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Those Contradictions Won’t Heighten Themselves!

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As with the previous and no doubt future Salon articles urging people not to vote for Hillary Clinton, Shane Ryan’s article is so stupid its stupidity cannot be encapsulated by even a lengthy block quote. Erik highlighted the heighten-the-contradictions nonsense at the core of the article. I will just observe again that this kind of argument is much more likely to be advanced by affluent white guys living in major urban centers than the people upon whom the contradictions will be most heightened. “I have a ludicrously implausible fairytale about how four years of Republican rule will mean a president and a median vote of both houses of Congress who are to the left of Bernie Sanders. I’ll take a tax cut and you can take no health care or civil rights enforcement or safe abortions, and we’ll see who’s right.” Ryan says he’s be accused of “cutting off my nose to spite my face.” To be clear, I am in fact accusing him of wanting to cut off other people’s noses in service of his self-congratulatory wank fantasies.

The whole thing is equally horrible, though:

Others have already written extensively on the issues that make her a deeply unattractive candidate to progressives; on how she’s not just dishonest — a description that applies to even the best politicians — but strikingly dishonest

Calm down there, tiger. Watch about five minutes of any Republican debate and you’ll feel better. Yeah, invoking 9/11 to dodge questions about Wall Street was offensive, but as a reason to throw the elections to Republicans it’s a long way from “threadbare.”

on how she has tacked leftward merely to combat Sanders’ progressive momentum — going against a lifetime of pro-Wall Street, pro-business action — and not because she actually espouses any of her shiny new positions;

In part because of Sanders, and in part because of the leftward trajectory of the party as a whole, Clinton has tacked to the left. This is supposed to be a bad thing because…I have no idea. It might be a good reason to vote for Sanders over Clinton in the primaries, but anyone who thinks it’s bad news for evaluating Clinton as a general election candidate is a clown. Also, Clinton is in fact “espousing” these new positions; the question is actually whether she believes them. (I hope Salon takes whatever revenue this dreary clickbait generates to hire some editors.) Although in fact when evaluating candidates for public office this is also a largely irrelevant question. Presidential candidates lead coalitions and operate in particular historical contexts with particular political possibilities. Had Lyndon Johnson become president in 1952, I’ll guarantee you wouldn’t think of him as a progressive giant on domestic policy.

However, it is worth reiterating that to Sanders supporters like myself, the two candidates are not separated by a matter of small degrees, but by an ocean of philosophy and behavior

Even comparing them in a vacuum, this is dubious. But comparing them as potential presidents of the United States in 2016, the assertion is laughable. The amount of major progressive legislation a Republican House would pass under either would be “none.” Their judicial and most of their executive branch appointments would be fundamentally similar. There would be some differences — probably more law enforcement directed at the financial sector, for example — but the idea that they constitute an “ocean” worthy of letting Ted Cruz and a Republican Congress run the country is insane.

Among Clinton’s predominantly liberal supporters, male and female alike, we see a lot of projection — people who seem to be mistaking her for Elizabeth Warren — and not a lot of introspection.

Ah, so Ryan is indeed the poor man’s Henwood, and again let me say [cites omitted.]

It would be disingenuous to deny that Hillary’s campaign inspires negative emotions, but this decision ultimately comes down to tactics and policy, not spite.

Haha, yeah, keep telling yourself that buddy. I’m reminded of a certain one of our regulars who switches between Sarah Palinesque arguments that criticizing someone’s arguments about how to vote are anti-democratic because people have the right to cast votes as an act of irrational onanism if they want and arguments that a plan of 1. Republicans win election 2. ?????? 3. ?????? 4. ??????? 5. ?????? 6. Democrats smash the military-industrial complex and institute Danish political economy! represents immensely sophisticated 18 dimensional chess you are too dumb to understand, sometimes within the same paragraph.

And finally, why I couldn’t resist writing about this:

On the other hand, there is a good strategic reason not to vote for Hillary, and it boils down to this: If progressives fall in line, it shows the DNC and the party’s structural elite that they can have our loyalty for nothing. It sets a terrible precedent for the future. To steal a crass expression, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

Well, Republicans have shown that trying to get your candidate in the primaries and then pulling the lever for whoever wins can work just find to push their party rightward, so this is not true at all. But my favorite part is that someone advocating a substantial risk of Roe v. Wade being overruled choosing to use an egregiously sexist metaphor to make the case. I’m guessing this guy isn’t much of a poker player.

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  • Tyro

    If progressives fall in line, it shows the DNC and the party’s structural elite that they can have our loyalty for nothing. It sets a terrible precedent for the future.

    This is a massive misreading of elite incentives. The goal of the DNC executives and the structural elite of the party is to be in charge of the DNC and the structural elite of the party– which they will be regardless of whether the Democrats win or lose the presidency. Debbie Wasserman Schultz does not care whether you vote or not.

    The grassroots of the Democratic Party does not become more powerful by refusing to vote. They become more powerful by taking power within the party.

    In fact, a Democratic Party with liberal voters who stay home is just a party that will adjust its message to attract the resulting more conservative electorate.

    • Matt McIrvin

      Isn’t this “The Iron Law of Institutions”?

    • CD

      Yep. The other basic error of this piece is to assume that a party “structural elite” chooses the nominee. (Yes, HRC has much “establishment” support, but she had that eight years ago too.) Even if Shane Ryan persuades Debbie Wasserman Schultz that his bloc will bolt and doom any centrist, it’s not like she can throw the big red “nominate a socialist” switch in the basement of DNC HQ.

