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Morality Plays Need Cartoon Villains, Even if They Have to be Invented

[ 456 ] February 16, 2017 |

Tom-Perez-AP-IAMGASJH

I fully endorse everything Erik says about 1)the contest between two ideologically indistinguishable left-liberals over who will take a position whose importance tends to be vastly exaggerated, and 2)how re-ligating the primaries — from the perspective of support for either candidate — is both counterproductive and tends to turn people’s minds into mush.

This interview contains the reductio ad absurdum of seeing the DNC race through the prism of the Assassination of Saint Bernard Sanders by the Neoliberal Coward Hillary Clinton. Most of the words here aren’t really worth engaging with. I’ll leave it to you to determine whether Democrats are DOOOOOOMED stories will hold up better than the identical stories told about Republicans in 2008, and the argument that “Hillary Clinton sucks” is the only acceptable thing to discuss about the 2016 elections is obviously useless retrospectively (many variables determined the outcome of the election in addition to the limitations and tactical errors of the Democratic nominee) and prospectively (Hillary Clinton will not be the Democratic nominee in 2020, so problem solved!) But this is revolting:

You’ve got Keith Ellison, [who] in many ways is a very promising figure. He has an idea of remaking the party from the ground up and registering people to vote. Rebuilding the party at the base. Ellison is being challenged by Tom Perez, the secretary of labor under Obama — soon to be replaced by a fast-food executive. It’s all so grim. Perez is a guy who wanted to race-bait Bernie Sanders, but now is running against the black Muslim guy on some kind of white identitarian grounds — it makes no sense at all.

[…]

Right! It’s like termites eating the house from within. It’s about to collapse. Democrats were very complacent about it during the campaign. They were convinced that the Republican party was a “dumpster fire,” a party in meltdown. No, the party meltdown is their own. Ellison has at least a strategy for building from the bottom up. Perez is a top-down kind of guy. Very Clintonite. He pretends to be very pro-labor, but not really. We now just parenthetically see the SEIU, which has been a very important part of the Democratic coalition, about to cut its budget by a third.

Much of this — like the idea that there’s a disagreement between Ellison and Perez about whether it’s desirable to register voters — is just silly. The idea that Perez wanted to “race bait” Sanders is a ludicrous distortion of some banal political observations. But what’s appalling is the assertion that Perez isn’t “really” pro-labor. This is either risibly ignorant or flatly dishonest. As Erik has said, Perez is almost certainly the most progressive and effective Secretary of Labor since Frances Perkins. He used his regulatory powers to advance the interests of labor in many important ways. (Of course, when your stock in trade is minimizing the differences between the Democratic and Republican parties at a time when differences are massive and getting bigger, ignoring this is crucial.) Before that, he was a very progressive and effective head of the Civil Rights Division. To assert that Perez is a phony who isn’t really pro-labor is an absolutely disgusting smear completely at odds with his record, as disgusting as portraying Ellison as an anti-Semite or claiming that Ellison isn’t a real midwestern populist because you know.

But, of course, since this isn’t really about who will be the DNC chair, anything as mundane as Perez’s actual record and actual positions is beside the point. Bernie is truth, Bernie is beauty, Hillary is the antithesis of truth and beauty, that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. In this context Perez and Ellison are just stock figures in an ongoing re-enactment of the 2016 primaries, and people engaged in this rather lame hobby will project what they need to onto the actors. If you need to morph Tom Perez into Rahm Emmanuel to make the fantasy more vivid, I guess that’s what you have to do.

Ellison and Perez are both excellent as American public officials go, and I have no idea which is a better fit for the (not really very important) DNC job. Symbolically, the fact that the head of the DNC is coming down to two candidates from the left of the party should make it clear that the question of whether the direction of the party should be left of 2008 and way left of 1996 has been settled in the affirmative. That some people on the left for whom despising the Democratic Party is a central element of their political identities will refuse to take “yes” for an answer shouldn’t distract the rest of us going forward.

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  1. Peterr says:

    The answer for the DNC is simple: David Brooks. He’s got it all figured out already, and is happy to explain it all to progressives.

    Shorter Brooks: We need a new Gerald Ford, to put this long national nightmare to rest. “We need a new establishment.”

    • CP says:

      Fuck David Brooks.

    • Dr. Waffle says:

      I’m starting to think that what the Jacobin/Intercept crowd really desires is basically a “socialist” version of, wait for it, Bill Clinton. They really, really want the Democratic Party to bring back triangulation and reject “identity politics” in order to woo the white working class.

      • CP says:

        One of the revelations of last election season to me was just how similar the centrist DLC crowd and the hard left brogressive crowd are, despite supposedly being on opposite ends of the Democratic Party. They’re both disproportionately made up of privileged white men, they both have worldviews that are extremely economics-centric (albeit different brands of economics), they’re both unpleasantly Republican-curious at times (albeit different parts of the GOP), and they both center on the white working class as the constituency to pay attention to.

        • This is kind of a longstanding thing in the American hard left, at least among the Jewish left, the history of which I’m a little more familiar with. The People is valorized and that’s naturally the salt of the earth people, the white peasants and workers, the majority. It comes out in Dewey, as well, as think, and the strains of the left that come out of that kind of social science. It seems to have influenced the (American) New Left very strongly in the 1960s. It’s not really the fault of the left that the same kind of thing had a rightwing equivalent that became more prominent around the same time, or that it morphed into a less political soft libertarianism eventually, or that it’s often associated with reactionary rags like American Conservative these days.. But it makes left-leaning people vulnerable to the lure of those parts of the right.

          • LeeEsq says:

            I’d associate the People being valorized more with the Old Left. Social Justice/Identity Politics, the type that brogressive crowd hates, is part of the New Left. What the brogressives seem to want is a return to a type of leftism focused solely on class and economic identity.

            This type of leftism never really existed in the United States though even in the heyday of the New Deal/Great Society. The Democratic Party might of as a whole represented more lower income Americans but there were always middle class and upper class Democratic Party members like FDR. There were also lower income Republicans like the African-Americans that voted for the Republican Party from Reconstruction till the Civil Rights era when they could vote.

            • FlipYrWhig says:

              Precisely. Which is why it often seems to me that the right place to apply pressure for white working-class interest politics is _the Republican Party_. Right now the Republican Party stands for nothing except fear and loathing of The Other. And white working-class people are, by some versions of the tale, channeling their economic anxiety into those feelings and voting for Republicans. Why isn’t the thing to do, then, to introduce into the Republican discourse on these things a kind of class-focused New Deal-ism of the Huey Long sort? Because _that_ Republican Party could indeed find common ground with an inclusive identity-politics-ish Democratic Party. IOW, why aren’t the Jacobinlings evangelizing Republicans and in so doing making over the Republican Party?

              • LeeEsq says:

                The Republican donor class wouldn’t like it that much, even less than the Democratic donor class. They seemed to have done a very good job making the white working class feel that “capitalism, fuck yeah.”

                • FlipYrWhig says:

                  But if you buy the argument that white working-class people in the Rust Belt voted for Trump because of Hillary Clinton’s and other Democrats’ association with advancing deindustrialization and unfair trade deals — which, I hasten to say, I do NOT buy — then it seems like the logical place to push elected representatives towards more populist trade and industrial policy that would please their electorates.

              • This is the place where the Culture War comes in, though. And the whole post-WWII period has involved a kind of inculturation of the broad middle and working classes, and really everyone with some level of education, into a mindset where those appeals to raw self-interest no longer work as Marx says they always (it’s so logical!) do. And the, let’s call them “contradictions,” of that, combined with reality, have enabled ideological enemies of both liberalism and the left–that to the Jacobin crowd apparently make the left stronger–but in reality make it impossible to peel increasing numbers of people away from the rightwing party.

              • Linnaeus says:

                Why isn’t the thing to do, then, to introduce into the Republican discourse on these things a kind of class-focused New Deal-ism of the Huey Long sort?

                I don’t see how this would work. The Republican Party has a long-standing hostility to that kind of politics, and its most influential constituencies would never allow that. Not to mention that working-class organizations themselves wouldn’t go for it.

              • Murc says:

                Why isn’t the thing to do, then, to introduce into the Republican discourse on these things a kind of class-focused New Deal-ism of the Huey Long sort?

                This is going to happen, but it isn’t going to happen because of left-wing types evangelizing Republicans. (Why on earth would Republicans listen to them?)

                It’s going to happen because of Donald Trump.

                Trump has proven pretty conclusively that there’s a huge appetite for white nationalism within the Republican Party, and there’s a weaker but still extant case to be made that he’s proven that Republicans can win in Democratic strongholds if they at least project the image of sticking it to plutocrats in addition to sticking it to brown people. (Trump is of course a plutocrat himself but his campaign was actually great at projecting him as someone going to fuck over all the other rich guys.)

                Now, this is of course anathema to the Republicans entire donor class and much of their institutional backing. The only reason Trump hasn’t been turned on yet is because he was lying, and to the extent he wasn’t lying he’s not competent to deliver, as the whole of his jobs plan is to bribe people to only move some jobs to Mexico.

                But the thing is… people like winning elections. The Republican Party has been remarkably successful at recruiting people who don’t much care about that but many people in it would still like to win.

                And I guarantee you there are plenty of Republicans looking at Trump and going “I can do what he’s doing, but I can do it better because I’m not incompetent and I can actually deliver on my promises.”

                • Linnaeus says:

                  And I guarantee you there are plenty of Republicans looking at Trump and going “I can do what he’s doing, but I can do it better because I’m not incompetent and I can actually deliver on my promises.”

                  Possibly, but I’m a little skeptical: why would they want to “deliver” if they don’t really need to?

            • Lee,

              I might be enough older than you that these were just the kinds of books I found lying around when I was a young person, but my sense of the New Left is that it definitely had a strain of that. The folk songs. The sense that good values were just waiting in the heartland and the neighborhoods, stifled by the 1950s consensus, waiting to be set free. All that, I think, fed into it.

              It may even be that the affection for civil rights of that movement owes a great deal to lingering influence from the Old Left (i.e. Communists), who of course were still influential in the student movement, and with older leftists who were unhappy with their suppression by the anti-communists and those who feared raising their heads above the parapets. Feminism was a breakaway from that. As late as the 1980s, the Left was still uncomfortable with any and all identity movements other than African American civil rights and labor, while embracing a kind of liberal acceptance as the natural way of things (though not “political”).

            • gmack says:

              I’d associate the People being valorized more with the Old Left.

              It depends on what you mean by “old left,” I guess. Marxist approaches, for instance, have traditionally not wanted to talk about “the people” as the subject of historical change. The proletariat was supposed to play that role. And throughout the 1930s, there were loads of debates about whether there could or should be leftist appeals to the people, or whether instead the category had inevitably fascist tendencies.

        • Phil Perspective says:

          One of the revelations of last election season to me was just how similar the centrist DLC crowd and the hard left brogressive crowd are, …

          LOL!! You do realize that Bill and Hillary were both part of the DLC, right?

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        Yeah, they probably see Perez being an excellent head of the Civil Rights Division as evidence of his neoliberalism.

      • xq says:

        Bill Clinton and Sanders both did relatively well at getting uneducated white voters, and the biggest shift in 2016 was among this demographic, and the most plausible path towards electoral success is probably to get some of those voters back, so maybe going in that direction makes some amount of sense.

        • EliHawk says:

          The problem with that comparison is that one did it in a general election, and the other sorta, kinda did it in a primary. It’s not like uneducated white voters turned out in droves for Sanders. Those that did turn out voted for him, because mostly he wasn’t the front running, national Dem. Just like how eight years ago they voted for Hillary Clinton eight years prior, because she wasn’t Obama.

