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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Brave New World, (Hopefully) Brave New Blog

When I started this blog, I was planning to cover the ins-and-outs of corporate consolidation, which remains of interest to me.

A week ago, that seemed like our biggest problem. It's a good thing this is MY blog, and I allow swearing, but I need stronger words than "HOLY FUCKING SHIT" because I cannot shake the feeling that I have seen the best days of this country in my lifetime.

It sounds facile because I don't think it needs much explaining, but Barack Obama did amazing things during his tenure. Until about 10 PM on Election Day, I was the most optimistic for the future of this country that I'd ever been. I knew that there was hatred remaining (I'll talk about that more in another post), but I thought that given the quality of the Clinton campaign, the experience and competence of Hillary Clinton, the incompetence and boorishness of Donald Trump, and the changing demographics of the country, I hadn't even considered the possibility of Trump beating Clinton until the returns started coming in. The whole campaign had turned out in most of the ways I'd expected: Clinton could ride the wave of the good will around Obama straight through to the nomination (and though I thought Bernie did a really good job, it was never even close), Clinton would run to the left of where we normally think of her, someone totally batshit would win the nomination -- my money was on Cruz; it just felt like the Republican base was ready for red meat or nothing, and Clinton would be our next President. If I'd known that the media would make up for Trump's lack of desire to actually do the work a normal campaign does, I would've thought him to be the perfect candidate for the Republican Party of 2016. As is, within a week of him getting in the race, the fact that the media could show the Republicans that they finally had a candidate that would go beyond simple "dog whistles" and who could insult a former POW and actually rise in the polls. At that point, it became pretty apparent he'd be the nominee. I thought the race might be tight until debate season, but then she'd leave him in the dust. Sure looked like that was the case a week ago (and holy hell, was I off).

All of that is a long winded way of saying that the focus of this blog is changing. The name won't, though. Because consolidation, coming together, is what we need. We're the good guys. We all need to stand up, even though I don't know yet what that means.

A little about me and why I'm doing this: I have had absolutely zero to do with politics for a living, but studying and reading about it has consumed a lot of my free time over the last 15 years or so. I'm a little OCD and occasionally get really into something that I give up after a bit, kind of like a TV sitcom dad, but no matter how much I try to kick it, my interest in U.S. politics, both from a policy and strategic perspective, never seems to diminish. I had another blog from 2005-2010 that focused mostly on politics, and decided to shut it down when I was doing work with some people that wouldn't appreciate my political views.

But we're through the looking glass now and the parties are so far apart (which I will argue at length is a very good thing) that I don't think I'll ever accept working for someone who supported Trump. I've done a lot of different things in my lifetime, but after spending the last couple of months volunteering for HRC (who I'll defend to the end; I think she's great and I've got a post on that in the hopper), I'm ready to go all in on playing my part in minimizing the very real damage that could happen over the next four years and to make 2026 better than 2016. How I use this crazy combination of abject fear and enthusiasm is still up in the air, but I'm working on it. For now, this blog will be, at least for me, a way to organize my thoughts as well as a way to check my own assumptions about the world. I've decided to do that in public because I generally like the feeling of having to double-and-triple-check my facts before expressing them verbally and putting everything into practice.

This is a really personal endeavor for me, and I'll likely end up talking about some of my other interests... TV, basketball, music, and other stuff; perhaps my personal life a bit if I'm feeling especially share-y. The tone of my writing is TBD; I love mixing in humor with serious topics (sometimes to too big an extent), but that's been a bit dulled by recent events. I'll see what I can do.

Additionally, my good friend Ari will also be giving his perspectives as both a professional economist and an interesting thinker.

Among the topics we're thinking about covering in the not-too-distant future are:

-Despite the disappointment (understatement of the year), how do we use the amazing people and infrastructure that the Democratic Party has to give ourselves the best chance to improve this country's future?

-How bad are our trade deals, anyway?

-What are the ways in which the Republicans can hurt us and how can we best fight back?

-How on earth can half the country elect an outright fascist?

-How can we get the mainstream media to stop treating Donald Trump as anything but a grave threat to the country and the world?

-What do the Democrats need to do to build a bench of leaders?

-How can the Democrats turn out their voters in non-Presidential years?


I really don't know what's in store here; this could last a week or a decade. Well, off to it!