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Norman Solomon vs. Tom Hayden on Sanders vs. Clinton


Norman Solomon vs. Tom Hayden on Sanders vs. Clinton

Norman Solomon, Tom Hayden

With the California primary fast approaching, Berkeley-based KPFA Radio invited Hillary Clinton supporter Tom Hayden and Bernie Sanders supporter Norman Solomon to debate. Hayden declined to participate in a direct debate but agreed to back-to-back live segments, which aired on May 31. The opening comments from Hayden and Solomon are interspersed below.


Shills and sellouts aside, The DNC is reconsidering Clinton as a candidate.


From Hayden: "plans have to be laid now to construct a new resistance to the wars, and it has to include congressional resistance, and that alone will move her" Where have we heard that before? Obama has bombed 7 countries in office. Hillary will do more of the same.

Shame on you Mr. Hayden.


Yes .. two people in love with the sound of what they’re saying. Doesn’t take more than a few paragraphs to give up on the article. Don’t wanna waste an otherwise pleasant morning.


I know both these men, and my experience is they are among the most enlightened white men I've ever encountered. They also represent a mindset which many Sanders revolutionaries will have to overcome in order to succeed: the Democratic Party is somehow worth preserving. The notion that an independently funded and independent political party will somehow rise up from the growing democracy movement to take power appears to be a bridge too far.

I was aghast when Hayden endorsed Clinton because of her inevitability. And while I respect his decision to follow the desires of typically oppressed communities, Hayden is surely capable of making the case for why Bernie is actually better for those communities. Alternatively, he could take his lead from the young leaders in these communities who support Sanders; I and many others certainly have. Hayden will support the growing social movement, though.

Solomon is going to the convention as a Bernie delegate. I'm willing to bet that a significant number of Bernie delegates will vote for Clinton in the general election. They did get elected to become "Democratic" delegates after all. The California Democratic machine rivals any political machine on Earth, and it does require an element of support for Democrats to rise to the level of national delegate. I'm sure Solomon will stick to his guns for Bernie until the end, and be in the streets as part of the movement for change.

This election cycle has revealed all the cracks in the foundations of both major parties, and at the top of that list is a hubris and arrogance that prevents the Parties' leaderships from taking corrective measures. One thing is for sure, as this movement grows, it must include those who have spent their lives as anti-war and peace advocates, even if they did vote for Hillary Clinton. Best not to make enemies of potential allies, especially those we want to defect from the Democratic Party.


Disagreeing with Tiekert's assertion that Hayden is voting "by proxy" for Clinton, Hayden claims his support for Clinton is "based on long relationships". Hayden's Clinton support is more accurately characterized as groupthink that is endemic to professions, institutions and political parties, especially "typically oppressed communities" many of whom have a long history of being victims of affinity fraud (one of the most glaring perpetrators being Obama).

Groupthink is most often faith based and not evidence based, Clinton supporters at the caucus I participated in had only goupthink to contribute whereas Sanders supporters had more evidence than the two hour caucus session would allow to be presented.

Recall the Mark Twain quote flashed on the screen at the start of THE BIG SHORT:



Yes Carol, Hayden never does tell us where he has been getting his "numbers" from, does he ?

Hayden grabbing the "Trump is fascism" lifeline is his limpest excuse of all when you consider that fascism is one thing Clinton and Trump have in common.


The two party system is collapsing. The Republicans have long since descended into genuine psychosis, that is they have broken with reality. What happens to them is anyone's guess.
The Democratic leadership will never give up their power willingly. History shows that elites, comfortable in their sinecures, never relinquish them voluntarily. The Party is not morally defensible and is not worth saving.
Long term movements are messy, weather struggles and suffer defeats. So be it. What other choice is there? I see none.
In the meantime, I enjoy the voice of Kshama Sawant.




Most intelligent post in this thread. Thank you for this comment.


Yes, Gold and partisan blindness.


Neither man had a word to say about demonstrating in protest against the rigged game that has helped Hillary just barely squeak out a tiny lead going into California. Here is a Hayden that the young activist Hayden of the protest era in the sixties would have rejected as a quisling. Amazingly he still remembers that people oppose Bush/Cheney's endless war destabilization of the Mid East but he talks about forcing Clinton to do What? Force her how exactly? Hayden is dumbing down the left and mouthing palliatives instead of truth.

Solomon actively worked against Bernie and is one of the reasons it took so long for the left to embrace Bernie. He pushed that phony criticism of Bernie's foreign policy which took months for people to overcome yet he calls what he did 'critical support'? He remains a minor professional left person who needs a job and struggles to stay relevant in the punditry.

