When it comes to electing Democrats, policy should come before the party

Screw the Democratic Party. There I said it. Now that I have everyone’s attention, please allow further explanation. Yes, I and many other progressives are sick and tired of those who say blue no matter who. That is a supremely ridiculous position to hold, and in fact has led to the issues that many progressives have had with the Democratic Party over the years.

There has been a line of argument against Bernie Sanders and his supporters that he isn’t a “real Democrat” and there is a menagerie of reasons given by his detractors. Aside from Bernie being an Independent in Congress, he is guilty of the heinous crimes of not throwing fundraisers for other Democrats running for Congress. Who cares whether Bernie is or supports “Democrats?” Is Bernie a progressive and does he support progressives for office? That should be the proper question.

First, yes it is true Bernie was an Independent in Congress. It is also true that Bernie caucused with the Democrats, and that he has been involved with the party to a certain extent. It is also true that Bernie has not been a major force in fundraising for a lot of candidates running on Democratic tickets. There are contexts to this, of course.

Bernie has not been embraced by the Democratic Party establishment, and in fact the DNC has done almost everything possible to diminish Bernie’s campaign. When Hillary supporters claim Bernie isn’t supporting “Democrats” in races, they aren’t telling the full truth. Bernie is helping to support candidates, but he is helping progressives in races rather than just “Blue no matter Who.” Neither Bernie nor his supporters are obligated to raise money or support any candidate that doesn’t share their views.

The logic of the Blue no matter Who thinking is severely flawed. No, you shouldn’t just vote for any candidate just because he or she is running as a Democrat. Part of the reason why progressives have been frustrated with the Democratic Party is because they tend to follow a “safe” strategy in which we elect any candidate running as a Democrat, regardless of whether or not that person adheres to core principles that progressives hold. That’s bullshit and needs to change.

Part of the reason Democrats have been ineffective at achieving many progressive goals is because among their ranks are so-called Blue-Dog Democrats who tend to be more centrist and conservative than the rest of the party. These Blue-Dogs have made it hard for progressives to get important bills passed in Congress. Yes, Republican obstructionism is the main reason, but part of the blame belongs to Democrats as well.

Even when Democrats had a sixty seat hold on the Senate and a huge majority in the House, Obama still couldn’t get major progressive laws passed without a huge fight that eventually led to watered down legislation. Obama’s quote “two signature” laws Obamacare and Dodd-Frank were not passed without a huge fight and both laws were extremely neutered from where they first began. Why? Because Blue Dog Democrats sided with Republicans to help obstruct these bills.

The strategy of electing any candidate who runs as a Democrat is a failed one. We need to elect progressives to Congress, whether they’re Democrats or not. Voting should be based on the candidate and their platform, not their party. There have been good Democrats and bad ones. My former Senator Mary Landrieu was a terrible shill for the Oil and Gas industry when in Congress, and was one of the largest obstacles in ending Federal subsidies for the industry and in passing Cap and Trade legislation. This was a Democrat mind you, a supposed liberal! There are many others that fit this model.

Some might say, “oh, well you’re imposing a purity test on the party?” Damn right I am. We have to have the ability to punish Democrats who don’t actually fight for progressive causes. We have to have consequences for faux liberals in the Democratic Party, because that is the nature of the political wind.

The fact is, the age of coalition parties is over. The Republican Party is a pure-blood conservative party, and there is no reason for the Democrats to have half of their ranks held by conservative sympathizers. We need to reshape the Democratic Party back into the FDR mold, and throw off the yolk of the Clinton/Obama model of conservative incrementalism. The time has come for progressives to dominate the party, which is the only way to reign in the Republicans.

Nay-sayers will then say, “well you have to be open to compromise, you won’t get everything you want.” Of course! Anyone who understands politics on a basic level knows this! But it’s how you compromise that counts. You start negotiations from the left, and then negotiate down to the middle. For example, starting from the left position on Healthcare would have been Single Payer. Now, no one thinks we would actually pass Single Payer in its pure form, but if it serves as the starting position, then you can then negotiate down to say a Public Option.

This runs contrary to Obama’s strategy, which was to concede half to Republicans up front which then moved the starting position more to the center, which was then negotiated down more. The same was true for Dodd-Frank. Hillary seems fond of this strategy as well. This has been a failure time and again. This is how politics works. Establishment Democrats fail to grasp this, either purposefully or out of sheer incompetence.

In short, we should vote for real progressives into the Democratic Party, and primary anyone who opposes the core principles of the progressive movement. We should move to elect candidates who will make a difference, rather than blindly following the Party like sheep. We should challenge the Party and push them to have more progressive candidates, rather than have the party push us to vote for whoever they put forward.

