"Complete the Revolution"
February 19, 2019 6:42 AM   Subscribe

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has ended months of speculation, starting his 2020 campaign for the presidency in an already-energetic Democratic field.

VPR: He's In For 2020: Bernie Sanders Is Running For President Again
"I wanted to let the people of the state of Vermont know about this first," Sanders told VPR's Bob Kinzel. "And what I promise to do is, as I go around the country, is to take the values that all of us in Vermont are proud of — a belief in justice, in community, in grassroots politics, in town meetings — that's what I'm going to carry all over this country."
...

Sanders said he is running to oppose President Donald Trump, and to enact many of the progressive ideas — including universal health care coverage, a $15 minimum wage and reducing student debt — that he championed in 2016.

"I think the current occupant of the White House is an embarrassment to our country," Sanders said. "I think he is a pathological liar... I also think he is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, somebody who is gaining cheap political points by trying to pick on minorities, often undocumented immigrants."
NYTimes: Bernie Sanders Announces 2020 Presidential Run
Mr. Sanders will start his campaign with several advantages, including the foundation of a 50-state organization; a massive lead among low-dollar donors that is roughly equivalent to the donor base of all the other Democratic hopefuls combined; and a cache of fervent, unwavering supporters. A coveted speaker, he is still capable of electrifying crowds in a way few politicians can. He enjoys wide name recognition, and several early polls on the 2020 race had Mr. Sanders running second behind former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
...
[A]lmost immediately after making his announcement, Mr. Sanders drew criticism for his response to Vermont Public Radio on Tuesday morning when asked if he thought he best represented the current Democratic Party.

“We have got to look at candidates, you know, not by the color of their skin, not by their sexual orientation or their gender and not by their age,” Mr. Sanders said. “I think we have got to try to move us toward a nondiscriminatory society which looks at people based on their abilities, based on what they stand for.”
...
Asked in his interview with CBS what would be different about this presidential run compared to 2016, Mr. Sanders replied bluntly: “We’re going to win.”

“Bottom line,” he said, “it is absolutely imperative that Donald Trump be defeated.”
WaPo: Bernie Sanders’s 2020 policy agenda: Medicare for All; action on climate change; $15 an hour minimum wage
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will run for president proposing to enact a “Medicare-for-all” health care system, stave off catastrophic climate change through a “Green New Deal” and other climate measures, and implement a $15 an hour minimum wage for all American workers, according to aides to the senator.

Sanders will also tout proposals to mandate breaking up the biggest Wall Street banks; free tuition at public colleges; lower drug prices through aggressive government intervention; new labor law to encourage union formation; curbed corporate spending on elections; paid family and medical leave; gender pay equity; and expanded Social Security benefits, aides said.

Sanders’ criminal justice platform will include legalizing marijuana, ending cash bail throughout the U.S., and abolishing private prisons, while he will also run on the standard Democratic policy goals of protecting young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and limiting the sale and distribution of guns.
WaPo: Sen. Bernie Sanders will seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020
Sanders wrote in an email sent to supporters Tuesday that he was building “an unprecedented and historic grassroots campaign” that would draw on people across the country.

“Our campaign is not only about defeating Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history. It is not only about winning the Democratic nomination and the general election,” he wrote. “Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.”
@BernieSanders:
I'm running for president. [twitter video]
posted by cjelli (824 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
 
[Important: Please note cortex's announcement about how we will be discussing US primaries on the site (short version: don't argue about the primaries; examples in the post)]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:42 AM on February 19 [11 favorites]


Good luck to him. Good luck to all the candidates. May the best person win and crush the fuck out of Trump.
posted by saturday_morning at 6:50 AM on February 19 [69 favorites]


I used to live two blocks from Bernie's house. My friends semi-regularly see him at the local Hannafords and one friend who volunteers at the local polling station is a multiple times "extra" in the obligatory press photo when he comes in to vote. I was there in the crowd cheering at the waterfront when he announced his candidacy in 2015. I have other friends who work in his senatorial office.

I don't know if any of those are relevant facts. I don't know if the following are really either. But, I also hear rumors through the grapevine of how difficult he can be. I've heard that there was a certain sense of relief when he departed to Washington and the city was able to clean up some issues he didn't address locally. I know his name is frequently cited by locals who rail against what I see as forward movement to improve our city, arguing for waiting for the perfect rather than proceeding with the good.

It is easy to envision how difficult this post is likely to be here on Metafilter. The man has many excellent ideas. He stands for a great number of things I believe in. He is also human, and has his flaws. I think one of the biggest is that he doesn't recognize them to the extent he should. And, I was genuinely hopeful after the last election that he would re-energize his personal efforts and supporters to identifying a new generation of politicians to carry forward his messages. To me, today's announcement is where he has put the nail in the coffin of that dream.

I believe he would do more good by identifying and supporting others. Since that is not what is coming, I will instead hope that he maintains a positive focus on saying good things about his fellow candidates as he pursues this office. And, I hope that if he does not have a clear path to victory he will step out of the race in a timely fashion. We will see what happens.

My wish is that all of us here continue to discuss with trust in the good faith of each other as passionate participants in a challenging process.
posted by meinvt at 6:51 AM on February 19 [123 favorites]


If Sanders is the nominee, I'll vote for him. If he isn't, I'll vote for the person who is. He isn't the person I'd hope gets the shot, but I'm not going to grumble about it if he manages to generate more enthusiasm than the other candidates for whatever reason it might be. I'll be thrilled with any of the possibilities if they can defeat Trump or whoever else runs.
posted by gusottertrout at 6:57 AM on February 19 [21 favorites]


i really wish he hadn't have done this - my feeling is he had his chance and it's better to let a new group of candidates move forward

i say this as someone who had voted for him and hasn't got anyone i've made up my mind on yet
posted by pyramid termite at 7:00 AM on February 19 [84 favorites]


A 77 year old white guy who can't be bothered to support better gun control is at the very bottom of my list of people I want to vote for. But if he ends up being the Democratic nominee he'll get my bitter, angry, disappointed vote.
posted by pjsky at 7:03 AM on February 19 [105 favorites]


I'm going to resist commenting on these further, but I am sick to here of old smug white men in office. I'd rather have him than Biden, and I'd rather have either of them than Trump. But I really wish this dude's ego would stop pushing him to run for pres. and instead push him to actually help the causes his constant emails espouse.

If having all those people flood the Sanders campaign with $$$ somehow helps any of those causes, I'm not seeing it.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:04 AM on February 19 [38 favorites]


As someone who voted for him in the 2016 primary I say: "You had your shot, you fucked us all by not fully supporting the nominee, and please fucking go away."
posted by notsnot at 7:09 AM on February 19 [153 favorites]


Is he running as a Democrat or the Independent he says he is? Because he's not known for supporting other democrats running their own races. He doesn't actively work with the party. He stomps in making demands and sucking up democratic volunteers that would otherwise be helping democrats.

And if he's running as an independent, him and his followers will just draw off enough people to re-elect President Cheeto.

If he wants to run democrat, fine. But he better start supporting democrats in this race to fix the country, and that includes bowing out gracefully and throwing support to the primary winner if it isn't him.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 7:11 AM on February 19 [15 favorites]


i just donated.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:11 AM on February 19 [18 favorites]


My 16 year old was excited about Bernie, but one of his female peers said “He’s an old, crusty, 1%er who doesn’t seem to like women or people of color, so...” , and I happen to agree. If he’s the nominee, I will vote for him, but I hope he’s not the nominee.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:13 AM on February 19 [43 favorites]


Honestly, I want to avoid thinking of this as a personalities race. For me, this is going to be as much as possible about policies, for the following reasons:

1. The candidates range from "I am sort of excited about this one but there are a couple of significant drawbacks" to "I am really not excited about this one for policy reasons". There's no one I really, truly want to cheer as an individual.

2. The older I get, the more I realize that there's almost never going to be a person I want to cheer as an individual, because a. the nature of our political system limits who can rise; and b. in any political system, by the time you rise you're going to have compromised on at least a few things.

3. My goal is to use whatever levers are to hand to push the Democratic party en masse to the left more than it is to elect someone on the theory that they'll get elected and stay left. Without mass movements, they won't.

4. This is a good time for mass organizing and it has had real successes. People are only going to get smarter and more focused as they realize that they can win, and that they can win without saying "well, I am going to work to elect you and you'll move to the right as soon as you're in office and there's nothing I can do about that".

5. Even if a candidate I'm not wild about wins the primary and hopefully the general, the same rule will hold true - mass organizing to push them left.

In the primary, I am only voting for someone who supports Medicare for All, free college and at least some Green New Deal-type stuff. If there are several candidates who meet that standard at the time of the primary, I'm going to pick based on policy track record in terms of economic and racial justice.
posted by Frowner at 7:18 AM on February 19 [69 favorites]


Is Sanders still running a line that asserts that racism/sexism/&c. don't exist in themselves but are just symptoms of economic inequality, and if we focus on eliminating economic inequality, they will disappear? Because that sounds as reductionistic as any everything-is-a-market libertarian space cadet.
posted by acb at 7:22 AM on February 19 [12 favorites]


Being in Pennsylvania, I always feel a little divorced from the primary process because there usually isn't much choice by the time it gets here. Last time Sanders was still running but he was mathematically out of the running. As usual, I'll support whomever gets the nomination but I never get much of a say in it.
posted by octothorpe at 7:25 AM on February 19 [6 favorites]


I have a lot of mixed feelings that I'd like to talk about.

I'm a democratic socialist. I want to see worker-council democracy blossom across the United States. I think the more socialism we have in the US the better. Many DSA chapters have already endorsed him. I've counselled them against this and am trying to prevent my own from doing likewise. DSA and socialists fight for ideas, not people, and I think we can get way too attached to Sanders and AOC and every other socialist celebrity. If DSA members want to vote for him, go for it, but I think it would be pointlessly divisive with a wide open field to endorse anyone.

I also know that although he's commonly thought to be white, he would be our first Jewish President (and non-Christian, depending on how we count that). To my knowledge, he's the only one running. I know Jews are lumped into whiteness quite often, but as we can tell from the Tree of Life shootings, they often are not considered as such by their enemies.

I think Sanders has some definite positive qualities: he's brash and uncompromising on his views of the future United States. Those same qualities can be negative: he can become one-note and without nuance on others. Sometimes, people want their representatives to be like them demographically, and there's only a small amount of old male Jews to appeal towards. He also has issues with the sexism of his campaign.

I also have issues with him running for the Democratic nomination without being a Democrat. At least in 2015, he switched parties. I know that in America, we only have two major parties, so there's not a lot of cross-coalitioning that would be acceptable elsewhere. Still, I want someone who actually claims all the good and all the bad of being a Democrat, rather than distancing here and there where it's convenient.

I probably won't vote for him in the primary, though I'm not sure who I will vote for. But we need brave socialists to step up, and so far, he's the only one.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:25 AM on February 19 [18 favorites]


Honestly, I want to avoid thinking of this as a personalities race

I am so with Frowner here on her entire post. I really hope people can discuss the candidates actual issues and policies rather than personality/identity stuff.

For all the AOC love and all the Bernie hate that spans different factions of the left, it's going to be really interesting watching people reconcile this when she inevitably endorses him and possibly even stands for him as a surrogate for rallies and whatnot. She worked for his campaign and their policy proposals and ideology are literally the same pretty much to a T, and the idea that someone would stan AOC and be thrilled to watch her energize the left and then denounce Bernie as out-of-touch old white man who like, loves guns and despises women...or something...is really really silly to me.
posted by windbox at 7:26 AM on February 19 [44 favorites]


Like others have said, I'll vote for whomever wins the primary, but I wish Sanders had decided to sit this one out and throw his weight behind whichever of the other candidates he felt best carried forward his values.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:26 AM on February 19 [13 favorites]


I would be less skeptical of Bernie if he had done more to cultivate or connect with or establish a public working relationship with, like, at least one other person, preferably younger? I feel like at 77 years old, if I was really serious about turning my ideology into a movement, that I would want to have some sort of junior leadership for the movement in place to hand things off to when I am ready to die or retire. Maybe he has these folks in Vermont, but from over here in Chicago it looks like he really doesn't have any real friends or allies on the national stage. I'd vote for him if he was the nominee and I voted for him in the last primary but I wouldn't vote for him in the next unless maybe like if AOC endorsed him/was announced as his running mate. My gut says he couldn't handle sharing the spotlight like that though, and we're already doing "old white dude who doesn't play well with others" and that's not going great so maybe let's try something different this time.
posted by jordemort at 7:27 AM on February 19 [18 favorites]


Is Sanders still running a line that asserts that racism/sexism/&c. don't exist in themselves but are just symptoms of economic inequality, and if we focus on eliminating economic inequality, they will disappear? Because that sounds as reductionistic as any everything-is-a-market libertarian space cadet.

Sanders has and does acknowledge sexism and racism as forces in American politics and doesn't boil everything down to economic class. However, he does see fixes to economic problems as routes to addressing sexism and racism (and homophobia and many other issues). "Activists disagree on the best approach" is the best way I can address that one.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:32 AM on February 19 [18 favorites]


I love the fact that he’s not a Democrat. It would be really easy to go along with a party that has been on the wrong side of a lot of issues for a long time. I have absolutely no allegiance or loyalty to party leaders or career Dem politicians. Rather the opposite. They tend to want personal power, the status quo, etc. more than they want a decent life for the people in this country.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:32 AM on February 19 [18 favorites]


I wouldn't vote for him in the next unless maybe like if AOC endorsed him/was announced as his running mate.

To touch on that idea specifically, as discussed ad nauseam in several other politics threads, Occasio-Cortez is several years too young to run as President or as Vice President; the Constitution sets an age requirement of thirty-five for both offices.
posted by cjelli at 7:33 AM on February 19 [36 favorites]


The interesting thing about the first campaign ad is that it demonstrates how influential Sanders has been on the Democratic Party's thinking in the past two years. Not just Medicare for All, but also the push to stop US support for the Saudi war against Yemen, shaming big corporations into raising wages for their workers, free college, etc. One can quibble about how much Sanders was involved in each of those things, but it's hard to deny that Sanders has been a catalyst for the leftward shift of the party. And that's to say nothing of the new generation of Democrats (e.g., AOC, Omar, Tlaib) that have risen in his wake.

It'd be nice if Sanders were 10 years younger, but at the same time, I'm less convinced that age is a disqualifier than I once was. (Nancy Pelosi is even older than Sanders, and no one, especially after the shutdown fight, doubts her ability to run the House of Representatives.) Nathan Robinson, I thought, had the best answer to this concern:
But Sanders seems to be in far better health than Trump: He can still play basketball, for goodness’ sake! When did you last see Donald Trump running for a train? Health matters a lot more than the raw number of years somebody has been alive. There are 90-year-olds who could beat me in an athletic contest, and there are 60-year-olds who are unlikely to survive a presidential term. Our current president seems to eat about nine cheeseburgers a day, never sleeps, and barely moves, all in his seventies. I am not sure he will be able to make much of the age criticism, and if he does, Bernie Sanders should challenge him to a game of one-on-one basketball.
Lastly, though many other Democrats have adopted policies first championed by Sanders, none of them, with the exception of Elizabeth Warren, have the same theory of politics that Sanders does; namely, that progress is made not just through finding policy solutions, but through confronting the powers that be. There's a reason that, of all the Democratic candidates, the only ones Wall Street is scared of are Sanders and Warren.
posted by Cash4Lead at 7:35 AM on February 19 [41 favorites]


It’s also really bizarre to me that people think that economic issues aren’t race issues or gender issues. The wealth gap in this country is insane and favors whites by a huge margin. Crushing student debt is an incredibly serious issue for black communities. Single mothers are in poverty at an astounding rate. Women without a social safety net can’t leave abusive partners. I could go on and on. I legitimately don’t understand what platform a politician would have that would address the biggest issues facing women and people of color but somehow not have a focus on financial and economic issues.

I’m a woman and white-passing POC for the record. And I want health care NOW. I want student loan reform NOW. These are my issues.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:39 AM on February 19 [46 favorites]


Rock 'em Sock 'em: "I love the fact that he’s not a Democrat. It would be really easy to go along with a party that has been on the wrong side of a lot of issues for a long time. I have absolutely no allegiance or loyalty to party leaders or career Dem politicians. Rather the opposite. They tend to want personal power, the status quo, etc. more than they want a decent life for the people in this country."

I felt pretty insulted that he went back to being an independent after the 2016 election. I don't like that he feels like he can use the Democratic party when it's convenient but dances away from it when he doesn't need them.
posted by octothorpe at 7:39 AM on February 19 [70 favorites]


So where are his taxes? Or does he seriously think he can be a viable candidate without making them public?
posted by xammerboy at 7:41 AM on February 19 [11 favorites]


He'll put a knife into Warren just like he did Clinton.
He enabled the first Trump presidency and now he will enable the second.
This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by pdoege at 7:42 AM on February 19 [43 favorites]


My new rule for all candidates is that they should not try for President over and over. If at first you don’t succeed, quit and write a book, I say.
posted by all about eevee at 7:42 AM on February 19 [14 favorites]


I voted for Sanders in ‘16, too, and I will certainly vote for him if he’s a Presidential candidate. I just wish I didn’t always feel like he’s a very bad messenger for some very good ideas. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by octobersurprise at 7:42 AM on February 19 [5 favorites]


it's going to be really interesting watching people reconcile this when she inevitably endorses him and possibly even stands for him as a surrogate for rallies and whatnot.

Is it? Sure, there will be people who have cognitive dissonance on the matter and point at policies they like in one place and not another, but for every one of those it'll probably be 10 where people have a very reasonable problem with those policy proposals in the time and place, not based on their content.

People pointed and growled at AOC for a no vote in recent weeks on a funding bill over ICE issues, but that was a calculated protest vote in a situation where the bill was going to pass regardless. If people point and growl at Sanders for injecting things - or just himself - into a race where it might make the difference between a R win or loss then that's not necessarily people being inconsistent on policy. I guess maybe it's interesting to see whether people are just wording it poorly or actually being misguided/inconsistent in their gripes but personally I can think of lots of things I'd rather spend my brainpower on.
posted by phearlez at 7:42 AM on February 19


To touch on that idea specifically, as discussed ad nauseam in several other politics threads, Occasio-Cortez is several years too young to run as President or as Vice President; the Constitution sets an age requirement of thirty-five for both offices.

Gotcha; still, as a non-old non-white non-guy who's worked on his campaign and subsequently risen to a national level herself, her endorsement would carry a huge amount of weight for me, at least as far as reassuring me about Sanders 2: Electric Bernaloo
posted by jordemort at 7:44 AM on February 19


and the idea that someone would stan AOC and be thrilled to watch her energize the left and then denounce Bernie as out-of-touch old white man who like, loves guns and despises women...or something...is really really silly to me.

When Sanders responds to accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination in their campaign with “I was a little bit busy running around the country trying to make the case,” (yes, that is an actual quote from Sanders) and refuses to address criticism of his vote for gun industry indemnification, it becomes more understandable. It's also worth remembering that of all the major candidates in 2016 in both parties, Sanders had the worst gender balance in his upper echelons.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:48 AM on February 19 [38 favorites]


I don’t find it insulting that Bernie ran as a Dem then left. Practically speaking, no one wanted a third party run—what a disaster. Then again, I don’t have a personal attachment with the party and I don’t identify with it in a tribal way.

Or, to put it another way, the Democratic Party has no problem using people like me for our votes (and they get them because the other alternative is actively hostile/violent) and then throwing me under the bus whenever it’s not the right time for marriage equality or it’s not “feasible” to make sure I can go to the doctor when I get sick. I guess my memory is long or I’m getting old but it seems like yesterday that gay marriage wasn’t in the Democratic Party platform. (It was inserted in 2012).
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:49 AM on February 19 [56 favorites]


I felt pretty insulted that he went back to being an independent after the 2016 election. I don't like that he feels like he can use the Democratic party when it's convenient but dances away from it when he doesn't need them.

I'm more irritated than insulted. To make a decision at the state level that your values are too incompatible with the national party is probably an outlook we should embrace, not discourage. It would certainly be in the interest of D supporters to have folks who reject the Trump embrace to run as alternatives to folks in the R slot.

But at the point where you're running nationally the Right Thing (in my not so humble opinion) is to commit to being in the party so you can be a part of changing what the party is. You want all the machinery and infrastructure? You need to be a part of things in the middle times too, preferably out using your prominence to pack the machine and steer it with the sorts of change you believe should happen. Parachuting in and out isn't just shitty and opportunistic, it's counter-productive to making the societal changes you think need to happen. It is, in my opinion, a candidate character issue. I was willing to grit my teeth and look the other way on it in 2016 but the immediate bail-out after the loss is a deal-breaker for me.

#include "will_vote_if_candidate.disclaimer"
ASSERT(Notrumpatallcosts)
posted by phearlez at 7:50 AM on February 19 [22 favorites]


I'm most worried he'll spoil the race. His narrative, that healthcare, a living wage, and free education, are all stepping stones to making the U.S. a full on socialist state confirms conservatives worst fears. Socialist leaning Democrats, on the other hand, make the statement into some kind of purity test, and decide they won't vote for any candidate the doesn't embrace this stated goal. This happens despite the fact that there's little difference between Bernie's policies and the ones put forward by the other candidates. It happens despite the fact that these policies are middle of the road conservative policy positions in most industrialized countries.
posted by xammerboy at 7:52 AM on February 19 [8 favorites]


I love Bernie, share all his beliefs, but he is too old. Lots of exciting younger candidates with equally liberal agendas have already announced. Oh, they happen to be female?
So what! Bernie should retire gracefully and support one of them.
posted by mermayd at 7:52 AM on February 19 [13 favorites]


I am just earnestly tired of Bernie Sanders thinking he is so important that he has to be the nominee. Yes, there was a lot of enthusiasm for him last time, but it doesn’t stay. Everyone has moved on to the new shiny. If this race is the same as last time I will just scream and take up hardcore drinking again.
posted by corb at 7:56 AM on February 19 [23 favorites]


I am not going to give the Russian bots and Trump Trolls their satisfaction. To every Sanders supporter, I will simply say: He's not my preferred candidate. But if Bernie wins, i will 100% vote for him against Trump, and convince as many people as I know to vote as well. Will you agree to do the same if another candidate wins?

Wash, rinse, and repeat until Election Day.

There will be drama. But let's lessen it where we can.
posted by Chronorin at 7:58 AM on February 19 [35 favorites]


I’m not really a Bernie fan, but there are going to be like 20 candidates. It’s 2019. You think you want to be President? Go ahead, shoot your shot.

I also don’t mind that he lost last time and is running again. It’s very common for the nominee to be someone on their second try, though it’s more common on the GOP side.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:01 AM on February 19 [9 favorites]


Sanders stood out in 2016 because he was a very different candidate competing in a narrow field. It'll be interesting to see how he does in 2020, especially with Warren in the race.
posted by Automocar at 8:09 AM on February 19 [7 favorites]


There seems to be a lot of sentiment, in people around me and here on MeFi, that the 2016 election catastrophe was a weird aberration*, a mistake that only happened because we, the rational people, briefly lost focus.

I can't help but see what happened as a sign that people are dissatisfied with the status quo and losing faith in the center's ability to address their needs, reaching for more extreme choices and more extreme explanations for why their lives are worse than they remember.

This is not to apologize for these people—they actively made all of our lives worse—but I can't change this trend and merely going back to the status quo ante Trump will only push them to further extremes.

What I can do is try to support anyone offering them a convincing alternative to Trumpism, alt-right nazism, vampiric GOP candidates, and other rightwing choices. I'm hoping that material improvements in peoples' lives, through pro-labor policies like higher minimum wages, universal healthcare, a Green New Deal, and free higher education will bring those desperate for a lifejacket to the left instead of the right. I'm hoping that coupling this with an ironclad stance against, and policies to actually begin dismantling, hate groups, institutionalized racism and sexism, and the immigration policy nightmare will address the needs of those demoralized communities tired of being bait-and-switched by centrist establishment democrats. This has the side benefit of improving our lives, too.

That perfect candidate doesn't exist. So I'll go with whoever has the most consistent and effective record on this stuff. That person could be Bernie or it could be someone else.

*I agree with it being an aberration of the electoral college system coupled with widespread voter suppression, but that's a different point and still required thin margins to happen.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 8:10 AM on February 19 [19 favorites]


The big hurdle for him is that he's no longer in a position where he has to be treated with kid gloves - and so he won't be. With gun control now a Democratic plank, he's going to have to have an answer for his vote to indemnify the gun industry. With people wanting to make candidates reveal their tax returns, he's not going to be able to run out the clock (especially since California requires release to be in the primary now.) His response to the accusations of sexual harassment and assault in his 2016 campaign was ham-fisted, to say the least.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:11 AM on February 19 [28 favorites]


I am about as excited for an elderly white man to run as I am for a root canal. And honestly, it's the age thing that bothers me the most - I don't want a President over 70. That means you too, Uncle Joe. The track record for elderly Presidents is not good - I would argue that Trump has dementia, and Reagan definitely did.

For what it's worth, on FB, most of the former Bernie voters are more excited about Elizabeth Warren this time around. A hell of a lot of people are excited about Kamala Harris. I doubt that Bernie is going to be as popular as he thinks he will be - remember, in 2016, he was the only real alternative to Hillary Clinton, and picked up a lot of support just because of that.

Personally, I'm excited about Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand, and will have a hard time deciding between them. I also like Warren. I will NOT vote for a white man in the primary. Unlike 2016, we are spoiled for choice. (I am old enough to remember having to hold my nose hard to vote for Dukakis. I don't miss those days.) We don't need Bernie, or Biden for that matter. #TeamKamala or #TeamKirsten
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:11 AM on February 19 [58 favorites]


And I still don't see him mentioning anything to do with women's issues nearly as much as needed.
posted by agregoli at 8:14 AM on February 19 [8 favorites]


I will also note it is really strange to see people just running circles around how they are never-Bernie without any actual mention of his policies, just totally put off for the same aesthetic nonsense that frustrates us when we talk about Beto or Warren or Harris non-policy shit. Focus on the policies, we say, except when actual socialism is on the table - only then does it become a crazy paradox of choice and considerations about the candidates age or identity or personality or some off-hand comment that must be read into with laser precision even though it has nothing to do with policy.

Like out of sheer curiosity, where are people even getting the idea Bernie would be bad for women or that he hasn't done enough to indicate he would be good for women's issues? He has a 100% from Planned Parenthood, 100% from NARAL Pro-Choice America.
posted by windbox at 8:21 AM on February 19 [40 favorites]


I guess my memory is long or I’m getting old but it seems like yesterday that gay marriage wasn’t in the Democratic Party platform. (It was inserted in 2012).

And Bernie Sanders was not really on board until 2009, so maybe he was slightly ahead of the Democratic Party. Before 2009 he held that gay marriage should be left as a states rights issue, much the way he still regards guns.
posted by JackFlash at 8:22 AM on February 19 [4 favorites]


This is really bad news. Fucker is going to stay ontil the bitter end and re-ignite all of that sour grapes feeling from last time. Even not running third party he will be like a Democratic spoiler. Go away old man. (I say that as an old man myself)
posted by Meatbomb at 8:23 AM on February 19 [18 favorites]


And Bernie Sanders was not really on board until 2009, so maybe he was slightly ahead of the Democratic Party. Before 2009 he held that gay marriage should be left as a states rights issue, much the way he still regards guns.

Obama didn't fully get on board with gay marriage until 2012.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:24 AM on February 19 [11 favorites]


He hardly ever even mentions women. Why wouldn't I be suspicious of that? Maybe if I hear it now or in the near future I'll change my mind, but for now? I'll keep supporting women for office.
posted by agregoli at 8:27 AM on February 19 [21 favorites]


Okay, something upon which I am not clear:

I have heard a lot about Bernie Bros but (because my social media is curated, etc) have seen very few instances, and none that rise above "someone being kind of an asshole in the moment". Would someone be able to provide a list of specific instances of Bernie-Bro-ism?

I genuinely don't feel that I have any kind of handle on whether this is more like "French progressive journalists stalk and harass women and POC via secret facebook group" or more like "a coherent minority of a candidate's supporters are assholes on the internet, but only coordinating in standard social media pile-ons".
posted by Frowner at 8:28 AM on February 19 [17 favorites]


In my opinion, in 2016, Bernie Sanders and his ego turned the election into a 3-way race in people's minds long after he lost any actual chance of winning the primary, and Clinton couldn't win that 3-way race. A democratic victory in that election certainly did not seem to be Sanders' top priority. Of course, he isn't a Democrat, and the big mistake was that he shouldn't have been allowed to participate in the Democratic primary without registering as one. That remains true today.

Sanders is one of a few individuals with significant responsibility for the outcome of that election, and what he did wasn't a well-meaning accident, but a selfish and self-righteous man putting himself first before the country's future

He is also way too old. His position on guns is definitely wrong for national leadership, but I wouldn't vote for it if I lived in Vermont either.

Well, I suppose I have to vote for Trump's eventual opponent, but Sanders represents the absolute bottom of this barrel to me. I wouldn't look forward to his presidency. I don't even want to hear about him again
posted by knoyers at 8:29 AM on February 19 [35 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. "Bernie Bros are like Nazis" is not going to work. If we're going to have threads on this at all, we need folks to avoid that kind of thing.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:30 AM on February 19 [15 favorites]


Mr. Sanders will start his campaign with several advantages, including the foundation of a 50-state organization; a massive lead among low-dollar donors that is roughly equivalent to the donor base of all the other Democratic hopefuls combined; and a cache of fervent, unwavering supporters.

Thanks for carrying water for the establishment, NYT. I knew we could count on you. Do you think that perhaps the existing infrastructure and donor list that he has is from, you know, his last presidential campaign? Which was four years ago, and almost entirely irrelevant to his current candidacy?

Anyway, I'm with Rosie M. Banks upthread. Most of the excitement around Bernie in 2016 (which I admit I was part of, early on) was that an honest-to-god leftist was running among a field of moderates. But, as I said, 2016 was an age ago, and now we have actual socialists seated in the House, and another presidential hopeful who's a progressive firebrand with stronger policy proposals and an actual history of taking bankers out back and beating them with a stick. It's possible that misogyny will win the day and Bernie will maintain the core supporters he needs to stick this campaign out until the bitter end, but everyone I know who was pro-Bernie in 2016 is on Team Warren now.
posted by Mayor West at 8:31 AM on February 19 [12 favorites]


I don't get all this talk about Bernie trying to spoil Clinton's run after he lost the primary. He endorsed her! What more did you want from the guy? His entire political philosophy is very different from hers. The fact that he made that endorsement was a pretty big deal and made it very clear that he didn't want Trump to win.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:35 AM on February 19 [44 favorites]


I have heard a lot about Bernie Bros but (because my social media is curated, etc) have seen very few instances, and none that rise above "someone being kind of an asshole in the moment". Would someone be able to provide a list of specific instances of Bernie-Bro-ism?

A list? No, but a friend of mine was a hardcore Bernie supporter and DSA member. She announced her support for Warren and then received so much twitter harassment from other Bernie supporters that she had to block them.
posted by xammerboy at 8:36 AM on February 19 [9 favorites]


The fact that he made that endorsement was a pretty big deal

I admit that I'm not sure about this, but isn't it a completely standard practice among those that lose their party's primary to endorse one of the remaining candidates?
posted by Jpfed at 8:38 AM on February 19 [6 favorites]


He hardly ever even mentions women. Why wouldn't I be suspicious of that?

Hell, he openly attacked Planned Parenthood for having the temerity to support his opponent in the last Democratic primary, and then there was his response to the sexual harassment, discrimination, and assault in his campaign, that he was "too busy making the case" to be aware of it.

If you're wondering why people think Sanders might not be all that great on women's issues, then you haven't been paying attention.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:38 AM on February 19 [39 favorites]


I have heard a lot about Bernie Bros but (because my social media is curated, etc) have seen very few instances, and none that rise above "someone being kind of an asshole in the moment". Would someone be able to provide a list of specific instances of Bernie-Bro-ism?

I dealt with a number of guys who were Bernie or nothing, oops, I meant Green Party types before and after the last election. They wouldn't and didn't vote for Clinton, preferring the result we got instead. They were real, vocal, and had an effect as they did convince some to abstain from voting for Clinton and/or voting at all according to what I read. I don't hold Sanders himself accountable for much of that since it was after he conceded and supported Clinton, but I fear it happening again with so many women also running.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:39 AM on February 19 [8 favorites]


I admit that I'm not sure about this, but isn't it a completely standard practice among those that lose their party's primary to endorse one of the remaining candidates?

This is standard practice typically, but what made this different was that Bernie was a socialist and Hillary was a liberal. Normally you don't have such an ideological gulf between the losing primary candidate and the winner.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:39 AM on February 19 [4 favorites]


I don't get all this talk about Bernie trying to spoil Clinton's run after he lost the primary. He endorsed her! What more did you want from the guy?

Reining in his toxic supporters, for one. Actually doing something about the way his rhetoric poisoned the well. Endorsing the flag bearer of the party he had run for the nomination of is literally the floor of what he could have done.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:41 AM on February 19 [25 favorites]


He kind of sucks on reproductive health and justice but I’d still vote for him over Trump.

Bernie allowed the Left to expect more from candidates. He’s gonna be pissed in this election cycle when they expect more from HIM
posted by raccoon409 at 8:42 AM on February 19 [8 favorites]


Like out of sheer curiosity, where are people even getting the idea Bernie would be bad for women or that he hasn't done enough to indicate he would be good for women's issues?

He's willing to trade away abortion rights for his own pet issues.
posted by qi at 8:43 AM on February 19 [39 favorites]


Normally you don't have such an ideological gulf between the losing primary candidate and the winner.

No. Normally you don't have the perception of an ideological gulf when there is so little daylight between two candidates policy positions. Who drove that perception? Bernie. What could have changed that? Bernie dropping out earlier and giving his real and enthusiastic support. Did it make a difference in this incredibly close race? Yes.
posted by xammerboy at 8:44 AM on February 19 [59 favorites]


In a sense he makes the race clearer, in that he will be the touchstone for all of the republican cries of "socialism". His picture will appear nearly every time. If the republicans fail to scare with that obvious tactic, then the smart candidates will shift their rhetoric left with him. If the republicans seem to be succeeding with that rhetoric then the smart candidates will know where the line on the left will be and can work to be the best candidate just to the center of him.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:45 AM on February 19 [3 favorites]


I think it's the latter, Frowner - he's got a fair amount of followers that really love to harass on twitter for example. Not in a twisted doxxing way (though I'm sure some assholes have taken it over the line and DM-harrassed) but more like, if some prominent media figure trashes Bernie in lieu of a more centrist democrat or if some ex-Clinton staffer has a really weak-tea take on why M4A isn't realistic, they will get alotttt of mean/ironic/bullying replies from the edgy twitter-left which is decidedly pro DSA, pro-Bernie.

They do very vocally find a lot of the "Bernie is a sexist" attacks to be the type of thing that is worthy of flat out cruelly joking about because they find it utterly ridiculous nonsense rather than maybe explaining why they don't believe this to be the case for xyz. So they approach any Bernie critique with the same mean/ironic/go-fuck-yourself zeal as they would attack any republican jerk.

It's indeed dickish behavior that comes off as really dismissive and it's a bad look, but like...what's the solution? How do you denounce, like, assholes who run a podcast called "Cumtown" who happen to support your socialist policies? Again, a conversation worth having because I'm perplexed as to what the solution is.
posted by windbox at 8:47 AM on February 19 [3 favorites]


Bernie also endorsed Marcy Kaptur for Congress and Heath Mello for mayor of Omaha. Both prolife. Kaptur won. Mello lost.
posted by qi at 8:48 AM on February 19 [5 favorites]


No. Normally you don't have the perception of an ideological gulf when there is so little daylight between two candidates policy positions. Who drove that perception? Bernie. What could have changed that? Bernie dropping out earlier and giving his real and enthusiastic support. Did it make a difference in this incredibly close race? Yes.

I don't really know what to say to this... There was a significant ideological difference. Bernie is a fairly soft "democratic socialist", not a fire-breathing communist or anything. But he is explicitly anti-capitalist and Hillary was and is not. His rhetoric and his policy positions (which were different from Clinton's and did drag her to the left) are informed by a long history of socialist theory and action. There is a difference! This is why he stood out as a candidate from any major Democratic presidential candidate in decades.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:49 AM on February 19 [35 favorites]


Again, a conversation worth having because I'm perplexed as to what the solution is.

The solution is simple - not every supporter is worth keeping. You deal with it by saying that sexism, misogyny, and harassment have no place in your campaign, and people who want to use them have no place either.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:51 AM on February 19 [15 favorites]


Would someone be able to provide a list of specific instances of Bernie-Bro-ism?

Frowner, I was just thinking of posting something similar.

I think that there are a few things going on with the concept of Bernie Bros: 1) right-wingers and Russians trying to create a perception of an extremist left-wing faction in order to both split the party and generate negative stories about HRC; 2) shitposting liberal knuckleheads who are more than happy to do work to those ends; 3) Never-Hillary'ers who didn't need any help nor inspiration to attack the center. If there is any record of the origin of "BernieBros," I assume it's the false-flaggers and saboteurs from #1 above, and Wikipedia does not dispel this for me.

I do not doubt that people have had the experiences they describe, but I'm not (and never have been) sure that BernieBros were ever a discrete and identifiable group like the Proud Boys, even when I liked and advocated for him to be a candidate further to the left than Hillary. I realize that this sounds like a possible "it me," but in my defense I don't think I ever satisfied the stereotype. (cue "they never do!")
posted by rhizome at 8:53 AM on February 19 [8 favorites]


I don't get all this talk about Bernie trying to spoil Clinton's run after he lost the primary. He endorsed her! What more did you want from the guy?

A big part of the critique -- and there are, like, a thousand contemporary threads from 2016 if you want to read more in depth about this -- was that he effectively lost the primary far in advance of when he admitted he lost the primary. He refused to concede through June, pledging to bring the fight to the convention, before ultimately endorsing Clinton in July, before the convention's start.

Whether that's a reasonable critique or not in comparison to, say, Clinton in '08 is a discussion probably best not re-litigated; I'm just saying that reducing it to 'he endorsed her after he lost' ignores that there was a lag between those two events, and contemporary debate about when those events happened and should have happened. 'Why won't he concede so that voters can unite behind one candidate?' was something people were asking, rightly or wrongly.

This is, maybe, a reason primaries should not be so drawn out (as a Pennsylvanian who votes in primaries, voting in 2016 was pretty anti-climactic.)
posted by cjelli at 8:55 AM on February 19 [20 favorites]


I will also add, and this is my tinfoil hat, but I do believe that "bernie bros" was a very deliberate thing that was blown out of proportion for the sole reason of making sure socialism stays the fuck out of the mainstream political discourse as much as possible. I know this is anecdotal, but the absolute most zealous Bernie volunteers that I knew personally was a group of young mexican women, and they are made fucking furious by the erasure that comes with this "only white bros like bernie" trope because they did a lot of really hard work.

Okay, sorry - lot of thoughts here and I don't want to start polluting the thread, I will be butting out for a bit.
posted by windbox at 8:57 AM on February 19 [54 favorites]


I really don't get the whole "Bernie should bow out and support someone else!" take. Is it not clear to everyone here that voters actually care who their candidate is? Bernie has consistently polled as the most popular politician in America since 2016. Why are Democrats not eager to harness that kind of insane support? After Clinton lost the most winnable campaign in modern history you'd think they wouldn't want a repeat and would like to, y'know, actually defeat Trump.

Even before his stance on student loans and higher education, his No Money Bail Act and Medicare For All positions make him wildly more desirable than, say, uber-cop Harris.
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 8:58 AM on February 19 [25 favorites]


Part of that June was negotiating the party platform and making changes to the party. It's not like like the sanders campaign took a month because they lost the endorsement in the mail, there were concrete goals to the endorsement.
posted by eustatic at 8:58 AM on February 19 [13 favorites]


I like the idea of Bernie running again about as much as I like the idea of Hillary running again.

NOT. AT. ALL.

I expect most national-level politicians to have a definite "it's all about me" streak, but Bernie's behavior in the 2016 election puts him well above the norm in terms of taking his ball and going home, by which I mean doing nothing to rein in the toxicity of his worst supporters. He'll do it again, mark my words.
posted by tclark at 8:58 AM on February 19 [5 favorites]


The general is the general but at this stage in the game I'm not putting a an ounce of time or energy into a candidate that is over 65. It's time for boomers to hand over the reins.
posted by cmfletcher at 8:59 AM on February 19 [19 favorites]


There's a faction of the left that call themselves the "dirtbag left." They ride hard for socialist positions, and they're willing to use crude language, irony, and personal attacks against their opponents. They see even centrist media figures and politicians as working to uphold a deeply cruel, exploitative, racist, sexist status quo. They see politeness and tone policing as stultifying aspects of our political culture that are used to suppress dissenting views. They are anti-sexist and anti-racist, as these are core aspects of the socialist worldview. They're abrasive as hell, and there's plenty to criticize in their methods. But they do get demonized far beyond their actual faults a lot of the time. I think a lot of the time people on MeFi talk about experiences with rude "bernie bros" on twitter, they're talking about this group. (though I do think the "bernie bro" thing was totally inflated as a cudgel against socialism)

The dirtbag left is absolutely a known quantity in leftist circles, and there are a lot of socialists out there who want nothing to do with them, with one big example being Nathan Robinson and his Current Affairs magazine.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:03 AM on February 19 [22 favorites]


with one big example being Nathan Robinson and his Current Affairs magazine

Speaking of Nathan Robinson since people do not often: Does anyone know his position on trans issues? I've noticed a ringing silence on gender, GLBTQ issues and trans issues in particular on the website, and since I found out about Jesse Singal's "secret" anti-trans media figure email list I've been a little anxious about anyone who is quiet on those issues. Does anyone have any backchannel information?

I was on the cusp of actually purchasing a paper subscription but then I started to worry.
posted by Frowner at 9:06 AM on February 19 [2 favorites]


I really don't get the whole "Bernie should bow out and support someone else!" take. Is it not clear to everyone here that voters actually care who their candidate is? Bernie has consistently polled as the most popular politician in America since 2016.

One, Clinton polled as very popular when not running for national office as well, so take popularity polls with a shaker of salt.

Two, as a number of people have pointed out here, there are a number of reasons that people would like to see Sanders bow out, such as his age, his actions and conduct in the past, his unwillingness to be transparent (remember, he literally ran the clock out on releasing his tax returns), and on.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:09 AM on February 19 [8 favorites]


The general is the general but at this stage in the game I'm not putting a an ounce of time or energy into a candidate that is over 65. It's time for boomers to hand over the reins.

Warren is 69. I'm as tired as anyone of dust-farters in government, but rejecting outright the only two candidates who show any sign of recognizing the causes of and solutions to the crises that threaten all our lives ain't the way forward.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:12 AM on February 19 [41 favorites]


Frowner: in my reading Robinson is hugely pro trans. See his various excellent takedowns of Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro.

Also FWIW I've never seen him complain about, take on, or even make reference to the dirtbag left, he's pro-Bernie and thinks Bernie is the only viable 2020 candidate, and he frequently calls out the trend of "neoliberal pundits condemning 'BernieBros.'" Robinson rules.
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 9:12 AM on February 19 [9 favorites]


RE: Bernie Bros, the thing I heard is don't worry, a lot of supposed Bernie Bros aren't real bros supporting Bernie, they're a massive army of Bernie-loving Putinbots run out of St. Petersburg.

And I'm like... is that better? I'm not sure that's better. It might be worse.

(Especially if that whole Magnitsky Act thing makes you go "hmmm")
posted by edheil at 9:15 AM on February 19 [5 favorites]


Part of that June was negotiating the party platform and making changes to the party. It's not like like the sanders campaign took a month because they lost the endorsement in the mail, there were concrete goals to the endorsement.

Apologies for not being clearer -- the opposing view is that Sanders lost the primary in April; that there weren't enough delegates left, realistically, to make up his deficit heading into May. So in that view, it's not 'took a month' but rather a bit longer that than.

(I'm not going to debate the point or the value of delaying to strike a deal, just wanting to clarify the position as I understand it isn't actually about June vs. July)
posted by cjelli at 9:15 AM on February 19 [3 favorites]


I think a lot of the time people on MeFi talk about experiences with rude "bernie bros" on twitter, they're talking about this group.

While I know you weren't speaking directly to me, I just want to make clear those weren't the people I was dealing with as I really knew a number of them. They may have some ideology in common with the "dirtbag left", but their arguments were much more problematic than that.
posted by gusottertrout at 9:16 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]


They are anti-sexist and anti-racist, as these are core aspects of the socialist worldview.

They are? Let's not forget that the left has its own ignoble history with racism and sexism, no matter what the official position may be. When people use racist/sexist/misogynistic language and attack people, it's not surprising that they will be viewed negatively.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:16 AM on February 19 [13 favorites]


They see politeness and tone policing as stultifying aspects of our political culture that are used to suppress dissenting views. They are anti-sexist and anti-racist, as these are core aspects of the socialist worldview.

As someone who is having to deal with the fallout of these types of dudes on organizing spaces, no they fucking are not.

They say they're anti-sexist and anti-racist, sure. But it's worth looking at who has the freedom to shrug off internet and community spaces that are a hot garbage fire - and it is largely not the women and POC, for whom those spaces are often the only spaces. When those dudes - and they are, in fact, largely dudes - shit up a space and then be like "Politeness is a tool of the state", they are shitting all over the emotional labor, usually done by women and POC, to make that space an inviting and welcoming place in the first place, and they are ignoring the massive amount of emotional labor that will need to be done to clean after them.

It's also worth noting that there's a huge section of the Bernie-socialist-left that isn't actually socialist in terms of analysis or seeing it as the best option for humanity - it is largely white cis dudes who expected to get the world and are now angry that they aren't going to get it, and are seeing 'socialism!' as the way that they will get to have a house and a marriage and 2.5 kids and a dog, without examining that under socialism women will have better options than marrying their asses.
posted by corb at 9:18 AM on February 19 [80 favorites]


Do you think that perhaps the existing infrastructure and donor list that he has is from, you know, his last presidential campaign? Which was four years ago, and almost entirely irrelevant to his current candidacy?

I don't think having a lot of supporters and donors is irrelevant to a presidential campaign.
posted by edeezy at 9:18 AM on February 19 [6 favorites]



I will also add, and this is my tinfoil hat, but I do believe that "bernie bros" was a very deliberate thing that was blown out of proportion for the sole reason of making sure socialism stays the fuck out of the mainstream political discourse as much as possible. I know this is anecdotal, but the absolute most zealous Bernie volunteers that I knew personally was a group of young mexican women, and they are made fucking furious by the erasure that comes with this "only white bros like bernie" trope because they did a lot of really hard work.


If the comments here are any indicator, I am so excited to again spend the next two years showing white liberals my longform birth certificate and DNA ancestry results to prove I am not white nor a Russian bot.

So. Excited.
posted by Ouverture at 9:23 AM on February 19 [30 favorites]


(though I do think the "bernie bro" thing was totally inflated as a cudgel against socialism)


I just... don't think that people who use "Bernie Bro" are so opposed to socialism?
posted by Jpfed at 9:23 AM on February 19 [9 favorites]


Speaking of Nathan Robinson since people do not often: Does anyone know his position on trans issues?

I don't know if he's written extensively on trans issues, but he has excoriated Jordan Peterson for his trans-exclusive rhetoric, and he's a big fan of the trans YouTuber Natalie Wynn, a.k.a. ContraPoints.
posted by Cash4Lead at 9:24 AM on February 19 [8 favorites]


Let's not forget that the left has its own ignoble history with racism and sexism, no matter what the official position may be. When people use racist/sexist/misogynistic language and attack people, it's not surprising that they will be viewed negatively.

I do agree with you that it's best not to use that kind of language. But I don't agree with you about the history of the left. If you look at the history of leftist thinkers and activists, you'll see a long list of people who were ahead of their times on issues of racism and sexism. When you look at the (regrettably small) list of moments where socialists have taken power, circumstances almost immediately improved for women and racial minorities. I'm thinking specifically about the Paris Commune in the past, and Rojava today.

Every political ideology and movement has its assholes.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:25 AM on February 19 [5 favorites]


Honestly, I want to avoid thinking of this as a personalities race.

Well, to do that you'd have to find a pretty large rock to hide under so that you can avoid all the campaign events, social media, TV appearances, videos, sound bites, photographs, books, soft news stories, emails, gifs, memes, and jokes involving the candidates.

And if you do find that rock please share it's location, because that actually sounds very nice.
posted by FJT at 9:28 AM on February 19 [5 favorites]


Okay, something upon which I am not clear:

I have heard a lot about Bernie Bros but (because my social media is curated, etc) have seen very few instances, and none that rise above "someone being kind of an asshole in the moment". Would someone be able to provide a list of specific instances of Bernie-Bro-ism?


Katie Halper has a fairly comprehensive history of the Bernie Bro trope that helps explain this discrepancy.
posted by Beardman at 9:29 AM on February 19 [15 favorites]


It's also worth noting that there's a huge section of the Bernie-socialist-left that isn't actually socialist in terms of analysis or seeing it as the best option for humanity - it is largely white cis dudes who expected to get the world and are now angry that they aren't going to get it, and are seeing 'socialism!' as the way that they will get to have a house and a marriage and 2.5 kids and a dog, without examining that under socialism women will have better options than marrying their asses.

Do you have any data about this phenomenon? I didn't realize that there was so much definitive sociological research into such a relatively new political demographic.
posted by Ouverture at 9:31 AM on February 19 [10 favorites]


Re: Bernie Bros

This defintely personal anecdote here. I don't do Twitter and I have plenty of friends that are part of the Radical Left. When I talk about "Bernie Bros," I'm mostly talking about the behavior, best represented among actual friends and people I know IRL (all cis, white, straight dudes), that would answer any "But do you see how this could be perceived as sexist" complaint about the 2016 Sanders campaign, by doing some condescending, gaslight-y "Oh, you're crazy/a poor, naive tool of the evil capitalist regime if you feel that way. Listen to me, sugar, Bernie and I know what's best for you" routine.
posted by thivaia at 9:31 AM on February 19 [39 favorites]


Genuine question for Bernie supporters - why doesn't his age bother you? Again, our track record for really elderly Presidents is not good; and even the most robust and spry of over-75s is vulnerable to sudden decline in the way someone younger is not. POTUS is not an ordinary job with ordinary demands.

And on those grounds, why Sanders and not Warren, who is younger, has plenty of experience, and similar policy proposals? If I wanted someone far-left but not ancient, I'd vote for Elizabeth Warren (and might still be persuaded to do so).
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:33 AM on February 19 [10 favorites]


Well, to put it very simply, Bernie's age does bother me, but he's the only socialist in the race, and it seems clear to me that he can still do the job. Of course, I would want him to pick a younger but ideologically similar VP.

I really do like Warren, but a socialist she is not. She's my second choice though because some of her policy ideas do (surprisingly) work toward socialist goals.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:35 AM on February 19 [26 favorites]


Since you're asking: Warren isn't anywhere near what I would consider far left. Neither is Sanders, but his politics will actually get us closer to that than any of the other candidates.
posted by Ouverture at 9:38 AM on February 19 [19 favorites]


@GideonResnick:
Sanders, in the more extended interview with John Dickerson, says he's "not crazy about getting rid of the filibuster."
No serious change happens without getting rid of the filibuster.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:39 AM on February 19 [13 favorites]


They are anti-sexist and anti-racist, as these are core aspects of the socialist worldview.

They are? Let's not forget that the left has its own ignoble history with racism and sexism, no matter what the official position may be. When people use racist/sexist/misogynistic language and attack people, it's not surprising that they will be viewed negatively.


And keep in mind that many of the people that are fighting sexism and racism are and continue to be capitalists, an ideology that has caused the deaths of way too many people. I understand getting more female CEOs and black defense contractors seems like a good way to fight racism and sexism, but not combating a violent and destructive belief system that robs people of their labor and makes them die in destitution with a giant "whoopsie!" isn't somehow better than thinking you can address racism and sexism without dealing with capitalism.

And yes, the best plan is to fight capitalism specifically by also fighting racism and sexism. But don't believe just because there's good representation that a capitalist government will not continue to oppress and kill people.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 9:42 AM on February 19 [16 favorites]


some thoughts:

- the actual primary elections don’t start for a whole year

- how much of the next year do you want to spend arguing online? decide now and budget the time

- consider getting your energy out by volunteering for the campaign of your preferred candidate instead
posted by vogon_poet at 9:42 AM on February 19 [32 favorites]


Bernie pulled me away from the Green Party (who ran with "A Green New Deal" before Democrats ever picked it up) because he had the policies I wanted. Bernie was exciting because, running as a Democrat and getting more than five people excited about his campaign, he was actually viable.

Unfortunately it was Bernie vs. centrism vs. Trump in the worst game of rock-paper-scissors ever played.

The Democratic party looks very different today from the monolithic beige plutocracy that it was in 2016. While Bernie's campaign probably deserves some credit for that, there's really no need for an outsider or semi-outsider to show up and challenge it.

So I think Sanders should be playing cheerleader right now for progressive policy and progressive candidates, and leaning on the centrists to support MFA and GND. Getting back in the ring himself is a complication.
posted by Foosnark at 9:46 AM on February 19 [14 favorites]


With all the caveats that yeah, this is just one rando on Twitter (with a white-appearing male-appearing picture):

@besskalb
I woke up to a flood of texts from women and none of us, including me, will ever tweet what we said because we’re too scared of his followers.

@bernie2020M4A
Then maybe we should all do our research and find out why he's so popular maybe it's his amazing policy ideas

@bessbell
Fucking Christ even this.
posted by Etrigan at 9:49 AM on February 19 [24 favorites]


I voted for Hillary, I have loved Hillary my entire life, and I will never, ever get over that Hillary lost the election. But if she decides to run again in 2020 I will be deeply disappointed. This is a different moment in time and I believe we already have, in the race right now, several candidates who would be better than either Bernie or Hillary. I would like to see both of them put their support behind the existing candidates. They could do a lot of good in that role, that I can't see Bernie doing by throwing his hat into this ring.

I'm disappointed and disheartened. And also need to go double-check my social media to make sure I've still sufficient mutes/unfollows/blocks in place for the parade of my cishet white male acquaintances who, whether or not you want to call them 'BernieBros', absolutely acted and spoke in the ways that BernieBros are said to behave, and fractured our friendships permanently because of it. My blood pressure cannot take another two years of that.
posted by Stacey at 9:51 AM on February 19 [41 favorites]


[One deleted. "People who oppose Bernie are Nazis" is also not going to work.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:53 AM on February 19 [8 favorites]


some thoughts:

- the actual primary elections don’t start for a whole year

- how much of the next year do you want to spend arguing online? decide now and budget the time

- consider getting your energy out by volunteering for the campaign of your preferred candidate instead


Speaking largely to myself:

- consider letting people on the internet just keep on being wrong
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:54 AM on February 19 [12 favorites]


Politico: Survey: Donald Trump supporters most aggressive online
Though Bernie Sanders online supporters have been cited as aggressive online in media reports, even earning the name “Bernie Bros”, only 16 percent of those surveyed said Sanders supporters were “aggressive and/or threatening,” compared to 30 percent who found Hillary Clinton supporters aggressive and/or threatening online.

