The Message, The Messenger, And How Democratic Party Unity Is A Two-Way Street

The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”

—Matthew 8:30

A after a recent piece I posted on a reported stupid move being considered by Senate Democrats (“Some Senate Democrats Are, Well, Idiots“), one writer, Jim Hight, told me the following:

Yes, Democrats are their worst enemies. I hope Elizabeth warren takes over the Majority Partly Leader when (and if) Democrats take the Senate. I write “and if” because the party will always lose unless this tiff with the Bernie supporters ends. As long as the in-fighting continues, Republicans will continue to tear the country apart.

Another writer, DG, commenting on Jim Hight’s observation, said this:

…a united party must appear very shortly. Jim Hight suggests Elizabeth Warren as a possible leader to unite the scaredy cats on the left. That may well be a good start but we need more. […]

Of course I voted for Hillary, but I am a Bernie supporter. That is, I very much support his views…we need a very progressive movement. Bernie has started one. You can see it with the protests and marches that are taking place everyday somewhere in this country. It’s an angry, disgusted and desperate cry to stop this dangerous bullshit republican take over before it gets way out of hand. Thank God they are!

I know what I have to say below, which I write with some trepidation, will make some people mad. It will upset some folks. But so be it. I’m here to express my opinion. As a Democrat, I’m here to give you my honest take on what I see and where I think we are going as a party and who should lead us there. Here goes:

It happens that Bernie Sanders was on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” on Tuesday. Sanders appeared with the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez, who is, bless his heart, trying like hell to hold onto the Sanders folks, trying to keep them from bolting from the Democratic Party when it comes time to vote. Sanders and Perez are on what they are calling a “Unity Tour.” Hayes played a video clip of Sanders saying the following:

Our job is to bring millions of people into the political process. Our job is to radically transform the Democratic Party. And when we are united, we are strongest as a party, as a  nation, as a resistance movement.

Hayes then asked Sanders the obvious question:

You’re talking about reforming, reviving, transforming the Democratic Party.  Do you consider yourself a Democrat?

That’s a fair question, isn’t it? Sanders ran as a Democrat in last year’s presidential primaries. His campaign manager said a year ago that Bernie would remain a Democrat after it was all over. And Bernie just said “when we are united, we are strongest as a party.”  But here is how Bernie answered Hayes’ “Do you consider yourself a Democrat?” question:

No. I’m an independent.  And I think if the Democratic Party is going to succeed—and I want to see it succeed —it’s gonna have to open its door to independents. There are probably more independents in this country than Democrats or Republicans. It’s got to open its doors to working people and to young people, create a grassroots party. That’s what we need.

With jaw-dropping audacity, Sanders sat right next to the DNC chairman (whom Sanders opposed during the DNC election process) and said that although he, Bernie Sanders, wanted to “radically transform the Democratic Party,” he didn’t want to become a Democrat. He essentially said he is happily married to some gal named “Independent.” It is that gal, Ms. Independent, to whom he owes his fidelity, his first and final allegiance and loyalty. Okay. I get it. In other words, Bernie wants to not only go home to Ms. Independent at night, but he wants to have a girlfriend on the side in the daytime, one whom he isn’t quite ready to leave Ms. Independent for, but nevertheless one whom he thinks he should get to sleep with while he simultaneously demands she radically change her ways and become the girl of his dreams. Apparently, he wants the Democratic Party to become his perfect mistress.

Well, to hell with that nonsense. Don’t get me wrong, I think many of Bernie’s ideas are something that Democrats could hang their hats on, could run on and win on (Hillary actually ran on many of them, which is why Bernie’s call for “radically” transforming the party makes little sense to me). But we need someone to come along and talk a lot like Bernie does, but do so while actually marrying the party, committing to it, warts and all. Bernie isn’t that guy. Weirdly, he thinks he can reform the party from the outside; he thinks he can change her ways while still going home to Ms. Independent at night. He thinks he can still retain what he thinks is his moral integrity even while he is flirting, sometimes with the crude entitlement of a Bill O’Reilly, with Ms. Democrat. He flirts while talking smack, enticing her with his rap about rich people getting away with murder while the lower and middle classes suffer, using his position of power to dominate her, to exploit her weakness, to make her give in to his demands. In Bernie’s case, the Democratic Party was a campaign fling, the handy dame he used to run for president against Hillary Clinton. He used the party when he wanted something, even if it was something many Democrats wanted, too. But Bernie’s would-be mistress is not, and apparently never will be, his wife. Why? Because the Democratic Party is not something Bernie wants to come home to at night and snuggle with. He’s not the snuggling, spooning type. He seems to be, to put it crudely, the O’Reilly of party politics.