The policy matters most, not the damn Party…

87 COMMENTS

  1. Loyalty is never to be given to people or parties.
    You must be loyal to values and goals, nothing less.
    Loyalty is earned, not taken, by those values which prove themselves worthy of our devotion. Truth, Justice, Liberty, Love, these come to mind. Citizens should always vote for the best candidate. Vote for Bernie Sanders for President in EVERY Election.
    https://berniesanders.com/issues/

  2. Of all the ridiculous articles I have read on not voting blue, this ranks right up there on the top of the list.

    Do you think that by electing Republicans things will magically become more progressive? It years for progressives to get thing the way they are now. Every year conservatives are gaining ground and eroding the things progressives have done. Let another Republicanget elected and see how quickly it will disappear. The GOP congress had already tried to rip things apart, stopped only by Obama’s veto and their current preoccupation of genitals. We get 2 more GOP supreme and nothing will change for years.

    You want to reshape the party? During Trump’s presidency? And you think that’s going to happen and those people will be elected? What if it turns out that voting becomes more difficult because the GOP causes even more mayham at the polls. Change doesn’t happen overnight. And major change takes even longer. I haven’t seen any of the people who want this change do any worked for it. Not when Bush was in office and not during Obama’s terms in office. Bernie has large crowds at his rallies and people like you think that’s enough. Where are your other rallies? You know, like in the 1970’s when we stopped the war. We were out there marching down streets, having rallies on campus and getting arrested. What are you doing to bring about change? Not vote for Hillary and get Trump elected?

    I haven’t seen any of Bernie’s supporters try to start any bigger movement. It seems everyone is content to whine on blogs and Facebook and that’s the end of it.

    Change, real change takes work. A lot of it. It also takes time and commitment. It is not going to happen if you don’t get off your rear ends and get out there. It needs to be an organized movement, not just let’s elect Bernie. It can’t be a movement where, if Bernie is not the candidate, everybody packs up and goes home.

    How many of you are helping congressional candidates with their election? Any of you? It’s important to get conservatives out of the house and senate. If your democratic candidate isn’t progressive enough, worked for them anyway. Get to know people and maybe you’ll find someone better for the next election. You have to get involved. You need to meet people and organize.

    I’m really sick of your whining about wanting change. DO SOMETHING!

  3. I have donated more money to Bernie’s campaign than any candidate in my life. But the numbers do NOT lie. Is our election system broken…yes it sure is. Would a vote for anyone other than a Democrat have a chance in hell of fixing that any time soon…..NO!!!!! This stupid infighting, name calling and finger pointing is foolish and juvenile at best. Am I on board for a election revolution in this country??? Yes I most certainly am…is it going to happen before this next election….uh no it’s not. Time to grow up now and face reality boys and girls. Your “movement” could cause a Republican majority in all levels of this Countries Government this November. And if you think you’re having a hard time of it now….well you go ahead and act like a child not getting their way and see what happens if Trump wins.

  4. So Cenk thinks we have to vote for Clinton because otherwise we’d get a fascist? And the female thinks we have to vote for Clinton to protect women’s rights? What assholes. Foreign policy is the most important issue in this election, and on that, Clinton is a disaster and the worse of two evils. Jimmy Dore is right!

  5. First of all the UN is totally worthless. They do nothing to promote peace. All they do is talk.. They have no power. Second, Hillary was not President, you give her wchrisgrobay too much credit for all of this. This was all done with a Republican Congress. If a Republican gets to nominate the next and future Supreme Court judges we are done for. Remember, these people last for decades. I was for Sanders but he didn’t get the votes. Grow up people. You act like little children who didn’t get their way. Think about the country not yourself. God help us if Trump or Cruz gets in.

  6. It means DON’T vote for a republican and DO vote for a candidate that is the only VIABLE alternative, who, probably, also happens to be a Democrat. (Don’t throw away your vote) I have witnessed how far the Democratic Party has come, rising out of the bowels of Reagan era. They have finally got the message that ‘republican lite’ isn’t going to cut it and that Sane America wants a progressive agenda. Bernie ran as a Democrat for a reason. This type of crap will end up in a President Trump or even worse a splintering of the Progressive movement just win it looks like the republican party is going down the shitter.

    • The “either/or power” play is typical of the Duopoly. The illusion of choice has polluted the public dialog. If we want progressive change we’d better start to engage in electing progressive candidates at the local level. Also: No PRIVATE Money for PUBLIC Office! …Until we enact such amendments to our election process–our elections will be controlled by the corporate Oligarchs-period!

      • You do realize that this oligarchy was enabled by Citizens United, which was decided by a SCOTUS 5-4 vote directly attributable to Ralph Nader’s hijacking of the 2000 election because “Bush and Gore were the same.”

        And spare me the talking point about “Gore couldn’t win his own state.” Dubya didn’t win Connecticut, either (forget his carpetbagging Texas BS).

        • It’s more tenable to attribute Gore’s loss to what was essentially a coup d’etat by SCOTUS. But that also supports your argument. A Republican appointed Supreme Court majority is a disaster that is an order of magnitude worse than a Republican administration.

