I can live with Kamala Harris as VP


I was out spidering this afternoon when Biden announced his vice presidential candidate: Kamala Harris. Not that it matters, but here’s what I think.

I have one negative: she was a prosecutor, so she was an enabler of the carceral state. That’s the opposite of what we need, but maybe she’s learned from recent events? We can hope? Maybe someday I’ll learn that my hopes are always shattered?

I have lots of positives, though. She’s relatively young, but old enough to be experienced; she’ll represent multiple minorities, as a woman, black, and Indian; she’s smart and has teeth. I would love to watch her rend Pence into a pulp in a VP debate, although I doubt that they’ll have one.

She’s not Joe Biden. In the run-up to the primaries, I had a much more favorable impression of Harris than of Biden, so seeing her on the slate is a net gain. I’m not enthused about Biden, but he could have screwed up this choice far more catastrophically.

Comments

  1. says

    I’m in pretty much the same space. Still, her long career in the criminal justice system and elective office will make the conservatives attempts to portray her as a legal renegade very difficult.

    Things are about to get interesting.

  2. Reginald Selkirk says

    Even if any of you are not thrilled with either Biden or Harris, please vote against the sociopath. Please. It should be apparent to all now that our lives do depend on it.

  3. aspleen says

    Harris was the favorite all along. Frankly, I can’t think of a bad choice that Biden could have made, so the claim that he could have screwed up is a cheap shot. Who was he going to pick? Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia? Please subscribe to my crypto-currency newsletter then!

  4. ORigel says

    I am pleased. Don’t forget that Harris is from California so she’ll get replaced by another Democrat.

  5. says

    Now I am in the unfortunate situation that I will be rooting for Biden to win, and die. Sorry, Joe. Of course I’d be hoping for Biden to die if his VP choice was anyone but Sarah Palin. I blame the 2 party system for forcing “lesser of two evils” on me in such a way that I have to wish ill on an ageing old coot who belongs on a golf course, not running for office.

    Uh, go Joe!

  6. gijoel says

    @1 You should know by now that a lot of conservatives would happily insist that night is day if it plays into their weird identity politics.

  7. says

    I remember election night in 2010, when Steve Cooley of Los Angeles declared victory in the race for state attorney general while Kamala Harris refused to concede. It was a perfect example of the impact of a long-count election in a big turnout year. There were lots of uncounted and mail-in ballots that were gradually tabulated during subsequent days. I did a rough trend line computation and determined to my own satisfaction that Harris had made the right call. Indeed, eventually she eked out a victory, leaving the Republican with egg on his face. There was, of course, muttering among the GOP about how suspicious the final results were, as they are wont to do, as if their election observers didn’t participate in every county registrar’s tabulation process. (And they sure didn’t complain when the reverse happened in 1978 and George Deukmejian edged out Tom Bradley for governor.) The bottom line: It pays to cultivate mail-in ballots.

  8. says

    @7 Really? I hadn’t noticed…

    Seriously, they’re going to have to go deep into Qanon territory with Harris and you can only bullshit people so far for so long. I can only hope that their attempts to spin their way out of the pandemic has just enough people wised up to the way they work. I can dream, can’t I?

  9. Rob Grigjanis says

    Reginald Selkirk @3:

    It should be apparent fucking obvious to all now that our lives do depend on it.

    Yeah, it should be. But we’ll always have the bozos (hi The Vicar, mnb0 and consciousness razor!) with their ideological blinkers so firmly pasted over their eyes they can’t see what’s staring them right in the face. In thread after thread, they carefully ignore the obvious points raised by multiple people, apparently just so they can display their purity and/or (in their own minds at least) their cleverness. All they’re actually displaying is what looks like a smug, sociopathic disregard for the consequences of four more years of Trump. I don’t get disgusted easily, but this bullshit does it.

  10. aspleen says

    @8

    Bzzzt. Klobuchar took herself out of the running, reading the tea leaves with respect to the killing of George Floyd. Hillary Clinton was never ever mentioned either as a possible choice by anyone. Are you interested in subscribing to my crypto-currency newsletter?

  11. nomdeplume says

    And Trump says Harris will aid the “extreme agenda of the radicals on the left”, so, that’s good – you couldn’t buy such favorable publicity!

  12. aspleen says

    @16

    That’s just Trump trying to attack a strength of Harris when it comes to appealing to white suburban voters, who could give the Democrats control of the Senate and the trifecta when it comes to control of the federal government.

  13. starskeptic says

    Randy Rhodes said during ‘W’s re-election campaign, “If the Democrats nominate Daffy Duck, then Daffy Duck is my guy.” – looks like Daffy Duck is my guy this year; fortunately, Harris is no push-over…

  14. hemidactylus says

    I want to see Harris eviscerate Pence, run his crusty innards through a cuisinart and feed them back to him off the debate stage floor.

    Yeah I like this choice. Portraying corporate shill Biden or bulldog ex-prosecutor Harris as far-left is pure lunacy. The actual Left may not be happy. Oh well. It is what it is so now suit up for total war. Oh and (this just in) Kasich is on our side. Weird times.

    Harris-Obama in 2024?

  15. ORigel says

    @15

    Well, the top contenders would have made decent VPs with the exception of Stacy Abrams.

  16. captainjack says

    Rob Grigjanis @ #14
    “But we’ll always have the bozos (hi The Vicar, mnb0 and consciousness razor!) with their ideological blinkers so firmly pasted over their eyes they can’t see what’s staring them right in the face.”

    I doubt the bozos have much to lose if Trump wins. It’s easy to hurt others when you won’t feel pain. /paraphrase

  17. kome says

    Wow, the Democrats can’t even give token appreciation to progressivism and continue to take progressives for granted, just like in 2016. Can’t imagine any scenario where that could ever backfire. Just continue with the same strategy of inflicting a sense of learned helplessness on the masses of people. Our political system is so borked.

  18. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    PZ needs to find the equivalent of the old meme “clenched tentacle salute” for his recent conversion to arachnids for this decision. Harris was #3 on my list behind Sanders and Warren. Great choice.

  19. tacitus says

    If Harris can help solidify the swing vote and bring the Democrats a thumping victory in November, then I’m all for it.

  20. nomdeplume says

    And before I forget, PZ, “spidering”? Please tell me you haven’t joined the Verb Invention Society?

  21. brucegee1962 says

    Whitmer, or possibly Rice, would have been the real slap in the face to progressives. Harris at least has a foot in both camps.

  22. whheydt says

    I’m happy with the choice. I cheerfully voted for her for Senator. Now I hope Newsom appoints the candidate she beat in to get into the Senate: Loretta Lynch.

    (For those still unfamiliar with voting in California…except for president, primaries are open to all and the top two candidates advance to the general election. In that one, both were women, both were non-white, and both were Democrats.)

  23. ORigel says

    @23 Kamala Harris is one of the most progressive senators. So this is at LEAST token appreciation of progressives.

  24. ORigel says

    @23 Plus, Biden should pick the VP that best helps him win, and who is experienced enough to replace him. Biden is old, so President Harris is a real possibility.

  25. ORigel says

    @25 Sanders is too old and has heart problems. I don’t want the VP being incapacitated before the President is.

  26. says

    Harris was my favorite early on. We’re taking on the most corrupt man to ever inhabit the White House. Harris is brilliant at taking down that kind of scum. Just put Joe in a corner and let her work her magic. Also remember the the Vice President is also President of the Senate. If the Senate lands exactly 50/50, she gets the deciding vote. It’s unlikely, but it is something.

  27. hollandheese says

    She’s a terrible choice and shows that Biden is definitely not reading the room. He chooses California’s “top cop” during months of protests against police brutality. It shows that he’s not going to do anything to help scale-back the police. Not that I had any expectation of Biden doing any good for people anyways.

    The only good thing about this choice is that maybe now we can have a decent senator in California.

  28. hollandheese says

    @32 In what bizarro world is Kamala Harris a progressive? Do people just get this idea because she’s from California?

