bernie sanders

Last Vestiges of this Tattered Democracy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 21/05/2020 - 2:41am in

Donald Trump will win reelection. I take no pride in saying that. We — the American people — have a right to participate in the last vestiges of this tattered democracy. I will feel no thrill or joy to witness the Oval Office occupied for another four years by the most

Short-Fingered Vulgarian’s Assault on Voters

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/05/2020 - 7:09am in

Redacted Tonight's Lee Camp breaks down some of the key findings in Greg Palast's forthcoming book, How Trump Stole 2020: The Hunt For America’s Vanished Voters. Released on July 14, we need to get this final warning on the bestseller list so the media cannot ignore it! Help us by pre-ordering a copy today!

New York Cancels Its Democratic Primary

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 04/05/2020 - 4:02pm in

How can a party that calls itself “democratic” cancel its own primaries?

Et tu? Progressive Boomers Are Now Preaching Pro-Biden Lesser-Evilism

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/05/2020 - 12:56am in

The former members of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), a leading Vietnam War-era peace organization, recently circulated an open letter warning today’s young activists to – as the adage goes – do as I say and not as I did. Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, these leaders led the way in opposing the ravages of U.S. imperialism and exposing what they called the “death culture.” Today, they are admonishing the new generation not to follow in their footsteps, but to go all out for what they call the “capitalist democrat” Joe Biden.

 

The big chill

When I was first becoming politically aware, these SDS folks were my heroes and mentors. They helped me break from the illusion that the USA was fighting for democracy and freedom, rather than imposing an empire where the U.S. controlled 50 percent of the world’s wealth for only 6.3 percent of its population.

They were the ones chanting, “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” The ones who pulled no punches, criticizing Democrats and Republicans alike for genocidal injustice. And they especially warned about “selling out to the establishment.” But that was then.

Today, they are variously tenured professors, attorneys, or working at comfortable NGOs. Who would have known that they would one day be raising money for multi-billion-dollar Democratic Party PACs? While I don’t for a moment begrudge them for their financial or social achievements, the shift from independent direct action to boosterism within the Democratic Party is unfortunate.

It should be noted that SDS originated as the student branch of the League for Industrial Democracy (LID), a nominally socialist but more accurately liberal anti-communist organization. In 1965, the LID elders told their youth counterparts to include an anti-communist clause in their manifesto. Those rising SDS youth told their seniors to take a hike.

 

In bed with the Democratic Party

Bernardine Dorn, herself an SDS leader, and subsequently with the Weather Underground, comments that the open letter “has all the wrong content and tone of the elders lecturing young activists: “[I]t is finally too pompous and pretentious, too in-bed with the Democratic Party.” And that is a sympathetic comment to “comrades I love and respect.”

The Democratic Party is not like a labor union, or like what a labor union is supposed to be with dues-paying members democratically electing leadership that serves their interests. Rather the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which is the governing body of the U.S. Democratic Party, is in fact a private corporation. The DNC has more in common with a for-profit sports team. You are free to wear their paraphernalia and attend their games, but the team owners are the ones that make the decisions and reaping the profits.

When the DNC was taken to court for violating its own rules treating voters unfairly, it brazenly argued, that they are a private corporation with no obligation to be fair, and won. As the court transcript shows, the DNC’s attorney said that cheating Bernie Sanders in 2016 out of the nomination was “the business of the party, and it’s not justiciable.”

This same DNC again undermined Bernie Sanders’ candidacy in 2020, preferring to run a corporate Democrat favorable to their superrich donors and risk losing again to Donald Trump. Now, the authors of the open letter are preaching to the young activists that they have no choice but to fall in with those who screwed them. Or as the open letter states, to join with “solemn determination” their “high moral and political responsibility.”

 

Wrong historical lessons

Peter Drucker, another former member of SDS, points out in his critique of the open letter that the letter’s favorable reference to early nineteenth-century German sociologist Wax Weber is at best odd, but telling, for a letter addressing people who consider themselves socialists. Weber’s view was that revolutionary socialists were engaged in “dirt, muck, dung, and horse-play—nothing else.”

A favorite trope of anti-leftists, reflected in the open letter, is to blame the rise of Hitler on the failure of communists to unite with socialists against a common enemy. In fact, what happened was that the socialists likewise would not unite with the communists against the fascists and instead chose to support the “lesser evil” of Paul von Hindenburg. In the 1932 German presidential race, Hindenburg ran against Hitler, won, and then turned around to appoint Hitler as chancellor in 1933. The rest, as they say, is history.

