Civic Literacy and our 2016 Election Choices

As Indiana’s primary approaches, it’s time to look at the 2016 election landscape as objectively as possible.

None of us is truly objective, of course. I look at the “still standing” Presidential candidates from the perspective of someone who teaches public administration, supports civil liberties, and has had a fair amount of first-hand political experience. I’m also old enough to have some historical perspective. Those attributes, for good or ill, shape my opinions.

It will come as no shock to anyone who has followed this blog that I find all of the Republican candidates appalling. Donald Trump is arguably the most ignorant person ever to win a Presidential primary. He quite clearly knows nothing about the world, the Constitution, about how government works, or policy…And worse, he’s aggressively uncurious about any of those things.

Ted Cruz, a Dominionist, is actually more dangerous than Trump. The term “Dominionism” comes from Genesis, in which God gives Adam and Eve “dominion” over the Earth and its animals; it’s the belief that Christians are biblically mandated to control all earthly institutions until the second coming of Jesus. Sometimes called Christian Reconstructionists, Dominionists like Cruz believe biblical law should replace secular law. Cruz opposes abortion even in the case of rape or incest; is unalterably opposed to equal rights for the LGBT community and promises to appoint Supreme Court Justices who agree with him.

Fortunately, neither of these characters is likely to win a general election. Polls suggest that most Americans detest Trump, and even his colleagues in the GOP loathe Cruz. John Kasich would be a far more effective candidate, but not because his policy views are significantly more palatable. He is a hard-right ideologue, but he does actually know what government is and  (at least compared to the other two) exhibits some human compassion.Not enough compassion to keep him from closing all of Ohio’s Planned Parenthood clinics and depriving poor women of health care, but some.

Which brings us to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders–either of whom, despite their flaws, would be massively preferable to any of the GOP candidates.

I have never been a big Hillary fan, not because I believe the rap about her “dishonesty.” (Let’s get real: Republicans have spent millions of dollars for 20+ years throwing everything but the kitchen sink at her–if anything had been there, we’d know it.) My criticism is that she is a defensive and awkward candidate–in fact, she reminds me in that respect of “Poppy” Bush, who was always much more interested in governing than campaigning. As a result, she often doesn’t seem authentic. She is basically a technocrat who lacks Obama’s (and Sanders’) ability to inspire.

That said, she may be the most qualified person ever to run for President. She has seen government from multiple perspectives–from the White House, to the Senate, to the State Department. I don’t agree with every vote she’s ever cast or every position she’s ever taken, but let’s be fair: no one with a resume that long and varied is going to avoid positions with which I disagree.

I initially welcomed Bernie Sanders’ candidacy because I saw Hillary as too cautious on the campaign trail. Without his prodding, she was unlikely to address several issues that, while divisive, needed to be addressed. Despite the fact that their voting records and positions are very similar (she’s always been more progressive than Bill), Sanders pushed her to publicly discuss issues she might not otherwise have highlighted in the campaign.

So what about Bernie? He’s been able to generate lots of enthusiasm. He has raised a limited but important set of issues that we need to be talking about. I tend to agree with him about most of his “signature” issues: we should have universal health care, free higher education, more economic equity. But if lightning were to strike, and Bernie were somehow to become the nominee (of a party he doesn’t belong to, I should note), it’s pretty obvious he would not be able to deliver. As Paul Krugman recently wrote (in a must-read analysis):

On many major issues — including the signature issues of his campaign, especially financial reform — he seemed to go for easy slogans over hard thinking. And his political theory of change, his waving away of limits, seemed utterly unrealistic.

Let me just point to one little-noted difference between Clinton and Sanders. Clinton has spent years and considerable effort helping to elect down-ticket Democrats, and she is continuing to do so. Sanders has not, and recently indicated that if he were the nominee, he wouldn’t bother.

People who understand how our government works (or doesn’t) recognize that we have this pesky system called “checks and balances.” We don’t elect a monarch who gets to wave a magic wand for four years (it drives me nuts when people on the left–evidently oblivious to the degree of Republican obstruction he’s faced–criticize Obama because he didn’t do everything he said he wanted to do).

Elect either Hillary or Bernie–it won’t matter unless Democrats control the Senate and have far more sway in the House. Having great goals and values won’t matter if there is no realistic path to their realization. Civically-literate partisans understand that. (There’s a reason that Bernie’s wins have all come in states that allow independents to participate in the Democratic primary or caucus, while Hillary has won an overwhelming majority of registered Democrats.)

There isn’t going to be a revolution. Perhaps there should be, but it isn’t going to happen.

Americans are stuck with a system that is not working, and we need to put people in charge who know that fixing it requires mastery of boring and annoying details, people who are prepared for a hard, long, maddeningly incremental slog. Like her or not, that’s Hillary.

Bernie may be a one-note Pied Piper. Hillary may be uninspiring. But a President Trump, Cruz or Kasich, abetted by a Republican Congress, would be a disaster from which this country might never recover.

Vote like your grandchildren’s lives depend on it, because they do.



52 thoughts on “Civic Literacy and our 2016 Election Choices

  1. I’m sorry but I disagree with many of your points about Bernie and Hillary but I’ll still come back and read your blog until you can’t write anymore. I hope you’re feeling better.

    I am sad that Hillary pretends that she knows government because she was first lady (better?) or carpet bagger Senator or the worst SOS ever. Or on the Walmart board of Directors! No wonder the GOP hates her!