    She locked up kid’s parents because the kids were truant. She refused to prosecute Steve Mnuchin and his company for defrauding people out of their homes. She ratted out juvenile offenders to ICE as SF DA. She kept non-violent offenders in prison instead of giving them early parole because she felt the state needed prison labor. This was even with the Supreme Court ordering California to release many non-violent offenders due to overcrowding.

  29. brucegee1962 says

    If Biden wants to tack left, there are plenty of issues where the American people will be willing to tack with him. Climate change, expanded Medicare and Obamacare, more rights for gays and trans people, getting kids out of cages on the border, citizenship for dreamers, taxing billionaires — these are all issues that poll well and can enhance the Democratic brand.
    Defunding the police is not one of these issues.
    The majority of white Americans want to believe that the police are trustworthy overall, with a few bad apples that need to be weeded out — despite any and all evidence to the contrary. The next time there’s a school shooter that the cops take out, George Floyd will be forgotten. Reform the police, reeducate the police, recreate the police — those are all slogans that might be workable. But defunding the police as a general slogan would be suicide for the Democratic party as a whole.
    So of course, that’s the issue that the Rethugs are going to hit Biden the hardest on. They’ll hit Harris too, of course, but their lies will be so obvious that at least a few independent voters may notice — and that’s about the best we can hope for.

  30. consciousness razor says

    They’re clearly not interested in empowering ordinary people, in case you still needed more evidence.

    You may actually live with it. I figure your chances aren’t so bad. But if so, don’t thank them for it, because it’s not going to be intentional. Many people won’t of course, but that won’t change much either, since we’re already not listening to most of those people.

    I’m not enthused about Biden, but he could have screwed up this choice far more catastrophically.

    It’s not factually wrong.

    But wouldn’t it be nice if we had standards? I think that would be nice. That’s apparently the sort of bad thought that makes me a bad person. I think I’m okay with that — just a bit of thoughtcrime, in very moderate amounts. There are far more catastrophic mistakes I could’ve made in my life, which probably has to count for something. And I hear that in some places, they still let you get away with that sort of thing. I assume that they’re not all hopeless shitholes, like this fucking country is.

  31. unclefrogy says

    @38
    and these two candidates are not known for not fighting back hard either. Joe Bidden has no problem being tough and of course neither does Kamala Harris so this will be an interesting campaign we know the agent orange can not take criticism.
    It is a pity that there wont be the kind of debates we have had in the past it would make some really good TV.
    maybe if agent orange could see it as an opportunity for good TV ratings he might go for it.
    his criminal trial would get even better rating!
    uncle frogy

  32. hollandheese says

    @38 Neither Biden nor Harris are in favor of any of the issues you brought up as easy wins for the Democrats. They don’t even want to tack center. They’re rightward ho all the way.

  33. says

    She’s also bad for Palestine, but both parties are.

    One place she’ll be missed is in Senate hearings. Everything I’ve seen of her from those has been fantastic. I’m going to actually have to watch one of your vice presidential debates, aren’t I?

  34. ORigel says

    I judge by voting records, not smear campaigns.

    https://progressivepunch.org/scores.htm?house=senate

    Kamala Harris is the fifth most progressive senator by voting record according to Progressive Punch, well ahead of Bernie Sanders who is more talk than action.

    If the Left wants to start a circular firing squad and doom the country, they can go right ahead. I cannot stop them.

  35. ORigel says

    @38 Sometimes I almost wish I wasn’t white, because so many whites are racist, but I’d lose much of my privilege.

  36. hemidactylus says

    Sorry all but this POTUS portion of the election is about ousting shit and maybe not entering the Oval Office for 6 months or so to allow for proper disinfection and fumigation. It isn’t about getting what progressives really want. Flipping the Senate hard and shifting the House will help that.

  37. says

    @#22, captainjack

    I doubt the bozos have much to lose if Trump wins. It’s easy to hurt others when you won’t feel pain. /paraphrase

    Funny, that’s pretty much how I feel about people who support Biden/Harris. You very definitely aren’t black or trans, and you don’t meaningfully support BLM. Not that this is surprising — when Biden got the nod, suddenly 40% of Democrats flip-flopped and started staying that it was okay for rapists to hold public office, making that a majority position within the party (went from ~35% when Kavanaugh was being confirmed to ~75% with Biden). It’s crystal clear that the average Democrat is exactly as much of a partisan creep as the average Republican, and you and cretins like Rob Grigjanis can choke on it.

    Frankly: if Harris had been the actual nominee she would have needed to pick someone considerably to her left as VP for me even to feel that the Democrats weren’t edging dangerously into authoritarianism. Now we have the guy who thinks cops should be paid more to shoot protestors, paired with a death penalty advocate who routinely doubled down on known lies by cops. The jackbooted thugs will definitely be on the march no matter who wins in November, but I Can’t Believe It’s Not Trump won’t announce the mass arrests on Twitter like Trump does so I guess you can go back to sleep again, and that’s all that matters… to you, at least.

  38. rpjohnston says

    @ hollandaise – Kamala’s prosecutorial record is par for the course for prosecutors at worst, and about what you’d expect if any given D Congressperson were in her position. Still don’t like that she’s a cop so she was number 4 at best for me before she dropped out, but I liked that she stumped on copping the bad guys, almost no one else did that. Putting them in their place – in jail, or the ocean, or space – is the first step before anything else is possible.

    Kamala harris supports ending filibuster to pass green new deal https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/04/politics/kamala-harris-eliminate-filibuster-green-new-deal-climate-town-hall/index.html
    “expanded Medicare and Obamacare” was literally what Biden ran on and was hit on, as it was inferior to M4A
    “More rights for gay and queer people” as a queer person allow me to cordially invite you to shove it ALL the way up your ass
    “Cages on the border” etc I could go on
    You’ve partially got a point on taxing billionaires, whatever they do will be extremely inadequate but they can’t avoid doing anything

    when you have to make up obvious lies to throw yourself a pity party everyone can see it you know

    @ consciousness razor “But wouldn’t it be nice if we had standards?” the standards we get are the product of our environment. Our standards now are “better than Trump”. We could have had “better than Clinton” this year. Hopefully we’ll have “better than Biden” in 2024. Hell, we could have had “better than Biden” this year, if people had showed up for Sanders.

    “I think that would be nice. That’s apparently the sort of bad thought that makes me a bad person. I think I’m okay with that — just a bit of thoughtcrime, in very moderate amounts.” jerk off in private plz

    Trolls aside…I’m a bit more sour than OP, but not a lot. I’d say our progress so far is…satisfactory. Bronze medal. Our platform is the most progressive we’ve had by a lot. We’ve made significant inroads into the establishment and taken over many state and local levels. Our movement is flexing its muscle in both policy influence and increasing our power going forward. I would have liked to take the top spot (Warren or sanders) and for a time I thought we’d actually get it – a monument-toppling victory that would have positioned us for rapid change – but I suppose that was always a long shot. Still, if the election isn’t fixed, we’ve got a good shot at taking the trifecta, undoing the damage of Trump and hopefully, in a couple of years, starting to make progress again. Even moreso, with a high victory margin.

  39. hemidactylus says

    @46 Vicar

    I’m totally down with ends justify means to get Trump and the nepotistic scumshow out. Sorry. There is no other way at this point. If voters could get strong Leftward legislative shift in Congress that might force Biden’s hand to sign socially beneficial legislation from alleged milquetoast moderates such as AOC.

    Hey I’m an incrementalist who thinks Obama went wobbly on ACA and wants public option as step toward single payer. Incremental doesn’t mean status quo, but in the mean time we gotta undo the post 2016 shitshow to at least get back to a neoliberal dystopia before getting back on track. Babysteps.

  40. publicola says

    I was hoping for Susan Rice, but Harris is good. If Liz was 10 yrs. younger…. Where’s Mario Cuomo when you need him?

  41. kome says

    @47 “if people had showed up for Sanders” elides the massive push by the Democratic establishment to shut down a lot of polling locations in the more progressive areas of states, or the massive push by the Democratic establishment to maintain in-person voting (which the Republicans were all too glad to support) after the pandemic started.

