The only reason I voted for him is because the alternative was even worse

I agree completely with Marcus: Biden is a horrible jackass. But as the saying goes, he’s our jackass, and he’s the lesser jackass, compared to the previous jackass. Still, let’s primary him and elect someone better.

Also, let’s stop propping up corrupt right-wing regimes, like that of Netanyahu, right now. He’s outright murdering civilians and committing genocide, and we give him the bombs to do it with?


  1. PaulBC says

    The mascot of the Democratic party is a jackass, so what do you want? I haven’t read Marcus’s article, but I think he’s wrong. In my estimation, Biden does an entirely passable job of being a jackass.

  2. PaulBC says

    On the serious topic, Biden is doing exactly what anyone would have predicted ahead of time with respect to Israel. He was never my first choice (I liked Warren) but I am still very relieved he won in November. Change in US-Israel relations isn’t going to come from an old man who voted consistently for conventional US foreign policy his entire life.

  3. justanotherguy says

    To call Trump and Biden just “different kinds of jackass” misses an important difference.

    Trump can easily be swayed to fascism.

    Biden’t can’t.

    Pair that with the fact that that Sanders would have lost to Trump in 2020.

  4. hillaryrettig1 says

    I hate and despise Biden, who in 2016, in the midst of a close house race, came to our district and took $200K to give a campaign speech for the Republican. That Republican also happened to be Fred Upton, at that time one of the very worst GOP of all, and a leader in the fight to defund Obamacare, supposedly the signature achievement of Biden’s former admin.

    Biden is corrupt through and through – no principles and no honor. He wouldn’t even meet with the Dem candidate for ten minutes on the tarmac. He probably cost us the seat.

    At the same time he did that, we – loyal Dem soldiers – were out volunteering our time like patsies trying to get out the vote for the Dem.

    I will never forgive the Dems for rigging the primary in favor of him and Harris – the two least suited and least competent of the major candidates. I’m relieved not to have Trump in power, and obviously Biden’s better than Trump on vaxxing and other issues. But Biden’s inadequacies and broken promises – the $2,000, $15 minimum wage – are ensuring us a second Trump term, or worse.

    I held my nose and voted for him in 2020, but I’m done voting for the lesser jackass.

  5. PaulBC says

    Everyone here’s saying “jackass” like it’s a bad thing. Don’t you have any party pride? I am a proud Democratic jackass and have been since 1984. (OK there were a few years where I was a self-styled Independent, but I basically voted straight-ticket.)

  6. jsrtheta says

    Are you insane? Why not just save yourself the hypocrisy and vote Republican?

    So Bernie, or Elizabeth, or whatever unelectable candidate that you preferred, didn’t get in. Grow up. Politics is the art of the possible, not the art of the perfect.

    Now, after four moths in office you pronounce him a jackass. (And one person here declares him corrupt, for pity’s sake.)

    With the spread of COVID, Democratic voters rose up and said “Stop screwing around!” and generated a juggernaut for Biden. Why? Because they wanted to win, not salve the perennial whining of progressives.

    And whining it is: Progressives never seem to understand that the majority of the country ain’t gonna vote for them. Yet every four years we get the weeping and gnashing of teeth because no one wants their pet candidate. And it’s no wonder, given the choices. I spent years listening to Bernie Sanders every Friday, “Brunch with Bernie” on the conspiracy theorist Thom Hartmann’s show. And I’ll tell you, four years of being hectored by Bernie because no one recognizes his pure genius would drive me out of voting, too, if he were the candidate.

    Biden’s fine. In fact, he’s more than fine. He hit the ground running knowing what the job entails and has set about getting some long neglected, yet basic, needs attended to.

    That’s what good politics is, doing the job effectively and with little fanfare. And recognizing how power works, and using it for the good of all.

  7. Sam N says

    @6 jsrtheta, and yet PZ Myers DID vote for Biden. Who is the hypocrite again here? The person who can’t accept progressive support for the lesser evil despite the sickness in their stomachs for your pathetically low bars for ethics.

    Seriously. Go fuck yourself.

  8. Sam N says

    @2 Paul, I was a Warren fan, too, for the most part. But she made some very bad stumbles. She couldn’t just honestly say, yes, I’ll raise taxes to save you massive amounts of money on healthcare. I even volunteered for her campaign office in Reno, NV, which was terribly run. She did not have the ground game, and I ended up switching my support to Bernie Sanders in the last week for that reason.

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

    stop making PERFECT enemy of the Good. Biden is not perfect while being fa better than most of us. Yes he makes mistakes and doesn’t always go precisely where I want him to go. No one is perfect and Biden acknowledges his flaws and tries to correct them.
    I think he was trying to keep us out of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict physically by saying as little as possible.
    -.-You know I have no authority, I’m only expressing myself pointlessly. sigh

  10. justanotherguy says

    I’m feeling extremely grateful for not having to endure another four years of Trump.

    Also extremely lucky. Because I think Trump would have won without all the centrist candidates but Biden voluntarily dropping out of the 2020 Democrat presidential primary, which allowed Biden to defeat Sanders.

    It’s an extraordinary thing for a politician to sacrifice career for country.

    This is an important thing for Progressives to understand – the DNC did not have the power to just order Warren, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar to drop out of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

    The DNC certainly made their wishes known to those three candidates, but they did not have the power to order them to drop out.

    Warren, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar dropped out of their own accord, for the good of the country, so that liberals would be united under a centrist candidate against Trump.

    The fact that Sanders never came close to winning a state primary after that shows that Sanders support was always limited to a minority of liberals. It just didn’t look that way when multiple centrist candidates were splitting the centrist liberal votes in the primaries that occurred before Warren, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar dropped out.

  11. mnb0 says

    “he’s our jackass,”
    Indeed. Fuck the rest of the world is your motto.

    “and he’s the lesser jackass”
    For you Americans. Not for the rest of the world. See above.
    This is just your version of America First.

    But OK, I knew that before the elections and you never denied it. Some meager kudos to you. What really bugs me is something different. What did the RobG’s and the NoamC’s of your nation say again? Something like

    “Vote Donald the Clown out of the White House now, fight for structural change later.”
    Later is now. And where is that fight for structural change?
    In the dustbin.
    Even BernieS and the fabulous four have been silent.

    So stop whining, PZ. Do something.

  12. Sam N says

    @11, mnb0, what should we do beyond speaking up. Demonstrating in the streets, writing our representatives and telling them I’m ashamed of their behaviors.

    Seriously, mnb0. Get specific. What should we be doing.

  13. mnb0 says

    @3: “Trump can easily be swayed to fascism.
    Biden’t can’t.”
    Oh nice, we non-Americans will be either screwed by a fascism-sympathiser or by a delivery boy of the non-fascist part of the American 1%.
    In the meantime it already has become clear how the delivery boy will deal with global tensions that may go out of hand. Donald the Clown at least was too incompetent to start a war. The delivery boy very possibly will start one when his rich overlords order him to do so. But why would you care? Americans like you didn’t care about the Yemenite victims of the American drone terror either. You were too busy licking the boots of Obama.

    @5: “Don’t you have any party pride?”
    Thanks for demonstrating your version of MAGA and fuck the rest of the world.

