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Bernie and His Revolution

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bernie_2

Maybe I am just cynical, but if Bernie Sanders’ primary critique of Barack Obama is that he didn’t bridge the gap between Congress and the American public (through what magic powers I don’t know) and that he will do this but it will require a “political revolution” that will bring “millions and millions of people into the political process in a way that does not exist right now,” I am pretty bloody skeptical of how this works. Because I don’t think it can.

I guess this means I’m being paid by the Clinton Foundation or something.

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  • Schadenboner

    Pull my finger.

    • joe from Lowell

      He’s really working the uncle thing.

  • Mike in DC

    Well for starters, he has to beat the other guy in the fall by 10 points if he wants to flip control of Congress. Then he has to get reluctant centrist Dems in line with his agenda. The toughest thing is probably getting Schumer to abolish the legislative filibuster. The next toughest thing is holding on through the midterms. It’s a tall order, agreed. It is a better sales pitch than “vote for me and I will make things 3.25% better”, though.

    • humanoid.panda

      You know what’s an even better sales pitch? Replacing Obamacare with something wonderful, that will provide coverage for everyone, while lowering taxes, and not making doctors any poorer! Why shouldn’t we for that one?

      • Connecticut Yankee

        Is that supposed to be Sanders or Trump?

        • humanoid.panda

          That’s Trump. But it’s a better sales pitch that Sanders’, so why not go for it?

    • Gregor Sansa

      Exactly.

      Skeptical he’ll pull it off? Of course I am! But he has a better chance than Hillary. And that includes his chances of winning at all in the general.

      Hillary still has the better chance in the primary. But his chances there are now in the 20-50% range; something to be taken seriously.

      In the general, if we could somehow try it both ways, it’s possible that we’d find out that one would win and the other one lose. But the most probable combinations are both win or both lose. The third most probable is that Bernie beats Trump beats Hillary. The “socialist loses, centrist wins” scenarios are rounding errors.

      • humanoid.panda

        The third most probable is that Bernie beats Trump beats Hillary. The “socialist loses, centrist wins” scenarios are rounding errors.

        Any particular reason to say that?

        • Gregor Sansa

          Besides the fact that there’s no actual evidence for the latter besides “generic socialist” polls, and “generic” polls are notoriously inaccurate?

          • humanoid.panda

            Ok- so at most, you can say that there is no evidence for either proposition.

            • Gregor Sansa

              That’s simply not true. The question of whether a Sanders vs. Trump poll is more relevant to a Sanders vs. Trump race than a Generic Socialist vs. Generic Republican poll is not a matter of opinion.

              • joe from Lowell

                Relevant, sure. But they’re still not effective predictors.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  Sure. Evidence that Sanders is more electable is very very weak. But evidence that Clinton is more so is by any measure even weaker. So to the question of who is more electable, either “Perhaps Sanders” or “we don’t know” are acceptable answers, but “Clinton” is not.

                • djw

                  Gregor, out of curiosity–is your view that the median voter theorem has always been garbage, and the evidence adduced on its behalf always been flawed/misleading, or that it stopped having any analytic value fairly recently due to increased polarization?

                • Gregor Sansa

                  The median voter theorem applies to a world of “the party decides, turnout is high regardless of the candidates, and voters care about incremental changes”. Those assumptions were never perfect, but they are all becoming less and less true these days. In particular, in the current election, where you clearly have important dynamics at the level of the primary, as well as a highly-polarized electorate, it’s just not at all helpful.

      • Arouet

        You’re basing that on polls 9 months out from the election when Republicans are still desperately hoping Sanders wins the primary. If he does, the negative advertising is going to be brutal and effective. He only stands a chance against Trump because he’s an equally unlikely candidate.

        • Gregor Sansa

          Sure, the polls are the best evidence for my position. But if you decide that the only evidence that counts are stories we make up or metaphors with elections 40+ years ago, then two can play at that game too.

          Story: Bernie vs. billionaire; Sanders dream opponent. Trump vs. Clinton: Trump dream opponent.

          Metaphor: Bernie=Reagan 1980.

          We could go on with that stuff all day, but I don’t see the point.

        • joe from Lowell

          I always find it interesting when people argue the following formula:

          Evidence for A + Criticism of Evidence for A = Proof of -A

          without any apparent need for evidence of -A.

          • aaronl

            I thought the forumula was:

            [Available Evidence] – [Things I Choose Not to Believe] + [Wishful Thinking] = [Exactly What I Thought in the First Place]

            • joe from Lowell

              I’m not even saying that taking a notch out of those early general election head-to-heads is just selection bias. Those things really aren’t all that useful. If you want to discredit those, great. That leaves us nowhere, not “Therefore he really is doomed in the general election.”

        • Cheap Wino

          I don’t understand the idea that the attacks on Bernie will be more brutal than the attacks on Hillary. It will dialed up to 11 regardless who the Dem nominee is.

          • joe from Lowell

            Anyway, it’s becoming quite clear that we’re going to get a very good look at how Bernie Sanders stands up to brutal negative campaigning prior to the general election.

            It’s a self-solving problem, like electability.

          • random

            I don’t understand the idea that the attacks on Bernie will be more brutal than the attacks on Hillary. that Hillary has endured for over 30 years now. It will dialed up to 11 the normal level of brutality that Hillary Clinton is used to regardless who the Dem nominee is.

            • joe from Lowell

              Indeed, choosing a candidate based on the perception that the Republicans won’t launch brutal attacks is a sucker’s game. We learned that with John Kerry. We learned that with the unifying, whispery-Republican-supporters figure of Barack Obama.

              • joe from Lowell

                “He’s a war hero! Silver star! They can’t call him a wimp or a traitor!”

                Still bitter.

                • JR in WV

                  Me too. Kerry has more stones than all the swift-boaters combined, and more smarts too. What a shame no one talked him into going at it with those worthless lying anti-veteran scum… But maybe he knew he wasn’t really up for bare-knuckles politics…

                  Look at how well he has done at Secretary of State, dealing with people he has no influence over whatsoever. Yet still pulling them around to help with our agenda.

            • Gregor Sansa

              Oh, you mean, the level which got her 38% in the only actual Sanders v. Clinton raw vote numbers we have available? While he got 60%, more votes than the top two Republicans combined?

              Sure, you have to admire Clinton for remaining standing after decades of shit-howitzers aimed at her. She’s a righteous badass for that. But what you can’t claim is that this makes hypothetical nominee Clinton more electable than hypothetical nominee (having beaten Clinton) Sanders.

              • random

                Oh, you mean, the level which got her 38% in the only actual Sanders v. Clinton raw vote numbers we have available? a population of voters that is almost entirely white and disproportionately borders Vermont.

                But what you can’t claim is that this makes hypothetical nominee Clinton more electable than hypothetical nominee (having beaten not beaten Clinton) Sanders.

                The question with Sanders is how far his popularity will drop and with whom and due to what factors.
                That’s not a question with Clinton, opinions about her are largely fixed and fixed within range of her winning the electoral college.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  But you’re assuming that all the unknowns for Sanders are on the down side. So far this election, he’s tended to surprise on the up side. How do you reconcile this?

                • Lee Rudolph

                  But you’re assuming that all the unknowns for Sanders are on the down side. So far this election, he’s tended to surprise on the up side. How do you reconcile this?

                  Regression to the meanies!!!

                • Gregor Sansa

                  LR wins the thread.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  (LR wins rhetorically. But of course the actual “mean” that you’d expect hypothetical Nominee Bernie to regress to is that of Nominee Democrat, who has a very favorable map this year; can win with any of 4 big swing states, must lose all 4 to lose.)

          • kped

            I don’t think there is a planet where Bernie attracts more negative attacks in the general than Clinton. The Republican hate for the Clintons is visceral, and the general election will have stuff about the emails, Bengahzi, Bill’s dong, etc.

            I think people are saying that Bernie will get hit, and he’s never really been hit before, so who knows how he’ll handle it.

            • eh

              The Republicans have been practicing their anti-HRC strategies for decades now.

          • twbb

            The GOP has managed to whip its base in a fervor over the past 8 years over Obama’s alleged “socialism.” The reason why it doesn’t expand past the base is because non-RWNJs (correctly) recognize that Obama is not a socialist.

            Bernie is a self-avowed socialist.

            • eh

              Social Democrat, there’s a difference.

        • If Bernie gets the nomination, expect to be tired of seeing the hammer & sickle logo everywhere.