      • Matt McIrvin

        People are currently arguing over whether that “Party Decides” model still applies over on the Republican side, since the party’s favorites aren’t doing so great right now.

  • Matt McIrvin

    I’m struck that the article explicitly makes an analogy to how the Tea Party pulled the Republicans to the right, which in no way, shape or form involved the tactic being advocated here.

  • keta

    I’m seeing a lot of thinly veiled misogyny in these anti-Clinton pieces.

    Nice to see the brogressives are willing to sacrifice absolutely fucking everything to ensure a woman doesn’t sit behind the desk of the oval office. How manly of them.

    • BlueLoom

      Or not so thinly veiled, as the case may be.

      • keta

        Oh yeah. I’m glad Scott bolded the cow/milk bit, because man oh man that particular piece of snot really jumped out at me when I read Ryan’s nose-blow of a piece.

      • Pat

        It’s not veiled in the least. Why else do men insist that “something could happen to Hilary” and so there must be an alternative?

    • Captain Oblivious

      I figure most brogressives would be Republicans if the Republicans weren’t quite so crazy.

      • CD

        There’s an important point here. The Republicans used to be a party of sensible plutocrats who maybe did a little dogwhistling at election time. Now the whistled dogs are taking over. In a 2 party system, Democrats are left with the entire burden of averting chaos. We’re in a weird political situation.

  • brad

    I’m starting to think of Lisa Simpson’s sage old words when it comes to these clickbait dudebros on Salon; just don’t look.
    They’re fun punching bags but don’t deserve being taken seriously or fed in their concern trolling.

  • Sly

    I will just observe again that this kind of argument is much more likely to be advanced by affluent white guys living in major urban centers than the people upon whom the contradictions will be most heightened.

    “You know what would hasten our liberation? If more of our children were obliterated in church bombings.” Said no black person, with or without children, in the 1960s.

    • Scott Lemieux

      As I’ve said before, Nader got literally 0% of the vote of African-American women in 2000. This is not a coincidence.

      • Arla

        Well, Scott, you can’t possibly expect Black women to know what’s in their own interests, can you?

        • Hogan

          Them and their gonadal politics.

          • N__B

            Gonadal the Grey is my favorite LOTR character.

            • Hogan

              All the Spanish tennis fans yell, “Go Nadal!”

      • sharonT

        Nope, I’m opening myself up to a lot of grief, but I’m Afican American, a woman and I voted for Ralph in 1996 and 2000. I may be the only one, but I’m more than zero.

        • Jean-Michel

          Well, you weren’t the only one, unless Muriel Tillinghast didn’t vote for her own ticket on the New York ballot in ’96.

          • Snarki, child of Loki

            This is 2015. The word “literally” is not to be taken literally any more.

            • Lee Rudolph

              Literally within sampling error.

            • UserGoogol

              It’s not a usage I like, but 0% literally means less than 0.5%, since that’s rounded to the nearest whole digit. Nader literally got 3% of the vote overall, even if he also more accurately got 2.74%.

              That being said, I don’t like it because there’s a certain psychological baggage to saying 0% such that it implies a higher level of precision than other numbers.

          • sharonT

            OK, we’ve got two!

    • See also the “allies” who think hastened liberation is the silver lining to the police brutality against African-American cloud.

      Yuck.

      • Scott Lemieux

        I’m reading Days of Rage right now, and the (white) leader of the SLA after the shootout wanted to murder policemen so that they would ratchet up the brutality against African Americans, which would inevitably lead to revolution. Hard to see any flaws in that theory!

        • Halloween Jack

          Wasn’t that basically also Charles Manson’s “strategy” for Helter Skelter?

      • Murc

        See also the “allies” who think hastened liberation is the silver lining to the police brutality against African-American cloud.

        This line of thinking doesn’t seem entirely insane to me, because if I’m remembering correctly King’s entire playbook in the 60s was to put the white supremacist power structure into situations where they’d either acquiesce to his actions, or respond with obvious, vicious acts of brutality (rather than the less-obvious background of brutality and repression that went unnoticed by many not subjected to it) because his hope was that the country had progressed to the point where, being forced to pick sides, more people would choose the side of decency and justice than not.

        The silver lining of Bull Connor unleashing fire hoses and dogs on peaceful marchers was that people had to decide if they were on the side of fire hoses and dogs, rather than being able to pretend problems didn’t exist. Obviously, the hoped-for result is that there’s no fire hoses and dogs at all… but if that’s a real possibility you have to have an out that doesn’t just involve “well, we get our heads cracked and then nobody cares.”

        Having said all that, King obviously would have preferred nobody got hurt, because hoping for bad things to happen so that then good things can happen… well, it doesn’t necessarily NOT work (Lenin ran that playbook with a ton of success) but it’s morally suspect and a super high-risk play.

        • Sly

          It is one thing to put yourself in life-threatening peril as a part of a political protest, or to simply exist in a constant state of life-threatening peril and decide to use that to your advantage. That’s what those in the Civil Rights Movement, white and black (respectively), did. That’s why they’re remembered as courageous.

          It is quite another to expect someone else to do it while sitting comfortably far away, understanding, consciously or not, that the violence will never touch you. This is pure cowardice. Not just cowardice, but contempt for the very people you ostensibly want to see liberated.

