Campaign Calls on Bernie Sanders to Lead a New Party

Yves here. Even though the idea of a new political party sounds and is quixotic, the US has moved to the left when faced with significant forces outside the two-party system. One was the Progressive Party under Bob LaFollette. Another was the labor movement, particularly when in 1930s when the young CIO was both militant and effective. Unions lost when they decided to operate within the party system rather than being feral.

From the Real News Network:

AUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay, in Baltimore.

After the election of Donald Trump – I should say, after the nomination of Hillary Clinton and then the election of Donald Trump – a movement to elect Bernie Sanders, the people involved in that movement, had to decide what to do next: stay within the Democratic Party, or fight outside the Democratic Party.

Of course, everyone was waiting to see what Bernie Sanders would do, and he endorsed Hillary Clinton and actively campaigned for her, which was a matter of some debate amongst Sanders supporters. Now, there’s a new initiative: to create a new party and recruit Bernie Sanders to be the head of that party. Well, Bernie got asked about this on Meet the Press, and here’s his response.

CHUCK TODD: Let me ask you a question. Some of your former staffers, including Nick Brana, have a Draft Bernie for a People’s Party Movement. Essentially, they want to start a new political party. In the statement it said, “Despite Bernie Sanders’ monumental endeavor to bring people into the Democratic Party, people are leaving it by the millions. The collective efforts to reform the party cannot stem the tide of people who are going Independent, let alone expand the Democratic base.” What do you say to those efforts?

BERNIE SANDERS: Well, I say two things. Right now, we are in a pivotal moment in American history. We have a president who is delusional in many respects, a pathological liar, somebody who is trying to–

CHUCK TODD: Strong words, can you–

BERNIE SANDERS: Those are strong words.

CHUCK TODD: Can you work with a pathological liar?

BERNIE SANDERS: Well, it makes life very difficult, not just for me, and I don’t mean… you know, I know it sounds… it is very harsh. But I think that’s the truth. When somebody goes before you and the American people and says, “Three to five million people voted illegally in the last election.” Nobody believes that. There is not the scintilla of evidence. What would you call that remark? It’s a lie. It’s a delusion.

But second of all, to answer your question, I think what we need to do right now is focusing on bringing the American people together around a Progressive agenda. American people want to raise the minimum wage. They want to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. They want the wealthiest people in this country to start paying their fair share of taxes. They want the United States to join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee healthcare to all people as a right.

CHUCK TODD: So if the Democratic Party isn’t that vehicle, then you would support something like that, but you still believe the Democratic Party is that vehicle?

BERNIE SANDERS: Now, right now… right now, Chuck, I am working to bring fundamental reform to the Democratic Party, to open the doors of the Democratic Party to working people, to lower income people, to young people, who have not felt welcome in the embrace of the Democratic Party.

CHUCK TODD: All right, I gotta leave it there. Senator Bernie Sanders, thanks for coming on and sharing your views, sir. Appreciate it.

PAUL JAY: So, did Bernie Sanders leave the door open, not just to the Democratic Party, but did he leave the door open to perhaps joining in a third party effort, if the Democratic Party is, as Chuck Todd said, not the vehicle to achieve the political objectives Sanders is fighting for? There’s some debate about that.

Now joining us is the author of that document – or one of the authors – is Nick Brana. Thanks for joining us.

NICK BRANA: Hey, Paul. It’s great to be here.

PAUL JAY: Nick is the founder and director of Draft Bernie for a People’s Party. He was the National Political Outreach Coordinator on Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign through the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and went on to become a founding member of Our Revolution. He left Our Revolution – that’s the organization that was initiated, or created on the initiative of Bernie Sanders. He left Our Revolution along with other former Sanders staffers around the time of its launch.

Thanks for joining us.

NICK BRANA: I’m glad to be here.

PAUL JAY: NBC interpreted Bernie’s statement as closing the door on whether he would in fact be even open to the idea of a third party run. How did you interpret what he said?

NICK BRANA: They did. But anyone who watches the field clip, as you just played it, can see that the only thing that he really said is, “Right now I’m working on the Democratic Party.” When Chuck Todd asked him again, you know, but if the Democratic Party doesn’t prove to be that vehicle, Bernie would not answer that question. He would not tell, he would not rule it out, basically, and that’s what Chuck Todd was looking for an answer for. And that’s because Bernie has kept the door open.

Because Bernie, I think, like the rest of us, understands that the Democratic Party, reforming the Democratic Party is something that is becoming increasingly bleak, changing that party – you know – the prospects of that. And I think it’s become very clear that Progressives don’t have the leverage with the party in order to be able to enact any of the things or to make them take us seriously, as well–

PAUL JAY: Now, you’re a former staffer of Sanders’.


PAUL JAY: Have you talked to him? What has he said? You’ve asked… you obviously must have asked him in one form or another to come head up this new initiative.

NICK BRANA: Yes. I have reached out, but those conversations are things that I can’t go into. Those kinds of… you know, discussions, unfortunately. But…


NICK BRANA: But, yes.

PAUL JAY: But he certainly seems by all his activity to be committed to what he just said, reforming the Democratic Party. One of the issues that’s been a fight both within the Democratic Party, in fact, even within Our Revolution – I think it was one of the reasons you and some of the other staffers left – is that are the Progressives, including Sanders, going to focus on this issue of primary and right wing and corporate Democrats, and really organize that fight? And/or is it just going to be about ‘defeat Trump’, which means if establishment Democrats are likely to win the seat, you’ll leave them alone despite what their politics are?

NICK BRANA: That’s definitely the direction that I think that the DNC is going. The DNC, with having elected Tom Perez,… he was specifically recruited, Tom Perez, to run in the DNC against Ellison and against other more Progressive candidates, specifically to oppose Progressive change in the party. You know, it was for that explicit purpose. And in the DNC election, the party showed that it was still… that it’s still fully in control, basically, of that vehicle. You had Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, making calls in favor of Tom Perez. And … also you had this incredible resolution where the Democratic Party, the DNC, said that it was going to continue to take corporate money to the DNC itself.

But most telling to me, Paul, is something that was never on the table in the first place. And that’s the… it’s something that we all espoused and agreed upon on Bernie’s campaign, and that’s the idea that the politicians themselves, not necessarily the DNC being hooked onto corporate money, that’s certainly true, but the politicians, Democratic politicians themselves being hooked on the corporate lobbyist and Wall Street billionaire money. And that was never even contested in the party, you know? And that to me… for it not to be even on the table, you know, tells me that the party is really not going to be the institution through which we can effect Progressive change.

PAUL JAY: But Bernie clearly is committed to this. Before the election, and Trump winning, which I don’t think many people expected – I don’t think Bernie expected it – but before the election, Bernie was talking about: everyone should run, the people should get involved, run for office; and there should be an organization, which I always thought that’s what Our Revolution’s role was always going to be, that would support what he called “candidates who support the political revolution”, and the various social and economic objectives, including single payer healthcare and such.

That meant primary and right wing Democrats were actually a high priority. Now, Trump’s been elected. Has that changed the dynamic? Has it changed it for Bernie? Has it changed it for others? Because now he shares a stage with Chuck Schumer who’s, like, the personification of the corporate Democrat.

NICK BRANA: Right. That would certainly be something that would need to happen. If he were to try to reform the Democratic Party, you have the primary, and obviously right wing Democrats. The reason that I don’t think that that would be successful is the same reason that Bernie’s campaign was so successful, kind of the same reasoning behind that. And that’s that actually reforming the Democratic Party doesn’t inspire the same level of kind of energy and enthusiasm that Bernie did on the campaign.

People are becoming increasingly dim about that, because the party has gone… has done everything in its power to try to shut that down and to try to show that that’s really… that there is no room for Progressives. You know, they have these two sayings. They say, “This is a Big Ten Party”, you know? And they say that, “we have to unite”. Well, what they mean, those have become code for, you know, we want your votes, Progressives, we want your money, but we don’t want to actually enact any of the policies that the majority of Americans want and that Progressives want.

PAUL JAY: How does this play out? Because this is all built around right now recruiting Bernie, and at least for now you don’t have Bernie. So how do you build this, and what happens if you don’t get Bernie?

NICK BRANA: I am confident that Bernie will join us when he sees that the momentum is really on this side. And that’s what I’ve seen – the people who are joining us; there are thousands of volunteers who are signing up to volunteer, we’re starting weekly national organizing calls, getting people involved in their community, collecting petitions for him, speaking to other Progressives, getting the word out. And that I think, once Bernie sees that the momentum within the movement is on the side of starting a new party, then I think he will join us. I think he will come with us, because he knows that no matter what he’s going to in the end, he needs those Progressives, he needs that energy; and what we’ve seen in what we’re doing is really inspiring, because it’s a reawakening, actually, of that energy and enthusiasm and hope from the campaign.

People say that it feels like the early days of Bernie’s campaign. Because in the midst of this horrible kind of narrative and all the terrible things that are happening with Trump, obviously, what led to Trump in the nomination process, the Democratic Party, all of that has just been so bleak for people; and … actually drafting Bernie to start a new party is something that’s actually offering a solution to all of these things, and people are reacting very well to that.

PAUL JAY: So, what do you say to the people who were, to a large extent, making this same argument before the election, and supported the Green Party and Jill Stein? Because many of the arguments they gave were that the Democratic Party can’t be reformed, it has to be done as a third party campaign. And they’ve been doing it, they have a certain amount of national structure. Why not do it through them?

NICK BRANA: Right. That’s a great question. We get it a lot. The reason is that, what the Green Party is trying to do, what the Libertarian Party is trying to do, it’s a really admirable effort to bring a diversity of perspectives into our politics. Even if we don’t agree with them, that’s what democracy should mean: diversity of perspectives.

But, that kind of effort, to build a third party that can overtake actually a major party, has never succeeded, that route to doing it. And so by that I mean, when a party tries to build itself up from nothing, from scratch, up into a party that can challenge the major parties, successfully, we just saw that’s what has never worked successfully.

We just saw in the general election the two most despised candidates going against each other. 82% of people told the New York Times they were disgusted with the election, and with the way it had unfolded, and yet still the Green Party and the Libertarian Party couldn’t break 5%. They couldn’t get the minor party status.

And so that tells you how effective those systems are at really keeping the third parties down.

PAUL JAY: Now, wouldn’t that apply to a third party you create? Even if you have Sanders?

NICK BRANA: Yeah. That’s what I’m getting to, is that there is a successful model, though, you know, for creating a new party, and when I started looking into this I realized that it was the same way that the Democratic and the Republican Parties have been created in the past. Those began as small parties and they became major parties; especially the Republican Party example was very apt, as having overthrown the Whig Party in just four years. So essentially that model is that; rather than trying to build up from nothing, where the laws that the establishment has created to keep down third parties, they attack third parties at the takeoff stage, so it’s really difficult to take off.

But what they can’t answer is what the Republican and Democratic Parties did, which is when you bring an existing base of millions of people over to a new party. That’s the model that Lincoln followed, for example, when he built a large following – he and others in the Republican Party…

PAUL JAY: But there is an example of this happening more recently. When Wallace… when Roosevelt’s Vice President, and I guess it’s around… I think it’s in 1945, at the Democratic Party Convention, where Wallace was expected to be nominated again as the Vice President, there’s a bunch of backroom dealings going on, enormous pressure, and essentially there’s a coup takes place, and Truman is brought in as Vice President. Well, Wallace runs on a third party ticket, and there you’ve got somebody who’s got enormous support, takes a whole section of the Democratic Party base with him – and gets trounced.

