Showing posts with label Dems. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dems. Show all posts

November 20, 2016

Who Birthed Trump? The Left Looks Very “Guilty”








Well before Donald Trump declared he was running—to the amusement of the liberal media and Washington establishment, who didn’t stop laughing until Nov. 8—and long before Hillary Clinton dismissed half of Trump’s supporters as “deplorables,” the right had gotten used to being looked down upon by liberals. The general attitude of the left was: Disagree with us? You’re probably racist, xenophobic, sexist, bigoted or all of the above. Indeed, for many liberal Americans, these prejudices have come to be seen as inseparable from identity of the Republican Party itself. And when the GOP went all-out Trump, it only confirmed to many liberals that their ideological opponents were no longer worthy of respect.

The attitude extended way beyond election politics. Over the last few years at universities across America, for example, liberal students effectively banned Republicans from delivering commencement speeches by protesting speakers like Karl Rove, Rand Paul and Condoleezza Rice, forcing them to withdraw.


On Nov. 8, it appears, the right decided it finally had enough of this smugness. Conservative voters—including many former working-class Democrats who made the difference in key states such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—sent the message that they’d had enough not only of losing economically, but also of being sneered at. Trump’s rise in popularity—and ultimately his election to the presidency—should be seen as a long-building reaction to grassroots liberal activism that came to dominate the cultural landscape and claim victory after victory in the social arena, whether the issue was abortion or gay marriage or transgender rights, always accompanied by that same disdain for right-wing views as worthy of the stone age. Trump’s rise to power evolved out of this frustration, as Clinton’s campaign increasingly became an extension of liberal America’s smug-style of debate—an attitude that no longer disputed on grounds of policy or intellectual differences, but on the issue of the integrity of the right altogether.

By writing off right-wing Americans as deleterious to the ethical integrity of the country, left-wing Americans increasingly demonstrated that they hardly saw a place for the Republican Party in 21st century America at all. The ragtag nature of Trump’s campaign—delivering him to the forefront of the Republican Party while simultaneously dismantling it—only validated liberals’ righteousness. Recall that right up to election, the popular meme in the media was the conservative movement was in a state of collapse, and the liberals were dominant.

“The Left has done very well in the cultural wars in the last couple of decades” says Dalton Conley, an American sociologist and professor at Princeton University, “but there's often a backlash.”

***

Now the reckoning comes. While there is a clear need to rectify the indisputable disadvantages faced by America’s marginalized peoples—from the LGBTQ community, to Muslims, and people of color—Trump’s victory seems to indicate that unmitigated social activism can have unintended consequences. 
Conley compares this to “the backlash after the Civil Rights movement in the form of Nixon.”

Nowhere was this tension more apparent than America’s college and university campuses where students’ pursuit of social justice left many people feeling that their free speech was under attack. Expectations for teachers to reshape their lessons around the phenomena of “micro-aggressions” and “triggers” led many faculty members across the country to question their ability to educate students at all, without fear of offending them. Last year, Yale’s Erika Christakis was forced to resign following student backlash to a seemingly innocuous email that attempted to engage students with respectful discourse about cultural appropriation—following which, one student wrote in the Yale Herald "I don’t want to debate. I want to talk about my pain.”

Herein lies the problem with the left’s “by any means necessary” style of social activism: When any challenge to the prevailing liberal doctrine, cast under the wrong light, can forever cast one as a “racist,” those with dissenting opinions are left with only two options: concede, or retaliate.

Trump appealed to the latter by forming the populist right-wing counterpart to the left’s stubborn ethos.

Through this lens, Clinton’s candidacy can be seen as the political counterpart of liberal university students asserting that discussion is now off the table, where anything less than concession is morally suspect.

To many Trump supporters, Clinton—who’s own record is far from spotless—was merely another “PC” liberal griping about “micro-aggressions” and “triggering” language. To many white-working-class Democrats, she had simply failed to address their increasingly pressing concerns.

