Something I wish Democrats would stop doing

They’re still talking about “electability”. STFU, please. Sandersistas are saying Biden couldn’t beat Trump in the election; Bidenites keep arguing that Socialist Sanders can’t possibly win against Trump. Both are wrong.

I’ll pick on Biden for a moment, because I agree that he’s a terrible candidate, just the worst of the Democrats. He’s got baggage. He favors weak policies that don’t correct any of our systemic issues. He’s a patronizing old fool. But, and this is the important thing, Trump is worse on all counts. And if Trump was electable, then Biden is electable. I detest the thought of a Biden nomination and think he would be bad for the country, but he’s better than Trump, so I’ll vote for him and hope he doesn’t screw up so bad that there’s a Republican rebound in 2024.

If the weakest candidate we’ve got is better than the Republican candidate, build on that and beat the Republican in the fall. It’s that simple. What would be better is if Sanders sweeps the remaining primaries (it could happen!) and soars to the nomination. We could also get 150 million people to turn out for the general election and the majority write in “Elizabeth Warren” for president, but I’m not holding my breath for that one.

What isn’t so simple is figuring out why the Democratic party goes through a painful winnowing process that somehow ends up promoting the chaff rather than the wheat.


  1. jsrtheta says

    No, it’s not that simple. The voters demonstrated they understand that better than you do.

    This is not the year to blow it. I know all the arguments for Bernie, and I understand them, but they ignore one essential fact: When the house is on fire, and the firemen are pouring water on it, the homeowner doesn’t want to hear someone telling them to stop, because he’s got a great idea and wants to try using sand instead.

    The house is ablaze, and has been for going on four years. The homeowner wants it put out. He’s not in the mood to discuss what kind of house he’ll build once the fire’s out, particularly one made out of miracles. He just wants the fire out.

  2. doubtthat says

    Donald Trump is president. Donald Trump. Bankruptcy guy. Scam university guy. Birther guy.

    The idea that anyone feels confident asserting what is and isn’t “electable” when, and I cannot stress this highly enough, DONALD TRUMP IS PRESIDENT, is baffling.

    I thought Hillary might have been more electable than Sanders in 2016 because her baggage was known, whereas Bernie hadn’t been subjected to a nationwide red scare. And then…that email thing, which is possibly the dumbest and most frivolous scandal in US history, and yet it’s pretty clear Comey’s letter flipped things at the 11th hour.

    So, what is the email scandal for Biden or Bernie? We don’t know. Don’t know what it is, don’t know how it will effect things, and worst of all, the precedent is so low that it could be, like Bernie not saying thank you loud enough when he orders a Philly Cheesesteak at a campaign stop, and NY Times covers it for a week straight and then Trump win Pennsylvania.

    All you can do is vote for the better option when given the chance. That’s still Bernie for the time being, but it doesn’t look like it will be in November.

  3. Stuart Smith says

    Donald Trump is clearing a completely different bar than Biden would be. If Biden were running on a platform of conservative idiocy, he would have a great shot. But he isn’t. If the RACE were Bernie vs Biden, either could win. Biden vs Trump is going to be two half-senile old men screaming their dementia incoherent at one another, except that only the right will be inspired by such a thing. Biden can’t be effectively anti-Trump, because he’s just a less bad version of Trump, and he can’t out-Trump him because he is capable of feeling shame. He can’t beat him on policy, because he has nothing to offer but a status quo that people elected Trump out of hatred of, and he can’t beat him on rhetoric because he’s a gaff-prone half-senile old man with a speech impediment and whose left eye fills up with blood every time he gets excited.

    I guess it’s possible that Biden squeaks out an anemic win because Trump fucks something big up very close to the election and Biden is able to capitalize on that, but Clinton has already shown us that winning isn’t enough. The system is rigged, and a win has to be a landslide to count. Who seriously thinks Biden is going to score Obama numbers against Trump? How?

  4. Vinay Edwin says

    “The house is ablaze, and has been for going on four years.”

    I’m not criticizing you personally but this statement is demonstrative of a particular liberal bubble of people believe that the fire has been going on for only four years. Yes, the fire has finally reached your house but the devastation has been going on for awhile. The idea that we need to just roll back the timeline to those Obama years seems like exactly the tone deaf messaging that failed in in 2016. Lots of people weren’t doing that great back then and they aren’t too stupid to notice.

  5. consciousness razor says

    He’s got baggage. He favors weak policies that don’t correct any of our systemic issues. He’s a patronizing old fool. But, and this is the important thing, Trump is worse on all counts. And if Trump was electable, then Biden is electable.

