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Where the Democrats Go From Here

Great post Trog,

And I agree with all of it, especially the dodged bullet part. Those Middle East showdowns can get out of hand and turn into Dr. Strangelove type FUBARS. That crazy crooked border with Turkey and Syria is just begging for a navigation mistake and escalation between NATO and the Russians. No Fly Zones only work when no nuke players show up.

I advocated Bernie stay in the Dem Party since it was too late to show up on all the State ballots, e.g. Ralph Nader’s demise. But now, hindsight being 20/20, it’s clear Bernie hitched his wagon to a poisonous dishonest star, and it hurt his credibility with the left. When he conceded under great duress from the DNC, he reneged on his promise to have a floor fight at the DNC convention, which caused the hard left, like the CD posting crowd, to abandon him.

The guy is still the most popular Senator in the USA with a consistent 80 percent approval rating. Making the call on what to do was a real David and Goliath moment for old Bern, I’m am sure. So I can’t fault him. It was like making the call to enact an Evac Zone at Three Mile Island: you’re going to lose no matter which choice you make. If the wind shifts, you’ve maybe just steered the public into the radioactive cloud, which Thornburg and Kanto at Fukushima eventually did.

The moral of the story is not to run radioactive candidates like Hair-Trigger-Hillary. But Wall Street never learns…


This is a good article. Bernie Sanders is a genuine person and a good leader. However, he should have taken the Green Party nomination when it was offered to him. His point about not letting the demagogues divide us by race is very important. I believe many in the media are those demagogues. I felt that I couldn’t even show my 8th grade American history students CNN Student News (which is meant for jr. high schools and high schools) about the election. Their news organization was constantly trying to figure out how many blacks, hispanics, and whites were voting early and how blacks and hispanics are good for Hillary, while whites are good for Trump. The viewers are set up to believe that a certain race(s) of people is on their side, while another race(s) of people is against them. If Trump wins, it’s because of all those darn white voters! If Hillary wins, it’s because of all those darn blacks and hispanics!


At this point Keith Ellison has a real shot at becoming DNC chair and Bernie has been pushing for that. I think a victory by Ellison would be pivotal to progressive Democrats having a level playing field in primary elections.

There are some legitimate concerns about Ellison, surrounding the fact that, as reported on TPM, Bernie folks (and others) at the DNC think a full time gig is necessary. There’s a lot of merit to this argument. He’s a sitting Congressman and has other duties. The vibe is that too much time can get taken up doing those other duties, versus organizing, raising money, etc. Dean was partly successful because he had the time to oversee, and implement, the 50 state strategy. And he saw two successful elections.

Just giving the other side of the argument here. It’s clear Dean was a very successful chair. He wasn’t afraid to try to run in places that Democrats usually avoided, and this election featured multiple races where Republicans faced no opponents. I believe that even if Ellison is the head, Dean should be brought on in some capacity. And don’t forget, Dean also ruffled some feathers since he was pushing an offensive, rather than defensive, strategy.

I also want to note, that for progressives to win in elections, it will mean compromising with folks in ways progressives don’t seem to want to accommodate. The ACA is a perfect example of the sort of compromise we can expect.

Hey Bernie, how about you add to your list the total overhaul of the slavery system (now called prison) and the de-militarization of state and city law enforcement.

We now have a PE who promises to bring back torture with a vengeance. His cohorts, Christie, Peener, and others, are adamantly pro-drug war loonies. Actually, the 1% owns prisons, drug testing facilities, youth “treatment” centers, which is just one reason they love the drug war. (strump promises to support private prisons. Why would a fascist not?)

The other is they grease the wheels of the MIC, by militarizing our police.

Yes, slavery is still legal, and we have the highest imprisonment rate in the world. 5% of the world population, and 25% of the world’s prisoners. And of course, it is a racist prison system of slavery.

And for reference, here is the portion of 13th amendment that gives legality to the slavery of the Prison Industrial Complex.

The 13th Amendment states that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

I say this in all seriousness, and I quote you, referring to Trump, “Right now, he seems like
a political genius,”. What brought you to that conclusion? Was it the fact that he hadn’t
a clue as to how to pick his cabinet, one of the most important decisions an Intelligent
President makes therefore Trump hands it off to his Vice President to pick the men and
women who will be his confidantes and guides, the people who will be closest to him
in times of great challenges such as war ??