          • Hogan

            Millennials: “Why are the Republicans trying to sell me baking powder?”

            • saucyturtles

              Baking SODA, libs. Can’t even get that right! No wonder you want to elect a sodalist.

              • Gregor Sansa

                Wow, my harping about highly-theoretical voting systems has paid off! SODA voting is awesome!

            • Bernie probably brushes his teeth with that stuff like any good commie would. The Arm and Hammer logo is, of course, a symbol of the international communist plot to make our precious bodily fluids less acidic. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SLP_logo_wiki.png

              • Hogan

                And Armand Hammer sold wheat to the Soviet Union in the ’20s. Occidental? I THINK NOT.

            • joe from Lowell

              Hi, Ma? No…no…No, I’m not going to try to get you to vote for Bernie Sanders…I wanted to ask a question.

              What is a “commy?”

      • Manny Kant

        I like how you just make up probabilities so you can claim that Sanders is more likely to beat Trump than Clinton. Can we get some kind of injunction against Gregor making up bullshit statistics and then using them as evidence for whatever he’s arguing?

        • Gregor Sansa

          The statistics I made up were an assertion about the primary. I never pretended they came from anywhere but my ass. But they have nothing to do with my argument that Sanders is more likely to beat Trump; that is based on both polls (objective) and my reading of bullshit stories (subjective).

          • Manny Kant

            The polls show a virtually identical 8 point lead for both Democrats over Trump. 50-42 for Sanders, 49-41 for Clinton, according to the Huff Post averages. Clinton’s negatives are baked in; Sanders’s are not. I don’t see any reason from polls to conclude that Sanders has the better chance to beat Trump.

  • humanoid.panda

    In the Grayson/Murphy thread, there were a lot of angry voices regarding how unfair was the piling on Grayson, when Murphy is a DINO. There is something to it, and it sucks that the one electable candidate in the state is a former republican. However, here is where the rubber meets the road: if all the “democratic wing of the democratic party” can produce is primary challenger who is not only ethically challenged and has a stormy private life, but also opposes the Iran deal and dislikes progressive taxation, then Bernie’s entire theory of politics is complete and utter rubbish..

    • Schadenboner

      I think the basic problem is that state Democratic Parties seem to be uniquely bad at producing a “bench” so you end up with billionaire carpetbaggers and astroturfers (and that’s what Murphy fucking well is, the probable necessity of electing him notwithstanding).

      Of course, I don’t have a solution for this (given the apparent inability of our voters to get to the goddamn polls for anything less than a Presidential election, and that only when they feel warm and fuzzy about doing so), and I’d like a pink sparkle blowjob-pony as well once you guys come up with a solution.

      Also, if anyone else is in Wisconsin please turn off the lights on your way out don’t forget the Supreme Court (and Milwaukee County Executive) primary today.

      • twbb

        Both the Republicans and Democrats have an incredibly weak bench these days, even compared to 10 or 20 years ago. I think this is the weakest group of candidates the Dems have put out in a long, long time; fortunately, the Repubs are even weaker.

        • dr. hilarius

          I wonder why that is. The best explanation I can pull out my ass is that it’s gotten exponentially more expensive to run for office. So people from modest backgrounds who don’t have a billionaire’s salad to toss have less access. So I guess the amount of money it costs to get into office restricts the pool and makes it more insular that way.

          You just get weak milquetoast who don’t want to lose the all too important campaign contributions from the money people and the occasional Warren or Brown slip through. Extreme polarization perhaps turns off more moderate people from running for office? Maybe politics seems more unpleasant these days, even though it’s probably no worse than its been in the past? I dunno.

          • kped

            Dems have a weak bench because they’ve ignored states and local races. Less people available to make the jump to the big leagues.

            • twbb

              The GOP bench is pathetic too, though.

          • twbb

            Might also be that the rise of the federal regulatory state since the 1970’s has made an easier path to power and influence. Who wants to shake hands at a Denny’s trying to drum up votes when the right college and grad school and internships can get you, in theory, on an upward trajectory through a federal agency.

      • Derelict

        . . . state Democratic Parties seem to be uniquely bad at producing a “bench” . . .

        State Democratic party organizations don’t really exist–at least not in any real functional sense. Trying to get funding for local candidates is basically a solo effort by the candidate and his/her friends. The national party wants nothing at all to do with local races, except to the extent that the DNC will hit your state-rep campaign up for money you don’t have. You want organizational help? You want help with filings? You want help with ad buys, strategy guidance, accounting? Here’s the phone book, and best of luck to ya.

        • Schadenboner

          Exactly. We don’t have anything like Newt had before ’94. I forget the name of his little red book that GOPAC put out (it was probably the first campaigning book I read after rules for radicals and the activist’s handbook but I’ll be damned if I can remember the name) but we need something like that.

          Instead we get these great visionary speech-givers that have coattails that hardly even cover their own asses.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          I often wonder how many people who comment here, especially those who complain the loudest about useless democrats, have ever actually run for anything themselves

          • humanoid.panda

            Right. A lot of this comes down to: “I want a revolution and to overthrow the rotten establishment. Also, why is the establishment not recruiting my candidates and creating a state of the art political machinery for them?”

            • eh

              Give me a break. I live in a fancy big city and I have to steer to avoid potholes on my bicycle.

          • dr. fancypants

            I’ve always been kind of attracted to the idea of running for office. But then I think about all the schmoozing and donor-begging that would be required, and I realize I’d rather have my fingernails ripped out. It takes a special kind of person to be able to navigate that process, and I’m not that kind of person.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              I was approached about running for county office back in 2008 and after the initial glow wore off I realized what you did- and also that I wasn’t really ready to start out at that level. So I applied for an opening on one of the appointed local boards and I’ve helped do some good things there over the last six-plus years

          • burritoboy

            Ok, here’s part of the problem: the Dems control very few political units: basically, the big cities (but not their suburbs), some vacation towns and many college towns. Now, that’s a huge number of people, but a comparatively small number of political seats. The conservatives control the areas with small numbers of people and huge numbers of political units. Southern states, for instance, intentionally have huge numbers of counties. Georgia has 159 counties, versus California’s 58. California’s state assembly has 80 members for a population of over 40 million, while the Mississippi House of Representatives has 122 members for a population of around 3 million.

            It’s extremely difficult to become a County Supervisor in California in the large urban counties, for instance. The Board of Supervisors in my California county is composed of major, major politicians, most of whom have been there for decades (one of whom comes from a political dynasty going back almost a century and another who’s been a major politico here for more than 60 years). It’s always like this as a Dem – it’s hard to move up because the number of safe seats is tiny – compared to even the Republicans in California. The Republicans in California are close to extinction in terms of winning major races, but they have huge piles of hopefuls in thousands of political seats across the vast rural areas. Even here in California.

            Add on top of that: because of the lack of good rural jobs, a political position is one of the best jobs available in rural areas (simply in terms of pay, but also bennies as well as status). But it’s reversed in most Democratic strongholds.

            • Manny Kant

              That’s not completely true. There’s plenty of suburbs controlled by Democrats, though a lot of suburbs that vote safely Democratic in presidential elections still elect Republicans to local office. And there are rural Democrats – African-Americans in the South, Hispanics in the Southwest, Indians in the west, and even some white people in the upper Midwest and upper New England. But, yes, far more localities are Republican-dominated.

              • burritoboy

                You’re not seeing the difficulties. It’s not that there aren’t rural areas with even substantial Dem voters – sometimes even a majority. But those areas will tend to be gerrymandered so that their votes will be diluted. So, it’s common for a Dem to get elected to very local offices in those circumstances, but they can’t move up to higher offices. Since we’re talking about city council or local mayors or various board members in generally quite poor rural areas, the pay is bad (or nothing), the problems are huge, the resources are nonexistent, AND your political career has already topped out. Unless you’ve got some unusual grift on, it’s a dead end, which tends to be readily apparent to most of the Dem residents in those areas.

                For another example, Democrats (hell, even Greens and Socialists) can get elected in college towns all the time. But they can’t move up beyond their college towns because the college town is in a rural county that usually wants to burn the university down to the ground, much less vote college town politicos to higher office. And so the college town lefties can only very rarely get on the county board of sups, which is merely the next level. That’s part of the reason the Dem bench is weak.

