By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Back in September, at least, Bernie Sanders was the most popular politician in America:
Recent polling, in fact, shows Sanders might actually be the most popular national politician in the United States right now.
While Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump register as the most unpopular presidential nominees ever, there remains a real fondness for the guy Clinton beat in the primary. A Fox News poll last month showed Sanders’s 60 percent favorable rating was nearly twice as high as his 34 percent unfavorable rating. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll around the same time showed 51 percent liked Sanders and just 29 percent disliked him. CNN a few weeks prior pegged the split at 59/35..
Those numbers make Sanders not only more popular than Trump and Clinton but also more popular than a resurgent President Obama. A new Internet-based YouGov poll has Sanders more popular than the president’s very popular wife, Michelle Obama. Vice President Biden and other national figures such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) also come up short. So does former president Bill Clinton, who has seen his own numbers dip alongside his wife’s.
As Mother Jones put it a month later: “Bernie Sanders is super popular.” Teen Vogue points out:
This is made even more remarkable by the fact that Sanders has for years openly called himself and his ideas socialist — a brand of politics that many Americans are either unfamiliar with or strongly dislike.
And it’s hard to believe that Sanders’ popularity will have waned, given the post-election shenanigans by Trump and Clinton. (Imperial purple? Really?)
So what’s up with Sanders these days? And what’s up with the organizations that spun off from his campaign? Oddly, or not, there’s very little coverage of those topics. (Politico, for example, covers the stop in Boston, but not the tour as such.) So in this post, I’m going to lay out what I was able to find in a few hours of online research; I’m not making any claim that this material will be exhaustive, because that doesn’t seem to be possible right now. I’m going to start out by aggregating reports on the Sanders book tour, supplemented with a little material on other Sanders events. Then I’ll look at the one of the two spin-offs from the Sanders campaign: Our Revolution; unsurprisingly, it gets virtually no coverage either. Yes, this is a little sketchy, but sketchy is what’s out there right now, at least as far as what makes it into our famously free press. Readers are, of course, invited to chime in, especially about local organizing in their area, but also if you went to one of the events!
The “Our Revolution” Book Tour
Here’s some basic background:
[Sanders’] 464-page hardcover book jumped to No. 3 on Amazon’s 100 best-sellers list the day before it was released and graced the No. 1 spot on the official day of its publication.
If you are interested in getting involved and seeing Bernie Sanders talk about his new book, there are 17 stops in all that will be included on his tour. Some will include meet-and-greets and some will feature discussions. On November 29 in Los Angeles, for instance, Bernie will be in conversation with Sarah Silverman…
It would have been nice to have had an online map of all the tour stops, but I couldn’t find one. The publisher’s listing is miserably inadeqate. This list is not complete. So I’m going to summarize reports from the tweive (of seventeen) cities I was able to find coverage for. (Sadly, most of the stories were announcements of the upcoming event, not reports on the event). I’m not going to worry about what Sanders said; after all, he always says the same thing! Rather, I’ll look at “advance”-type information, especially crowd size. My goal is to find out whether Sanders can still draw an enthusiastic crowd. Many of the events were organized in conjunction bookstores. Many were on college campuses. Tickets were sold, though prices varied. Sometimes the price included a copy of Our Revolution. The events were not signings; Sanders came to speak on the book, or discuss it. Here are the reports I could find, in alphabetical order by city:
Baltimore, MD: “Several hundred people have reserved seats for a free Johns Hopkins University symposium… The symposium and overflow rooms have reached capacity and organizers are no longer accepting reservations” [Baltimore Sun]. “The size of the line to get into Shriver Hall on the Johns Hopkins University campus looked a lot like the days when Sanders held presidential campaign rallies [WBAL TV].
Berkeley, CA: The event was held at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, where more than 2,000 people showed up” [East Bay Times]. “The event was at capacity. There were a lot of people outside of the hall listening to Sanders via intercoms, and there were people of all ages. It wasn’t just young people” [KRON].
Boston, MA: “At a Boston book tour stop in late November, Sanders stressed similar goals in his talk to an estimated 1,000 people” [In These Times]. The audience was “mostly young,” but Boston is a college town.
Burlington, VT: “Sanders addressed more than 500 people at the sold-out speaking event” [NBC5]. “Hundreds of devoted followers of Sen. Bernie Sanders huddled together in near-freezing temperatures Tuesday night in Burlington” [Burlington Free Press].
Concord, NH: “A sold out crowd at the Capitol Center for the Arts” [WMUR].
Philadelphia, PA: “The gloom lifted when Sanders appeared on the tiny stage to a standing ovation” [Tablet]. Sold out.
Naperville, IL: “The event was held by Anderson’s Bookshops…. [Sanders] encouraged more than 3,000 of them in Naperville to stay hopeful and move forward” [Daily Herald]. (Naperville is a Chicago suburb, and the venue was North Central College.)
New York, NY:: “600 of his fans… waited in line for 12 hours” [Independent]. “Hundreds of Sanders’ supporters – some of whom had spent the night out on the streets – had lined up along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan” [Guardian].
San Rafael, CA: “A crowd of more than 850 people” [Marin Independent Journal]. Tickets “sold out in six hours. Karen West, Book Passage’s events director, said and the store stopped adding names to the waiting list when it reached 700.” The venue was Dominican University’s Angelico Hall.
Seattle, WA: Sold out [Seattle Times]. Sanders also spoke at Amazon [Geekwire]. Good crowd:
Bernie Sanders speaking at Amazon Headquarters in Seattle! pic.twitter.com/JLK0Tc9M6b
— Justin Lambchop (@JustinLambchop) December 1, 2016
South Portland, ME: “Hundreds gathered Monday at the Books-A-Million store in South Portland” [WSCH]. “Six hundred people pre-bought the book and waited in line to meet Sanders and get a photo with the man.” That’s an enormous number for Maine.
Washington, DC: “When Sen. Sanders took the stage the packed crowd gave him a long standing ovation” [GW Today]. “[A]t George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium in partnership with Washington, D.C., bookstore and coffeehouse Politics & Prose.”
So Sanders can still pack them in; the numbers are impressive for a ticketed event. I also like the bookstore connection very much, even if it is a book tour! Local bookstores should be supported, but (for anybody who remembers the Dean campaign in 2004) they would also be great places for meet-ups. Also impressive is the advance work (if done by MacMillan, it was better than their webpage). There were no little snarky asides in the stories about screw-ups like failing mikes, or bad lighting at all. I do wish — though perhaps here the commercial purpose of the tour contradicted the political purpose — that there had been many more stops in “the heartland.” How about St Louis, Columbus, or even Des Moines? Or Atlanta and Miami? The cities chosen are just a wee bit too coastal for me, and too focused on Sanders’ home base in and around Vermont.
Interestingly, Sanders seems to be, basically, on the road, and not just on the book tour:
Sanders joined striking federal contract workers in DC this week, applauding their efforts to win a $15 minimum wage. Last week Sanders declared two victories — on the Dakota Access Pipeline and TPP. Next week he’ll speak at Kenosha, Wisconsin — Sanders won the Wisconsin primary — and appear at the United Auto Workers headquarters there. As Donald Trump travels the country on his “Thank You” tour, appearing at large rallies, Sanders is on what seems like a shadow tour. It’s interesting to consider that Sanders, proven a big draw like Trump, could occupy a sort of “Shadow President” role after a divided election that saw the Democratic candidate win the popular vote over the President-elect. If Sanders supporters have their way, the Vermont senator’s ideals and ideas will lurk behind each of Trump’s initiatives — whispering what could have been and what still might be.
I find all this very encouraging; it’s like the touring Sanders did in 2015, under the radar, before he announced.
With that, let’s turn to the organizations that spun off from the Sanders campaign. While both are alive and functioning, I think it’s fair to say that neither can be said to be thriving, at least so far.
Our Revolution raised money and backed candidates in 2016, both in California and nationally:
In Richmond [CA], four candidates he backed two years ago won their elections, as did two more members of the Richmond Progressive Alliance this fall. This time, they were endorsed by Our Revolution, the post-campaign organization created by former campaign staff and Sanders volunteers. Richmond’s top vote getter was 26-year-old Melvin Willis, an African-American Bernie fan, rent control advocate and local organizer for the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. Elsewhere in Northern California, Our Revolution-assisted candidates won mayoral races in Berkeley and Stockton.
Nationwide, Our Revolution endorsed 106 local, state, and federal candidates and 34 ballot initiatives. Fifty-eight of those candidates were successful; twenty-three of the ballot measures succeeded, including several dealing with campaign finance reform. Among those backed by Our Revolution was Mike Connolly, a lawyer and community activist in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Like Zuckerman in Vermont, Connolly competed in the Democratic primary to clear the field. He narrowly defeated a 12-term Democratic incumbent backed by most Bay State unions and nearly all his Beacon Hill colleagues. On November 8, Connolly won the seat, running unopposed in the general election. Three other Our Revolution-backed legislative candidates in Massachusetts, all incumbents, also won their primary battles and/or general election campaigns as well. They were state Sens. Pat Jehlen and Jamie Eldridge and state Rep. Mary Keefe.
