#DemExit Now: How the Democratic Party Cheated Bernie Sanders Out of the Nomination

By Anis Shivani, whose recent political books include Why Did Trump Win?, Confronting American Fascism, and A Radical Human Rights Solution to the Immigration Problem. He is the author of many critically-acclaimed books of fiction, poetry, and criticism, including, most recently, A History of the Cat in Nine Chapters or Less 

Forcing the March 17 primaries in Florida, Arizona and Illinois to go forward, despite reports of exceedingly low turnout throughout the day (which miraculously and quite expectedly turned into higher turnouts than 2016 in both Florida and Arizona by the time the final reporting came in), was the last straw. This farce occurred despite the Ohio governor postponing their primary on the same day. This slap in the face of voters was then compounded by the even worse parody of the April 7 Wisconsin primary being allowed to go ahead at the peak of the pandemic, with polling stations vastly reduced (from 180 to just 5 in Milwaukee alone) and absentee ballots often not received or recorded, while maintaining the pretense that somehow all of this constituted a legitimate election.

In the middle of the pandemic, with the entire nation considering a de facto lockdown and many communities already there, the DNC was hell-bent on driving the final nail in the coffin of the youth movement, even though the Sanders campaign had suspended GOTV efforts, for obvious reasons, and even if Biden never really had a presence in any of the latest round of states.

In Maricopa County, Arizona, where many polling stations were shut down, in-person turnout was reportedly higher by 10,000 people than in 2016! And that’s just one representative example from the March 17 primary states. Furthermore, the DNC threatened the remaining primary states against postponing their elections for health reasons, preempting moves similar to those made by Louisiana, Georgia and others. The stage is being set for a virtual convention, followed by the possible resurgence of the illness in the fall to orchestrate a virtual general election. Social distancing has come in handily as the most convenient antidote to political solidarity. Biden has already made it clear that he’s not the least bit interested in making any real overtures toward bereft progressives, just as Hillary wasn’t after her forceful seizure of the nomination in 2016.

When they stopped counting the vote in Iowa, depriving the leading candidate of essential momentum, it was a clear indication that once again the party establishment would do everything to manipulate results in favor of yet another neoliberal avatar bound to lose to Trump in an ignominious landslide—which is actually what the Democratic party establishment wants, four more years of their demonized opponent rather than the tiniest return toward social decency. Nothing about the coronavirus changes this essential dynamic.

That’s how bad the Democratic party has become, blatantly tipping the scales toward their favored outcome in order to maintain oligarchic control, and they expect us to Vote Blue No Matter Who?

We’re asked to believe that the candidate who supported ordinary people at the grassroots level all across the country, by lending crucial support to strikesand direct action, spawning innumerable viable candidacies at the local and state levels, and regularly summoning many thousands of people to populist rallies calling for basic human decency, was easily defeated by a cognitively challenged Wall Street shill who has backed every economic and foreign policy barbarity of the last 50 years, and who cannot be put in a small gym with a few dozen people without descending into furious spittles of verbal aggression.

We’re supposed to trust that the candidate with a pervasive national presence for the last five years was suddenly, in a matter of 72 hours, annihilated by the geezer who had zero volunteers, staff or advertising in any of the states he miraculously turned around by 20, 30 or 40 points.

It’s time to put an end to this sham, because we can’t accede to this level of duplicity without ourselves becoming complicit in the madness. Trump essentially terminated the neoliberal Republican party in one election cycle, but because the Democratic party establishment is more entrenched and dangerous, the prime carrier of the neoliberal virus to which the Republicans are just accessories, it is the more difficult enemy to beat.

To recap some of what we have seen from the great minds trying to herd us all into submission toward Hillary 2.0, the dementia version:

·        Herd 29 Trojan horses into the race, all pretending to be some version of or alternative to the clear ideological victor from 2016, and all of them unmasking themselves at appropriate stages of the race (three of them at the last moment before South Carolina) in order to maximize damage to one candidate alone.

·        Insist on a series of parodic debates orchestrating various degrees of hostility toward the lone populist, and focusing outlandish attention on marginal candidates rather than giving the front-runner his due.

·        Engineer the Iowa vote-counting catastrophe without anyone taking responsibility, and DNC chair Tom Perez not only not resigning but feeling empowered to engender further chaos.

·        Repeat all the instances of voter suppression in close simulation of all the 2016 states, as if to thumb their noses at any semblance of voting integrity.

·        Be part of closely coordinated media campaigns harping on electability, centrism and moderation, to the point where the liberal media (the Times, CNN, MSNBC) become indistinguishable from campaign opponents and the party apparatus. For the first three months of the year, the New York Times turned into a chorus of single-minded “Never Bernie” propaganda, exceeding even their “Never Trump” loathing of four years ago.

·        Recruit Barack Obama to save Biden’s hide when he remained the last one standing, with the same ominous figures from 2016 (Jim “there will be no free education” Clyburn, Harry “get the culinary workers to caucus for Hillary” Reid, and others) reprising to the finest detail the same walk-on bits they played last time.

·        Keep changing debate rules, by permitting entry to a last-minute white knight in the form of Michael Bloomberg, and the more recent rule change to prevent Tulsi Gabbard the opportunity of taking down Biden.

·        Keep the option of cheating the delegate leader at the convention alive throughout the campaign, rather than stamping it out as a no-go in order to preserve the credibility of primary voting.

·        Express no displeasure at clear voter suppression in Texas and California, or curiosity about strange exit poll versus final results in Virginia, Massachusetts, Maine and Minnesota, which showed unprecedented swings toward Biden.

Is this enough manipulation for you?

Sanders more than abided by party decorum for the last four years. Ever since he endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016, and later yielded to Chuck Schumer’s request to join the senate leadership, he has been the most faithful of team players, observing every nicety and going along with the party line to the extent that there is no direct contradiction with his principles. The least he could have expected in return was a token amount of fair play, to let his social welfare philosophy compete on equal grounds with neoliberalism, yet this was vehemently denied.

At this point, is he obligated to play by the rules? Are we, if we are to draw obvious conclusions from the evidence at hand?

The Democratic party would much rather see Trump reelected by nominating a flawed neoliberal candidate with as much baggage and who is as associated with the recent Clinton failure as is Biden. Think about it: the party we’re supposed to get behind actually prefers fascism over the mildest concessions to social democracy, in order that the entire power structure might persist unchanged. For the sake of denying the slightest help to poor, debt-burdened, sick and unemployed people, this party would rather have untrammeled white nationalism, immigrants in concentration camps, and accelerated income inequality, as though we could sustain any more of it than we already have.

To defeat a handful of broadly popular proposals to address economic inequality, the Democratic party facilitated the entry of a former Republican mayor who administered the harassment of Muslims and minorities after 9/11, who gave over his city to unaccountable developers and oligarchs, and who happens to be the world’s ninth-richest person—not just a billionaire, of the kind Sanders is railing against, but one 60 times over.

And when that didn’t fly, because of said plutocrat’s manifest misogyny, racism and class privilege, they went back to their original choice, the freewheeling politico Wall Street loves to love, the senator from MBNA, the secret manipulator behind every bad trade deal and Wall Street giveaway and incarceration mania and war of choice of the last 50 years. The party Sanders has chosen to be loyal to knows that either of those candidates, the Manhattan multi-billionaire or the Delaware political enabler, would handily lose to Trump, but the idea is to keep playing the game, to engage us all in a performance that pretends to be even-handed. We wait patiently for health care and public education and a living wage, while we die in the meantime.

The party of death has demonstrated again and again in this primary campaign that its sole objective is to discredit left populism, even if it means abetting the growing dominance of fascist populism. The party we’re supposed to fall behind is the real facilitator, not the Republican party, because it is actively preventing an electable alternative to Trump, as shown in all the polls of the last five years.

The “woke” wing of the Democratic party—which is identical to the neoliberal wing in acting all high-and-mighty toward working-class folks, otherwise known as deplorables—precisely duplicated its machinations from 2016, when Hillary Clinton was said to be the victim of the angry Bernie Bros, a more ridiculous myth than which was never heard in a presidential campaign.

The woke crowd, who universally refused to support Sanders (whose campaign is a sincere homage to the Poor People’s Campaign run by Martin Luther King, Jr., or FDR’s economic bill of rights, or Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program), got behind a series of identity politics-driven candidates, culminating in the last one to leave the race, who immediately got busy gaslighting the Sanders movement for its alleged misogyny. The woke wing was a fraud all along, they never did care to help actual working people with actual debilities. We knew it in 2016 and we know it even better now.

All the fallacies the Democratic party has exploited over five decades reached an extreme form of hypocrisy in the 2020 campaign. The least electable candidates were professionally sold as the most electable ones. Extremism on behalf of inequality and deprivation of basic human rights was packaged as moderate centrism. Sustained media campaigns were run against anyone questioning these straitjackets of thought, labeling us enemies of the people for wanting to help the people.

Emerging from his year-long sloth, Biden made it his mission to trash every element of Sanders’s “political revolution,” even in its most benign demands for a level playing field, which was the sum of the political gangsterism he so adeptly deployed at the March 15 debate, knowing he had the full backing of the party in shunning any move toward the kind of universal programs young voters demand.

Would Sanders supporters not be justified in abandoning this zombie party once and for all, if we do not end up with a fair electoral outcome, as it looks like we’re not going to while this primary fizzles out to an uncertain close? Are we not morally obligated to look for an alternative beyond, past and around this failed shell of a party?

In 2004 and again in 2016 they ran empty, fake, invisible campaigns once the primaries were over, with John Kerry and Hillary Clinton literally disappearing from the campaign trail for weeks at a time. They’d rather have Bush reelected then, and Trump reelected now, than raise the minimum wage to $15, make public college free again, or do something to save the planet from its runaway environmental crisis. While Sanders was responding like FDR II to address the public health emergency, Biden was nowhere to be seen.

We learned during this campaign that the all-time great woke candidate beloved of the wine cave class, namely the president upon whose nostalgic fumes we wish to resurrect a ghostly figure, is more willing than anyone else to stop the first stirrings of social democracy and do everything he can to maintain the chokehold of neoliberalism or neofascism.

The clarion call issued by the “Democratic” president of surveillance, wars, deportation and budget cuts appealed to the lowest instincts of career politicians in South Carolina and across the country as they  forcefully jerked us back to where we were supposed to stay. This former president, like the recent troop of candidates, is explicitly against Medicare for All, and every other basic demand this moment of social distress cries out for. Biden and his cronies in the party are willing to go no further than trying to add a public option to the Affordable Care Act; even after the virus escalation, universal programs of the kind Sanders’s movement calls for are nowhere within range of their consideration.

The Democratic party wants to crush the joy and life out of youth, pretending that they don’t come out to vote, and that the entire machinery of politics should be aimed at keeping the country delicately balanced between one half meritocrats and one half deplorables, appealing to a minute number of antiquated voters in Ohio and Florida in order to maintain policy stasis. They gaslight us into thinking that actual social justice aspirants of diverse races and backgrounds, rather than the fake white woke influencers, are the real problem because of our hostility. They impose “party unity” and discipline in the service of continuing the very power structure that has given us unsustainable debt and unaffordability of basic human conveniences. When confronted by enthusiastic participation in Democratic primaries, mainly the responsibility of one Bernard Sanders of Vermont, they counter with the embodiment of the darkest hells of plutocracy, namely Michael Bloomberg. As expected, they have already used the coronavirus crisis to shut down any remaining trace of political idealism, because in this moment of emergency we cannot expect anything better than to bow down to the former president’s faithful old lapdog.

The Democratic party of 2020, after more than 50 years of succumbing to a murderous form of capitalism, is not just a flawed vehicle for any sort of political renaissance. Why should we legitimize them by leaping around their phantom carousel, wearing colorful costumes and clown hats on the fairgrounds, when they won’t give us a ticket, when they tear it up if we do have one, and when there’s always a guard hanging around to bash our skulls in case we utter a cry of joy at some little win?

They are all but compelling us to leave the party. Will we have the imagination to do so at last in a mass exodus?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Fresh Cream

    Wow! What a hole I find myself in. I would love to see the orange man kicked out. But if I am still in the same hole afterwards now are we going to climb out. I don’t want either of the choices on offer. I want humanity, creativity and working together. We can get out of this hole, for sure, but first we must cherish the humanity of everyone.

    1. Tomonthebeach

      I’m 73. I cannot recall a time when I felt I was voting for the best candidate – only the lesser of two evils – or in some case, just politically neolib capitalists in progressive clothing (like Obama). I think the problem is that Bush led us to conclude that the president doesn’t matter that much anymore. He was clearly a dim bulb in the GOP chandelier, but life went on for most of us – even despite the phony war and clear evidence after the fact that it was a matter of gotta-do-something-for-9/11. Then came Trump, and we collectively experienced an Oh-Shit! moment that like COVID-19, will not go away. The only way out of “the hole” would seem to be a 3rd party that would amass more votes than the other 2 – not such a challenge as we have been propagandized to think. The challenge is – how to give Bernie a spine.