“Having served in the ’92 Clinton campaign, and having been part of the economic dialogue with the Midwest in the industrial heartland in 1992 when we did very well, it’s hard for me to understand how Hillary’s campaign didn't really see the centrality of her leading with economic issues.” Says Simon Rosenberg, founder of the New Democratic Network and veteran strategist for the Democratic Party.

A Gallup poll assessing what Americans perceived as the “most important problem facing this country today” helps to explain the disillusionment of this once-faithful constituency: “Economic problems” consistently took the number one spot, while issues like “lack of respect for each other” and “unifying the country” appeared at the bottom of the list.

Trump’s campaign rhetoric and slogans were aimed directly at the former, while Clinton (“stronger together”) chose the latter. Rosenberg says Clinton’s misjudgement of voters’ concerns is his greatest criticism of her campaign.

While Clinton travelled the country insisting that “America is great, because America is good,” Trump was busy cultivating a vision of economic prosperity—“make America great again”—with the promise of “beautiful” and “tremendous” and “big-league” change.

Nowhere was the backlash from this act of liberal smugness more deeply felt than the Rust Belt states, in which counties like Kenosha, Wisconsin broke more than 40 years of Democratic support in favor of Trump.

“The Democratic Party abandoned the economic issues that had locked that constituency into the party, so that the political contest became an almost purely ideological and cultural one,” says Dylan John Riley, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.

And by waging a war against right-wing ethics, the Democratic Party, supported by the elite media, underestimated the true extent of Trump’s support—perhaps because most were too embarrassed to admit their allegiance—while playing right into the hands of Trump’s anti “PC” rhetoric.

For Trump supporters, the media was seen as an extension of the Democratic elite—and they weren’t entirely incorrect. The brazen media bias—not just against Trump, but more pertinently against Sanders—and the Democratic Party’s undermining of Sanders only validated the frustration of the right, and Trump’s narrative of a corrupt, elite Democratic chokehold on American politics.

As Vivek Chibber, a sociologist at New York University, tells me, “The media is responsible not just for hyping Clinton over Sanders, but also for bringing Trump up in a way that only hyped him even more—lampooning and dismissing him instead of taking seriously the way in which he was speaking to disaffected voters.”

Regardless of the thuggish, misguided and inflammatory reaction of Trump supporters to media bias that has encouraged the donning of T-shirts reading “Tree. Rope. Journalist. (Some assembly required),” it’s not hard to empathize with their growing scorn for the media elite.

To many on the right and left, media had become an extension of the Democratic Party’s already stacked effort—through superdelegates and plotting to undermine Sanders—to thwart the political upheaval that promised to follow a Sanders, or Trump, presidency.

While superdelegates were ultimately not the deciding factor—Clinton led in votes, states and pledged delegates—the undemocratic tone of the Democratic Party’s push for Clinton only further exacerbated Americans’ desperation for political reform. White-working-class Democrats who showed significant support for Sanders during the primaries fled the party in droves following Clinton’s nomination, as the arrogance of the Democratic Party promptly bent the political spectrum into a horseshoe.

Ironically, while liberal America flouted the authoritarian undertones of Trump’s campaign, their own Party demonstrated a lack of interest in public opinion, foisting their chosen candidate on Americans as if to say: we will decide what’s best for you. The result was more fuel to the growing fire of frustration among Americans for political elites and the status quo—power structures that a Trump presidency promised to topple.

By the end of the primaries—in which Clinton was often referred to as the “presumptive nominee” before being prematurely declared the nominee—the arrogance of the Democratic Party superseded itself once more by assuming Clinton’s presidency inevitable.

During the Clinton-Trump debates, liberals everywhere rolled their eyes at the embarrassment of a seasoned politician like Clinton needing to debate such an obviously ham-fisted opponent. Vox’s Emily Crockett put her finger on it with an article entitled “Clinton's debate performance spoke to every woman who has had to humor an incompetent man”.

But it wasn’t only women who felt that Trump, and his Republican constituents, were being humoured. Media pundits highlighted a general consensus that a Trump victory would be absurd and virtually impossible.

