Gaius Publius: Sanders Raises $3 Million in Four Days; Will He Split the Party?

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Yves here. While I’m loath to take the site too much in the direction of politics (as opposed to finance, economics, and political economy), Bernie Sanders’ choice of Stephanie Kelton as economist to the Senate Finance Committee, his firm opposition to toxic trade deals, and his long-standing support of social safety nets and pro-middle class policies means his campaign is focused substantially on issues of economic justice. Moreover, I was bothered to see readers take up what I regard as a misguided post by the normally excellent Bruce Dixon of Black Agenda Report attacking Sanders as a what amounts to a progressive stooge for the Democratic party.

That charge is simply off base. People don’t run campaigns to channel votes to a pre-designated winner; Dixon unfortunately accepts uncritically the Clinton campaign narrative that she’s the inevitable nominee. By contrast, Lambert uses the “S.S. Clinton” moniker to designate her as a political Titanic looking for her iceberg. I’d bet on her health not holding up, but the seemingly unending litany of scandals is only increasing opposition to her. And opposition is a more powerful driver of turnout than tepid support.

In addition, what pray tell does Sanders gain from running to lose? He’s never going to be a VP or cabinet member in a Clinton administration, nor is he about to get a seven figure book deal, seats on corporate boards, or six figure speaking gigs. The campaign is what it is.

In addition, it’s hard to see how Clinton credibly counters a well-articulated challenge from a real progressive, as opposed to the business-friendly sorts who try to wear the mantle for selected photo ops. She can’t even bring herself to oppose the TPP. She’s too hemmed in by her corporate funders to do anything much more than keep playing identity politics cards and make occasional feeble gestures on the economic justice front.

However, the definition of what a successful Sanders campaign looks like is also too narrow. The US didn’t magically become neoliberal overnight. The shift in values took place as a result of a well funded, orchestrated effort by then-extreme right wing businessmen to move the country in a more conservative direction. The efforts weren’t limited to founding and supporting think tanks like AEI, Cato, Hudson and the Heritage Foundation; it included aggressively promoting a “law and economics” movement to subvert the teaching of law and produce more conservative judges.

Thus, even if Sanders loses, he can still produce important gains for the real (as opposed to Vichy) left by demonstrating that “progressive” ideas enjoy broad-based support, and by demonstrating that pet neoliberal positions, like “we have to cut Social Security” and “we can’t raise wages much” are bogus and serve the rich, not the interests of the country as a whole. If Sanders moves the Overton Window to the left, that alone is a significant achievement.

By Gaius Publius, a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, Americablog, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius, Tumblr and Facebook. This piece first appeared at Down With Tyranny. GP article archive here.

My headline has two parts (you can see it above) but the second is, for me, the most important and the most interesting. I’ve been writing about the split — the chasm, really — between progressives and “progressives” in the Democratic Party for at least a year, and Howie has been documenting the sins of money-bought “Democrats” like the DCCC since forever.

Some want that split to heal, and some want it to widen. Democrats who want it to heal are motivated by two main interests, it seems. One is the desire, understandable enough, to keep government out of the hands of Republicans, who really are the greater evil, if only by a little.

The other interest, though, is more insidious and far less defensible. If the party pulls together, those whose careers are tied to the success of its money-soaked DLC wing will see those careers advanced — in some cases, spectacularly.

The losers in all this? Unbailed-out mortgagees; students with crushing personal debt; the soon-to-explode bomb of poverty among soon-to-retire 401k-holders — the jobless; the poor; the barely-making-it in a Nike and Apple “made in Asia” economy. The bottom 80% who are going nowhere or going down. The traditional constituents, in other words, of the real Democratic Party as constituted in the pre–Bill Clinton years.

Who wants the split in the Democratic Party to widen? Anyone who wants progressive change in America at a non-incremental pace. And everyone, voter or activist, who no longer wants to reward “professional Democrats” — self-serving, money-serving women and men — for their constant and regular betrayals.

An Uneasy Truce

So far, we’ve seen something of a truce between the two groups, with skirmishes. The DCCC-minded crowd has been losing elections for progressives as fast as it can while still advancing some progressive causes, even if forced and grudgingly. And pro-progressive activists have been taking them on via incremental assaults on their numbers. In the meantime, the Democratic Party as a whole has been losing its brand, and arguably losing elections as a result (most recently, 2014).

There’s absolutely no question that progressive and populist economic policies are wildly popular with voters, even Republican ones. 87% of Republicans want TPP to fail, along with large numbers of Democrats. Yet party leaders — Democratic party leaders —are hell-bent to pass it, and don’t mind being seen by voters as hell-bent to pass it.

Even Hillary Clinton, I’m almost certain, wants TPP to pass, but doesn’t want to say so. Consider this:

Clinton Campaign Chairman On Trade Deal: ‘Can You Make It Go Away?’

… At a closed-door gathering of wealthy progressive donors in April, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta was asked how the campaign would deal with the [TPP] issue.

“Can you make it go away?” Podesta replied jokingly, according to sources in the room at the time.

This isn’t how a TPP opponent talks. This is how a friend-of-money talks when her campaign needs to hide her views. How else can you read this?

Now Comes Bernie Sanders, Making Progressives Choose

But this is not about Hillary Clinton, Robert Rubin or Barack Obama. It’s about Democratic voters and the infrastructure of the Democratic Party, its official organs and its allied support groups.

Bernie Sanders is calling them all out — “You say you believe in fixing the economy; prove it.” And he’s doing it as a candidate for the presidency, in direct opposition to the “inevitable” Hillary Clinton. This is not about polls that can be ignored. Sanders is asking for votes. Now look at the first part of my headline: “Sanders Raises $3 Million in Four Days.” He’s apparently got the popular wind at his back, at least for now:

Bernie Sanders Raised $3 Million From Small Donors in the First Four Days of His Campaign

Your 2016 Democratic presidential primary in a nutshell: At about the same time Hillary Clinton revealed Wednesday she would begin raising unlimited money for a super PAC supporting her bid, an aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders told the Huffington Post the Vermont independent’s campaign had taken in $3 million over four days — at an average of $43 per donation, from an estimated 75,000 supporters.

The same adviser reported that 99.4% of the contributions were for $250 or less. Furthermore, the Huffington Post reported, Sanders’ campaign website has collected 185,000 email addresses, an indication his grassroots donor base could grow throughout the primary season

Getting the band back together: If the interest is there — and these early numbers suggest Sanders is rooted in fertile political ground — the campaign will be in a good place to capitalize on it. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Sanders had signed up veterans of President Barack Obama’s groundbreaking 2008 digital operation. Revolution Messaging, headed up by Obama alumnus Scott Goodstein, will manage the campaign’s online networking and fundraising work.

Sanders will need his initial wave of small donors to keep their pocketbooks open and credit cards out, because there is no cavalry of billionaire boosters ready to ride in behind them. Asked last week if he would accept and promote a friendly super PAC — like the rest of the candidates in the 2016 field, Republican and Democrat — Sanders told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer he would not, describing the practice as “vulgar.”

That wind at his back is not a gentle breeze:

It’s a long shot, but Sanders has reason to believe. A poll Wednesday out of New Hampshire showed Clinton with a narrowing majority — just 51% — with Sanders’ support among Democrats rising to 13%, up from 6% in February. One in 5 surveyed said they backed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), who has said repeatedly she will not run in 2016. If those potential voters were to shift their allegiance to Sanders, the candidate most closely aligned with Warren’s politics, he would be up to 33% in the Granite State.

If this keeps up — and if he doesn’t take himself out of the race (which I don’t see, but I’m watching) — everyone who calls herself a “Democrat” will have to choose sides. If he unites the voters, he could split the party. It’s going to be interesting times if the Sanders campaign gains any kind of strength. (You can help, if you like, here.)

Shining Clinton’s Progressive Apple

At the moment, two large groups of progressives in the Democratic Party are in agreement about Bernie Sanders — they like that he’s entered the race. The first group, however, wants Sanders to win. Actually win. The second group are Hillary supporters; they want Clinton to win, but want Sanders to shine her apple — to “pull her to the left” so that she’s (a) more acceptable to voters; or (b) forced to make promises she might, maybe possibly, feel forced to keep. Or both.

Hillary supporters in the (b) group above — those who think or hope that Clinton can be “pulled to the left” — are mainly genuine in their principles, whether mistaken in their hope or not. These progressives, I think, would re-elect Barack Obama, even if he manages to sign TPP, and be glad he’s not a Republican.

Hillary supporters in the (a) group — who only want Sanders around to polish her progressive apple so voters will like her better — are a different story. They know, no matter what Clinton does while in office, their next bread and butter will come from her administration and the infrastructure that supports it. That has to be a compromising thought. It would certainly compromise me if I needed her favor to eat, or at least eat well in DC.

From the sidelines, this is just fascinating to watch. I don’t for a second envy the players, however. DC is a very expensive town if you want to eat well.

An Uneasy Truce … For Now

This truce will last, I think, until Sanders is out of the race, so long as it never looks like he could win. But if it starts to look like he can actually beat Clinton — if he lasts through next April, say, with the same wind or stronger at his back — look out. The more he thrills the voters, the more he splits the party.

Consider that again — If Sanders and his message prove wildly popular with voters, the party will split along a continent-long fault line, one it has lived with, uneasily, for more than two decades.

san-andreas-fault-400 Sanders


The San Andreas Fault, still holding together … for now (source)

Yet, in all this there’s very good news.

If Sanders Wins, All Progressives Will Win

The good news here is very good. If this works out, if Sanders wins the Democratic primary, it will prove how popular his message of economic recovery actually is. That opens all kinds of possibilities on the Democratic side. And given the hatred of Wall Street among Tea Party voters — which just scratches the surface of their economic anger — he’s likely to pick up many of the Republican votes in the general election that a Warren candidacy would have gotten.

I think if Republicans could nominate a competent non-whacko, it might be a contest. But frankly, without the racism angle, I see a Sanders win, or at least a strong shot at one. That would put progressives, real ones, in the White House for the first time, in fact, since Johnson. How is that bad, if you’re a real progressive?

And just in time, in the hour of greatest need. I’ll have more on that “greatest need” later, but as you might guess, it includes climate, billionaire-owned methane, and the inexorable march of the lemmings to 500 ppm CO2 and beyond.

You Have to Play to Win

Whatever the outcome, this may be the most interesting political year for Democrats since 1968, when Eugene McCarthy forced President Lyndon Johnson out of the race, paving the way for Kennedy to enter it. (I know, Nixon won that year, but only because we lost Kennedy, who I’m certain would have beaten him.)

Be nervous, but be hopeful. The stakes are high — Clinton, though a Democrat, is a carbon candidate as well — but the rewards are higher. Let’s put this in the hands of the people, and let the game begin.

(Again, if you’d like to help, click here.)

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        1. Yves Smith Post author

          IF this was meant as snark, it misfired. Are you insinuating that Barney will be traveling more lavishly than he is now? Private jets are small planes and pricey. Plane size on commercial jets has to do with the route you are flying and not the luxury level. Moreover, if you had been paying attention, Delta has been making even finer gradations of legroom in coach on its medium to large planes, so non-premium coach on a big plane is even less comfortable than it used to be.

  1. Howard Beale IV

    The one thing that pisses me off is that as an individual if I donate to Bernie’s campaign I have to disclose who I work for, yet the dark money entities with the megadollars are immune from such reporting requirements.

    Maybe the Skunk Party can work on this.

  2. Furzy Mouse

    Thanks for running this post, NC, and I urge all who have a few cents to spare to support Bernie…a real surprise..

    1. Ned Ludd

      If you send $ to Sanders, you will end up on various Senate Democratic mailing lists (such as the DSCC fundraising list). Expect your mailbox to be flooded every election year.

      1. Code Name D

        Please. I haven’t sent them a dime and they already flood my email with donation requests,

      2. Oregoncharles

        They gave up on me after I called up, told them they were incompetent idiots (I’m registered Green), and threatened never to vote for another Democrat again.

        I resent being treated as a reserve Democrat.

      3. Ed Walker

        I contributed through Act Blue, which I think is the link Gaius Publius put up. I’ve unsubsubscribed from all dem mailing lists, and don’t get irritating stuff from Act Blue either.

  3. ToivoS

    The last point in this article is a critical one. If Sanders were somehow able to overcome the Hilary juggernaut he would be in a position to pick up many voters that Hilary never could in the general election. Not just Tea Party types. More importantly many independents that simply have not felt motivated to vote in past elections — these are people in the lower 50% that simply no longer identify with Democrats. Sanders should be able to get them to come out and vote. In addition, the Democrats took the beating in 2014 not because Republicans increased the number of votes but because so many Democrats stayed home. Sanders should be able to get them out.

    So far Sanders appeal is only on economic grounds. It would be great if he could expand his appeal by appealing to antiwar voters but unfortunately there might not be enough of them to make a difference. If he did that there is a danger that prowar Democrats would vote Republican. That was a factor that sunk McGovern’s campaign. In any case, count me as one who thinks Sanders should run to win because I think he could. I already sent him $50 an am willing to part will a few hundred more if his chances begin improving.