    @6: “Politics is the art of the possible, not the art of the perfect.”
    And make the rest of the world suffer for the fact that the possible is not nearly enough.

    @10: “for the good of the country”
    Exactly. And fuck the rest of the world.

  14. snarkrates says

    I have to say that I am less disappointed with Biden than I thought I would be. He was nowhere near the top of my list, but once he was nominated and made a campaign promise to not be Donald J. Trump, he had my vote. And to his credit, he has maintained that promise not to be Trump.
    I’m not crazy about his foreign policy, but he has re-engaged with Iran and rejoined the Paris Accord. He is trying to rebuild the damaged alliances after 4 years of Darth Cheeto. Most important, he’s done a good job of salvaging the vaccine rollout–which was headed toward disaster when he came in.
    He is at least talking a good talk on climate. He seems open to racial justice and immigration reform, however modest, and frankly, I’ll be surprised if we get even that. What I give him credit for, though, is a willingness to tell Rethugs to pound sand. I’d love to see student debt forgiveness and free or lower-price college, and maybe something will happen there–a lot depends on the midterms.
    So, no, he’s not all I could have hoped for, but then I’ve only been voting since Carter vs. Reagan, so I have low expectations.

    To those who are dissatisfied, all I can say is that midterms are in 2 years. Move Congress to the left, and Biden will follow. And I will be very surprised if he runs again in 2024. He’s be in his 80s, and there’s a big difference even between late 70s and one’s 80s.

  15. PaulBC says

    Sam N@8 I voted for Sanders in the 2020 CA primary. Like many Californians, I made the switch from Hillary Clinton 2016 (or I have to assume they did). I think under other circumstances, Sanders may have won the nomination and the presidency.

    I was never a huge fan of Sanders, but it is how I thought the wind was blowing. Though we really dodged a bullet getting Trump out of office by the skin of our (electoral vote) teeth. He may have stayed in as long as the economy was humming along and he didn’t have a national disaster to mismanage. I mean, how the hell was he not forcibly dragged from office by at least April 2020 or so?

    Anyway, the big story wasn’t in California, and I credit Black voters for making a pragmatic call and consolidating around the most obviously viable candidate, and not the boutique pick of white liberals like me. Holy cow, we won Georgia. That’s gotta be worth something. Anyone want to try smiling over that one? I read the Warnock/Ossoff facebook page and there are plenty of smiles there and some clues about how you get votes from people which is how elections work, believe it or not.

    I am sick of those who have no comprehension of politics as a contest or who act like they will sully their hands to treat it as such. That’s why we lose. Sorry, I have spent about 40 years mostly losing. Let’s try not losing, at least unless we can afford to, which we fucking can’t.

  16. PaulBC says


    @5: “Don’t you have any party pride?”
    Thanks for demonstrating your version of MAGA and fuck the rest of the world.

    Oh please do go fuck yourself. I come from the FDR JFK Walter Freaking Mondale “happy days are here again” party and yeah I’m proud of that heritage, and if you think that’s tantamount to MAGA, then did I mention you can go fuck yourself?

  17. logicalcat says

    Lets not forget that the other guy (Trump) was the one who created this mess by moving the embassy to Jerusalem and encouraging Israeli take over. The better option would be to not allow him to win in the first place. The second best option was not to allow him to win election the second time. Good thing we managed the second option.


    We all know you purity politics assholes are real salty about not allowing the fascist to win in order to stick it to the libs, go fuck yourself.

  18. Sam N says

    @16, I get frustrated at mnb0 too. But FDR, JFK, and Walter Mondale all had massive blind spots, as best I can tell, in the compassion of their policies. I find JFK particularly distasteful in many respects. Especially foreign policy. FDR’s memorial is by far my favorite in DC. It’s of a human scale compared to the imperialistic Lincoln or Jeffersonian memorials.

    But you’re someone I feel like I can reasonably communicate and disagree with because you seem to be able to acknowledge instead of just trash, like some others. And I often am wrong about things. Not so much broadly anymore (as best I can judge), but in specifics, certainly. Ad hominem may be a fallacy, but it is very gratifying to implement in the face of other fallacies and disingenuous behavior.

  19. stroppy says

    Part of the Republican propaganda strategy, demoralize the Democratic base to suppress the vote. I wonder how many of the commenters whinging here also do the same thing to disrupt Republican wing-nut sites while feigning support for the causes Trumpies hold dear.

    If you put that energy into sapping Repubs while adding weight to the Dem left, it might alleviate some of the risk that accumulates on the Dem’s right flank.

  20. says

    @#10, justanotherguy

    I’m feeling extremely grateful for not having to endure another four years of Trump.
    Also extremely lucky. Because I think Trump would have won without all the centrist candidates but Biden voluntarily dropping out of the 2020 Democrat presidential primary, which allowed Biden to defeat Sanders.

    Yeah, sure. All those close contests where the Democrats lost were centrists, and everybody who supported Medicare For All won, and even in deep red Republican states like Florida ballot measures for left-leaning policy passed, but somehow all of this adds up, in the Centrist mind, to “only a centrist candidate could have won”.

    People like you are why the country sucks, and will continue to get worse. The Republicans couldn’t do it without your assistance in slitting your own throat.

  21. Rob Grigjanis says

    Sam N @12: I doubt you’ll ever get an answer from mnb0 or The Vicar. My guess is that they’re accelerationists: they think things must get much worse (even perhaps be forced to get worse) before they can get better. Or maybe they just like whining a lot. Or both.

    Still, I’m flattered to be associated with Chomsky. But mnb0 still seems to think I’m American. Yuck.

  22. says

    Incidentally, the last decade or so has been very revealing of the Democratic Party’s values.

    Vote for something that kills a million people like the Iraq War? No problem.

    Vote for creeping fascism in the form of the PATRIOT Act or the FREEDOM Act? Also no biggie. In fact, you can vote twice to renew the PATRIOT Act and then the FREEDOM Act and the party will treat you like you’re an extreme leftist (see Elizabeth Warren).

    Actually implement a plan which the previous Republican had to abandon because it was so obviously fascist (GWB’s Total Information Awareness, put into practice in literally all but name by Obama)? Wow, you’re a Democratic hero!

    Actively introduce bills which cause the middle class to fall into poverty, rewarding predatory lenders? Hey, you can be VP and then President!

    Help cops cover up murder, and protect them from any sort of repercussions for their acts of violence against the unarmed? We’ll look the other way. (And although I had a particular Democratic mayor in mind when I wrote that, it’s depressing how it applies to basically every Democratic mayor and governor of note.)

    Actively undermine everything the party says it stands for for more than a decade, and be the line-crossing vote that confirms Trump’s nominees? The party will bend over backwards to make sure you get support and can prevent as much policy as possible. Manchin is only following in Lieberman’s footsteps, after all. Hey, maybe Manchin can be the VP candidate on the next Presidential ticket, so he can betray everybody even more!

    Endorse the Republicans when somebody who is “too left” is on the ticket (which is not just Biden from hillaryrettig1’s post, but a whole slew of them, the Clintons and Cuomo and Obama and many others)? Loyalists will forget about it almost immediately, they must have special training.