Even 35 percent of self-identified Trump supporters said Trump supporters are very aggressive and/or threatening online
As for the bot issue, so far only Sally Albright and the Center for American Progress on the democratic side have been caught using bots, so the association of Bernie fans with bots is a bit of projection when you hear it coming from the establishment center.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:59 AM on February 19 [14 favorites]


At the end of Bernie Sanders' theoretical second term, he would be 87 years old. Joe Biden would be 86 years old, as would Michael Bloomberg.

What are 87-year-old people like? Here are some people born 87 years ago: Ted Kennedy. Johnny Cash. Elizabeth Taylor. Sylvia Plath. Little Richard. Omar Sharif. Jacques Chirac. Anthony Perkins, who played the murderer in the original "Psycho".

87-year-old people are old.

This fact is immutable. This fact does not change based on the quality of a candidate's personality or politics. In attempting to demolish an administration of alternative facts, we should be careful not to create our own.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:00 AM on February 19 [12 favorites]


Yet another left-of-Bernie person here: his age and handling of the sexual harrassment within his campaign bother me. Warren’s clear vulnerability to Trump’s precise form of bullying bothers me. Harris’ record of fairly horrifying treatment of the disenfranchised as a prosecutor, and her extremely cozy relationship with law enforcement in the era of Black Lives Matter bother me. Cory Booker and Big Pharma. Biden and his age and extreme centrism and his behavior towards Anita Hill all bother me.

The project of the human race in 2020 is maximizing the literal and metaphorical distance between Donald Trump and the launch codes to our vast nuclear arsenal. That’s it. Literally everything - up to and including my beloved Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism - comes a very distant second to that. There is every reason to believe our planet does not have sufficient time to evolve sentience from simple multicellular life a second time becore it can no longer support carbon-based life in any recognizable form. We have no way of knowing whether a particular step in abiogenesis is so unlikely that we’re literally it for this universe. We have no evidence that we are not currently playing for all the marbles there will ever be.

Getting that madman away from the controls is the only thing that matters and if that’s Bernie so be it. I strongly suspect the vast majority of us would prefer it was AOC, but if I have to hold my nose and vote for a Harris/Beto ticket (seems like the nearest thing to a guaranteed win), I’ll do so with a smile on my face. The alternative is too terrible to continue contemplating, and this continuous thread of back-biting over a statistically negligible handful of never-Hillary assholes is so beside the point, and so thoroughly in the past, that to remain fixated on it is detrimental not just to the future of our party, but our entire species.

Can we stop, please?
posted by Ryvar at 10:01 AM on February 19 [49 favorites]


I find myself feeling about Sanders the way some people seem to have felt about Clinton. I've got a vague and nebulous dislike of him that's only got a few rational linkages. Which is weird, because by all measures I should be a Bernie fanatic, but I'm just not. I voted for him in the 2012 Texas primary, but it was purely in hopes that the more votes he had the more that'd pull Clinton leftward not so much out of any real love of Sanders.

One thing that isn't so vague and nebulous is that I think he's in it for the ego and not for the good of any cause. He's 77, he should have several people he's been using his influence to aid over the years, people he's helped build up, apprentices waiting in the wings, a successor for his Senate seat lined up, and some organization established to help carry through his legacy when he's dead.

And he has none of those things. He's clearly planning to live forever, because he's got no plan for his succession at all. For Bernie the solution to everything is to put Bernie in charge, not to build an organization that can challenge the dominant liberal ideology in the Democratic Party and push forward with a leftist agenda.

But, also, I sort of shrug when the primaries are mentioned. I don't really have a candidate I support, just a few I kind of hope don't win.

This is because, like most people in America, there's not really any point in researching candidates or having a strong opinion because my opinion won't matter the slightest. By the time my state has primary elections the candidate will already be locked in and my vote will be utterly and completely meaningless.

All I can really do is hope that the people who happen to live in the sacred zip codes decreed to matter will chose a good candidate for us mere peons who happen to live in filthy and disgusting zip codes deemed unworthy of having a voice in the process. So good luck to you favored daughters and sons of America.
posted by sotonohito at 10:05 AM on February 19 [23 favorites]


I didn't hold the shitty behavior of PUMAs against Hillary Clinton when she was the 2016 Dem nominee and I won't hold the shitty behavior of Bernie Bros against Sanders, should he be the Dem nominee in 2020.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:10 AM on February 19 [18 favorites]


Sanders 2020: I'm Statistically Likely To Die In Office
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:11 AM on February 19 [16 favorites]


I am so excited for all those supporters who said in 2016 that they were not at all sexist not even a little bit since they would totally vote for Elizabeth Warren over Bernie were she to run. Let's see what happens when it's old white dude vs everyone else!

(I am not excited, not even a little bit. 2019 is going to be a long ass ride.)
posted by lydhre at 10:12 AM on February 19 [27 favorites]


What are 87-year-old people like? Here are some people born 87 years ago: Ted Kennedy. Johnny Cash. Elizabeth Taylor. Sylvia Plath. Little Richard. Omar Sharif. Jacques Chirac. Anthony Perkins, who played the murderer in the original "Psycho".

87-year-old people are old.

If only a president could choose a sort of secondary backup president to take their office if they die.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:12 AM on February 19 [19 favorites]


All I can really do is hope that the people who happen to live in the sacred zip codes decreed to matter will chose a good candidate for us mere peons who happen to live in filthy and disgusting zip codes deemed unworthy of having a voice in the process. So good luck to you favored daughters and sons of America.

Is this necessary?
posted by Spathe Cadet at 10:13 AM on February 19 [3 favorites]


It's Still Bernie
It was true then and it’s true now: Bernie Sanders is the best candidate — the only candidate who could be considered anything even close to socialist, and the one to beat Trump. A President Sanders isn’t some idealist fantasy, he is our best bet by a mile. He has consistently polled as the most popular politician in America since the primaries, and while everyone else has been tweeting (or following up with 23andMe) Bernie pressured Amazon into raising wages, followed up by going after Walmart, condemned Saudi Arabia and sponsored the resolution to end support for the war in Yemen, introduced the No Money Bail Act, committed to a federal job guarantee, campaigned so powerfully for Medicare for All that he shifted the entire Democratic Party, and saved a woman from being hit by a car. Not only is he the best candidate politically (as in, the only social democrat), he has the best chance of giving the “pragmatists” what they say they want: a presidential win.
posted by edeezy at 10:14 AM on February 19 [31 favorites]


The electoral power of incumbency is massive. I don't want to give up on the likelihood of a winning Democrat in 2020 having the powerful boost of incumbency in 2024.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:14 AM on February 19 [4 favorites]


Y'know, it is kind of a bad sign that everyone is kind of just dusting off their 2015-16 articles, arguments, and talking points to use in this topic and also all over discussion places I've seen on the internet.
posted by FJT at 10:15 AM on February 19 [13 favorites]


I'm curious to see how he does in a very contested field, as opposed to how 2016 played out.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:16 AM on February 19 [5 favorites]


My problem with him is still one of substance. I watched so many interviews waiting for him to prove he has a comprehensive plan for the US or can easily point to those in the party that can cover certain policy areas for him ('having the best people' is a pretty great thing for an executive, if they aren't just shitting out the phrase). I appreciate his heart and his work and his bravery which helped take some of the hobgoblins out of the word socialism, but he's a less competent Warren as far as this race is concerned.
posted by es_de_bah at 10:17 AM on February 19 [12 favorites]


I'm curious to see how he does in a very contested field, as opposed to how 2016 played out.

Have you people already forgotten about the primary campaign powerhouses that were Martin O'Malley and Lincoln Chafee?
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:20 AM on February 19 [13 favorites]


The proportional allocation of delegates and the de-fanging of the superdelegates, combined with the number of candidates, makes it quite likely that this primary will run all the way to the convention. There is still going to be a lot to play for, even in the later states.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 10:22 AM on February 19 [3 favorites]


I'm curious to see how he does in a very contested field, as opposed to how 2016 played out.

Speaking to that, 538: How Bernie Sanders Could Win The 2020 Democratic Nomination
Sanders’s 2016 success could also be the makings of his greatest 2020 challenge. When he entered the race in 2015, it was in large part to push his progressive left ideas. Other politicians picked up on the fact that Democratic voters liked the big ideas that Sanders was selling, and now the 2020 field is packed with contenders who are campaigning on platforms similar to his 2016 campaign. Sanders’s 2017 “Medicare for all” bill became something of a litmus test for those senators considering a 2020 run — Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren all signed on as co-sponsors.
...
This means the progressive-left lane in 2020 is quite a bit more crowded than it was in 2016, which is a problem for Sanders, albeit a problem that stems from his own success. Warren is perhaps his most direct ideological competition — she’s been a critic of American capitalism for decades, though unlike Sanders, she still calls herself a capitalist and a Democrat. She also hired his 2016 Iowa caucus director — inside baseball to be sure, but it’s worth paying attention to the campaigns Democratic operatives choose to work for this early on.
There's a bunch of other analysis in the full article, and Nate Silver has some more speculative thoughts on twitter, but the takeaway is mostly 'too soon to know, it's going to be competitive for everyone who has a chance.'
posted by cjelli at 10:22 AM on February 19 [4 favorites]


the idea that someone would stan AOC and be thrilled to watch her energize the left and then denounce Bernie as out-of-touch old white man who like, loves guns and despises women...or something...is really really silly to me.

Or maybe we recognize that they are not the same, and she is way better on race and gender issues than he is. But sure, go with silly. We're so silly, with our social issues and identity politics.

The [dirtbag left] are anti-sexist and anti-racist, as these are core aspects of the socialist worldview.

Hoo boy, they sure are not. White men telling people they are anti-sexist and anti-racist is not the same as white men being anti-sexist and anti-racist.
posted by Mavri at 10:23 AM on February 19 [70 favorites]


My only hope for Bernie is that he helps to drag the Democratic field ideologically to the left. If he wins the nomination, I will obviously vote for him; if he doesn’t, I hope he bows out gracefully and does a rather better job of throwing his weight towards the nominee.

I have never been able to muster any excitement about any individual candidate as a person, and I don’t see any of the current Democratic presidential field changing that. When it comes around to primary time in my state, I plan to look at policy plans and overall nastiness of behavior during the campaign, and vote. Then I plan to vote for whoever wins the nomination. Until then, I kinda hope to ignore the Presidential primaries.

In the mean time, I plan to spend a lot of time between now and the election building personality-agnostic campaign infrastructure, mostly focused on state and congressional races which get less love. (During the midterms, I spent a bunch of time giving cybersecurity trainings for campaign staffs and volunteers.) I want us to win in a fucking WAVE, and while Presidential elections can generate a lot of enthusiasm, they tend to suck up a disproportionate amount of resources.
posted by a device for making your enemy change his mind at 10:23 AM on February 19 [7 favorites]


Bernie Sanders, the Method Man of Democrats, Is Running for President (Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root)
As it stands the Democratic field looks like the early days of the Wu-Tang Clan, with more members than any of us can name. Unfortunately, Sanders will enter this race with enough steam to push past the other no names to be one of the frontrunners. Basically, he’s the Method Man of the field (Kamala Harris is Ghostface and Cory Booker is U-God).

Sanders has moved from America’s favorite grandpa with the wild ideas about how to improve the country to becoming “...one of the most popular politicians among Democratic voters and his policy agenda—a suite of progressive proposals to expand health care, broaden the social safety net and make higher education free — has been embraced by many of the Democratic party’s leading figures,” CNN reports.

I can tell you very happily, and I think any objective observer would confirm what I’m saying, is that in the last year and half or so, the Democratic Party has moved in a far more progressive direction than they were before I ran for president,” he said in an interview with CNN last year.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:26 AM on February 19 [4 favorites]


I think it's very, very unlikely that Sanders will get the nomination, but I'm glad he's running. If nothing else, his presence will push the other Dems to the left, keep other candidates honest on their early-game leftist promises, and keep popular leftist ideas in the headlines.
posted by FakeFreyja at 10:28 AM on February 19 [11 favorites]


I think ride-or-die Verrit-promoting Hillary 2016 inner-circler Peter Daou's opinion on Bernie's entrance is worth sharing.

On #Bernie2020

"Bernie Sanders is running for president again. From the bottom of my heart, I ask Clinton and Sanders supporters to avoid replaying 2016. I know it's hard to let go of the mutual animosity, but if we intend to defeat the radical right, we MUST join forces.

It's no secret I was a staunch Clinton defender in 2016, and that I became a harsh #BernieSanders critic when I felt his team was impugning her character. But 2020 is not 2016, and I'm going to work hard for Democratic unity this time. I've spent the past year building bridges with the Sanders supporters I clashed with in 2016. There is a lot of distrust and anger, but there's also plenty of common ground. Universal healthcare, climate action, social and economic justice, living wage.

Instead of attacking each other, our candidates and voters should focus on the danger posed by Trump, Pence, Miller, McConnell, Graham, etc. These extremists have no respect for our Constitution, and every second we assail one another is a gift to them. My call for unity and a focus on issues is not just about healing but about strategy. If your singular focus is to defeat Trump, then highlight the positives about your candidate. And we have SO MANY GREAT CHOICES. Let's celebrate our strengths as Dems."
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:28 AM on February 19 [17 favorites]


I can dislike Sanders plenty on his own, without any reference to Clinton at all.
posted by tavella at 10:31 AM on February 19 [30 favorites]


I'm all in for him in '20. Donated as soon as I heard this morning.

If we're concerned about how the supporters of various candidates behave, I've got to say while social media harassment and bullshit trolling suck, destroying the economy, ensuring people die because they can't afford medical care, working strenuously to increase the wealth gap, opposing any kind of income redistribution and shrieking in horror at efforts to support unions seem like much, much worse behavior on the part of supporters.

Unfortunately, barring Sanders and Warren, those are the traits of a bunch of people supporting any other Dem candidate but those two:

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/28/wall-street-2020-economy-taxes-1118065

And I'm sorry, calling Kamala Harris the Ghostface of this year's slate is intolerable. When the Wu first came out, Ghost wore a ski mask at live shows because otherwise bounty hunters would take him in on warrants. Kamala would be signing those warrants, not wearing the ski mask.
posted by turntraitor at 10:32 AM on February 19 [29 favorites]


The [dirtbag left] are anti-sexist and anti-racist, as these are core aspects of the socialist worldview.

Hoo boy, they sure are not. White men telling people they are anti-sexist and anti-racist is not the same as white men being anti-sexist and anti-racist.


Bernie supporters: I just don’t think Bernie Bro harassment is a real thing
Other MeFites: here are all our personal experiences with exactly that
Bernie supporters: yeah but do you have any PROOF

Here’s a fun thought experiment for you: imagine a candidate who’s supporters engage in online harassment of a marginalized group, even though they say, frequently, “of course we’re not *ist, and it’s offensive that you would imply we are,” and that candidate’s campaign proved to have a systemic problem with harassment of that same marginalized group, a problem that when asked about it, the candidate dismissed rather contemptuously, and then, to top it all off, imagine that that candidate was perfectly willing sacrifice the fundamental human rights of members of that marginalized group whenever he felt it was convenient. And that’s not even getting into the way the candidate weaponized *ist attacks against his opponent in the last election in a way that a significant number of people believe cost us the election.

What would you say about that candidate if they were a Republican?

Personally I think Sanders is just a different flavor of narcissist. I think a lot of people who aren’t super familiar with the kind of people who, say, started the Park Slope Food Co-op maybe wouldn’t be especially familiar with how sexist, racist, narcissistic entitlement can present in this context, but I don’t have that problem; I grew up with them. To me it’s always been obvious what he is, and his insistence on running again only confirms that further.

But what absolutely baffles me is the degree to which his supporters will contort themselves to apply the Bernie standard to anything and everything we learn about him and his “movement.” It’s right out there in the open. At this point you have to work not to see it.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:36 AM on February 19 [56 favorites]


[Another ground rule we're going to need to reanimate is: please stick to the candidate and don't get into "his supporters on Mefi are bad, or dupes, or lying about their support" -- the latter makes discussion impossible. Just focus on the external world and not the psychology of fellow Mefites.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:42 AM on February 19 [11 favorites]


I'm not denying that there are toxic Bernie supporters out there, I've said before that if the dirtbag left are happy with that label, I'm going to treat them like dirtbags.

It does seem like we spend an awful lot of of time hating them though and very little considering the rabid trolls that defend the Democratic party regardless of their actions.

It's not the only way it's used, but I'm most familiar with "Bernie bros" and "brocialists" being deployed against trans women who don't like Harris, or endorse socialism.

When it comes from a leftist, fine, because we need to address the racism and sexism that Bernie supporters are in no way immune to, but when I see it in my bubbles, it more often comes from Hillary stans who seem more concerned with the "cialism" than the "bro".

Is our focus because we can and should expect more from those who align themselves to the left and therefore with anti-racist and anti-racist ideas? That's something I can support. But by that token, we wouldn't be putting our support behind those whose policies will reinforce those oppressions by reinforcing capitalism.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 10:48 AM on February 19 [11 favorites]


[And obviously the flip side: please don't accuse other Mefites of being bad, dupes, or liars because they oppose Bernie or support some other candidate. Hillary's not running. If you want to read a lot of arguments about Hillary vs Bernie, you're in luck because we have a rich collection of those from 2016. If we're gonna have new threads about Bernie or other candidates, we need to be able to do them without repeating 2016; everybody's self-control is appreciated.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:54 AM on February 19 [13 favorites]


Every time the in-fighting starts I think that the left would do really well for itself to stop analyzing everything and making choices as a pundit rather than as a voter/citizen. This has been one of the huge downsides of politics intersecting with popular culture in my opinion. Everyone thinks they're a talking head all of the sudden. Everything is analyzed in terms of strategy or optics.

Take a look at what all the candidates support, try to understand their policy positions a bit, and just support whichever one makes sense for you. If everyone did this honestly, in my estimation very left-leaning candidates would win most elections.

Instead we typically get a ridiculous mixture of electability concerns, personality cults, identity plays and disingenuous pragmatism leading to bad candidates and worse overall outcomes.
posted by dreamlanding at 11:03 AM on February 19 [17 favorites]




What’s this? Someone running for president may in fact be an egotist/narcissist?
posted by Enemy of Joy at 11:11 AM on February 19 [14 favorites]


By the way, are there any other Democratic contenders who are non-Christians other than Sanders and Gabbard? I don't think so, but there's so many of them, I'm sure some slipped through the cracks.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:12 AM on February 19 [4 favorites]


Everyone thinks they're a talking head all of the sudden. Everything is analyzed in terms of strategy or optics.

most of us are incredibly bad at this and also we rightfully loathe the professional pundit class and yet the primary mode of talking about politics is to imagine yourself addressing a Chuck Todd homunculus conjured by your mind. it's fucking weird
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:14 AM on February 19 [28 favorites]


Bernie is Trump's wet dream 2020 candidate. Trump's only move at this point is to paint Democrats as dangerous, radical socialists. Bernie's shtick lends credence to this argument, if only because he openly advocates for the U.S. becoming a socialist state.

I mentioned this in the politics megathread, but Pod Save American recently discussed a study on Schultz's presidential bid, which concludes that Schultz could move the vote 1% or less into Trump's favor, resulting in a 2020 Trump win. The point is, if the election were held today, it would be an incredibly close race.

The resources that will be drained from Warren (or whoever's) campaign matter. The disaffection of Socialist ideologues matter. The moderate Republicans who are disgusted by Trump but will never vote for anyone remotely socialist matter. The divisiveness and bitterness his run will introduce into the Democratic primaries matter.

Bernie knows this. He's running anyway.
posted by xammerboy at 11:16 AM on February 19 [33 favorites]


I think it's very, very unlikely that Sanders will get the nomination

I think he has a fairly decent chance, because things are different this time. Someone mentioned above how it was a contested field, and that's true, but also now in 2019 it's indisputable that Sanders is a seasoned national campaigner and thus in some ways a frontrunner versus the unknown underdog in 2015. He has the money ($1M in 4 hours as pointed to above), organization, and people that I don't know if any other Democratic candidate running can match.

How often is it that someone who has run in the last election wins the nomination next time around? I don't want to jinx his run, but I recall that HRC and Romney are the two most recent examples I can think of that fit this path.
posted by FJT at 11:16 AM on February 19 [11 favorites]


I don't have any particularly strong feelings w/r/t Sanders personally; personality politics doesn't appeal to me or really seem especially productive. As far as I'm concerned, politicians are best viewed as fleshsacks for their policy positions. I'd happily vote for an android or a Lizard Person for a Congressional seat if they were going to vote the right way. Admittedly, POTUS is a bit of a higher bar, because there are situations—dealing with foreign leaders, for example—where their personalities do matter, as evidenced by the terrible job the current occupant of that office is doing. But TBH, it's a pretty low bar. Any reasonably competent politician who's held a state-level office ought to be able to hack it, assuming they're willing to listen to advice (cf. Trump, who could have eked out a gentleman's C in Being Presidential if he'd even listened to his own advisors, but he couldn't bring himself to do that).

Anyway, I can get that people want to have THE CANDIDATE as soon as possible, and the primary process sucks in many ways, but this is the point where anybody and everybody gets to toss their hat in the ring. And then we let them go a few rounds and start culling the clear losers. If he wants to run, fine, let's see how he does.

It'll be interesting to see how Sanders handles himself this time around. Just by participating, I think he's going to move the center of gravity of the primary race to the left significantly. It's harder to dismiss positions like a $15 minimum wage and Medicare for All as fringey stuff only espoused by inexperienced politicians trying to get themselves noticed, if most of the primary contenders have them as a common denominator.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:17 AM on February 19 [4 favorites]


Sanders will handle himself this time around the exact same way he handled himself last time around.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:19 AM on February 19 [22 favorites]


I am a little surprised his website appears to only be for donating at the moment, no policy positions, nothing. Is that fairly standard at this stage?
posted by agregoli at 11:21 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]


Just by participating, I think he's going to move the center of gravity of the primary race to the left significantly.

I think the effect is much harder to predict than that. Another possible reaction is that candidates may choose to try to differentiate themselves from him in an attempt to avoid directly competing with him for his voters. Or both- there may be separate scrums in different "lanes".
posted by Jpfed at 11:24 AM on February 19 [3 favorites]


>>I'm curious to see how he does in a very contested field, as opposed to how 2016 played out.

>Have you people already forgotten about the primary campaign powerhouses that were Martin O'Malley and Lincoln Chafee?


No, but we were trying to allocate comments to them proportional to their amount of success. Now we need to not mention them any more for another 450 comments to get back to balance.
posted by phearlez at 11:24 AM on February 19 [6 favorites]


But he is explicitly anti-capitalist and Hillary was and is not. His rhetoric and his policy positions (which were different from Clinton's and did drag her to the left) are informed by a long history of socialist theory and action.

Really, as far as I've ever been able to see, the difference between Sanders and the left-wing of the Democratic Party is largely that he's a bit more eager to actually use the word "socialism," a bit more eager to talk about "class" in very broad terms, and a bit more eager to try to sell his proposals as "socialism." But in fact, he's an updated version of a New Dealer and his actual proposals are as likely to be merely a few degrees to the left of left Democrats as they are likely to be a few degrees to the right. And that's ok! I mean, I think Sanders does have a coherent sense of political "theory" that distinguishes him from many Democratic candidates, one that's informed as much by what he thinks is important to talk about as by what he doesn't think is important to talk about. It's the latter that has some people wary.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:27 AM on February 19 [22 favorites]


The more the merrier, as far as I'm concerned. But I really don't think he has much of a chance this time around. A good chunk of his support last time was based on his policy ideas -- but most of that message has been co-opted by other candidates this time around. Another chunk of his support last time was because he was the only candidate that wasn't Hillary. But this time are many other options. Timing is everything.

Still, I guess if he wants to throw his hat in the ring, go for it. But this time around, I hope that he, as well as all the others, have enough self-awareness to step aside if and when it becomes clear that they have no viable path to victory. There can only be one winner, and whoever that ends up being is going to need all of our support.
posted by spilon at 11:27 AM on February 19 [4 favorites]


I am seriously just angry and disappointed about his candidacy.

First off, there's his platform. He markets himself as a populist BUT his platform (summarized form according to his official twitter feed) is revealing:

- expand Social Security
- medicare for all
- jobs guarantee
- legalize marijuana
- tuition-free public colleges
- $15 min wage
- break up big banks

This is basically the "underemployed white boys with middle class parents" platform, not a populist one. Because:

- 67% of Americans support gun control, but even this basic leftist idea won't make it onto Bernie's platform (and in fact is actively opposed by Bernie) because white boys don't like it.

- 90% of American voters in 2016 supported government funded early childhood education, but that won't help middle-class white boys, so Bernie ignores this core progressive issue and talks about free college instead.

- 60% of all Americans support abortion in any and all circumstances but Bernie doesn't give a shit because this populist leftist issue isn't about white boys.

- 91% of Americans want to do something about mass incarceration of black males in our country, but hush, now, Bernie doesn't care unless white boys care

I could go on but do I need to? Bernie is a WHITE MALE populist... just like Trump.

And I am not making this comparison to Trump lightly:

- like Trump, Bernie refused to release his taxes;

- like Trump, Bernie has legions of racist, sexist, etc. fans;

- like Trump, Bernie had support from Russian interests during the primaries; and his campaign strategist Ted Devine was employed by Paul Manafort;

- like Trump, Bernie actively encourages the cult of personality around himself - he only supports candidates who kowtow to him, even if they're up against MORE progressive opponents.

There is a lot to be wary of in a Bernie presidency. Sure, in absolute terms, Bernie is better than Trump, but it's disheartening to have to make this comparison. No other candidate is as compromised in the same ways as Trump as Bernie is.

If that isn't enough, there is the basic fact that he has zero track record of actual accomplishments. He has spent decades in office doing little other than renaming a couple of post offices. (He didn't even have a job until he turned 40, I mean, that alone should automatically disqualify him from being taken seriously imo - but that's just imo.) Compare his resume to literally ANYONE else's - and I mean, not even Hillary's because she was world class, but I'm talking even Sarah Palin - and his is worse.

I don't make the Palin comparison lightly, either. The only in-depth interview he gave during his 2016 run (NY Daily News) showed him up as shockingly, laughably uninformed. His answers were straight from the "I can see Russia from my house" book. No concrete plans for anything. All he had were slogans - heck not even slogans, he just repeated the phrase "millionaires and billionaires" 1500 times.

And how about his personal racism and misogyny - from calling Planned Parenthood "establishment" when they endorsed Hillary to openly disparaging black voters who did not vote for him during his 2016 run to *constantly* deriding "identity politics" (what the hell kind of "preogressive" does that? -- a BROgressive). Ugh.

If he weren't a white dude, he would have been a nobody - and deservedly so. I don't see any reason to support him given all the ultra-qualified, staunchly lefist/progressive, non-white and/or non-male candidates with excellent track records of actual accomplishments who are running in 2020.
posted by MiraK at 11:29 AM on February 19 [112 favorites]


- expand Social Security
- medicare for all
- jobs guarantee
- legalize marijuana
- tuition-free public colleges
- $15 min wage
- break up big banks

This is basically the "underemployed white boys with middle class parents" platform, not a populist one.


It is baffling that you could think any of these things would benefit white men more than they would benefit women or POC. Baffling.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:35 AM on February 19 [53 favorites]


Sanders will handle himself this time around the exact same way he handled himself last time around.

And then he will lose badly, because the ground has shifted. Again, the kid gloves are off, and he's going to have to have some real answers to the issues that have been pointed out.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:36 AM on February 19 [6 favorites]


I don't see any reason to support him given all the ultra-qualified, staunchly lefist/progressive, non-white and/or non-male candidates with excellent track records of actual accomplishments who are running in 2020.

There is arguably one other candidate who is at all progressive or vaguely leftist.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:37 AM on February 19 [16 favorites]


It is baffling that you could think any of these things would benefit white men more than they would benefit women or POC. Baffling.

You should have kept reading, because then you would have understood that the problem isn't what's on the list, but what isn't.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:38 AM on February 19 [76 favorites]


Really, as far as I've ever been able to see, the difference between Sanders and the left-wing of the Democratic Party is largely that he's a bit more eager to actually use the word "socialism," a bit more eager to talk about "class" in very broad terms, and a bit more eager to try to sell his proposals as "socialism."

One of the big moments of actual socialism that Sanders supports (and few others do) is his support for workers owning the means of production (you know, socialism). He cosponsored both the WORK Act and the US Employee Ownership Bank Act. The first would provide grants to worker-owned enterprises while the second would create a bank that would give low-interest loans so workers could buy their companies and convert them to worker-owned cooperatives.

If we are ever going to abolish billionaires and the human destruction that level of wealth inequality, we must prevent owners of companies. We need candidates that don't want more rich people, that want workers to own their companies rather than some Bezos or Thiel. It doesn't have to be Bernie, but I wish there were other options on that.

And no, it's not just underemployeed white boys that are affected by rule by the owners rather than rule by the workers.

Holy shit, I'm sounding like a Communist now.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:41 AM on February 19 [32 favorites]


90% of American voters in 2016 supported government funded early childhood education, but that won't help middle-class white boys, so Bernie ignores this core progressive issue and talks about free college instead.

He introduced universal childcare legislation in 2011.

60% of all Americans support abortion in any and all circumstances but Bernie doesn't give a shit because this populist leftist issue isn't about white boys.

As noted upthread he has 100% ratings from Planned Parenthood and NARAL.
posted by edeezy at 11:43 AM on February 19 [35 favorites]


Do y'all think that legalizing marijuana won't help address the issue of mass incarceration of black males?
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 11:43 AM on February 19 [26 favorites]


And some of us have concerns about his commitment to legal abortion. This has already been discussed, with links, above.
posted by agregoli at 11:44 AM on February 19 [10 favorites]


How often is it that someone who has run in the last election wins the nomination next time around? I don't want to jinx his run, but I recall that HRC and Romney are the two most recent examples I can think of that fit this path.

Does HRC actually fit that pattern? She ran in 2008 but not 2012, then won the nomination in 2016. If you're asking about 'past' and not 'last' elections, then: H.W. Bush ran against Reagan in '80, lost, then joined Reagan's campaign as the VP nominee; served again as the VP nominee in '84; campaigned for the presidential nomination and won in '88, beating Bob Dole; Dole skipped the '92 primary, and then won the '96 primary. Would Bush and Dole count under that rubric? Nether of them could be said to have 'run in the last election...and won the nomination the next time around,' but their experiences were close to that and pretty comparable to HRC's, within the scope of your question, I think.

(People do challenge incumbent presidents from within their own parties, so I don't think it makes sense to treat 2008 as the last election prior to 2016 if you're casting a net back historically -- it's notable that Obam wasn't seriously challenged in 2012, nor Bush in 2004.)
posted by cjelli at 11:45 AM on February 19 [4 favorites]


Do y'all think that legalizing marijuana won't help deal with the issue of mass incarceration of black males?

Maybe it will and maybe it won't. The point is that Bernie put the former on his platform AND NOT THE LATTER. This says something important about his priorities.


StealthEdit: I am tempted to call this line of thinking "TRCIKLE-DOWN PROGRESSIVISM." No thank you, we don't want your crumbs.
posted by MiraK at 11:45 AM on February 19 [37 favorites]


He introduced universal childcare legislation in 2011.

Then why not make it a campaign plank, like Warren did?

As noted upthread he has 100% ratings from Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

And attacked them in the last primary when they chose to support his opponent, who had placed their positions in her platform. Not to mention his active support of anti-choice candidates.

100% from PP/NARAL is the floor. I think we can expect better.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:48 AM on February 19 [37 favorites]


The point is that Bernie put the former on his platform AND NOT THE LATTER. This says something important about his priorities.

That's because it's a list of policies, not a list of end-goals? Honestly, if he put "end mass incarceration of black males" on his list of policy proposals then we'd have people saying "that's great but how's he going to do it? These wacky idealists!"
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 11:49 AM on February 19 [9 favorites]


I figure they list all the policies that are important to them. Many other candidates have their platform lists stretch much longer.
posted by agregoli at 11:51 AM on February 19 [4 favorites]


I went looking for a Bernie policy list and was disappointed to see he voted for SESTA/FOSTA, which I hadn't realised before. Good job supporting something so swerfy it reaches across the whole world to harm sex workers.

But anyhow, from Jeff Stein,
Sanders' 2020 agenda, per aides:
- Medicare 4 All
- Green New Deal/climate
- $15 min wage
- Criminal justice reform
- Free college
- Break up biggest banks
- Gender pay equity
- Paid leave
- ⬇ Drug prices
- Expand Social Security
- Save unions
- DREAM Act

Aides also mentioned:
- Background checks & assault weapons ban
- Affordable housing
- New infrastructure
- Opposing "military industrial complex”

Criminal justice plank includes:
- Legalize weed
- Abolish private prisons
- End cash bail
- "Major" police dep't reform


There's definitely some noticeable absences, but it's also more comprehensive than some seem to be implying.
About half of those seem like they'd go a long way to ending mass incarceration and racial injustice.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 11:53 AM on February 19 [25 favorites]


Highlighting issues that benefit most people including, likely disproportionately, the very classes of people he's purported to be ignoring in favor of more focused efforts which he also supports doesn't seem like the worst thing in the world.

The gun control issue is real and documented and needs to be reckoned with. Criticizing him for not being vocal enough about black incarceration when he's spoken about it at length and many of his big agenda items tie into it both directly and indirectly seems like a big leap.
posted by dreamlanding at 11:53 AM on February 19 [10 favorites]


We don't have to argue hypotheticals based on reading tea leaves on his website. After the 2016 he straight up made a statement blaming "identity politics" for Trump's win. He has already demonstrated that abortion rights are negotiable to him. This isn't debatable. These are the things he himself has said and done.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:56 AM on February 19 [20 favorites]


It's perfectly valid to criticize his platform for not including those specific progressive policies.

But to claim that Medicare For All or legalizing marijuana or a $15 minimum wage are for white dudes only is disingenuous, at best.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:58 AM on February 19 [18 favorites]


Rust Moranis: "If only a president could choose a sort of secondary backup president to take their office if they die."

Sure. But if these people are interchangeable let's see Bernie get behind Tulsi Gabbard his previous running mate; he can even hold down the VP slot.

Imagine the Presidential firsts that would be embodied in Gabbard: Samoan, Female, Hindu, Youngest.
posted by Mitheral at 11:58 AM on February 19 [4 favorites]


How is Medicare for all a white middle class guy problem? Am I immune from medical needs because I’m not a “white boy”? Please advise.

Anyway, Bernie’s main accomplishment is scaring Democrats towards the policies most Americans support by providing real opposition, but without splitting the vote with a third party run. Good for him. I like Elizabeth Warren’s policies too and she’s played a similar role. I’m glad to see the primary field shift leftward.

And if you think Harris is better than Sanders on CJ reform I have to question whether that is based on stereotypes or assumptions or what. Her record is disgusting and she’s at the bottom of my list as a result.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:59 AM on February 19 [27 favorites]


Re: the platform. I was quoting this tweet of his official account to rebut the claim in the tweet that he is a populist with a populist platform.

Tweet in its entirety:

On nearly every "radical" idea the American people are with us:

72% want to expand Social Security.
70% want Medicare for All.
65% want a jobs guarantee.
64% want to legalize marijuana.
60% want tuition-free public colleges.
58% want $15 min wage.
57% want to break up big banks.


------

And y'all, by calling this a "white boy platform" I'm trying to say that it is primarily meant to cater to white boys, and therefore nothing that doesn't benefit white boys directly will make it onto his platform. The rest of us are being asked to set aside our "special needs" and "identity politics" in order to support this white-boy-centered platform (which does also HAPPEN to help the rest of us sometimes).
posted by MiraK at 11:59 AM on February 19 [26 favorites]


Sure. But if these people are interchangeable let's see Bernie get behind Tulsi Gabbard his previous running mate; he can even hold down the VP slot.

Imagine the Presidential firsts that would be embodied in Gabbard: Samoan, Female, Hindu, Youngest.


Sadly Gabbard wouldn't be the first ethnonationalist anti-LGBT warhawk president.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:01 PM on February 19 [26 favorites]


We don't have to argue hypotheticals based on reading tea leaves on his website. After the 2016 he straight up made a statement blaming "identity politics" for Trump's win.

Barack Obama made a very similar statement right around the same time. They're both partially right. From an article about the statement you're referencing:

"And the fervently independent senator is not alone. Over the weekend, President Barack Obama hinted that Clinton’s campaign should have focused more of its outreach beyond the base of the party — although the president stressed that a broad overhaul is not necessary.

“And one message I do have for Democrats is that a strategy that’s just micro-targeting particular, discrete groups in a Democratic coalition sometimes will win you elections, but it’s not going to win you the broad mandate that you need."

He didn't use the dreaded phrase, but it's essentially the same sentiment.
posted by dreamlanding at 12:02 PM on February 19 [5 favorites]


Also I’m a woman and abortion rights are negotiable to me. But the president doesn’t have all that much to do with them so I honestly don’t find that relevant. When it is relevant generally it’s about funding. Would I take Medicare for all with no abortion funding? In a heartbeat. If you wouldn’t, I’d ask you to do some research into maternal mortality in Black women in the US, especially poor black women. Look at the news stories about miscarriages in women forced to work themselves to the bone for shitty wages while pregnant. Reproductive rights and women’s rights are about more than just abortion.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 12:04 PM on February 19 [11 favorites]


But to claim that Medicare For All or legalizing marijuana or a $15 minimum wage are for white dudes only is disingenuous, at best.

Good thing nobody is saying that, then. What is disingenuous is the attempt to avoid the actual argument, that his platform has planks that are oriented around one specific group, while omitting ones that are more focused on others.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:04 PM on February 19 [15 favorites]


let's see Bernie get behind Tulsi Gabbard

Yeah, let's not.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:06 PM on February 19 [27 favorites]


He has already demonstrated that abortion rights are negotiable to him

Is this true? It's been approximately ten thousand years since the 2016 primaries, and my outrage meter has obviously been recalibrated since then, but I don't remember him doing anything totally outrageous around reproductive rights. NARAL and PP support him, generally, and a quick googling doesn't show anything beyond his (admittedly problematic, but second-order) campaigning for Heath Mello.
posted by Mayor West at 12:06 PM on February 19 [7 favorites]


Abortion is basic women's health care. I would be shocked and disappointed to see it obliterated from Medicare for All in it's final form.
posted by agregoli at 12:07 PM on February 19 [11 favorites]


And y'all, by calling this a "white boy platform" I'm trying to say that it is primarily meant to cater to white boys, and therefore nothing that doesn't benefit white boys directly will make it onto his platform. The rest of us are being asked to set aside our "special needs" and "identity politics" in order to support this white-boy-centered platform which does also HAPPEN to help the rest of us sometimes.

The reason that the rather incomplete list of policies you gathered from a single tweet all help white boys is this: they are universal policies. They're meant to apply to and help everyone. There's a strong moral and strategic argument to be made for universal policies -- a policy that benefits everyone is more likely to build massive support and stick around in the long-term. And policies that help everyone tend to most help the people at the margins, who need the help more.

But I mean really that list contains those policies because in that tweet he's making a very specific point: that a lot of his policies have massive support among the general populace. As others have pointed out, his platform is wider than that and does contain some of the policies you said he was lacking in.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 12:08 PM on February 19 [14 favorites]


Good thing nobody is saying that, then. What is disingenuous is the attempt to avoid the actual argument, that his platform has planks that are oriented around one specific group, while omitting ones that are more focused on others.

But if it's a rational claim (and I think it is) that things like M4A, $15 min. wage, marijuana legalization, tuition-free public college, etc. would disproportionately benefit women and POC in addition to also benefitting underemployed white guys, what makes those agenda items "oriented around" white men?
posted by dreamlanding at 12:08 PM on February 19 [14 favorites]


Where is his actual platform? From his campaign? All I see are articles with his record and past platforms.
posted by agregoli at 12:09 PM on February 19


What on Earth makes you think that reproductive rights of all stripes wouldn't also be negotiable to a President Sanders in any Medicare For All bill? Seriously, what logic is that?

I think one of the reasons a Bernie candidacy reminds some of us of Trump is because it comes with so much of the same gaslighting. The candidate and his supporters endlessly insisting that what we see is not reality, that what they do is not what they're doing, that we are, essentially, crazy.

Meanwhile you have a candidate who effectively alienated many, many women and POC in the last election, who's supporters continue to harass people to the point where people are afraid to publicly state their opinions on their candidacy, and he thinks he will be able to not only win the Democratic nomination, but unite the party enough to win the Presidency.

Like, honestly? I cannot work for a Bernie campaign for my own health. The gaslighting and sexism are huge triggers that can send launch a chronic illness out of remission. Like I literally cannot do it. There are many, many women, especially, who after the last campaign might be able to force themselves to vote for him, but will not be able to do any of the work that Dem nominees rely on from women.

And many of them are afraid to say this publicly because of harassment from his supporters. This is an actual fact. You telling us that we're wrong isn't actually going to make it so.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:12 PM on February 19 [48 favorites]


they are universal policies. They're meant to apply to and help everyone.

There is a long sexist & racist tradition of considering only white male concerns to be universal, and the rest of our concerns as special side issues, even when the facts don't support such a framing. This is the exact point I was trying to make up in my first comment: that he tries to brand himself a populist but in fact he is a white male populist.

To put it another way: can you tell me in what way is free college more universal than free early childhood education? (Hint: only in a sexist way!)
posted by MiraK at 12:13 PM on February 19 [56 favorites]


they are universal policies. They're meant to apply to and help everyone. There's a strong moral and strategic argument to be made for universal policies -- a policy that benefits everyone is more likely to build massive support and stick around in the long-term.


Yeah, this is Bernie's big argument in favor of his values and those of his followers. And it completely ignores the fact that universal policies do not address systemic racism and sexism. These are great policies that will benefit white men more than anyone else. This platform centers white men by ignoring policies that would specifically address systemic oppression. Legalizing marijuana is a good example. People are serving prison sentences right now for weed while Barney's is setting up their high end weed boutique. Who owns the dispensaries? Who is benefitting financially from legal marijuana? That doesn't mean legalizing marijuana is a bad policy, it just ignores the huge effect racism has on who is still in prison and who is going to be in the WSJ as a bong innovator.
posted by Mavri at 12:17 PM on February 19 [32 favorites]


To put it another way: can you tell me in what way is free college more universal than free early childhood education?

Not everyone has or wants children. I can accept the pedantic nature of that response, but it was asked. I consider both universal and he SHOULD support them both.
posted by dreamlanding at 12:18 PM on February 19 [4 favorites]


Where is his actual platform? From his campaign? All I see are articles with his record and past platforms.

I think he hasn't put it out yet officially, but I was going off of the list in the Jeff Stein tweet that AnhydrousLove posted.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 12:19 PM on February 19


Not everyone has or wants children.

..... and I never smoked marijuana in my life, but y'all are still saying that's "universal." Jeez. Talk about centering the young white male experience.

To address the larger point - literally every child needs and benefits from early childhood education; only a select few - mostly white, mostly folks with middle class parents - benefit from free college. It's astoundingly classist and racist to ignore early childhood education in favor of free college.
posted by MiraK at 12:19 PM on February 19 [52 favorites]


I believe that Bernie’s 2020 candidacy is the first best chance of our lifetimes to make true progress in American politics since the 1940s. I also beleive that we won’t have many other chances for democracy.

If you have even a little bit of a thought to support him, don’t be like me in 2016. Don’t tune out and vote quietly and presume some adult will stop Trump. Get involved with your money or your time. Use the moment to speak earnestly to your neighbors and your family and your friends about what is possible and what is moral for the country to do.

And if people don’t support him, for whatever reason, that’s all good. Their reasons are theirs. The only thing that would be a tragedy is if anyone listened, even for a second, to the professional sophists and alchemists who got the 2016 election so very very 10000% wrong.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:20 PM on February 19 [15 favorites]


Whew. As someone who supported Bernie in 2016, I am happy with this. But this thread...There's a lot of dislike of Bernie on MeFi, that hasn't changed since 2016!
posted by zardoz at 12:20 PM on February 19 [16 favorites]


There's a lot of dislike of Bernie on MeFi, that hasn't changed since 2016!

Why would it? He hasn't changed, has he?
posted by MiraK at 12:25 PM on February 19 [32 favorites]


Here's an honest question. Why do we accept as truth the statement that Sanders is significantly farther left than the Democratic candidates?

He's not the most progressive Senator by voting record (Progressive Punch has Kamala Harris as #1, with Sanders at #9, behind Warren, Booker, Gillibrand, and Brown; and GovTrack has Sanders at #2 behind Gillibrand, with Harris as #4).

Also, his progressive ideas appear to be restricted to economic issues. As others have pointed out, his positions on gun control and other issues is much more conservative. I've also never figured out how his support for the building of a $1.5 trillion military fighter jet in Vermont aligns with his progressive credentials.

While you could argue that Sanders was the farther-left alternative to Clinton in 2016 (although I think that was more about idealism v. incrementalism), most of the candidates this time around support Medicare for All, $15 minimum wage, debt-free college, and a Green New Deal.

Some have pointed to his anti-capitalist positions, but do people really believe that Breaking Up the Big Banks is either feasible or desirable? More regulation, sure, and some criminal prosecutions would be nice. But the Big Banks hold people's mortgages, give loans to small businesses, and otherwise provide services that help real people. Do Sanders' anti-capitalist plans take that into account? If so, I haven't seen it.

So why is Sanders the One True Progressive?
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 12:26 PM on February 19 [49 favorites]


MiraK: for what it’s worth I’m an over-employed middle class white dude; reading and thinking about your comment has convinced me to significantly reprioritize my support for universal childcare. This will affect my donation patterns in 2019 and beyond. On the offchance it helps to hear this stated explicitly: you are heard and you changed at least one person’s thinking with your words today.

Lord Chancellor: you pretty much just nailed why I’ve slowly begun to switch from self-identifying as Democratic Socialist to Intersectional Marxist over the past year.
posted by Ryvar at 12:26 PM on February 19 [31 favorites]


As others have pointed out, his platform is wider than that and does contain some of the policies you said he was lacking in.

Right, but realistically any president of any party will only fully check off maybe two or three points of that list. So it does matter what they choose to address and focus most on first.

So, I'm not saying this as something to count specifically against Sanders, but just to say to everyone let's wait and see what he ends up spending most of his campaign time to speechify about and use that to determine what his priorities will be as prez.
posted by FJT at 12:27 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


If x universal policy improves everyone's lives, then the people on the bottom are better off, but they're still on the bottom. That is the failure of "universal" policies that don't target systemic racism and sexism. That's the failure of politicians who dismiss "social issues" and "identity politics" because we need to start with the really important things. Frankly, Trump has made it crystal clear how pervasive and dangerous racism and sexism are. It's incredible to me that a Dem candidate (and their supporters) would de-center those issues.
posted by Mavri at 12:28 PM on February 19 [27 favorites]


Where is his actual platform? From his campaign? All I see are articles with his record and past platforms.

A lot of candidates have yet to put out complete platforms, or fully detail their positions on campaign websites -- given that we're still almost a year away from the first caucus of 2020 -- Iowa, February 3rd 2020 -- I think it's slightly early to be taking too much from what's in or out of anyone's published platform.

I mean, I'd love it if everyone did launch their campaign with a comprehensive platform and also a list of who they plan to nominate for cabinet positions and also release their tax returns, etc etc, but that's not currently how campaigns work.
posted by cjelli at 12:29 PM on February 19 [6 favorites]


There's a lot of dislike of Bernie on MeFi, that hasn't changed since 2016!

Why would it? He hasn't changed, has he?


Yet here we are, all on Metafilter 3 years later. Sanders supporters and Sanders decryers, both having to make common cause with each other.

Some have pointed to his anti-capitalist positions, but do people really believe that Breaking Up the Big Banks is either feasible or desirable? More regulation, sure, and some criminal prosecutions would be nice. But the Big Banks hold people's mortgages, give loans to small businesses, and otherwise provide services that help real people.

Breaking up the big banks won't destroy mortgages or savings held. Banks would continue. . . smaller. Less able to resist democracy. Fewer Banks of America, more local credit unions. There is more than enough wealth in this land to build and eat well on. Never think that these horrendous institutions of ownership are in the workers' best interests.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 12:30 PM on February 19 [23 favorites]


So...none of actually know what his 2020 platform is.
posted by agregoli at 12:30 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


2024 can't come soon enough. It's increasingly apparent that no one less than AOC is capable of uniting the perpetually squabbling factions of the Democratic Party.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:31 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


Some have pointed to his anti-capitalist positions, but do people really believe that Breaking Up the Big Banks is either feasible or desirable?

Um, hell yes. Want to Save the Climate? Break Up the Big Banks.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:32 PM on February 19 [31 favorites]


Man the student loan crisis is so bad and it’s so bad for black people specifically. Free college is not a white person thing. At all. Like, what, people like me are just not as naturally inclined to want to go to college? And that’s a racial trait that is set in stone forever so fuck making sure that people with less wealth to call on can pursue the professions? Because why would we want to, right? That’s a white thing and you know black people and Latinos won’t benefit. Because we just don’t go to college.

I’m out of this thread. Call me when as a Latinx I’m allowed to support a candidate besides mi hombre Beto (that is a joke dude is white af)
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 12:33 PM on February 19 [36 favorites]


Okay, wait, in re Sanders: This Gallup poll from late 2018 shows that Sanders is actually more popular among people of color he is among white people, with 64% favorable versus white people's 49% favorable. (I could not find a poll that broke it out by gender.)

Obviously that's one poll, people who like Sanders may only prefer him in "lesser of two evils" way rather than in a "he is so great on racial issues way", and the poll was not broken out to show Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian-American and other BIPOC votes, and those things could all have a lot of meaning. But seems like it complicates some of the stuff about race and perception.

It does seem like there are a lot of difficult choices, because all the candidates have IMO at least one serious, genuine drawback. If someone says, "I don't like [person] because of [drawback]" I don't really feel that I can say, "no you're wrong that's not actually a drawback".

I really end up thinking that the process is going to have to be "vote for the candidate you think has the least serious drawbacks, then push the candidate who wins the primary to adopt important parts of the other platforms".
posted by Frowner at 12:34 PM on February 19 [16 favorites]


For the record I totally agree that free early childhood education is important, and I also want Bernie to support it. But yeah, I see it as exactly as universal as free college. Both work for everyone, and both help poor and disadvantaged people more than wealthy and advantaged people. A rich white guy can pay for college easily, and can pay for childcare easily. He's not gonna benefit from this the same way a poorer person would.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 12:35 PM on February 19 [11 favorites]


Breaking up the big banks won't destroy

Ok, wait, no, let's be honest about this. The reason Obama blinked and didn't do anything to the banks in 2008 was because no one, including the banks themselves, knew what the consequences would be. The problem is that our financial system has grown up its own ass in a fractal way, and the complex web of derivatives tying all the many financial institutions that currently make up an outlandish portion of the American economy together is incomprehensible even to the people who created it and work with it every day.

It's a giant mess of knotted string that is slowly strangling the rest of us and no one knows what happens if you just cut it in half. The fall out could be catastrophic and would be definitely be unpredictable.

You have to be careful when unwinding complex systems. I don't think anyone has a solution to this, but making declarative statements about what breaking up the big banks would or would not do, even if you detail how you do it, is just...kinda wrong.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:36 PM on February 19 [17 favorites]


(That is not to say I don't want them broken up; I do. They're a goddamn cancer eating the body politic, and the planet, alive. It's just...not simple.)
posted by schadenfrau at 12:38 PM on February 19 [5 favorites]


I know I said I was leaving but white people really need to watch what they decide are the true priorities of POC (which is not a homogeneous group). If you think Sanders or his policies aren’t favored by POC or important to POC then I truly hope you have something to support that assertion besides just your gut feeling about people who are a different race from you.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 12:39 PM on February 19 [34 favorites]


(That is not to say I don't want them broken up; I do. They're a goddamn cancer eating the body politic, and the planet, alive. It's just...not simple.)

Good News!
Breaking Up the Banks Is Easier Than You Might Think
In 1933, when the Glass-Steagall Act was passed, it helped break up the biggest banks of the day and for good reason: They had had a major hand in triggering the most disastrous economic depression our country ever experienced.

posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:42 PM on February 19 [19 favorites]


Free college is not a white person thing. At all. Like, what, people like me are just not as naturally inclined to want to go to college? And that’s a racial trait that is set in stone forever so fuck making sure that people with less wealth to call on can pursue the professions? Because why would we want to, right? That’s a white thing and you know black people and Latinos won’t benefit. Because we just don’t go to college.

Listen, I know tempers are running high, but this is NOT what I meant when I said free college is an issue that centers young white people with middle class parents. And I suspect that if you think about it, you'll realize that isn't what I meant, too, because if you're right, then what the fuck did I mean when I said mass incarceration of black men is an issue that affects mostly PoC? Did I mean black men are genetically predisposed to get locked up? Do you honestly for a single second believe I'm saying that?

There's a difference between what is and what ought to be.

What IS: free college today benefits mainly young white people with middle-class parents because that's predominantly who goes to college now; free early childhood education benefits literally every single child who is of that age.

What OUGHT TO BE: everyone should get to go to college if they want; and extremely-not-ironically, free early childhood education is one of the best ways to help nonwhite, non-middle-class kids get to college.
posted by MiraK at 12:45 PM on February 19 [34 favorites]


There is a Chinese saying that goes "Kill the chicken to scare the monkey." Meaning, I think it's possible to punish a few of the "smaller" big banks in a very public and brutal way as a warning to the other ones. But, maybe the moment has passed for that and it would now be seen as too centrist. 🤷
posted by FJT at 12:47 PM on February 19 [4 favorites]


There's a difference between what is and what ought to be.

As we want to move from what is to what ought to be, removing the barrier to college entry that is cost is a step in the right direction.
posted by edeezy at 12:48 PM on February 19 [5 favorites]


Uhh, why do you think it is that mainly white people with middle class parents go to college? Could it be that college is expensive? And if it were free then more non-white, non-middle-class people could attend?

You've got cause and effect backwards, I'm afraid.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 12:48 PM on February 19 [21 favorites]


Hey, everyone is tense, everyone is scared, everyone is passionate about this. Can we not turn on each other, please?

Deep breaths, we all want the same outcome in the end: no more Trump.

