My reply to James
James Anderson send out an email to several of us. (2020-03-21)
This does not contain James’ whole post: I have selected arguments and claims that I want to respond to.
Joe Biden is going to lose, and badly to Trump.
I’m glad to have a good clear testable prediction. If Biden wins, which part(s) of your argument will you change?
Sanders and his supporters misread the 2016 primary results
This article compares Sanders/Clinton votes in 2016 and Sanders/Biden in 2020 and concludes that sexism and anti-Clinton sentiment hurt Clinton and helped Sanders.
“The explanation [for Sanders’ poorer performance against Biden than against Hillary] isn’t that Sanders became less popular with these folks [in wealthier suburbs] over the last four years, but that he was never all that popular in the first place. A large percentage of his vote was cast not for him, but against Bill and Hillary Clinton.”
“Clinton’s toxic standing among wide swaths of the electorate was the gravitational force causing the phenomenon Bernie fans misread.”
This finding is discouraging to women and their supporters as well as to Sanders supporters (and me).
Hillary won the popular vote in 2016 against Trump. Biden won’t have her disadvantage.
Trump is popular. Not
Even with the stock market emaciated and languishing and a full-blown global health crisis that has been botched and bungled in every imaginable way, Trump’s approval ratings are fucking rising.
David has already pointed to this refutation
The Fascists will stop at nothing to defeat Biden
Republicans politicians and operatives are evil to their core, and when it comes to the culture war and to messaging, that is an advantageous trait. They deflect, deny, draw strawmen, gaslight, play the kayfabe, and it has worked consistently in every single election where Democrats have done the cowardly thing that they always fucking do and “played it safe” by running a moderate candidate.
I agree with this description of how Republicans campaign. Trump’s biggest ally is fear and he will exploit it without regard to the truth, as you point out.
Since Reagan, The two Democrats who have won the presidency have been charming and camera-savvy, and especially in the case of Obama, secured the both the nom and the office in spite of the DNC and not because of it.
Well, damn! The establishment failed to stop them! How did they manage to stop Sanders, who is so much better?
For my personal political inclinations, both Obama and Clinton were too close to the center, but as far as campaigners go, they won because of their people skills. They got the “big-tent” coalition because they were charismatic and people naturally flocked to them.
Hmmm. So sometimes people do matter.
Biden has none of that at all.
I would agree that Biden is less charismatic then Clinton or Obamba, but I’ve seen him 2-3 times in my life and find him pretty compelling. OTOH I’ve met few people my age who aren’t put off by Sanders’ people skills, viz, his yelling and interrupting all the time in debates.
The Establishment did it
The sub-humans in the DNC literally could not have chosen a worse candidate to run against Trump.
- Yes they could have
- The DNC didn’t choose Biden, voters did.
Apparently Bernie people like to have some “establishment” to blame, and the DNC does have its opinions and power, but it was James Clyburn and actual voters in SC who pushed Biden into a position where many Democratic voters, who had been waiting for people besides Bernie to coalese around, could all agree on one person. I think that saying that African American voters and voters like me voted for Biden because the DNC told us to is not only wrong, it is insulting.
(BTW, this is precisely what scares me about the idea of having one national primary election day. People like me, who do not know what the average American thinks, like to see who appeals to them and then I often join them (not always).)
What the average American wants
[Biden’s] stance on literally everything is to the right of the average American.
I need proof to believe this.
A mendatious inconsistency?
[Biden] has changed his tone on several issues, but it’s all been recent enough to make him closer to being a liar than to an individual whose “thoughts have evolved.”
You’re good, James!! As someone who’s changed his mind several times in my life, I find Biden’s changes perfectly comprehensible and no reason to diss him. Bernie has been consistent, I admit. During the last debate, when Biden said he’d changed his mind and now agreed with Bernie on something (I forget), all Sanders could say was, “I said the first” instead of being happy about it. Grow up!
Oh come on, James.
Not once in a single debate did [Biden] express a cogent thought or point.
The Republicans are going to stitch together the biggest sound collage in the history of humanity of the man sounding like he should have his license suspended, and it is going to work.
