The New York Times Dual Endorsement of Klobuchar and Warren: This Ain’t It, Chief

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

To govern is to choose. –Pierre Mendès-France

In this morning’s Links, I promised I would put on my yellow waders and go through the New York Time’s dual endorsement of Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren for President. Unfortunately for us all, the endorsement weighs in at smidgeon under a turgid 3500 words, so there’s not going to be a lot of room for me to do anything other than a close reading and annotation. (Hot takes from Variety, The New Republic, and Newsweek. I’m sure others will appear to throughout the day.) I do, however, want to give a shout-out to the much-maligned Nate Silver:

Narrator: “They did something dumb like that.” Kudos to Silver for raising the possibility.

With that, let’s dive — or rather slosh — into the Times editorial itself; I don’t have the strength to do color coding; instead I will annotate, paragraph by paragraph. The Times paragraphs begin with NYT; the notes are indented. Particularly juicy passages are underlined. There are no section breaks in the original, but I bold-faced the candidates. There won’t be much linky goodness; I will be relying on the general knowledge of our very aware commentariat (which will, of course, correct me, make additions, etc.).

* * *

NYT: American voters must choose between three sharply divergent visions of the future.[1]

[1] “To govern is to choose. To appear to be unable to choose is to appear to be unable to govern.” We might call that Lawson’s Corollary to the maxim from Mendès-France quoted in the epigraph. One vision is Republican; the other two are Democrat. The Times cannot resolve the “divergent” visions in the Democrat party, and cannot even begin to suggest a way to do so. (“A house divided against itself cannot stand….I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”) The Times fails to perform its elite, opinion-shaping function; it is choosing not to govern. Later on, the Times will lament the weakness of our institutions. The Times does not appear to understand that it is, itself, weak.

NYT: The incumbent president, Donald Trump, is clear about where he is guiding the Republican Party — white nativism at home and America First unilateralism abroad[1], brazen corruption[2], escalating culture wars, a judiciary stacked with ideologues[3] and the veneration of a mythological past where the hierarchy in American society was defined and unchallenged[4].

[1] Curiously, the Times doesn’t mention actual war. Nothing Trump has done approaches Bush’s Iraq, or Obama’s Libya.

[2] It’s the brazen part that’s problematic, I’m guessing.

[3] All of whom were voted up through the ranks with Democrat backing (as opposed to being massively opposed at their first run on the ladder, on ideological grounds).

[4] For the hierarchy in which the Times Editorial Board believes, see Thomas Frank, Listen, Liberal!, or this by Adolph Reed.

NYT: On the Democratic side, an essential debate is underway between two visions that may define the future of the party and perhaps the nation. Some in the party view President Trump as an aberration and believe that a return to a more sensible America is possible. Then there are those who believe that President Trump was the product of political and economic systems so rotten that they must be replaced.[1]

[1] Two not entirely unfair buckets. More important than the buckets, however, are which buckets you throw the candidates into. I am and have been a proponent of Nathan J. Robinson’s Explanatory Diagram C, in “Thinking About The Democratic Primary“:

The left (Sanders) is the “so rotten” bucket (later labeled “radical”). The center-right (Warren, Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar — and when the Times did the interviews, Booker) is the “return to sensible America (“ater labeled “realist”). Ironically, some of the left’s programs are a return to “sensible America.” College was once free in many places, and very low cost in many more. The Times, oddly, puts Warren (“capitalist to my bones”) in the left (“so rotten”) bucket, treating her occasional tactical affinity with her “friend” Sanders as ideological and committed.

NYT: The Democratic primary contest is often portrayed as a tussle between moderates and progressives. To some extent that’s true. But when we spent significant time with the leading candidates, the similarity of their platforms on fundamental issues became striking.[1]

[1] Nonsense. There is exactly one candidate who supports #MedicareForAll with no mealy-mouthed equivocations or Rube Goldberg bait-and-switch “transition” plans designed to stall out at the public option.

NYT: Nearly any of them would be the most progressive president in decades[1] on issues like health care, the economy and government’s allocations of resources. Where they differ most significantly is not the what but the how, in whether they believe the country’s institutions and norms are up to the challenge of the moment[2].

[1] Well, it’s been decades since we’ve had a progressive president: (2020 – 1945) / 10 = 7 (rounding down).

[2] It’s not a “moment.” The current legitimacy crisis has been building since the beginning of the neoliberal dispensation in the mid-70s, when real wages went flat.

NYT: Many Democratic voters are concerned first and foremost about who can beat Mr. Trump. But with a crowded field and with traditional polling in tatters, that calculation calls for a hefty dose of humility about anyone’s ability to foretell what voters want.[1]

[1] 2016, 2016, 2016….

NYT: Choosing who should face off against Mr. Trump also means acknowledging that Americans are being confronted with three models for how to govern this country, not two. Democrats must decide[1] which of their two models would be most compelling for the American people and best suited for repairing the Republic[2].

[1] Once again, the Times refuses to choose.

[2] Repairing the Republic could be good. Reversing declining life expectancy would certainly be better. If you want to keep your Republic, you had better do that.

NYT: The party’s large and raucous field has made having that clean debate more difficult. With all the focus on personal characteristics — age and race and experience[1] — and a handful of the most contentious issues, voters haven’t benefited from a clarifying choice[2] about the party’s message in the election and the approach to governing beyond it[3].

[1] The Times piously disclaims any interest in identity politics.

[2] You’d think our famously free press would have helped them with that, even in the most degraded state of manufacturing consent.

[3] Sanders presented that clarifying choice. The Times did not or could not hear it.

NYT: It was a privilege for us on the editorial board to spend more than a dozen hours talking to candidates, asking them any question that came to mind[1]. Yet that exercise is impossible for most Americans, and we were left wanting for a more focused conversation for the public. Now is the time to narrow the race[2]

[1] That seems a little lazy. Surely the Times is not suggesting no serious preparation was done?

[2] In order of national polling: Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Bloomberg coming up on the outside and then the small fry like Klobuchar. How is that not narrow?

NYT: The history of the editorial board would suggest that we would side squarely with the candidate with a more traditional approach to pushing the nation forward, within the realities of a constitutional framework and a multiparty country. But the events of the past few years have shaken the confidence of even the most committed institutionalists. We are not veering away from the values we espouse, but we are rattled[1] by the weakness of the institutions that we trusted to undergird those values.

[1] As you should be. You being one such institution.

NYT: There are legitimate questions about whether our democratic system is fundamentally broken. Our elections are getting less free and fair, Congress and the courts are increasingly partisan, foreign nations are flooding society with misinformation[1], a deluge of money flows through our politics[2]. And the economic mobility that made the American dream possible is vanishing.

[1] Not to mention our own home-grown billionaires, as well as party strategists and operatives, the intelligence community, and the press itself. For pity’s sake.

[2] Note lack of agency. The Times is happy to pin misinformation on outside agitators, but mention that money flows from our own donor class? Impossible!

NYT: Both the radical and the realist models warrant serious consideration. If there were ever a time to be open to new ideas, it is now. If there were ever a time to seek stability, now is it.[1]

[1] I had thought that the parallel and inverted “it is now”/”now is it” is an example of syncresis –“comparison and contrast in parallel clauses”– but in fact no theses are being compared; this is simple word-play.

