Randy Wray: Progressives Don’t Let Friends Vote Neocon

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Yves here. One addition to this post: Wray is making the assumption about delegate math that has been treated as gospel by the media: that all the Democratic party superdelegates go to Clinton. In fact, in 2008, superdelegates pledged to Clinton switched to Obama as Obama racked up more delegates in the primaries.

We’ll see how the upcoming primaries fall out, but as this post describes, Sanders is not over as far as having a shot at winning a majority of delegates ex the superdelegates. Yes, the odds still favor Clinton, but this is not a done deal. And if Sanders were to get within striking distance, the superdelegates are not a monolith. Rather than going after all of them, which seems to be the approach of Sanders supporters, the ones to target are elected officials, particularly in states where Sanders won or was close to 50%. Unlike lobbyists or other party hacks, they have to worry about the potential for highly pissed off voters in their states to make them their pet Special Project for years to come.

By L. Randall Wray, Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Research Director with the Center for Full Employment and Price Stability and Senior Research Scholar at The Levy Economics Institute. Originally published at New Economic Perspectives

The drumbeat is quickening as Hillary’s surrogates insist that Bernie’s supporters fall in line. Bernie’s chances are said to be hopeless. Continuing to run only plays into the hands of truly despicable Republicans.

And forget about trying to pressure the Democratic Party’s establishment to let Bernie play a role in formulating the convention’s platform. That also would just play into the hands of the Republicans.

Time to unite behind Hillary, and let her move further to the right. No more talk of revolution, of trillions of dollars of new spending, of significant increases to the minimum wage. Let’s talk about Hillary’s issues: regime change abroad, downsizing dreams at home, and protecting Wall Street from the pitchforks.

Some Hillary surrogates are even talking about retribution for Bernie supporters. I saw the following blog by a supporter:

After yesterday the word–and the obvious thing–is to stand down. Mind you: The day will come when it will be time to gleefully and comprehensively trash people to be named later for Guevarista fantasies about what their policies are likely to do. The day will come when it will be time to gleefully and comprehensively trash people to be named later for advocating Cominternscale lying to voters about what our policies are like to do. And it will be important to do so then because overpromising leads to bad policy decisions, and overpromising is bad long-run politics as well. But that day is not now. That day will be mid-November.

Those who “fantasized” about Bernie’s “overpromising”, his “lying to voters”, are going to get trashed come November. As one who argued that Bernie was not “overpromising” I suppose I might be among the “named” in November.  Great, I look forward to that!

It does give one pause, however. Are Hillary’s supporters fantasizing about bringing back the good old McCarthy era? When an accusation that one is too socialist—too close to revolutionaries like Che, or Castro, let alone a Lenin—could end one’s career? Hillary’s campaign has already hired trolls to attack blogging critics (I think I’ve met a few at NEP!). Old Senator McCarthy must be envious. Too bad he didn’t have the internet.

But is this supposed to bring Bernie’s supporters over to the Hillary camp? Remember, voters came out by the millions to vote for a candidate who proudly claimed to be a democratic socialist, and his voters proudly cheered every time he said it. Not only that, they gave their hard-earned savings to him so that he could run.

By contrast, the establishment candidates relied on Wall Street funding, donations by fat cats with much to gain by retaining control over Washington. And even with all the support that the establishment could muster, Bernie is still in the race—much to Hillary’s consternation. I think the McCarthy-ite scare tactics will fail this time.

While Hillary is slightly ahead in the votes, she’s viewed with far more suspicion by Americans. To put it as plainly as possible, they do not like her, and the more they learn, the less they like her. The more they learn about her surrogates, the less they’ll like them, and her.

Yes, she’s way ahead in the delegates. She was awarded a quarter of all the delegates before the campaign even started. All she needed was to get one more quarter, plus one, of the remainder in order to “win”. She only needed to earn 26% of those up for grabs, while Bernie would have to actually win 51% to come out ahead in delegates. You call that democracy? And, true, Bernie is running behind that pace. But that was by plan—with all the Democratic establishment calling the race on day one, only the stubborn would refuse to vote for the putatively inevitable “winner”. After every primary, win or lose, Bernie was declared the underdog with no chance of catching up.

I noted with some amusement that Brad DeLong, a Clinton supporter who worked for her husband’s administration, has dissed Trump by running some numbers: “Donald Trump collects only 40% or so of the vote from the 15% or so of the adult population that votes in Republican Party primaries, and polls tell us he is massively unpopular with the bulk of American adults.”

OK, true. As of March 25, The Donald had received just 5.7% of the vote among eligible voters in the primaries that had been run up to that point.  What DeLong failed to note is that Hillary had received 6.6%.

Talk about an unpopularity contest! Add the presumptive nominees together and you get just over a tenth of eligible voters choosing the next president.

The Donald was running against some dozens of candidates (to tell the truth, I could not tell who was not running in the Republican primaries—I think there might have been more candidates than voters), while Hillary was running against just one (well, if there were others, they dropped out quickly and no one remembers them).