Believe it or not, there’s plenty of Trump material that will be used against him, too.
Jamesean rhetoric rocks!
The only reason anyone liked Biden in the first place was that he looked great sitting behind Obama and giving finger guns to the camera. Now the man has the charisma of a sun-bleached viper carcass, and when he is challenged by anyone, that viper carcass reanimates and starts striking blindly while simultaneously looking like a fucking idiot. The Republicans will gleefully pull every clip of him looking foolish and threatening to fight Joe Six Pack, or shouting down a person with a valid concern and make him look like a blind hornet, furiously bumping into the same window again and again, and it is going to work.
There are hours of footage of him being creepy towards women and girls. I am NOT saying that Biden is actually a creep. He might be. Who knows. Irrespective of speculation, that footage is a wet dream for anyone running a campaign against him. If anyone thinks that come September Biden’s entire campaign won’t grind to a halt while he (ineffectually) combats allegations of pedophilia and sexual assault, they have not paid attention to the Republican political machine. They will make Biden look like Jeffrey fucking Epstein, and it is going to work.
Damn! You’re a good writer, James! Ain’t gonna try to answer this.
By contrast, Bernie Sanders (whom the DNC railroaded by convincing all of the centrist goblins in the primary to withdraw before super Tuesday because they are cowards and just as much under the thumb of corporate oligarchs as the Republicans), …
Yes they dropped out before Super Tuesday but - little detail here - after the SC primary
You seriously don’t think that running out of votes and money was enough to convince them? You seriously think they were ‘railroaded’?
Here’s the timeline according to wikipedia:
- February 29:
- South Carolina Democratic primary is won by Biden
- Unable to win any delegates during the first four Democratic contests, Steyer drops out of the race.
- March 2020
- March 1: Following his fourth place finish in the South Carolina Democratic primary, Buttigieg drops out of the race.
- March 2: Klobuchar drops out of the Democratic race. Both she and Buttigieg then endorse, and urge moderate Democrats to rally around, Biden.
Morning in America?
[Bernie] is a charismatic candidate who has the hearts and minds of a broad coalition of Americans whose relentless optimism about the path forward is infectious and consistent …
If you think that Bernie comes across as optimistic, I suggest you do a little focus grouping with people besides Bernie supporters.
Moderate Democrats fucking lose because they are fucking losers.
Wrong variable in the equation
That old moronic Democrat calculus of “hey if we run someone who stands for nothing, then maybe we can attract imaginary Republican swing voters because 1-1=+2!!!” is exactly what is going to lose the 2020 election.
You haven’t been paying attention. They’re running to attract unaffiliated voters, not Republicans, and both the 2018 elections and the current primary results seem to show that this is working.
This is why I love you, James. Among other reasons.
I am going to vote for the Democratic candidate in November, no questions asked.
Millenials aren’t the only ones tired of the two-party system
Millennials are tired of choosing between two parties comprised of far right ethnocapitalists and center-right establishment poltroons, and we are tired of being admonished for pointing out the need for new blood in the political pool and the boring dystopia of being told “vOtE bLuE No MaTTeR wHo~~” even if it means choosing a candidate who represents nothing about who we are or what we believe.
We’re all tired of it, too, but the only solution I know of is one where we can vote for candidates in order of preference (this has several names, all of which I seem to have forgotten.) That way we could vote our hearts and then, if our first choice didn’t win, our vote would go to the next on down, and so on. But this is a case where both major parties are indeed at fault and who can blame them?
Meanwhile, given the system we have, why didn’t the tired Millenials get their asses out and vote in the primaries? Even Sanders admitted that he greatly overestimated their support.
Don’t people like AOC show that Millennials are already gaining power?
Literally the only silver lining that I can see is that maybe there will be a mass culling of DNC leadership and they are replaced with people who aren’t satisfied with being whimpering curs, grateful for being allowed to function as controlled opposition to the most gleefully evil people in politics.
That’s what I thought I was accomplishing in 1968 when I wrote in Gene McCarthy and got Nixon. The Democratic Party did, in fact, make some radical and needed changes and we got a fantastic candidate who lost every state except one. I will always regret my 1968 vote.
