I’m a leftist, and I’m not voting for Bernie

I was John McCain for Halloween in eighth grade, mere days before Barack Obama’s electoral trouncing of the man made my costume irrelevant. I remember the progressive optimism surrounding Obama’s first campaign. Those were the days of “yes we can” and “hope and change.” Here was a man, we said, who was different. Who hadn’t yet been corrupted by the political process as Clinton had, who had risen above the tribalism of Cold War geopolitics in which Bush and McCain remained mired.

“How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya?” the nation’s foremost political theorist wryly queried in 2010, in a moment which will undoubtedly be regarded by future historians as a subtle yet striking critique of the progressive angst generated by Obama’s first years in office. She’s right. Obama’s first years in office were marked by prominent leftist dissent — in the form of movements such as Occupy Wall Street — motivated by a bipartisan bailout of the financial institutions responsible for the recession and “his broken promises on civil liberties, executive power, and national security.” This dissent was the subject of Conor Friedersdorf’s 2011 piece in The Atlantic attributing the Left’s dismay with the early years of the Obama presidency to his failure to live up to the systemic structural reforms Candidate Obama promised. Candidate Obama called on the nation “to challenge the broken system in Washington” while President Obama gave AIG golden parachutes payed for by citizens struggling under the weight of recession. Candidate Obama demanded we “stop letting lobbyists use their clout to get their way” while President Obama granted his name to a watered-down healthcare bill that padded the pockets of insurance giants.

Bernie Sanders, via AFGE / Flickr

Bernie Sanders, via AFGE / Flickr

I say all that to say this: America’s been feeling the Bern for a while now. And things are finally starting to get hot. Movements like Black Lives Matter, the People’s Climate March, and Fight for $15 have brought woefully ignored issues to the forefront of America’s political consciousness. These movements are too big of deals, with too much energy and too much potential, to waste on yet another meaningless election would be a repeat of a time-honored American con. From FDR to Jimmy Carter, the Establishment has time and again deployed nominally populist Democrats to subvert grassroots rage under the guise of reforms which merely masked the convergence of the two parties into what Howard Zinn labelled “the bipartisan consensus.”

“But surely Bernie will be better!” I hear my progressive friends proclaim. “He has integrity. He’s been fiercely outspoken on issues such as campaign finance reform and the inviability of the two party system.” And I agree. Bernie was the first politician I followed on Twitter, years before he became the subject of his own meme. And his stances on a whole host of issues — veterans affairs, climate change, economic inequality — firmly establish his populist credentials in my eyes.

Yet I’m still not voting for him. Why? So long as Bernie runs as a Democrat, he will be perpetuating the cycle of suppression and repression honed over time by the American system. Honesty and integrity aside, Bernie’s policies are unlikely to be supported by the presumably Republican-dominated Congress he will face. What little reforms he will be capable of enacting will be watered-down cough syrup to a nation in desperate need of a sobering shot. Furthermore, by conceding to the same partisan dichotomy he claims to be fighting, Bernie will relegitimize a broken political system whose very structure is responsible for the dysfunction and greed its constituents bemoan.

So long as our nation remains trapped in the quagmire of political gridlock, we remain incapable of dealing with the most pressing issues of our times. With dark clouds of war looming on the horizon and the existential threat of climate change endangering all humanity, we need an American system capable of responding in an efficient, effective manner. As it stands now, our government is incapable of passing a budget. So long as candidates draw attention to tumors and ignore the cancer, American society is doomed to spiral further downwards. So long as Sanders caters to populist demands but fails to challenge the system that spawned them, he will not have my vote.

Raghav Sharma
Raghav Sharma is a writer, filmmaker, and political activist studying at the University of Pittsburgh. He writes on electoral and campaign finance issues, foreign policy, and economic affairs.

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  • Daniel Carr

    Shallow thinking does not depend upon ideology, clearly. At least your rant reminds us of that.

  • zmann

    I’ve seen this before and it looks more like another cut-n-paste but such is the case with lame excuses.

  • guest

    Do our progressive trickle-up poverty policies make sense? Have they worked in Cuba, Venezuela, China, Russia, Detroit, Chicago, and Baltimore?

    I’m just looking to our progressive community for some insight, wisdom, and perspective.

  • dahszil

    Bernie Sanders is the first president since FDR who challenges and wants to change the system. I agree our political system is not true democracy. A parliamentary proportional representation electoral and government is closer to true democracy. By the late 1970’s was the stopping of our evolution to a social democracy and a regression, nay more: a corruption of government more and more beholden to corporations. There have been so many adminisitrative barriers to make voting harder for the common person. In more and more states registering to vote is harder when it should as easy as showing up and giving your signature. Changing the system takes time. But progressives like Sanders and the millions of us that are with him and he is with us is our best bet now.

  • DesertMac

    Wow, what a heaping load of cognitive dissonance. I suggest you re-read your pieces before posting them. Really, would you please read over your twaddle and let your synapses do some work to bring your thoughts and your reasoning into at least a little bit of balance?
    And as others here have asked, just who do you propose we and you vote for, and you must explain why you think this other person is more worthy of our vote. I’m waiting, but not holding my breath. I seriously doubt you have the capacity to put forth a well considered answer.

  • Whoever the Democratic nominee is, of course. Even a centrist corporate Democrat like Hillary is preferable to anyone the other party could could put up, especially when you take into consideration potential judicial nominees. I wouldn’t be excited about it, for sure, but we must stand up us a bulwark against the regressive intentions of the GOP.

    There is no realistic situation in which a third-party or independent candidate could win in our first-past-the-post electoral system, so I would naturally be put in the situation of supporting the lesser of two evils to try to prevent us from falling any further to the right. And, on a whole host of issues, Hillary would undoubtedly be a far more palatable candidate than any other mainstream candidate out there.

  • marknc

    I’d say 18 years old

  • Blackbird

    Just nonsense.
    Ignoring and dismissing all that the Senator has been doing and addressing for the last 20 to 30 years and the only thing you derive from it is – political party? Really? And this is your reasoning for not voting for him?

    What form a maturity and lateral thinking is this? This is simply unattached and desperate written word-vomit to come up with some desperate reasons for not voting for Senator Sanders.

    Raghav Sharma, I could rant here for days about the problems facing the American people and especially the middle-class and poor in America that desperately needs addressing and to be brought forth at every campaign stop in this election.

    Perhaps my problem is largely because I live in Europe and that we do not play that silly little game about political parties in my country, especially when there are as many 30 or 40 parties to choose from. We make our conclusions on deciding on a candidate by what she/he stands for and with, especially her/his record for what she/he has supported, brought forth bills and amendments and/or their political voting history.

    This is a huge problem that I see in America, like the UK, Mexico and others with this two-party system. It does not work. One only has to sit through a season or two of “House of Cards” to figure out just how corrupt and undemocratic the American political system truly is. Better yet, if every American fully understood just how unattached those in Washington are in the two-party hocus-pocus game to their needs they would be shocked into numbness.