But then the impossible happened: Trump won, securing both the presidency and Congress for Republicans—so that, in the same year, The Atlantic went from asking, “Will the Republican Party Survive the 2016 Election?” to now “Does the Democratic Party Have a Future?”

***

Following Trump’s victory, many see the protests staged across the country as an extension of liberal America’s unwillingness—still!—to bend to their Republican counterparts. While the outcome of this election was upsetting for many—Trump’s presidency is not simply terrifying for immigrants and minorities, but could have irreversible environmental consequences—liberals are seemingly yet to grasp why they lost this election.

While of course the Democratic Party has a future, Trump’s presidency will require liberals to reassess a flawed, righteous identity that all but forced Right-wing America’s—so desperate for change—hands to the stove, to elect the only candidate who demonstrated the potential for reform.

Yet that reckoning has yet to happen.

In the years to come, when we look back on Trump’s victory, this is why it will be remembered less as a win for Republicans than as a failure for the Democrats—the result of liberal America’s unwillingness to compromise, or even show magnanimity in face of all its victories on social issues.


 

November 10, 2016

Autopsy of Who Holds Blame for Trump’s Win





As someone who spent the first two decades of his life as a reluctant Alabama citizen, the mournful results of the 2016 presidential election shouldn't have surprised me. Trump supporters, you see, have been around much longer than Trump himself. Living in a bubble has a certain way of obscuring the devastating fact that Trump supporters have always been there, and now they have a world leader to call their own. They're signing your checks. They're bagging your groceries. They're filling your cavities. They're even, especially in red states like Alabama, teaching your children. 


The Media

Though the very phrase "the media" immediately conjures images of a sweaty Rudy Giuliani frothing at the mouth while blasting the very basis of journalism, the role of mainstream publications in this election simply can't be understated. At first, headlines and late-night commentary appeared to treat the former Apprentice host's bid for presidency as a joke. But as the eventual GOP nominee's appeal to large swaths of white voters became apparent, many publications and celebrity voices failed to recognize or successfully translate the very real chance of his victory. The President-elect's offensive, inflammatory, and only sometimes coded language only garnered more headlines and effectively gave him a free platform from which to spew the most divisive rhetoric in recent memory.


FBI

With less than two days to go before Election Day, FBI Director James Comey issued a letter to top congressional Republicans declaring the "conclusions that we expressed in July" regarding Clinton's emails would remain unchanged. But the damage was already done. Just days earlier, Comey had issued a vague statement to Congress alleging that "emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation" had been discovered during a probe into former Congressman Anthony Weiner's electronic communications. The Republican nominee used Comey's initial letter as fuel for his supporters' fire, ensuring they had the word "emails" on their minds when hitting the polls. "Hillary Clinton's corruption is on a scale we have never seen before, we must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office," the GOP nominee later said at a New Hampshire rally, according to CNBC.​

Third Parties

When we publicly declare our ire for third party candidates, it's not because anyone assumes a Gary Johnson vote or a Jill Stein vote would automatically go toward Clinton in the event of their nonexistence. Instead, we find third party candidates particularly distracting in an election year of this nature because the ones most vulnerable to their campaigns, i.e. young people, are often a beacon of hope for older voters who feel abandoned by their fellow Americans. Some states, political experts argue, could have swung in Clinton's favor if the Johnson-Stein voters had instead united against the now President-elect:


Hackers

The speculated involvement of Russia in the 2016 presidential election, which the Obama administration argued back in October has included a fleet of hackers intending to sway the vote by leaking documents, has perhaps been one of the most harrowing aspects of this cycle. The President-elect even openly challenged Russia to hack the country, a challenge unsurprisingly linked to his campaign's obsession with that aforementioned (and repeatedly debunked) email scandal.

