Evils and lesser evils


Does this sound awfully familiar to you: “Democratic politicians who constantly echo courageous populist themes in speeches, news releases and election ads, and then often uses the party’s governmental power to protect the status quo and serve corporate donors in their interminable class war”? David Sirota tears into the smug complacency of corporate Democrats. It felt good to see someone calling them out.

Amid an upsurge of populist energy that has alarmed the Democratic establishment, a new wave of left-leaning insurgents have been using Democratic primaries to wage a fierce war on the party’s corporate wing. And, as in past presidential primary battles, many Democratic consultants, politicians and pundits have insisted that the party must prioritize unity and resist grassroots pressure to support a more forceful progressive agenda.

Not surprisingly, much of that analysis comes from those with career stakes in the status quo. Their crude attempts to stamp out any dissent or intraparty discord negates a stark truth: liberal America’s pattern of electing corporate Democrats – rather than progressives – has been a big part of the problem that led to Trump and that continues to make America’s economic and political system a neo-feudal dystopia.

I’m not going to blame the Democrats for Trump — that’s all on the Republican party. But I will blame the Democrats for failing to provide a compelling alternative. Under the influence of big money donors, the current Democratic party is acting as if they only have to be slightly less insane than the Republicans to win, so they’ve been swirling down the same drain…just with a bit more lag.

He names names, and gives examples of Democratic failures.

Less than a decade ago, with Democratic majorities controlling both the House and Senate, it was the administration led by Obama and Emanuel that bailed out Wall Street, enshrined a too-big-to-jail doctrine for megabanks and – by its own admission – designed the Affordable Care Act to preclude Medicare for All. Obama’s administration did this while Democrats controlled both the House and Senate. It was Democratic lawmakers’ like Delaware’s Tom Carper and Connecticut’s Joe Lieberman who helped insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists make sure the ACA also excluded any public healthcare option that could compete with private insurers.

Today, it is House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, from deeply liberal San Francisco, insisting that Medicare for All will not be any kind of litmus test for her party and promising that budget-cutting austerity will govern Democrats’ legislative agenda should they retake Congress.

It is 16 Senate Democrats voting to help Wall Street lobbyists gut post-financial-crisis banking regulations. Those include blue-staters like Colorado’s Michael Bennet and Delaware’s Chris Coons, the latter of which then went on to make national headlines slamming progressives for supposedly pushing the party too far to the left.

It is 13 Senate Democrats, including 2020 presidential prospect Cory Booker of Democratic New Jersey, beholding skyrocketing drug prices – and then voting to help pharmaceutical lobbyists defeat Bernie Sanders’ initiative to let Americans purchase lower-priced medicine from Canada.

It is most of the Democratic Senate caucus recently voting to confirm 15 of Trump’s judicial appointees, and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, from Democratic New York, vowing there will be no punishment for Democratic lawmakers who vote to confirm Trump’s supreme court nominees.

I know the arguments: you need money to get elected in our plutocracy, so they need to pander to the wealthy in order to get the minimal, incremental reforms they’ve made. I think that reality is the other way around. They take tiny progressive steps to convince the people to vote for them, so that they can then get the big money from their corporate friends.

The party is too far to the right, not too far to the left. And it’s going to extremely difficult to change, because the Republicans are so goddamned evil that many of us (including me) vote a straight Democratic slate anymore, so they don’t need to change.

Comments

  1. says

    Yeah, we need to keep supporting these incompetent right-wingers, otherwise the wrong incompetent right-wingers might get in! If sensible voters don’t support the Democratic Party’s “pragmatic” right-of-center candidates, why, the Democrats might start losing Congressional seats until they no longer control either house. They might lose the Presidency. They might lose a majority of statehouses.

    Oh, wait, they already did. The strategy of “oh, well, gotta keep blindly voting for candidates I really don’t support at all because otherwise they might lose to somebody worse” is a failure. It’s equivalent to saying “gotta keep eating more and more food to compensate for that tapeworm I have, medicine will just make me feel bad”.

