Friedman Is Right About Bloomberg And Sanders

I don’t usually care for Thomas Friedman’s columns. It isn’t that I necessarily disagree with his conclusions–although I often do– but he tends to adopt a “let me explain to those of you not as smart as me” tone that I find extremely annoying.

But his recent column about Mike Bloomberg’s candidacy deserves to be read, and read with an open mind. (This is not an endorsement–just a corrective to the predictable circular firing squad sharing the conviction that no bread is better than half a loaf.)

The first point Friedman makes is one with which most readers of this blog will agree: this is no ordinary election. It is imperative that we rid the country of the Trump malignancy, and that goal absolutely must take precedence over everything else. And it won’t just be Republicans versus Democrats.

Because, without doubt, Russia and China also will be “voting” Trump 2020 — for three reasons: (1) Trump keeps America in turmoil and unable to focus on building the infrastructure we need to dominate the 21st century the way we did the 20th. (2) Both Beijing and Moscow know that Trump is so disliked by America’s key allies that he can never galvanize a global coalition against China or Russia. And (3) both Russia and China know that Trump is utterly transactional and will never challenge them on human rights abuses. Trump is their chump, and they will not let him go easily.

Friedman says it is important that we run the right candidate against Trump, and that Bernie Sanders is not that candidate–a claim with which I agree for reasons I’ve previously explained.

Friedman says that Sanders has the wrong solutions to the right problems, but whether as a policy matter Sanders’ solutions are right or wrong is–in my opinion–beside the point. Bernie’s solutions are simply not salable to the wider voting public. Sanders’ popularity is limited even within the Democratic Party–he has a fervent base of at most 27%, which is the only reason he leads a fragmented field– and as I pointed out in the linked post, the popularity he does enjoy has never been tested by the sort of vicious but effective opposition research that would be thrown at him should he be the nominee. (Did he really have to honeymoon in the Soviet Union?)

The great irony is that Mike Bloomberg (also imperfect, as he displayed at the recent debate) would be more likely to actually achieve a number of left-wing goals than Bernie.

As the New York Times documented last Sunday (in what was definitely not a puff piece), for years, Bloomberg has put immense amounts of money behind organizations fighting climate change; he has worked long and hard for gun control (an issue on which Bernie has historically been on the wrong side); he has consistently supported Planned Parenthood and reproductive rights; and he’s been on the right side of issues from immigration, to voting rights, infrastructure, and affordable housing.

Do I agree with every policy he has endorsed? Of course not. Stop and frisk, for one, was both wrongheaded and unconstitutional. But unlike the mentally-ill moron in the White House, Bloomberg acknowledges past errors.  Has he made statements or engaged in past behaviors (especially with women) that should be criticized and will be used by opposition researchers? Yes.

But the real problem many Democrats have with Bloomberg is that he’s very, very rich. It isn’t that he hasn’t always been a Democrat–neither has Bernie. (And unlike Trump, Bloomberg’s positions have generally been consistent–and liberal– even if his self-labeling hasn’t been.) Too many Democrats equate money with evil. But money is ethically neutral. It can be used for good or ill, and if you look at Bloomberg’s charitable choices, he has used his millions to support causes with which most of us overwhelmingly agree.

Let’s get real.

Until the country somehow gets rid of Citizens United and other decisions based upon the Supreme Court’s naive insistence that money equals speech, the obscenely rich will continue to buy our government. That is definitely a very bad thing–but it defines our current political reality. Folks like the Kochs buy control through SuperPacs and back-room deals; billionaires like Nick Hanauer and Mike Bloomberg try to influence public policy or win votes by very publicly spending gobs of their own money. (Money alone isn’t enough to get that job done, as Tom Steyer has learned.)

All I know is that it is absolutely essential to get rid of Trump–to install people who understand how government works, who respect the rule of law, who understand the importance of the environmental and social challenges we face, and who are on the right side of those issues. Bloomberg–like all the Democratic candidates– is right on most issues, and he has three other very important assets: intelligence, executive experience and enough money and political savvy to wipe up the floor with Trump.

So if Bloomberg does become the candidate, don’t rule him out simply because you hate rich people. The saying is: “Vote blue no matter who” –not “Vote blue unless the candidate is a billionaire.”

In the primary, support the person you think has the best chance of defeating Trump, or the person whose positions you most prefer. But in the general, vote blue. No matter who.

I will. Even if it’s Bernie. Hell, I’ll vote blue even if it’s an ashtray. (Or, in my sister’s memorable words, toenail fungus.)


  1. While most Democrats voice the “Vote blue no matter who” mantra, the candidates themselves need to present to the country a untied front to combat the Russian/Republican attacks on the electoral process. The revelations of Russian interference into the Sanders campaign should be seen as an attack on ALL Democrat campaigns. Russia wants to keep Americans divided. It’s as simple as that, and IMO the longer that the kind of divisiveness we saw at the recent Democrat debate is allowed to continue, the closer to Russia’s goal of keeping Trump in the White House we move.
    Cannot the leadership of the National Party get the candidates to jointly issue a statement of condemnation against Russia? If Democrats cannot unite on this one issue before the election, how is one of them going to unite the whole country after the election?