White Voters

I'm a white man. Even at my lowest moments as a human being, even when life barely seems worth it, I still have it much easier than my fellow Americans of color. This is a flaw in the very idea of "America" that extends back as far as the very founding of this nation. When I picture the average Trump supporter from, say, Alabama, I imagine the guy with a What Would Jesus Do bracelet on who screamed "f*ggot!" at me the first time I painted my nails. I imagine the cop who literally accused me of hiding a dead body in my car because I "looked high." I imagine hateful white people, emboldened like no other time in American history by a campaign of division.


People Who Didn't Vote

This is a complicated one. We all have that one friend, the one who routinely shares typo-splattered memes made up of grainy photos of George Carlin and vague quotes about a broken system. The system is broken. No doubt about it. But apathy at near-anarchy levels isn't exactly helping anyone, especially voters. Sadly, some abstain from voting not by choice, but due to certain states' apparent insistence on suppressing voices which might chip away at the GOP establishment. Overly strict ID laws? Registration purges? These acts have an inarguable impact on voter turnout.


Fake News

To bring this full circle, now is the time to boldly face one of our greatest threats head-on: fake news. These are the sites (the names of which we won't plug here) with headlines like HILLARY CLINTON NOW FACING PRISON or REPUBLICAN NOMINEE SCORES MAJOR ENDORSEMENT FROM MEXICO. For anyone brave enough to still be rocking a Facebook account, you've seen this on the regular. The very definition of truth, it seems, has been shifted to mean something dangerously at odds with the previously accepted qualifications required for a "fact." The result? Damn near anything can pass for truth now, giving way to long and grueling days like this one.​


The common thread among all these factors? Fear. The President-elect has snaked his way into the White House on the momentum of a campaign dedicated to instilling palpable fear in the hearts of white America, an America seemingly fine with self-sabotage at the hands of a man who routinely dismisses climate change as a fabrication and may very well bring about the saddening normalization of outright Islamophobia. If we take a closer look at how we got here, perhaps this nation still has time to check itself before it unceremoniously wrecks itself.

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May 24, 2014

Dems Went with gay marriage and Fairness to all Citizens Vs.GOP 1876 Values and it Fixes on it’s own


 

  

