"It always seems impossible until it is done."
April 9, 2020 5:37 PM   Subscribe

On the morning of April 8, 2020, Bernie Sanders spoke to his supporters (YouTube, recorded livestream) to end his campaign, clearing the way for Joe Biden as nominee (CBS News). Sanders said he will remain on the ballot in states that have yet to hold primaries, hoping to rack up more delegates so that his supporters, and his policies, will be able to influence the party platform at the Democratic convention.

Biden woos skeptical Sanders backers on health, college debt (Associated Press, April 9, 2020)
Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled plans to expand eligibility for Medicare and forgive college debt for millions of Americans (Medium.com), as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee attempts to unify his party by courting progressives who lost their top choice when Bernie Sanders left the presidential race.
Sanders staffers will remain on campaign's health care plan through fall (The Hill, April 9, 2020).
posted by filthy light thief (869 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
I just don't get how Democrat voters could have chosen the weakest candidate running (though not the worst, as that would have been Bloomberg). I mean, I've heard the explanations, but I still think things have gone terribly amiss and that voters should have known better.
posted by orange swan at 5:42 PM on April 9 [59 favorites]


Not to be glib, but . . . ya think?!

Kinda applies to oh the last 3-4 years pretty well.
posted by aspersioncast at 5:44 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Democrat voters could have chosen the weakest candidate running

They didn’t choose, this decision was from the top, how else do canidates who win early states drop out and all endorse a 3rd place winner on the same day. Both party leaders had an interest in kneecapping the Sanders campaign and basically didn't care about anything else.

Both party leaders where okay with putting people in danger with in person elections in order to suppress voter turnout, The Wisconsin black primary vote was done by 90% in some places cause they reduced the number of polling st 50 to 5 during a time when Pete are told not to go outside.

Hopefullily we can be rid of this Whiggish lobbyist group of a party soon, good to know Sanders will be paying workers and staffers and providing them healthcare until November, which Bloomberg - an actual billionaire - promised staffers he’d do but didn’t.

Anyway we got a not bad DSA membership spike today.
posted by The Whelk at 5:51 PM on April 9 [97 favorites]


I guess it's four more years for Trump then.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:51 PM on April 9 [17 favorites]


Pretty much.
posted by odinsdream at 5:58 PM on April 9 [5 favorites]




I wasn't a Sanders supporter and not a Biden supporter but I pray the desire to defeat Trump is strong enough to allow Biden to win. He just makes me incredibly nervous as a candidate. He seems to have a way of losing on the national level. It took him three runs for the nomination to win anything at all. I pray for the best but it's gonna be a lot of praying.
posted by downtohisturtles at 6:00 PM on April 9 [30 favorites]


Anyway, I’m talking to the left here, I hope the anti-electoral factions where working on Plan B.

I guess a defacto general strike is part of that - don’t let them make you go back to work before this pandemic is over , don’t let them throw you into the volcano. We’re not going to be martyrs for Applebee’s.

The high road has collapsed. Stay mad.
posted by The Whelk at 6:04 PM on April 9 [29 favorites]


I feel like it is maybe not the greatest turn of events, if only from a superficial optics perspective, that Sanders has dropped out of the race in order to focus on actually helping people, while Biden has more or less vanished from the face of the earth for the past few weeks

anyway congrats to the DNC on choosing Donald Trump as their successful candidate for the 2020 election I guess
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:06 PM on April 9 [20 favorites]




Just remember everyone, when you complain about some sort of insane conspiracy to keep the "best" candidate from winning the nomination, you can just replace every actor in fictional cabal with "Black Voters", since that's the actual group of people who took a look at Bernie and passed on him.

I've heard the explanations, but I still think things have gone terribly amiss and that [black] voters should have known better.

They didn’t choose, this decision was from the top, how else do canidates who win early states drop out and all endorse a 3rd place winner on the same day. Both party leadersBlack Voters had an interest in kneecapping the Sanders campaign and basically didn't care about anything else.

anyway congrats to the DNCblack voters on choosing Donald Trump

So, if you think this makes you sound kinda racist, perhaps think about exactly what you are saying.
posted by sideshow at 6:17 PM on April 9 [138 favorites]


It's fine to prefer Bernie's politics, or have concerns about Uncle Joe as a candidate, but meanwhile Biden is up 11 points over Trump in one of the latest polls.
posted by PhineasGage at 6:19 PM on April 9 [58 favorites]


The black vote was suppressed across the entire primary via gerrymandering and classic voter suppression or the issues on top of trying to hold a primary during a pandemic that affects African Americans way more , what the hell are you talking about
posted by The Whelk at 6:21 PM on April 9 [59 favorites]


Popular votes reported to date:
Biden 10,148,795
Sanders 7,708,599
(Warren 2,480,642*
Bloomberg 2,431,370)

*See, Warren’s voters weren’t only MetaFilter account holders; it just seemed that way...
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:21 PM on April 9 [15 favorites]


If the establishment were able to buy off other viable candidates then that tells us all we need to know about those candidates as well.
posted by asra at 6:22 PM on April 9 [7 favorites]


They didn’t choose, this decision was from the top, how else do canidates who win early states drop out and all endorse a 3rd place winner on the same day.

Oh so they voted for everyone?

Who won the early states? Sanders in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. 2 caucuses and a tiny northeastern state.

South Carolina put the nail in Sander's coffin. Voters in South Carolina, not presidential candidates.

The DNC can do a lot, it can't make people vote for someone they don't want to.
posted by Max Power at 6:22 PM on April 9 [60 favorites]


Did you Bernie fans not notice the South Carolina primary? Or pay attention to all the other ways Biden demonstrated overwhelming support from black voters?
posted by PhineasGage at 6:24 PM on April 9 [53 favorites]


[Couple deleted. For non-Sanders supporters: it's ok for Sanders supporters to voice dismay/disappointment/etc here. We asked people in the Warren-drops-out thread to not hassle people over voicing their disappointment, same deal here. This isn't the thread for trying to boost Biden or trying to convince Sanders supporters that they were wrong or whatever. Also let's please not be jerks to each other; remember we're here because we want to be talking to the other people on this website.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:26 PM on April 9 [28 favorites]




All the candidates that dropped out did so because they weren't winning delegates and saw they had no path to winning the nomination. And then they endorsed the candidate whose politics and programs most closely matched their own. This happens in every single contested primary. It's called politics. Thanks, LobsterMitten, for the reminder not to be unkind to anyone who supports a different candidate. But I hope it's ok to point out when disappointment at an electoral loss wanders into misguided conspiracy mongering.
posted by PhineasGage at 6:31 PM on April 9 [62 favorites]


It would be nice to remember, no matter how disappointed any of us are about our various candidate's having to drop out that then giving up and proclaiming Trump the obvious winner is not what Bernie or any of our lost candidates would want us to do- and is insulting to the people still fighting for a Trump-free white house.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 6:31 PM on April 9 [102 favorites]


I know this is well-warren territory but I like to think that the Sanders movement is just biden its time.
posted by mojopiano at 6:32 PM on April 9 [30 favorites]


You know the “black vote” has an even more dramatic generational split win anyone under 40 and they’ve been systematically suppressed for decades? And that the young Latin vote was leftist overwhelmingly , not to mention the huge effort to organize and engage American Muslims who ad never voted before,


one of these days we can make america a democracy, but it’d going to be a long effort, and we have oh shit less than nine years now to keep human civilization from collapsing.its not bad. Bad times are not coming , they are here, start apologizing to your children.
posted by The Whelk at 6:34 PM on April 9 [21 favorites]


Whelk. Your theory is that the Democratic Party suppressed the black vote? That doesn’t make a lick of sense. They voted for Biden. That’s a fact.

Look. I loved Sanders. But he didn’t get the votes. It’s that simple. That’s what happened. The youth vote Didn’t turn out. And the black and older vote that DID turn out went for Biden.

This is what happened. Wake up.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 6:36 PM on April 9 [86 favorites]


If someone had told me 50 years ago that a commie Jew would some day have a serious shot at the presidency of the United States.... Bravo, Bernie.
posted by No Robots at 6:36 PM on April 9 [31 favorites]


Biden is gross and I say this as a native Delawarean who has more experience with him than most Americans. The politics of Delaware are super fucked-up and you don’t go far in Delaware politics without also being super fucked-up.

He’s better than Trump though so I’ll be voting for him in November. If we have a election in November.
posted by Automocar at 6:39 PM on April 9 [28 favorites]


A lot can happen between now and November and I vaguely hope that some of it does.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:42 PM on April 9 [14 favorites]


I'm really thrilled to vote for the Goldman Sach's guy feeding lines in Biden's earpiece. Wheeee.
posted by Philipschall at 6:43 PM on April 9 [9 favorites]


Discounting black voters' overwhelming and long-standing support for Biden is just racist as hell and I'm shocked and embarrassed for some of the commenters her who I thought where better than that.
posted by octothorpe at 6:43 PM on April 9 [72 favorites]


He has started the swing and brought out the progressives. He will be missed. He was the only politician that made me have hope America ns would stop being so cultish in their thinking in a long while. Biden is the a sexual assaulter and it makes me feel that a lot of the efforts of Metoo are meaningless and America will never consider women people. I mourn for my fellow survivors next door.

Even from outside Bernie managed to inspire.
posted by kanata at 6:43 PM on April 9 [12 favorites]


Bernie was one of the Dem candidates that I was excited about, so I'm sad to see him go. What makes it extra sad is that as the last Dem to drop out, it feels like there isn't even a moment for his supporters to feel a loss, because the conversation (not necessarily *this* conversation, but any convo) rather quickly pivots to talking about how Biden is the Dem candidate now.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:47 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


I saw a meme this morning that sums it up. "Trump is a shitstain and Biden is a toilet brush. You don't need to kiss the brush to use it."
posted by Catblack at 6:56 PM on April 9 [57 favorites]


Honestly? I thought Sanders was going to just drop out and run as an independent.

Just basing it on how this year has been going thus far, it didn't seem that far fetched.
posted by FJT at 6:58 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


“A lot can happen between now and November and I vaguely hope that some of it does.”

What exactly are you insinuating here?
posted by defenestration at 7:00 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


They all get thrown from a window and Warren wins?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:01 PM on April 9 [44 favorites]


welp given biden is probably prone to losing this presidential election same way as democrats lost the last one (it is not certain by any means, but I am not comfortable with the odds), it’s more important than ever we do everything we can to make sure Mitch fucking McConnell is no longer senate majority leader next term around
posted by Gymnopedist at 7:12 PM on April 9 [8 favorites]


I'll vote for Biden in November, like I voted for Clinton in 2016 but I'm done after that. I think I've had enough of all of this.
posted by vocivi at 7:13 PM on April 9 [5 favorites]


man, if you look at this primary and didn't come to the conclusion that it was rigged, wow, let me tell you about these exciting opportunities selling amway!
posted by entropicamericana at 7:14 PM on April 9 [14 favorites]


I voted for Sanders in the 2016 primary, Warren this time around, and Clinton in the 2016 general with no reservations about it (she would have been a great president in spite of also having to continue to serve her involuntary role as top punching bag for conservative disinformation outlets).

Given the 3/3 lack of connection between my vote and the outcome in all cases, I suppose my dim enthusiasm for Biden is promising?

But I support a square look the fact that most democratic primary voters just didn't agree with me. However inspiring I find facets of the progressive vision as demonstrated in campaigns like those run by Sanders and Warren, something else appears to be a priority for people who voted Biden. And there's nobody better for me to form a plurality coalition with, so...

One of the things I've been wondering about is that to some extent, revolution favors privilege. Maybe even a democratic socialism revolution, just because any big change is often kinder to those with resources to surf the waves than to those at the margins. But that's speculation. Hearing people talk here about how/why many black voters trust Biden is interesting too.

When Yang dropped out I wasn't sorry to see him go but I was glad he'd brought UBI and certain kinds of competence into the campaign discussion.

Bernie... it's probably the right choice given where the votes have fallen, but I *am* sorry to see him out. Especially guessing that there won't be another run for him. I think a Sanders Presidency wouldn't have been as transformative as his most ardent supporters hope -- there would always have been a reckoning with the stacked Senate, at a minimum -- but it would have been something to see.

I just hope we can figure out what to do next. Politics is full of times where the obstacle of one moment becomes the means of the next. Apparently that's Joe Biden now.
posted by wildblueyonder at 7:20 PM on April 9 [33 favorites]


Friends. This fucking sucks. But the future is ours. This system cannot hold.
posted by latkes at 7:24 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]




man, if you look at this primary and didn't come to the conclusion that it was rigged, wow, let me tell you about these exciting opportunities selling amway!

Look, I think there was some “rigging” going on (reports are that Obama called Biden’s ideological rivals after SC and convinced them all to drop out) but it’s also true that Sanders’s campaign was banking on being able to win the nomination by getting 25-30% of votes in a large field and um... didn’t have a plan B.

Which is aggravating AF because 2016 proved Sanders couldn’t win a primary in a 2-person race and still went all-in on this strategy.

No one ran a good campaign this time around. Not even Biden.
posted by Automocar at 7:27 PM on April 9 [29 favorites]


revolution -- favors privilege

This, so much. I can't think about the rhetoric of 'revolution' without thinking about the many people I know who really are living on the edge, and they are the ones who are most likely to get hurt if some sort of "revolution" happens.

Americans in general have no real sense of what it looks like when a supply chain fails because the highways were bombed; we're already not doing so great without the promise of easily available Charmin. It is incredibly dangerous -- though tempting, and I totally get that -- to say that there's no other option beside rejecting the political system entirely.

As a social democrat, I really hope that my fellow anti-fascists of all stripes will not make the mistakes of other generations by fighting one another rather than uniting to oppose the cruel and heartless government we live under right now.
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:33 PM on April 9 [93 favorites]


The 538 tracker shows how predictable this was - the guy who was in the lead from the start and who lost that lead only briefly ended up the nominee.
posted by factory123 at 7:36 PM on April 9 [22 favorites]


“(reports are that Obama called Biden’s ideological rivals after SC and convinced them all to drop out)”

Where can I read these reports? All I’m finding is that Obama called Biden after the SC win, and Buttigieg after he dropped out of the race.
posted by defenestration at 7:37 PM on April 9 [14 favorites]


No one ran a good campaign this time around. Not even Biden.

Hot take: running a good campaign in a field as broad as the one we started out with this time around is hard.

Also we made it harder than it needed to be by not getting ranked choice voting or approval voting or some other system into place that would make it easier for people to see candidates besides their favorite as potential acceptable outcomes rather than awful substitutions.
posted by wildblueyonder at 7:41 PM on April 9 [18 favorites]


I have Googled it and can’t find the information and I’d really like to read about it.
posted by defenestration at 7:41 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Congrats to the DNC lanyard class for reelecting Trump. Good luck with that whole democracy thing.
posted by Yowser at 7:41 PM on April 9 [7 favorites]


I haven't been able to find any articles about the call. Did you see this on Twitter?
posted by schroedinger at 7:42 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


can we bring up the elephant in the room?

have you seen videos of biden TALK recently?

have you heard what he fucking sounds like in interviews or even in pre-recorded speeches?

have you?

i can't even.

someone better get joe some real good drugs ASAP - or he'd better get the most dynamic fucking Veep candidate since MLK's time travelling-love-child with fucking winston churchill. .....and put them front and centre as his proxy ......

- or its 4 more years of trump.
posted by lalochezia at 7:43 PM on April 9 [33 favorites]


So I guess black people are the all powerful DNC cabal, huh
posted by schroedinger at 7:44 PM on April 9 [23 favorites]


What does someone even mean by the word "rigged" when using it to describe the previous President trying to persuade other candidates to support the candidate he favors for reasons of shared policy, political judgment, and personal loyalty. (In fact by all reports he was scrupulous about NOT doing this until after the first batch of primaries and caucuses had already made it clear which candidates had no chance of being nominated.) This is how politics is done.
posted by PhineasGage at 7:45 PM on April 9 [49 favorites]


Biden sounds fine if you aren't listening to a bunch of cherrypicked clips mashed together to accuse the worst.
posted by schroedinger at 7:46 PM on April 9 [37 favorites]


Also how is it democratic to deliberately plan your strategy around getting 35% of the delegates and then insisting it means you should have all of them?
posted by schroedinger at 7:49 PM on April 9 [28 favorites]


Hi. Friendly neighborhood neanderthal here. Did you know I have a speech impediment? True facts! So when you start going in on Biden's non-standard way of speaking and try to tie it to his mental state, you're being ableist and insulting not only Biden who's a giant dingus, but people like me! Let's not be ableist ok?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:52 PM on April 9 [98 favorites]


Jesus. Half this thread reads more like Trumpists on Reddit harping about the Deep State.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:54 PM on April 9 [89 favorites]


rigged ≠ disorganized, disunited, and possibly hacked clusterfuck

have you seen videos of biden TALK recently?

Saw him being interviewed by (covid-19 stricken and quarantined) Chris Cuomo yesterday and he seemed very lucid and able to think through things. I think he does start to show his wear when he's trying to be a charismatic pugilist and can't keep up with himself then. But compared to trump there's no comparison so I hope people can wring their hands plenty enough now to vote for the dude later in some hope that we don't get four more years of trump.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:55 PM on April 9 [23 favorites]


revolution -- favors privilege

This, so much. I can't think about the rhetoric of 'revolution' without thinking about the many people I know who really are living on the edge, and they are the ones who are most likely to get hurt if some sort of "revolution" happens.

Americans in general have no real sense of what it looks like when a supply chain fails because the highways were bombed;


this is some weird and frankly insulting and disingenuous analysis. we go from "political revolution" - a slogan! taking policies that would actively help the most fucked over in society - medicare for all! paid parental leave! - an and convert it into a fucking fantasy story about a bombed highway that would disrupt supply chains and hurt people on the edge!
posted by lalochezia at 7:58 PM on April 9 [28 favorites]


Buttigieg and Klobuchar and so on dropping out was not some conspiracy, it was the logical thing for them to do if they preferred Biden to Sanders (which they obviously do). They didn't have a path to victory and they knew it.

When it did become a two way match, Sanders lost by a bigger margin than he did to Clinton.

His only chance was that all the other candidates would stay in, but thats not how primaries usually work (2016 GOP primary is the main counterexample).
posted by thefoxgod at 7:58 PM on April 9 [28 favorites]


Okay, okay, okay.

Maybe Sanders isn't going to pull a Bull Moose by forming his own party and going for an independent run, is because he's actually going to be Joe Biden's VP? They made a deal! Makes perfect sense, right?

Wait, no wait. OR maybe staying inside my home for 3 weeks straight has made me a wee bit completely out of my mind?

Hmm, let me stay in longer and think on this.
posted by FJT at 7:58 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


Trump has already proven that blathering demented nonsense hardly disqualifies a candidate.

The idea that anyone on the fence is going to go “golly, Trump is so much more articulate than Joe Biden!” is absurd. Trump is louder. That’s all.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 8:00 PM on April 9 [16 favorites]


this is some weird and frankly insulting and disingenuous analysis. we go from "political revolution" - a slogan! taking policies that would actively help the most fucked over in society - medicare for all! paid parental leave! - an and convert it into a fucking fantasy story about a bombed highway that would disrupt supply chains and hurt people on the edge!

That's where that kind of rhetoric goes. Bernie has always been careful to qualify his references to "revolution" with the word "political", but his supporters have not.

And other people noticed, particularly (I think) older black people who actually remember the days when white supremacist governments were denying people's basic civil rights while white nationalist terrorists lynched people and bombed churches and assassinated people with impunity.
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:07 PM on April 9 [12 favorites]


Hmm. I probably should have posted this here. It's kinda noisy either way, but I was feeling a little hopeful and just wanted to share.
posted by Anoplura at 8:08 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


If you really believe in Bernie and his ideals and want to see him implement some of them, then do the minimum and hold your nose and vote for Biden, but then fight like hell, donate money, push, cajole, phone bank and do anything else you can to help Amy McGrath beat the shit eating grin off McConnell's face. And, a few other choice GOP senators as well. Just imagine it! What do you think Bernie will be able to do in concert with Warren in a Dem Senate with a Whitehouse with limited policy aims? The Senate will lead and Bernie will get to make some of that stuff happen. Adjust your targets to the tasks that will get what you want. That's politics. Now is not the time to mourn for Bernie but to double down and give him the power to do something by delivering the Senate in 2020.
posted by Gotanda at 8:08 PM on April 9 [113 favorites]


And, if Biden picks Harris as VP that will open up a bluer than blue senate seat and make Newsom fill it with somebody well to her left. Build out the team to do what Bernie wanted. It is possible.
posted by Gotanda at 8:11 PM on April 9 [27 favorites]


Now is not the time to mourn for Bernie but to double down and give him the power to do something by delivering the Senate in 2020.

I get your main drift, but remember, he dropped out like yesterday. It's just human nature to take some time to get over a loss like this.
posted by Jpfed at 8:12 PM on April 9 [18 favorites]


True. But when you can, turn that grief into righteous anger!
posted by Gotanda at 8:14 PM on April 9 [5 favorites]


If you really believe in Bernie and his ideals and want to see him implement some of them, then do the minimum and hold your nose and vote for Biden, but then fight like hell, donate money, push, cajole, phone bank and do anything else you can to help Amy McGrath beat the shit eating grin off McConnell's face. And, a few other choice GOP senators as well. Just imagine it! What do you think Bernie will be able to do in concert with Warren in a Dem Senate with a Whitehouse with limited policy aims? The Senate will lead and Bernie will get to make some of that stuff happen. Adjust your targets to the tasks that will get what you want. That's politics. Now is not the time to mourn for Bernie but to double down and give him the power to do something by delivering the Senate in 2020.

This. Not to mention that the winner of this election is probably picking the successor to RBG and Breyer. If Trump gets to do that, you can kiss every single one of Bernie’s policy goals goodbye for a generation. They have a couple dozen more Kavanaughs lined up. And considering how Trump and McConnell have packed the lower courts, keeping the SC at least within reach is more vital than ever.
posted by azpenguin at 8:16 PM on April 9 [56 favorites]


Sure, I'll say it. A lot of Bernie's supporters are young, privileged white people who have no sense of the history of political violence in this country and elsewhere, and how bad things can get.
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:16 PM on April 9 [60 favorites]


Sanders supporters, I don’t share your disappointment, but I understand it—my preferred candidates have lost more often than they have won.

Take heart, though. While my candidates may have lost, their “radical” ideas have often become mainstream—civil rights, women’s rights, environmentalism, gay rights and same sex marriage, access and rights for the disabled come to mind. You may find that some of Sanders’ ideas will fare the same in the future.
posted by haiku warrior at 8:21 PM on April 9 [26 favorites]




Sure, I'll say it. A lot of Bernie's supporters are young, privileged white people who have no sense of the history of political violence in this country and elsewhere, and how bad things can get.


and that's what should have doomed bernie as a candidate? not his policies? his electability? because some privileged little men make noise?

since you are so keen on avoiding political violence I would have you note note bernie's anti war stance over decades. biden - and since you like doing this - and by proxy his supporters....voted for wars which DIRECTLY - not hypothetically, not "potentially how bad things could get" - killed hundreds of thousands of brown people.
posted by lalochezia at 8:23 PM on April 9 [35 favorites]


do you vote for a candidate or their supporters?

Both, because part of how I make my choice of candidate to vote for is the people that they attract, both in terms of supporters and staff. (This is why I had no use for Andrew Yang out of the gate, because I saw where he was pulling support from.)
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:32 PM on April 9 [12 favorites]


I don't understand why Bernie thinks he will have any influence over the platform by picking up more worthless delegates. His real leverage was weeks ago.

I wonder what will be written in the history books about 2020. First the horrible Corona deaths and then the Orange Man v. Sleepy Joe. Gosh the good ol' US of A must look so terrible to the rest of the world and to the history books. I guess facts are facts.
posted by AugustWest at 8:34 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


This is how politics is done.

I think this is where I’m at. Elections aren’t done - like, no election ever, not even lefty organizational ones - based on some sort of impartial view about “who do most people agree with or resonate most with.” They’re based on the real votes by real people, many of whom choose on such superficial items as “who makes me feel most comfortable” or “who does my favorite politician like more” or “who is better on one particular issue I really care about” or yes, even: “who seems like they’re going to win because I want to be on the right side of this one.

Biden swept in part because of “momentum”, because people thought he was going to be the nominee because of a lot of other factors and they wanted to choose the “right” person. That’s - that’s not rigging. That’s people making bad choices. Like they always do.
posted by corb at 8:35 PM on April 9 [33 favorites]


Sanders supporters, I don’t share your disappointment, but I understand it—my preferred candidates have lost more often than they have won.

I'm in this camp. I've always thought that the sign I picked the best candidate is that they lose. FWIW, I've given Sanders money, but never lost sight of the fact that he and I are both Socialist Jews and have the same chance of winning election as POTUS. I like that he relentlessly pushes left, and agree that over time, that adds up and makes a difference.

But still, with Elizabeth Warren standing there, I ask myself, "Is Biden really the best we can do?" Apparently he's got name recognition, and that counts most these days (shrug emoji)

And hope that at least, he picks Warren for his VP.

And always keep in mind that politics is like a bus. It seldom gets you to exactly where you want to go, so you take the one that'll get you closest. Even if you start with -- as I must do now -- "I'll go anywhere to get away from Trump" and then wait for a bus that'll get you closer to your desired destination.
posted by mikelieman at 8:37 PM on April 9 [19 favorites]


based on some sort of impartial view about “who do most people agree with or resonate most with.”

I mostly agree corb, but I would posit that the best way to measure with whom people agree is through their voting habits rather than abstract issue polling which has lots of confounding factors.
posted by Justinian at 8:39 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


I guess I'm racist for supporting Sanders now, again, somehow. Good show metafilter. You're really taking the fight to Trump.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:40 PM on April 9 [47 favorites]


More Thomas, less Kavanaugh could use work, but I suppose it is undeniably a material improvement.

Here's hoping we don't get a repeat of 2008 when a significant portion of the machinery & momentum gets lost because there's a D in house and the more insulated/comfortable go back to treating politics as an abstract/dinner-party topic.

I blanch at the thought of "2010 but meaner".
posted by CrystalDave at 8:41 PM on April 9


I guess I'm racist for supporting Sanders now, again, somehow. Good show metafilter.

That's funny... I don't see anyone calling you racist. Mentioning that some Sander's supporter's are pretty privileged isn't calling all his supporters racist- where in this thread were you called racist again?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:45 PM on April 9 [39 favorites]


I think being stuck inside for a month is getting to everyone and we should all probably just go to bed.
posted by Automocar at 8:47 PM on April 9 [34 favorites]


Nobody said that supporting Sanders was racist.
Saying that Bernie lost because black Democratic voters didn’t know what’s good for them, that’s racist.
If you didn’t say that, the comment wasn’t aimed at you.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:47 PM on April 9 [48 favorites]


One dynamic that I sensed with respect to Sanders and some vocal supporters was that they often seemed to blame voters for not voting for him (too stupid, too uncaring, too conservative, too centrist, too establishment, too in-the-pocket of the Democratic “establishment”) rather than contemplate what was not working about his approach and consider revising it.

Even if blaming was not intended, that is how they often came across, which put off a lot of people who might have been swayed to vote for him. That apparent lack of self-awareness on the part of Sanders and some supporters really hurt his campaign, IMO.
posted by haiku warrior at 8:58 PM on April 9 [54 favorites]


[Couple deleted. The heat in here needs to come way down if this thread is going to be workable on Mefi. If people want to be able to have a thread about Sanders, it needs to not turn into some contest of who can denounce each other more harshly or read each other most uncharitably. Also please don't erase the fact that there are Sanders supporters of color on this very site, and please don't downplay the fact of Biden having genuinely won support from many African-American voters. All of this is stuff we've asked people to be mindful of in these discussions before. There are lots of not-repetitive not-making-it-about-other-mefites things to talk about here -- about Sanders, your feelings on this development if you're a supporter of his or an interested observer, his next steps, next steps for people who want to achieve those goals, etc.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:59 PM on April 9 [31 favorites]


No one is calling names; some of us are calling out racist rhetoric, because racist rhetoric is pervasive and the Left is hardly exempt.

I for one would've happily voted for Sanders in both the primary and the general if he were leading, but I judge that a united anti-fascist opposition is the most important thing right now.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:04 PM on April 9 [15 favorites]


> ... we should all probably just go to bed.

Now that's a progressive policy proposal!
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 9:10 PM on April 9 [6 favorites]


Biden won in places where he didn't even have a campaign. That's not a sign that a rational voting population chose one candidate over others. That's a sign that people are terrified and are voting for the candidate they think other people will vote for. That is as much an indictment of our political order as Trump is. Biden will, at least, return some competency to our government, by appointing educated, qualified people. If he manages to get elected, which I think with him at the helm is basically 50/50. But it is not racist to ask how we went from the candidate field we had a year ago to a guy nobody actually wanted and who nobody is enthusiastic about.

That doesn't even go into Biden's segregationist past, his sexual assault record, his lagging faculties (I don't think it's ableist to admit that a lot of what comes out of his mouth is word-salad that gives Trump a run for his money).

Sanders was the only one left offering real solutions to most of our problems. That's worth mourning, I think.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:12 PM on April 9 [51 favorites]


The pain and disappointment of Sanders’ withdrawal from the race is still very raw. Perhaps it would be helpful to consider both what positive things he did accomplish and what he could have done differently to have been more successful.

I was not a Sanders supporter, but he did bring to fore the issues of wealth inequality in this country, and even those who backed other candidates are likely to join me in thanking him for that.
posted by haiku warrior at 9:13 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Deleted a long and frustrated comment but I will boost this: Don't Mourn. Organize.
posted by latkes at 9:17 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


First the horrible Corona deaths and then the Orange Man v. Sleepy Joe.

As opposed to Trump's preferred opponent Most Likely To Be Voted Mr. Get Off My Lawn Guy ?

Biden won in places where he didn't even have a campaign. That's not a sign that a rational voting population chose one candidate over others.

One can project one's hope's and dreams upon someone but we are talking votes here. Saying they were made in fear is condescending bullshit.

Emotional intelligence is an oxymoron when emotions run high.
posted by y2karl at 9:38 PM on April 9 [7 favorites]


This thread makes me really, really sad. If a room full of blue mefites can’t help but keep picking at these old scabs and hating each other, I think there’s little hope of the Democratic Party coming together. We don’t beat Trump by pitting progressives against “black voters”, or by insulting each other.

Look, I am also of the mindset that Biden is an exceptionally weak candidate, and if I can’t vote for a progressive, I would have much rather voted for literally any of the other moderate also-rans.

But now I’m going to fight like hell for Biden. Not just in a “hold my nose and vote” way, but in a “do everything I can” way. Because this election has massive consequences, and as mediocre as Biden may be, he is now the only path to stopping the GOP’s feeding frenzy of corruption, cruelty, and incompetence. Biden at least will install competent underlings and listen more to scientists and experts; I have faith in that much.

Bernie was tremendously effective in pushing mainstream Democratic opinion to the left. The dude has been a sledge hammer whacking the Overton window ever since the 2016 election. We’re not going to get Medicare for all, or anything close to it, from Biden, but we might at least stop some of the bleeding caused by Trump.

I urge fellow Bernie supporters to join me in supporting Biden. And I urge Biden supporters to knock it the fuck off with attacking Bernie supporters. I have been called racist, sexist, and a “Bernie bro” simply for voicing support of Sanders. That is counter-productive if you want to beat Trump. We need to unite against the common enemy. This has never been more clear than right now, when thousands of Americans are dying unnecessary deaths because the GOP’s signature blend of malice and incompetence has prevented the federal government from mounting an effective response to the pandemic.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:43 PM on April 9 [91 favorites]


Now that he is the presumed winner what happens if Biden was to drop dead from Covid or a bus next week? Do all the delegates he has so far get free reign?
posted by Mitheral at 9:43 PM on April 9


I vastly prefer Sanders' policies, which seem far more necessary today than they did even a month ago. And I've disliked many of Biden's policies for decades, having lived near Delaware for much of my life. I consider Biden the least exciting Democratic candidate since Mondale, but that's subjective I suppose. I hate Trump and will fight like hell in the general, but I'm sad to see the candidate with the policies we actually need right now lose. Ah well, that's politics; perhaps at least the ongoing collapse of employer-based healthcare right now will spur Biden towards something like Medicare Extra as Ezra Klein argues. If we can't elect an FDR in a time of need, perhaps circumstances and activism can force who we're stuck with to become one.
posted by chortly at 9:44 PM on April 9 [6 favorites]


> Now that he is the presumed winner what happens if Biden was to drop dead from Covid or a bus next week? Do all the delegates he has so far get free reign?

Contested convention over Zoom! Please mute your mic.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:45 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Sanders supporters, I don’t share your disappointment, but I understand it—my preferred candidates have lost more often than they have won.

I would've voted for Bernie if I ever had a chance, but even if, I never really thought he had a chance. At the nomination, that is. In a one-on-one against Trump? Who knows? But that ain't gonna happen, so why go there?

I'm sixty so I've seen any number of elections over the years. And the higher the office in question, the less likely I am to have backed a winner. I'm Canadian so I didn't get to vote for Obama. And Justin Trudeau's Liberals may seem cool, but the NDP (democratic socialism in action) got my votes both those times, and most other times as well.

Anyway, you learn early you learn often. Voting day is overrated in terms of what democracy actually is. It's probably the most important day of the year (four years, two years), but it's still only one day. What matters far more, I think, is the noise we make the rest of the time in all kinds of small and big ways. How we rock the free world.
posted by philip-random at 9:45 PM on April 9 [8 favorites]


Biden won in places where he didn't even have a campaign. That's not a sign that a rational voting population chose one candidate over others.

Not sure I follow this. I feel like if Sanders had won states where he didn't campaign, his supporters would be using it as an example of his widespread appeal / ability to effectively get out the vote. (Edit to add: Not trying to quip or play a gotcha card. I voted for Bernie but I view Biden's apparent ability to win over some states with minimal resources as a good sign, though I welcome other interpretations).
posted by Emily's Fist at 9:45 PM on April 9 [26 favorites]


Contested convention over Zoom! Please mute your mic.

I think we can all agree that this would be the worst timeline.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:53 PM on April 9 [7 favorites]


For those that don't buy that it was rigged against Sanders, I could, off the top of my head, list a half a dozen objectively damaging actions against Sanders by the Democratic party and/or its surrogates, actions that uniquely targeted Bernie and no other candidate. The Iowa primary stands out, in which the state Democratic party chose to shit their own bed than to give Sanders the win of a victory speech.

And aside from the Democratic Party's clear disdain of Sanders, let's not forget the media's disdain of Sanders. There was always, always, always, a detractor of Sanders on any of the TV news networks, whether it be Joy Reid, The View, MSNBC, etc. Usually they were guests of the show, apparatchiks from the party or Obama or Clinton folks. Another example is the Washington Post, that ran an absurdly, almost comically massive number of attack pieces on Sanders; again, no other candidate was ever treated like that.

It's true that black voters, in the end, did not overwhelmingly choose Sanders. That's either a fault with the Sanders campaign or speaks to an actual limitation to the broad appeal of democratic socialism. But we all get our information through the lens of the media, and if that lens is warped and focused only in a certain way (and there's only one lens you view things through), that'll have an impact. The media talking heads had a bias against Sanders, and it made a difference. Enough to deflate a "socialist wave"? Maybe not, and it's impossible to quantify, but it happened.
posted by zardoz at 9:54 PM on April 9 [20 favorites]


Now that he is the presumed winner, what happens if Biden was to drop dead from Covid or a bus pin Donald Trump for an uncontested Three Count next week? Do all the delegates he has so far get free reign Deluxe Chili Cheese Dogs?

Yes, I think that's in the 10th Amendment somewhere.

I'm just hoping that Biden picks a good running mate - preferably a smart, progressive woman like Warren or Abrams - or else that chili is going to suck.
posted by Anoplura at 9:54 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


The media talking heads had a bias against Sanders, and it made a difference. Enough to deflate a "socialist wave"? Maybe not, and it's impossible to quantify, but it happened.

The media didn't stop Bernie from going to Selma, which just added to the narrative that he wasn't going to try to win reliable, Democratic voters.
posted by girlmightlive at 10:04 PM on April 9 [13 favorites]


Biden will pick K. Harris. Sanders never had a chance. There’s a thing called the Senate and a thing called the House, by the way. Im less than enthusiastic about all this but here we are!
posted by SoberHighland at 10:05 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


I don't think you can trust the people of Massachusetts to elect another democratic senator. Warren needs to stay where she is.
posted by great_radio at 10:05 PM on April 9 [8 favorites]


If you people who believe that Sander's supporters should have tried different tactics to reach out to people other than his base, now is the time time to lead by example.

There's a lot of "privileged" angry young folks who can't even afford a dental appointment and who don't think they have much more of a future under four years of centrism than under four more years of Trump. Biden may well need those people in order to win.

If you think Sanders supports screwed up by coming across as dismissive and insulting to you, don't make the same mistake now. The ball's in your court. Let's win this.
posted by Zalzidrax at 10:08 PM on April 9 [27 favorites]


I do agree that the media in general was anti-Sanders (though this isn't even about him so much as that they're opposed to left candidates in general). But the leap between that and an accusation that the vote was rigged is not fair.

The Democratic Party did not rig the election. Iowa was a shitshow in all directions, sure. But it didn't particularly help anyone, least of all Biden. In all the other states, people showed up (or not) and voted for a candidate, for whatever reasons they had. That is how voting works.

I liked Warren. I liked her a lot, and thought that she combined a solid social-democratic framework with an ability to play politics and get things done that Bernie, bless his heart, doesn't have.

She did not do well. That sucks and I think it's unfair (and I think she'd have run away with the election if she were male) but it is what it is.

As far as I'm concerned, any blue will do as long as they can sign shit. The real work is getting good progressive legislation passed, and that takes 50 Senate seats.
posted by tivalasvegas at 10:09 PM on April 9 [56 favorites]


For those that don't buy that it was rigged against Sanders, I could, off the top of my head, list a half a dozen objectively damaging actions against Sanders by the Democratic party and/or its surrogates, actions that uniquely targeted Bernie and no other candidate. The Iowa primary stands out, in which the state Democratic party chose to shit their own bed than to give Sanders the win of a victory speech.

Or, it could be the reaction of an organization to an individual who is engaging in a hostile takeover of said organization. It turns out that attacking the Democratic Party while looking to be its flagbearer is not a winning strategy.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:12 PM on April 9 [21 favorites]


From the actions of the DNC and their big donors it really does look like they would rather have Trump win than have Sanders win. They still get donations, and get to be the resistance, without having to show any results or enact any policies that would hurt the super rich.
posted by Iax at 10:17 PM on April 9 [25 favorites]


who is engaging in a hostile takeover of said organization.

I love how wanting fewer people to die for no good fucking reason and wanting a better world where we don't all die from climate disaster is tantamount to a hostile takeover.

What the fuck is wrong with people.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:17 PM on April 9 [32 favorites]


There's a lot of "privileged" angry young folks who can't even afford a dental appointment and who don't think they have much more of a future under four years of centrism than under four more years of Trump.

I understand the sentiment, and in my time working as a benefits navigator in a public health clinic I spent a lot of time helping people figure out how to get medical and dental care. Four years of incremental center-left policy is vastly, vastly superior to what will happen if the Republicans have four more years to dismantle what pathetic shreds of a safety net still exist in this country. (And I think we can do better than that if Democrats can take the Senate and the White House.)
posted by tivalasvegas at 10:19 PM on April 9 [23 favorites]


Cool guys, I'll let climate change and other pending disasters know that they need to slow down because we need to wait for incremental center-left policy or we'll end up with eco-fascism.

Oh wait.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:21 PM on April 9 [23 favorites]


And let's not forget: the next President will be called on to choose a replacement for RBG.
posted by PhineasGage at 10:22 PM on April 9 [16 favorites]


Just remember everyone, when you complain about some sort of insane conspiracy to keep the "best" candidate from winning the nomination, you can just replace every actor in fictional cabal with "Black Voters", since that's the actual group of people who took a look at Bernie and passed on him.

If you're going to frame things this way you should probably acknowledge that Sanders narrowly beat Biden among black voters under 30 in SC, even though he lost by a ton overall. That age gap in favor of Sanders (and to a lesser extent Warren) is a big a divide as any in the primary.
posted by atoxyl at 10:26 PM on April 9 [15 favorites]


Great, I too would like to address climate change, before my neighborhood becomes an inlet of Lake Ponchartrain if nothing else. That's why I will be voting for the candidate who didn't drag this country out of the Paris Accords.
posted by tivalasvegas at 10:26 PM on April 9 [36 favorites]


I love how wanting fewer people to die for no good fucking reason and wanting a better world where we don't all die from climate disaster is tantamount to a hostile takeover.

Let's not pretend that the Sanders campaign wasn't planning on going into a contested convention with the strongest plurality among a 4-6 candidate field and using that to push for his candidacy - the campaign was pretty clearly telegraphing this plan, which was a large part of why the post-SC consolidation happened.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:27 PM on April 9 [15 favorites]


I'll vote for Biden, but let's be honest, on climate he's better than Trump in the sense that driving over a cliff at 45 mph is better than at 90.
posted by Pyry at 10:32 PM on April 9 [26 favorites]


If you're going to frame things this way you should probably acknowledge that Sanders narrowly beat Biden among black voters under 30 in SC

Absolutely and that is a very hopeful sign. I am very happy that young black and brown people are voting left.

That does not negate the fact that black and brown people over 30 did not vote for Sanders, as you note. Those votes... they count, too.
posted by tivalasvegas at 10:32 PM on April 9 [20 favorites]


I'm not inclined towards "DNC cheated" explanations of Sanders' loss, not because I don't think there was any coordinated effort against him - of course there was - but because I think it's very important to understand that politics doesn't have any rules. The pre-Super-Tuesday drop-and-endorse punch (and yes, I still think Warren not siding with Sanders played a role here) is pretty unprecedented as far as I know but it's fair play.

What I think it's given us, though, is the ultimate absurdity of electability, where everybody votes for the candidate they think some other hypothetical voter would like and we end up with a candidate with very little going for him. I understand people having cold feet about Sanders' prospects, because I've talked to a lot of older Democrats people who liked his ideas but couldn't believe he'd win. And part of this is on Bernie himself, for not wanting to get to aggressive against Joe (whose campaign seemed to be faltering on its own). But I predict that now that he's in the spotlight people are going to remember what an uninspiring mess the guy is (and that the media will have less compunction about showing him in a bad light as there is more of a market for it).
posted by atoxyl at 10:40 PM on April 9 [9 favorites]


the campaign was pretty clearly telegraphing this plan, which was a large part of why the post-SC consolidation happened.

Biden does politically savvy move: "business as usual"

Sanders does politically unsavvy move: "hostile takeover"

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by deadaluspark at 10:42 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


I think seeing the Bidens and Obamas together on stage again is gonna be powerful for many people.
posted by girlmightlive at 10:43 PM on April 9 [14 favorites]


I love everyone on this website dearly, but let's please remember that the vast majority of us live in hermetically sealed bubbles in terms of our daily lives.

The narrative that people only voted for Biden because of electability concerns is robbing agency from many voters who legitimately didn't like Sanders' policies. You can disagree with those voters on a policy preference level, but please stop stripping them of their basic recognition as humans operating with free will and good faith. You may as well call them NPCs if you're unwilling to allow that some people, in fact a great many people, voted for Biden because they wanted Biden to win. It's really not unthinkable.
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:46 PM on April 9 [49 favorites]


[One deleted; sorry, try again with quoting shorter excerpts? We've had a bunch of folks mention that super long excerpts are hard especially on mobile; aim for no more than 2 paras; summaries also ok.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:53 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


That does not negate the fact that black and brown people

"Black and brown" is arguably a less fair conflation. Or check the results for Arab and Middle Eastern voters in the Upper Midwest.

Sanders' loss with black voters in the South does tell an important story. For sure one thing it says is that guys like Jim Clyburn, who are very much "party establishment," are also still genuinely respected by a lot of people and it's gonna be hard to win without them. But let's not put together a sloppy version of that story.
posted by atoxyl at 10:59 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


> Friends. This fucking sucks. But the future is ours. This system cannot hold.

@DataProgress poll:
  • 52% of Americans under 45 have lost their job, had hours reduced, or been furloughed
  • 35% of Americans under 35 now say they don't have health insurance
@ianbremmer: "The working class is most vulnerable to #COVID19, in health and in wealth. There will be political consequences."

from march 7...
@LiaWeintraub: "I love Elizabeth Warren and I work at an organization that endorsed @BernieSanders. A lot of my Warren supporters friends have been asking me to help them get excited about Sanders. Here's my thread of what I've learned about him and why I'm voting for him."

also btw...
You Don't Know Bernie - "Bernie Sanders — the guy who admits he can be grumpy and 'nasty' and a 'real son of a bitch', the guy who's known for giving the same speech over and over again — that guy is trying to win this campaign, maybe his last, by making people feel less alone."

oh and...
That Time Bernie Sanders Interviewed Some Punk-Rock Kids in a Mall - "Back in the '80s, Bernie Sanders had a public-access TV show. The archives are now online."
posted by kliuless at 11:00 PM on April 9 [5 favorites]


My understanding of America is pretty much filtered through Metafilter- I live in Australia and have never spent a real long time in the US. However, this quote stood out to me: it's from an Australian article, which explains the framing:
Jason Johnson, former politics editor for the African American-focused publication The Root, put it this way:
"Voting for Bernie Sanders requires that black people believe that white people will do something they've never done: willingly and openly share the economic bounty of the United States."
ABC article
posted by freethefeet at 11:07 PM on April 9 [54 favorites]


The narrative that people only voted for Biden because of electability concerns is robbing agency from many voters who legitimately didn't like Sanders' policies.

Well, fair enough, I was focusing on the "likes Sanders or Warren, but prioritized beating Trump" voter in that comment because I know a number of those. Plus polling for a lot of lefty policies among Democrats is pretty good, or at least over 50 percent.

I'm sure a policy-driven "stop Sanders" vote existed as well. I think I will still contend, however, that it's unlikely that most of those people considered Biden their first choice on the basis of platform versus being the most likely to win... against Sanders.
posted by atoxyl at 11:10 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


She did not do well. That sucks and I think it's unfair (and I think she'd have run away with the election if she were male) but it is what it is.

If this is not implying that black voters are generally misogynist, then I don’t really follow the apparently really popular argument that thinking the DNC’s anti-Sanders actions had an impact on the race is racist. Many young black voters supported Sanders and many still do. Because his policies directly address real problems they are facing right now. Sanders did better than Warren with POC overall, and especially Latinx voters. Warren did better with wealthier, more educated whites.

This question of the reasons for Biden’s popularity among African-American voters came up in earlier threads, and people posted a number of articles by black historians, political scientists and other academics. I think the consensus was largely in line with what Dr. Jason Johnson (no Sanders supporter, and I believe he considers Sanders himself racist) said: “Voting for Bernie Sanders requires that black people believe that white people will do something they’ve never done: willingly and openly share the economic bounty of the United States.” I think he’s right - the Lee Atwater strategy has come to define our politics. The subtle shifts over the years, so that now many “moderate” whites don’t at all see the racism inherent in the choices they consider reasonable. He’s saying African American voters who’ve actually experienced how crazy white people can get over black people advancing socially in any way, that those voters are too smart, and have have too much to lose to risk voting with their kids p, given the likelihood that the regulatory-captured media and corporate-owned Carville Democrats would go to great lengths to sabotage a Sanders. They have to consider the influence of whites who think “Medicare for All who want it” and means-tested free public college are more reasonable than M4A and free public college.

I can disagree with someone’s argument without disrespecting them, without thinking they’re stupid or even thinking they’re wrong.

Moderate white voters are just used to having a publicly-designated underclass, and for that class to be largely black or brown-skinned. The idea of black and brown people having genuine equality in our society, at least to the point that you couldn’t make any assumptions about someone’s social class based on their race or ethnicity, is not a comforting thought to some people. I’ve heard a number of white people tell me they and their relatives would never vote for a Warren or a Sanders: that Trump sucks and they’d vote for Biden but would vote for Trump over the two lefties. Why?

(Edited for typos)
posted by callistus at 11:11 PM on April 9 [8 favorites]


I am genuinely optimistic that Biden's healthcare plan could legitimately lead to universal healthcare. If his public option is well funded and provides tiered pricing, its prices may not be able to be beat. If enough people sign on, it could become de facto universal healthcare.

I am also optimistic that Biden will enact a large infrastructure project as a jobs program. It would only make sense to tie this to efforts to curb global warming. This could end up being something very much like The Green New Deal.

The best chance for both of these things to happen is to win over the hearts and minds of centrist voters.
posted by xammerboy at 11:16 PM on April 9 [14 favorites]


This thread makes me really, really sad. If a room full of blue mefites can’t help but keep picking at these old scabs and hating each other, I think there’s little hope of the Democratic Party coming together.

I have muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch more faith in the Democratic Party coming together (for some definition of "together") than I have faith that Metafilter can stop picking scabs and hating each other in threads about USA politics, and the reason I think that is because Metafilter spent literally-literally years honing our ability to pick at old scabs and hate each other in the USA Politics Megathread, whereas the majority of non-Mefite dems/libs/lefties didn't do anything like that at all.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:20 PM on April 9 [30 favorites]


I read the mega threads regularly and there was decidedly not the kind of picking on each other that cropped back up once primary season began. There was a sense of a common enemy that by and large muted that bullshit (not that there wasn’t lots of other kinds of bullshit). The primary threads are a whole different thing.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:30 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


that point where you realize that some of your fave MeFites are tearing each other apart in the name of (or not) Bernie Saunders. Explains a lot actually. Would it help if I personally took responsibility for all of it? I Broke The Circle. I also find I still like South Park whenever I stumble onto it ... even if it single-handedly caused everything.
posted by philip-random at 11:32 PM on April 9 [6 favorites]


*shrug* I feel regular readers of the USA politics Megathread didn't realize how toxic they were, and still don't realize it.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:33 PM on April 9 [17 favorites]


there are none so toxic as those who are asymptomatic.
posted by philip-random at 11:35 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


>Great, I too would like to address climate change, before my neighborhood becomes an inlet of Lake Ponchartrain if nothing else. That's why I will be voting for the candidate who didn't drag this country out of the Paris Accords.

Joe Biden’s Campaign Co-Chair is a Big Oil and Gas Booster
Former Vice President Joe Biden has surrounded himself with people tied to the natural gas industry for his 2020 presidential campaign. His climate adviser, Heather Zichal, is a former board member of natural gas company Cheniere Energy, while one of his fundraisers is a cofounder of natural gas company Western LNG. In addition, the super PAC supporting his candidacy has a former gas lobbyist on its board.

But there is another Biden campaign figure whose oil and gas industry connections have not been examined: Louisiana Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond, whom Biden selected in May to serve as his campaign co-chairman.
Like, it was just a couple weeks ago that the Biden campaign had to clarify that when he said "no new fracking" he didn't actually mean it!
posted by Cezar Golescu at 11:35 PM on April 9 [10 favorites]


It's a fact older voters in general preferred Biden and Buttigieg. It's also a fact that younger voters preferred Sanders and Warren. These preferences crossed lines of racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual orientation. Unfortunately for Sanders and Warren, younger voters tend to vote less than older voters. Part of the reason for the above phenomenon is that being able to form a coherent view of politics (valid or otherwise) sufficient to motivate participation in primaries is itself a the mark of a certain type of privilege. Some of that naturally accrues with age as people become more established in their careers, but some of that doesn't because older generations simply had more economic opportunities in terms or inexpensive higher education, favorable labor markets, and cheap land, among other things, to build wealth. Another reason is that voting in our country is purposefully hard and inconvenient. Try voting on a Tuesday if you have a job where you don't control your hours and can't guarantee childcare or other necessities, especially if the lines at the voting place snake around the block and you can't make it until late.

Nevertheless, talk to me in 10 years. The economic conditions that became acute after 2008 (e.g. crushing student loan debt, flat wages, job insecurity, increasing rents ect.) are not going to go away. It's like holding back the tide. You can't fight the passage of time. Young people aren't supporting Sanders and Warren because they suddenly developed nostalgia for socialism or the New Deal.

In the meantime, I salute Bernie Sanders for laying the groundwork for a politics that finally has the potential to move America is a more humane direction. I've been following politics for a long time, particularly as it developed through the internet. I remember the bloggers. I remember Howard Dean. I remember the netroots. None of them were as successful as Sanders at building at multi-generational, multi-racial coalition that addressed conditions impacting the lives of the most vulnerable people in this country.

Sanders got votes. He won primaries. He propelled himself from an obscure backbencher to one of the most important politicians in this country. And he did it the right way. He did it on hard mode.

In may ways, I think Sanders's 2020 campaign was an even more pure distillation of his ideals than his 2016 campaign, even if he was ultimately not as successful. Maybe the shift hurt him, but we are a better country in the long run that he did it. That's why AOC endorsed him. That's why Ilhan Ohmar endorsed him. That's why Rashida Talib endorsed him. That's why Barbara Smith endorsed him. I just listed a whole bunch of people who endorsed him who you wouldn't think would have endorsed him based off reading places like Metafilter. Was he perfect? No. But he got a lot right. A lot more than most.

So happy trails Senator Sanders. The world is a better place that you were in it. That's more than I can say about most of your colleagues and the people who try to tear you down and tear down the things you spent your life trying to build.
posted by eagles123 at 11:37 PM on April 9 [33 favorites]


How the Anti-Populists Stopped Bernie Sanders
As it happens, the men of quality did their job, and working Americans will not face the ignoble prospect of voting for a candidate who takes their side against billionaires and businesses. The larger message of anti-populism, regardless of where it comes from on the political spectrum, is always one of complacency. Elites rule us because elites should rule us. They are in charge because they are the best.

And so we come to understand the real task before us today: to rescue from the enormous condescension of the comfortable the one political tradition that has a chance of reversing our decades-long turn to the right.
Bernie Asked Us Which Side We’re On
Once you’ve actually internalized that society doesn’t have to be this way, that none of the exploitation you’ve experienced or witnessed is actually inevitable, that human freedom is achievable, you don’t go back to thinking otherwise. Once you’ve been looked square in the eye and asked which side you’re on, you never take for granted your own neutrality again.

There will be many more struggles to come for democracy, equality, and human freedom, as there have always been. And from this point onward, wherever such struggles take place, we will find among the ranks of the resistors those who chose their side during the five pivotal years that Bernie Sanders could have led our nation. They heard: Will you fight for someone you don’t know? And their answer was yes.
posted by Cezar Golescu at 11:42 PM on April 9 [11 favorites]


The wild thing to me is that while the trope is that Sanders won the youth vote but struggled with older voters, the reality is that he dominated the youth vote and won every age category up to something like 45-50 year olds. Every time people are talking about his strength with young voters, keep in mind that, for the purposes of a primary election, young means, essentially, under 55. The lazy assumption is that the youth vote that never turns out is shiftless college kids, but it turns out that the structural impediments to voting are such that the dominant voting group in pretty much all elections is people who are retired and so don't have to worry about getting fired for not showing up on time because the line was 4 hours long or about choosing between picking their kid up from school on time or voting.
posted by Copronymus at 11:52 PM on April 9 [52 favorites]


Being a former board member of an energy company isn’t the terrifying indication of bias you might think. People go on boards all the time to influence or advise on policy.

Heather Zichal is an environmentalist and was in the Obama Administrations environmental policy cabinet, one of her jobs was to try and get oil and natural gas companies to the table to discuss green policies. And was also was on the board for The Nature Conservancy. She also advises energy companies how to conform to the Paris Accords.

Environmental policy people often work with companies. It’s not all laying on railroad tracks.

Also Cheniere, as far you may want to believe it, believes in following the Paris Accords. From their website:

“ 1. Science: Cheniere will promote and follow peer-reviewed science to assess our impacts, anchor our engagements, and determine our actions

Cheniere recognizes the scientific consensus on climate change and the significant challenge of providing clean and affordable energy. We believe the Paris Agreement is a good start related to global action. Cheniere sees natural gas as a fundamental energy source in the energy transition to a lower carbon future, along with renewable sources of energy.

Cheniere supports collaborative published peer-reviewed research and employs best science to inform policies and decision-making. The company also aims to use its existing expertise and network to highlight the measurable benefits of U.S. LNG over more carbon-intensive energy sources.”
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 11:54 PM on April 9 [17 favorites]


Try voting on a Tuesday if you have a job where you don't control your hours and can't guarantee childcare or other necessities, especially if the lines at the voting place snake around the block and you can't make it until late.

The economic conditions that became acute after 2008 (e.g. crushing student loan debt, flat wages, job insecurity, increasing rents ect.) are not going to go away. It's like holding back the tide.

I wish this kind of thing was brought up far more when it comes to that "well young people don't actually vote" shit.

Yeah, sorry they are all working menial jobs where they don't control their hours, don't get to take holiday to vote, and certainly aren't retired and have all the fucking time in the world to dick around with voting because their income and future isn't at risk by trying to vote in an election.

What else isn't discussed is how political disenfranchisement works partially because of the people it convinces to stay home and not vote because they already feel disenfranchised and like their vote doesn't matter, so why bother trying? Yet plenty of people in this thread seem hell-bent on making young people continue feeling that way until they're old people. Cool, so we'll have a generation of older people who still don't vote because we've made them feel its pointless their whole fucking life. I'm sure that's gonna work out swell.

the reality is that he dominated the youth vote and won every age category up to something like 45-50 year olds.