  • FlipYrWhig

    I continue to admire the cojones it takes to read Clinton 2016’s more vocal liberalism as a sign of her evident perfidy and malice. “I don’t like the way she wasn’t liberal enough for me before and I definitely don’t like the way she’s just pretending to be liberal enough for me now!” “The thing we need to do is pull the party to the left but we can’t really trust it if it seems to be working!” Just take Yes for an answer you knobs.

    • Sly

      “Unlike Hillary Clinton, I was a fan of Liberalism before they released their first album and sold out.”

      • FlipYrWhig

        Now that you mention it it does recall the “fake geek girl” complaints lodged by GamerGaters and their fellow travelers.

        • ChrisTS

          Annnd, we have a winner. The combination of under the covers misogyny (these guys will never go full ‘feminazi!’) and ‘it’s all about me’ is a perfect reflection of the Gators.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Yeah, I have a Youtube video and and articles at HuffPost and AOL arguing that this is my favorite part of every one of these things. “Democrats need to move to the left. When they do, it makes them liars.” OK.

      • Nobdy

        They need to move to the left within their hearts.

        If Hillary really wanted to convince us she had moved to the left she would invent a time machine and go back to the Clinton administration in the ’90s to convince Bill to take more liberal positions.

        • Captain Oblivious

          This is part of the sexist aspect of these pieces. HRC is being judged as an appendage of her husband and his administration. That the writers often use Clintons plural says it all.

          • FlipYrWhig

            And that despite many reports from the ’90s that Hillary was the key liberal “influencer” in the administration.

          • Nobdy

            To be fair, Hillary has never held a position as a legislator or cabinet member independently, so she has no record of her own we could judge her on.

          • In DW-Nominate scores, Clinton ranked as 13th most liberal in the Senate, just behind Leahy and Mikulski and more liberal than Kerry (15th) or Obama (18th), literally having more in common with Sanders (1st) than she did with Biden (27th), who some of those bros were longing to see in this year’s race.

            As First Lady she certainly did work actively in policy, most famously on health care with a plan definitely to the left of the 2009 ACA, with its regional “health alliance” co-ops like the German insurance pools, replacing private health insurance instead of preserving it (a system I have long thought is preferable to single-payer in the UK- or Canada-style strict sense, because less likely to lead to a two-tier system with all the rich people on private plans and all the poors stuck with NHS).

            And I’ll never forget the scandal when she dared to treat Mrs. Arafat as a fellow human instead of a demon incarnate.

            She may have “tacked” a long way rightward from there in the intervening years (and I’m still not totally over the AUMF vote, and how long it took her to apologize for it) but if she is now “tacking” left, it is a territory she’s pretty familiar with. Doesn’t mean I think she’s going to nationalize the power grid and put everybody on 35-hour weeks and six-week paid vacations, but I’m pretty sure Sanders isn’t going to do it either, even if he says he wants to.

            • Scott Lemieux

              In DW-Nominate scores, Clinton ranked as 13th most liberal in the Senate, just behind Leahy and Mikulski and more liberal than Kerry (15th) or Obama (18th), literally having more in common with Sanders (1st) than she did with Biden (27th), who some of those bros were longing to see in this year’s race.

              Yes, but was really espousing liberalism during that time?

              • rea

                really espousing liberalism

                There we are, back to talking about Bill’s politics . . .

              • manual

                Yeah, when she voted to destroy the sovereign state of Iraq

              • Just flirting. She and liberalism were both already espoused.

        • Dilan Esper

          How about “if Hillary wanted to convince people she moved to the left, she served as a United States Senator and could have been a great anti-Iraq War leader, leading left-wing protests against the war”?

          I mean, maybe she will be forced to govern from the left and maybe she won’t (my bet is her foreign policy will be murderous and blodothirsty, and she won’t prosecute any bank executives). But it’s pretty clear that she is ideologically not a leftist; she’s had plenty of opportunities to align with the left and never does it.

          (And that’s based on her own actions. But no, it’s not sexist to look at her husband’s actions, considering she “counted” being “first lady” as part of her “experience” in 2008.)

          • Ahuitzotl

            But no, it’s not sexist to look at her husband’s actions, considering she “counted” being “first lady” as part of her “experience” in 2008.)

            No, it’s not at all fucking sexist to assume she had no opinions of her own, and that she must have agreed with every one of her husbands’ actions Why would you think that’s at all sexist?

      • Ktotwf

        I’m not really sure why it is inherently absurd to be concerned that HIllary is talking Progressivism to get through the primaries and has no intention of backing it up during her Presidency.

        • joe from Lowell

          Hmmmmm…what if I accuse you of sexism four of five times? Would that make it clearer?

          No? Well, shoot, cupboard’s bare now.

        • random

          It is absurd when used as a justification for an ostensible progressive to deliberately elect any member of the Republican Party to the White House.

        • Hogan

          What should we do about it?

        • Scott Lemieux

          I’m not really sure why it is inherently absurd to be concerned that HIllary is talking Progressivism to get through the primaries and has no intention of backing it up during her Presidency.

          1)How about the fact her voting record in the Senate was to the left of the median Democratic Senator? Does that count?

          2)This is a potentially reasonable concern if the question is Sanders v. Clinton. It is an absurd concern if the question is Clinton v. Cruz. Ryan isn’t being criticized for preferring Sanders in the primary.