If we were to accept the open letter’s hyperbolic meme of Trump as a stand-in for Hitler, the historical analogy would be that today’s Democratic Party is not the socialists and certainly not the communists but would be Hindenburg’s party as the lesser evil to the Nazis. Once elected, Hindenburg dissolved the German parliament twice, approved the Reichstag Fire Decree suspending civil liberties, and signed the Enabling Act giving Hitler arbitrary powers.

For those worried about fascism being enabled in the U.S., recall that the Democrats militantly supported the national security apparatus and the Patriot Act. Even so-called progressive Elizabeth Warren calls for the government censorship of social media.

Citing the lessons of Germany, the open letter summons an “all-hands-on-deck” effort to elect Joe Biden to prevent the “protofascist” Trump from winning. The situation, they exclaim, is dire for we may all end up in jail if Trump were to win.

In a follow-up to publishing the April 16 open letter, The Nation again plays the fear of fascism card if one strays from the confines of the Democratic Party. An April 28 article – “WTF Is Jacobin’s Editor Thinking in Voting Green?” – cries, “in a second term, Trump will double down on his fascist instincts.”

The Nation lectures the youth that you are “old enough to know better” than disregard the wisdom of your elders because, under a Republican, “progressives will spend the next four years fighting defensive battles.” The youth in their naiveite might ask, how would it be any different if the former Senator from MBNA wins?

In the real world, as Stan Smith notes, Trump “can’t even shut down Saturday Night Live.  Trump is a billionaire racist, sexist war-monger out to salvage the U.S. corporate empire, nothing more, nothing less.” Joe Biden diverges mainly in having a smaller bank account and better table manners.

 

Politics for the pandemic

A more fitting lesson from the historical example of the rise of German fascism suggests the opposite of what the open letter advocates. The best strategy to combat the rightward trajectory of the two corporate parties is not to go all out and vote for the lesser evil. Especially with the COVID-19 crisis and the mechanisms of disaster capitalism, Naomi Klein warns their shared course to the right might well accelerate.

In 2016, the corporate Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton advocated lowering the Medicare qualifying age to 50 or 55. Yet Biden is to the right of Clinton’s position of four years ago, only conceding to lower the eligibility age to 60.

We are now in the midst of a pandemic which demonstrates as never before the need for Medicare for All (M4A). The latest polls indicate a 69 percent overall approval rating with 88 percent of Democrats supporting the policy. This support is despite the millions of “dark money” dollars spent by the insurance industry against M4A. Biden, who had campaigned to cut Medicare and Social Security, vows he would veto M4A were it to come before him as president.

Voting for the lesser evil is encouraging a march to the right by making a step in the wrong direction. At a time when an independent progressive movement is needed more than ever, the sheepdogs of the open letter are trying to herd the new generation of activists into the Democratic Party.

Feature photo | Supporters listen to Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during a campaign rally, March 7, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. Charlie Riedel | AP

Roger D. Harris is on the state central committee of the Peace and Freedom Party, the only ballot qualified socialist party in California.

The post Et tu? Progressive Boomers Are Now Preaching Pro-Biden Lesser-Evilism appeared first on MintPress News.

Fresh audio product

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/04/2020 - 8:01am in

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link):

April 23, 2020 Vijay Prashad on China (and Sinophobia), Kerala, and the crucial importance of social organization • Meagan Day and Micah Uetricht, authors of Bigger than Bernie, on Sanders, socialism, electoralism, and where it all goes from here.

The Great Gray Hope: Bernie Sanders Tests the Limits of US Political Systems

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 18/04/2020 - 12:36am in

The Great Gray Hope has bowed out of the presidential primary race, leaving tottering Joe Biden as the last Democrat standing. What Bernie Sanders accomplished electorally was remarkable, revealing both how far a progressive can venture and the limits proscribing further advancement to the left within the Democratic Party.

 

Sanders pushes the limits of the system

That Sanders was once the frontrunner and might have swept the Democratic primaries is an indicator of the neoliberal order’s decay. The coronavirus pandemic was both the final blow to the Sanders campaign and the world-historic event that proved unquestionably that his platform of universal health care and fairness to the working class was the medicine needed for an ailing nation.