Exactly. Thank you.
posted by deadaluspark at 11:57 PM on April 9 [14 favorites]


Safe, establishmentarian, anti-populist Democratic nominees who triumph over outsider challenges tend to go on to lose the general: Humphrey, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, Clinton. Obviously the specifics of each race varies, as does each candidate. But this is a clear historical pattern, and one worth analyzing, because it appears that history has repeated this year. It behooves the Biden campaign and its supporters to study this pattern, take their lessons as they can, and figure out how to thwart it. The fact that we are now in a national crisis, which likely will lead to a rally-round-the-flag effect (as seen in polls of other nations), makes this tougher. That and incumbents tend to have the advantage.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:04 AM on April 10 [19 favorites]


It behooves the Biden campaign and its supporters to study this pattern, take their lessons as they can, and figure out how to thwart it.

That it clearly seems like they have no intention of doing so MIGHT be part of why Sanders supports are reasonably emotional. Because they're being fucking gaslighted that Biden is somehow just going to sweep in and win without trouble because he's just so damn electable, and when that doesn't happen, then we're gonna get gaslighted again that it was somehow our fault that we "split the party" even when we bit the bullet and voted for Biden.

Yeah, couldn't step back and learn from history, ever. I certainly have no faith that the party that floated the idea of a bumper sticker that said "Have you seen the other guys?" have learned fucking shit.
posted by deadaluspark at 12:09 AM on April 10 [20 favorites]


young means, essentially, under 55

I have no idea where you got this.

Almost all exit polls I find breakdown 18-44 and 45+. Only 28% of voters were 18-44. 72% were 45+. There is no record of what percentage are retired that I can find. However very few people are retired between 45-65. And that’s a pretty big chunk of the population.

According to WaPo exit polls Biden won 39% of voters 18-44 Years old. And 71% of voters over 45+. 39% is significant.

Sanders, god bless him, got crushed, man.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 12:09 AM on April 10 [17 favorites]


This thread makes me really, really sad. If a room full of blue mefites can’t help but keep picking at these old scabs and hating each other, I think there’s little hope of the Democratic Party coming together. We don’t beat Trump by pitting progressives against “black voters”, or by insulting each other.

If it's any consolation, the conversations about Democratic primary politics that are had on the Internet are some of the least important or representative of any that are happening anywhere. Regular Internet users (especially of places like MetaFilter) are significantly richer and whiter than the population generally, and certainly than the population of Democratic primary voters or likely voters for a Democratic candidate in the general election. The sense that this primary was a fight for the future of the Democratic Party is almost entirely an elite phenomenon. I'm not saying that it's not happening to some extent, but it hasn't even begun to trickle down to the actual Democratic electorate. Polls of voters pretty consistently showed that they liked all of the candidates and were basically completely ignorant of the Twitter fights that have defined the perception of this primary for people who have been in a position to follow them largely on the Internet.
posted by Copronymus at 12:11 AM on April 10 [25 favorites]


If you are 44 now, you turned 22 in 1998. That was the height of the dot .com boom and the 90's economy. There is a huge difference in experience between that cohort and someone born post 2008. Shit started getting bad after 2001, but the bottom didn't really fall out until post 2008. 18 to 44 isn't going to show you that.
posted by eagles123 at 12:17 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


I think sites ranging from the NYTimes to fivethirtyeight have consistently said that the age divide is such that young voters favor Bernie and older people favor Biden. A quick google tells me this.
posted by polymodus at 12:18 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Some one born after 2008 isn’t eligible to vote in 2020. Since they’d be 12 years old.

Besides. Young people have been “not turning out” at exactly the same rate since about 1977 or so. With a few spikes here and there. It’s not unique to any generation.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 12:20 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


Yes, I mistyped. Thank you for ponting that out. I meant turned 22, which is when most people enter the labor force. My point, which you haven't addressed, stands. Talk to me in 10 years.
posted by eagles123 at 12:23 AM on April 10


Besides. Young people have been “not turning out” at exactly the same rate since about 1977 or so.

Interesting that "since about 1977 or so" is also about the same time frame that wages have stagnated while productivity has skyrocketed. I wonder if that has anything to do with all the things folks keep mentioning about younger working people not having as much ability to easily vote without risk to their livelihoods. I wonder if people working longer hours for effectively less wages has any effect on whether it is easy for them to be able to vote.

HMMMMM. Big brain time. /s
posted by deadaluspark at 12:23 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


Almost all exit polls I find breakdown 18-44 and 45+. Only 28% of voters were 18-44. 72% were 45+. There is no record of what percentage are retired that I can find. However very few people are retired between 45-65. And that’s a pretty big chunk of the population.

According to WaPo exit polls Biden won 39% of voters 18-44 Years old. And 71% of voters over 45+. 39% is significant.


Right, the fact that only 28% of voters were under 45 was part of what I was saying about how structural impediments prevent the vast majority of people of voting age from participating in the process. People are counting 40 year olds as part of the youth vote because of how wildly skewed the voting numbers are towards older voters. I'm not arguing that there's some mass of under-45 voters that was somehow accidentally missed by all exit polling, I'm arguing that a disproportionate number of people who are not "young" by any standard other than the average age of people who vote in this country don't vote and as a result the American electorate is skewed into a virtual gerontocracy. Complain all you want about the damn kids who don't vote, but realize that the damn kids are, at this point, people in their 30s and 40s with jobs and kids, not callow youths who just can't be bothered.

Also, while Biden almost certainly did better with 35-45 year olds than 18-35 year olds, 61-39 isn't exactly close. 39% is what Trump did in Oregon in 2016.
posted by Copronymus at 12:30 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]




Still, youth turnout was down relative to 2018 and 2016. Turning out the youth vote was central to Bernie's strategy, and for whatever reason, it didn't happen.
posted by xammerboy at 12:35 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


People in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s have jobs and kids. They’re under the same pressure. There are more states with mail-in voting than ever. More businesses make allowances for voting than ever. The idea that voting is “harder” now it just defies logic. When I voted in my first presidential election, on my way to my shit minimum wage job at a Chinese restaurant for $1.85 an hour, I waited in the rain for almost two hours.

I just am out of things to say. We are where we are. There is no changing it.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 12:37 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


Yeah, an argument that relatively young people don't vote because it's made too hard (and lets be clear; voting is definitely made too hard in many places as a deliberate strategy) has to come to grips with the fact that the youth vote is low even in places where voting is made easy. So the difficulty or ease of voting can't be what makes youth turnout bad.
posted by Justinian at 12:42 AM on April 10 [30 favorites]


Youth were down as a proportion of the vote. That is an important distinction. There also is the small matter of the lockdowns and exploding pandemic that happened in the middle of the primary. Either way, the generational divide in the Democratic party isn't some crazy conspiracy theory that has passed unremarked in the popular and academic press. And now I am getting the feeling you are missing the point being made. I am talking about demographic and economic trends. I'm not trying to argue that young people should be counted twice or pitied or whatever.
posted by eagles123 at 12:46 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


When I voted in my first presidential election, on my way to my shit minimum wage job at a Chinese restaurant for $1.85 an hour, I waited in the rain for almost two hours.

The "kids these days have it easier" narrative on this one has been neatly subverted by this election cycle by four-hour to six-hour wait times. Wisconsinites had to wait outside in virus weather.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:47 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


Honestly, I think it was messaging. Too many Americans were anxious about big structural change and revolution, and the rallying cry didn't turn out the new voters.
posted by xammerboy at 12:58 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


And always keep in mind that politics is like a bus.

yes, it's something you can throw people under - there's a bit of that going on in this thread

the simple truth is we didn't have a truly effective candidate in this campaign - and that means getting enough support, too

lecture about the dangers of revolution all you want, but it's not something people choose, it's something that happens - and one of the signs is when the system collapses, which it is currently starting to do - it might be halted, it's still early - but we are a lot closer than people think

i would settle for reform, but the republican opposition to this may make it impossible - and the democratic establishment doesn't want to fight hard enough for it

i don't think people are going to tolerate a great depression - i don't think they're going to stand for losing their houses and apartments and jobs - this is not going to be a political issue, it's going to be a survival one

i only see a few politicians out there that seem to understand the potential of what is going on and none of them are named biden or trump - and i don't think any sector of the electorate really understands that we cannot go back to the old days and the old ideas that we've been comfortable with (or want to reform)

it's too late - the change of our times has already happened - and i don't see this being addressed
posted by pyramid termite at 2:44 AM on April 10 [17 favorites]


There also is the small matter of the lockdowns and exploding pandemic that happened in the middle of the primary.

The race was over in Super Tuesday, over a month before lockdowns began.
posted by schroedinger at 3:28 AM on April 10 [32 favorites]


My widowed mother-in-law lived in Burlington on a church pension when Bernie was elected mayor, it was said on the votes of the UVM students. Her property taxes soon rose to such a degree that she felt she had to move out of town. We heard similar stories from blue collar neighbors.
posted by BWA at 4:13 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Well, despite all this talk of how fucked we are because voters picked the candidate few of us here would have chosen, I'm going to stick to my plan of voting for the Democratic nominee in November and putting my energy into Congressional and local government races.

Hopefully a lot of what I'm reading in this thread from Sanders die-hards is just blowing off steam and most of the folks in here will find common cause. Y'all can take the ableism right the fuck out of here though.
posted by sugar and confetti at 4:16 AM on April 10 [9 favorites]


My widowed mother-in-law lived in Burlington on a church pension when Bernie was elected mayor, it was said on the votes of the UVM students. Her property taxes soon rose to such a degree that she felt she had to move out of town. We heard similar stories from blue collar neighbors.

You realize this kind of stuff is easily checkable, right?

"While his leftist rhetoric never stopped, his governance was more often practical, occasionally even conservative — rejecting a property tax hike, for instance, or putting the city’s insurance out for competitive bidding."

"To provide funding for new housing initiatives, the Sanders-led city created a housing trust fund, capitalized in part by a 1 percent increase in property taxes."
posted by Beware of the leopard at 4:27 AM on April 10 [32 favorites]


To me the Sanders 2020 campaign had the same whiff of entitlement as Clinton 2008: hey, it's supposed to be my turn, why aren't you people voting for me? It was just as off-putting from him as it was from her even though I liked many things about both candidates and their policy positions.
posted by Flannery Culp at 4:37 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


...We are where we are. There is no changing it.

Amen.
posted by y2karl at 4:55 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


I initially got into Sanders not because of his domestic policy, but because of his foreign policy. He cared about Palestinians, railed against America's bipartisan forever wars that have killed millions of people of color, and instead of calling Henry Kissinger a close friend, he spoke up against him. There was something electrifying seeing Sanders call out this monster who enabled a genocide my parents survived instead of pretending Kissinger was this elder statesman deserving of respect instead of indefinite solitary confinement.

There are plenty of progressives and leftists out there, but few are at Sanders's level of renown while also remaining steadfast in international solidarity.

Of course, his domestic policies are aligned with mine, even though he is still a little too moderate for me. As a queer person of color who grew up in poverty and then graduated into the wreckage of the 2008 financial crisis, I had seen firsthand how class intersected with white supremacy and other forms of marginalization to destroy and grind down people's lives.

And as I learned more about how climate change will destroy this world, I was struck by how his policies were the only ones that reckoned with both the seriousness of the situation and the intersectional impacts of who will be (and are already) most devastated.

2020 was the last year to start the hard, revolutionary work of total decarbonization to preserve a world for both current and future generations.

But now that door is closed. A return to normalcy or even the Paris Accords is only a speed bump to what carbon dioxide, methane, and all the nightmarish feedback loops have in store for life on this planet.

I will continue to organize, but I will also mourn. Not for Sanders, but for all of us and the world we could have had. What else is there to do?

Well first, I'm going to put on some RTJ and then get back to organizing 👉🏾🤛🏾
posted by Ouverture at 5:06 AM on April 10 [30 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump

Bernie Sanders is OUT! Thank you to Elizabeth Warren. If not for her, Bernie would have won almost every state on Super Tuesday! This ended just like the Democrats & the DNC wanted, same as the Crooked Hillary fiasco. The Bernie people should come to the Republican Party, TRADE!
posted by moorooka at 5:08 AM on April 10


If there's one thing we know, it's that Donald Trump is a true friend to the American left.
posted by Justinian at 5:15 AM on April 10 [23 favorites]


don't have to worry about getting fired for not showing up on time because the line was 4 hours long or about choosing between picking their kid up from school on time or voting.

Perhaps it was said out an anger, but two friends of mine, also in their mid-30s, said they were throwing out their absentee ballots when Bernie dropped out. What about all the other races on the ballot, we said. What about Bernie asking people to still vote? It didn’t matter.

That’s not disenfranchisement or voter suppression. And I believe that’s who we’re talking about when we talk about non-voters.
posted by girlmightlive at 5:17 AM on April 10 [14 favorites]


45 is continuing proof that god isn't paying attention and doesn't back his threats
posted by kokaku at 5:18 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


The Trump tweet is ridiculous. Add votes for Sanders and for Warren, the sum is still less than Biden’s tally.

I like Warren a lot—she is my Senator. This is Trump trying to get others to hate her as much as he does.
posted by haiku warrior at 5:27 AM on April 10 [14 favorites]


Biden won in places where he didn't even have a campaign. That's not a sign that a rational voting population chose one candidate over others.


Biden does politically savvy move: "business as usual"
Sanders does politically unsavvy move: "hostile takeover"


To both of these comments, I have to mention this: Biden has been a registered Democrat for over 50 years. That just might be a little relevant.
posted by azpenguin at 5:41 AM on April 10 [15 favorites]


The race was over in Super Tuesday, over a month before lockdowns began.

So? I was talking about youth turnout. I'm not talking about who was going to win. I don't think anybody is disputing that Biden got the most votes in the primary. And, I'm just going to put this out there: It's more than a little absurd that an election can be "decided" before more than half of the states get a chance to vote. Yes, I know about delegate math. Spare me the lectures. It doesn't make it right.

My overall point is that younger voters voting for candidates like Sanders and Warren reflect changing preferences driven by changes in the economic and cultural experiences of those voters. As those voters age, which all humans tend to do, thus becoming middle aged or older voters, they will carry those preferences because the economic and cultural conditions they face are unlikely to change. Moreover, conditions people experience during their 20's tend to disproportionately influence later behavior as well. In turn, those voters will be joined by new cohorts of younger voters also exposed to similar economic conditions and thus influenced to form similar political views and preferences. Thus, the overall political views and preferences of the voting population will change relative to what they are now.

I think Sanders (and Warren) played a positive roll in channeling the viewpoints of these new cohorts of voters and hopefully helping to lay the groundwork for future political movements and campaigns that address their concerns. I am writing this about Sanders because this is a thread dedicated to the end of his presidential campaign.
posted by eagles123 at 5:50 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


Electoral politics has been shown time and time again to do nothing but provide more of the same results: the rich profit and we lose. Insanity is repeating the same thing and expecting different results.

If you're interested in doing things different, like building a society by and for working people and the poor, join the kind people of my Marxist org. PM me for more info.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 6:34 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


Just remember everyone, when you complain about some sort of insane conspiracy to keep the "best" candidate from winning the nomination, you can just replace every actor in fictional cabal with "Black Voters", since that's the actual group of people who took a look at Bernie and passed on him.....So, if you think this makes you sound kinda racist, perhaps think about exactly what you are saying.

This is a pathetically weak argument. Accusing people of being unconsciously racist because they're angry that Sanders isn't the candidate is insidious.
posted by Liquidwolf at 6:36 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


I will happily vote for Biden over Trump in November, and then shift gears in January and support any and all efforts to impeach or 25th Biden on Day 2 of his administration.

Because neither one of them should be President. But comparing Biden to Trump is like comparing a ruptured hemorrhoid to a metastatic cancer.
posted by delfin at 6:45 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


Sanders elevated viewpoints and policy proposals that have been under-voiced in the Democratic Party for too long.

Personally, I've always seen (positive) political change occurring over time in a diverse context of radical activists raising awareness and taking direct action ahead of mainstream politicians and voters getting on board with incremental change that tips us toward justice and reform but always in ways that leave systems of injustice in place and people to suffer far longer than they need to.

One prominent example in my theory is Ernestine Rose, Jewish atheist abolitionist and women's rights activist, who in 1860 speeches celebrating the passage of the New York State Legislature Married Woman's Property Act said the following about change:
But this is not the end. More, much more has to come. In 1855, while speaking before the Legislature, I told them we claimed perfect equality of rights; we ask for no more, we can be satisfied with no less; we will accept as much as you are prepared to accede, and then claim the rest; and now, having obtained this much, we can 'wait a little longer' not in silence and inaction, but in the faith which spring from work.
I know, all too well, that this theory of change is not shared by everyone, and that many would place emphasis on different elements of that diverse context. They have told me that in quite clear and often rude ways. I know paying attention to the loudest, angriest voices is a barrier to solidarity, but personally I'm still finding it more challenging than not to engage in the face of profoundly demoralizing messages I've encountered across the spectrum of our coalition (from complaints about stupid youth and naive idealists to condemnations of a too pragmatic approach that doesn't heed the urgency of the moment).

And it isn't just unfriendly words but commitments and actions on the part of myself and my allies that contribute to injustice in inevitably intersectional ways. Solidarity requires working with others who have been injured in the same ways that you have been injured but who will also injure you in other ways just as you will injure them.

And now, in the face of the climate catastrophe, the time frame this model of change depends on may no longer be available.

Anyway, I'm glad that all the Democratic nominee for president will need is my vote as what little free money and time and labor I have will be devoted elsewhere--most likely to keeping my own family and immediate community as whole and well as possible (if possible) in our current pandemic and economic disaster.
posted by audi alteram partem at 6:54 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


Anecdotally, I am aware of a number of people here in NH who voted for Trump but are thrilled Biden is the nominee and will happily vote for him. I expect there may be a lot of people like that, who hated Hillary, took a shot with Trump, and now want a return to normalcy that Biden represents. I really do think people see Biden as the comfort food candidate. I don't know if that's enough to offset the younger, more progressive voters who might sit this one out or find a third-party candidate, but I suspect it might be.

I've resigned myself to the fact that we're not going to see a real progressive President in my lifetime. At the same time, I have always been of the opinion that revolution does not start at the top, and that progressives like Bernie are better off in Congress and as state reps/senators. If we can fill those seats with champions of progressive policies, we will inevitably push those at the top to the left as well.
posted by schoolgirl report at 6:57 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


People in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s have jobs and kids. They’re under the same pressure.

Look, I'm in my 40s with a job and a kid. But I've lived in my house for five years now and most any mail that's addressed to me gets to me. I care about politics, but even if I didn't, it's probable that I would be registered to vote by this point in my life. This probability only increases into ones 50s and 60s.

Many young people have switched addresses in the last year, and there's a good chance that they aren't registered to vote in the places they live, or at all.

Politicians don't even bother connecting with young people. They knock on doors of homeowners, not renters. They do this because they know that homeowners turn out to vote and renters don't. But this creates a vicious cycle where young people, left out of the conversation, vote at even lower rates, which means politicians care even less about them, and so on.
posted by splitpeasoup at 7:04 AM on April 10 [14 favorites]


Can't say I am shocked that the most stereotypical old white Christian "electable" male got it. Knew that from day one. Because in the end nobody can take the risk of someone with strikes against them like race/gender/sexuality/non-Christian probably ever again.

But what does it matter which one gets it now because the election is most likely rigged anyway..
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:06 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


It's natural there would be a strong push to coalesce around Biden now, but I've got to admit I'm feeling a bit uncomfortable with that sexual assault allegation just hanging around out there. Maybe it's a ratfucking. I wouldn't be surprised if it was. But I sure would like to see it addressed a lot more openly before I go all-in for someone who might possibly have a few more sexual assault skeletons about to fall out of the closet.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 7:16 AM on April 10 [9 favorites]


So I think actually it would be helpful to clarify what people mean by “rigged”, because that’s a word that gets tossed around a lot without much context.

Does “rigged” mean actually crooked, unethical actions? Or does “rigged” mean “the system is not set up to benefit those coming from outside it, without money or connections?”
posted by corb at 7:16 AM on April 10 [28 favorites]


2020 New Hampshire Voting Law Confusion

HANOVER, N.H. — A new voting law in New Hampshire is causing confusion among college students, threatening to dampen turnout among a key Democratic voting bloc in a state where the margins of victory in 2020 could be razor-thin.

I remember this during the New Hampshire primary. I'm not sure how it was resolved, but its just an example of issues younger voters face. And Democrats should care about this because it is part of a Republican strategy to suppress votes among Democratic-leaning voting blocks. As people age they move around less, so they are less susceptible to these kinds of tactics.
posted by eagles123 at 7:17 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


Does “rigged” mean actually crooked, unethical actions?

I think in this cased, the argument is that the DNC pressured Buttigieg and Klobuchar to end their campaigns so that the center-left could unite behind one candidate. I don't agree, but I think that's the "crooked, unethical action" being alleged.

What I don't understand from Sanders supporters is why you aren't more angry that his campaign never found a way to broaden their appeal. Why didn't they have a plan to win a majority of the primary vote? Why did they depend on vote splitting to stay in the race? Sanders had a lead and couldn't hold it because he didn't have the votes. His campaign never figured out how to win over the rest of the voters. It's the same sense of entitlement that I felt as a Warren supporter when Sanders supporters were saying she should get out of the race. Why wasn't the onus on his campaign to win the votes?

And, yes, I agree that people thought Biden was a safe pick (however insane that seems) at a time when their main reason for picking a candidate is electability.
posted by gladly at 7:35 AM on April 10 [25 favorites]


The prospect of a Trump vs. Biden match in November puts me in mind of PJ O’Rourke’s endorsement four years ago. O’Rourke is a longtime outspoken Republican but he supported Hillary in 2016: “She’s wrong, but she’s wrong inside normal parameters.”
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:36 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


The DSA knocked on my door a few times for Bernie in Chicago. I'm a renter. I felt like they were out there for him.
posted by tiny frying pan at 7:40 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


Still, youth turnout was down relative to 2018 and 2016. Turning out the youth vote was central to Bernie's strategy, and for whatever reason, it didn't happen.

Despite this being apparently taken for granted in this thread, it's absolutely *not true*. In this primary, young voters voted at the same rate or even slightly higher rates than they have in past elections. However, they were absolutely dwarfed by older folks turning out at even higher rates! If you want to form a narrative about this election, you'll want to figure out why older folks did this.

Furthermore, arguing about age cutoffs in Sanders/Biden support is not terribly important because there is an almost linear trend in Sanders/Biden support versus age. There isn't a cutoff in real life; it's just that the younger you are, the more likely you are to support Sanders. That's it.

Another strangely uncontested idea in this thread is that Biden will definitely lose to Trump. To put it mildly, that is far from certain. The fundamentals are against Trump; previously he was buoyed by the economy and that's deteriorating rapidly. The polls are very favorable to Biden as well (and before you point out that the polls were favorable to Clinton, Biden has more than twice Clinton's margin against Trump).
posted by Jpfed at 7:43 AM on April 10 [16 favorites]


Another strangely uncontested idea in this thread is that Biden will definitely lose to Trump. To put it mildly, that is far from certain.

Absent actual GOP level opposition research and ratfucking, Biden had (by a conservative count) 3 or 4 October Surprise level Other Month Surprises in his own party's primary. Perhaps it's not certain, but I think you're delusional if you think Biden wins this election.
posted by codacorolla at 7:49 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


What I didn't love about Bernie's campaign was his belief that young voters would all wake up and turn into leftists, ensuring him a grassroots base. Either he was bluffing (how unbefitting of a leftist), or he was getting wrong inputs from his political team. It didn't make sense to me and bothered me the moment he said it on debate. Leftists are very hard to make, in that mere words alone are unlikely to persuade a non-leftist to vote a bit more left. And since we're a marginalized political group, the work of nurturing leftism in broader society must be a long-term goal and hope. One cannot cram for a leftist politics.
posted by polymodus at 7:51 AM on April 10 [16 favorites]


Also looking at the electoral map, Trump won narrowly in PA and very narrowly in MI. Biden should do very well in PA. Trump has likely lost MI with his little game of withholding supplies and blasting the governor left and right and saying that’s why.

But, as much as I love what Bernie stands for, it’s time to turn the page. I remember Nader helping Bush win twice. We all know how much Bush getting two terms set the US back. And now Trump has done a ton of damage in his first term. That’s four SC justices between the two that are helping destroy the country. We can’t move the Overton Window all the way over at once. You move it a bit, you move it a bit more, and after a while you normalize what is considered extreme. That’s how the republicans did it. They had some far-right candidates, of course, it if they lost their primaries their voters would still come out and vote for the R on the ballot. The conservatives of the past would be moderates now. They didn’t just start at the foaming at the mouth “yeah! Wall! Build a wall!” Types and win it from there. They’ve been building this for a while. Vote for Biden, work to take back the senate, work for better congressional candidates, and for the love of god SHOW UP AND VOTE IN THE DAMN MIDTERMS. Start pushing that window back and give it some momentum. But we gotta get it started. A lot of us are getting too old for this shit.
posted by azpenguin at 7:56 AM on April 10 [16 favorites]


Wasn’t the whole Burisma thing attempted GOP opposition research?
posted by Selena777 at 7:56 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


However, they were absolutely dwarfed by older folks turning out at even higher rates! If you want to form a narrative about this election, you'll want to figure out why older folks did this.

Sanders' campaign alienated those who liked their current health insurance, and threatened those who were worried their Medicare would be diluted by mandatory pan-coverage. By some accounts, he started out with a minority of votes as a ceiling.
posted by Brian B. at 7:56 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


> What I don't understand from Sanders supporters is why you aren't more angry that his campaign never found a way to broaden their appeal. Why didn't they have a plan to win a majority of the primary vote? Why did they depend on vote splitting to stay in the race? Sanders had a lead and couldn't hold it because he didn't have the votes. His campaign never figured out how to win over the rest of the voters. It's the same sense of entitlement that I felt as a Warren supporter when Sanders supporters were saying she should get out of the race. Why wasn't the onus on his campaign to win the votes?

^^^ this, 100%. Atrios summed it up more pithily as "Go to an election with the electorate and media you have, not the ones you want." The campaign's alternative was to create your own electorate with a revolution, and that failed. When it failed, they had no plan B. The theories about the DNC rigging things by forcing candidates out are far-fetched, but even if they were true, Sanders was the outsider trying to get the nomination from the inside, and he had 4+ years to prepare for it this time. He had options available to him to increase his support in the party without losing too much from his base, but he was unable to or refused to avail himself of those opportunities.

Bernie would have been a much better president than Biden, but his failures are his own. The good news is that he accomplished a lot to move the party to the left, and I hope he continues to do that as he enters the next chapter.

Still the Man Who Will Change America — Bernie Sanders’s young supporters will create a more egalitarian nation in the long run—and maybe, in the short run as well.

Bernie Sanders’s campaign is over, but his legacy is winning — Sanders ignited a movement that pulled the Democratic Party leftward.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:05 AM on April 10 [15 favorites]


Another strangely uncontested idea in this thread is that Biden will definitely lose to Trump.

Agreed, and that's not just my opinion but it's a pretty solid trend; Biden has routinely been a few percentage points ahead of other candidates in one-on-one polling against Trump, and is consistently about five points up on Trump. Obviously a lot can change between now and November, and the fact that Trump retains so much support is... ridiculous. But the left will not win by rejecting reality in favor of narratives that we like, and the data shows that Bernie (and the other candidates) were not as strong as Biden against Trump. I wish things were different, sure; but they aren't.

5 points is hardly safe, of course, when considering the possible effects of the electoral college and Republican ratfucking/voter suppression. But it's better than the +2 that Clinton got in 2016 and although the polling was slightly better for her than the actual results (RCP's average shows a final number of Clinton +3), a uniform 2-point swing to Biden (that's the best guess we have until more robust swing state polling happens) would mean that Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida swing back to the Dems.
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:08 AM on April 10 [16 favorites]


Sanders' campaign alienated those who liked their current health insurance,

I wonder if that cohort includes the 50% of people under 45 who lost their employer-sponsored health insurance because they lost their jobs in the last two weeks.

I've honestly literally never met anyone who "liked their current health insurance" or even had a CHOICE what their insurance was, if their employer wasn't dicking them around changing to plans that were more affordable for the employer but less coverage for the employee.

Honestly, I don't buy this argument until someone can definitively prove to me there's a huge cohort of people who actually get to stay on the same plan for an extended period.
posted by deadaluspark at 8:09 AM on April 10 [19 favorites]


I remember Nader helping Bush win twice.

Flagged as "WTF you must be out of your mind digging up that shambling zombie of a lie up in here"
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 8:22 AM on April 10 [9 favorites]


[A few comments removed over the last while, more eyeballed frustratedly. Under the strained circumstances of shitty president + fractious primary + global pandemic I have a hard time imagining a particularly good way to have a wide-ranging general group discussion of US electoral politics, but however low the ceiling on that may be under the circumstances we definitely haven't been particularly reaching it so far.

There's a lot of emotion understandably bound up in the primary season, Sander's campaign, the approaching general, the fucking awfulness of the last four years, etc. Those are hard to disentangle. I think we're gonna manage a better collection of everybody's thoughts and feelings in here if everybody can remember that the thing they're individually feeling strongest is not the only thing everybody is or should be caring about, and keep comments more to "here's where I am" and farther from "well let me tell you about YOU/THEM".

I'm both sympathetic to the difficulty of the circumstances and limbering up to just give people time off if I'm seeing patterns of not-managing-your-boundaries behavior in here. Please work with me on this, or voluntarily step away for the moment if that doesn't feel accomplishable.]

posted by cortex (staff) at 8:23 AM on April 10 [16 favorites]


Obviously a lot can change between now and November, and the fact that Trump retains so much support is... ridiculous. But the left will not win by rejecting reality in favor of narratives that we like, and the data shows that Bernie (and the other candidates) were not as strong as Biden against Trump. I wish things were different, sure; but they aren't.

I wonder if this is what the millionaire consultants who decided to not run in WI and MI were saying 4 years ago around this time?
posted by codacorolla at 8:29 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


I've honestly literally never met anyone who "liked their current health insurance"

It's a consistent polling fact. And most Americans like the idea of universal coverage, but not doing away with private insurance. Specifically: A new poll finds that about only one in 10 registered voters want the equivalent of Medicare for all if it means abolishing private health insurance plans. In addition, these laws require Congress, and that requires party unity and down-ballot election coattails.
posted by Brian B. at 8:30 AM on April 10 [13 favorites]


I remember Nader helping Bush win twice.

Flagged as "WTF you must be out of your mind digging up that shambling zombie of a lie up in here"


Yeah, I totally missed the part where Nader was a Supreme Court Justice who ruled on hanging chads.
posted by deadaluspark at 8:31 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]



Furthermore, arguing about age cutoffs in Sanders/Biden support is not terribly important because there is an almost linear trend in Sanders/Biden support versus age. There isn't a cutoff in real life; it's just that the younger you are, the more likely you are to support Sanders. That's it.

Eh, I agree there is no absolute cutoff; there never is. However, its worth investigating the trend both to try to find an explanation and because it helps she light on the pool of potential voters that a Sanders/Warren candidate might attract at a given moment.

As for the surge in older voter turnout, I might humbly suggest that the lack of a contested Republican primary and enthusiasm to vote against Trump in general might explain the surge. Biden always scored highest in polling on "most likely to beat Trump".

Also, I want to respond to this idea that I should be angry at Sanders that his political strategy didn't work. I guess I'm just not. Sorry. Between Trump and the pandemic and everything else going on in the world, I just can't summon anger at a guy who seemed like he genuinely wanted to fix things and address problems. I'm not saying the criticisms of the campaign strategy are wrong. I just don't feel angry over them. Should people who supported, donated to, and worked for Warren/Buttigieg/Klobuchar be angry at them because their campaigns didn't come close to either Sanders or Biden? Where is the recrimination there?
posted by eagles123 at 8:31 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


As a Warren supporter, I guess I'm done with all my crying. I take heart from the extremely low bar that anyone would have to cross to be better than Trump, meaning not only can Biden do it, but I could do it. Or my teenager. Or anyone here. And I take heart from the fact that there's some fire-eating, kickass women (and men) in Congress right now who haven't given up and won't stop pushing for things to improve. We'll get our woman President, if we can just survive what's happening now and not give in.

Biden is just one guy, not the best guy, not the guy I want, but he's better than the one that's there now, and the Presidency is not the only thing that matters. I want more and I want better for my country, and I'm mad about the bullshit, but taking my ball and going home isn't going to get me there.
posted by emjaybee at 8:36 AM on April 10 [21 favorites]


Bernie may have moved some elements of the Democratic party to the left... but not the party in general to the left. And I do not count that as a personal failure on his part, necessarily, because I had no strong expectations that _anyone_ could.

These primaries were a battle between people who viewed Obama-era normalcy as what America needs to return to and people who view Obama-era normalcy as the worst thing that it can return to at this time. Someone who wanted to fundamentally restructure the American economy versus a career big-bank hand puppet. Someone who frightened the traditional power brokers and wealthy interests and corporate CEOs versus someone who will be happy to cater to them. Someone who said "hey, five years ago, you were doing all right" versus someone who said "five years ago, 99% of us weren't doing all right." Someone who views the modern Republican party as people who can be reasoned with and negotiated with and partnered with versus someone who does not.

Someone inferred that Biden's strong black support was their tacit endorsement of the devil they know -- traditional Democratic policies -- versus struggling with the belief that any kind of sweeping change would not leave them worse off than before, and that white people with money would agree on any meaningful level to share it with black people without. And while I can't agree with that... I can't really argue with it very well, either.
posted by delfin at 8:38 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


> Also, I want to respond to this idea that I should be angry at Sanders that his political strategy didn't work. I guess I'm just not. Sorry. Between Trump and the pandemic and everything else going on in the world, I just can't summon anger at a guy who seemed like he genuinely wanted to fix things and address problems. I'm not saying the criticisms of the campaign strategy are wrong. I just don't feel angry over them. Should people who supported, donated to, and worked for Warren/Buttigieg/Klobuchar be angry at them because their campaigns didn't come close to either Sanders or Biden? Where is the recrimination there?

Nobody's asking Sanders supporters to be angry at all, but they already are. The suggestion is that this anger is misplaced, and there is ample evidence to support that suggestion. There is no law of conservation of anger, and thus no reason that existing anger at Sanders' enemies and the Democratic party (but I repeat myself) needs to be accounted for among supporters of other candidates.

I'm guessing some supporters of other candidates were angry at those other candidates for their tactical errors -- as a Warren supporter, I was certainly angry about her poor handling of the Native American lineage issue -- but when she dropped out, I was mostly disappointed, not angry.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:39 AM on April 10 [9 favorites]


As a Warren->Sanders->(sigh)Biden supporter, I'd just like the Sanders diehards to think a little on the fact that it is possible to grieve without doomsaying. Talking in here about how Biden cannot win against Trump helps absolutely no one at this point.
posted by Gaz Errant at 8:39 AM on April 10 [26 favorites]


Except Trump and his supporters, of course.
posted by Gaz Errant at 8:40 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]




I think, with all compassion, this quote by Eugene Debs is really relevant right now.
"I am not a labor leader. I don't want you to follow me or anyone else. If you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of the capitalist wilderness you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into this promised land if I could, because if I could lead you in, someone else could lead you out. YOU MUST use your heads as well as your hands, and get yourself out of your present condition; as it is now the capitalists use your heads and your hands."
Sanders is gone, but that doesn't mean we are stuck with the society we currently live in. He never held the power to save us - we do. We are the ones who can create the world that he promised. It may take more work than one person changing it in one vote in one year, but that world is not gone. If you believe in it, you can still have it.
posted by corb at 8:44 AM on April 10 [54 favorites]


His campaign never figured out how to win over the rest of the voters.

I'm not an ardent Bernie support, but he was my top pick. My sense is that those who vote with their 401k were not going to come to Bernie's side, so they're out. He wasn't going to win over more voters through messaging in mass media or positive "brand" recognition given the liberal outlets were painting him as a possible mass murderer or a literal Nazi during the first 3 state primaries. Or simply omitting him from mention.

I'm sure much of this has been handwaved away or reconciled as A-OK by the institutions people need to have to be able to handwave away and reconcile as A-OK the tragedy of what the general is to look like. To address 90% of said institutions I see referenced to refute the types of assertions I've laid out: if those institutions have publicly traded ownership, they are compromised. They are not impartial sources in 2020. Full stop. They are evangelicals for capitalism at their core and owe a fiduciary duty to create cash flows for their stockholders above all else.*

For the record, I don't think it's any one institution's fault. It's a result of enough of the legally defined Persons ultimately having the same underlying motive: market gains. Only the reasons for that motive vary (e.g. you as a person need your 401k in order to live; billionaire parasites as persons want more power and influence by way of their corporate persons).

Just as its it's never surprising when plants point towards the sun, it's equally unsurprising when people and institutions - compromised by their capital investments - point to those they believe will keep the cash flowing. Biden promised to do this ("nothing will fundamentally change"). Sanders did not ("Healthcare is a Human Right"). Sanders dropped out. The markets responded. Millions of Americans breathed a sigh of relief.


*Each of their primary investors will tell you the same. To deny this is to deny reality.
posted by avalonian at 8:46 AM on April 10 [9 favorites]


Joe Biden will have a very hard time winning over the Berniesphere — The problem isn’t his platform, it’s that he’s not trusted.

I'd say that article reflects how I feel, but for me, it's his horrendous platform, horrible legacy, that he can't be trusted, and his bevy of weaknesses in a head-to-head against Trump that makes me very concerned for this election.
posted by Ouverture at 8:46 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


I certainly am not going to say Biden is definitely going to lose, but I'm also not going to pretend like there's not work to be done to ensure he will win, and I'm definitely not going to pretend things like quietly ignoring a sexual assault in the era of #MeToo and it looks even worse when people like Alyssa Milano say they're not going to discuss it because "they don't want to ruin his reputation" is somehow gonna fly real well in the general. Things like this end up making the Dems look really, really hypocritical, and that's the kind of stuff I worry that will end up losing the general. Does it mean it will come to pass? No, but does it mean, it's there, and do I fully expect Donny Scumfuck Trump to take full advantage of it? Yes. I'd rather them nip it in the bud and prove it's a false allegation than do this hiding shit, that's what worries me.
posted by deadaluspark at 8:47 AM on April 10 [7 favorites]


If you believe in it, you can still have it.

Respect, corb! The fact that you're in here dropping Eugene fuckin' Debs quotes should inspire the hell out of all of us to keep fighting for a better world, both within electoral politics and outside of it.
posted by sugar and confetti at 8:48 AM on April 10 [15 favorites]


The talk of grieving a political campaign has always struck me as silly. I don't have any particular attachment to Bernie, other than the fact that his platform was the only marginal chance that America had of not descending into fascism. I'm grieving for what's going to happen, not the team sport of electoral politics. The democrats have opted to lose the general election (including the Senate, and likely the House) in April. That's what I'm sad for. Not that a particular person is no longer campaigning.
posted by codacorolla at 8:52 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


The democrats have opted to lose the general election (including the Senate, and likely the House) in April.

This is unvarnished bullshit that helps no one who is even nominally on your side.
posted by Gaz Errant at 8:55 AM on April 10 [41 favorites]


I think there's a possibility that the Democratic primary is structurally mismatched compared to the general election. If the way that states vote, and the demographic groups that the primaries under- or over-represent, don't match the general election, it's possible it may repeatedly pick candidates in the primary who will fail in the general election. Particularly versus an incumbent.

I don't know that's exactly what's happening—the Democrats have only lost one Presidential election recently, so it's not like we have a pattern to work with—but if Biden does lose to Trump I think it'll be time to take a really hard look at the primary process.

Ideally, the primaries should be structured to match the general election in such a way that the primary selects the candidate most likely to win in the general. But it's totally possible, especially because of the over-weighting of early primary states, and the tendency of candidates to drop out if they don't perform well in those early states, to have a process that basically smothers viable general-election candidates in the cradle.

One could argue, I suppose, that the point of the primary is not to pick the most viable candidate, but instead to pick the most preferred candidate, i.e. the candidate that the most Democratic voters actually prefer. This strikes me as a noble but potentially self-defeating goal. The Electoral College (combined with winner-take-all systems used in most states) underweight Democratic stronghold states like California and New York, again creating the possibility of a structural mismatch: you could consistently have a process that picks the Democratic candidate who is most preferable to the greatest number of registered Democrats in the country, but have that candidate lose consistently in general elections because they don't appeal to voters in swing states.

I hope that's not the case, but this election was absolutely the Democrats' to lose. Trump's approval ratings are among the lowest of any President in recent history, and he should be uniquely vulnerable. If the Democratic primary process can't select a candidate who can beat him, something is seriously wrong with the process and it needs to be looked at with an eye towards aligning it to the general election.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:55 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


> The democrats have opted to lose the general election (including the Senate, and likely the House) in April.

"The democrats" didn't opt for anything. Primary voters, including Democrats and non-Democrats living in open primary states, voted through a very broken and undemocratic primary process in a way that did not lead to Bernie reaching a viable delegate count. We can have a much longer conversation about how that happened, where we can talk about the batshit primary calendar, the clusterfuck in Iowa, how the two-party system forced Bernie to compete for the nomination of a party he dislikes, leading to some dislike in return from people for whom the Democratic party label is important (including many voters of color in states he struggled in), but summarizing it as "the democrats opting to lose" is, to be charitable, a very incomplete assessment of the dynamic.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:59 AM on April 10 [25 favorites]


Perhaps it's not certain, but I think you're delusional if you think Biden wins this election.

Biden is going to get trounced by Trump.

The democrats have opted to lose the general election (including the Senate, and likely the House) in April.


given the certainty with which these positions are presented, if Biden somehow ends up winning in November and the Dems maybe keep the House and who knows with the Senate, will the community members who've made these statements in future at least try to refrain from speaking their apparent despair so nakedly? Because it really does bring the side down. And if I can be sure of any one thing in this thread, it's that NOBODY HERE WANTS TRUMP TO GET A SECOND TERM. We're all on that side.

Actually, I'm not even sure of that. The humiliation of defeat has certainly brewed its share of toxicity over the aeons.
posted by philip-random at 9:02 AM on April 10 [23 favorites]


Warren was my first pick. And I like Sanders. But Sanders has almost zero supporters or friends in Congress, or anywhere else in government. How on earth could Sanders get anything accomplished without Green Lantern abilities?

Sanders would have been nearly powerless as president. Perhaps worse than powerless. He'd have been surrounded by outright enemies, and passive-aggressive enemies.
posted by SoberHighland at 9:17 AM on April 10 [21 favorites]


@tonycpsu

I think you bring up some great points here, about how broken the system is, and I think that brokenness is a big part of why Sanders supporters are angry.

I'm reminded of the debate where the question was asked "should the person with the most votes get the nomination" and only Sanders answered yes while everyone else said "let the process play out." (Yes, Biden is the one with the most votes, and good for him, that's not the point I'm currently trying to make)

A lot of us remember in 2016 they never argued in court that they DIDN'T put the finger on the scale for Clinton, they argued that it was legal for them to do so. And it is. That doesn't make it any less scummy for them to argue that in court, and it certainly makes a lot of us question the primary system and whether or not it is in some way "rigged" towards a choice that the people who effectively run the party would want. I mean, they argued in court that if they wanted to do that, that was their right as a private organization.

"When someone shows you who they are, believe them."

When every single candidate said "let the process play out" every Sanders supporter heard "We openly prefer corruption and do not like actual democracy or listening to voters."

A lot of that also has to do with seeing how the political "norms" that the Democrats hold so dear have been tossed out the fucking window in the last four years. So when we feel like the primary is pretty undemocratic, and then all the major party players all say they prefer the primary as it is, as opposed to trusting the voters, it starts to feel like the "norms" are pretty corrupt and all aimed in favor at existing power structures. It also starts to feel like the party players are far more concerned with keeping their positions and keeping things how they are than reaching out to help people while they're suffering. That they're more interested in a corrupt primary than actually listening to the voice of the people. I think that's where a lot of these feelings that result in calls of "rigged" come from.

I think a lot of the grieving you're seeing is because a lot of Sanders supporters legitimately believe you can't solve someone like Trump by "going back to how things were" because how things were was exactly how we ended up with Trump. (It's certainly what I legitimately believe. I believe even with a Biden presidency, we're just waiting for the next Trump to fuck it all up again, because he won't do ENOUGH to change things.)

When the norms they hold so dear are used by someone like Trump to pursue authoritarianism, lots of us are questioning whether those norms are reasonable or effective, and it's reasonable for us to be upset when the party seemingly would rather hold onto those norms than consider the alternative when lives are at risk.
posted by deadaluspark at 9:17 AM on April 10 [13 favorites]


[String of comments removed. Again, if you cannot formulate your thoughts in a form other than "here's what I have decided you other people think", take a break.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:18 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]




Well, tbh, socialism is largely the domain of twitchy hipsters.

Oh good lord. Can we look at actual data? It's not clear-cut.

Here's just one poll. There are others.

A majority of Americans (57%) say that socialism is not compatible with American values. Just 29% say it is compatible. About 4-in-10 (42%) have a negative opinion of socialism in general, with another 45% having a neutral opinion and just 10% holding a positive view of socialism. Public opinion about capitalism – while largely positive – is not overwhelmingly favorable, however. Nearly 4-in-10 Americans (39%) have a positive opinion of capitalism in general and a similar 40% have a neutral opinion. Another 17% hold a negative view of capitalism.

Taken together, Americans divide into two dominant camps – 29% who have a positive view of capitalism and a negative view of socialism and 30% who have neutral opinions of both capitalism and socialism. The remaining 4-in-10 Americans hold a range of mixed views on the two economic systems.

posted by Automocar at 9:19 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


Warren was my first pick. And I like Sanders. But Sanders has almost zero supporters or friends in Congress, or anywhere else in government. How on earth could Sanders get anything accomplished without Green Lantern abilities?

Sanders would have been nearly powerless as president. Perhaps worse than powerless. He'd have been surrounded by outright enemies, and passive-aggressive enemies.


This reads as much more of an indictment of our current system than it does of Sanders. What was that in the Bible, something about the path of the true Christian being the hardest of all... I am not a Christian, but I absolutely think that people who are good, kind, and unselfish have the hardest path in life, and reading about a literal house of power shitting all over one guy who wants other people to have it better, well it certainly sounds like all those Christian folktales to me. That always rang true, that the most good people would have the hardest lives, because they're abused by all the awful people around them.

So once again, this speaks volumes about Sanders and our congress, but not in the way you meant.
posted by deadaluspark at 9:20 AM on April 10 [9 favorites]


Please spare me a 'vote blue no matter who' lecture. I do, I will, just like >99% of the people in this thread. I understand how the supreme court works. I'm not dumb: I recognize that Biden is better than Trump.

Having said that, the Biden nomination is terrifying. If you take a look at his policy proposals and easily researched voting and policy history, (to say nothing of his verified history of groping and credible possible history of sexual assault), and compare that with the scale of our current crisis (highest unemployment rate in history, about 7 million people losing their health insurance, irreversible climate change causing massive fires, hurricanes, uncountable waves of human displacement and mass extinction), Biden is certainly part of the movement to kill us all. If there are history books, he will surely be remembered as a pathetic, ineffectual symbol of the desperate desire for normalcy amid societal collapse.

Still, social change does not come from presidential elections. There's a growing strike wave, and tectonic shifts in political power going on. I suspect that the US is on the way toward a level of change that will make the presidential election less relevant than any of us are used to.
posted by latkes at 9:22 AM on April 10 [29 favorites]


Nobody's asking Sanders supporters to be angry at all, but they already are. The suggestion is that this anger is misplaced, and there is ample evidence to support that suggestion. There is no law of conservation of anger, and thus no reason that existing anger at Sanders' enemies and the Democratic party (but I repeat myself) needs to be accounted for among supporters of other candidates.

I'm guessing some supporters of other candidates were angry at those other candidates for their tactical errors -- as a Warren supporter, I was certainly angry about her poor handling of the Native American lineage issue -- but when she dropped out, I was mostly disappointed, not angry.


I certainly can't speak for all Sanders supporters, but I'm more depressed about the world than anything. If I could guess from reading their writings, many of them believe that the current presumptive Democratic nominee is directly responsible for policies that directly impact them in the present in a negative way. Personally, I think there is a lot of evidence in favor of that view. I just don't see them turning their anger at a guy (Sanders) who they perceive as trying to help them. If anything, they might get mad at Sanders because he is too nice to Biden …….

I guess that isn't what people want to hear. Look, for what its worth, I agree that everyone should vote for Biden for tactical reasons. I've considered most of my votes for Democrats to be tactical, so it isn't a big change. However, getting people to vote for someone who they perceive, with no small amount of justification, to have harmed them is a big ask, even if the alternative is worse. Asking Sanders supporters to spend time directing their anger at Sanders isn't going to help convince anyone of that.

And really, what's the point? This is Sander's last run at President. He might not even run for another senate term next time around because he will be in his early 80's. Spending energy lambasting him is a waste of time. At least the other candidates will be around for longer. They might even run for President again depending upon how the next few elections shake out. Isn't it worth more to ask where they went wrong?
posted by eagles123 at 9:23 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


When the claim is made that the average American is capitalist, you question their commitment and depth of understanding - how do you think the numbers would pan out if the same level of scrutiny were extended to polled self-professed socialists, Automocar?
posted by Selena777 at 9:23 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


@deadaluspark

There just isn't any sense in which throwing away second choice / coalition data in favor of automatically anointing the plurality winner the nominee is more democratic than a multi-stage convention in which delegates keep going until they coalesce around a majority-acceptable candidate. The Sanders camp's insistence that winning a slightly larger minority than everyone else would give them a clear democratic mandate was obviously flawed, and probably contributed to that campaign's downfall.
posted by rishabguha at 9:24 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


I'm reminded of the debate where the question was asked "should the person with the most votes get the nomination" and only Sanders answered yes while everyone else said "let the process play out." (Yes, Biden is the one with the most votes, and good for him, that's not the point I'm currently trying to make)

It's funny because to me, this was a naked display of cynicism by Sanders, and not the first. His entire plan was to win the nomination by a threadbare plurality, so he had to take this line.

There is literally zero doubt in my mind that if Sanders was running neck-and-neck with other progressive candidates and had an easy path to a coalitional victory at the convention versus a moderate with a minor plurality, he would be singing a different tune. The idea that a hypothetical world where it's Biden with 45 delegates, Sanders with 44 delegates, and Warren with 41 delegates would lead to Sanders saying "Welp Biden got the most votes, let's pack it up" is simply implausible -- and that's a tested hypothesis, because after Sanders got routed into nearly mathematical elimination on Second Super Tuesday, he didn't just throw in the towel.
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:26 AM on April 10 [15 favorites]


This reads as much more of an indictment of our current system than it does of Sanders.

That's exactly my point. So I did make myself clear. No matter how pure-hearted and intelligent and progressive Sanders might be (I think he is largely all of those things), none of that would make a lick of difference. Politics is the Art of the Possible. Putting Sanders in—a man with few friends, and many enemies on all sides—would very likely be an even worse outcome than having Biden in place.

What can the President—without support of Congress or the Media or the Supreme Court—accomplish?

What can the President—with mostly enemies in Congress, mostly enemies in the Media and mostly enemies in the Supreme Court—accomplish?

My point was crystal clear. Am I happy that things are this way? No. But politics has always been this way. Always.
posted by SoberHighland at 9:28 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


>I think a lot of the grieving you're seeing is because a lot of Sanders supporters legitimately believe you can't solve someone like Trump by "going back to how things were" because how things were was exactly how we ended up with Trump. (It's certainly what I legitimately believe. I believe even with a Biden presidency, we're just waiting for the next Trump to fuck it all up again, because he won't do ENOUGH to change things.)

Agreed, but I also think that there are many people out there who have the same or similar feelings (I am one of them) and realize that voicing them is counterproductive because harm reduction is what we have available to us right now.
posted by Gaz Errant at 9:33 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


I'm not going to say anything except that I'm 23. I know I can't be the youngest user of this site. But it often feels like it in these threads.
posted by Acid Communist at 9:34 AM on April 10 [27 favorites]


Sorry, there are lots of democrats who either / both felt that (1) Sanders proposals were unrealistic or undesirable for them (2) Sanders positions were unpopular with centrists and independents, and unlikely to do well in the general.

Most democrats didn't sign up for the socialist party USA. They have policy preferences that are to the left, but not The Revolution. It shouldn't surprise anyone that in a first-past-the-post country with a 2 party system, the large somewhat left party isn't enthusiastic about having probably the leftmost statewide elected person in the country as thier leader.

America is not a leftist country, and there are fewer people who call themselves liberals than conservatives. Even if the GOP is to the right of the center, that doesn't mean a far left candidate will do well. The polling on many of his signature policies is terrible. Once you add them up, they are an incredible expansion of federal expenditure and require a simultaneous restructuring of the most productive and impactful parts of the economy. The proposals to pay for them are not likely to work.

Because Sanders and his proposals are so much further left than what is possible in the senate or even a democratic party controlled house, the party would be taking on all these unpopular positions despite them having no chance of being enacted.

Is the socialist wing of the party wants to have a shot at the presidency, maybe win a few govenorships and 10 senate seats first. How many people in the house, even with gerrymandered with ultra safe D seats seriously propose things as far left as Sanders? 6-7?
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:35 AM on April 10 [20 favorites]


This reads as much more of an indictment of our current system than it does of Sanders.

Adding: this isn't even an "indictment" of "our current system." It's simply an observation of the way things work—and have always worked. The way things are meant to work. Whether or not you or I like it. GWB famously quipped that it would have been "so much easier for him if he were a dictator."

GWB was making a quip—but it really would have been easier for GWB if he had been a dictator!
posted by SoberHighland at 9:36 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


2020 New Hampshire Voting Law Confusion

HANOVER, N.H. — A new voting law in New Hampshire is causing confusion among college students, threatening to dampen turnout among a key Democratic voting bloc in a state where the margins of victory in 2020 could be razor-thin.

I remember this during the New Hampshire primary. I'm not sure how it was resolved, but its just an example of issues younger voters face. And Democrats should care about this because it is part of a Republican strategy to suppress votes among Democratic-leaning voting blocks. As people age they move around less, so they are less susceptible to these kinds of tactics.


That law was just struck down yesterday by a Superior court in NH. The state will likely appeal, but it's good news for now. I encourage you to read the ruling (linked in the article) - it's 50 pages long, but very interesting throughout.
posted by schoolgirl report at 9:36 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


The only postmortem I'm feeling right now is c/o my favourite Bernie Bro, Lizzo. Democrats, you coulda had a bad bitch.
posted by Beardman at 9:37 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Once you add them up, they are an incredible expansion of federal expenditure and require a simultaneous restructuring of the most productive and impactful parts of the economy. The proposals to pay for them are not likely to work.

Productive for whom? Impactful in what way?
posted by Ouverture at 9:42 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


Does “rigged” mean actually crooked, unethical actions? Or does “rigged” mean “the system is not set up to benefit those coming from outside it, without money or connections?”

for the record, i meant both senses.

sense 1)
* the iowa caucus app and clusterfuck
* voter suppression
* consolidation of the field after SC

sense 2)
* media being unanimously #neverbernie
posted by entropicamericana at 9:43 AM on April 10 [7 favorites]


> * consolidation of the field after SC

If Sanders' electoral strategy depended on other non-viable candidates staying in the race, maybe he should have bankrolled them.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:49 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


Buttigieg was trailing Biden by like 13 delegates when he dropped out.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:54 AM on April 10


> Buttigieg was trailing Biden by like 13 delegates when he dropped out.

You realize people can look this stuff up, no?
posted by tonycpsu at 9:59 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


i guess biden got some from an earlier primary, my mistake. either way, it was not an insurmountable lead after only four states

anyway, im not sure how anyone can consider any of the primaries after the corona outbreak valid
posted by entropicamericana at 10:08 AM on April 10


Kadin2048 wrote: "I think there's a possibility that the Democratic primary is structurally mismatched compared to the general election."

This was really brought home to me at Biden's big victory in SC, a victory that has been covered pretty well upthread and in prior threads, except for this one structural problem: Winning SC shouldn't matter. It shouldn't be a big story, certainly not the kind of story that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that convinces more people to vote Biden. Biden will lose in SC in the general, because any Democrat would lose in the general. Trump sailed to an easy victory here last time, and by all indications will do so again.

I voted for Bernie in the SC primary, and had half a hope other people would take a look at our miserable healthcare, our position as the state you go to when you are moving your factory out of big union states because you want to pay the bare minimum, and would think we could do better than Biden. But no, most of our Democratic voters are older, and small-c conservative at best. But why should that have translated into the headlines and free media boost that helped propel Biden to victory, when we don't matter in the general?

Just on a personal level, I'm grieving. There goes any hope of student loan forgiveness (I know Biden has a version of this, and surprise, it will not touch my loan burden), or for being able to get good healthcare in my lifetime. Now would be a great time for the party to prove they're going to make the world better, to restore a little faith in the future.
posted by mittens at 10:11 AM on April 10 [15 favorites]


> i guess biden got some from an earlier primary, my mistake. either way, it was not an insurmountable lead after only four states

Mayo Pete's campaign concluded, rightfully so, that Super Tuesday was going to be a bloodbath for him. He needed to show viability in SC, and when he didn't, his dwindling resources and lack of institutional support meant he had no shot.