NYT: That’s why we’re endorsing the most effective advocates for each approach. They are Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.[1]

[1] Presuming that Sanders is to be put with Warren in the same “radical” bucket, the Times adheres to Robinson’s Explanatory Diagram A:

But it’s sloppy and dumb to throw a candidate who’s “capitalist to my bones” (Warren) and a candidate who’s a democratic socialist (Sanders) into the same “radical” bucket.

NYT: AT THE DAWN OF 2020, some of the most compelling ideas are not emerging from the center, but from the left wing of the Democratic Party. That’s a testament to the effectiveness of the case that Bernie Sanders and Senator Warren[1] have made about what ails the country. We worry about ideological rigidity and overreach, and we’d certainly push back on specific policy proposals, like nationalizing health insurance[2] or decriminalizing the border. But we are also struck by how much more effectively[2] their messages have matched the moment.

[1] “Bernie Sanders and Senator Warren, lol.

[2] Don’t worry. Warren already made her radical bones by caving on it. She didn’t mention #MedicareForAll once in her last debate.

[3] “More effectively” than what?

NYT: Senator Sanders has spent nearly four decades advocating revolutionary change for a nation whose politics often move with glacial slowness. A career spent adjacent to the Democratic Party but not a part of it has allowed him to level trenchant criticism of a political party that often caters more to rich donors than to the middle class[1]. Many of his ideas that were once labeled radical — like paid family leave, a higher minimum wage, universal health care[2] and limits on military intervention — are now mainstream, and may attract voters who helped elect Mr. Trump in 2016[3].

[1] I can’t believe anybody who thinks about politics uses the phrase “middle class” seriously. The Democrat Party caters brilliantly to the professional-managerial class; in the aggregate, they sailed through the Great Recession. It’s the working class the Democrats are screwing over; see, again, Thomas Frank’s Listen, Liberal!. Oddly, the Times does not mention Sanders’ remarkably fundraising, exclusively from small donors, which is unique to him as a candidate.

[2] Reproducing the standard liberal brand confusion between single payer and universal health care, which will always have a place for multiple payers, including the private sector (this after saying Sanders would “nationaliz[e] health insurance” in the previous paragraph! Do these goony birds follow policy debates at all?)

[3] So they did hear Sanders when he explained that to them — think of it as flipping back the voters who flipped from Obama to Trump — even if they did look at him like he was something they’d scraped off their shoes when they walked in.

NYT: Mr. Sanders would be 79 when he assumed office, and after an October heart attack, his health is a serious concern[1]. Then, there’s how Mr. Sanders approaches politics. He boasts that compromise is anathema to him. Only his prescriptions can be the right ones, even though most are overly rigid, untested[2] and divisive[3]. He promises that once in office, a groundswell of support will emerge to push through his agenda. Three years into the Trump administration, we see little advantage to exchanging one over-promising, divisive figure in Washington for another[4].

[1] We’ve gone through all this before. Biden, Warren, and Sanders are all of a certain age. Cheney might as well have been walking around with a blood-bag. Eisenhower governed after a stroke. FDR governed from a wheelchair. This is not an argument that can be made in good faith. And you can bet if Warren’s policies were swapped into Sander’s body (and vice versa), the Times wouldn’t even raise this concern.

[2] Single payer was tested in Canada, which, like us, is a multilingual, multicultural country, of continental scale, from the common law tradition, and with a Federal system and a mixed economy. It’s the largest natural experiment in the history of the world, and #MedicareForAll passed with flying colors. Again, “free college” was once the norm, at least at state colleges.

[3] This weird, West Wing concept that politics needs to be conflict-free drives me bananas, especially when “divisive” is constantly used by thuggish liberal enforcers everywhere.

[4] The Times deploys the ol’ “Sanders = Trump” ploy. What they erase — I say erase because Sanders explained it to them, it’s all on the video — is Sanders’ theory of change. Sanders wants to expand the Democrat base so that the working class once again dominates policy, and plans to bring the movement he created against the weak institutions the Times is so concerned about, to repair or remove them. This is in great contrast to Warren’s theory of change, which is to get everybody around the table (and to leave the Democrat base where it is). Sanders is a materialist: Bring force and mass to bear on the status quo’s schwerpunkt (the hated health care industry first). Warren is an idealist: Smart good people with smart good ideas will make the change that is needed. If they’re told the right stories. Since the Times Editorial Board is those smart good people, this prospect naturally appeals to them.

NYT: Good news, then, that Elizabeth Warren has emerged as a standard-bearer for the Democratic left.[1]

[1] A “standard bearer” that is number two in the national polls and raised four million dollars in two days after Sanders stabbed her in the back and accused her of sexism. Oh, wait…

NYT: Senator Warren is a gifted storyteller[1]. She speaks elegantly of how the economic system is rigged against all but the wealthiest Americans, and of “our chance to rewrite the rules of power in our country,” as she put it in a speech last month. In her hands, that story has the passion of a convert, a longtime Republican from Oklahoma and a middle-class family, whose work studying economic realities left her increasingly worried about the future of the country. The word “rigged” feels less bombastic than rooted in an informed assessment of what the nation needs to do to reassert its historic ideals like fairness, generosity and equality.

[1] No kidding. I’ve linked to this Michael Moore podcast before, but it’s really worth a listen: “The Sad Downfall of Elizabeth Warren.”

NYT: She is also committed to reforming the fundamental structures of government and the economy — her first commitment is to anti-corruption legislation, which is not only urgently needed but also has the potential to find bipartisan support. She speaks fluently[1] about foreign policy, including how to improve NATO relations, something that will be badly needed after Mr. Trump leaves office.

[1] Nothing on a par with Sanders’ bipartisan Yemen resolution, however, which passed both houses.

NYT: Her campaign’s plans, in general, demonstrate a serious approach to policymaking that some of the other candidates lack[1]. Ms. Warren accurately describes a lack of housing construction as the primary driver of the nation’s housing crisis, and she has proposed both increases in government funding for housing construction, and changes in regulatory policy to encourage local governments to allow more construction.

[1] Nonsense. Both Warren’s “pay for” and “transition” plans for #MedicareForAll are travesties, overly complex and designed to fail. In general, Warren’s probem statements are broad-guage, and her policy proposals narrow-guage. (For example, Sanders eliminates 100% of student debt; Warren’s means-tested and tiered proposal 75% of it.)

NYT: She has plans to sharply increase federal investment in clean energy research and to wean the American economy from fossil fuels. She has described how she would reduce the economic and political power of large corporations and give workers more ability to bargain collectively. And she has proposed a sweeping expansion of government support for Americans at every stage of life, from universal child care to free public college to expanded Social Security.

NYT: At the same time, a conservative federal judiciary will be almost as significant a roadblock for progressive change. For Ms. Warren, that leaves open questions — ones she was unwilling to wrestle with in our interview. Ms. Warren has proposed to pay for an expanded social safety net by imposing a new tax on wealth. But even if she could push such a bill through the Senate, the idea is constitutionally suspect and would inevitably be bogged down for years in the courts. A conservative judiciary also could constrain a President Warren’s regulatory powers, and roll back access to health care.[1]

[1] Shorter: Warren has no theory of change. Unlike Sanders, whose theory the Times refuses to accept. Again, the Times refuses to change.

