Don’t you make me vote for Elizabeth Warren, Ann!


My wife has been edging me into the Bernie Sanders camp over the last few months, and I should be listening to her, but Ann Coulter sings a siren song for Warren.


Sen. Warren has convinced me that Bernie isn’t that worrisome. He’ll never get anything done. SHE’S the freak who will show up with 17 idiotic plans every day and keep everyone up until it gets done.

Now I’m confused again. Is she trying to use reverse psychology to steer us away from the candidate she really fears, Sanders, or is she accidentally revealing that she recognizes who the real powerhouse is, Warren?

At least she isn’t trying to trick us into voting for Bloomberg. Mike must have forgotten to send her a check.

Comments

  1. says

    I don’t understand it. Warren has a plan!!!! But so does Bernie, check out his web site, if you don’t think so.

    There appears to be a need to make things more complicated than necessary (see the ACA) by technoliberals, that would be Warren, not Sanders.

  2. F.O. says

    Warren feels like another Hopey Changey Obama.
    Extremely intelligent, extremely charismatic but ultimately committed to the status quo.

    I don’t know if Peter Coffin is being misleading here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW9rCyMkRpo but the fact that she didn’t state clearly that the person with the most votes or delegates should win feels… not very good?
    (Happy to be be corrected on this one).

    The point Coulter makes is actually good, because it’s not based on Warren’s charisma or anger or how she makes people feel, but rather on what she can do.
    Whether Coulter really is more scared by Sanders or Warren would be interesting to know; deranged as she is she still knows her audience.

  3. says

    @F.O.
    Coffin is definitely being misleading! Extremely misleading! (Whether or not they know they are is another question and one I’m not really interested in pursuing.)
    For starters, I think people like them are defining “democracy” a certain way and are arrogantly asserting their definition is the correct one. They rub me wrong much like Richard Dawkins does when he claims that his stance that eugenics works isn’t ideology and he’s just dropping facts on us. As PZ noted in that post, “It always surprises me when smart people decry ‘ideology’ in general, as if they’re oblivious to the fact that their perspective is totally shaped by their own ideology.” I think something similar is going on here where Coffin has an ideology on what they believe democracy should be, but are failing to recognize their ideology and instead believe they have “objective knowledge of the facts.”
    Take Iowa, where I live, for example. Coffin doesn’t seem to like our caucus system, but it is an attempt (albeit not necessarily a successful one) to actually be very democratic per certain definitions of democracy. It’s an attempt to get people to participate in their local government. For starters, electing delegates does fall under some definitions of democracy because people are electing someone to represent them at a different level of the process. But we also do more than just that in our caucuses. We also elect people to our county central committee and platform committee. Anybody who shows up can possibly be elected to these committees. We try to get regular people involved in local politics! Is that not democratic? Yes, there are cons to this system as certain demographics find it difficult to participate. But these cons don’t mean that it’s not democratic.
    Second, it is important to realize this is a nomination for a political party. It actually makes sense, if one stops to really think about it, for the party to not necessarily have it be that the person with the most votes wins. In South Carolina, for example, anyone, even registered Republicans, can vote in the Democratic primary. Republicans there have been thinking of somehow disrupting the vote. What if the party didn’t place restrictions on who can even run for the nomination? What, then, would prevent a Trump toady from running for the nomination? Since Trump is clearly going to be the Republican nominee, Republicans could run such a toady in the Democratic primary in hope that said toady would win and then Trump won’t really have any actual competition in the general election.
    So I would hope we can realize that the Democratic primary should have safeguards in place to prevent non-Democrats from disrupting the process. Coffin doesn’t seem to have considered how whatever system they want there to be could be exploited. It’s fine to have disagreements about what those safeguards should be (given how Bloomberg is trying to buy the nomination, this is definitely a valid conversation to have), but that is not what Coffin is doing. In conclusion, I think they are a victim of the Dunning-Kruger effect. It leaves me a bit curious as to what Coffin’s educational background is and if they should know better.

  4. aspleen says

    I watched the debate last night and watched Warren take the fight to Bloomberg. I would like her to hang in there as she’s a more pragmatic progressive than Sanders is as well as someone who could better unite the Democrats in the general election. The U.S. electorate isn’t poised for the kind of revolution that Sanders is promising.

  5. says

    Bernie actually mentioned that maybe the US shouldn’t be overthrowing countries, and called Bibi a “racist.” Come on you’ve gotta appreciate that.

    I’d be happy with either of them as president. I wish they’d run on the same ticket and we could just get past all this pissing and moaning.