And I think part of the reason for that is then – and far more even now – the media simply marginalizes the person. Because the media is so part of the State, and they only want the two parties, and it’s one of the reasons the Green Party doesn’t break through, because the media simply will not let the Green Party have a platform. They’ll never let them be in a debate, and so on.

NICK BRANA: And that’s why an established candidate, someone who has built up a following in the establishment parties and then shown the limits of that party – you know, which is exactly what Bernie has done, which is exactly what Lincoln did – they built a majority following in their party when the establishment of that party had refused to acknowledge that majority. So basically there’s a party within a party that happens to be the majority. And you could take that party and you could make it a new institution that actually reflects what people want, which is what Lincoln did successfully.

To your example with Wallace, the difference there, I would say, was that at that point the Democratic Party still represented FDR’s kind of New Deal proposals, and so it was still an institution that had the respect of working people at the time. Right now, it has moved so far away from that. I mean, we basically have a one-party state. That’s what Chomsky calls it, and Gore Vidal kind of comically says it has two right wings, a one party State with two right wings.

Because of that, when you look at party affiliation, party affiliation back then in Truman’s time was very high for the Democratic Party. But it has declined ever since then as the Democratic Party has moved further and further and further away from kind of working class representation, until now when it’s reached historic lows, really, and the number of Independents just dwarfs the number of Democrats and Republicans – it’s much higher. It’s far higher.

And so we’ve reached this point where, really, there’s an ocean of Independents out there who are just waiting for someone to unify them, and that’s why I think if Bernie left he would take – you know, talking about the party within the party – he would take the majority of the Democratic Party. Or half, you know, to be conservative.

PAUL JAY: Well, you know what the counter-argument’s going to be, is that it would lead to the re-election of a second term Trump. Because you’ll have this split in the Democratic Party. That will be the counter-argument–

NICK BRANA: I think that’s the traditional kind of reasoning. The reason I disagree with that, is that you have this incredible situation in this country where neither major party gives voice to the majority of opinions in the United States. When you look at the political spectrum by representation, by Democrats and Republicans, you see that it’s actually a tiny sliver of the actual political spectrum of what Americans believe, and it’s far off to the right wing. You know, what Democrats and Republicans debate is far off to the right wing. They just constantly agree on that, you know, especially on economic and foreign policy, and there are more substantive differences in social policy.

But because of that, there is this vast electoral real estate in actually representing people; you go issue by issue and people agree with Bernie. You know, people want tuition-free public college. People want universal healthcare. People want actually to reinvest some of the money that we’re spending on wars abroad at home. People want… Bernie’s platform is the majority platform; when you look at the United States and when you actually look at those issue poll statistics, you realize that Bernie’s the moderate; by the opinion of the American people, Bernie’s a moderate and that’s why he’s so popular.

PAUL JAY: Okay. Well, we’ll follow this along, and we’ll come back to you in a few months and see how it’s going. Your big target, I think, is the one-year anniversary, is that right?


PAUL JAY: One year anniversary of the DNC convention, you hope to have how many signatures?

NICK BRANA: That’s right. We’d like to have at least 100,000 signatures. I think that’s very doable. There are people who are joining us every day, because they say that this is something that has reawakened the inspiration that they felt on the campaign.

PAUL JAY: Okay. Well, thanks very much for joining us.

NICK BRANA: Of course.

PAUL JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

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  1. Marco

    Some scattered thoughts of an insomiac: A brief google search for “Brana” and “Our Revolution” and “leave” brings up nothing. Why did Brana leave Our Revolution? If you’re like me and only have time to give money the first thing that inspires generosity is a track record of SUCCESS. People saw what Bernie was accomplishing in 2016 and how he fundamentally changed the primary by pushing Hillary to the left. So millions opened their wallets…because SUCCESS. $220 million!!! Schlepping for the ACA and calling Trump a deluded liar is not good enough. Sanders is perilously close to becoming that dude that lost to the pant-suit that lost to Trump. The small donor $millions$ will come forth like an Oroville gusher the moment Bernie stops hemming and hawing and tosses Team D off the f@cking cliff.

    1. UserFriendly

      It was over Jeff Weaver being chosen to lead it and making the call to have it be a 501c4 which can take unlimited money from billionaires, there was also some rumors that he was talking to Tom Stier about donations. However, the mass exodus of staff made Weaver commit to limit and disclose all contributions.

      1. philnc

        What was billed as “Our” revolution turned out to be “their” revolution. The Whig to Republican transition needs closer scruitiny. If I recall correctly Lincoln and his fellow insurgents first organized for the new party at the state and local level, engaging in what today would be considered shameless “sheep stealing” rather than movement-neutralizing “sheep dogging”. Importantly, Lincoln was late to the party and n,ot alone. Many nationally and locally famous Whigs joined in the effort as well. Illinois was at the time a populous bellweather state in the way California could be today. One last thing: the four year-old Republican party lost the 1858 Senate election in Illinois only to have the same candidate win the Presidency two years later.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          “[…] Lincoln and his fellow insurgents first organized for the new party at the state and local level, engaging in what today would be considered shameless “sheep stealing”

          One of the things I liked about the movie Lincoln was it accurately portrayed his political nature and political acumen. He was a deadly good politician in an era every bit as corrupt as our own. He has been over-sanitized by history.

          And the Republicans of that era are the very best analog for successful new party creation today. They are the only one who succeeded really.

        2. Big River Bandido

          If I recall correctly Lincoln and his fellow insurgents first organized for the new party at the state and local level, engaging in what today would be considered shameless “sheep stealing”

          You are correct about the way the early Republicans organized, and in a sense about the “sheep stealing” as well…although by that time, the barn doors (so to speak) were already wide open and the sheep in flight.

          However, the attempt to organize against the dominant party (the Democrats, which were really two factions in one party) had actually been ongoing since the late 1830s. The Whigs succeeded in electing 2 presidents…both short-lived generals with political weaknesses that would likely have crippled them even if they had survived.

          Needless to say, the modern American left is nowhere near that organized. But the political opening is there. Just as the Democrats of the 1850s had no answers for the problems facing the nation, neither do the two parties (together comprising a narrow faction of political “thought”) of today.

    2. Big River Bandido

      I would have to disagree with the assertion that Sanders “fundamentally changed the primary by pushing Hillary to the left”. Certainly she didn’t budge on anything, which is part of the reason she lost so badly.

      As for Sanders’ primary “loss”, that’s a loaded word in a rigged contest.

  2. bmeisen

    The mechanism that perpetuates 2-party dominance and defeats attempts by new parties to effectively participate in the implementation of public policy at the federal level has 3 parts: manufactured consent, suppression of voter turnout and single-issue blocks. To remove this mechanism completely and introduce real multi-party participation at the federal level requires a constitutional re-write, which is not going to happen without improbable, dramatic, unpleasant events.

    The initiative discussed here would if successful replace one of the two parties that currently dominate. Clearly the target is the Dems, but it could only succeed if it substantially weakens the GOP. The question is therefore if this initiative can benefit from manufactured consent, voter suppression and single issue blocks.

    Bernie as the Candidate is a concession to the demands of manufactured consent. Political culture in the USA today is apolitical and personality driven. Bernie as a media phenomenon has distinct strengths – I am convinced that his name recognition in key Dem blocks would have grown had he won the nomination and that he would have dedeated Trump handily. But he ain’t no spring chicken anymore.

    This initiative could benefit from the current low voter turnout rates if it could successfully draw deplorables from Trump. I think Bernie was doing that. Finally does the Bernie brand appeal sufficiently to key single interest blocks? The key blocks are pretty well known thanks to Trump. Bernie is obviously not saying anything about gun control. And this initiative has to grow with a new cadre of afro am leaders.

    1. JohnnyGL

      That’s misleading and ridiculous. No one expects to fund a nation of 330M people on a tax base of 400 people. So, yeah, math. That tells you absolutely nothing, and is designed to mislead people into thinking “I guess we can’t just soak the rich since there’s just not enough to go around!”

      However, it’d be nice if we could change the policies that make them billionaires in the first place. Because those policies are riotously expensive. The oligarchs get tons of tax breaks, subsidies of various sorts, hefty government contracts, and our policy on copyrights/patents mean they can charge a fortune for royalties on software and drugs. Anti-trust policies mean billionaires get to charge excessive rents without the discomfort of actual competition. I could go on and with these.

      Tuition free public college and universal health care could be done for pretty modest amounts. I think the tuition can be done for around $75bn (according to Sanders, prob not way off). That’s a rounding error in the federal budget.

      Medicare for all can be done such that it’s a net savings to a household’s budget (even if it represents an expansion of the federal budget). I’d happily pay $10K less in premiums/co-ins/deductibles, etc. and pay $5K a year more in taxes. So would pretty much everyone.

      1. Quanka

        No, wrong. don’t you understand markets and rich people? Anonymous laid out the iron clad argument above, what are you missing?

        In all seriousness, anyone who touts the “not enough rich people” line are just trying to distract you from what is ALREADY included in our budget. News flash: we already have the money we need to enact these hugely popular programs and what is lacking is political will power (nearly impossible in our hopeless corrupted system) to redirect money out of defense.

      2. JCC

        I couldn’t agree more.

        It’s pretty obvious to me that when we hear calls for “rebuilding the infrastructure” the aim is not “human infrastructure” or “societal infrastructure” primarily because there is no serious and exploitative profit in those fields of endeavor. Decent health care and education is a waste of money.

        Privatization and rent is where the good and “efficient” (for some) life lies, and both Parties are fully on-board with this.

      3. oh

        Anonymous wrote ‘wealth’ not income! I expect that if we confiscate the wealth of the Forbes 400 it would pay for a lot of things!

    2. paulmeli

      The economy is funded by money-printing, not by taxes.

      Government funds taxes, taxes don’t fund government.

      1. Marco

        Not a rhetorical question but what’s the MMT explanation for state and local governments? They can’t print $$. Can state and local gov even exist in a pure MMT system?

        1. paulmeli

          Per MMT state and local governments are USERS of the currency, as are we. The Federal Government (Congress) is the ISSUER (the monopoly issuer) of the currency.

          For state and local governments taxes DO fund spending, although some funding is obtained directly from the federal government (grants, etc.).

          So federal spending is based on money printing and income taxes are then funded from that money.

          In National Accounting all income taxes are charged against federal spending even though the other sources of spending (Investment, bank loans) generate taxable income. The National Accounts and federal budgeting are not real-world representations of money flows, they are stylized views.

          We are already living in an MMT system, we just don’t recognize it. The MMT system is the accounting of money flows which is always happening in real time, but the flows may not be (probably aren’t) optimal.

          So we have massive inequality and unemployment.

          The main take-away from MMT is that spending for a sovereign has no mathematical constraints. The govt can never run out of $ or go bankrupt due to the inability to pay liabilities, rather the functional limit to spending is real resource constraints, i.e. you can’t buy something that doesn’t exist or isn’t for sale.

          1. John k

            What money printing? Deficit spending is funded by loans, and gooses the economy because recipients of deficit spending spend the money, whereas the wealthy lenders would not. Even the interest paid to the wealthy is borrowed from them.