    Raise the military budget? Keep on drone-bombing even after the CIA admits it’s counterproductive? Increase the flow of military equipment to our out-of-control, over-violent cops? Push austerity? Bail out the management of large corporations by screwing over their workers (Obama and Ford)?

    There’s nothing a modern Democrat loves more than a Democrat out-Republican-ing the Republicans. It lets the Democrats pretend they are “pragmatic” and “bipartisan”, and if it incidentally kills, injures, or bankrupts people by the thousand or the million, even better — it shows the candidates can make tough choices. Although it was largely buried, more than one General remarked in 2016 that Hillary Clinton was scary because she was more of a hawk than anybody else they had ever met, apparently because she wanted to “prove” she wasn’t scared of war for her Presidential run. (Why Democrats never make “tough choices” which would protect people is never explained; Democratic political calculus is that helping people costs votes, for some reason, but harming them proves you’re “tough”, and then they wonder why they can’t get people to bother turning out. Surely it would be a much tougher choice to pass beneficial legislation which exposes you to electoral challenge than to drone-bomb some third-world country which poses about as much of a threat to the US as a baby seal does.)

    Can any scandal actually destroy the career of a right-wing Democrat? It’s tempting to say, between Bill Gates and Andrew Cuomo, that if you sexually harass enough white women, Democrats will finally say “enough is enough” — but of course that isn’t true, Bill Clinton would have been given the boot before the 1992 election if that were true.

    People like PaulBC up there, regardless of how they lie in their rhetoric (and possibly to themselves, if they’re sincere), are in practice not just conservative but actively right-wing. They enjoy sabotaging the left, it proves they’re pragmatic. And then when their right-wing candidates enable the Republicans and the sky is falling, they shift all the blame to the Republicans — and those evil, vile Progressives, who make the Perfect the enemy of the Good, of course. Bootlickers, all of them.

  23. Sam N says

    @21. I’ve never interacted with The Vicar, but I have rarely visited this blog on the network. I’m not sure I entirely disagree with the accelerationist view, just that it’s a truly terrible solution in terms of costs, and doesn’t seem all that likely, to me, to succeed in the way people imagine it would, anyhow.

    We are talking high variance territory now. But once things get out of control, they tend to get out of control in extremely bad ways. I wish Republicans could get that message through their thick skulls.

  24. Sam N says

    See 22, most of that diatribe seems rather reasonable to me. Although, @22, do see Al Franken. Granted he did not hunker down. Oh you said right wing, not just creepy and abusive.

  25. Sam N says

    There are things that the Vicar mentions that really chap my ass about people’s perceptions. I detest Hillary Clinton, not because she’s married to Bill, not because the emails or whatever, but because of her record as secretary of state. Her pro-war record. Yet, apparently. I’m the asshole.

  26. vucodlak says

    I voted for Biden with zero expectations that things would actually get the least bit better. I hoped things would stop getting actively worse, but I didn’t expect to see even small improvements. That being the case, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how Biden’s term has been going. He’s made some improvements, important ones.

    He’s actually gotten an important piece of legislation passed, and is working towards several others. He’s undone a lot of the evil, petty shit Trump did, like the ban on transgender service members. He seems to understand that Republicans have become the enemy today, and are not merely people of good faith who we disagree with. He has brought some much-needed competence to the handle of the pandemic (although that’s one of the few things I did expect him to do, because it’s honestly not that difficult to listen to the experts and follow their recommendations).

    The great thing about having rock-bottom expectations is that it’s easy to rise above them. Biden, amazingly, has done more than that. He’s seems to be channeling a bit of FDR, which is what we need right now. Yes, Elizabeth Warren would be doing much better, but the powers that be knew exactly how to kneecap her (fucking Sanders lost my support forever for the role he chose to play in that), and I think Biden’s term has come as a very nasty surprise to the people who torpedoed Warren’s campaign. I hope it haunts them.

    So, for now, I’m cautiously less pessimistic about Biden.

  27. PaulBC says

    Sam N@25 Hillary Clinton is old news (good) and so is Al Franken (a shame, because he had a lot of good ideas). Bernie Sanders was never the face of the Democratic party, though I voted for him in the primary. Biden, well, better him than Trump. But he’s not the future.

    You know who is the future of the Democratic Party? Stacey Abrams. She’s on the right side of issues, knows how to play politics too, and holds sway in a part of the country we desperately need.

    I haven’t been paying attention. What’s the left-purist take on Abrams? Given their usual track record, I assume they hate her. She is way too interested in winning elections. Very suspicious, that sort of behavior. “Horse race politics”. Pffft!

  28. Sam N says

    @27, as someone that considers himself a dyed in the wool progressive. I love Abrams.

  29. says

    Biden was not my first choice for a candidate. I was never under any illusions regarding the prospect of his implementing a progressive agenda. I voted for him anyway, for two reasons:

    One, he’s not a sociopathic narcissist.

    Two, he actually listens to critics, and can be persuaded to change his mind.

    Given the brute fact of the First Past The Post voting protocol the US uses, we’re essentially stuck with a two-party system. I absolutely favor switching over to a different voting protocol which doesn’t end up forcing politics into the Procrustean bed of a two-party system, but that’s not a thing which will be either easy or quick to change, and until such time as we do make that changeover, we have to deal with the two parties as they are.


    Biden has done more, progressive-wise, than I’d expected he would. Yes, yes, “damning with faint praise”. Half a loaf is better than none, and either is better than… whatever monstrous abomination the Angry Cheeto would have served up in the event that he’d been installed in office for a second term.

  30. PaulBC says

    Sam N@28 I also admire Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, though I think Stacey Abrams is more impactful. Voting rights are such a huge issue coming up that ignoring it would be suicidal. We need Abrams.

  31. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Folks, never trust a politician. NEVER. They will fuck up and we have to hold their feet to the fire.

    I voted for Biden. Would do it again, likely, given the choices the other side keeps making. But let’s not pretend he can’t screw up. They can all screw up.

  32. unclefrogy says

    F***! I get tired of politics some times, I want everything to just go right but people are what they are.
    We the majority of the voters in the U.S. elected the POTUS he was running against someone that the majority did not want to be POTUS. (He has not accepted publicly he did not win).
    Biden is pushing as far as he can He has been working in that D.C. for a long time and he knows politics is the art of the possible. He was never going to be able to order dramatic changes in U.S. / Israeli politics I suspect that he did communicate just how precarious the politics were becoming, the unquestioning unilateral support is not on the same ground it was 10 years ago and neither is the political position of the Israeli “leader” so no war today .
    the majority of the U.S. population voters opinions may be changing but POTUS can not be very successful going against their perceptions.
    uncle frogy

  33. Sam N says

    @33, these things are fair to say. And I appreciate what you did not say. Which is to put down progressive voices. You know why Biden is pushing as much as he is? Progressive voices. But for fucking jackasses like @6, that ain’t enough. We have to shut up and all get on board for the same message like Republican clowns. Lest we speak up and not be so effective a lockstep voting block.

    I can coalesce without perfect agreement. I can dissent and still vote a lesser evil.

    But I feel like you are giving Biden far too much credit and progressive voices not nearly enough.

  34. unclefrogy says

    I am favorably attracted to Katie Porter and particularly enjoy here questioning witnesses in committee hearings. she is prepared, focused, relentless and unforgiving of B.S.