          3)Campaign promises are in fact pretty reliable predictors of how people will act in office.


          Hmmmmm…what if I accuse you of sexism four of five times?

          Yes, it’s a real mystery why people who are not only willing to massively diminish the reproductive freedom of American women in the name of an asinine experiment but willing to defend this logic by using metaphors historically used to explain that men would have no interest in having a relationship with a woman they could have sex with get accused of sexism.

          • Lee Rudolph

            1)How about the fact her voting record in the Senate was to the left of the median Democratic Senator? Does that count?

            Her Wall Street handlers know how to play the long con!

          • Ktotwf

            1)How about the fact her voting record in the Senate was to the left of the median Democratic Senator? Does that count?

            Not really, considering how centrist and big tent the Democratic party is, in general. She is already openly advocating for policies to the RIght of Sanders on everything except gun control (which, btw, is the single issue liberals are least likely to ever get anything done on.)

            RE: Accusations of Brogressivism

            As I’ve said before, claims of sexism against advocates of the Leftier candidate have become the standard rebuttal of Center-Lefters. (See: Corbyn, UK) It tactically fits the same purpose “LIberals are the real racists!” does on the RIght.

            I can’t see your average ”Bernie Bro” being anything but ”stoked” for, say., a campaign by Elizabeth Warren.

            • Scott Lemieux

              She is already openly advocating for policies to the RIght of Sanders on everything except gun control

              Yeah, bullshit. It is true that Clinton is to Sanders’s right on balance, but then nobody disputes that. The question is whether Clinton is such a conservative Democrat Democrats shouldn’t support her, and that claim is very dumb.


              As I’ve said before, claims of sexism against advocates of the Leftier candidate have become the standard rebuttal of Center-Lefters.

              If you don’t want to be criticized for sexism, stop saying sexist things.

    • Hob

      That bit is slightly less insane in context, as Ryan goes on to explain that she will “abandon even the rhetoric of reform the minute she wins the primary”; as Ktotwf says below, the point is supposed to be that she’s faking it only temporarily.

      The corollary, I guess– since Ryan’s argument is based on Clinton having had “a lifetime” of previous anti-working-class behavior– is that the only way for us to accept the party being pulled to the left is if it does so by elevating people who have only a track record of good leftism, or new people with no track record; the old guard must be persuaded to drop out and abandon their careers, since they will never, ever change their ways even if it’s clear that doing so is not only the right thing but would make them beloved and historically significant. This is at least an argument, but I don’t find it historically persuasive.

      Also, my patience for that kind of argument may have been lessened by 500 repetitions of people like this guy going “Obama is totally going to privatize Social Security any minute now– the only reason he didn’t do it yet was to catch us off guard.”

      • Humpty-Dumpty

        He’s waiting until we’re all distracted by him grabbing our guns.

  • It’s at least somewhat heartening to see that the reaction on Twitter is almost unanimous in pointing out what a load of crap the article is.

    • Moondog

      @ShaneRyanHere “Abandon ship! The New Yarkansas Usurper has betrayed you. All is lost!” Tokyo Shane

      • Ahuitzotl

        thats brilliant

    • Origami Isopod
      • dmsilev

        I object! While that essay does in fact resemble a toddler’s temper tantrum, your typical toddler will get over it in hours or sometimes minutes, whereas I imagine Shane Ryan will cling to his sense of self-importance for years.

        Also, toddlers have the potential for cuteness.

    • Spiny

      @markyzaguirre: I’m sure you’re the most progressive guy in the golf club, and it shows here

      Flawless victory.

  • Joseph Slater

    Serious question: do you think the author really believes what he’s saying, or is this just clickbait / a way to drive traffic to Salon?

    • Arla

      I’ve met enough people who believe this sort of thing that I’m willing to bet he’s sincere.

      Salon’s editors, on the other hand, are purely going for the clickbait by publishing it.

      • Pat

        Plenty of commenters here have made these kind of arguments, and many of us have pushed back against them.

      • Scott Lemieux

        I am actually reliably informed that Salon’s editor hates Clinton. The clickbait aspect doesn’t hurt, but it’s not an accident that this particular form of clickbait makes such frequent appearances.

        • Pat

          Why does Salon’s editor hate Clinton? Whatever happened to reporting objectivity?

  • Nobdy

    If you want to push the party to the left, DO IT IN THE PRIMARY.

    If your candidate cannot win the primary you will not get the elites to fall in line by pouting and refusing to vote because they will be too busy pandering to the larger group of people whose candidate DID win the primary (among other things.)

    For people who claim to be extremely concerned about the average every day citizen and worker they certainly don’t seem to have a lot of respect for the CHOICES those average citizens and workers make within their own party.

    People are not voting for Hillary because the elites tell them to. They are voting for her because either 1) They believe she can win the general election or 2) They LIKE some aspect of her as a candidate (her policies, the fact that she would be the first woman president, whatever.) If you’re a grass roots liberal kind of person you should try to convince them they’re wrong, if you think they are, but ultimately respect their decision if she wins the primary.

    There is not some cadre of secret DINOs voting in the democratic primary trying to keep Bernie out. There are a bunch of Democrats who support Hillary for some reason or another, and those reasons are generally completely valid.

