Weep the Revolution

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar Mike Dwyer
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    says:

    As I noted in my post the other day, I have been particularly interested in this dynamic in 2016 because my daughter was one of these Sanders supporters. It has been her first election that she was passionate and engaged about him in a way that made me proud. My biggest concern as a father, once it became clear that Bernie couldn’t win, was that she would become jaded by the experience (it feels like a good parent should want that fire to stay in their kids’ bellies as long as possible).

    If my anecdotal sample of exactly 1 is any indication, Dems are doing a terrible job of bringing those people onto the Clinton train. The worst misstep yesterday was from Sarah Silverman, but you kind of expect that from a comedian that shoots from the hip. It was just such a gross moment of all these kids being told they were ridiculous and to just shut up and play along. I am still wondering, seriously, if this will be a banner year for the Greens. Certainly not the White House, but an impressive performance.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mike Dwyer
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      says:

      Polling indicates 90% of Sanders supporters have switched to Clinton. Which is, IIRC, better than the 2008 Clinton->Obama numbers.Report

      • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Morat20
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        says:

        Polling indicates 90% of Sanders supporters have switched to Clinton.

        This is and accurate, expected, and welcome.

        Which is, IIRC, better than the 2008 Clinton->Obama numbers.

        Could we not get competitive on this, making comparisons, starting fights, settling scores? Can we go high, not low?

        I really appreciate Bernie’s speech and behavior.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Doctor Jay
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          says:

          Me too, Senator Sanders was by and large a team player all the way (and HRC didn’t exactly rough him up much in return either).Report

        • Avatar Snarky McSnarkSnark in reply to Doctor Jay
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          says:

          Before the campaign season had begun, I saw Sanders on MSNBC, and he was straightforward in acknowledging that he had no chance of prevailing the primary, but his primary goal was to surface his political goals, and to pull the Democratic agenda to the left.

          He succeeded magnificently in this task. I think no one was more surprised by his success on the campaign trail than was Sanders himself. Other than a few moments of leaky resentment at the Clinton steamroller, I think he acquitted himself entirely honorably.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Doctor Jay
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          says:

          I wasn’t being competitive, I was giving a recent historical comparison and placing it in context.

          Context is kind of important. Is 90% good or bad? I dunno, let’s check the last heavily contested primary and see.Report

      • Avatar Fraz in reply to Morat20
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        says:

        The poll that indicates 90% of Sanders supporters switching to Clinton is a little misleading. The poll gave the respondents only a choice between Clinton and Trump, and did not give them an option for Johnson, Stein or staying home and not voting. With polls that have given other options the turnover from Sanders to Clinton is lower (off the top of my head 55-60%). So work still needs to be done to win over the Sanders supporters – which they have already flubbed a few times, while at the same time fighting a battle against the perception that it was “rigged” against Sanders which is being helped by the hacked e-mails and the Politico story about the Hillary for Victory funds being funneled back to the DNC from State Committees in a way that Mondale didn’t have to contend with after winning over Jackson.Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Mike Dwyer
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      says:

      The worst misstep yesterday was from Sarah Silverman, but you kind of expect that from a comedian that shoots from the hip.

      I simply don’t get why politicians do this to themselves. If your goal is to put up a bunch of speakers who won’t rock the boat and will generate good feelings of unity and common cause, why would you put Sarah Silverman up there? I’m actually surprised she didn’t go more “off script” than she did. And that’s not an indictment of Silverman–I think she’s talented and funny. It’s just that she’s Sarah Silverman. You don’t bring her in to a delicate negotiation and just hope that she won’t say something brutally honest.

      Was she selected by the same group that chose Colbert for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2006?Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Troublesome Frog
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        says:

        On paper, paired up with Franken, who was the funny guy but now is Serious People (said with much respect), it’s an ok plan. You potentially got sort of a variation on the Key & Peele anger translator skit, though I don’t think that’s the direction they took it.

