2:00PM Water Cooler 3/6/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I had a brief power failure at 1:55PM, after which the modems were confused and unhappy; I’ll do a bit of clean-up now, including the plant! –lambert UPDATE All done!


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

Key dates coming fast now, so I added some counters:

Some of the next primaries. (I picked the major dates; here is a complete calendar.)

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We encourage readers to play around with the polling charts; they are dynamic, and there are a lot of settings, more than I can usefully show here. Here is a link to alert reader dk’s project. You can also file bug reports or feature requests using the same contact process as for Plants, below. Thanks — but no promises!

Because the Democrats “settled all family business” (hat tip, Matt Taibbi) \in favor of Joe Biden with such brutal dispatch, we still have no national polls with Biden, Sanders, and Gabbard only. And we have no new state polls.

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UPDATE Bloomberg (D)(1): “‘This Was a Grift’: Bloomberg Staffers Explain Campaign’s Demise” [The Nation]. “Not a single Bloomberg staffer that I spoke to was surprised by the campaign’s implosion. Speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of professional reprisal and because of the campaign’s nondisclosure agreements—which The Nation obtained a leaked copy of in February—campaign employees cited that bruising debate as well as a general lack of enthusiasm for Bloomberg among the staff for ending his presidential run. ‘Ever since the first debate all of us faced a ton of hostility [when knocking on] doors…and could hardly get any volunteers,’ one field organizer told me. ‘I once had a woman chase me back to my car demanding that I say you can’t buy the presidency*. … But despite an almost limitless budget, the Bloomberg campaign would learn that money can’t buy loyalty. Staffers described an almost total lack of belief in Bloomberg himself. ‘Most people knew this was a grift,’ one campaign official explained, describing even leadership as being unwilling to fulfill basic campaign responsibilities. ‘At our first office meeting, my [director] said, ‘We don’t need to canvass. We can just make calls, right guys?’ And everyone was like, ‘Yeah, that’s sensible.'” • This is a fun article, well worth a read, straight from The Department of Schadenfreude. NOTE * Maybe some other campaign can leverage this? “Unbought and unbossed”-style of thing? And speaking of that—

UPDATE Bloomberg (D)(2): “Mike Bloomberg plans new group to support Democratic nominee” [WaPo]. “Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg has decided to form an independent expenditure campaign that will absorb hundreds of his presidential campaign staffers in six swing states to work to elect the Democratic nominee this fall. The group, with a name that is still undisclosed because its trademark application is in process, would also be a vehicle for Bloomberg to spend money on advertising to attack President Trump and support the Democratic nominee, according to a person familiar with the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal deliberations.” • So the grift continues? So awesome.

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders needs to find the killer instinct” [Matthew Walther, The Week]. I’ve heard Useful Idiots, Dead Pundits, and the inimitable Jimmy Dore all make the same point, but Walther’s prose makes the point most forcefully (as prose often does). The situation:

There is no greater contrast imaginable than the one between the popular (and frequently exaggerated) image of so-called “Bernie bros” and the almost painfully conciliatory instincts of the man they support. This was fully in evidence on Wednesday afternoon when Sanders responded to arguably the worst defeat of his political career by chatting with journalists about how “disgusted” he is at unspecified online comments directed at Elizabeth Warren and her supporters and what a “decent guy” Joe Biden is. He did this despite the fact that Warren, with the connivance of debate moderators, recently called him a sexist in front of an audience of millions, effectively announcing that she had no interest in making even a tacit alliance with the only other progressive candidate in the race and, one imagines, despite thinking that the former vice president’s record on virtually everything — finance, health care, race relations, the environment, foreign policy — should render him ineligible for office.

It should go without saying that offering these pleasantries will do Sanders few if any favors.

Lambert here: This is a Presidential primary, not the Senate floor. There is no comity. Walther then gives a list of possible scorched earth tactics to use against Biden; we could all make such a list. But then:

Sanders’s benevolent disposition does him credit. But the same character traits that make him an honorable politician also make him fundamentally unsuited for the difficult task of waging a successful outsider campaign for the nomination of a major political party.

Corbyn had the same problem. Again let me play the Dennis Green video I posted the other day, but without the NFL trappings:

For a long time, I reveled in “They are who we thoughtthey were.” “They” being liberal Democrats. But the next sentence is the real source of Green’s rage: “And we let ’em off the hook.” (I wish the HTML “blink” tag was still supported, because if it were I’d use it.) Sanders really must not let Biden and the Democrat Establishment off the hook. He seems to have poor judgment about his friends. Warren was no “friend.” And neither is Joe Biden. If Sanders wants friends, he can buy a dog. He should forget those false friends, go into the next debate, and slice Joe Biden off at the knees. Trump would. And will, if Sander loses. His canvassers and more importantly his millions of small donors deserve no less. The race and the debate is now between two people, and only one can emerge the winner. Sanders needs to decide if he wants to be that person, and then do what it takes. (If the outcome of the Sanders campaign is a left that is a permanently institutionalized force, distinct from liberal Democrats, I would regard that as a net positive. If that is Sanders’ ultimate goal, then fine. He’s not going to achieve that goal by being nice to Joe Biden. Quite the reverse.)

UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): “Time To Fight Harder Than We’ve Ever Fought Before” [Nathan J. Robinson, Current Affairs]. “Biden now has some formidable advantages going forward: Democrats who no longer see him as a failed or risky bet will finally endorse and campaign for him. He will find it easier to raise money. He will have “momentum.” Bloomberg’s exit will bring him new voters. Sanders may find upcoming states even harder to win than the Super Tuesday contests. But the one thing that would guarantee a Sanders loss is giving up and going home, which is exactly what Joe Biden hopes we will now do.” • Here follows a laundry list of tactics. Then: “The real thing Bernie needs in order to win, though, is external support. Labor unions, activists, lawmakers, anyone with a public platform: We need to be pressuring them to endorse Bernie. Why hasn’t Sara Nelson, head of the Flight Attendants’ Union, endorsed Bernie? (Personally I have always thought she’d be a good VP.) Now that Elizabeth Warren is clearly not going to win, will organizations like the Working Families Party and EMILY’s List and people like AFT president Randi Weingarten and Medicare For All advocate Ady Barkan switch and endorse Sanders? Where is the Sierra Club, SEIU (Bernie, after all, was one of the first national figures to push Fight for $15), the UAW, Planned Parenthood? Many progressive organizations have been sitting out the race because Warren was in it.” • Good ideas in general, but Robinson is dreaming if he thinks Non-Profit Industrial Complex entities like EMILY’s List and Planned Parenthood will lift a finger to help Sanders, or busines unionists like Randi Weingarten. To his credit, though, Ady Barkan switched immediately. External support, though is correct: IIRC, there are plenty of union locals to be had; the Culinary Workers should be only the first.

Warren (D)(1): “Why Elizabeth Warren lost” [Ryan Cooper, The Week]. “Starting in November, however, she started a long decline that continued through January, when she started losing primaries…. So what happened in November? It is hard to pin down exactly what is happening in such a chaotic race, but Warren’s campaign certainly made a number of strategic errors. One important factor was surely that Warren started backing away from Medicare-for-all, selling instead a bizarre two-step plan. The idea supposedly was to pass universal Medicare with two different bills, one in her first year as president and one in the third year. Given how difficult it is to pass anything through Congress, and that there could easily be fewer Democrats in 2023 than in 2021, it was a baffling decision. Worse, Warren then released a plan for financing Medicare-for-all that was simply terrible. Rather than levying a new progressive tax, she would turn existing employer contributions to private health insurance plans into a tax on employers, which would gradually converge to an average for all businesses but the smallest. The clear objective here was to claim that she would pay for it without levying any new taxes on the middle or working classes. But because those employer payments are still part of labor compensation, it is ultimately workers who pay them — making Warren’s plan a horribly regressive head tax (that is, an equal dollar tax on almost all workers regardless of income). All that infuriated the left, and struck directly at Warren’s branding as the candidate of technical competence. It suggested her commitment to universal Medicare was not as strong as she claimed, and that she would push classic centrist-style Rube Goldberg policies rather than clean, fair ones. (Her child care plan, with its complicated means-testing system, had a similar defect). Claiming her plan was the only one not to raise taxes on the middle class was simply dishonest. In sum, this was a classic failed straddle that alienated the left but gained no support among anti-universal health care voters. More speculatively, this kind of hesitation and backtracking may have turned off many voters.” • On #MedicareForAll, called it here on “pay for”; and here on “transition.” Warren’s plans should not have been well-received, and they were not. I’m only amazed that these really technical arguments penetrated the media (let along the voters).

Warren (D)(2): “Warren Urged by National Organization for Women Not to Endorse Sanders: He Has ‘Done Next to Nothing for Women'” [Newsweek]. • Establishment really pulling out all the stops.

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“Why Southern Democrats Saved Biden” [Mara Gay, New York Times]. (Gay was the lone member of the Times Editorial Board to endorse Sanders.) “Through Southern eyes, this election is not about policy or personality. It’s about something much darker. Not long ago, these Americans lived under violent, anti-democratic governments. Now, many there say they see in President Trump and his supporters the same hostility and zeal for authoritarianism that marked life under Jim Crow…. They were deeply skeptical that a democratic socialist like Mr. Sanders could unseat Mr. Trump. They liked Ms. Warren, but, burned by Hillary Clinton’s loss, were worried that too many of their fellow Americans wouldn’t vote for a woman.” • Well worth a read. At the same time, it’s not clear why the Democrat Establishment hands control over the nomination to the political establisment in states they will never win in the general; the “firewall” in 2016 didn’t work out all that well, after all. As for Jim Crow, we might do well to remember that Obama destroyed a generation of Black wealth his miserably inadequate response to the foreclosure crisis, and his pathetic stimulus package kept Black unemployment high for years longer than it should have been. And sowed the dragon’s teeth of authoritarian reaction as well.

“Corporate Lobbyists Control the Rules at the DNC” [ReadSludge]. “Among the 447 total voting DNC members, who make up the majority of 771 superdelegates, there are scores of corporate lobbyists and consultants—including many of the 75 at-large DNC members, who were not individually elected…. The 32-member DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee contains the following 20 individuals: a health insurance board member co-chair, three surrogates for presidential campaigns (two for Bloomberg, one for Biden), four current corporate lobbyists, two former corporate lobbyists, six corporate consultants, and four corporate lawyers.”

2016 Post Mortem

“Hillary Clinton’s Neverending Story” [The New Republic]. “Right on cue, at that observation, the shambling, tousle-haired democratic socialist Bernie Sanders appears on-screen, seeking Clinton’s advice on his jacket backstage before a Democratic primary event. ‘You could start buttoned,’ she suggests. ‘Then, when you get wound up, you can unbutton.’ If you focus on Clinton’s face, this second scene could almost be a rerun of the first: As the two opponents stand around in awkward silence, her smile freezes, her eyes roam around as if desperate to avoid his, she lets out a sigh, and her whole frame registers barely repressed loathing.” • Anyone else feel like paging Dr. Freud about those buttons?

“Bill Clinton says Lewinsky affair was to ‘manage anxieties'” [France24]. “‘It was awful what I did,’ the 73-year-old added.” • And in the age of #MeToo, Bill Clinton is still a respected party elder (and still cashing in, assuming he gets a cut of the Hulu mockumentary). It’s always OK when our guy does it.

Realignment and Legitimacy

You hate to see it:

I dunno. Wall Street and Main Street came together pretty good after the Crash, and Wall Street got a multi-trillion dollar bailout. How’d that work out for Main Street?

“‘Life After Bernie’: The Young Left Braces for Disappointment in 2020” [Politico]. “That word—community—is central to the worldview of the young socialists I met in Columbus, for three reasons. First, it explains their powerful feeling of tribal belonging, a tight bond with like-minded people whose beliefs and experiences reaffirm their own. Second, it molds their approach around the principles inherent to their ideology: shared ownership, shared sacrifice, shared success and shared failure. Third, and most important, it prioritizes their activism from the inside-out: National races are sexy, but neighborhood organizing is essential. Only after I understood this could I fathom why the debate wasn’t drawing a more engaged audience—and why the DSA members were surprisingly sanguine about the outcome of 2020, even with their standard-bearer closing in on America’s ultimate political prize.” • The next DSA convention should be interesting…..

“What To Know About The Election Security Situation After Super Tuesday” [National Public Radio]. “”Tuesday may have been a success, from the perspective of foreign influence — but folks ought to remain vigilant,” said David Levine, a former elections supervisor who now serves as elections integrity fellow with the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a group in Washington…. The problems and disruptions that took place around the country were connected with elections equipment systems, shortages of poll workers and long lines of voters…. [Said Levine: ‘The perception of interference can be as dangerous as interference — the administration of elections need to be as seamless as possible. Long lines at polling places can mean people choosing to leave lines and not vote, or not vote in future … it has the ability to undermine the democratic process and play into the hands of foreign adversaries.'” • Holy Lord. Creating long lines at polling places is the oldest trick in the book. When will somebody say the real adversaries of free and fair elections are not foreign, but domestic?

UPDATE “State Election Board Investigating Athens-Clarke’s Decision To Use Hand-Marked Paper Ballots” [Georgia Public Broadcasting]. “The Georgia State Election Board is holding an emergency hearing in Athens next week to determine whether Athens-Clarke County is violating several state laws by not conducting elections on the state’s new $104 million voting system. According to a notice sent to the county board of elections, Athens-Clarke officials should be prepared to present evidence explaining why it voted 3-2 to determine that it would be ‘impossible and impracticable’ to use the ballot-marking devices. Athens-Clarke officials have moved to paper ballots instead.” • What the County says:

All correct. Crooks are writing the law.

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

These stats do not take #COVID-19 into account:

Wholesale Trade: “January 2020 Headline Wholesale Sales Improve” [Econintersect]. “Overall, the rolling averages tell the real story – and they improved this month. This sector’s growth seems to be changing from the long term downtrend to at least a flat trend.”

Trade: “January 2020 Trade Showing Signs Of Weakness” [Econintersect]. “The data in this series wobbles and the 3-month rolling averages are the best way to look at this series. The 3-month average rate of growth was little changed for imports and exports.”

Employment Situation: “February 2020 BLS Jobs Situation Again Shows Significant Improvement” [Econintersect]. “Notable job gains occurred in health care and social assistance, food services and drinking places, government, construction, professional and technical services, and financial activities…. This report was surprisingly good.”

Leading Indicators: “28 February 2020 ECRI’s WLI Growth Rate Continues To Decline” [Econintersect]. “[T]here is little growth forecast in the business cycle six months from today.”

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Tech: “Apple is rejecting coronavirus apps that aren’t from health organizations, app makers say” [CNBC]. Note annotations. “Apple is cracking down on apps related to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak that aren’t from recognized institutions like governments or hospitals, iPhone developers told CNBC. Four independent developers told CNBC that Apple rejected their apps, which would allow people to see stats about which countries have confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Some of these apps used public data from reliable sources like the World Health Organization (WHO) to create dashboards or live maps. Some developers asked not to be named to avoid further complications with Apple’s review process. One developer said an Apple employee explained over the phone that anything related to the coronavirus must be released by [A] an official health organization or government. Another developer got a written response that “apps with information about current medical information need to be submitted by [B] a recognized institution,” according to a screenshot seen by CNBC.” • Note that the criterion at [A] would not include Johns Hopkins; [B] would (for some definition of “recognize”). And is data from China allowed or not? Sloppy.

Tech: “5 years of Intel CPUs and chipsets have a concerning flaw that’s unfixable” [Ars Technica]. “Virtually all Intel chips released in the past five years contain an unfixable flaw that may allow sophisticated attackers to defeat a host of security measures built into the silicon…. Because the flaw resides in the CSME mask ROM, a piece of silicon that boots the very first piece of CSME firmware, the vulnerability can’t be patched with a firmware update. ‘This vulnerability jeopardizes everything Intel has done to build the root of trust and lay a solid security foundation on the company’s platforms,’ Mark Ermolov, lead specialist of OS and hardware security at security firm Positive Technologies wrote in a post detailing the bug. ‘The problem is not only that it is impossible to fix firmware errors that are hard-coded in the mask ROM of microprocessors and chipsets. The larger worry is that, because this vulnerability allows a compromise at the hardware level, it destroys the chain of trust for the platform as a whole.'” • I guess the MCAS coders wrote this in their spare time?

Tech: “Privacy-focused DuckDuckGo launches new effort to block online tracking” [CNet] (Tracker Radar). “The company said Thursday it’s started sharing a data set called Tracker Radar that details 5,326 internet domains used by 1,727 companies and organizations that track you online. The data is available to anyone, and browser maker Vivaldi said on Tuesday it has begun doing so. ‘There will be others using it,’ including browsers more widely used than Vivaldi, DuckDuckGo founder and Chief Executive Gabriel Weinberg said in an exclusive interview.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 6 Extreme Fear (previous close: 9 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 10 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 6 at 12:34pm.

Our Famously Free Press

Plot twist:

News of the Wired

“Three Fourths of Dogs Are Angst-Ridden—and Owners May Be Partly to Blame” [Scientific American (original)]. “James Serpell, an ethologist at the University of Pennsylvania, who was not involved in the study, says that the problem stems from owners failing to properly socialize their dogs. Many canines rescued from shelters may have been inadequately trained when they were young, and the problem is compounded when new owners are overly cautious with them. “It’s a sort of helicopter-parenting concept applied to dogs,” he says. ‘Animals are not getting enough exposure to normal social interactions, play behavior and roughhousing with other dogs. That’s asking for trouble.'”