NYT: Carrying out a progressive agenda through new laws will also be very hard for any Democratic president. In that light, voters could consider what a Democratic president might accomplish without new legislation and, in particular, they could focus on the presidency’s wide-ranging powers to shape American society through the creation and enforcement of regulations.[1]

[1] Here, then, there is no difference in capability between the candidates.

NYT: As an adviser to President Barack Obama, Ms. Warren was the person most responsible for the creation of a new regulatory agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In her interview with the editorial board, she demonstrated her sophisticated understanding of the different levers of power in an administration, particularly in the use of regulation in areas such as trade, antitrust and environmental policy.[1]

[1] Correct on the CFPB, but the Times seems not to understand that a “sophisticated understanding of the different levers of power” in a system whose institutions are “rotten” — as they must be in a Warren Presidency, if we accept the Times’ characterization of Warren as “radical” — is somewhere on the scale from neutral to bad. A “sophisticated understanding of the different levers of power,” and a theory of change that focuses on pulling those levers, is consummately “realist,” which the Times appears not to understand. It’s their version of “If only the Czar knew!” If Warren were Czar, all would be well! (This is a fantasy of professional-managerial classes all over the world, IMNSHO.)

NYT: When she first arrived in Washington, amid the Great Recession, Senator Warren distinguished herself as a citizen-politician. She showed an admirable desire to shake off the entrapments of many Washington interests in favor of pragmatic problem-solving on behalf of regular people[1]. In her primary campaign, however, she has shown some questionable political instincts[2]. She sometimes sounds like a candidate who sees a universe of us-versus-thems, who, in the general election, would be going up against a president who has already divided America into his own version of them and us.

[1] Whatever “regular people” means. Everyday people?

[2] No kidding. Here’s a video of Warren showing her political instincts and Native American roots by having a Lakota protesting Standing Rock arrested on the Senate floor:

NYT: This has been most obvious in her case for “Medicare for all,” where she has already had to soften her message, as voters have expressed their lack of support for her plan[1]. There are good, sound reasons for a public health care option — countries all over the world have demonstrated that.[2] But Ms. Warren’s version would require winning over a skeptical public, legislative trench warfare to pass bills in Congress[3], the dismantling of a private health care system. That system, through existing public-private programs like Medicare Advantage, has shown it is not nearly as flawed as she insists, and it is even lauded by health economists who now advocate a single-payer system[4].

[1] If this were true, Sanders would have taken a hit too. In fact, Warren’s plan was obviously too complicated and unworkable, and all the many, many single payer activists in the Democrtat Party recognized that at once. They are why she took a hit.

[2] As they have with single payer!

[3] ZOMG!!! It would require leadership! Poltics! Holy moly:

[4] Now they’re just trolling us.

NYT: American capitalism is responsible for its share of sins[1]. But Ms. Warren often casts the net far too wide, placing the blame for a host of maladies from climate change to gun violence at the feet of the business community when the onus is on society as a whole[2]. The country needs a more unifying path.[3] The senator talks more about bringing together Democrats, Republicans and independents behind her proposals, often leaning on anecdotes about her conservative brothers[4] to do so. Ms. Warren has the power and conviction and credibility to make the case — especially given her past as a Republican[5] — but she needs to draw on practicality and patience as much as her down-and-dirty critique of the system.

[1] “Capitalist to my bones.”

[2] I can’t even.

[3] Which the Times would suggest, if it had any idea what that path was.

[4] Warren is a gifted story teller.

[5] This is delusional. Warren’s going to play clips from her Federalist Society speeches to win Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio? Really?

NYT: Ms. Warren’s path to the nomination is challenging, but not hard to envision. The four front-runners are bunched together both in national polls and surveys in states holding the first votes, so small shifts in voter sentiment can have an outsize influence this early in the campaign. There are plenty of progressives who are hungry for major change but may harbor lingering concerns about a messenger as divisive as Mr. Sanders. At the same time, some moderate Democratic primary voters see Ms. Warren as someone who speaks to their concerns about inequality and corruption. Her earlier leaps in the polls suggest she can attract more of both[1].

[1] Not leaps, plural. Rise, then following October, steady decline.

NYT: THE LACK OF A SINGLE, powerful moderate voice in this Democratic race is the strongest evidence of a divided party.[1] Never mind the talented, honorable politicians who chose to sit this fight out; just stop and consider the talents who did throw their hat into the ring and never got more than a passing glance from voters — Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Steve Bullock, Michael Bennet, Deval Patrick, Jay Inslee, among others.

[1] Which an institution that knew how to govern would have some idea how to fix.

NYT: Those candidates who remain all have a mix of strengths and weaknesses.

NYT: Pete Buttigieg, who is 38 and who was elected mayor of South Bend, Ind., in 2011, has an all-star résumé[1] — Harvard graduate, Rhodes scholar, Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan, the first serious openly gay presidential candidate. His showing in the lead-up to the primaries predicts a bright political future; we look forward to him working his way up.[2]

[1] Certainly a plus at the Times.

[2] Remarkably, no mention of Buttigieg’s issue with his racist police department in South Bend, or his problems with black voters generally. Aren’t black voters supposed to be an important constituency in the Democrat Party?

NYT: Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, is an engaging and enthusiastic candidate whose diagnoses are often thought-provoking. He points to new solutions to 21st-century challenges rather than retrofitting old ideas. Yet he has virtually no experience in government. We hope he decides to get involved in New York politics[1].

[1] They can’t even mention Yang’s advocacy of UBI?!

NYT: Michael Bloomberg served three terms as New York’s mayor (and was endorsed twice by this page). A multibillionaire who built his namesake company from scratch, he is many of the things Mr. Trump pretends to be[1] and would be an effective contrast to the president in a campaign[2[. Mr. Bloomberg is the candidate in the race with the clearest track record of governing, even if that record has its blemishes, beginning with his belated and convenient apology for stop-and-frisk policing.

[1] A good oligarch.

[2] Dubious. “Little Mike.”

NYT: Still, Mr. Bloomberg’s current campaign approach reveals more about America’s broken system than his likelihood of fixing it. Rather than build support through his ideas and experience, Mr. Bloomberg has spent at least $217 million to date to circumvent the hard, uncomfortable work of actual campaigning. He’s also avoided difficult questions — going so far as to bar his own news organization from investigating him, and declining to meet with The Times’s editorial board under the pretext that he didn’t yet have positions on enough issues. What’s worse, Mr. Bloomberg refuses to allow several women with whom he has nondisclosure settlements to speak freely[1].

[1] Imagine the hysteria if this were Sanders.

NYT: Few men have given more of their time and experience to the conduct of the public’s business than Joe Biden. The former vice president commands the greatest fluency[1] on foreign policy and is a figure of great warmth and empathy. He’s prone to verbal stumbles, yes, but social media has also made every gaffe a crisis when it clearly is not.[2]

[1] Biden, “fluent”? Really? No mention of Biden’s Iraq vote? Really?