    Yes, a lot of people don’t show up to vote in primaries, or the general election for that matter. And research finds the majority of people who don’t show up are disaffected by the whole process because they have been let down again and again and again; they feel abandoned and therefore no need to participate in whichever disinterested suit is going to not care about them after election. That needs to be fixed, and we cannot keep kicking the can to the next election, and then the next one after that, etc.

    You want people to show up? Give them something to vote for. It does not work to only give people something to vote against. That reinforces the idea that the system is so beyond broken. Democrats cannot win an election on a campaign of “Trump is worse.” Didn’t work in 2016, and heck, the message of “the other guy is worse” didn’t exactly rally Republicans in 2012 against Obama when boring stuffy suit Romney was the nominee. Presidential campaigns are just not decided by who can more effectively say “the other side is the bigger evil.” But that’s what the Democrats have this go around, and it’s not going to work for them. This is an own goal.

  42. ORigel says

    @46 We don’t know if Biden is a rapist. I knew the Right would claim, truly or falsely, that Biden sexually harrassed someone.

    I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary. He lost. We are stuck with Biden, and we’re lucky he made as many concessions to the progressives as he did.

    Biden could rape someone on live TV or shoot someone and I would have to vote for him, as he’d STILL be less of a disaster (and quite possibly less of a serial rapist) than Trump. That’s the new bar.

  43. ORigel says

    @47 We can have “better than Biden” in 2021 if he dies and is replaced by VP Kamala Harris.

  44. logicalcat says

    @The Vicar

    Black people voted for Biden, and Biden was the one who pushed Obama to the left regarding LGBTQ issues. Meanwhile you support Donald Trump, we all still remember that.

    @Kome

    Great, not this bullshit again. The DNC bent over backwards to modify things to appease the Sanderites and at the end they make up shit just like they did in 2016. Sanders lost because he appeals to leftists posers who love to show up to rallies and show how anti-establishment they are but don’t actually give a shit about changing the system. Most of those supposedly ‘dissatisfied’ with the system are too young to have even participated in enough primaries. Its all excuses. DNC didnt cause shit. Keeping the in person votes came at a time when Sanders already lost mathematically but didn’t want to drop out yet. And the closing of places early is something I was some real evidence for because if its anything like 2016 “stealing delegates” conspiracy it wouldn’t surprise me.

  45. says

    @47
    Thanks, couldn’t have said it better myself.

    This whole “She’s a cop” argument stinks to high heaven of astroturf/troll BS. Next week in actual fake news, Project Veritas “discovers” a dozen black people who hate Harris because she prosecuted them for minor drug offenses. This is where they are going to concentrate their narrative in the next week or two. Hell, I would be surprised if professional African American, pro-Trump, BS-artists Diamond and Silk claim they went to jail because of her.

    It’s going to be an entertaining week.

  46. ORigel says

    @50 Sanders supported undemocratic caucuses because they gave him an advantage.

    And if the younglings say the establishment is unfair, they can show up to VOTE. logicalcat is right, Sanderites are posers.

  47. Kevin Karplus says

    Although I liked Warren or Sanders for the top spot, I never favored them for the VP slot. The VP should be younger than the president (unless both are so young that death is unlikely).

    Biden was way down on my list of choices, but Harris was third on my list, so I’m delighted that he picked her. She has done a good job as Senator, and I think she’ll do a good job as VP.

  48. xdrta says

    @ #43

    “Kamala Harris is the fifth most progressive senator by voting record according to Progressive Punch…”

    Please do not confuse people with facts.

  49. says

    @59/@43
    So the’s 5th most progressive (not sure about how you measure that), but doesn’t that mean she’s the 95th least regressive? I’m honestly confused about the point you’re trying to argue.

  50. says

    Oh, the Bernie Bros are back in town. Let me spell this out for you: The US is not nearly as far to the left as you think. Read that as many times as you need to. Take it slowly, ound out the words if you need to. It’s a pity I can’t write it crayon.

    Far Lefties and Libertarians share the same delusion that 99.999% of the people are on their side, and are being horribly repressed by some all-powerful elite holding them back. In reality, the American public is somewhat right-of-center on most major issues. And, even where they might lean center-left, most people don’t want drastic, radical change. And, as I’ve noted before, the far left has done Sweet FA about changing attitudes apart from benefit concerts and and whining about how everyone else just doesn’t “get it” so screw them.

  51. xdrta says

    @ #60

    Judged on her voting record in the Senate, according to the link in #43. How that site arrives at their scores is explained here.

  52. rpjohnston says

    @ kome “And research finds the majority of people who don’t show up are disaffected by the whole process because they have been let down again and again and again; they feel abandoned and therefore no need to participate in whichever disinterested suit is going to not care about them after election. That needs to be fixed, and we cannot keep kicking the can to the next election, and then the next one after that, etc”

    I don’t disagree, have long advocated as such and have long championed, and still championed, exactly that – that Dems need to stop playing by their outdated prosperity calculus and recognize the deep despair infecting half the electorate and with with bold decisiveness. I thought Warren or at least Sanders would do it. But that ended with a wet fart. Well, maybe that’s a bit excessive, as progressives did well enough kick Biden pretty far left. Still, the outsider rallying the haggard troops strategy didn’t work out as I thought it would. I don’t know why, but I hope it’s just because of Sanders’ flaws and not, as logicalcat says @53, because they’re unreachable posers. Though some most definitely are.

  53. rpjohnston says

    To add to @63 – I think one major reason was the ratfucking the BB’s gave to Warren, especially after that stupid wrestling spat about Sanders’ comments, ESPECIALLY after screaming “how DARE you take Saint Bernie’s comments to be sexist!” they went toke “Oh, I’m over this Rogan business, it ain’t no thing”. Lotta people thought and think they’re owed fealty while they abuse other people and as one thread put it on Twitter – progressives are still fighting for our values, we just ain’t doing it with you. I can’t prove its significance but if you told me that horseshit lost him the primary, well, I wouldn’t be surprised.

  54. ORigel says

    @63

    But the young people who are most for Bernie and “socialism” have not voted in many elections, so they haven’t been “let down again and again.”

  55. rpjohnston says

    *Bah I need to sleep. Major reason, but not the only reason, and most of Sanders’ people aren’t like that. But enough to be visible and matter.

  56. rpjohnston says

    @66 believe it or not most people don’t pop into the world at 18 like “politics? wuts dis?”

    I was 11 when Bush was elected and 12 on 9/11. I heard about the shit he did constantly. Some of my classmates’ parents went to war, some died. my postgraduation plans and actions were shaped heavily by the recession that was building up under my nose. The kids who are still in highschool know what fucking world they’re about to be thrust into, thank you very much.

  57. ORigel says

    @61 I think the American public is somewhat left-of-center on most issues, but are bamboozled by dishonest Republican talking points. They aren’t progressive; they don’t want radical change. They want a moderate.

  58. rpjohnston says

    And I’m a middle-class scion so I had the luxury of not needing to know about “poverty” when I was 5, unlike tens of millions of kids then and today.

  59. ORigel says

    @68 I’m contempuous of them for not understanding coalition-building and thinking supporting Bernie every few years is enough.

    It doesn’t take too much effort to vote. You can avoid lines by voting early for major elections. It may take some effort to register to vote, but not much.

  60. chrislawson says

    Vicar:

    “Funny, that’s pretty much how I feel about people who support Biden/Harris. You very definitely aren’t black or trans, and you don’t meaningfully support BLM.”

    Biden was the overwhelming favourite of Democrat nominees among Black voters. You might think that he was not the best candidate (most of us here agree), but the idea that anyone who supports Biden can’t be Black is completely, utterly, demonstrably WRONG, and insulting to Black voters. Stop bullshitting. Stop trying to co-opt Black opinions for your own.

  61. gijoel says

    @12 I make the comment as a large portion (30-35%) seem to deeply invested in their identity politics to a degree I haven’t seen in any other country. I saw a video today of a gammon berating shoppers for wearing masks. Any where else, most people would just snigger under their breath at the sheeple.