  2. Excellent analysis. I think the ultimate candidate proposes agenda items that can be accomplished. That will require, however, that Democrats also take over the Senate and change the rules back to where the majority leader is NOT the most powerful person in Congress. I don’t think the Constitution asks for that.

    So, the ideal candidate has the kitchen table agenda that a responsible Congress and executive can put forth. Remember, there will be the refuse from the Trump train wreck to clean up too. Sanders blew it by ignoring what he would do with the laid-off oil workers when he banned fracking. Those folks are aware of the climate change issues, but also need a paycheck next week to pay for their child care, truck, boat, rent and beer.

    The next item on my to-do list is to have the DNC send Tom Perez back to the golf course. It seems that his “leadership” group can’t manage a keg party in a brewery. And now we have ANOTHER debate…. The whole nation holds their breath wondering if the firing squad will continue, or will they finally get around to explaining how their going to fix the broken mess that Trump will leave us. If I was a “moderator”, my first question to Amy would be: “How are you going to re-constitute the State Department after Jabba the Hut leaves that office?” Or, “Mr. Vice President, how are you going to re-constitute the intelligence and security apparatus once Trump’s toddlers move out?”

    But, that’s just me. I command and control nothing but this damned keyboard.

  3. A rational employer knows not to discuss details of personnel decisions to honor confidentiality of internal agreements and contracts. There are always many sides to the same story. When a major employer enters the political arena, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Political opponents of Bloomberg may have won a few debate maneuvers for ‘the Gipper’, but they did not win my respect or win my vote. Bloomberg was born the son of a bookkeeper of a dairy and Jewish ancestors who immigrated from Russia. There are strong roots for fairness and justice. Bloomberg’s trajectory to great wealth began without a silver spoon. I would rather see a military experience but he never hid behind his father’s influence to manipulate a doctor’s claim of a bone spur that never discouraged show time on the varsity game floor. I am intrigued with the necessity of a wealthy White Knight to tangle with the longest shaft to pierce Trump’s armour.

  4. Theresa and Vernon; DITTO!

    Sanders’ solutions are “pie-in-the-sky”, “fairy tale” endings to most problems which, until Trump’s intervention, were still within areas of at least partial workable solutions…but workable by across-the-aisle bipartisanship. NOT that there are any final, perfect solutions to any of this government’s problems. If you are looking for perfection; you will not find the answers from politicians but from understanding why Sheila has repeatedly stressed the importance of civic education. It will take all of us working together as much as is possible in this turbulent, destructive Trump chapter of American history.

    Bloomberg switched from being a Democrat to the Republican party in 2001 to run for Mayor of New York City, during his 2nd term in 2007 he switched to an Independent. In 2018 he switched to Democratic party and began dangling a run for the presidency against his friend Trump. They were friends because they shared blatant racism and their questionable histories with women, a number of which have signed Non Disclosure Agreements to hide his relationships with them. Is he running to further split the Democratic party and this country in order to assure Trump remaining in the presidency? That is my personal conspiracy theorist belief.

    Unless and until the Democratic presidential candidates unite on basic solutions to problems and stop the embarrassing, bordering on shameful, displays such as this country watched in their last debate, they are the strongest guarantee that Trump will remain in the White House. Bloomberg reported the only truthful result of that debate when he stated that Trump was the only winner.

    To add to the already expressed “I would vote for ______ if they/it ran as a Democrat”; hell, I would vote for Sarah Palin if she turned blue.

  5. JoAnn … JoAnn … I do share your passion to place Trump in past tense, but does the choice have to be that painful!

  6. Okay, does anybody really believe that anyone in this fragmented tribal opposition can replace this POTUS?

    There are hundreds of thousands of right wing militia members just waiting for the opportunity to invoke anarchy! To consider the current POTUS a student of history would be hysterical, but he is a student of Nazi Germany, those are the books he’s managed to read. He’s aware of the mistakes the previous self-proclaimed messianic Messiah made. He will keep his powder dry until he feels is the opportune time for him to eliminate any global enemy. He is also aware of the huge target he has on his back, and he will not go to prison or even stand trial. That’s the signal he is sending with all of these commutations.

    So, how would one be able to prosecute him? Obviously he would have to be out of office, he also knows that. Right there, it should tell everyone that he will not office. He will not relinquish the office because he knows what would be in store. The rules of engagement have changed, the rule of law is nonexistent, he is working on turning the intelligence community into a personal Elite guard which can find and/or produce any sort of dirt one would desire or eliminate anyone in this country and beyond. And the judiciary would be his rubberstamp permission slip. Like I said before, the only entity that could remove this POTUS is the military, and that could happen, if he doesn’t purge everyone 1st. He will declare martial law and suspension of habeas corpus, that means no civilian courts, that means suspension of the Constitution, that means no Supreme Court, and, speaking to that fact, even if the Supreme Court was allowed to be in session, and they ruled against this POTUS, who would remove him anyway? The Supreme Court has no teeth, they can recommend, and that’s about it.

    I’ve seen the storm clouds gathering for quite some time, this is not going to be pleasant by any stretch. And I feel bad for the children, because, our generation and previous generations have failed miserably. Self-delusion, cognitive blindness, willful ignorance, and chasing the wind, have allowed the seeds of dictatorship to sprout, and it definitely seems this experiment has failed.