This tells a lot about him. A “political genius” knows that his cabinet choices are
one of the most important things he can do at the start of his Presidency because
their intelligence, experience, compatibility and loyalty to him will help him as well
as our country.
I don’t call what he has decided to do so far, concerning his Presidency “genius.”
If you are talking about the fact they he won, look who his opponent was … he
was the Elephant and she was the donkey … no test there.

Perhaps for his next wife, according to you, since he’s such a genius in handing
off important decisions to others, he might ask Pence to pick his new wife; he
might have better luck, but not genius.

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Hey Bernie, how about we add to your list the constitutional human right to our own human bodies, which we do not now have? The war on drugs is the biggest conspiracy of lies and punishment ever foisted on America and every member country of NATO. The damage/deaths to families, individuals, communities and particularly our youth and that of the world is incalculable, partly because the USA does not track violent crimes as related to the war on drugs. (why would they shoot themselves in the foot?)

Trump is already pounding the drum, having restated the infamous Nixonian drug war dog whistle, a call for “Law and Order”. Christie is anti medical marijuana, even for veterans, and it has shown to be a very effective treatment for PTSD. Peener is also a drug war fanatic. And even the DEA, who have total sovereignty over our own bodies, has approved study of cannabis for PTSD. http://www.maps.org/news/media/6141-press-release-dea-approves-first-ever-trial-of-medical-marijuana-for-ptsd-in-veterans

Why should an organization, strong arm of the government, created by a maniacal sociopath, be in charge of medicine. What happened to the FDA? What happened to HIPPA? What happened to the sanctitiy of communication between doctor/patient?

And 4/20 celebrators. You 100,000 people in Denver, to 12 in Enid Oklahoma, we need get off our asses this coming 4/20. It is not enough to sit a enjoy medicine in a park on this day. It is no longer even seen as an act of civil disobedience, we need a new kind of civil disobedience. This needs to be a direct affront to the DEA and our militarized industrial police forces.

I am starting a new movement now. Come this 4/20, we will enjoy our medicine/recreation either in front of a court house, a police station, or at a DEA office location in large groups, broad daylight. You can pick one DEA office which may be nearby here:https://www.dea.gov/about/Domesticoffices.shtml


The more I read the posts here, I see that so many of you never took
the opportunity to learn about Bernie’s future plans for our country.

One of Bernie’s talking points at almost every rally was that he wanted
to change the prison system, and since I was one of his supporters,
I can a l m o s t quote what his comments were about our unfair
prison system. He said that out of all the countries in the World we
had the most people incarcerated. He wanted to make marijuana
legal so that people were not put in prison for using it and that
would lessen the crowding of a systems a great deal In addition,
he was against privatization of prisons because that only made
the rich richer and encouraged incarceration by lobbyists.

I’m thinking wouldn’t it have been great if everyone paid attention
to Bernie and supported him, by at least listening to his platform,
which you evidently have not.


I thank you Bernie for all you have done for the last 40 years, but I just don’t see the future of the progressive movement happening within the democratic party.

Have you forgotten how the democratic party treated you?

We need a third party, or a forth party.

How many votes were not cast as a vote for Trump, but as a vote against what the democratic party has come to stand for?



Since I can no longer edit (what is with that crap?) I will just respond to my post. Adding the Rooty Guilani (not important enough for me to correctly spell) is drug war fanatic as well, perpetuating the myth that the stop and frisk racist practice was actually helping. (damn too bad it is unconstitutional you twit). But of course, lies across the board has been the standard for this election, with the biggest liar of all now EP.

I do think this idea that he creates a reality of his own, and people buy into it, effectively brainwashed, if you will, is very true. Master manipulator.

With our collective insanity out in the world for all to see,
it is time to fight back against the the powers that be.

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The DNC convention was an orchestrated sham. It was scripted from the beginning to be Hillary’s coronation ball, and they weren’t going to let anyone or anything get in the way or disrupt it. I now suspect Bernie saw that early, so if he was going to go with the option of trying to work within the DNC, he had to capitulate and get out of the way before the convention. At the time, I thought less of him for doing that, but looking at where his approach has landed him in the aftermath of Hillary’s debacle, I have to think he might have been playing the long game.