    1. Nomad


      That is an excellent political analysis.

      Essentially if he adopts the platform you describe he will peel away a very sizable % of voters from both parties.

      Independents are the largest group nationwide, the time is ripe for this and will continue to be so for the next 10-15 years. He needs to focus on the ideology of Gen X and Gen Y, and the economic anxiety of the older folks.

      Supporting the restoration of the rule of law would have broad appeal. Transparency is a winner too.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Hillary isn’t President because of the war. Obama and Team Blue pushed that ending the Iraq War propaganda despite the green zone and the SOFA from 2007. War and economics are one in the same.

      Bernie shouldn’t have supported the Libyan misadventure. We need to look across the pond. Milliband’s chief success was killing a Syrian bombing campaign. He never attacked Cameron over that and spent much of his time defending Blair from the Chilcott report. War matters to voters. Only one Democrat has advanced in office after voting for the Iraq War (I think only 2 GOPthugs) It was Blago in ’02 when he became governor. Team Blue didn’t fair well when they voted for the Iraq War, 3 weeks before the election. There are voters who will never vote for an Iraq War supporter. It’s was a good portion of Obama’s coalition outside his cult because he certainly didn’t have support over policy promises of copying Hillary.

      1. Montanamaven

        +100 – Former Democrats like me finally realizing that Democrats are war mongers made it impossible to help them in their goal of more effective evil. Always have been except for McGovern . Yes, economics and war cannot be separated. MLKjr figured that out. That was the end.

    3. Lambert Strether

      FWIW, I think Sanders should stick as closely as possible to economic grounds. For one thing, that guts all Democratic regular policy proposals, including TPP. For another, it’s the basis of the broadest possible coalition.

      1. Code Name D

        I disagree. There is no way he can win if he just sticks to economic issues. He has to cover ALL the bases because Clinton in the primary and the Republicans in the general will attack him where he is weakest and make that the focus of the issue.

        This is why I say he needs to fill out his presidential cabinet now and put them to work on the campaign. This brings both focus and expertise to each issue that no one man could ever possibly hope to provide.

        Sanders will not win by being a one-trick pony.

        1. Lambert Strether

          I would classify the idea that Sanders should do X because somebody might attack him under Democrat oldthink. They’re always saying that: “ZOMG, somebody might attack us!”

          The Republicans don’t crap around like that; they go right for the jugular, and they’ve been very successful. Sanders should emulate their success, not Democratic failure.. And the jugular is economic.

          1. Code Name D

            This is not asking Sanders to do X. This is expecting Sanders to be ready for what is going to be thrown at him. This is basic politics 101, taken right from the pages of Sun Tzu. Avoid what is strongest, attack what is weakest. If Sanders thinks this is going to be some sort of academic exchange over the substance of ideas – he deserves to lose.

        2. Steve

          If the Democrats aren’t the jobs party, they are nothing. Under Obama they’ve been the Grand Bargain party or the reaching across the aisle party and now the TPP party. So they have been the party about nothing. Democrats don’t like to talk about the economy because they are too compromised, but even in the best of times it’s the top four of people’s three biggest concerns. So Bernie needs to keep his focus where it has been, the economy, and avoid getting distracted by and bogged down in secondary issues.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        Agree 100%, Sanders should generally remain bland and anodyne on certain divisive social and identity issues as long as he can, his economic critique can cut cleanly across most of those cultural divides. He’ll have to clearly communicate respectful disagreement on those issues where differences are inevitable without invoking any tone resembling disdain or pomposity. There are a lot of traps that will be set up for Sanders to fall into on these issues and he cannot afford to be surprised or unprepared for any of them. I think his categorical renunciation of “negative ads” is brilliant, it blunts the power of the attacks he will face and could even see them backfire on undecideds. And big money negative ad campaigns are the go to play when numbers have to be moved in a hurry and cash ain’t a big problem.

        Sanders needs to win over a portion the Ron Paul demographic, and I think that’s doable if he has a solid map around the many traps he’ll encounter. If Paul had got the Republican nomination, I’d have been sorely tempted to throw him a vote, substantial cross-over is possible given the current number of people who identify as independent. Just as not all self-identifying progressives are O-bots, all self-identifying Tea Partiers are not for sale to the Koch brothers, Wall St. and the transnational corporate mafia. Sanders could have an easier time in the general election than he will in the primaries.

    4. jrs

      So do we believe Sanders can raise enough to win a presidential campaign on small donors alone? Obama’s 2012 campaign cost $737.9 million. If Sanders raises from bigger donors and he wins, he’s bought and sold. It’s systematic at that point, it’s not about personalities.

      1. Gaius Publius

        I think Sanders will pick up his share of individual big donors, but only those whose issues are aligned with his. I know several like that. I also don’t think Sanders can be bought. Neither does Matt Taibbi, who called him “the rarest of Washington animals, a completely honest person.” (My write-up of that here.)



        1. Linda Jansen

          Oh, so he might get some big bucks from Sheldon Adelson? They both agree on Israel.

  4. CB

    I’m with Lilly Tomlin, “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.” And with Bruce Dixon. We’ll live, we’ll see.

    I supported Clinton in 2008. I will not, again, for anything. Just as I voted, reluctantly, for obama in 2008, not in 2012. I thought he’d be what he’d always been, status quo with a little decorative stitching around the edges. I think it took a matter of weeks to disabuse me of that expectation, and it’s been downhill from there. I’d count the ways but it’s too depressing, and the list is too long.

  5. Anon

    Regarding Dixon, all we have to do is wait and see – if Bernie gets past the year, then alright, he was proven wrong and we can keep on going. If he’s proven right, then Hillary will use his [Bernie’s] rhetoric and go back on her word.

    Is this quite possibly the greatest win-lose situation ever?

    1. diptherio

      I went and read Bruce Dixon’s piece at BAR and I have to say, I think he makes a darn good argument. I’m not going to speculate on what Bernie’s motivations are for running, but the historic outcome of these “progressive” candidates is exactly as Dixon describes. They get the base rallied and then quietly step aside sometime during the primaries so that the respectable, “electable” candidate can take the helm. And the quote from Sanders is, I think, pretty telling that this is actually what Bernie is expecting to happen.

      STEPHANOPOULOS: So if you lose in this nomination fight, will you support the Democratic nominee?

      SANDERS: Yes. I have in the past.

      STEPHANOPOULOS: Not going to run as an independent?

      SANDERS: No, absolutely not. I’ve been very clear about that.

      So, Sanders has announced beforehand that he is going to try to gain the nomination of the Democratic Party, against the will of the current party leadership, and if he fails, will throw his support behind his opponent (since Sanders himself is apparently a believer in “lesser of two evils” thinking). So, what are the odds of an Independent-Socialist winning the Democratic nomination for President? I’d guess their hovering somewhere south of zero…not to be too cynical.

      Sure, if the primary process were actually legitimate and democratic, Sanders might have a shot, but as matters stand now it seems that the selection process is more theater than anything (when is the last time that the establishment candidate didn’t get the nomination?), a little democratic play-acting before the PTB’s candidates are officially announced (although, like I say, there’s never much doubt who’s going to get the nod). Sure, he’s polling double digits now, but as a progressive political organizer told me last time I was in NY, it’s a well-established principle in politics that insurgent candidates get support from 20-25% of the voters just on the basis of being insurgents. Getting to 30% of the vote is the easy part, I was told–it’s that last 21% that is nearly impossible to break. It’s a simple matter of diminishing marginal returns. The early supporters are the low-hanging fruit, and every additional voter after that gets harder and harder to convince–not to mention that the closer an insurgent gets to winning, the harder the establishment fights back.

      Our national political system is well and truly f—ed, so you’ll have to forgive me if I side with Bruce on this one. We have to ask ourselves, “why is this progressive Dem candidate different from every other progressive Dem candidate?” The answer well be, “actually, he’s not.”

      1. James Levy

        When was the last time the establishment candidate did not get the nomination? Well, 2008. That’s not to say the establishment didn’t make a great deal with Obama once it became obvious he was going to win, but their money and effort was initially all behind Clinton. And she lost. The same was true of Reagan in 1980–the establishment was behind Poppy Bush and had to cut a deal with Reagan that was pretty sweet for Reagan’s constituents within the Party. You can say the same for 1972. So again, it’s possible.

        1. TG

          Establishment only behind Obama once it looked like he was going to win? I don’t think so.
          I don’t know why, but the establishment decided it liked Obama better than Hilary early on, and that’s why Obama won. Did you notice the incredible biased coverage in the corporate press? ‘Why is Hilary still running’ ‘Her husband committed some subtle gaffe that we are going to blow into a major event’ etc.etc. I’m not sure why either, I mean, who could be more pro-corporate than Hilary? Maybe it was personal (I mean she doesn’t play golf). But the establishment picked Hilary over Obama in 2008, for sure.

          1. trinity river

            Want to know why the press was for Obama before most of us understood? Look to wall street. Who received more money from WS — Obama or Clinton. Remember, Jamie Diamond was in Chicago and was already a supporter of Obama.

        2. diptherio

          O and H were both establishment candidates. All you had to do to figure that out was look at the campaign funders and actually listen to what they were saying (as opposed to what people heard).

        3. Lambert Strether

          There were two establishment candidates in 2008: Obama and Clinton; Paul Volcker, for example, was behind Obama very early (somebody else who got used and thrown away). The Obama campaign had the form of insurgency — the end run round the big states via the caucuses, and the dime-store messianism — without the content.

        4. NotTimothyGeithner

          McCain in 2008. GOP rank and file settled on McCain when they could fathom Mittens.

        5. Brooklin Bridge

          Technically accurate, but consider that the establishment would have been equally happy with either Hillary or Obama at any stage; candidate, nominee, President. They would not be happy at all with Bernie Sanders as the actual Democratic Nominee, much less as the next President, even if he is on a short leash.

          But simply as candidate is another matter. I suspect there is a certain amount of brinksmanship going on here. The PTB are fully aware that the public is increasingly skeptical of the run of the mill candidates. They have heard the rumblings about not ever voting for a Democrat again and the hell with the lessor of two evils. As if to drive that point home, they are aware that House of Clinton vs. House of Bush has some questionable optics to say the least, where one of the biggest critical terms out there is “Empire”, not to mention all the dings and scandals that come with their baggage. So they are willing to up the anti with the sideshows. Joe Biden and other such insipid clowns won’t do. They assume that the MSM will be able to handle the filtering job so that at worst, Sanders will get out only a few really embarrassing shots to establish verisimilitude.

          That said, Yves point of what’s in it for Sanders is a good question that may well have an answer, but it’s one which needs to be made. As to falling prey to the meme that Hillary is unstoppable; there is a significant difference between recognizing what are facts (she has a lot of the machinery in her favor) and being a fatalist (it’s not worth trying). It’s simply that keeping the two distinct is hard at best.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Just because the Democrat regulars have pulled a well-worn play out of their playbook doesn’t mean (a) that all the players are on the same page or (b) that they can execute the play successfully. It’s entirely possible that they have the most cynical ploy imaginable in the works, and on the field it becomes a broken play.

            REPORTER: How will we know when the aircraft carrier is obsolete?

            ADMIRAL: When it fails in war.

            And so with Democratic plays and the Democratic playbook. “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

            UPDATE Adding, fatalism is exactly the right word, along with cynical naivite.

        6. Oregoncharles

          JL – I think that’s naive. Obama’s career was too meteoric not to have been sponsored. I think 2008 saw a conflict between branches of the Party power structure; Obama won mainly because he was the more appealing candidate. But he was not an insurgent – his positions were very similar to Hillary’s, as was his voting record, what there was of it.

          Evidently the Clintons are not the political magicians they’re made out to be, lacking Ross Perot. And that’s something for Dems to think about.

            1. neo-realist

              In 2008, the youth vote which appeared to be the margin of victory for Obama in the general election. He was a young good looking guy who did a much better job than Hillary of connecting with young people on the campaign trail w/ that Elmer Gantry/MLK in the march on Washington D.C. delivery, even if there wasn’t a lot of substance when you really listened.

            2. Oregoncharles

              Every old lady I talked with, including my mother, was for him. That’s a big demographic.

              In general, I thought he was personally more appealing – better speaker. And of course had less baggage (a big factor still). But I’m not objective – I know too much about these people, and I have a long-standing grudge with the Clintons. They’re the reason I’m not a Democrat.

              To be technical about it, he had a much more enthusiastic following.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Except that they don’t “quietly step aside.”

        It is with great “head-held-high,” “fought-the good-fight” fanfare that they continue “working their base” on behalf of a remaining candidate. The ensuing “endorsement” confers legitimacy to the candidate that is often undeserved, and “converts” a previously skeptical if not outright defiant “constituency” into “voters,” however reluctant.

