The Case for Bernie Sanders

Avatar

Roland Dodds

Roland Dodds is an educator, researcher and father who writes about politics, culture and education. He spent his formative years in radical left wing politics, but now prefers the company of contrarians of all political stripes (assuming they aren't teetotalers). He is a regular inactive at Harry's Place and Ordinary Times.

Related Post Roulette

78 Responses

  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but every time I hear him speak, I feel like I am listening to an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. To me, his voice sounds remarkably like Larry David.Report

  2. “Financial intuitions”?Report

  3. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    “Around the world, right wing populism has capitalized on the rightward economic shift within liberal and left wing parties.”

    I think this is the a key observation; however, my outsider’s view of Sanders is that he’s fighting the last war… it isn’t that he’s socialist, its that the plan is really to negotiate with the “rightward economic shift” for a set of ameliorating goods (like a New New Deal) that are really just a tax on the existing system and winners… a tax that – even if successful – will perpetuate various unsustainable bits… albeit with a new baseline and a settlement that the “winners” negotiate to a level they can live with.

    So, my outsider’s critique of Bernie is that offering: “a national minimum wage of 15 dollars, free public education, a repeal of the Trump tax plan and capping the size of financial intuitions.” Is so shortsighted that it will make inequality worse. Another way to put it, if I were an Oligarch, I’d be happy to negotiate all of those things as a cost of remaining an Oligarch, so long as I don’t have to cut anyone in to the game. As such, ironically, he’s validating the rightward economic shift within liberal and left wing parties.

    This is not an endorsement of Socialism, or a backhanded way to say he’s not sufficiently Socialist… its to say that the Socialism of Social Democrats and Socialists alike isn’t the answer to the problems we’re facing. The critique may be good, but the response is dated.Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to Marchmaine says:

      What is the answer then but to use the power of the state to ameliorate cost disease issues though?

      The obvious failures of planned economies mean putting the market back in the bag isn’t really an option, and doing it would be tossing a lot of babies out with bathwater. Besides, we’re Americans, we can live with some obscenely rich people running around as long as everyone else is getting a minimally decent standard of living and fair shot at the ladder. The idea is to patch holes and ensure some shared prosperity to keep democracy strong, not reinvent the wheel.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to InMD says:

        I have no interest in attempting to command a thing such as an economy… the combox suggested path to explore is buried in my comment: “so long as I don’t have to cut anyone in to the game”

        Cut everyone into the game at the point of wealth creation. Let economies do whatever we think economies do; culturally and legally the charter of doing business should “privilege” both capital and labor, not one over the other. That’s the slow fundamental shift that distributes wealth as it is created rather than negotiating for access to it from powerful interests after the fact.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

      , my outsider’s view of Sanders is that he’s fighting the last war

      Yeah, I started writing a comment and it pretty much just rewrote this sentence.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I don’t think Sanders is a radical per se but as a partisan Democrat (and a proud one), I don’t like his refusal to be a team player. He wants the nomination but does not want to join the party. I also think it is clear that he dominated the anyone but the mainstream candidate last year. Now he is splitting the anyone but Biden vote with Harris and Warren largely.

    That being said, there is polling I read about that shows a lot of Bernie supporters have Biden as their second choice and I find that odd. Biden is being the most pooh poohing of millennial concerns and policy preference issues and there is a far cry from Sanders saying cancel all student debt to Biden’s refusal to do anything about it.*

    *From what I’ve heard offhand, lots of older politicians including very progressive ones have an old economy Steve view of student debt because they graduated at times when it was non-existent or de minimis. They don’t understand that it is no longer possible to pay for tuition from summer jobs or doing so would require ten to fifteen years to graduate.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Here’s the main problem that I see with Bernie Sanders.

    I had thought that people supported Sanders in 2016 because they supported his policies and wanted a more Leftish/Progressive leader.

    It is beginning to sneak up on me that people supported Sanders for no reason other than he was Not Clinton. It has nothing to do with how he thinks about (insert policy here). It has nothing to do with how he was the Progressive Alternative.

    He merely wasn’t Clinton.