      • TVTray says:

        Yes, the group that is supporting the black Muslim congressman from Minnesota is against identity politics!

        • NoMoreAltCenter says:

          That is the part, I agree, that doesn’t maek any sense. Anyone who believes that Sanders would have been softer on minority rights or LGBTQ+ rights is absolutely insane or going in to heavily on self-congratulation

          Sanders was to Clinton’s Left on EVERYTHING, social and economic. Sanders even gave shout outs to the transgender communities.

          • FlipYrWhig says:

            How about on guns?

          • Abbey Bartlet says:

            Anyone who believes that Sanders would have been softer on minority rights or LGBTQ+ rights is absolutely insane or going in to heavily on self-congratulation

            I know nobody who believes that. Lots of *actual minority and/or female voters* believe that he would have been broadly indifferent on those rights.

            Sanders was to Clinton’s Left on EVERYTHING, social and economic. Sanders even gave shout outs to the transgender communities.

            Christ.

            • Snuff curry says:

              Congratulations to Bernie for his “shout outs,” though, because you can truly boil those in a pot.

              Anyway, her early education, childcare, and parental leave package is a prime example of attacking poverty at its source, where economic issues intersect social justice. It was never sexy enough for some dudes, clearly.

      • Donna Gratehouse says:

        They want 1950s economic and social structures with weed.

    • Brett says:

      I’d support David Brooks as a DNC Head if we get to ritually execute him at the end of the year if the harvest doesn’t come the Democratic party is not winning.

  2. witlesschum says:

    Because it’s Doug Henwood, he can veer between anti Clinton insanity and reasonable points within a couple of sentences:

    The Hillary campaign was veering all over the place between running against social democracy — we need skin in the game, nobody gets anything for free in America — and then suddenly she has a college tuition program. But it was never anything coherent or powerful or easily summarized in a powerful slogan. You need good slogans. Then we thought at least they have the political skills to get out the vote. They understand data analysis. They didn’t even do that. So they blew it in every possible measure.

    And then there’s the above quoted insanity it’s fascinating to see.

    This part of the interview is at least an interesting idea. The Democrats would damn sure be better off without their elite contributors, but whether it’s a way you can run a political party in modern America, I have no idea.

    But what they would have to do — and I doubt that they would do this, given the structure of American politics and the Democratic Party, specifically — is wean themselves from elite funding and adopt a Sanders model of small contributions. He raised a ton of money in a short amount of time. He came out of nowhere and ended up running a very credible campaign based on grassroots funding because he was very appealing. He was saying things that people wanted to hear. So, that’s one thing. You need to break away from the elite funders and recast the funding — something like a membership organization — a real political party in the sense that it is in other parts of the world.

    • Bootsie says:

      The Democrats would damn sure be better off without their elite contributors

      They’d also be completely incapable of sustaining campaigns.

      • witlesschum says:

        Would they? I don’t know enough about campaign financing to have a strong opinion, but Henwood’s example of Sanders seems like at least an exception to your rule. The internet makes small donor fundraising possible in a way it didn’t used to be.

        • DrDick says:

          Obama also did pretty well with small donors.

          • nemdam says:

            In conjunction with big donors. Obama raised more money from Wall Street in ’08 than any candidate ever had.

            And Hillary didn’t do too shabby with small donors either. It was a big part, but not the only part, of her fundraising.

          • njorl says:

            Obama raised about a quarter of his direct campaign contributions from small donors. Half came in small donations, but repeat donations bumped people up from “small donor” (<$200) to large donor.

            That amount is further diluted by PAC funds.

            Big donors are necessary. They are probably even more necessary for non-presidential races. For things like party-building, they are probably the only source of money. Start a fund raiser for "Democratic Party building" and see how much you can raise from people giving small donations.

            • RonC says:

              There is always a very very good reason not to change things and not to stop taking money from Wall Street. I mean after all it has worked so well up to this point.

              • Aexia says:

                There’s also the dumbness of the “money from Wall Street” canard when it’s really “money from people who work in the financial industry”. It’s the sort of logic that conflates 10 cashiers giving $20 monthly with one CEO that writes a check for $2500.

                Open Secrets does a lot of good data work but they frequently conflate employees and employers.

                At the rate we’re going, only donations from the retired and unemployed will be pure enough for the brosocialists.

                • lunaticllama says:

                  Do my friends who work in operations and tech support at financial institutions and who donated heavily to Bernie Sanders count as “money from Wall Street”? Under the Open Secrets rubric, they do as their donations are reported contributions from banks and related businesses.

                • FlipYrWhig says:

                  Also, there are rich Democrats on Wall Street who give money to Democrats because they are Democrats who have money and want Democrats to run things, which is all too often conflated with the notion that dirty-dealing greedy rich people on Wall Street are giving money to Democrats to buy favorable treatment for the sector where they work.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

          The Sanders voters did a good job supporting him but not any other candidates from what I can tell.

          A lot of the job of the national political party is to raise money to help candidates down slate, particularly ones that have a good chance of winning if they just had more money. Identifying which candidates to invest their limited funds in and which ones won’t benefit enough to win is a crucial decision.

          • Rob in CT says:

            This seems like the issue.

            Ideally, I’d love it if the Dems could care a lot less about megadonors. I’m not sure how practical it is.

            So maybe split the difference. Put more focus on small donors, following Bernie’s playbook, and see what happens.

            • FlipYrWhig says:

              That was how Obama won. The result was a Democratic Party that Henwood and Co. find deplorably neoliberal. I don’t see why “small donors” has much to do with anything ideological — it seems like a category error arising from a presumption that big Democratic donors are motivated chiefly by corrupt self-interest, so by extension the small ones must be paragons of virtue.

              • humanoid.panda says:

                And here’s the thing: “small donors” would still be people who can afford to give in the mid 3 to low 4 figures every year- upper middle class professionals, which have interests that not necessarily coincide with those of the white working class.

                • Rob in CT says:

                  Is that what small donors means? Shit, I gotta up my game apparently.

                • njorl says:

                  Most sites I’ve seen characterize small donors as people who donate <=$200 for one specific race, with primaries and general elections being defined as different races.

                  So, if you give $200 each, to your rep, senator and presidential candidate in both the primary and general, you are six small donors.

              • Rob in CT says:

                Well, I’d figure that a large donor is somewhat less likely to favor major redistribution. But even putting that aside, a big donor with idiosyncratic views on something could drive policy in a way that you or I can’t, which could be bad (or could be good, who knows).

                It’s not so much about the little guys/gals being paragons of virtue. It’s more that if officeholders are spending too much time begging for money off of big donors they can lose touch with what 10x as many people want.

                • FlipYrWhig says:

                  But as humanoid.panda points out, and as my experience with passionate Bernie Sanders folks in Real Life suggests, a lot of enthusiastic small donors are educated liberal professionals, not salt-of-the-earth people agitating for a new industrial policy. Seems like a false choice between big donors from the educated professional classes and small donors… from the educated professional classes.

                • nemdam says:

                  Real, struggling working class folks do not have the money to periodically donate $100 to a political campaign. They have many other more important things to do with that money.

                • humanoid.panda says:

                  I’d qualify this just a bit. I think upper-middle class donors are perfectly open to Warren style politics- anti-monopoly, pro-regulation, anti-Wall Street (they, as a class, had the retirement saving savaged in 2009). Obviously, mega-donors are not as good on this front. But, and that’s an important but, a lot of the priorities of Warren style democrats differ from those of the WWC: environmentalism, trade, immigration, taxation, etc.

                • Rob in CT says:

                  Nendam, I understand that. But still there’s a difference between people in the 90-99% (hell, up to 99.something% really) and the people who go to $10k-a-plate dinners and suchlike.

                • nemdam says:

                  Yes, I get this, but if you are getting the vast majority of your funding from the top 10%, while it dilutes the power of the 1% (a good thing), it still leaves out working class people. And these are the people that those who oppose the 1% say they do it for.

                  Whether you are raising money from the 1% or 10%, you are still leaving out the vast majority of the country and not representing their interests.

                • FlipYrWhig says:

                  nemdam @12:40 said what I was trying to get at, just much more cogently.

              • witlesschum says:

                Small versus big donors isn’t about ideology directly, first and foremost it’s about making sure big donors in general don’t have an outsized influence on the Democratic Party. Small donors aren’t individually important enough.

                • humanoid.panda says:

                  That’s a fair argument- but I don’t think its the one the political revolution people are making.

                • FlipYrWhig says:

                  If big donors want good liberal things, I don’t see why I should particularly care about the scale of their influence. If they want bad, illiberal things, then I care. The ideological direction of their influence seems far more important, no?

                • Linnaeus says:

                  If big donors want good liberal things, I don’t see why I should particularly care about the scale of their influence. If they want bad, illiberal things, then I care. The ideological direction of their influence seems far more important, no?

                  Assuming general agreement on what “good liberal things” are.

                • Murc says:

                  If big donors want good liberal things, I don’t see why I should particularly care about the scale of their influence.

                  Because individual private citizens shouldn’t receive outsize influence in government merely because of their wealth. I don’t care what their ideological leanings are. If you want to make policy, you should have to win elections, not just be rich enough to subvert the people who have done so.

                • FlipYrWhig says:

                  The supposed outsize influence of rich liberals who give a lot of money when compared to middle-class liberals who give a lesser amount of money doesn’t seem to me to rate very highly on the scale of problems with American politics. Turning money into “subverting” something is begging the question. I don’t think I ever get much traction when I bring this up, but the mechanisms of campaign finance will never stop striking me as an odd priority.

          • Phil Perspective says:

            The Sanders voters did a good job supporting him but not any other candidates from what I can tell.

            Which you’d define as?

            • TVTray says:

              Better than the Clinton campaign did, which for a while tried to convince Republicans that it was okay to vote for other Republicans, as long as they didn’t vote for Donald Trump.

        • Brett says:

          Will that work if you don’t have a popular, central figure at the center of the campaign? Or would we be doing that and relying on transfers from the campaign to smaller campaigns?

          I see the point Henwood is making with this:

          — something like a membership organization — a real political party in the sense that it is in other parts of the world.

          but it strikes me as terribly ironic. If the Democratic Party was a real party with membership and closed primaries, Bernie would have never been able to really contest the nomination.

          • FlipYrWhig says:

            Exactly. There is an inordinate degree of belief in those circles that the membership of the party are just itching to be social-democratic types if not for THE ESTABLISHMENT holding them back. All sorts of polling shows the extent to which the Democratic Party includes lots and lots and lots of self-described moderates, “somewhat liberal”s, and various other profiles that Henwood et al. tend to ignore.

            • Scott Lemieux says:

              Connor Kilpatrick is even worse on this. He thinks Bernie’s stronger-than-expected primary showing makes it an established fact that socialism is a majority governing coalition in the United States, when in fact socialist and left-liberals aren’t a majority governing coalition.

              • FlipYrWhig says:

                At some point I would like to see SOME recognition that the Sanders _vote_ (~40% or so of Democrats) is not necessarily coextensive with wholehearted support for the Sanders _agenda_ — the difference between those reflected, for instance, by the number of places where Democrats who self-identified as more conservative than Hillary Clinton turned out to vote for Sanders. This strikes me as tremendously important, but I don’t see it talked about much in lefter-than-left-liberal circles.

                • humanoid.panda says:

                  Large numbers of West Virginians voted for Sanders in primary, and then Trump in general. Which could lend support to idea that a lot of people are just pining for a socialist candidate and won’t vote for NEOLIBERALS, until you remember that same people voted for McCain in the general after voting for NEOLIBERAL HRC in the primary..