  6. says

    The U.S. electorate isn’t poised for the kind of revolution that Sanders is promising.

    Or, as Europeans might call it, “A mild step to the left.”

  7. says

    @Ronald Couch
    When you suggest Bernie has a plan, you just mean in terms of proposed legislation (or at least an outline of a proposal)? I think a more important question is “What is his plan to get his policy proposals passed?” Does he have a plan for that?
    As an engineer, I have plans for what I envision my department’s product to be, but my plans don’t mean jack if I can’t convince others that we should go ahead with my plans.
    This, in a nutshell, is my concern with Bernie as the likely nominee and then hopefully President: I generally align quite well with his political ideology, but I am concerned about him being ineffective as a President and, perhaps worse, setting back the progressive movement as a result. I hope I’m just overly cynical, but that’s why I ultimately caucused for Warren here in Iowa. Yeah, she’s my compromise candidate and I’m not ashamed to admit that.

  8. whywhywhy says

    My top choices, in order:
    Warren has been my top choice for her passion mixed with organizational and administrational skillset. She has the experiences to be an excellent President.
    Bernie has two major flaws in my book: too old and not much experience as an executive rather than a legislator and limited organizational experience. Can he address these shortcomings? Absolutely, by focusing on competence and organizational skill when filling his cabinet and other posts, but this won’t really be known until after the election. And picking a solid VP candidate.

  9. says

    I would hope we can realize that the Democratic primary should have safeguards in place to prevent non-Democrats from disrupting the process.

    Don’t have primaries. Just have people vote for the person that they want, with instant runoff voting to handle those situations where there’s not an immediate 50%+ winner.

    The Republicans can meddle with the Democratic candidates by voting for a less popular democrat, but that means they’re not voting for the Republican. Problem solved.

  10. says

    One thing I don’t see people discussing is the virtue of having
    1) the first Jewish president, or
    2) the first woman president.

    Both of these would be good things for the USA, but in my estimation women’s sense of potential is more thoroughly beaten down by sexism than jews’ sense of potential is beaten down by anti-semitism. Obama did a lot of good for Black communities just by existing as a Black man holding the office of the POTUS. I think white people underestimate that, and I think people are likewise underestimating the power of electing the first woman POTUS.

  11. Porivil Sorrens says

    Seems like a fairly aesthetic reason to change your voting presence.

    Any kind of remotely progressive legislation is going to be stonewalled by republicans in congress, so I’m not going to vote for someone wildly to the right of my political beliefs just because they’re .5% more likely to get a watered down, concession filled garbage bill through congress.

    Besides, even if Sanders got absolutely no legislation through congress, the amount of things he could do unilaterally via executive orders, mere hours after inauguration, would absolutely shift the material conditions for the better for most of US’ most underprivileged groups.

    Without even talking to congress, he could pull us out of every foreign military engagement, neuter ICE and BPS, force the FDA to legalize marijuana, change department of education policy on LGBT students, pardon nonviolent drug offenders, declare a state of emergency on the climate, and deploy federal funds and material support to unions and strikes.

    That alone makes him worth voting over a wishy-washy republican-lite who would be considered wildly conservative in any same country, as far as I’m concerned.

  12. F.O. says

    @Leo Buzalsky #3
    Sorry, I’m not convinced by your argument.
    The thing is, the organ that is going to decide who gets the nomination, the DNC, is also the one that could have fixed a lot of the problems you mention and did not.
    So, if the candidate who gets the most votes and the most delegates does NOT get the nomination, who should get it?
    More importantly, who actually decides who should get it?

  13. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 4

    The U.S. electorate isn’t poised for the kind of revolution that Sanders is promising.

    You know, I’m far, far past giving a shit about what the greedy, stupid, trash who make up the “U. S. electorate” want. For the past 50 years, we gave them exactly what they wanted: We slash taxes, dismantle regulations, gutted the welfare state, needlessly built up the military and went to war with any countries that vexed them, destroyed public education. and so forth. Any paltry amount of social progress had to be forced down their throats by the courts, and that made them even more resentful and clamoring for a return to the good old days where justice could be comfortably delayed and denied. Now our very civilization faces destruction thanks to those decisions, and yet the “very serious people” demand we get a mother-may-I from these slobs before we can fix things?

    Well fuck them! Fuck every redneck, gun-fondling, Bible-humping, Fox-News-watching capitalist pig one of them! (While, we’re on the topic, fuck the fickle centrists too!) The economy and environment are collapsing, so we don’t have time to get their permission to do what all evidence shows to be right. Popular opinion should never trump (pun semi-intended) scientific or economic reality. It is done regardless of what the sheeple “think” or “want.”

