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What the Mainstream Doesn’t Get About Bernie Sanders


#1

What the Mainstream Doesn’t Get About Bernie Sanders

John Atcheson

The normally perspicacious Paul Krugman wrote a column on Friday entitled “How Change Happens.”

The last paragraph sums up his argument nicely:

Sorry, but there’s nothing noble about seeing your values defeated because you preferred happy dreams to hard thinking about means and ends. Don’t let idealism veer into destructive self-indulgence.


#2

At this point there's a real danger that Bernie will win the primaries but the party will refuse to back him. The superdelegates could all strike for Hillary. Or they could knuckle under and let the GOP win in November. Realignment By Bad Faith??


#3

That is what I worry about. His choice to run as a Democrat could backfire--the Dems are so firmly entrenched in conventionality, they shudder at the thought of new approaches that would discredit their historic methods. I know I won't vote for Hillary, even if she does usurp the nomination.


#4

That may be true, but if Super Delegates are the deciding factor, I predict all hell will break loose. I think those delegates will think long and hard, if push comes to shove, at the Convention, before opting to vote against the delegate count. Such a stance could lead to a massive Republican victory in the fall. The notion that the Bernie phenomenon will melt away with a Super Delegate Putsch is treading in dangerous waters.


#5

Global plutocracy has wangled its economic machinery/chicanery into a brinksmanship wet dream. This is going to be a struggle in which the young people are going to need to be supported because it may take generations.

There is an ongoing war of land grabbing in transnational mining and smelting, oil & gas, agribusiness and hydroelectric mega dam projects that are a juggernaut for the former. The entire system is so profligate in its 'planned obsolescence' (eg: 40% of food in US wasted) that it is now literally deadly. Remember being told how good we are for getting rid of slavery? That was a blatant lie. And like slavery the ugly bits have been kept just out of sight offshore for plausible deniability while the parasitic dependencies (think Flint, "emergency managers", the ALEC infestation and Koch habit).

I would submit that that within the next nine months the rationales for the obscenely bloated killing machine called the military industrial complex, harnessed to GDP metrics as though it represents the majority of people in this country, will be facing a tipping point of terse, clean documentation of its influence in causing the decadence it claims to fight. That would undoubtedly be accompanied by an equally nefarious intensification of 'terrorism' claims. The icing on the cake would be the penultimate threat of economic collapse unless the MIC is allowed to suck on the rations.
I have no illusions about predatory parasitic premises or about the capacity of human beings to stand firm together and refuse to allow it any more. The latter can and should be fostered with the grace, ingenuity, love and mutual support that are intrinsic to life on this planet. Even the former is dependent on precisely these qualities while, like its view of nature being something to use and abuse, having virtually no capacity to actually foster them.
We will probably be seeing evolution in economic reasoning through analyses like Piketty and by sheer dint of the canibalization of concept of the "middle class". Like "reservation" - time to see through the generations of PR advertising and what is really meant by "middle class". I think George Carlin got absolutely right: "They OWN you". Anyone who can 'be' middle class can be MUCH more as a human being - the potential in breaking out of that framing is in and of itself revolutionary.


#6

In 2008, America voted for hope and change. If Clinton wins in 2016, we can forget about even hoping for change.

Bernie Sanders represents the best hope for real change in America. If not for "dreamers" like Sanders, we'd still be debating whether Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid were possible in this country, if not still pledging allegiance to the Queen.

As for Sanders being a "radical" and unelectable, he is simply continuing the struggle championed by that other unelectable radical, FDR, who just happened to have been elected four times:

"We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

”They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

"Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred."

Radical stuff.


#7

Ayuh. That would be far too late for the party/oligarchy to pull that kind of shenanigans, if Sanders actually continues this groundswell and punks Clinton in the primary vote. Forget 'October surprise' ... this year I'd be looking out for February or March.


#8

I think the mainstream media is looking at the 2008 election and seeing that if anything, change in Washington is less likely now. They see a Congress in gridlock and the House gerrymandered to keep it that way at least through 2022. The economic collapse in 2008 could have led to change but instead the status quo was pretty much established. At the moment economic inequality could spark change but the economy is going pretty well and the better jobs are starting to come back.