Full Disclosure: the one she ran against was the 74 year-old democratic socialist calling for revolution, who got 4.7% of the eligible voters in those primaries, which took place mostly in conservative states that a few years ago would have been more likely to jail a socialist than vote for one. Until this year, the idea that almost 5% of southern eligible would go for the “Brooklyn Jewish Pinko Socialist” would have been earth-shatteringly newsworthy.

And with the Democratic primary season as rigged as it could possibly be to stop someone like Bernie, she’s pulling a percent more of the eligible votes than a reality TV star and less than 2% more than a self-professed socialist. In the conservative states. In states where independents are denied the right to vote. All front-loaded in the primary season to give a southern conservative former Goldwater Republican an insurmountable lead.

With 26 primaries already completed by March 25, Hillary had garnered votes from just 10.9% of the registered voters—in the primaries that lean right—versus Trump’s 9.4%.

A mandate for Hillary this ain’t.

(By contrast, “none of the above” is winning in a landslide. 34% of those who registered did not vote, and 39% of the eligible chose not to register. That is no vote of confidence for our two party system that tries to restrict our choices to party-sanctioned unpalatable candidates. While The Donald has brought in voters, Hillary has repelled them. If it were not for Bernie, voting by the Dems would be way down.)

I was also amused by DeLong’s “take-down” of those who “pander to populists”—by promising that which he claims cannot be delivered. And he argues the populists point their fingers at imagined damage done to them by the mainstream Democrats: deregulating Wall Street and shipping jobs abroad through NAFTA and by ignoring Chinese currency manipulation.

Now, the first of these happened, and it has played a huge role in producing the boom-bust cycle followed by stagnation that we now find ourselves in. It was a Clinton deal. Bill and Bob and Larry. All of them presumed advisors to a presumptive Hillary administration.

And while I side with DeLong in criticizing the second two claims, I don’t know many Bernie supporters who make them. NAFTA had little to do with loss of America’s jobs (but a lot to do with destruction of Mexican agriculture—that pushed migration to the US), and the accusations against China amount to little more than “red-baiting”.

Still I found it curious that he neglected to highlight the Clinton role in what he identified as true problems: “financialization and making profits by convincing investors to bear risks they should not; on health-care administration and making profits by passing off to others the hot potato of actually paying for care and treatment for the sick; on making profits by getting paid for locking up two percent of our young men for terms so excessive as to be cruel albeit not, alas, unusual”—all of which have Hillary’s hands all over them, especially the incarceration part but one should not forget that she supports financialization of healthcare through mandating private insurance over actually providing healthcare through universal coverage.

So here’s the question: can a progressive let a friend vote for a Neocon? This has become all the more relevant as it looks more likely that come November many will choose between Hillary or The Donald.

On social issues, I must admit that Hillary looks better. But who wouldn’t? The Donald, for reasons only known to himself, has decided to alienate some 85% of the population on social issues. I don’t get it. So his maximum vote take will be 15% of eligible. Hillary might be able to beat that.

On economics and dealings with the rest of the world, it is a toss-up. The Donald will Wall us in for protection (it is somewhat ironic that a China-basher would choose a Great Wall?), while Hillary will bomb and drone her “enemies” for regime change. I would prefer the Donald if he’d stop talking about deportation and religious litmus tests for immigrants. But he won’t. He prefers to be repulsive.

On economics, Hillary will continue to promote Wall Street’s depravities (after all, her husband delivered Wall Street to the Democrats, or, more accurately, the Democrats to Wall Street), while The Donald will make America Grand Again. Apparently by building more casinos and hotels for people with money to blow. Neither plan is appealing—but legal and supervised gambling in casinos is better than illegal and unsupervised gambling by Hillary’s Wall Street.

Who do you choose? How about neither.

As is well-known, Hillary was a Goldwater Republican. Not just a supporter, but an activist. She attributes that to youthful exuberance. As she matured, she became a Kissinger-Albright Neocon. In other words, she moved from isolationism to Neocon regime change.

And, with no small help from her husband’s presidency, the Democratic party moved so far right that a Goldwater Republican can fit nicely within its folds.

A progressive should not let a friend vote Neocon.

I know, I know. If you do not vote for the Neocon, you get the Donald. Well, maybe. That’s November. There’s still a lot of water to run under that bridge before we reach November.

But in any case, I don’t buy the argument. I don’t vote for the lesser of two evils. I don’t vote for evil, period. Yes, my candidates almost always lose. I’ve voted for exactly one winner in my life. I don’t regret any of my votes, even though that one winning candidate turned out to be a huge disappointment. All the winning candidates that I did not vote for were even worse disappointments (and my expectations were understandably low).  I would not have felt any better had I voted for winners Obama 2012, Clinton (twice), Carter, or LBJ, nor if I had voted for losers Kerry, Gore, Dukakis, Mondale, or Humphrey.