    That doesn’t follow. All of the people who voted for Trump might think it’s worth their time to go out and vote for Biden, given that he’s so far on the right end of the Democratic party. They might have a good reason to do that, if they didn’t have a “better” option like Trump. But those are not the people who you are expecting to vote for Biden, so they can’t be used to make Biden seem electable. Almost all of them will be voting for Trump again, not Biden.
    What you want is for Democratic voters (D’s and I’s) to come out in enough numbers in the right places, so that Biden has a bigger EC count than Trump does. Pointing at Trump’s base electing Trump doesn’t demonstrate that.

  6. consciousness razor says

    Indeed, Clinton’s electoral college loss to Trump, even though she was “better than Trump” in many ways, is enough to show that is just magical thinking.

  7. says

    I’m not suggesting that Biden will win. As Trump demonstrates, there are a lot of other factors than competence that play a role in getting elected. Which Democrat will be best at gaming the electoral college? I don’t know. Neither does anyone else. What external crises will shape the electorate? What will the media obsess over? So “electability” is a pointless exercise.

  8. mrquotidian says

    I thought that there was no way the Trump could beat HRC. By virtually any typical political calculation, she was the superior candidate. Most voters thought so too, but that just wasn’t enough. We have a crazy electoral system where “the best candidate” is not necessarily the winner, never mind that “the best candidate” is in the eye of the beholder.

    I don’t know if Biden can beat Trump, or if Bernie can either. I’ll support either nominee. Personally I give each of them about a 50% chance against Trump, but for different reasons. I think Biden appeals to centrists and could garner some votes from the “never Trump republican” set, while Sanders could appeal to the working-class voters who supported Trump last time.

    Given the choice, I would like to see Sanders take on Trump because he is not a member of what Trump loves to call “the swamp” (note – I’m not endorsing the notion of such a thing). While Biden would have to defend so much crappy stuff that went down over the last 30 years (fairly or unfairly – it doesn’t matter if it’s’ true), Sanders can basically out-flank him on all of it. Trump wont be able to run the same playbook as 2016, and will basically just call Sanders a crazy socialist, and the democrats will have not choice but to actually defend it for once… Unless they would actually prefer Trump over Sanders (that might be the case!).

    That said, I think (well, hope) Biden’s cognitive deficiencies are over-blown. I think he might be pretty exhausted and if he can get some rest, he may be surprisingly effective in the campaign. People seem to genuinely like him on a personal level and that seems to count for a lot when people go to vote. Voters seem to also make up their minds at the last minute and I think that the personality contest is a big part of it.

  9. says

    You know what? Bernie Sanders was given 4 years to fix a major problem with his last campaign. He knew last time around that Hillary Clinton won largely on the strength of black voters in the southern states. Instead of trying to build a real coalition with those voters he relied on a strategy that hoped the rest of the field would be fractured leaving him room to stick to the same plan that didn’t win him votes in those states last time. Well just like 2016 the Democrats united around someone else, blacks in the south rejected Sanders and now Biden looks like the almost certain nominee. I would rather have a man of Sanders’ politics as president but god dammit if he doesn’t piss me off with his unwillingness to actually listen and adapt to the concerns of others, not to mention the accidental misogyny his campaign gets stooped in.

  10. robro says

    When the house is on fire, and the firemen are pouring water on it, the homeowner doesn’t want to hear someone telling them to stop, because he’s got a great idea and wants to try using sand instead.

    To the extend your metaphor… unless it’s an oil or gas fire, then water is a bad idea while sand could be better. What we homeowners want is for someone to put out the fire the right way for the type of fire we have.

    Unfortunately, none of the candidates are that good at fire fighting. Trump denies there is a fire. Bernie seems fixated on canned solutions, which may or may not help. Importantly, it isn’t clear he can get any of it enacted should he win even if Democrats control both houses. As far as I can tell, Biden doesn’t have many ideas but at least he’s a known quantity and has the blessing of many in congress so they might get some stuff done…particularly if we end up with a Democratic majority in both houses.

  11. says

    In 2016, the democrat “leadership” rigged it for Clinton and voters rebelled. If they do that again and ram Biden down everyone’s throats again, that’s how Cheetolini will win again. They have to let the voters choose the candidate, not rig the competition for their chosen favourite.

  12. microraptor says

    As far as I can tell, going as far back as every presidential election I’ve been old enough to participate in, “electibility” is just a meaningless buzz-word used by people who want one candidate over a different candidate but don’t have any substantive arguments to make on the subject.

