Gaius Publius: The Rebellion Will Not Go Away

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


Income of Americans age 20-24 since 1979 compared to other age groups (source; click to enlarge)

The Sanders- and Trump-led (for now) political rebellion is not going to go away. There are only two questions going forward:

  • Will it remain a political rebellion, one that expresses itself through the electoral process, or will it abandon the electoral process as useless after 2016?
  • Will it be led by humanitarian populism from the left, or authoritarian populism from the right?

Why is this rebellion permanent, at least until conditions improve? Because life in the U.S. is getting worse in a way that can be felt by a critical mass of people, by enough people to disrupt the Establishment machine with their anger. And because that worsening is seen to be permanent.

Bottom line, people are reaching the breaking point, and we’re watching that play out in the 2016 electoral race.

Yes, It Is a Rebellion

There’s no other way to see the Sanders and Trump surges except as a popular rebellion, a rebellion of the people against their “leaders.” If one of them, Sanders or Trump, is on the ballot in November running against an Establishment alternative, Sanders or Trump, the anti-Establishment candidate, will win. That candidate will cannibalize votes from the Establishment side.

That is, Sanders will attract a non-zero percentage of Trump-supporting voters if Cruz or Paul Ryan runs against him, and he will win. By the same token, Trump will attract a non-zero percentage Sanders-supporting voters (or they will stand down) if Clinton runs against him, and she will lose to him.

(In fact, we have a good early indication of what percentage of Sanders supporters Clinton will lose20% of Sanders primary voters say they will sit out the general election if Clinton is the candidate, and 9% say they will vote for Trump over Clinton. By this measure, Clinton loses 30% of the votes that went to Sanders in the primary election.)

If they run against each other, Sanders and Trump, Sanders will win. You don’t have to take my word for it (or the word of any number of other writers). You can click here and see what almost every head-to-head poll says. As I look at it today, the average of the last six head-to-head polls is Sanders by almost 18% over Trump. In electoral terms, that’s a wipeout. For comparison, Obama beat McCain by 6% and Romney by 4%.

Note that Sanders is still surging, winning some states with 80% of the vote (across all states he’s won, he averages 67% of the vote), while Trump seems to have hit a ceiling below 50%, even in victory. The “socialist” tag is not only not sticking, it’s seen positively by his supporters. And finally, just imagine a Trump-Sanders debate. Sanders’ style is teflon to Trumps’, and again, I’m not alone in noticing this.

Whichever anti-Establishment candidate runs, he wins. If both anti-Establishment candidates face off, Sanders wins. The message seems pretty clear. Dear Establishment Democrats, you can lose to Sanders or lose to Trump. Those are your choices, and I’m more than happy to wait until November 9 to find out what you chose and how it turned out. Not pleased to wait, if you choose wrongly, but willing to wait, just so we’re both aware of what happened.

The Rebellion Is Not Going Away

I won’t be happy with you though, Establishment Democrats, if you choose badly. And I won’t be alone. Because even if you succeed with Clinton, Establishment Democrats, or succeed in giving us Trump in preference to giving us Sanders, the rebellion is not going away.

If you look at the Trump side, it’s easy to see why. Are wages rising with profits? No, and Trump supporters have had enough. (They don’t quite know who to blame, but they’re done with things as they are.) Will they tolerate another bank bailout, the one that’s inevitable the way the banks are continuing to operate? They haven’t begun to tolerate the last one. They already know they were screwed by NAFTA. What will their reaction be to the next trade deal, or the next, or the next? (Yes, it’s not just TPP; there are three queued up and ready to be unleashed.)

Trump supporters, the core of them, are dying of drugs and despair, and they’re not going to go quietly into that dark night. The Trump phenomenon is proof of that.

On the Sanders side, the rebellion is even clearer. Sanders has energized a great many voters across the Democratic-independent spectrum with his call for a “political revolution.” But it’s among the young, the future of America, that the message is especially resonant. For the first time in a long time, the current generation of youth in America sees itself as sinking below the achievements of their parents.

The Guardian:

US millennials feel more working class than any other generation

Social survey data reveals downshift in class identity among 18-35s, with only a third believing they are middle class

Millennials in the US see themselves as less middle class and more working class than any other generation since records began three decades ago, the Guardian and Ipsos Mori have found.

Analysing social survey data spanning 34 years reveals that only about a third of adults aged 18-35 think they are part of the US middle class. Meanwhile 56.5% of this age group describe themselves as working class.

The number of millennials – who are also known as Generation Y and number about 80 million in the US – describing themselves as middle class has fallen in almost every survey conducted every other year, dropping from 45.6% in 2002 to a record low of 34.8% in 2014. In that year, 8% of millennials considered themselves to be lower class and less than 1% considered themselves to be upper class.

Of course, that leads to this:

The large downshift in class identity among young adults may have helped explain the surprisingly strong performance in Democratic primaries of the insurgent presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who has promised to scrap college tuition fees and raise minimum wages.

Will those voters, so many of them self-described “independents,” return to the Democratic Party? Only if the Party offers them a choice they actually want. If the Party does not, there will be hell to pay on the Democratic side as well. America is making them poorer — Establishment Democratic policies are making them poorer — and they’re done with it. The Sanders phenomenon is proof of that.

Will the Very Very Rich Stand Down?

The squeeze is on, and unless the rich who run the game for their benefit alone decide to stand down and let the rest of us catch our breath and a break, there will be no letting up on the reaction. What we’re watching is just the beginning. Unless the rich and their Establishment enablers stand down, this won’t be the end but a start, and just a start.

I’ll identify the three branches to this crossroad in another piece. It’s not that hard to suss out those three paths, so long as you’re willing to look a few years ahead, into the “middle distance” as it were. The ways this could play out are limited and kind of staring right at us.

But let’s just say for now, America faces its future in a way that hasn’t happened since the Great Depression, another period in which the Constitution was rewritten in an orderly way (via the political process). Which means that for almost every living American, this is the most consequential electoral year of your life.

I know. I’m not happy about that either.

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  1. James Levy

    The author ignores the fact that in head-to-head polls, Clinton beats Trump. People around here hate this fact and may try to shout it down, but it is, at least for now, a fact, and because at least today it is a fact, it undermines Gaius’s argument significantly. And after Trump’s stupid off the cuff comment about abortion yesterday, his chances against Clinton went even further down.

    1. David Mills

      Last set of polling I saw indicated that both Clinton and Sanders beat Trump and that Sanders beat him by a wider margin. So your point would be… ?

      1. James Levy

        My point is that the argument in the essay is predicated on the presupposition that the rebellious vote will beat out the establishment vote, whereas the facts on the ground, right now, indicate that the establishment candidate Clinton will defeat the rebellious candidate Trump. That hurts the author’s thesis.

        1. Sam Adams

          Both Clinton and Sanders poll better than Trump. However the polls all show Sanders wins with a decisive lead: a mandate to change the system. Clinton wins but without any mandate except to continue along the same trajectory of Reagan, Clinton1, Bush and Obama.

        2. frosty zoom

          barbers have poles, too. once mr. trump and ms. clinton face off, she’s doomed because it will become a question of what he has said versus what she has done.

          she lied, she bombed, they died.

            1. frosty zoom

              why, i bet he’d even sell armoured personnel carriers to the saudis, because, hey, if we don’t, someone else will.