        Which is, as you correctly point out, Dixon’s point.

        1. Lambert Strether

          There two problems with this. The first one (see lengthy response to Diptherio below) is that if you want Sanders to get marginal Democratic voters (closer to the 51% that includes Democratic loyalists, as opposed to the 30% who will vote for any insurgent) then — to use a well-worn phrase — “he has to say that.” Which outcome do you want?

          The second one is that no matter what Sanders says, people don’t have to do do it. It’s entirely possible to walk (encourage Sanders) and chew gum (not vote Democratic in the general) at the time time.

          The second point, if I may say, exhibits another typical failing on the left: To regard voters as sheeple, too stupid to make judgments (unless led by an elite vanguard, of course).

          1. jrs

            I’m not sure why he has to say that. Why not just say “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it”. Or something triumphant: “I don’t even think about that as I fully expect to win the presidential nomination. I’ll consider the matter if the voters decide otherwise”. More bravado than justified by the facts, perhaps, but that’s the kind of triumphant rhetoric that plays well.

          2. Linda Jansen

            The vanguard in Seattle is apparently for Sanders. They’ve been going to Sanders meet-ups.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Well, I certainly won’t. Dragging the Overton Window left, and potentially splitting the Democratic Party so that it finally goes the way of the Whigs… Those to me are far more important outcomes than clutching my pearls about a meaningless pledge of ritual fealty.

          1. Jonf

            So how do you feel about appointees to the Supreme Court? There are four who will be eighty or more years old. Those appointed could rule over our safety net and any changes for the next twenty five years.

            1. Lambert Strether

              I feel I’m tired of having Democratic loyalists play that as their trump card. The Supreme Court follows the election returns. Democrats should try winning elections based on the provision of concrete material benefits to the 80% of the American people who are getting screwed over, and the Supreme Court will take care of itself (as FDR showed).

              1. neo-realist

                I don’t believe the present majority of the supreme court follows the election returns–a bunch of highly ideological f**k*** they are–The ruling weakening part of the voting rights act certainly wasn’t driven by the results of the 2012 election; that was a republican home team vote. And while citizens united provides benefits for both money parties, it’s the right wing warbucks that double down big time in elections to get their stooges in—e.g., Koch, that really gain from such a ruling.

            2. Ed Walker

              HRC won’t be appointing anyone like Rth Bader Ginsberg. We’ll be lucky to see a bunch of Steven Breyer types or worse, and there are plenty of worse. And worse will be on the menu if the Dems don’t take the Senate. So there’s not much there.

          2. hunkerdown

            When you put it that way, it does sound like a durn tootin’ idea. The level of Sunday morning talking-head vs. Establishment-left Overton window framer airplay could be some indicator of the Party brass’ fears of fragmentation. That is, if fragmenting the party were a likely outcome of Bernie’s entry into the middle of the MSM, the MSM itself has an interest in not letting things get too “complicated” to steer — witness their participation in crafting the bimodal eligibility rules of the Commission on Presidential Debates — and the facts wouldn’t necessarily be allowed to intrude on the narrative.

            How does one draft an Independent, anyway? Are there sore-loser laws that apply to POTUS?

            Also, +1 to your response to Jonf’s guilt-tripping. It’s Jonf’s fault his right-wing party sucks, not ours.

      3. Carolinian

        Spot on Diptherio. The above article and intro don’t consider the key quote in Dixon’s article. Sanders says he will support the Democrat nominee whoever it may be, which means, should it be Hillary, he will be supporting a candidate who opposes all those progressive things he claims he is fighting for.

        As to the Overton Window, I believe it’s a typical Left fallacy to believe that talking about a problem is the same as doing something about it. While the American public probably are very much in the dark about what America is up to overseas, when it comes to their own lives they seem to be quite conscious of how they are being screwed and who is doing the screwing. I get this from both right and left. Polls mentioned above say the same. What is lacking is not a conversation but rather the power to do anything about it. Sanders could change that only by actually winning the nomination and then the Presidency (and then somehow beating down a determined opposition).

        It is certainly early days, but this idea of somehow reforming the Democratic Party is the football that Lucy is perpetually holding. Howard Dean comes to mind. Dixon’s thesis is debatable, but hardly off the wall.

        1. diptherio

          I’m not at all sure that Bernie isn’t doing what he really feels in his heart-of-hearts to be the right thing, but that doesn’t change the nature of the role he’s playing. And yes, Howard Dean does spring to mind, doesn’t he? If Bernie, or anyone else, thinks that the rank-and-file really have control of the Democratic Party and that winning them over will ensure he wins the nomination, they need to spend some time talking to rank-and-file Dems about how things actually happen at the party level. It’s a strictly top-down affair–and primary processes are so varied and gameable that I have a hard time taking their results seriously as reflecting people’s actual preferences.

          And isn’t is odd that Bernie is essentially saying, “these people have run the country into the ground…but I’ll support them if I don’t get the nomination.” An odd position to take, imho…

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            On the one hand you have the opportunity to get real substantive issues out in front of the public by contrasting them with the fake ostensible issues of the establishment candidate whose real allegiance is to corporate interests. On the other hand, should you loose, you set a precedent of trivializing your issues -so desperately important for the public to be exposed to – by support for the very person whose views you stated were so opposed to yours and so harmful to the public.

        2. Lambert Strether

          “As to the Overton Window, I believe it’s a typical Left fallacy to believe that talking about a problem is the same as doing something about it.”

          Match for that straw? I don’t recall anybody saying that dragging the Overton Window left was a sufficient condition for reform (let’s call it). It is, however, a necessary one.

          For myself, I see it as a typical Left fuck-up to successfully avoid talking about their programs in a context where ordinary voters will encounter the terms.

      4. Lune

        Agreed. The first 30% is the easiest to get, as is the first few milions of dollars. We’ll have to see if this initial spurt can be carried through the long slog of a primary process that hasn’t really even begun yet.

        But there is cause for cautious optimism. Firstly, many campaign funders are momentum guys: they fund whoever looks like they’ll win, so as to ensure they have a seat at the table. That’s why most businesses give to both Dem and Repub candidates (even if they might favor one more than the other). If Sanders makes this a real race, plenty of large money interests will hedge their bets and give him money. The question is whether Sanders will accept it, and whether that would change his positions. Given how long he’s been in politics and sincere about his positions, I’d personally expect him to keep the faith even if he takes a bunch of money from Wall St (not to mention there are plenty of big money sources outside of Wall St that would be more aligned with his positions).

        Secondly, primaries are all about momentum from the initial states. Recall that Hillary was the overwhelming frontrunner until Obama won the Iowa caucuses. Similarly, in 2004 Howard Dean was the “inevitable” candidate until Iowa and New Hampshire put Kerry solidly on top. Iowa and NH, being small states, are all about the ground game. And they are so spoiled by their frontrunner status that voters expect candidates to do all but wash their cars for them if they want their vote. This levels the playing field for insurgents since each candidate only has 24 hrs in a day to meet voters and press the flesh, and it’s not as expensive as managing operations on Super Tuesday or something. Plus Sanders has an advantage with NH being a neighboring state.

        So if Sanders is ‘in it to win it’ (which I think he is), there is definitely a path to achieve this, although it won’t be easy.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Not so on Dean. The “inevitable” locution is attached to a front-runner by the press and the political class, and generally long before the campaign proper begins. (An unpleasant dynamic, where the press records and enjoys the fall of the “inevitable” candidate, rather in the mode of pulling wings off a fly, often follows.) Dean was a genuine insurgent, surprising even himself when his “I want my party back” caught fire in the Democratic base. (His campaign operation was also insurgent, bypassing the party apparatus with pioneering techniques like (a) meetups* and (b) online fundraising (the famous Dean bat).

          Further, not so on “Iowa and New Hampshire put Kerry solidly on top.” Trivially, the voters did Howard Dean in, and they did so based on (a) attack ads in Iowa run by apparatchik-of-apparatchiks Richard Gephardt, and (b) the famous “Dean Scream” after the attack ads worked, and which was gleefully used by our famousuly free press to frame Dean as a crazy outsider, which was (1) the product of a close focus shot by FOX news, then propagated by Democratic regulars, enabled by (2) weak staffing; Dean had to shout because he wasn’t miked properly for the auditorium.

          Dean was in every way crippled and then executed by Democratic apparatchiks; he was a genuine insurgent, though far from being a Socialist; to descend to personalia, I think Dean was driven primarily not by policy, but by the painful cognitive dissonance of being a Democrat while his party apparatus supported Republican policies, and not going after Bush tooth and nail, too, which the base clearly wanted to have done.

          I’m going into all this detail partly since — [lambert blushes modestly] — that’s what blogging 24/7 on these topics since 2003 enables me to share, but more importantly, if you think of this election as a war — and this applies no matter how far to the left you are — you’ve got to know the terrain, the troops, their uniforms, their order of battle, and their tendencies, besides things that have worked (or not worked) in the past.

          All that said, I agree on cautious optimism.

          NOTE I wish the Sanders campaign would do meetups again. They really worked for Dean (says this voter) and I think it’s telling that the Obama campaign optimized for cell phones, a digital, top-down medium, rather than meetups, which are peer-to-peer and involve actual physical contact in meatspace.

          1. Lune

            You’re right, “inevitable” was the wrong adjective for Dean. He was truly an insurgent outsider that the Dem establishment hated (probably even more than the Republicans did). But he was the frontrunner heading into Iowa and NH, both in terms of projected votes and fundraising, but was basically finished after just those two races. I agree with your points about *why* Dean was done in. But my point was that primaries are all about initial momentum, and Iowa and NH have some characteristics that make them uniquely situated to campaign upsets (small states with relatively small funding requirements, the need for retail politik’ing, and the, umm, unique nature of Iowa caucuses).

            So if Sanders can focus on an Iowa / NH / SC strategy, that might just be enough to make this a real race heading into the rest of the primary season. While it doesn’t work all the time, Jimmy Carter did something very similar in 1976 successfully, and his template is still valid.

      5. Lambert Strether

        I think the Dixon’s sheepdog metaphor is wrong (in fact, deceptive) because it implies conscious mutual agency between the shepherd (the Democrats) and the sheepdog (putatively Sanders. And if you think similes that embody category errors don’t matter, then think about “government is like a household” or “government should be run like a business” for a moment).

        And I’m a little puzzled by the focus of this and several other comments on Sanders supporting the Democratic candidate. You urge that because of diminishing marginal returns, it’s much easier to get to 30% than 51% of the popular vote in a primary. But at the same time you seem to regard the candidacy of an Independent-Socialist, were it to be successful, as a good though imperfect thing (“might have a shot”). Isn’t Sanders genuflecting — I’m saying “genuflecting,” because most of those who are cynical about everything else Sanders is saying believe him to be absolutely sincere in this one thing — genuflecting, I say, to party unity a rational recognition of what it takes to get those last, marginal Democratic loyalists? Frankly, I think if Sanders were to take the opposite view, he’d be play-acting too, just to the left; which would be an ego-gratification, to be sure, but wouldn’t we prefer to win?

        Next, this comment, many other other comments, and (I would argue) BAR as well focus too much on the candidate as a person, and past patterns of party behavior, without asking whether “this time it’s different”). And the nice thing about politics, even electoral politics, is that sometimes it really is different. Lincoln 1860 comes to mind, when the Whigs went down the tubes, as well as 1789, 1917, the unpleasantness preceding the execution of Charles I, and so forth). The post lists several reasons to think so, including splits in the Democratic base. I would urge that a key point, tactically, is that Democrats have “no place to go” other than the left; most of the Blue Dogs got nuked in 2010 and 2014, because people quite naturally decided they’d rather vote for real Republicans than the fake ones that Steve Israel among others kept sending their way. Granted, it’s not “sincere,” but for the first time in as long as I can remember, the left has some actual leverage in the Democratic Party. No matter the outcome, I think it makes sense to try to use it. (See discussion of “The Overton Window” elsewhere on this thread.)

        Finally, it’s sort of amazing to me, except not, to see the left focus on Inside Baseball minutiae about whether Sanders is a stalking horse/Judas goat for Democratic regulars, rather than — just to toss out an example — framing his Socialism as a milk-and-water substitute for the real thing, and failing to deliver the concrete material benefits that a real Socialist platform would. Mentioning Sweden is all very well, but how does that translate on “the kitchen table”? Opportunity cost is real, and timing matters.

        1. vlade

          I’d add one, very short, thing to your very sensible comments. That is, the left seems to be so split that even corporatist (Vichy, as Yves calls it) left needs but to present a reasonably cogent face to win.

          Talk about being their own worst enemy – but it’s something I harped on for quite a while. Right, for one reason or other, is willing to get focused (even ruthlessly) on the end goal and win. Yes, the means matters as well as ends, but if you can’t get an agreement on neither ends nor means, you’ll lose anyways.

      6. Code Name D

        Two points here. Note the question, “Will you support the Democratic Candidate if you lose.” This is a very banal question. If Stephanopoulos had said “would you support Hillary if you lose”, he might have gotten a very different answer.

