I really like Bernie Sanders.

Beyond liking him I have great respect for how well he has done in this election. On paper we would not expect the campaign of a 74 year old Jewish Vermonter who has been in Congress for 25 years to get a presidential campaign off the ground let alone have some success. He has energized left-wing voters and raised issues that need raising, requiring the other candidates (especially in his own party) to take those issues seriously. His presence has been nothing but a positive.

Long-time readers know my feelings about Hillary Clinton. I have no opinion about her as a person but border on despising her as a politician. I don't care to sift through all the Election 2008 posts to prove that to you if you're a new reader, but now in 2016 I feel no differently about her. She's a weathervane, an neoliberal on economics, and, like her husband, more than willing to get in line with the interests of neocon foreign policy hawks and law enforcement when she feels it will benefit her. She has the "right" position on a lot of issues too, but the amount of baggage it comes with is substantial.

All that said, at this point it appears very unlikely, although not impossible, that Bernie Sanders is going to win the Democratic nomination. Before you get in a tizzy about crooked rules and superdelegates, be aware that Clinton leads Sanders by a considerable margin in pledged delegates. That is to say, if there were no superdelegates she'd still be winning. We saw in 2008 that superdelegates are a bandwagon crowd when both candidates are viable. They backed Hillary until she started losing; when Obama took the lead, they backed him. Were Sanders to take an Obama-like lead this year, I firmly believe they would jump ship on Hillary again. They're in it to pick a winner, not to impose their will on the Democratic Party or pay back favors to the Clinton family.

Upcoming primaries on the West Coast will feature states in which Sanders is likely to be strong. Needing nearly 60% of the remaining pledged delegates to catch Clinton in that category makes his victory unlikely at best, though. He doesn't just have to start winning every contest, he needs to start winning every contest handily. It's possible. But it's not probable.

As that becomes increasingly clear, here comes the flood of "If _____ doesn't win the nomination, X% of (Democrats/Republicans) will not vote for (actual nomination winner)" stories. You've already seen them. We saw them in 2008, when Clinton supporters allegedly were going to vote for McCain or not at all rather than Obama. We saw it in 2012 with every GOP contender's fans and Mitt Romney. And it's all bullshit. It's a false narrative. People say, mid-Spring, that they're so mad they won't vote for Clinton if Sanders loses. They'll throw tantrums. Then they'll get over it, and by November they'll show up and vote for her. They won't feel good about it. But that doesn't matter, practically. Everyone who has been through more than one election cycle realizes that this process is not one that feels good or that gives us our ideal preferences. It's one that gives us two choices and we pick the one who isn't a complete lunatic. It's a bad system; at present, however, it is our system. I don't like it. Nobody cares whether I like it.

If life was about getting what we wanted and having great choices, we wouldn't be getting out of bed at sunrise to go to work right now. I don't like Hillary Clinton, nor will I feel particularly excited about voting for her, but when the other candidate is running with the support of actual white supremacists you just kind of suck it up and pick the less-bad one. The amount of white privilege that goes into a statement like "I'd rather stand on principle and end up with Trump than blah blah blah" is too obvious to dwell on here. If you lack the self-awareness to understand why, ask someone who isn't white and when they're done silently loathing you maybe they'll explain it and help you out.

In the end – of the election process, that is – there are some people who will waste their vote on a third party candidate who isn't going to win or skip voting altogether. That's their right, obviously. But despite Republican wishful thinking claiming otherwise, the vast majority will get over it and vote for Clinton. Especially when Sanders, as every major party candidate in memory has done, endorses the frontrunner and asks his supporters to support her moving forward.

I understand how they feel, the Sanders people. In 2000, my second presidential election, I was a staunch Naderite. I know all the arguments because I've made all the arguments, about principle and corporate Democrats and how the system won't change if we continue to reward it. That was 16 years ago. The current Republican candidate(s) make George W. Bush look like FDR. The stakes are high, and this is not a joke. We have to live with what happens here, whether it is our ideal outcome, an outcome we don't like but can live with, or one that puts some of our friends, neighbors, and colleagues at risk of having to hope for the best under a candidate openly supported by and supportive of neo-Nazis.

In reality it probably won't matter; Trump is going to get blown out regardless of what you or I choose to do as individuals. But on the off chance that you live in one of the handful of places where your choice might actually matter, think hard over the next few months about how much your Principle is really worth to you. Pay close attention to Trump/Cruz and ask yourself if you can't summon the strength to vote for a lame, DLC corporatist Democrat to decrease the chance that those men won't soon have control of the White House with a pliant Republican House majority.

Choose wisely.

96 thoughts on “BEEN THERE”

  • Choose wisely. Indeed. But be aware that Bernie's seemingly inevitable loss is a big one, for America and the world. And don't write Trump off too quickly. Once the press really start in on Billary…

  • If Bernie or Hillary wins, the right-wing assholes surrounding me (Northeastern Washington, 10 miles from the Idaho border and 30 minutes from that whole Aryan Nation place) will go apeshit. If Trump or Cruz wins, the right-wing mouth-breathing fucktards will still go apeshit. (Cathy McMorris Rodgers signs go up every election cycle two houses down… I wanted to put up Bernie in Christmas lights but would rather not get a brick or a bullet through our front window.)

  • I suspect a lot of the "it's my pick or nothing" is just venting. Is there some research on what percentage of a given prospective candidates fan base really, truly will only vote for their pick? I'd expect it to be kind of a wash – one would expect each candidate to have a certain number of such people, but I'm also kind of expecting that they aren't really that numerous.

  • I try to take comfort in that what, something like 5% of eligible voters so far have actually voted for Trump, and like 2% for Cruz? I mean, they're saying that 17% of registered Republicans have voted in the primaries and caucuses held so far. So removing independents, democrats, and any others who can't or won't vote in a Republican Primary… am I wrong here? This massive support isn't so big is it? (But maybe the indifference and apathy is almost as bad, I dunno.) Just googled Voter turnout, came up with this usefulness:

  • Comrade Luke says:

    I see.