      1. habenicht

        I wonder if third party critical mass follows the same principles here:


        What does it take for an idea to spread from one to many? For a minority opinion to become the majority belief? According to a new study by scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the answer is 10%. Once 10% of a population is committed to an idea, it’s inevitable that it will eventually become the prevailing opinion of the entire group. The key is to remain committed.

    2. Val

      There are no choices on offer, so that simplifies matters. The only question is what is the appropriate response to a criminal oligarchy. Your last sentence is the absolute key.

      Aside from ritualistic butt-kissing, all an oligarch really wants is your labor.

      For a start, make it known you will never vote for a D ever again.

  2. Nick

    Yeah it’s pretty grim. We can only hope that Bernie sparked something going forward. I lean towards maybe both parties being exposed for what they are and truly get back to a narrative of US v. THEM as in ALL politicians are screwing over the country and that could unite the citizenry behind a new 3rdish, centrist party. I mean at this point if you are a living breathing citizen of the USA, you must be able to see the fallacy of the current system of government. Lobbying has taken over decision making. We can just make trillions of dollars out of thin air so how can we not afford M4A. We have now had virtually BACK TO BACK massive bailouts that look to be completely failing the overwhelming majority of the people who are alive in the country. You don’t need to be linked to 50 stories proving this. It’s right there. A general nationwide strike and complete wage/union overthrow of the current corporate structure must occur. All money must be removed from politics. When did we get so scared? What are you losing? Your $10/hr warehouse job at Amazon? When did we just give away all of our power as a citizenry? We have been hypnotized by useless technology while ALL of our abilities to have power have been sucked dry and turned us into waking comas of buy buy buy.

    1. ShamanicFallout

      Bernie’s capitulation just makes no sense. Look at the situation we are in. It’s as if History/ The Almighty/ Nature presented the perfect moment for him and said “Bernie, this is your time. It’s all lining up for all of the things you have been telling us we need to do. You can finally turn this doomsday ship around!”. And Bernie said, “Naw, I’m good. I’m just gonna go with my good friend Joe”. Huh?

      1. Grayce

        Bernie is a smart man. He may have a feeling for “time and tide” and decided to simply lead from behind. Joe Biden will not be a dynamic one-man show. Good. The Legislature will have a chance to do somethings if they figure out how to work in a nonpartisan (forget bi-partisan) way. But by endorsing, if Bernie wrested any agreement–such as helping shape the platform–then his voice can be heard in the administration, provided Biden wins.
        In this blue collar world, Bernie insisted on keeping his own definition of Democratic Socialist as if people needed to understand him, rather than his ideas to resonate with people. The time and tide is against the word socialism. But the openness to Bernie ideas is strong. Let him move sideways if you hope to see his type of justice in his lifetime.

      2. Ralph Reed

        Sort of like the historic moment President Obama faced, with the financial crisis providing an opportunity for industrial policy, defense conversion and reform in international relations. Instead he let public transport die, rekindled the insanity of the nuclear arms race, blocked OAS consensus on the illegality of the Honduran coup, informed the world in his Nobel Peace prize acceptance speech that peace was obsolete, and hurled the NDP onto history’s ash heap by ignoring the Fukishima meltdown rather than mobilizing the world to face environmental catastrophe.

      3. Stephen A. Verchinski

        He, the Senator from Vermontin 2016 had, according to Wikileaks Podesta e-mails, an “agreement”. The Senator never responded to his followers just what that was.

  3. cnchal

    It is bust.

    During the last debate, in real time, we watched Bernie fall for his own rhetoric, that Trump is the most dangerous president ever and would do whatever it took to defeat him.

    At a crucial moment, when Biden claimed Bernie had nine super pacs, Bernie went into high dungeon mode for a second and then instantly let it drop, when he had the perfect opportunity to nail Biden’s head to the floor, using sarcasm.

    When the jawb is critical, handing it off to demented Joe is the wrong move.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Sorry, Sanders does not do rhetoric. He believes Trump is uniquely dangerous. This isn’t posturing.

      The result is that he’s become like the battered spouse who is staying in a bad marriage for the sake of the children.

      And you act as if there’s a choice other than Biden and Trump. There isn’t unless Biden dies, as opposed to merely becomes more incompetent. The Dems would drag him across the finish line if there was any life in him. And then it’s some other horrible neoliberal Dem stooge v. Trump.

      1. cnchal

        My apologies for incorrectly using the word “rhetoric” and agree with your second sentence.

        My point is, Bernie’s belief that Trump is uniquely dangerous and as you put it, is staying in an abusive marriage with Biden for the sake of the children, is in my opinion, a bust — as in Bernie or bust.

        There is a difference between Biden and Trump. One would stab you in the chest, the other in the back. Which is which depends on your orientation at the time of stabbing.

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          Nah, one stabs you in the chest and watches you bleed out while feigning surprise. The other has someone else stab you in the back and watches you bleed out while you repeatedly ask them to live up to their rhetoric and please, pretty please, help.

      2. orlbucfan

        Thank you, Yves. I worked both Sanders’ campaigns as an unpaid volunteer. I can testify from a front row seat that the corruption was horrendous. I will not vote for either tRunp or Semi-Senility/Biden. I am sick and tired of having my intelligence insulted.

        1. oaf

          …Mmmm…Biden is a sock puppet for B. O.- …a Golem…
          I am curious how many will write in Sanders…Bernie offers hope; and a reality check for U.S….

          1. edmondo

            Why would you write in Sanders’ name in November? If – by some miracle – he actually won. he’d ask “his friend” Biden to stand in for him at the Inauguration.

            Correct policies – Wrong candidate.

      3. Susan the other

        I agree. And thank you for this amazing summary. More from Anis Shivani please. He’s as hard hitting as Caitlin Johnstone but with much more information. He weaves a very tight basket for us. The Democrats deserve the takedown that is coming, but nothing surprises me/us all anymore. Shivaji’s description of this political shell game, describing Biden as “another neoliberal avatar bound to lose to Trump in an ignominious landslide” is just as wonderfully rude as a slap in the face. Almost every sentence is that good. And it won’t faze the imperious DNC. One glimmer on the horizon: last night’s Democracy Now with Noam Chomsky – he said something is happening and there should be an announcement by this coming December. That “something” is the establishment of a Progressives’ International organized by Yannis Varoufakis. And according to Chomsky, Bernie is joining. It will be hard to stifle those two voices. And, imo, there is also another glimmer that’s hard to see because it is the mess itself – we can’t go on like this. Things must change. Great post.

        1. Tony Wright

          Yes, I was fortunate enough to see Varoufakis speak twice at the (free!) Adelaide Writers Festival which was held just before the Covid19 restrictions were implemented. He was brilliant – even more so for someone not speaking in his first language- energetic, charismatic, pragmatic, erudite and extremely intelligent.
          His first talk was mostly about the Greece/EU episode and his brief period as Greek Finance Minister before he was sabotaged by his own Government and shafted by Ms Lagarde & Co. He has written a book about it, hence his appearance at the Writers Festival, “Adults in the Room” which I must get around to reading soon.
          His second talk was more broadly about his ideas for the future, centred around the expenditure of about $6 trillion on something similar to the Green New Deal, focussing on renewables infrastructure spending.
          Given all the recent Covid19 MMT for Wall St by Powell and Mnuchin in their frantic attempts to prevent Trump being defeated in November, what seemed like a fairly radical expenditure proposal by Varoufakis as recently as early March this year now seems pretty sensible and almost conservative.
          Mind you, reading this post and comments thread it seems like the DNC are fully onside with Powell and Mnuchin, despite the clusterf… efforts of Trump himself regarding Covid19 policy in the US.
          If it wasn’t all so serious and consequential it would be hilarious.
          And it begs the question as to how much more s… the youth and non-MAGA working class of the US will take before major social unrest results?

      4. ChrisAtRU

        ” … like the battered spouse who is staying in a bad marriage for the sake of the children.”

        This … and further extended to the relationship the left has with the Democratic party. This is the very essence of “vote blue no matter who”, and you’ll see an army of Brock trolls online reminding you of the “children in cages” – oblivious and/or disingenuous enough to side-step the fact that “kids in cages” existed under RapRock and Joe. It’s going to be worse than 2016 in terms of left bleeding from Democratic votes. Time to woo those suburban moderates. Paging Chuck Schumer.

      5. Ron

        You could vote for the Social Equality Party candidates: Joseph Kishore and Norissa Santa Cruz.
        I realize they are not going to win, but they actually believe in democracy–unlike Biden and Trump.

      6. Chef

        It wasn’t only Orange Man Bad…Bernie picked up Russia, Russia, Russia, open borders and a slew of identity politics.

        Not knowing the man, I can’t say whether it was rhetoric or not, but it was a clear difference from the 2016 campaign to me.

        He was also robbed in 16, even more dramatically so, and he still endorsed Clinton so I don’t know why many are so surprised with his support of Biden.

        Moreover, it’s time we stop making excuses for Bernie. Yeah, he had the best platform of any candidates we’ve seen in decades but that does not make perfect nor should it make him immune to criticism.

        1. Pym of Nantucket

          Well said. The original article is amazing and more clear talk is good. The oligarchy has learned that its most effective tool to put down resistance is by infiltration of their adversary’s leadership. It happens again, and again.

      7. Jim Young

        Will regrettably vote for Biden if needs be, just like we did for Hillary, though we gave up as NPP (non-affiliated) to support Bernie’s issues as much as we could ever since 2016 (and still do).

        Our primary is done so will go back to NPP, and fight for open primaries and Ranked Choice Voting as what we see as the more plausible way to Liberate us from party politics (unless we are needed as registered party members to help elect delegates).

  4. jackiebass

    I’m 78 and a life long registered democrat. The last democrat candidate I voted for was Bill Clinton. I now regret that vote. I don’t ever remember voting for a republican for president. Since Clinton I have voted for third party candidates. The DNC is so corrupt that I a’m going to change my registration to independent. The DNC has turned the Democratic Party into anther version of the republican party. Who Biden chooses as his VP will determine if I vote for him. If it isn’t a progressive I will again vote for an independent. I can’t hold my nose and vote for the lesser of two evils.I have watched Bernie for decades. I have a lot of respect for him. Even though he has been severely criticized and unfairly pictured, his message hasn’t changed much. I don’t agree with every thing progressives propose but I support most of them. I support candidates that work for people instead of those that work for big-money interest. It seems the DNC is working 24-7 to see we have another republican president.

  5. Noone from Nowheresville

    this failed shell of a party?

    On the contrary this party is quite successful. Never forget that. Our definition of success is very different from capital’s.

    The result is that he’s become like the battered spouse who is staying in a bad marriage for the sake of the children.

    And what do the children learn from watching, and becoming (active or unwitting) participants in the abuse? The remaining question is how do all of the children see and break the cycle?

    1. CraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazyChris

      It depends on how you define success, but I think the D party is structurally broken and not going to win with Biden.

      The way I see it there are 3 primary factions: the Party Elites (e.g. super delegates), True Believers (“lifetime democrats” / useful idiots), and Independents Leaning Democrat. The first group is small in numbers but they control the party machinery. The True Believers will follow whatever messaging comes from the Elites, but the Independent Leaners will not. If the Elites messaged in favor of Bernie, the True Believers would fall in line and the party would be united … but that will never happen because the Elites don’t see a gravy train under Sanders.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        The D and R parties are only structurally broken for those who have taken the red pill.

        It’s working perfectly for Capital and their minions (e.g., elected Dems and Reps, think tanks, military industrial complex, health insurance / drug manufacturer complex, etc.). And that’s who it’s made for. That’s why I define it as a success. For me, personally, it’s a failure.

        Yep, I can see the in-groups you mention.

        If Capital had signaled in favor of Sanders as a token to be elected for “the people,” then he’d be in. But they rightly feared the possibilities of his movement. Ideas are powerful things.

        Capital could still change its mind before the election if too many things go pear-shaped in unexpected ways.

        At this point, Capital doesn’t need a gravy train under Sanders. Everything which can be taken between now and a Sanders’ presidency would be. Sanders would be left holding the great austerity bag while trying to undo the damage. Which would be exceptionally difficult, nigh near impossible, without a power base and the willingness to use it against Capital’s minions. Which he has shown no willingness to do.

        The mind boggles on what would be required to right the train.

        I no longer believe Sanders is the guy to get that done. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be wrong.

        Unfortunately, Capital probably won’t be satisfied until they burn the whole thing down because they don’t know when enough is enough.

        Where’s Curtis to derail the train when we need him? I bet Wilford shiv’d him.

        1. converger

          Interesting to think about what a Sanders presidency would have looked like after eight months of Coronavirus-triggered looting of the economy before he would become President. Not unlike what happened to Greece.

  6. Tom Stone

    A very fair analysis, if a bit too optimistic in its conclusion.
    There is no mechanism for peaceful change.

    Change will come, nonetheless.

    1. m sam

      Now there is a welcome sentiment. The only clarification I would want to see is the question of agency. Change will come, nonetheless, yes but without agency the best we can hope for is some random change. And what are the odds it will work out in our favor (that is, benefit the vast majority of us who are not members of the oligarchy)?

