‘No More Hiding’: Sanders Says Make GOP Vote on Popular Policies

Yves here. Many readers like to criticize Sanders. But he lost by attempting a hostile takeover of a party as an outsider. And unlike Trump, he was faced by a party used to playing dirty tricks to stomp on the left, and did not have the advantages Trump had of national name recognition and perceived executive ability thanks to 14 years as a reality TV star, the ability to lend lots of money to the campaign, and use of a big private jet (which made a big difference in barnstorming in the last six weeks before the 2016 election; Trump did nearly 50% more campaign stops).

The very fact that Sanders, an independent, is having to step into a Senate leadership vacuum with respect to the Biden bills, speaks volumes about the seriousness of party commitment to its claimed priorities as well as just plain disfunction.

Mind you, we said quite a while back that when a deal takes too long to get done, it acquires an aura of failure. The Biden Build Back Better bill (what an uninspiring name!) was clearly in trouble as of September. Yet the Dems are still acting like they think they can carry that corpse across the finish line. So Sanders flushing out the opposition, be it Democratic or Republican, will be salutary. If nothing else, it might force this charade to come to an end.

By Jake Johnson. Originally published at Common Dreams

Voicing exasperation with monthsof fruitless backroom talks over the Build Back Better Act, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday demanded floor votes on individual pieces of the stalled legislation in order to force Republicans—and right-wing Democrats—to go on the record opposing policies with widespread public support.

Sanders (I-Vt.), the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, wrote in an op-edfor The Hill that “amazingly, there have been no votes” in the Senate on the Build Back Better package, the House-passed version of which includes an extension of the boosted child tax credit, a plan to lower sky-high prescription drug prices, and significant investments in renewable energy, child care, housing, and other Democratic priorities.

“The result: the Republican Party is able to escape responsibility for their reactionary positions and is now laughing all the way to likely political success in the 2022 elections,” the Vermont senator warned. “Here’s a radical idea for the Senate, ‘the world’s greatest deliberative body.’ Let’s vote. Let’s have every Republican and Democrat take a position on some of the most important issues facing the working families of this country.”

Republicans haven’t exactly been quiet about their opposition to the Build Back Better package as a whole. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has repeatedly derided the bill as a “liberal wish list,” and House Republicans unanimously voted againstt he $1.75 trillion measure in November.

But Sanders argued that making Republicans cast votes on singular components of the legislation that are supported even by a large percentage of GOP voters—such as a plan allowing Medicare to negotiate medicine prices directly with pharmaceutical companies—would be good politics for the Democratic Party and beneficial for the country.

“Eighty-three percent of the American people support empowering the federal government to negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry to lower prescription drug prices,” Sanders noted Wednesday. “What do the Republicans think? Are they prepared to stand up to the greed of the pharmaceutical industry which charges us the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs?”

“Let’s vote and find out,” the senator wrote.

Sanders made the same demand of other portions of the Build Back Better Act, from Medicare expansion to paid family leave to tax hikes on the rich to climate action—all of which, the senator argued, have strong backing from the U.S. public.

“This is an enormously difficult moment for the struggling working class of our country, and the Senate needs to act,” he wrote. “In our democracy, the American people have a right to know where their senators stand on the most important issues impacting their lives. No more endless ‘negotiations.’ No more hiding behind closed doors. Let’s vote.”

Sanders’ op-ed was published as Democratic leaders signaled plans to revive the Build Back Better Act in some form—and potentially with a different name—after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) killed an earlier iteration of the bill and demanded that the party start “from scratch,” taking even his own counterproposal off the table.

In a last-ditch push to make progress on a central element of his domestic policy agenda, President Joe Biden has suggested breaking up the Build Back Better package and attempting to pass “big chunks” of it, including green energy provisions. But it’s unclear whether such a strategy would be workable, given the constraints of the budget reconciliation process.

“What the president calls ‘chunks,’ I would hope would be a major bill going forward. It may be more limited, but it is still significant,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters last week. “This is a reconciliation bill. So when people say let’s divide it up… No, they don’t understand the process.”

With the path forward for Democrats’ main legislative priority highly uncertain and as key pandemic relief programs continue to lapse, Sanders and progressive activists have vocally warned in recent days that the party could face disaster in the fast-approaching midterm elections.

