Concrete R vs composite D

February 8, 2020 at 9:35 am (By Amba) (, )

Reading this article this morning, after watching that lamentable debate, I got the sinking feeling that Michael Bloomberg is going to be foisted on us. He and his backers banked on (pun intended) the emergence of that void we saw last night. While the Republicans are a phalanx (of white men in suits), Democrats are a gaggle. Their diversity is their disunity. So by default they are going to hire a proxy, their own white man in a suit with a fortune, who represents none of them. It’s a weak position.

For some reason I started thinking of it in terms of construction materials.

Republicans are the “rump” of the old, white, Christian America that had three TV networks and 16 baseball teams and the AFL-CIO and a Fourth of July picnic cuisine, garnished with a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving banquet. Note that I’m nostalgically exaggerating the unity of that lost America, just as its embattled fetishizers do. In reality that America was always riven by “the narcissism of small differences” between Christian denominations and European immigrant groups contending for assimilation, and patrolled by vigilant contrast with those it would never take in because they would freckle its complexion and relativize its religion. Still, it had a unity, a mass, an aspirational uniformity. It was an identifiable substance, Americanness, homogeneous as Wonder Bread and solid as concrete. Its remnant is like an old pillbox bunker on a sea bluff. Weatherbeaten, shrinking and eroding on the outside as it loses chips and chunks to the elements, at its core it is still uniform and, if nothing else, it still coheres.

Democrats are everyone else. They are—someone in construction please help me out with the terminology here—like an amalgam or composite with insufficient binder. It hasn’t yet fused into a substance with enough consistency and alignment to hold a shape and have tensile strength. It keeps crumbling back into its components. When you look at the Democratic field of candidates, they embody this. Each is a different piece. None is the binder that can hold it all together.

The Democrats and the coming-to-be America they attempt to represent have never recovered from the assassinations of April and June, 1968.


  1. Polly said,

    Yes there is a large faction of the Republicans who are nostalgic traditionalists. But there are also libertarians who distrust big government. And rebels who are tired of the liberal thought police, and the big brother pseudo-compassionate elitists. And the all-knowing experts.

    There ARE some common threads among most Democrats. Feeling superior, for one thing. Knowing what is best for the working class and poor and minorities. Being more educated and therefore more qualified to guide the “ignorant.”

    Since Democrats who hate Trump probably didn’t watch or read the SOTU, they probably don’t know that, aside from praising America and it’s traditions to high heaven, it was very liberal/progressive.

    And your analysis completely leaves out the socialist-capitalist tension between the parties. The words are never defined clearly, and hatred of either is mostly based on emotion. Most progressives love socialism, if only subconsciously. When they have a problem with a Democratic candidate, it’s often because they see him/her as too capitalist.

    (Obviously we need both socialism and capitalism, and each need to be carefully controlled and restrained.)

  2. Eveie said,

    ehhhh yakyakyak…whateva’s gonna b will b, guess what God already knows bout it…none of us hav hung the moon….Lov n misssssss U Gottlieb. E

  3. amba12 said,

    Polly, when you say “feeling superior . . . being more educated” you’re only talking about a certain type of WHITE, elite Democrats. Granted they tend to dominate the party because they are born and grow up in the inner circle to begin with, and when they declare themselves “radical” it’s often about their own self-image rather than about real concern for or knowledge of others.

    Evie “none of us have hung the moon”—where does that come from?

  4. Polly said,

    Another big difference between R and D these days is toughness vs wimpiness. Just look at the Trump supporters’ T shirts.

    Men who are tired of being trashed for having testosterone, for having evolved to be the tribe’s defenders.

    I am not saying what is right or wrong. But this is another clear difference between the parties currently.

  5. amba12 said,

    Seems like the toughest male Democrat is Mayor Pete.

  6. tom strong said,

    Y’all are confusing toughness with bravado. Republicans have tons of the latter, little of the former. Trump himself is an outright coward, as are most of his followers.

    And the toughest “Dem” is Bernie. I disagree with him on plenty still but he says what he fuckin’ thinks.

  7. amba12 said,

    More important than toughness even, he has authenticity. That’s my new theme, what I think people are looking for in this welter of calculation, manipulation, and pandering,

  8. tom strong said,

    oh yeah, for sure. The illusion of authenticity Trump creates is exactly why all these poor lost souls glom onto him.

  9. Polly said,

    I didn’t mean that Trump or his followers are tough. I meant they are reacting against something they perceive in liberal/progressives.

    And I perceive it also. In the 1960s, a lot of us were against war, in general, and we didn’t feel very patriotic. We didn’t see why we should care more about our own country than others. That is what I absorbed being a teenager at that time. We didn’t like the idea of guns, or hunting. Almost anything that symbolized masculine strength we found questionable.

    Those 1960s ideas are very popular today. Maybe because my generation taught the following generations. History has been revised to emphasize progressive values. Public school teachers and college professors are overwhelmingly liberal/progressive.

    I am not saying the progressive values are bad, just that anything taken to an extreme becomes irrational. And I see the Trump cult as a raging reaction to it.

    In Jungian psychology there is a subconscious Shadow, which is everything we deny and repress. It can become volcanic. The Trump cult is the explosion of our collective Shadow.

    How do you control the Shadow? With more repression and denial? By trying to explain it away? By calling it names?

  10. amba12 said,

    Did you ever see the 1960s movie “The Time Machine,” with Rod Taylor? The humanity of the distant future is divided into two different species, almost, the Iloi and the Morlocks. We seem headed on that path.

  11. amba12 said,

    The Iloi are sort of feckless hippies. The Morlocks, who live underground, are crude, avid, and industrious. They eat the Iloi for lunch . . . literally.

  12. Polly said,

    Well maybe. But I think we can be industrious and avid without being crude.

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