  35. PaulBC says

    Sam N@34

    We have to shut up and all get on board for the same message like Republican clowns. Lest we speak up and not be so effective a lockstep voting block.

    Nobody has to shut up, but voting as a block is a lot more effective than dividing a vote between candidates who all lose. I never understood why (presumably) leftists get the importance of solidarity in union negotiation but not in a political campaign. The only reason to vote is to get an outcome, and the outcome is only sometimes going to be your ideal outcome, just like your labor union will collectively bargain something good for you but maybe not exactly what you’d come up with yourself.

    I still remember (and posted before) a friend of a friend on facebook bragging that he had not voted for a winning presidential candidate since before 1972. I mean, I dunno, does that make you smart or stupid? I don’t vote for amusement. I don’t find it very amusing, honestly. In fact, I couldn’t be bothered to do it at all except that sometimes the outcome has been truly horrifying and I’d like to avoid that.

  36. Sam N says

    @36 So Paul, what are you willing to do to remove the cost of extraneous voters allowed to voice their real concerns? Should we crack down as hard as possible? Or Listen? Even if listening does cost us 2 or 3% voters. Even if listening makes us better people. What is the better long term strategy?

    PZ did vote for Biden. I only didn’t because I was incapacitated at the time. Moderate neolibs seem to pretend us progressives don’t exist, yet they rely on our support to stop the worst excesses of the extreme right-wing.

    Look, that’s my perspective. I would be happy to hear the other. If they can reign themselves in from name-calling.

    The lockstep nature of the right-wing truly seems extremely related to the lockstep nature of their viewpoints. Though they will unanimously declare themselves to be ‘independent’ thinkers. I’d prefer descent with a few percent cost of the extremists speaking their piece, being heard, and maybe helping shift things to a more reasonable medium.

  37. PaulBC says

    @36 So Paul, what are you willing to do to remove the cost of extraneous voters allowed to voice their real concerns? Should we crack down as hard as possible? Or Listen? Even if listening does cost us 2 or 3% voters. Even if listening makes us better people. What is the better long term strategy?

    Eh? Who says I don’t listen? Who says I tell anyone to shut up? I did tell mnb0 to go fuck himself (assuming him) but he can be as noisy about it as he likes.

    The lockstep nature of the right-wing truly seems extremely related to the lockstep nature of their viewpoints.

    Right. Because they’re authoritarian by nature. But can we do better than that? We can debate vigorously and even come down on different sides of big issues. But if we take those differences to the polls, we lose. Losing may seem like a small thing to some, but it means having absolutely no effect on public policy, whereas winning with a less than ideal candidate means you have someone nominally on your side who you can petition and cajole to enact your policy preferences.

    You like Stacey Abrams? I like her too. Is she pragmatic or not?

  38. logicalcat says

    @Sam N

    Purity leftists like Vicar put down progressive voices with their dishonest rhetoric. They poison the movement. No one here including the “fucking jackassess” like number 6 above are against the progressive movement. What we are against is the self sabotage of the progressives. Where they will pick up rhetoric and arguments that are complete bullshit because at the end of the day they don’t care about progressive. Either its a virtue signal about how antiestablishmentarian they are or they are accelerationists who preferred Trump over Biden, like Vicar who is pro Trump fyi. Its self sabotaging progressiveness.

    Nothing Vicar said in that post is actually reasonable, they just seem like it at first glance. When you go over these things one by one with some nuance you see the dishonest narrative. There are legit criticism against Biden hidden behind the bullshit but it gets obfuscated. This is damaging to the movement. Number 6 above is right, our pet candidate will never win because they seem to self sabotage themselves and then cry and moan and spruce up conspiracy theories of stolen primaries when in reality its because progressives by and large are incompetent as fuck politically. Purity politics are to blame.

    Take one of the things Vicar said about Elizabeth Warren. This kind of thing cost Bernie the nominee. The progressive faction had its vote split between Warren and Sanders while the centrist faction was split among several. When added up you can see that the progressive vote was very very competitive towards the centrists in aggregate. But instead of building a coalition to the only other progressive in the primary, they scorned her and called her a snake and questioned her political purity. Apparently shes not a real leftist! big jerking of motion

    As soon as the centrists started to drop out as it was clear Biden had that vote Sanders was left in the dust because his wing is too fucking stupid to realize that they needed to build a bridge with Warren. And then instead of doing some self reflection and acknowledging our own faults we get mad and go into hysterics about how the primary was stolen. Its stupid.

    Be wary of purity politics. It poisons everything. It poisoned the online skeptic/atheist movement which is what dictionary atheists were. It ruined the gaming movement with gamer-gate “get your politics out of my video games”, and it will ruin, is ruining leftist/progressives.

    Lastly, be wary of becoming another wing of the right wing propaganda machine. The whole “lesser evil” line of rhetoric other than being juvenile and reductionist, can be used by those who do not want progressives to advance, like the accelerationists. I’m not saying you cant criticize these people. Let me be frank, Biden when I look at certain things in his past, is a fucking moron. But a moron is not evil and “lesser evil” is a reductionist straw-man regardless of how common that is.

  39. Sam N says

    @40. I’ve tried to make extremely explicit I will vote for the lesser evil. But I will whine about it.

  40. Sam N says

    @41, what percentage of voters do you believe these to actually be? Setting aside my skepticism of some of your claims. Although I certainly am no fan of ‘purity’ politics and would chide some of my friends who were Bernie or bust. I felt their frustration though.

  41. logicalcat says

    His bill to address childhood poverty is one of the most left wing thing Ive seen in a long time. If getting such policies passed makes me a sucker then so fucking what? Seems like sucker=progressive. I don’t know if you are among the purity fools or not, but like Ive kept saying voting for Biden is progress, period. Is it as mush progressive as I want it to be? Depends. Do you think Sanders would be as successful in passing his progressive agenda if he won? I don’t, and I supported the guy. We got right now a president who flat out stated that the era of small government is over, who passed an infrastructure bill, covid stimulus, a successful vaccine rollout, and bill to reduce childhood poverty. Are there negatives? Yup. Should you be upset that he abandoned public option? yes. Did it make democrats suckers for voting for him? No. Did your statement about us being suckers make you look like just another unlikable dipshit progressive that damages the movement because people associate progressives with privileged assholes? Also yes.

  42. Sam N says

    @40 Also, not only is Stacy Abrams pragmatic, but I trust her more than most politicians, and if she ends up burning us, well, kind of, good for her. Black woman could get some equal opportunity to be money grubbing creeps, too. But I get a sense Abrams pretends to be more moderate than she is, and I may very well be wrong. I get the sense that Biden pretends to be more progressive that he is, and it’s kind of borne out by his policies. Not that progressives have not done their damnedest to hold his feet to the fire. These are feelings in the end. Integration of a thought space so large analysis of it explicitly takes a hell of a lot more work. And I don’t live in Georgia anyway, so I haven’t done it. I will do it if I ever have an opportunity to vote for her, of course, I’ll largely rely on reading other peoples’ analyses, testing for intellectual honesty here and there.

    Apologies if my attempts at levity make it appear I do not take these things seriously.

