THE TIME

So, not surprisingly, Sanders is out (yes, I know that technically all of the candidates "suspend" their campaigns to hedge bets against some future scenario where reactivating it could lead to nomination). His campaign has been largely inactive and in "winding down" mode, doing things like canceling ad buys, since Michigan. As I said on the bonus podcast (via Patreon) after Michigan, the math for winning the nomination simply was not there anymore.

Way back in January I laid out a path to the nomination for him based on a gaggle of other Democrats splitting the remaining vote. Once most of the candidates bailed and the Not Sanders vote coalesced around Biden, there was no real chance short of Biden exploding into a cloud of glitter that Sanders could win. So, from that perspective, the timing of exiting the race makes as much sense now as it would have in a month or whatever. I've read arguments that there was no reason for him to quit – his cash situation is strong – but that's the flipside of the argument that there's no reason for him to continue. It's difficult to prove either proposition correct there.

There has been some discussion of the value of staying in long enough to collect 25% of all available delegates, which would earn the campaign a spot on the DNC Rules and Platform committees. This would give it some minority input on rules for future nomination contests, as well as the ability to propose things that the whole convention would get to vote on. I guess that could be useful in theory, but it's a stretch. It's hard to see any serious Sanders-proposed changes being adopted by the convention or party as a whole, so perhaps I'm being cynical but it seems mostly like it would be an opportunity to make a lot of noise. Maybe I'm overlooking something more useful.

I don't get the sense that the campaign or anyone supporting it is really interested in establishing some kind of Victory Narrative; explaining how a defeat was actually some kind of victory is one of the things that faction likes least about the Democratic Party. Politics is about power and moral victories are for losers. The way I see it, there is no "victory" but it is impossible to overstate how much impact this guy has had on the rhetoric and ideological window that defines Democratic politics now. Mainstream candidates aren't talking about – at varying levels of sincerity, obviously – universal healthcare and debt relief because Hillary Clinton inspired them to or because they read about it in some white paper. A guy ran on what used to be the mainstream liberal platform, which now counts as the Far Left because the window has shifted so far to the right. Other candidates saw that he gained support with it and they moved in the same direction. No, I don't really think any of the other candidates have a real strong commitment to like, Medicare for All. I think they're just talking about it. As sad as it is, that's a big improvement over where we've been for most of my lifetime.

It's difficult to see how this will play out moving forward, but down ballot I think it's crucial for challengers on the left to press mainstream Democrats. They'll have a hard (but not impossible) time winning, but it's absolutely essential to have some kind of counterweight to the reflexive tendency to keep moving to the right to appeal to "moderates and Republicans" which, for the ten thousandth time, doesn't even work.

Other than organizing and demanding concessions in return for support, there really is nothing else to do. The next step after that fails is lobbing Molotovs.

As for Biden, all I can say is the Democratic Party better be right about his "electability." If they lose to this fucking clown a second time with a hand-picked party insider at the top of the ticket there will be no saving them.

21 thoughts on “THE TIME”

  • Walter Mellon says:

    Narrator: DNC faceplant will make 2016 look like a fun pony ride in the park. They refuse to learn.

  • "How long, O Lord…How long? Where will it end? The only possible good that can come of this wretched campaign is the ever-increasing likelihood that it will cause the Democratic Party to self-destruct."

  • Zack O’Donnell says:

    Not disagreeing with your point of view, but what if Sanders does not concede parts of this platform that the Party won’t support? Will he throw a tantrum and split the party? That is the only way I see Biden having any trouble winning this thing.

  • The best way to get four more years of what is inarguably the WORST fucking government that the U.S. has had in the modern era is to discourage people from participating.

  • Shirley0401 says:

    "If they lose to this fucking clown a second time with a hand-picked party insider at the top of the ticket there will be no saving them."

    That assumes their principal goal is actually winning in the general, rather than making sure the nominee isn't someone who cares more about Americans getting healthcare than pharma and health insurance CEOs continuing to make 8-figure salaries and giving them lobbying jobs in a few years.
    But our world is not the world I'd choose, and I'll vote for Biden, steaming pile of dung that he is, because the alternative is a burning pile of radioactive dung that is also an explosive.