As my then-seven-year-old daughter said, "Breathe in the cookie smells, blow out the birthday candles."
posted by cooker girl at 12:49 PM on February 19 [12 favorites]


Free college is not a white person thing. At all. Like, what, people like me are just not as naturally inclined to want to go to college? And that’s a racial trait that is set in stone forever so fuck making sure that people with less wealth to call on can pursue the professions? Because why would we want to, right? That’s a white thing and you know black people and Latinos won’t benefit. Because we just don’t go to college.

No one said that or anything close to it. Maybe people are thinking about segregated public schools and the school to prison pipeline, both of which do enormous damage well before college-age, when they're talking about setting policy. That doesn't mean free college isn't important. It means other things that are being shunted aside are also important, and those things often specifically address racism and sexism.
posted by Mavri at 12:49 PM on February 19 [24 favorites]


no government by aphorism please, thanks.

the idea that everybody (well maybe not everybody, but definitely your kid) should go to college so they can get a good job only makes sense in a stratified society where we're basically OK with people working the trades and service jobs being less-than, so I would think that early childhood education would be more foundational to the gay space utopia stuff than free college, which seems like a bandaid over a gushing stump at this point
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:50 PM on February 19 [31 favorites]


I truly hope you have something to support that assertion

voting patterns in 2016 -- literally the only data point we have -- aren't sufficient?

Bernie didn't win POC voters in any of those quadrants. He came closest with those under 44 (and I'm going to guess that pattern would hold if you looked at more granular demographics), but still fell short. In a field of two.

Breaking Up the Banks Is Easier Than You Might Think
In 1933


This is legit terrifying. Do you honestly, like for real, think that the complexity of the financial industry and the position it occupies in the economy and the world is comparable to what it was in 1933? Like this is really what you think?

This would be like doing brain surgery with a sharpened spoon.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:51 PM on February 19 [16 favorites]


For the record I totally agree that early childhood education is important, and I also want Bernie to support it. But yeah, I see it as exactly as universal as free college.

My three-year-old can't help pay for her own preschool. She can't decide that rather than learning her ABCs, she'd like to go into a skilled trade with an apprenticeship program and a strong union presence. She can't pursue her dream of acting or singing.

And the prospect of not having preschool available for her affects me directly. I couldn't keep an office job if I had to take care of her, because she is three. If my skills were slightly less in demand, I might not be able to afford her preschool. By the time she has to worry about college, she will have other options, and I won't feel quite so bad about telling her to get a job.

College isn't universal. It never will be. It shouldn't be. Even expanding it to "post-secondary education and training" wouldn't make it "universal". Some people will always think they can stop going to school at 18. Let them.

Early childhood education should be universal.
posted by Etrigan at 12:52 PM on February 19 [58 favorites]


Banks merge all the time and nobody drops a hard drive on the floor and loses all their assets. They can do it in reverse.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:53 PM on February 19 [14 favorites]


And if it were free then more non-white, non-middle-class people could attend?

Sure, but that doesn't help poor black kids coming out of underfunded schools who can not achieve the required SAT scores to even qualify to attend the now free college.
posted by PenDevil at 12:53 PM on February 19 [24 favorites]


Breaking Up the Banks Is Easier Than You Might Think

Counterpoint. As schadenfrau said, it's not necessarily a bad idea, but it's not easy. Banks in 2019 bear little resemblance to banks in 1933.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 12:53 PM on February 19


They need to be regulated into the ground, but it needs to be done by people who actually understand how they work. That is...not evidenced in this thread.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:54 PM on February 19 [7 favorites]


Uhh, why do you think it is that mainly white people with middle class parents go to college? Could it be that college is expensive? And if it were free then more non-white, non-middle-class people could attend?

It's for a number of reasons, finances being only one part. There's also societal expectations, the way our schools pipeline kids toward outcomes, culture racism, etc. Would making college free help get more minorities in college? Sure, but not as many as you'd think.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:54 PM on February 19 [5 favorites]


Uhh, why do you think it is that mainly white people with middle class parents go to college? Could it be that college is expensive? And if it were free then more non-white, non-middle-class people could attend?

They surely would. But making it free does nothing to address the 18 years prior when PoC, disproportionately, have their academic progress hampered by institutional racism in a dozen different ways. It is the free-to-take item on a high shelf if you don't address K-12 education opportunities/quality that's consistently worse for PoC neighborhoods, jobs for those kids' parents that let them spend time with their kids, health care for those kids so they can attend school, school to prison pipelines that leave kids behind bars and unable to attend college, disproportionate policing that breaks up families, etc.
posted by phearlez at 12:56 PM on February 19 [36 favorites]


This is legit terrifying. Do you honestly, like for real, think that the complexity of the financial industry and the position it occupies in the economy and the world is comparable to what it was in 1933? Like this is really what you think?

Yes. Me and other socialist airheads like Elizabeth Warren. {/} Try reading the article.

"Despite the progress since 2008, the biggest banks continue to threaten our economy," said Senator Warren. "For fifty years, the original Glass-Steagall Act helped produce broad-based economic growth and avoid any major financial crisis. The 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act will re-establish the wall between commercial and investment banking and make our financial system more stable and secure. Reinstating Glass-Steagall has broad bipartisan support, and it's time to get it done."
posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:57 PM on February 19 [18 favorites]


This is legit terrifying. Do you honestly, like for real, think that the complexity of the financial industry and the position it occupies in the economy and the world is comparable to what it was in 1933? Like this is really what you think?

This would be like doing brain surgery with a sharpened spoon.


The same argument was made in 1933. Like, literally the same argument about the entire New Deal. "It's never been done before, economics is too complex, regulations are a blunt instrument."
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:58 PM on February 19 [24 favorites]


What I take MiraK to be suggesting is that college isn't just about finances but the lifetime of experience that leads to being prepared to attend. That's something early childhood education will greatly help as racism isn't just about keeping otherwise deserving students from attending college due to lack of funds, but from keeping whole communities down in situations that make the basics of life and education difficult to attain. Without those first steps, crossing the threshold to the university education becomes vastly more challenging and that affects people of color more than whites.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:58 PM on February 19 [25 favorites]


Counterpoint. As schadenfrau said, it's not necessarily a bad idea, but it's not easy. Banks in 2019 bear little resemblance to banks in 1933.

That article is from Bert Ely, from the Cato Institute.

More on Bert from his profile at the Cato Institute website:
"In the 1990s he developed, and helped draft legislation to enact, the cross-guarantee concept for privatizing banking regulation and deposit insurance."
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:59 PM on February 19 [11 favorites]


Plenty of people understand financial regulation, derivatives, the weaknesses of the global financial system, and similar. There’s a robust literature on the subject in both Econ/finance/banking and legal academia. It’s not all that opaque. The idea that it is too opaque to regulate is honestly a bit comical. It’s complex to be sure but plenty of smart people know what’s up.

(Some interesting work on it, specifically on the role of index regulation and the potential for such regulation to increase the diversity of financial indices in use in commercial contracts, was even written by me. A latinx who wanted to go to college instead of into plumbing. Just for the record.)
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 12:59 PM on February 19 [10 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. If your comment is about bad this thread is or how bad other Mefites are or whatever, just go do something else please.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:00 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


That's a good point about the school-to-prison pipeline. I would hope that universal free early education would help to address that. And I do agree that it's more important than free college (though I think free college is essential too). I've worked in elementary education in a predominantly black community and seen the effects of racialized poverty first-hand. We did offer pre-school classes and they did seem to help.

Since Bernie hasn't released his platform yet, here's hoping he includes both universal free early education AND universal free college.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:00 PM on February 19 [6 favorites]


Good lord, it's not too opaque to regulate, and literally no one in this thread said that. It's just a hell of a lot more complex than it was in 1933, and should probably be regulated by people who understand that.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:00 PM on February 19 [2 favorites]


And, let me point something out - when asked by Anderson Cooper about the allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination, and assault in his 2016 campaign, this was his response to not knowing:
I was a little bit busy running around the country trying to make the case.
This statement would have ended the campaign of most other politicians, because it is an utterly unacceptable response. I'm still wondering why it didn't end Sanders'.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:01 PM on February 19 [32 favorites]


Bernie Sanders Hires Top Progressive Advocate, Faiz Shakir, as Campaign Manager

Shakir joins the Sanders operation from the American Civil Liberties Union where he served as national political director since early 2017. Before joining the ACLU, he was a senior adviser to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and before that he worked with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Shakir held a meeting with his team at the ACLU at noon on Tuesday to announce that he was leaving to join the Sanders campaign, The Daily Beast has learned. His departure is expected to be announced imminently by the civil-liberties giant. At 39 years old, Shakir is almost certainly the first campaign manager of a major presidential campaign who identifies as a Muslim.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:01 PM on February 19 [7 favorites]


Good lord, it's not too opaque to regulate, and literally no one in this thread said that. It's just a hell of a lot more complex than it was in 1933, and should probably be regulated by people who understand that.

You called the system incomprehensible. It’s not.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 1:01 PM on February 19 [11 favorites]


You called the system incomprehensible. It’s not.

Do you have any evidence to support this assertion?

My evidence was working in the industry in 2008, along with most of my college cohort, and seeing how fucking terrified everyone was because literally no one knew what the web of derivative obligations crashing into each other would do. I'm saying, with direct personal experience, that in 2008 the people who should have been able to comprehend the system learned, in a crisis, that they in fact did not.

And it has gotten worse since then.

This is, at this point, probably becoming a derail. But if you don't think there are problems with complexity in the financial sector, you have no idea what you're talking about.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:07 PM on February 19 [14 favorites]


This statement would have ended the campaign of most other politicians, because it is an utterly unacceptable response. I'm still wondering why it didn't end Sanders'.

That remark has come up in this thread a few times. It wasn't a great look, but today he came out with a much better statement and some concrete actions to rectify the unfortunately common problem of harassment during political campaigns.

Bernie Sanders: Campaign will have 'strongest protocols' to prevent harassment

"We are going to have the strongest protocols to protect women and anybody else against any form of harassment," Sanders said during an interview with CBS News. "We are going to be training every employee who works for us and we're going to give people who feel they've been harassed the opportunity to talk to people outside of the campaign."

He added that it "breaks [his] heart" to have heard about the sexual harassment allegations pertaining to his 2016 campaign. Sanders added that some individuals working for his previous campaign shouldn't have been hired.

Several women who worked on the senator's 2016 presidential campaign detailed instances of harassment to The New York Times and criticized how their superiors handled their accusations.

Sanders has said he was unaware of the allegations at the time. He previously apologized to female staffers on his 2016 presidential campaign who allege that they experienced sexual harassment, acknowledging that the campaign’s procedures for addressing such issues were “clearly inadequate.”

He added during the CBS News interview on Tuesday that he had met with former staffers and learned that the allegations are true.

"This has been an issue that has upset me," he said. "We're going to rectify it in this campaign."

posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:09 PM on February 19 [17 favorites]


More on Bert from his profile at the Cato Institute website:
"In the 1990s he developed, and helped draft legislation to enact, the cross-guarantee concept for privatizing banking regulation and deposit insurance."


OK, touché. I should've looked that up before posting.

No one has answered my original question though - why is Bernie Sanders considered the most progressive candidate? He's not the only one suggesting breaking up the banks. And he's not the only one proposing debt-free college. I'm not trolling - I'd really like to know.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 1:09 PM on February 19 [2 favorites]


This statement would have ended the campaign of most other politicians, because it is an utterly unacceptable response. I'm still wondering why it didn't end Sanders'.

Let's face it: it wouldn't for a lot of people. Northam didn't resign and doesn't look like he will. Trump says a thousand times worse on a daily basis. Warren's DNA report is downright offensive. They all survived (seemingly).

Second, for socialists, to whom else do they turn? Sanders is less unique than he was in 2016, but still unique. No one else is asking for a restructuring of the capitalist system, no one else is saying that billionaires should not exist. And, pardon the comparison, just like Trump, unique wins. It survives, because while all the other candidates can fold into each other, unique ones can't.

I don't know, all of this are reasons why I feel pretty ambivalent about Sanders running. I don't think change can come from above (though it can lessen the amount of pain felt), and no other candidate is making noises about taking on capitalism. Closest is Warren and she still went out of her way to proclaim herself a capitalist.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 1:10 PM on February 19 [13 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. Again, Hillary's not running. And if people really want to dig in on the "could we break up big banks" issue, better to split off a post about that.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:11 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


That remark has come up in this thread a few times. It wasn't a great look,

I'm sorry, but no. It wasn't "a bad look", it was an unacceptable and abhorrent statement. The fact that people are ready to downplay it is what bothers me.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:17 PM on February 19 [16 favorites]


A latinx who wanted to go to college instead of into plumbing. Just for the record

Personally, I wish that we lived in a world where someone wanting to get into plumbing instead of going to college wasn't looked down upon as much as this comment seems to indicate. No matter what happens with the banks, I don't think that we're going to be living in a post-drain world any time soon. There's nothing bad about people wanting to be in a decent paying and necessary industry.
posted by bootlegpop at 1:17 PM on February 19 [25 favorites]


Why is Bernie Sanders considered the most progressive candidate?

Because he's the only one willing to name capitalism as a problem. And all the other Dems since Bill Clinton have shifted rightward to the point where most of them are actually center-right by ideology.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:20 PM on February 19 [25 favorites]


less unique than he was in 2016, but still unique

I am going to go clutch my college logic textbook to my chest while rocking myself and crying on the floor of my shower.
posted by phearlez at 1:22 PM on February 19 [10 favorites]


And all the other Dems since Bill Clinton have shifted rightward to the point where most of them are actually center-right by ideology.

The other "progressive" candidate stood and clapped when a fascist said that we'll never have socialism.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:22 PM on February 19 [22 favorites]


Shadenfrau, there are problems with complexity in banking regulation and you are right that I took your statement out of context. Apologies. However, you keep implying that a short summary of banking reform policy (break up the banks) reflects ignorance about banking or banking regulation. If you worked in banking/finance that makes sense (ask me how much I hate short summaries of the law) but it’s also sort of a shallow critique. To the extent that, functionally, the crisis of 2008 was driven by “banks”, a lot of the problem could be considered the result of functional collusion between banks and/or a sort of monocultural herd mentality. It’s also true that the global financial system consists of interdependent organizations/entities, and that the robustness of that system would likely benefit from decentralization of some of the critical functions played by larger banks. Complexity in the financial system, frankly, doesn’t really seem to counter the upsides of what is colloquially known as “breaking up the banks.” So hopefully you can see why I find it to be a shallow/inapposite response to that particular policy plank.

(This is all really generalized for our audience obviously.)
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 1:24 PM on February 19 [10 favorites]


There's nothing bad about people wanting to be in a decent paying and necessary industry.

There is something bad about someone being forced into a job they don't want because they can't afford tuition.
posted by edeezy at 1:24 PM on February 19 [7 favorites]


Because he's the only one willing to name capitalism as a problem. And all the other Dems since Bill Clinton have shifted rightward to the point where most of them are actually center-right by ideology.

Thanks for your answer. I don't necessarily think that socialism and progressivism are synonyms, but I appreciate the response.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 1:26 PM on February 19


less unique than he was in 2016, but still unique

I am going to go clutch my college logic textbook to my chest while rocking myself and crying on the floor of my shower.


I was struggling with the diction as I wrote it. I understand completely that "unique" is either there or isn't. "Rare" and "particular" don't sound quite right in capturing that, er, unique quality of the word "unique."
posted by Lord Chancellor at 1:27 PM on February 19 [2 favorites]


No one is saying college shouldn't be free. They're saying that prioritizing free college over free childcare and improvements to pre-college education prioritizes white people, because the people most affected by childcare and pre-college education deficiencies are POC. This isn't a complicated argument, and it's an argument that all of Metafilter seems to grasp when it's a critique leveled at republicans.

Because he's the only one willing to name capitalism as a problem.

I think this is what is so frustrating about this thread. It's, again, about priorities. When you say that this is what qualifies someone as progressive, regardless of their actual behavior with regards to marginalized groups, or how their policy positions affect those groups, you're making a statement about what "really" matters.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:29 PM on February 19 [33 favorites]


From the aforementioned Nathan Robinson of Current Affairs, a new article in the Guardian:

Why Bernie Sanders' radicalism can take out Trump

For the last two years, Sanders has been setting the Democratic party policy agenda. His 2016 candidacy entirely shifted the political landscape, to the point where the majority of Democrats now view Democratic socialism favorably. Medicare for All and universal free college are so popular that they have almost become litmus tests for prospective candidates. In polls, Sanders is well ahead of the other currently declared candidates, and at this point he should be treated as the presumptive frontrunner.

Ironically given his age, Sanders has been embraced by millennials – even millennial women preferred Sanders over Clinton. The face of the young left, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is a veteran of the first Sanders campaign. It makes sense. Young people have a sense of urgency about the future: we don’t want to live in a “neo-feudal” world in which corporations tell cities what to do, nor do we want to live on a ruined planet. We want our children and grandchildren never to have to worry about being unable to afford medical care. We want their public schools to be well-funded and their cities to be above water. We also want to be able to afford to have children in the first place.

...

In February of 2016, I wrote that unless the Democrats nominated Sanders, Trump would become the president. The Democrats did not nominate Sanders, and we know what happened after that. I argued then that while Sanders may have been a risky choice against a moderate Republican candidate, he had a unique advantage against Donald Trump. He could “neutralize” Trump’s appeal in critical ways. Sanders cannot be saddled with the baggage of the congressional Democratic party, because he has preserved his independence. He can call out the phoniness of the pro-worker rhetoric coming from a billionaire who repeatedly exploited his employees. Sanders sticks to the issues, and cannot be dragged into the gutter. And it’s laughable to worry about Sanders being “outside the mainstream” when Trump himself is wildly outside the mainstream.

posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:30 PM on February 19 [15 favorites]


[Another deleted. Seriously if people want to talk bank-breakup, make a separate thread for it.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:31 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


[couple comments again; the Latinx plumber thing doesn't need to be an increasingly-nasty derail. Sounds like that person didn't want to be a plumber, so we don't need to have a fight about "what if they *had* wanted to be a plumber."]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:44 PM on February 19 [9 favorites]


And for another example of why people think Sanders doesn't get it, here's a response to a question about representing the Democratic Party on Vermont Public Radio today:
When asked by VPR's Bob Kinzel about concerns that he no longer best represents "the face of the new Democratic Party," Sanders, 77, said:

"We have got to look at candidates, you know, not by the color of their skin, not by their sexual orientation or their gender and not by their age," Sanders said. "I mean, I think we have got to try to move us toward a non-discriminatory society which looks at people based on their abilities, based on what they stand for."
As LGM pointed out, this is a long-winded way of saying "I don't see color", with all the issues that has.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:52 PM on February 19 [33 favorites]


As LGM pointed out, this is a long-winded way of saying "I don't see color", with all the issues that has.

It also comes across as kind of suspect in that the question is about him specifically, and he is seemingly pivoting by lumping his group in with other groups who face far more challenges. It's a very tactical answer, and it probably would have played really well 10 years ago.
posted by bootlegpop at 1:56 PM on February 19 [7 favorites]


I think this is what is so frustrating about this thread. It's, again, about priorities. When you say that this is what qualifies someone as progressive, regardless of their actual behavior with regards to marginalized groups, or how their policy positions affect those groups, you're making a statement about what "really" matters.

It matters to me because as a woman of color, I've been disproportionately affected by capitalism. Unfortunately, in the US, marginalized groups are disproportionately victims of capitalism. That's who provides the low-wage labor, who gets ground up in the prison-industrial complex, who goes without so a few can take more than they could ever use. Our planet won't last much longer if capitalism continues in its present form. My kid won't have a future if all I can offer him in the way of progress is more women CEOs and LGBT prison guards. If I felt there were candidates that were devoted to understanding this as much as they were to talking about intersectional social justice issues, then I'd happily bang my drum for them, but I don't see that. Atomizing social justice without a serious critique of the largest system generating inequality and oppression in this country doesn't work, that's why MLK, jr. was a socialist. I can't decide what other people's priorities are going to be, but business-as-usual with a coat of "woke" paint isn't it for me, and that's all I see the other Dem candidates offering right now. (Reserving partial exception for Warren. I agree with a lot of her policy positions.)
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:59 PM on February 19 [43 favorites]


In an ideal world, none of those things should matter. In this world, representation is vital and we need to lift up and encourage diverse candidates because WHAT THE FUCK.

This is what we mean when we challenge Sanders’ “progressivism”.
posted by lydhre at 1:59 PM on February 19 [14 favorites]


OK. How have *I* changed since 2016? I have, for lo, these many years, voted in the primaries for my preferred platform, in the hope of driving the party left. Then, my candidate losing, I would vote for the person it was necessary to support. This has taken me to strange places. I seem to recall that I once voted for Mike Gravel. Today, I think the situation is different. We could have real change, but not because of a White Knight like Biden or Sanders riding in. The real victory was getting a more diverse congress; this will almost certainly lead to better platforms. I think Bernie moved the platform farther to the left and therefore has given me a lot more choices. I thank him for that. That frees me to consider factors, like the ability to work well with others.
posted by acrasis at 2:03 PM on February 19 [16 favorites]


He's not the most progressive Senator by voting record (Progressive Punch has Kamala Harris as #1, with Sanders at #9, behind Warren, Booker, Gillibrand, and Brown; and GovTrack has Sanders at #2 behind Gillibrand, with Harris as #4).

Scoring systems like the Progressive Punch and DW-NOMINATE are based on identifying certain key votes as splitting the house/senate into a liberal-conservative dimension and then using those scorings to group members according to their similarity in every other vote. So you're more liberal if you vote the same as the others who are identified as liberal. The problem is that genuinely left legislation does not often appear on the floor of the US senate, and, furthermore, bills that are supported by the democratic caucus are not always very left-wing (*even if they are not supported by the republicans*).

For example, one of Sanders' few divergences from his caucus in Progressive Punch is his vote on Hoeven Amendment 87 which would affirm that "climate change is real" but also assert that the Keystone XL pipeline would have no affect on climate change. An absurd poison pill for a progressive who wants to put their weight behind native american rights and environmentalism, but a "liberal" vote by the grouping methodology.
posted by dis_integration at 2:06 PM on February 19 [25 favorites]


Atomizing social justice without a serious critique of the largest system generating inequality and oppression in this country doesn't work, that's why MLK, jr. was a socialist. I can't decide what other people's priorities are going to be, but business-as-usual with a coat of "woke" paint isn't it for me, and that's all I see the other Dem candidates offering right now. (Reserving partial exception for Warren. I agree with a lot of her policy positions.)

A thousand times this. If we have to sit around waiting to make sure everyone has full equality in The Bad Place (see: present-day capitalism) before overhauling THAT system we're going to be waiting around for a hell of a long time and there may be nothing left well before that happens.

I'm not sure I can ever accept that it's wrong to fight for systemic economic change right alongside social justice. It's not an option at this point.
posted by dreamlanding at 2:10 PM on February 19 [24 favorites]


Ignoring for a second who is the most electable and who should be president and all that, aren't campaigns by ideologues useful to pull the Overton window one way or another? Even if one doesn't support Sanders or Warren, their runs will help to drag the narrative leftwards. The Republicans do that for the other direction, why should their opposing party do any different?

That's also why I don't get why people were upset for Sanders not conceding in 2016 until he did. Didn't he help to pull Clinton's campaign to be more progressive? Should everyone just nominated her early and accepted her platform as-is?
posted by Apocryphon at 2:14 PM on February 19 [12 favorites]


Atomizing social justice without a serious critique of the largest system generating inequality and oppression in this country doesn't work, that's why MLK, jr. was a socialist

The thing is, I actually agree with this. My problem is that socialism without social justice is also a thing and...I mean. We know where that leads. We already have our own homegrown cryptonazis talking up socialist policies.

If we allow social justice and socialism to be divorced from each other, that's what's eventually waiting for us. It won't look exactly like it did last time; there will be different initial targets. But inequality on the basis of identity has a way of self perpetuating itself: people justify it to themselves by dehumanizing the people who are hurt by it. And my problem is that Bernie Sanders, because of his personal failings, wittingly or not, furthers that schism between socialism and social justice. I don't trust him to protect us, because he bloody well hasn't yet, and he's indicated more than once that he's willing to throw some groups under the bus.

And personally, I also don't trust his competency, in terms of his grasp of policy, his ability to lead a functional organization, and his ability to get anything done by working with other people and stakeholders.

The combination of those two things is pretty scary to me.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:15 PM on February 19 [31 favorites]


who is actually calling for socialism without social justice

And aren't most socialist parties from Europe to Latin America to Asia to Africa just plain socialist? And for all of their flaws, aren't they not Nazis?
posted by Apocryphon at 2:18 PM on February 19 [12 favorites]


For the record I totally agree that free early childhood education is important, and I also want Bernie to support it.

There are plenty of reasons to dislike Sanders, but he's pretty consistently and vociferously supported this, even before 2016. (Incidentally, the only co-sponsors for his 2011 bill on this were Sherrod Brown and Kristen Gillibrand.)
posted by This time is different. at 2:19 PM on February 19 [10 favorites]


That's also why I don't get why people were upset for Sanders not conceding in 2016 until he did. Didn't he help to pull Clinton's campaign to be more progressive? Should everyone just nominated her early and accepted her platform as-is?

By trashing superdelegates, and then staying in the race and turning around to say that the supposed illegitimate super delegates should be fair and vote for him when he could no longer win by winning all of the upcoming state primaries, he both acted hypocritical and injected conspiracy theory type thinking into a fair amount of his supporters, thus enabling them to feel good about running to Stein or even Trump. Had he formally dropped out after he no longer had any way to win, it's entirely possible that a not insignificant portion of the swing state Stein voters might have felt less aggrieved and voted differently. He put himself above the needs of the nation when he did this, and his decision to do so seemed very ego-driven.

(I had actually supported him for multiple decades and hyped him to all of my friends before he did this, so this isn't coming from someone who never would have liked him to begin with.)
posted by bootlegpop at 2:21 PM on February 19 [34 favorites]


I don't personally see Sanders as representing "socialism without social justice" at all really (pro tip, that's not actually a thing), but leaving that aside, what scares me far more than that formulation is the far more plausible potential for the Democratic Party to go all-in on "social justice without socialism". If the Democrats become the party of "woke capitalism" and they leave room only for the far right to criticize capital on the national stage, that's when the nazis come out to play.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 2:22 PM on February 19 [21 favorites]


We know where that leads. We already have our own homegrown cryptonazis talking up socialist policies...The combination of those two things is pretty scary to me.

Are you seriously linking Sanders to Nazis?
posted by This time is different. at 2:22 PM on February 19 [9 favorites]


Ignoring for a second who is the most electable and who should be president and all that, aren't campaigns by ideologues useful to pull the Overton window one way or another? Even if one doesn't support Sanders or Warren, their runs will help to drag the narrative leftwards. The Republicans do that for the other direction, why should their opposing party do any different?

"let the dirtbags lead us" is not necessarily a tactic I feel the Dems ought to steal from the GOP.

anyway I'm pretty unmoved by rhetoric that draws on "the narrative" or "the Overton window" etc by now. As I said upthread, we have soured on punditry for very good reasons, and yet we still love to use their dated vocabulary to make our arguments.

That's also why I don't get why people were upset for Sanders not conceding in 2016 until he did. Didn't he help to pull Clinton's campaign to be more progressive? Should everyone just nominated her early and accepted her platform as-is?

the thing is, she lost, so even if we accept the argument that the influence of the elderly white man was necessary to make the woman candidate's platform tolerable, it didn't do us a damn lick of good.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:23 PM on February 19 [10 favorites]


who is actually calling for socialism without social justice

Tucker Carlson, to an extent.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:24 PM on February 19 [8 favorites]


That's also why I don't get why people were upset for Sanders not conceding in 2016 until he did.

I can see your point, but I can also see how Sanders refusing to concede while Clinton is attempting unify the party can be seen as writ large the woman needing to be the one once again to reach out and appease the stubborn man's demands.

And yes, he did pull the party towards better policy, but there are still frictions from those moments in 2016 that are still being felt and experienced now. I can see some as saying that it's totally worth it, while others shaking their heads and hoping it had gone better.
posted by FJT at 2:25 PM on February 19 [5 favorites]


"let the dirtbags lead us" is not necessarily a tactic I feel the Dems ought to steal from the GOP.

Can you help me understand why you would equate holding positions at the ideological extreme with being a dirtbag? That seems like a bit of a jump.
posted by contraption at 2:27 PM on February 19 [4 favorites]


just ctrl+F for "dirtbag" in this very thread
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:28 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


I can see your point, but I can also see how Sanders refusing to concede while Clinton is attempting unify the party can be seen as writ large the woman needing to be the one once again to reach out and appease the stubborn man's demands.

Could we please have some perspective and stop reducing every single ideological conflict to simplistic takes based only on the positionality of the political actors involved? Positionality is obviously important, but yeesh! It's not the only thing.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 2:28 PM on February 19 [7 favorites]


I know about the self-identified "dirtbag left," I just don't see why their existence means you'd consider it reasonable to call Sanders and Warren dirtbags.
posted by contraption at 2:30 PM on February 19 [6 favorites]


even if we accept the argument that the influence of the elderly white man was necessary to make the woman candidate's platform tolerable

It seems you left off the 'elderly white' descriptor for Clinton.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:31 PM on February 19 [18 favorites]





I'm not sure I can ever accept that it's wrong to fight for systemic economic change right alongside social justice. It's not an option at this point.


This is total inversion of reality, omg.

Nobody, but nobody, on this thread has objected to overhauling capitalism. But SANDERS (and his supporters) do explicitly object to working on social justice at the same time as overhauling capitalism (see: Sanders's comments about identity politics and distractions to the class struggle).

Frankly even in the very sentence before this one, capitalism (and capitalism alone) was described as THE Bad Place and the argument was made that we should not "sit around waiting for equality in every other way" in our fight to end it. It's so weird how two opposite things are being said consecutively!
posted by MiraK at 2:32 PM on February 19 [11 favorites]


dreamlanding I'm not sure I can ever accept that it's wrong to fight for systemic economic change right alongside social justice. It's not an option at this point.

Yeah, but is systemic economic change **WITHOUT** social justice a good idea either? Sanders and his supporters often seem cruelly dismissive of social justice as something worth spending any time on at all, and often tell people that addressing social justice issues is totally unnecessary because come the socialist utopia social justice will just sort of happen without anything messy and inconvenient to them like actually needing to work for it.

I'm sure that neither Sanders nor his supporters are opposed to social justice. They just don't really care about it and often see calls for social justice as a distraction from the really important stuff.

It's about priorities.
posted by sotonohito at 2:33 PM on February 19 [18 favorites]


I know this was 400 comments ago but cumtown is definitely not socialist lol.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:34 PM on February 19 [5 favorites]


And actually, this dovetails with the other thread within a thread, about complexity -- capitalism, as a global system, and America's place in it, is necessarily something that's going to have to be unwound piece by piece. An overnight socialist revolution in America (we are not like any other economy in the world, don't even) would, right now, probably mean totally unpredictable cascading economic effects. That usually translates into suffering and often into extremist political movements. That scares me.

There is absolutely no Rube Goldberg complexity argument as to why we can't have social justice right fucking now. There is no reason to slow that down.

So when given a choice between a candidate who wants to dismantle capitalism but is shitty on social justice and a candidate who wants to move towards some sort of Nordic type democratic socialism deal and is SOLID on social justice issues, it's an obvious call for me.

We can't give up the pressure on either front. But one isn't going to happen overnight no matter what. We benefit just as much from having Sanders agitating from the left in the Senate.

"socialism without social justice" at all really (pro tip, that's not actually a thing)

uh. oh boy. it...it absolutely is a thing.

Are you seriously linking Sanders to Nazis?

Sigh. I don't think that's a particularly good faith reading. I said Sanders furthers the schism between socialism and social justice bc he's so bad on social justice in practice, and that there are people we would call nazis who are, right now, advocating socialist positions from the right. I do not want, even on an incremental basis, socialism that allows for supremacy, even (especially) by omission, because it leaves an opening for the truly terrifying.

If you think that's not coming, by the way, you're really not paying attention to what's been bubbling up on the right. Which: I can't blame you, honestly, it's like trying to drink from a firehose of acid.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:34 PM on February 19 [18 favorites]


I'm not, contraption. I'm calling the tea party dirtbags.

It seems you left off the 'elderly white' descriptor for Clinton.


I sure did! "Elderly" generally isn't counted towards a woman's perceived gravitas and importance the way it is for men.

"White" was just there for cadence.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:35 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


what scales me far more than that formulation is the far more plausible potential for the Democratic Party to go all-in on "social justice without socialism". If the Democrats become the party of "woke capitalism" and they leave room only for the far right to criticize capital on the national stage, that's when the nazis come out to play.

It's already happened! Trump's bungling around about jobs going to China and manufacturing and sad coal miners could be, if he weren't a fascist twat, a coherent critique of how capitalism disposes of workers the minute they can turn a profit elsewhere. Of course, he places the blame for obvious failings of capitalism (and its handmaiden, the neoliberal state) on various Others (immigrants, women, liberals), and since no one else is offering a coherent explanation for why everything sucks so bad right now, people believe it! Meanwhile, his policies are designed to give capital more power and control over our lives.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 2:35 PM on February 19 [18 favorites]


But SANDERS (and his supporters) do explicitly object to working on social justice at the same time as overhauling capitalism

No he hasnt and they havent. Ever.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:36 PM on February 19 [22 favorites]


Sanders and his supporters often seem cruelly dismissive of social justice as something worth spending any time on at all, and often tell people that addressing social justice issues is totally unnecessary because come the socialist utopia social justice will just sort of happen without anything messy and inconvenient to them like actually needing to work for it.

I haven't read the platform yet, which plank does he say this?
posted by Apocryphon at 2:37 PM on February 19 [6 favorites]


Mods: open the /img tag for this thread you cowards. Let it all be done.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:38 PM on February 19 [21 favorites]


I've probably de-railed enough, but we just fundamentally disagree that most Sanders supporters (and Sanders himself) 'explicitly object to working on social justice' at the same time as economic reform. It's not what I've said and it's not what anyone else here has said from what I can see. It's not an attitude I've seen widespread among Sanders supporters. There are outliers and there are unsavory people among his supporters, but it is far from the norm.

We can and should address both concurrently. It seems that we're all on the same page about that, but differing in our perceptions about the reality of what Bernie and most of his supporters believe and espouse. Probably nowhere to move forward from there in this thread. May god help us all!
posted by dreamlanding at 2:38 PM on February 19 [15 favorites]


"socialism without social justice" at all really (pro tip, that's not actually a thing)

uh. oh boy. it...it absolutely is a thing.


I know you're talking about Nazis. But listen: When you take the social justice out of socialism, it's not socialism any more. There are a hundred kinds of socialism, but the central guiding ethos of all of them, of the socialist philosophy and of the left in general, is freeing humanity from dominance hierarchies. If you take this ethos seriously, then you have to be opposed not just to capitalism, but to racism, sexism, and all other forms of hierarchical domination and bigotry.

Nazis said they were "national socialists" but really, you should know better than to take Nazis at their word when they self-aggrandize. They used the word "socialism" because at the time it was an extremely popular and well known liberatory vision for a better future, one that they pretended toward and perverted for their own ends. They criticized capitalism for a hot second before they dramatically increased the amount of hierarchical domination in their society and then gave away everything to the very capitalists they'd pretended to oppose.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 2:40 PM on February 19 [17 favorites]


Tucker Carlson, to an extent.

Then it sure is great that this thread is about someone far to the left of him!

I've said it before and I've said it again- so many "common sense" policies, whether it be progressive economic policies, to disengagement from foreign wars, to a scaling back of the surveillance state, has become totally verboten to this country's political class. And when that happens, populists on both the left and right, third parties, and fringe figures are the only ones who voice these opinions, because they are already marginalized and hence have nothing to lose. (That's also how you get both Greens, paleocons, and Libertarians all agreeing on certain topics where Democrats and Republicans fear to tread- it's not always about shadowy foreign espionage.) Woe to those in the mainstream who fail to grasp this.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:40 PM on February 19 [7 favorites]


Sigh. I don't think that's a particularly good faith reading.

It's more an incredulous one. It still sounds like your position is that he's empowering cryptonazis.
posted by This time is different. at 2:41 PM on February 19


Apocryphon: Even if one doesn't support Sanders or Warren, their runs will help to drag the narrative leftwards. The Republicans do that for the other direction, why should their opposing party do any different?

prize bull octorok: "let the dirtbags lead us" is not necessarily a tactic I feel the Dems ought to steal from the GOP.

Who are the "dirtbags" on the Dem side that you're referring to when you consider the advisability of this tactic? The Chapo guys? I don't think any of them have announced.
posted by contraption at 2:42 PM on February 19 [2 favorites]


Tucker Carlson being pro-nationalization doesnt make him at all like a socialist yo.


Do we really have to explain the difference between the people owning things and a dictatorship? In 2019?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:42 PM on February 19 [5 favorites]


Who are the "dirtbags" on the Dem side that you're referring to when you consider the advisability of this tactic? The Chapo guys? I don't think any of them have announced.

if we're gonna be back-and-forthing on this, slow down and try to read what I'm writing as if you actually give a shit what I'm trying to communicate. The rapid-response realtime fisking stuff is neither persuasive nor particularly informative.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:45 PM on February 19 [5 favorites]


Christ, this conversation is like a bunch of people just got introduced to Leftbook yesterday.

Look, a lot of the people here saying “yes this is a real thing, yes I have seen it” are people who are talking from their experience in actual organizations, and when you are talking over them and internet-shouting at them, you reinforce in their head that they would rather eat glass than vote for Bernie, because a vote for Bernie means more months of dudes talking like this to them and being generally intolerable.

If you want to convince people that Bernie supporters are awesome and anti sexist and anti racist, then if you’re a white dude in this conversation, maybe try the internet equivalent of a progressive stack and consider not talking until the women and POC in the room have been able to start the discussion without you.
posted by corb at 2:48 PM on February 19 [37 favorites]


Bernie has consistently polled as the most popular politician in America since 2016.

Just a note for the sake of accuracy: Sanders doesn't poll as the most popular politician in America (that's generally Obama), he polls as the Senator with the highest approval among his own constituents. That being the voters of Vermont. So Sanders is more popular in Vermont than other Senators are in their home states.

That's an important distinction since it is affected by a lot of factors like, for instance, the homogeneity of the electorate.
posted by Justinian at 2:48 PM on February 19 [46 favorites]


The Chapo guys? I don't think any of them have announced

Virgil's got you covered, fam.
This is an incredibly low bar for entry to a Presidential debate. Based on the second qualification we could easily get @cushbomb
on that stage.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:49 PM on February 19 [6 favorites]


Those who are ideologically strident and shift the Overton window in presidential elections in the manner that I am describing can be dirtbags (Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul), but they can also not be (Dennis Kucinich, Robert La Follette). The point is that it's good to have some range of political diversity now and then, especially when the same-old same-old clustering around a perceived safe center is not working out.

And once again, while Sanders is a clearer example of such an ideological polarizer than Warren (because he is clearly more extreme), Warren is also a fine example and I am glad that she is in the race to give the other candidates some pause. Everything I am talking about can also be applied to Warren, except the bit about the 2016 primaries.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:51 PM on February 19 [4 favorites]


"socialism without social justice" at all really (pro tip, that's not actually a thing)

uh. oh boy. it...it absolutely is a thing.

I know you're talking about Nazis.


Holy wow, no. I don't think anyone is talking about Nazis here; what we are speaking of is brocialism. Exhibit A of Brocislism, btw, is Bernie "Planned Parenthood is the Establishment" "Identity Politics is a Distraction" "Racism is Actually Classism" "Too Busy Campaigning to Bother With Women's Safety Within His Campaign" Sanders.

This is the reality the pro- and anti- Sanders camp disagree about. His supporters focus on how Sanders sometimes makes the right mouth noises about social justice; and his detractors focus on his revealing misspeaks, his thundering lack of any substantive action or activism towards any social justice issues over a very long and very lazy career, and his active disdain towards women and people of color during the 2016 campaign.
posted by MiraK at 2:51 PM on February 19 [36 favorites]


If you want to convince people that Bernie supporters are awesome and anti sexist and anti racist, then if you’re a white dude in this conversation, maybe try the internet equivalent of a progressive stack and consider not talking until the women and POC in the room have been able to start the discussion without you.

I find this kind of thing incredibly annoying in an anonymous text-based medium. What, you want everyone to say their positionality up front and only the most marginalized people get to have an opinion? How about we just judge peoples' ideas on their merit.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 2:52 PM on February 19 [20 favorites]


And maybe let's refrain from assuming others' positionality, while we're at it, given how there've been multiple pro-Sanders POC already present in this discussion.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:53 PM on February 19 [20 favorites]


then if you’re a white dude in this conversation

then, if. it's conditional. nothing is being assumed.

please make an effort to read people in good faith.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:55 PM on February 19 [5 favorites]


Those who are ideologically strident and shift the Overton window in presidential elections in the manner that I am describing can be dirtbags (Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul), but they can also not be (Dennis Kucinich, Robert La Follette).

Do you not know about Kucinich's history of race baiting? I'd definitely put him on the dirtbag side of the ledger, which highlights the point.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:59 PM on February 19 [4 favorites]


Behind #BernieMadeMeWhite by Leslie Lee III in Jacobin:
Within a few hours, the hashtag was the number one trending topic, beating out even #TheWalkingDead. I wasn’t surprised at its resonance. The media, armed with a facile meme and selective readings of exit polls, has relentlessly painted a picture that doesn’t do justice to the diversity of the Sanders coalition. Anointing Clinton the champion of people of color has silenced our issues and concerns.

Over the weekend, countless people from all backgrounds and ethnicities used the hashtag to call out the mainstream media. Additional permutations were launched: #BernieMadeMeMale by women tired of being pigeonholed as sexist dudebros, #BernieMadeMeYoung by older voters weary of being ignored. Hispanic voters, Asian voters, Arab voters, First peoples, and others also chimed in, expressing their frustration with a media that sees them all as Clinton fans.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:59 PM on February 19 [22 favorites]


Do you not know about Kucinich's history of race baiting? I'd definitely put him on the dirtbag side of the ledger, which highlights the point.

I actually don't. He seemed like a mostly whimsical and quixotic candidate with impossible dreams. Swap him for Henry Wallace or Eugene V. Debs any other contender too leftist for America, then. There are tons.

I'm calling the tea party dirtbags.

But the Tea Party needn't be the only example of a movement that pulls a party to a direction, ostensibly one aligned with what a dissatisfied electorate wants. (Never mind that the TP had a lot of astroturfing going on). Occupy Wall Streets, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, the Democratic Socialists are also examples of political groups or movements or even concepts that have forced a party establishment to recalibrate. Certainly you wouldn't call them dirtbag. Once again the point is that having anti-establishment figures in a race can be healthy and good.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:04 PM on February 19 [4 favorites]


Do you not know about Kucinich's history of race baiting?

I actually don't.


'The King of Spin,' from the venerable alt-weekly Cleveland Scene, is a good place to start.
posted by box at 3:10 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


Kucinich was great in the Bush era but these days he goes on RT to talk about deep state plots and draining the swamp. Probably best to leave him out of the discussion.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:11 PM on February 19 [9 favorites]


How about Howard Dean then? He wasn't nearly as fringe as Kucinich was in 2004, but also served to drag the primary race slightly to the left. He made populist appeals and caused a lot of commotion.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:12 PM on February 19


I find this kind of thing incredibly annoying in an anonymous text-based medium. What, you want everyone to say their positionality up front and only the most marginalized people get to have an opinion? How about we just judge peoples' ideas on their merit.


The funniest thing is that even if you did take a step back and then a person of color like myself took a step forward, nothing would change. Liberals, both white and PoC, ignore people of color to the left of them (or call them white or Russian bots).

A platform that bears more similarity to the platform for the Movement for Black Lives than anything else suddenly becomes the platform for underemployed white guys. A white guy called me a racial slur to my face tonight and honestly, reading some of these posts has fucked me up way worse than yet another incident of racist bullshit.

I became a leftist because I am a person of color who grew up poor in this shithole of a country. I trace my leftist politics back to the Black Panthers, to my grandparents and all the anti-colonial revolutionaries all around the world, and to all of us still fighting in America and abroad today. I see economic justice and social justice as inexorably bound together; wokeness alone won't feed you or give you shelter.

And as Leslie Lee's article (and the #BernieMadeMeWhite hashtag) so rightfully points out: I am not alone and I am so sick of this.

The saddest thing about this is if you associate leftist politics with white people, it's because America has done a stunning job killing and imprisoning leftist people of color in America and abroad.

We have always been here.
posted by Ouverture at 3:25 PM on February 19 [50 favorites]


Democrats have spent the last 50 years getting ratcheted to the right exactly because we blow off the most ideologically committed members of our own caucus as hopeless dreamers or dangerous radicals. There are plenty of critiques to be made of Sanders on other points, but dismissing the left flank of the party in general as dirtbags analogous to the Tea Party is exactly the kind of thinking that has caused Democrats to perpetually cede ground on policy even when one of our timid, apologetic campaigns manages to win an election. (I'd say Obama was an exception to this on the campaigning front, less so on the policy front.)
posted by contraption at 3:26 PM on February 19 [10 favorites]


Could we please have some perspective and stop reducing every single ideological conflict to simplistic takes based only on the positionality of the political actors involved?

Can we please have some perspective and stop condescending to people who think the gender dynamics at play in 2016 were an essential part of the race? Can we please have some perspective and stop dismissing people who want to talk about gender and sexism and racism? Can we please have some perspective about how alienating it is to have something central to one's life derided as simplistic and lacking perspective? This is exactly the sort of thing my friends and I mean when we talk about Bernie bros. It's not all brigading and harassing. It's also the condescension, the belittling, the explaining how we're wrong about things we can see with our own eyes. I love AOC and I love socialism, and I would eat ground glass before I would vote for Bernie in a primary. I love socialism enough that I could be convinced, but keep explaining things to me like I'm too dumb or silly to see the Truth of Bernie and you'll never get there.
posted by Mavri at 3:31 PM on February 19 [39 favorites]


How about Ralph Nader?

A third party candidate with no chance of winning at all who disaffected independent voters and then refused to bow out of the race, knocking out a candidate who probably would have addressed global warming as the existential threat it is, a candidate who probably would not have gone to war in Iraq, a candidate who may have prevented the housing crisis, a candidate who would not have given away our national surplus to billionaires.

I really want a viable socialist candidate someday as well, but even if Bernie was that candidate I would probably want him to bow out of this race. Trump is an existential threat. Global warming is an existential threat. Bernie's candidacy can only hurt Democrat chances at re-election, and there's simply too much at stake.
posted by xammerboy at 3:34 PM on February 19 [9 favorites]


The Nader comparison would be more aptly applied to Schultz than to a candidate with demonstrated broad appeal running in the Democratic primary, no?
posted by contraption at 3:36 PM on February 19 [10 favorites]


Not all ideologue runs cause spoilers, and no one is calling for Sanders or Warren to challenge whatever centrist ends up being the Dem nom.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:37 PM on February 19 [5 favorites]


FWIW I agree with those objecting to how poc and/or women supporters of Sanders are routinely invisibled by his opponents.

But also I object to women and/or poc who support Sanders painting a false picture of the diversity of his coalition (the vote record speaks for itself), and seriously side-eye the way Sanders's record of (no) work is touted as "progressive" by (all) his supporters solely on the basis of "he marched with MLK that one time 50 years ago."

It's one of the most frustrating things about this man as a political phenomenon. No other man apart from Trump has ever gotten such accolades for doing so little while talking a big game.
posted by MiraK at 3:41 PM on February 19 [25 favorites]


Trump is an existential threat. Global warming is an existential threat.

This is exactly why we need something bolder than a Biden or Klobuchar in the election. Sure, we can't tackle global warming without getting Trump out of the way first, but if we replace him we need to do more than install someone who will make a half-hearted stab at cap and trade and claim victory. Beating Trump is necessary, yes, but it is not sufficient. We have 12 years.
posted by contraption at 3:44 PM on February 19 [12 favorites]


No other man apart from Trump has ever gotten such accolades for doing so little while talking a big game.

I'm reading that Kucinich piece and dang, he's sure giving them both a run for the money!
posted by Apocryphon at 3:44 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


I really love the argument that a spirited primary run by an actual leftist threatens the glorious centrist democratic candidate who will eventually challenge trump somehow probably by presenting actual policies that will help people instead of political advisor nonsense words.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:44 PM on February 19 [22 favorites]


FWIW I agree with those objecting to how poc and/or women supporters of Sanders are routinely invisibled by his opponents.

But also I object to women and/or poc who support Sanders painting a false picture of the diversity of his coalition (the vote record speaks for itself)
"Now, I'm not trying to erase all of you but..."

Leftists haven't accomplished much in this country because this country has kept us at the margins (if we're lucky). "Productivity" means far less to me than "holy shit, this old white guy is calling out Henry Kissinger on national television instead of smiling with him in photo ops" and normalizing previously impossible ideas like universal healthcare and soaking the rich.

Relatedly, productivity is usually a better measure for bipartisan issues like mass incarceration or doing war crimes.
posted by Ouverture at 3:53 PM on February 19 [18 favorites]


> Global warming is an existential threat. Bernie's candidacy can only hurt Democrat chances at re-election, and there's simply too much at stake.
Capitalism designs systems that create constant growth. Managing climate change requires designing systems that are at quasi-equilibrium or steady state with respect to the environment. There is no fighting climate change under capitalism.
posted by ReadEvalPost at 4:03 PM on February 19 [19 favorites]


At some point in the last few months it occurred to me that what I'm personally looking for in 2020 is two of the three: young, female, POC. Representation matters and we've seen over and over that young/female/POC voters carry the Democratic party. I'll still vote for Bernie or Warren if they get the nom, but I think it's out of touch with where the party should be looking. This is, obviously, IMO.
posted by nakedmolerats at 4:03 PM on February 19 [13 favorites]


I'm going to regret asking this, but...

Given the acrimony that has resulted from 2016 -- which, no matter who you blame for it, I think we can all agree it exists? -- what is the argument that Sanders isn't fatally hobbled out of the gate, just as Clinton would be?

Like, you want to talk about an enthusiasm gap? Part of what is so crazy making is the very idea that Sanders himself doesn't understand or doesn't care how reviled and distrusted he is by a large proportion of the people he would be depending on in the general election. Like to the extent that he hasn't done a damn thing to try to mend those wounds; he's actually exacerbated them with his public comments and actions since 2016. He very clearly does not think we matter. And at this point there is literally nothing he can do to convince me that he's not an incompetent misogynist who thinks very highly of himself, and only himself, but it kind of doesn't matter, because he also hasn't tried.

Why doesn't this matter to people?

It's utterly, bafflingly, deludedly confident in a way that we usually, snarkily attribute to straight white men. Only with the highest stakes imaginable.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:05 PM on February 19 [45 favorites]


It’s very common for the nominee to be someone on their second try, though it’s more common on the GOP side.

Oh, indeed. Somewhere online -- maybe even on the blue -- I read years ago the the GOP is mad for second-place finishers picking up the baton at the next opportunity. To wit:

In 1976, Ronald Reagan tried to primary Ford. He was unsuccessful, but by a disconcertingly narrow margin.

in 1980 Reagan won the nomination; #2 was GHW Bush.

In 1984 Reagan ran for re-election unopposed by anyone else within the party.

In 1988, former #2 GHWB won the nomination; Bob Dole came in second.

In 1992, GWHB ran for re-election, flimsily opposed in an attempted primary deposal by Pat Buchanan.

In 1996, former #2 Bob Dole won the nomination; Pat Buchanan came in second.

In 2000, Pat Buchanan withdrew from the party and ran as the Reform Party candidate. Clutching at straws and working off muscle memory and/or sheer habit, the GOP found another guy named George Bush to be the nominee. John McCain came in second.

In 2004, GWB was not opposed from within the party.

In 2008, former #2 John McCain was the nominee; Mitt Romney came in second.

In 2012, Former #2 Mitt Romney was the nominee.

That is essentially ten elections with the same dynamics each time for picking the top of the ticket. Note that the arrival of a short-fingered vulgarian shook things up quite a bit -- in a slightly different world where the #2 finisher the last time around was the nominee this time around (SOP for the GOP for a generation) -- then Hillary would have faced Rick Santorum in 2016. It is to laugh.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:09 PM on February 19 [5 favorites]


I must have missed it in the video, but he's officially joining the Democratic Party or?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 4:09 PM on February 19 [2 favorites]


Sanders himself doesn't understand or doesn't care how reviled and distrusted he is by a large proportion of the people he would be depending on in the general election

Good news then that it's ia small proportion.
Ariel Edwards-Levy @aedwardslevy:
To pick two candidates more or less at random: only 18% of Dems who like Kamala Harris have an unfavorable view of Bernie Sanders. Only 12% of Dems who like Sanders have an unfavorable view of Harris.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:10 PM on February 19 [11 favorites]


Given the acrimony that has resulted from 2016 -- which, no matter who you blame for it, I think we can all agree it exists? -- what is the argument that Sanders isn't fatally hobbled out of the gate, just as Clinton would be?

Well, he did raise a million dollars in donations in just four hours.

Of course, we will have a better idea of just how the landscape will look as polling comes out in the next few days.

It's utterly, bafflingly, deludedly confident in a way that we usually, snarkily attribute to straight white men. Only with the highest stakes imaginable.


I don't think Sanders is deludedly confident when the entire field of candidates is shifting left because because of his 2016 run and agitation since then.
posted by Ouverture at 4:12 PM on February 19 [14 favorites]


Right, it's not that Sanders supporters aren't enthusiastic. It's that because of 2016 there's a larger proportion of people who actively dislike him.

Like the same people who made the argument that too many people couldn't get excited about Hillary Clinton (or actively hated her) and that's why she lost are now trying to pretend the same argument doesn't apply to Sanders, and that...makes no sense. In other threads we have people who are apoplectic about that Starbucks douchebag tanking the election for Trump with just 1% of the vote.

If you don't think Sanders' 2016+ baggage isn't going to cost him at least 1%, I think you're nuts.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:22 PM on February 19 [21 favorites]


"Productivity" means far less to me than "holy shit, this old white guy is calling out Henry Kissinger on national television instead of smiling with him in photo ops"

Yeah, this is what I find baffling! How can it NOT matter to people that a man running for freaking President has done nothing throughout his career?

Even his own pet issues, he has completely neglected. A competent and passionate class-issues-only socialist would have been elbow-deep in activism for labor rights, lending his efforts to the cause of unions across the nation over the decades. "Praxis" is a socialist value too, isn't it, not just Marxist? As a person in a prominent political office he could have done so much to fund or otherwise enable work of other grassroots movements.

Heck, even if he couldn't be arsed to do the work himself, he could have put together coalitions of ass-kicking socialists and had them spearhead their passion projects under his own brand... or at bare minimum, he could have lent his firebrand charm to their causes and lifted their work up in a celebrity role. But no, he doesn't play well with others and he doesn't share the limelight.

