Dear Iowa Democrats

Please don’t do it!

Don’t make Bernie Sanders a winner! You will only further the fantasy that he can win the general election and start a democratic socialist revolution. Okay? So, please, stop it while there is still time! We expect Bernie to win his neighborhood state of New Hampshire. But Iowa? Say it ain’t so!

Oh, it’s not that I don’t like Bernie. I do. I like him a lot. He’s the real deal. And I would much rather live in a world run by Bernie Sanders than one run by any of the other candidates, including Hillary Clinton. The problem is that it is a fantasy world at this point in our history. It’s just not possible that the things Bernie Sanders wants to do will happen anytime soon, let alone after the next election. Just not possible. America has never worked that way. Things change slowly, often very slowly.

Vermont SenateIn any case, all this talk about a revolution means there has to be some revolutionaries. And those revolutionaries have to hold power in the government. And they have to hold power not just in the White’s House, but in Congress, too. And until Bernie Sanders, who just recently became a Democrat, explains to me how he will have 218 solid revolutionary votes in the House of Representatives, as well as 60 revolutionary votes in the United States Senate, there will be no revolution—even if he were to get 55% of the popular vote.

I do give Bernie credit. He has talked about the need for voters to give him a new Congress. He’s emphasized that he can’t do it alone. But that’s the problem. The need is there but there’s no plausible strategy to turn the need into reality. The best Democrats can hope for, even if they win the presidency, is to take over the Senate, but it won’t be with a necessary 60-seat majority of revolutionaries, even if all 60 of them have a (D) by their names (do you think Sen. Joe Manchin will support him? Huh?).

We Democrats might even dream more elaborate dreams and see ourselves recapturing the House, but it borders on delusion to think recapturing the House will provide Bernie with 218 unwavering votes for a Medicare-for-all health system or for free college tuition for all, or for any of the other things Bernie supports that many of us believe would make us a better country. Even if he got 248 Democrats, they won’t all be itching for votes on socialism, democratic or otherwise.

And remember that all of the hope behind Bernie is based on a very shaky assumption: that it is actually possible for Sanders to win the general election. Oh, it’s possible that if Republicans are foolish enough to put Donald Trump at the top of their ticket, Bernie has some small chance of winning the election. But even as crazy as President Donald Trump sounds, even as frightening as it is to contemplate that a majority of the country would put a clownish, egomaniacal billionaire in the White’s House, I still don’t think there’s much of a chance that Bernie, an aging democratic socialist, can win.

That’s mostly because before it’s all over, Republicans will turn him into a dangerous Stalinist dictator. He will become a Marxist. A dreaded communist to be feared. The distinction between what he actually believes—his brand of socialism is shared by anyone who uses Medicare or accepts Social Security or Medicaid—and what Republicans will claim he believes will be lost on enough independents and confused Democrats to hand the election to, yes, even Donald J. Trump.

So, what we’re left with is pragmatism. What we’re left with is a relatively centrist candidate like Hillary Clinton. She has flaws, no doubt. But she understands that the unmistakable move toward people-friendly policies in this country has always been fairly incremental. Our present social safety net evolved slowly and was not available to everyone from the start. It has taken time. Change is hard in America because change-is-hard is built into our political system. Not much happens overnight.

Think back about the battle over the stimulus bill at the beginning of Obama’s presidency. Think about how impossible it was to convince the other side that money was needed to help stimulate and rescue the economy, to help rescue it from the devastation of GOP-sponsored economic and regulatory policies. Don’t forget those times. And don’t forget the Affordable Care Act. Don’t forget how hard that was and how hard it still is today to get people to understand that it’s better than the old system, even if it’s not where we ultimately want to end up. It was a baby step. But it was a step. And we need to follow up with another step. And then another. If we nominate someone who will practically guarantee a Republican president, there will be no baby steps. Because there will be no baby.

Make no mistake about it, the surest way to elect a Donald Trump or a Marco Rubio or any other reactionary crusader that Republicans might put up, i#weneedliberty #weneedsmallergovt  #communist #wakeupamerica #socialist s to offer Bernie Sanders to a fact-challenged electorate, many of whom these days get their information from bias-
confirming social media and many of whom will fall for the Bernie-is-a-Marxist line of attack. Remember, even with a collapsing economy in 2008, even when we were sliding into Republican-caused financial chaos, 60 million Americans—46% of the electorate—still voted for a Republican to become president. Remember that.