    And there were a lot of people who mistook support for Sanders as support for Sanders’s’s policies. And now there are a bunch of Democratic Hopefuls who have adopted Sanders’s’s policies when that had nothing to do with why he had so much support last time… and now he’s coasting on name recognition and the vague idea that, seriously, he would have won in 2016.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

      I was a delegate at the 2010 California Dem Convention. Speaker after speaker came on to applause that ranged from tepid to enthusiastic.

      Then Bernie came on the screen, and the place went wild. Standing ovation, cheers gcheering and whistles.
      Here was a guy who wanted to take the fight to the enemy, who didn’t ask for or give mercy or concession. He never started a speech with the obligatory preamble of “small government” crap or “lower taxes” pabulum. He was unapologetic in his demand for social democracy and never backed down.

      There were always Not Clinton’s- O Malley, the other guy, and the other other guy.

      I know there is a tremendous desire to make the Clintons the alpha and omega of Dem politics, but the lefty populist turn isn’t something new. The Dems have been hungering for this since at least the 2006 midterms. It only accelerated in the Great Recession and hasn’t let up since.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        And that lack of mercy and compassion for their class enemies and capitalists is common with socialist true-believers. Robespierre, Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Chavez, Mao: All inspiring speakers preaching a no-compromise utopian vision to rapturous crowds. Unfortunately their schemes require massive amounts of murder and oppression, and even then, still don’t work. Their basic problem was that they had plenty of anger and resentment, but less understanding of how markets, business, and property work than a Guatemalan who runs a taco stand.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

          The speech was called The Omelette of Liberty Demands the Breaking of Eggs:

          “Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted?

          Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done, to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!

          It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Was he fighting for social justice or class warfare or ditching a free market economy? No.

            He said we must fight to:

            preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges

            He was fighting to preserve white privilege. Local elections, jury trials, anti-regulation, small government… That works! The French Revolution, and the subsequent socialist revolutions it spawned, went badly: Guillotines, mass graves, purges, executions, mass starvation, millions of refugees fleeing the Bolsheviks, the German National Socialists, the Red Chinese, Vietnam, Cuba, Eastern Europe, Venezuela.

            Were there any mass executions of the British Tories or Hessian soldiers? No, there were not. The American revolution was about changing the government to make it more responsive, not about getting revenge or looting rich people or overthrowing aristocrats, since they never even bothered moving to the Colonies. All the lords, dukes, and earls were unharmed and didn’t even have to leave their house or pay any extra taxes.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

              There were plenty of Antifa types who deplatformed the Loyalists, by pouring boiling tea down their throats.

              The Loyalists who supported the government were expelled, and their property forfeit.

              The Patriots were badass fighters, and make Bernie look like a weak kneed squish.

              Mister we could use a man like Patrick Henry again.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Boiling tea? Got any sources that aren’t Mel Gibson? That was to make a movie seem more dramatic. One of the problems that Hollywood had was that the Revolution was so polite that nobody in a modern audience would see any reason for conflict. A few churches were burned during the course of it, but nobody was in them.

                The bulk of the post war negotiations were all about property rights of Americans and British whose estates were on the other side. A whole lot of the early Supreme Court cases concerned the same. Could a Tory’s patriot children inherit his American plantation? Could an American patriot retain full title to his family’s house in Essex? Was a loyalist’s property escheated to the state, or could he or his heirs sell it for whatever they could get, or was it be sold at public auction with the highest bid of course being to the loyalist, who was in fact the owner even though he was expelled?

                These were important questions, and they don’t even exist in the socialist revolutionary’s universe.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                The proud history of AntiFa violence, an excerpt:

                “… Dr. Abner Beebe, a Physician, complained of the bad Usage of his Uncle &
                spoke very freely in Favor of [the royal] Government, for which he was assaulted by a Mob, stripped
                naked, & hot Pitch was poured upon him, which blistered his Skin. He was then carried to an Hog Sty & rubbed over with Hog’s Dung. They threw the Hog’s Dung in his Face & rammed some of it down his
                Throat; & in that Condition exposed to a Company of Women. His House was attacked, his Windows
                broke, when one of his Children was sick, & a Child of his went into Distraction upon this Treatment. His
                Grist-mill was broke, & Persons prevented from grinding at it & from having any Connections with him. ”