Every other politician of substance has a life's body of work that shows, in actual action, their commitment to the causes which they say they believe in. Sanders though... nothing! He barely did his day job and then just went home.

How is that enough for anyone to turn him into a deity for the progressive cause?! I can't understand it.
posted by MiraK at 4:36 PM on February 19 [18 favorites]


I'm also confused because I see a number of posters saying he'll be good for the national debate by moving Democrat candidates leftward and keeping issues like universal healthcare a part of the conversation. I don't see him as being any more left than the other candidates. All the policies he's putting forward are the same ones as the other candidates. What is this guy really bringing to the table for voters in 2020?

I'm really failing to see how his candidacy is aimed at anything other than maybe making the word "socialism" more popularly accepted and feeding his own ego.
posted by xammerboy at 4:39 PM on February 19 [14 favorites]


If you don't think Sanders' 2016+ baggage isn't going to cost him at least 1%, I think you're nuts.

Just going by their mentions in this thread, every other Democratic candidate presently running has their own baggage. None of these are perfect people, and whoever you or I decide to support, someone's going to storm up to us and declare that our supporting them means we just don't care about X victims of policies that they support now or have supported in the past.
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:42 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


Never forget
posted by edeezy at 4:42 PM on February 19 [6 favorites]


don't see him as being any more left than the other candidates

But he. Literally the only reason. They are espousing. The. You know what? I’m not. We
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:43 PM on February 19 [17 favorites]


It looks obvious to me that there are going to be 3 buckets of candidates in the primary. The moderates, led by Biden if he runs and (probably) Klobuchar if he doesn't. The leftists led by Sanders with a supporting role by Warren (who would obviously have led if Sanders didn't run). And the hybrid candidates that pull from both buckets like Harris. This third bucket may be the largest but it also contains the highest proportion of also-rans.

The question to me is, given the strongly proportional nature of delegate allocation in the Democratic primary, can the field actually be winnowed down enough to prevent a convention delegate fight? Because while superdelegates don't vote in the first round of picking the nominee they still exist and get to cast votes if there isn't a majority candidate.

That could be a problem if Sanders (or any other candidate) gets a plurality but not a majority and doesn't end up the nominee. I only mention Sanders specifically because I think most candidates who received a plurality would end up the nominee but I'm not sure that holds for Sanders. Like... if Kamala Harris got 39% of the delegates and the next highest was Sanders with 29% I think Harris easily becomes the candidate, but if Sanders ends up with 36% of the delegates and Klobuchar gets 31%... I don't know that Sanders wins at the convention.

People running for President generally have relatively large egos, almost tautologically. It will be very difficult for a candidate pulling in 18% of the delegates to drop out during the nominating process even though they aren't going to win even if it's the difference between a convention fight and someone winning an outright majority.
posted by Justinian at 4:44 PM on February 19 [12 favorites]


Also maybe this makes me weird but I'll be at least okay with voting for pretty much any of the declared or even rumored candidates in the general. With one exception who shall remain nameless but luckily has zero chance of winning anything. I'm more enthusiastic about a couple of the candidates but, whatever, I will smash that voting button so hard whether or not the candidate is Sanders or Harris or Klobuchar or Warren or Biden or whoever. You won't be able to stop me from getting in there and voting against Trump. I will crawl over broken glass to vote for any of them.

Please do the same.
posted by Justinian at 4:48 PM on February 19 [44 favorites]


We'll see how this plays out in the primaries. Until then: Beyonce/Bowl of Glitter 2020
posted by thivaia at 4:48 PM on February 19 [4 favorites]


A competent and passionate class-issues-only socialist would have been elbow-deep in activism for labor rights, lending his efforts to the cause of unions across the nation over the decades.

He...has been? There are countless articles showing him at union rallies and speaking in support of unions.

Heck, even if he couldn't be arsed to do the work himself, he could have put together coalitions of ass-kicking socialists and had them spearhead their passion projects under his own brand... or at bare minimum, he could have lent his firebrand charm to their causes and lifted their work up in a celebrity role. But no, he doesn't play well with others and he doesn't share the limelight.

He..has been? Or are all these people underemployed white men now?

Does "AOC" stand for "Alexander l'acrOsse Chadington"?

Every other politician of substance has a life's body of work that shows, in actual action, their commitment to the causes which they say they believe in. Sanders though... nothing! He barely did his day job and then just went home.

Even if we assume he has never done anything else in his life, moving the Overton window to the left so far that Democratic primary candidates are competing on universal healthcare and wealth taxes is an incredible achievement. His inspiration of millions of people to recognize the power of solidarity and civic engagement is also an amazing achievement.
posted by Ouverture at 4:54 PM on February 19 [25 favorites]


No one in this thread has said they won't vote for the Sanders in the general, so please don't invent straw men. I've said I won't work for / volunteer for Sanders, because I literally fucking can't. Maybe/hopefully that will change, and the only way to test it will be to try, which I'll do if I have to. But that difference is real. And it's dumb to pretend that there won't be people who won't vote for a candidate that they dislike, if that's your prevailing theory of what happened in 2016.

I spent election day 2016 calling voters in PA, btw. For whatever reason I got a youth-dominated call list. The number of people who said, with real disdain, that they would not be going to the polls to vote for Clinton was seriously chilling, and in retrospect was like the first scene gone wrong in a horror movie.

I still think about them.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:56 PM on February 19 [39 favorites]


entire field of candidates is shifting left because because of his 2016 run and agitation since then.

Right, but there's also like the Women's March?
posted by FJT at 5:01 PM on February 19 [14 favorites]


"Productivity" means far less to me than "holy shit, this old white guy is calling out Henry Kissinger on national television instead of smiling with him in photo ops"

I'm never sure what this means. He has not passed a lot of bills that he authored, but that's not a huge surprise given how far he diverged ideologically from the rest of the party until he began to pull them his direction in 2016. But, Sanders passed more roll call amendments than any other legislator. That's not nothing. He has a demonstrated history of the kind of political savvy needed to wheel and deal his way to getting things done through compromise.
posted by dis_integration at 5:01 PM on February 19 [5 favorites]


For the most part I hope that, one day, they get exactly what they deserve.

But I also acknowledge that they exist, which -- stay with me here -- indicates that this may be a problem for any candidate that inspires so much acrimony.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:02 PM on February 19


Even if we assume he has never done anything else in his life, moving the Overton window to the left so far that Democratic primary candidates are competing on universal healthcare and wealth taxes is an incredible achievement.

I totally get this, but to my mind this is mission accomplished. Why is he running in 2020?
posted by xammerboy at 5:05 PM on February 19 [5 favorites]


His inspiration of millions of people to recognize the power of solidarity and civic engagement is also an amazing achievement.

if the only damn person they'll vote for is The Great Man Himself, so what?
posted by prize bull octorok at 5:06 PM on February 19 [16 favorites]


Just going by their mentions in this thread, every other Democratic candidate presently running has their own baggage.

Yeah, but there's a sense that Sanders gets graded on his on a drastically different curve than the rest of the field (especially the women) do. Again, he responded to a question in a televised interview about the issues with sexual harassment and assault in his campaign with a response that he was "too busy" with his campaign to take notice. And that was called "a bad look". I remember having someone lecture me how his attack on Planned Parenthood because they endorsed his opponent was right and just.
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:10 PM on February 19 [18 favorites]


But, Sanders passed more roll call amendments than any other legislator. That's not nothing.

How many of those amendments made it into actual law? Because as I recall, that number was very low - and if you don't get the amendments into law, then that is, in fact, nothing.
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:12 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


given that some democratic candidates are already pulling right, i'm glad sanders is there to keep the overton window veering left.
posted by entropicamericana at 5:15 PM on February 19 [7 favorites]


And the hybrid candidates that pull from both buckets like Harris

I have serious reservations about Harris, myself, but I wonder if she isn’t the most formidable candidate out there right now. She seems to combine really astute political instincts with an ability to feint left and run to the center. And I mean I probably wouldn’t vote for her in a primary, but she’d certainly be better than the alternative in a general.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:17 PM on February 19 [6 favorites]


you all understand that "Sanders keeps them pulling left" is a formulation that allows for no other candidate to get full credit for their own beliefs, policies, and evolving views, right?

which seems like a real, uh, problematic thing to do in an election cycle that has a historically high number of female candidates
posted by prize bull octorok at 5:18 PM on February 19 [56 favorites]


its not my fault if you choose the least charitable possible interpretation
posted by entropicamericana at 5:21 PM on February 19 [23 favorites]


I have serious reservations about Harris, myself, but I wonder if she isn’t the most formidable candidate out there right now.

California moving its primary up to Super Tuesday looms large given Harris' candidacy. She has the opportunity to pull in a truly massive number of delegates very early in the process. The rules for delegates are absurdly long (really) and I don't understand them but suffice it to say that California will probably have in the neighborhood of 1 out of every 7 pledged delegate in the process, and Harris could grab an outright majority in the state. That's a lot of delegates.
posted by Justinian at 5:22 PM on February 19 [15 favorites]


The other thing to remember about the California primary is that California now requires candidates to release their tax returns for the past decade.
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:25 PM on February 19 [19 favorites]


its not my fault if you choose the least charitable possible interpretation

The next great Metafilter t-shirt slogan?
posted by AdamCSnider at 5:25 PM on February 19 [24 favorites]


How many of those amendments made it into actual law? Because as I recall, that number was very low - and if you don't get the amendments into law, then that is, in fact, nothing.

None of the breakdowns make this an obvious number to extract. But, even if the bills themselves end up failing, that doesn't make getting amendments to bills passed nothing. Legislators have to put their name on the record as supporting something when they have a roll call amendment, just like any other vote. To get that to happen you have to work them, make deals, give and take. That's what legislating is.

I do realize that there is literally nothing I could say that would make some of you change your mind here. I'm just pointing to a very concrete instance of "legislative work" getting done to counter the notion that he was a do-nothing legislator.

I'll be voting for whoever wins the nomination, but Sanders and Warren remain the only politicians since Paul Wellstone that give me hope and haven't crushed that hope before it could be realized.
posted by dis_integration at 5:27 PM on February 19 [12 favorites]


its not my fault if you choose the least charitable possible interpretation

I can move some stuff out of the "implicit sexism" column and put it in the "cult of personality" column but that doesn't make me feel any more sanguine about this candidacy. How would you suggest I interpret it?
posted by prize bull octorok at 5:31 PM on February 19 [7 favorites]


(I should correct that to be: politicians running for President. I stan for AOC, for example, and hope the world survives long enough for her to lead the party)
posted by dis_integration at 5:31 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]




since you asked, maybe try putting it in the "differing opinion" column?
posted by entropicamericana at 5:40 PM on February 19 [7 favorites]


Schadenfrau, I had a similar experience working on the 2016 general election campaign. I'm totally down with Bernie's positions, but it freaks me the hell out that so many folks were so into Bernie that they were willing to let Trump win. Now that doesn't exactly speak to Bernie himself, it speaks to his followers. But we need better followers in this day and age, and if he couldn't lead them into the fold in 2016, I don't know what he's going to do in 2020.

In hindsight, 2016 was about angry people wanting to elect an outsider. We should have nominated Bernie because he would have won. And I say that as an ardent Hillary supporter. But 2020 is going to have a different dynamic. Just because we should have done something last time doesn't mean we should do it this time. But are all those dudes I knocked on the door of, who voted Democrat but not for Hillary, are they going to hold us hostage again over Bernie? Or were they just buying the media's (and Russia's) line about Hillary? I would feel a lot less hostile about Bernie if he had thrown himself into defeating Trump, but he was pretty weaksauce about it, and I think that says all I need to know about his character.
posted by rikschell at 5:51 PM on February 19 [12 favorites]


But are all those dudes I knocked on the door of, who voted Democrat but not for Hillary

I think we will see in this primary that Sanders has a significant base of passionate support, but that the size of that base was made to appear bigger than it is because he was running against Clinton in 2016. Those Never-Hillary voters have a lot more options for their vote this time around. I don't know how big a bloc of his support those people comprised. It wasn't most. But I think it was probably a bigger chunk than his biggest boosters recognize, and that fact will show up by Super Tuesday.
posted by Justinian at 6:09 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


but it freaks me the hell out that so many folks were so into Bernie that they were willing to let Trump win

It's true that somewhere between 6 and 12% of people who voted for Bernie in the primary ended up voting for Trump in the general.

But it's not clear what could be done about those voters, who appear to have been primarily people with brain worms. If someone can vote for Bernie and then turn around and vote for Trump there is something fundamentally wrong with their internal mental coherence and it's not clear what anyone could have said to convince them to vote for the democrat in the general. (In one of the studies, only 20% of those voters had a favorable view of Obama. Those are crazy numbers. They're worse than the GOP in 2016!).

Blaming Sanders himself for this is strange to me, too. He endorsed Clinton and campaigned for her, and, in the end, somewhere between 90-94% of the people who voted for him went along.

Do we blame Obama for the voters who voted for him in 2012 and then Trump in 2016? These people have their own, usually stupid, reasons.
posted by dis_integration at 6:14 PM on February 19 [19 favorites]


I'm glad sanders is there to keep the overton window veering left.

Is this a good thing if it pulls Democratic candidates into rhetoric or positions that make them un-electable in the general election?

What would, over the long haul, pull the country leftward most effectively? Shifting the Overton window in the Democratic primary, or getting some Socialist policy in place so people can experience the benefits? Who or what did more to shift the Overton window, really? Bernie? Or people's experience with Obamacare?
posted by xammerboy at 6:18 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


We’re not talking about people who voted Sanders/Trump. We’re talking about people who, because of the intensely negative primary / how bitter they were about Sanders losing, didn’t vote in the general at all. The Never Hillary crowd.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:19 PM on February 19 [8 favorites]


I am so excited for all those supporters who said in 2016 that they were not at all sexist not even a little bit since they would totally vote for Elizabeth Warren over Bernie were she to run. Let's see what happens when it's old white dude vs everyone else!

Oh, those Bernie supporters who went from "I'd totally vote for a woman if, say, Elizabeth Warren was running" to two years and counting now of "Elizabeth Warren didn't endorse Bernie the second she had the opportunity so I'll never vote for her for anything unless she apologizes!" Funny how sometimes that bar keeps moving, huh?
posted by camyram at 6:20 PM on February 19 [24 favorites]


Metafilter: primarily people with brain worms
posted by Enemy of Joy at 6:20 PM on February 19 [10 favorites]


Catching up on this thread, I'm surprised at how much of the conversation has focused on litigating that tweeted list of policies as a representation of his platform, as if those are his highest (or only) priorities. Sanders' whole schtick is that he's the candidate calling for Big Bold Changes, and to me that list reads like "here are some of my Big Bold Changes that have been attacked as radically socialist -- look how popular they actually are!" Abortion (already legal, if under attack), criminal justice reform (a whole suite of reforms instead of one Big Bold Change), and free early childhood education (which has yet to be demonized as socialist AFAIK) don't fit that frame. Also, the list (surprisingly) omits striking down Citizens United and hiking taxes on the rich, both core Sanders priorities, so I don't think other absences are indicative of a lack of support. That said, the real blame lies on Sanders for not having an actual factual platform or policy page ready to go, leaving us to read tea tweet leaves.

(Full disclosure: I donated/voted for Sanders in the primary, donated/voted/volunteered for Clinton in the general, and am completely undecided atm and will probably remain so until the first debates at least.)
posted by Rhaomi at 6:25 PM on February 19 [7 favorites]


Unelectable? At this point, I'm not sure how radically left one could be, and be considered, "Unelectable". That ship has sailed I hope. That is what got us here.
posted by Windopaene at 6:26 PM on February 19 [7 favorites]


Is this a good thing if it pulls Democratic candidates into rhetoric or positions that make them un-electable in the general election?

many progressive policies are incredibly popular (turns. out.)
posted by entropicamericana at 6:27 PM on February 19 [5 favorites]


Sam Sanders was a reporter embedded with the Sanders campaign in 2016 and has thoughts. Too long to quote in full, and any particular pull-quote will make it seem more biased than it is.
posted by Jpfed at 6:29 PM on February 19 [6 favorites]


Republicans are slightly more negative about socialism than Democrats are positive about it. That said, the electoral penalty for more extreme ideology has declined in recent years.

Taken together, this seems to imply that the effect of a candidate self-describing as socialist on their electability will be... not much.
posted by Jpfed at 6:33 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


many progressive policies are incredibly popular (turns. out.)

Policy doesn't win election! Policy doesn't win elections.

I'm not saying policy positions are unimportant since you have to govern, but the policies a Democratic candidate supports have been more popular than the Republican platform for decades and we see how that has turned out. Because to a first approximation... policy doesn't win elections.
posted by Justinian at 6:36 PM on February 19 [9 favorites]


If someone can vote for Bernie and then turn around and vote for Trump there is something fundamentally wrong with their internal mental coherence

It’s because the political affiliation of a lot of Americans is simply “fuck the system” and they don’t really care by whom or how it’s fucked or what the consequences might be. They just want to break something.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:37 PM on February 19 [16 favorites]


"It’s because the political affiliation of a lot of Americans is simply “fuck the system” and they don’t really care by whom or how it’s fucked or what the consequences might be. They just want to break something."

That describes the Trump voters I've talked to. I sensed a deep sense of nihilism and desire to see chaos in general; I would assume Trump is giving them what they want and are happy with their decision.
posted by el io at 6:50 PM on February 19 [8 favorites]


Justinian Eyup. What wins elections is a combination of charisma, stage presence, bold posturing, and more sheer random chance than most people are comfortable admitting.

But eyup. No one ever got elected on policy. The policy obsession is why the Democrats keep nominating boring droners like Gore, Mondale, and Dukakis. They lost because they had no charisma at all and they were triangulators rather than bold strikers out in their own direction.
posted by sotonohito at 7:03 PM on February 19 [10 favorites]


They lost because they were shitty salesmen.

The Dems only have one stand out salesman, and he’s not Sanders.

*”salesman” is one of those things some people think is inherently pejorative. I am not one of those people.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:27 PM on February 19 [4 favorites]


The other thing to remember about the California primary is that California now requires candidates to release their tax returns for the past decade.

This alone almost makes him entering the race worth it.
posted by schroedinger at 7:55 PM on February 19 [9 favorites]


This thread is a bit of a mess, so perhaps just for my own reference when these topics recur in less heated circumstances, here is some potentially relevant data...

Regarding "universal" policies being pro-white-male (and I agree they implicitly often are, and that may have been the actual intent of Sanders for all I know):
• 72% want to expand Social Security
Almost three-fourths (72 percent) of African American beneficiaries rely on Social Security for at least half their income, compared to less than two-thirds (65 percent) of all beneficiaries
• 70% want Medicare for All.
People of color are at higher risk of being uninsured than non-Hispanic Whites
• 65% want a jobs guarantee.
the African-American unemployment rate was nearly double the national average at 6.6 percent
• 64% want to legalize marijuana.
Marijuana use is roughly equal among Blacks and whites, yet Blacks are 3.73 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession
• 60% want tuition-free public colleges.
Women now comprise 56 percent of students on campuses nationwide
• 58% want $15 min wage.
about 3 percent of women and about 2 percent of men had wages at or below the prevailing federal minimum...About 3 percent of African American or Black workers earned the federal minimum wage or less. Among White, Asian, and Hispanic workers, the percentage was about 2 percent.
• 57% want to break up big banks.
Among recent borrowers, we estimate that nearly 8% of both African Americans and Latinos have lost their homes to foreclosures, compared to 4.5% of whites.
Ie, it's really hard to have pro-poor policies that don't actually help non-whites and women more than white men, even if that was your intention (unless you engage in lots of 1930s-style, explicitly bigoted carveouts). This of course has no bearing on whether other issues should be emphasized more, and doesn't demonstrate Sanders wasn't nevertheless thinking mainly of white men.

Regarding Sanders voters as spoilers in the general:
More voters went from Hillary Clinton to John McCain in 2008 than went from Sanders to Trump in 2016
Which is not to say that 2008 Clinton primary voters were better or worse, just that high percentages of the supporters of the losing primary candidate often vote for the other party in the general.

In terms of approval by demographic (this is 2017, all voters, vs Clinton where Clinton doesn't matter except as a baseline to show that Sanders isn't purely the young-white-male candidate):
Women: S: 58, C: 46
Hispanic: S: 68, C: 43
Black/AA: S: 73, C: 78
Democrat: S: 80, C: 77
Liberal: S: 81, C: 73
Voted-for-Clinton: S: 82, C: 80
Some college or less: S: 55, C: 39
Urban: S: 68, C: 59
Income < $75K: S: 58, C: 43


And in terms of who is to the left of whom, there is no objective answer, since it just depends on how you weight the issues. Looking just at Senate behavior, by the vote record, Warren is to the left of Sanders; by bills sponsored (which also captures preferences for policies that never make it to a vote), Sanders is to the left of Warren. But there's no final answer, because it just depends on which issues you personally value most.

[And for what it's worth, I myself am left wing but not enthused about either Sanders or Warren for all the many reasons already enumerated here and elsewhere; but I'm also a grump and never enthused about any national candidate.]
posted by chortly at 7:57 PM on February 19 [29 favorites]


Can we please have some perspective and stop condescending to people who think the gender dynamics at play in 2016 were an essential part of the race? Can we please have some perspective and stop dismissing people who want to talk about gender and sexism and racism? Can we please have some perspective about how alienating it is to have something central to one's life derided as simplistic and lacking perspective? This is exactly the sort of thing my friends and I mean when we talk about Bernie bros. It's not all brigading and harassing. It's also the condescension, the belittling, the explaining how we're wrong about things we can see with our own eyes. I love AOC and I love socialism, and I would eat ground glass before I would vote for Bernie in a primary. I love socialism enough that I could be convinced, but keep explaining things to me like I'm too dumb or silly to see the Truth of Bernie and you'll never get there.

This is a wildly uncharitable reading of what I was saying. You're putting words in my mouth. Obviously gender dynamics were a significant part of the race. I wasn't dismissing people who want talk about gender and sexism and racism; I've been right there with you talking about those things in this very thread! I felt that the specific take I was responding to was working very hard to read sexism into a fairly standard endorsement process, and I didn't feel it was a useful lens on that particular subject in that particular way. I admit the comment was written in a condescending way and I apologize for being so snarky. Things have been very heated in this thread.

My main reason for making that comment was to introduce the concept of "positionality" into the discussion, a concept I only recently heard the word for and find useful. As I said in that previous comment (you left this part out of your quote), I think positionality is a useful and important lens to take, but it's only one of an array of lenses we can look at politics with.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:15 PM on February 19 [5 favorites]


Is “positionality” just another way of saying “identity politics” without coming out and saying “identity politics”? I ask in earnest.

(And I am well aware that the term “identity politics” as a pejorative is fraught. Hence my question!)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:22 PM on February 19 [8 favorites]


The term "positionality" as I'm using it comes from feminist and queer academia. This page I linked earlier has a great definition of it:

Positionality is the social and political context that creates your identity in terms of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability status. Positionality also describes how your identity influences, and potentially biases, your understanding of and outlook on the world.

It's a non-judgemental way to talk about identity as a facet of political life, and it also carries with it the idea that one's identity is not completely innate but rather exists in conversation with the social and political forces that shape the society you live in.

I probably should have done more than simply link to the definition when I started talking about the concept, but I didn't want to distract from the subject of the thread.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:28 PM on February 19 [11 favorites]


Thank you for the link and the reply. I was familiar with the concept from feminist theory, I wasn’t sure if it was being used as a political term of art in the context of this thread.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:32 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


I'm not 100% caught up on this thread, but let me say this: I don't see how Sanders has improved on his shortcomings from the last time around, among some pretty big groups. And I didn't really give a shit about Sanders one way or the other the last time around, so I'm not trying to either build him up or tear him down. I voted for Hillary but honestly if he had won the primary I would've voted for him too.

It seems to me that an awful lot of people would agree that the ideal candidate on the left would be one who would talk about issues not just economical (the dismantling of capitalism) but also those of social justice. Sanders does not do a good job of this, evidenced by all the people who point at the conspicuous omissions1 AS WELL AS actual outright statements by the man, and to a lesser degree by his self-identified supporters. Which are giving them a case of heebie-jeebies, not least because they can tell he's missing some planks in his platform and keep getting told either (1) we'll worry about it later, socialism is more important [the priority argument] or (2) what are you talking about he's totally woke, it's literally impossible for a socialist not to be [the gaslighting argument] or (3) yep those planks are missing but you don't have another viable choice, he's the most popular dude and the other candidates are all doomed for reasons x,y,z [the it-doesn't-matter, just hold your nose argument], if not (4) some combination of all of that. And the fact that so much of that familiar ground from 2016 is being re-tread in this very thread is just more evidence that he (and by extension his supporters) hasn't really done the work to fix those shortcomings.

I'm not saying anyone else in the race currently is the magic bullet in this regard, but goddamn bernie supporters, try to fix this problem don't just dismiss it or rehash the same crap from 2016.

1 e.g. Why doesn't he advocate for both free college and free preschool? If you argue that he can't then why is that? And even if he can't why choose college over preschool. This argument was litigated in this very thread, I'm not just pulling it out of thin air.
posted by axiom at 9:25 PM on February 19 [21 favorites]


But it's not clear what could be done about those voters, who appear to have been primarily people with brain worms

Many of these were working class yellow dog Democrats who were deeply hurt by HRC'S "basket of deplorables" comment. I still think Warren has the best chance of winning them back.
posted by brujita at 9:32 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


It's funny how we can look at the same situation and come to radically different conclusions; I think Warren has one of the worst shots at winning them back. That isn't to argue for or against her winning the nomination because the future is not with the working class yellow dog Democrats. But we apparently see them in completely different lights.
posted by Justinian at 9:44 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


He advocated for universal pre-k in 2016 - where are people getting the idea that his position haas changed?

I maintain that this "senator bernard sir your silence on X is DEAFENING" shit is only ever only going to apply to socialist candidates. Let's definitely scrutinize what things a candidate hasn't said yet in the 24 hours since announcing.
posted by windbox at 9:56 PM on February 19 [19 favorites]


I maintain that this "senator bernard sir your silence on X is DEAFENING" shit is only ever only going to apply to socialist candidates. Let's definitely scrutinize what things a candidate hasn't said yet in the 24 hours since announcing.

The first part of your statement is flatly not true as could be witnessed by the run up to the last election where people did the same thing regarding Clinton. But I completely agree that people should do a little research or at least make more generous assumptions about the things they don't know for sure since accusing any of the candidates of believing something or not believing it without support won't help anyone and will just make the whole process much more likely to end badly.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:28 PM on February 19 [7 favorites]


All I want out of a Democratic candidate is to defeat Trump. Fortunately I'm in a late-primary state, because I don't have a clue who can do that. No matter what they'll be too X or not enough X, for all X.

I just want to fast-forward to 7-16-20, when we'll get the nomination speech. Then it's just a big ball of hope and angst until the election. We really can't stand another four years.
posted by netowl at 10:35 PM on February 19


I just picked that because it was literally in this thread, but my real point is that Sanders has to overcome/fix the deficiencies in messaging that are making him come off the way he has, if it's just a problem of messaging. Frankly I don't know that it *is* only that. There may be a whiff of "I don't care much about certain issues" because it's really there. Some arguments made up thread as well as elsewhere have been pretty convincing that there's substantive complaints in that department.
posted by axiom at 10:37 PM on February 19 [4 favorites]


Messaging is important, but it will never be only that since it does come, in part, from a rooting interest in specific candidates and a "gut" dislike of others that often lacks clear proof of reason. For the sake of the election, and the well being of the mods and the site I just hope we try to be more careful here. Disparaging other candidates without good cause will have an effect of making them harder to elect and causing increased tension and dislike among supporters of the various candidates leading to lingering bad feelings and difficulty in getting out the vote and governing.

There is necessarily going to be some space between what a candidate says and what those listening believe they mean since we know politicians aren't entirely truthful and aren't going to be able to implement all their promises, so imagined preference and doubt of sincerity are going to be there, we'd do well though to first find out what they say and use their words and platform as a basis of conversation. If the words don't match what is believed then that needs to be stated as a feeling rather than fact.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:50 PM on February 19


Hey all, I know it's deep into the thread, and everyone already has their own opinions about Bernie in their head.

Well, I would implore Bernie supporters, dislikers, and haters to all read this super-interesting medium article: "You don't really know who Bernie Sanders was in the 1960s."

Some excerpts: "Bernie hates telling these stories and has resisted using them for political capital across the years — even when advisors and others have told him it would boost his profile — he has refused...."

"...In August of 1963, just days before the March on Washington, the City of Chicago was about to install some more Willis Wagons for Black school children, and a brave interracial group of local activists and organizers decided to put their bodies on the line to block the installation of those trailers. They stood in front of bulldozers. They chained themselves together. Out of his reverence for what activists in the South were doing, Bernie has long since downplayed this demonstration, but it took so much courage."
posted by el io at 11:22 PM on February 19 [6 favorites]


chortly: "Regarding Sanders voters as spoilers in the general:
More voters went from Hillary Clinton to John McCain in 2008 than went from Sanders to Trump in 2016
Which is not to say that 2008 Clinton primary voters were better or worse, just that high percentages of the supporters of the losing primary candidate often vote for the other party in the general.
"

Racism vs misogyny.

el io: "Willis Wagons"

Those are a whole lot less horrific than I'd imagined from the name.
posted by Mitheral at 12:11 AM on February 20


I have heard a lot about Bernie Bros but (because my social media is curated, etc) have seen very few instances, and none that rise above "someone being kind of an asshole in the moment".

If you spend a lot of time on social media it's disconcerting how much the message seems coordinated and frankly bizarre. Lots of bots, and lots of people who don't appear to be bots with the same message. Why? Who thinks this is worth the time and money that goes into it? Not people spreading Left ideas, just shit stirring and attacking.

the association of Bernie fans with bots is a bit of projection when you hear it coming from the establishment center.

Yeah, it's really not a question. There is a constant and overwhelming bot army supporting Sanders, and the same messages coming from high profile supporters.

1) right-wingers and Russians trying to create a perception of an extremist left-wing faction in order to both split the party and generate negative stories about HRC


Again, in light of what we know about Trump this is a huge issue for me. Why this coordinated effort? Why does Trump have grade school nicknames for every other Dem candidate but not Sanders, and why does Trump defend him?

RE: Bernie Bros, the thing I heard is don't worry, a lot of supposed Bernie Bros aren't real bros supporting Bernie, they're a massive army of Bernie-loving Putinbots run out of St. Petersburg.

And I'm like... is that better? I'm not sure that's better. It might be worse.


Yes.

So why is Sanders the One True Progressive?

Yeah, I don't get this in 2019. I voted for Bernie, I sent him money. He's my last choice at this point. I mean, I'd pick him over Howard Shultz, sure, but I don't trust him much more.

I just... don't think that people who use "Bernie Bro" are so opposed to socialism?

One of the top messages that gets hammered online is if you don't like Sanders then you are not a real Socialist, Leftist, or hate universal healthcare or any of the other policies on his platform. As if he is the only one that can represent those ideas. Why is that? Why are people constantly attacked with this? It seems very important to some faction, outside of campaigning, that all energy in that direction be corralled toward Sanders

Bernie and his supporters are the reason I moved away from the DSA as they moved their focus in that direction, and I'm pretty sad about that whole turn of events.

Bernie has consistently polled as the most popular politician in America since 2016. Why are Democrats not eager to harness that kind of insane support?

I see a lot of statements like this online, but rarely see anything to back it up. The same handful of polls, mostly misinterpreted. Meanwhile pretty much everyone I know in person and online has shifted to distrust if not outright hatred of him since 2016. I feel like this narrative that Bernie is so popular is equivalent to the bubble of Trump supporters who believe they represent the majority.

Frankly there's too many things about the Sanders situation that remind me of Trump at this point.

I'm tired and not expressing myself very well here, my apologies.
posted by bongo_x at 2:23 AM on February 20 [30 favorites]


He advocated for universal pre-k in 2016

lol seriously? by this standard Trump has advocated for clean energy way more than Bernie has advocated for universal Pre-K.

Please don't be disingenuous, and please please please stop giving Bernie so much credit for just mentioning something one time! The people who have actually advocated for universal Pre-K in the current campaign are: mainly Gillibrand, and to a slightly lesser extent, Warren and Harris.
posted by MiraK at 4:14 AM on February 20 [10 favorites]


Wow, I know some people who don't prefer Sanders, but I've never seen him portrayed as the worst of all (Democratic) worlds.

For my money, I think Harris is going to win, but she'll have a good chance of throwing a progressive VP to prevent leftist bleed. Almost certainly wouldn't be Sanders, but I imagine Sanders will be in on that discussion of whom.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 4:29 AM on February 20 [3 favorites]


My real point is that Sanders has to overcome/fix the deficiencies in messaging that are making him come off the way he has, if it's just a problem of messaging. Frankly I don't know that it *is* only that. There may be a whiff of "I don't care much about certain issues" because it's really there.

1000% this. Even if you think people are completely wrong about race and gender and Bernie, explaining to people why they're wrong makes the problem worse. It's a dynamic women and people of color are way too familiar with from our day to day lives. Tell people good things about Bernie. If you volunteer or donate, push his campaign to lean on issues that affect women and people of color.

And, really, some people need to consider the possibility that they're wrong. If women and people of color are telling you the same thing over and over, maybe we're right. Again, this is a dynamic we're familiar with from our entire lives. Doubling down on it will not win elections.

It's super frustrating to watch how badly Bernie and his most ardent followers have handled this and are, apparently, still handling it. It makes me mad that he's the face of socialism. Thank god for AOC.
posted by Mavri at 4:39 AM on February 20 [17 favorites]


Re: You don’t really know who Bernie Sanders was in the 1960s I want to note that Shaun King wrote that article, and while he’s done many good things I think, especially around amplifying stories of injustice, he seems to have a blind spot around Bernie.

The Russian bot story also really bothers me, but I assume it was not with Sander’s approval or consent.

This field is so big and diverse it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I will be voting for the democrat regardless.
posted by rainydayfilms at 4:47 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


If we are going to look at Bernie's past, then we should examine the bad parts too, like the execrable rape fantasies he published, and the fact that his civil rights work ended in the 60s after which he moved to the whitest state in the country with one of the highest incarceration rates of POC.

Also it turns out that the law in CA about publishing tax returns was vetoed by Jerry Brown (of course), which is a bummer. But a new proposal was introduced to force candidates to release the last five years, so that's something.
posted by schroedinger at 4:47 AM on February 20 [8 favorites]


Love how he got about about 3x as much in donations his first 24 hours as Kamala Harris and everyone is still like, refusing to entertain the idea that he is insanely popular and absolutely brings a certain star power. No, no it's bots and bros all the way down.
posted by windbox at 4:48 AM on February 20 [26 favorites]


I'm sick and tired of that generation screwing things up for decade after decade. Time to move on to someone born after after the summer of love. They had their chance and blew it spectacularly.
posted by Manic Pixie Hollow at 4:57 AM on February 20 [6 favorites]


Bernie has consistently supported universal child care many times, but has recently made it a major platform plank, most notably last September: https://twitter.com/sensanders/status/1039182209729683456?s=21
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:02 AM on February 20 [6 favorites]




This has definitely been covered before on MF, but to hell with generational politics.
There's plenty of 90 year Olds, 70 year Olds and 50 year Olds who I have faith in.
Age disqualifies not, policy does. I'm either the last of the millenials, or gen Y, depending on how you count it.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 5:08 AM on February 20 [10 favorites]


Noisy Pink Bubbles: "The Naysayers Are Wrong. Bernie Sanders Is A Formidable 2020 Contender"

So the right wing trolls at The Federalist are pushing Sanders?
posted by octothorpe at 5:19 AM on February 20 [11 favorites]


"I bet you he wins the presidency!" is probably not the most helpful response when most people are questioning his policy priorities and attitude, not necessarily his electability alone.

We know this country is very capable of electing assholes, old white men, and those who dismiss "identity politics," thank you very much.
posted by lydhre at 6:16 AM on February 20 [20 favorites]


old white men

Once again, I feel uncomfortable defining Sanders as a "old white [man]" as Jews have a limited form of whiteness. Some identify as white, but he's definitely from a targeted ethnic minority.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 6:24 AM on February 20 [9 favorites]


I wish we socialists had a deeper bench to choose from. Hopefully in the future this will change, in part thanks to Bernie for inspiring people, although he hasn't done a great job with mentorship. In the meantime, I'm both glad there's a leftist candidate and upset that the only leftist candidate is someone so divisive who has so many painful blindspots.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:26 AM on February 20 [6 favorites]




The Naysayers Are Wrong. Bernie Sanders Is A Formidable 2020 Contender

So there's comedy in seeing Michael Tracey—previously best known for saying Maxine Waters punched him—cheer for Sanders in a publication that never saw a Trumpian atrocity it didn't like, but I imagine that it's not the ringing endorsement Sanders really wants.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:07 AM on February 20 [12 favorites]


I can hardly wait for Jesse Singal's piece on Sanders in Quillette.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:10 AM on February 20 [5 favorites]


I wish we had a magical people-averaging device, that took in two people and outputted a person exactly midway between those people in every way. I’d put Bernie and AOC in; the person we’d get out would be a badass genderqueer PoC new york socialist who’s old enough to run for president but not too old to run for president.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:14 AM on February 20 [20 favorites]


Jordan Peterson on the Jungian aspects of Bernie Sanders and how his career illustrates the Hero's Journey.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:15 AM on February 20 [15 favorites]


Love how he got about about 3x as much in donations his first 24 hours as Kamala Harris and everyone is still like, refusing to entertain the idea that he is insanely popular and absolutely brings a certain star power. No, no it's bots and bros all the way down.

I've finally worked up the courage to get more involved in local activism, and this is one of the biggest Online/non-Online differences I've come across. People absolutely adore Sanders.
posted by edeezy at 7:24 AM on February 20 [17 favorites]


And, really, some people need to consider the possibility that they're wrong. If women and people of color are telling you the same thing over and over, maybe we're right.

And if white women are telling you what POC think, white women are...?
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:26 AM on February 20 [10 favorites]


The bots are back:

Politico: Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates.

"Review of recent data extracted from Twitter and from other platforms, as well as interviews with data scientists and digital campaign strategists, suggests that the goal of the coordinated barrage appears to be undermining the nascent candidacies through the dissemination of memes, hashtags, misinformation, and distortions of their positions. But the divisive nature of many of the posts also hint at a broader effort to sow discord and chaos within the Democratic presidential primary. "

It's depressing that whether we want to re-litigate 2016 or not, the organized disruptors have been planning a blockbuster sequel. The pall this casts over what should be an opportunity for honest policy discussions saddens me. Be careful out there in social media land.
posted by jetsetsc at 7:46 AM on February 20 [3 favorites]


[Folks, let's please take each other at our word -- when commenters here say they're POC women supporting Sanders, let's be mindful not to deny such people exist; and when commenters here say they've experienced bad behavior from Sanders-supporting accounts elsewhere, let's take that as offered. Please aim for discussing Sanders' actual policies and whatnot, and steer away from "his supporters/opposers are all bad people/self-deluded/lying etc".]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:53 AM on February 20 [32 favorites]


Can mod notes be flagged as fantastic?
posted by Jpfed at 7:55 AM on February 20 [4 favorites]


And if white women are telling you what POC think, white women are...?

Hopefully listening and learning? I've never had a woman or POC Bernie fan condescend to me or try to bludgeon me for my wrongness. I'm sure some of them have done that to other people because life is a rich tapestry. Talking about patterns of behavior is not the same as denying that Bernie has supporters who are not white men.
posted by Mavri at 8:02 AM on February 20 [5 favorites]


People absolutely adore Sanders.

They do indeed.

Side by side comparison of Sanders vs Harris for example on Reuters, for non-white women (10/18 - 2/19):

Sanders: 70% favorable
Harris: 59% favorable

http://polling.reuters.com/ - try it for yourself. This is getting kind of insane. I believe people who saw firsthand shittiness from his supporters, and I believe there is a lot of valid criticism of the guy in this thread. But the idea that he's only here for white bros needs to be trashed stat. It's just wrong. It's just absolutely false and anyone making this argument is embarrassing themselves.
posted by windbox at 8:02 AM on February 20 [21 favorites]


(And acknowledging that bots are out there in no way should imply that folks here are not having an honest conversation about the candidates.)
posted by jetsetsc at 8:06 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


I don't feel embarassed. Please don't cast aspersions on those of us who have reservations about the man. We are allowed to differ in opinion on him.
posted by agregoli at 8:08 AM on February 20 [11 favorites]


According to the most recent polling, it looks like Biden is the one to beat right now although obviously name recognition has a lot to do with that and it's still very early and these were all done before Sander's announced.
posted by octothorpe at 8:09 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


I would like to know how they adjust for favorability and name recognition, because based on that YouGov poll that person on Twitter is using, Bernie Sanders has the highest net unfavorability among black and Hispanic adults too, and the lowest percentage of people who "don't know" (which I assume is what the person is using to adjust for name recognition).
posted by schroedinger at 8:09 AM on February 20 [4 favorites]


Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon: "I wish we had a magical people-averaging device, that took in two people and outputted a person exactly midway between those people in every way. I’d put Bernie and AOC in; the person we’d get out would be a badass genderqueer PoC new york socialist who’s old enough to run for president but not too old to run for president."

Tempting, but keep in mind that candidate disassembly and re-amalgification is a dangerous business.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:11 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


["People who say __ are bad/stupid/etc" is another thing to skip. Please just make your point about __ , without adding the insulting tag about "people who", and we can avoid many pointless arguments about the people and focus on the facts about __. ]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:13 AM on February 20 [6 favorites]


According to the most recent polling, it looks like Biden is the one to beat right now although obviously name recognition has a lot to do with that and it's still very early and these were all done before Sander's announced.

...

I would like to know how they adjust for favorability and name recognition


538 talks about the (very strong!) relationship between name recognition and favorability.
posted by Jpfed at 8:15 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


Also, I am looking through the Reuters polling website and not finding any 2020 primary or favorability information. RealClearPolitics has Biden in the lead though.
posted by schroedinger at 8:15 AM on February 20


But the idea that he's only here for white bros needs to be trashed stat. It's just wrong. It's just absolutely false and anyone making this argument is embarrassing themselves.

You do realize that you are engaging in the argumentam ad populam fallacy here? When people are arguing that Sanders is for white males, they are not arguing that is the only group that he's popular with, but that his positions and actions show a focus on positions primarily aimed at white males, and a lack of regard for positions primarily aimed at other groups. It's never been an argument about popularity, but policy.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:17 AM on February 20 [12 favorites]


I do think it is kind of interesting how the Sanders announcement and this thread sucked almost all the oxygen out of the main politics thread for a while there.

This is not what I want Bernie to do.
posted by srboisvert at 8:21 AM on February 20 [6 favorites]


According to the most recent polling, it looks like Biden is the one to beat right now

I hope not. If Biden takes the nomination, I'm staying home. He's one of the few people I simply cannot hold my nose and vote for. It would be too much of a kick in the gut to see a democratic socialist light dawning through the window only to have it slammed shut with an iron shutter emblazoned with "DIGNITY OF WORK".

Also, what with all the focus on the student loan crisis maybe it's not the greatest time to nominate the guy who made it impossible to discharge them through bankruptcy.
posted by FakeFreyja at 8:21 AM on February 20 [15 favorites]


it looks like Biden is the one to beat right now

Sigh. But this got me to thinking about the rest of the 1988 Democratic slate and specifically about Pat Schroeder, and even àpropos, of the time that Duke Cunningham told Sanders to "sit down, you socialist" and Schroeder asked "Parliamentary inquiry, Mr. Chairman—do we have to call the Gentleman a gentleman if he's not one?"
posted by octobersurprise at 8:26 AM on February 20 [3 favorites]


Yeah, and if you want to hate on a Democratic candidate for his sexist and racist behavior, speech, and history of policy, Biden's really the worst of the slate on all of these. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader why he doesn't get the same level of intense, sustained vitriol on MeFi that Sanders does.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:27 AM on February 20 [27 favorites]


He doesn’t? I’ll be first in line to hate on Biden too the moment he announces his candidacy, if that helps.
posted by lydhre at 8:29 AM on February 20 [9 favorites]


I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader why he doesn't get the same level of intense, sustained vitriol on MeFi that Sanders does.

I know why you think it's the case, but I think that the fact that there is no 2016 to relitigate with him sure helps too.

(though, I'm not sure that "relitigating 2016" is a negative thing when discussing and making decisions about a 2016 candidate running in 2020, since that's a pretty big part of who a person is and what they have done)
posted by bootlegpop at 8:31 AM on February 20 [4 favorites]


One Second Before Awakening I'd suggest that part of the reason for the lack of open Biden hate is that he's not yet announced his candidacy, and there's valid reason to suspect that he might not actually run.

I assure you that whatever reservations I have about Sanders, if Biden announces I will be 100% against him in the primaries. I'll vote for just about anyone the Democrats nominate including him, but Biden would definitely be very close to the edge of a candidate I wouldn't vote for.
posted by sotonohito at 8:39 AM on February 20 [8 favorites]


I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader why he doesn't get the same level of intense, sustained vitriol on MeFi that Sanders does.

Is it because he hasn't run for office since Gossip Girl was making new episodes?
posted by Etrigan at 8:40 AM on February 20 [19 favorites]


I hope not. If Biden takes the nomination, I'm staying home.

I think Biden is shit, but I don't think Biden would be worse than Trump 2.0. Not by a long shot.
posted by schroedinger at 8:45 AM on February 20 [18 favorites]


As far as Bernie 2020 is concerned: I should be enthusiastic about him, given that I'm an actual member of the DSA, and think that the Scandinavian countries give us government models to emulate. I'd far rather have Bernie for President than Joe Biden (please NO), Tulsi Gabbard (NO again), or even Amy Klobuchar (who I think is a great Senator, but she's too middle-of-the-road for me as President). Bernie's heart is 100% in the right place. And I think he could beat Trump.

My hesitations:

- His age. By far this is the biggest. Before anyone starts caterwauling about "AGE DISCRIMINATION!" I think POTUS is one of the few jobs where there should be a hard age limit (under 70), given that POTUS is a "public safety job" times several billion. Reagan got dementia in office, and I am 100% sure Trump has it too. Time is really not on Bernie's side, and age is more than just a number, and 80 is not the new 60.

How this could be solved: If Bernie wins, he needs a terrific chief of staff (of a James Baker caliber) and cabinet as well. Reagan was propped up by his wife and his cabinet. Trump, due to his being a terrible boss who stiffs everyone, has no-one loyal and hard-working to keep things running. If Bernie's age catches up with him then if he has a good Chief of Staff and cabinet, that will mitigate the damage.

- I want a woman President. I want Kamala or Kirsten or Elizabeth. I admit I resent having an old, white man coming in and sucking up all the oxygen from the room. If Bernie gets the nomination he damn well better choose one of these women, or Cory Booker. This way there will be a capable Veep to step in, again if Bernie's age catches up with him. And a woman (or African-American man) will still be in a high government position.

- And this is something that isn't particular to Bernie so much as it is every Democratic Presidential candidate - Green Lantern syndrome. The President can't do everything him- or herself. They will need the cooperation of Congress. And if we continue to have a Republican Senate, it's going to be very hard to keep all those promises. That is what tripped up Carter and made his presidency less than was hoped - he couldn't work well with Congress and soon he and the latter were at perpetual loggerheads. (Water Wars, anyone?) I don't want Bernie (or Elizabeth) to sweep in and make promises they can't keep and, as a result, make socialism a failure in the eyes of the public.

I don't think Bernie would be awful. I can see why so many people love him. If he were 20 years younger, I would probably love him too. But he has drawbacks that give me pause. If he gets the nomination, I will campaign my little heart out for him because I want to see Trump go down to ignominous defeat (and prison).
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:49 AM on February 20 [26 favorites]


I hope not. If Biden takes the nomination, I'm staying home.

I think Biden is shit, but I don't think Biden would be worse than Trump 2.0. Not by a long shot.


Word. As a sign of my support for comity and unity in the Democratic party, I will absolutely show up and fill in the bubble for Joe "Never Met a Banker He Didn't Love" Biden, especially given my residence in the Swingiest of Swing states. But man he sucks. Maybe if I was back in NY I would stay home? Maybe.
posted by dis_integration at 8:50 AM on February 20 [4 favorites]


The Naysayers Are Wrong. Bernie Sanders Is A Formidable 2020 Contender

I'm not a Bernie hater, but jesus, if you're linking to a fucking Michael Tracey article in the fucking Federalist to make your pro-Bernie point, it makes me instantly suspicious of your motives.
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:50 AM on February 20 [28 favorites]


Good point, Rosie. I can see myself being VERY ANGRY if Bernie is the nominee and he doesn't pick a woman as his running mate. It's sickening that we haven't had a female leader yet...or even equality in government.
posted by agregoli at 8:53 AM on February 20 [5 favorites]


I absolute despise Joe Biden, think he would be the worst Democratic presidential candidate of all time who would be 99% certain to lose and doom humanity and the earth forever, and hereby unironically pledge my 2020 vote to him if need be.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:53 AM on February 20 [19 favorites]


>"If Biden takes the nomination, I'm staying home. He's one of the few people I simply cannot hold my nose and vote for."

I would vote for a literal potato to be the president of the united states--with a big smile on my face--if it meant denying Donald fucking Trump a second term.

Accelerationism sometimes feels like the willful sacrifice of those already suffering. Please get out there and help keep an overt enabler of fascists and literal builder of concentration camps out of office.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 8:53 AM on February 20 [35 favorites]


Can Sanders supporters speak meaningfully to the concerns raised repeatedly in this thread about his (lack of) commitment to, and understanding of, social justice issues?

- He repeatedly derides "identity politics" and inverts the language of social justice to beg us not to discriminate against him for being a white male.

- He is on record multiple times saying class is more important than race, that his answer to racism is to fix income inequality because racism is actually just classism, and even declares racism is not racism.

- His reflexive misogyny has been on display in multiple "unscripted" moments. Calling Planned Parenthood "establishment," saying Hillary was "unqualified", being "too busy" to care about harassment of women within his campaign, being willing to trade abortion rights away for his pet agenda, and yes, also the fact that he was a deadbeat dad who wrote weird screeds about women having rape fantasies when he was WELL INTO HIS THIRTIES.

All of these are genuinely concerning things! You can't handwave it away or make us believe this stuff didn't happen!

The popularity of your candidate feels threatening to the rest of us because of your inability to acknowledge that your candidate has a racism and sexism problem. Instead you're gaslighting the rest of us: we're imagining things because SAID he isn't racist or sexist, gosh, what more do we need from the man! It would really help if these issues were acknowledged as real, and if his supporters who claim to support social justice goals alongside class struggle goals exhibited any concern about their candidate routinely failing at the former.
posted by MiraK at 8:55 AM on February 20 [31 favorites]


I would vote for a literal potato to be the president of the united states--with a big smile on my face--if it meant denying Donald fucking Trump a second term.

I would happily vote for a potato too. But then again a potato doesn't actively hate an entire class of people and hasn't spent a career trying to harm them.
posted by FakeFreyja at 8:58 AM on February 20 [5 favorites]


Biden's entrance into the race will at least get even more people paying attention. There's probably will be at least some people out there that will just tune in to watch Biden and Sanders square off against each other.

On a related note, I remember way back in early 2016 I had a conversation with someone who wanted to see Trump and Sanders next to each other, simply because it would be entertaining. I conceded that point, but lightly pointed out that it would be kind of messy. And he agreed, but even then he still wanted to see that spectacle. I've heard similar opinions since then, so that idea has stayed with me. And I admit this is a totally unscientific "feel-it-in-the-gut" thing, but this is one of the reasons I suspected early on that Sanders would run in 2020. People like the whole idea of a dream match. Y'know, Godzilla vs King Kong kind of stuff. It's a pretty bad reason to do it, but it exists.
posted by FJT at 9:03 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


I would happily vote for a potato too. But then again a potato doesn't actively hate an entire class of people and hasn't spent a career trying to harm them.

I see you haven't had In-n-Out french fries.
posted by Enemy of Joy at 9:04 AM on February 20 [9 favorites]


Can Sanders supporters speak meaningfully to the concerns raised repeatedly in this thread about his (lack of) commitment to, and understanding of, social justice issues?

Your comment isn't really a question or attempt at a conversation, it's a browbeating. I'm fairly over it as a (white-passing) female POC. If the candidacy of someone like Sanders feels threatening to you, okay, that's you. It's not me and you don't speak for me, and that's that.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 9:07 AM on February 20 [24 favorites]


MiraK, I guess the stuff you're talking about just seems unfortunately of a pace with other white male politicians, not something that sets him apart as having any particular malice or active bigotry. He's awkward but as far as I know he's never actively worked to marginalize or oppress anyone. That's actually pretty rare in US government!

He uses a rather dated style of quasi-Marxist rhetoric that privileges class analysis, but I don't think he's doing this to minimize social justice as a priority, I think he's doing this to try to act as a corrective to a political culture that overwhelmingly hides any form of recognition of class at all.

So, like, yes, he's definitely an awkward old white guy with a tendency to misspeak about this stuff sometimes but I honestly think the outcomes of his presidency would help more non-white people and more non-male people than any of the other candidates on the slate.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:09 AM on February 20 [14 favorites]


I'm confused. When I hear Bernie supporters talking about the reasons to support him, invariably they point to how unlike every other politician he is. But when someone brings up legitimate concerns about him, those concerns are brushed off as not a problem, because every other politician is the same and we can't expect Bernie to be any different. Help me understand this, please.
posted by palomar at 9:12 AM on February 20 [32 favorites]


I would vote for a literal potato to be the president of the united states--with a big smile on my face--if it meant denying Donald fucking Trump a second term.

I, too, can measure in nanohedons my desire to see Joe Biden President, and yet I would crawl through glass to vote for him if he ran against Trump. (And even if you assume that Biden would be precisely as awful as Trump, I'd still do it, just to deny him the vanity of a second term. Then I would return home, comforted, and pray for death's sweet, sweet, release.)
posted by octobersurprise at 9:12 AM on February 20 [10 favorites]


I'm confused. When I hear Bernie supporters talking about the reasons to support him, invariably they point to how unlike every other politician he is. But when someone brings up legitimate concerns about him, those concerns are brushed off as not a problem, because every other politician is the same and we can't expect Bernie to be any different. Help me understand this, please.

He's unlike other politicians in that he's substantially ideologically different because he comes from a socialist tradition. He's similar to other old white male politicians in that he can be pretty awkward when he tries to talk about race and sex.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:15 AM on February 20 [11 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. MiraK, you've asked these questions, people can answer and then you can decide what you think, but the thread can't become all about whether people can convince you personally. It's ok if you end up not supporting Sanders, and it's ok if people disagree and still support him.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:17 AM on February 20 [9 favorites]


So, like, yes, he's definitely an awkward old white guy with a tendency to misspeak about this stuff sometimes

Really? This here is the exact problem that MiraK was talking about,and what I referred to earlier when I talked about Sanders getting graded on a different curve than everyone else. When Sanders responded to accusations of sexual harassment in his campaign with the response that he was "too busy" to notice, that isn't him "misspeaking", but him making an insensitive, misogynistic, and frankly unacceptable response.

