Contradictions at the Kitchen Table: Sanders, Obama, and Clinton at the Democratic National Convention

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

The “kitchen table” is a hoary political metaphor (“kitchen table issues”); it summons up a family, sitting round the kitchen table, looking at the wages that are coming in, and looking at the bills going out. In the days of pay envelopes, when everything was done on a cash basis, the wages might actually be distributed into envelopes, as my father did: So much for the mortgage, so much for the electric, so much for food, so much on that doctor’s bill, and maybe a little left over, for extra, to put in a coffee can in the middle of the table or on the sill of the kitchen window. Of course, with today’s fragmented and precarious work schedules, increased apartment dwelling, and the tendency of working people, especially poor people, to eat out because that saves time, the real life “kitchen table” hardly exists anymore. The kitchen table as an idea — the central household space where the working class family takes the exact measure of its material conditions — is as central as it has ever been. The kitchen table is also central to across all identities. Women, people of color, immigrants, GLBTQs, the religious: all, insofar as they are wage workers, have kitchen table issues, since they must all consider their material conditions as a prerequisite for anything else they might wish to do (“life, liberty, pursuit of happiness…”).

Given the centrality of the kitchen table issues[1] to the overwhelming majority of the American people, who are, after all, wage workers, one might assume that they would assume great prominence in the political life of the Republic. Oddly, or not (Givens and Page provide a clue why not) they do not. Perhaps it’s a difficult subject to have a “conversation” about. After all, the working class family can, with luck, control the expense side of the household balance sheet, but the income side of the balance sheet is not under their control at all; capital controls it. (Yes, it might be possible to risk leaving the $10.00 an hour job[1] to find one paying $12.00, but the $12.00 as such is no more under the individual worker’s control than the $10.00 was.) And so taking kitchen table issues seriously would require addressing power imbalances between capital, as such, and labor[3], as such, because the household balance sheet — the concrete material conditions discussed at the kitchen table — is the result of that balance. However, our political class seems incapable of taking anything seriously just now. As a superficial look the Presidential-level speeches at the Democrat National Convention will show!

I said “superficial,” and sadly, I meant it; this is a “hot take,” and I don’t have time to put on my yellow waders. Instead, I will first set the context by presenting a few charts — long-term NC readers will be familiar with all of them — that illustrate the material conditions of labor (and capital). Then I’ll look at contradictions in the convention speeches of Senator Sanders, President Obama, and Democrat presidential candidate Clinton. In each case, the contradiction will be seen in how the candidate addresses the power imbalance between capital and labor.

The Kitchen Table in Chart Form

Table 1: Pavlina Tcherneva’s Famous Chart


I’ve helpfully annovated Tcherneva’s chart to show the power imbalance between capital and labor; as you can see, the top 10% — which includes both capital and those who service it professionally, that is, a significant portion of both Clinton and Trump’s bases, though with different demographics — creamed off all the gains. To improve the input side of the household balance sheet, those gains would have had to be redistributed. (Matt Stoller has a fine article at NC on this point, showing that Obama’s Democrats made the power imbalance worse than Bush’s Republicans did.)

Table 2: Economic Policy Institute on Stagnant Wages


This is one of the many charts showing that real wages have been flat since the beginning of the neo-liberal era to this day (and that’s not a bug. It’s a feature.) I mean, come on. A 6% increase for “middle” wage earners over 40 years? A decrease for others? That’s forty years of increasingly depressed kitchen table conversations, again due to the power imbalance between capital and labor as shown in Table 1.

Table 3: Case-Deaton on White Middle Class, Middle-Aged Mortality


Naked Capitalism has several posts on the Case-Deaton study: “‘Stunning”‘Rise in Death Rate, Pain Levels for Middle-Aged, Less Educated Whites” (that is, non-credentialed, working class whites); “America to Working Class Whites: Drop Dead!”; “Credentialism and Corruption: The Opioid Epidemic and ‘the Looting Professional Class'”. (The looting professional classes are key Clinton constituency, of course.) And this sidebar from Case-Deaton shows the impact:


That’s an AIDS-level death rate you’re looking at, right there. The failure of the political class to address it is a moral failure of the first order. Why, given the death rate one might almost think that a class war was being successfully conducted![4] Of course, it’s possible to focus on the individual’s problems with opiods or alchohol. But those are symptoms of loss of social cohesion, as neoliberal trade deals set the rules and private equity played the game, that stripped these communities of the work they used to do. Jeremy Grantham (!) writes:

There is a consensus that social cohesion is the key to a successful society. It brings with it the broadest range of advantages: greater economic mobility; longer lives and better health; fewer babies born to teenagers; fewer traffic deaths, murders, suicides and robberies; a smaller percentage in prison; and less stress and higher levels of contentment, amongst others. Not bad. The biggest simple input to social cohesion turns out to be income equality, which is correlated highly with every individual measure of social cohesion listed above. The exhibit below provides an example. Conversely, income inequality leaves the impression, probably correctly, that the political voice of the poor has been lost or weakened.

Of course, addiction is about as “kitchen table” as an issue can possibly be. Paying for the substance of choice is on the expense side of the household balance sheet, after all. But if the work that brings in the wages on the income side just doesn’t cover the bills, or, worse, is painful and humiliating to do, or even worse, is entirely without meaning, then why, exactly, would a rational actor not seek the surcease from suffering that oblivion brings?

With these charts as background, let’s turn to how the several Presidential candidates address the power imbalance between labor and capital. (I feel kinda like Luis Tiant here; a massive and complicated windup followed by what I hope is a pinpoint pitch. Because the views of all three speakers on this topic are easy to see.

Sanders and the Kitchen Table

As Robert Scheer points out, Sanders speech falls neatly and very visibly into two parts; the first part, on oligarchy, and the second part, on Clinton. From the full text (turn your sound down to avoid the autoplay), here’s the first part:

[SANDERS:] Together, my friends, we have begun a political revolution to transform America and that revolution – our revolution – continues. Election days come and go. But the struggle of the people to create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1 percent – a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice – that struggle continues. And I look forward to being part of that struggle with you.

This election is about ending the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality that we currently experience, the worst it has been since 1928. It is not moral, not acceptable and not sustainable that the top one-tenth of one percent now own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, or that the top 1 percent in recent years has earned 85 percent of all new income. That is unacceptable. That must change.

So far, so good. Sanders gets this exactly right; see the charts above. And now we come to Sanders’ pivot to supporting Clinton in the second part of the speech:

[SANDERS:] We need leadership in this country which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor. We need leadership which brings our people together and makes us stronger – not leadership which insults Latinos, Muslims, women, African-Americans and veterans – and divides us up.

By these measures, any objective observer will conclude that – based on her ideas and her leadership – Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States. The choice is not even close.

The contradictions are open and visible for all to see. In part one, the “struggle of the people” (bottom up). In part two, “we need leadership” (top down). In part one, the top 1% vs. the bottom 90% (class based). In part two, “the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor” (class erased, replaced by the silos of Democrat identity politics). In part one’s problem statement, the power imbalance between capital and labor is directly addressed; in part two, it is erased. The Sanders pivot is more than a little awkward.

Obama and the Kitchen Table

Obama’s speech is a return to hope and change, but in a minor key. Here’s Obama’s appeal to the working class:

By so many measures [but not the kitchen table charts above] , our country is stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started. And through every victory and every setback, I’ve insisted that change is never easy, and never quick; that we wouldn’t meet all of our challenges in one term, or one presidency, or even in one lifetime.

So, tonight, I’m here to tell you that, yes, we [who?]‘ve still got more work to do. More work to do for every American still in need of a good job or a raise, paid leave or a decent retirement; for every child who needs a sturdier ladder out of poverty or a world-class education [credentiaism]; for everyone who has not yet felt the progress of these past seven and a half years. We need to keep making our streets safer and our criminal justice system fairer — (applause) — our homeland more secure, our world more peaceful and sustainable for the next generation. (Applause.) We’re not done perfecting our union, or living up to our founding creed that all of us are created equal; all of us are free in the eyes of God. (Applause.)

(I’m sorry, that’s the best I can come up with.) Turning incrementalism into triumphalism is a neat rhetorical trick, and only a con man as smooth as Obama could have achieved it, or even attempted it. But let me draw your attention to one sentence:

[OBAMA:] More work to do for … .everyone who has not yet felt the progress of these past seven and a half years.

Check the charts above in “The Kitchen Table in Chart Form,” and you’ll see that Obama’s “everyone who has not yet felt the progress” is, like, 90% of the population if you use the kitchen table metric of concrete material benefits given to working class households.

So where Sanders exposes the power imbalance between labor and capital — might even be said to enact it in the intellectual and rhetorical concessions in part two of his speech — Obama carefully erases it. He does so by pushing out the horizon for hopes to be realized (“not yet felt,” not “even in one lifetime”,) and minimizing our expectations for change. Look at his adjectives: “more work,” “sturdier ladder,” “safer,” “fairer,” “more secure,” “more peaceful.” It’s like the soft inverted totalitarianism of low expectations. This after a candidate explicitly calling for (dread word) socialism — which, for those who came in late, is all about the power imbalance between labor and capital — took 45% of the Democrat vote in a grotesquely rigged primary!

Clinton and the Kitchen Table

And now we come to the Clinton’s acceptance speech. (One ubiquitous phrase in press coverage of the convention was that Obama “passed the baton of hope” to Clinton. Well, if the promised “change” was all that great, why does the baton of hope need to be passed in the first place? And if we are in some kinda relay race, then how come the finish line is constantly receding? (See above at “not yet felt.”) Here she is:

[CLINTON]: I’ve gone around our country talking to working families. And I’ve heard from so many of you who feel like the economy just isn’t working.

Some of you are frustrated — even furious.

And you know what??? You’re right.

It’s not yet working the way it should.

Americans are willing to work — and work hard.

But right now, an awful lot of people feel there is less and less respect for the work they do.

And less respect for them, period.

Democrats are the party of working people.

But we haven’t done a good enough job showing that we get what you’re going through, and that we’re going to do something about it.

So I want to tell you tonight how we will empower Americans to live better lives.

My primary mission as President will be to create more opportunity and more good jobs with rising wages right here in the United States…

From my first day in office to my last!

I’m not going to look at the Gish Gallop of minor policy fixes and shopworn slogans that Clinton emits. I am, however, amazed at the effrontery these claims by Clinton, later in the speech:

[CLINTON:] That’s why we need to appoint Supreme Court justices who will get money out of politics and expand voting rights, not restrict them. And we’ll pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United!

First, Obama had the chance to nominate a Supreme Court justice who would do just that; last I checked, Merrick Garland had not expressed a view on Citizens United. Second, if Democrats were serious about voting rights, they’d have voter registration as a normal party function, 24/7/365. They would also be setting up voters with IDs, in states that require them. They have done neither. Finally, in order to save the Clinton candidacy from fully justified charges of corruption, Democrats have accepted the doctrine of Citizens United, which is that the only form corruption takes is a quid pro quo (and not, say, laundering political favors through a Foundation).

