Remember the long game.
In a few months, the Democratic party will hold a convention and pick a nominee. It will be one of you. Go ahead, imagine that it’s you.
You are then going to turn to the second place finisher and ask them to continue their campaigning and help you defeat the abomination that is going to lurch out of the Republican convention. You want them to agree to do so. Put everything you say now into that future context, please.
I say the same thing to all the Bernie and Hillary supporters.
I would also say something special to Bill: your wife is doing a fine job without you. Stop “helping”.
PZ, I’m surprised that you appear to assess Bernie & Hillary so equally. (Maybe I’ve got that wrong, eh?)
But I have heard that support for Bernie is much higher among expat Americans than it is for those living in the US. This, apparently, is because the mainstream US media almost ignore Bernie, whereas he gets lots of coverage overseas.
I realize that you might not be influenced by mainstream US media. I am somewhat left-wing in political outlook, so I see Bernie as by far the better choice. But I am puzzled. Is it because Bernie would have more problems with right wing Senators & Congress? Or something else?
PZ Myers says
I voted for Sanders in the primary, and still support him.
You sound a little naive to me. I think that if Hillary would become president her first move would be to install a wall street cabinet just like Obama. The song she sings to the rich guys is way different than what she says to the public. Unlike Bernie.
I didn’t take the OP as to which one was better, but that either one was so much better than the alternative that they need to remember they’re on the same side. I agree, I wish they would just make their arguments and quit acting like Republicans and insulting each other. Personally, I don’t care which one gets the nomination, as long as one of them is elected.
Anecdotal, but every “If my Democratic POTUS candidate doesn’t get the nod, I’m voting for Trump or staying home, fuck the consequences” nihilist I’ve run into has been a Sanders supporter.
I have yet to encounter a Clinton supporter embracing this attitude.
Does that mean all Sanders supporters, or the majority of them, think this way? No,
Does that mean no Clinton supporters think this way? No.
Does this make Clinton the better candidate? No.
And I do remember the angry Clinton PUMAs (Party Unity My Ass) faction from 2008. As far as I can tell, they either came to their senses and voted for Obama, or their “protest” actions made little difference.
I will vote for the Democratic candidate this November, because letting the current crop of Republicans essentially run all three branches of government would irreparably damage this country. For fucking decades.
That said, these quasi-Magic Balance Fairy “All Democrats need to support the eventual nominee” reminders need to be directed more towards one group of Democratic voters than the other.
Thanks for clarifying that, PZ. You had me worried there, even though I know this medium is great for generating misunderstandings, & suspected that I was misunderstanding.
I can understand why HRC supporters would support Sanders if he won the nomination. And I can understand PZ’s basic argument that either candidate would be preferable to whatever dingbat emerges from the other side. But it’s a tougher call for Sanders’ backers, I think, to support HRC. I’m not sure I can do it (thankfully, electoral college math will probably obviate the need for me to choke down a Clinton vote). Many of us are most animated by the central themes of getting money out of politics and defanging Wall Street and its bankers. If those are your core issues, how on earth could you back HRC, who embodies those things you wish to see upended? The argument that the alternative is worse is not very inspiring.
Of course, Sanders’ supporters could always broaden their vision to consider more than a single issue, not to mention considering the reality of “getting money out of politics and defanging Wall Street.”
Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says
Yep, either you only care about your own ideology, or you care about the people of the US having to face President Trump or Cruz. That is a no-brainer as far as I am concerned, as one of my principles is “first do no harm”. Not voting for the viable (electable) alternative means you are allowing the harm to happen.
Something that may be interesting. Peruvian elections are coming up this Sunday. There is a socialist candidate, a 35-year-old woman, among some other ones. The amount of collective hysteria against this candidate that I’ve seen on my FB feed is amazing. It’s almost always memes. They are saying a lot of things that parallel what’s going on in the US regarding socialism.
But one big difference is, over there where we lived horrific terrorism in the 80’s up until the early 90’s. And by “lived” and “horrific” I mean as bad as domestic terrorism is here in the US, it’s sporadic. Over there people were afraid to go to a movie theater because of car bombs. Hearing explosions and gunfire wasn’t an uncommon occurence, no matter what kind of neighborhood one lived. We had rationed electricity and water for some time, and curfews where at night no one could be on the street and the military patrolled them.
