Magical Realism, and other neoliberal delusions

by Corey Robin on April 15, 2016

Apologies in advance for all the formatting foul-ups. My usual formatting guru, John Holbo, is off somewhere arguing about the Commerce Clause…

1.


At Vox, Dylan Matthews offers a sharp analysis of last night’s debate, which I didn’t watch or listen to. His verdict is that the three big losers of the night were Hillary Clinton, the New Democrats, and liberal technocrats. (The two winners were Bernie Sanders and Fight for $15 movement.) As Matthews writes:
But just going through the issues at tonight’s debate, it’s striking to imagine a DLCer from the ‘90s watching and wondering what his party had come to. Sanders was asked not if he was sufficiently tough on crime, but if his plans to let millions of convicted criminals out of prison would actually free as many felons as promised. Clinton was criticized not for being insufficiently pro-Israel, but for being insufficiently willing to assail the killing of Palestinian civilians. Twenty years after Clinton named former Goldman Sachs chief Robert Rubin as his Treasury secretary, so much as consorting with Goldman Sachs had become toxic.

Though I’m obviously pleased if Sanders beat Clinton in the debate, it’s the other two victories that are most important to me. For those of us who are Sanders supporters, the issue has never really been Hillary Clinton but always the politics that she stands for. Even if Sanders ultimately loses the nomination, the fact that this may be the last one or two election cycles in which Clinton-style politics stands a chance: that for us is the real point of this whole thing.

I‘m always uncertain whether Clinton supporters have a comparable view. While there are some, like Jonathan Chait or Paul Starr, for whom that kind of politics is substantively attractive, and who will genuinely mourn its disappearance, most of Clinton’s supporters seem to be more in synch with Sanders’s politics. They say they like Bernie and agree with his politics; it’s just not realistic, they say, to think that the American electorate will support that.

Which makes these liberals’ attraction to Clinton all the more puzzling. If it’s all pure pragmatism for you—despite your personal support for Bernie’s positions, you think only her style of politics can win in the United States—what are you going to do, the next election cycle, when there’s no one, certainly no one of her talent or skills and level of organizational support, who’s able to articulate that kind of politics?

2. 


If she could turn back time:

Cher has been a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton during this presidential election year, but now she may be changing her mind.

The singer took to Twitter on Wednesday to talk about the internal conflict she feels over which Democratic candidate to support for the presidency. In the past, Cher has criticized Bernie Sanders and his campaign staff….

However, on Wednesday, Cher said that after blocking people on Twitter she started to “feel uneasy” and went into “marathon research mode” with an open mind. She said that “in the quiet of the night,” she discovered that Sanders’ beliefs “mirrored” her own more than she had realized. The singer said she was “shaken to [her] core” by this revelation.

Cher went on to talk about how much she liked and respected Clinton, whom she spent time with when Clinton was running for the Senate. Cher said that she hopes the woman she fought hard for is still there, but that now she’s faced with a difficult decision.

“Realize now that I have MUCH common ground and new respect for [Bernie Sanders],” said Cher, adding that she’s torn up.


And don’t you dare say anything against Cher. I won’t have it.

3.



Until last night, I’d been seeing lots of Facebook posts and tweets from Clinton supporters citing Sanders’s appointment of Simone Zimmerman, who’s a critic of Israel, as his Jewish outreach coordinator, as an example of Sanders’s insufficient realism and political immaturity. Like the millennials he represents, goes the argument, Sanders is a starry-eyed dreamer who just doesn’t get it, who just doesn’t understand how the game is played.

Well, now we know that he does.

See how much skill, maturity, and sophistication it requires to fire someone just because she once called Netanyahu an asshole? See how quickly a candidate can get educated to do the kind of thuggish politics you Clinton folks think it takes years of experience and qualifications for a politician to learn? And doesn’t it just give you a Jean Arthur-like thrill to see the impractical idealist forced to play politics like the most practiced of pols? Aren’t you excited, gratified, that he’s shown you he’s got what it takes? I hope so.

I can be as Machiavellian or Weberian as the best of them. I just have this cockeyed optimist belief that if the ruthlessness you’re supposed to learn in politics really requires the kind of realism and skill and experience that people who pride themselves on their realism, skill, and experience think that it requires, then that ruthlessness should involve a slightly higher order of business than whether or not a campaign staffer once called a head of state an asshole.

4.



The men and women who drive and maintain New York City’s subways and buses think it’s more important that Sanders supports them and other workers than that he imagines we still use tokens. They’re unrealistic.

5.




By his own admission, President “I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars” made the same mistake in Libya that President “Mission Accomplished” made in Iraq. It’s almost as if that Best and the Brightest thing doesn’t always work out.

Obama’s admission that his failure to plan for a post-reconstruction Libya was his greatest mistake—and his concomitant refusal to say that the intervention was a mistake—makes me wonder how many times a government gets to make the same “mistake” before we get to say that the mistake is no mistake but how the policy works.

I mean when you have a former University of Chicago Law School professor/former Harvard Law Review editor doing the exact same thing that his alleged ignoramus of a predecessor did in Iraq, when you see that the failure to plan for a post-intervention reconstruction is not a contingency but a bipartisan practice, don’t you start wondering about the ideology of intervention itself?

I wrote about a version of this question in a piece I did in the London Review of Books on the ideology of national security after the revelations of Abu Ghraib:

The 20th century, it’s said, taught us a simple lesson about politics: of all the motivations for political action, none is as lethal as ideology. The lust for money may be distasteful, the desire for power ignoble, but neither will drive its devotees to the criminal excess of an idea on the march. Whether the idea is the triumph of the working class or of a master race, ideology leads to the graveyard.

Although liberal-minded intellectuals have repeatedly mobilised some version of this argument against the isms of right and left, they have seldom mustered a comparable scepticism about that other idée fixe of the 20th century: national security. Some liberals will criticise this war, others that one, but no one has ever written a book entitled ‘The End of National Security’. This despite the millions killed in the name of security, and even though Stalin and Hitler claimed to be protecting their populations from mortal threats.

There are fewer than six degrees of separation between the idea of national security and the lurid crimes of Abu Ghraib. First, each of the reasons the Bush administration gave for going to war against Iraq – the threat of WMD, Saddam’s alleged links to al-Qaida, even the promotion of democracy in the Middle East – referred in some way to protecting America. Second, everyone agrees that getting good intelligence from Iraqi informers is a critical element in defeating the insurgency. Third, US military intelligence believes that sexual humiliation is an especially forceful instrument for extracting information from recalcitrant Muslim prisoners.

Many critics have protested against Abu Ghraib, but none has traced it back to the idea of national security. Perhaps they believe such an investigation is unnecessary. After all, many of them opposed the war on the grounds that US security was not threatened by Iraq. And some of national security’s most accomplished practitioners, such as Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, as well as theoreticians like Steven Walt and John Mearsheimer, even claimed that a genuine consideration of US interests militated against the war. The mere fact that some politicians misused or abused the principle of national security need not call that principle into question. But when an idea routinely accompanies, if not induces, atrocities – Abu Ghraib was certainly not the first instance of the United States committing or sponsoring torture in the name of security – second thoughts would seem to be in order. Unless, of course, defenders of the idea wish to join that company of ideologues they so roundly condemn, affirming their commitment to an ideal version of national security while disowning its ‘actually existing’ variant.


6.


What was it Jonathan Chait said last month? “Reminder: liberalism is working.”


Thought of that reading this headline from last year.


Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 12.45.02 PM





7.



I’m always amused by the way that non-experts in the media and politics insist that on every issue, our presidential candidates should have the expertise of a university professor.

Any university professor will tell you that you can only have that kind of expertise in one, maybe two, areas.

In the wake of the controversy over Sanders’s interview with the Daily News, where ill-informed journalists made ill-informed judgments about Sanders’s lack of expertise, Charli Carpenter, a genuine academic expert on international relations, makes the necessary points:

Yes, he’s still vague on details. But if Sanders doesn’t know enough about foreign policy (yet) at least he’s willing to say so. Ultimately Sanders is taking most heat because he refused to bullshit his way through places where he felt out of his depth. But as a foreign policy expert, I was heartened by his willingness to say, ‘I haven’t thought enough about that yet,’ and his comfort in acknowledging and correcting mistakes of fact or semantics. I see this as a strength, not a weakness – in my students, in my colleagues, in people generally and certainly in a Presidential candidate. The world is a complex place and none of us are or can be experts on everything. Indeed, as someone who lived under the rule of George W. Bush – a President who also knew precious little about the world but acted as if he didn’t need guidance from experts – this foreign policy ‘pro’ finds the humility of Sanders’ stance, coupled with the sensibility and morality of his vision, not a little reassuring.



8.



I’m seeing a lot of folks posting this piece, attributing the election victory of a right-wing Republican judge in Wisconsin to the failure of Bernie supporters in Wisconsin to vote in that down-ballot election or to vote the right way, and more generally going after Bernie for not doing enough for down-ballot Democratic candidates. (And there have been many other pieces like that in Mother Jones and elsewhere.)

I find this a peculiar line of attack, particularly for people who say that it’s what leading them not to support Sanders and to vote for Clinton instead.

Many of these folks voted twice for Obama, and would vote for him again, despite the fact that he presided over the greatest loss of down-ballot seats of any two-term president since Truman. Under Obama, Democrats lost 11 governorships, 13 Senate seats, 69 House seats, and 913 state legislative seats and 30 state legislative chambers. According to various analysts, that’s about twice the average of postwar presidents. Yet somehow we live with it. But Bernie’s failure to get a judge elected in Wisconsin? That’s crossing a line.

Oh, and by the way, in 2008, there was another election of a Republican State Supreme Court judge in Wisconsin in tandem with the state primary. The Democratic incumbent lost that judicial election—despite the victory in that primary a certain Senator by the name of Barack Obama.

I don’t mind good solid critiques of Bernie, but I find these kinds of concerns to be little more than a performance of hard-headed civic realism, replete with that usual combination of requisite journo-speak (“down ballot”) and faux wonkery.

9.




Dateline for this headline: August 11, 2015.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 3.34.11 PM

#‎Realists‬




10.


Fathers and Sons…

Arthur Goldhammer is one of the most brilliant and acclaimed translators of our time. He’s also firmly in Clinton’s camp. Zack Goldhammer is a radio producer/ freelance writer and Art’s son. He’s also firmly in Bernie’s camp. They disagree, and argued it out here.

Their exchange brings out the generational divide so clearly, between the Boomers who, in this case, voted for Eldridge Cleaver as a write-in candidate in 1968—and as I’ve argued before, have been repenting for their sins ever since—and the millennials who, well, have other memories and experiences.

What I particularly like about Zack’s response is this:

For me, this distinction between incremental versus revolutionary change is a false dualism.

Nothing sets my teeth on edge more than these earnest droning lectures we get—not from Art, whose earnest droning lectures I love (seriously, he’s a good guy)—about the need for realism and moderation against our youthful penchant for revolution and idealism.

In part because at the age of 48, this is hardly my first time at the rodeo. (Nothing like being lectured to by journalists who are half my age about the need to grow up.)

But more important because the distinction is itself so surreal, so much the idée fixe of the Luftmensch, so much an artifact of academic seminars and common room debates. When I hear these lectures, I don’t hear someone who’s had real political experience, someone who’s been around the block; I hear someone who’s a college freshman and has just read this really exciting text—it could be Reinhold Niebuhr, Czesław Miłosz, or the latest squib in Vox—and decided, maybe after a bad encounter with an annoying campus activist, that he’s discovered the secret of the universe.

And who then slips into a lifetime of enchantment, periodically emitting, in an incantatory mode, words like “moderate” or “slow” or “nuance” or “subtle.”

Now that’s what I call Magical Realism.






{ 342 comments }

1

milx 04.15.16 at 5:55 pm

this is all very interesting but which candidate does corey support???

2

js. 04.15.16 at 6:11 pm

If it’s all pure pragmatism for you—despite your personal support for Bernie’s positions, you think only her style of politics can win in the United States—what are you going to do, the next election cycle, when there’s no one, certainly no one of her talent or skills and level of organizational support, who’s able to articulate that kind of politics

As someone who voted for Sanders and so doesn’t buy this argument in the first place, I think this is uncharitable. What a lot of the voters of the sort you’re categorizing think is that: Given the US electorate at this point, someone with Sanders politics and profile is unelectable in the general. There’s no suggestion that this is a timeless truth, nor even that Clinton’s style of politics is uniquely win-able (that’s the wrong word, but you see the point, I’d think).

3

Rich Puchalsky 04.15.16 at 6:24 pm

“They say they like Bernie and agree with his politics; it’s just not realistic, they say, to think that the American electorate will support that.”

This sentiment makes me itch all over. Can we have a trigger warning before any future references to it? (No, I’m not serious.)

I’m going to try to generalize the point of the OP a bit. It’s not just centrist liberalism that has this problem with “We don’t really support X, but we have to support it because people in general won’t support X.” It’s pretty much everyone in American society, except perhaps for the farthest right of the far right, the people who are OK with openly supporting racism. It’s a symptom of a locked-up, frozen, deeply decadent society (decadent in the sense that it no longer has the capability to address pressing problems). It’s what happens when compromise becomes entrenchments that can only be evaded by the elite and when those entrenchments in turn create an ideology that says that they were always there and always will be there.

This obviously can’t last forever: a society that can no longer address problems will eventually careen into a problem that becomes too large to paper over. The question is whether this society will change in this more or less impersonal, unplanned way or whether the next generation is a generation that is actually different in some way and that will have both the agreement and ability yo use its coming to power to actually, deliberately change this state of affairs. I have to admit to pessimism in this regard.

4

Sebastian H 04.15.16 at 6:26 pm

As someone who rarely agrees with Corey, I’m going to take this opportunity to completely agree with this post (and possibly check to see if I have a fever). ;)

I don’t always agree with all of Sanders’ solutions, but he is thinking about the right problems and is aware enough of the groupthink at the top (especially on foreign policy) to take steps against it. Clinton doesn’t exhibit even an awareness of how much she has become what she despised.

5

Ted K 04.15.16 at 6:38 pm

6

CJColucci 04.15.16 at 6:57 pm

If we are in general agreement that we want an end-state more or less like what Sanders offers, the question is, will we be closer to it at the end of 4-8 years of Clinton or 4-8 years of Sanders? I don’t think the answer is at all obvious.

7

Scott P. 04.15.16 at 7:05 pm

The problem I have with this analysis is that is omits that Hillary, if elected, would be one of the most liberal presidents of all time. More liberal than her husband, than Carter, than Kennedy, than Truman, perhaps more liberal than Obama (up for debate). More so than any Democratic or Republican president before 1930.

You could argue FDR and Johnson, though in both those cases there are countervailing arguments (internment camps and deficit hawkery by FDR, Vietnam for LBJ). Maybe that makes Clinton actually a decent comparandum, as she would no doubt do some things that enrage liberals while overall governing from the left side of the political spectrum.

That doesn’t mean Sanders isn’t to the left of Hillary, but it does ignore that electing Hillary would be an enormous victory for liberalism.

8

Anderson 04.15.16 at 7:08 pm

7: liberalism is pretty well despised at CT, near as I can tell.

9

Lord 04.15.16 at 7:11 pm

The test of Bernie won’t be his election or not but what effect he has down ticket, candidate or not. Sole agents are only flashes.

10

Layman 04.15.16 at 7:12 pm

@ Ze K, Obama campaigned as a center-left moderate. He got called a liberal by his supporters, and a communist by his detractors, for reasons unconnected to his actual campaign positions. Sanders proposes policies which Obama never came close to voicing. I think Sanders is in some sense more free to be leftish in his proposals – because he isn’t supposed to win, and because the public perception of Obama and his victory opened the door to a more-left candidate, and because he’s running against the 3-times-establishment candidate. Can he do all he says? Probably not; Congress has a say.

@CJColucci, this is a fair point, but I think if you need a ride to Denver, your first consideration should be to pick the driver who says s/he’s going to Denver, rather than the one who’s going to Des Moines.

11

Layman 04.15.16 at 7:14 pm

“You could argue FDR and Johnson, though in both those cases there are countervailing arguments (internment camps and deficit hawkery by FDR, Vietnam for LBJ).”

If this is an attempt to show that FDR and LBJ were less liberal than HRC, it’s a pathetic one. It’s hard to imagine someone making that argument while keeping a straight face.

12

Yankee 04.15.16 at 7:26 pm

I don’t take your point in #10. Except about sophmoricism, of which no doubt I am also guilty, being Of the Hippies.

It seems to me Radical change sends you over the falls. Anything that leaves structure generally intact is tautologically incremental change. I stipulate Bernie’s incrementalism is more desirable than Hillary’s; the question is whether or not it would be over-reaching in the present environment, with a dysfunctional congress and a large tranche of Trump/Bundy supporters. Among other problems. Obama had the chops to get things done, rather amazingly so. Maybe Bernie can double down and win. One could argue it’s a good time to keep it rubber side down while things like $15 percolate upwards. Personally, I’m more peaceful than most with the idea of Radical change. Not exactly a Millennialist but looking forward to getting on to the next thing.

13

Rich Puchalsky 04.15.16 at 7:27 pm

CJCollucci: “If we are in general agreement that we want an end-state more or less like what Sanders offers, the question is, will we be closer to it at the end of 4-8 years of Clinton or 4-8 years of Sanders? I don’t think the answer is at all obvious.”

Anything could have unintended consequences, so we shouldn’t pursue any course of action. I”m excited to see such a pure example of what I referred to in my comment above.

ZeK: “He’s just another Democratic presidential candidate, a team-member.”

I usually take Ze K’s comments as just another component of the hallucinogenic mix that is contemporary political chat, but Sanders as Democratic Party team-member really stands out.

14

Layman 04.15.16 at 7:40 pm

“I usually take Ze K’s comments as just another component of the hallucinogenic mix that is contemporary political chat, but Sanders as Democratic Party team-member really stands out.”

This in spades.

15

Layman 04.15.16 at 8:04 pm

“As far as I can tell, all his supposed bomb-throwing amounts to cosmetics.”

Well, you’re no judge, but never mind. What bombs should he be throwing, to convince you?

16

Sebastian H 04.15.16 at 8:06 pm

Radical change isn’t in the offing unless things get crazy (terrorist attack sweeping Trump in for example). Sanders won’t be able to get everything he wants, but he will be pushing in the right direction and with the right set of concerns in mind. Clinton will be better than any of the Republican clowns, but there is very little evidence that she will be pushing things in the right direction more than being any interchangeable Democrat, and some evidence that her instincts are terrible in certain areas important to me (dealing with the finance class and foreign affairs).

17

bruce wilder 04.15.16 at 8:12 pm

A significant part of the boomer Dems actually like their privileged place in the status quo and are grateful to the Right for providing any number of excuses for not doing anything to press reform when reform would be seriously disruptive. There is a comfortable and familiar personal safety in “knowing” not much is politically possible. For those with a stake in personally being politically aware and opinionated, analyzing what is politically possible both clothes ipse dixit assertions with a kind of smug pedantry and relieves one of any responsibility for considering the frightening gap between what is and what is right.

Many seem to think Republican intransigence will frustrate Sanders as much or more than it has Obama. That is not what worries me. I think significant structures of the global order are coming apart. We are standing on a Clintonian bridge to the future, eating a lunch paid for out of deferred maintenance. Practically anything we do now to set things right will take away the funds for lunch and also carries a significant risk of causing the rickety bridge to collapse. And, doing nothing – the policy of extend and pretend we have engaged in for a generation, preserving the life of boomer privilege with borrowed funds and failure to plan — that also runs the risk of the bridge collapsing, and even running out of lunch money as credit is exhausted. Such are the dilemmas of degeneracy.

My instincts say, we have to try. The future is grim, no matter what we do — but to try at least has some redemptive quality. But, I think I do understand the hesitancy of some boomers, even if I don’t much respect it. The boomers did not build the bridge, even if they have profited by deferring maintenance and partially dismantling redundant parts of the structure to sell as scrap. Not really understanding the structural engineering or architecture has not been a critical problem up to now, though it has been a symptom of our times, but it could become critical. The breathtaking stupidity about political economy revealed in, say, the Iraq occupation and reconstruction, or the failure of the Obama Adminisration to prosecute banksters and break up the surviving big banks suggests future catastrophe. One part of degeneracy is not being willing morally and another is not being practically capable.

I hear people ask if Sanders or Clinton now is likely to put us further ahead a decade from now, premised on politics continuing more or less as they have been. I think that is way too optimistic. We cannot continue on the course we are on. The Cassandra’s have said as much for years — so long we cannot believe them.

As the failures and their consequences arrive, we have to be ready to admit as much and try something else. We have to try now to be ready to try later.

18

Adam Hammond 04.15.16 at 8:29 pm

Why is criticism from both the left and the right, while different in SO many ways, frequently condescending? My lack of agreement with your self-demonstrably superior conclusions apparently just confuses you. **My theory is that both the left and very much the right feel that they are arguing points of principle, and thus look for some single organizing political principle that animates all of the diverse people who reach different conclusions (and are thus enemies).**

The OP does about as accurate a caricature of my positions as Rumsfeld used to. -cue facile Clinton/Rumsfeld comparison-

19

Cranky Observer 04.15.16 at 8:50 pm

= = = “He [Obama] ran left of Clinton, same as Sanders.” = = =

No one who lived on the South Side of Chicago in the 1970/80s was in any way surprised by how Obama governed.

(Although his enthusiastic embrace of the three-letter agencies was a bit of s surprise, it was still within the overall profile)

20

Rich Puchalsky 04.15.16 at 9:05 pm

Cranky Observer: “No one who lived on the South Side of Chicago in the 1970/80s was in any way surprised by how Obama governed.”

Yes — people tend to underestimate how much any politician who comes up through the system is a known quantity, because the politician is new to them on the national stage. But it’s the same with Sanders. He’s been a Congressperson or Senator for 25 years! The questions about what he can accomplish are the usual: the questions about “what he really believes” are silly. And of course he’s establishment in some sense: you do not serve in the U.S. Congress for 25 years and not be part of the establishment. That isn’t what we’re arguing about.

21

bruce wilder 04.15.16 at 9:22 pm

I wanted to believe Obama was likely to be a wiser and more decent President than he turned out to be. That I was sorely disappointed doesn’t, to my mind, tell against my character so much as his. ymmv

22

Jacob McM 04.15.16 at 9:26 pm

Even if Sanders ultimately loses the nomination, the fact that this may be the last one or two election cycles in which Clinton-style politics stands a chance: that for us is the real point of this whole thing.

As someone who leans toward Hillary over Bernie in this year’s election, this may surprise you, but I agree. If Clinton-style politics among Democrats fades out by 2024, it’ll be a good thing.

Here’s my rationale:

Special pleading to contrary, I still think Bernie is a weak general election candidate. Yes, I know what the current polls say, but Bernie has not withstood the same amount of Republican attacks that Hillary has over the decades. He shoulders lots of baggage from the Cold War — Soviet honeymoons, praise for Castro and the Sandinistas — which will make it very easy for the Republican propaganda machine to smear him as a dangerous Communist. Bernie performs best among Millennials — i.e., those who don’t have any living memory of the Cold War and thus aren’t as susceptible to scare-mongering over “socialism.” However, the elderly segments of the electorate who lived through Reagan and ARE deathly afraid of “socialism” remain more influential, both in terms of population share and turnout on Election Day.

If you think I’m wrong, then why does Reince Priebus publicly insist that he would “rather face Hillary in the general election”? Why would he tell the truth on that subject? The more plausible explanation is that the GOP have an attack plan ready against Bernie which they believe is more effective, and they’re trying to persuade Democrats to nominate the weaker candidate. Furthermore, if Bernie were nominated and lost the general election, his platform would be dead for at least another 30-40 years as the DNC retreated back to centrism in the aftermath.

On the other hand, I think many of Bernie’s policies would be attractive to the general electorate if they were sold in better package. I think Elizabeth Warren could’ve easily won both the nomination and the presidency if she had run this year, since she possesses all of Bernie’s strengths with none of his weaknesses. She’s younger and more charismatic. She has none of his Cold War/Marxist baggage. She has been scandal-free (GOP has nothing on her aside from the lame “fake Indian” attack). She’s a savvy politician and probably a better public speaker than either Hillary or Bernie. Her biography is relatable. She’s from Oklahoma and was a Republican until the 1990s, which makes her a better salesperson of progressive values to swing state/independent/disaffected GOP voters who might consider voting for a Democrat.

Warren in 2024 will probably be too old to run for President, but there are other Bernie-style progressives who could be serious contenders in the future, such as Tulsi Gabbard. The future is bright for Bernie’s platform IF and only IF the current demographic shifts continue, namely:

1) Latinos and Asians make up a larger percentage of the electorate. Contrary to the media’s narrative that “Bernie does poorly among Non-Whites/minorities/POC,” the truth is that he does rather well among most Latino groups, especially the younger cohort. For example:

Sanders, an independent, edges Clinton nationally thanks to solid support from several groups. He leads 76-23 percent among those 29 and younger; 63-31 percent among Latinos; 62-32 among independents; 58-38 among the unmarried; and 56-42 among liberals.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/article70202867.html

http://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/California-Latinos-gravitating-toward-Bernie-7247123.php

http://www.cbsnews.com/elections/2016/primaries/democrat/nevada/exit/

In states where Bernie lost Latinos, such as Florida and Texas, he also lost the White vote, so race had little to do with it. And the margins were much closer than the African-American vote was in any state. I’m admittedly not expecting Bernie to perform as well among NY Latinos (who are predominantly Puerto Rican/Dominican and gravitate toward Blacks), but he should be strong among Mexicans in California.

Based on circumstantial evidence from Hawaii and Washington, Bernie also does well among Asians.

This indicates that a future progressive politician could win over Latinos/Asians relatively easily with the right approach.

2) The electorate is becoming more secular. Evangelicals comprise much smaller percentage:

The US is now beyond the electoral tipping point, driven by a new progressive majority in the electorate: racial minorities (black and Hispanic) plus single women, millennials (born between 1982 and 2000) and secular voters together formed 51% of the electorate in 2012; and will reach a politically critical 63% next year.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/05/america-conservative-us-2016-white-house

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/03/the-huge-cultural-shift-thats-helping-trump-win-evangelicals-213729

3) Young Republicans are more moderate and less likely to identify as conservative:

Of Republicans who are older than 65, around 70 percent consistently identify as conservative. Meanwhile, fewer than half — about 20 percent — of the oldest Republicans call themselves moderates.

It’s a totally different story for Republicans under 30. Among this younger group of Republicans, self-identified moderates and self-identified conservatives are about equal — there’s a little above 40 percent of each group.

http://www.vox.com/2016/4/7/11379022/young-republicans-moderate

Plus as I already mentioned, the % of the electorate with memories of the Cold War and Reagan-era propaganda will diminish further by 2024, which works in our favor.

Now, as I said, progressives must take the necessary measures to ensure that these demographic shifts continue. That means they must do whatever necessary to prevent Donald Trump* from being elected, because, for reasons relating to both his platform and personality, he poses the greatest threat to the future of progressivism. I completely acknowledge all of the problems with Hillary Clinton and realize that she’s nowhere near as left-wing as most people here want, but even her critics would concede that she’s likely to maintain the status quo. In this case, maintaining the status quo is beneficial for the long-term success of the left. The demographic trends are in our favor. And even in the nightmare scenario in which Clinton lost to Trump, at the very least the Bernie-faction would remain fairly untarnished, whereas Bernie losing to Trump would set us back decades.

Furthermore, the Bernie faction of the party needs to use the next 4-8 years to get more progressive congresspeople elected so that a potential Bernie-style president would have a more sympathetic legislature. If Bernie were elected now, I think many of his followers would be disappointed by what he could and couldn’t accomplish with the current congress, and that’d risk disenchanting them altogether.

*I single out Trump here as the greatest long-term danger to progressivism, over and above Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, and any other plausible candidate this year. Yes, I’ve heard the arguments that “Cruz is even worse!” blahblahblah., but I think they’re incredibly short-sighted and fail to understand what’s so dangerous about Trump. If you want to know why, that’ll require a separate long post.

