Monday, October 21, 2013

A Progressive's Guide to the 2013 Election

Note: Today, we, the good people of Et tu, Mr. Destructo? confront the fact that we stopped caring about politics after Mormon Flanders lost the 2012 election. But, like aging and death, democracy doesn't stop; it even happens during odd-numbered years. Thus we turn for voting advice to Robert Wheel, a Brooklyn resident who went to law school when his job in the Kerry White House didn't pan out. On the bright side, now he's really good at knowing when a campaign is going to lose on Election Day.

Races Democrats Tried to Screw Up Only to Have the GOP Foil Their Incompetence

You're probably vaguely aware of the 2013 elections. Odds are that the only election going on in your area is a municipal one, and you really don't care who's on the local water commission. (Although you probably should!)

Regardless, there are a few elections nationwide that you should pay attention to, both because they affect a lot of people (8 million of us in New York, it'd be nice if the mayor were a Democrat), and because they might be signs for future elections and for the future of the only political party left not helmed by a Texan suicide cult leader dressed like Pagliacci. Anyway, here is your Progressive's Guide To The 2013 Elections.

Hey, you might have heard about this one! You probably know the story—former Sandinistabro Bill de Blasio won a Democratic primary over his more conservative rivals and he's poised to be the Elizabeth Warren of New York City. Well, not quite. The most liberal candidate in the field was hampered by a fundraising scandal that he likely had nothing to do with. De Blasio is about as liberal as third-place finisher Christine Quinn, but she decided back in 2009 that she should run as the heir to Mike Bloomberg, thinking that Democrats would like to elect another imperious plutocrat. Oh well, then.

But de Blasio did a really good job of positioning himself as the champion of those left out of the Bloomberg boom years. He kept saying that New York was a tale of two cities, even though I don't think he even read the book. He's got a cute biracial family and told New Yorkers of color that the cops shouldn't just be allowed to stop them because they look funny. And he proposed a tax on rich people that he knows would never get approved by the state legislature because a) Democratic primary voters love that shit and b) the handwringing in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times from out-of-touch plutocrats about the tax was fucking hilarious. I don't care that the tax won't pass; I applaud him just for freaking them out.

The Republican standing in de Blasio's way is milquetoast Joe Lhota, who used to run New York's beloved Metropolitan Transit Authority. It's difficult to see how Lhota could cobble together a coalition of 50% in the general election, because all the white progressives who liked Bloomberg's TED Talk Liberalism are on de Blasio's side now. De Blasio is almost certainly the city's next mayor and I, for one, look forward to being governed by a 6'5” Red Sox fan married to a former lesbian. And I hope he puts a methadone clinic next to a Koch brother's apartment once he wins.

The Republican Party has been getting more conservative since the end of Dwight Eisenhower's presidency. A moderate Republican today is a paleoconservative from three decades ago. For some reason, we are quick to embrace Republicans who aren't as fucking insane as the current crop. Like, when liberals say Ronald Reagan would be too liberal for today's Republican Party they're probably right, but that doesn't change the fact that Reagan was awful.

Chris Christie, relative to current Republicans, is a moderate. So liberals will say, "Louie Gohmert sucks, why can't he be a good Republican like Chris Christie?" Well, I've got news for you. Chris Christie's politics are pretty much identical to George W. Bush's. (He owes his U.S. Attorney appointment to Bush in exchange for loyally lobbying and campaigning.) He wants to gut public schools, bust unions, prevent gays from marrying and give rich people tax breaks. He torpedoed an additional tunnel under the Hudson River, fucking over anyone who lives between Boston and Washington, DC and wants to take a train, and lied about why he did it. But liberals think he's not so bad because he accepted help from a Democratic president after a hurricane (not controversial) and made fun of himself on Saturday Night Live (not controversial). He's George W. Bush in Tony Soprano's body, and somehow that makes him a fucking hero.

The Democrats nominated Barbara Buono to run against him. She seems decent, but she's in the New Jersey legislature so she's only decent to an extent. She'll lose, and we'll still think Chris Christie is a moderate because he's not as bad as the rest of the lot. Fuck you if you think he's any better than the rest of the lot.

When I was in high school, I had a social studies teacher who said there would be a black president and a woman president in our lifetimes, and they'd both be Republicans. This was when America had a conservative party and a moderate party, not an insane party and everyone else party. Before they decided to just run with every nativist and misogynist instinct they had one could, theoretically, be a sane black person or a sane woman and a Republican. Greedy people are usually pretty sane, after all.

I say that because Cory Booker should have been the first black Republican president if the party had not gone insane. His solutions to Newark's problems are to hang out on Twitter with a shovel in hand and ask rich people to fund the public schools (which they did, except they gave money to consultants instead of teachers) instead of a sustainable social safety net. He also thought President Obama was being too mean to rich people. You can hear him talking about becoming more self-reliant and extolling private charitable giving at the 1988 Republican National Convention.