Connolly is now working with Our Revolution supporters to build a new state structure that better links issue-oriented campaigns with electoral politics.
Those results are not so bad, especially given the givens:
In the run-up to the November election, Our Revolution raised more than $1.3 million — about 11% of that went to California races.”
“We were a newborn national organization fighting in 106 candidate races and 35 ballot initiatives,” said Shannon Jackson, executive director of Our Revolution, which launched Aug. 24. “We started out hitting the ground running and we had only 76 days until the general election.”
While Jackson says the group is “completely separate” from Sanders, its stated mission echoes many of the priorities Sanders highlighted in his presidential campaign. While Sanders handed over the reins of the organization to former campaign manager Jeff Weaver after launching it, the group draws on Sanders’ popularity and his vast digital network of supporters to fuel much of its efforts.
Although Our Revolution’s launch was super-awkward, I put that down to campaign infighting. Much more concerning to me is their mission statement:
All for one, one for all! Attacks on the rights of immigrants, people of color, indigenous nations, LGBTQ communities, working class or religious minorities will be met by resistance and solidarity by our movement.
We need an economy that works for all.We will work for economic justice and against the oligopoly that controls so much and expects even more. Big money out of politics and expanding voting rights are essential to our democracy. Additionally, we support a foreign policy that works towards peace, advocates for justice, and supports the human rights of all. We resist the Dakota Access Pipeline. DAPL crushes the lives of our Native sisters and brothers, farmers in Iowa, our water and the earth itself. Our commitment to tribal sovereignty, property rights and stopping climate change demands immediate action. We will fight for democracy and an end to corporate and big money influence in the Democratic Party. We endorse Keith Ellison for Party Chair. Our organizing work will continue to move forward at the state and local levels as well as nationally. As Tip O’Neill said, “all politics is local.” When we are strong at both the local and national levels, we push forward a progressive agenda, and fight against the forces that dismiss the concerns of the working class.
This flaccid “statement” reads like progressive bafflegab, and I don’t mean “progressive” in a good way. It reads like a combination of “progressive” Inside Baseball (the Ellison endorsement), feel-good pieties (“met by resistance and solidarity by our movement”), and issues du jour (“We resist the Dakota Access Pipeline”). Who are these people? The people who control the best list in American politics, or half-a-dozen earthy-crunchy types meeting in a church basement on alternate Tuesdays, assuming AA hasn’t reserved it? Our Revolution Board Members: If you want to get gutted by Trump, do proceed along the lines of your statement! Voters don’t know what “We will work for economic justice” means, especially since “work for” doesn’t mean achieve. Or rather, they do know: It’s bullshit. Who wrote that? A Clinton speechwriter? But people do know what Medicare for All means. Readers know my priors on this, but I’ll restate them: Make a simple list of policies that bring concrete material benefits to working people. (This platform is not simple! And TPP shouldn’t be the first item, because it’s dead. Is nobody at Our Revolution maintaining the website?!) Start with Medicare for All and a Post Office bank. Then pound on that list 24/7/365 for the next four years. Because that’s what Sanders did, and that’s what a national party would do. And nobody said that would preclude any focus on local issues; quite the contrary. I grant that simple is not always easy, but holy moley!
Fortunately for us all, more interesting things are happening at the local level. I discovered this material about “Our Revolution” in Minneapolis:
Approximately 700 activists and former Bernie Sanders for President supporters gathered at St. Peter’s AME Church in South Minneapolis on Sunday, Nov. 13. The three-hour-long meeting, starting at 1 p.m., was called “Trump, 2017 and Beyond: A Community Response.” There were long but fast-moving lines across the parking lot to enter. Although the main meeting was held in the sanctuary, which probably has a capacity of about 450, sign-in was in the basement, which was packed full with people coming to sign in, working on side projects, and snaking through the crowd after signing in to get upstairs. The basement remained full of people throughout the three hours, with people rotating from downstairs to upstairs, standing in the back of the sanctuary and popping outside to get a breath.
Our Revolution MN is an independent state-based organization loosely affiliated with the national organization Our Revolution, which Bernie Sanders and close supporters started after his bid for the Democratic nomination failed. The national organization’s mission is to transform the national Democratic Party into a progressive, grassroots-driven, labor-oriented party, without control by corporations or the extremely wealthy. Our Revolution MN was formed to address the special task of reforming the MN DFL Party and is also fueled by a belief that transformative progressive movements need to start with local issues and races.
What used to be Terps For Bernie evolved into Our Revolution after Sen. Bernie Sanders lost the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Our Revolution is also part of the Protect UMD Coalition, which met for the first time on Nov. 14 and is composed of members from various political activism groups.
Our Revolution will place an emphasis on reform in Prince George’s County, with hopes of implementing a Citizens’ Election Fund similar to those in Howard and Montgomery counties, Brennan said. The group will also focus on electoral reform in the county, such as ranked choice voting and name randomization, he added.
Looking toward the future, Our Revolution seeks to establish a bus route from the campus to either Shoppers or Megamart, and to legalize marijuana in the state of Maryland, O’Donnell said
(Also encouraging, especailly since a bus route would bring concrete material benefits to students.) And in New York:
Last Sunday, more than 20 grassroots groups inspired by his campaign gathered at the former Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan for the inaugural conference of the New York Progressive Action Network, a statewide group that will push the Sanders platform in the Empire State.
So far as I can tell, then, the bottom line is a national organization that successfully raised money and supported winning candidates, but with no policy fire, and local, grassroots organizations with clever ideas, but not connected at all to the national. Surely we can do better?
I’m running short of time, and I’m not sure I have a conclusion anyhow! I find the crowds Sanders is getting very encouraging. And I hope Our Revolution can right itself. (Readers know my priors on this: I think an inside/outside strategy — in essence, a hostile takeover of the Democrat Party — is the only way forward. For that reason, I hope that Our Revolution succeeds, rather than fails. I’ll get to Brand New Congress, the other Sanders spinoff, at a later date. And I’ll get to the Greens when Stein’s recount saga comes to an end.)
Agreed that the Our Revolution group does seem a little milquetoast. Which goes to show you what charisma can do. Just looking at the board listed below their position statement, I get the impression that the board has probably met three times and is still talking past one another about priorities. If someone put me in charge of the organization, I’d make the board less inclusive and find three policy goals in a distinct area, like economic justice, and focus efforts there. You can’t please every group if you want to get things done.
Unfortunately, when one third of your goals is:
… you’re not actually setting an achievable goal. At least with the first two you can set some smaller goals. But the last is too nebulous. You might as well say that “we’re going to change the air in the room by breathing”, forgetting that everyone else is breathing too and someone left the window open.
Agreed. It sounds to me as if Our Revolution has already become a captured entity and cannot generate enough of its own power to achieve escape velocity. It is, sadly, nothing but a coattail Revolution. Next!
Agreed. When two of your five mission points reference current events, it’s not really an indication that you are building for the long term. (How do you think the DAPL/Keith Ellison stuff will play in 2026? Do you still plan to be around then? Have a mission statement?)
Here is what I would like to see as a platform for continuing the movement that Bernie started:
One law for all. Hold everyone accountable and equal under the law, even the wealthy and big business. End the influence of big money over regulation and the court system.
Government creates our society. Recognize that government is (and always has been) in the business of wealth redistribution and social engineering. Actively use those powers to build a more equal and inclusive society by reversing structural factors that contribute to inequality.
America is our people. America succeeds when all Americans are able to lead decent, happy and productive lives. A strong economy and a healthy business sector are important contributing factors, but they exist to improve the lives of Americans, not vice versa.
In it for the long haul. Recognize that we create the world that future generations will inherit. Confront the hard questions: climate change, inequality, automation and the jobless economy.
Listen to the people. Give people a say in government. Hold regular town meetings. Ensure the organization always retains a strong bottom up/grassroots component. Learn from the mistakes of the Democrat party.
These do actually map (roughly) one for one onto the stated goals, so I don’t think they are too far off, but I think their framing needs work still.
Govt creates our society??
We the people created our institutions. I am pretty sure we have our associations in tact and by way of participating in governing ourselves we try to create good rules that set some normative ideas about how things work and people behave, though it is a dynamic thing.
In my opinion this item needs to be eliminated, in fact, it should be opposed when people say such odd things. The State does not totally stand for or define the society, aggrandizing it above our ability to govern ourselves via our institutions (but of course we need to protect these from being purposely made dysfunctional).
In my opinion this item needs to be eliminated, in fact, it should be opposed when people say such odd things. The State does not totally stand for or define the society, aggrandizing it above our ability to govern ourselves via our institutions (but of course we need to protect these from being purposely made dysfunctional).
That’s not what I was trying to say (in fact I suspect we are largely in agreement). The fact that you interpreted it otherwise suggests that the wording could use some work.