But back to Clinton’s primary mission. The dominance of the FIRE sector at the Democrat National Convention was overwhelming. If you think they are funding Clinton on behalf of labor, and not on their own behalf, capital, then I have a headquarters in Brooklyn I would like to sell you; I think maybe there’s a kitchen table in one of the meeting rooms. But let me pull out one sentence from Clinton’s speech, exactly as I did with Obama:

[CLINTON:] But we haven’t done a good enough job showing that we get what you’re going through, and that we’re going to do something about it.

First, Clinton sees her problem with labor as a public relations problem (“we haven’t done a good enough job showing”). She’s airbrushing even worse than Obama, since she draws attention to the airbrushing explicitly. See the charts; we’re look at policy failure (or, depending on your level of cyncism realism, policy success). Second, “we’re going to do something about it.” Well, where were you in the hell of the last eight years?


I am with Sanders that “elections come and go.” Last night, a friend said to me things now remind them of flooding on the Missisippi or the Ohio, which were a regular news story in my childhood in the midwest; nightly reports of the height the water reached, the river “cresting,” having reached “flood stage,” and the volunteers with sandbags, and the decision about which towns to save, and which to abandon to the water. There is an enormous mass of water upstream now, and it’s heading downstream, toward us, and it is not in our power to stop it. That flood will overwhelm whatever went on in both convention halls. I’ve seen three headlines about the Clinton speech, and they each used the phrase “Moment of Reckoning.” I think that’s true, but not necessarily in the way Clinton thinks. Until the power imbalance between capital and labor is addressed, I’m long sandbags.

APPENDIX I: Word Usage in the Sanders, Obama, and Clinton speeches

Figure 1: Wordle for Sanders


Figure 2: Wordle for Obama


Figure 3: Wordle for Clinton


These Wordles are not all that interesting: “People,” “America,” and, for Obama and Sanders, “Hillary” and “Clinton.” As expected for a Democrat speech. However, the Sanders wordle in Figure 1 is interesting for two reasons: First, the prominence of the word “Thanks.” Amazingly, or not, Sanders is the only candidate to thank his voters for voting for him! Second, the prominence of the word “election,” which shows the contradiction between Sanders “revolutionary” goals — the word “revolution,” though small, is there, immediately above “Hillary” — and what the choice on offer in this “election” is.

APPENDIX II: Sanders’ Role in the 2016 Election

We will have to wait for the campaign tell-alls to understand what the Sanders campaign believed its strategy was, and whether the campaign believes it was successful, or not. While it is true that reform efforts in the Democrat Party have a very poor track record, it’s also true that third parties have a terrible track record. (It’s worth noting that in the eight years just past, with the capitol occupations, Occupy proper, Black Lives Matter, fracking campaigns all on the boil, the Green Party was flatlined, seeminly unable to make an institutional connection with any of these popular movements. It may be that 2016 is different. It may also be that the iron law of institutions applies to the GP just as much as it does to any other party.) Therefore, “working within the Democrat Party” — which Sanders consistently said he would do; the label on the package was always there — is not, a priori, a poor strategic choice, especially if “working within” amounts to a hostile takeover followed by a management purge. And it’s hard for me to recall another “working within” approach that garnered 45% of the vote, severed the youth of the party — of all identities — from the base of the ruling faction, and invented an entirely new and highly successful funding model. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, which the dominant faction in today’s Democrat Party destroyed, would be the closest parallel, and the material conditions of working people are worse today than they were in Jackson’s time, and institutions generally far less likely to be perceived as legitimate. And if we consider the idea that one of Sander’s strategic goals was not the office but the successful propagation of the socialist idea — as a Johnny Appleseed, rather than a happy warrior — then the campaign was a success by any measure. (That said, readers know my priors on this: I define victory in 2016 as the creation of independent entities with a left voice; an “Overton Prism,” as it were, three-sided, rather than an Overton Window, two-sided. I’ve got some hope that this victory is on the way, because it’s bigger than any election.)

With those views as background, most of the attacks on Sanders accuse him of bad faith. This was the case with the Green Party’s successfully propagated “sheepdog” meme; it’s also the case with the various forms of post-defeat armchair cyncism, all of which urge, that in some way Sanders succeeded by betraying his supporters in some way. (This is, I suppose, easier to accept than the idea that Sanders got a beating by an powerful political campaign with a ton of money and the virtually unanimous support of the political class.)

If Sanders had defined success as betraying his supporters, I would expect him to act and behave like a successful man. That’s not the case. Here is Sanders putting Clinton’s name into nomination:

It’s a sad, even awful, moment, I agree, but politics ain’t beanbag. While it would be irresponsible to speculate that Sanders looks so strained and unhappy because he found a horse’s head in his bed (“Mrs. Clinton never asks a second favor once she’s refused the first, understood?”), his body language certainly doesn’t look like he’s a happy man, a man who is happy with the deal he’s made, or a man who has achieved success through the betrayal of others; you’d have to look at the smiling faces on the Democrat main stage for that.

And here is Sanders during Clinton’s acceptance speech, while she is praising him:


More unity like this and we are undone, Clinton might be forgiven for thinking. Again, not the face of a man who’s achieved success. (If you want to see what Sanders looks like when he’s happy, see Sanders and the birdie, here. Nothing like that in these photos, at all. And Sanders is a man who, if I recall correctly, didn’t lose any elections after being elected Mayor of Burlington in 1981. (His previous losses were as a third-party candidate, which may account for his reluctance to try the third party route again.)


[1] And not pissant minor fixes like bringing family leave policies more into line with world standards, assuming the Democrat proposal isn’t crippled by complex eligibility requirements put in place to deny services to working people while simultaneously giving jobs to the credentialed whose duty is to separate the deserving from the undeserving.

[2] I believe that human rental (wage labor) in all its forms will one day come to be seen as just as immoral as human sale (slavery). Clearly, however, that day is not yet, and there is no abolition movement to bring the issue forward.

[3] By “labor,” I don’t mean the labor movement, or unions. I mean people who labor for wages. I am not implying that “labor” “identifies as” labor; indeed, it would seem that there are many obstacles to them doing so!

[4] No, labor is not all white. Tactics will vary by identity!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. ambrit

    I don’t know the psychology of Sanders, but, how much did he really expect to win in the early days of his campaign? Could “getting the Socialism ball rolling” have been his definition of success in the beginning? Like Trump, the other disruptional candidate, could his very success in the primary season have surprised him? If so, then his pivot back to the Senate and Socialist coalition movement building makes perfect sense.
    In this sense, the anger focused on Sanders would be a displacement of the groundswell of anger by the general public at the sheer brazenness of the DNC’s anti public policies. The DNC has shown contempt and disdain for the very people they purport to work for. Whoever shifted the popular anger from the DNC onto Sanders has done a masterful job of propaganda. Saint Bernays would be proud.

    1. Toby613

      I don’t think he was expecting to win when he started, but at the same time he was probably thinking it was worth a running a primary challenge to change the conversation. His political strategy of trying to increase turnout of working class voters was not a bad one, considering that Democrat primary voters have lately been the demographics who support either neoliberalism or would be racially biased against a non-Christian candidate. He was mainly hurt by three things, two of which were largely out of his control: (1) he lacked the polish/media saavy to not get dragged into minor issues that distracted from his core message (like the flap about calling Clinton unqualified, or his visit to the Vatican), (2) he literally had the entire media and political establishment working against him, and arguably inciting voter suppression and fraud, and (3) his non-Christianity limited his ability to coalesce support from older African-Americans, which hurt him in the South and hurt him from a perception standpoint.

      What remains to be seen is where his supporters go now. Dissatisfaction with the status quo will only continue to increase. Something interesting though, is that Tulsi Gabbard seems to be setting herself to be the continuation of the Sanders movement. I am unfamiliar with her policies, but her positioning is in stark contrast to the rest of the Democrat Party.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        On point (3): I’m not sure about that. The left has a perennial problem there that it must fix. However, let’s remember that the only demographic that Sanders won in South Carolina was… black youth. So it’s doable.

        1. Uahsenaa

          I don’t think you can win over black folk with a message alone. They’ve been sold so many bills of goods over the years that you’re just as likely to be viewed a huckster as a savior. You need trust first, which is why, when the Panthers were in their prime, they did things for their communities, and the politics flowed out from that. If the left wants to be taken seriously by African-Americans, then there needs to be a concerted effort to address those things they care about (policing is a good place to start, housing would be another) rather than try to fold them into one big tent of the “oppressed.”

          First, be generous.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          Older people–and older AAs are no exception–I think just are less receptive to the Sanders message. They’ve been propagandized for too long and too successfully. Actually I don’t just think this, the polling data fairly screams it. It might be a waste of time chasing those AA church lady grandmothers, they are right wing conservatives in almost any objective sense who minus the identity politics woo woo would be Republicans but just need a safe space to be that way without rubbing shoulders with overt white racists, and the corporate neocon-neolib DP mainstream is a perfect fit for them. Obama, who pretty much could be George W Bush in blackface, is the perfect identity politics totem for that role. The good news is obviously that this demographic is dying off and young AAs don’t share their elders’ pretty extreme right wing Christian viewpoint. I don’t think the left needs to fix that “problem” or even can. Time will fix it and nothing much else can.

          1. Katharine

            All generalizations are false, and surely writing off a demographic is at least as wasteful as writing off a state. The really interesting question, to me, is why the minority of the demographic differs and what you might learn from that. The answers tend to be highly individual, which may be why the most effective political action is conversation–in campaign terms, door knocking, but I always remember Pete Seeger’s saying whenever you get people together for any purpose you’re affecting the body politic.

      2. mcarson

        Gabbard has some serious Muslim issues. I don’t know how heartfelt they are. There is talk that it’s related to donors in Hawaii, perhaps Hindu-leaning, according to my (newly) Hawaiian daughter. She said some of her prior campaign stuff was awful.
        As an anti-war voice she’s wonderful.

      3. PhilU

        I wouldn’t count on Gabbard to be the movements new face, she is very anti-war and hence anti-Clinton. That was her main motivation. Nina Turner is ready to defect from the Dems though. I’d put my money on her.

        If you want a glimpse of Bernie’s motivations here is an excellent snap shot. I thoroughly recommend the whole video the link is to where Bernie talks about running as an independant vs in the 2 party system and not wanting to run just an educational campaign.

    2. ekstase

      I think you’re on to something with the idea of people displacing their anger onto Sanders. Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader, and now Sanders take ridiculous hits for being spoilers, not winning enough, not being ideologically pure enough. These guys stood up to entrenched power, and had guts and we need more people like them. Sanders got completely cheated out of his due and the only positive way to deal with that is to see clearly the kind of people who position themselves in life so they can pull things like this, vs. real leaders. If I were Sanders, I’d be sad to see this happening once again too.

