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Optimism or Pessimism about America

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I thought this Yglesias piece on the differences between Sanders and Clinton voters was pretty good. Basically they more or less believe the same things, with strikingly few meaningful differences. The difference is that Clinton voters are basically happy with the direction of the country and Sanders voters aren’t. Clinton voters want tweaks to the system, Sanders voters want a “revolution.” I put that in scare quotes because most either don’t really know what that word means or are romanticizing a process that can go very, very wrong. Much of this goes back to Obama, who tapped into people’s desires for a new America with soaring rhetoric that papered over a very establishment figure who governed that way. The problem with a figure, whether Trump or Bernie or whoever, who wants to “shake things up” is that they aren’t really going to be able to do that effectively, leaving their voters permanently unsatisfied. There’s no easy answer for Democrats on this. We need a candidate who inspires and who has good policy, but who is also realistic about what can get done. That’s a tough needle to thread. Hillary Clinton really didn’t do it very well, or not as well as she needed to anyway.

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  • Brien Jackson

    Another way to say this is that we need a culture and media that teaches people realistic views of politics instead of larding up Great Man bullshit.

    • NewishLawyer

      I don’t know about this exactly. Clinton voters were generally older than Sanders voters. So they saw government work positively from everything from the CRA to VRA to the ACA.

      If a lot of Sanders voters were between 18-35. They grew up with more partisanship, government shutdowns, the end of Old Economy Steve, the Great Recession, etc.

      • politicalfootball

        That’s a tough needle to thread. Hillary Clinton really didn’t do it very well, or not as well as she needed to anyway.

        I think this would be more plausible if it wasn’t posted directly on top of the media word-cloud in the previous post.

        • NewishLawyer

          Oh. I absolutely think that a lot of younger voters unconsciously absorbed Clinton hate from the 1990s and can’t shake it but they also have legitimate reasons to be suspicious of politics being a positive role in lives.

          Lots of things can be true.

          • …but they also have legitimate reasons to be suspicious of politics capitalism being a positive role in lives.

            I think that is closer to the truth, and how they feel.

            • BloodyGranuaile

              As a younger voter, this is true to my experience and that of many people in my age range that I know personally, in varying levels of giving a shit about politics (almost all based in Boston, though).

  • DamnYankees

    It’s interesting that you phrase this in terms of “happy” v. not. Because I can’t help but feel that’s not a very…helpful, I guess, way of looking at it.

    To me, the difference that came through in the Hillary v. Sanders debate was a very old one, which was a division people between who hate politics and though who, while not maybe loving it, certainly accepted it. To me, the prime gut intuition of people who were on the Bernie train were just people who hated politics. Hated having to compromise. Hated having to act like there was good faith opposition. And to me, Sanders fed this in a really negative way. That’s what I found distasteful about him, more than anything. He espoused a conspiratorial worldview where Americans were ensnared by a cabal of bankers who were deluding good hearted Americans.

    To me, Sanders and Rubio were oddly similar – they both prophesized an apocalyptic vision of American society, one with demons all around and no hope for the future without radical change – just with different solutions. But I, personally, found no hope in Sanders’ vision. I found Clinton’s vision – one where life was hard and things weren’t easy but you can claw your way to a better world – much more compelling. Whether you say that is “happy” or not, I don’t know.

    Now obviously this is painting with a broad brush. Lots of smart politicos were on board with Sanders, and lots of morons with no interest in politics were on board with Clinton. But that was my impression of the tonal differences in the campaign.

    • XerMom

      I agree.

      There’s an assumption in the “it’s all rigged” rhetoric that you can’t really make anything better unless you destroy everything. But the appeal of Hillary to her supporters was always a doggedness for change, even when it’s glacial. The slow drip will eventually level a mountain.

      Given how large the Sanders crowd is, I don’t know if the Democrats/Left/Liberals (whatever form it takes) will be able to sustain electoral influence long enough to really get any change through, given how slow our governmental system is designed to be. They’ll become disillusioned long before the change can happen. The only thing you can do quickly in American government is frack it up.

      • efgoldman

        Given how large the Sanders crowd is….

        How large is it, really? A big, loud, reactive intartoobz presence is in no way an indicator of actual votes.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          Ignore the intartoobz presence. Pay attention to the 43% of participants in the primary process who backed Sanders. That’s a lot of people.

          • LawyerWhoWantsToHelp

            I think a comparison of the messaging and tone of the Clinton vs. Sanders campaigns misses what, in my view, motivated a large percentage of that 43%, myself included, to vote for Sanders in the primary. And that was, unfair as it was to Clinton, that Clinton derangement syndrome was so prevalent, so all-absorbing, and so pumped-up by the media, that it looked inevitable that Clinton would be the weaker of the two candidates in the general election, especially given the actual favorability data and head-to-head general election polling which almost unanimously favored Sanders. This is all to say that, as I see it, a large share of the 43% voted for Sanders based on electability in this specific, emailz-tainted election cycle, and not because they necessarily agreed with or supported Sanders over Clinton. (cue the string of replies stating that Sanders, had he made the general, would have been attacked as a dirty, rotten commie and would have lost to Trump, even though, again, all polling conducted during the primaries indicated that he could have withstood such attacks and fared better than Clinton).

            • Captain C

              cue the string of replies stating that Sanders, had he made the general, would have been attacked as a dirty, rotten commie and would have lost to Trump, even though, again, all polling conducted during the primaries indicated that he could have withstood such attacks and fared better than Clinton

              He may have survived those (though attacks using footage of him criticizing America from Cuba and Nicaragua probably would have done some damage), but the attacks on his tax plan, his cluelessness about his signature issue (“How will you break up the banks, Bernie?” “Uh, I don’t know. Maybe we’ll ask them to break themselves up.”), his refusal to release his own taxes while demanding transparency from other politicians, his golden-parachute-taking-from-a-college-she-bankrupted wife, his freeloading days well into his 30s, and his creepy sex writings from the ’70s probably would have sunk him.

    • Not to keep harping on this point – actually, you know what, I’m perfectly happy to keep harping on this point – but this is also where gender plays in. Being a “revolutionary” is rarely an option open to women, and certainly not to those who want to climb the traditional political ladder, because when a woman starts talking about needing to overturn corrupt systems she’s viewed as either a kook or a dangerous radical. Whereas a man, who is assumed to be more invested in the system even if they talk about wanting to overturn it, isn’t seen as the same sort of threat, so he’s free to be as pro-revolution as he likes.

      Again to paint with a broad brush, but I think this also accounts for the differences in Clinton and Sanders’s approach to politics, and how those registered with their respective supporters. Women (and POC) are accustomed to politics being the slow boring of hard boards, to slow, halting progress that can often be overturned in an instant, to having to work tirelessly and often with little recognition or acclaim. The drive to revolution, it seems to me, often comes from privileged people who are enraged at realizing that the world doesn’t live up to their standards, and who are eager for a quick fix.

      • prognostication

        I started a comment but I think you pretty much covered it, especially that last line. Thanks.

      • DamnYankees

        Where do you see Warren fitting into this narrative? I get the sense she’s the #1 “revolutionary” in the party. No?

        • “Nevertheless, she persisted” Warren? Wasn’t that incident a primary example of how women are penalized for appearing even the slightest bit as revolutionary as men? See also Kamala Harris.

          • DamnYankees

            Oh of course, that’s how they are treated by the GOP. I meant more within the Democratic Party.

            I think Warren was, and is, broadly seen as being the most populist, radical member of the Senate. The fact that many Bernie folks turned on her is true, but I chalk that up mostly to tribal pique at being spurned, not at her gender. Would be curious what you think.

            • Brien Jackson

              But while Warren is to the left in policy terms, she’s not really attacking the basics of how politics and government work and calling for a revolution with her as the messianic leader. She’s not even shown a desire to run for President yet.

              • humanoid.panda

                This is a great point, and gets at something that I think a lot of people are missing. There is a lot of talk about the Warren-Sanders wing of the party, but Warren is very different a very different beast: she is no less a technocrat than Obama/Clinton, but unlike them she is closely attuned to the extent to which the system really and truly went off the rails in the last twenty years. In my opinion, her style of politics represents the synthesis we need between populism and actually understanding how shit works. The only problem is that
                1) She doesn’t seem to want to run, and even if she did I am not 100% sold she is going to great at the job.
                2. I am not sure which candidates are going to be able to make that synthesis.

                • Brien Jackson

                  THis is basically why I think, all else being equal (that is, assume Warren is a capable candidate), Warren would have beat Clinton in the primary if she’d run. She splits the difference damn near perfectly between Clinton’s realistic view of how democracy works (I’m loathe to keep saying “politics” here, because it’s really the democratic structure that’s at play and that frustrates Sanders and his more authoritarian minded supporters) and the more left-leaning policy Sanders represented. Plus, she’s much more comfortable using the rhetoric of populist economics than Clinton and more comfortable with the idea of intersectionality than Sanders.

                • humanoid.panda

                  My question ,assuming that Warren doesn’t run, is who picks up that mantle. (my own sense is that Franken would be a great candidate to do this.)

                • Brien Jackson

                  I don’t think you need to in 2020. That’s a campaign that’s going to be about opposition to Trump and the GOP, not about trying to chart a path to continuing the Obama agenda but also changing it in meaningful ways (plus it’s easy to forget, but a big part of why the Democratic coalition moved to the left so swiftly is because we thought Republicans were buggering up the election and gift wrapping us a unified government…or at least the White House and Senate).

                • I’d like Franken to run, but he was saying fairly recently that he didn’t think he’d ever run for president because he had too much baggage. The shitgibbon might’ve changed Franken’s mind though.

                  I like what I’ve seen of Kamala Harris thus far but I have no idea if she’s as comfortable talking about economic issues as Warren is. Gillibrand also seems a possible successor.

                  Warren actually seems more comfortable talking about economics than either Sanders or Clinton does, honestly; she has Sanders’ passion but has Clinton’s wide-ranging command of data. And, as Brien points out, she gets intersectionality a lot better, too.

            • FlipYrWhig

              Do you think people, like the general public kind of people, see Warren as populist or radical? I wouldn’t go that far. I think they probably know her as “that angry lady.” That’s the one thing Warren does more than any other woman in American politics: raise her voice. That might overlap with “radical,” which is in so many ways a matter of style and performance, but I’m still not sure.

            • Jenna

              Some of the Sanders supporters are personality cultists, and those are the ones who can’t deal with a rival. Their narrative is that Bernie is THE most popular politician at the moment, and Warren is on their radar because she’s the corporatists enemy number one. She’s the reason the consumer financial protection bureau exists, and the GOP is definitely trying to kill the CFPB. So, she’s effective in getting people on board her ideas, and they know her name. That makes her a rival.
              There is a good deal of misogyny around, but, it’s denied and underground. Usually you can spot it when someone is using misogynistic slurs or holding women to completely different standards of perfection than they hold their hero, Bernie.
              Bernie who is actually not a democrat. Bernie who never released his taxes.