Yes, I voted for McGovern. I’m precisely the type of voter that the party establishment has tried to disenfranchise—to ensure that the party never again makes the “mistake” of running someone who leans toward peace and progressive policy. I’m not a “loyalist”. I cannot be trusted to vote the party line.

I do not accept the argument that progressives have no choice but to vote for Neocons. If you settle for the lesser of evils, all you will get is evils.

I do have a choice. And so do you. As the great philosopher said, “It ain’t over, until it’s over”.

And, “It’s déjà vu all over again”. Floor fights. 1968.

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  1. Roger Smith

    “NAFTA had little to do with loss of America’s jobs…”

    Uh… what?

    1. MtnLife

      X2. I don’t think you can find a single person on this blog who would agree with that statement. Maybe it was incredible parsing meant as (North) American jobs and in referencing Mexico as not technically “overseas” since we are connected by land.

    2. inode_buddha

      I think it was a combination of trade agreements and the rise of computers/automation that did it. A similar thing happened around WW1 in manufacturing with the invention of the screw machine and the milling machine, and the reduction/abolition of tarriffs.

    3. John Wright

      I also don’t understand this comment by Wray

      Goto http://www.citizen.org/documents/NAFTAs-Broken-Promises.pdf

      “The small U.S. trade surplus with Mexico pre-NAFTA turned into a massive new trade deficit. The pre-
      NAFTA U.S. trade deficit with Canada expanded greatly. Overall, the inflation-adjusted U.S. trade deficit
      with Canada of $29.1 billion and the $2.5 billion surplus with Mexico in 1993 (the year before NAFTA
      took effect) turned into a combined NAFTA trade deficit of $181 billion by 2012. The Economic Policy
      Institute (EPI) estimated that the NAFTA deficit had eliminated about one million net American jobs by
      2004. Meanwhile, U.S. food processors moved to Mexico to take advantage of low wages and food
      imports soared. U.S beef imports from Mexico and Canada, for example, have risen 130 percent since
      NAFTA took effect, and today U.S. consumption of “NAFTA” beef tops $1.3 billion annually. The
      export of subsidized U.S. corn did increase, displacing over one million Mexican campesino farmers.
      Their desperate migration pushed down wages in Mexico’s border maquiladora factory zone and
      contributed to a doubling of Mexican immigration to the United States.”

      Perhaps Wray is channeling the early Paul Krugman from Sept 17, 1993:

      “Paul Krugman, a trade economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that for the United
      States, the agreement is “economically trivial.” Professor Krugman supports the treaty, saying he thinks
      it will help to keep free-market reformers in power in Mexico. He sums up the war of words this way:
      “The anti-Nafta people are telling malicious whoppers. The pro-Nafta side is telling little white lies.”

      1. diptherio

        The best spin I can put on this for Wray is that our free-trade agreement with China was much more devastating for US jobs than NAFTA was. Still, if that’s what he’s saying, he should say it, rather than parroting neo-lib talking points.

        1. tony

          Maybe he just disagrees with the analysis. There is also the mass immigration caused by NAFTA,, which created jobs, even if the net effect of the population of the target country is negative.

        1. JEHR

          Oh, yeah. What about all those trade disputes over softwood lumber? Canada didn’t win many of those. Trade is such a large activity that I don’t think it is easy to say that one country lost the most. Each of the three countries had winners and each had losers but Mexico may have lost the most in agriculture. Trade is never one winner take all (or one loser only).

          However, TPP looks to be a big loser not for the corporations but for the governments that have to pay for any corporation that might lose profit due to laws and regulations. THAT is one trade deal to get rid of for sure.

        2. HotFlash

          I am Canadian, and ‘scuse me, “benefited Canada” — *are you nuts??/!!!???* . We lost jobs here, which was predictable and predicted, but we also lost entire companies and even industries. So, those jobs are coming back *never*. Back in the (pre-NAFTA) day there was a cartoon here in Canada — Mexico, manufacturing; USA, retail; Canada, parking. And that’s about how it turned out. Ontario used to be Canada’s “economic engine”, now it is in a have-not province, in net deficit. So, if we *won*, where are the *winnings*?

    1. bowserhead

      >This is a largely white American lament.<

      So, implicitly, Berniesters and Trumpsters, a coalition is therefore either insignificant or racist? WTF?

  2. apber

    The fine investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has put out a post that says that both Hillary and Obama were complicit in arranging for the Sarin gas to be given to Syrian (CIA) rebels from Saudi Arabia so as to implicate Assad and be the justification for an invasion. The agenda for the overthrow of Syria was to achieve a puppet government that would pave the way for 2 trans Arabia pipelines (gas and oil) for Europe to compete with Russia’s, and thereby damage Putin’s economy.

    Apparently there is an email and if it ever is made public, it will confirm that the neocons, Hillary and Obama are truly psychopathic.