“Understanding the mother-breastmilk-infant ‘triad'” [Science]. “Breastmilk does not stand alone; maternal physiology, breastmilk composition, and infant physiology are parts of a coadapting system, with variations in each influencing the trajectory of infant development and maternal health…. Childhood malnutrition contributes to 45% of deaths worldwide in those under the age of five; it manifests early in life and involves disruption of multiple biological systems fundamental to healthy growth, including host pathways influenced by the developing gut microbiota, which are key consumers of breastmilk constituents… These findings support the idea that healthy growth is linked in part to healthy development of the gut microbiota. They also raise the question of what factors shape microbial community development during the period of exclusive breastmilk feeding, and as children transition to complementary foods during the weaning period.” • Makes you wonder what the effect of Nestlé’s “infant milk formula” might be…

“The Inconvenient Truth about Your “Authentic” Self” [Scientific American]. “[A]uthenticity is a slippery thing. Although most people would define authenticity as acting in accordance with your idiosyncratic set of values and qualities, research has shown that people feel most authentic when they conform to a particular set of socially approved qualities, such as being extroverted, emotionally stable, conscientious, intellectual and agreeable. This is the paradox of authenticity: In order to reap the many of the benefits of feeling authentic, you may have to betray your true nature.”

“Scientists monitored brains replaying memories in real time” [National Institutes of Heatlh] (original). “‘Memory plays a crucial role in our lives. Just as musical notes are recorded as grooves on a record, it appears that our brains store memories in neural firing patterns that can be replayed over and over again,’ said Kareem Zaghloul, M.D., Ph.D., a neurosurgeon-researcher at the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and senior author of the study published in Science.” • Please, let’s not use these discoveries for marketing.

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (AA):

AA writes: “Cottonwood and mesquite riparian forest patch, Tonto National Forest near Superior, AZ.” Always a lovely feeling, stepping over a running brook in dappled light under the trees.

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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. dcblogger

    I once met an union organizer and he said he could go back to any site he had worked and be on friendly terms with everyone. Bernie is thinking like an organizer. I think that making this about Social Security is his best bet. It demolishes Biden in a way that makes the election about the American people.

    1. pretzelattack

      he needs to go after biden on the issues in a much more forceful manner than he typically does, with lots and lots of specifics. did i mention lots of specifics? and lots of pointed references to biden’s past positions, and a focus on pinning him down on his position now. he needs to ask questions biden will not be prepared for with easy scripted responses.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Perhaps if Sanders can keep successfully baiting Biden with hooks baited with Biden’s own past statements over and over and over again, that Sanders can then go on to practice some very well disguised passive-aggressive pointing/not-pointing to Biden’s mental condition by asking Biden at every opportunity: ” don’t you remember that, Joe? You remember saying that, don’t you Joe? Don’t you remember when you said that, Joe?”

          1. pretzelattack

            yeah there’s various ways of doing it more subtly, but it needs to be done and it can be done. get joe off script, if the moderator will allow it, and that isn’t certain in my eyes. the dnc is trying to foist a guy with dementia (i wouldn’t support him in a million years anyway, but this is rank) in order to please their donors. we need to break their script. they only need it to be accepted a little longer, for biden to get a plurality and then the coast is clear to shoehorn in whatever vp they have in mind, and go on to lose or win the general. at that point it is a freeroll for them. the gravy train keeps rolling down the acela corridor tracks.
            another point of attack; these discrepancies in the voting. i hope the sanders campaign has some very competent tech people looking at this, because it looks like he’s being cheated again, beyond the voter suppression.
            trump threatened the rnc from the first debate; it needs to be very clear people won’t take this lying down.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > very well disguised passive-aggressive pointing/not-pointing to Biden’s mental condition

            Biden has a habit of saying “I yield my time.”

            Sanders could break in with: “No, Joe, please go on. Finish your thought.”

      1. Titus

        Except 70% of Women according to Stanford finding these kind of confrontations distressing to very distressing. Tricky. One changes emotions by using emotions so the trick here is “allowing” Biden to act deranged and expressing sorrow over it. For 70% of guys they won’t get the emotional content, but will understand the logic of the questions and lack of answers. It can be done, Bill Clinton and Obama were very good at this. Look you want to be president you got to play the game at the highest level. Good practice for dealing with trump.

        1. Oh

          Timing was right for both Obama and Clinton. After the GFC voters would have gone for any Democrat because Republicans were toxic. Similarly, it was fortituos for Clinton because Perot was running and he quit the race a couple of months before the election. Obama got loads and loads of money from Wall Street. Neither of these guys would stand a chance in an election year when the economy was doing well.
          It’s easy to do a post Super Tuesday defeat analysis of Sanders but remmeber, everything seems to work before SC where I think the Democrats fixed the election and the same holds for Super tuesday. I didn’t see anyone pointing out that Bernie had to be confrontational when he seems to be winning.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Could you provide a link on that study? Or a title? That’s information I’ve been looking for.

          Of course, a lot of Men find confrontations distressing, too; I hate them. But they’re a crucial part of politics – inherently, seems to me.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > One changes emotions by using emotions so the trick here is “allowing” Biden to act deranged and expressing sorrow over it.

          Excellent point, but isn’t the tactical issue how to provoke it? (Besides whether Sanders wants to go that road). The Sanders campaign should be breaking down film of the last debates right now.

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        Wait. How many days ago was the field of candidates wide open?

        If Bernard does not roast Biden on Social Security I will be disappointed. If Smokin’ Joe doesn’t lash out with his typical aplomb, I’ll be disappointed. I’m saving myself up for bigger disappointments.

        I’ll be happy with the Vermont interpretation of Huey Long. I’m glad that people are finally noticing we have one Socialist Senator.

        Idea for an ‘own the slur’ bumper sticker: “I’m tickled pink by Bernie” — Although I don’t know how the post-dial-up-modem crowd might misinterpret that?

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > he needs to ask questions biden will not be prepared for with easy scripted responses

        The Biden campaign now has money, so they can for the first time really prepare Biden for the debates. However, remember how Biden messed up the number for supporters to text him? I’m not sure Biden is especially coachable. Challenge Biden to deploy multiple scripts in a short time, and he might implode.

    2. ewmayer

      “Joe Biden is a friend of mine” is the 2020-updated version of “enough about the damn e-mails, already”. No amount of ground-level organizing can make up for a candidate willing to publicly overlook what should be high-office-disqualifying fundamental character traits in his opponents out of “niceness”.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Bernie is thinking like an organizer

      That’s fine, but if his organization is then put at the disposal of Joe Biden, I don’t see how the organization survives. (That’s why the DNC cheating meme* is important; it provides the moral cover to get out of that loyalty oath (which the Sanders campaign certainly should have had its lawyers take a look at)).

      NOTE * Iowa, Texas, and California have all had major voting screw-ups, all of which impacted Sanders voters disproportionately. The campaign should sue. They have the money.)

  2. MaxFinger

    Not good new…LA only tested one person in whole state even after Mardi Gras.

    The Strongest Evidence Yet That America Is Botching Coronavirus Testing
    <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/how-many-americans-have-been-tested-coronavirus/607597/“>theatlantic.com

    Through interviews with dozens of public-health officials and a survey of local data from across the country, The Atlantic could only verify that 1,895 people have been tested for the coronavirus in the United States, about 10 percent of whom have tested positive. And while the American capacity to test for the coronavirus has ramped up significantly over the past few days, local officials can still test only several thousand people a day, not the tens or hundreds of thousands indicated by the White House’s promises.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Unless of course certain key Overclass embeds in certain key chokepoints are deliberately “botching” the response on purpose in order to make sure the virus reaches total coverage all over America and reaches every one of America’s old people in particular.

      Jackpot Design Engineering? Would it be irresponsible to speculate? It would be irresponsible NOT to speculate.

      1. John Wright

        Yes, one can speculate that some younger generation USA citizens believe the corona virus will “strengthen” Social Security and Medicare when CV hits the USA elderly big time.

        I am a Social Security recipient who is not interested in “helping” in this effort with my demise.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The Atlantic could only verify that 1,895 people

      So the United States has tested 1895 / 10000. = 1895 <20% total of what South Korea tests in a day. For free. In drive-throughs.

      Good job, America. You are truly exceptional!

      1. thoughtful person

        Agree usa response has been a total fail thus far.

        Per article posted yesterday on the SK drive in testing, the tests are swabs etc which are sent off to a lab, and the results are texted back to the testee in 3 days. Free of charge i believe.

        I’ve not yet heard of real time testing (like pregnancy test strips, etc) so far. Have heard some are working on it.

  3. a different chris

    I dunno I’ve had long screaming sessions with my wife that gave me a pretty good illustration of the “authentic me”. Don’t think trying to be a social fit-in has much to do with it.

    1. Titus

      There’s no data to back up that claim for selfhood. There is data that indicates that a. We have ideas about who we are and b.other people have ideas about who we are. Thus the value in NOT saying “I don’t care what other people think.” We should always care because like a comic if no one is laughing maybe we aren’t funny no matter what we think of ourselves, or we need better material. There is value in the idea the perception of oneself is reality – up to a point. While a rock can’t change its behavior a person can. Further, it is not a good idea to put one’s self esteem in the hands of others. Nor is a being right about something subject to a democratic process. Sometimes it’s you agaisnt a thousand people. The actual reality of selfhood is we are neither what we think we are nor others think, but somewhere in between. I find feedback a gift and use it, internally to see how I’m doing. The other thing is, if you interact with say 20 people who find you kind but 1-2 people insist your not, that gives you good data to reject the conclusions of the 1-2. Anyway it’s how I stay out of trouble with my wife, mother, & daughter.

  4. Hepativore

    So apparently, Sanders has been trying to talk MSNBC into letting him have a special debate with Joe Biden over the matter of healthcare before his next official state debate. Considering how much MSNBC hates Sanders, would they grant him his request and would Biden even show?

    Anyway, I know that it is too early to really tell what direction the Sanders team is switching to in terms of its new strategy, but is there any indication that calls for Sanders to stop going soft on his political opponents is having any effect? I know that he does not want to burn any political bridges, but it seems that the Democratic establishment and all of its surrogates are going to smear and stab him in the back no matter what he does. Therefore, why does he feel so obligated to play nice with people who will never show him the same courtesy and are not acting in good faith? Nobody is asking him to smear anybody or lie, but his opponents have been giving him plenty of ammunition that he can call them out on.

    I know that this is a common sentiment among many Sanders supporters like myself, so perhaps it is a bit of a cliche, but I would hate to have come so far to the nomination only to have it snatched away at the last second by a senile puppet of the Democratic Establishment.

    1. pretzelattack

      bernie’s natural instinct is to be ned stark. his optimism and faith in people and loyalty are probably good for him in leading a happy life, but fatal in a political contest against cutthroats. it’s hard to change when you’re 80, to go against the tendencies and habits of a lifetime. i hope he can, and that his advisors help him.

      1. Hoppy

        Sorry but that’s why I like him. And that’s why he is where he is.

        You do the right thing as hard as you can.

        If people screw you, then that’s on them.

        We don’t save the planet any other way. We win with humanity.

      2. Deschain

        Funny you mention that, I posted this in the AM:

        So this is what I call the “Ender’s Game of Thrones” problem.

        Ender’s Game: The way we win matters


        Game of Thrones: You win or you die


        Cersei is the villain there, but author Martin makes pretty clear his thoughts on the wisdom of adhering to ‘norms’ when the other side won’t by having putative hero Ned Stark meet his end on the headsman’s block.

        I think rule #1 always applies. I think rule #2 sometimes applies as well, but one of the hallmarks of a functioning society is that things don’t get so far gone that it is the rule rather than the exception. I respect Bernie for not going full attack mode. I also think its easy to criticize him, but how many other people created a movement and a massive fundraising machine and came this close to the nomination (twice) with all the weapons of the establishment trained against them? He’s doing something right.

        Having said that, yeah, he leaves some easy opportunities on the table. Why he hasn’t fully cloaked himself in the mantle of FDR I’ll never understand. And yeah, he should have been/be more pointed in his criticisms of Hillary and Biden. Liz did it right with Bloomberg.

        1. ewmayer

          “he leaves some easy opportunities on the table” — including becoming president and effecting some desperately needed progressive policy changes in this country, apparently. Sure, the way you win matters, but this is not about running a lie-filled unethical smear campaign in order to beat Biden, it’s about pointing out the obvious and should-be-disqualifying huge red letters which absolutely fill Biden’s record in DC. You think FDR got the New Deal passed over the objections and resistance of Big Capital by being nice with the kleptocrats?

          1. Deschain

            He’s been hammering Biden on SS and other political issues. Those are considered OK by the norms of a primary. The question is do you bring up soft corruption – he danced around it in 2016 but wouldn’t come right out and say it with respect to HRC, and has defended Biden in 2020 from Teachout’s comments – and the mental decline issue. Those are definitely outside the norms and will get you eviscerated by the press and the establishment. It might be how you win, but you’d better win if you go that route so you can write the history book.

            1. Ionesco

              Or what about clips of Joe just making up the arrest in South Africa? Surely that would have an impact?

              “Joe made this up to pander and pretend he’s not racist. Here’s what he really thinks:”

              Play video of Joe defending segregation, of Joe complimenting Strom Thurmond.

              I could actually see this backfiring, but frankly if it does Bernie has no chance anyways.

            2. pretzelattack

              i think he needs to take some risks to win. and i think it gives him a better chance of winning. he can take the obama high road while criticising biden through surrogates, or he can take the warren road and eviscerate biden. he needs to move outside his comfort zone.

      3. dcblogger

        Bernie’s instinct is to be Martin Luther King Jr., attack systems, not people. In 2015 he said that he was running against Wall Street, not Hillary Clinton. He is running a revolution under color of a political campaign, the dynamic is different. It is important ti keep in mind that ML King WON, he pulled down Jim Crow. Bernie, along with millions of others, is in the process of pulling down finance capitalism, and he has King’s capacity to maintain focus on the larger issue.

    2. a different chris

      >why does he feel so obligated to play nice with people who will never show him the same courtesy

      Because his ultimate goal is to lead the party as President. It gains him nothing to be President if he starts pie fights which offend even 1/3 of the Democratic Party congresscritters. All he winds up with is a one-term Presidency and worse, he would leave behind the “common wisdom” (ok, manufactured wisdom but it will be sold as common) that a Socialist can’t get anything done. Nuking everything he’s accomplished in his life.

      This isn’t the Super Bowl, Team A against Team B. This is a preseason audition to quarterback one of the teams. You can only be so much of a (family blog) in the huddle.

      1. pretzelattack

        nope i think this is the superbowl of the election. we can worry about what happens after, after. that’s next season. if you are playing the patriots, you can’t be nice to bill belichick if he sneaks into your huddle.

        1. a different chris

          My claim is that you’re not playing the Patriots, you are auditioning to replace Tom Brady.

          And that’s hard enough without ticking off the big guys who are theoretically going to protect you in the real season.

          This is not the Super Bowl. I know you don’t think that if Sanders wins the election that’s all we need.

        2. Oh

          Old Chinese saying:
          Man with one foot on land and the other on the boat fall in river.

        3. Hoppy


          That’s the friggin problem dude.

          And even though you like Bernie you are encouraging it.

          This has to end! Or we all lose.

          This not a game.

          1. pretzelattack

            no he’s supposed to yell at him for being in the huddle. to reiterate, belichik would be the one cheating in the huddle, bernie would be the one yelling at him.

          2. pretzelattack

            it was an analogy, and not even mine. but if you want to compare it to teams, and i think the original poster was, bernie needs to call out the players on his team who wear the other teams jerseys in private–the donor team.

        4. orlbucfan

          Bill Beli-cheat was always that: a cheat. So, Bernie is supposed to copy him? I’m a NFL fan, and I don’t think so.

          1. pretzelattack

            the post above was supposed to be a reply to you. belichik is the dnc in this analogy. call the dnc out on cheating, expose the very obviouses in the candidate they are cheating for.

        5. laughingsong

          Okay I wasn’t going to weigh in on this since I am actually quite conflicted, but I think I lean towards a Different Chris’s take, if only because it’s the world I WANT to see our leaders help create.

          I personally don’t have the dorsal fin necessary for Trump style brawling, and the deck is sooo far stacked against Bernie that I wonder how much “being cutthroat” would even help. The PTB have the megaphone and contrary ideas struggle to be heard, and then there is the debate/convention/election-voting-machine skullduggery.

          I was reading the article “https://consortiumnews.com/2020/03/05/the-cultural-problem-of-cheating-lying/” and thinking how debased public behavior in general has become in my lifetime. Watching someone as high-profile as Bernie on television still holding true to his beliefs and honor . .. well, heck, it’s a big reason why I like Bernie in the first place.

          Also I think he is aware of the height of that big deck stacked against him, and I think he feels that this approach will allow him to keep working with the snakes in DC should he lose and return to the Senate. He will still be able to maintain enough goodwill to be the Amendment King.

          And in the end, the Starks did capture the rule of the Seven Kingdoms. By surviving.