    You voted your conscience when it actually mattered, and you fucked it up for the rest of us – and by the rest of us, I mean the entire planet, for generations.

    And now I'm supposed to suck it up and vote for Clinton?

  • Death Panel Truck says:

    the press really start in on Billary…

    The press started in on the Clintons in 1992.
    Nearly 25 years later, Hillary's still standing.

  • Tony Kushner is the shit:

    "Listen, here's the thing about politics: It's not an expression of your moral purity and your ethics and your probity and your fond dreams of some utopian future. Progressive people constantly fail to get this."

    I'm so old I used to follow Bartcop (God rest his soul) during the Clinton horseshit.

    It was always horseshit. Gene Lyons and Joe Conason did great work that was published at Salon back in the day.

    Bartcop's theory was that Bill Clinton was hated because he treated black people as people.

  • Death Panel Truck says:

    And now I'm supposed to suck it up and vote for Clinton?

    Well, yeah. Unless you'd like President Trump to nominate two, possibly three unreconstructed fascists to the Supreme Court. I'd rather that didn't happen.

  • Right on, Death Panel Truck; from 1991 on, the rightwing noise machine certainly had their hate on for Hillary Clinton. I mean, my god, the woman *wore pants*! Grab the fainting couch and clutch your pearls that a woman in the 1990s wore pants in public! Also, she had a reasonable woman's hairdo, not the over-teased, over-the-top high-end salon 'do, but something a working woman would reasonably have. But wait, there's more! Unlike the empty-headed bobble-dolls of previous administrations, this first lady had an education and opinions and she spoke them! Like she thought she was a person!

  • I like Bernie, but I think a self-proclaimed democratic-socialist would be tough sell in the general election, even in the year 2016.

    They've already managed to make "liberal" a dirty word. I can only imagine what they'd do with "socialist".

  • Here in NE they'd give their votes – actually electoral votes – to the ghost of Chester A. Arthur rather than any Democrat. It leaves me free to vote Green/Nader/Perot/Simpson if I want with no impact. Third parties don't get on the ballot much out here except Libertarian (surprise).

  • I'm pretty sure I see how the GE goes.
    Don't get me wrong, I actually bet Sanders takes CA. But HRC gets the nom.
    And Trump gets the GOP nom.
    And HRC beats Trump, handily(like >5%) in popular vote. But it's not so decisive in the EC (like 279-259 or something).

    And *then* the shit hits the fan. The problem isn't what choices we make in the morning. The problem is that fifteenth Jack-and-coke, last night. Because nobody successfully managed the emotional attachment Trump-supporters feel, and because he got so far, we're going to have a problem. Supporters already feel there's been inequity in their lives, and he's going to remedy it. They feel it's been unfair because of (insert some scapegoat here), and he agrees with them. And when he loses, no appeals to reason will work. They'll be righteously angry. It'll be blamed on all of the scapegoats he mentioned *and*the electoral college *and* party insiders *and* *and* *and* *and maybe he'll pay my legal fees* and *I'm going to make this right* and.

    The hangover I worry about can only be mitigated by stopping drinking once Trump gets the nomination. That means getting image attacks going, so that even his supporters are uncomfortable supporting him. It honest-to-God has nothing to do with reason or the high road. Unless Trump supporters doubt their strongman, we're in a heap of trouble when he loses.

  • Why does it seem necessary to repeat, repeat, repeat that you do not vote FOR the best candidate, you vote AGAINST the worst?

    In a two-party system you vote AGAINST one of the parties unless a third party actually looks like a winner.

    Nader and Perot never looked like winners. If Sanders can't win the Democratic nomination, how could he possibly have won as a third partier?

    I'm really beginning to understand why old men swear so much when the subject of politics comes up.

  • Nader? seriously? He was a joke.
    They all be jokes(on us) now…

    End stage capitalism is not a pretty sight.

  • I agree that Clinton is the lesser evil here, but she'll govern better than any of the elephant droppings. There is something lost, if we don't get Sanders and a Democrat majority Congress, like a voice for labor and the possibility of market reform that could limit or prevent another Wall $treet crash. On the bright side, Hillary may be paying attention to Bernie, she's a quick study.

  • The thing that I remember from the Clinton years that seems more salient every day is that despite the many ways I found the President craven, calculating, frustratingly centrist and all the rest, is that government functioned. People were hired who largely were qualified for their jobs, and weren't *only* politically on the right side. The reason I remember this is because of how different it was under GWB. Immediately. And how many disgraceful examples of blatant cronyism that led to incompetence. And how much it reminded me of the Reagan years. Whereas, Obama, excluding the things that can't work because of Rethuglicans? Functioning, competent, stable. Seems like there's a common factor there…

  • Regarding the '00 debacle – if Gore had managed to carry Tennessee (nominally his own state), Nader and Florida wouldn't have mattered. Even McGovern carried his own state.

    But counterfactual speculation is a speciality of mine.

  • @Robert

    The monkey brains had been fed to the people in full force by then, the end of white Democrats in the south was already in site. It was shameful that Gore couldn't carry Tennessee. Just think what would have happened if the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" wouldn't have come out of the woodwork and flung lies at Kerry in 2004. It's almost as if one side is trying to steal elections. And, to borrow a phrase from Charles Pearce, now we have a vulgar talking yam running for president.

  • Mr. Wonderful says:

    Well said, and 100% right. But you forgot one slightly mitigating/complicating fact: whoever wins the GOP nom will start tacking toward the center. Even Trump. He might even sort-of disavow the Nazis and white supremacists. Which might make it a tad less impossible for HRC haters to vote for him. Maybe not in significant numbers, but still. In other words, just as people's I'll-never-vote-for-her feelings will mellow over time, Trump's monstrosity will, too. Or it will seem to.