                “The writer concludes: “To recount the sufferings of
                all from mobs, rioters and trespassers would take
                more time and paper than can be spared for that
                purpose. It is hoped the foregoing will be sufficient
                to put you upon the use of proper means and
                measures for giving relief to all that have been
                injured by such unlawful and wicked practices.”
                Feb. 20th, 1775”

                http://americainclass.org/sources/makingrevolution/rebellion/text2/oliverloyalistsviolence.pdfReport

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                http://americainclass.org/sources/makingrevolution/rebellion/text2/oliverloyalistsviolence.pdf

                “…Dr. Abner Beebe, a Physician, complained of the bad Usage of his Uncle & spoke very freely in Favor of [the royal] Government, for which he was assaulted by a Mob, stripped
                naked, & hot Pitch was poured upon him, which blistered his Skin. He was then carried to an Hog Sty & rubbed over with Hog’s Dung. They threw the Hog’s Dung in his Face & rammed some of it down his
                Throat; & in that Condition exposed to a Company of Women.
                His House was attacked, his Windows broke, when one of his Children was sick, & a Child of his went into Distraction upon this Treatment.
                His Grist-mill was broke, & Persons prevented from grinding at it & from having any Connections with him. ”

                The writer concludes: “To recount the sufferings of
                all from mobs, rioters and trespassers would take
                more time and paper than can be spared for that
                purpose. It is hoped the foregoing will be sufficient
                to put you upon the use of proper means and
                measures for giving relief to all that have been
                injured by such unlawful and wicked practices.”
                Feb. 20th, 1775Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Beebe had publicly argued that General Gage had a right to fire on people in Boston if they didn’t hand over their weapons. He said not paying British taxes was treason. He was indeed rather viciously attacked, and his broken millstone has become a tourist attraction. In Seattle that’s known as Tuesday.

                There was another loyalist who had his wig stolen off his head. Some got tarred and feathered. The point was to besmirch their honor.

                In leftist revolutions they strip people of property, force them into concentration camps, and sometimes have to resort to what amounts to assembly line methods for the mass executions.

                Beebe’s property was vandalized, but when he died decades later, still here, he left his Connecticut estate to his family.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                Just imagine the protests of the year 2219, when people will dress up as Antifa to imbue their movement with the spirit of American patriotism…Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

                Don’t tread on me, bro.

                I haven’t even gotten to the grade school pageants involving Andy Ngo.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Will those teach kids that gay Asian journalists must be violently attacked at sent to the hospital for brain damage because they’re gay Asian journalists?Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to George Turner says:

                I’m pretty sure the animosity toward the guy was not because he was gay, nor because he was Asian.

                I have no idea if history will view Antifa as “patriots.” However, I believe history will note the rise of right wing populism in the current era, and in turn its relation to fascism. I like to believe that future generations will take a dim view of this development, of Trumpism and its surrounding culture. In those terms, indeed Antifa will be seen as “part of the good guys, even if they went too far sometimes,” just as we currently view many historic resistance movements.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to veronica d says:

                The Nazis, Fascists, and Maoists were convinced that history would view them as the good guys, too. But they were judged by their actions and beliefs, and Antifa is right in there with them.

                The KKK is legal, whereas we’re considering classifying Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization. That speaks volumes. Law enforcement was on high alert in DC because Antifa was going to throw acid bombs at people. Have you ever seen women who’ve had their face burned off with acid? It’s not pretty.

                They are violent Marxist, socialist, and anarchist thugs, much like the original Fascists but without the WW-I combat experience. (Fascism was a melding of socialism, Marxist revisionism, anarcho-syndicalism, and futurism.)

                Antifa’s “right wing extremist” targets are groups like Patriot Prayer, which was founded and run by a Japanese/Italian libertarian moderate who supports legal weed, citizenship for illegals, same-sex marriage, and the replacement of the IRS with a national sales tax. Many of his views are indistinguishable from Bernie Sanders.

