Letter from subscriber Matt Osborne, who featured on the 2020 HBO documentary, After Truth on electioneering the 2017 US Senate race. Matt also posts here.
The following comment from an Alabama Democratic Party insider was just passed along to me:
"How are we going to talk to voters with a straight face after setting a quota for non-binary party officials?"
I have been sounding the alarm all this time, and now the pigeons are coming home to roost. This midterm election year is going to be awful for Democrats. I was just discussing the poor polling on all this gobbledygook with my local-political friends and said "every time another man cheats women out of their sports, Democrats lose ten House seats." One of them responded by conveying that comment, which is less than a day old.
The comment is from a state party official. I won't name them in an email. The person who conveyed the quote to me is the family member that the state party official was speaking to. These are "yellow dog" Democrats -- people who would vote for a yellow dog before they would vote for a Republican. Reality is dawning on them that the party has gone utterly bananas, and they are suddenly worried about extinction.
They should be. I lived in Alabama since I was a child. I witnessed the political shifts in 1980 and 1986 and 1996. I earned a political science degree and worked in "netroots" for a decade. I lived through the Tea Party wave of 2010 and I helped elect the last Democratic Senator who will probably ever represent Alabama in 2017.
Goodbye to all that. Watch for the suburbs to turn red in November. Call it "the Loudon County effect." Long political story made short, the suburbs are where electoral shifts show up in wave elections, and the direction of Democratic organizing is online, straight into the social media echo chamber they have created. Traditional GOTV (get out the vote) is too much hard work for the kiddies with their Facebook pages.
My uncle lost his state house seat in New Hampshire because he obeyed the party's Covid advice to stay home instead of knocking on doors. His Republican opponent knocked on every door in the district and won. So you can see why this hyper-online kind of activism is leading Democrats straight into disaster.
If you are at all interested in the political/electoral implications, I do plan to follow the polling again this year.
While we’re at it, here’s Kara Dansky’s earlier piece on the same subject.
Thanks for sharing this. As a life-long Democrat who worked for Democrats in my state's Legislature for 12 years, I know every word of this is true. Sadly, terrifyingly, the Democratic leadership appears to be willing to die on this sword. It's not just in the South, and it's not just the Yellow Dog Democrats that will turn the suburbs red again, that will hand Congress and likely the presidency in 2024 to the Republicans. There are also more and more x-"progressives" like me from the left flank of the party who feel betrayed by the Democrats in part because of this issue, who will vote for independents.
Or who simply will not vote. My "progressive" member of Congress will not respond to my emails about the Equality Act with anything but insulting boilerplate responses written by an intern (I imagine with purple hair) for who she assumes are bigoted right-wing constituents. She has “different values” from me, apparently. It will make me sick to vote for her again, and I don't know if I can do that.
The dynamics have parallels with UK politics (which I have learned a lot about from this fight), but they are also very different because of just HOW terrifying the US Republican party has become. Not all Republicans, but the state and national party leadership are daily working to undermine democracy in state after state. They are not a good alternative to Democrats, even though more conservative people in the US are with us on this issue. Which should not be an issue of right and left! It is an issue of right and wrong. Kara Dansky, a lifelong progressive, must go on Fox News to be heard, and because she does this is branded as a bigot. The polarization in the US is hard to really imagine if you don't live here: there are only two sides. The illiberalism on the left, (including the wholescale embrace of nonsense dangerous queer policies) also is laced with dangerous authoritarianism, but it doesn't hold a candle to what is happening with Republicans. And the fall of the US into an authoritarian state will impact the entire world.
I don't have a home in either party any more. Lots of us feel that way, because of the genderwoo.