23

A H 04.15.16 at 9:56 pm

Clinton is obviously more likely to get us into a war than Sanders is. Very hard to make any arguments to vote for Clinton given this.

Point 8 is the most important. The Dem establishment is simply made up of hacks. What kind of crazy argument is it too blame voters who already made the effort to vote in a primary on not voting for the judge. This is a total failure of competence by the local Dem party to not properly educate voters.

What is the Hilary going to do when there is a republican landslide in the 2018 midterms? Why won’t she triangulate like Bill did?

24

Omega Centauri 04.15.16 at 10:14 pm

I would second 2 6 and 9.
I am heartened that Sanders can say some things that the political CW would consider to be descibed as touching the third rail. But, I think he is ahead of the times (assuming movement in attitudes of the electorate will continue). So in my mind he’s a bridge too far. And partly he doesn’t demonstrate the kind of knowledge base that Clinton does -but clearly his heart is in the right place.

I’d say Clinton is liberal about most domestic policy, but her conventionalness, regrading especially foreign policy scares me. I’m hoping that once elected, her intellect can overrule her political instincts. But there is no guarantee that will happen.

But, as 9 said, its the downballet area that is really crucial. This has been where US liberals have been least successful. That needs to change.

25

Foster Boondoggle 04.15.16 at 10:20 pm

This apologia for supporting Sanders sounds suspiciously like Naderite arguments from 2000, which really ended well for all of us. I definitely don’t understand this argument: “If it’s all pure pragmatism for you—despite your personal support for Bernie’s positions, you think only her style of politics can win in the United States—what are you going to do, the next election cycle, when there’s no one, certainly no one of her talent or skills and level of organizational support, who’s able to articulate that kind of politics?” I have no idea who will run in 2024 after two Clinton presidencies. I certainly wouldn’t have predicted the 2008 campaign from the year 2000. What does CR know about the weakness of the future Dem roster that I’m missing?

26

Ronan(rf) 04.15.16 at 10:35 pm

Obama didn’t do in Libya *exactly* what Bush had done in Iraq.

27

Ronan(rf) 04.15.16 at 10:38 pm

Sorry, on a kindle so above was sloppy. Let me be clearer. This

“doing the exact same thing that his alleged ignoramus of a predecessor did in Iraq”

Is nonsense

28

oldster 04.15.16 at 10:40 pm

“By his own admission, President “I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars” made the same mistake in Libya that President “Mission Accomplished” made in Iraq.”

The same mistake? Surely you don’t mean that those two very different things are the same thing?

“…doing the exact same thing that his alleged ignoramus of a predecessor did …”

The “exact same thing.” You really want to go with that, that the mistakes around the Libya intervention were “the exact same thing” as the mistakes around Bush’s war against Iraq?

You really want to take the stand that scale, consequences, and intentions have no relevance to politics? That joining our European allies in their moment of poor judgment is “the exact same thing” as bulldozing over our European allies in their moment of clarity? That attempting to assist a genuine popular revolution is the same thing as attempting to impose your pet dictator on a country that is not asking for one?

That’s not just sloppy expression. That is really, really, sloppy thinking. Whatever else you are saying in this post, that sloppiness really undermines the rest.

29

Patrick 04.15.16 at 11:00 pm

I voted for Bernie in our caucus. I used to think of myself as a socialist, but this campaign has changed that. I worked in software for 20 years, and the Bernie zealots remind me too much of the self-congratulatory, self-oblivious, idiot Randoids in that profession.
‘Hilary’s a sellout, Obama’s a sellout; Barney Frank, TA-NEHISI COATES, all, any, liberal who actually has a political history, all sellouts except for me! Of course I haven’t done anything political before, but I’m right and I believe. Nothing good has happened, nothing good will happen, unless Bernie. Because it’s all about class and revolution. And women and black people need to shut up and get behind. Bernie, I mean. Because racism and sexism are just artifacts of class conflict. Hope and Change.’
We’ll see. But he better f**king win if he gets the nomination.

30

Cranky Observer 04.15.16 at 11:57 pm

Let me be clear that I was referring to the socially moderate, fiscally slightly to the conservative side, pro-worker, pro-military, strong family, politically aware Democratic politics of the South Side of Chicago then and now. Not some hard Radical Right projection fantasy of “Chicago thugs”.

31

Layman 04.16.16 at 12:12 am

“This apologia for supporting Sanders sounds suspiciously like Naderite arguments from 2000, which really ended well for all of us.”

Yes, saying “I’m going to vote for Sanders in the primary” is just like saying “I’m going to vote for a hopeless 3rd-party candidate in the general election.” FFS!

32

Layman 04.16.16 at 12:17 am

“If you think I’m wrong, then why does Reince Priebus publicly insist that he would “rather face Hillary in the general election”?”

Given that it’s Reince Priebus, the likely answer is that he’s a stupid hack who genuinely believes they can beat Hillary.

33

CharleyCarp 04.16.16 at 12:28 am

The best news of all is that even if Clinton wins, Sanders doesn’t disappear in a puff of smoke, or withdraw in humiliation from all public life. No, he writes legislation, uses his following to help push his colleagues, and thereby sets us up for a democratic socialist future.

If there’s a recession between 2017 and 2021, rather than DS being seen as the cause, I’d like to have DS be seen as the solution.

34

Layman 04.16.16 at 12:35 am

“Worth mentioning that the right drew the appropriate conclusions about how Obama would govern from this, too.”

Which part was the right part? Muslim? Kenyan? Marxist?

35

bob mcmanus 04.16.16 at 12:50 am

31: No, Obama/Clinton were much worse in Libya.

The Law of War and various conventions openly and obviously push the principle “You bomb, you own it, you fix it” ie if an outside power deposes a gov’t from the air, they have a responsibility to do more than walk away from the inevitable chaos but to protect the civilians of the target nation. Clinton established a base in Kosovo, but violated the laws of war in Iraq; Bush II performed horribly in Iraq but at least waved at he problem.

Obama just let the Libyans kill each other. War criminal of the first degree; Hague; gallows.

36

Plume 04.16.16 at 1:17 am

John Quiggin should write a sequel to his Zombie Economics. Call it, Zombie Lies About Nader.

It’s actually physically, mathematically and logically impossible for any one state to cost a presidential candidate the election, much less one Third Party candidate in one state alone. Our presidential elections work on cumulative totals, from all the states, so no one state can possibly be determinative. The electoral college doesn’t work that way. A national election doesn’t work that way. Logic and math and civics don’t combine to work that way.

Bush won 30 states, which totaled 271. Gore won 20, which totaled 266. If you want to play the what-if game in Florida, logic and math say be consistent. Don’t limit those silly what-if games to one state only; try any of the other 29 states Bush won. Like, for instance, Tennessee. If you play the what-if game there, and Gore wins his home state, a loss in Florida is moot. Flip any of the states Bush won, and Gore is the president.

It’s a zombie lie to blame it on Nader, and just one more way of the Establishment disciplining those who think for themselves and act independently of the duopoly. And it’s bullshit. It’s flat out co-dependent bullshit.

Oh, and btw: If you insist on playing the what-if game in Florida only, because you happen to be a mindless drone who drank Democratic Party koolaid and now avoids any responsibility for your own party’s failures, consider this: Nader took roughly 24,000 votes away from Bush. But 308,000 Democrats voted for Bush instead of Gore in Florida. Again, 308,000 Democrats voted for Bush, and more than 52% of Democrats stayed home.

What if just 270 of those turncoats had voted for the nominee of their own party? Gore accumulates enough electoral votes to win the election.

Stop lying about 2000. Nader didn’t cost Gore the election. Gore lost 30 states. They all count. Every single one of them. Not just Florida.

37

LFC 04.16.16 at 2:02 am

@bob mcmanus
Obama just let the Libyans kill each other. War criminal of the first degree; Hague; gallows.

Considering it was a French-led, and to some extent British also, operation, this statement by mcmanus is an enormous hyperbole.

Obama’s opening to Cuba, plus the Iran deal, will be marked as two of the most significant foreign-policy accomplishments of a President in the last several decades. In 1960 the Eisenhower admin drafted secretly a plan to overthrow the Castro govt. In ’61 Kennedy tried w disastrous results at the Bay of Pigs. There followed a long period of stalemated, counterproductive policy (esp after Reagan’s accession). Hearing Obama speaking in Havana vs. this historical backdrop, and acknowledging inter alia past U.S. mistakes, was heartening, stirring, and pretty ******* amazing.

Obvs. I do not share the venom vs. Obama purveyed unremittingly in these threads by certain commenters. He has disappointed in certain respects, done some bad things, made some mistakes. But there are quite a few positive things on the other side of the ledger. And he has not been afraid to change or adjust course — witness the National Defense University speech, where he said in effect that there had been an overreliance on drones by his admin and proceeded to cut back on their use (though, w/o looking at the numbers, not as much as I’d have favored).

38

otpup 04.16.16 at 2:08 am

And why is Hilary supposed to be more liberal than her husband. The word in the Clinton administration (which I had a personal channel to) was always that HRC was more conservative than her hubby (and without the populist flare, I would say).

39

LFC 04.16.16 at 2:12 am

p.s. if you call Obama “a war criminal of the first degree” (emph. added), I don’t know what you call people who actually are war criminals of the first degree.

40

Adam 04.16.16 at 2:12 am

Which makes these liberals’ attraction to Clinton all the more puzzling. If it’s all pure pragmatism for you—despite your personal support for Bernie’s positions, you think only her style of politics can win in the United States—what are you going to do, the next election cycle, when there’s no one, certainly no one of her talent or skills and level of organizational support, who’s able to articulate that kind of politics?

I can’t claim to speak for anyone other than myself, but my political opinions are fairly vanilla, so I doubt very much that I’m alone: I prefer Hillary’s position on issues to Bernie Sanders. The thing I like about Bernie Sanders is that he is moving the Overton Window in a way that someone like Hillary — who is better on policy and probably better at politics than Bernie — never could.

The thing I fear about Bernie is what he may represent: the transformation of the Democratic party into a mirror image of the Republican party, driven by ideology and resentment, unmoored from concern for technocratic competence. I’m not saying this will happen, it’s just one possible path.

Going a little ways down that path would be a good thing, so the optimistic read is that in 2020 and beyond we’ll see a more muscular liberalism in the U.S.In the meantime, I’m perfectly happy to have a Hillary in the White House who had to tack left to get there.

41

medrawt 04.16.16 at 2:17 am

Plume –

I can’t vouch for everyone you’ve ever spoken to, but I know that nobody I’ve ever spoken to who has some kind of negative feeling towards Ralph Nader has the kind of viewpoint your brilliant argument so devastatingly dismantles. I even believe various people told you so the last time the subject came up around here!

42

Alan White 04.16.16 at 2:28 am

LFC–I think you best convey my hesitant acceptance of Obama’s two terms. Acceptance is not an unqualified assertion of approval–it’s sometimes acknowledgement of the least worst circumstances obtaining given realistic counterfactual alternatives. One could easily argue that every President I can think of might warrant being called a domestic or an international criminal–Obama’s use of drones is certainly on that table. But what would you want otherwise these last years–Romney? Useful counterfactuals do have to track actual history up to some point after all.

And since I once as a kid did piss on an electric fence to test a hypothesis–I wonder why Plume above claims:

“It’s actually physically, mathematically and logically impossible for any one state to cost a presidential candidate the election, much less one Third Party candidate in one state alone. “

which not only challenges history to provide such an account, but fiction writers as well. That’s a pretty strong statement, and I for one am not convinced either on the historical claim or (especially) the logical one.

43

Plume 04.16.16 at 2:33 am

medrawt @46,

Various people? Um, maybe two? Two anonymous people on the Internet. Sorry if I don’t completely alter my take on the subject due to such an overwhelming consensus.

Beyond that, the point stands. Especially in light of the Sanders run, umpteen Hillary supporters keep bringing up Nader and 2000 as if they have a valid point about Third Party voting — and they don’t. It’s an article of faith among Democrats today that it was all Nader’s fault, but that’s bullshit. As mentioned, our national elections don’t work that way, obviously. No one state counts more than the others or has special magical powers to determine the presidential race.

All the states count cumulatively to get to that 270 total needed. Florida didn’t have some kind of extra-double-secret power to determine the fate of Western Civilization. Its electoral votes count the same as in any other state. One electoral vote there is equal to one in Texas, or Montana, or Tennessee, or Nebraska, etc. etc.

No one gets to limit “what ifs” to just Florida. Sorry. That’s just juvenile. And it’s even more juvenile to blame it all on Nader, who took far less from Gore (24,000) than Democratic voters who voted for Bush (308,000).

It’s time to put that zombie lie to bed.

44

The Raven 04.16.16 at 2:44 am

Sebastian H@19: “Dealing with the finance class and foreign affairs.”
I would have expected (if I had thought about it at all) that as a conservative you would be aligned with her. Where do you differ?

Adam@45: “I prefer Hillary’s position on issues to Bernie Sanders.”
Which issues in particular?

45

Plume 04.16.16 at 2:45 am

Alan @47,

Logically, you could make a very weak case that in the race for governor of one state, a Third Party candidate played an important role as “spoiler.” But it’s still very weak, logically, because the real “what ifs” are going to be much greater when it comes to Republican and Democratic voters — if for no other reason than their numerical dominance. That’s just math.

But it’s impossible to make the case, logically or mathematically, that one state in 50 could ever be decisive, because no one state is enough on its own to win the election. You get to 270 via cumulative totals for all 50 states. Bush won 30 to get there. Gore only won 20 states and DC and lost. Play that what-if game with any state, keep Florida as a Bush win, and Gore takes the presidency. The very fact of its closeness — 271-266 electoral college votes — makes any state the potential “spoiler” state, which means no one state can claim this. If it can be any state, it’s no state in particular. Obviously.

You need 270 total, in any combination that works, with or without Florida. And if Gore takes Florida, but loses other states he previously won, Bush still wins.

It’s bad enough to play what ifs, but to cherry pick them to fit snugly within a predigested and extremely limited model? Only Florida? And only with regard to Nader? Sheeesh. It’s beyond absurd. And whether people realize it or not, it’s propaganda in support of freezing out third parties, and therefore anti-democratic.

Again, “what if” those 308,000 Democrats (in Florida) voted for their own party’s nominee instead of Bush? Hell, what if just 270 of those Democrats did? Nader’s existence in the race is cancelled out. Gore wins. Or the 52% of Democrats who couldn’t be bothered to vote at all? Again, if you’re going to play “what if” games, then at least play a fair number of them.

46

Peter T 04.16.16 at 2:48 am

“unmoored from concern for technocratic competence’

What technocratic competence would that be? Middle Eastern foreign policy? Welfare “reform”? Financial de-regulation? Trade policy? It’s an essential to have a grasp of what’s technically possible, but that’s very little guide to what’s actually desirable.

I’ve been following US policy in the Middle east, and two things stand out:

1. The extent to which obvious but unpalatable facts are routinely ignored or glossed over in the Washington discourse. The minutiae of US choices are explored at length, but everyone else is seen as a stereotype waiting to play their assigned role. There’s a brief moment of indignant surprise when the other actors depart from the script, but then the conversation resumes as if it had not happened. In foreign policy, the US is captive to its own delusions.

2. The very limited command the President actually has. In Syria, for instance, State, CIA and Pentagon are all pursuing different, often opposed, policies. The president is less commander than conductor of an orchestra where the percussion is playing Wagner, the strings Mozart and the woodwinds Mahler. Concentrated attention on one or two areas can produce something like music, but you can never get the whole thing together.

47

LFC 04.16.16 at 2:55 am

@ Alan White
acknowledgement of the least worst circumstances obtaining given realistic counterfactual alternatives.

Yes.

48

harry b 04.16.16 at 3:39 am

On the Wisconsin thing.
In 2004, some very large number of people in Wisconsin voted for Bush for President and for Feingold for Senate. Maybe 300,000? (I’m not bothering to look it up, but it was a shockingly large number). Some of them for sure voted for Sanders in the primary, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they also voted for Bradley (the supreme court judge). Its unreasonable to blame Sanders and his supporters for winning over some Republicans (we have an open primary). Its also unfair because… well, with the two primaries being a big deal plenty of people probably didn’t know which justice was which (I barely did, and probably wouldn’t have done if the liberal wasn’t somebody who had run before). Odd, to have supreme court justices elected, especially during a presidential primary (assuming the supreme court justice elections are partisan, which they are in all but name).

49

Alan White 04.16.16 at 3:43 am

Plume–

“The very fact of its closeness — 271-266 electoral college votes — makes any state the potential “spoiler” state, which means no one state can claim this. If it can be any state, it’s no state in particular.”

But counterfactually your claim is consistent with many accounts: any such from any state that could have made the difference by electoral count. After that matter of logical possibility the next question is which of those possible scenarios most reliably tracks actual history. I don’t think this is very contentious: the actual world came down to Florida. I even grant your argument that Dem votes outweigh the matter of Nader votes in that case–I’ll not contest that. *Given* the third party Nader run in the counterfactual scenarios in FL, your arguments are good enough. But back-trackers who run the counterfactuals to earlier states of affairs (Nader not running) also have a point. It all comes down to the matter of *when* relevant counterfactuals are applied and thus assessed. Temporal contexts of counterfactual scenarios of actual history are inseparable from how they are assessed as strong or relevant.

50

medrawt 04.16.16 at 4:42 am

Plume –

I apologize heartily for saying “various” when I should’ve said “a couple”. My memory isn’t what it was, you know.

In any case, I still claim that “It’s an article of faith among Democrats today that it was all Nader’s fault” does not accurately describe my experience at the Nader Effigy Immolations I’ve attended. As previously: I cannot comment on the universe of people you’ve talked to, only on the universe of people I’ve talked to. I’m perfectly willing to believe there are people in the world whose views you accurately describe. The world is full of people who don’t understand a wide variety of topics! But it does not accurately describe me, or anyone I take seriously, or I suspect most of the people against whom you’ve advanced these points at Crooked Timber.

It seems as if you’re treating the 2000 election like it’s the question of what really killed a man who appears to have simultaneously suffered a heart attack, a stabbing, and an asphyxiation, except you’ve got it backwards. In both instances (presuming the heart attack, stabbing, and asphyxiation were all sufficiently severe) it’s impossible to say that one thing and precisely one thing only caused the man’s death/Gore’s loss. But in the first instance, if you pull out one cause, the man still dies (and you’re cheerleading for the blameless heart attack!). In the latter, if you pull out one cause, Gore wins.

And the reason people who understand this may seem to fixate on Nader is … well, first of all, it’s because Nader ran for election again in 2004, and in 2008, and occasionally issues proclamations on what ills the American political system this time, and generally keeps reminding us of him (and we have a tendency to think he’s Wrong about a few things [various? maybe two!]). But it’s also because he seems to be very clear cut. Many people believe that if he simply had not been in the race, a sufficient number of his voters would have voted for Gore to turn the tide in at least one closely contested state won by Bush. (Maybe they’re wrong but I think it’s a rather complicated counterfactual to make.) This does not mean it is his fault, only his fault, all other souls blameless, Ralph Nader forever and uniquely damned by the sins of the Bush administration. But it’s the clearest cut counterfactual: what percentage more charismatic would Gore have needed to be to win the necessary votes in the necessary locations, bearing in mind he was persuasive enough to win a majority of the votes? Could a different running mate have tipped a specific state?* What percentage less credulous of Bush, and less mendacious about Gore, would the national newsmedia have to have been? What percentage more shame would the most shameable of the five Supreme Court justices, what percentage less dishonest or successful the voter supression schemes in Florida, what percentage of ballots without chad problems, what percentage of the various self-described Democrats you’re so fond of who voted for Bush for whatever reason?**

I don’t know. “Enough” is an accurate answer to most of those questions, but I don’t know what precisely would have been “enough”, and in what proportions. I am however very confident about what proportion of Nader would’ve produced the outcome I desired!

* Plume, I just today encountered a tangential discussion, on a liberal blog known for Nader-hating, of the counterfactual possibility that the right VP selection could have tipped New Hampshire to Gore and made the outcome in Florida irrelevant! Of course, it was observed that nobody a priori could have condoned the idea of making a VP selection for the specific strategic purpose of locking down freaking New Hampshire, especially since political science indicates VP candidates are very rarely influential in the outcome of the race, but still! Look! Live evidence that not all who curse the name of Nader curse him only! We also don’t like Joe Lieberman. (And a lot of other people. We’re not very nice.)

**Like I said up top, lots of people seem to not understand lots of things, and in this instance I’d say that goes for both me and them.

51

Lowhim 04.16.16 at 6:34 am

4) Well that’s sad.

5) Yes, I would like to have the national security as faith looked at with more scrutiny ( I really do hope the younger generation is more hard-headed about it). Especially when Abu Ghraib was the least of the atrocities committed. And yes, I also think the obsession with torture, whatever it means to you, over, say, bombing a neighborhood full of civilians seems like a completely odd one. Ask the victims of a bomb if they consider it a crime. Ah well.

52

novakant 04.16.16 at 7:43 am

53

novakant 04.16.16 at 7:49 am

And once elected she is likely to repeat the exact same mistake in Syria:

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/04/15/defending-attack-libya-clinton-blames-obama-and-suggests-repeat-syria

Do you really want to vote for this person?

54

Hidari 04.16.16 at 7:54 am

@5 Those numbers did not fall from the sky. They were not given to us by God. They were compiled by human beings, with biases and presuppositions.

https://newleftreview.org/II/97/sanjay-reddy-rahul-lahoti-1-90-a-day-what-does-it-say

55

Soullite 04.16.16 at 9:25 am

If it were up to me, anyone who condescendingly mentioned Ralph Nader in 2016 would be put up against a wall and shot in the head for being a dishonest, bullying ass.

Obama has been too shitty for young people to make that argument. I’m not even sure, at this point, that McCain would have been worse. At least McCain had something inside of him beyond self-serving con artistry.

56

kidneystones 04.16.16 at 9:43 am

Excellent post, Corey, many thanks. Too many good points in the OP and in comments to note all. To push back slightly on the O and HRC bashing, it’s important to note that just about every promise made contained some weasel-worded get out of jail pass. The much-vaunted Gitmo pen-signing was accompanied by the asterisk appended that it would be nice to close Gitmo by the end of O’s first-term. Folks just chose not to hear that part. O’s record in the Senate, as I recall, was voting with the Dems 97 percent of the time which hardly made him a Feingold style liberal. Twas the ultimate irony that Russ went down defending the crap Affordable-Care Act for O, despite his own opposition to the monstrosity whilst O and HRC survived to crow another day. Needless to say, whatever people want to tell themselves about O’s opposition to the Iraq invasion, there was either an expiry date on that piece of wisdom, or he was simply taking a position he knew he’d never have to vote on, or defend. Once in office he killed plenty of folks and organized his own regime-changing stratergy. Dems are every bit as violent and despotic as Republicans a fact lost only on the Donkey crowd who’ve managed to convince themselves that Truman dropped nuclear weapons twice because of some peculiar mind-meld with Curtis LeMay, or out of some obscure form of Christian benevolence. Ditto all those fun experiments with flammable petroleum jelly on the civilian population of Japan with the war all but won. My own view since 2003 has been that if George Bush hadn’t existed, Dems would have to invent him. Under O we see the Dems true colors – a ‘pretty good economy’ where the richest get richer and everyone else gets screwed and all the aforementioned wars of choice. Bernie offers the possibility of real change and it’s far from a given that he’d lose. Folks are fed-up. Bernie is a good long way from a fool and likely to be far more pragmatic and open to reason than some may wish to allow.

As for Nader, he performed an invaluable service to Dems. There isn’t the slightest doubt in my mind that Gore and the Dem ‘brain-trust’ would have either done nothing, or replicated the Bush invasion of Iraq. Obama’s ‘shit-show’ in Libya is, as Corey notes, too similar to Bush’s to be mere coincidence. To understand the logic it might be best to recall Jonah Goldberg who observed that he didn’t much care if the US pulled out of Iraq and left a complete mess. The brown people would have learned their lesson – don’t mess with Uncle Sam.

My own take is somewhat different and is consistent, I think, with what many non-US citizens feel. A famous Canadian once noted that the Canadian-US relationship is a lot like a mouse being in bed with an elephant. Every time the elephant rolls around the mouse has a heart attack. I’ve observed before that the US only bombs the shit out of small, weak nations that can’t fight back. This is as true of Obama as it was of Bush.

O’s bloodless admission that he bombed the hell out of Libya but ‘forgot’ about the aftermath sends chills down the spine of every sane person outside the US. This is the Harvard-trained ‘smart guy’ and compassionate community leader discussing his war of choice as he’s describing some abstract mathematical proof that’s missing the required parts, rather than a ongoing debacle that has yet to show any sign of ending before, or after, he leaves office. That won’t cut into his and Michelle’s speaking fees, or make his 1 percent mansions in Hawaii and who knows where else any less comfortable. And somehow I don’t see O spending much time with the limbless, or painting schools in Africa once he leaves office.

Not his style.

57

MikeN 04.16.16 at 10:30 am

“what are you going to do, the next election cycle, when there’s no one, certainly no one of her talent or skills and level of organizational support, who’s able to articulate that kind of politics?”

Would that be after 4-8 years of a Clinton presidency, or 4-8 years of a Trump/Cruz one?

58

Lee A. Arnold 04.16.16 at 11:18 am

Adam Hammond #21: “Why is criticism from both the left and the right, while different in SO many ways, frequently condescending?”

I don’t see how they are different in “SO many ways”, but I believe the answer to be:

Because: They argue largely from emotions and buttress these with intellectual notions. They get stuck in their own theories. Neither side has any solutions. They want problems solved, already. They think they could do it better. They live in the past. They just learned how to type on a keyboard. They are drunk and/or stoned.

Thus a pox on both houses, etc.

Also, some of the people writing here could be campaign operatives.

I think that both Hillary and Bernie would be good Presidents.

Obama astounds me. A great on-the-job learner considering the pile of crap that was handed to him the moment he walked through the door of the Oval Office. He’s one of the better intellects who’s ever held the job.

59

Layman 04.16.16 at 11:37 am

“There isn’t the slightest doubt in my mind that Gore and the Dem ‘brain-trust’ would have either done nothing, or replicated the Bush invasion of Iraq.”

‘Done nothing’ as an alternative would have been a vast improvement. Besides, this is a statement about you, not Gore, and I must say the track record on your thinking isn’t entirely encouraging.

60

Layman 04.16.16 at 11:41 am

“Again, “what if” those 308,000 Democrats (in Florida) voted for their own party’s nominee instead of Bush?”

Again, Plume’s unitary theory of blame.

61

kidneystones 04.16.16 at 12:07 pm

@63 He’s a dunce. My own grades and those of just about everyone here (I’d guess) are considerably better. He speaks four or five fewer languages than Trump’s wife and by his own admission is unable to help his daughters with their high-school math.

His ‘poetry’ is crap, he might have written his own autobiographies, and he didn’t publish a single scholarly article despite being elected (not on any intellectual merits) as the ‘first black president of the Harvard Law review. http://www.nytimes.com/1990/02/06/us/first-black-elected-to-head-harvard-s-law-review.html

His Chicago dealings as the in-the-pocket pol of his good buddy, private banker, and prominent slum-lord Tony Rezko speak both to his greed and poor judgement. During the 2008 primaries ‘liberals’ learned not to question the ‘integrity’ of this grifter. But you can find plenty of well-researched articles detailing O’s links to Grove Parc Plaza (Valerie Jarrett) freezing tenants in unsafe apartments, and numerous examples of ‘you scratch my back’ quid pro quos: http://archive.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/06/27/grim_proving_ground_for_obamas_housing_policy/

He’s a gifted liar who managed to convince an astounding number of nominally sensible people around the globe that years of smoking dope, avoiding the library, and then scamming the poor made him uniquely qualified to clean-up the mess left by another lazy-ass Ivy-league fraud. Remember when liberals here last year assumed that conditions for African-Americans must have improved simply because O would look after his ‘own’.

The truth is O does. That’s the point.