    Paul Krugman who I used to respect has been totally taken to the woodshed for his remarks about Bernie’s NY article which if you had read or listened to the whole interview states his position clearly. You know, the legal way to break up the banks which the editors of that article totally botched and please, consider the dang source. Bernie is a liberal more so than Hillary will ever be.

    You can bet Bernie will support Democrats if he gets the nomination and he’s campaigned for several democrats in the past so why stop now? All you have to do is a history search and every bad trade deal, war or otherwise that Dems or Reps have tried to pull over on the citizens of this country, you will see that Bernie has been fighting for us for decades. That’s why I will continue to Feel the Bern because I noticed him in ’07 and thought out loud, I wished he’d run for President! Just because he’s not a party hack doesn’t make him less liberal! I’m a registered independent too so there is nothing wrong with him running as a Democrat in my eyes because the system is fixed and mutated so that he had no other choice. Only us political junkies know that Jill Stein is running as an independent.

    Bill’s meltdown with the BLM the other day has been telling of their desperation! Why do you think the MSM is calling her the inevitable? They need her to be in charge so that they won’t have to change nor lose out on millions and millions of Super Pac Money for adverts. We need the fourth estate back!

    The GOP is a bloody mess and no one in their right mind should vote for any of those bozos. They are not looking out for the middle class, they are trying to appease their FAR FAR right wing tea party evangelicals which hopefully, will lose all of their re-elections this fall.

    I may have been out of politics for decades (since Carter lost and voted twice for Obama) because I thought they were all crooks but since Bernie Sanders has come into focus, I say, It’s about Time! #FeelTheBern

  2. Thank you, Sheila, for this clear analysis. Like you, I found Bernie inspiring as a campaigner, and I appreciate his role in getting Hillary to talk about things, but the more I heard, the more I realized he simply is not up to the task of governing. His idea for how he would do everything is just some form of, the people will rise up and magically, all of the senators in red states and representatives in gerrymandered deep-red districts will realize that the people don’t like what they’re doing and will suddenly switch to supporting the deep-blue policies that King Bernie proposes, or perhaps they will riot in the streets and bring out the guillotine or something. That’s not how our governmental system works. The people don’t pass laws, they elect senators and representatives who do, and those folks know that they don’t have to please “the people,” they just have to keep winning their personal elections the same way they always have, with the same structural advantages they have already engineered into the system.

    Furthermore, he has no route for what to do about the state governments, which are even more obviously rigged in favor of the right in many states, and which pass far more of the laws which have far more effect on people’s everyday lives.

    We don’t have a way to pass laws “by the people” at the federal level. Government by plebiscite (proposing and passing laws by referendum) is widely used in CA, where I used to live, and the system there is ridiculous — anyone with sufficient money buys a campaign to mislead the public into believing that their proposed law would do the opposite of what it actually would do, and voters who can’t take the time or who don’t have the reading comprehension and knowledge of civics to see through the charade, vote as they are told.

    Ultimately, I would rather have a skilled governor than a skilled campaigner in the White House. And the Republican candidates all scare the heck out of me. This isn’t like when either Bush was President — they were far too moderate to have had a chance in today’s climate.

  3. I cannot help but to notice that in your analysis of the candidates that you did not mention Hillary’s connections to Wall Street and the big banks. It is that connection and reliance on the money from the greed driven establishment that makes Hillary unqualified in my opinion. That, and only that, is why I continue to support Bernie.

  4. “But a President Trump, Cruz or Kasich, abetted by a Republican Congress, would be a disaster from which this country might never recover.

    Vote like your grandchildren’s lives depend on it, because they do.”

    The party is over. This election is about survival. The Republicans can’t be allowed to win. That’s the “heart” of Sheila’s analysis. She stated it as well as anyone can.

    Donald Trump has allowed for a deep attack on the Republicans. If he keeps fading, then things will become much more difficult in taking them on, especially with discussing issues involving Christianity. Cruz is much more difficult to attack. His neo-Fascist like stances are masked by his use of Christianity. Trump doesn’t have that advantage and has been a much more vulnerable target.

    It’s going to be very difficult to win this election despite what the polls are saying about the Republican candidates. Things can change overnight. The more moderate Republicans that I have talked with, for the most part, DISLIKE their candidates but HATE Hillary Clinton. She’s not a very popular person. And as we are seeing she is also disliked by many Democrats. But she is our only viable choice to defeat the Republican candidate and she has to win.

    Under the circumstances, I believe it’ll be a miracle if she does. She is now being CORNERED by the Republicans on the right and Bernie Sanders on the left. Sanders is just what the Republicans wanted.

  5. I like Bernie, too, but let’s get serious. A President’s hands CAN be tied in many ways, so it takes a whole party to get the job done — because, as we’ve seen, one little part of a party can get things almost completely stopped.

  6. I like Bernie, but also feel that his ideas would be obstructed even more than Obama’s by our congress.

    If Hillary were a man I believe she would be much more acceptable as a presidential candidate. Her strength and ability to stand up against all of the @*#% that has been thrown at her is admirable.

  7. Theresa; thanks for pointing out my primary objection to Hillary. Corporate rule is the source of most problems in this country and she is corporate America. She is extremely knowledgeable and experienced at the top level of politics; doesn’t mean she would be the best selection for president. Having five children, the last three natural childbirth as done for centuries, I do “know ’bout birthin’ babies”. This doesn’t qualify me to deliver them.

    Sheila; my King James version of the Bible says “…God gave MAN dominion over all living creatures…” No mention of Eve having dominion over anyone; this is obvious with today’s GOP anti-women campaign and enacted laws. Remember too; Eve is the one who has always been blamed for the “original sin” and cursed with “the curse” as punishment. As an aside; how about that “Periods For Pence” movement? I read they are 40,000 strong. “We are women, hear us roar!”