So, I beg you, my Iowan friends. As much as you feel the Bern, as much as we all wish his ideas would become reality, don’t succumb to the temptation. Don’t give him hope of winning the nomination. Don’t give others hope of him winning the nomination. Don’t hand the presidency back to the Republicans.

TEC

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34 Comments

  1. I agree. I don’t Bernie can win, and if elected would not be able to achieve his goals. However, I do really like what he is saying. It has grabbed the attention of a large number of people and I hope his ideas stay with them.

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    • No doubt Bernie has moved Hillary his way on some issues. And she has moved him on the gun issue. That’s the positive dynamic of a primary race. As I said, I wish much of what Bernie wants for the country would materialize. But there is no way that I can see that the Congress could be transformed enough to get any of it accomplished. But, hey, if he is nominated, I will enthusiastically get behind him and hope for the best.

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  2. You sound uncharacteristically pathetic. Change doesn’t always happen slowly: see FDR and LBJ. There is popular support to counter plutocracy. Take a look at the field of candidates that the Republicans have to choose from. They’re all morons. They’re all trying to board a train that broke down two stops back. And even on the miraculous chance one of these idiots actually wins, they’ll get one term, and all the crap they do in that one term will put the already strong counter-plutocracy movement into overdrive.

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    • Tige,

      Maybe I do sound that way. But I’m really not. I believe Democrats can win this election, even though it will be a difficult task if the GOP nominates someone like Marco Rubio (whom I detest probably more than all of them except Cruz) or, most improbably, John Kasich.

      Of course there is popular support to counter plutocracy. You can see that in both parties this year, one turning to a genuine anti-plutocrat and the other, ironically, turning to a billionaire who fancies himself one. The problem is that the popular support is divided. There are those on the right, those who support ridding the system of plutocrats and crony capitalists, who would never in a million years vote for a self-proclaimed democratic socialist. Never. There is some overlap in the Trump-Sanders message, but there won’t be any temptation for Trump voters to switch to Sanders, even though some media pundits, and maybe even Sanders himself, make that suggestion. I know too many of them around here.

      Finally, and most important, I want to address this idea you advance about a Republican winning back the White’s House:

      And even on the miraculous chance one of these idiots actually wins, they’ll get one term, and all the crap they do in that one term will put the already strong counter-plutocracy movement into overdrive.

      I find this a too-common idea on the left. The idea that if things get to a critical mass, people will embrace more leftist policies. I once flirted with the idea after 2010, then later in 2014, when people, unbelievably, put GOP radicals back in complete control of Congress. I thought, heck, if we put a Republican in the White’s House, then people will get what they got in Kansas (my home state) and clamor for Democratic policies again.

      But I had to remind myself then of the considerable, and sometimes irreversible, damage that can be done with just one term of Republicans in control of the entire government. I point you to W. Bush’s first term. Tax cuts and deregulation and financial collapse, which hurt millions of millions of people. At least that was partly reversible, as Obama and the Democrats have done. But the damage done by the Iraq war, lives lost, bodies maimed, trillions spent, and a regional destabilization that will haunt us for generations, cannot be reversed. Hundreds of thousands have died over there, thanks to a colossal mistake made in Bush’s first term. And I remind you that just two years after Bush left office, people put Republicans back in charge of the House, then the Senate in 2014. The electorate quickly forgets.

      That’s why I’m not for testing your theory. Too much is at stake.

      Duane

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      • >someone like Marco Rubio (whom I detest probably more than all of them except Cruz) or, most improbably, John Kasich.
        >The idea that if things get to a critical mass, people will embrace more leftist policies.
        I strongly believe that the tipping point/critical mass has already been reached and in fact was reached when Obama was elected, but that Obama has proven to be a disappointment for not taking a strong enough stance. The slate of Republican candidates is the prime symptom of the absence of reasonableness, the sense of what should actually be done. All that remains on the right is tired, used up cliche. Trump is the epitome of cliche, a living cliche as it were.

        >never in a million years vote for a self-proclaimed democratic socialist. Never.
        Most people are not well informed, but anyone like this is going to be both in the minority and staunchly Republican. Everyone else is going to benefit strongly from Sanders speaking simply and straightforwardly about what frankly most other countries do. When people realize that they are afraid of looking a little like Canada, not Russia, this boogieman will disappear forever.