  14. aspleen says

    Or, as Europeans might call it, “A mild step to the left.”

    Point taken. I should have said “revolution” as it’s not really a revolution at all. (That would require heads to roll.) In the context of U.S. politics though it’s not such a mild step. The social welfare state that Sanders envisions is something even European nations haven’t embraced. Germany has a multi-payer health care system for instance, with private insurers included.

  15. acroyear says

    Fascinating that the woman whose entire career is based on bashing people over the head with the same shit over and over and over is complaining about someone bashing people over the head over and over.

  16. says

    Isn’t it great how having plans, being “too prepared” as it were, has somehow been turned into a negative? That’s what’s convinced me to stick with Warren as a first choice over Sanders. Both have very admirable ideas about how to make America a better place for all people. But Sanders seems to be more obsessed with what he can do by fiat, what he can declare on Day 1. Warren meanwhile has similar goals but also actual plans to use the existing framework of government and bureaucracy to effectively implement her agenda. So it’s kinda funny that Ann Coulter is afraid of Elizabeth Warren because Warren actually has serious ideas on how to get things accomplished, because that’s exactly what I want in my president.

  17. ORigel says

    Part of me fears that Bernie is too ideologically rigid to compromise and get anything done. Like that he would refuse to sign an ACA 2.0 or an ACA 2.0 with a public option because he would only accept M4A. His ideological rigidity is why he does not have a rich legislative record.

    I really fear that part of Bernie’s base would abandon him when he cannot get his more progressive agenda passed.

    Despite this, I will vote for him on Super Tuesday. He is way better than Bloomberg or Biden, Warren has no chance at getting the nomination, and the other candidates I liked have dropped out.

  18. jack16 says

    PZ; Check voting; Warren voted for 70 billion for the military industrial complex (essentially a vote for war), Bernie voted against.
    I don’t like war.

    jack16

  19. Jazzlet says

    Aspleen @#14
    I admit I don’t know Sanders plans in detail, but what I do know of them on the healthcare side sounds just like the British NHS, ie almost entrely tax-payer funded with fixed co-pays for prescriptions in England, but not in Scotland or Wales.

  20. jack16 says

    @11 Porivil Sorrens
    He could also enforce anti trust legislation and appoint good guys to the FCC, etc.
    jack16

  21. VolcanoMan says

    Democracy, by definition, involves the people voting, and the person with the most votes winning. At least that’s how it works in most countries (there are exceptions, and complications to that, but it is generally-accepted as true). Every single one of those Democrats has advocated for an end to the Electoral College because it takes power away from the actual people. And now, when democracy is hurting them, and their opponent, Sanders, is almost certainly going to get the most votes, what do they say? Oh, “I trust the process.” Which means: let the DNC and their superdelegates decide, if nobody has a majority.

    Now I understand that the DNC is a private organization, and that they do have the right to pick whomever they want as a president in the event that nobody gets a majority of the primary votes. But that’s sure not the impression they give out when they hold primaries and caucuses. They want to have it both ways…the people get to decide as long as the people choose a candidate that THEY like. If not…well, if that candidate doesn’t have a majority (note that in most countries with first-past-the-post voting, MANY regional elections are won by someone who has less than 50% of the popular vote due to there being more than 2 parties to choose from), they reserve the right to “broker” a convention, meaning that they get to ignore the 40+% of people who voted for Sanders and choose another victor. And in the process, just expect that those 40% of people will what? Say, “well, better them than Trump!” and decide that this betrayal isn’t so big after all. They’re worried too much about what the elites and the donors think, and not enough about what the actual voters who are actually required to WIN a presidential election think. And it’s a losing strategy.

    Which is why it is CRITICAL that Americans who are against Trump NO MATTER WHAT consolidate their votes in the Democratic primaries behind the candidate who will win the most votes, thereby ensuring that they DO win more than 50% of them, and that there is UNITY in November. And yes, I’d be saying the same thing if Biden or Bloomberg (shudders) was going to win the most votes (albeit a lot less enthusiastically). A fractured Democratic base is Trump’s biggest chance to win again, and as much as I’d like the end result of America burning to the ground and a new, secular, socialist republic springing up from the ashes (which is decidedly NOT the only option after a true revolution)…the suffering that this would cause is so much worse than the suffering that will exist in an America that slowly and gradually moves with the times to become less conservative and more secular. I don’t want a revolution, and I don’t think Americans should want a revolution (I am not an American, but that doesn’t mean that Trump’s actions don’t impact me…if we don’t start collective, global human action against climate change, SERIOUS policy changes that have an actual shot at mitigating this situation, the consequences will affect every country and every person in a profoundly negative way). But I do think Americans have to stop hedging their bets on “electability.” Sanders can beat Trump, and he has a lot less baggage than every other candidate since as far as I can tell, his political opinions have been largely unchanged for like, 40 years. He can win, and he has the best shot.