  • @Greg – yes, this.

    @Jestbill – I'm voting for women's rights, minority rights, education, health care, progressive tax reform, a stronger consumer/environmental regulatory state, better immigration policies; in short, a better, more tolerant society. Shorter still: I'm voting for the democrat, and not merely "against the Republican."

    I like Bernie a lot too. But I think he's too old. Heck, I think Hillary is too old too, and on top of that, she is a more compromised candidate. But one cannot be president unless one can convince somewhere in the neighborhood of 60-70 million people to vote. That involves a lot of compromise. And to build on Ed's point – white, college-educated liberals is not a big enough constituency to win the office of POTUS.

    I voted for Bill Clinton once (in 1992, my second presidential election). But by 1996, I was frustrated by welfare reform, DOMA, NAFTA, and the DNC in general, and I voted Nader. I did it again in 2000, because I not only believed all the purity arguments that Ed references, I also thought that third-party candidates were becoming a viable norm (Perot had fairly strong showings in 1992 and 1996). Also, as I live in MN, I knew that Gore would win pretty easily. The goal was to hit voting thresholds for receiving state & federal election funding. How wrong I was.

  • Thank God I live in the South where my vote doesn't matter.

    It might in a primary, which is really the only way currently that a Deep South Democrat can have any measurable effect on the Presidency.

    In the general, as a Deep South Democrat you could vote for Kodos with a clear conscience. (As long as you vote Democratic in any of the down ballot races, that is.)

  • Comrade's rebuttal particularly fails because it is NOT the progressives like Ed that lost the election to W. It is the fact that the Democratic candidate was so weak and ran such a pallid campaign that he lost tens of thousands of DEMOCRATIC voters. So before you go all Nader-bashing (a favorite sport among DNC folks), blame Gore. Who, if I recall, could not even carry his own State. And no, the loss in Tennessee was NOT because of Nader voters.

  • Comrade Luke says:

    This went exactly how I suspected.

    I mention Alito and Scalia, and it's pointed out that Bush appointed them, so my rebuttal fails. I mention Nader, and the rebuttal is that Gore sucked, and couldn't carry his own state.

    Bush wouldn't have been president if the very people who are telling us to vote for Clinton, even though she's a terrible person and a worse candidate, had done exactly what they're now advocating, and voted for Gore. Poor, poor Ralph Nader. If everyone would have just seen the light and done the right thing, today it would be all candy and roses. And anyone who disagrees is in the DNC.

    I have yet to talk to ONE person, in person or online, who voted for Nader and can admit it was a terrible mistake. It's always Gore's fault, or some other b.s. other than YOU FUCKED UP AND WE'RE ALL PAYING THE PRICE.

    Yes, yes, you voted for Nader. But ignore that. I MUST vote for Hillary, because civilization itself is at stake.

    Principles for you, but for no one else, it seems.

  • Comrade Luke,

    I voted for Nader. I am hoping Sanders wins the nom, but am bracing for Hillary. I will hold my nose and vote for her.

    And you know what? Youre right. I screwed up. I do bear responsibility. I don't understand why the fact that I am a massive, massive dumbass means that you should ignore consequences. Please learn from my mistakes.

  • Pete Gaughan says:

    Ed: "In reality it probably won't matter; Trump is going to get blown out regardless of what you or I choose to do as individuals. But on the off chance that you live in one of the handful of places where your choice might actually matter"

    geoff: "Thank God I live in the South where my vote doesn't matter."

    People's choices matter everywhere, because state and local races are important too. Democrats need to be told this more than Republicans; we on the left suck at getting out the vote in non-presidential years, which is why the House is gerrymandered to hell and back and why so many school boards are pushing evolution.

  • Counter to your statement that people whose primary candidate fails take their vote and go home is a myth…In 2012 I keep hearing that over 4 million votes for McCain in 2008 did not show up for Mittens.

    That would somehow make the pop vote a horserace (I don't about the E College)

    BTW Mittens got the same percentage of the Evangelicals (who voted in 2012) as McCain – so we can infer that the MIAs weren't E Christians hatin' on the Mormon (a favorite meme of y'all Lefties)


  • Geoff,
    Cthulhu? Why the innocent into this fight? if you aren't willing to settle for the lesser evil, just vote for whatever the Republicans nominate.

  • The grand totals for the Rs in 2008 and 2012 seem to be about the same number (per Wpedia), so I don't know where that persistent story comes from.


  • @Comrade Luke – what exactly is your point? Is LFMF not a valid point of discussion?

    I'm not in the DNC; never have been a fan.

    There's a fact that you don't seem to acknowledge: the Democratic party has moved left in the last 20 years. Not a lot, but perceptibly. Meanwhile, the rightward lurch of the Republican party has been orders of magnitude greater.

    There was a case that could be made in 2000 that Al Gore and George W. Bush were pretty close on a lot of issues, especially relating to financial regulation, corporatization, and globalization. But 9/11, the reality of the Bush/Cheney administration, and the continuing rightward march of the GOP shows a quite a different landscape in retrospect.

    TL, DR: in 2016, there is a gulf between Republicans and Democrats that is much larger than it was in 2000.

  • Is there any documentary evidence that, had every Democrat who voted for Nader had voted for Gore, Gore would have won? What I remember from that time* was that there was no single state that Gore lost that he could have won had Nader stayed shtum.

    *Granted, a long time ago, but Federal civil servants tend to follow that kind of story.

  • if you aren't willing to settle for the lesser evil, just vote for whatever the Republicans nominate.

    There's evil and then there's *evil*. I mean, with Cthulu, you can at least hope to be eaten first. What hope is there with Trump?