      1. Uahsenaa

        It’s rational to point out that there were things the campaign could have done and issues he could have brought to the fore (corruption, anyone?) that would have made the contest a more winning endeavor. And it’s also somewhat irrational to dump all the ills of the campaign at Sanders feet; he was fighting massive disenfranchisement and likely fraud.

        Yet, I can’t fault people for feeling betrayed. It hurts to lose like that, with your candidate of choice forced to kiss the evil-doers ring, and in public for that matter. But anger is not always a negative thing. It gives you the resolve to fight the battles that need fighting, no matter how unwinnable they may seem.

    3. AnEducatedFool

      Are you part of any Bernie movement? Are you a member of any of the facebook groups that register in the 100,000s?

      None of them are attacking Bernie….well very few of them are attacking Bernie. The people that made this election are going to back Stein for now but they have not left Bernie. Many and I mean many are posting Always Bernie.

      1. AnEducatedFool

        In response to Ambrit. I do not know who is attacking Bernie. New poll shows that Jill Stein will pull 22% of Democrats w/ a negative view of Clinton which is 67% of Democrats. May be off w/ the 67% but the poll is recent and from WSJ/NBC

        Clinton will not win. Sanders mortally wounded the DLC/Clinton machine.

        1. thoughtful person

          One thing I think is clear from the primaries is that it is not the polls or how people vote that matters, it’s who counts those votes.

          At this point though, a “win” is assured ( I think either trump or clinton is a win for the 0.1%, since I don’t buy trump or clinton’s rhetoric).

          If any other candidate than the current two majors gets any significant amount of votrs, expect many of those to go uncounted.

        2. Procopius

          It’s way too soon to use the term “mortally wounded.” They’re rich, they’re robust, they’re entrenched. We’re still 100 days away from D-Day. Or E-Day if you prefer.

      2. mcarson

        I think the boos were more of a “no, don’t give up yet” than a “we’re mad at you”. Another person would have kicked up a fuss about the DNC, but in an interview Mrs. Sanders said his response was “we knew this all along, it changes nothing”.
        To a person, even the Trump voters, every Sanders supporter I have heard has said they are going to work for down-ballot candidates. With the Sanders phone banking system switched over to Tim Canova (and others) I wouldn’t be surprised if Florida voters get thousands of calls to help win his primary. They vote in August.

        1. mparry

          Your interpretation of those boos matches the reports I was getting in real time from friends who were Sanders delegates. All of them said that the booing was targeted at the idea that they had to back Clinton now, at the DNC, or both, and that to be in the room was to be aware that it expressed unhappiness with the situation. The affection and respect for Sanders himself was as firm as ever.

          Yes, I’m getting this second hand. But I heard it from multiple delegates at the time, people I know personally and trust, and I haven’t heard contrary reports from any of the Sanders forces at the convention. So I see no reason to mistrust it.

    1. Michael

      I’d really like to agree with you, but it’s obviously still selling okay. Or, most people don’t care about the actual stuff the Democrats do, it’s all about image.

      1. Procopius

        Yes, I happened to read something at Balloon Juice a few days ago and wandered down to the comment thread. Pro-Hillary I don’t mind, I can understand people being thrilled at the prospect of a woman major party candidate. The level of sheer, vitriolic, raging hatred for Sanders and his supporters shocked me. The outrage that Sanders supporters are “tearing the party apart and helping the fascists when we need every single vote we can get and party unity or we’re doomed, doomed I tell you,” was breathtaking. Well, we’ve got more than three months, maybe they’ll calm down.

        1. aab

          All online communities are self-reinforcing. If you don’t agree with the hive mind opinion, you leave, because the majority tends to gang up on you, regardless of whose argument is stronger. (There are probably more Clinton supporters reading this site than are represented in the comments section, even though this community allows for a wider range of perspectives than most.) I used to read Balloon Juice. Before I left, Cole was to the left of most of the rest of his front pagers, and far to the left of his commenters, and he voted for baby Bush at least once. For him, backing Hillary Clinton must feel like something daring and righteous. Balloon Juice definitely shows that there are real life human tribalist Democrats who are buying what Clinton is selling. It would be interesting to see if the site’s page views have gone up or down as the primary has gone on. Kos’s page views have dropped precipitously since he drove off Sanders supporters, last time I checked. And that’s with probable Correct The Record trolls helping him.

          She’s going to get some real votes. The question is, how many? And have these hard core Team Ds been indoctrinated enough that they will be happy to align with Republicans in the Hillary Clinton coalition? I actually think they will be. They’ve accepted this idea that progressives are unAmerican selfish babies who deserve only scorn because they have not accepted our Lady Hillary. The likely corollary would be that anyone who DOES accept our Lady Hillary as their president gets to be in the tribe. And thus, a new tribe would be born, defined by supporting Hillary Clinton regardless of her policy positions.

          Who’s the fascist candidate again?

  2. fresno dan

    [OBAMA:] More work to do for … .everyone who has not yet felt the progress of these past seven and a half years.

    Considering what work they have accomplished, should we actually be happy that they are so ineffective?

    1. reslez

      What do these people imagine they have accomplished?

      Each convention speaker pointed out how 8 years ago the nation was facing an economic crisis, and oh aren’t we glad Obama saved us. But it was the Bush administration that passed TARP and it was the Fed that did the heavy lifting of rescuing the financial sector. What the hell did Obama do? Besides coast for 8 years? His ‘stimulus’ package was a joke. And that was his chief economic accomplishment? Not falling into another depression once we were already in one? What the hell did he do for us? Health insurance–bailing out health monopolists at our expense? Why is this man not shunned everywhere he goes like GWB?

      My aunt is voting for Clinton because she likes Clinton and “Trump is a racist”. My mom is voting for Trump because she thinks there’s too much immigration and Clinton is corrupt. My dad is voting for Trump because he’s angry at the Republicans and he wants to watch Trump rampage through Washington like King Kong. Basically, they all know help* for the working class is not on the table.

      * ‘Help’, as in a government that actually represents the interests of 99% of its people

      1. DarkMatters

        Donald the Trump as Shiva the Destroyer! I confess to appreciating the appeal. The Clintons at al. have become a metastatic political tumor, and excising them, if yet possible, won’t be a pleasant process. I don’t really know whether Trump will actually do something like this, but I know dang well Hillary will just grow the present dysfunction even larger. And, really, how much blatant corruption can we afford to ignore. But I’m not even sure Trump will be much different, especially once he gets into an office full of handlers. If I vote for him, it will be as a kind of Hail Mary pass. Desperate times….

  3. John Zelnicker

    Great analysis, Lambert. I notice in Sanders picture, he appears to be looking down and he seems quite tired and worn out. Not surprising.

    I join you in hoping that this movement will continue and create that Overton Prism. Some of the first signs such as the new groups of organized Bernie supporters seem to bode well for the future of the revolution.

    There are cracks in the neoliberal edifice. More and more people are realizing that it has failed them. May it soon come crashing down.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Seems quite tired and worn out? Indeed he is. Been that way since the spring, I’m sorry to say.

  4. barefoot charley

    Excellent analysis as usual, Lambert. But the link to Bernie’s “sad, even awful, moment” near the end is broken, and I want to share his burn, thanks!

    Our choice is coming clear: the fearmonger or the warmonger? But to be fair, the warmonger has taken Godwin’s Law off the web-wilds and into the mainstream so deep that she qualifies, almost unbelievably, as Fearmonger-in-Chief as well. More qualified than Bill indeed!

  5. Quiet

    Watching it last night, especially during her speech, I couldn’t help but think that fascist aesthetics are in display in both major parties. Combined with Obama’s explicit declaration that his party is the center-right party, this election is definitely a choice between the frying pan and the fire.

  6. grayslady

    As you’ve said before, Lambert, Dems are great at saying they are going to “fight for” something; but, in the end, the only thing they can be relied on to fight for is their own net worth. Somehow, the concept of a public servant disappeared along the way.

    As for Bernie, I honestly don’t know what he’s up to anymore. He seems to be spinning faster than a whirling dervish. Before the convention, he said he was going to remain a Dem and work to improve the Dem party from inside. Now he’s saying he’s going to return to being an Independent because that was his designation when he was elected to the Senate. Heck, Bernie succeeded Jim Jeffords, the Republican senator from Vermont who switched, mid-stream, to become an Independent and caucus with the Dems. Jeffords clearly didn’t worry about his designation at the time of election, and no one from Vermont seemed to care much either.

    If I were to guess, and that’s all any of us really can do right now, I’d guess that Bernie thought he would be treated equitably by the DNC and the party regulars regarding the platform and the convention. Instead, they shot down everything he stood for and did their best to humiliate him as well (see Turner, Nina). I think Bernie also never understood that, even within the Dem party, there were huge numbers of voters who would never vote for Hillary because she represented everything about the establishment they hated. According to Debbie-The-Sane-Progressive, a Sanders delegate told her that Bernie seemed genuinely shocked that people booed him when he suggested to his delegates that they support Hillary because Trump. He was so busy campaigning, and listening to the problems of ordinary people on the campaign trail, that he never stopped to consider why a huge contingent of his voters might be Bernie or Bust. It never occurred to him, apparently, that many Bernie voters thought Hillary was as great an evil, or even more evil, than Trump.

    As you said, incrementalism isn’t going to work anymore for the kitchen table voters. They’ve run out of time. Saying “be patient” to someone who has lost their home, their job, their savings, and/or their health is a non-starter this year.

    1. hreik

      As for Bernie, I honestly don’t know what he’s up to anymore. He seems to be spinning faster than a whirling dervish. Before the convention, he said he was going to remain a Dem and work to improve the Dem party from inside. Now he’s saying he’s going to return to being an Independent because that was his designation when he was elected to the Senate.

      Well, my hunch is that was his intention (to stay in the democratic party). But after everyone’s hunches were verified by Wikileaks and Election Justice that he was purposely marginalized and that there was beaucoup election fraud, that they were contemplating taking on his “Jewish Atheism”, the red-scare, the voter disenfranchisement, why would he stay in the party? A lot happened between the time he made that statement and now.

      I think he was fully aware of his supporters that were Bernie or bust, he just didn’t agree with him. I canvassed, donated and phone-banked for him. I respect him tremendously, but will not vote this year. Just won’t. No $hillary, do hairball and not green. I’m done.

    2. AnEducatedFool

      Bernie is an independent again. He switched during the convention. Many of his delegates have also exited the Democratic Party. Many will work for Jill Stein.


    3. low integer

      Worryingly, the Clinton campaign is extremely vulnerable to anyone who even glances beyond the corporate media’s narrative and as far as I can see they have played all of their cards short of intimidation tactics. Of course in all probability they are already in play, and are perhaps even reaching those who would one would not immediately assume, such as the corporate press drivel writers.

      “You and your ‘colleagues’ better carry Hillary over the line in this election, or else you’ll all be working at f%@king Wallmart for the rest of your lives! If you’re lucky. What the f%@k do we need you idiots for if you can’t get us the f%@king election result we want? Find a way.”

      I would love to hear the panic and damage control conversations that is/are undoubtedly setting in/going on, though I expect they would be very disturbing.