    Your country is literally at a breaking point, never in it’s history has the US, like many other industrialised nations, had such a large chasm between the hyper-wealthy and the middle-class/edge poor. 1 in 7 American families rely on food banks to get them through each week. Twenty percent (20%) of American families with children face food insecurity each day. 1 in 5 American children go hungry or risk it each day.

    No candidate, I repeat: NO CANDIDATE running today for president seems to be anywhere near dealing head-on with these problems and these unmentionable American sins – except one… and that is the good Senator Sanders from Vermont.

    To quote you: “So long as Sanders caters to populist demands but fails to challenge the system that spawned them, he will not have my vote.” Mr. Sharma, it would have sounded more mature if you had just said, “I going to hold my breath and throw a little tizzy-fit until Sanders stops catering to populist demands.” Your level of immaturity in this post is noted. Geez.

  • Wow. I STRONGLY disagree with you Raghav Sharma. So who will you be voting for that won’t perpetuate the cycle of suppression and repression? Do you think Clinton will challenge the system? I really want to know who the better alternative is and why?

  • Finn

    This reads a lot like something a 21 year old who’s first hand political experience goes back about 3 Presidential terms would write. Rubbish.

  • Scott_Lumry

    Points well made.

  • Bruce

    Great points

  • DCinDC

    I disagree totally with your reasoning. Bernie Sanders at the top of the Democratic ticket is the winning way forward for the United States. Why you may ask? Bernie Sanders is the real deal. The man is genuine. His leadership will guide the Democratic Party toward goals to help the middle class. Listen to his message.

  • Cowicide

    Polls at this point are nearly meaningless.

    Um, yeah.. they said the same thing about all the polls and crowds that showed up for Obama before he won in a landslide.

  • Max Mills

    And for the record, if you want to vote third party or whatever it is your vote and you should do what you want with it. But your reasoning for opposing Bernie as written here makes no sense to me.

  • Max Mills

    Indeed, I think that the anti-party ideology makes sense but is ultimately just unrealistic idealism that most people grow beyond. The system can only be changed from within, throwing your hands up in frustration and trying to wage a faux war with blog articles that encourage the people who see the problems not to get involved in fixing them through voting helps nobody but the Republicans.

  • Max Mills

    I really, strongly disagree with you here. You are refusing to vote for him because he ran for a Democrat in the Presidential election and not because of any other factor? Nevermind that he is an independent in the Senate and took the Democratic mantle for the Presidential election because it was the only way to have a chance of victory and nevermind that he is far more than “nominally” Populist?

    I think this is just… Crazy. Bernie’s stances could change the corruption in the system you are talking about and he has shown that he is the kind of person who will fight to implement those policies. If your vote is guided more by the (D)s and the (R)s than by the people and policies YOU are the one who has bought into the institutional party narrative.

    As some others have said, your expectations are impossible and don’t make a lot of sense. If you oppose the institutions you are railing against you should vote for the only candidate who will reign them in rather than blindly associating him with those institutions.

    The only point you make that borders on good is the bit about how Congress won’t go with a lot of this stuff. I guess you have forgotten that Congress is also Democratically elected and that we can fight to put in more liberal candidates if we want to. Do you encourage people not to vote for liberals in Congress, too, because they wont get the support of the Republican President who will win if enough liberals listen to your way of thinking? You are leading your ideology to defeat.

  • karlInSanDiego

    Maybe accomplished is a relative word. Nixon established that Presidents will never be held accountable for secret wars and the associated war crimes. He accomplished that with congress as accomplices, but not really active ones.

  • kladinvt

    How old are you 12? Since you seem to have no concept of the political reality in the U.S. which is a 2 party system. 3rd party runs for office have led to disasters such as Dumbya & Cheney. So, if you truly are a Progressive/Liberal, Bernie is the ONLY choice. If you’re a republiCON, then Bernie is your worst nightmare.

  • Bernie Sanders is the logical choice for a leftist. Hillary Clinton is, at best, a center-right politician who takes positions based on the political winds. Dismissing Bernie because he is running as a Democrat – since the two party system constructed by the Democratic Party and Republican Party make running nationally as an independent impossible – is very poor reasoning.

  • GarySFBCN

    Why would it be harder – more difficult – under ACA to move to single payer than before? I think it actually may be easier – most of the costs are indexed so by capping the open-market price the few costs that are not indexed or capped, the insurers will bail. And given the greed of the insurance industry, that is were we are headed. Politically this seems easier.

  • Bruce

    I think Bernie is great, he is our only hope

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  • paltel

    Bernie states point blank that he is not a magician and that he will require even more public support after being elected than required to get elected.

    It sounds like you are seeking a savior.

  • karlInSanDiego

    Easy adjustment from ACA to single payer? ACA institutionalized the Private Healthcare Insurance Industry. It made Private Health Insurers the law. I’m sure Bernie thinks Private -> ACA -> Single Payer is doable, but it’s no easier than it would have been to go Private -> Single Payer. In fact it’ll be harder. Either way, any President/Congress that does it, has eliminated a GIANT industry in the USA. I want it gone, but it’s a 3rd rail then and especially now. And a National Healthcare system that doesn’t set all the prices of healthcare would bankrupt the country. Nationalized Healthcare will be tough, but I hope it happens.

    Oh and the author of this article is barely more than a teenager, and his opinion about how to guide politics is not serious. Maybe he should vote in more than one national election before he can offer sage advice how to fix our broken system.

  • Don Chandler

    Data actually dated a crew member later in the series. There was a lot of humor in that bit. His childlike innocence and gentleman’s mime could somehow seduce a woman, but it was clear after a few shows(dates) that his girlfriend was beginning to realizing her mistake. It was actually painful to watch: gave new meaning to “awkward”. Been a long time sinse I’ve seen any reruns. The Original Star Trek is now awful.

  • If a Republican had Obama’s record at this point they’d be doing stories nonstop about how he was the greatest president ever. I think the media has been part of a massive campaign of denial about just how bad things were in 2008-2009. (And that’s because they don’t want to admit that they were party to outright lies in 2006-2007 about investments and mortgages and the rest.)

  • The danger of Gerrymandering for the GOP is that in some states they created districts that are 90% Democratic and the rest are 50-55% Republican. Given that Democrats don’t even bother running viable candidates (or even any candidate at all) in many of those districts, they remain “safe” but this could blow up in their faces if Democrats actually bothered to show up at the polls in those districts.

  • 2karmanot

    same here!

  • 2karmanot

    bingo!

  • Butch1

    What I have said is no BS, but the absolute truth. It is your choice to dismiss it, though you can look up every thing I have said and you’ll find that it is the absolute truth.