And make no mistake about it. Bernie can talk the talk. He can paint a broad picture of the economic and political landscape that most Democrats, but not all, find appealing. He is the Picasso of populism on the left. Mind you, he’s short on details, but, as we found out from Tr-mp’s Russian-aided triumph, details don’t really matter all that much to the electorate these days. You merely have to have a monster to attack. You have to have a villain to gun down (as Chris Hayes suggested during his Bernie interview). You have to Image result for demon and the pigshave a devil to cast out. How you gun down your villain, how you cast out your devil, is the hard part, of course. But Tr-mp’s razor-thin Electoral College win shows us that the “how” doesn’t much matter, doesn’t interest people all that much in the voting booth. What does interest them, what does matter, is that you say you want to gun down the villain, shoot the bad guy; you say you want to cast out the demon from a possessed system and send it into the swine, and then send the swine over the cliff.

Bernie told Chris Hayes:

What the party has got to focus on are the most important issues facing working people – that’s the decline of the middle class; that’s the need to take on the billionaire class and Wall Street and the insurance companies and bring people together, a) against Trump`s absolutely reactionary agenda, and, b) fight for a progressive agenda which, among other things, includes a Medicare for all single-payer program.

As I said, Bernie is short on details on how to get all that done. Fighting for a single-payer insurance system is music to my ears (and music to the ears of 80% of Democrats and 60% of independents. But someone has to write down the actual notes on paper, complete with the lyrics about how to win that fight and make it happen in a reluctant, splintered Congress. Someone has to tell us how that can be accomplished in a country so divided as ours, with an electorate so susceptible to the right-wing propaganda that would surely come with such a fight. Vermont, Bernie’s own state, tried the single-payer route. It didn’t work out too well.

To reiterate, the details are less important, at this stage, than the rhetoric. Tr-mp doesn’t have much of value to teach anyone, but he did educate us on how one can win an election without a 48-point policy plan. You simply pick out a couple of bad guys, like the Wall Street oligarchs whose handprints are all over Tr-mp and his administration, and go after them, relentlessly. If our next presidential candidate and our congressional candidates in 2018 and 2020 can successfully do that—if we get a Democratic Congress, and a legitimate president in the White’s House—then we can, and will have to, talk details later. Maybe all we can get done at first are much-needed improvements to the Affordable Care Act. Maybe we can get more. But we have to get in power first.

All that leads me to what you will see below in a video from Wednesday’s Rachel Maddow Show. All that leads me to Elizabeth Warren. She is a Democrat. She is actually married, willingly, to the Democratic Party. She recognizes the party is not all it should be, but sees it for what it can be, the vehicle for real reform, the vehicle to bring about the necessary change that Sanders and his followers say they want. But she also realizes that one cannot demand change from outside the party. She realizes that one cannot demand that the pursued radically change before the pursuer will half-heartedly commit. Warren realizes, as her support for Hillary Clinton demonstrated last year, that change comes from a committed relationship, not from a one-sided, I’ll-tell-you-what-I-want-before-I-give-you-my-love affair. She’s in bed with the party. She doesn’t have another lover on the side to whom she can go if the Democratic Party lets her down in this way or that.

And that’s why I prefer her to Bernie Sanders. I’ve always had reservations about Bernie because Bernie has so many reservations about the Democratic Party. I’ve always had trouble trusting Bernie because Bernie has so much trouble trusting Democrats. Commenter Jim Hight above says “the party will always lose unless this tiff with the Bernie supporters ends.” He’s probably right. We do have to work it out. We do have to heal the divisions between the Sanders voters and the Democratic Party. But that’s not a one-sided task, not a mending that can be done only by Democrats kneeling at the feet of an independent Bernie Sanders and asking for his forgiveness and promising we’ll do whatever he wants us to do.