    Just like the Communists in Germany were framed by the Nazis for the Reichstag fire, the socialists, LOL, in the United States will be framed for various transgressions including rigging elections and giving comfort to foreign entities which would be treason. You say it won’t happen? It already is happening! The time for talk is passed, the time for action is long gone, the ones that love POTUS will never change, because the thought of power and smiting of those you don’t like is intoxicating!

  7. Norris…Norris…desperate times call for desperate measures…lol! And I have a high tolerance level for pain.

  8. John,

    I’m betting on that you’re right and we better heed it. It’s time to get in touch with political reality, instead of some fairy tale wish that a Sanders or a Bloomberg can stand-up against a Trump-led onslaught, whether before or after the election.

  9. Trump, McConnell, 52 spineless Senators have too many of thrashing about, wringing our hands, clutching our pearls, to the point we bash Bernie without rationality. “What will Bernie do for workers laid off when fracking is banned?” Have we not listened to experts, scientists at Purdue, IU, and tens of other institutions of higher learning who point out that clean, renewable energy not only will prolong life on our planet but provide jobs. Some comments today echo the GOP attacks of our enemy. FDR did not throw up his hands in despair. Eisenhower led with inspiration as President as he had when Supreme Allied Commander. Kennedy caused us to look to the stars and what a Peace Corps could achieve. LBJ, as flawed a human as can be imagined nevertheless was guided by his teaching experience with Latino boys and girls who had no hope, to “we shall overcome.”

    Commenters today, the same 15 or so who write each day, are obviously past muddle (not a typo) age. People under 35 are not buying the despair found in some of our comments.

    Bernie may not be electable, although I’m not convinced by your arguments; he has articulated what the problems are. His solutions are extravagant – doable? Go to the academy. Read and listen to the climate scientists and the sociologists, the political scientists. Stop repeating “he’s a socialist” on your way to the bank with your Social Security check, driving on a public highway, receiving aid through Medicare.

    This is America, “land of the free, home of the brave.” Let’s adorn ourselves with mantles of bravery and “overcome “ the Trump/GOP party. We are the majority.

  10. The White Washing of Bloomberg by Friedman is typical of the Corporate McMega-Media. Bloomberg is perfectly described by Eugene Debs:

    “The Republican and Democratic parties, or, to be more exact, the Republican-Democratic party, represent the capitalist class in the class struggle. They are the political wings of the capitalist system and such differences as arise between them relate to spoils and not to principles.”

    The DNC as representative of the Establishment (Corporate Democrats) changed the rules so Bloomberg could get in the debates.

    Over the top, well before anyone gets misty eyed about “Our Billionaire Bloomberg” read this:
    Democratic Presidential Candidate Michael Bloomberg Is a GOP Bankroller

    From the above: “Friedman says that Sanders has the wrong solutions to the right problems, but whether as a policy matter Sanders’ solutions are right or wrong is–in my opinion–beside the point. Bernie’s solutions are simply not salable to the wider voting public.”

    Friedman says, so it must be true – Give me a Break.

    So Bernie is “Pie in the Sky”.

    Ahh, yes, Woe is me, Woe is me, for wishing and hoping we could have the type of Social Safety Nets , Services and opportunities available to people in Western Europe. We don’t need No Stinking Socialism here in America. If you cannot afford Health Care in the USA – Go Home and Die. Cannot afford to go to College or Trade School – Go make a career in Fast Food.

    So let’s not even try for Big Changes. It is like you get to the Super Bowl, but the odds makers say you cannot win, so why bother to try, just stay in the Locker Room.

    I will not stay in the Locker Room – Bernie 2020.

  11. Trumpism proceeded Trump. It basically involved using wealth, power and influence to achieve self interest at the expense of and contrary to the public good. Bloomberg has been part of this for decades. Shelia should not rely on Tom Friedman for her final evaluation of
    Bloomberg.Check out a recent article in The Intercept.

  12. Monotonous,

    I’ll take Bernie Sanders any day over Michael Bloomberg. At least he knows how to fight back.

    I remember back some years ago when Thomas Friedman had to announce publicly his apology for not understanding the depth of racism in America. He still doesn’t.

  13. I remember when Bloomberg gave a speech at the 2016 DNC for HRC against tRump. He said then that New Yorkers know first hand tRumps underhanded ways, and that he’s a fraud. He warned us then, and now he’s back running his own campaign. ( with his team) I’ve heard the term”racist” used to describe Bloomberg due to stop & frisk policy, but I don’t think so. I think when he was the Mayor of NYC , in the shadow of 9/11 he was serious about a war on crime, and lowering the murder rate. His stand on gun control backs this up. That policy was unconstitutional and he admits it. I noticed when he spoke(when they let him) he naturally commanded attention. I don’t know if he’ll be the nominee, but his perspective is useful, and he should be listened to.

  14. Marv, my brother,

    I’ll tell you, this pains me! I am not looking forward to what’s coming. You can almost hear the war chariots thundering from the east, and see the storm clouds gathering in the West.