It wasn't all that long ago that Republicans used gay marriage as a tool to drive Election Day turnout. But as public opinion on the issue has turned and courts strike down same-sex marriage bans, gay rights is evolving into a wedge issue for Democrats to wield.
Consider Pennsylvania, where Democrats have lambasted Republican Gov. Tom Corbett for comparing gay marriage to incest. Facing a tough re-election campaign, Corbett decided this week not to appeal a federal court ruling striking down the state's ban of gay marriage.
Or Colorado, where Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is hitting his Republican challenger for casting votes that denied gay people protection from discrimination. In Arizona, Democrats plan to hammer Republican legislators who passed a law allowing businesses to refuse to serve gays for religious reasons.
"We're just beginning to see this, and we will see a lot more in the midterms," said Richard Socarides, an activist who was President Bill Clinton's adviser on gay rights. "It will be an incredible shift by the time we get to the (presidential) election in 2016."
That election will arrive 20 years after Republicans in Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Clinton signed the bill defensively, worried the GOP would use it as a campaign issue, Socarides said. Republican activists put anti-gay marriage initiatives on the ballot in 11 states in 2004, helping President George W. Bush win re-election with the support of conservative religious voters motivated to turn out to support the bans.
Connie Mackey, head of the conservative Family Research Council's Political Action Committee, said that's still a solid strategy. Voters still oppose gay marriage, she argued, and Republicans should not let themselves get faked out by overconfident Democrats.
"The people in the states think one way and the establishment and the courts are showing a different face," Mackey said.
But gay marriage, supported by less than one-third of Americans in 2004, is now supported by a solid majority in recent polls, with approval highest among younger voters. Some Republicans believe that mounting public support represents a danger to their party, and they are scrambling to prevent Democrats from using the issue of gay rights in the same way some in their own party did for years.
"They want to bait Republicans into talking about the issue in a way that ties them to a negative, national Republican brand," said Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist who hasn't taken a position on gay marriage. "They need to stir up their base and create outrage."
Nevada Republicans dropped their opposition to gay marriage last month from the state party's platform, and a national campaign is underway to remove such language from the national party platform in 2016. Major Republican donors have formed a coalition to push the party to become more gay-friendly.
That shift broke into the open in Arizona earlier this year after social conservatives pushed legislation allowing businesses to refuse service to gays and lesbians through the Republican-controlled Statehouse. An outcry from business organizations and national Republicans led GOP Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the measure, but the issue is likely to figure in at least two of the state's competitive congressional races where Democrats are defending seats, as well as the governor's race.
"This is something that really drives a wedge through their party and motivates turnout in ours, and it's the right thing to do," said D.J. Quinlan, executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party.
The politics of gay rights have changed perhaps most dramatically in Colorado. In 1992, voters passed a law prohibiting any city or county from protecting gays and lesbians under their laws against discrimination. That measure was eventually struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, but voters went on to ban same-sex marriage in 2006.
Those actions inspired several major donors to invest in expanding the state's Democratic party. At the same time, an influx of younger voters moved to the state from the coasts. A decade-long winning streak followed for Democrats at the top of the ticket.
"A lot of these moderate, independent voters want people who are not haters," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist and chair of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.
Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet narrowly defeated a Republican challenge in 2010 after the GOP candidate compared homosexuality to alcoholism. The next year, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper shamed Republicans in control of the state House for refusing to grant gay couples civil unions. The GOP lost control of the chamber in 2012, and Hickenlooper signed a civil unions bill last year.
Seeking re-election this year against GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, Udall has highlighted his opponent's support as a state lawmaker for laws barring adoption by gay parents and opposition to adding protections for gay people to nondiscrimination clauses. "This is a key difference between Rep. Gardner and me," Udall said in an interview.
Gardner, who cast a vote in Congress that would have required the Justice Department to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, replied in a statement that he does not believe "anyone should be discriminated against." The issue, Gardner added, has no place in the campaign.
"While others may seek to divide Colorado on these sensitive issues, you won't be hearing any rhetoric from me like that during this campaign," he said.

September 6, 2012

The First Gay President, a Brave Hopeful Acceptance Speech





President Obama was on a TV monitor at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, a key historic site of the gay-rights movement.

The President’s speech tonight accepting the nomination of his Democratic party is one of the most moving, intelligent, detailing the future and what He and we will do. He was not afraid to use the term gays and lesbian by saying  “we are not going to blame the gays and lesbians” when we can’t reach what we ought to be reaching.
"Gay soldiers will not be dishonored or immigrant soldiers will not be kick out of this country when they come back home.” He gave us a vision of america being fair! Being strong, but at the same time money in new weapons that even the chiefs of staff ad the military don’t want, we will use those moneys to do Home building here at America. Having said that he also said America will stay the strongest nation in the world.

He quoted, Lincoln, Bill Clinton just two but the two most important ones;  But he also quoted Mitt Romney and Ryan except those quotes which were correctly given did not make those two fellows look or sound too good.
I was moved, when I was not move that much the last time. This time he did not speak as a good talker applying for a job he’s  never done but by the guy whose had the job, the president of the United States. Experienced Now and with a good outlook of what he is expected to do and will do. Not dreams like before, but realities.  Short and sweet 27 minutes that felt like 7. Charged up the party and the convention.


I ran for President because I saw that basic bargain slipping away. I began my career helping people in the shadow of a shuttered steel mill, at a time when too many good jobs were starting to move overseas. And by 2008, we had seen nearly a decade in which families struggled with costs that kept rising but paychecks that didn’t; racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage or pay tuition; to put gas in the car or food on the table. And when the house of cards collapsed in the Great Recession, millions of innocent Americans lost their jobs, their homes, and their life savings – a tragedy from which we are still fighting to recover.
Now, our friends at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right. They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years:
“Have a surplus? Try a tax cut.”
“Deficit too high? Try another.”
“Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!”
adamfoxie*

 The President touched on his recent announcement of support for same-sex marriage, saying at a New York City fundraising event Monday that he believes marriage equality "strengthens families."