  13. consciousness razor says

    Well just like 2016 the Democrats united around someone else, blacks in the south rejected Sanders

    Biden got many older voters, regardless of race, gender, etc. Lots of younger black voters didn’t reject Sanders, and neither did Hispanics/Latinos for that matter. What I take from the age discrepancy is that it’s hard for us to connect with a lot of the people who grew up hearing tons of Cold War propaganda that was ostensibly about “socialism,” people who tend to be more conservative, who want somebody who seems more familiar, somebody who doesn’t challenge or change much of anything, etc.
    Maybe Sanders can still shift the message in this direction (let’s hope sooner rather than later), but he should have tried harder to present himself as an old-school FDR leftist. That’s basically what he is, with some improvements, but the labels do throw some people off…. And the media portraying him as a communist revolutionary certainly doesn’t help.
    The emphasis for an older audience should probably be more on the “democratic” part of “democratic socialism.” It’s about making this country more like a democracy in the sense of empowering all of the people in it, not only about the big social programs in his platform. That’s a very “American” idea, and you could make it sound very patriotic and old-timey, for older folks or really for anybody who doesn’t really get the point of socialism.

  14. brianl says

    Because the Professional Democrats don’t give a rat’s ass about winning. Basically the same group of people fucked up the campaigns of Gore, Kerry, and H. Clinton, and they’re going to be on the sweet Biden money train when he ties up the nomination. They’ll do it again in 2024. Meantime, 45 has apparently seized control of the Republican’s voter lists and direct fundraising operations, so any Republican that’s not on board 100% with the agenda is going to find themselves in fundraising Siberia.

  15. Joel Moss says

    As an outside observer, the most rational way to select a candidate would be to hold primaries in marginal states only, where the votes actually matter. Until it’s abolished, the electoral college is the only useful measure of success.

    Biden’s support in the deep south is immaterial, because no democrat party candidate will win those EC votes in the general election. Sanders’ support in the north east and cali is also immaterial, because any democrat party would win those EC votes in the general election.

    The sheer volume of money spent on US elections is obscene, even before you start figuring out how much is completely unproductive in terms of electoral college results.

  16. mnb0 says

    “Trump is worse on all counts.”
    Really? First see if Biden will stop killing Jemenites by drones, then I may believe it.

  17. F.O. says

    What isn’t so simple is figuring out why the Democratic party goes through a painful winnowing process that somehow ends up promoting the chaff rather than the wheat.

    Because their wheat is your chaff.
    You still assume that the system is supposed to work in your favour.
    I don’t think that assumption is warranted.

    People in power have the means (pretty much by definition) and the motive to stay in power, ie to uphold the status quo.
    A lot of these people donate to both dems and reps, they don’t care whether Biden or Trump wins, they care about maintaining the power they have.

    The process is important because it gives people 1) the impression that they have a choice and 2) someone to blame when things inevitably don’t go how they want.

  18. F.O. says

    Trump won against Clinton, who was a much better candidate than Biden.
    More importantly, Biden is very comparable to the “establishment” candidates of the rep primaries, and Trump mopped the floor with them.

    I think it’s legitimate to think that Biden will lose against Trump.
    The only hope is that a lot of USians have seen what 4 years of Trump look like and don’t like it enough to vote for Biden.

  19. consciousness razor says

    As an outside observer, the most rational way to select a candidate would be to hold primaries in marginal states only, where the votes actually matter. Until it’s abolished, the electoral college is the only useful measure of success.

    What you may not realize is that it’s even worse than you suggested here….. The delegate math in the primaries is very different from the electoral college math. (This is before we even get to superdelegates, etc., which don’t make it any better.)

    The number of pledged delegates from each state is proportional to the state’s share of the electoral college, and to the state’s past Democratic votes for President.[23][24] Thus less weight is given to swing states and Republican states, while more weight is given to strongly Democratic states, in choosing a nominee.