  • @ Paul:

    I thought about that and typed it that way because I'm not a keen student of PotUS history.

    I'm not sure that Andrew Jackson wasn't a worse person or that Millard Fillmore and Patrick Buchanan weren't worse at presidenting.

    And then, there's Woodrow FUCKING Wilson who was a genuine racist, anti-woman p.o.s.

  • The filter says that this is a duplicate comment–but it's not showing it as having been accepted. Odd, that.

    @ Paul:

    I thought about that and typed it that way because I'm not a keen student of PotUS history.

    I'm not sure that Andrew Jackson wasn't a worse person or that Millard Fillmore and Patrick Buchanan weren't worse at presidenting.

    And then, there's Woodrow FUCKING Wilson who was a genuine racist, anti-woman p.o.s.

  • I think there's very little chance of Biden winning. A worse candidate than Hillary. Notice that despite having no opposition at this point, there's been no announced uptick in fundraising, there's literally no Biden campaign (not a single paid worker or organized volunteer or rented office) in almost all states. Biden had the right ingredient (insider support) to win a primary, but shows absolutely zero sign of being a person that anyone wants to campaign for or vote for.

    You might fool yourself that "anyone but Trump" still does well in polls. But having people think about viruses and disease is known to bring out conservative tendencies, crises cause people to support the leader and Trump has an amount of money to command that is literally unbelievable (once a TRILLION dollars of government money is spent on companies who promise to help Trump get reelected…). It is _legal_ for Trump to go to MSNBC and say we'll give you a BILLION dollars if you promise to pull for us, do we have a deal? Pelosi made that happen for him. There's no oversight, it won't be disclosed and it's not even illegal! The FEC is shut down and the Supreme Court will support it! Polling places in every city nationwide will be shutdown ("virus threat!") while polling places in conservative rural areas will remain open. Trump will be running to the LEFT of Biden on most issues: healthcare, jobs, economy…

    Plus Fox hasn't even mentioned Biden yet. Hasn't even bothered with him apart from laying some groundwork about Biden's son and brother corruption, that sort of thing. Once Fox actually starts in on him…

    I think Biden is going to win about five states.

    And no one is even talking about the Census which is going on RIGHT NOW and which is going to hugely undercount Democrats due to no door-to-door count. As the seats are reapportioned, Democrats are going to lose, what, ten seats in the House due to bad counting?

    Trump will win easily, Democratic leadership will immediately announce it's the fault of Bernie, and US democracy is toast. Some of you should be preparing to leave the country. I'm serious.

  • Sometimes I just don't understand where you're coming from. The Democratic Party is farther to the left today than it's been at any time since I was born (in 1967). Back then the party was dominated by southern conservatives(Sparkman-look him up!), in the 1980s Phil Gramm was a Democratic congressman, and when Bill Clinton was first elected and tried to get universal healthcare, the Democratic-controlled senate included Richard Shelby (!), Fritz Hollings, David Boren, Ben Nighthorse Campbell, people who became Republicans, or would have had they not been near death. Even when Obama was pushing the ACA there was a huge block of senators, Dorgan, Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Joe Lieberman and many others trying to weaken it. Now, the most conservative Dem, Manchin, not only wants to keep the ACA but expand it. Sanders' 2019 Medicare for All act had 14 cosponsors including presidential candidates Warren, Harris, Booker and Gillibrand. And Warren, Harris and Booker have had leftier Senate voting records than Sanders since joining the senate.

