I move around in circles that are pretty much entirely supportive of Democrats and hate Donald Trump. But when they express reservations about Bernie Sanders as the nominee, they frequently say that this is because while they may like his plans, they feel that they have zero chance of being passed by Congress. They seem to think that they are being ‘realistic’ and that the Sanders supporters are hopelessly idealistic.
This is truly weird. For one thing, the Republicans in Congress and the Democrats who have similar class interests will fight against any Democratic proposals, however weak, that harms even slightly the powerful interests that control them. That is true whichever Democratic candidate becomes president. They will actually have more success in opposing any ideas with the so-called moderates like Joe Biden who, like Barack Obama, seek to appease Republicans.
These ‘realists’ also seem to be saying that the starting point of any proposal is what the Republican controlled senate will accept. This guarantees that they will get even less than that because whatever they propose, the Republicans will fiercely oppose it. It is the same strategy that Obama followed with his health care plan where he ruled out single payer and even the public option before he even started, and gave the drafting of the health care bill to the Senate finance committee whose Democratic chair was in the pockets of the health care industry and whose chief staffer on drafting the legislation came from that same industry and went back to it afterwards. The resulting Affordable Care Act was very friendly to the health industry.
This is not an accident. This is how Democrats manage to ‘lose’ even when they win and shows why Democrats are often so ineffective.
I can understand why the Democratic establishment adopts this strategy because they do not want major change that would alienate their corporate paymasters. What is troubling is when ordinary people internalize that logic by listening to the pundit class in the media that propagates this view and argue along the same lines. They do not seem to realize what any trade union member knows, that you have to start any negotiation with maximal goals if you want to achieve anything meaningful. Starting with what you think the other side will accept is a mug’s game because the other side are not reasonable people who want the best for everyone. They are fiercely protective of the interests of their masters and will try to give away as little as possible.
Meanwhile the panic in the Democratic party establishment is palpable and they are flailing around to find ways to stop Sanders.
Chris Matthews of MSNBC and fiercely anti-Sanders continues his slide into gibberish, comparing his Nevada win to the fall of France to the Nazis in 1940.
Let’s try to detangle this. Bernie, a Jewish man whose family members were killed in the holocaust, wins the Nevada caucus, and Bernie and his unprecedented diverse coalition are the Nazis and Chris Matthews, the DNC and MSNBC are now occupied France?
— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) February 22, 2020
And Democratic party establishment operative James Carville, a worshipper of the Clintons who had earlier called Sanders a communist, continues his own rapid slide into irrelevancy, pushing the line that Russian president Putin is supporting Sanders so that Trump has a better chance of winning.
James Carville says the big winner in Nevada is Putin pic.twitter.com/KV2TjpNiCD
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) February 22, 2020
And in another sign of how the Democratic establishment is panicking and desperate, Bill Clinton’s press secretary Joe Lockhart calls on Michael Bloomberg to ‘take down Sanders immediately’ by turning the focus of his ads away from Trump and aiming them at Sanders.
These people are showing their true oligarch-loving colors.
The anti-Sanders narrative is already shifting. They are saying that while he may be doing well in the primaries, he has not been truly ‘vetted’ despite the fact that he has been in elected office forever and that in the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton and her opposition research team did not pull any punches. Then there is the absurd claim that Donald Trump will use the socialist label against him and that it will be devastating. That Sanders is a democratic socialist is old news and will not come as a surprise to anyone. By labeling the popular proposals that Sanders is advocating as socialist is less likely to harm Sanders and more likely to make people have a favorable impression of socialism. Even Chris Christie knows this.
The idea of finding a candidate against whom Trump cannot and will not make scurrilous charges is utterly absurd. Why do Democrats let Trump and the Republicans set the bar for who would make a good nominee? Haven’t they realized by now that the Republican strategy is to paint everything that happens as being good news for Trump and their party, in order to sow doubt and confusion among Democrats and make them vacillate and unsure about what to do? Why do Democrats keep falling for that obvious tactic, instead of saying that the Democrats will pick a nominee, unite behind them, and vigorously fight to get them elected, so just butt the hell out?
Trump lies shamelessly and will make up scurrilous attacks against anyone. If Mother Theresa ran against him, Trump would allege that she was a prostitute. What Democrats need is not a spotless candidate because such a person does not exist but a vicious counterpuncher, who will take the fight right to Trump and has the passion, factual knowledge, and debating skills to hit back at Trump hard and often. Of the current crop of Democratic candidates, only Sanders and Warren fit that bill.
Mike Cesca (who is not a Sanders supporter) writes that the fear of many Democrats that the socialism card that will be played by Republicans will be fatal to a Sanders candidacy are overblown.
I’m definitely going to catch hell in buckets on social media, but here it is: Bernie Sanders can absolutely defeat Donald Trump in November. I might be the only non-Bernie supporter saying it, but there it is.
[R]emember the months after Barack Obama’s inauguration? Glenn Beck and the entire conservative entertainment complex lost its bug-eyed shpadoinkle, accusing Obama of being the new Stalin-meets-Hitler (somehow). It was a mini-Red Scare, with Obama and his economic team being labeled with all varieties of Cold War-era nicknames and awkward portmanteaus, none of which actually made sense.
The point, which is also being made by former Reagan-era Treasury official Bruce Bartlett, is that no matter who the Democratic nominee is, he or she will be framed as a commie pinko fascist, as if something like that could even exist. Avoiding Bernie like the coronavirus because his policy platform is slightly to the left of the other candidates is a pointless exercise, given how dishonestly the Republicans will play the socialism card.
In the new paradigm, authenticity rules the day, and Bernie, more than most, comes off as authentic, complete with crumpled suits and freeform hair. We might not agree with everything he says, and we might be turned off by his “bro” supporters, but one thing we can’t say is that he’s bullshitting people. Well, on some level, all politicians are bullshitters, but compared with many of them, Bernie doesn’t seem like one, and that’s important, especially in those aforementioned states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
The red-baiting continues apace. They are now using the fact that Sanders made some very reasonable statements about Cuba to attack him, as can be seen by a clumsy attempt by Michael Bloomberg. This is a great example of a blind spot that people have. Americans are quick to claim that they have a great and good country. But nowadays it is a given among most Democrats that the invasions of Vietnam and Iraq were disasters. We also have the history of genocide in the US, slavery, torture, the many, many other invasions of countries, not to mention the abuses of the FBI, the CIA at home and abroad. They will point to the many good things in America to argue that these are all aberrations in an otherwise good country. However, they will refuse to take a similar attitude with countries that are designated enemies which they will demand be condemned across the board, without a single mention of any good things.
The poet Robert Burns wrote those famous lines about how beneficial it would be to see ourselves as others see us.
O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion
It would also be good if we could see others as we see ourselves.