    On the other if you really want to get these idiots to wear masks then make one to look the USA flag and call them ‘tactical hygiene masks used by our police and military services.’ Put these ads on Faux and these idiots would fall over themselves to buy them.

  62. Saad says

    The answer to every single one of Vicar’s infantile rants is:

    Justify how a Trump administration is not worse than a Biden administration.

    Because that is what anyone making an argument against voting for Biden is saying at this point in time.

  63. ajbjasus says

    Verb invention. Targeting my pet hate, but has common usage now.

    Sorry if it was a bit cryptic!

  64. says

    I’m not sure if people in the USA are waking up to this (some clearly aren’t), but this will be your last chance to prevent a Trump Dynasty. I don’t even know if you still have a chance, with Trump already talking about postponing the election, not accepting results, taking down the Post Office to prevent mail in ballots, but you sure as hell won’t have any chance 4 years from now.

  65. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    My fond hope is that a “centrist” Presidential ticket won’t scare voters into voting for Rethugs as a check on Presidential power, allowing Dems to take a significant majority in that house. That could result in a real opportunity for Liz Warren to step in with her plans and make some real progressive programs reality.

    LBJ was not a radical. Really, neither was FDR. Progress is often most rapid when the executive is center left, rather than truly progressive. Maybe we’ll get lucky here. Very happy about Kamala Harris. Biden was part of a cabinet that looked like America. Now the Presidential ticket looks like America.

  66. shagnaski says

    As one usually seriously disappointed, I share your feelings generally. However to note that Biden is not FDR as so many have said is not to say much. According to my father (and some historians) who lived thru that period, FDR wasn’t FDR either. It was only on appreciating the enormity of the problems facing him that he grew to the challenge. In view of what Biden has said about rebuilding the structure of our society, etc., he MIGHT actually grow to the challenge. Or he might just be like the old punch line to the enema joke–“can’t hurt.”

  67. shagnaski says

    You might take a look at this article on the prosecutor Harris and the article it links by an opponent.

  68. cartomancer says

    They all seem depressingly right-wing to me. Then again, I’m still angry at my own country for not voting to put Jeremy Corbyn in power (and he’s not nearly left-wing enough for my tastes, but better than anything we’ve had in my lifetime).

    But if it’s a choice between these two objectionable right-wingers or a tinpot dictator and a religious fascist then the choice is fairly obvious. The very fact that is the choice, however, is a pretty damning indictment of a first past the post political system.

  69. ChrisE84 says

    @cartomancer:
    Wasn’t it a really stupid idea to have Corbyn again as a candidate when he couldn’t even defeat Theresa May?

  70. Jemolk says

    @ChrisE84 #83 — You apparently aren’t familiar with the deliberate sabotage from Blairite Labour. Things like deliberately doing nothing about accusations of antisemitism specifically so they could attack Corbyn for supposedly being an antisemite. This stuff sounds at first blush like conspiracy theory nonsense, but it’s true all the same.

    To all the people saying “but Bernie Bros!” and suggesting Sanders is more talk than action because by some bizarre metric someone has assessed Harris as “more progressive than Sanders” — cut the crap. Sanders is very obviously to Harris’s left. Maybe if you exclude class from your analysis entirely, you can get a sufficiently skewed perspective where you might claim that Harris is “more progressive,” but that’s just as ridiculous, if not more, than focusing only on class to the exclusion of all else. The fact is, Harris is perfectly happy to keep the oligarchy in full control of the country, while Sanders would have done something about it. Not enough, but something. Harris may be more vocal about certain minority rights issues, but in my, and a lot of other leftists’, interpretation, that’s as a distraction from her support for the oligarchs, not because she actually supports them more.

    To the “But black people voted for Biden!” thing — sure, older black people voted for Biden. The people that listened to MSNBC and CNN create their false consensus against Sanders based on smoke and mirrors because he was bad for their donors. People can be manipulated by mass media. People were manipulated by mass media. And if you really don’t think there was any manipulation going on, that everything was all totally above-board, just look at the coinflips in Iowa. That those were allowed to stand over objections should demonstrate that shady nonsense was occurring.

    While we’re at it — to all of you who want to reject Vicar’s accelerationism — please do! I don’t want that to be true either. But, like, actually do. Argue with it where it challenges you, not at the point where you’ve already assumed that !accalerationism (not accelerationism) is true. You’re making my own position look foolish. Kindly knock it off.

  71. birgerjohansson says

    A simple summary of the Biden/Harris challenge to Trump/Pence;
    It is better to steps in a dog turd than literally drown in huge pile of manure.
    Also, the indifference to climate change that goes back to Ronald Reagan and his henchmen must end if you care at all about the future.
    So ‘Dog turd for 2020’ it is.

  72. cartomancer says

    Chris E84, #84

    No, I think Jeremy Corbyn had the best set of policies and the best philosophical approach to running the country of any politician in modern British history. With the possible exception of Tony Benn. He was by far the most progressive, most socialistic and most genuinely opposed to the neoliberal horror show of any Labour leader since the 70s.

    I do not think it helps to water down one’s genuinely progressive political message to try to appeal to arseholes. When one does that one ends up with a Tony Blair or a Bill Clinton in power.

  73. says

    Kamala is pretty terrible if you are progressive – she was ready to go after weed users or to keep people in prison as a slave labor but not to go after Steve Mnuchin. So she is enemy of most americans in the economy war while she may be on the progressive side in the culture war and environment.
    She is far from being a nod to the Bernie-type left, she is quite the opposite – and I think it is made on purpose. Center right corporate democrats assume for years that most of the left has nowhere else to go anyway, so they can score points among swing voters by kicking the left in the teeth repeatedly, showing how “moderate and reasonable” they are.
    This election will not be based on policies, Trump will lie, bait and switch anyway, so policy in this election doesn’t matter. Nobody can give as much as Trump can promise anyway.
    Trump went far into “Biden is the vessel for the left” territory (and after pulling his ads down to reexamine them, he doubled down on this strategy) so the best way to win the election is to show he is wrong.
    So the point is TO HAVE Kamala attacked by the left, the more Biden and Harris are attacked by the left, the more ridiculous Trump strategy is. Most of the left will vote against Trump anyway and for every leftist who will drop, there will be 2 swing voters added, which will also deny 2 votes for Trump.
    The byproduct of this strategy is a wave of progressives successfully primarying corporate democrats.
    And as was already mentioned in this topic, neither FDR nor LBJ were progressives – they were just willing to bend under pressure.

    This elections for the left are about who do you want to fight – either Biden/Harris who will try to disarm any attempt at economic progress with identity tokenism, culture issues and ecology but may be willing for some concessions on the economic issues too – or fight Trump who will respond with violence and more swampiness, which will make any progressive movement more numerous and desperate, but also will give more power to corporate elites.
    Regardless who will win the presidential elections, progressive representatives and senators are needed to either slow down Trump or pressure Harris to move in the right direction (I doubt Biden will be president for full term).

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

    <

    blockquote>And research finds the majority of people who don’t show up are disaffected by the whole process because they have been let down again and again and again; they feel abandoned and therefore no need to participate in whichever disinterested suit is going to not care about them after election.

    Meanwhile the Democratic party, quite sensibly, prioritizes advocating and enacting the policy preferences and addressing the concerns of the people who demonstrably can actually, under sone identifiable set of circumstances, be induced to show up at the fucking polls and cast a fucking vote.

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

    …what?

    And research finds the majority of people who don’t show up are disaffected by the whole process because they have been let down again and again and again; they feel abandoned and therefore no need to participate in whichever disinterested suit is going to not care about them after election.

    Meanwhile the Democratic party, quite sensibly, prioritizes advocating and enacting the policy preferences and addressing the concerns of the people who demonstrably can actually, under sone identifiable set of circumstances, be induced to show up at the fucking polls and cast a fucking vote.

  76. ChrisE84 says

    @cartomancer
    It was still clear that he would lose. So what is the point of having the perfect guy for policy who has no chance of winning? Winning should be part of the consideration.

    I think he was pretty convincing as a party leader who should never be PM.