The bullet point was an attempt at rebuffing the neoliberal idea that society is shaped by the action of the magical Free Market, the job of government is just to interfere as little as possible so that the market may perfectly provide, and that things like oligarchs becoming obscenely rich and the little people getting flattened is just the price of progress. (Look at Russia immediately following the fall of Communism to see that ideology in action). I assert that we, the people, have a right to define the kind of society we want to live in, government is the best and most effective tool at our disposal to do that, and we should not feel shy about using it for that purpose. Include institutions in that if you like (I gather you don’t mean government when you use that word).
Government is a tool. An important tool. But I think it would be mistake not to acknowledge that — especially now, when government has been so brutal to so many people — people have a variety of needs, and will get them met in a variety of ways, via a variety of institutions. For example, a lot of people would be deeply alienated by the idea that religion is irrelevant.
I’m thinking about these issues myself, and I think it might be better to come at this more like: people make their community, and government is how they organize themselves materially. One of the things the community uses government for is the management of markets, to maintain the flow of necessary goods and services equitably among the members of the community. That’s not bullet point/talking point level yet, but I think it might be a more useful path to get to one.
This exchange points to the reason why neoliberalism, or capitalism for that matter, have been so difficult to reform. Society comes first and government second. Government is the glue, or force if you will, that holds society together. Powerful individuals in society determine the government structure and laws that govern the people.
In America, the government was designed from its inception to protect the propertied class at the expense of those without. The land was so vast, so bountiful in natural resources, that this fatal flaw for humanity could be brushed aside. Individuals lacking opportunity could break away from the power structure and seek their own better fortunes. That safety valve of flight is long gone, and the cannibalization of the nation, in one respect should be of no surprise, it has been going on since day one. It is one constant grind of exploitation, interspersed with pockets of smaller groups trying to break free and carve out an existance.
Frederick Douglass is very helpful here,” Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will”. That demand cannot be based on just words, it is based on the physical action of non-participation, the civil disobedience within society and the desire for something different. This is why new groups are so difficult to form. They must rigorously question personal property rights and that is treason in the current environment. If they attempt to just carve out a livable space within the current system, they are quickly undermined or absorbed into the larger structure making meaningful change slow and sporadic.
Physical power, spiritual power, and resource management have always been the foundation stones on which societies have stood or fallen. Reform where possible, but a clean break form current orthodoxy is needed for the long term. Brutality and savagery cannot be the basis for society. Loving God anyone?
This is not about property.
Bernie Sanders shows that associations of like minded people can grow, and become politically influential. He owns little, and controls directly, little.
I like to read Madison’s 51st Federalists Paper. We are not angels. But we can govern ourselves, better sometimes, worst at other times. Yes, the Framers had propertied men in mind, and thoughtful ones even knew it was the source of revenues needed to finance a Republic (though they screwed up on the apportionment clause compromise when they did not think this through well, or even much at all at the time these phrases were edited into the document – see the 1896 Pollock opinion to see the really silly result when the clause is applied to taxation policy).
Its a free country, meaning people can freely associate around any idea, but the notion of a political movement focused on removing the meaning of property (legally and as a cultural mores too), that is nuts, and really won’t attract adherents.
Power and faction, and the faction of the powerful, these are all better things upon which to associate. In my opinion.
These are all good conversations to have, but they’re at a different level from coming up with a mission statement to ignite and drive progressive change in the United States right now.
Just as the neoliberals have used words to mislead and trick, so can we use words repair that damage. Part of the challenge is that we need to build new relationships, making a new coalition, out of people who are currently separated along many different chasms of class, culture, geography, and political tribal identity. So we have to construct simple, robust sentences, taking into account that different words now have very different associations for different people we need to persuade and unite with.
I know persuasion is often treated as being equivalent to manipulation, but it does not have to be, just as a knife can be a weapon or a tool with which to feed yourself and build and maintain your shelter.
I think if the species is to survive, we’re going to need to take on property rights and the rapaciousness of capitalism. But the mission statement for Our Revolution shouldn’t get into any of that right now, IMNSHO (my first time using that acronym, in honor of Lambert). It will be a hard enough task to get people to recognize that government can deliver material benefits to the citizenry, that it is the best institution to do so, and that our fiat currency is not like gold coins or a family budget. If you’re going to persuade someone to your position, you have to start from where they are and what they need. Just getting people to think of government as potentially being “us” and not “them” will be a challenge.
I always refer to the public and not to the government (which is more apt when talking about the parliamentary form). At the natl level the Congress passes bills to the President, once they become law they are referred as Public Law, with the numeric sequence then added. It is the public’s law.
In one State where I was a legislative aide the passage into law became a Public Act. It is the public’s law here too.
We seem to have forgotten why they referenced the US as a Republic, and formed the institutional set to frame the way in which the public makes the law.
The democratic party really dropped the communications ball, so to speak, when they did not counter the double speak notion that the government is the problem — we govern ourselves, we can not be the problem.
Well, unless you want power and you want your oligarchic friends to control instead.
I think it’s really important to peel away the notion that the leadership of the Democratic Party is merely weak or inept. The current Democratic Party has been doing exactly what it set out to do, and achieving all its key goals, in so far as it works great for its donors and party insiders.
Thanks all for the feedback. This is the difficulty with mission statements – they are necessarily abstract statements of principle, but you also need them to say exactly and unambiguously what it is that you stand for. And certain words like “government” can mean quite different things to different people.
Personally I think that “government = us” is a sensible starting point for the mission statement of a movement that ultimately seeks to form the government. But I take the point that “government” to most people these days means the toxic and destructive organism that we currently have.
Possibly there is another point to be made about the power of the people to influence and control government policy – which, in hindsight, is another thing that Bernie stood for to me. I had thought that democracy in America was dead. He proved that it wasn’t, completely, although I still think it is on life support.
One law for all. Hold everyone accountable and equal under the law, even the wealthy and big business. ChrisPacific
Except for depository institutions, of course. They and they alone in the private sector may deal with our Nation’s fiat in inherently safe account form while the rest of us may only use unsafe, inconvenient physical fiat, while that still exists, or work through them.
Why? Because tradition! It is traditional and right that the poor be forced to lend to banks to lower the borrowing costs of the rich!
Interesting the DNC/DNCC navel gazing ignores him, while whining about being losers..
For what its worth, I think Sanders has played a very weak hand brilliantly well over the past 18 months. He has shaken the Dem establishment to the core without ever giving them an excuse to accuse him of disloyalty. He has humiliated all the mega paid consultants to HRC showing there is an alternative to big money politics. He has shown there is a real alternative to pandering to the right and identity politics. He has shown a real public hunger for genuine left wing alternatives.
Like many here, I would have loved it if he had detonated some landmines in HRC’s face back in July/August, but he was too smart to do that. He did just enough to ensure that nobody could credibly blame him for HRC’s abject failure against Trump (and lets face it, even if she’d won against Trump it would have been a very weak victory).
And now, while everyone is in a tizzy over the dastardly Russians under the bed and Trump’s bait and switch games and the Dems circular firing squad, he is staying well away from it all, reminding the grassroots he is there and there is a lot to play for, while ensuring he is out of the media limelight.
Of course you can criticise plenty of individual tactical decisions he and his team have made, but strategically he has played it superbly well in my opinion. Given the overwhelming odds against him, I don’t see how he could have realistically done things better. And he is still standing, and his movement is still there, waiting for the Dem establishment (and Trump) to keep stepping on rakes like an endless Sideshow Bob loop.
I’ve no idea what his endgame is – if he has one. But I do believe that by maintaining the flame of a real alternative he is the only short to medium term hope for a real change in politics. Real revolutions for good don’t just occur because enough people want them to happen – they occur because the forces of reaction make a mistake and leave an opening. Sanders is wise enough to realise that the important thing is that there is a movement there to take that opening when it happens, and he seems determined enough to keep probing until they make that mistake.
Well said sir. Let’s hope the Trump implosion and resultant populist anger and mistrust of HRC and democrats will begin to realize Bernie is and has been the best thing going.
Good point, that Bernie Sanders isn’t perfect, but has always been an outstanding negotiator despite holding weak hands. Lambert is smart to remind us that any effective reform of the Democratic party will be as hostile as it must be inside/outside. I find it compelling that Bernie, unlike our current leadership, knows destruction is no option to reform (see my 4th paragraph on nuking us all).
Bernie Sanders keeps increasing his influence with voters instead of doing the opposite by over playing his hand like lobbyist Howard “50 state strategy” Dean, denouncing Keith Ellison last week.
Bernie’s current media blitz is to get Trump to stick to his Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid promises, by promising to veto his party’s legislation. This puts Bernie ahead of Democratic leadership, again, like he was the week before, with his response to Trump’s Carrier con (I notice the AFL-CIO didn’t ask permission before endorsing Keith Ellison).
Media and Dem leadership would rather nuke Russia and get us all nuked in return, than force Trump to divest. The New York Times is a Judith Miller for kleptocracts, in claiming yesterday that Trump divesting of his DC hotel and submitting his tax return to Congress is enough. This is pretending that Trump can’t fully divest without risking big losses, without even mentioning Dean Baker’s name. Jimmy Carter sold his beloved peanut farm.