                • Is it really a contradiction for a socialist to be more conservative than someone like Clinton? I am out of the loop, but my long-ago awareness of socialism was as a movement that was, yes, an attempt to push the advances of liberalism or capitalism farther, so as to benefit more people and remove some remaining vestiges of the old regime, . . . but also and at the same time an attempt to restore aspects of society (hence the name) that liberal capitalism and the Enlightenment had jettisoned, rashly, in its understandable haste to expunge the evils of aristocracy and so forth.

                • FlipYrWhig says:

                  @ bianca, I’m not an expert but some of what you describe as socialist strikes me more as “communitarian.”

                • Is communitarianism antithetical to socialism (is it even a social movement or political theory on its own)? I understood a good bit of the left to be attracted to communitarianism at the time of the great liberalism-communitarianism debate.

                • FlipYrWhig says:

                  Good question — I don’t really know.

                • Murc says:

                  At some point I would like to see SOME recognition that the Sanders _vote_ (~40% or so of Democrats) is not necessarily coextensive with wholehearted support for the Sanders _agenda_

                  Isn’t that a wash, tho? Because the same thing applies to Clinton and, indeed, to any candidate ever. Sanders voters supported his agenda enough to vote for it, and Clinton voters supporters hers enough to do same. The fact that there’s weak support in both groups is… not irrelevant, but not precisely earth-shaking?

                • humanoid.panda says:

                  Isn’t that a wash, tho? Because the same thing applies to Clinton and, indeed, to any candidate ever. Sanders voters supported his agenda enough to vote for it, and Clinton voters supporters hers enough to do same. The fact that there’s weak support in both groups is… not irrelevant, but not precisely earth-shaking?

                  The difference is that few, if any, Clinton supporters thought of her as revolutionary, paradigm shifting candidate. Sanders is indeed a paradigm shifting candidate if 40% of Democrats agree with his agenda- but much less so if 20% do, and another 20% glommed on him as non-clinton.

                • FlipYrWhig says:

                  @ Murc:

                  Sanders voters supported his agenda enough to vote for it

                  Some of them did. Some of them voted for him as a way to stick it to Hillary with whatever means were readily at hand: c.f. humanoid.panda’s comment about West Virginia Dems.

                  In the general election, there was certainly a strong nose-holding anti-Trump vote for Hillary and a strong nose-holding anti-Hillary vote for Trump. I don’t have much of a theory about the relative proportions of the two. But in the Democratic primary I have to think there was no significant Hillary vote motivated by anti-Sanders message-sending. That’s why IMHO it’s not a wash.

                • xq says:

                  It’s pretty clear from polling that left ideology had only very weak relationship to Sanders support. The primary was more about the establishment-anti-establishment axis than the left-right one. However, that doesn’t mean that the conservative Dems who voted for Sanders weren’t genuine in their support of him, or supported him solely out of anti-Clinton sentiment. Anti-establishment views have real popularity and would be an important asset for a candidate running in the Sanders mold.

                • FlipYrWhig says:

                  I think it’s very hard to tell “establishment vs. anti-establishment” from “is OK with Hillary Clinton vs. is not OK with Hillary Clinton.” I lean towards the latter and think the former is an erroneous attempt to generalize from the latter. I find it pretty easy to imagine a Clinton vs. Biden race that would have very similar contours to the Clinton vs. Sanders race, and it would beggar belief to interpret Biden as anti-establishment.

                • xq says:

                  I really doubt it. You think Biden would do as well among independents, or dominate among young voters like Sanders did? Even the contours of the Obama-Clinton race were very different. Sanders did better among all the groups that are more opposed to the Democratic establishment and worse among the groups that are more supportive.

                • FlipYrWhig says:

                  You think Biden would do as well among independents, or dominate among young voters like Sanders did?

                  Yes.

                • xq says:

                  Sanders did substantially better than Obama did among young people in their respective primaries. What changed since 2008 to make voters under 30 hate Clinton so much?

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  I really doubt it. You think Biden would do as well among independents, or dominate among young voters like Sanders did? Even the contours of the Obama-Clinton race were very different. Sanders did better among all the groups that are more opposed to the Democratic establishment and worse among the groups that are more supportive.

                  Agreed.

                  On a related note, maybe I should post on this but I don’t think Biden was somehow muscled out of the race. I think he concluded he couldn’t beat Clinton, and he was almost certainly right about that.

                • FlipYrWhig says:

                  What changed since 2008 to make voters under 30 hate Clinton so much?

                  IMHO, and I could be waaaay out on a limb with this, the difference-maker was the Michelle Alexander book and the way it held “the Clintons” responsible for mass incarceration. Even people who didn’t read the book internalized the argument.

                • xq says:

                  It’s implausible that young white Sanders voters care way more about The New Jim Crow than black people do.

                • Murc says:

                  You think Biden would do as well among independents, or dominate among young voters like Sanders did?

                  FlipYrWhig says:
                  Yes.

                  Uh, no. No, you are wrong.

                  And we know this because in Fall 2015, when Biden was doing his will-he-or-won’t-he dance, we had polling on what would happen if he came into the race. And it was pretty definitive that the vast majority of Biden’s support would come at the expense of Clinton, not at the expense of Sanders. It’s why I desperately wanted him to enter the race and kneecap her.

                  On a related note, maybe I should post on this but I don’t think Biden was somehow muscled out of the race. I think he concluded he couldn’t beat Clinton, and he was almost certainly right about that.

                  This. 100%.

                  I mean, how would you even go about muscling Joe Biden anyway?

                • FlipYrWhig says:

                  @xq: Young people of all ethnicities preferred Sanders. People of color who remembered the 1990s preferred Clinton. It it my pet theory that the traction of the New Jim Crow argument–not the book itself, although it’s pretty widely taught now–was a significant contribution to why the college-aged crowd came to have such revulsion for Clinton. She was basically too identified with BlackLivesMatter issues from the right, and too little identified with them from the left. Like I said, this is a bit of a pet theory that comes from impressions rather than data, but I feel pretty strongly it was out there, and it was not out there to affect the results of the 2008 primary contest.

                • FlipYrWhig says:

                  @ Murc: That’s a race with Sanders already in it. I’m imagining a race that never had Sanders in it, and offering a hypothesis for where the Sanders vote would have gone. I’ve seen enough affection for Biden (especially as “populist”) from Sandernistas that I have to think he would have been their guy, and picked up the Anyone But Hillary voters as well.

                • djw says:

                  It’s pretty clear from polling that left ideology had only very weak relationship to Sanders support.

                  As historical narratives about the 2016 primary are starting to ossify, this crucial observation is going to be an increasingly tough sell, but it’s true, and we’d do well to remember it. (It’s also the case that the amount of daylight between the policy visions presented by Sanders and Clinton was vastly overstated, and that’s an even tougher sell.)

                • EliHawk says:

                  I always come back to the polling aggregates from early 2015, when everyone knew who Clinton was and nobody had heard of Sanders yet. Clinton was getting upper 50s/lower 60s of Dem Primary votes. So there was ~40% out there for an anti-Clinton. And Sanders, after muscling out the only other anti-Clinton because he could raise money and the other guy couldn’t, got that 40%. So yeah, I don’t think that’s about a big endorsement of the Sanders Agenda.

                • Abbey Bartlet says:

                  What changed since 2008 to make voters under 30 hate Clinton so much?

                  Who was included in “people under 30.”

                  ETA: That is, in 2008 “voters under 30” meant people born from 1978-1990. In 2016, it meant voters born from 1986-1998.

                • Abbey Bartlet says:

                  few, if any, Clinton supporters thought of her as revolutionary, paradigm shifting candidate.

                  Well, that would make sense, since nothing about Hillary Clinton was at all revolutionary and paradigm-shifting.

                  I would be stunned that you typed that with a straight face, but it’s a claim I’ve heard many, many, many True Leftists make for the last year.

              • humanoid.panda says:

                Based on their twitter output, those people are itching to defenestrate “libs”, let alone moderates or centrists, from the party (and in that light, their opposition to Perez is logical: he is a liberal’s liberal, so if you imagine liberalism as your political enemy…). I struggle to see how we have a winning coalition with 90% of left-of-center politically active Americans kicked out, but hey, I am just a right deviationist tool.

              • tsam says:

                He thinks Bernie’s stronger-than-expected primary showing makes it an established fact that socialism is a majority governing coalition in the United States, when in fact socialist and left-liberals aren’t a majority governing coalition.

                How does someone’s head get to this place?

                • That is the question, isn’t it?

                • nemdam says:

                  It’s baffling, yet it’s a common personality. “Leftists” who, in spite of all evidence including the fact that DONALD TRUMP IS PRESIDENT, think the real enemy of progress is the center-left. From what little I know of politics outside the US, this kind of person exists in the entire world throughout history. I just don’t know how you can follow politics for more than a few years and still believe this to be true.

                  It’s why I conclude that these people don’t care at all about actual progress, but instead only care about showing their supposed righteousness and morality. Obviously, this is a well known personality type across all politics and culture. It’s just that they way it is expressed if you are a leftist is to attack other leftists just like if you are a religious zealot you spend a ton of time attacking fellow believers who aren’t pure enough.

                • FlipYrWhig says:

                  IMHO it involves presuming that there are millions of dispirited leftists in the woodwork waiting to come out. Why anyone would think this after spending about 25 minutes talking to random neighbors or passersby about politics is a different question.

                • tsam says:

                  A few of these guys I know brag (YES, BRAG as if they scored a giant coup) about writing in Sanders.

                  I rather harshly reminded one of them that we have two political parties that exercise exactly 100% of the political power in this country, and that their stupid little protest votes take their own power away from them, and help people like Trump win.

                  Of course he responded with something resembling pity because I’m part of the machine that ruined America, and I’m too stupid to realize it.

                  We had to end the discussion there because his face was in grave danger.

                • Origami Isopod says:

                  I just don’t know how you can follow politics for more than a few years and still believe this to be true.

                  They’re not “following politics” per se, as in paying attention to what actually happens. They’re following a very filtered view of politics.

                  It’s why I conclude that these people don’t care at all about actual progress, but instead only care about showing their supposed righteousness and morality.

                  It’s a form of tribalism. The same with conservatives who dismiss hypocrisy as a problem because parroting the correct rhetoric, not obtaining the optimal results, is prioritized; it’s how you can tell the parrot is “one of us.” (That is, leaving aside the fact that the “optimal results” for a conservative is retention of societal hierarchy, even when it’s screwing that particular conservative over.)

                • TVTray says:

                  Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Job Guarantee all very popular programs. Raising the minimum wage, etc. The exchanges are very unpopular.

              • Dr. Waffle says:

                “Leftists” like Connor can’t wrap their heads around the fact that the working class is not a undifferentiated mass of incipient socialists waiting for just the right presidential candidate to unlock their revolutionary tendencies. Which is why they never get around to addressing stories like this one:

                https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/02/15/these-workers-want-a-union-deep-in-trump-country-they-just-might-have-a-chance/?utm_term=.fdabc0702700

            • Murc says:

              There is an inordinate degree of belief in those circles that the membership of the party are just itching to be social-democratic types if not for THE ESTABLISHMENT holding them back.

              Speaking only for myself: I take the position that if the Republicans can run a party that governs way to the right of both the electorate and most of its membership (and yes, it absolutely does this) while still winning elections on a regular basis, there’s no reason the Democratic Party can’t do the same thing but from the left except for insufficient desire to do so by party elites and institutions.

              Thus it makes sense to try and replace those people with ones who are more ideologically congenial, or to try and sideline them if that’s not possible.

              Indeed, in some ways the DNC chair fight is more important to that than a Presidential primary is, because a President has to spend a lot of their time Presidentin’ and also has surprisingly little formal control over the party despite being its titular head. Boring old officials like DNC chairs and local and state officials can actually do things like conduct ideological purges of staff members.