        The main downside is that Franken may be a bit too much Boomer and Silverman a bit too much Gen X to really connect with the yutes.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Troublesome Frog
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        says:

        Colbert was chosen by GWB, who no one had the heart to tell that “that guy on tv’s actingReport

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Mike Dwyer
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      says:

      Silverman’s admonition seemed incredibly tin-eared to me, too. Everyone’s saying nice things about how much Sanders has accomplished and influenced the party… meanwhile his most passionate supporters are ridiculous.

      But everyone seemed to eat it up. Or maybe everyone who already agreed with her ate it up. But that’s definitely some Sanders supporters now (obviously, since she’s one, though I have a bit of a hard time fully crediting her Sanders support as all that passionate when she’s able to turn around and say that with such ease).

      I would add (and did on Twitter): if I were one of the holdouts, I think I would be prepared to be called ridiculous by fellow delegates or attendees who are earnest, committed activists or party members like myself. I would have a harder time being called that by a comedian who’s working at this point with Monopoly money in terms of her own material circumstances. I would feel that she’s not really the one with the skin in the game in terms of the class and worker-welfare message Sanders brought to the campaign.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    My first Presidential election was Bush v. Gore v. Nader in 2000. I did not get the Naderites back then and I don’t get those who were enthralled over Bernie now.

    I like Bernie. I like that he ran and pushed HRC to the left. I don’t get the sheer utopianianism of his followers and their seeming belief that electing Bernie Sanders to the White House will make everything excellent. Do they not understand the limits of the executive branch? Do they think Sanders can roll past an oppositional Congress? Many Bernie supporters I know are people with college and advanced degrees!

    I was turned off by the messiah aspect of Bernieism. There are no messiahs.

    There seem to be a lot of people who don’t treat voting or politics as practical matters but as an avenue for proving how good and pure they are. How holy and untouched by corruption. I’ve honestly never understood the sneer of “lesser of two evils”. The world is complex and resources are limited. Many questions including policy/political questions involves up-sides, down-sides, and trade-offs. Acknowledging this is part of becoming an adult but it seems we have a lot of overgrown kindergarten students.Report

  3. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    says:

    A beautiful piece, Tod.

    According to polls, very few Sanders supporters aren’t going to vote for Hillary. And by several accounts there weren’t actually that many in the arena last night, but the media loves to “roll in them the way a dog rolls in a dead animal”, to quote a friend on Google+.

    However, I like the way you engage with how those people might be feeling right now, and how you felt at a similar moment. That’s real. It’s important.

    Pain is the wellspring.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      A beautiful lie, sadly enough.

      The media loves conflict — except when it doesn’t. Palin got booed when she threw down the puck at the Flyers game, and all anyone heard were the canned cheers. (It’s Philly, their sports fans booed Santa Claus)Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    There were ghosts whispering in the halls of the RNC in 2012.

    Ghosts whispering in the ears of the people who showed up for Ron Paul (but not for Mitt Romney).

    Ghosts whispering in the ears of people who watched 2012 returns hoping for a particular outcome even as they themselves forgot-accidentally-on-purpose to vote that day.

    There’s probably some way to tie the new ghostbusters into this as well but I don’t have the strength.Report

  5. Avatar North
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    says:

    An excellent post. I agree for the most part. The Democratic Party (and HRC) should be quite grateful to Senator Sanders.Report

  6. Avatar pillsy
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    says:

    My first election was Clinton v. Dole, except I actually didn’t bother voting. I thought neither candidate was worth voting for, but by the same token, neither was worth voting against.

    I got a bit of the revolutionary spark with McCain four years later, except by the time I noticed it it was already all over for his campaign. I voted Gore without a whole lot of enthusiasm, but also without much regret, and haven’t seriously considered a Republican candidate since.