              • StellaB

                And this will be turned on Kamala Harris in a few moments.

              • tsam

                Oof, yeah. For some reason, during the primaries, I kept running across social media comments that addressed Hillary as every gendered insult and even a few new ones to me (and I’m no sheltered prude).

                Called themselves liberals. Yeah, fuck you. If you can’t conjure some respect for women even at this most basic level, you’re no liberal. You’re just another sexist fucking pig who’s in love with dork who talks like Bugs Bunny and can’t give you 90% of the shit he’s promising you.

              • Phil Perspective

                Some of the Sanders supporters are personality cultists, and those are the ones who can’t deal with a rival.

                LOL!!! I suppose you don’t see the irony in that statement. The same could be said about HRC.

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  I know you’re more of a drive-by spray can artist, but quick: name one flaw of Bernie Sanders

          • so-in-so

            Replace ‘revolutionary’ with ‘equal’ perhaps, because that is what the GOP forcefully showed both Warren and Harris. You might be elected to and seated in our legislative body, but don’t go thinking you have equal standing with the white males!

        • FlipYrWhig

          Warren isn’t “revolutionary” at all. She’s a pissed-off reformer. The cause of her life is sound, protective regulation.

          • humanoid.panda

            Yep, Warren is an HRC, if HRC came to politics via economic inequality and not feminist activism.

            • mojrim

              Nailed it.

        • twbb

          I would still peg Sanders as that.

          • StellaB

            Except for the “in the party” qualification?

            • twbb

              Oh, he went back to I, right.

      • mary s

        I agree! I prefer this earlier Yglesias piece on Clinton voters:

        https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/10/19/13288594/new-silent-majority

        Maybe this is because I’d like to turn back the clock to October 2016! But it’s also because I would never say that I am “happy” with the way things are. I just had a pointless argument about all this with a good friend who is a fervent Bernie supporter — don’t know if it’s just a coincidence, but he’s a white man with an upper-middle-class income, a philosopher who equates politics with bad things like “political expediency.” And I’m a 50-something woman who wasn’t in love with either candidate and did see all that much difference between them.

      • Bruce B.

        Yes. This is a better version of the idea than the one I was mulling around.

        I’d describe the difference as Clinton supporters not believing that purity is possible in politics, but also believing it’s not necessary to make things better.

      • “Being a “revolutionary” is rarely an option open to women, and certainly not to those who want to climb the traditional political ladder, ”

        On the Internet, I’ve been told that climbing the ladder is revolutionary for a woman. “You can’t expect the world to change overnight (and of course my assumptions are representative of the world and yours totally aren’t).” (Of course, it’s the Internet, and I have no idea whether or not this is representative of what they’re teaching kids today or what.)

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        Being a “revolutionary” is rarely an option open to women, and certainly not to those who want to climb the traditional political ladder, because when a woman starts talking about needing to overturn corrupt systems she’s viewed as either a kook or a dangerous radical. Whereas a man, who is assumed to be more invested in the system even if they talk about wanting to overturn it, isn’t seen as the same sort of threat, so he’s free to be as pro-revolution as he likes.

        Nevertheless, neither gender nor sexism was a major divide between Sanders and Clinton voters.

        • xq

          There was a fairly large gender divide, but no large differences in open sexist beliefs. Probably age and gender effects cancelled out.

      • epidemiologist

        This is such a great point. I would also go a step further and say that as a woman, it is really not in my best interest to smash anything.

        A system that is truly burned down to start again– and lest anyone think I am being melodramatic here, lots of liberals talked about wanting their state to secede after the election– involves service interruptions and sacrifices. I need constant access to birth control or time sensitive access to safe, high quality abortion or maternity services if I want any reasonable chance of seeing the glorious future my comrades claim to want to build. And that’s assuming I don’t have strong feelings about whether I become a parent in this terrifying new reality.

        A similar point can be made about most vulnerable people were a cleansing fire of even righteous revolution to sweep our land. Children, people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, anyone with a disfavored social identity who is already being threatened under our current regime where there are kinda laws. Why should we accept the possibility that we’ll be killed or maimed to birth the glorious new republic of PureLeftistan?

        Personally I don’t find references to “revolution” inspiring or entertaining and I don’t get the impression that people who use them have thought that hard about how literally they mean that or what would be involved. Kind of like how, as someone who works in public health, I can tell they mostly haven’t thought about how pointless and difficult it would be to rebuild even one high-quality government agency when they could have just improved on what they had.

      • Jamoche

        I’ve just finished re-reading Terry Pratchett’s Night Watch, which says so much about the mentality of revolutionaries that it’s hard to know where to stop quoting. Easy to know where to start:
        “And so the children of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn’t that you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you had the wrong kind of people.”

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      thanks, this is much my thinking. The idea most Clinton primary voters were “happy” with how things were going is just… I dunno. I might be insulted at the insinuation of complacency if I could still be insulted by leftists or whatever Erik bills himself as. We wanted better, same as the Sanders primary voters, but had a different ordering of priorities. That’s it

      • CP

        This.

    • The Lorax

      This gets at my feelings very well. I was an early Bernie supporter. I was very enthusiastic, as well, But by the time of the CA primary I had switched (happily; I think she’d make a great president) to Clinton. People asked me why, and I told him that his policy proposals didn’t add up; and most important, that he was selling cynicism. And the great American leaders I most respected (Lincoln, both Roosevelts, King, Obama) didn’t and I thought it was important that they didn’t.

      That isn’t intended as a shot at Sanders supporters. I get why you’d back him. But those were my perceptions on the eve of the CA primary.

      • DamnYankees

        People asked me why, and I told him that his policy proposals didn’t add up; and most important, that he was selling cynicism.

        This is a nice way of putting it. I feel like he sold cynicism. He looked at a glass half full and said “see, without radical change you’ll never get a full cup!” whereas I just couldn’t help but appreciate the efforts it took to get the cup to that point in the first place, and the endless possibilities of adding more to it. I didn’t appreciate the cynicism.

        • FlipYrWhig

          It’s worse than that. It’s looking at a glass half full, saying “without radical change you’ll never get a full cup!,” then not really having any idea how to fill the cup or even what a pitcher is, or looks like, or how to make one, then carping about how the cup still isn’t full because Democrats used a pitcher with a hole in the side.

          • The Lorax

            Funny!

    • Linnaeus

      I voted for Clinton in my state’s caucuses for a number of reasons, but at the same time, I was sympathetic to a lot that Sanders had to say. There are real structural problems in this country. Wealth and political power are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a relative few. Too many people in this country are being left behind (in a number of ways). In the end, I thought Clinton was the better candidate to deal with these issues, but I appreciated that Sanders was as forthright as he was.

      • Brien Jackson

        I’d agree with this. I’ve called Sanders a demagogue as recently as yesterday, but there’s definitely a place in politics for demagogues. He’d just make a terrible President/coalition leader.

        • nemdam

          Never thought of it like this, but it’s right. You need some demagogues, but they make terrible leaders. Bernie would be best used if he resigned and just became a media personality.

          • Brien Jackson

            I think he’s quite good to have on hand as a high profile legislator, if you took away the malignant narcissism anyway.

            • nemdam

              The problem is you can’t take it away. It’s part of the package. Which is why he would be perfect as a media personality as that’s basically a job requirement.

              This is a separate point, but I don’t even think he’s good as a high profile legislator. Do his comments about Congressional affairs even get a big profile? He’s on TV all the time, but I don’t see his comments break through more than any other Senator (except when he’s attacking Dems/identity politics). Could his profile allow him to raise a ruckus about TrumpCare any more than any other Senator? I doubt it. (And if he could, the fact that isn’t trying is troubling.) As a legislator, he seems to be a run of the mill backbencher.

              • Brien Jackson

                Well right: I’m saying if you had someone who was good at the messaging part but wasn’t a raging narcissist. Elizabeth Warren (when she’s playing that role) basically.

                • nemdam

                  Agreed. I really wish the non-cultist Bernie supporters would go back to Warren as their progressive champion as she is so much better at it than him.

        • tsam

          Is there a place? I mean, I’ve got an association with the term demagogue to Trump, so I’m trying to get back to the root of the word–which I believe to mean the use of popular desires and fears rather than rational thought…

          I mean I guess so, but I feel like this turns into a downward spiral of disappointment, disillusionment and eventually you end up with dueling demagogues fighting for the darker side of the nation’s collective heart.

          So if it’s leftist demagoguery, you get open talk of murdering banksters (which I’ll cop to engaging in myself), and demonizing things like the ACA and Dodd Frank as neoliberal garbage that didn’t help anyone.

          I guess I’m saying I have real trouble with appealing to desires to accomplish goals that cannot possibly accomplished in a single presidency. It’s one thing to say this is a great nation, and we can do better, make life better for everyone and secure the future for our children, make sure a person earns an honest wage…it’s quite another to call for breaking up the big banks and single payer, which implies that the Democrats have failed you for not getting these exact things done.

          • Brien Jackson

            The way we use it conversationally, demagogue is an inherently bad thing. But really you can apply it to anyone who reduces complex problems and issues into a narrative where one thing can be identified as the problem and addressing that will take care of everything. From a political standpoint this is fairly useful for maintaining a tight message narrative, and there’s definitely a role for people who are good at it in any campaign. Basically, someone like Bernie can bring attention to the problem, change the nature of the conversation, and put a sharp edge on the message of the party as a whole. But he’d be terrible at being the actual President of the entire country and having to handle the full scope of the job, to say nothing of having to manage the entire Democratic coalition.

            • The Lorax

              The narrative we got from Bernie (and OWS before his candidacy) about more affordable college and healthcare and a higher minimum wage was very helpful. I give him credit for moving the Dems left on all those issues (something that neither Nader or Dr. Stein MD did).

            • Brad Nailer

              All well and good, but don’t call him a “malignant narcissist.” Trump is a malignant narcissist–an egomaniac with bad intent–and Bernie ain’t no Trump.

        • wengler

          A demogogue? Jesus fucking Christ.

          • Brien Jackson

            Fuck, I’d say the superdelegate position alone qualifies him for that.

      • Breadbaker

        Like you, I liked Bernie’s positions but worried at his ability to tackle all the issues a president must face that aren’t necessarily on his agenda.

        Basically, what’s happening now except Trump’s heart is entirely in the wrong place.

    • mongolia

      in clinton’s interview with ezra klein, she paraphrased weber by saying that “a lot of governing is the slow, hard boring of hard boards.” i think that this sentiment, more so than clinton voters being “happy,” is what is really the sentiment being expressed. sanders voters, in my estimation, believe that obama didn’t. even. try. to get stuff passed using his powers of persuasion and the bully pulpit, whereas clinton voters were more likely to think that ppaca, dodd-frank, epa climate regs, and gay marriage being law of the land was actually quite good for 8 years.