              • Dr. Waffle says:

                Or maybe it’s because the Democratic base isn’t as left-wing as you think it is.

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  Or maybe it’s because the Democratic base isn’t as left-wing as you think it is.

                  In addition, the fact that the House and Senate are both skewed towards conservative rural/exurban areas means that the GOP can afford to be more homogeneous. The left party is always going to have to be more heterogeneous if it wants to govern.

              • FlipYrWhig says:

                there’s no reason the Democratic Party can’t do the same thing but from the left except for insufficient desire to do so by party elites and institutions.

                That sounds like a parallel case, but the Republicans achieved that by _first_ nurturing a critical mass of angry dogmatists on the right. There aren’t nearly as many angry dogmatists on the left, and there needs to be a way of making some for this to work. Saying that “party elites and institutions” prevent it just deprives actual people of agency. Most places the local Democrats are like 9 people in a multipurpose room at a community center, no “party elites and institutions” anywhere to be found. The revolution starts there and no one is holding it back.

                • Rob in CT says:

                  Most places the local Democrats are like 9 people in a multipurpose room at a community center

                  Yup.

              • gccolby says:

                Speaking only for myself: I take the position that if the Republicans can run a party that governs way to the right of both the electorate and most of its membership (and yes, it absolutely does this) while still winning elections on a regular basis, there’s no reason the Democratic Party can’t do the same thing but from the left except for insufficient desire to do so by party elites and institutions.

                Thus it makes sense to try and replace those people with ones who are more ideologically congenial, or to try and sideline them if that’s not possible.

                I think you’re right, in the sense that this a thing the Democrats could plausibly do to at least some extent, but also wrong, in the sense that the Republicans governing so far from the center of gravity of their own base is bad. And dangerous. I’m absolutely on the left-liberal side of the Democratic Party, but it strikes me as obviously good and democratic for other members of the coalition to at least see their views reasonably well-represented when debating policy. I’ve become more sympathetic to arguments that a system where more than two powerful political parties can coexist would make a difference for this reason. The state of affairs with the GOP strikes me as a real disease of a hyper-polarized two-party system, as a party can increasingly slide toward extremism while retaining voters who don’t have anywhere else to go.

              • NoMoreAltCenter says:

                “Or maybe it’s because the Democratic base isn’t as left-wing as you think it is.”

                I am fairly certain the Democrats could advocate collective farming and Gulags before they would see any significant dropoff in minority support. And everything I have ever read suggests that minorities heavily favor redistributive policies along the lines of a Sanders rather than Clinton presidency

                • Redwood Rhiadra says:

                  They don’t favor those redestributive policies at the expense of “Oh, cops are killing you for existing while black? I’m sorry, but we’ve got to focus on the Working Class issues. Maybe we’ll get around to you someday.”

                • Abbey Bartlet says:

                  I am fairly certain the Democrats could advocate collective farming and Gulags before they would see any significant dropoff in minority support.

                  Because minority voters understand that it’s a zero-sum game and the Democrats would still be a *better* option than the KKK party.

                  Your willingness to use black people’s overarching desire to not get shot as a way to force through your own preferred policies is frankly disgusting.

    • djw says:

      When I talk about that group of people who are constitutionally incapable of viewing politics through any other lens than “existential battle between the dread neoliberals and the stalwart social democrats” Doug Henwood is pretty much the ideal type. Trump bores him to tears. I’ve noticed he’s taken to mocking liberals who express concern about the influence of Steve Bannon as the “cult of anti-Bannon” lately.

    • Okay, the idiosyncrasies of my education seem to make it impossible for me to move forward without a beautiful theory . . . as well as to aCeltic that we have that theory already in Marx . . . but I really don’t get this idea among some on the left that a movement is possible that will institute all kinds of good stuff just by getting rid of the ideas of everyone who’s in power now, and everyone who has “respectable” ideas now. Is it that there’s a whole shadow Marxist intelligentsia waiting to take over the minute the revolution comes? Is it that stuff will naturally arise from the good will of the people united? Is the belief really that worldwide social democratic parties turned to “neoliberalism” solely for reasons of power and not by conviction?

      Movements push parties to take stronger positions, I get that. Movements should push non-movement people out of those parties, that I don’t get.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      The Democrats would damn sure be better off without their elite contributors

      Um, you know that there are elections for office rather than president, right? Henwood is even concern trolling about them! A small donor model can work at the presidential level. For other races, it’s a lot trickier, especially for challengers.

      • witlesschum says:

        We’d be better off without their influence.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          And in the long run we’d be better off without the Senate and a House without congressional districts, too, but at some point you also have to try to win elections within actually existing institutional structures.

        • orochi235 says:

          Saying we’d be better off without big-money donations is like saying the world would be better off without nuclear weapons. It’s true on a macro level: if everyone got rid of them, I think we all agree that would be a positive development. But we don’t live in that world, and in light of the reality we actually inhabit, it would put us at an enormous strategic disadvantage to unilaterally disarm. Big money is gross, but it’s gross in large part because it’s so effective, and the Democratic cause would be incredibly foolish to forego it when the opposition already has so much of it at their disposal.

      • petesh says:

        This is quite significant. My city (OK, Santa Cruz, CA) has some campaign limits for council races. Only Democrats need apply, but the more conservative candidates last time (for four open seats) all raised the max easily and quickly. The more “Bernie” candidates had to scrap and struggle, mostly with $10 donations, and ended up with smaller totals. Two of them won anyway. But it’s hard to raise $20,000 without those $300 (max) checks, and the biggest players gave $300 x 4 + $1200.

        • humanoid.panda says:

          And this is a problem: it would be hard to call someone giving $1,200 a “mega-donor” that needs to be purged from the party.. Probably only solution is some kind of national clearing house for social democratic money- doing what unions used to do.

    • Donna Gratehouse says:

      Sanders did raise more money than Clinton via small donations and did run a credible campaign but he still got 4 million fewer votes. I guess this is where the “DNC rigging” comes in. You can’t reasonably act like Clinton was the worstest candidate ever without some kind of explanation of why your candidate did so poorly in the Dem primary, all things considered.

  3. Bootsie says:

    Look, if I don’t constantly mention how it was clearly the fact that Hillary “Failure” Clinton was a VERY BAD NO GOOD candidate because reasons, how will people know my leftist dick is bigger than theirs?

    • BigHank53 says:

      I was going to make a joke about SnapChat, but then I realized that was for actual dick pics. I’m seeing a big hole in the market here, actually–we could probably raise a decent* amount of VC floating the app: “SnapChat for Marxists!” would be the elevator pitch.

      *And by ‘decent’, I mean enough to cover two trips to Starbucks.

    • nemdam says:

      Oh my god! You are so sexist to think everyone on the left who hates Hillary is a man! Hillary and her supporters are faux-feminists!

    • veleda_k says:

      Yell “neo-liberal” a few dozen times.

  4. aturner339 says:

    At some point people have to accept the the Democratic Party is not the vehicle for the war on global capitalism. No one from Bernie Sanders to Keith Ellison holds that view.

    If you want to improve the lives of working people this is the place. If you’d prefer to argue over whether Hillary’s speeches or Howard Dean’s lobbying make them ineligible for public office. The door is that way.

    • djw says:

      At some point people have to accept the the Democratic Party is not the vehicle for the war on global capitalism.

      You’d think that would be something a purportedly Marxist publication would grasp, but Bernie Sanders really broke their brains.

      • shah8 says:

        agreed. Neither the man or the ideology is anything worth striving for. Why spend this emotional energy?

        It really doesn’t help to nominate a similar candidate to one extant one, seemingly out of social network affiliation. If Tom Perez really doesn’t offer anything other than that he’s not affiliated with Sanders, is it really a surprise we have these uber-petty arguments online?

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        You’d think that would be something a purportedly Marxist publication would grasp, but Bernie Sanders really broke their brains.

        Clearly, having a president somewhat more to the left of the median vote in Congress than Hillary Clinton would have immediately transformed the American political economy into Denmark.

        • tsam says:

          Bernie Sanders + a reactionary, right wing Congress full of vandals that have no interest in governing the country? How could that NOT happen?

          I don’t ever want to get down on Bernie Sanders. He really is a pretty good guy, and I wouldn’t trade his Senate seat for anyone else. But he inadvertently energized some of the most clueless mystics of the left.

        • TVTray says:

          Maybe we could find someone who didn’t spend the few years before the election giving speeches to the banking elite and then spent the summer before it chasing suburban Republican votes!

          • Donna Gratehouse says:

            Maybe you should find someone who can teach their supporters how to find registration deadlines so they can vote in the primary rather than whining “rigging!”.

            Of course, nothing is ever the fault of St. Bernard or his worshipers, is it?

        • NoMoreAltCenter says:

          If anything, Jacobin supporting Sanders means that that crowd is not un-gettable for the Dems. It is actually an encouraging sign. They aren’t wholly unpragmatic, they just have limits.

          The real dyed in the wool Leftists (who are miles to the Left of anyone here) wouldn’t have been caught dead even supporting Sanders the sheepdog.

    • Origami Isopod says:

      If you want to improve the lives of working people this is the place.

      As was mentioned here yesterday, they find that rather boring.

  5. Jacobin, the National Review of the narcissistic left.

  6. Gwen says:

    Both are good candidates and it is definitely upsetting that so many have let this become about Hillary and Bernie rather than about US.

    The strongest argument against Keith is that he wouldn’t be a full-time chair.

    The strongest argument against Tom is that he’s never held (at the federal level or anywhere to the best of my knowledge) elected office.

    Stop talking about elections past and let’s start talking about the future. What are they going to do to win elections? What can they do for us to stop Trump?

  7. Rob in CT says:

    At this point I want Ellison to win to just make this go away and appease the more reasonable among the pro-Ellison group (basically anyone who WILL take yes for an answer).

  8. C.V. Danes says:

    I would be more than happy for Perez to take over the DNC. I thought he should have been Hillary’s VP choice. And I say this as a pony-riding Sanders supporter.

  9. timb says:

    The answer to this “problem,” in case none of you has heard, is Pete Budigieg. I have heard all 3 speak and Mayor Pete is the best spoken and most interesting.

    http://www.southbendtribune.com/news/politics/is-mayor-pete-s-future-beyond-south-bend/article_bae50a80-437b-57ac-8fad-7cf6ed406d50.html

    Gay, Rhodes Scholar, former military officer, who gives a great Ted talk…are you kidding me? He will raise so much cash amongst Dem interest groups they’ll get tired of winning

    Also, too, stop reading The Jacobin. Dudes are idiots

    • Rob in CT says:

      He came up in the last thread. He’s the guy running on the idea that since he’s neither a Clintonite Neoliberal Hackmonster nor a Berniebrocialist, he can unite us.

      I mean, don’t get me wrong I think it’s cool he won office in Indiana, that he’s openly gay and whatnot. Good for him and I hope his future is bright. I don’t have any actual objection to him, and if he was to win, hey, ok.

      • timb says:

        I know that we Hoosiers live a small state with a massive population of a whole 6 million and most of them are half-educated nitwits, but our cities are just like yours, Rob. Winning 2 elections in South Bend isn’t THAT amazing if you’re a Democrat.

        Nonetheless, Scott and Erik mention only Tom Perez and Keith Ellison, but, for a ceremonial nothing-burger post like DNC chair, they seem to not know who Budigieg is. And, that’s too bad, ’cause I like him (if only because he liked 2 of my tweets, which is more than Erik or Scott have ever done).

      • veleda_k says:

        He’s the guy running on the idea that since he’s neither a Clintonite Neoliberal Hackmonster nor a Berniebrocialist, he can unite us.

        A good compromise leaves everybody mad.