And this type of terrorism was associated with groups that espoused communism. You see where this is going. The terrorist boogeyman, instead of muslims, is socialism. People are really freaking out. They are trying their best to associate this candidate with terrorists. I really haven’t followed too much politics over there since I’ve lived in the US for many years now, but apparently most people are convinced that she’s a terrorist. And she’s a very close 3rd in the polls.
TomH, perhaps you could listen a little more to Sanders supporters, if you think that’s the only issue we think is important. There’s also a little thing about Hillary’s support for the Patriot Act, and the Iraq war. My son turns 18 next month, and I’d like to NOT see him killed overseas in some pointless effort to protect some corporation’s profits.
I’m going to vote for whoever’s to the left of the republican candidate and has a chance at winning, but that’s not going to stop me from complaining that it’s a shitty choice. I’m not fond of the idea of supporting someone I personally consider abhorrent because the alternative would be worse. That’s a little to Ankh-Morporkian for me.
Nick Gotts says
That could be because Clinton supporters are so confident she will be the nominee (and they are almost certainly right) that they don’t feel the need even to consider what they’d do if she is not.
Voting for the Democratic candidate against Cruz or Trump is really a no brainer. But still, I can’t get myself excited about Hillary’s nomination since I’m predicting she will move to the “center” (a.k.a right) as soon as she locks in the nomination.
As I said, I’d be perfectly happy with a President Sanders. What I think his supporters overlook in their frenzied rhetoric, is that the main function of a Democratic president in the next four years, will be to block the Republican Congress from implementing their stated agenda. There are thousands of regressive, Republican bills pending in Congress, dealing with climate change, environmental protection, abortion, immigration, tax changes, Obamacare, Social Security, defense, drug policy, the list goes on and on. Any Republican president will rubber stamp the entire agenda. Any Democratic president will be able to block most of it. This is what will matter. The idea that a Democratic president will be able to implement their own agenda through a Republican Congress is pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking.
In the Middle East, Cruz wants to carpet bomb the countryside for a start. Who knows what Trump wants to do.
Akira MacKenzie says
From my perspective, the Democratic Party has all but abandoned the poor and working classes to pander to the middle and upper classes (where the votes and campaign dollars tend to be), so Playing the “long game” sounds great and all “reasonable” and “realistic,” if you already are nice, safe, and comfortably privileged social strata. However not all of us are not do lucky. So all of this talk of “incrementalism” and “pragmatism” is VERY cold comfort to those suffering here and now. If anything, its downright condescending.
The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) says
Who knows what Hillary wants to do?
It’s astonishing to me how many people have apparently forgotten that Obama is really quite far to the right, himself, and Hillary wants to continue his “legacy”.
He loaded the Democratic side of the Congressional “supercommittee”, which was supposed to determine the budget at one of the various impasses, with known pro-austerity figures, and offered repeatedly to cut Social Security and Medicare. This only failed because the Republicans were so racist that they wouldn’t permit a black president to have any accomplishments, even if the accomplishments were things they’ve been trying to get through for decades.
He refused to pull out of Iraq any faster than Bush’s original timeline — in fact, he was trying to keep our troops there even longer than that. He basically destroyed Libya with bombing, even after Congress explicitly voted not to do so (not even Bush did that — we went to Afghanistan and Iraq with Congressional blessing).
He also refused to prosecute anyone in the Bush administration for the Iraq war.
He signed off on the USA FREEDOM Act, which is basically the original USA PATRIOT Act without the sunset clauses, and has been pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership which is a surefire disaster.
He refused to prosecute either banks which crashed the economy as corporate entities, or their leadership as individuals, and was right behind the 2011 agreement which turned Panama into a tax haven, creating the current public scandal.
He shut down discussion of single-payer and the public option to give us Mitt Romney’s healthcare bill, and used that lackluster piece of legislation to avoid doing anything about the banks, Gitmo, or pretty much anything else during the period that the Democrats actually held both Congress and the Presidency.
