I think in the end Hillary will win in November, but I become less confident about that by the day.
Donald Trump's latest is to bring up Vince Foster. Those of us who remember the nineties will recall this as one of the many fake scandals the right-wing noise machine just invented from whole cloth. But for those millennials whose political memory starts with Obama, this is all new. And since Bernie Sanders has spent months telling them how untrustworthy she is, they are already primed to believe it.
When this election started, I had some admiration for Sanders. I liked a lot of what he was saying, and it was a relief to finally see a Democrat speaking clearly and non-defensively. But, having seen a few Presidential elections, I understood that this country would never elect an atheistic socialist. Ideologically he's a bit left-wing even for me, but I admired him anyway.
No more. His actions recently have disabused me of any warm feelings I had for him. Turns out he's just another preening narcissist, little better than Trump.
The Democratic primary has now mostly played itself out, and Sanders got slaughtered. Hillary has gotten over three million more votes than him. Three. Million. She's slaughtering him among the pledged delegates as well. Meanwhile, Sanders rails about the system being rigged. But if you really want to find the anti-democratic aspects of the process, you look at the caucuses. Most of what little success Bernie has had has been there, but they are specifically designed to make it difficult for normal people to participate.
Sanders is like Trump in that he makes wild, lavish promises without the slightest thought of how he could ever fulfill them. When he provides economic specifics to defend the viability of his proposals, they are based on Republican-level distortions and absurdities. He does not seem to have given the slightest thought to anything beyond a narrow-range of economic issues, which is why Hillary made him look pretty foolish in the debates.
But that's not why I've come to despise him. I have no problem with him running a tough campaign, or staying in through the end of the process. Nor do I have a problem with him pointing out the differences between him and Hillary. But I have a big problem with a candidate who, after having lost fair and square, does everything in his power to undermine the legitimacy of the candidate who beat him. It gains him nothing to keep lying to his supporters about his chances, or to rail about how the system is rigged against him (without ever saying specifically where the rigging is to be found). It only helps Trump, and also feeds his own ego.
Contrast Sanders' behavior with Hillary's in 2008. At every stage of the race, she was much closer to Obama than Sanders has ever been to her. But from a very early point, when the writing was on the wall, Hillary muted her attacks against Obama. She did that because she cares about getting things done, and she recognized that undercutting the eventual Democratic nominee, no matter how satisfying in the short term, accomplished nothing good in the long term. In this she differs from Sanders, who has been sulking in a corner in Congress for thirty years, accomplishing nothing. When the time came she endorsed Obama whole-heartedly. She did not first demand concessions.
There were twenty candidates in this race (seventeen Republicans and three Democrats). Of these twenty, Hillary is not only the most qualified to be President, she has by far the most integrity of anyone in the race. The Republicans hardly rate a mention in any discussion of integrity. There was not an admirable person in the bunch. Sanders has shown recently that he likewise lacks character. He's now proven that he sees this race as all about him. It's about the boon to his ego from attracting big crowds at a rally. It certainly hasn't been about all those working class folks he claims to care about. They certainly will not benefit from a Trump presidency. But that hasn't stopped Sanders from acting as a Trump surrogate these days.
There's an old saying that you campaign in poetry and govern in prose. Hillary never learned the part about campaigning in poetry. While the other candidates have been falling all over themselves to make the most absurd promises or to tell the most outrageous lie, Hillary's been offering nothing but policy wonkery and a long history of public service. And yet she is the one who is forever on the defensive about her honesty. And why? Because she gave some paid speeches? Because she had a private e-mail server as Secretary of State, just like all her recent predecessors did? This is what gets you loathed by millennials and independents?
The chattering classes have been asking how Hillary can campaign against Trump. She can't. Campaigning is about persuading low-information voters (to use the euphemism) to your cause, and those voters will go for theater over substance every time. Hillary's only hope is an outbreak of basic sanity in November. I have to believe this country is not yet so far gone that the crazies and stupids are running the show. Surely people can see through the incessant lies summoned forth by the right, dutifully given respectful coverage by a docile and fundamentally unserious media. Surely there's still a voting majority in this country who understand that the fictional character Donald Trump plays on The Apprentice is not the real Donald Trump.