  10. UkuleleIke says:

    I didn’t read past “Doug Hen.”

    • Brett says:

      Whenever Henwood gets off the Wall Street/Financial Sector beat, he’s terrible. I wish he’d stop writing terrible political commentary and instead write an updated version of his Wall Street book.

      • No Longer Middle Aged Man says:

        Agreed. The old Left Business Observer was good. Nowadays, Henwood is something of a cross between Jill Stein and a lower key Ann Coulter with a bit of the old WBAI “the revolution is imminent” fervor for spice.

        I generally admire people who are good at one thing being brave enough to try something new. But that admiration evaporates when they’re too obtuse to recognize that the something new is a car wreck. Think Muck Jagger solo albums.

  11. Nathan Goldwag says:

    Jesus, these idiots are just the German Communists all over again, spending all their time attacking the Social Democrats and openly celebrating Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor as the first stage in the Revolution.

    I’m really starting to get scared that if Perez wins there’s gonna be a sizable exit of Leftists from the Democratic Party, all solemnly intoning that Neoliberalism Left Them No Choice. Then they’ll spend the next four years doing everything they can to keep Trump in power so they can keep cosplaying as Anti-Fascist Resistance Fighters. Jesus Christ.

    • djw says:

      I’m really starting to get scared that if Perez wins there’s gonna be a sizable exit of Leftists from the Democratic Party, all solemnly intoning that Neoliberalism Left Them No Choice.

      I think this radically overstates the stakes here. The fraction of people who pay attention to this nonsense, and get mad about obscure stuff on the internet, is smaller than you think, and a good portion of them were simply going to find reasons to condemn the Democrats as useless and neoliberal anyway. If you’re going to abandon the party over something like this, your abandonment of the party is probably overdetermined; it’s just a question of the timing.

      • Rob in CT says:

        I’m inclined to agree, but given how Debbie Wasserman-Schultz as DNC chair became such a chey-toy during the primaries (and even past then), I worry too.

      • CrunchyFrog says:

        This is true. I’m one of the more politically engaged Democrats – as an example – and I lost interest in the DNC race long ago – happy with either of them. I do think it was important not to have another DLC-type, but neither of these is close to that. Yeah, I know Perez was in Obama’s cabinet, but the cabinet Obama finished with was a lot further to the left than the one he started with (as was true of his whole administration).

        I’m sure that if Perez wins there will be a few vocal Dems who won’t get over it, but very few of the overall party.

        • DrDick says:

          Exactly. As long it is not another corporatist shill, like DWS, I do not really care that much. This time I am actually rather excited that we have two very solid progressives up for the post.

      • Nathan Goldwag says:

        I mainly worry that the media will be so bored of covering the slow collapse of the Trump White House by then that they’ll take the chance of run a bunch of “Are the Democrats Collapsing?!” stories and then it’ll get turned into “Democrats Repudiate Bernie AGAIN!” and just ugh.

        But I’m both pessimistic and paranoid so it’s perfectly possible I’m worrying too much.

    • FlipYrWhig says:

      I’m really starting to get scared that if Perez wins there’s gonna be a sizable exit of Leftists from the Democratic Party

      There is no sizable leftist anything in America.

    • Lurking Canadian says:

      As I have said before, I think the “social justice” and “economic justice” axes are basically orthogonal.

      It is possible to imagine (and I think there definitely are) decent, liberal people in the US who are basically “meritocrats” at heart and see nothing wrong with the current economic arrangements. If half the CEOs were women, the fact that the CEO makes 200 times her assistant’s salary isn’t a problem. The gay members of the 1% should be able to get married, but shouldn’t have to pay capital gains taxes. If the cops would just stop killing black kids in the street, no skin off anybody’s nose if the only jobs those kids can get when they grow up is sub-living wage work at McDonald’s. They should have stayed in school.

      You can also imagine (and again, there definitely are) people who see everything through an economic lens. We shouldn’t do anything specifically to help any “identity” group, because the real oppression is economic and if we could just fix that, the other stuff would take care of itself.

      The thing is, I would ABSOLUTELY FUCKING LOVE to live in a world where the political debate was between those two sides. That’s not the world we live in. Instead we live in a world where on one side we have the people who want to make things worse for everybody on both axes. Therefore, by default, all the people who want to make things better for anybody need to work together,even if they disagree about priorities.

      Shorter (and metaphorical) me: can’t we all just get along until the Republicans are dealt with, then go back to fighting each other?

      • Rob in CT says:

        Shorter (and metaphorical) me: can’t we all just get along until the Republicans are dealt with, then go back to fighting each other?

        Ideally, though the Republicans will never be “dealt with” and even if we did really stomp them, the moment we go back to fighting each other they’ll rise again.

        I like the rest of your comment.

        The thing is, I would ABSOLUTELY FUCKING LOVE to live in a world where the political debate was between those two sides.

        Heh, in such a world, I might be a squishy centrist (depending on the details of things like trade, immigration, environmental protection, foreign policy, etc. shake out between the factions). Maybe I’d feel young again! The last time I thought of myself as a centrist in any sense, I was ~25.

        • humanoid.panda says:

          Based on your output here, I think we are in the same spot: temperamentally squishy and centrist, but forced to the hard left by the structure of real-existing American politics.

          • Rob in CT says:

            It’s not just temperament, though yes you’ve got that pegged right (though I’ve been slowly radicalizing for 8 years). I am ideologically squishy on certain issues as well and if we actually inhabited LC’s fantasy world, that would matter. I’d be getting into with Murc over full-on open borders, with Erik over the best response to job losses due to automation, with plenty of people over foreign policy (where my last remaining paleocon views show up, which I’ll own and defend). I do think just about everybody here would like God-Emperor Rob’s tax code though :)

            And yes, at this point none of those things matters worth a damn. We’re soooo far from those differences mattering.

            • humanoid.panda says:

              I think I am with you to a T. Back in 2008, you could describe be as neoliberal. But I got mugged by reality. But not to the extent of endorsing Erik’s politics. Which would make us members of different parties if this was a parliamentary democracy. But it isn’t, so we should focus on productive things.

              • Rob in CT says:

                Yeah, we seem to be on the same page alright.

              • Murc says:

                Back in 2008, you could describe be as neoliberal. But I got mugged by reality. But not to the extent of endorsing Erik’s politics. Which would make us members of different parties if this was a parliamentary democracy.

                You mean if this was a parliamentary democracy with proportional representation.

                And honestly; while PR is more condorcet-compliant that FPTP, which is a big point in its favor, one of its little-discussed benefits(?) is that it allows people to lie to themselves and outsource political compromise. You can vote for your tiny little niche party of perfect purity that sends two guys to parliament, and THEY have to compromise themselves by finding a larger political coalition to subsume themselves in, not you. Your hands are clean! And you can be sure to let everyone else know.

                • humanoid.panda says:

                  Yes, but on the other hand, that tiny little party can have enormous leverage on the one issue that animates you.

      • FlipYrWhig says:

        I think this is about right, although I don’t think the social-justice group described in the first paragraph skews as rich as the description implies.

      • humanoid.panda says:

        It is possible to imagine (and I think there definitely are) decent, liberal people in the US who are basically “meritocrats” at heart and see nothing wrong with the current economic arrangements. If half the CEOs were women, the fact that the CEO makes 200 times her assistant’s salary isn’t a problem. The gay members of the 1% should be able to get married, but shouldn’t have to pay capital gains taxes. If the cops would just stop killing black kids in the street, no skin off anybody’s nose if the only jobs those kids can get when they grow up is sub-living wage work at McDonald’s. They should have stayed in school.

        I think that the number of people who believe this is infistemal. Sure ,there is disagreement about how bad ineqaulity is and how radical solutions are and about whether trade and globalization are good or bad things, but I think no one who is liberal is happy with current state of social divide (the tech world might be an exception).

        • I think there are a lot of people who are basically liberal, maybe tending to left in an unthinking way but wouldn’t call it that, who think at the same time things are pretty good and pretty bad. They are always apparently surprised by the bad stuff, and they’re pretty “positive” when it comes to practical matters overall. They know it’s harder for women, in the abstract. Really bad things, well, it’s a sin, and something ought to be done, and their response might be more helpful or less helpful, depending. They know there’s a bunch of REALLY bad stuff going on, because they’ve been told, so they’re not at the “Treyvon Martin deserved it” stage. But if people tell them disparities are due to natural ability or choice, they’ll believe that too. However, they are not really open to arguments like “the system is all rotten and must be brought down or replaced by something I can’t tell you about yet.”

        • Dalai Rasta says:

          Actually, that bit sounds a lot like the ground Radley Balko has staked out, along with a healthy helping of anti-democratic sentiment.

      • Murc says:

        As I have said before, I think the “social justice” and “economic justice” axes are basically orthogonal.

        Thing is, even if this is true, those two groups need to actually work with each other to get stuff done.

        I know for a fact that there are people in both those camps who are grotesquely dismissive of the other camp (see Erik’s post-election threads for examples of stunning bad faith and misinterpretation as examples of this) but I’ve met vanishingly few people who view the agenda of the other camp as a literal a dealbreaker, as in “if you adopt these positions the party becomes so morally vile to me I will leave it and either start voting Republican or just not voting.” Those folks aren’t nonexistent either, but they’re basically unicorns.

        So I don’t understand the hostility to doing coalition politics here. Even if you regard “social justice” as a waste of time, it’s a waste of time that gets you a giant whack of voters who will also support some of your shit, that they consider to be a waste of time, and they won’t actually do anything you find repugnant, so… everyone wins, right?

        • humanoid.panda says:

          I think much of the hostility between the “socialism” and “Social justice” camps stems from the fact those debates take place on twitter, where snark and hostility are well-rewarded.

        • There used to be a sense that the Left only wants social justice people if they’ll consider joining up and calling themselves socialists. I wonder if that’s restricted to elite university settings where people get all tied up in knots by theory like I’ve been, or whether it died in 1989, or something.

          But it ties nicely with the adorable American cultural learning that everybody has to agree with ME or else they have to start back at square one again with beginnner’s mind and become like a little child again, and we apparently don’t know how to talk to one another unless that’s the cultural frame we have.

          • Murc says:

            There used to be a sense that the Left only wants social justice people if they’ll consider joining up and calling themselves socialists. I wonder if that’s restricted to elite university settings where people get all tied up in knots by theory like I’ve been, or whether it died in 1989, or something.

            I confess I have only experiences this in my life from the literal opposite direction; Leftists are only welcome if they’ll consider joining up and calling themselves Democrats.

            • Well, I guess the difference is probably whether one’s initial interest was “identity politics” or “economics.”

              • NoMoreAltCenter says:

                As far as I have ever seen, only one faction of the party cares about identity politics and is lukewarm at best on economics. The faction that won the primary.

                Sandernistas I know are more radical on identity than Clinton ever has been.

                Clintonistas took “more AAs voted for Clinton than Sanders” as carte blanche to make up shit about how Sanders was racist, sexist, whatever

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      I’m really starting to get scared that if Perez wins there’s gonna be a sizable exit of Leftists from the Democratic Party,

      Nah. Using a trivial institutional battle to re-enact the 2016 primaries only WE GET TO WIN THIS TIME is a very niche as well as very lame hobby.

    • nemdam says:

      I’m really starting to get scared that if Perez wins there’s gonna be a sizable exit of Leftists from the Democratic Party, all solemnly intoning that Neoliberalism Left Them No Choice. Then they’ll spend the next four years doing everything they can to keep Trump in power so they can keep cosplaying as Anti-Fascist Resistance Fighters. Jesus Christ.