  43. logicalcat says

    @Sam N

    Here they distinguish democratic voters with Sanders democrats on one side and Clinton democrats voters on the other. Basically the voter pools of 2016 primary and their support for who in 2020. The former Sanders voters are now split between Sanders and Warren, with Clinton voters split between the numerous centrist candidates. One side is still larger than the other but its still competitive. Especially since the smaller number can still win as unaccounted factors come into play, hence why it shows Biden smaller than Buttigiege despite his win.

    Whats sad is that instead of taking the pragmatic approach and create a bridge after this data was released instead they accused Warren of being a spoiler candidate for progressives and splitting the vote which is funny because that’s what Clinton supporters accused Sanders of doing. Fucking shameless. The result is Sanders lost way harder than 2016. Progressives cries foul and conspiracy bullshit instead of admitting the role they played. Their dishonest actions and rhetoric turned off the Warren progressives into the arms of centrists which also hurt the progressive movement. Its a shit show. I want progressives to be pragmatic because whats good is having the moral high ground when you get nothing done about it? That is the true lesser evil.

  44. Sam N says

    @47 I think we’re largely on the same page in many ways. Only I may have a bit more empathy, perhaps too much, of the frustration (well, and likely other less relatable factors) that drove this sort of effect. For what it’s worth, I do tend to chastise Bernie voters that will not consider anyone else, and they do not seem to like me any less for it.

  45. PaulBC says

    I want to add, I don’t call myself a progressive, but there are very few progressive issues I’m actually against. I was never a huge fan of Bernie Sanders many because I don’t like being scolded. But he’s a good guy. If he was a lot younger, he might get the formula right on a few more tries. His Latino outreach in 2020 was a vast improvement over 2016, but clearly, he completely missed where the action was with Black voters in the South.

    Where I really come from is that I have been watching Republicans eat our lunch since 1980. I mean not consistently, but very much along the lines of “What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is negotiable.” (And yeah, plenty of mainstream Democrats eager to hop to the “bipartisan” negotiating table.)

    I have a very simple idea: let’s try winning elections instead of losing them.

    A few people get this idea. Obama glommed onto it for instance (though where is he off to these days?). Biden actually gets it too. I’m not convinced Bernie Sanders does. Maybe, but a lot of his supporters really don’t. It takes a coalition, and that coalition probably doesn’t look like most “progressives” and their friends.

    In fact, Republicans are the ones who understand how much of the power is going to come from demographic shifts, which is why they’re so busy figuring out how to stop people from voting. Correct me if I’m wrong, but do left-purists even having voting rights on their radar?

  46. Sam N says

    @49 if you really want to win elections, bring our big tent together. And you have not done any of this, but neglecting facts like when asked about Hillary’s emails in 2016 Sanders didn’t hammer her, he let the issue go. I know it was a sham issue, but what similar act of generosity was shown by the Clinton camp? More to the point, he is spot on regarding her unabashed warmongering.

    You admit Sanders is a decent guy. How many of the ‘moderate’ liberals would agree? The number seems middling. And yet, the vast majority of progressives, just like the vast majority of perennially abused black citizens in this country still overwhelmingly support mainstream democratic candidates. Maybe us progressives aren’t the problem. Maybe the candidate’s attitudes or fear of the ‘progressive’ taxation policies of the ’60s are. Or anti-imperialist stances are. I can’t really tell. Of course Hillary Clinton wasn’t evil. Encouraging conflict in Libya and breaking a promise about respecting discarding nuclear ambitions wasn’t evil.

    Yeah. It was real, real good. Because it was progress? Or something. From all the progress dismantled with the help of democrats over 30 years?

  47. Sam N says

    I’ll disconnect the internet and go simmer a while. Paul, logicat, you seem like good people to me. And I may argue, but I think we could easily come together at the ballot.

  48. waydude says

    Sigh. And this is why we had a Trump, and this is why we will lose again in 2022 and nothing good will be passed when the Repubs have a majority again.
    You know why Trump was successful and things went the way they did even tho they thought he was also a jackass? Because they stand behind the jackass. We already lost a chance to make things better and had to go through utter shit and still people don’t get it. I want change. I want it fast. There are real people out there hurting because of current policies and social pressures towards bigotry. Yes, we want a revolution, in lieu of that we want evolution at least. Fucking eh, we get what we deserve

  49. consciousness razor says


    I have a very simple idea: let’s try winning elections instead of losing them.

    Too simple. You say “let’s,” but who is supposed to be “us”? Who are you talking about?

    If it means people like Joe Manchin (D) or Kyrsten Sinema (D) are winning elections, then you had better take another look at the scoreboard, because that’s not actually a win for the people who need a win. Yes, they do have “(D)” printed next to their names, but that is meaningless. With basically no emphasis on coherent and substantive policy, only the goal of “get more power,” what the rest of us get is more fascism.

  50. Rob Grigjanis says

    cr @53: Given who is writing the comment, I’m pretty sure ‘us’ does not include Manchin, Sinema or Mark Kelly. However, their (D) is not meaningless. If they are even marginally more onside than the Republicans they defeated, that’s a net gain.

    We’d all love to see progressives elected in Arizona and West Virginia, but sometimes you have to settle for slightly better than horrible. If you’re unwilling to accept that, go and fucking run for office in those places.

  51. whheydt says

    Regardless of policy positions and personality, I find myself puzzled by Sanders. Since he was elected to the Senate as an “Independent”, how is it that he got to run for president as a Democrat?

  52. PaulBC says

    cr@53 Having Manchin and Sinema is materially better than having Republicans in the same seats. Democrats are in control of the Senate and able to at least attempt to set the agenda. They don’t have much of a margin to do anything, but the outcome is still preferable to GOP control.

    Likewise, all I said in 2016 was that any Democrat in the White House would be better than a Republican, and it mattered even less than the current Senate composition because all Clinton or Sanders would have been able to do is veto GOP legislation and appoint SCOTUS nominees that McConnell would have blocked. We’d have had an 8 member SCOTUS, then ultimately 7 after RBG died. Presumably Kennedy would have stuck around. This is still better than having the court packed with 3 FedSoc justices.

    BTW, Breyer needs to retire. WTF is keeping him?

    The filibuster needs to go (Manchin won’t go along, the asshole) .

    So I do see Democrats behaving destructively, though there is a lot less delusional bipartisanship than we saw 12 years ago. I struggle to see what is better than the current situation and is likely to happen under any realistic scenario. We’re already operating under a miraculous victory of Warnock and Ossoff, and as much as it attests to their campaigning and the work of Stacey Abrams, it was also an own goal by Trump. It was not guaranteed. In fact, it was huge surprise.

    Still, win more elections, lose fewer. Defend voting rights. Also show some solidarity with Black voters who are a key part of defeating Republicans. They have a bigger impact than white progressives in Portland.

  53. naturalistguy says


    Having 50 (D) votes in the Senate is a win for people who do need help and have gotten it thanks to bills being passed by Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.

  54. Rob Grigjanis says

    PaulBC @56:

    BTW, Breyer needs to retire. WTF is keeping him?

    A question I was asking myself about RBG after Obama took office. The answer always seems to be about ego.

