the following two presidential elections but lost in both mid-term elections under Obama. So, I would say in answer to your question American greatness prevailed through most of our history and began failing only in our lifetime. Maybe there's a reason for Donald Trump, that even he doesn't understand.

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit @Starik America under Bush wasn't great; his response to 9/11 was to start a bloody war that was completely unprovoked and destabilize the  ME. The economy went to hell. All that Bush really accomplished was to get Obama elected.  Try another decade.

cynthia shalit
cynthia shalit

@Starik @SGTGrit Obama brought us  out of the worst world side recession  since the Great Depression.  I don't know why he doesn't get more credit for it.

PDPDP8
PDPDP8

Exactly. George W. was worst President I can remember.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

This amazes me -


Was Obama administration illegal spying worse than Watergate?
The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying that the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor,” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26.


Herein we have actual evidence of a crime. Proof, you know? Some criminal cases don't even need proof, you know? Let me scratch my head and see if I can remember what the requirements are in America these days for you to be tried and convicted without any proof, hmmmmmm, oh yeah, you are a Republican. And what do the Republicans have to say about this unequal treatment under the law; Trump isn't acting "presidential."
I just can't believe it, it's totally amazing.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/05/30/obama-admin-illegal-spying-worse-than-watergate-glenn-reynolds-column/102284058/

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

 I have concluded that there are a few reasons that explain conservatives who were Never-Trumpers during the election, and who remain anti-Trump today.

The first and, by far, the greatest reason is this: They do not believe that America is engaged in a civil war, with the survival of America as we know it at stake.


Is Kyle coming around?

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

 Had any Never-Trump conservative been told, say in the summer of 2015, that a Republican would win the 2016 election and, within his first few months in office, appoint a conservative to the Supreme Court; begin the process of replacing Obamacare; bomb Russia's ally, Assad, after he again used chemical weapons; appoint the most conservative cabinet in modern American history; begin undoing hysteria-based, economy-choking EPA regulations; label the Iranian regime "evil" in front of 50 Muslim heads of state; wear a yarmulke at the Western Wall; appoint a U.N. ambassador who regularly condemns the U.N. for its moral hypocrisy; restore the military budget; and work on lowering corporate tax rates, among other conservative achievements -- that Never-Trump conservative would have been jumping for joy.


You would think.


Maybe there is more to it than just Making America Great Again.


http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/05/30/why_conservatives_still_attack_trump_134036.html