[2] Fair, but odd that the Times only recognizes this for Biden, and erases its own role in amplifying social media.

NYT: Mr. Biden maintains a lead in national polls, but that may be a measure of familiarity as much as voter intention. His central pitch to voters is that he can beat Donald Trump. His agenda tinkers at the edges of issues like health care and climate[1], and he emphasizes returning the country to where things were before the Trump era. But merely restoring the status quo will not get America where it needs to go as a society. What’s more, Mr. Biden is 77. It is time for him to pass the torch to a new generation of political leaders.

[1] Oddly, no mention of Biden’s bankruptcy bill, crime bill, or support for cutting Social Security, which anybody who’s been paying attention knows.

NYT: Good news, then, that Amy Klobuchar has emerged as a standard-bearer for the Democratic center. Her vision goes beyond the incremental. Given the polarization in Washington and beyond, the best chance to enact many progressive plans could be under a Klobuchar administration[1].

[1] Klobuchar’s theory of change is no different and no better from Warren’s.

NYT: The senator from Minnesota is the very definition of Midwestern charisma[1], grit and sticktoitiveness. Her lengthy tenure in the Senate and bipartisan credentials would make her a deal maker (a real one) and uniter for the wings of the party — and perhaps the nation.

[1] I’ve got to admit I find Klobuchar’s verbal affect familiar and comforting; I grew up in the Midwest. Her appearance on TV is another matter. Sorry, Klobuchar stans!

NYT: She promises[1] to put the country on the path — through huge investments in green infrastructure and legislation to lower emissions — to achieve 100 percent net-zero emissions no later than 2050. She pledges to cut childhood poverty in half in a decade by expanding the earned-income and child care tax credits. She also wants to expand food stamps and overhaul housing policy and has developed the field’s most detailed plan for treating addiction and mental illness. And this is all in addition to pushing[2] for a robust[3] public option in health care, free community college and a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour.

[1] I am aware of no major issue on which Klobuchar has put skin in the game by leading. I think the Times is projecting its West Wing fantasy of a female Jed Bartlet onto her.

[2] All the underlined material is one or another version of the liberal Democrat “fighting for” (and never winning). Show me Klobuchar’s theory of change.

[3] “Robust” is a bullshit tell. To a Beltway consultant, “robust” means “takes more than one three-ring binder.”

NYT: Ms. Klobuchar speaks about issues like climate change, the narrowing middle class, gun safety and trade with an empathy[1] that connects to voters’ lived experiences, especially in the middle of the country. The senator talks, often with self-deprecating humor, about growing up the daughter of two union workers, her Uncle Dick’s deer stand[2, her father’s struggles with alcoholism and her Christian faith.

[1] Holy Lord. Has anybody seen Sanders calling people up to the mike to talk about health care? That’s empathy.

[2] “Uncle Dick’s deer stand” [sobs openly] is apparently more heartwarming than Warren’s “Aunt Bee,” and both get points over losing your family in the Holocaust.

NYT: Ms. Klobuchar promises a foreign policy based on leading by example, instead of by threat-via-tweet. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, she serves on the subcommittees responsible for oversight of the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the nation’s borders and its immigration, citizenship and refugee laws. In 13 years as a senator, she has sponsored and voted on dozens of national defense measures, including military action in Libya and Syria[1]. Her record shows that she is confident and thoughtful, and she reacts to data[2] — what you’d want in a crisis.

[1] Klobuchar supported the Libyan intervention (the debacle that rebooted the slave markets and turned Libya into a failed state. She also supports keeping troops in Syria. No wonder the Times loves her; all is now explained.

[2] Whatever that means.

NYT: All have helped Ms. Klobuchar to be the most productive senator among the Democratic field in terms of bills passed with bipartisan support, according to a recent study for the Center for Effective Lawmaking. When she arrived in the Senate in 2007, Ms. Klobuchar was part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers that proposed comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for 12 million undocumented immigrants, before conservative pundits made it political poison. Her more recent legislative accomplishments are narrower but meaningful to those affected, especially the legislation aimed at helping crime victims. This is not surprising given her background as the chief prosecutor in Minnesota’s most populous county[1]. For example, one measure she wrote helped provide funds to reduce a nationwide backlog of rape kits for investigating sexual assaults.

[1] I would be very surprised if oppo researchers weren’t crawling over her record at this moment. Being a prosecutor didn’t sit well with Black voters when Harris was still in the race.

NYT: Reports of how Senator Klobuchar treats her staff give us pause[1]. They raise serious questions about her ability to attract and hire talented people. Surrounding the president with a team of seasoned, reasoned leaders is critical to the success of an administration, not doing so is often the downfall of presidencies. Ms. Klobuchar has acknowledged she’s a tough boss and pledged to do better. (To be fair, Bill Clinton and Mr. Trump — not to mention former Vice President Biden — also have reputations for sometimes berating their staffs, and it is rarely mentioned as a political liability.)

[1] It’s not that Klobuchar threw binders at her staff; it’s that she pursued them vindictively when they left her employ (from the Times, of all places: “She and her top confidantes could complicate the future job opportunities of some staff members who sought to leave, former aides said, sometimes speaking to their would-be employers to register her displeasure”). Of course, they’re workers, therefore, to the Times, disposable. I would regard this as potentially disqualifying. “Gives us pause” is way too mild.

NYT: Ms. Klobuchar doesn’t have the polished veneer and smooth delivery[1] that comes from a lifetime spent in the national spotlight, and she has struggled to gain traction on the campaign trail. In Minnesota, however, she is enormously popular. She has won all three of her Senate elections by double digits. In 2016, Hillary Clinton carried nine of Minnesota’s 87 counties. Ms. Klobuchar carried 51 in 2018. And it’s far too early to count Ms. Klobuchar out — Senator John Kerry, the eventual Democratic nominee in 2004, was also polling in the single digits at this point in the race.[2]

[1] Very much unlike the famously mellow Bernie Sanders.

[2] It is possible that voters who dislike conflict may move to her, taking a “plague on both your houses” approach to Warren and Sanders. That would be deeply ironic, given Klobuchar’s abusive treatment of her staff.

NYT: THERE HAS BEEN A WILDFIRE BURNING in Australia larger than Switzerland. The Middle East is more unstable at this moment than at any other time in the past decade, with a nuclear arms race looking more when than if. Basket-case governments[1] in several nations south of the Rio Grande have sent a historic flood of migrants to our southern border[2]. Global technology companies exert more political influence than some national governments. White nationalists from Norway to New Zealand to El Paso use the internet to share ideas about racial superiority and which caliber of rifle works best for the next mass killing.[3]

[1] Yes, we should really stop sponsoring coups, and torturers, and so forth.

[2] Brown people comin’! (And IIRC, immigration has been steadily dropping, and before Trump.)

[3] Life expectancy is falling. Oh, wait. They didn’t mention that, even though Sanders mentioned it. I guess that’s OK with them, then. Not an issue.

NYT: The next president will shape the direction of America’s prosperity and the future of the planet, perhaps irrevocably. The current president, meanwhile, is a threat to democracy. He was impeached for strong-arming Ukraine into tampering with the 2020 election[1]. There is no reason patriotic Americans should not be open to every chance to replace him at the ballot box[2].