    • FlipYrWhig

      It’s a staple of pieces in this vein that the REAL reason why people are supporting Clinton over Sanders is that they’re being duped and brainwashed by Big Media gatekeepers, etc. NO FAIR HILLARY IS ONLY WINNING BY APPEALING TO MORE DEMOCRATS THAN HER OPPONENTS starts to sound, um, let’s say “petulant.”

      • Scott Lemieux

        It’s like when Harold Ford was furious that Gillibrand refused to stop fundraising or accumulating endorsements so he would have a fighting chance.

    • Ktotwf

      You are kind of wrong, basically.

      This Anti-HIllary talk is only surface level about abstaining from voting in the general. It actually is about defeating her in the Primary, or the talk wouldn’t be happening this early. Read between the lines a bit.

      • ChrisTS

        So, do they think that showing themselves ready to destroy the nation if they don’t get their way supposed to win us over to their candidate? It’s not working.

        • N__B

          Two months ago, I was fairly certain that I’d be voting Sanders in the primary and Clinton in the general. The anti-Clinton crowd is actively pushing me towards voting for her in the primary to lessen* the ridiculous conflict that they believe exists.

          *Hey, one vote fewer is less, right?

          • ChrisTS

            Indeed. I have been pro-Hillary in a largely unemotional way, but this crap is beginning to get me stirred up.

            I was never going to a ‘hold your nose’ supporter, because I think she’s pretty good. But, now, I’m going to be an active supporter. Thanks, Bros!

          • Matt McIrvin

            Same here. I’m sitting here trying to figure out whether my actual admiration for Sanders outweighs the risk of encouraging his supporters to pull these stupid Naderite games in the general.

            Also, guns have become more salient, and Hillary is clearly the superior candidate there.

          • Ktotwf

            Does no one else remember the Pro-Clinton, Don’t Vote for Obama campaign in 2008?

      • Scott Lemieux

        It actually is about defeating her in the Primary, or the talk wouldn’t be happening this early. Read between the lines a bit.

        “Don’t criticize the terrible arguments people actually make.”

        • Ktotwf

          As someone who defends the general ”Vote for the Democrat no matter what” line of thinking, I am 100,000x more concerned about smears against Sanders originating on the ”Left” than about HIllary. Hillary will be fine. The Neo-Naderites aren’t gonna get her.

          • ChrisTS

            Who on the left is smearing Sanders? (Honest question.)

            • Ktotwf

              You haven’t noticed the steady drumbeat of ”Sanders is unelectable” and ”Bernie Bros are sexist!” Have you, for example, read the other posts on this page?

              This blog has been at least mildly antagonistic towards Sanders since he became part of the conversation. They fancy themselves hardnosed realists around here, so this place is starting to sound like The People’s View.

              • ColBatGuano

                Those posts are anti-ridiculous Sanders supporters, not anti-Sanders. Unfortunately, Sanders appears to have attracted a bunch of deluded purity trolls who believe that Bernie is on the cusp of leading the socialist revolution that has always been just around the corner. Minor upticks in Sanders poll standings are trumpeted as if the landslide is just around the corner, any negative story is attributed to nefarious Clinton subterfuge. It all becomes very hard to take them seriously.

                • Ktotwf

                  Even accepting the premise of your post (which I don’t), I fail to see anything bad about enthusiasm being injected into the Democratic primary that might move the discussion past ”Hold off the insano Tea Party for another 4 years and watch nothing get done instead of bad things get done.” If you want to see the Democratic party move to the Left significantly (which, fair enough, most on this blog do not seem to. Apparently anyone to the Left of Obama is inherently sexist.), Sander’s candidacy and the enthusiasm it generates could well be seen as a foretaste.

                • Lee Rudolph

                  If you want to see the Democratic party move to the Left significantly (which, fair enough, most on this blog do not seem to. Apparently anyone to the Left of Obama is inherently sexist.)

                  [cites omitted]

                • Hogan

                  I fail to see anything bad about enthusiasm being injected into the Democratic primary that might move the discussion past ”Hold off the insano Tea Party for another 4 years and watch nothing get done instead of bad things get done.”

                  Do you see anything bad about “If Sanders doesn’t win the primary, let’s burn the motherfucker down”? Because that’s the issue the rest of us are talking about.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  (which, fair enough, most on this blog do not seem to. Apparently anyone to the Left of Obama is inherently sexist.),

                  Note: a great deal of straw was burned to make this comment.

  • RPorrofatto

    Dear Shane,
    That scene where the new black sheriff points a gun at his own head and threatens the mob with “Hold it! Next man makes a move, the nigger gets it!” is from Blazing Saddles, a very funny movie, but not an actual political strategy.
    Please stop.

  • Ezra

    Anyone have any theories on why you never, ever see Republicans arguing right-leaning voters shouldn’t vote for Republicans?

    • Ktotwf

      Don’t know who you are reading, but I see far-righters argue in that same vein all the time.

      • joe from Lowell

        You may see far-righties arguing that, but not Republicans, not people who claim that they are the Real Republicans.

        This isn’t an article from a high-up figure in the Revolutionary Socialist Party. This is someone who defines himself as a Democrat who wants to see the Democratic Party’s platform implemented.