                • Jackov

                  The national party – the DCCC in this case –
                  also bigfoots the locals when it comes to congressional races. The NY 29/23 nomination has gone to the following people with no elected experience and short/childhood ties to the district over the last decade: a Harvard grad student who worked on Clinton’s Senate campaign, a former Republican naval officer/corporate exec (x2) and likely a military aid to the Obama White House who moved back to the district last year.

                  The DCCC is 1 for 3 and the win ended with sexual harassment allegations and resignation. Meanwhile, the college town leftie/young county legislator who lost by 3 points in 2012 will likely never get another shot.

            • LeeEsq

              The penchant for having small or at least smallish legislative bodies in the United States does not help. The largest city council by number in the United States is New York City and that only has a city council in the mid-dozens. Many European city councils have more members even if the populations are well bellow New York City’s population.

              • twbb

                Side note, but if you’ve ever wanted to know where the left’s equivalent of crazy RWNJs are, the New York City council is not the worst place to look.

          • twbb

            You don’t have to be Vince Lombardi to acquire the moral authority to yell at your TV when your team is trying for a field goal from the 97th yard line. I can’t speak for everyone, but since I am not willing to get my hands dirty I don’t second-guess close decisions, or even decisions that are arguably close.

            But good lord do the Democrats consistently mismanage their campaigns to a point where you just want to shake them. As for the state level strategy, we’re not even saying they’re doing the wrong strategy, we’re saying they’re not doing ANY. And the frustrating thing is they have the ability; Obama’s 2012 state-level organization and voting day coordination was one of the most impressive things I’ve seen in my life. Why can’t the DNC give whoever managed that a lifetime job?

            • eh

              Peter Principle carries sway unless you’re Roger Stone or Lanny Davis.

      • David W.

        Thanks for the reminder. Given that turnout is expected to be only 10%, I’d like to think Bradley could be knocked out if enough D’s vote today.

        • Schadenboner

          Until Brookfield would “find” just enough missing ballot boxes.

  • Honoré De Ballsack

    I guess this means I’m being paid by the Clinton Foundation or something.

    Jesus, you guys–give it a break, won’t you? The level of discussion here is seriously dropping to that of imperious middle-school girls.

    • Gregor Sansa

      I disagree! Actually, I think middle school boys do this just as much.

      Other than that, you’re entirely right.

    • Schadenboner

      I heard Honoré De Ballsack totally let herself get fingered behind the gym at the school dance last week. What a slut!

    • ThrottleJockey

      Honore– Sorry for being so thin skinned in the education thread the other day. My bad.

    • Srsly Dad Y

      Yeah, seconded, HDB, FWIW.

      I’m among the people from whom this primary poses a very difficult choice, and I vote on March 1, when it may still “matter.” (One vote never matters.)

      I don’t worship Sanders or Clinton. I don’t hate Sanders or Clinton. Or their supporters. There is no Salon-style “One. Perfect. Burn.” that will make up my mind. All serious presidential candidates overpromise. Basically my politics are like Mike in DC’s and my thoughts on the electability conundrum are like Matt Bruenig’s.

    • Jackov

      Loomis references becoming a paid shill.

      Lemieux writes The Loomis Crisis post.

      Connect the dots sheeple.

  • addicted44

    I don’t know why more haven’t commented (or maybe the have and I just missed it) on the political disaster that would be the Democratic nominee attacking the popular outgoing Democratic president’s achievements?

    1 way to figure out Bernie’s campaigning issues is to list all of Obama’s most touted achievements and attack it from the left. This is extremely similar to the Republican Party whose strategy is to pick Obama’s most touted achievements and attack it from the right.

    So basically a Sanders vs Repubkican General will involve both sides attacking Obama’s policies with one side claiming the solution is to reelect a Democrat while the other saying to go with a Republican instead. Which of these claims are more believable to an impartial observer?

    • Gregor Sansa

      1 way to figure out Bernie’s campaigning issues is to list all of Obama’s most touted achievements and attack it from the left.

      If that list is “Obamacare”, then sure. Other than that, [citation needed].

      • humanoid.panda

        Dodd-Frank?

        • joe from Lowell

          He lauds Dodd-Frank and calls for going further.

          • addicted44

            Umm, that’s exactly what I mean by attacking from the left (maybe attack from the left isn’t the right phrase). That he says it isn’t good enough. That applies to Obamacare as well (I doubt Bernie is saying that Obamacare is worse than what was there before).

            The list includes Healthcare, Financial Reform, college education, taxes on the richest, stimulus, TPP off the top of my head.

            • joe from Lowell

              But if you take the word “attacking” out, your original argument makes no sense. It is a “political disaster” for a Democratic candidate to talk about extending and advancing the last Democratic president’s agenda?

              he only way your argument makes sense is if a Democratic candidate is actually attacking, in the sense of your language “So basically a Sanders vs Repubkican General will involve both sides attacking Obama’s policies

              Financial-sector regulations like Dodd-Frank are good; we need more of those” isn’t an attack on the previous President, not comparable to what the Republicans will be saying, and leads very obviously to “Let’s elect a Democratic president.”

              • humanoid.panda

                Right. But this is not *quite* what Sanders is saying. He’s also saying that the deficiencies of those programs are the result of systemic corruption.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Why is that supposed to be a problem?

                  Are you talking about in the primary or in the general?

                  “I want to fix problems that transcend partisan interest” is not actually a terrible thing to be arguing in a general election. Look at Obama and his post-partisan shtick in 2008.

                • twbb

                  I don’t think it was shtick in 2008, though it was in 2012.

                • joe from Lowell

                  That was glib word choice on my part.

                  I think you’re right.

            • eh

              “Let’s continue the successes of Obama…” I mean, come on, there are professional speechwriters involved in all of this, you know?

      • Alex.S

        Executive action on immigration — Sanders is proposing to increase it beyond Obama’s current levels and legal theory with a shrug.

        “Real” unemployment — Ask the Sanders campaign, and they’ll say unemployment is really 10%, with a goal of implying that Obama failed to fix the econony.

        Dodd-Frank — Sanders is angry because Dodd-Frank is not being used to break up the big banks and he’ll use it to do that via executive action.

        Implicit in Sanders’ executive action plans is that Obama had the option. To do this, but refused for some reason.

        • joe from Lowell

          Let’s go back to the tape:

          attacking the popular outgoing Democratic president’s achievements

          I’m still waiting for an example of an attack.

          Apparently, in the absence of any such thing, we are now substituting “going beyond” or “extending” for “attacking.”

          Implicit in…

          Ah. I see.

        • JL

          By this logic, anything other than the same platform as the incumbent is an attack on the incumbent. Any expressed intention of extending what the incumbent has done is an attack on the incumbent. Which, if that’s how you see things, that’s fine, I can see that argument, but it also means that almost every candidate for anything is attacking their predecessor.

          • Alex.S

            I guess I should have just said Sanders constantly talking about “real” unemployment.

            That’s a specific critique of the Obama administration and an attempt to mask the successes of the current economy as a failure.

            I do feel that promising to do something via executive action that the previous administration is not doing does represent a break from the current administration, and partially a critique on the current administration. I felt the same way when Hillary Clinton made a promise on gun control that was beyond the Obama administration.

            • joe from Lowell

              Obama: Unemployment Rate is Still Too High

              “The unemployment rate across the nation and here in South Carolina is still too high. That means we’ve got more to do.”

              I wish Barack Obama would cease his constant attacks on Barack Obama.

            • eh

              Everybody knows official unemployment numbers are juked.

    • joe from Lowell

      So your evidence that Sanders is attacking Obama’s achievements is…absolutely nothing about his campaign messaging, but a different campaign message you can imagine someone making based on his policy platform?

      Now let’s think about this: yes, most of Sanders’ policy platform is to the left of the status quo at the end of Obama’s term. Certainly, someone could put together a campaign message, quite easily in fact, around attacking Obama’s achievements from the left.

      And yet, you still have to imagine some future campaign rhetoric in order to claim he’s doing so.

      In reality, Sanders has been very careful to avoid showing daylight between himself and President Obama, casting his efforts in terms of continuity even when, substantively, contrast would be an easier case to make.

      • ThrottleJockey

        Joe Sanders is suggesting that he could do a better job then Obama has at bridging the partisan divide. Of course we all know that is horseshit. The GOP may not like a black man in the White House but they’re not going to be that fond of a Jew in the White House either.

        And they still need to protect their partisan and moneyed interests.

        • joe from Lowell

          I realize that I did a pretty good job of taking down the “attacking Obama’s policies from the left” theory, and that you don’t like that, but could you find a less-destructive way of reacting than hijacking the subthread to a completely different topic?