[1] Oh?

[2] “Patriotic Americans” is an appeal I don’t think the Times can make.

NYT: Yet, Mr. Trump maintains near-universal approval from his party and will nearly certainly coast to the nomination. Democrats would be smart to recognize that Mr. Trump’s vision for America’s future is shared by many millions of Americans.

NYT: Any hope of restoring unity[1] in the country will require modesty, a willingness to compromise and the support of the many demographics that make up the Democratic coalition — young and old, in red states and blue, black and brown and white. For Senator Klobuchar, that’s acknowledging the depth of the nation’s dysfunction[2] For Senator Warren, it’s understanding that the country is more diverse than her base.[3]

[1] What is this unity? Can somebody point to it? Did President Bartlet create it? What is it good for? Does the norms fairy like it?

[2] So the ideal candidate must both be modest and recognize the depth of the nation’s dysfunction. I think the author is weakening at the end. I know I am.

[3] It certainly is odd that the Times can’t bring itself to mention the candidate whose base is more diverse than any other (because the working class is diverse).

NYT: There will be those dissatisfied that this page is not throwing its weight behind a single candidate, favoring centrists or progressives. But it’s a fight the party itself has been itching to have since Mrs. Clinton’s defeat in 2016, and one that should be played out in the public arena and in the privacy of the voting booth[1]. That’s the very purpose of primaries[2], to test-market strategies and ideas that can galvanize and inspire the country.

[1] “Here, have an apple. Or an orange!”

[2] What then, is the purpose of elite institutions like the Times? Not, apparently, to choose. Or even to appear to choose.

NYT: Ms. Klobuchar and Ms. Warren right now are the Democrats best equipped to lead that debate.

NYT: May the best woman win[1].

[1] There you have it.

* * *

I should really wrap this up with some sort of conclusion, but Holy Moly! I’m going through and tweaking and correcting, and there’s still acres of hollow verbiage left untouched. However, I hope the general themes emerge from the notes. And possibly readers can add more!

APPENDIX The Presence of Cory Booker in the Vote Tallies

Although the decision to endorse is taken by one person, and the editorial written by that person, the Times did ask every Board Member to vote for their top two choices. These votes were broadcast:

This gives me the opportunity to present the following table:

Table I: New York Times Identity Politics Power Ranking

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. divadab

    Thanks for this. My feelings towards the NYT are contempt and disgust. They are despicable propagandists IMHO the Faux News of the society set. Generally, if the NYT is for something, I’m against it.

    (I mean, I’m talking about the editorial pages mostly – like fellow propaganda outlet the WSJ the times employs actual journalists and produces actual journalism. The people who decide editorial policy are servants of the oligarchs and as such repulsive class traitors).

    1. Piper

      So, are you actively boycotting their advertisers in your local market and letting them know why?
      And if not, why not?

      Bernie in the primary and Bernie in the general election. I like my liars bold faced and out front, that’s why I will vote for Trump if Bernie is not on the ballot.

      1. Craig H.

        > So, are you actively boycotting their advertisers in your local market and letting them know why? And if not, why not?

        I am not. I do not know who their advertisers are. In order to know the identity of the New York Times advertisers I would have to buy the piece of Operation Mockingbird that is the New York Times.

      2. jrs

        You make a good point about advertisers though, they did this for their advertisers, I mean they may or may not share their opinion of course (probably actually do), but they have to do this for their advertisers regardless, he who pays the piper calls the tune. They CAN’T upset their advertisers.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            solidarnosc, and all.
            I only use the various words for Whore for politicians, and then , only “to their face”:on the phone/emails”…because it hits them where they live…because of how They feel about prostitution.
            senator cornyn’s phone answerers are historically the most likely to get upset about such usage(Pro Tip:always have their OpenGov page open so you can rattle off the proof).

            of course, this was back when “my” “representatives”, et alia, still had working emails, and phones that actually rang.
            I gave up bothering some time ago….since they wouldn’t even argue with me,lol….just a rubber signature letter, thanking me for my “support”>
            The Republic expired some time ago.

  2. Samuel Conner

    If you don’t want Sanders, endorsing multiple candidates kind of makes sense in that it may improve their early state performance, keep them in the race longer, and thereby help to dilute the final delegate count of the candidate who must not be nominated.

    1. ptb

      Not if votes generated by your endorsement go to a candidate below the 15% threshold. I.e. Klobuchar, and in some states Warren too. Splitting your endorsement betw. the #3 and #5 candidate is just dumb, like Nate Silver said. If you want to “stop” someone you pick the highest polling alternative. Theyre seriously confused.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The long term implications of the Clinton/neoliberal destruction of the Democratic Party have really taken hold. There won’t be future Obamas. One, records will be more closely scrutinized, and weird Republicans will be harder to hide.

        The Republicans who hate country pop are seeing mini-Reagans as opposed to their fictional Reagan. Sanders as someone more reflective of traditional moderately left politics is completely alien to them.

  3. pretzelattack

    thanks so much for this. now i recommend completely destroying this pair of waders.
    i wonder if aunt bea plagiarized a cookbook, too? family traditions are important!

    1. petal

      Yeah, after that, those yellow waders need to be incinerated and replaced by a new pair. Ick.
      Good man, Lambert. Not something I could have stomached doing. Cheers.

  4. Nick

    I waited all day for this and all I can say is:
    Well Done!
    Very entertaining in a sick sort of way. I had been repeat reading the Slimes endorsement hogwash and finally quit when I got angry.
    Thank you.

  5. Tom Stone

    Good god Lambert how did you wade through this without anti nausea drugs?
    I’m taking them and couldn’t even make it through your summary.

  6. political economist

    Less than a week after its publishes another skewering of any intelligent person not endorsing a known program that saves resources and lives–i.e., single payer–the NYT chooses ignorance. I quit reading at that point, I apologize. I can’t tell the words of killers seriously.

  7. Basil Pesto

    looking forward to digging into this piece but before I do, I wanted to give a shoutout to the Variety piece mentioned in the introduction [pedantic editorial note Lambert: I think you forgot a closed bracket on the link to those three thinkpieces]. I thought that was an impressively sophisticated analysis, especially given the publication (not that I habitually read Variety or the other entertainment trades).

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thank you. I added the parenthesis. Most of the themes I’m working on are here, but in a rather stream of consciousness manner as dictated by the material.

    2. Carey

      I also thought the Variety piece was very good, and liked the way Lambert put this
      piece on the NYT together, with comments interspersed. Well done!

  8. Synoia

    That system, through existing public-private programs like Medicare Advantage, has shown it is not nearly as flawed as she insists, and it is even lauded by health economists who now advocate a single-payer system[4].

    That system, Medicare Advantage is a f….. nightmare. First you choose a physician, then you get a medical group, and finally a hospital in the “plan.” The only advantage is for the Insurance Company to take a percentage off the top.

    Staying in plan is nearly impossible (yes I know this is not a bug, but a feature).

    I wanted the opposite. Choose the nearest hospital. choose a doctor close to me, and I could care less about the “Medical Plan.”

