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Of Stollers, Greenwalds and Silvers: Compare and Contrast

Matt Stoller, in the third piece in his trilogy of stunningly clueless Salon articles , where he could have exhibited some wisdom by simply admitting he was wrong previously for jumping the third party Titanic, triples down on teh stupid by refusing to acknowledge the triumph of an emerging coalition of young, African American, Latino, Asian and gay voters, the very people who form the base for any truly progressive political force that will matter in coming decades. Stoller, much like Glenn Greenwald, instead targets a micro audience that consists primarily of those whose blogging habits have succeeded only in moving them to the outer polarities of political unreality and away from any possibly meaningful coalition with the emerging  progressive majority.Yes, it is true that this emerging coalition does not yet control the political and geographic landscape of the US electorate and won’t for another generation as the time-limited white conservatives of wealthy privilege refuse to go gently into that good night, but just as sure as day turns to night, Texas will become a blue state by 2032 and the changeover will be complete in the House of Representatives as well as the Senate and the Oval Office. No, Stoller can’t even bring himself to acknowledge the non-white progressive electoral reality that will one day succeed in turning the House of Representatives blue.  He ignores the historical realignment of the electorate and focuses instead on a subjective reading of a so-called  narrative in the immediate aftermath, eschewing the long term demographic trend for short term political consequences that have not yet even begun to play out:

Every election is historic because history keeps moving no matter what we do. What truly defines an election as important is not the vote totals but the fight over the narrative that comes immediately after the outcome. These narratives are essentially stories told by various representatives of interest groups on television and in newspapers to justify their preferred policies.Here’s what we do know: Obama won a very close election with lower voter turnout than 2008 and a much more slender margin of victory. Democrats kept the Senate with a slightly more liberal caucus, and Republicans kept the House. Those are the facts……So don’t pay attention to what is being said on TV about why Obama won a second term. All we know is that he did. What that term means has to do with the policy fights ahead.

Contrast Stoller’s obstinate refusal to comprehend reality even after the fact with the prescient ability of someone who actually made a name for himself through the achievement well before the fact, Nate Silver, whose science-based analyses (as opposed to the personally biased punditry) were so straightforward and oh-so accurate for the second presidential election in a row. Silver  appears to be from a different solar system altogether from the Stollers and the Greenwalds, who turn out to be nothing more than the dismal mirror images of the conservative Krauthammers and the Wills, outmoded and left in the dustbin of history by their own erroneous thought processes. Silver isn’t trying to tell us what we should think, he’s not trying to convince us to follow any ideology, he’s simply providing information so that we can think, and think clearly for ourselves to draw our own conclusions:

In fact, the once-powerful Blue Dog Caucus, a coalition of moderate Democrats, will have only 14 members in the new Congress. The centrist Democrats who once filled its ranks fared very poorly in the 2010 midterm elections, while others retired or were harmed by redistricting or by primary battles. Although Republicans have moved more to the right than Democrats have moved to the left in recent years, according to measures like those developed by Mr. Poole, the attrition in the Democratic Party has nevertheless contributed to moving the two parties even further apart.What that means is that if Mr. Boehner has a significant number of Republican defections, as he did on Thursday night, he will need to win the support of at least some liberal Democrats. And a bill that wins the support of some liberal Democrats will be an even harder sell to Mr. Boehner’s Republicans. For each vote that he picks up from the left, he could risk losing another from his right flank.

Perhaps cooler heads will prevail in these negotiations. But a majority of the incoming House – 237 of 433 members – will be either Tea Party Republicans or liberal Democrats, leaving only 196 members who are either Establishment Republicans or Blue Dog Democrats and who might form a functional center-right coalition.

Stoller, on the other hand, simply wishes reality were different so that he could remain relevant outside his miniscule sphere of non-influence.

Silver is painting a true picture of the present so that we can make up our own minds whether we wish to be relevant or not in a future non-white majority world that is in actual fact trending discernibly back to the left.

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