            We live in a potential MMT world, not a real one. All gov should print and spend sufficient to get to full employment while accommodating savers that drain money from the system. Our gov must also accommodate foreign savers because they insist on collecting greenbacks, making the dollar the reserve currency. (Worldwide savers would first have to develop a preference for the yuan or euro before either could take that role.)

            In our system only commercial banks can print and provide (loan) new money to spenders, and they will fight to the death (donate any amount to politicians) to retain their primacy.

            Even QE, where fed buys treasury bonds, is not money printing, just an interest free loan that treasury must repay from future revenue and borrowings. However, if the 1T platinum coin is ever deposited with the fed in exchange for dollars, that would be money printing that need not be repaid, breaking our self-imposed strait jacket. Of course, Wall Street banks would do everything possible to prevent it…

              1. John k

                Treasury borrows when it sells bills and bonds, and does this to finance the deficit. Buyers are both wealthy US residents wanting a safe investment and foreigners, e.g. China used to use dollars earned in their trade surplus to buy our bonds, exchanging dollars that don’t pay interest for bonds that do.

                1. paulmeli

                  Treasury borrows when it sells bills and bonds, and does this to finance the deficit.

                  You can use the terms ‘borrow’ and ‘finance’ if you like but you’re using them out of context. The government can create dollars at will, without any mathematical constraint, it just chooses not to. I’ll leave the reasons why for you to figure out.

                  exchanging dollars that don’t pay interest for bonds that do

                  That isn’t ‘borrowing’ either except in the strictest technical sense. There is no similarity between that class of ‘borrowing’ and private credit.

                  Using terms like ‘borrowing’ when describing monetary operations (which are simply accounting abstractions) poisons the debate when politics is involved, making it seem like we can’t afford things that the citizenry has very right to expect.

                  1. john k

                    Existing law constrains treasury from acting as a sovereign issuer of its own currency because of widespread fears of inflation, whether valid or not.
                    Italy and CA are users of a currency they have no control over.
                    That the US chooses to constrain treasury from printing and spending is exactly the same as an external constraint. Effectively the treasury has no ability to print and spend, and fed buying treasuries, whether directly or on the open market, is not the same because treasury must repay treasuries when due.
                    Given money treasury borrows must be repaid out of future revenue plus borrowings according to our constraints, and given that this rising debt generates fear in the legislature that constrains future spending, treasury is forced to act exactly as a household, merely a user of its own currency.
                    The one loophole under existing law is the platinum coin, allowing treasury to generate unlimited profit from seigniorage, as it does when minting quarters. There would be howls at first use of such a ploy, would take a major crisis before a pres would confront the public fearful of inflation plus banks fearful that gov printing would reduce the public’s need for loans.

                    I do agree treasury borrowing savers’ investable cash from the private sector is not the same as banks creating credit (the former reduces the inflation of real assets whereas the latter may increase said inflation, depending on use); my point was that the effect on the borrower, i.e. the debt must be repaid, is the same.

                    1. paulmeli

                      Existing law constrains treasury from acting as a sovereign issuer of its own currency because of widespread fears of inflation, whether valid or not.

                      Existing law constrains nothing. When Congress passes spending bills and the President signs them, Treasury (and Fed) has no choice but to issue the checks (mark up bank accounts). There exists no entity above Congress in the hierarchy with the power to say checks can’t be issued (we don’t have the money).

                      Nor can bondholders.

                      If it ever happened that an auction went unsold the Fed would step in and purchase any unsold bonds. It must, because one of it’s mandates is to ensure that checks in the interbank system don’t bounce.

                      As it is the offer-to-buy/issue ratio is nearly 2.5 with real yields approaching zero or negative.

                      Bondholders have no choice.

                      The law is therefore impotent (functionally non-existent) and any perceived constraint moot.

                      Your argument parrots the conventional wisdom as to how the system works…a stylized version that is not an accurate representation of how the monetary system works in the real world.

                      MMT has this right.

                      The only current constraint on spending is Congress (politics and ignorance) using the ‘law’ as a crutch.

                      When Congress needs the money, like for the military or for when we have a GFC that leads to a $1.4T deficit check written for automatic stabilizer funding there is no constraint.

                    2. David Swan

                      “money treasury borrows must be repaid out of future revenue plus borrowings”

                      This is the root of your error. You falsely believe that when we sell treasuries, we then spend the money which must be recouped through future revenues. This is false, false, FALSE!!!

                      Bond sales are NOT a “financing” operation, they are merely an instrument of monetary policy. The US government DOES NOT spend the money it receives from bond sales – the funds are simply moved to a securities account, where they will sit until redemption.

                      When Treasury spends, it credits both the recipient’s account and their bank’s reserve account at the Fed – these credits are generated “from nothing”, and add net financial assets to the private sector.

                      While the Fed must then issue an equal amount of bonds, the bond issue does NOT subtract net financial assets from the economy – it simply converts them from one asset (demand deposit) into a different form (treasury security). Upon redemption, no tax revenue is applied to redeem the security because the security IS the money that was used to buy it.

              2. paulmeli

                What money printing?

                ‘Money printing’ means spending from thin air. Are you implying the federal government doesn’t spend?

                1. john k

                  Gov spending is limited by the legislature to tax or other revenue such as fines and fees, plus borrowing from the private sector, plus seigniorage (the profit made from minting coins).
                  Only seigniorage is money printing, i.e. an expansion of the money supply, all other spending is from revenue and borrowings from the private sector. The treasury is constrained by law to act just as any household.

                  So other than seigniorage I’m implying that treasury does not money print, whether to spend or anything else. And the other arm of the gov, the fed, does not spend at all.

                  1. paulmeli

                    Gov spending is limited by the legislature to tax or other revenue such as fines and fees, plus borrowing from the private sector, plus seigniorage (the profit made from minting coins).

                    No, it isn’t

                2. john k

                  Looking at another comment of yours regarding MMT…
                  I agree MMT explains how our fiat system works. I don’t agree we are making any use of this understanding or that we operate our gov as if we did understand the full freedom a sovereign gov could have to moderate the economy.

                  Most western governments, including ours, constrain spending to what is raised through taxation plus borrowing. The EU further constrains each country to a specific deficit limit of 3% of GDP regardless of whether the economy is expanding or contracting. So far the US has no such constraint, explaining how we escaped the worst of GFC. Periodically there is an attempt to balance the budget, worse even the the EU!

                  So far we have been able to maintain our automatic stabilizers, regardless of the deficit (which reached 10% of GDP for a couple of years following GFC), by borrowing from savers in the private sector, thus allowing treasury to spend those borrowings into areas of the private sector that will spend.

                  1. paulmeli

                    …by borrowing from savers in the private sector…

                    This is an asset swap, not ‘borrowing’ in the sense that you are using it. But you continue to do so…

                    When Congress spends it is technically ‘borrowing” since per double-entry accounting rules a liability is entered on the government side of the transaction when $ are created (spent)

                    This liability will never be satisfied, nor is there any requirement to do so.

                    To imply that this is a ‘loan’ is a logical fallacy, in that there is no obligation to zero the ‘loan’ out…ever.

                  2. paulmeli

                    …MMT explains how our fiat system works.

                    I didn’t write that but it’s true statement as far as it goes.

                    Your entire argument seems to be that it isn’t.

                    I wrote that when transactions occur between government and non-government that MMT was in fact happening in real time.

                    Each transaction (event) is an MMT event by definition.

                    When one is falling from a tree (or standing idle) gravity is happening. One can use gravity to advantage or not, it’s always there nonetheless.

        2. Speck

          There is none. These entities cannot operate like the federal government. This is why the EU has such trouble as well. Sovereign nations cannot print their own money.

          The solution to this would be federal funding of more programs. Let the states deal with what is unique to states and let the federal government fund everything else. If you take healthcare and education out of the state budgets, they can accomplish a whole lot with taxes and bonds.

        3. Praedor

          The FEDERAL government is funded by money printing. Period. ONLY state/local governments are based on taxpayer funding. Happily, universal/singlepayer healthcare and tuition-free university are not things that state/local governments would need to fund. In fact, with federally funded/backed healthcare and education, the states would see tax dollars freed up for other things than Medicaid (goes away) and supporting universities.

          1. john k

            Consider my comments above.
            Beyond those… Treasury can borrow nearly unlimited amounts at low interest rates because
            a) US lenders have savings they don’t know what to do with, and
            b) lenders know gov does in fact does have a printing press, even if it does not use it, i.e. savers know that one way of another they will get their money back.

            And… our trade deficit adds around 500 billion a year to foreign savers dollar accounts, giving them the cash to invest in treasuries.

    3. Steven Greenberg

      Taxes do not fund a government that is sovereign in its own currency like the USA is. Our government creates our money. No matter what taxes are paid and by whom, the government would still create the money to run itself.

      This is why it is so important for Progressives to understand this fundamental fact about how our money works. If they don’t understand this, then they are subject to the true claim that “If you confiscated the wealth of the Forbes 400, it would fund the government for about six months.” If you know that taxes do not fund government spending, then this argument is useless against us.

    4. Michael C

      Single payer health care has been proven to be almost half of what our present system costs. It is a matter of will and a matter of kicking out the health insurance industry that adds absolutely nothing to health care. It’s unnecessary, and a publicly funded privately run expand and Improved Medicare for all will be cheaper, and it will allow working people mobility so that they can seek employment where they want and not be stuck at a job they don’t like because of fear of losing health insurance. It will also strengthen unions by allowing them to negotiate better wages, a safer workplace, and one where they are not as exploited since contract negotiations will not have to be consumed with dealing with the health care issue. Likewise, a workforce that is not stuck for years with school debt will be more mobile and free to take chances in the workplace. We used to fund education at one time. I graduated without any debt with two degrees. You have to quit believing the false narrative that nothing is possible. It once was, and still is. See PNHP, Healthcare Now, or Labor Campaign for Single Payer to get facts on healthcare.

      1. Allegorio

        Huge amounts of money have been created by the Fed and the banks and hoarded by the .001%. This money is looking for return. The margins in manufacturing and now real estate are too small for them. The medical insurance sector is the place where it is hoped that this money can be invested with maximum return on investment, provided the tax payer subsidizes the hugely inflated medical industrial complex. This is the whole point of the ACA and Trumpcare. This is why the Democratic and Republican agents of the .001% have desperately blocked single payer, the public option et alia. The Republicans are just as desperate to keep the subsidies flowing to their .001% clients. The Republican reforms consist of transferring the subsidies from the racially mixed poor to the white middle class. Apparently it is still very important to the Republicans that as many poor people and people of color die as possible. You know, cleanse the race.

    5. John

      You tax the rich to remove some of the huge political power their money buys in our one dollar one vote political system.

    6. Norb

      Trickle down economics seems to be the successful rebranding of the Devine Right of Kings. When this current cycle becomes untenable, the next phase will be Tax the Rich- or Eat the Rich.

      1. Will S.

        “Eat the Rich,” I like that. Has a certain ring to it. When the apocalypse comes and Kiwis run out of sheep to eat, maybe they’ll turn their heads toward Thiel and friends.

        Personally, I’m more inclined to feed the rich to Mme. La Guillotine, but then, we’ll see what happens when global food shortages kick in.

