Friday, June 24, 2016

Bernie climbs on the bandwagon

If you weren't asleep or kidding yourself, you saw it coming a long, long, time ago.

We can count on some Hillbots acting the predictable part of being assholes who can't be satisfied, some who are still parsing his words, and as best I can tell there's a not-insignificant number of Berners who aren't climbing on with him.

I'm #FineWithStein, have been for a long time now and not because Bernie's really done anything to lose me.  I don't object to his not-quite liberal gun stances (he's from a very rural state, after all, and he isn't a gun nut, despite what my pal Gadfly thinks) and only have had some mild objections -- call them sad realizations -- to his advocating for the military/industrial complex in Vermont.  It was the objective of the Defense Department long, long ago to tie military bases, production facilities, etc. firmly to the US economy in towns small and large (just look at the local angst and fury every time the military has closed a base) from sea to shining sea, gathering up all of the procurement votes of Republicans, Democrats, and yes, independent Democratic Socialists in executing that task.  Mission accomplished.

I'd like to have lived the past 58 years in a different world, but you get what you get and that's all that you get.  If we can thwart President Hillary Clinton's desperate urge to start a fresh war in Iran or somewhere else in the world... I can be okay with that alone over the course of the next four years.  Happiness = low expectations, you know.  That was my problem ultimately with Barack Obama: high hopes.  Far too high for the amount of change delivered that he promised (or that I mistakenly inferred he promised).

As for Bernie, he's put the right people in the right places to effect change in the Democratic Party platform and its other procedures that is his revised-downward goal.  The establishment Democrats -- more corporate, more hawkish, more conservative than him -- will probably succeed in making only the smallest revisions to their system.  If Clinton and her minions have spoken -- and acted -- truthfully about anything at all, it's that.  She's simply not going to do anything more than tinker around the margins of progress.

That's why my vote, unlike Bernie's, is #NeverHillary.

His greatest transgression in my view is swallowing all of the same mythology that has kept Democrats scared and inside the pen for a few generations now.  We used to have active Socialist, Progressive, and other political parties in this country that thrived before there was a mass media to ignore them, so it's partly the fault of our dumbed-down electorate.  And Democrats did make strides during the past decade or so to create their own media, like the GOP; Al Franken and Janeane Garafalo were the first on the radio to left-counter punch the Limbaugh-esque brain food, MSNBC early on had Phil Donahue opposing the Iraq war before they canned him due to corporate and "Merrcan patriot" objections, and then there was the rise of the progressive blogosphere in the new century -- when 'progressive' stood in for Democrat and 'liberal', a word made dirty by the conservatives going back to Reagan.

But this is about Bernie Sanders and his 'not wanting to be a spoiler' mentality from as far back as 2011 (thanks Blue Nation Review; this is the only time I will write that), a stubborn urban legend most recently perpetuated by the execrable Jonathan Chait.

I have grown weary of correcting people on social media that still believe and regurgitate the Gore/Nader/Bush/2000 lies.  Repeating them has become grounds for immediate friend/follow termination at this point.  If Jim Hightower and others figured it out in November of 2000, which was a couple of weeks before Gore conceded after his 5-4 loss at the Supreme Court, then it's a marvel of modern ignorance that so many Democrats still don't get it.

(For a treat, read this PBS transcript of the debate between Hightower and the late Sen. Paul Wellstone from October of 2000 and realize how long we have been having this conversation.  Two things worth noting: Wellstone advocated the 'safe states' premise, which Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb ran on in 2004, and underperformed badly.  And Al Franken, as we know, eventually took Wellstone's Senate seat back from the GOP... and endorsed Hillary.  In 2014.

So as this article carefully details, it's always been an illusion that progressives -- the modern definition, not to suggest those social but corporate and and 'foreign policy'-weighted liberals who have come to be known as neoliberals in their tack to the center-right over the past few years --  could reform the Democratic Party from within.  Nobody has written more cogently about the self-defeating mentality; indeed the Democratic delusions -- 'safe  states', 'inside-outside', 'party within the party', voting LOTE, and the Berners' cry of writing his name in -- than Howie Hawkins.  Here's just one must-read pull-quote.