    1. Praedor

      I HATE this sort of crap. Mention a cryptic memo or email that spills the evil beans but don’t actually produce it? C’MON! If it exists it MUST be released or you come off as if you are protecting TPTB at some level or indicate that it maybe doesn’t actually exist.

      If there’s an email, PUBLISH IT. MAKE it public.

      1. apber

        Perhaps you are right. All that I am passing on are the statements of Hersh who, apparently didn’t produce the email, but says he knows of its existence. But the fact remains that Hersh was the reporter who uncovered the sarin deception that both Hillary and Obama obviously agreed to.

      2. Fiver

        The point is there is a claim the e-mail exists by a reporter who has been far more right than wrong versus his peers re how and why US policy is what it is. Somewhat ironically, his claim could well pertain to an e-mail now one of many subject to investigation by the FBI. According to an ex-senior US intelligence officer who served under Bill Clinton, the NSA would have copies of these e-mails and quite possibly other parties as well, which is why he argued it’s so important to ensure by exposure to the light that nobody is in a position to blackmail the pre-selected President.

        Anyway, a reporter can’t just ‘publish the e-mail’ when said item would doubtless be cast as a State secret and the reporter charged, even if the ‘secret’ was that the State badly broke the law (this Admin has a ghastly record re journalists).

  3. Arthur T. Himmelman

    Not voting for Hillary, if she is the Democratic nominee, is a vote for Trump. Those of you who are so privileged that you do not have to be concerned about a Trump presidency and all that could come from it, and/or so politically self-absorbed that you think your personal feelings should literally Trump the needs of millions of those who will be seriously harmed by a quasi-fascist American government here and around the world, are unworthy of being taken seriously by those looking to the Left for ways to transform American capitalism.

      1. washunate

        Yep. Interesting no one has disagreed with your summary or agreed with Himmelman’s framing.

        If Himmelman is this Himmelman (https://www.linkedin.com/in/arthurhimmelman) he seems to have had a pretty cushy life himself so it is funny for him to be lecturing all the privileged kiddos out there who have such a great life they can’t afford decent housing, healthcare, and higher education.

        It is such a wonderful comment showing the cognitive and experiential disconnect between our existing affluent intellectual class and the widespread oppression, poverty, and injustice they have enabled around them.

        1. flora

          The police had their orders to beat down Occupy with clubs and pepper spray.
          The MSM has only words to do the deed: “unworthy, so privileged, self-absorbed, quasi-fascist…”

          Guess the memo went out to the MSM (release the flying monkeys!) to verbally beat down anyone who is thinking of not voting for Clinton, the pro-TPP candidate.

        2. Arthur T. Himmelman

          Yo, washunate. How about coming out from under the rock you comment from and use your real name? So you have nothing to say about my comment re the dangers of a Trump presidency and a far right takeover of the federal government. So you attack me personally and what you assume is my “cushy life” about which you know absolutely nothing. This is irritating, but the rest of your comment is just plain stupid. What the hell are you trying to say about my “lecturing all the privileged kiddos out there who have such a great life they can’t afford decent housing, healthcare, and higher education.” You damn well know I was talking about people who care not about whether others suffer the horrible consequences of a Trump presidency here and globally. You know I am talking about people who are so “revolutionary” and politically self-absorbed and yes, privileged, that they can just let the country go to the extreme right without a trace of doubt about their own infantile politics.

    1. Romancing the Loan

      This attitude makes me tempted to vote for Trump directly. I wonder if that is the intended effect and Trump has his own cadre of paid trolls who are simply more subtle. ;)

    2. BillC

      Are you suggesting that it is never right to allow things to get worse so that enough outrage accumulates to make them better? Did marching in itself bring civil rights? Or was it the outrages of bloody faces, broken bones, and lost lives that pushed it over the goal line?

      From what she has done, never mind what she says while campaigning — we know that Hil and her acolytes (actually, her masters) will “foam the runway” for anything the TBTF banks want, will amplify the failed US military madness in the middle east, and will dilute nations’ sovereign powers to no more than picking the colors of their flag thanks to “trade” deals that put every nation in an economic straitjacket.

      With the Donald we don’t know what we’ll get. But he talks more sense on foreign policy, military adventurism, and economic policy than Hil, so there’s a chance he might be better in these crucial areas. And if it turns out to be all talk, his administration will probably preside over the next Greater Recession, which is likely to be the final nail in neoliberalism’s coffin — if Hil’s not in the White House doing everything she can to shield the 0.01% of Americans who are its greatest beneficiaries from the pitchforks they so richly deserve.

      1. jrs

        I believe that the enough outrage accumulating philosophy is likely entirely false. Americans are stoics, they will take it, and take it some more, and shout ‘usa!’. They don’t do class outrage and I don’t know if they ever will. And it doesn’t accumulate without ideology to back it up (and the U.S. has no leftist ideology). So if any outrage accumulates it will be on the scary side of hating vast groups of people (rather than realize the god of capitalism has failed, they’ll hate rather than realize this).