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kidneystones 04.16.16 at 12:15 pm

@64 Fair points. I realize that nothing does look like a big improvement, but I suspect ‘we have to do something’ would have driven the Dems to ‘demonstrate to the world’ that when Americans suffer brown people in distant lands must die, guilt or innocent be damned. Or, as with O in Libya, the war of choice can be entirely recreational for those condemning others to death, cos we can. I still believe that most Americans would have given Bush a free pass for nuking Islamabad. History is likely to regard Bush’s decision to invade Iraq as a ‘moderate’ response to America’s need to ‘make somebody’ pay. As for my thinking, very well said.

63

medrawt 04.16.16 at 12:20 pm

Soullite –

At the risk of catching a headshot:

(1) I was born in 1982. For a person of my political leanings, it seems to me that Obama is clearly the best president of my lifetime, and either the best or second best president of my parents’ lifetimes. These are small sample sizes of presidenting, but then every POTUS sample size is small; there haven’t been fifty of them yet. Whom should I acclaim instead, as American presidents of my lifetime go?

(2) What exactly do you think is inside McCain? If possible, please connect it to the general tenor of McCain’s public behavior prior to the 2000 campaign, during the GWBush presidency, and during the Obama presidency. The ONLY thing I see worth applauding over that entire stretch of time is a continued steadfast opposition to the use of torture. (Which is admirable! And needed! And has had maybe not very much influence on his Republican colleagues!) Otherwise I see a politician who convinced quite a lot of people, including quite a lot of dreadful journalists, that he was a bold path-blazing truth teller beholden to none but his own conscience, without actually walking the walk, who rolled over and showed his belly like a good party member in the face of some reprehensible dirty campaigning against him in 2000 and revealed himself as a bitter old crank when the world just refused to line up his way in 2008. Whatever cross-aisle goodwill he earned previously in his career has not been apparent to me in the time I’ve been watching. He’s got an ear for a catchy tune, though. (Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran …)

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medrawt 04.16.16 at 12:25 pm

I wish to add: “[Obama’s] one of the better intellects who’s ever held the job” and “he’s a dunce*” are very very not mutually exclusive statements. Look at what we’ve had to work with.

* Though hopefully kidneystones recognizes that, outside of a very narrow slice of the world, this is a ludicrous thing to say.

65

Cheryl Rofer 04.16.16 at 12:32 pm

As I was reading #20, a shocking thought occurred to me: maybe our problems are not simply the fault of the dreaded Boomers! Please bear with my revisionist musings.

The disassembly of the social welfare system crafted by presidents FDR through LBJ began in earnest with the Reagan administration. As I recall it, The Youngs at the time felt that, for example, company pensions and even Social Security were silly paternalistic ideas that were thwarting their ability to play the stock market with their earnings. If they were freed to do that, they all would become fabulously wealthy, and the oppression of the government would be lifted. Those fabulous earnings would go to revitalizing the country’s industrial base and we would live happily ever after.

The Youngs in the 1980s were, I believe, Gen X rather than Boomers. I am not a scholar of that Generations thing, and I will leave the details to those who are.

Similarly, insurgent candidates tend to be supported by The Youngs, which probably was the case with Nader in 2000. By that time, the spoilers were definitely not Boomers, but much more Gen X.

This is not simply generational blame-shifting; I don’t much care what we call the generations that have hollowed out our political system. My point is that in every presidential election, we have a new crop of voters who recall less and less of the old animosities. This is good. That new crop of voters also cannot recall how idealism goes wrong. This is bad.

Those newer voters, not just those who have not voted in a presidential election before but a couple of those voting generations, will tend to make similar mistakes over and over again. There are a couple of posts upthread trying to see things from Millennials’ point of view, which is valuable in understanding how they are likely to make their mistakes in this election. It’s also valuable in extracting what they see as needing to be changed and why. We Olds need to do more of that.

Sanders’s views were formed in a much earlier time, the early 1960s, and seem to me to have continued relatively intact. What is old is new again, and he appeals to those Millennials. But those early 1960s views set the stage for the Boomer uprising of the late 1960s. I just hate having to see that learning curve repeated. But maybe it’s inevitable.

66

Layman 04.16.16 at 12:44 pm

kidneystones @ 67, again, your suspicions are, well, suspect. And 66 does nothing to enhance their credibility.

67

Layman 04.16.16 at 12:48 pm

“If it were up to me, anyone who condescendingly mentioned Ralph Nader in 2016 would be put up against a wall and shot in the head for being a dishonest, bullying ass.”

This is a sublime exercise in self-parody!

68

AcademicLurker 04.16.16 at 12:50 pm

The Youngs in the 1980s were, I believe, Gen X rather than Boomers.

This is incorrect. The most widely accepted definitions of Gen X include those born between the mid 60s and the early 80s (1966-1980 is the most common number I’ve seen, but there are variations). Under pretty much all definitions, basically no Gen Xers were eligible to vote in either the 1980 or 1984 elections (the “Reagan revolution”). About half would have been able to vote in ’88. The first presidential election in which Gen X was voting en mass gave us Clinton.

69

Cheryl Rofer 04.16.16 at 12:55 pm

@ 73, Ah, okay. As I said, I haven’t paid detailed attention to that Generations thing.

My arguments about The Youngs still stand.

70

AcademicLurker 04.16.16 at 1:00 pm

Cheryl Rofer@74:

Just to clarify, I’m not trying to let my own cohort off the hook. An annoying number of people around my age drank the dotcom/Wired Magazine koolaid and became technolibertarians, convinced that, because the knew basic HTML and a little Java, the durn gubmint was the only thing standing between them and the millions of dollars that were going to be dumped into their laps by John Galt’s Invisible Hand.

There’s plenty of blame to go around.

71

Corey Robin 04.16.16 at 1:01 pm

Ronan(rf) at 29 and 30, and oldster at 31:

So the passage in question begins “By his own admission,” and on “admission,” there’s a link. If you click on the link, you’ll see precisely what the mistake is that Obama — “by his own admission” — believes me made. And if you click on that link, you’ll see that that is precisely the same mistake that George W. Bush made. Namely, not planning for the long aftermath — and reconstruction — of a military operation in which a government is overthrown.

But, you say, how can I expect you to click on a link? That’s too much to ask!

But ah, I anticipated you both. In the VERY NEXT PARAGRAPH, I open with this: “Obama’s admission that his failure to plan for a post-reconstruction Libya…”

So that’s the very same mistake, you see: the failure to plan for the aftermath.

So, oldster, before you start giving me lectures about “sloppy expression” and “really, really, sloppy thinking,” just take a moment to either click on the link or, you know, read to the next paragraph. Lest you be accused of “really, really, sloppy reading.”

72

kidneystones 04.16.16 at 1:05 pm

@69 Thanks for this. Went back to check and the evidence points one way – down. The basics are these. His grades at Occidental and Columbia are still top secret. His admissions cohort at Columbia pre-law was among the worst. During a period of rampant grade-inflation for minority candidates, he failed to reach honors level at Columbia. In my undergraduate program the bar for honors was 75% cumulative GPA. The only number that pops up is 2.6, but let’s set that unconfirmed number to the side.

So, maybe he got real smart at Harvard where the average grade is now ‘A’. Looking at the academic evidence: there is no evidence. Nor, does O seem to have made a great deal of money in business. He is evidently an excellent sports handicapper, so he is not entirely without intellectual gifts. Doesn’t read or speak a second language despite numerous claims to the contrary. My take: he’s a B student, but smart enough to keep his mouth shut when his true intellectual measure might be taken.

He’s won twice and is a gifted politician which makes him at least as clever as Dubya and Reagan. So, there’s that. I find it easier to think of O as a kind of Bush, but without Dubya’s integrity and intellectual curiosity.

73

kidneystones 04.16.16 at 1:15 pm

@72 Got to go. Your demonstrable reluctance to actually address any of the points I raise imperfectly and otherwise suggests you don’t have much in the way of opposing arguments to offer. I can’t recall a single positive remark from you on any topic (not that I’m complaining). I mention this only to raise the possibility that either I’m always entirely wrong, or that you’ve no interest in ever pointing out instances where I might be right. If I’ve erred in this respect, please accept my sincere apologies. Footie beckons!

74

Ronan(rf) 04.16.16 at 1:23 pm

The failure to engage seriously in post war reconstruction was *not* exactly the same in both administrations. The post war reconstruction initially favoured by the Bush administration (hollowing out the state, de baathification, market reforms) was his administrations preferred ideological response to a post authoritarian political system.
Obama’s failure is much more understandable as a president (if not admin) sceptical of intervention and nation building who was responding to events and the pressure from allies. There are differences in how different admins approached nation building, these differences are important.
And it absolutely is a fair reading to to see you as implying that there was no difference in the intervention itself, because you then go on to quote a long piece about “the ideology of national security”, which afaict has little to do with the nation building question (and Libya was not sold as a national security situation to the same extent as Iraq.)
I didn’t support either war, Fwiw

75

Layman 04.16.16 at 1:54 pm

“Obama’s failure is much more understandable as a president (if not admin) sceptical of intervention and nation building who was responding to events and the pressure from allies. “

I think, more directly: Obama did learn a lesson from Iraq, and that lesson was ‘don’t embed tens or hundreds of thousands of soldiers in a quagmire indefinitely’. Once you take that decision, fixing post-revolution Libya is pretty much off the table. Not the same mistake as Bush in Iraq at all.

76

oldster 04.16.16 at 2:02 pm

Sorry, Corey, that response is hopeless.

Two very different things do not become “the exact same thing” simply because you can find some descriptive phrase, however general, that applies to both.

Otherwise, we can play this game all day: Corey Robin is doing *the exact same thing* as Hitler, i.e. “acting in the public sphere.” Are you denying that you act in the public sphere? Are you denying that Hitler acted in the public sphere? Then you are doing the exact same thing as Hitler!!!

This is why scale, consequences, and intentions are relevant to making analytical judgments, instead of sweeping rhetorical pronouncements.

But I should have remembered that it is not worth engaging with you: you are an essentially rhetorical thinker, not an analytical one, and your rhetoric sweeps you away.

I’ll try not to do the exact same thing in the future.

77

Layman 04.16.16 at 2:05 pm

@ kidneystones: “I mention this only to raise the possibility that either I’m always entirely wrong, or that you’ve no interest in ever pointing out instances where I might be right.”

In this instance, I’d say you’re not even wrong. You present no evidence as if it were evidence, and rattle off a string of insults as a conclusion.

Anyone who seriously offers this: ” I find it easier to think of O as a kind of Bush, but without Dubya’s integrity and intellectual curiosity.”

.. Is quite possibly the kind of person who is always entirely wrong. On the other hand, maybe you’re just the kind of person who lets your invective run you into stupid statements like this. One can hope!

78

CharleyCarp 04.16.16 at 2:07 pm

I’m not excusing the intervention in Libya, but there is a big difference, in the responsibility to plan for the aftermath, between (a) intervening on one side in an ongoing civil war and (b) starting a war of conquest, without local allies of any kind. It’s true that in pursuing policy (a) you’re captive to the war aims and capabilities of your local allies, and if you get stuck with a Karzai, or, worse, whoever we thought would take over in Libya, well, that’s what you signed up for. Pursue policy (b) and you have to have thought it through yourself, because there isn’t a local partner.

On the Nader subthread, it doesn’t seem to me that most people on my side of that argument are saying that Naderism was the sole cause of Gore’s defeat, but that it was (a) an avoidable cause and (b) based on a chimera. And the constant repeat of the proposition that there’s no material difference between the parties makes that latter aspect of the argument evergreen.

79

Ronan(rf) 04.16.16 at 2:22 pm

From Toby dodge (an actual expert on Iraq with extensive links within the Iraqi elite and US fp community)

“The invasion of Iraq.. was launched to fulfil a clear ideological agenda..In the aftermath of war the Iraqi state would be subject to a thorough going reform programme driven by the central tenets of neo liberal ideology. In the aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s removal, the fruits of this liberation would be guaranteed by the root and branch reform of the Iraqi state. The application of neo liberal prescriptions would transform the state and radically reduce the role it was allowed to play in both Iraqi society and the economy. Thus both the invasion and reconstruction of Iraq were shaped by an unabashed ideological vision. “

80

steven johnson 04.16.16 at 2:41 pm

Sanders’ supporters case against Hillary is the same case Obama’s supporters made against her in 2008. Everybody knows how that worked out. It’s not like they didn’t know. When Obama shook Bush’s hand over TARP, everybody knew, but they voted for him anyway. Obama took advantage of a gigantic groundswell of support for positive change in a country sick of Bush and stunned by the economic crisis. His very election was a symbolic rejection of racism by the majority of those voting. Then he of course did nothing.

The question of course, is why should we think Sanders will be any different. And the answer provided by his career, is, there is none. There is a record of ineffective support for a handful of modest reforms combined with a commitment to US imperialism. Sanders’ KISS domestic program is, break up the bad banks. We are left to imagine which are the bad banks, which makes this a dead letter before it’s even posted. But if by some miracle it was even remembered (much less enacted,) it wouldn’t really change very much. (My KISS domestic program is, kill all the billionaires.) Sanders’ KISS foreign affairs program is, steady on. (Mine is, crimes against peace trials, aka the Potomac will run red.)

It seems likely to me that Sander’s is more likely to be Jacobin’s American SYRIZA, the glorious uprising of the True Left, stripped of all that old leftist dogma, whose inevitable betrayal is the death blow. Obama Nation nearly finished off the leftish revulsion against Bush and all he stood for. Since the Left, as represented by Obama, has no intention of making real change, people will turn to the Caesarian (in the popularis sense,) Trump. Or even worse, they will turn to the cryptofascist Cruz.

And the larger part of what’s called the left, from Jacobin on, are first and foremost post-McCarthyists, people who start from the premise the old left is the greatest enemy.
Of course they like to pretend that’s just all irrelevant history, that they aren’t signing on to the great purge of American politics. Unfortunately, that makes them the equivalent of people who try to claim that the issues in the American Revolution and the Civil War are just dead history.

The thing is, you can’t vote against a candidate or a policy. The notion you can is as cherished as the gamblers’ fallacy, but still: You can only vote for a candidate. And in the US system there is only a small number of policy differences, most largely symbolic. The main policies are not up for electoral affirmation. Voting for Sanders is not a vote against Clintonian politics. Voting for Clinton is not a vote against fascism.

81

lemmy caution 04.16.16 at 3:02 pm

some breakfast orders:

Bush-spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, spam and spam
Obama- egg, bacon, spam and sausage
h. clinton- spam, egg, sausage and spam

82

Corey Robin 04.16.16 at 3:16 pm

oldster at 81: “I’ll try not to do the exact same thing in the future.”

I would very much appreciate that.

83

ZM 04.16.16 at 4:15 pm

From the OP — 5. “Some liberals will criticise this war, others that one, but no one has ever written a book entitled ‘The End of National Security’. This despite the millions killed in the name of security”

I haven’t finished reading the thread yet, but just wanted to comment on this. In late 2013 I heard for the first time a defence expert talk about “human security” at a climate change lecture, since then I have listened out for this term and looked it up, and within the defence community there are people saying ideas of national security should give way to ideas about “human security”. So there are voices calling for the end of national security, I think someone should steal your title for a book on human security.

84

Plume 04.16.16 at 4:39 pm

@65,

“Unitary theory”? No, that would be you and others of your ilk, with your insistence that it’s all Nader’s fault. I’m saying there are waaaaay too many variables (as in, millions of them) in any national election to pin a loss on just one of them, and it is especially dumb to single out just one state, and just one third-party run within that one state as the culprit. Fifty states plus are involved, and all the variables within those states and between them and surrounding them, with no one state possessing the magical ability necessary to ever be “decisive.” It is quite literally impossible, mathematically, logically, physically, under the electoral college system.

Presidential elections are won via cumulative totals for all 50 states. Again, if you’re talking about a governor’s race, in one state, you might be able to muster a very weak argument that a third party was “decisive,” but it still would be very weak. In any national election it’s down right begging for supernatural intervention.

85

The Temporary Name 04.16.16 at 4:51 pm

No, that would be you and others of your ilk, with your insistence that it’s all Nader’s fault.

Of course it isn’t all Nader’s fault. But “no Nader, no Bush” is true. There are people responsible for that.

86

Plume 04.16.16 at 4:53 pm

Corey,

Along with “Magical Realism,” I think another good term for what you describe is “crackpot realism,” which goes back to C. Wright Mills.

Good article from Naked Capitalism about this . . . . and apologies in advance if you’ve already used this in your writings:

The Crackpot Realism of Clintonian Politics

87

Plume 04.16.16 at 5:02 pm

@90,

“Of course it isn’t all Nader’s fault. But “no Nader, no Bush” is true. There are people responsible for that.”

Actually, no. It’s not at all true. Even if we just play that ludicrous cherry-picking game of limiting the “what ifs” to just Florida and just Nader. Exit polling showed that without a Nader run, Bush would have won more votes in Florida than he did with the Nader run.

But, again, if you can remove Nader from the equation, why not remove other variables that helped Gore? It’s lopsided thinking and silly not to. The world doesn’t work that way. Math and logic don’t work that way. Even counterfactuals don’t work that way. It’s just ridiculous to single out one variable among millions and do nothing about all the others. Grab hold of this one because it fits the narrative, but ignore all the others?

Those other variables could easily wipe out any potential gains from the absence of a Nader run — and, again, in Florida, exit polls showed his absence would have actually hurt Gore.

Again, it’s a cumulative process. No one state can be decisive — much less, a third party run in that one state. In short, Election 2000 was waaaaay bigger than just Florida, and Florida was waaaay bigger than just Nader.

88

LFC 04.16.16 at 5:42 pm

On the question of Obama’s intellect (derided by kidneystones) here’s a little story: A former high government official, technocrat-type w responsibility for budget issues, spoke w virtually every Senator when he/she took office to brief them on federal budget matters. A close relative of mine met that former official in a social setting. Asked which Senator impressed him most in terms of questions posed etc., the official answered: Obama.

89

Sebastian H 04.16.16 at 5:51 pm

“Of course it isn’t all Nader’s fault. But “no Nader, no Bush” is true. There are people responsible for that”

That is essentially true of about any group of about 1,000 Democratic leaning possible voters in Florida. The set of people who just didn’t feel like it that day is almost certainly well over that threshold.

90

LFC 04.16.16 at 5:56 pm

I tend to agree, at least mostly, with ronan @79. (Unfortunately don’t have time to get into these issues right now.)

91

Layman 04.16.16 at 6:24 pm

“That is essentially true of about any group of about 1,000 Democratic leaning possible voters in Florida. The set of people who just didn’t feel like it that day is almost certainly well over that threshold.”

Sure; so I can blame them too. There are lots of people I can blame for Bush, and Nader voters are among that group.

92

someguy88 04.16.16 at 7:00 pm

Why are black voters rejecting socialism? No idea. But I would guess, that since black folk generally get kicked in the nuts by life more than white folk, they want to win more in Nov, than you do. Just a guess. In general they are much more risk averse.

93

novakant 04.16.16 at 7:20 pm

How about blaming Bush voters?

94

Yankee 04.16.16 at 7:35 pm

otpup #43 And why is Hilary supposed to be more liberal than her husband.

Bill triangulated If Hill is like Bill or has Bill on staff, she will likely govern more liberal than he because the base has shifted more liberal.

And the point about Nader as I see it was that the left was divided and therefore unable to pull its normative weight, which allowed Bush to tack towards Compassionate Conservatism and capture more of the center. A nice clean arguement around the issues leading to a sustainable platform is one thing. An actual fight for hegemony is another.

95

mrearl 04.16.16 at 7:47 pm

Wikipedia (I know, I know, but it’s convenient to hand):

In the 2000 presidential election in Florida, George W. Bush defeated Al Gore by 537 votes. Nader received 97,421 votes, which led to claims that he was responsible for Gore’s defeat. Nader, both in his book Crashing the Party and on his website, states: “In the year 2000, exit polls reported that 25% of my voters would have voted for Bush, 38% would have voted for Gore and the rest would not have voted at all.”[18]

Do the math, and Nader’s a but-for cause. But that’s the most you can say with any confidence, what with the hanging chad and all.

If people would just quit believing, and saying, that Bernie can’t win, then he could win. So let’s get behind that Magical Realism thing. And a pony.

96

Suzanne 04.16.16 at 8:16 pm

@25: I agree. DNC-style politics came about as a reaction to the McGovern debacle and it would be great to see the party finally emerging from that defensive crouch if the circumstances are right for it,and there is reason to believe they will be.

Sanders was having a hard time at the “debate” the other night pointing to areas where he differs profoundly from Clinton. There’s more space between them than there was between Obama and Clinton (on some domestic issues she was actually slightly to Obama’s left), but it’s easy to see how a reasonable voter might decide she has more chops to win in the general and vote accordingly.

With regard to Obama’s intellect, I might paraphrase him and say, “You’re bright enough, Barack.” He’s plainly an intelligent, gifted, and thoughtful man. His dialogue with Marilynne Robinson didn’t demonstrate a lot of intellectual depth from either party. I’ve also never seen him show the spectacular combination of glibness and wonkery that Bill Clinton displayed at the economic summit he held at the beginning of his first term. But in comparison to any of his rivals save Hillary he’s an intellectual colossus. When you think of how much worse the country might have done…..

@80: Obama is now reproaching himself for not having a post-intervention plan in place for Libya, apparently still not realizing that the intervention itself was the problem in that country. There is already discussion in the Administration about going back into Libya, with a view to pursuing ISIS. No, large numbers of American groups are not on the table, but a special ops war is quite likely.

97

Foster Boondoggle 04.16.16 at 8:35 pm

On Magical Thinking – there’s quite a lot of it on display here regarding the Obama presidency. As though Obama, by virtue of all of his unconventional qualities, could have acted outside the system that he was elected to lead, somehow bypassing all of the institutional barriers to presidential action. You know – by magic.

Regarding Nader, my point at 28 was not that Nader cost Gore the election, though he clearly did (about which Plume is energetically and incomprehensibly argumentative, in spite of the straightforward evidence – e.g., mrearl @ 100), but rather that the arguments against HRC and for BS sound an awful lot like those made by Naderites – that Gore and Bush were indistinguishable. The current version is that HRC (like Obama) is really just a moderate Republican. Since there aren’t actually any moderate Republicans left it’s hard to know what to make of this claim. But it gives license to those who see Bernie as an avatar of radical change, for what would likely be a pyrrhic vote to make him the nominee. That is, “a vote for Hillary is a vote for the Establishment”. Just like Gore.

98

The Temporary Name 04.16.16 at 8:39 pm

Actually, no. It’s not at all true. Even if we just play that ludicrous cherry-picking game of limiting the “what ifs” to just Florida and just Nader. Exit polling showed that without a Nader run, Bush would have won more votes in Florida than he did with the Nader run.

Gee, in that case I couldn’t blame Nader and his followers. In the existing world I can.

99

mdc 04.16.16 at 9:05 pm

Why does kidneystones use the term “O”?

100

Ted K 04.16.16 at 9:09 pm

@59
Unfortunately I cannot see the article you linked to because it is behind a paywall. I did take a look at this working paper from the same authors which I presume their New Left Review article is about:
http://www.economicpolicyresearch.org/econ/2015/NSSR_WP_252015.pdf
It looks like they argue for using a different (higher) poverty line and find that there are more people under a higher poverty line.

Table 7 of their working paper shows the proportion of people in poverty over time using the authors’ preferred metrics. It shows a dramatic decrease in world poverty since 1980 (that is as far back as they go).

The title of Table 7 should be, “Reminder: Liberalism is Working”. Thank you for pointing me to yet another piece of evidence showing the dramatic gains to the poorest people in the world from modern economic growth.

101

bruce wilder 04.16.16 at 9:26 pm

“Blame Nader in Florida” distracts people from the fact that a proper recount was not conducted. The only legitimate course would have been to (re)count the whole State. The result of the first and preliminary count was well within the margin of error for the ordinary process of vote counting, which fails to count a fair number of otherwise valid votes for what amount to purely technical reasons. A recount would have resolved some of those anomalies producing a more accurate count. But, the political and legal process was not able to make that happen. The legitimacy of elections was effectively cast aside.

My problem with those who blame Nader is that that argument becomes an excuse for not defending the legitimacy of elections, a legitimacy that rests on counting the vote. That argument is a signal of apathy, a signal of acquiescence in the numerous schemes to automate election fraud while suppressing registration and voting by targetable minorities.

102

The Temporary Name 04.16.16 at 9:36 pm

“Blame Nader in Florida” distracts people from the fact that a proper recount was not conducted. The only legitimate course would have been to (re)count the whole State.

I agree. That was a Gore screwup if I recall correctly, as he and his team chose a certain amount of counties they thought were to his advantage. Getting to the point of recount, though, is another blame Nader moment (without omitting other finger-pointy opportunities of course).

103

Robespierre 04.16.16 at 9:38 pm

@95:

I think it’s because 90% of electoral politics is convincing people you are on their team. The Clinton campaign successfully painted Sanders as an old white guy out of touch with race problems (totally unlike Clinton) and Clinton as an ally, Sanders gave too little, too late pushback on the subject, and it has worked.

104

Plume 04.16.16 at 9:58 pm

Foster @102,

How is that “evidence”? The only way to make it “evidence” is to completely ignore the other 49 states, with their umpteen gazillion critical variables, the system itself, the way the electoral college operates, the media, etc. etc. . . . and ignore the myriad variables in play even within Florida. It is not “proof” that Nader cost Gore the election, unless you set it up that way by ruling all other variables out of bounds. Kind of like conservatives and propertarians, when it comes to tax cuts and their supposedly uniquely magical ability to be the ONLY thing that matters if the economy does well.

So, yeah, if you say none of the myriad, critical variables in all 50 states, plus the election system itself count except for Nader’s run in Florida, of course you “win.” Happy?

105

Bruce Wilder 04.16.16 at 10:33 pm

BB @ 112

Once you have your head so far up your fundament that you give up on counting in favor of the Fox News projection, the legitimacy of electoral democracy is gone and past retrieval.

TTN @ 109

Gore and his campaign did screw up, imho, but my point remains that detailed analysis of the play-by-play that overlooks that what was at stake was the sacred legitimacy of the vote misses the meaning of the episode.

Republicans have ridden the issues brought to consciousness by the events of 2000 to press an agenda of subversion and suppression. And, they get very little effective pushback.

106

Rich Puchalsky 04.16.16 at 10:58 pm

The only relevance that Nader-blaming now has is sacramental. “Sacred legitimacy” is all too accurate. The more ineffective something is in reality, the more it has to be defended as vastly important and the more doubters and heretics have to be scorned. Actually effective things don’t have to be defended in this way.

And again, I’m not particularly chiding liberals about this. I see it from all sides. An example is the ritual statements that even if Sanders loses (and really, he’s already lost) he still accomplished a good deal by his candidacy. Which is what, exactly? That politics will not go back to how they were? I heard the same things after every loss. After Occupy was crushed, we had supposedly increased the salience of income inequality and banker issues. Which led to what, exactly? It’s always in the interest of movement builders to say that a loss prepares the way for a win later, but the neoliberal machine is a machine for ignoring symbolic victories.

107

UserGoogol 04.16.16 at 11:22 pm

Plume: Things have multiple causes. If the people who voted for Nader voted for Gore, Gore would have won. If even only a moderate majority of Nader voters had swung to Gore, that would have made the difference. The fact that there were other factors at play doesn’t change the basic arithmetic of the situation. If Gore had managed to persuade just a few more people to vote for him, not just in Florida but in a variety of other close states, Gore would have won. If Sandra Day O’Connor or Anthony Kennedy had joined the dissenters in saying that the recount shouldn’t just be stopped as it was, Gore could have won. (That depends on how the subsequent recount would have went, of course.) If Democratic voters hadn’t been removed from the ballot rolls, or if the ballot was better designed, or if people who voted for the Socialist party candidate voted for Gore, that also could have made a difference, although again we’re in more ambiguous territory. But all of those factors would have been rather alleviated if Nader voters had voted for Gore instead.