  77. says

    I’ve largely avoided engaging in some of these debates, but things seem to be falling into a pattern we saw in 2016: a group of people just ceaselessly attacks the Democratic candidates, while the rest of us are pressured to defend them as the “lesser of two evils” and to prove that we’re also critical of the dastardly nominees.

    No. We’re up against fucking fascists, and more than that the hub of a global fascist movement. The possibility of continued human habitation of the earth is on the line. More than a thousand people in the US are dying every day, and tens of millions are struggling to make ends meet, and what’s happening in the US is having a catastrophic impact on billions of people around the world.

    The hostility I’ve seen expressed towards Biden and Harris – the only ones with a realistic chance of defeating the fascists – isn’t fair. It’s not based on a reasoned analysis of what’s possible in the current conjuncture. It isn’t constructive. It’s irrational. It seems like the other side of the cult-of-personality coin: my radical candidate would have been amazing and wonderful and done positive things; these establishment candidates are terrible and little different from the fascists and won’t accomplish anything positive. It appears to lead people to reproduce rightwing slanders against Democrats, to assess (all but a few of) them in the most negative terms, and often to reproduce conspiracy theories, which only serves the interests of the Trumpublicans. It leads to a distorted view of politics: the Democrats haven’t been moving to the Right year after year, and they’re not to the Right of all European leftists; this simply isn’t true.

    As Chomsky says in the interview @ #81,

    At this moment, the difference between the candidates is a chasm. There has never been a greater difference. It should be obvious to anyone who’s not living under a rock. So the traditional left position says, “Take the 15 minutes, push the lever, go back to work.”

    Take Biden’s campaign positions. Farther to the left than any Democratic candidate in memory on things like climate. It’s far better than anything that preceded it. Not because Biden had a personal conversion or the DNC had some great insight, but because they’re being hammered on by activists coming out of the Sanders movement and others. The climate program, a $2 trillion commitment to dealing with the extreme threat of environmental catastrophe, was largely written by the Sunrise Movement and strongly endorsed by the leading activists on climate change, the ones who managed to get the Green New Deal on the legislative agenda. That’s real politics.

    Now, I would say, beyond this, that this attitude requires a fair and reasoned consideration of the Democratic candidates (even if they were the horrible people some make them out to be, they would still be unimaginably better than Trump, but they aren’t). If our intent even partially is to influence people, we need to understand them. Also, it’s our moral obligation to try our best to accurately assess the evidence, especially when it comes to our fellow beings. We have a responsibility not to casually malign people, but to try to understand their choices and actions in context.

    And now I’ll try to go back to ignoring those I’ve ignored in the past, who with their unreasoned animus are effectively working for Trump.

  78. rpjohnston says

    ++ to Salty Current with 2 exceptions: To say that “Democrats haven’t been moving Right year after year” while Republicans go screaming away on the crazy train and Dems insist on treating them as collegiate “friends across the aisle” whose ideas should be seriously debated is just wrong; and while they may be to the Right of ALL European leftists they are to the right of most.

  79. says

    rpjohnston @ #94:

    ++ to Salty Current

    Why thank you.

    with 2 exceptions: To say that “Democrats haven’t been moving Right year after year” while Republicans go screaming away on the crazy train

    Republicans have done this. Dems have not been moving to the Right in recent years. It’s just not true.

    and while they may be to the Right of ALL European leftists they are to the right of most.

    Gah – I had a link to a spectrum of parties showing the Democrats IIRC about 75% to the Left (with IIRC the German Greens at the far end) and the Republicans further to the Right end (with the German AfD and Vox in Spain to the Right) but I can’t find it or remember who produced it. I am annoyed – like to have my links ready. Regardless, I’d need to see good evidence that the current Democratic Party in the US is significantly to the Right of most European leftist parties and on what measures. In any case, it’s not like some huge gulf between the Dems in the US and leftwing European parties.

  80. Jemolk says

    timgueguen @87 — Accelerationism is a far left strain which holds that things need to get much worse, essentially to the point of everything being in absolute shambles, for people to get sufficiently uncomfortable to create revolution (read: the radical restructuring of society around principles of mutual aid) and thus fix the actual root problems. Essentially — things need to hit French Revolution or Russian Revolution-level bad for most people before we can really fix things, because otherwise people will just keep the status quo due to it being bearable for some and easier than fighting back. For that, we need to accelerate the rate at which capitalism pushes itself off a cliff, because the accelerationists believe it’s going to go over that cliff regardless. Hence, to the accelerationist, Trump > Biden.

    What I find most unsettling about this is that it’s far more palatable from the perspective of someone who already has very little to lose, and that makes me wonder if my own positions on what could cause revolution are rationalizations due to me not wanting to find myself in such a world. I still think that it’s possible to build a better world without such destruction, but it’s really hard to demonstrate or craft a fully cohesive explanation of that. It’s certainly true that the desperate are more prepared to make drastic changes than the comfortable, and also that drastic changes are needed now more than ever with climate armageddon closing in.

  81. logicalcat says

    @63 rpjohnston

    Sanders flaws both personal and regarding campaign strategies definitely has something to do with it. The posers too.

    Sanders failed to build coalitions and had a very dumb campaign strategy of appealing to his base only because the centrist candidates were very split. A base that barely votes so when the centrists started dropping and supporting each other it was a fast game over. He shoulda seen that coming. He would have stayed competitive but he burned the only bridge he had with warren.

    Funny enough the progressives used the fact that centrists were dropping out and backing biden as proof of rigging the system making my eyes roll so fucking hard i almost poppes a vessel. Just shows that they either dont care, or are too ignorant on how democracy works. No wonder a lot of them fantasize about a revolution.

  82. logicalcat says

    @96

    In my experience the accelerationists are yuppie overly privleged college students who support such nonsense because they know they will be safe in theor privlege.

    As one of these idiots once told me in person when i asked him about how people like me tend to be victims of such a fascist regime, his response was “well, buy a gun and join the fight comrade” he said while in a fancy university i cant afford and a car his momma bought him.

    Maybe i just have bad luck.

  83. says

    logicalcat @ #98 and timgueguen @ #99, I’ll never forget this interview in March of 2019:

    Salon, March 29, 2016 – “Susan Sarandon can afford a so-called Trump ‘revolution’ — the rest of us will be screwed when ‘things really explode'”:

    Celebrities — they’re not just like us! They’re not regular people! Even the ones who seem likable and earthy, who probably are pretty likable and earthy, still live in a totally different America than the rest of us here in the 99 percent. Case in point — imagine being well enough off to not be scared out of your mind right now about the outcome of the 2016 election.

    Susan Sarandon doesn’t seem to be sweating it. Sarandon — who three years ago declared, “I think of myself as a humanist because I think it’s less alienating to people who think of feminism as being a load of strident [b—–s] and because you want everyone to have equal pay, equal rights, education and healthcare,” is a Bernie Sanders supporter. But in a Monday conversation with MSNBC Chris Hayes, she went further, saying that “I think Bernie would probably encourage people to [support Hillary if he loses] because he doesn’t have any ego in this thing. But I think a lot of people are, ‘Sorry, I just can’t bring myself to.'”

    When pressed how she’d vote if it came down to Clinton or Trump, she admitted, “I don’t know. I’m going to see what happens,” adding, “Some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in, things will really explode… If you think it’s pragmatic to shore up the status quo right now, then you’re not in touch with the status quo. The status quo is not working.”

    Well, sure, the status is not quo. But it must be super nice to be a highly-paid Oscar winner who at nearly 70 can still be a L’Oreal brand ambassador and feisty fashion role model. It must be nice to espouse liberal causes but also feel secure that you’ll be fine if everything goes entirely to the dogs. Your family wouldn’t be deported. Escalating racism? Not your problem. A misogynist in the White House setting the tone on how to talk to women? Wouldn’t affect your career or personal safety. Your health insurance wouldn’t be lost. You wouldn’t lose your job or your mortgage. You have no student loans to default on. You could, you might imagine, safety watch “things really explode” from your West Village penthouse. That’s a privilege the rest of us don’t have.