    Part of what’s incorrect in that bit is that only some delegates are assigned based on the statewide vote, as in the EC. But there are also delegates for individual districts within the states. (Caucuses are even worse, but I won’t go into that here.) That is basically how it works for Maine and Nebraska in the EC, but otherwise, it’s just a weird choice that skews the results in various ways. There’s also the 15% threshold rule, which affects a lot but is not a factor in the general election.
    Some more examples:
    -Maine gets 4 electors and Nebraska gets 5, but in the primary, Maine gets 24 delegates and Nebraska gets 29. The problem is that 4/5 is not equal to 24/29. Both are fairly likely to have a split vote, so they should be comparable, but they’re still not in proportion to one another.
    -Another pairing: New York gets 29 electors and 274 delegates, while California gets 55 electors and 451 delegates, but 29/55 is again not equal to 274/451. Both of these states are very likely to vote “blue,” so the explanation given in the quote above simply doesn’t suffice.
    -American Samoa gets 0 electors and 6 delegates. Same problem with Puerto Rico (51), Virgin Islands (7), Guam (7), and the Northern Marianas (6), which aren’t allowed to vote in the general election. That’s 77 total delegates, close to Minnesota’s 75, but they have 0 electors.
    What we need to do is simply abolish the EC. But it’s as if the people who came up with this junk were trying their hardest to get the EC math wrong in every way they could imagine.

  20. says

    The only way the EC is going away is if the dem primary system is completely overhauled. That’s the only thing to it. We can’t do much about the suppression, or the media being actively hostile actors, but this can be done.

  21. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Reforming the dem primary system won’t touch the EC. That requires an amendment to the US Constitution. With approval of 3/4 of the states. As much as I would like to see that, it won’t happen during my lifetime.

  22. consciousness razor says

    The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact could make the EC irrelevant, without the need for a constitutional amendment.
    Currently, we have 15 states/DC, with a total of 196 in the EC, out of the necessary 270 — 72.59% of the way there, or only 74 “electors” left to go.
    A bill for it is pending this session in 14 states with a total of 171 in the EC.
    Badger your congresspeople about it, especially if you live where the bill is active: FL, GA, KS, MN, MS, MO, NH, NC, OH, PA, SC, VA, WV, WI.

  23. Bad Bart says

    The Democratic field this time around is reminiscent of the Republican field in 2016. Trump was enabled to become the nominee because there were so many candidates that were, by comparison, pretty similar. The ~15 “rational” candidates split the traditional-Republican vote, and Trump got the “core” Trump supporters. By the time the rational candidates had winnowed down, Trump had momentum.

    I see the recent self-thinning of the Democratic field as an attempt to keep Sanders from exploiting the same systematic weakness. Sanders’ appeal to his faithful is largely based on being far afield from the rest of the candidates (while Warren was in a similar direction, part of why I–and many others–liked her was that she was closer to the center). Slimming the number of moderate/centrist candidates means that we see a truer comparison of the appeal of the center (Biden) to the appeal of the further right (Sanders).

    While Biden would not have been my first choice this time, a centrist with a history of deal-making and actual compromise strikes me as a far better thing for the country than an extremist with only a history of exciting further extremism.

  24. unclefrogy says

    why the Democratic party goes through a painful winnowing process that somehow ends up promoting the chaff rather than the wheat.

    my fear is that it has always been “electability” which is motivated by fear of course.
    That is how the democratic party has moved toward the right all these years. It has not been just the professional politician either the electorate has given the impression that they do not want to fight for what they believe in either. It is how the ACA was compromised before any real conflict had a chance to come out in the open for all to see.
    MLK could lead the fight but very few elected politicians could and the “people” were afraid of the conflict regardless of what beliefs they held. It took years of brutally hard work to get anything done, even when what was being struggled for was more democracy for everyone.
    The right wing has no problem fighting and resorting to any tactic since they show no strong affection for democratic ideals any way and would vote in another king if one was bold enough come out and strive for it. King Ronnie then, now Saint Ronnie. A Korean dynasty maybe but not likely here without chaos first.
    uncle frogy

  25. unclefrogy says


    blockquote>a centrist with a history of deal-making and actual compromise strikes me as a far better thing for the country than an extremist with only a history of exciting further extremism.
    why is it that people think that we can compromise with the republican politicians of today when they have shown absolutely no inclination to compromise on anything what so ever?
    where have they been these past 20 years?
    hell where have they been this last couple of months?
    last time I checked the most worrying extremists loose in the US are right wing true believers who are being given tacit approval by the conservative party leadership if they are not themselves true believers as well.
    uncle frogy

  26. says

    Changing the constitution requires a lot of dems. Getting a lot of dems means not having candidates that blow up the downballot. That requires a working primary and Dem party apparatus. Even if the EC cannot be killed, it can be mitigated with better primary design and policy.

  27. jrkrideau says

    I have been more or less following the US election campaign for the last few months.

    A question arises.Is there any other country in the world that has a crazier, more illogical, and more corrupt electoral system?