    My approach can only be filled by “Original Medicare,” parts A, B and D.

    1. flora

      Yes. Although the Med. Advantage plans advertising is everywhere and the marketing ploys are clever they’re really private HMOs subsidized by Medicare funds, but with far larger potential economic downside to enrollees than traditional Medicare parts A,B, and D. imo. Especially if you travel in the country much, and even take vacations outside the country. Yes, traditional Medicare has a foreign travel healthcare reimbursement rate. Not huge, but it has one. Traditional Medicare is accepted anywhere in the country by doctors and hospitals that accept Medicare and its assigned payment schedule. No HMO networks to worry about.

    1. Woodchuck

      Haha this is gold. And seriously, if there was one man representing what they wanted, I’m really not sure they would have split it in two…

  9. Whoamolly

    Lovely. Especially liked this:

    “The Democrat Party caters brilliantly to the professional-managerial class; in the aggregate, they sailed through the Great Recession. It’s the working class the Democrats are screwing over; see, again, Thomas Frank’s Listen, Liberal!.“

    Thanks for the work. Now trundle those waders to the biohazards incinerator!

  10. Donald

    This can’t be good for Warren. She already has the votes of everyone who might value the endorsement of the NYT editorial board. The endorsement would weaken her with everyone else.

    ( I actually like Warren, while preferring Sanders, but that no handshake stunt was idiotic.)

  11. Fern

    This is good news. The success rate of their endorsed candidates is abysmal. My favorite was 1940, when the NYT endorsed Wendell Willkie over FDR, pointing out that FDR would drive the country to bankruptcy. “We believe that there is no real possibility whatever of checking the present trend toward bankruptcy so long as Mr. Roosevelt remains in office” …. NYT, Sept. 19, 1940

    They wrote: “we believe that the fiscal policies of Mr. Roosevelt have failed disastrously.” “He has put (his own reforms) in peril by ignoring or by failing to understand the fundamental problem of increased production; by encouraging great numbers of Americans to believe that it is possible to grow richer by working less and producing less; by fostering the idea that there exists somewhere a great fund of wealth which has only to be divided more equitably in order to make everybody prosperous; by permitting important members of his Administration to preach the doctrines of class jealousy and class hatred.”

    1. Felix_47

      Thanks for the comment. I see Sander’s age as an advantage in one way. He remembers FDR. When I was growing up in a Union environment I remember many people who had a framed picture of FDR in a place of honor on their dining room wall. We are lucky to have him working so hard at trying to win. We are lucky to have a candidate with integrity. Integrity to me means not claiming on multiple official applications over the years to be an American Indian even if you can legally get away with it with a DNA test, and integrity means not plagiarizing when you are an adult and not allowing your son to take advantage of the office even if it is legal. If Biden cannot instill integrity in his children how can we expect him to do it to American business, much of which is incorporated in Delaware? I sent Bernie another 27 dollars after reading your comment. Thanks again for the historical perspective.

  12. ptb

    The significance of not choosing a single candidate is a really good point. Tactically a “wtf?”. They’re also dismissing pretty much all GE polls, such as they are.

    Anyway the prestige of a NYT endorsement is a shadow of its former self. Compare to, say, Taylor Swift or Michelle Obama or dozens of celebrities… it’s still interesting as a barometer of the donor class opinion, and they’re clearly confused.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      The result is the appearance of confusion, but my guess is that this was sown of conflict among those holders of donor class opinion.

  13. WheresOurTeddy

    Has any newspaper ever had a 30-day stretch where they discredited themselves so thoroughly and in so many ways as the NYT since the end of December?

    Stephens Ashkenazi piece
    White Nationalist immigration article
    endorsing 2 candidates, one of which is polling at 2-4%

    Is it fair to ask at this point if the New York Times is anti-semitic?

    1. pretzelattack

      it would be irresponsible not to. if bloomberg weren’t a billionaire, they wouldn’t have included him either, imo.

    2. piper

      “White Nationalist immigration article?”

      “Look, a shiny object, over here!”

      Read all websites for yourself and then make up your own mind.
      Don’t allow someone’s enemies to define them.

      That includes and

      Unfortunately, has revealed to us exactly who they are for decades now.

  14. Daryl

    I think this endorsement is on the money in one respect: it buckets Klobuchar and Warren together. They’re both center-right and thoroughly captured candidates.

  15. Darius

    Choosing two candidates is in character for the Times. Just like they have to stock their opinion pages with resident conservatives and neoliberals. Just like good liberals, they are too gutless to take their own side in an argument. So they choose a liberal AND a center rightist, while dismissively casting aside the solidarity candidate, Bernie Sanders.

  16. KLG

    Back when I was still a young socialist in the thrall of Michael Harrington, which was a good if inconsequential place to be in the late-1970s, I read this somewhere: “Writing editorials for The New York Times is like peeing in your pants while wearing a blue serge suit. You get a nice warm feeling all over, but no one seems to notice.”

    Talk about wetting oneself…

    I bow down to Lambert for noticing and thank him for his work! Again and again.

    Now, where is that phone number to call and cancel my subscription?

  17. Darius

    I’m afraid Liz may have thrown Bernie off his game with this sexism gambit. He was trying to make nice with her today. No need for that. Holding her hand in an MLK Day observance. He also appears to have bungled the case against Biden on Social Security. It should be a pretty easy case to make. I hope I’m wrong and just being panicky.

    1. ambrit

      I don’t know much about Sanders previous career, but I am beginning to wonder if he has the “killer instinct” needed to succeed in higher politics.
      Sanders might be too nice a guy.

    2. Anon

      I thoroughly dislike Warren and find her to be a pathological liar, but Sanders has no other choice but to play nice with her. If he had not shook her hand, it gives Warren and her elitist supporters at the NYT more ammunition against him. Also, if he manages to win this thing, he will absolutely need her supporters on board.

  18. Carolinian

    Here’s what Kunstler has to say if one cares

    Just today The New York Times endorsed Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for president. Yes, you probably thought what I thought initially: one for Prez, one for Veep. Actually, no, it was both for Prez. How’s that supposed to work? Well, it’s just a ruse, of course, because both are foundering in the polls, and poor Ms. Warren is on tape lying about herself so many times that you’d see more of that on TV than Seinfeld reruns before next November. The New York Times is actually holding out for the resurrection of Hillary Clinton. Isn’t this the perfect set-up for old Hillary to swoop into Milwaukee on her leathery wings of fire, like the fearsome Wendigo of Potawatomi legend, and gobble up the delegates? It would be much like the Whigs nominating the old warhorse General Winfield Scott in the election of 1852. That election marked the death of the Whig Party, and with Hillary leading the charge, 2020 would be the end of the Democrats, such as they were known.

    Just what is the NYT up to? You’d think Biden would be their obvious choice. Since when are they interested in “reform.”

  19. David in Santa Cruz

    Thank you, Lambert. I couldn’t have slogged through this hot mess without you!