Bernie did a lot to hurt Hillary Clinton and, as an unintended consequence, helped elect Donald Tr-mp. Oh, I know he didn’t mean to. I know he finally got on board in the end. But he owes the party some kind of a mild mea culpa, some kind of acknowledgement that, long before he eventually came on the anti-Tr-mp general election campaign team, that he did real damage to the person he had to know, as time and primary elections went by, would be the party’s general election candidate. At the very least he owes it to the party to, for God’s sake, join it. He needs to become one of us. He needs to commit. He needs to stop his flirting. He needs to curb his I-am-entitled-to-reform-a-party-I don’t-belong-to arrogance.

Below you will find the entire episode of Wednesday’s Rachel Maddow Show. I could have chopped it up, but I decided to use the whole thing for two reasons. One is that her opening, pre-Warren segment will piss you off and make you realize why Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are absolutely right about who it is that currently runs and ruins the system, using wealth as their tool. The second reason is that you will see why Elizabeth Warren, as reluctant as she is to become a national candidate to run against Tr-mp in 2020 (she has a Senate election in 2018, which takes priority), is someone who is a real Democrat, someone who really believes the party can be the vehicle to do the things that both she and Bernie, and so many progressives, believe should be done. Rachel’s interview with her, and the way Warren conducted herself and answered the questions, shows why her fidelity to the Democratic Party and her belief in its potential means much more to me than Bernie sitting next to the chairman of our party and refusing to commit to it.

Here is last night’s segment in full. You owe it to yourself, as a Democrat, as an independent, or simply as an interested observer of politics, to watch it all:

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19 Comments

  1. King Beauregard

     /  April 20, 2017

    Well said. But let me say without trepidation: Bernie is not the way forward for this country. He might be the way forward for Vermont, in other words a very melanin-deprived progressive state. But the rest of the country has a great many people who are not progressive, and a great many who are black and brown and all sorts of shades of “not quite equal”. Bernie is not their voice, and has never really tried to be.

    Anyone who is dismissive towards “identity politics” is unfit for a leadership position in the Democratic Party. If you’re not willing to recognize that discrimination exists and must be actively challenged, you are at best one of those moderates MLK Jr considered a greater threat than active racists.

    But if Bernie does nothing else of value, the absolute least he could do is try to disabuse his fans of their preference for withholding votes, since all it ever does is help Republicans get into power. That would be a positive step that would help correct the dysfunction of the Left. Therefore, we can conclude Bernie will never do it.