      They will do this even if Ellison wins. They will be elated for like two weeks, then they will be mad that the Democrats haven’t single-handedly impeached Trump. They will blame this on the fact that Chuck Schumer (he will be back as a counterrevolutionary) and Kirsten Gillibrand (nominally most Anti-Trump Democrat) raise money from Wall Street and if we just primary them both, then we can stop Trump.

    • Phil Perspective says:

      Jesus, these idiots are just the German Communists all over again, spending all their time attacking the Social Democrats and openly celebrating Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor as the first stage in the Revolution.

      And who was attacking Sarandon last night, with vile misogyny? I didn’t know that she, not Trump, is the most powerful person in the U.S.

      • Rob in CT says:

        I don’t know, who?

        And she may not have much power, but she’s able to get stupid shit she says put into news articles, go on TV and whatnot. She said some really, really dumb shit during the campaign and yeah, people remember it. I sure as hell do. If she had any shame she’d shut the fuck up.

        • humanoid.panda says:

          Right. The Phil Perspectives basically feel that they are so obviously righteous and their opponents are so obviously venal sellouts, that it’s really impossible that their hurt people’s feelings, and that those people lash out when they see people like Sarandon, who they consider a traitor, being on TV.

      • NoMoreAltCenter says:

        Attacks on Sarandon and Stein both are vile and brimming with misogyny in a way that makes me uncomfortable.

    • Phil Perspective says:

      Then they’ll spend the next four years doing everything they can to keep Trump in power so they can keep cosplaying as Anti-Fascist Resistance Fighters. Jesus Christ.

      Yes, because protesting under Cheeto is such a fun and easy thing to do. You’re fucking ridiculous.

      • humanoid.panda says:

        Yep. All the millions of people protesting Trump are all Jacobin subscribers. Not a single Clinton supporter among them.

      • Nathan Goldwag says:

        I was at a protest literally last night. My problem is not with protesters. My problem is with certain people on the left who are running around yelling about how we need to CRUSH FASCISM while actively trying to make it harder to defeat the fascists.

        • NoMoreAltCenter says:

          Good God, if Trump is a fascist and this is how the Dem party would react to a fascist assuming power…holy shit is that terrifying

          • What do you suggest as an alternative?

          • gccolby says:

            The point is that punching fascists, while emotionally satisfying and certainly well-deserved, isn’t actually a viable electoral strategy. Furthermore, the German socialist paramilitaries openly fighting the SA in the streets in the 20’s and 30’s ultimately redounded to Hitler’s benefit rather than his disadvantage in his rise to power. Fortunately, we don’t have the insane party paramilitary political culture of the Weimar Republic.

            The sad reality is that pointing out Trump’s fascistic and/or authoritarian impulses might feel urgent and essential*, but it doesn’t appear to be terribly compelling for the people it needs to be compelling for. To be perfectly frank, how the Democratic Party reacts to an authoritarian assuming power is at this stage basically irrelevant. What should frighten you is how the Republicans might react.

            *and it is essential, but again… not a rallying cry or electoral strategy

          • Nathan Goldwag says:

            As I said in my original comment, I think certain elements of the modern left are making the same mistake the German Communists did in ’33. They assumed the Fascists would destroy and discredit the Socialists and Liberals, clearing the way for the Revolution. This did not work out then and I doubt it will work out now.

  12. Brett says:

    It is appalling to see Henwood, Greenwald, Robin, and the whole set act like they were so prescient on the Hillary Clinton loss and the Failings of the Democratic Party. Most of these folks were implicitly treating Hillary Clinton’s win as a given and acting like it before the election.

    • FlipYrWhig says:

      I still don’t quite get how the University Marxists have come to fancy themselves the vanguard of an impending working-class revolutionary consciousness… for which the vast majority of actual working-class people show no particular inclination, let alone support. It just smacks of 21st-century slumming.

      • nemdam says:

        They are every awful stereotype of the left in that they use the will of the people to justify their actions even though it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the people don’t support them. This is how authoritarian leftism begins to form.

    • CrunchyFrog says:

      Yep. Very very few people openly predicted Trump would win in the face of all of those polls. Michael Moore doesn’t get enough credit here.

    • humanoid.panda says:

      Greenwald, especially, went from claiming that Democrats are the dominant political faction in the US to claiming that they are dead as a political force within the space of 3 months. And both positions are absolutely central to his point.

  13. D.N. Nation says:

    Katie Halper is one in a growing line of particularly untalented women leftist cranks who I’m 67% sure is kept in the spotlight because the brocialist podcast set find her hot.

    I am both sorry and not sorry for this observation.

  14. LeeEsq says:

    A lot of people really seem to feel that all politics needs to be conducted as battle between the forces of good and evil like a bad fantasy novel. This is true when your dealing with oppositional parties or within intra-party politics. Dualism is very attractive to many people.

  15. NeonTrotsky says:

    Why the hell does everyone seem to care DNC chair it doesn’t even matter that much

    • FlipYrWhig says:

      Because it’s a way to anticipate feeling betrayed, which is apparently the most exquisite feeling in all of left politics.

      • LeeEsq says:

        The right seems to like the feeling of being betrayed to considering all the “stab in the back” myths that proliferate among them.

        • humanoid.panda says:

          Yep. And it’s also important to remember that the GOP c. 2009 was not exactly an oasis of comity…

          One could also recall that the RNC Chair in 2009 was Michael Steele – a moderatish African American. Which totally prefigured the multi-ethnic centrism that brought the GOP back to the center of American politics, proving the key role of national committees in the ideological steering of our major parties.

          • FlipYrWhig says:

            Ha, I hadn’t even thought of that… Both wry and astute.

          • Aexia says:

            Steele did a great job and got unceremoniously dumped from his position.

            Priebus was pretty much pure mediocrity and got promoted to WH CoS for his trouble.

            • humanoid.panda says:

              Did he? As I recall ,Steele was terrible at his core function- party building, while Priebus oversaw the construction of a ground game that overcame Trump’s weaknesses in that field.

              Which reinforces my point: 90% of what a party chair does is back-office stuff.

    • Murc says:

      Why the hell does everyone seem to care DNC chair it doesn’t even matter that much

      It kind of does. It wields a fair amount of power within the party. Having a competent and ideologically congenial one is important.

      Thankfully it looks like we got two folks who are both running for it.

      Although neither have done this sort of work before, I don’t think, so maybe we get smacked upside the head by the Peter Principle, but that’s the kind of thing you can’t predict ahead of time. A lot of these jobs are so unique that you can’t “practice” on them beforehand; being a member of Congress is hugely different from being a state legislator of any sort, being President is much different from being Governor or legislator, etc. DNC chair is not quite on that scale but it is also a job that there aren’t many other jobs like.

    • TVTray says:

      Someone cared enough for Perez to enter the race after Ellison!

    • EliHawk says:

      It seems not at all coincidental that the party that wants to relitigate the primaries on Sanders’ behalf is the loudest about this. In a way, it’s keeping up the Sanders Team’s “RIGGED!” bullshit all the way. After all, if DWS was the all powerful schemer and obstructor of the people’s choice, then surely the DNC chair is the most important position in the party?

  16. As I said in the previous thread on this topic, we need to focus on what is actually at stake here, not use this as an occasion to argue about issues that have no direct bearing on the DNC chairmanship.

    On that previous thread people pointed out that there are indeed ideological debates to be had over the best way for the party to move forward so there’s no point in pretending there aren’t factions”. True.

    However, there are productive ways to have that debate, and then there are less productive ways to have it. What we largely saw in that thread was that debate taking the form “Hillary sucks and the neoliberals are to blame to Trump” versus “Sanders is a preening egomaniac and his supporters are obnoxious trolls who should be purged for the good of the Party”. It is an excellent example of how not to have that debate.

  17. Gregor Sansa says:

    Man, I read through this whole thread looking for a troll to reply to, and none appears. It shakes my faith inhumanity.

    • Yep. It’s surprising that none have turned up yet.

      • dbk says:

        I think all the trolls got tired after the previous thread and went home.

        That some of us feel compelled to re-litigate the previous re-litigation of something like 48 hours ago, and others of us feel compelled to read that re-litigation says something, though.

        If I were voting for DNC Chair, which clearly I’m not, I’d be pretty sharpish about getting the two or three leading candidates to lay out their strategies in detail for winning back the House and the Senate in 2018, and the Presidency in 2020, period.

        You say it can’t be done? I don’t care, I still want the strategy for doing it. I want a DNC Chair to announce on the day he’s elected “We can do this,” and then I want him to lay out a national strategy, and a regional strategy, and a state-by-state strategy. Then I want him to go to the flipped states and find out what happened, and work with the State chairs, district by district, block by block.

        About that Joe Manchin, DINO thread: I stated this last time, but I’ll repeat in slightly stronger terms: I don’t want a DNC Chair who says, “whaddya gonna do? It’s West Virginia,” I want a DNC Chair who goes to WV and starts helping recruit progressives to primary him, like yesterday. Because honestly, a better candidate is out there, somewhere.

        This may sound like Mission Impossible, but it’s not – it’s hard-ball, grass-roots politics. The current, er, situation is offering Democrats a big window of opportunity, and I want a DNC Chair who can sense that opportunity and seize it, and run with it.

        But hey, that’s just me, and I won’t be voting.

        P.S. I bet the comments on this thread are a lot wittier and rapier-like than those circulating among DNC electors these days.

  18. humanoid.panda says:

    My favorite bit of this piece of shit of an interview is the artful insinuation that it’s somehow Perez’s fault he is about to be replaced by fast food executive.

  19. Bob Loblaw Lobs Law Bomb says:

    Keith Ellison … has an idea of remaking the party from the ground up and registering people to vote. Rebuilding the party at the base. …. Ellison has at least a strategy for building from the bottom up.

    I’m fine with Ellison, but this idea that he has some genius strategy is pretty ridiculous. All I’ve really heard from him is the exact sort of generic platitudes that are quoted here.

  20. NoMoreAltCenter says:

    Wooh, the Hive Mind is going strong in these comments.

    Probably my favorite bit here is how “it is useless to relitigate the primary”, yet every single snarky comment is a shot at Clintonite bete noires and the ridiculousness of Sanders’ supporters. (But that is just standard run of the mill LGM hypocrisy.)

    Can you guys just go ahead and complete your descent by putting Jacobin editors and Doug Henwood mugshots with rifle targets over them in the header?

    • humanoid.panda says:

      And yet, somehow, in this entire thread no one said a single bad word about Keith Ellison, Sanders’ most prominent supporter. I guess the Borg implants in our brains malfunctioned for a moment.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Probably my favorite bit here is how “it is useless to relitigate the primary”, yet every single snarky comment is a shot at Clintonite bete noires and the ridiculousness of Sanders’ supporters.

      To state the obvious, pointing out that Doug Henwood either has no idea what he’s talking about or is lying to his readers is not “re-litigating the primary.” Saying that Tom Perez is anti-labor isn’t a pro-Sanders argument, it is an idiotic argument I’m very confident Sanders himself would recognize as idiotic, which is presumably why you assert that it should preemptively exempt from criticism rather than defending it on the merits.

      • NoMoreAltCenter says:

        “To state the obvious, pointing out that Doug Henwood either has no idea what he’s talking about or is lying to his readers is not “re-litigating the primary.”

        Shorter: My hate on is justified cause I said so. Everyone else’s is petty primary refighting.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          No many times you assert it, pointing out that Henwood is saying things about Tom Perez that are clearly false is not re-litigating the primaries. Either the argument is right or it is wrong, and your argument that it should be exempt from criticism is, in addition to being stupid in itself, a tacit admission that it’s wrong.

    • Rob in CT says:

      The linked interview starts this way:

      So, I wanted to talk to you about blame. I was thinking the theme of this interview could be the “blame game” or “in defense of recriminations.”

