Rebuffing phony critiques of the Sanders program

Today is the New Hampshire primary and one can sense a panic in the political establishment and the corporate media that Bernie Sanders will do well there. Hence they are going into overdrive to make the case that he is an ‘extremist’ and an ‘ideologue’ and that his ideas are not ‘practical’. In this effort they are aided by the Democratic party establishment and its party hacks like James Carville who has made a good career out of talking like your average Joe while promoting the interests of the oligarchy. They are clearly hoping that most of the party voters will coalesce around Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg or with the late addition of Amy Klobuchar to the mix, as the person to stop Sanders and are clearly promoting this view.

Nina Turner effectively shuts down her interlocutor in this interview when she brings up these points. It should be noted that the MSNBC interviewer Stephanie Ruhle worked for 14 years in the finance industry before becoming a TV personality, including stints at hedge funds, and was deeply involved with those infamous credit default swaps that were at the heart of the financial crisis and led to the massive bailout of Wall Street. Her biases clearly show. Turner points out that Ruhle’s concerns that voters might not like socialism is that what we have right now is socialism for the rich and the top 1% and what the Sanders movement is trying to do is shift the beneficiaries of socialism from the wealthy to ordinary people.

Crowds at rallies are not a good indicator of what the actual results will be but the kind of thing shown below must be encouraging to the Sanders camp as they battle the charge that he is not ‘electable’. (You can see more photos and videos of the massive crowd at yesterday’s Sanders rally here.)

‘Electability’ is a concept that has no operational definition and has been manufactured by the media and political analysts to bad mouth candidates that they do not like on ideological grounds without having to say so. They cannot come out and say that they do not like democratic socialism so they claim that anyone who proposes it is unelectable.


  1. polishsalami says

    Telling lies about Bernie is not “criticism.” Saying that Bernie is going to execute clapped-out TV hosts in Central Park is just buffoonery.

  2. Holms says

    Electability is definitely a phony criticism, and to equate that statement in any way to Trump’s wholesale rejection of reality is apples to oranges. But perhaps you have a non-phony criticism of him? Something more substantive than ‘Bernie Bros’, which has been rather worn out lately.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    WMDKitty… @ # 1: Uh-huh, “phony”.

    E.g., Chris Matthews & Chuck Todd separately warning us that “socialist” = Stalinist mass executions.

    Do you consider that non-“phony”?

  4. says

    Holms, are you suggesting raising concerns about the toxic Bernie Bros isn’t substantive? Like WMDKitty says, they can’t handle any criticism, including legitimate ones. That’s bad because Bernie needs as much support from regular people that he can get because he won’t have many allies in Congress if he ends up the POTUS. Bernie Bros lashing out at anyone who doesn’t toe the ideological line hurts that support. Expecting people to ignore those assholes and do what’s best for the country is…well, a rejection of the reality of human psychology. If Bernie Bros treat me like crap because I don’t worship the ground Bernie stands on, then I’m going to be less likely to support Bernie simply because of the behavior of his supporters. That could include being less likely to canvas for him for the general election which could, in turn, hurt the chances of progressive allies that may be down ballot from him. (Or, here in Iowa, the chances of the Democrat trying to remove a Republican incumbent from the Senate, though it’s looking like the Democratic nominee will not be a progressive. Still, it’s better to elect a Democrat than a Republican!)
    Sure, I find the notion that Bernie Bros will execute people to be absurd. (And it is, of course, concerning that some people are freaking out about hypothetical hate crimes more than the real ones happening under Trump.) But the Bernie Bros are still not very good people and, despite worshipping Bernie as much as they do, consequently don’t represent Bernie’s “Us, not me” message at all. As I’ve noted before, I have no idea of what percentage of Bernie’s base the Bros make up. It may be a small percentage, but they are influential. I have noted Krystal Ball being a Bernie Bro before and, oh look, a couple of her retweets have ended up here on Mano’s blog.
    In summary, I think it’s foolish, as well as a strawman (and non sequitur), to point to absurd concerns about Bernie supporters to imply that no or few concerns about his supporters are legitimate or substantive and to consequently ignore those concerns. If progressive ideology is to succeed, we need to address legitimate concerns. My greatest concern, besides the dickish behavior of Bernie Bros, is the hypocrisy of it that makes us look bad and insincere. Here in Iowa, it seemed that Bernie was not the second choice for many people. That’s bad. That has me worried about a limited base of support that’s not growing very quickly. How much of this is due to the Bernie Bros? I have no idea, but they are surely a problem that should not be shrugged off.

  5. Holms says

    Holms, are you suggesting raising concerns about the toxic Bernie Bros isn’t substantive?

    Not at all, in fact I encourage scrutiny of members of ‘Team Left’ (or whatever you want to call us). I’m saying that those concerns that I have seen raised have so far not been particularly compelling. Many of them have simply been ‘Bernie supporters criticised my arguments in support of [non-Bernie]’ or ‘Bernie supporters went after my criticisms of Bernie’ and that the criticisms have been unnecessarily vociferous, argumentative, acerbic, etc.

    So, let’s take it as granted that Bernie has supporters who are unnecessarily etc. … can’t the same be said of every P candidate? I’ve certainly seen plenty of snide and vindictive criticisms of Bernie and Warren coming from the centrists in particular, and if Bernie Bros are simply the dickhead subset of his support, then every candidate has an equivalent. What I’m looking for is some sort of evidence that Bernie’s ‘noisy wanker’ contingent is disproportionately large, agressive, something along those lines.

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