    I realize it is hard to hear the truth about yours and my old party. I supported this party for many years, but I will not put up will being lied to and stabbed in the back and then have them come back and ask for more support. I just cannot do it anymore, sorry. If you choose to want to believe them, that’s fine, but we really deserve better and real change, not promised change and never see it, but the few crumbs that we actually fight and force them to do. Go on disbelieving and they will continue doing what they are doing. I want better; Sanders is talking change and forcing Clinton and everyone else to have to speak about it as well. We need him more than ever and he wouldn’t have changed from an Independent if it weren’t that no one would pay “any” attention to him. Now, as a democrat at least, they have to deal with him or pretend to.

  • GarySFBCN

    Apart from Nixon, I think Obama has accomplished more than any other president since the 1960s.

  • Silver_Witch

    Some high schoolers as well….

  • Silver_Witch

    I think I like Bernie…I will know more after the debates. Definitely don’t care much for Clinton – okay don’t care for her at all – based primarily on her very hawkish behavior. But the election is more than a year away…so we will have to see how it all plays out.

  • Silver_Witch

    I agree that President Obama has been a good President and his work on Iran Peace accord is evidence of that. I appreciate him and am glad I voted for him….very happy. I wish, as I am sure you do, that we could get a super cool president that had a congress and senate that would support him to help get some things done in this country. Like fixing education – education is the hope of this country and anyone that can go to college and get passing grades should be able to do so without owing the Banks a lifetime of payments. And one payor provider would be swell.

    For now though I will take the small wins as we get them and rejoice that world is getting better and better – although it does not always seem so.

    So Glad You had healthcare when you needed it.

  • Scopedog

    I think President Obama did the best he could – I read with interest a
    post here about the economy and how it tamped him down. I am hopeful
    this last year will reveal the inner Barack…I really hope.

    Well, he had to deal with a lot of tough things–an economy in freefall, two wars, a messed-up healthcare system…he wasn’t going to satisfy everyone, and I think he knew that. Still, if people would just stop complaining about why he never dragged Bush and Cheney to the Hague or arrested the bankers en masse–something Roosevelt never did, mind you–and actually look at Obama’s achievements, they might change their minds. Getting the ACA passed was a huge deal (and one that saved my life), and his recent moves post-2012 have shown that he is barreling ahead with putting as many things right as he can.

    Let’s not forget that many Native American tribes have called him the best President ever in regards to NA matters. That’s saying something.

    If people still want to blurt out that Obama (and Hillary for that matter) are really moderate Republicans, that’s their call, but it’s also incredibly stupid. If they were Repubs, wouldn’t the GOP be at their beck and call and follow everything they asked for instead of opposing them every f*@!ing time and having investigations into non-scandals every five minutes?

    Think about it.

  • Scopedog

    Data also had a hard time with human comedy…but he was one of the best characters in any ST series, and it’s a damned shame that Brent Spiner never received an Emmy nod for his performance as Data.

  • Scopedog

    Thank you, Mister Data! :)

  • Scopedog

    Obama hasn’t been perfect, but my God, why can’t more people see (as you do) the incredible list of his accomplishments in light of the hostility he has received from the GOP and yes, some on the Left? Just look at the Iran deal–would a “moderate Republican” as some claim Obama is ever accomplish that? And if the accomplishments are not enough, too bad–perhaps if we hadn’t been so damned selfish and did not sit out the elections of 2010 and 2014 who knows what he could have done with both Houses solidly in Democratic hands.

    Compared to his predecessor, Obama is a towering figure. He is not perfect, but name me one President who was.

  • Scopedog

    Even though I completely disagree with much of what you said here–and I’m tired of the “Obama put SS on the chopping block” tall tale–I will still give you an upvote for actually going out and voting, even if it is for a third party candidate. I have very little respect for anyone who babbles out how they won’t vote because of the “both parties are the same” BS.

    My right to vote was only set in stone thanks to the Civil Rights movement, people getting hurt or even killed, and LBJ signing two laws that the GOP are trying to scrap. I am not going to waste it by not voting; that’s a ridiculous act of hard-man posturing that is a slap in the face to minorities and women who know damned well how hard it was to guarantee the right to vote.

  • irishatheart1

    Ha ha, I didn’t even think of that!! I prefer “towel rapper” thought…

  • Butch1

    If Sanders doesn’t win the nomination of his party, I plan to vote for a third party candidate. I would never sit out an election.

    I have worked hard too many times for the democratic party only to watch them fold the very last moment on key issues. It has always infuriated me to watch them lie to us and say they are going to do something or promise to protect Social Security and our Safety Net only to watch them stab us in the back.

    Examples:
    1. Obama put Social Security on the chopping block during the negotiations on the debt ceiling.
    2. Pelosi et al promised to back Social Security and protect it along with Obama before his second election. Afterwards he brought out Chained CPI, an euphemism that robs Seniors of Social Security and Veterans of their benefits to pay down the National Debt without asking the rich 1% for a dime in taxes. This, by the way is against the law to use Social Security money for this.
    3. Sen. Feinstein, Al Gore and some others just sued the VA for THEIR appropriated land in California for Homeless veterans that was supposed to have a home built on that site. They wanted that land for other use and possibly for the UCLA campus instead.
    4. Sen. Schumer DINO seems to have allegiances first to Israel and then to the United States when it comes to foreign policy. He would rather side with Netanyahu than our own president regarding the Iran deal and send more of our troops off to eventual war voting along side with the republicans like he does on many crucial votes when we have needed him the most.

    This is why I became an Independent after many years a loyal democrat. They have been bought by Wall Street and have drifted to the right trying to be more like their “friends” across the aisle. I will only vote for a democrat if Sanders wins the nomination of this party.

    The solution for Washington DC in my opinion is to start voting for more Independent Party representatives and senators to replace these traitors we have in DC; keep the good ones that are still working for us and weaken this grip Wall Street has on our government. The 1% is literally killing us.

  • druidbros

    WHAT! No wonder my phone has not been ringing!

  • cleos_mom

    If the candidate you support doesn’t get the nomination, what do you plan to do? Vote for the person who does? Sit the election out? Vote third party? Write in? Spend 2016 traveling around the country grabbing mics out of candidates’ hands? What?

  • cleos_mom

    But the question can be asked of more than one person.

    If Sanders doesn’t get the nomination, what do you plan to do?

  • cleos_mom

    But President McGovern did have a memorable term.

    What?

  • cleos_mom

    As close, we can assume, that anyone on this blog can get to calling someone a “raghead.”

  • cleos_mom

    Some voters might not consider obtaining your approval when making their decisions.

    “Just sayin”

  • cleos_mom

    There ya go. The perfect scenario for the GOP.

  • cleos_mom

    And another problem is that people often rant about being angry and powerless up to election day but don’t act on it.