      And in that light I think there is a crucial problem to face: in accepting there is no mechanism for peaceful change, where are the agents of change that we need?

      1. MillenialSocialist

        so in other words, you’re asking What Is To Be Done?

        Never forget, the great freedom fighter JFK said “those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable.”

  7. TedHunter

    What a fantastic, bitter, well-researched, pessimistic and up-beat post. As paradoxic as the current situation.

    My hope is that Bernie’s organization will survive despite all odds. They have the mass and the quality and the message to become the backbone of whatever solution there will be. And I do not have to be a prophet to know that such a structure will be necessary in the short term.

  8. LowellHighlander

    I’m sorry, but I have to ask: Why would the vast majority of Americans allow bombs to continue falling on innocent peoples abroad; why would they sooner vote to keep themselves bereft of economic security regarding health care; and why would they continue voting to keep financial capital in power rather than vote outside the Duopoly? Please, I’m not asking rhetorically.

    1. funemployed

      Americans watch a great deal of television, almost all of which is produced by a very small handful of media companies which maintain tight narrative control.

      The elites primarily get both their news and opinions from the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, both of which might as well have defending the owners of Capital as their sole mission statement.

      The American educational system, particularly k-12 for the bottom 90%, is extraordinarily nationalistic and authoritarian. Additionally, it promotes a radical brand of competitive individualism as the way human societies function best, despite all evidence to the contrary.

      Most importantly, most Americans, if given accurate information and asked sincerely, are no more bloodthirsty or self-destructive than any other people. They do want health care, they don’t want wars, they loathe financial and corporate elites. But they’re also desperately sad and lonely and bone tired all the time, and can’t afford the emotional consequences of facing those feelings since they have to get up and go to work in the morning.

      Politics takes emotional and intellectual energy, time, building and maintaining relationships, and hope it might be worth it. Our media, education, and economic systems maximize the difficulty of engaging in politics while draining the energy necessary to do so. We’re not bad people, for the most part, just beaten down, lonely, sad, confused, and miseducated.

      Our leaders know these things, and know full well in a functioning democracy they’d all be serving long jail sentences (or short but deadly ones, if the guards were lax).

      1. funemployed

        Oh, and as for bombing innocents abroad, frighteningly few Americans know about that. To the extent they understand our military actions it’s our “Heros” fighting “Bad guys.” Most of us have roughly the same understanding of history and war as a 6 year old watching a super-hero movie.

        This isn’t an accident. Vietnam taught our leaders in the militaristic class that effective propagandizing of the domestic population (and the concomitant suppression of dissent) was the essential precondition for being able to fight immoral, unwinnable wars indefinitely.

    2. Rod

      It is such a common reflection, isn’t it?
      funemployed started the destranding.
      I sure don’t have that complete answer , but I think Yang was on to something with his slogan of MATH–Make Americans Think Harder

      1. Adams

        Great, but somewhat cryptic, comment. I take you and funemployed to mean the following:

        A very significant number of Americans are:

        *willfully stupid, uninformed and incapable of analytic thought. And proud of it.

        *ignorant of the effect of US military imperialism on foreign peoples and nations, and incapable
        of feeling connection with or compassion for them. Guilt would be out of the question then.

        *the very passive and willing victims of a completely corrupt MSM which encourages confusion,
        simplistic thinking and bothsiderism. In the interest of “democratic” capitalism.

        *under the impression that Trump presents a unique, black swan challenge to our “democracy.”
        He is actually a symptom of a much deeper, much longer standing rot that pervades the whole
        political process.

        Thus, Bernie had to be stopped from presenting his case as a potential nominee at the convention.
        And Tulsi had to be shunned, vilified and prevented from participating fully in the nomination process.

        The emperor, whoever he/she may be, is wearing, what?

    3. K teh

      With no military to back the petrodollar, America would be a third world economy tomorrow. There is always sufficient number to believe that empire is inevitable and better to profit than to be expunged.

      If doctors spent 10% of their time addressing the problem of ghettos, instead of investing in them, they could reduce their time spent on the symptoms by 50%.

      Voting changes nothing, except whether one is seen supporting one mythology or another to the end of tribe.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        The petrodollar is urban legend. Don’t promote it.

        The rest of the world wants to run trade surpluses. Having the reserve currency entails running persistent trade deficits so people abroad hold your currency. China does not want to run trade deficits, it’s tantamount to exporting jobs. Ditto the EU, plus they have the added problem that the banking system in several key countries (Italy the top of the list) is at risk of collapsing. The EU has no credible rescue mechanism and with lots of too big wobbly banks (Deutsche the clear top of the list), a conflagration in one banking system would quickly spread.

        The US has huge military spending due to pork. If we actually did need to show force abroad for finance reasons, the last thing we’d have is a bloated and inefficient military. The F-35 shows clearly what the MIC is really about.

    4. GramSci

      Per the article, we don’t know that the majority is vast, or even a majority. I believe that a quarter of Americans are predators, who take Schadenfreude in the suffering of others.

      One quarter are decent human beings.

      One-half are good Nazis who behave as they are told.

      1. Ian Ollmann

        I will admit to considerable schadenfreude reading the contemporary article on the collapse of the fossil fuel industry. Does this make me a bad person?

    5. Phacops

      Unlike most Americans, the people writing and commenting here are at the level of operational thinking: a rarity in America. There has been 44 years of unremitting neoliberal propaganda and a longer period of consumerthink. Such is aimed at emotional thinking which is the default of most Americans.

      So, they don’t question when liars are brought forward to “balance” reality in news coverage, and are conditioned into team thinking, not recognizing that their “quarterbacks” like Obama, or McConnell are malignant clowns who play them for suckers.

    6. Kilgore Trout

      Answer: “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”–William Casey 1981

        1. m sam

          Not to answer for others, but I believe the source is Ray McGovern (thought this,too, could be incorrect for this widely cited quote).

      1. Some Guy in Shanghai

        Something about your username makes this quote more meaningful to me for some reason.

    7. sierra7

      Because of the greatest propaganda system the world has ever witnessed. And, the weaknesses of humans to want to choose the easiest solutions to societal problems.
      Goebbels is rolling and laughing in his grave!
      Would he have had the innocence of the American people to propagandize! (Not all Americans subscribe to that innocence)
      Historical rhetoric claims the Europeans purchased New York (territory) with trinkets; The American people generally have been purchased for less.
      Either (any) people have a path towards peaceful change or that change will come violently. Now, today we have “in your face” rejection of the commons.
      We are on a cusp of violent change, in my opinion.

      1. richard

        It is sort of my little mantra to myself:
        “Buck up. These are the most lied to people in the history of humanity. It’s a wonder they get anything right. Go easy.”
        Some cold comfort, I know, but I think when you consider everything that’s stacked against them, the average usian is doing pretty well against propaganda. Maybe even batting .400.
        But we are also in the epicenter of evil, stupid, destructive ideas, 100 born every minute. It’s the volume that’s burying us, not any weakness in our character.
        Again, some cold comfort.

  9. Michael Olenick

    I’d vote for a turnip over Trump – the guy all but called for a right-wing coup yesterday. His MAGAts are spreading disease like fleas on a rat during the medieval ages. His nightly press conferences have become like Nazi rallies.

    Bernie’s proposals aren’t substantively different from Macron’s or any of the other center-right or even many of the far-right European leaders. Healthcare – mostly or entirely paid for (which is how Medicare works). University – high-quality government-run schools at low-cost for everybody and no-cost from about the 60th percentile and below. Child care – provided by the government though voluntary because maternity leave is adequate for women (right now most laws are only women) who want to stay home.

    Yes, Joe Biden has some serious baggage. His vote for the bankruptcy reform act of 2005, combined with him being from Deleware where I suspect he believes that vote was fine to this day, would be an absolutely not. He’s a geezer (well, so is Bernie, they’re about the same age but Bernie seems to have more energy). But Biden has one redeeming quality: he’s not Trump. I’m not sure he’ll even accept the nomination or, if he wins, will be healthy enough to serve out a full-term. But Trump won’t be there and, at this point, that’s the #1-#100 priority.

    1. Acacia

      This never-Trump thinking is how the Democrat party will live on, and nothing will change.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner


      -disastrous foreign policy
      -deindustrialization. Guess why we can’t turn on machines to make masks.
      -Scalia and Thomas.
      -then Patriot Act.
      -ICE. Trump was continuing the Obama policies
      -Biden’s support for the Third Way and their pro gun candidates.
      -the prison population

      Biden is Trump, maybe worse. It’s comforting to think Trump is a unique evil, but if that was the plan, you should back a non entity.

      1. The Historian

        Do you think our foreign policy is better now after 3 years of Trump? What has changed, other than we have pissed off just about every country in the world except Israel, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Guatemala?

        Do you really think Trump isn’t for deregulation? Seems to me that he has severely damaged EPA’s ability to regulate, not to mention, refusing to allow regulators to oversee what is happening with this latest bailout. Oh, Trump has been a great deregulator.

        What has Trump done that has improved industrialization in this country, except brag about the non-existant? Is manufacturing really better in this country now?

        No, he didn’t appoint Scalia and Thomas, but he did appoint Kavanaugh. Was that better?

        Yes, there is the Patriot Act – but what has Trump done to deneuter it?

        Ah, Iraq, well, we are still there, aren’t we? And isn’t that where he sent the soldiers from Syria? How many soldiers has he actually brought home?

        ICE – Trump didn’t have to continue Obama’s policies, did he?

        And you think Trump isn’t a neoliberal and hasn’t been using the government as his private piggy bank for his friends? If the DNC had any brains, they would have gone after Trump for his abuse of the emoluments clause.

        As for the prison population – that was more Reagan than anyone else – and the number incarcerated would still be extremely high if it wasn’t for Covid-19. Trump gets no credit for that.

        Exactly WHAT has Trump accomplished other than run an effective propaganda campaign?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I haven’t said any of that. I’m pointing out they are the same. Trump isn’t an accident and is the result of people like Biden. The idea that a vote for Biden is a vote to stop Trump is naive and dangerous.

        2. Michael Olenick

          I’d click like but there isn’t one. Don’t forget that Trump has repeatedly done his best to pick a war with Iran with a war failing to materialize largely due to Iran’s leadership, not Trump. Don’t like the Iraq War? Neither do I except Trump appointed the key figure behind it, John Bolton, and only fired him when the politics stopped working, not the policies. Mustn’t forget Trump dissolved the pandemic task force and is doing his best to lower fuel economy ratings. It’s not just the Supreme Court; Trump has appointed a whole slew of incompetent ideologues to the federal judiciary. Oh yeah, he also gutted the CFPB and forced a large portion of the EPA to quit by moving them to Timbuktu. There’s the Ukranian shakedown and we mustn’t forget those kids who are still in cages and his gutting of US refugee laws. Repeating what I originally wrote, he’s encouraging an armed insurrection against states that had the gall to elect Democrats. Speaking of elections, he tried to rig the census, insisted Wisconsinites get out to vote in person (they’re now suffering a spike in covid19 cases), and is gutting the USPS — an organization first set up in the Constitution — to discourage vote-by-mail. He kept the Obamacare exchanges closed so people couldn’t sign up or switch plans (which are unaffordable but they’re at least something).

          Trump is the worst President in US history. He has the divisiveness of Buchanan, the corruption of Harding, and the incompetence of Hoover and Bush. Anybody is better.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            He tried to pick a war like Shrub. So really not that different. Like Shrub, he ran into the actual logistical obstacles.

            For those who came in late, you may have forgotten the “axis of evil” selecting the word “axis” for clear reasons. Of course that was MSNBC darling David Frum.

            You might get better mileage if you didn’t pretend Shrub was uniquely evil when Trump was so recent. I’m sorry I couldn’t tell the difference. One is Shrub is liked by Joe Biden. He gave him a medal. There shared love of killing people probably brought them together.

          2. Big River Bandido

            This is absolute nonsense. George W. Bush was a far worse, far more destructive, and far more dangerous president. By FAR.

            1. Big Tap

              Bush (W.) worse president since Andrew Johnson. He killed through his “war on terror” over one million people worldwide. Trump hasn’t started any new wars yet. He is crude, rude, and lewd which upsets a lotta people. Gotta go back to Carter last time no new wars began. Also through the Patriot Act which has been extended by future presidents our constitutional rights have been eroded.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              For the people who view politics through the lens of team sports, they don’t grasp the inauguration isn’t a reset button.

              Excluding Shrub (Anyone who thinks he would react better than Trump is just a flat our liar.), there is an argument to be made Trump is the worst President since Carter, who I would argue represents a serious divide from the previous era, or falls down to 4th when you consider the slow rot of the U.S.

              I mean the “liberals” trying to convince leftier or reality based types that Republicans are bad miss the point leftier types already think Republicans are bad and find people who kowtow or play footsie with the GOP to be abhorrent already.

              I let emotion and recency bias get me on Shrub, but you are right Wilson was the worst.

        3. Ian Ollmann

          What has Trump accomplished?