The same calculus was in play for the other candidates alleged to be part of this consolidation conspiracy -- only Klobuchar had a non-negligible base of support at that point, and she was running out of money. Everyone else was a non-factor, so their exit didn't materially affect the race.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:16 AM on April 10 [15 favorites]


The delegate lead prior to Buttigieg's dropping out is not relevant considering the tremendous number of delegates that were yet to be won. I can't read Buttigieg's mind but it was clear that nothing he was doing (including his showing in the early states) translated into the support among African-Americans that he surely knew he would need to have a real path to the nomination. I'm guessing he dropped out because of that.
posted by Jpfed at 10:17 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


I think it's pretty fair to observe that:
A) Like all American political systems the Democratic primary is unbelievably convoluted and awful *by design*.
B) The reason it's like that by design is so that entrenched power structures can put their thumb on the scales.
C) Boy did we see a big putting of the thumb on the scale on Super Tuesday with the coordinated drop outs, Warren staying in, the machine endorsements of Biden and the ongoing media campaign agains Sanders.

Denying any of those things is mostly a matter of saying why you're okay with it rather than any of that being untrue, as such. Or a facts on the ground argument: It's happened, now deal with it.

Okay, so lets deal with it...

Biden is an incredibly weak candidate and theres a lot of concern as to if he can win, even amongst the folks who voted for him if all the preemptive blame-gaming is anything to go by. A couple of hardcore Clinton cultists and billionaires are going to be happy now whether or not their guy wins the general, everyone else will be capital F fucked.

How I would suggest moving forwards:

Biden folks: Stop being sore winners, stop obsessing over Sanders supporters. You probably have their grudging tactical votes, whether you they say so or not, and no matter of berating . They're probably not going to actively campaign for your guy so you really need to figure out . Maybe the flexing the democratic establishment did during the primaries can be repeated for the general? If so push everyone behind that so they don't just sit it out during the general. The guy was supposed to electable, make him electable. Bother those moderates and never Trumpers you were telling us about relentlessly.

This is on you, don't act like you're owed anything.

Bernie folk: Downticket, downticket, downticket. You suspect Biden is flat out going to lose wether you vote for him or not, you may or may not be right. That was a hell of a trick they pulled out of the hat on Super Tuesday, maybe they CAN pull this off. But Biden with a Republican Senate is going to be one eternal pivot to the right to appease people who can't be appeased so you need to prevent that. Trump with a Republican senate is probably the end of democracy, we need as many buffers in place as we can get to survive that.

Grumbling about how much Biden sucks is a given but it shouldn't stop you getting on with the real work. You have almost the entorety of the ground game, it needs to be used.
posted by Artw at 10:20 AM on April 10 [25 favorites]


But why should that have translated into the headlines and free media boost that helped propel Biden to victory, when we don't matter in the general?

Because the alternative which you are arguing for is that Democratic voters in red states should not just be discounted, but literally disenfranchised from the primary, on the argument that they won't matter later anyways.

The primary is about the party choosing a candidate. Throwing members of the party out of that process because "they won't count later" is not only undemocratic, it's a great way to destroy the party. It's also not really any more coherent than saying you should discount people where I live (MA) or any other deep blue state, because we also don't matter -- there is literally no scenario where MA is going to go Trump, so why does anyone here get a vote on who is the candidate?

The answer I would hope is obvious, but then again I feel like every time we talk about process the answer I hear from Bernie supporters is that any process that doesn't select Bernie is inherently the wrong one.
posted by tocts at 10:20 AM on April 10 [17 favorites]



The answer I would hope is obvious, but then again I feel like every time we talk about process the answer I hear from Bernie supporters is that any process that doesn't select Bernie is inherently the wrong one.


Ranked choice by mail all on the same day.
posted by Artw at 10:24 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


> Because the alternative which you are arguing for is that Democratic voters in red states should not just be discounted, but literally disenfranchised from the primary, on the argument that they won't matter later anyways.

There are other alternatives. We could rotate states each cycle, grouping them into as representative a cross-section as we can. We could also just do a single national primary day, though some don't want to stop lesser-funded campaigns from building support in a smaller number of states. My idea to solve that is to sort by population (delegate count), count off 1 to 5 to create 5 groups, rotate the groups each year, and hold primaries for each group separated by 2 weeks, leading to a 10 week primary calendar -- long enough for a candidate to have some early success and build momentum, not so long that it advantages massively-funded campaigns.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:25 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


This was really brought home to me at Biden's big victory in SC, a victory that has been covered pretty well upthread and in prior threads, except for this one structural problem: Winning SC shouldn't matter. It shouldn't be a big story, certainly not the kind of story that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that convinces more people to vote Biden. Biden will lose in SC in the general, because any Democrat would lose in the general. Trump sailed to an easy victory here last time, and by all indications will do so again.

The counterargument to this---and I'm not certain how much I believe it, but it is there---is that the composition of the primary electorate in South Carolina, and many of the other red states Biden won is closer to the composition of the general electorate in key swing states. Conditional on being a primary voter in Iowa or Michigan, you're likely pretty far to the left of that state's ideological spectrum. By contrast, the Democratic voters in red states tend to be a lot more conservative on a variety of issues, in a way that might make them a better match for swing voters in swing states. On top of that, winning the African American vote and keeping turnout high is a necessary condition for a Democrat to win, so it's important to get a pulse check on who can excite black voters.

My own view is that electability comparisons like this are a rabbit hole, privileging certain electorates above other is anathema to democracy, and the thing to do is to, as best we can, treat everyone's vote as worthy of equal consideration. Otherwise the risk is too high that we wake up one day and realize that we've made Ken Bone the guy who gets to singlehandedly choose our nominee.
posted by rishabguha at 10:27 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


It takes a while to get to its point, but this is an interesting read from north of the border:

Bernie Sanders's 2020 disappointment offers sobering lesson for Trump

tldr:

So the story of Sanders now seems, to a greater extent than before, a story about Hillary Clinton. Without Clinton to run against, Sanders wasn't as competitive this year, and without her to run against, Trump might not be, either.

"It was Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket [in 2016]. Which is sort of sexism on steroids — it's not only that it's a woman, but it's that woman," said Hudak.

posted by philip-random at 10:34 AM on April 10 [17 favorites]


Zach Beauchamp's post mortem in Vox takes a look at the effectiveness of the campaign's appeal by class. Although Sanders did well among white working class voters in 16, those voters went to Biden. It seems that much of the vote was anti-Hillary rather than class-conscious voting.

Apparently, this disconnect between class and voting is a trend: "In recent decades, the Alford Index — a metric political scientists use to measure the role of class in voting patterns — has been in decline across Western democracies. The working class is no longer overwhelmingly likely to support left-wing parties, the upper classes no longer joined by their support for right-leaning ones."
posted by factory123 at 10:34 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


The arguments I keep hearing from the Sanders side almost all amount to "politics is overly political."

Of course elements of the system suck. But Politics will always be extremely political, and will be gamed out in various ways by different players.

It comes down to being good at politics in order to accomplish things politically. Sanders is an inspirational figure, but he's not a great politician.
posted by SoberHighland at 10:42 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


Sanders is an inspirational figure, but he's not a great politician.

I think he's a brilliant politician. He took what amounts to a minor league team into the big leagues and, maybe he never had a chance of winning the championship, but he sure as hell made the play-offs.
posted by philip-random at 10:47 AM on April 10 [13 favorites]


There's no Second Place trophy, though. Being inspirational is important. I'm not denying that Sanders has had a big impact on the race.
posted by SoberHighland at 10:51 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


Probably want to think through the implications of the “no second place” thing a little. Also remember that the electoral college and other forms of vote suppression are “politics”.
posted by Artw at 10:54 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


Also remember that the electoral college and other forms of vote suppression are “politics”.

Of course those things are! But saying "shame, shame" about stuff still doesn't score any points. And your ominous "You should think through the implications..." comment is pointlessly condescending and patronizing.
posted by SoberHighland at 10:57 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


Well, sorry, but it’s absolutely wrong that people shouldn’t push back against broken systems and we’re going to have to do a lot of it.
posted by Artw at 11:00 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


I agree. we should "push against" inequality and vote suppression and other sucky things.

But for a politician on the ballot? Their only job is winning.
posted by SoberHighland at 11:03 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


Well I hope you put all available effort into securing that win then.
posted by Artw at 11:05 AM on April 10


[This is turning into a one-on-one exchange that doesn't need to be happening here.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:11 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


I'm going to vote for whomever runs against Trump, so that I have the opportunity to once again support a Sanders or a Warren candidate four years from now.

Because democracy will not survive any more of Trump.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:11 AM on April 10 [15 favorites]


Y'all are highlighting the problem with overusing the word "rigged." The electoral college is rigged (by initial design). Ballot purges: really effing rigged. But several moderate politicians departing a primary when they each realize they have no chance of winning, and nearly simultaneously endorsing the delegate- and poll-leading moderate candidate, isn't rigged - it's ordinary politics, where people cooperate to elect someone who best matches their political beliefs and desires. Yelling "rigged" in that situation is as incorrect as Tr*mp yelling "fake news" at any coverage he doesn't like.
posted by PhineasGage at 11:18 AM on April 10 [19 favorites]




Biden employing an ex Harvey Weinstein lawyer. Definitely a good look
posted by Iax at 11:25 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


The structural unsuitability of the electoral college is exactly the same as the structural unsuitability of the democratic primary process. It just happens to favor Biden in the primary but not in the general.

I’d favor ranked choice all mail voting there as well.
posted by Artw at 11:25 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


(President Don also famously complains about elections and the electoral process being "rigged")

Shouting "rigged" works out for the person claiming it—one way or another—regardless of the results.
posted by SoberHighland at 11:29 AM on April 10 [7 favorites]



America is not a leftist country, and there are fewer people who call themselves liberals than conservatives. Even if the GOP is to the right of the center, that doesn't mean a far left candidate will do well. The polling on many of his signature policies is terrible. Once you add them up, they are an incredible expansion of federal expenditure and require a simultaneous restructuring of the most productive and impactful parts of the economy. The proposals to pay for them are not likely to work.

Because Sanders and his proposals are so much further left than what is possible in the senate or even a democratic party controlled house, the party would be taking on all these unpopular positions despite them having no chance of being enacted.


Some polls:

55 percent of voters back Medicare for All

Green New Deal Broadly Popular

I could go on.

Of course, the public option plans are more popular because they promise people the benefits of Medicare for All without the costs, but there are serious problems with those plans:

Serious Problems with Public Option Plans

Basically, you can't pass a public option that both (a) meaningfully brings down costs through competition and (b) preserves the private insurance market so people can keep the health insurance they have.

I'll be watching the legislation closely if Biden wins, but I doubt he'll be able to pass anything resembling his plan as constructed. It's as much a fantasy as trying to pass Medicare for All, especially if he's serious about compromising with the same Republicans who obstructed Obama for 8 years.

And, in a sane country, Medicare for All would be the fiscally conservative solution to healthcare reform because it has by far the greatest promise in terms of reducing healthcare costs over the long term short of completely nationalizing all hospitals and introducing price controls. Of course, by sane country, I mean a country where we aren't okay with people dying or going bankrupt because they can't afford healthcare.

In any case, centrists routinely back policies that people approve of in the abstract but oppose when you give them the details. For example, I remember when "cutting the deficit" was all the rage. If you polled it, people said it was important, but when you proposed tax hikes and benefit cuts to achieve it, people would then oppose it. That didn't stop centrist and conservative dems from trying to push it, though.

I'd much rather be straight with people about the costs and benefits of policies that will affect them.

So, in all, I don't really buy this. Democratic primary voters seemed supportive of Sander's policies going by exit polling. For example:

Biden winning but Medicare for All Popular

Former Vice President Joe Biden now has a nearly insurmountable delegate lead on Sen. Bernie Sanders, making him the prohibitive frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination. On Tuesday, he trounced Sanders in delegate-rich Florida, defeating the Vermont senator by nearly 40 percentage points. That win was quickly bolstered by double-digit victories in Illinois and Arizona.

And yet, a pattern has emerged in Democratic primaries. Biden keeps winning, but most Democrats embrace an idea closely associated with Sanders: Medicare-for-all


Democrats just prioritized electability this time around, and they thought Biden was more electable than Sanders.

Democrats prioritize electability over agreement on issues

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joe Biden rolled up victories in several states Tuesday night with the support of a broad coalition of Democratic primary voters, many of whom said they were motivated by a desire to choose a presidential nominee who could defeat President Donald Trump in November.

A majority of Democratic voters casting ballots across four states said choosing a candidate who they believe can win is more important than choosing one who agrees with them on major issues, NBC News exit polls show.

posted by eagles123 at 11:29 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Democrats just prioritized electability this time around, and they thought Biden was more electable than Sanders.

Well, some Democrats did. In particular, Democratic voters from South Carolina. Which is kinda weird, because Democrats from South Carolina realistically don't have any sway in the general election—the state is probably one of the safest to go Republican. So it's, uh... perhaps not the healthiest system that lets that bloc thumbs-up or thumbs-down a candidate in such a strong way.

Modest proposal: there should be a single national primary day, with delegates to the Convention apportioned similarly to the way Electoral College electors are apportioned.

That's not because I love the EC or anything, but I think it would lead to more electable candidates overall, and there's never going to be a chance to reform the EC if Democrats continue to lose elections.

It's like the Americas Cup: if you want to change the rules, first you need to win under the old rules. Once you've won, you can start modifying things... but if you don't win under the old rules, no matter how unfair they are, you don't get the opportunity to fix it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:42 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


For those who say that the US is fundamentally a center-right nation, I will reiterate that Warren's wealth tax proposal was favored by over 50 percent of people polled.

Wait, did I say people? It was favored by over 50 percent of REPUBLICANS polled.

And had an overall approval level, if I recall correctly, of 62 percent nationwide.

This is not an inexorably center-right nation. But the existing institutional structures with their hands on the levers of power are inexorably center-right (correlating in large part to wealth, who would have thought), and that is what matters, for this purpose or for any.
posted by Gadarene at 11:45 AM on April 10 [17 favorites]


A word for the Sanders diehards in this thread who don't like being accused of airing racist talking points: Please don't dismiss South Carolinian Democrats as "that bloc" who shouldn't have such a strong influence on the outcome.

Myself, I'm going to work my ass off for McKayla Wilkes, a Berniecrat who is running to unseat Steny Hoyer in my district, Maryland's 5th. That's my focus until Maryland's primary passes by. Then I'll be working on voter outreach, registration, whatever I can do in preparation for the General--at least as far as electoral politics are concerned.
posted by sugar and confetti at 11:50 AM on April 10 [15 favorites]


I was really hoping not to vote for Joe Biden this fall, which is why I'm getting progressively more and more annoyed at the Sanders team for their campaign choices. No points for coming in second when when you got there with a strategy that all but gave up on winning an actual majority.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:54 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


I'm going to work my ass off for McKayla Wilkes

A proposal: Instead of telling others what they better do, be like sugar and confetti above and say what you are going to do.

I'm focusing on union organizing. It's not an election but it's a way to build power from the ground up. Because I am one of the lucky few who is still employed, I'll also continue to give money to down ballot candidates and to local orgs and people who are out of money because of Corona.

How about you?
posted by latkes at 11:55 AM on April 10 [16 favorites]


As I said above: downticket. Us being in WA that mostly means we’ll be donating as much as possible to various people running against shitty republicans across the country, as well as putting money into trying to keep people alive.
posted by Artw at 11:59 AM on April 10


Donating money downticket. Not sure if I'm up to active campaigning right now due to my health.
posted by eagles123 at 12:02 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


I'll be doing all I can to help centrist DINO sell-out Connor Lamb hold off Trumpist Sean Parnell in PA-17.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:04 PM on April 10 [5 favorites]


I'll be investigating and writing about the Trump EPA's ongoing attempt to burn down environmental regulation in the United States. Hopefully the people doing active campaign work can use some of that.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:06 PM on April 10 [8 favorites]


I'll be investigating and writing about the Trump EPA's ongoing attempt to burn down environmental regulation in the United States. Hopefully the people doing active campaign work can use some of that.

Where can I read this writing?
posted by Gadarene at 12:09 PM on April 10


It’s a long shot, but for shits and giggles just imagine what giving money to unseat McConnell would feel like.
posted by Artw at 12:09 PM on April 10 [5 favorites]


Thanks for the prompt, latkes. I am supporting Flip the West, whose sole focus is on winning back majority control of the U.S. Senate, without which even President Biden and Speaker Pelosi aren't going to be able to enact any significant progressive initiatives.
posted by PhineasGage at 12:13 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Where can I read this writing?

The newsletter I work for is called Inside EPA but unfortunately it's subscription only at a four-figure annual rate.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:14 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Given the pandemic showing to what extent all states are on their own a renewed interest in local politics and getting buffers in against trumps actions on that level is a good idea.

Oh and everyone should be thinking about a general strike.
posted by Artw at 12:21 PM on April 10 [5 favorites]


Yelling "rigged" in that situation is as incorrect as Tr*mp yelling "fake news" at any coverage he doesn't like.

Except calling something fake news when it's true is a lie. Saying something is rigged because ultimately the participants are going to protect the particular class interests of their benefactors rather than the asserted values of their party*, that is not a lie. When aristocrats run an election, it's rigged from the jump.

Now you hand-waving away accusations of rigging because it's just "ordinary politics?" That's like saying the health insurance system in the united states isn't rigged because it's just "ordinary business," but watch out! The judicial system isn't rigged because it's just "ordinary bureaucracy," but watch out! It's defending the institutions because their failings are universally pervasive. It's the missing stair metaphor writ societal. It's awful. Please stop. Please stop conflating people's frustration here with Trump's manipulation from the fucking presidency.


*"As the DNC, we are working together to build a bright future for everyone. We are fighting for the soul of our country, for the heart of our democracy, and for America’s place as the land of opportunity for all."
posted by avalonian at 12:30 PM on April 10 [13 favorites]


I'll be out campaigning for Wendy Davis in TX-21. That at least I can put some genuine enthusiasm behind.

I'll vote for creepy racist, rapist, senile Joe Biden in November. But I can't bring myself to actively campaign for a rapist. I just can't. I'll campaign for downticket candidates. And I will, with extreme reluctance and lots of self hatred cast my vote for the senile, racist, rapist with a D by his name instead of the senile, racist, rapist with an R by his name.
posted by sotonohito at 12:32 PM on April 10 [6 favorites]


Well, there's no Jill Stein this go-around...
posted by SoberHighland at 12:36 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Winning SC shouldn't matter.

Just from the polisci side of things, what I tell kiddos in an intro-American or parties is that SC matters because it's the first primary (as opposed to caucus) in a state where the Democratic electorate isn't wildly unrepresentative of Democrats nationally. The electorates of IA and NH are waaaay too old, white, and rural to tell us much of anything about what Democrats nationwide are thinking. NV could have provided useful information, but they fuck that up by using a caucus.

That leaves SC as the first time you have a bunch of candidates getting judged by voters who are at least not insanely unrepresentative of the party identifiers generally. You could pick a better state for that, like CA/IL/NY, but is what is and SC is still vastly more informative than NH or any caucus.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 12:45 PM on April 10 [18 favorites]


Now you hand-waving away accusations of rigging because it's just "ordinary politics?"

Weren't Sanders fans advocating for Warren to drop out so her voters would go to him? How is that different than what Buttigieg and Klobuchar did?

Also, nobody forced the would-be Buttigieg and Klobuchar voters to swing Biden. The fact that they did is an indicator of his popularity among the electorate. Like, they had the option to choose Bernie. They didn't.
posted by schroedinger at 12:57 PM on April 10 [22 favorites]


SoberHighland The Greens are doing their best to attract disaffected leftists this go around. Jill Stein may not be their nominee, but they are still around and still trying to act as a spoiler. I fear that the utter awfulness of Biden will drive many to them.
posted by sotonohito at 1:07 PM on April 10


Regarding Biden's racism. I'm not a POC and won't try to speak for POC, but POC (non-whites) spoke for themselves and preferred Biden over Sanders in the primary. Yes, Biden's a racist who has supported racist policy in the past and whose current platform doesn't do nearly enough to help people of color. Trump, on the other hand, is a racist who is actively trying to destroy communities of color, deny them the right to vote, and tear families apart with his immigration policy.

To put things into a racist vs. non-racist box to put Biden's racism in the same category as Trump's racism is to elide the very real differences in the threat that Trump poses to communities of color as compared to Biden. I feel like MeFi should be able to do better than that.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:11 PM on April 10 [13 favorites]


Read an article or post awhile ago that talked about Biden and Obama's working and personal relationship--many have dismissed this but there aren't too many younger black men who have experienced an older white man supporting and deferring to them; I think that was impactful for people to witness for 8 years which is one reason why "Biden is racist" doesn't seem to be sticking.
posted by girlmightlive at 1:28 PM on April 10 [14 favorites]


tonycpsu Seems like another variation on Whoopee Goldberg declaring that since she liked Polanski as a director therefore his crime wasn't "rape rape" and therefore it didn't really count. I didn't buy it from here then, I don't buy it from anyone about Biden.

Racism is racism, I don't care how many people say "it wasn't racism racism", it's too much for me, and it proves that we Democrats are the worst, most vile and loathsome, form of hypocrites for picking him. It makes me feel unclean and morally degenerate to know that I'll vote for him in November, it means I have admitted that Rush Limbaugh was right all along and I really was only calling out Trump's racism for purely political reasons not because I really gave half a shit about racism. By voting for Biden, and I will, I'm saying in effect "racism doesn't really matter to me".

If he'd been able to stand up, admit his moral failure in supporting segregation, ask forgiveness, and demonstrate that he had truly changed that'd be one thing. I don't demand perfection.

Instead he blustered, shouted at anyone who brought it up, waggled fingers in young women's faces, and told a seemingly endless stream of trivially provable lies about his mythic involvement in the civil rights movement. While simultaneously bragging about how his close friendship with segregationists and his own opposition to integration proved he could work with Republicans.

But he has never admitted he did anything wrong. He still thinks his votes for segregation were right.

I do not see anything wrong, morally, logically, or politically, in putting Trump and Biden in exactly the same category when it comes to their racism. And non-existent gods help me, I'm voting for him.

I also feel sure that after months of relentless attack ads based on his racism, a lot of Biden's support among black voters will evaporate. Remember how the Republicans turned but her emails into something? And it was based on absolutely nothing at all? Now they have every single racist, segregation loving, vote Biden ever cast, every vile quote about not wanting to live in a jungle he ever said, as the basis for a whole new series of ads that will make their attacks on Clinton look tame and restrained by comparison.

Similarly every woman in America will be flooded with ads going into detail about Biden's history of rape and sexual assault. And I think it'll work.

Biden is a poison pill and his candidacy will wreak havoc in the Democratic Party that will take decades to recover from.
posted by sotonohito at 1:35 PM on April 10 [15 favorites]


For all the talk of "party unity", a political party that contains Ocasio-Cortes, Sanders, and Biden, and Manchin was never a functional, coherent party to begin with.

And given the massive erosion of power at every level of elected office by liberal and centrist Democrats under the Obama years, what could go wrong?
posted by Ouverture at 1:44 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


As far as I recall exit polling had Biden’s win with older Black voters being down to “electability” and endorsements, I don’t think it’s a shield from criticism at all.
posted by Artw at 1:45 PM on April 10


Am I missing something where Biden was, as people say, even "nominally" on my side?

My side is the destruction of hierarchies which value one human above another. The end of gender biases, racialised and gendered understandings of humanity

The complete end of inequality. The creation of a world where we are all actually equal. The end of forced labour for life or happiness. I don't see many politicians who are on my side for this.
Most of the nominally leftist politicians that seem to still imagine a world where I could be educated and happy, seem to imagine that world as a continued consequence of being on top of the horrible inequality and moral horror which is the norm of western capital in command. Where I should be happy to get unemployment, while those who produce what I need to live starve slowly on what little capital can manage to pass their way.

Thats not good enough. Obviously many of you are right, in that it has not provoked revolution yet. The trots here think Bernie should run third party. They think that's our only hope for the US to not be anything but an enemy in the fight for climate justice.

I guess I'm hoping they're all wrong.
posted by Acid Communist at 1:51 PM on April 10 [15 favorites]


Nobody’s really making the case that Biden is actually good TBH. Not here or elsewhere. I’ve seen anti-bernie victory laps and all kinds of fretting about Bernie supporters being sufficiently deferential - apparently the “electability” argument vanished into smoke the moment the primary was over - and lots and lots of premptive blame but actual advocates of Biden seem to be as hard to find as he is.
posted by Artw at 1:56 PM on April 10 [8 favorites]


Also third part isn’t going to work, but if Biden doesn’t win it’s a pretty strong argument against the continued existence of the Democratic Party, so that’s a quandary.
posted by Artw at 1:57 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


I think it depends on the circles you're in. Older Dems I know are happy with him. They see him as an experienced, compassionate elder statesman, the complete opposite of Trump.
posted by schroedinger at 1:58 PM on April 10 [4 favorites]


The United States was not going to meaningfully resemble a socialist utopia under a Bernie Sanders presidency, and it's certainly not going to meaningfully resemble one now, but if you can't see "good" in the difference between Trump's policies and Biden's (which is a different argument than "I can't personally vote for Biden because X policy that's important to me", which is at least an ethos) then I don't know what to tell you.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:00 PM on April 10 [14 favorites]


The trots here think Bernie should run third party.

And where is here again? Was it in a place where they or you could be eligible to vote for either candidate? Because running third party as you posit might work in Australia where there are multiple parties but it really isn’t an option in the states (sadly) without essentially handing the GOP the election on a silver platter.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 2:04 PM on April 10 [7 favorites]


Also third part isn’t going to work, but if Biden doesn’t win it’s a pretty strong argument against the continued existence of the Democratic Party, so that’s a quandary.

An argument that hardly needs making, since after another four years of the Trump administration it will be functionally illegal for the Republican Party to lose elections.

(Hell, my main prediction for 2020 ever since the GOP started trying to make Burisma happen has been that no matter who won the nomination, they would be the first American major-party presidential candidate to spend election night in prison)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:06 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


They see him as an experienced, compassionate elder statesman, the complete opposite of Trump.

Right, so is a cheese sandwich. But who is out there making a case for him?

Negative cases and don’t work at generals - what is the positive case?
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


I'm wondering: Is anyone here on Metafilter a Biden supporter? Biden was probably my 4th or 5th choice in the primaries.
posted by SoberHighland at 2:07 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


The trots here think Bernie should run third party. They think that's our only hope for the US to not be anything but an enemy in the fight for climate justice.

A group of people in—here is Australia, right?—think that Bernie Sanders should ensure Donald "I hate windmills" Trump wins a second term because that's the only hope for climate? Perhaps the reason Actual Bernie Sanders isn't doing that is because his experience serving in the US Congress for 29 years points to how that would be tremendously counterproductive to every single one of his goals?
posted by zachlipton at 2:08 PM on April 10 [15 favorites]


I'll stop caring about American politics when net neutrality, SESTA/FOSTA and so on become irrelevant to me. As it stands, we really can't afford to ignore American politics in Australia.

I know Scomo is a lying scumbag who talks a lot of shit about how small Australia is and climate change. But I'm also very worried that I'm going to come out of quarantine straight into another extended fire season. Sorry that I think the largest and most influential anglosphere nation might be relevant to some of this stuff.
posted by Acid Communist at 2:15 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


I'm acutely aware that US politics matter greatly all over the world and that, unfortunately, everyone is stuck with the ramifications of our often bad decisions. I just think that Bernie Sanders is a smart person who is not running a third party campaign because he's familiar with the system used to elect the US president and knows that such a run would produce the opposite results from anything he wants to achieve.
posted by zachlipton at 2:26 PM on April 10 [12 favorites]


[A few comments removed; agreed on letting it go with the reduplicating back-and-forth on the "rigged" thing, and more generally please remember that when you're typing a comment in here you're writing to other MeFites actually in the room with you, not writing open letters to whoever in the world you're most frustrated with or tired out by over the last however long.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:36 PM on April 10 [7 favorites]


what is the positive case?

With the caveat that Biden was maybe my fifth choice in the primary, so this is more of a silver-lining thing than what you'd hear from a committed supporter:

The Trump administration has done enormous damage to the basic machinery of government, with agencies depleted of career staff and handed to "leadership" tasked with burning down the institutions they're supposedly shepherding. You don't have to look any farther than COVID-19 to see how that affected the federal government's ability to deliver actual, tangible help to people who need it. As a matter of triage, we need a White House that understands how a functional executive branch works and can bring back the talent and institutional memory that Donald Trump and his ilk have driven away, as soon as possible, because once you have competent people in place again the actual work of rebuilding them is still not going to be an easy process. For that to happen you want an administration that's plugged into the Democratic bench of experts, can get the Democrats in Congress to play along, and knows how the machine functions. That's Joe Biden's skillset. Do you want HHS to spin up support for states and medical systems in a hurry (especially since we likely won't have a vaccine yet in January)? Looking a little farther down the line, do you want the EPA to go back to fining polluters rather than kissing their asses, and (crucially) make the fines stick because they know the law and the procedures and the staff involved? Do you want the Department of Labor to get back behind unions in a hurry, and DOJ to unwind all the insidious anti-LGBT shit they've done? Here's your guy.

(None of this is meant to imply that I don't think we also need actual structural change in addition to rebuilding crucial institutions, but this is supposed to be an affirmative case for Joe Biden and I can only work with what they give me)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:40 PM on April 10 [26 favorites]


Biden is a poison pill and his candidacy will wreak havoc in the Democratic Party that will take decades to recover from.

I would ask those who hold this view if you have an alternative, working plan. If the last four years of outright cruelty, grifting, and dysfunctional incompetence haven't convinced you that any change in direction would be better, even given what we have to work with, what is going to work?
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:55 PM on April 10 [11 favorites]


Biden’s change in direction is about resetting the train to the exact position it was just before it came off the rails
posted by moorooka at 3:08 PM on April 10 [10 favorites]


They see him as an experienced, compassionate elder statesman, the complete opposite of Trump.

Right, so is a cheese sandwich. But who is out there making a case for him?


Without being POC myself, I will say that I have personally seen and heard African-Americans making that case for him both to other African-Americans and to me in a city where the Democratic political "establishment" very much includes AA folks.
posted by soundguy99 at 3:14 PM on April 10 [4 favorites]


Biden’s change in direction is about resetting the train to the exact position it was just before it came off the rails

Which is basically a Clinton 2.0 argument, and I guess “positive” to us because it would be good to have less screaming insanity, but can something that passive be as big a vote driver as Trumps positive (to his supporters, at least) campaign message of “our guy will be screamingly insane and break all kinds of stuff just like you want.”

One drives coverage and votes, the other just kind of sits there.
posted by Artw at 3:17 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Biden’s change in direction is about resetting the train to the exact position it was just before it came off the rails

Please help me understand. If the choice is to put the train back on the rails, or to keep the train off the rails, on fire, with innocent passengers dead and dying — literally, in this metaphor — how is keeping the train derailed a moral choice? Please help me understand.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:18 PM on April 10 [15 favorites]


Soundguy - whats the case they are making?
posted by Artw at 3:19 PM on April 10


I have no faith that people weakly supporting “not insane” can defeat people strongly supporting “utterly insane” in the American political system whatsoever. America will vote for the shiniest thing. “Utterly insane” is hugely shiny to the right people, “normal” is not. They need to come up with something better than that fast or just replay the last election.
posted by Artw at 3:27 PM on April 10


[A couple deleted. Complaints about moderation go to the comment form or metatalk, not in-thread. And sotonohito, you have made six comments in this thread, half of which have been deleted, making the same points over and over and over again, and at great length, which we have asked you repeatedly not to do in politics threads. Do not immediately repost a slightly remixed comment as soon as one gets deleted. If you continue, I will give you a day off.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 3:31 PM on April 10 [4 favorites]


they sucked, the point of the train metaphor is that you have a derailed train either way
posted by moorooka at 3:32 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering: Is anyone here on Metafilter a Biden supporter? Biden was probably my 4th or 5th choice in the primaries.

I voted for Warren in the NH primary, but I sure as shit am a Biden supporter now.
posted by schoolgirl report at 3:42 PM on April 10 [11 favorites]


Overall Bernie's run makes me positive about the future. The hope that as older voters die and younger, lefter voters age and move the electorate left is evergreen and generally unfulfilled, but as has been mentioned in this thread those previous generations that got conservative as they aged could be explained by amassing wealth and saying fuck you got mine, and thanks to people like Joe Biden that really isn't a possibility for most younger people. I maybe foolishly believe that people are becoming more class conscious, and that greater access to knowledge through the web is one reason (and young people don't watch cable news so maybe their perceived political spectrum will be wider than conservative -> fascist).

The worry comes from the fact that, depending on the outcome of the election, Trump and his Wall Street buddies or Biden and his identical Wall Street buddies will continue to make life in this country terrible for most. Even though Bernie's loss was evident for a long time, political failures like this hurt because each one moves us closer to violent revolution, and very few people genuinely want that. The kind of New Deal programs that will be required in the next few years won't be endorsed by Trump, and they won't be endorsed by Biden.

For me, the story of the 2020 election can be told in one image.
posted by Cezar Golescu at 3:44 PM on April 10 [9 favorites]


The liberals are viewing the train metaphor as returning the train to a position where it is not currently on fire, and that in and of itself is a vast improvement.

The leftists are viewing the train metaphor as returning the train to a position where it is not currently on fire, but it is aimed directly at the fire and mangled track that it was just extricated from and will derail into the fire once the engines are restarted if it even gets that far, and thus that that is not a vast improvement.

Incremental versus sweeping change. Whether you can stomach Biden largely depends on whether you view the institutions that are Congress and the Presidency and the economy and the American workforce and the Democratic Party to be broken beyond repair or not.
posted by delfin at 3:44 PM on April 10 [9 favorites]



I voted for Warren in the NH primary, but I sure as shit am a Biden supporter now.


yeah, it's like the playoffs*. Your team gets taken out in the first or second round, you gravitate to the next best choice ... and so on until the finals.

* except this actually fucking matters.
posted by philip-random at 3:45 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


no one's putting the train back on the tracks we had - the best we can hope for now is that we can build a new set of tracks from where the train is

and there is just no telling what this is going to look like in november - we are in truly uncharted territory

i'll vote for biden - if he's still running - if i'm still running :) - i can't take anything for granted

trump may have driven the train off the tracks - but it's just random damned history that set it on fire or whatever you want to say - it's done - the world we knew is not coming back
posted by pyramid termite at 3:48 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Moorooka, my parents are a short drive away from the US (now, global) epicenter of pandemic infections and deaths. Taking your metaphor to its logical conclusion is a life and death reality for people I love. I want to understand how people can equate Trump with Biden, if only in terms of how existential crises are handled — be they train derailments, hurricanes in Puerto Rico, or global pandemics — and ignoring all the rest of the dysfunction and corruption.

I am not a Biden supporter. I just want to understand the logical process. If you believe that Biden and Trump are identical in how they would lead the country, which is what your metaphor clearly states, you believe that Biden would have thrown rolls of paper towels at hurricane victims, deliberately withheld federal aid to those victims and left them unsheltered, ignored the spread of a global pandemic for months, set up US states to bid against each other on the private market for PPE, stolen medical supplies from other countries, and allowed medical staff to wear trash bags for protection, while pushing the country back to work, patronizing businesses and places of worship, even though this puts still yet more Americans (including my parents) at risk of sickness and death.

I do not believe this, I cannot believe this, but I'm not trying to be unreasonable when I say that I want to understand. It seems like the stakes of continuing on the path we are on are stark, severe, and plainly evident, at least from my perspective. My narrow view seems to be a failure on my part. Please help me to understand.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:52 PM on April 10 [8 favorites]


we have been told "nothing will fundamentally change"
posted by entropicamericana at 3:53 PM on April 10 [6 favorites]


Soundguy - whats the case they are making?

That Biden is an experienced, compassionate elder statesman, with a legislative & executive branch track record of working to expand and protect civil rights and improve the lives of the disadvantaged.

You can agree with this characterization of Biden or not, but to claim that "nobody" is making that case for him seems very insular to me.
posted by soundguy99 at 3:59 PM on April 10 [7 favorites]


Technically the metaphor is about resetting til just before we get a Trump, which is reassuring (less insanity) but also disturbing (what if we roll forwards and get Worse Trump.

There’s definitely a whole “neoliberal capitalism has created a hellworld which seems to be giving rise to fascist upheaval across multiple countries” thing here that is not going to go away if we ignore it, which is a thing that should worry everyone even given a Biden win. Like climate change it’ll let people who want to stick their head in the sand do that for a bit but reality will catch up soon enough.
posted by Artw at 3:59 PM on April 10 [13 favorites]


Soundguy - honestly not trying to score points here but the thing that should worry you about that is it just sounds like boilerplate. You could put that in for any generic Dem and it would work just as well.
posted by Artw at 4:05 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


That would be a more worrisome point, Artw, if any generic Dem wouldn't be a better president than Donald Trump.

In addition to which - if I see a chance to remove the other guy's queen in chess, I'm not going to refuse to do it because the rules don't also give me another queen at the same time. Removing a powerful piece from the other side's control is itself a valuable move. Let's assume that Joe Biden will be the mindless, souless Rock of Corruption that folks in this thread seem to assume. What will Sanders, Warren, and AOC be doing in the next four to eight years? What will progressives at the grassroots level be doing? You think whatever they have planned won't be easier with a Democrat, even the utter caricature of senile incapacity being trotted out in this thread, in the White House?
ds
Political protagonism isn't limited to the White House. But who holds the White House does raise or lower considerable obstacles for protagonism at all other levels.
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:26 PM on April 10 [8 favorites]


They see [Biden] as an experienced, compassionate elder statesman, the complete opposite of Trump.
Right, so is a cheese sandwich. But who is out there making a case for him?


I would probably vote for a cheese sandwich over a Republican, and I would vote for a moldy cheese sandwich over the likes of Donald Trump.

It'd be a tough call on Biden vs cheese sandwich -- probably depending on factors including whether the cheese sandwich is my favorite kind, one with grilled onions, provalone, some feta, and american, with just a bit of pepper added, there's obviously no point in voting for a cheese sandwich if you aren't going to get THE cheese sandwich of your heart, and maybe also whether or not the cheese sandwich not only favors improving access to healthcare in general but wants to eliminate private insurance. But given Biden's experience I think it'd be a competition at least.
posted by wildblueyonder at 4:29 PM on April 10 [5 favorites]


The only choices I see at this point are between:

(a) voting for Biden, and maybe getting four years' breathing room to work for something better, or

(b) letting Trump walk away with it, and getting to say "we told you so!" while the world burns.

If there is an option (c) that gets us to a better nation without abandoning the most vulnerable members of our society to fend for themselves while we build it from scratch, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

I was a Warren supporter until she dropped out, and a Bernie supporter until he dropped out. I'm not thrilled with what's left; Biden's not my guy, either. But in November 2020 I'm going to be voting for the candidate most likely to maintain a nation in which I can vote again in 2024.
posted by invincible summer at 4:29 PM on April 10 [23 favorites]


METAFILTER: a tough call on Biden vs cheese sandwich
posted by philip-random at 4:49 PM on April 10 [5 favorites]


I have no faith that people weakly supporting “not insane” can defeat people strongly supporting “utterly insane” in the American political system whatsoever.

I'm serious that the older Dems I know genuinely like and respect Joe Biden. They want everyone to have healthcare, they think college is too expensive, they think Wall Street has too much power, in a lot of ways they were ripe for Sanders to pick. But they didn't like Sanders because they saw him as too extreme. They did not see his rhetoric as the rhetoric of someone who passionately believed the system was unfair and needed to be upended. They saw it as the rhetoric of somebody trying to get attention, who was out for himself and only himself--like Trump. They felt he and his campaign were rude and unfair to other candidates--like Trump. Electing him seemed like trading one news hound for another. Meanwhile, to them, Joe Biden feels familiar and calming, openly empathetic, a voice of experience, and is closely associated with one of the most beloved presidents of their lifetimes. And while they don't say it, I strongly get the impression from the white ones in the group that they really just want a "set it and forget it" sort of POTUS who they can trust to be generally competent so they can go back to not thinking about politics so much.

These are not exciting, meme-making, Twitter-using, witticism-generating voters, but they are very reliable and extremely enthusiastic about removing Trump from office. Banking on these voters got Biden the nomination. Hopefully it will get Trump out of office as well.

Personally, I think the best thing that can be said about Joe Biden is that he (a) likes the people side of politics and (b) is type of guy who overall moves in the direction the Democratic Party wind is blowing. This means if (a) you are willing to shake his hand and engage in some small talk about dogs and kids and (b) be a Democrat pushing left then he will then go left right along with you. Which means there is absolutely opportunity for progressives to influence his decisions if they can stop shitting on him for five minutes and queue up some dog-and-kid photos on their phones.
posted by schroedinger at 4:54 PM on April 10 [19 favorites]


Biden said he’d veto M4A even if it passed Congress, even after a world-historical pandemic. That’s what you’re dealing with.
posted by moorooka at 4:58 PM on April 10 [10 favorites]


we have been told "nothing will fundamentally change"

This is such lazy, useless drive-by snark.

I don't like Biden. He was at the bottom of my list as far as candidates who weren't total jokes. I voted for Warren. Sanders was my second choice.

However: every time this stupid thing gets trotted out, I fucking cringe for the left. The reporting around this supposedly damning quote, this "taking the mask off" moment the left is so goddamn obsessed with, was so obviously a bad faith reading of what he was claimed to have said that I don't even know where to begin.

Biden went in front of a group of rich people, and said:

- I'm not going to demonize you
- We all know something has to change, we may disagree about the specifics but there has to be a change
- Your standard of living won't change, (and the oh-so-damning, "nothing would fundamentally change").

It could not be clearer that he is saying to a bunch of rich people: "I'm not going to tell people you're the devil, but we all know the wealthy have to kick in a larger share (though we disagree with the specifics). Regardless, you all know that you're so wealthy that this is not going to change your standard of living".

This is the coveted "mask slipping" moment -- Biden literally telling rich people that they know deep down that paying more taxes isn't going to hurt them.

Jesus fucking wept, people.
posted by tocts at 4:59 PM on April 10 [39 favorites]


I don't think it's unfair to say that putting in the slightest bit of effort to convince people otherwise from him or his campaign would do wonders at this point but I'm not really seeing it happening.
posted by Artw at 5:03 PM on April 10 [5 favorites]


Jesus fucking wept, people.

After reading this thread, I would say he is weeping still. Idolize, demonize, idolize, demonize ad infinitum. And yet we are talking about people -- not demigods, not demons. Surely we can do better than this.
posted by y2karl at 5:04 PM on April 10 [8 favorites]


I prefer what Warren would say to those rich people.

Things should fundamentally change.
posted by Gadarene at 5:05 PM on April 10 [7 favorites]


Biden said he’d veto M4A even if it passed Congress, even after a world-historical pandemic. That’s what you’re dealing with.

The full response:
I would veto anything that delays providing the security and the certainty of health care being available now . . . If they got that through by some miracle, there was an epiphany that occurred, and some miracle occurred that said okay, it passed, then you got to look at the costs. I want to know, how do they find the $35 trillion? What is that doing? Is it going to significantly raise taxes on the middle class, which it will. What’s going to happen?

Look, my opposition isn’t to the principle that you should have Medicare. Health care should be a right in America. My opposition relates to whether or not a) it’s doable, 2) what the cost is and what consequences for the rest of budget are. How are you going to find $35 trillion over the next 10 years without having profound impacts on everything from taxes for middle class and working class people as well as the impact on the rest of the budget?

Biden has been extremely clear, over and over, that he thinks everyone should have healthcare. He believes M4A is not a good way to make it happen. You can disagree with him on the feasibility and desirability of implementing a Sanders-style M4A plan, but don't pretend it means he doesn't want people to have healthcare.
posted by schroedinger at 5:06 PM on April 10 [22 favorites]


[I'm going to start deleting one-liners dunking on a candidate or that candidate's followers because they're mostly turning out to be decontextualized on purpose to support a tendentious reading of Biden's or Sanders's intentions/beliefs, and kicking off repetitive arguments as a result. If you have a point to make you can make the point clearly and kindly and, if necessary, supported by evidence, instead of bickering in snarky one-liners intended to start fights.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:15 PM on April 10 [13 favorites]


It's hard to claim Joe Biden wants everyone to have healthcare when, according to Joe Biden, his plan leaves 10 million people uninsured:
“The problem with your plan is that it leaves 10 million people uncovered,” Castro said during Thursday’s debate, criticizing Biden's health care proposal.

This is mostly true, according to the text of Biden's own plan. His plan estimates that his expansion of the Affordable Care Act would insure "more than an estimated 97 percent of Americans."
posted by Cezar Golescu at 5:18 PM on April 10 [5 favorites]


It could not be clearer that he is saying to a bunch of rich people: "I'm not going to tell people you're the devil, but we all know the wealthy have to kick in a larger share (though we disagree with the specifics). Regardless, you all know that you're so wealthy that this is not going to change your standard of living".

"Look, I'm not going to shit you, your taxes will go up a very small amount, but that small amount won't actually affect your lifestyle in any significant way" would be much clearer, in my opinion. To me, when someone stands in front of a bunch of people who are very rich and says "No one’s standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change," it just reminds me of all the very rich people who thought that Warren's plan to tax 2 percent of wealth above $50,000,000 would be akin to depriving them of everything. I think the very rich have extremely different ideas of what constitutes a change to their standard of living than the non-very-rich do.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:19 PM on April 10 [8 favorites]


Explaining clearly how he is going to get people Healthcare - obviously having an easily explainable plan that doesn't have gaps would be a plus, which probably means pushing back on the Democrat addiction to means testing - firstly because means testing is a bureaucratic nightmare that always leaves people out, and secondly because If the proposal is something convoluted and vague selling it is going to be a nonstarter.

Mostly I am describing M4A here, unfortunately.

(He has, BTW, suggested lowering the medicare age to 60, which is a clearly defined policy at least I guess, though nobody seems particularly impressed by it. There's some student loan relief proposal as well but its so loaded down with means testing nonsense as to be completely unsaleable)
posted by Artw at 5:31 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


It's hard to claim Joe Biden wants everyone to have healthcare when, according to Joe Biden, his plan leaves 10 million people uninsured:

It's not hard to claim it at all. He absolutely wants everyone to have healthcare and truly believes, with quite good justification, that his plan is the one which both gets us closest to that goal and can be passed into law.

Putting forward a plan which covers everyone is trivial. Getting 51 Senators to vote for a plan which covers everyone is the trick and ignoring that fact doesn't make it go away.

Lastly, a strong public option will almost inevitably lead to true universal healthcare. It's not just a foot in the door, it's like 50% of your body in the door.
posted by Justinian at 6:03 PM on April 10 [24 favorites]


Putting forward a plan which covers everyone is trivial. Getting 51 Senators to vote for a plan which covers everyone is the trick and ignoring that fact doesn't make it go away.

Thank you for stating this again. I don't think this is remembered by folks all that often.
posted by SoberHighland at 6:26 PM on April 10 [8 favorites]


Getting 51 senators to vote for universal healthcare is impossible, but getting 51 senators to vote for “a strong public option that will inevitably lead to true universal healthcare” is totally different! Shhh don’t tell the senators.
posted by moorooka at 6:29 PM on April 10 [4 favorites]


I'm not the person who said that Biden is a poison pill, but that is my fear.

He is an exceptionally weak candidate; the weakest candidate I can imagine right now. We have on-the-record statements from him being unbelievably callous toward the economic woes of everyone under 40 ("give me a break, I don't have any empathy, I don't want to hear it"); decades of racist statements and votes; decades of creepy, boundary-crossing behavior toward women, some of it caught on live TV; the Anita Hill thing and his support of Clarence Thomas, one of our worst Supreme Court justices; that sexual assault allegation; his recent encouragement that his supporters vote in person, despite public health risks; then there's the Burisma and Hunter Biden thing.

Clinton was practically spotless in comparison, and they turned her emails into a never-ending scandal. To imagine that Biden will emerge from that machine the victor? It feels delusional to me. In one paragraph I could summon a litany of attack ads to alienate nearly every single major Democratic demographic.

I am envisioning a future in which Donald Trump, the worst president in U.S. history, an absolute fucking joke of a person, a toxic cesspool of a human, presiding over a once-in-a-century public health crisis as well as a once-in-a-century economic crisis, mismanaging both due to unbelievable incompetence and cruelty, still manages to defeat the Democratic presidential candidate, chosen from a field of more than a dozen. And I do not believe the Democratic party can recover from such a setback. Yes, it's the media's fault. It doesn't matter. Such a spectacular failure will reverberate for a long, long time.

I don't want any of this to happen. This is not some kind of sour grapes. It's what I've feared from the very beginning. And increasingly it feels like this is just the car I'm trapped in, accelerating off a cliff.

One of the two parties will emerge from this massive world-altering crisis being permanently destroyed, defunct and irrelevant. By all rights it should be Republicans, but if Democrats can't manage to make an effective case to the country, even now, even NOW, then it's going to be the Democrats whose party ends here. I'm terrified of what waits on the other side.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 6:29 PM on April 10 [15 favorites]


Getting 51 senators to vote for universal healthcare is impossible, but getting 51 senators to vote for “a strong public option that will inevitably lead to true universal healthcare” is totally different!

I mean, they had 59 out of 60 on board last time. It's not unreasonable to think they could aim for 50 out of 50 this time.
posted by Justinian at 6:30 PM on April 10 [5 favorites]


[moorooka, you are making this thread a lot harder to moderate than it needs to be, please leave this thread alone now.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:39 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Lastly, a strong public option will almost inevitably lead to true universal healthcare. It's not just a foot in the door, it's like 50% of your body in the door.

Probably worth selling as such then, my understanding was that it’s a modest extension to Obamacare that basically leaves everything else as is.
posted by Artw at 6:53 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Hey all, apologies in advance for my lengthy verbal diarrhea!

1) What does it mean that Biden won the nomination? The most notable thing about this thread is that the Biden side has almost entirely discussed the primary as a horse race, not Biden's actual policies or vision. Even there, the conversation's focused on Bernie (did he ran a good campaign or not?), not on the actual policies that Biden supports other than being not Trump. It's curious and telling the conversation above where a Biden supporter takes "politics" to mean a kind of electoral game, while a Bernie supporter understands "politics" to mean the contesting of power and oppression. And it's for good reason: Biden is arguably the most right-wing Democratic candidate in my lifetime, an architect of the mass incarceration state, an ally of Reagan and the GOP on abortion against the Democrats, a man who frequently vowed to cut medicare and social security, a supporter of the war in Iraq and the 2008 bailout, and the man who pushed Clarence Thomas into the Supreme Court.

2) Is Biden electable? Being someone who isn't Trump does not create enthusiasm. Even if you are pro-Biden and anti-Bernie, this should concern you. Biden has the lowest percentage of strongly enthusiastic voters of any Democratic Presidential candidate of the last 20 years: 24% vs Trump's 53%. His "not so" enthusiastic numbers are almost twice as high as Trump's (26% vs 14%). He may have beaten an elderly socialist from Vermont (who incidentally often polled much better than he did in swing states), but he may also be the second coming of Kerry, Gore, Dukakis, and Mondale, but in a time of greater voter suppression and an ascendant right: a loser that no one liked, but voted for because they assumed someone else would.

3) Race: As someone who ran a POC organization for more than a decade and whose friends are mostly black, Latinx, and Asian supporters of Bernie, can I suggest that people do not talk about all black (or POC) voters as if they are a mindless monolith who all think the same way? The triumphalist Bidenites using black southern voters as a club against the Bernie campaign is incredibly dehumanizing. Rather than resorting to pop psychology, a future historical analysis of South Carolina will have to consider institutions: how black democrats in the south came to broker a unique position as an interest group within the traditional Democratic party--which would make them significantly resistant to attacks on that party like those made by Bernie. In 2020, Bernie held 40 events in SC, doubled his state's campaign staff, and more than tripled his state endorsements, but I suspect his real issue was being an anti-systemic candidate in a context where the voters depend on the democratic party machinery as a way of being included within the power structure. One should also add that Bernie's share of the black vote in SC was divided in the same generational ways as elsewhere (he won black voters here under 30). And more than one poll had shown him beating Biden among black voters on a national level.

4) Bernie lost, but he ran a significantly better campaign than Biden did! The main problem is that it's incredibly difficult to build the organizational structure overnight to take over the Democratic party. He essentially started with little party support, no billionaire donors, no DNC backing, fought an adversarial media, and became the most visible Democratic politician in the country, with the most engaged base and biggest war chest. Every single other candidate ran in relationship to him and were pushed left by his platform: $15 minimum wage, Green New Deal, Medicare for All, which is now supported by the majority of Americans.

Biden comparatively ran an awful campaign. He seemed to be running out of money several times. Investors kept abandoning him for other candidates like Bloomberg. He set up almost no field offices (a bad sign for the general election!), had few major endorsements, whether from newspapers or even from Barak Obama! While Obama/Biden/DNC consolidated the loss of Democratic congressional and state power across the country, eventually handing all three branches of government to the GOP, Bernie galvanized the most impressive left organization effort in my life time (the DSA) and an entire generation of new political talent, including AOC who was inspired the run by the Sanders campaign and became one of the most popular politicians in the country.

The point is not that Bernie Sanders didn't win. The fact that a self-professed socialist with no DNC support and few big ticket donors ran so well against a well-known Vice President shows the weakness of the Democratic coalition's structure and organization. Part of the despair that we leftists feel is the sense that we have missed the one chance to make things right, especially in a time when even the Financial Times is pushing for far more radical policies than Democratic leadership.
posted by johnasdf at 7:05 PM on April 10 [34 favorites]


The point is that Biden DID win.

And we continue from this point. Hopefully Sanders stays in the mix and keeps doing what he does best: inspiring positive changes and keeping supporters engaged, and not despondent.
posted by SoberHighland at 7:29 PM on April 10 [9 favorites]


It's curious and telling the conversation above where a Biden supporter takes "politics" to mean a kind of electoral game, while a Bernie supporter understands "politics" to mean the contesting of power and oppression.

It's both? You can have the most right-on politics in the world, but it will not spare you from having to spend months in rooms with people you don't particularly care for making concessions you are deeply conflicted about in order to hammer out agreements you have no passion for. I can see why, in the abstract, revolutions are so appealing by contrast.
posted by um at 8:04 PM on April 10 [14 favorites]


You can contest power and oppression. Playing the electoral game is the way you do those things.

They are intertwined concepts, they are NOT exclusive.
posted by SoberHighland at 8:27 PM on April 10 [11 favorites]


It's not hard to claim it at all. He absolutely wants everyone to have healthcare and truly believes, with quite good justification, that his plan is the one which both gets us closest to that goal and can be passed into law.

Putting forward a plan which covers everyone is trivial. Getting 51 Senators to vote for a plan which covers everyone is the trick and ignoring that fact doesn't make it go away.

Lastly, a strong public option will almost inevitably lead to true universal healthcare. It's not just a foot in the door, it's like 50% of your body in the door.


I don't think significant healthcare reform was ever truly in the cards regardless of who the Democratic nominee is. The Senate map for Democrats in 2020 doesn't look great, and Trump produced a surge in rural voter turnout in 2018 that helped Republicans keep Senate seats even if they lost the house due to swings in suburban districts because of the anti-Trump surge. At best, Biden will work with a much smaller Senate majority than the Democrats had in 2008-2010 when the ACA passed. Maybe the pandemic will produce enough additional impetus due to the crisis atmosphere, but I have my doubts.

Either way, I'm much less enthusiastic about a public option now than I was during the debates over the ACA. Subsequent experience at the state level shows it produces just as much opposition as something like Medicare for All, so I can't imagine it passing in anything resembling a useful form at the national level.

Washington State's Quasi Public Option

While single payer is certainly more controversial, Washington State’s experience shows that the public option also must clear high political and practical hurdles. Opposition from physicians, hospitals, and private insurers forced such far-reaching changes to Washington’s plan that its viability and impact on the market are now uncertain.

More fundamentally, Biden's plan promises two contradictory things: a strong public option and no disruptions to the private health insurance market. You can't have one without the other. A strong public insurer, and Biden's plan does describe a strong starting position for a public insurer, would inevitably pull people from private insurance company risk pools and therefore force alterations to or even cancellations of private insurance plans. Maybe that's why his plan only claims to cover 97% of Americans. Somewhere in the above camel-eye-needle threading you end up with high premiums and/or deductibles that are still too expensive for many people. Otherwise, his plan doesn't add up.

Because of the above contradictions, its honestly hard for me to take him seriously on the issue.

This great article goes into more detail than I can.

Public Option Politically Superior to Medicare For All - But Only As a Sound Bite

I realize its water under the bridge at this point with Biden being the nominee, but considering the pandemic and people losing their jobs/insurance, the issue of healthcare isn't going away. if Biden does manage to introduce his plan next year, its worth keeping the above difficulties in mind as negotiations play out and the inevitable compromises are made.