    • Reading Julian, I couldn’t help but think that this is exactly the angry militant rhetoric I hear coming from the Tea Party! Different positions of course, but same rigid ‘traitor if you compromise’ intransigence. Purity above all else! Death before compromise! All well and good, but that’s *exactly* the stance that’s led to the utter death spiral meltdown the Right has brought upon themselves today. Democracy *by its nature* is compromise. Our founding fathers *set it up that way*! Yes, there’s a name for absolutist, ‘my way or the highway’ governance — fascism. And that name holds even if it includes universal health care, free college tuition, and a new path to citizenship. Sure, cling to your idealist ‘Bernie or Bust’ flagpole, but start practicing.. “President Trump”.. “President Trump”.. Your choice.

  7. Please consider signing & sharing widely:
    http://pac.petitions.moveon.org/sign/american-voters-pledge
    —it’s a start to realizing the preConvention leverage we very well may need to see Bernie as the Democratic Nominee.

    Maybe the only thing they can’t defeat is a united front with solid plans. Some of us and hopefully enough of us feel we should do more to avoid being sitting ducks to their power and ability to rig rather than just working really hard on a campaign (which absolutely has to be done too) to have them 51-49% it.

    And seriously, in all sincerity, why wouldn’t we?? We have 3 months to collect it to see what kind of preConvention solidarity we can achieve and in the end, no one is committing their votes to anything unless we achieve a winning majority or near enough for preConvention confidence.

    And maybe Bernie is waiting to see & basing his decision on, what we will do, if we can come up with our own conclusions and plans and unify in large enough numbers to accomplish what we’re asking him to do, which is run independent if they deny him the Nomination he & we deserve.

    Invite from Jill Stein to Bernie Sanders 4/22/16:
    http://www.jill2016.com/stein_invites_sanders_to

    #UnitedVotingBlockBernieOrGreen2016
    #BernieSander2016 #NotMeUs #WeAreBernie #WeCannotBeDivided
    #TheRevolutionIsGlobal #TheFightForJusticeUniversal
    #Preparedness #FosterUnityOfOurVotingBlock
    #KeepItWorkingForUs #ItsInOurHands
    #EnoughIsEnough #ThinkBIG
    #NothingWeCantDo

    • Thank you! I signed this and shared. There may be further measures taken in order to challenge the duopoly, and I will be researching this in the coming weeks. It’s one thing to awaken and see the problem–and another to see the necessity for transformation. Cheers!

  8. “In short, we should vote for real *conservatives* into the *Republican* Party, and primary anyone who opposes the core principles of the *conservative* movement. We should move to elect candidates who will make a difference, rather than blindly following the Party like sheep. We should challenge the Party and push them to have more *conservative* candidates, rather than have the party push us to vote for whoever they put forward.”

    This is why the Sandersnistas are being called the Left-wing Tea Party.
    Same philosophy, opposite ends of the political spectrum.

    “Purity is the enemy of victory.”

    • Great… So much better to ‘Win’ by electing a candidate that doesn’t represent us, just so we aren’t the loser… But really we are!! …. makes as much sense as banging your head against a wall !!

    • Senator Bernie Sanders is the only viable candidate. He is of and for the People. Senator Bernie is the only candidate in either party who is not in the pockets of the billionaire/corporate puppet masters. This election is not about lib. vs conserv. or democrat vs repub. it is about getting our country back for the people. Left wing, right wing……all the same bird…..i.e. TPP and Merrick Garland

      • I agree!!! The original writer – is a plant for Hillary – A D-divide & conquer strategy! We are doing right by pushing for Bernie – and proving to all the parties: We are an intelligent & powerful force which has awakened, in America – and all the candidates that represent interests, other than people oriented – will be held accountable! The Revolution requires cleaning up the process – People, who exchange human-issues for money, jobs, and Corporate favors, etc. This is the fundamental tool – which kept Black People in slavery. Northern Politicians exchanged Civil & Human Rights Legislation(s) that would Benefit Black People – As a Currency, With White Racists Politicians who were still upset over the Civil War & Slavery!!! This went for Centuries, up till today!!! Blacks were always hopeful of change – and therefore, Continued to vote democratic – without receiving any benefit from the elected – and in time, all democrats came to depend on the Black vote – to catapult them into personal success – while Blacks remained – consciously, and intentionally, unrepresented!!! Hillary is doing it now, after calling Blacks: Super-Predators,” didn’t know at the time, she would have to turn to them for their vote!!! She hated Obama, and said: “He was not qualified to President, in 08!!! Now she is saying: Everything he did was right – an oxymoron!!! But across ethnic lines: it is just: “Rich & Poor”!!!

  9. Do commenters get paid by the word???

    The premise of the article is fatally flawed for one simple reason. The goal of “Blue no matter who” is the reality of keeping the GOP from the White House and SCOTUS nominations… Want to kill progressive ideals for a generation or more…Get a conservative Supreme Court that will be on the bench for the next 30 years.

    There is an old phrase…”cut off your nose to spite your face”. This article promotes that. Your generation will pay dearly for it.