  7. jawbone

    When I hear the perfectionists go after Bernie bcz he is doing exactly what he told voters he would dp, which is support the Dem nominee for president if he did not win the primary, I keep thinking about my friends who developed all-enveloping hate for Ralph Nader (and the Greens) after the 2000 election. All blame, from the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media), now goes to Nader* for Gore’s loss, along with digs at Gore’s “poor campaign.”

    There is barely any mention of the horrifically designed “butterfly ballot” ok’d by Theresa LePore (aka Madame Butterfly), Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections, which caused massive confusion for many voters in the area she supervised. I remember stories early in the day of people coming out from voting and realizing they’d voted for Pat Buchanan when they were sure they voted for Al Gore. And how horrible they felt, and how some tried to warn voters how had not voted yet. Too little, too late to overcome the badly designed ballot.

    I recall hearing a FL voting regulations expert saying that in order to get a recount the Dems had to certify that they had evidence a recount would change the outcome for the recount area. I’ve never heard that repeated after the very early days after the demand for a recount…interestingly, the MCM did not see that a “important” to know. So, Gore and the Dems were then labeled as not managing the recount issue correctly or well.

    Anyway, it seems that for some reason the only politician in the 2016 primaries who gives a real god damn about how the majority of people in this nation are treated is Sanders and he is being pilloried by not only the right but also the perfectionists on the left.

    Oh, dear.

    I voted in this year’s primary for Sanders, the only vote I’ve cast in ages that I felt joyful about. I hope I can find the time to work for his Revolution, have the energy and discipline to do so.

    Those of us in the lower economic quintiles do not have the money to give a lot of monetary donations, and those with several jobs stitched together to try to make a living for themselves have precious little time, but we do have the numbers to get the votes we need . If we get more people out to vote, there will be a take-over, actually a take-back, of the Dem Party.

    Also, Nader was so correct when he told us back in 1999-2000 that there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the Repubs and the Dems…. But back then I hadn’t understood how Corporatized the Dems were becoming under the DLC. Took me too damn long to figure out what was happening.

    *Which is part of the ongoing campaign to destroy the viable left which the Corporatists and their MCM minions are so good at.

  8. Deschain

    The triumphalism on display this week made me want to vomit. The Dems had better content, and better presentation, but the dark tone the Reps put on display last week was a lot more honest.

    I tend to think that all the young people who voted for Sanders – who watched him fight valiantly against a DNC that tilted the playing field as much as the law allowed (and then some) against him – and who were then told that they are rubes and idiots and losers if they don’t vote for Hillary – are a ticking time bomb. Assuming Hillary does prevail against The Self-Sabotaging Donald, when the next recession comes – 2017, 2018, 2019, it’s coming, we are due – and their hopes of any economic security at all go up in flames, the feeling of betrayal is going to be overwhelming. I think they will say: I am never voting for the Democratic Party again.

    In 1968, white Southerners, who had voted D for 100 years, felt betrayed by the end of segregation. And so they said: I am never voting for the Democratic Party again. And thus the New Deal coalition was sundered. It is the great sin of the Republican Party than they abandoned the legacy of Lincoln in order to win, and we have paid a great price for that (none more so than the African-American community). But it is the even greater sin of the Democratic party that they replied by abandoning the legacy of FDR. And the price for that has yet to be fully paid.

    The Dem Party is entirely smug in their belief that time and demographics are on their side, because they have forgotten history and the reality of political realignments. So in 2020, I think GOP will run someone who has learned from Trump, who is nicer on the outside, but who is probably nastier on the inside. He will appeal to these disillusioned, disenfranchised (now slightly older) youth and say: you have been betrayed. You have been sold out so that a few people with the right degrees from the right university could prosper. And he (and it will certainly be a he – perhaps a slightly remodeled Ted Cruz) will be right! And he will continue: I can restore your dreams. I can give you great works to accomplish. I can give you a future.

    And then he will say: I just ask one thing. One small, little thing. Put on this brownshirt, and march with me.

    1. grayslady

      Intriguing and thoughtful comment. I don’t think the rupture this year is quite equivalent to the post-civil rights law period, but only because the vast majority of the young people voting for Sanders were never Dems to begin with. Otherwise, the analogy may turn out to be prophetic. I also think what you said about abandoning the legacy of FDR may be slightly understated. The Dems actively worked to obliterate FDR’s legacy, IMO, not just abandon it. Retail workers may have replaced the farmers, factory workers and small business people of FDR’s time, but there are still a whole lot more of them, numerically, than there are of the top 10% “professional class,” the only working group that the Dems seem to be interested in. Also, by pulling in greater number of Latinos, young blacks, and young, single women than Hillary, Bernie has shown that the demographic strategy the Dems are relying on is, in fact, probably not very reliable after all.

    2. different clue

      If Trump loses, Cruz and the Cruzites will say it proves that Cruz was right all along. If Trump loses, Cruz will be the Republan nominee in 2020.

      1. Yves Smith

        No, Cruz is even more loathed by the Rs and the media by Trump, and is nowhere near as skillful in persuasion (see Scott Adam’s blog on this), which is how he’s gotten as far as he has with virtually no as spending or ground game.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        Cruz has too many people who really don’t like him in the party it seems like. In fact everyone who ran this year and badly lost to Trump seems like a bad bet for 2020 to put it mildly. It seems like everyone who was actually interested in being president on the Republican side ran this year and got beat down by Trump. They’re going to need to find someone from deep on the bench to run in 2020 if Hillary wins. I can’t even think of a promising name. Anyone?

    3. sharonsj

      It is not only the young ones. I am 72. It galls me to think that Hillary’s jacket costs as much as my annual Social Security. I’m furious that the rich pay–if they pay at all–a 13% federal income tax while working people pay 22%. And I have given up on the mainstream media, which no longer gives us the news. I bet you don’t know that Trump just got permission to hire 78 foreigners for his Palm Beach resort, even though employment agencies say they have at least a thousand local Americans who would take the jobs. The idea that Trump can bring jobs back to the U.S., while he outsources the production of his brands and hires sub-contractors knowing they in turn will hire Mexicans to do the work, is also galling. Democracy is dead and the majority of citizens don’t even know it.

    4. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      It’s not a brown shirt but Hilary has already signaled the item of clothing to be worn by members of her identity group: it’s a brassiere. It’s a very exclusive group indeed, with membership strictly controlled at the individual’s chromosome level. The war between this group and their rival group (which signals by the wearing of the jockstrap) has been raging since the dawn of time.

  9. schultzzz

    ‘heterodox’ economists such as Gar Alperovitz and Robert Wolff have advocated replacing ‘jawbs’ with worker-owned cooperatives AKA ‘workplace democracy’.

    But I’m curious, as far as ‘human rental’ goes, why do you draw the line to exclude salaried workers? Something tells me it’s more than their better dental plan, but I’m not sure what.

    Also the phrase ‘identity silos of Democratic politics’ is my new favorite phrase. Liberation through confinement!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I think that salaries are just a different form of being rented. That said, my analysis on all this is pretty broad brush. It’s not easy to fight one’s way through the flak and the chaff…

      1. different clue

        I work a bi-weekly wage job. I don’t feel as if I “am” being “rented”. I understand my working time is being either rented or bought-and-sold at so-much-money per hour in exchange for so-much-work per hour.

        Western Man does not like to give the Indian Nations credit for anything. But Indian societies figured out how to distribute the creation and consumption of goods and services throughout all the members of their societies without anyone being or feeling rented or bought or sold. So perhaps Western Man should swallow its pride and study up on how the Indian Societies solved or (even prevented-to-begin-with) that problem.

        1. Vatch

          There was a lot of cultural variety on the two American continents prior to the arrival of the Europeans. I have difficulty believing that the human sacrificing Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas had fair egalitarian societies. There may have been human sacrifice at Cahokia, too, although probably not on the same scale.

          1. craazyboy

            At least in the case of the Aztecs, human sacrifices were done when there wasn’t enough money, er, I mean goods and services, to go around. Aztec by Gary Jennings is very good read on Cortez times. It’s a novel, but was meticulously researched. My favorite way of getting history.

            I also read about a Sonoran Desert tribe that practiced cannibalism whenever drought made food and water scarce.

            It really wasn’t the good old days.

            1. Vatch

              You’re referring to the Anasazi. There’s uncertainty as to how widespread this was, but the scrapings on some of the skeletal remains are good indications that some people were eaten.

        2. Binky

          Indian nations kept slaves whom they murdered for ceremonial purposes. I don’t think going back to a golden hued vision of the noble savage is a productive model for politics today or an honest treatment of Native peoples.

  10. Carolinian

    Haven’t there already been insider accounts saying that Sanders started out as an issue candidate–that Overton Window thing–and never expected to be as successful as he was? In other words while some here claimed he was in it to win he doesn’t seem to have believed it himself. When he finally did see the possibility it was too late.

    And not to be too cynical but it’s probably too late for third parties as well. Only events will change the current dynamic. The time for the Left to get its act together was twenty years ago.

    But, as St.Clair says today, the sputtering protests at Philadelphia are one sign of hope. Perhaps we all need to get out from in front of our computers and hit the streets.

  11. Otis B Driftwood

    Our choice is coming clear: the fearmonger or the warmonger?

    Wrong construct. Instead of being confined to this horrible choice, think and act outside of the duopoly. Progressives are leaving the Democratic party for the Greens. Lots of work to do, but this is where it needs to start.

      1. Otis B Driftwood

        Anecdotal so far, Lambert. Plenty of Jill signs popped up in the Dem convention hall. And check your twitter feed for #DemExit and #JillNotHill. We’ll see how registrations look later in the year, and the voting.

        FWIW, I was a lifelong registered Democrat (over 30 years) until yesterday. So maybe that counts for something.

        1. Pookah Harvey

          To back up the anecdotal evidence, Robert Scheer on Truthdig interviewed the Whip for Bernie’s Southern Calif delegates. She said that many of her delegates are returning to Calif to campaign for Stein. It is at about 28:00

        2. thoughtful person

          I’m still registered Dem, and have voted Dem (with one exception in ~1982 Pa gov race) for every candidate that came along since then, until I refused to vote for my dem senators reelection last year in Va). Guess over 30 yrs. I did vote Sanders in the primary.

          Fwiw I plan to vote Stein in Nov
          Sadly my wife and daughter are currently for clinton

          1. optimader

            Sadly my wife and daughter are currently for clinton
            Can they explain why? just curious

      2. Kurt Sperry

        Speaking of anecdotal, my local FB Berners group is having quite the discussion right now on where to go next. Here anyway, Stein seems to be the most popular answer to that question. It’s actually an easy call here in a solid blue state, it’s pretty hard to argue that voting for Stein has any potential downsides at all. Like I just told them, if Trump wins here in deep blue Washington State, it’ll mean that he has won in a national landslide before our polls even close and our votes are counted. West coast blue state means we have a truly free vote–or none at all. I prefer to think of it as being the former.