      • Brien Jackson

        True story:

        When we were mobilizing people to call Democratic Senators and keep them in line on opposing Gorsuch, someone buts in to a Facebook planning session and wants us to cut out some time spent on that and devote it instead to making calls asking them to support some free tuition bill Bernie was introducing. When I pointed out that, aside from our Senators already supporting that, this was completely pointless because the Republicans would never even vote on it, he went through a series of false statements about Senate procedure. First he thought any bill that was proposed got a vote, and didn’t know the majority leader had to put it on the schedule. Then he thought that the Senate had the equivalent of a discharge petition, and a simple majority could force it to the floor. Finally he just gets pissed off that I don’t have his clear eyed vision of what’s possible when you “get involved” and that I’m just like the establishment in trying to demotivate people away from all of the awesome shit they can accomplish.

        So yeah, long story short, a bunch of these people are just self-important idiots who don’t even care to know a fucking thing.

        • The Lorax

          Did he think it could go through reconciliation? I don’t get it at all.

          • Brien Jackson

            No, he thought that if 3 Republicans joined the Democrats that the 51 Senator majority could call it to the floor. He had absolutely no ability to understand that the rules give the majority leader control over what goes on the schedule. We never even got to the filibuster.

            Actually, in retrospect, I think he thought that any Senator could introduce a bill and that meant it went to the floor for a vote.

            • John F

              You’d be surprised how many people think that.

      • The Lorax

        And this is why she would have been a great president, just as Obama was.

    • Murc

      To me, the prime gut intuition of people who were on the Bernie train were just people who hated politics.

      This seems like an unwarranted slam against damn near everyone on the masthead here and a shit-ton of commenters, including myself.

      Hated having to compromise. Hated having to act like there was good faith opposition.

      … what’s this got to do with hating politics?

      If you don’t hate being forced to compromise… I guess I don’t understand that? The whole point of compromise is that you didn’t get what you wanted. Why on earth would you be cool with that?

      And there isn’t a good-faith opposition. If you have to act like there is one, you’re being made to lie. Why shouldn’t you hate that?

      He espoused a conspiratorial worldview where Americans were ensnared by a cabal of bankers who were deluding good hearted Americans.

      … that’s true. Your biggest slam against Sanders is that he was espousing something that’s true?

      To me, Sanders and Rubio were oddly similar – they both prophesized an apocalyptic vision of American society, one with demons all around and no hope for the future without radical change

      Again, this is true. It is self-evidently true. I don’t understand this as a slam.

      I mean, for fuck’s sake. Climate change by itself will destroy our entire society without radical change, and that’s just one issue among many.

      • Brien Jackson

        “If you don’t hate being forced to compromise… I guess I don’t understand that? The whole point of compromise is that you didn’t get what you wanted. Why on earth would you be cool with that?”

        Wait…are you serious?

        • Murc

          Yes?

          By definition, if you’re compromising, you’re not getting everything you want.

          Now, if you’re an adult, you accept that as a fact of life in a mature, responsible fashion. But why wouldn’t you hate that you had to do it?

          My brother recently had to leave a job he loved to take one he find morally problematic because he felt he had to do so for the good of his family and the future of his children. He’s accepted this with fairly good grace, but he hated having to do it. This is a problem… why?

          • sibusisodan

            > “But why wouldn’t you hate that you had to do it?”

            Why would I hate having resolved one of the issues on my pile? I’m never going to get my own way entirely.

            Perhaps you don’t intend to freight ‘hate’ with as much weight as I’m reading it.

          • Brien Jackson

            Because when you recognize that something is just a fact of being a non-awful member of society that it…doesn’t actually phase you. I guess the distinction is between happy and *unhappy*. I can concede that no one is “happy” about compromising per se, but if you’re *unhappy* that any kind of interaction with other people requires compromise by definition, you’re a poorly adjusted/immature adult. If you’re angry that democratic politics in a country with 300 million people requires compromise both with the other party and within your own coalition, you’re essentially an authoritarian.

            • Murc

              I guess the distinction is between happy and *unhappy*. I can concede that no one is “happy” about compromising per se, but if you’re *unhappy* that any kind of interaction with other people requires compromise by definition, you’re a poorly adjusted/immature adult.

              What if you’re unhappy or angry about compromises that result in real harm to yourself and others or that are between “option bad” and “option worse?” Does that make you a poorly adjusted or immature adult?

              If you’re angry that democratic politics in a country with 300 million people requires compromise both with the other party and within your own coalition, you’re essentially an authoritarian.

              Wait… what?

              How do you figure?

              • Brien Jackson

                “What if you’re unhappy or angry about compromises that result in real harm to yourself and others or that are between “option bad” and “option worse?” Does that make you a poorly adjusted or immature adult?”

                In what context? If the situation just sucks, then you’re unhappy with the situation, not the compromise itself. If the compromise is unacceptable on its terms, then again that’s quite different than just being angry that you had to compromise and couldn’t dictate terms or otherwise get everything you wanted and nothing you didn’t.

                As to the second point, you must be a fucking nightmare to live with.

                • Murc

                  If the situation just sucks, then you’re unhappy with the situation, not the compromise itself.

                  … how is the compromise meaningfully separate from the situation?

                  If the compromise is unacceptable on its terms, then again that’s quite different than just being angry that you had to compromise and couldn’t dictate terms or otherwise get everything you wanted and nothing you didn’t.

                  In practical terms I’m having trouble seeing this. It seems to require defining “compromise” in an impossibly narrow way such that nothing negative ever actually attaches to it, and thus you’re always “actually” unhappy or angry at something else instead.

                  As to the second point, you must be a fucking nightmare to live with.

                  … how do you figure? Every roommate I’ve ever had has been sorry to see me leave because there was no guarantee the next guy would be quiet, keep to himself, and do all his share of the housework on time and without complaint.

                • Brien Jackson

                  “… how is the compromise meaningfully separate from the situation?”

                  Christ you are a tedious fucker sometimes. If you’ve already established that there’s no good outcome, then there’s no non-compromise that will make you happy, ergo the compromise itself is not why you’re unhappy.

                  [/quote]”In practical terms I’m having trouble seeing this. It seems to require defining “compromise” in an impossibly narrow way such that nothing negative ever actually attaches to it, and thus you’re always “actually” unhappy or angry at something else instead.”[/quote]

                  No, the problem is that you’re conflating “you always have to compromise” with “you have to accept any compromise.”

                • Murc

                  If you’ve already established that there’s no good outcome, then there’s no non-compromise that will make you happy, ergo the compromise itself is not why you’re unhappy.

                  How are we defining “no good outcome” here? If you mean “it is literally impossible for there to be a good outcome” then this is fair enough. But those situations are rare; often there is a good outcome, it’s just being actively denied by the counterparty.

                  No, the problem is that you’re conflating “you always have to compromise” with “you have to accept any compromise.”

                  I’m pretty sure I’m not.

                • Brien Jackson

                  “What if you’re unhappy or angry about compromises … that are between “option bad” and “option worse?”

                  It was your stipulation, not mine.

                • MyNameIsZweig

                  “Christ you are a tedious fucker sometimes.”

                  Not for nothing, but you can be too, you know.

      • DamnYankees

        This seems like an unwarranted slam against damn near everyone on the masthead here and a shit-ton of commenters, including myself.

        As I said it’s a broad brush which doesn’t apply to a lot of people. I’d include you in the exception, as well as most of the masthead writers here. But LGM is but a small corner of the world.

        And there isn’t a good-faith opposition. If you have to act like there is one, you’re being made to lie. Why shouldn’t you hate that?

        You don’t think genuine conservatives exist? I don’t know what you mean by this.

        Again, this is true. It is self-evidently true. I don’t understand this as a slam.

        It’s not a slam. It’s a description. It’s a description apparently you and I agree on. So I don’t know why you are calling it a “slam”.

        What I described is a worldview. It’s one you apparently have and I don’t, and is thus probably a reason why you supported Bernie and I did not. It sounds like you’re agreeing with my description of what happened. Not sure how that reads to you as a “slam”.

        • Murc

          You don’t think genuine conservatives exist?

          Part of being a genuine conservative is not operating in good faith. Indeed, it is almost a requirement these days; engaging with not-conservatives in a good faith manner seems like to get you branded as a traitor and RINO.

          There are people who are both conservative and engaged in good faith, but the actual power and influence those people wield is negligible in our current political order.

          It’s not a slam. It’s a description. It’s a description apparently you and I agree on. So I don’t know why you are calling it a “slam”.

          Well, you said you specifically found it distasteful. Usually when you describe someones behavior or positions as distasteful, that can be perceived as a slam at them?

          • DamnYankees

            Part of being a genuine conservative is not operating in good faith. Indeed, it is almost a requirement these days; engaging with not-conservatives in a good faith manner seems like to get you branded as a traitor and RINO.

            This is certainly true electorally. One of my claims is that the great unspoken truth about American government of the last generation has been the fact that conservatives in government operate on a level of bad faith that goes almost entirely unnoted and its destroying our political society.

            But for the great amount of ordinary people in the country who are not involved in politics – a lot of them are just conservative. They aren’t the “respectable” conservatives that people like David Brooks pretend to be, but they are conservatives. They don’t care about minorities and resent them. They don’t like immigration. They have a toxic-masculinity oriented sense of foreign policy.

            Real people hold these real beliefs. Huge amounts of them. They are real conservatives. They aren’t just voting for the GOP because Wall Street tricked them.

            That’s what I mean by “good faith” conservatives. I didn’t mean “good faith” as opposed to lying. I meant it as opposed to self-deluded.

            Well, you said you specifically found it distasteful. Usually when you describe someones behavior or positions as distasteful, that can be perceived as a slam at them?

            This seems to require that an accurate description of all political differences are “slams”. I don’t see the merit in describing things that way.

            Bernie had certain perspectives and positions. You and I agree that he had those perspectives. They appealed to you and they did not appeal to me. Is it really controversial to note that?

            • Murc

              That’s what I mean by “good faith” conservatives. I didn’t mean “good faith” as opposed to lying. I meant it as opposed to self-deluded.

              Ah, I see! Yes, recognizing that some people aren’t deluded, they’re just genuinely bad people, is something more people could stand to be capable of, although usually the opposite problem is more salient.

              This seems to require that an accurate description of all political differences are “slams”.

              How so?

              If I’m describing a political difference between people in a way I don’t intend to be negatively highlight one over the other, I probably wouldn’t use the words “distasteful” or “fairly negative.”

              Bernie had certain perspectives and positions. You and I agree that he had those perspectives. They appealed to you and they did not appeal to me. Is it really controversial to note that?

              Not really, but your post seemed constructed in a way to paint Sanders’ positions as insufficient or lacking somehow, using what I felt was weak reasoning.

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        I think most of the people here are on board with the idea that the vast majority Republican politicians don’t act in good faith. Some of them really believe their conservative/Ayn Rand/Christian theocratic idiocy, so they may be sincere in that regard, but they don’t usually sell it honestly.

        But there were some out there who assumed that Clinton supporters/center-left/liberals also were operating in bad faith. And dismissed accomplishments like the ACA and Dodd-Frank as meaningless as a result.