“After six months of ‘negotiating’ behind closed doors with these two conservative Democratic senators, there is widespread understanding that this strategy has failed not only from a policy point of view, but politically as well,” Sanders wrote in an email to supporters Wednesday, referring to Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

“The base of the Democratic Party is now demoralized and, according to many polls, Republicans stand a strong chance of winning the House and the Senate in the 2022 elections,” the Vermont senator continued. “We need a new direction, a new approach. We need to show the American people that we are prepared to stand up and fight for the working families of this country.”

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  1. Dave

    “Yves here. Many readers like to criticize Sanders. But he lost by attempting a hostile takeover of a party as an outsider. And unlike Trump, he was faced by a party used to playing dirty tricks to stomp on the left”

    Well then why did Sanders try again after the Democrat party hijinks in 2016? Was he honestly fooled by their promises of having changed? And why did he quietly acquiesce to party elders prematurely turning out the lights on the primary in 2020 even as covid handed him the best possible scenario for campaigning for Medicare for All? We should have had a contested convention with Sanders perhaps holding the deciding delegates for bargaining. Whatever Bernie thought he was, in his own mind, he functioned as a sheepdog preventing a 3rd party. Best of luck to him with his new career status.

    1. MP

      The present can only be comprised of elements that are directly preceded in the past, as tautological as that sounds. We had a third-party movement under Nader, and the result was not only a failure but a complete crystallization in the minds of your average voter that third parties are spoilers. We know now based on 2020 that what voters think is important wills it into existence. You also have the decimated labor movement but the inklings of hope out of Occupy and BLM. Based on those historical precedents there was no other alternative than the funneling of these priorities into national presidential electoralist aims. Was he wrong to go at it again in 2020? No, because I don’t think it was all a lost cause: people on television genuinely got spooked by a socialist winning primaries, even despite their vast power advantage. And if you look at the descendants of 2020, you see organizers at Starbucks, for example. So again I don’t even think it’s fair to view him as an individual making right or wrong choices, but as a historical trend representing whatever we call the working class’ political expression. That he failed was merely an expression of material circumstances, and I imagine a Sanders analog running in 2032 with, say, a nation of unionized service employees and gig workers would change the structure of the game, while also again internalizing the lessons of what preceded, so it may not even be electoral in nature.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        BLM as an “inkling of hope?”

        Not hardly: BLM’s emergence – facilitated by Teach For America/charter school shills like DeRay McKesson and Britney Packnett – in 2014 did nothing to prevent the Right’s advance in 2016, and the spasm of demonstrations and riots after George Floyd’s murder, leading to the politically poisonous Defund The Police idiocy (Eric Adams election in NYC as Exhibit A), is going to help lead to further reactionary advances.

        A hashtag is not a movement, especially one created by political entrepreneurs – search under “Patrice Cullours Real Estate” for evidence of such – and we’re likely to become painfully aware of that in the next couple of years.

        Absent victories by the labor movement, BLM and the “Racial Reckoning” of 2020 will continue to be what they have been so far: a jobs program for the Black PMC and “white ally” entrpreneurs like Robin D’Angelo, and a political death sentence for the Left.

        1. MP

          There is a fundamental difference between Black Lives Matter the grassroots movement of the working class, and the representation of people like DeRay that inevitably bubble up to the top of liberal society. The idea that people getting to the streets to argue that it is wrong that their schools are crumbling and their hospitals are closing while the police are literally getting military hardware and sound cannons and surveillance equipment is somehow “bad” is to only perceive movements effective insofar as they do not inspire backlash. Revolt necessarily leads to counter-revolt, and once again we are talking about movements inscribed within neoliberal capitalism, as Occupy was as well. There is no countervailing opposition or dual power to rival the state, to capitalism, beyond people venting their frustration in spectacle. Once again, protests look quite different alongside a trade unionist movement that puts the hammer behind mere street disruptions. I do not view any expression of voice within the working class as a bad thing, no matter how much that inevitably leads to cooptation; MLK is a watered down symbol in the exact same form, but it was still, again, a positive representation of working class political expression that was also incredibly unpopular and led to an even more significant backlash, if not one of the main cudgels to get consent for neoliberalism itself. Does that mean it was a waste of their time? No. The reactionary advances and backlashes are merely petit-bourg/bourgeoise political expressions, the dominant political expression to begin with, just as PMC self-soothing is its own political expression and prerogatives. But as I said, I am focusing on the locus of working class expression, and there the historical through line runs through Zuccotti Park and Ferguson/NoDAPL to Bernie.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            I’ll grant you a narrative line runs through them; it remains to be seen if a historically material line does. I have many doubts it will.