Hillary Clinton not only says she wants to continue all of this, but was a moving force in favor of most, if not all, of it at the time.
I don’t believe for a moment that Hillary Clinton will actually try to stop the Republicans from passing their agenda. She has already signaled that she doesn’t mean to fight any major battles; if the Republicans make a concerted attack against, say, Planned Parenthood, I genuinely think she will make the patented Democratic Frowny Face of Betrayal™ and rubber-stamp it through.
And when I see Clinton supporters — I’m looking at you, Nerd of Redhead — telling me I absolutely have to support this person who I consider to be completely without any sort of ethics, or else it’s exactly the same as voting for a Republican, the dishonesty of that position doesn’t make me motivated to help. Instead, it seriously makes me question whether any of the Democrats have any integrity. If it’s all bogeyman posturing to hold on to office, and “but the other guy would be even worse”, then everything is going to blow up anyway and I might as well not bother — or just vote against incumbents on the grounds that at least I can try to keep people from holding on to power for very long at a time.
Akira MacKenzie says
The Vicar @ 17
I found this comment particularly poignant in light of “this news story that came down the wires a few days ago. Frankly, I’m surprised no one has made a bigger stink about this, especially here.
Even if I did protest vote or stay at home, there’s a near-zero percent chance of my state going anything but blue, so my vote in the matter is ultimately irrelevant. Maybe if I was in a swing state I could see an argument for tactical voting, but not so much here.
Oh, yeah, Obama. The “change” candidate. The “hope” candidate. I remember, even if no one else does, how everyone thought he was going to be entirely different from prior presidents. Nope, sorry. He’s a decent president, a good one even, and definitely better than Romney or McCain would have been, but nope, not revolutionary. We’ve still got multiple wars, torture, Wall Street in charge of everything…and I don’t expect much of that would change under a President Sanders, if he got elected. I voted for Sanders because I think he’s the best of the lot, but I don’t actually think there’s that much difference between him and Clinton. But I do think there’s a lot of difference between either of them and the Republicans. Check out the various candidates’ Planned Parenthood scores, if nothing else.
Even if Sanders becomes president, it will take more than four years to clean up the pig sty of corruption.
The Panama tax haven phenomenon, for instance, goes back 113 years !
“How a US president and JP Morgan made Panama: and turned it into a tax haven” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/10/panama-canal-president-jp-morgan-tax-haven
And the urgent need to curb climate change will require massive efforts that last indefinitely.
At the level that is easily visible -decaying US infrastructure- tax cuts over the last three decades means a massive program of restoration and building must be launched, lasting Zod knows how many years.
Meanwhile, China will of course slip into the role of Number One World Power without much effort. Mercifully , their repressive regime has understood they must take climate change seriously or it will undermine their power. In that way, the communist crooks are more rational than the Republican crooks.
Those of us who are anti-Hillary are being asked, should she win the nomination, to hold our breath and vote for the lesser of two evils compared to whatever the GOP eventually scraps off the bottom of their collective shoe. The problem is that Hillary is not a candidate in whom we have a few disagreements. There is next to nothing to recommend her as a viable alternative. True, she is worlds superior to either Republican concerning reproductive rights, women’s rights in general, and education. But that is it. In every other issue she is either in the same camp as her potential opponents or even worse (if you are looking for someone most likely to start another war somewhere, look to Hillary). Her support for same sex rights have never been more than a photo-op and during the 90s she was integral to crime measures that subjected a generation of us to “guilty until proven innocent”.
Yes, both Republican candidates are about the worse excuses that humanity has to offer. Trump is a fascist pig’s testicle and Cruz is a religious nut who honestly scares me. But as much as it pains me to say so (and it pains me a LOT), I would rather have to put up with four years of one of those twits – safely coupled with a Democratic Senate that won’t let them do a thing – than contribute my support to a war-mongering, white-collar criminal defender like Hillary who really could do damage. I’d rather she lose and give us the chance to run a sane candidate in 2020.
But, obviously, none of these is important to you.
If you really think that the election of a Republican president will be coupled with a Democratic senate, you, like most Sanders’ supporters, are living in a dream world.
Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says
I notice that those who complain about Hillary Clinton tend not to mention one very important job a President does. Federal court appointments, including SCOTUS. Do you want another Scalia, or another Ruth Bader Ginsberg for the vacant seat? Something one needs to consider.
@treefrogdundee 22: The major reason I voted Bernie in the primaries is that I’m worried that if Clinton wins the primary and the election, she’d just be Obama II. That is, someone who would keep the country essentially functional but not deal with the basic problem of wealth accumulation by the very rich. In other words, that she’d just kick the problem down the road 4-8 years*. However, if Trump were elected, would we even have a 2020 election? Probably, but maybe not. If Clinton lost, would that cause the Dems to say “Ah, clearly we ran someone too right wing and should go with a socialist next time”? Unlikely. They’d probably conclude that their mistake was running a woman and make sure to get a conservative white man next time. Bernie certainly won’t run again: he’ll be close to 80 by 2020 and men die young. What “sane candidate” would the Dems run against, say, President Trump in 2020? Would the electorate be more in the mood for a socialist after 4 years of Trump–and Trump and friends being in charge of what they hear in the media–or would they just be more sure that only Trump could save them? In short, how would Clinton losing help anyone but the Republicans?
*The more I hear about Sanders’ specific positions and lack thereof, the more I think he’d do much the same, but that’s a different issue.
Go run that attitude past someone who’s poor; gay; transgender; or an immigrant. Let me know if they are willing to tough out four or eight years of a Trump or Cruz administration. Because I’m willing to bet that they have a slightly different take on the situation that you and your privilege have.
This is exactly that fucking nihilist attitude I talked about earlier. To a tee. “Give me my President Sanders or I’ll stand by and let the whole goddamn thing burn. I don’t care who gets hurt.”
It’s this frigging outlook that makes me realize a President Trump or Cruz is a genuine possibility.
As a member of two of the aforementioned groups, here’s my opinion on that stance. I will vote for literally anyone who is to the left of trump/cruz that has a chance of winning – although my vote won’t really matter anyways given my location. So, if Hillary gets nominated, she gets my vote.
That being said, I don’t really have any firm belief that Hillary is going to be particularly cool to me as a bisexual transgender person, given her supporting and then later defending her decision to support DOMA and DADT. She can claim to support LGBT people all she wants now that it’s the popular view, but I’m going to be skeptical of her.
I think Hillary will be to the right of Obama, and not at the same level or to the left. E.g., Obama did not vote for Iraq war and Hillary ran a “pragmatic” campaign against Obama (i.e, “What change?”). She obviously have moved to the left compared to that campaign but very likely that is due to Bernie and she will spring back to her original natural right-wing position. Also let’s not forget that she brags a lot about Republicans saying nice things about her and her ability to “reach across the aisle”. Someone like that can only be to the right of Obama.
@ tomh: All of those three things are very important to me but they don’t distract me from the fact that by voting for Hillary I would be putting a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs in the White House and assisting in the next military escapade in the Middle East. As there are 34 Senate seat up for grabs (24 of which are GOP-held), the Dems need only 5 to take back control, and this year’s GOP is unhinged even by their normal standards, I’d say its a relatively safe bet.
@ dianne: All good points. The problem with Hillary isn’t just that she is too right-wing (she is) but that there is zero trust in her. Her positions change by the second parallel to the latest polls which is why she is having such issues right now. I don’t have anyone in particular in mind for 2020 but it should not be hard to look through the Democratic ranks and find one.
@ mattandrews: I’m black, gay, I come from a poor family, and I’m currently a teaching assistant so I’m not exactly rolling in cash. So please don’t waste my timing shouting “Check your privilege!” and think your mind-tricks will work on me. Your inability to form a rational argument instead of parroting talking points is your problem, not mine.
Well . . . you think that your vote doesn’t matter. No matter how blue (or red) your state is you don’t KNOW the importance of your vote! Independents scare the hell out of the rich guys and they have spent an enormous amount of money to prevent your vote. You may be sure that the republicans and some of the democrats will be delighted if you fail your duty.