  • Pete G., I would argue that state and local races are even more important. Those yahoos are the ones who will directly impact their citizens' lives–much more than the President will.

  • I live in Idaho, likely not too far from Isaac, and if Clinton is the Democratic Party's candidate I'll vote for Jill Stein again. There is no way that Clinton, or any other D, is getting Idaho's EC votes. I think she's a terrible candidate. Is there a meaningful difference between her foreign policy and John McCain's? I don't think so. If I lived in a swing state perhaps I'd take a different approach.

  • we on the left suck at getting out the vote in non-presidential years

    We also suck at getting out the *candidates*. So many state-level and local elected offices simply go uncontested in red state elections. In the last mid-term here, there were only two or three Democrats to even vote *for* on my ballot, and not a one of 'em had actually done any campaigning in the area – not even of the billboards/signs variety. The rest of the seats? I suppose voters were to vote for Republicans – the only candidates on the ballot – or write in Cthulu.

    So there we have it. No one is showing up to vote for candidates that aren't on the ballot. How do we fix this?

  • Brian:

    "So before you go all Nader-bashing (a favorite sport among DNC folks), blame Gore. Who, if I recall, could not even carry his own State. And no, the loss in Tennessee was NOT because of Nader voters."

    True, Gore's loss of Tennessee was not because of Nader. But his loss in Florida were. According to exit polls from the Voter News Service,* 45% of Nader supporters would've voted for Gore if the race had been Bush vs. Gore only. 27% would've voted for Bush. Using those numbers, the Florida votes come to 2,956,132 votes for Gore and 2,939,112 for Bush. A considerably larger margin than the one found in the final count (2,912,223 and 2,912,790, respectively).

    *Voter News Service data quoted in this NY Times article:

    From context, I'm assuming the 45/27 split of Nader voters refers to Florida, not the whole country. But access to these data is restricted, so I can't confirm.

  • Pete Gaughan says:

    Everyone, forget Tennessee; there was no chance at all that TN would vote for a Democrat for president, even one of their own. You can chalk up a lot of blame for Gore for a bad campaign, but not TN.

    Robert: Yes. Look at just one state: In Florida, Nader won 97,488 votes, and Al Gore lost by 537 votes. Wikipedia cites a 'poll of Nader voters, asking them for whom they would have voted had Nader not run, which said 45 percent of Nader voters would have voted for Gore, 27 percent would have voted for Bush, and the rest would not have voted.'

  • Imagine what it's like to be a life-long self-righteous Republican faced with Der Dumpf. Because you mustvote Republican. There is no option.

    [Are you gonna eat all of the popcorn, you hog?]

  • One thing people forget is that you're not voting for a candidate for president as much as for an organization — an apparatus.

    The president is not a dictator, as much as he/she would like to think he/she is. With the president comes a whole array of people who fill the cabinet and other appointed positions. These are the people who really set the tone and make the president what he/she is and make the government work.

    The president is more like the conductor of an orchestra. He basically stands in front of his organization and waves his arms. Hopefully, they play the same song he is conducting and doing it the way he wants at the same tempo.

    When the Clintons came in, they brought Wall Street. This is why the '90s were heady days for the financial community. They killed Glass-Steagal, screwed over welfare recipients, enacted NAFTA, CAFTA. The LGBT community took a hit because of Clinton's hubris in trying to, as an outsider, push the gays in the military issue. It was the establishment's first big chance to pull down Bubba's pants and spank him in public. And they did. Same with DOMA. The LGBT community paid a 20-year price for that.

    When Bush took office, he brought the usual suspects — Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, etc. These guys had been skulking around causing mischief for decades and they continued when they got back in office.

    Obama went to the Wall Street well once again, telling bankers right off the bat that he would do everything in his power to protect them from the public anger that was rising up against them. They all breathed easier — mostly because he had it in his power, at that time, to whack the living shit out of them. But he rewarded them — and they, him.

    So we need to evaluate candidate in terms of who they would bring into the White House with them. Who is on Trump's team? Yup, nobody. Who is on Cruz's team? Yup, nobody. No one can stand him. There will be opportunists and self-promoters who will be lining up to get their snouts in the trough, but that pretty much doesn't bode well.

    So how about Bernie? I like Bernie, but I don't think he has the apparatus with enough gravitas to pull it off. They people who really run the country will "Jimmy Carter" him. The money men will take a short-term hit in the market to make sure Bernie accomplishes nothing and is a one-termer. He will be a really nice guy, but will accomplish nothing. A lot of arm waving, but no music.

    Hillary has the team. We already know who they are. She has been bought and paid for a couple of million times over. Steady as a rock. Wall Street will get their way. The military/industrial complex will be rolling in dough from endless war. Terrorism will increase, which will increase the likelihood of endless war.

    Those concerned about social issues will benefit. She will drift to the left on those, although her owners will be able to yank her back if they decide she's drifted too far. But generally, Wall Street doesn't care about social issues as long as they don't get in the way of profit. The only problem is that you're never sure quite where she stands. She's very much like Reagan oddly enough. She's in favor of the last glib person who talked to her. Very strange.

    So, you pick your poison.

  • [Are you gonna eat all of the popcorn, you hog?]

    Watching Republican leaders flail around and tie themselves in knots over how their voters are voting for Trump … TRUMP! … is one of the small bits of political joy some of us Deep South Democrats can get these days.

    " $Jeb?'s dead? Let's endorse Rubio! What? He broke down after Florida? Okay, let's endorse … who's that not-Trump guy from Ohio? Come on … NO ONE knows his name? Who's left? Cruz? #@&$^#@ …. "

    So … popcorn all 'round?

  • Two things. First of all, the reason why a Trump presidency is possible is because the Democrat elite decided to back and promote Hillary. Hillary is to the Democrats what Cruz and Rubio are to the conservatives of the GOP.

