Sonali Kohatkar assures us that "Socialism Has a PR Problem, and It Can Be Solved." She doesn't really say how, though, except to remind Americans that right-wing authoritarian regimes are more prevalent in Latin America than socialist ones, and also to remind us (as India Walton does) that right-wingers are fine with "socialism for the rich." From my perspective, all Americans are socialists already -- unless, you know, they don't pay taxes and don't drive roads and don't call cops and I could go on -- and socialist policy prescriptions (hello, Medicare for All!) are actually quite popular. The PR, I guess, is you tell people that, and you don't back down -- in fact, the more fierce you are, the better. Definitely don't sound like an egghead.
Here's an interesting poll result in Arizona: not only do more Arizonans disapprove of the Cyber Ninjas' "fraudit" than approve, but the "strongly disapprove" numbers are rather higher than the "strongly approves," and independent voters disapprove by an 18-point margin. I used to say you can't win elections just by pointing out how big an ogre your opponent is, but maybe I was wrong -- maybe it just took time for most other liberals to get as angry about right-wing shenanigans as I've been for close to 20 years now. Or maybe it took the biggest ogre of them all.
In a related note, more partisan media outlets are seeing their online traffic numbers circle the toilet now that Donald Trump's out of office. "Left-leaning" outlets are actually suffering a bit less than "mainstream" outlets, and "right-leaning" and "far-right" outlets are tanking harder than "left-leaning" and "far-left" outlets. I'd quarrel with the placement of Fox News as "right-leaning" (they're "far-right," duh) just as I wouldn't call Mother Jones "far left" (have they never heard of Counterpunch or Jacobin?), but basically this is good news to everyone who hates our media's addiction to sensationalism and drama. Or it could be: right-wing podcasts are, unfortunately, picking up steam.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) eviscerates Sen. Sinema's case for keeping the filibuster, calling it "essentially an argument of saying, 'Well, why do anything at all, in case something in the future may change it?'" Specifically addressing Ms. Sinema's putative fear of "radical policy shifts" every time one party or the other retakes the majority, she adds, "(w)ouldn't it be better to get people health care and voting rights for three years instead of zero years?" As usual, she said it better than I did, which is, I imagine, why she's in Congress.
Justice Thomas criticizes federal marijuana policy, calling it a "piecemeal approach" and a "half-in, half-out regime that simultaneously tolerates and forbids local use of marijuana," and frankly he's got a point. Granted, I think I know which way he'd go -- two decades ago, he managed to mess up an opinion on behalf of a unanimous court in re federal marijuana law by opining that pot had no medicinal value, a statement irrelevant to the facts of the case (which hinged entirely a matter where federal law superseded local law) and one certainly unsupported by the research of the time, since that research would have been largely illegal.
Finally, Amanda Marcotte at Salon reminds us not to underestimate Donald Trump, as coverage of his recent Ohio rally has tended to do. Key finding: "Trump is popular mainly because his followers believe that, due to his shamelessness and unending aggression, he's their best vehicle for establishing the authoritarian rule that is their only real hope of retaining control over a changing nation," and though "(m)ost of them may not show up at rallies to listen to Trump complain about nonsense for an hour and a half," "they definitely vote." I once said, about Jeb Bush, that you should "never count a bastard out"; maybe "never count an asshole out" should be Donald Trump's 2024 campaign slogan.