        I got hit with such accusations, from Bernie supporters who I know personally were Republicans when I met them in college, who work corporate jobs, who defend things like Apple exploiting tax havens, telling me how I’m just a sellout who doesn’t really care.

        Some of the people behaving that way were Russian/GOP trolls, so that may have exaggerated the size of that contingent.

    • Terok Nor

      Agreed, except it’s not Rubio who Sanders reminded me of. His whole campaign sounded like “We’re gonna build a wall around Wall Street and make the billionaires pay for it.”

    • To me, the difference that came through in the Hillary v. Sanders debate was a very old one, which was a division people between who hate politics and though who, while not maybe loving it, certainly accepted it.

      I think the division was between people who liked what Clinton was initially selling, and people who didn’t. By the time she shifted left, many people were already committed to the Bernie train. And lest we forget, she still won the majority vote by 3 million votes.

    • wengler

      I couldn’t disagree with you more. Sanders presented an extremely hopeful version of the future. Did you even see his ‘America’ campaign commercials?

      Also it’s not like Bernie came out of nowhere in 2016. He has been in Congress a hell of a lot longer than Clinton. His contrast with her was that he was a genuine person that actually talked about what he cared about and Clinton was someone that poll-tested every word that came out of her mouth.

      • DamnYankees

        I couldn’t disagree with you more. Sanders presented an extremely hopeful version of the future. Did you even see his ‘America’ campaign commercials?

        Yes, I saw commercials which, to me, bore very little resemblance to the message being espoused by the candidate himself.

  • GoBlue72

    Hey tenured professor-man. Maybe Clinton supporters were basically happy with the direction of the country because she represents the portion of the electorate that is mostly doing “ok” in our currently rigged economy. (See, for example, why the Clinton campaign stupidly chased upper middle class suburban voters instead of downwardly mobile working class voters). And maybe Sanders is trying to speak more forcefully to the portion of the electorate that is NOT doing “ok” in our rigged economy.

    And maybe – just maybe – a platform message of tweaking at the margins technocratic solutions of tax credits and modest welfare transfer payments just are NOT going to cut the mustard anymore.

    World has changed. Whatever the conception of the world was in the 1990s when you were in your 20s and the Clinton’s were the bright, young things coming into power isn’t anywhere close to what the world is now. 20th century is fully and completely over. It sorta dribbled into the early 2000s with Bush. But it finally entered hospice care on September 15, 2008 (Lehman Brothers collapse) It fully kicked the bucket and had its funeral on November 4, 2008. The Trump election was just when full acceptance came that the 20th century conception of the world was completely past, and that we are in a WAY different world now.

    Faster Democrats internalize that fact and stop trying to build the Maginot Line the better.

    • sibusisodan

      > Maybe Clinton supporters were basically happy with the direction of the country because she represents the portion of the electorate that is mostly doing “ok” in our currently rigged economy.

      This is possible, but the polling I’ve read indicates that Clinton was highly favoured among primary voters <$50k. My picture might not be complete, of course, but one would expect the poorest voters to support Sanders if you're correct.

      • FlipYrWhig

        Graduate school is a KIND of poverty.

      • xq

        Similar median income between Sanders and Clinton voters according to 538 analysis of exit polls: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-mythology-of-trumps-working-class-support/

        I don’t trust this much at all, but I’m not aware of any better data.

        • The Lorax

          That’s interesting; thanks. I’m of the same view (after looking around a bit): Don’t trust it and can’t find better data.

      • mojrim

        Median tells you close to nothing without the mean and the mode beside it. Any measure used alone is open to all kinds of outlier skewing.

    • JKTH

      And maybe – just maybe – a platform message of tweaking at the margins technocratic solutions of tax credits and modest welfare transfer payments just are NOT going to cut the mustard anymore.

      It’s funny how in a comment about how Democrats are stuck in the 90s, you levy a criticism that’s…stuck in the 90s.

      • GoBlue72

        Modest welfare transfer payments and a sprinkling of tax credits are precisely what a lot of Democrats are offering up. Actually de-rigging the rigged system? Not so much.

        • brewmn

          And, what exactly will this “de-rigging” entail, random Berniebro commenter man?

        • nemdam

          She ran on arguably the most liberal platform ever. Her goals and positions were very similar to Sanders. If that’s “tweaking”, then the word has lost all meaning.

    • Bootsie

      > Maybe Clinton supporters were basically happy with the direction of the country because she represents the portion of the electorate that is mostly doing “ok” in our currently rigged economy.

      …older black women?

      • GoBlue72

        Clinton also won the majority of older white voters, and older Latino voters. The primary divide between Clinton and Sanders supporters was not race, contrary to the BernieBro myth. The primary divide was age.

        • humanoid.panda

          Yes, exactly. And elderly Black people tend to be poorer than young white people. Which means you entire original comment is nonsense.

      • wjts

        Exactly. You can’t say older Black women aren’t doing well these days – look at Oprah Winfrey.

    • The Lorax

      Except the median income of the Bernie voter was higher than the Clinton voter. Yet again the Left ignores race. Many nonwhite Americans voted for Clinton over Sanders, and many of them (especially in the South) were poor.

      And you can make your point without being an asshole. Indeed, you can make it better without doing so, as people are more likely to consider your argument on the merits.

      • FlipYrWhig

        See, that’s where you’re wrong. GoBlue is incapable of making his point without being an asshole. GoBlue is an entity comprised of 100% artisanally sourced authentic asshole. Wind him up and he’ll start talking about how high his income is and how well-connected politically he is, before pretending he’s a violent man who’ll off the next pig who looks at him funny.

      • GoBlue72
        • humanoid.panda

          So since Clinton voters are not in fact “doing ok in a rigged economy” anymore than Sanders voters, are you going to apologize for the tenor and misleading argument of your initial comment?
          And FWIW: given that Sanders voters are younger, the fact that Clinton and Sanders voters have about same median income means that the median Sanders voter is vastly wealthier and more secure than the median Clinton voter.

          [A 30 year old making 40K is both in a much better place earning-potential-wise than a 60 year old making 40K, but almost certainly has access to family resources the sixty year old lacks.]

        • twbb

          Your own link hurts your initial argument.

    • FlipYrWhig

      What did the Sanders campaign have to say to “downwardly mobile working class voters”? From my perspective it was an entire campaign devoted to two overlapping groups: people not quite old enough to have lived through the actual 1960s but sure they would have totally rocked it, man, and people who care a lot about the precise level of hops in their beer.

      • That being said, the precise level of hops in beer is at least moderately important.

      • humanoid.panda

        I am not a big advocate of either Sanders of GoBlue, but this GoBlue level of nonsense: Sanders clearly hit a note with non-ideological, downwardly mobile people.

        • FlipYrWhig

          Those willing to turn out for the Democratic primaries, you mean? Because the number-one Sandersite mistake is assuming that Sanders’s appeal to white working-class _Democratic primary voters_ can be extrapolated to white working-class people generally. I’d be pleased to be shown evidence of his appeal more broadly.

    • Please read Abigail Nussbaum’s comment above.

    • nemdam

      See, for example, why the Clinton campaign stupidly chased upper middle class suburban voters instead of downwardly mobile working class voters.

      You meant to say “he Clinton campaign stupidly successfully chased upper middle class suburban voters”. And it’s strange how POC are not downwardly mobile working class voters unless you meant to throw in a racial adjective. This also ignores the fact that Clinton easily won voters, even in the vaunted Rust Belt, that named the economy as their top priority.

      • humanoid.panda

        Right. The great untold story of the election is that if dice rolls in a bit different way, Hillary and Robbie Mook are geniuses for recognizing Trump’s appeal to white working class working with their magical data, and coolly going to chase voters they could reach.

        • nemdam

          They correctly figured out, even when the polls were good, that Trump was going to do better with WWC and rural voters. So instead of going after a lost cause, they found the actual persuadable voters (like those in tonight’s way-too-overhyped special election). No data to back this up, but I always thought Comey had the most effect on these voters. Usually vote Republican, but were going to reluctantly vote for Clinton until Comey triggered all their old tribalism.

          • humanoid.panda

            Exactly. Which is why I am very skeptical about election tonight. I think the shooting created just enough of a tribal shock to let Handel win by 2 points or so.

            [And of course, those 2 points mean that politics is over, Republicans will rule forever and all is dooooomed.]

            • nemdam

              We are agreeing too much. Ossoff losing by less than 5, which is virtually guaranteed, is a great sign for Democrats. If Handel needs an external to push her to a 2 point win, then Republicans better do some extreme voter suppression because otherwise they will lose the House and, yes, possibly even the Senate.

      • John F

        “This also ignores the fact that Clinton easily won voters, even in the vaunted Rust Belt, that named the economy as their top priority.”

        Yes, where Trump won was among those who said immigration and terrorism were the top priorities… and whites without college degrees.

    • WinningerR

      What did Clinton “stupidly chasing upper middle class suburban voters instead of downwardly mobile working class voters” actually look like? I know that’s the cliche, but it’s hard to detect this in her actual policy positions.

      • humanoid.panda

        The trans-partisan, patriotic, tone of the DNC? The decency/shame focus of her ads?

    • SNF

      Are you…suggesting that black people are an economically privileged group?

  • manual

    I dont think its wrong or romantic to think that the country is not going in the right direction. Labor force participation is down, wage growth has been stagnant for 40 years (we are seeing a small uptick on the low end that reversed last month), productivity is down, and people are increasingly feeling less stable and less mobile. The US has the lowest social mobility in the advanced economies.

    I think these are all very alarming and warrant suspicion that the country is headed in the right direction. And Im also highly skeptical that everyone wants revolution and are dumb.

    Especially for younger people, they have entered an economy that has been terrible (look at wages of non and college educated people who left college during or after the recession), has recovered very slowly (look at part time and freelancers) and people are often saddled with debt from school, credit, or housing.

    That people should conclude this is a positive direction is odd. Yes, things have improved since 2007, but our economy (look at GDP output gap) is under-performing. And for the many working class people (black,white, brown etc) the China shock created substantial dislocation in the 2000s.

    • humanoid.panda

      I think that isssue is not so much “are we happy with direction of country” – almost no one is, or was in 2015. The issue is what is the best way to fix problems, and even if easy and obvious fixes are available.

      • mojrim

        But, you see, that is an argument about our direction. Will we keep pursuing the neoliberal (in the strict sense) vision of free trade and finance sector dominance or change course? When things have been getting steadily worse for 90% of the population for 40 straight years, the problem is fundamental.

  • LosGatosCA

    The Bernie folks mostly bought into the Republican talking points on a subliminal level – Hillary is evil, etc.

    I personally don’t think it was any more complicated than that. Bernie was the anti-Clinton.

    • GoBlue72

      Paint with completely inaccurate broad brush strokes lately?

      Most of the Sanders supporters in the primary that I met were Millenials and some young Gen X-ers. They were a lot more media literate than the Olds give them credit for. And had a far more nuanced view on the choice between Sanders and Clinton than the Olds like to caricature.