    Secondly, I can understand your willingness to vote for Hillary to stave off a possible Trump victory. I won't vote because my state always goes red anyway so it doesn't matter.

    But I'd just like everyone who supported Hillary from the beginning to understand that her election will only buy four, maximum eight years of time before we've either got Trump running again, or someone like Trump, possibly worse.

  • I voted for Ralph Nadar in 2000 and to this day, I don't regret it. Mind you , I lived in Illinois at the time and Gore was predicted (correctly) to carry the state. If were a Florida resident then Nadar would have been a non-starter with me.

    Living in purple VA now, and likely will vote HRC. If were a CA, NY,TX resident (state not in play) Jill Stein would be the clear choice for me.

  • Skepticalist says:

    I'll take those four or eight years though. Eight more years of my being around is unlikely.

    All we have left is the veto and it's never been more important.

  • OK, kidding about The Great Old One. Living in TN, I'll vote (again) for Jill Stein with a clear conscience. As for TN in 2000, Gore lost by 3.87%, which is not great, but not as much of a blowout as one might expect if they didn't live there. (Nader got 0.95%.) In 2002, we elected a moderate Democrat governor (Phil Bredesen). Our GOP Senators (Alexander and Corker) are pretty much team players, but they're more corporate than insane. The legislature however has been going full on ALEC batshit (open carry seems to be their main preoccupation) over the last couple years, so y'know, I vote all right. (Yes, midterms too.) I unenthusiastically voted for Gore in 2000, and yeah yeah home state yada. If Jeb and Kathy hadn't jacked FL we wouldn't be having this conversation and no one would even remember Nader.

  • Damn. I hate hate hate that the best summary here is from SKIPPER. There basically is no hope.


    Heck, maybe I will vote for TRUMP so the whole rotten edifice collapses. California can revive the whole Bear Flag Republic thing….or maybe NorCal can actuate the ECOTOPIA novels (not damn likely or positive.

  • I like Bernie as much as the next white progressive. But while he's winning the youth and the white progressives by unheard of margins, maybe it's time to accept that his political message is really tailored to those groups? (he's also benefited from the antipathy many folks have towards the Clintons). Much as Bernie was a great politician when it came to some folks, his choices also limited his appeal.

    I think his biggest issue is that Bernie has been fairly critical of the Obama administration. Many of Bernie's policies are basically do-overs of the Obama administration. "Break up the banks" and "single payer health insurance" are both directions that many of us wish things had gone, but didn't. The appeal of these policies to progressives is not that they are the best place to put political energy, but that they are things we criticized Obama about 5 years ago. Instead of talking about his free college plan as a continuation of Obama's (relatively positive) legacy on college affordability, he made it about taxing finance. Maybe there was just no way he was going to have a shot, but making the primary a referendum on Obama hurt him as much as it helped.

  • Hey people continuing to talk about how Gore lost. That's great and all, but he didn't lose. He fucking won. And that's after distancing himself from Clinton, failing to carry his own state, and choosing the least-inspiring running mate in modern political history.

    He fucking won. And the Supreme Court stole it from him. Because there was a conservative majority and conservatives cheat to win.

    The Supreme Court matters a fuck-ton, and no matter what your opinion is about Clinton, she's no dummy when it comes to women's rights. She'd put a decent person on the bench given the opportunity.

    I like Bernie. I voted for a losing Bernie in my state's primary. But this stuff is not to be fucked with. Republicans cheat. You have to beat them bad enough so that they can't.

  • What NC_Nate said.

    Seriously, you can't play nice with the Republicans.

    To quote Pat Buchanan:

    "The Republican philosophy might be summarized thus: To hell with principle; what matters is power, and that we have it, and that they do not."

  • Kovpakistan: "Two things. First of all, the reason why a Trump presidency is possible is because the Democrat elite decided to back and promote Hillary. "

    BZZZZT! Wrong. Trump is a front-runner among the uneducated and rage-filled, and it doesn't matter who ends up being the Democratic nominee. Interesting that you're spouting the tired lines about the "elite"; that's usually a Republican talking point.

  • A few thoughts…I've presumed that the message Bernie would carry to the general campaign is "vote out obstructionist members of Congress-regardless of party" which is what the country needs most. Hillary is status quo.
    I always had great respect for Nader until he insisted there was no difference between the two major parties. Pres. Gore wouldn't have let 9/11 happen and certainly wouldn't have invaded Iraq. Idealist Nader became an ideologue. I don't fault anyone who voted for him (people have noted it depends on your state) but I never heard him say "Maybe Bush was worse". Let me know if he did.
    I've only cast two enthusiastic votes for president: the second time I voted for Carter and the first time for Obama. Living in Ohio we're always in play, so I hold my nose and vote against the worst. We're in the 8th district (Boehner) safely Gerrymandered. This primary was a total circus.
    15 hopefulls for a virtual lifetime seat. The Club For Growth lackey beat the Americans For Tax Reform lackey. In the past we've voted Repub. in the primary as the only chance to vote against Boehner. Some cycles the Dems. can't find a sacrificial lamb to even run a candidate.
    The big problem I see is the Repubs. are on a successful path to taking over the government by minority rule. They're controlling enough state legislatures that an amendment to curb Gerrymandering will never pass and whittling away at voting access and obstructing everything they can.
    So hold your nose and vote! The W years show that things CAN get worse than we can even imagine.

  • Thank you, Skipper, for pointing out something far too many people ignore. People act like a president comes in and then gets everything they want, so vote for someone who says they want what you want and everything will be fine. It ignores so much reality as to be a de facto fairy-tale. Had Nader or Perot gotten to the White House, you'd have seen stonewalling for four years and then that person voted out for having accomplished literally nothing. Washington DC is a giant, sprawling, cross-administration club, and if you're not in the club you are not welcome.