        >There is some overlap in the Trump-Sanders message, but there won’t be any temptation for Trump voters to switch to Sanders,
        The difference between Sanders and Trump is far greater than any overlap. I’m not even sure what overlap you’re looking at. Trump can’t win in a general election no matter who runs against him. Anyone who isn’t conservative should be aware of this. The biggest problem with conservatives is their yuge blindspot, and a lot of the people who support Sanders are in that blindspot, people who Trump completely alienates. No one is actually alienated by Sanders, just, like you said, people who don’t want to understand “socilism”.

        >the considerable, and sometimes irreversible, damage that can be done with just one term of Republicans in control of the entire government. I point you to W. Bush’s first term. Tax cuts and deregulation and financial collapse,
        It took decades for these policies to come to this point. Reagan made the first steps in cutting taxes for the rich and undermining the unions, but it started before him. Surprisingly, it was under Bill Clinton that the most insidious changes were made by Republican congress. Take note, if Hillary Clinton wins, she won’t veto any bill backed by money. This is the most important point I would have you think about.

        >damage done by the Iraq war, lives lost, bodies maimed, trillions spent, and a regional destabilization that will haunt us for generations
        These wars were started over oil and fostered by religious beliefs. If Republicans win, the wars will escalate. Hillary Clinton supported the Iraq War because she lacks conviction and she likes money. I don’t see how your “cautious” pretense does any good on this issue.

        >put GOP radicals back in complete control of Congress.
        >get what they got in Kansas (my home state) and clamor for Democratic policies again.
        >just two years after Bush left office, people put Republicans back in charge of the House, then the Senate in 2014. The electorate quickly forgets.
        The electorate didn’t forget Dubya, the people who wanted people to forget were the ones who supported him. The reality is that the senate and congress, as well as the state and local elections get slightly less attention from most ordinary people, but the right has the religious machine telling people who to vote for, when to vote, and driving them to the polls which are sometimes in the same churches. The left doesn’t have this and there isn’t much that can be done to counter brigading. This isn’t the Hugos.

        >The New Deal was actually fairly radical, but it represented an attempt to thwart socialist impulses brewing in the country.
        Yet why can’t that work now? There are no actual communist impulses brewing at all, no left-wing radicals, just ordinary people who’ve had enough. Why can’t there be a radical thwarting of capitalist impulses?

        >It took an expansion in the 1950s to get them covered. That is incrementalism.
        What’s happening now in the right wing is the product of decades of clawing back, getting it’s first real progress with Reagan and surprisingly making most of it’s gains under Bill Clinton. You can be certain that under Hillary Clinton, the U.S. will accelerate rightward as long as Republicans hold the congress and senate. She won’t veto anything backed by money.

        >As for LBJ and Medicare and Medicaid, that was 30 years after those types of ideas were first proposed!
        But we’re lucky because we’re not actually proposing new, radical ideas, we’re proposing old ideas that already worked but were mistakenly withdrawn and which continue to be effective in many other countries.

        >That is exactly what I am talking about. FDR or Truman didn’t get everything they wanted, even when the fire was hot after the crash and Great Depression.
        Our depression began in 2000, before even 9/11. As I said, Obama was supposed to do these things, but he didn’t. People aren’t going to tilt back to the right wing just because Obama was too soft, they’re going to try to get someone more firmly left wing.

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        • Just a few responses. First to this:

          Obama has proven to be a disappointment for not taking a strong enough stance.

          This seems to be a common criticism from the left. But it ignores a) the considerable progress that has been made, and b) the political realities he faced. Even when the Dems controlled the first two years, there was not a strong appetite on the Democratic side for Bernie-like reforms. Just ask Bernie himself. He was there. And he knew what a weak-link people like Joe Lieberman were. The Affordable Care Act, essentially a conservative reform of the insurance system, barely made it through. Then comes 2010 and the comeback of a reactionary, Tea Party-dominated GOP. It was progress in those days just to keep the government running, let alone accomplish anything of consequence. So, I think that criticism of Obama is a bit unfair.

          Next, you said,

          The slate of Republican candidates is the prime symptom of the absence of reasonableness…

          Yes, of course. I agree. But the problem is that somewhere around half of the voting population doesn’t agree with us. Remember Obama only got 51% of the vote last time.

          Then, you wrote:

          Everyone else is going to benefit strongly from Sanders speaking simply and straightforwardly about what frankly most other countries do. When people realize that they are afraid of looking a little like Canada, not Russia, this boogieman will disappear forever.