          How about the largest heist in history of anywhere? Enormous permanent corporate tax cut, nearly all of which went to stock buybacks, and for what? Now the same companies want bailouts. It certainly didn’t do much for the economy or the people. It is just the welfare for the rich before the bailout for the rich. And it is still happening. Every year trillions more disappear funneled out for investors.

          Especially with Trump, it is important to look at what he does rather than what he says.

          – Enrich the wealthy even more with enormous corporate tax cut
          – Gut environmental regulation
          – Appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court all but guaranteeing that your favorite Progressive candidate can’t do what you want him or her to do when and if she is finally elected
          – further break the confidence of the electorate in the state

    3. carl

      I’m sorry, but I lived through eight years of the worst president ever, and this guy is no GWB. I get that he deliberately provokes you dems, but this kind of cheating and lying and trying to push an obviously demented, senile, corrupt rapist across the finish line is just too much. My goodness, people in his own party are already questioning whether he can last through the election. Biden is HRC/Gore/Dukakis/Kerry/Mondale on steroids.

      1. Phacops

        Biden is HRC/Gore/Dukakis/Kerry/Mondale on steroids.

        I can’t agree. He is a chimera, a Frankensteins monster, incorporating all that is degenerate and foul from all those others. Steroids would imply at least the appearance of muscular action, but alas, Biden barely has the galvanic action to induce a twitch in dissected frog’s legs.

        1. JTMcPhee


          Will the public ever get to know what cocktail of meds he is on to keep him oriented, as the neuro healthcare people say, to time, place, person and situation? “Oriented x 4.” https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-orientation-and-how-is-it-affected-by-dementia-98571

          Nobody ever ratted on Reagan that I can recall — still an open question how he kept that dark hair all through his dotage. I recall a few candid pictures of him after half his head was shaved following his stroke, and what grew back in was pretty white.

          1. Ian Ollmann

            There are a lot of things to pillory Reagan for, but I think an actor dying his hair is not one of them.

      2. edmondo

        But Biden has one redeeming quality: he’s not Trump.

        That’s interesting. I was contemplating voting for Trump precisely because he’s not Biden.

        1. Massinissa

          The main reason to vote Biden is that he is not Trump, and the reason to vote for Trump is that he is not Biden.

          What terrible choices we are left with.

          1. Freethinker

            Most US voters really don’t have choices. That’s the point. Learned helplessness and fear is the state the powerful want to maintain for the 99%.

            1. John Anthony La Pietra

              Well, there are a couple of choices most if not all US voters will have on their ballots. If you don’t like the thought or the feeling of having voted for either Biden or Trump, then don’t. Vote for one of those alternatives instead. (If you want help finding out about your choices, try Ballot Access News.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      If you #never Trumpers spent more time showing how you would demand different behavior and not supporting a guy who made the country a worse place for 50 years (Biden is so beyond the pall), then you might have a point.

      To me demonstrates how little thought you put into this because you don’t have this path forward ready even if you didn’t really mean it.

    5. The Historian

      I agree with you and Sanders. Trump IS uniquely dangerous. Everything I’ve seen him do during this pandemic convinces me that America will not withstand four more years of this man. I am incredibly shocked that he would foment rebellion among his more rabid supporters, NOT to help with Covid-19, but against state governors who refused to roll over meekly and let him assume all the power in the land.

      Trump’s disrespect for the Constitution is horrendous, and while the Constitution may not be perfect, it still is the law that keeps this country together. How many times has Trump tried to run roughshod over it?

      Joe Biden is horrible, no doubts about that, and so is the DNC and they will give us four more years of S**T. But they won’t lead us to a dictatorship – and Trump has us already going down that path. Now is the time to reread Hannah Arendt and Sinclair Lewis and George Orwell and so many more authors who have tried to tell us how we, the people, allow dictators to rise up.

      1. xkeyscored

        I formed the opinion that the USA was sliding into a type of fascism back in 2001, and nothing since has changed my mind. Obama could have tried to reverse what I see as a trend, but he didn’t.

        1. The Historian

          Fascism and totalitarianism always get a foothold during a crisis. It has always been that way throughout history from the Greeks and their tyrants, to Rome and its generals, to Germany and Hitler. 9/11 started it and I think Covid-19 will finish it if we aren’t vigilant.

          1. Wukchumni

            9/11 started it and I think Covid-19 will finish it if we aren’t vigilant.

            If only it had been named Covid-119, we would’ve come full circle from 9/11, eh?

            1. Dirk77

              +1. The US empire could have just shriveled to blandness as did the U.K.’s. But I read somewhere that 9/11 was Osama bin Laden’s attempt to provoke the US to destroy themselves. And I think just about anyone would agree that the slide downward did indeed accelerate after 9/11. What a genius. He continues to get my vote for Time’s person of the 21st century.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Carter was bad, but 1981 is the correct answer. We just didn’t have a USSR relative to Germany in 1941 to serve as a threat to destroy the country.

          Our particular F word situation reflects the American tradition.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Oh for crying out loud Trump is not uniquely dangerous. He has a long way to go before he’s responsible for the death and destruction caused by Cheney and his puppet president, to name just one.

        The authoritarian government you seem to think will come if Trump isn’t ousted is already here and it has been for many years. Did you read the article? Why is it so difficult for a popular candidate to get their voice heard in this country? How is it that the elites can crush any opposition with barely a complaint from the cowed public? What happened to the Occupy movement? – it was crushed by Barack Obama with help from a lot of Democrat mayors and governors.

        Those who think really bad things are going to happen if we don’t get rid of Trump have not been paying attention to the horrendous things that have been perpetrated by both parties for years.

        But I guess if you’re not a brown person on the receiving end of one of Uncle Sugar’s missiles maybe you don’t notice the Emperor so much.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Thank you. And I just ran across this from Krystal Ball. Virginia is 100% controlled by Democrats and is dead last in the nation regarding workers’ rights –


            The Democrats support the same policies that stick it to the working class as the Republicans do. The wars are OK as long as a Democrat starts them. The Republicans in Congress actually voted down the first bailout attempt in 2008 – it was Democrat arm twisting that got it passed. And we’ve just seen the latest bi-partisan effort to shovel trillions more to rich people

            Trump offends the delicate sensibilities of the liberal PMC. He’s the more boorish version of themselves, they can’t stand looking at that funhouse mirror image, and all of the virtue signalling in the world can’t stop that gnawing feeling that maybe they just aren’t as good and caring towards their fellow humans as they have convinced themselves they are.

            So Trump has got to go, because even if the replacement is as bad or worse, at least Biden doesn’t make them personally feel so bad about it all. I mean it was fine when the Obama administration “put children in cages”, wasn’t it?

            1. MillenialSocialist

              Virginia = Neoliberalism’s bright shining future…no wage increases; performative wokeness; wealth consolidation continues unabated

              You know, freedom.

          2. Aumua

            There is a tendency to call any criticism of Trump “TDS” around here, and believe me I get it. I’m sick to death of the nonstop disparaging by the MSM of everything he does and/or says, and really it just gives him more of exactly what we wants: attention.

            HOWEVER. There is plenty of legitimate criticism that can be leveled at Trump, and “TDS” does excuse his truly abysmal leadership and/or actually fascistic leanings.

            Saying TDS can definitely be a form of gaslighting in this respect.

            1. Acacia

              Calling out TDS is not “gaslighting”. Have you watched the movie?

              As has been pointed out by others (see above and below), Trump is not “uniquely dangerous”. The deeper problem with this claim is that segues easily into a fixation on never-Trump and all the compromises that follow from that (e.g., a vote for Biden, which is a vote for the status quo), because it buys into what the parties and the mass media are telling us: that we really have a choice between a “bad” and a “good”, or at least “less bad” candidate, and that that choice really matters.

              The sad reality is that we are not being given a real choice. The whole electoral process is owned by a cartel, and they are rigging it to get their desired outcome. If you have even the slightest doubt about this, maybe re-read Shivani’s fine article more carefully.

              Again, nothing is going to change until people stop obsessing over the personality of the head of the executive branch and begin thinking about a way forward for the system of elections and governance. The system in the US is deeply corrupt, and Shivani provides a very good take on one face of this corruption. He didn’t speak about the Commission on Presidential Debates, but something could be said there too.

              If we’re going to talk about gaslighting in the strict sense, I would submit that the obsessive focus on Trump as “uniquely dangerous” and the never-Trump mentality are symptoms of gaslit non-thinking. Focusing on Trump is like trying to talk about Google by focusing on the manager of the sales division.

              Unless and until control of the system of elections is taken away from the cartel of the parties and the mass media, nothing will change. People will argue over whether rigged candidate X is better than rigged candidate Y, but that’s just what the cartel owners want. At this rate, though, the American Empire could fully implode before the system of elections gets cleaned up, and if that happens, well, the discussion of these candidates and their merits or demerits will really be pretty academic.

              1. aumua

                As has been pointed out by others (see above and below), Trump is not “uniquely dangerous”.

                I didn’t say he was.

                The deeper problem with this claim is that segues easily into a fixation on never-Trump and all the compromises that follow from that (e.g., a vote for Biden, which is a vote for the status quo), because it buys into what the parties and the mass media are telling us:

                Well I don’t have that issue, I’m not fixated on Trump and I don’t buy into lesser evil choice I’m being offered. But I’m also not shy of leveling criticism against Trump and/or his more rabid followers and those who keep them riled up, where criticism is due. And someone telling me that I’m ‘deranged’ and/or delusional for taking any issue with Trump most definitely fits the bill of Gaslighting.

                nothing is going to change until people stop obsessing over the personality of the head of the executive branch and begin thinking about a way forward for the system of elections and governance.


            2. Pat

              I cannot speak for others here, but when The reason to vote for a candidate is just Lesser of Two Evils on steroids that epitomizes TDS.

              What policies has the candidate fought for and expended effort on in their career? How have they worked to improve life for the masses not their cocktail party cronies? Besides wrapping paper how will they be different? What do they offer beyond not being “X” in this case Trump?

              Since Biden is merely a more genteel version of Trump but possibly further down the dementia road, his candidacy is the epitome of TDS. Something I thought was “think about the judges” as Schumer made a deal to approve them so people could go campaign despite there being a perfectly good procedural method to use both parties’ need to campaign to block the appointment vote (not to mention the insult of thinking people would not notice that both parties needed it thing.)

              When the resistance to Trump and his policies is all bombast and no substance that is Trump Derangement Syndrome but more on the part of voters who buy the bombast.

      3. curious euro

        From the outside looking in: I just don’t see it how Trump is worse than his two predecessors. I just can’t see it.

        Trump is so chaotic, such a bumbling id he simply doesn’t actually get anything done. But neither did Obama in his 8 years but for different reason. Trump made a tax reform for the rich as is the main job for any republican president since at least Reagan: that’s his main accomplishment. He didn’t start wars unlike his predecessors, simply continued the ones already running. And even those he reduced a bit, at least officially due to his personality and his ineptitude that isolates him from all his allies. Almost everything is a continuance of the Obama administration: immigrants in cages, drone killings, clandestine wars with SEALs and Rangers, gutting of federal agencies to benefit corporations and the rich: EPA, FAA. It’s not as if Bush II didn’t gut the EPA and forbid any climate science reports, Trump is nothing special there. Trump however is supposedly vastly more evil than Bush II who started wars and killed millions and then caused the biggest economic crisis since 1929.

        Apart from that, he didn’t get anything of substance done, internally cause the democrats have to oppose him on principle, externally cause none of the allies trusts Trump with anything ever. He couldn’t even get the navy gulf patrol against Iran done since all the allies didn’t trust the US not to start a hot war.
        Venezuela was sanctioned before Trump came into office. Iran he did change something to the worse, but considering the sentiment from all republicans, any rep. president would have done that, so nothing special there either. Same for any climate treaty or meeting: any republican would oppose that and nullify any already made agreement.

        Internally he forced to do the FED exactly what Obama did: flood the market with money so the stock rally could go on forever. If there is a crisis like now, open the floodgates even more so the Dow can rise 20% in a week.

        So Trump is not a good president, but neither are his predecessors. The important part is, he is not worse than them so vilifying him as is en vogue simply lets personal hate cloud the facts. With US presidents lately you basically have the chance between evil and sorta smart: Clinton, Cheney the real power behind the throne, Obama or evil and dumb as a ton of rocks: Trump and Bush II. I take a Trump any day, personally, the dumb ones are just too dumb to do lasting damage.

        As for the “he will lead us into a dictatorship!”, that’s just as ridiculous as “Obama takes away our guns and the UN will be the government!” from right wing militia types. The US is an oligarchy aka a dictatorship of the rich ever since Alexander Hamilton helped write the constitution and it has gotten a lot worse since then especially since Reagan under every president, no matter the party.

        In fact, with all the primary rigging, the way Sanders voters are treated, the killing off of all candidates to maximize gains for Biden, the judges who affirmed that the democratic party doesn’t have to run fair internal elections. All those are clear signs for a dictatorship, much more than Trump who democratically won against his nominal party establishment. And after that he won democratically against the intelligence agencies despite the Russia smears in the general election.