          Thanks

          • liberalrob

            I realize that I did a pretty good job of taking down the “attacking Obama’s policies from the left” theory

            Even if you do say so yourself :P

        • aaronl

          Race and religion aren’t the issue. They just add the potential for some coded messaging. The fundamental issue is that a Republican Congress will do as much as it can to prevent the advancement of the agenda of any Democrat in the White House.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Its only “destructive” because you’re wrong! Its simply not true “that Sanders has been very careful to avoid showing daylight between himself and President Obama, casting his efforts in terms of continuity even when, substantively, contrast would be an easier case to make.”

          And pointing out that you’re factually wrong is not “hijacking the subthread to a completely different topic”.

          You’re welcome.

          • joe from Lowell

            Its only “destructive” because you’re wrong! Its simply not true “that Sanders has been very careful to avoid showing daylight between himself and President Obama, casting his efforts in terms of continuity even when, substantively, contrast would be an easier case to make.”

            Uh huh. So, he hasn’t been bragging about helping to write the Affordable Care Act?

            And pointing out that you’re factually wrong is not “hijacking the subthread to a completely different topic”.

            You never made any such claim in your previous comment. You didn’t write a single word about Sanders attacking Obama’s achievements, or even about running on substantively-distinct policy platforms. Let’s go to the tape:

            Joe Sanders is suggesting that he could do a better job then Obama has at bridging the partisan divide.

            That was your argument. You’re ginning a distinct argument now to pretend you weren’t threadjacking.

      • addicted44

        Apologies for the term “attack”. It’s obviously leading to implications that I did not intend so my bad.

        What I wanted to convey is Sanders’s claim is Obama’s actions were not good enough. Unfortunately, in a general election where nuance will be lost (to a a large extent even in the primary) not good enough = not good. Which is the same argument that the Republicans will be making.

        My point is that the general election will be Republicans saying Obamacare isn’t good and Bernie Sandwrs saying Obamacare isn’t good (they will have different reasons but both will be agreeing it isn’t good as it stands). It will have Republican’s saying Dood Frank isn’t good and Bernie Sanders saying Dodd Frank isn’t good. It will have Republican’s saying current taxes on the rich isn’t good and Bernie Sanders saying current taxes are not good. Republican’s saying TPP isn’t good and Bernie Sanders saying isn’t good. There will be a lot of disagreement between the Republican’s and Sanders on why things aren’t good but the political optics will have all of them agreeing that things after 8 years of. Democrat as President agreeing that they aren’t good.

        I am not disagreeing with the Sanders platform. I just think it may be a bad political stance after 8 years of a Democratic presidency.

        • joe from Lowell

          It could be the case that “should go further” can be expressed or interpreted as “didn’t do a good enough job,” but then again, “pick up the ball and run with it” seems an equally-likely message and interpretation.

          The solution to the problem is in campaign messaging. Sanders isn’t saying “Obamacare isn’t good.” He’s saying “the health care system isn’t good. Obamacare did some good, let’s do more.” He is bragging about his role in writing the bill on the stump.

          Has any candidate ever run on a platform of zero policy change from the previous president of the same party? Has pushing for further progress in the same direction ever produced the lack of distinction you describe?

        • Gregor Sansa

          I think it’s a lot more of a winner than “yes Obama was PERFECT, shut UP. Four more years!”

        • humanoid.panda

          I think what you are missing, and what made people misread your point it’s that the problem with Sanders is not that he is saying “here is where need to go beyond Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, etc, etc.” That’s something any candidate must do, especially when voters are not happy with the state of the country! The problem is that Sanders is not just saying “those things are good, but here’s how we can make them better.” He is also strongly implying that they might have good elements and be better than the altrernative, but are also products of a corrupt system- and that’s a problem for someone running as Democrat.

          • Hogan

            How about “constrained by a corrupt system”?

          • JL

            Why is the idea that the system is corrupt a problem for a Democrat? Being in favor of a good governance system doesn’t mean thinking whatever system exists at the moment is configured to produce good governance. We talk all the time at LGM about systemic problems.

            The bigger problem I see is that Sanders can’t magically transcend the system and its constraints. Which, I never believe that anyone’s stated intention to do so is anything but rhetoric (even if sincerely-felt rhetoric), so I don’t much care. Sanders is flawed but closer to my policy preferences than Clinton, who is more flawed, and I think he’s viable enough to be worth a shot, and I want the viable candidate who is closest to my policy preferences. It’s really that simple for me.

            • ThrottleJockey

              I largely feel the same as you as regards policy preferences, but having a SCOTUS seat up for grabs as well maybe shifts my calculus from “viable enough” to “too big a deal to fuck up”…Can you imagine Trump or Cruz or even Rubio nominating a candidate to succeed Scalia???

              • Gregor Sansa

                The stakes are high. Which would mean we should take the safest candidate; the one most likely to win in the general. Luckily, that’s the same as the best candidate: Bernie Sanders.

                Or, to be less facile about it: we really don’t know who is more likely to win the general, though we have some weak evidence from the polls that it’s not Hillary. The best guess we can make for chances of winning for either is probably based on the fundamentals and the map; which is the same for both (given that Hillary wouldn’t win Arkansas and would win Vermont, just like Bernie). Given the weakness of that evidence, it’s probably better just to vote for whichever you think is better.

                • ForkyMcSpoon

                  Political ideology is part of the fundamentals.

                  I haven’t seen the evidence to convince me that Bernie is closer to the median voter than Hillary is. Both of them are to the left of the median Democrat in Congress, but Bernie is far more. Half of Democratic primary voters identify as moderate or conservative. If Bernie is left of the median Democrat, how is he not left of the median voter? And that’s without even getting into what Americans say they think about socialism.

                  I really don’t see any reason to take your very weak evidence of very early polls as being the strongest evidence that exists.

                  Also, I’m not sure why Trump beats Clinton. I don’t think Trump is favored to beat either candidate in a head-to-head.

    • Halloween Jack

      Sanders’ campaign is based on two, and ultimately only two, things: 1) he promises to be the hard-left messiah that every lefty assumed Obama was going to be, and 2) he’s scrappy.

      • Schadenboner

        And Clinton’s campaign on the historical inevitability of her nomination, and (having been nominated) the assurance of victory.

        Seriously: Hillary’s inability to convince Democratic Party faithful that she, a former Democratic FLOTUS/Democratic Senator/SecState for Obama, is a good Democrat and a good prospect is nothing short of stunning. It’s like bizarro Jeb Bush, as if Jeb Bush transparently *wanted* to win but found himself unable to. Hillary is not an electable candidate if she cannot get elected. I have no doubts about her ability as an administrator, if I could push a magic button and make her the President I have no doubt she would be a good president, certainly in the top 50% and very probably the top 25% or 33% but she is almost viscerally hostile to the act of campaigning.

        I’m ultimately not a Sanders fan per se (in all honesty, I was apparently the only actually-existing O’Malley supporter) but at least he appears to enjoy the act of being a candidate for political office.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          youre forgetting that a lot of what’s making Sanders go is his appeal to people who don’t consider themselves the “Democratic party faithful”- and they are going to be awfully resistant to *any* appeal Clinton could make to them

          • Schadenboner

            I think of them more as disaffected Deaniacs or Obama supporters in the counterfactual-2008 where he loses the primaries. I think they are probably a lot more pragmatic and savvy that they seem to be/are taken to be online. The vast, vast majority will fall in line.

            But I’m serious about Hillary being a deeply problematic general election candidate. If she gets the nomination we better pray for Trump and for a hell of a lot of pragmatism from suburban moderate-to-conservative types who have spent a lot of the last 30 years watching the 4 minutes hate about all things Clinton*.

            *: This being said I think a great deal of the sturm und drang on our side about how high Fox News’ numbers are is overblown, a lot of watchers are probably a whole lot more critical about what they watch than we give them credit for, and viewing habits among this soft outer strata of Fox News users is probably only mildly associated with voting outcomes. “Fox News Democrats” if you will…

            EDIT: Goddamn does “pragmatic” do a lot of heavy-lifting in both paragraphs…

            • joe from Lowell

              Look around, Schaden. Do you see any non-deeply-problematic candidates in either party?

              I mean, we could have ended up with O’Malley-Kasich, I guess. And then put up with four years of op-eds bemoaning the 9% turnout rate.