    • nocutename

      At least one prominent Republican donor has:

      If I have a choice — and you can put it in bold — if I have a choice between Trump and Hillary Clinton, I’m choosing Hillary,” he said. “She’s the lesser of two evils.” He’s also running an ad in the Herald that compares Trump’s popularity to that of Mussolini and Hitler.

      http://fusion.net/story/241934/mike-fernandez-trump-clinton-gop-donor/

      • Matt McIrvin

        But–note–he’s saying that because he actually thinks Trump is worse than Clinton. Not because he thinks that, while Clinton is worse, that very badness will cause a new birth of revolutionary sentiment that will get his favored candidate in four years later in a dramatic switcheroo.

  • petesh

    people who seem to be mistaking her for Elizabeth Warren

    Dude, you do realize that Clinton (H) was listening to Warren in the 1990s? (If you follow the link, read the whole thing; there is a big disappointment in it but also more than a shred of hope.) That she was then regarded as the lefter of the Billaries? She has a very long record, not all good, but including far more than you seem to know.

  • Gregor Sansa

    The amount of major progressive legislation a Republican House would pass under either would be “none.” Their judicial and most of their executive branch appointments would be fundamentally similar.

    It’s true that ceteris paribus, the two would accomplish pretty much the same things. But while ceteris paribus (that is, an equally Republican congress for both) is the simplest and least contentious assumption, I don’t think it’s actually true. Hillary is a woman and is named “Clinton”; Bernie is a political outsider and a “socialist” and is basically anti-superPAC. And the unsurprising result is that there are differences in their support bases which would probably have echoes in turnout, and thus, at the margin, the composition of the congress they’d each be dealing with. Personally, I think those favor Bernie for 2016 and even more so for 2018, 2020 (Clinton fatigue will set in very quickly, because she’s already the “old guard”). You could make an argument that it’s the other way around. Either way, it’s an important question, and perhaps the most important potential difference between the two.

    • ChrisTS

      Um, not to be ageist, but Sanders will be 75 in 2016 and 79 in 2020. I’m 64 and do not expect to be up to running the country at that age.

      • Gregor Sansa

        There is a real chance that Sanders will (would) not be up to it at 79. There is a comparable chance that Clinton will (would) not be up to it at 73. This is a problem which both candidates share. I’d love a 45-year-old Jewish woman with Clinton’s resume and Sanders’ positions and independence. That person doesn’t exist.

        Comparing the two of them, I really think that the “President Clinton? Again? I’m so over this” narrative would stick on a more visceral level than “socialism OMG KGB WTF”.

        2018 and 2012 will be tough going. After 10 or 12 years of Democratic “dominance” (yeah, I know, not actually, but that’s what people see) people will be looking for a “change”. I can’t help thinking that Bernie is far, far more able to channel that urge to the good than Hillary is.

        • ChrisTS

          Agreed, I am not happy about the ages of our front runners. On the other hand, isn’t sort-of-old pretty much the norm for Presidents (excepting JFK and Obama)?

          I just think Sanders is pushing it, especially for 2020. I don’t know if Sanders will be more effective in getting younger folks *elected,* unless he is ready to help the PARTY get $$.

          • Vance Maverick
          • Jackov

            B.Clinton finished his two terms as an old man, but he was a year younger than Obama when he became president.

            After the revolution, we should really limit the office of First Citizen to a single six year term.

    • Scott Lemieux

      As just-so stories go, the idea that Sanders would have longer coattails than Clinton is a highly implausible one. And given that the self-described socialist would be perceived as being further to the left by the electorate and that this generally entails electoral costs, you have to balance out Clinton’s better chance of winning the general election. (Yes, this disadvantage isn’t showing up in head-to-head polling yet. No, this doesn’t actually mean anything at this stage, particularly given the asymmetric levels of scrutiny and the fact that Clinton is the presumptive nominee.)

      • Gregor Sansa

        Is everything that you don’t agree with “highly implausible”? Because I hear your story, and while I don’t agree with it, I find it plausible; far more so than, for instance, any phantasy of the article mocked in the OP. I of course think that my coattails contention here is right; but even stepping back from embracing it, I have to say that it has the basic structure of something that could be right. It’s based on arguing from actual evidence — polls, donations, etc.— unlike the loony “heighten the contradictions” stuff. If you don’t agree, fine; if you want to present a counterargument, great; but simply scoffing and saying that the polls don’t matter right now doesn’t really measure up.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Well, the counterfactual is difficult to assess because a Bernie Sanders who could win the Democratic primary over Hillary Clinton is different than the actually existing one. It’s possible that this Bernie Sanders could have larger coattails, I guess, but I don’t think it’s very meaningful.

          • Gregor Sansa

            To be clear: I’m saying that if Clinton flamed out somehow (which is not outside the realm of possibility, though the odds are against), the actually existing Bernie Sanders would have longer coattails. He’s been steadily growing his support and his donor base, and has made big strides with minorities. As things stand, he’s not growing fast enough to win it without some extra factor that hasn’t happened yet; but if he did win, it would feel to his supporters as if that was an amazing victory solely due to their energy and enthusiasm, and that would give them a hell of a lot of energy moving into the general election.

            Meanwhile, on the other side, I think Clinton hate is stronger than socialist hate. Yes, there is misogyny and even probably racism contained in that fact; but even Obama faced a dismal first-midterm backlash, and I have no doubt at all that it could be even worse for Clinton, and the country can’t really deal with the kind of Republican supermajority that would entail. Could Bernie prevent that kind of backlash? Far from certain, but he has a better chance than Clinton does, and so that’s where I’d rather put my money, because I can’t sit this one out.