#9

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#10

It is surprising that so many progressives no longer believe in the power of the people. They believe in it in principle of course but they don't actually believe that people power can win out over big money power.
Like the same mainstream media that they often complain about , these predefeated commenters converse in the same tired and worn preconceptions about how the left is doomed to lose. They go on and on about how the left doesn't stand much chance against a rigged game and the power of oligarchy. They explain how ** the people** 'just can't do it!'
So they disparaged Bernie's chances right from the outset (like has the media) but Bernie has surprised them. So now they try to tell us that even though Bernie can win that the victory will be snatched away by some magical snap of the fingers conspiracy of the status quo.

The thing is that after Bernie takes the oath of office these same predefeated people (many of whom will disdain voting of course)...will be the first to say>>> "I knew it! The oligarchy won't let him make the changes we need...and so on and so forth until their last breath.

Beware the predefeated within the left.
It is a position they know all too well and can't see the change in front of their noses.


#11

Bernie is a good guy in a corrupt party.
" Given the forces that confront Sanders now that he seriously threatens the Oligarchy, it may be that his election is against the odds and the closer he gets, the more desperately the establishment will work to discredit him."

And that establishment that wants to discredit Bernie is not the Republican establishment, it is the corrupt Democratic establishment!

The good news is that Bernie's odds have improved and he is less of a long shot than he was just two months ago. I like the metaphor black swan, lets all hope Bernie becomes the black swan in November 2016.


#12

It's hard to predict what Sanders will do. Much of his political career was as an independent. That's where his roots lie. I'm not clear on how or why he decided to switch his party affiliation status to Democrat. I sort of think it was a deal offered by Congressional Democrats back when he ran for Senator from Vermont. I suspect the Dem's knew they had no potential candidate who could mount an effective opposition to whoever the republican candidate was. As far as the Dem's cared, they already knew Sanders voted with their side of the aisle anyway, and an extra seat was better than nothing.
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How much support has Sanders received from the Democratic Party in this current affair? Not much. Sanders has gone on record by stating he was entering the campaign to offer an alternative to Hillary, didn't he?
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If Sanders wins he primaries but fails to receive the nomination, how long would it take him to announce he would be mounting a third party campaign? How many Sanders' supporters would choose to vote for Hillary if there were a third party Sanders option available they could vote for? How many republican voters would be willing to vote for someone who split from the Democratic party who is able to stand in front of a crowd and answer unscripted questions in down to earth language that speaks to the concerns middle class families face every day?
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#13

That would be a historic and important move though I don't know that it will happen. As I've stated previously, no matter what happens, our movement needs to occupy the election, voting for Sanders even as a write-in and we need to let the corrupt DNC know this in advance and that we are not voting for Clinton no matter the opposition.


#14

As a foreigner, I have no idea how US politics work. If the party withdraw their backing for Sanders, couldn't he jump ship and join or lead another party, carrying his voters with him?


#15

If Bernie gets thrown under the political bus by Hilliary rotten Clinton maybe we should all tell the corrupt super delegates we will vote for Trump. And as bad as Trump is, if I had no third party choice and it came down to HRC or Trump, Trump would get my support because that is just how much I detest this Wall Street quisling!


#17

The one good thing that was discovered at the bottom of Pandora's box was Hope.
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I'd like to believe Sanders will get himself elected and begin instituting the changes he talks about. I want to believe the tight-lipped expression he wears predicts a stubborn streak that will be able to resist the bribes and coercion and threats that will come his way if he captures the White House and doesn't cave in right away as Obama did.
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The truth is I've been around the political scene for a long time. I know what the Democratic Party used to be from the inside. I've witnessed the changes the have occurred; I've watched it slowly morph into something radically different that has my Uncle rolling over in his Irish-American grave.
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Here's the thing, if you want to see change take place, Bernie Sanders isn't going to do it for you. The question is, how far are you prepared to go to take your country back? Campaigning for a politician and voting isn't going to do it.
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If you had ever been in the military you would probably know what it means to have someone's back. If you've ever faced off against someone intent upon kidnapping your child, you would know.
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Sanders can set an agenda; but it will be up to the People to bring it to pass.
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If you're willing to march to the Federal Reserve building and sit down with about 3/4 of a million other like-minded Citizens and refuse to leave until the last member of he board of governors has resigned and left the building, there's a chance. If you're fortunate enough to have a job, and are willing to walk out and leave that job behind in order to make a difference, there's hope.
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Occupy Wall Street didn't get the job done. Perhaps that was a practice run and things will work out better next time. I can assure you the powers that be are more firmly entrenched in Congress and your local police department and your State's National Guard than you can imagine. They're not about to "go silently into that goodnight," and they have been preparing for the eventuality of a Citizen revolt.
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But there is always Hope.


