Opposed to Vote Blue No Matter Who? Then own it.

Joe Biden said he would be a target of the "Bernie Brothers" CREDIT: AFP
Joe Biden said he would be a target of the “Bernie Brothers” CREDIT: AFP

It has been so frustrating to watch the Left lose to the Right throughout my 58 years. The Right is about vile and unworkable ideas like unfettered capitalism, trickle-down economics, homophobia, xenophobia, racism, misogyny, science denial, and the list goes on.

And yet, Democratic voters have failed to outvote Republicans except in the very bluest of states. Why is that?

I know some will say it’s because Democratic politicians aren’t progressive and liberal enough; that they have abandoned the principles and values of heroes like FDR. I wish that were the only reason.

Because if it were the only reason and their reasoning was sound, it also seems reasonable to presume we’d already have President Sanders in the White House regardless of how “the establishment” conspired against him.

After all, Progressives and Liberals are too smart to be duped, yes? Progressives and Liberals are better informed because we listen to and watch truth-tellers like Jimmy Dore, right? (Clarification: Dore is an intellectually dishonest comedian-turned-pundit(?) who used to be part of the TYT propagandist cabal. He’s not someone I trust at all. He and TYT, regrettably, are shared with some frequency to a FB Group I’m in, and where this post originally appeared.)

Best of all, Progressives and Liberals outnumber everyone else and will show up in overwhelming numbers in the primaries and general to sweep our candidates into office………….. except we don’t.

Why is that? Is it a conspiracy?

Or, is it for the same reason Sanders has lost ground to Biden; we Progressives and Liberals don’t actually outnumber the rest of the rank-and-file Democrats who are voting in the primaries?

Not every Progressive, Liberal, or Democrat believes as we do, to say nothing of all the other Americans who don’t label themselves as such.

So, why do we lose?

Lately, it seems to be the internecine fighting too many of us on the LEFT insist on.

Some of us – no, let’s be real; some of *you*, my fellow Sanders supporters – still don’t seem to have learned that purity testing followed closely with attacks on everyone who doesn’t pass the test is one of the hallmarks of a cult.

Not a movement. A cult.

The last thing we need right now is the resurrection – or continuation, depending upon your point of view, I guess – of the Bernie or Bust Cult.

Trump didn’t win 2016 by himself. Puritanical voters in PA, MI, and WI won it for him by refusing to recognize the difference between an imperfect ally and an actual enemy.

I voted for Clinton. I’d do it again without hesitation if she were running against Trump.

Bernie is still my first choice, but he’s not my only choice. I’ll vote for Joe, and I’ll do it loudly and proudly if he wins the nomination because it’s the only sane, rational, and intelligent thing to do to ensure that trump loses.

Staying home, refusing to vote for the Democrat, or casting a “protest vote” are all just votes for trump. You can delude yourself into believing otherwise, but there will be two legitimate choices in November just as in every other past election. One will be trump. The other will not. It’s binary. You don’t have to like it, but there it is.

I get it. It’s cathartic, comforting, and gratifying to go around patting oneself on the back for not compromising. Just remember, there’s only one face looking back at you in the mirror, and only one face you’ll have to show when future generations ask, “What did you do to stop trump from a second term?”

I already feel sadness and pity for anyone who answers that with anything but, “I voted for the Democrat because your future was more important to me than my ego.”

As with all things, it’s your decision. No one can make it for you. No one should.

All you have to do is own it.

How My Support for Sanders Gets Chipped Away

Let’s get this out of the way first. I think that caucuses are idiotic and undemocratic. We’re no longer a nation of farmers looking for ways to spend off-season winter hours debating our “neighbors” in churches, libraries, and private homes in order to determine which candidate should represent us.

What’s happening in Iowa is the latest chipping away at my support for Sanders. His people are behaving like cultists and blatantly saying they intend to cherry-pick and spin Iowa’s rule changes and numbers; changes they are credited for having inspired.

The details are in the Snopes piece, “New Iowa Caucus Rules Could Spark Clashing Claims of Victory.”