  22. Akira MacKenzie says

    Isn’t it great how having plans, being “too prepared” as it were, has somehow been turned into a negative?

    What do you expect from the side of the political spectrum that has long vilified expertise as “elitism” and praised the so-called virtues of “going by your gut?” In the tiny minds of the right-winger huge-overly complex (well, to them) policies means “Big Government” telling them what to do, taking away “their money,” and making them slaves to the State. (They much rather be slaves to corporations because they operate under the delusion that they can always quit a job they dislike while you can’t quit the Guv-ment.) Right-winger like simple government: “No Tax! Shoot brown people! Spend on BIG Army! Smash Moos-lims! Praise JEZ-us! FIRE BAD!!!”

    Warren meanwhile has similar goals but also actual plans to use the existing framework of government and bureaucracy to effectively implement her agenda.

    And that’s why she’s going to fail. The “existing framework of government and bureaucracy” is inherently flawed, corrupt and biased against anyone seeking change or reform and has been since this shithole country got started 240 years ago. Democrats/liberals think that by playing by the rules and following procedures will result in “justice,” but the Right has learned that they can win if they don’t follow those same rules (see Gorsuch and the recent attempt at Impeachment) something Democrats are afraid of doing in return.

    No, if we’re going to get a proper social democracy established in this country. We need to start from scratch: A new system of government. A new Constitution based on the needs of the 21st century rather than 18th century thinking. A government whose creation neglected to invite the Right to the negotiation table.

  23. mrquotidian says

    I like Warren, but her “plans” are not the least bit attractive to me. They are overly-complicated and sacrifice too much from the outset in an attempt to make her seem like the “pragmatic” candidate, which lets critics nit-pick everything because this or that “wont work.” I prefer Bernie because he speaks first to the ethics behind his beliefs and doesn’t fall into the trap of laying out specific proposals that strand the discussion in the weeds. Nothing he is proposing is impossible, or even radical by global standards.. Hell, it’s stuff that FDR would have been down with – even Jimmy Carter.

    IMO there is no middle ground on healthcare. No ACA 2.0 will solve the problem because any “public option” will just be another means-tested nightmare, with tons of people not qualifying for it, while the private insurers would just drop all the sick or those with preconditions who will then overwhelm the “public option”… The only way for everyone to save money and get quality care is for everyone be covered together – and the individual mandate is not the solution nor is it a stepping stone to anywhere.

    Bottom line, I will vote for the Democratic candidate if only to protect the Supreme court, but I am not optimistic about the future if Bloomberg is elected.

  24. Porivil Sorrens says

    @17
    I think that’s absurd. The fact that he’s uncompromisingly running on a platform that is more to the left doesn’t mean he’s going to just throw up his arms and go “Gee, congress isn’t going to approve my plan, guess I’ll just sit on my hands for four years.” All it means is that he’s not willing to make concessions before the bargaining has even started.

    Like, if I say “I want this car for 5,000$”, that doesn’t mean that I’ll just walk away if the dealer insists on 5,500$. It just means that I’m setting my starting position lower than someone who says “I want this car for 8,000$”.

    That said, I do not believe that congressional republicans would even countenance a highly watered down healthcare plan filled with blatant concessions, so I think this is all kind of moot. Congressional Republicans have signaled over and over again that they do not intend to allow a single democratic issue pass, no matter how centrist or watered down it might be.

    Don’t forget, Republicans literally just refused to do their job when Obama put forward a ludicrously centrist supreme court nominee, and shut down the federal government when Democrats refused to defund the ACA. Their base loves it when they stonewall democrats, so they have no incentive to ever even consider passing a democratic bill, even if it was basically just a watered down republican bill.

  25. anchor says

    The suggestion that Coulter – the very personification of confusion and irrationality – is capable of anything as sophisticated as ‘reverse psychology’ is quite amusing.

  26. anchor says

    @#6 – some of us would say ‘back towards the center’ would be more accurate. The FM band on the radio has shifted so far over to the right over the last several decades that its within gamma ray territory now.