      • joel hanes

        media literate

        I believe you, and I believe you think that’s a positive thing.
        Given thirty years of CDS by nearly all the media, that pretty much explains their false conviction that Sec. Clinton must, somehow, be a corrupt sell-out.

        The most obdurate Sanders supporters I encountered online, GoBlue included, were a picture of media literacy coupled with historical ignorance. They had internalized deliberately-created falsehoods about Sec. Clinton in particular, and regarded them as axiomatic, self-evident.

        It is an interesting experience to be older, and to have younger people inform you that the morally complex history you personally witnessed and participated in is a false narrative, on the basis of media accounts they’ve absorbed, and that an alternative, morally simple narrative is The Truth.

        • Karen24

          I have just finished re-reading “1984,” and couldn’t help thinking “who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”

          • liberalrob

            Ergo, “who controls the present controls the future.” Which is obviously true, for the most part. “1984” isn’t a fantasy, it’s an extrapolation based on observation of humanity. It very easily could happen here, which was the point in writing it.

        • MyNameIsZweig

          “It is an interesting experience to be older, and to have younger people inform you that the morally complex history you personally witnessed and participated in is a false narrative, on the basis of media accounts they’ve absorbed, and that an alternative, morally simple narrative is The Truth.”

          Oh yeah. It’s incredibly annoying, and unfortunately I haven’t found a way to respond that doesn’t make me sound like I’m lecturing them about how we all used to tie onions to our belts.

          • liberalrob

            Well, it was the fashion of the time…

      • Bruce B.

        far more nuanced

        the Olds

        Pull the other one; it jingles.

      • MyNameIsZweig

        “the Olds”

        Fuck off with that fucking horseshit.

        • FlipYrWhig

          Plus, he is, like, 45 years old, not 25.

      • BloodyGranuaile

        I have an actual degree in being media literate and have made reading the news a second full-time job, and I am *still* learning shit about both Sanders and Clinton’s records.

        My hot takes on this election are that a) our news media is fucking terrible; you shouldn’t need a BA in English to read the fucking news and b) running candidates whose political records span longer than many voters’ entire lives is not going to make it easy for those voters to inform themselves on their records, especially when combined with a, so maybe either run younger people for national races or commit to bitching at the younguns less and teaching them more.

    • manual

      Or maybe young people in particular were granted a terrible economy and cant afford to live in, say, Santa Clara County, especially given the incredible barriers to entry.

      • joel hanes

        To a first approximation, no one except engineers, top SW people, and their managers have been able to afford to move to Silicon Valley for over twenty five years. Nothing President Sanders might have done was going to change that.

    • wengler

      Yep they sure bought into them. That’s why nearly all of them pulled the lever for Clinton in the general election.

  • politicalfootball

    There’s no easy answer for Democrats on this. We need a candidate who inspires and who has good policy, but who is also realistic about what can get done. That’s a tough needle to thread.

    Eh. I think the Democrats did that twice in 2016 — with Clinton and Sanders. The debate over practicality vs. revolution was largely a branding exercise. Hillary was certainly prepared to push the country as far left as could be done on most issues (especially domestic issues), and Bernie was certainly prepared to work within the system to get what he could.

    • politicalfootball

      That’s a tough needle to thread. Hillary Clinton really didn’t do it very well, or not as well as she needed to anyway.

      Also: The idea that Hillary wasn’t an inspirational figure is informed by some unfortunate sexist assumptions, I’m afraid. I know a lot of people who found Hillary inspirational as hell, but they didn’t have the right attributes to be taken seriously on the TV news.

      • randy khan

        This.

        I know a *lot* of women who found Clinton inspirational. And those images of Susan B. Anthony’s grave with the “I voted” stickers bespeak a lot of enthusiasm as well. Truth be told, one of the reasons the Women’s March was so successful was because women were inspired by Clinton’s example.

        • nemdam

          Hell, I’m not even a woman, and I’m inspired by Hillary. Her tireless work ethic, capacity to never quit and never let personal attacks get in the way of the big picture is damn impressive.

          The difference is it’s something that happens over time. I didn’t get inspired by her from one big speech or moment. It was reading about and observing her in action over a period of time that did it.

        • Pete

          +1

          The anecdata in my immediate and extended family is powerful in that regard.

      • Murc

        The idea that Hillary wasn’t an inspirational figure is informed by some unfortunate sexist assumptions, I’m afraid. I know a lot of people who found Hillary inspirational as hell,

        I’m not sure this is a good metric to use. Any politician with a national profiel can gather up “a lot” of people who find them inspirational as hell. In absolute terms Lyndon Larouche has a lot of people who find him inspirational, but if you said “Lyndon Larouche is an inspirational figure” people would look at you funny.

        It works the other way around as well. I, personally, didn’t find Barack Obama inspirational. Like, at all. (I don’t find Sanders inspirational either, for the record.) But if I tried to say “I don’t find Obama inspirational, and I know others who don’t either, which means he wasn’t inspirational” I’d be laughed at, and rightly so.

        It might be Hillary Clinton is more inspirational than is commonly perceived, but I don’t think “a bunch of people I know found her inspirational” is any sort of evidence for that.

        • nemdam

          She is inspirational to a TON of people. I would argue only her husband and Obama are definitively more inspirational politicians since Reagan, and she beats out the rest.

        • randy khan

          Larouche inspired about 12 people, and most of them were off their meds. (I happened to be involved in the 1994 Virginia Democratic Senate primary race, which featured a Larouchian candidate. The same five people showed up for her at all of the multi-candidate events.)

          More seriously, I guess it may depend on what your standard for an inspirational figure might be. Clinton is not as dynamic a speaker as Obama; she can’t turn a phrase in a way that makes you want to go to war with her. But that’s not the sole measure. There was a reason for all the stories about women who stayed up with their daughters on election night, and for all the stickers on the suffragists’ graves (not just Susan B. Anthony), and the Pantsuit Nation, which has close to 4 million members. She clearly was inspiring to a lot of people.

          • humanoid.panda

            I think that the best way to resolve this issue that Clinton is an inspiring figure, but not a popular one.

            • liberalrob

              That would require stipulating that she was not popular, which is only true to a limited extent. She was plenty popular, just not with certain people.

    • JKTH

      I agree that the differences between the two in the way they ran in 2016 are smaller than they’re made out to be.

  • keta

    We need a candidate who inspires and who has good policy, but who is also realistic about what can get done.

    I think more importantly America needs an electorate who is realistic about what can get done.

    • so-in-so

      Good luck with that! I suppose renewed civics in school and a better MSM would improve things a lot. Now, where IS that pony I ordered?

      • liberalrob

        There is no other realistic solution. So either find your pony or forget the whole thing.

    • BloodyGranuaile

      I agree, but I also think that there are things that count as doing this and things that count as not actually doing this, and for a lot of us younguns, being repeatedly told “be more realistic” is not it. Learning more history and civics might give us a better idea of what is and is not realistic, but having older folks tell you “be realistic” is just a prettied up way of saying “Things are OK for me, so shut up.”

      There are a lot of coded language fails that I have been observing between different factions of the left. I think there are *reasons* young folks like myself hear “be realistic” as “we’re not even going to try,” and that sort of thing needs to be actually sussed out and addressed.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        “Things are OK for me, so shut up”

        you might be surprised how many of us older folks *don’t* have it OK. It was for me, anyway, when I learned the lesson myself back in the day

        • BloodyGranuaile

          I know a lot of older folks don’t have it OK, but those are not usually the ones who are telling us to be more realistic.

          • liberalrob

            I think it’s not be more realistic, but be more fatalistic. There are limits to what an individual or group of individuals can achieve. History is replete with examples of progressive victories yet utopia is not yet here; life is short and it’s hard to maintain our youthful idealism in the face of the blockheaded stupidity that seems characteristic of vast swathes of our countrymen. It’s the human condition, as Tony Soprano said.

  • diogenes

    FWIW.

    Raised in the old South, with all that means. Attended fundamentalist churches and schools. Well on my way to being standard-issue WWC.

    Parents taught me to think for myself however, and while observing that working hard and playing by the rules generally gets you screwed, became a New Dealer. Or in broad terms, that we little people should collectively have a say in the operations of our employment and our government, and that we are equal before the law. That the Bell Curve implies a large middle class, everything else being equal.

    I helped organize a union and enforced the contract, and chaired the Democratic Party in a quite red county. I have voted a straight Democratic ticket beginning with Bill Clinton and continuing with Hillary, and I wrote off the fucking Republicans a long time ago.

    I am pissed by the Democratic cosiness with Wall Street, and have called out Carter, Clinton, Obama and Clinton for it, not to mention Schumer and Biden. I welcomed John Edwards, Warren and Sanders stand against inequality.

    I am much more interested in the message than the messenger, and I will support any candidate who demonstrates a lucid program that restores good-paying jobs, and reasonable access to housing, education and healthcare. For everybody. The gd GDP can absorb it.

    I didn’t vote for Hillary because I wanted to. But due to Trump (and Romney before him, and Palin before him), TINA imposed itself. Again. That pisses me off, too. Just one time before I die, I’d actually like to vote for someone who will fight for us little people. All of us.

    • The Lorax

      Did you see the Democratic Platform and the issues for which Clinton fought? It was incredibly economically populist and would have helped the little guy significantly.

      • manual

        having worked on a democratic platform before, Im not sure it means so much. I was heartened that it was pretty left. But Hillary’s policy proposal were much more where she was at then the negotiated compromise. For good or bad. But I dont think the platform means that much.

      • Gwen

        I think there was a common notion floating around that Hillary had “sold us out.” This is common across both the right wing and the left wing, although in each case “us” means something a bit different.

        This is not simply an ideological indictment but more of a vague emotional, gut-level sentiment that is hard to justify rationally, although hardly impossible. The Clintons had spent 25 years distancing themselves from the blue-collar populism that defined Bill’s first campaign in 1992; had made millions of dollars; survived impeachment; and (even if she did nothing else illegal or unethical) seemed to be a rather “political” and self-promoting Secretary of State.

        To be sure, a lot of this idea that the Clintons were inherently untrustworthy was the result of decades of smear campaigns, fake news, etc. But it boggles my mind why so many Democrats seem to be incapable of squarely understanding the fear and loathing which a substantial part of the American electorate (including some Democrats) felt toward Hillary Clinton.

        • so-in-so

          Because some see it as the same lizard brain “fear and loathing” that GOP voters feel toward brown people, foreigners, LGBT people or anyone else not part of the “tribe”?

        • Murc

          To be sure, a lot of this idea that the Clintons were inherently untrustworthy was the result of decades of smear campaigns, fake news, etc.

          This has always made me fairly incandescently angry.

          I have never been a big fan of Hillary Clinton. I wasn’t real happy when she became my Senator, and I wasn’t real happy when she became the nominee this year.

          But the root of my unhappiness with her is based on policy and ideology. I don’t like many of the policies she’s been associated with, and I don’t think her ideology is as sufficient to the needs of the country. These are not unique traits to Clinton; I feel this way about many other Democrats as well.