                His right-hand man when he goes head-to-head with Antifa is Tusitala Toese. If that doesn’t strike you as a white name, it’s because he’s Samoan.

                But thank goodness we have those 100% white Antifa members ready to beat up centrist minorities to promote socialism and protect white civilization, just like those German thugs used to do.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                “The KKK is legal, whereas we’re considering classifying Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization. That speaks volumes.”

                It does indeed.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Ummm can I weigh in here on behalf of other liberals and note that Antifa debatably has their hearts in the right place -maybe- but they’re illiberal idiots and hopefully both they and their right wing foes loose. Because that does need to be said on behalf of the overwhelming majority of liberals.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to North says:

                The trouble is, everyone who’s not an Antifa member is a right-wing Nazi foe. That’s how their crazy world works.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

                Guess which character you’re going to end up being in the grade school production of “The Battle of Seattle “?

                Mm Hmm.

                “Listen children, and stand in awe
                of the midnight ride of Anti-Fa…”Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I don’t know. Does Berlin celebrate Kristallnacht?

                Not long ago Antifa attacked Candace Owens in a restaurant. She commented on being protected from “an all-white fascist organization” by Philly police officers, all of whom were black and Hispanic.

                Blacks, Jews, Asians, and Hispanics have to protect each other from Antifa’s violent organized assaults.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Shouldn’t it be the battle of Portland?Report

              • Avatar The question in reply to North says:

                constantly denigrating the people willing to actually do direct action is a good way to make sure there’s nobody on our side left willing to do direct action which is how you loseReport

              • Avatar North in reply to The question says:

                Maybe it’s my age but I remember the time before Trump when Antifa’s arrival to stir up shit on the fringes of actual protests with actual liberal aims was viewed with dislike and loathing by most protest organizers.
                Antifa can only be reliably be depended on to do direct action to destroy poor people’s cars, throw shit through windows in usually poor people’s neighborhoods and make liberal protests that have actual constructive policy goals look chaotic and illiberal all while cowering behind masks so they don’t get a police arrest and have to actually suffer some risk for their so called principles. If my denigration means they’re gonna bail out of the left then I’ll need to up my denigration game.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                “Just imagine the protests of the year 2219, when people will dress up as Antifa…”

                And still another attempt to LARP the KKK.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            You’re quoting a guy who insisted that the system was so bad it needed a violent revolution.

            That’s a seriously risky move and a really heavy price to pay in the context of… what are the goals here?Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

              Interesting question.
              How do you suppose that grievances of minorities in 2019 America would sound compared to those of Nathan Hale in 1776?

              Predatory fines, compared to the Stamp Act?
              Police shootings, to quartering of Redcoats?

              Don’t you suppose that you and I had our dopplegangers in those times, where we would have sat arguing in taverns?

              And that maybe one of our doubles would have formed a very logical and cogent argument that no, in fact, George was actually a very benevolent King, and the colonists were just greedy malcontents?

              Part of what I’m doing here is to challenge the idea that tyranny is just something obvious and easy to recognize, and that of course we all would rise up against it if it appeared.

              The guy I quoted above, Dr. Beebe, never experienced arrest or torture at the hands of the Crown, and likely the grievances of Nathan Hale just sounded like rubbish, and further, the so-called “Patriots” were really just a motley mob, beating innocent people.

              You and I-We’re each a latter day Dr. Beebe.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Part of what I’m doing here is to challenge the idea that tyranny is just something obvious and easy to recognize, and that of course we all would rise up against it if it appeared.

                Ah yes. The invisible tyranny which requires progressives to point it out for us and to take control of and expand the gov so they can lead us to non-tyranny.

                Of course police shootings are down, not up, and the bulk of the other problems you’re pointing to are getting better, not worse, and liberal strongholds like Baltimore don’t look like Utopia. In addition, “expand the gov” in practice means “give Trump more power”… but no doubt he’s both the first and last scumbag to take power so no problem.

                The government creates a mess, and the only possible solution is more government.