  • cleos_mom

    I assume from the tone that he’d vote for whoever wins the Democratic nomination.

    How about you? If Sanders doesn’t win, will you sit the election out? Vote for a third party candidate? Write his name in?

  • cleos_mom

    When we have followers whose brains are deep-fried enough for such judgements, ya might as well vote for Trump.

  • cleos_mom

    Apparently that silly idea is still around. How depressing.

  • The one thing I am reminded of in all of this is Lynn Forester de Rothschild who pitched a fit when Obama got the nomination over Hillary and she rain crying to John McCain.

  • wfcollins

    Every candidate has issues. Trump will never be president. He is temporarily popular because of his TV show and the fact that he speaks his mind. Sanity will prevail among conservatives and they will settle down into something a little more safe. My best guess is either Carson or Rubio, but who knows?

  • wfcollins

    I am not a Clinton fan, but if she does continue to slide due to her problems, it is likely Biden will step in. Unlike Clinton, Biden has the likability factor going for him. I am certainly not going to make predictions about who will win. It won’t surprise me to see Carson – Fiorina as the GOP ticket, but not saying they would win. I do believe that there are still enough centrists who view socialism as a negative thing to prevent Sanders from being elected.

  • wfcollins

    I agree that there aren’t any strong candidates on either side. Ben Carson is polling 55-36 against Trump right now. But polls mean little at this stage.

  • wfcollins

    Most people have not started paying attention to the candidates yet, Sanders has passionate support among those who are angry and feel powerless. The problem is most people don’t feel that way. The economy is not bad. As long as it stays this way, people will vote for what is familiar and safe. Polls at this point are nearly meaningless.

  • Peter Pacheco

    Agreed

  • New Progressive Era

    Bernie Sanders is pretty much America’s only shot. Every other legitimate candidate in this race is sold out on a variety of issues. Bernie is sold out on absolutely zero. He has no Super-PAC, and a very small percentage of his donations have come from big money interests, and much of those interests are simply labor unions. Unlike Obama, Bernie is not sold out on any issue, whatsoever. What he says in his speeches are backed up by the makeup of his donations and his unwillingness to have a Super-PAC. If you think the Republicans will keep control of the Senate after this election, I believe you are mistaken. That’s why Bernie is so important. He can rejuvenate millions of people who have given up on the political system and they will come out to vote in droves. This will send those sold-out Republicans assholes right out of office, and they will be replaced with Democrats, who at least on the majority of issues agree with Bernie Sanders. Speaking of majorities, the Democratic Party will have a sizable one, allowing Bernie to get his agenda passed. But this is only if people like you come out to vote for him. He’s pretty much our only shot; you need to jump on before it’s too late.

  • Cowicide

    Bernie Sanders will beat any Republican running right now. Hillary? She’s in deep trouble and losing ground almost daily.

  • Cowicide

    Right, and if this “leftist” writer would step off his ivory tower and work with true grassroots progressives, he’d know that our massive grassroots organizations, supporters and activists all across this nation will be coming to unseat obstructionist Republicans and bluedog, establishment Democrats after we get Sanders

    And, if this so-called “leftist” was to actually get involved with those of us progressive activists that want to lay foundations for progressive third parties to take hold in the the United States, he’d also know how absolutely critical it is for us to get Bernie Sanders elected first.

    This “leftist” writer doesn’t seem to understand what’s going on here. If he wants to see progressive third parties stalled for many more years or even decades, don’t support Bernie Sanders and watch what Hillary or the Republicans do to set us back.

    With self-proclaimed “leftist” friends like this, who needs corporatist enemies?

  • ComradeRutherford

    I don’t get this argument. So you aren’t going to vote at all? Or are you going to vote for someone that will get a total of 3000 votes nationwide?

    Do I have this right: Because the US political system is two-party, winner-take-all and Bernie is running as one of those two parties so that he has a chance to actually win and therefore DO something, you are not going to vote for him? But you would vote for him if he zero chance of winning?

  • ComradeRutherford

    Interesting point, as the DNC desperately wants the Moderate Republican Hillary, and if Bernie does win the primary, it would be a huge loss for the DNC.

    And if Bernie does win the Democratic nomination, his subsequent election to President would be a humiliating loss to the Neo-Conservatives.

  • Moderator3

    Don’t recognize snark, do ya?

  • ComradeRutherford

    I think the Power Behind the Throne would be just fine with tRump in the white house. Fascism is the direction the Powers That Be in America have been heading in since they lost WWII.

  • ComradeRutherford

    “[You are] a … by “His grace” a survivalist”

    “Are you in your right mind? paranoid? lunatic fringe? you clown!”

    Asked and answered.

  • Cowicide

    Polls already show that Sanders will beat the any of the Republican candidates. And, Sanders is only gathering strength as he goes on. Meanwhile, the Republican party is in turmoil with Trump and Hillary is steadily losing to Bernie Sanders as he continues to climb each and every day.

  • ComradeRutherford

    Oh, yeah, Hillary wil get things done alright. She’ll push the TPP in order to kill off the remaining vestiges of the middle class, she’ll continue to let Wall Street steal every penny from the American People, she’ll work with Republicans in congress to increase poverty and misery. Clinton II will be just as much of a disaster to the people as Clinton I was, if not even more so. Why do you want that?

    “Euro-centric ideological issues are rarely germane to American political conversation.”

    Meaning American Liberalism of the last 100 years (unionism, middle class, scientific achievement, etc), before the Moderate Republican, Neo-Liberal Clintons helped the GOP move America to the right and end what made America great?

    I stopped voting for Mainstream Democrats after we were betrayed by Clinton I. His eagerness to help Gingrich and pass the legislation that the Democrats had been blocking for the previous 12 years of Bush I, and his pushing the Democratic Party to join the GOP in the race-to-the-right inflicted almost as much damage as if Gingrich were the president.

  • ComradeRutherford

    “Anyone with a brain could have seen that Obama was a wolf in sheep’s clothing”

    For example, I knew that before he won the primary. I didn’t vote for him, I can’t vote for fake Democrats – like Hillary.

  • ComradeRutherford

    That is nonsense. Sure Bernie won’t win the 27% of registered Republicans that think Bush II was the second-best president out there, but he IS getting moderate Republican support and from the right-leaning Independents.

    So why do you believe Bernie can’t win?

    And how would Hillary, the only other Democratic option, not be handing the election to the GOP? With her decades of fake scandals and the fact that she’s also a moderate Republican who won’t challenge the Right in any meaningful way, and her love of the TPP, she’ll be almost as bad as an actual Republican, just slightly less worse.

  • DoverBill

    Who can the GOP even hope to run from their current clown car of pathetic right-wing extremists?

  • DoverBill

    I’m a leftist also and I will vote for Bernie.