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" I have to believe this country is not yet so far gone that the crazies and stupids are running the show. "
Come to Maine. The governor here is living proof that your nightmare could become reality--and he was voted in twice.
Okay, I promised myself NEVER to post political thoughts again but, you know, it's like you're on a diet and the cheeseburger from paradise appears & all that...
So here's some VERY oversimplified thoughts.
Let's begin with a wild oversimplification of the basics of Marx & Engels. Capitalism is a totally flawed system which, due to "improvements" like automation, is bound to blow its tires repeatedly until the proletariat unites and establishes a more fair and workable system. As in.... we have a boss with 10 workers. Things are OK for the boss but not improving well enough to satisfy his lust for more. He lays off a worker, and for a brief time improves his profits. But since there are only 9 with purchasing power now, there's not as much coming in, so he lays off another. Etc.
The market blow-ups of the late 1800s demonstrated the validity of this cycle-into-oligarchy and kaboom scenario (peace, please. I SAID I was oversimplifying. I do not wish to deviate into discussions of gold, silver, railroads, monopolies & whatnot.)
Things getting so bad that it took a Teddy Roosevelt to bring some of it back into line, gaining some control over the bloated magnates of industry. (We should attempt to resurrect him somehow. I don't think he would be as war-loving in the age of monstrous bombs and drone strikes.)
But the system still had its flaw, and it took Keynes to recognize it and suggest a solution, reinvigorating the economy (while taking on lots of scary debt) in bad times and paying down the debt (raising taxes) when things were rolling again. Patching the tires, so to speak.
But this stuff is a tad difficult to pull off in a democracy. It is ESPECIALLY difficult to pull off in a democracy which allows its economic control mechanisms to be invaded by businessmen. (Ignoring the stern warning of the founder of economic theory, Adam Smith, that one ought to be extremely wary of allowing businessmen to fiddle with the controls).
So, more boom & bust, tempered by a temporary flight-to-Keynesianism. Til the 80s and the good times rolling into another bust, 90s ditto, and - to my mind - the closest we have come to wipeout, the 2000s.
Which get a
I've always wished (though it will never happen) that Prez candidates had to announce their VP choices and even some of their future Cabinet while running in the primaries. That would make the choice much clearer. Choosing a President is really choosing a team, or ought to be.
I frankly 'tuned out' politically a couple of months ago. At that point I knew enough about the candidates' positions and qualifications to rank order them in my mind and, barring some unusual revelation, the rank order is not going to change. Standard debates and whistlestop speeches aren't going to do it.
I think Bernie's caught in the moment; you have to be incredibly competitive to get where he is (and where Hilary is), and it is not like highly competitive people can just switch it off. So I don't hold much against him for some late season anger. The true test will be how he deals with Hilary in his eventual concession and how/whether he leads his followers back to the Democratic fold. I think overall his presence has been very good for the Dems - it energized a far higher number of their base to be interested in this campaign cycle, and forced Clinton to address the fact that many Dems are real liberals, not just centrists, and being a centrist doesn't really address their concerns. The question now is whether he is willing/able to take all that energy and interest he successfully built up and use it effectively to get his preferred (not ideal) choice of candidate elected, or not.
Hmmm... looks like I accidentally posted before finishing. We plod on.
Which get a quasi-Keynesian fix in the "helicoptering-money" approach of recent times. Trouble is, it all goes to the top, and ignores Keynes on the issue of increasing demand.
Now economics can be infuriatingly difficult to understand, but to judge by Occupy Wall Street and a sense of Main Street versus Wall Street taking hold in the popular consciousness, there is definitely a sense of popular anger at the current way the economy is heading.
Enter politics. And politics knows how to fan flames. (Witness the Russian revolution of 1917 - two of them, actually.)
Sloganeering and channeling hatred -- it's them #!!&%$# IMMIGRANTS that're to blame for the loss of good-paying jobs! Donald Trump stands tall in this -- a veritable barroom hero, in my estimation.