    7. different clue

      But if we stopped the Forbes 400 from confiscating any more of our ongoing wealth and earnings and redistributing it up the Forbes 400 ladder . . . then we could apply all that our-own-money to our own collective enrichment and betterment. And of course the OverClass contains more people than just the Forbes 400. Which means the OverClass redistributes up the social class ladder a lot more of our ongoingly-produced wealth and money than just what the Forbes 400 redistributes to themselves. Which means if we shut off the revenue stream from us to the whole OverClass, we would retain a huge amount of money and wealth to work with over time.

  3. jefemt

    Here Here! Especially if we would stop giving the health INSURANCE industry $.35 cents on the healthcare dollar that does not contribute one iota to the CARE equation. The notion that one can insure the health of a mortal being is a canard. Basic care, reasonable expectations, impacts of lifestyle choices on the collective pool, cost-shifting need to be acknowledged and discussed. Sarah Palin’s outcry about death panels closed another door, and here we aren’t. We can do so much better for ourselves!

  4. Deloss Brown

    I cannot think of anything that would be more destructive to the progressive movement than a third party. What should we call it? The Bull Moose Party?

    To quote Wikipedia: “[The Bull Moose Party (which was a Republican party progressive spin-off)] carried only eight states, enabling Democrat Woodrow Wilson to score a massive landslide in the electoral college, as well as control of both houses of Congress. Beset by factionalism and failure to win many offices, the party went into rapid decline by 1914 and virtually disappeared in 1916. One main result was that conservative elements took control of the Republican Party for decades.”

    1. Quanka

      Have you not watched the Democratic party over the past 24 months? The DNC is the most destructive element to the progressive movement bar none.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        Have you not watched the Democratic party over the past 24 monthsyears?

        Fixed it for ya.

    2. Steven Greenberg

      I do not know anything that could be more destructive to the progressive movement than to reassure the Democratic Party that we will remain loyal no matter how badly they treat us. Didn’t Obama prove to you that bargaining yourself down before confronting the adversary is a loser’s strategy?

      1. Deloss Brown

        See above:

        BERNIE SANDERS: Now, right now… right now, Chuck, I am working to bring fundamental reform to the Democratic Party, to open the doors of the Democratic Party to working people, to lower income people, to young people, who have not felt welcome in the embrace of the Democratic Party.”

        And I’m a follower of Bernie Sanders.

        1. h

          And he is doing that by endorsing Hillary Clinton, ignoring the establishment disenfranchising his constituents by rigging the primaries, going along with the new DNC leadership not including a single member that supports his constituents except for Ellison (who is a joke anyways) getting appointed to a made up position that has no power and is just for optics, jumping aboard the crazy train of Trump-Russia conspiracy nutters, etc.

          With friends like these, who needs enemies?

          1. Arizona Slim

            Which is why I think that it is high time that we look beyond Bernie. He planted the seeds of a political revolution. Keeping those seeds growing is our job.

            1. Lambert Strether

              Exactly. Not sure Bernie 2.0 is Tulsi Gabbard, though. Not sure why the enthusiasm. In fact, I think a candidate with the right stature is going to have the emerge. Which they tend to do. Remember, Lincoln wasn’t even a state Senator when he ran for President and won.

              1. NYPaul

                No, not Tulsi, though she had the right message, yet was wrong messenger. But, in a country of 300+ million there must be a “younger Bernie” out there. I’m thinking back to 1960 when an obscure, but, intelligent, photogenic, ambitious Senator (a Catholic, no less) grabbed the hopes of enough citizens to win an improbable Presidential victory.

                I’m torn, however, whether it can be done within the Dem. Party, or, a third Party. But, if ever a third Party was possible, the current debacle of our two Party mess should make it a serious topic of conversation.

                The fact that a Donald Trump could be elected over a candidate that had “everything” [sic] says everything about just how ready our country is for real change. And, with the state of our country after however long Trump’s administration lasts we may be even more ready for change than even 2016. With Bernie as the spiritual leader, and a John Kennedy type protégé as candidate, hey, why not?

                Personally, I’d prefer the third party way. But, I also realize fighting two corrupt, entrenched Parties may be too much to take on. However, anything short of a total, 100%, purge of today’s Democratic Party would be akin to removing “most” of a patient’s metastasizing cancer cells.

                1. financial matters

                  Yes, it would seem useful to have someone wealthy enough to not concentrate on the spoils of office or beholding to people who got him there.

                  Also someone who is not afraid of dying as there are powerful opponents, which dovetails with someone who has an understanding of the deep state and willingness to take them on.

                  Someone who is more interested in children than in going to war with Russia.

                  Someone who has enough clout with enough Americans to be able to push unusual ideas such as the usefulness of deficits or the benefits of single payer.

                  The main establishment Dems seem to have no interest in Tulsi. On the other hand Trump has already had a meeting with her.

        2. Marina Bart

          Bernie doesn’t want you to be a follower. He wants you to be an ally.

          What policies do you want to see implemented, Deloss?

          1. Deloss Brown

            Marina, I am not a politician and it would take me a great deal of time to formulate policy–and wasted time, too. I’ll have what Bernie’s having. That’s why I say “follower.”

            Gee, I’m sorry Bernie isn’t good enough for some of the people on here. But then, I was amazed to read the comments somewhere below here that “Trump is a lesser evil than Hillary.” I find it very hard to find any good at all in having a treasonous crook in power. Silly me!

            1. sharonsj

              To me, both Trump and Hillary are “evils.” This country needs radical change and Hillary was all about the status quo and incremental change. Trump is stupid and crazy and represents a different kind of change that appeals to desperate people.

              I’d love a third party, but it isn’t possible under all the current restrictions. Proportional voting would be great too, but not likely to happen. But we are going to see change simply because the GOP has started another civil war.

            2. Marina Bart

              That statement indicates either an extreme degree of thoughtlessness, or reveals that you work for David Brock.

              If you are writing here, you presumably wish to engage with people around political and economic concerns. Yet you can’t name a single policy you desire?

              Why do you “follow” Bernie, then? Do you just have a fetish for elderly Jewish socialists? (Admittedly, they can be pretty hot.)

              No wonder you don’t understand the critiques of Trump and Clinton, if you can’t even identify a single thing you want from your government.

              I mean, really? Not one thing? There’s not ONE policy Bernie was offering that Clinton was not that you desire?

              If this is an example of Shareblue’s new talking points, the rumors of Brock no longer having robust funding must be true.

              Whether you’re working for Brock or simply incapable of understanding policy and that it is dangerously foolish to blindly follow politicians, I feel quite sorry for you.

    3. John Wright

      I believe the Democratic party will kill itself off when it becomes so irrelevant that it can’t attract elite funding.

      Trump is probably giving the current elite Democrats a feeling of hope.

      But if Trump does stuff to improve the deplorables’ lot, the Democratic demise will be hastened, as their message of “we’re not as bad, vote for us”, stops working.

      A few more bad elections and the Democrats will be starved out by political fund raising austerity, as they will have no influence to sell.

      As it is now, the $1Billion that went down on HRC is probably a sore point with the donors, as they didn’t get what they paid for.

      One major difference between 1914 and now is the internet, and that might help a third party’s rise.

      1. barefoot charley

        Woodrow Wilson adopted a Progressive platform to capture those Bull Moose voters. Creating the third party moved American politics, all parties, to the left. As long as we can only vote for Lesser Evilism, we can’t vote for what we want. Democrats will be what they are as long as we vote for them anyway.

    4. Hong Kong King

      You mean the movement that has utterly collapsed thanks to that party? The Democrats decided to nominate the most unpopular candidate in their history to run up against Trump, which was brilliant. She lost, despite outspending him two to one, and he was the most unpopular major party nominee ever. Approaching half the country identified as Democrats decades ago, about a quarter do now. The party has been killed nationally by the Republicans since about 2008, and that party has support from less than 30% of the public, their ideas are deeply unpopular too. Since the last election disaster, the Democrats have named Pelosi to lead them in the House, Schumer in the Senate, Perez to head the DNC, and they voted to continue on with DWS’s policies regarding corporate donations. Want to know why Clinton lost? Russia! Boo!

      Forming a third party doesn’t harm progressives, hitching our sails to that sinking ship does. It doesn’t want the left, it doesn’t want to critically self-reflect, it is making decisions as a party that will have hugely negative impacts moving forward (since no one wants or supports what the rotten elites that run the DNC want). No one is forcing them to be this horrible. Besides, you don’t need a third party at the national to push the ideas of the left, at least with everything other than the presidential election. You could identify city council seats, local races, as well as House and Senate races, in which the Democrats are running a typical bore, the Republicans are running a Republican and rally around a left of center third party alternative. No reason you can’t have lots of people like Kshama Sawant and Ty Moore across the country. It’s a bit harder when it comes to presidential candidates, then you do need a national party of some sort, not the case with everything else.

      Oh, and you can stop looking at history as a guide. How helpful would history have been in predicting Trump, or the rise of the Brooklyn born Jewish socialist? We have never had to deal with what is coming for us environmentally, and in the distant past we were growing into the world’s superpower. We are stagnating and on the decline now. This is uncharted territory. The left’s ideas are popular, and yet the left doesn’t exist nationally. Maybe the problem is the electoral vehicle the left has chosen?

  5. p7b

    No! Sanders should stay inside the D party. He’s the only respectable spokesperson they have and they know it. He is the inside angle. He seems quite real at that.

    The D party will fight reform tooth and nail – so – the job of the inside half is to go over the goal line. The job of the outside half is to be the dreaded left-populist alternative. Both are needed. The inside half needs to be able to sweet-talk the establishment as well, something Sanders appears able to do. The outside half should be his uncompromising clone.

    We should be completely upfront here- this is a mild act of extortion against the D party to drive them back left. They did the same thing to their own voters, forcing them center-right since our 2-party system gives no alternatives.

    And this is where the electoral college comes in. Imagine that a 3rd party gets enough votes to take states. Even just one or 2 states. If the remaining D/R *electoral* votes are split 50-50, the election goes to the house, the representatives group into states, each state-group gets one vote. The party controlling the most states wins. If a 3rd party gets even just one or two states and the other 2 are split, the D’s lose automatically.

    A bit dangerous obviously, but in the end though, the D’s do want to win so they absolutely will compromise and adopt the outside-left party’s agenda, if that is where the threat comes from. This is a tremendous piece of leverage.

    But it is going to be a very rough game. The outside-left party in this scenario must be prepared to be vilified by democrats like the US left has not been vilified in some time. To be the outside half here will be a sacrificial act.

    Interestingly, this extortion mechanism is not available to drive the R party further to the right. A far-right party in the US system *always* loses to a center right party because of the same electoral college/house-rule dynamic. If the Repubs wanted to purge their extreme wing, they are slightly less sensitive than the Democrats.

    Another consideration is that for max leverage by this method, a 3rd party must be geographically concentrated in just couple of states. Not 50-state strategy. The opposite.

    1. oh

      Sanders is just playing out his time. He’s not going to do anything inside or outside the D party. We should comes to terms with that and work to change things on our own w/o him, preferably outside the DimRat party.

      1. Marina Bart

        That’s just silly. He’s in his 70s. He marched with union members in Mississippi just for larks?

        What he’s trying to do may not work. It may even be misguides or flawed strategically. But claiming he’s not trying to do something, or that he’s a bought Democratic Party shill fails for lack of evidence. You have to ignore quite a bit of concrete evidence to assert it.

    2. johnnygl

      I like a lot of what you’ve got here, but disagree that the only purpose of the 3rd party is to drag the dems left.

