Friday links! It’s the children who are wrong edition


Every time some recount widens Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory in the popular vote, the Democratic Party looks stupider. It’s one thing to lose to a game show host. Losing to a game show host even though more people voted for you really plants the flag atop Mount Fuckup. Now is the time for Democrats to turn on one another in recrimination and gnashing of teeth, but wait: Jonathan Chait says they have nothing to learn from their loss. The 2016 Election Is a Disaster Without a Moral, he writes in New York Magazine. The only lesson to be taken is “don’t run Hillary Clinton again.” Other than the thrilling moment when you realize the DNC might do that, this lesson sucks. Plenty of mistakes were made in the process of losing by getting 2.5 million more votes. But Chait blames the voters themselves:

If you listened to the political scientists, Hillary Clinton’s defeat was relatively predictable — winning a third term for a party is pretty difficult. Most of us believed that dynamic wouldn’t matter in 2016 because the Republican Party nominated a singularly unfit candidate for office. But it turned out this factor was cancelled out by Hillary Clinton’s almost equal level of unpopularity. To many people who follow politics closely, it was hard to believe that the voters might see the ordinary flaws of a consummate establishmentarian pol as equivalent to those of a raving ignorant sociopathic sexual predator. And yet.

Let me get this straight: “This factor,” by which you mean one candidate’s unfitness for office, was cancelled out by the other candidate’s unpopularity? Sounds like an election, dude. I agree it’s awful and surprising that Trump won, but to say it only happened because people hated the Democratic candidate more than him is to jam the snake’s tail into its mouth. Chait spends the next several paragraphs convincing the reader there’s nothing to be learned from the last election by limiting himself to describing it. When he dismisses Sanders as a “message candidate,” he draws attention to the lacuna haunting his whole nihilist project: maybe the lesson is that your candidate should have a clear message. Today is Friday, and the Democratic Party is free to spend the next 3.75 years deciding what its message might be. Won’t you fill the silence with me?

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Could this woman say something sexist?

Feminist icon and Bill Maher-tolerator Gloria Steinem

Feminist icon and Bill Maher-tolerator Gloria Steinem

On Friday night, Gloria Steinem criticized young women who support Bernie Sanders in, uh, problematic terms. “When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘where are the boys?'” she told Bill Maher. “The boys are with Bernie.” That’s a bad argument, mostly because it implies that young women care less about politics than catching a man, but also because there’s a much more satisfying generalization right next door. When you’re young, you’re thinking, “where are the young people?” Eighty-five percent of voters under age 30 broke for Sanders in the Iowa caucuses, and he led Hillary by 21 points among voters 30-44. There may be some force at work here other than the overwhelming desire for boys. But if Steinem is a feminist, how can she say something sexist?

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In giant metaphor, Cruz announces 2016 candidacy at Liberty University

Why shouldn't I be president?

Why shouldn’t I be president?

Ted Cruz has formally entered the 2016 presidential race, announcing his candidacy this morning at Liberty University. And what better analogue for his brand of conservatism than a college founded by a televangelist? As the Telegraph reminds us, Liberty University teaches that the Earth is 6000 years old and notes the “strong possibility that horses, zebras and donkeys are all descended from an original pair of horses that were on Noah’s Ark.” That’s only a possibility, though; we shouldn’t assume anything until we can do more research. Cruz is a Baptist, but he didn’t go to Liberty University. He went to Princeton. That, dear reader, is the senator from Texas in a nutshell.

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Dept. of Irony: GOP paints Clinton, Dems as old

Hillary Clinton, recently upgraded to "old" from "bitch"

Hillary Clinton, recently upgraded to “old” from “bitch”

“In some ways,” Rand Paul says in this article from the Times, “the older Democrats have become more staid and status-quo-like than some of us Republicans.” Thus begins the most tenuous political strategy in recent memory: Republicans’ plan to characterize Democrats as the party of the old. Former Romney strategist Stuart Stevens told reporters last month that electing a Democrat in 2016 would be like going back in time. And Mitch McConnell described the likely Democratic field as like an episode of The Golden Girls, presumably in that he masturbates to it.

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