        3. Yeti58

          To rely on polls would be an error as the last election here in B.C. and also the past Canadian election would indicate. People can and will change their votes for strategic outcomes.

          1. Carla

            Yeah, the only poll that counts is an election. But then we always have to worry about who’s counting the votes.

    2. TomDority

      Sanders beats Trump so why not mention that name (Sanders). I will vote for Sanders and not Clinton. As for the pair up Clinton v Trump…… still to close with Clinton loaded with negative baggage against a Trump who contributes to global warming with his hot air.

      Best thing to remember…..the only wasted vote is one not cast.

    3. sleepy

      Yes, that’s certainly a critical point, though I’m not sure to what extent those polls showing Clinton over Trump account for a very likely depressed dem turnout if she’s the nominee.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Agree, the underlying assumption on Hillary/Trump polls is probably a normal turnout of voters; very unlikely.

    4. pretzelattack

      she may, but i think a clinton victory, and the associated trade deals, healthcare problems, bank problems will radicalize a great many more people. hard to say what this kind of chaos will eventually result in, but it’s kind of up to the people that control things now; will they give us a break or not. and by break i mean allow a new new deal.

    5. ahimsa

      I think the author does not ignore the Clinton polls, rather they take this into account when they write that Clinton will not be able to count on a significant portion of the Sanders vote (e.g. young people, liberals and independents), resulting in a depressed Democrat turnout further confounded by some crossover to Trump from hard-core anti-establishment voters.

      What is perhaps ignored is the question of how many moderate Republicans and republican-leaning independents might crossover to Clinton in the case of Trump being the GOP nominee. Would they be enough to offset the Sanders voters deserting the Dems? If not, then it is reasonable to assume Clinton would lose to Trump.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        It is very obvious that going for ‘moderate’ republicans is the Clinton strategy, but I do wonder if it can work. I have some relatives (in NY and Texas) who can be described in those terms, and one thing that has struck me is the deep, abiding hatred they have personally for Hilary Clinton. They really do hate her viscerally in a way they don’t hate other Dems, including Obama. I know this is anecdote, but I do think that quite literally, she is the absolute worst possible Dem the party could put forward to win an election relying on anti-Trump right-wingers to get her over the line. As the polls indicate, even a smart left winger like Sanders would do much better with anti-Trump Reps.

        I think a Trump-Clinton election would be very hard to call. Trump will eat her alive in debates. I do believe he will rally many republicans back around him by making them remember how much they hate the Clintons. But likewise, Clinton will obviously play very hard on her being a ‘safe’ option compared to an obviously lunatic Trump, and historically, people do tend to swing towards the middle when faced with an unknown radical prospect. They will rely on Sanders supporters very reluctantly falling behind her – and I suspect that faced with the prospect of a Trump presidency, many will do so. But I also suspect a very low turnout as so many people will be sickened by the choice. And low turn-out elections are always particularly hard to call.

    6. PlutoniumKun

      I think the point thats been made is that the overall momentum of public opinion is moving towards the radical – that this is a process that will be hard, if not impossible to reverse. In other words, the tide is flowing against Clinton, and will get stronger.

      I agree that its not as clear cut as Gaius makes out – historically, faced with a radical choice, you will usually find voters making a final swing toward the ‘don’t change’ candidate, which is obviously Clinton. So it is foolish to assume that she could not win. But I do think that she will find it much harder to campaign against Trump than against Sanders – and we’ve seen how useless she’s been against Sanders despite the enormous built in advantage she was given. she really is a terrible campaigner, and Trump is something of a savant genius at it.

    7. frosty zoom

      that is in polls today. mr. trump’s chances of winning are accelerating while ms. clinton’s are rapidly decelerating – yesterdays abortion blather by mr. trump will be gone in a few days while ms. clinton’s email server is only warming up.

    8. diptherio

      Clinton squeaks by Trump, Bernie blows him out of the water. And while Trump may spontaneously combust before the convention, Hillary might end up indicted.

      Sanders is, strategically, the obvious best choice for Democrats. However, the iron law of institutions definitely applies and there are plenty who seem more than ready to destroy the party if they think it will benefit them personally.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Hillary might end up indicted.

        I have a hard time seeing this actually happen before coronation – makes Monsieur Wedding Party Drone Assasin look bad – and based on what other “buck stops here” offals ovals are getting away with, after coronation seems even less likely.

        1. Bas

          So are they going to say it’s just OK that Herself broke Federal law? How is she going to be able to hold off the pitchforks then, which seems to be the President’s job now?

          1. pretzelattack

            obama has, with the drone assassination of an american citizen and his child. bush did. presidents supported by the establishment can get away with a great deal.

        2. Jack Heape

          I agree she probably will not be indited. However, I believe that the FBI will make a criminal referral to the DOJ. If the AG does not indite, or at the least appoint an independent counsel, then someone will leak the referral. Then all hell will break loose. And I really don’t see how they cannot make a referral, particularly for members of her staff.

    9. Bas

      Clinton, facing that private server thingy, has nowhere to go but down. It has already been established that she broke Federal law. Sanders has no such baggage, and absent vote theft shenanigans, has nowhere to go but up. Do the poles take these things into account? Are we going to have to choose between two scofflaws, Hillary and The Donald? There is going to be a lot of resistance to that.

        1. pretzelattack

          i believe you’re right. like the 2000 election, will we just take it? i know
          gore wasn’t a messiah, and could have run a better campaign, etc., but that election was stolen in plain sight. all the options for resistance will be difficult to pull off, depending on how much popular outrage there is. a general strike?

  2. tony

    What you are ignoring is that both Hillary and Cruz will draw votes from establishment supporters if they run against Trump or Sanders. Also, I both parties would prefer a Clinton v Cruz election and are working towards it. It feels like you are oversimplifying.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Cruz is despised personally by the Republicans, plus he is even less electable than Trump. So they’d like to throw a brokered convention to just about anyone else. But settling on who that savior in the wings ought to be is fraught too.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Yes, but maybe not. If the R establishment really does not want Cruz, then that should be reflected in the behavior of the major Wisconsin Repubs, who are very establishment (Walker, Paul Ryan, RNC head Reince Priebus). Priebus and Ryan (convention chair) ostensibly need to stay neutral but the fact that Walker, and his talk radio buds, have gone all in for Cruz suggests a coming to terms with him. (Or a Christie-like hail mary for the VP slot or a cabinet post, which would still suggest the belief that he is likely to be the nominee.) His wife works for Goldman Sachs, for (whoever’s) sake. Can he really be that much of a threat?

        I was wrong about Paul Ryan taking the speaker’s job so maybe he will take the nomination if begged to. But I don’t think so. And he seems like the only possibility other than Trump or Cruz.

  3. voteforno6

    I’m convinced that the Democratic establishment would rather lose to Trump than win with Sanders. A Sanders win would mean an end to the way that they do business. With Trump, they could still collect those checks, while railing about how awful and evil Trump is, and how it was Sanders’ fault that they lost.

    1. TomDority

      Sort of like when Obama was handed that steaming pile of s**t on a silver platter…the financial crisis.
      This time around, the real question remains,..what steaming pile of s**t on a silver platter is going to be handed to whom?

      1. frosty zoom

        actually, that silver platter was filled with gold. it’s just that you aren’t at the table.