"I want everyone treated fairly in this country. We have never gone wrong when we've extended rights and responsibilities to everybody," he said, drawing big applause. "That doesn't weaken families, that strengthens families."
Obama highlighted some of his administration's work in recent years, including the passage of health care reform and the end of combat in Iraq.
He also outlined goals he hopes to accomplish under a second term, including the repeal of the Defense Of Marriage Act, which the administration has already stopped defending.
While he did not mention Republican rival Mitt Romney by name, he drew a sharp line of contrast between his own ideology and that of Republicans, promoting a theme of "togetherness."
"It's been said this election is going to be about values. I absolutely agree. It's about the economic values we have, about the values I believe will make America so special: Everybody gets a fair shot, everybody gets a fair share, everybody plays by the same set of rules," he said.



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September 5, 2012

Mass Dems Give Romney the Kiss Of Death


There was something missing from the Republican National Convention in Tampa last week, and Jim Roosevelt found it. "I've had a number of members of the press who were in Tampa comment to me how remarkable it was that in four days of convention compressed to three, there was never a mention of Governor Romney's greatest achievement, and that is the health care legislation he passed in Massachusetts," the DNC official told a gathering of Massachusetts delegates on Tuesday.
Democrats—and Massachusetts Democrats in particular—have spent a good portion of the last year or so arguing Romney was a failed governor who'd make a terrible president. But, at an industry-sponsored forum on the effects Romney's landmark 2006 health care reform law (it was held on a wood-paneled room in the 47th-floor offices of health care lobbying firm K&L Gates), they had a different message: Thanks.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, rattling off a list of statistics—98 percent of Massachusetts residents and 99.8 percent of kids now have insurance; 90 percent of residents have a primary care doctor—had nothing but praise for his predecessor. "The beauty of what happened was not that it was a perfect idea from the outset; it was that this broad coalition decided that there was a better solution than the usual two, which was a perfect solution or no solution at all," he said. "Policy matters only at the point where it touches people in my view. And in that respect this policy matters. I am very proud of what we've done in Massachusetts. I think, by the way, Mitt Romney is too." As proof, he pointed to Romney's official portrait:
It's kind of jarring sometimes to walk by and see him sitting, on my desk, with my pictures behind it. And they have painted in two things. One is a photograph on an easel of Mrs. Romney with forget-me-nots behind her. It's very beautiful. And the other thing that's painted in sitting next to Governor Romney on the desk is the health care bill. The health care bill!...There's only one thing it could be. And at the time he acknowledged that's what it was AND HE SHOULD HAVE! Because it's done a lot of good for a lot of good people. There's no doubt that in my mind that if the Affordable Care Act, based as you know on what he did in Massachusetts, were polling better nationally he would wrap his arms right around it.
As it stands, Massachusetts Democrats are happy to wrap Romney in a warm embrace of their own. It's a buffer against the GOP nominee's attacks on the Affordable Care Act Romney helped inspire—and a not-so-subtle reminder to skeptical conservatives that the Republican party's nominee just isn't one of them.




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September 4, 2012

Key Note } Choose a Man Who Has Chosen You!





(NEWSER) – Rising Democratic star San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will take the podium tonight to extol the American success story of immigrants—who get just a little bit of help. "Texas may be the one place where people actually still have bootstraps—and we expect folks to pull themselves up by them. But we also recognize there are some things we can't do alone," Castro will say, according to excerpts released to the media. But Mitt Romney "doesn't get it," he'll add, pointing to the candidate's recent entrepreneurial advice to Ohio State students at a campaign stop. "'Start a business,' he said. But how? 'Borrow money, if you have to, from your parents,' he told them. Gee—why didn't I think of that?'"
Republicans "tell us that if the most prosperous among us do even better, that somehow the rest of us will, too. Folks, we've heard that before," Castro will say. "First they called it 'trickle-down,' then 'supply side.' Either way, their theory has been tested. It failed. Our economy failed. The middle class paid the price. Your family paid the price. Mitt Romney just doesn't get it."


