As you know, the tone of the comments on this blog lately has disturbed me. It all reminds me of old time disputes among lefties in which every gathering of six or seven immediately splintered into three factions. Let me explain why I am convinced that this wrangling is unproductive.
If the Google Counter is to be believed, this blog gets between 1500 and 2000 views a day. Taking into consideration both those who visit it several times a day and those who visit it only every several days, I am guessing that maybe 3000 – 4000 people worldwide are in some sense regular readers. That could be way off, of course. Maybe most of the visits are from people looking to turn lead into gold, or thoughtful sufferers from gall stones seeking relief. But let us be optimistic and say that my guess is correct.
Most, but by no means all, of those visitors are American. The comments indicate a lively international readership. Even so, surely two-thirds or more are American. Now, almost all of those folks do not comment. [I believe the modern term is “lurkers,” but I prefer to consider them polite readers.] There are some ten or twelve who comment all the time. Let us suppose that after extended and contentious dispute here, eight or nine of them can be brought to agree on some matter, such as what to think about the Democratic National Committee or whether the attention paid to possible connections between Russia and Trump’s circle of advisors is overblown. Terrific. You now have, let us say, enough right-thinking comrades to elect someone Class President of one of those toney Manhattan private schools that only admits fifteen rich kids a year.
But suppose you set your sights a little higher, say on Precinct Chair in a State Democratic Party or even, ambitiously, on a seat in a State Legislature. Never mind a House seat or a Senate Seat! Eight votes are not going to do it. You are going to need all the blog readers who share your political orientation, construed most broadly, and lots and lots of others besides. You are going to need some folks who think Nancy Pelosi is a saint, and other folks who just loved Hilary, and a lot of folks who simply hate Trump, even though they have never thought about single payer health care, let alone socialism. The issues that you debate so heatedly on this blog, descending to insults when you just cannot bear it any more, will probably matter not at all to the tens of thousands of people whose votes will be indispensable for anything resembling victory.
So there is, I am sorry to have to say, something self-indulgent in these disputes, particularly in their heat. I am not on the fence about many of these issues, as Chris seems to think. I just do not think it is worth the effort to argue about them, when we need everyone on both sides of every debate if we are to assemble anything resembling a movement.