      2. foghorn longhorn

        This is such bs.
        Trump insulted the f*ck out of mccain, mittens, jeb, cruz, pelosi, schumer and the rest of the clown posse and what did they do?

        Passed every gd thing he sent to them.

        Are we gonna fight or dance, it’s past time to get it on.

        1. a different chris

          Well I don’t dispute your argument out of hand, maybe you could sugarcoat it a little? BS is an insult term when somebody is trying to mislead you. I’m not, maybe I’m just wrong huh?

          Anyway: we’re talking about Democrats (cats that need herded), not Rethugs which are pure authoritarians. Their greatest happiness is finding out who they need to bend over for.

          I admittedly don’t even know what to call Pelosi and Schumer at this point, besides a simple “past their sell date”.

          Finally it’s been pointed out on this site numerous times that Trump doesn’t do much all that different from the Washington Consensus. He talks a lot but Tax Cuts For The Rich, Wars That Never End, etc. The Taliban agreement is the first thing he really has done different, and it’s March 6th 2020.

          So “passed whatever he sent them” doesn’t under closer inspection mean what you seem to think it does. And that’s not even contesting that *he* sent them the things under consideration. Legislation originates in the House, remember?

          1. False Solace

            Well they signed the agreement with the Taliban and two days later the DOD was bombing them again so who knows what happens there.

            Trump has declared all sorts of deals that ultimately turned into puffs of smoke — the non-deal with North Korea comes to mind. I consider pulling out of the TPP and tariffs against China more indicative of bucking the consensus, but those can be reversed by Trump or any other president whenever they feel like it.

          2. Zagonostra

            ”I admittedly don’t even know what to call Pelosi and Schumer at this point, besides a simple “past their sell date”.

            How about corrupt, immoral dishonest, greedy, sociopaths for starters (for more accurate adjectives I recommend viewing Jimmy Dore)

          3. Yves Smith

            Trump also after he won the nomination moved visibly to the right. No more breaking up the banks. No more anti war talk. I think he also started talking about tax cuts.

            Sanders is not going to change his positions to buy at least some cooperation from the party. He has to use other levers.

        2. David Carl Grimes

          Trump kept on talking about how everything is rigged against him and threatened to leave the Republican Party with his base. They fell in line. No more playing nice. This is war and we are playing to win.

        3. Titus

          He lost the popular vote. Hillary refused to play electoral college politics. That’s the game here politics. Not football. Could Obama or Bill Colton beat trump, absolutely. So it can be done.

          1. foghorn longhorn

            Those morons are the reason we have trump.
            Popular vote, russiarussiarussia, that has all worked out so well.

        4. Katniss Everdeen

          Dem royalty knows that, deep down, Bernie is a lover not a fighter. They trash him mercilessly and incessantly, and still he lets them off the hook, even joining forces with them after they’ve cheated him, ridiculed his message, and shut him down.

          Bernie’s like an abused wife who takes the ice pack off her busted up face to tell the cops that she’s not pressing charges because her husband is really a good man with a few “problems.” Everyone else knows the guy deserves to have the shit beat out of him until he disappears forever, but only she can take him down, and she just won’t because he’s the father of her children.

          When you think about it, it’s really the ultimate eff you, to the american people as well as to Bernie, to put him up against a dead man walking like biden on issues as important as “healthcare,” when they know Bernie will never go in for the kill.

          If you can’t win the debate, just refuse to have it. In this case, that refusal is to put a feeble weakling against a good guy who would never beat up someone who can’t defend himself.

          It’s frustrating and manipulative as hell and just not right, but it is what it is and the neera tandens of the world know it and are willing to use it. Bernie appears to be out of his league here, sorry to say.

          1. Carey

            I think a simpler explanation might fit the facts as well, or better:
            He prefers to stay alive than become dead in some “accident”.

            Interesting times

      3. Expat2Uruguay

        It gains him nothing to be President if he starts pie fights which offend even 1/3 of the Democratic Party congresscritters. All he winds up with is a one-term Presidency and worse, he would leave behind the “common wisdom” (ok, manufactured wisdom but it will be sold as common) that a Socialist can’t get anything done.

        Thank you for these words Chris. Of course I want Bernie to fight back. I want him to be a hothead I want to see all the bullies that are animating the ridiculous Joe Biden to get Smackdown. It’s just all so disgusting and offensive. But what you say makes sense in the long term. Winning the battle versus winning the war.
        Of course I want things to happen now, but as in other times during my life, patience is its own reward. I tend to be rash and aggressive, and it often doesn’t work out for me. even though other people here disagree with you, I think you advocate for a larger truth. Winning isn’t everything, you have to win in a way that allows you the carry forward with your goals.

      4. Glen

        Bernie cannot say it, but I can.

        I support Bernie because Bernie supports the polices I think we need to save the country: M4A, GND,$15/hr min, free college, etc. To me, being an FDR Dem like Bernie is the moderate position, we’ve done it before, we know it works. Biden’s support of neoliberal polices that have wrecked America is the extreme position.

        But the DNC does not support FDR’s Democracy. They have ended up to the right of Ronald Reagan. Pelosi could have pushed a M4A bill but did not. Pelosi could have pushed any number of polices to show how Trump is failing the working and middle class, but she did not.

        So if Bernie is not picked for the general, I no longer have a reason to support the Dems, and will stay home. Actually, I will probably not stay home, I will work to get Dems out of office, and in general, work to burn the party to the ground. Why? Because it is in the way, and does not support the working class or the middle class.

        The Dem party has to decide – do they really support the working and middle class or not. Because only Bernie supports those polices, and the rest of the Dems running for President do not.

        1. Procopius

          The Dem party has to decide – do they really support the working and middle class or not.

          I think that ship sailed forty years ago. Haven’t you ever read any of the material from the Democratic Leadership Council? Well, I guess they wouldn’t have been very straightforward about abandoning Labor, so really you need to read Al From’s book, The NEW Democrats and the Return to Power. Bill Clinton was chairman of the DLC for a couple of years before he resigned to run for President. From was very open about it. The New Deal is outdated, old-fashioned, and must be discarded. Go for the big money and win.

    3. Titus

      I what way has Sanders been soft? Compared to the asshat trump? Really, the MSM acts like he’s already called for armed resistance. The reality is that people construct, i.e., use different criteria for constructing reality. I can’t think of any president that got elected by being any acting like an angry unhinged SOB. This needs to be done carefully and guided by people that know what they are doing – which is not poli-si hacks.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Haven’t heard anybody suggest he act like an unhinged, angry, sob.
        He’s gonna be painted that way by the msm, no matter what he says or does.
        Take the fight to them, the old ‘you may kick my azz, but you gonna get a couple black eyes in the process’.

      2. sare

        Trump behaved in that way at points during the 2016 election. I remember (paraphrased) comments about supporters rioting if he was denied the nomination and him being popular enough to shoot people and get away with it.

    4. Matthew

      He’s airing ads going after Biden’s Social Security record in the next round of primary states. So there’s that at least.

    5. fdr-fan

      Getting along with everybody for a productive purpose can work well. AMLO does it all the time. Recent examples;

      Dealing with a poor food vendor, and treating her as an equal:


      Dealing with Larry Fink of Blackrock, and treating him as an equal:


      Bernie probably has the ability, but he doesn’t SHOW it nearly as often as AMLO (also an old labor organizer).

    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      > why does he feel so obligated to play nice with people who will never show him the same courtesy and are not acting in good faith? Nobody is asking him to smear anybody or lie, but his opponents have been giving him plenty of ammunition that he can call them out on.

      It’s too bad Stoller isn’t still on Sanders staff. Sanders needs a Malcolm Tucker:

  5. jo6pac

    What did Anita Hill ever do warren or now?

    “Warren Urged by National Organization for Women Not to Endorse Sanders: He Has ‘Done Next to Nothing for Women’

      1. pretzelattack

        excellent idea. dunno if she would, she was a republican back in the day, i have no idea of her poltitics now. but she certainly has no reason to favor biden.

    1. curlydan

      exactly. Look at the prime examples of how Biden treats women in the public sphere: treating Anita Hill like crap and nuzzling random women. And N.O.W. wants Warren to endorse Biden? Sheesh.

        1. orlbucfan

          NOW is full of YUPPIE RWnut crap and has been for years. Big reason why the Religious Righties are getting set to successfully overturn Roe vs. Wade.

    2. Titus

      And Warren wonders why she didn’t get the votes. Does Warren think being a women per se means only she is capable of going something for women. How childish.

    3. Rhondda

      Pffft! What has the NOW ever done for women? Material benefits. I can’t think of anything. Not one thing.

      Papoon for President. Not insane.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      Because when Sanders jawboned Amazon into raising wages, none of the workers who got the raised were women.

      That’s because to the PMC feminists of NOW — another NGO to euthanize given how poorly they have performed as measured by their stated goals — only PMC women are truly women. The working class is an undifferentiated mass without individual identities. That is, in fact, what the Bernie Bro” meme conveys. No female supporter of Sanders can possibly be a real woman, and even more revealing, Sanders supporters are coded male by default, a patriarchal semiotic that would drive NOW and its ilk, er, bananas in any other context.

      1. Rhondda

        “Bernie Bros” = all Sanders supporters [coded male]. Wow, yes! — Exactly! That’s a penetrating insight, Lambert. Thank you!

  6. a different chris

    >go into the next debate, and slice Joe Biden off at the knees

    and try to slice Joe Biden off at the knees. Fixed it for ya. This will not be easy, not for Bernie, not for Trump. It ain’t his first rodeo (heck Joe doesn’t even remember his last rodeo)… Joe has been a pol all his life. He only needs to hold it together for an hour.

    And we keep circling the question, raised here before, whether debates make any darn difference at all. Warren was apparently impressive. She is also out. Clinton supposedly eviscerated Trump with, of all things, facts. That did her a lot of good.

    1. pretzelattack

      debates made a difference for bloomberg. warren was dragged down by extrinsic factors. trump can think on his feet, can biden? note, biden was an abject failure in his previous rodeos. in this one, he is being supported by a coalition of the clowns, most of his fellow contestants, and even some of the bulls.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > whether debates make any darn difference

      I’m loathe to believe this, but they actually did. In 2016, Chris Christie took out Rubio. In 2020, Gabbard took out Harris. Klobuchar didn’t take out Buttigieg, but she marked him up good. Warren took out Bloomberg.

      So as much as I hate the format, it’s undeniable that the debates have had an effect.

      1. a different chris

        Yeah that’s fair enough.

        We can however, wonder if Rubio, Harris, Buttigieg and Bloomberg ever had any chance at all. Do you think the debates knocked their voters down by several multiples? Because that’s how badly they lost.

        And the final nominees weren’t the attackers in any instance. I should narrow my assertion to the more defensible “one-on-one final debates don’t seem to make any real difference”.

        Which is weird, that’s like the Super Bowl (reference an above poster) always ending in a draw whereas the playoffs are scintillating.

      2. JohnnyGL

        At this point, the last debate is his best shot. He needs to do something he’s not very good at.

        1) He needs to take an early, unexpected shot at Biden to knock him on his heels (just like Warren did to Bloomberg).

        2) He has to interrupt Biden in the debate when he’s on one of his confused, rambling answers and say, “America, what you see here…..this guy’s not going to be able to beat Trump. Look at him, he can’t get it done.”

        Media will freak out about mean old Bernie….but it’ll work. Because it’ll drive clicks with all the controversy. People will see for themselves. It’s a Trumpian move, but I think Bernie’s got to do it.

        Separately, Kyle Kulinski’s right when he says that Bernie’s got to reframe the choice with Biden as a ‘risky’ choice by offering a return to the situation that got Trump elected. Going backward isn’t an option. We have to offer the American people something new and better. Joe’s not offering anything.

        1. Jeff W

          “‘“America, what you see here…..this guy’s not going to be able to beat Trump.’”

          I actually don’t think that’s a bad move, although it’s not really Sanders’s style. You’re not naming Biden’s cognitive decline—which, apparently, is verboten—you’re just pointing to the very obvious fact that Joe Biden can’t perform on the debate stage and the campaign trail. (I think the campaign could come up with a line that is more his style.)

          The other thing Bernie Sanders could do is point to Joe Biden’s 2007 support of Medicare-for-All (“I think everyone…from age one on should essentially have the same kind of coverage you have in Medicare—it should be just universal, across the board. We could afford to do that.”)—and just ask pointedly (à la Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg) “Why aren’t you supporting that now?” and let Biden ramble on.

          1. Code Name D

            An old writers addeg – show, don’t tell. If its bad form for Bernie to accuse Biden of dementia? Okay, set Biden up instead, have Biden demonstrate his dementia for all to see. (This IS what Trump will do, BTW.) Like having Skinner eat the three eyed fish on the Simpsons.

            That said, I seem to have this conversation back in 2015 & 2016. Dajavoo all over again.

        2. Billy

          The people that support Bernie need to do the debating for him in their everyday commercial and personal activities by disseminating easily remembered memes that people can repeat to others.
          Any mention of the virus, healthcare, sickness of a relative or family financial distress is a good time to bring up Medicare For All and the positive effects Bernie Sanders would have on their saving large amounts, plus the wide availability of healthcare and disease prevention.
          “You happy with how much you’re spending on health insurance and all the other charges? Sanders would put that money back in your pocket. Did you know Biden voted to cut Social Security and Medicare?”

          Any person likely to have a student loan, including parents or grandparent co-signers, should hear about “Biden’s why you can’t ever discharge student debts like his corporate donors do in business. Sanders wants to change that.”

          Any person with financial woes, or stranger whose credit card is declined in front of you, or, when you use a credit card in retail, is a good excuse to mention “You know Biden is why banks can borrow money from taxpayers at zero percent and turn around and charge us 21%.”

          Once an idea is in someone’s head and in their interest, it’s not going away.

          1. Code Name D

            Agreed. Sanders needs to really push the Carnovirus issue. When we had the Spanish Flue, we had universal healthcare.

            Not enough viral test kits. Not enough ventilators, beds, surgical masks, – that’s not socialism, that’s your free market.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > The people that support Bernie need to do the debating for him in their everyday commercial and personal activities by disseminating easily remembered memes that people can repeat to others.

            That’s an excellent idea, and the app should have been used to push out those scripts, even with videos showing the talking points acted out. There’s still time.

        3. Bill Carson

          That’s exactly the tactic that worked so well for Trump, and that Trump will employ in the fall (if he debates): he figuratively walked into every debate and punched the other side in the mouth, drawing first blood. Time and time again it worked.

          1. carl

            I’m thinking of a bunch of different boxers who, when the opening bell rang, ran across the ring to nail the opponent with a fusillade of punches…

        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          > He has to interrupt Biden in the debate

          Biden will be coached to deliver the first assault. Sanders needs to “beat him to the punch” (“Everybody has a plan until they get hit” –Mike Tyson).

          Reagan had a great and extremely effective passive aggressive move in his debate against Mondale, although a moderator set him up:

          During the second debate, a moderator asked Reagan whether his age should be an issue in the campaign. Reagan answered, “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

          The audience laughed – Mondale included – and the media eagerly replayed and reprinted the joke. Reagan won in November in a landslide.

          This is a brilliant example of paralipsis: :

          Stating and drawing attention to something in the very act of pretending to pass it over. A kind of irony.

          It would be unseemly for me to dwell on Senator Kennedy’s drinking problem, and too many have already sensationalized his womanizing…

          Note that both examples are funny (everybody laughed along with Reagan). That might soften the confrontation, both for Sanders personally, and for women who are uncomfortable with it (hat tip, Titus). Being funny also plays to Sanders’ Borscht Belt abilities (which Biden does not have).

      3. Expat2uruguay

        It seems that while debates don’t cause somebody to win, they can make someone lose. And when there’s only two people, making somebody lose makes the other one win.

    3. ewmayer

      “This will not be easy, not for Bernie, not for Trump. It ain’t his first rodeo (heck Joe doesn’t even remember his last rodeo)… Joe has been a pol all his life. He only needs to hold it together for an hour.” — One of the idiot MSM pundits, in the wake of Biden’s super Tuesday surge, said s.t. to effect of Trump would prefer to run against Bernie than Biden, based on similar considerations as yours. Sorry, dead wrong – it’s obvious to me that Trump would greatly prefer going up against Biden in the general. Know how I know? Because Trump already has Joe reduced to one of his trademark evil-genius belittling nicknames: “sleepy Joe Biden”. AFAIK Trump has no similar pejorative nickname for Bernie. Now of course such namecalling is beneath Bernie, but he doesn’t need to resort to it – JUST POINT OUT THE OBVIOUS IN BIDEN’S LONG AND DISMAL RECORD, for frick’s sake. Of course it “ain’t gonna be easy” if you treat your opponents with kid gloves, at the same time their backers are sabitaging and smearing you at every turn.

        1. ewmayer

          Ah, had not heard that – but to me, it sounds flattering in a way. You want to shake up the established, corrupt order, you kinda expect to be called “crazy”. It certainly carries no lack-of-faculties or corruption connotations. If I were Bernie, I’d use it to make PR hay – “if thinking big about bringing fundamental change to Washington makes a person crazy, then I’m proud to say that I am indeed crazy. But let me say this – a person would have to truly be crazy to think that incremental change and tweaking at the margins is going to bring the kind of changes we need so badly.”