 


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8% Of Delegates at The Dems Convention [Gay}




The Democratic National Convention is a watershed event for America’s gay rights movement, which never before has been embraced so warmly by a major political party.
There’s a platform endorsing same-sex marriage, a roster of speakers that includes three gay members of Congress, and a record number of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender delegates hailing from all 50 states — 486 in all, more than 8 percent of the total.
“We’ve been an underrepresented demographic in politics for a long time,” said Jerame Davis of National Stonewall Democrats, a gay-rights affiliate of the party. “Finally seeing us appropriately represented is just a thrill.”
The large role for gays and lesbians is a striking contrast with last week’s Republican convention, which ratified a platform opposing gay-rights priorities and was attended by perhaps a few dozen openly gay delegates. It also shows how far the Democrats have evolved since Bill Clinton, now a staunch supporter of same-sex marriage, signed a bipartisan bill in 1996 defining marriage as a one-man, one-woman union.
President Barack Obama took office in 2009 as a self-described “fierce advocate” for gay rights, yet for much of his first term he drew flak from impatient activists. They were frustrated that he wouldn’t endorse same-sex marriage and wanted him to move faster to enable gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.
The military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was repealed a year ago, and in May the president completed what he had called a personal “evolution” by endorsing gay marriage. Within days of that announcement, previously reticent gay donors pumped several million dollars into Obama’s campaign fund, and his backing from the gay-rights groups has been enthusiastic ever since.
The Democrats’ convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week serves as a celebration by those groups and their supporters, many of whom thronged into gay-oriented events on Tuesday. They were looking forward to speeches from three gay Democrats in the House — Reps. Jared Polis of Colorado, Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, who is campaigning to become the first openly gay U.S. senator.
The convention marks the first time that goals were set for each state delegation in regard to how many LGBT delegates they should include. According to the Stonewall Democrats, 38 delegations met or exceeded their goal, and three states — Alaska, Arkansas and Mississippi — have openly gay delegates for the first time.
Davis acknowledged that 8 percent of the delegates might seem like an overrepresentation of gays and lesbians, given that many experts believe their share of the adult U.S. population is less than half that figure. But Davis argued that the delegate share accurately reflected gays’ importance to the Democratic Party in terms of financial support and voter loyalty.
Robert Loevy, a political science professor at Colorado College, agreed that the large LGBT contingent made political sense even it prompted a backlash from social conservatives.
“The Democrats were never going to get those votes anyway,” Loevy said. “Having gays and lesbians be such a strong presence in the party brings in some campaign workers and brings in the money... And most important, it wins the support of young people.”
The Republican Party, by contrast, did not try to tally the number of gay delegates at its convention in Tampa, Fla. R. Clarke Cooper of Log Cabin Republicans, which represents gay GOP voters, estimated that there were “a few dozen” gay and lesbian delegates, and said he was glad that his party “doesn’t do identity politics.”
“I’d hate to think I’d been selected for something because of my orientation,” said Cooper, suggesting that the Democratic Party and the Obama administration risked being viewed as pandering to gays as part of a “divide-and-conquer” strategy catering to special-interest groups.
Looking ahead to future elections, Cooper says he’s optimistic that the Republican Party will move away from anti-gay stands and become more attractive to gay voters. He noted that billionaire industrialist David Koch, a major donor to GOP campaigns this year, recently told Politico he favors legalization of same-sex marriage
For now, though, Cooper describes the GOP platform as “a stinker” that will not help Republican candidates this year because of its “aggressive and divisive language.” He said he was disappointed that Tony Perkins, a leading social conservative who heads the Family Research Council, was able to influence planks that took a hard line against gay marriage and other gay-rights issues.
David Welch, a former GOP National Committee research director and campaign adviser to John McCain, is among a faction of relatively moderate Republicans who wish the party was keeping pace with the Democrats on same-sex marriage. But he doubts that the emphasis on gay rights at the Democratic convention will provide much of a boost for Obama.
“They’re playing into the narrative that Barack Obama can’t run on the economy, and this election has to be about the politics of division,” he said.
Kenneth Sherrill, professor emeritus of political science at Hunter College in New York City, said in an online column Tuesday that the Democrats should not take gay and lesbian support for granted. He urged the GOP to compete for their support.
“The Republicans must learn to appeal to LGBT voters on the basis of promises that Republicans in office will pursue policies that will be good for the LGBT people,” Sherrill wrote for the Bilerico Project, an online aggregator of gay-rights blogs.
“And, frankly, this will be good for the LGBT people,” he wrote. “If the Republicans were to act rationally and make a serious effort to get LGBT votes, Democrats would have to be better. Our community can only benefit when both parties fight for our votes.”
___
Follow AP National Writer David Crary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CraryAP