  2. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    PZ wrote @OP:

    Democratic party is acting as if they only have to be slightly less insane than the Republicans to win

    I know.
    It’s weird how the rational argument of “baby steps before running” and “look before you leap”, sometimes doesn’t work out. Politics is different than IRL, I guess.

    I actually agree that it is insufficient to present yourself as less insane than the other guy,
    You know that means you are also insane, right.
    Why should anyone vote for an insane candidate, with insanity larger than zero.
    Don’t we want sane leadership? This is where tolerance bit us back, tolerating an insane person to be inaugurated into office of presidency (i can’t say “45”s name) .

  3. says

    Primary election challenges seem to have some chance of success in the current US political climate, if the party can be forced to hold them and count votes fairly. It’s not enough to complain about the candidates you’re given, nothing changes unless people actively seek and promote the standing of candidates they actually want.

  4. nomadiq says

    There is hope. There has been an uptick in the number of candidates and candidates winning primaries who don’t take big corporate money and are funded solely from small donors – actual people who democracy is suppose to represent. And the old right-leaning corporate democrats are freaking out. That freak out is the healthiest thing I have seen in politics in a long time.

  5. snuffcurry says

    From the Gruan

    Today, it is House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, from deeply liberal San Francisco, insisting that Medicare for All will not be any kind of litmus test for her party and promising that budget-cutting austerity will govern Democrats’ legislative agenda should they retake Congress.

    If you follow their linkage, “budget-cutting austerity” is referring to Pelosi pushing paygo, as she has in the past when options are limited, to curb GOP tax “reform,” which always translates to reductions on the wealthy and landed. Since TAX CUTS! is this year’s Republican primary slogan, making them publicly own to how they’re going to pay for those cuts (hurting social services that are quite popular, even with their base) robs them of that triumph. And it’s pretty clear that the 2.0 plan the Republicans released this week (making 1.0 cuts permanent) is not going to get any traction until next year, anyway, because a lot of blue-state GOP leaders are scared shitless about their constituency’s backlash to the changes for SALT.

    The notion that she’s pushing austerity is absurd. She’s always been upfront about how Democrats can use paygo to their advantage by rolling back tax cuts for very high earners. And this is crucial now more than ever because Ryan is wringing his hands about how expensive Medicaid and other “entitlement” programs are and he’s openly gunning for cuts to all of them. It’s absurd to pretend she doesn’t have a long history of advocating for the strategic use of paygo rules for precisely this reason. Even the Heritage Foundation is wise to Pelosi’s aims; here they’re whinging about she and Reid abandoning it to (sob) take care of working- and middle-class children (the horror!).

    I mean, I guess this makes me a Less Evil Pragmatist Neo-Lib, but, yeah, I have always enjoyed seeing her shamelessly rub their phony Responsible Deficit-Handling in their face while explaining to the grown-ups in the room that we need to spend more on welfare programs, not less, and that the wealthy should bear that burden more than anyone.

  6. snuffcurry says

    I mean, are we going to pretend that Pelosi didn’t have a hand in improving the post-Bush economy? Are we going to feign ignorance about how much money we (gladly) had to spend to get there? And that Jeff Sessions himself cried Keebler tears because of where that money went?

  7. whheydt says

    Re: slithy tove @ #2…
    In an earlier generation, those bitterly opposed to the president, they would say “that man in the White House”. He was also considered to be a “class traitor”.

    On the more general topic… For some years, I have have laughed at anyone who described the Democrats as a “left” party. It isn’t. It is a center-right or moderate right party. It only looks “left” because the Republicans are “off the rails, extremist/reactionary right”.

    Personally, I am planning to vote against my sitting Democratic US Senator. While she was mildly progressive in the past, progress has moved past her and she is, I think “past her sell-by date”. Fortunately, because of the California “jungle primary”, her opponent in the general election is also a Democrat, so I don’t have to hold my nose and vote for the incumbent because the other possibility way off in crazy right land.