    This, by the way, is not sarcasm.

    @ 16 Joel Moss
    As another outside observer: Dump the primaries and come up with a sensible way of picking party candidates. Maybe even have real parties as we do in many countries.

  28. says

    @#13, Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls:

    Just for a start: an awful lot of those 3 million voters were working on name recognition and changed their minds afterwards. In every early southern primary, significantly more than 70% of people who voted for Clinton later reported that they would have voted for Sanders if the primary had been held 2 months later.

    (And the leaked e-mails which the Clinton campaign successfully avoided talking about — except as a topic of outrage that there might be such leaks — confirmed that the timing of those primaries had been determined well in advance specifically to give Hillary Clinton a leg up over any challenger. It was a fix, not specifically targeted at Sanders but at anybody dared to challenge the Clinton cult.)

  29. publicola says

    Just musing, here, but maybe we should scrap political parties completely and just have one open primary. The top two vote-getters run off for President, then let the Pres. pick a V.P. G. Washington was afraid of political parties because they could devolve into factionalism. Smart guy, that Washington.

  30. says

    @#5, consciousness razor:

    You aren’t going far enough, there.

    Trump’s election means nothing about Biden’s electability because Democrats and Republicans are inherently looking for different things in their elected officials.

    Despite the best efforts of the DNC and the Clintons (and people like Nerd of Redhead above), a substantial number of Democrats actually care about policy and history. From those perspectives, Joe Biden (and Hillary Clinton) are trash candidates who can only be supported while holding one’s nose, and party loyalty is secondary to human decency. To those voters, Centrism is an increasingly hard sell, because it doesn’t work, has never worked, and its continual failure over the last 30 years (and, really, even before that) has been one of the major causes of essentially every problem currently facing the country.

    The strategy Hillary Clinton employed, and which Biden is planning to employ, is to try to pick off Republican voters by turning a major weakness — a history of right-wing policies which have screwed over minorities and the poor — into an asset. But Republicans don’t care about history and policy in any meaningful way — they overwhelmingly have their views determined by propaganda from above, and to them, Democrats = Communists and the most important thing is to enrage “libs”, who are also considered to be identical with “Democrats”. None of the people who said they were going to vote for Hillary Clinton and then used Comey as an excuse to vote for Trump were ever really going to vote for Hillary Clinton — Comey was a convenient excuse, but they would have found something in any event. (Sort of like how people who claimed to support Warren on policy are now somehow finding excuses to support Biden over Sanders, now that Warren has dropped out. This is not something who really cared about policy first could do.)

    For the last twenty years, when Democrats have won, like Obama, they did it by getting the base out and fighting the Republicans, not by kicking the base in the teeth and hoping the Republicans will reward them. Sanders is trying to get the base out. Biden is trying to kick the base in the teeth. (Considering that Bill Clinton won with a plurality, not a majority, and exit polls from the time strongly suggest that Perot spoiled the election for Bush, that pattern actually extends back for more than thirty years, with Clinton as an outlying fluke.)

  31. says

    This, incidentally, may be one of the worst effects of a bernie loss – we had a sterling chance to make changes that might have otherwise taken years to get the DNC back in order, and we lost it.

  32. dianne says

    I will vote for whoever the nominee is in the general, because I am quite ready to vote enthusiastically for Adenauer over Hitler. In the primary? My vote’s up for grabs at this point. Don’t see that much difference between the B boys to tell the truth. I don’t really give either of them a 1/hell chance of winning anyway. (Though a 1/(coronovirus+stock market crash)…hmm…) Feel free to change my mind because I’m not just trolling you when I say my vote’s up for grabs. My state’s primary is in April, so it’s probably largely irrelevant, but if I find a reason to vote for one or the other, I’ll do so.

  33. dianne says

    Needs references. (Yes, that’s a serious critique. Where do these claims come from and what is their context?)

  34. dianne says

    The Medicare for All position is well known, so that one doesn’t need specific sourcing. I’d vote for him on that alone if I thought he had the slightest chance of enacting it. But since we’re not electing a king and congress nearly fainted at the idea of the ACA, I don’t see any chance. Especially if he’s really alienated the Democratic establishment. Who’s going to vote for MfA in congress? The Republicans?

  35. justanotherguy says

    Biden may surprise a lot of progressives in the general election.

    The fact that many people are voting for Biden because they want to get rid of Trump is undeniable, but it may be masking another reason that people are voting for Biden – that Biden is an “everyman”.