In short, the rule changes were made in Iowa “as a nod” to Sanders supporters who (still) claim he was cheated. The change is that Iowa will report additional numbers in 2020. The new ones are the before and after vote counts that will accompany the one number that matters in this anachronistic process; the delegate count.

Putting aside the fact that I think caucuses belong only in history books, what troubles me is what Misty Rebik, Sanders’ Iowa state director, says she’ll do:

“<Rebik> said that “the popular vote is very important. We fought for (the reporting change), and we’re proud of that.” Rebik suggested the campaign is going to tout the first alignment numbers no matter the outcome.

“We want to emphasize that the way that we beat Donald Trump is by having the biggest, largest grassroots coalition, and that’s through pure numbers,” she said.

What? You’re going to tout the number you like best no matter the outcome because that’s how you think we beat Trump?

It’s absolutely outrageous that she’s cherry-picking data. Just as bad, she’s making an unequivocally false statement about how to beat Trump. It’s absolutely NOT through ‘pure numbers.’ That’s not how presidents get elected, and sadly, that’s not the worst of it.

Thinking you can pick the number you like instead of the one that matters is the very definition of cherry-picking, and I’m betting that this is all in preparation for claims of DNC rigging and cheating and ignoring the will of the voters should Sanders not win Iowa.

I realize that this will be seen by many of my fellow Sanders supporters as an incendiary position, and that it will likely elicit some emotional responses from some. I’m writing this because I think we as Sanders supporters must speak truth to one another and to Bernie and his team.

The truth I see is a strategy by the Sanders team meant to intentionally mislead, misinform, and likely gin up outrage depending on the outcome in Iowa.

On a personal note, I’m really getting pretty fed up with the petulance, self-righteousness, and arrogance of the Sanders team and some of his supporters. It seems to me that all too often all that one would have to do is replace “Trump” with “Sanders” and whatever the claim, complaint, or criticism was coming from the supporter or staffer would be indistinguishable sans context.

Iowa looks to me to be another example of this.

This change in Iowa purported to be of his team’s doing and intended to increase transparency is now something THEY say will be cherry-picked no matter the outcome? Where have we heard that before? Where do we hear it still?

I’m also admittedly pretty fed up with unsubstantiated claims of rigging and cheating against Bernie. Please, save your tirades about the DNC emails. There’s no there there, and I don’t want to have to rehash how predictable and justifiable it would, in fact, be for every Democrat at every level to prefer Clinton, the life-long Democrat, to the usurper, vocal critic, and fellow Democrat-of-Convenience, Bernie Sanders.

Please also spare me the complaints of how our guy is mistreated by mainstream media, too. I hear enough of that from Trump and his supporters, as well as from the biased and unreliable sources on the Left that make pretty regular appearances here.

What’s happened in Iowa in terms of transparency is a good thing. It improves a terrible process a little.

What I think should piss everyone off now is that Sanders’ team is already telling us THEY will cherry-pick and spin the data.

If you’re thinking of telling me that this isn’t what Bernie wants or supports, then how is this not a troubling sign in and of itself?

If that defense is true, then he’s either out of a loop he clearly ought to and must be in, or the claim that he isn’t is actually a lie. Either way, it’s a signal to me that he’s either not engaged enough as the leader of his own organization, or that he’s willing to go too far to win Iowa.

Most troubling of all is how a mindset like Misty Rebik’s has all the hallmarks of a cult follower……
Our leader is the best ever. Only he can save us. He’s under constant attack by those in power and the non-believers. Power hates him because he threatens them, and non-believers will never understand him. They are his and our enemies, and he and we must do whatever is necessary to protect him, advance his cause, and elevate him to power; otherwise, our enemies will destroy him and us.

Sound familiar? It should. Let’s not be like that.

Let’s hold Bernie and his team and ourselves to higher standards, and let’s call out poor decision making, bad behavior, biased information, and corrupt strategies and tactics when we see them. That’s all I’m trying to do here.

#TooFarLeft is misdirected outrage

There’s a difference between imperfect allies and actual enemies. Those upset with Obama need to remind themselves of this.