Of course, we might then ask why single out Ralph Nader, when all these people have blood on their hands. (We can’t forget the people who voted for George W. Bush in the first place, they’re very blameworthy!) Some of the people in question caused Bush to win because they thought he was the best candidate. That makes them wrong, but there’s not a whole lot we can do to stop that. If we could just convince conservatives they shouldn’t be conservatives, politics would be a whole lot easier. Other people caused Bush to win because they were genuinely trying to get Gore to win, but did not try hard enough. There we can certainly criticize them, and there’s lessons we should learn from the mistakes of the Gore campaign, but at the end of the day running a political campaign is hard work and they were trying their best. Nader voters on the other hand made a rather predictable strategic mistake. If there were Nader voters who just didn’t think Gore was a lesser evil at all, then they’re in the same category as Bush voters, they have a different of opinion which can’t be easily resolved. But quite a lot of Nader voters did think Gore was a lesser evil, but felt that voting for the person who in many cases even they admitted probably wasn’t going to win was a worthwhile decision. I think a person like that should be able to look at what happened next and think maybe they made a mistake. And Ralph Nader the human being shares a particular segment of blame, for the same reasons but magnified by quite a lot.

108

bob mcmanus 04.16.16 at 11:57 pm

Good Christ, are we arguing 2000 and Nader again?

Puchalsky has it right in 115, although I would and have gone further and say the Naderite blaming is exactly the same serves the same purposes and is used by the same kind of people …

…as the Dolchstoßlegende argument in 20s Germany. Authoritarian bullying and intimidation and you are much better off and morally superior standing with the Nader voters than with those types. It is about time we told the lesser evil war apologists like Clinton and Lemieux and the “center-left” ( they’re conservatives) Obamabots to fuck the hell off, now and in November.

At least I know better than turn my back to Ted Cruz.

109

Plume 04.17.16 at 12:04 am

“Blood on their hands.” The real problem with this line of thinking, especially coming from supposed “progressive” Democrats, is that Democrats have at least as much “blood on their hands” as Republicans, if you look at American history. At least as much. And that runs through the decades, right up to the present day. Slavery, Native American genocide, Jim Crow, endless wars, endless coups and covert battles on behalf of plutocrats. Then and now.

So the real people with “blood on their hands” aren’t the folks who worked hard to end the stranglehold of the duopoly — some of whom voted for Nader — but the people who keep voting for Democrats and Republicans, in election after election, including 2000.

And that non-Bush vote? Why would anyone in their right mind assume that Gore was entitled to those votes? Gore was the nominee of the other war party, the other party in favor of endless imperialism and empire. Gore ran as a Democrat, and the Democratic Party has the blood of tens of millions on its hands, just like the Republican Party.

Guess what? The Green Party has NO blood on its hands. None. Then or now. It had (in 2000) and still has an antiwar platform, a pro-labor platform, a pro-environment platform, an anti-empire platform, and has never held power. Both wings of the duopoly, OTOH, are rabid warmongers, imperialists and capitalist piggies, who haven’t earned anyone’s vote, really, other than the 1%’s. And they’ve been running the show for a century and a half.

It’s time for Democrats, especially those who consider themselves to be “progressives,” to stop living and promulgating the lie that strategic voting is so critical. Both parties are so corrupt, so destructive of human life and the planet, so beholden to the richest of the rich, the only way out is stop the insanity, which means stop voting for Republicans or Democrats.

It wasn’t Nader who gave us Bush. It was all the Democrats and Republicans who voted for the duopoly instead of leftist alternatives.

110

harry b 04.17.16 at 12:07 am

OK, I’ll jump in. Sure, Nader voters who thought Gore was the lesser evil share the blame. But, let’s not leave out the large number of loyal Democrats who opposed Clinton’s impeachment (and let’s not leave out Clinton!) despite the fact that it would have led to Gore being an incumbent in 2000, and that Gore would be, as he then was, seriously wounded by having to run with Clinton over his shoulder; and the millions of primary voters (and the DNC establishment) who went for the seriously wounded (and, even when unwounded, unappealing) Gore in the primary when a perfectly good alternative was available.There’s just a lot of blame to go round, and I think plume, and others, get a bit miffed when they are singled-out self-righteously by people whom they suspect may be just as much to blame. (I’m definitely not accusing UserGoogol of self-righteousness — quite the contrary, that was an excellent, and measured, response).

111

Plume 04.17.16 at 12:09 am

Rich @115,

Good comment.

And this:

“The more ineffective something is in reality, the more it has to be defended as vastly important and the more doubters and heretics have to be scorned. Actually effective things don’t have to be defended in this way.”

Reminds me of religious indoctrination. If the message really were so amazingly wise and wonderful, why is it necessary to hammer it into people’s skulls week after week after week, year after year, etc. etc.? It’s a sign of desperation, insecurity and weakness that the endless drone of religious indoctrination must keep on keeping on. Of course, in America, politics and the love of capitalism have long since taken on that religious dimension, that fear of relaxing the onslaught of propaganda for one thin second, lest people wake up and think for themselves, become independent for a change.

112

bob mcmanus 04.17.16 at 12:09 am

Get your historical analogies right.

Many of us here are the communists and socialists.

Cruz Trump and Republicans are monarchists and traditionalists.

LGM Obamabots and Clintonites are not exactly the Christian Democrats are they?

By their fanatical identity politics ye shall know them. I’m not kidding.

(Contest for role of Ilsa She-Wolf goin’ on over there)

113

Barry 04.17.16 at 12:11 am

Plume 04.16.16 at 9:58 pm

“It wasn’t Nader who gave us Bush. It was all the Democrats and Republicans who voted for the duopoly instead of leftist alternatives.”

That’s ridiculous. You’re basically excusing what you and your guys did, on account of the fact that if the world was totally different, that would not have happened.

114

RNB 04.17.16 at 12:12 am

Problem I have with Clinton: did she support an unconstitutional coup in Honduras? Also: while I tend to favor trade and the globalization of production, I did not like Clinton’s initial response to it, which was to discourage companies from inversions or global outsourcing primarily by promising to claw back any tax subsidy that the company may have received in the past. I would characterize this response as neo-liberal in that it basically leaves the market alone and keeps the state at bay, and I don’t think this proposal would really stop the displacement of workers, leaving the need for a real strategy.

Not convinced by the criticism of her role in the Libyan intervention. She has repeatedly said that things would have been worse had Qaddafi who was already striking out in the most violent ways been left to fight for control in a country in which he had already lost a significant percentage of territory to rivals. This was not a fabricated threat as with WMD. She has said many times the number of people have died in Syria than in Libya where the dictator was ousted. It seems that Juan Cole who is one of the most important and well-informed critics of US foreign policy agreed with her. Clinton and Obama blame the present terrible situation on the US allies that lobbied for US assistance in protecting rebels against Qaddafi only to abandon the new Libyan army after elections had been held.

But even with the chaos that has descended on the country Clinton insists that the situation would have been worse had Qaddafi remained in power. She may be wrong about this, but she is not being refuted.

I continue to be surprised that people treat Sanders as an incorruptible man of (legal American) people compared to Clinton who his supporters think of as a corporate ….

But Sanders voted for the deregulation of derivatives. He voted for the Iraq Regime Change Act. He voted for the Crime Bill. He has supported the use of drones; he has never even suggested that he would cut off any aid to Israel or deprive it of any weapons system since after all he supports Israel 100%, yet he is treated as a champion of the Palestinian people.

As I understand it, he did not call for the nationalization of the banks during the financial crisis but recommended that be allowed to go bankrupt, which was an irresponsible position that would have hurt tens of millions of innocent people. His positions on trade would be terrible for poor people in the world. His vote against the legalization of 12 million people is inexcusable. His gun votes are horrible. He is terribly opaque in explaining how he would break up the banks and explaining why that would solve the problem, at least more effectively than Clinton’s proposals would.

I would think that this is a debate about candidates who have different flaws. Clinton has clear flaws and to the extent that she has corrected past mistakes it is due to popular pressure being put on the Democratic Party. I would get into why I think she is clearly more electable against a Republican Party who will be focused on destroying the Democratic nominee with probably over half a billion dollars.

115

Barry 04.17.16 at 12:14 am

bob mcmanus 04.16.16 at 11:57 pm
“Good Christ, are we arguing 2000 and Nader again?”

Yes, because we are seeing it from the more extreme Bernie Bros.

“Puchalsky has it right in 115, although I would and have gone further and say the Naderite blaming is exactly the same serves the same purposes and is used by the same kind of people …

…as the Dolchstoßlegende argument in 20s Germany. Authoritarian bullying and intimidation and you are much better off and morally superior standing with the Nader voters than with those types. It is about time we told the lesser evil war apologists like Clinton and Lemieux and the “center-left” ( they’re conservatives) Obamabots to fuck the hell off, now and in November.”

‘Morally superior standing’ is exactly what Nader and the Naderites claimed/claim. Do you not remember ‘not a dime’s worth of difference’?

As for back-stabbing, Nader stated that he wanted to ensure a Democratic defeat, and took certain actions (e.g., running in swing states) to do just that.

What then happened was *after* the loss in 2000, Nader and the Naderites had to lie like rugs to hide the fact that there was far more than a ‘dime’s worth of difference’.

116

The Temporary Name 04.17.16 at 12:20 am

and that Gore would be, as he then was, seriously wounded by having to run with Clinton over his shoulder

I remember listening to a speech by Gore at the height of the impeachment proceedings, and he didn’t play the stiff at all, giving a weirdly enthusiastic speech, including yelling and “woo-hoo” stuff for what he called (paraphrasing I’m sure) the greatest president America had ever seen. That remains the most excited I’ve ever heard him, and it always pained me that this joyous zeal was, as far as I know, for Bill Clinton alone.

117

Plume 04.17.16 at 12:23 am

Barry @122,

“That’s ridiculous. You’re basically excusing what you and your guys did, on account of the fact that if the world was totally different, that would not have happened.”

I don’t have to make excuses. Third party voters did absolutely nothing wrong. Last time I checked, we have a right in this country to vote for whomever we want, to vote our conscience, or not to vote at all. And last time I checked, the Democrats aren’t entitled to anyone’s vote, including the “not-Bush” voters in 2000. Those votes weren’t Gore’s by right.

In reality, those who voted leftist alternatives hold the higher moral ground, clearly. Not those who voted for Gore or Bush. They (the Greens and other leftist alternative voters) voted against the blood-soaked tide, endlessly recreated by both the Democrats and Republicans.

118

RNB 04.17.16 at 12:55 am

Not sure what the Naderite argument has been here. I think we should be wary of those like Nader who implied that there was no difference between a Clinton-like Democrat and the Republican nominee; indeed in 2000 some Naderites even suggested that the Democrat may be worse in some ways (e.g. more belligerent, less willing to run Keynesian deficits) or that there were “revolutionary” benefits in putting a Republican in office.

119

The Temporary Name 04.17.16 at 1:00 am

I don’t have to make excuses.

Apparently you do, at length, all the time.

120

The Temporary Name 04.17.16 at 1:04 am

FWIW I don’t have anything in particular against Sanders beyond standard guy-says-too-much-in-public-and-inevitably-fucks-up trivialities, and I’d say tarring him as a Nader-equivalent is a slur.

121

Plume 04.17.16 at 1:16 am

@129,

Apparently you can’t read, and don’t know what “make excuses” actually means.

Now, if you don’t want me to post again on the subject, don’t respond. Simple as that. It takes at least two to keep a dialogue going, and you’re trying to keep it going. So, what do you want? An attempt at the last word, over and over again, or an end to this sub-thread? Your choice.

122

Peter T 04.17.16 at 1:48 am

BB @ 127

Gee, this democracy thingy seems awfully hard for Americans. Registering voters? Too hard. Checking voters at polls off a list? Too hard. Providing polling places? Too hard. Recounting? Too hard. I see that, confronted with the horrible, horrible, difficulty of doing these things, many US states are close to abandoning the concept altogether as naive utopianism.

Here in Australia, when a few hundred ballots could not be found and the vote was close enough that they could have affected the result in one state, a new poll was held in that state (and the head of the electoral commission was sacked).

123

Layman 04.17.16 at 1:49 am

Bruce Wilder @ 108: “My problem with those who blame Nader is that that argument becomes an excuse for not defending the legitimacy of elections, a legitimacy that rests on counting the vote. “

But this is a false dichotomy. We don’t have to choose between ascribing blame to Nader and defending the legitimacy of elections. We can do both.

124

Layman 04.17.16 at 1:59 am

“Now, if you don’t want me to post again on the subject, don’t respond. Simple as that. It takes at least two to keep a dialogue going, and you’re trying to keep it going. So, what do you want? An attempt at the last word, over and over again, or an end to this sub-thread? Your choice.”

Good grief.

125

Jordan 04.17.16 at 2:21 am

Re #6 and #8:

#6: The headline says the majority of public school students are in poverty, but that’s not what the article says — it’s that the majority of public schools students are eligible for reduced-price or free lunch, a much bigger category. Last time I tried to work this out, it looked like about 40% of all American children, public-schooled or not, were eligible.

#8: As far as I can see, this charge against Sanders voters came from the DecisionDeskHQ exit poll, which also had Kloppenburg winning the race by 8 points and Sanders beating Clinton by 21. Those numbers are really, really far off. So I don’t think it makes sense to put much weight on the claim that Sanders voters didn’t vote downticket. What’s more, just about exactly the same percentage of Dem primary voters voted Kloppenburg as Republican primary voters voted Bradley. Lots of Democratic voters are fine with both Clinton and Sanders (or don’t think Sanders has a realistic chance) and didn’t show up at the polls at all — be mad at them, not Clinton voters or Sanders voters, if you want to be mad at someone about the Supreme Court race outcome.

126

J-D 04.17.16 at 2:24 am

Proximity and remoteness vary with perspective. If somebody in Queanbeyan says that Canberra and Sydney are far apart and somebody in Christmas Island says they are close together, they are both equally accurate (or equally inaccurate), but their statements convey information about their own locations. If some people say that Sanders and Clinton are far apart while others say that they’re close together, it’s possible that both statements are equally accurate (or equally inaccurate), but both statements convey information about the (metaphorical) locations of the people making them.

The following, although not a panacea (there are no panaceas), does offer the possibility of introducing a different kind of reference point which might make the analysis more informative: are Sanders and Clinton closer together, or farther apart, than Kerry and Edwards? Gore and Bradley? Clinton and Brown? Jackson and Dukakis? Mondale and Hart?

I’m not a close enough observer to have a view on those questions, but I feel that I’d learn more if better informed people were prepared to tackle them.

127

UserGoogol 04.17.16 at 2:40 am

Plume: A person who kills someone is just as guilty as someone who fails to save someone. Ultimately, we all have blood on our hands, voters and non-voters alike, because we have all failed to make the world as good as possible. The idea that people are innocent because they oppose the violence is completely absurd, if you don’t actually stop the violence it’s just an empty gesture.

More generally, injustice is systematic, and we are all part of the system. Whether you are a radical trying to dismantle the system or a reformer trying to improve the system, you can never escape the system as long as it exists. Washing your hands of the system is a contradiction.

128

Plume 04.17.16 at 2:44 am

Layman @134,

“Good grief.”

Wow! You’re a genius! Such rhetorical and critical thinking skills!!

Kinda like in the other thread where you couldn’t even see the obvious difference between a fully democratized economy, and our system which sets boundaries (for business interests) between public and private, thus freezing out democracy from the workplace. Or, when you couldn’t see that an analogy comparing two different kinds of dogs wasn’t at all about how we choose those dogs. If it had been, the comparison would have been between two different ways of choosing, not two different dog breeds.

Go back to school and take some courses in logic, please.

129

awy 04.17.16 at 2:45 am

yea hillary is clearly the magical one here. amazing stuff.

130

UserGoogol 04.17.16 at 3:50 am

Plume: Our flawed democracy regulates businesses quite a bit, just not anywhere near the extent that True Communism would involve. But that’s a difference of degree, not kind. Constitutionally speaking the biggest barrier in the United States to really radical economic policy is that the Fifth Amendment protects private property, (with similar principles in many other places) but you can do quite a lot without officially taking property, and anyway if hardcore socialists had a majority they could easily appoint Supreme Court Justices who would interpret “just compensation” in more flexible ways. If the National Labor Relations Act can force businesses to negotiate with unions, why couldn’t a future congress pass an act which gives full control to unions and makes workers cooperatives? It’d just be incremental reform.

The barrier is that our currently existing democracy flatly does not want to do this. To some extent, this is because of elites corrupting the democratic process, but at the same time: most people aren’t socialists. If they could, they could easily overcome the elites. They might broadly speaking be sympathetic to the idea if you phrase it to them in the right way, but that doesn’t count for much. A central problem with democracy, whether plain old “bourgeois” democracy or workplace democracy, is that if the people don’t want it in the first place you have a bit of a catch-22. So grinding and hard boards, and so on. All we can ever do is do what we can to make the world a better place, and if we keep speaking wonkish truth to power, we can gradually persuade people. Maybe the change in policy manifests itself as a sudden revolution, but that would just be a manifestation of the slow work of progress.

131

Suzanne 04.17.16 at 5:58 am

@111: Some of Sanders’ problems with black voters he couldn’t do anything about – as an independent senator from a small northern state, he had few connections in the South, whereas Clinton has relationships going back to her Arkansas days, for example.

Others are self-inflicted. Nothing can excuse Sanders’ – and his campaign’s – and his wife’s – repeated derogations of Clinton’s southern stronghold, which is overwhelmingly made up of black voters. (Also, Florida is a big swing state, Bernie.)

Black voters, north and south, are also more appreciative of the improvement in the economy and rise in available jobs, even if they’re not-great jobs, whereas whites are more used to being able to pick and choose. Sanders’ criticisms of Obama on that score and others don’t play well with African-Americans, and Sanders has tended to double down rather than play up areas where he and the President agree. In fact, he complained that Clinton was pandering to black voters on the subject of Obama, managing successfully to insult Clinton, Obama, and black voters all at once.

@119: Clinton is indeed culpable for straying with Lewinsky. But I don’t understand how any Democrat could possibly have supported his impeachment, or even his resignation under the circumstances, although certainly some did. The vast right-wing conspiracy to drive the first Democratic president to be elected since 1976 out of office existed. Had it succeeded, it is hard to see how an opposition emboldened by such a triumph would suddenly cave for Gore, the choice of a disgraced president. Public opinion eventually swung in Clinton’s favor as Starr overreached, and if Gore had been willing to do so he could have found a place for Clinton to be helpful to his campaign. That he wasn’t willing is in part Clinton’s fault, true (at the time, Gore had daughters of Monica’s age), but the responsibility is ultimately Gore’s.

132

novakant 04.17.16 at 7:21 am

A person who kills someone is just as guilty as someone who fails to save someone.

You are ignoring an important ethical distinction here – this is just wrong.

Professional philosophers and academic types might be able to elaborate.

133

kidneystones 04.17.16 at 7:37 am

@106 ‘O’ seems neutral compared with ‘Drone-Strike,’ President Peace Prize, and ‘I Never Said That’.

Also, it’s shorter.

134

engels 04.17.16 at 9:55 am

And the larger part of what’s called the left, from Jacobin on, are first and foremost post-McCarthyists, people who start from the premise the old left is the greatest enemy.

Wha? That’s really not my impression of any youngr American leftists I know (it _is_ my impression of significant sections of the CT commentariat…)

Comparing Sanders to Syriza seems very superficial. Very different political trajectories, ideologies and national situations

135

engels 04.17.16 at 10:34 am

Okay having skimmed more of the thread (an experience I won’t be repeating) I honk I can summarise
1. Sanders = Nader
2. No, Sanders = Tsipras
3 No, Sanders = Clinton
Let me know when you have a winner!

136

engels 04.17.16 at 10:35 am

“I _think_ I can summarise…”

137

MDrew 04.17.16 at 11:49 am

I feel like Corey anticipated responses like #25 with his observation about the impressive convictions of college freshmen.

138

J-D 04.17.16 at 11:55 am

engels@146

I liked ‘I honk I can summarise’ better.

139

novakant 04.17.16 at 1:20 pm

Say what you want about Maureen Dowd, this column nails HRC’s main problem:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/17/opinion/sunday/hillary-is-not-sorry.html

140

kent 04.17.16 at 2:09 pm

I have to agree with Jordan @ #135, the use of the ‘headlines’ rather than actual text is a little disturbing in the OP. The headlines in both cases are extremely misleading. (In #9, which is a link to 538.com, the actual argument in the piece is, “From now on, picking up additional support will be more of a slog” than it was in the previous 3 months. The piece isn’t saying that Bernie’s support has topped out [which would be obviously false], it’s saying that the rate of change in his support is likely to moderate. Which turned out to be true.)

WRT the OP’s point #5: “of all the motivations for political action, none is as lethal as ideology.” You know who else said that – in fact it’s the top post on his site and has been for weeks now? Brad DeLong, neoliberal. (It’s one of those irregular verbs: “I am a good person, you are a little bit set in your ways, he is an ideologue.”)

141

LFC 04.17.16 at 2:17 pm

steven johnson’s comment @86, like much of what he writes here, amounts to saying that there is no option for meaningful change within a corrupt, imperialistic, capitalist system in which even leftists like Jacobin are “post-McCarthyists” (that’s weird nonsense re Jacobin btw). And of course Obama, in sj’s view, did “nothing” (never mind what he actually did).

Meanwhile, on a thread in which (1) mcmanus attacks “Obamabots” b.c presumably he can’t be fu**ing bothered to criticize Lemieux on Lemieux’s own blog and (2) basically anyone who has ever uttered a word that doesn’t conform to the platform of the Spartacist League circa 1975 is implicitly denounced as a vile, repellent running dog of imperialism, and (3) Obama is called “a war criminal of the first degree” (sic), engels notes that much of the CT commentariat is obsessed with reliving the sins of ‘the old left’. Engels, for some reason, doesn’t bother to note the not insubstantial part of the CT commentariat that is preoccupied w continually denouncing anyone perceived to be to the right of Hugo Chavez as disgusting sell-outs to capitalism and imperialism.

142

ZM 04.17.16 at 2:48 pm

“Engels, for some reason, doesn’t bother to note the not insubstantial…”

He should be honking about that too

143

engels 04.17.16 at 2:48 pm

Engels, for some reason, doesn’t bother to note the not insubstantial part of the CT commentariat that is preoccupied w continually denouncing anyone perceived to be to the right of Hugo Chavez as disgusting sell-outs to capitalism and imperialism.

Didn’t I? Sorry about that!

144

Rich Puchalsky 04.17.16 at 2:54 pm

You have more than one vote, a short post on the purely symbolic importance of individual voting.

Meanwhile, LFC seems to have discovered that people can be wrong for all sorts of mutually exclusive and contrasting reasons. It’s true. And, obviously, the fact that someone is wrong do not make people who have some kind of reversed claim right. It’s far more common that both are wrong, because there are a whole lot of different ways to be wrong.

145

engels 04.17.16 at 2:58 pm

Engels, for some reason, doesn’t bother to note the not insubstantial part of the CT commentariat that is preoccupied w continually denouncing anyone perceived to be to the right of Hugo Chavez as disgusting sell-outs to capitalism and imperialism.

Maybe–but the thrust of my comment was that people here were being too dismissive of Sanders from the left (so as is quite frequently the case, I don’t really understand what you’re so annoyed about…)

He should be honking about that too

Teehee

146

Sebastian H 04.17.16 at 4:48 pm

The problem with the “there ain’t no difference” [which of course is hyperbole] and the “there is too a huge difference” arguments is that you are talking about a multi-variable set of ‘positions’ which we all rank differently.

If you believe that neo-liberal foreign policy has been a disaster, there is a huge difference between Sanders and Clinton and not much difference between Clinton and most of the Republicans.

If you believe that middle class stagnation is important there is some difference between Sanders and Clinton and huge differences between both of them and most of the Republicans (though not Trump who is working that angle much better than Clinton).

If you believe that an important part of dealing with middle class stagnation is to stop big finance from grabbing most of the profits there is quite a bit of difference between Sanders and Clinton (the very most kind interpretation of her actions and rhetoric over the last 15 or so years is that she is very deferential to big finance while sometimes talking about them going too far). Interestingly the differences between Clinton and most of the Republicans on the financial industry are medium at best (before you howl see the next point).

If you believe progressive taxation is important there isn’t a huge difference between Clinton and Sanders. There is a huge difference between either of them and all the Republicans.

If you believe that being a good campaigner is important, there is a huge difference between Clinton and Sanders, she is terrible and he is mediocre with occasional good points. In a good world we wouldn’t be relying on either of them to beat a generic charismatic Republican. Fortunately for us and the world, it appears that Republicans aren’t going to nominate a generically appealing Republican.

If you want radical change, you aren’t going to get it from Sanders or Clinton. Sanders wants more than Clinton but won’t be getting past the Republican Congress any more than she will on any radical changes.

Policy wonks laugh at ‘vision’ which is why they laughed at Reagan. How did that work out? Clinton doesn’t have any evidence of vision, and a lot of evidence of being corrupted by her environment (or may co-opted is a better description). Sanders has a vision that I can agree with for the most part.

So on balance I’d vote for Sanders. On balance I’ll probably feel boxed into voting for Clinton (though I live in California so I probably don’t strictly need to).

But the long and the short of it is that the amount of distance you see between Clinton and Sanders or Clinton and Republicans depends on what you want out of a president.

147

TM 04.17.16 at 6:55 pm

Brett 109 “Right, the critical importance of such growth is exactly why anyone who really cares about the poor should reject socialism, and reject Europe as a role model.”

I probably shouldn’t bite but for the record: anybody who believes that living standards in Sweden and Germany are comparable to Mississippi thereby proves that they have never seriously been outside the country. There is no contest that living standards are sharply lower in America compared to Central or Northern Europe, when you compare how the general population – the lower three, maybe four quintiles – actually live (when you look at the quality and accessibility of housing, transportation, public infrastructure, education, health care, child care, at working conditions, leisure time, vacation, etc.). You’d have to be in the top decile to be better off living in America.

To claim otherwise is really, really ignorant, Brett. You need to get out more.

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Layman 04.17.16 at 7:24 pm

TM @ 159, this is precisely right. Well said.

149

bjk 04.17.16 at 8:20 pm

Doesn’t Syria follow the exact same pattern? “Assad must go.” OK, what then. No answer. It’s almost as if it’s a failure of moral seriousness to ask about consequences and not just good intentions.

150

Collin Street 04.17.16 at 9:04 pm

Further on TM’s point, it’s probably worth noting that deficiencies in the statistics won’t show up in the statistics themselves, and so can’t be detected by looking at the statistics alone. It’s a special case or instantiation of the general problem “problems with your conceptual framework won’t show up within the framework” and has the same solution: you need to talk to a variety of people and learn from them. You basically can’t introspect your way out of conceptual error, you need external references and cross-checking.

An excess of confidence, “I don’t need other people to tell me what to think”, will utterly cripple your ability to learn and make everything you have “learned” unreliable.

151

Rich Puchalsky 04.17.16 at 11:05 pm

I don’t think that there are really fancy statistical problems involved. The last time I looked at this factoid, the problem was that living standards were defined on the basis of the amount of private spending, and all public spending funded by taxes was assumed to go into a big black hole that returned nothing. Naturally this makes higher-taxation, higher-public-services societies look worse than societies in which you pay for everything privately or live under a bridge.

152

Eli Rabett 04.18.16 at 12:02 am

Plume needs to look up the word sufficient.

That’s enough

153

Donald 04.18.16 at 3:42 am

Plume, you are just encouraging the fetish by arguing against it. Better to just accept it. Yes, voters for Nader in Florida bear some tiny blame for Iraq, as do voters for Clinton and every other Democrat who supported it. Gore picked Lieberman, elevating his stature as a pro war Democrat. And every person who makes excuses for Clinton’s vote basically demonstrates that their condemnation of the war was in part just politics. If Democrats really think it was a terrible catastrophe and that Bush was a war criminal, there should have been party wide revulsion at the thought of Clinton with her bad judgment running as a foreign policy wonk. There wasn’t and isn’t, so what is all the fuss about with Nader voters?

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Donald 04.18.16 at 3:53 am

That last comment was a bit too strong, as I am sure people are capable of feeling genuine outrage over Iraq and then rationalizing away the decisions of some hack they support. That’s normal. But I never really believed some of the moral outrage against Bush. Sure, much of it was genuine, but some was just partisan baloney. If Gore had won, died of some freak accident ( or on 9/11 visiting the Pentagon), it’d be an article of faith with some Democrats that President Lieberman made the right choice going into Iraq, even if he didn’t plan for the aftermath very well.