    P.S. We cancelled that New York City garbage-barge years ago, but many of our friends and colleagues persist in reading it…

  20. anon in so cal

    Klobuchar and Warren are both NeoCons. Biden is, too, but people are beginning to realize he’s too “challenged” to confront Trump. Klobuchar wanted NFZs in Syria, just like HRC. She criticized withdrawal of US troops, saying it endangered Israel. Warren described Russia as “invading” Ukraine and representing a threat to peace in Europe

    Otherwise, Mark Ames is wondering if Bernie Sanders is really in it to win, due to Sanders apologizing to Biden

  21. JCC

    After reading this post and that gawdawful NYTimes endorsement (if that is what you want to call it) I just sent $50.00 to Bernie Sanders (and will probably send more). He may not be perfect, but he is all we have, in my opinion anyway.

    I’m no fan of donating to politicians, but the new Sanders video is 100% accurate and the NYTimes are 100% cowards, and worse, supporting a status quo that, among Industrialized Nations, has:

    * the highest poverty rate generally and for children
    * lowest social mobility
    * highest public and private expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP
    * highest infant mortality rate
    * highest prevalence of mental health problems
    * highest obesity rates
    * highest proportion of population going without health care due to cost
    * highest consumption of anti-depressants per capita
    * third shortest life expectancy at birth
    * highest military spending as a portion of GDP, more than next 9 nations combined
    * largest international arms sales
    * third lowest scores in student performance in math (barely beats Portugal and Italy)
    * highest homicide rate
    * largest prison population per capita

    (this is just a partial list from Hedges’ and Sacco’s intro to Days of Destruction,Days of Revolt. There is far more, of course, to marvel at)

    And most of this in just 40 short years in the supposed richest country in the world.

    Individuals can’t do much to stop all this, but as a group we don’t have to take it lying down or, to put it more crudely, accept being bent over. My feeling is that the only way I can flip a bird at the worst of D.C. Status Quo Politicians and outfits like the NYTimes is to make sure that the Sanders Campaign continues to get thousands of small individual donations. I hope it scares the hell out of these (family blog)s.

    The new Sanders video is worth passing on

    He is the only politician that consistently believes in another golden rule, you should try and do more for others than you do for yourself.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “40 short years…”

      when it’s 70’s Day on the Farm(yesterday, it was Classical Music Day), I often think about that.
      I’m 50…so my memory of the 70’s is fuzzy, at best…but a lot better than my peers, it turns out.
      But it’s filled out by things my grandparents said when they were still around…and by things my folks said, before they drowned in the msdnc koolaide….and by youtube vids of live performances, wherein the artists freely siloloquize regarding the then fading zeitgeist.
      the all but free college, with the actual prospects of a job after…..a job that paid enough to live on, and actually accumulate a decent material basis(admittedly, for some–but this means we should endeavor to do better, rather than give up…like the NYT wants us to do).
      i remember the gas lines pretty acutely, and the Iranian Hostage Thing with all the yellow ribbons on trees….and i remember the Carter vs Reagan “debates”…and knew in my bones…in fifth grade…that something was off about the latter.
      for a long time, the Music led me to think of the mid-70’s as the high point of Western Civilisation…Disco being Corpseworld’s first foray into engineering musical fads to nip the power of music in the bud…and the sudden switch in rhetoric among preachers, and people my folks hung out with(both in the Lutheran Church, during their little civil war. ours went with the Righty Missouri Synod, with great acrimony), were clear indicators to my young mind that something fundamental had changed.

      it’s taken 40 years of study to be able to articulate it….a testament to the power of the Mindf%ck.
      I remember the 80’s a lot better…teenage years for me….and the soulless corporatism(esp. in music), and cold warrior jingoism and the—to me, alone among my peers—disneyfied fakery of it all.
      I was aware of the decline and fall long before i could delineate it’s contours …by which time, it was likely too late.

      I think it’s scary and rather disgusting that the 80’s is back in style…my kids love 80’s music(which may just be natural), and the Red Dawn remakes and sudden flourishing of cold war-esque corporate tv offerings(Jack ryan, “Traitors”, etc)…the Machine attempting to force that faux zeitgeist back into the hive mind….and i think, under the big oak with Sly and the Family Stone: this is how it will be, as we fall off the edge…the gop pining for the reagan era, then the dems pining for the Clinton era, and back and forth, stopping time at their respective High Points.(see: the first Matrix, where the AI froze time at)
      ramble off.
      it’s gonna be a pain-day. I kicked my own A$$ yesterday.

      1. Mark

        Thanks for espousing on that.

        The 80’s sucked so bad in every way.

        By far the absolute worst decade of music, and a reflection of shitty conservativism and its poisoning effect on our generation to think of greed as good through the veneration of the cutthroat Wall St broker asshole, not to mention the most abysmal fashion and other cultural manifestation.

        Bernie is the most glaringly hopeful, once in a lifetime, now or never chance to materialize the collective dreams we’ve all had about a society in which all have at least a chance at dignified lives not subject to the meat grinder of ever churning relentless capitalism that just chews up and spits out so many lives.

        It’s gotta happen, folks. We’re too close now to let it slip away.

  22. Thomas F Hilton, PhD

    Maybe NYT got envious of CNN for all the attention it got for skewering Sanders over sexism. Now it is they who are getting all the #MeToo gossip and attention (and maybe they hope for more female subscribers). That was rather transparently going low. Why didn’t they just outright endorse Trump?

  23. Kurt Sperry

    Thank you Lambert for staring into the Eye of Sauron for us, and trying to divine some meaning from the flickering soulless glare.

    When the Eye blinked, you saw. Even the Mordor fishwrap couldn’t embrace Creepy Joe. And you know they wanted to. So. Damn. Bad.

  24. stefan

    The definition of “robust” is priceless, as is Table I: New York Times Identity Politics Power Ranking

  25. ObjectiveFunction

    Can someone cite me specific examples of “brazen corruption” by Trump or his family since taking office? It’s an honest question, not rhetorical. I have no clue what people are referring to. Or is this just more over the top weaponization of words by the TDS set? e.g. fascist, racist, whistleblower, etc.

    Saudi princes staying at Trump hotels? Hush money to porn stars?

    I think of corruption as abuse of official privileges for purposes of personal enrichment. There are certainly other ways to abuse one’s position for personal benefit, but to my mind those aren’t ‘corruption’. And it seems plausible to me that the Trump brand has lost at least as much value as it might have gained from his venture into politics, although here too I have no data.

    And no, pursuing the usual agenda of the Republican party and thereby enriching a whole host of monied interests doesn’t count as corruption to me, unless there’s a payoff to Trump. That’s just Washington BAU.

    1. Yves Smith

      This is an assignment, which is a violation of our written site Policies. I suggest you try using Google.

      I will give you a response to illustrate how easy this is to prove.

      Not putting his business properties in a blind trust or better yet, divesting them. He still owns, among other things, a Trump hotel in DC. Foreign diplomats have booked rooms in it. That is a cut and dried violation of the Emoluments Clause, and I remain gobsmacked that Team Dem has insisted on going after hairballs like RussiaRussia! and now Ukraine rather than go after an easy case that ordinary Americans would understand.

      There have also been allegations of more brazen padding of Trump’s wallet via his hotels, namely foreign interests booking blocks of rooms in Trump properties but using only a fraction of them. One writeup:

      1. HarrisonBergeron

        This is the type of moderation that ensures I read the comments at NC. I’ve been checked before and it has made me a more thoughtful participant.