  8. snuffcurry says

    Trolling with paygo like this is also a GOP tactic, as Wonkette explained late last year. It’s about waiving spending cuts triggered tax cuts or passing ownership onto the other side and forcing them, in turn, to waive them and betray their fidelity to Fiscal Responsibility. No one wants to be seen to own unpopular, dangerous, sociopathic spending cuts to important welfare programs. But there’s only one party interested in quietly and methodically dismantling them under the guise of necessity and reform.

  9. says

    It’s important to remember that the Democrats are not an “opposition party” – they’re part of the same gerrymandering, vote-suppressing, electoral-colleging, piece of shit as the Republicans. The Republicans are worst, but that’s hardly a recommendation.

  10. Akira MacKenzie says

    They take tiny progressive steps to convince the people to vote for them…

    Steps so tiny, the poor* will enjoy a slight increase in the minimum wage around the time of the heat death of the universe.

    *You remember those folks, right Dems? The people who aren’t upper class urban professionals and tech-sector hipsters who think being “left-wing” means owning a Tesla and pulling solar cells on their California beach houses?

  11. kome says

    It’s kind of annoying how Democrats proposing ideas that Republicans were promoting in the 90s has become, in the eyes of corporate-controlled media and politicians, the most socialist thing that ever socialisted in the history of socialism. It’s kind of annoying how right-wing parties in other industrialized democratic nations are sometimes to the left of both our major political parties. It’s kind of annoying how we’ve politicized everything to the point that it’s a marker of group identity whether or not you think people should be able to afford life-saving medicine; or whether or not you think we should try to save the environment so our kids and grandkids can have a nice place to live; or whether or not you think people should be treated equally under the law regardless of demographic variables; or whether or not you think people should have access to drinkable water; or whether or not you think we should drop bombs on schools, hospitals, and weddings.

    Ultimately, it’s kind of annoying how the United States is the single largest threat to human dignity, life, and the planet. As a nation, we are more cartoonishly evil than Captain Planet villains, led by the Republicans since the 70s (at least) but followed along faithfully by the Democratic party since at least the 90s trying to lap up the same donor money.

  12. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Are we sure the democrats aren’t just catering to the segment of the population that can actually be arsed to vote?

  13. Ed Seedhouse says

    I agree with most of the assessments of the Democrats, but one of the two parties will rule if you don’t vote. Some Democrats are at least partly sane and if I had a choice for your country I would vote for partly sane over batshit crazy every time.

    So how do you get to a saner system? I would suggest that step one is to destroy the Republican party completely. Vote Dem up and down the ticket, and do it until people don’t run as Republicans because they have no chance of being elected. Destroy the right wing crazies completely.

    Once that’s done there’s a chance for a more left wing alternative to get some traction. Until then there’s no real chance to inject more sanity into the system.

    Of course that would mean thinking ahead a few election cycles instead of feeling good about your wonderful left wing purity.

  14. thirdmill301 says

    While I agree with some of the criticisms of the Democratic Party made here, I think Trump’s election has completely destroyed the idea that there’s only a marginal difference between them. Hillary Clinton would not have put Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, and there would not now be a serious question as to whether Roe v. Wade will continue to be the law of the land. Two thousand children would not have been separated from their parents at the Southern border. (Yes, I know, there were some separations under Obama too, but not like this.) Millions of people wouldn’t be looking at losing their health care, we wouldn’t be wondering if there’s a Russian mole in the Oval Office, the deficit wouldn’t be soaring because of unfunded tax cuts for the rich, a lot of the business and environmental regulations Trump scrapped would still be in place, and oh, yes, we wouldn’t have a president who publicly empowers nazis and racists. The Democrats have much room for improvement, but the idea that they and the GOP are two peas from the same pod is not just silly, it’s dangerous, because that’s part of the reason Trump got elected in the first place.

