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Hillary, Bernie, and the Progressive Question

Hillary, Bernie, and the Progressive Question

Ruth Conniff

It was fascinating to watch Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders duke it out in the New Hampshire debate over who is a progressive.

With young voters overwhelmingly supporting Sanders’s call for a “political revolution,” and Clinton objecting to being called “the establishment candidate,” it is clear that a grassroots, populist movement is having a big impact on Democratic presidential politics.

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The misogyny attacks are probably a reality, but who knows for sure where they are coming from and who cares. It happened when Clinton ran against Obama and it’s unfortunate, but there are plenty of misogynists out there and it should have been expected. It seems to me that Bernie Sanders is being slandered too for being too old, Jewish and unrefined, but he’s not complaining. I am the only person I know who has voted for a woman for president, (Jill Stein). I’ll never vote for Hillary and it’s not because I’m a misogynist.


“I am a progressive who gets things done.”

Let’s do a little Chomsky transform on this phrase:

Clinton claims to be a Progressive. On the surface she’s associating herself with the Progressive movements of the past that aimed to improve the lot of the common folk.

When she adds the qualifier: “who gets things done” she completely changes the meaning contained in the first part of her statement. She’s implying most Progressives don’t get things done. We can’t tell if she’s implying that she’s the only Progressive who is capable of getting things done. It’s clear she didn’t mention any contemporary Progressives who are getting things done. In order to understand what this statement in its entirety means we have to look at what those things that she got done actually were.

I’ll leave that to those interested in following that line of reasoning to work out. I’ll focus on this, instead:

It is entirely truthful to state that Progressives are not getting much done these days. Why is that? In today’s corporate-funded political system the deck is stacked against the common folk. Working class and middle class families, the elderly, the young, communities of color and/or communities predominately populated by those at the lower end of the socio-economic scale, in fact, the majority of Americans who are the common, politically unconnected folk who are no longer represented by their national and state governments.

Progressive issues are being co-opted by the political establishment. The politicians take control, rewrite the issue, and pass mutant legislation that turns the issue on its head and makes things worse for the common folk. The Affordable Care Act is a chief example. My sister, who is now covered by Medicare, reports the cost of her health insurance rates increased by $50 per month on January 1st… Living on a fixed income, she cannot easily absorb this increased expense.

The only Progressive issue that matters these days is the degree to which our political system has become corrupted, and the need to institute real and actual reforms to reverse the concentration of political and economic power special interests currently hold. Effectively address that issue and the rest will fall in line.

The bottom line is this, IMO: Hillary claims to be a Progressive, then pivots and changes the definition of what Progressive means. She’s not claiming she accomplished Progressive goals; she’s claiming she holds to Progressive ideals and willingly compromised those ideals in order to get something, anything, accomplished regardless of how badly that accomplishment damages the basic Progressive goal of improving the lot of all Americans.


I voted for Cynthia McKinney. Now you know two.

What we’re witnessing is Hillary claiming Sanders is unfairly attacking her for accepting payments (otherwise known as bribes) from the rabid banking industry. Then she turns around and plays the gender card, emphasizing the false importance of putting a woman in the White House.

Then she sends her daughter and husband out to attack Sanders.

As Sanders’ rightfully pointed out, she has supported the establishment on major issues that have led the nation down the wrong path when it comes to the welfare of the average American.


I and at least two other men I personally know voted for Stein and will do so again if Clinton is the nominee.


If Clinton’s a progressive so was Reagan.


Progressives don’t even think Bernie Sanders is progressive enough. He doesn’t ever mention the military-industrial complex as if Eisenhower never warned about it years ago. He voted every time to fund the Iraq War. He voted for American military invention a few times. He supports drone strikes against so-called “high-value targets.” He supports US bombing in Syria and Iraq… So is he really a progressive? I guess it depends on who is asking the question.


“Women can be as unfeeling and as violent as any man can be”.