            Both Occupy and BLM have had no institutional traction whatsoever. In the case of BLM, you can say that’s because it’s been hijacked by Capital, but I’d argue it was from the beginning at best a genuine but strategically misguided impulse, and at worst a vehicle that seems to attract entrepreneurial posers.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Occupy was crushed in a 17 city coordinated paramilitary crackdown a mere two months after it started. The fact that the 99%/1% meme has held despite its short existence is a plenty big accomplishment.

        2. flora

          It’s an extension of the oppressor/oppressed grievance politics which seems to come down to “I’m getting mine by virtue of my sanctimony, to heck you ‘others’ .” “I’m getting mine” is a pretty mainstream US economic outlook, but it’s hard to put a believable moral/ethical disguise on that economic game. Americans appreciate a good con, withing limits. Patrice got hers. The millions of working class Black Americans? Not so much. / ;)

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          Your history of BLM is abjectly false.

          BLM was and organic movement whose innovative (in the non-cynical sense of the word) tactics, most of all die-ins, were not only getting favorable press but even more important, significant participation by whites and other people of color.

          It was then co-opted by “liberal” money and organizers. There are still some local BLM groups that have not been infested.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            I participated in Die-Ins thirty-five years before BLM, so there’s not much tactical innovation there.

            And, yes, it had a quasi-organic beginning, one which was quickly undermined by the emergence of opportunistic hustlers, something real and healthy movements are less prone to. Hashtags, in contrast, not so much, based on the evidence so far.

            As for Occupy, the persistence of a slogan does not a movement make, other than that useful bit of rhetoric. Occupy has pretty much disappeared without a trace, especially as far as institutional impacts are concerned.

            Real movements led by veterans of Occupy and BLM may emerge, but that it speculative, and the spasmodic quality of BLM activities (where has all that “significant participation by whites” gone, since 2020, by the way? It’s awful quiet out there) and its tendency to attract and reward entrepreneurs is not encouraging.

            That “there are still some local BLM groups that have not been infested” is mighty thin gruel, even if true.

      2. Bazarov

        This ignores the other possibility–that Sanders run as an independent in 2020. Ross Perot, if he hadn’t dropped out of the race only to re-enter it!, could’ve won in 1992. The “past” here demonstrates that an independent run is quite viable, especially considering Sanders had his own fund raising apparatus up and running after 2016.

        That he didn’t do this is a blunder on his part. Machiavelli’s truism that you must pick a side still holds today. Is Sanders for the billionaire class or against? If he’s against, he can’t align himself with the world’s second most enthusiastic capitalist party and expect to come to much.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, ballot access is even more difficult now than then. Bloomberg, a far richer billionaire than Perot in real terms, first considered an independent run and ballot access was the big problem. Then he tried his Dem candidacy.

    2. Nikkikat

      Dave, I whole heartedly agree with you. Bernie might of been serious the first time. But the second run was a joke. I spent time at a local Sanders campaign office. The demoralization of the young people working there made me so sad. They worked so hard and basically he just gave up in exchange for recognition by the corporate Dems such as Schumer giving him a so called position in leadership. To me Bernie is a sell out and a sheep herder as you say above. I don’t even bother to pay any attention to the same old, same old from him. Everybody knew they were not going to do ANY of the the so called build back better crapola. I expect nothing from those jerks and the Joe Manchin game has worn very thin.

  2. dcblogger

    Bernie has been hosting a series of live streams about strikes and workers. He is using his considerable media outlets to boost our cause. Every month I recieve emails from Bernie asking to donate to strike support funds. His supporters are paying rent so that workers can remain on strike. I am so proud I supported him in 2016 and 2020. We lost the White House but we built a movement.

  3. Louis Fyne

    IMO, Sanders is getting “Tulsi Gabbard-ed” by Beltway media, that is given zero attention/soft blacklisted. Sanders is not showing up on any of my feeds or any MSM headlines “above the fold” on their websites

    1. caucus99percenter

      Scan the Daily Kickoff and other news articles on the “Jewish Insider” website?


      Which presumably studiously avoids covering Sen. Bernie Sanders because, though he may be Jewish, he has never been and will never ever be the kind of person that site’s decision-makers mean when they refer to someone as an “insider”…

      1. Dick Swenson

        I agree that Bernie simply didn’t get it with respect to the Dems, but there is another principal at work that the Reps understand also. It is, if you never pass any legislation except tax cuts, then you can never be accused of making a mistake.