          1. pretzelattack

            heh, kinda like the old poker adage “if you look around the table and don’t see a sucker, it’s you”.

  4. Keith

    Globalisation has had a similar effect to central planning in the old USSR where different factories were placed in different regions to make it hard to break up the USSR.

    The factories for right shoes were put in one region and the factories for left shoes were put on the other side of the USSR.

    Most of our manufacturing now resides in China and Europe is reliant on Russia for energy.

    The US is becoming increasingly hostile to both Russia and China and dragging the rest of the West with it.

    What does Europe look like without the products now manufactured in China and the energy coming from Russia?

    Globalisation was seen as a one way process.

    History tells us globalisation goes in phases of expansion and retrenchment into nationalism, we need to be careful though it may be too late already.

    It is the desire of globalist elites to line their own pockets that brings an end to globalisation phases.

    1) The expansion, with globalist elites lining their own pockets:

    1920s/2000s – high inequality, high banker pay, low regulation, low taxes for the wealthy, robber barons (CEOs), reckless bankers, globalisation phase

    2) The discovery that globalist elites are not half as clever as they like to think they are:

    1929/2008 – Wall Street crash

    3) The disintegration

    1930s/2010s – Global recession, currency wars, rising nationalism and extremism

    We have seen how the current globalisation works.

    In the good times, prior to 2008, all we hear about are the wealth creators. How they are responsible for the boom and how they deserve to keep their rewards.

    In the bad times, after 2008, the easy profits have gone and so have the wealth creators. It is up to national tax payers and national institutions (Governments and Central Banks) to sort out the mess.

    The profits are privatised and the losses are socialised.

    Unconditional bailouts for bankers and austerity for the people.

    A globalist elite lining their pockets at everyone else’s expense.

    What is there not to like?

    The global electorate is increasingly turning away from globalisation due to the greed of the globalist elite.

    Everyone has now noticed the Neo-Liberal, Centrist main parties are not working in the interests of the electorate.

    Unconditional bailouts for bankers and austerity for the people.

    How can there be any doubt?

    In Europe we have Podemos, Syriza and Five Star with a myriad of right wing parties including Golden Dawn.

    In the UK, UKIP and Corbyn.

    In the US, Trump, Sanders and the Tea Party.

    The globalist elite haven’t quite worked out how badly they have failed their electorate.

    Times they are a changing, get ready.

    1. Keith

      Integration to disintegration …….. a UK story

      The self-serving behaviour of those at the top now drives the Brexit vote and provides an opportunity to bring an end to uncontrolled immigration.

      The benefits to the economy now accrue to those at the top and this is where the benefits of a rising population will end up.

      In the US, productivity has risen steadily while average real wages stopped rising in the 1970s.

      Those at the top have decided to take all the benefits for themselves.

      The problems of refugees and immigration are felt by those at the bottom.

      In the UK we have a housing crisis and an over stretched state education system and health service.

      We have constant cuts on the disabled, poor and elderly through austerity.

      The wealthy won’t pay any more tax and will go abroad if asked to do so, so cuts need to be made at the bottom.

      These cuts and stretched services can only get worse as the population rises.

      The rising population pushes down wages for those at the bottom and increases profits for those at the top. The Government does get a higher tax take in total.

      The rising population increases the rental yields on the BTL portfolios of those at the top, those at the bottom see their children unable to buy their own homes.

      I think we can begin to see why those at the top like immigration, refugees and an ever rising population and why those at the bottom don’t.

      Those at the top who benefitted did nothing to ease the problems for those at the bottom who dealt with the problems.

      The self-serving behaviour of those at the top now drives the Brexit vote and provides an opportunity to bring an end to uncontrolled immigration.

      1. ambrit

        All the above inescapably draws me towards Nationalization. If the Elites will not pay their share of the nations’ expenses, take away their control of the means of production. Let ‘them’ live somewhere overseas on the jewelry and cash they could get out of the nation, just like the Russian Aristos in the 1920s and 30s.
        Lest anyone point to the quirky history of Soviet Russia as an argument against Collectivism, I refer them to Titos’ apt phrase describing Stalinism in Russia as “State Socialism.”
        Nothing is uncomplicated, even when simple.

        1. S M Tenneshaw

          And then the question becomes, which kind of nationalism? Tribal or civic? Hitler or Churchill?

    2. Minnie Mouse

      “The factories for right shoes were put in one region and the factories for left shoes were put on the other side of the USSR.” If either left or right goes down the entire system fails. Codependency is fragile, independent redundancy is robust. The arrangement does not make it harder to break up the USSR, just makes the entire USSR. more vulnerable to unforeseen events. Geographic diversity of production is safer that geographic specialization and concentration.

    3. animalogic

      Yes, times are a changing…but not very fast. All the “left” entities you refer to are politely known as the pseudo-left. It’s easy to spot the pseudo-left: they’re the ones who make a great big song ‘n dance about how progressive/anti-capitalist/anti-imperialist etc they are as they sell out to the establishment on every substantial issue….but one lives in hope of real change, I guess….

  5. craazyman

    I’ll propose a counter-intuitive thesis that the autocthonously protean nature of “the American psyche” — capable of reinventing itself with an almost festive disdain for the past at the individual level, almost as a moral commandment from some sky god that pushes the idea of self to a perfection that casts off failure without guilt or flagellation, that draws its formative cultural energies from the very same condition de Tocqueville immortalized almost 200 years ago — will make it possible for a Clinton victory. It won’t be easy, but it is possible.

    Here’s what she has to do: she has to seriously and formally repudiate the war mongering Wall Street coddling with a “come to Jesus” sincerity. She has to persuade Bernie she’s serious. She has to persuade “Lizzie Warren had an ax/Gave the banksters 40 whacks” that she’s serious. She has to BE serious. Is this possible? Well, probably not. But Paul had a little detour there on the road to Damascus, spiritual in nature, to be sure. It’s sort of strange what he must have wanted at an unconscious level, that’s a question for another time. But there’s no question Hillary wants to be president. I bet she wants to be president more than she wants any particular platform. Can Hillary fake it? Can she feel it? Can she BECOME the character, first as a theatrical project and then, finally, as an existential reality? There’s an outside chance. And it’s a chance because of the autocthonously protean nature of the American psyche. It would not be possible anywhere else.

    I’m a changeling
    See me change
    I’m a changeling
    See me change

    I’m the air you breath
    Food you eat
    Friends your greet
    In the sullen street

    I’m a changeling
    See me change

    -The Doors – The Changeling Lyrics

    This above is simply analysis. I’m for Bernie.

    1. ambrit

      I’m beginning to wonder if, on the chance that Clinton gets into the White House, she will usher in the American Weimar Republic.

    2. uahsenaa

      Alternatively Bjork in “Bachelorette”:

      I’m a fountain of blood
      in the shape of a girl
      You’re a bird on the brim
      hypnotized by the whirl

      Having read enough Emerson, I’m inclined to believe with craazy that it is possible, but having read and heard the things Clinton has actually said and seen the things she’s done, I’m not inclined to think it’s very likely. Michel Gondry’s video for the above song also makes clear that an illusion of progress can be composed of simply regurgitating the same crap in new venues of performance.

    3. Left in Wisconsin

      I think if she wins the nomination, HRC will beg Warren to be her VP and hope that people perceive that gesture as her seriously and formally repudiat[ing] the war mongering Wall Street coddling with a “come to Jesus” sincerity, which I do not think she is capable of doing.