    My theory is that for decades, due to the presence of Democratic primary caucuses (which skew towards activists), due to the lack of ranked choice voting in the Democratic primaries causing the moderate votes to be split, and due to activists being more likely to respond to polls than centrists during the long lead-up to the Iowa caucuses, often causing centrist candidates to drop out before Iowa, that Democrats have consistently been choosing presidential candidates that are more liberal than Democrat voters in general.

    That includes McGovern, Dukakis, Mondale, Gore, Kerry, and even Hillary Clinton and Obama.

    And the person who made those problems so visible this time around is – Bernie Sanders. Because of the way Sanders mostly only wins caucuses instead of primaries. Because of the way Sanders was winning while Bloomberg and Biden were splitting the moderate vote.

    What did McGovern, Dukakis, Mondale, Gore, Kerry, and even Hillary Clinton and Obama, and Sanders all have in common – they’re all very liberal and very educated compared to the average voter. They don’t talk like the average voter. And that’s a problem. Because of the way Kirsten Gillibrand dropped out before Iowa due to low polling numbers while the progressive candidates polled the best before Iowa.

    This pokes a hole in the progressive’s theory that the only reason people are voting for Biden in the primary is that they’re afraid of Trump. I say that some people are also voting for Biden because he talks more like the average Democrat voter.

    People want to vote for someone who’s like them. It’s as simple as that.

    I think a lot of progressives believe that in order to win, we need to choose a candidate who is much more liberal. The progressives have it exactly backwards.

    But progressives can’t see it – because progressives want to vote for someone who’s just like them.

    I think some progressives are bitter over what is happening in the primaries. So they want to put Biden down and say people are only voting for Biden out of fear.

  36. justanotherguy says

    Oops, I meant to have the sentence “Because of the way Kirsten Gillibrand dropped out before Iowa due to low polling numbers while the progressive candidates polled the best before Iowa” at the end of the previous paragraph.

  37. says

    @#37, dianne:

    It’s not just that Biden doesn’t want to push for Medicare for All — he has actually said, now, that if he is elected, and Democrats manage to get Medicare for All through Congress, he will veto it. Here’s a Tweet with video of his explaining this.

    You really, really shouldn’t be trusting campaign websites for this stuff. In 2008, Barack Obama said that he would refuse to vote for immunity for telecommunications companies which had illegally cooperated with warrantless FISA requests; within 36 hours of getting the nomination, he voted for exactly that. In 2016, Hillary Clinton backtracked her support of the TPP and took it off her campaign website when it came out just how traitorous it was — but after she got the nomination, she insisted that support for the TPP had to be in the party platform.

    A much better indication is how people have behaved in the past. In 1991, Biden attacked Anita Hill and got Clarence Thomas onto the Supreme Court, tilting it rightward for decades. In 1994, he helped write a crime bill which led to mass incarceration and added death penalties for 60 charges (and, incidentally, was a huge ramping-up of the War On Drugs — notice how the public is in favor of marijuana legalization? Biden isn’t.) In 1995, he wrote an omnibus counterterrorism bill which later became the basis of GWB’s Orwellian PATRIOT Act, and tried to cut Social Security in the name of balanced budgets. In 1996 he voted against gay marriage. In 1999, he voted for the repeal of Glass-Steagall — which, as frequently pointed out, led directly to the 2008 financial meltdown. In 2001, he voted for the PATRIOT Act (of course!), and in 2002 for the Iraq war. In 2005, he introduced the bill which ultimately made the student debt crisis inevitable, making student loan debt undischargable in bankruptcy. In 20010, he joined Republicans insisting that the Affordable Care Act had to include restrictions preventing federal money from funding abortion. (And let’s not talk about how he dropped out of the race in 1988 after repeatedly getting caught plagiarizing speeches.)

    If you search, you’ll find transcripts and video of him fighting for school segregation, announcing that women should specifically not be permitted to decide what to do with their bodies (Biden has been anti-abortion for decades), and bragging about how often he tried to cut Social Security and Medicare.

    Yeah, sure, he claims to have reversed course on some of those things — but, for example, after spending 30 years as one of the most ferocious pro-War-on-Drugs politicians in Washington (even some Republicans found him too extreme) should we really believe that he has decided to stop pushing for that? He was, remember, still giving Reefer-Madness-style speeches against marijuana legalization just a few years ago. And the same goes for abortion — if you’re pro-choice, Biden has been fighting you for decades (that was why he wanted Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, incidentally). Is it really plausible that he has completely reversed the position of a lifetime — one which he holds as part of his still-current devout Catholicism? Or is it more plausible that he’s lying to get the nomination?