155

UserGoogol 04.18.16 at 4:00 am

Donald: The point isn’t blaming people. People aren’t good or bad, they just happen to do good or bad things depending on the circumstances. The point is criticizing the argument that voting for a third party candidate and/or not voting at all is a good way to achieve progressive change, which is an argument that still has legs. Many of the people who subscribe to that belief didn’t vote for Nader, and many of the people who voted for Nader do not currently subscribe to that belief.

156

RNB 04.18.16 at 5:15 am

On Clinton’s war vote, please read this
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2016/02/hillary_clinton_told_the_truth_about_her_iraq_war_vote.html

Hillary Clinton voted to give W. the authority to go to oust Saddam Hussein. W. may have already had the authority due to the Iraq Regime Change Act which Sanders also voted for. Clinton thought she could not deprive the President of every tool in his dealings with Saddam, so she voted to give him the authority to make war on the Baathist regime. W. has a father who would not go to war without broad international support. Clinton thought W. could use this war authorization to get Saddam not to evade the sanctions on dual-use technology and to comply with the demands of the inspectors. She did not think W. would go to war without the breakdown of inspections, as agreed to by “the international community”. In fact when voting for the war authorization she urged Bush not to misuse it and to seek international support at every turn.

But W. broke with recent American foreign policy on two counts: he went to war preventively rather than preemptively (the so-called break down of the Westphalian order), and he flaunted even close US allies (true Poland sent its two best soldiers and South Korea its very best).

Clinton did not expect that. So really W., not HRC, is responsible for the war. If she had bad judgment, it was that she did not realize what a threat to humanity Dick Cheney was, not that she thought an attempt to overthrow Saddam without any regional support was going to turn out well. She clearly thought the opposite. If Sanders did not vote for the last war authorization, it was clearly not because he was opposed to regime change for which he had voted twice before but because he thought at that time and place the vote would work for him politically.

And what Clinton and Sanders are both responsible for was the continuation of sanctions on Iraq and the destruction it wrought. Neither Clinton nor Sanders ever uttered a word, to the best of my knowledge, about the human consequences of the sanctions to which Madeline Albright famously copped. Again Sanders is nothing special, and not deserving of the veneration he receives here.

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Frank Shannon 04.18.16 at 6:36 am

I’m pretty sure the idea that HRC didn’t realize an invasion was inevitable is bunk. At the time the vote was held supplies had been positioned and close to 100,000 troops had been moved into the theater.

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RNB 04.18.16 at 6:47 am

The evidence Kaplan cites does not support the claim that Clinton voted for and supported an imminent invasion.

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novakant 04.18.16 at 10:12 am

Clinton did not expect that.

Well, then she’s a complete idiot.

I knew that Bush would do whatever it takes to go war with Iraq after Cheney’s speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in August 2002 – and I’m just a normal guy who read the papers without any special insight into the US foreign policy.

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Nick 04.18.16 at 10:43 am

RNB – so HRC voted to give GWB unfettered powers to wage war, because by her logic, doing so would encourage UN members to agree to unfettered weapons inspections *in order to avert war*?

And she was surprised you say, when GWB ignored her “urgings”, and went right on ahead and made use of his unfettered powers?

“W. may have already had the authority due to the Iraq Regime Change Act which Sanders also voted for”

The Iraq Liberation Act categorically and very explicitly did not give Clinton/Bush or anyone else the authority to go to war. It authorized the President to provide a maximum of $97 million in military assistance to “Iraqi democratic opposition organizations”.

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engels 04.18.16 at 10:56 am

average residential floor space per capita, 77 square meters in America, 55 Germany, 40 Sweden

Life expectancy: 78.6 years in America, 80.7 years in Germany, 81.8 years in Sweden
http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Health/Life-expectancy-at-birth%2C-total/Years

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engels 04.18.16 at 11:12 am

Paid parental leave: 98 days in Germany, 480 days in Sweden, 0 in US
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/04/maternity-leave-paid-parental-leave-_n_2617284.html

Incarceration rate per 100 000 population: 78 in Germany, 60 in Sweden, 698 in United States
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate

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engels 04.18.16 at 11:16 am

Statutory paid vacation and public holidays: Germany 29-33 days, Sweden 25 days, United States 0
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_statutory_minimum_employment_leave_by_country

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J-D 04.18.16 at 11:25 am

Brett Bellmore @173

‘From the link: “These national-level comparisons take into account taxes, and include social benefits (e.g., “welfare” and state-subsidized health care) as income. Purchasing power is adjusted to take differences in the cost of living in different countries into account.”’

I am not sure I have understood correctly, but on my reading of the text it appears that this means they have taken into account benefits to individuals in the form of direct monetary payments from government, but not benefits accruing to individuals as a result of other forms of public expenditure.

‘But, both countries are nice places to live if you’re making a good income.’

I wouldn’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me. However, what I want to know is how the compare as places to live if you’re not making a good income.

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bjk 04.18.16 at 11:33 am

“I knew that Bush would do whatever it takes to go war with Iraq after Cheney’s speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in August 2002 “

FWIW (exactly nothing) I remember thinking in one of the Bush/Gore debates that Bush really hadn’t left himself any wiggle room on Saddam.

Here is what he said in the second debate:

“MODERATOR: People watching here tonight are very interested in Middle East policy, and they are so interested they want to base their vote on differences between the two of you as president how you would handle Middle East policy. Is there any difference?

GORE: I haven’t heard a big difference in the last few exchanges.

BUSH: That’s hard to tell. I think that, you know, I would hope to be able to convince people I could handle the Iraqi situation better.

MODERATOR: Saddam Hussein, you mean, get him out of there?

BUSH: I would like to”

There you go. Bush told you in the second debate that he was going to take Saddam out. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

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Rich Puchalsky 04.18.16 at 11:38 am

J-D: “on my reading of the text it appears that this means they have taken into account benefits to individuals in the form of direct monetary payments from government, but not benefits accruing to individuals as a result of other forms of public expenditure.”

Brett B. always misrepresents, and you don’t need to go looking up his sources. Two seconds of looking at this one (for which I blame you, J-D, not him, because he’s a known quantity) shows that what is being compared is median disposable income, which is equivalent to saying that physical and social infrastructure doesn’t exist. So what if you can’t get a job in the U.S. without a car? You can use your income to buy one etc. So what if you have no guaranteed vacation? You can use your income to travel widely in the week you do get, etc.

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Collin Street 04.18.16 at 11:52 am

However, what I want to know is how the compare as places to live if you’re not making a good income.

The net present value of my future lifetime unemployment benefits — should I lose my job tomorrow and live an average-length life wherein I never work again — is apparently somewhere north of 300kaud; a homeless australian hobo is more financially secure than the average american.

But the US is a rich country, for sure.

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TM 04.18.16 at 11:53 am

Brett 173: “For instance average residential floor space per capita, 77 square meters in America, 55 Germany, 40 Sweden.”

The average isn’t terribly meaningful if it is distorted by a fat tail of McMansions and neo-aristocratic palaces. Still, I do accept that the US median is probably higher. But that’s just quantity. The quality of the housing stock and of the built environment in general is much worse in the US. You won’t find whole neighborhoods of rundown buildings in a German town as you find everywhere in the US. It is widely known and accepted that the US built infrastructure has been neglected by underinvestment to the point of dereliction. If you really spend time in Germany, you know that there is no comparison. Building standards are far higher. Compare building materials, insulation, windows. What is considered top quality in the US even in new construction would be considered substandard in Germany, and older buildings are almost uniformly neglected in the US.

“But, both countries are nice places to live if you’re making a good income.”

The top earners are beside the point, they can live well even in Lagos or Karachi. The question is, where do poor, low and middle income people have better lives. I am from a low income family myself. I have seen poverty in the US, both rural and urban, and I have seen how even middle class people are struggling. Almost half Americans say a $250 emergency would break their budget. Would you rather be poor in the US than in Germany (or Canada, Sweden etc.)? You must be seriously deluded if you answer in the affirmative.

Perhaps a different comparison, purchasing parity per capita. Never mind who spends it, individual or government, in Germany or Sweden, there’s just less to spend.

Measuring purchasing power is a very inexact science for many reasons. Most obviously, it is based on a uniform basket of goods and services but consumption preferences differ widely between countries, even regions, and are highly dependant on income. PPP is therefore largely a fiction. But even apart from that, PPP never takes public provision into account. You can compare how much porc or beer or how many smart phones a median household in Germany or the US can afford (and if you cared to look at the details, you’d find that some items are more affordable in one and others in the other country) but PPP tells you little to nothing about either affordability or quality of health care, education, transport, anything that depends on public infrastructure.

“You see, the thing is, that over the last half century or so, the US persistently had a higher economic growth rate than Europe. That sort of thing accumulates.”

Not true on a per capita basis. Also, you need to correct for the hugely disproportionate amount of GDP growth that benefits the top 1%. And that GDP is not a good measure of living standards anyway is an old hat. When GDP is corrected for health care, crime and other not so desirable expense categories (e.g. using the GPI), there is hardly any improvement since the late 1970s.

“None of this should be taken as claiming that the US is very good about HOW it spends it’s greater wealth, though.”

But living standards must be measured by how the wealth manifests itself, how it is actually spent, and by whom. You can have a lot of abstract wealth and not live well.

This subthread started with your affirmatively quoting the claim that Germany was poorer than most US states. You say you have spent time in Germany. What did you see there that reminded you of Mississippi? What do you think most Germans are missing out on that Americans have? Do they not have nice houses, aren’t they eating and drinking well, don’t they travel twice a year for vacation? Don’t they have freely accessible education and health care? Don’t the trains run well, don’t they have cars and well maintained Autobahns? Don’t the city centers look impeccable, with pedestrian zones and thriving commercial centers (but lacking strip malls with check cashing outlets and pawn shops)? Aren’t there parks and affordable theaters and museums and spas with thermal baths and sauna landscapes in every town?

I’m curious, honestly. How does it manifest itself, that German poverty?

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someguy88 04.18.16 at 1:34 pm

Germany is a great place. So is the US. Mastrabation fantasies about the superiority of Germany vs the US, in spite of all the you know actual evidence that says otherwise, are well just mastrabation fantasies. Germany and the US are both incrediblely successful free market welfare states.

At the margins arguments that this or that country should be more like the other are not evidently insane. Thinking that Germany is some paradise and the US a dysfunctional hell is insane.

Germany spends 6% more of it’s GDP on government spending. https://data.oecd.org/gga/general-government-spending.htm this does not make it a paradise and the US a dysfunctional hell. If you enjoy wanking while believing that to be true, good for you! Just be aware, it is just a fantasy.

At the margins comparing growth rates, public policy, and the impact on welfare between Germany and the US is probably not the best exercise. They are both to similar and too successful. But between the US and Greece? It too much to ask that we not end up like Venezuela or Greece? Since this a CT thread and now all the Democratic presidential candidates have adopted a 15 dollar minimum wage, I am going to guess no.

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Layman 04.18.16 at 2:06 pm

@someguy88, you should explain your fear that a $15 dollar minimum wage will make the U.S. become like Greece. I’m not sure I see the mechanism.

Also consider that U.S. productivity has more than doubled since 1976, while the minimum wage has declined since then when viewed in constant dollars. Is it your view that there should be no connection between worker productivity and worker wages?

171

TM 04.18.16 at 2:21 pm

Greece’s minimum wage is €4.23 per hour. So I guess someguy88 has a point (wink wink – don’t feed the troll).

172

novakant 04.18.16 at 3:15 pm

I assume average residential floor space per capita in New York City is a fraction of that in e.g Nebraska …

173

engels 04.18.16 at 3:24 pm

Average residential floor space is a _really_ odd metric to use for ‘living standards’

On with the clown show

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someguy88 04.18.16 at 3:49 pm

Layman,

When you adopt bad public policies based on wishful thinking that makes you feel good about yourself (while demonizing the ‘capitalists’) your best case scenarios are you end up like Greece and Venezuela.

That one time, two guys did a good study, based on a 20% increase in NJ’s minimum wage, and could not see the link between unemployment and the increase in minimum wage, does not mean it does not exist. Why not a minimum wage of $30 or $50 an hour?

You double the minimum you get unemployment. You more than double it poodunk USA and you get lots of it. This what has happened in Seattle

http://www.aei.org/publication/early-evidence-suggests-that-seattles-radical-experiment-might-be-a-model-for-the-rest-of-the-nation-not-to-follow

and Seattle is good deal better off than WV.

TM,

See above. Also Greece has lowered it’s minimum wage from that amount it now looks to be more like 3.8. It was too high. 7.1 euros per hour, which based on exchange rates and the 30% increase for anyone with 3 years of work experience, is what it was, is much too high for a country with 1/2 the US GDP. Even the Greeks could figure that one out(well maybe not by themselves) but not you and the Democratic party.

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Suzanne 04.18.16 at 3:58 pm

@158: At the risk of repeating myself, Clinton is not a “terrible” candidate. She is articulate, very well-informed, formidable in debate, and not easy to intimidate (cf. the Benghazi hearings), and she can be “likable enough” if you’re actually open to liking her. And whatever her other failings and flaws, she would never blurt out, as Sanders did, that her opponent is “unqualified,” which is the sort of thing you say when you don’t care if your party goes down in flames in November. Note that I do not believe Sanders wants that.

@150: Clinton should definitely take MoDo’s advice and maintain a posture of permanent apology. As loyal readers know, Dowd only has Hillary’s best interests at heart.

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RNB 04.18.16 at 4:11 pm

The thing with Sanders is that people who know him best (pretty old people) are overwhelmingly supporting Hillary Clinton. I am not sure what he is going to do about his age problem.

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RNB 04.18.16 at 4:22 pm

@189 Did Sanders’ campaign not know what Zimmerman had tweeted or put on her Faceback before it appointed her the Jewish outreach coordinator? Evidently the campaign did not know. It’s not that they miscalculated what the political response to her would be. They just did not vet her. And people want to put this operation up against half a billion dollars in the general? You gotta be kidding me.

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Z 04.18.16 at 4:28 pm

At the risk of repeating myself, Clinton is not a “terrible” candidate.

Well, I don’t know: she has the support of the apparatus of the party, enjoys favorable media coverage and has been able to rely on dozens of millions in campaign donations. Yet she is seriously threatened by a 74-year old socialist from Vermont with an undistinguished career and no name recognition. I understand that most of it is due to the respective issues on which they campaign, rather than on their different ways of campaigning, but nevertheless, judging on her results alone, she doesn’t seem to be a terribly gifted campaigner.

And whatever her other failings and flaws, she would never blurt out, as Sanders did, that her opponent is “unqualified,”

I don’t believe that this is true. For instance, she did engage in pretty egregious red baiting (“You know, if the values are that you oppress people, you disappear people, imprison people or even kill people for expressing their opinions, for expressing freedom of speech, that is not the kind of revolution of values that I ever want to see anywhere”) and in the last debate piled on the supposed fiasco of the Daily News, explicitly saying that Sanders was unable to form opinions on key issues without substantial help and that that was unacceptable for a President. The former, especially, seems to me to fall squarely in the “don’t care if your party goes down in flames in November” camp.

On the difference issue, this is a nice example of John Quiggin’s theory of the three political blocks. If your political views are shaped by the traditional left/right (or Democrat/Republican) axis, Clinton and Sanders are close-by and far away from all the Republicans. If however they are shaped by the leftist/neoliberal/nationalist division, then Sanders (leftist), Clinton (neoliberal), Cruz (neoliberal/nationalist) and Trump (nationalist) occupy markedly different positions.

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Sebastian H 04.18.16 at 4:59 pm

“And whatever her other failings and flaws, she would never blurt out, as Sanders did, that her opponent is “unqualified,” which is the sort of thing you say when you don’t care if your party goes down in flames in November.”

Ugh, Clinton isn’t some amazing political lockbox. Did you somehow miss the Reagan was good on AIDS and Kissinger likes my foreign policy quips? Clinton is possibly the worst Democratic party campaigner since Dukkakis and she is no better on policy (and a good deal worse) than hundreds of high profile Democrats with better public-facing skills then her. What she is really good at is internal Party politics. She is good at boxing out other potentially powerful people and preventing them from having input that doesn’t go through her. She is good at sapping the internal power base of party rivals. She’s genius level at that, which would be great in a parliamentary system. Though when placed before the voters she still lost to Obama, despite essentially controlling the national Democratic Party. Unfortunately for her she lives in a presidential system country. She is not good at boxing out potentially powerful people outside of her party apparatus. She is terrible at sapping support from non-Party opponents, in fact she inspires them. She is deeply tied to the hegemonic power structure in compromising ways that aren’t going to obviously help her if she reaches the Presidency and will definitely hinder her ability to get there. She’s a bad a candidate in our system.

We are only lucky that the Republicans seem hell bent on nominating a ridiculously bad candidate. But even against Trump it would be foolish to assume she is will win–he is tapping into something about middle class dissatisfaction that she repeatedly seems clueless about. I’m confident that Obama would kill Trump. I suspect Sanders would be good against Trump. She is genuinely bad enough that we shouldn’t think a Trump nomination means a shoo in for her. The fact that we are choosing between her and Sanders should make us worry for the Democratic Party power structure.

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bruce wilder 04.18.16 at 5:13 pm

A couple of days ago, Michael Lind, the anti-Corey-Robin, opined in the NY Times that the future of the Democratic Party was (Hillary) Clinton-ism.

The centrality of identity politics, rather than progressive economics, to the contemporary Democratic Party is nothing new. In 1982, the Democratic National Committee recognized seven official caucuses: women, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, gays, liberals and business/professionals. Thirty-four years later, this is the base of the Democratic Party of Hillary Clinton. The pro-Sanders left objects to the solicitude of the Democratic Party for Wall Street and Silicon Valley, the sources of much of its funding. But it is safe to assume that most progressives, when confronted with conservative candidates, will prefer incremental, finance-friendly Clintonism over the right-wing alternative. Moreover, the ability or even willingness of Mr. Sanders to help down-ballot or state candidates is doubtful. The next generation of Democrats are figures like Julian and Joaquin Castro and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who are much more in the mold of the Clintons and Mr. Obama than of the maverick outsider Bernie Sanders.

I thought the white-is-the-new-black contrast of views with Corey Robin’s OP was interesting, if only because — for me — it emphasized the “reality-check” aspect of 2016 Presidential politics. Corey Robin sprinkled the OP with indicators that reality might not be perfectly aligned with the presuppositions of past politics: the underlying theme of identifying past “mistakes” and their consequences. Lind was notably untroubled: the future of American politics, in Lind’s view, is like the past, but simplified by the resolution of old conflicts. Identity politics and “lesser-evil” will continue to work for the Dems, don’t you worry, says Lind.

The past is prologue, not plot.

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TM 04.18.16 at 5:29 pm

188: Even the Greeks “figured out” that their minimum wage was too high and lowered it in 2012. And then, their economy recovered like Morning in America.

182

roger gathmann 04.18.16 at 5:45 pm

I, too, find the Clinton supporters puzzling. They are very, hyper-conscious of the incidents in the campaign, and yet surprisingly blank about what they want from Clinton as president. For instance, what kind of foreign policy do Clinton supporters want? Clinton’s experience – which is often touted as, simply, experience – is best exemplified here, as far as I can tell. As a senator from 2000 to 2008, I don’t see a lot of leadership on the issues of that dirty time. She seems to have been a standard Daschle democrat, and Daschle was one of the most feckless dem politicians ever to grace the national stage. Her stamp, however, seems very strong on the foreign policy of the Obama administration in its first three years. I think she is very proud of what she did. She’s proud of the overthrow of Qaddafi, she’s proud of the weapon sales to the Gulf states, and she’s proud of trying to push Obama to do a Libya like intervention in Syria – as she pointed out in the last debate. She is, in short, on the hawk wing of the D party, with an ideology that is pretty much like Joe Lieberman’s. She even defended the coup in Honduras, which is pretty amazing.
On domestic policy, she’s more to the left. For instance, it was pretty great that she made a deal out of the lack of questions about abortion. And yet, the Clintonian line on abortion – that it should be legal and “rare” – has been a disaster for abortion rights. If you really think it is the gov’s business to make it rare, it is hard to argue against the slew of laws that force women to view films, or get “therapeutic” advice, etc., before they get abortions. Jessica Valenti made this point in 2014. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/09/hillary-clinton-abortion-legal-but-rare
As for health care, raising social security benefits, and government action to reduce wealth and income inequality – I haven’t any firm sense that she, on her own, has any ideas here. Rather, she seems to be pushed into ideas – for instance, she seemed to be pushed into opposing the TPP, even though she lobbied for it as a sec state, and she seems to be pushed into opposing fracking, though she, again, facilitated fracking around the world when she was sec state. She opposes Keystone, now, although she has close campaign associates, like Jeffrey Berman, who lobbied for it. To an extent, that she is pushable is a good thing – politicians, in a democracy, should be the pawns of an aroused populace. But her actions as sec state, and as a Clinton foundation something – what does or did she do for them? – and as a speaker, seem to indicate that she can be pretty easily pushed the other way.
The argument of Clinton’s supporters is that this is irrelevant. But I’m not sure why we are editing her experience while at the same time arguing that she is the most experienced candidate, and that this is a big plus over haplesss Sanders.
So, the bottom line is: what is in it for me? If I’m a member of a black household where the unemployment rate is still in the depression era digits and the median household wealth is five times less than a white household’s – is there going to be any change? If I’m a woman with two small kids and I’m not breaking glass ceilings but working as a cashier and uber driver, is there going to be a push for national child care? Is there going to be a strong push to overturn abortion restrictions popping up all over the place? Is the pledge to rid the water supplies of all american cities of lead in the next five years going to go down memory hole?
The argument against Sanders is that, though I’d benefit from what he advocates, he can’t pass what he advocates. But the argument against Clinton is surely that she seems not to advocate anything but stasis, baby steps in the style of the Clinton presidency in the 90s. That, to me, is a promise to waste the next four years,, or cede them to the ever more radical right.

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Z 04.18.16 at 5:48 pm

Ze K, to some extent I agree. To begin with, Sanders’s defeat in the primary seems all but inevitable so the leftist block, although it exists as a sociological group, does not seem yet to exist as an electoral force (in any democratic developed country).

However, I do not agree 100%. To me, and in first approximation, the defining separating trait between the three blocks lies in their respective treatment of inequality. A political force which would be both not anti-globalist yet strongly committed to the reduction of inequalities for all the people under its jurisdiction would qualify as genuinely different from both neoliberal and nationalist parties in my book. Now, for sure, such a political force would be facing enormous odds in many countries (rather insurmontable ones for anyone except Germany in the Eurozone, for instance) but it does not seem completely impossible in the US in the middle term.

Of course, a more pessimistic take on the same situation is that the possibility of an emerging dominant nationalist force in a major advanced democracy is at least equally likely (and I guess that the crux of our disagreement is in the evaluation of that event).

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bruce wilder 04.18.16 at 5:54 pm

Sebastian H: The fact that we are choosing between her and Sanders should make us worry for the Democratic Party power structure.

American politics is undergoing a “critical” realignment. It is a bit more obvious in the Republican Party, as the alliance of Theocrats, Neocons, Conmen and the Business Establishment comes apart and the Party was unable to find a candidate, who could credibly mobilize voters. But the split in the Democratic Party that the OP focuses on — between those who basically like corrupt neoliberal centrism allied with with socially liberal identity politics as pragmatic but incrementally progressive politics and those for whom emergent economic grievances (and to some extent worries about foreign policy aggressiveness) have become acute — that split is part of the same re-alignment.

Both Trump and Sanders have demonstrated the potential for a secularized, populist appeal. In this election (2016), I think Clinton wins the nomination and the election. Which will be the counter-demonstration that the revolution can be contained, with some difficulty.

Corey Robin’s OP asks where the pro-Clintonian-politics folks will go when Clinton is gone or going (in 2020?). I think the most likely answer is that they flee the “failures” of the Clinton Presidency (some system failures are almost inevitable, given the global economic stress and deteriorating security situation in the Middle East and across a range of countries adversely affected by neoliberalist global economic policy — I use quotes to indicate I don’t think Clinton will be a cause of these almost inevitable crises, in the domestic economy or abroad, but she will get blamed.) They will become supporters of the neo-authoritarian Republican “Good Daddy” candidate, who wins the Presidency in 2020.

Ze K: these days there are only two choices: globalist (neoliberal), or anti-globalist (nationalist). ‘Leftist’ is neither here nor there; you can’t be a leftist and globalist, and if you’re anti-globalist, then domestic policy nuances are not important: left or right, anti-globalism is what defines you.

You seem to be talking about a classic revolutionary alliance of “no” — being against a system nearing failure even on its own terms — and pressing a policy agenda of breaking with that system or just breaking that system. The distinction between breaking with the system and departing in another direction, on the one hand, and simply breaking the system altogether is lost, as no alternative scheme has been envisioned or agreed upon. It is a politics of demolition.

I am not arguing here that it shouldn’t be a politics of demolition. Just testing for clarity.

185

RNB 04.18.16 at 5:54 pm

What do people want from Clinton as President? 1. Keep Trump or Cruz or Kasich out of the White House by choosing an electable Democrat, 2. Maintain and even expand social programs, including affordable access to health care for people with pre-existing conditions, 3. family and sick leave, 4. Continue the work of the Justice Department in places like Ferguson and the Surgeon General with humane programs to address opioid abuse (keeping Mexicans out is not a solution to the drug problem), 5. Work progressively to benefit from a global economy rather than shut immigrants out and trade down, 6. Continue the reorganization of the banks that has been underway with Dodd-Frank, 7. Progressive or at least reasonable appointments at the NRLB and of course the Supreme Court , 8. Spend money on infrastructure and the green economy

186

RNB 04.18.16 at 6:00 pm

And Clinton would rightly blame me for not emphasizing the importance of actually expanding women’s access to affordable, safe and legal abortions should they choose to have one.

187

A H 04.18.16 at 6:26 pm

@189 “And whatever her other failings and flaws, she would never blurt out, as Sanders did, that her opponent is “unqualified,” which is the sort of thing you say when you don’t care if your party goes down in flames in November. Note that I do not believe Sanders wants that.”

So here is what Bernie actually said,

“My response is if you want to question my qualifications, then maybe the American people might wonder about your qualifications Madame Secretary… When you voted for the war in Iraq, the most disastrous foreign policy blunder in the history of America, you might want to question your qualifications. When you voted for trade agreements that cost millions of Americans decent paying jobs, and the American people might want to wonder about your qualifications. When you’re spending an enormous amount of time raising money for your super PAC from some of the wealthiest people in this country, and from some of the most outrageous special interests … Are you qualified to be president of the United States when you’re raising millions of dollars from Wall Street whose greed and recklessness helped destroy our economy?”

When explicit criticisms from the left are deflected through bullshit identity politics, I have a hard time believing that Clinton Democrats really care about party solidarity.

188

Z 04.18.16 at 6:33 pm

Globalization is the major factor, by far.

I agree that it is a major factor, but I believe globalization itself is a political project stemming from a particular social configuration (and not a purely mechanic and material phenomenon). To be more specific, where (I think) you see a direct causal link between globalization and inequalities, and therefore consider the paramount and perhaps only way to strive for equality to be direct confrontation with corporate globalization, I agree that globalization causes inequalities but I also believe that these inequalities then have to be first tolerated then embraced by certain segments of the population operating under particular social circumstances (specifically and importantly, the ability to institute corresponding inequalities of educational achievements that legitimize their social positions and its reproduction) in order to metastasize in a given society (and to feed in turn the next round of pro-corporate policies, with global excuses reduced to putting “trade” somewhere in the title). If this small modification is correct, there is a possibility (however, a remote one) to achieve more equal societies by acting upon said particular social circumstances, as well as by pushing for non-corporate global policies (if you want an analogy, if we were commenting on a blog circa 1785, you’d be telling me that the major question is the overthrow or perpetuation of absolute monarchy and I would point out that that there are two not incompatible ways to do this: by storming the Bastille and by achieving universal literacy).

Anyway, that’s what I believe a leftist political force should be doing in the 21st century.