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Trump does call Sanders “Crazy Bernie” quite often, but other than that I agree with you. Trump would much rather face Biden and thrash him. I think he holds personal animosity towards Biden, if only because he was Obama’s VP when Obama publicly mocked Trump at that beltway backslapper function several years ago.

        My personal theory is that Trump wouldn’t even mind much losing to Sanders. He may even want to. Other than the “Crazy Bernie” sobriquet, he really hasn’t gone after Sanders that much at all yet. Certainly not like he has with Clinton and now Biden.

        1. pretzelattack

          im not sure he really wants to be president all that much, but i don’t know much about him.
          sure it appeals to his vanity, but he has to do a bunch of crap he would probably rather not do. he may yearn to break free like harry and megan (i think that’s her name).

        2. neo-realist

          Trump is confident that the Democratic Party establishment with a lot of help from the corporate media would do his job for him bu creating the manufactured consent to damage Sanders’ chances for winning the nomination.

  7. tempestteacup

    I’m going to take my chance while I have it and before having to say “I hate to be that old Marxist but…”

    I am 36 years old and therefore the same age as most of those speaking for millenials in the DSA, writing for Jacobin, and organising for Bernie or those of his satellites on their respective fool’s errands in opposition to the entrenched Democratic Party panjandrums.

    Half American and half British, I have also experienced some similar issues with the Corbyn/Momentum movement and its recent car crash with ruling class reality.

    Just as an intro because of course I am going to say, “I hate to say this but…”

    The DSA and the semi-organised American left are selling their increasingly, justifiably radical followers a pig in a poke. In a sense, I except Bernie from that condemnation – running for President, it is what it is. But those who are supposed to be to his left are performing an invidious game by preventing further political education or raising consciousness in favour of peddling the myth of reforming the Democratic Party from within that have been tried, and have failed, so many times in the last 120 years.

    The fact that these same groups are doing the same thing when it comes to labour struggles, endlessly shepherding wildcat momentum behind union leadership and justifying sell-out deals instead of fostering a realistic preparation for the struggles ahead, suggests that this is not an accident.

    The cognitive dissonance is almost as horrible as that on offer when technocrats like Obama and Clinton accept the facts of climate change while endlessly sandbagging real responses to it. Which shouldn’t be surprising, since the American and British new left is engaged in an infernal slow dance with their liberal or corporate beefcakes.

    If I sound flippant, I apologise – I don’t mean to. I also don’t necessarily disbelieve in the potential for at least some change within existing conditions – but historically such changes have been won because there was a more radical extra-electoral/parliamentary movement of workers leveraging their strength, not because it was all within one cosy political bubble.

    And that only happens when workers and students are educated about the struggles involved in forcing changes in the teeth of ruling class interests, institutions and political heft. Peddling illusions about the all-encompassing power of the electoral process, or complaining endlessly about the the latest example of back-stabbing from whichever corporate liberal stooge last wielded the shank, is increasingly not just useless but something worse – an expected part of the system itself as it reproduces its frozen dialectics of power and exploitation.

    This is not (at least not entirely) a call for revolution. But I am increasingly certain that change is impossible without first preparing a broad swathe of people to fight, fight, fight instead of entrusting the struggle to this or that figurehead (Bernie, AOC), let alone their clarion-callers in an increasingly cosy upper middle class den of pseudo-leftists.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      You might read that Politico article on the DSA. I found it rather encouraging but you might differ. If so, I’d like to know your opinion of the concrete details.

      > peddling the myth of reforming the Democratic Party from within

      If the ultimate outcome were to split the Democrats, would you change your mind?

      1. tempestteacup

        Reading the Politico article now. You’re right – it is encouraging, at least in the sense that it features articulate, radicalised individuals and their early attempts to organise. It chronicles absolutely necessary early steps in the process. I am very encouraged with the justified, even pragmatic, way they look beyond presidential politics in a dialectical way – both the wider context and the more local, direct implications.

        So far, so good.

        But there are problems. The sudden, total collapse of the International Socialist Organization is an example of what can happen to a seemingly lively left(ish) group when it grows on shaky ground. You have chronicled some of the contortions of the DSA in their regional elections and controversies. Growing pains – or something more fundamental?

        What I’m trying to say is what are they about and how do they reconcile disparate forces and interests without tearing themselves apart? The DSA has its own particular history in the wider context of the American left and its sudden expansion doesn’t make that go away. Without adequate theory your praxis will tend to fall apart when it collides with reality.

        To give a concrete example that is suggested in the Politico piece, I’m not sure how they are discussing and understanding the identity politics education of the (upper)middle class students drawn to the movement with the different perspectives of the labour movement or, beyond that, the exciting, potentially revolutionary hinterland of the actual working class(!!!)

        Lenin didn’t know what identity politics was but he described it in a different context: haggling for privileges. I don’t want to make this a diatribe on one subject or to suggest that I’m not sensitive to the discrete forms of oppression facing different groups but – and I know you write about this brilliantly – without some kind of radical reckoning with these issues, groups like the DSA are liable to sectarian disasters of exactly the kind envisioned (I suspect) by those who have most insidiously articulated identity over class as the most significant feature of our social relations.

        I would say similar things about Extinction Rebellion. I have friends who are deeply involved in it and they are brilliantly committed to its cause. But they struggle when it comes to connecting the realities they rightly identify with the material pathologies that produce them. They are not interested in why, for example, the ER leaders ban socialist sub-groups as “political” while welcoming those for bosses or landlords(?!)

        These are, to me, fundamental problems. If you cannot identify your enemy you cannot plan your campaign. And I worry that the DSA, or ER, dine out on identifying symptoms while studiously avoiding an uncomfortable meeting with their cause. And that doesn’t mean, either, a schematic link of every social ill with capitalism, nor a demand that everyone be schooled in the dialectic. Just a plan to educate, to find other forms of solidarity, and gird ourselves for the struggle to come.

        But that’s probably more than enough! In answer to your last question —- I think a serious split with the Democratic Party is an absolute necessity for anything that follows. It will come one way or another – even if Bernie wins the nomination, then the presidency, I fully expect he will be sandbagged by Democrats at every turn. At some point, it will be necessary to realise that the Democratic Party is not called the graveyard of social movements for nothing – and that American duopoly is the greatest impediment to democracy, no different really from the Congress of All-Russian Soviets in its day.

        1. Billy

          Forget splitting the Democrats. I like the idea I first saw here, of turning to and leveraging the Republicans as the party of progressive change. Let the Democrat donors hold their bag of defeated candidates while harnessing progressive populists, like Tucker Carlson, or Josh Hawley, as an example, to change the country for the better. My vote in November is for Bernie if he’s on the ballot. If not, Tulsi.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Forget splitting the Democrats

            The Democrat Establishment may not split (though as I think Taibbi pointed out, Sanders might have been able to peel off some opportunists with a Texas win).

            However, the Democrat base may split. Taking “Bernie Bro” and “He’s not a real Democrat” as a proxies, the Democrat gerontocracy (to use the term for the Breshnev era) is systematically and openly alienating the Latin vote, youth generally, young blacks, and younger women. As for the working class, they are not even a mental category for liberals. That reduces their base to older Blacks and the PMC, especially PMC women. As 2016 showed, and as the (PMC women) Warren campaign showed, that’s barely enough to win an election, and its certainly not enough to rule.

            At some point, the contradictions have to break out into the open, as it becomes obvious the Democrats have failed to represent — indeed, have disenfranchised — too many people. As Lincoln wrote to Lyman Trumbull in 1860..

            Stand firm. The tug has to come, & better now, than any time hereafter.

            The Iron Law of Institutions is looking better every day.

        2. Left in Wisconsin

          Look, no one knows the future and everyone is always flying by the seat of their pants. This is always true, only more apparent now. I would speculate that at least half of the newly motivated DSA membership couldn’t really articulate a vision of socialism if you asked them to. In the future that might be a problem but it is certainly not a problem now. I am much more skeptical of those people now claiming to have “fundamental” answers.

          Most of us have a clear if general sense of the enemy (capitalists) and their henchmen (politicians, “policy advocates,” etc.). On the other hand, as Stoller points out, we are really bereft of people who actually understand production. I would argue that is our biggest problem, not lack of ideological clarity. Because once we gain power we need to know how to wield it.

          1. tempestteacup

            Fair enough but I’m not really talking about ideological clarity or sectarian strife. I think we agree – I also mean a thorough understanding of how the world works. But that also means rigorous critique of where things might go wrong – and, for example when it concerns identity politics (a phrase I hate and apologise for using!) I think we have a good example. That doesn’t mean class above all, by the way – just not ceding intellectual ground to liberal formulations of who we are and why we are that way!

            (I didn’t really mean to harp on about identity stuff but I think of it when I think of, for example, the DSA, and some of the divisive disputes that have bedevilled them)

            1. Lost in OR

              I attended one DSA meeting. The order of business was something like this:
              Each person declared how they chose to be identified.
              The group overruled those who didn’t want to do anything until some minorities could be recruited.
              Some movers and shakers volunteer to draw up the chapter charter. As they were all men, they would recuse themselves from further action so the chapter wouldn’t be dominated by men. The group was about 90% men.
              The Patriarchy was soundly denounced.

              I haven’t been back.

              1. Carey

                Similar experience with DSA in Central CA: so much talk about preffered pronouns and the like that I felt not getting to the point *was* the point..

                divide ‘n’ rule is working really, really well.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  > divide ‘n’ rule is working really, really well.

                  Yes. I don’t see this as malevolent; the impulses are good-hearted (which is exactly what makes “intersectionality” so dangerous). Kimberle Crenshaw endorsed Warren, by the way. OTOH, one of the Combahee River Collective founders endorsed Sanders. Of course, Crenshaw’s a lawyer. PMC class solidarity is an impressive thing….

            1. tempestteacup

              Playing the long game — so ask me what happens to the price of nectarines next week!

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > Marxists always did – or so they claimed.

              What with a billionaire openly purchasing a large portion of the political class, I’d say The Bearded One is looking pretty good right now.

        3. Deplorado

          You write forcefully and lucidly; if you write or post anywhere online, please share – I want to read it and follow it!

          Also if you speak as you write, you will be a formidable leader.

        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Lenin didn’t know what identity politics was but he described it in a different context: haggling for privileges. I don’t want to make this a diatribe on one subject or to suggest that I’m not sensitive to the discrete forms of oppression facing different groups but – and I know you write about this brilliantly – without some kind of radical reckoning with these issues, groups like the DSA are liable to sectarian disasters of exactly the kind envisioned (I suspect) by those who have most insidiously articulated identity over class as the most significant feature of our social relations.

          “Brilliant” [lambert blushes modestly]. Back at ya for “haggling for privileges.”

          > At some point, it will be necessary to realise that the Democratic Party is not called the graveyard of social movements for nothing

          History is a hard teacher. And where its lesson has been sadly confined to a small group of cadres, as it were, this lesson is now going to be taught to millions by the Democrat Establishment, and with whacks to the knuckles and expulsions, too. That’s why I put up that link to Mike Duncan on the Russian Revolution of 1905 the other day….

      2. a different chris

        And when you answer that, can you make clear which context you are steeped in? I don’t know which side of the pond you live on, but our hallowed Constitution, in hindsight, pretty much leads us here. It just ratchets everything rightward.

        The claim is – and I am not sophisticated enough to either support or deny it, but others I respect have made it – that our political structure via said Constitution will only support more than two parties for only an election cycle or two. Lincoln introduced himself as a Whig, but had to run as a Republican.

        Yes, it goes that far back. Given today’s sophisticated hold on the media levers by our Elites, I think an effective third party is less likely than ever. Sure there’s things called the Working Families Party and stuff here and there, but their job is basically wrenching Dem primaries.

        PS: I actually am registered Green. It’s my attempt to signal where my vote is. Little good that seems to have done me.

    2. inode_buddha

      In America at least, it’s easy to be leftist when your personal well-being is not at stake — the left in the US has always had an upper-class tint and co-opted by the professional-managerial class. BUT their well being does not depend on the outcome like it does for the working classes. The UK and other countries have stronger social safety nets and that does make a difference in people’s politics.

      As an older worker ( I could be your father) I know how these fights go — it takes decades of sheer intransigence to get anywhere. In a zillion little ways, every day, for years. I don’t know if Millenials understand this, its not a dress rehearsal. It’s real. I do believe the movement needs solid organizers and figureheads though — most likely AOC will be next, I hope. There needs to be a clear method of succession, among people who do *not* compromise. A single stated set of goals, for a decade. And those who get out and volunteer and vote.

      1. tempestteacup

        I agree with some of what you write but I have yet to see any really adequate figureheads of the sort you suggest as necessary. AOC, after her praise for John McCain is not one of them.

        I know this makes me sound intransigent and sectarian but it is and has always been a problem in the left to fight beyond just nation-based working class interests. I’m not saying AOC does that but she, like so many before her, have definitely sacrificed critique of imperialism for a certain amount of mainstream coverage as far as her social democratic advocacy goes.

        AOC praised John McCain, Bernie has played up to Russiagate and the enduring myths about Castro’s Cuba despite making an obvious, uncontroversial point in the first place. This is how it goes. And that’s what I mean – it is a standard thing for Western politicians to throw foreign affairs over the side when they are pressed – especially because the Borg is most concerned with matters of Empire and therefore will attack on that above all else (knowing, too, that the voting public cares much less about such issues than, say, Medicare for All). Corbyn did the same thing when it came to Trident renewal, then Iraq, and finally Israel.

        (By the way, such capitulation got him nowhere – he was still slandered as an anti-semite and I just finished an awful book about Oleg Gordievsky in which it is suggested he was a useful idiot for the Czech intelligence services, along with Michael Foot!)

        Socialism does not exist without a critique of imperialist/capitalist wars is what I mean.

        But I’m sorry, I know this isn’t what you were talking about. The reason I brought it up, however, is to illustrate the insidious ways in which freshly elected, occasionally ‘radical’ politicians are institutionalised. It doesn’t happen with bread and butter domestic issues but rather foreign affairs, those distant concerns of experts and spooks.

        And yet bringing this up gives a kind of window of opportunity and hope. There is no group with better understanding of the real-world consequences of Empire than the urban and rural working class. They are the ones providing sons and daughters for endless wars. The overextension of empire is always going to provide its weakest points.

        Sorry, I’ve rambled – these are just some thoughts as I try and get to grips with what is to be done!

        1. inode_buddha

          Well, no, actually its a good thing that you rambled — I completely agree but from a different angle perhaps.

          The fact that socialism is even in contention in the US I think is a referendum on imperialism and capitalism.
          And the US way has certainly opened itself to criticism.

          Frankly it amazes me that it is even happening at all, being that the Overton window has been dragged so far to the Right in my lifetime.

          I remember watching Nixon on TV, stating that he was not a crook. Today, he would be considered to be an unelectable liberal, too far left.

          I am not completely happy with the way that AOC and Sanders have had to toe the line with the Establishment regarding foreign policy and etc. (and I don’t think McCain was any kind of saint). But I do believe that AOC and Sanders are trying to please multiple Masters. If they don’t do the whole “red-baiting” routine then they lose credibility with the system they are part of — and thereby lose influence. The voters are a different issue — foreign affairs are just not on the radar at all for most of the working class. The sole exception is those who have family in the armed services. And yet without those voters, they wouldn’t have any influence to lose.

          So basically, its a chess game. Washington DC has never ran on the truth. I’m pretty sure AOC was just mouthing the words so she can accomplish some of her own left-wing goals. And maybe Sanders is too —

          1. Grachguy

            If I might inject my two cents into this very interesting discussion, I believe tempestteacup’s ultimate point still stands: the Blob/industrialists/parties will suffer no contest to their claims on power. Sure, they allow the occasional voice in the wilderness – to do otherwise would lead to more radical activity I imagine – but the power structures themselves seem quite robust to disturbances from the likes of Sanders and AOC. While I agree that they are likely mouthing the words (Sanders once discussed abolishing the CIA and one does not simply reconsider that view once one has reached that point ideologically), I question whether it even matters… It seems to me that a realistic vision of socialism must be brought about independently of the existing state. After all, the social groups that dominate the state also control the media, the military, the educational institutions, and just about every other organ of power. In this framework, hijacking the state as it exists is a tall order and actually reforming it within the rules of the game is even more difficult. Isn’t it worth considering the idea that left energy is better devoted to forming alternative institutions and power structures?

            The circle of wagons we are seeing around Biden’s husk shows that they will fight tooth and nail to keep from implementing even the most benign and basic social democratic reforms. I can only see someone like Bernie or AOC winning real power in the face of a massive economic meltdown and even then, they can win the social democratic reforms (which are desirable) but why couldn’t that same opportunity + working class radicalism be channeled into actual systemic change; ie destroying the state as it currently exists and replacing it with a people’s democracy? (not the Chinese type please). This would require decades of hard work, but so would replacing the democratic party with our version of Labour (and look where they are).

            1. inode_buddha

              Isn’t it worth considering the idea that left energy is better devoted to forming alternative institutions and power structures?

              Very much agree — I don’t think I’m disagreeing with tempestteacup so much as looking from a different angle.

              For any of it to work, I think we will have to establish parallel institutions on a far greater scale than Sander’s campaign. One favorite of mine is worker co-ops, particularly in the Rust Belt and Midwest.