I hope Bernie beats Dem leadership on the import and consequences of not divesting, which Trump plans to use his first press conference in I think 140 plus days, to try to con us he’s doing (a couple of weeks ago he said he would announce his “plan” on Thursday the 15th). That would give Bernie 3 weeks in a row of exposing what Dem leadership is up to, which is unfortunately not appointing a special prosecutor with subpoena power, while it’s still possible, justified just on the basis of illegal activities Donald Trump has already admitted.
Bernie is smart to go onto as many game shows (Wait, Wait, Don’t tell me last week), comedy shows, and hostile news pundit shows as he can. It’s the only way to get to voters through media.
Neither Bernie nor OurRevolution can do more than inspire grass roots and offer coordination, but OurRevolution better take Lambert’s criticism and advice. I really appreciate the work and brains that went into this update and analysis. That mission statement really is “holey moley” bad, and Lambert’s fixes are exactly what’s needed, immediately.
I’ll rehash comments I’ve made recently because I think they’re worth emphasizing.
HRC did weeks of soul-searching and then came back with a speech about ‘fake news’. It’s like she’s trying to remind people why they didn’t bother supporting her.
Bernie helped get a major pipeline stopped and defended a union leader who got attacked for pointing out Trump was shoveling garbage on saving jobs.
People see who’s paying attention to stuff that matters to real people on real issues. Elite dems are offering nothing. Bernie may find himself to be a king-maker in 2020, even if he doesn’t run.
First, some unavoidable facts. 1) The Democrats are now in the minority in the Senate. 2) On January 20, 20221, Bernie will be four months past his 79th birthday. Even assuming he remains in the apparently excellent health he now enjoys, there is no way he can be a viable candidate for president at that age. It would inevitably be a deal-killing issue in the eyes of many voters, and an excuse for the party establishment’s rear guard to once again deny him a fair nomination process. 3) Although as you note, PK, Bernie gave the Party no cause to accuse him of disloyalty, the DNC leaks made it painfully clear that his loyalty to them was undeserved. 4) Talleyrand’s remark about the Bourbons applies in spades to the inside-the-beltway Democratic Party establishment. From the recent election they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.
Bernie Sanders’ overriding goal appears to be to restore the place of the lower 80 percent at the political table. There is no question that he is the person presently on the national scene who is best positioned to lead an effort, but In my opinion the prospects for his success in doing so would be considerably enhanced if he does so outside the confines of the Democratic Party. I’m not thinking third party here, but rather an independent pressure group that vets prospective candidates of whatever party for lower 80% issues and won’t hesitate to call bulls**t on individual candidates and office holders, as well as the party as a whole, when they or it does things like cave to vested interests and undermine economically progressive candidates, e.g. Connecticut’s Ned Lamont in 2006. I suggest that Bernie make the building of such an organization his number one priority. He should remain in the Senate since it gives him a high-profile perch. However he should resign from the Democratic Senate caucus and return to independent status.
I don’t “get” what Sanders resigning from the Democratic Senate caucus gains him, except less power and visibility to advance his goals.
I don’t see how the Democratic party will become progressive (as Bernie Sanders did a pretty good job of defining), without what Lambert calls the inside/outside strategy.
Sanders is 75 not 79, and plays pretty mean basketball for an old codger.
He’s been through a physically demanding campaign, and rolled right into writing a book (which I can tell you is not easy) and basically doing another campaign. The guy is very robust.
I don’t know who Bernie 2.0 will be. Presumably, the times will call one forth.
On building an independent organization, that’s what Our Revolution (or Brand New Congress) should be. At a high level, they look like they could be. But at the ground level, not so much. They — in particular Nina Turner — need to up their game, if only because enormous opportunities await.
I think Nina’s in a particularly tricky situation. She’s clearly the person the New Dems are most afraid of, since they wouldn’t let her on the stage at the convention. I think their fear is fully justified, in so far as a married, Christian black woman from Ohio with law enforcement and military family members who advocates popular universal programs seems almost built in a lab to sweep the Electoral College given a chance. Friends of mine who have seen her speak in person say she is absolutely electrifying.
But she is also a former State Senator. That’s it. If not for her courage in throwing in with Bernie early, she’d have no national profile and she has no leverage or institutional support beyond being on the board of OR, AFAIK. I have tremendous respect for her. But her situation is far more delicate than Bernie’s, and if the New Dems succeed in holding onto control of the party, her path to power is difficult. I don’t think she’s going to be able to do much on her own. She’ll need a whole lot of other people getting it together along with her.
He has always caucused with the Democrats as an Independent. He is an Independent now. He basically can’t do much as an elected official if he doesn’t caucus with one of the two parties. That wouldn’t be fair to Vermont, among other problems. And the Democrats would go after him even harder if he refused to caucus with them. I don’t see what is made better by him not caucusing with the Democrats.
Interesting sum up, because I’ve witnessed the often conspicuous silence in the MSM even though I rushed out and bought his new book in my local bookstore (indie – natch!) as soon as it came out.
Despite’s Our Revolution’s babblespeak you so right nail, I’m intrigued enough by their results to want to look into them more. Hopefully something is going on with them in Boston.
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
there’s your answer. No cross-selling between ViaFoxney and its publishing arm.
#1 in “human rights” —crickey even Bezos isn’t cutting Sanders a break.
As much as I liked Sanders, and still do (I donated and volunteered to canvas for him), my feeling for a while now is that his moment has come and gone. His candidacy, as near as I can tell, was a one time thing. He’ll probably be too old in 2020 to run again. Beyond this, even after how they treated him during the primary, he still seems intent on reforming the Democratic party. I’m of the opinion that it is incapable of being reformed, particularly as it exists now, and maybe even in the grand sense. Jill Stein did a lot of ridiculous things, but the “you can’t run a revolution in a counterrevolutionary party” slogan was pretty spot on. The elites within the Democratic party appear to have put more effort into crushing Sanders than the did beating Trump.
My big fear is that Sanders will be turned into a kind of hollow shell of his former self. I fear that he’ll still maintain the image of a political outsider, but the more meaningful reforms will be gutted out of his platform and he’ll essentially become just another run-of-the-mill neoliberal Democrat. It’s a very depressing thought, but the early actions from OurRevolution give me the sense that’s what’s brewing. Radical branding, same old shit behind it. I might be underestimating Sanders though. He seems to have stuck to his guns for most of his life, I can only hope he won’t stop now.
I think Stein’s sloganeering is vacuous. “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.” One such circumstance is the existing party structure.
You can’t make a revolution from a dysfunctional non-profit with no electoral base, either. As the Stein campaign amply demonstrated this year, failing to make the 5% goal they themselves set, in a year when the choice was between the two most horrible candidates in the history of the Republic. If they can’t take advantage of that opportunity, what opportunity does it take>
First, please note that a grassroots group named Brand New Congress launched well before the conventions and has been working very hard to recruit people to run for state and local offices. Their goal is to have people with experience in elective office ready to run for Congress starting in ’18, thus avoiding the pitfall of having their candidates dismissed as having “no experience in government.” I can’t vouch for either their effectiveness or their longevity, but like to give credit when it’s due.
As for Our Revolution, I actually think it makes more sense to keep the national level low-key and focus on creating state-level branches that can then focus on those issues specific to their states. The bus route, as you note, may not seem like a big deal to the public at large but nevertheless has a significant impact for those who need it. That will be remembered, and being remembered is going to be important.
I also think OR needs to address that same issue Brand New Congress does—ensuring they have candidates with some experience in public office prior to launching campaigns for ’18. The fact is the only way to transform the Democrats, if that’s going to be even possible, is with new blood, and any new blood is going to have to have some bona fides when the professional politicians start challenging them on experience. Whether we like it or not, we’re a culture trained to think experience isn’t negotiable when the subject is something we see as complicated; and any political movement that ignores that is in trouble from the start.
There is also more than a little resistance from a contingent of former Sanders supporters to anything that can be seen as connected to him. They consider him a sellout for having made good on his promise to support Clinton, and lack the ethical basis to understand his not having done so would have been the real collapse of his ethics. Unless the Greens actually get their act together and manage to do more than run a candidate every four years, those people are going to be left hanging and will likely slide back into apathy. By running Our Revolution on the state level, they may be persuaded that it’s about them and not about Bernie.
Please note when I say they lack the ethical basis, I don’t mean to imply any lack of ethics on their part. Most of them are young, and have grown up in a culture where situational ethics is the standard rather than the exception. They also have been trained to believe that winning is all that matters, and anyone who doesn’t hang in till the last battle is won is a failure. Worse, most of them have never had a single civics class, and their history classes were sadly wanting. Not a small part of the agenda for any movement like OR is going to be education, and that’s much more easily done at the local level.
And, finally, this is all way too new to know what’s going to work and what isn’t. Bernie doesn’t want to be a figurehead, which he stated over and over, but there are those who are determined he’ll be one, willy-nilly. I think he’s wise to keep his distance from OR, other than the occasional email update about what’s going on in DC. The book has given him an excellent way to keep his message current without it looking like he’s stumping, and he’s using it beautifully, in my opinion.