I'd love to be wrong and for Biden's plan to work, but I just don't see it. I think Sanders was correct when he basically said meaningful healthcare reform would require a "political revolution" to pass. Too bad his "revolution" wasn't strong enough. I think greater political pressure is needed before we finally can rip off the band-aid that is true healthcare reform to achieve true universal healthcare.
posted by eagles123 at 8:31 PM on April 10 [5 favorites]


A cheese sandwich doesn't have Biden's rolodex. Thank you, Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish, for writing the comment that I've been waiting for a chance to get back to my computer to write. For some reason, the dismantling of the administrative state is being mostly ignored here, but it is a serious bleeding wound that Biden is very well-suited to staunch. It has multiplicative effects, making every other problem worse and harder to solve.
posted by Jpfed at 9:43 PM on April 10 [12 favorites]


There's nothing "triumphalist" about noting Biden's greater level of success with voters of color over Sanders. It's a simple fact, and a depressing one, because Sanders' policies would do so much more than Biden's to help everyone, but especially communities of color. That makes it all the more disappointing that Sanders and his campaign failed to build the coalitions needed to win.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:13 PM on April 10 [4 favorites]


It'd be a tough call on Biden vs cheese sandwich

You go to war with the cheese sandwich you have, not the cheese sandwich you might want or wish to have at a later time. Like it or not, Joe Biden is now our cheese sandwich, and we have to convince people to turn out to vote for him. Recall that Trump won the last election by a not insurmountable margin, and that the states that propelled him to unexpected victory---particularly Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin---favored him by especially small margins. Those states are places where Joe Biden actually might poll well.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:38 PM on April 10 [9 favorites]


I am surprised to see no real discussion in this thread of Tr*mp's ongoing attempts to smear and undermine Biden. HE thinks Biden is the strongest candidate against him.
posted by PhineasGage at 10:42 PM on April 10 [8 favorites]


So does the polling. The only actual data we have says that Biden is the strongest opponent against Trump. People are completely free to hold a different opinion obviously but it's contrary to the only data we have rather than in alignment with it.
posted by Justinian at 10:55 PM on April 10 [9 favorites]


I sort of think this discussion hasn't caught up with reality. The plague and depression will push forward the most liberal agenda of our lifetimes, but only if we have a democratic president.
posted by xammerboy at 11:47 PM on April 10 [16 favorites]


We've been talking about how voters can tell pollsters they believe X, but when the question is broken down or rephrased their beliefs seem closer to Y. A key question is whether they vote those revealed preferences or not. My inclination is that the majority of the time, they don't -- if they're someone whose professed view is X, they vote for the politician who is saying X, even if there's some genuine sense in which they "really" believe Y. An exception would be when the real belief is on the taboo side, and this was a source of some of Trump's power: millions of Republicans who truly wished, in their heart of hearts, for someone to get up there and say maximally horrible things about Mexicans and Muslims, and he stood alone in his degree of willingness to do that.

Sadly, there's not quite the same amount of pent-up demand for someone to attack capitalism, though it's still refreshingly high. That's true, by extension, for ideas like the elimination of private healthcare. So my sense is that if we're going to get from there to here, something like a bait-and-switch has to happen; right now, when you ask someone their feeling about their current insurance, they're likely to say they approve, because the cannot being to visualize having it swapped in for something from the government that actually works. All they know is what it's like to not have any insurance at all, and how much that sucks. (This is also how people perceive conversations about "capitalism" -- they understand it to be that thing where you have a job and can obtain food and shelter thanks to that job, and they're not going to believe you that getting rid of "capitalism" would mean anything other than becoming homeless.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:07 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


yeah, it's like the playoffs*. Your team gets taken out in the first or second round, you gravitate to the next best choice ... and so on until the finals.

And ultimately all you want is someone to take down the Patriots.
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:17 AM on April 11 [6 favorites]


It's not hard to claim it at all. He absolutely wants everyone to have healthcare and truly believes, with quite good justification, that his plan is the one which both gets us closest to that goal and can be passed into law.

The problem I have with that statement is that Biden has gone **FAR** out of his way to deny that it's true.

He literally said that if somehow M4A passed through Congress and he was President he'd veto it. He didn't have to say that. Like his "I have no empathy, give me a break" comment, his fantasy of vetoing M4A was hateful, spiteful, meanspirited, and totally unnecessary. And also an insight into his actual opinions and beliefs. I'm sure he was being totally honest when he said he'd veto M4A if it somehow passed.

It dredges up memories of the awful times when Obama was busy pre-negotiating with himself to open with an already right leaning offer when dealing with the Republicans. Despite being VP for the eight solid years of Republican hate and opposition, Biden (like Obama) seems to think that if only he can just give up enough, if only he can punch enough hippies, then those Republicans will be swell fellows and they can pal around like Tip'n'Ronnie.

So even if we do accept that somehow his statement about vetoing M4A needed to be put through the Biden whisperer secret decoder ring and really means he wants everyone to have healthcare but just can't say it openly because reasons, it shows that he was totally unable to learn from the Obama years and will be a similarly ineffective and surrender first style of President. That's not encouraging to people who will, you know, die if they don't get healthcare.
posted by sotonohito at 5:29 AM on April 11 [9 favorites]


Negative cases and don’t work at generals - what is the positive case?

People keep saying that, but I can't see where they're getting that idea. Sure, Not-Being-Trump evidently didn't work enough for Hillary, but are we sure that Not-being-Hillary didn't work quite a bit for Trump? It apparently worked quite a bit for Bernie, considering those places where he beat Hillary and lost to Biden.

Trump has his die-hards who just want to see world burn, obviously. The world has done quite a bit of burning in the meantime, and one would assume they might start to see diminishing returns from the spectacle - but I'm not optimistic. These are the voters Trump is never going to lose. But they're not enough to win this for him. Let's not forget what a near thing it was last time. The enthusiasm for Trump wasn't actually that great. He did lose the popular vote.

Last time we had quite a few Republicans who did a fair bit of initial belly-aching about Trump being a proper disgrace who apparently must have voted for him anyway, convincing themselves that Clinton was worse after all. They're not going to be as unsettled by Biden, simply because he's a guy.

Of course I think that actually winning their votes is a fantasy. But maybe that's not even necessary. Maybe it's enough if they just decide to sit this one out. Biden might not do much for democratic turnout on his own, but he might depress republican turnout, simply by not being enough of a boogeyman for them to keep holding their noses for Trump.

It's a pretty risky calculation - not any less risky than whatever plan Bernie had to do this without winning over the democratic establishment (I do blame the democratic establishment for not being won over anyway, but alas, they were not won over; it is what it is). And since I would estimate the chances of success about equally high (= not very high, but not zero either), I know which risk I would have rather taken. Bernie would have been high risk high reward, and Biden is high risk low reward, and of course that's dispiriting. But it's no reason to already declare Trump the winner.
posted by sohalt at 5:41 AM on April 11 [8 favorites]


Moorooka, my parents are a short drive away from the US (now, global) epicenter of pandemic infections and deaths. Taking your metaphor to its logical conclusion is a life and death reality for people I love. I want to understand how people can equate Trump with Biden, if only in terms of how existential crises are handled — be they train derailments, hurricanes in Puerto Rico, or global pandemics — and ignoring all the rest of the dysfunction and corruption.

I think a good primer to understand why, beyond the immediate timeframe, Biden and Trump are essentially equivalent on climate change is David Wallace-Wells's The Uninhabitable Earth.

The next year is a critical amount in our species and even if Biden gets elected and passed the most liberal/centrist agenda of our lifetimes (he doesn't, can't, and won't) will simply delay the inevitable climate cataclysm by just a few years. Not decades, but just a few years. The feedback loops heating up the world will just be too far along by that point (barring a massive, radical change at a civilizational level).

Is it better than doing nothing? Certainly. But clawing back a few years of degraded quality of life is not the same as curing a late-stage terminal cancer.
posted by Ouverture at 5:50 AM on April 11 [3 favorites]


By that metric we're all doomed because nobody, including Sanders, would do anything like you're suggesting is necessary? Maybe believing we're doomed is reasonable but that's not Biden's fault?
posted by Justinian at 6:01 AM on April 11 [15 favorites]


By that metric we're all doomed because nobody, including Sanders, would do anything like you're suggesting is necessary? Maybe believing we're doomed is reasonable but that's not Biden's fault?

I think Sanders's Green New Deal would have had a strong chance. So do many climate scientists. But that door is shut now.

That this decision was made by people who won't even be alive to see the consequences of their decisions only makes it all the more heartbreaking and cruel.
posted by Ouverture at 6:08 AM on April 11 [9 favorites]


So even if we do accept that somehow his statement about vetoing M4A needed to be put through the Biden whisperer secret decoder ring and really means he wants everyone to have healthcare but just can't say it openly because reasons

Politifact:
Look, my opposition isn’t to the principle that you should have Medicare. Health care should be a right in America.

“Be Sure To Drink Your Ovaltine”?

Your arguments against Biden would be stronger without making up things so you can argue with an imaginary straw man.
posted by zamboni at 6:14 AM on April 11 [7 favorites]


When someone says you should have X, then says they would do everything in their power to prevent you from having X, I'm pretty sure they're lying when they say they want you to have it.

Sure, he says he wants us to have healthcare. But look where he spends his actual time: detailing all the ways he thinks we can't have healthcare. He has one throwaway sentence about healthcare being a right, then multiple paragraphs tearing down the idea of healthcare being a right, lying about it costing trillions when every study ever says it'd save over half a trillion annually, and going endlessly on and on about how giving everyone healthcare is impossible and he'd fight against efforts to give everyone healthcare.

Then you tell us we should ignore the bulk of what he said and focus on the feelgood throwaway comment.

Your arguments for Biden would be stronger if you admitted what he said.
posted by sotonohito at 7:05 AM on April 11 [8 favorites]


Wait, which one of us has the secret decoder ring? I’m confused.
posted by zamboni at 7:13 AM on April 11 [3 favorites]


Negative cases and don’t work at generals - what is the positive case?

People keep saying that, but I can't see where they're getting that idea.


Hillary of course, as you say. Bush vs Kerry would be the most apt comparison I think. Bush being a terrible dumbass surrounded by fascists is largely lost to history now, but he was all about folksily invading places and stripping away people’s rights at home. Kerry, on the other hand, was just sort of there.

Democrats insisted he was a slam dunk because he was better than Bush in every way, and who wants a slimy fuck like Cheney secretly controlling everything behind the scenes? It turned out lots of people wanted that, and nobody wanted the dull guy who was better but didn’t really have any kind of dynamic thing going for him.
posted by Artw at 7:30 AM on April 11 [6 favorites]


Why do we need a secret decoder ring at all? Biden must know how important healthcare is for a big part of the democratic base, especially now-- couldn't he just say something unambiguous to clarify his position? It's frustrating how infrequently policy is discussed by either Biden himself or his supporters.
posted by Pyry at 7:34 AM on April 11 [8 favorites]


A lot of people are trying to frame the present pandemic such that, after the dust settles, a certain number of deaths can be treated as the "success" level while anything past that is "failure". This is fallacious, and it's just as frustrating when people apply this same binary thinking to climate change. We've already crossed multiple terrible thresholds on it, and yet more future ones exist that we might or might not cross. There is no game over after which we can give up: Every reduction of emissions makes a difference.

Plus, Trump being re-elected dramatically lowers the future chances of non-Republicans even being practically able to win anywhere. It's not like the fascism is decoupled from the Earth's future; even if Biden's climate policy were somehow negligible (it's not!), the difference for future generations remains vast just by having him in office over the alternative.

sohalt: Let's not forget what a near thing it was last time. The enthusiasm for Trump wasn't actually that great. He did lose the popular vote.

A hundred times this. The single biggest lesson people learn wrongly from any election is that the winning candidate must have done everything right, while the losing candidate did everything wrong. In reality, what Trump did in 2016 is draw an inside straight. For him to win again would mean pulling that off again -- which far from impossible because this time around, Republicans deal some of the cards, even more than they did last time.

The factors are, I think, largely more in Biden's favor this time than they were for Clinton. "Don't run a centrist against the incumbent" is advice that implicitly assumes the incumbent has a popularity level equal to or greater than an "Eh, he's okay I guess" shrug. This public does not shrug at Trump, as much as it feels that way every day that goes by without mass protests or revolution. He's truly loathed.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:40 AM on April 11 [16 favorites]


It's frustrating how infrequently policy is discussed by either Biden himself or his supporters.

Biden talks about policy constantly. Did you watch the debates? They talked about policy non-stop. His policies couldn't be more clear on anything from dealing with coronavirus to... well, everything. I'm having trouble formulating a coherent response because I don't know how you came to the conclusion he doesn't talk about policy.

What policy is it you're unclear on? It can't be health care, surely, we just had ninetyeleven debates which went over that again and again and again.
posted by Justinian at 7:50 AM on April 11 [8 favorites]


Like look at your own comment: you didn't actually bring up any policies, you just reactively turned the question back onto me. This is the frustrating trend, where Biden's policies are only ever discussed reactively, if he or his supporters can be cornered into talking about them.
posted by Pyry at 8:01 AM on April 11 [5 favorites]


You asked why Biden doesn't talk about policies so I said I'd happily point you at his policies if you told me which ones you were interested in and that's your response? That's weird, man. I'm not gonna randomly start spouting off whatever policy comes to mind.
posted by Justinian at 8:03 AM on April 11 [5 favorites]


Deja-vu of the claims that Clinton didn't discuss policy.
posted by schroedinger at 8:05 AM on April 11 [16 favorites]


Making an affirmative case for any policy of Biden's is pointless right now, because he's going to be the Democratic nominee. I can't think of a single position of his I like as compared to Sanders, but I also can't think of a single policy of his I dislike as compared to Trump. There is no amount of Biden discussing policy that would have converted a non-negligible number of Sanders supporters during the primary, and no amount of discussing it now that is likely to get more than a handful of those who aren't already going to hold their nose for him to do so. He's going to run as not-Trump, and we're all just going to have to deal with that, and decide whether that's enough for us. It's certainly enough for me.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:10 AM on April 11 [8 favorites]


A lot of people are trying to frame the present pandemic such that, after the dust settles, a certain number of deaths can be treated as the "success" level while anything past that is "failure". This is fallacious, and it's just as frustrating when people apply this same binary thinking to climate change. We've already crossed multiple terrible thresholds on it, and yet more future ones exist that we might or might not cross. There is no game over after which we can give up: Every reduction of emissions makes a difference.

This is true, but feedback loops and tipping points significantly curtail what is possible even with every reduction of emissions.

Liberals and centrists have spent decades telling leftists a better world is not possible and it turns out they were right.

Plus, Trump being re-elected dramatically lowers the future chances of non-Republicans even being practically able to win anywhere. It's not like the fascism is decoupled from the Earth's future; even if Biden's climate policy were somehow negligible (it's not!), the difference for future generations remains vast just by having him in office over the alternative.

What are the indications that the difference for future generations would be vast other than we hit x degrees of warming in 40 years instead of 50? I'd love to learn more about where you are coming from.
posted by Ouverture at 8:16 AM on April 11 [3 favorites]


I said I'd happily point you at his policies

Let me state up front, again, that yes I'm voting for Biden, and that people being mean to me on the internet does not factor into that decision. But I would characterize your comment as, well, combative rather than as a genuine offer to "happily point you at his policies". I've watched most of the debates, I've perused his website, I've read these threads, (I've even against my best judgement dipped into twitter), and although I think I have a reasonable idea of what policies Biden is against, I have only the haziest idea of what he's actually for, and I don't think I'm alone in this.

If Biden really does have a stable of progressive policies, maybe learn to pitch those better, rather than immediately trying to get into a virtual fight with anyone who expresses ambivalence about him.
posted by Pyry at 8:44 AM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Biden's solution to coronavirus response prominently featured the creation of a task force.

Now that's policy.
posted by Gadarene at 8:45 AM on April 11


He literally said that if somehow M4A passed through Congress and he was President he'd veto it.

Your arguments against Biden would be stronger without making up things so you can argue with an imaginary straw man.

Your arguments for Biden would be stronger if you admitted what he said.


what he actually said ...

Here’s what O’Donnell asked Biden: "Let’s flash forward — you are president. Bernie Sanders is still active in the Senate. He manages to get Medicare for All through the Senate in some compromise version, the Elizabeth Warren version or other version. Nancy Pelosi gets a version of it through the House of Representatives. It comes to your desk. Do you veto it?"

"I would veto anything that delays providing the security and the certainty of health care being available now," Biden said.

"If they got that through by some miracle, there was an epiphany that occurred, and some miracle occurred that said okay, it passed, then you got to look at the costs. I want to know, how do they find the $35 trillion? What is that doing? Is it going to significantly raise taxes on the middle class, which it will. What’s going to happen?"

posted by philip-random at 8:45 AM on April 11 [8 favorites]


Even as an ardent admirer of his, Sanders dropping out hit me harder than I expected. I, too, am dismayed at the end result of the most progressive, diverse Dem primary field the country has ever witnessed.

It's legitimate, not to mention a sane reaction, to have strong negative feelings, up to and including rage and despair, about continuing to participate in an electoral process and political system with so many destructive, catastrophic shortcomings. I also think it would be a fatal mistake to let those feelings drag us into inaction or infighting. (Ahem.)

I'm not saying everyone has a moral obligation to hop on that bandwagon and canvas for Biden (though I know I fucking will because...well we all know what the alternative is and my friends from outside the US would never ever forgive me), but any energy spent yelling at other center-left folks is completely wasted. Utterly. Totally. And it's what the incumbent and his hellspawn wannabe Nazi minions desperately want us to do. (See the tweet posted above.) Let the rage course through you, but then use it to fight in whatever way you're able.

I strongly believe that this is what we OWE Bernie Sanders, not to mention every other principled progressive currently fighting for us at every level of government, despite--and because of--how awful shit is right now. Sanders has spent the bulk of his adult life fighting, constantly, frequently alone, for positions and policies almost none of his colleagues supported, and from 1991 onwards he's done it from within institutions which have always been, on the whole, unsavory. He was willing to get his hands dirty in order to do everything possible to try to help working people. Regardless of how he feels about Joseph R. Biden, I guarantee you he will not be sitting out the election.

If it's good enough for Bernie--and Liz, and AOC, and dozens of other proud progressives--it's good enough for me. That's what I'm hanging onto going forwards.
posted by peakes at 8:51 AM on April 11 [16 favorites]


Deja-vu of the claims that Clinton didn't discuss policy.

Early Clinton campaign was shit on policy. Nobody could tell you what her policies were except saying anything progressive was impossible, so deja vu is entirely possible. She improved a little towards the end but too late. Not being like Clinton would be a great idea here.

Making an affirmative case for any policy of Biden's is pointless right now, because he's going to be the Democratic nominee.

Now is absolutely the time for Biden supporters to be making an affirmative case for his policies because he is the Democratic nominee and if nobody is capable of that then he will lose. Biden supporters need to be the ones doing that because they're the ones that put him there and also that's how you'd get more Biden supporters, not dour admonishments. I'm going to be unkind here and mention that Biden supporters are going to have to put in an extra amount of effort here because he can't or won't do it for himself.

what he actually said ...

Yeah, I'm not seeing leading with "I would veto it" as a positive either. Any other plan but slightly expanded Obamacare gets shitcanned is how I'm reading that, sorry Biden whisperers. And this is a case where your guy is being pretty clear and direct and not talking like Abe Simpson. Healthcare is currently a weak area for him. He's also vulnerable to being outflanked if Republicans goes full Strasserist and push some kind of M4A-but-make-it-fashy, which seemed like the weird direction things were going in for a hot second during the pandemic bill proposals.
posted by Artw at 9:01 AM on April 11 [9 favorites]


Ouverture: Liberals and centrists have spent decades telling leftists a better world is not possible and it turns out they were right.

"Better" is exactly the right word here (while "not possible" is of course totally untrue). I'm saying it's how we should think of things: better, better, better. A better world is logically equivalent to the lesser of two "evil" worlds.

What are the indications that the difference for future generations would be vast other than we hit x degrees of warming in 40 years instead of 50? I'd love to learn more about where you are coming from.

"Hitting X degrees of warming" is just the nutshell version of how climate scientists describe the stakes here. But it's not actually a thing. 2.1 degrees is worse than 2 degrees is worse than 1.9 degrees, and so on.

That may sound defeatist, but only from a perspective that actually embodies the stereotype (sometimes held of liberals/moderates) as being satisfied with too little. There was never going to be a win condition or lose condition; it's harm mitigation all the way down.

My specific point is that a second Trump term doesn't merely come with four years of added destruction to climate, followed by a new election akin the one we have now, like a boxer getting a breather and a second chance to fight. It comes with those four years coupled to a much-too-high probability of another four years of Republican rule, another, and so on, with the dynasty continued perhaps by Tucker Carlson or even in the literal sense by Don Jr, Ivanka, etc. Because they don't merely have control over climate, they have power over the levers of elections.

That's another example of a feedback loop. But like climate feedback loops, it doesn't necessarily spiral into permanent doom. Even if worst-case scenarios like the melted permafrost or President Eric happens, we still have to fight for every life we can. At no point do we have the luxury of giving up.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:17 AM on April 11 [8 favorites]


> Now is absolutely the time for Biden supporters to be making an affirmative case for his policies because he is the Democratic nominee and if nobody is capable of that then he will lose.

I meant here, in this thread, on MetaFilter. Talking about his policies is pointless here, because there is no Sanders supporter waiting to be converted into a Biden supporter. Anyone for whom stopping a literal fascist is insufficient will not be swayed by a particular healthcare plan. Of course Democrats and others who oppose Trump will be able to make a case that Biden should be elected instead of Trump, and I can point to hundreds of reasons why, but comparing his policies to Sanders or Clinton or whoever is a complete waste of time, because there is not one policy on which Trump is better, and many on which he is far worse.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:17 AM on April 11 [8 favorites]


Yeah, I'm not seeing leading with "I would veto it" as a positive either.

you're reading the dynamic of that Biden moment differently than I am. He was conversationally responding to a question, not thinking that what he said, and the order in which he said it, would come to be OFFICIAL POLICY. Though I do think he had that reply prepared. He was ready for the question. Just not planning on being so rigorously held to the minutia of his reply.

I do agree that:

Healthcare is currently a weak area for him. He's also vulnerable to being outflanked if Republicans goes full Strasserist and push some kind of M4A-but-make-it-fashy, which seemed like the weird direction things were going in for a hot second during the pandemic bill proposals.
posted by philip-random at 9:21 AM on April 11 [3 favorites]


I meant here, in this thread, on MetaFilter.

A moderated discussion thread on the blue is the single most supportive venue Biden's policies are going to get. If you can't lay them out here and have nothing but re-litigating the primary then we are all in a lot of trouble.
posted by Artw at 9:23 AM on April 11 [11 favorites]


A friend just posted this flashback on another social media site:
"I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. 'Can I interest you in the chicken?' she asks. 'Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?' To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked." — David Sedaris, The New Yorker, 2008
posted by PhineasGage at 9:33 AM on April 11 [14 favorites]


> A moderated discussion thread on the blue is the single most supportive venue Biden's policies are going to get. If you can't lay them out here and have nothing but re-litigating the primary then we are all in a lot of trouble.

Comparing Biden to Trump instead of to Bernie is quite the opposite of "re-litigating the primary". Holding on to the fact that Biden's policies are bad relative to the Democratic field, on the other hand...
posted by tonycpsu at 9:35 AM on April 11 [7 favorites]


Yes, everyone here understands that Biden is better than Trump. Everyone here would prefer to vote for Biden rather than Trump.

That doesn't change the fact that Biden (D-MBNA) is a shitty candidate with weak-ass policy positions clinging on to a thoroughly outdated view of the world that will doom any prospect of meaningful and necessary change and beholden to special interests.

Like Democrats negotiating against themselves and pre-surrendering on important issues (fucking Biden going over Reid and conceding on the fiscal cliff, for example) was my least favorite part of the Obama administration and I am absolutely incensed that this is the part of the Obama years that we're going to get back in the BEST CASE scenario where Biden wins.

Jesus wept, indeed.
posted by Gadarene at 9:46 AM on April 11 [9 favorites]


I think Biden's instincts are more reliable than most other candidates. He is seasoned enough to be aware that job one is never giving up on benefits that already exists and being prepared to defend them. Other candidates were more cavalier because they arrogantly imagined starting over with their vision, which is naive considering how it can be used by one's enemies to walk them to first base, because they want to start over too. It also happens to be at the heart of the great political fallacy that things must get worse to get better (revolutionary socialism, as opposed to utopian socialism). That's what people tell themselves when they stay home on election day to let Trump win, not realizing we're playing defense right now.
posted by Brian B. at 9:48 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Hillary of course, as you say. Bush vs Kerry would be the most apt comparison I think. Bush being a terrible dumbass surrounded by fascists is largely lost to history now, but he was all about folksily invading places and stripping away people’s rights at home. Kerry, on the other hand, was just sort of there

This is what I find so depressing and scary. I lived through the Bush II era, as I am sure many posting on here did. I remember how it ended. It was clear the Iraq war was a disaster sold on lies. Katrina had drowned New Orleans, and the government response was bungled in a manner similar to how Trump is bungling the response to the current pandemic. Then, the economy collapsed and threatened to plunge the county into another depression. Bush II had a 30 percent approval rating, and I remember speculation on here that he was going to somehow cancel elections.

Yet, fast forward 12 years, and Bush II is hugging Michelle Obama and making friends with Ellen. All if forgiven I guess.

And, the crazy thing is, Bush II came into office with reputation of a "moderate" compared to the extremism of the Gingrich congress. He was a "compassionate conservative".

"If they got that through by some miracle, there was an epiphany that occurred, and some miracle occurred that said okay, it passed, then you got to look at the costs. I want to know, how do they find the $35 trillion? What is that doing? Is it going to significantly raise taxes on the middle class, which it will. What’s going to happen?"


The problem is that this is nonsense. It's trying to scare people with "big" numbers by presenting them without context. Medicare for All reroutes health care spending from insurance company premiums to taxation. Of course the budget number is going to be big, especially if you look at it over a 10 year period but don't mention that fact. Medicare for All also puts the government in a much stronger position to dictate prices, which is the only proven method of controlling health care costs over the long term because health care is an area of market failure. Every honest analysis of health care policy acknowledges this. Biden is just spreading FUD here.

The fact that he is willingly to do this is what scares me the most. It makes me doubt his sincerity. I remember the last time a Democratic president took office after a crisis period in 2008. At that time, people were talking about a sea change in US political philosophy, a new New Deal. Instead, by 2011, the Republicans had maneuvered the Democrats into trying to bargain with them to cut the deficit: meaningless tax increases for high earners paired with devastating cuts that not only hurt 99 percent of Americans but hurt everything from scientific research to our ability to maintain readiness for crises such as the one we are currently facing.

The fact that Biden is willing to play this game over healthcare makes me think he would be willing to revert to the 2011 stance when faced with opposition from Republicans and conservative Democrats. That scares me.

But, of course, I don't have any choice to vote for him because the other option is worse....
posted by eagles123 at 9:49 AM on April 11 [13 favorites]


The risk of any true "outflanking" on healthcare (or anything else) remains extremely low. It would require massive turnover of the Republican Party; aside from their own ideology of screwing over poor people (which they truly believe, even when it's to their own detriment -- in part because they figure vote suppression can always make up the difference) they have donors to answer to. They're not going to turn on a dime just because "clever" pundits can imagine it. Thinking they might is equivalent to "Joe Biden will pick Mitt Romney as his running mate" or some such tripe.

At the most, what will happen is a narrative that amounts to "Half a loaf is basically the same as no loaf. A quarter of a loaf is more than no leaf. Hence, Republicans, promising a quarter-loaf, are outflanking Dems." This double standard could take the form of various persons making a big deal that Republicans $X was given to Medicaid ("That's practically Medicaid for All!") while ignoring Democratic proposals for five times as much, and so forth.

But even more realistic is that Republicans will offer nothing but words, the way they did in 2018 when the whole pitch was the simple lie "We want to protect pre-existing conditions". Voters didn't buy it, or at most it stopped the bleeding, and I don't think voters would buy it this time either.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:51 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


The way you get to social change against enemies arguing in bad faith is to fight for it and fight for it, not to give up preemptively because it will be hard.

You can't fucking win if you don't fucking try.
posted by Gadarene at 9:52 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


> That doesn't change the fact that Biden (D-MNBA) is a shitty candidate with weak-ass policy positions clinging on to a thoroughly outdated view of the world that will doom any prospect of meaningful and necessary change and beholden to special interests.

Yep, it sucks out loud, yet here we are. On the bright side, I know Bernie and his allies in Congress aren't going to let that stop them from holding his feet to the fire when possible, and building a stronger progressive base in the party. There's a lot of work to be done to build a large enough progressive bloc in Congress to force a hypothetical President Biden's hand, but at the same time, I think he's so weakly attached to his policy positions that he can be pushed in the right direction without necessarily having majority support within the Democratic caucus.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:52 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


I think Biden's instincts are more reliable than most other candidates. He is seasoned enough to be aware that job one is never giving up on benefits that already exists and being prepared to defend them.

Where are you getting the idea that Biden is a staunch defender of existing benefits? Biden has spent the past 40 years arguing **IN FAVOR OF** cuts to benefits that already exist. One of the major themes of his entire political career has been calls to cut Social Security.

As recently as 2013 Obama was proposing cuts to Social Security, utterly unforced and purely out of his own desire to cut Social Security not out of negotiations with Republicans, and Biden was 100% on side and argued passionately for those cuts.

The idea that Biden will be a fierce and stalwart defender of Social Security is completely counterfactual and I would guess that he will use his Presidency to achieve is long time goal of slashing Social Security.
posted by sotonohito at 10:07 AM on April 11 [12 favorites]


If any of you guys are interested in reading the Biden campaign's policy positions on various topics, they do have a website:
https://joebiden.com/joes-vision/

(Some of the proposals are quite long.)
posted by Huffy Puffy at 10:12 AM on April 11 [8 favorites]


Are you trying to kill the conversation in here, Huffy_Puffy? (grin)
posted by PhineasGage at 10:25 AM on April 11 [5 favorites]


I cannot understate just how much “there is a website” is not going to be an adequate answer on the campaign trail.

Talking of which, has he been sighted recently? They need to prop him up and get him to announce a VP as soon as possible so there’s at least someone advocating for him out there.
posted by Artw at 10:28 AM on April 11 [6 favorites]


Where are you getting the idea that Biden is a staunch defender of existing benefits? Biden has spent the past 40 years arguing **IN FAVOR OF** cuts to benefits that already exist. One of the major themes of his entire political career has been calls to cut Social Security

That article links a Politifact article that says this claim is false.
posted by girlmightlive at 10:30 AM on April 11 [9 favorites]


The idea that Biden will be a fierce and stalwart defender of Social Security is completely counterfactual and I would guess that he will use his Presidency to achieve is long time goal of slashing Social Security.

I see where the article encouraged you to write slash or cut instead of freeze or adjust (When the program is popular, “adjustment” is a Washington euphemism for cuts. But you can count on Trump to use the more common term.)

Biden was correctly targeting about the only thing left to target in Social Security during Republican tax cuts, which is means-testing and retirement age itself, which correlates with means-testing. The program basically pays wealthy people more than average workers for the same hours worked, and the wealthy draw earlier because they don't work later into life to stay afloat. This is Biden quoted from the link:

“Now, I don’t know a whole lot of people in the top one-tenth of 1 percent or the top 1 percent who are relying on Social Security when they retire. I don’t know a lot of them,” Biden said, alluding to the need to means-test Social Security. “So we need a pro-growth, progressive tax code that treats workers as job creators, as well, not just investors; that gets rid of unproductive loopholes like stepped-up basis; and it raises enough revenue to make sure that the Social Security and Medicare can stay, it still needs adjustments, but can stay; and pay for the things we all acknowledge will grow the country.”

To quote Krugman here:

And speaking of demonization: One unpleasant, ugly side of this debate has been the tendency of some Sanders supporters, and sometimes the campaign itself, to suggest that anyone raising questions about the senator’s proposals must be a corrupt tool of vested interests.
Recently Kenneth Thorpe, a respected health policy expert and a longtime supporter of reform, tried to put numbers on the Sanders plan, and concluded that it would cost substantially more than the campaign says. He may or may not be right, although most of the health wonks I know have reached similar conclusions.
But the campaign’s policy director immediately attacked Mr. Thorpe’s integrity: “It’s coming from a gentleman that worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield. It’s exactly what you would expect somebody who worked for B.C.B.S. to come up with.” Oh, boy.
And let’s be clear: This kind of thing can do real harm. The truth is that whomever the Democrats nominate, the general election is mainly going to be a referendum on whether we preserve the real if incomplete progress we’ve made on health, financial reform and the environment. The last thing progressives should be doing is trash-talking that progress and impugning the motives of people who are fundamentally on their side.

posted by Brian B. at 10:52 AM on April 11 [12 favorites]


Damon Young, VSB: The Lonely Case for Joe Biden
Joe Biden has been, in order, a dangerous young politician, a disappointing older politician, a laughable Democratic presidential candidate, a middling vice president, an uninspired Democratic presidential candidate, and now an uninspiring Democratic nominee. The most charitable encapsulation of him is that he’s merely a benevolent anachronism in over his head—an innocuous relic yet to realize how obsolete he currently is. A sentient phone booth. The worst is that he’s a feckless and rudderless opportunist who may also be a sexual predator.

The best-case scenario of a Biden presidency is that he realizes he’s as disinterested in being president as his campaign would suggest he is, and appoints an outstanding cabinet, delegates as much as possible, and resigns from office after his first term. That would be the most presidential thing he could do. But if he decided to be a traditional president and, you know, actually did stuff, I have less and less doubt that he’d be a bad one.

I also have less and less doubt that, if Donald Trump wins again, he’d be our last one.
I think "may also be a sexual predator" undersells the importance of the things we know for certain that he's done, but otherwise, this is where I'm at in terms of the range of outcomes for a Biden presidency.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:56 AM on April 11 [7 favorites]


Dems love of means testing showing up again. They really need to rethink that shit.
posted by Artw at 10:56 AM on April 11 [8 favorites]


Dems love of means testing showing up again. They really need to rethink that shit.

I don't know what Dems love about anything, but socialism is still synonymous with means-testing.
posted by Brian B. at 11:09 AM on April 11 [5 favorites]


Means testing is a right wing idea. Just ask actual socialists.

Article Explaining why Means Testing is a Right Wing Idea to Undermine Social Programs

Why is that the case? Because when programs are universal it is much harder for the enemies of those programs to attack them as welfare giveaways to the poor, and an unfair burden on those who are more successful. Note that it is almost always the wealthy and privileged and very rarely the poor or working-class that drive the push for means testing. That alone should demonstrate how phony this is as a progressive issue.

The introduction of means testing creates a layer of bureaucracy to monitor who is eligible and ineligible for the social program. It produces a completely useless and unnecessary bureaucracy to eliminate fraud. It drives up the costs of the program and people become infuriated having to fill out forms and prove they are eligible. It is as pleasurable as dealing with a health insurance company or getting a root canal worked on by your dentist. This too plays directly into the hands of those who wish to establish that progressive government programs are inherently flawed, inefficient and incapable of being successful.

posted by eagles123 at 11:23 AM on April 11 [11 favorites]


I don't know what Dems love about anything, but socialism is still synonymous with means-testing.

Lol, yes, famously an increase in complex bureaucracy that arbitrarily excludes people and can be exploited by hostile legislatures to reduce service is what that means. Very well done. You couldn’t just increase higher tax rates or something.

The reason Dems love means testing is because they think it makes things that are more popular with Republicans by making sure they only go to “the deserving”. The reason it’s garbage is it often costs more than just giving people things, it ends up excluding people who shouldn’t be excluded and Republicans absolutely don’t give a shit anyway.
posted by Artw at 11:29 AM on April 11 [10 favorites]


I'll vote for Biden in November, like I voted for Clinton in 2016 but I'm done after that. I think I've had enough of all of this.

It's a free country (for now), so go for it I guess, but my first thought upon reading this is "tell it to the kids in cages."
posted by Lyme Drop at 11:32 AM on April 11 [7 favorites]


"tell it to the kids in cages."
I mean, Biden has quite a bit to have to answer for on that front as well, so I'm not sure that's as productive of a line of differentiation as it used to be. "Less overtly cruel application of cages" is still a step up, but I'm guessing I'm with you in wanting "no kids in cages" (or adults in cages, for that matter) as the ultimate goal.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:36 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Because when programs are universal it is much harder for the enemies of those programs to attack them as welfare giveaways to the poor, and an unfair burden on those who are more successful.

Ignoring the No True Scotsman fallacy of asking actual socialists anything (which would imply old school failed communism, Pol Pot, and current Venezuela and North Korea), the first idea above is factually wrong about any attack, because means-testing is rationing something that wouldn't be given by the right-wing without it. The second idea of punishing success is a complete conservative talking point, almost verbatim.
posted by Brian B. at 11:40 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Conservative talking points have an infinite capacity to adjust to fuck the most people over possible, so trying to chase after them is pointless.
posted by Artw at 11:44 AM on April 11 [7 favorites]


There isn't a ton of empirical evidence supporting the idea that means tested programs are more fragile than universal programs. The studies show plenty of targeted programs that maintain their generosity over time, suggesting that they are not more vulnerable to cuts vs universal programs.

Here is one review of the data, but there's more out there.

This became a campaign talking point when Sanders was targeting the Buttigieg campaign over higher education.
posted by factory123 at 12:19 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


means-tested programs are most costly to run
posted by entropicamericana at 12:46 PM on April 11 [5 favorites]


I guess I’m not sure what this thread is doing now. It’s theoretically about Sanders’ campaign ending but out seems to be demanding Biden voters (not Biden supporters, even, because most of us didn’t support Biden in the primaries) to somehow put on a dog and pony show in this very thread that if not good enough, proves he can’t win.

I was was gutted when Warren’s campaign ended so I get the need to grieve and/or process. But I don’t see how that’s accomplished by turning it into some weirdly symbolic referendum on Biden.

What boggles me is that the desire to talk about Biden seems to be coming from Sanders’ supporters, and not the other way around.

It feels like we’re in the worst of the mega thread territory, with prognostication, fervent campaign advice into the ether, and gyofb analysis.

Maybe this is what grief processing looks like but ugh. I hope it’s not too bad on the mods.
posted by Salamandrous at 12:56 PM on April 11 [30 favorites]


Uh, that paper concludes that universal programs are necessary whereas meanstested programs are necessary for optimizing social programs. It is outright wrong to frame the authors as advocating an either-or dichotomy between the two, they explicitly say countries should find a balance between the two kinds.
posted by polymodus at 12:59 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


means-tested programs are most costly to run

Yes. And it's harder for those who really need the benefits to actually get the benefits.
posted by kingless at 1:07 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. If people want to be able to have US politics discussions here, please aim toward making your comments in here be of the type you want to see, good comments as part of a discussion on Metafilter?]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:17 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


People being mean about Biden would look like this:

1) Where the fuck is he?
2) Draw a clock
3) I believe women

Encouraging Biden supporters to push positive polices, to sell their candidate, here and out in the world and especially with the people he's supposed to be able to reach that other candidates couldn't. The reason I'm pushing this, and I can't speak for anyone else, is the guy has a major enthusiasm problem and people are dealing with it by preemptively dumping on Bernie supporters for not being supportive enough, and as we have seen previously that is how you lose an election. Frankly there is a need for the people who have passively been saying he's electable to actually make that so, and it seems like they are fobbing that duty off on people who never believed that.

Everyone else, who don't feel up to getting all rah-rah about Biden, should be concentrating downticket and on local races and general get out the vote. Even if you don't think Biden can overcome his deficits or if you think he can win but sucks anyway there is some benefit to be gained from those things.
posted by Artw at 1:17 PM on April 11 [17 favorites]


What boggles me is that the desire to talk about Biden seems to be coming from Sanders’ supporters, and not the other way around.

Sanders voters were voting for him based on his policies, and now that he's out, they want to know if and how and to what extent Biden can be made to adopt those policies. I can only speak for myself, but I had no particular attachment to Sanders as a person, and no need to 'grieve'. If the best we can do now is a four-year holding action, then I'll vote for a four-year holding action, but on climate change in particular, the time is running out for even aggressive incremental progress.
posted by Pyry at 1:34 PM on April 11 [12 favorites]


It’s April. The election isn’t until November. The convention is in August. The general campaign hasn’t even started yet.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:42 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


The general campaign hasn’t even started yet.

The primary is over, for all intensive purposes. Practically speaking it's been over since SC but the WI shitshow set the seal on it. That means we are in the general and have to act like it, after all Trump has been campaigning since 2016.
posted by Artw at 1:45 PM on April 11 [6 favorites]


I'll second Pyry. I was, at best, ambivalent about Sanders as a person. I thought he was a bad standard bearer for the movement, too elderly for the job of President, and frankly being rather egotistical by insisting on a Presidential run himself instead of boosting a more charismatic and younger candidate with the same agenda.

What has me upsent isn't that Bernie Sanders personally won't be President, but that the policies he promoted will be now be rejected and the people who supported him will be told to basically STFU and just be glad Biden isn't as bad as Trump. I've already seen a lot of that last on other sites, twitter especially is filled with smug liberals crowing and cheering the fall of Sanders and demanding that all leftists immediately shut up about their policies and just start cheering for Biden. There's a lot of really ugly and meanspirited stuff out there, it's clear that the liberals really hate the left and make no pretenses about it.

I'm worried, upset, and fearful because I think the policies advanced by Sanders, though they were insufficient, were the only possible way to both improve society and prevent the rise of a smarter Trump-like figure in another four years.

I'll confess I also find Biden personally loathesome. He is a rapist, and the fact that the Democratic Party decided to just ignore that and nominate him anyway is gut wrenching. But it's the policies, not the people, I'm mostly concerned about.
posted by sotonohito at 1:55 PM on April 11 [16 favorites]


Racism is racism, I don't care how many people say "it wasn't racism racism", it's too much for me, and it proves that we Democrats are the worst, most vile and loathsome, form of hypocrites for picking him. It makes me feel unclean and morally degenerate to know that I'll vote for him in November, it means I have admitted that Rush Limbaugh was right all along and I really was only calling out Trump's racism for purely political reasons not because I really gave half a shit about racism. By voting for Biden, and I will, I'm saying in effect "racism doesn't really matter to me".

This is still bugging me, so, yeah, this paragraph is the most privileged, arrogant and self-righteous nonsense I've seen on Metalfiter in a while.

First, all the white Democratic candidates are racist, even Bernie. There was no option of non-white racist candidate. I don't know if it's sad or hilarious that you don't see that. And aside from Obama, there has never been a non-racist option for President in the history of the US. Just different type of racists. I'm not sure why you expected that to change in 2020.

Second, racism isn't racism. Just because someone is racist, doesn't mean they can't be helpful combating some types of racist policies or practices.

LBJ - very racist, but passed the Voting Rights Act.

Many abolitionists - very racist, but fought to free slaves.

Biden - racist, not the guy to go to for help on segregation, might be helpful on prison reform or voting rights or non-segregation education reform, idk.

Sanders - marched with King, fought against racism at U of C, as now has policies to help but when he became Senator of Vermont compared poor white Vermonters to black people under apartheid in South Africa and never accepted several invitations from anti-racist groups in Vermont to meet with them or did anything really to fight against racist practices in that state.

And Trump - very racist, will be helpful on nothing. And will actively work to make the lives of black people and other non-white people worse.

And speaking of other non-white people, if Biden gets elected, those concentration camps we have for immigrants probably get shut down and hopefully some of those kids get returned to their families. I'd be a good thing to vote for him just for that.

Open your eyes and get off your moral high horse.
posted by brandnewday989 at 2:09 PM on April 11 [20 favorites]


The convention is in August.

Good lord, I hope not. Just what we need is to take thousands of people from literally every county in the U.S., cram them into a building for a week, and then scatter them back to literally every county in the U.S.
posted by JackFlash at 2:16 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


‘Twas going to be in July, to avoid the Olympics. It will be interesting to see how the parties manage the conventions. Trump seems to be full steam ahead with all the Republicans there in person; the Dems say they’ve started thinking about how to do theirs in a less... contagious way.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:26 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


This is still bugging me, so, yeah, this paragraph is the most privileged, arrogant and self-righteous nonsense I've seen on Metalfiter in a while.

What bugs me is a comment directly describing another user's feelings towards having to vote for Biden as "arrogant and self-righteous nonsense" is allowed to stand.

Ending a holier-than-thou comment with "open your eyes and get off your moral high horse" is also quite bold.
posted by Beware of the leopard at 2:48 PM on April 11 [8 favorites]


if Biden gets elected, those concentration camps we have for immigrants probably get shut down and hopefully some of those kids get returned to their families

The fact that we don’t even know for sure whether the presumptive Democratic nominee would do this is alarming!
posted by ghostbikes at 2:51 PM on April 11 [6 favorites]



I guess I’m not sure what this thread is doing now. It’s theoretically about Sanders’ campaign ending but out seems to be demanding Biden voters (not Biden supporters, even

Without getting into the "why even talk about politics on the internet argument", I'll just say that I believe the policies advocated by Sanders (and Warren) were good and necessary. Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, apparently does not; or, at least, he is not willing to advocate for those policies.

I'll admit I'm operating from somewhat of a place of fear here, but I am afraid of what happened after 2008: anyone to the left of the current Democratic administration was shouted down as (a) an idiot (thanks Rahm), (b) an extremist, or (c) a tool or Republicans, among other epithets. I'm wondering if "Russian troll" might be added this time around.

It seemed like left-wing discourse devolved into "republican outrage of the week" rather than trying to address the actual impact of the policies and compromises by Democrats on people's lives.

Personally, I'd rather not have that happen. Moreover, I think Sanders and his campaign was an important part of breaking that trend because for the first in a long time, to my eyes and ears, it seemed like Democrats were advocating for things rather than just letting the Republicans dictate the terms of the debate. Even better, they seemed to speaking clearly and directly, rather than trying to outsmart people by anticipating what voters would find palatable or trying to "nudge them". If you don't know what I am talking about, read up on theories of government pushed by people like Cass Sustein (sp).
posted by eagles123 at 2:59 PM on April 11 [6 favorites]


The fact that we don’t even know for sure whether the presumptive Democratic nominee would do this is alarming!

First hit on Biden's official campaign site:

It is a moral failing and a national shame when a father and his baby daughter drown seeking our shores. When children are locked away in overcrowded detention centers and the government seeks to keep them there indefinitely. When our government argues in court against giving those children toothbrushes and soap. When President Trump uses family separation as a weapon against desperate mothers, fathers, and children seeking safety and a better life. When he threatens massive raids that would break up families who have been in this country for years and targets people at sensitive locations like hospitals and schools. When children die while in custody due to lack of adequate care.

Trump has waged an unrelenting assault on our values and our history as a nation of immigrants.

It’s wrong, and it stops when Joe Biden is elected president.

posted by JackFlash at 3:05 PM on April 11 [12 favorites]


And speaking of other non-white people, if Biden gets elected, those concentration camps we have for immigrants probably get shut down and hopefully some of those kids get returned to their families. I'd be a good thing to vote for him just for that.

The problem is those concentration camps were originally built and the massive deportation industrial complex was accelerated under Obama, while Biden was VP.

This contradiction exists because Obama, Biden, and other liberal politicians still see horrifying status quo systems (America's inherently and eternally white supremacist immigration policy, private healthcare, closed borders, forever wars, "targeted" assassinations, CIA coups, and ecocidal capitalism) as things that only need tweaks, preferably means-tested ones administered by Very Smart Technocratic Adults In The Room.

Democrats, over the last few decades, have made it clear that we can get all the soaring woke rhetoric we like, but Yemeni kids will still get Hellfire missiles.

Of course, we can see what those tough decisions made in the name of electability have gotten Democrats over the last 12 years.

And a quick note, the term is generally "people of color". I, and many other people of color, prefer that term because it would be nice to have just one thing in my life that isn't centered around whiteness and my lack thereof.
posted by Ouverture at 3:18 PM on April 11 [17 favorites]


Yeah his policy page mentions a lot about children and family separation, but not really about closing the camps? Happy to be pointed towards specifics.
posted by ghostbikes at 3:22 PM on April 11


Yeah his policy page mentions a lot about children and family separation, but not really about closing the camps? Happy to be pointed towards specifics.

There is a point at which it just becomes willful ignorance and is not helpful.
posted by JackFlash at 3:28 PM on April 11 [10 favorites]


Your post sums up my feelings exactly, eagles123. Thank you for it.
posted by Gadarene at 3:29 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


First hit -- total time 4.5 seconds, but I had to backspace to correct a typo.

Biden on Detention Facilities: ‘We Don’t Need Them’

"Close them down" Biden answered, to cheers from the crowd.
posted by JackFlash at 3:36 PM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Sorry, I was going based on looking at his policies page. I figured that would have the most detailed plans. Thank you for your patience.
posted by ghostbikes at 3:38 PM on April 11


"Close them down" Biden answered, to cheers from the crowd.

Obama also promised to shut down Guantanamo and yet, here we are.

I might trust Biden more if he actually took accountability for all the horrible things he has done/been a part of.
posted by Ouverture at 3:45 PM on April 11 [6 favorites]


probably shut down

The Obama-Biden track record on shutting down illegal detention centers argues otherwise.
posted by mwhybark at 3:59 PM on April 11 [4 favorites]


[One-liner snarking deleted]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:41 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


I was disappointed when Warren lost, but literally any candidate rather than Trump. That said, I really hope any potential nominees are keeping themselves thoroughly isolated from potential COVID-19 carriers. Biden isn't young; nor is Sanders; and there absolutely must be a Democratic candidate. There have been many reports of angry or crazy people trying to infect others and I wouldn't presume that the Secret Service has really thought through the ways in which an infection can be weaponised.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:17 PM on April 11 [7 favorites]


If anyone sincerely wants to see what pro-Biden enthusiasm looks like, you could go to /r/JoeBiden/. A relatively small percentage of the posts are policy-oriented, but that's probably par for the course, and a number of them are currently about how to make the policy argument to sway Sanders supporters. I personally find many of these arguments unpersuasive and under-enthused: whereas with Sanders I didn't doubt his commitment but did doubt his ability to achieve his ambitions, with Biden I find his goals somewhat more realistic but doubt based on his past record his commitment to actually doing what it will take to achieve those goals. But that's probably just reflecting my own left-leaning biases. In any case, there are forums other than here where people are making the pro-Biden-policy arguments, if anyone really wants to know what that looks like.
posted by chortly at 8:17 PM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Probably the first thing Biden needs to do when appealing to Bernie voters (or any other constituency), is to stop telling people who approach him with issue concerns to vote for Trump.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:49 PM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Probably the first thing Biden needs to do when appealing to Bernie voters (or any other constituency), is to stop telling people who approach him with issue concerns to vote for Trump.

This is an honest, sincere question: You've seen what's happened the last four years. You are living through a global pandemic and seeing the life and death consequences of decisions made long ago. You see the damage in front of you. If you were already seriously considering voting for Trump — and a non-vote or abstinence from voting is a positive choice to vote for Trump — how could Biden or anyone else tell you anything that would change your mind? How could anyone else?

Is there literally anything about Trump's current regimen of cruelty, corruption, and incompetence that would change your mind from supporting him, either directly, by way of a vote for him, or indirectly, by not voting at all, or voting for a third-party candidate?

I want to understand. Please explain to me how your defense of a positive vote/positive non-vote-action that supports Trump does anything to help bring about the policies and platforms that Sanders supports?
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:20 PM on April 11 [11 favorites]


If you were already seriously considering voting for Trump — and a non-vote or abstinence from voting is a positive choice to vote for Trump — how could Biden or anyone else tell you anything that would change your mind? How could anyone else?

Because everyone is saying Biden has great political sensibilities and he is, on record, several times this primary, in getting into arguments with people and telling them to go vote for "someone else" or for "Trump."

I fail to see how giving up, getting angry, and telling them to go vote for someone else is great political acumen, even if there is no way to change the minds of these people.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:30 PM on April 11 [6 favorites]


I will never vote for Trump. I will definitely vote for the Cheese Sandwich if I have to. All of us in this thread will. But most people are not like the people in this thread. There are a lot of people who decide who to vote for, how to vote, based on a wide variety of factors, and intentionally pissing them off is just stupid.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:31 PM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Means testing would be the harbinger of death for Social Security. eagles123 explained it well, but I want to add my own anecdote, because I have seen this play out in the microcosm of my household.

My partner leans right. Not in a full Trumpy FoxNews way, but in a way that's susceptible to stale old right-wing narratives that pit the upper-middle and middle classes against the poor. Partner is quick to deride means-tested benefits that we don't qualify for: Welfare? For lazy people. Housing assistance? But we struggle with cost of living and nobody is helping us! Those poor people have it so easy. (To be clear, these are not my views, I am not defending them, and I expend a lot of energy patiently and lovingly disagreeing with all of this crap.)

But at the same time, Partner is supportive and protective of the benefits we do qualify for, like public library programs and free kids' activities put on by the Parks department. If you do the math, we subsidize these programs with our taxes, but they are exempt for Partner's conservative scorn because they are for us too. Participating in these programs has created a tremendously important sense of ownership and even a little bit of community.

Seeing this play out was a revelation for me. I am 100% percent certain that means-testing social security would cause it to lose enough support that the GOP would gleefully hack it up and throw its body in a ditch. To prevent this, everybody needs to qualify. Even Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. If progressives want to redistribute wealth, raise their taxes, but FFS don't exclude anyone from social security.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:12 PM on April 11 [11 favorites]


Three and a half years of Donald Trump have greatly harmed my mental health. If you're not going to vote for guy-who-isn't-Trump for your sake or the nation's, then please do it for me.
posted by JHarris at 12:00 AM on April 12 [9 favorites]


If anyone sincerely wants to see what pro-Biden enthusiasm looks like, you could go to /r/JoeBiden/.

I was curious - the Biden sub is 40x smaller than the "Sanders for President" subreddit. 10x smaller than the Chapo Trap House sub, for that matter. (2x smaller than Liz or Pete). Obviously online enthusiasm doesn't translate directly to real world popularity - Joe proved that by winning the primary, and Reddit liked Ron Paul a lot, too - but... I dunno, that's a gap in something.
posted by atoxyl at 12:28 AM on April 12 [2 favorites]


"tell it to the kids in cages."

I mean, Biden has quite a bit to have to answer for on that front as well, so I'm not sure that's as productive of a line of differentiation as it used to be. "Less overtly cruel application of cages" is still a step up, but I'm guessing I'm with you in wanting "no kids in cages" (or adults in cages, for that matter) as the ultimate goal.


The Obama administration built immigrant detention centers, but the phrase "kids in cages" does not refer generically to all children detained in those centers, but rather to the Trump policy of separating children from their parents to "send a message" to potential immigrants. Causing untold but certain psychological trauma to the children involved, some in diapers.

In this case, "Obama started it" is a lie, a right-wing talking point. What Trump did is categorically different. Biden is not just "less overtly cruel." That's a take that's either ignorant or in bad faith.
posted by Lyme Drop at 12:36 AM on April 12 [22 favorites]


As a Sanders in the primary, Clinton in the general voter in 2016 and a Warren in the primary, Biden in the general voter/supporter in 2020, I know how disheartening this moment is. I've been voting since 2000 (in case it matters, Gore, though I was attracted to much of Nader's message), and not a single one of the candidates I've supported in presidential primaries has ever become the nominee. However as a PoC in this particular year and against this particular opponent, I feel I completely understand the main reasons many PoC supported Biden this year (risk-averse pragmatism, cynical realism, establishment creds), even if I disagreed with the assumptions and results of that analysis (e.g. my own aversion to risk pointed me away from Biden, not toward him).

No one can erase Sanders' legacy. He has had and continues to have an enormous influence on politics in the U.S. In this culture that prizes the appearance of "authenticity" almost above all other features, he was the "authentic" politician, one that didn't equivocate when it came to inequality, military conflict, climate policy, and many of the most pressing issues of our time. He fomented a new progressive movement among the youth of this country, and shaped the lens through which they will view politics throughout their lives. I feel that the American progressive movement will learn much from his two campaigns for the presidency, flawed though they were, though the substance of many of those lessons is not fully clear yet. I desperately wanted a progressive nominee more than I ever have this time, and I really thought Warren would be that progressive.

But here I find myself again. The Democratic nominee-apparent is the very person I assumed would be the riskiest. But without health insurance or equity in a meaningful asset (not a homeowner or stockholder), I don't really have the luxury of considering whether Biden's flaws are fatal; I don't really have the luxury of being defeatist. And I say this fully aware of my own privilege as someone with several college degrees and a couple of months of survival savings put away.

I was speaking with a relative two days ago, a former Sanders supporter who voted for Warren and was hoping against hope for a miracle Sanders comeback that never materialized. He asked me how it was possible for Biden to win in the general with all his flaws. And I found myself pitching Biden to someone for the first time ever, his platform, his personality, his tragic story, his apparent strengths and his possible weaknesses. But in that moment I felt more hope about his candidacy than I ever have. I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you're a Bernie supporter, come to terms with this defeat however you need to. I personally needed to stay away from MeFi for a little while in order to get over Warren's defeat. Disappointment and anger took every conversation I was having about politics to a dark place. Once you've had time to think about it, realize that the executive branch is only a piece of the puzzle. We have to think about congress, the judiciary, local government. The battle isn't over. If Sanders had won the nomination the battle would not be over. The battle is never over.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 12:51 AM on April 12 [14 favorites]


Biden's policy platform is the most progressive agenda of any presidential candidate in over a generation. I know everyone really wanted a new car, but this is a pony.
posted by xammerboy at 1:21 AM on April 12 [8 favorites]


I really wanted a candidate to sell M4All to the American people. Unfortunately, the policy seemed to hit a hard ceiling of support. That was a political reality that Biden accepted and Warren and Bernie did not. But things are changing fast, and I remain hopeful that Biden will roll with those changes. If not, his plan could very well lead to universal healthcare anyway. I can work with that. Similarly, I've seen Biden talk convincingly about global warming. If the opportunity exists to push harder on it, I think he'll take it, and economic recovery will be that opportunity.

