Distraction, Division, Deception

Fantastic news from the US on elections – not just Democrats winning but candidates running as Democratic Socialists. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/nov/07/virginia-governor-race-results-ralph-northam

It is impressive stuff and great news.

The bad news is that victories for the left are guaranteed to see a reaction from the right. The more threatened the powerful elites and vested interests feel the more aggressive the push back will be.

Three interrelated elements to that push back to watch out for and be ready for. Each of them are easier to deploy for those acting in bad faith but they are each two edged swords.


Change the subject, change the subject, make people look elsewhere. The good news is this works less well for those in control of the government. A government would prefer dull news cycles within which it can project a message of success. However, the ruling party in the US has no message of success to project.

The bad news is that one form distraction can take is with fear and war mongering. As Trump finds himself in greater distress the danger of war increases.


Always easier for the Right because they value ‘individualism’ so much that they are far more likely to follow what their leaders tell them to do than the supposedly ‘collectivist’ left. The right wing media will seek to exploit and amplify division among the left. In this regard, the appearance of people acting to the left of the Democrats more independently may reduce the effectiveness of this by reducing tensions within the Democrats.

Meanwhile, the sheer incompetence and failing alliances of the current Republican party may result in them having to spend more of the energy on uncharacteristic divisions.


Lies, propaganda and fake news will only intensify and will be major tools that feed into the attempts to distract and divide people.

Fox News is still there. The Koch brothers and the Mercers still have deep pockets and the ‘mainstream’ media will still indulge in false balance and ‘both-sides’ narratives.

3 thoughts on “Distraction, Division, Deception

  1. I’d say the only reaction from the right that would matter would be election fraud, such as they seem to have used in the Georgia-2 election earlier in the year.

    The biggest risk is that Democrats blow it via infighting. The big lesson of Virginia seems to be that we should run moderates, not progressives, in the states we don’t already control. Many progressives seem to think that it should be progressives everywhere or nothing. That’s about the only thing we could do that would give the Republicans a chance of keeping power.


  2. We had trans people, gay people, POC — many for the first time in that office or chamber, socialists and activist white women win big time throughout the elections. Plus voters voted down conservative school vouchers privatizing public education, gun control and for numerous other non-moderate policies. So the lesson of the 2017 elections is the exact OPPOSITE of running moderates as opposed to a liberal, civil rights platform that includes the whole coalition. It’s about running non-white candidates — who are the Democrats main base, not worrying about white men of whom only an unreliable slice will vote Democratic, fully supporting all LGBTQ rights, not running anti-choice candidates, etc. The Dems moved left and it helped them. They may take the Virginia house or get close to it.

    Yes, Northam won Virginia’s seat, thank goodness, and he beat Perriello, who was supposedly more progressive, in the primary. Except Perriello ISN’T progressive — he’s anti-choice and was lousy on a whole bunch of issues. And that’s the problem that Dems have — they’ve got a lot of folks claiming to be the progressives and the “left” choice who aren’t actually progressive or very leftish. In fact, they are often equivalent to Blue Dogs or they just want to “blow things up” in the Democratic party, a la Trump. There were quite a bunch in Bernie’s camp like that and Sanders has supported several anti-choice candidates. That’s not progressive in any sense of the word. They tend to want to concentrate on white working class and middle class voters and want to put civil rights on the “back burnner.” That is not progressive. The group that went after Northam right before the election were not real progressives but instead extremists in the blow it up camp. They claimed to be speaking for Latino voters while completely ignoring the actual Latino organizations that were supporting Northam, and this is the behavior we have been seeing a lot and it’s a problem. And it is not progressive. There are actual progressives who worked in the Sanders camp, including the socialist who won in Manassas — which isn’t a blue city in VA — it’s not a matter of everyone doing the workers thing being junk. But it’s not a two-sided civil war and a lot of folks claiming the progressive champion label are decidedly not.

    The people who were actually progressive — and so often ignored by the Dem party in favor of chasing highly racist white voters — won in the elections. The lesson is don’t go backwards towards moderates and stop chasing white voters, particularly the males, who are mostly having conniption fits because there are now more white women, POC and LGBTQ legislators and everybody is not kowtowing to them for once. The white male voters are not coming back in force because that means sharing power — so they’re shifting right, but their share of the electorate is shrinking. If Dems turn out the POC vote, the youth vote, etc., (enough to get past the voter suppression,) they win.

    Northam is somewhat centrist and his being a vet helped, but he’s sufficiently progressive on civil rights issues and he was the incumbent, which especially in an odd year election helps the most. Virginia is rapidly changing — away from moderates and rural red — and that wave helped him, as well as anti-Trump sentiment. We don’t move towards Trump, even in purpley states, because that’s just going after voters who will still not vote Dem, no matter what policy stances the Dems take. So might as well energize the actual base of the party and support their rights, get them to turn out and be engaged. And that paid off.

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