Obama TooFarLeft???
It has me thinking that I should cancel my email subscription to Common Dreams.
As I see it, that article isn’t news. It isn’t even good journalism.
I see it as obvious clickbait meant to rile up Sanders and Warren supporters.
I say that because other than the repeated link to the same NYT article (which is far more worth reading, and which produced the link below), all that Jon Queally ends up offering little more than a list of Tweets presumably meant to outrage the reader by channeling carefully selected outrage coming from the Twittersphere.
The more interesting question for me is why such an article even gets written?
To what end does trying to cast Obama as a villain work to anyone’s favor other than Trump’s?
In my humble opinion, casting Obama as the enemy really kind of closes the loop on this election cycle’s liberal/progressive circular firing squad.
Yes, we can and we must debate what each candidate claims to be their vision and their policies for realizing it, but casting Obama as an enemy as part of that debates makes no sense to me at all.
Yes, I agree that he wasn’t liberal and progressive enough.
Yes, he made mistakes, and yes, he advanced policies with which I disagreed. He wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t pure. No one is, but he and Biden were worlds better than McCain/Palin and Romney/Ryan, and I’m proud to say I voted for Obama and Biden twice.
Cory Booker, another oft-cast villain, summed up my sentiments really well when asked about Obama’s remarks:
“Let’s stop tearing each other down, let’s stop drawing artificial lines,” he added. “I’m tired in this election of hearing some people say, ‘Well if this person gets elected, I can’t support them,’ and then other people say, ‘If this person gets elected, I can’t support them.’ Are you kidding me?”
Omar tweetRep Ilhan Omar appears to want to pick a fight with about as classic a strawman as I’ve seen in a long time.
When did Obama say in his remarks that….
….healthcare is NOT a human right?
….he DOESN’T want future generations to live on a healthy planet?
….student debt shouldn’t be cancelled?
….he opposes a $15/hour minimum wage?
….he opposes gun reform?
….he thinks families belong in cages?
That tweet, in my view, is the height of intellectual dishonesty. It causes me to call into question what I had begun to believe was Rep Omar’s thoughtfulness, mindfulness, and authenticity.
Do I think Obama probably meant Sanders and Warren and their supporters more than Booker, Buttigieg or Biden, and their “wings” of the Democratic Party?
Yes, of course.
(But, be sure to read my Comment for a contextual analysis of Obama’s remarks.)
That, however, doesn’t excuse the mistake I think “the activist wing of the party” is making; reacting with outrage with Obama.
I can just picture lots of Democrats – actual rank-and-file Democrats who have been registered with the Party for years and decades – seeing this hashtag and asking themselves, “What the fuck? How the hell can people who call themselves progressives now be attacking Obama? How does their outrage with Obama help? How is that outrage with Obama going to get more Democratic voters to the polls so that piece of shit squatting in the White House is run out of town and, hopefully, into a prison jumpsuit?”
I’m asking those same questions.
What worries me is how this attack on Obama looks to be another example of out-of-control and inexplicable purity testing that I saw in 2016 and that I see more and more of all the time coming only really from one camp – my fellow Sanders supporters.
I really don’t see how that’s supposed to work and to what end.
I’m not saying we surrender. I’m not even saying that we have to compromise on everything, but compromise is how democracy works. No one elected leader, and no one group of voters, gets their way on everything. Not in a democracy.
Yes, we can and should stand on our principles, our values, and our desires for sweeping, meaningful, and overdue change. I just think we should do that without casting everyone who doesn’t agree 100% with us as villains.
That most certainly includes the last Democratic president.
Trump, Republican voters, and GOP politicians who are willing members of his cult are the real villains. Let’s focus our outrage at them, not on Obama.
And, we must remember this:
There’s a difference between imperfect allies and actual enemies.
We will need those imperfect allies next November.

Imperfect allies versus actual enemies

(This is a redacted post from a Facebook Group I’m in. It was the OP’s comments and a few that followed that inspired this response from me.)

Thanks for your post, Lenard. It got me thinking. (This is pretty long. Sorry.)