        However Trump might be the lesser evil, but they are both so bad that neither is worth voting for. Jill Stein is a good protest vote.

        1. Fiver

          While the US has no institutionalized ‘leftist’ ideology it has long had a ‘progressive’ impulse and it is that to which Sanders speaks – and scores.

          As for Americans being ‘stoic’ in the face of unremitting assault from above, I’d not bet the farm when next corporate America comes calling for even more $trillions to make criminals whole.

    3. YankeeFrank

      I’ve read this kind of drivel so many times this primary season I’m imagining a fetid pool of corrupt goo from which it continually splats out variations, or perhaps simply a Markov text generator algo. The keywords are all there: “privilege”, “self-absorbed”, concern trolling women’s rights, “quasi-fascist”, and of course the coup de grace: “unworthy of being taken seriously”.

      Anyone who thinks a Hillary presidency won’t be quasi-fascist or that our current governing system isn’t quasi-fascist hasn’t been paying attention. And if we’re going to talk “serious” and “practical”, from a simple game theory analysis its clear to those with the capacity for logical thought on the subject that continuing to vote for corrupt corporatist Dems will only give us more and worse corrupt corporatist Dems. At some point we have to refuse to play, and the longer we wait to do so the more painful and long will be the clawback to a party that actually represents the will of the people. Many of us supporting Bernie Sanders see this all too clearly. We are both serious and shrewd, unlike those blindly following Hillary Clinton off a cliff.

      1. Eduardo Quince

        Anyone who thinks a Hillary presidency won’t be quasi-fascist

        Ain’t nothing quasi about Hillary’s brand of facism

      2. Ulysses

        “Anyone who thinks a Hillary presidency won’t be quasi-fascist or that our current governing system isn’t quasi-fascist hasn’t been paying attention.”

        Yep. I think that some comfortable people mistake the tokenism of the DNC branch of the one War/Wall St. party as actually representing a real commitment to ending systemic racism, sexism, etc. Members of the misleadership class, like Al Sharpton, help to maintain this fiction.

        Hillary Clinton, along with her major donors from the for-profit prison industry, have no intention of ending systemic racism.

    4. ambrit

      Huh? This “transformative” Left you go on about is a figment of your imagination. The real Left wants to essentially neuter Capitalism. What you are evidently conjuring up as the Left is some denatured version of Franklin Roosevelt Centrism. Given that, the status quo you so evidently want to defend has reached so low that a significant percentage of the populace wants to end said status quo entirely. Foot dragging by yourself and fellow travelers will only hasten disruption. Be careful what you wish for.

      1. Praedor

        No. We want something akin to Norway. A VERY successful CAPITALISTIC nation with nice, tight controls on capitalism to prevent it from running amok. It doesn’t suffer massive income inequality, has universal healthcare, free university, the happiest people on earth, much healthier than Americans too. Call it Responsible Capitalism. Capitalism reigned in to serve society rather than the other way around (the American way of capitalism).

        1. HotFlash

          Capitalism reigned in to serve society rather than the other way around.

          Well, isn’t that nice? And who will do that, do you think?

          1. jrs

            Well there is also the little problem of the U.S. being an empire, which doesn’t actually mean we can’t have nice things, but an empire by definition kind of screws over the rest of the world.

            And is even Norway environmentally sustainable? Not that it might not be further along that path (few countries on earth are worse than the U.S.). But that which can’t be sustained won’t be, eventually, right?

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Japan also had socialistic capitalism, and that via having well accepted social norms rather than regulations. The US was significantly responsible for ruining that via forcing Japanese banks, which were extremely unsophisticated by global standards, to deregulate quickly. That plus the Bank of Japan having the brilliant idea to create an asset bubble to create a wealth effect and increase consumer spending. We know how that movie ended.

            And look at Bismark, the father of social safety nets.

            Capitalism is not one thing. It comes in many flavors. But people in the US are being told that all they can have is neoliberlism.

    5. Code Name D

      Please. If the dems were truly worried about a Trump presidency, Sanders would get the nomination. You drage Hillary across the finish line, then blackmail the voter?

      1. Fiver

        Absolutely. And they appear not to notice that by effectively stealing the nomination away from the most popular national candidate running on a program generations of Dems themselves had held out as goals pretty much impales the Party on its own fundamental lack of purpose. A zombie.

    6. Jim Haygood

      Fred Reed outs the Hildebeest:

      This morning in the Drudge Report: “Trump Highest Number of Republican Voters in History.” Who do the Republicans want to get rid of? Trump.

      On the same page, a poll reports Trump tied with Hillary nationally. Who do the Republicans want to get rid of? Guess.

      It’s wonderful. The GOP is looking for someone that Hillary can beat. She would squash Kasich or Cruz like stepping on bugs. Trump might actually win. This the Republicans strive to avoid. What could make more sense?

      But it does make sense. The Republicans try desperately to ditch the only Republican candidate who could win the Presidency because…Hillary is one of them.