As MiraK pointed out, the downplaying of Sanders' behavior is worrisome, and makes it feel like these issues aren't actually being treated honestly. He is not "awkward", and it is not acceptable to play him off as such, just as it would not be acceptable for any other politician.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:19 AM on February 20 [36 favorites]


When Sanders responded to accusations of sexual harassment in his campaign with the response that he was "too busy" to notice, that isn't him "misspeaking", but him making an insensitive, misogynistic, and frankly unacceptable response.

It was a pretty bad response he gave in the moment, then he went back, reconsidered, and made a sweeping, concrete set of changes to his campaign organization to prevent it from happening again. Literally, you've posted this before and I've responded to this before. You're pretending this exchange never happened. I feel like I'm being gaslit.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:21 AM on February 20 [19 favorites]


Can Sanders supporters speak meaningfully to the concerns raised repeatedly in this thread about his (lack of) commitment to, and understanding of, social justice issues?

I voted for Sanders in the primaries last time, though I'm not sure I'd call myself a Sanders supporter these days. Partly that's because I do think your concerns are valid--his off-the-cuff remarks, in particular, make me think he's not going to prioritize fighting racism and sexism.

That said, his considered, officially stated policy positions do tend to address racism and sexism. That matters, because candidates usually try to follow through on policy promises (broadly speaking, if not in the details). Also, if he wants to win, I think he's going to have to surround himself with women and people of color in an effort to build a wider coalition of voters, so that's promising. Which doesn't mean everything is fine! The concerns you've pointed out are real. But there's reason to hope that whatever his personal shortcomings, he wouldn't be a disaster when it comes to policies specifically aimed at helping women and people of color.

Also, I think that the people in this thread saying economic issues should be central to addressing racism and sexism are arguing in good faith. You may disagree with them, but that doesn't mean they don't care.

(I will say, though, that I'm bummed about Bernie entering the race partly because I think he's going to draw leftist voters away from Warren, and I'd much rather have her as the nominee.)
posted by Hypocrite_Lecteur at 9:24 AM on February 20 [11 favorites]


The narrative that Sanders was especially aggressive towards Clinton is also reflective of a very short memory at best.

Lee Fang on Twitter (thread):
The irony about all the Dems who hate Bernie for challenging Hillary in 2016 is that Bernie used kid gloves. Bernie didnt want to hurt general election odds. Didnt hire any oppo people, ran ZERO negative ads. Obama in contrast ran a vicious attack campaign in 08 against Hillary

Hillary launched a deluge of attacks on Bernie on every medium, through surrogates and third party groups. Bernie rarely responded, but never w/neg ads. In contrast, every time Hillary attacked Obama he released negative ads like this one attacking back.

This obviously isn’t a knock on Obama. Every progressive candidate running against the establishment should inform voters. Obama campaigned to win. This just reflects poorly on Bernie for failing to highlight Clinton’s record. Many Dems scapegoat and trash him regardless.

Yup. Bernie ran an honest campaign. The specific complaint I’ve heard most about him is “he made a big deal about the Wall Street speeches,” which is, of course, completely legit. Clinton, meanwhile, lied about his platform & pitted economic & social justice against each other.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:31 AM on February 20 [32 favorites]


It's not me and you don't speak for me, and that's that.

I don't think MiraK is trying to speak for you. She is specifically asking Sanders supporters to address some concerns she has. That's fine that you don't appear to share those concerns! That doesn't make the concerns disappear.

Speaking for myself, a woman who agrees with Sanders on a lot of issues but shares similar reservations to MiraK, it is disheartening to have these reservations dismissed (or straight up referred to as browbeating). It's still so early. These concerns were some of the main criticisms of him last time around, I would be shocked if they aren't addressed in greater detail by the campaign sooner rather than later. If they're still set on the backburner, though, yikes.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 9:34 AM on February 20 [30 favorites]


I have serious reservations about Harris, myself, but I wonder if she isn’t the most formidable candidate out there right now.

I think she is, but it's not saying too much at this stage of the game.

I don't really like how primary politics works, but it's stupid to deny that there's a strategy to it: you start off saying things that your base wants to hear to "build enthusiasm" and get the nomination, because the people who vote in primaries—both Dem and Repub—tend to be pretty strongly ideological. Then as soon as you get the nomination you tack back towards the center for the general election, wooing undecided swing voters while trying to walk the razor's edge of not alienating your base so much they stay home. This has been a pretty* consistently winning strategy as long as I've followed US presidential politics.

Harris seems strong right now because she's probably the most centrist/right-leaning serious Dem candidate; she's already where the other candidates would presumably tack back towards once they have the nomination.

Just like in a boat race, the person who doesn't have to tack tends to look like they're in the lead: but this can evaporate quickly once the others decide to turn, and you discover they've gained ground while going the other way. This is what could easily happen to Harris: as the field of candidates narrows, she won't have built the enthusiastic base and could risk not getting the nomination.

I'd argue this is what happened to McCain back in the 2000 Republican primary: he played towards the middle while Bush courted the Christian Taliban social conservatives to fire up the base, and even though McCain was ahead in simulated general election polls and seemed to be the stronger candidate to take on Gore, Bush got the nomination and the rest is history.

* The exception, of course, is Trump; he never really swung back towards the middle. But, without "relitigating 2016", I think we can say that what he did stopped being possible the moment he did it. It was a sort of political 9/11: it worked by taking advantage of vulnerabilities that nobody knew were there, or significant. No Democrat is going to rely on the northern Midwest as a "blue wall", etc. etc.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:34 AM on February 20 [4 favorites]


Literally, you've posted this before and I've responded to this before. You're pretending this exchange never happened. I feel like I'm being gaslit.

I'm not pretending that it never happened, I just find the response lacking. And the reason is because excuses keep being made for the original comment. It wasn't "pretty bad", it wasn't "not a good look", and it wasn't him "being awkward" - it was him making a dismissive comment that came across as misogynistic,and was unacceptable. And as for his turnaround - it doesn't make the initial response go away, and it came after he took a beating from the accusations and his response, and I don't look at being forced to do the right thing all that highly.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:46 AM on February 20 [8 favorites]


Harris seems strong right now because she's probably the most centrist/right-leaning serious Dem candidate; she's already where the other candidates would presumably tack back towards once they have the nomination.

I understand that there's some subjectivity to designations like "centrist" or "right-leaning", but I don't understand by what standard Harris is more "right-leaning" than Klobuchar. It's not a perfect tool but DW-Nominate puts Harris to the left of literally everyone in the Senate but Warren. Why do you consider Harris "right-leaning"?
posted by Jpfed at 9:48 AM on February 20 [16 favorites]


I'm impressed with the contortions some people are going through to make Bernie's apology and public commitment to the eradication of sexual harassment from his campaign seem like "not enough" -- what could he actually do? How does an apology usually happen, in your world? To me, after someone "takes a beating" for doing something wrong, if they get up and say, "you're right, that was justified and I commit to doing better in the future," that's about as good as it'll get. It seems like Bernie will just never satisfy these voters, so they might as well go ahead and pledge for Harris now, seeing as they don't believe in rehabilitation.
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 9:54 AM on February 20 [16 favorites]


Am I incorrectly recalling that Bernie's major problem in the 16 primaries was support from Southern black voters? I realize that it's reductive to paint any group as voting in a simple bloc, but just as a writ-large statistics issue.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:54 AM on February 20


Am I incorrectly recalling that Bernie's major problem in the 16 primaries was support from Southern black voters? I realize that it's reductive to paint any group as voting in a simple bloc, but just as a writ-large statistics issue.

That was a problem for him then, but his favorability doesn't look too bad there nowadays. Per Reuters polling, his favorability in the southeastern states shows him about 5% lower than in the U.S. overall. Among minorities in those states he's at 71% favorability, which seems just fine.
posted by Jpfed at 10:00 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Don't Call It A Comeback - "A few weeks ago, Jacobin contributors Matt Karp and Liza Featherstone sat down with our editor Seth Ackerman and Vox‘s Matt Yglesias to discuss how the upcoming Democratic primaries were shaping up. A big question loomed: Can Bernie repeat the magic?"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:01 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


Am I incorrectly recalling that Bernie's major problem in the 16 primaries was support from Southern black voters? I realize that it's reductive to paint any group as voting in a simple bloc, but just as a writ-large statistics issue.

Yes:
Bernie lost black voters by nearly 60 in 2016, women by over 20, self-id'd Democrats by nearly 30, and those 45 and older by over 30. These folks are the backbone of the Dem Party. If Sanders doesnt do better with these groups, he will lose.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:01 AM on February 20 [5 favorites]


Why do you consider Harris "right-leaning"?

She's got a prosecutorial history of being a tough-on-crime, drug warrior. This is the traditional domain of the right. She's spent her time as Senator on the left in the sense that she's been rigorously anti-Trump. But this is a pretty smart strategy for someone planning to run for President. I'm open to seeing how her platform develops in the course of the campaign before saying she's a centrist, but backtracking on medicare for all 2 minutes into her campaign is not an encouraging sign.
posted by dis_integration at 10:11 AM on February 20 [14 favorites]


I do recall seeing some Bernie people downplay Hillary's primary wins in the South (where the demographic is largely African American) because they were Red States that wouldn't be in play during the general election, only to see those same people making it out to be a huge deal when Bernie won Oklahoma (where the black population is negligible.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:21 AM on February 20 [6 favorites]


what could he actually do

He just has to follow through on the commitment.

He doesn't have to be perfect on everything, no candidate is, but coming out of the gate showing that he has learned from the criticism would be wonderful. The problem I think we're having here is that these aren't things he can just apologize for and move on from. He has to display a sustained commitment to being better about these things, and he has to follow through on them. I think he's going to be scrutinized closer than some other candidates because of his past blunders - I personally hope he takes that potential extra level of scrutiny as an opportunity to show how much he's learned, if he has learned.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:23 AM on February 20 [10 favorites]


This is all so tiring, but I just hope when all is said and done everyone has earnestly voted for the candidate they think will produce the best outcomes for everyone. Not the one with the most dorky Marxist credentials or the representation-as-cure-all silver bullet. Just the one you genuinely believe will make a real difference or die trying.
posted by dreamlanding at 10:43 AM on February 20 [5 favorites]


I'm glad Sanders is running again. I too have reservations about him, but the simple fact is this: he is the only presidential candidate that calls out capitalism. We are entering a period of climate emergency in which the only way to mitigate it is to dismantle capitalism. If we fail, we're dooming billions of people to death.

The closest candidate to Sanders in the race (so far) is Elizabeth Warren, and she goes out of her way to align herself with capitalism. We simply don't have time for this anymore.

(Also, side note: I'm getting really tired of the argument made that Sanders isn't really a Democrat. Parties in America don't really exist. Americans don't live in a parliamentary system with strict party control over ballot-line access, and insisting that candidates for office forgo running on a party line if they don't identify with that party are ridiculous on its face, especially since those laws were partially put in place to keep POC from office.)
posted by Automocar at 10:44 AM on February 20 [21 favorites]


[Big digression about Harris deleted. Let's try to stick to Sanders, and let's try not to ignite flamewars about every other candidate. This is a testing ground, can we have threads about primary candidates or not.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:46 AM on February 20 [6 favorites]


🥔☑️
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:48 AM on February 20 [16 favorites]


I hate to be the bearer of bad news but potato gave a horrifically bigoted interview to Playboy in 1971
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:04 AM on February 20 [16 favorites]


Let's call the whole thing off.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:09 AM on February 20 [6 favorites]


More like brotato amirite
posted by Enemy of Joy at 11:12 AM on February 20 [17 favorites]


As something of an aside, I wonder if the way folks are talking about social justice contributes to some of the disconnect. In political philosophy at least, social justice is that category of justice that is concerned with the institutions of a society (as opposed to categories of justice that are concerned with legal proceedings, relationships between individuals, or distribution of resources). As such, it's always going to include those institutions that create and reproduce racial and gendered oppression.

People can use the term in other ways and draw different distinctions, of course, but a lot of folks are going to hear distinctions that treat social justice as something separate from basic institutions---especially but not only economic ones---the way they hear talk about being socially liberal and fiscally conservative, i.e. as an arbitrarily limited and even self-defeating conception of social justice. That's the sentiment that I take is behind folks mocking neoliberalism as demanding that we hire more women prison guards.

That doesn't get at the very real disagreements about the ways that a society's institutions create and reproduce racial and gendered oppression or the very real disagreements about how that oppression is to be remedied. But it's certainly in-bounds for someone to claim that they are committed to social justice AND that 1) economic institutions are fundamental and must be changed in order to eradicate racial and gendered oppression 2) economic institutions are not fundamental, but they must be changed to eradicate racial and gendered oppression or 3) economic institutions need not be changed to eradicate racial and gendered oppression, but changing economic institutions is the most promising strategy for eradicating them. You don't have to buy any of these accounts, but each one is concerned with social justice and each one takes talking about economic issues to be central to addressing racial and gendered oppression rather than as a competing subject. (For what it's worth, I think 2 is right, but that's also why I've been told I'm not really a socialist and why I don't really like hanging out in socialist spaces where 23-year-olds play round ten thousand of more-socialist-than-thou.)
posted by This time is different. at 11:13 AM on February 20 [14 favorites]


Speaking of grading on a curve, Bernie, like Trump, won't release his taxes and a lot of people just shrug and say that's OK. Why is that OK and not a cause for serious concern? Do any of us think Harris would get away with that?
posted by bongo_x at 11:46 AM on February 20 [23 favorites]


Speaking of grading on a curve, Bernie, like Trump, won't release his taxes and a lot of people just shrug and say that's OK. Why is that OK and not a cause for serious concern? Do any of us think Harris would get away with that?

As a Sanders supporter this is one of the call-outs that does bother me because there's no charitable way to read it. It's not a matter of parsing economic justice vs. social justice, it's not a bad faith reading of something he said. It's pretty black and white. Release your damned taxes.
posted by dreamlanding at 11:51 AM on February 20 [27 favorites]


I don't think you'd get much argument against the proposition that economic justice and social justice are linked.

But I do think there's a significant difference in how people think the government should work towards the solution.

Even if everyone agreed that the deepest, most root, cause of social injustice was economic injustice (and not everyone does) that doesn't mean that the optimal, or best, or most desirable, approach is to focus on economic injustice to the exclusion of all else.

Some, not all but some, of the Sanders supporters seem to be so focused on economic justice that they see all other issues as distractions at best, and as nefarious plots by capitalist forces to divert their attention at worst.

And Sanders seems to agree with those people. He's frequently derided social justice concerns as mere identity politics to be pushed aside and ignored by serious people.

I think he'd do well to try and get out in front of the problems he's got instead of bunkering up and pretending they don't exist. I'd feel a lot better about Sanders if he had a major speech or town hall on social justice issues and explained that he took the criticism he's received about his dismissive approach to racism and sexism seriously while offering concrete examples of how he's changing his approach.

More broadly, I'm disturbed by the person centered ideology that's growing up around Sanders. I've been told by three different people now that I can't possibly be leftist because I'm not 100% behind Sanders. The fact that a great many people are defining leftism in terms of fealty to Sanders rather than political ideology is deeply worrying to me.

It's another symptom of the fact that, to Sanders, the solution to problems is to give him power, not to build institutions and networks of like minded people. Sanders has endorsed a variety of politicians (including a few people with positions that are directly opposed to social justice), btu he hasn't been doing much in terms of using his influence to try and more directly rise up a cadre of future leftist politicians.

The fact that Sanders seems largely indifferent to the broader cause of leftism in politicians not named Sanders seems to further convince the more person centered ideology that many of his followers espouse.
posted by sotonohito at 11:51 AM on February 20 [29 favorites]


Democrats Are Committed to Killing Their Own Progressive Agenda - "Big, bold ideas are a requirement in the unfolding 2020 primaries, and yet missing from these discussions is a clear explanation about how these progressive dreams are going to become reality. What will a future President Sanders or Gillibrand do to make sure Medicare for all doesn't go the way of the public option circa 2010?"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:52 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


You don't have to buy any of these accounts, but each one is concerned with social justice and each one takes talking about economic issues to be central to addressing racial and gendered oppression rather than as a competing subject.

Agreed. You articulated it perfectly. This IS the heart of the disagreement: whether or not one thinks addressing economic issues in a race-and-gender-blind way is the exact same thing as addressing racial and gendered oppression alongside economic issues.

Sanders, FYI, has doubled, tripled, quadrupled, n-tupled down on the fact that his fight against economic inequality WILL be gender- and race-blind blind. This may have been acceptable to social justice movements circa 40 years ago, but is no longer.

The confusion here seems to arise from the fact that gender- and race-blind effort to tackle economic inequality perpetuates structural racism and sexism while at the same time bettering the lives of PoC and women by alleviating economic pressures on us in absolute terms. But of course, women and/or PoC's economic pressure is alleviated to a lesser extent than those on white men are, because a gender- and race-blind approach intrinsically privileges and caters to white men). That's unacceptable by today's standards.
posted by MiraK at 12:00 PM on February 20 [21 favorites]


Release your damned taxes.

I know a lot of people feel like this is a blunder on Sanders part that he should just fix by releasing his taxes, but it's hard to see why he wouldn't have done it years ago if that was the case. There must be a really good reason for him to put himself in this position.
posted by bongo_x at 12:04 PM on February 20 [6 favorites]


What are some specific ideas/positions other candidates have re: micro-targeting racial injustice unrelated to broader economic/capitalist concerns that Sanders is ignoring?

Genuinely trying to get a feel for what other people are doing to address this that he isn't beyond platitudes in speeches.
posted by dreamlanding at 12:14 PM on February 20 [5 favorites]


I know a lot of people feel like this is a blunder on Sanders part that he should just fix by releasing his taxes, but it's hard to see why he wouldn't have done it years ago if that was the case. There must be a really good reason for him to put himself in this position.

No. If he wants to be serious about running for president, he needs to release his taxes. There is no excuse for his not doing so, and the excuses need to stop.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:28 PM on February 20 [23 favorites]


This IS the heart of the disagreement: whether or not one thinks addressing economic issues in a race-and-gender-blind way is the exact same thing as addressing racial and gendered oppression alongside economic issues.

I'd put it a little differently, if only to emphasize that none of the three options I mentioned are committed to claiming that addressing economic issues in a race-and-gender-blind way is the same as addressing racial and gendered oppression alongside economic issues. More often, I'd expect people to claim that racial and gendered oppression are so deeply rooted in so many basic institutions that it doesn't make sense to talk about addressing them alongside anything, since that would imply those forms of oppression are isolated and incidental features of those institutions (and that seeing them as isolated and incidental is one of neoliberalism's chief failings). That need not commit them to saying that racial and gendered oppression is the same as economic oppression or that the remedy those sort of unjust institutions must be race or gender blind.

Which isn't to disagree with your point but rather to carve out a place for socialists who take it seriously. There are definitely people who (wrongly) think that racial and gender oppression is just a species of economic oppression that can or should be remedied by race-and-gender-blind policies. That's a fourth option that's a lot less plausible and liberatory than the first three. I think it's worth keeping distinct if only because a lot of socialists talk about all four options as if they were interchangeable, and a lot of critics of socialism talk about the fourth option as if it were the only one.
posted by This time is different. at 12:44 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]


To avoid abusing the edit window, I think Sanders has doubled-down on option 1 rather than option 4.
posted by This time is different. at 12:51 PM on February 20


The confusion here seems to arise from the fact that gender- and race-blind effort to tackle economic inequality perpetuates structural racism and sexism while at the same time bettering the lives of PoC and women by alleviating economic pressures on us in absolute terms. But of course, women and/or PoC's economic pressure is alleviated to a lesser extent than those on white men are, because a gender- and race-blind approach intrinsically privileges and caters to white men).

Does it though? If Bernie is running on a platform of "help out people who are getting the short end of the stick", and women and PoC are getting the short end of the stick, then it doesn't follow that they will gain relatively less from his policies than the affluent and privileged. To take your listing of Bernie's policy items from much earlier:

- expand Social Security
- medicare for all
- jobs guarantee
- legalize marijuana
- tuition-free public colleges
- $15 min wage
- break up big banks

The majority of these policy items deliver the majority of their aid to the less affluent and privileged. Well off people don't really need medicare for all, or a jobs guarantee, or social security, or a $15 minimum wage. They can pay for their own kids' college, and can pay for lawyers if their kids are caught with pot.

Or to put it another way, there's the famous Atwater quote that:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “*!@, *!@, *!@.” By 1968 you can’t say “*!@”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “*!@, *!@.”

When republican leaders say that "We want to cut this welfare program!", it's correctly understood as a racist dog-whistle to their racist base. But when Bernie comes along and says "We want to expand this welfare program!", some people interpret that as... a racist dogwhistle from a racist old man? It just doesn't follow.
posted by Balna Watya at 1:15 PM on February 20 [9 favorites]


Quoting for context:

(1) economic institutions are fundamental and must be changed in order to eradicate racial and gendered oppression

(4) racial and gender oppression is just a species of economic oppression that can or should be remedied by race-and-gender-blind policies.

Bernie has doubled down on (4), not (1) - he rails against "identity politics" and insists that race- and gender-blind policies are the only way forward. If (1) allows opposition to identity politics and consistently talking about only economics even when directly pressed to speak of race , then (4) and (1) are identical.
posted by MiraK at 1:16 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


But when Bernie comes along and says "We want to expand this welfare program!", some people interpret that as... a racist dogwhistle from a racist old man? It just doesn't follow.

It was famously said of Social Security in its initial incarnation that it had holes big enough for minorities to fall through. The reason the race and gender blind approach doesn't work is that too often, these programs are set up in ways that, either through malice or ignorance, cause the dispossessed to fall out if specific consideration isn't made for them.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:27 PM on February 20 [14 favorites]


The reason the race and gender blind approach doesn't work is that too often, these programs are set up in ways that, either through malice or ignorance, cause the dispossessed to fall out if specific consideration isn't made for them.

So let's take the biggest planks in Bernie's platform: Medicare for all, free tuition, a job guarantee, and a living wage. What considerations need to be made in these programs to avoid the situation you are talking about?
posted by FakeFreyja at 1:32 PM on February 20 [4 favorites]


So let's take the biggest planks in Bernie's platform: Medicare for all, free tuition, a job guarantee, and a living wage. What considerations need to be made in these programs to avoid the situation you are talking about?

I'll echo that question. It's a legitimate concern, but what are any other candidates proposing that would match or exceed Sanders' agenda in terms of the benefit to, and representation/visibility of marginalized groups?

It's hard to not cynically parse some of this as a call for better marketing or a "woke coat of paint" (as Kitty Stardust phrased it yesterday) and not much else. I would love to identify opportunities that Sanders (or anyone else) could be actively pursing on that front.
posted by dreamlanding at 1:43 PM on February 20 [6 favorites]


As others have said, "free tuition" is wonderful in concept but flawed in execution when minorities often do not receive an equal college-preparatory education and still don't have the same shot at getting into the better public colleges. Yes, the perfect might be the enemy of the good, but this is (I think) what people mean when they say these policies implicitly privilege/benefit white people more.
posted by nakedmolerats at 1:45 PM on February 20 [19 favorites]


That seems like a problem better solved with a "yes, and" rather than shooting the whole thing down out of hand.
posted by FakeFreyja at 1:49 PM on February 20 [5 favorites]


So let's take the biggest planks in Bernie's platform: Medicare for all, free tuition, a job guarantee, and a living wage. What considerations need to be made in these programs to avoid the situation you are talking about?

Well, for a job guarantee, where are the jobs, how can people get to them, how accessible will they be for people with disabilities, are they going to compete with jobs from the private sector, how will they be funded and so on.

My question with Sanders isn't the dream, but the method he chooses to try and obtain it. What he prioritizes and how implementing what he can accomplish will work with the system as it is. I'm not saying these things shouldn't be done, but, for me, there are other things that must go along with free tuition and jobs guarantees and more answers needed about how the 15 dollar minimum wage will work in both big cities and small and not mostly benefit national corporations with economies of scale.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:50 PM on February 20 [10 favorites]


the current dipshit in chief couldn't even get a stupid symbolic wall built when his own party held congress

Obama basically had to spend all of his political capital and then some for his healthcare plan, and only after massive compromises

I think it's very relevant and important what Sanders chooses to foreground as his priorities, and assume that achieving even the biggest and simplest of them will be a significant challenge, to say nothing of how his own track record of mentoring successors, forging allegiances, and connecting with people outside of his stanbase will affect his chances of succeeding
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:54 PM on February 20 [15 favorites]



So let's take the biggest planks in Bernie's platform: Medicare for all, free tuition, a job guarantee, and a living wage. What considerations need to be made in these programs to avoid the situation you are talking about?

Sanders should not have been willing to trade away abortion rights in order to secure Medicare for all.

He should not have prioritized free tuition for college over free early childhood education. From a purely economic perspective the reasons why he might do this are unfathomable, because it's literally like proposing "free cake for all" as a solution to famine. But it becomes fathomable when you realize: the reason for his blind spot is sexism. Early childhood care is woman's work. Alleviating women's burdens is not on his radar.

A jobs guarantee and living wage plans ideally ought to include some semblance of consideration for unwaged workers such as family caregivers, and have something meaningful to say about migrant workers.

Obviously this is impossibly nitpicky. But you are asking me to play a rigged game. The problem is not what is on his platform, but what's missing. What's missing is intersectionality.

If, on the whole, Sanders would spend say 20% of his time talking about race, gender, or other issues ON THEIR OWN TERMS, without turning into "hey it was economics all along!", this whole thread would die. But here we are, nitpicking his individual policies to somehow, somehow, introduce a modicum of intersectionality in there.
posted by MiraK at 2:08 PM on February 20 [31 favorites]


Bernie has doubled down on (4), not (1) - he rails against "identity politics" and insists that race- and gender-blind policies are the only way forward. If (1) allows opposition to identity politics , then (4) and (1) are identical.

I think you can fairly call 4 a species of 1, but they're not identical, and they differ in important ways. To say that economic institutions are fundamental in the creation and reproduction of race and gender oppression is to make a much more general claim than saying that they are fundamental because racism and sexism are just a kind of economic oppression. Similarly, 1) doesn't say anything about how racial and gendered oppression must be addressed, while 4 says not only that that they must be addressed by race- and gender- blind policies, they must be addressed that way because racism and sexism just are a form of economic oppression. 4) commits you to 1) but 1) doesn't commit you to 4).

Someone who endorses 1) and insists on race- and gender-blind policies isn't even necessarily committed to 4. You might think think that race- and gender-blind policies are easier to pass, administer, and maintain in the face of political opposition, making them strategically superior to targeted alternatives. Or you might think that the components of race and gendered oppression that are most pressing and that the government is well-positioned to address are those components that can be addressed by race- and gender-blind policies. (The government isn't, for example, going to be in a position to outlaw the Catholic Church for refusing to ordain women even though that's a form of gendered oppression connected to a basic social institution).

I'm not persuaded by those arguments because (among other reasons) I think we ought to pay reparations and that is not a race or gender blind policy. That doesn't really matter when assessing Sanders, though, because even those candidates who have argued for some form of reparations (Harris and Booker are the only ones I know of) have limited their calls to race-blind, universal programs that would indirectly aid communities of color more than white communities---just like Medicare for All or increased Social Security payments would do. None of the candidates are calling for greater student loan forgiveness for women than men or higher minimum wages for people of color than whites. There's talk of forgiving community college student loans instead of all student loans, but even that is a race- and gender-blind policy. The candidates do support some race- and gender-specific policies like WIC and affirmative action, but as far as I know they all support these. The distinction between Sanders (and Warren) and, say Klobuchar, is whether these programs are to be universal or subject to economic means testing, and that is explicitly race- and gender-blind.

As for railing against identity politics, I think it's another case of different people using the same term for different things. Some folks object to identity politics meaning that they object to politics that mentions oppression based on identity. Tucker Carlson is one such person. Bernie Sanders, who frequently talks about oppression based on identity, is not. Other folks object to identity politics as a kind of politics separates oppression on the basis of identity from the basic structure of society, such that justice can be achieved without changing those institutions. (e.g., hire more women prison guards.) This, I think, is Sanders' position. It's not one I agree with and I think calling *that* identity politics is insensitive and tone-deaf at best, but it's not the same as 4.
posted by This time is different. at 2:10 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


The problem is not what is on his platform, but what's missing.

Does he have a platform? My understanding from this thread is he hasn't published it yet.
posted by edeezy at 2:22 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]


One of the key difficulties for free tuition/college for all, is that colleges are meritocratic by design and, to large extent, societal need. We want the best students to be given the best opportunities to be doctors or engineers or first violinists or whatever because that provides the greatest social benefit.

Colleges by function allow social standing and wealth to distort the best outcomes, which college for all seems like it should fix, but without addressing that specifically likely won't fix sufficiently as it simply places more people into the lottery system of getting good jobs after graduation, some individuals who previously were left out certainly would benefit by that, but by necessity will still end up leaving most behind, and the largest group will be those who came from the least prepared backgrounds.

Making a priority of free tuition before dealing with the systemic problems of the university system, which are many, won't solve the underlying societal bias and economic issues that are causing the huge amount of debt being accrued by students. Having the government pick up that bill without first dealing with the reasons for its continuing growth is a potential economic disaster.

Looking at entry to college as the same thing as providing income after is a mistake. The need is to make college less necessary for everyone to attend in order to make a good living while also making it more obtainable by anyone who does seek to gain addition education and the jobs that come from it. Treating college as blindly egalitarian doesn't make sense as that isn't its design and really can't be save as a continuation of high school, if that's what is desired, but even then, high schools don't treat everyone equally either.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:32 PM on February 20 [7 favorites]


He should not have prioritized free tuition for college over free early childhood education.

We've already been over this, but he hasn't done this. You made this inference from a single tweet that listed a small number of his preferred policies in order of how strong their polling was. It did not include his whole platform and it did not say anything about relative prioritization. This has been pointed out multiple times in this thread. It's really annoying that I have to point it out again. You are lying, and it's been pointed out that you're lying, and you keep repeating the lie.

It's hard to feel like you're arguing in good faith when you keep willfully ignoring this fact.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 2:38 PM on February 20 [17 favorites]


One of the top messages that gets hammered online is if you don't like Sanders then you are not a real Socialist, Leftist, or hate universal healthcare or any of the other policies on his platform. As if he is the only one that can represent those ideas. Why is that? Why are people constantly attacked with this? It seems very important to some faction, outside of campaigning, that all energy in that direction be corralled toward Sanders

Yeah, this. I have to say a large part of my dread over Bernie running is what the aftermath of his candidacy did to my marriage--the nasty things my husband said about Hillary, all while insisting he wasn't saying anything nasty and that Bernie bros weren't real. The irony of it all. He voted for HRC but on the working families party ticket and has been very blunt in telling me how he thinks she's fake and evil.

I'd been arguing with him for socialist health care since 2002, and that was one of the big reasons I supported Hillary in her first primary run against Obama. My husband at the time was a libertarian-leaning person who never voted, who somehow was galvanized by Sanders (as was I, at the time!) and who refused to believe me that, though she weakened on her stance by the 2016 election, Hillary was a long term proponent of socialist healthcare policies. I have logistical concerns with Sanders' candidacy now: his age (maybe it's ageist of me, but watching our same-age parents have strokes has certainly made me nervous about someone this age leading the country), the fact that a lot of women still harbor anger at him as a symbol, his lack of sway with voters of color. In terms of electability, I favor Booker or even Harris, even though they are very different from me politically. To my husband, anyone who is not Bernie--including Warren--is a corporate shill. He has told me that because I supported Clinton in the general I am not a real socialist and just last night was saying how Bernie is the "only" real chance against Trump. I asked him if there might not be younger candidates bernie would be able to throw his weight behind and he insisted that my inability to name any meant that no, it's only Bernie, and, a few years from now, AOC.

None of this would matter beyond the vortex of my household except my husband also helps run a leftist meme group on fb where he disseminates these attitudes to several hundred thousand people several times a day and there's something about the sway of it all--the sway of Sanders, the leftist purity tests--that make me really uneasy. It feels weaponized.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:39 PM on February 20 [44 favorites]


I would vote for a literal potato to be the president of the united states--with a big smile on my face--if it meant denying Donald fucking Trump a second term.


There is only one way I would be SUPER enthused to vote for Biden, and that would be if he chose Obama as his running mate.

I am more enthused to vote for Bernie.

But I am most enthused to vote for a woman or a POC.
posted by chainsofreedom at 2:51 PM on February 20 [3 favorites]


One Second, I want to gently point out that I was responding to a question posed by a Sanders supporter which said free tuition -but not early childhood ed - was one of the biggest planks of Sanders's platform. The assumption you find so objectionable was not even mine.
posted by MiraK at 2:53 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]


Obama's having to spend his political capital and then some on the ACA makes me think: No matter what a terrific platform Bernie (or for that matter any other candidate) might have, does he have the political capital to put it in action? Can he get Congress in his corner? If we can't flip the Senate in 2020, how much can a Republican Senate obstruct Bernie's platform? Will we see a repeat of the aftermath of the ACA in 2010 (not to mention 2014, which was a bloodbath) when Congress became redder and redder and successfully stymied much of what Obama tried to do? (See: Garland, Merrick.)

Bipartisanism and working across the aisle and etc. is as dead as Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan, but ideally a President has enough political and social capital to be able to work with Congress. And also ideally, Congress is not so weighted toward the other party that all we get is gridlock. I have heard many a wistful liberal reminisce about FDR and LBJ and their bully pulpits and their leaderly leadership. Both Roosevelt and Johnson had Democratic Congresses on their side. Leadership and a bully pulpit will only get a President so far.

The tl;dr of it is, does Bernie have the clout, the political capital, to put his plans into action? Can he work with Congress? I don't doubt that Elizabeth Warren or Kirsten Gillibrand can. I'm honestly not sure about Bernie.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:54 PM on February 20 [10 favorites]


if he chose Obama as his running mate.

Michelle, right?

(Yes, I know she's stated repeatedly she'll never run for anything)
posted by FJT at 2:58 PM on February 20 [5 favorites]


if he chose Obama as his running mate.

Michelle, right?


I was thinking Barack but Michelle would be even better!!!
posted by chainsofreedom at 2:59 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]


I think Bernie did a great job bringing certain issues to the national conversation but wish he would step back this time. I really don't look forward to relitigating the 2016 election, as we're doing here but on a national level, nor do I think it could possibly have a good outcome. Fresh blood, please.
posted by Emily's Fist at 3:00 PM on February 20 [7 favorites]


After Klobuchar threw her hat in the ring, the initial big story was her mistreatment of staff. In a different discussion thread, it came up that Sanders has a similar problem. Anger Management: Sanders Fights for Employees, Except His Own (Aug. 25, 2015, Seven Days, "Vermont's Independent Voice.") (This opinion piece also delves into his aversion to the media.)

Also, it reflects poorly on Sanders that his second apology for the harassment in his 2016 campaign came after Politico revealed the federal discrimination complaint (which named Robert Becker, who was at the center of the first set of revelations) against the campaign and the subsequent 30K settlement. During the Anderson Cooper interview, Sanders said he was unaware of allegations during the campaign; in his second apology, he said he was unaware of this settlement. (WaPo)

On preview: chainsofreedom, Joe "abortion is always wrong" Biden can't sensibly pick Barack Obama as his running mate, but Michelle Robinson Obama would be an option (not that she'd accept). Besides, I thought Biden was past his self-imposed decision deadline.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:02 PM on February 20 [14 favorites]


I know he wouldn't pick Barack. But there's no law saying he couldn't, and I think it would be highly entertaining to see.
posted by chainsofreedom at 3:04 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]


I think that, arguably, Bernie stuck around in the primaries, even after he probably couldn't win, so that he could shape the party platform.
https://www.thenation.com/article/how-bernie-sanders-delivered-the-most-progressive-platform-in-democratic-party-history/

I don't really feel strongly in favor of any of the democratic candidates who have announced. That said, I'm a little sad to see tribalism around candidates already forming, instead of discussions of the issues. Right now, I'm personally more interested in articulating the policy differences between Trump and the democratic party with an eye on swing voters/people who chose not to vote last election, and countering the effects of voter suppression efforts like photo ID.
posted by gryftir at 3:06 PM on February 20 [3 favorites]


I agree with gusottertrout's points.

The whole discussion of free college actually pisses me off, and I know others who feel the same.
Free college is for people who've already had a good K-12 education, and that's not nearly enough people. Basic education is being starved and destroyed and that should be where the focus is.

We really need to stop focusing so much on college educations, everyone doesn't need one, and I feel like that employer requirement for so many jobs is itself just an acceptable form of discrimination, and the main reason it happens. When companies post jobs and require a degree, even though that degree has nothing to do with the job, they know what they are doing. They're trying to weed certain people out.

Cheap college? Now you're talking. That's a requirement for the future. There is a huge difference between cheap and free. The promise of free college is pandering.
posted by bongo_x at 3:38 PM on February 20 [14 favorites]


Bernie Sanders, who frequently talks about oppression based on identity, is not. Other folks object to identity politics as a kind of politics separates oppression on the basis of identity from the basic structure of society, such that justice can be achieved without changing those institutions. (e.g., hire more women prison guards.) This, I think, is Sanders' position.

Sanders has gone out of his way to complain about unspecified competitor candidates who are supposedly basing on their appeals solely on their gender or race. This is garbage. If you're going to talk about Sanders's attitude towards racial and gender justice, you need to sit with this garbage.

I voted for Sanders in the 2016 primary because I thought Hillary Clinton needed to be pressured left economically. He has since demonstrated that he is not some old leftist who is having difficulty fully assimilating newer analyses of how economic change fails to bring about racial and social justice; he is actively positioning himself as the candidate for white guys who think the real problem with the current economy is that it leaves some white guys out and the big challenge of the left is to make the women and POC fall in line lest they threaten the project of fixing the real problem with the economy.

No, thank you.
posted by praemunire at 3:40 PM on February 20 [27 favorites]


I like Sanders because he doesn't seem inclined to work with Congress. Unless Congress is Dem heavy enough for their policies to be positive, the only roles I want the president to take are:

1) vetoing bad "bipartisan" bills even if they are popular
2) judicial nominees
3) national agenda setting
4) avoiding bullshit military engagements even if they are popular

A willingness to not work with others is a huge benefit when it comes to the psychos the Republicans have been putting in office.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 3:42 PM on February 20 [4 favorites]


Briahna Joy Gray: "In my latest, I argue that the power of universal programs to close the racial wealth gap is being minimized by status quo enforcers who claim that race-first policies are better, while offering no concrete examples. Beyond the Rising Tide: Reparations for Slavery Have to Be More Than a Symbol:
It is true that universal programs without race-specific interventions are not enough. The failures of the New Deal illustrate how universal solutions can inadequately provide for the needs of the marginalized. But the reality that universal programs don’t always go far enough should not be perverted into an argument that universal programs aren’t integral to the task of closing the racial wealth gap.

Booker went on to make the case for his criminal justice bill, the beneficiaries of which are overwhelmingly African-American: “When you fix the system, you help poor white folks who get screwed by the system as well, but disproportionately, you’re gonna help those people who are most affected by an unjust criminal justice system,” he argued.

Booker is right. The unfortunate overlap between poverty and some historically marginalized identity groups means that when programs are equitably designed, a rising tide will disproportionately improve their fates: Since 1 out of 3 non-elderly Latinos and 1 out of 4 non-elderly blacks lack health insurance, those groups stand to be some of the biggest beneficiaries of “Medicare for All.” Blacks and Latinos are more likely to rely on Social Security benefits as an exclusive source of retirement income than whites, meaning attacks on Social Security threaten those groups disproportionately as well. Blacks and Latinos are overrepresented among minimum wage jobs, meaning we stand to gain more from a $15 minimum wage. And on, and on, and on.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:52 PM on February 20 [9 favorites]


MiraK had a great comment detailing some things Sanders could be talking about to boost recognition of issues marginalized people are facing. I also agree with her conclusion that if 20% of his time was spent talking about these issues this would be less of an argument.

What I still can't put together just yet is what Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton (in 2016), or anyone else someone with these concerns might prefer in lieu of Sanders, is offering marginalized groups aside from symbolism that goes beyond what Sanders all-encompassing ideas would.

I know there is no perfect candidate, but if we are all on some level of agreement that Sanders is doing a good job of addressing X and not Y, can we point to anyone else who *is* addressing Y genuinely? Or even doing as good of a job addressing X?
posted by dreamlanding at 4:04 PM on February 20 [7 favorites]


This is garbage. If you're going to talk about Sanders's attitude towards racial and gender justice, you need to sit with this garbage.

The rest of that line you're objecting to is: This, I think, is Sanders' position. It's not one I agree with and I think calling *that* identity politics is insensitive and tone-deaf at best...

I suppose I should have been less understated. I think that objections to "identity politics," even on the interpretation I attribute to Sanders, are sexist and racist. I think they are sexist and racist in a meaningfully different way from, say, Tucker Carlson's and that the differences have a lot to do with what they think is unjust about our social institutions. If you want to call that garbage, fair enough.
posted by This time is different. at 4:06 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


You know who's really looking forward to Bernie campaigning in the Democratic primaries?

@realDonaldTrump: "Crazy Bernie has just entered the race. I wish him well!"

This echoes what he told reporters yesterday (w/video): "Personally, I think he missed his time. But I like Bernie[.…] I wish Bernie well. I think what I happened to Bernie was maybe not so nice. I think he was taken advantage of. He ran great 4 years ago and he was not treated with respect by Clinton. And that was too bad."
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:31 PM on February 20 [5 favorites]


Jeb Lund, Dunks Without End
Forever is the online Bernie War, the most depressing addition to social media platforms whose primary utility already seemed to be rapid distribution of racism, misogyny and threat. It’s people who waited their entire lives for a social democrat to have a viable shot at the presidency, versus women who’ve waited all of theirs to finally see a president who represents the other half of the human population, and all of them are becoming their worst selves in the process.

[...]

And the worst thing about it is that it really, most of the time, doesn’t matter—not even for the people reluctantly dragged into it, warring only because injustice or mendacity overbore their silence on an issue they believe cannot be met with it. Most of the time, it’s a rehearsal of a fencing duel in a high school play. No matter how seamless and artful, no matter how many touches, it plays to a mostly empty room scattered with nerds. The rest of the world is outside.

[...]

It’s a lesson still only impermanently learned, and we will learn and unlearn it repeatedly over the next 21 months of soul-sucking slog. But we should really probably try to make it stick this time. If nothing else, after two years of broad acceptance of Russian election interference among the Democratic coalition, maybe it’s time to accept that the most noxious elements of less favored candidates and their followers are just as easily falsifiable as the most noxious elements of yours. Maybe the forum deserves as much blame as the participants.

There will always be people overjoyed to tell you that your candidate sucks and, by the transitive property, you suck, and they will not always be wrong. But these people, when non-automated, will almost always represent the medium and not the message. That someone you don’t know is calling you an idiot for who you are or what you believe just means that you’re on the internet at the time.
I feel like he's calling me out but it's an important thing to remember.
posted by edeezy at 4:43 PM on February 20 [11 favorites]


What I still can't put together just yet is what Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton (in 2016), or anyone else someone with these concerns might prefer in lieu of Sanders, is offering marginalized groups aside from symbolism

"Aside from symbolism"??

It's deeply offensive how this phrase minimizes and dismisses many of this season's candidates living and embodying the very oppressions Sanders not only fails to recognize in his platform, but also blithely, carelessly perpetuates because of his white male privilege (see many of the listed "gaffes" in this thread which are actually unacceptable displays of racism and sexism).

This is not how you convince people that the Sanders campaign accords race and gender issues due respect.

At this point in the race, not many candidates are well known to the public and none have released comprehensive platforms. But Sanders is not like that. He is well known and IMO disqualifies him: wafer-thin resume over too long a career, all the racism and sexism, not releasing his taxes, ties to Russia during 2016 campaign, playing to a white male base, and his cult of personality.
posted by MiraK at 4:55 PM on February 20 [21 favorites]


DoktorZed, I remember when the Democrats were excited about George W. Bush and Donald Trump campaigning in the Republican primaries. How'd that work out?

Besides, the Democratic Party has given the Republicans veto power over their policies for my entire political life. I hope they're not going to give them control over their candidate selection, too.
posted by MrBadExample at 5:00 PM on February 20 [8 favorites]


Booker's and Harris's largely universal plans, and also the issue of symbols was addressed in the Rising Tides article above.
“I have a specific agenda for the American people,” started Booker. But for Charlamagne, and many other black Americans, a generalized American agenda isn’t a substitute for a plan that specifically addresses the needs of black folks.

“They always say a rising tide lifts all boats,” Charlamagne interrupted, “but we don’t really see that in our communities.”

Charlamagne elaborated on this idea during his interview with Harris: “I think when it comes to black people in America, Democrats, for whatever reason, when you ask them … usually we get that whole ‘rising tides raise all boats’ or ‘all Americans’ rhetoric, and I think black people just want to hear specific things for them, and I always wonder, ‘Why are people afraid to say what they would specifically do for black people?’”
...
For some, a black face heading a campaign will be reassurance enough that African-American interests are being advanced. But following Barack Obama’s presidency, the assumption that a black president will put black interests first has been complicated. Obama’s approach to the mortgage crisis famously bailed out big banks before homeowners, and black Americans were hit harder than any other group — losing 40 percent of our collective wealth in the crisis.

Still, during her appearance on “The Breakfast Club,” Harris encountered none of the pushback Booker received, despite the two giving similar answers to the “black agenda” question. Harris argued that the black agenda “must include HBCUs,” and she pointed to her LIFT bill, which would give families making under $100,000 a year a monthly tax credit. She also referenced criminal justice reform and maternal mortality.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:11 PM on February 20 [6 favorites]


What I still can't put together just yet is what Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton (in 2016), or anyone else someone with these concerns might prefer in lieu of Sanders, is offering marginalized groups aside from symbolism

Not much as yet? Both Clinton and Obama touched on their life experiences as a white woman and a black man respectively, but both shied away from making identity a full-throated war cry - because the received political wisdom was that You Can't Do That. It will be interesting to see if this is one of the many things that have changed since 2016. I haven't seen anything from the figures you mentioned that suggests that any of them are presently planning to make focused policy intervention of behalf of specific marginalized groups (either those to whom they belong or not) a core part of their promise. But we're at the start of things, after all.
posted by AdamCSnider at 5:18 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


I like Sanders because he doesn't seem inclined to work with Congress.

neither does trump

you know, at times, we've got to look at the big picture and for decades we've had a government that doesn't work well with itself

with all the talk about social justice, socialism, climate change and what have you, none of it's going to work worth a damn unless we have a government that works worth a damn and we don't have one

who might be a candidate who can help with that?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:44 PM on February 20 [13 favorites]


I think they are sexist and racist in a meaningfully different way from, say, Tucker Carlson's and that the differences have a lot to do with what they think is unjust about our social institutions. If you want to call that garbage, fair enough.

I'm sorry if I misunderstood you. But I don't see any particular reason to draw qualitative distinctions between what Carlson does and what Sanders does. Is Carlson substantially worse than Sanders? Unquestionably! But Sanders is ultimately doing his bit for white supremacy, too.

if we are all on some level of agreement that Sanders is doing a good job of addressing X and not Y,

This is too generous a framing, because it implies neutrality or indifference towards Y. With his identity politics rhetoric, Sanders is setting X against Y. It's part of his appeal. It's what draws the white boys who relentlessly harass everyone else on Twitter. If you care about X and Y, Sanders is not for you, in a way that might not be true of other candidates who emphasize economic issues but don't make an explicit effort to undermine racial/gender issues along the way.
posted by praemunire at 5:47 PM on February 20 [12 favorites]


To repeat what I wrote the last time Sanders declared he was running for president, but this time with linkage!

Happy Days are Here Again
posted by bukvich at 5:47 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


But Sanders is ultimately doing his bit for white supremacy, too.

Damn, does that mean all of us people of color who support him are also doing our bit for white supremacy too?

What is that bit exactly?

Does this mean I get to be governor of Virginia?
posted by Ouverture at 5:49 PM on February 20 [21 favorites]


[Couple things nixed. Folks, try and just take a step or two back on the back-and-forth sniping all around in here, it's really really not gonna help anything.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:10 PM on February 20 [4 favorites]


I would love it if we could cool it on all the "you like a different political candidate than me and you differ slightly in your preferred tactics for addressing oppression, therefore you are a racist and a sexist" talk that's been taking up half of this thread.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 6:21 PM on February 20 [23 favorites]


Yeah, and blaming a Jew for white supremacy is probably not the best look.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 6:34 PM on February 20 [22 favorites]


But I don't see any particular reason to draw qualitative distinctions between what Carlson does and what Sanders does. Is Carlson substantially worse than Sanders? Unquestionably! But Sanders is ultimately doing his bit for white supremacy, too.

Insofar as he uses the term identity politics in a dismissive way, I think it's fair and important to call that racist and sexist (and heterosexist, and cissexist, and ableist, etc.). Doing so is part of a critique of the same sort that points out failures of intersectionality in any movement that plausibly professes to be a liberatory one. See, for example, various criticisms of the women's march for doing its bit for anti-Semitism, racism, ableism, and cissexism. Those criticisms ought to be made and ought to be taken seriously.

But that absolutely shouldn't be confused with calling Tucker Carlson racist or sexist. He's doing something very, very different. Take away the sexism and racism and homophobia, etc. from Carlson and there's nothing left. Pointing out the racism and sexism isn't pointing out flaws; the oppression is the point.

Put another way, pointing out the ways the the women's suffrage movement was racist is important, but pointing out the ways it was racist isn't the same as pointing out the ways the WKKK was racist (even when membership overlapped). Any account of oppression that collapses those two is going to be more cartoon than critique.

I mean, if you can't see a qualitative difference in what Sanders, a democratic socialist, and Carlson, a fascist, are doing I don't know what to say. Carlson is motivated by a sincere belief in and desire for white supremacy. The consequences of his preferred projects will leave all marginalized groups worse off than before and and he will will regard his project as a failure if they do not. Whatever else you might say about Sanders, you can't say any of that about him. That doesn't exempt Sanders from criticism, but it does mean the criticism is different.
posted by This time is different. at 6:46 PM on February 20 [15 favorites]


Framing Sanders, whose family died in or fled the Holocaust and who was arrested for protesting segregation in 1963 while leader of the University of Chicago Congress of Racial Equality, as a fellow traveler of the people murdering us in the streets and in our places of worship does leave a bad taste.
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:46 PM on February 20 [27 favorites]


Framing Sanders, whose family died in or fled the Holocaust and who was arrested for protesting segregation in 1963 while leader of the University of Chicago Congress of Racial Equality, as a fellow traveler of the people murdering us in the streets and in our places of worship does leave a bad taste.

Bobby Jindal, Nicky Haley, Tulsi Gabbard, Clarence Thomas - all have been criticized for their racist episodes and rightly so. I'm a woman of color and I've been correctly called out on my own racism and sexism on occasion. None of us are immune to being infected by white supremacist ideas, it is the water we swim in.

Sanders is an old white man, and like many other old white men he has displayed appallingly outdated views of racial dynamics in America. To claim he is exempt from getting called out on this because of his Jewish heritage... I can't even. It reeks.
posted by MiraK at 7:00 PM on February 20 [24 favorites]


To claim he is exempt from getting called out on this because of his Jewish heritage... I can't even. It reeks.

Jewish heritage does not preclude someone from being called out for racism. Saying that he's "doing his part for white supremacy" at the moment of the greatest resurgence of militant, universally right-wing white supremacist violence in decades, though? That reeks.

White supremacist power is currently taking shape as fascism, its ideological opposition is socialism, and ideological antifascists are on the whole extremely pro-Bernie. Heather Heyer was a strong Bernie supporter who was killed confronting white-supremacist Nazis and is representative of the position of Bernie supporters as a whole on white supremacy: something to fight to your last. "White supremacism" is more than the underlying atmospheric mid-20th-century racism of an old Jewish socialist, in my mind. I believe it to be an inherently right-wing concept, and I see applying it to the only clearly left-wing voice in the room as a disservice at this moment, particularly given that he was fighting white supremacy at a time when young Jewish anti-segregation activists were being murdered for it.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:28 PM on February 20 [28 favorites]


The thing about this argument is, it's basically the following:

person A: I feel a certain way, very strongly; I feel that way for these reasons

person B: well, stop, because your reasons are wrong

(please note the lack of political affiliation in these characters)

and when in the entire history of human psychology has that exchange ever gone well, or led anywhere productive, outside of certain very select, usually academic or legal, circumstances where everyone knows they're there to be argued into and out of positions?
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 7:35 PM on February 20 [12 favorites]


Ideologically speaking, socialism is about dismantling hierarchies of oppression, fascism is about strengthening hierarchies of oppression, and liberalism is about keeping the hierarchies of oppression exactly the same as they are now (give or take a few micrometers depending on how the wind is blowing).
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:36 PM on February 20 [11 favorites]


And to be clear, I'm talking about the classical definition of liberalism, which I would say encompasses most of the Democratic Party as well as the increasingly small non-fascist wing of the Republican Party.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:42 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]


The extent to that Bernie haters - even in this thread - use lies, distortions, and whataboutism to build up a straw man they can focus their hate on is astounding. Sanders' policies are largely known because he has been very consistent. If people want a candidate that focuses on other policies that's fine but there's absolutely no need for this type of slander.
posted by patrick54 at 10:41 PM on February 20 [9 favorites]


It doesn't strike me as kind or accurate to attribute what has mostly looked to me as legitimate differences of opinion as "lies, distortions, and whataboutism" and "slander". People can dislike Sanders without being subjected to that kind of attack. And I kinda like Sanders, if obviously not to the extent that some people apparently do to provoke that sort of outrage on his behalf.
posted by Justinian at 10:49 PM on February 20 [22 favorites]


I don't even know if I like Sanders or not, but I like that he's there to present an alternate message, and if he didn't run for 2020 then it would be necessary to invent a similar candidate. In the meantime, the Democrats need to hold a Truth and Reconciliation Commission of their own and quit the infighting.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:01 AM on February 21 [3 favorites]


Primary politics starts this early because it has to if you are going to have vote - by - mail or any form of early voting. I’m not happy about it, but it’s inevitable. Democrats in particular had a hard time learning to make the most of the growth of absentee voting and vote by mail. It’s a much more expensive and wearing election cycle. I know it won’t be long before I’m down at HQ slaving over a hot phone, living on ramen and Cokes.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 1:08 AM on February 21


I find it bizarre the number of anti-Sanders folks here who love AOC. Their politics are practically the same.
posted by moorooka at 1:36 AM on February 21 [7 favorites]


I find it bizarre the number of anti-Sanders folks here who love AOC. Their politics are practically the same.