Hillary - he is nuts meme

 
I don’t know if you mean this literally, Lenard, but you seem to be stating that the DNC picks a president’s running mate. I suspect they have some influence with the candidate. Such decisions are rarely – and shouldn’t be – made in a vacuum solely by the candidate. Ultimately, though, it is the candidate’s decision to make, so chastising the DNC for not putting Bernie on the ticket, with apologies, makes very little sense.
 
That said, having him on the ticket got me thinking.
 
How and why would having Sanders as Clinton’s VP have changed the outcome?
 
Did leaving him off exasperate voter apathy and disillusionment?
 
Perhaps, but turnout in 2016 according to FairVote (https://www.fairvote.org/voter_turnout#voter_turnout_101) was actually pretty good comparatively speaking.
 
That’s not to say that this country doesn’t have a problem with apathy as evidenced by the United States of Apathy (https://www.citylab.com/life/2018/11/voter-turnout-midterm-election-statistics-map/574939/), but we should remember that Trump lost the general by 3 million. That’s a wide margin even if only 60% of eligible voters voted.
 
We also mustn’t forget that he only won the EC thanks to 77,000 voters in PA, MI, and WI.
 
Which leads me to this question; would those 77,000 have voted for Clinton with Bernie as VP?
 
Seems unlikely to me thanks in no small part to the hate on both the Right and on the Left for Hillary, the latter thanks in no small measure to die-hard Sanders supporters who then refused to vote the way Sanders asked them to, and that was for Hillary.
 
So, if we do conclude and concede that turnout would have been even greater for Hillary across the board but especially in the battleground states with Bernie on the ticket, does this mean that “Sanders voters” in those places who refused to join me as a Sanders supporter in voting for Clinton are now taking responsibility for Trump?
 
Seriously, if you call yourself a liberal or progressive or Sanders supporter, and you didn’t vote for Clinton as Bernie asked – begged – us to do, for whom did you vote, why, and will you do it again?
 
The reality was there were two choices in 2016. Two.
 
One was Trump and the other wasn’t.
 
We all knew and understood that. It’s simply intellectually dishonest to argue otherwise.
 
I get that if you live in a “safely” blue state like CA, you feel safe voting for Jill or Rocky or whomever, but that safety is afforded you only because the vast majority of your neighbors are doing what they believe and they know they must do. This isn’t an insult, it’s just how I see it nowadays. Voting your conscious is all well and good, until it isn’t for anyone but you.
 
Now the big question. Are some Sanders supporters becoming cultists? It seems so to me.
 
Look, I’m a Sanders supporter. What worries me is what I’m seeing in other FB groups that are total hardcore pro-Sanders Groups.
 
Their demand of the DNC distills down to this: “Give us Sanders, or you’ll get more scorched earth.”
 
This raises three questions for me.
 
1. Do they think the DNC controls who runs for office?
 
2. Whom do they think they’re hurting by refusing to vote for the Democrat on the ballot?
 
3. Why would anyone take conscious actions to perpetuate what we have now with Trump in office?
 
The answers I come to are framed by what starts to look to me as the same basic thinking as Trump’s cult, and that starts with making demands for change without understanding how things work. The second is to willfully decide to vote against oneself and everyone else without regard for the adverse affects just so they can pat themselves on the back for “winning” while putting someone they love into power as self-affirmation that they’re right and everyone else is wrong.
 
This is how Trump’s cult behaves. It’s as if they thought he would take office, wave a magic wand, and everything he – and they – wanted would become real. Well, I can’t help looking at many of my fellow Sanders supporters and concluding they believe the same would be true with Sanders in the White House. We all know that’s not how politics or our form of government works.
 
As for the DNC’s role in all of this, I have to say it’s childish to keep demanding that the DNC give us what we want or we’ll punish them at the polls.
 
Who is it that gets punished?
 
Is it the rich and powerful at the top? That would be silly and naive to believe.
 
Is it the Democratic politician who loses the election? Do you mean the people who are our best, albeit imperfect, allies but who aren’t actual enemies like Republican candidates? They’ll go back to doing whatever it is they were doing, or they’ll get a job on K Street, or whatever, but they’ll be fine. You aren’t “hurting” them, either.
 