          “When people realize” is the key here. This doesn’t look like the “when.” I point you to this headline: “Pelosi distances Democrats from Sanders’s plan to raise taxes”. Unless you want to accuse Nancy Pelosi, one of the staunchest liberals in recent history, of being a squish, then you must see that she doesn’t think Democrats in the House can win on a Bernie-esque platform. And that’s mainly because she understands how easily demagogued his single-payer plan will be. If Bernie were a little wiser, he would not have made single-payer (an idea I completely support) the focus. He should have revived and featured the idea of the public option, which, because of squishy conservative Democrats, was left out of the ACA.

          Finally, I don’t disagree that a lot of damage was done by a couple of bad decisions Bill Clinton made (and I detest the way the Clintons have enriched themselves since he left office; but that’s a separate issue). But he also made some good decisions, starting with the sane tax policies he pushed through his first year in office (which were overturned by that nasty first-term Bush administration). But I don’t see from Hillary Clinton the same disposition toward Wall Street that Bill had, especially under the influence of Robert Rubin. She knows the climate has changed. And she isn’t getting as much money from Wall Street as people think. Her campaign claims it is around 3%, and OpenSecrets says it is more like 7%. In any case, Obama received tons of money from Wall Street in 2008. But they later got pissed at him for blaming some of them for the economic meltdown and for signing Dodd-Frank, which, whatever you think of it, Wall Street hated it. So, it is possible to both take money from bankers and be critical of and watchful of the industry at the same time–even though it would be better if none of them were allowed to give the kind of money they are allowed to give.

          Bottom line is electability. Bernie doesn’t appear to be electable, and respectable liberal politicians like Nancy Pelosi know it and are distancing themselves from his more radical ideas. We can either accept the notion that Hillary is our best bet to win (provided her email problems get settled in her favor), or watch Republicans undo every good thing that Democrats have accomplished since 2009.

          Duane

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    • Tige,

      I forgot to address your examples of the FDR and LBJ. The New Deal was actually fairly radical, but it represented an attempt to thwart socialist impulses brewing in the country. Thus it represented an incremental move toward a more radical socialist society. Additionally, it took Southern Democrats (who then tended to be anti-minority, like GOP southerners today) to get the Social Security Act passed in 1935. Some believe (although there are contrary opinions) that is why the law at first excluded farmworkers and domestic workers, which were jobs done mostly by blacks. Thus, almost two-thirds of blacks were left out of the Social Security program. It took an expansion in the 1950s to get them covered. That is incrementalism.

      As for LBJ and Medicare and Medicaid, that was 30 years after those types of ideas were first proposed! That is exactly what I am talking about. FDR or Truman didn’t get everything they wanted, even when the fire was hot after the crash and Great Depression. It took time, which is all I am arguing. We agree on the desired outcome.

      Duane

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    • King Beauregard

       /  February 14, 2016

      “Change doesn’t always happen slowly: see FDR and LBJ. There is popular support to counter plutocracy.”

      Yeah well, you know what else FDR and LBJ had? Congresses willing to pass their legislation. That actually has a lot more to do with legislation getting passed than popular support.

      The one exception to that is if popular support translates into people voting. So, how’d the Left do in 2010 and 2014? They let Republicans waltz right in without even putting up a fight. Seems like the Republicans had the most popular support, where it counts anyway.

      Let’s talk about FDR for a second, though. While he had majorities for (I believe) all 12+ years he was in office, he never had a filibuster-proof majority. But that didn’t present a problem because Republicans back then were a more respectable sort and they did their jobs diligently, and there is no record of them mounting a single filibuster. If FDR had been in office in 2010, McConnell and Boehner would have played keep-away with FDR’s polio medicine rather than bend to his iron will.

      Let’s talk about LBJ and Congress too. LBJ had Democratic majorities — 68 Democrats in the Senate! — but the Republicans he was working with were likewise of the reasonable variety; a strong minority supported Medicare. And when it came to the Civil Rights Act, LBJ couldn’t even get 8% of Southern Democrats to support it, but fortunately Northern Republicans helped him pass the CRA. Imagine that, Republicans working with Democrats to put an end to the exercise of racism; you’d never get that today.

      So it keeps coming back to Congress, specifically making sure the President has a Congress willing to pass the legislation he wants to sign into law. It’s probably going to take a few election cycles before the Left can reclaim Congress, and that’s only if they are truly diligent about it. Until that happens, blaming the President is the height of deflecting responsibility; the blame rests in the (non) voters above all others.