  27. anat says

    The question about whether the candidate with ‘most votes/delegates’ should get the nomination isn’t necessarily simple. Sure, if A has 51% and the remaining 49% are split among B-F such that neither of them has more than 15%, it is hard to dispute that candidate A represents the will of the voters better than any other. But if A has 35%, B has 32% C has 20% and D has 13% which one best represents the will of the voters?

    Now, if we had voters’ 2nd preference, or perhaps their top anti-preference (whom each voter opposes most), or the favorable/unfavorable ratio for each candidate we could make headway in answering the question. As it stands, in the latter situation we are probably back to ‘smoke filled rooms’ (though hopefully without the actual smoke).

  28. VolcanoMan says

    @27

    But this scenario happens all the time, all over the world. Not every country is as weird as the USA with only 2 major political parties. To get a majority in Canada (either provincially or federally), that is, to get a majority of seats in the Legislature or House of Commons, one requires approximately 38-42% of the popular vote (depending on the election and how popular the smaller parties are at the time). And a majority government has a mandate to pass whatever laws they want since they have the most seats…even though more people voted for all the other parties combined than voted for them.

    It’s a flaw…or feature (depending on your perspective) of first-past-the-post systems in 3-5 party democracies (and indeed, any multi-candidate race within a party, like these primaries). But even still…what’s the alternative, short of going with another voting system? The person with the most votes in this primary still has the biggest pool of supporters, and has the biggest chance of beating the orange one. And I am getting the sinking feeling that some people in the Democratic leadership are more willing to let Trump have another 4 years than to give the nomination to Sanders, which tells you EXACTLY where their priorities lie (even though the progressive candidates in their party themselves will end up with a majority of Democratic voters supporting them, and even though progressive policies have majority support within their party). Warren cannot win this primary and she certainly has a much worse chance of winning this election than Sanders if they allow her to cheat 40+% of the Democratic electorate out of a Sanders candidacy. I mean, yes, most of those people would still likely throw their support behind Warren since she’s so much better than Trump. But it’s a much bigger risk than just going with the guy with the most votes.

  29. consciousness razor says

    But if A has 35%, B has 32% C has 20% and D has 13% which one best represents the will of the voters?

    A. That means, since the rules are not such that we do another round of voting, use ranked choices, etc., then 65% didn’t get what they wanted. However, the largest number who could have gotten they wanted did get that. If one of the others is “chosen” somehow, then more in your scenario didn’t get what they wanted. That would just make the problem worse, not better, by the very same reasoning. That doesn’t make it “perfect” but it is nonetheless the “best” of the available options. Maybe you meant for it to be a rhetorical question, but what’s not simple about that?

    Of course, we know the establishment don’t really care about that, because the hundreds of superdelegates they gifted to themselves don’t represent “the will of the voters.” In 2016, one superdelegate was estimated to be equivalent to about 10,000 votes. Maybe “representing voters fairly” is just not the deal here, but there should at least be some kind of attempt at a plausible explanation for why Walter Mondale’s vote (for instance) should be worth about 10,000 of mine or yours or anyone’s.
    Is he supposed to be some kind of an expert on winning elections now? And if so, why the fuck did he endorse somebody like Klobuchar just a few weeks ago, even though she obviously never had a chance? I know “they’re both from Minnesota” is an answer as to why he did it, but what the fuck would that have to do with anything?

  30. F.O. says

    @anat #27:
    Again, the organisation that decides the nomination is also the one that could have implemented a better system and choose not to.
    So, if no candidate gets the majority, who is going to decide?
    How transparent and fair are the rules and the process?

  31. consciousness razor says

    Sorry, I looked at the endorsement data again. It was February of last year, not this year, along with a gaggle of other Minnesotans like they were rooting for the Vikings or something. Still, there was no chance.

  32. says

    It’s likely that Sanders’ ability to effect change will be severely limited by a Republican Senate and a centrist Congress. The critical point that sentiment misses though is that the same thing is true of any other candidate.

    Warren isn’t going to be any more effective at getting USEFUL legislation passed, but she might be very effective at pushing through more largely useless rapidly gutted Obamacare style bills. Sanders may not get anything done, but at least his platform isn’t “let’s not bother trying”.

    The really important thing is that Sanders may be the point of the spear, leading to radical change in both houses, replacing Republicans with Democrats and current Democrats with better ones. If that happens then he could have control of the legislature for perhaps four whole years and in that case you’d better believe he’d get some shit done.