As for the lack of coverage, are you really that surprised? It’s not in the best interests of the plutocracy that the serfs be reminded they are the larger body, and that they have reason to be angry and frustrated. To have that exacerbated by letting them know there are ways to address their anger and frustration in constructive ways that challenge the status quo? Ain’t gonna happen.
As for personal experience, I sent an early contribution to the national OR, and I now have a monthly small donation going to the Texas branch, which is quite new. Nevertheless, I received a text just prior to a local run-off asking me to support the OR’s candidate (which I had already done in the general). It wasn’t a major office—someone running for the local community college board—but just the fact someone was ready to stand up for her was refreshing. So, I have hopes.
Local grassroots orgs with little or no connection to the national organization? Well, that’s what we had going in Tucson before the Sanders campaign came in and decreed that We Must Become Phonebankers.
To this Bernie supporter, the focus on phonebanking was baffling. I mean, come on. The guy was hosting massive rallies, and the outcome was that we were supposed to become a telemarketing operation?
Wrong tool for the job.
It came across as a pr gimmick, a metric that could be given to the media. I was glad to see people who rebelled and went out and knocked on doors.
I wasn’t one of the door knockers. But people who canvassed told me that their lists left a lot to be desired. One guy was a veteran of many campaigns, and he was VERY unimpressed with the lists he got from the Tucson HQ.
Local grassroots efforts where being controlled through the DNC and Sanders used the agency to campaign. So naturally, at most local levels, one or two individuals were able to shape policies and actions and influence canvassers and volunteers with false choices. It is frightening to see how a righteous few can control the majority even when a larger cohort knows their cause to be false.
I think this is one of the problems?
I didn’t attend a single Sanders event that didn’t have DNC/Clinton people in place before doors opened. Of course, I only attended about 8 events.
His supporters were co-opted by the Ds from the get go and completely morphed into a D apparatus after the vote. I finally had to block the Ourrevolution people here for supporting crap candidates and issues.
We had a pretty active labor/union site here locally, but it currently seems to be infested with Ds.
By phonebanking, he just meant the one-on-one outreach. The guy has a language barrier/issue. Pitch in and translate to what works (as I’m sure you did). Phonebanking worked really for organizing well when it worked… wonderful new technology took away a great tool that was time and cost effective. Maybe the next generations will turn up their noses at blogging… what, you mean that fake-news stuff?
I am somewhat concerned that the churn of anti-Russian agitprop, already burgeoning before the flood of Trump-related variants, will at some point be used to push against Sanders’ “socialist” terminology. The use of “revolution” is also unfortunate in this context.
The longer the local/regional movements can grow under the MSM/blogosphere radar the better. It’s nice to see Lambert’s research here (great work as always, L.), but some young shoots grow better in shade.
Jeff Weaver was Sanders’ choice for Our Revolution–why? not an auspicious beginning.
there is a complete disconnect in my mind from what Sanders is doing and what all those people who showed up for him and are still showing up are expecting.
The issue of an inside/outside strategy is the issue of connecting party to movement, allowing the movement to drive the party, while still giving the party some relative autonomy, IMNSHO.
Sanders did not do well at that in 2016. To be fair, it’s a hard problem.
I don’t think he did well in connecting movement to party while staffing Our Revolution. I put this on the f*ckup side of the ledger, not the malevolence side; I don’t think Sanders has ever been good at that. I’d speculate that he wanted a loyalist in charge of the list. And he also wanted Our Revolution to be independent of him, structurally (which is wise). He put the wrong loyalist in charge (unwise).
sorry–where’d my real comment go???
The Kremlin. Those seemingly random letters are actually your new orders in abbreviated form. Allow me to expand them for you:
mvpaoigf: Must Validate Putin’s Acceptance Of Incredible Giggling Fits.
The fate of the world rests in your hands, Portia.
Make that: Must Validate Putin’s Arbitrary Orders Involving Furious Giggling.
Apologies for the error. I’ve become a bit rusty with my basic spycraft now that I’ve been promoted to spymaster and deal only with advanced missions.
Sanders is done. He should do the lecture tour, but stay out of politics. He had much of the country by the tail with his great ideas of taking a belt to Wall Street. But he was a milquetoast and allowed HRC to beat him without mentioning exactly how dishonest she was. Then when he lost the nomination, he became yet another poodle for HRC.
Our Revolution’s mantra of, “Attacks on the rights of immigrants, people of color, indigenous nations, LGBTQ communities, working class or religious minorities will be met by resistance and solidarity by our movement,” is a guaranteed loser for all sorts of reasons:
– Illegal immigrants do not have the same rights as Americans. Anyone who drives from Detroit to Flint knows that Americans are being hurt by illegal immigration, outsourcing, H-1B and other visa abuse, Silicon Valley libertarianism, and other anti-American policies.
– Unlike most people, I’ve actually traveled through Native American reservations. The poverty is overwhelming and has been for many decades. No political party cares.
– LGBTQs should receive equal rights, but not special rights.
– I suspect that its definition of “working class” is completely different than mine.
– Is “religious minorities” a code phrase for Muslims? Most Americans welcome immigrants as long as they become part of the melting pot. We don’t appreciate newcomers telling us that we cannot criticize their bizarre beliefs, not to mention that sharia and Western law are mutually incompatible. Groups like this endorse Keith Ellison who supports hate-mongers like the Nation of Islam, yet never mention Yazidis and Christians being murdered in the Middle East.
Sanders is done. He should do the lecture tour, but stay out of politics. He had much of the country by the tail with his great ideas of taking a belt to Wall Street. But he was a milquetoast and allowed HRC to beat him without mentioning exactly how dishonest she was. Then when he lost the nomination, he became yet another poodle for HRC.
To Sanders’ credit though, he played an important role in exposing yet another layer of D-party corruption, and managed to insert some previously unthinkable ideas into the political debate.
Also, I too am highly skeptical of Ellison’s motives and his record of supporting war is a real eye-opener.
I don’t see how you can call anyone a milquetoast who took the primary fight all the way to California despite the wrath of the orthodox Dems and the media being hurled at him on a daily basis for contesting Michigan (which contrary to Nate Silver’s prediction of 90-95% odds of a Hillary win, he took) and soldiering on tirelessly even though it was an uphill battle all the way. Sanders is tenacious, and it is a slur to depict him otherwise.
You are right re: milquetoast. That isn’t a fair description of Sanders. Tbh I didn’t really give much thought to the milquetoast part of the quote. My bad. As I have said, a few times now, I respect Sanders. I did find it hard to watch as he rallied against Trump to Clintons benefit when it was clear to me that Clinton was creating serious existential problems for all that is good in the world, but I have also said before that I understand that he is a man of his word and that I accept the idea of different people preferring different approaches
Adding: I do think, however, that it is fair to say that there comes a point at which keeping one’s word, in the face of the other party to the initial agreement not acting honorably, becomes a liability.
He HAD to endorse Clinton, because otherwise if she lost he would be blamed, and the party could use it as an excuse to avoid moving left. Same as with blaming Nader.
Part of the reason that Sanders is so popular is that no one really went after him during the campaigns. Hillary questioned his pragmatism/effectiveness but embraced him after winning the nomination. Trump played Bernie up because he wanted to show how the establishment had “rigged” the Dem. primary and was trying to “rig” the election.
I’m a huge fan of Bernie’s politics and progressive politics. But I don’t know that progressive politics is as universally popular as some people think it is. Notably, the “Our Revolution” senate candidates in NC (Ross), UT, and WI (Feingold) all lost.
You’re confusing ideology with policy stances. There are plenty of people that support single payer health care, for example, that aren’t “progressive” ideologically. Large majorities of people support “progressive” positions on issues, especially economic issues, but they don’t do so for ideological reasons. You don’t have to be a leftist to oppose NAFTA like deal or to want the EPA to reduce pollutants.
I also find it curious that you say that no one went after him. Did you miss the leaks? The party he was running in went after him, the media went after him with that party’s help. They lied left and right about him and his proposals. People seem to argue that no one went after him because there wasn’t tons that could stick. Look at the pathetic things they had to try to focus on (that letter from the early 1970’s?). Wasn’t the case with Clinton.
Besides, he was the most liked and trusted candidate in either party this election cycle, Clinton was historically bad. For Sanders to have collapsed and as a result for him to do as bad as she did, he would have to have fallen from a much higher position. What exactly would have caused that? She had a mountain of scandals on the horizon, so there was no chance she would have gotten out of the hole. The same can’t be said of him. You didn’t see an equal amount of dirt on him as you saw on Clinton because there isn’t an equal amount of dirt.
Feingold came out early for Hillary. Even with Bernie supporting him, an article in the Milwaukee Press Journal, that interviewed voters after the election, showed that Feingold was seen as part of the establishment.
Bernie was brutally attacked by the entire corporate media, relentlessly, once it was clear he could actually win primaries. Before an actual win, even. Icons of the civil rights movement were wheeled out to lie about him and pretend he was a racist, as was anyone who supported. Icons of the feminist movement were wheeled out to lie and pretend he was a sexist, as was anyone who supported him. Insiders blared from privileged positions at the Times that his policies were junk — AND he was racist and sexist and a commie, and any other piece of nonsense they could think of. Bill and Barack both belittled him publicly. So did every establishment talking head. Oh, and Chelsea was wheeled out to assert his Medicare For All plan would strip people of their health insurance and leave them with no access to care.