And the barroom hero may very well win his beer-hall putsch. I can't even begin to imagine the results. A "temporary" shutdown of Congress so that he can roll up his sleeves & make America great again? A demonstration of American nuclear strength somewhere in the Mideast? Concentration camps?
Sounds way over-melodramatic. But I can't call to mind such thoughts on any other President in my lifetime. And "it can't happen here" doesn't wash with me.
Economically? Trump at one point suggesting the use of tariffs against China? I guess Smoot-Hawley and the atrocious harm it caused is just a non-existent memory for Americans. And, I mean, you know, doesn't anyone recall the genesis of the term "laissez-faire"? It was the French figuring out that the Netherlands were profiting more by NOT interfering with the free market via tariffs.
Anyhow. I begin to rant. But if we see another bust soon, I think we will indeed be living in interesting times. With a lot of weapons available to a lot of people.
I'll go with Hillary, quite a bit due to her husband's spending most of his time during his reign dealing with all the line items in the budget. Here's a slogan for you: Let's keep our eyes on the money.
IANAA (I am not an American), so this is not my fight. But this:
And why? Because she gave some paid speeches?
...I find really fascinating. Paul Krugman writes very similar stuff every few days:
Of course — she’s been too cozy with established interests in the past, she shouldn’t have given those speeches, ... But there is no evidence that she’s corrupt...
Is it really that complicated to understand what is going on when somebody gets paid hundreds of thousands just for giving a speech? Does anybody really think it is the content of the speech that is worth that much to the buyers? Serious question: does anybody? Really?
In my home country we had a head of government who left office and got a hefty contract requiring him to have up to six dinners per year with the guy he helped build a media empire, to 'counsel', with the understanding that not even one of those dinners might actually really take place. We had another who got a well paid advisory board position at the company he helped get a controversial pipeline deal while in office. I can still see what was going on there although there aren't any recorded conversations that go "here is your bribe for the law you will pass tomorrow".
I remain confident that we the American people will get the President we deserve.
From the article: "Hillary is not only the most qualified to be President, she has by far the most integrity of anyone in the race."
I'm not sure that's true, but even if so that is not saying much. In my case I will cast my vote for Hillary. Not because I think she is worthy, but because she is the least bad candidate. Regular America will get a few more crumbs from Hillary than Trump, but not so many that it will upset her corporate masters.
I think we can all agree, Trump is a buffoon. I will however, still be voting for him, or rather, I will be voting for "anyone but Hillary". She is THAT bad.
The Clintons have been charging inordinate amounts for speaking appearances for decades - probably from the day Bill left office. So it's a bit more complicated than you make it out to be. However I don't disagree with your general sentiment - this is probably an attempt on the part of the donors to get her to do some influence peddling. Whether they succeed or not is another question.
"She is THAT bad."
If you really believe that Kevin you haven't looked very hard at Trump.
"Is it really that complicated to understand what is going on when somebody gets paid hundreds of thousands just for giving a speech?"
Yes, it is. There is always the option that they do it because they can and people/organizations are willing to pay.
I don't know whether there have been many winks and nods, only a few, or none - but neither does anyone else. Basing decisions on things suspected but with no evidence is no better than basing those decisions on religious faith.
I've never seen a worse collection of candidates from either side, but looking at their comments and histories, the one that has the largest collection of demerits (IMO) based on observed past actions and statements during this election cycle is Trump. I cannot imagine anyone less qualified for presidential office than he is.
I can't imagine any criteria on which Clinton is worse as a candidate than Trump. Even if they were even (which they aren't), I would pick Clinton solely because she is not a middle-age white male. Not mention it will make Fox News apoplectic.
I am a Sanders supporter; I think some of his proposals are very reasonable. There are some where the "how will we pay for that question" is valid, but every candidate has that problem.
Fact is that Hillary has won at the ballot box so far (about 13 m to 10 m) so claims that she's somehow cheated Sanders do not even pass the smile-test. Now I see Sanders supporters making a bid for the Superdelegates; politics remains a grotesque activity! It is only tolerable because the alternative is warfare.
