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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Wolf Through the Gate

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway.  

Dan Balz at WP:
The Democratic National Convention will open Monday in a spirit of unity and shared purpose, with the party’s often-warring moderate establishment and galvanized liberal wings agreeing for now to set aside their differences to defeat President Trump in November and deliver the White House to Joe Biden.

...

That Democrats today appear far more unified is testament in part to the work of Biden, Sanders and their teams over the past several months to avoid a repeat of the 2016 experience. But the unity owes much more to the occupant of the White House, whom many Democrats fear could inflict lasting damage to the country and its democratic institutions if he gains a second term.

“Four years ago, you could point to Donald Trump as the wolf at the gate, but it was still theoretical,” said Pete Buttigieg, the former South Bend, Ind., mayor who ran unsuccessfully against Biden in the primaries. “Now the wolf is through the gate, eating the chickens.”
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Robby Mook, who was Clinton’s campaign manager in 2016, said there are major differences between the eve of this convention and four years ago. One is Trump’s presidency, another the personal relationship between Biden and Sanders, which is better than the one between Sanders and Clinton, and then the impact of the pandemic in focusing people’s attention.

But Mook also cited a fourth difference, which is the result of Democrats having to stage a virtual convention rather than a traditional gathering. “There’s no convention,” he said. “In 2016, they [the most ardent Sanders supporters] had a stage on which to play. That stage is gone.”
..

A major piece of the strategy was the Biden campaign’s creation of issue task forces composed of elected officials and others who represented the full breadth of the party. Perhaps the most symbolically significant pairing was the task force on climate, which included former secretary of state John F. Kerry, an establishment Brahmin and close friend of Biden, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the star of the party’s insurgent wing.

Democrats this year have put together the most liberal platform in the party’s history, including ideas that were advanced by Sanders in his 2016 campaign but rejected then by many in the party’s center-left cohort.

Director Ava DuVernay on Instagram:
There is no debate anymore. There’s no room for it in my book. We either make this happen. Or literally, more of us perish. People are dying. Someone I love died. This virus is real. If it hasn’t visited your doorstep, it will. Oh but, Kamala did this or she didn’t do that. I hear you. I know. And I don’t care. Because what she DIDN’T DO is abandon citizens in a pandemic, rip babies from their mother’s arms at the border, send federal troops to terrorize protestors, manufacture new ways to suppress Black and Brown votes, actively disrespect Indigenous people and land, traffic in white supremacist rhetoric in an effort to stir racist violence at every turn, attempt to dismantle most American democratic systems of checks and balance, degrade women all day everyday, infect the Supreme Court with another misogynist hack, demolish America’s standing on climate, actively cultivate and further white supremacist structures and systems across all aspects of American daily life. I mean, that’s what she DIDN’T do. So I don’t wanna hear anything bad about her. It doesn’t matter to me. Vote them in and then let’s hold them accountable. Anything other than that is insanity. It’s ego. It’s against our own interests. It’s selfish. It’s disrespectful to our elders. It’s nonsense. It’s talking to hear yourself talk. This is a matter of life or death. We need all our energy focused. This is a fight for more than can be expressed here. There is no debate anymore. Not for me anyway. #voteblue2020