      Because, as every sentient being has by now noticed, the Republicans and Democrats are members of the same corrupt club of blood-sucking parasites, the action arm of the corporations, Wall Street, the Israeli lobby, and those who want the US to control the world at any cost — except, of course, to them. They are panicked at the rise of someone who might put first the interests of America. Better Hillary, a fellow parasite, than Trump, who isn’t.

      Hillary is just Jeb Bush in a dress.


      “Jeb Bush in a dress,” Arthur. Vote in haste; repent at leisure.

      1. HotFlash

        Scuse me, in a pantsuit. And there appears to be a reason for that. I am so sorry, I did not ever think I would go here. But since Hillary’s fans are clearly not voting for policies, I think it’s OK to mention legs. At least they do not appear to be legs of goat.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          She did wear skirts some of the time in 2008.There is a school of thought that those pants are to hide evidence of a health problem (edema, for instance).

    7. diptherio

      Assuming that you are the same Arthur T. Himmelman who’s LinkedIn profile describes him as a “Nationally recognized consultant on community and systems change collaboration” it’s unsurprising that we have the problems we do today. If the “experts” on systems change can’t see past the lesser-of-two-evils gambit we don’t have much hope for ever getting anything out of our political system that isn’t evil.

      The Crime bill and Welfare “reform” destroyed those communities you claim to care so much about. If it had been Bob Dole trying to stab the poor and people of color in the back like that, maybe the Democrats in Congress would have tried to stop it. But just like it took a Republican to open up talks with China, it takes a Democrat to really stick to the poor…it would just be too transparent coming from a conservative.

      A vote for Trump over Hillary might actually be a vote for Federal gridlock, which is a tactically astute move for most of us. Even when the Feds try to help us out, they end up hurting us (see Obamacare/Obamasurance). Congressional Democrats might actually have to act like Dems are supposed to act with Trump in the White House. With a Clinton II presidency, they’ll have plenty of cover for kowtowing to their big business funders, just like they’ve been doing my entire life. A vote for Clinton is a vote for the more effective evil.

      But by all means, keep being a “nationally recognized consultant” and wearing your suit and tie and being serious about systems change, because obviously your views are the only proper ones….

    8. Synoia

      Because Trump is opposed (I believe) to TPP et al, I’m ABC. Anything But Clinton. Not only will I not vote for Hillary, I will vote for Trump.

      Also the Koch endorsement for Hillary was a clear indication to me that there is a possibility for Clinton and Koch to become Be$t Friend$.

    9. RP

      People in other countries will die by the thousands (perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands) if Clinton becomes president. Take your lesser of two evils BS elsewhere. It will find no purchase here.

  4. dots

    “[…] And it will be important to do so then because overpromising leads to bad policy decisions, and overpromising is bad long-run politics as well. But that day is not now.”

    It’s difficult not to choke when I read this during morning coffee. It really sounds like something I would expect to hear in the Trump camp, but I guess the groupthink brainworm gets the best of everybody from time-to-time.

    I’ve been reading an old article from Nature about radical Capuchinistas fomenting open rebellion by invoking social morality and fairness.

    Monkeys reject unequal pay (Brosnan & de Waal)
    (from the abstract) Here we demonstrate that a nonhuman primate, the brown capuchin monkey (Cebus apella), responds negatively to unequal reward distribution in exchanges with a human experimenter. Monkeys refused to participate if they witnessed a conspecific obtain a more attractive reward for equal effort, an effect amplified if the partner received such a reward without any effort at all. These reactions support an early evolutionary origin of inequity aversion.

    Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals

    Go ahead and put me on the Capuchinista list.

  5. hemeantwell

    The day will come when it will be time to gleefully and comprehensively trash people to be named later for Guevarista fantasies about what their policies are likely to do. The day will come when it will be time to gleefully and comprehensively trash people to be named later for advocating Cominternscale lying to voters about what our policies are like to do.

    Wow. It’s laughably appalling the way the extreme center summons up Cold War Hate to define both its target and itself. I’ve been reading Ernst Bloch’s “Heritage of Our Times,” which contains some fantastic passages that read like a reflective dreaming, a seance in the midst of social intoxication, trying to detect the ingredients in the ideological stewpot of late-1920s Germany. We need him now.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I was amazed to find out that quote came from DeLong.* DeLong is intellectually honest enough to admit error, so one can only hope he does so in this case.

      But honestly, advocating Medicare for All is “Cominternscale lying to voters”? How can those vile Canadians live with themselves?

      NOTE * It’s also important that DeLong lets the cat out of the bag with “gleeefully.” If he feels that way, then that’s how every other Democrat loyalist feels. Ergo, Sanders supporters who think that there’s any place for them in the Democrat Party from this point forward are deluding themselves. Not even voluntary pleas before the show trials begin will help them. (This should also make Sanders think twice about the security of his position on the Budget Committee. Watch it magically end up in the paws of the bluest of Blue Dogs.)