Can you say Margaret Thatcher ?


I don’t understand how single-payer became a progressive goal. Sanders, Clinton, and Obama all support universal health care coverage. A number of European countries such as France with universal health care coverage do not have a single-payer system but a hybrid system. Democrats are being unnecessarily divided on this issue. They should unite over universal health care coverage. There is no reason for one side to identify with single-payer. There is really no good justification for that. It appears to be a divide and conquer campaign strategy and nothing more.

The real fight is for control of the U.S. Government. The military-industrial-congressional complex (the complete D.W. Eisenhower quote) has been running things in the U.S. without opposition since the end of WW II with a short burp during the Carter years. This is the actual foe of progressiveism. The structure that is created, owned and operated by big money has set its sights on those who want the U.S. to be of, by and for the people. This means having the various elements do what their owners want and expect. This is why we have plenty of TV air time for the preferred candidates and any who oppose the fascists union of business and corporations must be silenced or at least minimialized. After all if those who oppose this cabal are not allowed to have their ideas and arguments heard, they must be insignificant and inconsequential.

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Can you explain the difference between universal health care coverage and single payer health care system?

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Sick of you and others of your ilk trying to brand votes for general budget bills as support for the Military/Industrial complex.

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That isn’t my view. I was just trying to point out that for some progressives taking on the MIC is a must. As well as claiming the US is an aggressive empire is to be blamed for almost every conflict in the world as it maintains its empire. Personally I pretty much agree with Sander’s foreign policy which is basically Obama’s policy. I was just trying to point out that different progressives have different perspectives and that for some progressives Bernie might not even be considered progressive. It is hard to vote against these funding bills because they are presented as funding the troops who are in harms way. Once the troops are deployed you pretty much have to fund them.

You don’t pose these questions out of some sense of principle, as it is all just a big game to you. You are here to promote Hillary Clinton and her corporate sponsors. That much is crystal clear.


Clinton and Obama support a system that is primarily one of healthcare delivery for profit. You don’t understand that fact?


Hillary isn’t a progressive, just like her husband isn’t a democrat. Hillary is just like her ol man, 'Slick Willie", it’s throw them a bone and tell the masses to go away and leave us alone, that’s Hillary’s idea of progressivism! One step forward, three democratic steps back! She will always be supported by the MSNBC crowd, no matter what! Rachel Maddow wearing her GE, Comcast and HRC-2016 logo’s giving Hillary a national interview the night before the New Hampshire Primary election and not offering Bernie Sanders equal time! Hillary’s “Dark Coven” strikes again. Oh, I’m sorryy, that’s derogatory to witch’s isn’t it!

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Great points, however Clinton doesn’t disagree with Bernie on these positions. On every other issue Bernie is progressive and Clinton is not.

Bernie is not my idea of an ideal candidate. I’ll bite for him in the primaries and if he wins I likely won’t vote for him in the presidential election. Why? B/c I don’t live in anything close to a swing state. If that miraculously changes before election day I’ll reconsider but otherwise I’ll be voting for Stein.

Now if HRC wins the primary I don’t care if my state starts swinging. I’ll be voting for Jill Stein. I’ll consider voting for Bernie in the presidential election if he becomes an official third party candidate after losing to HRC.

Obama had the chance to push real health care reform through but he chose a law written by special interests. Let’s not lie to ourselves.

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Clinton or should I say the Clinton’s are neo-liberals and are anything but Progressives for the most part. I say for the most part because Bill did do one Progressive thing in his first term he raised taxes on the wealthy. That was arguably Progressive in a very rudimentary way, besides that he pretty much delivered for the neo-liberal cause. His two biggest neo-liberal moves being the ending of Glass-Steagal and welfare reform ( ending AID.) His crime bills had the effect of filling the privatizing jail system with millions of mostly young black men arrested for petty drug offenses. Add it all up and it’s a wonder why the African American community has any affection for the Clintons?

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