    Guess we just cancelled each other. Oh well…

  • Joanne Susan Hosea

    AMERICAblog ? Laughable! Garbage in brains. Garbage out …

  • Joanne Susan Hosea

    Moderator3 … Are you in your right mind? Or off day? Or paranoid? Or extremist lunatic fringe? Or other … ? Puleeze! Go hunt out terrorists, or extremists, or separatists in other countries, you clown!

  • Moderator3

    Is somebody holding a gun to your head and making you read these opinions? If so, try to signal us so we can call the authorities.

  • Shardanacles

    What utter silliness. You don’t deserve to vote for Bernie.

  • Joanne Susan Hosea

    How many years have you been a leftist, dufus?

  • Joanne Susan Hosea

    And I am a dang realist and by “His grace” a survivalist. And I am sick and tired of reading the opinions of the pompous; pious; plastic elitist assholes who think they have some kind of divine wisdom. Puleeze!

  • Joanne Susan Hosea

    Bull hockey! The “so-called [U.S.] system” hasn’t been able to defend itself since the attacks on 9/11. The God damned U.$. system is absolutely corrupt! Are you kidding yourself? It has no defense! None! “We the people” and Bernie Sanders know!

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Mr. Dementia?

  • trinu

    Hillary isn’t as electable as her supporters like to claim. Regardless of whether or not she actually did anything wrong, the email incident adversely impacts her chances of getting elected. Furthermore, the polls haven’t just been asking who people want to win the primary. They’ve also asked repeatedly if it was “x Democrat vs y Republican, for whom would you vote?” The responses show quite clearly that Hillary does NOT have the electability edge over Bernie, and that’s not even getting into the non-negligible number of people who would vote for Bernie, but would either stay home or vote Green were Hillary to become the nominee.

  • wfcollins

    Nominating Bernie would be handing the election to the GOP

  • wfcollins

    That from the party that says every conservative is a racist xenophobe.

  • wfcollins

    All of us conservatives are rooting for Bernie. If nominated it will certainly be the most humiliating loss the DNC has ever experienced.

  • Butch1

    So, what candidate are you going to vote for? If Sanders isn’t it, will it be an establishment candidate or will you be going Independent?

  • trinu

    Did you listen to his interview with Diane Rehm, he sounded more critical of Netanyahu and Likud than most of the other candidates, and certainly better than Hillary, who’s constantly comparing the boycott/divest movement to terrorism.

  • wfcollins

    Not a Bernie fan, but I agree with you on the youth comment.

  • wfcollins

    Ben Carson

  • wfcollins

    If you had shown up at my door wearing a political costume, particularly one who fought and suffered for our country, it would be no candy for you.

  • trinu

    So you’re not voting for him because of the letter that would be next to his name? It would be one thing to refuse to vote for Hillary on the grounds that she would given the opportunity sell us out almost as quickly as the GOP, but risking handing the election to Hillary or the GOP just because you rightly feel upset about lack of power the third parties wield will accomplish nothing.

  • Indigo

    Don’t go away, the First Act will be happening soon. It’s a five act play, you know.

  • Seb Williams

    You’re right that the system will defend itself, but not always in the way that you expect. Bernie Sanders actually represents the best opportunity for the system to save itself from the potential of revolutionary popular unrest. The jarring popularity of Donald J. Trump Fascism™ should be pretty indicative of the potential for serious repercussions if current socioeconomic trends continue.

    We know well what became of those Kings of France.

  • Seb Williams

    Your so-called “pragmatism” is a euphemism for self-subjugation. It’s also completely off the mark, Bernie Sanders is a pragmatist through-and-through. He’s willing to go halfway to get better results and isn’t burdened by fanaticism. You really ought to read up on his record. There’s a difference between having principles and being enslaved to ideology.

  • Seb Williams

    That’s from July. He’s going to be on the ballot.

  • Seb Williams

    Do you really think that an electorate which puts BERNIE SANDERS in the White House is going to deliver a GOP Congress? You overestimate the strength of their gerrymandering. They have an advantage, but not an insurmountable one, and the Democrats are well-positioned to reclaim the Senate even with an establishment dud like Hillary at the top of the ticket. The whole point of Sanders’s campaign and his appeal is that he can and will bring more people out to vote. That’s already showing in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, where he is trouncing Clinton with first-time voters and non-party affiliated voters (the largest subsection of the electorate, by the way).

    Bernie Sanders is not Barack Obama. Anyone with a brain could have seen that Obama was a wolf in sheep’s clothing (I still have my Nader ’08 shirt with the buffalo on it). It was obvious, because there were no substantive policy differences between him and Clinton. Obama’s campaign was centered on the candidate, a personality cult masquerading as a Presidential campaign. In the Sanders campaign it’s different, the candidate is almost incidental. The message is that we need a grassroots movement of millions of people taking direct action in support of specific issues.

    It’s not about setting up a commune in Zuccoti Park or “making history” to elect the first [insert favored adjective here] President to prove how progressive we are. It’s not about sitting down and hammering out a “Grand Bargain” with John Boehner. It’s not about “reaching across the aisle” in Congress. It’s about millions of college kids (and former college kids) marching on the Capitol in D.C. and demanding student debt relief. It’s about millions of underpaid workers marching on corporate HQs and demanding fair pay, and pay equity. It’s about millions of people standing together and saying that Wall Street paper pushers do not have the right to control public policy, nor to crash the economy with impunity.

    I have to question how much you’re actually following the Bernie Sanders campaign. The candidate himself has said:
    “If we have elections like we did last November [2014], where 63% of Americans don’t vote, then I will guarantee you: nothing significant changes for working families in this country.”
    https://youtu.be/LrMchxVF8w8

    Sure, the Democratic Party is corrupt scum. But the stakes are so high right now, with REAL consequences for REAL people, that taking a principled stand against buying into the party system seems reckless. Doubly so when we have an Independent (both in name and reality) essentially trying to hijack the party apparatus.

  • Jim Olson

    So, who are you going to vote for? What choice do you have? Hillary? I hardly think she is a viable alternative. I will, if I have to, vote for her if she is the candidate in the General election because the horror of a Republican presidency of ANY of the candidates on the right is too terrible to contemplate.

  • emjayay

    Third grade level name calling is for those who specialize in it, third graders and Republican wingnuts.

  • emjayay

    In maybe five years your frontal lobes will be fully developed to adult level and you may be able to make better judgements.

    Meanwhile, why is Americablog posting some college student’s homework essay?

  • DoverBill

    You do realize that it’s a problem running as an independent in the NH primaries, doncha?

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/4b70990aaa4b47219fde5bc3c6c65ae0/sanders-independent-status-could-pose-issue-nh-primary

  • UncleBucky

    No.

    If you don’t vote for Bernie, I can’t stop you.

    If you don’t vote. I can mock you. For a Ø vote that makes the GOP candidate more likely a winner.

    Regardless of your principles, in the 2016 election vote Democratically or the reverse of what you really want will happen.