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      • Republicans will probably hold congress because of a long term strategy to gain control of congress. Unfortunately for Republicans today, that strategy was rooted in prophecy. It was also bankrolled by people who didn’t care what happened as long as they kept getting richer. All Republican candidates are servants of these two masters. Both of these masters are minorities. Both of these masters are morally bankrupt and have no real values. One of these masters does not have any idea what to do with the power they now have because they believed in a prophecy and that prophecy did not come to fruition. The Republican Party is at its crossroads. It needs to remake itself from scratch. It is not now in a position to take charge. The past 7 years have been nothing but demonstration of their utter impotence.

        However, Obama had this opportunity which many Democrats, including Obama, don’t seem to understand. The whole point was that the Republicans have no political savvy, mojo if you will. They didn’t need it because of the strategy behind them. This sort of played out in the news, but not really, not the way it should have. This is the entirety of Obama’s weakness and error.

        Now after 7 years, the turning point of the Republican Party has come and no pieces are in place. Democrats have no strategy to take the ball from here for the next 30 years. Hillary Clinton does not have a strategy for Democrats to lead in strategy for the next 30 years to rebuild what the previous 30 years of Republican strategy unbuilt. The Clintons were part of the past 30 years, how can they lead the next 30?

        To put it simply, a Republican congress during the next session will put forward sick bills serving their old masters. Clinton will not veto them. Sanders will. Two or four years down the line as Republicans are forced to deal with failure or not will decide who leads the next 30 years. Someone like Sanders who will humiliate Republican congress with vetos will force Republicans to rediscover how to do their jobs in a world after evangelical prophecy. If Clinton wins, things will just continue as they have for 4 more years of social unrest and neverending wars. The Republican Masters don’t want things to go slow, they want to go backwards all the way. Going slow as an excuse for them will not be tolerated anymore.

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        • I only want to butt in here to make one point about what you said. You wrote,

          “The Republican Party is at its crossroads. It needs to remake itself from scratch. It is not now in a position to take charge. The past 7 years have been nothing but demonstration of their utter impotence.”

          That is only true of the national fortunes of the GOP. It is absolutely not true in statehouses or in many local jurisdictions. Far from being utterly impotent, they are disproportionately strong, routing Democrats in gubernatorial elections, state house and senate elections, and trouncing Democrats in off-year national congressional elections. I wish what you said were true of the Republican Party generally, but it only applies to their inability to appeal to a national, much more diverse, electorate that can’t be gerrymandered. Otherwise, Republicans, like in my old home state of Kansas, despite governing malfeasance, are still firmly in control in so many places that I don’t even like to think about it.

          Duane

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          • The Republicans (conservatives) are, always have been and always will be strong in small, remote communities. On a state level, such as Kansas, they are actually relatively weak, but Democrats happen to be weaker or at least they have been. This weakness of the Democratic Party leads people to support someone like Clinton who is to the right enough to appeal to people in the middle. Actually, you can understand the great failure of the Democratic (liberal) party over the past 30 years was to concede to conservatives and try to survive off their leftward fringe instead of having a strong leftist position of their own. There are two reasons why the right has been strong up until now: the concession of the left, and underhanded dirty tricks. The underhanded dirty tricks are inherent to the right or rather to extremists of which there are none on the left anymore. Supporting Clinton is just dragging out the conservative era for another term as she has always been comfortably center-right. It will still be a long while, if ever, before people are far enough to the left that the mainstream left starts using dirty tricks. Clinton is dirty but nowhere near dirty enough compared to the evangelical machine. Dirty tricks aren’t strength anyway, they’re weakness, they come from a culture of weakness and fear and lack of self-esteem. You don’t need to cheat when you have the strength and confidence to win on your own. It’s that liberal ideal to help people have self-respect through social support that we should use to inspire people, not that self-sufficient bootstrap crap conservatives project.

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            • King Beauregard

               /  February 15, 2016

              “There are two reasons why the right has been strong up until now:”

              Don’t forget the big one, appealing to racism and xenophobia. Really, the past 52 years of American politics can be explained mostly in terms of fallout from the Civil Rights Act.

              It used to be that appealing to patriotism was a big deal (like with Vietnam), but not so much these days. Vietnam stopped being a litmus test for either side in about 2008.