                Predatory fines…

                I expect this is mostly a local thing. I also expect it’s mostly where the progressives already have full control.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                And by any metric, the lives of the ordinary Russians improved greatly from 1918 to 1988, so really, there is no reason to tear down the Berlin Wall since everything is working so splendidly.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Well, abandoning big government socialism was certainly a giant leap forward for the Russians. Many still don’t have indoor plumbing, though. A lot of them still don’t quite grasp property rights and free markets, so it will take them a long time to recover.

                One of William Casey’s great insights was that socialism isn’t really a form of government. It functions as a criminal enterprise that has taken over an entire country, using its position (and often murder, extortion, and threats) to shake down the entire populace, who are forbidden from competing with the mafia in charge.

                As long as they behave, they’re allowed basic, low-quality food, health care, clothes, and accommodations, all the freedom and material things we in the West provide to prison convicts.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                Well, then, the Russians are very lucky they aren’t subject to a government which “functions as a criminal enterprise that has taken over an entire country, using its position (and often murder, extortion, and threats) to shake down the entire populace, who are forbidden from competing with the mafia in charge.”Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Not nearly to the extent they were. 🙂

                Casey’s insight was key, because up until then we’d regarded socialist republics as just another form of government, and we had assumed that they operated as such.

                We dramatically shifted our strategy to one of undermining a large mafia organization, cutting off its access of hard currency and forcing it to spend too much of its income on protection, along with all sorts of other nasty things. They couldn’t handle the strain and utterly collapsed.

                North Korea is similar. The regime sells gold to little mom & pop jewelry stores throughout Asia, and the money is used to by whatever trinkets Kim requires to keep his government’s own officials bought off so they stay loyal.

                Bribing all the important people (corrupting the cops) is his carrot. His stick is the frequent and brutal executions of anyone suspected of disloyalty, just like any mobster would do.

                It’s much the same in Cuba, Venezuela, or any other socialist country.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                “Bribing all the important people (corrupting the cops) is his carrot. His stick is the frequent and brutal executions of anyone suspected of disloyalty, just like any mobster would do.”

                Wait, why are you changing the subject to Putin?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Putin doesn’t do it nearly as much as his predecessors. Deaths went way down, even considering the invasion of Ukraine.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                Ahh, I see.
                So Casey’s insight was that communist Russia was a corrupt brutal mafia state, whereas capitalist Russia would be a corrupt brutal mafia state…with somewhat fewer killings.

                Perceptive sage, that Casey.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                The problem was that the KGB (Putin) pretty much took over in Russia.

                Is Germany a corrupt police state compared to when East Germany was under Soviet control? What about Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Ukraine, Slovenia, and all the rest?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                And by any metric, the lives of the ordinary Russians improved greatly from 1918 to 1988

                You’ve been listening to too many pro-Soviet claims.

                Between 1918 and 1988 the USSR did such things as take control of all private industry, which in practice meant taking farmland away from peasants and then forcing them to work on collectives they don’t own. Thus the various internal mini-revolutions, thus it would not be shocking if people were actually poorer (measured by wealth) in 1988 because they weren’t allowed to accumulate capital. That was the dirty secret behind how they fixed the inequality problem.

                Another metric was the Berlin wall itself. Walling citizens in prison-style was something the USSR had to invent because they, unlike the Czars of old, were THAT unpopular and repressive.

                Further, and worse, we weren’t talking about “by any metric”. We were talking about your chosen metrics, i.e. the police shooting people (etc). I didn’t change metrics and claim “in spite of more police shootings they are better off because of X”. I’m using your metrics and claiming if that’s the yardstick you want to use, people are better off.

                Something else I pointed out was a lot of these problems, i.e. the metrics you’re claiming are important, are really bad in places which already use your desired solutions.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                By the late Brezhnev Era, how many summary killings were there?

                Seriously, compared to America, how many innocent people were killed by the state per capita?

                Once again, my point is that every unjust regime has a very large protected class of people who never experience brutality or injustice.

                If you were to speak to the children of a high or middle ranking member of the Communist Party, who has access to special stores, who never worries about the knock at the door, who never has to be guarded in their conversation…how would you go about convincing them that they actually live in a tyrannical state?