Why, exactly, is that bizzare? I'd say that indicates that the issue people have isn't with the message, but the messenger.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:41 AM on February 21 [20 favorites]


wafer-thin resume over too long a career, all the racism and sexism, not releasing his taxes, ties to Russia during 2016 campaign, playing to a white male base, and his cult of personality.

wait, what? Bernie is Trump? I try to stay the fuck outta these threads because they make me sick, but no. Bernie is not Trump. I'm out again for the foreseeable future, you folks have a nice campaign.
posted by mwhybark at 1:51 AM on February 21 [8 favorites]


I'd say that indicates that the issue people have isn't with the message, but the messenger.

Not the substance, but the style.
posted by moorooka at 2:27 AM on February 21 [5 favorites]


I guess what’s ‘bizarre’ is intelligent people putting style over substance when the stakes are literally life or death
posted by moorooka at 2:36 AM on February 21 [10 favorites]


I guess what’s ‘bizarre’ is intelligent people putting style over substance when the stakes are literally life or death

That is exactly the message that needed to come through in 2016 after Bernie lost and it didn’t. I know Bernie supporters (not trolls, not bots, actual people) who sat the election out because they couldn’t bear to vote for Hillary or voted third party and look where we are now. Bernie accusing Clinton and the establishment of machinations and wrongdoings all the way into JULY was part and parcel of why this happened, along with the cult of personality that made it so that it could ONLY BE BERNIE and no one else.

Some of us don’t like his style because his style is sexist and narcissistic and we think his policy priorities are misplaced. Not one of us has said that we wouldn’t vote for him in the general election.

This is the fucking primary season, we are more than allowed to disagree with the candidates, all the way down to their “style”.
posted by lydhre at 2:46 AM on February 21 [33 favorites]


DoktorZed, I remember when the Democrats were excited about George W. Bush and Donald Trump campaigning in the Republican primaries. How'd that work out?

The two worst presidents of our lifetimes, probably for all time? Not sure how far this analogy is supposed to go…
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:59 AM on February 21


Some of us don’t like his style because his style is sexist and narcissistic and we think his policy priorities are misplaced.

That goes back to my original point: his policy priorities are the same as AOC’s. If you hate Bernie and love AOC, your objections are not policy related.

As for style, he is a crotchety jewish grandpa from brooklyn. I am not sure what exactly is so sexist or narcissistic in his style, but to some people challenging Clinton in a democratic primary (and accepting defeat much more gracefully than Clinton “remember RFK was shot” did with Obama) was a sexist and narcissistic act in itself.

In any case, if “M4A will never happen/my friend Kissinger” Clinton did in fact have the same substance as Bernie you would have a point, but she categorically did not. Those were not differences of style. That is not to say that people who refused to vote for Clinton were correct in what they did, but her politics was very, very different from Bernie’s and AOC’s.
posted by moorooka at 3:12 AM on February 21 [21 favorites]


This article comes pretty close to how I feel about Sanders: You Don't Have to Like Bernie Sanders to Like Bernie Sanders 
posted by octothorpe at 3:21 AM on February 21 [4 favorites]


Who says I love AOC? I think she’s a fine politician but I’m concerned, again, about the cult of personality that’s growing around her. Remember when people seriously demanded she be speaker of the goddamn house?

It’s the “Bernie/AOC or bust” nonsense that I find dangerous and dogmatic, the ideological purity tests, the “you are either with us or against us” nascent facet of the Left.

And excuse me, but when it came to Clinton vs Trump the abyss in their policies vs the similarities of Clinton and Bernie’s made it so that it was absolutely a question of “style over substance” not to vote for her. Or accelerationism, but that’s not a better look.
posted by lydhre at 3:32 AM on February 21 [25 favorites]


Well I’m talking about the people on this thread (and e.g. dailykos, Twitter) who do love AOC but hate Bernie, so if you are consistent in disliking leftist politics that’s a different story. And what you are calling ideological purity tests I would simply call political demands of the kind that have always been necessary to achieve political objectives.
posted by moorooka at 3:56 AM on February 21 [6 favorites]


The thing is, I really don’t dislike leftist politics. I am a leftist.

Ideological purity is for the primaries. You won’t achieve ANY political goals if you sit out the general because your preferred candidate didn’t win.
posted by lydhre at 4:13 AM on February 21 [11 favorites]


wafer-thin resume over too long a career, all the racism and sexism, not releasing his taxes, ties to Russia during 2016 campaign, playing to a white male base, and his cult of personality.


wait, what? Bernie is Trump?

Isn't it uncomfortable to see the similarities? No, Bernie isn't Trump - far from it - but for the reasons I listed, there is a lot to be wary of in a Bernie presidency.

AOC is not compromised in these ways (...yet, though the personality cult aspect is growing).

Better yet, AOC has shown none of the antipathy towards wider social justice issues (...yet) that Bernie has doubled down on. She is a brown woman to Bernie's white guy: that in itself is huge because living under racism and sexism all her life removed her chances of being blind to these issues like Bernie is. She consistently speaks intelligently about racism and sexism when asked, without "accidentally" saying something racist or sexist - or compulsively changing the subject to economics - which is Sanders's MO. She doesn't rail against identity politics. She's spoken up meaningfully about immigrant rights, family separations, etc without bullshit outdated isolationism that Bernie so adores. She has MORE of a track record than Bernie does of forming politically expedient alliances to get shit done, despite being 47 years younger than him.

... etc.

So I mean, freaking YES that AOC is way better than Bernie. She has all his policy made intersectional by paying due respect to other associated justice issues, and she has none of his baggage of corruption and deceit (taxes, Russia ties).

But you all will keep comforting yourself with the lie that we who hate Bernie hate him for his leftism, I guess, even though we've said over and over in this thread that we hate him for not being leftist enough in important ways (racism, sexism).
posted by MiraK at 4:40 AM on February 21 [30 favorites]


[Couple comments removed -- please be sure to reload the page.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 5:44 AM on February 21 [3 favorites]


Bernie's lifelong commitment to universal healthcare, anti-capitalism, and economic redistribution matter a lot more to me than his rhetorical style. After 8 years of Obama, saying the right things means a lot less to me than material conditions.

And based on the polling, the same holds true for the majority of people of color and women.
posted by Ouverture at 5:50 AM on February 21 [18 favorites]


You won’t achieve ANY political goals if you sit out the general because your preferred candidate didn’t win.

At the same time, how many times should Charlie Brown have the football yanked away before he stops trusting Lucy? That's how a socialist feels about the Democratic party. Some of us can hold our noses and vote for another rich neoliberal and some can't. And I don't blame them.
posted by FakeFreyja at 6:32 AM on February 21 [8 favorites]


Holy moly. It isn't even 2020 yet folks. Try to pace yourselves. I studiously avoided following the 2016 primaries. I don't think I can do that this time around but, man, if it's gonna be like this...what a shit show.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 6:34 AM on February 21 [5 favorites]


At the same time, how many times should Charlie Brown have the football yanked away before he stops trusting Lucy? That's how a socialist feels about the Democratic party. Some of us can hold our noses and vote for another rich neoliberal and some can't. And I don't blame them.

I blame them because Trump was the alternative. I will never ever understand the concept that you'd rather see the fascist win than "hold your nose" and vote for the neoliberal, because the result is farther from the socialism you want and far far far more damaging to society as a whole, including the damn fate of the planet.
posted by lydhre at 6:41 AM on February 21 [23 favorites]


I'm still waiting to hear what policies Sanders doesn't support that other Democratic primary candidates do support that will meaningfully address racism and sexism, because that question has been asked before and I don't think it's been answered. It's not like Kamala Harris is talking about reparations or something.

And don't just say "early childhood education" because we've been over this and he does support that to the point that he's introduced legislation on it.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 6:44 AM on February 21 [12 favorites]


It’s Foreign Policy That Distinguishes Bernie This Time: He’s challenging American exceptionalism in a far more radical way than his 2020 competitors are.
This time, by contrast, Sanders arguably talks about foreign policy more than any other declared candidate does. Of the four senators who launched their candidacies via video—Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Sanders—only his mentioned foreign policy. Over the past two years, Sanders has given two speeches outlining a broad foreign-policy vision. (Warren has delivered one, last November at American University, which she paired with an essay in Foreign Affairs. Booker, Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and Kirsten Gillibrand haven’t given any.) And of the senators running for president, Sanders owns the biggest foreign-policy victory of the last Congress: the vote to end U.S. funding for the Saudi war in Yemen.

[...]

What distinguishes Sanders is the same quality that distinguished him on domestic policy in 2016: his willingness to cross red lines that have long defined the boundaries of acceptable opinion. One clear example is Israel. Most of the Senate Democrats running for president have shifted left on the subject. Booker, after initially supporting legislation to criminalize boycotts of the Jewish state, voted against a similar bill last month. Warren, after defending Israeli military actions in the Gaza Strip earlier in her career, last year criticized Israel’s response to protests there. But Sanders has gone much further: He’s produced videos that call Gaza an “open-air prison,” he’s depicted Benjamin Netanyahu as part of the “growing worldwide movement toward authoritarianism,” and, most controversially of all, he’s suggested cutting U.S. military aid to Israel.

[...]

But Israel is only the beginning of Sanders’s sacrilege. He’s the only presidential candidate in recent memory who regularly describes the Cold War not as a heroic American victory, but as a cautionary tale. Sanders doesn’t just warn against U.S. military intervention in Venezuela, as Warren and Gillibrand have. He warns against it while invoking the United States’ “long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin American countries.” In his speech at Westminster College in 2017, he spent paragraph after paragraph detailing America’s disastrous 20th-century interventions: Iran, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Vietnam—a litany that resembled a Noam Chomsky lecture more than a typical presidential candidate’s foreign-policy speech.

[...]

Sanders’s darker view of Cold War foreign policy isn’t mere historical revisionism. It’s linked to his critique of American foreign policy today. Now, as then, he wants America to shun the quest for global supremacy that leads it to overthrow regimes it can’t control and to instead pursue a foreign policy based on “partnership, rather than dominance.” That’s why, in his Westminster speech, Sanders did something Democrats have rarely done in recent decades: He called for putting the United Nations—which he called “one of the most important organizations for promoting a vision of a different world”—near the heart of American foreign policy.

What all this represents is a second phase of the assault on American exceptionalism that Sanders launched in 2016. Back then, Sanders challenged the domestic side of the exceptionalist creed: the belief that American capitalism—buttressed by modest regulations and welfare provisions—provides upward mobility. Now Sanders is poised to challenge exceptionalism in foreign policy: the belief that America, as a uniquely virtuous nation, can substitute its own self-interest and moral intuition for international institutions and international law. Once again, Sanders’s heresies mirror the anti-exceptionalist turn among America’s young. A 2017 Pew Research poll found that Americans over the age of 30 were far more likely to say that the “U.S. stands above all other countries in the world” than to say, “There are other countries that are better than the U.S.” But among adults under 30, the latter view predominated by a margin of more than two to one.
This also makes me super excited about Bernie. What an absolute legend.
posted by Ouverture at 6:45 AM on February 21 [15 favorites]


His first campaign ad is notably diverse, shows off a wide range of justice-oriented policies he's pioneered over the past few years, and presents his campaign as oriented around a "bottom up" movement of the people coming together to change things. Differs pretty greatly from the strawman I've been reading about in this thread.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:01 AM on February 21 [6 favorites]


I love that ad, but I am hoping someone uses the Junip cover of The Ghost of Tom Joad for something beautiful:
Now Tom said mom, wherever there's a cop beatin' a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Where there's a fight against the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me mom I'll be there
Wherever there's somebody fightin' for a place to stand
Or a decent job or a helpin' hand
Wherever somebody's strugglin' to be free
Look in their eyes mom you'll see me
posted by Ouverture at 7:06 AM on February 21 [4 favorites]


As I've followed this thread over the last few days, I've tried to investigate my own negative feelings towards Bernie, where they came from, and if those feelings are still serving me. I think that what I've identified is this: I would not be strongly emotional about this at all if I didn't know how many of my friends who strongly supported Bernie went on to vote for Jill Stein.

We can and have argued how much of this was Bernie's fault in 2016 and what that says about him as candidate today. More of interest is what we can do and what he can do to prevent that in 2020.
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:28 AM on February 21 [15 favorites]


We are still at the stage of this campaign where we don't yet know the full platform or policy or records of other candidates. All we have right now in the field is potential, potential, potential, potential, and a man whose record resoundingly disqualifies him (imo). It's okay to oppose him on the basis of his record without yet knowing who specifically is better in what way. I choose all that non-white non-male potential over him any day!

But to seriously answer your question: Warren is who I'm pinning my hopes on these days. Same Warren who Sanders supporters used to swear up and down they'd vote for if only she was running... except she endorsed Hillary, so boom, she's out of favor.

I'm also keeping an open mind about Harris and Gillibrand. I admire Gillibrand's track record in doing things for women and children, and I admire Harris's legal record for most part, and I am waiting eagerly to learn more about both these women. So. Much. Potential!! I love it.
posted by MiraK at 7:30 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


I suspect that some of the problem with this discussion may be that those more supportive of Sanders are reading accusations of malice into the items people less supportive of Sanders list as concerning.

I can't speak for anyone but me of course, but I seriously doubt many people who dislike Sanders think he's maliciously and deliberately engaging in politics and prioritization that marginalize people of color, women, and LGBT people.

To say "Sanders has done his part for white supremacy" is not to say "Sanders is intentionally favoring policies beneficial to white supremacy", but rather that he's failed to unpack the way his socialism above all else approach to matters inadvertently enables white supremacy.

I don't attribute Sanders' dismissive and condescending approach to people who question him about racism, misogyny, LGBT-phobia, and so on to malice. But, whether he's acting from malice or not, he's acting in a manner that is dismissive, at best, to real problems people have with his politics and his approach.

I can see how, to a real Sanders fan, it's easy to think that his critics are accusing him of deliberate malice. Among other things there's a lot of anger on the anti-Sanders side precisely because many people opposed to (or even just ambivalent about) Sanders have been on the receiving end of attacks on their character, their commitment to leftism, and in far too many cases harassment.

The BernieBro stereotype certainly doesn't describe all Sanders fans, but it exists because they do exist, and they're noisy, and they're really damn aggressive and quick to attack anyone they think isn't sufficiently pro-Sanders [1]. For people who have had run ins with such people I think it's quite understandable that they're angry and feel that Sanders isn't doing enough both to advance pro-POC, pro-LGBT, and pro-feminist politics, but also that he's not done nearly enough to tell his less savory fans to back down.

So yeah, there's some anger on the anti-Sanders side, and I'd argue it isn't misplaced or wrong. But, also, I don't think any significant number of anti-Sanders people are accusing him of malice or deliberate wrongdoing. Just ongoing and extremely frustrating indifference.

I think if people on the more pro-Sanders side tried to see the criticism through the lens not of "these people think Sanders is a deliberate bad actor engaging in malicious acts" but rather "these people think Sanders, due to his own lived experience and focus on economic issues, is inadvertently promoting an agenda that he wouldn't consciously and deliberately promote" might help them at least see where the criticism is coming from even if they still don't agree that it's valid.

Telling us that Sanders doesn't deliberately want to hurt people of color, or women, or LGBT people, doesn't actually address our discomfort with Sanders. We, mostly, are in agreement that he's not acting out of malice. But, from our POV, he's still acting, however unintentionally, in a way that is harmful.

[1] I'm a cis het older white guy, and so far just since Sanders made his announcement I've now had five people message me on various services to harangue me and proclaim that I'm not a leftist (the phrase "liberal shill" came up from two different people). It was three when I posted earlier in this thread, now the count is five. And I'm massively privileged. The amount of shit people less privileged than me are getting is unbelievable.
posted by sotonohito at 7:33 AM on February 21 [34 favorites]


But to seriously answer your question: Warren is who I'm pinning my hopes on these days. Same Warren who Sanders supporters used to swear up and down they'd vote for if only she was running... except she endorsed Hillary, so boom, she's out of favor.

Just speaking for myself, I'm a Sanders supporter (and Clinton voter) who actually did post on here a year ago or so that I hoped that Warren would run in 2019. I'm glad she is. However, she recently put a finger directly in my eye when, at the State of the Union, Trump said that America will never be a socialist country and she stood up and clapped. I mean, I'm a socialist activist, that's a pretty direct insult! She's siding with Donald Trump against me. How would that make you feel?

She's still my second choice because she has the second-left-most policy. I vote based on whether a politician will advance an agenda that's in line with my ideology and my goals. Sanders' policy fits that more closely than Warren's, and he hasn't insulted me.

Please stop ascribing simplistic and misogynist intentions to people like me.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:35 AM on February 21 [16 favorites]


I didn't know how many of my friends who strongly supported Bernie went on to vote for Jill Stein.

Anyone who votes for Jill Stein hasn't critically listened to Jill Stein. Bernie Sanders can actually stand up to some criticism. You could weigh whether he should be the Democratic nominee. Some might not want him, others do, but he's in the range of acceptable alternatives.

Jill Stein shouldn't have even been the GPUS nominee from all the intellectual dishonesty and complete political incompetence she deployed.

I sadly knew some people that voted for her after Sanders lost, despite Sanders continually boosting for Clinton. I probably didn't matter because they were either in deep red or deep blue, but we all know that online presence means that those people could have made other, more importantly placed people not vote for Clinton.

At this point, I think the crazy is just out of most people's hands. We could all send missions into the cuckoo left (I won't say deep left because I think there's a real difference between a marxist socialist and the average Green Party voter), and I don't think it would do much good. I think those people are still suck in the 90s, playing hackee sack, going on quixotic public relation's campaigns for veganism, talking up their next burning man trip, and in general embracing a lifestyle leftism that is about performance over organization and movement. Those people vote for Greens at the Presidential level because in their minds, Bill Clinton is still President and a vote is just about personal preference.

I don't know anyone can shake those people out of where they are. Not even Bernie Sanders.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:39 AM on February 21 [9 favorites]


I'm also keeping an open mind about Harris and Gillibrand. I admire Gillibrand's track record in doing things for women and children, and I admire Harris's legal record for most part, and I am waiting eagerly to learn more about both these women. So. Much. Potential!! I love it.

There's problematic aspects to both, especially Harris as she wasn't just a prosecutor, but formerly an enthusiastic tool of the white supremacy element known as the criminal justice system. I think there are questions about her going above and beyond for her job and thus imprisoned a lot of people and argued for the imprisonment and continued imprisonment of others. And obviously, she isn't a socialist and has no desire to be one. However, I think she—like Gillibrand—is highly adaptable and knows which way the wind is blowing now. She might not have those strong political convictions but she does have political cunning. I don't say that as a negative. She'll probably do more for putting Medicare for All into place than many others and could probably rally a decent coalition together to make things like that happen. If I'm going to forgive Sanders' issues, I'm also going to forgive Harris' as long as I believe in the direction they're going. I'm not sold on Harris, but I definitely think I could be sold on her as the best capitalism can give us while we build and plan and implement a worker-owned future.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:48 AM on February 21 [11 favorites]


I didn't know how many of my friends who strongly supported Bernie went on to vote for Jill Stein.

13.3 million people voted for Sanders in the 2016 primaries and 1.4 million people voted for Stein in the general, some of whom weren't Sanders primary voters. So the answer is "probably less than 10%," unless your friends are all Jimmy Dore fans.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:48 AM on February 21 [4 favorites]


I think that description, Lord Chancellor, belittles my Stein-voting friends. I think their rationale was:
* Belief that states were more securely blue or red than they actually were so individual votes didn't matter - hopfeully mid-term elections have proved this is not the case
* A deep distrust of establishment Democrats--for good reason!
* A sense of bitterness because of the particular dynamic between the Clinton campaign and the Sanders campaign
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:49 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


I think those people are still suck in the 90s, playing hackee sack, going on quixotic public relation's campaigns for veganism, talking up their next burning man trip, and in general embracing a lifestyle leftism that is about performance over organization and movement.

Uhhh yeah, this. The one Bernie Bro I actually knew who voted for Stein did so because he was a single-issue voter: anti-GMO. He had never heard of neoliberalism and thought capitalism worked fine as long as people boycotted fast food.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 7:49 AM on February 21 [7 favorites]


I blame them because Trump was the alternative. I will never ever understand the concept that you'd rather see the fascist win than "hold your nose" and vote for the neoliberal, because the result is farther from the socialism you want and far far far more damaging to society as a whole, including the damn fate of the planet.

Fwiw, "vote for our milquetoast center-right capital cheerleader or else the boogeyman will get you" has been the unofficial Democratic slogan since I've been alive. If one good thing comes of the disastrous Trump presidency, I hope it will be realization that the DNC can't always count on leftist votes if they are not in fact pushing leftist policy.
posted by FakeFreyja at 7:58 AM on February 21 [11 favorites]


To say "Sanders has done his part for white supremacy" is not to say "Sanders is intentionally favoring policies beneficial to white supremacy", but rather that he's failed to unpack the way his socialism above all else approach to matters inadvertently enables white supremacy.

Can someone please explain how universal economic redistribution inadvertently enables white supremacy?

Because the Black Panthers, MLK/Bayard Rustin, and Black Lives Matter must have all done something very wrong.
posted by Ouverture at 8:00 AM on February 21 [11 favorites]


I suspect that some of the problem with this discussion may be that those more supportive of Sanders are reading accusations of malice into the items people less supportive of Sanders list as concerning.

One of the more prolific Sander's critics has said that she hates him. I don't think most of the critics here are coming from the same emotional place, but at least one of them is.

The BernieBro stereotype certainly doesn't describe all Sanders fans, but it exists because they do exist, and they're noisy, and they're really damn aggressive and quick to attack anyone they think isn't sufficiently pro-Sanders [1]. For people who have had run ins with such people I think it's quite understandable that they're angry and feel that Sanders isn't doing enough both to advance pro-POC, pro-LGBT, and pro-feminist politics, but also that he's not done nearly enough to tell his less savory fans to back down.

Yeah, that has been one of my difficulties with the Sanders discussions here on MetaFilter. I'm not on Twitter and so I don't think I'm getting the same experience with the most vehement Sanders supporters. What happens to me consistently is that I go on MetaFilter, say something nice about Sanders, and people act like I kicked their dog right after Bernie had backed over it with his car. It's always a disconcerting experience.
posted by Balna Watya at 8:03 AM on February 21 [15 favorites]



Can someone please explain how universal economic redistribution inadvertently enables white supremacy?


Universal economic redistribution that derides identity politics and insists on race-blind policy-making enables white supremacy. I wouldn't even call it "inadvertent" at this point. There is a space between "inadvertent" and "intentional" called "he should know better by now because we aren't in the 1970s anymore".
posted by MiraK at 8:05 AM on February 21 [17 favorites]


I hope it will be realization that the DNC can't always count on leftist votes if they are not in fact pushing leftist policy.

Okay so it's zero use for Sanders to join the race even if just to push the other contenders to the left, which is something people tout as a great advantage, since they are never going to be left enough. If even Trump wasn't a bad enough alternative we're back to Bernie or Bust.

I am a leftist and the DNC can absolutely count on my vote given the way this country is currently politically structured.
posted by lydhre at 8:08 AM on February 21 [13 favorites]


Okay so it's zero use for Sanders to join the race even if just to push the other contenders to the left, which is something people tout as a great advantage, since they are never going to be left enough.

I think a lot of people would settle for left at all. No need for a strawman demanding the second coming of Mao. I mean did you see who was nominated last time? And who the front-runner is this time? These are economically hard-right capital hawks. As in to-the-right-of-Nixon right.
posted by FakeFreyja at 8:12 AM on February 21 [10 favorites]


Fwiw, "vote for our milquetoast center-right capital cheerleader or else the boogeyman will get you" has been the unofficial Democratic slogan since I've been alive. If one good thing comes of the disastrous Trump presidency, I hope it will be realization that the DNC can't always count on leftist votes if they are not in fact pushing leftist policy.

I'm also going to argue that Clinton was not center-capital cheerleader. She was a moderate Democrat, as in she was between the left and rank flank of the party. She moved left on a few things because she suddenly saw them as more political viable (and popular) than the past had taught her.

However, just like Sanders, it was the messenger that was the problem, not the message. Clinton represented a lot of things that the modern Democrats are much more ashamed of than they were in the 90s: tough on crime stance, neoliberal welfare reform, hawkish foreign policy. Even when Clinton tried to retract from those positions, her brand was just too intertwined with some of the worst part of the Democratic Party's recent past (who could forget the "superpredators" remark). It's not exactly her fault on that. She was a public Democrat in the 90s and so she took on that reputation. Her 2016 platform was much better (and I say that as a socialist who doesn't just want "humane" capitalism). It was just her, which is really unfair to some extent because Joe Biden and other 90s male Democrats didn't get nearly as painted as a "neoliberal shill" by the public.

But this goes back to some people will not be happy, no matter what. If they didn't like Clinton, they didn't vote for her. I don't have to like someone for which I vote.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:17 AM on February 21 [17 favorites]


One example of how economic redistribution can go wrong by not forefronting social justice is how the legalization of marijuana is benefiting white capitalists and leaving PoC in jail.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:36 AM on February 21 [14 favorites]


I guess that's not an example of "economic redistribution," but my overall point stands.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:37 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


[A]t the State of the Union, Trump said that America will never be a socialist country and she stood up and clapped...She's siding with Donald Trump against me. How would that make you feel?

I think this is kind of illustrative of how people are talking past each other here, a bit, if you don't mind my building off of that comment: Warren's policy positions did not change before, during, or after the SotU. What you're describing isn't a reaction to anything remotely related to policy -- Warren has always wanted and advocated for reform (significant and massive reform) and not (as per Sanders's vision) a complete revolution. Warren, here, clapped: she did not announce any actual changes in stance or in policy.

What a lot of* people here are saying when they're saying that they don't plan to vote Sanders in the primary (but would happily vote for him in the general) is comparable, isn't it?

They're saying that Sanders has said and done things that made them feel like he was insulting them and de-centering their experiences. I know, anecdotally, that the way he framed his anti-reparation statements back in 2016 was a huge turn-off to a non-zero number of people in my social circles, in, I think, a similar way to what you're describing w/r/t Warren at the SotU -- the ways in which he talked about his policies mattered. Warren framing exactly the same policies in different ways doesn't change the policies she's pursuing: but it does matter. In the same way that it matters how Sanders frames his policies, separate from what his actual stated policy goals all.

Feeling insulted or not seen is a perfectly okay reason to not vote for a particular candidate in the primary -- with the caveat that we should also be interrogating our own biases, re: 'likeability,' differing standards for women running for office, &c. -- and doesn't need justification in policy positions. One of the things we, as voters, are assessing is whether we think someone will actually carry out their stated policies. (Trump, notably, lied about his policies constantly). I think there's been some sort of talking past each other in this thread, where people are saying that they don't feel like Sanders is really hearing their concerns and he hasn't really spoken to them -- there's not really an argument that can be made against that, here: it's up to Sanders to either listen to those concerns and speak to them, or not. And he is; he's pledged a serious anti-sexual-harassment effort on his campaign, for example -- but I do not blame people in the slightest for wanting to see how that pledge plays out over the upcoming year before they'll have a chance to vote for him or not.

Seriously: a year. We are incredibly early in this primary. A lot can change and a lot will change.

My personal goal for the primary season is to not talk down any** Democratic candidate, but rather to talk up the candidates that I like, because it is going to be a really long year otherwise.

I think infighting about candidates harms the eventual winning candidate, in a way that infighting about policies does not; there is no perfect candidate who will embody every policy in a way that reflects the full swath of the electorate. Any and every candidate is necessarily a compromise candidate, and since we don't know -- and, a year out from the first vote, won't know for a while -- who the candidate will or might be, spending time and effort attacking someone now who might go on to the general election is not how I want to spend my time.

There is no current candidate that I won't vote for in the general, and I think that's true of a majority of people, and also a majority of progressives within the Democratic party. Making that commitment, far from making the Democratic party take anyone for granted, makes clear that the Democratic party should cultivate voters on the left of the party, because it shows that they will come out and vote. Left-leaning citizens voting in 2016 and 2018 is a huge part of the reason why the Democratic field, as a whole, has moved left.


*But not all of, certainly
**With one exception that's currently moot, which I mention for the sake of honesty.
posted by cjelli at 8:37 AM on February 21 [21 favorites]


Thanks for the reminder about Sanders’ foreign policy. I mentioned it above as a benefit in terms of his uncompromising attitude and I continue to hold that belief. “Compromise” that means supporting the genocidal war in Yemen or punitive sanctions that are most likely to harm poor people in other countries...not the kinds of compromises I’m interested in. Colonialism and American aggression is a real problem and it is one a president has enormous influence over.

We’re not going to win the Senate, that’s almost guaranteed, so electing someone who wants to play ball with the worst elements of the DC foreign policy establishment could easily lead to Iraq part two (three? five?)
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 8:41 AM on February 21 [9 favorites]


Universal economic redistribution that derides identity politics and insists on race-blind policy-making enables white supremacy. I wouldn't even call it "inadvertent" at this point. There is a space between "inadvertent" and "intentional" called "he should know better by now because we aren't in the 1970s anymore".

...How does it do this though? Like, what is the mechanism through which it aids white supremacy? What are the material metrics or the processes that lead to this?

It's not enough for you to simply say it does.
posted by Ouverture at 8:42 AM on February 21 [13 favorites]


I promise that I will canvass and phonebank for whatever presidential candidate wins the Democratic Party nomination. Sanders? I'll fly to [swing state] and knock doors for him. Klobuchar? I'll fly to [swing state] and knock doors for her. Harris? I'll fly to [swing state] and knock doors for her. Booker? I'll fly to [swing state] and knock doors for him. O'Rourke? I'll fly to [swing state] and knock doors for him. Buttigieg? I will learn to pronounce his name correctly, I will fly to [swing state], and I will knock doors for him. Clinton runs and gets the nomination again? Glob as my witness, I will fly to [swing state] and knock doors for Hillary Clinton. Maryanne Williamson? I will swallow all my snide comments about new age nonsense, I will remind myself that she's the only candidate calling for reparations, and I will fly to [swing state] and knock doors for her. Biden? The Democratic Party picks Joe Biden? ughhh, fuck them forever if they do that, but nevertheless, I'll fly to [swing state] and knock doors for Joe Biden. I'll handle the cognitive dissonance by pretending I'm knocking doors for the Onion's version of the guy.

I would not want to be friends with any of the people above — I mean, really, the sort of people who run for high-level elected positions tend to be totally intolerable jackholes in their personal lives. Beyond that, though, I actively dislike several of them, well beyond my baseline dislike for people who run for office.

Nevertheless, I'll fly to [swing state] and knock doors for any of them.

Tulsi Gabbard? I'll... join an armed revolutionary socialist organization and earnestly attempt to overthrow bourgeois electoral democracy altogether. because if Gabbard somehow gets the nomination that's the only reasonable option.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:45 AM on February 21 [19 favorites]


Universal economic redistribution that derides identity politics and insists on race-blind policy-making enables white supremacy

So redistributive policies are ipso facto racist? This is baffling.

I'm curious what theory of race and racism you're operating under here. A materialist theory, which would I favor, would postulate that racism is born of economic discrepancies between races, and when those discrepancies are removed, racism (and, indeed, the very idea of race) will disappear. Asserting that race is a derivative phenomena of class (i.e. a "race-blind" theory) does not mean that race or racism isn't taken seriously. A materialist theory at least provides a roadmap to eliminating racism, which is to minimize, and ideally eliminate, economic differences between races.

An alternative theory that racism is just a series of harmful ideas that people have in their heads both 1) can't explain how those ideas are formed (as opposed to, say, alternative less harmful ideas) or why they are perpetuated and 2) commits one to a strategy of endless consciousness-raising, which doesn't sound very promising.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 8:46 AM on February 21 [12 favorites]


Fwiw, "vote for our milquetoast center-right capital cheerleader or else the boogeyman will get you" has been the unofficial Democratic slogan since I've been alive. If one good thing comes of the disastrous Trump presidency, I hope it will be realization that the DNC can't always count on leftist votes if they are not in fact pushing leftist policy.

I don't understand how the realization isn't "that was correct." The boogeyman certainly has gotten trans military members, the supreme court, latinx asylum speakers, etc.
posted by phearlez at 8:46 AM on February 21 [19 favorites]


> A materialist theory, which would I favor, would postulate that racism is born of economic discrepancies between races, and when those discrepancies are removed, racism (and, indeed, the very idea of race) will disappear. Asserting that race is a derivative phenomena of class (i.e. a "race-blind" theory) does not mean that race or racism isn't taken seriously.

To my eye, here, you're making an economic-determinist argument. Dialectical materialism as an epistemological strategy is significantly more sophisticated than that. Like, there's a lot of stuff I can abide — shit, I can abide flying to [swing state] and knocking doors for joe biden — but one thing up with which I will not put is the misrepresentation of Marx as an economic determinist.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:53 AM on February 21 [10 favorites]


So as not to abuse the edit window with my inability to let this go - if you want real leftist policy, show up in the primaries and push for those leftist candidates a la AOC and Sanders etc and then, no matter who wins, show up in the general and vote for whoever wins the primary, centrist neoliberal trash or not. Because not only has Trump shown that literally Joe Fucking Manchin would have been better than him, why should a party give a tin shit about the primary selections of people who aren't actually going to support the party? Politics is a long game and the people playing it want to make progress year over year. They'll welcome you in for the one-off but if you want continued attention you need to continually play.

The Lucy/Football comparison is crap because it presumes that sitting things out opts you out of consequences. Just don't kick and you don't fall down! But at the end of a US election one of the candidates wins and takes the office. So you can pick whether you get shot in the head or the foot or you can let other people pick for you.
posted by phearlez at 8:54 AM on February 21 [23 favorites]


Universal economic redistribution that derides identity politics and insists on race-blind policy-making enables white supremacy.

> How does it do this though? Like, what is the mechanism through which it aids white supremacy? What are the material metrics or the processes that lead to this?

> So redistributive policies are ipso facto racist? This is baffling.


As a WoC it's absolutely not my job to educate anyone on critical race theory and basic concepts of intersectionality that have been widely dicussed and disseminated on the internet over the past 10 years at least, and much longer in IRL social justice circles.

Google is your friend. Please educate yourself on why and how race-blind policy-making aids white supremacy. It is disheartening that people here can claim they are the One True Left but still be so shockingly ignorant of what anti-racism actually entails.
posted by MiraK at 8:55 AM on February 21 [25 favorites]


> if you want real leftist policy, show up in the primaries and push for those leftist candidates a la AOC and Sanders etc and then, no matter who wins, show up in the general and vote for whoever wins the primary, centrist neoliberal trash or not.

and likewise, if you want centrist or neoliberal candidates, show up in the primaries and try your best to push centrist neoliberalism... and then show up in the general and vote for/canvass for/donate to/phonebank for whoever wins the primary, even if they're a Trotskyist.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:57 AM on February 21 [9 favorites]


>Universal economic redistribution that derides identity politics and insists on race-blind policy-making enables white supremacy

So redistributive policies are ipso facto racist? This is baffling.


Facially neutral policies often have disparate impacts, not only across racial lines but also w/r/t gender, age, (dis)ability, &c. That's not exactly a controversial premise; whether any given policy -- redistributive or otherwise -- will have a disparate impact can be hard to predict and may not be intended. One of the ways to prevent discriminatory outcomes is by building in affirmative steps, in advance, to prevent them, rather than simply assuming that a universal policy will have a uniform and equitable impact.

Or: redistributive policies are not necessarily racist, no, but it's worth asking whether any specific redistributive policy will have a disparate impact that could be avoided by working in some other fasion. Assuming that policies cannot be racist because they're race-blind is...really, really risky, basically?

(Talking about that in terms of 'polices' and not in terms of actual, specific policies is not going to be very fruitful, I think, but if you want examples of specific nominally universal policies that weren't really so universal in practice, there's a long history of discrimination in American you could pick dozens of examples from; that's also a bit of a derail here, though.)
posted by cjelli at 9:00 AM on February 21 [22 favorites]


[A]t the State of the Union, Trump said that America will never be a socialist country and she stood up and clapped...She's siding with Donald Trump against me. How would that make you feel?

Politically, I don't feel good about someone who stands up and claps for "we can never have socialism", especially when they are clapping for Trump. Either they think that anti-socialist signalling is more important to them than pro-Trump signalling or else they are so enthused about NEVAIR SOCIALISM that they want to stand up and cheer about it.

To me a reasonable leftish politician is willing to experiment with socialist projects, because hey, they might work. Socialist elements have very clearly worked in other countries. While I understand that "what works" isn't a neutral statement (works for what? works for whom?) I expect any leftish politician to believe that we're aiming for a roughly economically equal society with completely equal access to healthcare, education and retirement security, and that any policy which is nominally "equal" but which really entrenches racial, gender, class or other inequality isn't good enough.

To me, outcomes are most important, so if a socialist policy seems plausible and is focused on creating equality, popular health, etc, I am perfectly willing to give it a bash, and I think anyone reasonable on the left should be willing too. It is perfectly possible to say, "we're going to try this step toward [socialized medicine/socialized housing/etc] and if it's a crashing disaster we'll try something else" and that's what I expect from anyone who wants to be at least moderately left.
posted by Frowner at 9:02 AM on February 21 [11 favorites]


Worrying about disparate impact makes sense but what puzzles me about it is that Sanders’ universalist policies, because they are so broad and not means-tested/discretionary, would tend to avoid distributive pitfalls compared to, eg, Medicare for More. This is one of my main issues with “centrist” versions of leftist ideas. They get hammered into “sensible” policies that screw over various powerless demographics. Like Medicare for 50 and up is...I mean it’s hard not to see that as intentionally designed to keep younger latinx populations and women of childbearing age from benefiting too much at the expense of older whiter populations in which men are likely to need as much care as women.

Obviously, critiquing Sanders doesn’t mean that you like that policy either. But it seems like universal policies are the best way to avoid that kind of “compromise.”
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 9:08 AM on February 21 [9 favorites]


Assuming that policies cannot be racist because they're race-blind is...really, really risky

The converse of that is not a given either, though. A universal program is not by some cosmic law going to negatively affect non-whites as compared to whites. As mentioned in the Rising Tides article I posted above, significantly more African-American and Latinos below retirement age do not have health insurance. So a for-real medicare-for-all plan will disproportionately help them more than whites who are more likely to already have insurance. Some of the exclusions of the New Deal mean we should ask ourselves if a program really is universal, but shouting down calls for truly transformative programs as racist is an overcorrection.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:09 AM on February 21 [13 favorites]


Facially neutral policies often have disparate impacts, not only across racial lines but also w/r/t gender, age, (dis)ability, &c. That's not exactly a controversial premise; whether any given policy -- redistributive or otherwise -- will have a disparate impact can be hard to predict and may not be intended. One of the ways to prevent discriminatory outcomes is by building in affirmative steps, in advance, to prevent them, rather than simply assuming that a universal policy will have a uniform and equitable impact.

Or: redistributive policies are not necessarily racist, no, but it's worth asking whether any specific redistributive policy will have a disparate impact that could be avoided by working in some other fasion. Assuming that policies cannot be racist because they're race-blind is...really, really risky, basically?

(Talking about that in terms of 'polices' and not in terms of actual, specific policies is not going to be very fruitful, I think, but if you want examples of specific nominally universal policies that weren't really so universal in practice, there's a long history of discrimination in American you could pick dozens of examples from; that's also a bit of a derail here, though.)


I am well aware of the devastating history of redlining, Jim Crow, the G.I. Bill, and so on. But given the racist administrations that implemented them, those policies were not at all neutral, universal, nor even all that redistributive.

See Briahna Gray:
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS was buffeted repeatedly by criticism that he didn’t do enough to connect with black Americans in the course of his 2016 presidential run. Much of that criticism was fair. But Sanders’s failure was in articulating how his policies would benefit black Americans, not in advancing policies that would benefit us.

Prior to the 2016 election, Ta-Nehisi Coates, who ultimately voted for Sanders, wrote, “Sanders’s basic approach is to ameliorate the effects of racism through broad, mostly class-based policy — doubling the minimum wage, offering single-payer health-care, delivering free higher education. This is the same ‘A rising tide lifts all boats’ thinking that has dominated Democratic anti-racist policy for a generation.”

But the Democratic Party has never backed anything approaching the redistributive goals contemplated by Sanders’s 2016 agenda. The party’s economic plan has historically focused on economic mobility, “access” to “opportunity,” and removing barriers to participating in a capitalist economy. Child care programs, paid sick leave, and job training initiatives are promoted as strategies to ensure that all Americans can participate in what most Democrats see as a fundamentally functional system.

By contrast, politicians like Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren challenge the system itself, because they view it as fundamentally inequitable. Leftists support traditional interventions that meaningfully ease the burdens of those struggling under capitalism. But they also seek to change the fact that profits in this country currently flow disproportionately to a privileged few at the very top — at the expense of wage growth for the workers whose labor generates those profits. As Sanders argues, if 90 percent of profits go to the top 1 percent, having technical “access” to the 1 percent isn’t enough; the system itself must change.

This structural approach is a game changer for African-Americans. Because the value of wealth compounds, capitalism rewards the historical possession of wealth; the ability to invest today is worth more than the ability to do so in the future. That being the case, how can black Americans, first enslaved and then legally barred from participating in capitalism for the overwhelming majority of this country’s history, begin to catch up with a systemic adjustment to the system?

The answer is we can’t. There will be no racial equality under capitalism.

It would take an estimated 228 years for black Americans to earn as much wealth as white Americans possess today, at which point blacks still would not have drawn even, because whites would presumably have accrued more wealth during that time as well. Simply put, closing the racial wealth gap demands a systemic approach.

It is true that universal programs without race-specific interventions are not enough. The failures of the New Deal illustrate how universal solutions can inadequately provide for the needs of the marginalized. But the reality that universal programs don’t always go far enough should not be perverted into an argument that universal programs aren’t integral to the task of closing the racial wealth gap.
I would agree that Medicare for All probably would lead to racist impacts if it was implemented by Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions. But that's not what Sanders's administration would look like and if you honestly think it would, then it might be a good time to ask yourself why you are in the minority of women and people of color who feel that way about Sanders.
posted by Ouverture at 9:11 AM on February 21 [13 favorites]


>Assuming that policies cannot be racist because they're race-blind is...really, really risky

The converse of that is not a given either, though. A universal program is not by some cosmic law going to negatively affect non-whites as compared to whites.


Absolutely; I should have made that clearer in my comment.
posted by cjelli at 9:13 AM on February 21 [6 favorites]


I think this is kind of illustrative of how people are talking past each other here, a bit, if you don't mind my building off of that comment: Warren's policy positions did not change before, during, or after the SotU. What you're describing isn't a reaction to anything remotely related to policy -- Warren has always wanted and advocated for reform (significant and massive reform) and not (as per Sanders's vision) a complete revolution. Warren, here, clapped: she did not announce any actual changes in stance or in policy.

You just responded to the beginning of my comment as though the very next paragraph of it wasn't:

She's still my second choice because she has the second-left-most policy. I vote based on whether a politician will advance an agenda that's in line with my ideology and my goals. Sanders' policy fits that more closely than Warren's, and he hasn't insulted me.

A whole lot of people selectively quoting me in this thread. The point of my comment wasn't "I'm turned off by Warren because of a statement she made" but rather the opposite: "I still support Warren as my second choice despite her insulting me, because she has the second-best policy".
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:15 AM on February 21 [6 favorites]


Im not insulted by Warren’s behavior at the SOTU but like...her political instincts are iffy. I like her policies a lot and she did great things for the bankruptcy code. But it’s hard not to be concerned about her ability to effectively deal with Trump. Like, can she avoid feeding the trolls or will Fox successfully end up making the election about whether she wants to put everyone in FEMA gulags?

The media is really bad about this so it’s definitely not just on her if that ends up happening, but I am concerned about it. I’d love to see more of a backbone and a better ability to stay on message. (Hillary Clinton was actually quite good at this, so is Sanders.)
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 9:27 AM on February 21 [10 favorites]


right now I'm not sure which candidate I want to support in the primary, but I can tell you I will drop everything to campaign for the first candidate who promises to put fox news viewers in fema gulags.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:36 AM on February 21 [10 favorites]


A whole lot of people selectively quoting me in this thread. The point of my comment wasn't "I'm turned off by Warren because of a statement she made" but rather the opposite: "I still support Warren as my second choice despite her insulting me, because she has the second-best policy".

I did quote you selectively, but I was not doing so with an intent to misrepresent your position; if I did mis-represent it, I certainly apologize for that.

The comparison I was making -- if you read the full of my comment -- was exactly between you being turned off by Warren's statement, but still supporting Warren as something other than your first choice, to people being turned off by Sanders, but still supporting Sanders as something other than their first choice. First choice matters because you can only vote in the primary once, and 'still supporting' matters because someone's going to the general. I thought it was clear that, in drawing that comparison, I had read and was responding to the bulk of your comment; clearly, I wasn't clear enough, but I hope this clarifies what I was trying to say.
posted by cjelli at 9:36 AM on February 21 [6 favorites]


and likewise, if you want centrist or neoliberal candidates, show up in the primaries and try your best to push centrist neoliberalism... and then show up in the general and vote for/canvass for/donate to/phonebank for whoever wins the primary, even if they're a Trotskyist.

This is a good point, and I wonder - do far left purity pronouncements do their part to embolden the nonsense "we can't have anyone too left or they won't get votes!" because they reinforce this idea that Dem party voters won't commit to the primary winner too far away from their end of the spectrum?

We now know that most of this supposed collection of squishy center independent voters are actually weak partisans and don't actually flop back and forth. Are there really more moderate dems who'd stay home rather than back a Sanders or AOC in the general? My suspicion is no but I'm not sure how to figure that out. Were there AOC-ish candidates in less safe "I know I can stay home in the general because the real action here is in the primary" where we might be able to gauge that?
posted by phearlez at 9:39 AM on February 21


>Assuming that policies cannot be racist because they're race-blind is...really, really risky

The converse of that is not a given either, though. A universal program is not by some cosmic law going to negatively affect non-whites as compared to whites.


Not by some cosmic law, no, but by dint of being implemented in a white supremacist society. Our default mode is to serve up policy that benefits straight white cis able-bodied men the most, because they are considered "standard" and "normal". Identity politics and explicitly embracing race-consciousness rather than race-blindness is the only way to avoid that.

Admirable people who stick their necks out to fight for far-left agendas, to call themselves socialists, who have made Medicare for all politically palatable (!!) are suddenly turning conservative on this thread when it comes to embracing race-consciousness and the necessity of rejecting race-blindness. WHY?
posted by MiraK at 9:41 AM on February 21 [15 favorites]


How can "leftists" object to a plea for awareness as opposed to blindness wrt how policies interact with race, gender, disability, sexuality, poverty, etc.?

I think people are confused about what this would even look like. Are you straight-up saying that Medicare for All should only cover marginalized groups? That any program that somehow, somewhere may benefit a white person or a male is verboten?
posted by FakeFreyja at 9:44 AM on February 21 [5 favorites]


Out of curiosity, was Elizabeth Warren standing and clapping all by herself? Were all of the Republicans applauding? Were Cory Booker, Kristen Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, or Bernie Sanders also applauding?
posted by Spathe Cadet at 9:44 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


How can "leftists" object to a plea for awareness as opposed to blindness wrt how policies interact with race, gender, disability, sexuality, poverty, etc.?

I agree with you that this kind of willful blindness is a terrible thing. But please believe me when I say, this is not a mainstream position in the left. There are probably a few like 70 year old hardcore orthodox marxists who have misunderstood Marx and think this, but it's really not as common as you think it is.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:45 AM on February 21 [4 favorites]


As a WoC it's absolutely not my job to educate anyone on critical race theory and basic concepts of intersectionality that have been widely dicussed and disseminated on the internet over the past 10 years at least, and much longer in IRL social justice circles.

Google is your friend. Please educate yourself on why and how race-blind policy-making aids white supremacy. It is disheartening that people here can claim they are the One True Left but still be so shockingly ignorant of what anti-racism actually entails.


MiraK, this kind of arrogance and condescension is not going to convince anyone of your controversial points. As someone upthread said of your contributions, "Your comment isn't really a question or attempt at a conversation, it's a browbeating."

Of course I'm familiar with intersectionality. How could anyone not be in this day and age? It's taught in middle schools, hegemonic on university campuses and tweeted about by bourgeois politicians. But I'm unclear how intersectionality could be a guiding principle in the context of a strategic discussion about politics. Does intersectionality say universal programs are racist? Or that we shouldn't push to enact them? As Space Coyote pointed out earlier, here's no cosmic law saying that they would be racist, and invoking "intersectionality" doesn't change that.

It's of course true that oppression is multidimensional, and therefore any theory of oppression needs to apprehend the multidimensionality of the phenomenon. And to the extent that intersectionality refers to this, it's important to respect the moral motivations behind it. However, intersectionality is not, and does not have, any theory that could enable us to grapple with strategic concerns. It doesn't make causal arguments, and doesn't formulate any kind of prediction about the world. So in answering the classic "What is to be done?" political question, it's not clear what help intersectionality would provide.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 9:46 AM on February 21 [8 favorites]


Out of curiosity, was Elizabeth Warren standing and clapping all by herself? Were all of the Republicans applauding? Were Cory Booker, Kristen Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, or Bernie Sanders also applauding?

From an article about the SOTU:
Of the 2020 gang, Gillibrand stood first and applauded enthusiastically, as Warren, Harris and Brown slowly stood and joined those clapping.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:50 AM on February 21 [6 favorites]


I've been thinking about this a bit and I think there is a way for Bernie and Booker and the other candidates who have said that they support programs that will benefit everyone to go further and acknowledge historic oppression without compromising universality. On the medicare issue, it is true that medical facilities in underserved communities will be slammed if everyone in their areas can suddenly show up and expect treatment. So explicitly saying 'we will invest heavily in communities that have historically had poor coverage due to racism" is a straightforward, inoffensive way to offer reassurance that marginalized people won't get left behind by an on-paper universal program.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:52 AM on February 21 [10 favorites]


Explicitly race-conscious policies are going to get shitcanned by the judiciary. Explicitly gender-conscious policies have a slightly better chance of survival but not much of one. Policies that allow too much executive discretion—with the idea that that discretion will allow race- or gender-conscious applications of those policies—will allow executives who are bad too much discretion. They will also produce more opportunities for the judiciary to review policies because that’s how administrative law works. Again, the judiciary will tend to shitcan explicitly race- or gender-conscious policies if they’re allowed to review them.

There might be approaches that I’m not aware of or don’t understand. But know a hell of a lot about American politics, adminative/executive branch law, and the federal judiciary and I don’t see a better option than universalist, no-discretion programs like Medicare for All.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 9:54 AM on February 21 [13 favorites]


> Are there really more moderate dems who'd stay home rather than back a Sanders or AOC in the general? My suspicion is no but I'm not sure how to figure that out.

the problem here is that whichever faction of a given political party cares least about the ultimate outcome of the election ends up holding disproportionate power over the party's nominee choices, because that's the faction that can most credibly threaten to sit out the general or vote for third party candidates.

Although anti-splitter rhetoric is most often deployed against leftists, as I see it the faction most likely to actually throw a fit and sit out the election are the relatively well-off centrist liberals, the folks who tend to prefer don't-rock-the-boat pro-capitalist technocrats as candidates. Due to having the financial cushion provided by managerial-class salaries they know that pretty much no matter what happens, they'll be okay, and likewise due to their relatively cushy managerial-class salaries, they know that socialism is likely to cause them more mild personal discomfort than fascism will. They've never had to make the hard choice to support a left candidate they don't really like after the capitalist candidate they actually like loses, because the democratic party has never nominated a leftist. But should the liberal capitalist faction loses control, they must stay in line and back the left faction, or else all hope is lost forever.

cw: explicit mention of the year 2016.

Recall that brief moment back in early 2016 where it looked like the major party nominees could end up being Sanders and Trump? And do you remember how Bloomberg immediately started making mouth noises about running as an independent in the event that that happened? That sort of thing is how the capitalist faction can ruin everything if they don't get their way.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:59 AM on February 21 [19 favorites]


I think people are confused about what this would even look like. Are you straight-up saying that Medicare for All should only cover marginalized groups?

But I'm unclear how intersectionality could be a guiding principle in the context of a strategic discussion about politics. Does intersectionality say universal programs are racist? ... in answering the classic "What is to be done?" political question, it's not clear what help intersectionality would provide.

No, embracing race-consciousness in policy does not mean rolling out policies only to nonwhites. Yes, intersectionality teaches us that race-blind policy-making is by default racist. No, intersectionality is not strategy. But intersectionality should be embedded into strategy and decision-making processes: no compromises. In the context of race, this means we must always analyze how our policies might impact people according to race, and pre-emptively take steps to mitigate racially disparate impact. That's the help intersectionality provides. This has been explained multiple times upthread and is not controversial.

Sanders has repeatedly made statements supporting the OPPOSITE of this: he wants race-blindness, he mocks identity politics. This is being criticized because race blindness aids and abets white supremacy.
posted by MiraK at 10:03 AM on February 21 [15 favorites]


That sort of thing is how the capitalist faction can ruin everything if they don't get their way.

Howard Schultz hopes to already has that position staked out this time around.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:04 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


> Howard Schultz hopes to already has that position staked out this time around.

and tbh one of the things that gives me a glimmer of hope going forward is that Schultz was immediately mocked and ridiculed for trying that nonsense.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:08 AM on February 21 [4 favorites]


Tl;dr is that race neutrality is, of course, racist bullshit. Gender neutrality is the same. But -consciousness is, in terms of legislation, close to a constitutional non-starter.

It’s depressing but the reality is that we lost the judiciary when Trump won. The judiciary is likely less partisan than one might assume, but race/gender-neutrality is largely seen as the standard for constitutionality in terms of legislation. Judges will feel comfortable enforcing that standard by invalidating legislation. I really don’t know how you get around that.

I’m also not sure (meaning I really don’t know) what role rhetorical campaign statements about -conscious policies could play in findings of animus (for example).

I don’t think Sanders is thinking this hard about this kind of thing but I think about it, and it goes a long way towards my willingness to accept functionally positive policies even without any assurance that the process or intent of those policies is race/gender-conscious.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 10:08 AM on February 21 [8 favorites]


But -consciousness is, in terms of legislation, close to a constitutional non-starter. It’s depressing but the reality is

Both Sanders supporters and non-supporters have our own set of sacred cows which we will not brook compromise on, come hell or high water. We will stick our necks out and accept nothing less than absolute perfection on our highest priority issues ("she CLAPPED for WHAT?!" ... "he insinuated WHAT about black people?!").