              • liberalrob

                Right, the problem is not the candidates. All candidates are “problematic” in some way or other, as all are human beings. What’s problematic is our electoral system which was designed in the 18th century and is desperately in need of some updating.

                • Lee Rudolph

                  All candidates are “problematic” in some way or other, as all are human beings

                  in some way or other. Emphasizing “other”.

                • tsam

                  …“problematic” in some way or other, as all are human beings.

                  SPEAK FOR YOURSELF, CHUMP

                • joe from Lowell

                  You don’t really love that guy you make it with, now do you? I know you don’t love that guy cuz tsam can see right through you.

                  tsam is, tsam is , tsam is tsuperman, and tsam knows what’s happening.

                • Librarian for America 2016

                  OOOK!

        • Manny Kant

          O’Malley supporters unite! I kind of was for O’Malley, too, though I of course realized this was quixotic and hopeless. It was basically on the grounds that both Sanders and Clinton are deeply, deeply flawed general election candidates. Of course “guy who would have been happy to get a poll that showed him at 3% in the primaries” has his own problems as a general election candidate, but O’Malley was the closest thing to “generic Democrat,” and I think “generic Democrat” would have a better chance of winning this thing than either “elderly Vermont/Brooklyn socialist” or “Hillary Clinton”.

          • AMK

            I agree on O’Malley as far as “generic democrat” November electability goes. It always seemed to me that he had a solid presentation (decent speaking skills and looks, everyman background, a strong and eminently spinnable record as governor).

            The real test would have been if Sanders didn’t run. O’Malley is obviously much closer to the Obama center-left than Bernie, but could he have mounted a serious challenge on the strength of Clinton fatigue, young people and the “Hillary is a Wall Street sellout” crowd that we see driving Sanders?

        • joe from Lowell

          Hillary’s inability to convince Democratic Party faithful that she, a former Democratic FLOTUS/Democratic Senator/SecState for Obama, is a good Democrat and a good prospect is nothing short of stunning.

          Inability to convince? She started out with near-universal agreement on those points among Democrats, and has proceeded to lose it. It’s not just that “you didn’t build that.” You already had one, and took it apart. It’s remarkable.

          • Schadenboner

            “Inability to close the goddamn sale” then?

            • joe from Lowell

              Failing to close sale doesn’t involving giving your own money to the people you’ve been pitching.

              Hillary Clinton has gone backwards.

              • liberalrob

                I don’t think she’s gone backwards as much as Sanders has gone forwards.

                But this is all overblown. All a nominee Clinton would need to do is point to her opponent, and all those “people who don’t consider themselves the “Democratic party faithful”” would indeed fall into line…except maybe for a few idiotic refuseniks, which unfortunately will always be an issue.

      • Gregor Sansa

        3) he’s got no baggage from dodgy fundraising; 4) he’s got a track record of effective legislative work.

        Does that make him a dream candidate beyond mortal ken? No. But it’s enough to make him electable, and enough to make me like him better than Hillary. Despite my skepticism on point 1.

  • ChrisS

    I hate primary season.

    Though I’m quite enjoying the trainwreck on the GOP side of things. Four guys saying the same thing and Trump.

    • ThrottleJockey

      I won’t vote for Trump for president but I will suggest that he get the Presidential Medal of Freedom for deconstructing the phrase “George W and Dick Cheney kept us safe”.

      • twbb

        The sheer frustrated rage the GOP establishment has over the fact that Trump’s attacks on GWB are not hurting his poll numbers is a thing of beauty.

        • Schadenboner

          The whiplash that will be caused when they lock-step behind him once he gets the nom will be even more beautiful.

          • twbb

            The funny thing is he’ll constantly demean them and they’ll have to stand there and just take it.

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        Something I like about that is that the Democrats can’t see Trump doing this and not paying a price in the GOP primary and not conclude that it’s a safe line of attack in the general.

        Well, they might prove me wrong. And it’s probably not something worth going out of your way on – only if it comes up in a debate. Or if the nominee is, improbably, Jeb Bush.

    • JMV Pyro

      You and me both. I think the main reason I’ve gotten so tired of it is that ultimately, the whole “Clinton vs Sanders” fight is a redo of the old “Obot vs Firebagger” crap from Obama’s first term.

      I’ve already seen this divide play itself out for years and I haven’t exactly been surprised by where people have ended up throughout the blogosphere. I’ve already decided who I’m voting for in my mid-April primary and at this point I’m focusing my attention on supporting whoever wins and on down-ticket races.

    • JL

      Augh, I hate it too. I see a bunch of people who should be working together on the 99% of organizing that’s not about this, at each other’s throats making each other miserable. I know that most people will mostly move on from it once the primary is done and some time has passed, but in the meantime it’s distressing to see and has deterred me from being more active in primary politics.

    • Sly

      Honestly, it took me a lot quicker to decide not to vote in this Presidential primary than it did in 2008. Back then, I didn’t say “Fuck it I’d vote for either of them who cares” until after Super Tuesday. I hit that point this time around back in December.

      Doing more to look at what local and state-level candidates are doing is just worth more of my time.

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    those millions and millions of people cant just engage the government, they have to become the government- which not only takes time and energy but a liking- or at least acceptance- of ritual and process. it’s just a lot more difficult than people like to believe

  • Derelict

    Two points. First, I’m dismayed that Democrats are held to a rigorous standard for conformity with possible reality for every jot and tittle of their campaign statements and promises, while Republicans can spew any outlandish thing and it’s okay because, well, they’re Republicans and everyone expects them to be in cloud cuckoo land. I’m dismayed even more than we’ve now reached a point where even nominal liberals attack Democratic candidates using those standards.

    Second, I am deeply tired of Democrats who look at intensely popular two-term presidents and somehow decide they need to run against that record. From Al Gore in 2000 to Bernie )and, to some extent, HRC) today, the notion that a Democrat in the White House is per se unpopular is really, really discouraging.

    • Halloween Jack

      But Bernie really has nowhere else to go. You liked Clinton? Here’s another Clinton. You liked Obama? Here’s one of his key people.

      • Murc

        Maybe some of us are basing our primary vote on something other than affinity. That’s a thing that happens.

    • liberalrob

      First, I’m dismayed that Democrats are held to a rigorous standard for conformity with possible reality for every jot and tittle of their campaign statements and promises, while Republicans can spew any outlandish thing and it’s okay because, well, they’re Republicans and everyone expects them to be in cloud cuckoo land.

      Huh? Apparently you’re not familiar with the phenomenon of Republicans being declared “RINOs” and threatened with (sometimes actually faced with) primary opponents because they didn’t follow through on their promises to repeal Obamacare e.g. It’s similarly unsurprising when “nominal liberals” attack Democratic candidates when they deviate from reality; that’s what intelligent, rational people do, regardless of how authentically liberal they are. I don’t understand your dismay at discovering water is wet.

      I am deeply tired of Democrats who look at intensely popular two-term presidents and somehow decide they need to run against that record. From Al Gore in 2000 to Bernie (and, to some extent, HRC) today

      Al Gore in 2000 did not run against Bill Clinton’s record. Bernie and HRC are not running against Obama’s record. I don’t understand your exhaustion.

      • ColBatGuano

        Gore ran away from Clinton’s record.

      • Derelict

        Point the first:
        Trump: “I’m gonna build a wall and Mexico will pay for it!”
        Reactions: Press–“Oh, that Donald! He so wild and crazy!” GOP voters–“Hooray! At last someone with a plan I can back!”

        Bernie: “I’ll figure out a way to get universal health coverage.”
        Reactions: Press–“OMG! What a communist! He said tax increases!!!!”
        Democratic pundits: “I did the math, and Bernie’s proposal is off a bit, so he’s just completely unelectable because he’s not reality based.”

        Point the second: Al Gore spent nearly the entirety of his campaign avoiding Clinton, keeping Clinton from being discussed, not talking about Clinton (and his own) record from those 8 years, and yakking repeatedly about his centrist cred (remember how he brought in Holy Joe Lieberman as his running mate?).
        So, I don’t know what election you were watching in 2000, but the one I saw featured Al Gore most emphatically running away from Bill Clinton.

      • twbb

        “Huh? Apparently you’re not familiar with the phenomenon of Republicans being declared “RINOs” and threatened with (sometimes actually faced with) primary opponents because they didn’t follow through on their promises to repeal Obamacare e.g. ”

        Isn’t that proving his point about the double standard? Democrats are attacked for pie-in-the-sky promises, Republicans are attacked for actually clinging to reality.