          But you know what I don’t think? That she’s untrustworthy, or perfidious, or takes some kind of… ghoulish glee in waiting for a chance to betray people and then betraying them and then bragging about it, Petyr Baelish stylez.

          Hillary Clinton has a long track record of being both squeaky-clean and largely honest. When she says she’s gonna do a thing… she doesn’t always do it, but she does it at rates that are comparable to many politicians and way better than many if not most. Whenever any hint of scandal has attached to her she has always been open, honest, and forthright about it, and it has always been utterly false; she’s super clean in that regard.

          We should be happy about that. Having someone that clean is a net positive! And yet.

          Makes me mad.

          • diogenes

            Concur.

          • This is pretty much my view as well, but I will add that while I wasn’t thrilled at first when she became the nominee, I became more and more convinced that I’d been initially mistaken and she was actually probably the best person we could’ve elected president in the entire country. I’ve had my disagreements with her politics over the years, but she’s responded to political pressure from the Democratic base in an admirable way, and most of the disagreements I had with her politics were over her past stances. She was still more hawkish than I’d have liked, but so was Sanders.

            In any case, she’s certainly one of the cleanest and most honest politicians in the country, and she’s one of the most judicious and best qualified people as well. I’m incomprehensibly angry about the way the media has treated her for thirty years; I’m incomprehensibly angry that she will probably never actually occupy the office she’s probably better qualified for than any person in the history of this country has been.

            I lost a shit-ton of respect for a shit-ton of people over the way they treated Clinton, and they’ll probably never regain it.

            • liberalrob

              Well said.

        • randy khan

          Oh, I understand it. I certainly saw it from Sanders supporters and Republicans in my social media feeds.

          But it also comes and goes – when she was Secretary of State, she had a very nice net approval rating. I suspect that a lot of it relates closely to the extent the media drags up the old narratives or layers them on top of new stories. While it’s reasonable to say we should have expected that, it’s also important to understand exactly what happened.

      • diogenes

        Yes. And compared that to her willingly going to work for a union-busting, white shoes law firm, sitting on the board of one of the worst corporations ever and supporting NAFTA-on-steroids.

        Then compared the long arc of her work to her recent tack, and the long arc carried the most weight, IMHO.

        I voted for her in the general because any Republican I’d vote for is long dead and third party is just a waste of time.

        But I felt backed into a corner when I did it…

    • Harkov311

      I’m still not sure how much further left the Democratic party could go from where it is now, and still win elections. But even if it could, I get the strong impression that nothing they could do would satisfy you.

      You speak of Democratic “cozyness with Wall St,” but compared to what? Compared to whom? Surely you can’t believe they’re cozier than then Republicans. You actually have to make a case that a party which defends unions and wage increases is somehow still secretly against them. You can’t just assert it and leave it at that.

      Honest question: what would Democrats have to do to convince you they weren’t too Wall Street-y?

      • Brien Jackson

        In this vein, the absolute most maddening aspect of the 2016 campaign was the sheer number of Sanders supporters you would encounter who legitimately thought and explicitly claimed that Clinton (and the Democrats more broadly) were in FAVOR of Citizens United. And yeah, there’s just nothing you can do to change a perception THAT out of touch with reality.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        Honest question: what would Democrats have to do to convince you they weren’t too Wall Street-y?

        Judging from most of the Sandernistas I knew, mass executions of everyone *on* Wall Street.

      • diogenes

        Arresting and prosecuting a few would be good.

        WRT unions, boy that card check fight and the comfortable shoes were awesome… oh wait.

      • diogenes

        I am perfectly cognizant of what is possible for now, and expect my party to pull the train in a liberal direction.

        That is exactly what happened over time to the Republican party. As much as they idolize Reagan, he couldn’t get through the primary today.

    • Porlock Junior

      @ Diogenes @ 5:16 pm

      Not quite the story of my life — my parents were New Dealers already — but yeah. Pretty much every word.

      And somewhere above here, BloodyGranuaile tells us that young people are getting the same “be realistic” crap that we complained of in the 60s. Like, when we were impatient with Kennedy’s failure to work with Vigor (Kennedy buzzword) on civil rights. Some things don’t change.

      And one thing that won’t change is the hatred of the factions of the Left [of the American center] for each other and eagerness to believe the worst of each other. If you seek a monument to that, look around you.

  • There is a great load of bullshit about which to be pessimistic: climate change, poverty, hunger, late-stage global capitalism, human exploitation. I am far more pessimistic now than I was 25 years ago about these things. But in the general election I was a “happy” — enthusiastic, even! — Clinton supporter, and I believed that her candidacy would continue a slow, painful, and boring slog toward something resembling “progress,” or at least, something that could lay claim to “stemming the tide.”

    Obviously, even that hope was dashed, and I still find myself shell-shocked 7+ months later. I’ve tried to stay active and engaged… but reliving Clinton v Sanders isn’t helping me personally.

    • CP

      Yeah, I saw the title and assumed the post would be about general fear for the future, in a “where do we go from here”/”how much worse might it get?” kind of way. Can’t really say that the 2016 primary speaks much to my optimism or pessimism.

  • AdamPShort

    This is true of me, a more or less lifelong Clinton supporter (I was called a “die-hard Clinton man” by a right-wing economics teacher in high school in 1993; it was a silly thing for him to say at the time but I guess he was right) but of course it’s not quite that simple and there are aspects of American culture and politics that strike me as going in quite the wrong direction.

    Overall the postwar period, and particularly that portion of it that has occurred in my lifetime, has seen substantial, overdue and necessary advances in many, many areas for people who have historically been completely stifled and oppressed in American culture. That’s chiefly black people but other “ethnic minorities” as well (i.e. anybody the overclass thinks looks funny) and of course women, disabled people, and the elderly.

    A revolution at the current moment, or even a “revolution” could and probably would be horrible for those people, and they are still worse off than “the rest of us” i.e. white guys.

    It is also the case that the dollar system, despite the fact that it’s currently being run by brainless zealots obsessed with gay sex and wanton violence, is the one tool that has the power to direct a sufficient share of world resources toward modernizing the world’s energy production economy. The hour grows late but the power of the dollar system to fix one big specific problem has been largely unexploited since it squashed Hitler.

    For these reasons, I support the continuation of the current system of government in the US, despite its many flaws.

  • msdc

    Much of this goes back to Obama, who tapped into people’s desires for a new America with soaring rhetoric that papered over a very establishment figure who governed that way.

    […]

    We need a candidate who inspires and who has good policy, but who is also realistic about what can get done.

    Yeah, kind of like that Obama guy.

    • Brien Jackson

      I definitely don’t think “realistic about what can get done” even remotely describes Barack Obama circa 2008.

      • tsam

        I thought Obama himself was fairly realistic–He didn’t run on single payer or pitchfork mobbing Wall Street. His hope and change rhetoric pretty much described nothing more than hope and change, despite his policy platforms being pretty close to what could be called the center back then…? I guess?

        • so-in-so

          He was running at the end of the Bush II admin, so simple competence was “change”, and a black man being elected certainly provided some measure of “hope” although I think he expected more than that himself. I think he really felt that he could get some cooperation from at least a part of the GOP, which the preceding 150 years certainly suggested was possible.

        • Brien Jackson

          His positions were moderate on the left-right scale, but Obama’s pitch was that he was going to bridge the partisan divide and enact a whole bunch of reforms with bipartisan support. He wasn’t remotely prepared for the reality of GOP opposition to his government, and was totally blind to the shifting nature of legislative politics in America. He had no clue whatsoever what the actual limitations to governance were going to be, and how they were going to constrain his agenda.

          Hell, even as late as the Merrick Garland nomination he STILL didn’t get it.

          • tsam

            Yeah–that’s kind of a knock on him, but then I’m not sure what else he could have done. When it goes as far as Republicans being fully willing to shut the government down, he can either do what he did or capitulate completely…he was stuck in a pretty tough spot for 8 years.

          • Lev

            This is why one of my favorite parlor games is, “What if Barack Obama had won his U.S. House election in 2000?” With the assumption that everything else is the same, he wins the Senate seat in 2004, gets elected president in 2008. But what if he’d been serving as a junior House member when, for example, Tom DeLay ravished House rules and outright bribed guys to pass Medicare Part D? Or when Republicans used the Department of Homeland Security and the Iraq War Resolution as electoral cudgels? Would he have still had his Sorkinian belief in the power of debate to win the day after seeing the nastiest, unprincipled legislative era (until perhaps now) up-front and personal, instead of playing poker with Republican state senators in Springfield?

            It’s obviously debatable but I suspect not.

            • humanoid.panda

              I suspect that if Obama gets elected as House member in 2000, he is still House member now..

              A more interesting question IMO is what happens if Hillary, with her more realistic view of Republicans, is president, and Obama is her VP/SecState..

          • Dave W.

            Obama’s hope for bipartisanship makes sense when you look at how he got things done both in the Senate and the Illinois legislature – he was quite effective at picking out people on the other side of the aisle who he could work with on a specific issue. What he underestimated was how much harder it would be when he was President and the main focus of Republican opposition. Legislative politics didn’t change that much between 2008 and 2009 – what changed was that he was now the guy that Republicans didn’t want to give any big policy successes to, instead of just another Senator.

  • ploeg

    One of the issues that Sanders has is that he does not consider himself to be a Democrat (or at least that type of Democrat), whereas people who are not political junkies recognize that he is one. It’s kind of a headscratcher to have a multi-term US Senator claim that he is not part of the political elite, and to claim that he is not part of the party with which he caucuses. It might make sense to cantankerous New Englanders but not to the grand preponderance of us unwashed heathens.

    Like it or not, Sanders’s political fate is intertwined with the well-being of the party, and the sooner that he realizes this, the better off he’ll be.

    • Like it or not, Sanders’s political fate is intertwined with the well-being of the party, and the sooner that he realizes this, the better off he’ll be.

      At this point, he’s almost 76 years old, and I’m not going to hold my breath that he’ll do it in time.

    • FlipYrWhig

      I’m not sure I know what Bernie Sanders thinks his “political fate” is. If I’m feeling charitable I’d guess that what he wants is to be remembered as the guy who showed that social-democratic-whatever was viable, rebutting some of the presumptions of the Democratic consultant class circa 1998 or so (triangulation, business-friendliness, tax hikes are the kiss of death, etc.). But I have my doubts about whether he particularly cares about the “well-being of the [Democratic] party.” What he cares about is left vision and sentiments.

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        Right, but the critique is that if he wants leftist policy to pass, he ought to care about the well-being of the party.

        • FlipYrWhig

          I don’t really think he cares about that, frankly.

  • mongolia

    i’m curious how much of the effect is actually just a function of the different demographics of support – essentially, what are the differences of opinion of 18-34 black female clinton vs. sanders supporters, or 65+ white male clinton vs. sanders supporters, and whether there are profound differences between the supporters in each demographic category, or whether the differences in response are just that each candidate was supported by different demographics. any idea if these were investigated?