For Sanders supporters, the highest priorities seem to be leftist economic policies and the label of socialism. You all are willing to forgive what (some of) the rest of us find unforgiveable - and I'm willing to forgive in Warren what you all find unforgiveable too. We both make appeals to "pragmatism" and "depressing realities" when faced with indefensible shortcomings in our preferred candidates or policies or platforms.
posted by MiraK at 10:18 AM on February 21 [12 favorites]


Sanders has repeatedly made statements supporting the OPPOSITE of this: he wants race-blindness, he mocks identity politics. This is being criticized because race blindness aids and abets white supremacy.


Identity politics isn't the same thing as not-racial-blindness nor is it the same thing as intersectionality.

I mock neoliberal identity politics because it isn't simply intersectional enough with regard to the material needs of people of color and women. It's "40 acres and a mule", not "40 Everyday Feminism articles about how to help your employees struggling with food insecurity".

Go talk to black and anti-colonial radicals and ask them what they think about identity politics. I have and they were the ones who showed me how much of it is just hollow performance for bougie people of color and white liberals who are lucky enough to somehow think healthcare or a jobs guarantee is only a thing white men want.

Please, anyone, walk me through the specific process that makes Medicare for All a boon for white supremacy. How specifically did the Black Panthers' free breakfast program help white supremacy?
posted by Ouverture at 10:18 AM on February 21 [15 favorites]


I mean I guess my position on sanders (both in 2016 and in 2020) is that he's kind of crap as a leader,1 but that he's decent as a follower.2

I don't especially like sanders, but I do think that on the whole I'd prefer a president who's a good follower over a president who's a good leader.

1: see: his tendency toward class-reductionist positions, as discussed on this thread
2: see: his willingness in 2016 to acknowledge that systems of oppression distinct from and not rooted in class-based oppression exist... after protestors disrupted enough of his events.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:20 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


I don’t think Sanders is thinking this hard about this kind of thing but I think about it, and it goes a long way towards my willingness to accept functionally positive policies even without any assurance that the process or intent of those policies is race/gender-conscious.

For me, I didn't at all like how Sanders handled these things in the past, but the Clinton campaign provided an indication that past mistakes can be mitigated by forceful demonstration of better understanding. Nothing can erase past mistakes, but one can learn from them and I'd hope Sanders has. I will wait to see if that is the case and won't just assume it though.

Universalist policies can be great. Medicare for all doesn't seem to me to have much of any problem other than perhaps not being strong enough, but some of the other policies might have more issues depending on how they would be implemented and under which set of priorities. Not to keep going back to a single issue, but the importance of something like daycare and early childhood education being a top priority is that it better opens up the possibilities for the other universalist proposals Sanders favors. Jobs guarantees or free college without childcare automatically cuts out a portion of the population, mostly poor and women. Seeing the connections between the positions is really important to establishing their success.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:26 AM on February 21 [6 favorites]



How specifically did the Black Panthers' free breakfast program help white supremacy?

It didn't, because the black panthers were not race-blind and even if they had been, the people who came to those breakfasts weren't race-blind either, lol. That's how powerful identity is, especially visible forms of it. Operates just as powerfully even if/when the actors ARE "bougie," brocialists' dismissiveness notwithstanding.
posted by MiraK at 10:34 AM on February 21 [11 favorites]


Gillian Brockell on Twitter:
In observing Twitter and getting deep in the menchies for the last 24 hours, it seems like the ratio of "Bernie's supporters are rabid and abusive!" tweets vs. Bernie's supporters tweeting rabid abuse is about 30:1.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:41 AM on February 21 [14 favorites]


[Ouverture, you need to not make every thread you're in a catechism about Real Socialism(tm). Please let it go for a while. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 10:54 AM on February 21 [7 favorites]


Not everyone's experience is summed up by one guy's experience on Twitter.
posted by agregoli at 10:54 AM on February 21 [5 favorites]


Which is to say, often universal programs suffer from (or, depending on who is implementing those programs, RELY ON) barriers to entry for those already discriminated against or disadvantaged by the system.
posted by lydhre at 10:54 AM on February 21 [3 favorites]


Which is to say, often universal programs suffer from (or, depending on who is implementing those programs, RELY ON) barriers to entry for those already discriminated against or disadvantaged by the system.


Yes, I completely agree with this. Universal programs cannot be implemented by institutions that are captured by white supremacists. That's how we got redlining and the racist G.I. Bill.
posted by Ouverture at 10:57 AM on February 21 [3 favorites]


one guy's experience on Twitter

Gillian Brockell is a woman.
posted by 3urypteris at 11:03 AM on February 21 [7 favorites]


> The free breakfasts were open to everyone though.

I am going to politely suggest that what you think is materialism is actually idealism, and suggest that you consider turning over your ideas and standing them on their head.

What do I mean? I mean that by privileging abstract formal statements ("it's technically open to everyone!") over material concrete actualities (it's the Black Panther Party they served Black neighborhoods and organized specifically for Black liberation, they worked to build Black power, a bunch of them were murdered by the FBI because the FBI feared a "Black messiah"), you're making a characteristically liberal error about how the world works.

The point isn't the formal rules. The point isn't abstract liberation for some abstract everyone. The point is getting material goods and material power into the hands of specific groups of real oppressed people, so that they can throw off their chains and cast down the oppressors.

The strategy of class-based organizing wasn't effective in the 19th century because class is at the root of all other forms of oppression. The strategy of class-based organizing was effective because a bunch of workers were thrown together into big Victorian-era factories and learned that 1) their shared lot was pretty shitty, and 2) they could work together to accomplish their own ends, because they had learned how to work together to accomplish the ends of the bosses. The experience of living as a Black person in a Black neighborhood exposed to white supremacist policing is instructive, much like the experience of being a worker on the factory floor is instructive, and the shared knowledge and the shared organizational ability that comes of that experience is 1) not to be discounted, 2) absolutely irreplaceable.

If people oppressed because of the color of their skin learn that they've got a shared shitty lot and that they can work together as PoC to change it, don't tell them they're falling into bourgeois identity politics. When a group of people oppressed because of the color of their skin successfully organize on that specific basis, like the Black Panthers successfully organized on that specific basis, don't try to pretend that their success means that oh well really that organization must have been actually class-based or actually universalist.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:04 AM on February 21 [32 favorites]


Ok....one woman's experience on Twitter. Same diff?
posted by agregoli at 11:07 AM on February 21 [4 favorites]


The point isn't the formal rules. The point isn't abstract liberation for some abstract everyone. The point is getting material goods and material power into the hands of specific groups of real oppressed people, so that they can throw off their chains and cast down the oppressors.


I totally agree with your post. I made a dumb take while trying to understand what the actual alternative is.

I would say that my political philosophy is that of Fred Hampton's: to connect that specific shared experience of black folks with other shared experiences of other people of color (here and beyond America's borders) through class solidarity. And to bring along all the white people who otherwise wouldn't give a damn about us.

Universal healthcare and a jobs guarantee form a significant part of that for me. And of course, to be able to live in a world that hasn't been destroyed by climate change.
posted by Ouverture at 11:19 AM on February 21 [7 favorites]


In observing Twitter and getting deep in the menchies for the last 24 hours, it seems like the ratio of "Bernie's supporters are rabid and abusive!" tweets vs. Bernie's supporters tweeting rabid abuse is about 30:1.


Because they're on an upswing right now and the primaries haven't started? My memory is the rabid/abusive didn't start picking up until the primaries and began exponential growth once he was functionally eliminated from contention but refused to concede. Don't get me started on the things I got to hear/read during the general. Yelch.

Yes, I completely agree with this. Universal programs cannot be implemented by institutions that are captured by white supremacists. That's how we got redlining and the racist G.I. Bill.

And desegregation. I mean, we don't even have universal enfranchisement and those lines are drawn primarily along racial boundaries. I'm not a white supremacist evil genius, so I don't know exactly how medicare for all would be subverted (and I'm still in favor of it, btw, universal healthcare and combatting white supremacy are the biggest YES, AND I know), but public education, voter enfranchisement, access to abortion, they've all been subverted by white supremacy endemic in U.S. institutions and culture.
posted by avalonian at 11:19 AM on February 21 [6 favorites]


A materialist theory, which would I favor, would postulate that racism is born of economic discrepancies between races, and when those discrepancies are removed, racism (and, indeed, the very idea of race) will disappear. Asserting that race is a derivative phenomena of class (i.e. a "race-blind" theory) does not mean that race or racism isn't taken seriously.

^ this was said a while ago, but Sanders seems to subscribe to the same "materialist" view of racism described above.
What's wrong with it is perfectly explained by the following:

The experience of living as a Black person in a Black neighborhood exposed to white supremacist policing is instructive, much like the experience of being a worker on the factory floor is instructive, and the shared knowledge and the shared organizational ability that comes of that experience is 1) not to be discounted, 2) absolutely irreplaceable.
If people oppressed because of the color of their skin learn that they've got a shared shitty lot and that they can work together as PoC to change it, don't tell them they're falling into bourgeois identity politics. When a group of people oppressed because of the color of their skin successfully organize on that specific basis, like the Black Panthers successfully organized on that specific basis, don't try to pretend that their success means that oh well really that organization must have been actually class-based or actually universalist.


In the same vein, don't decide that the only real racism is the kind that results in economic hardship. That's racist.
posted by Aarti_Faarti at 11:20 AM on February 21 [9 favorites]


Historically, programs, incentives, policies, and statements of freedom and liberty that do not explicitly and specifically include women, people of color, LGBT people, and even religious minorities have tended to be implemented in such a manner that they exclude them.

See, for example, the entire history of the USA, but let's just take one rather specific example: women's suffrage.

The US Constitution did not explicitly include women in the right to vote, and as a consequence women did not have the right to vote.

Later, when the 14th Amendment was passed a plain and straightforward reading of the text would appear to grant women the right to vote. It says quite plainly that all people born in the US are citizens and that no state can deny equal protection to citizens. Yet, women did not have the right to vote because they were not explicitly included in the 14th, and it required an amendment that explicitly said that women could vote before women were finally allowed to vote.

Much the same could be said of Social Security. The original law, as passed, was neutral with regards to race at least in the sense that people of color were not explicitly and specifically exempted. Yet the implementation of Social Security was such that, because they weren't explicitly included, people of color were effectively excluded.

Given the long, long, history of any broad sweeping general statement of rights, or programs promising stuff to people, implicitly excluding minority groups unless they were explicitly included I don't think it's wrong to suggest that unless people, like Sanders, are explicitly and specifically talking about how they intend to make those programs apply to minority groups those programs will, whether intentionally by their creators or not, be implemented in such a way that they exclude minority groups.

We don't even have to go back very far to find an example. In 2018 governor Snyder of Michigan rolled out a plan to cut off food stamps to black people while keeping them going to white people.

Any plan that does not assume it will be implemented by racists hellbent on denying the benefits of that plan to people of color, or misogynists hellbent on denying the benefits to women, or *-phobes hellbent on denying the benefits to LGBT people, and have in place explicit measures to include those groups, is a plan that is flatly guaranteed to be subverted to benefit cis het white guys at the expense of everyone else.

Anyone serious about actually having a truly universal plan in place must start from the assumption that their plan will be actively subverted by bigots, and design their plan to withstand those efforts at subversion and still deliver the benefits to marginalized groups. Simply saying "this plan is universal, it applies to everyone" merely means that, however well intentioned the planners are, the results will be racist.

For people to not even contemplate this inevitability, as Sanders appears not to, indicates a bizarre ignorance of the entire history of our nation.

I flatly guarantee that if we passed laws abolishing capitalism tomorrow but didn't explicitly and specifically build those laws to give equal redistributive benefits to women and people of color that it'd be all given to the cis het white guys like me. Because we live in a deeply and pervasively racist and sexist and homophobic society.

It sucks that you can't just say "this will benefit everyone, so yay!" and have done. I get that its frustrating to have to build a plan that assumes it will be implemented by people actively and maliciously trying to subvert it for racist, sexist, and *-phobic ends. But that's the reality we live in, and it's foolhardy to think that just planning for universal, neutral, application is sufficient.

Because guess what? It won't be Sanders implementing whatever his plan for free college, or medicare for all, or what have you. It'll be Governor Bigot Q Racist in Louisiana, or county commissioner Homophobe J Misogynist in rural Tennessee. And they'll spend every second they can spare, and all the money they can throw at lawyers to find loopholes, to find a way to subvert those laws to deny the benefits to everyone but cis het white guys.

I'm not saying to give up on breaking down capitalism and building a socialist utopia. I'm just saying that doing so in a way that's going to be genuinely universal and really benefit everyone requires explicitly planning for how to make it apply to people the bigots work to harm.
posted by sotonohito at 11:28 AM on February 21 [33 favorites]


I think people should generally assume that MetaFilter is not a place they are likely to find converts to their favored candidate, whoever it is. Obviously people are going to share links that portray their candidate in a positive light and occasionally snark at the ones they don't like and that's cool and all but the idea that we're going to dislodge our fellow Mefites from their entrenched positions by posting scathing op-eds and mic drop tweets has got to fucking go. It's just fighting for fighting's sake and primary season has barely even started. There are so many different modes of engagement for this stuff, and it is possible to choose less shitty, combative ones.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:31 AM on February 21 [25 favorites]


People should really stop assuming what people think and why they are saying things in this thread.

I think most people here need to holster their weapons. No one here is deciding on Sanders becoming the nominee. It's a year to the primaries, and we're jumping at the possibility that someone here could do something. We should speak frankly, but we also must keep our powder dry on some of these things. What do we expect to happen? That the anti-Sanders faction would roll over and be quiet? The pro-Sanders faction would be shamed into silence? We have to be realistic about what we expect from our fellow MeFites. Which means we don't have to assume worst intentions or possibility. Yes, people will speak ignorantly, but it's no one's hear job to stop that, save possibly the moderators in extreme circumstances.

On a related but differing note, I've been rooting around the DSA message boards to stop the automatic Sanders support. A lot of people's enthusiasm got the better of them which caused a massive shortchange in process (you know, the whole democratic part of DSA). Social media accounts were undisciplined and started to boost for him. The DSA acted as though it was only a matter of when and not if, and a lot of people just assumed that no one would want otherwise. Even pro-Bernie guys are justly annoyed by it. In my opinion, DSA would be wiser staying out of the presidential race altogether, though at this point, I feel like I'm trying to stop a train with my hand.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:31 AM on February 21 [17 favorites]


Sorry for posting more Tweets but can't find a news article about this yet: Lauren Gambino:
NEW: @BernieSanders campaign co-chairs will be California congressman @RoKhanna San Juan mayor @CarmenYulinCruz Our Revolution president @ninaturner

This means the first three co-chairs will all be people of color – this after hiring @fshakir who will be the first Muslim campaign manger of a major party presidential campaign.

New Sanders press release names a fourth campaign co-chair: Ben & Jerry's co-founder and longtime Sanders' supporter Ben Cohen
posted by Space Coyote at 11:40 AM on February 21 [12 favorites]


Ro Khanna and Nina Turner are both amazing. I met Nina before and she is absolutely electrifying as a public speaker and organizer.
posted by Ouverture at 11:43 AM on February 21 [4 favorites]


Maryanne Williamson? I will swallow all my snide comments about new age nonsense, I will remind myself that she's the only candidate calling for reparations, and I will fly to [swing state] and knock doors for her.

You forgot Andrew Yang, the UBI candidate!
posted by Apocryphon at 11:47 AM on February 21


Ro Khanna used to be the centrist tech bros candidate gladly taking money from every SV luminary out there (including Peter Thiel), although he seems to have lately tempered his views as the prevailing political winds have changed.
posted by PenDevil at 12:11 PM on February 21 [7 favorites]


Oh, and by the way, ‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates

Be careful about badmouthing Democratic candidates on social media because you might convince someone not to vote for that same person in the general. There is an operation to sow discord among the Democratic field for a reason. Keep criticism to the point, and be aware that divisiveness is a goal of our enemies. Talk about policies over personalities. Refuse to buy into personal attacks.

This is hard. I really have some issues with Tulsi Gabbard for example. I'm going to try to ignore her best I can until I need to do otherwise.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 12:39 PM on February 21 [16 favorites]


If it ever comes to pass that we need to do anything other than ignore Tulsi Gabbard's candidacy, we are well and truly fucked.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:43 PM on February 21 [11 favorites]


The "You can't dislike Bernie, because Socialism" and "Why do you hate M4All?" arguments keep coming up right here, and it's baffling because I'm pretty sure you're not bots.

It's not style over substance, it's not about his speaking style or his haircut.
Many people do not trust Bernie Sanders or think he has the necessary skills, temperament, aptitude or attitude to do the job of President of the United States. You'd think after the last couple of years that would be a lesson learned. "Yeah, but he said he wouldn't do the bad thing" doesn't cut it any more.

I see that there is a list of policies. If Mitt Romney or Donald Trump released that list then I would be obligated to vote for them? Even if that list of policies seems perfect to you making a list does not make you qualified to do the job. Quit trying to pretend this is some sort of purely analytical endorsement when it suits the occasion.

"I do/don't think a candidate has the capability or is the right person for the job" is not superficial and not a reason for mockery or dismissal.
posted by bongo_x at 12:50 PM on February 21 [30 favorites]


Ro Khanna used to be the centrist tech bros candidate gladly taking money from every SV luminary out there (including Peter Thiel), although he seems to have lately tempered his views as the prevailing political winds have changed.


Yeah, he has changed quite a bit. Along with Bernie, he has led the charge on getting the US out of the bipartisan genocide of Yemen.
posted by Ouverture at 1:02 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]


"I do/don't think a candidate has the capability or is the right person for the job" is not superficial and not a reason for mockery or dismissal.

Good thing no one is dismissing or mocking that criticism. "Bernie Sanders is a white supremacist and a misogynist" is an argument worthy of mockery and dismissal, however.
posted by FakeFreyja at 1:08 PM on February 21 [11 favorites]


Later, when the 14th Amendment was passed a plain and straightforward reading of the text would appear to grant women the right to vote. It says quite plainly that all people born in the US are citizens and that no state can deny equal protection to citizens. Yet, women did not have the right to vote because they were not explicitly included in the 14th, and it required an amendment that explicitly said that women could vote before women were finally allowed to vote.

This is just factually wrong, and getting this wrong should indicate to you that your confidence in your own historical analysis is misplaced. The reconstruction amendments weren’t universal in granting the right to vote and no straightforward reading of them would lead to that conclusion. They were explicitly sexist. The Fourteenth Amendment specifically and explicitly excludes women from its voting protections. The Fifteenth Amendment specifically bars states from discrimination in voting based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude”—not sex.

The Fourteenth Amendment’s more general clauses—specifically, the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses—form the basis for many constitutional rights for women, including abortion. That amendment also gives Congress the authority to enforce those provisions by regulating the states. They have done so in favor of women and people of color; the Civil Rights Act was a pretty big deal and it was enabled by the Fourteenth Amendment’s universalist provisions.

I am not at all saying that the history of those Amendments and their interpretation is great or perfect or whatever. But it’s simply wrong to point towards their generality as the thing that led to the need for the 19th Amendment.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 1:10 PM on February 21 [8 favorites]


Bernie Sanders is a white supremacist and a misogynist" is an argument worthy of mockery and dismissal, however.
posted by FakeFreyja


No one said that either, so...?
posted by agregoli at 1:20 PM on February 21 [5 favorites]


No one said that either, so...?

Uh, have you been reading this thread? Starting from the top, it took only 11 comments to get to the first instance:

My 16 year old was excited about Bernie, but one of his female peers said “He’s an old, crusty, 1%er who doesn’t seem to like women or people of color, so...” , and I happen to agree. If he’s the nominee, I will vote for him, but I hope he’s not the nominee.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:26 PM on February 21 [9 favorites]


I have been reading the thread, thanks. I don't think it's helpful to keep paraphrasing people's thoughts and positions though, its generating more heat than light.
posted by agregoli at 1:30 PM on February 21 [11 favorites]


Yeah, he has changed quite a bit. Along with Bernie, he has led the charge on getting the US out of the bipartisan genocide of Yemen.

I don't think he's changed much, he seems to be an opportunist of note. You don't run on a Republican-lite, anti teachers union ticket in 2014 (he defeated Mike Honda, someone seemingly much closer on the political scale to Sanders) and suddenly start singing The International in 2019.
posted by PenDevil at 1:34 PM on February 21 [5 favorites]


[Folks, if we cannot have this thread without it turning into a series of personal attacks, bad-faith paraphrasings, and general grar, we cannot have this thread. Think about it and make your choice - I will absolutely just delete it even now if we can't get it back under control. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:43 PM on February 21 [24 favorites]


tbh I think people just really, really enjoy arguing about bernie sanders. I mean, shit, I am powerfully ambivalent about bernie sanders, and as a result of that I have learned that I enjoy arguing about bernie sanders with myself. like you want to know what the inside of my head sounds like? the inside of my head sounds like nonstop internal bickering about an old man socialist from brooklyn.

which like in normal times, that would not be a good thing. but the great thing about having nonstop bickering about an old man socialist from brooklyn in my head right now is that it drowns out the nonstop screaming about an old man fascist from queens.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:49 PM on February 21 [29 favorites]


I'm excited to hear about the Sanders campaign co-chairs that have been announced. The choices in hiring thus far seem pretty solid and seem like indicators that this campaign will be run much more cannily than his 2016 one.

How is Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's? I don't know much about the guy but I've heard a lot of praise for the company. When I hear praise for the ethical business practices of a company that large and omnipresent I tend toward skepticism, but I'm really not knowledgeable about how they actually run.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 2:09 PM on February 21 [3 favorites]


tbh I think people just really, really enjoy arguing about bernie sanders.

Yeah, the back and forth about every single other candidate paled in comparison and I'm not sure why that is, unless it's lingering trauma from 2016.
posted by Justinian at 2:13 PM on February 21 [4 favorites]


it’s lingering trauma from 2016.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 2:14 PM on February 21 [32 favorites]


I think people just really, really enjoy arguing about bernie sanders.

I think people just feel the stakes are higher than usual. This is a unique moment in US political history: it the first time that the farthest left candidate in a democratic primary is also the frontrunner, as well as being most popular politician in the country. The left has never been in this position before; for decades it has been an utterly marginal force (think Kucinich). The absolute novelty of this political situation means that it is going to be a big year for civic engagement (i.e. arguing about politics).
posted by moorooka at 2:19 PM on February 21 [11 favorites]




Well dang, that's two bits of good news right there. Good job Sen Sanders.
posted by sotonohito at 2:25 PM on February 21 [18 favorites]


> This is a unique moment in US political history: it the first time that the farthest left candidate in a democratic primary is also the frontrunner, as well as being most popular politician in the country.

well, with the added complicating factor that sanders isn’t a particularly thoughtful person on left topics not directly related to class. Which is a problem? it’s a problem. I’ve learned to square that circle by noting that he’s good at taking orders from the movement when the movement tells him he’s out of line, but it’s not ideal.

but yeah also he’s a legit leftist, or at least a solid social democrat, or at least he tries to be, and he’s one of the early front runners right now, and that’s weird and exciting.

dang though if I could alter the timeline such that AOC was born about six years earlier than she was in our timeline, so that she could legally run for president in 2020, I would without hesitation support her over sanders, even though she’s got maybe one one-thousandth of his experience in politics. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one of that opinion — hell, I’m pretty sure the modal sanders supporter shares that opinion.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 2:26 PM on February 21 [10 favorites]


to avoid abusing the edit button:

the tax returns link was listed on a site I read today, but it appears they may have been his previous release from when he first ran. They are a link to a pdf and I'm not seeing any new recent articles about his returns.
posted by FireballForever at 2:29 PM on February 21 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I was about to note that I'd applauded too soon. Looks like it's 2014 tax forms, no new data.
posted by sotonohito at 2:31 PM on February 21 [7 favorites]


Sanders I legit do not care if you did some mild-to-moderate tax fraud just RELEASE YOUR TAX RETURNS so we can churn through a few news cycles you have millions/day coming in now it'll be fine
posted by 3urypteris at 2:32 PM on February 21 [8 favorites]


As a ginormous Sanders supporter, I would absolutely support Ocasio-Cortez for president over him. I'll note that in 2024 she'll be just old enough to run.

In my full post-scarcity library-oriented ecosocialist 1000 years of world peace utopia, Bernie wins this election and then AOC successfully primaries him.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 2:34 PM on February 21 [10 favorites]


<img src="i_want_to_go_to_there.gif" alt="animated image of Tina Fey as Liz Lemon saying 'I want to go to there'"/>
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:15 PM on February 21 [3 favorites]


dang though if I could alter the timeline such that AOC was born about six years earlier than she was in our timeline, so that she could legally run for president in 2020, I would without hesitation support her over sanders, even though she’s got maybe one one-thousandth of his experience in politics. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one of that opinion — hell, I’m pretty sure the modal sanders supporter shares that opinion.


Yeah, AOC (and Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib) is absolutely my top pick, but like you said, we gotta work with what we have.

And my hope is that if Sanders wins, his presidency can make that possibility of even better candidates even more real.
posted by Ouverture at 3:25 PM on February 21 [4 favorites]


I mean, personally, my deciding factor is going to be climate change

Whoever pledges, and seems able to follow through on, Day One steps to save our biosphere, gets my vote. I don't care who they are. It's good that socialism is less of a dirty word, but if we don't handle that it won't matter.
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 3:38 PM on February 21 [13 favorites]


AOC but in her late 30s instead of late 20s, all other things being equal, would likely be absolute dogshit at social media, like the rest of us are. We used to think the internet was ours with our ICQ #s still memorized and our memories of blogs, but we can't even handle getting ratio'd.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:04 PM on February 21 [11 favorites]


Nothing makes me feel more like an establishment technocrat than talk of AOC as the nominee. She's been in office like 17 minutes. I love her lots, elect more like her to the House,yadda yadda yadda, but... I'm just as qualified and I'm not qualified.
posted by Justinian at 4:23 PM on February 21 [17 favorites]


I think AOC is the best kind of unqualified politician: a genuinely working class person who has been able to rise to the top of the party instantaneously by virtue of her intelligence, charisma, and above all willingness to say things that most qualified politicians consider verboten, either because it contradicts their class interests or because they wrongly think it would be a strategic blunder.

This is my Bookchinite libertarian socialist side coming out a bit, but I feel the country would be far better off without a professional political class altogether, so I'm all for unqualified newbies taking over. As many as possible, ideally.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 4:28 PM on February 21 [21 favorites]


Talking about AOC 2020 is pure fantasy, obviously. AOC 2024 is a different prospect altogether, and I could certainly get excited about the idea if she continues to comport herself as she has so far.
posted by contraption at 4:30 PM on February 21 [6 favorites]


AOC is the Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. of politics. She’s a can’t miss prospect, because she hasn’t sucked in the major leagues yet.

(The best part of this comment is that in 8 years when Vlad Jr. is a superstar it’ll still work.)
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:54 PM on February 21 [5 favorites]


I think honestly the reason many leftists hate Bernie is the same reason a lot of vegans hate vegetarians far more than they hate meat eaters. It's kind of the "you're so close! What the fuck! You see the ethics of it! Why aren't you there?"
posted by corb at 6:21 PM on February 21 [7 favorites]


I'm all for unqualified newbies taking over.

the less qualified the better.

This was the sort of thinking a lot of people used to justify electing Trump. Every 4 years some huge chunk of the American populace thinks "what will really fix Washington is if we elect a total outsider" whether that's the Tea Party or Trump or AOC. I'm not saying new ideas/faces are necessarily bad, but novelty as a proxy for quality has always been a terrible gambit. Please stop doing this, fellow Americans.
posted by axiom at 7:23 PM on February 21 [28 favorites]


Trump's problem isn't that he's unqualified, it's that he is a walking pile of trash that has no interest in moral leadership, learning how the office works, or serving the nation. Put an equally qualified person in office right now who is as good as Trump is bad, and we'd be fine.
posted by BeginAgain at 7:58 PM on February 21 [13 favorites]


This was the sort of thinking a lot of people used to justify electing Trump. Every 4 years some huge chunk of the American populace thinks "what will really fix Washington is if we elect a total outsider" whether that's the Tea Party or Trump or AOC. I'm not saying new ideas/faces are necessarily bad, but novelty as a proxy for quality has always been a terrible gambit. Please stop doing this, fellow Americans.

It seems to me that you're fitting what I said into the framework of the popular liberal gripe about how people elected Trump because of the false perception that he was an "outsider", but I'm not talking about that subject at all.

What I'm getting at is this: the US has a political system that serves the upper class. Our political system bends over backwards to serve those who are most rich and empowered by our capitalist system. Ocasio-Cortez is meaningfully different from most politicians in that she comes from the working class. As a member of that class, her interests have differed significantly from the interests of upper class politicians. Usually when this happens, the working class politician is co-opted, brought into the upper class so her interests begin to align with theirs and she begins to legislate toward their goals. This has not happened yet with AOC and it hopefully won't.

In addition to this difference in class interests, she is also very different from other politicians in that she has a sincere and well-developed socialist ideology that guides her decision making, so she has a comprehensive programmatic vision that does not just devolve into whatever will secure her the most immediate short-term political gain. She's thus more likely to actually follow through on the things she says. To tie this in to the topic of this thread, this also applies to Bernie Sanders.

In my comment I also mentioned that our country would be "better off without a professional political class altogether." I was sort of cheekily referencing the Communalist idea that a professional class of political "representatives" is entirely malignant and unnecessary. They claim to interpret the will of the people, but they have immense power to ignore our will or subvert it for their own self-interest. It would be much better to practice direct democracy through hyperlocal municipal direct assemblies that elect disempowered "administrators" who simply manage the implementation of policy, and can be recalled at any moment by a simple majority vote. These assemblies could then be confederated together across cities and regions to avoid parochialism and to solve wider problems.

I know this last bit was slightly off topic, but I bring it up mainly to show that there is not the poverty of ideas on the left that you seem to assume, and that our interpretations usually do not fit so directly into a conservative or liberal framework.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:41 PM on February 21 [19 favorites]


Reading back over my comment I'd like to clarify an ambiguous point: a communalist assembly would allow anyone living in the area to vote directly on policy. Policies would be directly set into motion by the people, and their elected "administrators" would be there only to do the work of delegation and management to ensure that the voted upon policy outcome was faithfully delivered.

I promise I won't go further down this rabbit hole! I'm not here to try and convert everyone to one very specific kind of socialism. I just wanted to share an idea that seemed relevant to the discussion.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:51 PM on February 21 [3 favorites]


I think honestly the reason many leftists hate Bernie is the same reason a lot of vegans hate vegetarians far more than they hate meat eaters. It's kind of the "you're so close! What the fuck! You see the ethics of it! Why aren't you there?"

If you talk to any actual leftists you will quickly realize that Bernie supporters are the vegetarians in this analogy.
posted by moorooka at 3:42 AM on February 22 [9 favorites]


5 brief points for Mefi's critics and supporters of Sanders:

1. I'm a Sanders supporter, tho I see some reasonable criticisms above; he's far from perfect.

2. Like other Sanders supporters, I imagine, I have equally/more strongly felt criticisms of Biden, Booker, Klobuchar and Castro, whom I view as unacceptably conservative.

3. I would nevertheless ride an I ♥ Moderate Democrats hot air balloon to the polls in order to vote for any one of them over Trump, esp. bc I worry that the D's most likely route to defeat in 2020 is fractionalization among its moderate, liberal and leftist coalitions.

4. Similarly, should it come to it, I expect any Biden, Klobuchar, Booker etc. supporters to ride an I ♥ Democratic Socialism hot air balloon to the polls to vote against Trump and his band of white supremacist Nazi-sympathizers.

5. It's fine to have a robust D primary, but regardless of who rises to the top among the current crop, every American is called on to vote out the racist, misogynistic, unprecedentedly corrupt and criminal enemies of democracy who are currently occupying the White House.

Thank you!
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 4:02 AM on February 22 [33 favorites]


If you talk to any actual leftists you will quickly realize that Bernie supporters are the vegetarians in this analogy.

This has been my experience as well. Sanders get blasted from a small portion of leftists for not being left enough to be a communist or on Israel/Palestine/the military industrial complex. But these are people who generally wouldn't be happy with anyone other than a resurrected Lenin in a mecha.

To be fair, I would totally prefer Mecha-Lenin as well.
posted by Ouverture at 7:28 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


Abdullah Öcalan is already 21st century Mecha-Lenin, imo. But while I am still in the early stages of learning about him and Rojava, I get the sense that I'd probably prefer his (current) methods to Lenin's
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:56 AM on February 22 [6 favorites]


Abdullah Öcalan is already 21st century Mecha-Lenin, imo. But while I am still in the early stages of learning about him and Rojava, I get the sense that I'd probably prefer his (current) methods to Lenin's

There are some legitimate worries how Öcalan has a cult of personality and how democratic confederalism can turn very doctrinaire, but on the whole, I agree. We're much better off following the ideas of Öcalan than Lenin.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 9:46 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]


There are some legitimate worries how Öcalan has a cult of personality

I feel like personality cults are maybe the biggest single impediment to building lasting left movements. It's hard enough getting the working class to rally behind a cause even when you've got the charismatic leader, but then you need to get that leader to willingly hand over the reigns without the movement losing steam. As a democratic socialist this is my main reservation about Sanders.
posted by contraption at 9:56 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


A clarification on which Bernie voters didn't vote for Clinton by Nate Silver:
About 25 percent of Bernie's voters were #NeverHillary in 2016. Now they have a lot more choices. Can he win without them? (Spoiler: yes, but his coalition is likely to look different.)

Of the states Sanders won last time, 8 were because of #NeverHillary voters. In the more conservative states in particular (e.g. Indiana and West Virginia) he may not replicate that success this time around.

Contrary to the stereotype, the #NeverHillary voters were largely *not* leftist voters who thought Clinton was too conservative. They were mostly moderate and conservative Democrats, or independents and Republicans who chose to vote in the Democratic primary.
posted by Jpfed at 10:14 AM on February 22 [10 favorites]


so I've got a flat-topped cap, a little bit of experience with modern machine-learning techniques, a couple of extra GPUs, a copy of Capital, and some spare time this weekend. I think I'll see if I can get started on putting together a proper Mecha-Lenin...
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:29 AM on February 22 [10 favorites]


so I've got a flat-topped cap, a little bit of experience with modern machine-learning techniques, a couple of extra GPUs, a copy of Capital, and some spare time this weekend. I think I'll see if I can get started on putting together a proper Mecha-Lenin...

Mecha-Lenin would be properly trained on a copy of Hegel's Science of Logic
posted by dis_integration at 10:31 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]


Would prefer mecha-Öcalan on the theory that I'd rather avoid a mecha-Kronstadt.
posted by Frowner at 10:33 AM on February 22 [5 favorites]


yeah the problem with mecha-bolsheviks is that once they get power they disasssemble all the robots to their left.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:34 AM on February 22 [15 favorites]


... but, like, I've got the hat. if I build a mecha-Öcalan, what am I gonna do with the lenin hat?
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:36 AM on February 22 [8 favorites]


I know that necromancy isn't well-regarded in mech-left circles these days but do consider installing john brown's bones in there somewhere
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:39 AM on February 22 [12 favorites]


what am I gonna do with the lenin hat?

you build a chibi-mecha-Lenin and attach it via umbilicus to the mecha-Öcalan to provide humorous commentary, thought that'd be a no-brainer
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:44 AM on February 22 [10 favorites]


I love every last one of you all.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:51 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


I am disappointed none of you mentioned "Evangelenin", but such is the sorry state of the Left these days~

And back on topic:
Over the past three weeks—beginning with his State of the Union address—President Trump has attempted to turn the 2020 primary into a binary choice between his (corrupt) presidency and Venezuela-style socialism. Many in the media have followed his lead, pressing Democrats on whether or not they are socialists, despite the fact that none describe themselves as such. This pseudo-story not only has rendered the term “socialism” meaningless—conflating national health insurance and graduated tax systems with a government takeover of the entire economy—but it is erasing important distinctions in Democratic candidates’ policies that ought to be the focus of debate.
posted by Ouverture at 10:59 AM on February 22 [8 favorites]




How come folks on this thread are cheering Nina Turner as "amazing"? You know she was firmly and vocally #NeverHillary right? The same people cheering for Nina have also (rightly but hypocritically) insisted that we should all commit to vote for Sanders if he is nominated.

Just saying.. it's not okay that Bernie hired her, it's not a good sign for the folks who are waiting to see a unifying message from Bernie rn rather than doubling down on past mistakes.
posted by MiraK at 1:22 PM on February 22 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry I'm not up in arms that Nina Turner didn't support a candidate I never particularly liked and only voted for out of necessity? You're kind of stretching at this point tbh.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:29 PM on February 22 [12 favorites]


I was able to find some tape of Nina Turner saying she wasn't supporting anyone in the race and telling people to vote for who they want to. That's not the same as being "NeverHillary". Anyway, it's baffling to me as to why I should care.

Actually, in trying to find out what was being referred to here, I skimmed some interviews and watched a video of her, not knowing much about her before. She seems like she kicks ass.
posted by dis_integration at 1:39 PM on February 22 [5 favorites]


I'm sorry I'm not up in arms that Nina Turner didn't support a candidate I never particularly liked

It does not matter that you didn't like her, that's neither news to the thread nor particularly relevant now. You are not a campaign co-chair.

However, I don't think it's the worst thing in the world to have a woman of color with a strong history in a swing state (Ohio) high up in the campaign. She did things like introduce a bill borrowing language from an anti-abortion bill and applying it to viagra. To me, this is not doubling down on past mistakes - this is showing growth. Turner's voice is a voice he needs in the inner circle. Her statement mentions "joining his team as a co-chair to ensure we have a true progressive champion in the White House dedicated to racial, social, economic, and political justice," which is heartening.

It's also worth noting that Carmen Yulin Cruz, another campaign co-chair, did endorse Clinton (it was not an effusive endorsement, but it was an endorsement. Sanders bringing on someone high-level from the Clinton campaign would be a huge bridge, but I would imagine that to be a tough hire).
posted by everybody had matching towels at 2:44 PM on February 22 [3 favorites]


Also, to expand on hiring as message-sending: ten people have declared so far, they're all hiring. What will be interesting to watch is as the field narrows and stronger challengers staff up who ends up where. I am excited to see what staffing looks like a year from now (will I actually think this on 2/22/2020? Someone remind me so I can detail my regret).
posted by everybody had matching towels at 3:00 PM on February 22


The Onion, now practically an organ of the IWW, weighs in on Bernie Sanders
posted by dis_integration at 8:00 PM on February 22 [3 favorites]


Öcalan has a cult of personality

and a posse :P (ungated ;)
Rojava is governed like a 1980s Berkeley dorm discussion whose participants have acquired automatic weapons. They are anarcho-leftist, environmentally conscious, secular, socialist and radically devoted to equality of the sexes. One manifestation of this last commitment is a coed guerrilla force, including male and female snipers (féministes fatales, if you will) who have been picking off the male jihadists of Islamic State with gusto for the past five years.

A new memoir, “Long Shot: The Inside Story of the Snipers Who Broke ISIS,” tells the story of the group’s sniper battles against Islamic State, with a heavy dose of the group’s leftism. The author, writing under the name Azad Cudi, is a Kurdish sniper now in Europe. Iranian by birth, he deserted his post in the Iranian military and fled to exile in Yorkshire, England, in 2004. There he read the work of Abdullah Öcalan, the terrorist-intellectual founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and found that man’s turgid Maoism enchanting. At the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, Rojava was founded on an Öcalanist model, and in 2013, when confrontation between Rojava and ISIS became inevitable, Mr. Cudi traveled to Syria to defend it...

When I last visited the PKK military and ideological training camps in Iraq, about the same time that Mr. Cudi was inducted, I found the campers besotted with political theory and feminism, and the crankish radicalism of Mary Daly and Murray Bookchin. What’s worse, they were reading these texts as scripture, rather than as subjects of debate and analysis. They were learning to think in unison—and, of course, to kill.

Against ISIS, Rojava is our ally, and its snipers our sisters and brothers in arms. The liberation of women, on their own terms, remains the core social struggle of the Middle East. But the credulous repetition of Öcalanist propaganda is a failing of this otherwise striking and memorable book.
also btw, fwiw...
The Woman's Party - "Bernie is as much a militant socialist as Hillary is a radical feminist — that is, not very — but both represent the furthest encroachments of these traditions on American liberalism. For Clinton, this is second-wave feminism and the social movements of the Sixties. For Sanders, it is the social democracy of the midcentury New Deal and Great Society."
Both choices are bad; neither, as Fraser says, asks men to change. Fraser’s answer is to propose what she calls a “universal caregiver” model based on the assumption that all workers are also caregivers and all caregivers are also workers. Conceiving a new welfare state based on this model would mean rethinking the length of the workday, socializing child care, decoupling Social Security and health insurance from employment, and returning to the welfare rights movement’s call for a guaranteed minimum income. Above all, it would mean placing feminist insights and concerns at the center, rather than the periphery, of any left politics. If the movement that Sanders’s campaign called into being is going to embody the spirit of a new revolution, this would be a good place to start.
posted by kliuless at 1:01 PM on February 23 [5 favorites]


I thought this piece was another good summary of the reasons for pushback against Sanders with respect to his views on race and gender.

Describing the impact of environmental racism on her son, Perry said “The question specifically, my black son, okay, I know you’re scared to say black, I know you are scared to say reparations because…”

“No, ma’am I don’t think that’s a fair statement,” Sanders interrupted.

“I let you finish as well,” Perry continued, “but it seems like every time we talked about black people and us getting something for the systemic oppression and exploitation of our people, we have to include every other person of color, so today can we please talk about specifically black people and reparations?”

Sanders responded by immediately pivoting away from black people and reparations, and completely ignored her question.

“You and I may have a disagreement on this,” Sanders said, “because it’s not just black, and it is Latino, there are areas in America, including poor rural areas, where it is white. Okay?”

As Sanders continued his subject-change, he reacted to an unintelligible comment from the audience by bellowing “I’ve said ‘black’ fifty times, okay? That was the fifty-first time!”

posted by schroedinger at 3:54 AM on February 24 [20 favorites]


thanks for posting that, schroedinger. That piece (and that clip) pretty effectively gets at why I'm not a hugely enthusiastic Sanders supporter. It's not that he's vegetarian where I'd prefer a vegan or whatever. It's that he only takes the particular experiences of Black people in America seriously when he's dragged into it kicking and screaming.

which is bad. and, well, it's not bad like it's bad when there's cheese on a veggie burger. Instead, it's bad like it's bad when there's poop in a milkshake.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:32 AM on February 24 [10 favorites]


It's that he only takes the particular experiences of Black people in America seriously when he's dragged into it kicking and screaming.

you mean like this? (just sayin')
posted by entropicamericana at 9:11 AM on February 24 [2 favorites]


I see you're familiar with how my incessant internal dialogue about bernie sanders goes.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:25 AM on February 24 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure that the fact that Sanders protested for civil rights in the 60s has much relevance to his perceived issues with race right now.
posted by octothorpe at 9:33 AM on February 24 [25 favorites]


Whether fair or not (and politics is very unfair), many black activists consider Sanders to not be committed to African American protection and revival. He stumbled a lot back in 2016 and he continues to stumble. The thing is, I think his policies are good for black Americans, and in fact, by tacking away from the solution being black capitalism, probably are more helpful than any one else's. But that's not for me to decide. Sanders has done very little to convince black Americans and instead usually harps on how they should already be convinced. Well, if it worked like that Adlai Stevenson would have been president. Eugene Debs would have been president, even. It doesn't matter whether people benefit or not; it depends on whether you can convince them of the same, and in general, Sanders isn't much of a convincer. Much of the following Sanders has has less to do with Sanders convincing them to follow him and instead using the language and policies that they have been waiting on for decades.

It's too bad, really: I wish we had someone like Kamala Harris with the policies of Bernie Sanders and the clean sheet history of Buttigieg, but we don't, and Sanders should know that, and just like Cuomo, you can't chide an electorate into believing in you. If Sanders wanted, he could have real influence on making life better for black Americans. If you're a senator and you don't care about taking credit, you can do lot of good in a moment like this.

There he read the work of Abdullah Öcalan, the terrorist-intellectual founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and found that man’s turgid Maoism enchanting.

I found the campers besotted with political theory and feminism, and the crankish radicalism of Mary Daly and Murray Bookchin


Oh, blow it out your ass. We get it: you'd rather the movement in Rojava just be about fighting for a Western style democracy and that any questioning of capitalism and patriarchy is "crankish."

You know, I have problems with Öcalan and hero worship (though I would hardly say Americans are immune for taking radical thinking and turning it into bit-sized memorized doctrine. And I'm definitely not saying Rojava is perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but the constant tut-tuting from capitalists is really infuriating.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:44 AM on February 24 [12 favorites]


you mean like this? (just sayin')

And then he ran off to the whitest state in the country with one of the most disproportionate rates of incarceration for POC. So.

A lot of people protested in the 60s. I have family members who did. That doesn't make them saints. You don't prove your commitment by showing up to a protest or two, you prove your commitment by working on the ground, day after day, even when the cameras aren't around.
posted by schroedinger at 3:45 PM on February 24 [11 favorites]


And yet, recent polls still show him as leading all other candidates when it comes to black folks and other people of color. I'm curious to see if that shifts in the coming year.
posted by Ouverture at 4:00 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]


Politico: Trump’s Secret to Victory in 2020: Hispanic Voters
Despite that 50 percent approval rate, his poll found that only 27 percent of Hispanics said that they definitely plan to vote for Trump in 2020, with 58 percent definitely voting against him. Still, a definite 27 percent, if accurate, is equal to the percentage of Hispanic voters who chose Trump in 2016 (28 percent), or Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in 2012 (27 percent), or Republicans in the 2018 congressional midterms (29 percent).
And
After Trump’s midterms misfire of trying to rally the Republican base through immigrant-bashing, there is evidence, too, that the 2020 playbook will return to the more tried-and-true method of characterizing Democrats as extreme leftists. He, and other leading Republicans, are criticizing Democrats more on abortion, taxes and “socialist” positions on health care and climate change. He’s also made a targeted appeal to Cuban-Americans in Florida by vocally supporting the overthrow of Nicolás Maduro, the socialist dictator in Venezuela. There is good reason to think that those efforts will be effective on Hispanic voters—or, at least, effective enough.

The Democratic Party hasn’t been wowing them. Hispanic approval of congressional Democrats, and of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer individually, is poor. There are few, if any, elected Democratic Hispanics who are national household names. After Clinton passed on the opportunity to put a Latino on the national ticket in 2016, the 2020 presidential field has just one Hispanic in the mix: Julián Castro, who has been overshadowed by a white fellow Texan, Beto O’Rourke.

Meanwhile, Democrats’ hope of a deal to protect Dreamers — immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States as children — ended with nothing to show for it. Immigration reform and labor issues have taken a back seat in the Democratic-controlled House to climate change, health care, and gun control—similar to what happened the last time Democrats took control of the House, in 2009.

And most importantly, things are pretty good for most Hispanic-Americans. Trump is correct that they have enjoyed record-low unemployment rates, notwithstanding a small uptick at the start of this year. And, despite all of Trump’s rhetoric, and the fear it induced, not much has changed for most Hispanic families in the U.S. Deportations are a little down from Obama administration peaks, while immigrant arrests are a little up.
Conclusion:
None of this is to suggest that Hispanics are entering a prolonged love affair with Trump. But it does mean that the eventual Democratic nominee can’t simply assume that Hispanic voters will flock to the polls to prevent Trump's second term. If anything, the challenge for the party looks tougher than in 2016—when it arguably cost them the White House.
posted by Apocryphon at 4:23 PM on February 24


Sanders doesn’t just warn against U.S. military intervention in Venezuela, as Warren and Gillibrand have. He warns against it while invoking the United States’ “long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin American countries.”

Kind of a bad time for Beinart to write that article, as Bernie seems to be at least tacitly supporting the US actions to destabilize Venezuela (fortunately, there's plenty of pushback in the responses).
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:56 PM on February 24 [3 favorites]


Bernie Sanders had a lot of trouble attracting voters of color in 2016, and I'm not sure what has changed in the three years since to make him more attractive this time around.
posted by chernoffhoeffding at 6:59 AM on February 25 [1 favorite]


If that's about Overture' comment and not a more general observation - increased interest from PoC could be nothing more than a reaction to politicians of the orange color. There seems to be a lot of indication that at this stage of the process it's more name recognition than anything else. In 2016 it was Sanders versus a more known quantity for PoC, Clinton. At this point there's surely a non-zero number of those folks who don't know anything about the other lower profile candidates but who want Trump unseated so they'll opt for the person they recognize.

I think that the lack of any obvious change in the time since may be an issue as the other candidates get more coverage.

As far as the above bit about Sander's participation in the civil rights movement in the 60s, that seems a lot to me like those restaurants who swill have their "Best Eats in the City 1997" tear sheets up. It's a part of his history worth being proud of, for sure, but using it as a response when people point to contemporary concerns is worse than saying nothing at all IMNSHO.
posted by phearlez at 7:27 AM on February 25 [7 favorites]


Bernie Sanders had a lot of trouble attracting voters of color in 2016, and I'm not sure what has changed in the three years since to make him more attractive this time around.

It's not really about Bernie Sanders (who has mostly maintained every quality he had at the same 2016 levels, for better or for worse), but the whole ecosystem right now. His opponents are many and not Hillary Clinton. We're in a world where Donald Trump is president. Socialism is becoming less fringe. Although we can judge Bernie Sanders for his actions, most of his fate is tied up in factors beyond his control.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:59 AM on February 25 [2 favorites]


There seems to be a lot of indication that at this stage of the process it's more name recognition than anything else.

Yes, this. We are still really early in the primary, and most of the recent polls I've seen show most of the current candidates as, basically, ciphers to a large fraction of the population -- it's very much an Apples to some-fruit-you've-never-tried-but-might-like-if-you-did comparison. That doesn't mean that people don't like those apples, but it does mean that drawing conclusions about which candidate is 'leading' versus other candidates do not mean all that much right now, especially while there's still time for other candidates (notably Biden, who really seems to be bidin' his time) to enter the race.
posted by cjelli at 8:00 AM on February 25 [3 favorites]




He announced a million 'people signed on to support our campaign,' which leads me to think that these million people are not so much volunteers as they are, y'know, people who are willing to share their email address with the Bernie Sanders campaign.
posted by box at 10:46 AM on February 25 [7 favorites]




Moderate Democrats' refusal to abolish the filibuster means foreign policy is all that matters. I'm supporting Bernie.
posted by bookman117 at 5:34 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


Isn't Sanders also for keeping the filibuster? As far as I know Warren is the only candidate who's said she's against it.
posted by schroedinger at 5:44 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


Isn't Sanders also for keeping the filibuster? As far as I know Warren is the only candidate who's said she's against it.

Can Warren convince a majority of Democratic Senators to vote against it? Sanders knows how to use a bully pulpit better than any of them (c.f. the complaints about his grandstanding) and if the filibuster is abolished it'll be activating grassroots support in that manner to kick the asses of people like Manchin and Feinstein.
posted by bookman117 at 5:49 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's a good point. I think the most plausible way the filibuster gets abolished is this:

1. The president uses the bully pulpit to push an extremely popular policy proposal supported by a huge grassroots movement.
2. The bill gets filibustered.
3. The president and grassroots supporters agitate strongly enough to get the filibuster repealed so the bill can be passed.

You don't get massive pressure to have dry matters of legislative procedure changed without some more important and popular issue pushing it. I have no doubt that if Medicare for All got filibustered, a President Sanders would agitate hard to get that shit repealed.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 5:55 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


Sanders knows how to use a bully pulpit better than any of them

Sanders: 'Not crazy' about nixing the Senate filibuster

Like, I don't think it makes sense to abolish the filibuster right now, and I think that if you do want to abolish it in 2021 with a Democratic Senate in power, it makes sense to spend the intervening time making the case for big goals that make the end of the filibuster a fait accompli rather than end unto itself.

But at the same time, only Warren is actually publicly in favor of ending the filibuster; Sanders is publicly against it. Assuming that Sanders is going to flip on that position is -- not un-Warren-ted (ahem), but. It seems equally likely that he's just being honest and doesn't want to end the filibuster? He's an entrenched, long-serving Senator with a long lived experience of Senatorial privilege; the filibuster is a large part of what gives individual Senators power.

I mean, personally I am absolutely hoping that every Democrat on record as being opposed to ending the filibuster is lying and would support ending it in the right circumstance, but I don't think I'd be correct to predict that. If the filibuster is a single-issue vote driver for anyone (and it shouldn't be) Warren is the only option currently; there are plenty of other reasons to support Sanders, but this is, per his own statements, not one.
posted by cjelli at 6:04 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


Well that's disappointing. Someone is gonna have to kick the ass of the Senate at some point because the status quo is unacceptable. I really am damn near a single issue voter on this issue, or I would be if the President had any direct impact on it. Imagine if the House of Lords was a serious impediment to progressive legislation in Britain.
posted by bookman117 at 6:39 PM on February 25


Speaking of Hispanics, and voting... Nearly a decade ago, Puerto Rico passed Law 191:

A law enacted by Puerto Rico in December mainly to combat identity theft invalidates as of July 1 [2010] all previously issued Puerto Rican birth certificates. That means more than a third of the 4.1 million people of Puerto Rican descent living in the 50 states must arrange to get new certificates.

I'm only aware of this because an elderly aunt in Texas had her Medicare and Social Security abruptly cut off, and needed to place an expedited order with VitalChek, a partner to the gov't of P.R. in processing these requests. There were a bunch of hoops to jump through: navigating the clunky website (thankfully, her great-granddaughter was on hand); the certificate could only be requested by the individual, the individual's parent, or the individual's child; the birth year cut-off was 1931 (she made it with three years to spare); payment via a credit card belonging to the person placing the order, with a street mailing address (no P.O. Boxes); and, of course, the available funds to pay the fees. (See: Social Security payments halted.)

(And knowing what to do. After she'd argued that she wasn't dead, Texas officials told my aunt to contact Vital Records in NYC, where she'd grown up, to have her birth certificate reissued.)

There are the millions of Puerto Ricans already living stateside, as well as the 130-150K who relocated (almost exclusively to Florida) after the hurricane. A valid birth certificate is the jumping-off point to the legal documentation required for lots of things, including voting.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:00 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


schroedinger: "Isn't Sanders also for keeping the filibuster? As far as I know Warren is the only candidate who's said she's against it."

Buttigieg has said we need to look at it. Jay Inslee, who appears to be about to enter the race, has said it has to go.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:39 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that's a good point. I think the most plausible way the filibuster gets abolished is this:

1. The president uses the bully pulpit to push an extremely popular policy proposal supported by a huge grassroots movement.
2. The bill gets filibustered.
3. The president and grassroots supporters agitate strongly enough to get the filibuster repealed so the bill can be passed.


