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Democratic Primaries in the Shadow of Neoliberalism


Democratic Primaries in the Shadow of Neoliberalism

David Coates

There is an understandable tendency, when in the thick of a long set of presidential primaries, to treat all of them simply as exercises in the choice between individual candidates, and to make them as much about character as about policy. There is also an understandable tendency to assume that what is at stake in these primaries is purely an American matter with entirely domestic roots.


Dear Hillary,
You're out of touch
I'm out of time
But I'm out of my head when you're still around

(Apologies to Hall & Oates)


Clinton is solidly committed to both neoliberalism AND neoconservatism.

Any campaign rhetoric to the contrary is strategic lying.

This article is delusional pabulum.


"... only if the depth of her rupture with her own past is unambiguously clear — will the vast majority of those mobilized by Bernie Sanders act as willing foot-soldiers in the electoral battle to save America from a Trump presidency. And she will need those foot-soldiers."

My own rule of thumb when reading articles such as this is to pose a hypothetical question, "What would be the reaction to this article if read at one of Bernie's campaign rallies? How many of the thousands present yesterday at Bernie's rallies in California are likely to be willing "foot-soldiers?" I doubt very many will be knocking on doors, or making calls, for Hillary. The notion that the enthusiasm of the Bernie campaign will be, or can be, transferred to Hillary is foolishness.

Judas priest! even MSNBC last night led with a story about HIllary's horrible numbers in head to head match ups with The Donald! Mr. Coates, IMHO, it ain't wise to look to Bernie supporters to pull HIllary's chestnuts out of the fire, and I don't think the firewalls she does have are enough to win the election.


"List B (which is basically the blocked economic policy of the Obama presidency)" - I don't think so. This is the meme from Obomber: "I would have fulfilled all my promises, but oh, poor me, I was blocked." No way, not even close, not buying it.


I think Hillary Clinton will stick to more left positions if she can get the people backing Sanders to support her. If she can't get their support she will have to look for support elsewhere which means tirangulation to have any chance to win. Probably she will have to go harder after white working class voters or the so-called Reagan Democrats who now seem to be Republicans. I think it will be up to Bernie's supporters which way she goes assuming she does wind up being the nominee. Given her activist background in working for the causes of children I think she is fairly comfortable moving left but her number one priority has to be defeating Trump in the general election.


Lrx, planting another Clinton campaign meme:
"Clinton's progressiveness is up to Sanders' supporters."

You are a joke.

EDIT: Specifically: "... if [Clinton] can get the people backing Sanders to support her..."

Yup, Clinton is working hard to win the backing of Sanders' supporters, insulting and abusing them at every opportunity. But it's up to Sanders' supporters to back Clinton!


i read the whole article. Any specific points or themes you think i'm missing?


She will need them alright. But they won't be there because she has already shown us she has no intention of changing and thinks we are nuts for wanting her to. She mistakenly thinks Trump is so bad we will fall in line behind her but she has wrapped herself with Obama, who has been a bitter disappointment, and Kissinger and Albright, who we know are war mongers, Her and the DNC have shown how corrupt they can be to get her into office, which is a slap in the face of Democrats who may have voted for her but won't now seeing all the corruption. We've known for months now that Bernie is stronger against Trump but they ignore that and try to make it seem like she is the only one to do the job. They think they have fooled us but they have only fooled themselves. If she loses to Trump it's on them, not us, and it's not our job to save her. Bernie may have to endorse her if she's appointed but he has said she will have to earn our votes and that is now an impossibility.


Well, i was very surprised to read your first comment, given your history.

My first post i thought was clear about what i find delusional about Coates' assessment of Clinton. Here's the specific cite, from his closing paragraph:

"Reassuring her progressive supporters that she will not do any of this is therefore a vital task for her between now and November, because only if that reassurance is forthcoming — only if the depth of her rupture with her own past is unambiguously clear — will the vast majority of those mobilized by Bernie Sanders act as willing foot-soldiers in the electoral battle to save America from a Trump presidency."

i still think my first post is clear about this, but to elaborate a bit:

How can Coates even entertain such a question? We know who Clinton is, and on whose behalf she operates. Coates' question is not framed as a rhetorical question, but a genuine question. There is no question on this matter. Any "forthcoming reassurance" from Clinton is strategic lying.