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  2. Fellas —
    This is an important piece of work — and commentary, King. I do think the lover analogy is more than a little strained, but I really get your point, Duane — and I’ll use it for my own purpose later. The Democrats need to move forward, most certainly, and they need to be “united” — but they’d better not be uncritical.
    I think we do a disservice to the future of the Democratic party when we blame Bernie for the baggage (real and imagined) that drowned Hillary. She was the wrong candidate for the wrong election. Sure, Russian-Trump collusion helped sink her, but she gave them a lot of ammo and the party hierarchy did 100 times as much damage as Bernie’s campaign. I continue to believe — as do many — that had Sanders been able to convince Democrats to nominate him he would have beaten Trump and Democrats would have taken the Senate.
    His job as a candidate was to convince people he was the better choice. His job as a representative of the people often ignored by Democrats was to authentically and authoritatively make his case. Your skewering of him for not rolling over for a deeply flawed (if very competent) candidate is disingenuous.
    The Dems need fresh leadership. Tom Perez is a really good guy. I like and respect him. He may be just the leader to keep the center and left of the party together. He is 20,000 times better than his predecessor: you can drop Hillary’s failure at her arrogant feet. I preferred Keith Ellison because he understands better than Perez that this is a war for the soul of America. This is about realities, not platitudes. Still Keith and Tom — and Bernie are working out the kinks.
    In the interest of full disclosure, I am a liberal Democrat with strong Socialist leanings. I’ve voted for Democrats non-stop since 1976. I even voted for Mike Dukakis — a really weak candidate. I get the idea of sticking together — no matter what. But if Dems are just going be GOP-lite — who gives a damn? Tom Perez had better be listening to the liberals — or progressives in the party. Theirs’ are the ideas that will make the party obviously relevant for ALL Americans.
    As for Bernie’s “relationship” with the Democratic party, I see him and his girlfriend in premarital counseling. He is NOT going to commit to her long-term if she is going to be a Debbie Wasserman-Shultz kind of girl. Or a Claire McCaskill, or a Heidi Heitkamp kind of girl.
    He know he can’t change her once they are married (though, God knows, many, many have tried to convert a spouse after the fact — usually unsuccessfully). If the Dems are not gonna come around, he will stay independent, serving as he can in a disfunctional country of knuckleheads. Personally, I respect that. He’s trying to lead from a position of integrity. The party and the nation need what he’s saying and doing.
    I like Elizabeth Warren, too. I think she is smart and sincere and has lots of good ideas. And I like Jeff Merkley — also smart and courageous: he would have been a better choice for VP than Tim Kaine (a guy I like, but part of the Dem’s not-really-very-progessive problem).
    This is a lot wordier than I usually get, but I want to say, Duane, you really did a great job of laying out the situation — mostly. I believe the Democratic party is taking its responsibility to the nation seriously — someone has to. The other major party (and maybe Jill Stein) seem more interested in shilling for Putin’s Russia. (Good riddance to Jason Chaffetz. I still hope he ends up in jail with the rest of the traitors.)

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    • King Beauregard

       /  April 20, 2017

      “I continue to believe — as do many — that had Sanders been able to convince Democrats to nominate him he would have beaten Trump and Democrats would have taken the Senate.”

      That’s fine. So you do know that single payer went down to defeat in Colorado in that same election, right? As in, a 79%-21% defeat? And that’s in a blue state no less. We can’t know for sure how Bernie himself would have done, but we have some indication of how his flagship proposal fared when presented to people not already in his fan base.

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      • Fair enough, King. I can tell you this, my brother-in-law grew up in Texas, now lives in Canada. Is a conservative, multi-millionaire. Loves Canadian healthcare. Has had a knee replaced — plus all the usual stuff. Thinks we’re a bunch of dumbasses for not embracing single-payer. What are you afraid of? Are US hospitals overcharging? Yes, they are. Are docs overcharging? Yes, they are. Is big Pharma a con? Yes, it is. Is the Insurance industry crooked and incompetent? Yep. Are they all very powerful? You bet. Still, if replaced by single payer, we’re all better off. Gotta take on the beast sometime ———–

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        • King Beauregard

           /  April 20, 2017

          “What are you afraid of?”

          Oh don’t flatter yourself for your “bravery”. Single payer crashed and berned in Vermont itself, just months before Bernie hit the campaign trail; did he ever tell you WHY it failed? Did he even mention Green Mountain Single Payer at all? Because I’m quite certain the Republicans would have brought it up.

          And the reason single payer failed is because it doesn’t solve the problem that medical COSTS are twice in the US what they are elsewhere in the civilized world, and until we actually control costs directly, single payer will remain prohibitively expensive.

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          • Exactly. Single payer becomes part of the method of controlling those costs. No one said it would be easy. But doing nothing is no cure. Sounds like you’ve given up. In the meantime, take a chill pill.

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            • King Beauregard

               /  April 20, 2017

              Keeping costs static is one thing. Cutting them in half is a very different matter. And what makes it hard is that hospitals have bills to pay too, so single payer can’t just bring the entire medical chain into line by paying hospitals less.

              Look, simple example. Let’s say a hospital wants to charge $100 for a drug they paid $75 for, but single payer refuses to pay more than $50. What happens? Well the hospital has a tough choice to make: stop using that drug in favor of something cheaper, turn patients away, or operate at a loss. Hospitals that operate at a loss too often go bankrupt, and that is a pretty undesirable outcome.