  4. Big River Bandido

    Common Dreams eh? Another “progressive” front blog actively trying to tamp down the power of the left and channel its energies into the Democrat Party cesspool. This *fantastic* headline is typical of this outlet’s standard SOP of always “fighting” and always ginning up yet more hopium.

    The truth is that BBB is opposed by the Democrat leadership and almost all of the party “electeds”. This “effort” on Sanders’ part will go nowhere because his own party has zero interest in any agenda that doesnt service corporate interests. For this to have meant anything real, Sanders would have to attack the Democrat “leadership” directly — which is out of the question now that he’s part of it.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Attack Democrat “leadership” directly?

      This is exactly what Sanders did NOT do during his 2015-16 campaign. And we saw a repeat performance during 2019-20.

      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. That’s how I feel about my support for Bernie during those two campaigns.

      1. coboarts

        I also agree with you, and I no longer “like” B.S. Hmm, what’s that smell, oh, it’s the coffee.

      2. Oh

        Sanders disappointed a whole bunch of supporters giving them hope and then pulling out of the race. He knew fully well that the Dim party had all the shenanigans to keep him from making headway. Yet he took a meager offering of a leadership role in the Dim party and walked away. He has no guts and he likes to talk like a champion of the people and unions but he doesn’t walk the talk. Personally, I think the Dims had something on him and he had to quit.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          He pulled out of the race because about half his staff told him to. That meant they’d quit or not have their hearts in continuing.

          So it’s really off base for you to criticize him in the face of internal turncoats.

            1. John k

              Very few progressives are hired to work on dem campaigns, so few gain experience.
              It takes a large work, experienced work force to run a pres campaign, so perforce he had to hire many ‘liberals’. And when the campaign got into trouble they didn’t want to continue fighting the liberal party as it likely would hurt their future prospects.
              Once the campaign was lost he did what he could to salvage something from the wreckage; it’s better to have him in some position of power to continue pushing his ideas than as a single progressive senator. For starters, he can keep people thinking about the issues.

  5. Tom Stone

    The last few years have made it very clear that most Americans are no longer included in “Society”, a very painful lesson for those that thought they were “Middle Class” citizens.
    They don’t matter and their children don’t matter because Markets.
    They are now “Them”.
    And they will increasingly act like they have no stake in Society because they do not have a stake in “Society”.

    1. Sam Adams

      Absolute truth ^^^
      There is no meaningful participation left for the average American in the USA.
      It is only time that will bring down the geriatrics in charge.

      1. coboarts

        it isn’t just the geriatrics currently in charge. The problem is the deep structure and its rot. And the youth are being hypnotized to believe their worse nightmares are their dreams.

  6. lance ringquist

    bernie lost any leverage he may have had when he did not do what most politicians do, yes i pledged to support hillary in the election, i will vote for her, but i am running as a green to resurrect america’s civil society, and i urge my followers to vote their conscience.

    the nafta democrats would howl, but so what, they still howl at him. and the greens would have siphoned off enough votes so that maybe we would not be stuck with nafta democrats leading all three parts of the federal government.

    i said at the beginning of 2018 when the nafta democrats recaptured the house, that they had so little time left to distance themselves from nafta billy clintons disastrous polices, and they managed to impeach trump two times, i am unaware of them doing much else since 2018.

    this of course sets up 2022 as a possible electoral disaster. maybe if that had happened in 2016, we would perhaps have made some progress in running the nafta billys out of the democrat party.

  7. marym

    That something polls well among people who are polled doesn’t mean most people are watching closely to see how that connects to specific action in Congress.

    Making Republicans or Manchin-Sinema vote on separate bills won’t matter if there’s been no national campaign to give people a good, practical understanding of what’s actually in the bills, ask them to call their Senators, people actually putting pressure on their own Senators, and then a plan to communicate the results of the vote beyond a press statement that Congressmember X voted against Y,

    That takes a lot of work, and a lot of Democrats in Congress not hiding behind Manchin-Sinema. Sanders can’t do it on his own, though he’ll probably get blamed if however much he actually does isn’t sufficient. Maybe blame AOC too, she wore a funny dress once.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      That’s exactly Sanders’ point: get these corrupt politicians on record on the issues that matter to the people who will start paying attention again in November.

      1. marym

        There already was a Senate vote on BBB. The senators who voted against it are already on the record. What I gathered from twitter and twitter references to MSM (so it’s totally anecdata) is that it was mostly referred to as Biden’s tax and spend bill.

