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Bernie Sanders: A Moment of Truth for Democrats


#1

Bernie Sanders: A Moment of Truth for Democrats

Jeff Faux
The politicians, plutocrats and pundits of the Democratic Party establishment have no answer to Bernie Sanders' blistering critique of their failure to defend the interests of the voters who have kept them in power. Neither have they a substantive case against his policy agenda, which would shift government from working for the rich to working for the rest of us. Nor has it been easy for them to mount a personal attack on someone who says what he believes and acts on what he says.


#2

I have to laugh - all these things he says about the Dems, Green have been saying for years, and have offered alternatives, better ones than Bernie - the difference - well, he gets a byline in a "prog" publication - we got/get stuck somewhere in a mish-mash of comments - we could have had all, or a lot of this stuff, years ago, but all the media, both MSM and most of so called "alternative" media were/are interested in is keeping the reins of power in the hands of the duopoly - that "media" has been obstructing prog progress for years ...

Especially funny is his insistence that the "can't win" routine is nonsense - something that folks have thrown at 3rd parties forever, and still do ... and something i, for one, have been calling nonsense for years, as well, and he takes a roundabout swipe at the LOTE argument, as well, which is Stein has whacked as well though from a slightly different angle ...

But however this all turns out - i will archive this piece, and pull it out when the inevitable "can't win" and LOTE arguments are inevitably turned out again in the service of another duopoly candidate (smile) ....


#3

You understand that voting systems can create duopolies?

When discussing candidates and parties in the USA, it's important to overtly recognize that the voting system that dominates in the USA pretty much guarantees a duopoly. The "first-past-the-post" system - in which voters can express an opinion on only one candidate in each race, and a simple plurality will win - makes it virtually inevitable that two parties will come to dominate elections.

You regularly assert along the lines of "Third party candidates can win. We just have to vote for them," without acknowledging that options and outcomes are powerfully skewed by the voting system. It's actually reasonable and honest when voters recognize the reality that their votes under this system are "wasted."

If you're interested in changing the voting system, or understanding the powerful effects that voting systems have, check out www.electology.org.


#4

Thanks, Jeff. I really, really hope that all like-minded third party people can at least vote for Sanders to be the nominee for President, and then decide again in the general.

But then, I've wanted third parties to coalesce around a candidate for a while now.


#6

"Hillary's recent drop in the polls, driven by a dramatic decline in the support of women..."
Sexism is a serious centuries-old issue, for sure, but just maybe Clinton's poll slide has more to do with the increased exposure paid for by her famously large war chest that is now showing more voters what she is.


#7

"Sanders has no chance with this critical democratic constituency."

True, because the democratic party is the fake opposition. HRC, Biden and most of the rest are nothing less than Wall Street stooges. And of course, Bernie is an anathema to Wall Street.


#8

I am amazed at how out of touch the Clinton campaign is this year. Every "relaunch" is a disaster. They are appealing to Kim Kardashian Dems but totally missing the mark with everyone else. It has gotten to the point where I find her so insulting I can't say that I would vote for her if she were to get the nomination. Further, it has nothing to do with the GOP campaign against her or e-mails. It has to do with the way she is campaigning. The fact that while Sanders was walking a picket line with striking workers she was posting selfies with Kim Kardashian. The fact that her surrogates have flooded feminist pages with articles that suggest that if one doesn't vote for the "first woman president" one is sexist - which isn't feminism and is insulting. The fact that her surrogates are publishing articles in general that are based on the idea that the status quo is inevitable. Well, the status quo is intolerable and unsustainable. She is the wrong candidate. She is not right for the times we are living in.


#9

... I checked out your link. It's an interesting concept, however the over all emphasis seems to be skewed towards the fact that with 'approval voting,' we will no longer need to worry about those extreme left and right wing candidates sneaking in under the wire. Only good, solid, electable 'moderates' will rise to the top in any future elections. The problem with this philosophy is that the politics of this country has shifted so far to the right, that even a moderate democrat is a right wing politician. A moderate republican would be much more desirable than an extreme republican -but they would still be to the right of the moderate democrat. Either way, 'approval voting' will only result in moderate right wingers -whether democrat or republican...
... Personally -to my way of activist thinking- a moderate, centrist democrat, is even worse than a moderate, centrist republican (if there even is such a creature), simply because they have (seemingly) sold out their convictions, as well as their base, for this nebulous concept called 'electability...' (that might not be a word, but you don't get a vote... :smile:
... I'm all for any new ways of re-envisioning this particle zoo of ours -I just don't see 'approval voting' as a serious part of that vision...


#10

Well said. If Sanders isn't on the ballot, I'm writing his name in. It's time to occupy this election.


#11

With Sanders' surging poll numbers Hillary must be experiencing a horrible feeling of deja vu.


#12

Why write him in? At the point he isn't on the ballot he hasn't a chance. If Sanders isn't on the ballot and Jill Stein is, I'll vote for Stein. I'd rather see Sanders in office but if there's no chance of that, why not show a little support for the Greens? We'd certainly be better off with a progressive alternative to the duopoly.