        Breakdown of the democratic process, shadowy military and intelligence agencies trying to force elections their way: those are clear signs for a dictatorship, at least in the making but probably much worse, but strangely it’s not Trump that ushers the dictatorship in, on the contrary he is the target of the undemocratic shenanigans.

        1. alex

          Could not agree more.
          Trump is a vain imbecile Hitler wanna be that makes everyone else look
          good by superficial comparison, so Dems love to see him re-elected, as being anti-T is all they have to offer.
          Most other presidential candidates are only better at keeping up appearances,
          displaying better manners, pretending to be statesmen, and, as they have exactly
          the same agenda as T, their better presentation makes them only more dangerous.
          To blame T for all the Empire’s faults is too easy and intellectually dishonest.

      4. HotFlash

        Once again we have a choice between chaotic evil and lawful evil. Trump withholds aid to states whose Governors aren’t ‘nice’ enough to him, while the Democrats in congress vote in a law that gives trillions to Big Everything, million-dollar tax cuts for millionaires, and $1200 (maybe, and it’s taxable) to individuals. Which is worse?

    6. maps

      It seems that Democrats are fine with evil ghouls as long as the mask stays in place and pretend that they’re nice people. If you think Trump is bad, just wait to see the Republican response to a Biden presidency. It will be a competent Trump type.

    7. Donald

      “ But Trump won’t be there and, at this point, that’s the #1-#100 priority.”

      If I lived in a swing state I would vote for Biden. I might do so anyway. I am not sure.

      But your view is both common and as Acacia says, the reason why nothing will change. This is the argument used in every election for the past 20 years. Literally the only thing we ask of the Democrats is that they be slightly less bad than the Republicans. But voters, on the other hand, are told in tones of shrill moral certainty that they absolutely have to vote for the Democrats or be responsible for every horrible thing that happens. In short, if we don’t do this we are denounced as privileged monsters who don’t care if people die.

      This argument has some force with me and I have voted lesser evil for 20 years, but coming from most liberals it is deeply hypocritical and that is what is so infuriating about it. Sometimes the hypocrisy is unconscious. But I have noticed that for most of these people they never display this level of fiery indignation about the issues themselves— they only care about an issue if a Republican can be blamed. This isn’t true of everyone who advocates lesser evil voting— there are people like Chomsky and even Bernie himself. But the vast majority of the people who will demand that you have to vote for the Democrat because otherwise people will die never show the same level of indignation towards Democrats when they support a policy which kills people. At best, if forced to confront the issue, they might acknowledge it and then go back to what really matters to them—Republicans are worse.

      The argument these days is that Trump is worse. But it is always like that. People said Dubya was worse than Reagan. Now they like Dubya. And anyway, Trump isn’t the worst. We would be worse off if a competent fascist like Tom Cotton was in the White House. And we will be told that in no uncertain terms in one or two election cycles.

      1. JeffK

        Nicely put Donald. I agree. We are like mice that vote for cats. We only get cats to vote for.

        The question I have for the never-Trump / never-Biden people posting here is what is your solution? Armed insurrection? Don’t vote for either? If you don’t vote for either will you have any moral ground to stand on when you have complaints in the future? Sure, you can say “I didn’t vote for that guy”, as if to say “I’m not responsible for this mess”. Vote for a third party candidate in protest? Who is going to remember that? Do you really think the protest vote will figure into the “mandate” calculation of the winning party? Huh – all you Nader voters in 2000 and 2004? How has that worked out?

        I agree that that “the establishment” behind the democrat party is corrupt. The neoliberal ideologies are wickedly tough to overcome, but you have to pick the flawed candidate of the flawed party who has the best shot to work for change from the bottom up. – or from the inside out.

        1. xkeyscored

          Armed insurrection? Doesn’t always end well.

          Vote for Biden if you think he’s less worse than Trump; vote for Bernie if you could; vote Trump if you think a POTUS should have some mental functions however gross. Whichever face is in the White House, there’s a minority movement of extremely powerful people and organisations pulling strings galore to get their way. The only thing I can see changing this power balance is a mass movement threatening them with revolution if they continue impoverishing and destroying the world.

          How you organise a mass movement during a pandemic, or how you stop triggering people’s prior ideas of “Dems bad big gov no guns” or “Reps bad not PC cut gov”, is another matter, and I don’t know. But rarely has the real class situation been clearer or more critical.

    8. DanB

      The Democratic Party devolved to give a reprobate like Trump an opening. If Biden wins, it’s my view we are likely to get a competent reprobate Republican in 2024. The Dem Party must be destroyed. BTW: I grew up in a UAW family in Detroit and FRD’s and JFK’s pictures hung from most of the stores in my neighborhood.

    9. KLG

      I’d vote for a turnip over Trump, too. The turnip would be smarter and safer than Trump or Biden. Alas, there is no turnip on the ballot.

      1. Grayce

        One wild card. The VP slot. If Biden is as ancient as depicted by his enemies, the VP is the avenue for hope. Who can be that and win?

    10. m sam

      That’s funny. While I agree that Biden’s one redeeming quality is he’s not Trump, I also don’t see having one redeeming quality as a strength. And really, even though I’m not a gambling man, I don’t see one redeeming quality as having the odds to take the White House.

  10. Acacia

    This is a fine article, and the final sentence poses the key question.

    The Democrat party deserves nothing less than a bullet to the head.

    Indeed, the problem will be getting people to join in the mass exodus.

    Probably it won’t happen, and the hoodwinking will continue.

    1. Off The Street

      The links earlier this week included one about the Steele Dossier. After looking at that for a while, and at ongoing notices about the related criminal acts, I believe that there will be big changes in store for the Democrats and their fellow travelers in DC and the media. Each group couldn’t do it alone.

      Regarding the latter, Chris Cuomo melting down about his role was almost a perverse echo of the old movie Network. He had his own fever dreams of being mad as hell and not taking it anymore.

      The Dems of today would be unrecognizable to family members of past generations who lived through the Depression and WWII and taught us kids about those formative events. They would be disgusted at the war mongering, lobbyist-assisted grifting and hypocritical pretense of caring about the common person.

      1. Acacia

        Big changes in store for the Dems and the media would be nice, but I wouldn’t count on anything.

        Remember how the QANON followers kept telling us that Trump had hundreds of indictments ready to roll and that the swamp was going to be drained any minute now?

    2. eg

      This. Whatever survives of the Bernie movement has to dedicate itself to destroying the Democratic Party’s electoral prospects until the DNC begs for mercy.

      Nothing else will suffice.

      Anything else preserves the Team Pepsi vs Team Coke dynamic which forces Americans to drink neoliberal cola regardless of what it says on the bottle.

      1. Ian Ollmann

        This part is easy. Start a third party and split the vote.
        I’m not sure the planet will survive the continued inaction though.

  11. Daniel Raphael

    The single best thing I have ever read here. This “former” Occupier stands and applauds you, Yves.

  12. Chris

    I think given everything that has happened this year already making further predictions about the election is a sure way to fool yourself.

    That being said, I think the Never Trump attitude is distributed among a much smaller section of the population currently than it was in 2016 – 2018. I think the institutions we have left continue to embarrass themselves and make it seem like Trump is either correct or being opposed for no good reason. I think a lot of people don’t care about the federal election anymore because they’re trying to make sure they have food to eat and money to pay for shelter.

    I also think we have a few weeks of polite begging left in our society before those folks who were demanding that stores open up this week come back with guns to open them without official help.

    The Dems are irrelevant now. Anyone who has a job and is doing OK through this time doesn’t care. The ones who need help the Dems don’t want in their party. Identity politics won’t keep us safe or fed. I wish there was something more to say. I can’t vote for Trump but I refuse to vote for Biden. What a cruel spring.

  13. xkeyscored

    Thank you Yves, and I heartily agree.

    I’ve never been to the USA, and my knowledge of its history and politics is a bit patchy and vague, simply wrong at times, but I’ve always wondered why socialists, or whatever we want to call ourselves, ever saw the Dems as so obviously and inherently preferable to the Reps. The 3/5 rule – wasn’t that Dems? JFK taking the world to the brink of war to prevent Cuba defending itself from more aggression? LBJ ramping up the war on Vietnam and making it official? The bombing of Libya? I may be missing something, but hoping that a party with that kind of record will save us all and bring about social justice never made much sense to me, even if at times tactical voting did. Nor does it now.

    1. sierra7

      Believing in “American Exceptionalism” is easier than trying to understand US history, it’s role in world affairs (let alone within) and the aftermath.
      We are not a “democracy”.
      We are a “republic”.
      You can’t have a “democracy” and have so many “secrets” by the government unknown to the people.

  14. The Rev Kev

    I think that at this point it must be recognized that the Democratic party is a graveyard for progressives. Yes, new leaders must be found that are willing to fight. When Bernie went on The View recently – don’t ask me why there – Whoopie Goldberg hectored Bernie as to when he was going to quit. Bernie just took it but I was really hoping that he would shout at this smug millionairess “Quit? Hell no! I have not yet began to fight!” That is something that would have galvanized his supporters and put him back in the fight but he did not say it so it is a moot point. I am sure that the DNC has a thorough psychological profile of Bernie and knew where to hit him where he was vulnerable and used it to effect.

    There is another possibility for progressives and that is to infiltrate the Republican party. They already have experienced two hostile take-overs in the past decade. The first time was with the Tea Party movement about a decade ago and the second time was when Trump slaughtered the other Republican Presidential candidates back in 2016 (My god, can you picture what a Trump would have done to the Democrat Presidential candidates this year?). Think too that the Republicans will bend under pressure such as paying people’s healthcare at the moment with Coronavirus and willing to print money to infinity to beyond. It might be possible.

    1. Keith Howard

      Yes to this. The DNC has made sure that Trump can outflank them on the left. Since the R Party has not shown any resistance at all to Trumps actions/whims, it does appear that T has unchallenged control of the Party. The R moneybags will even raise the rabble in favor of COVID-19, as we are seeing in Michigan, Texas, and elsewhere — a literally suicidal stampede. If social conditions resulting from the pandemic and consequent economic collapse get bad enough by the end of the summer, Trump will have the option of an about-face wrt Medicare4All, debt forgiveness, etc. I find that easier to imagine than that actual progressives/populist views will ever dislodge the useless timeservers of the DNC.

    2. neo-realist

      In my view, too many hardcore ideologues in the GOP favoring foetuses, right to work laws, good privatized medical care only for those with money, hating safety nets and hating civil rights for POC to infiltrate it and change it. And its done a good job of growing their bench, better than the Democratic Party in replicating those individuals that believe in their reactionary policies.

  15. John H

    Striking to me how many people can understand enabling behavior in the context of their personal relationships, but the concept just evaporates in terms of political relationships.

    1. Dan B

      I find the best way to interpret Bernie’s capitulation is in terms of A.O. Hirschman’s Exit, Voice, and Loyalty model of responses to organizational (or institutional) decline. Bernie always renounced the Exit option and announced his Loyalty (I will support the nominee) as if these two options had nothing to do with the power he could exercise with the Voice option. He may be a good and decent man, but he’s an incompetent political strategist who is, in the end, Loyalist who values his membership in the a Washington insider club of the Senate. He’ll get nothing but the Dems’ contempt while believing he spared himself from becoming like Ralph Nader.

      1. paintedjaguar

        Look, Bernie worked very hard during both campaigns. But he wasn’t willing to fight. He spent all of his efforts from 2015 to the present running against Trump instead of against his actual opponents. It’s been maddening to watch, like seeing a train headed for a washed out bridge. Except we were all ON the train.

        1. Grayce

          In 2020, labels matter. Bernie has been stubbornly insisting on being a “Democratic Socialist” in the face of a population who already have a “socialist” paradigm in their heads. They do not seem inclined to alter. His socialism is his definition and he is channeling Humpty Dumpty straight out of Alice in Wonderland to inherently insist that a word means just what he wants it to mean and nothing else. It is perhaps pedantic when, if he wants to gain converts, he needs to find a few picture words that attach to something they already know.

  16. Watt4Bob

    Trump drove the republican party over the cliff, and now Bernie has driven the DNC to drive the democrats over the cliff.

    The nut-case portions of their respective ‘bases‘ are congregating at the foot of those cliffs, watching their so-called representatives hurtling towards them at terminal velocity, and telling each other that the fast approaching mess is a victory parade rather than impending doom.

    All of this would be something to celebrate if it weren’t for the large crowd cheering on All the Kings Dead Horses, being Beaten by All the Kings Men.

    1. Charger01

      “Trump drove the republican party over the cliff”
      No, that’s called winning. He beat a dozen candidates, even a money-stuffed Jeb Bush, and is near his all time approval rating. He didn’t have to bend the knee to own the Republican party. Bernie did, played by their rules, and got owned. If Bernie truly wanted a hostile takeover of the DNC, he should have stated that upfront and operated as the invading force he was. The Dems are weak enough that they truly could have been boxed out, they have almost no popular support…only their donors.