    • xq

      I agree this is worth looking into. Almost none of the polling question differences appear to be as large as the differences in Clinton/Sanders support by age and race. Difference between under-30 and over-60 was something like 50 points. Clinton and Sanders supporters disagree about how much the system is rigged, but only by ~15 points according to this poll.

  • Brien Jackson

    The thing that basically none of these post-mortems ever account for is how consistent Clinton’s summer 2015 polling and her final margin were. In other words, people who liked Clinton going in ended up voting for her while Bernie essentially coalesced everyone in the “not Clinton” camp in a two way race. I suspect that a lot of “what Bernie voters thought” data is evidence of motivated reasoning and figuring out the “why?” *after* deciding to vote for Sanders/against Clinton.

    • FlipYrWhig

      My sense leans that way too — I don’t think that a lot of Sanders voters _started out_ thinking “One of the big problems with American politics is that there is a rigged system, if only there were a candidate who spoke these truths I already know!” I think a lot of them started out thinking “Hillary Clinton annoys me and is old news, who else ya got?”, then liked Sanders, then adopted Sanders-ish arguments because “I voted for Sanders because Hillary Clinton is annoying” doesn’t seem very smart.

      • Brien Jackson

        I’m not even saying this is “bad,” just that any analysis like this has to comport to the fact that polling at the very beginning of the campaign basically nailed Clinton’s ultimate level of support.

        • Murc

          Isn’t that easy to account for, tho?

          Clinton has, during the past ten to twenty years, been in the position of being broadly popular within the Democratic Party, but also of having a very low ceiling because there’s a very strong contingent within the party who dislike-to-loathe her. This is a weakness that can be exploited by others, like a fella named Barack Obama did in 2008.

          If you’re feeling charitable, the reason for this is because the policy and political decisions she was associated with during her tenure in her husband’s White House and her time in the Senate and at State turned a lot of Democrats right the fuck off from her due to her being seen as not left-wing enough.

          If you’re feeling uncharitable, the reason for this is pure sexism, misogyny, and Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

          It was certainly a mix, but I am inclined to lean far more towards the former than the later. There were a lot of people in the party who didn’t like Clinton, and Sanders basically scooped them all up… but that doesn’t mean that anyone would have scooped them all up. If the race had been Linc Chafee and Clinton, no way Chafee does as well as Sanders did. Sanders optics and policy had to resonate with the reasons why people were against Clinton.

          Because people don’t just decide “I don’t like Hillary Clinton.” They have reasons for doing so.

          • Brien Jackson

            Um…yes. I more or less think the biggest factor in who people voted for was how you felt about Clinton at the beginning, which is why I think “what Sanders voters thought” measurements aren’t necessarily reliable after the fact.

            • Murc

              I more or less think the biggest factor in who people voted for was how you felt about Clinton at the beginning, which is why I think “what Sanders voters thought” measurements aren’t necessarily reliable after the fact.

              I’m legitimately not following you. Why are the thoughts of what the people who opposed Clinton and supported Sanders somehow less reliable than the thoughts of people who supported Clinton and opposed Sanders?

              This seems like an implication that not liking Clinton pre-disposes you to being such a mentally malleable fool that any not-Clinton around could waltz in and convince you to believe any old thing.

              • Brien Jackson

                Because they supported Sanders because they didn’t like Clinton, then comported to the message of the Sanders campaign AFTER they’d picked their candidate.

                “This seems like an implication that not liking Clinton pre-disposes you to being such a mentally malleable fool that any not-Clinton around could waltz in and convince you to believe any old thing.”

                Motivated reasoning what does it fucking mean?

                • Murc

                  Because they supported Sanders because they didn’t like Clinton, then comported to the message of the Sanders campaign AFTER they’d picked their candidate.

                  This is ludicrous. This requires doing psychoanalyses of every single Sanders voter to determine whether or not they really liked Sanders positions for genuine and pure ideological reasons or if they were just a Clinton-hater with a weak mind and, thus, can be disregarded as a brainwashed acolyte.

                  The reasons for not liking Clinton matter a great deal, and again: merely not liking Clinton DOES NOT mean you’ll simply glom onto any not-Clinton who wanders in.

                  Motivated reasoning what does it fucking mean?

                  Why are Clinton supporters not subject to it as well, then? By your logic, anyone who signed onto Clinton merely because they liked her or disliked Sanders is also only comporting to the message of the Clinton campaign after they’d picked their candidate, and thus, their views after the election are no more reliable.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Yeah, okay Murc. All of these ex post facto numbers are worth taking entirely at face value and it’s not an odd coincidence at all that Sanders share of the vote very nearly perfectly matches the polling data on voters who weren’t expressing support for Clinton in spring/summer 2015.

                • Murc

                  All of these ex post facto numbers are worth taking entirely at face value and it’s not an odd coincidence at all that Sanders share of the vote very nearly perfectly matches the polling data on voters who weren’t expressing support for Clinton in spring/summer 2015.

                  This doesn’t seem right at all and I’m surprised to see you take this position.

                  It’s also hugely non-responsive.

                • Brien Jackson

                  And also note that a) the survey was done after the election and b) it’s a survey of agreement with the statement at the time, not necessarily a survey of why people voted for a particular candidate. So certainly Sanders and his campaign running around claiming the election was rigged no doubt played a role in his supporters subsequent belief that the political system is rigged.

      • Sebastian_h

        “I don’t think that a lot of Sanders voters _started out_ thinking “One of the big problems with American politics is that there is a rigged system, if only there were a candidate who spoke these truths I already know!””

        This is a really weird distortion of the history.

        The idea that Clinton might be a politician who was rather friendly to the rigged system well predates the entry of Sanders into the nomination race. In fact I’m relatively sure that Obama used it in the 2008 race.

        She also played directly into that criticism with the Goldman Sachs speeches, especially once their content was revealed.

      • Porlock Junior

        @ FlipYrWhig @ 5:47

        I could cite at least one voter for Sanders (and for Clinton in the general election, *of course*), and old enough to have some political memory (though only back to Eisenhower), who does not begin to fit your stereotype. However, you used enough “lots of” qualifiers to avoid the “everybody who didn’t support Clinton from the start is an idiot BernieBro” pattern which pervades this thread; so thank you, really, for that.

        My problem, perhaps, that in my bubble I have never seen much of the real BBs that too many Clinton fans perceive, against statistical evidence, to be the real essence of Sanders’s following.

  • I feel like like there’s a different divide, between people who feel like tweaks are even possible and people who don’t. In the second group, some sound like they think they don’t see any light between “revolution” (no, autocorrect, not the soccer team) and “change.” But increasingly I hear liberals, too, say they don’t think change is really possible. They may be regretful or “smug,” but it seems anti-liberal to me.

    Also: the site seems to be redirecting itself to some kind of scam page periodically.

    • BloodyGranuaile

      I’ll also point out that words like “tweaks” and “revolution” are more connotative than denotative, especially as used here. “Tweaks” are small. “Revolutions” are big–fundamentally transformative in some way. What way specifically? What sort of legislation would have to pass for a reform to be transformative enough to be a “non-reformist reform,” as the DSA likes to say? It’s not the 1920s anymore; “revolution” doesn’t have to mean hiding in the hills shooting at the Black and Tans.

  • randy khan

    Well, certainly most of the Sanders supporters I encountered online were unhappy, often virulently so.

    A lot of that was, sort of oddly, undue optimism about what can be done by a single politician, even the President. (Not All Sanders Supporters, of course.) They were mad at Obama for things he couldn’t control. Some of that transferred to Clinton because of the notion that she was a regular politician, and a lot of the indictments of her that I saw were along the lines of claims that she wouldn’t push for the things she supported because of that. Clinton supporters seemed to me to be more realistic about that – they understood that it was near-certain that the House would stay with the Republicans and that, therefore, one of the biggest reasons to elect a Democrat was to protect against backsliding. They didn’t have crazy expectations of what a President can do.

    • Porlock Junior

      One phrase here enlightens me on something I mentioned earlier: that my bubble simply does not include the masses of nutty BernieBros that I’m constantly hearing denounced as if they were the only (or, we’re liberal here, almost the only) source of the votes that Sanders got. Namely, “encountered online”. After all, I do blogs and see massive pissing contests like this comment section — but not social media, so I don’t see the rest of the world that other people see. Really. So thanks for this.

      Makes a person glad to be an anti-social curmudgeon.

  • Lev

    Hope and change to Obama meant the system working again. And that meant bipartisanship. Not entirely wrong, of course–given the veto points and midterm election-generated gridlock, you do need some bipartisanship to make things happen. But the bipartisanship was not forthcoming.

    Clinton’s basic pitch wasn’t all that different from Obama’s in terms of the takeaway–I’ll make the system work for you again. Whether her loss was due to not enough people believing her out of sexist reasons is of course debatable. But there were other reasons to not buy the argument too. If not enough people fundamentally believe the system can be made to work, decades of experience with it isn’t exactly a positive.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    As is the case with most threads on Sanders, I’m struck by the hatred directed toward Sanders and the condescension directed toward his supporters.

    The bottom line is that 43% of primary voters backed Sanders. That number is important for at least two reasons. First, he lost, fair and square…and pretty decisively. But, second, Democrats are not winning anything without the votes of that 43%.

    So hate us as much you like, but picking fights with us only benefits Republicans. You need our votes.

    Of course, Sanders supporters need the votes of Clinton supporters, too. And when the occasion calls for it, I have often written something very similar to this comment to Sanders supporters who have fantasies about making due without the “corporate Democrats.”

    But the bottom line is: while we don’t need to like each other, we do need to learn to politically get along. The fantasy that either side of the divide will “realize the error of their ways” is just that, a fantasy. And engaging in demeaning amateur psychological analyses of the other side of the Clinton-Sanders divide or railing against the candidate you didn’t vote for accomplishes nothing of any value.

    • Brien Jackson

      I’m okay with the vast majority of Sanders voters, but I think Sanders himself is an actually pernicious actor in American politics and that elevating him would be a total disaster, even as I largely agree with him on policy. I don’t see why I’m supposed to not point this out.

      • Murc

        Sanders himself is an actually pernicious actor in American politics

        I don’t see why I’m supposed to not point this out.

        Generally speaking people don’t like it when you try and point out things that they feel are wildly wrong.

        • Brien Jackson

          Well then argue it’s wrong. But “don’t share your genuine criticism of this politician because reasons” is an awfully odd position.

    • nemdam

      Sanders could easily end this by joining the party or not doing things like using a Unity tour to bash the Democratic party. Sanders keeps this divide going. The Democratic Party and Clinton do not. I can only speak for myself, but I am sick of this shit and have been for over a year. But if Sanders wants to keep this going, folks aren’t going to lay down. If someone attacks you, especially after bending over backwards in an effort to reach out, expect retaliation.

    • SatanicPanic

      I agree. I never really liked the guy, but he appears to be who he claims to be, so let’s just try to get along.

    • postpartisandepression

      I’m sorry I just don’t get why you think I have to court you or any Bernie supporter.