  10. Who is this idiot who wrote this piece anyways? It’s garbage and this writer doesn’t have a clue, I mean he’s just CLUELESS. Good luck getting anything progressive done if Trump or Cruz becomes President. Yes, I disagree with this moron’s article. We can’t afford to NOT have a Democrat in the White House.

    • I’m the person who wrote the piece. Sure I’m just so clueless. Why support a progressive like Bernie when I can support I neo-liberal corporatist who voted in favor of the Iraq war, the Patriot Act, disastrous trade deals, fracking, and who flip flops on issues depending on poll numbers. Obama was president for eight years, and we only got piecemeal progressive changes. Just because you elect a Democrat means nothing, and clearly you haven’t paid attention enough to realize that genius…

      • Piecemeal progress is what happened because down-ticket democrats lost their jobs at the hands of highly motivated republicans who voted “red or dead”. So let me get this straight: Bernie supporters condemn the DNC for coalescing around Hillary – who works damn hard for the down-ticket dems – but insist he has no responsibility to those same candidates fighting for the chance to help the next progressive president, whoever that may be? He should just automatically get the support of the party he refuses to support himself? Sorry, but that’s just throwing a temper tantrum. Bernie should go ahead and start a new progressive party if that’s what his supporters want, but to try to argue he’s the only real democrat in the party he hasn’t been part of for decades is petulant and plain lunatic.

        • So you are a Real Democrat only if you subscribe to corrupting electoral financing, Buy yourself a seat in Congress and raise Money to elect other 3rdWay DINOs… Is a political party just a fraternal organization.. an elitist Members only country club…. Or a group promoting certain principles, of which Helping the poor, minorities and the Middle Class has been central to the platform since FDR?? Or was FDR No Democrat either???

          To support those subverting and hijacking the beliefs of any political party is to be just as corrupt…. Bernie or Bust is about reclaiming the Real Democratic Party and returning it to the path hacked out for us by FDR!

          When that happens talk to me about supporting Real Democrats, instead of those working against the people for their own selfish and corrupt ends!!

        • Those Democrats lost because they did not give us enough reasons to vote for them. We are not Republican voters, we are not robots, we don’t just fall in line and support anyone who runs as a Democrat (or at least we’re not supposed to). They have to actually give us a reason to vote for them, promise us they’ll fight on issues we care about and not just promise to be better than Republicans. In what way will they be better, what will they push for for us to be excited enough to elect them? We don’t condemn the DNC because they don’t “automatically support Bernie.” Its because they have clearly chosen a side during a nominating process that hasn’t ended yet, in which they are supposed to be a neutral party until the process in over. Bernie just wants to be treated fairly, and I have already explained in the article that Bernie is supporting ideological progressives, people who share his political values, and is not spending time hosting rich fundraisers for any Democrat, especially if that Democrat takes corporate money and isn’t as ideologically inclined as he. Are you willing to support a candidate that is anti-choice, hawkish on foreign policy, and willing to compromise with Republicans on cutting social programs even if this candidate runs as a Democrat? If you wouldn’t, why should Bernie. Bernie wants to change the soul of the Democratic Party back in the mold of FDR, which was diluted heavily in the 1980s and 1990s, especially after Bill Clinton. And, once again, I don’t care if Bernie is the “real Democrat.” I care if he is the real progressive, and that’s all you should care about too if you actually want Democrats to win.

      • You conveniently left out some important facts then in your Bernie quest, like where is the transparency Bernie demands from others while he won’t comply to releasing his tax returns for 10 years??…. And instead did your best to promote the same old Republican Talking points that have been worn out over the years when referring to Hillary… Is your head so far up in the clouds as a writer that you forgot how to investigate and research what has been written and only give out half truths in your comments as facts..?? The bottom line is NEVER TRUST A REPUBLICAN !!!

    • Like the Democrats have been so good for the Middle Class since Clinton sold us out???
      better we burn down the house and rebuild… the foundations are rotten anyway and the house is collapsing around our ears!!

  11. If Trump is elected the progressive movement and the Democratic party will be so marginalized that niether will hold any significant power again for decades. And by then the nation will likely be beyond saving, we’ll just disintegrate like the USSR did which more and more conservatives seem to favor.

    • Not quite. Trump is on the outs with his own party. Worst we get is 4 years of gridlock. Not great, but it beats 8 years of empire building…

  12. This is a bunch of sophomoric gobeldygook by a puerile armchair critic from Mom’s basement who will not suffer the consequences even if Reuben Goosens gets in the White House.

    #1 Hillary was the 11 most liberal member of congress, Obama 23. She voted with Bernie Sanders 93% of the time.

    This Julian Drury was not around in 92 when the Clintons first time in the White House launched a whole lot of progressive legislation shot down by the Democratic congress. They were ahead of their time.
    Besides being stupid, and uninformed, he has no real knowledge of what is occurring and how it got to that state.

    This non thinking is that of the Nader lemmings, and he did wonders for the liberal and progressive movements, like setting them back 20 years

  13. All well and good and idealist, but what happens when we don’t have choices? How do you get a more liberal candidate nominated by the people in say, South Carolina?