    Bernie is gaining the support of the people; he is recognized as the one to pick up the reins of the presidency from President Obama. Even though President Obama supports Hillary (and I must question WHY?); trading Republican corporate rule for Democratic corporate rule will bring little change. And as Pete so wisely pointed out recently; if Hillary is elected, Congress with simply trade racism for sexism and we will continue marching in place…even if we gain more Democrats in Congress. Her corporate mindset will retain the current precedence.

  8. Sorry; that should read “…Congress WILL simply trade racism for sexism…” Again, poor editing on my part.

  9. I have to agree totally with those supporting Bernie. In my view, he is more of a true Democrat than Neo-con Hillary. He represents the Democratic party of FDR that we need to return to. Hillary and Bill moved the party to the right of Eisenhower! Bernie has plenty of experience in governing and was very successful in working with Republicans on legislative issues. As someone already said, if he wins the nomination, you will see him working hard “down ticket” to help elect Democrats. And perhaps the most important point is that poll after poll shows Bernie significantly stronger than Hillary against any of the Republicans! Supporting Hillary might well put Trump or Cruz in office. Even Obama said during his campaign, Hillary is all talk and no action. Bernie represents an opportunity for real, significant change. Another candidate like this will not come along in our lifetime!

  10. I must strongly disagree with you on your assessment of the Democratic candidates. I have never liked nor trusted the Clintons to do the right thing for anyone but themselves, going back to Hillary’s involvement with Watergate, through the Mena, Arkansas drug running scheme, the “Arkansas Mafia,” NAFTA, destruction of Glass-Steagal and other things. Hillary has changed her positions depending on who she’s talking to on a number of occasions. There is clear evidence that her campaign, including Bill Clinton, has tampered with nearly all the primaries/caucuses this year.

    People on all sides are fed up and disgusted with this status quo and have been for years. We’re sick of watching people drown in debt caused by government actions or inactions. We’re disgusted by the institutionalized racism and sexism that is either promoted by or permitted by politicians of both Parties. We’re sick of watching our basic liberties being eroded a small bit at a time for the benefit of those in power. This isn’t a game. It’s not Hillary’s “Turn” to be President. She is being backed by all the corporate bad guys…major corporations, big pharma, the private prison industry, Monsanto and all the rest that couldn’t care less about the people unless they can make themselves richer. Hillary Clinton is just more of the same. Bernie Sanders offers a change. He’s beholden to the citizenry, not the corporations.

    And, yes, there is a revolution underway. Whether it is peaceful or not depends on if we keep the status quo or make deep and serious changes in the way this country is governed.

  11. “she’s always been more progressive than Bill” — no, that’s really not true. Before she met Bill, she was a Young Republican and a “Goldwater Girl” — as in Barry Goldwater, who voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Hillary wasn’t old enough to vote, and can be generally excused for her enthusiasm based on her immaturity. But I can’t get past the fact that she was, even as a young adult, supportive of opposition to the Civil Rights Act. I will vote for her in November. But meanwhile, I am looking forward to May 3 and the opportunity just once in my life to vote for a democratic socialist, and the only one who has ever made the general public at least a little more aware of how our society and government are actually structured. To the extent that we can keep this information in front of the voters, we will have made great strides toward civic literacy.

  12. I agree with your analysis re the candidates. Rafael Cruz would be an absolute disaster for the country! I have been a “R” for over 50 years, switched my party affiliation to Democrat in 2013; I voted for Obama in 2012. I like both Bernie and Hillary; also feel H.C. best qualified since G.H.W.B.
    Hope you are feeling better; keep writing!

  13. JoAnn,

    “And as Pete so wisely pointed out recently; if Hillary is elected, Congress with simply trade racism for sexism and we will continue marching in place…even if we gain more Democrats in Congress. Her corporate mindset will retain the current precedence.”

    I agree with Pete about Hillary, but what do you think would happen if Bernie Sanders was elected. Do you think that racism wouldn’t be traded for anti-Semitism? And I will assure you, in that case, we will have much more than the current precedence of anti-Semitism despite the disavowals of the Jewish defense organizations. Listen sometimes to the religious programming on TV. In the old days, it was communist=Jew. There’s not much of a change. It now is socialist=Jew.

    Anti-Semitism in Jacksonville is at a much deeper level than racism. There are a few African-Americans and LGBT’s in my neighborhood which would be called the “garden area” but no Jews who would be identified by some type of physical stereotype. I haven’t seen one exception in the twenty-five years since I’ve come back home. A couple of years ago, I spoke with one of the leaders of the Jewish Community and brought up the fact. I thought there would be a denial. That wasn’t the case. She said, “We’re not going into the heart of the city because they hate us all.” Jews live in the communities at the beach and in a suburb called Mandarin. That’s it.

    As I have said many times before, Jacksonville=Munich. And more specifically, it is the prototype “Tea Party” city.

  14. Thank you Sheila for your well reasoned analysis. The more I see, the more I believe neither Cruz nor Trump will be the Republican nominee. They are working diligently behind the scenes to make Paul Ryan the nominee. Meanwhile Ryan has begun talking differently about the poor. Note I said talking, not legislating. He is scariest of all because he sounds reasonable, while he legislates horribly.

    As far as “qualifications” are concerned, there are only these: a natural born citizen of the United States who has lived in the country for at least 14 years prior to the election; and at least 35 years of age. Yes I did leave out a US citizen at the time of the adoption of the Constitution. It seemed a moot point.