    Still, by the time Howard Dean came along, I was already well along the road to viewing politicians in a way that was far too cynical to really get invested in them as revolutionary figures. I was enthusiastic about Obama, but that was because I thought his “Hope and Change” line was a brilliant bit of marketing guff to get a competent-seeming but far-from-revolutionary guy with reasonably appealing policies into office. I had a lot of friends who sorta swooned for him, and I remember telling quite a few of them that they were going to end up being pretty disappointed in him in the end. I was mostly right about that.Report

  7. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    So let’s talk a bit about Jesse Jackson and what he accomplished. Based on what I’m reading in other comments, it seems that some of you all may not be old enough to remember that he was all but written off as a fringe candidate. When Gary Hart self-imploded on the front page of the National Enquirer, suddenly people started paying attention to Jackson because there was no other real alternative to Mondale out there.

    Jackson mainstreamed gay rights. I cannot think of a single Presidential candidate before him who specifically reached out to gay and lesbian Americans and said, “There is a place for you at this table, just as you are. Come, join us.”

    The phrase “rainbow coalition” has become integrated not just into Democratic party platform statements but into the culture of America itself. Employers, private and public; now regularly make an effort to promote their diversity as an asset and a competitive strength. Educational institutions tout their diverse student bodies as reasons why one should want to attend. And political parties ignore “minority” demographic groups at their electoral peril – the source of substantial angst by Republicans, who find themselves needing to both drive up white voter participation and drive down minority voter participation to remain competitive.

    He cast South Africa as a pariah for its apartheid policy. Remember, this was fringe stuff at the time. But Jackson’s push on that issue led to a boycott which lead to sanctions which lead to a (mostly) velvet revolution, Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, and steps towards social justice in that industrialized nation.

    Jackson advocated the creation of a separate state of Palestine. The “two-state solution” was still very much in debate at that point. It is now effectively the party line of both major national parties if not precisely a reality just yet.

    He proposed not just a “nuclear freeze” but opening negotiations with the Soviet Union towards mutual drawdowns of stockpiles, and writing down the Department of Defense budget by as much as 15%. In 1984, many thought this was not only insanely dangerous but verging upon treason. Two years later, Reykjavik got us this close to a ten-year total disarmament treaty, and four years after that, Congress was salivating at how to spend the “peace dividend.”

    Not everything Jackson put in his platform has happened — reinvestment in infrastructure, free community college for everyone, refocusing the war on drugs to catching the money-launderers instead of the users, slave reparations, single-payer health care. But if those things sound familiar, well, they should, because we’re still talking about those ideas in this election cycle. Which tells me that Jackson ’84 is Sanders ’16. So not everything the Berners have been asking for will actually happen, but it does mean that unlike the written-to-be-ignored policy platform adopted by the Republicans last week, Sanders’ platform fight has a good chance to orient the ideological future of the Democratic party leftward — at exactly a time that Republicans are seemingly in a state of historic disarray.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      Jackson is nothing but a race hustler. Steve Sailer says so.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      Thanks for this, @burt-likko . I knew he’s a badass (I know one when I see one), but I didn’t know all these deets.

      He’s always seemed like a really decent fellow, as well. And on top of his game. When the sad business with Jesse Jr. came down, my main thoughts, as bad as I felt for Jesse Jr.’s immediate family, were for Rev. Jackson having to shepherd his son through that. I bet he’s done it as well as it can be done, though. I’d actually really love to see a deeply reported piece on the fallout there, but obviously I understand why they would not grant access for it.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      The two state solution will never actually happen.
      Israel is threatening to assassinate the leaders of a peaceful boycott, for god’s sake.
      Which, yanno, ordinarily — if Turkey threatens someone, or Australia — they don’t got a history.
      But Mossad’s got a history of doing things extrajudicially.Report

  8. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    This thread may be as good a place as any to ask — has Bernie Sanders done enough to pull those very vocal, very dedicated from among his supporters back into the mainstream Democratic fold? I realize that the large majority of Sanders voters are rank-and-file voters, who will quickly and without a lot of rancor be pleased to vote for Clinton. I’m asking about the leaders, the true believers, the ones with lots of energy and idealism. The ones Our Tod describes here as grappling with tough emotions and deep disappointment. Are those people going to need an election away from the Democratic party before they direct their zeal towards a Democratic candidate?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      The Youth have always had problems when it comes to turning out.