    We have clung to the ideals that will bring about our demise. When someone does not respect the rule of law, if one does not respect the rule of tradition in law, i.e. past practice, if one does not respect ethics or ethical behavior, if one does not respect conscience or have the semblance of one, if one has sycophantic cronies embedded in the judiciary and legislature, with positions of some authority, the die has been cast, the game is over, at least over as far as democracy and democratic construct.

    Military is the only entity that can resist, but will there be any men of goodwill left?

    This was prophesied long time ago, pointing to a time when the earth would be completely filled with every sort of government and every sort of religion and every sort of perversion. The point being, the one who rules this system we are living in now, does not have man’s best interests at heart. He was called the deceiver, and was said to be a man slayer from his inception, also the father of the lie.

    So if one believes in Scripture or not, you can see these traits in our current government and government around the world.

    Not to be a Debbie downer, but hey I just got my new Hebrew Bible, Tanakh! It’ll give me more of an accurate understanding, once I learn Hebrew, LOL, that will be a sight to behold no doubt.

  15. I have to question anybody’s motive for going against Sanders after two primary elections. During the debate, all the candidates except Bernie said the superdelegates should choose the nominee.

    Wonder why?

    The “vote blue no matter who” crowd was assembled when the “polls” showed Biden leading the country, and all the highly paid corporate political pundits talked about “electability.

    Well, Joe flopped!

    Enter stage right, the billionaire Mike Bloomberg. The DNC was grateful for the money and his experience in New York, but Bill DiBlasio endorsed Bernie. Bill said he’s been cleaning up the mess Mike made of NY since his first day on the job.

    Then there was the first debate for Mike — a significant case of disaster!

    So now, the “vote blue no matter who” crowd is hedging. Bernie leads every national poll as the top Democrat. He’s brought, disaffected voters back into the fray, and even some Trumpsters are pulling for Sanders because of what he brings to the table.

    Look at the popularity of the squad in Congress and how they’ve energized the youth vote across the country due to the diversity and standing up against the rich and powerful in this country.

    Even the Intelligentsia has entered the fray; in the last two days, they’ve claimed Russia is hacking the elections to help Trump on Thursday, and then Sanders on Friday. LOL

    Watching the Oligarchs scramble and seeing who folds under pressure is impressive to watch in the USA. All the world is watching. The anti-semite attacks against Corbyn were pitiful, but the Oligarchs in Britain accomplished Brexit.

    When the former Goldman Sachs CEO comes out against Bernie Sanders, his campaign experiences an influx of donations and volunteers. Everyone wants action against the status quo, but when someone accomplishes a successful movement, the same people start freaking out.

    It’s called FEAR. FEAR OF CHANGE.

  16. IMO a random phone book pick would be a superior choice for President than Trump. As expected, Putin’s opinion is that nobody is a superior choice for President than Trump. The NRA, the KKK, TV evangelists, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, China, Kim Jong Un, Erdogan, Netanyahu, agree with Putin.

    It would appear that our times will not provide a perfect white knight in shinning armor in a timely way. Bummer. Our choices are women, rich guys, a gay, socialists, etc.

    The question is, is blue no matter who a majority priority? It seems that we are unsure and I think it’s probably at least partially due to the common knowledge that our global enemies around the world will participate in our election whether we like it or not just like Putin did in 2016.

    Stil, I question, what is the option to forging ahead behind the banner of blue no matter who just like Trumpublicans will forge ahead with our global enemies behind red or we’re dead?

  17. Monotonous; regarding Bernie’s “pie-in-the-sky” Medicare for all, it is 47 years after Nixon repealed the law prohibiting health care from being for-profit services, a little late to unring that bell. The current health care situation should have been stopped decades ago rather than trying now to change the billions of dollar profit corporations the system has become.

  18. A capitalist economy and money are amoral. It is the people with wealth who do ethical or unethical things with money. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are using their wealth to try and make the world a better place. Bloomberg has used his wealth to try and decrease gun violence and address global warming. Now he is using it to try and become a presidential candidate to beat Trump.

    I am very progressive. I believe we need universal health care, that we need to move toward cooling the planet, develop systems to reduce gun violence, have a compassionate immigration policy, and a social safety net.

    Which progressive candidate can develop policies that move us forward toward the above stated goals? None of them can do it unless Congress works with a progressive POTUS. Can Bernie Sanders persuade Mitch McConnell to work with him on the above stated challenges? ( I so wish Amy McGrath could defeat him.)Or would a more centrist POTUS be able to do that?

    I am aware that most believe that the Senate will continue to have a Republican majority.

    I am also aware that China and Russia want us to be divided. So, they support candidates on the far left and the far right. It seems to me that if we are to successfully defeat their efforts to keep us divided that it is essential we have a POTUS who can work with progressives, moderates, and conservatives.

    Having only 2 political parties makes it easier for China and Russia to divide us. Perhaps our democracy would be better served, if we had 3 or 4 parties like some of the countries in Europe. That might also put an end to extreme partisan gerrymandering.

    All I can say is that come November, I will vote blue no matter who the presidential candidate is.