      If the soc dems get a real base of support, then i’m happy to put the dem party in the ground like the elitist-federalist party. After all, the dems want to be a neoliberal party like repubs except they like to talk about diversity more.

      There’s no reason a third party can’t become part of the political structure here. The uk has long had 3 major parties, canada, too.

      Yes, the dems will act shrill, and so will the media. However, it’s likely that a third party would steal repub voters, too, so the charges from the dems, media would quickly fall on deaf ears. Let’s remember that the repub base hates their party as much as the dem base hates the elite dems. Probably more.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Mexico, with the same Presidential system, also has 3 major parties. In fact the PRD appears to be in line to win the next presidential election.

    3. ex-PFC Chuck

      “No! Sanders should stay inside the D party. He’s the only respectable spokesperson they have and they know it.”

      And “spokesperson” is all he’ll ever be in the Democratic Party of the second decade of the 21st century.

      1. p7b

        Perhaps, but he got as far as he did by running in the D primary. Sanders got, for himself and for all soc-dem’s in the US, a chance to address a national audience, and I’d say he beat the odds and opened some real doors for the future.

        I don’t know how the media situation will be in 2020, but I’m guessing the D party primary still gets a bigger audience than a 3rd party.

    4. knowbuddhau

      >> the D’s do want to win so they absolutely will compromise and adopt the outside-left party’s agenda….

      Yep. That’s why they sabotaged the more popular candidate and went with the one person who could lose to Trump. Or was it why they adopted plenty of Sanders’s platform and gave him a prominent role at the convention? No wait, it was why they elected Ellison DNC chair. /s

      The Democrats preferred losing with Her to winning with Bernie. They’d do the same with whatever 3rd party comes along.

      Besides, we have a time horizon. Thanks to AGW, we don’t have unlimited generations to get our act together.

      Hostile takeover FTW. I prescribe death and resurrection. (For the literalists in the house: I’m using these words as metaphors. ;)

      1. p7b

        Good point. I didn’t say they would do any of this willingly

        I’d argue they didn’t take the possibility of losing seriously. That may change. If you simultaneously have a Sanders in the D primary and a Nader threatening to take a state or three at the same time, the picture changes, in my opinion. In 2008, after 8 years of Bush, they managed to find the winning strategy and go with Obama over Clinton.

        Re: “the Democrats prefer losing with Her” — that’s an even more significant point. They can ensure that this will happen with a 3rd party too. Just as a 3rd party with some electoral votes in its pocket can credibly threaten to prevent the D party from winning because of the House rule, the D party can credibly prevent a third party from winning. If the D party would sabotage their own primary, they most certainly will sabotage a rival 3rd party.

    5. Hong Kong King

      The Democrats would utterly collapse if Sanders left, they are well on the way as is, but he is the only thing keeping them from being swept into the dustbin of history. He has far more power than anyone else connected to that party at the national level. Whether he realizes it and uses that power is another thing. Schumer, Pelosi or Perez can say whatever the hell they want, their support outside the DC bubble is nil. They won’t do a damn thing as far as helping the Democrats gain seats, all they can do is hurt their party more. If I were Sanders, I would either leave or publicly threaten to, since it is obvious that the Democrats have no interest in the left at all. If the rats running the party won’t step aside, let them either collapse or panic, but don’t let them benefit from his credibility with others. Don’t give them power no one wants them to have.

  6. Carolinian

    Paul Jay:

    And I think part of the reason for that is then – and far more even now – the media simply marginalizes the person. Because the media is so part of the State, and they only want the two parties, and it’s one of the reasons the Green Party doesn’t break through, because the media simply will not let the Green Party have a platform. They’ll never let them be in a debate, and so on.

    Which is why the news media must be considered a key element of the Deep State if there is such a thing. Back in the early naughts there was a notion that the internet could take the place of the MSM and yet all it took was one Dean Scream for that year’s web hero to be punctured. Of course Dean was also running as a Democrat and his Dem rivals were working behind the scenes to torpedo him. But those rivals found ready allies in a media who see their role as protecting existing arrangements. Trump, who is crude and unlettered but perhaps not as dumb as people think, is quite right that the media are “the opposition” and lately the MSM aren’t even bothering to be very coy about it. Not to be gloomy, but it’s hard to see how the seventysomething Sanders could overcome this.

  7. timbers

    CHUCK TODD: “Despite Bernie Sanders’ monumental endeavor to bring people into the Democratic Party, people are leaving it by the millions.”

    BERNIE SANDERS: Well, I say two things. Right now, we are in a pivotal moment in American history. We have a president who is delusional in many respects, a pathological liar, somebody who is trying to–

    Except people aren’t “leaving the (Democratic Party) by the millions” because of delusional and pathological liars like Donald Trump.

    They are leaving because of delusional and pathological liars like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, etc etc.

    It would have been nice if Chuck Todd did some followup questions like “But if Trump is so bad – “delusional and pathological liar” – then WHY are people LEAVING the Democratic Party? Shouldn’t that be a reason for JOINING the Democratic Party?”

    And nice if Bernie replied: “Because the Democratic Party doesn’t stand for anything and so isn’t offering an meaningful alternative to Trump’s delusions and pathological lies.”

    1. Norb

      The lesser of two evils thinking is so ingrained in Democratic party loyalists, nothing penetrates. The slow motion death of the party will continue until people stop voting entirely. As the party disintegrates, they will blame voter apathy for their demise, thinking working people owe them their votes. They can blame the ignorant masses for failure and then feel free to openly join their corporate masters. The political theatre can end with the perfection of the Corporatist Party of America. We can all live on one big plantation.

      Somehow, I don’t think this story ends as neatly and painlessly as the professional classes think. The poor and downtrodden are disappeared as a matter of convenience, but that situation cannot last either. A nation of disposable people does not seem like a very viable place to live.

      1. Deloss Brown

        Well–we got the worse (or greater) of two evils, to use your language. How do you like him?

        1. Norb

          I don’t like him at all, and think he is a disgrace, but I also fully understand why he was elected president. There is great distrust of the ruling elite and Trump tapped into that anger. Clinton used fear and lost.

          A true opposition party is needed in America and the only hope for the Democratic Party is the forceful rejection of corporatism. By definition, an opposition party is against corporatism. The battle is for the hearts and mind of the people. The Democratic party is mute on what they stand for besides empty platitudes. But just like their Republican collaborators, the Democrats are doubling down on a failed strategy. More corporate money and power.

          An ugly Nationalism is on the rise. A Trump presidency throws that all into clear, ugly focus. More fear and blame will not change anything, in fact only make it worse.

          The nations problems are not about individuals. Its not about a Dear Leader, whether Obama or Trump or any other future personality. The cult of personality must end if any political progress is going to be gained for working people. It is revealing that the current Democratic party leadership is more interested in branding and messaging than in actually enacting specific policies. Their true corporate sponsorship can happen behind the scenes while distracting the rest of the citizenry with trivialities.

          Trump is a symptom of a diseased political process. Energy needs to be directed at identifying the cause and finding a remedy. Corporatism is a cancer spreading throughout the world.

        2. Big River Bandido

          I don’t agree that we got the worse (or greater) of two evils. If Trump does any of these three things he “promised”:

          • keeps the US out of TPP
          • manages to unwind NAFTA even slightly
          • avoids starting new wars in Russia or the Middle East

          then already he’s better than Clinton, who clearly would have moved forward on all those things with alacrity.

    2. oh

      Lord Obama was IMNSHO a pathological liar but he covered it by smooth talk. How comes Sanders didn’t call him out? But wait, Sanders is an independent in DiimRat clothing.

      1. different clue

        Because millions of Race Card voters would have voted against Sanders for insulting their beloved First Black President Obama.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          You can stop whining now; Obama is no longer in office. Clinton is no longer threatening you with the dire possibility of a fully funded EPA. It’s all clear sailing ahead.

          For those who can afford a yacht.

  8. Luis Rives

    What is needed a someone to carry Bernie’s torch and so far I do not see anyone out there. The Dems in their present configuration will never accept real progressive policies. Without real progressive change, and some of us may not see that because of our age, it will not end well. No one want to talk about it or even think it would not be possible here but extending the current economic trends out into the future will lead to a place that this country has not seen in 157 years.

    1. Allegorio

      The big problem with the left has always been factionalism. Senator Sanders big advantage was the he was an old elder statesman and all the young left narcissists could defer to him. For every charismatic left candidate there will be a dozen to challenge him each with their own party. The only way out of this is another slightly less elder statesman with unassailable progressive credentials or a single issue campaign, either medicare for all or electoral reform. I am also sorry to say, women candidates can’t cut it. This is a sexist nation. As good as Jill Stein’s platform was, it is because she was a women that she only got 1% of the vote. Look at the % that idiot Gary Johnson polled. It is time to decide that progressive reforms are more important than political purity, sad as that may be. By the way by way of disclaimer I personally have no problem voting for women and did vote for Ms Stein.

      1. different clue

        Maybe Stein only got 1% of the vote because she was a preening Green Party dilettante.

        A way to test your “misogyny” theory might be for Tulsi Gabbard to hack and slash her way into position to win the Democratic Nomination against the Mainstream Democrats, much as Trump won the Rep nomination against the Mainstream Republicans . . . . and see if a Tulsi Gabbard in that scenario also only gets the same 1% of the vote that Green Party
        Stein got this time around.

  9. nippersmom

    All of these people who talk about a third party splitting the “Democratic” vote clearly haven’t been paying attention. If they had, they would realize the party itself has split what would traditionally have been Democratic voters by its ongoing and significant shift to the right. The evidence in the decline in the party membership and self-identifying Democrats v. the increase in self-identifying Independents and unaffiliated voters. Not only the party itself, but those who write about politics need to stop assuming that anyone who isn’t a Republican somehow “belongs” to the Democrats.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      The Democrat party is now basically equivalent to the Republicans of the 80s. There’s a reason you hear Barry and the rest invoke St. Ronnie so often – because they like him. And a lot of soi disant ‘liberals’ don’t seem to have a problem with that.

      Time for a new party.

  10. Norb

    The majority of independent voters in America are committed to the capitalist system, but became independents because neither party offers a solution that they can support wholeheartedly. This state was brought about by the successful propaganda campaign to equate worker interests with the interests of owners. A program of successful class confusion. Republicans, along with Corporate Democrats, and their followers, believe the idea that all interests are served by strengthening corporate power. This is the spring form which all hope flows. Being independent soothes the conscience, but lacks any real lasting political power. As a people, this is the threshold we stand upon. Reigning in corporate power, or letting it control our lives. The source of effective power to combat corporatism must come form the combination of workers and small business owners. Common ground can be found among these groups and would lay the groundwork for a lasting alternative system. Starve the corporate beast is a powerful strategy. If the efficiency and productivity of large corporations cannot be directed toward the benefit of the whole society, what good are they?

    It is amazing how difficult it is to communicate this idea to ordinary people. Corporate Democrats, and their followers, refuse to acknowledge that corporatism is a force destroying the country. Destroying the notion of Liberty for all. Destroying any notion of democracy. The conscious choice has been made to maintain these large institutions. The reality of what that choice means for workers, and their prospects, will remain hidden. Workers will be crushed or subjugated. The professional class will continue to narrow and loose power.

    The trap, which is easily fallen into, is letting the discourse digress into pro-corporatist language and thought. This is reasonable because our lives have become so inextricably immeshed in supporting corporate interests. Disengagement is what is needed.