        • UserGoogol

          It would be a double standard if it was the same people making the critiques, but it’s not.

  • joe from Lowell

    What a shallow post.

    It starts out as an attempt to cast Sanders’ comments as a Green Lantern denunciation of Obama for failing to get the Republicans to work with him, then changes into an acknowledgment that Sanders is actually making a structural critique, then sneers at that.

    • Crusty

      Like button pressed.

      Seriously, skeptical that a politician might not actually succeed in carrying out his grandest, rhetorical goals?

      Is there anyone on the republican side writing that they’re skeptical of the nominee’s ability to “take our country back?”

      • Srsly Dad Y

        Second like. See me above.

      • Gregor Sansa

        Trump says he’s going to make America great again. And sure, he could deport millions of Mexican rapists. But they’d just build drug tunnels under his wall and sneak back in, and America would end up a hellhole again. I mean, if even Maine has guys named T-Money having sex with white girls, then America is doomed. I think we should nominate somebody safer, like Cruz; at least that way, the Mexican rapists are just as foretold in Revelations.

        • Linnaeus

          Fortunately for my computer screen, I just finished my coffee.

    • aaronl

      If that was your interpretation of the post, I’m not entirely sure that you read it.

      • joe from Lowell

        By all means, Herr Professor; illuminate us little people in the ways of our error.

      • joe from Lowell

        You didn’t click through the article, did you?

    • Gwen

      You have to at least give Erik credit for not calling us all racists this time.

      • joe from Lowell

        I don’t like the language Erik uses when writing about systematic racism sometimes, but his ideas are usually sound.

  • Thom

    If Sanders gets nominated and wins the election, that’s great. But it’s not at all clear of what the alleged “political revolution” consists of. How is it different from what OFA has done?

    • Lasker

      I would love to read more about OFA as I don’t know much about it. It seems they did do some work in support of the ACA but I have heard others say that the organization was more or less left to rot after Obama was elected. I have specifically heard this cited by Sanders supporters as an example of where he would improve on Obama, but I don’t know how realistic that is.I think it is worth noting that Sanders was one of only 7 senators to vote against defunding ACORN as well.

      As far as I can tell, the “revolution” is basically a promise to bring more voters to the polls to win more house and senate races in November, and do the same in the midterms. A darn good idea, if you ask me, but I would really like to hear more about a specific plan for doing so.

      • liberalrob

        The “revolution” is not a promise to bring more voters to the polls. It is a request to bring more voters to the polls. Sanders is jumping out into no-man’s-land and yelling “charge!” It’s up to the rest of the voting public to either follow him or not. If they do not, then his policy agenda will fail and the nation will remain mired in trench warfare. Erik is saying it’s silly to think he’ll be able to convince enough people to go over the top with him to actually succeed.

        I am increasingly fond of using WWI metaphors for our national political situation.

        • Jackov

          With the down side being a constrained Sanders working through the executive branch and cutting deals* with Republicans much like President Obama’s last five years.

          * see VA funding

  • Rob in CT

    The short version of this harrumph is this [stolen from a commenter elsewhere… Balloon Juice maybe?]:

    “We need Tinkerbell. Therefore, Tinkerbell!”

    Bernie’s in a catch-22 here, because he’s selling big-time change.

    That change cannot happen unless the composition of congress changes pretty dramatically (specifically, the Dems would need to flip both the Senate *and* the House. At a minimum! They’d probably need some seats to spare because there would be defections from Sanders’ agenda. Would Schumer play along? Manchin? Just picking names from a hat here). He knows this. He can, then:

    1) Admit he can’t do what he’s proposing to do and shift to promising more small-bore stuff [FAIL, campaign over]; or
    2) Explain what it will take to get what he wants and argue that it’s possible.

    #2 is indeed farfetched, but so was Obama’s rhetoric (in retrospect, at least. A lot of people recognized this at the time, but I won’t pretend I was one of them. I really thought the GOP might respond to the ’08 election by tacking to the middle a bit).

    So… yeah, there’s an aspirational bullshit aspect to this stuff. But what else can he do?

    • joe from Lowell

      As a committed O-bot, it’s a little odd to see people denouncing Sanders’ rhetoric out of one side of their mouths while the other side is still chanting Yes We Can!

      • Rob in CT

        To be fair to not-you-Obots, the idea that the Democrats could enact serious change via the 2008 election was not nearly as far-fetched. The political situation was very different, what with everyone but a diminished number of embarrassed Republicans admitting Dubya had been terrible, the financial crisis, and all that.

        The Dems won a wave election and had the House, the Senate (and, briefly, 60 seats!) and the White House.

        The reaching across the aisle stuff turned out to be hogwash. The we can enact major change idea, however, was on solid ground. I think it was clear during the campaign that the Dems had a real shot at majorities in both sides of Congress if they won the WH, and Obama led most of the way. The 2016 situation looks quite different.

        • kped

          People seem to ignore how impossible the house situation is. It’s kind of depressing…but nothing will get passed! At best, Dems win the Presidency and the Senate by 2 seats. So you’ll get budget battles where there is compromise and…that’s literally it. The only thing passed the entire presidency of Sanders or Clinton will be base line budget spending. Everything else will die in the womb.

          So all the next person will really be able to do is nominations. Which is important. But change it ain’t.

          • burritoboy

            And what that means is that Sanders’ analysis is correct – to get big accomplishments the President must be a revolutionary rather than legalistically conservative in temperament. Just one example: the President controls almost all US federal government spending, for instance. That’s $3.5 trillion or roughly 25-30% of the entire economy. He or she can set the requirements for suppliers to the government. I.E. most major corporations need to – literally must have – significant business from the US federal government to compete. The President, ultimately (and especially so with a divided legislative branch), can set the boundaries of what these firms can do. Obama effectively refused to use this power well, until the last year or so.

            Another example: similarly, the President, ultimately, disburses the funds that all major universities absolutely must have to survive. Don’t like that universities use adjuncts? Don’t like that the Kochs regularly buy economics departments with the equivalent of change the Kochs found between their sofa cushions? The President could end that with a mere whisper of an intimation that universities that screw up in these ways are going to see reduced research grants and more focus on the Pell grants the government hands out to their students. He wouldn’t even need to ever make it explicit or even anything more than a rumor. Again, Obama effectively refused to use this power well, until the last year or so.

            • Rob in CT

              Ah, Hardcore Tinkerbell. ;)

              The first paragraph works for me. The second… intimidating universities, I dunno. Has a GOP President ever done that? If not, a Democratic one doing it blows up a norm, and turnabout WILL happen.

              • burritoboy

                Oh, I don’t suggest that a President should openly go about simply straightforwardly intimidating universities. Of course, the President should wrap the sub rosa threats (merely as a hint) up into some positive goal that is shiny and cool rather than just threatening the universities solely. Carrot and stick, rather than….frankly, I don’t think the current administration has done much that’s substantial with the tier 1 universities.

          • JR in WV

            Regarding the House problems, has no one noticed that several Federal courts have found that gerrymandered district lines are illegal, and have ordered North Carolina to redraw hose district lines nearly instantly.

            Their primary is prohibited by a court order until they draw district lines that please the Federal Court… this might help solve problems with the House of Representatives…

            • ForkyMcSpoon

              I’m hoping the Democrats are taking this Scalia opportunity to mount serious challenges to GOP voter suppression in liberally oriented circuit courts.

              There’s no Scalia there to undo it. They won’t even be able to issue a stay.

              It’s might be too late to address gerrymandering in any new places (like, say, Michigan and Pennsylvania), though, given that they need to redraw before the primaries which are fast approaching in most states.

  • dr. hilarius

    It’s a shame because Clinton is a little too far to the right for my tastes. But it is what it is.

    There’s just way too much bitterness all around for me to keep following this stuff and keep my sanity. Clinton supporters are neoliberal sell outs. Bernie supporters are pie in the sky leftists. I do see some of Bernie’s weaknesses being trotted around as an excuse by mainstream liberals as an excuse to shit on leftists, but that’s mostly in the press. The regular folk I know on either side are mostly fine.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      I end up being more and more focused on local and state issues. which is where the revolution should start, if it wants to endure

      • burritoboy

        In that case, since Sanders spent a long time on local issues, while Hillary Clinton has never held any elected below US Senator……the choice should be obvious, no? Even if we include Bill Clinton, his lowest elected position was as Arkansas Attorney General. Sanders spent at least a decade more in local politics than either Clinton can claim, even by the broadest definition.