    Politics is the art of the possible. At this point, a true leftist government is not possible in the United States. The Democrats are the best we’re going to get for the forseeable future. Doing anything other than voting a straight Democratic ticket, at least for the time being, is a fairly colossal strategic blunder.

  15. kome says

    I respectfully disagree, thirdmill301. Voting anything other than your principles is a colossal blunder, always. That’s how we got here in the first place. If your principles are Libertarian, vote for them. If your principles are better represented by the Green party, vote for them. If the Republicans or Democrats or some third-party candidate represent your principles best, vote for them. Using your vote purely to vote against the worst option is how we got here in the first place. If we don’t vote for something, and instead only vote against something else, we’ll continue to circle the drain and the next person the Republicans put up will make people pine for the days of Trump the way some people now pine for the days of the war criminal administration of George W. Bush.

    But, importantly, the best way to recover is to pressure your state governments to enact ranked choice voting, to make it easier for people to get out of the binary mentality that the Dems/Repubs have kept us trapped in that allows people to continue to justify voting for the lesser of two evils rather than voting for a greater good.

  16. Usernames! 🦑 says

    I know the arguments: you need money to get elected in our plutocracy, so they need to pander to the wealthy in order to get the minimal, incremental reforms they’ve made.
    — PZ

    Yeah, except Beto doesn’t take big-donor money, nor does Ocasio-Cortez.

    The Corporate Dems’ selling out to the 1% or 0.1% is why I would gladly vote in the primary for anyone who is a true progressive and not a punk.

    But in general, one should be suspicious of the political salience of anything the top 0.1 percent thinks or wants. It’s practically guaranteed to be unpopular among the broad population, and probably a policy disaster to boot.
    [snip]
    Finally, taking big donor cash is unpopular in itself. Consistently around two-thirds of voters say corporations have too much influence in society, while 84 percent say there is too much money in politics. Conversely, one of Bernie Sanders’ most popular stances was his refusal to take money from corporations or the ultra-rich.

    “The Most Politically Savvy Thing Democrats Can Do”

  17. consciousness razor says

    I know the arguments: you need money to get elected in our plutocracy, so they need to pander to the wealthy in order to get the minimal, incremental reforms they’ve made. I think that reality is the other way around. They take tiny progressive steps to convince the people to vote for them, so that they can then get the big money from their corporate friends.

    But “you need money to get elected in our plutocracy” can be taken another way. You have to be in a particular class, a wealthy one, in order to leave whatever job you might have had. (Or you have little or nothing to do in this “job” that you keep.) Then, you may start campaigning, for months or years ahead of the election. Do you need to pump any of your own money into a campaign? No, that’s not generally necessary. But you do need to have the luxury of running for office, which almost nobody does, outside of a small and rich segment of the population.

    Do those people need to be essentially bribed by “their corporate friends” to hold the positions that they do? No. It’s not like our process here involved picking random no-name people off the street, who may have all kinds of ideas/attitudes that aren’t consistent with a corporate agenda. Instead, we got a sample that was heavily biased toward the rich, which is just to say toward themselves. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, they benefit from a good education, lots of valuable real-world experience, etc. – such people can look past their own narrow perspectives and interests, if they’re very motivated to listen to others and learn from them, but doing that sort of thing definitely isn’t easy.

    Where does all of that campaign money go, anyway? Producing commercials and such? A bit of fine dining with other wealthy shitheads? I agree that way too much is spent on that shit, but it’s not like decreasing the number of commercials they can afford would do much of anything to change their outlook on life, the universe and everything. They’d be the same greedy, classist assholes either way.

    But we can still make some distinctions here. Some go totally off the deep end, with no ideas or principles beyond giving themselves more money/power — unapologetic, frothing at the mouth Trumpism for example. Others are just rather clueless, incompetent, blind, tone-deaf, etc., perhaps interested in making some positive changes, but usually nothing very radical. If ordinary voters can’t tell the difference, as seems to be the case much of the time, then that’s on them, at least as long as we still have something like a liberal democracy.