Colin Powell privately made the observation that HRC screws up everything she touches with her hubris, and Sanders would have been in an even better position to see that about her. If he knew there was a very good chance she’d screw this up too, it would only help to discredit the whole DLC approach if they had every advantage on their side and still lost, and his only chance of not being their scapegoat would be if his work on her behalf appeared to be energetic and wholehearted. I don’t know if I can even imagine what a bitter pill that must have been for him personally. I don’t think I could have swallowed it at all, much less do so with equanimity. But all along, Bernie has said this wasn’t about him.

Of course, it could be that he was not being selfless and strategically far-sighted. Maybe he really did cave and abandon his convictions for uncharacteristically craven and selfish reasons, and maybe it was just through sheer dumb luck that he pinballed his way into his current position of high credibility and standing to say what direction the party should take now. But even if that’s the case, the rare opportunity presented here is no less real, And if the reforms he proposes are good, it would be dumb not to back him in getting them adopted just because of ill-feelings about the man.

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Trump was seen as a clown, a buffoon, and a joke from the day he announced he would be vying for the Rep. nomination. I remember political experts laughing out loud when someone suggested he had a chance (whether that someone was Ann Coulter or Keith Ellison or someone in between), and through the bulk of the primary season, the conventional wisdom was that his collapse was imminent. And then he takes it all the way to the convention and wins the nomination. So he goes into the general with Hillary having a huge organizational network, while he had almost nothing in the way of a ground game, she outspent him on advertising at a ratio of something like ten to one, she had the bulk of media support behind her, she had a sitting president and his popular wife stumping for her, she even had her main opponent from the primaries working for her, while Trump was being endorsed by crackpots and hate groups. Hillary’s experts found it hilarious that Trump would go to her blue firewall states to campaign, especially wasting as much time as he did in rural areas. Trump saw an opportunity nobody else did, he knew exactly how to market himself to those people, he made no secret of what he was doing there, and he accomplished what Hillary’s team thought was impossible and they were completely blindsided by the outcome as a result. You think defeating Hillary was no accomplishment, but the very morning of election day, virtually all the experts were projecting overwhelming odds Trump would be defeated. I remember one pegged Hillary’s odds for a win at 99 times those for Trump.

Once or twice could be a fluke, but when someone confounds confident predictions and highly lopsided odds from the overwhelming majority of political experts in a string of success going back more than a year, that really looks like it’s got to be something more than luck.


I really disagree that Bernie winning the presidency would just be nullified by “a recalcitrant Congress”! Really? Come on, what about the bully pulpit, the enormous influence on public opinion and framing of issues, and executive powers, etc. that a U.S. president has?? The crowning “ephemeral” achievement of Bush, Jr.–the Iraq invasion and destruction–has been a tremendous blow to the whole world (not to mention the Iraqi millions)… and it set in motion the duopoly’s capitalizing on the the neocon shifts so that Obama just expanded on them. With people’s movements backing–or opposing and pressuring and leading, as need be–a Bernie presidency, the possibilities could be much more than “ephemeral.” But that’s just fantasy now.

I agree with the posters who tell Bernie: you are hobbling your own efforts if you can’t envision the U.S. transitioning away from empire, ending the war machine, turning a new leaf and turning swords into ploughshares. I can easily say this, but Bernie, the great speaker left-of-center, needs to find strong ways to say this, or we need to find strong politicians who can articulate the way Bernie does, but expand and deepen the frame to recognize how empire kills the U.S. working class, too! Who says such a deepened frame is politically unfeasible? For the war machine and Wall Street, sure it is, but for Main Street, is it really so absolutely suicidal to suggest ending U.S. empire (and transitioning, with jobs, from a war economy to a green economy) for the sake of peace and prosperity as well as good jobs for the future?

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Yes, I agree, we must question the perception that this election demonstrates that race (or gender or any other single frame) is the driving force in U.S. politics. It is way more complicated than that, even though, for sure, race and gender, for starters, were manipulated big-time for political purposes in this election–and white supremacy, homophobia, sexism and misogyny and violent male entitlement, nativism, and other-blaming were tapped into because these oppressions and kinds of violence continue to grind forward without being truly addressed and ended. To overcome all the oppressions, they all must be seen and all of them addressed. Class is a key, key one, for it is the one that at least 60% of the population is clearly oppressed by… so when these “educational” outlets leave out class, we can be pretty sure that they will fail to tell the whole story or enable us to envision a realistic solution.