      1. pretzelattack

        and warren isn’t exactly a beacon of hope, unless she has changed on more than financial regulation from her years supporting reagan. i’ve read she was a republican till the 90’s; at that point the democratic party was moving in the direction of 80’s republicans with b clinton. if she really shares progressive values, why didn’t she endorse sanders in time to help him in massachusetts?

        1. Carla

          Yeah, I’m very skeptical about Warren, too, for all the reasons you cite. Besides which, if you think Bernie has no foreign policy bona fides after 16 years in the House and 10 in the Senate… well, Warren has ZERO.

  6. ambrit

    I’m fascinated with the present attempts of ‘someones’ to “manufacture consent” to support Authoritarianism in America. Here, the example of the elites of that day, teaming up with Hollywood to defeat Sinclairs’ End Poverty In California (EPIC) political program assume relevancy. The public has been fooled into voting against its’ best interests for decades. Then, the question becomes; how low does the publics’ standard of living, to take one variable in the equation, have to go before the Public decides to make an existential break with the status quo?
    In 1932, one faction of the public, the World War One veterans, had had enough, and marched on Washington. Hoover sent McArthur in with the army, (and tanks) to clean out the Bonus March community at Anacostia Flats. A disaffected group had directly threatened the political class of the time, mainly because the electoral system had not functioned to ameliorate the disaffected groups plight. Direct action had been met with direct suppression. The danger inherent in that dynamic was not lost on the next President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
    Roosevelts’ genius was in co-opting the popular portions of the Collectivist agenda. He literally saved Capitalism from itself. The wealthy have never forgiven him for being right. Todays Neos have forgotten that lesson, if they ever understood it to begin with. Having, like Oedipus, blinded themselves to a reality contrary to their ideology, the Neos have set up another confrontation.
    Politics is often described as the “Art of Compromise.” What the Neos are offering to the public today is anything but art, much less containing compromise of any sort. “The Art of Domination” sounds good, but holds a fatal flaw at its’ heart; there is no guarantee of who is doing the dominating, who the groveling. The positions can change rapidly, and without warning.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      When you develop the level of overall social wealth America did from 1945-1980 (and, if you include high quality public K12 education, which I would, some wealth creation predates 1945), it apparently takes 40 years or so for the contradictions to manifest themselves to many people.

      As you may be suggesting, I don’t think it is just, or even mostly, measured standard of living that is finally driving disaffection with the status quo. (This is a problem with economists of all stripes – the notion that “stagnating” living standards are driving massive disaffection makes no sense. Either living standards are mismeasured and are actually seriously declining, or they need to find a better explanation. Or perhaps just sit back and STFU for a few minutes.)

      It is pessimism about the future. And finally tiring of BS #1) that we are the greatest nation ever and always, but only if we elect candidate X, as candidate Y will ruin us (although apparently not too badly, as candidate X+1 use the same argument next election) and BS #2) that, despite BS #1, no, you can’t have a good job with dignity, or decent health care, or good schools, or ask us to address any other serious problem because, sorry, we can’t afford it and people don’t like to pay taxes. And please don’t bring up other countries that are not the greatest but are able to provide these things. That just proves how much greater we are than they are. (Denmark, seriously?)

  7. EoinW

    Didn’t we go through all this 8 years ago? The democratic party has come up with another “reform” candidate. What a surprise! Perhaps Sanders is authentic. For me, however, there is one big difference between him and Trump: Sanders is a career politician. One of the things that has killed democracy in the West has been the career politicians. Thus a leap of faith is required in supporting Sanders. I’d never trust a politician. I thought this grass roots revolution was because the politicians have no credibility. Does Sanders have your support because he is telling you MORE of what you want to hear than the establishment candidates have in the past? Yes Trump is crude and outlandish. Ask Trump a question and you find out exactly what he thinks. No diplomacy at all. We’ve had years of diplomatic politicians and that’s another part of the problem. So hate Trump all you like but if he’s guilty of anything it’s being honest in his outspokenness. Therefore you know what you’ll get from Trump – and can easily figure out how much of what he says he’ll never be able to do. Can we be as certain that Sanders, the career politician, won’t do another Obama on us after elected?

    The one thing I take exception to in the article is this humanitarian Left/authoritarian Right nonsense. Is that anything like the humanitarian Left mission to destroy Libya? What I see is the Left invading Trump rallies – “the right to heckle” – in order to disrupt them and silence Trump. To me, that is the authoritarian behavior. Must be nice to be left wing, to have won the Culture War and to always be on the side of good.

    1. ambrit

      You posit a pure Left Right dichotomy. That is too simplistic by half. What you view askance as the “humanitarian Left/authoritarian Right” is actually one seamless whole. Vidal described it as “The Property Party.” Heaven help Americas’ Elites were there ever to be a ‘real’ Left movement here.
      The value of Diplomacy lies in its’ ability to substitute words for marching armies. America hasn’t done too well in the long term effects of its’ military adventures since Korea at the least.
      One famous military concept is that of always leaving an enemy a way out. That way, bitter enders become compromising losers. For example, McArthurs’ decision to leave the Emperor intact in Tokyo after World War Two encouraged continuity of culture and avoided needlessly humiliating the Japanese people. All this requires Diplomacy as the basic value system.
      I see nothing intrinsically wrong with “career politicians.” The touchstone for that class of persons lies in how ‘corrupt’ they are. Get rid of “career politicians” and you end up with amateurs and dilettants; the blind leading the blind. Government is not a skill hardwired in the human brain. It is a learned behaviour.

      1. J7915

        Amateur politicians politicians because of term limits. The public servants have no sooner learned the location of the cafe and donut alcove, and they are gone. Makes elected office nothing but a networking party to the good life as a lobbyst.
        Look at Oklahoma, after how many earthquakes are the finally admitting to the shaking earth?

    2. Kulantan

      Ask Trump a question and you find out exactly what he thinks.

      Where does Trump stand on the minimum wage?

      1. jrs

        It seems that we have less idea what we’ll get with Trump than anyone. Will he sell out to the establishment and end up being a very establishment Republican? Very well could be, he already seems to moving in that direction with foreign policy picks. Will he do most of the crazy stuff he proposes? Probably not, but who can be sure. Will he lose it one day and act completely irrational because of bruised narcissistic ego? Could be.

        1. Kulantan

          Sorry, it appears I was being too elliptical. Trump said in one of the GOP debates that wages can’t be higher if America is going to be competitive in the global market. After he found out that low wage poll poorly he said on twitter that wages are too low.

          The “Honest Don” meme, that mistakes a willingness to say things that are outside the bounds of establishment convention for honesty, annoys me no end. Sure, Trump isn’t a career polly, but he is a career salesman.

          1. Code Name D

            While I am loathed to defend Trumps honesty; in this case at least, he didn’t lie.

            Wages can’t be higher if America is going to be competitive in the global market.

            Remember that Trump is critical of free trade deals. What was just quoted is completely true, regardless of his position on the subject. When competing with slave and near-slave labor else where – US wages can’t be higher.

            It’s also not lying when he modifies his message over time. I means he is learning from his engagement with the people and evolving his message accordingly.

            I am not saying Trump is a good candidate. But the bias against Trump is still rather overt here. Trump may be many things, but one of them is not to be underestimated.