About the fear that president of the United States can do nothing in the face of an opposing congress. I think that if the attorney general started prosecuting the lawbreakers (who have been given carte blanch by Obama and his Harvard cabinet) you’d see a big scurry of scoundrels like cockroaches exposed to the light. The FCC could renew the fairness doctrine. The Clayton Antitrust Act can be enforced. Contract bidding can be enforced. There are many possibilities. An incumbent President does not have to be bound by or afraid of congress.
My mistake on the privilege comment. Apologies.
The other stuff about “I didn’t get my President Sanders, so fuck everyone else”? That stands.
I would like to think that helping prevent a unapologetic bigot or a religious fanatic from taking the White House and appointing SCOTUS judges worse than Scalia, Alito, or Thomas (among the other damage these psychos would cause,) is a cogent argument for voting for whoever the Dem nominee is.
But if enough people throw a tantrum over not having the perfect candidate and one those guys gets elected? What the heck, maybe it won’t be so bad. It’s not like these freaks have been telegraphing their out-for-everyone-to-see intolerance for months, or anything like that.
treefrogdundee @ 22:
Why the assumption that watching a right-leaning candidate lose the general to a far-right leaning candidate would cause a party to move to the left when seeking victory?
“I didn’t get my President Sanders, so fuck everyone else”
You are completely missing my issue with Hillary. If she had been the only one in the race from the get-go I would feel the same way. It isn’t a matter of pouting because my preferred candidate lost but of being asked to vote for someone I wouldn’t normally touch with a ten-foot pole. And if Cruz or Trump being able to appoint a justice in their own political mold were a possibility, I would have to agree with you. But no matter what the makeup of the Senate, there is zero chance those Democrats present would allow such a person to be put on the bench.
“Why the assumption that watching a right-leaning candidate lose the general to a far-right leaning candidate would cause a party to move to the left when seeking victory?”
First of all, once again Hillary’s biggest problem with the electorate isn’t that she is too right-wing but that nobody (right or left) trusts her at all. Second, I’m not making that assumption. In fact, I think running someone who runs as a far-left candidate would be an enormous mistake. This country has always been centrist… witness the huge push-back against same-sex marriage that took place in 2004 before people eventually realized that gay rights = human rights. Sanders – whatever his true politics – is running as a populist. His core issues (regulating Wall Street, free public education, real healthcare reform, etc) are all issues that attract moderate voters and he is phrasing his plans for these in moderate tones. Were he to have come out and say “We are going to confiscate Goldman’s assets and have Cuban-style healthcare and tax 100% of all income above $x!” his campaign would have been over before it began.
The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) says
I can’t speak for dianne (and I frequently disagree with her), but if Clinton gets the nomination, then I will vote for the candidate who agrees with me on these issues and also on the other issues where Clinton disagrees, which is most of them, which will be the Green Party’s Jill Stein.
Well, seeing as how you believe that Hillary Clinton will actually try to keep her campaign promises in any way, shape, or form, I’d say you’re pretty expert in dream worlds, yourself.
If Clinton gets the nomination, her objection to the TPP, just to name one issue, will evaporate so quickly as to make Francium look durable. Frankly, she is obviously wrong on so many issues, in her native, not-having-to-compete-with-Bernie-Sanders condition — you know, the one which she will return to the minute she’s chosen — that her positions on the few others are actually immaterial. If she happens to get into a military conflict with Russia or China, both of which she is willing to provoke, we’ll all be dead anyway, which will render the question of, say, equal pay for women both moot and quaint.
That would depend on circumstances. If:
1. The Green Party (or some other left-of-the-Democrats group) gets a number of votes comparable to the number by which they lose
2. They have more brains than can fit in a common matchbox, the matches first being removed
then they will move left. Unfortunately, most people who are turned off of voting by the rightward movement of the Democratic Party in the last 3 decades have simply stopped voting altogether — which suggests that #1 won’t happen — and the Democratic Party’s various guiding organizations have spent those decades consistently arguing that any result, win or loss, means the party should move to the right — which suggests that #2 isn’t true. Still, although #2 is out of my hands, I’m still willing to work to make #1 happen if the Democrats are so utterly clueless as to go with Hillary Clinton.