  33. Ichthyic says

    The U.S. electorate isn’t poised for the kind of revolution that Sanders is promising.

    You never get the revolution you want, only the one that you need.

  34. Porivil Sorrens says

    Almost no society is “ready” for a revolution, that’s why it’s called a revolution. If society is ready for it, it’s just politics. The explosive outburst of political action is what makes a revolution notable.

  35. consciousness razor says

    It’s likely that Sanders’ ability to effect change will be severely limited by a Republican Senate and a centrist Congress. The critical point that sentiment misses though is that the same thing is true of any other candidate.

    He’s also mobilizing a broad base of support across the country (doesn’t particularly matter if it’s “Red” or “Blue”).
    If everybody’s favorite Kentucky Senator is still around next year, Sanders is the kind of guy to go down there and get support directly from people who can put their own kind of pressure on Congress.
    He’s said he wants to be an “Organizer-in-Chief.” There won’t be Trump-style rallies all the time, but I also don’t expect him to change his whole way of doing business if he wins.
    He dealt with the same type of shit in Burlington at the start of his career:

    What really fascinated me though was what happened after he was elected. There he was after this stunning upset, as Mayor of Burlington. And all of the powers that be, whether Republican or Democrat decided in Sanders words that he was a fluke. That since they still had control of the board of aldermen, basically their city council, they could just obstruct him completely, keep him from accomplishing absolutely anything and then everything could get back to normal.

    In words frequently applied these days to Donald Trump he was an aberration. So, the board of aldermen blocked all of his key appointments. They even blocked his secretary! He was forced to try to run the city with all of his predecessor’s obstructionist people. In the interview, Sanders compares this situation to trump having to run the government with all of Obama’s cabinet members which of course, is more or less what Trump thinks has happened to him. But while Trump has collapsed into an endless stream of conspiracy-mongering and twitter grievances, Sanders figured out how to get around the obstruction and govern the city according to his values.

    So, what did he do? Sanders got together some of his top supporters and formed a shadow government to help craft and execute on ideas. He also relied directly on the people of the city, delegating power to neighborhood councils. Each borough was given its own budget that it could allocate independently to suit the needs of the community.

    The moral of the story? If you don’t have a traditional lever of power, then stop whining about it make another fucking one.

  36. says

    Maybe “representing voters fairly” is just not the deal here, but there should at least be some kind of attempt at a plausible explanation for why Walter Mondale’s vote (for instance) should be worth about 10,000 of mine or yours or anyone’s.

    There have been plausible attempts. I disagree with them. I don’t think they remotely justify the anti-democratic nature of the superdelegates’ voting. But one rationale is that republicans are rat-fucking dirty tricksters. They can and do register to vote in Dem primaries in order to fuck the result to what they think will be a Republican advantage. One way to deal with that is to have a group of people that the party leaders believe are true to “Democratic Party Values” (whatever those are) acting as a failsafe against ratfucking.

    Again, you can disagree with that (I certainly do) but that doesn’t mean that this system was created with zero thought whatsoever.

    Unless by “plausible” you mean “something that I, consciousness razor, finds convincing” then you should probably concede that they have made “some kind of attempt” to explain the structure of the system.

    Unfortunately, while I’m a constitutional law geek and that means I’m constantly reading appellate, SCC and SCOTUS decisions, supreme courts function to slow down change and protect the status quo far more than they function to protect rights. There are good reasons to have an appellate court system with a single final court of appeal (Italy’s final appeals system is a bit nuts because you have hundreds of justices in the supreme court branch that hears statutory cases and each case gets assigned to a mostly random group of them, so the outcome can vary drastically between two similar cases in the same year, then they have a constitutional court of 15 justices, and they, too, divvy up cases so that only a panel of judges hears each one, much like the way US Circuit Courts of Appeal do), but do those good reasons fully justify slow-walking justice? Sometimes I have my doubts.

    There are, in the abstract, reasons for a private membership organization to have a mechanism for preserving its values as new members come and go – sometimes remaining members for only a scant couple of weeks. I don’t think they remotely justify the superdelegate system, but those reasons do exist.

  37. says

    So, what did he do? Sanders got together some of his top supporters and formed a shadow government to help craft and execute on ideas. He also relied directly on the people of the city, delegating power to neighborhood councils. Each borough was given its own budget that it could allocate independently to suit the needs of the community.

    This is a great story, thanks, cr.

  38. consciousness razor says

    They can and do register to vote in Dem primaries in order to fuck the result to what they think will be a Republican advantage.