#13

Can you point to the information that supports your conclusion that approval voting skews "moderate"?

Note that that is different than recognizing that the existing plurality system can reward extreme positions from candidates in the duopoly who seek to capture the narrow slices of the electorate who are true believers in extreme positions.

Ending the stupid plurality system and instituting a proven voting system that allows all candidates to stake out their actual positions, with no fear of a "spoiler effect" or "wasted votes," does not skew moderate. Approval voting - and numerous other voting systems that are vastly superior to the deep distortions embodied in the current plurality system - allows a full range of candidates and positions to be put forward and explained.


#14

Sorry, don't buy it - the Reps were originally a "third party", but they came up in the days when folks didn't believe in the "inevitability" of a duopoly ....

I understand all the points you make - but the fact is that when there are, indeed, choices on a ballot, we have the option of choosing them - the bottom line, after all the "rationale" brought to bear on the "inevitability" of a duopoly, it is our choices that determine who wins and we can choose otherwise - the fact that we don't, i maintain, has a great deal to do with the fact that folks have allowed themselves to be convinced that they don't have a choice, when, in fact, they do ...

As far as approval voting, or any of the other "fixes" suggested, or are argued that we "need" before we can get out of the fix we are in - none of them will come into play as long as the duopoly is in power - they like it just the way it is ...

We can toss them out now, if we but choose to ...


#15

Doesn't really matter if you buy it or not, it's the reality of the effect that plurality voting has.

Yes you can point to one instance of a third party overcoming the deep duopolistic bias of the US system. Immediately after which, the system reoriented around the new duopoly. From which it has not emerged through over 150 years and, what 38 national campaigns?

The fact remains: A plurality voting "operating system" for elections VIRTUALLY GUARANTEES the emergence and dominance of a duopoly.


#16

Pat of the problem is the tendency towards "Instant gratification". Thrid parties can not be built overnight yet there always the insistence in any given election that "we need to vote for a party with a chance to win".

Here in Canada we once had the reform party. It was a party that formed when people not happy with the policies of the Progressive Conservative party broke away from the same and formed a party even further to the right. They gained seats for several election cycles but were never going to gain power yet people kept voting for them.

This lead to the Liberals winning election after election but reform party members did not just throw in the towel and say "well we got no chance of winning we have to elect a VIABLE party". They kept at it. The PC party could not win any election either and finally went to reform cap in hand proposing a merger. A new far to the right Conservative party was formed and now runs things,

We also have the NDP party which after many years of being a rump party and one rarely a threat to win more then 40 seats is now poised to take power. Again were people to follow the meme of "we must cast out vote for a party (person) that has a chance of winning the NDP would be very much like your Green party in the USA.

What you suggest in effect is little more then self fulfilling prophecy with a "Do not vote for third parties they can not win followed by Look at the last election no one voted for that third party proof they can never win"

Right now here in Canada with that same plurality system we have three parties all running neck and neck in the election all sittting at around 30 percent. The problem is of course thay have all shifted to the right meaning I will likely vote Green even though they have no chance of winning.


#17

... If you look just below the two introductory videos there is a Nine Point Category titled; 'Approval Voting Highlights.' The eighth one down simply states; 'Tends to elect more moderate winners.' If that was not stated, I would still make the same assertion. Our current elections are very much skewed towards moderate candidates 'today.' This concept really changes nothing -just more lipstick on that proverbial pig, as it were...

... Just saying this, does not necessarily make it so...

... There may be more viable alternatives, however one that emphasizes a more moderate approach to these very immoderate problems plaguing our planet is simply one I cannot get behind...


#18

You can make whatever assertions you want, but no one is working on this issue in order to whitewash the "very immoderate problems plaguing our planet." Your assertions about the outcomes or goals of various voting systems don't make the present system functional, and they don't make any other system "lipstick on a pig." Yes there are viable alternatives, and approval voting is among the best. The plurality voting system is the worst of all possible systems for implementing the "will of the voters." You're free to cling to plurality voting, and to oppose approval voting because you read a trigger word on a website. But i'd like to hear what your preferred voting system is.

All that said, party politics and electoral politics are not the cutting edge of radical or progressive social, political and economic change. Mass organizing outside of electoral politics is key to actually winning anything. Candidates and campaigns will react to mass movements, but they are not going to be leading the development of any such mass movement.


#19

I voted for Stein in the past. Feeling good is nice and I certainly won't vote for Clinton but I think we could get enough folks to vote for Sanders to either elect him or to thoroughly discredit the process. That isn't true of Stein.


#20

I voted Stein last time, and that is the last time. I will no longer go through the motions for the sake of going through the motions.


#21

That's my intent. Either Bernie or Jill. NEVER Hillary. F#$% Hillary. I have no problem with a woman being POTUS, just never THAT woman.