      My gut feel from what I’ve seen is that Bernie did enough to make the lion’s share *NOT* vote for Trump, but I don’t know that they’ll show up in numbers that will be called “energized” come election day.

      But I do think that he forestalled a “Since We Can’t Bern It Up, We’ll Burn It Down” movement (defined as more than, oh, 12% going to show up to vote for Trump).

      That said, we’ve a long summer in front of us and there might be a lot of weird things that make it to the front pages in Europe and/or the US.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Let us all pray and hope that there is no further violence. Rebound effects on American politics aside.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Pretty much. Polling says about 90% of Sander’s supporters have switched. Given Sanders’ strongest demographics are also the least likely to turnout to vote, that 10% will hurt HRC even less than it seems.

        I don’t think she’s counting on a huge youth swell over, say 2012.

        While I kvetched about Sanders dragging it out, I have no problems saying when he finally conceded, he went in all in on the party and the big picture. Ain’t nothing to criticize there.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      Even before Monday, the polls and evidence showed that the overwhelming majority of Sanders supporters said that they would vote for Clinton. The remainders were just very loud in their displeasure.

      My guess is that some of these people were never part or fond of the Democratic Party. Salon’s H.A. Goodman was a Rand Paul supporter who switched to Sanders. Lee would point out that the farther left never really joined in with the Democratic Party like the farther right did with the GOP.

      Anecdotally, some of the hardest Bernie or Busters I know are posting a Shaun King thing on FB where King said he is joining with Sanders and voting for HRC. Sanders did the anti-Cruz.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      has Bernie Sanders done enough to pull those very vocal, very dedicated from among his supporters back into the mainstream Democratic fold?

      Well, no. Of course not. His candidacy was based on a whole bunch of policy planks and ideological commitments that aren’t Democratic. In my view, the people he appealed to, especially the most rabid, weren’t ever “in the Democratic fold” to begin with.

      Another way to say it may be this: Bernie gave a whole bunch of people a liberal-while-not-Dem platform to enthusiastically, rather than reluctantly, support. I think the Dems have been floating untethered for quite a while, and Bernie sorta brought that home. To Berners, anyway.

      (A mini-rant aside: I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with pro-Hillary cranks who continue to complain about Berners. It’s an effing democracy, people! If you want more unity you shoulda endorsed a more unifying candidate!)Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      To whether he’s done enough to move that wing of his voters I can only say who knows?

      I would say, however, that Bernie has done everything he practically could and all that anyone could realistically ask him to do. HRC/Democratic partisans should have no complaints about him at this point in my opinion.Report

  9. Avatar LTL FTC
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    says:

    I was a true believer for Howard Dean in 2004. After his run abruptly ended, a lot of people went back to the anti-war movement from whence they came. Others, bloggers especially, got mainstreamed quickly and turned upstart support into a real place at the table. Dean himself ran the party.

    I don’t know if people are more alienated now, if the establishment is more rarefied or if the other outlets for political expression are too chaotic and diffuse to channel that energy toward useful ends. Maybe it would have been like this if Dean got as close as Sanders did. Maybe Dean was not such a departure from the Democratic mainstream. Either way, you’re right that this is far from new.Report

  10. Avatar Damon
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    says:

    And then there are the people who realize they’ve been played, co opted, or watched their candidate “sell out” and they come to understand outsiders never win and they were used and cast aside. That the promises and rhetoric was just words and all they achieved was a change to a platform that no one pays attention to anyway.

    They’ll always remember they were used.

    (This is not a personal anecdote)Report

    • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Damon
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      says:

      Then, even later, they come to understand what President Obama realized that Candidate Obama didn’t.

      If you shift the tiller of the ship 1% now, the ship moves 1% that direction every year from then on. The R’s certainly understand this with their conscious manipulation of the Overton Window.

      Incrementalism works, if you stick with it. But only if you stick with it.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to El Muneco
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        says:

        Indeed. As you said, you have to stick with it. That is why indeed, the ship of state of significantly “off course”, so much so that righting it won’t correct things soon enough. Gonna have to wait until the ship runs aground.