      Well, the people who deserve the blame never wanna play the blame game.

      The whole thing is all about how awful Democrats & liberals are.

      If people snark in response, THEY’RE the ones being big meanies? My ass.

      Care to defend this shit on the merits:

      Perez is a top-down kind of guy. Very Clintonite. He pretends to be very pro-labor, but not really. We now just parenthetically see the SEIU, which has been a very important part of the Democratic coalition, about to cut its budget by a third.

      Less egregiously, but still, this:

      Hillary had position papers. She had no principles.

      There ARE reasonable things in there. This rings true:

      I think simplicity of that message is really important too. Sanders had four or five points he’d make over and over again. Some people made fun of him for it, but that is really how you win in politics. Most people are not intellectuals. They don’t follow political campaigns that carefully, or political issues that carefully. But, if you hammer away at several things that you’re convinced will make their lives better, and excite them emotionally, then you can win elections.

      The shot at Kos was also perfectly justified: that Kos post was total shit (that’s the sort of thing you think in anger, but you do not post on the front page of your fairly well-trafficked blog).

      The Hive Mind ™ is fine with Ellison. Some have pointed out that his strategy doesn’t seem to be different than what the other candidates want to do, and that the DNC really isn’t that big of a deal. Nobody dislikes him.

    • TroubleMaker13 says:

      Dude, give it a rest. Clinton lost the election and last seen was wandering around in the woods somewhere in upstate NY. Her political career is almost certainly over. You don’t have to worry about her killing your buzz any more.

      I mean, you do know that this argument that you and the likes of Henwood et al are parroting is transparently dishonest bullshit right? It’s obvious that you don’t give a single shit about any real introspective analysis of the 2016 D campaign, you just want a ritual public shaming, humiliation, and symbolic execution of Hillary Clinton and her supporters.

      • NoMoreAltCenter says:

        Yes and no. I would like Clinton supporters to lose power and the Sanders agenda to prevail. But to pretend I am not distressed by what Trump is doing and how we got here is blatantly dishonest.

  21. humanoid.panda says:

    Off topic, but on-topic: New Hampshire House (republican controlled) just killed right to work legislation there. It’s a dynamic to watch: the extent to which rising Democratic activism is going to constrain Republicans who face reelection in 2018.

  22. Murc says:

    But, of course, since this isn’t really about who will be the DNC chair, anything as mundane as Perez’s actual record and actual positions is beside the point. Bernie is truth, Bernie is beauty, Hillary is the antithesis of truth and beauty, that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

    You know, Scott, due respect, but I would take your calls for unity a bit more seriously if it weren’t accompanied by gratuitous sideswipes like this.

    Saying “don’t re-litigate the primaries” followed five paragraphs later by “I still hate those fucking idiots I hated in the primaries. What a bunch of fucking idiots” isn’t what you’d call a consistent message.

    I, personally, have nothing wrong with re-litigating the primaries, because that’s a faction fight that’s essentially a proxy for real and substantive ideological cleavages. (Although they are not always fought over in substantive ways.) But I admit that straight-up. Don’t try and have your above the fray cred while also getting into the fray.

    • NoMoreAltCenter says:

      Wow. Actual sanity.

    • Rob in CT says:

      Yes, the post would’ve been better w/o that shot.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      “I still hate those fucking idiots I hated in the primaries. What a bunch of fucking idiots” isn’t what you’d call a consistent message.

      Again, criticizing a bad argument made my a Sanders supporter isn’t re-litigating the primaries, nor is pointing out that someone is writing abject nonsense Tom Perez because they’re viewing the DNC race through the lens of the primaries. You’re better than this, Murc.

      • NoMoreAltCenter says:

        Yes, it absolutely fucking is Scott.

        And I am not sure how Murc really can be better than “calling people out on their hypocritical sanctimonious horseshit.” That is really one of the great functions of political speech.

        • Murc says:

          I don’t need your help and regard the fact that you’re offering it as detrimental. I reject your support and regard it as a badge of shame.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          So, to be clear, your argument is that if someone supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries, any argument they make in the future about any subject should be exempt from criticism because it would constitute relitigating the primaries. That’s your argument.

          • NoMoreAltCenter says:

            More like “no relitigating the primaries” is a way of saying “tone down the center left vs left infighting” (that is the only way the phrase even makes sense from a practical standpoint), and that is what about a large portion of your output on this blog as of late has been about

            • Scott Lemieux says:

              Leaving aside the non-sequitur, yes, if there’s anyone who’s trying to tone down “center left vs. left infighting” it’s Doug Henwood.

              • NoMoreAltCenter says:

                People like that are always going to exist, as well as a universe of people to Henwood’s left. If you are serious about bringing Leftists into the Dem party and healing divisions, it requires a certain amount of turning the other cheek rather than dragging on personal animosity.

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  This is an excellent critique of the Henwood interview. Glad we agree.

                • NoMoreAltCenter says:

                  Regime change starts at home, Scott

                • I am beginning to think that NMAC believes we are doomed to re-litigate the primary in perpetuity, since criticizing anyone for re-litigating the primary is merely another way of re-litigating the primary.

                • Same thing goes for you, NMAC.

                  Also, can’t help noting that NMAC’s entire critique of Scott here is not that his criticisms are unjustified in any substantive sense. It all comes down to “Why are you being so mean to a Sanders supporter?”

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  NMAC, a a play in one act:

                  A: “Tom Perez is an anti-labor neoliberal.”
                  B: “This is objectively false.”
                  NMAC: “WHY IS B CONTINUALLY PICKING FIGHTS WITH OTHER PEOPLE ON THE LEFT?”

                • NoMoreAltCenter says:

                  Considering that you don’t seem to believe that “neoliberal” has an actual definition, calling the claim that Perez is one “objectively false” is unsupportable.

                • If “neoliberal” is merely a propagandistic term of abuse used by certain people on the left, it certainly is objectively wrong to use that term to label anybody.

                  If it isn’t, then perhaps NMAC can explain how that term can be said to legitimately apply to Perez.

                • NoMoreAltCenter says:

                  Well, first, the people arguing against Perez being one would need to agree to a statement of what neoliberal means, because any definition I use will be goalpost shifted to hell.

                • Well, first, the people arguing against Perez being one would need to agree to a statement of what neoliberal means, because any definition I use will be goalpost shifted to hell.

                  I believe this is called projection. If someone makes a claim that appears to amount to nothing more than propagandistic abuse, it is not on us to disprove the claim. If you’ve a case for saying otherwise, make that case or hush up about it.

      • Murc says:

        Again, criticizing a bad argument made my a Sanders supporter isn’t re-litigating the primaries, nor is pointing out that someone is writing abject nonsense Tom Perez because they’re viewing the DNC race through the lens of the primaries.

        Which is why I didn’t criticize the parts of your post that did that, of course. I criticized the part where you tucked in a sideswipe at the people you’ve hated since during and after the primary in a post that putatively was about not re-litigating the primary.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          The “swipe” was hardly gratuitous. The whole point of is that to Henwood — who, as someone said below, is really more anti-Clinton than pro-Sanders — the Democratic primary was a Manichean morality play, and he has transferred this framework to a context where it’s even less appropriate. It’s not an argument about who should have won the Democratic Party, it’s an argument about a particularly way of seeing the political world — as djw says, about seeing everything as an “existential battle between the dread neoliberals and the stalwart social democrats.” I wasn’t saying anything about Sanders or the typical Sanders supporter.

        • cs says:

          Sounds to me like a disagreement or misunderstanding about what is meant by “relitigating the primary”. As I understand Scott, just hitting out at people who you disagreed with about the primary doesn’t count as relitigating the primary. Relitigating the primary involves actually bringing an opinion about the primary (or Bernie vs Hillary) into a discussion.

          • NoMoreAltCenter says:

            But relitigating the primary is so “dangerous” precisely because it involves the ideological fracture.

            Surely people don’t mean “discussing the bloodless vote tallying and technical aspects” when they say “relitigating the primary”. Because I have seen no one actually doing that, and I see no reason it should be disruptive.

            • cs says:

              But relitigating the primary is so “dangerous” precisely because it involves the ideological fracture.

              Some may feel that way, but that is not what the OP says. The OP says relitigating the primary is bad because it causes people to think and say wrong/dumb things.

              • NoMoreAltCenter says:

                Well, per the definition of nearly everyone on this blog, “wrong/dumb things” equates to “things critical of the Democratic Party and the general Center-Left perspective”

                • Rob in CT says:

                  Nope.

                • Linnaeus says:

                  That’s not a fair charge – there’s plenty of commenters who are critical of both when they feel it is warranted and even front-pagers, e.g., Erik Loomis, aren’t averse to doing so, either.

              • Scott Lemieux says:

                The OP says relitigating the primary is bad because it causes people to think and say wrong/dumb things.

                Exactly. I don’t think the point is terribly complicated.

            • No, it is dangerous because at this point it has little to do with substantive differences and very much to do with personal grudges and people seeking to protect and vindicate their own positions.

              • NoMoreAltCenter says:

                I think most Leftist expected a “Holy shit, did we fuck up by nominating Clinton” moment from the Center-Left. Instead, Clintonites quadrupled down.

                • NMAC,kindly do not demand of others what you refuse to accept for yourself. If supporting a losing candidate is automatically a fuck-up on the part of that candidate’s supporters, what does that say about those of us who supported Sanders in the primary? Are you going to seriously tell me that his loss in the primary had absolutely nothing to do with his own weaknesses as a candidate?

                  But no, you come here on your high horse demanding that everyone else bow down to you and then you act surprised when it gets their backs up. And then you claim to know all about what persuades people, what would sway them in an election, when your idea of persuasion is coming here and yelling at people.

                  So no, you are not persuasive. And while you claim to want an “adult conversation” on ideological differences, what you actually promote is anything but.

                • NoMoreAltCenter says:

                  “Are you going to seriously tell me that his loss in the primary had absolutely nothing to do with his own weaknesses as a candidate?”

                  I wouldn’t say that. But Bernie vs. Clinton was David vs. Goliath. I never had more than a flicker of hope he would win against Clinton. You can’t afford something like that in the general.

    • TroubleMaker13 says:

      I, personally, have nothing wrong with re-litigating the primaries, because that’s a faction fight that’s essentially a proxy for real and substantive ideological cleavages. (Although they are not always fought over in substantive ways.)

      I totally agree with this statement, but it sure seems to me like most of the “re-litigating” that is actually happening is just petty bickering over personalities. And that’s what I see Scott pushing back against.

  23. RonC says:

    I kind of analogize this to Sherrod Brown’s first senate primary. He did run as the party candidate, against an outsider, but he has been very liberal in his votes and actions as a Senator. Not a stalking horse for the establishment at all.

    But, why you keep pretending that Perez isn’t more beloved by the establishment is beyond me.

    • FlipYrWhig says:

      It’s almost like some of us remember that The Left regularly cooks up showdowns between THE ESTABLISHMENT! and BOLD PROGRESSIVES! like Sherrod Brown vs. Paul Hackett, Kirsten Gillibrand vs. Caroline Kennedy, and Tammy Duckworth vs. Christine Cegelis. But I’m sure the next one will reveal the depths of THE ESTABLISHMENT’s perfidy.

      • Linnaeus says:

        Re: Brown and Hackett in Ohio, perhaps this is just indicative of the particular sources I was following at the time, but I recall Hackett being portrayed as the “pragmatic” candidate that could win statewide in Ohio and Brown as “too liberal” to win outside of his home district. Turned out quite differently, thank goodness.

        • FlipYrWhig says:

          The “netroots” argument was that Hackett was the true people-powered standard-bearer after the race against Schmidt, but that the Democratic powerbroker syndicate (or something) couldn’t tolerate Hackett’s challenge to the status quo and used Brown as their cat’s-paw to thwart him.