189

bruce wilder 04.18.16 at 6:34 pm

RNB @ 200

I look at that summary argument and I know you think it sounds “reasonable” and “sensible” and pragmatic. As CR in the OP said, there are some people — he gave Chait and Starr as examples — who find that politics “substantively appealing”. I guess you are one who does. A lot of Democrats are attached to the Democratic Party only by point 1 — keep the idiot and hateful Republican of the moment out!

All the rest just seems like lies, denial and betrayal.

Not really interested in pressing the blow-by-blow — everyone has heard it already. Just wanted to make an observation about the impression your argument made upon me. (roger gathmann @ 197 articulates a pretty good case against Clinton.)

I would be interested if you had some meta-level observations on your own preferences in line with the themes of the OP. (Something other than campaign literature, in other words.)

190

Z 04.18.16 at 6:57 pm

Further to Bruce Wilder @205 and RNB @199, even taking for granted that Clinton would do 1 to 8, this will have had very little effect on the general neoliberal trend so that in all likelihood, in 2020, the 0,1% will have appropriated an even larger share of the economy; the financial sector will be larger and more predatory with respect to the rest of the economy; poor or struggling cities and communities will be further in debt and so will be college students; the gap between rich and poor in health and educational achievements will have widened and the US in 2016 will have moved from the most unequal society in modern history to the second most unequal society in history after the US in 2020.

The level of inequalities and the accompanying absence of social mobility prevailing in the US has become absurdly extreme. We (that is to say I and people older than I am) might know this intellectually, but Americans born after 1990 know this in their bones. Clinton doesn’t seem to know it at all, or if she does, she is either fine with it or her friends at Goldman-Sachs have convinced her that she would substantially gain from pretending not to know it. I find this very disheartening.

191

Z 04.18.16 at 7:07 pm

Seems terribly far-fetched to me…

Well, yeah. Even so, universal literacy did indeed do something that the storming of the Bastille could not achieve alone (or at all). So who knows.

As it stands today, I don’t see much basis for solidarity between “proletarians of the world”, who are, in fact, viciously competing against each other…

Ha, here I am in total agreement with you. The prospect, already remote, of a social transformation of the current system will not occur at the transnational level, just like the very real rise of the political force of the workers in the 1850-1950 period did not occur at the transnational level, marxism vulgate notwithstanding. Perhaps that diagnosis is enough for you to count me in the nationalist camp by the way, but I totally reject all inequalities, even those which strike “foreign elements,” however defined. That, it seems to me, genuinely keeps me apart from the nationalist block as it currently exists.

192

someguy88 04.18.16 at 7:07 pm

TM,

No. But now more people are employed because of that decision, and in a country with an unemployment rate of over 25%, that is nothing to sneeze at.

193

TM 04.18.16 at 7:22 pm

194

engels 04.18.16 at 7:45 pm

I don’t see much basis for solidarity between “proletarians of the world”, who are, in fact, viciously competing against each other

Not to get sucked into the main ‘debate’ (although naturally I disagree profoundly with your idea that differences between Sanders and Trump, say, is ‘just a rounding error’) but ummm that’s kinda the whole point of solidarity. Stop ‘viciously competing against other’ and fight the bosses

195

engels 04.18.16 at 7:57 pm

Globalization is synonymous with the race to the bottom. The race to the bottom world-wide, in the context where the possibilities are limitles

Half a billion Chinese workers might disagree

196

Layman 04.18.16 at 8:01 pm

@someguy88: “When you adopt bad public policies based on wishful thinking that makes you feel good about yourself (while demonizing the ‘capitalists’) your best case scenarios are you end up like Greece and Venezuela.”

I don’t thing you know anything about how Greece ended up like Greece.

How this happened is, Greece joined a currency union, surrendering sovereign control of their currency to what is basically an undemocratic organization dominated by countries with different interests than Greece. Then there was an economic downturn, driving down demand and government revenues and, while the best thing for Greece would have been expansionary monetary and fiscal policy, the big boys in the currency union felt differently, and compelled Greece by the threat of default to contract fiscally while threatening to strangle Greece’s supplies of currency. This created a downward spiral, where fiscal contraction further shrank demand and GDP, resulting in ever greater deficits requiring more contraction, because, you see, contractionary policies are, well, contractionary.

This leads me to two questions, which are, 1) what do you think Greece’s minimum wage has to with this?, and 2) how do you imagine this same thing happening to the U.S., which retains sovereign control of its currency, and therefore can’t be forced into fiscal contraction by outsiders?

197

engels 04.18.16 at 8:04 pm

(If you liked Dugin, I’m sure you’ll love Bastrykin

“Enough playing at fake democracy and following pseudoliberal values. Democracy, or people’s power, is nothing but power wielded in the people’s interests. These interests can be attained through the common good, not through the absolute freedom of certain representatives of society to do as they please.”

)

198

RNB 04.18.16 at 8:19 pm

@205 “I would be interested if you had some meta-level observations on your own preferences in line with the themes of the OP.”

What do you mean by meta-level here? Testing my preferences for consistency or transitivity? Assigning ordinal or cardinal utilities to them? Figuring out how loss averse I am or whether my preferences undergo irrational reversals just due to the passage of time?
Or do you mean this: “Opportunists prefer to propose policy A to policy B when the probability of winning at A is greater than the probability of winning at B, given the opposition party is proposing some fixed C. Militants prefer to propose A to B when the average party member would derive higher utility from at A than B (independently of what C is). Reformists prefer to propose A to B, given that the opposition is proposing C, when the expected utility of the average party member is higher at A than at B. Thus opportunists are concerned only with probabilities, activists only with utilities and reformers with both.” Elster, Explaining Social Behavior, p. 220

So one can say that Clinton has moved opportunistically to A due to Sanders advocating C. I would say that Sanders hardly ever reasons in terms of expected utility and that Clinton is often simply a reformist.

Don’t know if that is meta.

199

bruce wilder 04.18.16 at 8:26 pm

the whole point of solidarity. Stop ‘viciously competing against other’ and fight the bosses

The bosses, meanwhile, are busy hiring one-tenth of the proles as security guards and dis-employing and immiserating another one-tenth pour encourager les autres.

It becomes an awful and confusing tangle, but politics does tend to revolve this axis of dependence and struggle between elite and commons.

The “hidden” agenda of neoliberalism is, arguably, to secure the “bargaining” position of the bosses and their closest minions, while marginalizing the masses at home and abroad. The elimination of institutions of countervailing power is a means to that end, its only cost to elites being the consequences of leading weaker polities, because weaker, more fragile economic systems.

It is a hard political problem and not really subject to permanent solutions while humans still breathe.

200

Donald Johnson 04.18.16 at 8:51 pm

RNB, I read that piece rationalizing Clinton’s vote when Krugman linked to it some weeks ago. My opinion of Krugman these days is in the toilet–he was horrible back in the late 90’s, I thought he’d changed, but he’s changed back. That piece he linked was terrible. Here is an antidote–

http://inthesetimes.com/article/18813/the-five-lamest-excuses-for-hillary-clintons-vote-to-invade-iraq

” The point is criticizing the argument that voting for a third party candidate and/or not voting at all is a good way to achieve progressive change, which is an argument that still has legs.”

It is undoubtedly your point, but I don’t think you are the norm. In my reading over the past 16 years, it’s not the main point of most people who engage in ritual Nader bashing. I happen to agree that the Nader campaign was a disaster, though I voted for him in a safe state. He did help Bush win, as did Gore, and a host of other people. That aside, the notion that a third party candidate could help the Democrats reform turned out to be disastrously wrong, because what happened instead was that every time someone criticized the party, you’d have people react by circling the wagons against possible Naderism. People start listing all the ways the Republicans are worse. Nader has been a kind of scapegoat, a diversion from the question of how to turn the Democrats into a party a liberal/lefty could support with enthusiasm instead of merely voting because the Republicans are worse.

Not, I hasten to add, that I have any brilliant ideas, but the Sanders campaign makes me hopeful.

201

Layman 04.18.16 at 9:02 pm

“That aside, the notion that a third party candidate could help the Democrats reform turned out to be disastrously wrong, because what happened instead was that every time someone criticized the party, you’d have people react by circling the wagons against possible Naderism.”

I confess I don’t even know what this means. I criticize the party and/or some of its leaders or members, and no one ever uses Nader as a sort of garlic or silver cross to keep my at bay.

202

Layman 04.18.16 at 9:03 pm

Also, too, I goddamned hate Apple’s autocorrect.

203

engels 04.18.16 at 9:17 pm

Bruce, I agree entirely with all of that apart from the final clause of the final sentence, which I’d humbly opine to be unproven.

204

RNB 04.18.16 at 9:21 pm

@217 That Clinton voted for and wanted Bush’s unilateral invasion of Iraq is proven by her unwillingness to sign the Levin Amendment. Zunes is not persuasive here. It does not follow from her not signing that Amendment that she supported how Bush took the country to war. Kaplan cites evidence that she was not in favor of how Bush proceeded.

205

engels 04.18.16 at 9:25 pm

OT but here’s Hillary arguing for law making flag-burning a crime carrying a one-year jail term:
https://twitter.com/lhfang/status/720380815482302464

206

RNB 04.18.16 at 9:59 pm

Hillary Clinton is indeed clueless here. The more flags Americans burns and the more US foreign policy induces foreigners to burn flags the more US flags American manufacturers can sell. Flag burning is productive activity, Sometimes people see how much the arms manufacturers benefit from war and then conclude that they must have led the nation into war. What poor reasoning. But as Papa CJ once noted, if you look at how many flags have to be imported to keep on setting them on fire, then it’s obvious that the American flag manufacturers have been behind hawkish US foreign policy, at every turn.

207

LFC 04.18.16 at 10:46 pm

Ze K @194 puts Sanders and Cruz “in the same camp” (sic). There are a host of issues that don’t fall into Ze K’s procrustean, silly ‘you’re either a globalist or nationalist / there are no leftists’ line. The analysis is preposterous and it’s hard to see it as anything other than the product of a stunted, narrow, warped imagination.

208

someguy88 04.18.16 at 10:49 pm

Layman,

You really seem nice, and I am sure you are a smart person, but you are willfully deceiving yourself.

Look at the vast elisions in your tale of Greek tragedy. Greece spent it’s way to the poor house. They handed out pensions like they were free, and since no one likes taxes, they paid for it with credit cards.

It is true that when the bill came due they would have been much better off if they were on their own currency. They also would still have been in terrible shape. Really bad shape.

They lived in a magical fantasy world were the laws of economics did not apply. Until !ouch! they did again.

[As an aside. From a humane perspective, and the off chance that it might make a difference, if I was in charge of Greek policy for Europe, I would have let Greece run larger structural deficits for a longer period of time. This probably not have worked. Keynesian economics is monetary policy via the back door. Right? 0 bounds and all that. I really do not think it is all that clear that tiny Greece’s fiscal deficits would result in the monetary changes that Greece clearly needed and needs. It seems like trying to push a mountain with a wet noodle.]

Here in the US we have our own set of magically fantasies about the laws of economics. On the on hand we have Republican’s who believe that massive deficit financed tax cuts are magical. They have magical growth properties or some such nonsense. Democrats have their own set of fantasies, like, well, like a 15 hour minimum wage would not cause significant unemployment.

So we are a long way off from Greece but we could get there. We just need to engage in bit more wishful thinking a bit harder.

It is true that if ever did get there, we have an option Greece did not, we could rob are parents savings, and saddle our children with higher interest payments for life. Not really sure why progressives think this is some kind of ace in the hole get of jail free card.

Magical wishful thinking leads to bad policy policies with bad results.

209

someguy88 04.18.16 at 10:51 pm

Bad public policies with bad results.

210

Suzanne 04.18.16 at 11:23 pm

@192 & 193: There are things that can be walked back and things that can’t, and one candidate directly calling another unqualified is one of those things. It’s the kind of thing the opposition jumps on gleefully in the general. Clinton never came close to saying what Sanders initially claimed she did, as he was eventually forced to concede, and nothing you quote approaches Sanders’ broadside. Sure — the Clinton campaign baited him, Sanders overreacted, and then he had to spend a week trying to fix things. That’s politics. It’s not HRC’s fault he had trouble explaining himself to the Daily News.

I thought Sanders was serving a useful and legitimate purpose in the race (and I’ve encouraged him in the form of a donation or two). However, I can’t really take him seriously as the new lefty messiah. To me he’s a familiar quantity and about as inspiring as oatmeal. I am pleased at his new prominence, which he can do good things with, and I like the idea of him going back to the Senate and making life difficult on the left for President Clinton, part deux.

If the Clintons truly controlled the Democratic party, Obama would never have got out of the starting gate. There was, very early on, anti-Clintonite seed money for him. Those who thought he was a lefty messiah never noticed that a lot of his early backing came from people who supported Dollar Bill “We shouldn’t demonize the rich” Bradley.

211

Sebastian H 04.19.16 at 12:11 am

“If the Clintons truly controlled the Democratic party, Obama would never have got out of the starting gate.”

If the Clintons truly controlled the Democratic party, AND she weren’t such a terrible candidate, Obama would never have got out of the starting gate.”

The Clintons are like money in politics. It can put a huge finger on the scales but it can’t win just by itself.

If money were enough to win, the Koch brothers would have already disposed of Trump. But their inability to do so isn’t a good argument that money is totally ineffective in politics.

The same is true of the Clinton control of the Democratic Party. They have been in charge of the ruling wing of the Democratic Party for decades. That doesn’t mean they can dictate outcomes. Just that they can stack the deck VERY heavily. They stack the deck so heavily and she still falters. That is a bad sign.

212

J-D 04.19.16 at 12:12 am

someguy88 @188

So you know of one study, which you describe as a good study, which found that an increase in the minimum wage (in a particular case) did not produce an increase in unemployment; and you state that it does not prove there is no link between the minimum wage and unemployment.

Actually, you’re right about that: one study (no matter how good) isn’t conclusive.

On the other hand, you find one report of a particular case where the minimum wage increased and unemployment also increased.

You don’t think that’s conclusive, do you?

It would be a false dichotomy to reason in a way that relied on the following assumption: ‘either it is the case that increases in the minimum wage always produce increases in unemployment, or it is the case that increases in the minimum wage never produce increases in unemployment’.

You’re not relying on that assumption, are you? Don’t you think it’s much more likely that in some situations an increase in the minimum wage will have a tendency to increase unemployment while in other situations it won’t?

213

J-D 04.19.16 at 12:36 am

someguy88 @ 183

‘… Germany and the US are both incrediblely successful free market welfare states.
‘… At the margins arguments that this or that country should be more like the other are not evidently insane. Thinking that Germany is some paradise and the US a dysfunctional hell is insane.’

It is a distortion to suggest that people are suggesting either Germany is paradise or that the US is a dysfunctional hell. That misrepresents the nature of the discussion. (Although, for what it’s worth, I suspect that in both countries there are some people whose experience of living in the country is paradisiacal and some people whose experience of living in the country is hellish.)

‘At the margins comparing growth rates, public policy, and the impact on welfare between Germany and the US is probably not the best exercise. They are both to similar and too successful.’

If that is genuinely your opinion, then it’s another distortion to criticise (as you do) people who have asserted in this discussion that Germany could be a better place to live than the US. This exchange did not begin with people asserting the superiority of European countries over the US, it began (at comment 109) with Brett Bellmore asserting the superiority of the US over European countries. If you think this kind of comparison is bogus, it is at that initial comment you should primarily be directing your criticism. It was that assertion which elicited responses which have been a mixture of people pointing to indicators of at least some areas where European countries have the advantage over the US and people making the point which is also yours that comparisons of this kind are dubious.

214

Donald 04.19.16 at 1:06 am

RNB, there were people who opposed Bush when it might have mattered. She didn’t. She positioned herself instead. Probably seemed clever at the time.

Poor judgment in every way, including the all- important question of her political future, though there at least she could count on apologists willing to argue she was right no matter how things turned out.

215

RNB 04.19.16 at 1:14 am

Clinton is not arguing her vote was right. It was a mistake. She agrees. One question though is whether that vote indicates that she would conduct a unilateral foreign policy aiming at regime change where there is no immediate risk of massive human rights violations or where there is no need for preemptive attack. Kaplan collects Clinton’s comments which indicate that she would not carry out foreign policy according to the Bush doctrine. Sanders himself authorized close to $100 million for the CIA to overthrow Saddam. If the CIA could have pulled it off, that would have resulted in regime change too.

216

Rich Puchalsky 04.19.16 at 1:21 am

“Germany spends 6% more of it’s GDP on government spending.”

6% of GDP of a high-GDP nation is a lot. For comparison purposes, the U.S. spends 3.5% of its GDP on its military in 2014 according to the World Bank, and Germany spent 1.2%, and that is enough for a very large difference in military size even relative to GDP. I notice that when people are eager to criticize magical thinking they often start shoveling a load of stuff that you wouldn’t think is needed in order to criticize magic.

217

JimV 04.19.16 at 1:46 am

As an independent observer, I read that not as “6% of its GDP more” but “6% more, of its GDP”, e.g., if A spends 50% of its GDP on X and B spends 53% of its GDP on X, then B spends 6% more of its GDP on X than A. [(53-50)/50 * 100]

218

bruce wilder 04.19.16 at 2:10 am

In round numbers OECD figures peg government spending in the U.S. around 38% of GDP. The comparable figure for Germany is ~44%

219

Nick 04.19.16 at 2:11 am

JimV, it’s actually the other way around. ie. “6% of its GDP more”. Germany 44.5% vs US 38.8%

someguy88 linked above to the OECD’s data for total “General government spending”. The very next dataset in the list is “General government spending by destination”, which compares spending for collective consumption (defense, justice etc) vs spending for individual consumption (health care, housing, education etc).

Is anyone all that surprised to see the US spends a good deal more percentage of its GDP on the former, while Germany spends *more than double* the percentage of its GDP compared to the US on the latter?

(By your way of thinking btw, that’s “>200% more, of its GDP”)

220

someguy88 04.19.16 at 2:18 am

JD,

Whatever you think of Brett’s link, and I am sceptical of the claims, further claims on the thread exhibited worse reverse triumphalism. Sweden’s PPP adjusted per capita GDP is 15% less than the US’s. Sweden is a bit more equal so for a median family the gap would be lower. Comparing DI + transfers and leaving out publicly provisioned is putting your thumb on the scale. Sweden seems like a very rich, nice place to live. I doubt it is functionally poorer than WV or MI.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita

But this even worse triumphalism/denigration ->

‘ There is no contest that living standards are sharply lower in America compared to Central or Northern Europe, when you compare how the general population – the lower three, maybe four quintiles – actually live (when you look at the quality and accessibility of housing, transportation, public infrastructure, education, health care, child care, at working conditions, leisure time, vacation, etc.). You’d have to be in the top decile to be better off living in America.’

My goodness. Only the upper decile in the US is better off than the lower 3/4 quintiles in Central and Northern Europe! The US is a basket case! Only that is even bigger pile of BS.

Again I don’t find these type of comparisons between the US and the richer nations in Europe very illuminating. So, I said so.

221

J-D 04.19.16 at 2:26 am

Z @ 192 and Ze K @ 194

Some people are not interested in electoral politics, regarding it as trivial, irrelevant, a charade, mere surface froth (or scum) with no affect on the great movements of the waves.

I am interested in electoral politics; if it is trivial froth, it is trivial froth that I am interested in.

A model which lumps Republicans and Democrats into the same category is not useful for explaining the electoral politics of the USA; a model which lumps the CDU and the SPD into the same category is not useful for explaining the electoral politics of Germany; a model which lumps the PP and the PSOE into the same category is not useful for explaining the electoral politics of Spain; a model which lumps Fianna Fail and Fine Gael into the same category is not useful for explaining the electoral politics of Ireland; and so on.

A model built around a binary opposition between globalisers and anti-globalisers is not useful for explaining the electoral politics of any country I know of. Nor is John Quiggin’s tripartite model of leftists, neo-liberals, and tribalists. Either or both of those models may be extremely useful for analysing other phenomena, phenomena which may be vastly more important than electoral politics. But even if they’re more important than electoral politics, they are not the same thing as electoral politics. Apply those models where they’re useful.

222

Rich Puchalsky 04.19.16 at 2:30 am

The quote had a cited source. That OECD source shows U.S. 38.8 % of GDP as general government spending, Germany 44.5 % of GDP, which is close enough to 6%.

223

J-D 04.19.16 at 2:32 am

someguy88 @237

But you didn’t say only ‘I don’t find these comparisons illuminating’.

Somebody says ‘the US is better than European countries’.
Somebody else replies ‘no, European countries are better than the US’.
You enter the discussion to say ‘the people who are saying that European countries are better than the US are talking rubbish’.

The natural and predictable effect (even if not intended) is to create the appearance that you’re siding with the person who said that the US is better than European countries and that you think the same.

You’re disavowing that position now, but you could easily have avoided creating the impression that you endorsed it in the first place.

224

someguy88 04.19.16 at 2:44 am

Rich Puchalsky,

The US economy is about 16 or 17% points larger than Germany’s on a PPP per capita basis. This means that on a per capita basis the US has higher government spending. Sure, we should adjust for military spending, and so after that, on a per capita basis Germany spends a bit more, say 2% of GDP.

The difference’s between Germany and the US are not completely trivial but again I see two very successful capitalist welfare states. I don’t expect this to be very popular on a CT thread where the myth of the US as a wild west, capitalist, dystopia is a convenient narrative myth.

225

Lupita 04.19.16 at 2:51 am

There has been absolutely nothing magical about these primaries, other that the very unusual event of a little bird landing on Sanders’ podium. As far as I can tell, nothing inexplicable, mythical, or fantastic has occurred during this dreadfully real contest. Delusions and weak arguments for or against a candidate do not count as magical realism.

226

Nick 04.19.16 at 2:56 am

“the very unusual event of a little bird landing on Sanders’ podium”

It was a hologram from the future.

227

Lupita 04.19.16 at 3:00 am

@J-D

A model built around a binary opposition between globalisers and anti-globalisers is not useful for explaining the electoral politics of any country I know of.

Maybe not in the first world, but in peripheral countries that have crashed and been taken over by the IMF, neoliberalism and globalization have taken center stage during elections.

228

someguy88 04.19.16 at 3:17 am

J-D,

I am not disavowing anything.

Brett posted a link to a claim I really don’t agree with. TM in particular posted a reply to that link that I disagree with even more. I started my reply with –

Germany is a great place. So is the US. –

The start to my end paragraph was –

At the margins comparing growth rates, public policy, and the impact on welfare between Germany and the US is probably not the best exercise. They are both too similar and too successful.

I did not explicitly state that I disagreed with Brett’s link. But for me my implicit disagreement is well pretty obvious. Not sure how anyone can read the above statements and conclude I am claiming the US is better than Europe. Really no idea. Nothing I can really do about that.

In between I rubbished TM’s rubbish.

229

Donald 04.19.16 at 3:37 am

I don’t hold any brief for Sanders as the perfect candidate. But he is not in the same league as Clinton in her interventionism. Her speech in late 2003 shows that her criticisms of Bush were mainly tactical–she wanted the invasion to seem more international.

http://www.cfr.org/iraq/remarks-senator-hillary-rodham-clinton-transcript/p6600

So bad judgment and it wasn’t some fluke–she is an interventionist by inclination. My only question regarding her is whether her Israel pandering is sincere or not. There is no good answer for that. She either believes what she says on that subject, which means she is a strangely blind on the subject, or she is lying for political reasons, which seems more likely.

Anyway, there is no logical way for Democrats who profess to think that Iraq was a terrible mistake to support Clinton on anything other than lesser of two evils grounds. She can’t possibly claim to be a foreign policy expert with sound judgment, because she clearly doesn’t have sound judgment.

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J-D 04.19.16 at 3:50 am

Lupita @244

There are too many countries (with electoral politics) in the world for me to be familiar with the electoral politics of all of them, but I am always interested in learning more, and am curious about which particular examples you had in mind.

231

Layman 04.19.16 at 4:51 am

“One question though is whether that vote indicates that she would conduct a unilateral foreign policy aiming at regime change where there is no immediate risk of massive human rights violations or where there is no need for preemptive attack. “

If you asked me to pick the biggest mistake in the Iraq war decision, I would not say ‘that it was unilateral’. I’d say it was that we had an Iraq war. This is the problem with HRC’s ‘recognition of her mistake’, it’s that she doesn’t acknowledge the actual mistake, that of granting the President war powers in a situation where only a fool would ask for them. If the whole world had agreed to join us in that war, would that have made it a good idea?

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Lupita 04.19.16 at 5:18 am

@JD

I had in mind various Latin American countries. The most recent examples would be those of Macri vs Scioli in Argentina, widely touted in the media as a contest between neoliberalism and Kirchnerism, whose policies included foreign debt cancellation and not signing ALCA (Free Trade Agreement of the Americas) and Perú, with a second round between Fujimori and Kuczynski widely described as that of one neoliberal against another.

Lula in Brazil, Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, and Correa in Ecuador, all ran on political platforms critical of their country’s subjugation to the IMF, continuing WTO negotiations, and American imperialism.

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J-D 04.19.16 at 5:56 am

Lupita @249

Thanks for the response.

It seems to me that when a model puts the leading candidates in the Argentinian election in opposing categories, that suggests the model could be useful for understanding Argentinian electoral politics, but when a model puts the leading candidates in the Peruvian election in the same category, that suggests limits to its usefulness for understanding Peruvian electoral politics. However, I wouldn’t want to judge the usefulness of a model for understanding the electoral politics of a country on the basis of just one election. I’ll look into it more if I can.

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J-D 04.19.16 at 8:23 am

Ze K @253

You can be Marvin if I can be Kraggash.

235

TM 04.19.16 at 9:22 am

someguy88, I should have left it at “wink wink don’t feed the troll”. Of course this never works.

So: “Only the upper decile in the US is better off than the lower 3/4 quintiles in Central and Northern Europe!”

Perhaps I should take back what I said. Maybe someguy88 isn’t trolling, he really can’t read. Brett started with the claim that the US was richer than Germany, AND that the US was a better place for the poor (his statement: especially if you “really care about the poor”, you should embrace US style capitalism and reject the “European” welfare state). To which I responded that for the low and middle income majority of the population, Germany is a better place to live, only the rich live better in the US than in Germany. This is a pretty easily verifiable fact and even Brett hasn’t seen fit to dispute it.

“Again I don’t find these type of comparisons between the US and the richer nations in Europe very illuminating. So, I said so.”

You didn’t “say so”, you said something very different. Whatever. I find the comparison illuminating for a number of reasons, including obvious practical ones (if you are in the lucky position to have a choice where to live, you take an interest in these comparisons). Policy wise, these are large scale political experiments. Anybody who cares about public policy should want to learn from these experiments.

There is a bit more to it. The Brett Bellmore/Mises Institute last line of defense is always “US capitalism with all its faults and warts still generates the better economic outcomes”, therefore don’t try getting rid of the warts (or we’ll turn into Greece, as someguy helpfully points out). That rather dumb propaganda line is still incredibly effective among many Americans who have never seen anything else. Low and middle income Americans are increasingly aware they are not getting a good deal but the lifelong “America is best” propaganda barrage makes it difficult to grasp that there are alternatives. This is where the Sanders campaign is having an incredible impact. He may be the first major candidate in living memory who’s not afraid to say that the US is not the best (any more), that actually, Americans could and should learn from Denmark or France or Canada. Those who flock to Sanders are economically hurting and tired of being told by the establishment no you can’t have a better deal, America is the greatest place on earth now shut up already.

Trump is the candidate of those who are economically hurting but have given up on getting a better deal. They hope to maintain the American greatness delusion with macho rhetoric and the satisfaction of electing a rich and famous president, while taking solace in their own imagined superiority over dark-skinned Untermenschen..

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ZM 04.19.16 at 9:31 am

“No, I don’t think so. Workers in Flint Michigan might unite with workers in Detroit, but the workers in Ciudad Juarez are nothing but scabs to them (not that it’s their fault, of course). That’s globalization for you, this new thing. And you don’t unite with scabs who side with the bosses and take your livelihood away; you beat them up with lead pipes. Which is pretty much the sentiment we observe…”

I think the sustainable development goals agreed to last year by most countries which replace the millennium development goals are looking at uniting countries.