      I am a Clinton supporter but I am a democrat first. I am a democrat even if every dem doesn’t believe exactly like like I do. Even if they don’t rate their issues in exactly the order that I rank mine. I am a democrat because a democrat will appoint a supreme court justice who thinks money is not speech and who supports equality and who will support a woman’s right to choose. I am a democrat because democrats support a livable wage and unions so that those wages can be achieved by all of us.

      I am a democrat and I know that if I vote for a third party or don’t vote at all that it is just like voting for a republican. And I know that is disastrous to every thing I hold dear I would never do that and I don’t have to to be courted because I understand that first and foremost I do this for me , for my family and for my children.

      So no I do not understand why you think I have to court you.

      • Sebastian_h

        You want Democrats to win. That’s why.

        • liberalrob

          “Vote Democratic or the Republicans will win.”

          Courting over.

      • Porlock Junior

        I have been officially a Democrat since 1964 (too young, only 21, to vote for Kennedy), so I belong to the Party; but I do not *belong* to it, if you see what I mean. I do not think it is run by people who have correct (meaning “my”, of course) ideas of what the party is. I do not like what they spend much of their time doing, which is good for neither the country nor the party.

        Hence, in an act of youthful folly, sometime in the 60s, I registered briefly with the Peace and Freedom party, which seemed to offer another tactical direction.

        Hence, in my elderly folly, it is many years since I have given money to the DNC or its congressional election committees; except in a few odd years when the DNC chairman claimed to represent the Democratic faction of the Democratic party (Howard Dean borrowed the phrase from Paul Wellstone), and despite his conservative tendencies, seemed to be telling the truth. I have not forgotten that when the party finally won back the Congress, the entrenched wing of the party called for his resignation. Fuck that.

        There are plenty of candidates worth supporting, and if one of them declines to sign up with the machine, I am not horrified by his disloyalty.

        So by all means don’t try to persuade me to support you. Good luck with your “Very Well — Alone!” policy when you try to elect somebody without millions of pro-Sanders people more or less like me. My money will still go to people like Warren and more dozens of others than I can afford.

        • liberalrob

          You’ve been a Democrat longer than I’ve been alive (born in 1967) and still have not learned that you vote for the candidates on the ballot, not the candidates you wish were on the ballot. And if you think it is the height of nobility to make gestures “declining to sign up with the machine” when the result of those gestures is opening the door to the destruction of what progress has been made in the past 8 years and more…I have to question just what it is you think is so noble about that. And good luck getting your policy preferences enacted by voting for people not on the ballot.

    • CP

      As is the case with most threads on Sanders, I’m struck by the hatred directed toward Sanders and the condescension directed toward his supporters.

      You know, given the sheer amount of bile that was directed towards Hillary Clinton all through the election – and yes, towards her supporters – and that is still being directed at her months after the election even though unlike Sanders she’s done very little to nothing, I, in turn am struck that you people seem so shocked that anyone might feel the same way about your messiah.

      “But why are people doing this to us? How can you be so mean? This all started when you hit us back!” I mean, for fuck’s sake. It’s not that I’ve never seen this level of clueless entitlement before, but I normally have to cross over to the GOP to get it.

  • Karen24

    I read the article and really really really hated the way they described Clinton supporters as “happy” with the world and the country. We recognize that things are not great but that we can work on them and change. I’m old enough that I saw the opinion of gays change from a firm conviction that all of them were child-molesting perverts to disappointment in not being invited to Dave and Juan’s wedding. This is a HUGE change and yet we’re not supposed to be happy about it? Yes, it is the horrid “identity politics,” but for people with that identity it was all the the world.

    A personal note: at least among my friends, NOT A BLOODY ONE Sanders supporter had ever been involved in a campaign before. I’ve been working my ass off for Democrats in Texas since 1988, and these Johnny-come-latelies thought that I wasn’t progressive enough? Since the election they’ve all melted like Popsicles, whereas I and my Pantsuit Nation friends have been going to meetings and protests and sending money wherever we can. Progress that lasts is slow and faltering and involves constant compromise and the kind of resilience that makes Galapos tortoises look like fragile mayflies. My feelings don’t matter at all in the great scheme of things. Get the fuck over yourself and work.

    • Brien Jackson

      Oh definitely the second paragraph. I’ve gone to these Bernie inspired “activists” groups looking for field organizers, precinct captains, canvassers, etc. and have gotten a grand total of zero volunteers. They sure do love their Facebook groups and “progressive group summits” where they spend lots of time talking about open primaries and banning Democratic politicians from endorsing candidates during the primary.

      • jml1990

        Based on the admittedly skewed sample group of my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, I’ve observed the same phenomenon you have. Those who had previous experience of practical politics and/or the workings of government, broadly conceived, whether professionally, volunteering for political campaigns, or even closely following political events, overwhelmingly supported Hillary. Meanwhile, those who had not been previously involved in politics or government supported Sanders, almost to a one.

        There are other traits, certainly, that correlated with Sanders or Clinton support in my social group. For instance, those who lived in left-leaning white urban enclaves (e.g. Logan Square in Chicago, Somerville, or Brooklyn) largely supported Sanders, as did those who came from conservative family backgrounds, particularly in red states like Kansas or Louisiana. Women, LGBT people, and people of color, particularly over 30, were more likely to support Hillary. But the single biggest determinant was still one’s prior level of personal or professional involvement with politics.

  • Alex.S

    I think the causation is backwards — Sanders supporters are more likely to think politics are rigged because they were told that the DNC rigged the primary.

    • Porlock Junior

      Having watched the way the party is run for a few decades — five, if anyone cares — I did not learn my low opinion of the DNC and the DCCC and DSCC by being *told* about it by in 2016.

      • postpartisandepression

        The you know that the DNC is not capable of rigging anything and Bernie lost the primary because he did not get enough votes from the voters.

  • wengler

    I have always seen the divide between Clinton and Sanders voters as classist and ageist. Hillary Clinton seems like the best sort of candidate for where she grew up. The suburbs of Chicago. And she did very well in especially the highest income suburbs of Chicago. That was her base. She even did better than Obama in Lake County for instance. She would be great for rich centrists.

    Sanders actually was pushing for major reforms that would’ve involved massive redistribution of wealth. This is supported by young people and people in economically devastated areas. This is why he did well in the Rust Belt generally.

    • Brien Jackson

      Wherein POC, especially black Southerners, disappear again!

      • sapient

        I kind of agree with Knight of Nothing on the mental health effects of reliving the democratic primary campaign. But I find it very useful to remember this.

    • nemdam

      Hillary won convincingly in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Bernie had to outspend her 2.5-1 to eke out a win in Michigan. There was almost no difference in the income of their respective supporters.

    • nixnutz

      “Sanders actually was pushing for major reforms that would’ve involved massive redistribution of wealth.”

      See, if I thought this were remotely true I would have voted for him. It was probably a mistake for him to keep his major reforms a closely-guarded secret and instead run on that decoy platform of normal Democratic ideas, only with longish hair.

    • free_fries_

      Please. For every Highland Park and Lake Forest there’s a Waukegan, a Zion, and a North Chicago. Lake County is far from a Marin or Fairfield (CT) county.

  • anon1

    Too many generalities and too many non-sequiturs, Loomis, like in this sentence.

    Sanders, continuously, came off as a labor lawyer, talking in a Union Hall, and, Clinton came off as a woman telling your wife how lovely her Walmart earrings were. (Violating embassy neutrality in Libya by running arms through it, to the Syrian Resistance, was classic.)

    No one, including Warren, was willing to climb the fence and jump. (And Obama sought consensus. He could have gone to the press for support and he never did. Compare him to Roosevelt who was not liked by many.)
    The business of America now is business. Goldman Sachs has a strangle-hold on controlling, supporting and manipulating markets.
    Compassion and business do not mix.
    Hope for a businessman millennial, in 2024, who has experienced a personal reality check.

    • JMV Pyro

      Can someone translate this?

      • Porlock Junior

        Sorry. I tried, but failed. But I think it means that all 3 people mentioned are not actually radicals or revolutionaries or anything. Which seems to be true, and it raises a certain nostalgia for those ideas–but me for the Democratic wing of the Democratic party! Blood in the streets doesn’t work unless what you want is blood per se. If only we could put the DWotDP in control of the party machinery…

        And the final sentence is waay beyond me.

  • postpartisandepression

    “That’s a tough needle to thread. Hillary Clinton really didn’t do it very well, or not as well as she needed to anyway.”

    Seems to me you answered your own question :

    ” Much of this goes back to Obama, who tapped into people’s desires for a new America with soaring rhetoric that papered over a very establishment figure who governed that way.”

    1) Sanders could’nt even beat Hillary in the primary so to argue he would have made a “better ” candidate is moot.

    2) Obama was a huge disappointment and governed at best as a moderate republican who did very little to improve the lot of the middle class, and really boosted the fortunes of the top 1%. And yet if Hillary had run against that record of non accomplishment she would have lost dems as well especially african americans and those Obots that were left. So to thread that needle was more than tough and yet she still managed to win the election by almost 3 million votes.

  • anon1

    Sorry. I tried, but failed.

    Why the disclaimer?

    But I think it means that all 3 people mentioned are not actually radicals or revolutionaries or anything.

    Correct, but, Bernie didn’t understand that people resist change. I think Eric Hoffer covered that terrain definitively.

    Which seems to be true,

    Correct

    and it raises a certain nostalgia for…

    a past that never was.

    Blood in the streets doesn’t work.

    It works quite well in totalitarian regimes.

    If only we could put the DWotDP in control of the party machinery…

    If frogs had wings they could fly.

    And the final sentence is way beyond me.

    It’s your future. You would do well to understand what it means.

    Warren took pains not to cross the line. Clinton threw stones at the line from a distance. Bernie tried to form a posse to cross the line and he ended up playing Gary Cooper in High Noon.
    What were Clinton and Warren afraid of? Obama understood the “line” and then backed away from it, as well.

    P.S.
    Why hasn’t anyone here mentioned how YouTube took down Christopher Hitchen’s documentary about the Clintons, shortly before the election?

    Hitchens knowingly crossed the line on numerous occasions, and enlightened many, but, not enough.

  • CrunchyFrog

    I know I’m over-generalizing but:

    1) If you’re over 60 and a Clinton supporter, frankly things *ARE* pretty damn good – the system just needs a few tweaks.
    2) If you’re 20 and a Sanders supporter revolution is indeed called for.

    Why the difference? It’s economic. When the 60 year old was 20 college was cheap, great jobs after college were plentiful, buying a good house was affordable, and you didn’t live in fear of losing your job and your health insurance. The 60 year old is probably in pretty good position now – the 20 year old is majorly fucked by comparison.

    I know, not all 20 year olds support Sanders and not all 60 year olds support Clinton. And there are a lot of other factors and a lot of people at different ages in the spectrum.

    But if you want the key difference, that’s it in a nutshell. And as someone who is well off and near the age of the hypothetical Clinton supporter, I will tell you that the Sanders supporters are 100% right on this issue.

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