    Having read the entire transcript of the New York Post interview, I have to say Bernie answered the questions, but not clearly or succinctly. It was hard to read.

  15. While I tend to agree that Mr. Trump, Gov. Kaisch, and Sen. Rafael Eduardo Cruz would be horrible in the White House, I am not quite as pessimistic about a President Sanders. I feel that fmr. Sen Clinton is the pragmatic candidate but Sen. Sanders is the aspirational candidate. To put it simply I still have hope.

  16. Anti-Semitism has been “simmering” under the radar since 1980, It can be turned into a “boil” at any time the Religious Right/Far Right are ready to do it. The time is near, folks. Then what happens to the Democratic Party?

    The Bush gang attempted to split the Democratic Party by playing the Jews and African-Americans against each other in the election which put Bill Clinton into office. Their plans were thwarted by the one man, one vote voting rights victory in Dallas months earlier which allowed for the traditional Democratic Party coalitions to stay in place.

    They’re now auditioning for the “parts in the play”again. It seems like Louis Farrakhan is looking for a major part in the “new play.”

  17. Peggy,

    “Thank you Sheila for your well reasoned analysis. The more I see, the more I believe neither Cruz nor Trump will be the Republican nominee. They are working diligently behind the scenes to make Paul Ryan the nominee. Meanwhile Ryan has begun talking differently about the poor. Note I said talking, not legislating. He is scariest of all because he sounds reasonable, while he legislates horribly.”

    It looks you’re going to be right. As you have pointed out, Ryan is no different that the other two. He just has a much better personality than they do. That’s not saying much. But probably enough to win an election against a splintered Democratic Party.

  18. Sheila, I normally agree with you, if not all the details then with your overall premises. To an extent that is true today but your Hillary analysis is way off the mark. Here is why. I was raised in a family that was deeply active in the Democratic, Dad was a locally elected public office holder, I did the YD thing at many levels, and I eventually was heavily involved in coordinating multiple aspects of three Congressional campaigns. In 1976, the Jimmy Carter for President Campaign recruited me to be their paid north central Indiana coordinator. My boss was the state director, Hillary Rodham. To tell the whole story would be a very long post but here’s the deal: Hillary consciously and proactively took specific actions in Indiana to throw the Larry Conrad gubernatorial campaign and the Vance Hartke re-election campaign under the bus in order to promote the interests of Jimmy Carter. She did so by using lies with the ease that a carpenter uses a hammer. She had them believing the Carter campaign would invest lots of money and staff in Indiana and bring them considerable help. That was all a ploy to get the cash rich Republicans of Indiana to spend all of their money here where she believed Jimmy Carter had no chance of winning. The logic: keep the Republican money in Indiana where it couldn’t help Jerry Ford in contested states. She did not care if Conrad, Hartke, and other Indiana Democrats took the hit in order to deploy her dubious strategy.

  19. I really like Bernie Sanders. I think he’s terrific. I’d like to have someone like Bernie to be my best friend. But I wouldn’t campaign for him now. Vermont is different than all the other states in the Union and it has allowed Bernie to have a platform that he couldn’t have anywhere else.

    And, consequently, he is making Hillary Clinton look much worse than she really is in political reality terms.

    He’s made some real important points. Much like the Occupy Movement did. But he’s different. Hurting the banks is one thing. Hurting the chances for a Democratic Party victory is another.

    The Republican Party has morphed into a legitimate neo-Fascist Party. If they win this election, there won’t be another chance for democracy. And the country will eventually end up in a Race War as Carl Rowan predicted many years ago. If you doubt me, please tell me where I’m wrong.

  20. Now Marv; we’ve been here before. Like it or not, Bernie and Hillary are our choices. I happen to like Bernie; he doesn’t seem worried about anti-Semitism and it doesn’t seem to be an issue with the thousands who are supporting him. I don’t believe it is as much an issue as you see it. We have three options; Bernie, Hillary or one of the GOP clowns (none of whom are qualified). I believe the fight between the clowns at the Republican Convention will be a replay of that old TV favorite, “The Gong Show” and will get high ratings.

    The public outcry during the Kennedy campaign, “This country will never elect a Catholic president.” proved to be unfounded. The same can be said regarding 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns resulting in our first biracial (with only his Blackness is recognized by most) president.

    Take into account the fact that many Americans who are actual Christians (count me among them) are fed up with the Bible thumpers spouting Christianity as they pass laws disconnected to any known faith to take our rights and control of our lives away. There is no perfect candidate; there never is because there is no one human who can resolve all the problems to the satisfaction of everyone in this country…or even everyone in a chosen party.

    Wasn’t it Will Rogers who said, “You can fool (please) some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool (please) all of the people all of the time.”

  21. Sheila, your analysis restores some optimism for democracy but also reveals some concern that it takes your capability to sort the wheat from the chaff.

    The rest of the comments here also restore some optimism because there is robust debate going on among more than half of the voters of the nation as to figuring things out.

    I dispaire however about the other half trying to choose between two or three totally unqualifieds only because they have an (R) after their name.

    I think that the next President will start where we are and leave after hopefully democracy and freedom have been restored. I believe that President Obama has revealed how broken we are and fixing that falls on us, not his successor, and we will achieve that to a significant if not perfect degree.

    So Obama’s successor needs to be a tough demanding skilled and experienced political operative and walk the extremely fine line between control freak and power addict. I believe as Obama saved the country from conservatives at exactly the right time so would the Clinton apparatus be the just in time next step.