    You sound like the liberal Tea Party. Yes, it is very difficult to deal with the repubs as a party that has proven time and again that they don’t give one shit what the voters want. Not even their own constituents.

    This is the real world and Bernie, not anyone else, can do anything without help. There are segments of this country that may as well be different countries. There also has to be balance and variety fr a democratic republic to work.

    Bernie is not more to the left than Hillary and she has proven for years that she is a Dem, even left of Obama. Bernie still thinks we don’t need more regulation on guns.

    People (repub types) also lie about their party affiliation when running for office. This is how repubs get elected as Dems.

    There will never be a fairyland of liberal progressive policy in the USA, much as it is nice to dream about.
    We need leaders who truly do follow the Constitution-not just the parts they like for the situation at hand. There used to be fair and honest republicans in this country.

    Right now, we don’t know who is who or which end is up, so voting the party line seems like the best bet to me. I am not saying that that is all we should ever do, but unless the repubs can start coming up with some real candidates, and run elections without cheating and tampering, yes I will vote all blue. From your photo, I am considerably older than you and I can understand your idealism. I had it once, too.

    The thing about idealism is that ideals change. Frequently. People learn, educate themselves, (hopefully) and, if they are smart, start to see the complexity of politics which excludes black and white idealism. We will never get anything done in this country if we don’t start nominating real people and not caricatures like teh repubs have come down to.

    I am a liberal born and raised in a red state (hopefully to escape within a year or so) and I see the idiocy and destructiveness of uneducated idealism all around me, every day. Right now, it is republican (neo republican) idealism. But I have seen the opposite, as well.

    In the situation today, yes, we must vote blue all of the way. We can only vote for who runs and gets nominated, however.

  14. While I agree with most of what you said, I am tired of hearing “Bernie is the best and there is no room for anyone else because …” whatever the reason. It is divisive and we’ve no room for that in this election. I’m an educated voter and will vote for the person I most want to see representing me in the White House, in Congress, and locally. I like Bernie. Period. But, you can bet your ass I will vote for Hillary if she’s the one who gets the nomination. To misrepresent this as “blue no matter who” is just wrong and offensive. I don’t want any of the current Republican candidates in the White House. Bernie has gone a long way toward changing the tenor of this election year and even further in getting Democrats to understand the will and the power of people. Recognize that and accept that, sadly, change is always slow to come. I firmly believe that anyone who stays home on election day will get just what they deserve. And, I don’t want to hear anyone whining about how they have to call Donald or Ted, Mr. President. Do not confuse this will “blue no matter what.” Recognize it for what it is: pragmatism.

    • Some of us have been voting for the lesser of two evils for decades. Only this time I’m not sure she is the lesser evil. Voting for the DNC’s choice of candidate has gotten us nowhere. We still don’t have many of the benefits that citizens of other developed nations have and which contribute to their wellbeing and happiness. There is no real quality of life in the US, except for the rich because most of us are one health crisis away from disaster. Everything is about profit in our system, not the public good. We are tried of it. We pay taxes, and the majority of our money is spent on the military. My eyes have been opened in this election cycle. I now see the stranglehold the Clintons and the corporatist Democrats have on the Party. If we vote Hillary in, nothing will change. She is a conservative. If she starts a war, as she is very likely to do, who will protest or vote against it? This time it will be a Democrat, not GW Bush. If you’re wiling to support this, vote for her, but I’m not. There’s too much at stake. If she is elected, there will not be any hope of universal healthcare or tackling climate change. Her corporate donors will rule and Wall Street will fill the cabinet once again.

    • I think the most important thing is to use ones vote to advocate for someone that you truly believe in. The problem that I have with “blue no matter who” is that I am tacitly agreeing to back Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy the second I vote for her. I do not want to vote for the obstructionism in latin american governments, the undermining of democratically elected presidents in other countries for the sake of continued arms deals with their military coup regime. I do not stand behind Hillary’s policies in the middle east which she summarized as, “sometimes you have to drop bombs to prove you will drop bombs.”

      I do not want Trump in the presidency, but even he is more progressive when it comes to war than Hillary. He has advocated for isolationism which is much more to my liking than bombing the middle east and seeing countries in the middle of civil wars as, “business opportunities.”

    • Ask any negotiator about the “pragmatism” of giving most of the farm away before you start negotiating. There is nothing “practical” in giving up before you start – and if the best you can offer is “settle for less” you have a real problem with gettin people excited about your ideas.

      In 1988, when Biff Dukakis said “It’s not about idealism, it’s about management.” I said out loud, “We’ve lost the election.” Presidential elections *are* about ideals – the President has no ability to make the laws, only the power to say “no.” People don’t rally around synergistic management solutions, the rally around ideas worth fighting for.

  15. “Even when Democrats had a sixty seat hold on the Senate…” Democrats had the so-called filibuster-proof majority for a grand total of five months, which time span also included Congress’ summer recess.