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Sanders supporters who think that there’s any place for them in the Democrat Party for this point forward are deluding themselves.

        I still think it makes sense to distinguish the party apparatus from the party. The party itself, as a vote-getting institution, is a coalition of individuals, associations, business interests, etc. The issue is who controls the apparatus. I agree that Sanders’ supporters are not welcome in challenging for control of the apparatus but that hardly means we should not try to do so.

        And I would argue Sanders should absolutely grab whatever levers of power are made available to him. Obviously, if the quid pro quo is unacceptable, then no. But we need to learn from rightwing activists that just because those in control of the party are hacks doesn’t mean we forego any opportunity to use levers of power they make available to us.

      2. hemeantwell

        DeLong!? Years ago he used to hang out at the Left Business Observer website before options to email discussions proliferated. He’d debate, not head hunt. It seems that now, with serious talk of reviving socialism as a policy and political orientation, he’s moving into purge mode.

        1. Foppe

          Look up the exchange between David Harvey and DeLong from 2009 or so if you’re bored; to sum up: he’s like this whenever someone to his left might have a chance to empower people by educating. Orthodoxy enforcer pur sang.

      3. Charlie

        I don’t think he attributes that quote to DeLong. Unless I misread, it’s a Hillary supporter.

  6. Felix_47

    Minorities, minorities, minorities. I am totaly for Bernie.I thought his economic message would resonate. Where I work (for the USG) racial discrimination certainly has to exist but it is a minimal sideshow because there is economic equality. Interracial marriage where I work is common because stability and income trump skin color more often than not. So it really is economics and Bernie has failed to bring that message to us. He has failed to explain that without economic parity racial equality is not going to happen. Tht needs to be part of his stump speech. Minorities think their skin color is what is holding them back…..but there are thousands of experiments every day that prove that is not the case……from Tiger Woods to Obama himself as his father was at the top of Kenyan society and not poor. Unfortunately it may be too late for Bernie…….who certainly understands it but has not really carried the message to minority voters. The establishment loves to divide by race…..and Hillary has done this masterfully……which you would expect from a Yale attorney advised by the best PR people money can buy.!

  7. bowserhead

    >Furthermore, the Pew report found that Trump’s and Sanders’s supporters were the most likely on their respective sides of the ideological divide to be angry at the government; believe that the economic system unfairly favors powerful interests; and are more isolationist, believing that America’s involvement in global problems makes those problems worse.<

    This a winning coalition. We have the votes. Let's do it. Upset the apple-cart. Rock and roll.

    1. Romancing the Loan

      Yup. If we can stop sneering at them and calling them racist for five seconds (many are but we’re not exactly unstained ourselves, and it’s hardly a binary question – I know more than one black Trump voter who’s creepily anti-Arab) then pickup-driving blue collar conservatives and actual liberals have more in common than ever before.

      Anecdote time: I met a bunch of Tea Partiers at a bar once in about 2009 and tried this argument on them, saying that they had “more in common with a 20 year old commie-leaning college kid than with literally anyone you see on TV.” They were surprisingly open to the idea of joining forces.

      With patience and time I bet they’d start listening to the BLM argument as well – right now it’s just not being aimed towards them. My public defense clients often fit the typical white conservative working class profile and while they aren’t being shot by the cops, they are being repeatedly arrested, jailed, and fined for minor misdemeanors on scanty evidence in a way that’s making them quite sympathetic towards the idea of a police state.

    2. shinola

      I find it interesting how the MSM equates “isolationist” with “non-interventionist”.

      They are not the same.

      1. bowserhead

        Good point i hadn’t thought of….isolationist is code for “backward-looking dummy”.

      2. RP

        If you don’t want to kill foreigners with impunity you’re a weak-kneed milquetoast who probably has a soft spot for Hitler. Or are you a Red?

  8. financial matters

    “”Those who “fantasized” about Bernie’s “overpromising”””

    Not that these are Bernies’s proposals but in this vein..

    I like the idea of a JG (job guarantee program) paying a living wage (around twice the current minimum wage) with medical and pension benefits. This would set a standard for private employment.

    I like the idea of a BIG associated with this (around the current minimum wage) so that labor isn’t treated as a commodity.

    If a person was working a JG and collecting a BIG this would put him/her at the about the standard of a typical Costco employee.


  9. shinola

    I need to get my glasses RX updated; so when I 1st read “Hillary’s campaign has already hired trolls to attack blogging critics…” It miss-read it as:

    Hillary’s campaign has already BRED trolls to attack blogging critics…

    Perhaps the LOTR reference is rather fitting.