                I’m not actually saying America and the USSR are the same; I’m saying that people like you and I and most here at OT are like those privileged party members who never experience the cruelty of American injustice, so it seems easy to imagine that we couldn’t possibly live in an unjust state.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                “By the late Brezhnev Era, how many summary killings were there? Seriously, compared to America, how many innocent people were killed by the state per capita?”

                well this thread sure did go some placesReport

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DensityDuck says:

                If you were to speak to the children of a high or middle ranking member of the Communist Party, who has access to special stores, who never worries about the knock at the door, who never has to be guarded in their conversation…

                There were no such people. Even the top party officials had to be guarded in conversation – always.

                People with loose lips would be ratted out by their children. The higher up they were, the bigger their show trial and execution would be if they were caught saying the wrong things. Gorbachev ran the whole place and he got overthrown in a military coup d’etat because he wavered on supporting communism and the East Bloc.

                Stalin had show trials that wiped out much of the politburo. Saddam copied those and had Ba’athist leaders dragged out of Iraq’s parliament and executed.

                A person who shows disloyalty would be shot. A person who fails would be shot. But worse, a person who succeeds too well would also be shot so they couldn’t become a viable rival for power.

                So everybody learned to stay in their lane, and stay exactly in their lane. Who are the true believers, who are the fanatics, who are the rats, and who is just pretending? Most importantly, who is bugged? Nobody could tell, so they all had to stick to the party line, even with family and friends.

                And of course that went all the way down. One of my Estonian friends had his uncle sent to a Siberia labor camp for years because he gave directions to a foreign tourist.

                There’s a reason Ukraine’s highest court ruled that communist memorials and memorabilia were illegal on the grounds that communism wasn’t any different from Nazism.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Given that, at the mere mention of Bernie’s name you still will get knee jerk mentions of Stalin and the Holomodor, (see below) it seems appropriate.

                From the accounts I’ve read, the atmosphere of freedom and political persecution of the late Brezhnev and Gorbachev eras was not too different from the current Putin era.

                Which us to say, it is a time when a small elite segment of society has it pretty good, while the rest know their place and keep their heads down and don’t make trouble.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Seriously, compared to America, how many innocent people were killed by the state per capita?

                The moment we start to look into officialdom’s murders in the USSR we get swamped by big numbers and we end up with ranges (say 20-60 million) over a period of decades (yes, covering Brezhnev). However the Soviet archives were only open in the early 1990’s and that “openness” doesn’t seem to have covered Brezhnev because there’s information that simply isn’t there (see below). Look for information about Brezhnev and you find Stalin’s.

                What we do know is that Brezhnev decided all non-Communists in the USSR were suffering from mental disease and had 10k put in insane asylums. We also know his health seriously failed late in his rule, including mentally, and the wheels came off the economy.

                With a deeply unpopular repressive police state, a failing economy, the top guy not in control, the dominant law enforcement ideology being that anyone who gets in their way is seriously mentally ill, and a law enforcement structure/machinery created by Stalin to murder millions of people… there’s no way this situation creates zero corpses.

                The number of people killed by the police in Russia today is apparently still zero. This is despite cops working on a quota system that encourages them to torture false confessions out of people or just shoot them. Despite a lack of due process, police divisions being run on loyalty systems, and “business raids” being “common practice in the country”. Despite that the police aren’t investigated and aren’t accountable to civilians (wiki Russia Police Brutality). It’s despite that they make the news occasionally for heinous behavior and shocking levels of corruption.

                In the US, the number of people killed by the police in all situations totals to less than a thousand per year (since Trump took office it’s more like 250/year), in the context of an armed civilian population and very high murder rates by western standards. If we want to assume 10% of that is innocent civilians then we’re at less than 25 per year.

                My expectation is Russia is AT LEAST two orders of magnitude (i.e. 100x) times that (or 2500 people a year), and there’s room for them to be more than three orders of magnitude (25k+ people a year). However that’s me looking at the situation and not quoting data.

                …so it seems easy to imagine that we couldn’t possibly live in an unjust state.

                First, you’re asserting a negative and insisting I can’t disprove it. So rather than you proving we live in a horrible state, I’m supposed to disprove it, and when I point back to whatever metric you’re using you move the goalposts.