        Second, Stephanopoulos would never ask Hillary “would you support Sanders if you lose?”

        These are word games that the media play in order to paint the candidates into their roll. Hillary is the gold-girl, the pre-selected victor. The rest including Sanders are just players in the kabuki theater we call the primary. Sanders is not made to genuflect to Hillary here, but it made to appear that way by the media.

        From my perspective however, this is essentially a meaningless question. It’s a bit like asking an atheist, “What would you say to god after you die?”

      7. ErnstThalmann

        Dixon’s position is neigh-on incontestable. And you certainly have no reason to apologize for agreeing with him. Sanders is no more the progressive than Ted Cruz, what with his position on defense authorizations. There once was a time in America that genuine socialists were pacifists, Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas for example. Bernie makes a sorry comparison to them.

    2. Uahsenaa

      The argument is better made, to my mind, by Ashley Smith in an article (reprinted from somewhere else) in Jacobin. Smith is from Vermont and know the state’s politics well, which means he also knows the ways in which Bernie’s actions most distinctly do not match the message. Dixon does make the necessary point, though, that his candidacy and whatever hopey changey impulses it might incite remain firmly within the context of the Democratic party, when working for permanent ballot lines for more than just two parties is far more politically valuable in the long term and cuts across a wider swath of the political landscape. I’m with Dixon in that the ground up approach is better suited for lasting change, not some white knight charging in to save us all from the neoliberal dragons.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Again, learning to walk and chew gum at the same time is important. And it’s not question of whether Sanders is a “white knight”; show me where Gaius says anything remotely like that. It’s a question of whether the Sanders campaign can be leveraged; so show me that whoever Sanders attracts is hesitating between voting for him and organizing to get Greens on the ballot. I think the populations are completely different, and if I’m right, your point falls to the ground.

        1. Uahsenaa

          Lambert, I respect you immensely, but I’m going to have to disagree with you vociferously. What Gaius says is not problematic as a function of what it says but what it omits. My comment was perfunctory, admittedly, so let me explain. First, the Smith article is important here: when Sanders has had the opportunity to have a substantial impact on national politics–his logic there is by running fro governor of Vermont–he balked. This is not a matter of being dubious about rhetoric (re: Obama in 2008); Sanders has been complicit with the Dem. party in Vermont, so that they will pose no substantial challenge to his “independent” status, which, in practice, has been as often Democratic vassal as not. Furthermore, while the struggle for ballot access vs. supporting a Democratic insurgent is not a strict either/or, the latter can, and with insurgent candidacies historically has, syphoned off oppositional fervor into channels that can be more effectively depleted or controlled by the political establishment. This has happened; both Dixon and Smith cite a number of examples, and the Democrats go out of their way to demonize those who support/vote for third party candidates. Sanders has expressed a watered down version of this very demonizing rhetoric: “I won’t be a spoiler,” he says. As far as I’m concerned, this issue is not substantively addressed in Gaius’ post and really ought to be.

          The lesson I learned from Ferguson, Baltimore, Seattle, et al. is that bottom up is not only the most effective way to force TPTB to be responsible to the people but that said powers will do whatever they can to diffuse and deflect that fervor with meaningless gestures that appear to be sympathetic but result in nothing (e.g. “investigations,” “commissions,” etc.). I see this as no different. I say this not merely to be snippy in the way leftists can be, but in the hope that we all go into this with eyes as wide open as possible, especially since, at the end of the day, we’re on the same side.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Please explain why taking advantage of a self-declared Socialist running for President and “bottom up” organizing are in any way contradictory.* I think that’s an absurd argument, since what it argues is that nobody to the left of, say, Hillary Clinton should ever run for President. Which is absurd, so QED.

            Many commenters, for reasons I do not understand, persist in strawmanning on this issue. I believe, as does the poster, that a central advantage of the Sanders candidacy is dragging the discourse left. That has nothing to do with voting for him; I, for one, almost certainly won’t. I would also like to have it explained to me how that interferes with bottom-up organizing; if anything, it enhances it. As I wrote:

            I think one of the problems the left in America has is that they can never take “Yes” for an answer, or even mentally transform the absence of a “Hell no!” into a “Maybe.” (That’s going to be a problem if the left ever comes anywhere near power; will they be able to seize it, assuming they can recognize it?)…

            2) Yes, at last, actual leftie concepts are entering the discourse. Dear Lord, whoever would have thought that an avowed [gasp] Socialist, actually using the word, would be on the teebee, running for Preznit? Now, I am quite sure Sanders won’t be talking about “the collective ownership of the means of production,”[3] but with the national political discourse at the level it’s at, that’s a mere nuance, a matter of detail. What matters is that the taboo of the S-Word has been broken. Take the opportunity and run with it!

            3) Yes, you can walk and chew gum at the same time. You can (a) use the newly opened space in the discourse to introduce left concepts, and point out that Sanders’ real problem is that he’s way too moderate, while (b) giving money to the Greens, voting affirmatively, voting for the lesser evil, not voting, spoiling your ballot, or whatever. The long “My vote is my own” permathread is completely different from shaping the discourse to our own advantage, which to me is central to the Sanders candidacy. Take the opportunity and run with it!

            And if Sanders does split the Democrats, is that so very bad?

            NOTE * I might humbly add that NC’s coverage of bottom up organizing, at least insofar as links go, is second to none on the Internet. Could it be there’s a reason for that?

            1. Uahsenaa

              Plunging into the rabbit hole again, because I enjoy it:

              1) Again, the substance of Smith’s (perhaps moreso than Dixon’s) argument in Jacobin is apropos: Yves, Gaius, and yourself claim that a Sander’s candidacy will move the “Overton Window” to the left, yet Smith’s argument shows precisely why that likely would not happen. Sanders has historically been all too willing to cooperate with Dem. party neoliberal interests where it served his own political purposes. It doesn’t matter if he claims to be a mango, much less a socialist, if his actions as a politician, which Smith tries to show, demonstrate otherwise. There is historical precedent for believing that candidates running to the left of the beknighted nominee deplete populist sentiment that would be better expressed elsewhere. And if Overton movement is the great desideratum here, tell me, did Jerry Brown’s candidacy substantively move public discourse to the left? Kucinich’s? Obama’s? My own answer is obviously no, but I would be happy to be convinced otherwise.

              2) As Smith tries to make clear, based on the above precedents, candidacies like Sanders’ don’t split the party but rather function to maintenance it by assimilating dissent. If you feel Sanders’ candidacy is functionally different from the above, especially in light of his own stated claims that he will not under any circumstances, when push comes to shove, act as a spoiler that puts Republicans in power, I’m all ears. I really don’t see this as the left eating its own once again, but rather as a “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice [or thrice], shame on me” situation.

              And I would be lost without NC’s excellent coverage. Thank you for that.

              1. Lambert Strether

                I don’t take a top-down, context-free approach. In case 1, the question is not what Sanders will do, but what the left (and especially at ground level) will do, to take advantage of the policy options that Sanders puts in play. In case 2, the issue is not the “functional” aspect of the Sanders campaign, but whether or not the context in which his candidacy occurs affects possible outcomes that could be different from those in the past; elsewhere on this thread, I give reasons why this is so.

                The absurdity of avowed leftists turning up their noses at the the candidacy of an self-identified Socialist really ought to be obvious, if you ask a question like: If Eugene Debs — or Vladimar Ilyich Lenin — came back to life and ran as a Democrat, would you support him? So far as I can tell, none of the “sheep dog” theorists and the thread can answer. If they answer No, they look as ridiculous as they are. If they answer yes, then the issue becomes which policies Debs (or Lenin) supports that Sanders does not, and then you get into comparing checklists, which is fine, except that universal health care and free college (which Sanders advocates) look pretty good to me and would, I suspect, to most voters.

                As soon as you focus on policy, the strum and drang disappears. The Sanders h8ters (not by any means identical to the Sanders skeptics) IMNSHO are simultaneously fatalist and partisan; embracing disempowerment and obsessed with Democratic Insider Baseball at the same time. Understandable, given the level of abuse they’ve suffered from Democrats, but my recommendation would be to stop navel-gazing and become as feral as the right is.

  6. kimsarah

    Imagine having someone to vote “for” rather than deciding which is the “lesser of evils.”

    1. MikeNY

      Yup. It says a lot about our national politics that we are startled when someone speaks obvious truths.

  7. Jeremy Grimm

    I went to the site referenced and made a contribution. Contributing at the “Blue” website bothered me. First I was put off by the automatic half/half split of my contribution. I did allocate all but a small amount to Sanders but thought the auto-split mechanism a bit too tricksy.

    On exit, the site wanted me to create an account so I could securely save all my contribution information to make future contributions with “one click.” After already having to replace one credit card because Amazon* got hacked I avoid saving my payment information anywhere if at all possible. The “Blue” website offered me a chance to enter a password for my account without also offering the option to pass on the “convenience.” I exited out of their portal but remain troubled by the possibility they created an account with a blank password — something I definitely do not want.

    I like Bernie Sanders — but I’m troubled by his ultra slick “Blue” friends.

    * After reading about what a wonderful place Amazon is I try to use Amazon to look up reviews only. When I do make a purchase through Amazon I try to limit my purchases to third-parties using Amazon as a portal to reach customers. Amazon collects rents from them, but I hope most of my money goes to the third-party.

    1. Gaius Publius

      Here’s a link to Sanders’ own site:

      Click the Contribute button. That page is run by Act Blue as well, but the suggested tip is $0. I think you can tip zero at the other link also, but I haven’t tested it.

      BTW, Sanders is over $4 million at this point.


  8. Gerard Pierce

    There was a brief period of time shortly after the DLC was formed that there was an attempt at campaign finance reform. I don’t have the links, but a number of articles at the time pointed out that Hillary was a major opponent of finance reform because it devalued the Democratic Party connection to the banking industry and Hillary was convinced that that would give the Republicans a strong advantage.

    She won and the bankers wound up with a second mortgage on the Democratic Party.

    Tactically she may have been right. The Democrats had already broken with labor and had a hard time competing with the Republicans on a dollar for dollar basis. And the average voter wasn’t interested in contributing to a Democratic Party that no longer supported Democratic values.

    And it seems that the only way to get rid of the DLC means putting the Republicans in charge. That isn’t even a plan because the Democrats ha ve done it to themselves.

    1. Cb

      My understanding is that labor did the breaking. Some yrs later, when labor discovered itself politically friendless, the dems had sealed their alliances with finance and weren’t interested.

        1. CB

          An article I read online and didn’t bookmark at the time. Nutshell, from what I remember, Walter Reuther took one look at the McGovern convention hippies and flipped. Hated them. Cut off labor support for the dem ticket, which the writer pointed out was stunningly wrong headed given McGovern’s unwavering support for labor thruout his career. The unions stayed away for some yrs; by the time they realized they had no political friends, the DLC had triumphed.

        2. CB

          I found enough corroborating info to affirm it was the unions which withdraw from the dem party but it was Meany, not Reuther. Fags was the most printable epithet. Dislike wouldn’t be nearly strong enough.

  9. Marco

    Nah…Dixon is spot on. Israel and Gaza are just swell with Bernie. This sheep staying in Greener pastures.

    1. Lambert Strether

      If that’s your policy view/litmus test, then do feel free not to help the Greens by avoiding using the Sanders candidacy as an opportunity to talk up Democratic Socialism. I wish your party every success.

        1. Lambert Strether

          This is: “do feel free not to help the Greens by avoiding using the Sanders candidacy as an opportunity to talk up Democratic Socialism.” It speaks directly to your practice on policy.

          1. CB

            It’s sarcasm and uncalled for. Which is probably why politics and religion are famously avoided at social gathering.

            My practice? Good lord, what now.

            1. Steve

              Sarcasm and wit have been employed for millennia because they are often the most economical way of dispatching tiresome and erroneous arguments, such as that true leftists should eschew practical politics for the romance of noble opposition and the pure left. This isn’t a contest of who can show they are the real leftist. It’s about trying to change things for people.

      1. Ned Ludd

        I think Marco was criticizing Sanders’ foreign policy positions.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation, for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

        How do we move Sanders, if not by attacking his imperialism? Or should we try polite civility, as Obama supporters long counseled?

  10. Katniss Everdeen

    I would have preferred a well-reasoned refutation of Bruce Dixon’s thesis to the breathless “Will it split the party?” headline.

    THREE whole million dollars in just four days! From SMALL donors! 185,00 e-mail addresses and an obama online fundraising “alumnus” too! A veritable grass roots groundswell! Never mind that Sanders eschews any help from a “super PAC” as “vulgar,” which they are. The trouble is, you can’t win without ’em.

    Hope and change without the slogan or the money.

    The talk for awhile has been that hillary needs a sparring partner to help her hone her “debating” and campaigning skills, which, if her “What difference does it make?” outburst is any indication, need some serious honing. Bernie has been chosen. I can only hope he manages to land a few punches before he bows out and anoints hillary as the keeper of his “economics fairness” flame.