      1. funemployed

        I agree with all that, but I sincerely doubt Bernie would have been in the place he was if he had a more pugnacious disposition.

        I think he was able to build the record he did mainly because the Dems viewed him as their harmless, sweet, old leftie-but-pragmatic Jewish uncle for so long. I don’t mean that disparagingly. I think he’s a wonderful person.

        I’m just saying that the qualities that many (myself included) think hamstrung him also got him, and him alone in US politics, where he was in the first place.

  17. Mikerw0

    Sorry, but I think this article completely misses the point. Wait, hardball in politics who knew. Bernie lost, get over it. He maybe, and I mean maybe, had a very slim path to get to the nomination. He didn’t pull it off. As an ardent supporter of his I am not surprised.

    I also have to say that as a leader of change I find him a bit disappointing. I also have to wonder, quite seriously, if he outperformed his real ability to get the nomination in 2016 and translated that to 2020. I suspect that he was the canary in the coal mine in 2016 and a significant part of his support was anti Hillary and polls indicate that a measurable part of the primary vote went to Trump in the general. If so, what it is telling us is that there is a coalition to be built for fundamental, anti incumbent Washington change. Getting such a coalition into power will not be easy.

    The CARE is act is a wealth transfer of epic proportions and will not do what the country needs — no surprise and as well documented here. That said, another lost opportunity for Bernie to have made massive political hay and loudly stood in opposition to get it fixed. MIA, as he so often seems to be at key junctions. And don’t argue the press would ignore him. For over 200 years knowing how to use the press to get things done is a core skill every politician must possess.

    Lastly, many of Trump’s supporters argue he is the populist change they wanted and is succeeding, despite the clear evidence to the contrary. This is why they stay loyal to him and won’t go anywhere.

    1. John Wright

      I wonder if the Republican strategy is now this.

      1. With much Democratic assistance, pass a large transfer of wealth to the upper class months before the 2020 election via the CARES act.

      2. Then, closer to election time, have Trump propose a (calibrated financially to buy enough votes) “take care of the voters” CARES II relief act.

      3. Then Trump dares Democrats NOT to fall in line with this new relief act.

      If the Democrats obstruct the new bill, the Republicans can use that during the campaign.

      If the Democrats fall in line and the bill is passed, then the Trump administration could be viewed more favorably by enough voters to prevail.

  18. Oh

    Excellent article. It describes how the primary votes were “counted” to favor their favorite “my good friend” who did not even campaign in any of the stated he won by a landslide aided by TV and newspaper propaganda . People should be horrified by this and the media villification of a candidate who had policies to help the common people. It looks to me that Bernie was pushed out by these malevolent actions before the remaining States had held their primaries. Really disgusting! How people can still stay in this sham party, I don’t know. We know that Trump is a shyster, crook and a disgrace to this nation, but the people of this country are even more of a disgrace. It looks like the end has come and the USA will quickly become a third world dictatorship unless people rise up.

  19. Steve Ruis

    You can’t raise and train a race horse to win in a stable full of disease. My wish after the 2016 fiasco was for Bernie to see the writing on the wall and begin building a political party to challenge the two bought-and-paid-for ones we have now, maybe having conservative and liberal wings (yes, there are conservatives in favor of a higher minimum wage, universal healthcare, etc.). Build it, build it slowly but strongly.

  20. richard

    I think this was a terrific summation of the demexit case, and I’m very glad to see it here.

  21. Micahel C.

    Sure, we won’t get a few centrist Supreme Court justices. We may get some competent people running the governmental departments–though they will be beholden to the status quo.

    But we will also get the status quo, and voting for it won’t change anything. I will not be voting for Biden, just like I didn’t vote for Hillary in 2016 or Obama in 2012. (I was a little too hopeful he’d be at least someone who’d fight for black people and be anti-war in 2008. My bad.)

    I think the Dem Party has to collapse, and I hope it gets a thrashing in the election. Sure, right wing fascism looms. More degradation of our world will ensue. Oil will still be king. And our failing nation will fail even more.

    But going along for a slow ride to destruction is no answer, Let’s just see if the most complacent and propagandized population in world history has any rugged fight left in them. Like in the movie High Noon, at some point you just have to face your enemy.

    As Eugene Debs once said, “It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don’t want and get it.” I think we are at that point now.

    1. funemployed

      I would find the supreme court argument more convincing if Obama had actually appointed the one he could have.

  22. NoBrick

    There’s no need to over-egg the pudding. Santa Claus, like the electoral saviors, are fugments
    of the imagination. Perpetually rejuvenated illusions are more the cause than the solution. Endorsing the lesser of two evils, is still an endorsement of evil.

  23. jake

    So the readership here is persuaded that nothing Trump will do that Biden wouldn’t will have any adverse affect on his or her life, or future generations? Policy differences large and small have no real world consequences? Or none for those here?

    Who knew that high principle had such a passionate following? One assumes the same inflexible rigor guides every aspect of daily life and civic participation…. Or is it just the online stuff that doesn’t inconvenience?

    1. xkeyscored

      Civic participation doesn’t necessarily or only mean electoral participation. Many important advances have come about through civil disobedience, strikes, organising and so on.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      This was my initial reaction. But while I think posts like this one draw out a vocal slice of the commentariat, I don’t think it represents universal opinion.

      I’ve been involved in three efforts to build a viable third party – Tony Mazzochi’s Labor Party, the initial New Party (which has devolved into whatever the Working Families Party is), and the post-New Party local and statewide efforts under the banner Progressive ____ (fill in your city or state). There are also several people who comment here who have been active in the Green Party – I had a cup of coffee with them several years back but wasn’t convinced they are serious.) I don’t know what to think about DSA but I have limited SJW tolerance and I just don’t get off on meetings for the sake of meetings any more. I am still nominally involved in WFP and Our Revolution but, as I have complained here in the past, they seem dominated by what I call “left entrepreneurs,” which is a big turn-off for most ordinary people.

      Anyone who wants to try to build a viable 3rd party has my blessing. I would imagine they would be interested in learning from past efforts. But what I am seeing is a huge amount of posturing.

      No serious participant in or follower of US politics can be surprised that Bernie got the knife in the back. If there is one thing I am a bit surprised about, it is how easy it was – 3 days of really concerted effort and a majority of Dem voters fell right in line. (Anyone who thought Amy K or Mayo Pete were seriously running for President as opposed to the VP beauty contest also has bad judgment IMO.) The other really notable fact about this primary season is that Dem voting was up and it wasn’t votes for Bernie, it was anti-Bernie votes.

      1. paintedjaguar

        Was it? How do any of us know WHAT the vote counts were? We have no verifiable, secure electoral system to tell us.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          Agreed. But if one thinks the Dem vote counts are rigged, there is a lot of weird circumstance:
          1. Why would the Dems ensure that HRC beat Bernie only to not intervene against Trump?
          2. Why did Biden do so poorly in the first few primaries this time around?
          3. Why did the Dems feel the need to go all in on Biden before SC if the result was pre-ordained?

          The only vote-count cheating thesis that is at least consistent is that right-wingers control the count and they are the ones who feared Bernie – though why they would fear him if they controlled the machines doesn’t really make sense.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            1. It is MUCH easier to meddle with a party primary than a general election. And the Dems were sure Clinton would win. Meddling takes planning.

            2. He was running out of money.

            3. SC was Biden’s firewall. They also needed to have all the other moderates drop out first. If another moderate had managed to beat Biden (say Buttigieg, which is still implausible given how he did with people of color, but we’re simply considering alternatives), the party would have gone all in for them. Biden was NOT pre-ordained. That is why Obama pointedly did not back him until the other moderates fell to the wayside. The game plan was to back the Not Bernie candidate once one champion emerged.

            1. Ian Ollmann

              You don’t think Obama had a lot to do with the other centrist candidates giving in? I thought this was fairly well accepted.

              If we believe that, then it doesn’t seem too implausible that at least in the heart of one man, Biden was preordained.

              1. HotFlash

                No, I don’t think Biden was ever his main man. If Biden were the guy, then Obama would have endorsed him straight out. My bet is that Obama and the party apparatus, incl that part of the spook community that is favourable to establishment Dems (or perhaps it is vice versa?), were rooting for Buttigeig. (dons tinfoil beret)

                Obama and Buttigeig are both whispered to be CIA-connected, Obama thru his grandmother, Mayo Pete by virtue of his ‘military service’, recruited in college. The spooks love Rhodes scholars (can you think of any other Rhodes scholars that might be CIA? Do the Mockingbirds fit?). I could see Obama thinking that a relative unknown with a meager track record could make prez — after all, he did it. But it wouldn’t do to say so at the outset — just imagine! So he kept his powder dry, a thing that Dems are very good at, and when it looked like Bernie could actually win, waded into the fray.

                Pete polled insanely well in the early states and the votes followed on. Cynical me, I suspect both were rigged. The Iowa oopsie was simply a failure — if you are going to hack a primary, *hire competent hackers*, not some friend-of-the-Pete start-up!

                When it was clear that the Pete hack wasn’t gonna work, Obama (acting for his donors/owners, of course) sat on his hands to see who would shake out. Only when it looked like Bernie would actually win, ooo-wa, ooo-wa, , bring in those big guns! I really, really wonder what Obama said to Bernie that persuaded him to break his word to us, “I will stay in until the convention.” We may never know, but I hope there is a sealed and safe document somewhere that future historians can read, assuming there will be any future. Maybe we’ll find out what he said to Dennis Kucinich that day on Air Force One, too. That Obama, he seems to be one persuasive guy — to bad he couldn’t put that talent at the service of the people.

                And now I will close with a quote from that great philosopher, Lily Tomlin, “No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.”

  24. ALM

    Great article. It’s gratifying to read a thoughtful, cogent, and brutal takedown of the Democratic Party apparatus and the primary. As a self-loathing boomer, I am aghast at the ease with which major media outlets manufactured consent in my cohort. I continue to contribute to Bernie Sanders for his work advocating for average Americans.

    I won’t be voting for either senile rapist on offer in November because I am done with voting for something I don’t want and getting it good and hard. Instead, I’m focusing on down ballot races and aspiring to become a a member of the dirt bag left. That and writing hate email to the DNC, Dem leadership, and my elected representatives fill my shelter-in-place days.

    1. HotFlash

      I am done with voting for something I don’t want and getting it good and hard

      ALM, that is an awesome summary. I will use that. I may get it printed on a Tshirt. Or maybe a tattoo.

  25. Pookah Harvey

    I don’t know what you are all complaining about,according to H.L.Mencken we have reached democratic perfection:

    “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

    ― H.L. Mencken, On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe

  26. Dirk77

    One question: Was Warren’s takedown of Bloomberg her acting alone, or was that on orders from on high? If the Dem establishment cares more about power than money, I can see them thinking Bloomberg was a threat. Yet…

  27. Tom Stone

    A question I haven’t seen asked here yet is…
    How will the establishment deal with a quadrupling of the homeless population in the next six months to a year, when it is accompanied by failing supply chains?
    And it might be a lot more than a fourfold increase, I’m assuming that less than 10% of the newly unemployed become homeless.
    It’s early days yet in this pandemic and we’re already seeing Smithfield and Tyson being forced to shut down plants while billions of dollars worth of produce are left to rot.
    Anyone that thinks that either a Trump or a Biden administration cab deal with what faces the USA would be well advised to start huffing a better quality of airplane glue.

    1. xkeyscored

      It’s early days yet, but landlords might find it harder and harder to recruit goons for evictions, especially when they start meeting organised resistance while their own family are suffering a similar fate. Someone once said he could pay one half of the working class to kill the other half, but maybe not if there’s nothing to buy but a slower death.

    2. Bernalkid

      Another angle is that tax collection is going to look like a hockeystick this year. State and local can’t print, only the Federal treasury can. If funding doesn’t come from Nancy and co. all the yeoman are SOL as the budgets crash and burn. All that military keynesianism can come home and roost watering the tree of freedum.

    3. Lambert Strether

      > How will the establishment deal with a quadrupling of the homeless population in the next six months to a year, when it is accompanied by failing supply chains?

      Maybe COVID will take care of the problem for them?

  28. sgr2

    Excellent recap imo. Thanks so much for making it available! Unfortunately, it still doesn’t offer a solution to the dilemma of who to vote for. Even though I no longer reside in the states, I was planning to make a trip to the capital city for the sole purpose of voting for Bernie. Now, I don’t know what to do: write Bernie in, vote for a Green (probably none will appear on the ballot I’m provided), or vote for Putin. Sheesh, who would have believed it would come to this? Well, anyone with foresight, I suppose. What a shame!