                2nd, you’re using drastically different yardsticks for evaluating Trump than you ever would have accepted for evaluating Obama. This unjust regime apparently didn’t exist then, even if all your metrics and arguments easily apply and paint him as being worse. For example the number of police killings is WAY down since Trump took office. The Washington Post gives Obama’s last four years a total of 2435 and Trump’s 824 (admittedly this year isn’t done).

                3rd, do you have any solutions other than “resist”? After I get all spun up on how unjust everything is… are we supposed to get more socialism and become Russia with their zero police killings? Are we supposed to become Norway with it’s monoculturalism?

                If we narrowed the discussion to predatory police in small towns (aka Ferguson), we could have solutions like outlawing a lot of that sort of behavior at a State/Federal level and even encouraging towns like that to merge into their larger governmental bodies. Similarly if we reformed the dozen or two worst local jurisdictions we’d fix the bulk of police problems. However either of those would turn the problem away from Trump and thus the solution wouldn’t need to involve replacing him.

                A ton of this seems to be symbols/emotions rather than facts/statistics. Obama was a symbol of racial harmony, Trump is one of racial prejudice. That seems to be the issue rather than America being a statistically worse place under Trump, or the metrics themselves.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                What if I told you Neo, that in many respects, America has always been an unjust state, depending on who you were? Even during Obama’s tenure?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                What if I told you Neo, that in many respects, America has always been an unjust state, depending on who you were? Even during Obama’s tenure?

                First, define “justice”.

                2nd, what do you propose as a solution?

                3rd, I don’t remember you harping on this during Obama’s tenure.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                1. Well, enslaving people is unjust; Arresting people for being gay is unjust; seriously do you think we are somehow operating on different definitions?

                3. Ferguson happened during Obamas watch and I was very vocal here about it. Occupy happened during Obamas term and I helped organize my local branch.

                2. Of course there isn’t A Solution. But any solution has to start with a robust defense of equality and human rights of all people.

                Meaning Ilhan Omar is every bit as authentically American as you and I.

                Meaning the President is a servant of the people, not the CEO of America, Inc.

                Meaning ethno-nationalism has to be resoundingly rejected.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                1. Well, enslaving people is unjust; Arresting people for being gay is unjust; seriously do you think we are somehow operating on different definitions?

                If those are your concerns, then there are no problems.

                Try again.

                Occupy happened during Obama’s term and I helped organize my local branch.

                I never figured out what it was that they wanted from a policy standpoint. Worse, I’m not sure they did either.

                …any solution has to start with a robust defense of equality and human rights of all people.

                Meaning Ilhan Omar is every bit as authentically American as you and I.

                So what? I’d be fine with defending her from being deported or treated unjustly.

                But Omar is a serious high-level politician who flings shit at people and has shit thrown at her. There is no way, mechanically or legally, to “send her back”. All of her co-workers are born Americans so “sending them back” is beyond impossible (and absurd). Everyone knows this.

                If Obama can argue (correctly) that he wasn’t serious, and everyone knew he wasn’t serious, when he suggested using firearms against Republicans, that it was just inflammatory rhetoric… then Trump can do the same.

                A “robust defense of equality and human rights of all people” can’t include shielding high level politicians from trash-talk shit being thrown at them on Twitter without tearing up the 1st AM.

                If that sounds like a bad idea it’s because it is. Trump made a racist statement so the Dems would stand by their socialist wingnuts. He made them choose between racism purity and economic sanity.

                And then a week later he did it again with that Baltimore thing.Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Dark Matter says:

                He made them choose between racism purity and economic sanity.

                We might be able to say this about some generic republican of previous eras, but not Trump*. Trump has been as protectionist and anti-trade as any dyed in the wool socialist. Trade wars, protectionism and immigration restrictions are not economic sanity.

                *republicans in the age of trump have abandoned anything resembling economic sanity for populist insanityReport

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Murali says:

                True all that. But the Democratic Socialists make Trump look sane and reasonable so that’s who he’d like to run against.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Back in Egypt during the 60’s, when Nassar was kissing up to the Soviets, their archaeologists uncovered a mummy they couldn’t identify because looters had done too much damage. The British, French, and American teams didn’t make any progress on it, so the Soviet embassy offered some Russian specialists.