  12. JohnnyGL

    Noteworthy as Seth Abramson provided some very good articles over the last few months of the race. I find it strange for a couple of reasons.

    1) It reinforces the media narrative of Sanders supporters having to emotionally coming to terms with the necessity of supporting Clinton.

    2) The endorsement comes down to breaking that glass ceiling for his niece, it seems.

    3) He brushes off the foreign policy disasters by saying “she’ll probably learn from those”. It looks like he’s trying to reassure himself, but without evidence.

    Well, I’ve got a different view than he does. Right now, I think I’m comfortable suffering through 4 years of Trump, if that’s what it takes to punish the Democratic Party for stomping the left and thinking they can get away with it. I’d also like to continue to reshape the Republican Party towards one that is more chilled out on social issues and is more critical of trade deals. I also suspect Trump isn’t going to be as awful on immigration as he sounds sometimes (there’s my personal baseless speculation).

    The only time I’ve really gotten creeped out by Trump was when he was calling for protestors to be ‘roughed up’. That, I found disturbing. That was the only period where I felt that fascist tinge that others have been bringing up in various outlets.

    It’s very fraught with uncertainly as to which candidate will be better/worse than expected and on what specific issues. I’m far from certain that I’m getting this right.

    1. Winston Smith

      I agree, though my vote will most likely go with Jill Stein as it will never ever go to Clinton. And despite the fact that I don’t like Trump i hope he makes it and as you say, a wake up call to the Democratic party.

      I could listen to the nonsense spouted in the Republican convention, but after about the 2nd day, I just couldn’t stand listening to the Democratic convention, I literally felt physically ill listening to Obama and Clinton.

      1. JohnnyGL

        So here’s my thing….in four years when when we’re all discontented with 4 years of Clinton corruption, wars, and broken promises, and the Republicans nominate Ted Cruz, are will going to finally break down and risk a Cruz presidency?

        How long are we going to keep going with lesser-evilism??? Eventually, we’re going to have to take a risk on the GREATER evil. :)

        I’ll take the Donald over Ted Cruz, thanks!

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      We were clearly against some very specific stuff when Bush was president: ridiculous wars, banker bailouts, warrantless spying, Big Pharma money grabs.
      Then came 8 years of the Big Con, when we were supposed to be “for” that stuff because a smooth-talking brother was doing them.
      I think a Trump presidency could reverse the polarity again.

  13. barrisj

    Here we are, ramping up for 2016 post-convention campaigning, and the Donald tenaciously holds his 40-42% polling, while HRC struggles mightily to get more than 2-3% separation…in fact, up to the DNC, she was slowly losing ground. IMHO, it’s where the male vote is going, not just white men, but some A-A and Hispanic men as well…Demo Presidential candidates haven’t won a majority of the (white) male vote in decades, and I’m willing to say that the 2016 election will see a record-low male vote going to HRC. It’s just not about men’s losses in decent jawbs, men’s loss of self-esteem, etc., it’s also today’s rather vicious sexist and misogynistic climate prevalent in American culture and reflected in voter preferences by gender…and Herr Trumpf plays into that perfectly. Hillary Clinton is the cynosure of (many) men’s collective view of women, and she in particular has for years been the subject of crude, derisive, derogatory, and shamelessly sexist parodies and “jokes”, and now here is the male voter’s chance to really pile on…not just voting against a Demo candidate for President, but a woman as well, and especially that woman. This election is going to be very close, much closer than “rationally” one would predict.

    1. Carolinian

      Contrary to your stereotyping of Hillary opponents, some of us were once her supporters in her challenge to the obviously feckless Obama. What has changed is greater realization of how the first Clinton administration screwed the country (a realization arrived at, in part, from reading blogs like this one) and her behavior as Secretary of State, where she was a disaster. And also the money grubbing speechifying was unseemly and disgusting.

      Which is to say Hillary Clinton deserves to be made fun of and if she had any self respect she’d retire from public life. Familiarity, in this case, has bred contempt. It really has nothing to do with her gender and some of us had hoped Liz Warren might give it a shot before she too proved to be a sellout.

      1. DJG

        Carolinian: Yes. I have seen much psychobabble on sexism and supposed male fears of the ultra-competent Hillary Clinton. My response is much like yours: There are plenty of women who I have voted for. Geraldine Ferraro for VP (and did she ever figure out Obama quickly). Jane Byrne (yes, and I do not regret that vote). Carol Moseley-Braun. Toni Preckwinkle. Kim Foxx.

        But there’s the weird idea in the Clinton Fan Club that somehow Hillary Clinton is the object of my special presidential-elections sexism. And I’m not to mention the dynastic politics (Bill, Hill, Obama, and crown prince Rahm). And I’m not to mention that serving as FLOTUS is no qualification for the presidency. (Or are Democrats so sexist that they wouldn’t vote for Barbara Bush! ?)

        1. P

          Don’t forget Princess Chelsea. Hillary would be “my hero” also if she got me a $600.000 a year part time job. From the WaPo:

          Life for an NBC News correspondent can be hectic. Events mess with your life. Television and the Web are demanding. Have a look at the recent work of Tom Costello, a Washington, D.C.-based correspondent for NBC News. According to Nexis, Costello:

          • On June 10 did a story for “NBC Nightly News” on the diabetes epidemic.
          • On June 10 did a story for the “Today” show on a fatal limo accident in New Jersey.
          • On June 9 did a story for “NBC Nightly News” on the New Jersey accident.
          • On June 5 did a story for “NBC Nightly News” on the General Motors safety scandal.
          • On June 4 did a story for the “Today” show on news regarding missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
          • On June 4 did a story for “NBC Nightly News” about people pointing lasers at aircraft.
          • On June 3 did a story for “NBC Nightly News” on food-borne illnesses.

          Idea established: A network correspondent job can be a nonstop experience. A Nexis byline search for “Tom Costello” on NBC News transcripts in the period since Chelsea Clinton started at NBC News fetches 413 hits. A Nexis byline search for Chelsea Clinton herself over that same time period fetches 20 hits.

          Here’s a look at some of the stuff she has done.

          She interviewed the Geico gecko, asking the little creature, “Now gecko, do people recognize you on the street?” And, “Is there a downside to all this fame?”

    2. Yves Smith

      I personally know all of one woman who will vote for Clinton. There are plenty of women who loathe her. On top of her dishonesty, they resent her lack of real accomplishments (as in basically having failed upwards) and riding on Bill’s coattails. The idea that she’s selling the idea of her Presidency as a feminist breakthrough while planning to fob off a huge part of her job, the economy, to Bill, is one of many examples.

    3. Pat

      I’m quite sure any objection to Clinton’s policies will be portrayed as sexism. They certainly were in the primaries.

      Let me very clear. I am female and a life long feminist. One of the reasons I despise Hillary Clinton is that she was so very clearly was willing to oh so moderately sell out women’s reproductive rights. Her ‘reasonable’ acceptance of limits on abortion, abstinence education are right up there with deep support of gay rights though her stated position was that marriage is between a man and a woman at least until the Supreme Court made it clear it was a legal contract and a matter of civil rights. I can go on and on about her policies, actual/stated/ever changing on the so-called identity issues where Dems supposedly have the advantage.

      But I also despise her not so ever changing policies where she waves her imaginary genitalia around to look tough. Where she bows and scrapes to the rich and powerful, where she shows repeatedly she has little or no real empathy or even intellectual interest in the least among us unless they provide her with some advantage – financial or political.

      I once said I deeply desired a woman president in my lifetime. With Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher I learned to add a qualifier and make that ‘the right woman President’. Hillary Clinton is not that woman, and it is not sexist to say it, or to point out how wrong she is on almost every level.

      That won’t stop anyone from saying it is. But I hope there are multitudes like me who just will make it clear over and over that we don’t care what your deflection is, the problem is the person and her character – not her gender.

      1. teri

        I really and truly don’t understand the “time for a woman” thing. (And I’m a woman, too.) When people say that I can only reply, “Would you vote based on hair color? Did you ever vote for a candidate because he had a penis?”

        Based on all the awe it inspires, H. Clinton’s vagina must have truly mystical, magical powers. Watching the media pundits now is like attending a re-e-e-a-a-ally long camp meeting of the Church of Crystal Blue Persuasion.

  14. Evan

    I think it’s true that Bernie Sanders had to pledge in advance to support the eventual D nominee, in order to be allowed to run as a D. He probably had to fulfill the agreement, or expect to be marginalized for the rest of his career in the Senate. At least he waited to capitulate until it was very clear that the Ds were going to stonewall him and his supporters at every step. Bernie may have been effective as an independent in the Senate, but he wouldn’t accomplish so much in the future, as a pariah. Of course that may still be the case, at least until even the D political class becomes sick to death of HRC.

    Or maybe he just believes in keeping his promises. How unusual would that be for a politician!

    Regardless, everyone knew all along that Bernie Sanders was not a Lenin or Mao. It seems unfair to blame him now, for not being that kind of revolutionary.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Absent a commitment to revolutionary violence, it’s hard to see how the campaign apparatus could be taken over other than huge numbers of small contributions. The Sanders fundraising model may be more revolutionary than it seems.

      (There’s also a big issue in making sure people really know what they’re getting into; it’s not like putting your penny into a machine and getting a gumball, after all.)

    2. fritter

      Keeping your promise to the small donors to take your fight to the convention (after they give you their hard earned money) is on par with Lenin or Mao? He could have kept all his promises, or not made any he couldn’t keep. No one expects D or R to keep any of their promises. In this case he didn’t either or he kept half his promises, unusual indeed, but that has entirely to do with the party members who enable it. No one expects HRC to be held to anything she says, which is why her approval ratings are so low. Thats before the next batch of emails come out shortly before the election. As Lambert often says the D establishment prefers to keep their place in the party intact over winning elections.

      My take away from the reporting of the convention is that the reporters who were shocked, SHOCKED that the Sanders delegates didn’t all roll over immediately might actually believe their own propaganda. I mean, Bernie told them it was ok to through all their values out the window just this one time. In the end he and the DNC may have done the most to get Trump elected. How ironic.

      1. Evan

        Maybe you’re right. I was a small donor to Sanders too, and I’m certainly not happy with the outcome of the convention. It’s possible he just got tired, discouraged, caved and threw it away. But IMO, an indictment was Bernie’s only hope for getting the nomination, and Comey, et al, took care of that. Symbolism means something, but he knew he wasn’t going to win the nomination. It’s also possible that Bernie was implicitly coerced, or explicitly threatened (with bogus arrests and charges, violence or other retaliation against his delegates and supporters at the convention, or ???).

        Probably the only way to understand Bernie’s decision will be in hindsight. We’ll see what he says and does going forward in the near future. I doubt he will become a Hillary surrogate in any case.