  16. (1) Bernie has not been totally “embraced” by the Democratic Party because he has never “embraced” the Democratic Party. Sorry, Dude, but, in the real world, you’ve got to occasionally go along to get along. Bernie has caucused with Democrats but his legislative record is, at best, paltry. He doesn’t get a lot of support because he doesn’t take part in the grinding of the gears that makes major legislation work. The word on Bernie is that he thinks his legislation/amendments should be passed just because they’re his—it is beneath him to knock on doors and lobby for them. He is not liked by the majority of senators and congressmen on both sides of the aisle, no matter how his campaign spins it. He says it’s because he’s too “radical” for them. They say it’s because he’s a grumpy, prickly asshole who listens to no one other than the voices in his own head.

    (2) Any influence—and, it wasn’t much—Bernie had is going to be dead. So he’ll be ready for you and yours to start a new party—best of luck with that!—of which he will, naturally, be the leader. He has admitted that he had little interest in helping with the Democratic down-ballot, which elects, of course, the state and federal legislators who could actually get progressive bills past an obstructionist but united Republican congress. He has, thus far in this cycle, offered financial support to all of three congressmen—each of whom has promised his fealty to Bernie. Three! And that’s documented! One wonders how Bernie thought he would get his, uh, Revolution underway when he faced Republican majorities in both chambers and fewer and fewer Democrats both in number—thanks to his killing of Democratic chances to re-take the Senate—and in support of anything he wanted. As I said, Lone Rangers aren’t usually very successful at getting things done—anywhere, much less in Congress.

    (3) You don’t get it. Bernie is about Bernie. That’s it. Just take a look at how many national or international trips Bernie has taken during which he spent time with suffering people in places of absolute suffering. You won’t find much tape—sorry! Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, can be found on all but two continents and she can be found where the suffering is the worst of the worst. You can bitch and moan about her all you want, but she gives a shit and she has proved it. You don’t hold a dying child in central Africa as a way of helping your presidential campaign. During the South Carolina primary, a member of Bernie’s campaign team told me that Bernie “is just not very personable and he doesn’t do well in those ‘one-on-one’ situations.” I told him that, if such was the case, he should immediately withdraw from public life.

    (4) Policies and Party go hand-in-hand. It is a systemic problem for our system of government as it has evolved—perhaps we should go with a Parliamentary model with multiple parties—but it is a fact. And it isn’t all bad as, at its best, it moderates legislation and makes room for reasonable compromise. Furthermore, it keeps us from being subjected to a fascist, oligarchic, racist platform pushed by radical Republicans who, unless it has escaped your notice, are also pushing a “Revolution.” It also prevents us from being subjected to what Bernie laughably calls his “Revolution”—the policies of which are painfully limited have not been thought through, detailed, or vetted for reasonable adjustment but make for good applause lines to college students and thirty-somethings gathered in Washington Square.

    (5) Your knowledge of political movements and institutions is painfully lacking. The Democratic Party is not half-filled with conservatives. The Democratic Party is at the mercy of congressional Republicans. They do what they can do with what they’ve got. You can elect your one or two “Progressives.” What do you think they will get accomplished in the chambers? They’ll be nothing but a waste of taxpayer money. And, in the meantime, your dismal approach to party concerns will insure the election of a Republican president who will, along with a Republican congressional majority, change the face of America for the rest of the 21st-century.

    I’ve heard the BS before. I was there when it was being spouted by Eugene McCarthy supporters. We got Richard Nixon. I was there when it was being spouted by George McGovern supporters. We got Richard Nixon again.

    And, by the way, you can start negotiations “from the left” only if the party in power agrees to start negotiations “from the left.” Guess what? The party in power right now won’t agree to that. And, if we follow your road map, it will be a long time until we have a party in power that will. That damned down-ballot is as important as electing a Democratic president. To think otherwise is to engage in Bernie-think and, right now, Bernie is in Vermont recovering from the emotional blow that comes when you find out, in a New York primary, that you don’t walk on water and water doesn’t turn into wine just because you tell it to. Toughen up, Chief.

    (6) This campaign has re-taught me a lesson I have tried to forget after every election cycle. Progressives bent on storming the barricades are no more open to those who differ with their methods than Right-Wingers are open to those who differ with theirs. Neither believes in compromise. They’re just two sides of the same, destructive coin.

    • 1. It is true Bernie only recently became a “Democrat” in terms of his party affiliation, yes I will concede Bernie certainly hasn’t been a large participant in the Democratic Party machine in the way Hillary Clinton has for example. It’s true, Bernie hasn’t been a large presence in the establishment mechanics of the Party. In terms of Bernie not “grinding the gears” to make progressive legislation work, is just flatly not true. Bernie has been quite active on this front, to suggest otherwise shows a clear lack of care in learning his record. Bernie has actually been rather successful in many fields while in Congress. How cute that it is Hillary supporters who tell us to tone it down, yet call Bernie asshole and worse, even articles telling him to fuck off and such. Yeah, we need to be nicer? You have no grounds for such an assertion that Bernie “listens to no one but voices in his head” and has absolutely no other grounds but to smear him when the proven record shows otherwise.