    Ugh.

  • druidbros

    Not voting for Bernie because he has to play the dichotomous party game is nonsense. He would absolutely be buried otherwise. Sometimes you have to play the game to change the system. One of the surest indications is even though he is running as a Democrat he is getting very little media coverage because they dont really want him to win even as a Democratic candidate. Sorry Mr Sharma but you need to vote for him. Change only comes in increments. Bernie is absolutely change from the norm.

  • Indigo

    That sounds about right, moving beyond raw Existentialism.

  • 2karmanot

    Post 60’s is ‘situationalist’

  • And it is also based on the assumption that Republicans will retain control of Congress.

  • GarySFBCN

    I have many issues with Obama, including his letting the financial industry off the hook, continuing Bush war and wiretapping efforts among many others.

    But as badly limited as it is, never in a million years did I think we would get the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Yes, it isn’t single payer, but if the will is there, it is an easy adjustment to ACA. Obama has other accomplishments as well, including the recent spate of laws, regulations and orders the affect LGBTs. Again, while these accomplishments are not enough for many of us, I’m surprised that Obama was able to accomplish so much these last few years with such a hostile congress. In that regard, Obama is a genius when it comes to political strategy.

    But that isn’t my point. My point is that if Obama was able to accomplish so much with a hostile congress, why is there so much doubt that Sanders can’t do the same?

  • stefenzo

    Sure, Obama deferred too much to the system we would like to change.

    But would McCain/Palin have been EXACTLY THE SAME? No serious person believes that. Does the author suggest voting for Cruz because Bernie would be just as bad as Cruz even though he seems better now? That doesn’t make sense. What about simply staying home and help Trump get
    elected? That would be EXACTLY THE SAME as having Bernie Sanders or Hillary for prez? Seriously?

    Yes, the System is the real problem, and it defends itself as nicho says. But what is the meaningful suggestion? Fire everybody and start with a “clean slate” a la Iraq? Find a king who will simply put those mean lobbyists into the dungeon?

    Fantasy-land scenarios aside, our best options are to vote for who we think would give us the best outcome or at least a BETTER outcome, and do what we can to change the system in a positive direction both locally and nationally. It might not be as sexy or earth-changing as one would prefer,
    but it’s not sticking one’s head in the sand and hoping it all goes away either.

  • Indigo

    I used like to identify as one of the last living Commie-Pinko-Fags but that’s getting a little too vintage. I’m going to have to settle for Pragmatic-Marxist or something equally hyphenated. I actually like “Leftist” but it sounds like a Man From U.N.C.L.E. snark-remark.

  • Indigo

    I would have said “glib” rather than “articulate.” ;-)

  • Indigo

    I think the article grew from stereotypes of the current administration that are not entirely accurate. And I think that might also be true of the analysis of Sanders, whom I do not support. Notoriously, I continue to support Hillary, I’m convinced she’s [pseudo-sexist trigger warning alert!] man enough to do the job without quivering behind her desk. Getting things done the issue.

    Euro-centric ideological issues are rarely germane to American political conversation. Bernie can philosophize as deeply as Eugene McCarthy (1972) with equally little effect. There rare occasions when Americans start shouting like that mustachioed house painter whom The Donald so cleverly echoes but I trust the system to side-line him. I ex[ect pragmatic (notice, I did not say rational or moral) voices to prevail and a very ho-hum ballot to emerge. Hillary vs Jeb! is one possibility. Rationality and moral issues have very little to do with the American political system. Maybe you’re thinking of Luxembourg? But all things being equal, we’re a full year out from the convention which, in political terms, is at least a decade’s worth of emotional turmoil yet to come.

  • Knottwhole

    MY dogs love cat truffles and I’m sure they’re not repigs.

  • nicho

    Well, I think the article is spot-on. The problem is not the person in the Oval Office, but The System. If Bernie, Hillary, or anyone threatens The System, The System will defend itself — with violence, if necessary.

    Bernie cannot be elected without a billion dollars in the bank. He’s not going to get that from “progressives.” He will need to go hat in hand to the corporations. If they give him money, they will expect something in return.

    Hillary has already assured The System that it will get what it wants from her.

    Actually, The System doesn’t want a lot of the nutjobs on the GOP side. They are loose cannons — unreliable. If there’s one thing The System doesn’t like, it’s uncertainty. Just look at the stock market over the last few weeks. There is uncertainty about China — and the markets are tanking.

    But, in the final analysis, someone’s going to end up in the Blight House. As distasteful as Lesser Evilism is (this is what we have in place of what we used to call a “democracy”) you are going to end up with one of the candidates — unless you can find a way to change The System before November 2016.

    For your own well-being, you should choose whichever candidate will do the least amount of damage to you.

    Imagine it’s Medieval Europe, and you’re living in the Duchy of Ptomainia. The king of France and the king of Naples are fighting to rule your country. Which should you support? Well, you don’t like either of them, but you’re going to end up with one of them. Choose wisely.

  • Don Chandler

    Data was one of my favorite characters from NextGeneration. I think Captain Picard suggested that Data get a pet so he could get in touch with what humans call emotions or feelings. The picture is both funny and tragic as I never really saw Data achieve human feelings. He can only simulate human expression. But he was himself a very sympathetic character…played by a human ofc ;)

    These days some folks like to talk about when computers will surpass human intelligence…some call it the “singularity”. For many of us, we knew the event corresponded to the development of the “positronic brain” (asimov) ;)

    But Data looks kind of lost as he is petting that cat. He is looking in the wrong place for human emotions. But Data should be looking in the location of his physical feelings that are associated with his actions. Those feelings and actions have synergized to produce complex mammals. Data’s memories and action are not properly integrated for him to sufficiently grasp/experience human emotion…and thus, he will never surpass human intelligence, just our logical processes…he remains a “bungling bundle of circuitry” lost in space…like another robot I loved as a kid. I still think about robots and pets. How is it we can understand our little companions? Common ancestry I guess. Yeah, “fascinating” ;)

  • Completely agree. I was also pretty annoyed at Obama for replacing Dean with Kaine back in the day.

  • BrianG

    I’m from central Illinois, and I had no illusions that Barack Obama was going to be anything other than a centrist, neoliberal, Establishment Democrat. It was based upon looking at which candidates got help or hindrance from Obama, Daley, Blagojevich, etc.

    Here are some helpful links that illustrated the real Obama:
    http://www.progressive.org/mag_reed0508
    http://www.thenation.com/article/mr-obama-goes-washington/
    http://americablog.com/2012/05/obama-2006-too-many-of-us-have-been-interested-in-defending-programs-as-written-in-1938.html
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/05/exclusive-how-obamas-early-career-succes-was-built-on-fronting-for-chicago-real-estate-and-finance.html

    The fact that such a candidate could convince the electorate he would govern as a progressive is the reason why Advertising Age awarded his campaign as marketers of the year.