Shelter-in-place is Biden’s strong suit, while Sanders’ contagious ability to enthuse the youth was sequestered. And, no, Biden’s healthcare public option is not even a baby step towards universal health care. It is a leap in the opposite direction, propping up the private insurance industry by having the taxpayers pick up high-risk cases.

The lie that money was not available to fund single-payer healthcare is now exposed by tsunamis of cash mainlined tax-free to resuscitate parasitic speculative financial markets. With unemployment rampant and Jeff Bezos’ net worth swelling by the billions daily, Sanders had the temerity to say: “If Trump can put a trillion and a half into the banking system, we can protect the wages of everyday workers.”

When in the Democratic debates the ninth richest man in the world claimed he made his billions by hard work, only Sanders was in the position to quip, as he did, that Bloomberg’s workers must have helped. When Bloomberg offered to bankroll the eventual Democratic Party nominee, only the Sanders campaign gave a hard “no.”

Bloomberg was correct, however, when he said of his primary rivals: “I’m doing exactly the same thing they’re doing, except that I am using my own money. They’re using somebody else’s money, and those other people expect something from them.” That Sanders raised three million dollars within hours of announcing his candidacy and garnered over a million small donors shows what constituency Sanders was beholden.

Sanders was not willing to simply mumble hypocritical homilies about the “middle class.” He explicitly defended the “working class” from the ravages of neoliberalism, raising issues that wouldn’t be taken up by the two-party duopoly.

Monday morning quarterbacks have been unkindly critical of Sanders for not going for the jugular against Biden. But despite criticisms, Sanders did what some leftists have been asking politicians to do. He stayed on message, stuck to the issues, and did not get lost in the weeds of ad hominem snipes.

What Sanders didn’t do is politically critique the Obama/Biden record, hamstrung by his determination not to harm the Democratic Party. The courtesy was not returned, to say the least. Unlike Trump in 2016, who savaged the Republican establishment and won, Sanders pulled his punches and lost.

 

The system pushes the limits of Sanders

Paradoxically, running in the Democratic Party was both the grounds for his success and the source of his failure. Had Sanders not run in the Democratic Party, he would have had no bully pulpit to advance his candidacy and – in the absence of a mass movement – would have been summarily relegated to obscurity. Running as a major party candidate gave him access to a ballot line, to the debates, and other perks of the party apparatus.

Sanders, nominally an independent, was both the greatest gift and the greatest challenge to the Democratic Party. The party had problems: liberalism was dead and with it the New Deal agenda, which was the cement holding the faithful together. With impeachment now history and Russiagate exhausted many times over, had Sanders not appeared the neoliberal Dems would have had to invent someone like him to keep their constituency from bolting.

And along came Sanders, saying, “we must take up the unfinished business of the New Deal and carry it to completion.” The rub was that Sanders genuinely believed in that agenda, so he had to be used and then discarded.

Sanders arguably could have beaten Trump but not the DNC. Or to turn that around, had the DNC not sandbagged him, Sanders surely would have beaten his Democratic rivals and gone on to defeat the incumbent president…if what passes for the “liberal” establishment (e.g., the Pelosi and Schumer) didn’t sabotage him.

Sanders showed true grit, suffering the triple afflictions of a heart attack, the Washington Post, and MSNBC. But the DNC would likely have eventually derailed him in any case. If the DNC could so easily, as it did, change the rules to take Tulsi Gabbard out of the debates and put Michael Bloomberg in, they could have found a way to block a progressive, who was anathema to their class loyalties and donor base.

 

Sanders as a socialist

Sanders is receiving rancorous left disparagement for his early departure from the primary race and quick endorsement of Biden, failure to criticize the Obama/Biden record, and voting for the CARES bailout among other transgressions. It should be crystal clear, now, that what you saw is what you got: a sincere New Deal liberal wedded to the Democratic Party, not a leftist superhero. He shouldn’t be blamed for being someone he was not.

Sanders helped mainstream the word “socialism;” a welcome accomplishment. When red-baited, Sanders didn’t back down: “We must recognize that in the 21st century, in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, economic rights are human rights. That is what I mean by democratic socialism.”

To be precise, Sanders is a “social democrat;” one who supports the rule of the owners of capital with workers as junior partners. He is not a “socialist,” who would replace the rule of the capitalists with that of the workers. Sanders has made clear, “I don’t believe government should own the means of production.” What he wants is a nice capitalism that shares its crumbs with those who create the wealth.