        I don’t mean to fault Sanders for proposing this approach. He is literally one person in the Senate and one of 7 in Congress as a whole. I have no idea how to change behavior in the Senate or how to have people demand more of their senators or vote for better candidates. Maybe just getting some press for trying to do this is all he can do within the boundaries of the Senate (I know he’s doing other good work in fundraising and education).

        I just don’t understand the relationship to an issue that polls well and people being well-informed that a specific proposal is up for a vote, the specific senators who voted against it, what people should be doing about it, how to publicize the vote afterward in some more meaningful way than thinking it will be a useful issue a few years from now when the senator is up for re-election. How do we get the senators “on the record” of doing anything more to promote and pass a bill besides voting for it when it isn’t going to pass?

        1. sj

          A monster BBB was flawed from conception. At the end it was pretty hollow. Many of the things Bernie talks about here weren’t even in bill (most?). The way I read this is he wants to take each of those things up individually without all the weight and means testing and watered down value and downright garbage that came with BBB. (It was not all bad, I get that. But it was only marginally good.) So a Senate vote on that was essentially meaningless. Manchin and Sinema were after all largely doing the dirty work of others as well as doing their own preening.,

          I would love to see individual bills with individuals votes on each of these things. Will it happen? Not if the corporate Dems can prevent it. And sadly, they probably can.

          1. marym

            Yes, I think that’s right that he does want to bring separate bills. My question is whether the goal of achieving some level of public accountability for their votes is possible, without a better approach to communication than what’s usual for the Democrats.

            Democrats don’t seem to get themselves on Sunday talk shows, control the narrative on twitter, etc. the way Republicans do. I’m assuming even though Sanders has become much more visible he can’t do it on his own.

            However, as I said I don’t really follow any of that closely, so it’s likely I don’t really have good judgment on this.

      2. Jen

        The lamentable Maggie Hassan is up for reelection in NH this year. She won by less than 1000 votes last time in a state where Hillary and both congresscritters won handily.

        I for one would be very happy have her forced to vote on every issue right now.

  8. KD

    The problem with Bernie is that he is 80 years old. Once the match goes out, who is there to follow in his wake? All the Progressive have gone all-in on id pol, its hard to imagine any of them getting out of a fundraising dinner at a volunteer fire station without making some huge gaffe. Its nice that Bernie is trying to do some good, but so the Dem’s get some ammunition into 2022, what would be the benefit of continuing this Schumer/Pelosi Congress, where they can’t get anything decent done all ready.

    If elites wanted to give average people access to decent affordable health care, they could do it tomorrow, and you can argue popularity but it would be popular even if its not now, as no one in the world wants the American health care system who has a different system. If elites wanted to prevent big pharma from ripping off tax payers, it would happen with a finger snap. Its not “right-wing Democrats”, the whole of Congress is basically “right-wing Democrats”, the question is who comes out of the closet from the safe district to catch the heat.

    It is not an issue of Dems vs. GOP, it is an issue of elites versus ordinary working people. Until someone represents the interests of the people, its all a bunch of charades.

  9. Michael

    Until the Big Donors are called out for supporting Pols who vote for increased military spending or not supporting lower drug prices, BS can scream what ever to no response. If the funding stream gets hit, then Pols will pay attention.

    Time to leave em twisting in the wind. Refuse to go to focus groups. Ignore campaign lit and surveys. Call out local bigshots for their hypocrisy. Treat them the way they treat us.

    Economic populism is the answer! Vote with your $$. And your labor. And your attention span. Refuse to talk politics with your friends and neighbors. Encourage them to join the boycott. Time to change tactics. We lost! R off

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I have one other suggestion for the electorally minded. If you notice one candidate taking more incoming than the others, vote for that candidate. Turn negative advertising into a positive for a candidate.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        And if the MSM tries to ambush that candidate with “scandals”, vote for that candidate also.

  10. philnc

    Maybe if the Democrats go down in 2022 they will be abandoned by their donors and no longer have the institutional to suppress third parties and sheepdog. With the Republicans in total control people will finally be forced to see that we live in an oligarchy. What will they decide to do (or not do) in response? Hopefully, bypass the discredited electoral popularity contests and get organized to meet the pressing needs of their neighbors and co-workers.