              I dream of being able to unite and organize existing co-ops and strengthen them to the point that they could replace the old Sears Roebuck. Effectively workers would have to work two jobs and participate in two different economies, to the extent that they were able — but having a fallback via co-op would certainly give them far more autonomy and power than any existing structure.

              The only reason the existing structures have any power at all, is due to their death grip on the economy, and directly on peoples lives via economic means. Breaking that grip will also require economic means I think.

          2. hunkerdown

            “Medicare for All means you will never have to watch another drug company commercial again.” Break that fourth wall, Bernie!

            Interesting tidbit: The Sanders campaign just texted me and encouraged me to vote early in Michigan. The two reasons I can think of are to create facts on the ground in the first numbers so that the networks can’t just get distracted as Sanders gains votes, or to protect against tampering at the precinct level. Other strategic insights are welcome.

            1. pretzelattack

              i really like the campaign doing that, primarily from the angle of making cheating more difficult.

          3. Lambert Strether Post author

            > The sole exception is those who have family in the armed services.

            Military casualties correlated with voting for Trump in 2016. This after Trump said one of the many unsayable things, that the Iraq War was a mistake.

            This vote should be Sanders in 2020 because of his work with the VA.

            1. tempestteacup

              This is what I was thinking. It was obvious from 2015 that one of Trump’s most effective messages was his criticism of the Iraq War, of Nato, Syria and the endless occupation of Afghanistan. We can also set aside the fact that he has largely failed to do much of what he implied in his campaign. The point is that he campaigned to the left of the Democrats on these issues and did it knowingly – and that this was a message that resonated with, as you say, voters connected in some way to the military.

              Also significant in this context is that since his election, the mainstream Washington Dems have focused (besides their interminable obsession with ‘civility’) on cultivating ever greater ties with the military and intelligence services. There are the CIA Democrats who were elected in the last mid-terms. There was the obscene, degrading veneration of first James Comey and then Robert Mueller. There is Adam Schiff and the endless Russiagate black hole of mental resources, money, time and political capital.

              What they all have in common is the Democrats pressuring Trump for being insufficiently imperialist and warmongering. In this context, too, it is significant that the Dem mandarins have chosen Joe Biden, probably the most right wing of all the remaining opponents facing off against Bernie – definitely worse than Obama (remember that when he chose Biden as VP it was viewed rightly as throwing a bone to the Blue Dogs and other Dem reactionaries!) and almost certainly worse even than HRC herself.

              But it doesn’t have to be that way. As you suggest, an anti-war message can reach voters in special ways and unite, for example, groups that would otherwise view themselves as miles apart – e.g. radicalised young people and rural working class families with military connections. That is exactly the type of solidarity we need. And therefore almost as exactly the sort of thing that Democrats minus Bernie will do all they can to prevent coming to pass!

        2. David J.

          First, let me say I really enjoy your commentary and agree with a fair portion of it. But…

          There is no group with better understanding of the real-world consequences of Empire than the urban and rural working class. They are the ones providing sons and daughters for endless wars.

          And yet, simply bearing the brunt of Empire does not make the working class political sages. Anti-war sentiment in this country rarely has any practical (and lasting) political effect.

          Speaking for myself, one of the reasons I like Sanders is his affinity and association with Eugene Debs. But, imo, a truly viable international socialist movement was murdered in the trenches of WWI. And there is no modern day Lenin to put onto a train to nowhere. (Sir Thomas More pun included.)

          Whatever is to be done will be done within the construct of the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia. Put some meat on the bones of the United Nations and maybe this will change. But that’s not likely any time soon. And I think that Sanders knows that and that’s why he wants to deal with domestic problems first.

          1. JBird4049

            The then existing international socialist movement likely did die in the trenches, or rather the horrors of it killed the hope needed; postwar nihilistic despair, which inspired Dadaism, Brutalism, and Postmodernism. Then the the violent, often fatal, repression during the 1920s and the 1930s of the leadership of the weaken socialist movements in Germany, Italy, the Soviet Union, and the United States which ensured it.

          2. tempestteacup

            Yes, I didn’t mean to suggest that direct exposure to the often tragic consequences of serving the American Empire inevitably leads those affected to critical insights into how it operates or sustains itself – there is a difference between experience and insight, feeling and knowing. But I believe it does mean there is a very fertile ground for anti-war sentiments in precisely those groups most frequently dismissed by mainstream Democrats or the media as irredeemably…ahem…deplorable.

            Not sure I agree that internationally minded socialism died in the trenches of WWI. It was quite literally murdered in that war’s aftermath through the brutal suppression of working class struggles like the Spartacist uprising and political assassinations of figures like Rosa Luxermburg and Karl Liebknecht. And it was ideologically murdered by the capital-assisted rise of fascism and national chauvinism at precisely the moment when global capitalism was entering a period of potentially terminal crisis. In that broad sweep of events I would go so far as to include the ascension to power of Stalin in the Soviet Union and his socialism-in-one-country, which effectively ended the internationalism unleashed by the 1917 Revolution.

            After WWII, the capitalist West of course responded to these crises by ceding more ground to workers than they had ever done before. Socialised healthcare in Europe, the welfare state, access to education, state-led investment. They rightly feared the consequences of a resurgent international socialism and opted to head things off at the pass (I hate that cliche, to quote Hedley Lamarr!). But no less influential was the Stalinist Soviet Union’s cynical manipulation of liberation struggles and the various Communist Parties they funded across the West and Latin America. Their sabotage of the Spanish Republican struggle was here the template, as they evolved various “popular front” tactics to lead various working-class movements down strategically (for them) useful blind alleys.

            In fact, the list of betrayals committed by the Soviet Union with regard to their international ‘comrades’ bears comparison with the Democratic Party’s own patented ability to bury social movements in the US – leading bravely and courageously…from behind.

            As for Bernie/AOC, their plan to ‘deal with domestic problems first’ is exactly what I take issue with. In the first place, I see no evidence that the ruling class will allow even their modest policies to be enacted. This is not the Depression Era. Unions are weak, corrupt or worse. Political consciousness may be growing but remains relatively low compared to the 20th century. There is no broad mass movement beyond Washington DC which political leaders can use as leverage in the struggles that would inevitably need to be fought over policies like Medicare for All. Maybe they will emerge once the struggles gain momentum, but for now the disposition of social forces and political power is very different from the context in which the New Deal was (partially) executed or the Civil Rights Era in the 60s.

            More importantly, though, and what I’ve been trying to get at is the idea that you can effectively decouple domestic from foreign issues is a mirage. Particularly in a period of unparalleled interconnection where global capital and finance have themselves eroded the integrity of nation states or their sovereignty. And besides that, Trump’s election has brought into the open the enormous political power that has been amassed by the military and intelligence services – and which will without doubt be brought to bear on any Bernie or AOC attempting to bring about domestic reforms opposed by the oligarchy.

            I just don’t think it is possible to confront one set of issues without confronting the other – their interrelationship requires them to be faced at the same time. And that is of course before we talk about the moral imperative to do so.

            One last thing – a lesson learned painfully from Labour under Corbyn. His constant capitulations over mainly foreign issues – Israel, Trident, the Skripal case, Syria, Julian Assange – didn’t free up space or energy to fight for domestic reform. It didn’t satisfy his opponents in the media or on the right wing of his own party. It signalled his weakness and encouraged them to press on with ever more insistent demands. And, crucially, it demotivated and demobilised the very popular support on which his insurgent movement relied. It disillusioned, confused and depressed the energies of those who had powered him to the leadership. And, finally, it exposed him as weak or vacillating to voters he needed to convince or galvanise.

            Now Bernie is a much, much more skilled political operator than Jeremy Corbyn, but on the other hand the Democratic Party is far more corrupt and corporatist, far more detached from and unaccountable to its base of support. The Labour Party, at least, is a mass membership party with continued trade union links. The Dems are a mafia cartel/protection racket based around no more than perpetuating the privileges of those they call their own (elected officials, consultants, media cheerleaders etc). As I said in my first post, I acknowledge he is fighting a very particular fight for the nomination/presidency – and he is kept constantly busy fending off dishonest attacks from all sides – but if not him, then others, like AOC, need in my view to stop putting off confrontation over foreign issues for another day – the struggle needs to combine domestic and international otherwise it will end up sacrificing both.

            1. Bazarov

              I don’t think Bernie is a much more skilled political operator than Jeremy Corbyn–I think he’s about as bad, so bad that he’s about to get defeated by a Joe Biden, a pudding brained old man with a terrible record.

              But Bernie is going to do a great service (I hope) by losing and that’s to turn the nascent left away from electoralism and more toward the street, organizing the masses in the manner that the right wing has: by emphasizing propaganda to radicalize the normies (radio/podcasts/youtube), by siloing cadres into a parallel culture, and by growing tendencies toward revolutionary action by encouraging socialization with specific political content (in the right wing world these are gun/religious groups).

              Out of these social formations, electoral success organically follows. The left ought to build the secular equivalent of evangelical churches (a Socialist Meeting Hall in every town!) and gun groups (left wing boy scouts and also…left wing gun groups?). Get the people out of their homes to meet one another in a specific political context. When someone identifies as “Socialist,” it should be a shorthand for a kind of “social” existence that is notably separate from the “normal” (as it is right now for the Right Wing–a strong reason, in my view, for the successful rightward political seduction of such a large portion of the masses, who ought to be easy pickings for the left).

            2. JBird4049

              As for Bernie/AOC, their plan to ‘deal with domestic problems first’ is exactly what I take issue with.

              I think I understand some of the objections. I just believe that we have no other choice, but to deal with the United States internal and local problems first because things feel explosive. It does no good to have grandiose plans for peace and brotherhood when the basics needed for just surviving are increasingly scarce.

              Yes, if and when reformists candidates gain office, they will be doing the political equivalent of unicycling backwards on a high wire while juggling chainsaws.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > The overextension of empire is always going to provide its weakest points.

          Exhibit A at least in terms of visibility: The supply chain.

          It would surely be possible to frame, and possibly even to conceptualize, the combination of gutting manufacturing in this country and moving it to China as a bad case of Imperial overstretch….

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            Indonesia is a proxy producer for much of the World’s ceramic & polyester resin ( plastic ) table & giftware. Royal Doulton, Wedgwood & many more including the various ” Mints “, Danbury, Franklin etc. I knew an American guy who worked for the latter & I asked him about one of their Daily Mail on Sunday Ads which was selling a commemorative plate.

            14 million readers, 22K for the Ad & they needed a 0.1% take-up in order to break even & the only one kiln run for the plates was true, but the kiln was roughly a quarter of a mile long & 5 kiln tracks wide.

      2. False Solace

        > it’s easy to be leftist when your personal well-being is not at stake

        Huh? Maybe you’re referring to libs. Leftists are the ones bringing actual concrete material benefits, the things Americans are dying without. The PMC you refer to are neoliberal centrists. They’re further right in a lot of ways than Nixon. They don’t support workers or unions beyond ritual invocations. It’s easy to be liberal when the system serves you well. You don’t actually need any of the social programs you passively pretend to support and can painlessly vote for whatever corporate sellout bought the most air time and genuflected to the correct identity groups.

        1. inode_buddha

          OK, I was sloppy in my characterization. Point being, that it is easy to support a position when it costs you nothing.

          By the way, there is NO difference between “left” and “liberal” and “Democrat” for the vast majority of Americans. Like 90% of them. Explaining those differences dilutes the message. I know, I’ve tried it.

          1. Procopius

            Explaining those differences dilutes the message.

            Yes, but we have to find some way to establish proper terminology. As Confucius said, in The Rectification of Names, “If the correct words are not used, then what is said is not what is meant, and the people will stand about in helpless confusion.” William F. Buckley, Jr., laid claim to the name “liberal” for “conservative.” I saw someone a few days ago referring to Biden and Buttigieg and Klobuchar as “left of center.” This is intolerable.

            1. inode_buddha

              And then get promptly written off as an egg-headed kook by those with more important things to worry about, like staying alive or making another buck. The left does not do itself any favors with intellectualism or PC hang ups, nor with trying to go against established usage no matter how wrong it may be.

    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Political Awakenings take time. Years in my case. From Obama to Bernie to meeting my old friend in the ISO.

      The thing is Marxists need to be ready for citizens when they start questioning the system.

      On the whole I agree that the political parties are a dead end. But people need to dig deeper in their belief system to realize it’s all a trap.

  8. Bill Carson

    “As for Jim Crow, we might do well to remember that Obama destroyed a generation of Black wealth his miserably inadequate response to the foreclosure crisis, and his pathetic stimulus package kept Black unemployment high for years longer than it should have been.”

    And don’t forget what a disaster the Bill Clinton presidency was for the black community.

  9. XXYY

    “Why Elizabeth Warren lost” [Ryan Cooper, The Week].

    In a press conference discussing her campaign’s end, Warren said that she had not decided yet whether to endorse anyone. “I need some space around this,” she said.

    Astonishing and amazing that Warren, claiming to be a “progressive”, did not immediately endorse Sanders, especially when the alternative is the hapless “Senator from MBNA”, Joe Biden. Warren also repeatedly refused to endorse Bernie in 2016, a time when the early and enthusiastic support of a prominent woman with progressive credentials would have really helped and perhaps been decisive in the race against Hillary Clinton.

    Sanders is the best shot at a progressive US president we have seen in a century, yet Warren apparently needs time to cogitate on the matter for some reason. I hope whatever she ultimately gets for herself is worth it.

    1. False Solace

      Bernie held out on endorsing Hillary until she signed on to his free college plan. What concession will Warren demand? Something for the people or something for herself? Force Bernie to make his taxes more regressive? She’s a joke.

    2. Rory

      Let’s suppose that the one unchangeable goal of the Democratic Party establishment is that Bernie Sanders must not be the party’s 2020 nominee. Any other realistic candidate will do, but it must not be Bernie. Let’s also suppose that by the time of the party’s convention Vice President Bden’s weaknesses and unfitness have become so evident that the party simply can’t put him forward as its nominee.

      Suppose that Senator Warren sees that and thinks of herself as a realistic choice for the party to replace Biden. A veneer of leftishness, but no real threat to Wall Street. I suspect that her entertaining that hope may explain why since suspending her campaign Senator Warren has criticized the idea of Vice President Biden being the party’s nominee, but has had nothing favorable to say about Senator Sanders.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “I need some space around this”

      Hard to imagine a Walmart worker saying this, although their personal tragedies, on the whole and on the average, are far greater than Warren’s. Warren has dental, doesn’t — to the best of my knowledge — have friends and relatives dropping dead all around her, has a life expectancy that befits her class position, etc.

      Get back to work!

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Lol, showing my, er, long history with tech.

        There is something wrong with this Mac’s network parameters that makes it hard to reconnect after a failure; this is the problem I was having the other day. My backup machine and the iPad are having no such problems. And everybody knows how much fun it is to debug Mac network settings….

        On the bright side I learned I can reset what we used to call the PRAM from the command line: “nvram -c”. This matters to me because the standard procedure, ⌘ + option + P + R, doesn’t work for me: The “p” key on my original keyboard is dead, and the procedure does not work with the USB keyboard.

  10. WobblyTelomeres

    Re Intel security flaw

    Interviewed there in the 90s. Hiring manager picked me up at the hotel, took me out to dinner and told me, flat out, that he was NSA. I doubt it has changed much.

    (I said, to myself, “f*ck this”, flagged the waiter and ordered the most expensive cab on the menu, then another)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > told me, flat out, that he was NSA.

      Ha ha! I posted this only this morning:

      Uncovering The CIA’s Audacious Operation That Gave Them Access To State Secrets (interview) WaPo. “So we end up with ostensibly private company that is secretly owned by two intelligence services.” That company is probably just an outlier, even though this operation is presented as incredibly successful.

      I’ve helpfully underlined the irony. I should add Surveillance Valley to my reading list, I suppose…

  11. TB14

    In the Bernie killer instinct vein.. I really wish he had a different answer when they asked him if Biden can beat trump. I’m very blessed to have almost 10 sanders supporters in my family/friends circle. None of them think Biden can win and are confident he will lose. And most of these people plan to vote blue no matter who even if Biden wins the nom.

    Just say no Bernie. Come on, you need to stir up some media spasms.

  12. Martine

    Sanders has done next to nothing for women?

    Well, between him and nothing there’s just enough room for Planned Parenthood and NARAL. After decades of funding them and allowing them to be candidacy arbiters we have a near-total roll back of abortion rights, most women’s healthcare clinics closed, uptick in HIV and other STDs, and most young women don’t even know they can only get pregnant when they’re ovulating.

    Seriously? How family-blogging dare they? (Steam shooting out of both ears.)

    1. a different chris

      They family-blogging dare because, given their position of power, they can say what they want and it’s on you (with the tiniest microphone imaginable) to say otherwise.

      I’m not a Warren fan. I’m also not a woman. But I can’t understand, in a Democratic Party primary where I’d bet the women voters outnumbered the men that she could get so few votes.

      But results like that are what allows TPTB to say the crap they say.

    2. lambert strether

      Euthanize the NGOs. They’re feeding troughs for PMCs whose sensibilities are too delicate to see where their budgets really come from. I’m sure there are honorable exceptions, but in general they’re weak substitutes for a functional state. Remember the pearl-clutching when Bernie called PP part of the Democrat Establishment in 2016?

      1. Martine

        Agreed. As for honorable exceptions, I couldn’t say. I’ve not run across them myself, although one hears about them nonstop in the news of every stripe/bent.