    Winding down large institutions, before they fall down, must be the basis for a new political movement. Energy and money building these smaller institutions must occur simultaneously with the political effort. These interests must coalesce around the notion of a human economy and belief system. Without that, they will be co-opted by corporatists.

    1. Mark Anderlik

      Well said. You are modeling what all progressives should do now, whether trying to reform the Dems or going third party. Articulate values, say what you are for, then critique status quo. Look for new coalitions, organize and live in the alternative institutions. This is already happening all across the country. Time for more progressives to do this. By setting a good example it will attract others.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Here in Tucson, we have a thriving localist movement. AZ is also home to America’s largest localist organization, Local First Arizona.

    2. jrs

      “The source of effective power to combat corporatism must come form the combination of workers and small business owners”

      problem is *some* of those small business owners who have a bunch of employees are the most ruthless exploiters of their employees that exist, we’re talking verbal and emotional abuse, breaking promises, breaking overtime law, low pay, long unpaid hours (again often just breaking the law here) etc.. Why? Kind of because they can, especially if the inherit businesses and have no experience even being an employee. And they may be running the business purely on their rather tyrannical whims. So maybe not in other terms but in terms of labor-employer relationships, they make many of the big corps look really good, dysfunctional bureaucracy being far preferable to a tyrannical small business boss when they are really not a nice person. Sure if there was adequate jobs the employees would just leave such horrible conditions. It’s inhuman to make people, all of them human but also some of them especially emotionally vulnerable (ie depressed, suffering from anxiety etc.),. work under those conditions frankly.

      1. Norb

        You have to start somewhere to overturn the existing system. Lasting change will be an evolution not something imposed. The destructive power of radical revolutionary change is just too great. It that form takes place, it will be due to human folly and hubris- followed by tragic accident.

        Worker co-ops seem to offer a solution. It is a shared ownership of the means of production. Likewise, supporting business that don’t exploit their employees ruthlessly is another doable solution. People are lazy thought and constantly need to be reminded of their responsibilities. People have been conditioned to identify with owners- the rich- instead of questioning them. More of consumerism and the cult of personality and celebrity. Without breaking away for that, change is impossible.

    3. Allegorio

      It is time to add anti-trust anti-monopoly language to the progressive rhetoric as was done successfully at the turn of the last century. Also to define and promulgate the notion of natural monopolies that only the state can moderate. Discussion of monopoly capitalism is more effective than discussion of “corporate” capitalism. It is one way to undermine all the decades of pro capitalist propaganda. It is important to stress how monopolies undermine “free enterprise” the great shibboleth of the electorate, how taxes on labor undermine small business and “free enterprise” Time to talk about taxing monopoly power as opposed to taxing wages and the “rich”. The “rich” are admired and envied by the average American until it is explained that wealth acquired through monopoly power is illegitimate. “The system is rigged” was Donald Trump’s most important talking point and got him elected and he should know. The perfect progressive candidate would be an insider like Trump, who has turned on the system, which is now obvious that Trump hasn’t done.

      1. Allegorio

        Likewise to differentiate between private property and personal property. Everybody loves the notion of private property. until the fact that the 1% own as much private property as the 90% not so much. Define personal property as property that one can maintain and control personally and not with an army of managers and professionals. It is time to destroy the shibboleths that have diverted the electorate from its true interests. It is time to redefine private property and monopoly power. The electorate fears progressive collectivization. It is time to assert the importance of personal property over private property and free enterprise as opposed to monopoly enterprise.

  11. Steven Greenberg

    Bernie’s statements on this campaign to form a new party shows why he was a much worse bargainer than Donald Trump was. His failure to know how to bargain is why he lost the Democratic nomination, and why he will fail to reform the Democratic Party.

    When he made a solemn promise to vote for the Democratic nominee no matter who it turned out to be, he lost all his bargaining power with the Democratic Party. Compare this to Trump’s commitment to back the Republican nominee only if he felt that he had been treated fairly by the party. The Republican Party establishment hated Donald Trump, but there were some limits on what they could do because of his threat to leave the party and take his voters with him.

    Bernie told the Democratic Party establishment that they could treat him like dirt, and he would remain loyal to the party. They took him at his word, and treated him like dirt. Being a man of his word, he did remain loyal, much to the dismay of his suppoprters.

    He is now making exactly the same mistake. If he does not use the threat to leave the party and take his supporters with him, he has no bargaining power with the Democratic Party establishment. The more he sticks to this loser strategy, the more we have to realize that he is not going to be our candidate.

    The Democratic Party establishment knows how to play Bernie better than he knows how to play them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the establishment keeps Bernie in check by telling him that if he gets out of line, they will take away his position as ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee. If Bernie had the guts, he would respond, “If you take that position away from me, I will leave the Democratic Party and take my supporters with me.”

    And remember Greenberg’s Law of Idle Threats
    Never make a threat you don’t intend to carry out. If you have any doubts about your ability to carry out the threat, do not make it.

    If he cannot see his way clear to make the threat, then the DNC has him by the low hanging part of his anatomy.

        1. sd

          He caucuses with Democratic Party members. At any time, the party can simply side step him. This is the threat that many assume was lobbed at him in return for endorsing the incredibly weak candidacy of Clinton.

          1. Big River Bandido

            That is correct. The Clinton faction controls not only the party apparatus, but the party caucuses in both House and Senate. Had Sanders not agreed to endorse the eventual nominee his power would have been shorn after the convention. That’s an intolerable for a sitting Senator.

    1. Norb

      Your analysis of Bernie reminds me of the political naiveté of most progressive thinking citizens, myself included- the depth of which is still not fully acknowledged. You don’t know, what you don’t know. The light hearted nature in which most political dissent is carried out in America today illustrates this point. Most professed progressives will be laughing to themselves as they are being lead into a detention camp, as comedians seem to be the most effective voice communicating dissent from the left. The mockery and feigned outrage over the evil right, exemplified in obsessive Trump hatred, points to extreme political weakness. Ridicule does’t change much.

      Comedy has its place, but is weak tea against TINA. Progressives are in a deeper dilemma that the republicans in that they still function from a state of moral superiority. They shy away form the dirty fight with the intention of winning.

    2. montannie

      As Wikileaks revealed, Bernie also made a promise not to attack Hillary during the primary debates.

      Bernie negotiates just like Obama – gives away the store in exchange for nothing. Bernie would make a great community organizer or a leader of a party, but not President. He lacks the courage of his convictions.

      1. Marina Bart

        Bernie is nothing like Obama, and your example demonstrates this.

        Obama came into the presidency with a near super majority (and actually had one for a bit), as well as a tidal wave of global support. He was in a position of massive strength. He threw all of that away, intentionally.

        Bernie, as an Independent, had to negotiate with the Democrats to be allowed to run in the primaries. They’re a private club. They didn’t have to let him on the ballot at all, IIRC. He was in a position of extreme weakness in that negotiation. He entered into it because he realized that the only way to get a left message out to the population at all was via the Democratic primary process. And he did attack Hillary’s policy positions and actions in the debates. What he did not do is attack her personally, which is all he had agreed to. But he hates doing that sort of thing anyway, and believes (as do I) that it undermines getting people to understand policy and factual reality. Personal attacks benefit the status quo and impede leftward change.

        So when he gave up the right in the negotiations to attack her personally, he gave up something that is repulsive and unuseful to him, but was precious to her. On that negotiating point, at least, he won.

        1. Allegorio

          Clinton’s entire campaign was based on personal attacks. See how well that succeeded. Senator Sanders differentiated himself by discussing policy and avoiding ad hominems with great result. The corporate Democrats cannot and will not discuss policy because they would betray their donors, hence Russia Putin Russia, terrible Trump, unqualified, qualified. Qualified to do what? Oh just trust us because we’re qualified and credentialed. The same meritocratic hog wash that justifies the oligarchy and income inequality. People are just not falling for it anymore. People did not vote for Trump, they voted against the hypocrisy of the Democrats.

    3. different clue

      Bernie probably did not foresee the behavioral treachery of the DemParty, and so did not understand the need to pre-emptively say that he would only support “the nominee” if his effort was treated fairly and defeated fairly if defeated at all.

    4. JaaaaayCeeeee

      Steve Greenberg (Brana is being a little cagier and the outside strategy can be helpful), I can’t agree with you that Bernie blew it, because of some major features of our political system I think you are ignoring.

      “When he made a solemn promise to vote for the Democratic nominee no matter who it turned out to be, he lost all his bargaining power with the Democratic party”.

      I mostly disagree because this is not a parliamentary system of parties. Since only right wing plutocrats that corporate media, pundits and the biggest donors think can’t win will ever avoid ferocious coordinated attack for threatening to take voters (look at them and Dems still blaming Nader), a progressive who wants to go this route needs the name recognition Bernie didn’t quite have until after Super Tuesday and also needs a little more developed progressive media for the TV watchers than we have, that is really distinct from most considered lib/progressive in media, weeklies and blogs that inevitably support whoever our oligarchs support, not the progressive, when the fight is not perceived to be just against team Republican.

      The smartest thing Bernie did for future progressives was keep his promises to the Democratic party. Keeping a progressive out of leadership is always an anti-progressives goal. Making this crystal clear is a good leap forward for the next progressives, to fight TV which (face it) tired people in the crapified economy still rely upon so it’s progressives’ biggest problem), use his very, very different (distributed) contact and gotv system, small donor funding that’s a real system now and the way he worked with very few social media and policy advisers.

      Bernie Sanders is better at making threats with less power to back them up than almost anyone in Congress – look what he did to the party on pharma re-importation – so I don’t think it will help the next progressive at the state or federal level to dismiss what he did for the next guy at state or federal level, including his platform and rhetorical repetitiveness, which were genius for two very different reasons: They showed voters how to tell a liberal from a progressive on TV and a partial campaign-in-a-box.

      With the party, media, and funding systems we have, he got progressives pretty far. Luckily the establishment doesn’t have anyone as extemporaneously good at faking being a progressive as Obama in the pipeline, so hopefully the way he exposed Clinton will stay easy. Libs are still stuck trying to fake being a progressive, or going single issue progressive like McGovern or vaguely progressive 50-state like Howard Dean, the con all the liberals the party’s promoting for state and federal level are still working.

  12. PH

    The ocean of independents who all agree with Bernie. Is that really a thing? Do they even agree with each other?

    Jabbering about a third party will never resolve anything. Most of that ocean does not pay that much attention between election days.

    You have to DO something: win elections.

    You need a magnet to attract filings. Win elections and you will attract attention and energy and resources.

    Can Progressives win in purple states?

    Schumer and Blue Dogs say no. That is the Dem orthodoxy.

    If you want to discredit Dem orthodoxy for everyone to see, and attract followers from the ocean of independents, DEMONSTRATE the key competency at issue: win some elections in purple states.

    At moment, I am not even sure what the core message should be to win those elections. Do people here know? Not what message should win, but what message would convince? And how would our candidate avoid expected attack issues from blue Dogs in primary and Repubs in general? Because the ocean of independent have a chaotic array of opinions, and can be moved in various directions depending upon the issue and the moment.

    I love Bernie, but he has his limits and he is old. Plus, building around celebrity is not any plan for governing. Or even longterm party building.

    In my view, hoping for the miracle emergence of a third party that suddenly supplants the Dems is a daydream and lazy. The hard work is to go out and win one election in one congressional district or one senate seat. And then win a second.