            1. pretzelattack

              is that really true? wages could be higher if you clawed back the amounts that should have been paid for being more productive–they can’t be higher if you want to funnel ever increasing amounts upward.

              1. tony

                It’s true if you want to be competitive. If.

                If you decide to install tariffs and other trade barriers, well, that is a different matter.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  We’ve debunked the idea of national competitiveness repeatedly. It’s based on the false premise that every country can be a net exporter.

              2. jrs

                Yea who knows if it’s really true, the global marketplace is used as an EXCUSE to keep wages down and it is true that at the firm level it is used by individual companies to seek cheap labor. But a few countries manage to have high wages and a global marketplace. I suspect it has as much to do with unionization levels in a country and laws in a country as the global marketplace.

                And of course what about non-wage compensation? Single payer and that’s one thing people’s wages won’t have to pay for.

            2. Kulantan

              evolving his message accordingly

              Yep, exactly. Trump “evolved his message”, whether he changed his thinking on the issue is another question entirely.

              I’m not saying that Trump is worse than other pollies just that he isn’t some paragon of truth. I hardly think that is unfair bias against Trump.

      2. legendary bigfoot

        Absolutely not true but the intended appearance. Trump is maskirovka, a screen for projection. We have no idea what if anything he really thinks. What he says reflects an effort to channel emotions towards the end of distinguishing his public persona as appealing enough to vote for. “I love uneducated people.”

    3. nippersdad

      Trump has been a great stick to beat the Clintons with, and I have little doubt that beating the Clintons, rhetorically, formed much of the immediate object of his candidacy. However, I have questioned Trump’s actually wanting the Presidency since his eruption on the stage. He is a showman, and not much more. He is full of bluster and enjoys the immediate gratifications that bluster and bomb throwing provide, but his history shows that he can’t really stick with any one program for long before he becomes bored. Four years of the rigors of a Presidency strike me as being far outside of his ability to concentrate.

      In the last several days it has come out, from his former PAC manager and others, that he never really wanted it, and today I read somewhere that the abortion uproar may be part of a plan to ultimately get him out of the race. If this is the case, watch the news for further monumental gaffes of the same sort and then be prepared for some heartbreak. He is not nearly as “real” as you appear to think he is. Showmen seldom are. If they were, they wouldn’t make for much of a show, would they?

      As far as Gaius’ theory goes, we may soon be able to subtract Trump from the equation and substitute Kasich or Ryan, in which case the dynamics change quite a bit. Both of those are establishment figures with similar investments in the status quo to Clinton.

      Kasich/Ryan v Clinton = Clinton win

      So the question now is whether Sanders can get the nomination, in which you will be looking at a Sanders Presidency. Wisconsin should decide whether it will be a grueling race to the end or whether it will soon be wrapped up for either of the Democratic candidates.

      1. jrs

        At that point he will have done us a favor by eliminating all the strong Republican candidates. Wait there were strong candidates? Well not really. But Rubio is a lot more likely to be a popular candidate than Cruz. I would rather have a beer with little Rubio than slimeball Cruz for sure.

        1. nippersdad

          From what I have read, and I have admittedly read little about the Republican side, EVERYONE loathes Cruz. While he is doing well in the Primaries, it is only amongst the most rabid of the teapartiers that he finds a political home; not really a coalition that one can build upon. In a general all one will need to do is point out his penchant for shutting down the government if he doesn’t get his way…..

          I agree that Rubio would have been their best shot, but they really didn’t run interference very well for him, and now they are going to pay for that mistake.

      2. Jack Heape

        I believe that when the whole process began it was as his former PAC manager says; he didn’t really want it. I also think that intention has changed. Trump is a bully and has an ego the size of NYC. I really think he will try to get the nomination and if he doesn’t will run as a 3rd party. He loves to be the spoiler. If he does get the nomination I don’t think he would really care if he wins, but he will love going head to head with and fighting with Clinton.

    4. Brooklin Bridge

      You are confusing brutishness for honesty, lizard smarts for intelligence and arrogance for integrity. Trump is no more capable of honesty than Hillary. His success comes largely from being in the right place at the right time where he benefits greatly from an audience whose powers of discrimination are similar to yours.

      You’re still stuck in the duopoly, btw. Your boogymen, the Democrats, are working hand in hand with Republicans for the same masters.

    5. Vatch

      Does Sanders have your support because he is telling you MORE of what you want to hear than the establishment candidates have in the past?

      Sanders has my support because he has proven himself hundreds of times (actually thousands of times) in votes during his 25 year career in Congress. He doesn’t just talk the talk like Obama. Sanders walks the walk.

      1. SpringTexan

        Exactly. Actions speak louder than words. Sanders’ actions are exemplary and he has helped many from the time he was Burlington mayor forward.

        Trump’s actions are generally despicable, including strategic bankruptcies leaving others holding the bag. Moreover, do you really admire a casino-owner, hustler, self-glorifier, reality-tv-star? Pretty debased. Nor is he well-informed (as Sanders is).

    6. FluffytheObeseCat

      “you know what you’ll get from Trump”

      No. You don’t. He spins like a top on the big issues he’d face as President. My guess is, in office he will shout about how he’s doing it all “his way” (ala Sinatra) and then give certain key segments of the elite what they want. He’ll fold for the the security state immediately, covering them all with praise and draping them with the mantle of “strong military” virtue. The best we can hope for is that he will screw Wall Street on some particulars, and he just might up the budget for bridges, roads and other infrastructure development (you know, concrete + rebar, dude stuff). He’d down punch all the ‘female’ correlated parts of government into oblivion. Education. Welfare. etc. Which is not wholly bad, but he’s a ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ kind of dickhead.

      Trump has spent his life manipulating people of influence; part of his contempt for them derives from his great dealmaking chops. He is more a politician than the ‘politicians’ themselves.

      1. casino implosion

        We infrastructure dudes are married to female people. I put my wife through library school building infrastructure. (Education). And quite a few dudettes building stuff too now a days.

  8. Ché Pasa

    Decades ago, a major political shift took place: the Democrats became the status quo conservative party and the Republicans became the radical rebellious reactionary party.

    The Democratic Party is not and never really was a leftist party. It’s better described as a soft-ish rightist party. The Rs have varied across the spectrum from hard rightist to outright fascist.

    Which is to say there is no real political left in this country, a situation that has spread well beyond the USA since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    So it’s highly unlikely that a successful populist revolution will come from the left — as the Left in an ideological sense is nearly extinct; it is more likely that the populist stirrings on the right will lead to an eventual overthrow of the current NeoLibCon ruling paradigm (a paradigm shared in most respects by both major American political parties.)

    As long as the political parties each contain a political revolutionary faction (Bernie on the “left”; Trump on the “right” in the current iteration) the status quo is protected, the ruling paradigm secure.

    It’s only when/if the dissatisfaction and revolutionary fervor breaks free of the parties and the political system that the status quo and ruling paradigm are jeopardized. Thus Occupy was a serious threat despite its overall weakness because it was loudly and proudly outside the political system and exposed some of the fraudulence of the rulers and the political class that serves them.

    Rebelliousness is inherent in an exploited and oppressed population. Controlling and channeling that rebel sentiment for the benefit of the ruling elites is part of the job of the political class, That’s at least a part of what we’ve been seeing in the current political “revolutionary” factions. It’s not all false, but a good deal of it is.