They’ve had 7 years and a few months now to demonstrate that a right-of-center Democratic President who is pro-war and pro-banks and who triangulates on social issues and who constantly tries to avoid any sort of open conflict with the extreme right wing can govern effectively. It’s not Hillary Clinton’s fault that she missed her chance to be the failure who demonstrates how useless right-wing triangulating Democrats are, but the moment has passed where that’s a legitimate experiment to attempt; at this point, we already know what happens.
Meh, I find Sanders’ positions, especially on guns and alternative “medicine” a bit too far to the right and am not impressed by his lack of plan on breaking up banks. He’s the best available candidate, IMHO, but he’s by no means the left wing radical that people (on both sides of the political spectrum) like to pretend. He’d be a pretty good president, but no more a revolutionary than Obama is.
OTOH, neither of them is likely to open the seventh seal and bring on the apocalypse, whereas the Republicans…well, Trump has overtly threatened to use nukes and Cruz appears to think he’s been nominated by god, literally. Plus, they’re both famously incompetent. The BEST we could hope for out of 4 years of either of them would be a massively worsened economy, a horrific Supreme Court justice (or several, given the age and health of several other members), and serious rollbacks on the rights of women and minorities (well, except for men, who, while technically a minority, might better be described as an aristocracy.)
What’s the data on that? And is she more or less likely to cause a war with Russia or China than, say, Trump or Cruz? Personally, if there is a war to be had in there, I’d expect it to be a proxy, like Korea or Vietnam, rather than an actual direct war between nuclear powers, which not even Stalin or Reagan was willing to get into. Not to downplay the damage that a proxy war will do–the Vietnam war is still killing people, for example–but I doubt the probability of Clinton’s causing a civilization ending nuclear war with Russia or China. Trump, now…that I could see.
The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) @ 34:
Interesting. Has this ever happened, on the national level?
I ask because – correct me if I’m wrong – but the Green’s popular vote high-water-mark (2000, at about 2.7%) came when the Democrats won the popular vote.
Also interesting. Do you have a citation for that? Meaning no offense, but if you’re going to make a sweeping statement like that, I’d feel more comfy accepting it if you can show some numbers behind it.
Given the relative success of the Greens and the Democrats, has this strategy failed?
(This question assumes that the primary goal of a politician is to win public office and the primary goal of their party organization is to assist them in that.)
Lotharloo @ 28
What vote are we talking about? The invasion of Iraq (euphemistically known as “Operation Iraqi Freedom”) occurred in early 2003. Obama was not in office in the senate until January 2005. Obama has also approved drone strikes that have killed civilians.
Honestly, what I would love is a pragmatist less willing to use the military than Clinton is. I caucused for Sanders, but more as a “fuck you” to party leadership than as a preference for either candidate.
Right, good point, thanks for the correction. But it is true that he was part of the opposition to the war, even before it started. I guess we would never know how he would have voted on the invasion, but at least at the time he was to the left of Clinton and as you say, he has let drone operators continue with very little oversight and transparency.
One of Obama’s first acts was to appoint Clinton as secretary of state. Which suggests that he either didn’t have significant disagreements with her on matters of foreign policy or he thought, for whatever reason. that it was okay to have someone he disagreed strongly with as his representative abroad. Or, I suppose, that he just didn’t care.
I voted for Sanders in the primary, but I’m kind of glad that it looks like Clinton will be the nominee and I’ll never have to watch Sanders explain why he’s continuing the drone strikes and keeping Guantanamo open.
There is no way to read Obama’s mind but to me it looked like an act. Obama wanted to appoint his opponent to be seen as this super rational, super cool guy who likes to rule beyond party boundaries. And that is why he flirted with all those goddamned republicans. It is another reason I don’t like Hillary Clinton. Both her and Obama value bipartisanship and they beg for it. I hate it when Hillary brags about her accomplishments to get things “done” with Republicans. It just sound so damn weak.
Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says
How is the President able to get things done in a partisan fashion if one or both houses of Congress is controlled by the other party? A bi-partisan effort is needed just to pass a budget. USA doesn’t have a parliamentary system, where the majority party makes the laws essentially unimpeded.
The Senate may flip this election, but I don’t expect the house to change significantly.