Nor is he an anti-imperialist, despite his statement that “it might be a good idea to be honest about American foreign policy and that includes the fact that America has overthrown governments all over the world.” Sanders endorses the bipartisan consensus to overthrow the “vicious dictator” (his own words) in Venezuela, where social democratic reforms there are similar to ones that Sanders is championing for the US. Sanders yearns for a nice imperialism, which somehow avoids messy excesses while not challenging US hegemony.

 

Exit the Great Gray Hope – don’t mourn, organize

Sanders proved on one hand that a sizable potential constituency would support and fund a progressive agenda. On the other hand, the Democrats – who would rather risk four more years of Trump than back someone with a mild New Deal agenda – are the graveyard for such a movement. The Democratic Party is an instrument of class rule and not a democratic institution.

For all his remarkable accomplishments, Sanders’ legacy in 2020 will likely be that of 2016, which was to be the sheepdog that herded progressives into the Democratic Party and got nothing in return.

If your obsession in life is to defeat Trump, by all means hold your nose and vote for what you perceive as the lesser evil. But if your interest is broader – to pull the US political spectrum to the left and buck the neoliberal tide of imperial plunder and austerity for the working class, instead of encouraging the Democrats to be more reactionary than the Republicans – then vote for a left party such as Peace and Freedom or Green.

And, taking a lesson from Bernie, help build the mass movement. Significantly Sanders understood the limits of electoral politics and the corresponding necessity of building a mass movement: “When I talk about a political revolution, it means being an administration unprecedented, certainly in the modern history of this country… It is rallying the American people… I will be organizer in chief.”

Sanders’ parting remark on April 8 was “we have won the ideological battle.” Of course, ideas don’t have agency on their own. The battle is to organize a progressive constituency and not self-defeat by tethering to the Democratic Party.

Feature photo | Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign rally, March 9, 2020, in St. Louis. Jeff Roberson | AP

Roger D. Harris is on the state central committee of the Peace and Freedom Party, the only ballot qualified socialist party in California.

The post The Great Gray Hope: Bernie Sanders Tests the Limits of US Political Systems appeared first on MintPress News.

The Duty and Responsibility of Left-wing Leaders

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/04/2020 - 5:27am in

Let us say that you are leading a movement which, if it wins, will save hundreds of thousands to millions of deaths, and will take millions of out of poverty.

The corollary to this is that if you fail, if you lose, those people will die or be stuck in poverty, and generally that many others will fall into poverty.

Your loss, then, occasions a great deal of suffering.

It is often hard to know what to do to win, and there are red lines. Unless a situation has descended to civil war, or you intend civil war, like America’s founding fathers or slavery abolitionist John Brown, you shouldn’t murder, and obviously rape and torture are off the board no matter what.

But because the stakes are so high, you do have a responsibility to play your hand seriously. It isn’t actually a game.

In modern democracies, the most important thing is to control parties. Margaret Thatcher said that her victory was only complete when Labour accepted her ideology. If they hadn’t, when they got into power, they would have just un-done everything she did. John Major, the Tory PM wasn’t her true successor–Tony Blair was.

When Corbyn won the leadership of the Labour party he took over a neoliberal Blairite party. Most of the MPs had voted for most of the worst Tory policies, or abstained from the key votes. They were complicit in a great deal of the evils of austerity.

They were implacable enemies of Corbyn, as were the party bureaucrats. Indeed, a story came out with emails proving that these bureaucrats worked against Corbyn in the 2017 election. Given just how close that election was, they probably cost Corbyn the victory.

Had Corbyn won, he would have refunded the NHS. If it was a majority victory, he’d still be Prime Minister and he wouldn’t have bungled the Coronavirus response like Johnson, a bungling which appears to have about doubled the death rate next to comparable European countries.

Those bureaucrats, then, are responsible for the deaths caused by Johnson being PM. If you don’t understand this, you need to learn how, because this sort of thing is the key driver of why our societies are so bad: The forseeable consequences of evil actions are treated as if they are incidental. Having incompetent ideologues in charge of government who believe that “society doesn’t exist,” and that government isn’t responsible for people’s welfare has consequences.

Corbyn also failed in another important way: He never kicked out MPs who were traitorously constantly attacking him, nor did he support the mandatory re-selction of MPs, a process by which the Labour membership gets to vote for their nominee.