  18. starfleetdude says

    Using your vote purely to vote against the worst option is how we got here in the first place.

    You’re choice here is a fallacious one though. Think of it as a Venn diagram where the circle of your principles is most overlapped by your favorite party, followed by your second choice, followed by the rest. Just because you don’t have a choice of your most favored candidate in an election doesn’t mean you can’t vote for a lesser-favorite who is running against someone from a party you have little in common with. In politics, one rarely gets to vote for a candidate you are 100% in agreement with (unless you’re running and voting for yourself), so what we do is what’s called satisficing, or voting for someone who most satisfies your overall desires. You don’t have to have RCV to be able to vote for a candidate who at least is less objectionable than the other.

  19. monad says

    @18 kome: We didn’t get here because of people voting for the best or against the worst option. We got here because of people voting for the worst option, because they’d rather have no health care than see those thought unworthy have any, because they don’t want Hispanics or Muslims in their country, because torturing people who commit petty crimes is thought of as an upstanding thing to do. Anything we can do with voting is a temporary measure; that’s what we need to fix.

  20. KG says

    Hillary Clinton would not have put Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, and there would not now be a serious question as to whether Roe v. Wade will continue to be the law of the land. Two thousand children would not have been separated from their parents at the Southern border. (Yes, I know, there were some separations under Obama too, but not like this.) Millions of people wouldn’t be looking at losing their health care, we wouldn’t be wondering if there’s a Russian mole in the Oval Office, the deficit wouldn’t be soaring because of unfunded tax cuts for the rich, a lot of the business and environmental regulations Trump scrapped would still be in place, and oh, yes, we wouldn’t have a president who publicly empowers nazis and racists. – thirdmill301@17

    Yabbut none of those things are remotely as important as the likes of the Vicar maintaining the purity of their precious ideological fluids!

  21. thirdmill301 says

    Kome, No. 18, there are a number of ways we got here: The electoral college, gerrymandered House seats, a Senate in which 400,000 Wyoming voters can cancel the votes of 33 million Californians, voter suppression, money and power conspiring to maintain money and power. The question is this: Now that we are here, how do we get somewhere else, given the political realities?

    For the foreseeable future, the President of the United States is going to be either a Democrat or a Republican. I don’t like it any better than you do, but that’s the cold, hard political reality. And every voter who voted for anyone other than Hillary Clinton (or stayed home) helped elect Donald Trump.

    I can give you a long list of things I really don’t like about Hillary Clinton, but is there any argument to be made that she wouldn’t have been far, far better than what we ended up with? Sometimes you just play the hand you’re dealt.
    \

  22. mnb0 says

    “less insane than the other guy,”
    Before the last presidential elections I – an non-American guy – had a slight fall out with someone who argued that sensible people should vote for any opposition to prevent Donald the Clown from entering the White House. I wondered then and ask now: is the difference between insane/evil and less insane/evil still relevant? I don’t think so.

    @15: “one of the two parties will rule if you don’t vote.”
    Yeah, so what? Donald the Clown has unintentionally made European politicians realize that they should keep things in their own hands. Also his support for Brexit in the end has worked against so-called Euroskepticism. The trade war he started has tigthened economic relations of Europe with Japan and Australia. Dissatisfaction with the party has made democratic socialism in the USA made more popular.
    It’s quite questionable if the minuscule benefits of a Hillary Clinton government would have outweighed these positive results. Even in American terms I’m not a liberal. I’ll admit I have and could not foresee(n) it, but not voting as I recommended would have been the most rational choice for people with political views like mine.

    @17: “a true leftist government is not possible in the United States.”
    An excellent argument against voting. I would not want to legitmize such a political system. I would have voted for Bernie Sanders, even if he’s right wing from my point of view, simply because he would have made a significant difference in the desired direction. Hillary Clinton wouldn’t. It’s as simple as that.