Were you asleep in a cave during the primary season? Or is this another one of those CTR/Hillbot “I love Bernie but” dumps? It’s a common genre of dishonest comment on progressive sites now, so whenever I see that construct: a whole bunch of false assertions about Sanders and then “I’m a huge fan,” I tend to get suspicious. An actual fan would know what happened in the public sphere less than a year ago.
16 WaPo negative articles about Bernie in 24 hrs.
And who can forget the contributions of #TheLastCourtJesterOfTheNeoLiberalCrown:
Bernie was brutalized by the Dem establishment far worse that he could have ever been by the GOP.
They were and still are TERRIFIED of Bernie and all that he stands for. The DNC establishment, the Clintonistas, the MSM are apoplectic at what the results have shown. It seems clear to me that the platform espoused by Bernie Sanders has immense traction and now that Trump is betraying his supporters with every utterance, a Sanders or equivalent candidate would be a barnstorming run at the next opportunity.
That is why the establishment dogs are resurrecting the ‘Russians are coming” mantra. That ploy will be exhausted and possibly dilapidated when 2020 comes around.
What a ridiculous statement. The country is way to the left of what the pundit classes would have you believe. Supposedly progressive positions, like tax the rich, protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare (even if it means raising taxes), end the wars, and raise the minimum wage have for decades polled large majorities or at worst comfortable pluralities (survey results are very sensitive to how the questions are phrased and ordered, and needless to say, groups like the Peterson Foundation would like to depict these views as less popular than they are).
I think Bernie is anything but forgotten. We certainly can’t count on the weeping navel gazers to do anything but escalate the faux Russo-phobia. Tour, Bernie, tour. Keep the discourse way left of our failed Faux-gressive “centrists”; barnstorm to keep your name and your efforts in the news. Bernie came from virtually zero name recognition to almost upending the coronation. Yeah, the mission statement could use some work. My first thought was: He can’t bloody well put “Establishment Dem Party: Kill it with Fire” up on the website … but you know he’s thinking it! ;-) Maybe I’ll tweet a screen shot of Lambert’s suggestion to him. Looking forward to #Bernie having another shot come 2020.
I am in organizer for Our Revolution: South Jersey (likely to be renamed Burlington County). I was a super volunteer for the campaign, ran locally with Bernie in New Jersey (one of only around 40 candidates in the country to be personally endorsed by him) and a delegate at the convention. We just had our fifth successful O.R. meeting, averaging about 25 people.
As we understand it, beyond what you say in this article, national O.R. is not communicating with any state. Despite this, we are working with those who were active in the state and county level Bernie campaigns to create a county-based O.R. organization across the state. It’s difficult because we need to convince our local group as a whole (who will be voting on the direction of the group in the upcoming months) that those at the state level, whom I know well, are indeed “officially” at the state level.
I agree that the national O.R. mission statement needs to be changed. I’m going to recommend that for all of New Jersey.
As far as Bernie running in 2020, I would rather vote for a corpse with a soul, than someone younger without.
I also agree with Lambert when he says that a hostile takeover of the Democratic Party is the only way forward. Jimmy Dore is pushing for the formation of a third-party, which Bernie is clearly not leaning towards.
I have been personally focusing on the subject of progressives surviving the next four years of Trump World (one, two, three, four). After reading Lambert’s article, I think I’m going to propose one of our upcoming O.R. meetings to be exactly this subject. I am already separately planning a “breakfast club” where me and a few millennials are going to get together and just talk (and record it), and this is likely to be one of the main topics.
And to end with a shameless plug: I’m in a musical about Bernie Sanders/the future of the revolution, which is pretty good, and has a single performance in Burlington, Vermont this Saturday. Follow our page, and help us out with a donation if you can.
Hey, glad to hear that you’re working on this. Would love to hear more as you go along.
Still watching and waiting. I am seeing nothing new. A national dark money organization OR, that is sitting silently while people at the local level do all the work and then will step up (sweep in) at election time? D platforms mean nothing but the same exact people who control the D platform will concede on the OR platform and then govern to it. I haven’t seen one indication of change on behalf of elite Ds nor the people in the trenches that vote for them. The only criteria to get money from OR is that a person support one plank of the current non-platform. I was watching groups propose a bunch of pro-lifers with the claim that they didn’t want to be purists… that just did not bode well to me. This looks the same as other ‘more and better Ds’ marketing.
> national O.R. is not communicating with any state
Yikes. How does that work?
Thanks for te info, and good luck with your musical!
MN has contact with national. I personally have a friend that works for OR national. They are currently working on the runoff in Austin, TX (which is today) but after that they will be trying to work more closely with states. I will mention the South Jersey OR FB page to them to put on the list of local OR’s to get in contact with.
Great work, and keep hammering at OR, but it’s still going to be mostly bottom up, OR is NOT a dark money group (those who ignore the new rule that any donation above $200 will be disclosed), your musical is another great idea, and your comment and those blog posts of yours show you’re already working well and in the right direction.
You should see how Bernie organized a completely zero-sum Trumpkin (blame the scapegoats not the bad policies and vote for Trump) to support his progressive approach instead – she’ll now be explaining what’s wrong with cutting SS, Medicare and Medicaid instead of grousing – that’s when Bernie did in the 12/12/16 Kenosha, WI Town Hall with Chris Hayes, which of course MSNBC has not (at least yet) made available on the web.
Instead of the usual neoliberal attack on a woman who voted for Trump and doesn’t want to have to pay for college for other people’s kids, he disarmed one, and then another who voted for Trump and doesn’t want Medicaid, Medicare and SS cut: https://twitter.com/People4Bernie/status/808490737369161728
These are two examples of what you’ve already articulated in your blog, are calling for help with , and what progressives need to do. You could do the job of workshopping how to talk to Trump voters after watching Bernie, and make it better than Bernie could off the fly!
Check into seeing if there are any DSA groups with which you can work and workshop in Southern NJ since some of them are good, and Wisniewski (the Bernie delegate the DNC killed for it), who will run for governor, should also generate useful people and tactics, too.
Mirror image, but here’s the full video:
Thanks for the insight and information.
I signed up for Our Revolution’s email list last summer at a launch party in the Austin area, but I had questions so I emailed them asking how they choose candidates/causes, and how they plan to implement their promise of grassroots input/activities. No reply. I emailed them again and they didn’t answer that one either. So the next time they sent me an email I unsubscribed and told them it was because they were acting like just another top-down organization, saying “do this, “do that” and “send us money.” Then last week I got an email saying “Our Revolution’s Board of Directors has voted in favor of creating the first state affiliate here in Texas. Our Revolution/Texas will operate as a volunteer-based, grassroots political movement and will be structured around nine separate regions across the state.”
Wow. Interesting. The email went on to say “Starting in January, we will be holding organizing meetings in all nine regions. At these meetings we will hear from local progressives about how we will build and shape our movement in Texas, and each region will choose a delegate to serve on the Statewide Organizing Committee.”
“Our movement will be working in city halls, in the streets, in the media, on the web, in the capitol, and in elections at all levels. We’ll be running credible progressive candidates and issue-based campaigns. Our Revolution/Texas will not only raise issues, but organize to win on those issues and turn them into state policy.”
Sounded good so I entered my info on the signup page. Next came a contribution page. I decided not to contribute until I knew more about this group, so I clicked “continue.” Nope, no contribution, no continuation of the signup process. So I left the site. Yes, I have trust issues with these people. Does anybody know anything about this Texas affiliate? Does it exist? Will it exist when enough Texans sign up (with contribution)? Will it be a separate but affiliated organization or part of the top-down, 401c4 “there-there-don’t-worry-your-little-head-just-send-us-money-and-we’ll-tell-you-what-to-do” group I’ve already resigned from?
Link please? You have to donate to become a member? I must admit I’m skeptical.
Regardless, I don’t think donation is such a bad idea. That’s how the Labour Party works in the UK, and setting the donations low is one of the things that enabled Corbyn to take over. I believe that Canadian parties work the same way.
Right now, the Democrat Party exists to elect Democrat officeholders. Of them, by them, for them; the Superdelegate system is not accidental but essential.
So I don’t see being a membership organization as a priori bad!
Part of me is encouraged by the local effort, even if they did mess up their web site (contribution pages take a little skill).
Another part of me is paranoid that Our Revolution has no immune system and no way to protect its, er, brand. One can imagine Clintonites forming OR groupuscules, for example.
That’s another reason why the national level mission statement needs to be very clear, and the policy positions one must back to get OR’s support very clear and clean. That mission statement is absolutely horrifying. It’s not even wordsmithed decently.