Biden is not the candidate I wanted. I may have previously compared voting for him to voting for living death. I was wrong. His agenda is solid and ambitious and there's potentially lots of room for it to grow. I will throw down for Biden.
posted by xammerboy at 1:34 AM on April 12 [4 favorites]


I am 100% percent certain that means-testing social security would cause it to lose enough support that the GOP would gleefully hack it up and throw its body in a ditch. To prevent this, everybody needs to qualify.

I would just like to announce that I came into this thread in support of means-testing and I am leaving persuaded that whatever its other merits, implementing it can threaten a program's political support. I still kinda wonder if there's something we could do at the margins about better paid people drawing social security earlier, but a mind on the internet has been moved if not outright changed.
posted by wildblueyonder at 2:31 AM on April 12 [8 favorites]


Biden's policy platform is the most progressive agenda of any presidential candidate in over a generation. I know everyone really wanted a new car, but this is a pony.

They've said this about every democrat since Obama at least. It means very little.
posted by atoxyl at 2:54 AM on April 12 [5 favorites]


It means that Obama's platform and agenda was more progressive than the Democratic nominees before him, Clinton's was more progressive than that, and Biden's will be more progressive yet. I don't see how that could mean very little if what you care about is actually moving the football down the field rather than symbolism.
posted by Justinian at 4:01 AM on April 12 [26 favorites]



It means that Obama's platform and agenda was more progressive than the Democratic nominees before him, Clinton's was more progressive than that, and Biden's will be more progressive yet. I don't see how that could mean very little if what you care about is actually moving the football down the field rather than symbolism.


It means that while we all know that an agenda is an aspiration rather than a commitment, candidates who have spent their entire careers being centre-right democrats and enacting centre-right democratic laws and voting for same.... suddenly being progressive/left leaning have,.....credibility issues even on this limited aspiration.

Look: I'll vote for the fucker (Like it matters: I live in NY!). If COVID19 allows it I will take time off my job and move to swing state and campaign for a marginal senate seat for the sake of legislation/supreme court and biden.

This is a thread about mourning. The question that sits in the craw of people in this thread and is choking us Is : If not now, when?

The window for any kind of meaningful progressive mitigation of the unfolding planetary disaster is closing permanently. All of these things are accelerating: Climate change, resource depletion, inequality and vast migration shocks....and the relentless march to war that these things will accelerate.
posted by lalochezia at 5:30 AM on April 12 [11 favorites]


It means that Obama's platform and agenda was more progressive than the Democratic nominees before him, Clinton's was more progressive than that, and Biden's will be more progressive yet. I don't see how that could mean very little if what you care about is actually moving the football down the field rather than symbolism.

It's purely symbolism when we look at the lack of accountability for the CIA literally torturing people, the massive expansion of both the deportation and drone assassination industrial complexes, or for major financial institutions permanently destroying the global economy. This is the last time we had a president running on the "most progressive platform ever".

These are real things that happened and primarily they destroyed the lives of poor people of color who had the ill fortune to live outside of America's borders. I keep bringing these things up because it seems like no one wants to talk about them.

Why should Biden be able to pick and choose what parts of Obama's legacy he wants to be associated with?
posted by Ouverture at 5:41 AM on April 12 [6 favorites]


candidates who have spent their entire careers being centre-right democrats

Biden is not and has never been a center-right Democrat. Every single actual analysis puts him basically dead center of the Democratic coalition throughout his career. As the party has shifted left so have his politics, such that he remains in the center of the Democratic coalition. You could say that's him triangulating or you could say he really has shifted; which is true is irrelevant in terms of whether he's now or ever been center-right.

Words mean things, you can't just define people as center-right because it's convenient to the point you're making.
posted by Justinian at 6:18 AM on April 12 [11 favorites]


fwiw here's Biden's page at voteview, where you can select a Congress and see where he fell in terms of ideology for that term.
posted by Justinian at 6:21 AM on April 12 [4 favorites]


Drone warfare, the 1994 crime bill, border hawkishness, ICE, military boondoggle projects, and the Affordable Care Act are just a few of the things that Bernie Sanders has voted for or otherwise supported the existence of... yet all frequently held up as reasons that just about every Democrat who isn't him is a beyond-the-pale sellout. (That's not to mention an iffy history on gun control.) And all but one of those (the ACA) are truly wretched things. My overall point is: there will never be an objectively "good enough" candidate.

If you ever find yourself voting for someone without holding your nose, then perhaps you need to check your sense of smell: The work doesn't "run out". Ever. And that's not cynical defeatism any more than a large city's fire-prevention task force is being defeatist if it refuses to predict a forthcoming future year in which the whole city will experience zero fires of any kind.

"If not now, when?" presupposes a kind of reachable victory condition for progressivism. On that basis, I'm tempted to dismiss the very question as incoherent. But in truth: the answer to "When?" isn't never. The answer is always.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:38 AM on April 12 [19 favorites]


> This is a thread about mourning. The question that sits in the craw of people in this thread and is choking us Is : If not now, when?

This is a thread about Bernie Sanders suspending his campaign. Mourning is one of many responses to that, but it's not the only one that's permitted.

Like many Warren -> Sanders supporters, I am saddened and somewhat terrified by the fact that Biden will be the party's nominee, but at the same time, I am also overwhelmed by joy at what Sanders has done to change the conversation in a lasting way, and have confidence that this will be reflected in whatever policies the next President is able to sign into law.

The answer to "if not now, when" is "as soon as we can". The electoral college, Senate malapportionment, Republican voter suppression, federal and state courts and state legislative bodies being stacked in favor of the GOP, a media ecosystem dominated by conservative and anti-socialist sentiment... These are all things that we have to fight against while we're trying to build the world we want. One presidential candidate was not going to singlehandedly take down all of these structural barriers to change, but the political movement Sanders built is set up to fight that battle long after he's gone.

Sanders knows that movement needs Joe Biden instead of Donald Trump as President in 2020 in order to survive, and Biden knows he needs the votes of Sanders supporters to win, so I expect Sanders to passionately fight for Biden as a campaign surrogate, while at the same time pushing Biden to stick to the campaign promises he made while trying to appeal to the progressive base. This will not end in Medicare for All, but that wasn't happening under Bernie, either. The hope is that, like every other progressive accomplishment in our country's history, we can build on previous successes and recover from previous failures to build something better.

It's slow, and it's frustrating, but nobody's found another model that doesn't begin with "assume a successful revolution".
posted by tonycpsu at 7:12 AM on April 12 [17 favorites]



Words mean things, you can't just define people as center-right because it's convenient to the point you're making.


I wasn't referring to the right wing of the democratic party.

I was referring to the position on the left-right axis, where a majority of the democrats lay firmly to the right. Biden was VP in the Obama administration. FFS: e.g. economically Obama says he'd be seen as moderate Republican in 1980s , the much-heralded (& necessary but Waaay insufficient) ACA was a solution, based on RomneyCare, Obama: "In the past three years, "we've added enough new oil and gas pipeline to circle the Earth and then some." , continued support for military action, pardoning the vast crimes of the financial era ("we must look forward, not backward") etc etc. etc.

Sanders (and to a lesser extent, Warren) were movements leftward from that rightward motion. Biden is not.
posted by lalochezia at 7:28 AM on April 12 [9 favorites]


A bunch of those points are debatable to be mild about it but given your position that a majority of Democrats are firmly rightists it's obvious we're not going to have a productive meeting of the minds so there's no point in getting in to it, I think.
posted by Justinian at 7:58 AM on April 12 [7 favorites]


Three and a half years of Donald Trump have greatly harmed my mental health. If you're not going to vote for guy-who-isn't-Trump for your sake or the nation's, then please do it for me.

if I had a bunch of stupid money sitting around, I'd bankroll a TV ad campaign based on these 34-words. I suspect it would speak to very many.
posted by philip-random at 8:07 AM on April 12 [7 favorites]


"facts have a known liberal leftist bias"
posted by entropicamericana at 8:13 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


candidates who have spent their entire careers being centre-right democrats and enacting centre-right democratic laws and voting for same.... suddenly being progressive/left leaning have,.....credibility issues

there is historical precedent for politicians (and other humans with serious influence) changing their minds. It doesn't happen that often but, on certain issues, it only really needs to happen once.

As a (perhaps comparatively benign) for instance, maybe dig into how Canada finally got around to not just decriminalizing marijuana but outright legalizing it. Hint: it had a lot to do with public opinion.

Also (not so benign) the end of Apartheid in South Africa.
posted by philip-random at 8:26 AM on April 12 [2 favorites]


"I was curious - the Biden sub is 40x smaller than the "Sanders for President" subreddit. 10x smaller than the Chapo Trap House sub, for that matter. (2x smaller than Liz or Pete). Obviously online enthusiasm doesn't translate directly to real world popularity - Joe proved that by winning the primary, and Reddit liked Ron Paul a lot, too - but... I dunno, that's a gap in something."

I've reddited, and they have long standing demographic issues that make their political opinion slant nowhere near representative of the potential let alone actual voting public - they have a bigger bubble than MeFi, but it's still a bubble. There are conversations taking place on a routine basis that would not get off of the ground if there were more gender, age, race and class diversity over there. in 2016 on the politics subreddit, you would've thought Sanders was the undisputed Democratic candidate. This year, there was lots of vocal support for Yang that you wouldn't see reflected in national polls or out in the wild. People who are not eligible to vote in the US based on age and nationality can still develop pretty strong opinions about American politics. By the time the primary votes come in, it's pretty common to see surprised Pikachu faces.
posted by Selena777 at 8:47 AM on April 12 [11 favorites]


As a (perhaps comparatively benign) for instance, maybe dig into how Canada finally got around to not just decriminalizing marijuana but outright legalizing it. Hint: it had a lot to do with public opinion.

To be fair, in America at least, there is plenty of evidence that public opinion means fuck-all to the people making laws. For fifty-some odd years, statistically, the government has sided with business interests over public interests nearly every single time. No matter the public opinion.
posted by deadaluspark at 8:49 AM on April 12 [2 favorites]


NY Times seems to be going counter to the theory that the media will turn its guns on Biden now Bernie isn’t around by publishing this weird passive voice apologia for Biden and for themselves re: Tara Reade.
posted by Artw at 9:17 AM on April 12 [2 favorites]


I was referring to the position on the left-right axis, where a majority of the democrats lay firmly to the right.

Assumes non-euclidean geometry not in evidence.
posted by JackFlash at 9:21 AM on April 12


I'm not sure how an article that recounts the allegations in detail using the accuser's own words, interviews others who may have been in a position to hear those accounts contemporaneously or seen bad behavior on Biden's part, links to The Intercept's coverage of Time's Up's decision not to support Reade, and concludes with a direct quote from another accuser saying that Biden routinely violates consent can be labeled as a "weird passive voice apologia" to anyone who bothers to give it a fair reading, but I'd love to see the case for that interpretation.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:42 AM on April 12 [5 favorites]


I mean, it can't be, but it's being called an apologia because it's looking at the allegations with a skeptical eye and is rather obviously telegraphing that there are a whole bunch of problems with them. But if they'd written nothing they'd have been accused of burying the story (since they were already being accused of burying the story.)
posted by Justinian at 9:47 AM on April 12 [2 favorites]


I was referring to the position on the left-right axis, where a majority of the democrats lay firmly to the right.

A generation ago this meant something, because there were two overlapping parties and they measured from the middle. Now that zealotry has been reintroduced into Western politics, they measure from the ends. Many now see politics as an extension of good and evil where it simply becomes a certain gamble that more of something they see as good is therefore better, which is a fallacy. The other problem is that it was generally once assumed that the extremes meant dictatorship, where nobody bothered to go in the West since the 1930's because it became apparent in WW2 that fascism and communism were the same. One was monopolistic control by wealthy elites representing ideal traditions, and the other was monopolistic control by ideologues, or political elites representing the working class in theory. They both outlawed democracy and propped up cults of personality and dictated production through an idealism of conflict frozen in time. Both failed under the weight of their internal contradictions that ignored corruption of power, and the propaganda failure that comes from making everything as boring as the self-righteous stagnant leadership.
posted by Brian B. at 10:04 AM on April 12 [2 favorites]


I hate to beat a dead horse, but the reason people are calling it apologia because you can't spend several years saying "believe all women" and then turn around and go "well wait a minute maybe not this one." (Or I mean, you can do it, but don't expect people to take your principles seriously afterwards.)

Considering NYT ran articles like this for Christine Blasey Ford:
Christine Blasey Ford’s Credibility Under New Attack by Senate Republicans
Here it is presented as only Republicans would call her out, because of partisanship. Heavily insinuated in that title. Not skeptical of Ford at all.

I really wonder how many people would have been screaming about how they were going to cancel their NYT subscriptions if a similar story had run at the time titled:

"Examining Christina Blasey Fords Sexual Assault Allegations Against Brett Kavanaugh"

Especially if the article had a similar skeptical eye.

That being said I'm glad to see it being covered. I'd rather have it nipped in the bud than allowed to be something that Trump can latch onto.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:06 AM on April 12 [5 favorites]


The democrats don’t stop being a centre right party just because the republicans are full on fascists now. Joe is a perfectly average democrat.
posted by Artw at 10:13 AM on April 12 [8 favorites]


> I hate to beat a dead horse, but the reason people are calling it apologia because you can't spend several years saying "believe all women" and then turn around and go "well wait a minute maybe not this one."

The article did not say "maybe not this one". Meanwhile, the fact that a different NYT reporter ran a shitty piece about Blasey-Ford has fuck-all to do with what two other reporters are now saying about Reade.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:15 AM on April 12


JackFlash Assumes non-euclidean geometry not in evidence.

I think the source of disagreement here is that modern American casual talk uses "left" and "liberal" almost interchangeably, while in more formal polysci analysis they're very different and liberalism is decidedly a right wing ideology.

The polysci definition of left/right is all about hierarchy. The political right is formed around the idea that a social hierarchy is necessary/desirable/inevitable/whatever and therefore must be protected or at least accepted. The political left is formed around the idea that social hierarchies are wrong, unnecessary, and a matter of choice, and works to abolish them.

The Democratic Party is, in the main, composed of people who are fine with social hierarchies. They're not far right, they want the people at the top to be somewhat restrained in their actions, they want the people at the top to be good people and to do right things, but they don't see the entire social hierarchy idea as being inherently bad and in need of tearing down.

This puts the Democratic Party towards the center-right end of the left/right spectrum. They're left of the Republicans, sure, but they aren't actually left of center because they aren't advocating for an end to the social hierarchies that exist.

Liberalism is a philosophy from the political right. It's from the nicer, more centrist, end of the right side of the spectrum and I certainly like it more than I like the hard right wing Republican end of the spectrum. But it's still on the right.

I suspect that the people saying the Democrats are a center-right party are using the polysci definitions. It's what I mean when I say it anyway.
posted by sotonohito at 10:23 AM on April 12 [7 favorites]


[Comment removed, we are NOT going to do that "If you don't feel this specific way about voting this way you are a terrible person" thing.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:24 AM on April 12 [4 favorites]


I think the source of disagreement here is that modern American casual talk uses "left" and "liberal" almost interchangeably, while in more formal polysci analysis they're very different and liberalism is decidedly a right wing ideology.

All of those fancy words are just another way of saying anyone to the right of Sanders is not left. That's fine as long as it's always clear that's what you mean. Otherwise descriptions of "center-right" can be confusing to folks who don't know the code.
posted by JackFlash at 10:35 AM on April 12 [4 favorites]


I suspect that the people saying the Democrats are a center-right party are using the polysci definitions. It's what I mean when I say it anyway.

Literally every European nation understands this and sees US Democrats as center right but here we are, in 2020, teaching Americans on MeFi about this. Even Obama said if he had been running in the 1980's he would have been seen politically as a moderate Republican. (Guess you gotta know polisci terms to be a constitutional law scholar)

Yet this is idea is somehow still in hot contention.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:37 AM on April 12 [12 favorites]


All of those fancy words are just another way of saying anyone to the right of Sanders is not left. That's fine as long as it's always clear that's what you mean. Otherwise descriptions of "center-right" can be confusing to folks who don't know the code.

to quote, well, you

There is a point at which it just becomes willful ignorance and is not helpful.

Literally rejecting well established political science terms is the definition of willfull ignorance.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:39 AM on April 12 [6 favorites]


Nobody is rejecting terms. It just that terms having different meanings as commonly used in the U.S. and in Europe, e.g "left" and "liberal". So if you are talking about U.S. elections but using European terminology, then you need to make that clear or else it can lead to confusion.
posted by JackFlash at 10:49 AM on April 12 [3 favorites]


> Yet this is idea is somehow still in hot contention.

I think a big reason it's so contentious is because of the way it's often used in a way that conflates the public's support for leftist policy goals with a political coalition that can realize those goals. The political ideology of the public is not reflected in our political system, but the political system is the only way short of an armed revolution to effect change. Acknowledging the very real constraints of the system and developing a plan to overcome them requires an understanding of how ideology is distributed among the voting public and elected officials, not just how terms have evolved in political science literature. The latter is important, but not as important when evaluating the actions of our public servants, or in making a case for or against a particular candidate.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:53 AM on April 12 [5 favorites]


The latter is important, but not as important when evaluating the actions of our public servants, or in making a case for or against a particular candidate.

Absolutely. However, that does not make the case to jump to "using political science terms is just code for anyone to the right of Sanders isn't truly left" which is at least how one person has uncharitably interpreted this as.

I've been talking about how the Democrats aren't truly left since Bush II was in office and I didn't know who the fuck Sanders was and all my bets were on Kuicinich.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:57 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


"Liberalism is decidedly a right wing ideology" may make sense in academic PoliSci discussions, but the label 'liberalism' has been successfully used in the U.S. for decades (at least since Reagan) to demonize any ideas to the left of, well, Reagan. And none of the more leftist candidates (however we choose to sort or label them) have been able to win a primary nor a general election at the national level in those same 40 years.
posted by PhineasGage at 11:17 AM on April 12 [4 favorites]


Biden's just not left wing, neither is the Democratic party for the most part. Republicans are supposed to be the party of telling outright lies to your face, so why are we doing this? Is this like the "my brain melts down if I hear the word noeliberalism" thing centrist do?
posted by Artw at 11:20 AM on April 12 [7 favorites]


Words mean things, you can't just define people as center-right because it's convenient to the point you're making.

Indeed. Democrats aren't socialists just because Republicans call them that. And they aren't necessarily "left" or "progressive" just because they call themselves that. Words are socially constructed, but society extends far beyond the US. Generally, parochial societies that think little about the rest of the world consider whatever their relative center is to be "centrist" and likewise imagine that their relative left and right wings are the two potential extremes, and bristle at anyone telling them otherwise because it's almost tautological that their center party is "centrist." And I suppose that's true to an extent. But there is also a global community of nations, a community of political scientists, a community of political theorists, a community of activists and those interested in politics on an international scale and not just within the bubble of their own nation. And many of these folks have a fairly coherent set of criteria for what counts as left and right that's not just whatever the left and right parties are in country X. And by many of those criteria -- due to its platform, or its structural role relative to powerful elites, or its similarity to other parties in other countries -- many folks consider the ruling faction within the Democratic party to be center-right. That's just what the words "center-right" often mean for much of the world, including for many registered Democrats who think about politics in a broader context.
posted by chortly at 11:21 AM on April 12 [6 favorites]


Democrats are generally progressive to the point where it doesn’t challenge the interests of the donor class but not beyond that. So “safe” identity politics but nothing that’s going to shift economic power away from elites. It’s not nothing but it’s not great either, and in times of societal collapse starts looking a lot like token efforts to even people who otherwise are getting ground under by capitalism.

Arguably the Republicans used to be a mirror of this but making token anti-progressive moves, but fir whatever reason societal collapse has hit them hard and fast so now they are all about giving their base the real deal.
posted by Artw at 11:39 AM on April 12 [8 favorites]


in more formal polysci analysis they're very different and liberalism is decidedly a right wing ideology.

I am a political science professor who studies and teaches American politics and I assure you that when talking about the US, left and liberal are completely interchangeable.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:51 AM on April 12 [18 favorites]


Clearly the left-right spectrum/dichotomy can be a useful tool in certain contexts, but it's a pretty terrible way to discuss American politics. Unfortunately it's one of the tools everyone seems to have some understanding of (even if that understanding is subject to constant recalibration in the service of some point to be made). It's always seemed to me as meaningful as discussing whether a given candidate is "north" or "south." Sure, it's more useful to say whether a politician shows traits that are comparatively more "north" our more "south" than another, but lacking the context of which continent they stand on, if they even stand on the same hemisphere, the implications of their relative positioning can be obscure.

I find that these labels are often trotted out much like "socialist", "liberal," "neoliberal," "neocon", not to engage in a useful way, but to quickly sort and place in box that can then be discarded or elevated. Yes, the U.S. is a center-right country on a global, polisci-in-a-vacuum spectrum (which would make Sanders a centrist at best, in this broad context), but what would the point of this discussion?

Yes, Biden may not be left wing (and neither is Sanders on some scale). But Biden's platform can also be further left than any we've seen in a generation. I say all this as a person that thinks policy ideas like M4All don't go nearly far enough but would be a good start.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 11:53 AM on April 12 [8 favorites]


But Biden's platform can also be further left than any we've seen in a generation.

Gah, edit window time out! To be clear, for a Democratic general election candidate.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 12:02 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


(which would make Sanders a centrist at best, in this broad context)

What's frustrating here is that most Sanders supporters I know would agree with that sentiment. I certainly do. Which is part of why it's so frustrating to act like his views are radical left. Because they're at BEST center-left.

That's why its frustrating when talking heads on MSNBC were comparing him winning to them being taken to gulags or killed in the streets. Because he's a fucking centrist for all intents and purposes fuck.
posted by deadaluspark at 12:17 PM on April 12 [8 favorites]


It wasn't just the talking heads on MSNBC. Bernie also leaned into the narrative that he was a revolutionary.
posted by xammerboy at 12:57 PM on April 12 [7 favorites]


The biggest problem, aside from accuracy, with deciding that "left" means "center-right", is that it erases the actual left.

The difference between me and Biden is not one of degree, it is categorical. Biden, I'm sure, wants billionaires to be nicer. I don't want billionaires to exist. Biden, doubtless, would like the criminal justice system to have better funded public defenders. I would like the criminal justice system to completely ban private representation. Etc.

If we don't have the word "left" to define people who want the social hierarchy to be eradicated, then how do we discuss people who want the social hierarchy eliminated?

Further, how do you distinguish between the right and your faux "left"? What is the actual, hard line in the sand, definition? I can't see that there is one, basically you've defined "left" to mean "right but not so brutal".

I don't think the erasure of actual leftism was the objective of the distortion of left to mean center-right, but boy it sure is really convenient for people who want the left to vanish, isn't it?
posted by sotonohito at 1:04 PM on April 12 [9 favorites]


> It wasn't just the talking heads on MSNBC. Bernie also leaned into the narrative that he was a revolutionary.

Exactly. The bad faith, red-baiting attacks are shameful, but we don't live in a world where the word "revolution" is going to be interpreted in a neutral manner. The campaign chose to use that label, knowing full well how it would be wielded against him, but believing (correctly so, in my view) that the advantages of using that label would outweigh those drawbacks.

I can't say for certain how many extra supporters he got by being unafraid to call his movement a revolution, but I'd number it in the tens of millions for sure. Young people are rebels by their nature, and have been treated like shit by the status quo, making the "revolutionary" label and rhetoric very appealing to them. Promising something new, different, and, yes, revolutionary to younger voters was very much worth the loss of a handful of Boomers who might have otherwise taken his ideals seriously if he hadn't been promising a revolution.

> If we don't have the word "left" to define people who want the social hierarchy to be eradicated, then how do we discuss people who want the social hierarchy eliminated?

This tangent started when discussing the label being used to describe Joe Biden, while you seem to be focusing on the labels used to describe your own beliefs, and those of people like you. These are two very different discussions! Joe Biden would certainly not use the phrase center-right to describe his own ideology, so if you're going to use it, you'd better have a very compelling reason that supersedes the deference with which we would treat someone calling themselves a leftist who may not check all of the boxes another leftist might check on an ideological survey. The center-right label was quite obviously used as an attack on Biden, and that's relevant in deciding whether this derail about coming up with an agreed-upon ideological label for leftists / socialists / those who wish to eliminate hierarchies should be taken seriously.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:59 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]


Joe Biden does not call himself a leftist, as far as I am aware.

I would be somewhat surprised if he even calls himself a progressive.
posted by Gadarene at 3:02 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


He doesn't call himself a rutabaga, either. I'm not sure what your point is.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:08 PM on April 12


Joe Biden would certainly not use the phrase center-right to describe his own ideology, so if you're going to use it, you'd better have a very compelling reason that supersedes the deference with which we would treat someone calling themselves a leftist who may not check all of the boxes another leftist might check on an ideological survey.

This sentence suggests that Biden calls himself a leftist.

No rutabagas were harmed.
posted by Gadarene at 3:13 PM on April 12


I believe he calls himself a Democrat
posted by philip-random at 3:16 PM on April 12 [5 favorites]


> This sentence suggests that Biden calls himself a leftist.

It most certainly does not! It says only that he would not use the label center-right. What I'm saying is that we normally give some level of deference to people when describing their own ideology. If you say you're a leftist, but I have a different definition of what a leftist is, I'm not going to say you're not a true leftist, because that's a dick thing to say. Same goes for Biden. I suspect he'd call himself a Democrat, and if pressed, a progressive Democrat in the mold of Barack Obama (setting aside how many people here might bristle at the suggestion that Obama was progessive.)

My point is that challenging someone's ideological self-identification is fraught with peril, and that should not change just because you disagree with his politics.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:16 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure Biden would fight you if you called him a leftist, probably if you accused him of supporting some of the policies on his website too.
posted by Artw at 3:16 PM on April 12 [7 favorites]


Arguing about whether Joe Biden is center left or center right is kind of pointless since it's relative. It overlaps a little with my issues with the claim that Joe Biden's platform is the most progressive since Clinton (or "ever," I swear I saw an article that said that)

"Progressiveness" is not a one-dimensional quantity, and that fundamental limit to commensurability (which means you can construct the scale however you want) makes it very easy to say your guy is the most... whatever.

It's also not something that necessarily makes sense to view on an absolute scale. Bernie Sanders proposed several policies that would be considered pretty radical in the U.S., but mainstream-left globally. Joe Biden's platform (I did too look it up!) includes some things about criminal justice that would have been quite radical in 1992, but which are now fairly mainstream among Democrats and even get some play among Republicans. Joe Biden's climate platform goes further than Obama's, but seems to me at core a reiteration of the same basic ideas with the numbers pumped up proportionally because a decade later we are taking this 3x as seriously. I guess it's good to know the moral arc of the universe still bends the right way, but when we're comparing candidates it has to be based on how well they are responding to the desires of the electorate, and to the state of the nation and the world.
posted by atoxyl at 3:30 PM on April 12 [3 favorites]


METAFILTER: makes it very easy to say your guy is the most... whatever.
posted by philip-random at 3:32 PM on April 12 [4 favorites]


Even Europe doesn't consistently map onto the widespread assumption of "further left than the USA".

For instance, the entire Democratic Party is decidedly better than their typical Labour counterparts on trans rights (and perhaps civil rights in general). Immigration is something that ties into some of the very worst things about American politics... but I'm not really aware of any European country that actually treats migrants decently, and the whole world has been dealing with the same nativism that gave us Trump, to the point that European conservatives sound almost indistinguishable from Republicans. (Both groups having been captured by the fringes in the last decade.)

Abortion is another odd one... de jure (thanks to Roe v Wade) that right is actually better secured on this side of the pond (in contrast to places where, e.g, someone has to prove medical "necessity" rather than personal privacy/autonomy being sufficient). But it's de facto it's not (thanks to the Hyde Amendment preventing the government from actually providing abortions, and the way individual states have imposed draconian measures and closed clinics).

Even the Sanders model for healthcare is not, per popular assumptions, what "everyone else" does -- it would in fact fall on the leftward side in those places where the system is multi-payer rather than single-payer, which is more countries than not.

Essentially what sets the USA apart is the normalization and implementation of the glibertarian ideology that government really should do as little as possible, and that social welfare is inherently illegitimate; other countries' right-wingers tend not to go that far. The fact that our postal service might actually be abandoned is an example of something outside the Overton window anywhere else. EDIT: Also our whole deal with guns, obviously.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 3:43 PM on April 12 [8 favorites]


The word "revolution" did nothing positive for Sanders. Even if it drew the support of "tens of millions" more young people (citation please?) and outweighed the loss of support from older people, that simply didn't happen the only place it counts: the ballot box.
posted by PhineasGage at 3:44 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]


> citation please?

I explicitly said "I can't say for certain... but I'd number it in..." and you're asking for a citation. Come on.

My point was that the label helped differentiate him from others competing for the Democratic nomination, and my subjective view is that many younger supporters were drawn in by the edgy, anti-establishment "revolution" label. If it's not tens of millions, fine, but I'd argue he'd never have built his small donor fundraising juggernaut or come in second place in the 2016 and 2020 primaries without that branding.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:51 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]


I don't know. Pretty much everyone under 50 rejecting the entrenched orthodoxy of the party that neoliberalism is inevitable and questioning it is unthinkable is not nothing, and pretty revolutionary if not yet entirely successful.
posted by Artw at 3:57 PM on April 12 [3 favorites]


I am a political science professor who studies and teaches American politics and I assure you that when talking about the US, left and liberal are completely interchangeable.

This may be true of Americanists, but it is very not true of political theorists, probably including some in your own department.

What I'm saying is that we normally give some level of deference to people when describing their own ideology.

The idea that we should give this deference is itself an ideological move that many of us reject. Whether or not words mean things on their own, it's an essential political act to try to define terms and protect them from being co-opted or vitiated, especially given the last century of egregious co-option of leftwing language by the far right.

[Clarification edit: I don't meant to imply that Biden is far right -- far from it.]
posted by chortly at 4:01 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]


> The idea that we should give this deference is itself an ideological move that many of us reject. Whether or not words mean things on their own, it's an essential political act to try to define terms and protect them from being co-opted or vitiated, especially given the last century of egregious co-option of leftwing language by the far right.

The words already mean many things to many people depending on the context, as this tangent illustrates quite nicely. What I'm pushing back against is the obvious effort to ret-con what was obviously an attack on Biden into some sort of difference of opinion on what words mean.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:10 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]


With more than half the primaries over, Sanders' total votes are 7.7 million. If there are tens of millions of supporters, they sure aren't turning out to vote. Sanders announced about 5 million individual contributors to his campaign.
posted by JackFlash at 4:16 PM on April 12 [4 favorites]


With more than half the primaries over, Sanders' total votes are 7.7 million. If there are tens of millions of supporters, they sure aren't turning out to vote. Sanders announced about 5 million individual contributors to his campaign.

weird it's almost like there's some sort of event going on that could be depressing voter turn out
posted by entropicamericana at 4:33 PM on April 12 [4 favorites]


Younger Trump voters are more likely to switch sides, and the issue that is most likely to convince them is climate change. Getting Biden to believably commit to strong climate action is about more than appeasing progressive voters whose votes he thinks he already has or is entitled to. And to be clear, I think Biden's current plan is 'not great, not terrible': hitting zero emissions by 2050 is OK in principle (compatible with 2°C warming, but foreclosing on the possibility of 1.5°C), but I don't see how even this compromise goal can plausibly be met with only $170B / year of funding.
posted by Pyry at 4:52 PM on April 12 [3 favorites]


That poll there depicts them as in substantial disagreement with a right wing immigration approach, which seems either disingenuous or counterintuitive given Trumps first term “platform.” They also voted for a guy who famously called climate change a Chinese hoax when that wasn’t even a data point on the spectrum of acceptable opinions for a credible presidential candidate to have. Color me skeptical.
posted by Selena777 at 5:07 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


weird it's almost like there's some sort of event going on that could be depressing voter turn out

Primaries where held before there were lockdowns. The candidates were still having rallies up until March 10. There were no indications of reduced turnout. In the last big primaries, Michigan and Florida, turnouts were much higher than in 2016.

The remaining primaries have been postponed. Wisconsin was the only primary not postponed but there are no results yet.
posted by JackFlash at 5:13 PM on April 12 [13 favorites]


Even the Sanders model for healthcare is not, per popular assumptions, what "everyone else" does -- it would in fact fall on the leftward side in those places where the system is multi-payer rather than single-payer, which is more countries than not.

What sets the US apart in terms of healthcare is that it chose, for a variety of reasons, to rely on market mechanisms to hold down health care costs long after it became clear based on the experience of other countries that healthcare by and large is an area of market failure. Moreover, the US also chose not to guarantee healthcare to all of its citizens as a right or an obligation of government, as it did with schooling, which precluded the development of a robust publicly funded health infrastructure.

One of the more pernicious arguments to come out of the primary is that the Biden/Buttigieg plans are somehow the equivalent of healthcare systems in certain counties because they continue to include private insurance. Such is not the case. Under Biden/Buttigieg plans, the US would remain unique for the reasons set forth in the first paragraph. For those reasons, unlike other countries, Americans would remain uninsured or underinsured under those plans. For example, Biden's website states his plan would only cover 97 percent of Americans.

In addition, the argument that the Biden/Buttigieg plans are equivalent to those of other countries mischaracterizes the relationship between the private and public sections of European healthcare systems. In those countries, the relationship between public and private healthcare could best be analogized to the relationship between the US postal service and companies like Fed Ex and UPS because Fed Ex and UPS rely on the postal service to deliver packages and mail that would otherwise not be profitable. In much the same way, private healthcare in Europe relays on previously built public infrastructure. Even that overstates the role of private healthcare in European countries because Fed Ex and UPS play a much larger role in delivering US mail.

Because of the above, it is difficult to put American healthcare reform proposals on a left-right continuum compared to other countries because America is starting from such a unique position. No other country has an entrenched set of private interests blocking both universality and essentiality attempting to enforce government sanctioned monopolies and subsidies to extract rents. The best that could be said of the Biden/Buttigieg plans is that they attempt to overthrow the private rent seekers by introducing public plans that in theory could outcompete the private interests. In other countries, the public infrastructure necessary for private healthcare to function came first because healthcare is at least understood as an obligation of government, if not a legal right enshrined in law.

Considering all that, the healthcare proposals floated in the Democratic primary, including Medicare for All, are to the right of other countries. Medicare for All deals with market failure to control prices by introducing a government monopoly that could in theory control prices. It doesn't enshrine healthcare in law as a right. For the most part, it doesn't touch the provision of care. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that, but it is certainly the least invasive reform in the American context that has a chance to achieve true universality. I would recommend reading about the healthcare systems of South Korea, Taiwan, and of course Canada, which developed into Medicare for All type systems along a track that also is applicable to the US.
posted by eagles123 at 8:04 PM on April 12 [15 favorites]


I guess I'm in the somewhat anomalous position of being pretty strongly Warren -> Bernie on policy, but also thinking that Biden had the best chance at winning in the general all along, so I feel... hedged? I'm genuinely sad that we won't get to see a true progressive standard-bearer for the national party for another four years at least, but it feels like things look a lot better than they did two months ago for the prospects of keeping the court from careening off the edge, and maybe even getting some incremental progressive legislation through.

It feels like the answers to the questions "who do I think has the best vision for America" and "who is most likely to win 270 electoral votes in November" should be basically orthogonal, but are verrrry highly correlated in most online spaces (including this one)---does anyone else feel weirdly torn, like me?
posted by rishabguha at 9:12 PM on April 12 [6 favorites]


I guess I'm in the somewhat anomalous position of being pretty strongly Warren -> Bernie on policy, but also thinking that Biden had the best chance at winning in the general all along, so I feel... hedged?

I don't expect the "I think Warren would have been the best President but Biden is ok I guess and probably has the best chance of actually winning" position is an uncommon one, particularly here on Metafilter. It's where I'd fall if you forced me to declare, for example. Biden isn't the most inspirational candidate ever but I'm not voting for somebody to inspire me, I'm voting to stop our incipient decline into fascism and hopefully push the ball a couple yards downfield on health care and the environment.
posted by Justinian at 9:23 PM on April 12 [18 favorites]


I thought Bernie's policies were the best and right sized, but his electability argument that an army of new voters would sweep him to victory always seemed unlikely to me. Plus, there are lot of Americans who would rather die than vote for a self identified socialist. Still... for a minute there it really looked like Bernie was going to pull it off.
posted by xammerboy at 9:32 PM on April 12 [4 favorites]


Part of the election autopsy I'm still working through is what it all means in terms of future approaches to universal healthcare and global warming. We had Bernie pushing the revolutionary medicare for all or bust angle. We had Warren pushing for staged implementation. Similarly for global warming we had Bernie, Styers, and Inslee approaches to aggressive solutions. All of these different approaches seemed, to me, to hit hard ceilings of support.
posted by xammerboy at 9:38 PM on April 12


I hope this is a parody account and not what it looks like:

DSA 🌹 @DemSocialists
We are not endorsing @JoeBiden.

posted by Joe in Australia at 12:04 AM on April 13 [1 favorite]


DSA folk will vote for him or not vote for him as they will, and are under no obligation to endorse him. Again, I’d recommend focusing on trying to sell your guy over fruitless efforts to insist others must like him.
posted by Artw at 12:32 AM on April 13 [16 favorites]


Making a blanket "we are not endorsing" statement is not fooling anyone about what members are being told to do, with regards to the general election.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:22 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


David Atkins at Washington Monthly: Leftist Policy Didn’t Lose. Marxist Electoral Theory Did.
...
But defeatism would be the wrong lesson for leftists interested in passing social democratic policies in America and Britain. The reality is that leftist policy has never been more ascendant in the Democratic Party since at least the 1960s if not the 1930s.
...
What did lose unequivocally, however, was a certain brand of anti-partisan class revolutionary electoral politics rooted in industrial-era Marxist theory.
...
In sum, now is not the time for despondency on the left. There is ample cause for hope and celebration. Leftist policy is increasingly ascendant in the Democratic Party. But it does call for a change in electoral strategy.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 2:57 AM on April 13 [11 favorites]


The DSA is disappointing but not surprising. I'm not sure they would have endorsed anyone except Sanders or possibly Warren. Possibly.
posted by Justinian at 5:59 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


I seriously doubt that if the DSA had tweeted out "We endorse Joe Biden" that it would make any of their members go "Huh, y'know I wasn't going to vote, or maybe I was going to vote but for someone other than Biden, but that endorsement has changed my mind".
posted by 23skidoo at 6:52 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


I'm voting to stop our incipient decline into fascism and hopefully push the ball a couple yards downfield on health care and the environment.

The neoconservative foreign policy legacy of Democratic administrations and leadership of just the past three decades (Iraq, Honduras, Libya, Sudan, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen) indicates that "the incipient decline into fascism" is something that will continue happening under a Joe Biden presidency as it did under Clinton and Obama.

The football metaphor is an incidentally useful one because domestic politics would change somewhat with a Biden presidency, but for anyone too poor, too brown, and too far outside America's borders, it doesn't mean very much at all.
posted by Ouverture at 7:06 AM on April 13 [9 favorites]


The Washington Monthly article linked by donttouchmymustache above is succinct about the problems and solutions, echoing others that this is about identity politics more than class politic (since Trump has the support of poor white voters), and Sanders was elevated in 2016 by rural voters hating Clinton, not by loving him more:

So where does the left go from here? The answer seems simple enough. Instead of using political campaigns as a proxy for testing industrial-era Marxist theories of social alignment, those who want to see leftist policy actually enacted should meet voters where they are and maximize gains within the partisan reality that actually exists. This means, among other things:

1) Embracing the Democratic Party and its voters as a positive force for change. Rather than seeing the party and its voters as an obstacle in the way of transforming society and the country, work to persuade Democrats that candidates who espouse more leftist policy while embracing the liberal side of modern cultural divides can and will win in general elections;

2) Using negative partisanship against the Republican Party to drive turnout. Rather than seeing partisanship as a false consciousness construct of an elite duopoly, recognize it as the fight between decency and cruelty that it actually is, and maximize both social and economic leftist policy within the partisan framework. If that means that some members of the working class with deplorable social views will never come on board, so be it. Leftists can still help them achieve greater material benefits while acknowledging that they will never be grateful for it at the voting booth.

3) Working with even centrist coalition partners on mutual partisan goals aimed at eliminating the unfair chokeholds the right-wing maintains over progress. Much of the rancor between left and center-left is little more than rats fighting in a cage built by the Senate filibuster, gerrymandering, the electoral college, conservative court stacking, etc. Leftists may find that even their intra-party enemies share more of their values than they know, but that everyone is trying to find different pathways to escape the cage. Accept the reality that using the bully pulpit to advocate for material needs policies won’t magically smash that cage on its own by activating a different electorate, and get to work on breaking it directly at every key structural point: eliminating the filibuster, adding states to the union, bypassing the electoral college, pushing non-partisan redistricting, etc.

4) Stopping the use of national presidential campaigns as the key testing grounds for left-versus-liberal contests of will, and focusing more on local campaigns. First, the stakes at the national level are as high as they can possibly be: Democrats, especially older ones, are wary of defeat from past experience. Living through the Reagan, Bush and Trump presidencies has justifiably or not taught them to vote defensively. Meanwhile, conservative structural impediments to policy change at the national level increasingly minimize the differences in outcomes between liberals and leftists in power, the higher up the chain of government you go.

posted by Brian B. at 7:09 AM on April 13 [11 favorites]


Biden and his campaign have both made it abundantly clear that he doesn't need young voters or Sanders voters to win the election, let alone the endorsement of a small leftist organization like DSA. Maybe the thinking is that for every young person he loses, he'll pick up two moderate Republicans.

Either way, an endorsement from DSA isn't going to convince leftists to suddenly fall in line and love with Biden, his legacy, or his policies. And it would only give conservatives more ammunition to attack him with after all the campaign ads about how he has made many women and young girls uncomfortable start to enter the territory of diminishing returns.
posted by Ouverture at 7:14 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


i, too, am shocked and outraged that political party a is not endorsing the candidate of political party b, especially when his policies do not align with those of political party a
posted by entropicamericana at 7:28 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


The neoconservative foreign policy legacy of Democratic administrations and leadership of just the past three decades (Iraq, Honduras, Libya, Sudan, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen) indicates that "the incipient decline into fascism" is something that will continue happening under a Joe Biden presidency as it did under Clinton and Obama

Tell it to the kids in cages. Tell it to Heather Heyer. Tell it to the victims of the victims of the El Paso Walmart shooting, and the Poway synagogue shooting, and the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. Tell it to the Muslim-American women who've had hijabs ripped from their head, and the Asian-Americans being assaulted by bigots during the pandemic.

Heck, tell it to all the dead covid-19 victims who would be alive with competent national leadership that believes in science.

I share your disgust with U.S. foreign policy history, but the suggestion that Biden would be just more of the same is completely absurd.
posted by Lyme Drop at 7:38 AM on April 13 [21 favorites]


Tell it to the kids in cages.

As discussed earlier, America's white supremacist immigration policy was expanded under the Obama administration. This is not quite the slam dunk as I think any of us wish it was.

That same administration sent back Honduran refugee children fleeing the very same violence the administration precipitated. It was such an act of staggering cruelty and white supremacy that I imagine many people here would think it happened under Trump.

As a queer brown immigrant living in America (and whose family is spread out across the Middle East and Asia), I think I have more literal skin in the game than most people who discuss American politics. I am fully aware of how bad things are under Trump.

But what concerns me is just how many Americans aren't aware of how bad things already were before Trump.

I share your disgust with U.S. foreign policy history, but the suggestion that Biden would be just more of the same is completely absurd.

My point is that Biden would be just more of the same Democratic foreign policy, not more of the same as Trump.
posted by Ouverture at 7:50 AM on April 13 [11 favorites]


Yeah, given the choice between Democratic foreign policy and Trump I'm not exactly breaking a sweat figuring out which to choose. And "because domestic politics would change somewhat with a Biden presidency" has to be in the running for the understatement of the year award.
posted by Justinian at 7:58 AM on April 13 [8 favorites]


This thread is silly. Everyone here is going to vote for Biden. Why are some still trying to convince others that Biden is better than Trump when we literally all agree. Yes, I think Biden is personally and politically and strategically garbage. But a literal pile of garbage is better than Trump, as everyone here agrees.

Anyway, here's what the politically strategic and morally uncompromising AOC says:
There’s this talk about unity as this kind of vague, kumbaya, kind of term. Unity and unifying isn’t a feeling, it’s a process. And what I hope does not happen in this process is that everyone just tries to shoo it along and brush real policies — that mean the difference of life and death or affording your insulin and not affording your insulin — just brush that under the rug as an aesthetic difference of style.
posted by latkes at 8:46 AM on April 13 [5 favorites]


I'm not going to sweat whether or not all seven DSA voters in swing states decide not to vote for Biden on account of this non-endorsement. He might lose a couple points in Seattle's 3rd District and end up only winning it by 63 points instead of 65.
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:31 AM on April 13 [3 favorites]


This thread is silly. Everyone here is going to vote for Biden.

are they? I hope you're right but I'm pretty sure that a lot of this thread is driven by the fact that four years ago, many people who would've been in a thread such as this didn't vote for Clinton. They either stayed home or opted for Jill Stein. And then the results were so close that, bluntly, everyone could blame someone else for the Trump victory.

- it was the people who voted for Jill Stein
- it was the people who didn't vote
- it was the people who wouldn't shut up about how bad Hilary was even if they did end up voting for her, they encouraged others not to
- people who were so convinced Clinton would win, they focused more on what to do in the wake of her victory than actually getting her elected
- people who saw that Trump's numbers were higher than expected but still refused to take him seriously (that would be me*)

And so on.

* Canadian anyway but given the interwebs, we can all have an impact these days
posted by philip-random at 9:54 AM on April 13 [12 favorites]


If you think the most important political action right now is ensuring Biden wins the election, what are you doing to achieve that, besides chastening people on Metafilter?
posted by latkes at 9:58 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: "what are you doing to achieve that, besides chastening people on Metafilter?"
posted by avalonian at 10:01 AM on April 13 [8 favorites]


For the millionth time, time spent talking politics on MetaFilter does not necessarily take away from time spent on other political activities. If people are going to put forth falsehoods about Biden and his record, other people are free to correct those falsehoods without receiving passive aggressive callouts about how they should be phone banking or whatever, just as those using this thread on the topic of Sanders exiting the race to instead attack Biden when Bernie will likely be endorsing Biden should not have to fend off accusations that they are wasting time that could be devoted to a general strike or trying to elect socialists at the state and local levels.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:05 AM on April 13 [4 favorites]


But... are any of you going to be phone banking or whatever? Because if you’re not than that’s a lot more serious than if the DSA endorses or not.
posted by Artw at 10:07 AM on April 13 [4 favorites]


For the millionth time, time spent talking politics on MetaFilter does not necessarily take away from time spent on other political activities.

Their point was specifically about chastening, but - given the venue - I understand the confusion.
posted by avalonian at 10:09 AM on April 13 [1 favorite]


[Wrap this derail up folks.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:17 AM on April 13 [1 favorite]


So if Biden loses do you think the DNC will reflect on this, or will they double down on blaming Bernie Sanders and then find someone even more to the right to support?
posted by Iax at 10:28 AM on April 13 [7 favorites]


@mattyglesis
4: Bernie had strong favorable numbers among most Democrats, but so did lots of other prominent Democrats.

5: The key swing vote in the primary therefore was people who like Bernie, but don’t hate all non-Bernie Democrats. Those are the folks he could have won, but didn’t get.

6: In the general election, Bernie’s aloofness from the institutional Dem Party could have been a strength (swing voters are not party loyalists) but in a primary it’s a potential weakness.

[...]

13: Going forward people who would like to see policy outcomes to the left of Biden’s proposals need to do a better job of balancing their affective disdain for the Democratic Party with the reality that this view is not shared by the people whose votes you need to win.

14: All the discourse about “toxic” twitter supporters and “civility” is mis-targeted.

15: The issue is attitude toward the party, not manners — “all mainstream Democrats are bad people who will suffer personally if our guy wins” is a losing message.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:32 AM on April 13 [13 favorites]


So if Biden loses do you think the DNC will reflect on this, or will they double down on blaming Bernie Sanders and then find someone even more to the right to support?

Rob Mook, Ex Clinton campaign manger who ran an absolutely terrible campaign and lost, is already making a fuss about the lack of a DSA endorsement as “entitlement” from the DSA, so take a guess.

BTW this was the initial reaction of Clinton campaigners to Samders withdrawing before they figured out it was a terrible idea: Former Clinton Staffers Invited To “Bye, Bye Bernard” Zoom Call
posted by Artw at 10:34 AM on April 13 [8 favorites]


Hmmm... I guess if I can attempt to bring the train back on the rails: I think many Sanders supporters who actively worked on his campaign, or on other, related political organizing, feel angry and being criticized or called out in this moment. The Sanders campaign had an exceptionally engaged, unpaid, grassroots set of volunteers who have worked their ass off for months. So it does feel bad to have someone on the internet tell you you suck after that.

For example: My teenage kid tabled every week at her community college for Sanders . I wasn't involved in the Sanders campaign, but I've been doing union organizing that is adjacent to Sanders organizing (overlapping people, shared policy agenda, same organizing techniques), giving to local organizing campaigns that are similarly ajacent to the campaign, and I share the policy goals of the campaign. So again, I do not enjoy having someone online tell me I suck right now.

Having said that, we do need to constantly examine and improve on our organizing strategy - if we want to win. If you're working to win it for Biden, and you think that should be our focus, and you have a path toward winning that way, by all means, tell me how you're doing that. But if all you have is critiques for the political work of others, well, I don't have a lot of patience for that.
posted by latkes at 10:34 AM on April 13 [9 favorites]


The DSA is not generally in the business of endorsing non-socialists, particularly at the national level (I think there have been some local exceptions), so the national's non-endorsement of Biden seems like the very definition of a non-event.
posted by Not A Thing at 10:43 AM on April 13 [9 favorites]


Here’s there current list of endorsements, in case it helps. All races that are much less big and splashy than the presidential one so efforts there will count for a lot more.
posted by Artw at 10:50 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


Yeah, given the choice between Democratic foreign policy and Trump I'm not exactly breaking a sweat figuring out which to choose. And "because domestic politics would change somewhat with a Biden presidency" has to be in the running for the understatement of the year award.

My point is that the reason Western liberals and centrists are not "breaking a sweat" is that white supremacy and imperialism in American foreign policy are so endemic, bipartisan, and ambient that their horrifying consequences are constantly minimized and excused even on Metafilter.

And that is heartbreaking and frustrating to see, especially considering foreign policy is one of the few areas where the president has significant power over. This was one of the reasons I was so excited for a Sanders presidency and so worried about a Biden presidency.

Trump must absolutely be defeated, but if Biden wins, nothing has me feeling hopeful that, after the inauguration, liberals and centrists will actually care to stop the great imperialist war machine that devours brown bodies for Western power. The past two D

Moreover, it isn't as though "hard" choices such as selling the Saudis cluster bombs in order to enable their war crimes in Yemen has proferred any electoral advantage to the Democrats in the last 8 years.

A compromise candidate should have one break a sweat, even if the alternative is so much worse.
posted by Ouverture at 10:51 AM on April 13 [10 favorites]


So if Biden loses do you think the DNC will reflect on this, or will they double down on blaming Bernie Sanders and then find someone even more to the right to support?

I think they'll reflect on it approximately as long and deeply as people who claim a Biden nomination is likely doomed to lose will reflect on it if he wins.
posted by Justinian at 10:53 AM on April 13 [12 favorites]


I for one will be happy to be proved wrong about Biden tanking in November, though your right in that I’ll immediately be moving on up how pushing a better agenda can be done rather than abandoning that agenda.
posted by Artw at 10:59 AM on April 13 [1 favorite]


Sanders is on Biden's livestream right now if anybody needs a Bernie fix!
posted by Justinian at 11:11 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


DSA membership is something like 60,000. I doubt they are going to swing the election one way or the other involving 140 million votes. However, they do have an out-sized footprint on the twitter-verse so may have some influence.

Sanders is not a member of the DSA. DSA endorsement of Sanders was a close call with a lot of dissenters. The overlap between Sanders supporters and DSA supporters is pretty small.
posted by JackFlash at 11:25 AM on April 13 [5 favorites]


Sanders is on Biden's livestream right now if anybody needs a Bernie fix!

It actually seems to be going pretty well, FWIW. I think he's beginning to do some of the necessary case making. (I say, he's on education costs right now which could go south at any moment).

It does kind of bring home that there's never been much doubt as to what Bernie stands for policy wise because he never shuts up about it.
posted by Artw at 11:31 AM on April 13 [3 favorites]


Bernie Sanders to Joe Biden: "I am asking all Americans — I'm asking every Democrat, I'm asking every independent, I'm asking a lot of Republicans — to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy which I endorse."
posted by Ahmad Khani at 11:32 AM on April 13 [11 favorites]


I'm a pretty intense Biden skeptic, but listening to this Sanders-Biden convo is surprisingly encouraging me. I want to see a Biden campaign that emphasizes the coalitional [is that word?] nature of the people against Trump - that's not just about Biden, but about the whole array of people who know there's something really wrong going on. Yeah, it's not ideal for fixing how broken our society is, but maybe it can at least get the car out of the ditch? And Biden is surprising me by finding emotional moments around the issues they're discussing - talking about paying off his dead son's college debt kind of got me. And I hope Sanders is a frequent voice in this campaign, he's really powerful.
posted by tarshish bound at 11:35 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


(And I hope that coalitional campaign goes way beyond white men over 70...)
posted by tarshish bound at 11:38 AM on April 13 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm a LOT more convinced of Joe's willingness and ability to make a case for himself.
posted by Artw at 11:38 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


(Also, in re: their closing kibitzing, I would totally watch Biden and Sanders playing chess.)
posted by tarshish bound at 11:39 AM on April 13 [3 favorites]


Sanders: "In this terrible moment in our history, and given the enormous challenges we face in the future... We don't have a choice... We need to come together, to bring the best minds together... We're the richest country in the world We should not have a half a million people who are homeless... We should not have half our workers living paycheck to paycheck... We should not have more people in jail than any other country... We got a lot of work to do to make this country the kind of nation that I know you want to see.. that I want to see.. and the vast majority of the American people want to see... I know you are the kind of guy who's going to be inclusive... You want to bring people in, even people who disagree with you, hear what they have to say... We'll argue it out... It's called democracy.... Let's respect each other, let's address the challenges we face right now, and in the future... And in that regard, Joe, I very much look forward to working with you."
posted by tonycpsu at 11:39 AM on April 13 [15 favorites]


@brianschatz: Dems in array.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:09 PM on April 13 [7 favorites]


If you think the most important political action right now is ensuring Biden wins the election, what are you doing to achieve that, besides chastening people on Metafilter?

There are currently a batch of bumper stickers coming out that convey the message of voting one's faith ("I vote my faith" etc). This is the problem, on both sides. It should come down to a practical matter, because for most, voting is not a luxury they can afford to waste for the next life. If we don't want someone else's faith or otherworldly values running our lives, then don't vote idealistically, or for any bland or flawless crusader hiding in plain sight, because their backers will increase control of our votes by way of social guilt or self-righteousness. Tell the opposition to vote for the nicest but most flawed person, because that's a wealth of information that is otherwise concealed, and they should want the truth up front. The keyword is "nice" because they aren't condemning, and it's an image nobody wants to lose, and being flawed is relative but always necessary for humility. Bottom line is that if moral idealists can't vote their interests in relative poverty, then appealing to anything material is absurd, especially for others, and their souls aren't at liberty to change their minds about anything fundamental or orthodox. Don't underestimate the power of giving someone you know permission to break the rules in their interests. They're only toeing that line for a public self-image and they can always blame you later.
posted by Brian B. at 12:16 PM on April 13


DSA endorsement of Sanders was a close call with a lot of dissenters.

DSA 🌹@DemSocialists
Results are in! The NPC advisory poll closed today and DSA members are overwhelmingly in favor of a Bernie Sanders endorsement: 76% of participants said Yes, and 24% said No. The NPC will meet March 21st for next steps. Details coming soon
4:44 PM · Mar 12, 2019·TweetDeck
445 Retweets 1.7K Likes
posted by Ahmad Khani at 12:28 PM on April 13 [7 favorites]


from ABC ... a more complete statement of endorsement:

"Today, I am asking all Americans, I'm asking every Democrat, I'm asking every Independent, I'm asking a lot of Republicans, to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy, which I endorse -- to make certain that we defeat somebody who I believe -- and I'm speaking just for myself now -- is the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country," Sanders said, joining Biden.
posted by philip-random at 12:37 PM on April 13 [6 favorites]


A huge thanks to Bernie Sanders for this. This was a step that needed to be taken to help defuse a potential fight within the ranks of Dem and liberal voters. Not saying there won’t still be fights, but a strong statement like this from Bernie makes it clear to his supporters that the time for trying to tear down Biden is over. (I have to wonder if that DSA tweet played any role in his decision to endorse. If ever there was a moment to tell people “hey, simmer down,” that was it.) I understand the disappointment that Bernie (or especially in my case, Warren) didn’t win. But here we are. We can either push forward for some progress or we can go drastically backward and empower even further a white supremacist authoritarian who has praised literal Nazis live on TV. We can either start the work to undo the damage to the judiciary or we can let Trump have four more years to stack the courts to destroy everything that progressives have ever wanted. To me, it’s a pretty damn easy choice.
posted by azpenguin at 1:04 PM on April 13 [9 favorites]


... and quoting probably my most resolutely Socialist (money where his mouth is) Facebook friend:

Bernie Sanders managed to get 13 million Americans to vote for socialism in 2016, 8 million to vote for it in 2020 and managed to create a national organization that captured seats in the House and state legislatures like that of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes.