        Take the Poor People’s Campaign. I emailed repeatedly throughout 2019 to try to organize where I live and got no reply. (Plus there’s no contact info on their website. You have to poke around until you find an offer of local group contact email under Take Action/State PPC Events.)

        And, yeah, I remember. Since when is a national organization whose head makes six figures (PP) not a part of the establishment, ffs? Give me strength.

    3. Bill Carson

      As late as last summer, Biden said he does not support federal funding of abortion. How in the world can these women’s groups support him after he says that?

  13. Monty

    Today’s Fear & Greed Index
    Soon we may find out if this index can register negative numbers!

  14. nippersmom

    Worth noting that Athens/Clarke County is less conservative than Georgia as a whole.

    1. KLG

      And the hometown of the current GOP governor, who was quite the vote suppressor as the previous Secretary of State.

  15. L

    Democrats who no longer see him as a failed or risky bet will finally endorse and campaign for him.

    One of the themes that also seems to ring through these endorsements is Sanders’ unwillingness to kiss the local rings. Lori Lightfoot, for example, just endorsed Biden. She had previously complained that when Sanders came to town for a union event he did not consult with her. see here. Of course she also criticized Biden for that too: see here.

    I have heard the same theme from one of my local house members as well “he never called me.”

    The Democrat party is a party of fiefdoms and each small king wants their cut. Or wants control over their own optics.

  16. puttch

    I emailed David Sirota. The subject line was “An imagined response from Bernie”

    ” Ya know, there are really ugly rumors out there about everyone, about me, about you, Joe… politics is a nasty business and that’s unfortunate. The MSM says I’m a communist, hell, the Dem establishment says I’m a communist and has allowed it’s former nominee to call our colleague, Tulsi Gabbard, a veteran who served our country with the type of courage that few politicians possess, she called Tulsi a Russian Agent, a Putin Puppet being groomed by the Kremlin. I don’t know, Joe, what do you think? Do you think I am a communist? Do you believe Tulsi Gabbard is a Kremlin stooge? And what of the rumors about you? Dementia? Fox News is calling you demented and they get 3.5 million viewers a night, Joe. And then there are the even nastier rumors, which I don’t believe for a moment, about you being too hands on with young girls? How will you respond to those rumors. Joe? 3.5 million viewers a night…

    And what does any of it have to do with the issues that you and I disagree on?”

    I followed up with another “And if Biden responds “no, I think you’re a socialist” Bernie should say:

    “Well what do you mean by that, Joe? Does a socialist want to give healthcare, not health insurance, to every citizen in the country like the rest of the world does? Does the rest of the world consist of evil Socialists? I guess we better break out the bombs now and destroy both the people and their healthcare in those evil nations. Whaddya say Joe? Bombs before hospitals?”

    1. urblintz

      so sorry for the double post of this below… I was in moderation and thought I’d probably misspelled my e mail which usually kicks me out.

    2. Yves Smith

      I hate to tell you, but it’s a very well proven in cognitive research that you NEVER want to repeat what you are trying to debunk. You are reinforcing the negative message. Bernie should never in a million years repeat the charge that he is a communist. I’ve written about this often.

      For instance, articles attempting to dispute that Osama Bin Laden was a close ally of Saddam Hussein backfired (this was proven with some pretty nerdy testing). Merely putting their names in close proximity reinforced the idea that they were connected

  17. Left in Wisconsin

    I have a question for the Bernie people here: Do you know other Bernie people in your neighborhood?

    It seems like if Bernie is actually going to get over the hump, being an out supporter of his has to become a normal thing. But I don’t know of any other Bernie supporters in my immediate neighborhood and most of the other Bernie supporters I know would say something similar. And I don’t think that is because there are no other Bernie supporters in our neighborhoods but because we don’t have a good mechanism for identifying each other. My wife hates yard signs so I don’t do them but I think those are only good for identifying a fraction of his supporters. Anyway, interested in what others think and experience.

    1. curlydan

      I sent Bernie $27 for a bumper sticker a few months ago after an email offer (supposedly a “New Deal” style version bumper sticker). It would be the first bumper sticker on my car since Kerry/Edwards in 2004 (lord help me). Never got it. I think I also sent away for a Medicare for All bumper sticker post-2016 from a different group. Never got it. If I ever retire, I’m starting a bumper sticker delivery service. I know I can do it better.

      Bernie is coming to my town on Monday. I’ll see what I can get at the rally.

      But I totally agree with you. Making it “mainstream” to like Bernie is important. I’m sure I’d freak out a few people on my block with a Bernie sign, but I bet I’d liberate some other people, too, to do the same.

      1. Bill Carson

        Bernie’s merch is notoriously slow. Not sure why. It took probably 3 weeks for me to get my Bernie shirt, and I ordered and received two other unofficial Bernie shirts from other sources before I got the Bernie shirt. It came four days before the primary. That’s unacceptable, especially for the premium I am paying.

    2. Democrita

      If you volunteer for the campaign you will meet some. If you volunteer a lot, and become an organizer, they have an app to help put you in touch with others in your area.
      Wearing Bernie schwag can also bring out allies.

      Toward that last, i wish they made a smallish, elegant pin of maybe his line-drawing outline, or perhaps the bird. I would prefer that to a giant metal/plastic campaign button.

    3. turtle

      The best thing I can think of is go to a local Bernie volunteer/organizing event. Visit https://map.berniesanders.com/ and search for your zip code. You can also organize your own event if you’re willing. It doesn’t take much to do so.

    4. David

      My neighbors are all afflicted with TDS. They will vote for Biden. They find Bernie too in your face obnoxious. They hate AOC even more. All of them are in the PMC and some are from the MIC

  18. Carolinian

    Not long ago, these Americans lived under violent, anti-democratic governments.

    Let’s see–the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965 or 55 years ago. So that would not be “long ago” but it also would not be “not long ago.” Meanwhile not long ago at all Mayor Bloomberg was stopping and frisking black people all over NY City. True they did not have to ride in the back of city buses but did Jim Crow simply move north? Does the NYT know? Meanwhile most of the funny business with black polling places in recent years has taken place in northern states like Ohio. For many years Southern voting procedures were under court supervision.

    One could even go so far as to suggest that the real complaint about the recent primaries is that the Dems have skewed them “too black” since there are far more black voters in the South and far more blacks proportionally in those primaries. But even this wouldn’t explain why Sanders lost Massachusetts. The truth is that he just hasn’t yet sold himself to a broad enough constituency. He will need them all if he is ever to face Trump.

  19. katiebird

    Can the campaign start asking for votes with the focus and desire they ask for money?

    I can barely resist their pleas for money.

    They need that same intensity in their campaign ads. Do they have it?

    I’ve seen one powerful Social Security ad. But they need like 10 more.

    1. Bill Carson

      I don’t mind getting texts from Bernie asking for donations, but there needs to be a way to ask them to cut back on the frequency.

    1. Bill Carson

      It can happen to any campaign, but hers especially was an echo chamber. Everyone they knew was voting for Warren, so they assumed it meant everyone was voting for Warren. It goes to show how insulated the elite are in this country. Warren’s entire career has been about fighting to help middle class and upper middle class people. That’s what she did when she taught about bankruptcy, that’s what she did at the Consumer Protection Bureau, and that’s what her book was about. It’s all about educated suburbanite women who’ve never been across the tracks during the day, much less after dark. They are not minivan-driving soccer moms: they are volvo-driving horse-jumping moms. Sitting around in their kaffeeklatsches, book clubs, or gardening clubs, discussing how what summer camp to send the kids to, or how little Tiffany is doing at Bryn Mwar.

  20. urblintz

    And here’s the email I sent Warren:

    “You cried yesterday because you can’t be POTUS then went on CNN and trashed Bernie AGAIN (when has he ever trashed you?) by way of his supporters. BOO-HOO. You should have focused your attention on the factory floor (working women) not the glass ceiling.

    Politics is a nasty game which you have proven to be expert at. You have earned every criticism in whatever form it comes, frankly. But because you can’t be POTUS this time, you will take your ball and go home, so there!… with the emotional maturity of a 5 year old.

    1. DJG


      A worker wonders:
      –How is it that Warren pulling out of the race is a victory for patriarchy and sexism, but Amy Klobuchar pulling out of the race is not causing grief and angst? We Midwesterners just don’t get enough respect–and melodrama.
      –Do we truly have to hear that Warren scared people because she is too competent? (Shades of Most Qualified Hillary.) Lying about being a Native American has a whiff of incompetence, but I’m just persnickety.
      –And should we collectively be pointing out that Political Sainthood, once reserved for John McCain, now has been bestowed on Elizabeth Warren, who is starting to be inebriated with her own scent of sanctity? In short: McCain, Warren, all maverick-y all the time.

      –On a positive note, is it possible that focusing on what white upper-middle-class people want, which is the status quo, kale salads, and more brunches, is somehow not a viable path to the presidency? As mentioned above, Warren started to slide when she announced Plans that involved means-testing health care and means-testing day care. At least she refrained from issuing leaf-blowers to all of us.

    2. Matthew

      She and her dead-end supporters are giving a good run at being the most pathetic story in a primary that includes Zombie Joe Biden. Just mind-bogglingly entitled upper and upper middle class trash. I regret ever thinking of voting for her, I regret ever hearing her name, and I look forward to the day she endorses someone so I never have to think about her again.

      1. Matthew

        The person who read her Twitter mentions for her was on Twitter begging for Venmo donations for, I guess, her emotional trauma. Christ I hate these people.

      1. urblintz

        I’ll try again. I wrote an imagined response from Bernie and sent it to David Sirota:

        Ya know, there are really ugly rumors out there about everyone, about me, about you, Joe… politics is a nasty business and that’s unfortunate. The MSM says I’m a communist, hell, the Dem establishment says I’m a communist and has allowed it’s former nominee to call our colleague, Tulsi Gabbard, a veteran who served our country with the type of courage that few politicians possess, she called Tulsi a Russian Agent, a Putin Puppet being groomed by the Kremlin. I don’t know, Joe, what do you think? Do you think I am a communist? Do you believe Tulsi Gabbard is a Kremlin stooge? And what of the rumors about you? Dementia? Fox News is calling you demented and they get 3.5 million viewers a night, Joe. And then there are the even nastier rumors, which I don’t believe for a moment, about you being too hands-on with young girls? Jim Clyburn even mentioned it yesterday on CNN. How will you respond to those rumors. Joe?

        And what does any of it have to do with the issues that you and I disagree on?

        …and if Biden responds no not a commie, I think you’re a socialist…

        Well what do you mean by that, Joe? Does a socialist want to give healthcare, not health insurance, to every citizen in the country like the rest of the world does? Is almost every nation on this earth that provides healthcare to its citizens evil and Socialist? I guess we better break out the bombs now and destroy both the people and their healthcare in those evil nations? Whaddya say Joe? Bombs before hospitals?

    1. urblintz

      sorry lambert. I know now why my comment was rejected… my bad… and thanks as always, you and yves and the whole team are the best!

      I’m just on a last nerve of some sort these days…

      1. inode_buddha

        Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with nerves. I *know* mine are usually electrified and so I am very careful about how much time I spend dealing with controversy and contention. Hence limiting my exposure to NC and several other things. Getting rid of the TV was one of the best things I ever did.

      2. pretzelattack

        many of us are. this is the best chance of my lifetime to see a candidate i actually support get elected. i dont agree with some of his stances on foreign policy, and russiarussiarussia makes me want to pull my hair out, but domestically he could be better than lbj was.

  21. Lee Too

    A while back I had to ask whether there was anything to the “Russian interference” in 2016 — i.e. any evidence of effectiveness, assuming actual or attempted interference in the first place. Now I have the same question about the “Bernie Bros” and their “disgusting” behavior (per Bernie himself) online. I know about the emojis. Is that all there is? Let’s take as a baseline typical Sanders critiques that actually appear in print or online. I have seen some pretty harsh comments from establishment figures. (Clinton saying of Sanders that “it’s all baloney” and “he got nothing done”, etc.) Are the Versailles elites typically exposed to anything worse than this?

    I am assuming a certain residue of genuine derangement, which I also assume is fairly constant across the political spectrum.

  22. polecat

    Perhaps the HER-> ‘electorate’ is not so large and all powerful as are made out to be believed. After all, didn’t Warren bend the knee to mrs. Mao Pansuit, did she not .. who
    remains unloved, I would wager, throughout most of the Realm.. ?

  23. inode_buddha

    OT but has anyone seen Amfortas lately? Kinda concerned for his well-being. It’s been a while.

    1. Titus

      Me too, he sees things very clearly but it doesn’t bring him any joy I can see. Wish there was a way to cheer him up even for a day. He is the dude here @NC.

      1. inode_buddha

        Amen. I don’t come here for joy though, and certainly don’t see it. I go elsewhere for that.

        I do know his wife was having troubles and I wish them all the best… let alone living deep in redneck country.

    2. Grachguy

      Amfortas just posted a comment the other day (would dig it up for you, but you can use a search engine as well as me I imagine)! Seems he’s still around, just not as engaged as usual.

      1. inode_buddha

        The first 5 pages of google results show nothing newer than 3 weeks ago. I was simply wondering if I had missed any posts, and how he was doing.

        1. Daryl

          He posted on Tuesday and said he had been drinking a bit..so maybe recovering from the mother of all hangovers.

          1. inode_buddha

            Heh. Hope he’s OK, thanks for the heads-up! (baked potatos are the best hangover cure…)

    1. Deschain

      AOC and the rest of the gang need to make sure they survive in case Biden does become president. Otherwise they’ll likely be targeted and primaried in a purge of leftists. It may happen anyway, but she needs to survive to fight beyond a Biden presidency.

      1. Phacops

        What I was thinking. But campaigning hard for Hillary did not shield Bernie from the scorn of the frenzied neoliberals who lost the presidency to the most horrid candidate that I can remember.

    2. Arizona Slim

      I won’t either. If Biden gets the nomination, then the D(umb) party just facilitated four more years of Trump.

    3. Glen

      AOC cannot say it but I can. I have no reason to support the Dems if Bernie is not in the general election. In fact, I will work to burn the party to the ground since it will just be in the way of enacting the required policies to fix America.

      And for reference, I am a boomer, and a fifty year Dem voter, but enough is enough.

      1. inode_buddha

        Ditto. I became a “temporary Dem” just for Sander’s sake, but you have no idea how these people grind my gears…. every bit as bad as the GOP, and then some.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Another temporary Dem here.

          Our state’s primary is March 17. I’ve already voted early for Bernie. After the primary, I’m going to reset to my default state, independent.

          1. inode_buddha

            You too? Same here. The NY primary is Apr 38, I can’t wait for it to be over. Ugh… i feel like I need a shower after doing this.

            Well congratulations for you at least, you won’t have to wait so long. Fingers crossed!

        2. carl

          It’s the hypocrisy, for me at least. The pretending to support ordinary people while shafting them is far far worse than the Rs, who are right up in your face that they believe in big business, tax cuts for the rich, environmental destruction etc.

          1. inode_buddha

            Yeah, but hypocrisy is everywhere, not just Libs/Dems. I was in the GOP for 20 years, I can tell you exactly where their hypocrisies and double standards are. That is the reason why I left them.

            Leftists can be incredibly annoying in their own ways. The only reason I’m on NC and supporting Sanders at great personal sacrifice, is because the working class is getting absolutely screwed, and M4A.

  24. inode_buddha

    FWIW I just checked my “spam” file and…

    there is End Citizens United begging me to vote for Biden. How the hell does that figure?????

    And how do I get off their infernal list??

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Breaking into my COVID-19 stash of Irish and driving my youngest to his ps4 redoubt as I pull out all my LPs. Love Samba, at the moment, my old JBLs will bear up (I hope). The last of Coltrane’s crew.

      2. voteforno6

        Indeed. They made some sweet music together. My favorite is pretty much the whole Coltrane Plays the Blues album.

    1. Wukchumni

      Saw him @ the Playboy Jazz festival @ the Hollywood Bowl about 15 years ago, what a talent. RIP

    1. Bill Carson

      As interesting as it might be to have Tulsi there, the time has come for a two-man debate, mano a mano, between Mr. Neoliberal and Mr. Democratic Socialist. Our time has come.

  25. Este Profani

    Uneasiness is an appropriate response when considering Sander’s political future. Just because he’s right doesn’t mean Sanders shouldn’t be viewed from a clinical perspective. Defects in the Sanders campaign anatomy: young people did not show up to vote in comparable numbers. Flaked. Intuitive to a young mind, uncontested by earned wisdom, a young voter will not believe the system can un-rig itself just this one time to add utility to the individual’s vote. It just doesn’t seem to matter. Reaching out to new voters is costly if the new voters don’t make it to the polls. Next, as an out-group campaign, Sanders cannot strategically negotiate with the suspended campaigns like a campaign under the Party umbrella: covering expenses, taking talent aboard, etc. Biden is mediocre, but all things being equal, Biden’s institutional inertia alone will carry him.

    Hey, the Sander’s revolution is seductive. Revolution is the domain of poets. Revolution is also the domain of symphorophiliacs indulging in paraphilia by staging and watching of tragedies: car wrecks, fires, juntas [American Journal of Psychotherapy]. Railing against the establishment unearths deep evolutionary tendencies, subconscious modes where rigid in-group conformity becomes a blunt instrument. Contrary, power, like capital, is most effective in fluid form.