            • Well, I’m rather skeptical that either will have super coattails, but it seems the case for Hilary coattails is as strong as Bernie’s. Hilary’s run would be historic in an obvious, positive way. OTOH, I don’t see either driving any sort of wave.

              So, eh. Obama didn’t have big coattails I don’t thing and his campaign was historic, grassroots funded, and coming after a loathed opposite party prez.

              (Am I misremembering? They picked up seats, but was it disproportionate?)

            • Scott Lemieux

              Meanwhile, on the other side, I think Clinton hate is stronger than socialist hate.

              Among people who aren’t dedicated Republican voters? I really don’t agree with that.

        • Hogan

          I don’t think we know enough about the “coattails” phenomenon to make predictions with any confidence. LBJ had coattails in 1964; Clinton didn’t in 1992. Was LBJ a more inspiring candidate? Did he bring out more occasional voters? Or did he just bring in such a huge majority (for reasons that didn’t have much to do with his qualities as a candidate) that there was a lot of spillover, like with FDR in 1932? Is there reason to think Sanders will run up those kinds of numbers in 2016?

          • Gregor Sansa

            You’re right. We don’t know much about this. If I can, I’d rather roll the dice with Sanders than take what I’m pretty sure is bad news with Clinton.

  • Bruce B.

    I ran into one of these guys on Facebook today. I did what I usually do, pointing out the kinds of groups and issues where the differences between parties are stark and important. Turns out this one wasn’t some callow youth, but a disabled 67-year-old who finds voting much less important (if not actively more wicked) than all the protesting he takes part in. Several of us responding to him were just flabbergasted. There was a lot of what boiled down to, “Dude, they hate you and want to see you starve and die without relief.” Didn’t matter to him, couldn’t be bothered to distinguish between the parties, off he goes.

  • ASV

    In other news, clickbait still works.

  • kped

    I know it pays some bills, but at what point due the LGM writers back away from Salon in embarassment? I mean, that site is going down the rabbit hole up it’s own ass.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I know it pays some bills

      You are regrettably mistaken.

      • kped

        Lol, then what’s your excuse??

        (i still go there for a few writers, the LGM guys, Amanda Marcotte…but the place is getting more and more awful)

      • Vance Maverick

        Doesn’t it pay some of SEK’s bills? But that wasn’t what kped meant.

        • Pseudonym

          Campos too IIRC.

        • kped

          Truthfully, I don’t care if they make money there. I just think some writers here must be getting pretty embarrassed about what is going up over there. It would be one thing if any of these were written well, but let’s be real, this is brogressive fan fiction. It’s so laughably bad.

  • max

    Had Lyndon Johnson become president in 1952, I’ll guarantee you wouldn’t think of him as a progressive giant on domestic policy.

    Absolutely. Hillary is going to be President in 2017 and she’ll be presiding over an R house and maybe a D Senate (if she wins, it’s likely). The R House will continue to be insane, the D Senate will try and pacify the R House a little bit and the Republican establishment A LOT, and Hillary will do whatever she does.

    Also, Clinton is in fact “espousing” these new positions; the question is actually whether she believes them.

    Obama came across and argued for a pretty left position in the 2008 primaries. Legislatively 2009-2010 was quite liberal, but on the whole, Obama has come across as more conservative than he sounded in the primaries, judging by the optional plays he has chosen to run.

    Clinton will no longer be a Senator from liberal New York, or the Secretary of State under an anti-interventionist President but the President of the US.

    As such, I expect her track record as President to follow from her overall record since say 1992-3. I expect her to be quite liberal on small initiatives (family leave, minimum wage, etc). I expect her to be quite conservative on banking and economics although nowhere near conservative enough to satisfy CNBC (if there is another financial crisis I expect her to do no more than Obama did, and possibly a bit less, since she is tight with Wall Street). I expect her to be quite an aggressive liberal hawk as would match with the track record of the Clinton administration and her record as a Senator, AND her record as Secretary (Team USA World Police to the red courtesy phone, Scoop Jackson says there are many many countries to send troops to). I expect her to be hard right on trade (her sudden reversal on the current treaty notwithstanding). On regulatory issues (excepting pollution), I expect her to be quite ‘business-friendly’. On infrastructure and the like, I expect her to be pork-friendly and business as usual (that seems to be her overall record). On justice policy, I expect her to be generally hard rightish, as the Democratic elites (the ones that count) are and have been for decades. On civil liberties, I expect her to be to the right of Attila the Hun (as matches her entire record and which is not too distant from Obama’s record).

    She’s a plodder (nothing wrong with that per se) and a caretaker type, so I expect her to play the roll of George ‘thousand points of light’ Bush to Obama’s Reagan. That could mean she would be more liberal, on the theory that Bush was less conservative (he wasn’t – on the down low he was far more establishment conservative than Reagan), but Bush was all about bipartisanship’, so I expect her to pull to the right, rather than the left. It would be difficult to resist the undertow of an Republican house in any event. I expect the press (and the R’s in the Senate) will be all abut how wonderful to have this new more bipartisan (= less liberal, less black) President, who will give the R’s lots of stuff via ‘compromise’. Then I expect that after a year or two they’ll get back to the impeaching and trying to blow things up business.

    I expect (on the basis above) she will face a severe primary challenge in 2020.