    A coherent future vision that doesn’t rely on present political parties and alignments has yet to emerge, but it will.

    When it does, the Revolution **might** come.

    1. Jim

      ” A coherent future vision that doesn’t rely on present political parties and alignments has yet to emerge, but it will.”

      Couldn’t agree more–lets start working on that future vision.

      Do we need a new political theory of the State?
      Do we need a new cultural theory of the mind/brain?
      Do we need the concept of subsidiarity?
      Do we need a genuine federalism linked to populist communities of all types?
      Do we need a deeper understanding of digital power?
      Do we need more digital resistance?
      Are the technologies that end up facilitating surveillance the very technologies that we crave?
      Was the revolutionary spirit of 1968 tamed and mastered by tapping the creative energy and artistic potential of young militants?
      Is our very subjectivity now being manipulated?

      1. Anarcissie

        I agree with much that you say. The Democratic Party is definitely the conservative party; the issue between Clinton and Sanders is not what kind of state to have, but whether to continue to slowly demolish the New Deal or to try to maintain it. Among the elites there is also an argument about how much wealth and power to sink into imperial adventures. The Republicans seem to be mostly radical, romantic reactionaries, but they don’t seem to have a unifying ideology beyond hating poor people, hippies, and Queers.

        As for revolution, my theory is that revolutions are brought about by material conditions, not theories. Those conditions appear to be approaching. Leftists can try to affect the course of revolution, but they can’t direct it, because nobody can direct it. We can do local organizing and try to spread our ideas around. Some of us will go off and form communities which may become focal points for different political and economic arrangements. So also will fascists, Christians, tribalists of various kinds, and so on. Some people will probably sabotage or directly oppose the war machine, which could be a critical problem for the ruling class.

        It is also possible that the United States will simply be defeated by some external power, in which case that power will call most of the shots — a rather appropriate idiom for the conditions which may ensue.

  9. Eureka Springs

    Trump supporters, the core of them, are dying of drugs and despair, and they’re not going to go quietly into that dark night. The Trump phenomenon is proof of that.

    Uh, isn’t this precisely what going silently into the night is? It’s not like these people are downing a bottle of oxy before they jump in front of a speeding banksters limo… or even leaving pointed suicide notes.

    So if 70 percent of Sanders peeps are still willing to even consider voting for the Dem party/establishment/Clinton/Neoliberalism under any circumstance… then I say I need much more evidence of a ‘revolution’ in our midst. Evolution is nine tenths of revolution. Doing anything other than killing off the Dem establishment/party/entire way of operating is no sign of either, imo.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I would tend to agree. Next up on the oligarch agenda is the privatization of Social Security/Medicare and she, “democrat” and female, is the only one who can pull it off. No “republican” ever could. The dismantling of the New Deal has been scheduled, and delays will not be tolerated. This “election” is pure kayfabe.

      I don’t find this brave, heroic talk of the “rebellion” continuing very helpful. It reminds me of African Americans maintaining, even today, that “the struggle continues,” and we all know how well that’s gone.

      Unless americans are prepared, right here and now, to take income inequality and the destruction of the middle class as seriously as they expect their government to take it by rejecting clinton and overwhelmingly supporting Sanders, clinton will be “elected.”

      And the death by clintonism, preferred by donkey elites as well as elephants, will make future “rebellion” irrelevant.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        In spite of everything, I don’t think Hillary has the nomination in the bag.

        But nevertheless, it’s stunning just how much and how brazen the establishment insistence on Democracy as a vehicle of divine right has been. It’s so, um, $piritual.

      2. Screwball

        Given your “handle” I feel a bit guilty, but I think this fits. :-)

        President Snow: Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. A spark is fine, as long as it’s contained.

        For many, Bernie = hope. From what I can see, the “contain it” is on full display.

      3. Left in Wisconsin

        At some point, the real issues need to be addressed. The people will demand it. If HRC is our next president and continues the same policies as O, with the same results, the people will not be happy. I would predict massive D losses in 2018 (i.e. most states run by doctrinaire right-wingers, an even more dysfunctional Congress) and a really consequential election in 2020. Racing toward the abyss.

        1. sharonsj

          The people aren’t happy now and they haven’t been happy for quite some time. I’ve been hoping for a revolution–the kind with thousands taking to the streets. Bernie supporters are talking about a massive march on the Democratic convention so maybe that could be the spark that sets it off.

    2. Vatch

      I’m not ready to accept that Clinton is inevitable. There are still a lot of primaries, and there are a lot of delegates at stake in some of them, such as nation’s most populous state, California (June 7). New York (April 19) and Pennsylvania (April 26) have a lot of delegates, too, as the fourth and sixth most populous states. They’re extremely close to in population to the third and fifth most populous states, respectively. Also New Jersey (June 7), the eleventh most populous state.

      So U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote in Democratic primaries should do so, starting with the Wisconsin primary on April 5!

        1. tegnost

          I completely agree not over. The beatings are continuing, the latest is a 10% workforce reduction for boeing, 8,000 jobs, how’s that ExIm bank support working for you Sen. Cantwell. that’s 8,000 families who can no longer live in seattle because it’s expensive and I doubt they’ll be able to switch over to amazon, where will they go, what will they do? You can bet they are asking themselves that question right now. As popular as it is to call voters “low info” or “unsophisticated” there’s a real brain in every cranium and people are not stupid, maybe easily led, maybe too trusting, maybe have other things occupying their minds, etc…, but now we have a sort of hundredth monkey situation where there is a critical mass and the establishment can’t deal with it, our “tone” isn’t respectful enough? Well maybe when we were polite they just wouldn’t listen. The futility, like the inevitability, is pretty much manufactured by the media, but there’s a point where it won’t work anymore. Bernie is winning states 80/20, that is huge, even if hugely ignored. People other than those whose assets were recovered by QE or whose jobs, stocks and options were saved by the ACA really dislike hillary, and by design they saved the ever shrinking minority of well off people and the rest of us are looking elsewhere for companionship. Also i think claims that hillary squeaks by trump are just as aggrandized as her winning michigan in a romp. Long hot summer, no reason to think they’re going to stop shooting black kids, layoffs, food stamp cuts, poison water, April 15 lots of people find out they owe money instead of their anticipated tax return (hey someone’s gotta pay for those 6 weeks of paid vacation medical executives enjoy) The hillarites are done, they’re just in denial. it’ll be a pyrrhic victory if she wrangles the nomination.

          1. SpringTexan

            Thanks. Love ‘there’s a real brain in every cranium’.

            One reason Sanders does better is his genuine respect for people including the young. Contempt communicates itself and is not a winning quality.

          2. nippersdad

            I hope that Sanders will make a point of the exim bank in the next debate again; current examples your Boeing one are the kind of thing that could easily put him over the top.

            1. tegnost

              I had the story a little wrong there as allegedly they’re going to achieve the number with attrition, and are only currently copping to roughly 5,000 jobs gone, but in finding that out I also discovered that boeing looks to save a billion in labor costs, so that’s a billion out of the economy, plus more work for those remaining in the salt mine, and those cuts are by mid year, so imminent.

              1. cnchal

                Those aircraft manufacturers have a lot of cheek. In Canada, Bombardier want’s a $1 billion (USD $770,000,000) subsidy plus send a bunch of work to Mexico and China.