    Frankly, if you bother to do any research at all, and you hold even a fair subset of the positions which Democrats usually claim to hold, you will find that Biden’s history is extremely unsavory. He has been fighting against what most of the party says they want for practically all of his career. To give him the Presidential nomination now, after he has proved himself an enemy time and time again, makes a mockery of everything the party has ever claimed to stand for.

  38. vucodlak says

    @ justanotherguy, #39

    they’re all very liberal

    Who considers these people “very liberal?” Outright fascists? Most of those people aren’t “very liberal” even by the USA’s very-rightwing standards. Obama and Hillary are moderate right-wingers by the standards of just the last century. They’re certainly not leftwing by global standards- the only person on your list who might be considered moderately leftwing is Sanders.

    But let’s look at Obama and Clinton for a minute, and see how your thesis holds up. Obama talked a good game in his initial campaign, appearing very progressive, and he won big. He took a hard right turn after he got into to office, but that’s not what he campaigned on. His campaign slogan was “Hope and Change,” not “more of the same conservative garbage.” Clinton campaigned on “more of the same,” and Hillary Clinton is not the president.

    I say that some people are also voting for Biden because he talks more like the average Democrat voter.

    Does he really? Or is he just the “safe” choice in a world that seems like it’s falling apart? He’s certainly got the propaganda machine in his corner- the MSM has been treating him like he’d already won the primaries since even before the first debate.

    Refresh my memory- the safe candidates, the Kerry’s and the Gore’s and the Hillary Clinton’s- how many terms did they serve?

    People want to vote for someone who’s like them.

    I’m a brittle, high-strung monster, twisted and cruel, who has trouble planning who to eat for breakfast. You can’t imagine the hell I’d make of this world.

    I wanted to vote for the calm, reasonable, compassionate former-special education teacher and all her many plans. I think President Elizabeth Warren would make the world a better place. Or President Julian Castro, another obviously compassionate human being. I’ll settle for the crabby old socialist- I don’t he’ll be as effective, but I still think he’s driven by compassion. These people are nothing like me, and that’s a good thing.

    The people who will only vote for what they see in the mirror have their candidate in the vile, bigoted narcissist currently occupying the Oval Office.

  39. Kagehi says

    @4 Vinay Edwin

    I think its worse than that. The Dems have spent decades trying to “pee on” the fire, to put it out, and Bernie is the one actually suggesting we maybe should try, I don’t know.. going back 50 years and trying “fire hoses and water”, not, as the chump up thread suggests, “sand”.

    No, the “unelectable” thing in this context is actually Bernie supporters point out that we ran a “moderate” against Trump and lost, we ran one against both Bushes and lost, we ran one and got Bill Clinton, who then did nothing, and was immediately replaced by a Republican, after managing to do what this president hasn’t, and getting himself impeached for what amounted to contempt of court (unlike the current one who borders on treason). Every time we have run a “moderate” we have lost. So, from Bernie’s stand point, and mine, and most of his supporters, “Put another moderate up against Trump”, is a losing idea, even if it somehow works, which, history suggests, it won’t.

    Now, Biden’s side, on the other hand, has shown its hand in all the “endorsements” that establishment Democrats have thrown his way. Their version of “unelectable” means, “We don’t want an real liberal to win, so we refuse to support one, and without all of us ‘endorsing’ such a person, its inconceivable that they could ever win!” Sadly, this is how its worked quite a few times, and how, ding, ding, ding, WE KEEP F-ING LOSING.

  40. Mrdead Inmypocket says

    if Trump was electable, then Biden is electable.

    *Sucks in air through clenched teeth.
    I get it. Trump is really really bad, so in your opinion if he is electable, anyone is electable. Therefore “electability” means nothing.

    You’re, erm, mirroring. Good a word as any. That statement makes an assumption that the people voting for Trump and those voting for Biden share an identical frame of reference in relation to both candidates.
    Let me explain try and explain this way. Trump does have some very electable qualities. Just not any that you or I value.
    I’ll give just one example. Conservative (right wing) culture, broad brush, holds acts of performative cruelty in high regard. Not only does it serve to prop up their self esteem, they know it “triggers the libs”, among other things. So that quality which you think makes Trump “unelectable”, lets say petulantly calling people names, actually makes him electable with Republicans.