              And again, single payer failed in Bernie’s own state precisely because it can’t magically pull prices down to a reasonable level.

              You should ask yourself why you had to hear about GMSP from me, because you’d think any serious advocate of single payer would do an autopsy on it and find out what went wrong. That’s not Bernie. Apparently it’s not you either.

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    • King Beauregard

       /  April 20, 2017

      “But if Dems are just going be GOP-lite”

      Oh horseshit. Just because the Democrats don’t have the narrow laser-like focus on exactly the topics that interest Bernie, doesn’t make them GOP-lite. If anything, I worry about what the Democrats would be like under Bernie’s vision: little to no interest in confronting discrimination, because it’s a distraction from the holy mission of Making Wall Street Suffer. Not helping people, mind you, but Making Wall Street Suffer.

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  3. Okay. Okay. I get it. You’re a Bernie hater. Afraid of the term: socialism. All righty, then.

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    • King Beauregard

       /  April 20, 2017

      You pat yourself on the back way too much over way too little.

      Hey you want to read what REAL socialists think of Bernie? Check this out:

      http://socialistworker.org/2015/05/05/sanders-dodge-on-black-lives-matter

      No serious left activist should follow his example. Are economic issues like unemployment, the minimum wage and massive income inequality pressing issues that need to be raised? Of course! Should they be used to duck the pressing social questions raised by Baltimore specifically, and #BlackLivesMatter more broadly? Of course not! Perhaps if Bernie had spent 5-10 minutes talking about the epidemic of police brutality (rather than making it sound like a local issue), the crippling oppression of the New Jim Crow and the Prison Industrial Complex and the kinds of reforms oppressed communities themselves are talking about–perhaps then Bernie could go on to talk for a minute or two about his youth jobs bill, which he introduced seven-and-a-half months ago.

      The final disconnect from the reality on the streets of West Baltimore, is Sanders’ bizarre emphasis on “keeping kids in school and work, and off of street corners,” as a response to Baltimore. Bernie assures us that he’ll “make sure that kids are in schools, and not in jails” which sounds an awful lot like he’s placing the burden of responsibility for police brutality on the individual being victimized–a right-wing talking point. A meaningfully “left” candidate ought to have used this time to talk about the cops themselves, the structural nature of the problem, and how racialized social control operates. It’s as if the real problem for Bernie Sanders was that on April 12, Freddie Gray (aka “Black suspect” in Bernie’s lingo, since he doesn’t mention Freddie Gray’s name once) wasn’t at school or work- not that he was arrested for walking while Black. Somehow Bernie managed to completely avoid talking meaningfully about police brutality, mass incarceration, the war on drugs, militarized policing and a broken judicial system while giving us his “thoughts” on Baltimore. Bernie has no answers for #BlackLivesMatter.

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      • Hey, King. I’m not patting myself on the back. I’m stating an opinion and offering a background for how I got there. Sounds like you have all the answers. Run for something, then. You should read up a little more on Bernie before making your angry pronouncements.
        As for Bernie and African American citizens, let me quote Dr. Cornel West: “But in fact, when it comes to advancing Dr. King’s legacy, a vote for Clinton not only falls far short of the mark; it prevents us from giving new life to King’s legacy. Instead, it is Sanders who has championed that legacy in word and in deed for 50 years. This election is not a mere campaign; it is a crusade to resurrect democracy—King-style—in our time. In 2016, Sanders is the one leading that crusade.”
        Just sayin’ —-

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        • King Beauregard

           /  April 20, 2017

          “Sounds like you have all the answers.”

          I don’t flatter myself that much … but I do bother to inform myself and ask good questions and try to find the answers. That’s why I’m me and not a “progressive” ideologue.

          “As for Bernie and African American citizens, let me quote Dr. Cornel West:”

          Wow, Bernie made a black friend, and therefore cannot be wrong about matters of race!

          I don’t know if you know anything about Cornel West, other than he’s black and he agrees with you. But he is hardly The Final Arbiter Of Black Opinions.