    PS. I, for one, would like to hear what Jim Webb has to say. But it would appear that the celebration of Sanders’ “candidacy” has put a virtual plastic bag over his head in terms of available democratic oxygen.

    1. cwaltz

      Jim Webb is a putz. I say that as one of the people who he was elected to represent. His rationale for voting for FISA was the House will never vote for it anyway(Surprise! They did.) His explanation was the kid equivalent of the dog ate my homework.

    2. Lambert Strether

      The “well-reasoned refutation” is in the post itself, not the headline. I suggest you give consideration to the idea of actually reading it with some care, since your comment gives reason to think you did not.

      On the derided three million: Better small-donor numbers than many Republicans, including IIRC Rubio (too lazy to find the link).

      As for Jim Webb… Is he a Democratic Socialist? I forget.

      1. cwaltz

        He was the Secretary of Navy under Reagan. He resigned after refusing to downsize the Navy and instead wanted to increase the size to 600 ships.

        Part of the problem…..not a solution

  11. Dana

    Am I the only one who worked on/remembers Dennis Kucinich’s campaigns? Tell me again how far to the left he moved the dialogue, and how the other candidates abandoned their neoliberal positions when they saw how voters overwhelmingly supported Kucinich’s platform?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Not comparable. With all due respect to your support of Kucinich, I barely took notice of him back in the day. By contrast, there are now several progressives getting national headlines, and Sanders is one. Look at how Obama is getting desperate and pissy over the TPP and was unable to go into Syria. There is now a substantial undercurrent of revolt against neoliberal economic policies. Kucinich didn’t get the press or the early fundraising results that Sanders has.

      1. Lambert Strether

        “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” — Keynes.

        Facts here, meaning facts on the ground. The nice thing about politics, even electoral politics, is that it’s not static. Because a play worked once, twice, even ten times, doesn’t mean it will work the eleventh time.

        Kuchinich was also not an especially effective candidate; he was short, for one thing. Sadly, that matters in Presidential races. We’ll see how well Sanders does.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          It was more than his size, though I think you are right; that played a part. He had an almost goofy grin he would wear all the time when being interviewed. I think it was partly a smile of sincerity, and partly his way of engaging the reporter, or so he imagined, but it looked goofy. It made it an absolute piece of cake for the most inexperienced journalist to make him and by association his ideas look ridiculous.

          On rare occasion, someone would get him a little mad and then and only then would he defend his arguments calmly and pretty close to as well as Sanders does.

  12. Steve H.

    Setting aside, for the moment, the notion of content and meaning of the words coming out of Bernie’s mouth:

    In 2008 I remember reading of Clinton’s “Cloak of Invulnerability.” There was even a nice drawing of her wearing it. Didn’t work out like that.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but none of the losers in a presidential race or primary have gone on to become president without being vice president since WWII. O was the first who was neither VP nor governor since LBJ, and he had never lost a presidential run.

    I came to love basketball late in life. A recurring story is of a player, or a team, that has a great run. But then the Eye of Balor descends upon them, someone puts in the time to analyze their game and smacks them down. One game becomes a book on how to beat them, and subsequent rivals read that book (“Thanks, Pop Izzo!”)

    The book has been written on Clinton, but her lich-strong ambition still drives her in spite of her doom. She’s the one dragging down the party, not Bernie.

    1. diptherio

      No one is accusing Bernie of dragging down the party…at least not here…so far as I can tell. I believe that the people in charge at the DNC and the DLC can be held responsible for that (along with everyone who has gone along with them).

  13. Demeter

    The Democratic Party is already split into shards.

    There is the faction that is so down on Obama, they are willing to vote for another party. They saw all their platform planks, their spokespeople, the economy and the 99% thrown under the bus, sold down the river, shipped to China and droned (literally and figuratively).

    There is the faction so down on Hillary, they would rather swallow ground glass than vote for her. Partly it’s Hillary’s own fault; she’s alienated so many with her pro-war, pro-bankster, pro-Big Business direction. Partly, it’s the result of re-evaluating Bill: his last minute pardon of Marc Rich, the repeal of Glass-Steagel, and that truly appalling Foundation they set up so Chelsea would have a job and Mommy and Daddy would have slush money.

    There’s a great desire for Elizabeth Warren, and she may yet get drafted, but she’s putting the dampers on, and she’s effective where she is…

    Why not Bernie? He at least has the virtue of not having pissed off most of the country. So, he’s a Democratic Socialist…what’s in a name? That which we call a Change by any other name would smell as sweet.

    The strategy now should be to bring the Tea Party, which doesn’t really care for any of its GOP hopefuls, to consider Sanders for President. After some lose-lose primaries, they may be willing to consider another option.

    There’s only so much political money in the world…we will have to win it on the sheer numbers of voters. Obama could help by going after election fraud…but I’m not holding my breath. He’s got his, and may he never have a day’s joy of it.

    1. cwaltz

      There is a faction of the Republican base Bernie can get but I doubt it’s the Tea folk. Those people have a knee jerk reaction to the term socialism-even though most of them have absolutely no understanding of the term whatsoever(as evidenced by their view that Obamacare is socialism.)

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think there is an element of the GOP in areas who would vote for stronger issues especially if they are couched in anti-corruption terms. NAFTA, unfunded mandates, the costs of war, and real turn your home into energy self sufficiency would play well.

        Senator Glass was an anti-Southern Democrat and anti-Republican. He wasnt rich. He wasn’t broke, and he didn’t have a famous family name. How did he become Senator from Virginia? Powerful messaging. He was a newspaper editor, and his opeds were reprinted giving him fame much like Lincoln’s message from his losing Senate campaign was spread nationally. Too many Democrats who hold their own voters in contempt certainly hold GOP voters in contempt. Playing around the edges of Republican policies won’t change minds, but demanding real change and addressing real needs of voters not abstract discussions of the national debt.

      2. Lambert Strether

        I think the nature of Tea Partiers varies round the country. I know up here I find it easier to talk to the guys with beards in the woods than I do with Democratic loyalists. The guys with beards are very sound on local food sovereignty, hate the surveillance state, hate the banks, and fight the landfills and the East-West Corridor. And where I disagree with them, I know where they stand.

        It could be — and a pro would have to verify this — that there are voters who would reason like me but from the opposite site of the street: “I’d rather vote for a goddamned Socialist than another son of a Bush. At least I know where he stands.”

        1. Jess

          I have several high school classmates who are strongly rightwing on social issues. Hate Obama and Obamacare. Think he’s a Kenyan commie Muslim. Very pro-life. Want Planned Parenthood defunded. Love Trey Goudy. Think global warming is a naturally occurring phenomenon not related to carbon usage. But…

          Super angry about attempts to cut SS and Medicare, veteran’s benefits, pensions. Strongly pro-union. Hate off-shoring of jobs and H1b visa crap. Want infrastructure repairs. Tired of the 99% getting shafted. I suspect that some of them could be induced to go with Bernie in a general election.

          1. Ulysses

            The people you’re describing exist in far larger numbers here in the U.S. than most would realize. They loathe Hillary Clinton and Scotty Walker in equal measure.

            The problem is that they, like nearly everyone else in the U.S. have no use for politicians as a class. People quite reasonably don’t have much faith in the reform capacity of “leaders” who have thrived for decades within a corrupt system. Someone who had gained recognition in another arena would be infinitely more appealing than anyone who has already held elected office.

    2. JEHR

      As a distant outsider, I am flummoxed by all this Tea Party talk. Why would anyone want them to join the Democrats in anything when they (the Tea Party) enjoy the patronage of the Kochs? Just curious.

      1. Ben Johannson

        There are two Tea Parties: the populist base and the bought-out leadership shoveling money into their own pockets rapidly as possible. The populists can be worked with on a number of issues, though there are a great many lunatic ideas among them.

        1. Gaius Publius

          Ben Johannson:

          There are two Tea Parties: the populist base and the bought-out leadership shoveling money into their own pockets rapidly as possible.

          Exactly right. Tea Party voters and Tea Party office-holders. The latter are financed by AFP and the like. The former are very angry Republicans who hate the bailout as much as anyone here. The former also has other … issues, one of the most dominant of which won’t be in play with the very white Sanders as the candidate.

          A thought about that “socialism” angle. Yes, they’ll go after it, but he’s already got his defense down pat — Denmark and Sweden. It’s hard to diss the Danes in white America. Via digby’s “Sanders on Nordic Nirvana“:

          STEPHANOPOULOS: You are asking for a lot of shakeup. Is it really possible for someone who calls himself a socialist to be elected president of the United States?

          SANDERS: Well, so long as we know what democratic socialism is. And if we know that in countries, in Scandinavia, like Denmark, Norway, Sweden, they are very democratic countries, obviously. The voter turnout is a lot higher than it is in the United States. In those countries, health care is the right of all people. And in those countries, college education, graduate school is free. In those countries, retirement benefits, childcare are stronger than in the United States of America. And in those countries, by and large, government works for ordinary people and the middle class, rather than, as is the case right now in our country, for the billionaire class.

          STEPHANOPOULOS: I can hear the Republican attack ad right now. He wants American to look more like Scandinavia.

          SANDERS: That’s right. That’s right. And what’s wrong with that? …

          We’ll see how it plays out. I’m just happy that any one on our side is playing at all. Game on.


          1. Kim Kaufman

            South of the U.S. border, “socialism” is not a negative word. In other words: there are a lot of Latino voters who don’t have the same reaction to that word that Americans who only read U.S. corporate media do. They’re OK with it. “Socialism” is being conflated here with the old boogey-man “communism” without any analysis of what they are or why they’re different.

            1. spooz

              So, maybe Sanders should put some effort into attracting the Latino vote. Hispanic voters put the economy and health care above immigration as pressing national priorities, according to Pew research.

              Hillary seems to think that making immigration a big issue will gain their support.

        2. Lambert Strether

          Yep. I see it all the time up here. The latest landfill would never have been stopped, nor the East-West corridor stymied, without the tea party base. So the “Don’t Tread on Me” banner was a reasonable price to pay, since if we lose the watershed, we lose everything.

      2. diptherio

        Because in a democracy you win by having the most votes…

        I have to say, this attitude of “I refuse to work with anyone who doesn’t agree with me on everything” has got to be one of the most damaging obstacles to the left being successful in this country.

        It’s called coalition-building, people–take off your team-blue jersey for just a second and try looking past the labels–if you’re not ok working with people who only share some of your views, then what you really are is an authoritarian. Yes, we have those on the left, as well, and they are a REAL problem, if you ask me.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Teabagger type predates the “Tea Party.” The public sentiment exists, and let’s keep it simple, the GOP blue bloods needed to get the voters who rejected Romney the Taxachussetts governor to accept Romney which is why they picked the imagery of the Boston Tea Party and not minute men (they wouldn’t get the obvious joke here either). Without Romney, the Tea Party disappeared from the elite chatter.

        Many of the followers are just idiots, never been even addressed by a Team Blue representative, or have been mocked for so long. Blaming white males doesn’t play well with poor whites on the margins.

  14. TarheelDem

    Look at the 2014 turnout. There is no party to split. The Donkey is dead. The brand a shambles.

    The candidate who generates the turnout to win the nomination from low-turnout areas will win the nomination. If those areas also cut into some areas previously unavailable to Barack Obama, then the general election is easier to win. The candidate who has the largest coattails will be the most able to govern if elected. Hillary is handicapped by not being able to get out of the DC-Wall Street bubble. Bernie’s major handicap is that he is unknown and untested in the kind of scorched earth media campaign the GOP will unleash if he becomes likely to win the nomination.

    The candidate who rebuilds the party from the ground up in all 50 states will win big. The only question is whether this is possible by November 2016. If it is not, the party splits or collapses.

    There is also a schism in the GOP that might surface this year. The paralysis in Congress comes from two different fault lines — private/public and insider/outsider (or Wall Street-DC/everywhere else). The second fault line is what opponents of the TPP are counting on to defeat it. And from the Southern grass roots, that fault line seems to be real in the GOP.

    But the post’s question is relevant in light of the role of the Scottish National Party in the recent UK election. The answer depends on the response of the loser of the primary fight and what the winner has to offer the loser to preserve unity. Last time, that deal apparently was: Secretary of State, White House Chief of Staff, and some other less obvious items. What is the price of unity this time for each of the Democratic primary candidates? Could Bernie settle for the Vice-Presidency place alone? Is he even interested in the ticket to obscurity, given his current situation in the Senate?

    Whatever the outcome it won’t be Bernie or Hillary splitting the party, it will be irreconcilable policy directions and interest constituencies.

    1. cwaltz

      I don’t think I’d vote for a Clinton/Sanders ticket. I like Hillary but I really can’t think of a situation where I’d vote for her. Strike one was her deciding on party loyalty being more important than fighting for those who voted for her in 2008. Strike 2 is the Nuland Ukraine debacle. Strike 3 is the fact that she, much like the rest of the politicians, has shown herself to be less than transparent in her behavior and not above twisting the rules for her own purposes.