  55. hemidactylus says

    @20- The Vicar

    Not surprised you chimed in expectedly. Don’t bring Florida into your delusions. We are shit. We are the phallic winner of any race to the bottom. We have DeSantis the Trump Lapdog, Voldemort, and Calle Ocho Rubio. Our legislature is decidedly Rethug. We produced pond scum Gaetz. We voted heavily for Trump with only pockets of blue.

    Our best bets coming down the pike are Val Demings (a former cop and police chief married to a former sheriff) and Charlie Crist (a RINO turned DINO who resembles wrestler Ric Flair). And somehow 420 friendly Nikki Fried is Commissioner of Agriculture as a Dem in this shithole state. Other than that we really suck.

    We deserve every nasty #FloridaMan hashtag thrown our way. We are the furthest thing from a positive spin by the Left. We may be the Sunshine State but there are very few rays of light coming from us.

  56. unclefrogy says

    demographic shifts is what is happening no doubt about it, it has been the story for some time now. Many of the people who are moving to the sun belt are not born again klansmen though they may thump the bible but it ain’t the same church as the old cracker churches. that is the big story behind Georgia and those anti-voting laws as well.
    One of the problems with the way many progressive supporters express their politics is still heavily focused on who and not what they advocate. I do not care much about who as much as what the policies are. The republicans put all their emphasis on who will lead and see what that got them .
    Look at who are admired on the progressive side. They spend their time working for policies that matter. To get any of those things accomplished the progressives need to convince the majority of the voters that those policies are what they want and need. the politicians will follow were the majority wants those who want to remain in active politics at least. You can include Biden in that group.
    as an aside FDR was not what you would have called a radical for the times but he did get some things done that were unthinkable just a few years before.
    uncle frogy

  57. birgerjohansson says

    I hear Biden has just abandoned another bunch of election promises. It is almost as if he did not mean them.

  58. says

    I am so sick of this self righteous bullshit. Biden didn’t do this, Biden didn’t do that. Blah blah blah.
    As if a person is perfect and does the perfect thing every time and please everyone, every fucking time.
    JFC – climb down off your high horses.
    Oh wait, yeah go find the perfect candidate – yeah you do that! Good luck with that.

  59. Sam N says

    The lack of proportion and number of people that think desiring to be heard is equivalent to ‘purity politics’ is astounding here.
    Maybe you’re trying to say something else. But this is what I hear. Go shut up, because trying to stop the US from being murderous and supporting murderous regimes is just, you know, being too damned perfect.

    Try looking at the actual, real behavior of the people you’re criticizing, instead of your fever dream fantasies.

  60. Sam N says

    @55, is that an honest question? Or are you just extraordinarily ignorant regarding the US political system?

  61. PaulBC says

    Sam N@63

    The lack of proportion and number of people that think desiring to be heard is equivalent to ‘purity politics’ is astounding here.

    I hear you loud and clear. I hear The Vicar loud and clear. I hear Bernie Sanders loud and clear as well as my sister-in-the-law and other Bernie or Busters who kept trashing Hillary Clinton on Facebook in 2016 long after Sanders himself gracefully conceded and nobody else was seriously on the ticket besides Clinton and Trump.

    The desire to be heard is laudable, and in case you are wondering, you are being heard.

    BTW, you know who else wanted to be heard? The Black voters in South Carolina who weren’t sold on Sanders and helped put Biden over the top. That sure wasn’t my idea. I voted for Sanders here in California, which I thought might actually matter for once. I had the experience, though, of chatting with a few of them over facebook and they were very pleased with the outcome. More power to them. That is how democracy works. You get people to vote. Clyburn worked hard to make that happen and I don’t resent him for it even if the outcome was not my choice.

    Aside from being heard, it really helps to have somebody on your side who’s actually in elected office. Out of my first paragraph, that only includes Bernie Sanders as Senator from Vermont. And to be clear, I think he makes a fine Senator from Vermont.

    He might have made a good president, but that would require actually getting on the general election ballot, and (as I’ve tried to point out before) that would require winning the 2016 nomination even if it’s a “rigged” nomination. If Sanders supporters didn’t have a workable plan for getting him through the awful rigged process constructed by the abominable Debbie Wasserman Schultz to coronate evil Queen Hillary, then he still didn’t have a chance of ever being president, and they were still selling snake oil to naive voters. The world’s unfair like that.

    But hey, you were heard. DWS heard you loud and clear, right? If the 2016 election is judged as a referendum on DWS, I give the Bernie or Busters full credit. They sure stuck it to DWS. They stuck it to the neolibs, and to partisan Democrats like me.

    Frankly, I think the Bernie or Busters should have been overjoyed with the results of the 2016 election. I mean they proved their point, right, made sure Hillary would never be president and that DWS’s name would always be tarred. So aside from actually getting Sanders in the White House, they got everything else they wanted. Way to go! Congratulations on all that hard work.

    Maybe you’re trying to say something else. But this is what I hear. Go shut up, because trying to stop the US from being murderous and supporting murderous regimes is just, you know, being too damned perfect.

    I’m trying to say that support for murderous regimes is par for course. Between the Vietnam war and the fall of the Soviet Union, a lot was by proxy, e.g. in Central America, but once nukes were out of the way and the US appeared hegemonic, the first thing Bush Sr. did was launch a massive war in Iraq and he got the support of Congress and a gushing news media who turned it into a big entertainment extravaganza to show off the new “smart bombs.”

    It’s been like that ever since then. It doesn’t make me happy either, but Biden’s reluctance to criticize Israel is so entirely expected, that I am not really sure how I’m expected to react. If you think anyone is saying “shut up” then I can’t think of who it includes here. Post @6 maybe? Your voice is heard. Nobody is “canceling” you. Indeed, PZ could moderate more aggressively and you can see that he hasn’t. The Vicar has his say. You have your say. Nobody is required to “shut up” if they follow basic rules of decency.

    To get back to “Maybe I’m trying to say something else.” Indeed, and I said it already.

    Let’s put as much effort into winning elections as we do in losing elections.

    Worth a try, huh? And the implied “us” is a broad coalition that agrees with Noam Chomsky’s assessment of the Republican party as the ‘most dangerous organization on earth’ even if we disagree on many other things.

  62. consciousness razor says


    Biden’s reluctance to criticize Israel

    Well, fuck. Not such a big deal then. I thought it was a lot worse than that.

    Wait…. Nope, I just checked: it is worse after all. We’re supplying Israel with military equipment, with which they murder Palestinians and dominate those who survive.

    is so entirely expected, that I am not really sure how I’m expected to react.

    Outraged would be appropriate. (Do I really “expect” it? That’s a different question.)

    Anyway, you do have other options beyond being surprised. You might consider exploring some of those.

  63. Sam N says

    @65 I’ll say this for sure. I believe you hear me. I just don’t understand the reaction of some of the people in these comments to PZ pointing out that US support of apartheid Israel sucks, and Joe Biden is a rotten bastard for perpetuating it and pretending THAT is purity politics or some sort of high horse. I’m not talking about the vicar (whose views I don’t know much about, really) or the Bernie or busters. Criticize away. I’m not saying don’t vote for the democratic candidates in the next election. PZ isn’t saying it. If that’s what PZ or I had said, I’d say the reaction I’m seeing in certain comments is deserved.