      2. Bernie in fact has a great amount of influence right now, and the movement he is helping to coalesce will still be around. This tide is dissipating anytime soon, even if Bernie loses. When it comes to Bernie not supporting down-ballot Democrats in races, we have to keep in mind again that it is up to Bernie’s discretion to support an individual candidate as he chooses. Simply electing Democrats to Congress won’t get progressive legislation passed. This has already been proven. It depends on the type of Democrats you are electing. The point is to elect an ideological progressive, rather than more centrist Democrats who have a tendency to side with Republicans on key issues. Bernie shouldn’t have to blankly support any Democrat in the race, especially if this candidate shares key differences with him. What if the candidate is pro-Wall Street, anti-choice, perhaps hawkish on Israel/Palestine or pro-oil industry like my former Senator Mary Landrieu is. Breaking away from the party machine is important. Also, as Bernie is not connected to the Democratic Party fundraising machine, his ability to do such work is limited. I and many of his supporters see this as a positive rather than a negative, and no we’re not naive to the fact it will be tough, and certainly resistance from the Democratic Party itself won’t help. But, we need to impose upon Democrats a certain purity test, because we will never get anything done if half of the Democrats side with Republicans on key issues. The age of the coalition party is dead.

      3. Bernie is about Bernie? This has got to be among the lowest garb of commentary that I have read from you thus far. You’re telling me Hillary Clinton actually cares about the plight and suffering of people? Surprising, she didn’t seem to care about the civilians of Iraq when she voted to give Bush power to go to fucking war! Hillary doesn’t seem to care so much about the plight of Palestinian civilians who endure brutal occupation and repression by Netanyahu’s right wing Israeli government, the same goddamn Hillary that says she wants to strengthen the relationship with? Does she give a shit about those people enough to go visit them, or actually do something to help? Hillary has a very muddy record on such grounds. Sure the Clinton Foundation has its tentacles across the globe, and some good things I’m sure were done, but that foundation is mired in corporate money and has in fact been linked often in pay-for-play incidents. Hillary isn’t truly involved in the lives of those dying children, and to be fair I’m sure Bernie isn’t either. But Bernie actually has a solid record on activism, and trying to push for meaningful changes to help people, regardless of whether or not he’s a “personable” guy. Hillary’s record is all over the place, and she has supported many horrible policies that many progressives view as red-line issues.

      4. Policy and Party do not go “hand in hand.” A policy is a specific issue that can be supported by anyone. A Party does not monopolize policy, unless it wants to of course. Republicans for example are a pretty pure blood conservative party, without moderates and certainly no liberals. Yet, as I mentioned, the Democrats have often been a mixed bag. Some Democrats like Alan Grayson have been great progressive champions in congress, while others have been more centrist and willing to compromise on progressive principles too easily. It depends on who we elect in the party that determines the course of policy, not the party just in itself.

      5. You seem to be completely unaware of the breakdown of the Democratic Party. You are just wrong in your assessment. The Democratic Party was fractured long before this election. The Party is split between Blue-Dogs, New Democrats, and Progressive Democrats. Blue Dogs are conservatives, while New Dems tend to be centrist oriented, and often these factions have hurt progressive policies from within the party. When it comes to issues related to corporations, such as healthcare, climate change, financial regulation, these Blue Dog and New Dems often cause opposition to progressive chances at passing real sweeping changes that need to be made. Obama conceded Single Payer and the Public Option up front to Republicans rather than using them as negotiating tools to get a more thorough change in the system. The Democratic Party is quite divided on certain issues, money in politics being one of them among others. While most Democrats are liberal on social issues which is good, many are not so liberal on economic issues especially when it comes to breaking down this corporate dominated election system we have. We want to fight to push candidates to adopt more progressive policies, the same way Republicans push their representatives to be more conservative. Republicans run to and govern from the right, and have no qualms about it. Progressives need to do the same, and not worry about playing it safe by centrist standards.

      Good ideas sound crazy to uninformed people. The fact is you just raised the exact reason why progressives distrust the Democratic Party. If the Democratic Party has no interest in negotiating from the left, to fight from the left, then why the fuck should we vote for it? I have no interest in a Party that won’t negotiate from the left, and if the Democrats won’t do it we need to elect those who will. The whole point of this movement is to change the soul of the party, and you and other establishment minded Democrats just don’t seem to understand this. It may not happen as quickly as we’d like, but it will happen a lot quicker under Bernie’s model than by Hillary’s. We should only support the candidate if he or she will actually fight for progressive causes plain and simple. The Democratic Party has to be remade in a truly progressive image, the days of Clintonite centrism have to end.

      • Because parties are coalitions. The Democratic party is a coaliton of people some of who are moderates, a few conservatives and some who are progressives of varying stripes. Sanders represents the most left part of that coalition. Fortunately it is growing, but it’s not at the point where it can control the Democratic party, much less the country. Blue dogs are blue dogs because they represent more conservative areas. There is a reason Sanders ran for office in very liberal Vermont. It’s because it’s very liberal.

