Fallon’s “Panera theory” suggests Democrats do not have a plan

Democratic strategist and former Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon

Yesterday, Democratic strategist and senior advisor to the Priorities USA Super PAC opined on Twitter that “the path to retaking the House…runs through the Panera Breads of America.” He meant that Democrats should focus on affluent suburban districts that went for Romney in 2012 but showed substantial movement toward Clinton in 2016. The former press secretary for the Clinton campaign cited Georgia’s sixth-district special election, where Democrat Jon Ossoff will face a runoff in June but still got more votes than both of his Republican opponents last night. It’s important to note that Ossoff is talking about retaking the House, not winning the 2020 presidential election. In his interview with Jeff Stein of Vox, he acknowledges that Democrats should try to appeal to working-class voters then. But he seems convinced that his party should focus on moderate Republicans in 2018. Quote:

There’s no doubt in where you start in forming the target list — it will be those 23 districts that switched from [Mitt] Romney to Clinton that look a lot, demographically, like the one in Georgia tonight.

This strategy strongly resembles the one that Hillary Clinton pursued in the 2016 election, which she did not win. That rumbling sound you hear is Sanders Democrats across the country grinding their teeth. But as the interview progresses, Fallon explains that his remark only described one strategy among many—one he qualifies to the point of utter meaninglessness. It kind of sounds like he has no plan. Fallon’s overall message seems to be that the Democrats should keep doing the same thing they did last year, but win.

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Friday links! I declare weekend edition


It’s almost noon in the one true time zone, so it’s basically the weekend. And not just any weekend—it’s the weekend of Memorial Day, a holiday of pure enjoyment uncomplicated by any depressing overtones. It must be party time, because my neighbors have put a smoker in our shared yard, right next to their grill, their fire pit, their canopy tent, their second grill, their chairs, their woodpile and their broken-pieces-of-palettes pile, amid the general distribution of their beer cans. Today is Friday, and I can’t escape my home office quickly enough. Won’t you bang something out and knock off with me?

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Friday links! Perfectly cromulent words edition


The image above comes to us from the Frinkiac, a searchable database of the first 15 seasons of The Simpsons that matches lines of dialogue with frames from the episodes in which they appear. I think we can agree it’s the best thing that ever happened to Combat! blog, except for maybe Sarah Palin. We live in a golden age of memes, some of them pure and good but others products of our hideously mutual delusions. Today is Friday, and the internet is full of perfectly cromulent words. Won’t you remember a time before you moved to Springfield with me?

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Does the rhetoric of “privilege” take pressure off the 1%?


There are two ways to read this satisfyingly provocative essay in Jacobin. Connor Kilpatrick argues that the intellectual left’s relentless focus on privilege—white, male, straight, cisgender, able-bodied, college-educated, et cetera—substitutes an abstract problem for the concrete problem of political and economic dominance by the wealthiest 1% of American households. Privilege is a sideshow. At best, it encourages us to ignore the problems of the middle class in favor of the problems of the most destitute. He writes:

[Privilege] is an attempt to shame the middle class—those with some wealth but, relative to the top one or one-tenth of one percent, mere crumbs—to make them shut up about the rich and super rich and, instead, look at those below as a reminder that it could all be much worse.

Kilpatrick cites as an example this article from Vox, which quotes a TED talk by Alex Giridharadas re: who gets to feel indignant for being in the 99%. Infuriating quote after the jump.

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Friday links! Old friends edition

Curt and Kathleen's roof, which is my roof now, suckers

Curt and Kathleen’s roof, which is my roof now, suckers

What would we do without our friends? I’ll never know, because my friends are thoughtful and compassionate and ensured that I did not spend an evening alone in New York all this week. It was great, and one way I know it was great is that I hardly looked at the internet at all. Luckily for us, my friends outside New York are great, too. They sent me a steady stream of interesting articles, which just goes to show that you should stop following the news and do what my brother says. Today is Friday, and I get by with a little shelf for my pens. Won’t you enjoy support beyond your merit with me?

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