    And I certainly am reading what you write as well. You seem rather reasonable to me. In fact we seem to agree on so much I’d consider you a genuine ally and not just someone to vote with in coordination at times.

  64. PaulBC says

    Sam N@67 Criticizing US military support of Israel is not “purity politics.” But turning it into an “I told so you” about the November election is just ridiculous. Biden is behaving as advertised, hence, no “I told you so” and I am still overjoyed that he won and not Trump.

    Israel’s situation is complex and a conversational landmine that I avoid. I have Israeli colleagues I like and admire. I know Americans who may or may not support Israel and I just don’t want to bring it up. I have Muslim friends who have their own take. Sorry, I am not going to figure it out. It’s a mess.

    But elections consist of a limited set of non-ideal choices. Nothing is going to change that. I feel pretty comfortable criticizing Netanyahu in particular and Likud, but I still have no more control over his actions or Biden’s. If you tell me that I am a “bad person” for voting for Biden, then I think that is “purity politics” but even there you have right to express your view. I knew what I was getting into and I still fail to see any feasible alternative.

  65. KG says


    Ah, but that doesn’t count. Actually putting together a coherent and rapid vaccination programme, passing a bill getting desperately needed financial relief to people in trouble, improving judicial diversity – none of that counts. Only the evil Biden does (and yes, I do mean that word) counts. Why? Don’t ask me, ask The Vicar and consciousness razor. But don’t expect an answer.

  66. stroppy says

    Hmm. I haven’t been following this particular thread too closely, but I’d like to suggest that this is part of an ongoing conversation on this site that has accumulated some history. I think you may be putting it in the wrong context and misreading what is going on.

    “Purity politics” here is typically referring to certain commenters who habitually bomb the thread with factoids (and some fake-toids) that most are already familiar with, but they do it in a hyperbolic way and try to suggest you should vote for candidate X (or some imaginary candidate who doesn’t exist) or not vote at at all. Some have been pretty explicitly accelerationist in this regard, and would be perfectly happy to see the whole system collapse without regard to all the suffering that would result. It’s about strategy, though there is an attempt by some to obscure or avoid that with piecemeal hystrionics and dogged assertions and misdirections.

    BTW, I could be wrong, but I don’t think anybody here is actually taking issue with what PZ has said.

  67. ChrisE84 says

    Also the situation in Libya didn’t depend on Hillary at all. If the US had not intervened, France would have done it alone or with other partners.

  68. PaulBC says

    stroppy@70 I think of “purity politics” as the dismissal of concerns over feasible outcomes, deriding any such points as “horse race politics” or “electability” or “milquetoast centrism” and implying that the person expressing such views either naively believes there is a difference between major parties when there is not, or are themselves dreaded neoliberals (for instance) and part of the problem.

    One of the responses I had for a while “You know, you’ve convinced me. I vote for Democrats only because I secretly want to vote for Republicans. Next time I’ll vote for a real Republican.” Eventually, suggesting I’d vote for Trump in such poor taste even as a joke, that I couldn’t say it, but I think it really is the logical conclusion.

    I’m fairly well off and usually benefit directly when corporate America benefits. Except for the SALT cap, most Republican tax changes leave me with more money. The corporate tax cut goosed the stock market with an instant increase in net earnings, and that showed up in my investments. So hell, maybe I should just vote for a Republican. The logical conclusion from the left-purist side is that I’m going to be one of those up against the wall in the unlikely event that they win out. All right, so fuck you, I’m not your ally.

    The thing is, I made an honest value judgment that Hillary Clinton was significantly better than Donald Trump in her policies (e.g. healthcare, though it wasn’t the same as Sanders). I also never hated her. She’s smart and works hard. She had a particular policy vision that made sense to me, if not ideal. Also, you know, so what if she accepts money from Wall Street. My net worth is also tied to corporate America. It’s not my favorite thing, but many middle class Americans really are dependent on corporate America. It’s how they earn a living and how they provide for themselves and their families. I know how it works and I have those affinities. I don’t have a lot of affinity with tax cheats, people who don’t pay their contractors, or the Russian mob. So the choice between Clinton and Trump is not hard. That I see a different is not naivety but an informed judgment.

    I’m also not going to do well when the revolution comes, but hey, let’s see your revolution first. I haven’t seen more than hot air in 40 years.

    The accelerationist bit is the worst of it. I am too old to let things become so bad that they have to get better. In fact, I am pretty sure the acceleration is more likely to lead to fascism and stay there for a long time than to any worker’s utopia. I don’t tell anyone to “shut up” if they disagree. By all mean, see if you can enact change by chattering away. I chatter too, but I don’t expect much to come of it.

    The individuals with the most political power are those actually holding office, which is why I always see elections in terms of who has a realistic chance to win, not the “most electable” but the one most reflecting my values with the constraint that they are “also electable.” Ralph Nader was not in 2000. Bernie Sanders was close in 2016, and I may have miscalculated there. However, by the time of the general election, only Trump or Clinton could have become president as a result. I think Comey’s email sideshow was the proximal cause of Clinton’s loss, but I still resent Bernie or Busters for continuing to weaken her position, which they did long after Sanders had conceded. And there were Jill Stein voters and Gary Johnson voters. WTF is that supposed to be about?

    Note, your vote is private and yours alone. You can campaign for an unelectable candidate. I won’t tell you to “shut up” and can’t make you. I won’t tell you how to vote. But I do reach personal judgments about it.

    Finally, most of the “purity politics” comes from those with the luxury of not really being very affected by US politics in the first place. Donald Trump was a thorn in my side and I am glad he’s out of the White House. But my life went along just the same. Those affected by his policies really did want an electable candidate. You can speculate about what a Sanders/Trump matchup would have looked like in 2020, and I am uncertain myself, though I did vote for Sanders in the 2020 primary. The voters who put Biden on the general election ballot, though, often did so because they thought he would beat Trump and because it was absolutely critical to their material wellbeing that Trump was defeated, not just because Trump was harshing their mellow.

  69. says

    For all that useful (to the GQP…) idiots like the Vicar fulminate about how both parties are the same!, I think it’s worthwhile, and instructive, to consider that the Angry Cheeto ran as a Republican. Equally, it’s worthwhile and instructive to consider that honest-to-god progressives (or perhaps “as close to genuine progressives as we’re likely to get”) run as Democrats. If the two parties actually were as monolithically interchangeable as the useful idiots would have us believe, one would expect that progressive-leaning people would be just as likely to end up with a “D” after their name as with an “R” after their name. But somehow, somehow, progressive-leaning people are just one heck of a lot more likely to be Democrats than Republicans.

    ‘Tis a mystery.

  70. logicalcat says


    I’m glad this website is not set up with options to “like” comments like on Facebook or you-tube, but it it did I would definitely like your comment. Its golden. I haven’t read the rest of this thread yet since last I posted but I think it should end here. You win cubist.

  71. says


    the 15 dollar minimum wage that passed Florida is shallow surface “lefty” policy. It is extremely common that fascistic movements adopt “lefty” but relatively benign policies as a form of bread and circuses to distract, placate the rubes. That the policy was voted on by Trumpists does not mean they would tolerate a genuine lefty-the 15 minimum dollar wage vote does not show great support for Sanders as most people do not vote on policy, ideology.