This debate ...or whatever it was - do these two people hate each other or something? Seriously people what has happened to America. Is this nonsense representative of the left? These two? A sell out to the status quo and a wannabe sell out to supposed to form neo-status quo?

Did either of these two call for people to protest the rigged game before the convention that may rob Bernie of his rightful chance to be president? Did either of these two represent Americans who have been disenfranchised or did they just pass that off and have moved on to talking about after Bernie loses ( before he has lost)? They both hint at temptations but do not touch. They reframe the reality that we all have seen and drive on through like it doesn't matter. These two men are why Bernie can lose - why Americans can lose our democracy in the real sense. They both are accepting of the inevitabilities which are the intended results of the disenfranchisement and dirty tricks rigging this election by the DNC status quo. Hayden babbles a pseudo power to the people hypocrisy claiming we have to get behind this rigged nomination and force (?) Clinton to veer left from her war hawk intentions. Does Hayden really see any leeway with her? He never did explain how we would be able to force her! Maybe he means how such a coalition has been able to force Obama? Was Obama forced left in any way by anyone? I think I may have missed that!

Solomon is more the opportunist with less advantages than Hayden. Solomon needs a job - a political stance where he is considered relevant and therefore can pretend the pundit of the left. Somehow he put himself forward to be elected a delegate even though he was not pro Bernie but pro Green Party. It is just so hypocritical and symptomatic of why so many are ready to cave to the democratic status quo elite looking to secure a place for their personal future either directly or in his case more likely as a professional 'leftish' person.

The time is shortening and the rigged game is teetering between complete collapse or complete success. The Dems want everyone to listen to Hayden and if people won't go that far then they should listen to Solomon (both)! In any case, the Dems don't want anybody to disturb the rigged game before the convention because it is on very shaky ground and could topple. The Dems don't want any opposition that might gum up the works and change the fix they threw on this game! No protests! Did you hear Hayden's harkening back to his past radical days (which he long ago repudiated)? Is this reference to who he was before he sold out many years ago supposed to cause lefties to blindly flock together behind the words of this shepherd? He dumbed us down here. He really did. Oh how the mighty revolutionary intellectual of the sixties has fallen. He dumbed us down.

Neither man said a word about being Americans who are rightfully angry about being cheated out of their candidate. Neither spoke of so many independents being shut out or that the superdelegates should be demonstrated against and protested for what they represent which is anti democracy. Neither called for demonstrating against anything... They called for pulling together after Hillary gets away with the rigging of the game in her favor.

Our heroes - our would be leaders of the surrender to the will of the powerful.

No speaking truth to power from these two.

Occupy Philly. Protest this rigged sham. Demonstrate against the fixed outcome. Support Bernie and your own F'n democracy! Do civil disobedience. Do street theater or march carrying a sign! Write emails and letters to the editor before the convention ...do something (nonviolent) but don't just surrender to what they have done to our democracy.


I thought this was a joke... but the old school chauvinist pigs never retired. Like the Koch Brothers, they use their chain of influence to retain power and privilege for their little exclusive group.

This is one reason I consistently challenge the WE meme.

Since power is not equally distributed, it is generally only small cliques that make the decisions of consequence--frequently without informing the public; and even when they do inform, they use disinformation and propaganda to insist upon wholly false cases and rationales for THEIR actions.

In a system of Patriarchal Capitalism, money = power. That means those with lots of it define most of what passes for both domestic and foreign policy.

Since the era of deregulation, which ran parallel with the rise of the Deep State, Power has NOT been held to account. Covert entities use PR firms and psychologists to drum up narratives that have little to do with actual goings on.

It's evident when media reports push the idea that Black Kids (gunned down) had "a history," while giving the police who go rabid on them, a pass.

That's the same narrative that has always blamed the rape victim for her history or what she was wearing while giving the athlete/male a pass.

It's the same rationale that pretends that Israel and Palestine represent two equal sides in a long lasting battle.

Derivatives include terms like "mistakes were made" or other nebulous frames that always hide TRUE actors and their criminal behaviors.

Then fools in forums like this cover up these intellectual canards by arguing that such frames are merely rhetorical devices, as if these rhetorical devices are not being used for very definite purposes.

I've used this analogy in the past: that everything works in cycles. Ocean waves actually rotate backwards under themselves in order to acquire forward momentum.

In parallel, historical cycles oftentimes seem to recapitulate the WORST of past behaviors (regression) before enough forward momentum gathers to push the wave of progress forward.

And to anyone convinced that this election will lead to the same outcome as was apparent in the past, I'd argue that there are too many precarious conditions coming to a head at once.