    @21: “Just because you don’t have a choice of your most favored candidate in an election doesn’t mean you can’t vote for a lesser-favorite who is running against someone from a party you have little in common with.”
    False picture of the dilemma. The genuine dilemms is voting for someone I have little in common with vs. voting for someone I have way too less in common with. Plus that first someone is so incompetent that his stupidities actually help my case.

  23. starfleetdude says

    @25: If you don’t want your vote to count, sure, then don’t vote. Voting for someone you at least have a little in common with politically does advance that part of what you want, unlike not voting for them which doesn’t. As for your implicit claim that you’re helping to heighten the contradictions inherent in the system, that doesn’t necessarily lead to a happy ending, and in the short term is definitely harmful to your overall desires. This is why I think such posturing is only so much pouting and taking one’s ball home.

  24. says

    It’s quite questionable if the minuscule benefits of a Hillary Clinton government would have outweighed these positive results.

    Well, your reproductive rights aren’t about to be torn from you. “Miniscule…”

    I wondered then and ask now: is the difference between insane/evil and less insane/evil still relevant?

    Your children aren’t being torn from your arms as you try to escape violence in your country.

    Donald the Clown has unintentionally made European politicians realize that they should keep things in their own hands.

    And hey, there are fewer Puerto Ricans now!

    I’m also not American, but holy fuck, have some empathy for the people who have and will have their lives destroyed by this administration.

  25. thirdmill301 says

    No. 25, full disclosure, I’m active in Democratic Party politics at the national level. I know Bernie Sanders. I’ve had a number of conversations with him. He’s a nice guy, he would make a great neighbor, and I agree (even prefer) a lot of his positions.

    The problem is that as good as his ideas are, anyone who has actually talked policy with him knows that he has no real grasp of foreign affairs, no real grasp of a lot of issues beyond the purely superficial, no clue at all about how to actually get anything done, and had he actually been elected POTUS, he would have been in completely over his head. And for all I don’t like about Hillary Clinton, you really can’t fault the Democratic establishment for wanting the candidate who actually knew something about the job.

    If I lived in Vermont I would vote to return him to the Senate, where he is one vote out of 100. But competence counts. If elected, he’d have made a “significant difference” all right — he’d have been so incompetent he would have risked completely killing the progressive movement for years to come.

  26. Matt says

    What the hell? Can we save the grousing about corporate Democrats and neo-liberal shills at least until after we’ve taken the House back? I’ll take the most conservative Democrat out there over any Republican without any qualms or quibbles. We need Democratic voters out there voting this election. The electoral consequences of 2016 have proven to be dire. The consequences of failing to capture at least one chamber of Congress will be at least equally dire–Trump will claim a mandate and House and Senate GOPers will continue to dismantle the Republic, corruption (which up until a couple of years ago was historically low in the United States) will bloom, inequality will worsen, climate change will fester, and society will decay. Result: suffering. Yes, many Democrats are more conservative than their constituents. OK. Still. Vote!

  27. chrislawson says

    Matt@29 —

    “Can we save the grousing about corporate Democrats and neo-liberal shills at least until after we’ve taken the House back?”

    Actually, this is the best time to clean out the corporatist Democrats. Not only is there the political will to do so, it also means that should the Dems do well in the next election cycle these parasitic leeches won’t be able to hold on to power by inertia.

    Do you think that if the Dems get re-elected with a strong corporatist line-up that they will happily give up their positions to more progressive candidates in a fair fight? We already know they won’t do that because of the manipulations that the Clinton team pulled to interfere Sanders’ run, internal democratic processes be damned — and I’m not passing any judgement here on whether Sanders would have been the better candidate, I’m simply pointing out that the corporatists in the Democrats are just as cynical at election-rigging to protect corporate interests as the Republicans. (Not equivocating here. The Dems are still way better than the Repubs because they don’t run on a racist, misogynist, xenophobic platform.) The Democratic Party needs to shake out the corporatists now.

  28. chrislawson says

    Tabby Lavalamp@27–

    My thoughts exactly. It’s nice to be able to sit back and say “I told you so” about Trump’s wrecking ball agenda, but you can only afford to do that if you’re not one of the millions of people in the wrecking ball’s arc.