      1. jsn

        No one knows who turned out or in what numbers.

        The parties are specialized in vote manipulation and Supertuesday was a bunch of electronic voting states.

        This kind of fatalism is the main purpose of vote suppression. Keep swinging, it will take a generation.

    1. Massinissa

      What is this, even? Some kind of concern trolling? I can’t make heads or tails of it honestly

      1. flora

        Yes. And about those 50 or 100 polling stations in low income areas suddenly closed at the last minute, leading to hours’ long lines for people waiting to vote at the still open polling stations.

      2. Rhondda

        Lotta similar, facile explanations with a just-so-story quality that the wise observer ought to note with a jaundiced eye, imho.

  26. David Carl Grimes

    How is it that Biden won so many states based on endorsements alone? No field offices, no real money, he barely visited some states, if at all and yet he won. Hillary had tons of endorsements everywhere, a field office in every state and major city, lots of cash, and she didn’t win as many. This does not compute. The only difference is Biden is personally more appealing and approachable than Hillary. But still. Something fishy here. I’m wondering how many of those states had audit trails like hand-marked paper ballots and how many did not?

    1. Another Scott

      The same way Trump did – free media coverage. The only difference is Biden’s is positive.

    2. flora

      The wide discrepancy between exit poll numbers and vote total percentages in some states seems a little fishy, too. Electronic voting machines: progress! (removing my foil bonnet now)

      1. Tvc15

        I’ll put the foil bonnet on Flora. DCG, the fishy smell is election fraud courtesy of the DNC. Unless we have paper ballots hand counted in public, I don’t buy the miraculous Biden resurgence narrative from his supposed silent majority. Give me a family blogging break.

        1. Cuibono

          I absolutely fail to understand why anyone would consider this idea tin foil. Who do we think we’re dealing with here? These folks are playing to win and they will do anything and everything in their power to do so. The system is set up perfectly to support psychopaths

        2. lyman alpha blob

          Me neither. That fact that the Democrat party has never even tried to address the problems with election integrity, even when they’ve had the presidency stolen from them, speaks volumes.

          They allow a phony riot to stop the count in FL, then hardly make a peep when the Supremes anoint Bush in 2000 in a decision not meant to set precedent, and their response is the Help America Vote Act which foisted these easily hackable machines on us as a solution? The only reason you do that is if you want to be able to rig elections yourself.

          After the debacle of the Iowa caucus this year and the unheard of swing to Biden this week, it sure looks like the fix is in.

      2. Carolinian

        Please educate me–no seriously!–as to how hand marked paper ballots are so very different from machine marked paper ballots. If you assume that machine marked ballots–marked with the candidate’s name (written in human readable English) and securely stored for a potential hand recount–are crooked then aren’t you assuming that the entire election machinery is crooked and not just a vote tabulating machine? After all long before computers were invented there was that thing called ballot box stuffing.

        1. flora

          Machine marked ballots have a middleman. Said machines ‘phone home’ to a central server, which may well be running a program that fractionally ‘shifts’ votes as needed to edge out a win for the estab preferred candidate (of either party). The ‘red shift’ in vote results after electronic voting has been noted by statisticians.

          One interesting coincidence here is that I was going to link to some statisticians’ work I know of, work that was easily available online as late as early January this year. When I search for the links now they are either gone or the links are warned off as ‘suspect’.

          1. pretzelattack

            i cant help but think they are already preparing for a class war while we are stil responding to election cheating.

        2. flora

          Info easily found online. Here’s one very recent story’s take away:

          “Some of the most popular ballot-marking machines, made by industry leaders Election Systems & Software and Dominion Voting Systems, register votes in bar codes that the human eye cannot decipher. That’s a problem, researchers say: Voters could end up with printouts that accurately spell out the names of the candidates they picked, but, because of a hack, the bar codes do not reflect those choices. Because the bar codes are what’s tabulated, voters would never know that their ballots benefited another candidate.

          “Even on machines that do not use bar codes, voters may not notice if a hack or programming error mangled their choices. A University of Michigan study determined that only 7 percent of participants in a mock election notified poll workers when the names on their printed receipts did not match the candidates they voted for.”


          Read the whole story.

          1. Carolinian

            In the just past election are there any reports of ballots being printed out that had a different name than the one the voter selected to be printed? And if that did happen would it be anything other than accidentally pressing the wrong button? Surely if this “voters didn’t look at the ballot” (which personally I greatly doubt) idea was really the cheating scheme then it would be highly likely to be exposed.

            1. flora

              Re-read the part about the ‘computer reads and tabulates the barcode information, not the english text printout’. A hack or middleman could fiddle the barcode printout/information (unrecognized by the human eye) , not the text printout.

              1. flora

                Also consider that the fiddle works best if it’s only a few percentage points different than expected, one way or the other. People then say of unexpected results, ‘oh, it was really close, but that’s how it goes, elections can be unpredictable’, and accept the election results as ‘the will of the people.’ It’s called “electronic fractional vote shifting”. Really. It’s called that. Fractional vote shifting.

              2. Carolinian

                Right–without a doubt. But the reason it prints that piece of paper is for a later human audit by eye should a recount be demanded. In that case the barcode would become irrelevant. There is a paper trail.

                That said, I would agree there could be secret ballot concerns about the way I voted. You feed the ballot into the counter right side up and unfolded with an election “helper” standing nearby.

                1. flora

                  One reason both parties prefer ‘close elections’. A few points either way won’t raise eyebrows. Won’t raise a demand for a recount. (And, like compound interest, a ‘few points’ one way or the other in various elections, over time, can add up to large effects in political direction. imo.)

                2. lyman alpha blob

                  The problem is getting to the recount. My state does not allow recounts unless the machine tally is extremely close. So if you want to rig an election, just make sure your candidate wins by enough and there will never be a recount of those machine counted paper ballots.

                  I asked city officials for a few years to do recounts just to audit the machines, and was told it was not allowed under state law unless there was a close enough race – I believe the threshhold is in the low single digits. My wife later ran for office and lost by about 1% and I was finally able to get a recount. We counted all the ballots by hand and while the final outcome didn’t change, what we found was that the hand recount tallied about 1-2% more votes than the machines had.

                  flora is right about the close elections. I find it very odd that in my younger days we had landslides fairly often and now every presidential election goes right down to the wire.

        3. Tom Bradford

          OK. This is my experience as a counter in a UK General Election, where hand-marked ballot-papers are counted in public.

          Each voting station has a sealed tin box. Arriving to vote your name is checked against the electoral role and you are handed a ballot paper. You go into a curtained booth with a stand-up desk and a pencil in a string and put a X in a box opposite the candidate you vote for. Outside the booth you fold your ballot paper and post it into the box through a narrow slot. When the election closes the box is delivered to – in our case – the town-hall – where the counters sit at tables three to a side with a team-leader at the head. One of the boxes is brought to each table, unsealed and the contents dumped into the middle of it. Each counter then snags a pile of marked votes and sorts them into piles as voted. Any uncertainties – where the vote isn’t obvious – is passed up to the team leader for assessment. When all the votes are tallied – including the uncertainties – the total is compared with the note from the polling station stating the number of votes cast there, and if they don’t agree the count for that box is done again.

          All this is done under the eyes of representatives of the candidates who are free to move around the tables at will, and who in particular can watch over the team-leaders dealing with the uncertain ballot papers, but who are free to challenge any counter’s tally.

          Ballot boxes could be ‘switched’ between the voting station and the count, but that would only work if you knew how many papers were in the box per the count or could also substitute the tally signed off by the polling-station superintendent. Ballot-box stuffing wouldn’t work as again the votes cast and counted for that box/station would not align.

          Could it be gamed? I suppose, but it would take a massive effort and conspiracy – mostly at the polling-station/transit stage, tho’ again the candidates can have observers there. The whole system is run by the local authority and most of those involved in the polling-station/count are local authority workers with their own political preferences so finding enough to suborn to fix the count would be a difficult, and politically dangerous operation. Even if one polling-station’s box was corrupted in some way it would have little effect on the overall result, and if it stood out as atypical could invite investigation.

          So no, it’s not perfect, but I can’t think of a better way of doing it.

          1. Tom Bradford

            Ps. Each voting paper is numbered and taken from a book leaving a stub with the same number. So to ‘stuff’ or otherwise tamper with the voting papers in the box you’d also need to swap the actual voting paper book with a substitute bearing the same number system and I think, tho’ don’t quote me on this, books of ballot papers for the various polling stations are only issued on election day and at random.

            1. flora

              Could it be gamed? I suppose, but it would take a massive effort

              The ‘massive effort’ part is where computer voting can eliminate so much effort (when properly coded or uplinked), if you take my meaning.

          2. Carolinian

            Well problems can occur with any system. For example in recent primary there were reports of precincts running out of ballots. Doubtless one justification for the electronic marking machines is that they function no matter how large the turnout. Myself, I believe the electronic marking system does address the biggest complaint against computer voting which is that everything takes place inside that black box (with proprietary software no less).

            This site out of Princeton has been the long time go to on electronic voting.


            1. flora

              For example in recent primary there were reports of precincts running out of ballots.

              Disaster capitalism in full bloom.

              Doubtless one justification for the electronic marking machines is that they function no matter how large the turnout.

              They function, but in what fashion, and to what or to who’s benefit? To the voters’ preferences or to the party establishments’ preferences?

              I know this is a question almost too overwhelming to ask. The current state of things makes voting hard enough. To question the very reliability of having made one’s vote seems too much to bear. But there it is. I’m sorry.

              Paper ballots, hand counted, in public.

              1. lyman alpha blob

                Right on flora. As I’ve mentioned a lot this week, my polling place did run out of ballots and wound up feeding photocopied ballots into the optical scanners. Some were accepted, others spit out. I’ve been assured that all the votes were counted, however whether they were counted correctly is another story and we’ll never know because there was no recount.

                Biden ‘won’ my state by about 3,000 votes. There were likely many thousands of photocopied ballots fed into those optical scanners. Not a peep about it from the local media that I’ve seem and it should be front page news. Running out of ballots is a travesty and nobody seems to care. Taking several extra hours to make sure the count is done right just isn’t worth the effort it seems.

            2. Procopius

              deleted by poster because it repeats information from the immediately previous poster.

        4. Watt4Bob

          IIRC, in a nut-shell, some of the systems used have a bar code printed on the ballot at the time they are scanned into the system.

          That bar code ‘marks‘, the ballot, and supposedly communicates the voter’s intentions to the tabulating software that counts the votes.

          The rest of the ballot looks proper to the voter, but the voter has no way of telling what the bar code means.

          And from any IT professional’s point of view, who cares what the ballot looks like, if the mark on your ballot, (the one that is counted) was not made by your hand (say, a bar code printed by a scanner), and/or, if there is a computer used to count the votes, that system is intended to allow falsification of election results.

          Due to the lack of legal action on the part of either of our political parties, to refute the results of elections stolen by wholesale electronic election fraud, I can only conclude that election fraud is a wholly acceptable tool in their bi-partisan toolbox?

          And yes, you’re right, they’ve always stuffed the ballot box, think of electronic vote tabulation as the newest twist on an old trick.

          The invention of electronic voting was intended to insure that voters can never vote their way to freedom.

          1. Carolinian

            I think you are missing my point. That piece of paper–if kept–makes the system auditable by eye. And if there was then a huge discrepancy between the ‘eye’ result and the machine scanned result then scandal ensues.

            Of course if the system is rigged by the political parties or the voting officials then no system will be honest. That was true in the past as well.

            I’m not making an argument over whether hand marked ballots are superior or not. What I am saying is that if people are claiming fraud in the recent primary then please prove it. A CNN exit poll is not proof.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              The point a lot of people are making is that with machines in the mix, there is often no way to prove it, and that should be unacceptable.

              And as I mentioned above, even if there is a paper trail, if there’s also a state law that doesn’t allow recounts except in extremely close elections, those paper ballots will never be recounted.

            2. Procopius

              I think you are making the word “auditable” do too much work. If you look at a ballot with a QR code or a bar code, and that’s what the counting machine read, then you are not auditing the count, unless you are very skillful at reading bar codes (at one time I could read bar codes, but they only encoded something like eight digits) you don’t know if they actually represent what the voter marked. Theoretically, I guess, in the case of a strongly contested recount, they might hand count all the ballots in a couple of precincts and see if that tally is close to what the machine reported. I think that’s the only way you could “audit” such a system. One reason I’m so suspicious of this kind of thing is that I’ve worked with OCR programs, and I can tell you they are terrible at correctly identifying letters and words. That’s why Project Gutenberg has a huge volunteer proofreading project.

              1. Carolinian

                So your argument is that we must have hand counted ballots because the machine marked version won’t work because the recounters would have to hand count the ballots. Just to repeat, yet again, when I voted a ballot shaped piece of plain paper was printed with my candidate choice clearly printed along with a bar code, not qr. This then becomes the vote itself and it can be read by a scanner or by a human. If done by a human then it is utterly no different than if I had checked a box on a pre printed ballot.

                And for all the objections cited by those above there are valid reasons for states to want such a system. Obviously an all manual system is very labor intensive and also subject to human error unless double checked by still more labor. You’d also have to print lots of ballots before every election while not knowing exactly how many will be needed.

                If there are suspicions of vote machine companies–and there should be–a more logical approach might be to insist that all software is open source and that no machines are connected directly to the internet or have usb ports. Signs in the precincts should advise voters to check their paper ballot to make sure the correct choice is printed.

  27. flora

    re: As for Jim Crow, we might do well to remember that Obama destroyed a generation of Black wealth his miserably inadequate response to the foreclosure crisis, and his pathetic stimulus package kept Black unemployment high for years longer than it should have been. And sowed the dragon’s teeth of authoritarian reaction as well.

    But, but,… it’s a clever tactic, used also by a former mayor of nyc. That is, make the poor even poorer (or make the local helping organizations even poorer with city budget cuts), then hold yourself out (or your charity’s donations to now poorer helping organizations) as the only thing standing between the now poorer, more desperate people and organizations continuing to exist or their complete destruction. It worked to buy ‘support’ from former left-center helping organizations in da city. It looks like a tactic that scales. /not a snark.

  28. antidlc

    I post this ONLY because Trump is making this an issue.

    I am not qualified to make an assessment and am not asking anyone else to make an assessment.


    Donald Trump attacks Biden’s cognitive health in possible general-election preview

    Donald Trump attacked Joe Biden’s cognitive abilities on Thursday night during an event in the former-vice president’s hometown that could set the tone for an ugly general election.

    1. inode_buddha

      Well, that’s a dirty stunt, but not surprising given that it’s Trump. The good part about it is, if Trump keeps this up then it will be to Sander’s benefit by the time the General comes around.

    2. Wyoming

      Well the issue is: Does he have a point?? I personally think Biden gives Trump a run for his money on not having much control over his mouth and resulting in one wondering about his mental competence. I can’t imagine voting for either of them either.

      A Biden quote below from Caitlin Johnstone from Links. It is a bit terrifying isn’t it?

      And so I was saying that, and what they turned around and said, Joe Biden said, in effect, they said, that Joe Biden said that what he was told, that what, that what the white supremacists argue, that we have no problem, that our, our, our basic English jurisprudential system is not the problem. The problem is those countries like Africa and Asia and those places, they’re the reason why we have all these problems. So they turn it around to make it sound like that, and by the way, the title of the article is, was, is the Washington Post ‘The Deceptively (indecipherable) of Joe Biden Singles, Signals What Is Coming’ and that is that’s a whole bunch of lies. The generic point I’m making here is that, what has happened is that, I know we’re going to get in to, whomever the nominee is of the Democratic Party, is going to have a plethora of lies told about him or her, and misrepresentations and this went on the internet, this edited article, it got retweeted by some press people and then they realized it was edited to make it look like something not… white supremacists, see, Biden’s acknowledging that the problem here is that that all those folks, all those minority folks are the problem. And so, in essence. And so they corrected, they corrected. You’re going to see a lot more of it. You’re going to see a lot more of not only my statements being taken out of context, and lied about, or altered, you’re going to see whomever the Democratic nominee is because that’s how this guy operates. Now. Whether or not I can win?

      1. Tom Bradford

        OK, and I’m not defending Biden, but reading the text of a Shakespeare play it can seem like gobbledegook while hearing it from the lips of a good Shakespearean actor it can make perfect sense. It’s all in the delivery, ducks!

  29. curlydan

    In the words of Ritchie Valens, “Oh Donna”!

    Typical framing from the DNC: We have to meet in the middle. Wall St has been pulling Main Streeters to their turf for the last 40 years….ruthlessly!

    1. flora

      Yep. After the bank bailout, I know one way it worked out for Main Street. At the height of the foreclosures scandal, the tbtf banks were selling on the foreclosed homes at pennies on the dollar, in bulk lots, to developers and hedge funds, while families were left on the street to scamble for a place to rent. Main Street was shoveled into the maw of Wall St. They came together the way a predator and prey come together. Main Street was used to ‘foam the runway’ for the banks.
      So, Donna, thanks for your concern. Your concern is noted.

  30. Wukchumni

    So far we’re hearing of bankers not showing up to accept prizes, trips dashed, meetings/conventions canceled, and the odd quarantine here & there on account of Coronavirus, but what happens in the service sector with those yearning to make $15 an hour, but usually half of that, in these United States?