I hope Sanders is able to pivot at the convention and throw a strong endorsement to Clinton. If not, the risk of a TrumpenFuehrer becomes real. And no, Trump is not a Nazi; but he is a Fascist IMHO. Most fascists were not Nazi's.
The two non-US examples I mentioned were also cases of people being rewarded after having left office. The understanding today appears to be that a politician who does something good for an industry will be paid afterwards so that it looks less like a bribe. That may also send a very clear signal about what they need to do to those who are currently in office.
Huh? The government did not "reward" the Clintons anything (unusual) after Bill left office. If I gave that impression, I'm sorry. They are just popular figures and so they charge a lot to any private organization who wants them to come speak. Anyone can do that. Most of us simply won't get any invitations at the rates they would charge. :)
Sure, that happens, but are you saying it happened with Hilary? I'm very skeptical. She went from first lady in 1998 to Senator in 2000, and from senator in 2008 to Secretary of State in 2009, where she stayed in 2013...and she hasn't had a corporate job in those past 3 years. So when are you saying she got this cushy quid pro quo private job offer in payment for some action she did while she or Bill were in office?
The government? Where did that come from?
I think I need to spell that out more clearly then.
"Here's $500k, so that you pass this law I like" is something that we can all agree is corruption, right? I hope, at least. Now compare:
"Here is $500k, officially for doing virtually nothing, something that is either superfluous or worth a few hundred bucks at most. It has absolutely nothing to do with the law you passed for me three years ago when you were in office, right? Wink, wink."
"Here is $500k, officially for doing virtually nothing, something that is either superfluous or worth a few hundred bucks at most. And if in three years you get another important office, let's just say this will perhaps make you remember us in a kind light. But it's not corruption because it is more than three days apart from what you will do for us then."
The question is: Are you fooled by that? If so, I am impressed, because then apparently this stuff works better than I thought. I had assumed most people understand what is going on and are just disillusioned about doing anything against it.
The more important example would be this:
"Here's $500K. Some day I will call upon you to do me a favor, and you'll take my call. And you'll do what I want. 'Til then, have a nice campaign."
that's an example of 21st Century corruption.
How do you know this? Can you read her mind? Perhaps she did it because attacking Obama would have made her look racist, and she wanted to stay in the party's good graces in hopes of a future campaign.
And just in case I wasn't obvious enough: you go beyond reporting facts to imputing motives. And in doing so you give the most generous possible interpretation to Clinton, and the least generous possible interpretation to Sanders. Shame.
Re. #19, This is true enough. Bernie may be staying in the race to lock in his agenda; in an attempt to make Clinton get behind it for the sake of party unity. The only way Trump wins is if democrats and progressives fight each other.
If Clinton wants to win, she'll need to embrace some or all of the Sanders agenda.
Huntsman and Lieberman chaired a panel that has developed recommendations on ways to fix the economy. These have tested as fairly neutral politically, but some of them are hard choices. They can be found at:
"How do you know this? Can you read her mind?"
No, he can't. I could see this explanation for the comment: She is married to one of, if not the most, shrewd political people around. I could see him advising her to back down, "get in line", with the vision of being able to return in another election with the reputation of a Democratic team player.
Just the fact that that article is hosted at Forbes should be a tell.
Your bias is plain. "What little success" Sanders has had? Is in caucuses that make it hard for "normal" people to participate? If local caucuses are biased in his favor, later state-level events run by party hacks are biased in favor of party hacks, and closed primaries prevent increasingly numerous independent voters from having any say whatsoever in who will be nominated by either major party. No system is unbiased, and it's hard to argue that our system is consistently biased in favor of leftist outsider candidates. Any objective reading is that Sanders has done far, far better than anyone would have expected.
Unless Hillary is indicted before July, he will not be the nominee. That may prove calamitous , because he polls better against the fascist Trump than Hillary does. Recent polls suggest that if the election were held today, it would be a squeaker that she might well lose. This is in large part because a majority of the public perceives her as a power-hungry, arrogant, secretive, business-as-usual insider.