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          • You’ve got a lot of anger there, King. Sorry to have to sent your blood pressure to such a dangerous level. I do the best I can with the information I collect. Wish to heaven I was one tenth as smart and informed as you.
            As for Dr. West: I’m no expert. I like what I’ve read of his, but I’ve only read three of his books: Race Matters, Truth Matters, and Democracy Matters. I’m sure there are many more. He may not be anybody’s last word on anything, but I have a lot more regard for him than I do for your frothing at the mouth over a simple discussion.

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            • King Beauregard

               /  April 20, 2017

              “Wish to heaven I was one tenth as smart and informed as you.”

              It’s a slow process, but once you start down that road you’ll have little patience for the willfully uninformed.

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  4. Ed Stockton

     /  April 20, 2017

    Me Graham. I’ve been enjoying your blog since I moved to Missouri last summer. This is the 1st disagreement I’ve had with you. Bernie is where the Democratic Party needs to be. Hillary is all that’s wrong with our party. I believe we’d have won with Bernie. We can’t keep saying his ideas can’t work (I get tired of liberals saying he had no plans for his ideas). Don’t want to fight. I’m only saying that you’re demonstrating why our party is weak. Unite with liberal ideas or keep losing to the wing nuts.

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    • King Beauregard

       /  April 20, 2017

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/reminder-abortion-is-an-economic-issue_us_58f8d11be4b018a9ce58dd4f?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

      What a guy, this Sanders. He’ll screw anyone over just as long as it means Punishing Wall Street.

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    • Ed,

      Thanks for your nice comments and for hanging with me. I appreciate it. I’m sorry we disagree on this one. If you are willing to read it, I will take the time to address at length your objection:

      I have made the case, several times, why I think Bernie would not have won. In a nutshell, I think his plans, especially single-payer healthcare, would have been demagogued to death by the GOP, mainly because that issue is complicated and a lot of taxes would need to be raised to make it all work. Americans, if they are nothing else, are easily swayed by propaganda about increased taxes. Bernie had a hard time, as I recall, explaining in a few short sentences, why the massive tax increases would actually benefit most Americans. That would have been fatal in a debate, even with a fool like Tr-mp. And I remind you that Tr-mp conned some working folks, and some union folks, into believing he would lower taxes and bring back jobs. Imagine, if you can, Sanders (who would be branded a wild-eyed socialist) trying to defend his massive tax increases in the face of Republicans saying, night and day, that businesses would flee the United States and take millions of jobs with them if they were forced to pay higher taxes to fund Bernie’s utopia. I just ask you to think about how that might have played out.

      As you know, Hillary Clinton did actually win the popular vote, even though in crucial places she lost some support among the working class that cost her the election. I disagree with you that she is “all that’s wrong with our party.” She certainly had a lot of image problems, and some real problems with greed, but over the years she helped the party significantly, and raised lots and lots of money for Democratic candidates, something Bernie did not do. But even if we don’t agree about that, I have to tell you I don’t understand this statement you made:

      Bernie is where the Democratic Party needs to be.

      If Bernie is where the party needs to be, why isn’t the party where Bernie needs to be? I am a member of a labor union. In fact, I’m an officer in that union. If a non-member, a freeloader, came into one of our meetings and demanded we radically transform our union, the Sergeant-at-Arms would throw him or her out. If you are not willing to join our union, you have no right to demand how our union is organized or what issues we choose to highlight or ignore. It’s that simple for me. If Bernie wants to be a part of fixing what he thinks is wrong with the Democratic Party, he has to become a Democrat. Otherwise, he’s just another voice out there telling us Democrats what is wrong with us while being unwilling to take our name and pay his dues.

      As far as me “demonstrating why our party is weak,” presumably because I don’t “want to fight” for “liberal ideas,” you couldn’t be more wrong. Liberal ideas are worth fighting for. But you can’t fight for them without winning elections. And you can’t win elections without political parties. And you can’t have political parties if everyone wants to be “independent.” Parties and the structures that go with them are what win elections and possess power to implement an agenda. There is no “Sanders” party in the United States Senate. There is no “Independent” party there either. There are Republicans and Democrats and two people who say they are not of either party.  Both of those guys caucus with, guess what, the Democratic Party. Why? Because they have no power to do anything without the power of the party. Both Angus King and Bernie Sanders ought to be Democrats, ought to be willing to sign up and fight for the values of the party, and help shape those values. The easiest thing in the world is to sit in the grandstands and throw rocks at Democrats out on the field. It’s much harder to suit up and get out on the field and block and tackle and face the other side as a team.

      Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but I think it would be strange for someone with an “I” on his jersey tell those of us with a “D” on ours how to play the only game in town, the game against those with an “R” on their chests. Suit up, put on the “D,” be willing to fight those on the other side, those who don’t just oppose liberal policies, but want to impose reactionary policies on the rest of us. As I have said many times, American politics is generally incremental in nature. One party doesn’t come in and completely change the landscape overnight. It takes time. Sometimes all you accomplish is keeping the other side from gaining ground. Sometimes you can push them back a few yards. And sometimes you can advance your own causes slowly downfield.

      Bernie seems to think he can design a political party that will defy all the rules of American politics and political history. He seems to think Americans will, all of a sudden, embrace his notions of socialism if only the Democratic Party will come to its senses and transform itself in his image. Well, what I am saying is that American politics doesn’t work that way. The country is electorally split nearly in half. There is a tiny number of people who can be persuaded either way, and even if we can persuade them our way, we still have a significant number of people who will keep fighting us. I remind you that Democrats, for a short period of time in 2009, had 60 votes in the Senate and control of the House and the White House. But we still couldn’t even get a “public option” in the Affordable Care Act. This stuff is hard, much harder than Bernie makes it sound.

      Duane

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      • Fascinating discussion here, fellas. I found myself agreeing with first one and then another, all of which points to the complexity of political analysis. It ain’t easy, and I think Duane’s final comment concludes the debate well. Political change is incremental and ideology must bend to be successful.

        One facet of the problem not discussed here is missing, something that has changed fundamentally in politics, and that is fake news and alternative facts. Those have always been with us, but the internet and social media have exploded their effects. How the parties deal with that problem will be crucial, but I see no short-term solution. Blogs like this one, I submit, must be part of the answer.

        It occurs to me that four years of Tr;mp may be the catalyst needed for unity. Trauma on a national scale can be cathartic, provided we can survive it. However, if the body politic can’t discern truth from falsity after that time, then the American experiment will have failed and we will continue our descent into warring tribes.

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  5. ansonburlingame

     /  April 22, 2017

    To all above,

    This is a very good discussion with all engaging so far very much on the left. I don’t disparage in any way the manner you have expressed your views and I have a better picture now of how the internal debate within Dem ranks might be all about. You have increased my understanding of Dem politics, which is the reason I read this blog in the first place.

    First, I have a new, touch screen computer that is driving me nuts. My comment on the later blog (Nuggent et al) was obviously intended for this blog discussing the future for the Dem party. How it arrived as a comment to that posting is beyond me as my screen flies around all over the place right now. Technology is a pain!!! It is like my mother who refused to use a dial phone and insisted on still calling the operator to make her phone calls (in late 50’s in KY farmland)!!!

    General is “out there” on the left and King is not too far behind. Duane is …… well you decide but he isn’t that far “out there” it seems. Again, good internal discussion and thanks for letting me chime in, like it or not!!

    Go read the later blog comments, mine, Michael’s and Kevin’s and read, if you like my second comment to them. It applies, and should be herein, but I won’t repeat them for sure.

    Note my semi-predictions for 2018 and 2020 in that last comment in that blog, a Cruz -Sander/Warren general election (2020) OR (and more to my taste) a Romney/Jeb Bush – Warren/Sanders general election in same year. It will all depend on exactly how much Trump screws up, politically. He may ruin the GOP to such an extent that any GOP candidate will lose (like in 2008). It will all hinge on what kind of Dem you guys select as to whether or not I can find a way to support Dems, but will NEVER support “socialists” in any manner. I define that term in the other comments referenced.

    After you guys sort it out I would ask one thing. Show me your balanced checkbook and how high tax rates must go to support what you propose. And don’t bother telling me Trump can’t balance his checkbook either!!

    Anson

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