  • Hogan

    Is it time to recycle the “Be Disappointed by Someone New” slogan?

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      whaddaya mean, recycle? I never quit using it

    • Srsly Dad Y

      You know what? “Make New Mistakes” is not a bad credo.

      • Gregor Sansa

        Harrumph.

        • joe from Lowell

          Fat pope, skinny pope.

  • Erik is a Clintbro!

    • Lee Rudolph

      Worse than that, Eric is a Krugmanite Unicorn Deviationist.

      • Malaclypse

        We now definitively know that nobody at the Times, including Krugman, is aware of the Urban Dictionary.

    • joe from Lowell

      The term is “Hill People.”

      Erik of the Hill People.

      • Hogan

        The Hill People and the Sand People. I like it.

        • joe from Lowell

          I hadn’t even thought of Sand People. That’s awesome!

          • liberalrob

            I guess the media are the Jawas…

        • Schadenboner

          Hobbits vs. Tusken Raiders?

          And you thought the scouring of the Shire was bad…

      • liberalrob

        We’re old, Joe.

        http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/lothar-of-the-hill-people/n9828

        (warning, autoplay w/ad at the beginning)

        • joe from Lowell

          Have you seen this?

          OMFG. “Thank God? Really?”

          • liberalrob

            Awesome :)

  • joe from Lowell

    Bottom like, though, Erik is right.

    I don’t think Sanders’ rhetoric is good for anything except winning a presidential election, and maybe having coat tails to win some seats in Congress.

    • Crusty

      And what’s the point of that if we’re all gonna die one day?

      • Schadenboner

        Look at this guy, talking about biological life. Hey ASSHOLE: heat-death of the universe, look it up. Bookmark it, libs!

    • NonyNony

      Are there two of you on this thread?

      You go from accusing him of making a shallow post accusing Sanders of Green Lanterism to saying that he’s right and Sanders theory of politics is actually unworkable.

      I just … I don’t know where you’re coming from joe. I can tell that you really like Sanders but you seem all over the map and I’m wondering if someone is nymjacking you.

      • joe from Lowell

        Consider the difference between “win a presidential election and have coattails in Congress” and what Erik is accusing Sanders of being unable to do.

        Capice?

        • petesh

          Thus far, is it not the case that Sanders has not substantially increased turnout in the democratic contests? The data set is small but my impression is that he has provoked very enthusiastic support among young people, who are generally a low-turn-out sector; which leads some to assume that he will increase overall turnout. But I think I’m seeing great enthusiasm among the politically-interested young, who always exist, rather than a very broad-based rush to the polls. I do hope for increased turnout, which I think generally benefits Dems of all stripes, and I definitely hope for coattails — but I think embracing Obama is the best way to go for that, and Sanders’ supporters include a substantial contingent of the “Obama is a sellout” variety. It’s all wonderfully confusing at this point.

          • joe from Lowell

            Sanders turned out the highest number of supporters of any candidate in the history of the New Hampshire primary. The overall turnout for the 2016 primary was a hair below the record-setting turnout in 2008, with both being enormous outliers compared to the trend otherwise. Talking about the 2016 results as a turnout problem by comparing it to 2008 is the equivalent of saying “There has been no global warming since 1997.”

            • petesh

              Hey, enough of the cheap shots. Let’s see what happens to turnout in Nevada and South Carolina. Because it’s a central part of Sanders’ claims to be able to change the political landscape.

              • joe from Lowell

                What cheap shots? 2008 Democratic turnout and 1997 global temperatures both represented a remarkable outlier that is inappropriate to use as your baseline to measure future years.

                • petesh

                  C’mon Joe, you dragged in a politically (NOT scientifically) contentious comparison that is emblematic of right-wing idiocy. You know damn well it’s a slur. Knock it off, is all. I respect your knowledge and analysis even when I dont agree with it.

                • Rob in CT

                  2008 was a remarkable outlier… and that remarkable outlier was necessary for the Democrats to win control of WH/Senate/House (which is the bare minimum necessary for Sanders to enact his agenda). So I don’t think it’s a cheap shot.

                  Let’s see what happens with turnout the rest of the way.

                • petesh

                  Rob, 2008 was a valid point. Mentioning 1997 was a fine example of implausible deniability, that’s all.

                • Rob in CT

                  petesh – I got mixed up. I was saying your point was an ok one (not cheap shot). For some reason I thought the accusation was going the other way…

                  I was trying to take your side.

                • joe from Lowell

                  It’s a perfectly valid point – one you don’t even attempt to rebut on the merits – and the most appropriate comparison.

                  The claim that the Democrats have a turnout problem in 2016 because it isn’t as high as 2008 is as intellectually weak as claiming that global warming stopped in 1997. It depends on picking an extreme outlier as your sole basis of comparison.

                  None of these facts change because the comparison reflects poorly on the argument, or because you don’t like to hear it.

                  By all means, if you have another example of selecting an extreme outlier as your basis of comparison so as to obscure the reality of the underlying trend, that you’d prefer I use in the future, throw it out there. This is the closest one I could come up with. I’d be happy to use another one that doesn’t allow for a “Woe is me” dodge and keeps the focus on the point.

                • petesh

                  Joe: I did not drag in 2008, you did. I asked a question, which you answered in an unnecessarily snarky way. That’s IT. That’s all. I can only conclude that you got out of bed on the wrong side today. Cheer up!

                • joe from Lowell

                  If you have another comparison you’d prefer me to use, spill it. Honest to God, I’ll use that one instead.

                  If you do not, sorry, I’m going with this one.

                  And I really don’t care if that makes you feel like saying unpleasant things to me. If you could even provide any reason why the comparison is unfair, that would be one thing. Instead, it seems like the actual, truthful similarity of the two situations is what’s bothering you, and that is not a good reason for me not to point it out. Quite the opposite.

                • petesh

                  This is probably useless, but: the unfairness of the analogy is that it compares political denialism with mere ignorance. When you answer a question, it’s rarely helpful to use emotive comparisons. Especially to someone who, you know very well, is substantially on the same side. It makes YOU look bad. That in no way helps YOU. Feel free to have the last word if you really want to reply again …

                • joe from Lowell

                  OK: do you really think “Go ahead and have the last word” has the intended effect when it comes in a comment you had to write to have the last word?

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            “it’s all wonderfully confusing at this point”

            which is why, when someone (and there are several of that kind of someones in this very thread) tells you they Know what’s coming next, you should just smile and back away and let them have their hopes and wishes and fantasies- who knows, some of them may come true

  • xq

    Obviously it can’t work, but that’s not the right way to evaluate claims made by politicians. I don’t even think it’s fundamentally different than Clinton having a bunch of proposals that have no chance of passing a Republican congress. It’s probably a bad idea to run on “I will prevent the Republicans from destroying everything” even though that’s the real reason to vote for a Democrat in November.

    • Schadenboner

      However, depending on which of the cells in Arkham Asylum the GOP ends up choosing to open, this may not be the worst message to use in the General (sotto voce).

    • Rob in CT

      This is one of the reasons I keep coming back to Bernie. It’s not like Clinton is going to accomplish much w/o repeated electoral victories either.

      I’m a little more concerned about the Sanders campaign putting out plans with fuzzy math, though.

      • Vance Maverick

        Yes, the fuzzy math (and impossibilities like emptying state prisons) is serious. I would hope that the campaigns indulge in some imagination about political possibility, but it’s less fruitful to imagine transcending the possibilities of health-care economics.

      • kped

        Did his plan actually have 5.3% growth, or was that something the people evaluating had to use to make it work? Because if he had it…that’s disqualifying to me. If it’s the people evaluating, I’d be more generous, they may just be using different assumptions.

        (although his “we’ll save 300B in drug costs a year!” when total drug expenditures are just about $300B a year was quite embarrassing…)

        • Rob in CT

          http://money.cnn.com/2016/02/08/news/economy/sanders-income-jobs/

          Those are just a few of the things that would happen if Bernie Sanders became president and his ambitious economic program were put into effect, according to an analysis given exclusively to CNNMoney. The first comprehensive look at the impact of all of Sanders’ spending and tax proposals on the economy was done by Gerald Friedman, a University of Massachusetts Amherst economics professor.

