This is Called Reality

The Presidential primaries are effectively over. Both parties have chosen their candidates (and it is worth reminding everyone that primaries are party affairs, not exercises intended for the general/unaffiliated public).

I am reluctant to re-enter the toxic primary debate between the “Bernie bots” and the Hillary supporters, and I will preface this post with a disclaimer that will no doubt be ignored: this is not an “endorsement” of either of them. I tend to agree with most–not all– of Sanders’ positions, and I have never been a particularly enthusiastic supporter of Hillary–not because I consider her corrupt or dishonest (I don’t), but because, despite her resume and formidable policy chops, she is a defensive and not particularly inspiring candidate.

I will support Hillary. Had Bernie emerged as the Democratic candidate, I would have supported him. But that is a far cry from believing that he would be the stronger candidate against The Donald.

A recent article from Slate spells out what most politically active people know: polls at this juncture in the campaign are absolutely meaningless. The reason Hillary’s negatives are high is that everything that the Republicans could possibly throw at her has been thrown (repeatedly) for the past 25 years. There won’t be any surprises.

Bernie, on the other hand, would go into this election facing the national GOP smear machine for the first time–and given that Trump is head of their ticket, that machine would undoubtedly go into overdrive. The Slate article spells out just some of the more obvious attacks (and no, they need not be fair or accurate–just as many of the efforts to bring Hillary down have not been fair or accurate). Just a few examples from the article:

[Sanders] has never been asked to account for his relationship with the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party, for which he served as a presidential elector in 1980. At the time, the party’s platform called for abolishing the U.S. military budget and proclaimed “solidarity” with revolutionary Iran. (This was in the middle of the Iranian hostage crisis.) There’s been little cable news chatter about Sanders’ 1985 trip to Nicaragua, where he reportedly joined a Sandinista rally with a crowd chanting, “Here, there, everywhere/ The Yankee will die.” It would be nice if this were due to a national consensus on the criminal nature of America’s support for the Contras. More likely, the media’s attention has simply been elsewhere….

Imagine an ad drawing from the old Sanders essay “The Revolution Is Life Versus Death.” First it might quote the candidate mocking taboos on child nudity: “Now, if children go around naked, they are liable to see each others [sic] sexual organs, and maybe even touch them. Terrible thing!” Then it would quote him celebrating girls who defy their mothers and have sex with their boyfriends: “The revolution comes … when a girl pushes aside all that her mother has ‘taught’ her and accepts her boyfriends [sic] love.” Finally, it would remind viewers that Sanders was one of 14 congressmen to vote against the law establishing the Amber Alert system and one of 15 to vote against an amendment criminalizing computer-generated child pornography. The fact that these votes were cast for entirely principled civil libertarian reasons is, in the context of a general-election attack, beside the point…..

As the nominee, Sanders would have to address his former opposition to public schools and praise for parents who believe that it is “better for their children not to go to school at all than for them to attend a normal type of establishment.” He’d have to explain whether he still feels that sexual repression causes cancer, whether he still opposes the concept of private charity, and whether he still supports the public takeover of the television industry.

Anyone who believes that the GOP would not use–and abuse–these currently little-known positions from Sanders’ past, or that such attacks wouldn’t be highly effective, is being willfully naive.

Bernie Sanders has done the Democratic party an enormous service during this primary campaign. He has raised issues that needed to be raised, and he has moved Hillary Clinton from her more cautious and much more incremental positions. His arguments will strongly influence the party platform. He has brought enthusiastic young people into the political process, and I for one believe he will put the issues above his ego and work hard to keep them involved.

As an old political warhorse, I can tell you that winning an election is not the same thing as winning the argument. The “Bernie bots” can console themselves that he has already won that.

Finally, for those still insisting that Bernie can still win the nomination, or in the alternative, that he was somehow cheated out of winning, please read this.


  1. Here’s a well written and thoughtfully expressed sentiment wrt to what’s happening. It’s also germane to this particular thread .

    An excerpt:

    These irritated Democrats are lashing out at Sanders’ supporters, saying that they aren’t real Democrats, and they don’t care about the party. They’re saying that they’ll stay home in November or vote for Trump out of spite. They’re deluded and violent and threatening and disloyal.

    But don’t forget who most of these people are and why they care about politics and policy. Because the Sanders supporters aren’t just the most obnoxious person you just encountered on Twitter. Among their rank include a huge percentage of the folks who stood up back in 2002 and said that something was terribly wrong with the country and with the Democratic Party. And they were right back then, and they got organized, and they put some backbone in the party and they got progressive-minded people elected, and they turned opposition to the war in Iraq from a liability to the official position of the Democratic Party and the president who was elected in 2008.

    What they’re saying now is that we still need to question the Washington Playbook on foreign policy, and we need to have more urgency about climate change, and we have to get serious about doing something about money in politics, and that the Democrats have to pivot away from the donor class and develop programs that will appeal to middle class folks who are really struggling in this economy.

  2. I would like to add one salient point I’ve noticed within this very forum,Bernie supporters are not demanding the Clinton bots (see how that works) to shut up and fall into line. I can speak only for myself,the only thing I’ve strongly alluded is to ignore us,ridicule,mock and alienate us at your own peril.