  • In my many discussions about the upcoming presidential election the overwhelming objection to Bernie is that he's simply unelectable.

    When we discuss his views on the social safety net, overturning Citizens United, breaking up the big banks, universal Medicare for all, nearly everyone agrees with him.

    For most sensible liberals, his views reflect their end game exactly.

    So why is it that he's viewed as unelectable? His positions may seem like pipe dreams in the right wing paradise that is the United States but these are mainstream positions in most of the rest of the developed world.

    When we have our dream candidate served up on a platter, why are liberals so convinced that he can't be elected? Why on earth would we abandon the candidate that has shown to be prescient on almost every current crisis we are facing today?

    Like any sensible person, I will back the Democratic candidate. I'm just not going to abandon the person that can fast forward a sensible agenda because it's politically expedient to rally behind a status-quo candidate.

    I'm not a Bernie or Bust guy but I will do my best to back him until that choice is no longer an option.

  • @Nunya; my sense is this: President Obama is far more centrist than Bernie Sanders, and the poor man has dealt with nothing but malicious and childish obstructionism from the right for the past 7 years. If Bernie Sanders were to be elected, government would likely grind even more to a standstill.

  • @Nunya:

    Bernis IS unelectable. Simple fact. He's not a bad person, although he's been taking some spectacularly bad advice from his handlers. He is also widely unpopular with people like me, who want a viable candidate and the vast majority of voters who know next to nothing about him will get their opinions from FuckTheNew'sCorpse or the MSM.

    I dislike Hilary, but she doesn;'t scare me.

  • @Katydid – to be fair, I think Obama's swarthiness may have had a lot to do with the Republican obstructionism.

    The general implosion of the GOP among non-idiots bodes well for the Democrats in the house and Senate during the next election. Why not take advantage of it to push through some meaningful progressive legislation?

  • @Nunya

    Education time for me (if you choose to participate)

    Please list the top 3 projects/initiatives/bills that R obstructionism destroyed due to President Obama's skin color.


  • @ bb in GA.:

    Bush the lesser (by any set of metrics) was considered illegitmate becasue he was not elet4ed by a popular vote. Obama was considered illegitimate because, well, BLACK!!!

  • I'm still somewhat amused by people saying, "I'd vote for Sanders, but he's unelectable."

    Recently went frog-gigging over in the RWNJ fever swamp. There are GOPe* pundits and wingnut welfare cases begging – begging! – the NeverTrumpers to swallow their pride and their vomit and vote for the angry talking yam. Why? Because Clinton is too far left – even more of a wild-eyed socialist than That Man in the White House. We can't afford the chance!

    The idea of someone disliking Clinton because she's so far *left* disturbs and fascinates me; it's like body horror meets the Overton window.

    *A recent (I think) term of art among the brethren lately; the 'e' is for 'elite'. In other words, the ringmasters who are panicking now that the killer klowns are taking over the circus.

  • As far as I can see, HRC's greatest political talent is for making herself look like Nixon in pastels, even when she is obviously innocent of whatever the accusation du jour may be. Add in her talent for picking clueless cronies (hey there, Ms Wasserman Schultz!) and the stink of corrupt, narcissistic self-interest that Bill trails around with him and you have a weak candidate who is being saved by the fact that the GOP is in even worse shape.

    I wouldn't mind seeing the Democrats nominate someone with a more convincing slogan than:

    "Are you ready for the fact that my shit sandwich offering is slightly smaller and slightly less pungent than the Republican version".

    Still, I am just an old-fashioned romantic about these things.

  • Simple request…kinda non-specific answer(s)

    From the non-liberal position, it looks like our President has won every showdown with the Rs. What have they obstructed ? Obstruction means (to me) that our President didn't get something he wanted because the Rs said NO and made it stick. Or failing that, they dragged something out really a long time before he got it.

    Starting with the ACA (which was NOT obstructed by the Rs, they just didn't vote for it – passed with all D votes)) it seems that Mr. Obama got Stimulus I thru N, He won on all the budget fights.

    The Rs have not seriously and successfully opposed him (that I can remember) on anything big. Help my failing memory here.

    Isn't this one of the reasons the R base is so incensed because the Rs have done nothing to oppose our President for fear of that they will be slimed like y'all are doing here…RACIST, BIGOT, HOMOPH…you get the idea.

    Do better, please…


  • @bb in GA

    "What have they obstructed ? "

    Remind me which party has refused to pass a budget, has damaged America's credit rating, has failed to even vote on judges, has lied its ass off about Obamacare, has lied its ass off about Benghazi, has lied its ass off about the president's citizenship, has lied its ass off about gay marriage, has lied its ass off about climate change……

    You should be ashamed of yourself for being such a willing rube in the service of an anti-American gang of fiscal terrorists.

  • Ms. Ann Thrope says:

    I voted for president for the first time in 1968. That year and every election up until 2008 the candidate I supported in the primary was not the candidate running in the general election. But I always voted for the Dem. On those rare occasions a Democrat was actually elected president I was sometimes pleased, sometimes pissed at what he (always a he) did as president. Then the candidate I supported in the primary actually won the presidency in 2008! I have been sometimes pleased and sometimes pissed at what he has done. Nobody, even the one you support, is perfect.

  • Andre Friedmann says:

    For working people, the difference between voting for a democrat or a republican is often the tiny bit of extra time it buys before getting sold out to Wall Street. That, and better appointments to the Supreme Court and the NLRB.