    Bernie will always be my hero though as the resurrection of what brought us to greatness the most effective balance of socialism and capitalism that’s been shown in every corner of the world to be optimum government.

    We we’re lucky to have Washington and Lincoln and FDR at the moments we needed exceptional leadership. Obama has been added to that short

    I think that Hillary would continue our streak of good fortune.

  22. Thank you for such a complete thorough well-reasoned analysis. If I could get friends and family to only read one of my many “shares” yours will be the one! But sadly as we know, most people don’t want to be informed and rely on clever false memes to form their rigid opinions.

  23. John,

    “She did not care if Conrad, Hartke, and other Indiana Democrats took the hit in order to deploy her dubious strategy.”

    Thanks. She’s even more of a politician than I thought. No doubt, we are in one helluva position In the U.S. That’s why I’m going to take on the Tea Party now. Not later. It’ll run wild, even if Hillary Clinton is elected. I’m going to take my chances now with the Obama Administration. I will, at least, have a chance of staying alive, which I won’t have under a Republican or Clinton Administration.

  24. I think Bernie has served his purpose in pushing Hillary to the left. I think also, and I don’t see this in current discussions, that Bernie has also stirred up a hornet’s nest (especially among the young) that will hold whoever is elected to do what they said they would. In other words, we might actually start to see some legislation proposed that is “of the people.” The election should not be the end but only the beginning of “getting things done,” like, for instance, day care and other pro-women legislation such as equal pay, and many of the reforms Bernie (and now Hillary under pressure) have proposed in re neglected women’s rights. On the deep policy front, we need a return of Glass-Steagall or its facsimile adjusted for the times to protect us from meltdown caused by under-regulated Wall Street banks (yes, I know Bill signed off its repeal on advice of Wall Street bankers, including Al Greenspan, libertarian), legislation authorizing breakup of the big banks, etc. We need a substantial raise in the minimum wage and other labor-friendly legislation etc., a strengthening of Dodd-Frank etc. The list is long, and I am optimistic that the people who elected either Bernie or Hillary will persist in their demands after the election. As to their Wall Street and socialist connections and bad votes of our Democratic candidates in the past, let’s get real. Anybody of any party who has been around as long as Hillary and Bernie are going to have moles and warts on their political faces. Bernie’s 17 years in Congress has yielded no memorable legislation; Hillary’s votes on wars and trade are here noted. We know what they did and didn’t do; that was then, this is now. It is time for political forgiveness and what do we do now with the opposition serving us up a political (if rich and loud madman), a senator who shuts down the government at the drop of an ideological hat, and a hard right governor of Ohio. The senator and the governor are terrible candidates; they only look good by comparison to their party’s front-runner, who needs a shrink and not votes. I like Bernie but worry about his ability to win in the fall since the Wall Street Journal and Fox News would paint hammers and sickles all over him. I have voted for Hillary in the primary and will vote for her in the fall – not because I disagree with much of what Bernie has to say, but I remember well the words of old Governor Cuomo: “You gotta get a seat at the table.”

  25. I love liberals and progressive ideas as well as progress in that direction. I think that isn’t possible without a far better organized , better led and better disciplined, persistent push.

    Mirroring the country as a whole I believe it’s quite easy to aim one direction and find we’ve only created greater discord. I’m in no frame of mind to appease reactionaries and yet I find myself agreeing with op that the range of experience matters. I’m torn by the sincere enthusiasm of many who may not remember or have ever known the Clinton years as adults. That lets this group off the hook.

    That said, I do not buy the warmonger label for HC and believe her SOS position gave a depth that will take some significant time to scale if Bern should win. I also think the major Wall Street money has been fairly silent, knowing the idiocy of the right and willing to tolerate the attack from the left in a lesser or two problems for them stance. I’m concerned about Bern and Iran, Russia, N.Korea, China. I’m concerned about Hillary being slow to address domestic policy but slightly less. That may be my white privilege and economic status talking. I hope not but I can see it as at least partly true.

    I agree completely that a revolution isn’t in the offing. At least I hope not as if one is it’s not actually planned but will be by accidental overreach and error. As much as I despise much of our current circumstances regarding race, misogyny, economic tilt, voting and immigration, on and on, I reject antagonistic fervor in favor of steady turning the nose on this ship of state.

    Perhaps that’s cowardly, perhaps maturity knowing that the center is the center for a reason and have had some cause to respect shaky stability over shakier division and acrimony. I know I’ve been a good deal left of center all my life and until this year have never been described as troll, war profiteer, derided by by a very young leftist appearing but decisively ahistorical and rigid, anti-complexity group. Maybe it’s all me, life has hammered me numb, but I doubt it.

    It’s beyond my range at the moment to predict but I suspect Clinton will persevere. I’m heartened as I believe Bern has already won by making clear domestic issues and influencing her sharply. She will have to attend to the left lest she lose the base. In the end it’s her capacity to improve the status of women and children that I believe will guide her and serve us.

    But I’m not certain about anything.

  26. Sheila,
    Bravo! I think your analysis is right on. I agree that Hillary can be conniving, deceitful and cunning and has probably thrown lots of good people under the bus. However, Bernie does not seem to understand sysyems, change theory or the difference between idealism and realism. They are not contradictory or mutually exclusive.
    Thank you!

  27. JoAnn,

    “Now Marv; we’ve been here before. Like it or not, Bernie and Hillary are our choices. I happen to like Bernie; he doesn’t seem worried about anti-Semitism and it doesn’t seem to be an issue with the thousands who are supporting him. I don’t believe it is as much an issue as you see it.”