Having a list of clear, simple policies many of which a candidate would have to uncompromisingly support wouldn’t prevent any of the dirty tricks the Clintonites engaged in during the primary, but it would help in many ways. If someone runs on “universal health care/postal banking/lifting the Social Security cap and lowering full benefits to 60/free public college” and wins, it doesn’t really matter what’s in their hearts, just as Trump running against the TPP put him in a box (that he still may get out of, of course, but the lid’s on for now), and if they lose, the conversation and the goals and dreams of voters will still have moved left.
The moment you click the sign-up button, you’re signed up. The donation section is a separate procedure.
Successful revolutions need three things. A simple and true story (no taxation without representation!), fighters (think early century union organizers) and a timely St. Crispin’s Day speech.
Do present-day Democrats show any of those? Ever since Reagan, the Democratic story is “we suck slightly less (but we’ll embrace the suck as needed)”. Ever since the D’s abandoned labor for sweet donor cash (looking at you, Bill, Obama and Hillary), they have no fighters. The best of them bring position papers to a knife fight. Give R’s their due; they fight like hell for their goals, and while people may not like it, they respect it.
And the speech? We don’t have enough of a movement yet to make the speech stick.Timing is as important as the leader.
Sanders job is to show us the old New Deal is still an effective cause, and that we can champion it.
Lambert ~ I agree about the need for single-payer (Expanded and Improved Medicare For All), though based on conversations I’d had over the years, my sense is many don’t really understand what it is, how it would work and all that it would include, or else mistakenly assume it would mean making Medicare in its current (limited) form available to everyone.
According to what I’ve read, Bernie Sanders “will not introduce his single payer bill into the Senate next year.”:
Approx. 2 page summary of HR 676 – Expanded and Improved Medicare for All LINK
The link to the bill (30 pages) there is broken. Here’s one that works. LINK – PDF
Please let the republican party put the healthcare albatros around their neck. There will be plenty of opportunity to message here, there are many fine messages tied to a nationally defined health system where all are covered.
from Bill Black’s post:
“Here is UMKC’s economics department’s long-standing proposal to every American political party:
Our party stands for full employment at all times. We will make the federal government the guaranteed employer of last resort for every American able and wanting to work. We recognize that the United States has a sovereign currency and can always afford to ensure full employment. We recognize that austerity typically constitutes economic malpractice and is never a valid excuse for rejecting full employment. The myth that we help our grandchildren by consigning their grandparents and parents to unemployment is obscene. The opposite is true.”
This should be toned down, no use if the word guarantee, imo.
The movement should make employment for resudents its touchstone for all matters and could instead pick the goal of being the best employment to population ratio (EPOP) of any place on the planet.
Then you could list a whole subsidiary set of actions, for instance, making this the statutory authorization for the Federal Reserve, predominating over price stability notions unless directed otherwise by the President (or something like that). Investment in clean energy systems that lead the globe would create lots of jobs, so the list can integrate across goals.
But these are goals, start with the EPOP goals.
attention: tv in doctor’s office just now has msnbc (i think) with countdown to ….ta da….bernie sanders’ townhall– tonight 8 pm est.
Sanders’s Our Revolution, like Occupy Wall Street, like the Green Revolution, like Democracy, is a lost cause.
You appear to be an expert on lost causes. How lovely for you! However, the people who comment here have a standard of actual content in comments.
“(Imperial purple? Really?)”
So now Hillary Clinton is not allowed to wear purple, a flattering color, because Lambert thinks it is making some kind of statement? Please, give us a break from this incessant negativity.
This exemplifies the pejorative “tone” that kept me from contributing to NC’s latest fundraiser. I am NOT a Clinton supporter, but this offhand sniping is unnecessary and detracts from the excellence of NC.
Clinton did not wear purple at all when campaigning. She wore it at her concession speech and has worn it frequently in public appearances since then. Her concession speech jacket (purple and black, very martial cut) was was widely depicted as intended to send some sort of message, since it was radically different from the sort of pantsuits tops she wore while campaigning. But no one was sure what she was trying to say.
hmmm….purple…. the color purple is made by mixing red and blue. What a perfect 3rd Way, DLC color. /s
Or maybe it’s just homage to the poem “When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple.”
Don’t forget Bill’s matching tie
I just went to look at some photos and it looks to me like it is EXACTLY the same pattern as her normal campaign pantsuit. The difference is that instead of a solid color suit with matching color shirt, she had purple lapels on a black suit, with a purple top underneath.
What makes the clothing choice even odder is that she already had a purple suit, exactly like the other pantsuits. I think even though it would have been a lot more purple, it would have been less weird in context that morning. It would have been her normal uniform, except in purple. The concession suit weirdly called more attention to the purple by doing the lapel color blocking with the rest of the suit funereal black. Also, it looks like Bill’s tie was the exact same fabric. It was really oddly matchy matchy — in a way that is ENTIRELY unfashionable these days, and read like costuming, which is another reason why people noted and commented on it. It was very, very unusual. Unusual for her, unusual for politicians, unusual for fashion. It’s certainly possible it was completely accidental. Her campaign made a ton of mistakes. But given that she already had a purple pantsuit, that seems unlikely.
I will feel a lot better once we get past the Electoral College vote. I hope. I mean, it won’t be good, but at least there will be less fog and smoke on the battlefield, and hopefully people like Keith Olbermann will get whatever counseling or pharmacological help they need to calm down. I’m sorry if you find that distasteful sniping, Msmolly, but I find what’s going in the world beyond NC to be much more disturbing than the commentary here.
Lambert and I took note of the colors she was wearing on the road. While she did go for the usual politician blues, she wore white (which sucks on TV, I’ve been told to avoid it), gold (not flattering to her), yellow (considered to be the least trustworthy color by color mavens, OK in ties but not as a major color) with surprising frequency. She wore red to her first debate with Trump and I don’t recall seeing her in that color often either.
So she may have worn purple before but I certainly don’t recall having seen it and the widespread reactions to her suddenly sporting purple jackets a lot says she wore that color infrequently before.
I was actually surprised to discover she had a purple pantsuit. I was about to write “she never wore purple before,” but since I try to be on my toes when I’m commenting here, I Googled first (not literally, I use a different search engine these days) and found a picture of her in the purple pantsuit from 2015, before the heat of the campaign. But it was the exact same pattern, so presumably part of the set.
So I hadn’t noticed her wearing purple either, and I don’t think she ever did wear that purple pantsuit for any major event (although I have NOT done any kind of systematic review; I don’t find her clothing that interesting). I thought it was worth mentioning only because if she was trying to do something like “unity” purple for the speech, she already had an outfit available that was less mournful and would have appeared less costume-like with Bill’s tie. That concession speech imagery was very intentional; whether they meant it to be as disturbing as it appeared to so many of us is beyond me.
Of course, no color is universally “flattering” to all people at all times; choices are always made. And colors often send messages: Sauce for suffragette white is sauce for imperial purple.
Let me state officially, in case this too is not obvious, that Clinton is “allowed” to wear whatever she likes; exactly as voters (including this voter) are “allowed” to draw inferences from her choices.
It’s a big Internet; I hope you find the happiness you seek elsewhere.
i was wondering what you meant by “negativity”. i come to nc for the excellent analysis, atl and btl. i don’t really care what clinton wears, so i am not offended by people speculating about its significance to her. nc has done a lot to expose what a corrupt warmonger she is, and how corrupt our political process is. they’ve used an effective tone in doing that important work, so far. that’s just one reason so many people support the site.
Your comment reminds me of the article posted the other day in which the woman who wrote it told the world that she refused to date men anymore because Trump won the election. Men all over the world breathed a sigh of relief, btw.
Adding: Essentially your comment contains an implicit ultimatum. Good luck with that.
I intended no ultimatum, and I’m sorry it provoked what are essentially “Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out” responses. Fair enough, I guess. I’m not easily offended. I was and am a Bernie supporter; I was not an Obama or Hillary supporter, ever.
I come here for the excellent analysis also, and I read most of the posts and at least some of the comments, and I find them educational and enlightening (and sometimes beyond my understanding of finance or economics). I am learning here.
What has perturbed me for awhile are offhand sneering remarks Lambert and Jerri-Lynn toss into their posts (“imperial purple” and “Obamamometer” are two small examples) that don’t seem congruent with Naked Capitalism’s overall quality. And then the commenters sometimes continue into more name-calling and derision. This Midwestern senior citizen won’t stop reading here, and since I seem to have made my point, however awkwardly, I will not repeat it and will mostly refrain from commenting. But perhaps I am not the only one who is bothered enough to withhold a contribution (other than to the emergency fundraiser just past).
The commentariat can be a bit snippy, and we tend not to give the benefit of the doubt on troll / honest question. We also tend to tire of having to repeat an argument, even if it is with a different arguer. There was just a whole post with many comments discussing Obamameter and other common subtle digs 9 days ago. Don’t take it personally.