      I’m thinking snowballs have a better chance in Hades than Hillary has of getting my vote.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Iraq War vote was over 12 years ago. More Democrats voted against the Iraq War than voted for it. There is no acceptable reason why an Iraq War supporter can ever be President at this point.

        There is no excuse for that vote because the follow up question to Hillary being wrong about Iraq isn’t what did she get wrong but why did the opponents get it right and why one of the masses protesting the war shouldn’t be President.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I can’t imagine Hillary would EVER EVER have Sanders as a VP. He’s old (a big negative given her age), from the East like her (adoptively, her Midwestern roots are long gone) and white. Her ideal VP is younger, male, from the heartlands or West and Hispanic or otherwise ethnic. If Cory Booker were not from NJ, he’d be perfect (as I try to keep from throwing up).

        1. sd

          Eric Garcetti. Provided he keeps his pants zipped which has been an ongoing failing among Democratic politicians.

    2. jonf

      The Donkey is definitely on life support. The difference between the two parties is hard to tell at times when it comes to things like economic justice, war and the environment. But those are critical. So the party needs to be rebuilt from the local (where it is an endangered species) to the national party. I personally am at a loss to know exactly how to do it, but Meet Ups could help. And Bernie is now the best we have, even though I think he has only a small chance of ultimate success.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Even when Democrat brand fumes go, they’ll still have ballot access (often written into the statutes, IIRC) almost everywhere. The last remaining assets after the good will is gone.

  15. SubjectivObject

    The only way we “win” with Sanders is that he takes it all the way to, into, and through, the DNC; and attack, attack, attacking all the way (win loose or draw).
    Is Sanders up for, good for, an old style, real, Convention?

    1. Lambert Strether

      The future lies ahead. (It’s also noteworthy that’s what Clinton did not do in 2008; the Clinton operation shut down their campaign and cut a deal with Obama for 2016.)

  16. Dan Lynch

    Yves asked “what pray tell does Sanders gain from running to lose?”

    It’s called a vanity campaign. Bernie gains his 15 minutes of fame.

    The powers-that-be have no intention of giving Bernie the nomination. As Lambert said, Bernie would do well to stay away from small planes. Or grassy knolls. Or crazed lone gunmen.

    In the very unlikely event that Sanders poses a serious threat to the party’s corporate candidate — and if Hillary implodes she will quickly be replaced by another corporate candidate — then Bernie will be swift boated, just as FDR swift boated Upton Sinclair, and attempted to swift boat Huey Long. Worst comes to worse, the Democratic powers that be will run a weak establishment candidate who is sure to lose to the Republican rather than allow Bernie to be the nominee. Or they may even endorse the Republican! See the Iron Law of Institutions.

    I tend to partly agree with Bruce Dixon, to the extent that the net effect of Bernie’s campaign will be to keep people believing that we can change the system by voting. I don’t think that is why Bernie is doing it — he’s in it for his 15 minutes of fame — but that will be the effect. The sooner we realize that voting is not the answer, the better off we are.

    Howie and Gaius have long perpetuated the “more and better Democrats myth” that keeps progressives working within the system. I’m not buying it any longer.

    1. Gaius Publius

      Thanks, Dan. Actually I’m the “open rebellion” guy, and Klein’s not far behind me. He’s written how done he is with Vichy Dems. Some of my own views are here:

      Gaius Publius: An “Open Rebellion Caucus” Forms in the Senate

      I have nothing against people taking an incremental approach; the direction is right, and god bless them for trying. And incrementalist action might put Grayson in the Senate — excellent pepper to Elizabeth Warren’s salt. Grayson knows how to work the levers.

      But like many here, I have climate on the brain, and that schedule isn’t amenable to incrementalist solutions. The next president is the last one with a clear shot at a real solution. IMO of course. So put me in the “rebellion” camp, and pretty solidly.


    2. Lambert Strether

      A couple things wrong:

      1) “Howie and Gaius have long perpetuated the “more and better Democrats myth.” This is wrong. “More and better Democrats” is a slogan from the Daily Kos context, and in practice means “More Democrats,” feeding into the giant Steve Israel crapfest over at DCCC, much beloved of the Democratic apparatichiks (***cough*** Pelosi ***cough***) where actual Republicans are run under the Democratic brand.* Howie’s site has fought that view very hard, by actually raising money for candidates opposed by the apparatus. So, wrong slogan, wrong view of what Howie and his site (DwT, Down with Tyranny) is all about. (I disagree with DwT about a lot of things, but they come by their views honestly, and they’re not at all like Kos.)

      2) “Bruce Dixon, to the extent that the net effect of Bernie’s campaign will be to keep people believing that we can change the system by voting” Dixon can hardly be a proponent of that view; he’s a Green Party activist, and therefore believes that “people can change the system by voting” by definition.

      You gotta know the territory, here.

      * Give me, say, many many more choices like Grayson over Murphy.

      UPDATE As for vanity, so what? Show me the Senator who doesn’t look in the mirror and see a President. What counts is the outcome, and personality quirks are much less important (although, to be fair, the insurgent left is blessedly free of difficult personalities. Not. Fooled ya! BWA-HA-HA-HA!!!)

        1. Oregoncharles

          Unfortunately, McKinney (I’ve met her and supported her at the time) was a terrible candidate on a technical level. Jill Stein, with no political experience, was vastly better.
          It’s something of a dilemma: an insider candidate who is a superb organizer and builds the party, or a celebrity candidate with name recognition (even a little) and political experience.

          Ideally, Jill would be campaign manager for someone with real prominence, which would mean either someone like Medea Benjamin (now there’s an idea) or a convert from the Dems, like Cynthia.

          Finding really good candidates is aperpetual challenge for an outsider party. Strategically, I suppose we’re waiting for the D-Party to collapse – “split” – and then catch the more lefty refugees. I like the Medea Benjamin approach better; we’re trying something like that for the run against Wyden, but will probably wind up with our usual insider, who is quite a good candidate.

          1. Lambert Strether

            “Medea Benjamin”? Please, no. Sends the message that the party can’t grow its own candidates, and what kind of party is that? Why the heck not Howie Hawkins? He ran a good campaign in New York. (I don’t think you mean “insider.” Somebody like Podesta is an insider. I think you mean something closer to “indigenous.”)

            1. Oregoncharles

              By “inside,” I meant a party activist. “indigenous” is a good suggestion, though could be taken to mean a Native American (there has been at least one, for VP)

              Hawkins is a good suggestion and may well try for it. But he hasn’t held office, that I know of. There is also Gayle McLaughlin, the sterling former mayor of Richmond, CA.

            2. Oregoncharles

              Afterthought: I believe Medea Benjamin is a Green and has been for some time.

              And at least in Oregon, I don’t mind using nominations as a recruiting tool, if we’re careful.

    3. Alejandro

      Thanks for the history lesson in the link. That’s an amazing observation, made over 80 years ago, i.e., that idle resources could be used by idle but willing hands and minds, for the benefit of society.

      “The whole power of vested privilege will rise against it. They are afraid that the plan, will put into the minds of the unemployed, the idea of getting access to land and machinery by the use of their ballots.”-Upton Sinclair (1:37 of link)

      It’s been said that “the unreconciled, echoes through eternity”. I have no idea who originally said this but it certainly rings true with me. He (Sinclair) certainly highlighted the undeniable, i.e., that privilege feeds on poverty. Any attempt to fight or eradicate has always been countered with violent opposition. It seems like a good idea, to be aware of the essence, of what it is your fighting.

      Solidarity, which is the antidote to “divide and conquer”, requires constant vigilance of wedges and awareness of wedge-drivers. I have never been able to discern, what it is that separates “progressives” from “socialists”, other than maybe how they contextualize the role and effects of “capitalism”. It would seem that Bernie, E.Warren, Grayson and even R. Nader would be so much more powerful as a synergistic coalition yet seem as atomized as can be.

    4. inode_buddha

      I have to at least patially disagree. If it was all about vanity then why would he be running on principles he has espoused for years? His voting record puts the vanity question to rest IMHO. No, I think he truly believes he is doing it in order to make a positive difference on the nations politics.

  17. TG

    Yes, well said. Here’s another angle on the same thing.

    For about 20 years Americans have been willing to vote for people who are opposed to their interests – because of empty propaganda or lesser-of-two-evilism etc. If Sanders, with no big money and a corporate press scripted to ignore him or slime him at every turn could get 30-40% of the vote, it could be a sign that the American people are not all sheep, which could change politics fundamentally. I mean, when Nader gets 0.5% of the vote, that sends the message that 99.5% of the electorate are sheep who can be bought off with empty promises. And look how well that worked out. Why should politicians stand up for our interests, when we won’t?

    I don’t care if Bernie stands a chance or not. I don’t care if he splits the Democratic party or not. I will not vote for a toxic, blood-soaked, oil-soaked, corrupt grifter like Hilary, period.

  18. Linda Jansen

    The Democratic Party’s kool-aid seems to have morphed into a dry martini with just a splash of socialism. People are really getting high on this stuff. But the hangover will be really really bad this time.

    We need people to wean themselves off the idea of voting to make change, not make altar calls to someone who has already pledged allegiance to a warmongering callous (we came, we saw, he died) harpy.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I think people can walk and chew gum at the same time. We’re not looking for perfection, but advantage.

      “I’m not going to that Estates-General thing. It’s nothing but an aristocratic, royalist scam!”

      Which it probably would have been, had all gone according to the Bourbon playbook. But things turned out differently, didn’t they?

      1. Linda Jansen

        Sorry Lambert, but I think your “walking/chewing” thing is saying we can have our cake and eat it too. In other words, we can build a principled movement even if we make unprincipled votes for people who have not demonstrated their adherence to a political program that is based on justice and fairness for all. Bernie is willing to throw Palestinians and anti-war people under the bus. Why vote for an unprincipled person at all?

        Instead do the hard work of building a movement outside the corrupt party system your walk & chew gum advice will only enable.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You are engaging in what Lambert calls category error.

          Lambert’s “walk and chew gum” is about tactics (hence a physical image), that you can pursue multiple strategies at once, each of which goes in the general direction you’d like to get.

          As for principled, I object to people making Israel a litmus test.. It’s the mirror image of AIPAC voters making it THEIR litmus test. Look, despite the power of AIPAC, we have not gone to war with Iran (which Israel has been pushing hard for us to do for years) and Congress revolted against going into Syria. I’m deeply opposed to what Israel is doing, but the US can stop Israel from its lunacy only through very aggressive measures (like slowing down parts resupply) and we are too joined at the hip to Israel on a military level to make that sort of realignment any time soon.

          If you want a movement that is pure, you need to give up on politics. Richard Kline discusses the problems of progressive moral purity and how it has led them to be utterly ineffective except when they teamed up with radicals. Your insistence on moral purity guarantees failure. You have to be prepared to implement approaches that improve on the status quo and break bad frames, not on moral purity. No one on this planet meets that standard, let alone people in politics.

          The Kline post I mentioned:

          1. Ned Ludd

            If it is productive for Sanders to attack Clinton from the left on domestic issues, then why is it verboten to attack Sanders from the left on foreign policy issues? Does the Overton window only apply to economic issues?

            1. Oregoncharles

              It’s what Lambert is suggesting, if I understand him.

              It’s also what I’ve been doing. Sanders’ foreign policy/military positions are the reason he couldn’t be nominated by the Green Party. That vote for the ACA and some other big caves are another.

              I think that makes us the radicals, which is pretty much our job.

            2. Lambert Strether

              Who said it was verboten? (I would prefer a positive vision of what foreign policy should be, as opposed to a “Sanders is teh suxx0r because _____” approach, but I’ve got no objection to dragging Sanders left.)

          2. Linda Jansen

            Hey, Yves. I have no expectation of “moral purity” from any politician. Do you think Sanders’ support for Israel is principled? I at least expect some integrity on a human rights and justice, even if the problems addressed seem intractable. They will remain so if our leaders do not take them up in a principled way. AIPAC is not pretending to represent all the people of the U.S., as a president would do.

            What I am advocating is building movements that are based on issues and accountability (you know, a real democracy). Sanders has been wrong on many issues even if he does call himself a socialist. He needs to be held accountable, not matter what position he is running for.

            It’s a race to the bottom if we do not hold people accountable for the positions they take.

            1. Lambert Strether

              Do you feel it’s principled to distort your opponent’s position? Neither Yves nor I are recommending a vote for Sanders; rather, we are recommending that the left take advantage of opportunities opened up by his candidacy to move the Overton Window left.

              1. linda Jansen

                The distortion is yours, I’m afraid. Where did I accuse you of advocating a vote?

                How many people on the “left” know what the Overton Window is? And would know how to “take advantage of it”?