The quick rush to endorse Joe Biden was not the move I expected, nor anything like what he did in 2016.

But I think he has earned our respect for his judgement after pretty-much singlehandedly resurrecting a national movement that had been dead for 80 years and installing it in the Senate, House and state governments in the space of less than five years.

There are very few politicians I do not second-guess because there are very few politicians I trust. Bernie Sanders has earned my trust and should have earned yours. Let's back his play.

posted by philip-random at 1:06 PM on April 13 [8 favorites]


Biden is really bad on a teleprompter, and much better speaking extemporaneously. When he's reading prepared remarks he reminds me more than I'd like of Trump's thing where he (that is DJT) clearly has no idea where a sentence is going to end until he gets there, and it shows in his intonation. The conversation between him and Sanders isn't glowing with charisma but it's still got an energy you can campaign with.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:07 PM on April 13 [6 favorites]


I thought the joint live-stream Sanders and Biden did was extremely well done. Kudos to Biden and Sanders and the people who work for their campaigns for putting this together.
posted by nangar at 4:15 PM on April 13 [5 favorites]


Could Bernie have won by ramping up attacks on Biden? (SPOILER: no)
As a follow-up to Rob’s concluding point below, it’s worth noting that on this question Bernie was obviously right and the Sirota faction of his campaign was obviously wrong:
[...] But on the stage that night, Sanders didn’t take his aides’ advice. Instead,he largely gave Biden a pass, bashed Bloomberg sometimes — but not over stop-and-frisk — and mostly stuck to his standard talking points. It wasn’t the first nor the last time Sanders eschewed his staffers’ suggestions to be more aggressive with his top rival. Their warnings proved prescient: Biden went on to sweep the day in South Carolina, unify moderates, and then carry Super Tuesday.

“Knocking out Biden was job No. 1. And even when he was down, no one went for a knockout blow,” said a top aide. “That was the problem.”
If you think through this for three seconds, this is not a difficult question. What ultimately doomed Bernie’s campaign was his failure to win voters who had positive feelings about him but also have positive feelings about the Democratic Party. Could you convert these voters by going nuclear on Obama’s well-liked vice president? The question answers itself.

And by not engaging in a futile last-gasp war against Biden, Bernie preserves a good relationship with him that he can use to influence his administration if he wins, and this is a good thing.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:15 PM on April 13 [9 favorites]


The Biden-Sanders stream was pretty encouraging and I'm more optimistic than I was before? This is a weird feeling.
posted by Justinian at 7:41 PM on April 13 [9 favorites]


I was reading that Bernie was in communication with Biden and Obama over the past few weeks, and that he waited to drop out until after the Wisconsin vote to help drive turnout for the state Supreme Court election. Apparently the WI GOP was pissssssed about that (awwww, poow widdle oppwessed wepubwicans...) That would explain why he dropped out right after the vote even though the votes weren't going to be counted for a week.

...and well, the race was an absolute ass-kicking. There's still votes left to count and the progressive judge is up by 119,000 votes. This result is probably resulting in a lot of panicked phone calls in RNC and Trump circles. Recall that Trump barely won WI in 2016. Last year there was another SC election in WI and the conservative won by 6,000 votes. If you go through the county by county results, this is pretty amazing. Jill Karnofsky is outperforming Lisa Neubauer (last year's progressive candidate) in almost every county, while Daniel Kelly is mostly flat compared to Brian Hagedorn last year. This is made even sweeter by the GOP's blatant efforts at voter suppression. The voters coming out during a pandemic to tell the republicans to kick rocks is a hell of a statement.

I know Bernie supporters may not be big on Biden, but this shit matters. Let's work together. We can kick some ass.
posted by azpenguin at 7:53 PM on April 13 [19 favorites]


The DSA could have had a more nuanced message than "We Don't Endorse Biden."

I am not sure at all that taking such an absolutist stance is good for the long term prospects of the organization's political legitimacy. Negotiate, sure. Draw a hard bargain. I hope that's what's going on. But if one positions oneself as completely unreachable, then they're essentially withdrawing from the political process.
posted by xammerboy at 8:39 PM on April 13 [4 favorites]


Another way of putting this is, when we have another socialist candidate, we're going to want them to have the power to at least shift the overton window again. I'm not sure that happens if most of the country believes a party's voters will not compromise in any respect under any circumstances.
posted by xammerboy at 8:43 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


The World Socialist Website is not impressed ...

But Sanders has slunk out of the fight for the nomination in a manner that invites contempt. There was nothing of an old fighter’s last hurrah. The aged senator did not even offer his supporters a last harrumph. Rather, he meekly accepted the verdict of the Democratic Party machine and sang the praises of his “old friend” Joe Biden. And so, Sanders’ political revolution ended not with a final roar of defiance, but with a whimper of unctuous flattery.

posted by philip-random at 8:53 PM on April 13 [3 favorites]


In 2004, the DSA endorsed John Kerry. They went on to endorse Barack Obama. So it's a little grating for them to newly assert "Of course we only endorse true leftists". Now, the positive side of this is that it demonstrates the substantial leftward shift our politics as a whole have taken.

But it's nonetheless grating that in the post-Sanders world, they've become the cat that smelled tuna and therefore won't eat commercial food (which, to be sure, probably has any number of genuine nutritional deficiencies or whatever). At one time, my understanding was that the DSA occupied a magic spot as the Green-Party-but-effective (attempting primary challenges but still endorsing the winner regardless, fixing people's taillights even though that's icky incrementalism), and I worry that has faded.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:02 PM on April 13 [8 favorites]


I... did not know they endorsed John Kerry, which does put a different spin on things.
posted by Justinian at 9:18 PM on April 13 [4 favorites]


Every time Sanders does something right the conversation almost immediate shifts to discussing how some faction of his supporters is doing something wrong. I expect soon we'll hear denunciations of Sanders for not adequately repudiating the DSA's non-endorsement of Biden.
posted by chortly at 9:28 PM on April 13 [4 favorites]


immediate shifts to discussing how some faction of his supporters is doing something wrong.

Wait. So it’s only Biden supporters that are up for criticism?

This is like a catch-22. Almost no one here ever expressed undying enthusiasm for Biden. He’s just the guy we got. But many have for Sanders. Including me. And many of us then moved on when we had to.

And we have pretty convincingly, I think, outlined why sometimes that has been made somewhat difficult by the core of Sanders die hards.

And this isn’t just “some faction.” These are the serious water carriers for the left. The very people who have used “liberal” as a pejorative over and over.

Yet it’s these Sanders die hards on the far left that are literally turning on Sanders. And if this isn’t an example of type of stridency we were talking about nothing is. But we can’t talk about it?
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 10:03 PM on April 13 [10 favorites]


But if one positions oneself as completely unreachable, then they're essentially withdrawing from the political process.

As a progressive with a wider view, maybe we should just let them go? Turn-out is low but unemployment, debt, and lack of healthcare are issues that affect regular people, some of whom could be convinced to vote. Perhaps there's more to gain to focus attention and energy on getting those people to participate in the process, if the Dems can make their case.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:28 PM on April 13 [4 favorites]


The DSA is much different organization now than it was, because it's like eight (ten?) times the size it was, because a lot of people joined who were disillusioned with the state of the Democrats after 2016.

A lot of people in the DSA don't think a friendly attitude toward the Democratic Party was working for them. It's now a large enough organization to have factions within it, and some of them don't think an Democratic entryist strategy has worked at all, or don't think an electoral strategy has worked at all.

fixing people's taillights even though that's icky incrementalism

... fixing taillights has nothing to do at all with people's opinions of electoral incrementalism. If anything it is more characteristic of what the other side, wants i.e. community involvement and direct action.
posted by atoxyl at 10:49 PM on April 13 [4 favorites]


Allow me to grind my axe for a moment:

If you have more than two candidates, and especially if you have a whole bunch of candidates, plurality (a.k.a. FPTP) voting is an absolutely terrible way to choose a winner that the largest number of people feel good about supporting. Out of all the ways to conduct an election, it's basically the worst system you can use short of coming up with something most people wouldn't even call an election. Throw in extra wrinkles, like the way the result comes from a whole series of separate elections held at different times, and the obscure rules about how the popular vote translates into delegate counts, and you end up introducing so much noise into an already terrible system that you may as well choose a nominee by reading chicken entrails.

If the DNC really wants to choose the most viable candidate, they should ditch the whole process and switch to a single nationwide popular vote using a system like approval voting, IRV, score voting, etc.
posted by shponglespore at 10:50 PM on April 13 [13 favorites]


DSA endorsement of Sanders was a close call with a lot of dissenters.

yeah there were/are people who didn't want to endorse anybody
posted by atoxyl at 10:52 PM on April 13


realistically a DSA endorsement in 2004 meant, uh, basically nothing?

now it means, well, a little bit more, and it's also more controversial how to use it
posted by atoxyl at 10:53 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


As a progressive with a wider view, maybe we should just let them go? Turn-out is low but unemployment, debt, and lack of healthcare are issues that affect regular people, some of whom could be convinced to vote.

Or the Democratic Party might have to tack right to find new voters among swing Republicans, which would be a really sad outcome from there being a segment of newly emergent leftist voters.
posted by xammerboy at 11:07 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


Or the Democratic Party might have to tack right to find new voters among swing Republicans, which would be a really sad outcome from there being a segment of newly emergent leftist voters.

The proverbial "moderate Republican in the suburbs" is a pillar of the current mainstream Democratic strategy. This didn't work so well in the 2016 Presidential race. It did work pretty well in the 2018 House race, and one of the major arguments made against Bernie as a candidate was that his lack of appeal to suburban moderates was going to be a downballot liability (i.e. that it would lose those 2018 seats).

So, I mean, it's implicitly the bet that's already been made by choosing Biden, that this demographic is more important to winning in 2020 (or at least, less dangerous to alienate) than the Left.
posted by atoxyl at 12:36 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


Republicans can win elections campaigning only to their base. Democrats typically can't, which is why Bernie's electability argument was that he would turn out large numbers of new voters.
posted by xammerboy at 1:14 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


The phrase "newly emergent leftist voters" has proven not to be accurate, as even Sanders admitted. In addition to the 2018 Congressional results, recent poll after poll has shown that suburban voters (especially women) are much less likely to support Tr*mp compared to 4 years ago, if offered a centrist candidate.
posted by PhineasGage at 6:29 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


The DSA could have had a more nuanced message than "We Don't Endorse Biden."

I am not sure at all that taking such an absolutist stance is good for the long term prospects of the organization's political legitimacy. Negotiate, sure. Draw a hard bargain. I hope that's what's going on. But if one positions oneself as completely unreachable, then they're essentially withdrawing from the political process.


Pretty much my thoughts exactly. If they decide to just say they don’t endorse Biden and keep taking shots at him, and then he wins the election, then they have zero leverage when they come asking for a seat at the table. If they do the same and then he loses, then no one is going to want to deal with them.

And that’s not ideal in any case. We need them at the table. They’re the ones who can help us pull the Overton window over further to the left. Sanders not winning the nomination has them upset, I get that. But we can’t move things left if they keep getting kicked over to the right. Nader voters cost Gore in 2000, and look what that got us. We could have had the beginnings of real climate action, no tax cut for the rich and no Iraq war, and two seats in the SC. By the time Obama got in, he was dealing with a populace that was already indoctrinated to tax cuts and had a blue dog contingent in congress blocking progressive policy (the ACA is what it is because it was what could get through Congress, and the blue dog strategy was a disaster, evidenced by most of them losing house elections in 2010.) Now Trump wins, in large part due to Stein voters in key states, and here we are again. Tax cuts. Two far right SC justices. Environmental protections being ripped to shreds. People being kicked off food stamps and Medicaid. The ACA gutted by any executive orders possible. DACA being rescinded. Kids in cages. Open support for nazis. Jeez, we can’t keep getting something going and then letting them burn it to the ground. It would be nice, as someone said in another thread, to “yeet the Overton window.” Right now we just have to start it moving and not let these guys push it even further right. We need everyone at the table for that, because this is all hands on deck right now. Another Trump term will destroy America, because his authoritarianism would be emboldened and he would be able to do whatever he wants without the SC or 67 senators checking him.
posted by azpenguin at 7:46 AM on April 14 [7 favorites]


If the DNC really wants to choose the most viable candidate, they should ditch the whole process and switch to a single nationwide popular vote using a system like approval voting, IRV, score voting, etc.

As appealing as that seems, I don't think it would have made a bit of difference in the outcome of this nomination. It was pretty clear from over a year ago that the two candidates to beat were the one who was the runner up with millions of primary votes in 2016, Sanders, and the candidate that was outpolling everyone, by far, from literally day one over a year ago through today, Biden.

The most likely outcome, whatever voting system you choose, was going to be Biden vs Sanders and that is exactly what we got.
posted by JackFlash at 9:35 AM on April 14 [8 favorites]


It's purely symbolism when we look at the lack of accountability for the CIA literally torturing people, the massive expansion of both the deportation and drone assassination industrial complexes, or for major financial institutions permanently destroying the global economy. This is the last time we had a president running on the "most progressive platform ever".

Being thoughtful about this, and having read the whole thread before opining, I think more than ever that the reason people are so angry about Biden is not necessarily because he's better or worse than previous Democratic nominees, but rather because they have believed that this was the moment when the whole 'business as usual' thing gets shut down - and I think they are afraid that with Biden as the nominee, that if Biden wins, the Democratic Party will have learned a lesson that they can straight up ignore the leftists and still win, and 'business as usual' will continue for quite some time.

I don't think they're wrong, exactly, but I also don't believe in moments where you get to skip ahead without doing all the preliminary work.

The majority of the country is not convinced, whether they want medicare for all or free college or what have you, that what they want is someone tearing down the hierarchy or destroying capitalism. They're just not. Even if 20% of people want this and it's larger than it's ever been in anyone's lifetime - the vast and overwhelming majority of people don't want that. The groundwork hasn't been done. There was no 'one neat trick' to get them there. So yeah, the process of change is going to require actually convincing the electorate of the things wanted, rather than taking one charismatic person and propelling him forward. That's okay, but it's also disappointing. It means most people won't see that world in time to enjoy it.

So I get folks' grief - but I also think that the anger should be focused at the systems that create that outcome, rather than on other fellow sufferers who have different ideas about which outcomes are the most reliable.
posted by corb at 9:41 AM on April 14 [22 favorites]


If Bernie was the only candidate left standing Obama would be endorsing him right now.
posted by xammerboy at 11:46 AM on April 14 [5 favorites]


Yes, from the actual article: "in the weeks after it became clear that Mr. Biden was the party’s near-certain nominee..."
posted by PhineasGage at 11:59 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


[One comment deleted; please don't dismiss the concerns people have raised over the racism of treating the African-American voter base as somehow not counting. You can make points without dismissing those concerns.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:37 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


If Bernie was the only candidate left standing Obama would be endorsing him right now.

Bernie is not the only candidate left standing largely because Obama made of so though, so I feel a little less certain of that. And the Clinton contingent of the party made it absolutely clear that “blue no matter who” did not extend to him either.
posted by Artw at 2:15 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


If Bernie was the only candidate left standing Obama would be endorsing him right now.
"NYT: "Mr. Obama has been considerably more engaged in the campaign’s denouement than has been previously revealed....he was becoming more agitated by the state of the race as Mr. Sanders surged, and Mr. Biden slumped."
posted by entropicamericana at 2:38 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


It literally says in the next paragraph what that means. He talked to Sanders "in the weeks after it became clear." There is no way to shadow-ily read that they are really saying Obama was the puppet master all along. There is no evidence for that in the full context of this article.
posted by nakedmolerats at 3:10 PM on April 14 [8 favorites]


From the man himself: "Sanders says opposing Biden is ‘irresponsible’."
Bernie Sanders said Tuesday that it would be “irresponsible” for his loyalists not to support Joe Biden, warning that progressives who “sit on their hands” in the months ahead would simply enable President Donald Trump’s reelection.
posted by PhineasGage at 3:16 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


You know, without editing, I immediately regret posting where I usually lurk. I stand by the sentiment but don't particularly want to contribute to dialing up the heat, so I apologize for making this a more fighty place.
posted by nakedmolerats at 3:19 PM on April 14 [4 favorites]


So Obama endorsed Clinton in June 2016. Seems pretty clear they’re trying to jump ahead sooner than they did four years ago.
posted by girlmightlive at 4:21 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


Because Clinton became the presumptive nominee later in 2016.
posted by xammerboy at 5:41 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


Jump ahead? The primary campaign is over. Sanders endorsed Biden.

Will facts have no impact on this discussion? Conversations on MetaFilter are wonderful when members share - and are respected for - their individual experiences and feelings, and when members share and discuss objective information. Things seem more likely to go off the rails when some continue to post arguments and interpretations that have been consistently disproven, like the notions that Obama intervened to push the nomination toward Biden or that there's a vast pool of new young and progressive voters who are gonna turn out for more leftist candidates, which even Sanders acknowledged didn't happen.

Biden wasn't my choice, either. And I'm not expecting someone who was a fervent supporter of another candidate to immediately, enthusiastically support Biden. But continued dark mutterings about 'rigged' primaries and mythical turnout from populations of previous non-voters do distract from reality and harm our prospects for defeating Tr*mp.
posted by PhineasGage at 5:45 PM on April 14 [5 favorites]


I don't think it would be surprising to find the DNC preferred Biden. Sanders, after all, openly called them the enemy. I just don't think they rigged the election, and it doesn't look to me like Obama was pulling any strings.
posted by xammerboy at 5:46 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


Jump ahead? The primary campaign is over. Sanders endorsed Biden.

I thibk they’re hoping to jump past the bit where Clinton got massively booed at the convention after running a campaign that was all about how nothing from the Obama years could be improved upon and wanting anything more was a socialist dream. Her messaging got better as time went on but a lot of the damage was already done.
posted by Artw at 6:00 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


But continued dark mutterings about 'rigged' primaries and mythical turnout from populations of previous non-voters do distract from reality and harm our prospects for defeating Tr*mp.

If this is directed at me saying “jump ahead” then you should read my other comments in this thread. I meant jumping ahead from this same time frame/point four years ago.
posted by girlmightlive at 6:12 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


Seems pretty clear they’re trying to jump ahead sooner than they did four years ago.

Well, they are kind of forced to, because there might be a chance of not even holding a convention. Or rallies, meetings, or canvassing for that matter.

I mean, alot of the traditional strategies and milestones are not applicable.
posted by FJT at 6:30 PM on April 14


I watched the 2016 National Democratic Convention. I don't remember Clinton getting "massively booed". Is this something that actually happened? If it did, can someone link to a video from the 2016 Convention where this massive booing happened?

I don't recall anybody in this thread complaining about 'rigged primaries'. Biden got more votes than Bernie from Democratic primary voters. I think almost everyone here acknowledges that that's the case. There's been lots of verbal sniping (of course!), but I haven't seen anybody here deny that Joe Biden won the Democratic primaries.
posted by nangar at 7:20 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


Um?

man, if you look at this primary and didn't come to the conclusion that it was rigged, wow, let me tell you about these exciting opportunities selling amway!
posted by entropicamericana at 7:14 PM on April 9 [12 favorites +] [!]

For those that don't buy that it was rigged against Sanders
posted by zardoz at 9:54 PM on April 9 [20 favorites +] [!]
posted by tavella at 8:00 PM on April 14 [6 favorites]


Yeah, the rigged narrative is not exactly rare on metafilter It's maybe slightly less common than it was in 2016 but not overwhelmingly so.
posted by Justinian at 8:08 PM on April 14 [5 favorites]


. I don't remember Clinton getting "massively booed".

oh?
posted by Artw at 9:04 PM on April 14 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the links, tavella and Artw.
posted by nangar at 4:11 AM on April 15


Don’t Fear the Anti-Biden Socialist:
But a national survey of 18-24-year-olds fielded by the Knight Foundation and released in February found that while 37 percent of those without religious objections to voting offered cynicism, disinterest, or dissatisfaction with political candidates as reasons for staying home, almost as many—31 percent—cited logistical constraints like being unregistered, or lacking the free time to vote. When asked what would motivate them more to vote, only 20 percent of the young people surveyed said a good candidate or a stance on a particular issue would make a difference, while 38 percent cited changes to their lives or policy that would make it easier to vote, including having more time to vote and the ability to vote online.

All of this comports with Census data about voting and registration over the past several elections, which unsurprisingly shows that voters past retirement age, unlike young voters, are exceptionally unlikely to cite being busy as a reason for not having voted. Stability of residence also works in older voters’ favor—young people move much more, which can complicate registration and turnout on election day. It should be said that for all the talk about the youth sitting out, voters under 30 were the only age category that saw their turnout increase in 2016, albeit just slightly, from 45 percent to just over 46 percent. Turnout from voters over 65 dipped from 72 percent to about 71 percent. The gap, of course, remains extraordinary—so large, in fact, that it should be clear older voters would dominate the electorate even if youth turnout improved considerably, which doesn’t seem likely anytime soon.

[...]

The conversations about the concessions Biden might make to win them over has focused on his stances on issues like healthcare and climate change. But if Biden wants progressive votes, he should also pledge to make those votes matter more by endorsing the effort to eliminate the Electoral College by interstate compact. He should also renounce his support for the Senate filibuster, which grants the most conservative parts of the country veto power over policies most Americans support and will make much of the agenda he’s urging people to the polls for impossible. It’s not obvious that Biden will take suggestions like this seriously and he ultimately doesn’t have to—the election isn’t going to rest on committed progressives, and it seems clear that Biden believes being president is the only truly critical item on his presidential platform.

Those who find this dispiriting should assuage their disappointment with how the Democratic primary turned out by involving themselves in other political efforts. Engage with a race somewhere down-ballot. Organize a workplace or an apartment complex. Plan a run for office yourself or, alternatively, a demonstration that might bring people to the streets whenever the coronavirus crisis passes. Even when they fail, these and other forms of political activity can be much more influential and consequential than whatever you do in the privacy of a voting booth.
Some really great points about electoral strategy made here by Osita Nwanevu.
posted by Ouverture at 4:12 AM on April 15 [8 favorites]


38 percent cited changes to their lives or policy that would make it easier to vote, including having more time to vote and the ability to vote online.

Of course, that last one has disadvantages that unfortunately outweigh advantages. However, maybe it could be incorporated into vote-by-mail? You go online to request a pre-filled ballot, which then arrives in the mail. You have to sign/authorize that paper copy and it (not your initial electronic request) becomes your true ballot. Or you could even print one out then and there! The point just being to minimize steps.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:43 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


As of roughly one hour ago Warren has joined Sanders in endorsing Joe Biden for President. So that's essentially the entire field now.
posted by Justinian at 7:08 AM on April 15 [7 favorites]


at least our orb queen marianne is holding the line
posted by entropicamericana at 9:37 AM on April 15 [6 favorites]


re: You Don't Know Bernie
Because of mold in the house, Pamela’s daughter needs the device to breathe in her sleep. “How old is she?” the candidate asks. She’s 10. Pamela holds up the mask so he can see up close.

“Show them, not me,” he says, gesturing toward the camera.

She shows the camera the mask.

The visit continues like this. “Show them,” he keeps saying. “Show them.” He speaks only to ask questions, prompting Pamela to “explain” this or that, pointing her to an unseen audience on the other end of his camera lens. It’s like he’s directing his own video — except the video isn’t about him or his campaign or his policy agenda.
@SenSanders: "Leilani Jordan said she wasn't given gloves or hand sanitizer. Now this grocery worker is dead at 27 over a $20.64 paycheck. Is this what America is about? Or will we fight for protective gear, hazard pay, and paid sick leave for all frontline workers?"

Since we're all doing these, here's mine: "I first got to know Bernie while trying to find a way to destroy him. What I found was a unique figure in US politics: someone who was authentically who they claimed to be. Who had a moral vision of a better America without excuses..."
posted by kliuless at 10:01 AM on April 15 [9 favorites]


someone who was authentically who they claimed to be

Bernie Sanders is the only decent human being who has had a real chance to be president in maybe 40 years. We took an L on this one
posted by dis_integration at 10:05 AM on April 15 [10 favorites]


We took an L on this one

For those who think they took a loss, there are decades more of Republican cruelty, nepotism, incompetency, and yet more cruelty under Trump. It's not just him on the horizon, but at least a couple Supreme Court seats he'll assign, whose seats do not expire.

For the love of whichever deity or non-deity, please, (speaking as a Warren supporter) please, please grieve, and then think very seriously about the future and consequences of decisions to come.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:02 PM on April 15 [9 favorites]


some continue to post arguments and interpretations that have been consistently disproven, like the notions that Obama intervened to push the nomination toward Biden...

He was on a phone call with Biden and Mayor Pete when Biden asked for Mayor Pete's endorsement. That seems like intervention to me? Maybe you're talking about something more specific, but this does not seem obviously wrong. It's also definitely not something that has been disproven. The standard for proving that something didn't happen is higher than "people on metafilter don't know about whether it happened or not." But that's perhaps a more nuanced epistemological point than necessary.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 12:10 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


How do you prove something that didn't happen?
posted by xammerboy at 1:29 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


You can prove that something didn't happen, in some circumstances. That's what "disproving" means. I can prove that I didn't amputate my own foot. To say the same thing another way, I can disprove the allegation that I amputated my own foot.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 2:20 PM on April 16


To put it another way, these are two different statements:

1) I cannot prove X
2) I can disprove X

(1) indicates lack of proof regarding the occurrence of X. (2) indicates the presence of proof indicating the nonoccurence of X. Hopefully that makes sense.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 2:25 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Founders and veterans of Students for a Democratic Society have released an open letter to the New New Left to actively work to elect Joe Biden.
...we are gravely concerned that some of [Bernie Sanders'] supporters, including the leadership of Democratic Socialists of America, refuse to support Biden, whom they see as a representative of Wall Street capital. Some of us are DSA members, but do not believe their position is consistent with a long-range vision of democracy, justice, and human survival.
posted by PhineasGage at 4:19 PM on April 16 [9 favorites]


LOL. That’s going to work.

Support your guy, support downticket, stop freaking out at leftwingers for not sufficiently loving you.
posted by Artw at 6:45 PM on April 16 [6 favorites]


What AOC Gets that Bernie Didn’tProgressive pot-stirrer Sean McElwee has some thoughts about what went wrong for Sanders supporters, and how they can get what they want (eventually).
The American left is at a crossroads, with some leading activists defiantly refusing to support Biden. McElwee thinks that’s a huge strategic mistake, and he doesn’t expect many progressives to make it in November; this week, Sanders and fellow liberal icon Elizabeth Warren endorsed Biden, and AOC also called for a united front against Trump. McElwee may be an ideologue, but he’s a pragmatic big-tent ideologue who believes the left can best advance its agenda from inside the Democratic Party—and can eventually come to control it. [...]

GRUNWALD: But Sanders seemed to do great for a socialist; he raised so much money and generated so much excitement. What do you mean by “severe strategic missteps”?

MCELWEE: If you had to boil it down to one problem, it was the belief the Sanders people articulated early on that in a big field, they could win the nomination with 30 percent of the vote. You know, elections tend to be won with 50 percent of the vote. If you’re not even trying to attract 50 percent to your vision, it leads to this view that you don’t need to persuade anyone, you just need to lock in the base and mobilize new voters. That’s setting yourself up for failure. And it’s inspired some very pernicious thinking in the progressive world: Those people who don’t believe what we believe, we can’t win them, so fuck them. You saw this most aggressively on Twitter, where you saw people say: “We need to crush these people, they’re forever lost to us.”

GRUNWALD: Bend the knee!

MCELWEE: Some people are like oh, Twitter, that’s not real. But the campaign articulated the same strategy! When we shut ourselves off from conversations about how to persuade voters, we’re making it a lot harder for progressives to win elections and deliver on progressive policy goals. Talking about which policies could work politically in Trump districts is not a fun conversation to have, but we need to have those conversations. [...]

GRUNWALD: But was it really just bad targeting? I mean, it’s hard to win a Democratic primary when you’re not a Democrat, and you’re expressing contempt for Democrats.

MCELWEE: It was smart of AOC to identify as a Democrat, because most Democrats do believe the things that progressives believe. And most Democrats have quite intense party loyalty. One of the biggest misunderstandings on the left is the idea that the Democratic brand is bad. In fact, the Democratic Party brand is one of the strongest brands in the country. It’s something millions of Americans trust. That includes the African-American and Latino voters who are sympathetic to progressive ideas, and are voters we need to persuade to support our candidates. Running as an independent outsider would have helped Sanders in a general election, but it was definitely a problem in the primary.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:22 PM on April 16 [22 favorites]


> Founders and veterans of Students for a Democratic Society have released an open letter to the New New Left to actively work to elect Joe Biden.

What That New Left Letter on Biden Left Out
I was not invited to sign the letter, nor to comment on the draft. Like the signers, I regret having refused to vote for Hubert Humphrey in 1968, and I agree with the general sentiments. However, the letter comes close to suggesting that progressives should be a soft touch, and it left out one crucial paragraph. If I may:
We also pledge that we will press Biden hard to run and govern as a progressive, in both his policies and his appointees. We will vote for Biden as a small-d democrat against an aspiring dictator. But we do not control how others vote. If Biden expects the wholehearted backing of every possible progressive voter, he will need to earn it.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:51 PM on April 17


Noam Chomsky sorta endorses Biden: Asked by @mehdirhasan whether he'll be voting for Biden, Noam Chomsky says "of course, I wouldn't hesitate for a second... I'm not going to vote for the destruction of organized human society."
posted by Justinian at 2:00 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


That's "neoliberal sellout Noam Chomsky" to you, pal.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:05 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


[Comment removed. I'd really appreciate folks refraining from casually incorporating Nazi lingo for things other than literal Nazi-type stuff. You can just say "blaming it on someone" about political infighting without trotting out the original fucking German.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:24 PM on April 17 [8 favorites]


This is great news for Republicans, I guess:
Biden also said he would consider Republicans for some top level positions within his administration.

"One advantage of being around a long time is you get to know an awful lot of people. In the private sector, in the public sector, people who are committed - first and foremost - are thoroughly honorable," he said.

"I have had literally several hundred serious, serious players who have been held positions in every department in the federal government who have said, including some Republicans, who have said if you win, I want to come back. I'm ready to serve," he added.
I'm not sure if this is a very effective way to get the youth and progressive vote out.
posted by Ouverture at 4:27 PM on April 17 [6 favorites]


untreated leftier-than-thou-ism

Thanks for the interview post. It may help for some to remember that there were people who voted against their candidate because they thought they could not deliver on the promises or would alienate too many to win. Consider that the purity of the doctrine makes it more appealing to newcomers, but unrealistic to others. Any purist attack on the sensibilities of the non-purists in this regard is not just claiming moral superiority by way of trumpeted good intentions, but also asserts the superiority of the purist's past experience with strategy, which is demonstrably not true, and leads to more distrust and disillusion down the political road.
posted by Brian B. at 4:33 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure if this is a very effective way to get the youth and progressive vote out.

That’s what we get for unreasonably expecting any concessions whatsoever. I expect the left will both continue to be weak enough to ignore and powerful enough to blame any loses on, as before, whilst this fails to have any positive impact outside of a handful of pundits who jack off over anything “bipartisan”.
posted by Artw at 5:08 PM on April 17 [4 favorites]


Biden also said he would consider Republicans for some top level positions within his administration.

i told you, the man looooooves republicans!
posted by entropicamericana at 6:17 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure if this is a very effective way to get the youth and progressive vote out.

Democrats failing to sufficiently excite young progressives vs young progressives being terrible at turnout was a chicken-and-egg problem, right up until the moment Bernie Sanders ran successive primary campaigns based on the "excite young progressives and get them to turn out" premise and failed both times.
posted by 0xFCAF at 7:24 PM on April 17 [8 favorites]


Ouverture: "I have had literally several hundred serious, serious players who have been held positions in every department in the federal government who have said, including some Republicans, who have said if you win, I want to come back. I'm ready to serve," he added.

Because that worked out so well with Comey ...
posted by Arbac at 7:56 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Democrats failing to sufficiently excite young progressives vs young progressives being terrible at turnout was a chicken-and-egg problem, right up until the moment Bernie Sanders ran successive primary campaigns based on the "excite young progressives and get them to turn out" premise and failed both times.

Old people don't vote at much higher rates than the young because they are more excited. They vote at higher rates because they know how, it's a habit, and they have the time. The young, the poor, and POC vote at lower rates not because they aren't excited, but because it is hard. And unfortunately you can't fix that with inspiration alone.
posted by chortly at 8:15 PM on April 17 [7 favorites]


And that's the sort of thing that makes me **REALLY** uncomfortable with Biden. After eight years of Republicans hating Obama and doing their utmost to block everything he did, including the theft of a Supreme Court seat, and after four years of watching the entire Republican Party bend the knee to Trump, and after watching lifelong Republican appointed to run the FBI by Obama betray his nation to tip the election to Trump, there's Biden still talking about "good" Republicans.

I'm not saying he needs to be attacking Republicans 24/7 or he's not good enough, but I don't think it's too much to ask that the Democratic nominee not go out of his way to praise Republicans and imply that he might put fucking Republicans into positions in his administration that they can abuse and ruin.
posted by sotonohito at 8:25 PM on April 17 [6 favorites]


I'm not worried about Biden making mouth noises to centrists while he's also making real concessions to the left on policy.
posted by xammerboy at 9:19 PM on April 17 [9 favorites]


Given today's latest obscenities out of the White House, it seems worth pointing out that a President Biden would never call for open, violent sedition, directed against state governors who don't like him personally, or whatever it is that scratches his itch.

I don't know if civil war is what some people want, with all the death and destruction that goes along with it, but that seems to be what is coming if we don't all figure out how to get along and get the current occupant out.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:38 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


There are no good Republicans. But we were never going to get a nominee who admitted this truth, with perhaps Warren coming closest. It's not remotely implausible that a Nominee Bernie would have also said something along the lines of being willing to include Republicans in his administration.

"Mouth noises" is a good word for it. Note that Mitch McConnell has a long history of similar lip service to bipartisanship and extending the to Democrats. It's not an ironclad sign of how someone will actually govern.

But regardless, our job will be to push him once he's in office -- just as it would have been for Sanders.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 4:45 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


Yeah, the Republican thing are just campaign mouth noises guys. This is not the thing to be worried about if you're not a Biden person.
posted by Justinian at 5:33 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the Republican thing are just campaign mouth noises guys. This is not the thing to be worried about if you're not a Biden person.

If they tell you who they are, believe them. Was Biden reminiscing about being friends with segregationists just campaign mouth noises, too?

He is the product of an outdated political age and he cannot see what has happened to the Republican Party, because he couldn't even see what Republicans and conservative racist Democrats were like back then.

It is wishcasting to think that he understands the threat that the current conservative movement represents when every one of his words and actions says that he thinks it's an aberration that starts and ends with Trump.

Obama put Republicans in his Cabinet. If you legitimately think that Biden is just pretending to be interested in the idea in his desire for a "return" to "normalcy," after he has made it clear that he thinks he can work with Republicans and doesn't view them as the enemy--and after he went around Reid to negotiate a terrible deal with McConnell on the fiscal cliff and has never acknowledged how grievous a mistake that was--I really don't know what to say.
posted by Gadarene at 6:37 AM on April 18 [9 favorites]


To all the newcomers to politics, Biden's gesture is called "the pivot" (to the center) because the election is nationwide and there are many who are on the fence. Some may recall that Clinton had a few Republicans in his cabinet, not counting the generals/admirals who rarely identify.
posted by Brian B. at 7:02 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


cool, cool, and the point centered between fascism and non-fascism is what, exactly?
posted by entropicamericana at 7:10 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


To all the newcomers to politics, Biden's gesture is called "the pivot" (to the center) because the election is nationwide and there are many who are on the fence. Some may recall that Clinton had a few Republicans in his cabinet, not counting the generals/admirals who rarely identify.

...and to those even newer to politics, Clinton was also harmfully right on policy. Welfare reform was a right-wing, racist, terrible policy and Clinton was all for it.

This level of condescension towards people who are (correctly) worried about shitty policy from Dem presidents is not warranted.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:22 AM on April 18 [13 favorites]


To all the newcomers to politics, Biden's gesture is called "the pivot" (to the center) because the election is nationwide and there are many who are on the fence. Some may recall that Clinton had a few Republicans in his cabinet, not counting the generals/admirals who rarely identify.

I'm confused: at what point during this campaign was the erstwhile senator representing MBNA and Capital One not pivoted towards center? The part where he told us that America can't provide health care for everyone, or the part where he conflated poor kids and black kids?

(Also, I may have misremembered about Obama naming a Republican to the Cabinet -- was William Cohen SecDef under Clinton, or Obama? Wasn't there a Republican Commerce Secretary?)
posted by Gadarene at 7:29 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


The idea that there are "many who are on the fence" is also astonishing. What an absolute and thorough indictment of our society and our system if that is anywhere close to true.
posted by Gadarene at 7:31 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Apparently they're on the fence and the only things that will keep them happy are drone strikes in countries they can't place on a map; endless policy concessions to the hyperwealthy; and allowing fascists as much influence and power as possible. Policies that will make their lives materially better??? Psh, people hate those.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:36 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


The idea that there are "many who are on the fence" is also astonishing. What an absolute and thorough indictment of our society and our system if that is anywhere close to true.

A strategist typically looks at say, white women who voted for Trump (over half of them did), and Hispanics, where one-third identify as Republican, and the 10% of African-Americans who identify as Republican, and the Southerners who were from long-time family Democrats before the 1970's. Then there are always white males who are disaffected with Trump but grew up learning to hate Democrats from the barn radio that brainwashed them.
posted by Brian B. at 7:44 AM on April 18 [5 favorites]


That's worked out really well for the strategists' bank accounts, and not so well for America.
posted by Gadarene at 8:01 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


To all the newcomers to politics, Biden's gesture is called "the pivot" (to the center) because the election is nationwide and there are many who are on the fence. Some may recall that Clinton had a few Republicans in his cabinet, not counting the generals/admirals who rarely identify.

Don't worry, as someone who isn't a newcomer to politics, I am well aware of the pivot to the right. So much so, that I would point out that "the pivot" has done very little to prevent the staggering down-ballot collapse for Democrats in the past decade.

A strategist typically looks at say, white women who voted for Trump (over half of them did), and Hispanics, where one-third identify as Republican, and the 10% of African-Americans who identify as Republican, and the Southerners who were from long-time family Democrats before the 1970's. Then there are always white males who are disaffected with Trump but grew up learning to hate Democrats from the barn radio that brainwashed them.

As Chuck Schumer once famously said in 2016: "For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin."

I don't think throwing in a couple GOP war criminals or Goldman Sachs alumni (I can't tell which one is worse) is going to actually appeal to the voters Democrats so desperately need this year.
posted by Ouverture at 8:24 AM on April 18 [5 favorites]


As Chuck Schumer once famously said in 2016: "For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin."

The parties are diverging faster than ever before. In brief, the Republicans represent blue-collar and agriculture districts these days, which overlaps with evangelicals. More here.
posted by Brian B. at 8:45 AM on April 18


Since Biden is very unlikely to announce anyone in his Cabinet before the election (barring a super special exception like "I WILL MAKE ELIZABETH WARREN MY SECRETARY TREASURY" or whatever) throwing in a couple GOPers isn't likely to appeal to any voters this year. It's just some bullshit to avoid a "Biden says he wants to work with Republicans but ruled them out anyway!" headlines.

Don't get me wrong there's a possibility he would put a career official who happens to be a GOPer on the NSC or DNI. But worrying about him making a Republican the Secretary of State or something just seems wrongheaded.
posted by Justinian at 8:46 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


You're hung up on whether he will actually put a Republican in the Cabinet.

I'm focusing on what saying he'll consider it says about him. It's not campaign mouth noises if he genuinely believes that there are many honorable people in the Republican Party, in or out of current power, and that the idea of intra-party comity is redeemable or desirable in some way with the Republicans, as currently constituted, having shown us who they are.

He's dangerously naive or stupid or, most likely to me, his interests and worldview don't actually diverge that much from those of "mainstream" Republicans in terms of concentration of wealth and promulgation of the current broken system in favor of the haves with little regards to the rest of us. As it was ever thus.
posted by Gadarene at 8:55 AM on April 18 [5 favorites]


This just showed up on my Facebook c/o a capital "S" Socialist lifer:

When I read posts, comments, and articles attacking Biden's mental acuity - I sense the hidden helping hand of the Fascist Right. Hey lefties, thanks for doing Trump and Putin's bidding... I get it...you drank the Bernie koolaid and now it's raining on your picnic. None of you are neurologists...none of you know anything about Biden except what other people tell you especially media....media is lazy and sensational...Slow Joe... great story...writes itself. If Progressive Democrats take the House and Senate, Biden will sign whatever MFA bill they send him. So chill out, pull up your big girl pants...and make damn sure Trump and the GOP lickspittles get what they deserve.
posted by philip-random at 9:05 AM on April 18 [10 favorites]


I don't get the point, and I'm sure they have other great qualities, but this is NYT Op-Ed level reasoning. And not the good ones, like, the David Brooks-ish ones.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 9:14 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


It's not campaign mouth noises if he genuinely believes that there are many honorable people in the Republican Party,

Those with purity tests may want to avoid channeling the evangelicals and tea party populism. They don't publicly drown witches anymore but flaunt an air of supreme authority and absolutism of right and wrong (fundamentalism). The Democrats tend to represent marginalized people who want to protect random victims of circumstance, including science, law and art. They can't afford to have higher ideals than the hangman's noose that's coming for them.
posted by Brian B. at 9:18 AM on April 18


Republicans represent blue-collar and agriculture districts these days

Has anyone in the Democratic Party asked WHY they don’t appeal to blue collar and agricultural voters, despite decades of pivoting to the right in an effort to capture republican votes, and yet mysteriously (and unwantedly) Sanders does?
posted by Artw at 9:24 AM on April 18 [5 favorites]


well it's surely not because they label any attempt to hold the democratic party to democratic ideals "purity testing"
posted by entropicamericana at 9:31 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


Those with purity tests may want to avoid channeling the evangelicals and tea party populism. They don't publicly drown witches anymore but flaunt an air of supreme authority and absolutism of right and wrong (fundamentalism). The Democrats tend to represent marginalized people who want to protect random victims of circumstance, including science, law and art. They can't afford to have higher ideals than the hangman's noose that's coming for them.

With all respect, I don't understand the point you're making.
posted by Gadarene at 9:31 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


> and yet mysteriously (and unwantedly) Sanders does?

Citation needed. This was true in 2016 against Clinton, where Bernie was a beneficiary of Hillary sentiment, but in 2020, the story was much different:
Bottom line: Biden held onto much of the turf that Clinton won in 2016, but he also captured a lot of territory that Sanders carried four years ago. We found that much of Biden’s success can be explained by his dominance in areas with larger shares of white voters without a college degree. Biden has also done better among college-educated white voters than Sanders has in 2020 and better in rural areas than Clinton did in 2016.
Combined with Biden winning among people of color and Black voters in particular, I'm gonna have to call BS on this outdated talking point.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:32 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


and yet mysteriously (and unwantedly) Sanders does?

Some have speculated that Sanders originally appealed to Hillary haters. In this regard, many working class men have attitudes about women and immigrants that Trump appeals to. I would note the rampant hypocrisy in red states employers, who routinely employ immigrant farm and temp labor and also vote for Trump.
posted by Brian B. at 9:33 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


I'll point out once again that a majority of Republicans polled were in favor of Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax proposal.

And even more self-styled independents.

And an overwhelming percentage of Democrats.

So why is it a purity test to suggest that interrogating the intersection of wealth and power in a broken system is something that shouldn't be deemed a leftist idea that must be shunned for the general election or subsequent governance?
posted by Gadarene at 9:35 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


its almost like establishment democrats are not actually interested in making things better
posted by entropicamericana at 9:37 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


With all respect, I don't understand the point you're making.

Politics is a game to win in order for the environment and civilization to survive, and those are real things. Idealism and religion aren't real, they're just someone's way to get people to vote against their earthly interests, which are shared interests.
posted by Brian B. at 9:40 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Politics is a game to win in order for the environment and civilization to survive, and those are real things. Idealism and religion aren't real, they're just someone's way to get people to vote against their earthly interests, which are shared interests.

I apologize, but I still don't understand.

Who are the idealists in this scenario? The people who recognize that the Republicans, institutionally, are actively endeavoring to destroy the environment and civilization?
posted by Gadarene at 9:55 AM on April 18


So why is it a purity test to suggest that interrogating the intersection of wealth and power in a broken system is something that shouldn't be deemed a leftist idea that must be shunned for the general election or subsequent governance?

There's no difference between left and liberal except through idealism. Liberals have always been taxing the rich and they were never communists. Then they started losing out to religious voters, who cite moral ideals and have purity tests and have been making politics so boring that nobody wants to vote for the poor jerk who's got rough edges and makes compromises anymore, for the last fifty years.
posted by Brian B. at 9:56 AM on April 18


There's no difference between left and liberal except through idealism. Liberals have always been taxing the rich and they were never communists. Then they started losing out to religious voters, who cite moral ideals and have purity tests and have been making politics so boring that nobody wants to vote for the poor jerk who's got rough edges and makes compromises anymore, for the last fifty years.

...I mean, okay. I think I disagree with all of that.
posted by Gadarene at 9:59 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


I'll point out once again that a majority of Republicans polled were in favor of Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax proposal.

Issue polling has all kinds of problems and confounding factors. I have come to believe pretty strongly that the best way to tell what policies and proposals voters support is not what policies they say they support when asked a specific polling question, but what action they take in the voting booth. You support the policies for which you vote.

This has the advantage of explaining why Republicans supposedly keep voting against policies they tell phone pollsters they support. Because they don't, they support the policies of the people they are voting for.
posted by Justinian at 10:06 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


I'm focusing on what saying he'll consider it says about him. It's not campaign mouth noises if he genuinely believes that there are many honorable people in the Republican Party

I've noticed that when Joe Biden says something with which people on the left disagree strongly they tend to take him at his word. But when he says something that you would assume they should greet positively like adopting some aspects of more progressive policies as a way to court progressive voters many on the left will say they don't believe him because he's a liar. Have you noticed that?
posted by Justinian at 10:10 AM on April 18 [10 favorites]


I think maybe you are setting different bars for "something on the left" and "something on the right" here when "something on the right" is "appoint Republicans to policy making positions" and "something on the left" is "vlog with Bernie".
posted by Artw at 10:20 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


I've noticed that when Joe Biden says something with which people on the left disagree strongly they tend to take him at his word. But when he says something that you would assume they should greet positively like adopting some aspects of more progressive policies as a way to court progressive voters many on the left will say they don't believe him because he's a liar. Have you noticed that?

This seems consistent for me. I can't speak for other leftists, but I don't trust Biden when it comes to anything involving progressive policies because of all the black, brown, and Muslim blood on his hands and his lack of accountability for the dark parts of his liberal/centrist legacy. Similarly, I take him at his word on the right-wing/centrist stuff because that is fundamentally who he is. That's been his campaign's entire argument for his electability.

I don't put much stock in this idea of "mouth sounds" or whatever. During the 2016 campaign, Trump apologists said the same thing about every terrible thing he said ("he doesn't actually mean it! it's just to get elected!") and then it turns out he went and did all those terrible things.

The only hope the country and hell, the planet, has is Sanders and Warren push Biden to the left as much as possible.
posted by Ouverture at 10:21 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


> its almost like establishment democrats are not actually interested in making things better

One reasonably prominent figure in the Bernie Sanders political revolution who sees value in working with the Democratic establishment right now to make things better is Bernie Sanders himself. Does that make him part of the establishment?

If you don't see value in building a coalition with normie Democrats, then it's on you to articulate a viable path forward that involves defeating the establishment from the outside. I'm strongly supportive of efforts to elect state and local candidates in the Bernie mold, and I believe the 2020 election will include many prominent wins for politicians in the AOC / Ro Khanna mold, along with wins for boring liberals / centrists like Mark Kelly and John Hickenlooper.

The answer has to be both/and, which makes the dishonest and divisive rhetoric coming from the Extremely Online wing of the leftist movement so frustrating. I know it's hard to watch your theory of political change be falsified (under current conditions, at least) but the answer needs to be building the movement up, not tearing each other down.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:33 AM on April 18 [16 favorites]


Issue polling has all kinds of problems and confounding factors. I have come to believe pretty strongly that the best way to tell what policies and proposals voters support is not what policies they say they support when asked a specific polling question, but what action they take in the voting booth. You support the policies for which you vote.

This has the advantage of explaining why Republicans supposedly keep voting against policies they tell phone pollsters they support. Because they don't, they support the policies of the people they are voting for.


I think the choice of candidates in a FPTP, winner-take-all system based on campaign rhetoric, puffery, and self-fulfilling "electability" prophecies has FAR more problems and confounding factors than issue polling.

But that's just me.
posted by Gadarene at 10:48 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure that we can call the process that gave us the Clinton candidacy, which conclusively lost in the general, proof of the overwhelming dominance of the Biden candidacy, which is basically the same thing. The main thing we can say about Dmeocratic primaries is they favor the kind of candidates who win democratic primaries.
posted by Artw at 10:49 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


If what we're talking about is a failure to win the Democratic primary, then I'm not sure how much of the credit for Biden's win we assign to him vs. structural factors that favored him matters. You certainly can't ignore the structural factors Clinton was fighting against in the 2016 general but then blame them for Bernie's loss in the 2020 primary.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:57 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Sure, but if you’re going all in on “what matters is winning” you kind of need to win. You can’t not win and THEN cry structural factors.
posted by Artw at 11:01 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


I'm not talking about 2016, and the 2020 general hasn't happened yet, so I have no idea what your point is.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:04 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


but I don't trust Biden when it comes to anything involving progressive policies because of all the black, brown, and Muslim blood on his hands and his lack of accountability for the dark parts of his liberal/centrist legacy

Hmm, so would you say the opposite works then? You trust Sanders because he is not part of the liberal/centralist legacy, even on stances that separate him from other leftists/progressives?

For example, unlike Sanders pretty clear stances on health care or Wall Street, he was definitely more nuanced on whether or not he would completely stop drone strike assassinations.
posted by FJT at 11:06 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Politics is a game to win in order for the environment and civilization to survive, and those are real things. Idealism and religion aren't real

has there ever been a civilization that wasn't based at least partially on some kind of idealism or religion?

in fact, isn't the statement that the environment and civilization should survive an expression of some kind of ideal?

looking at our current situation and the presidential candidates who we seem to be putting forth to deal with it, it strikes me that our choices are grossly inadequate to the task and the reason for that is not our having too much idealism, but that we don't have enough

i am starting to feel real revulsion towards both candidates and the kind of system that would give us this choice - i have always felt that describing our society as a rape culture (instead of a death culture) was inaccurate, and it does not make me feel very good to be proved wrong in such a blatant and important way - i do not feel much confidence in those who argue whether we should hit the right side or the left side of the iceberg

i'm sure i will vote democratic this election - and i'm sure that afterwards, i will spend my energies either advocating for revolution or withdrawing from the whole mess in self-gratifying despair, if i can

if this is the best we can do, we're not good enough
posted by pyramid termite at 11:13 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


It's all "mouth noises" for now -- claims of Republican cooperation, policy claims on website, "concessions" to the left, none of it is binding. Mainly what we're trying to do here is figure out what Biden will actually do once elected. It has become fairly common knowledge by now, especially around here, that politicians tend to keep their promises: if they say leftwing stuff, they tend to pursue that stuff, and if they are centrists or "pivot" to the center for electoral gain, they nevertheless tend to stick to their centrist promises. So everything he says matters.

That said, "promise keeping" is mainly about effort, not about results. Policies that require the other branches, for instance, are much harder to actually achieve than executive-only policies. So if Sanders promises M4A, we can be pretty sure he would push hard for it, but given the House and Senate even under Demoratic majorities, it would have been unlikely to succeed. By contrast, promises about executive orders, or EPA, Covid or other executive-allocation policies, are fairly reliable. Cabinets fall into this latter camp: it's something the executive has sole discretion over, so if you believe promises, a promise to install Republicans is something to take seriously -- though so far Biden has just been musing about this, not promising. But even so, it's worth worrying about, perhaps even more than the major policies on his website that will mainly be constrained by Democratic pivot votes in the House or Senate.

More broadly, as was repeated ad infinitum about Obama, US presidents are highly constrained in what they can positively do, especially legislatively, though they have huge power to destroy (as Trump shows). Much of what they can achieve legislatively -- which is the bulk of what they can achieve, period -- is via the bully pulpit, organizing and focusing public pressure on those pivotal Democratic votes in order to change bill outcomes. Some people don't even believe that is possible at all, and that ACA would have been exactly what it was no matter what Obama may have done to urge Congress. But for those who do believe the bully pulpit can have an effect, or that speech matters in its own right for various reasons, what Biden says now -- his "mouth noises" -- matter quite a lot, since they presage what he will be saying after being elected.

So anyway, both in terms of setting promises and policies, and in terms of suggesting what he will say once he has the bully pulpit, it matters quite a lot what he says now -- on webpages, in speeches, and musingly in interviews.
posted by chortly at 11:17 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


> Much of what they can achieve legislatively -- which is the bulk of what they can achieve, period -- is via the bully pulpit, organizing and focusing public pressure on those pivotal Democratic votes in order to change bill outcomes. Some people don't even believe that is possible at all, and that ACA would have been exactly what it was no matter what Obama may have done to urge Congress. But for those who do believe the bully pulpit can have an effect, or that speech matters in its own right for various reasons, what Biden says now -- his "mouth noises" -- matter quite a lot, since they presage what he will be saying after being elected.

I don't see why we should treat people who believe that the "bully pulpit" can substantially change legislative outcomes any differently than we treat people who believe in Santa Claus. The President can put things on the agenda, and can effect change through executive action as you correctly note, but their ability to make an individual Senator do something they don't want to do is virtually nil. This has been proven time and time again, most famously with the ACA, where Joe Lieberman said "fuck your feelings" to Obama and the rest of the Democrats. If we're lucky enough to get a 50+1 Senate in 2020, there are going to be Democratic senators for whom stopping progressive legislation will be an asset and not a liability. What levers of power would Biden have over them?
posted by tonycpsu at 11:35 AM on April 18



if this is the best we can do, we're not good enough


The Dems fielding a candidate that got barely any support from people under 50, including the black vote people like to talk about, and has essentially 0 support for people under 30. He’s championing an establishment who’s interest in the concerns of that demographic is best described as “grudging”.

Whatever happens none of this is sustainable.
posted by Artw at 11:52 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Hmm, so would you say the opposite works then? You trust Sanders because he is not part of the liberal/centralist legacy, even on stances that separate him from other leftists/progressives?

For example, unlike Sanders pretty clear stances on health care or Wall Street, he was definitely more nuanced on whether or not he would completely stop drone strike assassinations.

I don't completely trust Sanders either, in part because of what you mentioned. But I also don't worry at night that he will appoint Henry Kissinger or Eric Holder to his cabinet.

In any case, it's moot. Biden is the nominee.
posted by Ouverture at 12:04 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


The Dems fielding a candidate that got barely any support from people under 50, including the black vote people like to talk about, and has essentially 0 support for people under 30.

Barely any would be 23% for Biden while Sanders got 41% of those under 45.

Essentially zero would be 17% for Biden while Sanders got 58% of those under 30.

But those under 30 showed up at half the rate of those over 60 so it didn't matter. If you don't show up, your vote doesn't count.
posted by JackFlash at 12:15 PM on April 18 [4 favorites]


Justinian Don't get me wrong there's a possibility he would put a career official who happens to be a GOPer on the NSC or DNI.

I'd like to point out that a major factor in why we are currently suffering under the insane misrule of President* Trump is because Obama "put a career official who happens to be a GOPer on the FBI". And, like all Republicans will always do, James Comey, that "career official who happens to be a GOPer", abused his position to help his Party at the expense of everything else.

Can you see why we're gravely concerned about Biden even making "mouth noises" about putting Republicans into positions of power? We had an almost Platonic ideal example of why that's the worst possible thing a Democrat can do less than four years ago, and yet here's Biden talking up doing it again and you proclaiming that putting a Republican traitor in charge of an intelligence agency where he can abuse his position to stab us in the back, AGAIN, is totes fine and not anything to worry about.

Again, I don't demand that he be a making thundering denunciations of Republicans at every opportunity (though, I'd like it and I think it'd be good for him in the elections). I'd say that someone needs to get him under control and make him stop spewing this obscene bipartisanship crap, but his staffers can't make him stop lying about being involved in the civil rights movement or stop creeping on girls, so clearly (and frighteningly like Trump) he's not only out of control, but apparently impossible to control. Which bodes really damn poorly for his Presidential behavior.
posted by sotonohito at 12:49 PM on April 18 [9 favorites]


More from that Chomsky interview:
Noam Chomsky compares the #NeverBiden ppl to Communists in the 1930s who refused to ally with social democrats against the Nazis: "We know where that led."
posted by PhineasGage at 12:55 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Chomsky does this every 4 years. And maybe it's a surprise to those who aren't leftists, but he's not exactly a central authority of leftist thought.