    The future of America, for those of us who live in it and aren’t award-winning millionaires, is not some abstract experiment. These are our lives and livelihoods and loved ones and basic human rights to dignity and respect on the line. And if you’re successful enough to have forgotten that, at least do us the favor of keeping quiet about it.

  84. says

    Here I am arguing with the Sarandon position in 2016.

    Ah, memories:

    [some fool:] To address the undue alarmism in the remainder of your admittedly thoughtful and well-intended post, I’d agree with you in that I too reason that it would be bad for America in the short-term if we were to see a fascistic Trump Administration take over the Executive Branch. However, here is a news flash for you: Donald Trump is not actually a Nazi.

    [me:] He’s an authoritarian with fascistic tendencies and a lot of support on the Right, both from white supremacists and from people with power. That should make everyone – and not just in the US – very afraid. He’s a buffoon, but his authoritarianism and its appeal to many people are very real.

    Lynna also posted an excerpt from a typically great piece by Michelle Goldberg about the Sarandon remarks.

  85. rpjohnston says

    @95 SC: 1. You had to cut off half my sentence to disagree. Yeah. 2. There was an article going around twitter awhile back that had a spot diagram similar to the one on this page that featured the Democratic party. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/26/opinion/sunday/republican-platform-far-right.html Google isn’t finding it because of course, though this article says that they’re around center-left to mainstream left compared to European parties – and this is the center-right NYT, so compensate for their exaggeration.

  86. rpjohnston says

    @97 logicalcat: Well it’s more or less a strategy that I espoused. The Democratic Usual Suspects can be taken for granted; they’re on the record endorsing Any Functional Adult or a Ham Sandwich for President. Our problem is the massive untapped well of almost half the electorate that’s just fucked off from politics. Part of the reason they fucked off is that Dems care more about appealing to the mythical vapor wafting off the Republican party than them.

    And well…Sanders spent 4 years running around the country talking up Economic Anxiety and class reductioning, then got all buddy-buddy with a right-wing podcast meathead, predictably developed a crypto-rightwing base that harassed well-liked progressives, and who ultimately turned a trivial kayfabe CNN wrestling spat into a ludicrously manufactured scandal. One of the BB friends I lost, in my last argument with him after the Rogan thing, literally argued “we need these people” and I was like “dude that’s the exact same shit I hear from the damned Centrists”.

    I still have hope that that huge well can be tapped if we get someone who actually taps it.

  87. says

    rpjohnston @ #102:

    You had to cut off half my sentence to disagree.

    No, I disagree with the unquoted portion as well. :)

    Seriously, though, from what I’ve seen that’s not an accurate description of how the Democrats have been behaving.

    There was an article going around twitter awhile back that had a spot diagram similar to the one on this page that featured the Democratic party…. Google isn’t finding it because of course, though this article says that they’re around center-left to mainstream left compared to European parties – and this is the center-right NYT, so compensate for their exaggeration.

    I don’t have access to the NYT piece, but IIRC the colored spectrum I saw put them like 70/75% toward the Left end, with several leftwing European parties to their right. It was recent, but I still might not be remembering it correctly. In any case, it didn’t put the current Dems significantly to the right of the European parties, which is what people imply in these threads again and again. It’s further complicated by the fact that the US has only two major parties, so of course the Democratic Party is going to represent a coalition with a wider range of viewpoints than a typical European party. I’d like to see an updated spectrum (with the criteria for placement) with the newest party platforms. As I’ve pointed out (and Chomsky does in the piece above), the Democratic platform this year, for all its many problems, is further to the Left than any before. And yet to read many threads here, you’d think they had been moving steadily to the right for years. It’s weird.

  88. rpjohnston says

    @SC: well, I can’t stop you from just noping on it but it won’t convince people like me (and people far less reasonable than me) that Dems haven’t been marching rightward after the GOP. In fact it will further convince us that trying to address the problem in good faith is impossible and only usurping power in the Party is a valid path

    I found the image and uploaded it to imgur. Google Images ascribes it to the very same NYT article I posted, but strangely it doesn’t actually appear on that page now. https://imgur.com/a/aGGufep

  89. says

    rpjohnston @ #105:

    @SC: well, I can’t stop you from just noping on it but it won’t convince people like me (and people far less reasonable than me) that Dems haven’t been marching rightward after the GOP. In fact it will further convince us that trying to address the problem in good faith is impossible and only usurping power in the Party is a valid path

    But it’s an empirical question. The party includes the Squad (which is growing!), and Sens. Warren, Brown, Markey, etc. They’re not outsiders. Here’s a description of the unity task forces formed by Sanders and Biden and some of their recommendations. Obviously, Biden’s starting positions aren’t as far left as Sanders’, but my point and Chomsky’s is that he and the party have been pushed to the Left by progressives and especially by the social movements. They haven’t been moving rightward. I can’t imagine what interest anyone would think Noam Fucking Chomsky would have in painting Biden or the Democratic Party in a false light. As he says: “Take Biden’s campaign positions. Farther to the left than any Democratic candidate in memory on things like climate. It’s far better than anything that preceded it.” Look at health care or climate change – the party is to the left of where it was 5, 10, 20 years ago (or even last year!), and that’s because of all of the grassroots activism. Is it because people are younger and don’t have a real memory of what Dems were like before that they can’t appreciate this? Is it because Republicans have had the power to block so many things for so long that people ascribe their positions to the Dems as well? I’m not sure. In any case, they’re wrong.

    I don’t know, and probably don’t want to know, what “usurping power in the party” would entail, but I can’t think of a more counterproductive direction to be heading right now. Progressives have more power within and outside the party than they/we’ve had in decades. Just keep up those fights.

    When you say “but it won’t convince people like me (and people far less reasonable than me) that Dems haven’t been marching rightward after the GOP” I don’t know quite what to make of it. People who refuse to honestly assess the evidence and unreasonably cling to beliefs that are contrary to the evidence are a) being stupid and immoral b) bound to be less effective as activists and c) not a priority for me. Those are the people I’m talking about in my long post above.

    I’ll keep looking for that political spectrum I saw recently.

  90. says

    Two relevant items from this week on the Political Madness thread:

    Tuesday: Bernie Sanders’ piece in the Guardian on the Make Billionaires Pay Act, sponsored by him with Sens. Markey and Gillibrand.

    Today: article about the pandemic relief negotiations:

    …Democrats in the House approved a relief package over $3 trillion, and offered to come down to $2 trillion. Republicans and the White House have refused to move from $1 trillion.

    “We are miles apart in our values,” Pelosi told reporters on Thursday. “Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gave a damn. That isn’t the case. This is very far apart.”…

  91. rpjohnston says

    My, and probably most people like me’s, calculation of The Democrats excludes people meant to usurp them, like The Squad. Warren and Markey and the like aren’t usurpers, but they’re great in my book because my goal isn’t specifically usurpation – that’s just a tactic that I lean heavily toward.

    Biden et al are walking left while the country bicycles left. The net is that they’re moving right. Yes, do look at healthcare: The signature achievement of Obama was enacting the 90’s Heritage Foundation’s plan to spoil Clinton. The platform vetoed M4A this year, and is, maybe, where Clinton was 25 years ago, depending on what they mean by “expanding” it? Despite 88% of Democrats in for M4A. If you don’t move while everyone else moves to the left, then you’re moving to the right.

    On top of, as I mentioned, Dem’s unwillingness to ever stop engaging increasingly further-right bullshit. You don’t see that with the GOP – they’re forwardly eliminationist toward Dems, and no one accuses them of going to the Left.

    I’ve stilled made the arguments I have on the two threads – and derided the Sanders dead-enders – because positions that do move to the left in an absolute sense are both good and can be built off of.

    Having Republicans block things and Dems just accept and make excuses to turn back to Netflix doesn’t do wonders for skeptics of their good faith, no.

    Usurping power means kicking out comfortable old fossils like Schumer and Feinstein who aren’t up to the task of opposing an existential threat and replacing them with people like The Squad who have the courage to fight for us. This also includes lower offices and unelected party apparatchiks. (I say “old” broadly; everything I’ve heard says that Markey is better than Kennedy). We have increased power because we displaced those who came before us.