  19. Kurt Sperry

    “Thus, even if Sanders loses, he can still produce important gains for the real (as opposed to Vichy) left by demonstrating that “progressive” ideas enjoy broad-based support, and by demonstrating that pet neoliberal positions, like “we have to cut Social Security” and “we can’t raise wages much” are bogus and serve the rich, not the interests of the country as a whole. If Sanders moves the Overton Window to the left, that alone is a significant achievement.”

    This. The overall political narrative is what steers policy, not partisan branding or horserace politics. The conservatives were steering the political narrative even as the opposition. Winning elections is far less important than driving that narrative. The conservatives didn’t need to always win elections to steer policy in their direction, they not only drove their party hard to the right–often to their short term political detriment–they drove the Democrats hard rightward–a far more impressive and harder to counter accomplishment.

    When minimally ideological triangulation strategies are driving political decisions, and such strategies are clearly effective from the POV of a campaign focused on winning rather than accomplishing a political agenda, winning individual elections or even controlling legislative bodies are less important than driving the overall political narrative. As long as the “other side” is moving towards your political ground, you are prevailing whether you are winning elections or not. How is having a sitting Obama administration to the right of a Republican administration of thirty years ago not a huge win for political conservatism? If you can sell the narrative that that right wing administration is “left” you’ve actually probably accomplished far more politically in the long game than would ever be possible by winning those elections and constantly having to attenuate your ideological messaging to achieve consensus and govern. The impulse to view winning elections as the sole goal of political action is both shallow and short sighted. Conservatives, being politically wiser and more astute, understand this.

  20. Greenguy

    Two points:

    1. Sanders has already said he will bow to whatever person wins the Democratic primary nomination and support them. That alone means he has accepted the Kucinich role of shepherding erstwhile left-Dems back into the party come election time. This continues the creation of false-consciousness about the progressive nature of the Democratic Party. Bernie, however, has always had this kind of relationship with the Democrats and so radicals and progressives who know him shouldn’t be shocked that he has wimped out on “playing the spoiler.” This is a man who calls himself a socialist (but really a social democrat), though he hasn’t worked to build a socialist party in Vermont let alone the United States, voted again and again for American imperial wars abroad and supports the placement of F-35s in Burlington over the peace community’s objections. I can’t disagree with Dixon about his sheepdogging of Hillary and the Dems… if Bernie’s campaign were going to mean something long-term he’d run as an independent or find a way to unite with Jill Stein after the primaries.

    2. Bernie’s campaign is less emblematic of Sanders and more so the degeneration of the US economy and US hegemony in the capitalist world-system since Kucinich’s runs in 2004/8. The cracks are very visible and there is a place for this dialogue now in the “mainstream.” What we can hope comes out of this is what happened here in NY last year: Teachout ran in the primaries and then in the general election the Greens and Hawkins received a surge in the general election polls. Perhaps some of Sanders’ voters and activist base will shift to Stein and the Greens – though as an experienced activist and campaigner I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    1. Lambert Strether

      All of your points could be true, and every single one of Gaius’s points could be true. Personally, if there are “visible cracks” — and I agree, there are — then I think it makes sense to exploit them in any way possible and as fast as possible. Like it or not, Jill Stein can’t do that. Perhaps Sanders can. I mean, seriously. The post is arguing that a potential benefit of the Sanders candidacy is splitting the Democrats. Personally, if I were a Green (I don’t belong to any party) I’d be trying to encourage that split any way that I could. Are there no Machiavellis on the left?

      1. deux biers

        “Machiavellis on the left?”

        Sadly, no. Machiavelli is distasteful to the latte left, and they abhor bad taste.

        1. Dana

          Ursula LeGuin said it best, in one of her least known novels, _Malafrena_: “A liberal is a person who believes the means justify the end.”

    1. cwaltz

      Who knows? Is it really that important this early in the process? Good Lord, you’d think that the election was THIS November, instead of another year plus. In my opinion at this point people should be concentrating on message not worrying whether or not their candidate has a credible chance(for the record I believe anyone has a credible chance if enough people are willing to take a chance and give them a vote.)

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Hillary had the super delegates in her pocket and more votes (she would have won using the more democratic GOP primary rules), but the apearance of stealing the election would lead to a kind of outrage which the super delegates couldn’t deal with. Do you think a media hound like Donna Brazille could get a job on TV if she sided with Hillary? Or what do you think would happen to small time super delegates? Their future plans would be dead. Their status as super delegates would be stripped. Their friends would turn on them.

      The idea of super delegates is so repugnant to average person, the GOP, a cesspool of corruption and vice, doesn’t even have super delegates.

  21. TedWa

    I don’t know why some of you aren’t getting it, he has to say he would support Hillary – he’s running as a democrat and if he expects any real support from democrats he has to toe the party line. Saying he wouldn’t vote for Hillary would disqualify him as a true democratic candidate to the die-hard dem voters most democratic politicians that would support his run. He NEEDS democrats to support him. Look at their stances on important issues. He doesn’t support her on almost everything or anything. For all intents and purposes he’s the anti-Hillary. So tell me again why he wouldn’t say it considering his situation as an independent switching parties? Politics is art as much as it is game.

    As Yves pointed out, he has nothing to gain from running. “He’s never going to be a VP or cabinet member in a Clinton administration, nor is he about to get a seven figure book deal, seats on corporate boards, or six figure speaking gigs.” That should tell you almost everything you need to know.

  22. TedWa

    Another thing, not voting is what the PTB want. They don’t want you excited for a candidate. Read up on inverted totalitarianism and how a managed democracy works. If you don’t vote, the leaders accept that as tacit approval of whatever evil they’re accomplishing. They absolutely want voter apathy. They don’t want you to think you can change anything and that government will not help you.

    Sheldon Wolin : The United States has two main totalizing dynamics: The first, directed outward, finds its expression in the Global War on Terror and in the Bush Doctrine that the United States has the right to launch preemptive wars. This amounts to the United States seeing as illegitimate the attempt by any state to resist its domination.[18][4][17]

    The second dynamic, directed inward, involves the subjection of the mass of the populace to economic “rationalization”, with continual “downsizing” and “outsourcing” of jobs abroad and dismantling of what remains of the welfare state created by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society. Thus neoliberalism is an integral component of inverted totalitarianism. The state of insecurity in which this places the public serves the useful function of making people feel helpless, thus making it less likely they will become politically active, and thus helping maintain the first dynamic.

  23. TedWa

    I think the better question to ask is not why Bernie Sanders is running, but why would Bruce Dixon write an attack on Bernie so early in his campaign when Bernie stands for everything the black agenda wants? Bernie often talks about the high incarceration rates of blacks as compared to whites and how that needs to change. Same with income inequality. What is Bruce Dixon looking for? Does he offer an alternative? No. What is the point of his article except maybe maybe to bring himself a little notoriety? It’s a cheap shot and not insightful at all. imnsho.

    1. Lambert Strether

      BAR has all the notoriety it needs, and they’ve also got an excellent track record of being right. And I absolutely believe Bruce Dixon comes by his view honestly. If I had to think about drivers behind the post, I’d point to (a) bitter experience (see response to Diptherio, supra, for why “this time is different”), and (b) concern that the Dems will, once again, suck away votes from the Greens.

      1. TedWa

        I usually like to read the Black Agenda report but didn’t know they supported the Green Party. Great. But the Green Party will never get the coverage that the 2 main parties get, so in that Bernies got the best shot of beating the neolibs. That should be pretty obvious from the start. I’m 100% green party and that’s who will get my vote if somehow Bernie falters. Personally, I really don’t think he’ll vote for Hillary – there are too many differences between his views and hers and, remember – He’s an independent – he’ll vote independent and that would be green. As far as a concern about his sucking away votes from the Greens, he’s running as a democrat not an independent or a green and if he wins the Democratic nomination, the only ones he’ll be sucking votes away from are the democrats and republicans. If he does succeed in draining votes from the greens it’ll be because he deserves it. He should not be faulted for that. The article takes one statement to discredit him instead of seeing the whole picture. That is a known tactic of the MSM and I really have no respect for that. The article is disingenuous imo

      2. Kim Kaufman

        There’s also a calculated cynicism and pragmatism to his candidacy. With what’s available to him, a sitting non-Democrat senator, he’s doing the best he can do to change the conversation. Of course he has to say he’ll support Hillary – but he wasn’t asked “will he support her policies”?

  24. NotTimothyGeithner

    The potential Democratic Party is already split. Hillary is like Gore and Kerry. All she will run on is threats about the Supreme Court when they find poor women don’t care about the national debt, h1b1 visas, or corrupt trade deals.

    An element of potential voters will never vote for Hillary.

    Hillary is a has been and a never was. Her political career is based on being a spouse even her Watergate Commission job was based on Bill’s recommendation. The post Title IX society wants a woman with a real career not connected to her husband like Liz Warren. Women didn’t save Mary Landrieu last November because the only reason she was a senator was because her father was famous. Women didn’t rescue Blanche Lincoln. Hillary might wow an older generation, but being a bourgeois woman in the last 40 years. Hillary is from a different generation, and she will not be embraced.

    Michelle Obama would draw more fringe female support. She was Barack’s boss, a success in her own right.

    1. Lambert Strether

      No. It’s not split until it splits, until factions in conflict seize different parts of the party apparatus, or openly threaten to. It’s one thing to say the base can be split. But an open split will come with institutional signs.

  25. James Traynor

    If he does loose in the primary, which is a lot more than just likely, will he actually back the Democratic nominee, Clinton? My hope is that he won’t. It would be the coup de grace to everything he says he believes in.
    Will he pull the trigger or turn the gun, in effect politically, on himself? And if he does the former , Yves, what will you think of him then?

    1. Lambert Strether

      If he does, that splits the Democrats even more, a good outcome, so far as I’m concerned. In any case, a very far-off hypothetical, based on the outcome of a campaign that’s hardly begun. Yves is under no obligation to answer.

      Adding, please don’t double post. Not only are you training Skynet to think you’re a troll, it’s more work for the moderators.

      1. James Traynor

        Tried editing it out. Didn’t work. Could be because I’m nursing a cut from one of those very sharp Japanese knives I used to slice up some chicken tenders and I’m used to sharp knives. Difficult handling a mouse with a bandaged right index finger. Of course Yves is under no obligation to answer. The question was more rhetorical than not, but I would be very interested in her answer. And the question is far from being far-off. In fact, given our recent political history, it is the more likely of limited scenarios. By the way, I voted for Kucinich back when and I go ‘back when’ a long time ago.

      2. James Traynor

        To the moderators and Yves Smith:

        It was decidedly bad manners in not allowing me to respond to Lambert Strethers reply to my comment. A pix on all your houses.

        1. Lambert Strether

          As I pointed out (and the Moderation Rules would have told you) you double-posted, and so you trained our spam detection software to put you in the moderation queue, because that’s what spammers do.

          You mean “pox.” So do I.

  26. THH

    Fairly bad analysis in my book. It has to be remembered that Hillary beat Obama in 2008 and only lost due to Michigan and Florida having their votes thrown out. Ironically, Obama won by pretty much sweeping the Republican states. Dems love Hillary and they are going to vote for her in huge numbers.

    Bernie is a useful foil but most of his supporters will not even vote for him in the end. They are only looking for a little show and then want him to exit stage left as Hillary emerges as Wonder Woman all eyes agog.

    It;s all about the branding. Bernie will be given the Howard Dean treatment and will be a non-factor.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Your comment is out of alignment with verifiable facts. There is very deep seated antipathy for Hillary. She has the distinction of polling with negative view of 42% among those polled, and having her negative score rise by 6 percentage points since she announced her candidacy. And the people who are negative on her are not just hold your nose negative, they loathe her. I find. contrary to the Dem party assumption that women are big supporters, that with only one exception, every woman I know (and in her supposed sweet spot, white women 30 to 60) LOATHE her.

      The only people who buy the Hillary PR are her operatives, hard core Democratic party tribalists, and low information Democrats who haven’t seen enough of her yet.

      1. Ned Ludd

        According to Bloomberg’s May 2015 poll results, things are looking good for Clinton in New Hampshire. She even outpolls Walker, Bush, Paul, and Rubio.

        Sanders will help bring some of the disaffected back into Team Blue, and then he will hand off his donor and contact lists to the Clinton campaign (or whatever establishment candidate takes her place), who will round up the reserve Democrats with tales of scary Republicans

        1. Lambert Strether

          I think it speaks to a paradox at the heart of the Clinton candidacy. Voters don’t especially trust her, and there’s a hard core (especially in the politcal class) that outright hates her, yet at the same time they think she’s qualified and will vote for her. And I think that both polls are correct.

          Of course, a paradox like that is ripe for exploitation.

  27. Fool

    To a moron this may sound racist, but it should be said that Dixon’s anti-Sanders position is understandable if you consider that he’s black…

    In contrast, I am white and was born in the “lucky sperm club”, as it were. To the extent that Obama has let me down amounts to just that: being let down. I have no real skin in the game; in fact, thanks to Obama, I’m a lot richer than I was in 2008. I’m so let down that I’m a daily reader of a leftist blog. Life is good.