    The masses in America aren’t the uneducated hordes of the 18th century. They have more numerous and effective tools at their disposal than their ancestors at the start of the capitalist age. The owner class has no fallback from modern markets, with their fragile supply chains, and are more vulnerable than ever to boycotts and walkouts. Whether the owners are also vulnerable to demoralization from mass demonstrations of contempt for them in the process is hard to say. It’s also impossible to know if ordinary people will rise to the occasion and act. Michael Hudson and others don’t think so, and the owners are banking on their being right.

  11. outsidethelines

    The United States Senate long ago quit serving the people. Mitch McConnell famously said the it was he, and he alone, who decided what was allowed to be voted on.

    Schumer, in his own way, is doing the exact same thing.

    As presented in Bernie’s tweet:
    84% want to expand Medicare
    83% want Medicare to lower drug prices
    76% want to expand home healthcare
    73% want paid family leave
    71% want to tax the rich

    None of the above have ever been allowed a vote. All of the above have overwhelming Democratic support, as well substantial support of Republicans and Independents.

    Why would Democratic leadership oppose line item up or down votes on proposals hugely supported by the American people?

    Sanders is correct. The American public needs to understand who, exactly, stand in the way of actual democracy and a representative government.

    What, in God’s name, are the democrats waiting for? Here is a hint: when the BBB was being negotiated the first two items dropped from the BBB, with no explanation were expanding Medicare (84%) and Medicare negotiations to lower drug prices (83%). The legislative actions with the top two greatest amount, huge, public support were the first to be dropped? And with no explanation? Both related to health care, both of which offered great hope of improved lives for millions?

    Schumer, Pelosi and Biden did that. McConnell smiled.

    And now Sanders wants to make Schumer at least hold a vote on each one of them. Every single Democrat should support what Bernie is wanting to do. Unite 80+ percent of the country in supporting just the top two things, with 100% of Republicans opposed, and then explain to our nation who it is that is truly responsible for preventing democracy from working. That this hasn’t been done already tells me this is about money, Drug Industry and Health Care Industry money.

    When 80-plus percent of the voters support or demand something, good politics used to be giving them what they want. It hasn’t been that way for a very long time, regardless of which party was in charge. I hate to break this to Pelosi and Schumer and Biden, but the old way worked far better for Democrats as it was always clear that it was the Republican Party who did not want the masses having nice things. That needs to made clear again.

    1. Big River Bandido

      There isn’t a single Democrat in the Senate (Sanders is an independent) who supports those things. That’s the reason the BBB joke was doomed to fail from the start. Democrats don’t want a vote on these things either, which is why it’ll never happen.

      The sooner people wake up to that fact, the better.

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        > Democrats don’t want a vote on these things either, which is why it’ll never happen. The sooner people wake up to that fact, the better.


        Especially when Nancy “Two Scoops” decides what gets voted on.

        1. ChrisRUEcon

          My bad … this is Chuck the Shmuck … LOL

          House did approve. Two scoops if off the hook this time … ;-)

  12. JBird4049

    I think Bernie Sanders is not expecting success, but he does expect to expose both parties opposition to anything helping Americans instead of the elites, which can be useful in future efforts.

    1. ChrisPacific

      One of the things I like best about Sanders is his ability to see the bigger picture and define ‘success’ in terms other than getting legislation passed. The whole Democrat pretense that nothing is worth doing unless it can get past Congress and the Senate (and that it’s evil Republicans and/or faithless Democrat renegades who are preventing this) is a lie that they promote in order to justify protecting the status quo. As Bernie points out, that’s not how politics works. Gatekeepers from either party who oppose measures that are wildly popular with the public should be forced to go on record with a vote, and wear that vote like an albatross around their neck for the rest of their political career. Democrats know perfectly well how to play this game, but choose not to.

      This position from Sanders is a direct challenge to the whole “there’s no point bringing it for a vote because it will fail” philosophy. Democrats, of course, will resist because their whole MO is to run interference while deflecting blame elsewhere – but if Sanders keeps hitting the point, there’s a chance that more people will start to see this for the lie that it is.

  13. CarlH

    Yada, yada, yada. Bernie talks and tweets tough but that’s about all. So tired of he and the squads nuclear powered gaslighting.

    1. Nikkikat

      Agreed, it’s just a lot of worthless yapping like a chained dog. He has no bite. He could of been a contender…….but he chose not to!

  14. Otis B Driftwood

    For those who care, here’s what Sanders is actually doing besides “yada yada yada”.