  29. Susan the other

    It makes me uncomfortable to think about the evolution of German politics in the 1920s and 30s. The moment of conception, of fascism, was in response to failing economies after 1919. But was it? The genesis of fascism is practically in our human DNA. It has always been with us. Neoliberalism is just the latest soft-sell. And it’s going off the rails. Because it is economically unbalanced. Dysfunctional economics creates dysfunctional societies creates dysfunctional government creates even more dysfunctional economics. It’s practically knee-jerk. It’s more like fascism is a vicious circle. But, just imo, Germany did an interesting conversion after WW2. They accepted their own aggression (which was not theirs alone but none of the other “powers” wanted to admit it…) and changed their society structurally. Much like Liz Warren emphasizes we must do. She doesn’t put this particular point on it – it’s just left hanging there for us to choose to look at it. Now Germany is still pretty authoritarian but it is a successfully functioning democracy and it causes no wars; it promotes good science and good politics. It is definitely neoliberal but it isn’t blinded by it. It doesn’t seem to be allowing the far-right of the political spectrum overtake the social democracy they have chosen to live by. Not that Germany is perfect. It just seems to be far less retarded and reactionary than the rest of us. So where is our focus?

  30. Eclair

    Yves, or it may have been one of our commenters, observed the other day that Sanders was not running against Biden, he was running against The System. Which remains firmly in place if either Trump is reelected or Biden triumphs. Both parties are the twin horns sprouting from the devil’s head of oligarchic / corporate control.

    Will Bezos or Bloomberg or Buffet …. or for that matter, Gates or Zuckerberg, be materially affected by who wins the presidency? Do the Walmarts or the Kochs really care who wins? Only at the margins. Will JP Morgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs lose in either case?

    As a nation, divided, we, the little people, have lost trust in the government. If Biden wins, we have the rabid right-wingers with guns screaming about individual rights. And abortion. If Trump wins, we have the rabid liberals, armed with vituperous words, screaming the next version of RussiaRussiaRussia. Meanwhile, the moneyed class goes happily about their daily job of sucking wealth from an increasingly oppressed working (and unemployed) class. For them, the government is the big lever of power enabling them to extract ever more wealth, and they will be busy, fashioning and reshaping laws to funnel these gains only to the chosen.

    Elections are a sham. The real power lies with the oligarchs. And, they have apparently forgotten, or never learned, that for The System to keep functioning, they must share; the wealth, the power, the hope for a better future.

    “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”

    1. jake

      Real power” may lie with oligarchs, but is it your actual straight-faced contention that public policy has no consequences?

      Civil rights and first amendment protections, Medicare, clean air and water efforts, nuclear treaties, what remains of the New Deal — none of it matters, because the DNC are neo-liberal shills?

      I can’t imagine what sort of life would privilege any American who wasn’t an oligarch to believe that nothing matters, or for whom public policy would have no personal consequences.

      1. Eclair

        Jake, public policy, public health, the commons … whatever … all matter.
        And, what remains of the New Deal, emphasis on ‘remains.’
        Freedom of the press …. when the ‘press’ is owned by a few corporate entities?

        The ‘right of the people to peaceably assemble;’ you might ask the Occupy movement, or the Lakota people at Standing Rock, about that. Yeah, I know, they catch them on the ‘peaceably.’ And, state legislatures declare assembling to protest the forcible intrusion of a pipeline over their territories to be a felony offense.

        Civil rights, again you might ask the Black men, or more likely their survivors, beaten or killed by police.

        Clean air and water, again, ask Flint residents, the Standing Rock people who really would rather not have their drinking water source polluted by … wait …. crude oil leaking from corporate pipelines. Corporate agriculture is the leading source of water pollution in the US, under the leadership of either party.

        It is not that ‘nothing matters.’ It is that The System has chosen to forget us. The System is eternal; emperors, kings, the ruling class …. but they have to share, to throw us, not just crumbs, but pieces of the cake, and, occasionally a juicy steak. To allow us the hope that our children will be better off than we are. Once they stop sharing and even caring … that is when elections become a sham.

        That is the point, maybe not all at once, but gradually, like dawn in the high desert, where the the night imperceptibly turns, through lighter and lighter shades of gray, to a brilliant dawn, when objects become startlingly clear. And the shadows they cast are black as ink. At which point, we realize the illegitimacy of the current ruling class. The withdrawal of consent to be ruled may take many forms; apathy, churlishness, anger, violence, denial, depression, bargaining. Or, all of these.

    2. Oh

      Elections are a sham. The real power lies with the oligarchs.”

      I’m getting convinced that voting is not going to get us nowhere fast, when the votes can be counted in the oligarchs’ favor.

      1. xkeyscored

        I’d say real power resides in us and the oligarchs, but they’re organised in keeping theirs, even if they stab each other in the back whenever it’s to their advantage. We have to organise our power, and use it against the oligarchs, not waste it all on elections. I’m not saying don’t vote, but I don’t expect it to change much without us forcing or enabling the winner to challenge them.

        I think Lukács said something like “The proletariat is revolutionary, or it is nothing.” Voting might be worthwhile, but it’s hardly revolutionary, and expending all our energy trying to persuade the working class that choosing Biden over Trump, or vice versa, is the best we can hope for certainly isn’t.

  31. Fergus Hashimoto

    Surveillance of Muslims is a hot-button issue. People who oppose it claim that it violates Muslims’ right to freedom of religion. That may be so, but the US Constitution contains numerous other provisions apart from freedom of worship, and if any other provision conflicts with freedom of worship, then the executive or the courts must decide which provision is mor important, i.e. which provision overrides the other. Freedm of worship is not absolute. Specifically the government has a mandate of constitutional rank — even though if might not even be specifically set forth in the Constitution — to protect the safety of the population.
    In its investigation of the mafia, the FBI often conducted surveillance of Catholic churches, which were a favorite haunt of mafiosi. I do not recall any complaints being made by Catholics.
    In the Wikipedia article “Terrorism in the US”
    we read: “A 2017 report by The Nation Institute and Center for Investigative Reporting looked at the terrorist incidents in the US between 2008 and 2016.[9] It found:[10]
     115 Far right inspired terror incidents … caused 79 deaths.
     63 Islamist inspired terror incidents. … caused 90 deaths.
     19 incidents inspired by left-wing ideologies … caused 7 deaths.”
    So over a 9-year period, Muslim terrorists killed 90 people and non-Muslim terrorists killed 86 people. So Muslim terrorists killed slightly more people than non-Muslim terrorists.
    Muslims make up 1% (one per cent) of the US population.
    Accordingly Muslims are roughly 100 times as likely to become terrorists and kill people as non-Muslims. This is prima facie a reasonable motive to subject Muslims to surveillance.
    In Spain in 2017, a group of Muslim teenagers without any police record in a small town in northern Catalonia called Ripoll hatched a terrorist plot that eventually killed 21 people in Barcelona, but was actually intended to kill many more. People who object to surveillance of Muslims demand that surveillance be conducted only on Muslims with a criminal record or who are suspects in some criminal investigation, or are otherwise exceptional. The Barcelona terrorist attack of August 2017 proved that deadly terrorist attacks can be made by practically any Muslim. Therefore widespread surveillance of Muslims seems a reasonable measure.

    1. John A

      As US and its ally Israel have killed muslims on a massive ratio compared to the numbers killed by muslims, do you concede, in any respect, that muslims might be motivated to seek revenge? And that if the US and Israel stopped terrorising muslims, there would be less ‘blowback’?

      That would be a far more reasonable measure than mass surveilance.

    2. mrsyk

      Ok big brother. Personally, I’m thinking universal surveillance via your iPhone is how things work these days.
      Seriously though Fergus, did you just advocate surveillance based on religion? By the way 52% of those deaths (Muslim terrorist caused) were from the Pulse night club event, that the perpetrator was Muslim seems not to be relevant.

  32. Nancy E. Sutton

    I’m sick of the Bernie bashing… you think he doesn’t remember that the ‘opposition’ are assassins?.. they are experts. I’m 73, and I’ve worked hard for years… for honest elections (after 2001), Howard Dean, pot legalization (ACLU stabbed us in the back on that one), Bernie & many others, phone calling, signature collecting, voter registration, doorbelling, etc, etc…. I’m tired. AND I’m going to write in Bernie’s name in November… and, no! to the idiots who say it will help Trump… the DNC is guaranteeing his election … have you learned nothing yet????? And none of us are demanding honest elections. THANK YOU ANIS!

    (Maybe when this current ‘Bailout Redux’ has us eating grubs, we will wake up?) (BTW – remember, for temperate climates, potatoes & cabbages grow themselves and overwinter, plus poultry (esp ducks for the fat).. the weeds will give us vits and mins .. wool is warmest, and when we aren’t being brainwashed, we help one another – ‘A Paradise Built in Hell’)

  33. sharonsj

    Nice to know I’m not the only one who thinks the Democratic Party (and the Republicans too) need to be burnt to the ground. I am writing in Bernie’s name for my state primary and then probably voting Green in the general.

    The pandemic is pushing us into a depression. One-third of renters have stopped paying rent. Two million homeowners stopped paying their mortgage. About 5 million car loans were already three months in arrears. WalletHub estimates 46 million Americans will miss making credit card payments. Maybe this will be the turning point for the average American to realize that neither party gives a damn about them.

    1. MichaelC

      I think you’ve hit on a significant difference between the coronavirus economic collapse vs the 2008 financial collapse.
      In 2008 the banks were bailed out, so their tyranny of credit scoring prevailed. As individuals, protecting one’s score might be the only protection in a return to normalcy,
      In this round, given the widespread collapse in all industries and the threat of prolonged unemployment across all sectors, rational citizens will simply rent/credit card./any kind of debt obligation strike, credit scores be damned.
      If the economy collapses and there are no jobs, the rentiers will be forced to renegotiate rents/debts.
      Debts that cannot be repaid, will not be repaid.
      i don’t expect a return to normalcy any time soon, so I don’t expect I’ll need to maintain a line of credit based on my credit score to be a major factor in surviving the next few years.
      Given the announced massive loss provisions by the banks , they are recognizing the power debtors have over them.
      I’m no longer fearful of late paying my rent/phone/cable biill/electric/gas bill on time under threat of having a late payment ding my credit score.if I have no job and am husbanding my liquid assets.

      If that ding is a toothless threat, we can rethink the power we have to negotiate and influence lawmwakers to develop an equitable way out of this econic/health ccrisis.

  34. Left in Wisconsin

    They are all but compelling us to leave the party. Will we have the imagination to do so at last in a mass exodus?

    I love a good rant but after all the ranting, this is what is left. I’m curious as to who the author, or the commenters who heartily agree with him, thinks “we” are, how many of “us” there are, and how many of that sub-group are willing to do the work of trying to build a 3rd party. Imagination is doing a lot of work in this post, but not in the way the author thinks it is.

  35. Tom Denman

    “Elections are a sham. The real power lies with the oligarchs.”

    That is unquestionably true. And now the oligarchy, having lost its legitimacy, is taking new steps in dispensing with the fig leafs of democratic political processes and free speech.

    Howie Hawkins’ campaign says that Twitter has suspended its account on grounds of “impersonation,” without offering supporting facts or any avenue of appeal. [1,2]

    Regardless of how they view Hawkins’ candidacy, everyone ought to be frightened of such blatant and heavy handed censorship.

    [1] https://howiehawkins.us/twitter-reinstatement-petition/

    [2] https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/apr/18/green-party-candidate-accuses-twitter-of-censorshi/

    1. Oregoncharles

      I hadn’t heard that, and I get their emails. However, this is really nothing new; Twitter and the others have been flagrantly interfering with our elections at least the last couple of years.

      Petition signed. Thanks

  36. worm wood

    Any electoral strategy for changing the structure of power in the U.S. is no longer realistic.
    There is now a mechanism firmly in place that ensures the same agenda continues from one presidential administration to another.
    it is this mechanism which now must be confronted directly.

    1. m sam

      Certainly true. But in Lambert’s famous equation, the phrase, mechanism which now must be confronted directly, is doing a lot of work here.

    2. Oregoncharles

      It’s called the duopoly, one party with two wings.

      Let’s review party affiliation – https://news.gallup.com/poll/15370/party-affiliation.aspx – essentially the percentage of those polled who will admit that they belong to one party or the other. It’s presently 30% each, so independents – everyone else – are 40%. That’s a substantial plurality. Affiliation has been lower, down around 25% each, just last year.

      This actually means that we no longer HAVE major parties, although we still permit them to control our electoral system. If it goes below 25% each, making independents the majority, that will constitute a collapse of the party system. Evidently, we’re well on our way, and the present devil’s choice the duopoly offers us could easily push the system off the edge.

      We can hope.

  37. habenicht

    A couple of things:

    1. Great post by author. Thorough, on point and well documented.

    2. A refrain I read on this site (and alluded to in the post) is that the gold standard of voting is “hand marked paper ballots counted in public.” On this point Tim Canova (DWS primary challenger) has a petition on this very topic (needs 100K signatures by 4/26)


    Leading experts have concluded that nearly every electronic voting machine in the USA is inherently vulnerable to outside hacking and insider manipulation of software that’s not even subject to public inspection. Even in states that use paper ballots, votes are counted by feeding the ballots through electronic scanning machines that can be hacked & the software rigged.

    On March 6, 2018, President Trump proposed a system of paper ballots to secure our elections.