When I wrote a critique of [the 'inside-outside' tactic] in the Summer 1989 issue of New Politics, I was addressing the left wing of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, which proposed an inside-outside strategy of supporting progressives inside the Democratic Party and running progressive independents against corporate Democrats. By the time the next iteration of the inside-outside strategy was promulgated by the Progressive Democrats of America, which grew out of the Kucinich campaign in 2004, outside was now reduced to lobbying the Democrats for progressive reforms. Running independent progressives against corporate Democrats was not part of the outside strategy anymore.
The inside-outside proponents from the Rainbow Coalition believed their strategy would heighten the contradictions between progressive and corporate Democrats, leading to a split where either the progressives took over the Democrats or the progressives broke away to form a viable left third party with a mass base among labor, minorities, environmentalists, and the peace movement. But the logic of working inside meant forswearing any outside options in order to be allowed to inside Democratic committees, campaigns, primary ballots, and debates. Many of the Rainbow veterans became Democratic Party operatives and politicians whose careers depend on Democratic loyalty. Meanwhile, the corporate New Democrats consolidated their control of the policy agenda. And today the “outside” of the inside-outside strategy has been scaled down to pathetic attempts at political ventriloquism – clicking, lobbying, and demonstrating to try to get corporate Democrats to utter messages and enact polices that are progressive.

So it's very frustrating for this observer to have to watch leftish Democrats and even avowed and elected socialists like Kshama Sawant (who absolutely ought to know better)  perform this quadrennial insanity definition ritual again.  Running as an independent for president is now something to do in 2020, because it's too late to do so in 2016.  Sanders hasn't figured out something many of his smartest supporters have: it's time to Go Green.

Make your own choice about whether to accept the blame for Clinton's defeat in November after a close swing state loss, like Ohio maybe.  As Matt Taibbi points out, lesser evilism means Democrats can be lazier than ever this year.  Know that the blame will be applied irrespective of how shitty a campaign Clinton runs to lose the election at this point.  I don't think she'll lose, close or otherwise, but there's plenty of time and lots of unpredictable developments that could occur over the course of these remaining 120 days (remember we'll be voting early in late October).  Essentially the one thing that can upset her applecart is a federal grand jury indictment for mishandling classified information, and I'm on record as doubtful of that happening despite the evidence for it.

If you're a leftist who wants peace and not war, to start the process of healing the Earth (it might be too late already), to remove the corporate money from our political system and a whole lot of other democratic principles, then it's time to abandon the so-called Democratic Party as your default voting option.  Don't be an enabler of bad behavior.  They're still the only leftish choice locally you'll have in too many races on your ballot as it is, and some of those aren't really all that left, so you'll have to decide if ethical pillars of the community like Ron Reynolds, an "environmental rock star" who loves fracking like James Cargas, Dems who are terribly confused or determinedly misleading when they call themselves 'progressive' like Chris Bell, and all but invisible flakes with semi-famous names are worthy of your vote.

My own choices have gotten a lot clearer over the years.  As Eugene Debs observed, I'd rather vote for something I want, and not get it, than vote for something I don't and get that.


Gadfly said...

I have been rough on guns, maybe a bit much? But other Dems have gotten an elbow or two.

On the F-35, yeah that's how the WhatAGon is; still no reason for him to be voluntarily co-opted ... or co-oped by Big Ag on the last farm bill.

Your bottom line is 117% right: DON'T BE AN ENABLER!

meme said...

Or one could say, I rather vote for someone that can't win, and let a Hitler type person come to power.

Why would anyone think that if someone calls themselves socialist, fascist, republican, that label automatically makes them good people or bad people. I have never met anyone with whom I agree with 100% all of the time.

If war is bad and Bernie is good why did he support the war in Afghanistan? Good people sometimes have to make bad choices, I am not saying that I think Bernie is good, because in my opinion he is an evil man who hides his dirty deeds.

PDiddie said...

You're too intelligent to keep regurgitating binary logic, Manny. I've said it before and I'll say it again: my vote for Stein in Texas does nothing to elect trump. Same in California and New York.

A vote for Trump in Texas, or Oklahoma, or one of the Dakotas, similarly, doesn't help Clinton get elected.

Only a vote for one or the other in a closely contested swing state -- there are fewer than ten in 2016 -- might matter, and even that is subject to debate.

meme said...

If one sees thinks differently it becomes binary logic, I won't use the first adjective used. But I believe that your logic is not logic, but only your concept of logic.

First unless one intends to vote for the Republican candidate one's vote will be meaningless. If the goal is to send a message what message is being sent? That maybe 3% of the voters (Stein supporters) are way out of touch with the rest of America and or Texas?

However, if one sees that one party get 51% to 49% it gives the 49ers hope. What hope did the Democrats see after the Wendy Davis wipe out? I believe P Diddie was a Davis supporter.

There is a chance, small but a chance, that the Republicans could be removed from power, but it means everyone being on the same page. That would mean close elections.

To quote David Weigel "Or you could shrug, because in the Post-Nader era, left-wing third-party energy is limited to dilettante white leftists with no real interest in or ability to organize beyond their affinity group."

Mental arguments are good as long as it stays civil!

But I may use your complex logic and choose not to vote as my vote will be meaningless unless I vote for Trump. It is much easier to do nothing.