    I am as disappointed as anyone in how quickly he folded his campaign in 2020, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t remain one of the only national politicians who gives a damn.

    1. Donald

      Agreed. I don’t get the Bernie hatred here. If it is actually possible for a third party leftist to win, then maybe someone should do it. Sanders genuinely tried— I don’t think he was perfect but who is?

    2. CarlH

      I’ll get back to you when me and my friends feel any of this blessed goodness in our real lives..

    1. Macnamichomhairle

      I worked on the county committee for Bernie since the mid 90s in his, until he won most Vermonters, second-most-important county, and when his campaigns were eight people in somebody’s living room.

      His was so effective in the Senate for years, despite being a ridiculed minority of one, because he understands contemporary American politics, and learned the cracks in the Blob massif wall’s, and how to accomplish things by slipping through them..

      He said in 2016 and 2020 that without an unprecedented mass movement of ordinary Americans, he had no chance of getting elected as President or of accomplishing anything once elected. That movement did not happen. (He certainly didn’t help it happen that much in 2020, and I think should have gone after Biden a hell of a lot more. I was enraged that he endorsed Clinton too, but the alternative to him eating horse manure then was a crippling of any “Progressive” chances in the near future.) He is a realist who looks at the long term. When if it was clear he had no chance as a candidate, he adapted strategies that would give him leverage in the future, best he could do. He knows Washington and the blob, and what challenges change agents face there. He is now, I suspect, trying to accomplish whatever he can in circumstances where the strike and union movement provide the only leverage in Washington. He also actually does care about people and does what he does because of what our society does to non-PMC.

      He is also the last of a kind: a Sixties generation Socialist labor ethnic who can talk to and understand ordinary people, and who cares about them. There is no one else in Vermont or Washington DC. . If anything develops in the next decade, it will be new and populist-based, not left-wing (or right either, maybe) and not come from the Democrats, or from the Republicans either, God help us! It does not look likely either,

      1. marym

        Thanks for this perspective. As someone who doesn’t know him from up close, this is more or less how I see Sanders, his values, and his approach through the years. My guess about 2016 is that he started out wanting to use the campaign to get important issues out there, as he’s does in other ways. Then when it turned out there was a lot of voter support, he took up the larger responsibilities of being a prominent national figure, not just a minority of one, and continues to take that responsibility seriously.

        I don’t really think he had any choice at all as far as supporting HRC or Biden once the Dems had trashed his campaign, if he intended to do the kind of work he’s doing now.

        “marym” (not “Mary”!) :)

        1. judy2shoes

          “marym” (not “Mary”!) :)

          The difference is obvious :)

          I don’t always agree with you, but I always read what you have to say because it’s well thought out and supported when necessary with links to pertinent information. Your comments tend to challenge and stretch me.

          Thank you, marym.

          1. marym

            Thanks. Some of the comments on this post are starting to persuade me that this proposal from Sanders may be more worthwhile than I initially thought, so I’m being challenged and stretched too!

            1. KD

              The greatest thing Sanders has done is shown that you can compete on national election fundraising via small donors, without being economically beholden to not only big donors, but big party operatives who control access to the big donors.

              The old model centered in the parties with the big donors in the background is obsolete if you can reach ordinary people. I have no doubt part of the new turn in controlling social media is probably to prevent grass roots fundraising, but at this point, Bernie unleashed an infrastructure that can create clean candidates.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Oh, come on, you’ve just admitted you know squat about politics.

      Sanders agreed to endorse the winner of the Dem primaries in the event it wasn’t him as a condition of running as a Dem when he’d historically been an independent.

      1. lance ringquist

        what they did to bernie in 2016 in california and other states, should have opened his eyes, and realized 2020 would be no different, and it was not. first state out iowa, the fix was in, by south carolina, he was done.

        so my eyes would have been wide open in 2016, and i would have said yes i endorse hillary and will vote for her. but i am running as a green to restore americas civil society, and my supporters have to vote their conscience.

        what could he have lost doing that? bernie has not managed to move the democrats left on much at all.

        the vote on things america wants will not expose anyone much at all. americans are even more radicalized than in 2016. they simply will not care.

        from 2018-2020, what did the house do? impeached trump twice, not much else at all.

        and nafta joe biden, the senate and house kicked us in the teeth from jan. 2021 on wards.

        bernie has been totally neutered since 2016. he is wasting his time on the nafta democrats.

        he should be doing everything in his power from 2016 onwards, to help run the party into the ground.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I think he thought with a bigger, more organized apparatus, he could win. In 2016, he was close to being the dog that caught the car. He had no idea he’d get such traction and in a lot of key state, he had no ground game.