Where the millennium development goals were targeted at reducing poverty in developing countries, the sustainable development goals looks to move all countries to a path to sustainable development, both workers in Flint and in Ciudad Juarez .

237

TM 04.19.16 at 10:45 am

“The demographic collapse Europe has suffered”

OMG. That’s both nonsense and a total non sequitur. Yes, having fewer children tends to lead to higher living standards. Consult the map (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_dependent_territories_by_fertility_rate#/media/File:Countriesbyfertilityrate.svg) if you doubt it. No, there’s nothing wrong with population stabilization (which Germany has achieved for quite some time). It’s neither dead end nor “demographic collapse”, to the contrary, in the long term it’s a necessary condition for avoiding demographic collapse.

As much as I like talking about demographics, it’s totally off topic. You provoked a debate about living standards in Germany (which you lost), now you are totally changing the goal posts. Enough said.

(I shouldn’t feed the trolls. I shouldn’t feed the trolls. I shouldn’t feed the trolls. I shouldn’t feed the trolls. I shouldn’t feed the trolls. …)

238

Lee A. Arnold 04.19.16 at 10:59 am

Bellmore, in these threads you never go to the root of problems. Are you a working Republican campaign operative? Or an AI avatar thereof? Nobody would normally crowd the bit-ways with bosh.

239

Faustusnotes 04.19.16 at 11:09 am

Brett, aging society and declining birth rates are a consequence of development. If that isn’t happening in your country you are doing something wrong.

240

TM 04.19.16 at 12:03 pm

“Germany hasn’t stabilized it’s population. That’s like saying that somebody who has jumped off a skyscraper has “stabilized their altitude”. “

Brett is going nuts in new ways. He didn’t used to argue with basic Math did he?
Germany’s population has been stable at 80 +- 2 million for almost 50 years. Look up the statistics. And oh by the way last year, Germany took in more than 1 million refugees. No chance of a “demographic collapse” any time soon, as much as Brett might wish for it.

Also: “German women aren’t having enough babies” is an, em, really fasci-nating position for a self-described libertarian.

241

engels 04.19.16 at 1:13 pm

What I said was that our economy was more productive.

And your metric for showing that was residential floor space? Mmmkay (bad news for Manhattan)

242

engels 04.19.16 at 1:29 pm

In most of Europe they’ve created an illusory prosperity that rests on there not being a next generation.

Jesus Christ you’re an idiot

243

someguy88 04.19.16 at 2:26 pm

TM,

If you wanted to say that something like, 90% of Germans, not Northern and Central Europe which include Poland, UK. etc, or the higher income nations of Northern and Central Europe, enjoy sharply higher living and standards than their US peers, you should have just said that. No need to blame me because you didn’t.

US GDP PPP per capita is 16-17% higher than German GDP PPP per capita.

Even after adjusting for the income share of the top 10% 30.7 in the US 23.7 in Germany.

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.DST.10TH.10

The bottom 90% in the US has 10% more income than the bottom 90% in Germany. GDP is not everything but it is a very important measure.

If we look at other objective measures (like with Brett’s link, I find that many such measures, firmly have their thumbs on the scale) we again see that the US and Germany are both great places to live.

USA Housing 8.1 Income 10.0 Jobs 8.1 Community 7.4 Education 7.0 Environment 7.3 Civic engagement 5.4 Health 8.1 Life Satisfaction 8.7 Safety 8.9 Work-Life Balance 5.3

GER Housing 6.1 Income 5.0 Jobs 8.1 Community 8.9 Education 7.9 Environment 8.8 Civic engagement 3.9 Health 7.1 Life Satisfaction 8.1 Safety 9.0 Work-Life Balance 8.0

http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/countries/united-states/
http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/countries/germany/

We can quibble about some of those rankings but I think that overall they present decent snapshots.

Nothing I have ever seen, read, or heard leads me to believe that living standards in Germany are sharply higher for 90% of Germans compared to their America peers. Because it isn’t true. It is wishful thinking. If it is true, I really wish, you would do a much better job of presenting your case. I would really enjoy a sharply higher living standard.

244

TM 04.19.16 at 3:07 pm

someguy, Poland and UK aren’t included in either Central or Northern Europe, although there may be quibbles about that. Brett’s link specifically names Germany and I responded by referring to that country. I said that the lower 3-4 quintiles (not 90%) generally live better in Germany and I stand by that. Nothing you have quoted refutes it. Nothing refutes for example my point about the neglect of the built infrastructure in the US, which in many ways has serious consequences for living standards. (Btw Brett’s “they’ve created an illusory prosperity that rests on there not being a next generation”, that actually describes US policy of infrastructure neglect and environmental recklessness quite well).

It’s fine of you disagree and of course there are legitimate disputes about how to measure and judge living standards. But any claim that the poor are better off in the US is obviously BS and that needed to be said.

245

Trader Joe 04.19.16 at 3:32 pm

German population

Interesting debate with both TM and Brett having some points. TM is absolutely correct that Germany’s overall population has been remarkably stable from really the late 1940s to date at +/-80m…That said, population did appear to peak at about 83m in 2001 and the estimate for 2015 is 77m and declining from there.

Its true that taking immigrants is critical, and useful, in stabilizing the population base. What remains to be seen is if the immigrant population, which is now increasingly not central european, but rather southern european and Mid-east/africa can be integrated successfully.

Immigratation is a huge win for the recieving country if integration works. Its potentially very divisive when it doesn’t.

http://www.populstat.info/Europe/germanyc.htm

246

Lupita 04.19.16 at 3:40 pm

While arguing weather Germany or the US has the highest standard of living, one must consider that the West, as a whole, is a net importer of capital – that is, capital flows from the third world to the first, – NATO, the IMF, the World Bank, UNSC, NPT, free trade agreements, mass migrations, invasions, military occupations, Abu Ghraib, and Guantánamo. This whole discussion of which aristocratic country is the best leaves out the imperial reality and how they collectively rely on lowly peasant and worker countries for their way of life, not just their own productivity and greatness.

The context is empire: the global financial, military, and political systems. And a guerilla war that has gone global.

247

Suzanne 04.19.16 at 3:43 pm

@229: “Getting out of the starting gate” isn’t an outcome. In 2008 there was a lot of money and a lot of institutional support ready to go up against Clinton once a plausible challenger appeared. She wasn’t as strong as she seemed. Hubris led her to make the strategic error of contesting Iowa, which gave Obama his opening, and after that it was off to the races. This time around, she is much better positioned and O’Malley, who in other circumstances might have been a strong challenger, got no traction. Others who might have considered a run, like Andrew Cuomo, didn’t even think about it this time.

248

Rich Puchalsky 04.19.16 at 3:46 pm

I’ve never liked “globalization” vs “anti-globalization”. I realize that political words are just words, and don’t always have any relationship to the ordinary meaning of what people think that they mean. But neoliberal globalization is not the only globalization. Environmental issues really are the most important issues right now, and some of them require some kind of global cooperation. If people cede globalization to the neoliberals, that encourages “There Is No Alternative”. The Paris Agreements were basically made under neoliberalism, and if the left has no alternative globalization on offer, then that really is the best alternative.

249

RNB 04.19.16 at 4:10 pm

As Daniel Denzer who apparently is a Republican in search of a candidate has noted, you don’t get global cooperation on the climate if you’re punishing countries more dependent on trade than you are with open and disguised trade restrictions as both Trump and Sanders are.

250

Lupita 04.19.16 at 4:17 pm

There is also something very bourgeois about placing environmental concerns above issues of poverty. They must, obviously, be addressed in tandem.

251

roger gathmann 04.19.16 at 4:23 pm

I think the magic realism part – or the smoke and mirrors part – is to make the campaign part of the campaign, or even the main focus. The qualification thing is a perfect example. It is meaningless, and will have no effect on the general. But it is interesting that the same Clintonite moves were made in 2008. Here’s Geraldine Ferraro saying that Obama has so alienated women voters with his sexism that his chances are diminished. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/2022398/US-Elections-Barack-Obama-has-lost-women-with-sexist-campaign.html
Etc. I understand that this comes out of the campaign book for 92 – always attack the GOP attack machine – but it has outlived its usefulness. Sanders has waged, to my mind, a campaign that has definitely not punched enough. In S.C. he should have pointed to the people who Clinton had campaigning for her, like Lynn Rothschild, who went on to campaign for McCain and spent the obama years writing O off as an idiot – he should have made a big issue of Clinton’s on again off again racial innuendos – but he didn’t. This truly hurt him, and it wouldn’t have harmed Clinton if she were nominated.
So the Clintonites have been waiting around for Sanders to make some terribly “sexist” remark, and since he hasn’t, they have seized on dumb things that really move nobody but the committed. Certainly the discussion among the vast majority of women who make below 100 000 in the D party is not, oh, did you see that terrible Sanders piece about clinton being unqualified! Why I don’t care if he is for increasing the social insurance net and decreasing the aggressiveness of American foreign policy, that was unforgiveable!
The Clinton effect is to turn politics into insider baseball, and then give a few key, “brilliant” speeches – Clintonites actually think that Bill Clinton’s speech at the 2012 convention won the election for Obama. Sanders is a more traditional politician – and against traditional politicians, who make the campaign about their promises to do things, this insider baseball strategy fails.

252

bruce wilder 04.19.16 at 4:32 pm

RNB @ 273

Are you suggesting that secular-conservative Republicans might find their candidate in Hillary Clinton? Because I agree: she models a traditional Republican in her policy commitments and standards of integrity quite well. What’s magical is the way alleged “realism” is used to argue leftish Democrats into supporting her despite all that.

253

bruce wilder 04.19.16 at 4:48 pm

Rich Puchalsky @ 272:

Every time I point to “There is no alternative” [to the neoliberal conception] as a psychological-ideological fact in current political dynamics, I am conscious of the abdication of critical thought, responsibility and power involved. (I do not except myself from complicity.)

254

Layman 04.19.16 at 4:57 pm

“Nothing I have ever seen, read, or heard leads me to believe that living standards in Germany are sharply higher for 90% of Germans compared to their America peers.”

Have you been there? Experienced living conditions there? Which Germans are the ‘peers’ of poor Mississippians?

255

Plume 04.19.16 at 5:21 pm

Good article from Jacobin, related to the OP, and a nice catch phrase of sorts:

Against Fortress Liberalism:

The simple truth is that virtually every significant and lasting progressive achievement of the past hundred years was achieved not by patient, responsible gradualism, but through brief flurries of bold action. The Second New Deal in 1935–36 and Civil Rights and the Great Society in 1964–65 are the outstanding examples, but the more ambiguous victories of the Obama era fit the pattern, too.

These reforms came in a larger political environment characterized by intense popular mobilization — the more intense the mobilization, the more meaningful the reform. And each of them was overseen by an unapologetically liberal president who hawked a sweeping agenda and rode it all the way to a landslide victory against a weakened right-wing opposition.

256

TM 04.19.16 at 7:05 pm

TJ 269, Germany doesn’t have decennial censuses and so the population numbers are not quite precise (there is also the detail that there were two countries until 1990). A pretty good source is actually US Census International Database. Your figures are not in line with any reputable data source I have seen. Population is certainly not below 80 million at this point and certainly not declining. But even if it were slightly declining, that wouldn’t make Brett’s fantasy about “demographic collapse” any more irrational and his suggestion that German women ought to have more babies any less repulsive. What is this, a message board of German nativists?

257

Collin Street 04.19.16 at 7:35 pm

> Maybe someguy88 isn’t trolling, he really can’t read.

Like I keep saying: all hardline right-wingers, without exception, display the same distinctive patterns of language deficits.

258

TM 04.19.16 at 7:42 pm

One last comment on someguy’s and Brett’s the famous GDP comparisons.

I thought the fact that GDP is a lousy indicator of living standards was such an old hat that I didn’t need to explain it, at least not here. Everybody who has studied economic matters more than superficially is aware of it. But apparently it does bear explaining so maybe I can clarify things a bit further.

There are many problems with GDP but the most obvious is that it just aggregates (or attempts to) all production in a given economy regardless of whether the products have actually contributed to improving people’s lives. Goods and bads, constructive, defensive and destructive economic activity and overhead all get added up and divided by the number of people. What sense does that make? That’s why alternative measures, such as GPI (Genuine Progress indicator) (attempt to) correct GDP by deducting the undesirable categories of expenses, like law enforcement, military spending and so on.

Now for comparison purposes, this wouldn’t matter so much if the economies being compared spent similar proportions of their resources on the bad or undesirable stuff. But that is not the case. The US spends far more as a share of GDP on health care than any other country (18%), far more on the military than most, vastly more on police and prisons than most. In order to meaningfully compare, you need to deduct these shares from the per capita figure. Once you do that, the nominal 15% advantage that the US GDP supposedly has over Germany’s is probably already erased (I don’t really have figures for US law enforcement expenses but they have to be substantial).

There are other categories, like mobility, where there are reasons to believe that Americans pay more without getting better value (due to the inefficiency of transportation systems). All of these need to be adjusted for. But you are not done yet because you also have to adjust for the effects of inequality. A start would be to deduct the income share of the top decile (30% for the US). Of course, it would be more meaningful to compare living standards decile by decile. The higher the inequality, the higher the necessary adjustment in the lowest income groups.

Now you understand why there is no contradiction in observing that mass living standards in the US aren’t nearly as high as nominal GDP figures appear to indicate.

259

TM 04.19.16 at 7:43 pm

281 Corr.: It wouldn’t make Brett’s fantasy any more *rational*. Regret the typo.

260

Collin Street 04.19.16 at 8:10 pm

There are many problems with GDP but the most obvious is that it just aggregates (or attempts to) all production in a given economy regardless of whether the products have actually contributed to improving people’s lives.

This is actually useful for what GDP was originally intended for; as a measure of whole-of-society capacity, largely warmaking. If you the capacity to produce a squillion dollars worth of production, you can work out how far you could invade if you stopped producing anything except guns.

And if you threw the whole weight of your economy behind reducing poverty, GDP per cap would tell us how far you’d go. But “the US could make its poor people richer than germany could, if both economies threw their whole weight behind poverty reduction” doesn’t equate in any sane sense to “the US is a better place to be right now“, does it?

People like Bretty and Someguy don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. It’s just token-shuffling; that there’s real concepts standing behind the tokens that sometimes impose restrictions on how you can arrange the tokens and still “be correct” just doesn’t occur to them.

261

bruce wilder 04.19.16 at 9:01 pm

German wage workers average around 1400 hours a year; U.S. workers labor for around 1800 hours a year.

262

bruce wilder 04.19.16 at 9:07 pm

The suffering of Greece has less to do with its own alleged economic vices than that the country is locked into a monetary regime controlled by and for Germany, and they are not allowed to help themselves out of the hole they dug with German “help”.

263

J-D 04.20.16 at 12:19 am

Lupita @270

To enter an existing conversation and say that it’s wrong for the participants in that conversation to be discussing their chosen topic instead of the more important topic that you are interested in discussing is rude, and it’s rude regardless of whether your topic is more important than their topic.

264

J-D 04.20.16 at 12:29 am

Brett Bellmore @258

‘What I concluded was that, if you care about the poor, you should reject Europe as an economic model, because (Admittedly, this was implied, but I thought it obvious.) aiding the poor requires resources, and you need to have, to create, resources in order to be able to use them.’

It is faulty reasoning to argue along the following lines:
A is required to produce N; therefore, if your objective is N, you should seek to maximise A

That reasoning would not be faulty if A was the only thing required to produce N, but this is seldom or never the case.

If A, B, C, and D are all necessary ingredients of N, and your objective is N, maximising A might be your best approach, but only if it’s the limits on A which are currently the constraint on achievement of your objective. If the current constraints on achievement of N are limits on B, C, or D, then maximising A won’t help, and may even be a hindrance if it has negative effects on B, C, or D.

I may be wrong, but my impression is that the constraint on achieving aid to the poor in the US, currently, is not a lack of resources (in the national aggregate), and if I’m right about this then aiming US policy at aggregate economic growth is not a good choice of a way to aid the poor.

265

Lupita 04.20.16 at 12:39 am

@ J-D

I was trying to add a third world perspective, not derail the discussion. I beg your forgiveness and please continue without me.

266

Lupita 04.20.16 at 12:51 am

@Brett Bellmore

And the world doesn’t need a second Mexico, either

Excuse the interruption, but it wouldn’t be a second Mexico, just a bigger Mexico. And we would let you keep the snowy parts.

267

J-D 04.20.16 at 1:12 am

Brett Bellmore @290

The statement ‘people who care about the poor should not take Europe as a model’ is not equivalent to ‘the US should not take Europe as an economic model’. If your original statement misrepresented your intention and you now realise that you should have expressed yourself differently, does that mean that you now disavow the position that people who care about the poor should not take Europe as a model? Or, if you still adhere to that position, how do you justify it in the light of the foregoing discussion?

268

J-D 04.20.16 at 1:16 am

Lupita @291

If the original post is the reference point, the discussion is already derailed, and there’s no further derailing for you to beg forgiveness for.

There is a difference, worth bearing in mind, between
‘You cannot discuss A without discussing B’
and
‘You should not discuss A without discussing B’
and
‘I consider A trivial compared to B and would prefer to discuss B’.

But (in this particular instance) discussion of B is not significantly further removed from the original post than discussion of A, so I think you should feel free to have at it.

269

LFC 04.20.16 at 2:15 am

TM @283

…the fact that GDP is a lousy indicator of living standards was such an old hat…. everybody who has studied economic matters more than superficially is aware of it.

Haven’t been following this part of the thread really, but will chime in here, before going offline, to second this point. This is a longstanding criticism of GDP; other measures were being developed as long as four decades ago (see something called the Physical Quality of Life Index) and they’ve never stopped being advanced, though my impression is that the use of GDP as a proxy for things it doesn’t actually measure has proven hard to dislodge.

270

Plume 04.20.16 at 2:45 am

Brett,

With the truly ginormous gap in America between the haves and the have nots, between the richest and the middle, the richest and the poor, the middle and the poor, there is a corresponding ginormous flexibility when it comes to “economic underperformance” overall. Because pretty much everything is going to the richest 1% right now, with literally no gains for the rank and file American worker since roughly 1973. Because the richest 20 Americans now hold as much wealth as the bottom half of the entire country combined. Because the richest 0.1% hold as much as the bottom 90% of the country combined.

The logic is inescapable that an egalitarian sharing of the fruits of society means we would need but a fraction as much GDP to greatly improve quality of life for everyone. The only reason why we require endless growth and a huge GDP is that the richest steal the vast majority of it, and leave relatively nada, zilch, nothing for everyone else. The only reason why we have poverty and the working poor is because the top 1-5% sucks up pretty much all rewards for themselves.

Reverse engineer this, and we solve the issue of poverty, homelessness, famine, the working poor, etc.

The only thing that is really important, when it comes to the vast majority of Americans — or the rank and file in any country — is the distribution of income, access, fruits of society, education, health care, etc. etc. Overall economic performance doesn’t mean shit. Distribution is the be all and end all.

Europe, while much, much better than America, when it comes to overall distribution of the fruits of society, still falls massively short. So if you’re saying it shouldn’t be our model, you’d be right, but for all the wrong reasons. You’d be right because it doesn’t go nearly far enough with egalitarian distribution of compensation, access, health care, education, etc. etc. . . . though, again, it currently kicks our butts on that score.

And, seriously, only the filthy rich and their shills would even try to make a case that the best model is the one that “creates wealth” for the richest only — and, of course, that “creates wealth” part is pure bullshit too. They extract it from the people who create it — workers, consumers, and the planet itself. They steal from the people who create. They screw over the people who create it. They (the rich, the capitalists) don’t create anything on their own except for plutocracy, oligarchy and oppression.

271

Bruce Wilder 04.20.16 at 2:49 am

The US “model” seems to be to have most people work longer and harder to produce more so the wealthiest 1% can enjoy that increased surplus. Is Brett saying he thinks that is desirable?

272

Plume 04.20.16 at 2:56 am

Bruce @297,

Yes. That’s what Brett and his propertarian friends want. He can’t come right out and say it. But that’s what the Hayeks, Von Misesians and the Friedmans of this world want. They want to do right by their billionaire masters and eff the poor.

273

J-D 04.20.16 at 2:59 am

Brett Bellmore @290

What actually has happened, historically, when large numbers of people have migrated into territory where they or their descendants come to outnumber the indigenous population or its descendants (or where there was no indigenous population)? I don’t think the usual pattern has been that they have replicated the culture, and the social and economic conditions, of the territory they have migrated from. If that was how things worked, the US would have the same culture, and the same social and economic conditions as Europe — which is partially true, but only partially (or there’d be nothing for this disagreement to be about). That’s what typically happens, I think — the new population in the receiving territory develops a culture, and social and economic conditions, which reflect to a significant extent, but only partly, the culture, and the social and economic conditions, characteristic of the territory they came from.

If large numbers of Syrians migrate to Germany and if they and their descendants (incrementally) come to form the bulk of the population there, I would expect it to change Germany, but I would not expect it to change Germany into another Syria.

274

Faustusnotes 04.20.16 at 3:40 am

Brett you can’t trade lower population growth for higher economic growth. Exactly the opposite occurs. If you adjust Japanese, Korean or German economic growth for its population growth those countries are doing better, not worse.

Your theory is completely wrong.

275

Suzanne 04.20.16 at 4:40 am

@276: Oh, those awful hags just waiting for some poor man to say something sexist so they can pounce.

For better and worse, surely Clinton is nothing if not a “traditional politician who promises to do things.”

Inside baseball or not, it’s extremely rare for language such as Sanders’ to come from the candidate. The closest recent analogy is Mitt Romney’s attack on Trump, and Romney is not an active candidate and plainly would be happy to see Trump crash and burn in November. Most failing campaigns go through a spell of sore-loserdom, of course. Clinton’s had such a spell in 2008, although it was nothing like Bernie’s hissy fit. I hope he regroups and takes an even strain going forward.

276

TM 04.20.16 at 7:14 am

Brett’s views on demographics are empirically and conceptually wrong but what stands out is the naked nativist propaganda (Germans “are declining to have children”). I never bought his Libertarian phraseology but this is beyond my worst expectations. If other people’s reproductive choices upset you, you know what, go f*** yourself.

277

TM 04.20.16 at 9:47 am

The good news is that American liberto-fascists “whose culture is antithetical to liberal democracy” aren’t flocking to Europe.

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TM 04.20.16 at 9:51 am

The good news is that American liberto-fascists, with their culture “antithetical to liberal democracy”, aren’t flocking to Europe – they think it’s a terrible, doomed place and we should leave them in that delusion.

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faustusnotes 04.20.16 at 12:59 pm

Brett, your demographic theory is completely wrong.

280

roger gathmann 04.20.16 at 7:53 pm

301 Hags? That is offensive. But since we have to get into tit for tat about trivialities, I can play. The most sexist thing said in this election so far is Gloria Steinem’s analysis of Sanders dominance in the demographic of women below 30 – “And, when you’re young, you’re thinking, where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie…” Of course, those empty headed things, just looking for a sugar daddy. That was overtly and plainly sexist in every dimension, and it is typical of the Clintonite discourse about “idealistic” millenials. Or maybe I could play with the anti-semitism that Clinton plays with, knowing Sanders is Jewish, emphasizing how she is Methodist, wink wink.
So much for the campaign.
Now, maybe you truly think Sanders will try to create sexist policy on the federal level. I don’t. Myself, I think the Clintonian line that abortion should be rare has been a disaster for women. I think the selling guns to Saudi Arabia and in general, support for Sunni dictatorships, has been a disaster for Middle Eastern women. Clinton is not going to be good for the majority of women in this country, although those making above 500 thou a year will probably benefit from her time in office. When she is president, we will see abortion rights further erode, we will see no progress to national day care, and we will see no government force applied to equalize wages between men and women for the same work. And of course for women in the Middle East, Clinton is an unmitigated disaster.
So, I meet your hags comment with the Clintonite all young women are bimbos meme, and I raise you Clinton’s anti poor women attitudes in the past.

281

roger gathmann 04.20.16 at 7:57 pm

PS. The only poll I know of that breaks down age and gender is this from USA today, which shows Sanders with a very strong lead among women under thirty than Clinton:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/03/14/poll-millennials-clinton-sanders-trump-president/81612520/

282

RNB 04.20.16 at 8:09 pm

Umm, what is Sanders doing in the race?

1. Weaver and Devine (WD) could think that despite her huge lead over Trump Clinton is not electable so Sanders has to tear her down to prevent her from getting the nomination, and have the superdelegates hand Sanders the nomination. Of course Clinton is running as ahead of Trump as Sanders is, and Sanders has not even been put through the grinder yet. And Clinton is going to get the nomination, so all WD’s attacks about the Goldman Sachs speech and financing do now is Trump’s work. Trump will claim that he’s self-financing, and is not beholden to Wall Street. So if Sanders sticks to these issues, he may just be handing voters over to Trump in the general.

2. WD may actually have admitted to themselves that Sanders can’t win and may have convinced themselves that they should threaten character assassination of Clinton until she agrees to some of Sanders’ signature issues. Of course such concessions from Clinton would be meaningless, and the attacks again do Trump’s work.

3. Sanders may moderate his attacks and try to strengthen the Democratic Party by creating the illusion that voters could still give him the nomination based on his signature issues (defined on their own and not in contradistinction to Clinton’s positions), which will lead to more people registering and thinking of themselves as Democrat and voting Democrat in the general. Clinton and the superdelegates want him to do 3. I would guess that Sanders will do three while WD, deep in the fight, will still think in terms of 1 and 2.

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bruce wilder 04.20.16 at 8:27 pm

RNB @ 310

So, basically you are arguing that people who oppose Clinton’s neoliberal agenda should support her anyway.

284

RNB 04.20.16 at 8:40 pm

The problem here is that Sanders can get more votes by playing on resentment of Clinton for her being offered big money to speak and acting presumptively by using a private server of than by running on issues of universal care, sharply progressive taxation, free college and a populist/petit-bourgeois vision of breaking up the banks. Clinton gets more negative media attention than Trump, so the electorate is primed for an anti-Clinton campaign. And if Sanders wants to keep on getting votes he would do best by going negative on Clinton than by running on his issues even if this plays into Trump’s (deformed) hands.

285

Rich Puchalsky 04.20.16 at 8:53 pm

RNB is perfect in his shamelessness. HRC, according to him, is supposed to be immunized against negative campaigning by already having had the GOP throw the kitchen sink at her, and also so sensitive to negative campaigning that if Sanders says anything mean about her he may well lose the Democratic Party the election. He also always manages to get in some kind of snipe about how breaking up the banks is “populist/petit-bourgeois” and that I guess HRC is by comparison the real radical.

Whether people on the left in the U.S. support a third party, participate in the Democratic primary and win, or participate in the Democratic primary and lose, or drop out of our excessively stupid electoral system entirely, they are always in the wrong and have done something dangerous.

286

RNB 04.20.16 at 9:02 pm

Let’s say you don’t want Trump to win, not because you think people will be disburdened of the need for autonomous political victory upon Clinton’s victory but because you think Trump (or Cruz) would severally restrict the territory available for such autonomous political activity. Well if you don’t want Trump to win you don’t want Sanders’ supporters voting for Trump or sitting it out. And that will depend on how Sanders conducts his campaign. I understand that I am not the truth-telling revolutionary that you are Rich, and I am ok with that.

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Rich Puchalsky 04.20.16 at 9:12 pm

So you’ve decided that the way to keep Sanders’ supporters from voting for Trump or sitting it out is to insult their intelligence and values at every opportunity. I’ll have to keep that in mind as a useful tool of persuasion. Contempt works!

Sanders is simply being set up for the same routine as Nader was — if he tries to win, that’s bad. No one can win any contemporary political campaign without negative campaigning, and HRC is certainly not sitting this one out. Sanders supporters aren’t sheep who will be so influenced by Sanders’ criticism of HRC that they’ll refuse to vote for her, or if they do, they never were convincible voters for her in the first place.

