Bernie Sanders is (by far!) the most popular politician in America


#166

Ding ding ding


#167

Lest we forget:


#168

There are third parties in the US (and fourth and fifth and sixth etc.). But until the US updates the Constitution to ditch winner-take-all elections and adopt a Parliamentary democracy (which I'd be totally fine with - there are good reasons the US system isn't widely adopted), third parties can only serve the role of defeating their own goals.


#169

Oh and has won something like five straight general elections by 30 pts or greater, while consistently achieving one of the highest constituency approval ratings in the country. Probably says nothing about any ability to work past ideology and get results tho. Because like, only a few hippies live there or something.

Fun fact- there are 10x as many cows as humans in Vermont! However, political opinion runs the same gamut there as anywhere else in the country, although with an admittedly whiter population than the country as a whole. That said, I think the most recent poll has Vermonters' approval rating at 84%.

So it's not only the hippies that like him, it's the libertarians, backwoods individualists, veterans, not to mention your everyday democrats and republicans. Sure, that doesn't alone correlate to national appeal. But it does provide strong anecdotal evidence as to how Sanders can work across ideological lines to get results that his voters are happy with. But hey, he posed for some photos with the Sandinistas, and wrote crappy poetry in the seventies. He'd never win, because socialism! Never mind that we do want socialism, as long as we don't repeat it three times in the mirror hoping for Stalin to rise from the dead and take all our precious stuff.


#170

You're right that trying to create a third US party in the way that you'd do it in a representative parliamentary system (build support slowly, try to gain a couple of seats and look for balance-of-power/coalition opportunities) ain't gonna work.

That's not the only way to do it, though.

Historically, US parties have been annihilated and replaced when the spineless careerists betray their base once too often (Whigs -> Republicans). But it happens in a rapid revolutionary surge, not as a slowly-building movement of "realistic" business-as-usual politics.

If a third party gets up to the point that it's a major force, it won't be splitting the vote with the Democrats, because the Democratic Party will be dead and gone by that point. One party or the other would be annihilated after a single election cycle.


#171

Part of me thinks that the only people who DON'T like him are the same people that told HRC she could ignore Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania - the people who want it to be 1996 again, who want to pretend Dubbya and Trump are anomalies and not the new normal. That somehow he'll "destroy himself."

Those idiots are going to get us all killed, I fear.


#172

The last major party shift resulted in a Civil War, and it took Andrew Fucking Jackson to create the Democratic Party. In general the times when parties shifted have been times so horrible for large portions of the population that a shakeup could happen. We might be there in a few years with the GOP as Trump's going to be causing untold carnage over time, but it'd take something epic when the Dems were in power to break the Democratic party.


#173

Except that Obama raised a fortune for the party, so unlike Bernie he wasn't just there for the resources.


#174

In the leadup to the Civil War, you had one party enthusiastically embracing evil (Democrats then, TrumpGOP now) and the other party refusing to meaningfully oppose it (Whigs then, Democrats now).

The Whig leadership repeatedly decided to betray their abolitionist supporters, on the basis that they had nowhere to go while the Democrats were loudly endorsing slavery.

You'll note that it wasn't the "embracing evil" party that was destroyed and replaced. Evil will always find a fan base, but everybody hates a Quisling.


#175

2020 might be too late to start getting active.

Hell, even 2018 (which is when we really need Dems to show up and DO SHIT) might be tardy on the draw.

Two years of Trump getting his way means two years of disenfranchisement, of stacking the judiciary, of controlling the national conversation, of empowering racists. FOUR years of that shit and I don't have much confidence in him not being deeply entrenched and probably also ratcheting up some war or other.

The DNC can't afford to take the same path it's been taking for the last 20 years.


#176

In 150 years following the Civil War the parties worked out mechanisms to ensure their power, and I don't think it's too likely we'll see a party usurp the Dems, but you never know. By and large things have to be so hideously bad that for wishing for a party shift is cursing someone with "may you live in interesting times," so we might wind up with enough carnage that we get there, but I'm not hoping for it.


#177

Third parties and binary thinking, hardly going to work out, is it?


#178

I am not a fan of the current system (or, frankly, the Democratic Party, much in our broken Constitution, our electoral systems, and many of the political realities we live in), but wouldn’t wish the conditions that have precipitated a party change in the US on anyone.


#179

This has mostly been true in the past, going back to the rise of the republicans. I do think this sidelines the effect that outsider movements have played in shaking up the party. Socialist and labor pushed FDR and the democrats as a whole into the New Deal and Keynesian econ. Civil rights movement pressing democrats- still pretty racist at that time themselves, into passing Civil Rights laws and Great Society. Now, we see the culmination of the Southern Strategy, as the tea party has turned George Bush's Compassionate Conservative© republican party into one of rabid nationalists with a take-no-prisoners approach to governance.