I mildly disagree. Obama in 2008 is a good example of someone doing "far far better than anyone would have expected." Clinton was just as much favored at the beginning of that race as she was favored at the beginning of this one. Sanders has certainly outperformed what pundits predicted back when he started his run. But Americans are notoriously underdog-lovers who dislike single-candidate races, and the Clintons have a lot of people who actively dislike them. I bet any decent politician Democrat could've pulled in a good 20-30% of the primary vote against Hilary. Bernie has pulled in 37% of the pledged delegates to Hilary's 44%. That's great for him. With those numbers, the smart move for Hilary is to listen to his supporters and move left when it comes to some of their key concerns, to gain their support. But realistically, the supers aren't going to suddenly change their votes, and Hilary needs only ~100 out of the ~900 remaining undeclared primary votes to clinch the nomination. So the smart move for Sanders is to start angling for the best concession deal he can get, because barring a Clintonian heart attack or sex scandal, it's over for him.
When It Comes to Losing Ugly, Bernie Has Nothing on Hillary
I think the last paragraph of the NR article is something to keep in mind:
"This is not to say everything is fine in the Democratic Party right now. Some Sanders supporters deserve rebuke for their nastiness, and Sanders himself can be fairly chided for not reining in—or at least scolding—these overzealous followers. But nothing in the 2016 campaign matches the sheer ugliness of 2008. And that’s a hopeful fact, because if the Democrats could unite after the fratricide of the Obama-Clinton race, then it shouldn’t be much of a challenge to unite now."
I share the writer's disappointment that Sanders has not tried to rein-in his "Bro's" but at the end of the day, I hope to see things come together for the Democrats.
I think we have now seen Bernie's true colors. When given the opportunity by the DNC to place 5 people on the platform committee, he responds by nominating Israel basher and gay basher Cornell West. West is a supporter of the antisemitic BDS movement and good buddy of anti-gay bigot Robert George. This action makes it clear that Bernie is now in the reign or ruin mode and is doing everything in his power to get the Donald elected, short of an endorsement. The last thing the Democratic Party needs is a platform fight over Israel. The decision by the DNC was nothing but appeasement, the futility of which, one would have hoped, would have been discredited by the actions of Neville Chamberlain. Some supporter of Israel and gay rights is Bernie, not.
Do we really need colnago80's conspiracy mongering (and his soon to appear refusal to use Hitler's real name) in this discussion?
Every claim I made is factual and a Google search will confirm it. In particular, West is a supporter of the BDS and BFF of Robert George whose gay bashing credentials are well known. When one gets down into the pen with the pigs, one may expect to emerge with a coating of mud and George is a particularly filthy pig.
Further, I fail to see what Frankenberger's real name has to do with anything.
Evidently Bernie Sanders, the most successful Jewish person ever to run for President and a guy who lived on a Kibbutz in Israel when he was growing up, is not Jewish enough for SLC. Quelle surprise.
"Further, I fail to see what Frankenberger’s real name has to do with anything."
The fact that you imply it wasn't Hitler speaks volumes.
Re eric @ #31
Actually, it is my information that Bernie's was 22 years old during his sojourn on a Kibbutz, hardly growing up.
Well clearly, if he lived in an Israeli kibbutz when he was 22 rather than when "growing up", he's not pro-Jewish enough.
Hey, nice redirection and refusal to admit you were wrong. The fact that Bernie spent time on a Kibbutz at age 22 is no defense against hobnobbing with antisemitic gay bashers like Cornell West at age 74. Surely, if he wanted to, he could have found someone less obnoxious then West. There can be no doubt that he is using West as a poison pill to undermine Hillary's chances in November. He is nothing but a sore loser who can't stand the fact that Hillary beat him fair and square.
I would also point out that West has rivaled the Rethuglican right wing smear machine in leveling smears against President Obama, other miscreants who he has gotten into bed with, so this is also a shot across Obama's bow.
I declare this thread to be done. Any further additions will be about colnage and his bizarre claims, rather than about the original topic. Trolling is, at its heart, a form of narcissism.
If this image is at all correct, we have not been trolled; but the thread is pretty much wrecked now.
You make a few fair points - but the above isn't one of them. What makes you say Hillary has any integrity ?