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Well thanks Bernie – you did what you could. Unfortunately there’s not much hope here the Democratic Party is irredeemable. You were our last best chance.


You are exactly right about Bernie. He didn’t just quit the people, and he is a genius because he
is in the best spot of all. He has an organization working for him …and he’s going down his list
of goals he wants to accomplish which is the Dem. platform he composed for Hillary. He’s
knocking out each goal, one at a time and salt and peppering each state with progressives, and
those progressives will support him and his Senate Bills … it’s better than being President!

i take your point, rivervalley. I shouldn’t have been so dismissive of electoral activity especially at the grassroots local level. However, what i was trying to say was that the Sanders despite the rhetoric is trying to shoe-horn this resistance via Our Revolution into only that. It is trying to build an anti-establishment establishment !

Rather he should be organising an effective non-Democrat but anti-Democrat protest movement. Just how many workers in the rust and rural states voted for Trump based on his populism about unemployment and powerlessness. This is the cross-over that needs to be bridged for a new movement.

People have been talking for generations about a genuine workers movement and it has never materialised. The Greens barely scraped up 1% of the popular vote. The unions, overall, have remained chained to the Democrats and it is time for them to break that connection.

The class war has to be organised and fought outside the ruling class’s structures of Congress. So again i apologise for not emphasising that we struggle in every way we can…even for control of the school boards who determine the curriculums and text-books.


Remember what happened to the “public option” in Obama(Romney)care? Ultimately killed by Max Baucus and cohorts from the D side of the aisle who took millions in donations from medical and insurance industries. And then those industries funneled money into the Tea Party movement as backlash against what little did ultimately pass in the ACA. Do you see any reason to believe Bernie’s more ambitious universal public health care would not have run into an even larger firestorm of opposition? Do you think they would be more willing to vote on his appointments than Obama’s, less inclined to blockade and shut down the government? The Congress we have now has been bought and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the moneyed elite. If you think they would have sided with Bernie against the orders of their money-masters, you and I have arrived at very different assessments of their priorities.

“Come on, what about the bully pulpit, the enormous influence on public opinion”

What about it? I’ve seen every president in my lifetime try to wield that power, and very rarely with any notable success. Even if Bernie could swing public opinion around to his side (and on most issues, it already is) do you think Congress is more interested in public opinion, or their owners’ opinions?

“executive powers”

That would have been Bernie’s best shot. And how long would those have lasted as soon as he was out? We’re about to see how long Obama’s executive order legacy is going to last.

“The crowning “ephemeral” achievement of Bush, Jr.–the Iraq invasion and destruction”

Public opinion ran heavily against that, and in the end it made no difference. Because in the rarified atmosphere of DC, Bush was not fighting against serious opposition, he was going with the flow of what the oligarchs wanted. And it’s always easier to break things than to build them, and destruction tends to be longer lasting. Bush’s success at serving his destructive masters doesn’t mean that Bernie would have had any success trying to be constructive while running against the priorities of the oligarchs, or that anything he did manage to accomplish would not have been promptly swept away as soon as he was out.

“With people’s movements backing–or opposing and pressuring and leading, as need be–a Bernie presidency, the possibilities could be much more than “ephemeral.””

I think he would have done much good, and I think he would have avoided much harm. But people’s movements have been trying and failing to get meaningful traction and representation since the duopoly was set up. I don’t know that Bernie will succeed in remaking the Dem party, but I think he has a better shot at that than he would have had butting heads against Congress, and if he can break one wing of the duopoly and reshape it into a party that actually represents voters instead of paymasters, that could be a generational accomplishment. And looking at the confluence of factors coming together at this time, I don’t think I’ve ever seen more favorable circumstances, and no telling how long it will be before another opportunity like this comes along.

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Dean matched well with Obama as the candidate. I think Ellison matches well with bringing more excitement and young people into the party compared with another baby boomer like Dean. I’d also obviously prefer a progressive person in that job.
I understand that there will be attack points that Ellison creates in red states (Fox News will probably tells its viewers that Ellison wants to take away their guns, prohibit church attendance, and establish Sharia Law) but I’d prefer a Democratic Party that confronts that kind of bigotry head on.

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