  92. rpjohnston says

    To the extent I can ascribe honesty to the dead-enders, I’d say they treat usurpation as the goal and just think “everything else” will flow naturally from that. That may be true…but making the tactic the goal makes it much easier to lose the “everything else” to corruption, inexperience, waste, and self-owns. 538 dipshits all backstabbing each other to prove their purity creds won’t do shit. It’s also slower – there are establishment types like Warren who are great allies, and wasting resources to destroy her for essentially no gain AT BEST except righteous wanking is stupid.

  93. says

    My, and probably most people like me’s, calculation of The Democrats excludes people meant to usurp them, like The Squad.

    Your “calculation”? “Meant to usurp them”? The Squad are elected members of congress in the Democratic Party. They’re on committees and so forth, and have other positions of influence within and beyond the party, but, like, there’s no throne. There’s no apparatus to seize. They can’t throw anyone out of the party. They can support progressive primary opponents. They can stand for leadership positions. They can organize for change inside and outside the party, but there’s nothing to usurp. It’s such a strange concept in this context, especially when their power and influence are growing.

    Biden et al are walking left while the country bicycles left. The net is that they’re moving right. Yes, do look at healthcare: The signature achievement of Obama was enacting the 90’s Heritage Foundation’s plan to spoil Clinton. The platform vetoed [?] M4A this year, and is, maybe, where Clinton was 25 years ago, depending on what they mean by “expanding” it? Despite 88% of Democrats in for M4A. If you don’t move while everyone else moves to the left, then you’re moving to the right.

    There’s a far-Right Republican in the WH and the Republicans control the Senate! The Democratic electorate chose Biden over Warren or Sanders. The general electorate is not to the left of Biden or of the Democratic Party. Not only did Clinton’s plan not succeed, and nor did any other effort of the sort prior to the ACA (which is a thing that exists), but the Right marshaled an unprecedented effort to destroy her over it (and her plan was to the right of current plans, although they owe a debt to her). The ACA barely passed and is still on shaky ground. Many of the people elected in the 2018 wave are centrists, and wouldn’t have been elected had they been further left.

    The claim that the Dems are moving to the Left at a slower pace than the country is silly. But there are several related issues:

    First, it’s also a different claim than the one I addressed, which was that the Democrats have been moving to the Right. Since you said “Biden et al are walking left,” and since Biden is at the centrist end of the party, I’ll assume that we agree that the claim that the Democrats have been and are moving to the Right (the delta between their past and present positions) isn’t true.

    Second, it’s not legitimate to talk about the state of the Democrats or the Democratic Party while excluding Democrats (or Democratic presidential candidates!) because they’re progressive. I mean, sure, if you set aside AOC and Pressley and Tlaib and Omar and Bass and Lee and Grijalva and Khanna and Sanders and Warren and Markey and Brown and… there’s much less leftwing movement. But that makes no sense. (And it’s disrespectful to them. I don’t think AOC sees herself as someone “meant to usurp” anything, whatever the fever dreams of some Sanders dead-enders. She’s a progressive Democrat, and a person, not some vector in someone’s narrative scheme.)

    Third, it’s very difficult to separate what’s happening in public opinion from what social movements are doing from what Democrats are doing. Public opinion doesn’t change independently of what politicians are saying and doing. There’s BLM, there’s John Lewis, there’s changing opinion. There’s the Sunrise Movement, there’s AOC (and Al Gore!), there’s changing opinion. I believe the movements are central, but the influence moves in different directions simultaneously.

    If the argument is simply that the situation is urgent and the US leftwing party as an organization is moving to the left far too slowly, I’d agree. But that’s not the same thing as moving to the Right, being to the right of the US public, or being a powerful cabal blocking progressive change. Anyway, here’s one approach:

    Effective organizers are welcomers, natural educators, and positive in their interactions.

    They make new people feel like theirs is a movement they want to be part of.

    Effective organizers treat the internet as an organizing space (although not the *only* organizing space!).

    It is important to fight for the issues, advance your argument, and grow the cause.

    To do so, the questions that organizers or anyone seeking to advance a cause or campaign should always ask themselves are: who else can we include, and how can we listen and include them?

    On top of, as I mentioned, Dem’s unwillingness to ever stop engaging increasingly further-right bullshit.

    Having Republicans block things and Dems just accept and make excuses to turn back to Netflix

    Again, I don’t agree that this is an accurate depiction of how Democrats are behaving. They’re less engaging and accepting than they were in the past. (I’ll say more about this momentarily.)

  94. Red Green says

    Dear Gentle Persons

    I find it funny that people who advocate Collectivist Totalitarianism the post on a site freethoughtblogs.com. Kamala “Headboard” Harris would have been my favorite as well! I expect her to make a fun filled September and October in the run up to the election. She is excellent fodder for opposition research. As to your pining for collectivism, well it was tried before. The quest for utopia cost 100 Million human lives in the last century. Those in quest for utopia under the banner of socialism, include the Marxist-Leninism of Soviet Russia, the National Socialists of NAZI Germany, the Maoists of Communist China, (who are still it today with ethnic cleaning, religious persecution, and political repression of her people). how many will it kill in this century until the morally bankrupt ideology is swept once and for all into the dustbin of history? North and South Vietnam, Communist Cuba, Trotsky devotees, Pol Pot, etc. But you all remain convinced you can do it better in you commitment to egalitarianism… Totalitarianism, remains the same and it does not matter what ideology you cloak it in. You are all either buying or selling sake oil, and drinking the cool aid of self enslavement. Orwell said; If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever! God Bless, you all and may God help us all!

  95. rpjohnston says

    And then there’s this shit. https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1293945388240498690

    “The Squad are elected members of congress in the Democratic Party.” And Sanders runs in Democratic races.

    “They’re on committees and so forth, and have other positions of influence within and beyond the party…There’s no apparatus to seize”. Reread that.

    “They can’t throw anyone out of the party.” Yet. And technically. Power is power. It can be beaten, but it exists nonetheless; AOC defeated a billion-term high-powered incumbent for her seat, but he served for a billion terms. The incumbency advantage is something you surely wouldn’t try to argue against.

    “The Democratic electorate chose Biden over Warren or Sanders.” Sadly, a large part of the electorate is like my dad, who, after a decade of work on M street, bought a ski-resort house in the West Virginia mountains to retire to. (In fairness, I got him to vote for Warren). These people will reliably vote for any Democrat in the general, and will die off soon anyway; despite their comfort the reforms of the Left are essentially neutral to them, so they vote for their cowardice. I don’t care about them, I care about the people who need their needs addressed.

    “Not only did Clinton’s plan not succeed, and nor did any other effort of the sort prior to the ACA (which is a thing that exists), but the Right marshaled an unprecedented effort to destroy her over it.” Exactly. The Right went to war to make people die, Dems couldn’t pull shit together to beat them, they finally broke down and passed the Right’s half-assed spoiler plan to appease them (and got backstabbed), and now the Right blarghblargh Obamacare. The Right must be crushed and drowned in the ocean and Dems who are too weak-willed to pursue this must be evicted and replaced with progressives who will.

    “Many of the people elected in the 2018 wave are centrists, and wouldn’t have been elected had they been further left.” Many were Progressives who unseated centrists, several Centrists lost (Heitkamp, Donnelly etc) and the Squad overwhelmingly won their primaries this year. Frankly I find the argument that the large number of Centrists won races their were heavily favored to win as specious as dead-ender whining about losing races they were unlikely to win; the overall trend was that centrist underperformed compared to what would be expected if Progressives were a fringe movement without popular support.