  15. Marco

    Regarding the Case-Deaton paper suggesting an “AIDS-level” event. I’m curious if a radical movement promulgating tactics similar to ACT-UP could be nurtured (I mean all out balls-to-the-wall radical) that directly makes the case that neoliberalism is killing us…and act accordingly. Perhaps that’s a stretch for most people? I know of 3 people who HAVE health insurance via the exchanges but really can’t afford to USE it (myself included). The health insurance companies were prime targets for ACT-UP.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Oooh, interesting point on the insurance companies. I think ACT-UP is the great erased narrative of direct action. Why not follow those who succeeded?

    2. Marco

      The challenge is connecting the dots in people’s minds because it is a little more complicated then “OMG I have AIDS and I’m gonna die in a year!!” Rentier economic entities (FIRE sector) and globalization teaming up to reduce our middle and working-class communities into third-world enclaves. It’s hard to see gay men who managed to survive the AIDS crisis…and be able to enjoy the fruits of marriage equality and yet still can’t find a steady job or keep a decent roof over their head. So we are back full circle again. No social justice without economic justice.

    3. Yves Smith

      I doubt it. First, politically active gays (particularly back then) lived overwhelmingly in a few cities. That not only made organizing easier, but more important, getting media attention, since the media is right there. Second, gays in those cities had straight friends and allies. Third, many gays are affluent and are meaningful political donors (David Geffen, Barry Diller, on the high end).

      By contrast, poor white communities don’t exist as far as the MSM is concerned, and they are too small individually to be a factor. How do you organize across geographies, particularly when you have no money?

      1. dk

        All valid points, but making the attempt might reap some lessons on what works and what doesn’t.

        The ACT-UP activists were well located and it was easier to develop resources, but initially small in number. They made it work against significant obstacles, but it took a long time to build and achieve success.

        One has to start somewhere. Poor communities are plentiful and large. Coordination will be difficult, but it’s not the first task. Awareness can be raised, I think an important initial step is to generate a concise identification of the victims and the problems (as Marco mentions). Self-identification is a first step towards recognition by others. Symbols and slogans spread and resonate, even without media/marketing support; take the old 60’s peace ☮ and black power ✊symbols, for examples. (WordPress didn’t render the fist as I intended :p)

        And of course, some among us that are better off need to step up, too.

        As I’m thinking it.. Would more experienced Black, Hispanic and Native American organizers be willing to help the poor white communities organize, and collaterally defy the racial identities used to divide the economically oppressed?

  16. PeonInChief

    One error: Bernie lost several elections in the 1970s, sometimes by yuuge margins.

    I live in California, so I don’t have to vote for her. I don’t know whether or not I’ll vote for her, but the treatment of Bernie’s delegates did not make me feel warm and fuzzy toward the Dems.

  17. Jack Heape

    I was a Sanders supporter. I gave money to him every month. And I could understand why he said what he did in the beginning about supporting Clinton if he lost. What I cannot understand is why he endorsed her after the conclusive proof of the emails being released showing that the party and Clinton had rigged the primary against him from the start. That was a betrayal in my mind. I had to wonder exactly what the Dems were offering him or what they had on him for him to do that after the email revelation?

    I think Chris Hedges summed it up best and perhaps provided an insight into why Sanders did what he did;

    “No doubt the Democrats will continue to let Sanders be a member of the Democratic Caucus. No doubt the Democrats will continue to agree not to run a serious candidate against him in Vermont. No doubt Sanders will be given an ample platform and media opportunities to shill for Clinton and the corporate machine. No doubt he will remain a member of the political establishment.

    Sanders squandered his most important historical moment. He had a chance, one chance, to take the energy, anger and momentum, walk out the doors of the Wells Fargo Center and into the streets to help build a third-party movement. His call to his delegates to face “reality” and support Clinton was an insulting repudiation of the reality his supporters, mostly young men and young women, had overcome by lifting him from an obscure candidate polling at 12 percent into a serious contender for the nomination. Sanders not only sold out his base, he mocked it. This was a spiritual wound, not a political one. For this he must ask forgiveness.”

    I don’t I am being a perfectionist by demanding an apology. To endorse Clinton after those emails came out was a betrayal of everything he said he stood for in my mind. But like Hedges said, perhaps he wants to remain a member of the establishment and get re-elected. Certainly if he had walked out or ran 3rd party he would have been a pariah to the Democrats. But I can’t help but still believe if he had ran as 3rd party (taking the mantle as the Green Party nominee) he would have had a very good chance of winning. Certainly most independents would have voted for him. That is why he won all the states where independents were allowed to vote in the primary. They were not voting for him because he was a Democrat but because he was seen as a change agent. And certainly some Republicans would vote for him because of Trump, as well as some Democrats because of their dislike of Clinton (like me; I detest her).

    But Sanders blew his chance. Now we have to wait for the next revolutionary to come along. I hope Trump wins so the whole Potomac Palace gets torn down. Then maybe there is a leader out there who will wise up and LEAD the revolution. WE can only hope.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Hedges is a Presbyterian minister. I’d as soon take him seriously on power relations in the political class as I would take, oh, Bono. I give him high marks for sincerity but that, and a dollar, will get you a cup of coffee.

      FWIW, since Hedges, you, and I are all speculating, I think the “horse’s head in the bed” scenario is far more likely than that he wants to “remain a member of the establishment.” After all, he’s still an Independent; if he wanted to go the whole way he would have become a full-fledged Democrat.

      Does anybody have one single shred of evidence that Sanders would have successfully as a Green? That the Green party apparatus was remotely competent to run such a venture? Any polling? Anything to believe that the flatlined Greens of 2007-2015 would be able to become functional? A fund-raising apparatus? Precedents for success? Surrogates as powerful as Nina Turner? That he would have gotten any press coverage at all? That he would have gotten into the debates? It’s just more cargo cult politics, just this time from the GP and not the DP. I understand the line the GP is taking on this, but it is, exactly and only, a party line.

      1. Uahsenaa

        To play devil’s advocate, the one thing the Green Party has going for it in this regard is a ballot line in several states and pre-existing organization for getting signatures to get on the ballot where they aren’t. Since this is one of the very few things the Greens do every four years, they can at least be relied on for that, and the Sandernistas could provide needed manpower.

        That said, the likely result would be a three way split, with some electoral votes for a GP Sanders in states he completely rolled Clinton in (e.g. Washington), but no one candidate with the magic number. That puts things in the House’s hands, which would produce an obvious result.

        My own 2p: it makes more sense to try and take over state parties and then their legislatures. Erode the machine from below.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > Sandernistas could provide needed manpower.

          Hmm. Not sure how attractive that proposition is. And of course, they’ll have to find the GP meeting first….

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I think the Greens are just utterly and completely identity-locked to an issue that is just NOT a vote-getter: global warming.
        “It’s really hot. So what? Doing anything about it sounds really expensive. And besides, I like driving my car”. The line from cause to effect is just too long for people to grasp, let alone rally behind solutions.
        Compared to trade: “I lost my job because they moved the factory to Mexico; that man with the funny hair says he wants to do something about it”.

        1. jrs

          yea the response to this is that someday someone is going to have to level with people about environmental problems whether or not they seem to have the ability to grasp them.

          Although there are alternatives I suppose: 1) mass die off with possible human extinction, not one finger lifted to attempt to stop it even by small measures – ie mitigation and preparation 2) elites finally get on the geoengineering bandwagon and somehow it actually works to some degree. But our elites frankly seem too delusional and stupid to live or even care about their or their children’s survival to any real degree.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            We already pass the financial “hot potato” to our kids and grandkids with glee, seems we’re happy to pass this other kind of “hot potato” along to them too.

      3. EndOfTheWorld

        I think it would have been really cool if he had just quit talking to everybody, press included, all dems included, after it was established the nomination had been stolen fair and square by Hill. Nobody will ever beat Bernie in Vermont, no matter what. He’s ready to retire, anyway, I assume. So why give a BS speech endorsing a BS candidate at a BS convention. Stupid.

        1. teri

          He could have made a righteous stink about those DNC emails, at the least. Since he didn’t and endorsed her – not only endorsed, but called for her to be nominated by acclamation on the convention floor (dear god!) – nobody is talking about the content of those emails, only about how “Russia is manipulating our elections”. What the emails actually prove, of course, is that the DNC is manipulating our elections.

          And no-one in the media will talk about it.

      4. optimader

        I think the “horse’s head in the bed” scenario
        I wonder what that means in reality? There is a big psychological investment in the belief of a scenario that his behavior is a result of threat to life, limb family.

        At 74, I believe my response would be either to immediately punch out of the political scene without comment, literally no comment, or immediately calling a press conference to expose the threat. Endorsing a candidate that screwed me would not be a likely scenario.
        Ultimately, who knows?..but “keeping his word” so he can caucus w/ the D? mmm…seems pretty quaint and ultimately what’s the point, he’s a traitor that embarrassed them.

      5. Katharine

        Of course we’re all speculating! What else could we be doing without much more abundant information? And even when we have more, we’ll still be seeing it through individual lenses, so we’ll still be speculating, just a bit more intelligently.

        While I might accept your assessment of Presbyterian analysis of power relations, I would note that they, and some other denominations, have sometimes been surprisingly effective in social movements. I’m not sure how much of that success depended on analysis, but I doubt it could have happened if they were wholly incapable of good analysis.

    2. m

      A vote for Hill-Bill would be bad for sure. For me it’s Trump, for comedy, revolution and the whole thing seems like a joke. I feel as dejected and drained as Bernie. If we all don’t stop these people we will slowly devolve to third world for many people.
      Well Hillary did lie to congress during that Libya hearing. We can hound reps about clinton foundation fraud. Start to monitor local elections & file suits either open primaries or stop using tax payers money.

    3. Patricia

      If I remember correctly, Sanders intoned ‘reality’ as a reminder that we are two-party rather than parliamentary, nearly nilling third-party value. He didn’t suggest his supporters were politically out of reality and he has never told them who to vote for.

      The delegates have been in grief/anger with Sanders’ capitulation, but they didn’t go off in a huff because betrayal. Some stayed to the end and irritated Clinton during her speech. The rest protested. They are gracious to Sanders because they recognize that he sparked the necessary fire, and they understand that they are the revolutionaries now. We all are, Jack; you too. And FWIW, Sanders himself said this.

  18. Sluggeaux

    November is quite far away. We will have the gladiatorial combat Clinton-Trump Debates. We will no doubt have more e-mail hacks, possibly showing one or both legacy candidates to be the traitors we suspect them both to be. Meanwhile, we will experience more gun trauma at home and more random slaughter abroad — perpetrated by agents of the state and sociopathic individuals in no particular proportion.

    I do think that Bernie only intended to start a revolution. He has exposed the rapacious corruption of the Democrat nomenklatura for all but the monopoly media to see. It remains to be seen where the revolution goes from here.

    The outcome in November? Events, my dear boy, events.

  19. Pat

    Politics as game play. Not really on topic, but interesting to me nonetheless.

    Just for your comparison here is Deadline.Com on the ratings for the last night of the Democratic Convention:

    Here is Esquire:

    Now CNN, contrary to the Esquire article, has the final night of the RNC convention winning in the ratings.