I'm not sure why liberals and centrists are so worried about leftist, progressive, and/or young voters not voting for Biden in November. As mentioned multiple times here, he won the primary without their votes.
posted by Ouverture at 1:12 PM on April 18 [7 favorites]


because the last time the Dems didn't take EVERY vote seriously and just assumed they had the election won, the Worst President Ever got elected. It may feel a little heavy handed from where you're sitting but from another not entirely irrational perspective, it's due diligence.
posted by philip-random at 1:36 PM on April 18 [5 favorites]


But since they’re not doing anything to attract votes it mainly seems like preemptive blaming.
posted by Artw at 2:04 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


> I'm not sure why liberals and centrists are so worried about leftist, progressive, and/or young voters not voting for Biden in November. As mentioned multiple times here, he won the primary without their votes.

You can't possibly be unaware of the different coalitions you need to build to win a primary vs. a general election, right?

> But since they’re not doing anything to attract votes it mainly seems like preemptive blaming.

There's plenty of evidence that Biden is offering concessions to shore up his left flank, and whatever one thinks of Biden's "mouth noises" in terms of reaching centrists and Republicans, you can't in good faith say he's not doing anything to attract votes there, either.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:18 PM on April 18 [6 favorites]


The Dems fielding a candidate that got barely any support from people under 50,

In 2016 about 12% of Sanders' primary support voted for Trump, handing Trump victory. A recent poll puts the projection at 15% of Sanders' supporters voting for Trump if Biden is nominated. Ir seems that young voters are too independent to track for one candidate. They might have voted for Sanders in the primary, and if he won, then voted for Trump in the general, having it both ways, win-win. I think Putin made this calculation.
posted by Brian B. at 3:23 PM on April 18


has there ever been a civilization that wasn't based at least partially on some kind of idealism or religion?

None I would want to see come back.

in fact, isn't the statement that the environment and civilization should survive an expression of some kind of ideal?

That's a good question, but as freedom and nature are concerned, they were original states, and humans have tried in their most uncorrupted times to want to build a civilization in hopes for maximizing both. If we suggest that we need an imposing invention to dominate our wills and permanently fix the human condition for a predictable outcome, that would be idealism. If we suggest a more passive way that dilutes corruption and power, and gives the citizen a say in the matter every once in a while, that would be practical and require respect for individuals. I note that a recent database suggests that monotheism arose after large nations formed, in order to impose order on subjects. I would nominate relative equality as the best order.
posted by Brian B. at 3:37 PM on April 18


I'm not sure why liberals and centrists are so worried about leftist, progressive, and/or young voters not voting for Biden in November. As mentioned multiple times here, he won the primary without their votes.

Are you trying to suggest that this is a valid argument?

1. Biden won the primary without the votes of group X.
2. Therefore, he can win the general election without the votes of group X.

Surely you can see that that is fallacious?
posted by thelonius at 3:45 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


well, guess froggie better get a'courtin'. m4a is a good start.
posted by entropicamericana at 4:10 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


There's plenty of evidence that Biden is offering concessions to shore up his left flank

Is there? Not in those links there isn’t. The lack of specific policies that can be named is a real and enduring problem.
posted by Artw at 4:15 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


well, guess froggie better get a'courtin'. m4a is a good start.

I would suggest leaving it off to avoid losing more votes from seniors who are polled as opposing anything that changes Medicare. Their premiums come out of their social security too, making it easier to fund. However, Medicare at 55 is a thing. Recall that Trump won promising nothing care because young people are rarely sick and don't think about the issue until they start voting regularly.
posted by Brian B. at 4:28 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


> Is there? Not in those links there isn’t. The lack of specific policies that can be named is a real and enduring problem.

Those links show that a negotiation over further concessions beyond the ones that have already been announced is underway. These things take time to hammer out, and we're just nine days out from him becoming the presumptive nominee. If you're expecting him to roll over and adopt M4A in the first week, then you will be disappointed.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:28 PM on April 18


The lack of specific policies in general around the Biden campaign, not that they have put up on the website but what you can actually identify as a driving reason for the campaign, for the man, for the country, etc. is and will always be an issue. He's not running on anything like that, it doesn't seem, he's running to beat Trump and go back to a center-right government that we've had on and off for years.
posted by chaz at 4:46 PM on April 18 [7 favorites]


young people are rarely sick and don't think about the issue until they start voting regularly.

Maybe some medical issue will come up that ends up killing/hospitalizing a significant percentage of young people in the next few months; could be motivating.
posted by Mitheral at 4:49 PM on April 18 [6 favorites]


> The lack of specific policies in general around the Biden campaign, not that they have put up on the website but what you can actually identify as a driving reason for the campaign, for the man, for the country, etc. is and will always be an issue. He's not running on anything like that, it doesn't seem, he's running to beat Trump and go back to a center-right government that we've had on and off for years.

Are we talking about policy or are we talking about trying to win the election? The original statement was that centrist Democrats are not trying to attract votes. Correctly noting that Biden is running more on beating Trump and less on policy details doesn't refute that, because running on beating Trump may, in fact, be the best way to attract votes.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:57 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure why liberals and centrists are so worried about leftist, progressive, and/or young voters not voting for Biden in November. As mentioned multiple times here, he won the primary without their votes.

Vote for the best, expect the worst. At least when a campaign turns centrist you can at some point bribe normies with policies they have a self interest in. Biden could announce tomorrow that on day one of his presidency he's going to have the state seize the means of production for the proletariat and there'd still be 50,000 leftist voters in Michigan that vote for Stein because there's some implementation or philosophical detail that Vladimir Mayakovsky, Georgi Plekhanov, or some other random Communist writer just wouldn't agree with and therefore they can't vote for Biden.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:59 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Yes, there is nothing that Biden will say that will satisfy the most leftist participants in this thread (and elsewhere on Metafilter). If he cut-and-pasted the policies from Bernie's Web site onto his own, everyone would (rightly) disbelieve it. He is a centrist compared to Sanders and Warren. No one here is disputing that.

But whether the most leftist folks here like it or not, that was what the Democratic primary electorate preferred. And based upon polling data and the actual behavior of young/progressive voters (too many of whom did not turn out in the primary, even in Sanders' admission), that centrism is what is most likely to win a majority of general election votes in states that yield a majority of the Electoral College. When Cheeto Hitler is on the ballot, I ain't gonna take a second to worry about his opponent's specific location on the center/left of the policy spectrum until after he wins.
posted by PhineasGage at 5:03 PM on April 18 [14 favorites]


I don't see why we should treat people who believe that the "bully pulpit" can substantially change legislative outcomes any differently than we treat people who believe in Santa Claus. The President can put things on the agenda, and can effect change through executive action as you correctly note, but their ability to make an individual Senator do something they don't want to do is virtually nil. This has been proven time and time again, most famously with the ACA, where Joe Lieberman said "fuck your feelings" to Obama and the rest of the Democrats.

That seems like an extreme version of presidential impotence theory. Obama may not have been able to budge Lieberman, but I don't think that anyone believes that, had we had a centrist Democrat dead set against ACA, we would have gotten as much as we did. Obama did a lot of work to get ACA to where it was, even if he misunderstood that Lieberman was a liar who would betray his word at the last minute. More broadly, there is plenty of literature out there that presidents tend to achieve more on their signature policy issues than other issues -- ie, where they put their attention does have an effect, ie, they do have effects on legislation. Or you can just read any of a myriad books by Caro, Chernow, or literally thousands of other presidential scholars who have documented in very thorough detail how the President can affect legislation via negotiation, logrolling, threats, bribes, and the bully pulpit. I suppose you can if you like defy a century of political science, but it seems pretty naive. The presidency is not magic and we probably give it far more attention than it is worth, but nor is it the case that the president has only insignificant or trivial effects on legislation. And if you do feel that that is the case, a forum devoted to discussing presidential politics and electoral strategies is a somewhat quixotic place to make it.
posted by chortly at 5:26 PM on April 18 [6 favorites]


More broadly, there is plenty of literature out there that presidents tend to achieve more on their signature policy issues than other issues -- ie, where they put their attention does have an effect, ie, they do have effects on legislation.

Yes because they're willing to make the necessary horse trades to be able to get their signature policy objectives pushed through. Alexander Hamilton gave Jefferson and Madison the nation's capital for his signature policy objective. How many signature policies has Trump been able to push through the legislature absent reconciliation and a compliant Congress? Zero. Zilch. Nada.

When Obama was pushing the ACA through with Biden, Pelosi, and Reid, he and his allies were calling in every favor from every person they could lay their hands on. They were meeting with Democrats and they were twisting every arm, lobbying hard, and basically convincing them if they were going to die on a hill, this would be a proud hill to die on.

Bernie can be a democratic socialist firebrand using the Presidency as a bully pulpit with a target signature legislation of comprehensive healthcare but without having the connections, the banked favors, influential allies willing to fight along side him, or even the inclination to play the game just a little he will most certainly be an impotent president that just complains about Congress blocking the will of the people all the time.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:56 PM on April 18 [9 favorites]


I agree with all of that? The thread I was responding to was about whether we should take Biden at his word when he talks about appointing Republicans to his cabinet. My point here and in the previous posts is that (a) we should take candidates at their words that they will pursue what they say they will pursue, and (b) they are less able to achieve their legislative promises than their executive promises, but the legislative promises still do matter. The more nuanced version is that there are degrees of promises, and I am skeptical that musing about appointing Republicans is a strong promise, but I am also skeptical that a bunch of left-wing policies touted on a website are strong promises either. Past actions are if anything a better predictor than current promises of future behavior, so we have a bit of a mystery given that Biden is now promising stuff considerably to the left of anything he pursued as a Senator or VP. The practical goal, for those of us on the left, is to push him to transition on as many of the left-wing things as possible from soft promises (website, mentioned when asked) to hard promises (part of his stump speech, spontaneously mentioned in most interviews). So far, quite a lot of his promises, bad and good, seem fairly soft to me -- but I don't resent that particularly; pressuring a candidate on these things is just politics.
posted by chortly at 6:26 PM on April 18 [4 favorites]


I suppose you can if you like defy a century of political science, but it seems pretty naive.

Welcome to metafilter
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:18 PM on April 18 [6 favorites]


A recent poll puts the projection at 15% of Sanders' supporters voting for Trump if Biden is nominated

Damn it's almost like the party would rather lose to the right wing idiot than move an inch left. Capital will always choose fascism over even minor socialist reforms. See the recent labour party clusterfuck where anyone to the left of Gordon brown is in fact a trot
posted by dis_integration at 8:08 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


A recent poll puts the projection at 15% of Sanders' supporters voting for Trump if Biden is nominated

Damn it's almost like the party would rather lose to the right wing idiot than move an inch left. Capital will always choose fascism over even minor socialist reforms. See the recent labour party clusterfuck where anyone to the left of Gordon brown is in fact a trot


Yeah fuck that. Anyone on the "left" who'd vote for the orange idiot is the one choosing fascism not the DNC. And I'll stand up for Sanders- if 15% of his supporters would vote for Trump- they were never Sander's supporters in the first case but fascist nutjobs looking to foment Chaos.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:50 PM on April 18 [7 favorites]


20% of Clinton supporters in 2008 voted for someone other than Obama (mostly Romney) and 24% of Sanders supporters in 2016 voted for someone other than Clinton (mostly third party). That just seems to be the way it goes for the supporters of the losing primary team. And at this time of year both camps had an even higher percentage claiming they would never vote for the Democratic nominee, but that's just talk.
posted by chortly at 8:58 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


> 20% of Clinton supporters in 2008 voted for someone other than Obama (mostly Romney) and 24% of Sanders supporters in 2016 voted for someone other than Clinton (mostly third party).

I'm seeing 16% Clinton -> McCain in 2008 and 26% Sanders -> Trump in 2016. That's a much more significant difference, and when you consider the ideological distance from Obama to McCain vs. from Clinton to Trump, I feel like the Sanders -> Trump defections were not just run-of-the-mill sour grapes.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:20 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


The 2016 Sanders-Trump phenomenon has been (plausibly) characterized as the result of many 2016 Sanders voters voting based not on pro-socialist inclinations but on anti-Clinton sentiment / misogyny.

As a socialist, I'd rather not believe that, but it seems to be borne out by how dramatically Sanders' performance deteriorated in 2020 in many of the same states that he carried in 2016, now that he was no longer running against a woman. That's about as close to a controlled experiment as one is ever likely to find in presidential politics.
posted by Not A Thing at 9:34 PM on April 18 [18 favorites]


I'm seeing 16% Clinton -> McCain in 2008 and 26% Sanders -> Trump in 2016. That's a much more significant difference, and when you consider the ideological distance from Obama to McCain vs. from Clinton to Trump, I feel like the Sanders -> Trump defections were not just run-of-the-mill sour grapes.

The first one is an exit poll and not very reliable for estimating actual population statistics. The second one is a proper poll, but it shows 22% of Sanders voters voting for someone other than Clinton, of whom around 12% voted for Trump. I was basing my numbers on the American National Election Survey, which does the same poll with the same methodology every election. Harry Enten got similar numbers when he ran it, as you can see here: 20.5% of Clinton supporters defected from Obama in 2008 (of whom 16% went for McCain) vs 23% of Sanders supporters in 2016 (of whom 11% went for Trump).

Thinking about it more, it's possible that that these two years could be a bit higher than usual trends, though. Clinton supporters in '08 tended to be more conservative Democrats, and therefore were probably more ready to vote for McCain than Obama supporters had Obama lost the primary in 2008. Sanders supporters in 2016, as we have learned, were an odd coalition of the young left wing (maybe 20% of Democrats) and more conservative male misogynists (maybe 15% of Democrats), and the latter were presumably more ready to vote third-party than HRC supporters had Sanders somehow won it in '16. So my speculation is that Sanders supporters today -- whatever they claim right now -- will actually support Biden in higher percentages than they did in '16, since the loony left flank is more likely to come home in the general than the misogynist right flank. But that's sheer speculation -- no need to rebut it!
posted by chortly at 9:49 PM on April 18 [4 favorites]


Publicly supporting student debt relief and medicare extensions is a commitment. Publicly talking about working with Republicans without making concrete policy promises is politics. I'm not happy about it, but I'm much more understanding than I was before the primaries. The primaries were nothing if not a referendum on no concessions, big structural change, including medicare for all and the green new deal, and the electorate did not go along. It's not my preference, but I'll take the clear route to universal healthcare and making progress on global warming over the guy that is burning the country to the ground for necessity's sake.
posted by xammerboy at 10:59 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Regarding the Cabinet, it's worth remembering this is how things were done. Before Trump, there were many cross-party appointments. Even the highly partisan Dubya Administration put a token Democrat in the Cabinet. Biden's proposal isn't entirely radical considering the many, many precedents. For the curious: List of United States political appointments across party lines

Of course, the modern GOP is a complete waste dump and there's no one worth considering. But out of the small number of #nevertrumpers, there's probably a few who would be ok. I wouldn't have a problem with, say, George Conway being given a job where a conservative could contribute with no room for sabotage. That way the Republican resistance, as small as it is, would be rewarded. Biden could claim "Bipartisan unity! Normality returns!" But anyone currently part of Trump & McConnell's GOP would be left out.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 12:35 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


Yes, there is nothing that Biden will say that will satisfy the most leftist participants in this thread (and elsewhere on Metafilter).

If Biden said he supported a single-payer health care system I would spend every free waking moment between now and November fighting for his campaign. 100% clean slate, no mention of the immeasurable misery he has inflicted on poor people like me. Obviously he hates poor people way too much to ever advocate for such a system, so I'll spend my precious available hours on local housing activism or getting people out of the local immigrant concentration camp.
posted by Cezar Golescu at 1:38 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


Not A Thing Sadly there's a significant misogynist and racist faction in the left. Mostly this is expressed as extreme focus on class issues and sneering at absolutely anything but talk about class issues as a distraction and "identity politics". It isn't often expressed as open misogyny or racism, but I'm absolutely certain it was a significant factor in the Bernie -> Trump assholes back in 2016.

And, worse, you saw an endorsement of some of that with Bernie himself when he derided "identity politics" as something to be opposed and a distraction from the real issue of class. It's one reason why I was never part of the group that liked Sanders personally. As a white passing dude he was able to join the many socialist white dudes in safely ignoring every issue except class because it had no real impact on them.

So I'm not at all surprised when we see that a number of supposed Sanders supporters were, in reality, just anti-Clinton and not really all that committed to a broader leftism.

There's a meaningful divide to be made in people who are committed to broad leftism and those who are committed more or less exclusively to economic leftism and are fine with racial and sexual hierarchies.
posted by sotonohito at 5:54 AM on April 19 [7 favorites]


Teegeeack AV Club Secretary I would argue that there's no such thing as a job a Republican can be given with no room for sabotage. At the very least they're a mole in cabinet meetings and the like reporting every single word back to Mitch and the other Republicans.

Comey should have been the end of Democrats pretending it was safe to have a token Republican around. It isn't, ever. There's no such thing as a real #NeverTrumper, there's only former Republicans who have admitted their sin and repented by becoming Democrats and liars. Every #NeverTrump Republican is still enabling and supporting Trump by voting for downticket Republicans even if they really do vote against Trump himself (and I flatly don't believe any will truly vote against Trump though I expect many will lie and claim they did).

No Republicans. Ever.

If Biden puts a Republican in his government we will know two things. 1) Biden is an utter idiot who can't be trusted to get even the most basic and obvious things right, and 2) that Republican will betray us and do his utmost to abuse whatever position Biden foolishly gives him to hurt the Democrats and get a Republican elected.
posted by sotonohito at 5:59 AM on April 19 [4 favorites]


You can't possibly be unaware of the different coalitions you need to build to win a primary vs. a general election, right?

Oh, I am very aware of this. But neither the Biden campaign nor some of the commentators here seem to be aware of it.

After all, why would either group spend so much time shaming, slandering, and deriding us? The only message here seems to be that our votes aren't wanted or needed.
posted by Ouverture at 6:14 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


I wasn't aware that Bernie Sanders called himself a democratic socialist. He isn't one, as he's a social democrat. My understanding is that the Democrats aren't social democrats, unless they advocate the Nordic model, etc.
posted by polymodus at 7:03 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


The Atlantic, “Bernie Sanders Makes His Pitch for Socialism” (2015)
When it came time to articulate his ideology once and for all, Sanders returned to Roosevelt. “Let me define for you, simply and straightforwardly, what democratic socialism means to me. It builds on what Franklin Delano Roosevelt said when he fought for guaranteed economic rights for all Americans,” Sanders said. “Democratic socialism means that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy.”
posted by XMLicious at 7:16 AM on April 19 [4 favorites]


The only message here seems to be that our votes aren't wanted or needed.

I would encourage you to vote your own needs, which probably reflect your neighbors, and not worry about the messaging or packaging, and especially not worry about the labeling. Idealism gets people to serve the ideal rather than anyone's needs. That's how Pol Pot murdered or expelled a third of his country. Consider that idealism is modeled on its original religion, which always served the conservative royalty. Leftism is an abstract mirroring of elitism that only works in royal mode. It's a terrible copy job as an excuse to write-off the majority, who are never pure or worthy, of course.
posted by Brian B. at 8:11 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


neoliberalism, technocracy, "pragmatism," and compromise is what led us to trump.

takes some real lanyard galaxy brain to describe a coalition of leftists who want to healthcare for all, livable wages, equity, and a sustainable planet as "writing off the majority"
posted by entropicamericana at 8:24 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


Leftism is an abstract mirroring of elitism that only works in royal mode. It's a terrible copy job as an excuse to write-off the majority, who are never pure or worthy, of course.

Just to clarify here, are you equating leftist policies like Medicare 4 All or the Green New Deal as writing off the majority?

Wouldn't "voting for my own needs and my neighbors" be considered much more likely to write off the majority, especially if I was a wealthy, white U.S. citizen? That sounds far more like a conservative viewpoint.
posted by Ouverture at 8:42 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


neoliberalism, technocracy, "pragmatism," and compromise is what led us to trump.

Trump made direct appeals to idealized America, ideal race, ideal religion, ideal economy, and ideal law and order, and libertarianism, the secular idealism designed to compete directly with socialism. It worked because it was right-wring, the natural home of idealism. It fails the other direction, though they try. Oh, and idealism is synonymous with self-righteousness. Got a half-baked theory? Dress it up in double-speak jargon misapplied from various academic fields and give it the attitude of correctness. Did someone not get excited about it? They are not to be trusted or allied with. Bottom line here is that anyone who ever once trotted out Scandinavia as a model of anti-capitalism is a liar (because they are capitalist) and is engaged in brainwashing, sometimes by just being brainwashed themselves.

Just to clarify here, are you equating leftist policies like Medicare 4 All or the Green New Deal as writing off the majority?

No, Medicare is the anchor and beginning. Deleting Obamacare would be a mistake, until the day it isn't being used. Never go backwards to create a demand. The point is to make progress, not sell a pure vision or discourage votes in that direction.
posted by Brian B. at 8:45 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


> After all, why would either group spend so much time shaming, slandering, and deriding us? The only message here seems to be that our votes aren't wanted or needed.

To the extent that anything I've said has been interpreted as saying your votes aren't wanted or needed, I will just offer my assurance that this is not my intent.

Like many MeFi political threads, there are a lot of overlapping conversations in here with varying degrees of rancor and tribal bickering. If you choose to focus on the worst examples of in-fighting to the exclusion of other aspects of the thread that are more indicative of a desire to understand the other side's point of view and repair broken lines of communication, then I can see why you might come away with this as "the only message", but I see a lot more going on here that makes it worth looking past some of the nastier and more divisive comments, which seem to be coming in roughly equal measure from both factions.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:52 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


Latest Biden ad appears to be an attempt to compete on anti-Chiba sentiment with Trump which a) isn’t going to work and b) racism? Really? That’s all you’ve got?
posted by Artw at 9:01 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


Latest Biden ad appears to be an attempt to compete on anti-China sentiment with Trump which a) isn’t going to work and b) racism? Really? That’s all you’ve got?

Democrats pivoting to the right in the general election will always require throwing different groups of marginalized people under the bus. I wonder just what kind of concessions Biden will make on abortion and LGBTQ rights in order to secure "moderate" Republican votes.

Like many MeFi political threads, there are a lot of overlapping conversations in here with varying degrees of rancor and tribal bickering. If you choose to focus on the worst examples of in-fighting to the exclusion of other aspects of the thread that are more indicative of a desire to understand the other side's point of view and repair broken lines of communication, then I can see why you might come away with this as "the only message", but I see a lot more going on here that makes it worth looking past some of the nastier and more divisive comments, which seem to be coming in roughly equal measure from both factions.

It's fascinating hearing this after months of commentary about how people would have supported Sanders if it wasn't for the rancor and nasty comments from a tiny section of the left.

And I don't think this can be considered in-fighting. In-fighting assumes a shared worldview, ideology, and most importantly, solidarity. In-fighting is something that happens between comrades.

In any case, I am looking forward to Biden's concessions to Sanders and Warren. That's the only hope this planet has left.
posted by Ouverture at 9:32 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


> And I don't think this can be considered in-fighting. In-fighting assumes a shared worldview, ideology, and most importantly, solidarity. In-fighting is something that happens between comrades.

Solidarity isn't binary, and neither is camaraderie. Labor unions federate to take a stand for one another despite some conflicting interests, knowing that the increased power that comes with aligning themselves despite these disagreements offsets the muddling of the message that may come from a larger tent organized around broader shared principles.

If present circumstances aren't an obvious "hang together or hang separately" moment for all of us -- a moment where we can zoom out a bit on tactical disagreements and focus on areas of agreement instead of points on which we might differ -- then there is no amount of participation in the two-party system that can be deemed acceptable to the radical faction, and thus no significant role for leftism in national electoral politics. To me, that would be a huge mistake given how many Sanders-aligned progressives have shown how much can be accomplished from inside the machine.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:21 AM on April 19 [9 favorites]


Latest Biden ad appears to be an attempt to compete on anti-Chiba sentiment with Trump which a) isn’t going to work and b) racism? Really? That’s all you’ve got?

Can we please get a link or a description of the ad?
posted by xammerboy at 10:31 AM on April 19


If present circumstances aren't an obvious "hang together or hang separately" moment for all of us -- a moment where we can zoom out a bit on tactical disagreements and focus on areas of agreement instead of points on which we might differ -- then there is no amount of participation in the two-party system that can be deemed acceptable to the radical faction, and thus no significant role for leftism in national electoral politics. To me, that would be a huge mistake given how many Sanders-aligned progressives have shown how much can be accomplished from inside the machine.


You misunderstand. I can work with liberals/centrists who defend and apologize for war criminals and rapists, but they will never be my comrades.

And I look forward to the day when I don't have to work with them at all.
posted by Ouverture at 10:33 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Link to Biden China ad.

It's.... really bad.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:33 AM on April 19 [3 favorites]


> You misunderstand. I can work with liberals/centrists who defend and apologize for war criminals and rapists, but they will never be my comrades.

Would you consider wanting to have a voice in which rapist war criminal leads the government for the next four years "defend[ing] and apologiz[ing]" for them?
posted by tonycpsu at 10:34 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Would you consider wanting to have a voice in which rapist war criminal leads the government for the next four years "defend[ing] and apologiz[ing]" for them?

No, I'm talking about literal defenses and apologia of such perpetrators as posted on this site and elsewhere. It's disgusting and depressing and extremely clarifying about where people actually stand.
posted by Ouverture at 10:37 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


OK. Pretty sure we can win without anyone who's doing that, then.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:43 AM on April 19


well, guess froggie better get a'courtin'. m4a is a good start.

Do you not see the absurdity in putting forward the single most central plank of Sanders' campaign as a compromise to court leftists? It's like if a group of friends get together and one person wants a pepperoni pizza, another wants a mushroom pizza, and when they put it to a vote the mushroom pizza wins handily. And then the pepperoni guy says that in order to appeal to the folks who wanted a pepperoni pizza the mushroom people should just get a pepperoni pizza instead. But... that's... what?

If Biden adopts Sanders' central planks what in heck would we need Biden for? The idea of compromise isn't "adopt the single thing Sanders primarily ran on which differentiated the candidates most", it's "move leftward on some issues".
posted by Justinian at 10:44 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]




What DO we need Biden for? Is not doing M4A an actual need? Was a vote for Biden a vote against m4a? Exit polls say it was a vote for "electability", is "electability" just code for not having compelling policies to those people the same way people who dismiss it say it is?
posted by Artw at 10:53 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


Do you not see the absurdity in putting forward the single most central plank of Sanders' campaign as a compromise to court leftists? It's like if a group of friends get together and one person wants a pepperoni pizza, another wants a mushroom pizza, and when they put it to a vote the mushroom pizza wins handily. And then the pepperoni guy says that in order to appeal to the folks who wanted a pepperoni pizza the mushroom people should just get a pepperoni pizza instead. But... that's... what?

It's truly incredible and demoralizing that something so basic and expected in every other Western country is seen as such a radical idea.

In the wealthiest and most powerful country in the history of our species, the majority of its citizens will just suffer and die needlessly so a handful of already incredibly wealthy people can make a little more money.

This Onion article is evergreen.
posted by Ouverture at 10:54 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


Medicare for all is not basic and expected. Some form of universal healthcare is basic and expected. But because M4A is what Sanders was for that's become a shibboleth for actually wanting universal healthcare here.

Medicare for all isn't the only way to accomplish the goal.
posted by Justinian at 11:04 AM on April 19 [11 favorites]


What DO we need Biden for?

Credibility. Normies still have thing to lose. Biden is the option where they know they won't lose and things will probably get better. Bernie represents an upheaval of the system where they might lose what money or status they have. Things could get a whole lot better but they don't know that. Trump meanwhile is just batshit insane. Biden is a known quantity with the Obama years were some of the best for the country in the past two decades. Biden is also someone they know is competent and can vote for knowing it's the best chance they have to start to end the insanity of the past 40 years.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:14 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Time for Biden to step to the plate and explain some alternate proposal then. I would suggest it not be "Obamacare basically works" or "here's a modest means tested expansion of existing programs".
posted by Artw at 11:14 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


What DO we need Biden for?

Credibility.


Then what does it matter what his policies are then? Might as well make them good ones.
posted by Artw at 11:15 AM on April 19


Biden should put forward a proposal that anyone who doesnt have insurance could join a government run plan no questions asked, and if they can't afford it the government will subsidize much or all of their premium. That would be pretty good.
posted by Justinian at 11:19 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


[Comment removed . We don't need to read about the specific horrors of Mao and Stalin to know they're bad. Do not do that here.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:20 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Justinian - the problem with trying to re-sell Obamacare, other than "here's a thing you already have" not really being compelling, is that it didn't really deliver the goods the first time around, and that, combined with the compromises put in to appease republicans , made people unhappy with it and gives republicans leverage to further trash it. You can consider it to have already failed under stress testing.
posted by Artw at 11:26 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Then what does it matter what his policies are then? Might as well make them good ones.

Because you burn the credibility that you're not going to fuck people's lives up more than they already are when you say you're going to dramatically change things. When leftists politicians have grandiose plans on changing society (even for the better) it's like alarm bells goes off in the heads of these people because they currently have an acceptable or possibly even a good or great life and now things are going to change.

The right knows what they're doing and they ease people into their ideology like a gimp suit. They tell the populace what they think will happen with the results of their changes that make sense on an intuitive level. When a Republican says "we want lower taxes so that people can be more prosperous" it makes sense to people at a surface level. It's bullshit when you start to scratch even slightly below that surface but they understand it in their gut. Then they take it a little bit further: "the country has been spending too much and the deficit is too high, we want to lower spending". Seems to make sense. Thrifty people are virtuous and tighten the belt if they don't have enough to spend. This shit has been going on for decades There has been a 40 year long assault on the right wing's head space that has made them amenable to the current atrocities.

Bernie shows up and says "I'm going to make all the same healthcare equal for everyone" and they crap themselves. They have a house, two cars, cable, iPhones, the American Dream. If they're above average things are going to get worse, right? This is what they immediately ascertain when they just try to understand things intuitively.

"Normal" people, for whatever disdain we have for their selfishness, are scared and they fear uncertainty. They also show up to vote. Biden soothes their uncertainty and Trump turns them off. This is why Biden polls 11 points ahead of Trump nationally despite Twitter thinking he's a senile, doddering racist grandpa.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:28 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


"Normal" people, for whatever disdain we have for their selfishness, are scared and they fear uncertainty. They also show up to vote. Biden soothes their uncertainty and Trump turns them off. This is why Biden polls 11 points ahead of Trump nationally despite Twitter thinking he's a senile, doddering racist grandpa.

If Trump turns people off so much, then it sounds like Biden has plenty of room to move the window to the left.

It doesn't have to be M4A if "normal people" really love the idea of losing healthcare whenever they lose their job. However, if Biden just trots out more incremental refinements to a poorly implemented, means-tested, and fragile disaster like the ACA, then who is he actually winning other than Jim Clyburn's donor pool?

You talk a lot about how there has been a 40 year coordinated GOP assault on the headspace of right wingers. So what exactly have Democrats done to their voters to make them so helpless and continue voting against their interests?
posted by Ouverture at 11:33 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


It doesn't have to be M4A if "normal people" really love the idea of losing healthcare whenever they lose their job. However, if Biden just trots out more incremental refinements to a poorly implemented, means-tested, and fragile disaster like the ACA, then who is he actually winning other than Jim Clyburn's donor pool?

But this is exactly why "Medicare For All" polls so poorly. People don't think about losing their jobs down the road because there are bigger catastrophes that could be more likely to happen. They do a quick calculus on what's going to happen to them in the next twelve months. Bernie is saying they'll lose their insurance, which could be better but somewhat works for them, to be forced onto some government plan which they have no idea is going to better. They think about all the new people they'll now be on the same level with and it immediately doesn't add up in their head that things will be better for them.

Biden on the other hand comes out and say "we can tweak things around the edges to make small improvements for everybody" and it's catnip in comparison.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:41 AM on April 19 [4 favorites]


Biden’s credibility is all almost entirely borrowed from Obama, whose slogan was literally “CHANGE”. Many would say he under-delivered, but you can’t really say he ran on a platform of not shaking things up.
posted by Artw at 11:42 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


Your Childhood Pet Rock - where are you seeing M4A polling badly?
posted by Artw at 11:44 AM on April 19


Centrist poll: 'Medicare for All' underwater in key battleground states
A new poll from a centrist Democratic think tank of three battleground states shows “Medicare for All” is far less popular than a plan to build off the Affordable Care Act.

The polling from Third Way, conducted in the “blue wall” states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, shows a sharp divide between those who support Medicare for All and those who don’t.

According to the poll, Medicare for All is just as unpopular in Michigan and Pennsylvania as President Trump’s plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Only 41 percent of respondents in Michigan and 40 percent of respondents in Pennsylvania said they supported the policy.

In Wisconsin, 47 percent of respondents supported Medicare for All.
Obviously it's not going to be anywhere near as underwater now and is probably greatly above water given the current circumstances but I don't think distilled down to a three word slogan Medicare For All is wise.

Two thirds of Americans meanwhile support the public option. That's a supermajority of Americans. For a supermajority of Americans to agree on anything is a minor miracle and instead we say we should be running on radical egalitarianism that is far less popular? It's like we go out of our way to prove we think we know best, what anyone else thinks be damned.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:56 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


Bernie Sanders: The Foundations of American Society Are Failing Us
The absurdity and cruelty of our employer-based, private health insurance system should now be apparent to all. As tens of millions of Americans are losing their jobs and incomes as a result of the pandemic, many of them are also losing their health insurance. That is what happens when health care is seen as an employee benefit, not a guaranteed right. As we move forward beyond the pandemic, we need to pass legislation that finally guarantees health care to every man, woman and child — available to people employed or unemployed, at every age.

The pandemic has also made clear the irrationality of the current system. Unbelievably, in the midst of the worst health care crisis in modern history, thousands of medical workers are being laid off and many hospitals and clinics are on the verge of going bankrupt and shutting down. In truth, we don’t have a health care “system.” We have a byzantine network of medical institutions dominated by the profit-making interests of insurance and drug companies. The goal of a new, long-overdue health care system, Medicare for All, must be to provide health care to all, in every region of the county — not billions in profits for Wall Street and the health care industry. [...]

In the course of my presidential campaign, I sought to follow in the footsteps of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who, in the 1930s and 40s, understood that in a truly free society, economic rights must be considered human rights. That was true 80 years ago and it remains true today.

Now I will do everything in my power to bring this country together to help Joe Biden defeat the most dangerous president in modern American history. And I will continue to make the vigorous case that we must address the inequalities that contributed to the rise of Donald Trump, whose cruelty and incompetence have cost American lives during this pandemic.

Simply opposing Mr. Trump will not be enough — we will need to articulate a new direction for America.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:09 PM on April 19 [10 favorites]


So "centrist voters" in so-called battleground states do not support M4A back in January, before the pandemic hit.

So what?

Meanwhile, in early April, "Support for Medicare for All among U.S. voters has reached a nine-month high in a Morning Consult/Politico tracking poll as the deadly and ongoing coronavirus pandemic lays bare the horrors and systemic inefficiencies of America's profit-driven healthcare system.

The survey (pdf), released Wednesday, found that 55 percent of U.S. voters support Medicare for All, a nine-point jump since February. While support for Medicare for All is highest among Democratic voters at 75%, a majority of Independents—52%—also support the policy, along with 31% of Republicans." Medicare for All Support Surges to 9-Month High in New Poll After Coronavirus Exposes Horrors of Private Insurance

Morning Consult, As Coronavirus Surges, ‘Medicare for All’ Support Hits 9-Month High
posted by Ahmad Khani at 12:11 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Biden’s credibility is all almost entirely borrowed from Obama,

I remember when Biden was announced as VP and most pundits claimed it was to give Obama credibility. If we want to go back to pre-Trump, especially for those who hate change, then Biden is a decent choice. If we want to move "forward" into change, that would be doable with someone new like Obama. Sanders and Warren opted to ride on an unspecific M4A platform that sought to eliminate private insurance. I don't think most supporters appreciate how hostile this is to the process. It is based on a weird notion of forcing wealthier people to support their change, when they could more easily force it to go away. Obamacare is an insurance subsidy that gives some oversight to the spending process.( Hospitals also charge more for cash payment and average their costs through billing.) Medicare is costly if one didn't pay into the program, and seniors know this and don't support having their program appropriated to sell something closer to "Medicaid for all."
posted by Brian B. at 12:20 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


One thing I really like about that Bernie op-ed is how it makes a pretty solidly centrist case for universal coverage and reforming the employer-based insurance model by casting coronavirus as the reason why these changes are so desperately needed. Call it the "no atheists in foxholes" argument -- nobody is under any illusion about where Sanders is coming from, but he's putting COVID-19 front and center to make the intervention seem reasonable even to people who might otherwise be hostile to a larger government role in healthcare.

Whether this is Biden and Sanders working together in kind of a centrist cop / socialist cop act to help set the stage for an already-negotiated policy concession or just Bernie subtweeting his good friend Joe to let him know that he's not backing down from his demands is unclear, but it makes me feel a lot more hopeful about a strong and united left than I did before I read it.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:25 PM on April 19 [13 favorites]


the problem with trying to re-sell Obamacare, other than "here's a thing you already have" not really being compelling, is that it didn't really deliver the goods the first time around, and that, combined with the compromises put in to appease republicans , made people unhappy with it and gives republicans leverage to further trash it. You can consider it to have already failed under stress testing.

Obamacare failed? That's what the rabid right-wingers say.

Obamacare increased the number covered by health insurance by 20 million people. 16 million of those are low income people who now get free Medicaid who didn't before. That's not nothing. Tell them it failed.

It's clear that it doesn't go far enough, but that not the same as failure.
posted by JackFlash at 12:46 PM on April 19 [8 favorites]


The story of public opinion on Obamacare is partly a story of status quo bias. Republicans rightly feared that if it passed, the public wouldn't want to let go of it, so they engaged in scaremongering and sabotage. This had short-term success, but by the time 2017 rolled around and the Senate was openly declaring it would repeal, voters said "No" quite clearly and loudly, because they remembered the (even more) bad old days and didn't want to return. Lives were saved, and at least a majority of Americans now knew someone who benefited (someone they may have previously considered as simply unlucky in a way that government could never hope to fix).

This doesn't mean that M4A is any kind of political winner. From most voters' perspective, a public option seems ideal because then they don't have to experience the change personally unless they do find themselves in need of insurance. Yes, they might be wrong to believe that, but Bernie Sanders is even wronger to believe that drone warfare is ever acceptable. No heroes, no perfection! Harm reduction all the way down!
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:49 PM on April 19 [6 favorites]


Sanders and Warren opted to ride on an unspecific M4A platform that sought to eliminate private insurance.

Calling Warren's healthcare plan an unspecific M4A platform is the understatement of the century.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:54 PM on April 19 [7 favorites]


The survey (pdf), released Wednesday, found that 55 percent of U.S. voters support Medicare for All,

Here is the information from the survey question (1997 respondents).

Do you support or oppose a Medicare for All health care system, where all Americans would get their health insurance from thegovernment? (page 402)

Stronglysupport 30%(596)
Somewhatsupport 25%(491)
Somewhatoppose 11%(215)
Stronglyoppose 24%(470)
Don’t know /No opinion 11%(224)

For bellow, refer to list order above:
Republican 15%(99)16%(107)11%(73)46%(302)11%(70)
Independent 29%(165)23%(134)12%(68)21%(123)15%(85)
Democrat 43%(332)32%(250)10%(73)6%(46)9%(69)

It seems like it would be a losing issue in the battleground states at present levels.
posted by Brian B. at 12:54 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Calling Warren's healthcare plan an unspecific M4A platform is the understatement of the century.

Okay, rephrase just for Warrren, whose plan is low on costs and high on revenue collected, and is promised with a bunch of other programs such as student debt relief, free tuition, opioid addiction treatment, plus several childcare programs, etc, which raises the point of which comes first in bipartisan legislation as the wealthy hide their money, like they did in the last six European nations that repealed their wealth tax, because it came in too low from the estimates. On that note, the Scandinavian miracles pay comparably so little for defense costs, because it invites bombs and they would lose to a large nation anyway.
posted by Brian B. at 1:26 PM on April 19


When it came time to articulate his ideology once and for all, Sanders returned to Roosevelt. “Let me define for you, simply and straightforwardly, what democratic socialism means to me. It builds on what Franklin Delano Roosevelt said when he fought for guaranteed economic rights for all Americans,” Sanders said. “Democratic socialism means that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy.”

Oh I remember that now. I think it's worth reiterating that Bernie is not a democratic socialist according to the leftist meaning of the term, and this leftist term goes back to Marx, is conceptually acknowledged in academic scholarship that leftists use, etc. Bernie is using the term in an idiosyncratic way, and it occurs to me that his rhetoric, intentional or not, failed in practice, because "socialism" probably scared away more Democrats than rallied together more leftists, and further, arguably polarized lower-information leftists who might recognize the difference between social democrat and democratic socialist.
posted by polymodus at 1:32 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]


And I don't think this can be considered in-fighting. In-fighting assumes a shared worldview, ideology, and most importantly, solidarity. In-fighting is something that happens between comrades.

I don't think nonleftists appreciate how re-oppressing and triggering the talking points they repeat are, to leftists. For example this framing-as-infighting talking point is a great example of the sort of thing a possessive oppressor would say. And it's not explicit; it's class-based dog whistling, maybe mild, but really adds up.
posted by polymodus at 1:44 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Leftists get to select a single definition of "in vs. out" that applies to all contexts, though. They can speak for who they consider in and out of their definition of leftism, but as long as leftists support Democrats electorally -- and they still tend to -- fights between different wings of the Democratic coalition can be accurately described as in-fighting within that larger tent. That was my intent in describing the dynamic here as in-fighting. I will take care to be clearer about that in the future so as not to offend those who interpret it as an attempt to oppress, but I will not accept that one group gets unilateral control over such a broad term regardless of context.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:58 PM on April 19 [7 favorites]


I guess we'll just have to disagree here about definitions.

For me, it's not infighting because liberals/centrists, just like conservatives/libertarians, can inherently never be my comrades, even if they might be allies of temporary and tactical convenience (like they are in this incredibly cursed presidential election). I am in the same big tent as the war criminals who have killed millions of people like me because the alternative is somehow even worse; not because I love the Democratic Party.

I mean, just look at the racist Biden ad above. The ideology that made that isn't something I'm ever going to ride with.
posted by Ouverture at 5:45 PM on April 19 [7 favorites]


I will vote for Joe Biden in November because a Biden presidency will be much easier to deal with than a second Trump presidency. Biden's not who I voted for in the primaries. He's centrist Democrat who I have major problems with on issues that impact me personally, like access to medical care. I also have problems with him on issues that affect people I know and care about. But Trump is a wannabe fascist, Biden isn't.

I don't know what to say to people who claim to be Democrats or some variety of leftist who plan on trying to re-elect Trump in November. That's beyond my comprehension.
posted by nangar at 5:57 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


Nobody in this thread is planning on trying to re-elect Trump in November.
posted by Gadarene at 7:21 AM on April 20 [9 favorites]




METAFILTER: I guess we'll just have to disagree here about definitions.
posted by philip-random at 11:35 PM on April 20 [5 favorites]


Related to many aspects of this conversation, energy and climate journalist David Roberts says "I don't understand the climate movement's approach with Biden."
He's already got a plan that is wildly more ambitious than anything that will be possible to pass in 2020. But the movement's sole focus seems to be on forcing him to commit to even more ambitious plans ... with even less change of passage. We are already out in la-la land here, the land of wishes & dreams. What is the point of going even farther out? Biden might say more stuff if activists demand loud enough, but none of it is germane at all to getting things passed.
(More in the Twitter thread)
posted by PhineasGage at 1:58 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


Promise the moon! Inspire us! That way, when you do some great incremental stuff you'll look like you've failed. Then when the first round of mid terms happen your electoral coalition, discouraged by your merely great changes that helped millions, will just evaporate thereby stopping any major further improvements.

It's not like anything like that has ever happened before, right? Right?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:07 PM on April 21 [5 favorites]


Promise nothing! Don't inspire us! That way, you'll never get elected in the first place, thereby stopping any improvements at all!

It's not like anything like that has ever happened before in 1984, 1988, 2000, 2004, 2016, etc, right? Right?
posted by entropicamericana at 2:14 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


After 763 comments in this thread, looks like no one has had their mind changed. Yay?
posted by PhineasGage at 2:16 PM on April 21 [5 favorites]


We're basically asking questions that philosophers have been asking each other for thousands of years that have had no clear resolution because there probably isn't one. Go to a pretentious French coffee house, find a bunch of white guys who think they're the intellectual descendants of Socrates, and ask them whether utilitarianism or deontology is the correct response to a situation. After the brawl subsides, I'm pretty sure nobody will have changed their minds either.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:24 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


“Climate change policies for some, miniature American flags for others.”
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:26 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


Promise nothing! Don't inspire us!

It is definitely true that it shouldn't be asking too much to have a campaign work to inspire supporters

It also shouldn't be too much to ask prospective supporters to distinguish between "not as much as I'd like" or even "not enough" on one hand vs "nothing" on the other.
posted by wildblueyonder at 3:11 PM on April 21 [5 favorites]


It also shouldn't be too much to ask prospective supporters to distinguish between "not as much as I'd like" or even "not enough" on one hand vs "nothing" on the other.

If it's not "Nothing" how comes nobody is actually able to name a policy? I'm seeing multiple denouncements of the left for not accepting the concessions they have been given, but those concessions appear not to exist?

It's a simple question. What major progressive policies is Biden prepared to stand behind?

Not asking that question (and being prepared to scream at anyone who does) appears to a bit of a purity test for mainstream dems here, but it really is an important one and that we haven't had an answer on it since Biden's primary win is a major concern.
posted by Artw at 3:36 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


That's not a good faith argument. Take a look at Biden's web site. To say "I think some of these proposals don't go nearly far enough" (e.g. the disagreements at MetaFilter about the best approach to health care) is fair. But to say Biden is offering no major progressive policies is willful ignorance or outright disingenuousness.
posted by PhineasGage at 3:43 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


Take it as read that "he has a website" is not the answer anyone is looking for.
posted by Artw at 3:47 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


> It's a simple question. What major progressive policies is Biden prepared to stand behind?

Biden is labeled a moderate. But his agenda is far more liberal than Hillary Clinton’s.

Now, before you bang out that dismissive "lol more liberal than Hillary" comment read:
Still, Biden’s current set of policy prescriptions would likely be considered radical if they had been proposed in any previous Democratic presidential primary. That’s especially clear in comparison to Clinton’s 2016 platform.

Biden’s plan goes much further: He wants to allow all Americans — including those receiving insurance through their employer — to buy into a government-backed insurance plan, a shift some progressives have said would represent an enormous change to Obamacare. (Biden also proposed significantly increasing the subsidies available to those who enroll in the public option.)

There’s also a wide disparity between Biden and Clinton’s climate change plans. Clinton proposed spending $60 billion on clean-energy fund as part of an attempt to make the U.S. 80% carbon-free by 2050; Biden wants to spend $1.7 trillion in federal money to make the country emit a net of zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Joe Biden’s climate plan — I’m going to get canceled for this — is quite ambitious,” said Sean McElwee, co-founder of the liberal group Data for Progress.

Biden is also pushing to triple Title I funding for schools that educate low-income students, and to abolish the federal death penalty while encouraging states to do the same. Clinton wanted to preserve capital punishment in certain situations.

One of Biden’s most prominent criminal justice reform proposals — a $20 billion initiative that encourages states to reduce their prison populations in part by removing mandatory minimums for non-violent crimes — also represents a new kind of plan from a major presidential candidate, according to Lauren-Brooke Eisen, acting director and senior fellow for the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice.

“The candidates are all realizing they need to focus on ending mass incarceration, reducing racial disparities, ensuring more dollars are used on prevention and education than incarceration,” Eisen said. “There’s a wholesale recognition among leading Democratic candidates that incarceration has not made us safer; it ruins lives.”

Liberal policy experts say Biden’s robust agenda is a reflection of a Democratic Party that has shifted decisively to the left since Trump’s election. Policies that would have been widely considered radical at the end of Barack Obama’s presidency are now commonplace, forcing even veteran politicians like Biden to recalibrate.
See also:

Biden Plans Show How Party’s Center Has Shifted Left
“What’s being called moderate now would have been the far left eight years ago,” says Matthew Chingos, an education expert at the Urban Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

Mr. Biden’s proposals fall well short of the debt cancellation and four-year tuition-free college plans of Mr. Sanders and former candidate Elizabeth Warren. But “the levels of new federal spending for education proposed by the Biden campaign are well above what Democratic candidates proposed four, eight, or 12 years ago,” Mr. Chingos adds, citing Mr. Biden’s plans to double college Pell grants for low-income students and triple funding for low-income public schools. [...]

Low-income housing advocates lavish praise on Mr. Biden’s platform, starting with his declaration that “housing should be a right, not a privilege”—a striking position that, they say, no Democratic presidential nominee has taken in recent memory. To support that goal, the candidate would make Section 8 vouchers for low-income renters an entitlement, a contrast with the current system, which limits availability based on funding, creating yearslong waiting lists.

The Biden plan “is a sea change from what we’ve seen from past presidential candidates,” said Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “To the extent that housing was even talked about, it was almost always related to middle-class homeownership.”

In one of their biggest fights, Mr. Sanders regularly invokes Mr. Biden’s flirtation earlier in his political career with cutting Social Security benefits to preserve the program’s long-term solvency. In his current campaign, Mr. Biden has gone in the opposite direction. He proposes tax increases to shore up existing benefits, and would expand payments for certain recipients. [...]

Many liberal activists say they are still disappointed with the prospect of a Biden nomination. “It would very much be a setback,” says Sabeel Rahman, president of Demos, a liberal think tank and advocacy group that has worked with the Sanders and Warren campaigns.

But Mr. Rahman does see the Biden platform as progress for his own agenda, adding: “Biden may not be a liberal champion of these ideas, but he’s having to adopt them in order to be credible with the new center of gravity in the economic policy world.”
Joe Biden’s Platform Is More Progressive Than You Think
TPC’s has a chart illustrating the effect on after-tax income. One-percenters would see their annual income drop by 10-15 percent [...]

Now, as Biden promised, that still wouldn’t be a “fundamental” change in their lives. They would still have a lot of money — more, in most cases, than they enjoyed a decade ago. But it is still a very sizable change, one that would likely meet with bitter and even hysterical resistance from the rich when introduced in Congress.

There is plenty more liberal meat on the bones of Biden’s program. He is proposing more generous subsidies and medicaid funding along with a public option in order to achieve universal health care; a combination of $17 trillion in clean energy investment and a suite of tighter regulation to bring emissions to zero by 2050; a combined $2 trillion in new spending on early education, post-secondary education, and housing, a $1.3 trillion infrastructure plan, and a $15 minimum wage. [...]

The failure of the Sanders campaign to inspire anything like such a voter uprising, and the all but certain end his campaign is facing, should bring the left back to reality. But reality doesn’t mean nothing. It means that, with the possibility of full control of government comes the opportunity for meaningful progress again. Biden mostly casts himself as a return to normalcy. But what he is promising as well is a continuation of the liberal tradition of Roosevelt, Johnson, and Obama.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:50 PM on April 21 [9 favorites]


It's a simple question. What major progressive policies is Biden prepared to stand behind?

What exactly do you want from a climate policy? Short of "we're going to immediately and permanently stop any further carbon emissions" what exactly would make you happy? Biden's campaign has a list of ways they're going to grab incremental gains as long as your arms because that's what fighting climate change for a president is.

It's not issuing edicts from up high and shaming uncaring businesses into compliance. It's having all of these little ways that are going to have a positive effect, implementing as many as possible, and adding it all up. A lot of it is hard fought and won diplomatic battles. More of it is just being a leader in lowing emissions. More still is getting clean tech out into the developing world. For some it's climate justice, for others it's to be able to have clear air and water after having their communities used as dumping grounds, for others it's being left legacies by companies that have long left economic ruin.

There's no simple slogan or solution that will convey any concrete results in climate change. It's just a fuckton of thankless hard work ahead for whoever decides to fix it. He's probably got some sort of plan that will affect someone's pet project and if not, well, I don't know what to tell you. Like I said, his list is already as long as your arm.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:53 PM on April 21 [5 favorites]


[Folks, try harder not to seem like this is just the room you wandered into while looking to gripe about politics.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:13 PM on April 21 [9 favorites]




That's a lot of words. Honestly I'd just accept "public option" if it was a policy the campaign was bringing to the forefront.

It has a lot of problems obviously, mostly that its not truly universal but also that as an extension to Obamacare it's subject to the same death by a thousand cuts and doomed to become a complicated , hard to access and hard to use thing, as detailed above. But let's say it can be polished up and made a good policy and even has the potential to be a wedge to open healthcare up to better things. Currently the US has one of the worst healthcare systems in the world so anything to improve it no matter how little has got to be good, right?

Let us also say that it's something that Joe stands behind and believes in. This is going to shock you all, I know, but a lot of the policies floated out by the website feel a bit slight and boilerplatish, and have a feel like something thrown together by a group as a placeholder rather than a real commitment. The Public Option is not something he's going to act confused by if you raise it in conversation.

Given all that it seems like it could be front and center of a Joe campaign, it could be something he and his advocates get up and sell as a positive outcome to a Biden. Bonus points if you manage to leave trashing M4A and Bernie behind and actually sell it on its own merits.

When's that going to happen?

If it just sits on a website its not a thing.

(I'm going to ignore climate for now because "by 2050" to me just says "we are not serious about this and are happy to put it off to being someone else's problem)
posted by Artw at 4:59 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Biden's first priority is keeping the donors happy. It always has been and always will be. Keeping the donors happy means killing poor people like me. I'll vote for Biden because he's not Trump, but I'll do so knowing that I probably won't live to see a second Biden term because I don't have access to health care. I'd hoped for a better outcome than this.
posted by nangar at 5:55 PM on April 21 [5 favorites]


Artw, so you're what, mad that expanding and improving Obamacare isn't prominent enough in a campaign that hasn't even really started yet because of a global pandemic that is preventing campaigning? Come on man.
posted by Justinian at 6:41 PM on April 21 [6 favorites]


Have we already forgotten that Biden spent so much of the 17 billion debates earlier this year full throatedly putting forward his health care plan that people were complaining that the debates were spending too much time going over the same ground? It felt like at least 30 minutes of every single debate was Biden vs Warren/Sanders on his health care plan. He wasn't exactly hiding what he was for by talking about it on national television over and over.
posted by Justinian at 6:44 PM on April 21 [6 favorites]


I will take care to be clearer about that in the future so as not to offend those who interpret it as an attempt to oppress, but I will not accept that one group gets unilateral control over such a broad term regardless of context.

To clarify, I do use leftism as defined not in mainstream talk but by scholarship. I view it not as leftists controlling a word, but more that that's how sociologists and economists like Thomas Piketty, and good sources like the Wikipedia page on socialism and leftism. So I view it as matter of being literate, just as we expect people to be scientifically literate, and this is a matter of political science. And I think taking a historical view, the cooptation of leftist terminology and leftist ideas is itself a form of oppression. And more generally, cooptation of language is in every oppressor's toolkit. In this way, my criticism above, of Bernie Sanders' campaign, is unforunately the same: he coopted the use of socialism, as a polarizing conceptual spectre, and it takes authoritative sources like Noam Chomsky and other journalists to clean that confusion up. Noam was addressing leftists, because Bernie's word choice was literally confusing leftists! It was diluting the meaning in a space where leftists generally lack social connectivity between each other. That's the context.
posted by polymodus at 6:57 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


"It's a simple question. What major progressive policies is Biden prepared to stand behind?"

[three articles with details of major progressive policies]

"That's a lot of words."

C'mon, man. You asked for policies and I gave them to you. Not just the public option, which he has said he supports. Real progressive changes well to the left of anything the party's nominee has ever put forward. Yes, he's had to be pushed into it, and yes, we'll need to fight like hell to make him keep the promises, but he's committed to policy positions that reflect the party's leftward movement. That's not nothing. Is it what I wanted? No, because he's not the nominee I wanted. But asking for his policy positions and then dismissing them because there's too many words and you don't trust him anyway is a really bad way to have a conversation. If you simply don't trust him, then why bother asking for the details?

> So I view it as matter of being literate, just as we expect people to be scientifically literate, and this is a matter of political science. And I think taking a historical view, the cooptation of leftist terminology and leftist ideas is itself a form of oppression.

The word I used here that led to this absurd tangent is "in-fighting". Not "leftist", not "socialism". In-fighting. I meant it as fighting between factions of the larger left. Leftists don't get to own the word in-fighting when it's being offered in a neutral, non-leftist context, which is what I was doing. Don't try to make it into something else.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:25 PM on April 21 [10 favorites]


Artw, so you're what, mad that expanding and improving Obamacare isn't prominent enough in a campaign that hasn't even really started yet because of a global pandemic that is preventing campaigning? Come on man.

Trump isn't staying quiet right now. Neither is Bernie, who, as I mentioned never shuts up about what he's advocating. It's just Biden that's hidden away these days.