No, the people who are hurt when Democrats lose and Republicans win are everyone outside the One Percent, and especially those who aren’t cisgender, white, evangelical, men.
 
We on the Left need to stop being our own worst enemies. We need to stop talking about the DNC as if it were a cabal of evil scientists building candidates out of corporatist Democratic body parts in a lab. Real people decide whether or not to run for office. Those real people must decide to run as Democrats or Republicans, Greens or Libertarians, or as Independents.
 
(Yes, here it comes.)
 
Sanders – for all the love and respect I have for him – is NOT a Democrat. If he were perfectly true to his stated beliefs, he would’ve run as an Independent. No one is perfect.
 
That’s why I suggest that we and he should stop pretending he’s a Democrat. I’d respect the hardcore Sanders-supporting Democratic Party haters more if they started calling Bernie out for being a Democrat of Convenience. After all, many of them refused to follow his advice to vote for Hillary, so shouldn’t they be attacking him for that and his convenient relationship with the DNC? Shouldn’t they be demanding that he run as an Independent? I’ll guess we’ll know soon enough.
 
I think we on the Left should be more supportive of the Democratic Party. I think we should vote for Democrats because they are clearly our strongest, albeit imperfect, allies against the actual enemies of Trump and the GOP. No, the Dems aren’t perfect. No one is, but they are exponentially stronger than any other Party other than the GOP.
 
Something else to remember about 2016 is that Bernie lost the primary in a race that wasn’t close.
 
The lesson to be learned is NOT that the DNC wasn’t supportive enough of him. I sometimes get the sense that many of my fellow Sanders supporters actually believe the DNC capable of stealing 3 million primary votes. Yes, yes, she had the superdelagates locked up early, and Nevada, and yada yada yada, but all I’ll say to all of that is that Sanders wasn’t a Democrat until it was convenient for him to register as one. What the hell did he and we expect, a loving embrace from the rank-and-file members and the leaders of a Party he has spent almost as much of his career pillorying as he has Republicans?
 
Again, if Bernie’s going to be a voice of independence from corrupt Parties, than he should run independent of them.
 
In my view, this is the absolute most important thing to remember about the primary: More people chose Hillary over Bernie. That’s how the system works.
 
So, if the Democratic candidates on your ballot aren’t liberal or progressive enough for you, then run for office yourself, but let’s stop this arsonist’s strategy of wanting to burn down the Democratic Party because the people who choose to operate within it and who choose to run as representatives of it aren’t pure enough for us. If that’s how you feel, then join the Party, run for office, and change it from the inside; otherwise, what makes you think you should have a voice in how the Party operates and who runs under its banner? Talk about privilege.
 
And, if you’re left with another choice in 2020 that doesn’t include Sanders and you vote for anyone but the Democrat at least have the courage to publicly own it. I see precious few Sanders supporters who claim to despise the Democratic Party with the courage to reveal for whom they did cast their vote. I’m proud to say that I registered for the first time in my life as a Democrat so that I could vote for Bernie in the closed PA primary. I’m just as proud to say that I voted for Hillary.
 
No one is perfect. My view is that the Left needs to find a way to coalesce and to stop being our own worst enemies by constantly fighting intra-movement purity battles. Yes, the Democratic Party should be more Liberal with a capital “L”, but how does attacking it or refusing to work with and within it lead to the change you want? It doesn’t.
 
I think that we must remember that the Left has a lot of imperfect friends and allies in the Democratic Party.
 

We have none in the Republican Party.

What Costco has to teach the 99-percenters who think they’re Republicans

It’s not complicated. Every retailer, restaurant, and corporation in America can do what Costco is doing, but they don’t.

Costco

Why is that?

I think it’s because the people who own and run these businesses refuse to look beyond next quarter’s financial statements. Their thought processes, their vision, and their values don’t include ways to share their wealth with their workers.

They are greedy, selfish, sons-of-bitches who want us to think that’s just how capitalism works.

That also seems to be how today’s conservatives who are outside the 1% think, too. What other explanation can there be for why they think they are Republicans?