    This, absofuckinglutely this:
    "The amount of white privilege that goes into a statement like 'I'd rather stand on principle and end up with Trump than blah blah blah' … If you lack the self-awareness to understand why, ask someone who isn't white and when they're done silently loathing you maybe they'll explain it …"

  • Ms. Ann Thrope says:

    To all of you upthread who argue about Gore and Nader and who lost the 2000 election blah blah blah. Does anyone remember that THE U.S.SUPREME COURT STOPPED THE RECOUNT ORDERED BY THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT AND APPOINTED BUSH PRESIDENT???
    Sorry to yell. Oh, and Gore won the popular vote.

  • Don't ask BB to know anything about the R's have done to Obama. It was all Obama's fault anyway. Rush would never let the bad news out about what the R's didn't allow Obama to do. as If! lol.

    Obama is a Republican, a black Republican Overseer for the Club. Just now it's a woman's turn. and Clinton is the willing "Candidate". 1st Blacks, now Women.

    as someone said the R's hate their base but fear it, as Trump proves. R's string on the base and say the bad ole D's stop them from doing away with Abortion, Gay Rights, Uppity Women and so forth. The D's hate their base and do the Republican dirty work. Selling out the Budget, Selling out American Jobs, NAFTA, TARP, and so forth.

    Clinton is far worse for America than Trump ever could be. She has already proved there is nothing she wouldn't do for POWER. She's much more dangerous than Trump, only Cruz comes close. Cruz is by far the most sinister. Would impose a Christian Taliban Nationwide that exist in the Good Ole Dixie.

    Bernie can't win cause everyone says he is "unelectable". The media did it job well.

  • (sigh)

    You still give me BS and abuse.

    So, you brought up Rush, not me. Mr L correctly predicted that if the Rs did not incessantly w/o question kiss Mr Obama's ass every time he proposed something that they would instantly be tarred as racists. It happened almost when the first bell rung in 2009.

    Y'all give me a bunch of emotions and distortions. "Lying asses off" don't obstruct anything.

    BTW Sen Reid is the King of NO Senate action on the Budget – not the Rs (who I have a lot of disdain for)

    Again – What important legislation have the Rs blocked since 2009 ?

    Gimme something other than abuse.

    You frothing Libs think I'm sticking up for the Rs. I'm not. I don't vote for any of them at the National level.


  • @bb in GA

    "You frothing Libs think I'm sticking up for the Rs. I'm not. I don't vote for any of them at the National level."

    And you didn't bang your head when you fell off the turnip truck.

  • Beleck says "Clinton is far worse for America than Trump ever could be. She has already proved there is nothing she wouldn't do for POWER."

    You, sir, are too dumb to vote.

    This characterization has about as much truth in it as the "Obama the black nationalist" bullshit we had to put up with in 2008. It has roots in the same sort of bigotry, too, only this time aimed at ambitious women instead of uppity blacks.

    Clinton is an imperfect candidate for many reasons, but you people who have convinced yourself she's worse than Trump, the man actively seeking out the support of real white supremacists, is complete lunacy.

  • OtherAndrew says:

    "Again – What important legislation have the Rs blocked since 2009 ?"

    Aren't they the ones who are supposed to be making the legislation? And therefore, if they refuse to do that and instead prefer to hold symbolic votes on destroying Obamacare, they're being obstructionist.

    Quite aside from all of actual rule-lawyering, refuse-to-confirm Obama's appointments stuff. That's clearly obstructionist.

  • OtherAndrew says:

    Your standard is artificial and clearly constructed to be self-serving, which is why people don't respect it.

  • Skepticalist says:

    By the time I'm dead somebody like Bernie may well be elected but believe me, there are still enough Pat Buchanans around DC to revive the terror of electing an evil socailist. Remember: Socialists are really secret commies and always in bed together looking for ways to padlock your church.

    Meanwhile, do anything to retain a Democratic veto. Democrats may stumble around but they tend not to make things worse.

  • Anaximander of Xidon says:

    Our election system is great, and particularly great for our theoretically mavricky character as Americans.

    We are supposed to think for ourselves. We don't need no stinkin' leaders, especially not leaders that have any power beyond the power of their ideas.

    What is great about our stinky obnoxious system is that it stops the other side from installing their Great Leader (TGL). They have to hold their nose and vote for a XINO (whatever In Name Only) scumbag politician instead of their awesome statesperson who would be a Great Leader. A Great Leader for us, they don't need a leader, they were wise enough to install TGL, so TGL won't mess with them (actually, he will, once the ballots are in). TGL will correct our foolishness.

    Unfortunately, it does the same for the other side.

    It's a feature, not a bug.

    The bug s that the system also prevents any sane person from getting elected. I kind of laugh when people say "Clinton will do anything for Power." If you wouldn't "do anything for power" you probably won't run, and if you do, you will drop from sheer exhaustion and/or lose to somebody who is more power-motivated than you early in the process.

    To win the Presidency, you essentially have to be driven by a need for power that you won't ever have as President. You have to be crazy.

    The system kind of failed with Obama. The reason somebody with that much capacity for leadership could be elected is that the other Party was already off the rails in 2008 and W left the door wide open. And what is a reasonably sane, smart, normal guy like Obama doing in that office?

    I don't think we need to worry about Hillary being too sane to be President, but she may have too much leadership ability.

    What has me terrified is that the electorate rarely tolerates a smart White House for long. Hillary is really pushing it. We really should find a dimwit candidate.

  • Being a Naderite was just plain stupid. Nader ruined careers of former proteges who moved a couple degrees away from his idea. From a managerial perspective, he was much a petty fascist as Trump. Kucinich had many similar problems and his supporters could never tolerate anyone bringing up his racist past (which he has never really renounced). Gore was clearly very different from Bush.

    I think it's doubtful that Bernie will go all the way. My one real concern is that if elected, it's unclear how he would govern and who he would bring into govt as his kitchen cabinet and as his major appointees. Would he be like Carter and bring in an inconsistent bunch and then try to run everything himself. I don't picture him being hands off like Eisenhower. His history is pretty pragmatic, but the federal govt is bigger than Vermont. Hillary would bring in very competent if not necessarily imaginative people. Her econ types are too close to Wall Street, which is probably my main concern about her. OTOH, anyone who says there's no difference between Hillary and Trump probably should go to some functional gulag like Russia for awhile and get their naive sense of outrage recalibrated.