    That is the only practical way to build momentum. The only way forward is to win elections. The focus on party infrastructure is a distraction.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Every state is a ‘purple’ state.

      You win by giving people something to vote for. Single payer, free college tuition, a BIG or job guarantee program to protect against outsourcing and automation, a living wage, jailing executives who commit crimes, setting a new policy to protect people against opioids and enforcing it. All of those things are very popular and no one in the two major parties is advocating for them.

      1. PH

        If it were easy, it would have been done already. Not everyone agrees. Worse, other wedge issues are used to distract and demonize. Guns, abortion, scandal of the hour.

        The reason I emphasize purple states is that they are the key to becoming a national platform. Everyone agrees Progressives can win on east and west coast. That is allowed, within limits. And everyone agrees (maybe wrongly) that Progressives cannot win in red states.

        The balance lies in the purple states. Schumer says we must run Republican- lite there. And all votes in Senate must be devised to “protect” the rightwing Dems like Manchin, Heidcamp, Stabenow, Tester, McCaskill, etc.

        It just so happens this strategy protects big money of every stripe, but hey, the price of progress. The necessary to build a Dem majority.

        To explode that smug certainty, and the iron lock of conventional wisdom, we must show we can win in purple states.

        It is not a battle of ideas. These clowns do not do ideas. It is all about winning seats. Nothing else penetrates the calculus.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          If Schumer said you need to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge to win ‘purple states’, would you take that advice?

          Schumer is the epitome of everything wrong with this sclerotic sorry excuse for a political party.

          Sanders proved the conventional wisdom wrong on many many counts and his campaign has already done a lot of the hard work necessary.

          I’m still waiting for someone to explain why supposed liberals must elect Republican-lite to win certain seats. If that strategy ultimately succeeds, you wind up with a Democrat party full of Republicans passing legislation geared towards big money conservatives. Seems like a really stupid strategy for anyone who considers themselves to be part of the left to endorse.

          But of course, that’s exactly what we have already – a bunch of Reagan Republicans who’ve taken over the Democrat party. Schumer et al are simply conservatives who are smart enough to realize that gay or black or Latin people’s money spends just as well as white people’s does.

          Not nearly good enough.

        2. different clue

          Well, would a Least Common Denominator Party attract people who want a Few Big Survival Items and be willing to let their Other Cultural Concerns wait for a while?

          Members of the Least Common Denominator Party would have to model such behavior their own self before they could ask it of citizen-voters. Members of the LCDP would have to accept that some LCDPers are pro-choice and others are anti-choice . . . as long as they are ALL pro-protectionist and ALL against Free Trade. For example.

    2. p7b

      You don’t have to win, you just have to change the balance of power.

      Killing off misguided ideas of the Enron era deregulationists, one at a time, is also a form of progress – though excruciatingly slow.

      Equally important is preventing the mainstream Dems from shooting themselves in the foot again in 2020 and 2024 and getting more Trump’s.

  13. Lyle James

    The institutional obstacles to getting a new party on the ballot in all 50 states is enormous, almost certainly impossible for the 2020 election. The Democratic and Republican parties of have made sure of that.

    The Green Party was established 32 years ago, and even in the election last year they had not managed to get on the ballot in five states, including three very significant ones (Indiana, Georgia and North Carolina).

    That’s why the best option for Bernie (and the best hope for those of us who want him to succeed) is do what he should have done last year — take the nomination of a party like the Green’s which is already certified to be on the ballot in most states and spend the next three years certifying that party in all 50 states. His reputation and funding operation will suddenly elevate that party to a genuine competitor.

    1. two beers

      Unfortunately, one of our hosts had a bad personal experience with an unprofessional and irritable local GP functionary in a sparsely-populted NE state, so the GP is off the table, because synechdoche. Which means starting entirely from scratch and qualifying for all those already-qualified GP states all over again.

      1. lambert strether

        Yeah, Stein just barely missed the 5% mark. Not. Then they ran a ballot challenge that bought into the Democrat KoolAid of Russki vote-stealing. Two major candidates with the highest negatives ever, and the GP can’t take advantage. Worse, they seem — and your blame popgun comment exemplifies this — as incapable of self-reflection as Democrats.

        All of which makes my experience of utter GP dysfunction in a state where they used to have a real presence unrepresentative. Alrighty then.

        1. Vatch

          Plus, the Greens chose a Vice Presidential candidate, Ajamu Baraka, who was actively hostile to Sanders and his supporters. Sanders supporters were the natural constituency of the Greens, so this was a monumental blunder.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Have to disagree a little about your last sentence only because Sanders’ appeal is much wider than that of the Greens. My Fox-watching bible-thumping parents would have voted for Bernie (and have as they are from VT) – no way would they vote for the Greens.

            There’s a novelty jug band in Maine called the Wicked Good Band. A line on one of their albums goes ” So you say you drove all the way to Windsor to the Common Ground Fair and some hippie at the gate wouldn’t let you in ’cause he said he smelled meat on your breath? Is that’s what’s baking your potatoes, Hollis?”

            For better or worse, the perception a lot of people have of the Greens is that of the gate tending hippie. And I say this as a former member of the Greens. They need to broaden their appeal if they are to ever be viable. After their performance in 2016 I don’t think it’s possible – time to start fresh.

            1. Lambert Strether

              I can’t those lyrics online, but here’s an article about them, and another set of lyrics:

              People from away
              They bought up
              All of our land
              They fenced it in
              Put up signs
              Sayin’ huntin’
              Here is banned
              They want to regulate us
              So they
              Sit on the Plannin’ Board
              The only thing
              They’ll let us do
              Is what
              We can’t afford …
              Sometimes it gets me angry
              And I really curse the day
              The Kittery Bridge went up
              And let in people from away

              1. lyman alpha blob

                After I wrote the comment I got out my old cassette tape and listened to a couple albums I’d recorded years ago – funny stuff if you’re not from away ;)

                I believe these guys still show up at the Yarmouth Clam Festival if you ever have the chance to attend – saw them play there a few years ago. They are a hoot.

            2. Vatch

              Okay, your point makes sense — some Sanders supporters would never vote Green. However, more than 13 million people voted for Sanders in the primaries, and I think it’s reasonable to say that a significant fraction of them were favorably disposed to the Green party. But only 1.4 million people voted for the Greens in the general election. The number of popular votes in the general election was somewhat more than double the combined number in the Republican and Democratic primaries. I think the Greens could have come very close to achieving 5% of the popular vote if they had actually tried to win votes. Instead, they indulged in performance art, and barely got 1% of the vote.

              1. lyman alpha blob

                Yeah it was kind of incredible how badly they screwed up when after having a golden opportunity handed to them after Sanders’ primary loss.

        2. two beers

          Your response contains the type of critical thinking errors you regularly document. Instead of reactively attacking me and putting words in my mouth, why not try to understand my point?

          I didn’t praise the GP or offer it up as the answer as it is currently-constituted. I only acknowledge that it has already done a lot of the boring dirty work by getting on the ballot in most states. That’s considerably more than any other left-of-center party. If you think the Dems are left-of-center, then you haven’t been paying attention to your own writing.

          Your knee-jerk loathing of the GP, however well-founded that antipathy might be, prevents you from seeing that it is a ready and running vehicle waiting for someone competent to take over. Some old hippies might complain — who cares? Are you more afraid and contempuous of cranky old hippies than you are of the DNC? You seem more bitter about your personal interaction with a local ad hoc functionary in a marginalized, part-time party than you are about the Schumers, Pelosis, and Clintons who will never concede one whit of power to what’s left of the left. Talk about battered-wife syndrome…

          The Democrat establishment will destroy the DP before it ever lets what’s left of the left take over. Meanwhile, an influx of Berniecrats into the GP would quickly remake the GP into the legitimate threat that the Democrat esatablishment is actually afraid of.

          The GP is a like an abandoned but somewhat operational vehicle left by the side of the road with the keys inside. It’s yours for the taking. But you wait for the fantasy Democrat limo that will never come for you to stop and invite you in.

          You prefer the corrupt cesspool party that despises you and whose platform you mostly disagree with. Alrighty then.

    2. habenicht

      On the one hand it is encouraging to see that there is more general agreement to the notion that any progressive change originating in the democratic party will be killed on the vine by party bosses. This notion generated plenty of dispute between green supporters and green cynics in 2016.

      On the other hand, now that we find some agreement on this, instead of celebrating some common ground and finding ways to combine forces, we find ways to continue to be divided.

      Well played powers that be.

    1. joe defiant

      $27 dollars is the difference between eating ramen all week or adding some fruits and vegetables to our diet and having heat and lights. Most people have 0 left after attending to necessities and have been credit scored out of even being able to put themselves in debt. Forgetting that is why “regular people” don’t bother with politics. This would be my suggestion to have a LASER FOCUS on this issue and how to fix it and you would have a 3rd party that would win elections easily. Poor people don’t have money to contribute to campaigns which is why poor people are ignored by campaigns.

      1. sd

        Because you eat ramen, I should not contribute not take joy in annoying the blue team. Is that your point?

        1. joe defiant

          If you think your $27 annoys anyone on the “blue team” I got a bridge to sell you. If they cared about your $27 you wouldn’t need to draft bernie.

          1. sd

            Well, just the idea that someone out there might support the effort seems to offend you personally which proves that just the idea is going to stir the pot.

  14. Katharine

    Thanks for the idea of feral unions! It automatically reminded me of the stories of the great Flint strike in the thirties. Those were the days!

  15. Carey

    I think Brana’s reasoning is sound, and that it is time for a third party. Reforming the
    Demorat Party is an impossibility IMO. Sanders is a savvy politician, and supporting
    Her was the price he had to pay to run in the Primary, again IMO. Now it is time to
    move on.

    I’ve signed the petition mentioned above (thank you for the post).

  16. Carey

    Joe Defiant @ 1:04: No one has any money, yet somehow virtually everyone has a
    Smart (sic) phone… for a small portion of that monthly rent, those persons can instead
    have a good shot at making their (and the Commons) lives’ better, if e.g. Sanders will
    run on doing so… I think more perople would jump on this positively than might be
    initially imagined.

    1. joe defiant

      You get a smartphone for free when on Medicaid, Food stamps, or welfare. It has nothing to do with having extra money and everything to do with keeping track of everyone. Nevermind the fact that for a lot of us smartphone is the only way they can access the internet and it is the ONLY phone they have. You are suggesting people do without access to a phone and the internet to contribute to Bernie Sanders. It’s your attitude why Bernie and any third party that thinks this way will fail.

      1. sd

        You are demanding no one should do anything to try and change the political climate. That’s narcissism writ large.

        Those of us who can afford to contribute and effect changes will do so and when possible will contribute at larger amounts.

        Standing by and watching while the working class is destroyed is just not an option.s

        1. joe defiant

          Donating $27 to Bernie or Draft Bernie is a feel good exercise for the middle class which accomplishes nothing. Political campaigns do not need all this money. What does spending all the money accomplish? If you want to stop capitalism, stop practicing capitalism as much as possible. Your strategy is to try to outspend the plutocrats. It will never work. Start advocating real systemic change and people will come. People like to see “practice what you preach”. Rent seeking the small donors by the political class is disgusting.