    Interestingly enough pretty much everyone has the previous nights of the Democratic Convention topping the corresponding nights of the Republican convention. Takeaway, people were more interested in the Democratic lineup than the Republican one, but were also more interested in what Trump had to say than what Hillary did. Make of it what you will.

  20. Jim

    “And so taking kitchen table issues seriously would require addressing power imbalances between capital and labor.”

    My deepest hope is that such kitchen discussions are beginning to deal concretely with the question of such imbalances and what can be done about it ( a primitive first step are possibly the Sanders and Trump movements).

    Such(political/economic) kitchen discussions are really forms of private insurgency which will continue to become increasingly serious as economic/cultural conditions continue to deteriorate.

    These types of private insurgency discussions also tend to generate few historical records and in a way are almost pre-political.

    On the one hand it is probably the case that most kitchen planners will grow old around the table dreaming of revolution and no one but intelligence agencies will take notice of their existence.

    But on the other hand, such kitchen discussions, if increasingly taking place across the country, may represent the rare moment before a genuine social movement becomes public, historical and serious both strategically and tactically.

  21. Pat

    This is on target:–abc-news-topstories.html

    We knew that was the strategy. But it will be interesting to see who they court and where they court those anti-Trump Republicans. I’m not so sure these will be the people who are huddled around a kitchen table wondering how they are going to keep food on the table, and keep the table too. But I’m sure Hillary will listen carefully to their concerns. and depending on the down payment might even seek to address them.

    1. Vatch

      Clinton is using Kaine to lure one faction of Republicans, and Trump is using Pence to lure another faction of Republicans. Neither seems to be doing anything substantial that will attract Sanders supporters.

      1. Michael

        I actually think both are trying.

        I think Hillary is making a real effort to seem more left, but there is so much condescension towards lefties in the party– because, the Ds are no actually a left-leaning party, that it is difficult. Hillary has been largely on message from what I can tell, but the actions speak louder than words- the stuff that didn’t make it into the platform and the way Sanders’ delegates were treated at the DNC, plus the DNC e-mails, speak so much louder than anything Hillary can say.

        Trump is trying too. He just endorsed a $10 minimum wage in a press conference, a complete flip-flop of what he said in the primaries. Of course, just like Hillary, we cannot take anything he says for truth. But his anti-TPP stance is a progressive stance on what in my opinion is the single most important issue facing the country. Unfortunately, it will be passed in the lame duck session.

        That Trump press conference had many moments where I was nodding right along, but it does get gross when he starts talking about immigrants or police or any of the issues the Dems are- in words (not actions of course) right about.

        I can’t vote for either candidate, but if Trump started talking about Chelsea Manning as a true patriot and both letting him out of jail and Snowden come back– rewarding instead of imprisoning the whistleblowers, I’d probably vote for him, just for the sake of Manning, which I admit is a sappy and romantic position akin to negotiating with kidnappers, but nonetheless I’d do it.

  22. Rob

    I have a fundamental, all-encompassing, “simple” solution to income inequality: a federal law that mandates “Within a single business entity, whether for profit, nonprofit or governmental, there shall be a total compensation spread of no greater than 10%* between the most highly compensated employee and the lowest-compensated employee.”

    That would mean that if the CEO is making $1M a year, the janitor will make $100K a year. This would serve as a brake, a governor (in mechanical engine terms) on the speed of wealth acquisition by the very top classes. The economic gains and futures of every single person within every single business would now — by law — have explicit common cause. This would be a net gain for society and for our economy.

    I know people say this is too difficult to do because it would be too complex to enact. Really? CNN Money tells me there are 73,954 pages in the Federal Tax Code. So sure, let’s talk about complexity.

    *or 12%, or 15%, or 18%, or 20% … whatever. Discussions.

    1. Yves Smith

      We’ve advocated something like that, but they’ll just turn everyone into contractors or more more jobs overseas, or move more corporate functions to third-party vendors.

  23. Ping

    First: I can never ever regurgitate a vote for Clinton.

    I view those who vote for her and the establishment dem party as those who have not pulled back the curtain of stagecraft to understand what she represents. I believe ultimately a horrific confrontation with Russia (as her neocon tribe’s Syrian proxy conflict as massive humanitarian fallout has been)…..

    I can see no other conclusion other than America is headed for the consequences of empire out of control….if it occures by Trump or Clinton…

    I am deeply offended by the Dem convention’s touting of “American Exceptionalism” the faulty delusions that have perpertuated much propoganda that we have the right to dominate and impose ravenous exteractive strategies on the rest of the world under guise of high minded principles *demorcracy and human rights*. Yea right…..

    They are CLUELESS. It’s the same cluelessness that induced HRC to tout HENRY KISSENGER (bonifide profiteer war criminal) as an admiring mentor and that battleaxe Madelyn Albright and dinosour Gloria Steinham as feminist ideals. OMG!!!!

    I’m giving Bernie a pass. He exhausted himself but provided a spark.

    I’m NOT giving Eliz Warren a pass in endorseing HRC. She seemed absolutely giddy as being publicized as of being considered as VP which was ALWAYS just a theatrical pander to progressives….


  24. ScottTx

    I think your second point concerning Sanders is entirely incorrect.

    “The contradictions are open and visible for all to see. In part one, the “struggle of the people” (bottom up). In part two, “we need leadership” (top down). In part one, the top 1% vs. the bottom 90% (class based). In part two, “the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor” (class erased, replaced by the silos of Democrat identity politics). In part one’s problem statement, the power imbalance between capital and labor is directly addressed; in part two, it is erased.”

    I think he is entirely correct in saying that in order to correct the problems identified in your first point, leadership is required. Who do you think is in the lower 90% if not those exact groups of people in your “silos of Democratic identity politics?”

    1. Yves Smith

      Huh? There are billionaire gays. blacks and women (probably Hispanics too but I can’t think of any off the top of my head); black, gay, Hispanic, and female CEOs and top professionals. You are really eyewashing, as Tom Frank described long form in Listen, Liberal, that the Dems are the party of the professionals and technocrats, and they use identity politics to scare out groups into following them, at best offering hand waves and thin gruel. For instance, Clinton didn’t mention a single pro-reprodctive choice word in her speech and Kaine is anti-abortion. In Clinton, we have someone who is owned by Wall Street and Google pretending to be an advocate of the 90%.

  25. Faye Carr

    I’m just waiting for Bernie to be “dissapeared” by the establishment. Not killed mind you, that’s unnecessary these days, but rather like Denis Kuchnich after the ACA Air Force One ride. No MSM coverage, etc.

    He was useful. Gave all us “lefties” a reason to participate, engage in the system, donate.
    I don’t think they even want the emails. Pfft $27

  26. grizziz

    Thanks for the analysis, Lambert. You’ve done a great service.

    I read her speech and found this interesting display of neo-liberal tinkering with political process:

    I believe that our economy isn’t working the way it should because our democracy isn’t working the way it should.

    It at least admits to the idea that the economy is a subset of politics and that the economy is subject to laws, regulations and norms. It is also a small d democracy which indicates a political philosophy with a universal (global) context instead of our US Democracy. The wording has that feel of a two different machines not synchronized and definitely not an organic or social process.
    She goes on to the next sentence with her technical fix being the installation of Supreme Court Justices who will get money out of politics. Which sounds like a good thing in it own right, would likely take years for a case to make it to the court, does nothing to rectify the current and past rents which were extracted and hoarded, and might not get our economy working the way it should. Taking “should” as the same categorical imperative as the Kantian “ought.” Time will tell.

  27. Jay

    I don’t understand Sanders actions. You are basically a old guy at the end of your career and a “backbencher” of the “backbencher” party (Dems) in a despicable shithole institution (Senate) in a despicable shithole government governed by a despicable shithole crapstitution. Why not tell the Democrats to go fuck themselves (especially after the DNC emails) and make it your swan song?

      1. Jay

        Isn’t Sanders screwed in the Senate anyway. If Trump wins, it would seem only by very high Republican (anti-Democratic Party) turnout which, I assume, would preclude the Democrats from taking over the Senate. Minorty Status equals no fun. If Clinton wins and takes over the party, won’t Bernie be on the Clinton Enemies List? Is HIllary really going to forgive him for running against her worship and saying all those nasty things? Being marginalized in the Senate by the DemoRats does not sound like fun either. So if Bernie doesn’t run in 2018, what has he gained by “wimping-out”? Seat warming for 2 years? Doesn’t he get tired of giving useless speeches, but then always capitulating in the end (the usual Sanders MO)?

        1. aab

          He has achieved quite a bit in the Senate as an independent, so your closing dig is uncalled for.

          I would hope he realizes if Clinton wins she’ll marginalize him and launch a mighty red scare against the left. I presume the Clintons really did threaten him somehow, as his affect changed in July way more than “I lost a rigged primary” would explain; but I have no proof.

          I’m guessing he does figure that the best way to protect the left is to not inflame corporate Democratic hatred further by helping the Green Party. Or maybe it’s simpler: sore loser laws preclude him being able to get on enough ballots to win, as would running as a Green (would sore loser laws impact being on another party’s ticket?)

          Meanwhile, he has actually worked effectively with Republicans in the past. There’s some solid opposition to the TPP from otherwise crackpot racist Republican Senators. While I doubt he’s rooting for a Trump Presidency, he could conceivably help stop the TPP and get a Chairmanship from the Republicans*, if the Democrats freeze him out. Personally, I’d enjoy that.

          *Yes, I understand that the Senate majority is a different thing than the Presidency. But even if Clinton wins, she’s doing it with Republican votes, and they won’t cross over for other Democrats. If Trump wins, I assume the Senate stays Republican. I don’t see hordes of leftist voters voting Stein, Johnson or Trump and then obediently voting corporate Democrat down ticket.

          1. Jay

            Frankly, I having trouble thinking of a single major “achievement” by the whole US Senate for countless years (let alone Sanders). “Achievement” here being lefty economically oriented stuff actually passed. Isn’t the Senate where “Progressive Legislation Goes To Die”?

    1. oh

      It’s simple. He’s a coward and enjoys the role he plays in the Senate. He sucked in a lot of people and sold them down the river. Now, with his betrayal and the betrayal of O before him, people will be very reluctant to believe anyone who espouses left wing causes. So sad.

  28. Pat

    Something that I think has to be added to the discussion of inequality and neoliberal policy attitudes is the recent defense of welfare reform by both Clintons. It was a good policy it was just implemented wrong by Republicans. With this added caveat of Hillary’s that welfare reform was going to be enacted by the Republican Congress it was just a matter of one with promise and one without. (Please note the convenient lapse of the ability of the President to veto things.)

    Even as welfare reform was being passed, the one with the promise, people were warning the Democrats and President Bill Clinton that it was going to work exactly as it did. Meanwhile the surrogates, including Hillary, were out selling it hard – not fighting it. This was no failure of a good policy abused, it functioned exactly as it was designed. Yet, many in our privileged class buy the Clinton cock and bull because their children are still part of the half that ISN’T in living in poverty.