My $0.02, based on an article in an establishment newspaper
Personally I think we all should stop thinking we know how our fellow citizens are going to vote or what they want until they actually vote (or don’t). And even when voting, we’re often forced to vote for people who have beliefs we don’t agree with. Sometimes we have to vote against someone.
This morning I read this article from the NY Times. It fits in pretty well with my impression of Sanders.
I came away with two general conclusions.
A. Bernie Sanders is a very decent person with a good heart.
He’s shown a true generosity many times, I believe. This article quotes him as saying:
“It is absolutely not my view that Joe is corrupt in any way,” Mr. Sanders told CBS News.
And he didn’t want to go negative.
B. Sanders is a poor collaborator and often failed to cooperate with his own supporters.
Let me state a belief that I consider to be almost axiomatic: 327 million people cannot agree on very many issues or policies. Getting something done requires compromise and cooperation. This is true even between two persons.
The part of the article labeled “Revolutionary to a Fault” shows how Sanders’ ideology blinds him to the realities of our complex country and to the need to colloborate, which he consistently refused to do, according to the article.
For example, “Ms. Ocasio-Cortez repeatedly urged the campaign to broaden Mr. Sanders’s message and seek out new allies, outside his familiar base.” But he didn’t.
In fact he campaigned against people who might have helped him later:
So confident was Mr. Sanders that he would vanquish Mr. Biden that he spent valuable days trying to force two other candidates out of the race by campaigning in Minnesota and Massachusetts, the home states of Ms. Klobuchar and Ms. Warren. He won neither.
Is it any surprise that Klobuchar endorsed Biden as soon as he won SC? That didn’t take any “establishment” telling her to do so.
C. Blaming “the establishment” shows Sanders’ ignorance of what motivates voters.
As soon as someone starts feeling that other people are controlled by a vague force - let’s call it the “establishment” - they are denying that those people have their own agency. People are indeed influenced by organizations and other people, but there are lots of them, not one or two “establishments”. It may seem like it when we’re forced to choose between only two nominees, but there are lots of little establishments pushing us into one bucket or the other.
After being routed across the country, Mr. Sanders knew who to blame in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”
“What the establishment wanted was to make sure that people coalesced around Biden and try to defeat me,” Mr. Sanders said. “So that’s not surprising.”
Frankly, although Sanders is a decent person with good values, his world-view scares me. He would make a terrible President.
Written and posted with love
2020-03-22 James responds at length
I didn’t really answer James’ challenge:
Tell me why I should be excited about Biden
This is an excellent question, James, and I didn’t do much to answer it.
I’m ambivalent about this question. Some amount of excitement is needed to get some people out to vote, but I’m not sure just how important that is and have no data to decide either way except for the fact that excitement about Sanders doesn’t seem to have increased turnout for him.
OTOH, excitement bothers me because, like falling in love, it can blind us. I remember the excitement around JFK, who died just in time to prevent us from being disappointed at his warmongering and womanizing. His assassination - a kind of excitement, I suppose - enabled LBJ to pass civil rights legislation that eventually helped the lives if African Americans (and led to Nixon’s Southern Strategy and the racist turn of Lincoln’s party).
I can’t really give you a good reason to be excited about Biden. I’m certainly not. But I like and trust him, just as I did with Hillary. I think many people like him because of his genuine love of his family. Moreover, Jill Biden is a tremendous asset. She doesn’t just stand there like a model: she reacts to what he says and fights protesters who attack the podium. En plus, she has a career helping people and strongly pushing Joe in the right direction.
I’ll try an equation (okay, an inequality): 2016 vote + (SC Biden vote - SC Sanders vote > 2016 vote. In other words take the difference made by sexism and 20 years of hugely funded anti-Clinton hatred from the right and left (calculated by subtracting Sander’s 2020 SC vote from Biden’s) and add it to Hillary’s popular vote majority of 2016 and Voila! (possibly) enough votes to overcome the Electoral College gerrymander.
In English: Hillary won the popular vote in spite of sexism. Biden is not losing those votes this year.
you could find a metaphor so much better than mine that I don’t even dare to try, damn it!]