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              • The past 8 years of unbridled racism pushed anti-racism into the mainstream. Racism actually underlies almost all of Republican policy, whether it be their opposition to welfare, minimum wage, warmongering, even their anti-abortion insanity, it’s all tightly intertwined with racism. People are starting to learn that racism isn’t defined by what words people use but by institutional policies which limit people’s options to get out of poverty.

                It seems to me that honest valuation of patriotism disappeared when John Kerry got railroaded. The current middle east makes Vietnam look like a cakewalk.

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            • Tige,

              Let’s try to get something cleared up. Did the Democratic Party, after losing to Richard Nixon in 1968 and getting trounced in 1972 (with an extremely liberal Democrat on the top of the ticket), turn a bit to the right with Jimmy Carter? Yep. And guess what? They won an election.

              Then, Carter lost for a host of reasons and the unimaginable presidency of Ronald Reagan suddenly was upon us. Then came the 1984 whoopin’ of a fairly liberal Mondale and then the 1988 defeat of a northeastern liberal named Michael Dukakis. Thus it came to pass that a group of Democrats, tired of losing the presidency, sought to figure out a middle way to victory. Alas! Enter Bill Clinton from Arkansas, which was heavily Democratic at the time, even if those Democrats were quite conservative and would later become, like the rest of the conservative Democrats in the South, Republicans.

              The results of the effort to move toward the middle in 1992 was two presidential victories that had some important consequences, not only for the economy (millions of jobs and budget surpluses) but for the courts (some horrific shit has been stopped by Clinton-appointed judges, and let’s don’t forget Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, who are still on the Supreme Court and are fairly solid liberal votes). If you don’t think any of that matters, if you don’t think it is important to figure out a way to win the White House, then I don’t know what more I can say that would convince you.
              Now, I can understand why some lefties didn’t and still don’t like the Clinton years, in some important ways. Take the crime bill for instance. That turned out to be a big mistake, as Bill Clinton has now admitted. But Bernie voted for it and used it as a campaign issue. So, was Bernie a squish? A tool of the establishment? Did he stray away from leftist orthodoxy and is now unfit for office?

              Finally, in some ways Hillary Clinton is more conservative than my tastes prefer. But I much prefer winning with Hillary over losing with Bernie because, as I have tried desperately to point out, losing not only has negative consequences for a lot of people we Democrats have pledged to help, it deprives Democrats of the ability to appoint judges to the bench who can help in the future fight for economic justice, for voting rights, for immigration reform, and for any number of causes that you and I would certainly join together to support.

              Just being mad at the Democratic Party for its past “concessions” or for its lack of a “strong leftist position”—and therefore voting for a likely lost cause named Bernie Sanders—isn’t enough to win in a country as divided as our is. I hate to keep pointing this out, but about half of the country doesn’t share our vision of the future or see things the way you and I want them to. We have to figure out a way to win and make at least some progress. In this current political environment, only the Republicans are in a position to have control of the entire government. We aren’t in that position. Bernie, as I have pointed out, even if he was miraculously victorious, will still not bring with him a solid left-wing majority of Democrats in the House or Senate. He will face the same phalanx of obstructionism that has bedeviled Mr. Obama. So, it’s just not worth the risk of nominating someone so self-admittedly outside of the mainstream of our current politics. Again, there is just too damn much at stake to take that chance.

              Duane

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              • I’ve spent the past several hours searching for you even once trying to demonstrate to me that you understand why Republicans are in chaos. This is actually the crucial point to understand. But I didn’t find anything. I only found reminders of why I am concerned for your mental health.

                Maybe I missed something because Googling your site is very ineffective due to your sidebar results being included.

                Here you demonstrate how you understand that the Democrats needed to move right in the ’70’s, but deny how that trend has already reversed. Nor do you have a clue what the potential consequences are if this reversal does not happen sooner rather than later. I’m not trying to express fear about this here. I don’t think it really matters either way, but if it goes badly, both parties will be drawn into the chaos for several years while it’s just the Republicans in chaos for now.

                I haven’t seem you even admit that Republicans are in chaos. Trump is the symbol of that, not whatever you seem to fear. The guy’s a racist but hardly more so than Clinton. I recalled you making a fool of yourself in your lack of understanding of racism. If all Trump ends up doing as president is accuse judges of being Mexican I would not be worried at all.

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      • Well said, my friend. You put it out there about as well as it can be explained. Kudos to ya!

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  3. Reminds me a little of H. L. Mencken: “We move toward a lofty ideal. 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.” Well, maybe.