    Please sign this petition requesting that President Trump act now to safeguard our elections with an Executive Order, pursuant to inherent & statutory national emergency powers, requiring the November 2020 federal elections be conducted with hand-marked Paper Ballots that are counted by hand in public by We the American People.


  38. Oregoncharles

    Sure. Now what?

    “Left in Wisconsin” is right: there’s a lot of work to be done. An alternative exists, but it’s only on the ballot in about 20 states. Oregon is one of them (preens a little), so I’m not in a position to work on ballot access directly. The pandemic and social distancing make it MUCH more difficult to gather signatures, necessary in most of the remaining states (yes, the system is rigged). The Howie Hawkins campaign (howiehawkins.us) is working on court challenges; those take money, something in very short supply on the Left. (By endorsing Biden, Bernie withholds his money and organization from any attempt at an alternative.)

    To gather signatures in these conditions, you have to get people to download the signature forms, sign them, hopefully with others, and mail them to you. I just did that for an initiative here in Oregon, but frankly, I don’t think it’s going to work.

    The earliest anyone serious is suggesting for reopening is the middle of May – a month or more off.

  39. BobWhite

    If the Dems really viewed the “Orange Man” as the terrible POTUS they claim, they would not have passed almost everything he wanted… military budget expansion, the latest billionaire giveaway, judge appointments, etc, etc.

    What they really do not want is to move left – not even a little – even if that results in a Trump victory. The whole thing is just kabuki theater, all to keep the wealth at the top, including themselves…

    “It’s A Big Club And You Ain’t In It” – George Carlin

    1. Lambert Strether

      > What they really do not want is to move left – not even a little – even if that results in a Trump victory.

      The Democrats want victory but not at any price.* And as you point out, one price they will not pay is moving left. Hence, Biden’s operators just instigated a race to the bottom with Trump on China — the ground having been prepared a week or so ago by, hard to imagine but true, planted stories from the intelligence community in WaPo and the Times — which is about the stupidest campaign tactic I can think of in a long, long time, comparable to when they put Mike Dukakis in a tank.

      NOTE * Meaning, in fact, that, faced with a ruthless enough opponent, they don’t want victory.

  40. political economist

    Here is how I would think about the issues of whether to vote and who or what party to vote for.
    Those who sincerely hold leftists views realize that present-day society has a rigged political side in which decisions are controlled by the ruling class and that voting in a general election will have at best a limited impact on decision-making and policies in the near term and will only contribute to a significant positive effect in the future under some conditions. Agreement on this general outline leaves a lot of room for disagreement on this voting issue. For example, one person back in 2016 might hold that H Clinton’s support for breaking international laws regarding Syria and Honduras would make voting for her a vote to increase the risk of nuclear war with Russia, no result could be worse, and even if she avoided nuclear war her bellicose attitude to international norms would imply a further walk down the road to authoritarianism. Others would belittle these ideas totally or hold that Trump has done more harm than she would have. They would point out that Trump has broken more Presidential norms than Clinton would ever have dared to. Still, others would claim that the ruling class is holding Trump in check and his war record is better than most Presidents. When it comes to figuring out two personalities there is always a lot of uncertainty. There is a lot to consider in deciding who is the “better” candidate and honestly no one will ever find alternative universes to convince everyone that one decision is clearly superior.
    However, of all the judgments needed on this questoin, the most important consideration of who is the “better” person to vote for is actually the least considered: what the long-term consequences will be. For example, let’s go back to the election of 2008. Let’s imagine that McCain were elected (based say on the basis that he opposed the Bush Wall Street bailout bill that Obama backed and picked a better running mate). McCain might have followed the Obama path of austerity and bailing out Wall Street over Main Street. If so, he could not have blamed the Republicans as Obama did in his victory of Romney and a progressive Democrat would have a good chance to win the election in 2016. He might instead have rejected austerity and Wall Street and even encouraged green jobs. Who knows. If he did that, it would have put the nail in the coffin of austerity. The point I want to make here is either way Trump would not now be in office. So, one could reasonable argue that the election of Obama in 2008 made the election of Trump in 2016 possible, if not inevitable.
    Turning to the primary, Sanders opened up the standard political conversation to progressive ideas that are indeed the policies desired by the majority. This was important and he was especially successful in 2016 in this regard. Perhaps he would have won then or even this year if he had run a better campaign. He certainly failed miserably in his defense of single payer. And, he never tied his anti-neoliberal policies together in a neat clear package that would make his “social democracy” desirable to almost anyone in the “99%”. (He could have said something like this: “This election is about neoliberalism, the promotion of profits over all else with the result of superprofits for the few and low-wage job creation for the many — great wealth and plenty of crappy jobs — that’s what we have now. I’m advocating for social democracy, providing a foundation for everyone to get an education without huge debt, to get healthcare with no surprise billing, to support job creation in clean energy, healthcare, and education and to tax businesses that pollute or have gained excessive power by skirting rules, and to tax people according to the extent they have benefited from living in our nation. The point is that voting in the primary of the more progressive party can under the correct circumstances be very important because it is possible to reveal and discuss the foundations of what a good society is and how close the current situation is to that ideal. Candidates who does this should be encouraged. If they do not, they should not be. Should crappy candidates of the “better” party be supported in the general election? As noted, there is no obvious answer to that question. Obviously, they should be punished for lying and continuing the fraud. Perhaps, depending on the circumstances there are circumstances in which they should be supported. If not, it still may make sense to vote for a third party that is supportive of policies and analyses that are reasonable.
    To be specific, the final point I will make is that Sanders certainly was worth backing because he presented a package of policies that appealed to a majority of voters, policies attacked by the elites. This showed that primary elections can bring attention to issues and even more for painting an alternate and more honest picture of reality. Unfortunately, Sanders was an imperfect vehicle for doing this, particularly for the latter. So, certainly if there is candidate like Sanders voting is important. Even if the powers that be attack these ideas and policies, people know they are valid and so irrelevant counterattacks to them will be made. Sanders did not deal with them at all well. He never mentioned the savings by age group for single payer, for example, that people on Medicare would save over $125,000 in retirement. That no individual policy needs to be “paid for” as now everyone should know. That the tax issue is a matter of general policy that should be guiding by taxing products and services that are harmful , taxing businesses according to market structure and whether they are gaining excess profits, and people according to how much they have benefited from working in the United States.
    So, yes, I did vote in the primary for Bernie and will vote in the general election for the Green Party.

    1. Berto

      I voted for Clinton in 2016, in protest of the Green Party nominating Jill Stein as their Presidential candidate. Say what you will about Clinton, but she at least knows where the countries are on a map.

  41. Ranger Rick

    Saw a “Literally anyone else” bumper sticker today, right next to one labeled “Vote Blue”.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  42. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for this, Bernie Sanders: “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” ― George Bernard Shaw

    The virus as analogue and prologue?…

    Arundhati Roy in the Financial Times:

    [U]nlike the flow of capital, this virus seeks proliferation, not profit, and has, therefore, inadvertently, to some extent, reversed the direction of the flow. It has mocked immigration controls, biometrics, digital surveillance, and every other kind of data analytics, and struck hardest — thus far — in the richest, most powerful nations of the world, bringing the engine of capitalism to a juddering halt. Temporarily perhaps, but at least long enough for us to examine its parts, make an assessment and decide whether we want to help fix it, or look for a better engine.

    The mandarins who are managing this pandemic are fond of speaking of war. They don’t even use war as a metaphor, they use it literally. But if it really were a war, then who would be better prepared than the US? If it were not medical protective face masks and gloves that its frontline soldiers needed, but guns, smart bombs, bunker busters, submarines, fighter jets and nuclear bombs, would there be a shortage? …

    What is this thing that has happened to us? It’s a virus, yes. In and of itself it holds no moral brief. But it is definitely more than a virus… Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality”, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality.

    Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.”

  43. Some Guy in Shanghai

    This post really highlights the Good Cop, Bad Cop game that the parties are engaged in.

    Even the best educated and most intelligent people I know, who acknowledge the situation, will ultimately do what the Blue cop tells them to do.

    It’s obvious that the only way to end the game is for more people to stop playing, given the fact of ballot-access laws that prevent alternative choices.

    I’ve asked this question a lot of times: How few people have to vote before an election can no longer credibly claim legitimacy? I’d like to see it tested. Something like half of eligible voters bother to show up for the general election.

    Have any game theorists worked out this game? It feels like a variation of the prisoner’s dilemma

    1. Oregoncharles

      ” the fact of ballot-access laws that prevent alternative choices.” Being technical here: while they certainly make alternatives more difficult – that is their purpose – they do not “prevent” them. Even with a relatively small party, Jill Stein got on the ballot in 45 states, enough to have a shot at winning in the Electoral College – or just causing havoc there. First of all, that took a huge effort that conflicted with actual campaigning. I believe Ross Perot got on every ballot; that took a lot of money, plus the advantage of being a celebrity of sorts.

      Yet even with the choice between Clinton and Trump, and even though she’s a far more attractive figure than either of them, she got very few votes (granted, there was probably a good deal of cheating).

      My point: ballot access is a problem, one I dwell on a lot, but not the BIG problem: that one is in people’s heads. Most of us, even some here on NC, still haven’t escaped the Two-Party assumption. It’s a classic self-fulfilling prophecy; new parties “can’t win” – precisely because people BELIEVE that they can’t, and vote accordingly. It’s a bad habit, and a reason, I think the main reason, why we don’t have a functioning democracy.

      I wish I knew how we’re going to escape that trap; you’d think a long succession of electoral Sophie’s Choices would do it, but not yet. I’d rather we didn’t devolve into violence, which is where we’re headed as is.

  44. K teh

    Obviously, I am trespassing on sacred ground.

    Bernie has always worked for the slumlords though.

  45. attila the hun

    First of all, when Trump has a fanatical base of approximately forty percent, please explain how the emergence of a third party could possibly do anything but guarantee the defeat of the Democratic candidate. Secondly, how can any rational person blame Sanders for not hesitating to back Biden. If he procrastinated, he would become the perfect scapegoat, if or when Biden is defeated. Just look at the way Clinton attempts to blame Sanders for her defeat. He waited too long to endorse me. He wasn’t enthusiastic enough. Nobody likes him, etc., etc. I’m sure he’s too tired and frustrated at this point to want the added aggravation of being accused by Democratic Party big wigs of causing Biden’s defeat.

    1. m sam

      guarantee the defeat of the Democratic candidate

      Sounds like Democrats are in quite a pickle. They chose Biden because he was more “electable,” yet you make it sound like he might not get enough votes to be elected. Would it be going too far to suggest that if third party bids could sink him then perhaps Biden isn’t very electable after all? I mean, it seems like there is a large disconnect between “Biden is the most electable” and “Biden could be defeated by third parties.”

      I agree it’s not your run-of-the mill problem, Biden’s electability. If only there were things the Democrats could do to lure voters away from third parties. Right?

      Also, Sanders will be blame regardless of what he does, just like in 2016.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Sanders would have been blamed for [Democrat candidate, presumably Biden]’s defeat no matter what he did. Why on earth would anybody assume the Democrat Establishment is acting in good faith?

      The left being nice to liberals works as well as liberals being nice to conservatives.

    3. Felix_47

      Ultimately Sanders became too old. He lost the fire. He is going for the lesser evil. Interestingly, Joe Biden has earned at least 15 million dollars since leaving office if you want to call it that. His pension is a million per year. His speaking fee is 100 to 200000 per speech. Health insurance stocks bumped 30% right after Super Tuesday. Elections now are basically about which special interests you feel like voting for. Since both parties are for more FIRE and big Law I can’t vote for them any more. I can’t remember who ran against Obama the first time but my mistake was voting for Obama. It should have been anything but blue.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        This is completely unfair. What happened to him was the electoral equivalent of being shoved into an alley and repeatedly punched by goons. And the goons drained all the gas from the tank of his car.

        After what Lambert has called the night of long knives, Sanders has no winning strategy, and no leverage over the Dems, particularly with coronavirus eliminating his ability to hold rallies on key possible platform issues, his only possible remaining pressure point.

  46. SteveB

    Read the quoted words, you’ve read them in history books, it is time you read them again:

    ” When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness”

  47. Societal Illusions

    And as asked earlier, what will it take?

    The well shared responses to this article are devastatingly consistent.

    Are we lesser men and women today than those who decided enough was enough before?

    Have we been defeated by the programming of our incessant media?

    I clearly lack the courage to risk my freedom as servitude has been safer.

    So when does the risk of the status quo outweighed the risk of freedom, and courage compels action, not mere words?

  48. WheresOurTeddy

    The last Democrat worth voting for was FDR

    The last Republican worth voting for was TR

    Trash for 75 years straight

  49. everydayjoe

    Biden voted for Iraq war. That did it for me. The Democratic party acts as if the voter has a choice. Any color is good as long as it is black was what Henry Ford reportedly said. This has been the pickings for liberal and progressive voters. Take it or leave it. America needs Bernie but alas he inflicted self damage by calling himself a Socialist Democrat. This shows he was not serious. Socialists dont win elections in US. Bernie knows this and he still promoted himself as such. I dont get it.

Comments are closed.