I am not personally convinced that HRC has good judgment, and I don't think she has much charisma (which both good politicians and good leaders need). Elizabeth Warren would have been my favorite candidate among all known possibilities, and I hope she decides to run at some point (perhaps when Massachusetts has a Democratic Governor to replace her with a Democrat).
Trump seems like a complete joke. As my friend Mario would say, with wonder, "That guy believes his own resume'!" (i.e., a fool with a narcissistic personality). However, I assessed George W. Bush much the same way, and he was elected. Twice!
I wish CNN or someone would challenge all candidates to take the Wonderlic Test (which the National Football League uses to test potential draftees). Maybe I'm wrong about Trump. I would be good to have some unbiased empirical data.
Re. #38 “What makes you say Hillary has any integrity ?” What makes you think she has none? Her occasional blunders? If that’s all it takes, then NO ONE has integrity.
She certainly has more integrity than Trump, who will be the only other viable choice in November. I wish Bernie had done better, but he didn’t.
Time to face facts.
Nobody (that I've noticed) is saying what to me is the most obvious conclusion from this election year: we have a terrible, terrible system for choosing a President. We need a single-stage election, in November, with the vote-for-one stipulation removed: either some form of ranked choice voting, or something as simple as approval voting, or a three-way choice of "yes", "no", or "meh" for each candidate.
If Sanders would win such an election (and it seems like a strong possibility, given [un-]favorability polling data for Clinton and Trump) then it is a travesty that we are not going to be allowed to vote for him in a safe way (just as voters in 2000 were not allowed to vote for Nader in a way that didn't risk electing Bush).
The current filter through the nomination processes of the two establishment parties benefits those parties at the expense of the public good and of real democracy.
Re # 41; the crappy choices we have this time around are not a product of the electoral process. It's a product of the political process (which is a different thing).
Even you struggle to define PRECISELY what electoral process to use, and most all have sufficient defects or unknowns that there's little enthusiasm for any alternative.
The discussion of what voting system to use is secondary to what should be the blindingly obvious, completely unarguable realization that what we have now is a disaster.
Re. #43; it is neither obvious nor inarguable that “what we have now is a disaster.” Electing Trump would be a disaster, but his election is far, far from a given. HRC’s election would not be disastrous; at least no more than any other middling politician’s would be. Hillary is at least competent and familiar with the job, and not prone to bouts of thuggish insanity.
Something missed in dismissing Bernie or making out that he would "split" Democrat votes and usher in Trump is that Bernie would, if he ran as independent, would split off Republican voters too!
Many Trump supporters are open and honest that, if Trump were not to win, they would vote for Bernie, not for Cruz or others.
And there are swathes of Cruz et al supporters who would rather not vote if it were to get Trump in, but would see Bernie as so incapable of getting anything done against the "sensible" senators and representatives who "know that capitalism must be free to work", that voting him in would not cause Democrats to get their way.
Heck, look at how little respect Bernie gets from prominent democrats.
So if Bernie were voted for AND WON, it still wouldn't be the Democrats getting in, and they are confident that they would get back in with someone better.
Bernie wouldn't JUST split "left" votes. He'd split "right" votes too.
Indeed if Bernie were to run third party, added to the general disgust with "BAU" making third party (even protest) voting less of a lost vote, he could still win this.
Meaning neither Trump nor Hilary gets in.
And there are plenty on both sides discomfited enough with "their side" choice out of those two to be happy with that conclusion.
"She’s slaughtering him among the pledged delegates as well. Meanwhile, Sanders rails about the system being rigged."
Yeah, but when they decide not to have ANY talks (well, OK, three on a friday night red-eye slot) so as to remove recognition for Bernie as a candidate, or to close down access to his own voter records just days before a polling, can you really claim that the suspicions are invalid?
"Yes, it is. There is always the option that they do it because they can and people/organizations are willing to pay. "
Then why are they willing to pay?
Because they will gain profit from their explorative payouts. You gotta speculate to accumulate, amirite?
Yes, it's simplistic and reality will be more complex, but the disproof of collusion isn't to say "That's simplistic!".