  17. dcblogger

    All the problems Brana lists for the Green Party would apply to the Bernie party, only even more so as at least the Green Party has ballot access in more than half the country. In any case people still look to the Democratic party by the looks of it.
    Amid Trump resistance, Virginia Democrats see surge of candidates for House of Delegates
    On the other hand, plenty of Berners have decided that the Green Party is the logical choice:
    The case for the Green Party

    Since the 2016 election the Green Party has seen former Bernie supporters flood into their ranks. Of course numbers are relative. Typically, local Green committees are so small that a dozen new members is sufficient to take over the committee.

    1. Lambert Strether

      You also write:

      I am of two minds as to whether activists should put their energy into the Democratic or Green party, which is why I wrote The precinct captain’s guide to political victory, I included material that would be relevant to both Democratic and Green activists.

      I guess — and we’re seeing a ton of it on this thread — I don’t see the GP hammering on universal programs that deliver concrete material benefits to everyone, especially the working class. What I do see is an attitude that our party is good, by definition, and a lot of snark about Democrats, and especially about Sanders. This appears to me to mirror Democrat dysfunction both in terms of tribalism and in terms of message. Maybe it’s just online dysfunction, who knows.

      1. Eureka Springs

        The similarities are astounding. And what progs suggesting a takeover of the Green party fail to notice…

        They want another D party sans the d name. D in it’s anti democratic process. D in it’s progressive who are indistinguishable from liberals as well. Top down, yadda yadda. I’ve long said the worst thing that could happen to Greens was infiltration by Democrats who haven’t actually changed their ways, only their party. But the Green failings are so very similar in process to D’s.

        Yes I think progs could take over the G party but they would still have all their failed processes expecting different results.

        We need a party bigger than one person, with a democratically established platform which comes first, a platform which people then represent so no loss of a person kills the whole shebang. represent the platform OR ELSE, suffer immediate consequence… not the next election cycle but something much more stringent, more immediate. Otherwise Green or Dem as they are now are just more Charlie Brown meet Lucy with a football.

  18. oho

    Bernie Bros/Sisses should coalesce around Tulsi Gabbard.

    Dunno why corporate media has a defacto media blackout on her—oh wait, i think i do.

      1. John k

        Eye opening regarding Gabbard. Very disappointing…
        Guess there are even fewer progressives in politics than I thought.

      2. ChrisPacific

        That’s a repellent article. Berniebots? The Trump/Putin graphic near the bottom?

        If you think Gabbard holds anti-progressive positions, then state what they are and provide supporting evidence based on her voting record, or link to a source that does it. All that article tells me is that she has offended someone (or many someones) in the Democrat establishment and the knives are out. Which I knew already.

      3. Lambert Strether

        Sadly, DWT has lost its mind on the Russkis, so alternative sources would be nice.

        Can Gabbard fill an auditorium and give an hour’s speech on the driest policy points imaginable, and get people to chant the talking points? As Sanders could?

        If not, she’s not up to the job. I don’t understand the enthusiasm for her.

  19. Carey

    Joe Defiant @ 1:35 pm: Your point about many people receiving sm**tphones free, for their surveillance value, is well taken.

    Sanders raised $220+ million, mainly in small and enthusiastic small donations, and
    quickly. People are hungering for improvement in their bleak lives, myself included,
    and many will open their wallets even if it hurts. That is my contention.

  20. susan the other

    I hate to see us waste Bernie’s talents on this one. He’s more effective in Congress. And yes, Trump contradicts himself all over the place and we really don’t know what to expect. I’ll say this – we have created a mess of political and economic contradictions in this country that are almost impossible to remedy. Witness the frantic power point presentation (!) of the revised ACA which cute little Paul Ryan gave us, leaving all of us wondering what he thought he was even demonstrating… The reason we can’t have single payer is because we can’t cut off the insurance companies because they invest all that ill-gotten gain in certain institutions (the market) which keeps the entire system afloat. Like we don’t know it’s just a shell game, Mr. Ryan? Or the reason we can’t allow cheaper imports of drugs is because we are desperate to maintain American monopoly trade because, again, it siphons money into the system… The system stopped working for us decades ago and we are keeping it on life support. How is progressivism going to fix all this? Progressive policies can only gradually adjust the pillage and ask please and thank you stuff. We’d be farther ahead doing an MMT party platform. It can cut through the Gordian knot of excuses and provide the correct infusion directly into the real economy that it needs in order to really change. Bernie is wise, he has Stephanie Kelton as an adviser, but we don’t need progressives, we need to just cut bait.

    1. ChrisAtRU

      I would argue that MMT is a largely progressive (left) and not liberal/establishment Democrat talking point. See the Democratic response to Trump’s state of the union (given by a Democrat who said he was “first and foremost a Republican”*) and #HRC’s critique on one of the few things Trump said that was true (no need for US default, because monetary sovereignty). In both cases the neoliberal fallacy of the government constrained as if like a household reared its ugly head.

      For Beshear: “being fiscally responsible – I even cut my own pay – we balanced our budget and turned deficits into surpluses, without raising taxes.”

      For Clinton: “We know what happened to countries that tried that in the past, like Germany in the ‘20s and Zimbabwe in the ‘90s …”

      What we don’t need is more neoliberalism … and unfortunately, the Dem establishment is too deep with the corporatist approach. I see this as an inside-outside game. As someone pointed out earlier, Bernie is not a Democrat, but he needs to play post on efforts to change the party on the inside. I think other organizations (DSA, DBPP etc) are going to play the perimeter. At some point, there’ll be a coalescing of the efforts, but I would argue (like Captain Jack Sparrow), that this needs to happen at the opportune moment. You don’t want to create too much of a #BigBad too early. It’d be too easy to fit into the crosshairs of the Dem establishment. Keep it as loose and dissociated for as long as possible. There’s a ways to go yet. Let’s see some Dems get primaried first … #Popcorn

      * Yes, NPR claims it was a mistake on Beshear’s part based on his prepared remarks. But …
      Survey Says!
      Freudian slip!

      1. Lambert Strether

        > MMT is a largely progressive (left) and not liberal/establishment Democrat

        Yep. “Fiscal responsibility” is why I can see the Democrat establishment doing a deal — a Grand Bargain! — to cap Medicaid as the Republicans propose.

  21. energizer wabbit

    Where can they go as a third party, if they end up as the social democrats have in the past thirty or forty years as the “progressives” trying to manage the system of industrial and financial capital? It has been tried and has failed all over: in the US, Europe, Japan, the French, Italians, UK, Greece, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, soon Spain, This applies as well to management of the enveloping climate disaster, where a capitalist regime entails pursuit of profit without regard to “externalities” such as climate and the well-being of the planet’s species. At some point may come a realization that it’s not the form of the party alternative but the uniting of people in an alternative system of producing our needs, where we are in charge of our own destinies, that will deliver us from this debacle.

    1. joe defiant

      Spot on. As Engels concluded, “On the day when the thermometer of universal suffrage shows boiling point among the workers, they as well as the capitalists will know where they stand.”

      In the end even a winning third party would only be the start anyway. As Karl Marx noted in an interview with a New York newspaper, when the ruling class “finds itself outvoted in what it considers vital questions, we shall see here a new slave owner’s war.”

  22. ewmayer

    “We have a president who is delusional in many respects, a pathological liar…”

    Ahem – Bernie should have inserted a parenthetical clarification there, reading “(specifically, a pathological liar who happens to not be the delusional pathological liar I campaigned for after being robbed of the nomination by said candidate’s operatives).”

    Bernie does himself no favors in my eyes with such selective ‘forgetfulness’.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Hillary Clinton is not a ‘pathological’ liar. When she lies, she does so strategically. Her nonverbal ‘tells’ suggest she does so only with a full, conscious awareness of her decision to lie. Trump, however, lies ‘for the hell of it’ pretty much daily, even when false statements don’t serve his interests per se. That lack of awareness and control are ‘pathological’ and they are likely what Sanders was referring to when he used the word.

      1. ewmayer

        Good point – the commonality is really that both DJT and HRC are ‘habitual’ liars, but of different stripes in their propensities to do so, as you point out.

        Do you consider one of the two types of habitual liars more dangerous than the other? (I think many people do, and this ties in with the ‘less effective evil’ calculus Lambert cited often in the runup to the election.)

  23. wendy davis

    bernie wouldn’t even offer a single-payer bill before he i) debated cruz on the teevee, or ii) popped off about ryanCare on face the nation opposite ryan, iirc. reason quoted: it would be bad for dems in the midterms.

    1. Marina Bart

      What are you talking about? He offered a single payer bill during the primaries, and has pushed for it ever since. One of his first acts when the Senate session started was trying to get reduced price drugs for people, which the Democrats, not the Republicans, prevented from passing.

      If he’s been muzzled and leashed by the Democrats in order to get on their allied TV shows, that sucks. But your first assertion is simply wrong.

  24. soulipsis

    Is there anyone with a poll based number for the people who voted for Trump but would have voted for Bernie if he had gotten the nomination? I think that’s the pivotal group in play here.

  25. Then we make a pyramid of Beltway Skulls

    These people are still thinking way too small. It’s not enough to replace the Democrat party. You’ve got to destroy and supplant the USA. It did wonders for Russia when they shitcanned the USSR. Now it’s the USA’s turn. It’s like any other parasite, you poison it and crap it out.

    Simple. You poke holes in the map by establishing human rights cities on the PDHRE model. Crack the map from hole to hole with bottom-up civil society participation in international human rights review by treaty bodies and charter bodies – that supplants predatory state control with independent authority based on meaningful standards. NGOs like are doing that right now. Then you break the cracked pieces apart with cultural and self-determination rights (Why do you want to be the same country as South Carolina?)

    The successor states wind up sovereign to the extent that they comply with human rights law. This is not some airyfairy What-Is-To-Be-Done, this is the way the world works, outside this little backward brainwashed hinterland we’re stuck in.

    Parties old or new have no role here. The DDR didn’t end with an election, and the CIA Stasi won’t either.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > You poke holes in the map by establishing human rights cities on the PDHRE model

      It’s an interesting model, but who is “you,” even hypothetically?

      > supplants predatory state control with independent authority based on meaningful standards

      “Independent authority.” Hmm…

  26. Oregoncharles

    Still going off in 3 or 4 different directions. Maybe things will settle out by 2020 – I don’t think by 2018.

  27. Then We March them to Re-education Camps

    You actually means any person and whoever chooses freely to associate with her. It happened differently in each of the three dozen (two dozen US) human rights cities that you never hear about.

    It is unclear whether ‘hmm’ is intended to express vague skepticism or a more specific disquiet with the word authority, which in US doctrine means asshole cops yelling at you because they know they can shoot you and get away with it. The powerless moral authority of the treaty bodies, and the US state’s exquisite sensitivity to dispassionate chapter-and-verse disgrace, are profoundly alien concepts to Americans indoctrinated in so-called realist ideology. Jacques Maritain thought it up and put it best but to get it, it is probably necessary to see it at work at

  28. John

    When the staffers from Our Revolution quit, they formed a different organization, if I’m not mistaken. One that a lot of people claim to be the “real” legacy of the Sanders movement. I’ve forgotten its name..which one was it? People for Bernie?

  29. John

    Thought I posted this but I guess it got lost in moderation.

    When the staffers of Our Revolution quit, didn’t they form another organization, that many claim to be the “real” legacy of the Bernie Sanders movement? What’s it called? Is it People for Bernie?

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