    Here’s the thing, much of America has been looking for green shoots and recovery since the recession of Clinton’s tech boom, some even longer. They haven’t gotten it. More families have slipped into poverty in the last sixteen years. The crash was even harder on them. And a lot of the folks that were fine with welfare reform are now dreading the next food stamp cut led on by Democrats as well as Republicans. Hillary Clinton now deigns to notice them, along with Barack Obama, and says just some more time. Some of those people are in denial, but many have gotten that the system no longer works by and large for regular people who have worked hard and largely done the right things but were too stupid and unlucky not to be born to the right parents or actually moral enough not to want to rip off their neighbors. And the question in November is whether there are enough who are willing to roll the dice with the guy who seemed to notice without having to be hit over the head by a 2X4 of an old jewish guy almost beating them, or they live in denial a little longer and buy the fear and the PR spin of one of the people who helped rig the system. It will not last another eight years, it probably won’t last another four.

    I don’t know for sure who is going to win in November. I just know one thing. The tide is coming in no matter how much the Democrats might not want it too. And while I know that Clintons and most of their closest ‘friends’ will be looking to cash in as much as possible before change is unavoidable, the majority of the political class really needs to figure out very quickly that if they don’t learn to surf that wave of change they will be swept away by a tsunami.

    And no one is going to buy the excuses of “they made me do it” while everyone finger points at the other party.

  29. ChiGal

    Wonderful piece, Lambert, ty. I remember watching him when he moved to suspend the rules in favor of acclamation and posting here, “so, so sad…”

    I will share this post far and wide for its laserlike-focus and lucidity.

    My only quibble is with your characterization of the 2nd half of Sanders’s speech about which you say “class erased” – but working people and poor are mentioned.

    What makes that identity politics and not class struggle, just the rest of the list?

    Or is this a matter of nomenclature, me being kind of a babe in learning about this stuff?

  30. craazyman

    I don’t want to work hard. What am I, crazy? Fuk No. I want to lay around and waste time, doing ither nothing, or something of my own choosing — like watching Lana Del Rey videos on YouTube.

    What is all this BS about “hard working Americans”. What is this, election season? These hard work yada yadas sound like political speeches. The only work is listening to them

    Who the hell wants to word hard except a nutjob? You might put effort into something that inspires you and it might be a lot of effort — but that’s not working hard.

    Working hard is doing dumb shlt for an asswhole because you need a paycheck, getting spiritually molested and then going home and wreaking havoc on your family cuz of the stress, and not getting paid enough. That’s “working hard”.

    You might think it’s a religion, that working hard is a form of noble suffering, and that by suffering “working hard” you can become a saint. Saint Anonymous — that’s you. But you still think in your own private mind “I’m a saint of hard work”. Not really. You’re just crazy. And Delusional. Subservient. Demeaned. Denigrated. Disgraced. Disspirited, Depressed. Elided, Exhausted. Eleeomysenarily excommunicated.. Fukked. Fragmented. Fractured. Fistulated. Gainsayed. Gutted. Harrassed. Harried. hypocrasied (I made that up), Hammered. Indentured. Incontinenced (I didn’t completely make that up), Irritated, Jerked around, etc. . . . you can go to “z” if you want

    Why work hard? it seems ridiculous. Laying around and doing nothing unless you want to — that’s the best way. Then it isn’t work. It’s something else. But it “works” even better than “work”.

    How can anybody disagree with this? That would be a lot of work. hahahahaah Unless somebody is naturally disputatious, but then they’d find out they’d be working a lot more than they imagined, if they tried to argue. They’d get a taste of the futility of ‘work’ and they’d figure it out. Even them. You have to believe in the possibility of revelation, even for somebody like that, or it’s all just work — everywhere.

    1. jrs

      A captialist’s job is to get as much work out of as little pay as possible, a workers job is to get as much pay out of as little work as possible. Post-capitalism, when the 99s own and control the means of production, I don’t know. But that’s how class relations are in capitalism, and anyone who doesn’t see it is just a tool. Working for one’s own goals is different of course.

      Yea they might go home and take it out on their family, a shame, but easy as we work too hard to even strive to be good and practice loving kindness.

  31. flora

    Great post. The Dem establishment says they don’t believe in discriminating on the basis of characteristics that are a condition of birth (race, sex, ethnicity). That’s good. Human gifts and ambition should not be circumscribed by the condition of one’s birth. Does that make the Dem establishment liberal? They seem to believe in discriminating on the basis of income, education and credentials, on the basis of economic class. I hear too many bogus arguments that all “working class people are lesser, bad, morally suspect, and not worth the effort.” The Dem establishment avoids the topic of structural economic disenfranchisement, the removal of livelihood, choking off the prospects of huge swathes of the electorate and their children, a disenfranchisement caused by the Dem estab’s neoliberal economic policies. Then the Dem estab blames the victims of their “enlightened” globalist policies as unworthy people too stupid to understand. Blaming the victims is an easy out for the globalists. Is the Dem establishment liberal? Or are they a new sort of bigot?

    Good for Sanders and his campaign. I can only guess that the Dem estab threatened to defund a vitally important safety net program unless he and Nina Turner and others didn’t challenge the neolib programs on offer.

  32. Fred

    In the chart titled, “Cumulative change in real hourly wages—“, the wages have been corrected using BLS inflation data, which is entirely appropriate. However, what if the BLS inflation numbers are manipulated and the real inflation has been greater than the BLS claims?

    Suppose, for example, that the real inflation rate has been annually 1% higher than the BLS numbers. Then, over 30 years (ignoring compounding), the middle wage has fallen by 24% instead of rising by 6%. Now we really know why people are upset.

    The website gives perspective on the real inflation rate

    1. Yves Smith

      Shadowstats is not reliable. While Williams does do a very fine job of documenting how various statistical measures have changed over time, his alternate measures are deeply flawed. Having said that, a 0.5% to 1% correction is not a bad proxy. The changes made in the Greenspan era to lower reported CPI (to reduce increases in Social Security payments) was estimated then to lower reported inflation by 0.5%. The argument made, natch. was that CPI overstated inflation.

      1. Fred

        We can quibble over the numbers, but minor errors in the inflation (and unemployment) rates do not explain why so many people are willing to vote for guys like Trump and Sanders.

        1. abynormal

          more people are living the numbers. in the 90’s, some people were getting divorced so an ill partner could get medical treatment. some gulf war vets were standing in line for garbage bags of groceries for their families. some families living apart for jobs. today there’s more than ‘some’ involved in the devastation. deep down these voters know the standards they relied on will not return and their children’s opportunities have dwindled to nothing but debt they never incurred.

          many see themselves as long overdue revolutionists. personally, i admire them and fear for them. the next four years will be rude and painful to witness…and everyone will be in the game.

        2. Mike McMack

          Fred, its gotten so bad, Im praying: ANYONE, please, but another Clinton or another Bush. Anyone.

      2. Mike McMack

        I don’t believe the Williams numbers are as flawed as you hint at, Yves. Ive had many long debates with colleagues on this very topic. My argument: take a dozen or two things you need that have American labor in them. Price those things in 2000, then again in 2016. See what number you end up with. That is a ‘common sense’ approach to inflation that doesn’t contain the ridiculous adjustments the BLS applies. E.g. substitution and hedonics. You’d be surprised at what you end up with. It’s not 1% higher than the published numbers. A clip of what I did: I priced a well on my property to water the lawn in 2000, it was about 3,500.00. The same well two years ago was over 9,000.00. And, with cheaper equipment. We had complete brakes on my wifes car in 1999, 4 new rotors, and all new brakes at the dealer, the price was just under 350.00 (expensive at the time). The SAME job on my similar honda, today, just under 860.00. We had our house painted in 1997, 4,300.00 a very expensive paint job at the time. The same paint job today is just under 10,000.00. In year 2000, we paid nothing out of pocket for health insurance. Nothing. Only a 20.00 co-pay for office visits. Today, we’re paying about 15,000.00 out of pocket for our PORTION of the premiums, thousands of dollars in out of pocket before any benefits kick in, on top of the premiums, and 10 to 15% of all tests, which have all gone up in price wildly. And, see what 30.00 gets you in your grocery basket. I don’t see 2-3% inflation here. Or even 6 to 8%.

  33. Roland

    Trump might have said, “I’m the only one,” but at least he knows where the buck stops.

    Clinton’s “we together” stuff translates to, “if I fail, then it’s your fault.”

    I think that Clinton’s megalomania is much worse than Trump’s ego. Clinton really does seem to think that she somehow mystically embodies everything from the Founding Fathers, to FDR, to the local fire department.

    Trump might be full of Trump, but at least he seems to be aware that first person singular and the second person plural are not the same thing.

    Regarding the Wall St. bankers and Pentagon brass (three dozen generals and admirals!) gathered to endorse her nomination, I think it is merely stating a fact to say that Hillary Clinton definitely represents the things that are worst about the United States in our time.

    1. anonymous

      Clintons in a nutshell: plausible deniability and political expediency, the worst kind of sleaze

  34. anonymous

    Lambert, buddy. Hey, in otherwise intelligent, well written articles, there’s one small gripe. Please understand that our language traditionally does not say Democrat (sic) Party or Democrat (sic) principles. The time honored correct usage is Democratic Party or Democratic principles. By using the former, you sound exactly like the morons in the Tea Party or the blowhards on Fox News. Whether intentional or not, writing in this fashion, for me, detracts greatly from your otherwise cogent posts.
    Me? Neither Democrat nor Republican (bemused and amused spectator of the Grand Spectacle)

    1. Yves Smith

      Lambert has stated more than once that he is choosing quite deliberately to use that moniker and has explained why. And after the e-mail evidence of the DNC being totally in the tank for Hillary, against DNC rules, and the considerable evidence of election fraud in New York and California, the Democrats can’t be presented as having such an elevated reputation that the warrant the level of respect your caviling suggests.

  35. BradK

    soft inverted totalitarianism of low expectations

    A beautiful turn of phrase, along with an apt epitaph for this administration.

    Reminds me of the old Bart Simpson T-shirts “Underachiever and proud of it” that schools banned students from wearing in class. If you can’t toe the party line you have no business expressing yourself.

  36. mrtmbrnmn

    The Candidate of Yesteryear, Hillary’s base was/is the deeply corrupt and dishonest Wall Street/War Street/Washington DC Axis of Evil, buttressed by the over-60 crowd of African Americans, who voted 99% for Obama, seem to imagine Bill & Hillary marched with Martin Luther King and remain almost deaf, dumb & blindly loyal to the Democratic party no matter what; and middle class white women of a certain age, who recall fervently and nostalgically fighting for feminism in the 60s and 70s and want to see a woman president in their lifetime, no matter who. And her war cry is sooo 1959: The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!

    The Bernie Rebellion, hopefully not dispersed to the winds by his sad skedaddle before the finish line, was a solid majority of the under 50 voters, that is to say…the future.

    Trump, on the other side, is solid with the folks who have no future…

    What a revoltin’ development this turned out to be…!!

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