        But your assumptions is that those elected work to “stick with it” and refraining from short term compromises that work at cross purposes to the “goal”. That’s not something I expect. I expect short term focus and “say what I have to get elected” and working back room deals. Selling out–your self, your staff, your voters, all are par for the course with politicians.Report

  11. Avatar trizzlor
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    says:

    Someone actually interviewed the ”robin hood Bernie bro“ crying guy that was making a lot memes, and he said he was crying because he was proud of Sanders bringing the party together and pushing the movement into the mainstream where things get done. He also mentioned in passing, and this is not a joke, that he had another run-in recently with internet fame because he pulled a woman out of a burning car. What a world.Report

  12. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    1. There was some big leaps with Party Unity overall. The Democratic Convention is striving to be the convention of inclusion and Conor F (no friend to the Democratic Party notes this):

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/07/donald-trumps-threats-against-minorities-are-unifying-democrats/493004/

    2. Still there was also a walk-up among die-hard Bernie supporters and I see memes on how Bernie was betrayed by his party. Said memes ignore that Bernie only became a Democratic Party member last year. Bernie is strong enough to unite behind Clinton. What is up with his supporters? Do they want the world to burn?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Do they want the world to burn?

      Do you think that they must be Donald Trump fans, secretly?

      Perhaps even White Supremacist sympathizers?Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Matt Yglesias took a stab at voxsplaining it, and I think he’s onto something.

        They may be coming from a different kind of activism, the kind where you make yourself a pain in the ass by repeatedly drawing attention to the problem you want fixed in a disruptive way. I.e., “protesting”.

        It’s not a bad thing in and of itself. It’s just a crappy fit for party politics.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy
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          says:

          When they’re kids, they’re still all about principles and fairness. God bless ’em. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

          They will have the naivety ground out of them over the next decade or so and then they get to support someone who is more of a realist and then get irritated when the next Nader/Dean/Sanders shows up and all of the yutes devote themselves to this wonderful utopian message instead of doing the hard work involved in Straightening Up and Flying Right and doing the much more cynical work involved of making real-life sausages instead of pies in the sky.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Social Justice is the opiate of the masses.Report

  13. Avatar Jason Kuznicki
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    says:

    “It will not have been for nothing.”

    That’s precisely the problem.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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      says:

      That it was for nothing, or that it was not for nothing?
      Everything changes, all things corrode,
      And when you get right down to it, it’s a numbers game.
      Fifty years later, America will be able to support about 200 million people.
      Gasoline prices will be higher, it will be more difficult to ship food in.

      Who gets to die? And how?Report

  14. Avatar rmass
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve watched several conventions. I cant remember the runner up getting this much love ever, even 2008. So yeah, hilldawg and the party reached out hard. And bernie has grasped that hand tight, and thrown himself into a new fight. With a movement meeting early August.

    The bern is in his last fight people. Beware old men with principles. They hear footsteps behind them and wish to make a lasting impact before the curtain comes down.Report

  15. Avatar Anne
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    says:

    Thanks for this my TOD, 1984 was my first election to vote and I remember the same excitement about Jackson followed by the same disappointment. Going back farther I’m surprised I vote at all. My Dad was an elector for Eugene McCarthy in 1976, in 1980 we had a blackboard up following the primaries on TV Carter represented by a peanut, Bob Dole a banana (don’t judge I was 14) can’t remember what we had for Regan probably a monkey a’la bedtime for BonzoReport

  16. Avatar Paul
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    says:

    I read stories like this and can only conclude I’ve never been young, or I was born cynical. Unbridled faith in and enthusiasm for a politician has always seemed a bit disturbing, almost being a matter of religion rather than politics.Report

  17. Avatar Barry
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    says:

    Todd: “Just as I understand those that chanted “We Trusted You!” to a soft-spoken Sen. Warren. ”

    I understand them; they have zero clue.Report

  18. Avatar b-psycho
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    says:

    …so when does the opposing of empire & the changing of the US’s posture towards the rest of the world to peace & humility become mainstream?Report

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