  29. chrislawson says

    As robertbaden@16 says–

    If you want to see the Democrats move away from a corporatist platform, register and vote in the primaries.

  30. chrislawson says

    thirdmill301@7–

    I largely agree with you, but I don’t think many people on this thread are arguing that there’s minimal difference between the Dems and the Repubs. Sure many of us are arguing that the corporatist attitudes of both parties are scarily similar and it’s crucial to set that straight within the Dems, but nobody’s denying the horrible effects of the Republican War on Empathy.

  31. DanDare says

    Sounds to me like you need a grass roots “change the system” movement. It will need to be organized and well thought out.
    Target who gets to be candidates.
    Crowd fund new candidates.
    Work towards system changes like compulsory voting and preferential voting. Get candidates up that will work to remove gerrymandering.
    It’s a hard long slog but it starts with good candidates. Maybe even work on getting better Republican candidates?

  32. unclefrogy says

    @25
    well there has been some positive results in among the mess being generated by the Trump administration.
    like the old saying ‘it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good’
    the problem is it is really hard to tell the future I know no one who can maybe you do. We are in the here and now and make our choices based on what we know about things now. The “wheel is still in spin” and things could still go badly and continue in this direction toward bleak dystopian future
    . I too think it may have been for the best that Trump won the election and has fucked up so much since 2016 but I am still going to have to cast my lot with the best choice I am presented with at the time and it has never been remotely conservative .
    uncle frogy

  33. says

    How is this even a fucking question in 2018?!

    VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS. All our lives (and by “our,” I mean everyone on the planet) depend on it. Keep the Republicans from doing more damage, from enacting more evil. Don’t count on Democrats once they’re in office to take care of things. Stay active.

    Ignore anyone talking about demanding a “compelling” or “inspiring” or perfect choice (by the way, look at Adam Schiff, who had been a boring and nondescript representative but who’s proven invaluable in the fight to hold Trump and his cronies accountable).

    By all means, let’s keep discussing and debating and fighting for our vision of a good society. Within a party, outside a party. But under no circumstances should this at present be used as a justification for not voting for Democrats. This is the most important fucking election of our lifetimes. The Republicans have to be stopped. There’s no time for bullshit. VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS.

  34. says

    It was Democratic lawmakers’ [sic] like Delaware’s Tom Carper and Connecticut’s Joe Lieberman who helped insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists make sure the ACA also excluded any public healthcare option that could compete with private insurers.

    Lieberman hasn’t been a Democrat since 2006. If you want to hear Obama Dems’ visceral disdain for him, listen to Pod Save America.

  35. Pierce R. Butler says

    He [Sirota] names names, and gives examples of Democratic failures.

    Bizarrely, not including either Clinton in either category. Nor Gore, nor Holder, nor Rubin, nor Geithner, nor …

  36. Matt says

    @30 “We already know they won’t do that because of the manipulations that the Clinton team pulled to interfere Sanders’ run”

    Like what? This line is as pernicious as anti-vaxxers and 9-11 truthers. The reality is that more Democratic voters voted for Clinton. It wasn’t ever really close. The Obama/Clinton contest was far closer. The primary schedule was set far in advance. Superdelegates didn’t matter. Brazille feeding an obvious question to Clinton in advance of a debate had no effect except to get Brazille fired. And yes, you should have to be a registered Democrat to vote in Democratic primaries. Clinton won because–unlike Sanders–she’s worked within the Party for decades and because more Democratic voters wanted her to be the nominee. There’s no conspiracy here.

  37. Matrim says

    I’m of two minds. I agree that we should be pushing hard for more left-wing politicians, but I also think that unless that Overton Window shifts HARD within the next 10 to 20 years, scuttling the Democratic vote in an attempt to purge corporatism from the party will give the Republicans enough rope to hang us all. Figuratively and literally.