          Which is pretty well aligned to the same group’s hot take on Ellison vs. Perez.

          • Linnaeus says:

            I remember that, but that’s not incompatible with what I wrote, either. Hackett was “people-powered” because he hit just the right notes that made him competitive in places like the congressional district he ran in (and where he lost), whereas Brown was the out-of-touch guy who could never win in more conservative districts.

            Although it was funny when some of the people saying this went to work for Brown.

      • TVTray says:

        Ellison declared first and had a bunch of prominent Dem support. This showdown was cooked-up by the donor wing of the party.

        • FlipYrWhig says:

          See, this is _exactly_ what people said about Hackett vs. Brown.

          • humanoid.panda says:

            You know who else declared first and had a bunch of prominent support? Hillary Clinton. Which of course makes Sanders running against her the crime of the century.

            Also, citing prominent establishment support for Ellison as evidence the establishment wants to stab him in the back is…interesting.

            • efc says:

              Different parts of the “establishment” can have different priorities. It isn’t the borg. Some parts of the establishment apparently wanted to move forward with the task of reorienting the Democratic Party after it had been reduced to its weakest position since the 1920s. Others wanted to make sure certain people don’t have too much power over the future of the Democratic Party whether it be for reasonable electoral strategy concerns (moving left won’t win votes) or churlish butthurt. Well, and the fact a faction of Democratic support feels Keith Ellison is a Farakhanite.

              And running against the candidate who was able to garner prominent support form the outset isn’t the crime of the century if the challenger can identify reasons why the challengee isn’t the right choice. But considering Perez and Ellison seem to be saying the exact same things I haven’t seen any explanation as to why Ellison isn’t the right choice. Other than he was a Sanders guy. And he is still a Black Muslim.

            • TVTray says:

              Yes, but Ellison and Perez are indistinguishable (or so Scott says)! Bernie and Hillary definitely had some differences.

              • NoMoreAltCenter says:

                But it is LGM gospel that Clinton was THE REAL PROGRESSIVE as well. Of course Ellison and Perez are identical.

                • efc says:

                  Identical except for Ellison supported Sanders in the primary. And is a Black Muslim. Oh, and Ellison is from Minnesota while Perez is from Maryland.

                  If they are almost indistinguishable then the few areas where they aren’t indistinguishable must have something to do with why Perez and his supporters wanted Perez to run for DNC chair against Ellison. I presume it isn’t an MN v. MD thing. Or a Black v. Hispanic thing. So we are left with a very small set of possible reasons as to why Perez was encouraged to run for the position after Ellison seemed to have garnered enough support from different factions to win the race. I hope it isn’t because Perez supporters don’t want a Muslim as chairperson.

                • TVTray says:

                  This leftist would be fine with Perez. I’d prefer Ellison of course, but the choices are so many worlds better than Wasserman-Schultz that whatever happens should be considered a victory.

                  I’m frustrated here for two reasons. One, it’s baffling that Scott won’t admit Perez’ entrance into the race is what it is–the donor wing of the Dem party nervous about the Black Muslim populist. Two, the optics of it all. We have this awesome, energized guy in Ellison who is a perfect candidate to unite the economic populism vs. identity politics schism in the Dem party, as much as that exists. And Perez is great too, and covers a lot of these bases as well! But it doesn’t matter that hyper-rationalists like Scott think they’re indistinguishable. This will be seen as a betrayal by the left-wing of the Dem party, and this is the wing that tends to get huffy and stay home. It’s terrible politics. I can’t understand why they just won’t let Ellison have this.

                • it is LGM gospel that Clinton was THE REAL PROGRESSIVE

                  Cites missing

                  Of course Ellison and Perez are identical.

                  No, but on the other hand, in all this foofarah you’ve yet to explain what the substantive differences are between them and how they relate to what is actually at stake in the DNC chair election. All we have had from you is an unrelenting series of cheap shots with little or no substance. In other words, you are on your usual form, NMAC!

        • Hogan says:

          Any evidence for this, or is it just something you know in your heart?

  24. addicted44 says:

    I think it’s also important to realize that the anti-Hillary leftists are not pro-Sanders leftists. The vast majority of these idiots were pro-Sanders while he was running against Hillary in the primaries, but started ignoring him almost immediately after he conceded and started campaigning for Hillary.

  25. Mike in DC says:

    Watching Susan Saran-dumb on Chris Hayes last night was enlightening in regard to the obtuseness and self-righteousness of a certain type of leftist activist. The causes they care about are worth sacrificing the causes and interests of others they’re less interested in.

  26. Harkov311 says:

    He pretends to be very pro-labor, but not really.

    I’ve never understood this line about “pretend” liberals that the pie-throwers routinely use. Pretend, how? Did he secretly make it harder for workers to organize? Did he say he wanted stronger unions and then undermine them from within? Did he only pretend to issue all those orders making it easier to keep your job? No? Then how in the world is he “pretending?”

    • veleda_k says:

      What do you do when your designated neo-liberal, establishment enemy-of-all-that-is-good turns out to have some pretty progressiveness policies and actions? Declare than none of it counts because they didn’t really mean it. Problem solved!

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        Perez doesn’t mean what he says. Or what he did.

        • wjts says:

          Anything Clinton (or a Clinton surrogate) says or does that I agree with is insincere pandering. Anything Clinton (or a Clinton surrogate) says or does that I disagree with is Clinton’s (or her surrogate’s) real position. Anything I can imagine Clinton (or her surrogate) saying or doing that I disagree with, even if she (or her surrogate) has never said or done it, is her (or her surrogate’s) secret real position.

  27. rmhitchens says:

    I can’t help thinking that the Democratic Party was wrecked and the election lost because of Hillary Clinton’s overweening ambition & desire to equal or eclipse her husband. She should have recognized her very high negatives and stepped aside for the good of the Party. A fairly moderate Democrat like O’Malley of Kaine would have won in a walk.

    • NoMoreAltCenter says:

      Yes. The fact that the anger post-election is aimed at the Left instead of Clinton is unbelievable.

      • NMAC, along the same lines of what I said to you further up, your brazen hypocrisy is breathtaking. If a losing candidate is worthy of the anger of his or her supporters after an electoral loss, it follows that we Sanders supporters should have been pissed at Bernie for losing to Clinton. But of course you refuse to accept the logic you demand others accept, and you refuse to learn the lessons you claim others must learn. That is what I mean by your hypocrisy. You have no lessons to teach to us about winning others over, not when we see your track record at winning over people here.

        But if you seriously thought that you would persuade anyone here by berating them endlessly and claiming utter vindication for your point of view, and claiming not to understand why this elicits anger, scorn, and contempt, then you are a complete naif when it comes to human psychology – possibly the last person anyone should listen to when it comes to advice on how to win over enough people to win elections.

        • NoMoreAltCenter says:

          “NMAC, along the same lines of what I said to you further up, your brazen hypocrisy is breathtaking. If a losing candidate is worthy of the anger of his or her supporters after an electoral loss, it follows that we Sanders supporters should have been pissed at Bernie for losing to Clinton.”

          I was disappointed. But they were long odds to begin with. Clinton’s were not.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Hillary Clinton’s overweening ambition

      Well, that’s a tell.

      Democrat like O’Malley of Kaine

      If 2016 offers any lesson, it’s about the extraordinary political skills of Martin O’Malley and Tim Kaine, who we can say with absolute certainty would have been great candidates who would have won easily in a highly partisan environment which structurally favored Republicans.

      Another lesson of 2016 is that we should place the highest degree of confidence our speculation about how campaigns would turn out.

      • NoMoreAltCenter says:

        The hypothesis most validated by 2016 and its aftermath is that Clintonistas would rather be eaten alive by ants while buried up to their neck than concede one iota to a milquetoast social democrat.

      • EliHawk says:

        Eh. Kaine probably would have won, because he seems like the perfect nice guy, America’s Dad, nothing bad in the record, and nothing sticks to him. He hits the ‘authenticity’ buttons that were big this year. But O’Malley would have been caught between Trump demagoguing about Baltimore Crime and BLM erupting over Baltimore Police. Maybe he’s a surprisingly good political talent and overcomes that, but he’d probably have been fucked.

    • FlipYrWhig says:

      Next time the Democrats should definitely let their own party’s voters choose among several candidates in a series of staggered statewide elections that allow them to evaluate their various strengths and weaknesses against one another.

    • TroubleMaker13 says:

      JFC, you guys seriously need to seek help with your mommy issues.

  28. Redwood Rhiadra says:

    Tom Perez is not truly pro-labor because he does not advocate reforming all corporations into Workers' Collectives and executing their former management.

  29. Vance Maverick says:

    Breaking news: Perez, Ellison have dinner together. (Via Balloon Juice.)

  30. […] Democratic party has gone to the left and is going to the left, no matter who wins the DNC race. That’s a good […]

  31. Abbey Bartlet says:

    My personal favorite bit of that interview:
    “-Solidarity is both ethically demanded but also a practical thing to aspire to.
    -That’s a great line. Solidarity is not just ethical, but practical.”

    From two people who spent the entire election refusing to engage in solidarity.

    • Snuff curry says:

      Well, yeah, meaning everyone else should roll over and cede all decision-making to them, otherwise they’ll pout and withhold their vote.

      This is like that Blackadder episode where the Frenchie aristo heading for the chop is asked whether he wants to earn some money and he declines, saying he’d rather other people earn it and then just give it to him, like in the good old days.

      Practice what you preach, bros.

  32. Rob in CT says:

    This thread is probably dead, but…

    I think some of the back and forth between the “Hive Mind” here and Our Leftist Betters is just talking past one another. Some of it is substantive, but not all.

    So OLBs are worked up b/c they think “Clintonites” (who here include lots of Bernie voters like me) are not learning from defeat. Leaving aside exactly what we should learn, and also too the fact that the GOP learned exactly nothing from a policy standpoint from their defeats (rather, they just doubled down, and won), this isn’t really what is going on. We’ve had discussions about what we should do next time ’round, and we will continue to have them.

    When Scott bangs on about the media’s abject failure & culpability for what happened, this does not translate to “Hillary did nothing wrong” or “Hillary was a great candidate.” We need to work the refs, and hold a grudge. The Right did this, and it fucking worked. The media demonstrably fell for a steaming pile of bullshit and worked to enable this horrorshow. That needs to be hammered home over and over. It will look like tilting at windmills at times.

    We can do that and still decide that we need to remember that swing voters are… impressionable, I suppose you could say, and like Celebrity, Change (fresh face and/or an “outsider”), and Bold Plans (aka selling a dream) and, therefore, we should be inclined to back candidates who can hit those notes. Keep it simple and hammer home the simple message, and if a lack of details bother us or we worry that the simple message doesn’t really match up with the complicated reality… we need to chill (here I’m really talking to myself).

    Also, Comey. There are two issues here. One is that he behaved totally unethically and this should be recognized. But the second point is that Obama fucked up by making him FBI director. Dude was a GOP ratfucker involved in the Whitewater bullshit. I don’t blame Obama for not realizing the exact consequences, but this should be the stake through the heart of the idea that Dems should appoint GOP Daddies to positions such as these (or rather, that they should appoint them to anything at all). This is actually a lesson learned!

  33. […] outcome. Either way, ignoring people who wanted to use a contest for a procedural position as a means of re-litigating the primaries and hence had a felt need to smear the candidate they beli… is sound […]

  34. […] work together well, this makes the gap between the actual stakes of the outcome of the DNC race and the apocalyptic morality play being written as an alternative set of facts about it even greater. But the fantasy universe in which Perez and Ellison represent massively different […]

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