    We’re so early in the game, it’s only 1 out in the top of the first, a long way to go in the contest.

    If i’m a checker @ Wal*Mart always within 6 feet of my customers and its weirding me out, do I up and quit out of fear, or really in any capacity where you’re in contact with strangers in a retail job?

    It would only serve to push along companies going under, as its not as if there’d be too many willing to fill in the gaps of those departed.

    1. hunkerdown

      The DNC: Hey, Bernie Bros! Look over here and get Tulsi on the stage to drag Joe! ;) ;) ;)

      Donna Brazile’s comment is the clearest evidence yet of the Democrat Party’s intent to dump this election to Trump.

  31. Scotland

    Democracies are steered by representation and having a place at that table. Whether you like it or not equilibrium is measured from a central balancing point. Avoiding making a choice to redirect the equilibrium is a choice in and of itself and is not without consequence. Someone just got more elbow room at the diner that’s all, here’s your take out order ;) service with a smile as always. If you want to abandon the movement I’d be the first to tell you interstellar travel is not any more of an option than dramatically altering your DNA sequence. Even though you choose to see an alien environment we won’t hold it against you. In the same way leaving the movement is impossible except as a mental projection. I maintain the movement exists before factions, before ideology, before every thing that drags us down to meet our darkest angels. At a time when focus, imagination and possibility are in a cycle of expansion leaving at least a historical record of the limits we reach out toward is as significant as taking a stand at the point we then find ourselves. Overcoming disenfranchisement the cultivation fo a meaningful responsive democracy is our common cause. Without that we might as well just realize were just stuff for the food chain and take our chances.

  32. KLG

    Taibbi today: “To Rebound and Win, Bernie Sanders Needs to Leave His Comfort Zone”

    Now or never, Bernie: You either politically punch Pokey Joe in the mouth with your best shot (M4A, especially with Mr. Coronavirus on a rampage) and then kick him in the teeth while he’s down (SS, ditto with Mr. Market’s collapse) or slink back to Vermont and retire to your favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry’s. Your choice. Continue to turn the other cheek and you lose. Your Revolution loses.

    1. antidlc

      imo, he also needs to go after Biden’s support of NAFTA and trade agreements.

      Trump is. He went after Biden at the PA Townhall. (sorry, I can’t find the video right now)

        1. ewmayer

          Yah, great, making all the right points “offline” only to undermine himself with “Joe Biden is a friend of mine” when he is in the public spotlight. Same thing with 2016’s “Enough about the damn e-mails, already” – no, Bernie, not nearly enough. You don’t give your opponent a free pass on something absolutely huge, telling and anathematic to everything you purport to stand for.

          1. Carolinian

            From Taibbi

            But Rolling Stone spoke to multiple current and former Sanders aides who worry the Senator’s personality — he’s phobic about personal confrontation and retains traces of an inferiority complex from his days as an Independent straggler — might lead him to miss a chance at history. They say the campaign, which declined to comment for this story, has, among other things, declined to aggressively confront Joe Biden on issues like Social Security, trade, and the bankruptcy bill.

            “Bernie is conflict-averse,” says Matt Stoller, who worked for Sanders for two years. “His staff has always had real trouble getting him to criticize any Democrat by name.”[…]

            The former aide sighs. “He doesn’t like Rahm Emmanuel, he doesn’t like Hillary Clinton,” he says. “But he’s okay with Biden, because Biden is nice to him.”

        2. antidlc

          He needs to run ads. I don’t know that he has put out any ads.

          I don’t think many people read his tweets.

  33. Cuibono

    Thinking out loud here, if you were to say jimmy the electronic vote machine results in the primaries, you would need cover for that to explain the discrepancies between polls before and after and results tallied…it seems like the timing for Super Tuesday did that perfectly with the various endorsements…

    is there any evidence that results were jimmied?

    1. Tvc15

      In TX and CA there was the garden variety voter suppression that election after election mysteriously never gets resolved. The media narrative and pre-super Tuesday polling followed the manufacturing consent playbook to a T. Finally for the coup de grace, we have the large disparities from exit polling in SC and MA that hunkerdown links to. As flora and David Carl Grimes said earlier, something seems a little fishy.

  34. Cuibono

    “No one in this world, so far as I know … has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.” Mencken

    1. Carolinian

      Mencken’s rep has faded greatly since those heady days when he thought the Germans were the stuff.

  35. The Rev Kev

    “Bill Clinton says Lewinsky affair was to ‘manage anxieties'”

    Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he. From all the stuff I have read about him, I wouldn’t leave him in a room alone with my wife. Or my daughter. Hell, I wouldn’t leave him in a room alone with my dogs. The problem is that Bill never took professional advice on how to deal with pressure. He should have gone to people who have a record of dealing with high pressure. People who know how to cope and have the same values as he. People like this guy (some swearing)-


    1. Tvc15

      Didn’t know where I was going Rev Kev, but I’m glad I did. Funny scene. “It’s all a fugazi”…which is probably how the ruling class views our political system.

    2. judy2shoes

      Bill Clinton says Lewinsky affair was to ‘manage anxieties’

      Another way of putting it is “Bill Clinton says he uses young, vulnerable women when he needs his ego (!!) stroked.”

  36. FluffytheObeseCat

    I don’t think Sanders would benefit from “getting angry” and going on the attack against Joe Biden. He’s not inclined to operate this way and would be half-hearted about it if he tried. I’ve yet to see anyone pitching the “get angry Bernie!” idea who has:

    1) Won more elections than Sanders has.

    2) Clearly got his best interest in mind. Media pundits and commentators thrive on conflict. It is their main source of coin. For a politician conflict is a less reliable ‘ally’.

    Sanders has managed to establish himself in the public’s eye as a uniquely honest anti-a**hole. Sticking to this brand is a bit of a long shot. But it’s more of a long shot to suddenly abandon his anti-a**hole shtick…. and rebrand as a commonplace Beltway backstabber.

    1. ewmayer

      You don’t have to be angry to point out the many, many reasons Joe Biden should not be president. You do have to actually do it, and do so forcefully, consistently, and without undermining your own message in the next breath with a bout of “niceness”.

      Bernie may have won multiple elections in his own neck of the woods, but this presidential politics, it’s a completely different kind of arena. He let himself get cheated in 2016 then rewarded the cheaters by campaigning for them. So he’s 0 for 1 in “Democratic party nomination elections”, and will be 0 for 2 if he keeps it up with the too-nice-to-win stuff.

      1. KLG

        All he has to do is use Branko Marcetic’s Yesterday’s Man as a guide. Anger has nothing to do with playing to win.

        Funny, I thought the book had come out too late to do any good. Now? Seems more likely to be used as a script by Trump. With predictable result.

      1. KLG

        And I would point out that Matt Stoller has just published Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy. The book is very good and explains why Bernie could be on the winning side of history. Could be.

  37. The Rev Kev

    “‘This Was a Grift’: Bloomberg Staffers Explain Campaign’s Demise”

    The trouble was that there are lessons that old Mike never learned in life and he has no excuse here. Even when he was a young man in his early twenties, there was a music band that was teaching this lesson but I guess Mike was never a fan-


  38. jo6pac

    I doubt that the problem and his staff isn’t that smart in saying that.

    Bloomberg Staffers Explain Campaign’s Demise

    Love the song but little mikey was never in it to win only to stop bernie and own demodogs party which he does now. He has seen that money and a lot of it can buy the govt. and that’s nothing new. mikey is trying to full fill his last dream and punish Main Street and he does have other doing the same thing. If he can pull this off he win in that SS, Medi-Care and other so-called entitlement will be hand the banksters as is the trumpster and biden dreams.

    The best govt. money can BUY$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  39. voteforno6

    Re: Coronavirus

    So apparently at least two attendees to the AIPAC conference tested positive…and about 2/3 of Congress attended as well.

    This almost seems biblical.

      1. VietnamVet

        I am sheltering in place. At least the local delivery and mail men and women for now are not likely to have taken a cruise or bumped elbows at AIPAC but this sure shows how contagious the virus is. With only “six degrees of separation” between the classes, the spread throughout the USA is likely before Summer. Dr. John Campbell said the UK is projecting an 80% infection rate. Isolation is the only away to avoid COVID-19 if that is even possible.

        The reaction of the President is inexplicable. Either he knows something I don’t know or his anti-science beliefs are so ingrained, he is not listening. The US government is failing to protect its senior citizens and all who will have life threatening illness and injuries in the next several months or longer. The for-profit healthcare system is sure to be overwhelmed by the sudden influx of Wuhan coronavirus patients caused by the failure to dampen and extend the impact of the epidemic.

        1. Procopius

          I’m old, so maybe I don’t have as strong an urge to live as some (seems to me I do, but what do I know?). Frankly I don’t think isolation is going to work. I think we’re long past the time when it could have worked. As soon as a verified case appeared in another country the experts should have known that. If you can stay home from work when you feel sick, fine. You’re helping to slow the spread of the disease in your workplace, but most people cannot do that, so it’s not a viable method. You can’t wait on tables from home. You can’t dry clean suits and dresses from home. You can’t butcher hogs or chickens from home. You can’t deliver groceries from home. I don’t feel facetious when I say this, I’m just fatalistic, “Suck it up, buttercup.”

          The US government is failing to protect its senior citizens and all who will have life threatening illness and injuries in the next several months or longer.

          This is just panic. What do you think the government could do? There cannot be a vaccine for at least a year. Maybe a year and a half, unless you want something that may have the side effect of making your dick fall off. There are no curative medicines yet. I have truncated a statement by William R. Murrow, “We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men…” Boy, was he wrong. Especially since 9/11. Look, take reasonable precautions, go on with life, and trust that the universe is unfolding as it is supposed to.

  40. Code Name D

    In 60 AD, Queen Boudica overlooked a field of battle. At the far end was her Roman advisory, a scourge that occupied her land and oppressed her people. The Romans were vastly outnumbered, and even managed to trap themselves in a canyon where escape was impossible. With defeat seemingly impossible to imagine, she urged her army to attack – and sealed the fate of her rebellion.

    What Boudica did not understand about the Romans was that they had experience in putting down armed rebellions. The Romans had a lot of experience putting down armed rebellions. Boudica’s army, as large as it was, was little more than an armed rabble, charging headlong into a trained and disciplined killing machine.

    To a large extent, what happened with Super Tuesday, was history repeating itself. Bernie Sanders was said to sweep the day. And while nothing was taken for granted, the strength Bernie enjoyed was but a carefully managed illusion constructed by the DNC. Like the Romans, the DNC has grown very practiced in keep progressive revolts suppressed. The illusion, was Biden’s “spoilers.” Had they stayed in the race; Biden would have been crushed. But it was never the DNC’s intention to allow them stay in the race for Super Tuesday. By the time we saw the trap – the votes had already been counted.

    You might say I am giving establishment Democrats too much credit to say they planed this from the start. But for months I had been scratching my head as to why the establishment leadership would allow such a crowded field that fragmented their support. More critical – this is actually nothing new. Past primaries had also had large spoiler effects. But what if they were there for this very reason?

    Regardless, Sanders was soundly out played.

    Yes, Sanders could still win this – technically. Biden is his own worst enemy, and his campaign could still implode. But let’s not fool ourselves that this is really a viable strategy.

    To win, Bernie has to take apart the one piller Biden is standing on – his ‘electability.’ Another carefully managed illusion. Bernie has got to show the electorate that Biden is in reality – unelectable, and that he does have the best chance at beating Trump. The depressing thing about this strategy is that this same argument was also made in 2016. He has yet to show he can learn from his mistakes – and he doesn’t have a lot of time to do it.

    Be President, Damn it!

    There is a second line of attack Bernie should use – being “presidential.” With the Coronavirus, the public is starting to get nervous. And they should be nervous. The coming pandemic is going to change everything – and do it destructively. And it is clear Trump is not up to the task.

    Fortunately, this is one area Bernie is already good at. Activism. He may not be the president, but he can still to a lot of good acting like the president and take charge. Start organizing donation drives for the sick, start organizing mobile doctors, use your podium to give out desperately needed information about the virus and how we can prepare for what is coming. Yes, there is a limit to what he can do. But this is something real heroes ignore. The do what they can, with what they have.

    Indeed, sacrificing campaign resources to answer the pandemic could yield far greater results than TV adds or sit-downs with Rachel Maddow. Plus, it has the benefit of actually answering the pandemic. Sanders may even be able to save real lives.

    Sanders should also name his Surgeon General, NOW! Not after a hypothetical victory in November. He needs to line up his health advisers, pick out the best one and say “You will be my Surgeon General. Now go talk to the doctors in the hospitals and find out what they need. Then you come to me and we will do what we can to get it to them.” This could be powerful. Sanders “suspending” his campaign to rise to the occasion. There is no way Bidon can do this.

    1. Billy

      Nicely put. The tag line is
      “How can you afford to be treated for the virus if and when you are infected? The taxpayers will pay? Why not then for our entire medical coverage? That’s why we must support Bernie.”

      1. Code Name D

        I will be worse than this. What happens when there are mass layoffs and suddenly a lot of people lose their insurance. I don’t see how the privet health system can survive this.

  41. hunkerdown

    “Medicare for All means you will never have to watch another drug company commercial again.” Break that fourth wall, Bernie!

    Interesting tidbit: The Sanders campaign just texted me and encouraged me to vote early in Michigan. The two reasons I can think of are to create facts on the ground from the very first numbers so that the networks can’t just “get distracted” as Sanders gains votes, or to protect against tampering at the precinct level. Other strategic insights are welcome.

  42. wilroncanada

    I know how much NCers love sports. Here is your sports note for the day. The great, undersized, overshadowed Henri Richard died today at the ripe old age of 21. He was born February 29, 1936. He holds one record which never has been broken, and probably never will be; His name is on the Stanley Cup 11 times, all with Montreal Canadiens.

    1. Billy

      North Carolinians may love sports, but the people around here?
      Just think if American men spent as much time studying the economy, the power structure and getting fighting mad as they do about sports, do you think we’d be in the political and financial situation we are now?
      Sports, the new opiate of the masses. 21? Are those dog years?

    2. Rory

      Thank you for that information about a great player who was part of professional sports’ greatest dynasty ever.

  43. Dickeylee

    Looks like we have a new Special Envoy to Northern Ireland!
    Trump replaces Mick Mulvaney with Mark Meadows as chief of staff

  44. dcrane

    Posted on this yesterday: Had my 6-month-old twitter account Captcha challenged, ostensibly to make sure I’m not a bot. There is no way I can believe any AI would fail to recognize my pretty well curated account as genuine. Twitter demands a phone number I can receive a text on to verify even after Captcha. Don’t want to feed them my phone (and therefore life data), so instead created a new twitter account with same email. That one got challenged a few hours later. Created yet another new one with a brand new gmail, albeit one using the *old* Gmail email as a verify address. This 3rd twitter account was also challenged today. All accounts have had similar follow lists – plenty of alternative lefty opinionators like Taibbi, but plenty of right wingers and msm people as well, nothing more controversial than Max Blumenthal and the likes of Syrian Girl (oh and, oops, the Iranian foreign miniuster Zarif). My posts have been always careful, and this wasn’t cast as a ban anyway. But I have often liked/retweeted antiwar stuff, esp. pushbacks against the Syria propaganda and the new cold war. Even got into two short back-and-forths with the Eliot Higgins (Bellingcat) account (which only shows how intensely they manage their brand, since I haven’t posted on them much overall).

    Net step is to make sure it’s not Twitter double checking with Gmail for association with the old email address, then to try creating an account but leaving off the Syria-war journalists. Conspiratorial-minded me wonders if it’s no accident this has happened just as the new rumors of chlorine gas attacks in Syria emerge. But it could just be an indirect way of encouraging a bunch of Bernie Bros cranks to ditch the platform at an important moment in the election…

  45. Daryl

    SXSW is cancelled.

    – It was done at the request of the government of Austin. SXSW organizers were still plunging full speed ahead. We cannot trust corporations to put anything over profits.

    – Houston should do the same for the rodeo.

    1. Oregoncharles

      The huge Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) in Eugene was cancelled – draws people from all over the country and the world.

      Now I wonder about the Sustainability Coalition Town Hall, which is local, and I’m worried about our June nominating convention; holding that over Zoom would be quite a lift. Might be higher turnout, though. And we almost have to hold a convention to reschedule one.

      Sigh. One cluster 80 miles away, Seattle area about 3 times that. On the I-5 corridor.

  46. Jessica

    Boy, would I love to see Tulsi on the debate stage.
    She could and would play bad cop to Bernie’s good cop.
    Though Tulsi is radioactive for that portion of the Dem voters who still need to believe that the Dems per se are on the side of what is right and good.

  47. Charlie

    Re: Clinton Neverending Story

    “Bernie Sanders appears on-screen, seeking Clinton’s advice on his jacket backstage before a Democratic primary event. “You could start buttoned,” she suggests. “Then, when you get wound up, you can unbutton.”

    Nothing says US politics is a scam play on Shakespeare with no genuine people (including Bernie) than this line right here. This is why I see no issues with not voting at this point. It legitimizes the very corrupt system that is supposedly up for reform. Bernie won’t fight because he’s merely another actor in the play, as was Kucinich during his time at bat. Keeping the people who see the need to overthrow the neo-liberal system inside the tent.

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