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    • We already had a moron in the White House and people do still remember him quite clearly, despite what Duane feels.

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    • Mencken would find something to like (I use that word advisedly with him) and hate in this election. First, he’d like the idea that this election has so far, on the GOP side, been a farce, since he didn’t like democracy. The GOP primary would validate his anti-democratic views, especially seeing those yahoos who show up to Trump rallies wearing those gooberish “Make America Great Again” hats. He’d admire the racism and hegemonic fancies of Donald Trump and he’d hate his use of populism and religion to win votes. He’d like Bernie Sanders’ distaste for warmongering, but he would hate his democratic socialism. He’d champion Rand Paul’s anti-war, libertarian impulses, while detesting his religious faith. He’d hate everything about Ted Cruz. And because of, if nothing else, their association with Arkansas, I am sure he would detest the Clintons.

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  4. Ben Field

     /  January 27, 2016

    Even though our United States enjoy the socialist ideas of free public schools, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the capitalist demagogues will certainly paint Sanders as you say. Even though his proposals are far less “scary” than the racist, hate mongering of Donald the Trump, I fear many might follow the siren call of a quasi-Nazi Trump that white, capitalist Americans are the Master Race.
    I say Run, Bernie, Run!! Millennials love him, unions love him, anyone disenfranchised by our current politics, and possibly some in the GOP can accept him over Hillary. If he doesn’t get the nomination, his number of supporters might encourage Hillary to be more populist.
    One can only hope that voters are intelligent enough to see through Trump’s PR and again elect a Democrat to the White House. If not, I will be watching for Trump’s to start sporting a little mustache and Jack boots.

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    • Sanders can help Hillary Clinton seem more populist in order to defeat him, but after she’s elected she’ll still not veto any bill backed by money.

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    • Ben,

      I have no problem with Bernie running. He has brought enthusiasm to the Democratic race. I just wish he would focus more on explaining his policies (like how his tax scheme for single-payer will actually work) and less time bashing Hillary Clinton for taking Wall Street money. Save that one for the Republicans, who will, no doubt, get much more money from bankers than she will.

      I still don’t see how Donald Trump can become the GOP nominee, despite all of the evidence to the contrary. I guess I am still clinging to the idea that there aren’t a majority of Republicans who are completely out of their minds. But I have to say, the sad truth is that a Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush would certainly do more damage to liberal domestic policies than a President Trump would.

      The scariest thing about Trump is that he understands nothing about international relations; that he is a fool on the foreign stage; and that he is completely unpredictable. We don’t know if he is as unhinged and detached from reality as he seems, or if he is just playing a cruel game with Republican voters. Even though I am certain, should he win the nomination, that he will quickly turn toward more sensible-sounding pronouncements, I find it hard to believe that a majority of Americans would be willing to give him a chance to put his unpredictable finger on the nuclear trigger.

      What an election season.

      Duane

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  5. henrygmorgan

     /  January 28, 2016

    Duane: Welcome back! After 9 months of being at the mercy of Caldwell, Kevin Wilson, et ai., it’s a delight to have a sane voice in our ears again. After the 2012 Republican line-up with “pizza man”, “oops”, and “the rent is too damned high,” as their candidates, I thought the GOP had established a pinnacle of lunacy never to be exceeded. And then came the present herd.

    How hard it must be to be a Republican today, especially for those who remember Dirksen, Dole, Buckley, Baker, and others of their ilk. I wrote to three of my very conservative siblings recently, asking who these loyal Republicans had selected to support from the present gang. Instead of responding with a name, all three delivered the “tu quoque” argument: “Hillary and Bernie are too!” The irony is that the Republicans themselves created this hateful, reacist, sexist monster that has now grown out of control. How sad! Again, welcome back.
    Henry (Bud) Morgan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Bud. Glad to hear from you and, as usual, you got it right. The GOP “establishment” (falsely seen as reasonable Republicans) have not only created Trump, some of them are now even feeding him for fear that Cruz will beat him! How strange a year! That’s why I just couldn’t stay away. Needless to say, this is the weirdest political season I have ever witnessed, but I keep thinking that some semblance of sanity (relatively speaking) will return before too long. But then when I look around for evidence to support that idea, I am unable to find it. What a trip this will be!

      Duane

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Maybe if Bernie made an effort to de-program voters who have been brainwashed into thinking that wealth equals freedom, he might get more supporters. He can draw on the model now in place in the Scandinavian states, but make the arguments apply to the U.S.