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DNC Attracting LGTB Youth Orgs and Individuals

Festival Liberación

 

Young people want to highlight economic issues, matters of equality for LGBT and undocumented youth


By Matt Comer/QNotes


LGBT organizers talk about their plans to highlight queer and youth issues during the DNC (L to R: Loan Tran, Gelisa Stitt, Matt Hickson and out lesbian Charlotte City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield)
(Photo by Matt Comer/QNotes)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Thousands of Democratic National Convention delegates and guests will celebrate the renomination of President Barack Obama this week as thousands more people show up to protest the national political convention. Among them are conservative religious activists protesting abortion clinics and others declaring a ''national spiritual emergency.'' But LGBT activists are on the ground, too, highlighting pro-equality issues and other topics of interest especially to young people.
Matt Hickson, a University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill student and an organizer withFestival Liberación and the March on Wall Street South, says neither political party is addressing issues most important to people today.
''Political discourse today is not speaking to the needs of regular people,'' says Hickson, who identifies as gay. ''Every time you turn on the TV you get an ad for one of the major political parties and their candidates. Almost all of those ads don't speak to the fact that North Carolina is a state where workers are highly oppressed, where public sector workers are not allowed to collectively bargain, that North Carolina just passed [the anti-LGBT state constitutional] Amendment One or that education has been cut by almost a half a billion dollars.''
Hickson says he and his co-organizers want to use the DNC's presence in Charlotte to bring attention to issues important both locally and nationally. The influence of corporate cash on politics today is one of his biggest concerns.
''We see that the root of the problem with the two major political parties is the amount of money they take from big corporations and banks and the interests they are beholden to because of that,'' he says. ''It's not surprising that they chose to have the DNC in Charlotte, being that the headquarters of Bank of America and Wells Fargo are here and Duke Energy is here. Duke Energy's CEO is serving as the fundraising chair of the DNC.''
Hickson says Charlotte is a ''perfect storm'' for Democrats, being the largest city in a swing state and being ''the one Southern city with a huge concentration of financial capital.''
Other issues like the status of undocumented students and other immigrants as well as homelessness are also important, even to LGBT people.
''LGBTQ people make up a huge portion of homeless youth and undocumented youth,'' he says. ''That really needs to be addressed and it really needs to end.''
Hickson's group held a special day of organizing with workshops and other activities Saturday, Sept. 1. On Sunday, they joined hundreds for the March on Wall Street South. He says he and his friends will stay the entire week of the convention and hope to leave a progressive legacy.
''Charlotte does not have a history of real good organization on the ground, the kind of organizing that doesn't just organize actions like the march but also the kind that organizes workers, for example, to picket in front of City Hall for a raise,'' Hickson says. ''We want that kind of organizing to continue in Charlotte and this has been a great way to bring all these groups together.''
Citizens and residents, Hickson says, already have the tools to organize.
''The hope is that this will spark a lot more energizing in Charlotte and in North Carolina because we need it here – we need labor organizing and organizing for queer rights and for undocumented people,'' he says.
Democratic National Convention coverage provided by Metro Weekly and QNotes, the leading LGBT community newspaper of North Carolina, based in Charlotte.


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