    When people say that a centralist was needed to win they mean that the Democratic candidate had to be perceived as unthreatening-that is the candidate was able to neuter Trump otherizing the candidate. If Biden and Harris swapped slots they would not have won the election. You-like most ideological people-are wrongly presuming a level of knowledge and coherence among voters that does not exist. Biden’s moderate policies is not what was needed; it was Biden’s persona as a nonthreat. The core of Trump’s appeal-as a fascist-is he is an anti-liberal; it has nothing to do with policy. It has everything to do with 74 million Americans hating 81 million Americans and being at best supremely indifferent to their material condition and rights.

    Florida is a solid indication that Sanders or Warren would have been killed Trump. If you actually look at the Florida map in detail Biden largely did what was needed to win the state in 66 out of 67 counties . He flipped a few swing counties, cut into the margins in red areas and for most blue areas he got Clinton or better margins. The one exception was Miami-Dade where Biden belly flopped the hardest I have ever seen a candidate perform in a core county for their party. Clinton won Miami-Dade 63% to 34%-Biden won it 53% to 46%. Had Biden gotten a Clinton like margin in Miami-Dade the race would have been extremely close.

    Now there are two main reasons why Biden flopped so hard in Miami-Dade. First, in terms of resources Biden’s camp sunk basically everything into WI, MI and Penn. for ads and canvassing (They also pulled back on in person canvassing because of the pandemic). Florida was never a priority for the team and they kind of externalized the state to Bloomberg. This resulted in a ton of low propensity voting Democrats just not showing up in Miami-Dade. I don’t really care that they did this because they did flip WI, MI and Penn. (This problem should be fixable in 2022-and while similar dynamics played out in other urban centers-i.e. Biden slightly underperformed in Philly proper-I think it is a 2020 thing) And second, the only place that “Biden is a socialist and/or a trojan horse for the left” really stuck was among Cuban-American voters; they broke for Trump 56% to 44%. Had Sanders-who calls himself a socialist-been the nominee that charge would have been even more effective; as it was it only cost Biden Florida. It would have cost Sanders the election.

    People do not vote on policy-most people do not know or understand policy. They vote on personality and feelings-policy only enters most voter’s minds in the vaguest “things are going well” or “this person has my back.” Biden’s moderate persona was needed because a ton of voters find Biden comforting and/or non-threatening. It is because he has been around forever and is a old white guy. It sucks but it is what it is. Sanders-being a self-avowed socialist and a Jew-would have been successfully otherized by Trump. Warren would have been otherized for being a woman. Pete would have been otherized as gay.

    Trumpism is not about economic populism-Trump only made mouth noises about checks or whatever for their propaganda value in the “I have got your back but the Left wants to kill you!” way. Trumpism is about creating a dictatorship against the left. Under no circumstances will the vast, vast, vast majority (*maybe 5-8% will vote for a Dem) of 74 million trumpists vote for a Democrat-Because the core reason why they voted for Trump is they hate Democrats. And they hate Democrats because Democrats are the other.

  72. PaulBC says

    Mike Smith@75

    The core of Trump’s appeal-as a fascist-is he is an anti-liberal; it has nothing to do with policy. It has everything to do with 74 million Americans hating 81 million Americans and being at best supremely indifferent to their material condition and rights.

    I completely agree with this. It’s a well-meaning fallacy of the left that people are driven to improve their economic conditions and would vote for the candidate who will do this if only they had accurate information.

    In fact, many voters have satisficed in economic terms and are driven by resentment of others and an emotional need to preserve their status in a social hierarchy. The pandemic has demonstrated that they are literally willing to accept a mortal threat to their well-being if means they can hold into their deep assumptions about how the world works. You are not going to buy them off. Think of the Trumpist boat flotillas. These aren’t poor people we’re talking about. They’re probably not rich either, and they’re probably susceptible to a lot more economic risk than I am. But their priorities are completely in line with what Trump is offering.

    The worst mistake the Hillary Clinton campaign made in 2016 was to take the upper midwest for granted and actually taunt working class whites that their votes would be “replaced” with suburban Republican votes. I mean, that was unconscionable. Aside from bad politics, it was a betrayal. Thankfully, Biden did not make that mistake. But an economic message only goes so far. I am not sure Sanders would have lost in 2020 (yes, among Cuban Americans in Florida, but so did Biden). However, going all in on the Sanders strategy is not a slamdunk either.

  73. logicalcat says

    Nicely done @Mike Smith but just to make one thing clear while Cubans are a very big chunk of Dade county voters there is also a good chunk of Venezuelans, Nicaraguans and Colombians. All of whom have a very reasonable dislike of socialist branding and socialism in general. Its not just Cubans here, its a big county after all but of course its forgivable that people see things this way because the Cubans have the most representation outside of the county.

    Of course im nitpicking here a bit in general you are correct. The idea that socialism is popular in Florida because 15 dollar minimum was passed is laughable. Theres a big problem I have with online socialists, where it feels like they never have actually interacted with the citizens of this country. They are under a delusion that just because people might support a “socialist” policy that they actually like socialists. They don’t. Terminally online is the term Ive seen thrown around.

  74. PaulBC says

    logicalcat@77 A $15 minimum wage is hardly a revolutionary idea and it’s more in line with European social democracy than “socialism.” It’s actually pretty weak in terms of social democracy since it’s not a subsidy or a limit on working hours. In fact, it’s an overdue inflation adjustment. An online inflation calculator show $15 in 2021 is $2.77 in 1974 dollars, which is admittedly above the $2 minimum wage at the time, but it’s in the ballpark, and prices are not uniform nationally. That was a different economy anyway, where there were more jobs not requiring a college degree that paid much more than minimum wage (e.g. in manufacturing), and the minimum wage was a floor for doing unskilled work, not an expectation for most workers in a service economy.

    This is also one of my peeves with Sanders and his supporters. His central thesis is that the US should be more like Western Europe, which is something I can get behind. It doesn’t excite me, and it’s even a little disappointing to say we need to look to another model instead of inventing our own. But more and more I accept that most of what we come up with (privatization usually) is worse.

    But he wraps this in the term “Democratic Socialism” instead of “Social Democracy”, which makes it sound exciting to supporters but is a liability for many other voters. From my perspective, the message that this is tested and boring is a lot more compelling than “Woohoo! We’re Socialists! How cool is that?” This is great for getting news coverage, but not great for getting elected, particularly when it’s not even what you’re selling.

  75. says


    I did not bring up other Latino communities such as Venezuelans, Nicaraguans and Colombians because the polling data I have seen indicated that there was a 50-50 split among those groups but that data can be unreliable as it is hard to get a usable sample for smaller communities. I apologize if my post came across as if only Cubans were in Miami-Dade. Puerto Ricans in Florida did break for Biden at a 60-65% clip FWIW.

    I really profoundly hope we stop talking about the Latino vote as a monolith as several communities have clearcut political differences and should not be grouped together.

  76. logicalcat says

    @Mike Smith

    No problem man its reasonable to think its only Cubans. We are pretty dominant. And for all I know your data might be right. I admit im going with the feel of the street. You know talking to people. Which can also be unreliable.


    Yea all that makes sense to me.