The Senate will abolish the filibuster when the majority cares enough about some vote(s) that it's willing to take licks from the other side when they're back in the minority.

The filibuster has already been abolished with regard to federal judicial appointments. The Democrats abolished it for lower federal courts, and the Republicans abolished it for the Supreme Court. I don't know exactly how this happened, but I don't think in either case it was because of any extremely popular policies (or judges) supported by huge grassroots movements. Maybe it was because judicial appointments are a chance to take actions with very long-term effects. Yes, the other side will get to fast-track their own appointments in a few years, but your judges will already be serving life terms.

It's interesting to think why neither party has taken this step for legislation. One possibility is that, right now, legislation rarely gets filibustered, whereas if there was still a filibuster for judicial appointments they would be getting filibustered all the time. But why should that be? I have some sense of why judicial appointments are now so polarized -- but why isn't legislation also polarized? Maybe it's easier to horse-trade on legislation than on judicial nominees. A given appointment is all-or-nothing (although you can horse-trade on a slate of nominees). Also, for legislation, you can use the reconciliation process to bypass the filibuster, so there's less draw to abolish it altogether. (No reconciliation for appointments b/c only the Senate advises and consents.)

This is all to say -- maybe it would take a mass movement to end the filibuster on legislation. The history is a little difficult to understand!
posted by grobstein at 1:07 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it profits no one to talk about the filibuster at the moment. You talk about getting rid of it when you're in power and you want to see something passed. Up until that moment, it's not a topic to bring up. I can judge Sanders for a lot of things, but not counting the chickens before they hatch seems like wisdom. The filibuster will only be worthy of destruction if the Democrats take the White House and the Senate and keep the House.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 5:47 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]




Sanders Says He Will Release 10 Years of Tax Returns ‘Soon’

The last time he did this, he ran out the clock on disclosure. 'Soon' is not good enough. Release the returns now.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:52 AM on February 26 [8 favorites]


he ran out the clock on disclosure

Highlighting this to underline: that wasn't even about releasing his taxes.

He ran out the clock on filing his Public Financial Disclosure, requesting two consecutive 45-day extensions past the May 2016 deadline and then claiming he didn't have to file anymore since he wasn't the nominee. And it got worse. Journalists thought at least we'd get some semblance of accounting for his finances during the 2016 campaign when he filed his Senate disclosures in the following year but he failed to file AGAIN, missing the May 2017 deadline.

Does anyone know whether he ever disclosed anything about his 2016 campaign financial situation, or did folks just stop caring?
posted by MiraK at 9:05 AM on February 26 [6 favorites]


He's been so resistant on the subject that I suspect, between that and his wife's real estate shenanigans, that he doesn't walk the walk when it comes to his finances and taking advantage of his position. Not in a criminal sense, mind you, just that he doesn't live up to the principles he espouses to a level that would be detrimental to his campaign.
posted by tavella at 9:32 AM on February 26 [10 favorites]


NBC:
In a major shake-up to Bernie Sanders' just-launched presidential bid, some of his top strategists have left the campaign.

Tad Devine, Mark Longabaugh and Julian Mulvey, colleagues in a political consulting firm who all played leading roles in Sanders' 2016 campaign for the White House, are parting ways with the senator, citing creative differences.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:01 AM on February 26 [3 favorites]


The firm came under some criticism from Sanders allies for the money they made from Sanders and his small-dollar fundraising machines, with $5.3 million in direct payments to the firm from the 2016 campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission reports.

Devine also has faced renewed scrutiny for his international consulting work in Ukraine with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who has plead guilty to financial crimes and is awaiting sentencing.

And Sanders has pledged to diversify the top ranks of his campaign, which has been overwhelmingly white and male.

The Sanders campaign declined to immediately say who would replace the three men in either their roles as admakers or strategists.


I hope this doesn't damage the campaign too much, but it seems like a good riddance to me.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 10:16 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Kyung Lah @BernieSanders makes a compelling case on how Trump voters are unfairly painted as racists. What they need is decent health care, a good job and a fair playing field. He says he can uniquely reach out to Trump country. #SandersTownHall

Ugh. I'm not really up for eighteen months of apologies for racism.
posted by octothorpe at 10:23 AM on February 26 [24 favorites]


Not releasing his taxes is more than just "detrimental to his campaign," it's detrimental to democracy.
posted by Aarti_Faarti at 10:23 AM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Oh, I'd agree, I just meant that given the stonewalling, specifically there is obviously something considerably embarrassing and damaging in his tax returns. Which is another reason I'm not very fond of him.
posted by tavella at 12:42 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


I just meant that given the stonewalling, specifically there is obviously something considerably embarrassing and damaging in his tax returns.

The suspicion is that they would quantify how large his wife's golden parachute from the university she mismanaged into the ground was, which would lead to a number of uncomfortable questions.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:49 PM on February 26 [8 favorites]




A rich white guy can pay for college easily, and can pay for childcare easily.

ah yes the majestic impartiality of the law, which allows the rich white four-year-old to pay for his own care and education and allows the rich white 18-year-old to pay for his college tuition, equally!
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:17 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Honestly not sure at all what point you're trying to make... a rich white man can pay for his four year old or his 18 year old's schooling. Unless that is the point?
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:40 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]



Nothing makes me feel more like an establishment technocrat than talk of AOC as the nominee. She's been in office like 17 minutes. I love her lots, elect more like her to the House,yadda yadda yadda, but... I'm just as qualified and I'm not qualified.


You’ve gotten national buyin as a thought leader? You’ve won a campaign against the NY democratic machine? You’re masterful at social media?

Let’s not do the thing where a woman doing a thing means we decide that it’s not hard. She’s very accomplished and certainly more qualified for elected office than you are.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 6:11 AM on February 28 [5 favorites]


You’ve gotten national buyin as a thought leader? You’ve won a campaign against the NY democratic machine? You’re masterful at social media?

I think one of the things that AOC's rise illustrates is that truly good government takes a pretty broad mix of skills and people. It would be pretty difficult to do certain things without "old school technocrats"/civil service/admins/institutional memory, but that doesn't mean that lack of institutional memory or long political experience is disqualifying.

Also, that government is a system, not just a bunch of individuals. I bet that AOC could do a pretty good job in higher office and so could a lot of smart, dedicated people who do not meet the technical qualifications - partly because they're smart and accomplished and partly because they would have the sense to surround themselves with experts and ask questions when they didn't know things.

TBH, I think that a problem of our democracy is that to be AOC, you have to....be AOC. But if you're some self-serving mediocrity from a 1% background, it's easy to get into politics, where you bloviate and help your cronies to more money. AOC and the other freshmen woman have to be diamonds to get elected, but in a healthy democracy you could just be competent, intelligent and interested in public service. Like, I simultaneously want to point out that they're all outstanding and say that in a healthy system that isn't run by money, sincere, reasonably intelligent people who work hard can also do a pretty good job. People on our side only have to be ultra-fantastic because the political class has locked up democracy.
posted by Frowner at 6:25 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]


Sanders’ Top Campaign Strategists Quit

If the new campaign managers pushed out Tad Devine and Sanders was approving, this can only be a good sign. He was the worst part of the 2016 Sanders campaign.
posted by dis_integration at 6:56 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


I don’t get how AOC doesn’t meet the technical qualifications. This may be because I’ve been to an elite law school but it by no means should be considered a prerequisite for representing your constituents’ interests. What else is there? Running a business? Funny how that typically involves being okay with exploiting labor. Military experience? So she’d have to be okay in an imperialist violent organization? Being an activist/organizer? She’s got that experience in spades.

I just really don’t get what she’s supposed to have that she doesn’t, that isn’t “experience” as a proxy for time spent exploiting people and/or bombing them.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:03 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


I was thinking "technical qualifications for being President", ie, being 35, since so many people have been all "AOC should be president/VP" with some pushback on that.

On a non-technical but widely remarked level, I was thinking of the idea that you need to move from representative to senator to something higher to President. (People - even people who aren't Trump - obviously don't always do this, but it's definitely something I've seen raised when people are like "AOC for president!!!")
posted by Frowner at 7:09 AM on February 28


Three days old, but I don't believe it's been posted here: Elizabeth Warren's new promise: No fundraisers, phone calls with wealthy donors . Hopefully this becomes a new norm for Democratic nominees.
posted by Jpfed at 7:49 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]


On a non-technical but widely remarked level, I was thinking of the idea that you need to move from representative to senator to something higher to President.

Of our last seven Presidents, two spent any time in Congress.
posted by Etrigan at 7:55 AM on February 28


I just checked, and I think the potato was elected to Congress in '04.
posted by FJT at 8:05 AM on February 28


Apparently people already being harassed online - someone who asked a question about sexual harassment at the CNN town hall ended up hiding their social media profiles because of it. This Twitter thread goes in more detail.
posted by chernoffhoeffding at 8:06 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]


Hopefully a democratic president will be in office from January 2021 until 2029 and AOC will run in the 2028 election. By that time she'd still be the youngest president and will most likely have had a decade of experience in Congress.
posted by octothorpe at 8:10 AM on February 28 [2 favorites]


Of our last seven Presidents, two spent any time in Congress.

Yes, but:
- All but Trump had prior experience of some kind in governmental public service
- Several of the Presidents who weren't elected to Congress did run for Congress or serve in state legislatures (Clinton and Bush II both had failed congressional runs in the '70s; Carter served in the Georgia Senate)
- I'm pretty sure the point most people make is actually about elected experience generally ('or something higher,' like a governorship) and not Congressional service specifically? but:

Reagan and Trump are the two outliers for having never attempted to be elected to a non-executive role. And, well, I think they're not great models to follows.

Personally, I draw a distinction between whether a person is qualified for the Presidency and whether I'm in a position to judge their qualifications, and being able to look at their record in government is incredibly helpful on the second point: to me, it's not so much that experience in government qualifies a candidate for higher office, it's that it shows that they are qualified for higher office.

I'd point to the Chester A. Arthur Presidency as a an example* of someone who, had he ever been actually elected to anything prior to his Vice Presidential run, likely would never have been picked by party bosses for the Vice Presidency, because he turned out to be a lot more principled in office than anyone suspected. This is also why the Howard Schultz candidacy is such a terrible idea, his actual values aside: no one should be jumping from CEO to President without something in-between, because we just can't actually assess his competency in public service. Occasio-Cortez, however, isn't doing that, and won't be eligible for the Presidency until she has served for years, so this issue is entirely moot as her hypothetical candidacy.

*Not because that's a particularly great example, but because it's a fun one.
posted by cjelli at 8:18 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]


Thinking about the topic of who should run for president, for me there's a distinction about who I would like to run for president vs. actually being elected. Like, I would want a climate researcher or a science communicator that specializes in climate change to run. I think it would bring more attention to the issue, help with the process of crafting a platform, and provide a unique perspective that isn't often seen in politics these days (I don't know any scientists that have ever run for national office, unless you count Ben Carson?).

But whether or not I would want this person to win would be dependent on everything else about them.
posted by FJT at 8:51 AM on February 28


- I'm pretty sure the point most people make is actually about elected experience generally ('or something higher,' like a governorship) and not Congressional service specifically? but

Yes, if I'd not been in a hurry and on the phone, I would have typed "Congressional service, a governorship or some other progression of public service".

When I hear people arguing about AOC in this general vein, it's basically "she should be president, she's awesome" and "she won't be qualified to be president unless she holds some office more significant than one term in the House".
posted by Frowner at 8:52 AM on February 28


I imagine she will have, though, by the time she's eligible. Maybe I'm missing something, but the minimum age to be president is 35, and she turns 30 this October. So she's not even eligible until 2028?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:37 AM on February 28


She was born in '89 so she'll be eligible in 2014 but I'm hoping that she won't want to run against President Warren that year.
posted by octothorpe at 10:55 AM on February 28


Maybe I'm missing something, but the minimum age to be president is 35, and she turns 30 this October. So she's not even eligible until 2028?

Does the eligibility of age begin the day you would take office, or is it as of the day you're elected to that office?

She would turn 35 in October 2024, which is before she could be sworn in and assume the office, in January 2025; and also, I think, before the general election. So why couldn't she run in 2024?

For a parallel, you can, I think, vote in a primary if you will be old enough to vote in a general election, right? And "No Person... shall be eligible to the Office of President...who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years" is about the office and not the candidacy.

If there's an incumbent Democratic President in 2024 it may not make sense for Occasio-Cortez to run then (or it may), but I don't see why she wouldn't be eligible to run.

(I am very prepared to find out that I am entirely wrong about this, and that the Constitution-as-interpreted means you need to be 35 when you declare as a candidate; I'd love a citation from an expert either way, if someone has one.)
posted by cjelli at 10:57 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


No, you're right, I was thinking it was 2020 already when I did the math.

Nevertheless, the larger point about presumably having more experience would still hold true in 2024, even.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:07 AM on February 28


She was born in '89 so she'll be eligible in 2014 but I'm hoping that she won't want to run against President Warren that year.

Please, this is the Bernie thread.

President Sanders, having successfully ushered in a socialist utopia, will graciously step down and throw his full endorsement behind his protege AOC, who will in turn handily defeat an entryist primary challenge from the Intersectional Marxist Party by synthesizing their views and coming out in full-throated support of Fully Automated Gay Space Eco-Communism.
posted by contraption at 11:27 AM on February 28 [5 favorites]


... tfw "graciously" is the OTT element.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:01 PM on February 28 [6 favorites]


I actually do think Sanders would graciously hand over the presidency to Ocasio-Cortez if we were ever so lucky to see such circumstances arise. Dude would be in his 80's, and he's spent his entire life working toward socialism in the US. He did a radio documentary about Eugene Debs in 1979 for crying out loud! AOC is his ideological ally, and I think he would be delighted to have her as a successor. I believe his commitment to the cause of socialism to be stronger than his personal ambitions.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:15 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]


someone who asked a question about sexual harassment at the CNN town hall ended up hiding their social media profiles because of it.

Christ, this is exhausting. Bernie seems to have gotten the message, but these supporters really haven't. Yes, I know, not all Sanders supporters, yes I know it happened to supporters on all sides last time. What will it take to stop the harassment of women for exercising their voices in politics?
posted by everybody had matching towels at 2:56 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


Authorities could get in the habit of prosecuting harassers? And having more women in positions of power would help.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:25 PM on February 28




If I had lost the 2016 nomination and that candidate had lost but still captured the most popular votes of all time, I'd....want their advice? If nothing else to smooth the path for hoping said candidate will stump for you?
posted by nakedmolerats at 1:26 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]




If I had lost the 2016 nomination and that candidate had lost but still captured the most popular votes of all time, I'd....want their advice? If nothing else to smooth the path for hoping said candidate will stump for you?

otoh she lost a presidential election to one of the most passionately disliked politicians of all time
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 2:05 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]


and Sanders still lost the primary to her, what's your point
posted by everybody had matching towels at 2:31 PM on March 1 [15 favorites]


otoh she lost a presidential election to one of the most passionately disliked politicians of all time

...thanks to a number of machinations that we are only now beginning to truly unwind, and even then it was by the narrowest of margins. I find the argument that Trump was somehow "easy" to beat to be revisionism of the highest order, especially now that we know how many people were doing their best to give him every leg up.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:32 PM on March 1 [9 favorites]


that it's sort of weird to position her as an obvious source of info for beating donald trump? I mean, who cares, really
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 2:32 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Erm. The alternative is positioning yourself as a sorehead who can't take advice from a woman, when you've already got a certain set of... unpleasant aromas, let's say, collecting around your campaign, along with a public perception you're attracting the kind of rabid follower who still virulently despises Clinton.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:48 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]


The View invites Sanders to tee off on Clinton, Sanders mostly demurs, Politico runs with SANDERS TEES OFF ON CLINTON headline. I remain deeply skeptical of the guy but this is literally nothing.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:48 PM on March 1 [8 favorites]


A maddening thing for me is that I like Sen. Sanders. I like that he's smart, and socialist, and has big, compelling ideas. I also dig that he's an old Jewish man from Brooklyn who has led an unconventional life, and is a bit of a cranky oddball. If he secured the nomination, I'd talk up his positives to anyone who'd listen; I'd vote for him, even though I doubt he'll make a great president and strongly prefer he remain in the Senate.

I'm not in raptures over any of the declared Democratic candidates -- and our country is hemorrhaging, while the guy squatting in the executive office is hell-bent on carving deeper cuts.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:50 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Erm. The alternative is positioning yourself as a sorehead who can't take advice from a woman, when you've already got a certain set of... unpleasant aromas, let's say, collecting around your campaign, along with a public perception you're attracting the kind of rabid follower who still virulently despises Clinton.

He called her out for her close friendship with a war criminal who helped enable, for example, the genocide that my family survived. I am very glad he's not meeting with her.

Meanwhile, Sanders refuses to back reparations, but it doesn't seem like anyone actually has a substantial definition of what reparations actually stands for.

Personally, I believe reparations are a moral imperative, but I have no idea how it should be structured in a way that maximally addresses and corrects the injustices of slavery, Jim Crow, and mass incarceration.
posted by Ouverture at 4:45 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


He called her out for her close friendship with a war criminal

A thing that I find funny is that while I'm sure he did do this during the primaries, he did not do it while talking about not communicating with her about this election. He very smartly says, in response to a kinda bullshit line from Megan McCain about Hillary, he answers it briefly before expanding to:

“That was 2016. In my view, Donald Trump is the most dangerous president in American history,”

And is immediately interrupted by McCain again to make it all about Clinton again, and he again pivots to 2020 and bringing Democrats together.

It's an interesting interview and he comes off really, really good. He mentions increased diversity in his campaign right off the bat. He's gracious and charming, he has smart answers to stupid questions from McCain, and he articulates his vision very clearly. His anecdote about taking on the pharmaceutical industry in the '90s is one I don't think I've heard before and hope to hear more about. His line about judging people by the work that they do is great. But here we are, like Megan McCain, making it about Hillary Clinton. I am absolutely not defending Clinton here, but I have to ask: to what end? Sanders supporters aren't going to get anywhere if they keep making it all about Clinton's failings. Sanders himself is looking forward, I hope his supporters (and I basically am one now) follow his lead.

I also think he's the first 2020 candidate to mention supporting DC statehood in a campaign context (it came up at the forum with the sexual harassment question), which is wonderful.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 6:41 PM on March 1 [6 favorites]


I also think he's the first 2020 candidate to mention supporting DC statehood in a campaign context

No, he is at best the second -- Sen. Warren did so two weeks ago. Beyond that, every Senator currently running also co-sponsored a DC statehood bill earlier this week, so it's not as though the two of them are outliers.

Not to knock the support itself, mind you! Still great to see. Just noting the chronology.
posted by cjelli at 6:48 PM on March 1 [7 favorites]


Ah, thanks cjelli!
posted by everybody had matching towels at 7:05 PM on March 1


Full disclosure - I'm not fond of Sanders at all. However, I think the line of questioning and subsequent reporting on reparations like it's gone from leftism's third rail to part of the Democratic party platform overnight is bizarre. Everyone is dodging, he's just brusque.
posted by Selena777 at 9:47 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


good point, Selena777. My reaction starts with "oh so now we care about reparations?" and then QUICKLY shifts to NOW WE CARE ABOUT REPARATIONS YAAAAAAAAY

IDK if that's naive or whatever but hey
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 10:36 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


like, if he gets some crap about it in an unfair way maybe that is mildly annoying but IMO it's much more important that the overton window has shifted to it being a serious issue that people talk about
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 10:37 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Bernie's speech from his first campaign rally today

I thought it was great. He does something few other politicians do, and he does it more consistently: he clear-headedly identifies the real enemies of the people, points them out loudly, and says how we're going to stop them. I think this frightens some liberals who think that the real solution is to somehow come up with an obscure and byzantine policy solution that will help everyone and piss off no-one. This is impossible because our society contains contradictory groups that will never be bridged. A health insurance executive is never going to be cool with universal free healthcare, and Jeff Bezos is never going to be cool with raising his tax rates to pay for schools. Bernie knows this and isn't afraid to say it.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:59 PM on March 2 [8 favorites]


Hamilton Nolan writes about the rally:
Bernie took the stage on the quad of the college he went to decades ago and called for economic and social and racial and environmental justice. He called for Medicare for all and a $15 minimum wage and prison reform. He called for affordable housing and child care and tuition-free college and stronger Social Security and new infrastructure and taxes on the rich. He called for the end of private prisons and cash bail. He called for campaign finance reform and immigration reform. He said he will take on Wall Street and insurance companies and drug companies and fossil fuel companies. He said all of the things that he said four years ago, and that he said the decade before that, and the decade before that. One reason why Bernie Sanders has never been a darling of the news media is that he is a broken record, a characteristic that offers little in the way of “news” as it is traditionally imagined. That is a consequence of having actual beliefs rather than campaign strategies.

I did not believe that Bernie Sanders should have run for president in 2020. Though I love him and share his politics and backed him last time around, I felt that the best way to advance the policies we both believe in would have been for him to back a candidate who shares his beliefs but who was younger, and perhaps not a white male. I mostly felt that Bernie is just too old. That his time as a viable presidential candidate has passed, and that he could do the most good by encouraging up and coming leaders behind him to carry his movement forward. I feared, and still fear, the possibility that he and Elizabeth Warren will split the vote on the left and open the door for a more centrist candidate to take the nomination. I had many spirited-to-angry discussions with Bernie partisans about this, where I always wondered what the concrete, practical policy differences would be between a Bernie presidency and a presidency of say, Warren.

A week ago, a union man made an argument to me that resonated. He said that true change will never come from electoral politics; it will always come from movements. Electing any U.S. president will not bring about the changes that the labor movement seeks, because a president is by definition embedded in and, indeed, the leader of a system that a movement seeks to break. The qualitative difference between Bernie and the other Democratic candidates, he said, was not that Bernie himself would make the changes we need, but that Bernie respects activism enough to not stop the movements from doing the things that they need to do to make the changes—the things that are usually viewed by the existing system as war. Bernie, he argued, would be the only one who would not stand in the way of the movements, where the real work happens. He was in his own way making the very same argument that Erica Garner did, before she died of a heart attack at the age of 27: Bernie is not really a politician. He is an activist. What we need is not just someone to hold the White House door open for the movement, but also to not call the cops when the movement starts to paint the White House black.

I do not know yet who I will vote for in the Democratic primary. But it is hard to deny that Bernie has a purity of spirit that is unmatched in the field. His policy prescriptions are good, but it is his quality of being magnetically attracted to the right side of things that could come in handy when America’s situation gets uglier. As it surely will. Shortly after Bernie launched into his speech on Saturday, the crowd began chanting: “Ber-NIE. Ber-NIE.” It started on the risers behind him, and spread quickly across the thousands of cold spectators with warm hearts. “BER-NIE! BER-NIE!” The man himself looked momentarily annoyed. Then he cut everyone off. “No, it’s not Bernie, it’s you,” he shouted. “It is all of us together.”
posted by Ouverture at 6:01 PM on March 2 [7 favorites]


I like Sanders running because no other candidate has the message discipline. Democrats run against republicans, but also agaiNst a media too lazy to do anything but push the agenda of the rich.

What rich people care about is not normal, by definition, and yet, this is what we have to listen to on the news each day.

And i like Sanders running be cause he wants a movement; whereas Obama, for example, took the energy of the anti war movement and turned it into a victory for his presidency, then torpedoed OFA out of fear, the Sanders campaign has inspired so many new people to get into politics and run themselves. It s like the opposite of what happened to OFA. The locals got more energy and participation because of this national candidate, not less.

How many states have passed increases in minimum wages since 2015?

I hope other candidates are able to copy that ability of Sanders to inspire local movement beyond their own election.
posted by eustatic at 7:55 PM on March 2 [10 favorites]


So look, my position on both Biden and Sanders is, regardless of the merits of their personality or politics, they're going to end their second term aged 86 or 87, which is *too dang old*. It has become apparent to me that no-one else is talking about this, and it seems unlikely that commentators are going to be discussing the merits of these front-runners for months before suddenly saying, “Oh wait, this guy is clearly unqualified because he's statistically likely to die in office.” There are ten months before the Iowa Caucuses. More candidates can be found. But, we're going to go forward either being fine with this, or pretending to be fine with this.

I find this situation surreal.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:25 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


I'm not fine with it but it is what it is. It's not like I'm going to stay home in 2020 because Biden or Sanders are too freakin old. Beating Trump is too important. Their VP picks will certainly be even more important than usual.
posted by Justinian at 2:49 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


The thing is that they both know that they probably won't live through two full terms but they're so full of themselves that they can't admit it and step back for someone younger and more able.
posted by octothorpe at 2:56 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


Actuarially, they both have a greater than 50% chance of making it through both terms. But not that much greater than 50% which is problematic.
posted by Justinian at 2:58 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


Has Biden even announced yet?
posted by Selena777 at 3:11 PM on March 3


Biden has not formally announced yet, although he's done everything short of that.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:12 PM on March 3


How often does someone go through all the motions of preparing a run, consulting with donors and family, and then come out and say "As it turns out there is no appetite for my candidacy and I'd be wasting everyone's time so I'm not going to run."

Yeah, not so often. If you aren't going to run you do so quietly.
posted by Justinian at 3:39 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


So look, my position on both Biden and Sanders is, regardless of the merits of their personality or politics, they're going to end their second term aged 86 or 87, which is *too dang old*. It has become apparent to me that no-one else is talking about this, and it seems unlikely that commentators are going to be discussing the merits of these front-runners for months before suddenly saying, “Oh wait, this guy is clearly unqualified because he's statistically likely to die in office.” There are ten months before the Iowa Caucuses. More candidates can be found. But, we're going to go forward either being fine with this, or pretending to be fine with this.

I find this situation surreal.


I do too! It's like the media, at least, has suddenly come down with gerontophilia. I really really hope that Harris, Gillibrand, Booker, Buttigieg, even Inslee hammer hard on how old both Biden and Bernie (or at least Biden) are. But, I guess, IOKIYAWG (it's OK if you're a white guy! Age is just a number!). Biden is being swooned over for his """gravitas""". From a media that thought Hillary Clinton just too old and doddery for the job. I feel stabby. I don't want to vote for Joe Biden and will do so only very reluctantly and holding my nose. Bernie - at least his politics are in the right place, though he'd better choose a young, not-white-male VP.

I really hate that a couple of elderly white men have sucked the campaign oxygen out of the room. I am pulling for Harris, Gillibrand, or Warren, and the only white guy I will vote for in a primary is Jay Inslee (who has a lot of great qualities that make up for it). Honestly, I think we need upper age limits on who can run for President - if you're over 70, you're not eligible. I don't think this is age discrimination - I don't want age limits or mandatory retirement for ordinary jobs - but POTUS is not an ordinary job. I recall Reagan, in his 70's, finding the constant travel and long days too strenuous even before he got Alzheimer's. I don't think Biden or Bernie are really up to the task.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:15 PM on March 3 [14 favorites]


Honestly, I think we need upper age limits on who can run for President - if you're over 70, you're not eligible.

While I'd love to see more discussion about Sanders' and Biden's ages, I can't imagine that a "too old to run" bill would get anywhere. But "required to take fitness test and release results publicly, doctor(s) to be selected by nonpartisan committee" might be possible.

Any candidate older than 60 brings up worries about their physical condition - president is a grueling job - and while Sanders has a long history of labor activism, he does not have the understanding of intersectionality that younger candidates have been directly dealing with as they try to get established.

Sanders' approach seems to be, "fix the economic issues and class discrimination, and racism and sexism will fade into the background." He seems to believe those are side aspects of capitalistic oppression, rather than problems that would still exist under a socialistic system.

I'm not against the idea of "go full weight to get medical care for everyone, all the schooling you want, and all jobs pay a living wage and have safe working conditions, including enough leisure time." That would indeed remove a lot of opportunities for discrimination, and create breathing room to work on fixing them. But because he seems to think those are the only real problems, I'm not pushing for him in the primaries.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:02 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


Thus far the 2019 Sanders campaign seems to have introduced a new major theme into its rhetoric that was not so present in 2016 -- Bernie is really stressing that his campaign should not be focused on him, but rather should be a megaphone for the political desires and power of a mass movement. During his big speech at his first rally yesterday, the crowd started cheering his name and he interrupted them to say "No, it's not Bernie, it's you! It's all of us together!" And this doesn't feel like simple posturing; his diverse hiring choices and his incorporation of new and more modern rhetoric on race and sex does say to me that he's taking this ethos seriously.

I really do worry about his age, but he's the only guy for a socialist like me. I just want him to pick a truly awesome VP.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 5:31 PM on March 3 [10 favorites]


Nina Turner's speech in Brooklyn, "The Measure of a Man", is pure 🔥
posted by dis_integration at 7:51 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Clinton camp stews over Sanders 2020 campaign (e.g. the plane flights story)
Both on the record and on background, on Twitter and on cable television, Clinton’s former aides and allies are taking pains to lay out what they see as all of Sanders’s flaws, imperfections and vulnerabilities
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:57 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


This nonsense is why we all call you Tiger Beat on the Potomac, Politico, although that's often unfairly insulting to Tiger Beat. You breathlessly talk about "stewing" and then you open up with... Brock saying Sanders will be less vulnerable to big donors cutting and running and that a lot of extablishment won't be excited to support him. [[gasp]]! No fucking shit, Politico, we all have candidates we'll be more excited to support and candidates who we go "eh" about.

Ugh. Clowns gonna clown, but I really hope we collectively can give these dickheads chanting fight! fight! from the sidelines the total amount of attention (little) and derision (all of it) they deserve in the next year and a half.
posted by phearlez at 7:08 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


Politico is not just clickbait garbarge, they're also even more obviously anti-left than most major liberalish publications. I can't tell you the number of times I've looked at the news app on my phone to see them running some garbage take on how socialism is doomed to fail or some dull hit piece on Sanders or Ocasio-Cortez.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:13 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


So the general vote for DSA to endorse Sanders is hitting soon and I have ...issues. For one thing, I don’t want to take any resources out of local chapters, pretty much everything we do in DSA is volunteer work (I’m going to help move the national office later today) and unless it’s a complete paper endorsement, that’s what it’s going to do. I want local resources to stay local, building the movement as it were - I want to pass the NY Health Act, I want to pass universal rent control, I want to build bridges to other community groups, I want to help establish unions, etc etc.

And if it IS a paper endorsement then I think it just feels abstract and cheap. I want an endorsement to mean we can throw everything behind a candidate and make sure they win and , if talking to people under 30 is any indication, Bernie is gonna have an army of volunteers anyway.

But I can also see the PR stuff, and the membership boosts and stuff, I just want more debate and clarification - what if Sanders drops dead tomorrow? This requires at least a level of regional organization on regional issues.

I hope it’s run more like the Nixon endorsement, which had multiple stages of voting, lots of time for printed and oral arguments, and a clear process (vote to endorse with enegement vote to endorse without engagement, etc) and to quote a comrade “the undue haste, the lack of any clear direction or intent, the lack of budget specifics, and the overall incompetence of this endorsement process would at least make me want to pause things..”
posted by The Whelk at 7:34 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


the general vote for DSA to endorse Sanders is hitting soon and I have ...issues

I feel similarly! There is a petition asking the NPC to hold off on any decision until it can be put to a vote at the August convention, and anti-Sanders or Sanders-ambivalent DSA members should think about signing onto it asap.
posted by contraption at 7:59 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


The first primary isn't for almost a year, what's the hurry?
posted by octothorpe at 8:06 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


There's probably come recruitment/enthuseasm benefit to hitching onto the candidate who has already got energy and interest and who is talking up the socialism line. Personally I think there's also some negative value in possibly coming across as the Bernie Party, but perhaps us old curmudgeons should be listened to less.

Realistically the only major downside would probably be if some other candidate emerged with a better shot and as in-line with the goals as Sanders or possibly even a bit more, but not so much more that it justifies pulling an issued endorsement. But it's hard to imagine someone else coming along who would hit both those marks. So it's probably mostly the "oh, you mean the Bernie Sanders people?" thing.
posted by phearlez at 9:42 AM on March 5


My thoughts on the DSA endorsing Bernie:

* I am not from NY so I only followed the Nixon campaign from afar. Based on what I saw from this distance, it seems like all the arguments against endorsing Nixon also apply in this case. Doing it properly takes a lot of resources for an outcome that's even dicier than the Nixon outcome. Is it worth giving up existing campaigns? Is it worth giving up the ability so support candidates for legislature and state roles?

* It's still early and journalists have been pressing Sanders. I'm not entirely confident he won't make an embarrassing remark about race, forcing the DSA to have to back pedal. (This argument is weak for me though because I realize that all candidates could potentially backfire.)

* It's good for recruiting, but so was AOC's House campaign. We are taking resources away from similar campaigns if we go all in on the presidency.
posted by tofu_crouton at 12:09 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]


Based on my (very-limited) experience with DSA folks, they don't seem like an especially lockstep group of voters, and a DSA endorsement might turn off as many people as it attracts.

The national DSA endorsed four candidates in 2018, and two of them (AOC and Julia Salazar, a NY state senator) won (the other two endorsements were Genevieve Jones-Wright, running for San Diego County District Attorney, and Jovanka Beckles, running for California's General Assembly).

Is a DSA endorsement definitively a good thing, in terms of helping people win elections?
posted by box at 12:49 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Hmm okay so the line is that it’s an advisory vote which would allow to them to do things like table at Sanders events, so there’s a vote and paper trail justifying it.

Hmm... okay I’m gonna have to think about this but members got a week to hash it out and vote.

Democracy! It’s slow and messy but one thing I felt from the Nixon vote was, there was enough levels of voting and discussion and chances to reverse ijt that in the end, people didn’t feel like they got railroaded or didn’t get heard, the no voters went with well I don’t like the result but I felt like I was allowed to make my case. So, I hope for the best outcome and we continue to create these democratic norms that put into practice our values.

(God Frowner was right we really are masochists for self-government, at least the big tent means people who aren’t into bylaws and committees have something else to do)
posted by The Whelk at 4:22 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]




(God Frowner was right we really are masochists for self-government, at least the big tent means people who aren’t into bylaws and committees have something else to do)

What was I right about again? Socialists being boring but very, very reliable? (I mean, not that you are boring, The Whelk, and I think that as socialism becomes more of a thing, the influx of people means that there's more excitement, and also the older I get, the more I find Boring But Reliable to be possibly the most attractive of all descriptions and something I strive to embody.)

Man, I hope the Sanders campaign does whatever house-cleaning they need and does it fast. I feel conflicted about Sanders because I truly do believe that given the actual candidates we have, he is the one with the best policies (not the Best Possible Policies, just best actually-existing ones), and yet he has a huge drawback.
posted by Frowner at 8:13 AM on March 6 [5 favorites]


I absolutely took it as a compliment as I find extremly boring an asset when you’re dealing with big ship turning politics.
posted by The Whelk at 8:30 AM on March 6 [4 favorites]


Bernie Sanders is beating Kamala Harris 2-1 among black Democratic primary voters (28-14%), new poll finds

The same poll found that the demographics Sanders is least popular with — at 19 and 17 percent, respectively — are Democrats who make more than $100,000 per year and Democrats who have post-graduate degrees...

https://theintercept.com/2019/03/06/bernie-sanders-black-voters-2020/
posted by dreamlanding at 10:02 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted; if you want to open a discussion about Mefi, Mefites, all Mefites are like ___, etc, that belongs in Metatalk.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:15 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]


The latest polls seem to have Sanders in second but far behind Biden by as much as 25 points.
posted by octothorpe at 10:22 AM on March 6


I feel conflicted about Sanders because I truly do believe that given the actual candidates we have, he is the one with the best policies (not the Best Possible Policies, just best actually-existing ones), and yet he has a huge drawback.

I've been trying to avoid thinking or talking about Sanders, even among my friends, because everything's still a year away and I need to conserve my sanity and I'm just not in the mood, but I really feel this.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:46 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]


The latest polls seem to have Sanders in second but far behind Biden by as much as 25 points.

The other thing to bear in mind -- which The Intercept mentions and then rejects without good reason, I think -- is that Biden and Sanders both benefit hugely from name recognition in ways that no other current candidates do: 90% of polled voters in the Morning Consult poll The Intercept cites have opinions of them, whereas only 64% of voters have opinions on Harris -- and less on most of the other candidates. There's a lot of time to close that knowledge gap, and therefore a lot of room for opinions to shift as well.

Notably, Morning Consult points to both Sanders and Biden primary backers as favoring (respectively) Biden and Sanders as their second-choice candidate, despite those candidates have wildly different ideologies and policies -- which is evidence that they're leaders in the primary right now for reasons that have little to do with ideology nor policy.

It's not too early to be doing public polling, but it's really too early to be drawing much in the war of comparisons or predictions from public polling.
posted by cjelli at 10:52 AM on March 6 [13 favorites]


Citations Needed recently did an episode on the "Bernie hasn't been vetted" canard (with Thomas Frank)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 12:46 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]


On the DSA endorsement question, Silicon Valley DSA has issued a statement and pulled together a bunch of resources urging a No vote.
posted by contraption at 1:00 PM on March 6 [1 favorite]


Bernie Sanders’s real base is diverse — and very young:
...An analysis of recent polls from November of 2018 to March 2019 shows Sanders is more popular with people of color than white people, and women like Sanders as much as men do, if not more. He leads every other possible 2020 contender with Latino voters and lags behind only Joe Biden — who hasn’t announced a bid yet — with African-American voters. Sanders’ polling numbers with black voters are double that of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), according to a March Morning Consult poll.
Among the Brooklyn Bernie Bros - Whatever the media depiction, Bernie Sanders’s first presidential campaign rally was attended by large numbers of women and people of color. We talked to some of them about why they support Bernie.
I asked twenty-two-year-old Leen Dweik, who lives in Manhattan and whose family comes from Palestine, if she agreed with the liberal talking point that Bernie is unable to represent people of color because he’s a white man. “No, no, no,” said Dweik. “Policy over identity.”

“People who say he’s just an old white man and it’s more of the same are ignoring the importance of his policies for people of color,” she continued. “The people who will benefit the most from Medicare for All, for example, will be working-class people of color. When he talks about championing unions and workers’ rights, he’s talking about the well-being of working-class people of color. As someone who’s a person of color and an immigrant, not an American citizen, I would vote for him if I could.”

When I asked about the proposition that Bernie is uniquely bad on race, Vafai, whose family came to the US from Iran, responded that Bernie is “clearly just being targeted because he’s taking on the major institutions that have caused structural racism to occur and continue.”
The interviews with working class people of color are really refreshing and should give some insight into why his policies are not for the benefit of young white dudes.
posted by Ouverture at 7:15 AM on March 7 [7 favorites]


I think it's really telling that many people mentioned issues regarding college costs, but not a single person talked about childcare costs.
posted by chernoffhoeffding at 8:06 AM on March 7 [13 favorites]


I think it's really telling that many people mentioned issues regarding college costs, but not a single person talked about childcare costs.

Yeah, a lot of young people can't have and aren't having kids because they can't afford them, even before considering the cost of childcare, especially in a city like New York.
posted by Ouverture at 11:48 AM on March 7 [10 favorites]


Updated CNN power rankings.

Harry Enten: The big mover up is Bernie Sanders. He has raised a ton of dough, had good polling, etc. His chances of winning seem very real to me.

Berniementum!
posted by Justinian at 6:08 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


I don't see Bernie winning, especially if Beto and Biden get into the game. (And Beto will announce this week.) It could happen, Trump's stupidity may bear fruit and we go into an economic downturn in the fall. That would make Bernie very appealing to voters.

But with Yang siphoning off the meme crowd, Beto drawing in the young idealists, and Warren out there with the tough economic plans, it's tough. I actually think Biden getting in would help Bernie as it would shift some of the negative frontrunner focus off of Bernie - assuming it ever lands on Bernie. (And no, Bernie has never gotten the kind of heat that Hillary or Obama got during their runs. This isn't even an argument, these are facts.) And if Abrams does decide to run that would pull more support from Bernie and probably Harris as well.

But hey, who though a Democratic Socialist would get this far? Who knows?
posted by asteria at 12:48 PM on March 13


I'm not too worried about Biden. I think his campaign will flounder almost as soon as it's announced. Dude's utterly uninspiring and his closet is full of skeletons. Given his past treatment of women and minorities, he's utterly unsuited for the present moment.

Beto could present more of a problem, but I don't think he's going to draw in the young idealists. He doesn't really run on any strong ideals that are particularly different from the standard Democratic template. People like him, as far as I can tell, because he's young, good looking, charming, and doesn't rock the boat.

Yang seems to be siphoning off Trump voters and alt-right people, who are themselves trying but failing to also bring in Bernie fans.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:32 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


I think both Beto and Biden will run but I see things pretty differently. I don't think Beto will get much traction and he's mostly running to be VP but I think Biden is a fairly good bet to win the nomination assuming he runs. You're right about his issues but his overwhelming base of support is amongst exactly those people for whom those issues will least resonate (really old white people).

That's what I think will happen and not what I think should happen so please nobody kill me.

I honestly don't see how this process doesn't turn into a rerun of 2016 with Biden in the role of Clinton and Sanders in the role of Sanders. That is to say it's clear that Sanders has a very passionate and sizable base of support but that base of support does not appear to be large enough to command a majority and possibly not even a plurality of delegates.

We haven't talked much about the delegate rules this go-round but they could come in to play. Democrats are apportioning delegates proportionally butwith a 15% threshold. So if a candidate gets 13% of the vote they don't get 13% of the delegates they get 0%... and, so far as I am aware those delegates are awarded proportionally to the people who DID get 15% of the vote rather than to the candidate the voters might have picked. It's hard to say who that hurts or helps but it does make a case for ranked choice voting.

I go back and forth on whether this will head to a convention fight. A bunch of candidates with their own bases of support would lend one to think "yes"... but with too many candidates such that almost all of them get less than 15% of the vote the delegates end up being given to just a couple of candidates. Hell, technically I suppose someone could end up with 100% of the delegates despite getting 20% of the vote? Hopefully all this will be explained clearly and concisely before the voting starts because my understanding could be off.

Bottom line is right now I only see probably three viable candidates: Sanders, Biden, and Harris. There are a whole bunch of other candidates getting 9-14% either nationwide or in the early states but pulling 12% of the vote gets you jack shit AFAIK.
posted by Justinian at 4:15 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Sanders aide apologizes for questioning American Jews’ 'dual allegiance' to Israel
[...]
Sisa posed the question Sunday during a discussion in a Facebook thread in which she said that, like Sanders, she stood with Rep. Ilhan Omar. She deleted the post after POLITICO began asking about it.
[...]
A Jew from Sisa's home state of Arizona pointed out the history of the "dual allegiance" slur in the Facebook thread — from the hangings of Jews in ancient Persia to the 1492 purge of Jews in Spain to Nazi Germany.

Sisa’s response: “This is a serious question: do you not think that the American government and American Jewish community has a dual allegiance to the state of Israel? I’m asking not to rule out the history of this issue, but in the context in which this was said by Ilhan.”
Firstly, this is exactly what critics of Ilhan Omar said she meant. Omar's defenders made all sorts of claims about her not meaning Jews ("lots of Christians are Zionists!") or about "allegiance" not meaning, well, allegiance. This defense of Omar by gaslighting the people she hurt made things so much worse.

As for Sisa's followup, IMO she added insult to injury by ignoring the substance of her JAQing and just saying that she "used some language that I see now was insensitive". Bernie needs to fire her and make his own statement on this.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:45 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


Biden and Beto are dead in the water and would be disasters , which is why I think one of them will get the nomination, cause you can always trust the democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Warren might be the dark horse since, while most people agree she lacks buzz, there is a grudging “well she wouldn’t be that bad/these policies are a step in the right direction” noise coming from a lot of people and if this is the policy over personality election, that could mean a lot.

I hope when it was reported that Warren and Sanders where having a lot of talks a few months ago it was for some agreement to support each other /VP nom in case of nomination
posted by The Whelk at 5:38 PM on March 13 [7 favorites]


I take it you're defining defeat here as policy framing rather than the more obvious "losing to Donald Trump" kind of defeat? Like... Democrats have a chance to stride boldly into the future and retrenching with Biden would be a defeat? (Which I sorta agree with to be clear even if I would probably frame it differently). Because in terms of the more traditional sort of defeat where you lose the election it's not completely obvious to me that Beto would lose to Trump, though I don't know for sure, and there's at least data to suggest Biden would stomp Trump into the dirt electorally, though again we can't be certain.

and if this is the policy over personality election

sadly its never a policy over personality election
posted by Justinian at 7:34 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Right. Trump is the disaster. A Biden presidency would be a great disappointment, but it would not be a disaster.

Also: cause you can always trust the democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

I mean, they did just pick up 40 House seats, you know.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:29 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


Here’s a question I think about a lot

In terms of policy - not optics, not gaffes, not saying dumb shit online or not knowing how to run a government, in what major ways is the Trump presidency different from a Ted Cruz presidency? And in what ways is it actually preferable cause they don’t know how to run a government or keep things staffed?
posted by The Whelk at 8:55 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


A Biden presidency would be a great disappointment, but it would not be a disaster.

This might be true, for a lot of people at least, in normal times. With 12 years left? Of course it would be a disaster.
posted by contraption at 9:39 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


I mean, they did just pick up 40 House seats, you know.

I'm still holding out for 41! Go Dan McCready!
posted by Justinian at 10:29 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


40 seats Vs. 40 years of failure. I'm allowed to be suspect.
posted by The Whelk at 10:41 PM on March 13 [9 favorites]


Right. Trump is the disaster. A Biden presidency would be a great disappointment, but it would not be a disaster.

Another 4 to 8 years of neoliberal wavering on climate change along with neoconservative drone strikes would definitely be a disaster, but the brunt of that carnage won't be felt by wealthy Americans for a while.

According to Nate Silver's latest, Biden is also leading just in front of Sanders, even when accounting for name recognition.

As for Beto, I would be very surprised if an entire generation of young people disappointed by Obama would want more of the same, but with less charisma.
posted by Ouverture at 10:55 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


Historically, young people vote at much lower rates than older folks. That improved somewhat in 2018, but not radically so.

Subject to change, of course.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:13 PM on March 13


In terms of policy - not optics, not gaffes, not saying dumb shit online or not knowing how to run a government, in what major ways is the Trump presidency different from a Ted Cruz presidency?

A few years ago I would have said that the Republican Party is wrong about some things, and place too much or too little importance on others, but that it's fundamentally the same as the Democratic Party. Particularly, that the power they wanted was power legitimised by elections; and that although they wanted to be wealthy, the economy they wanted was a free market. If I were a US voter I might conceivably have voted for a good Republican over a bad Democrat.

I don't think that's a sustainable position any more. There's basically no Republican principle that they haven't sacrificed to Trumpism. A Ted Cruz presidency back then might have much like Obama's administration: there would have been a lot to criticise, but it would have been normal criticism. There's no real chance of a Ted Cruz presidency now, but things would not be normal even if Trump dropped dead and Cruz ended up being the successful 2020 candidate. The Republicans have just revealed their hand too much.

For instance, the Republicans can't put the judicial nomination genie back in the bottle. From now on, their nominees will be young, healthy, ideologically-sound clones from the Federalist Society. I don't know if the Republicans have a serious foreign policy base any more, but they've been farming the war-making apparatus out to mercenary groups for decades and it shows. The same goes for other areas: there doesn't seem to be a career track for young Republicans who aren't grifters or theocrats. And, most fundamentally, even the best of them will not just tolerate voter exclusion and gerrymandering, but insist that it's an important principle. That isn't far from Trump equivocating about whether he'd accept the election result if he lost: the Republicans are not committed to democracy, and they know it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:25 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


The Whelk: "In terms of policy - not optics, not gaffes, not saying dumb shit online or not knowing how to run a government, in what major ways is the Trump presidency different from a Ted Cruz presidency?"

Foreign Policy. Can't see Cruz falling all over himself to "make a deal" with North Korea or even get in the pissing match with China. Cruz wouldn't have had nearly so many people cycle through his cabinet and would have been a lot more successful appointing ambassadors.

And it's likely Putin wouldn't own several intelligence assets in the Whitehouse.

And the Nazi's wouldn't have been as emboldened by the plain talk coming from the President.
posted by Mitheral at 4:11 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


On Ted Cruz versus Trump:

I think JiA is particularly right about the judicial nominations.

Something else everyone is underestimating unless they're living it is the damage to government agencies like NIH, NSF, NOAA, FDA etc. For the most part, these roll along under Republican administrations - there are some cuts, there are some politically motivated attacks, but even the EPA doesn't get shellacked the way they've all been getting shellacked under Trump. In the long run, we are going to have far, far fewer scientists (because early career people are losing out and we're losing huge numbers of talented staff with institutional memory), there are going to be all kinds of weird regulatory holes and problems and a lot of government functions that were done either to high (NOAA) or at least to acceptable (FDA) standards will either never be done at all or be done badly and in the self-interests of corporations in the private sector. It took so, so much work to build up those agencies. Now, on the one hand they're not actually all that great - NIH basically subcontracts their entire administration so they don't have to pay benefits, for instance, and the FDA is pretty equivocal in a lot of ways - but on the other they were a damn sight better before Trump than they're likely to be after.

Even if the left-most imaginable candidate gets elected and has the Senate and the House, they won't just go in with fire and steel and remake the government; they have to pass laws just like anybody else. And they won't have infinite political capital, which means expending it on systematically fixing our institutes is unlikely. Some of it will probably get fixed - hopefully for instance all the NOAA, NSF and EPA functions related to climate change, hopefully rebuilding all the archives that have been trashed. But a lot of it won't, and in any case the staff are gone. People who can do that stuff don't just grow on trees. It's the same reason that any scientist would rather limp along on half-funding and scraps than close their lab and re-open when they get new funding - the interruption and loss of personnel and momentum is pretty disastrous.

IMO, Americans really don't understand how much science and data-gathering is done by the government and how much of that work is actually pretty good. We hear about these agencies when they fuck up or are corrupt, but the average layperson does not look at the data they gather or work they do otherwise, so most people have no idea how much important medical research, demographic information, public health information, etc gets produced by government agencies. The people who do government research and data gathering are generally people who are interested in the topic, don't want to do it for big corporations and would rather have stability than wealth. There are some real bad apples, but the vast majority are the sort of people you'd want doing that work.

It is going to be very, very hard to rebuild after Trump, and I expect that under the various guns we're facing it won't get done at all.

~~
On that note, while obviously the worst-worst thing that can happen is another four years of Trump, four to eight years of a centrist Democrat in the pocket of big business would be pretty bad. We are out of time on climate change. The people who get elected probably will not be able to enact a strong enough climate change agenda even if they propose one, but they have to give it the best possible try. We can't fuck around for another four to eight years with trying to preserve everyone's stock portfolio and make anti-climate change actions palatable to, eg, oil companies and banks and Amazon.

If Biden gets elected, the only option, I guess, will be climate strikes everywhere to push him left. But I'd rather elect someone who was farther left to start with so that the pushing would be more effective.
posted by Frowner at 5:19 AM on March 14 [18 favorites]


I mean, they did just pick up 40 House seats, you know.

Not to mention governorships and state/local offices. Maine and Nevada's new Democratic governors have joined the U.S. Climate Alliance. "Democrats In Disarray!" is unfair and perpetuates an attitude of cynicism and "why bother"-ism.

For socialist or socialist-adjacent candidates, I would not count Warren out just yet. The impression I am getting from her is that the more people get to listen to her speak and hear about her policies, the more they like her. I'm torn between her and Harris (since I want to vote for a woman in the primary).

If Bernie or Biden wins, I think it would be the height of tone-deafness and bad faith to choose another white man for VP, and, since neither man is stupid, I doubt that is going to happen. I'd hold my nose and vote for a gerontocracy if I knew that a woman was second in line for the Presidency.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:03 AM on March 14 [9 favorites]


With 12 years left? Of course it would be a disaster.

I agree, ofc, but isn't it closer to 11 years now?
And by January 2021, we're talking more like 9 years.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 9:00 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


A bit upthread I said that I sure hoped the delegate process was made clear before voting began and put forward my understanding of how some of it worked. Well, I learned something else today. I was saying how a 15% threshold was being used for delegates which could be a significant factor when 20 people are running.

I read today that the 15% threshold I mentioned is correct... but it's on a county or district level. So someone who gets 5% statewide but 25% in some areas of the state would get district delegates. So the whole thing is gonna be complicated and weird and I have no idea if someone is gonna get to 50% by the convention.
posted by Justinian at 6:49 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


I still see Beto as more aiming to be VP than President. Sure, he'd take the top slot if fate handed it to him, but he announced after a lot of people and doesn't have a lot to show on his record or his positions: that's perfect VP territory. He's considered moderate, but not conservative, a more progressive, younger, and less problematic Joe Biden. Expect to see him added to the ticket to get a little feel-good white guy on a non-white guy ticket.

For Warren, he'd bring moderate Dems on board while complimenting Warren's wonkishness with his inspiration thing.
For Harris, he'd bring mid-Western and Sunbelt Dems on board while doing mostly the same.

He doesn't offer much for Sanders (he needs a woman, probably a woman of color, on the ticket) or Biden (peak white guy), but I expect to see him as VP for a Harris or Warren Presidency. And you know what? I bet he does too.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 6:29 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]


WaPo: Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Family to Shut Down Its Institute Amid Criticism
In an effort to avoid the kind of criticism that dogged Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s wife and son are suspending their nonprofit think tank, The Sanders Institute.

The institute’s board of directors agreed to shut it down, at least during Sanders’s campaign for president, “so there could not even be an appearance of impropriety,” Jane Sanders told the Associated Press*, which first reported the story.

The two-year-old nonprofit, which promotes the senator’s liberal ideology, accepts donations but does not disclose who gave them. To continue the practice while Sanders (I-Vt.) is running for president would be akin to what Sanders and others criticized Clinton for doing as a candidate.[…]

Like the Clinton Foundation and the Trump Foundation, the Sanders Institute would have come under intense scrutiny if it had continued to operate.

Additionally, Sanders’s personal financial record will be closely examined in the coming months if the senator makes good on a promise to release 10 years of his tax returns to the public. Sanders has not given a specific timetable for when that might happen, which leaves him open to attacks about his transparency.
* AP: Institute founded by Sanders’ wife, son is shutting down
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:31 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


Sanders becomes first White House hopeful to have unionized campaign staff

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday became the first U.S. presidential candidate in the country’s history to unionize their White House campaign.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 will represent staffers working on behalf of Mr. Sanders, Vermont independent, as he seeks the Democratic Party’s nomination to run against President Trump in 2020.

“I’m proud that our campaign is the first presidential campaign to unionize,” Mr. Sanders said on Twitter. “We cannot just support unions with words, we must back it up with actions. On this campaign and when we are in the White House, we are going to make it easier for people to join unions, not harder.”


That is just cool as hell. Remember all the people in this thread who kept saying Bernie's campaign was only about his own ego?
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 12:58 PM on March 16 [5 favorites]


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