So it was disappointing that the media star beat true progressives Frank Pallone (a worthy heir to Frank Lautenberg) and Rush Holt (a five-time Jeopardy! champion who would have worked closely with Elizabeth Warren) in the Democratic primary, which was tantamount to victory, because Republicans aren't putting up a fight. New Jersey Democrats missed the opportunity to reverse the rightward drift of the Beltway consensus. Booker will still vote down-the-line Democratic on most issues, but he'll have Evan Bayh-esque fits of pique to thwart progressive goals. There's even a small chance he pulls a Joe Lieberman and goes full heel turn against the party. Thanks, Jersey.

For the past four decades the Virginia governorship has been the consolation prize for losing the presidential election: since 1976 the party that has lost the White House has won in Richmond the next year. And Democrats seemed happy to play the historical part when they nominated Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton fundraiser who had dubious ties to the state. If you've read The Town (I wouldn't unless it's free) you'd know that the Mackster is willing to whore himself out to just about anyone for a buck. Surely the Commonwealth of Virginia would do its historical duty and reject him, right?

But Republicans nominated Ken Cuccinelli, the attorney general who has tried to enforce a state sodomy law and advocated against no-fault divorce at the behest of grown-up men's rights activists. Now, Virginia isn't shy about electing Redditor-friendly governors—current governor Bob McDonnell basically said women were property in his thesis at Pat Robertson's Give Me Money And I'll Give You Two Letters After Your Name College—but McDonnell pretended to care about roads and jobs and stuff. Also, Cuccinelli's been snared in a scandal from the outgoing regime mostly involving tacky gifts from a tacky nutritional supplement company.

Also on the Mackster's side is billionaire Tom Steyer, a Californian who realizes that global climate change is a bigger problem than, say, the top marginal tax rate going up 3%. He's pouring tons of money into the race because Cuccinelli actually sued the University of Virginia because he alleged it defrauded the state in climate change studies, a laughable lawsuit that was thrown out of court. Anyway, welcome to John Roberts's America, where anyone can win a campaign as long as they have the same political views as an eccentric billionaire.

Lieutenant Governor is supposed to be a dull race. It's usually between two guys who've volunteered for the most party committees and gotten the fewest people close to the gubernatorial nominee to hate them. But once again Republicans aren't sticking to the script, and they nominated E.W. Jackson. Jackson's a formerly bankrupt preacher who's prone to saying stuff like everyone who isn't a nutjob Christian is going to hell. But he's black and he gives totally not-racist Republicans license to show just how not racist they are. "See, I support E.W. Jackson! HE'S ONE OF THE GOOD ONES." Most likely Republicans had no idea how insane he was when they nominated him—then again, Alan Keyes.

Notably, Jackson evinces how the Republican Party really isn't a party any more. It's a get-rich-quick scheme. You see, Jackson isn't even trying to win. Otherwise he'd be coordinating his campaign with the state party to try to develop something resembling a strategy to get 50% of the vote. But instead he's hoarding his list of doomsday prepper supporters that he'll eventually be able to flip for a profit to some cash-4-gold or reverse mortgage scam.

He'll say crazy stuff during the campaign to get his shut-in base riled up and turn off swing voters. He'll lose big and become part of the conservative media machinery, the same one that welcomes notable flimflam artists like Dick Morris and Newt Gingrich. Now that Michael Steele routinely appears on MSNBC because he can talk excitedly without needing a bib, Jackson will become the go-to black conservative for cable news bookers, print out some 200-page large-print books about how Democrats are the real racists and finally pay off his creditors. If there's any danger that he won't, either the Heritage Foundation or the political action committee he started to spread his message will use donor money to buy his books in bulk, then turn around and give copies of the book "free" to donors who send in $50 checks. You know, the Palin Model. This is the modern Republican Party. The old one used to exploit white racial fears to get power. Now they just do it to get money.

Democrats had a golden opportunity to nominate a true progressive who'd mop the floor with a kook like Jackson. So naturally they nominated Ralph Northam, a state senator who almost bolted the party in a state senate power play. Way to go again, Virginia Democrats! Anyway, Northam's originally from that penis-shaped exclave of Virginia that's only connected to Maryland. So at least I know someone's from there. I lived in the state for four years and didn't meet anyone from Virginia's Floating Wang.

Anyway, that’s what you have to look forward to this fall. Even if you don't live in New York, New Jersey or Virginia, please vote in your municipal election or else your town councilman will believe that fluoridation is a Commie-Nazi plot—hello, St. Petersburg—and your board of education will ban Moby-Dick from the curriculum because Ahab's quest against the white whale is reverse racism. And remember, even if Democrats win Republicans will say it's only because of voter fraud and handouts. They really "get" democracy.