    Why did the two party system evolve? It’s because the U.S. Constitution mandates winner take all elections? There is no parliamentary system or proportional representation. Which is easier Raghev, taking over a political party and moving it left or amending the Constitution which is a difficult and cumbersome process.

    BTW for those who may be interested in leftist ideas, there is a smart magazine called Jacobin. One can find it at https://www.jacobinmag.com/

  • SueD

    I don’t think Bernie supports Zionist radicals, he refused to go to hear Nutty Yahoo when he gave his congressional speech. I say he is moderate on Israel but I do think he would at least be open to hearing opposing views on the subject. I am with you, the genocide is horrific.

  • irishatheart1

    So apparently the alternative to our system of government is some totalitarian authority that can swiftly enact whatever pre-conceived policies or ideas the writer deems prudent? Grow up Raggie, our system demands compromise, as long there are differences of opinion in the body politic. And there will always be…

  • noGOP

    this article is wrong on so many levels.

  • Buford2k11

    yeah, Leftest? what the fuck is that? I agree that it would be something some of the Rightests would say? Lefty, progressive, liberal is what I have heard…and all are good…Maybe Leftest is like a European term in the metric system….

  • Thanks.

    Our media covers politics as a horse race. Who’s moving up in the polls, who’s falling behind, etc. It has led Americans to think that the primaries are only about who wins. they aren’t. It’s also a chance for ideas to be presented. Sometimes a candidate with no change of winning will get an idea taken up by whoever gets the nomination and it might even be implemented. That’s how it works. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Even if Sanders doesn’t get the nomination, maybe the nominee will take a few of his proposals. A lot of them are good ideas that a majority of Americans favor.

    If Democrats were smart (and there’s little evidence to support such an assertion) they would take about ten or fewer ideas that are very popular with voters and run on those and talk about those almost exclusively. there are a lot of Democratic ideas that poll over 65%! If they were smart they’d run an offense of popular ideas and force Republicans to defend why they are opposed to them. A boy can dream, anyway. It seems so obvious that you have to wonder how idiotic the leadership is that they let themselves get jerked around by an idiot right wing so often.

  • Silver_Witch

    Agreed Karmanot – I think I am so old school that I can never call a President a name. It is weird – Not even President Bush whom I dislike with much of my being (although I think he was just a puppet and it was Cheney behind the curtain).

    I was saddened deeply saddened by many of the Presidents action and disappointed….but he never got to the level of a Bozo the Clown for me.

    I think President Obama did the best he could – I read with interest a post here about the economy and how it tamped him down. I am hopeful this last year will reveal the inner Barack…I really hope.

  • 2karmanot

    Exactly so

  • 2karmanot

    I prefer radical socialist myself. That’s code for what used to be mainstream Democrat a few decades ago.

  • 2karmanot

    Ain’t that the truth. Barrack went from Obama to Obozo in just a matter of months once the coronation dust settled.

  • 2karmanot

    We knew Bernie from the VT days. He’s the real deal. I do, however have considerable reservations about his support of Zionist radicals running Israel these days and the genocide they are inflicting on Palestinians.

  • 2karmanot

    And conservatives think cat shits are truffles…yummmm

  • 2karmanot

    Where to begin….first, excellent analysis of Obama, the shape shifty. Second, more millennial, articulate, neo-liberterian BS. FDR? Seriously? When you cash your first Social Security check, I’ll be gone Puppy Onekanobi, but in the meantime get the F’ off my lawn. ppppffffftttt

  • Silver_Witch

    This this this this.

  • Silver_Witch

    Voting is not just our right it is also our duty and each of the people who refuse to exercise the privilege to vote lessens the likelihood that we will enjoy the benefit of voting in the future. I vote even when I hate the choices I have – and then I get to Complain and Complain loudly when things don’t go the way I would like.

  • Silver_Witch

    Choice is ALWAYS a good thing and I for one like having a choice – particularly in the primaries. I look forward to the debates – I think they will be fun. Always enjoy your posts Hound.

  • Silver_Witch

    Sometimes youth is a wonderful thing and believing that change can happen quickly is exhilarating…however change is slow and daunting and not for the weak hearted. Raghav never tells us who he will vote for – only that Bernie can not win, can not change anything because he is playing the game.

    Seems like just a new take on the Bernie can’t win so let’s all vote for [fill in the blank].

  • No one should. Ever. choices are good. And debates are good for both parties.

  • And I don’t know why the leadership of the party is so against that?

    Back in 1998 the Democrats picked up seats in both the House and Senate in spite of predictions of the opposite. What might have happened had they actually spent some money and made a real effort?

    Sometimes I wonder if the leadership doesn’t like being in the minority?

    Also, it’s long past time to remove Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She’s awful. In fact after a bloodbath like 2014, heads should have rolled anyway.

  • Quilla

    Silly article.

    Graduate, get a job, raise a family – you know – all the responsible stuff, and then come back and write something with a modicum of common sense.

    Good luck, Raghav. You’re a good writer, just not a wise one.

  • Don Chandler

    Jeb ain’t getting a coronation either. Because of choices.

  • Love your avatar. Intriguing. :-)

  • Precisely why Bernie’s (and Dean’s before him) 50 state strategy is so important. The establishment has continually pissed away resources on top-ticket races and swing states to the point that we really don’t have much of a bench. The GOP does a much better job of focusing on down-ballot races all over the place – that’s effectively how they’ve managed to gerrymander themselves into a majority in spite of losing the national popular vote over and over again.

  • Don Chandler

    While your article fits in nicely with certain AmericaBlog posters, it ignores certain realities. One of them, Obama started as a liberal but even before he won the democratic nominee, he was expressing more moderate positions, like not holding the telcoms responsible for violating our right to privacy. Or promising to escalate the War in Afghanistan and even extending it into Pakistan … to pursue Bin Laden. In other words, there were big clues Obama wasn’t going to be changing things dramatically. For some of us, we knew things weren’t going to change fast one way or another. But when GW Bush was ‘elected’ in 2000… oh boy, things actually did change very fast. Well, 9/11 had a major influence on change. Bush was pretty inept prior to 9/11. But post 9/11 saw Bush and cronies take over big time. A similar thing happened in 1980 when Reagan took advantage of a weakened Carter due to the Iranian Hostage event and the perception of poor economic conditions. By the end of both Reagan and GWB’s two terms as president, there were massive economic problems.