  19. Come September, I am backing the candidate electable in swing States of the Electoral College with a strong grip on the longest lance aimed directly at the weakest and most vulnerable plates in Trump’s vainful armour to carry a strong win with a blue jersey in the red zone.

  20. I’m with you, Marv, and I think the topic today involves out front framing. Let’s restart the discussion. I have never been against rich people because they are rich; rather I think that is fine so long as they take the rest of us along for the ride, which they have not been doing (see the minimum wage law that leaves the rate where it has been for over a decade while the Dow has gone stratospheric). On the contrary, a better argument can be made that the rich are plainly “against” the poor. To cast hatred of the rich as envy misses the point; rather what is happening in the real world is the proof in the pudding.

    I also am not persuaded that Bloomberg’s business background as a white horse he is riding into the castle (per Sir Walter Scott) to save the king and assorted maidens insures success (see Bush, Hoover and Trump the “businessmen”), or that success in business equates with success in governing. From a profit at all cost mindset to one of service to the masses where profit is not a factor may be a bridge too far for any “businessman” or businesswoman candidate to surmount.

    The idea that only a Bloomberg can win is contradicted by pool after poll. Most any Democrat (with 2018 turnout or even less) can beat Trump, except Tulsi (if, like Bloomberg, she is a Democrat, and perhaps Bernie, who will be covered with the hammer and sickle) – and with Bloomberg’s promise if he loses to fund the candidacy of the winner of the primary, Herr Trump is in for rough sledding come fall.

    Let’s not panic as Super Tuesday approaches and we are inundated by TV ads and other such propaganda. Bloomberg, after all, has never governed as a Democrat though liberal on some issues important to Democrats. I welcome any money he wishes to contribute into the election of a Democrat to the presidency, but I am not persuaded by history, his wealth, or by his governing record that he should be our candidate for this high office Trump has trashed.

  21. Gerald,

    “I’m with you, Marv, and I think the topic today involves out front framing. Let’s restart the discussion.”

    You’ve always been better with words than me. We’re finally on the “same page.” This election is not about some type of technical change. We’re experiencing a FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE with Trump and requires that his opponents react appropriately.

  22. The NY Times headline today is Russia trolls are whipping up support for Bernie on social media. In light if Sheila’s comments, see the obvious strategy?

    In the comments section, a Trump support says, I have never seen evidence of Russian interference. Maybe he’s never seen it because the interference was not directed at him.

  23. China and Russia do not divide us.

    We have always been divided; never united. Historically, division has been one of America’s formidable strengths–division and THE WAY WE HANDLE DIVISION through the Balance of Powers authority of the Constitution–and the way we handle red hot division through the cooling vats of the rule of law and the tongs of compromise.

    What China and Russia do is attack the rules of the game so that organic and natural differences cannot be worked into functional compromise; so that win-win options disappear and nothing is left except a zero-sum game in which only those who break the rules have a chance of winning.

  24. I personally don’t see anything philosophical about Putin the man or Putin the thumb on the scale of our elections in 2016 or 2020.

    He wishes us a corrupt incompetent government because that benefits both his and Russia’s power and his wealth. That seems to me to be the whole story.

  25. To be a relevant contender, one must fight fire with fire. It is irrelevant whether the weapon is money, clout, influence, or other. I haven’t made up my mind who I would cast my Democratic vote for president in 2020. Much like your sister, toenail fungus, if that would get the Great Impersonator the heave-ho from the People’s House. Bloomberg admitting the errors of his past is much closer to my ideology of being Christian than the boastful puffed-chest self-righteous unrepentant stance of so-called christians. And wealth is not reserved for
    Repugs. So why even consider legal tender itself evil?

  26. recent discussion with a local buisness leader here in NODak hes all for better wages,trickles down to his local community needs etc, affordable healthcare,not a one for all,but one that is affordable,against anyones wages…hes in thenoil buisness,so,ill forego that half. he likes Bernie,not his sights…whan discussing the how to pay for it,i said,tax the shitnout of the ones who pay nothing,corps,wall street,rich,investors who have made a profit off my wages,and denied my use of how,its spent as my income taxes..he didnt like that,but thne again im,sure his portfolio is crammed with tax cuts,giveaways to the ones who,provides his needs,and my wages… keep smiling,were only starting to see how its been..

    recent article,,,seems whatapps has beem found in the EU to be gamed by google,and whatsapps privacy flaunting… google is watching whatsapps messaging and who…

  27. Excellent observation, Larry. It’s a matter of destruction and distortion of our structural constitutional institutions and our democratic values that are in the cross hairs of Putin and others. Democracy is fragile. Athens only enjoyed such a system for 169 years before the Roman legions ended it, and somewhat like ours, it was destroyed from within marked by brawls between Greek city-states at the time. Today as translated by such history it is the political parties who are involved in such “brawls” and the Romans are primarily Putin of Russia and Xi of China and their American quisling, Trump .Those who ignore the lessons of history are prone to repeat it. Nothing is more important to America than its democratic values. Nothing.

  28. I tire of talk about electability of various D candidates for president, which lacks any consideration of the voter segments (based upon past two presidential voting records). The Clinton coalition was mainly the Obama/Clinton voter segment, with a dollop of the Romney/Clinton voter segment (about 2 million voters). Trumps’s segment that swung the election was the Obama/Trump voters (about 7 million, give or take), particularly in the thought-of firewall states. Another contributor to Trump’s win was the Obama/Did Not Vote segment.