    That’s a thing that can happen, particularly in “open” primaries. I think that form of openness is a more important value in a democracy, way above maintaining the party establishment’s comfortable position or the two-party system or whatever. But yes, that can and does happen. Of course, it works both ways: there were probably also some Dems who thought Trump was a safe opponent for Clinton, and it turns out that they were wrong. How many? I doubt it was a whole lot of people, but it’s hard to give a precise number.
    Another point….. If genuine Democrats don’t outnumber the ratfucking Republicans in their own Democratic primary, then it sounds like they have already lost the party and have nothing worth protecting (other than some of them keeping their comfy establishment jobs, of course).
    Also, what Republicans think is not typically (much less always) what is actually true. Too many examples to even know where to begin, but you know what I’m talking about. Without the premise that they’re making the correct decision about who the “weakest” candidate actually is, this argument goes nowhere.

    Unless by “plausible” you mean “something that I, consciousness razor, finds convincing” then you should probably concede that they have made “some kind of attempt” to explain the structure of the system.

    I understand. That doesn’t imply Mondale needs 10,000 times my voting power or anything like that. Multiply that number times 700-something superdelegates, and you have over 7 million artificial “votes” from them, which are ostensibly meant to be a counterbalance to a comparably large number of millions of Republican carpetbaggers, who just happen to know what’s bad for the Democratic party. And meanwhile, we’re supposed to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain that is the Democratic establishment, who can definitely take advantage of this hypothetical problem even if none of these arguments are any good.
    So, okay, it’s true that I personally don’t buy that line of argument. But I don’t think this has much to do with me, personally, so please don’t make it about that. Many others think that simply doesn’t sound like a good rationale, given all the evidence we have — you say you disagree with it too, so maybe some of this didn’t need to be said, at least not for your benefit.
    Given the role the parties play in our elections, I’d dispute that they are “private” organizations in a sense that carries the same weight that it would (and probably should) in very different circumstances….. It’s not like we’re talking about a book club or something.

  39. says

    Given the role the parties play in our elections, I’d dispute that they are “private” organizations in a sense that carries the same weight that it would (and probably should) in very different circumstances….. It’s not like we’re talking about a book club or something.

    I agree with you that we have public interests in these parties far beyond what is normal for a “private” institution. For me it’s a bit like the public interest people have in cable television or electric power companies. Sure, they’re technically founded by specific people, and as the founders they have specific rights to determine how the organization is run. And yes, that means that they grant power to a next generation of folks who tend to share their values which, down through the generations, grants specific legal powers to specific people who take it on themselves to “defend” the values (whatever they may be) of the institution. But California’s PG&E is a private organization as well, and fuck if society is going to let them keep operating independently. Whatever values they think they’re protecting, the combination of their monopoly status and capacity for harm fully justifies interfering in the level of control they can take.

    Now, I don’t think we can have legislatures (even congress) take that control, because that would mean that a majority political party in congress could really fuck up any opposition – present and future in an ongoing way. PRI did some of that in Mexico. But, yeah, as much as they can articulate an interest in preserving the values of the Democratic Party, I think that the public’s interest the party can and should place firm limits on what the party’s officers and boards are able to do.

    Exactly what ways these limitations would be imposed is something I don’t have any thoughts about. i’d need to know a lot about the specifics of both federal law and the internal structure of the party, but if a knowledgeable person had a plan that I thought would make things more democratic, I’d certainly sign on.

    In the meantime, I like California’s system with an open primary where only the top2 get on the general election ballot (and they skip the general if someone gets 50%+). With only a single election, there’s no benefit to ratfucking the other party’s primary, and in places dominated by a single political party but with a substantial minority that leans a different political direction, the rest of the community doesn’t have to simply concede that the nominee from the majority party will inevitably be elected. The dominant party will effectively nominate 2 people, and the rest of the community then has a decent shot at affecting the final outcome.

    Now, it would be even better with instant runoff voting, but the CA system is definitely a step up for the USA.

  40. Mrdead Inmypocket says

    Now I’m confused again. Is she trying to use reverse psychology to steer us away from the candidate she really fears, Sanders, or is she accidentally revealing that she recognizes who the real powerhouse is, Warren?

    Reminiscent of Wallace Shawn’s battle of wits in The Princess Bride. The character assumed that either one or the other chalice was poisoned. Of course like the pop culture reference both of Coulter’s chalices are also poisoned. The answer is “Vade retro Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas! Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!”