Doing both of these things would have transformed Labour back into a proper left-wing party, and given Corbyn a much greater chance at victory. Even if he lost both elections, his successor would be left-wing and properly supported by the party, and in first past the post democracy, the second party will eventually wind up in power.

Nothing is more important than ideological control of a party.

Now, the thing here is that neither of these strategies required Corbyn to go against his beliefs: Corbyn always said he believed the party should be run by the membership. Re-selections, indeed re-selection every election, is exactly and completely in accord with that.

Corbyn is a truly good man, but like a lot of people of his generation, he has an addiction to being nice, confusing it with being good.

Being nice to bad actors, to MPs who support cutting the NHS and social welfare and bailing out bankers, isn’t good, it’s evil. They need to be removed from power. This isn’t terrible for them, no centrist MP is likely to wind up on the bread lines if they aren’t an MP (which is part of why they were willing to be evil).

Then we have Sanders. Sanders was never as good a man in political terms as Corbyn, his politics are nowhere near as good. Still, he was a good man in American terms.

Sanders is also addicted to niceness. He refused to attack Biden on Biden’s terrible record, a record which is at odds with everything that Sanders claims to believe in, supposedly because Biden was his good friend.

This is dereliction of duty. If he had done it because he believed it was the best strategy, fine. It might or might not be. But to put his friendship with Biden against the welfare and even the lives of millions of Americans is a sickening betrayal of principle and of his followers.

Power has responsibility. Those who work to save millions of lives and make sure millions more are not in poverty, have a responsibility to their mission, and that responsibility does not allow one to put one’s personal desire to be “nice” ahead of the mission.

Good and nice are not the same thing. Niceness is, well, nice, but people who are willing to impoverish and kill millions are evil people and they need to lose their power. The actions taken to remove their power may not be “nice,” but they are good.

I admire Corbyn more than any other British politician of the past 40 years. But he failed in part because he wasn’t willing to be even moderately ruthless against people who were, well, doing a lot of evil. Traitors, in fact.

As for Sanders, well, it appears the same is true. He asked his followers to fight for someone they didn’t know, but he wasn’t willing to fight someone he did know.

A hypocrite, in effect.

Sanders’ and Corbyn’s times are done. They were the best of the Boomers, the last major politicians who hadn’t sold out or sold their soul. Their failures are not theirs alone. Brits and American Democrats genuinely prefer to let people die and live in poverty than vote for a moderate left-winger. That it is older Brits who voted against Corbyn whom Johnson’s policies are killing is ironic.

New politicians will now rise. Hopefully those on the left are people who understand that if one is the champion of the people, one has responsibilities which go beyond being nice to those doing evil. That, in fact, their responsibility is to remove all power from those who use that power from evil.

Doing so won’t be nice to the people who lose their power. It will be “nice” and good to those who are lifted out of poverty or who don’t die due to evil austerity policies, corruption, and incompetence.

Gotta decide what’s more important. Being nice to bad people, or doing good.

And you have to be willing to actually use power when you have it. The right certainly is. The left needs to be.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.

 

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Bernie Sanders supporters: please reclaim your agency, and vigorously

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 11/04/2020 - 4:00am in

Bill Martin This is for my friends who supported Bernie Sanders. I suppose it is also directed toward all of my friends who believe that, despite everything, they should support the Democratic Party. One very general thing I would like to say to this: Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper, and the like …

Bernie Sanders Suspends His Campaign: What Happened and What Now?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 09/04/2020 - 11:57pm in

Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk commented just as Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign: “Bernie made a number of mistakes that I highlighted and broke down in detail. No excuses. Having said that, you’re out of your fucking mind if you think I’ll forget or look past ‘bloody monday’, aka the day Obama got Pete & Amy to drop & endorse Biden. Saving his campaign.”

In fact, the “Bloody Monday” move — when Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar both endorsed Biden just after his South Carolina win and just before “Super Tuesday” — might be the tip of the iceberg in terms of how the DNC or other establishment forces molded the campaign to producer this outcome.

Consider:

* Kamala Harris and Cory Booker pulled out of the race before South Carolina, paving the way for Biden’s win there. Jim Clyburn of course endorsed Biden just before South Carolina. Tragically, Jesse Jackson only endorsed Sanders after.

* Warren split the progressive ranks throughout and ultimately refused to endorse Sanders.