    “claim that the Democrats have been and are moving to the Right (the delta between their past and present positions) isn’t true” yes

    “Second, it’s not legitimate to talk about the state of the Democrats or the Democratic Party while excluding Democrats (or Democratic presidential candidates!) because they’re progressive.” false

    “I mean, sure, if you set aside AOC and Pressley and Tlaib and Omar and Bass and Lee and Grijalva and Khanna and Sanders and Warren and Markey and Brown” In my previous post I explicitly differentiated between several of these people

    “And it’s disrespectful to them. I don’t think AOC sees herself as someone “meant to usurp” anything” Then why did she primary one of the most powerful members of the house who’d served terms since the Stone Age. Why does she identify herself as a part of a group called The Squad. Why the conflicts with Pelosi. She clearly sees herself as someone who is meant to bring something different to a crusty old elite Congress, to shake things up, to be a disruptor. I follow her on Twitter. The difference between what she says and the calculated consensus-driven posts of other Dems is palpable, even when I feel that other Dems are driving strong statements too – and in the times when I disagree with her message.

    “Public opinion doesn’t change independently of what politicians are saying and doing.” yes. Too many Dems refuse to embrace their role as leaders. We were listening to GOP fuckasses shit about snowballs and Dems whine that GOP should stop shitting and do something until AOC said enougha this shit here’s a Green New Deal and now we’re talking about that.

    I agree with AOC statement.

    “They’re less engaging and accepting than they were in the past.” I’m tepidly willing to concede that, in the very near terms, this is accurate. Now that we’re on the precipice of a takeover that may very well lead to mass hangings, Dems are starting to move. It’s still too slow, it’s still far too late. That said, one’s opinion of them doesn’t change so rapidly. If I favorably bring up Reid abolishing the judicial filibuster I’ll hear no end of Dem self-flagellation; I still haven’t forgotten the 80+ Obamacare repeal votes, Benghazi, emails, birtherism, Jade Helm, Obamaphones, Merrick Garland and carry on, while Dems made excuses. I haven’t forgotten that when given power, Dems had to be dragged kicking and screaming into barely impeaching, nor, personally, that my dad explicitly, in those literal words, said they should be dragged kicking and screaming into it as a matter of strategy because he – and they – still think reluctance for cough “extremism” cough is a winning play. My judgment goes back at least 10 decades and it will take either that long or rapid changes to shake that.

  96. rpjohnston says

    Good lord that’s a wall of text. that’s what happens when my aspie brain engages someone genuinely interesting and I’m too drunk to shut it off. ‘pologies.

  97. rpjohnston says

    Clarification: “we agree that the claim that the Democrats have been and are moving to the Right (the delta between their past and present positions) isn’t true.” (emphasis added) We agree. In an absolute sense. Our disagreement is I say that the the Left wing of the country (which I mistakenly wrote as “the country”) has been moving Left much more rapidly than Dems and the net effect is a rightward skew by the Dems, particularly when combined with other considerations.

    A site that has been cited in this thread I believe in progressivepunch, which grades Congresspeople by how willing they are to be more progressive than their district. My own Congressman, Connolly, gets an F; he’s 11 points underwater. I voted against him in our primary, he won handily, and I’m not too perturbed; compared to the whole he’s still a solid progressive-friendly establishment, like Warren. But he’s still an F.

  98. rpjohnston says

    …My judgment goes back at least 10 years. I’m not the feckin’ crypt keeper YET. good lord.

  99. logicalcat says

    @Red Green

    No one here isnadvocating forncollectovost totalitarianism. You clearly dont know what your talking about. That post was dumb as fuck.

  100. says

    rpjohnston, not only was that a wall of text, it was completely confused. This is one of the reasons I generally avoid these discussions: in the middle of a factual argument people just drift off into these long attacks on centrist Democrats and people who vote for them. It’s all irrelevant. Someone’s opinion of what (they believe) people are doing or speculations about their motivations have no bearing on the reality of what people are doing. (This is a typical progression: “A majority of Democrats supported Bernie Sanders as the presidential candidate.” “No, they didn’t.” “Well, Democratic voters suck and are cowards and reactionaries and were manipulated by a cabal…”) I don’t see how it’s controversial to say that we have to begin with the reality and trying to understand it before moving to what to do about it.

    The question was whether the Democrats have been and are moving to the right. They are not. They have been moving to the left and continue to move to the left. They’re the furthest left they’ve ever been. You’ve somewhat acknowledged that, but have tried to contest it by claiming several things.

    First, that a discussion of how progressive the Democrats are or are becoming has to exclude progressive Democrats (!), even though they’re a major factor pushing the party to the left. This is so plainly illegitimate that it really doesn’t warrant further discussion. And the justification you offer for their exclusion is frankly bizarre. Is it that you don’t understand the meaning of “usurp”? “Usurp” means to “take (a position of power or importance) illegally or by force,” to “take the place of (someone in a position of power) illegally; supplant.” As you’ve acknowledged, their numbers/influence/power within the party are growing through perfectly normal electoral and organizational means. The Squad and others are progressive Democrats in the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders was the runner-up to be the party’s presidential nominee, and Elizabeth Warren came in third. They’ve participated in the unity task forces shaping the party’s platform. They’re campaigning for Biden. They’re campaigning for other Democrats, both incumbents and challengers. They’re sponsoring and passing bills with other Democrats. Sanders’ earlier irresponsible rhetoric aside, they’re not storming anything. They’re participating in Democratic politics. They’re Democrats.

    Second, that, OK, the party is actually moving to the left, but the country is moving to the left so much more quickly that it means the party is actually moving to the right. This hurts my head, but in any case it’s not true. The country is not to the left of the Democratic Party. You seem to have acknowledged this now, saying that you didn’t really mean the country when you said the country, so I won’t waste more time on it. I will say that I’m often angry that the country isn’t as far left as I want, but we need to recognize the reality of the situation and heed AOC’s advice. Wishful thinking alternating with resentment is a bad basis for political analysis and action.

    Third – and it’s somewhat tangential – that even if Democrats are moving to the left, they (presumably you mean some in the leadership, though again why progressives would be excluded is a mystery) are as (more?) accepting of Republicans and their arguments and actions. I don’t believe this to be true, and have presented some evidence. I also think these concepts would need to be defined clearly and studied to look at change over time. But you’ve now said that you agree that this isn’t true, either, so we can set it aside as well. (I had pulled several quotes from the mindblowing document that is the 1996 Democratic platform, but it’s too much so I probably won’t post them. Here’s the Republican one. This is an illustration of accepting and engaging with Republican ideas, even while recognizing how evil their project is. It’s vastly different from what’s happening now.)

    So, your argument as it stands is that “the Left wing of the country (which I mistakenly wrote as ‘the country’) has been moving Left much more rapidly than Dems.” (You present this as “our disagreement,” which it isn’t.) The left wing of the party and of the Democratic electorate (and the relatively small portion of the population to their left, which includes me) is to the left of the Democratic Party as a whole. I mean, yeah – this is true almost by definition. We’ve come a long way from the things I began arguing against: the Democrats are moving to the right, they’re reactionaries, they’re the same as the Republicans, they’re in league with the Republicans,…

    My original point was broadly that there are people in many threads here (it’s happening in other threads as I write this!) who have a visceral, unreasonable, unfair hatred of the Democratic Party and who take every opportunity to attack Democrats, including with inaccurate representations. This doesn’t help the Left. It does nothing to advance progressive goals. It’s unethical. It helps Trump and the Republicans.

    It also completely distracts from the realities on the ground. The Democratic Party is moving to the left. Its general positions are as leftwing as they’ve been. Leftwing movements are gaining strength and influence. Progressives in the party are winning elections, growing in numbers, and gaining in influence. They’re advancing progressive ideas and policies in congress and in the party’s platform. The party is united and determined to win the WH and the Senate and keep the House. In tandem with the work of activists and politicians, there’s been a sea change on a number of issues (guns, LGBT rights, BLM, taxation, healthcare,…) in Democratic and wider public opinion. I point all of this out not to “defend” the party or its leadership (other than from unfair misrepresentations) or to suggest that everything’s going great (it most definitely is not) but to ground things in a real understanding of the situation and its possibilities.

  101. logicalcat says

    @SC

    Probaly the best post about this subject ive seen yet. Thanks for writing all that out.

  102. John Morales says

    [yeah, SC was always super-cluey.
    Shame about Sastra, who no longer comments here — because she’s at Ophelia’s place]

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