  10. Jus'Thinkin

    Ya gotta say this election is a doozy. I mean it is HUGE. First we have the republican clown car and the Repub establishment trying to polish up the Cruz and Kasich turds to defeat the guy who is really popular among rank and file repubs.
    Hillary has tacked left so she does not look so much like a Wall Street lackey or war criminal in her support of all that regime change. You have an old jewish organizer guy who is suddenly popular because he says we’ve been screwed and things should change. AND he is absolutely right.
    Then you have THE TRUMPSTER. While the media is always trashing him I watched his entire foreign policy speech, you know the one the MSM would have you believe was sorely lacking in anything foreign policy wise. He said he believed in the nation-state – there goes the neocon trade scams. He said he would not have regime change wars but would smash ISIS. He said he would engage/negotiate with both China and Russia but from a position of power. That sounds a lot better than let’s have a war with them. He said he would ask those who use the American military to provide protection to pay their fair share. He said the NATO countries should pay what they agreed. He is Donald Trump but, those statements make good sense to me.

    The bottom line for my vote is I like Bernie. I will never vote for Hillary as she is a war criminal – Libya and Ukraine regime change. If I have to pick between Hillary or Trump, I’ll vote for Trump, rolling the dice that he will turn out to be okay.

    1. Jamie

      Excellent explanation on why not to vote for Hillary. Admittedly, she is more of a neo-con than Trump. I just don’t see myself voting for a pro-life, pro-torture candidate — although I admire his frankness on such topics.

  11. optimader

    NAFTA had little to do with loss of America’s jobs

    So, in the vein of intellectual honesty, a claim such as that should at best be prefaced with “I feel”

    Bill Clintons intent, and the consequential results of NAFTA was the systemic destruction of manufacturing jobs in the USA.

    It’s my recollection anyway, and someone should correct me if I’m wrong. Bills’ Rap was discharging all those “low level” dirty manufacturing jobs to Mexico so that we in the United States could focus on the High Value Intellectual Processing jobs!

    This breezily superficial Bill of Goods conveniently ignores the fact that Mexico (by way of NAFTA) was merely the template for the elimination of manufacturing infrastructure from this country. The consequence being the metaphorical equivalent of the wholesale destruction of the Mycelium in our Societal Garden. You cant just wipe out whole sectors of manufacturing from the economy and not expect chronic adverse systemic results. It’s is a web

    Manufacturing is what holds a serious economy together, it is the economic engine that is staffed with a robust middle class. Not everyone can or should be in the “intellectual processing beehive. Making those middleclass manufacturing jobs redundant, essentially by decree, did not allow that population to evolve with the jobs. The argument is trotted out that NAFA doesnt matter because all that manufacturing jobs would have migrated to China anyway! But that is BS, again, jobs and technology were DELIVERED to China by advantageously legislated policies.

    Some of the smarter Political ciphers understand but dont care, but I think most just don’t get it. In only two generations a huge institutional memory is lost, and any attempt to reboot all of that generationally curated knowledge is IMO a virtually insurmountable challenge and I see it happening now at an accelerating rate..

    Unfortunately a dark thread though this progressive gutting of private sector manufacturing has been much of the best talent is now crowded out of the private sector to the MIC which has no real practical focus. From what I can see, cultivating robust and economical manufacturing processes in the MIC is paid lip service but is not incentivized because a tteh end of the day the tab will be paid tot eh TBTF..

    1. Archie

      Very good comment. The Rubinites (Clinton, et al) are evil incarnate. This is definitely an ABC election cycle.

    2. tony

      One could argue that the loss of jobs was, as always, due to insufficient aggregate demand. If this is the case, focus on a trade deal is a distraction. Even under NAFTA, the Federal Government could have created full employment at will in the US.

      That’s the MMT perspective at least. When talking about trade deals, and other policies, employment should be ignored as it is an internal policy decision having nothing to do with trade, at least fot the US.

      So we should establish that the level of employment is an internal deicision, and trade affects things like purchasing power, environment, quality of living, technology domestic security, food security etc.

  12. Paul Hirschmannn

    In the 1934 gubernatorial election in California, a Methodist Minister was asked how he could vote for Upton Sinclair, knowing that Sinclair was going to lose badly. His answer was “I’d rather vote for something I want and not get it, than to vote for something I don’t want and get plenty of it.”

    Go Bernie.

  13. ekstase

    Two things really struck me here:
    “I don’t vote for evil, period.” How often do we hear people say something like this, and not just about voting? (Not a lot.) And how much has it taken out of any of our lives, to have made these compromises over and over again? What do we really pay when we give in to something that we think is wrong? I’m not sure I have the answers but I am glad to see people bring this up.

    “I don’t regret any of my votes”:
    And that’s important, too. You learn as you go along, but we also are learning collectively. This election is not the same as the one eight years ago. We have one really frightening imminent problem in global warming that no one can ignore, and we have a web-connected world population whose links to each other can no longer be ignored. Maybe we have more hope in some ways. Maybe the choice has shifted more than we can imagine.

    I don’t remember the discussion being this open and urgent the last two times.

  14. Skip Intro

    OMG They said ‘comintern’! To see such vintage Buckley-esque red-baiting employed in modern media is just enchanting. I want to meet the gal who coded that bot.

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