    Which candidates will improve upon D support in these key voter segments? Which will lose support in these key segments? Will the improvements trump (pun intended) the loses? In short, much analytic work is need prior to pronouncement of comparatively electability. All we get now is ungrounded (as to voter past behavior) speculation pretending to be sophisticated observation.

    Finally, when did Trump become the M. Ali of politics? Ms. Clinton trounced him in their debates, making him look like a spoiled schoolboy who was witless, uninformed, blathering, and bullying. I think every D candidate can stand up to this bloated gasbag rather easily on stage. Yes, the GOP was savage whomever is the D choice, with half truths and lies. Yes, that will appeal to Trumpites in the electorate. But, you know, that can only cast their singular ballot and vehemence doesn’t count.

  29. If it is impossible to build a wall against foreign intervention in American elections, and I suspect for the near future it is, how shall we best adjust to that fact of life?

    It seems unfair to acquiesce to foreign influence from ONLY those countries that support Trumpism.

    I suggest that we encourage the liberal/progressive countries of the world to get in on the influence movement, too.

    In fact, if I were a citizen of any other country–Great Britain, Eritrea, Cambodia, Panama, Iraq, Ukraine, et al–I would like to have a say in who runs America. After all, America runs the world, and as it is now, we outside the USA have no representation/vote insofar as who actually runs (or ruins) our life–the ultimate taxation without representation.

    If we foreigners cannot vote in America’s elections, then it is only right that we should exert our influence in other ways. Or give us a vote; count our votes–almost 7 billion of them–as 1/500th of an American vote.

    And how about a third House in Congress made up of representatives of the other 147 or so countries of the world? It would be the proper balance against the 150 or so American corporations, the 300 or so little private armies, and the 15,000 or so missionaries you send into our countries to upset our lives.

  30. This snippet contains facts not mentioned today – or often, in our older, white blog community: “This will be the first election in which the Latinx community will be the second-largest voting bloc in the country,” he told Truthdig. “Thirty-two million Latinx people will be eligible to vote this cycle. One million Latinx people have turned 18 every year since 2016.”

    “That’s four million potential new voters who heard Donald Trump refer to their loved ones as rapists, criminals and drug dealers,” Turkel continued. “This election is the first time they’ll be able to take action and make their voices heard. So, 2020 is the first time we’ll see the Latinx community really step into its growing political power

  31. Not sure the ceiling narrative holds up, and I call false equivalency on the “neither are democrats” take: there’s an enormous difference between actively supporting Bush’s re-election and Senate Republicans and rightfully being critical of a party. Need we look any further than their embracing of Bloomberg, whose policies, behavior, and approach to the election, not his checking account — conveniently, Friedman doesn’t explain Steyer’s appeal — should immediately disqualify as a candidate they put their weight behind.

    I do not believe mortgaging our remaining values for the literal “vote blue no matter who” candidate is a winning strategy

  32. I have to agree with Monotonous L’s appraisal of Friedman.

    When I was “younger”, I heard the idea that Democrats wanted government out of the bedroom and in the board room, Republicans wanted government out of the board room and in the bedroom, Authoritarians wanted government in both places, Libertarians wanted government in neither place.

    I need to add an addendum to this – Libertarians come in two flavors – the traditional Ayn Randians who are close to anarchists and the Wall Street Libertarians. This later type believes that the government has to be involved to protect individual freedoms (reproductive health, anti-discrimination, etc.) but must also leave Corporate America alone to protect their Corporate freedom. Friedman belongs to this later class. Actually, I think that while the “media” has been accused of being “liberal” for decades, they really tend to fall into this Wall Street Libertarian mode – pro-civil rights, but not as concerned with income inequality.

    One main problem with Friedman’s analysis is a common one, the idea that America loved the policies of Reagan, when they actually loved the persona. America is and has been center left, not conservative to center right. We exist in this cognitively dissonant world of belief in rugged individualism and the equal, and sometimes opposite belief in community and equality. We worship the rich, believing that we can become them, but have supported progressive taxation, socialist social security, and free public education. Friedman, like so many pundits, believes that we need a Democrat who looks, smells and tastes like Reagan. It ain’t necessarily so.

    The second questionable premise from Friedman is this. Bloomberg is great because he used his wealth for progressive causes. He can use his wealth to beat Trump. Therefore, if he isn’t the candidate, he will take his toys (money) and go home. Bad logic. If Bloomberg isn’t the candidate, he can still use his billions to defeat Trump, and I believe he would. It is that simple.

    I won’t repeat my political analysis of why Trump will lose unless the Democrats shoot each other before November. Even though Bernie is echoing the “my way or you are part of a corporate conspiracy against me” meme and Amy is saying “agree with me or you are crazy or a radical”, in the long run, the reality of Trump will overcome most resistance to anyone the Democrats nominate, except of course by Trump’s minions. In my mind, the long-term problems with Bloomberg are two. First is the institutionalization of vast wealth as a requirement to become President. The second is the fear that he will be great on all social causes, except for wealth and income inequality. Part of the weakness of Democrats in recent decades is the embrace of the wealthy while abandoning the working and middle classes. Latent racism and fear of change explain much of the rise of Reagan and Trump, but feeling left out of the economy may have been the last straw for some.