    The Deadly effects of the ADL [ Anti-Defamation League] collaboration with the SBC [Southern Baptist Convention]

    Umberto Eco, the Italian political scientist has explained that if a form of fascism was to come again it would have to be in a new configuration. What we have been seeing in the U.S. for over thirty-five years is a massive use of domestic psychological warfare centered on deception and denial. The collaboration of the ADL with the Religious Right/Far Right Movement, now branded the Tea Party, is an integral part of their deception and denial program.

    The ADL mainly through its Director Abraham Foxman and Mark Briskman have aided the Religious Right/Far Right in the following ways:

    l. Failed to be the “canary in the mineshaft” when an anti-Semitic “flashpoint” has occurred or warn other NGO pro-democracy defense organizations of the context of the intolerance they were facing.
    2. Attacked those, like Bill Moyers, who understood the systemic nature of the rise of coded anti-Semitism.
    3. Failed to decipher the anti-Semitic codes used by pastors of the SBC in their sermons.
    4. Provided a shield of denial for the the Southern Baptist Convention when they were first accused of anti-Semitism.
    5. Fueled the Religious Right/Far Right Movement by not challenging their intolerance.
    6. Provided no information as to the many effective historical methods uses in the past to combat anti-Semitism.
    7. Issued false reports on the rise of anti-Semitism.
    8. Prevented the rise of other pro-democracy NGO’s which could have better engaged the Religious Right/Far Right Movement.

    The consequences of all of this is twofold: First, the MISPERCEPTION as to the extent of the intolerance and hatred which is now coming out into the open. Second, the MISCALCULATION as to extent of the treatment needed to effectively deal with the problem.

    Moreover, there has been created a MASSIVE PROPAGANDA AND INFORMATION GAP in what at one time was called: the pro-democracy or pluralistic line.

    I might add that in 1990, the Jewish War Veterans recognized my organization B.A.A.D. [Battle Against All Discrimination] to represent their interest in the voting rights battle in Dallas. I believe the membership was at that time about 250,000.

    From what I’ve read of late, but not from my own investigation, is that Bernie’s family came here from Poland during W.W. II. From what I have read he has never lived in the Deep South or had much contact with it. From the clippings that I have seen, he was very much involved in the Civil Rights Movement but not in the Deep South.

    I would bet, you now have more awareness of the depth of the anti-Semitism in the U.S. than he has.

  28. I wish Marv Kramer would get off the antisemitism kick. It stirs up decades of memories of the second-class citizenship tragedy of dispossessed Palestinians, the settlements, power of big American bucks, and thereby contributes to the long life of antisemitism.

  29. OMG,

    I wish Marv Kramer would get off the antisemitism kick. It stirs up decades of memories of the second-class citizenship tragedy of dispossessed Palestinians, the settlements, power of big American bucks, and thereby contributes to the long life of antisemitism.

    Thanks for saying it. Maybe you can understand why I have held back for so long. It can be self defeating. It can cause a backlash. And it probably will. But on the bright side we have the image of a Bernie Sanders who right now, in my book, is an American hero.

    However, holding back this VITAL information in my estimation can possibly contribute to the election of a Republican President. And I’m not going to be put into the position of being a traitor to my country. It’s as simple as that. Let the chips fall where they may.

    As an attorney I successfully represented the State of Israel in probably the most sensitive case it has had in the U.S. and handled all the asylum cases for Jews and Bahis in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas during the Iran Crisis in the 70’s. But, on the other hand, I have also successfully represented Palistinians in their discrimination cases.

  30. The odds makers pretty much agree that Hillary will be our next President. Some will cheer, some will boo, and that’s to be expected.

    I’ve said that I believe that she’s the best among our choices but her election guarantees nothing if we don’t do the rest of our job. Fix Congress and therefore the Supreme Court.

    There’s nobody better than President Obama in the absence of Congress, but the voters in 1951 denied us that choice.

    President Clinton just can’t deliver what she and Bernie have promised without a functional, read Democratic majority, in Congress for at least until the GOP fixes itself.

    So cheer or boo the next President but don’t get back on the couch. We still have much work to do to fix democracy. The soldiers and sailors in WWII didn’t give up until their job was done and we can’t either.

  31. What bothers me the most about the Clinton’s is their unbridled ambition for power and using that power to obtain wealth. (CNN) Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, combined to earn more than $153 million in paid speeches from 2001 until Hillary Clinton launched her presidential campaign last spring, a CNN analysis shows.

    The people who work for Carrier here in Indiana and will watch their jobs go to Mexico can thank Bill Clinton for signing onto NAFTA.

    There is now the critique of Bernie that he aims too high. I reminded of JFK’s speech:
    We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win. This is the essence of Bernie and his campaign.

    Sheila, you strongly said so many words Hillary can “fix” the system. Why on earth would Hillary want to fix the system, that is working for her???? Calling Bernie a One Note Pied Piper, well you need to read his Platform, but also understand he has been voting for his platform for decades.

    I am voting for Bernie because my children and grandchildren depend on a New America.

  32. Louie; thank you for your impressive comments, especially that first paragraph. The Clinton’s “unbridled ambition for power and using that power to gain wealth” is on target and, to me, is a description of Republicans in power today. I will vote for her is she gets the nomination but hold little hope for change in the foreseeable future if she wins. I do believe she has been unfairly accused in the personal server/E-mail and Benghazi situations. Colin Powell also used a single server as did others with government approval; they were perfectly legal – are they still? Congress had tabled bills requesting more money to increase security in our embassies around the world. I keep asking, if the host countries are responsible for external security, why have they not been held at fault in Benghazi and when our other embassies have been attacked? We manage to protect all foreign embassies located in this country.