I think you’re being pretty articulate and gracious about your feelings on this issue. I’m one of the snarkers, so I thought I’d share that some of what you’re reacting to is itself a reaction to the insane propaganda going on outside NC’s doors. People who are trying in good faith to learn and communicate factual information to help the citizenry of the country and the globe save themselves are assaulted on a minute by minute basis by appallingly dishonest and hostile propaganda and personal attacks. Yves is having to defend herself and this site from false accusations that she’s essentially committing treason, for heaven’s sake — accusations promoted by one of the richest men in the world, who bought what had been a crown jewel of American journalism so he could use it to further his business interests, which involve slavery and near slavery, among other delightful elements — and now, the intended destruction of what remains of the Bill of Rights.
It really isn’t surprising that people subjected to scurrilous attacks might get a wee bit cranky about it and permit themselves the occasional snide rejoinder, in the confines of their virtual home. Please consider making a contribution to the site. They’re doing very important work here, regardless of the snide asides.
My personal take, from 5600+ km away and from the forth dimension –
Bernie was the one adult in the room, so to speak, during this sorry point in US and world history.
As an adult, he isn’t perfect. Nobody is. I don’t seek perfection, just someone whose interests in politics isn’t 100% about him/herself. Sure he has an ego (who doesn’t?) and wants political success but, unless I’m mistaken, I think his interests and what he wanted to achieve coincide with some of my interests – an educated population; sane transport policies; respect and decent pay for people who work; work for people; affordable (as tax contributions) health care; an end to corporate monopolies; safegaurding our environment for future generations.
Everyone of these interests are big money spinners for the rentier 1%. They ain’t giving up 1 red cent without a fight. One fight at a time.
Bernie showed us how statescraft and politics works during a point in history when our political process has been bought and paid for by advocates of perfect free market ideology. They ain’t going to stop fighting for the priviledges that this ideology bestows upon them. It is a lucrative ideology, and they own the most avenues of the communication that frame our awareness of what political discourse can and cannot achieve. Their communication is as much about shutting down communication as it is about spouting their ideology. It is a perfect parcel.
His legacy: ‘Here, this is how the system works these days…this is what you’re up against…you cannot sit on your arses and carp about what is wrong or you will be destroyed…the system is constructed in such a way that you are supposed to lose all the time. What you going to do about it?’
He flashed a torch (flashlight to our USA friends) into the dark and dank recesses of what now passes for politics across the globe. The cuckoo-roaches are still running around screaming red noise. They want us back into their binary bubble of team blue and red (which really is just mixed into grey in actuality, as the binary was always false. Mega money accumulation is always the single pursuit. It’s just business.)
Bernie doesn’t have all the answers. Nobody does. But I think he’s a modern day indicator of Ben Franklin’s insight about revolution and revolutionary democracy: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
We may be up against crooked systems, but these systems are run by ordinary people – just people, like you and me.
Nicely done. All should read this post, my suggestion.
Your third paragraph has a succinct agenda.
Like it a lot.
On Biden as being popular. I guess all the dead and dying asbestos sufferers couldn’t or aren’t voting for him. This evil little a##hole did his damnedest to block a single payer compensation commission and forced all sufferers to individually litigate for compensation. Each time (if they won) the lawyers took their slice. In the case of at least one law firm there were massive donations to the Democrats campaigns and fierce lobbying to oppose the single payer asbestos compensation commission.
What a charming little rat!
Bernie (like Jeremy Corbyn) is accused of going back to the past but this is where the answers lie.
Francis Fukuyama in 1992 said it was “the end of history” and Capitalism had been the only successful economic system to stand the test of time.
At around this time we changed the fundamental assumptions about capitalism.
1) 40 years ago, most economists and almost everyone else believed the economy was demand driven and the system naturally trickled up.
2) Now most economists and almost everyone else believes the economy is supply driven and the system naturally trickles down.
These assumptions are the total opposite of each other.
When we believed the economy was demand driven and trickled up, we used strong progressive taxation to compensate for the inherent trickle up of capitalism.
Inequality reached its lowest levels in recorded history in the developed world; there were no demand side problems.
Now we believe the economy is supply driven and trickles down, we lowered taxes on the wealthy and inequality soared; the demand side problems grow worse as the sticking plaster solution of debt. maxes out for individual consumers.
When we believed the economy was demand driven and trickled up, we thought fiscal stimulus was the answer to get the economy going again as it created jobs and wages to be spent into the economy and trickle up. We are just getting back to this way of thinking.
Now we believe the economy is supply driven and trickles up, we thought monetary stimulus was the answer to get the economy going again as the money given to the banks would trickle down to everyone else. After eight years we are just starting to realise this didn’t work and are heading back to fiscal stimulus based on assumption one.
1) 40 years ago, most economists and almost everyone else believed income was just as important as profit. Income looked after the demand side of the equation and profit the supply side.
2) Now most economists and almost everyone else believes maximising profit is the only thing that matters.
The IMF, Larry Summers and others are commenting on the chronic lack of demand in the system, it looks as though assumption one was right all along. We had been relying on the sticking plaster solution of debt to keep assumption two working but this maxes out.
1) 40 years ago, most economists and almost everyone else believed Capitalism tends to polarise and you need to recycle the surplus
2) Now most economists and almost everyone else believes capitalism naturally reaches stable equilibriums
Wealth is polarising at an alarming rate and demand is suffering.
2016– “Richest 62 people as wealthy as half of world’s population”
Keynesian capitalism used strong progressive taxation to compensate for the inherent trickle up of capitalism.
The sticking plaster solution of debt maxes out, recycling the surplus can keep the whole thing going forever.
When Keynes was involved in putting together the new international order after the Second World War, mechanisms to recycle the surplus were put in place in the Bretton-Woods agreement.
When the Euro was designed we assumed the Euro area would naturally reach a stable equilibrium and there are no mechanisms to recycle the surplus.
The Euro-zone is polarising and the poorest nation, Greece, has collapsed under its debts and the other Club-Med nations are heading that way.
The sticking plaster solution of debt maxes out, recycling the surplus can keep the whole thing going forever.
Can we admit we got it wrong?
Adam Smith looked out on a world of small state, raw capitalism in the 18th Century.
What did he observe?
“The Labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers.”
He saw the trickle up of Capitalism:
1) Those with excess capital collect rent and interest.
2) Those with insufficient capital pay rent and interest.
Adam Smith saw how consumer purchasing power was reduced by housing costs, debt repayments and taxes.
Today we just think of reducing taxes to increase purchasing power, reducing housing costs and debt repayments are equally effective.
A bit late now with housing booms fully inflated around the world killing demand in the economy, maybe next time.
My mom tried to get tickets for both the Berkeley and San Rafael Sanders events and both were sold out.
In the UK we have three parties:
Labour – the left
Liberal – middle/ liberal
Conservative – the right
Mapping this across to the US:
Labour – X
Liberal – Democrat
Conservative – Republican
The US has been conned from the start and has never had a real party of the Left.
At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century US ideas changed and the view of those at the top was that it would be dangerous for the masses to get any real power, a liberal Democratic party would suffice to listen to the wants of the masses and interpret them in a sensible way in accordance with the interests of the wealthy.
We don’t want the masses to vote for a clean slate redistribution of land and wealth for heaven’s sake.
In the UK the Liberals were descendents of the Whigs, an elitist Left (like the US Democrats).
Once everyone got the vote, a real Left Labour party appeared and the Whigs/Liberals faded into insignificance.
It is much easier to see today’s trends when you see liberals as an elitist Left.
They have just got so elitist they have lost touch with the working class.
The working class used to be their pet project, now it is other minorities like LGBT and immigration.
Liberals need a pet project to feel self-righteous and good about themselves but they come from the elite and don’t want any real redistribution of wealth and privilege as they and their children benefit from it themselves.
Liberals are the more caring side of the elite, but they care mainly about themselves rather than wanting a really fair society.
They call themselves progressive, but they like progressing very slowly and never want to reach their destination where there is real equality.
The US needs its version of the UK Labour party – a real Left – people who like Bernie Sanders way of thinking should start one up, Bernie might even join up.
In the UK our three parties all went neo-liberal, we had three liberal parties!
No one really likes liberals and they take to hiding in the other two parties, you need to be careful.
Jeremy Corbyn is taking the Labour party back where it belongs slowly.
If the US had a party of the left lead by Bernie you might find that like the UK, the liberal Democrats become a minority party.
The elitist left died with the Whigs in the UK, they are too left for the wealthy and too elitist for those lower down the scale and they just die a natural death.
The elitist left only had any real significance in the days before universal suffrage.
Thanks for the Our Revolution summary. I was a big Sanders supporter and I thoroughly agree with your criticism of the Our Revolution mission statement and your suggestions for its improvement.
I don’t know if you want more of this, but Bernie’s event at the Miami Book Fair was supposed to be tremendous. I could have sworn the Miami Herald covered it, but I couldn’t find it just now. So I’ve pasted in a couple of other links I found instead. (Warning: I have not checked these; I need to get to bed.) It was amazing seeing how much coverage that one event got. PBS, C-Span, more than one local TV affiliate, and a whole lot of other smaller outlets.
Bernie had a town hall with Chris Hayes on msnbc w/Trump voters in Kenosha Wisconsin.
“The audience was “mostly young,” but Boston is a college town.”
Anyone who has seen _This is Spinal Tap_ knows that Boston is not a big college town.