* Even the choices of the candidates was useful to stopping Sanders. Pete Buttigieg was from Indiana and the net effect of his campaign was to deny Sanders a clear win in not-so-far-away Iowa. Amy Klobuchar was from Minnesota and so the net effect of her campaign was to throw that state to Biden so that Biden won something substantial outside of the south on Super Tuesday, making his rise appear national and therefore plausibly inevitable.

* Ostensibly antiwar candidate Tulsi Gabbard throughout refused to meaningfully criticize the war addicted Biden — even when she had a clear shot to do so during the debates on his Iraq war lies. Meanwhile, Sanders just kept saying Biden voted for the Iraq war while Sanders didn’t. Sanders never meaningfully made the case that Biden played key role in making the Iraq invasion happen and never really tore into his lies.

* Mike Gravel — who might have really tore into Biden — was excluded from the debate stage throughout.

* Julián Castro was marginalized shortly after he attacked Biden.

* Bloomberg coming in had the net effect of Warren going after him — for things she could well have gone after Biden about but didn’t. His demise effectively gave the base a sense of weird relief that Biden is the nominee: “Well, at least we didn’t get stuck with Billionaire Bloomberg”.

You couldn’t have planned it better for Biden if you tried. And lots of forces — from the DNC to the establishment media did try in thousands of ways.

Additionally, the entire “Ukrainegate” obsession — contrary to a slew of deluded progressive commentators at the time — built up Biden as the anti-Trump. Trump was trying to attack him, so he must be the one Trump is afraid of was the obvious logic. That was the net effect of the entire media focus on that including the ultimate impeachment (remember impeachment?).

Indeed, in this incredibly vicious cycle, just as many Republicans likely turned to Trump because they felt they needed a corrupt celebrity to stop Hillary Clinton, many Democrats likely turned to Biden for similar reasons this year.

And at a societal level, the pandemic struck chords of fear in people’s collective psychology. It was like the Y2K story. As January 1, 2000 approached, people were filled with dread and fear, so that what should have been a time for great hope was a time for just hoping to get by. Like now. The pandemic pushed many people to turn to the familiar, to something that they associate with not being a disaster. (This is the opposite of what happened in 1900 — that period was apparently greeted with great embrace.)

Then there’s Sanders’ own role, his incapacity — or more likely, his unwillingness — to mount sharper attacks on Biden, of shedding his imperial presumptions and more deeply taking on the foreign policy establishment. Sanders’ ultimate legacy may be what the late great Bruce Dixon called “Sheepdogging.”

So, now what?

As I outlined last month:

There are two obvious responses:

Burn it Down: The impulsive thing to do would be to want to burn down the Democratic Party. It’s possible that the establishment of the Democratic Party would be OK with this — they seem to fear a President Sanders more than the fear another term of Trump. So, people would stay home or vote for a third party or independent candidate who openly states that they have virtually no chance of winning.

Cave In: Others might insist that no matter how badly the Democratic Party establishment treats its voters, they need to get in line come November and vote for whoever the nominee is. This is euphemistically referred to as “hold your nose and voting.” People have done this for decades and it’s typically resulted in the corporate wing of the Democratic Party becoming more and more powerful.

The first of these will be disastrous because it will help Trump.

The second will be disastrous because it effectively surrenders control of the Democratic Party to the corporate wing, probably for the foreseeable future.

But there is a third choice: The VotePact strategy.

With the VotePact strategy,  in the general election, disenchanted Democratics team up with a disenchanted Republicans. They pair up: spouses and friends and coworkers and neighbors and debating partners and ex-facebook friends. Instead of the two of them voting for candidates they don’t want, they pair up and vote for the third party or independent candidate of their choice.

Given the pandemic, all bets may be off. Things could slide into disaster — or a great new world could be born. One could almost envision the rise of the Stay-At-Home party. People can talk to their loved ones in a way they never have. And they may embrace their neighbors — even if it is at ten feet — as the never have before. Zoom could be filled with hopes and dreams and a path might be found to get there. We might be driven by fear and shallow hate and sectarian thinking — or we might decide to come together as a country and as a world as we never have before.

VotePact takes work. But it’s a path out of the duopoly and toward freedom. Given the tumult before us, it is actually a rather moderate proposal, drawing us to a sane center, away from the disastrous paths of both Biden, which gave birth to Trump — and Trump himself.

Sam Husseini is the founder of VotePact.org.  

The post Bernie Sanders Suspends His Campaign: What Happened and What Now? appeared first on MintPress News.