Something Is Happening
#18

Excellent use of the "Black Swan" analogy/phenomenon, Mr. Atcheson.

I think this interpretation misses something that's vital:

"But because he’s not embracing the traditional PAC and money dominated strategy that is the mainstay of modern American politics, he’s dismissed as not “serious,” not “adult.”

Big Money owns the mainstream media. Big Money funds the think tanks that produce the narratives that come to seem like the coin of the realm, or dominant "wisdom."

And if Big Money's endorsement of specific candidates is framed as what is "serious" or "adult," what's exposed is how the authoritarian state works. Itself the very image and likeness of patriarchy (or what Vandana Shiva properly defines as Patriarchal Capitalism), only that which the Father endorses counts as viable. This reduces citizens to children.

As George Lakoff pointed out, it's not very strategy to use the "enemy's" frame. The exception being pointing out just how much it exposes the authoritarian nature of today's state and done-for-theater election process.

And I think it's fairly obvious that by playing gatekeeper to what passes for politically viable, Krugman is paving his way to curry favor with what he takes to be the yet-to-be crowned New Queen.


#20

Third parties in the U. S. get virtually no attention. Our election system was set up by the founders on the absurd notion that "factions", or parties would not develop, which nearly immediately fell apart. We have two parties because the system is biased in that direction, and the two major parties (Democrats and Republicans) have done everything possible to make sure it stays that way. There is no national runoff system that would make third-parties viable. Most voters tend to go with the leading candidate because they don't want to "throw away their vote" on principle.

Bernie did the smartest thing he could have done under the circumstances - deciding to run under the banner of a major party - Democrats - with the hope of overcoming the party establishment and taking back the party for average people. It might work, but the rest of the party has to play fair, and the Clintons are not known for doing that. The "Super Delegates" are the establishment party's way of gaming the results, if they don't like them, and putting their big, middle-finger on the scale for their preferred candidate - Hillary. Here's keeping my fingers crossed that the party establishment cares more about winning the election, than keeping the Clintons in power and runs a fair process. I'm not overly confident about that.


#21

"I'm not clear on how or why he decided to switch his party affiliation status to Democrat."

It's very straightforward:
- Sanders assessed his likelihood of being able to run a winning campaign, if he decided to run;
- He determined that running as an independent, outside the two-party system, his likelihood was approximately zero percent;
- But he determined that running as an insurgent for the Democratic nomination, his campaign had a real chance to catch fire.

He has repeatedly and consistently stated that if he does not win the party nomination, he will support the party nominee.

Also you can't just switch affiliation and then be on the ballot in November. Getting on the ballot as an independent is a very difficult process. When Nader ran as an independent, he devoted many months, and loads of campaign resources, just to get his name on the ballot in numerous states. Sanders is about a year late to launch an actual independent run.


#22

We have a 2-party political system, though independent and third party candidates can be elected. Trouble is it seems to take a lot of cash to participate in State and National elections. So most elected government officials belong to one of the two major parties. Membership in a political party entitles a candidate to receive funding from the Party for their campaigns.
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What makes things a little interesting is the fact that Sanders is not a traditional Democrat. He was one of the few politicians ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives by running as an Independent; he had no party affiliation, and won because the members of the community in whose District he ran preferred to vote for Sanders rather that whatever republican or Democratic candidates were running.
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I believe he agreed to have himself listed as a Democrat when members of Congress encouraged him to run for a vacant seat in the U.S. Senate. He accepted because those Democrats pledged to support his campaign with their endorsements and financial backing.
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The primary elections that will be held to select the republican and Democratic nominees are not entirely binding. In the primary elections candidates win the support of so-called "delegates" who will assemble in convention a couple of months before the national election. Those delegates will vote to select their Party's nominee. It's happened in the past where the most popular candidate in the primary elections gets displaced from the nomination at the convention.
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Sanders could get bumped out at the Democratic convention. And he could announce that he would mount a campaign as an independent candidate for President. Whether he would do that remains to be seen. I believe I heard it mentioned that Sanders pledged to support Hillary Clinton's campaign if she wins the primaries. We can only wait and watch to see what happens.