    Lord; get us through this election year and let there never be another to equal it…on any level!

  33. I favor Bernie over Hillary for several reasons that aren’t relevant here or have been very well expressed by others. But the one big thing, the elephant in the room, as it were, is climate change. The oceans are warming faster than was expected, the ice is melting faster, the methane trapped in the tundra is escaping faster, and I truly believe we are on the brink of disaster.

    And I do not believe that corporatist Hillary will be willing to take the radical actions necessary to pull us back from the brink. Her preference for incremental action is fine for any number of issues, so long as she moves in the right direction, and I (mostly) believe she would do so.

    But her corporate ties, her need to rub elbows with the rich and powerful, will restrain her from taking bold action, and we can’t wait 8 more years before making the kind of radical changes that Bernie would take regarding consumption, energy generation, and a whole host of other things that might save the planet.

    And I don’t believe she can win against Paul Ryan, who will almost certainly be the GOP nominee, unless The Donald runs as a third party candidate.

  34. Louie, JoAnn, and Sheila,

    Let’s be realistic. Neither Bernie Sanders nor Hillary Clinton is in a position to do much of anything. What they can do, if elected, is to show up at their swearing in ceremony. That to me would be worthwhile, even if would be the only thing they would ever accomplish.

  35. Yes Marv, by all means let’s be realistic the small hill is too difficult to climb let alone the mountain. We can stay down here in the flood plain.

  36. Nobody who knows me would ever accuse me of “unbridled ambition”. However if someone offers me a quarter of a million dollars to talk it would be a no brainer.

    There’s nobody in the public eye who’s not enormously wealthy no matter the reason. It’s not a matter of unbridled ambition as much as being in the right place at the right time. That’s one of the main cultural dysfunctions that we live under.

    Does that need fixing? Probably, but it’s quite a ways down my list of priorities. Probably about the same level as using the lottery to steal from the gamblers to support schools.

    What needs fixing and is urgent is campaign financing. It needs to be taken right off of the table by requiring government to be the only allowable source of funds to inform the public about their potential choices.

    I don’t worry about the Clintons or the Bushes or the Carters or the Gores being wealthy any more than Peyton Manning or Brad Pitt. I worry about the givers of campaign money like the Kochs and NRA.

    And it’s not a hard problem to fix.

  37. “That said, she may be the most qualified person ever to run for President. ”


    What is the competition?

    FDR in 1944: 8 years as assistant Secretary of the Navy, 4 years as Governor of NY, 11+ years as President.

    LBJ in 1964: 12 years in Congress, 12 years in the Senate (8 as Minority or Majority Leader), 3 years as VP, and 1 year as President

    G H W Bush in 1984: Member of Congress 4 years, UN Ambassador 2 years, Head of China Liaison office 1 year, Head of CIA 1 year, VP 8 years, President 4 years.

    Do you really think Hillary’s record: 8 years as First Lady, 8 years in Senate, 4 years as Sec of State makes her the most qualified person to ever run for President?

  38. Louie,

    Yes Marv, by all means let’s be realistic the small hill is too difficult to climb let alone the mountain. We can stay down here in the flood plain.

    You’re putting words into my mouth. I didn’t say let’s be realistic the small hill is too difficult to climb let alone the mountain. I said, “Let’s be realistic. Neither Bernie Sanders nor Hillary Clinton is in a position to do much of anything.” I was specifically talking about Sanders and Clinton at this point in time.

    However, no one is going to do any climbing even up a small hill until there is a sufficient mass of Americans who have the CIVIC COURAGE TO EFFECTIVELY ENGAGE THE TEA PARTY which is probably never going to happen.

    At the rate we’re going, we’re all going to eventually drown in the “flood plain” you mentioned.

  39. Sheila I agree with and respect your analysis as far as it goes. I wonder if you have considered some aspects of Sanders campaign? He is touring the south which the Democratic Party has ceded to the GOP. Indiana is a flyover state as far as the Dems are concerned even though the state went to Obama in 2008 the declined to campaign there in 2012. Sanders is not taking pac money. Clinton in contrast I s primarily funded by pacs. Look at her offshore accounts disclosed in the panama papers. I think she is embedded in a corrupt system and that colors my opinion of her candidacy

  40. We seem to be getting a big testy; in the larger scope of things we are better than that. In the words of the song by the Youngbloods long ago;

    “Come on people
    Smile on your brother,
    Everybody get together,
    Try to love one another right now.”

    Sounds hokey, but…we do need to work on getting together, which does NOT mean agreeing on all issues. We must pull together, accept the choices we have before us and if a “party” choice, which is against our better nature, is what we have, let’s run with it. If we don’t work together we put ourselves – and our children and grandchildren – at the mercy of the opposition. And never in America’s history have the two parties been more oppositional. The future is in our hands now; what happens to this country and the world at large depends on who WE put in the White House on January 20, 2017, along with the members of Congress to aid or remain in the current do nothing mode. It is not only our lives in the balance here; the world continues to look to us for guidance and currently they are getting many laughs at our expense.

  41. Thank you for noting that Presidents (and Governors) are a significant but minority piece of the
    checks and balances that comprise federal and state government. The Congress and state legislatures control the purse strings and pass or defeat legislation. Mike Pence alone was not responsible for the RFRA and abortion legislation which arrived on his desk for signature.