    As voters,the only real capital we have is our vote. It’s my vote. Your vote isn’t my vote,it’s yours. I intend to voice my dissatisfaction with the party by voting my conscience .

  3. This “IS” called reality…

    Do you really think we are so stupid or blind that we would just ignore all her crap and vote for her anyway, once Bernie gives us the high sign? Or that her message of “fear, more fear” regarding the candidacy of Donald Trump will cause us all to ignore all the reasons we abhor the prospect of another Clinton presidency?

    An administration, by the way, that gave us (1) “welfare reform,” (2) “criminal justice reform,” (3) “telecommunication industry reform”, and (4) the passage of NAFTA, the trade deal that ruined the Mexican economy and destroyed the lives of millions of US blue collar workers. Not to mention President Clinton’s hard work to dismantle of the last major New Deal securities laws, the Glass-Stegall Banking Reform Act, the repeal of which played a major role in causing the financial crisis that nearly collapsed the world’s economy in 2008?

    “This is the candidate whose campaign is printing hats with the motto “America is already great” even as millions of people fall out of the middle class and into poverty. She’s so clueless she thinks all the poors will vote for her regardless of what she stands for, regardless of her record, regardless of the fact that her campaign is fueled by donations from the fossil fuel industry, the financial industry, the Tech industry, and billionaires of every flavor imaginable. Even one of the most evil men on the planet, Charles Koch has stated that a Hillary Presidency could be better than any Republican who might win the nomination (cough – Donald Trump – cough).”

    Just a brief excerpt from the following article.

  4. There is something obvious that no by seems to get – or at least nobody seems to state. The more elected delegates that Bernie brings to the convention, the greater his influence on the Party going forward. If he doesn’t pretend he can win, especially before the California primary, his supporters may stay home, thus further decreasing his influence.

  5. Excellent point ,Len.

    Btw, Some thoughts on the subject from Shaun King:

    An excerpt:

    “Either the Democratic Party has a terrible case of selective amnesia or they are just really gifted at revisionist history. For the life of me, I can’t figure out which of those two best describes what I’m seeing right now.

    As more and more calls come for Bernie Sanders to drop out of the race against Hillary Clinton, he keeps on winning state after state and poll after poll. In fact, Bernie, as of this writing, has won primaries and caucuses in 19 different states and appears to be very competitive in both Kentucky and Oregon, which have their say Tuesday.

    Hillary Clinton did not drop out against Barack Obama until every single state voted. In fact, the final two states voted on June 3, 2008. She won South Dakota and Obama won Montana. She dropped out later that day, right?

    Nah. The next day? Nope. She waited several days until June 7 to finally announce that she was suspending her campaign. Every vote had been counted, but she held on until a mix of public pressure and inevitability forced her hand.”

  6. Also from Shaun King and, this post from King underscores what Len is conveying to those reading. I might add that Sanders has received monies– not from big business and lobbying interests–in stark contrast to Clinton, but from citizens. The average donation to Sanders has been from ordinary Americans (Democrats/Progressives/Genuine Liberals) with the average lowly sum of $27.00. He’s had an impact. Imagine that,an amazing feat in and of itself. The party which claims to be the party of FDR wants to shut that down and ignore Bernie’s constituents. There’s a good reason–many reasons– why many of us are tired of the status quo from the Democratic Party. I have a feeling many within the Democratic Party–specifically Caucasians living in predominately affluent Caucasian enclaves within the suburbs want to keep the status quo as SOP.

    An excerpt from King:

    Of course, none of this is happenstance or coincidence. All of this is a well orchestrated plan. The American people are just now beginning to understand this ugliness. It’s one of the primary reasons why 10 million people have voted for Bernie Sanders and why he has won 21 contests without even a smidgeon of support from the Democratic Party.

  7. William,

    You’re getting your point across. Hillary Clinton is going to be a disaster, whether she wins or loses. And I don’t think we can change that.

    However, as I’ve said before Donald Trump will even be a worse choice— Something worse than a disaster. It’s called a CATASTROPHE.

  8. William,

    You’ve won me over. I’m supporting Bernie Sanders even though he probably won’t be the Democratic Party nominee. I have an age problem. You don’t.

    Why would anybody who has MANY YEARS ahead of them WHICH I DON’T support a candidate who is going to be a DISASTER just because she is not going to be a CATASTROPHE like her opponent?

    The serious political problems we’re facing now in the U.S. can’t wait for November. I’m sure of that.

  9. You “assume” Sanders will be a catastrophe? That’s a lofty assumption. There’s no proof your “assumption” will come to fruition. That’s like assuming the folks building a mosque in your town are terrorists. The act of assuming based upon misguided feelings is ignorance. We know what will transpire under a Clinton regime. The country cannot handle anymore Clintonism. Nor can many parts of the world. She has no ideas beyond what her donors want her to do. There’s tangible proof. An entire history of Clinton malfeasance and reckless foreign policy actions. Clinton is a bad candidate.

    Also,when Hillary smiles and poses with Henry Kissinger,I’m sure there are many people who feel just as hurt and betrayed by her alliance with him as many people feel hurt by private school students giving the nazi salute. Especially the families of Vietnam War Veterans.

    I’m beginning to think the reluctance of support for Sanders is based on ageism and antisemitism within the DNC….Especially the upper echelons.

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