  26. HarrisonBergeron

    Lambert, this is an amazing analysis. I’ve got a weird notion that Sanders has or is starting to cross the “Trump Threshold.” Just riffing here but it seems to me Americans are both conditioned to root for an underdog and also not inclined in the slightest to feel like they’re being told what to think. The regard/reaction to authority is part of what Trump played upon so effectively. Trump was in essence cribbing “Judge me by My my enemies.” Frankly attacking the media and careerist corporate backed politicians is easy prey. Trump
    attacked them and many Americans cheered. Sanders is different but similar in that his vitriol is accurately directed at the people who make more money in an hour that almost anyone make in a year.
    So the Trump Threshold is the point where if the media or opportunistic politicians take a swipe at you it has an inverse effect. It just makes the Trump or Sanders politically stronger. This is maybe a short version of populism; but I think an American version. The same view of “my ignorance is just as good as your education” is also “ I don’t like having me media condescendingly tell me who to vote for.” Thanks for suffering through the NYT.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thank you.

      Part of the extremely disorienting effect the endorsement had on me is that the Times can’t figure out how to exercise the class power it clearly believes it still has. Two endorsements is no endorsement, so far as I’m concerned.

    2. super extra

      I’ve got a weird notion that Sanders has or is starting to cross the “Trump Threshold.”

      I had a similar feeling after last debate/handshake kerfluffle, but rather than ‘Trump Threshold’ I was thinking of it as Warren’s ‘Basket of Deplorables Moment’ – bad sportsmanship is one of the very few (mostly) remaining cultural taboos left in America. Trash talking is a part of the game, but so is saying ‘good game’ and shaking afterwards. Anyone who has ever been shamed or scolded by a woman with even a remote possibility of the rationale that it was about sexism who saw that was lost as a potential voter. I actually flinched when I saw the clip later for the first time.

      When/if Sanders passes the actual Trump Threshold – when we’re past Super Tuesday – I’ll be able to watch the increasing hysterics and poor form of the West Wing class with absolute glee, knowing the real battles will begin next year, after the inauguration. But right now it’s still too early to call.

      1. HotFlash

        Anyone who has ever been shamed or scolded by a woman with even a remote possibility of the rationale that it was about sexism who saw that was lost as a potential voter. I actually flinched when I saw the clip later for the first time

        I add that as a woman, I flinched. To see such a privileged woman wave the ‘bloody shirt’ of women who have been *actually* hurt, asaulted, harassed, disadvantaged, oh, lemme see, systemically *PAID 79% LESS* across the board, claim hurt feelings? Nice to actually have real pearls to clutch, Senator Warren.

  27. Ignacio

    A late comment on NYT’s take on politics and it’s endorsements: I find it quite illuminating that the NYT has doubled down on its populist RussiaRussiaRussia! take as the way to offset Trump’s Make America Great Again populism. Both takes are backwards-looking suggesting nostalgia for the 50s but Trump’s take is superior in the sense it offers a positive view while NYT’s take is dangerously close to a McCarthyte position and its appeal may only be seen by elder generations of Americans. Only Sanders offers a contemporary populism on inequality while Warren’s main take is too technical and focused on debt to be called populism.

    I found quite interesting the NYT’s take on Buttigieg, the guy with an all-star résumé (focused on education and military experience and mysteriously unmentioned McKinsey, which I guess is one of the factors for an all-star résumé in NYT’s view. Is interesting because the omitted part of his résumé might be precisely what reduces the electability (sorry for this) of the candidate in their view. This suggests that the Editorial Board recognizes that being seen as too tied with the establishment reduces the electability of a candidate.

  28. DJG

    Saint William of Ockham, pray for us.

    Among the bilgewater in the NYTimes endorsement is this tarnished gem about Warren:

    In her hands, that story has the passion of a convert, a longtime Republican from Oklahoma and a middle-class family, whose work studying economic realities left her increasingly worried about the future of the country.

    Farther down, there’s a bit of burbling about Amy Klobuchar’s religious faith.

    So the NYTimes, in its infinite wisdom, is trapped in the kitsch of U.S. religion, the evangelical and fundamentalist conversion experience (so often convenient), the endless bloviating about belief and faith, the poor understanding of the bible and church history (Christianity started with Billy Graham! trademark). Ahhh, yes, another time that I, the bad Catholic and bad Buddhist, am forced to listen to the dulcet tones of Amazing Grace.

    As if Amazing Grace is a political program.

    Next up? The NYTimes Editorial Board Dem Candidates Cook-Off, with Amy Klobuchar making that famous lutefisk quiche that she takes to church on Sundays for the preserved-fish hour after the service has ended.

    This will not end well. (I’m reminded of another parboiled Methodist and former Goldwater Girld who didn’t do well even though she was the Most Qualified Person Ever to Run for the Presidency, surpassing even James Madison.)

  29. Enrico Malatesta

    Thank you for wading all the way through this tortured NYT exercise, I stopped when I had figured out that it was more a confession than an endorsement.

  30. fred

    I would pay good money for your annotations of the opening statements in Trump’s defense, when (not if!) the Senate defeats the motion. Consider asking the rest of the commentariat if they’d sweeten the pot. Ka-ching!

  31. sharonsj

    Wow! Lambert must have a cast-iron stomach. There is no way I would have gotten beyond the Times‘s opening paragraphs let along critique them.

    For me, it’s Sanders or nobody. If it’s Biden, the next generations are doomed.

  32. Gigantopithecus

    [1] Well, it’s been decades since we’ve had a progressive president: (2020 – 1945) / 10 = 7 (rounding down).

    Acts: Clean Air; Civil Rights; Urban Mass Transit; Bilingual Education; Gun Control; Wilderness; Food Stamp; Economic Opportunity; Higher Education; Social Security; Voting Rights; Animal Welfare; Freedom of Information; Age Discrimination; Public Broadcasting….

    Name this person. The most (imo, and rather obviously) progressive President of all. By deeds not words.

    Your choosing to end progressive Presidents at the end of Roosevelt displays incredible ignorance or some kind of Vietnam Derangement Syndrome. In My Opinion. And maybe the opinion of anyone who’s benefited by the above….progressive (? Maybe you apparently don’t/must not think so?) achievements.

  33. Basil Pesto

    late to the party but:

    This weird, West Wing concept that politics needs to be conflict-free drives me bananas, especially when “divisive” is constantly used by thuggish liberal enforcers everywhere.

    Christopher Hitchens was very good on this in his various appearances on C-SPAN some 20 years ago, and in this still-Germane passage from ‘No One Left to Lie to’ (anti-Clinton polemic from 2000):

    [touching on Perot candidacy] But thus is the corporatist attitude to politics inculcated, and thus failed a movement for a “Third Party” which, in its turn, had failed to recognize that there were not yet two. The same ethos can be imbibed from any edition of the New York Times, which invariably uses “partisan” as a pejorative and “bipartisan” as a compliment – and this, by the way, in its “objective” and “detached” news columns – but would indignantly repudiate the corollary: namely, that it views favorably the idea of a one-party system.”

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