          This more sweeping analysis was not commissioned by the candidate, though Sanders’ policy director called it “outstanding work.” Friedman has worked with Sanders in the past, but has never received any compensation. The Vermont senator asked Friedman to estimate the cost of Sanders’ Medicare-for-all plan — which came out to $13.8 trillion over 10 years — and included the analysis when he unveiled his proposal last month.

          Friedman, who believes in democratic socialism like the candidate, found that if Sanders became president — and was able to push his plan through Congress — median household income would be $82,200 by 2026, far higher than the $59,300 projected by the Congressional Budget Office.

          In addition, poverty would plummet to a record low 6%, as opposed to the CBO’s forecast of 13.9%. The U.S. economy would grow by 5.3% per year, instead of 2.1%, and the nation’s $1.3 trillion deficit would turn into a large surplus by Sanders’ second term.

          Sanders’ policy director, Warren Gunnels, also defended the estimates, noting the candidate is thinking big.

          “We haven’t had such an ambitious agenda to rebuild the middle class since Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Johnson,” he said.

          • kped

            OK, so an independent person came up with those laughable numbers, and then the campaign said “yup!”.

            That’s embarrassing. We should be the side that believes in reality…5.3%, 30K in higher wages in 10 years? That’s just not in the ballpark of realistic. It’s so far out of the ballpark. It’s in a state that has no ballparks.

            • Rob in CT

              It’s bugfuck, yeah. This is why it worries me. Everybody in politics spins things a bit. There will be rosy predictions. But this is just silly.

              Has any developed nation seen 5+% growth rates in my lifetime (1976-)?

              And as you point out, it’s not just the growth rate prediction. The wage growth thing is also nutty.

              This is the sort of thing we rightly rip the GOP for doing. Enact our policy wishlist and unleash the power of the market the proletariat!

              • Rob in CT

                To be fair, Bernie’s got nothing on this:

                http://www.vox.com/2016/2/16/11019986/ted-cruz-tax-policy-center

                And they’re all like that.

              • kped

                5% growth per years is just not realistic given the maturity of the economy.

                Hell, let’s be real, if you have that growth, the Fed is jacking rates to 15% to stop inflation.

                • Rob in CT

                  Not the post-revolutionary Fed.

                  I kid, but only partly. In a world where Bernie has this sort of power, doesn’t he appoint new people to the Fed who would resist slamming on the brakes?

                • Redwood Rhiadra

                  Not the post-revolutionary Fed.

                  I kid, but only partly. In a world where Bernie has this sort of power, doesn’t he appoint new people to the Fed who would resist slamming on the brakes?

                  Bernie is a Modern Monetary Theorist. Which holds that central bank independence is a sham, and that the Fed should therefore be eliminated with its functions carried out directly by the Treasury. Or simply ignored, in the case of interest rates (under MMT, the Treasury *stops issuing debt* completely and interest rates are left entirely to the market.)

            • PunditusMaximus

              It’s completely possible if wages catch up with productivity.

              So, not possible so far in our lifetimes.

      • Jackov

        How concerned were you when Senator Obama released
        his signature health care plan which focused on price
        not coverage and did not include an individual mandate?

        Did your level of concern rise when he then campaigned in Iowa on the superiority of his unworkable plan and “attacked” Senator Clinton throughout the primary for “forcing everyone
        to buy insurance?”

        • Rob in CT

          At the time, I didn’t understand the healthcare reform issue well enough to understand that the lack of an individual mandate was a serious problem. Knowing what I know now, I’d have a problem with it!

          Back in 2008, I was on board with the idea that reform was clearly necessary and the Democrats were serious about addressing it while the GOP made vague hand-waving motions. Deciding between Obama and Clinton was 9/10 about her Iraq War vote and 1/10 individual mandate (which, as noted above, I didn’t understand).

          • Jackov

            Barack Obama likely* did ‘understand the lack of an individual mandate was a problem’ yet he did not include a mandate in his plan and his campaign attacked the more feasible plan. I do not believe the DeParle “mandate memo” convinced President Obama to support anything he was ever really opposed to, but in any case, fuzzy math and iffy mechanisms in Democratic campaign plans due tend to get fixed if the candidate wins the presidential election. This is not so true on the Republican side.

            * Here is David Cutler, Obama’s healthcare adviser, speaking about the lack of a mandate on 12/1/2007

            If there are free riders, Obama is open to mandates. But what he is saying is ‘Look, mandates seem like a panacea, but that’s not where the hard work needs to be done.’ Auto insurance is a mandate, too, and not everyone has that. You’ve got to prove to the public that you’re willing to do the hard work.’ He hasn’t ruled anything out. It’s a matter of priorities. The fact is, the policy differences on the mandate issue aren’t that large at all. Sen. Obama believes they’re an option down the road, if other approaches don’t work.

    • Srsly Dad Y

      Atrios ‏@Atrios 1m1 minute ago

      I do not understand the clinton campaign other than “if we lose the general it wasn’t our fault!!!”

      • Gwen

        So much of the Clinton campaign recently has been focused on “electability” (by which I mean, “Bernie is the second coming of McGovern”) that it’s been hard to discern any real message.

        I mean, sure there’s an occasional blip on the radar where Hillary’s out pandering to this group or that, but for the most part it’s about “electability.”

        Tactical arguments about who has more HP and manna are sort of, well, uninspiring to me.

  • sherm

    I view his goal as trying to present a true populist alternative in order to engage the disenfranchised and to get working class people to vote their own economic interests, which will lead to to a more progressive congress and government down the road. This is not a green lantern or bully pulpit critique of Obama.

  • I can certainly imagine Bernie winning the election. What I can’t see is how he would be able to govern. Obama has managed to be surprisingly effective even after the Democrats lost control of Congress, but Obama has allies on Wall Street and in the military. Sanders would not.

    This country is an oligarchy with some democratic features. I think it’s possible for it to become a more decent oligarchy and for the government to be less deaf to the needs and aspirations of the people, but beyond that is fantasy or worse, i.e. Pinochet or Chavez. I don’t want to overthrow the Establishment. I want to make the Establishment better.

    • Gregor Sansa

      Pinochet? Are you saying that Allende=Pinochet because that was the outcome?

      And anyway, Sanders has a lot more in common with FDR or Arbenz than with Allende.

    • PunditusMaximus

      Of all the arguments for Hillary, the one that we don’t deserve better is among the most powerful.

  • Schadenboner

    So, I’ll sign onto the Sanders campaign if we can trade that asshole Moore to the Clintons.

    Seriously, wasn’t there a weird, fapfic-ish part in Downsize This about Hillary?

    • Gregor Sansa

      Ooo, can I play? Can we also ditch Cornell West?

  • burritoboy

    You need to look at what is now called the Progressive Coalition in Vermont. Basically, it started as a support group because conserva-dems decided they could run Bernie Sanders’ out of the mayor’s chair in Burlington. The Progressive Coalition now has (besides Bernie in the US Senate) 3 seats in the Vermont Senate, 6 seats in the Vermont Assembly, and the majority of the City Council in Burlington. It’s a big, big deal – without the Progressive Coalition, Vermont would probably be an largely unremarkable blue state – not a bad thing, of course, but hardly taking advantage of the potentialities.

  • libarbarian

    Wow. I agree with Loomis. I find any “plan” what starts with “First we need to get millions of more people active in the political process” to be doomed from the get-go.

    As much as I like Bernie over Hillary, I get the feeling that Hillary will be a more effective fighter (against the obstructionist GOP in Congress) with the tools at the Presidents disposal.

    • PunditusMaximus

      I’m certain that Hillary will be more effective in getting the TPP passed, prosecuting the Drug War, deporting Central American children, and getting us into another 5 countries in the Middle East.

  • afu

    One of the best things about Sanders is that he understands that using media and policy proposals as ideological motivation is much more important than getting a technocratic stamp of approval.

    Of course the right has known this all along and it’s a big part of their success. You would think Krugman would step back and try to figure out why his attacks on Paul Ryan have had zero success.

    Of course Sanders will fail to meet all his promises if he is elected president. But if he continues with his current propaganda strategy, he should be able to turn defeat in to ideological motivation.

  • PunditusMaximus

    FFS.

    Bernie needs to talk about undoing Obama without criticizing Obama, because he will turn his audience off.

    In 2018, we’ll be willing to hear about how Flint happened on Obama’s watch, and maybe we should talk about that.

    But in 2016? There’s stuff Bernie is talking around. He’s gonna have to wait. He gets this, and he’s willing to win or lose with knowledge of what can and cannot happen.

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