    (Note: there seems to be some complaining that including her husband’s record in the judgement on her record is sexist. Except that Hillary herself invoked her record in 1992 (‘behind every great man is a great woman’ etc), in the years thereafter, when she ran for the Senate in 2000, when she ran for President in 2007-08 (‘3 AM wakeup call’). You can’t have it both ways, and you can’t say she was the secret liberal and then expect people to not judge whether she was the secret liberal. (I don’t see it. I mostly see she was big on government healthcare and family leave and whatnot and otherwise… not much.)

    I expect she influenced her husband in the 90’s (they made a point of saying so after all) and I expect her husband to influence HER when she’s in office. They are a couple, you know. Would be more surprising if it didn’t occur.)

    I will vote for Sanders in the primary (I already gave him some money) if he’s still in the race when it arrives here, and then I will vote for Clinton in the general as I have expected to do since last year. This is almost an exact replay of the Al Gore situation in 2000… when I was trying to argue people into voting for Al Gore even though I was not particularly convinced he would be less conservative than Clinton.

    I am not thrilled with this situation, but one has to deal with the situation to hand. I am personally not paying much attention to either primary – I think the outcome in the D primary is basically settled.

    Next year I will focus my spending on congressional candidates. There you go.

    max
    [‘I’d be a lot more enthusiastic if Warren was in the race.’]

    • Scott Lemieux

      Obama came across and argued for a pretty left position in the 2008 primaries.

      Can you name a single issue on which he was to Clinton’s left on domestic policy? If there was a nickel’s worth of difference I can’t find it. (Foreign policy, sure.)

      On justice policy, I expect her to be generally hard rightish,

      This is crazy.

      On civil liberties, I expect her to be to the right of Attila the Hun

      You have a very odd conception of the political spectrum in this country.

  • Tracy Lightcap

    I wanted to focus on one aspect of this post since it bothers the Hell out of me: “We shouldn’t support Hilary Clinton because the American people see her as untrustworthy! That’ll hurt Democrats in the general!”

    Yeah, well, horse manure. I’ve never seen any evidence that convinces me that the electorate trusts any politician very much at any level. Remember, this is the electorate that elected Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton president twice, without trusting either one of them much further then they could throw them. People vote the way they do for quite simple and rational reasons; they vote for the candidate they think will make the country better off. (Don’t believe it? Look at the lit.) This doesn’t really have too much to do with whether that candidate is trustworthy. And such considerations won’t have much to do with results in the presidential elections.

  • Ktotwf

    Just to play Devil’s Advocate a bit, can anyone else imagine a scenario where the Democrats regain control of the House and Senate while the Republicans are in opposition? I sure can’t.

    • kped

      Oh, the Senate is something they definately can take back in the upcoming election. It’s the one 2 years later that is a problem, but not because they are not in opposition, but because the base just sucks at voting when there isn’t a presidential election. Like they think “eh, we have the President, that’s good enough”.

    • Morse Code for J

      You want a Republican unity government just on the off chance that it’s so noticeably terrible as to give rise to a Democratic unity government?

  • Gwen

    This isn’t 2000, when Gush-Bore was funny because there was a nugget of truth to it. Anyone who can’t tell the difference between the Democrats and Republicans in 2015 is too dumb to vote.

    • Scott Lemieux

      when Gush-Bore was funny

      Assumes facts that are the opposite of facts.

    • Morse Code for J

      I’m ashamed to say that I, an absentee military voter registered in Florida, believed it at the time. By 2004, I couldn’t even read the NYT or WaPo op-ed without thinking about what a disservice it had done to people.

  • Gwen

    Another thing that is puzzling about this is the inherent anti-Hillary focus.

    It would be understandable if progressives united around a cause, such as “We will not support the Democratic candidate unless the party platform calls for single-payer health care.”

    I’m not saying this is a winning hand (the Establishment could still say “bugger off, hippies”). But at least the party knows what it is negotiating over and if it were to lose, what would need to be promised to win over progressives next time.

    But in this case, it seems like we have a bunch of random brogressives who just hate Hillary, and god-only-knows what it would take to appease them. Without clear leadership or a clear statement as to what they want, they can’t really be negotiated with. You could say that the price of their loyalty is Bernie Sanders being nominated, but there are two problems. First, the candidate himself has rejected such extortionism. Secondly, there are probably as many Democrats who would leave the party over Bernie, as would be drawn into it.

    In short, the anti-Hillary brogressive Salon monkeys are nihilists, and in the parlance of the Donald, “very poor negotiators.” They seem more interested in the act of hostage-taking than in actual outcomes.

    I don’t understand why such obvious wankery would be taken seriously by the bros thrmselves, much less whoever it is their Salon drivel is supposed to persuade.

    Or maybe it’s not intended to persuade. Maybe it is just clickbait. If these guys didn’t exist, Salon would have to invent them, out of economic self-interest.

    Can anyone prove to me that this isn’t just a farcical parody of the already-farcical James Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies”, where the villain troes to engineer a Sino-British war just for TV ratings?

    P.S. of course the fact that our nihilists are a joke, whereas the “anticuckservative” lunatic movement is a real threat to the GOP this year, ought to be the real story.

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  • Wait.

    Someone seriously, soberly, tried to make the case that Hillary Clinton will give the Republicans the White House if she becomes the candida–

    I couldn’t even finish that, that’s how stupid that proposition is.

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