And no, I'm not mad. I'm going to be pretty mad if Biden et al assume victory is just going to be handed to them and cruise to defeat, Clinton style, because it's going to be pretty bad for everyone.

Have we already forgotten that Biden spent so much of the 17 billion debates earlier this year full throatedly putting forward his health care plan that people were complaining that the debates were spending too much time going over the same ground?

Sadly it's like Clinton in the overall there - time spent browbeating those that propose healthcare reform and telling them its impossible means the overall message is . If Biden wants to give the message that he's about healthcare reform he needs to start from scratch.

"That's a lot of words."

C'mon, man. You asked for policies and I gave them to you.


Ish. Some of that is policy, some of it is close to concrete. But as I've said over and over websites and articles count for very little with nothing to back them. At this point it's beginning to seem like deliberate point missing on your part.

As for the possibility of leftist infighting, you are not the left so I wouldn't worry about it.
posted by Artw at 8:14 PM on April 21


This is just Lucy and Charlie Brown at this point. There is nothing Biden can do to satisfy some on the Left. I just hope they will decide - for whatever reasons they find personally motivating - to turn out and vote for Biden in November, even if they do nothing more to support him.
posted by PhineasGage at 8:23 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


He literally hasn't done anything at all.
posted by Artw at 8:26 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


[Artw, it's fine to be super bearish on Biden and not think he's doing a good job with his candidacy, but maybe stop going around in circles on it. More generally, everybody: think about whether what you're saying, especially if you're saying it repeatedly in variations, is actually a "this is making this MetaFilter thread more interesting" sort of thing or just a "I continue to hold my opinions" sort of time-filler.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:31 PM on April 21 [13 favorites]


Some of that is policy, some of it is close to concrete. But as I've said over and over websites and articles count for very little with nothing to back them.
Political scientists have been studying the question of campaign promises for almost 50 years, and the results are remarkably consistent. Most of the literature suggests that presidents make at least a “good faith” effort to keep an average of about two-thirds of their campaign promises.
Speaking of words on a website... what is it we do here again? 😉

In reality some days I take a brighter view of the power and possibilities in words. The marketplace of ideas matters, I want more people bought in on universal care too. But there's reasons to believe words behind someone running for office are even more serious and meaningful than our own. And "a public health insurance option like Medicare" backed by more generous tax credits and subsidies is a concrete step.

Go to a pretentious French coffee house, find a bunch of white guys who think they're the intellectual descendants of Socrates, and ask them whether utilitarianism or deontology is the correct response to a situation. After the brawl subsides, I'm pretty sure nobody will have changed their minds either.

Recognizing the hazards here...

I think there's an accessible case that utilitarianism is the stronger (though perhaps not universal) option when given a choice to participate in incremental progress towards a value you find desirable, especially a positive-ish right. Like universal health care.

Deontology is probably the stronger case when a clearly responsible agent offers you to ostensibly buy down a horror where even a partially mitigated outcome is a nightmarish violation of negative rights. Like if an evil bandit captures you, and a busload of orphans, and some nuns taking care of them, hands you a gun and says "I'll let you go and spare the kids if you just shoot these nuns for me" with a grin.
posted by wildblueyonder at 9:58 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Biden's plans sound modest to appeal to centrists, but they are also designed to trigger tipping points that may lead to bigger progressive change. If enough people sign onto his cheaper public option, it becomes a de facto universal healthcare. If enough markets buy cheaper alternative energy, that becomes the new standard.
posted by xammerboy at 10:54 PM on April 21 [6 favorites]


The infighting among progressives is huge problem in my opinion. Everywhere I look I see Biden being attacked in ways that could lead many people to thinking he is the equivalent of Trump.
posted by xammerboy at 11:11 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


On climate change, my problem is that according to a lot of scientists we simply do not have the time for an incremental, baby steps, 30 years from now net zero emissions, type of plan and that our choices basically are between taking radical, revolutionary, steps right this second or everyone dying.

Therefore when I see a tepid plan that was obviously tossed together by a staffer and which Mr. I have no empathy has never seen, doesn't give a shit about, and will spend no political capital advancing, I'm not really mollified.

My son will either live a decent life, or die in a Mad Max style hellscape based on what we do in the next five to ten years. That's my basis for evaluating any plan.

We need to be spending Iraq war level money putting every unemployed person in America to work ripping out all the carbon based infrastructure, putting every coal miner and oilpatch worker out of a carbon job and into a job getting the new infrastructure in place. We need to be subsidizing electric cars to the point where you can buy a new electric car for the same price as a new gas car. And we need to be rebuilding our cities around public transit. All of which costs a fuckton of money and takes a lot of work that must be done **NOW**. Not 30 years from now. Not five years from now. Not one year from now.

Every second wasted is a second closer to that Mad Max hellscape for my kid.

COVID will pass. We can, sort of, survive without universal healthcare and free college. But we can't survive without a planet that sustains human life.

Biden doesn't seem to have any real sense of urgency on the topic of climate change. Sure, sure, it's a more ambitious plan (written by a staffer who Biden has never spoken to and which Biden has never read) than Hillary's. So what?

I don't care how much more ambitious, or liberal, or whatever, the plan is compared to stuff from the past. I care about one thing and one thing only: will this plan avert the Mad Max future for my son?

The clear answer to that question for Biden's plan, even if I had any faith he'd make it top priority and push it through no matter the opposition, is no. Therefore it's a bad plan.
posted by sotonohito at 4:22 AM on April 22 [5 favorites]


And if the answer here and in the Democratic Party is "well soto, you'll never get the sort of plan that will save your kid from a Mad Max future because politics" then what I'm hearing is that our system needs to be overthrown and replaced with one that won't doom the world.

Either the American system can do what is needed to keep our species alive, or the American system is a failure and needs to be discarded and replaced. If the message from the Democrats is that our political system is arranged in such a manner that it is impossible to avert the Mad Max future, then that doesn't tell me I should just shrug and accept that Mad Max future as inevitable it tells me I should do the other thing.
posted by sotonohito at 4:27 AM on April 22 [9 favorites]


Biden doesn't seem to have any real sense of urgency on the topic of climate change. Sure, sure, it's a more ambitious plan (written by a staffer who Biden has never spoken to and which Biden has never read) than Hillary's. So what?

Good timing. From a couple hours ago - Jay Inslee endorses Joe Biden: "A chance for the survival of life as we know it".
posted by Justinian at 7:21 AM on April 22 [9 favorites]


NYT link for those who prefer, axios previously for those who don't.
posted by Justinian at 7:22 AM on April 22


@alexburnsNYT
New: INSLEE backs Biden and tells me private talks w/VP have convinced him Biden is "willing to aim faster & higher" on fighting climate change. "I am convinced, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that this will be a major driving force of his administration"
posted by xammerboy at 8:13 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]


I eagerly look forward to his executive orders banning new fossil fuel mines and the construction of new fossil fuel power plants.
posted by sotonohito at 9:52 AM on April 22 [2 favorites]


If only such things were possible by executive order. Here in the real world, building support in the House and Senate is required for such moves.
posted by PhineasGage at 10:13 AM on April 22 [9 favorites]


I eagerly look forward to his executive orders

That's fine, but if there's essentially nothing he can do that will please you at this point in time then just say that rather than lay out markers and then shrug when he moves towards them.
posted by Justinian at 10:13 AM on April 22 [10 favorites]


you'll never get the sort of plan that will save your kid from a Mad Max future because politics" then what I'm hearing is that our system needs to be overthrown and replaced with one that won't doom the world.

three things come to mind:

1. I sincerely doubt there will be a world left if the American system fails. Too many weapons of mass destruction around to be contained. I say this as someone who's not US-American.

2. "incremental, baby steps" may well the only steps possible when a metaphorical aircraft carrier has to change direction in a narrow channel, which is where I believe we are collectively. Snail's pace is the only pace.

3. the future I find way too easy to imagine is soundtracked by the Talking Heads Life During Wartime. In fact, I believe we're already in it. And likely have been since at least 1979. The War, that is. So whatever great changes we make (that we must make) are going to be made amid a hail of shrapnel (real or metaphorical). Good people are going to get taken out. Scoundrels will prosper. Dangerous and pivotal times, for sure. But also, referencing Talking Heads again, same as it ever was. The upside being that we've already been at it for a few decades. We're already kind of used to it, even if many of us haven't really noticed.
posted by philip-random at 10:47 AM on April 22 [5 favorites]


The Soviet Union collapsed with an arsenal of nuclear weapons and the world didn't end. I'm not sure that the American system persisting to deliver its nuclear arsenal into the hands of its chosen leaders like Donald Trump in the midst of climate catastrophe is a whole lot safer than a dissolution of the system followed by a new one which actually deals with climate change. Not safer enough to say that we need to rule out successfully dealing with climate change a priori, at least.
posted by XMLicious at 11:55 AM on April 22 [3 favorites]




The Soviet Union collapsed with an arsenal of nuclear weapons and the world didn't end.

Maybe that was luck? Do we really need to try it again?
posted by um at 12:39 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Climate Armageddon will cause the collapse of nuclear-armed states so yes, it's going to happen again. Holding back from fixing climate change lest we disrupt our civilization too much isn't a way of playing it safe, it's just passing the buck. (Again.)
posted by XMLicious at 1:52 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Larry Summers Advising Biden Campaign on Economic Recovery - well, that sucks.

Larry, the good ol' boy! I wonder what gender representation would look like in a Biden administration if Summers had his way.
posted by Ouverture at 5:03 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Yeesh. If Biden wins the liberal Democrats will pat themselves on the back for a job well done and disconnect for the next four years, but there's no break for the left.

A Biden victory will just mean for years of activism andwork while the liberals berate us for trying to get him to do good.

Remember Obama and his exasperated, sneering, comments about the "professional left" when we took him at his word when said he wanted to do good but we had to make him so we tried making him? Yeah, expect that turned up to 11 without even the claim that he'd do good if we made him from Mr I have no empathy and his merry band of rich white jackasses ready to help the Republicans in their holy mission of getting every singly dollar or of the hands of us icky proles and into an executive compensation fund where they belong.

Larry fucking "biological differences" Summers.

If we were waiting to see how serious Biden was about reaching out to the left and doing good instead of evil then the wait is over. He chose to give everyone to the left of Reagan the finger and proclaimed he was firmly on the side of the billionaires by letting Summers in.
posted by sotonohito at 6:11 AM on April 24 [7 favorites]


Yesterday the man in charge of the most devastating arsenal in human history suggested that perhaps people should inject bleach into their veins but, sure, let's focus on Larry Summers.
posted by Justinian at 6:53 AM on April 24 [8 favorites]


> Yesterday the man in charge of the most devastating arsenal in human history suggested that perhaps people should inject bleach into their veins but, sure, let's focus on Larry Summers.

I'm squarely on team lesser-evil here, but this is bullshit. Raising objections to who Biden surrounds himself with isn't going to suddenly make everyone forget that POTUS45 is a lunatic. Larry Summers is a garbage human being who should be nowhere near a Democratic campaign for President at a time when we need to unify the left. Biden could add Cass Sunstein, Mark Penn, and every other shitty Clinton-era hack to his roster and I'd still walk over burning coals to vote for him, but it's perfectly fine to discuss and criticize Biden's choices even as we agree that the alternative is far worse.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:11 AM on April 24 [14 favorites]


Climate Armageddon will cause the collapse of nuclear-armed states so yes,

maybe. But trust that the collapse of nuclear protections, controls, diligence will cause climate armageddon ... or some reasonable facsimile.
posted by philip-random at 8:31 AM on April 24


Except that as I pointed out above, it didn't—in the one instance we actually have on record, the collapse of the Soviet Union. A principle that we can't rock the boat too much in taking on climate change because the U.S. is doing such a swell responsible job as caretaker of its nuclear arsenal and we mustn't mess that up is a faulty principle and serves as just another excuse to not deal with climate change.

It would be one thing if we'd basically solved nuclear proliferation and pulling all the stops out to tackle climate change was going to put that hypothetical successful solution in jeopardy. But it's not, what we've got is an international regime that has put us at 100 seconds to midnight on the Doomsday Clock: that's what you're talking about preserving because "maybe" the India-Pakistan nuclear detente is going to go just fine as the equator becomes unlivable.
posted by XMLicious at 9:06 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Yesterday the man in charge of the most devastating arsenal in human history suggested that perhaps people should inject bleach into their veins but, sure, let's focus on Larry Summers.

So leftists shouldn't even dare criticize the "good" war criminal rapist's choices of advisors?

It sounds like our votes are really wanted.
posted by Ouverture at 9:17 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


For those who are curious about Larry Summers:
But, according to numerous accounts from those who have worked with him, Summers has often displayed the opposite attributes during his long career. Behind the scenes, he has used his power, combined with intellectual arrogance, to bully opponents into silence, even when they have been proved right. He has refused to allow his dissenters a voice at the table and adopted a policy of never admitting errors.

And Summers has made a lot of errors in the past 20 years, despite the eminence of his research. As a government official, he helped author a series of ultimately disastrous or wrongheaded policies, from his big deregulatory moves as a Clinton administration apparatchik to his too-tepid response to the Great Recession as Obama's chief economic adviser. Summers pushed a stimulus that was too meek, and, along with his chief ally, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, he helped to ensure that millions of desperate mortgage-holders would stay underwater by failing to support a "cramdown" that would have allowed federal bankruptcy judges to have banks reduce mortgage balances, cut interest rates, and lengthen the terms of loans. At the same time, he supported every bailout of financial firms. All of this has left the economy still in the doldrums, five years after Lehman Brothers' 2008 collapse, and hurt the middle class. Yet in no instance has Summers ever been known to publicly acknowledge a mistake.
In fact, I am surprised Trump didn't pick Summers given their similarities in personality and ideology.
posted by Ouverture at 9:20 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


that's what you're talking about preserving because "maybe" the India-Pakistan nuclear detente is going to go just fine as the equator becomes unlivable.

it's not either/or. We do have to take on climate change (and not eventually -- NOW). We can't (intentionally or otherwise) destabilize nations that have nukes -- not without some kind of strategy in mind as to what to do with their arsenals. In the case of the collapse of Soviet Union, which ended up happening faster than most seemed prepared for, it looks like it was a case of scientists from both sides figuring out how to trust each other.
posted by philip-random at 9:34 AM on April 24


Maybe we should have a revolution, but is that a realistic alternative people should be working towards right now over supporting Biden?
posted by xammerboy at 10:00 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


yes
posted by entropicamericana at 10:07 AM on April 24


So leftists shouldn't even dare criticize the "good" war criminal rapist's choices of advisors?

Utilitarianism wins elections. So does subjecting the other side to attrition. It's not that your votes aren't wanted, just the devil's advocate concern that puts doubt in the minds of people who would otherwise be willing to vote in a utilitarian manner.

Is the world perfect? No. Is any aspect of it perfect? Hell no. Is the world a lot better than it was 200 years ago? Hell fucking yes. 20 years ago? Yes. Progress isn't a binary on-off, it's a tug of war and you can either be out there pushing it forward or you can be a hindrance and/or let others drag it back. There is no third option. There might be at some point and when that point comes, sure, we can say Vote #1 for best person, #2 for barely acceptable person, and #3 for the lunatic but until then, we're stuck. Voltaire was a sexist, womanizing, anti-semitic bigot but "dit que le mieux est l'ennemi du bien" was still a useful saying that he popularized.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:19 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Reading through The Atlantic article about Summers really takes me back to some of the darkest chapters of modern American liberalism:
Summers helped midwife a major series of policy errors dating back 20 years that led directly to what many economists now believe was the worst financial crisis ever. In particular, Summers's opponents—he faces a phalanx of opposition among Democrats on the Hill—point to the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which effectively deregulated the global market in over-the-counter derivatives and was Summers's signal achievement as Treasury secretary. The final report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission convened by Congress in 2009 puts the government's failure to rein in these derivatives at "the center of the storm."
In terms of years of life lost from both the 2008 commodity futures crisis and 2008 global recession, Summers was a key architect of two of the most horrifying acts of white supremacy and mass suffering in the last century.

Speaking of utilitarianism and winning elections, how did all those compromises help the Democrats up and down the ballot in 2010? 2012? 2014? 2016?

Because what I see here is Summers having played a significant role in the economic devastation that contributed to the up and downballot collapse of the Democratic party.

So if liberals and centrists want to win elections, why exactly is Biden going back to this tainted and incompetent well for advice?

---

One depressing final note from the Atlantic piece. My jaw dropped a little when I saw the name of Larry Summers's final defender:
And it is what Summers's defenders are saying about him now as a prospective Fed chief. "We're now talking about the 58-year-old Larry, not the 30-year-old Larry," fellow Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff told me this week.
Rogoff?

It's a shame the Atlantic piece didn't mention the infamous Reinhart-Rogoff error, which just like Summers, has contributed immense amounts of suffering by poor people and people of color in America and across the world.
posted by Ouverture at 10:41 AM on April 24 [7 favorites]


So now the fat is in the fire. Biden is trying to reassure progressives, such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and their supporters, but he turns to Larry Summers for economic-policy advice. Biden’s campaign first tried to waltz around the fact that Summers was involved—which itself speaks volumes. Progressive groups Justice Democrats and Sunrise are circulating a petition requesting Biden to sever ties with Summers.

Biden has especially been courting Warren. But it’s hard to imagine that Biden can have both Summers and Warren, who was instrumental in keeping Summers off the Fed. It’s just as important that he be kept out of a Biden administration, either in a major job like Fed chair or as part of the kitchen cabinet. It’s great for Biden to value a big tent—but watch out for who is the tentpole.

My own reporting indicates that Summers not only plays a direct role, but has managed to insert close allies and protégés to argue against progressive policies, including his former student and frequent co-author Natasha Sarin (they wrote an op-ed trashing Warren’s proposed wealth tax), as well as Adam Looney, who served with Summers at the Obama White House and then was policy director of the Robert Rubin–sponsored Hamilton Project.

Biden can’t blame his handlers for Summers. He’s the guy in charge. Over to you, Joe.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:59 AM on April 24 [9 favorites]


More from that same author which complicates the picture a bit:
Biden’s own instincts on several key economic issues are decent, given some positive reinforcement. He was the point person for public-works spending in the Obama recovery plan. He was a critic of the soft regulatory treatment of Wells Fargo, after that bank was busted for creating fake accounts. He has come around to Warren’s long-standing views of bankruptcy reform.

His late son, Beau Biden, former attorney general of Delaware, was one of the more aggressive of the state AGs working to protect homeowners from rapacious banks in the wake of the subprime collapse. Biden, who cherishes Beau’s memory, carries some of that legacy.

Most recently, Biden put out a proposal for German-style job sharing, which is a vast improvement over the current scheme for unemployment relief under the CARES Act. That act requires people to first be laid off in order to get assistance. Biden’s approach would invert that perverse incentive, and subsidize employers for keeping people on the job.

Biden has some part-time progressive economic advisers, which the campaign has not been shy about advertising. They include Jared Bernstein, Biden’s chief economic adviser when he was vice president; Heather Boushey, head of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth; and Richard Cordray, former head of the Warren-sponsored Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. His former chief of staff, the progressive Ted Kaufman, who later served the final two years of Biden’s senate term, is also in the mix.
posted by xammerboy at 11:15 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Right. I'm okay with a heterodox team of advisers, and would expect nothing less from Biden. But the end of that spectrum must stop well before it gets to Larry Summers. At that point, you're only a half a degree away from Tim Geithner, and then you're only a half a degree away from Hank Paulson, and at that point you might as well say "fuck it, let's hear what Stephen Moore has to say".
posted by tonycpsu at 11:23 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


Biden’s own instincts on several key economic issues are decent, given some positive reinforcement.

hahahahah whaaaa??? His "instincts" are to fuck the little guy and shore up banks and institutional financial people. He "comes around" when constantly badgered by excellent people with actually good instincts like Warren

Also him "coming around" on Bankruptcy...tell that to all the people still being affected by the shitty policies he lobbied for for years and years.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:48 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


So if liberals and centrists want to win elections, why exactly is Biden going back to this tainted and incompetent well for advice?

Clinton moved to the right, won the election. Obama moved to the center, won the election. 1984 we put up Mondale. MONDALE. New deal loving, nuclear weapons hating, ERA supporting, lady VPing, tax raising, sensible progressive governance from Massachusetts and WE LOST 49 STATES.

Dukakis? Card carrying member of the ACLU, attempted to defang the prison-industrial complex which he proceeded to get absolutely reamed on? Widely loved governor of Mass that governed progressively? Third worst blow out after 1984 and 1972.

You want to know why Clinton went so hard on third way and why he won? Because progressive nerds from New England get blown out of the water in national general elections. Why? Finicky center right normies will show up more reliably than the left. They may not vote for you but they vote. If you convince normies you win the elections. That's why the MSM obsesses over what the fabled WWC thinks. That's why they go to west PA out in the boonies to a diner to get a profile. That's why Trump was able to win in WI, MI, PA. All he had to do was convince enough center righters that Hillary was shittier than him. It didn't matter that he lost the popular vote or that CA, MA, NY, and IL universally rejected him.

In my opinion I don't see why the Democratic Party should listen to the left when the left doesn't even care enough to even contest the power centers of the Democratic Party in nominal elections. They show up every four years, call the party shit, call the nominee shit, call the system shit, and then vote green anyway. Even when they're thrown bones and policy planks they still write the whole thing off. I don't like centrists but I can at least see why they get pissed off with a bunch of insurgents throwing a temper tantrum and then helping out an increasingly fascist and authoritarian right by voting green in some symbolic act of moral superiority.

Plus, most Democratic Party state committee spots go uncontested! Why isn't the left running one of their own in every state committee seat and driving turnout to seize the reins of institutional power? The left could have so much more influence from within the party if they just played the game just a little. Run people in state legislatures, town councils, win elections, turn places progressive. Ease people into it and they won't run from it. Coming up every four years with "Viva La Revolution!"isn't endearing. It breaks my heart that they just don't get this.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:55 AM on April 24 [10 favorites]


Clinton moved to the right, won the election. Obama moved to the center, won the election.

It's fascinating to see what is omitted in this conveniently terse and clinical retelling of the last three decades in American third way liberalism. Namely, what groups paid what price for Clinton and Obama's "moves to the right".

And then, just how little gains both Clinton and Obama made from these supposedly utilitarian decisions. Moreover, the third way planted many of the seeds that led to both the Tea Party and Donald Trump.

The Democratic Pary hasn't listened to the left in these past three decades. You make it clear you don't care about poor people or people of color and that is certainly your prerogative, but if you say you do care about "winning elections", how can you look at the rot and the collapse of the Democratic Party up and down the ballot and think "this is fine"?
posted by Ouverture at 12:24 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Clinton moved to the right, won the election. Obama moved to the center, won the election.

So did Carter, Gore, Kerry, and Hillary Clinton at various points in their campaigns. The statistical evidence for the benefits of moving center is non-existent for the presidency, and incredibly tiny for the House where you have 435 data points every two years. It's one thing to speculate such moves may help, but to be so certain about it flies in the face of the actual science. It's just a bunch of "just so" stories, as empirically ungrounded as the confident declarations of Jim Cramer or Dr. Oz.
posted by chortly at 12:32 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Put it another way, how many key voters in battleground states does Biden actually expect to get from having Larry Summers as an advisor? How many key voters will be excited about the idea of Biden being advised by one of the architects of the 2008 recession and the subsequent tepid recovery?

The same goes for any of the neocons who might be slithering out of their lagoons. Which key voting blocs actually like Henry Kissinger?
posted by Ouverture at 12:33 PM on April 24 [6 favorites]


Some political actions are strategic, but many actions are just a true expression of preferences. Choosing former opponents from the Warren or Sanders camps as advisors would probably constitute an example of the former, while choosing Summers is probably an example of the latter.
posted by chortly at 12:37 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


how can you look at the rot and the collapse of the Democratic Party up and down the ballot and think "this is fine"?

It's not fine but I can do literally zero about it and continuing the beatings until morale improves doesn't help. My job as a progressive is to go into an election with the fight the system has provided, get some of the right people into power, then fight to change the system. It's not to preemptively self-sabotage whatever fight we do have on our hands because my priorities don't align 100% with everyone else's.

If Joe Biden steps aside because of Tara Reade then I will stan for the next person that is up against Trump. If he won't the system is pretty fucking shit but still, there's a reality to the situation and I can't do anything about that but make sure we don't fall to another catastrophic term of creeping fascism and authoritarianism.

Put it another way, how many key voters in battleground states does Biden actually expect to get from having Larry Summers as an advisor? How many key voters will be excited about the idea of Biden being advised by one of the architects of the 2008 recession and the subsequent tepid recovery?

How many voters will be turned off by highlighting the marginal influence on some political pissant who most people wouldn't know from a hole in the ground? It's just making mountains out of molehills and contributes to possible attrition.

Hillary publicly embraced Kissinger in 2016. You know what I did? I grit my teeth and I still put in what I could. Because on the other fucking side we had the four Stevens of the Apocalypse bearing down on us. Look at the havoc they've been able to wreak with the levers of power.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:40 PM on April 24 [7 favorites]


How many voters will be turned off by highlighting the marginal influence on some political pissant who most people wouldn't know from a hole in the ground? It's just making mountains out of molehills and contributes to possible attrition.

I doubt anyone seriously thinks Summers will have any measurable effect on the election, especially now that most of the leaders with any clout on the left have already endorsed Biden. The issue is his effect on policy after elected, which if his past record is any guide, will be catastrophic. Summers has been successfully pressured out of past administrations by the left before, so it seems quite reasonable to try to attempt that again, right now, before Biden's core advisors have solidified.
posted by chortly at 1:04 PM on April 24 [9 favorites]


Again though: rushing to the right doesn't actually win elections.

Ask Clinton how many of those beloved white working class hicks voted for her after she shit on the left by sucking up to war criminal and literal evil mastermind Kissinger? Zero.

What you also left out of your analysis was that Dukakis and Mondale were two of the most boring, droning, anti-charismatic, people to run for office in the modern era. And you omitted the fact that a Clinton was one of the best, most charismatic, orators in the past forty years. And Obama is tied for first place with Clinton on the charismatic speech delivery front.

I'd say what wins is fire, charisma, and passion. Not a lurch to the right.

If the Democrats want leftist votes they have to stop shitting on the left and sucking up to right wing scum. That seems really obvious but for wherever reason people seem to think the way to get leftist votes is to rush to the right and scold the left for not clapping enough.

45 years of unbroken failure chasing after that mythic white centrist vote should be enough for anyone to see that it just doesn't work and won't win elections.

And, that charisma medic is why I worry do much about Biden. I don't think a center right anti-charismatic droner will win anymore than a center left droner like Mondale did.
posted by sotonohito at 1:05 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Charisma is diagonal to policy. Here's a clarifying list:
- Adlai Stevenson
- Hubert Humphrey
- George McGovern
- Walter Mondale
- Michael Dukakis
- Al Gore
- John Kerry
- Hillary Clinton
Some were centrists, some were liberals, every one of them was a nerdy, uncharismatic technocrat who lost the general election.

Which Democrats have won the Presidency in the past 50 years? Candidates with intense charisma (JFK, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama), one who stepped in when his predecessor was assassinated (LBJ) and didn't run for a second term of his own, and one who benefited from the Nixon disgust/backlash (Carter) but couldn't even get reelected. None of this makes a case for either centrist or leftist policy.
posted by PhineasGage at 1:10 PM on April 24 [12 favorites]


If the Democrats want leftist votes they have to stop shitting on the left and sucking up to right wing scum. That seems really obvious but for wherever reason

The reason is because, while it may seem obvious to you, it's backwards. The system is not designed (or at least it didn't shake out in such a way) that it makes sense for a party to shift in a major way to chase voters who have never demonstrated any particular vigor in voting for that party. A party doesn't give you power and influence and then you vote for it, you show up and vote in large numbers for a party and that's how you gain power and influence.

That's how evangelicals became dominant in the GOP for so long. The GOP saw that old white evangelicals were their single biggest dependable voting bloc by a good margin and so they said "fuck it, let's lean in, we're now the party of old white racist homophobic evangelicals".

Leftists are never going to be given power, they have to take it. By showing up to vote even when they aren't enthusiastic. By showing up to vote in midterms, in local elections, in races for freakin' dogcatcher. By showing up to vote when it rains, or when there is a pandemic, or when they overslept and are really sleepy. Then the Democratic party will reflect their views and policies and not a minute before. Not because the party hates them or their views, it's not a person, but because that's how the system works.

Democrats will stop sucking up to right wing scum, to use your inaccurate phraseology, when the left shows up to vote as much as right wing scum. They vote, the left doesn't, that's why they've dominated politics for 40 years.
posted by Justinian at 4:23 PM on April 24 [25 favorites]


Which Democrats have won the Presidency in the past 50 years? Candidates with intense charisma (JFK, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama), one who stepped in when his predecessor was assassinated (LBJ) and didn't run for a second term of his own, and one who benefited from the Nixon disgust/backlash (Carter) but couldn't even get reelected. None of this makes a case for either centrist or leftist policy.

Yes, I agree with this analysis. So for me, when liberal politicians back white supremacist and anti-poor policies, they do it because that's their actual preference (or the preferences of their vampire squid donor pool), not because of some excuse about electability.
posted by Ouverture at 4:54 PM on April 24 [4 favorites]


Both Clinton and Obama benefited enormously from the disastrous economies their Republican predecessors created. Their platforms and messaging were essentially centrist. Clinton campaigned on triangulation, and Obama on uniting the country.
posted by xammerboy at 7:17 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Where is Biden?

I'm not sure what Biden can say or do that will not anger either left or right swing voters, so not saying anything is not the worst strategy right now. It seemed to work for him in the primaries.
posted by xammerboy at 7:39 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Never interfere with an enemy while he is in the process of destroying himself.
posted by Justinian at 7:52 PM on April 24 [4 favorites]


Never interfere with an enemy who continually thinks you are destroying yourself even as you are doing exactly as well in the polls as you did last time when you beat the enemy, plus you're now the incumbent.
posted by chortly at 9:22 PM on April 24 [7 favorites]


I'm not sure what Biden can say or do that will not anger either left or right swing voters, so not saying anything is not the worst strategy right now.

His opponent is advocating injecting oneself with bleach to stem the coronavirus. Seriously.

Demanding that Biden say something in response to that kind of behavior is really a damning indictment of anyone opposing him, at this point. Wherever that person is on the political spectrum.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:33 PM on April 24


I'm not really sure how the "where is Biden" discussion got grafted into this thread when it seems to have started over in the megathread-ish "COVID-19: Trump Edition" thread -- maybe there was a comment deleted or something? -- but to the extent that there is a debate about how much Biden should involve himself in this among the handful of folks still tuned into this discussion, wasn't one of the most common criticisms of Biden from the left that he was making his campaign too much about Trump's failures and not enough about his own policy?

But sure, if you think that was then, this is now, and Biden should be more visible and critical to differentiate himself from Trump's handling of the virus, let's remember that the virus itself is creating some unique challenges in terms of attracting the public's attention:
t would benefit Biden to be "planning towards a revelatory, be-all, end-all speech about what this pandemic has taught us," said Alyssa Mastromonaco, the former deputy chief of staff under President Obama tasked with overseeing the federal response to crises like Hurricane Sandy. "It could be his moment to unify the whole party, because you can't talk about what's happened now and not include Medicare for All and the healthcare system."

But Mastromonaco, co-host of Crooked Media's Hysteria podcast, also notes the historic imitations of campaigning from home. "If it were any other election cycle, you could go out, give a really commanding speech, lay out everything that Biden has already laid out, and have a very presidential moment," she said. "The problem is no one's really presidential on Zoom."

It's one of many challenges Biden faces in a virtual campaign for which there is no playbook. Another, according to several Democrats who are supportive of his COVID-19 campaign strategy: Biden no longer holds elected office, removing him from the traditional power structure and the flow of information. It could be easy to mock Biden for inserting himself into the daily briefing game a la Trump or Cuomo. Like it or not, “We have one president at a time in this country," Pinelo said. [...]

In fact, Epstein notes that Biden does do daily or near-daily livestreams, including youth town halls and chats with medical professionals, including a podcast and a video with Klain, but they often aren't flashy enough to compete with Trump's (and Cuomo's). Buried in a Zoom fundraiser this week, Epstein said, Biden hinted at the structural inequities progressives want to hear him speak about: “I believe...the blinders have been taken off because of this COVID crisis," Biden said. "People are realizing, my lord, look at what is possible. Look at the institutional changes we can make without us becoming a socialist country...We have a chance to really move the ball forward in the next three or four years." The comments failed to make headlines.
I don't expect the "without us becoming a socialist country" bit to go over well with the crowd gathered around the long tail of this Bernie Sanders FPP, particularly given the Larry Summers news, but he is trying to make an argument using the limited venues and media oxygen he available right now, so perhaps the answer to "where is Biden" is "social distancing like the rest of us, and kind of sidelined in favor of covering figures like Trump, Mnuchin, Pelosi, and McConnell, all of whom have a lot more to do with what happens in the near term than Biden does. And, for good or for ill, the virus is certainly narrowing the time horizon with which we're looking at public policy right now, making whatever promises Biden might make about how he'd be doing things different or will do things different in 2021 seem a lot less important than they would in a normal election year.

Regarding the running to the center vs. trying to reach out more to leftists discussion, Justinian's comment about taking power is exactly right. Bernie knew this was the way to go but he fell short, so now he's using whatever leverage he has to work with the machine he's got. Many leftists don't seem too keen to join him on that journey, however, and it's starting to get to the point where cheekily calling this ideology "anti-anti-Trumpism" is way too charitable:
Still, it would be both analytically and strategically wrong for us to dismiss all of the protesters’ concerns. Even those who belong to thuggish right-wing organizations were in at least some cases motivated by legitimate economic grievances. Christian Yingling, a “former commanding officer of Pennsylvania’s Light Foot militia,” was quoted in one report explaining his willingness to endanger his health and the health of others: “My mortgage payment is late, my truck payment is late, and if I lose either of those I’m dead in the water.”
The response in this tweet is not an exaggeration:
JACOBIN ARE LITERALLY WHITEWASHING A CHARLOTTESVILLE NAZI AS A VICTIM OF ECONOMIC ANXIETY
Now, this is just one writer on Jacobin, and of course Jacobin isn't the entirety of leftism. Still, a prominent socialist publication doesn't just let any asshole write for them, and it's not like working backwards from "liberals are the ones preventing real change from happening" is an underrepresented viewpoint. I don't know how someone on the nominal left gets so desperate for material to attack Democrats that they start mining Trumpist rallies for talking points, but no matter how much you dress your article up with caveats about how you agree with what Whitmer did in Michigan and don't like the protestors, you can't be using a neo-Nazi to own the libs. As it was well put above, "the ideology that made that isn't something I'm ever going to ride with."
posted by tonycpsu at 11:55 PM on April 24 [12 favorites]


I'm not really sure how the "where is Biden" discussion got grafted into this thread when it seems to have started over in the megathread-ish "COVID-19: Trump Edition" thread.

My bad.
posted by xammerboy at 12:47 AM on April 25 [3 favorites]


Regarding the running to the center vs. trying to reach out more to leftists discussion, Justinian's comment about taking power is exactly right.

The problem is that the comment isn't exactly right. How can leftists expect to work within and change the Democratic party if the Democratic party is actively working against exactly that?

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/03/dccc-house-democratic-leadership-suppress-primary-challenges-firms-democracy.html

https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/dccc-incumbents-primary-challengers/

https://theintercept.com/2019/06/27/kara-eastman-dccc-2020-democratic-primary/

For all the condescending lecturing about how the left just needs to "play the game", it is truly remarkable to see how quickly people forget about how the game has actually been played in very recent memory.

Now, this is just one writer on Jacobin, and of course Jacobin isn't the entirety of leftism. Still, a prominent socialist publication doesn't just let any asshole write for them, and it's not like working backwards from "liberals are the ones preventing real change from happening" is an underrepresented viewpoint. I don't know how someone on the nominal left gets so desperate for material to attack Democrats that they start mining Trumpist rallies for talking points, but no matter how much you dress your article up with caveats about how you agree with what Whitmer did in Michigan and don't like the protestors, you can't be using a neo-Nazi to own the libs. As it was well put above, "the ideology that made that isn't something I'm ever going to ride with."

This is such a strange tangent, but it is telling that when I talk about the laundry list of economic disasters and war crimes, with body counts in the millions and suffering in the billions, caused by actual leaders of the Democratic party, the only response here is to talk about the bizarre one-off opinion of a single Jacobin writer I have never heard of. All of a sudden, this random person transforms into the vanguard of the left.

A lone Neo-Nazi idiot I have never heard of is easy to deal with; hell, the cops in the liberal bastions of NYC and LA scare me a lot more than "Christian Yingling" does.

You know what really scares me? Another Democratic administration continuing their obsession with bipartisan collaboration with neoconservatives and fascists wielding actual power in places like Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Motes and beams indeed.
posted by Ouverture at 7:02 AM on April 25 [5 favorites]


> For all the condescending lecturing about how the left just needs to "play the game", it is truly remarkable to see how quickly people forget about how the game has actually been played in very recent memory.

I'm not sure where the disconnect is here, because "play the game" in the US political system carries with it the obvious proviso that you're playing on the enemy's field, under the enemy's rule, with the enemy's refs. Who is not aware of this by now? There's nothing condescending about pointing that out when so many of the responses boil down to "why are the Democrats putting politics in politics?" Political parties set their own parameters, and can wield enormous influence over outcomes, as you correctly note with your links.

Certainly, the net result is not something I would call the best version of the Democratic party, as I see far more future in the AOCs, Mark Pocans, and Kara Eastmans of the world than I do the typical incumbent that the DCCC and DNC are backing, but the solution is not to throw up our hands and complain, it's to fucking take them out. Do you think Michael Steele's RNC was welcoming Tea Party challengers with open arms in the 2010 primaries to take out incumbents? Of course not -- he was simply outgunned by the Koch Brothers and other GOP megadonors in the wake of SCOTUS' Citizens United decision.

Unfortunately, there's no leftist or even liberal equivalent to this. Sanders built a formidable donor machine to support his own candidacy and a small number of downballot challengers, but add up all of the leftist fundraising out there in 2020 and you don't get anywhere near what Koch and other conservative billionaires used to create the Tea Party movement. It's also an important distinction that, while the Tea Party was certainly not "grassroots", it was an attack on the party from outside of electoral politics, while Sanders' model was primarily organized around his own appeal as a candidate in 2016 and 2020, with a handful of victories for DSA-ish Democrats not resulting from a Koch-esque top-down fundraising bomb, but shrewd campaigns built around strong candidates that pulled in financial support from the grassroots.

It remains to be seen if leftism can build anything along the lines of a Tea Party apparatus that can truly threaten the Democratic party's power structure on a large scale, but "leftist billionaire" is an oxymoron, and the bottom-up approach, even in an era of Trump with so much anger and dissatisfaction at both the GOP and Democrats, hasn't been strong enough to force Democrats to cater to the handful of strong progressives in the party.

I hope it does, and my own non-Biden political giving this year will be targeted at strong progressive challengers looking to unseat shitty Democrats (as I mentioned above with the case of Conor Lamb in my own district), but we're not there yet, and there's nothing to be gained from working the refs. The path to relevance is to defeat more of them in November and to get as many of our existing progressives, including Bernie, into alliances of convenience with normie Democrats who can be pushed leftward -- a group that I believe includes Joe Biden.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:32 AM on April 25 [11 favorites]


Oops, I submitted my post too soon, and meant to respond to this bit:

> This is such a strange tangent, but it is telling that when I talk about the laundry list of economic disasters and war crimes, with body counts in the millions and suffering in the billions, caused by actual leaders of the Democratic party, the only response here is to talk about the bizarre one-off opinion of a single Jacobin writer I have never heard of. All of a sudden, this random person transforms into the vanguard of the left.

The answer to stopping Democrats from participating in economic disasters and war crimes is to replace them with better Democrats. I think we agree on this, even if we don't agree with the precise way we get there. What are people supposed to say about the economic disasters and war crimes? They're bad? Of course. That Democrats participated in them? Yes, they did.

My point in citing the Jacobin piece was that in a discussion about electoral strategy for Democrats running to the center vs. to the left, we need to understand what running to the left means. If it means being more like AOC, then sign me the fuck up. Still, the mindset that led a very prominent socialist publication to give a platform to someone whitewashing the views of a neo-Nazi Trumper didn't come from nowhere, and I'll be happy to cite more examples of anti-anti-Trumpism bordering on pro-Trumpism among prominent leftists if you'd like me to, but maybe we can just use this very thread as evidence that "the Democrats are the real problem" isn't exactly a minority viewpoint?
posted by tonycpsu at 8:46 AM on April 25 [5 favorites]


[One comment deleted. sotonohito, don't turn this into a mind-reading "why do you hate us so much" exercise, where you tell people in the thread how they personally feel and insist the only options are burying the needle all the way at love or hate. We've asked you to stop this (all-or-nothing thinking, making it about people in the thread) a number of times. I'm giving you a 24 hour ban this time, but the next time it will be for good.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:00 AM on April 25 [6 favorites]


Sanders outlines steps on health care for Biden
“My best outcome is to go forward in the direction of Medicare for All but not do it perhaps as quickly as I would want,” Sanders said on MSNBC on Saturday.

“At least what we should do is lower the eligibility of Medicare from 65 to 55 and cover all of the children in this country. And then we can figure out ways that we can expand and improve the [Affordable Care Act]," he continued. "Those are some of the things Joe Biden can do without embracing a full Medicare for All concept.” [...]

“If Joe Biden said tomorrow that every American 55 years of age or older would be eligible for Medicare, I think that would be enormously popular and an enormously effective policy program,” Sanders said.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:10 PM on April 25 [5 favorites]


Both Clinton and Obama benefited enormously from the disastrous economies their Republican predecessors created. Their platforms and messaging were essentially centrist. Clinton campaigned on triangulation, and Obama on uniting the country.

One of the biggest drivers of both the 2008 commodities crisis and the 2008 global recession was the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. Another significant driver behind the 2008 global recession was the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act.

A key architect for both pieces of legislation? Larry Summers.

The president who signed both pieces of legislation in, along with many other deregulatory mechanisms? Bill Clinton, who also empowered Robert Rubin and, of all people, Alan Greenspan.

This rewriting of history would be funny if we weren't still living in the wreckage of Clinton's actions.

Obama may have "benefited enormously" if one just narrowly looks at the ascendance of a single politician to presidential office as a success metric, but people of color, poor people, and the Democratic party as a whole has suffered immeasurably as a result, especially considering the 2008 recession helped Trump win in 2016.
posted by Ouverture at 5:31 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


Biden wants a new stimulus 'a hell of a lot bigger' than $2 trillion. In an interview, the 2020 candidate courts the progressive left by calling for a huge, new green infrastructure bill—while hammering banks, and Trump.
Still, Biden suggested that after four rounds of legislation designed primarily to stanch the economic bleeding, the next round should include more forward-looking investments that could help the economy start to recover and grow once the virus is contained. He suggested a “trillion-dollar infrastructure program that can be implemented really rapidly,” as well as “dealing with environmental things that create good-paying jobs.”

Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have suggested that “green stimulus” would be a non-starter with Republicans, but Biden said investments in light rail, clean drinking water, and half a million electric vehicle chargers on the nation’s highways could help retool the economy for the future.
posted by xammerboy at 10:18 PM on April 25


There's very little being said here about Democrats I disagree with. Where I draw a line, and this isn't being said so much here as on the internet in general, is with equating Biden with Trump and with calls to not support or vote for him. I worry it's gone too far for too long, and that a large number of NeverBiden supporters aren't going to turn out.
posted by xammerboy at 11:53 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


> Obama may have "benefited enormously" if one just narrowly looks at the ascendance of a single politician to presidential office as a success metric

But that's precisely what the charisma vs. policy discussion above was about -- who wins elections, and why. It's important not to let Clinton off the hook for his role in creating the 2008 crisis, but Clinton wasn't on the ballot in 2008, Obama was. Bush 43 had four uninterrupted years of undivided government between 2003 and 2007, during which he and his GOP majorities could have taken any number of actions to stabilize the economy, including reinstating Glass-Steagall. Of course they didn't, but voters generally have short memories, and tend to default to "throw the bums out".

That was the argument being made, not that Democrats were blameless. Swap "created" for "presided over" or "were responsible for", and the statement is 100% factual.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:01 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


This (via) is the kind of galaxy-brained thinking that Summers is bringing to the Biden campaign:

LHSummers: Forcing the wealthy to spend could boomerang. If the wealth tax had been in place a century ago, we would have had more anti-semitism from Henry Ford and a smaller Ford Foundation today.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:06 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure where the disconnect is here, because "play the game" in the US political system carries with it the obvious proviso that you're playing on the enemy's field, under the enemy's rule, with the enemy's refs. Who is not aware of this by now? There's nothing condescending about pointing that out when so many of the responses boil down to "why are the Democrats putting politics in politics?" Political parties set their own parameters, and can wield enormous influence over outcomes, as you correctly note with your links.

I mean, this is exactly how I see the leftists in orientation to the neoconservative and neoliberal arms of the Democratic party (I don't think the people I want to haul in front of the Hague would really consider me their friends), but the thread had seemed to go in the direction of coalitions between liberals and leftists.

Although if you are painting the establishmnetDemocratic party as such a hostile force and assuming we must be as pragmatic and utilitarian as possible, then it seems the most optimal solution is for leftists to accelerate the collapse and irrelevance of the Democratic party, both from the outside and the inside.

I don't believe in accelerationism, but based on the above, wouldn't that be more effective than a grueling campaign of trench warfare on the enemy's field, under the enemy's rule, with the enemy's refs?

My point in citing the Jacobin piece was that in a discussion about electoral strategy for Democrats running to the center vs. to the left, we need to understand what running to the left means. If it means being more like AOC, then sign me the fuck up. Still, the mindset that led a very prominent socialist publication to give a platform to someone whitewashing the views of a neo-Nazi Trumper didn't come from nowhere, and I'll be happy to cite more examples of anti-anti-Trumpism bordering on pro-Trumpism among prominent leftists if you'd like me to, but maybe we can just use this very thread as evidence that "the Democrats are the real problem" isn't exactly a minority viewpoint?

There are far better and more productive ways to talk to a leftist person of color than cryptically associating them with a neo-Nazi.
posted by Ouverture at 8:22 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


> Although if you are painting the establishmnetDemocratic party as such a hostile force and assuming we must be as pragmatic and utilitarian as possible, then it seems the most optimal solution is for leftists to accelerate the collapse and irrelevance of the Democratic party, both from the outside and the inside.

I don't believe in accelerationism, but based on the above, wouldn't that be more effective than a grueling campaign of trench warfare on the enemy's field, under the enemy's rule, with the enemy's refs?


I also reject accelerationism, but if we're just talking in terms of effectiveness under spherical cow conditions, then I'll just note that none of the progressives that most closely align with my views on policy -- e.g. Sanders, AOC, Khanna, Japayal, Pressley, Pocan, etc. -- think about the fight in those terms. They know the Democratic party isn't going anywhere, and that there's no viable path to making the Democratic party irrelevant that doesn't lead to a stronger Republican party. In a world where a large progressive caucus is dominant in the Democratic party, one can imagine a fissure by which the centrist / blue dog types are cast aside, but we're nowhere near that, so, no, I don't think accelerationism is likely to be effective even when I set aside my moral objections to it.

> There are far better and more productive ways to talk to a leftist person of color than cryptically associating them with a neo-Nazi.

I didn't cite the Jacobin piece in response to anything you said! I was responding to Justinian's response to another MeFite. You then chose to object to my argument, and I responded. How on earth does that constitute me cryptically associating you personally with the neo-Nazi?
posted by tonycpsu at 8:39 AM on April 26 [7 favorites]


@zachmontellaro The New York state Democratic presidential primary has been canceled. The Democratic commissioners on @NYSBOE just agreed that Sanders has stopped campaigning, so they're striking him from the ballot because they want to minimize folks voting in the pandemic

As many have noted this will probably have the effect of depressing insurgent downballot votes.
posted by Artw at 9:51 AM on April 27 [2 favorites]


Figuring out how to vote during the pandemic is a complex and difficult problem but I'm not sure "just cancel it yolo" is the way to go.
posted by Justinian at 10:50 AM on April 27 [1 favorite]


> I'm not sure "just cancel it yolo" is the way to go.

It is when the people making the decision don't see fewer people voting as a problem.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:56 AM on April 27 [2 favorites]


My understanding is that NY cancelled only the presidential primary. Some counties have nothing else on the ballot, so no voting there at all. Other counties with downballot action will proceed. Agree that an impact is still likely, but you have harms either way, and hopefully everyone motivated to vote is planning to do so by mail? Don't quote me on anything, I am seeing a lot of confusion about all of this right now and I may well be one of the confused.
posted by prefpara at 11:40 AM on April 27


FWIW, if you're in NY and planned on voting in the June Primaries, (Here's a list of Primary races in Albany county), you should head over to your BOE's website, and download/fill-in/email-back your absentee ballot application to avoid going to the polls on election day. Also, check out your county's early voting days/hours ( Albany county early voting: Sat, Jun 13 – Sun, Jun 21 )
posted by mikelieman at 12:02 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


This is happening just three days after Cuomo said he'll sign an executive order to send every registered voter a postage-paid absentee ballot application, so the justification of needing to avoid unnecessary trips to polling places is....specious.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:18 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]




Figuring out how to vote during the pandemic is a complex and difficult problem but I'm not sure "just cancel it yolo" is the way to go.

NYC has had over 20,000 deaths that are likely attributable to COVID-19. I'm not sure holding a presidential primary for a race that is effectively over is high priority for about a million reasons.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 4:53 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


This is happening just three days after Cuomo said he'll sign an executive order to send every registered voter a postage-paid absentee ballot application, so the justification of needing to avoid unnecessary trips to polling places is....specious.

We haven't really been getting our mail consistently in NYC so IDK how much that would really change
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 4:54 PM on April 27


The Right Way to Push Biden to the Left:
Most presidential nominees leave the primary season behind with a sprint to the political center. It’s a testament to the power progressives have built within the Democratic Party since 2016 that Joe Biden is instead being urged to make a showy detour to the left. There is no chance whatsoever that Biden will campaign on Medicare for All or many of the other policies that were cornerstones of Bernie Sanders’s campaign. And for all progressives know, his commitment even to the proposals his camp has billed as overtures to the left, including a means-tested free college plan and lowering the Medicare age to 60, may not last through November. But left-leaning activists and policy minds are trying to catch Biden’s ear on everything from climate policy to the veepstakes anyway, hoping to leverage the Democratic establishment’s anxieties about uniting the party into sustained influence on the Biden campaign and the potential administration to come.

But even if they make these gains, all of that influence will be useless unless Biden commits himself to a set of structural reforms: four pillars upon which the success of his presidency, the security of any policy gains he makes, and the political future of the Democratic Party may depend. This is where the conversations about Biden winning over progressives should begin. If he refuses to make these commitments, this is also where those conversations should end.
posted by Ouverture at 5:56 PM on April 27


We live in weird times, and there's at least some possibility that the Democratic candidate won't make it to election day. Does anyone know what the procedure would be in that case?
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:33 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


I think it matters if that happens before or after the convention? If there is a convention??
posted by latkes at 6:41 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


>We live in weird times, and there's at least some possibility that the Democratic candidate won't make it to election day. Does anyone know what the procedure would be in that case?

FiveThirtyEight had a recent article on several possible scenarios where a candidate is otherwise unable to run for office, but there's still a lot that's unclear. If it happens before the convention and before the running mate is announced, it could be like a soft reset of the primary with even less voters having a say. If there weren't already heaps of reasons to implement IRV/RCV across the board, the ability to go back and recalculate votes if a given candidate is no longer viable has to be a pretty strong argument.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 7:33 PM on April 27 [7 favorites]


Being a completely arbitary clusterfuck is as much a feature as a bug for the primaries, I’m sure they’ll pull something out of their asses on the fly. The only real downside is whoever they anoint will be seen as somewhat illegitimate and, spoilers, that was going to happen anyway.

The best case is probably an early VP pick of someone semi-decent getting slid in. The dumb ads Cuomo plan probably isn’t the worst case, but it’s probably close to it.
posted by Artw at 8:18 PM on April 27


I'm a Political Scientist. This Is Why Climate Activists Need to Keep Turning the Heat Up on Joe Biden (Earther):
Zooming out to the broader context provides additional reasons for the climate justice movement to stay laser-focused on pressuring the political system, from the Biden campaign to Democrats in Congress. Recovery from the coronavirus pandemic will be a defining feature of politics in the coming months and even years. It has created a critical juncture where we can either implement policies that exacerbate the unequal, fossil-fueled, and economically precarious status quo, or lay the groundwork for a fairer and lower carbon economy for all.

Activists should aim to both expand the bench of Green New Deal advocates at all levels of public office and be prepared to hold Democrats accountable as part of a dynamic, multifaceted political strategy. Specifically, in regards to Biden, they should demand that he cut all financial and advising relationships with the fossil fuel industry; increase his proposed public investment on climate by a factor of ten; center job-creation for working class and racialized communities; and populate his transition team with policymakers committed to these goals.

And there’s reason to be cautiously hopeful about the impact of such a strategy. The fossil fuel sector is in free fall, with demand and prices plummeting. That means a key opponent to climate action is in a weaker position, economically and politically. In addition, the public is deeply concerned about their economic security now and in the future, which would likely increase political support for job-centric public investment. And, there are ideas lying around, such as the Green Stimulus approach that I and 10 other policy experts co-authored.

In other words, the moment is ripe for a Green New Deal. It would behoove activists to keep the pressure on.
Don’t Let Larry Summers Block Climate Progress Again (The New Republic):
There are many reasons the average news reader might not like Larry Summers. A longtime friend of convicted predator Jeffrey Epstein, Summers deregulated the banking sector as Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, helping to set the stage for the 2008 financial crisis. While serving as chief economist of the World Bank, he put his name to a memo suggesting industries dump toxic waste in Africa because it was “underpolluted,” later claiming the memo was intended as “sardonic counterpoint.” In 2005, while president of Harvard University, he posited that women’s brains weren’t well suited for math and science.

Summers’s tenure in the Obama administration featured a number of questionable choices. As the incoming head of Obama’s National Economic Council in 2008, Summers famously misled the president-elect about the size of the stimulus package that leading experts—including fellow transition team member Christina Romer—urged was necessary, and kept him from even seeing the trillion-plus-dollar figures they recommended to avert skyrocketing unemployment. The recession was more painful and prolonged as a result. As reported by another transition team member, Reed Hundt, in A Crisis Wasted, he also specifically shot down several proposals from elsewhere in the inner circle about how the recovery should look.

As during the Clinton administration, Summers was leery of moving too quickly to curb carbon emissions, urging a lenient timetable for polluters; any real reforms, he reasoned, would have to wait for legislation. Hundt also writes that Summers rejected his proposal to have Obama’s stimulus create a green investment bank and build energy efficiency infrastructure and high-voltage transmission lines. This Green Recovery and Investment Program, or GRIP, as it was known, would have been more extensive than the roughly 10 percent of the stimulus eventually spent on clean energy. Summers thought it would create too much debt. He rejected the concept of creating new institutions, preferring a strategy of spending as quickly as possible, and saw the sole goal of the recovery as boosting demand and gross domestic product with a quick injection of federal cash. Staring down the barrel of double-digit unemployment in December 2008, Summers said, “Our economic problem is that the country has too much debt.”
Here's hoping the center does not hold.
posted by Ouverture at 9:52 AM on April 28 [8 favorites]


Serious question: how does a blatantly right wing guy with a long history of being wrong on almost everything keep getting called back by Democrats to be an important economic advisor?

The fact that he was part of Epstein's inner circle and Biden has sex offenses he needs too try to overcome seems like that alone should disqualify him. I can see the Q anon attack ads already...

So what is it that Summers brings to the table that's so valuable it makes up for being unpopular, wrong, and tainted by a pedophile?
posted by sotonohito at 10:40 AM on April 28 [5 favorites]


Honestly think the awfulness of what they are offering up is the point now... saying “accept this, or else” while rattling the spectre of progressives getting blamed if they don’t win.

If you think Summers is too tainted by associations and defeats you’re gonna shit when you see who Biden has on as special guest in the next one of his rare video appearances.
posted by Artw at 10:52 AM on April 28


Meanwhile from former Sanders team members this sounds grifty AF.
posted by Artw at 11:00 AM on April 28


Aw c'mon. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee being publicly endorsed by last presidential election's Democratic nominee is somehow controversial and awful?
posted by PhineasGage at 11:08 AM on April 28 [7 favorites]


And she was married to and covered for Bill Clinton? Yes, I’m going to say that’s probably bad.
posted by Artw at 11:15 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Fine. Now what?
posted by PhineasGage at 11:15 AM on April 28


[Hi, it looks like you're trying to gripe about Hillary Clinton. Please find a different place to do that.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:18 AM on April 28 [22 favorites]


Downticket races.

And preparing for the next fight, always, whether that’s against a victorious Biden and the mess of establishment ghouls at the top of the Democratic Party, or for the future of whatever happens to America under trump.
posted by Artw at 11:19 AM on April 28


From Harry Enten: In case it is clear, Biden's in the best polling position for a challenger at this point in a prez election since... well probably since FDR in 32. Obviously plenty of time to go, but yea.

I assume he means either "In any case it is clear..." or "In case it isn't clear..."
posted by Justinian at 7:13 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


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