Conservatives Don’t Seem to Understand Reality

Costco clearly has leaders, a board of directors, and shareholders who are visionary and courageous enough to implement ethical and moral business strategies that are profitable AND which include a more equitable distribution of those profits to workers in the form of livable wages.

Contrast that with the lies we’re told by Wall Street, by Big Business shills like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurant Association and the National Federation of Independent Business, by libertarian mythologists like Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute, and by Republican politicians who keep claiming that trickle-down economics works, that we should abolish a minimum wage and leave compensation to market forces, and that government interference and over-reach are stifling business and our economy.

How is it that conservatives don’t get that all of that is, of course, complete and total bullshit?

How is it that conservatives who make less than $340,000.00 – what it takes to be in the 1% – insist on voting for Republicans and their failed policies which have ALWAYS been designed to benefit the rich and powerful first and foremost?

Liberals: Time to “Welcome Their Hatred”

We need leaders like Bernie Sanders who welcome the hatred of Wall Street and Big Money.

Compare Bernie

 

We need people like Lawrence Lessig as politicians who represent us and who are willing and eager to confront Big Money for their lies and their failures.

 

As individuals, we also must welcome the hatred of the rich and powerful. We need to find the courage to band together. We need to shine light on the fact that conservatism and Republican policy is to blame for where we are now as a nation and as a society.

More than anything, we liberals need to stop surrendering to the all-too-common liberal weakness of always wanting to find compromise.

No more compromises. It’s how we got to this sorry state of affairs. We let conservatives move the center further and further to the right by acquiescing to their demands and our own desire to avoid confrontation and conflict.

No more.

Liberals didn’t elect Reagan and two Bushes. Liberals didn’t cause banks to fail. Liberals didn’t demand that government shrink and corporations become less and less regulated. Liberals didn’t funnel all of the recovery and wealth to only the absolute richest among us.

We liberals need to continue to point out these and all the inconvenient truths that stem from conservatism (and its absurdly juvenile and greed-driven stepbrother, libetarianism).

Our fellow citizens who self-identify as conservatives need to hear from us whether they want to or not. They need to hear the truth; that they are also part of the ever-shrinking middle class and the ever-growing class of working poor.

They need to hear from us liberals that they are wrong – plain and dead wrong – for voting for ANY Republican anywhere and at any level of government.

They need to keep hearing it. Conservative (and much of libertarian) ideology that informs and drives Republican policies have unequivocally been proven to be dead wrong for everyone on every issue, and that includes economic issues. That is true, of course, for everyone except for the rich and powerful.

The Parties Are NOT The Same

It’s pretty simple and absolutely obvious. The GOP is the party of big business and the rich.

For those who are tempted to trot out the b.s. false equivalence that, “Both parties are the same,” save it. As far as I’m concerned, you’re second in line as the greatest obstacle to making real progress in this country. You give Republicans cover, and you need to stop it.

Number one on the list of obstacles are actually those Americans living in households with adjusted gross incomes of less than $340,000.00 per year who insist that they are Republicans and who vote for Republicans. I have news for them. They are not in the 1%. The conservatives in the 99% mean precisely nothing to Republicans except as useful fools who can be counted on to vote for them.

Organized Labor Is the Path to Prosperity

It’s absolutely stunning that conservatives aren’t banding together with the rest of us in the middle class in support of organized labor. History proves that stronger unions are the path to better and higher standards of living for everyone.

It bears repeating.

If you make less than 340-grand and think unions are somehow the problem and Republicans are the answer, then you not only don’t understand reality, you’re the biggest obstacle to prosperity we have right now in America.

So, how about it, conservatives?

How about you wake up and stop voting against yourselves and the rest of us?

You’ll thank yourself and, more importantly, so will future generations.

95 percent

——

Additional Reading:

Strengthen Unions

Wealth Inequality in America

Top 1 percent: How much do they earn?

Capital Eye Opener, March 8: The Fight Over Minimum Wage, and Rand’s Partisan Appeal

New Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Major Minimum Wage Increase

Activists Around the US Fight to Raise the Minimum Wage