These include a major uptick in climate chaos--the natural world in lots of places is coming apart.

It includes a monetary system that's been inflated to the point where collapse is imminent.

And it includes the detritus of a global trade in armaments led by the U.S.'s very own MIC and its weapons designers.

The next few years are critical to humanity's survival.


If Solomon is a representative Bernie delegate, the powers that be in the DNC don't have to worry about, what Bernie called, a "messy" convention. After reading this I have a terrible foreboding of a boring, smile, everybody be happy, extravaganza, with Hillary, Bill, and Chelsea "feeling the nation's pain."


Hayden reminds me of Kerry during the 'don't tase me bro' incident. Stood there and did nothing while a protester got tased for speaking out at a political event. Some leadership...


Solomon has a history of grassroots activism, particularly as an anti-war advocate and protester, along with his status as a Democrat, as do many people. I was with him on the streets of DC during the Iraq anti-war protests, and he continues his activism with RootsAction.

Well, I think we’ve already seen that there’s a tremendous amount of capacity to organize that people have shown. And Tom Hayden, who we just heard -- who has really saddened me and many other people because he’s thrown his lot in with the war hawk and corporatist Hillary Clinton -- has acknowledged himself that there’s been enormous coalescence behind Bernie Sanders’ campaign and that it’s prefigurative of what can be accomplished in the electoral and non-electoral arenas.

That is for us the challenge ahead -- that we need to understand election campaigns are not movements, and that while we can enhance movements with electoral campaigns and vice versa, ultimately it’s about building grassroots capability.

And so this remains to be seen. This is not a passive operation to be engaged in elections or anything else. I was disturbed to hear Tom Hayden -- who sadly declined to be in direct debate here and so we’re sequential instead of simultaneous dialogue -- he sounded like a horse racer. And progressives should be change makers, not horse racers. We’ve got to organize continually behind what we believe in, not what we think is a way to go with the math that already exists in the electoral arena or anywhere else.

His own comments in this article about the growing movement and his lifetime of demonstrated advocacy all support my claim. Generally speaking, Democrats are more afraid of Trump than Clinton, which is to be expected. Solomon has been a very outspoken critic of Obama, and I'm sure he will treat the next president the same, whomever gets elected--including Sanders.

I think Solomon still believes the Democratic Party can be transformed from within, while many here including myself do not. We're all victims of cognitive dissonance is one way or another. It is no clearer than in the two major parties' dominance over the debate and the ballot box, where fear is used like a club to keep 'we the people' in line.


I live in a critical swing state, and I will do everything I can to make sure that Hillary Clinton does not become POTUS. She must LOSE this election if we are ever going to take over and change the Democratic Party to truly being democratic and representing The People. #NeverHillary.


Whatever became of Tom after Jane departed the relationship? Are we witnessing it here in this article? Tom and Jane fought the good fight together for years. We owe them both that. Tom, we need you back.


Why are we even listening or giving air time to Tom Hayden?

He is a Democratic political hack at this point. At one time, back in 1976 (when I was running a collectively-run alternative paper in Los Angeles, the LA Vanguard), he tried to become a Senator from California. He was much more of a '60s radical back then. He couldn't make Senator, though, and so, instead of doubling down and working to build a left movement that could elect a radical senator, he opted to become part of the system and became a Democrat all the way, settling for a position in the California state legislature.

He cannot at this point, decades after selling his soul and renouncing his radical past, imagine the idea of losing a campaign and then fighting on to build a movement, as Sanders is talking about doing.

The idea that Hayden would sell out Sanders even before the vote next Tuesday in California is beyond appalling, even for him, and should condemn the guy to the scrap-heap of sell-out lefties who bought into the very system they used to eloquently and courageously attack.

Here's hoping that Sanders, who has been openly surprised by the success of his "political revolution," should he fail to win the nomination, will take it to the limit and accept the invitation from Jill Sanders and other Green activists to seek the Green nomination at their early August convention and run against both Trump and Hillary. By doing that, he could win, given the extraordinary level of loathing out their for both those candidates of the two main parties, and even if he lost, he would shatter the Democratic party forever (a great triumph for progressive forces in the US, by winning a huge number of votes and could at the same time make the Green Party into a major party player going forward,

Dave Lindorff
founding editor of ThisCantBeHappening.net


I guess there's not much left at Hayden's address. Smart guy, new low.


Wow. The positions that these (Solomon & Hayden) two take regarding the election are simply mind-blowing.
I would have expected a reverse somehow.
Agree with Lobo4justice's take.
Now, about those voting machines...