Tag Archive | Talking Points Memo

Is Clinton Hurting Sanders by Staying in the Race?

Since before the Nevada Convention debacle, many so-called progressive news outlets were hinting broadly that it was time for Bernie Sanders to get out of the race. Others pointed out that Sanders is still winning primaries, and that Clinton herself did not abandon her campaign against Obama until several days after the last primary.

Then things got ugly in Nevada. Convention chair Roberta Rules-of-Disorder began receiving death threats online from people claiming to be Sanders followers. All the establishment media  – which now includes most of the so-called new media –  conveniently forgot that Hillary Clinton had hired professional social media “consultants”, and that Trump’s supporters were on the internet, too, and rushed to condemn Sanders and his supporters.

In the aftermath of Nevada, the media are piling on Sanders and his supporters to forget about their movement, call it a day and get in line to vote for the neoliberal Hillary Clinton so she can defeat the dread pirate Trump. I’ve let my NY Times subscription go, and after reading Talking Points Memo’s hit piece, It Comes from the Very Top, I think it is time to stop reading them as well.

I’m still not sure about FiveThirtyEight. Nate Silver and his peeps ask, Is Sanders Hurting Clinton by Staying in the Race? At least Micah Cohen gets near the obvious problem:

micah: OK, part of the GOP’s problem is that the establishment no longer holds much sway with Republican voters. Just the opposite, actually: Hitting the elites is a plus. To me, here’s one of the main questions about the Sanders campaign: Is his success, such as it is, simply what you get with a liberal challenge in a two-party race? Or is there a sizable bloc of Democratic voters, young voters in particular, who are sick of standard Democratic politics — who feel the system is rigged, to get back to the point we were talking about earlier. If it’s the latter, then I think that potentially poses long-term problems for the Democratic Party. It increases the chances that the Democrats, at some point, get a nominee unacceptable to the party elites, like the GOP got this year.

I’ll answer you, Micah. To young voters, Hillary is establishment, and part of the problem. Are they too hung up on Sanders? Yes, Sanders himself admonished one adoring crowd that he wasn’t the truth – they were. But even more than the Boomers, and late boomers like me, Millennials grew up in a age of instant gratification, and unlike the boomers, they have run into a brick wall finding jobs and getting on with their lives. Sanders is the first mainstream politician that seems to be speaking to them. So right now he’s Barney, Harry Potter and Jon Snow all wrapped into one.

In high school, one of my history teachers often used the quote, “People Get the Government They Deserve,” (which has been variously attributed). It occurs to me that older people that are willing to settle for either Hillary Clinton or Donald J Trump probably deserve eight years of more of the same, or chaos.

Younger people think they deserve better. Do they deserve Sanders? Maybe, but I think it will require a lot more politicking, and a serious commitment to the movement that Sanders candidacy has been riding.



Over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall agrees with a reader who accuses Sandernistas of damaging Hillary Clinton:

Sanders may be leading a ‘movement’. He’s already succeeded at nudging Clinton to the left, though we shouldn’t lose sight of the degree she’d moved before Sanders got in. But his biggest supporters online have been far more driven by destroying Hillary Clinton either as weird convoluted psychological payback for things that happened decades ago or out of the old puristic, sectarian-left self-actualization performance art.

Destroying Hillary Clinton really doesn’t count as a movement.

I don’t hate Hillary Clinton, I simply don’t believe she intends any meaningful change to the decline of the working class or the concentration of wealth in the privileged class.

Sanders does.

Violence Feels Good

In The Imitation Game, the often-bullied Alan Turing character says, “Do you know why people like violence? It is because it feels good. Humans find violence deeply satisfying. But remove the satisfaction, and the act becomes… hollow.”