    Norway, Sweden, Denmark, et al, lead the world in all measures of social health – Education, Longevity, Crime Rates, Health Care, Income Equality, and more. In other words, these democratic socialist countries have actuated the promise made to us by our founders in 1776 to assure us the inalienable rights of life, liberty and happiness. Yet here we are 240 years later still struggling.

    A new posting on one of the blogs I follow has a timely essay on just this topic. See http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176096/tomgram:_ann_jones,_social_democracy_for_dummies/

    But what you say is also true, that what Bernie wants will never happen with the current political system we have. On of these days, we will implode. Hopefully, the recovery from that event will trend toward Bernie’s dream rather than the dystopia of a Mad Max.

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    • Thanks, Herb, for the reference. Very interesting. Especially, “What Scandinavians call the Nordic Model is a smart and simple system that starts with a deep commitment to equality and democracy.” That is the problem here. The Scandinavians see things as if you can’t have one without the other. We don’t. Mainly, as the author goes on to say, that for them, capitalism is their servant, and for us, we serve capitalism. Until that idea disappears, we will never enjoy what they enjoy (even though they are disturbingly adopting some of our right-wing, anti-immigrant attitudes). My notion is that we have to, brick by brick, renovate our system, not blow it up and start over. Evolution, not revolution. Hopefully, you are wrong about the suggested implosion. Time will tell.

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  7. The election is pure side-show, and the barkers are the type of clowns who would call the President a ‘half-breed’. We have much more issues,such as having two-thirds of the American population unable to come up with $500 bucks!

    Like

  8. King Beauregard

     /  February 14, 2016

    “I do give Bernie credit. He has talked about the need for voters to give him a new Congress.”

    He mentions that only rarely, though. It’s like a guy selling weight loss pills, and it says in very tiny letters in the advertisement, “diet and exercise (as approved by a doctor) also required for best results”. A great many Bernie supporters think that he can just shake his podium and get things done, by means unspecified.

    I’ve honestly concluded lately that Bernie hopes to be taken out of the running, like Herman Cain. A person can make promises he can’t keep all he wants, provided he never finds himself in the circumstances where he has to make good. Bernie’s worst nightmare would actually be taking office and then having to deliver, and smacking into the Congressional realities that have plagued Obama all these years.

    Glad to see you’re blogging again sir.

    Like

    • Thanks, KB. I appreciate it.

      You are right that Bernie does not talk about it enough, in the context of changing Congress. He uses, unwisely, the term “revolution,” and I suppose he expects people to figure it out from there. They won’t. And you are again right that if lefties think Obama’s presidency has been a big disappointment, Bernie’s time in the White’s House would put them on suicide watch. But I remain amazed at how many folks on our side think he has a legitimate chance not only to win, but to bring about a revolution comprehensive enough to bring free tuition to everyone and Medicare for all, among other things.

      Duane

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      • I can’t possibly imagine anyone, let alone Sanders, having a more depressingly disappointing attitude than Obama’s consistent “oh, well” attitude unless She were to actually happily sign Republican legislature.

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        • I have never understood the point of view you express. Forget about his many accomplishments in his first term, Obama has, certainly since his last election, done things that have pissed off right-wingers to the point of apoplexy. Everything he has done, outside the budget process, has been taken to court and is pending. From immigration reform to clean air and so on. There has been no “oh, well” attitude. I just don’t know where you come up with that idea. To me, that is the “depressingly disappoint attitude.”

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          • First of all, Obama did not and need not do anything to piss off Republicans. Their attitude originates entirely from within their own delusion. Obama’s “oh, well” attitude isn’t defined by his failure to get a Republican congress to do his will, that was entirely expected. His “oh, well” attitude is simply to publicly leave it alone which he most certainly has. Courts are not the forum of public opinion. Through his own action or inaction, Obama led us to believe that he does not care enough about ending wars or shifting financial burdens. He is the embodiment of “the good one” which Ben Carson aspired to be, he was simply in the wrong party. The POTUS has such limited power, if you are seeking that position you really need to know how to use it. If Obama actually used what he had, Republicans would have had to deal with their failures at least four years earlier. The fact that we are only seeing them at their crossroads now, 8 years after Bush, is a testament to Obama’s “oh, well” attitude. They picked on him for 8 years and he just sat there and took it.

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  1. Another Plea To Bernie Supporters | The Erstwhile Conservative: A Blog of Repentance
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