    I say all that to say this: Obama was hamstrung by economic realities. So much so, that going on a witch hunt against financial corruption would have been devastating when what the US financial system needed was stability and cooperation. Talking to people in the financial world, in the first months of Obama’s presidency, they really thought we were going over the precipice. The market had dropped from 14100 to 6600 (DOW) in just 10 or 12 months. The magnitude of this event is hard to fathom. That the markets are now at 16000 (DOW) is also amazing and hard to understand. Bernie or any other Candidate will have to deal with financial concerns because to ignore them is naive. But I think Obama managed to get some progress in certain areas, healthcare being one. Bernie is talking about Healthcare for all. And it resonates with me. He is saying a lot of the right things. The thing to do is to hold him to the fire but don’t cripple the dude before he can get there.

    I think single payer health care will contribute to job growth and a more compassionate society…one not so interested in droning enemies at the expense of collateral damage. But if republicans are elected, any change that occurred under Obama will be kissed goodbye.

  • I’ve often said I’m a bit to the left of Sanders, but that’s precisely why I have to vote for him – there’s no one anywhere in political office who is as far to the left as me except for maybe Kshama Sawant, but I’d never see my positions represented if I held the view that the author does.

  • Knottwhole

    Leftist?
    I often step in dog shit yet never brag about it.

  • No Democrat can do much as president if we fail to elect Democrats to Congress. I realize there is gerrymandering in the House but if you look at the 2016 map for the Senate we could take that back IF people will turn out to vote like they did in 2008 and 2012. And personally I think we can do better than either of those years in terms of voter turnout. We need to stop focusing mainly on the White House in elections and focus on ALL races. Most of the worst things going on now are at the state the local level. If you want to make a difference work to elect good candidates to the state legislatures, city councils, county clerks (ahem) and other positions.

  • I know a few and they are far left kooks. The reality of American politics is that there is almost nothing here that would pass for the left in most countries. The Democrats are the center right party and the republicans are the equivalent of LePen and other extreme right wing parties throughout Europe.

  • If your argument is that Sanders won’t be able to get any of his proposals past a Republican-majority Congress, then why elect any Democrat at all? I’m not committed to Sanders or Clinton or anyone else at this point. I do find that although I’m not a leftist, Sanders is the ONLY candidate talking about issues that I am everyone I know cares about. Even Republican friends are paying attention. That’s how far our country has drifted rightward that standard center left ideas like the ones Sanders is proposing (none of them are all that leftist) are so far out of the mainstream.

    Also, why are so many Democrats freaking out that anyone is daring to oppose Clinton in the primaries. Isn’t choice a good thing. Aren’t debates about the direction the country needs to go for the next 4-5 years significant? Are people really delusional enough to think that a coronation will help Hillary in the general election?

  • SueD

    Exactly, what progressive ever refers to themselves as a “leftest”? Sounds like Faux Noise, Billo term.

  • FLL

    Funny that you should mention that. I have often seen “leftist” used as a code word and dog whistle that can be translated as: “Please don’t endanger Republican victory, especially you nasty progressives and liberals.” I really don’t like coded language and dog whistles. I much prefer plain English.

  • SueD

    I am not a leftest and i question that this writer is a leftest. I am a Progressive and that is why I WILL vote for Bernie. If you do not vote you lose right to have your complaints taken seriously.

  • andyou

    You really haven’t thought this through, have you? You don’t think Sanders will be able to accomplish anything, but the main reason you plan not to vote for him is because he’s running as a Democrat? So you believe he’d more effective and accomplish more things without any party backing? Also, if he ran as a third party candidate, that’s the surest way to get a Republican elected which would be a disaster for the country. Who are you planning to vote for or are you planning not to vote? If it’s the latter, you are irrelevant.

  • FLL

    Honesty and integrity aside, Bernie’s policies are unlikely to be supported by the presumably Republican-dominated Congress he will face. What little reforms he will be capable of enacting will be watered-down cough syrup to a nation in desperate need of a sobering shot.

    I share your frustration that even an honest candidate such as Bernie can do only limited good when facing a Republican-dominated Congress. But who’s to blame for that Republican-dominated Congress? Republican congressmen don’t just land here from outer space and impose themselves on the nation. They are elected by the neighbors, coworkers and extended family members of the bloggers and commenters on this website. That leads us to the question of how that can happen. My answer to that question is that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision is poisoning the electoral process with huge amounts of conservative money. A second reason, I think, is that there was no effective way to block Republican gerrymandering in 2010. Apparently, you disagree. This is the reason you offer:

    So long as Bernie runs as a Democrat, he will be perpetuating the cycle of suppression and repression honed over time by the American system.

    So what would be the difference if an independent or third-party candidate won? They would be facing the same Republican-dominated Congress that you complained about earlier in your post. I understand that a third-party or independent candidate would have no allegiance to the two major parties, but he would still be hamstrung by the Republican-dominated Congress. As long as voters are free to vote for any party they want, the problem of a likely conservative Republican Congress remains. I’m guessing that you have no objection to free elections (minus Citizens United cash). How do you propose to change the minds of people who vote conservative Republican congressmen to office? Isn’t that the real problem? You do mention that problem in your post, after all.

  • Exactly.

  • So who are you voting for, then?

    I think you fail to realize that there is basically no way to break the two-party system as we know if without one of the parties completely crashing and being replaced – but then it’ll fall into a new two-party system as it always has unless you can completely change how we vote during that chaotic period. While a GOP collapse is within the realm of possibility (barely), the perfect storm required to do what you want is so crazily unlikely you may as well give up and work on reforming one of the two parties – as Bernie wants to do.

    Essentially the only way to move this country to a true multi- or many-party system is to move to something like a preferential ballot system. I also think automatic (opt-out) registration will be very important to that goal, and perhaps even compulsory voting as many other countries do (though that probably won’t fly here). But how are you going to get voter registration fixed when one party and half the courts (and a large portion of the population) are determined to rip it apart to prevent minorities from voting? And all of these changes would require actions on the part of congress that are contrary to their own self-interest.

    Basically, your position is incredibly naive, I hate to say. Your best bet is to elect someone like Bernie and work as hard as possible to get others like him elected in currently GOP-held or conservative Democrat-held congressional districts. You’re going to have to primary the hell out of people within the Democratic party hostile to Bernie’s agenda and you’re simultaneously going to have to grow the party into a substantial majority in both houses. You don’t do that by taking your ball and going home (or to a third party that literally CANNOT win in the current system).

  • Trevor Ray French

    I think you are overlooking one key difference in Senator Sanders platform in regards to his populist stance. Senator Sanders is calling loudly for people not to just vote him in, he is also calling for people (Largely the youth, although the rally I was at yesterday had a wide demographic) to be FAR more involved in the political process. This starts at the ground level just as much as it does at the top. He may not have the support initially, but if the momentum keeps rolling he will certainly have it later on in his terms. He has a concise plan to eliminate the political gridlock you talked about. .

  • Nigel

    Dear Problem, It is good to know that you are not voting again. Please repeat until change occurs.

  • Jay T

    So then who are you voting for? Who’s your saving grace?

    Your article is full of misinformation and lack of knowledge of Sen Sanders by the way.

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