    I’m kinda getting to the point where I think playing by the system isn’t going to work in time to prevent either a total financial collapse or irreversible extinction level climate change (or, more likely, both).

  38. methuseus says

    @thirdmill301 #28:

    But competence counts. If elected, he’d have made a “significant difference” all right — he’d have been so incompetent he would have risked completely killing the progressive movement for years to come.

    Well it’s a good thing Trump won since he’s so incompetent that nobody will ever vote for Republicans again. Wait, you say people are still voting pretty heavily for Republicans?

    Maybe Sanders could have hired people in his cabinet to fill out his weak areas. You know, like every president ever has? Saying it was better to have Clinton as the possible president than Sanders is giving him no benefit of the doubt that he’s at all intelligent and can find competent people to fill his gaps. No, I don’t think he would have been quite as good on foreign relations as Clinton would be, but it’s not like Obama had lots of foreign diplomacy experience before he got the job either. He hired people to fill his gaps, just like Sanders would.

    I am not saying Sanders would have been necessarily better overall than Clinton. But saying he had one blind spot, when he is legally obligated to hire advisers in those areas anyway, is like saying nobody should have voted for Clinton because of the grey areas introduced because of the Clinton Foundation.

  39. methuseus says

    @Matt #40:

    And yes, you should have to be a registered Democrat to vote in Democratic primaries.

    This is especially pernicious. That means Independent, Green, Libertarian, and any other non-Democrat or Republican individual cannot vote in the primaries. That’s why Florida has so few people registered to those parties, and also why there are fewer primary voters in general. In other states with open primaries, those Independent voters can vote in either the Republican or Democrat primaries if they don’t have an Independent to vote for. Do you really not understand why open primaries are better for Democracy in general?

  40. says

    @2 “It’s weird how the rational argument of “baby steps before running” and “look before you leap””

    Yeah, this is because the former amounts to forcing people that are trying to walk to crawl, out of fear that actually running will put them under fire from crazies, and the latter is a case of, “No, nope, no way! I don’t care what is chasing me, I can’t jump.” Its hardly a surprise that the former means that everyone is left behind, and the latter gets you eaten.

  41. Matt says

    @methuseus #43

    Do you really not understand why open primaries are better for Democracy in general?

    Open primaries leave party elections open to manipulation by non-party members. Greens and Libertarians are free to vote in the Green and Libertarian primaries. The best thing for democracy would be ranked choice voting with a more parliamentary style governance, so we could vote for the Green candidate, but fall back on the Democratic candidate. And maybe that’s the change we should be looking for in primary voting as well. I’d support ranked choice primaries long before I’d want them all open. Third parties are nearly impossible in a mature first-past-the-post system, but opening primaries doesn’t solve that problem at all.

  42. Rich Woods says

    Face it, USian people: you are fucked.

    The question then becomes: how are you going to get unfucked?

    You have 40% of your populace (and 90% of the money) which steadfastly wants you to carry on being fucked, or at the very least neither group realises nor cares that there’s nothing wrong with being fucked. There’s another 20% who will go with the flow, give or take, and not always according with reason.

    If money has already bought the day, and despair or disdain motivates most of the probable fence-sitters, how do you unfuck your system when you don’t (and probably can’t ever) find a fucked elected power with half a will to unfuck the system?

    What are you going to do? This time you can’t break away from the globally dominant oligarchy by declaring a revolution and allying yourselves with the second largest globally dominant oligarchy. You were fucking lucky it worked that one time. This time the oligarchy sits most definitely within you.

    Money talks, motherfuckers. I wish I had a happier message, but then I’m not the fucking Messiah.

  43. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Virginia has an open primary system and it doesn’t seem to make much difference one way or the other. Turnout is usually very low, and it’s mostly the most dedicated partisans who show up. So it’s a nice debate in the abstract, but I don’t see any practical effects.

  44. antigone10 says

    Does it bother anyone else that Obama keeps getting blamed for the bailout George W. Bush signed?

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