  • If you really think any Democrats are going to stay at home or vote third-party if Bernie Sanders isn't the nominee, let me tell you about a long-ago time of the year 2004, and how much I haaaaaated John Kerry when Howard Dean dropped out.

    Didn't matter. By the first time I'd heard the phrase "swift boat veterans for truth," I was 100% going to vote for my side's guy.

  • Donald Shimoda says:

    No matter what anyone thinks of HRC, she is far better than any Republican. It is ludicrous to even think of not voting because Bernie didn't win. I like Bernie but will vote for Hillary if she wins the nomination.

  • "You people who" always brings lots of laughter when i see it. as if that were possible, lol. i certainly would like to be part of that kind of thinking.

    I only cite examples of Hillary's behavior, such as sucking up to Mellon, the guy behind the Whitewater scandal of yesterday, when she decided it was time to run for Pres. That really caught my eye. but actions count for little when the virtuousness of a standard bearer overcomes partisanship Don't know much about Bernie but from what i read. used to think being Jewish was "bad" but nothing is worsen than being an old socialist. and that in American politics is the ultimate sin.

    BB, so you vote R in your state? this somehow "explains your disassociation"? with the larger R's Brand? Bird of a feather, to me., i gather you claim partnership with the local Confederate Republicans? or do you? as i saw someone allude to the present state of mind of the Republicans, pushing Dixie up from the grave. as Faulkner said, the Past is never Past, at least in the South. i don't know how the rest of the country was, but i know the South, or knew how well trained and controlled we were by the Society i grew up in.

    No BB, i can't understand a voter for R's period. not since Goldwater. lol. though i only know Nixon and the Greatest of All, St. Reagan of America. Profits, Baby, Profits.

    anyway. i dislike Clinton because she has continuously sold her influence. to Goldman Sachs in one instance for something like $667,000 for one talk she "gave", and at the going rate according to her. She honest about being part of the Establishment. She and Bill worked hard to get there. She earned it through all the Whitewater and Monica BS. mostly she scares the living sh*t out of me. that wicked laugh when they killed Khadafy. like the Wicked Witch in the "Wizard of Oz". i'll get you my pretty. and Clinton would/will. lol. my take, lol. power epitomized!

    i just don't like thieves. people who steal are not trustworthy. and Clinton is just one of the many who Americans have re- elected to run and ruin this Country, for PROFIT. America is a very beautiful and wonderful place. to have the Rich via Congress Rs and D', steal everything and have someone like Clinton/Bush/St. Reagan help them rip us off… well, i don't agree to like or vote/endorse such a behavior.

    Now there is all this "horror" at Trump and the "violence" we see associated with Trump's "run." Frankenstein didn't just happen out of the blue. this took years of "deregulation" of all the moral values, deconstruction of the society we lived in before Profits over People bought out the local, state and Congress people. Bought and Sold. for a Profit. and now the white men have no jobs, pay above McD's. no future, no hope for their children's futures. no jobs that pay living wages and a future. and that makes Frankensteins angry. winners and losers.

    oh well at least people can explain why they disagree. hardly seems to change opinions. at least i want to understand how anyone can vote R or Clinton or Obama, or the Vichy D's. but maybe i am not able to. lol interesting times indeed

  • ArlingtonRob says:

    For me it's simple…

    This republican party is nutz on every level.
    I voted for Bernie in the IL primary.
    I will gladly vote for Clinton in the general.

    I've been voting since 1980 and every election presents me with less than perfect choices…I've come to expect that.

    My memories of the 90's are still clear and the shit storm the Clinton's faced from the right was relentless. I have no doubt that Hillary has very thick skin…and she'll need it if she's wins the white house.

  • To me there is little difference between the candidates. Sanders and Clinton.

    I will enthusiastically vote for either.

    And there is a stark difference between those two and any Republican.

    It is fucking no brainer.

    In my 50's with grown kids and a wife.

  • @ Beleck:

    Whenever I see a long comment by somebody like you, I wonder if the Kochsuckers have you on salary or pay by the word.

  • 1. The American Jobs Act (2011)
    2. Gun Control (2013)
    3. Transportation Infrastructure investment (2015)
    4 bonus: Information Technology Modernization Fund (2016)

  • This is disappoint. Lesser-evilism is still evil, and in the case of Clinton…pretty damn evil. A Clinton presidency would grow the radical right because it wouldn't address working people's needs: white, black, or hispanic. Just as the right grew rapidly under corporate, neoliberal Dem Obama (this can't be explained solely due to racism) it will continue to grow under a more corporate, neoliberal Dem like Clinton.

    This is myopic Ed. Pick where to make your stand Trump 2016 or Tom Cotton 2020. We can't support Clinton today and still somehow maintain the ability to build a world that addresses people's material needs, which sets us on firm ground to fight racism, sexism, and xenophobia and build solidarity.

  • bb:
    The Obama successes you mention took place in the first two years of his administration, before the Rs took Congress. Since then, not one single Obama initiative has made it into law.
    Your comment precisely illustrates my problem with Obama's performance overall. He just gave up. To my mind, what he should have been doing for the last 8 years is sending up one small achievable bill every single week for the Rs to shoot down. One small targeted jobs bill, one small infrastructure bill, one small targeted immigration bill, one modification of the ACA, etc, etc.
    Then a significant PR campaign on each of the bills, pointing out the obstruction.
    Then there would be a documented list of R obstructions. As it is, there's just a record of Obama not sending anything because it was a given that nothing would pass.

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