Home | About | Donate

Drawing All the Wrong Lessons from Conor Lamb's Victory


Drawing All the Wrong Lessons from Conor Lamb's Victory

John Atcheson

The leadership of the Democratic Party seems determined to cling to their elite, corporatist position headed into the 2018 elections. Last week, for example, they basically punted on whether to adopt a set of recommendations from the party’s Unity Commission which would have wrested control of the primary process from the hands of party bosses and establishment apparatchiks by turning it over to the people.

Can Democrats Think Strategically About Trump Country?

Even for Atcheson this make little sense. It’s just a pathetic attempt to put a progressive spin on Lamb’s victory, which should be remembered was only by a margin of less then 700 votes in well over 200,000 votes were cast. Lamb ran to the right of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Importantly he didn’t support single-payer healthcare the iconic position for any progressive. He didn’t even support more gun control such as preventing the sale of semi-automatic rifles such as the one used in recent Parkland High School shooting. And he didn’t even support the $15 minimum wage which is law in neighboring New York State. He didn’t support free tuition for all public colleges and universities, a favorite of Bernie Sanders and also something that is in effect in New York State, Why is Atcheson so eager for the Democrats to adopt an ideology like the Republicans have. The Republican Party is basically the party of white Christians. The Democratic Party is basically the party of everyone else. The composition of the Democratic Party is so diverse that is seems to make little sense to adopt a one shoe fits all ideology. What the party supports needs to be tailored somewhat for the demographic of any given election because the party is the party for various demographic groups. If Lamb had run on issues most important for African Americans he would have lost because his district has a lot of white working class people. So basically his message was directed to a specific demographic group and he won. That seems like a winning formula.


This is a non sequitur. It simply doesn’t follow that because he ran to the right on some issues he was therefore able to win. Had he not had the conservative positions he took, he may well have won by 7,000 votes.

Yes, this is exactly Atcheson’s point. The Democratic Party stands for nothing and your “tailor it to the district” concept is a total failure to articulate anything as well. As it is, the Democratic Party’s shoes don’t fit anyone.

Well, this is just racist. African Americans are looking for good policy solutions, just like white Americans are. To suggest otherwise is an affront to both groups and reflective of the identity politics that makes the Democrats such a failure.

There’s that non sequitur again. I guess you just can’t help yourself.


Well, you managed in your own mangled way, to misinterpret and misrepresent Atcheson’s many points.
And, since when is New York City a suburb of Pittsburgh, or vise versa? Please, stop it.
I think the article is pretty much on point. The DNC and the Pelosi/Schumer wing are so politically and morally compromised that Lamb was smart to disown them. Hopefully, more center-right Democrats will be booted from the positions of power they hold and progressives will fill that huge void. Which certainly doesn’t need corporate sponsors or more spin doctors to succeed, presently.


Here’s the bottom line (or top line): “Progressive policies like single-payer health care, supporting Social Security and Medicare, equitable fiscal laws and policies, and regulating the financial sector WIN ELECTIONS” and let’s not forget he’s PRO UNION. very important.

What put Lamb over the top, imo, is a kind of humbleness, a quietness … something so epically anti Trump and anti GOP, it gave voters a much-needed break.

Although Lamb’s stance on “modern energy development” is pretty woeful, his personal pro life stance coupled with his pro choice as established law gives a believable balance to an imperfect human, but maybe one worth watching. Let’s see if he goes the way of Clinton/Obama or breaks out to Sanders side. I’m hoping for more Sanders.


Right on some points, but wrong that it is possible to wrest control of the Democratic Party away from the establishment. They are far too entrenched, attached to the money and too beholden to those rich benefactors to be kicked out. While it is a long and difficult slog to get the Green Party established and viable in all of the country, we must try. It is the only way average people are ever going to run a party for the rest of us. Yes, we are going to lose elections in the mean time, but we will anyway with the morally bankrupt duopoly in place. We have to start somewhere, the sooner the better.


Third party? Would love to see one; it is needed. It is absolutely possible to wrest control away from the neoliberals, the tea party, the whacko evangelicals, the vile likes of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and dear karma to put Trump in prison pinstripes.

We do it every day we voice our opposition, show up, speak out… and make politics do what it should: TRICKLE UP. We, led by teenagers, people of color, native peoples of North and South America, millennials, the old, the young . . . people who care. We have no choice and there are millions and millions of people who understand it. Not revolution, but evolution. Sustainable, stable social and economic justice.


You won’t be able to mount a successful takeover of the Democrats without a viable third party, and we do not have forty or fifty more years to dither around while the Democrats continually take progressives for granted. Only the fear of losing votes to a leftist political party will force them to embrace leftist policies. But they have no such fear because what passes for the left in this country keeps maintaining the catch-22 of believing the lie that third parties can’t win. They will never win so long as we don’t vote for their candidates or build their organizations.


I agree. I’m not about to hold my nose and vote for every D on the ballot, now, out of fear of Trump and his goon squad, not with a Democratic party still very much controlled by the same old pathetic bunch of elitist corporate suck ups. Watching Sanders turn tail and play Trump the boogeyman card after the convention should have been lesson enough that that same old worn out scare tactic doesn’t work. “We are not Trump” didn’t work in 2016 and it won’t work in November if that’s all the party establishment has to offer. The only leverage progressives have against the Democrats is a viable third party. It’s the one thing the Democrats fear the most.


The Dems are going to run on ‘we’re not as bad as Republicans’ again.