    My point is that to a guy like Dixon, the Clinton Machine — the Democrat party base incarnate — is everything that’s wrong with inequality in America, particularly the institutionalized oppression of blacks. Dems talk a big game of helping those with less, but to the extent that they do it always amounts to a politicized circus; regarding women, for example, instead of helping single mothers by subsidizing daycare programs, Democrats develop time/resources/media to making sure that all law schools students have free birth control. Anything that matters is reduced to a newsfeed-worthy soundbite that can get people self-righteous enough to get off Facebook and vote (for “us”) because the other side is going to take their America away or whatever.

    The Democrat party, in other words, has betrayed Black Americans time after time after time. Although I may think that the Green Party is a waste of valuable resources and, more importantly, people — people who could otherwise invigorate the Leftist base of the Democrat party, I do empathize with where Dixon is coming from.

  28. Oregoncharles

    ” for the first time, in fact, since Johnson. How is that bad, if you’re a real progressive?”

    In a word: Vietnam.

    And since you brought up RFK: he was just about the last insurgent candidate to upset the DP apple cart (except McGovern, whose campaign the party sabotaged). And as you know, he was assassinated under odd circumstances*. Is that a coincidence?

    I understand, mostly from other commenters, that Sanders has said he will “support the Democratic nominee.” That’s usually obligatory, especially if you’re coming in as an outsider – in effect, a carpebagger. But it does undercut the “splitting the party” option.

    And addressing Yves’ introduction, as well as the article: being a stalking horse – a stand-in for another candidate – isn’t really a matter of intent. It’s much more about the structure of the situation. In this case, it comes down to whether Sanders has a real chance of gaining the nomination, which strikes me as implausible and which isn’t supported by Gaius’ numbers. It also comes down to how his supporters react if he loses (he can carry only so many of them with an endorsement.)

    I was deeply impressed by Kucinich (saw him perform several times). I’m convinced he was sincere – but in the end, the only effect of his campaigns was to keep more progressives attached to the Democratic Party. Furthermore, I think that was his intent, in the hope of dragging it back to the left. Which, as we know, didn’t happen. In fact, there’s a 30-year history of progressives trying to do that; the only effect was to drive it further and further to the right. The strategy isn’t just a failure; it’s an unmitigated disaster.

    So: we’re discussing pretty pure politics on a finance-and-economics blog. I understand Yves’ impatience; the blog’s focus is the reason it’s valuable. But in the end, they’re inextricable. The real topic is what kind of economic policy the US, and arguably the world, will have in the near future.

    *I hope Bernie gets Secret Service protection damn soon.

    1. Lambert Strether

      “it does undercut the “splitting the party” option” Actually, it doesn’t, because the split depends on what the base does, and not on what Sanders says. And the very people making the stalking horse/Judas Goat argument are the ones who are trying to empower the base. It’s very odd.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I do like the “splitting the party” option, of course. Some of us did that a long time ago.

        Most of my comments on Bernie conclude with asking his supporters what they’re going to do if/when he doesn’t get the nomination. I’m not really pitching to them yet – that can wait, and will pretty much take care of itself.

        US politics presently boils down to: Are you mad enough yet? It may well be that Bernie’s run will make people mad enough, when it turns out the Democratic Party is impenetrable and incorrigible.

        And to bring it back to the main topic here: there are signs of a new financial collapse or “double dip” in the near future, are there not? Right before the election. Haven’t we seen this scenario before? So have people learned their lesson, or not?

        1. Lambert Strether

          I don’t know if there’s anything quantitative on this, but my sense is that the “boiling point” is very slowly being reached, that people are getting more and more pissed off, almost at a tectonic level. An example is we had one riot, and then another, first in Ferguson, then in Baltimore. I grant that these were by no means 60s-style riots, but the moral panic that one might expect went no further than the usual suspects in the conservative fever swamp. For whatever reason, the result was more or less a collective shrug. I’m thinking that was a matter of “Well, I would, too, if I were in their position” from which it isn’t all that far to “Wait a minute. I am in their position.”

      2. Oregoncharles

        “. It also comes down to how his supporters react if he loses (he can carry only so many of them with an endorsement.) ”

        Apparently we agree. Sanders has made it clear he isn’t INTENTIONALLY splitting the party – at least, he isn’t admitting it.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Well, he could hardly admit it, even if that were his intent. It’s a possible outcome that Gaius raises, not Sanders’ intent (though if he gets traction, doubtless the Democratic regulars will claim that).

        2. Dana

          Another lesson from the Kucinich campaigns: despite his pledge to support the eventual nominee, and his ultimate appearance as the token liberal at Kerry campaign stops, the single most common reason I heard from voters who would not support him, is that he would “split the party.” Many voters have been so taken in by the establishment’s trumpeting of the Nader meme that they won’t support an “outsider” in a primary *no matter what.*

    2. Lambert Strether

      Bruce Dixon can write and write well. If he had meant to write “stalking horse,” I am sure that he would have. He wrote “sheep dog” instead, which implies mutual conscious agency between sheepdog and shepherd. So it is, exactly, “a matter of intent,” and that’s why I think Dixon commits a category error.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Technical point: it isn’t real clear who this is responding to. Once the thread gets long, and @ or Re & name would help a lot. No, I don’t always remember that, either.

  29. Kim Kaufman

    So many good comments! I agree with Yves that this is relevant because, in my words, Bernie sincerely wants is to deal with national economic issues of income inequality, etc. Yes, of course, he made compromises to get the Democratic party to “let” him do it. He’s also not good on foreign affairs and he should not be seen as some kind of radical savior. He’s not. The guy’s over 70 – he just seems to want to do what he can to promote his issues and just appearing on Thom Hartmann once a week isn’t enough. I must say I’m shocked he only has 185,000 email addresses. That’s pretty low. I don’t know that he’ll be able to reach younger generations and that’s my hope.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Oh, bullshit. Let’s have some respect for our host. For one thing, the “sheep dog” post has already had very extended discussion, when we linked to it previously; it’s almost in the nature of a family quarrel, at this point. (Yes, a link would have been better, but in context I think not giving one doesn’t even rise to the level of a venial sin.) For another, do you really think Yves’s arsenal of debating tactics that empty?

  30. OIFVet

    Black Agenda Report is regularly linked to in the daily Links section. Pardon my curiosity, but I’ve noticed over the past weeks that you have congenital inability to hit the ‘Reply’ button, thus one often has to guess whom you are replying to. What gives? Is the whole concept of clicking ‘Reply’ too much to digest???

  31. CB

    This argument has gotten pretty silly. Yes, I get that Bernie is an opportunity to hammer dems on issues they lip service and vote against. But defending the strategy and defending Bernie are two entirely different things and you’re defending Bernie as if you actually, really believe him. Bernie is a dem lib dog and pony show, has been for yrs and you can’t make that go away. So, use him to full advantage, I might vote for him in the primaries just to rattle the fake NJ dems, but understand Bernie likely will show himself another dem roach motel. Use and discard as you see fit. And stop denigrating people who don’t fall into your line, Lambert, Yves.

    1. Linda Jansen

      Thank you for your post. I love this site, but it does sometimes feel like the moderators are overly sensitive to opposition to their perspective. It is their privilege, I suppose, as it is their site.

      At any rate, this is a very important discussion in my view. But it is rather disappointing to see the same arguments trotted out every 4 years to prop up one wing of the corporate party instead of heeding the advice of people like Peter Camejo in the Avocado Declaration, which explains the origins of the two party system:

      “Every major gain in our history, even pre-Civil War struggles –such as the battles for the Bill of Rights, to end slavery, and to establish free public education– as well as those after the Civil War have been the product of direct action by movements independent of the two major parties and in opposition to them.”

      Let’s not get distracted by the dog and pony show put on by the moneyed interests. Let’s pressure them from the outside by principled organizing of people affected by issues. The powers that be have the money advantage, but we have the people advantage. Unless we disarm people by telling them it’s okay to vote for warmongering corporate shills (or the people who have pledged allegiance to them).

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          OK. This was UNBELIEVABLY good.

          You’ve got to post it again where everyone can read it.

        2. Linda Jansen

          Thank you for this. Bruce Dixon is right about Sanders, whether Bernie is witting or not.

          “If Bernie had one-tenth of their conviction, his vote alone could have saved the country from the shitty health care bill that put them all in office.”

          He has been in synch with the Dems for the most part. I don’t think we can expect a change in his direction now.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Since Sanders being “witting” is a key flaw in Dixon’s post, I hardly see how Dixon is “right.”

            I think it’s important to know one’s enemies. Others may, course, disagree.

    2. Lambert Strether

      “use him to full advantage.” Exactly. But it certainly took a lot of effort to get to that point, eh? As Yves wrote in the very beginning:

      Thus, even if Sanders loses, he can still produce important gains for the real (as opposed to Vichy) left by demonstrating that “progressive” ideas enjoy broad-based support, and by demonstrating that pet neoliberal positions, like “we have to cut Social Security” and “we can’t raise wages much” are bogus and serve the rich, not the interests of the country as a whole. If Sanders moves the Overton Window to the left, that alone is a significant achievement.

      So now we’re agreed….

      * * *

      As for “stop denigrating people who don’t fall into your line, Lambert, Yves” — ignoring the imperative mode — we do try to keep the focus on comment content. I, for one, would never claim that I have never written anything really stupid and wrong, and expect to be called out on it when I do. I assume others play by those rules. (Of course, ad homs and various other forms of insult to the intelligence of moderators and readers get whacked — rather in the nature of indoor sport — but tit for tat with variation is a well-understood strategy.)

      Frankly, if anything on this thread triggers your sense of denigration, I’d suggest you search out a more congenial environment. It’s big Internet.

  32. frosty zoom

    well, bernie seems the lesserest of the evils.

    nonetheless, he has been allowed to remain a senator for a long time. that’s quite telling.

  33. Rosario

    I think there are two modes of critique for Bernie Sanders, within the context of current American politics his record is fairly commendable though not fantastic, thus he is a “good” choice. See for yourself:

    When considering the system as a whole within the context of history and/or other nation states he is six of one, half a dozen of the other. It’s not like he will be campaigning and, though a long shot, practicing the executive within a vacuum. I feel this way about Obama. I don’t think he was, or is, sinister, but when most government positions are occupied by ideologues functioning as career “public servants” it won’t much matter how far left the pendulum seems to swing the pivot determines the realm of the politically possible and we are deep into the right.

    At this point, politically, the remaining outlet of change is in the streets, as we are seeing in Baltimore, Philadelphia, etc. The same deadlock existed in the 60s and the political response came through the necessity created by fear rather than the political rituals that are soothingly predicable to careerists in Washington. The radical movements of black Americans is very subtly integrating itself into the economic issues facing people around the globe. I work for it and see it in my own city. It is happening slowly, no doubt, but it is an unstoppable force. If we get Bernie, Hillary, Jeb, or Scott, it is no matter to me at this point when considering what must happen long term. Sure, Hillary or Bernie will be better for my potential financial prospects in 10 years working in renewable energy but my frame as a white male is very narrow and I hold no illusions about their commitments to “market” solutions. They don’t really have much say in the matter anyway (at least not nowadays). I’m hopeful in a few years their order will have to answer an uncompromising population that doesn’t care to shop politics anymore.

  34. swendr

    I don’t know if anyone else followed one of the two donation links provided, but by default your contribution doesn’t go 100% to the Bernie Sanders campaign. Instead, your contribution is split 50-50 between the Sanders campaign and the Blue America PAC. I think it’s fundamentally dishonest to write an article completely about a candidate and provide a donation link that siphons off half of a donation to another PAC without specifically mentioning it in preface to the link. To donate directly to the campaign, go to Bernie’s website and contribute there.

    Yves, I hope you will edit the post to replace the sneaky links with honest ones or otherwise note the diversion of half the contribution alongside the links. I’m sure ActBlue will do the right thing and reallocate my contribution appropriately, but I’m annoyed that I have to ask after the fact.

    Also, please don’t take this as a slam against the PAC. They may do great things, but I’m not willing to research them at this time.

  35. words

    welp, I tried to post a response to you OIFVet, (for one, if I had been able to use the reply button, I surely would have). At any rate, if that comment never posts I ususally always: screen pic my comments as they’re being sent to moderation, or not (while that green posting in process bar is showing); screen pic them when they post: and then screen pic the reponses to them; while noting the comment number[s] attributed to my commments – so perhaps, If I ever attain the time, resources and ability to do so, I’ll display the full conversation elsewhere sometime.

  36. words

    Apologies OIFVet, I see my second of the last two attempted responses to you momentarily posted, and I had nothing to do with it it ending up above the comment you made, escpecially when I posted it a day later.

    Good Day, don’t know about you, but this is not only painful, it’s really detracting from vital needs I absolutely need to see to,

Comments are closed.