    Still, Bloomberg or whoever, I will “vote blue no matter who”, including Guido, my brother’s dog who purported became neurotic because of my brother’s and sister-in-law’s reacting to years of news about Trump.

    Derek – I am reminded of the Tom Lehrer song “Folk Song Army”

    Remember the war against Franco?
    That’s the kind where each of us belongs
    Though he may have won all the battles
    We had all the good songs!

    I don’t want to go down in a blaze of glorious righteousness. Maybe Bernie would win, which would be fine, but if he isn’t the candidate, I am not going to stay home, vote for Trump, or a third party. I saw that in 1968 – tens of thousands died because Nixon became President. In this case, American democracy may die.

  33. Also…. Sanders’ alleged “socialism” is virtually the same as FDR’s Second Bill of Rights, the six points of raising all boats without going to the fantasy abstractness of “trickle down” economics.

    Republicans have been screaming “SOCIALISM IS EVIL” since Lincoln was shot. They didn’t know what it meant then, and they don’t know what it means today. The low-forehead crowd call it “all the free shit”. They can’t help but insult themselves. These are the people Democrats are up against, in part, in trying to unseat the yellow muskrat.

  34. Considering ONLY qualifications to govern, Elizabeth Warren is best.

    It is impossible to know who can beat tRump, so that’s moot.

  35. The problem I currently have with people who write op-eds along the “Bernie or Bloomberg?” line is very simple: the primary is currently NOT a two-person race.
    Warren, for one, is being ignored by far too many pundits and reporters. She has always been a Democrat and her baggage is considerably less than almost anyone else on the stage.
    Buttigieg is being noted primarily for the fact that he has the audacity to run after being mayor of not-too-long a time. Also for running while both young and gay.
    And most reporters just keep shaking their heads in disbelief, “Uncle Joe isn’t running away with the nomination? Why not?” I think we know exactly why not — “investigations” even bogus and disgusting ones, have an effect. If the Trump camp understands this and the head-shakers don’t, shame on the pundits and reporters who are supposed to be more aware than they are.

    And Amy K. She got more time before the mic and inches in print than virtually anyone else — for coming in third in N.H. Seriously?

    Still, no matter who they are, please let’s not pretend there are two people on the field and write off the other folks in the race who still have a fighting chance. That’s just another way to give Russia the help it really wants from us.

    There’s a reason Russia wants Bernie to run against Trump. That, right there, should give us all pause.

    But do we really want to watch two Republicans duke it out for the White House? The last time I checked, a one-party system was not a goal our country was striving to accomplish.

  36. You are right, Ormond. She is also an old public school teacher of the disabled before she became a Harvard professor who recently sent Bloomberg to the political woodshed, and with her experience as a teacher of the disabled will send a mentally disabled Trump to his room for a stay in a corner, where he can pout and sniffle.

  37. Gerald,

    I’m still with you and your preferred pick of Elizabeth Warren. Trump couldn’t get away with what does to his male foes with a female opponent like Warren.

  38. “Without doubt, Russia and China also will be ‘voting’ Trump 2020 — for three reasons: (1) Trump keeps America in turmoil and unable to focus on building the infrastructure we need to dominate the 21st century the way we did the 20th. (2) Both Beijing and Moscow know that Trump is so disliked by America’s key allies that he can never galvanize a global coalition against China or Russia. And (3) both Russia and China know that Trump is utterly transactional and will never challenge them on human rights abuses. Trump is their chump, and they will not let him go easily.”

    Friedman still fails to grasp the bigger picture.

    While I am the last person on earth to see a conspiracy in every shadow that drapes itself across my path, that bigger picture is very clearly this: ALL the illiberalism that has risen in the last few years, from Poland’s Law and Justice Party, Hungary’s Fidesz party, Turkey’s Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, the Lega Nord and 5-Star in italy, and, of course, Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and the UKC Brexit Party, have been assisted and financed by copious amounts of disinformation and money emanating from Putin’s Kremlin.

    Putin is determined to destroy the Western global order that has dominated world affairs since the end of World War II, and reassemble as much of the old Soviet Empire as he can — not because the latter serves any purpose (i.e. the bigger your territory, the harder and more expensive it is to defend it, which is why the US and Russia rely on their stockpiles of nuclear weapons to deter aggression), even for him, but for someone born and raised in Soviet Society, that sprawling landmass teeming with subjugated peoples is simply the natural order of things, the way the world is supposed to be.

    Yes, Trump IS Putin’s stooge, as are, to varying degrees, Johnson, Erdogan, Kaczinski, Orban and the rest. None of the others are likely quite as stupid as Trump, nor are they tied to Putin by the same financial indebtedness or possible incriminating information stored in Kremlin safes and computers, but Putin is achieving things that Stalin and his successors could only dream of.

    America’s intelligence services have been warning about this for several years, now, and Trump has devoted a large part of his energy to discrediting those warnings, and, as we have just seen with the dismissal of acting DNI Joseph McGuire, replacing those who speak up.