          I also think his team suffered from a lack of imagination. They probably assumed, based on 2016, that the real hanky panky would take place in states like CA and NY with Dem machines. But the Dems actually struck the fatal blow early on.

          Imagine what would have happened if Sanders had been declared the winner in Iowa on the night of the caucuses, as he should have been, and then won NH? His press and fundraising advantage would have been enormous.

          1. lance ringquist

            first off i am not a bernie hater, i would vote for him today in a nano second. i would have voted for him as a green.

            lightning struck for bernie in 2016, many of my deplorable friends who had become radicalized, gave bernie money every month, i was floored.

            many of my deplorable friends, including some of the most radicalized, have told me they would vote for a FDR or truman.

            so lightning does not strike in the same place twice. he had enormous power in 2016, he could have sunk the nafta democrats running as a green.

            i think it was robert scheer that said “should we be surprised that the democrats are what they are today, and how many nafta types are in the federal government, after all, bill clinton has had thirty years and hundreds of millions of dollars to reshape the american government.”

            a deplorable like me figured it out long ago, ross perot would have won in 1992, he got bad advise(on purpose), nafta billy types are everywhere in sleeper cells just waiting to sabotage anything that gets into the way of the destruction of the worlds civil societies.

            instead, bernie said my friend hillary and joe. giving the fascists respectability. he should have known.

            the greens were on the ballot in 45 states, the carnage to the nafta democrats would have been immense.

            then when they were weak and disorganized, that’s when you strike.

  15. foghorn longhorn

    Senator schumer? on national tv.
    “The calls are coming in 99-1 against the bailout, we should have it passed by this evening.”

    How about you call these cretins to a vote so we can get them on record about going to war with Russia.

  16. sd

    It’s fascinating how many are quick to comment on how much they dislike Sanders and then don’t even acknowledge what this post is actually about – calling out Senators to record their votes. That’s the important part – not who delivered the message.

  17. GC54

    The whole point of bundling this together, not addressing parts separately, is to kill it with “designated villains” who each object to different specific parts but “agree” with the rest. So RIP. At least Bernie found a few pearls in this Swill Bill.

  18. The Rev Kev

    Late to comment here but isn’t this the same as the Force the Vote campaign supported by Jimmy Dore back at the end of 2020? Making politicians put their name to a vote unlike those verbal votes for things like the CARES Act back then? Oddly enough I have not seen any comparisons to Bernie’s demand and that Force the Vote campaign in Comments here so far.

  19. truly

    Gosh, if only Bernie and AOC had spent some time watching Jimmy Dore.
    Good tacticians know that timing is everything. This is a great tactic but about a year late.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Nice try.

      You have this wrong. That was for Medicare for All, which was never going to pass. Biden whipped against it.

      This is for the BBB, something Biden supposedly supports.

  20. SouthSideGT

    Among a small miniscule loud segment of the voting public Bernie will always be Public Enemy No.1 or “history’s greatest monster” as if forty years of neoliberal policies can be reversed by one man who should have done this or he should have done that and why did he do this and why did he do that. Ugh. It reminds me very much of the meaningless nonsensical jabber of drunken sports fans talking about a head coach or manager that has fallen out of favor.

    The truth is Bernie is the only politician of his stature and tenure fighting these very neoliberal policies which we all agree have led to among other things deindustrialization, polarization, a shrunken middle class and has been leading this fight since the start of his career. As such he deserves support and not vacuous attacks.

    And since this thread is on politics IMHO the Democratic Party such as it is and its progressive adjacent orgs look like the only things standing between us and GOP Christofascism. I plan to give more money through ActBlue and since I have the time I am going to work on the ground to make sure Ron Johnson in WI doesn’t get re-elected.

  21. KLG

    In my lifetime three (3) and only three honest candidates have run for President with nationwide support: Barry Goldwater, Jimmy Carter, Bernie Sanders.

    Carter was my first vote. A good man lacking in imagination, better as a former President.

    Bernie. A good man who was knifed by the party he caucuses with because he has been the only true democrat in Congress with a national following.

    I am content to believe for now that he paved the way back out of the abyss, but I did cut him off when he boasted that Joe Biden is his friend. A trope within the confines of the US Senate, perhaps. But while competing for the same office, not so much.

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