  42. Bill, I agree that “most qualified” is an exaggeration that’s only true in comparison to everyone else who’s running now, not everyone who ever ran.

  43. Nicely put JoAnne. Democracy can’t give everyone their way. It forces us though to form majorities from minorities by settling for the important things that we share, not everything we want.

    Sort of like the rest of life.

  44. I’m extremely leery of serious true believers in politics. It’s not supposed to be theology or ideology as much as reason and compromise.

    Maybe money isn’t everyone’s motive. It’s not mine. To govern however I’d say you’re not doing your homework if you don’t find a way to deal with it. In today’s dollars over a dozen years and Bill pulling the lions share if he couldn’t make bank hand over fist is be concerned. Then again guilt by association has always been suspect. 10M a year in post 2000 dollars and ex-president? Seems within reach for a speaker of his caliber.

    Then the Clinton Foundation. I hear a little incompetence in Haiti but find ludicrous the charge that SOS sold weapons for cash to Qutar or who- what-ever. That’s our national pastime. Selling arms.
    It strikes me as a positive approach to an ever shrinking world and Bill Clinton does it better than most. He’s still well behind sports or entertainment or insurance CEO dollars.

    I can’t disparage anyone here’s judgement but I disagree about value in down ballot as well. If any success at all comes during a first term the value of 14 year old girls at HC’s election and their mothers will be incalculably valued in a successful second term and down ballot. Perhaps enough.

    Finally I suppose I’m not particularly enamored with Mr Netanyahoo. I do appreciate Israel but with – like here- a jaundiced eye. I suspect he’s done damage to his cause here and I suspect he will continue to do so. That’s a sad thing. Costly, unfortunate. Dangerous.

    We also have an Iranian Deal in implementation. We arent leaving but a lot of people seem to think we might nearly if Bern takes the WH. I’m extremely glad to see a better set of minds pulling for him here. It gratifies me as far too many of the more mystical type are so irate and yet what appears to me to be so gullible it gives me pause. It’s bound to disappoint and it’s not apparently Berns strong suit but within a decade the world will again produce nearly as much accumulated knowledge as the prior history of the human race. We are stepping into a maelstrom of up-pace, technological advance and political difficulty. It may be about all we get is a government that hangs on a decade or three longer before we either acknowledge global needs better or environmental, demographic castrophe forces it.

  45. There is an aspect to Bernie’s campaign that everyone is missing. When Bernie says his candidacy is not about Bernie, he means it. First, Bernie’s campaign would be nowhere without the Occupy movement. A bunch of very tech savvy Occupy folks came into Bernie’s campaign early on and used the tech and organizing skills they learned in Occupy to setup social media networking capabilities for Bernie. Bernie has hundreds of activist groups supporting his in communities across the nation, working through the social media networking systems that Occupy and other activists have set up for Bernie. Bernie would be nowhere without all of the activist groups supporting him. And if Bernie looses the primary, these folks aren’t going a away, and they aren’t going to tear their social media networks down, instead they will probably refine them! And if Bernie wins the primary, they aren’t going to tear their networks down, they will certainly refine them, and use them to support Bernie’s run for the presidency. And if Bernie win’s the presidency, they still aren’t going to tear their networks down, they are going to make them even stronger to support the actions that they and Bernie want to make happen in whatever ways the can, including future elections.

    Bernie’s staff says “ there’s way more going on out there than we’re even able to track. Local individuals and groups are still free to organize whatever kinds of events they want. We focus on providing tools, support, and structure that local teams run with if they want to do what our field leaders say is the most valuable work they can be doing: direct voter contact. Teams take on these tasks with a high degree of independence and bottom-up creativity, but they are working toward voter-contact goals set by our national field leaders.”

    Don’t know how many of you watched The Newsroom. Most of us are in the position of most of the folks in the Newsroom – not a clue about what Facebook was about to become. But Neal understood, and he was right. Occupy and hundreds of other activist organizations understand about what they are doing what Neal understood about Facebook. They have the power of Social media behind their movement in a way that no one has before, to be self organizing.

    I expect to see this system being used to support leftist candidates in local elections, if not in this election, then in the next. The revolution is upon us, whether Bernie wins or not. This movement is not going away!

  46. GALJohnson,

    “There is an aspect to Bernie’s campaign that everyone is missing. When Bernie says his candidacy is not about Bernie, he means it. First, Bernie’s campaign would be nowhere without the Occupy movement. A bunch of very tech savvy Occupy folks came into Bernie’s campaign early on and used the tech and organizing skills they learned in Occupy to setup social media networking capabilities for Bernie. Bernie has hundreds of activist groups supporting his in communities across the nation, working through the social media networking systems that Occupy and other activists have set up for Bernie. Bernie would be nowhere without all of the activist groups supporting him. And if Bernie loses the primary, these folks aren’t going away, and they aren’t going to tear their social media networks down, instead they will probably refine them!”

    Thanks a mil. You’ve proven my point. The Democratic Party has splintered. The same thing happened in Germany before the National Socialists [Nazis] came into power. The Communists bolted and went over to the Nazi side.

    Bernie’s supporters aren’t going over to the Right, but they will not vote for Hillary Clinton. At this point in time there is nothing to stop the election of a Republican as President of the United States of America. A form of fascism was voted into power in Germany in 1934, unless there is some FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE in the U.S. the same thing will be inevitable in the U.S. this fall in the presidential election.

    The Communists were fools to do what they did. Many of them ended up in the first concentration camps. You didn’t have to be a Jew to have received an “invitation.”

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