    In Thomas Paine’s words, These are times that try men’s souls; what Paine failed to see is that there would one day be times that go so far as to buy men’s souls.

  39. There is a roadmap to win the 2020 election for Democrats…what worked in 2018 to win an historic victory in the U.S. House. Nominate moderates to win swing districts. Democrats claim to be worried about turnout if they don’t put up someone sufficiently left. Balderdash. The one thing Donald Trump has proven to be great at is getting Democrats to turn out to the polls. R turnout will be high. D turnout will be high. To win the election, Democrats need a candidate that will appeal to the Republicans and independents who live in the suburbs and voted against Trump and for Democrats in 2018. Going so far to the left that the Democrats nominate someone who is not even a Democrat, i.e. socialist Bernie Sanders, is insane. Democrats can win the White House in 2020 easily if they just don’t do something stupid like nominate a socialist.

  40. After being glued to the Nevada caucuses I thought to check out late contributions to Sheila’s blog and was delighted to read A. L. Hern’s contribution, one of the best analyses of the attempts of Putin to destroy the world’s democracies I have read in many a moon. Keep contributing, sir.

  41. “I suggest that we encourage the liberal/progressive countries of the world to get in on the influence movement, too.”

    Is there anyway to scream “Noooooooooooooo!” in a comment to a blog post? We don’t want to encourage MORE foreign involvement in our elections.

  42. It’s not Bloomberg’s billions that are objectionable but his attitude that his billions make him better and more entitled than the rest of us.

    A recent lengthy article on him spoke at length with his former city hall advisers who admitted that Bloomberg doesn’t listen to constituents or even his credentialed and experienced advisers. Bloomberg just does what he wants to do – like Trump, only Bloomberg is smarter.

    Like Trump, Bloomberg is a master of insults. His business is based on accumulating data, yet he makes outrageous statements based on no data. While Mayor, he said if he had his way, he’d fire half the teachers and double class-sizes because a quality teacher in the classroom is THE factor controlling achievement. There was no data supporting improved results by doubling class-sizes. There IS data showing that 60% of a child’s achievement is controlled by factors OUTSIDE the control of the school – factors like parental income and education, homelessness, hunger, physical or verbal abuse, and more. Bloomberg devastated NYC public schools, draining them for privately managed charters and enriching standardized testing companies as the club to wield over students, educators, and schools. By the way, Bloomberg’s daughter is on the board of one of the largest charter school chains in the nation. Bloomberg could not be expected to drain this swamp.

    His stop and frisk policy was bad enough but his racist comments surrounding it showed the attitudes from which his policy sprang.

    When one of his female executives told Bloomberg in front of other staff of the good news of her pregnancy, he told her to “kill it”. Thinking she must have heard him wrong, she asked him to repeat it. He said it again. Other staff have corroborated the incident.
    This is the workplace he has created. Later Bloomberg said it was a joke. He has Trump’s sensitivity on sexism in the workplace.

    Bloomberg didn’t want to deal with the retail politics of getting to know real people outside his personal comfort zone in Iowa, New Hampshire, or Nevada. He just wants to buy TV and social media ads and Trump-insulting billboards. He could put that money to MUCH better use in so many other ways such as augmenting voter registration, suing states that are purging voter rolls, stationing attorneys in minority precincts to protect against voter suppression, and more.

    I can vote for any Democratic candidate for President, but I’d have real trouble voting for a sexist, racist, privatizing, swamp dwelling, insulting Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Democratic version of Donald Trump.

  43. In reading the above it is perfectly obvious why being a democrat does not require writing stupid on their foreheads, as soon as they speak you know. First KKK is a Tennessee Democrat thing and second you don’t win because you will not face the truth. You have spent 3 years hating and trying to unseat President Trump instead of analyzing what type of candidate should be brought forth that can win an election. Erection maybe, elections no. You cannot win simply by hating Trump. Please retire your faux pit bulls who have spent a fortune for naught. You have placed the Democratic Party on their own petard. Here it is: We the public are busy with our lives, we vote for whom we like. Trump is liked. You are not. Dems are always sad, guilty of negativism and always working on behalf of the American People. Just stop, we just do not like Mueller, Comey,Clapper,whiny Adam,AOC,hatefull congresswomen who call for the overthrow of our government . We are smart well educated citizens who just do not like you. That simple – We do not like you. Now we do not hate as Dems do, we find you full of righteous self serving people. You have no candidate other then Mr. Venezuela because you continually put women to the back of the line. You know, like you did with HILARY Clinton. We do like Amy Klobochure , Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabber but you do not. They are your only hope. The guys are Duds . If one of them is not on the ticket you will not even place. Dems left Nancy P looking like an idiot when she cowered to the insane AOC group and Bernie and went forward with Impeachment. Call Romney he fits your male model-a dunderhead. Just do not like you.

  44. Geraldine,

    “First KKK is a Tennessee Democrat thing and second you don’t win because you will not face the TRUTH.”

    I don’t think you qualify to determine what is TRUTH or not for the Democratic Party.

    Especially, since you seem to have a fear of competition.

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