                At the rate we are going, it won’t be long before there are fenced and guarded compounds to warehouse guest workers, a la Apple workers in China, on Bombardier’s lot.

  10. zapster

    This voter suppression debacle is shifting sentiment against her rapidly now. I’m seeing many comments by people who say they were willing to vote for her if she got the nom before Arizona, but now they’re absolutely not going to.

    1. HarrisonBergeron

      The whole Arizona debacle has both parties up in arms. Another stunt like that and it isn’t hard to imagine violence erupting.

    2. b1whois

      I also have to wonder if the voter suppression isn’t a very effective motivator for people who voted for Bernie, whether their votes were suppressed or other Bernie supporter votes were suppressed, to become more engaged in the election by knocking doors and joining phone bankers. A kind of reactionary momentum if you will.

      Phone Bankers are the only Bankers Bernie loves!

  11. Brooklin Bridge

    On the one hand, we are paralyzed or seemingly so in our efforts (systemic, existential, and so on) at self determination – hard time picking Bernie without getting crushed by all the big thumbs; financial, political, technological, on the scales of democracy, and wondering if it would make any difference anyway, and on the other hand (that’s why we have two of em) we are steaming full speed ahead into the positively lethal waters of population explosion, global warming and other types of nest fouling. Is it going to be too little too late? Tune in next millennia for the dramatic conclusion to Galactic Virtual Sitcom.

    It’s probably all related and it doesn’t look good. Intelligence proves a poor throw of the evolutionary dice. Self determination on the societal level doesn’t always work. And so it goes.

    Gaius, I imagine you don’t like assignments any more than Yves or Lambert (or anyone for that matter), but since you are particularly good at bringing the immediacy of large issues to your writing, an article combining our political situation with the challenges we face from GW in particular, would be fascinating, not to mention valuable, so I mention it and will be nimble in ducking any digital tin cans you (quite justifiably) throw my way.

  12. Jim

    What is becoming more and more at stake is our individual and collective capacity for genuine self-determination.

    All of the structural forces: economic (neo-liberal and globalized) financial (accelerated rent-seeking and extraction) political (increasing bureaucratization and centralization–merger of public and private) cultural (increasing behavioral manipulation and non-voluntary compliance)–are standing against us.

    Those groups and networks in charge of these structural forces will not stand down–they smell victory–the end of democracy.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Those groups and networks in charge of these structural forces will not stand down–they smell victory–the end of democracy.

      Then what?

      1. Jim

        Perhaps the dystopian future being traced out in some recent articles by Soshana Zuboff– which she labels as Surveillance Capitalism.

        Under this regime a new logic of accumulation is created and institutionalized by High Tech, Finance and the State. Former ideals such as social equality, autonomy, moral reasoning, the integrity of the contract and any concept of individual identity is obliterated.

        Surveillance Capitalism uses the invasive power of the internet as a new source of capital formation and wealth which transform commercial relations.

        She believes that Google’s success is collecting and analyzing behavioral data is creating a new type of manufacturing process in which humans are the new raw material. It used to be that profits were realized from providing products and services and then from speculation and in the future primarily from surveillance without the approval of those experiencing it.

        In this regime, self-determination has largely vanished and replaced by a structure of surveillance that couples the increasing powers of the digital with the indifference and narcissism of finance.

        This is extraction beyond finance–an extraction of individual behavioral characteristics–without reciprocity or give and take.

        Any interdependence with the population is broken (no more career ladders, no more wage increases). The first phase is the creation of behavioral data and the second phase is revenue.

        There are no longer any contracts or rule of law only compliance and rule by the Big Other.

  13. HarrisonBergeron

    I’m a Bernie supporter. I loathe, absolutely loathe Clinton. If Bernie isn’t nominated I’d consider voting Trump especially if he had say Kasich as a running mate. If they nominate Cruz they’ve thrown the election.

    1. ambrit

      If the Republicans go to a ‘brokered convention,’ it could be anyone. I see a lot of Kasich signs springing up in my present city in central Mississippi. Engineer a gridlock containing Trump and Cruz, and a “compromise” candidate can come charging in on a white horse to “save the day.” We are already seeing trial balloons for Kasich and Romney flying. Who else of a “Moderate Republican” nature is hiding ‘in the wings?’

      1. Michael C.

        As an Ohioan, Kasich isn’t fooling me any with his moderate, centrist talk. He really pads his record of accomplishments with facts that have nothing to do with him. His JobsOhio program is a give away to business groups (and the public is not allowed by law to know how its money is spent in it). He signed the bill against Planned Parenthood, and all those jobs he said he created had nothing to go with him. His task when first elected was SB5, an attempt to end public sector unions. It failed due the groundswell of resistance, with the help of firemen and police. The mainstream (corporate media), just learning about him, never tell the true story, they tell his story. Once they find out the true story, they will still tell his story. He may be the go-to guy for Republicans in all of this, but he is not who he says he is. He’s the proverbial wolf in sheep clothing.

    1. ambrit

      How about Jerry Brown versus Terry Branstad? Both have extensive public careers.
      As for the efficacy of polls; remember President Dewey?

  14. Take the Fork

    IMO, roughly: Decades of one-party neoliberal rule, a schizophrenic amalgamation of Republican dogwhistles and Democratic multiculturalism, have brought us to this.

    When the young (white) people behind Sanders pass the Batbie Point many of them (I’d bet most) will move towards the space now filled by Trump. So far this has been prevented by idealism, indoctrination, social media, cheap intoxicants, and internet porn.

    But I fear that the total racialization of American politics is nearly upon us. When a majority of whites perceive themselves as a minority and begin to act collectively as such we will see how silly notions of a “left rebellion” is and always has been.

  15. susan the other

    And where is talk of the environment?? Bernie pays homage to it in heart felt language. I believe him but he doesn’t offer a plan. Hillary makes brief references to it. But like everything else she says, she talks only to deflect. No candidate wanders far from the national-international line of less and less consumption, less growth, less well-being, less water, ocean rise, etc. This is good only because it is the truth – but in spite of this depressing reality there should be concrete plans for creating jobs and wages even in a no-growth world; jobs compatible with our environmental problems. Bernie, Hillary and the Donald are all veterans of politix, the Donald of business politix. To talk about living wages and jobs IS to talk about the environment in precise terms and so neither subject is addressed. They crash head-on into each other. And the whole rationale for consumerism which has been our economic basis since the 70s is falsely assumed to be functioning when in fact it is dead.

      1. Gaius Publius

        None that’s extensive, Jeff. But I’m keeping a spreadsheet myself of results and projections, though on a chunk-by-chunk basis.

        So a quick update. Clinton’s highwater mark on March 15 was 325 (ish), but it got adjusted down as states tweaked their delegate allocations and as Democrats Abroad votes came in.

        Here now-highwater mark as of March 15 is 317, the number of delegates that she was up and Sanders was down on that date.

        There are three chunks of elections after March 15 and before New York votes. Sanders made up 21 delegates on March 22 and 66 delegates on March 26, for a total gain of 87 delegates. This beat my personal estimates and expectations by a lot.

        The third pre-NY chunk is two votes, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Sanders should win both, but by what margins? I have him picking up between 20 and 31 delegates or so in the sum of those two contests (which are on different days, by the way).