    Coulter’s tweet wasn’t meant to confound you about your choice between Warren and Sanders, as such. It was meant to muddy the waters of what the primary is actually about. She’s feeding back political flattery she has heard from the professional/managerial class that has been the Democratic party establishments base for a few decades. Who think that the way to argue for change is to, above all, toe the establishment line and have all your charts and graphs in order. Coulter’s bread and butter is to keep people talking about the wrong things, so their ruminations don’t matter. It’s punditry 101. She presents no arguments in good faith, she lies and misdirects. It is all poison.

    I’ll paraphrase from Coulter’s words. It stands to reason that “getting anything done” in Washington correlates to technocratic expertise. Therefore, if Warren is the one who presents more detailed charts and spreadsheets then she is the one more likely to “get anything done”. Which would be such a headache to Republicans. This is inane. That’s a good way to win a science fair, sounds like a good policy in a lab. But it’s not true at all that is the primary factor in how policies are adopted in Washington, it’s not even tertiary in fact. Washington is not some kind of Athenian democracy where our leaders get together and evaluate data, where the plans that are the most detailed and comprehensive are the reasonable ones that are adopted. If I’m to be polite about it, the best I can say is that notion is naive.

    Don’t get me wrong, detailed policies are one aspect that helps us determine what is and what is not good policy. But long before any of the best laid plans of mice and women, if there is no political will to bring those policies about. Any plans, no matter how well laid out, are useless.

    (Political will- “The extent of committed support among key decision makers for a particular policy solution to a particular problem.”)

    It’s a fundamental misapprehension if you think that the Democratic party leaderships opposition to something like medicare for all is simply because the plans are not detailed enough. And that they’ll look at a more detailed plan and proclaim “Well that’s so well crafted. Can’t refute that. Well take it”. That’s not the issue with getting a policy passed. The issue is, for example, the party leadership ideologically opposes nationalizing the health insurance industry. You’re never going to fact check them into seeing how superior your proposals are to the point that they’ll have no choice but to concede their own fallacies.

    Having better flow charts is of no practical significance in the present circumstance of the primary, because at an ideological level the party leadership’s will not even acknowledge the possibility that there are other options available than rapacious extraction of wealth. For example “I have to say we’re capitalist”. They will stonewall any ideas like nationalizing the health insurance industry, your facts and charts be damned. Because as the leadership stands now, the very premise of the idea is in opposition to their own political interests.

    THAT’S the issue facing us in the primary. It’s the log jam that is the Democratic party leadership who weigh their own political equity against acting on climate change, providing medicare for all, upsetting the financial sector that extract immense amounts of wealth from student debt.

    That’s why they’re piling on Sanders. Not because he wants to do those things, because they fully realize that they don’t have to act on them as long as they have full control of the party mechanisms. As long as they hold those levers of control who you gonna vote for the Republicans? HA! They have you and they know it, there is zero incentive to do any of those things.

    What Sanders has done is build up a broad coalition of voters which was long ago abandoned by the party leadership in lieu of a rolodex full of wealthy donors. Now they are paying for that lack of insight because its a real and present danger to their hold on the party. We must use that voter coalition to whip the party leadership into acting on those polices or use it to replace them with leaders who have the political will to do so.

    What the party leadership ultimately fears is Sanders winning the nomination and undoing the Third Way purge of leftist leadership that was started in the late 70’s and culminated with Clinton’s election in the 90’s who finished the job. They have had complete control of the party mechanisms since then. If Sanders becomes the party leader he can take significant steps to undo that. People like Nina Turner et al will walk into the DNC to stare them down and bring in new left leadership. They will no longer be untouchable. Which means the present establishment will be forced to take into consideration what those formerly ignored voters want or be challenged.

    No other candidate has been able to do this for a very long time. And I’m sorry to say that Warren just hasn’t been able to pull it together. Mainly because people have the impression, rightly so, that she want’s to do the same things as Sanders, but within the purview of the present leadership. Voters aren’t buying into that in large enough numbers.

    Which is why people like Coulter feel the need to misdirect attention about what the primary issue is, by reinforcing the notion that Warren’s attention to detail might be more of a “headache” to Republicans. It won’t be. Not while the Third Way bastion exists within the Democratic party. So that when you lay out any meticulously created plans with all the facts and graphs, all they need to do is perform their amazingly tautological routine of mental gymnastics where such policies are called “radical” and a “political impossibility”. Simply because they themselves, the Democratic party leadership, oppose them. And without the political will to see these policies enacted, those issues are dead in the water and will always remain that way.

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