    This mistake was made In 2016 and is being repeated. Liberals saw Trump as unelectable and assumed the universality of their frame of reference. In this election, in my estimation, Trump has more electable qualities that appeal to Republicans, than Biden has electable qualities that appeal to Democrats. Which would make Trump more electable. You say in this post how odious you find Biden, that sentiment doesn’t seem uncommon among Democrats. I assure you Republican’s do not share the same sentiment concerning Trump. Not by nearly enough anyway.

    Not to over stress it. If Democratic voters do not find many of Biden’s qualities electable. And Republicans do find many electable qualities in Trump. Trump is more electable. Even though in your opinion Biden is more electable than Trump. Your conception of what is electable is not universally shared.

    I’ll pick on Biden for a moment

    Don’t bother, you can throw all that out the window. Everything has changed, even since Super Tuesday. The economic crash was a wild card which will turn any analysis of palace intrigue on it’s head.
    Economic downturn doesn’t typically bode well for either incumbents like Trump or moderates like Biden. Insecurity tends to wipe out any kind of “business as usual” default choices many voters stick to in more stable times. Emphasis on “doesn’t typically” because there are too many unknown variables making any kind of reasonable predictions from here on out unreliable. We’ll see how things turn out today and go from there. If the question of “electability” had any meaning before, (It didn’t) It certainly has none now.

    Sandersistas are saying Biden couldn’t beat Trump in the election

    Sandersistas. A typo most likely, rather than “Sandernistas”. But an interesting one. I like it, think I’ll adopt it. I know a few people who would enjoy that. Thank you.

    All that being said….

  41. consciousness razor says

    While Biden would not have been my first choice this time, a centrist with a history of deal-making and actual compromise strikes me as a far better thing for the country than an extremist with only a history of exciting further extremism.

    Is this an example of the kind of nice, agreeable tone that Sanders supporters should be using? We’re not crashing planes into buildings, nor are we the ones who are invading countries and bombing their civilians.
    I have an idea for Joe Biden’s campaign strategy. Maybe the non-elderly will stop despising him if they put him in a Red Bull commercial or something — check it out, bros, this dude’s got some extreme deal-making skillz!!

    Salon: There is hard data that shows “Bernie Bros” are a myth
    “A computational social scientist’s study shows Bernie’s Twitter followers act pretty much the same as everyone else”

    Mainstream pundits and politicians continue to obsess over the stereotype of the “Bernie Bro,” a perfervid horde of Bernie Sanders supporters who supposedly stop at nothing to harass his opponents online. Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton and New York Times columnist Bret Stephens have all helped perpetuate the idea that Sanders’ supporters are somehow uniquely cruel, despite Sanders’ platform and policy proposal being the most humane of all the candidates.

    The only problem? The evidence that Sanders supporters are uniquely cruel online, compared to any other candidates’ supporters, is scant; much of the discourse around Bernie Bros seems to rely on skewed anecdotes that don’t stand up to scrutiny. Many Sanders supporters suspect that the stereotype is perpetuated in bad faith to help torpedo his candidacy.

    It’s not exactly conclusive, but it’s better than no data.
    No Russian bot can compete with the massive propaganda machine that was built right here in the US.

    Interesting. Did your opinion change after doing this little analysis?

    Yes. I believed that Bernie’s followers are more likely to like him because they are more likely to experience the very negative life circumstances that Bernie Sanders wants to fix. People in a negative situation are more likely to interact negatively with people, particularly those anonymous online people that they have no in-person relationship with. So I had anticipated that Bernie’s followers on average would have a much higher chance to be negative. This does not appear to be the case or at least not as much as the claims I read on Twitter, political media reports or on TV.

    He may have been right though. What the evidence suggests is that despite having very good reasons to react negatively, not only to their own personal circumstances but also to the constant barrage of attacks from the media and even those in their own party, Sanders supporters are still acting about the same as anyone else.
    So, it seems reasonable to ask how nasty the less progressive groups would be, if they had to put up with that much shit. Presumably, it would be substantially worse, which also fits with the fact that they’re less progressive.

  42. dianne says

    It’s not just that Biden doesn’t want to push for Medicare for All — he has actually said, now, that if he is elected, and Democrats manage to get Medicare for All through Congress, he will veto it. Here’s a Tweet with video of his explaining this.

    Yep, that did it. I will hold my nose and vote for the NRA’s choice in the primary.

  43. says

    “What isn’t so simple is figuring out why the Democratic party goes through a painful winnowing process that somehow ends up promoting the chaff rather than the wheat.”

    Because the inner party is convinced that it knows best, and it really likes chaff.