At a recent rally in North Carolina, a group of black protesters were being ejected, and one young man gave the middle finger to the crowd with both hands – which didn’t reflect well on his opposition and escalated a bad situation. On SNL’s Weekend Update, Michael Che showed a clip of an elderly Trump supporter sucker-elbow-punching that man, then said, “Look at this guy. He’s been dreaming of punching a black dude since the first time he heard jazz on the radio.” But ‘this guy’ went even further than Che, reflecting on Trump and his supporters perfectly by saying, “You bet I liked it. Knocking the hell out of that big mouth. … Yes he deserved it. The next time we see him, we might have to kill him.” He was arrested for assault, but he probably won’t have to buy a drink for the rest of his life. In an interview Trump acknowledged that he has instructed his people to look into helping that man with his legal fees. [Update 20160305, On ABC’s morning show Trump denied offering such help, but I heard him say it.]

An interesting Talking Points Memo piece suggests that Trump may be motivated after being roasted by President Obama at a White House Correspondents Dinner. But his followers are just getting warmed up. Violence feels good to them.

A friend posted Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC timeline of escalating violence at Trump rallies. This Week, Meet the Press and Face the Nation all presented shorter but similar versions. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich all choked out that they stood by their pledge to support the Republican nominee, but Rubio admitted that it was getting harder every day. Both Cruz and Kasich dodged by insisting Trump is not going to be the nominee.

The Republican pundits all realize that their party is dancing with the devil. On This Week, Donna Brazile laid the blame on Republican dogwhistle politics. Other guests tried to blame the media coverage, but Stephanopoulos pointed out that the press covered Trump, people knew exactly what he was and chose him anyway.

On Meet the Press, Alex Castellanos raised eyebrows by saying that Bernie Sanders is going to be the Democratic nominee, then said, “Whether he’s wearing a man suit or whether he’s wearing a pant suit. … The campaign belongs to Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren. It’s not Hillary’s campaign. She’s the figurehead. … She’ll end up being the nominee. But it doesn’t fit her at all. How can she sell that in the general?” That was an obvious lead-in to the SNL skit with Hillary morphing into Bernie.

We have two fractured parties, and as I’ve written before, we’re going to have two weak candidates no matter who gets nominated. I’m pulling for Sanders, but he will be weak without the party moderates fully behind him, and because of the Socialism word. Clinton will be weak without the Sanders supporters, who will probably just stay home, or vote Green. Trump will be weak because of his polarizing behavior. Any other Republican will be weak because of the outraged Trump supporters.

But one of them will win.

TPM Letter

Though TPM seems to swing towards Hillary Clinton, Josh Marshall published a great pro-Bernie Sanders letter from a reader called Mac:

… far from being in a bubble, Sanders supporters (and nervous sympathizers) are a very big swath of the public whose economic conditions have diminished steadily over the last 10-20 years, with no hope in sight. I live in Aurora, Illinois, I was canvassing in Clinton, Iowa for Sanders. Both are cities devastated by neo-liberal trade deals and tax policies championed by both Clintons over the years, and whose largely blue-collar workforce have responded to the FDR type rhetoric that Sanders has the guts to promote – and a sense of his basic honesty. …

Speaking of the bubble (and I sincerely mean no disrespect here), anyone who is a national media person, is moving in rarefied air compared to the rest of us. You really have no idea how bad things are for the vast majority, even for “successful”, professional people. …

We’re not angry at Obama, we are disappointed that his personality just didn’t lend itself to the kind of FDR fight we needed. I’m enrolled through the ACA, and I can tell you that the costs, even for a Bronze plan, are outrageous without the premium supports, and are unsustainable. There will be no Obama legacy without an aggressive push toward Single Payer. With Clinton as the nominee, no doubt all the of regular Democrats will vote for her, but there won’t be the draw from Independents and the politically discouraged that Sanders has tapped into. Sanders has made it clear that his election will only be the beginning, not the end, of a sustained effort to bring back active citizenship. No doubt that entails several election cycles to establish a 21st century New Deal. …

I think Mac nails it. We don’t hate Obama or Hillary, it’s just that the things we see now, and that we see coming, are so bad that we need more of a revolutionary attitude in our candidate. We know it won’t be easy or immediate. Many of us will be dead before there is any real change, but we care about the government we leave to our children and grandchildren.