Cuz that’s all they got.


“Close sailor, but no cigar.”   Well, a small cigar – maybe.   Absolutely true if you’re talking about the Establish­ment Dems – Krooked Hilliary, Dirty Debbie, Putrid Pelosi et al – but there are a few candidates out there reg­istered as DamnocRats who might be worth supporting individually, and I’ll do my best to figure out who’s who.

But NOT ONE DIME to the DCCC, DNC or DSCC — that I can support wholeheartedly!


I would not say that Conor Lamb did run on not being as bad as the Republican but had a positive message about programs like social security and Medicare. Where I think running mainly against Trump and Republicans will be most effective is in the suburbs. In most suburbs I think America still looks like the wealthiest country in the world and economically in general things look good with high paying jobs available in the cities and upscale stores and restaurants all over the place. This is not Bernie Sander’s America. The biggest concern is the destruction Trump is doing. A candidate doesn’t need much of a message then being against Trump. I would agree in Bernie Sander’s America where wages are too low and towns are run down a very positive message is needed, In these areas people want to turn things around. They feel left out of the affluence that know is evident elsewhere.


Your world view is so f*cked up I can hardly contain myself! Just because someone has succeeded in life, or lives in the suburbs, doesn’t mean they don’t support the ideas that Bernie supports. You seem to think the Democratic Party need only adopt a “tell them what they want to hear” approach to various “identities” that you think voters have in order to “win” in those areas you’ve decided to triangulate against (do you only see the world in triangles?) And I suppose that is what the Democratic Party has been doing for the last several decades, whilst it’s lost control of most states, both houses of Congress and the White House.

What you don’t seem to understand is that this results in a totally incoherent party that stands for nothing. I repeat, nothing! Bernie, on the other hand actually stands for lots of policy changes that most of America supports. Unfortunately, the Democrats and you, apparently, (and pardon my vernacular) lack the huevos to do the same.

I despise Republicans and their agenda, but I have to respect the fact that they stand up for what they want – even though they know it has nothing to do with real public policy, but instead is intended to further the disparity of wealth (us vs. them) and put a stranglehold on power. They have no shame, but they sure as hell don’t pussy foot around about it.

You, on the other hand, think we need candidates that just tell the electorate they face the lies they think those voters want to hear. For what? Just to get elected. There’s no policy platform. There’s no policy objective. There’s no there there.


“. . . it is possible to wrest control of the Democratic Party away from the establishment.”

Assuming that makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy. I have no faith in the Democratic party misleaders, but for the first time since the DLC coup (1986-1992) it may be possible to allow some of them to spend more time with their families.

" While it is a long and difficult slog to get the Green Party established and viable in all of the country, we must try.’

Yes, but what’s your plan for the meantime? As ill-suited as the human mind is to “multi-tasking,” global warming, geopolitics, and the ongoing rapid rise of Global Megacorp (or “RAMJAC Corporation,” as Vonnegut called it) demand that we learn very quickly how to do it.


Neither do we have 40-50 years–or even 20–to organize a viable third party. Please see my reply to genedebs (the socialist, presumably) below.


That’s not what Skeptic Tank said, either.   What he said was "The [establishment] Dems ARE GOING TO
[in the future] run on ‘we’re not as bad as [RePooplickens]’ again . . .


But you can’t criticize a party for being a poodle to the plutocrats when your party is one too,

Around my neck of the woods, publicly criticize the right wing establishment Republican or Democrat power structures and you may find yourself, family, and folks close to you publicly smeared and/or out of jobs.


I said it is NOT possible to wrest control of the Democratic Party away from the establishment. Too entrenched and supported by too much big money and power.


So there it is again.

An article all about the failures of Democrats to inspire voters to turn out for them, an appeal for Democrats to become more progressive, and a summation that says “Third parties can’t win because the system is rigged against them, so don’t waste your vote. Vote for anyone who has the “D” instead because this is a “current crisis,” and to solve it we must continue to do what brought us here in the first place and support the Democrats who sold us out so many times, until they don’t.”

I’ll keep voting Green anyway, and the corporate toadies can blame me for Trump all they want. Trump gets no respect from anyone, even those who support him out of expediency, and will always face opposition. Hillary Clinton would have been accepted as a legitimate president by everyone, especially those who call themselves liberal Democrats, even as the Republicans continued the charade of opposing her.

For instance, neither Republicans nor Democrats ever opposed Obama’s expansion of the wars, drone attacks on civilians, or appointments of Wall Street Republicans to high level cabinet jobs. No Republican or Democrat opposed Obama’s opening of offshore leases for drilling, or his support of fracking and pipelines.

If you can think you can accept a little more fascism for the right to have an abortion or same sex marriage, be advised: Once you have the Government-Corporate-Christian alliance in place, all that other stuff will disappear. That’s what fascism does, and it doesn’t matter what name is on the party that brings it, or enables it.

We won’t fix this by moving a little further to the right, ala Conor Lamb, et al… We will only fix this by moving left, and doing it now. There is a reason that Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in the country, and it’s not because he advocates for corporate health insurance, charter schools, bank deregulation, and lower taxes on the billionaires. HIllary Clinton would have provided an aura of respect for all of that, and probably for more war in Syria, and that’s why she was not supported by progressives.


You may elaborate and correct me if you wish, but to me, this sounds like: “The planet is being destroyed—we have no time to build a better party. We must immediately continue the status quo and…”

And what? That is exactly what got us here in the first place!