        My stretch goal for him, and it’s a stretch but doable, is to take 65% in Wisconsin and 70% in Wyoming. That gives him about 31 delegates, and more importantly, brings his delegate deficit below 200 delegates, which would be an important story to tell going into NY.

        The story: “We went from a deficit of over 300 to under 200 in less than a month. Over to you, New York.”

        I’ve been doing delegate updates and projections from time to time on The Nicole Sandler Show, by the way. Check for updates on appearances. And thanks for asking.


  16. meeps

    sto @ 2:48 pm

    As you indicate, Sanders is leagues ahead of the mainstream with respect to his sensitivity to environmental challenge (that’s his voice-over in the linked video). Even so, meeting those challenges with functional solutions is going to be a yuuuuge sell.

    The link is my favorite french metal band, Gojira, revered also for their love of nature. (:

    1. frosty zoom

      indeed. for those unfamiliar, gojira is the japanese name for godzilla. i hope they don’t hire lizards to clean up fukushima!

  17. VietnamVet

    I agree with this post. 2016 is a change election. I will vote for Bernie Sanders in the MD primary and hopefully in the general election. I was jumping on the Trump bandwagon to vote for him over Hillary Clinton but with the violence around his campaign, I remembered my 2003 vow to never again vote for a Republican because of the crazy Iraq invasion. Due to Hillary Clinton’s directing and enabling regime change campaigns in Iraq, Libya and Syria, this vow applies to her too. I find it incredible that the establishment is running a candidate who is under FBI investigation and is at the risk of being indicted before the election. More than anything else, this shows the game is rigged and the elite’s contempt of the working classes. The looming tragedy is that if this election fails to return hope to the American people, the result will be authoritarian repression and revolt.

  18. Michael C.

    To channel Debs, I am tired of voting for what I don’t want and getting it, so if Hillary is the candidate and not Sanders (even though I know the system won’t let him succeed regardless if he wins or not), I will vote for Jill Stein and in doing so vote for what I want and not get it.

  19. JazzPaw

    No, the rebellion won’t go away, but will it organize as more than an election year tantrum? My expectation is that it won’t, but that the continued downward spiral will lead to a new crisis.

    We seem to need a thorough meltdown that the elites can’t fix with money fiddling, something like the 30’s. I believe Clinton will win, but she will be William McKinley. The last gasp before reform. Her establishment medicine is running out of gas on debt, health care, trade, war, etc. the cumulative burdens of these trends will break the pensions, state budgets, retirement accounts, military recruitment, etc. Either policy changes are enacted in a big way or things will come unglued. We will reach my Mall Moment, when Americans can’t afford to self-medicate at the mall and they get really angry.

  20. Russell Scott Day/Transcendia

    Want to take a chance on a political revolution, or a violent revolution? Put Clinton up. If you put up Sanders and say Gabbard, no doubt that team would win against Trump or Cruz.
    It is taking a chance if you put up the Clintons.
    Was it the February Revolution in France of 1840 that was so miserable?
    Should the whole thing go to hell and Occupy go into Congress and the Senate to take seats, well they had better consider the Command and Control apparatus. We, the US has Nukes, and off on a careening path there are those who would really want to take advantage of that.
    Coast Guard used to have a sensible respectable mission. It is a spy front enabled by the Drug War.
    Barbara Tuchman said in the dying days of Nixon the US ought return to a Parliamentary, like Westminster Parliamentary system of governance. (Practicing History: “Should we Eliminate the Presidency”.
    Bad times need A & B & C plans like bad weather closing in on the pilots’ destination.

  21. Fiver

    The American people will need an indictment, or the threat of an indictment, if they want Sanders. Some dimmed part of me wants to believe Obama will let the investigation take its course – just let it take its course….and by doing so enable the bare possibility of the transformational change so badly needed and to which he professed to speak. I appeal directly to the President.

  22. Keith

    The future is almost here and a kinder more redistributive Capitalism should be with us shortly.

    In 1989 Francis Fukuyama said it was the end of history.
    What was he smoking?

    We were less than 10 years into another experiment with unfettered Capitalism, this time dressed up in the Emperor’s New Clothes of Neo-Liberal economics.

    Capitalism has already been through numerous versions that have all failed.

    Capitalism mark 1 – Unfettered Capitalism
    Crashed and burned in 1929 with a global recession in the 1930s

    Capitalism mark 2 – Keynesian Capitalism
    Ended with stagflation in the 1970s

    Capitalism mark 3 – Unfettered Capitalism (Part 2)
    Crashed and burned in 2008 with a global recession in the 2010s.

    It has followed exactly the same path as Unfettered Capitalism (Mark 1).

    1920s/2000s – high inequality, high banker pay, low regulation, low taxes for the wealthy, robber barons (CEOs), reckless bankers, globalisation phase

    1929/2008 – Wall Street crash

    1930s/2010s – Global recession, currency wars, rising nationalism and extremism

    We’ve done Neo-Keynesian stimulus.
    After eight years of pumping trillions into the top of the economic pyramid, banks, and waiting for it to trickle down.

    It didn’t work, hardly anything trickled down.

    The powers that be are now for Keynesian stimulus.
    Carry out infrastructure projects that create jobs and wages which will be spent into the economy and trickle up (pumping money into the bottom of the economic pyramid).

    It looks as though we are headed into Capitalism mark 4 – Keynesian Capitalism (Part 2)

    More redistributive Capitalism coming your way soon.

    Get on the Capitalism roller coaster and enjoy the ride.

    End of History?
    I should coco.

  23. Norb

    This election cycle is highlighting the contradiction of Freedom without Responsibility mentality manifest within the current economic order. At all social levels, there is a sense of personal desire and entitlement that demands satisfaction, but when confronted with the actual cost and required effort to realize those outcomes, the fallback position is one of personal greed and self-interest. By All classes. The embrace of the sharing economy by the working middle class illustrates this twisted ideology. Self-interest taking advantage of desperation. The wealthy elite just keep doubling down on their successful wealth extraction policies. They keep winning so why change now. Thinking of a musical chairs analogy, the tension in the air is that everyone who has been remotely paying attention realizes that the music is about to stop and is anxious at having a chair to sit on. However, relieving this anxiety is almost universally interpreted in a selfish individualist manner- if only I had mine attitude. There is no sense of common cause or desire for social justice.

    Owners of capital have been successful in their marketing campaign depicting themselves as bastions of civic virtue- regardless of the actual horrid historical fact of their malfeasance. Our current economic order is an adversarial system disguised as a cooperative venture. The larger the enterprise becomes, the easier is it to maintain this deception. The power and influence of large multinational corporations are the root of social unrest, but the mass population still support these structures. Large corporations can produce consumer goods efficiently, but at the cost of social stability and justice. Until this support is withdrawn and alternative structures are attempted, the pain will and can grow much worse.

    Social justice, not to mention environmental justice, are the underlying themes churning just below the surface of our current order. Notions of conquest still engross the ruling elite, while they pretend to be concerned about building a fair and just society. The revolution to come will address this issue. The real division is between the conquest mentality and one of social justice and responsibility. The revolution is about overcoming selfishness- not embracing it. Freedom with Responsibility. A tall order indeed- a Utopia. But that is something worth fighting for. The whole notion of profits being privatized while costs are socialized must be overturned.

    Not willing to be bought off is the stumbling block. It will take moral and ethical courage.

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