        • That is model that has already been made obsolete. The Republican Party is not a coalition party in its current form, and this will not change anytime soon. You can’t point to any serious group of Republicans that are moderate and certainly not liberal. The Republican party is entirely conservative. You can’t run in a Republican election and not be a conservative. Because of this, the party is entirely conservative, which then leaves a fractured Democratic party divided between progressives, centrists and conservatives which leaves at least half the party that could be sympathetic to the Republican side, while the Republicans have no one in their ranks willing to compromise or sympathize with the liberal position. This always gives Republicans an advantage, because we always have to negotiate from their starting points and standards. I’m in favor of a coalition party, as long as this goes for both parties. This is not the case now, and the only way to beat it is to make sure we have a party that will aggressively fight Republicans and actually have core valuable issues that they won’t compromise away.

    • Whoa, assassination piece. You must work for the HRC campaign.

      I don’t care what you say his colleagues think of him. He’s been an Independent, not part of “the Club”. It’s to be expected. Clinton is respected and liked? Give me a break.
      She was an inept and disastrous SOS, and a mediocre Senator. I won’t comment on her tenure as first lady but it did involve a lot of whining about the vast right wing conspiracy, a way of framing any criticism of her that sticks to this day, hence many people believe there is not actually an FBI investigation.
      I supported the Clintons in the 90s, but I am now disgusted by their level of corruption. They inspire fond memories of Nixon. He even wanted universal heath care.

      Re: Bernie’s record, take a look here.
      http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/bernie-gets-it-done-sanders-record-pushing-through-major-reforms-will-surprise-you

      I guess you want to ignore the fact that elections are won with Independents. The Democrats should be thrilled that Bernie is bringing in the enthusiasm of new voters and Independents, but no, they don’t want to deal with anyone who wants something their corporate donors don’t like. I’m a lifelong Democrat, as is my husband, but we will quit after this primary season. We are disgusted by their corruption and by their treatment of Sanders. If they thought he wasn’t a Democrat (in my opinion he personifies democratic values) they should not have accepted him on the ticket. But let’s be honest, they wanted him for window dressing during Hillary’s run up to her coronation. He surprised them (and made fools of them) for showing that it is, indeed, possible to run without big donors. He has shown them up and they’re angry.
      There have been more than enough tender moments during Bernie’s campaign when he has treated people with care and thoughtfulness when the cameras were not on.
      Tell me this, if Hillary is such a humanist, how does that square with her willingness to rain devastation on Iraq, Libya and Syria? How many women and children were killed?

      “Progressives bent on storming the barricades” we are not. We just want a shot at the same quality of life that exists in other developed countries. Anyone who has lived in those countries knows what’s possible. It’s high time. It’s not about ideology. It’s about a fair deal. If the Democratic Party cared to pay attention and work towards what people actually want, made they would win more seats and their platform would be larger. Bernie has now built a platform, and young people have woken up. ‘m glad of it. They’re not going to take this phony incrementalism which is really an excuse for doing nothing, in future.
      On this subject, “Joe Biden hits back at Clinton’s criticism of Sanders’ message”:

      http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-dem-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/04/joe-biden-clinton-criticism-bernie-sanders-222264#ixzz46VQvd9E3

      Bernie is about what’s good for this country, and for the people herein. That’s why he is so so loved.

  17. BAM! I have been struggling with my many decades support of Democrats and my “also” many decades of knowing that we MUST move in a progressive direction. I taught government for decades, and never thought I’d refuse to “vote blue no matter who”. I am firmly convinced that if we don’t move in that direction ASAP, our nation will experience the same types of issues that so many European nations are facing, and that it’s only going to get worse as global climate change gets worse.

    This essay gives me the final push I needed to continue fighting against another 4 years of Clintonian incrementalist, center-rightist positions in a time of existential crises!

    • The TPP was a major wake up call for many of us. It showed how far transnationals are willing to go if left unchecked. The pro-corporate neoliberal agenda of the past 40 years has left our country in shambles and unless we intervene with a bold new vision, we are going to lose all of our hard earned rights and protection laws as is happening in other countries now.

      After Hillary’s condoned coup in Honduras, it has now become one of the most dangerous places to live on earth. Activists are now treated like terrorists and are murdered on a regular basis, Berta Caceres being the most recent. Transnational pillage and desecration of human rights has become the new norm and the US is next unless Bernie is elected.

      We need a global treaty that enforces corporations to respect labor, food safety, environmental, health and human rights, not draft “trade agreements” designed to override them. Hillary’s State Dept. staff helped to draft the TPP and you can be sure that if she is elected, the TTIP and TISA will come swiftly thereafter, much more austere threats to democratic nations and environmental destruction.

      The time is now. We can no longer kick the corporate neoliberal can down the road that would further demolish the middle class and harm the earth. The Democratic Party must be the stalwart upholding the People’s defense above corporate abuses.

      Here are UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights:

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