More Cyber Abuse of Women

Inspired by, Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet – the Pacific Standard article I linked to a few days ago – lawyer, columnist and blogger Jill Filipovic posted, Let’s Be Real: Online Harassment Isn’t ‘Virtual’ For Women on TPM:

In January 2006, I was a student at NYU School of Law, home for holiday break. I had just gotten my wisdom teeth out. I remember that, because I was on a lot of painkillers, and I kept thinking that maybe my cloudy brain just wasn’t comprehending what I was reading on an anonymous message board created for law students, called AutoAdmit. There were hundreds of threads about me, with comments including:

“Official Jill Filipovic RAPE thread” “I want to brutally rape that Jill slut” “I’m 98% sure that she should be raped” “that nose ring is fucking money, rape her immediately” “what a useless guttertrash whore, I hope that someone uses my pink, fleshy-textured cylindrical body to violate her” “she deserves a brutal raping” “Legal liability from posting pic of Jill fucking?” “she’s a normal-sized girl that I’d bang violently, maybe you’d have to kill her afterwards.”

C’mon guys. I like women a lot myself, but I like them. This stuff isn’t clever or fun. It sounds like it was written by guys who are secretly afraid of women.

Elites and the Media

From Talking Points Memo:

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas expected to see an African-American president in his lifetime — as long as the candidate abided by standards for blacks that are prescribed by “elites and the media,” he said in little-noticed remarks last month. And he suggested that Barack Obama fits the mold.

“I always knew that it would have to be a black president who was approved by the elites and the media,” Thomas said last month at Duquesne Law School in remarks posted to YouTube Friday.

How is this a black issue? Hasn’t each and every previous president had to abide by standards set by elites and the media?

“Any black person who says something that is not the prescribed things that they expect from a black person will be picked apart,” the justice said. “Pick anyone who’s decided not to go along with it — there’s a price to pay. So I always assumed it would be somebody that the media had to agree with.”

Again, how is that any different from keeping Dennis Kucinich, Dr Jill Stein and any remotely radical candidate out of the big televised debates? You could make a case for Ron Paul after he scandalized the crowd during some GOP debates, but his voting record isn’t as radical as his followers want to believe.

Which Prez hasn’t answered to elites and the media? You could make a case for FDR, who seems to have had as much personal authority as any chief executive, but who came from the elites and knew how to play the media.


Adam Serwer at Mother Jones observes:

President Barack Obama was twice elected by a majority of the American electorate. Indeed, while there is some wisdom in Thomas’ remarks about race and social expectations, it’s virtually inevitable that any presidential candidate will seek to earn the approval of elites, both financial and in the media itself. Supreme Court justices, on the other hand, serve for life and are by design insulated from popular sentiment.

“There’s a great irony in that Thomas has his position because he was approved by elites in the Senate,” says Winkler, “while Obama owes his position to the voters.”

Exploiting Marriage for Fun and Profit

I just saw this on TPM:

Sue Everhart, chairwoman of the Georgia Republican Party, told the Marietta Daily Journal in a story published Saturday that once gay nuptials are legally permitted, there will be nothing to stop a straight person from exploiting the system in order to claim marital benefits.

“You may be as straight as an arrow, and you may have a friend that is as straight as an arrow,” Everhart said. “Say you had a great job with the government where you had this wonderful health plan. I mean, what would prohibit you from saying that you’re gay, and y’all get married and still live as separate, but you get all the benefits? I just see so much abuse in this it’s unreal. I believe a husband and a wife should be a man and a woman, the benefits should be for a man and a woman. There is no way that this is about equality. To me, it’s all about a free ride.”

So what’s to stop a straight man and woman from doing the same thing now?

I’ll tell you what. Being married to someone is not necessarily all about benefits. Yes there are savings in health care, and marrieds have an advantage when filing taxes.

But, if your spouse incurs debts, you may be liable for those debts. If he or she runs over a pedestrian, guess who is suddenly part of a lawsuit? I once heard a horror story about a fellow whose wife ran up all their credit cards to feed her cocaine habit, and left him with $50K worth of debts. I trust my wife not to do that, but not some woman, or man, I only see now and then.

Do these people think at all before speaking?