In Minnesota especially, but in other western states as well, various incarnations of progressive labor family/farmer parties have been primarily working alongside democrats, and they possess a good amount of sway in their home turf. The Sanders campaign networked a lot of these folks, so the possibility of their future cooperation shouldn't be dismissed. This is not to mention some of the other disaffected state parties, such as Maine and Hawaii, so I think there's a pretty big danger to DNC taking them for granted.

They certainly have more to lose by ignoring what's possible just because it's not likely- we've already seen where that gets us.


#180

Vermont is Canadian politics in a microcosm. (/jk) I'm a little sorry that the Spaceman didn't win the gubernatorial contest. I for one would welcome our new province (but I did a lot of my growing up in the Eastern Townships not too far from Magog, say about 20 miles north of Newport). :wink:

You may well already be there. It looks very much like the Dems have no real purpose except to promote their large sponsors. Economically there hasn't been much to differentiate the two parties for a few decades now. One party spices it up with social liberalism, the other has been choosing conservative demagoguery, but as long as similar economic policies hold sway, there is going to be no way to reform all the problems that stem directly from that economic philosophy.

The consolation, I suppose, is that the GOP is shooting itself in the foot as well.


#181

Right, and not even mentioning that if republicans hold serve till 2020, they get to redraw the maps again and put even more House seats away and solidify state legislature dominance.


#182

It looks that way to you, and largely that way to me (with minor caveats). The problem is that Americans are poorly educated, and generally are barely educated by an broken education system with heavy corporate influence (and hamstrung by the GOP) and heavily influenced by corporate media. So while many felt of the consequences of that, they by and large haven't got a real sense of what the problem is, let alone a sense of a viable solution. Many of them felt that pain and voted for Trump whose regime is replacing neoliberalism with something far more destructive and it was abundantly clear was going to fuck them over.

So any coming shakeups depend on an mass of ignorant and misinformed people to suddenly make educated choices. Until we've managed to fix issues with corporate control over education and the media and managed to persuade enough Americans that civilization is a good thing I doubt we're likely to see a left-wing movement get enough traction. Left wing movements have also been hamstrung by the corporate media as well, damn it. I wish the US were more like it's civilized brethren, but as a whole we've got a small educated professional caste that likes left wing ideas, and a whole lot of plebs who are suckers for policies that go against their interests who don't have the critical thinking skills to see through it. I don't have a great solution, but the problem's far, far greater than just political parties.

Certainly the time to be active is now, and I've never meant to imply otherwise. We were talking about the Pres. race, so I used the relevant year, but certainly everyone with even a hint of political awareness needs to be heavily engaged now.


#183

That's how it goes in elections. Hard to see why people have trouble accepting that and want us to believe that she had any real intention of following through.

I remember seeing a friend on Facebook argue that "the media says all kinds of nonsense, I'm going to go to the websites of the candidates and look at their policies." They voted for Trump, based on his policies. Not the things he has said or his behavior on the campaign trail, or his record... his policies. So what I hear when people talk about Clinton adopting the platform is that no left-wing voter should have dismissed Trump without first going to his website and carefully ensuring that Trump's policies were an issue. That would be deeply unfair... because only the platform matters, right?

There is something insulting to basic intelligence in the expectation that nothing a candidate has done or the totality of their record should be taken into consideration, only their promises. A) That's not how people actually make these judgments (and I include the friend who claimed to only care about policies) B) Relying on people to operate this way is really fucking dumb electoral politics.

That Clinton was the better candidate is indisputably true. It would be hard not to be the better candidate in this instance. I'd gladly have taken @japhroaig as president over Trump, fish puns and all. She should have won, and easily. I take the argument seriously that she was the better candidate than Bernie Sanders by my own standard of looking at the totality of her record, interests, and behavior. I disagree, but I don't think someone is stupid for thinking that. But that her promises were inherently worth anything... for fuck's sake is this the first time you've seen someone try to get elected?


#184

Whenever I see some liberal stalwart bemoaning how "the rest of the nation" voted in this election, I want to tell them, "Move there."

If you wanted to brute force the 2018 elections so that more democrats won, you'd be looking at areas that are (a) rural and (b) maybe kind of purple on a local level, and sending your people to go live there and be active there. Quantity-wise, there's probably more anti-Trumpists than Trumpists, but they're all geographically isolated. All those politically motivated liberals in San Fran and LA and NYC (of which I am one!) aren't winning you more elections, they're just pouring their vote into a pile that is already mostly full.

So take the people from places where there is a Democratic consensus, and move them to places that are a little more on the fence. If you want to be a great ally to the native people of North Dakota and oppose the DAPL, round up a thousand liberals and drop them into Bismark, and Dickenson, and Minot.

Of course, those places that are on the fence have a core problem: There ain't no jobs there. Or, there's fewer. And certainly not in industries like...entertainment...literature...software...(though Amazon and Microsoft both have surprisingly large bases there, MS in Fargo and Amazon in North Forks)

But there are jobs! North Dakota has a lot of jobs in...mining...fracking...oil drilling...

Sounds like just the place that could use some lefty neoliberals, amirite?


#185

Form. Another. Party.