Progressives Decide: Dignity and Freedom, or Voting for Biden

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 09/04/2020 - 6:19am in

Biden widens lead over Trump despite coronavirus halting campaign ...

            Bernie Sanders is out of the race and with him goes the last chance for progressivism to take over the Democratic Party for a generation.

            Now his supporters will decide what to do. Intransigent #BernieOrBusters will cast about for a third-party vote, write-in Bernie or sit out the election in November. Other left-leaning voters will hope against hope that Joe Biden will either pivot to the left himself or that Biden will appoint progressive-minded cabinet members, and maybe tap Elizabeth Warren as vice president, to run the country as he continues to fade into the dying of the light.

            There is absolutely no reason to think that Joe Biden would appoint a single progressive to his cabinet or pick one as his vice president. Theoretically, of course, anything is possible. Biden could take up hang-gliding! But Biden hasn’t made the slightest hint that he would pick a progressive for any important position.

            Biden has said that he would consider a Republican as his vice president. He has promised to choose a woman. He sends signals when he wants to. And none of those signals has ever been directed toward the left wing of the Democratic Party.

            After he consolidated his delegate lead on Super Tuesday, Biden received a lot of media coverage for “reaching out” to Sanders’ supporters. But his message was worthless pabulum: “Let me say, especially to the young voters who have been inspired by Senator Sanders: I hear you. I know what is at stake. And I know what we have to do.”

What exactly does Biden “know” he has to “do”? Nothing that progressives want. Bernie Sanders voters care about issues: Medicare For All, student loan forgiveness, free college tuition. Three days after his “olive branch,” Biden said he would veto Medicare For All if it somehow crossed his desk as president.

            In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s some malarkey.

            Yet many liberal voters are praying that Biden will do something to make himself palatable enough to allow them to vote for him against Donald Trump this fall. Like the victim of an abusive alcoholic parent or spouse, they will wallow in magical thinking and project good intentions upon a candidate who has given them no reason to think he has changed. Maybe dad isn’t drunk tonight. Maybe Biden is secretly liberal.

Victims of abusive relationships “don’t stay for the pain,” psychologist Craig Malkin observed in 2013. “Their desperate, often palpable hope, if you sit in the room with them, is that the abuse will go away. And they tend to block out all evidence to the contrary.”

Given the history of the last four or five decades, it’s hard to describe the relationship between progressive voters and the corporate leadership of the Democratic Party as anything better than abusive. From Jimmy Carter to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, progressives have been expected to donate money and cast votes for candidates who repeatedly broke their promises to fight for the poor and working class and, as time passed, felt so confident that they could get away with acting like jerks that they didn’t even have to bother to promise anything at all beyond not being Republicans—even though often they voted along with the GOP and signed their ideas into law.

2016 marked the first time that progressives stood up for themselves and demanded a place at the table, in the form of Bernie Sanders. Like any typical abuser, the DNC got angry at their victims, blaming progressives when their decision to cheat Sanders out of the nomination in favor of Hillary Clinton caused a catastrophic defeat to Donald Trump. Now it has happened again.

Though pathetic, it is not surprising to see progressives playing the role of the naïve victim who prays for his abuser to come to his senses and make nice.

With Joe Biden, there’s even more reason than usual to believe that nothing good can come out of standing by him. The man he served as vice president, Barack Obama, elevated the use and abuse of Democratic progressives to a diabolical art. He ran on Hope and Change and ending the Iraq war, only to prolong Iraq and expand Afghanistan with the backing of a cabinet that didn’t include a single progressive, not even a token like Clinton Administration labor secretary Robert Reich. Obama’s signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act, was conceived of by the right-wing Heritage foundation.

If you’re figuring out whether to stay with the Democratic Party or quit them, there’s a simple way to decide: watch Biden. If he’s serious about picking a progressive as vice president or putting some of them into his cabinet, he will be willing to name names and do so soon. His silence on this topic—which is likely—probably means Vice President Kamala Harris or Amy Klobuchar and a bunch of Goldman Sachs wankers managing the economic crisis again.

Don’t be surprised if a lot of Democrats who have been let down by “their” party vote for it again this November. Abuse survivors “suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome, one symptom of which is dissociation, which often creates such profound detachment from the reality of the abuse that sufferers scarcely remember being hurt at all,” Dr. Malkin wrote. “Dissociating victims can’t leave the abuse because they aren’t psychologically present enough to recall the pain of what happened.”

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of the biography “Bernie.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

 

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