EDIT to add:
Also, Coates outlines the history of the British Labour and US Democratic sell-out to the looting class, as if it made sense. No, when you are losing the good fight, you do not "win" by abandoning the foundation of your principles. That's not "good strategy" that's selling out your principles.


Climate Change, Climate Justice, Climate Costs - Climate Policies?

Just let the taxpayers clean up the messes of fossil fuels like we've been doing for 100 years. I realized that fossil fuels brought us out of the dark ages but they will send us back into the darker ages if something is not done NOW!


Bull. Just vote for her and see what happens. Most of us can see her more clearly than you.


While my own assessment of this article was not quite as dismissive as yours (I think the succinct survey of neoliberalism - esp. the lists - is useful.), I did chafe at the professor's failure to contextualize the accommodations of both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama as what they actually were: back-stabbing betrayals of their constituents after bait-and-switch campaigns.

(Side note: When we finally get around to our long-overdue Jeffersonian house-cleaning, we should probably make campaigning based on lies a capital offense. :smiling_imp: )

By the final paragraph I agreed with you 100%:

Reassuring her progressive supporters that she will not do any of this is therefore a vital task for her between now and November, because only if that reassurance is forthcoming — only if the depth of her rupture with her own past is unambiguously clear — will the vast majority of those mobilized by Bernie Sanders act as willing foot-soldiers in the electoral battle...

(OK, another thing that bugged me about this article was the way he massacred the word "progressive." Using it in the same sentence with either of the Clintons or with Tony Blair just should not be allowed, other than in comedy.)

The main point, though, is that "her rupture with her own past" being "unambiguously clear" is an impossibility. After the aforementioned neoliberal Democrat presidents, how could any progressive possibly trust her?


I also liked the early analysis in the article, but reject the conclusion.

I no longer identify as a progressive. Let the Democratic Party have their silly word. Progress will not resolve nuclear destruction or catastrophic climate change, as these many years of incremental change reveal. I am now an American revolutionary of the US, because transformative change is required.


It's like Waiting for Godot, not coming. When you have a candidate so flexible that she has been on each side of almost every issue and can reverse herself at any time, what you have is a vampire--she's not there, there's nothing for a mirror to reflect.

Thankfully, the FBI investigation of her operating her own secret government with her private server will likely soon end her presidential ambitions. (Though we should expect the DNC to try to slip Biden in on us rather than what the people want).

CD isn't covering the email server, but the conservative media certainly is. Here's Karl Rove today from the WSJ:

"Still, she must be concerned about losing the FBI primary. If the bureau recommends that the Justice Department indict Mrs. Clinton or close aides like Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin or Jake Sullivan for acting with gross negligence—disregard of known or easily anticipated risks—in sending classified information over a private email server, the campaign could be completely scrambled."

May it be so.


Like her having sat on the board for Walmart for five years is a sign from her past that she will lean to the left and taking such huge sums from Wall St signifies that she intends to be more liberal? Lol


Your Biden scenario puts the (on the surface, stupid) DNC strategy of viciously demonizing Sanders and his supporters in a more realistic light:

Anticipating the very real possibility of the self-destruction of the Clinton campaign, they don't want Sanders standing ready. They want him to have already conceded, "for party unity," so they can stand up a confirmed neoliberal instead.



Are you saying she will go left if the polls support it? OK, I'll say I support her if I get asked in a poll. Then we'll see if she moves left. Of course, that means in Nov I will have to trust her new words and not her past actions, which is ridiculous...


Thank you for the laugh, sir/madam.
It is always nice to start the day with a healthy chuckle over one's morning coffee, and there is far too little humour of this quality found here on a consistent basis. Bravo!


For those who didn't see Bernie's rally in Vallejo last night, it was one for the ages. 50 minutes of fire and truth. This is what a real American hero looks like fighting for the poor, the tired, the huddled masses, the working families of this country. This is what history will remember of the 2016 election. This is the man who began the end of the neoliberal nightmare.