And in the spirit of the OP, I really wonder how far the panic about Trump (or Cruz, or whoever) can go. Is the U.S. going to fall to fascism if we ever have a GOP President again? Because we’re almost sure to get one some time, and they’re all going to be like the current crop.

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Suzanne 04.20.16 at 9:29 pm

@308: I’ve already explained why the “unqualified” kerfuffle matters, but YMMV. I also think it was the turning point for Sanders in New York, although there were larger factors at work in his decisive defeat that didn’t have much to do with his missteps and those of his campaign.

For the record, immediately prior to her her gaffe, Steinem had just finished praising the young feminist women of today, saying they were more active and more forward-thinking than her generation. (Maher was prodding her to say something like These Kids Today and eventually he got what he wanted.)

Myself, I don’t hold a candidate responsible for the poorly received remarks of surrogates. However, if I did –Sanders’ people have more than made up for Steinem and Albright, and are hurting their candidate more:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/times-bernie-sanders-surrogate-trouble/story?id=38395592

The rest of your post is not worth a response.

@312: Sanders’ latest salvo against Clinton’s fundraising backfired badly, I think. George Clooney went on the talk shows to explain patiently and cogently that his event was held not only to benefit HRC but downticket Democrats, as well as the cause of campaign finance reform post-Citizens United. (Now there’s a surrogate.) State Democratic leaders whose organizations have benefited from HRC’s fundraising fired back indignantly at Sanders, who hasn’t done jack for them. Not good.

289

bruce wilder 04.20.16 at 9:33 pm

I want people in general to realize that they keep getting terrible policy results from the political process and those policy results make their lives noticeably, measurably worse. And, I want them to realize that they get bad policy because they are not in control of the political process because they are not in control of the electoral process; their control of the electoral process is an illusion, no more than a bit of mythic storytelling to enhance the legitimacy of a system run by and for a narrow elite pursuing its own privileges and interests at the expense of the commons. People — the mass of people — are not socially well-organized enough to act in concert and deliberately in choosing and backing candidates. Their social disorganization, reinforced by low levels of social affiliation in general, leaves them vulnerable to inexpensive manipulation thru mass media, which is used by the candidates and by corporate political “news” Media, to control the electoral process, and thru it the political process.

I want people to feel powerless, because they (we) are powerless. I want people to feel stupid, because they are being made stupid. I want people to feel manipulated because they are being manipulated. Those are all unpleasant feelings and I expect most people will shy away from feeling them. But, they are real — that is, that’s what you have to feel to situate yourself in reality, in how things really are. If even a few people could stand feeling as powerless as we actually are, there might be the possibility of organizing to act in concert, powerfully.

My feeling is that if you narrow your political thinking down to: “I don’t want Trump to win; I must support Hillary” you’ve been absorbed by the Borg. I am not saying, you can’t support Hillary over Trump and still be sane; I am saying that you cannot imagine that supporting Hillary over Trump is equivalent to saving the world and still be sane. It is the process of manipulation that squeezes out critical thought and makes me think that their individual vote matters, and matters enough that it requires deep moral consideration and emotional commitment, (not to mention cheerleading of the horse-race commentary as it is reported on political Media), that bothers me.

Most of us are way too passive politically. We imagine we are thinking, but we are not social enough to think effectively, let alone to act in concert. Being one vote, and one vote that the candidate can take entirely for granted because “lesser evil” — that’s just silly. It is unpleasant to recognize fully just how silly it is, but that’s the price of withdrawal from these manipulations where your social feelings are used against you without there being any actual social narrative operating, just 30 second soundbites.

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Rich Puchalsky 04.20.16 at 9:56 pm

I already mentioned the one-vote thing in my blog post linked upthread. I generally have a lot of respect for people who get out the vote. They don’t agonize about trivialities: they’ve decided how they want to have an effect, and they maximize that effect. I don’t have to agree with them to acknowledge that, given their perceptions and values, they are doing the right thing.

CR writes in the OP: “Nothing sets my teeth on edge more than these earnest droning lectures we get […] about the need for realism and moderation against our youthful penchant for revolution and idealism.” And yes, because the truth is that no matter what path you take in politics, it quickly becomes a matter of technique, not realism vs idealism. There is technique in organizing a movement or a protest or an election. Having decided what you’re going to do, the original choice of “realistic” or “idealistic” goals becomes more of a pre-existing condition, or, if you prefer, strategy rather than tactics.

291

RNB 04.20.16 at 9:58 pm

Wow! First RP calls me “shameless” and then accuses me of contempt. More civil, Wilder reminds people that they may be too stupid to understand that voting for Clinton to save the world from Trump is not the same thing as saving the world. I sort of dimly get the point, but it’s hard to see past the fog of stupidity that envelops me. One day, perhaps enough posts from BW and RP will dissipate that fog of stupidity just as a sharp wind reveals to me that I had been enveloped by our own body heat. Blow on, RP and BW; blow on.

292

The Temporary Name 04.20.16 at 10:03 pm

In the NY primary only 30% of the registered party members showed up. That should represent an enormous opportunity for the get-out-the-vote types, but somehow nothing stunning happens.

293

Layman 04.20.16 at 10:18 pm

“I sort of dimly get the point, but it’s hard to see past the fog of stupidity that envelops me.”

This is what some of us have been saying!

294

RNB 04.20.16 at 10:22 pm

Guess I am too “shameless” to cop to my “stupidity”. Great talking with you, guys! You’re swell.

295

roger gathmann 04.20.16 at 10:27 pm

306.Of course the rest of my post is worth a response. If you are really writing from a feminist perspective, in particular. You would want to say something about abortion and Clinton’s position, equal pay and Clinton’s position, and Clinton’s foreign policy from a feminist viewpoint.

That’s definitely worth it. I’m surprised that you don’t find it worth it. So what is not worthy about these issues? Do they not affect women who make as much money as you do? The ones in the upper 20 percent, the ones who are “leaning in”> Just the loser, eh?

I am not just rhetorically “surprised”. Previous posts seem to indicate that you did have views on these things. I get the sinking feeling that you are another paid Clintonite, and the instructions are, don’t get involved in these arguments, make sure you take a drive by hit, use our talking points. Beyond that, we cannot go.

Again, Clinton is going to be bad for women. Hopefully, not as bad as she would have been if she hadn’t been challenged from the left.

296

Layman 04.20.16 at 11:06 pm

@ RNB, maybe fewer HRC campaign ads?

297

roger gathmann 04.20.16 at 11:07 pm

ps – I wondered, though, if being treated rudely by you made me too hastily write Clinton off. Then I looked at her campaign site, and realized, no. Clinton still wants “market forces” to correct pay discrimination. Not the state.

https://www.hillaryclinton.com/the-briefing/fact-sheet-equal-pay/

She emphasized that one of the critical things we must do to strengthen our families is to ensure equal pay for women.
She called out Republicans for standing in the way of equal pay and made clear that their refusal to act is directly holding back American families.
She outlined concrete actions we can take right now to move closer to equal pay and strengthen American families:
Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to give women the tools they need to fight discrimination at work.
Promote pay transparency across our economy so that women have the information they need to negotiate fairly.
Raise wages for the lowest paid jobs in America, which are disproportionately held by women.
Establish workplace policies like paid leave and flexible scheduling that allow parents to take care of their obligations at home without sacrificing pay at work.”

Not, mind you, require pay transparency. Not require workplace policies like, uh, equal pay for equal work. The language becomes all triangulating. How individual women, having precarity at their back, are supposed to “negotiate” is anybody’s conundrum. It sounds good though when you are thinking about negotiating with the Board for perks to your CEO’s salary. No doubt, we are all just a negotiation away from liberation!

As for national daycare – which has been on the feminist agenda since 1972, when the Comprehensive Child Development Bill was vetoed – Clinton doesn’t even mention it. So much for feminism.

298

Donald 04.20.16 at 11:12 pm

I think Bruce’s point goes a little beyond his argument with RNB. I participate in this lesser evil voting and it is suffocating. It’s not that I think third party voting works, but this notion that we have to rally behind Clinton and not just vote for her, but support her, listen to idiotic rationalizations of her foreign policy, ignore the abject pandering to Netanyahu, ignore the repeated flip flopping on trade pacts, and so on — well, no. I don’t have a positive alternative to push. But we have had 13 years of listening to Nader bashers blaming him for Iraq and years of listening to Democrats feign outrage over Iraq and now we have the likely nominee being someone who voted for Iraq.

299

Layman 04.20.16 at 11:24 pm

“But we have had 13 years of listening to Nader bashers blaming him for Iraq and years of listening to Democrats feign outrage over Iraq and now we have the likely nominee being someone who voted for Iraq.”

‘Feign’? FFS.

300

DavidMoz 04.21.16 at 12:21 am

Shorter OED: “feign. 1 to fashion, forge, shape 2 to invent, to forge 3 to relate in fiction, to fable 4 to suppose arbitrarily or erroneously [all now rare] 5 to assert or maintain fictitiously, to pretend 6 to practice dissimulation, to dissemble 7 to make a show of, pretend, simulate, sham 8 to pretend, make oneself appear 9 to counterfeit 10 to make a feint 11 to sing softly , also to sing with due regard to the ‘accidentals’ 12 to shirk”

Sounds to me like you’re feigning more outrage here Layman.

301

Faustusnotes 04.21.16 at 12:36 am

Yes I use “feign” when I mean “make” all the time, and so does everyone I know.

My outrage at the Iraq war is not feigned. But I don’t want to see a fascist take the us either. But then, I don’t view voting as a source of personal affirmation…

302

Rich Puchalsky 04.21.16 at 12:37 am

It’s a given that anyone who goes on about civility is doing so as a smokescreen to cover their own prior incivility. Look at how BW responded to RNB and how RNB wrote back. He’s shameless.

As for Donald and Iraq, people may or may not have had some kind of outrage that survived Bush’s term. But it didn’t cause them to generalize to Libya or keep them from suggesting the same kind of intervention in the future.

303

J-D 04.21.16 at 12:37 am

Brett Bellmore @303

‘I would expect you to realize that, if you want to have a liberal democracy, you don’t import huge numbers of people whose culture is antithetical to liberal democracy.

‘But I’m not stupid, I only expect that in a normative sense.’

What would be stupid would be to think that all people raised in a particular culture automatically acquire an identical and unalterable set of cultural characteristics.

When people migrate from one cultural context to another, what usually happens is that the people undergo cultural change (although it’s also usually the case, if the numbers are large, that the receiving culture changes; but then, cultures change with or without immigration).

As I pointed out above, it is not realistic to expect (and now I might add that it’s also not normative to expect) that the migration of a large number of people will result in the replication at the point of arrival of the culture (and economic and social conditions) of the point of departure. I repeat: if that were so, American culture (and economic and social characteristics) would replicate European culture (and economic and social characteristics) and there would be nothing to have this argument about in the first place.

304

J-D 04.21.16 at 12:52 am

bruce wilder @317

Those things you want me to realise, I do realise (or approximately so). I don’t confuse voting with deep emotional and/or moral commitment. My expectations from the electoral process are low. But they’re not nil. When there’s an election I turn out to vote.

The people who do confuse voting with deep emotional and/or moral commitment regularly bemuse me. It’s a phenomenon I can’t get fully accustomed to. I perceive it in some of the comments here and get bemused all over again.

305

Layman 04.21.16 at 1:41 am

“As for Donald and Iraq, people may or may not have had some kind of outrage that survived Bush’s term. But it didn’t cause them to generalize to Libya or keep them from suggesting the same kind of intervention in the future.”

Well, for some people, it did.

306

Layman 04.21.16 at 1:42 am

“Sounds to me like you’re feigning more outrage here Layman.”

Try removing your head from your ass. It might sound different then.

307

Rich Puchalsky 04.21.16 at 2:44 am

“But I don’t want to see a fascist take the us either. “

Once again: how do you plan to do this? To never ever have any GOP Presidential candidate win ever? That’s impossible. To hold them off until respectable GOP candidates come back? That won’t happen. BW talks about realignments, but as far as I can tell the GOP has already realigned. I think that the moderate Republican is gone.

What this is is a variant of the same old shell game. It goes like this: the GOP is all-powerful in office, and the Democratic Party is powerless in office. So if Trump takes the Presidency, no other power in government can resist him and we get fascism. If a Democrat does, we can’t expect them to do anything because of course the President can’t do anything.

308

The Temporary Name 04.21.16 at 3:45 am

If a Democrat does, we can’t expect them to do anything because of course the President can’t do anything.

That isn’t the case if people vote for Democrats in congress and the senate, and wasn’t the case in 2008, when Democrats managed to get some stuff done. Then along came the 2010 midterms.

309

Faustusnotes 04.21.16 at 3:50 am

That’s exactly what I expect rich – keep the republicans out until they break. And look, it’s happening- one black president and they have lost it. A vote is just a vote, it can’t do anything except keep someone out or put them in. If you want real change you need to vote for your party AND work to reform it and the community it acts in. But the dems won’t reform leftward while they are terrified of a right wing populace, and the surest way to keep them heading left is to show them that their left wing policies will win.

310

faustusnotes 04.21.16 at 3:57 am

Also it’s not a shell game. THe only people here who think the president can’t do anything are the people who think that Obama achieved nothing. If Trump wins he gets control of all three branches of government and you don’t want that.

We are on the cusp of 16 years of Democratic rule. That will reshape America for at least a generation. We should do all we can to get it, and not settle for more of the same disruption just because of vague fears about the chick in charge.

311

Sebastian H 04.21.16 at 7:33 am

I’m sure there are people somewhere in the country who would normally vote for Democrats but won’t vote for Clinton due to sexism, but you aren’t talking to any of them here. Clinton has given a lot of reasons for misgivings.

312

novakant 04.21.16 at 8:43 am

313

Rich Puchalsky 04.21.16 at 9:58 am

“Also it’s not a shell game. THe only people here who think the president can’t do anything are the people who think that Obama achieved nothing. If Trump wins he gets control of all three branches of government and you don’t want that.”

Which is why under Obama when the Democrats had control of all three branches of government we got… if anyone said that if the Democrats win all three branches of government, even under Sanders let’s say, we’d get socialism, they’d be derided. If they were right-wing, they’d be called a right-wing alarmist and red-baiter; if they were left-wing, they’d be accused of Green Lanternism or something similar. But apparently the American people are supposed to be eager for fascism and if the GOP ever wins all three branches as they did under Bush we’re going to get it.

Bush Jr. was horrible, and obviously I think that Presidents can do something and that a Democratic Party President is better than a GOP President. But I’m suspicious about claims of impending fascism that only seem to come up around election time. RNB talks about the shutdown of protest. How much protest do we actually get to do under Obama? The last few protests I’ve been to have universally been shut down by police, often with accompanying violence, and Obama did nothing. The U.S. is a high-violence society and what may look to some people like impending fascism may really be just our long-term historical charming folkways.

314

Faustusnotes 04.21.16 at 10:37 am

I didn’t say fascism in the us I said a fascist take the us. That’s a subtle difference but it was intended.

This theory that Obama squandered his first term is silly. You got the biggest expansion of the welfare state since Medicare, major changes to the EPA and the NLRB, and a bunch of smaller policies. Obamacare was rewritten by Scalia to reduce its effectiveness but it’s still huge. Why are bro-leninsists so obsessed with the idea that dems achieve nothing? Why do you ignore the Supreme Court in your deliberations of the value of your soul-nourishing vote ? Could it be because most dem policy that matters doesn’t affect you, and most Supreme Court decisions don’t hold you back?

315

Rich Puchalsky 04.21.16 at 11:41 am

Or could it be, since I’m not a bro-leninist and I’ve already written that the value of a vote is approximately zero, plus I’ve already cited specific Democratic policy decisions that affected me (i.e. Obama’s encouragement of repression of protest) that you’re addressing no one? Could it be that you’re just kind of a jerk and don’t really know much about American politics?

316

engels 04.21.16 at 11:45 am

I don’t want to get into another fight with Puchalsky but while I disgree with RNB about much I’ve always found his comments interesting and I think the personal tone in #313 etc is quite inappropriate.

317

Faustusnotes 04.21.16 at 11:53 am

You haven’t cited specific democratic policy decisions on protest. You said “Obama did nothing” about a nebulous shutdown of a protest you attended wkthout saying anything about who shut it down, what Obama could have done or what Obama policies specifically affected the shutdown. Feel free to share.

318

Rich Puchalsky 04.21.16 at 11:55 am

Oh god, engels is speaking out against a personal tone in blog comments. How little self-knowledge can people have?

I’ve always found engels’ comments supremely disinteresting, largely because he seems to think that his preconceptions are just natural facts and that when he restates them as if they are obviously such he isn’t being insulting.

319

Rich Puchalsky 04.21.16 at 12:09 pm

If you aren’t familiar with Obama’s policies on protest (and press and whistleblowers: they are related), it’s because you haven’t wanted to become familiar with them. Hint: it’s generally agreed that he’s worse than Bush. (Here’s just one example.) And the nebulous protest that you’ve never heard of was, let’s say, the Occupy movement, although of course I guess it would have been Green Lanternism to say that Obama as chief executive could have done anything about that. After all, Presidents are powerless, right?

320

Rich Puchalsky 04.21.16 at 12:11 pm

321

engels 04.21.16 at 12:18 pm

supremely disinteresting

You keep using that word. I don’t t think it means what you think it means

For the record, I wasn’t speaking out against “personal tone a blog”, I was speaking of against calling RNB “shameless”. The barrage of personal abuse directed at me on consequence was exactly what I anticipated

322

Rich Puchalsky 04.21.16 at 12:42 pm

engels, I’m just more honest about it. Your comments are routinely abusive, and if you don’t see that, it’s your problem. In particular, you might want to think about what you’re writing the next time you announce that you haven’t read a thread and that now you’re going to comment on it with some jokey link that’s supposed to obviously contradict what people have written (and that you haven’t read).

323

engels 04.21.16 at 12:58 pm

I’m just more honest about it. Your comments are routinely abusive

No they’re not actually, and that’s another character attack. Why don’t you try making arguments instead of personally attacking people until they go away, and then personally attacking people who object to it? Just a thought…

324

J-D 04.21.16 at 1:00 pm

Rich Puchalsky @341

The Democrats under Obama never had control over all three branches of the government: legislature, executive, and judiciary.

325

faustusnotes 04.21.16 at 1:04 pm

So Obama signed a veto-proof bill, and it’s all his fault that 6700 occupy demonstrators have been arrested (no proof of Obama’s fault adduced) and some dude got in trouble with the police in 2002 before Obama was president but time-travelling green lantern Obama didn’t do enough?

So in short, you don’t have any evidence that anything that has happened to Occupy protesters or you is Obama’s fault, and protesting in America got harder under Bush, but it’s all Obama’s fault.

Also, engels isn’t routinely abusive.

326

Rich Puchalsky 04.21.16 at 1:21 pm

“some dude got in trouble with the police in 2002 before Obama was president”

faustusnotes can’t read, so my argument is wrong.

“Also, engels isn’t routinely abusive.”

Two seconds Google: “‘serious’ = interested in actually helping to bring about socialism rather than eg. wasting people’s time on a blog by posting endlessly negative opinions about the left largely devoid of argument or knowledge of their subject matter”

But that’s not abusive because he didn’t use bad words like “shameless”. Look earlier in that thread and you’ll see words like “cranky”. But that’s not a character attack, etc.etc. At least I give faustusnotes credit for not pretending that “bro-leninist” was just an objective description of facts.

327

Rich Puchalsky 04.21.16 at 1:32 pm

J-D: “The Democrats under Obama never had control over all three branches of the government: legislature, executive, and judiciary.”

Yes, I miswrote that comment. I meant the Presidency, the Senate, and the House of Representatives.

328

Layman 04.21.16 at 1:44 pm

“I don’t want to get into another fight with Puchalsky but while I disgree with RNB about much I’ve always found his comments interesting and I think the personal tone in #313 etc is quite inappropriate.”

@engels, of course you’re right, and I hereby apologize to RNB for my unnecessary and insulting post at 321.

329

faustusnotes 04.21.16 at 1:55 pm

Oh Rich, I read the slate article you linked to, that’s where the dude from 2002 gets extensive coverage. Was Obama elected in 2002? Perhaps you were referring to the 6700 Occupy protesters arrested when you said Obama “did nothing” (noting, of course, that “doing nothing” and “specific policies” are very different – but you knew that right, and chose your language to be as clear as possible that Obama did something, not nothing – right?). But hte article you link to doesn’t give any evidence that even one of those 6700 arrests was related to the law Obama signed, which is a specific law that applies to specific things and was veto-proof. i.e. he had to sign it.

Your point blurs, Rich. Also, a single rude comment of engels’s does not constitute evidence of “routinely” abusive. I’ve been reading this blog for 10 years, I’m confident that I can remember engels (his name stands out like dog’s balls, after all) and he is not routinely abusive.

Projection, etc.

330

Rich Puchalsky 04.21.16 at 2:12 pm

That article explains why the dude from 2002 is important. Maybe you should read it? It was written by Dahlia Lithwick and someone else, and maybe she’s a well known commenter on legal issues and had a reason for including the dude from 2002 in a discussion of contemporary protest? If you’re not going to read the article, I can’t read it for you.

As for engels, I found two instances within a few seconds of checking the last thread I remember him from. Let me guess: you don’t think that he writes abusively because he avoids bad words like “shameless”, and after all, you can’t read.

But I’ll restate my point, since you think that it blurs. People here like to say that Trump, if he wins, will shut down protest, and that he is especially bad in his treatment of protestors at his rallies. This mainly shows that they don’t know much about American protest. Trump’s rhetoric is particularly bad, which just shows that he’ll say anything, but his actual practice is well in line with Clinton, Bush, and Obama treatment of protest and the Democratic Party and GOP treatment of protest (thus the “veto-proof” bill that you refer to.) Obama, in particular, could have done something as chief executive about the police shutdowns of Occupy protests that occurred all across the country, and did not. His own policy as chief executive has been worse in this and related areas than his predecessors going back to just after Nixon, probably.

Given that, I think “OMG Trump will shut down protest” is ignorant at best, and more likely deceptive.

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Layman 04.21.16 at 2:21 pm

“…the law Obama signed, which is a specific law that applies to specific things and was veto-proof. i.e. he had to sign it.”

I’m not sure I understand that defense. The President need not sign any bill. If Congress wants to override a pocket veto, and can muster the necessary votes, the bill becomes law, without the signature of the executive. Is that not so?

For the President to veto or refuse to sign a bill which will ultimately pass into law regardless of his veto, doesn’t prevent the law, but it isn’t meaningless either.

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Rich Puchalsky 04.21.16 at 2:31 pm

A Presidential veto signals that the bill is controversial and, since Congress has to vote again to override the veto, they have to affirm their positions on this controversy. Presidents can veto bills that are “veto-proof” and routinely do, when they actually disagree with the bill in question. For that matter, political parties that disagree with bills don’t make them “veto-proof” in the first place, and the argument was a broader one than one just about Obama.

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TM 04.21.16 at 2:49 pm

engels can be a pain in the ass. Good news is, he tends to make it short.

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faustusnotes 04.21.16 at 2:58 pm

Rich there is literally nothing in that slatepitch that says anything about Obama and the 2002 dude. Literally no connection. Impugning my reading skills for failing to find a link in a series of paragraphs that literally say nothing about Obama is kind of a joke.

Also, think a bit more seriously about what you’re saying. I know it’s hard, but consider the position of the US’s first black president as it relates to that article. The article is about some law, 1752, that relates to the secret service’s responsibilities and protest. It expands the areas people can’t enter when the secret service designate them. Or some such thing. It was signed by Obama. Do you remember that once Obama went to a town hall meeting, to tout Obamacare (which you hate, because poor people’s rights mean nothing to you). And outside there was a dude standing in the street with an assault rifle, carrying a placard that said sometimes you have to water the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants. Right outside the town hall meeting where Obama was pushing a radical government intervention (radical for you guys; for the rest of the world it’s a tame capitulation; but you have to go to war with the tools to hand).

Do you think maybe, just maybe, being a black president pushing a radical plan in a land where radical black people and unpopular presidents get murdered, after a dude stood outside a town hall holding that placard and an assault rifle, Obama’s view of law 1752 might be very, very slightly different to the view of Rich White Dude Rich? That maybe he might think “fuck these people, their AR15s and the horse they rode in on”? And that in order to prove he was wrong to sign that law you need to present slightly better evidence than a random collection of arrested people and a completely unrelated dude who was arrested before Obama was president?

Also, if this Dahlia Lithwick writer is so good on this stuff, maybe she should actually present an argument, and explain why those 6700 arrests were Obama’s fault, and how the law she references enables them, instead of choosing a single example from 6 years before the president was elected and 10 years before the law was signed. Cause. Effect. That stuff.

And maybe, commenting on an academic blog, you should adhere to some standards of evidence, instead of this weak sauce.

Also, “people” here didn’t say that Trump would shut down protest. It’s the argument of one person. It’s a compelling argument, that as someone who just presented zero evidence of Obama shutting down protest, you should try and learn from.

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engels 04.21.16 at 3:01 pm

#361 I am flattered to have attracted a virtual stalker

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Rich Puchalsky 04.21.16 at 3:04 pm

faustusnotes: “Rich there is literally nothing in that slatepitch that says anything about Obama and the 2002 dude. Literally no connection.”

From the article:
“Bursey might not have been convicted had he not engaged in a lengthy discussion with police regarding the legality of his actions, which helped to prove that his incursion was willful. A showing of that mental state is no longer necessary, however. In futzing with the intent requirements of Section 1752, Congress may well have had Bursey in mind.”

I literally can’t help you, faustusnotes.

“Also, if this Dahlia Lithwick writer is so good on this stuff”

Oh geez.

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faustusnotes 04.21.16 at 3:07 pm

So you concede that everything bad that happened to Bursey happened before Obama was elected.

So how are the 6700 Occupy arrests Obama’s fault?

Logic, Rich. It is a thing. Try it.

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faustusnotes 04.21.16 at 3:08 pm

Also, I note you still haven’t explained how Obama’s actions affected you, personally, at the Occupy demonstration you, personally, saw shut down. You have presented the exact law you claim is Obama’s big contribution to shutting down stuff. But you haven’t said it personally affected you. It didn’t actually personally affect you did it? So your original claim was wrong, wasn’t it?

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Rich Puchalsky 04.21.16 at 3:32 pm

faustusnotes: “Also, I note you still haven’t explained how Obama’s actions affected you, personally”

The police shutdown of a national movement that I was involved in didn’t affect me personally? The follow-on laws to make future such protests even more difficult didn’t? I haven’t bothered to cite more than the one because you’ve so horribly bungled reading that one that you think “Haha the article talks about a guy in 2002!” is a good argument.

Note that I have to phrase Obama’s treatment of Occupy as inaction, not as action, because any hint that there was a coordinated response to Occupy instantly gets labelled as Grand Conspiracy Theory. But I think it’s plain enough just as inaction. Presidential action in the U.S. has traditionally been the last resort of protest movements who are being shut down by local police. When the President doesn’t take action, that’s an action in itself.

But I see that, above, you’ve reiterated the standard reason why we can’t have protests: The Terrorists. Your Terrorist is a guy standing outside a town hall meeting with an assault rifle, but it comes to the same thing: people who don’t want fear of Terrorists to shut down protest at some photo op are “Rich White Dude”s. Limousine Liberals who just don’t understand the realities of how things are and what we need to do. There’s nothing in your argument that I haven’t head millions of times before about scary Muslims: yours is just the polite “left” version.

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Faustusnotes 04.21.16 at 3:47 pm

So no specific policies then.

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Rich Puchalsky 04.21.16 at 7:36 pm

No specific policies that you can understand, at any rate. That was a perfect tour d’horizon, fautusnotes: it had everything from simple ignorance (of how vetoes work, of who Dahlia Lithwick is), to vaunting your incomprehension of cited texts and recent U.S. history as “Logic”, to uncritical reaffirmation of the dangerousness of protest against elites combined with an evident self-image of yourself as a defender of democracy. I congratulate you.

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J-D 04.21.16 at 10:04 pm

Rich Puchalsky @367

‘Presidential action in the U.S. has traditionally been the last resort of protest movements who are being shut down by local police.’

Can you give me some leads to further information so I can educate myself?

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