    Nothing is easy or quick due to our system having so many checkpoints/veto points. It's a long, hard (that's what she said) process and it takes work. Even if Sanders was elected president, would we have Medicare for All during his administration? It's easy to get discouraged, but we don't have a parliamentary style government so it takes repeated efforts to get good things done. Social Security in the '30s was different than what it became over the following decades, and if it takes repeated pushes to get universal healthcare through lowering Medicare age, expanding Medicaid, a public option, greater subsidies and stricter regulation of what insurance companies can offer on the exchanges (limiting out of pocket expenses, etc.), then that's what it takes, and as much as I wish that Biden never ran for the nomination, he is in favor of all of those things. Once there is something like Medicare being offered as a public option for purchase on the ACA, then that can be opened up to companies buying Medicare for their healthcare plans, which then leads to, well, everyone is on Medicare anyway, let's just eliminate the middle part. Even pre-presidential runs Sanders talked about this as a way to produce universal healthcare.

  • Jonas, exactly. Nothing is easy and nothing is fast, it will require constant pressure and even when we win that will be attacked from the right continually. The reactionary party is relentless, they take a bite and come back for more. We have to learn that tactic, never give up and vote blue no matter who because the alternative is unacceptable.

  • 'vote blue no matter who because the alternative is unacceptable.'
    DNC appreciates that sentiment. thus they can present a weak ass candidate that will not do what needs to be done, and still get your vote. What do you think will make the DNC change?
    Or maybe you think the DNC is for the little guy?
    After decades of 'voting blue no matter who' I am over that. way over that.

  • Electoral College, bitches. If you live in a state in play I politely ask you to take a binder clip with you and vote for the Democrat.

    Me, my state's been a foregone conclusion of decades. I'm writing in "Susan Sarandon's vagina." In homage to her famously saying four years ago that she didn't vote with it.

  • Dear Doug:

    You, like a number of commenters here over the past few years seem to think that you're playing some sort of game. You're not.

    Vote for whoever the fuck you want to vote for. Since you seem to have no candidate, I guess that you won't need to vote.

    We won't be having any discussion about it. Obviously you'd just as soon sink the lifeboat if you can't be the captain.

  • I think a lot of the commenters are just playing a longer and wiser game than you, Democommie. You're happy to vote for the candidate that promises you punch you 700 times in the face as long as the other team is running a candidate that promises to punch you 701 times in the face, and then look down scornfully at everyone and tell them "this isn't a GAME people!" And then next year when the Dems run a candidate who promises 800 punches, you'll hammer the lever for that candidate because the Republican candidate promises 801. Abused spouses throughout time have used similar justifications – oh, he's terrible, but if I left him it might be worse.

    People who are playing a longer political game think about things like "what if we encouraged the parties to run candidates who won't punch us in the face at all?"

  • @MS:

    People who are playing a longer political game? I'm 70. I've been watching this shit show for a long time. Every four years or so, the people say that they are progressive want to run THEIR candidate and if I don't like it, tough shit.

    Yet, for all of the tough talk, I don't see a progressive on most town boards, city councils or other lower level offices.

    You think I'm too stupid to know that i'm being punched in the face 700 times.

    The difference between that and the direction the GOP is headed is zero. The only REAL difference is that democrats don't go out of their way to craft legislation the sole intent of which is to HURT people.

    Give me a count of the dozens to hundreds of progressive candidates you people have gotten elected in the last 20 or 30 years and what they did that affected my life in an affirmative way.

    You want to run the party, you have to HAVE a party.

  • @demo –

    Incidentally, I'm listening to a podcast right now, and they're interviewing a community organizer in LA. She recounted the experience of herself and others attempting to show up and get involved in local party politics. It didn't go well. She described it as toxic, and it became clear to her that the involvement of people like her wasn't welcome.

    I hear you that progressives need to run at the state and local level. (For the record, they are, at least here in NC.) But what do you do when the ostensible left wing party doesn't welcome anyone to the left of the Clintons?

  • @ define and redefine:

    "But what do you do when the ostensible left wing party doesn't welcome anyone to the left of the Clintons?"

    That's when you start your own new party. Neither the democrats or republicans of today sprang from the forehead of Thomas Paine or other humanists.

    Politics is a shitty game. If you don't want to play by their rules, you have to start your own game.

    I've been a reliable vote for people who I think are assholes for a long time, mainly because nobody else who is running has a genuine chance of beating the career criminals of the GOP.

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