                They rolled the mummy over to their embassy, and a few hours later they came back and announced that the mummy was Pharaoh Neferhotep III from the 16th dynasty.

                The Egyptian antiquities board said “How did you figure that out?”

                The Soviets replied “We put together enough clues and kept digging deeper. He was tough to crack, but finally he confessed.”Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

      You’re not wrong that Not-Clinton was a big part of it.

      That said, given that people’s ostensible reason for voting Trump was white-working-class economic insecurity…well, it seems kinda odd to push so hard for someone who was instrumental in creating that economic insecurity, talked about it with an attitude of pride, and figured that there were plenty of jobs and opportunities for people who really wanted them.Report

  6. Avatar Murali says:

    Bernie’s platform calls for a national minimum wage of 15 dollars, free public education, a repeal of the Trump tax plan and capping the size of financial intuitions.

    A national minimum wage of $15 is a bad idea. It will depress job growth. Free public education is bad. People tend not to value stuff they get for free. And don’t get me started on capping the size of financial institutions.

    How is this supposed to be a defence of Sanders?Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Murali says:

      My problem with Sanders is that he seems largely incapable of learning. Most of what he suggests has failed elsewhere, but he’s stuck at the “moral reasoning” stage that it should work, for the greater good it must work, instead of looking at all the post-mortems on why it repeatedly did not work.

      Some of his ideas do sound good. Free college seems like an easy thing. Much of Europe provides it free or at low cost. But we didn’t take that path, instead letting colleges compete for students and providing students with loans. With such a huge pot of money available, our universities engaged in rampant building and hiring programs to become leviathans. Shifting their costs to taxpayers, many of whom didn’t go to college, just locks all that inefficiency in, indefinitely, and possibly worsens the problem. Perhaps the problem was that our universities were run and staffed by people who think like Bernie.

      If you think we don’t need more than one kind of soap, you could be pretty entertaining as an new Andy Rooney from “60 Minutes”, but you shouldn’t be allowed within a mile of a functioning free-market economy.Report

  7. Avatar CJColucci says:

    To borrow from another thread: “Any generic Democrat or Republican will do 95% of that stuff, and the other 5% is often heavily dependent on Congress.” For good or ill, the Full Bernie agenda is not happening, so critiques of the Full Bernie agenda are somewhat beside the point. For example, if the Democrats win, I predict that Medicare (and nothing else) For All isn’t happening, but some fix with a larger Medicare component might.
    Though I will vote for Bernie if he gets the nomination, he is not my preference by a long shot, not because his proposals differ so much from what I would like to see as that I don’t think he’d be very good at the job of Presidenting — either the running of the executive branch of government or the haggling with Congress to get what can be gotten. And he’s too damn old. (So am I, almost. If I ever thought of running for President, 2020 would be my last chance before I, too, became too damn old. Supreme Court I could still handle, but that’s unlikely too.)Report

  8. Avatar North says:

    Dear ol’ Bernie. I certainly don’t want him to get the nomination but I don’t bear him any ill will. And as long as he hangs in there holding that chunk of his voters firmly under his banner where they won’t accumulate to another highly liberal candidate I think he’s doing God(ess?)’s work.Report

  9. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I am going to bring up another elephant in the room. Is racism merely a byproduct of economic and material hardship/desperation or is it a separate entity?

    I think this is the big fight occurring on the left since 2015. It can flare up and go away. The big argument in 2016 for Bernie over HRC was that a lot of people only went for Trump’s racism and white nationalism because of their own material hardships. Get rid of that and you get rid of racism.

    I don’t think the evidence bears this out. Racism and white supremacy exist on their own. There might be some voters who become less interested in Trump’s racist demagoguery as their lot improves but I don’t think that will be most.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Also too, some of the worst racial strife occurred in the 1920’s, then again in the 1950’s/1960’s, arguably the most prosperous decades in American history.Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      There might be some voters who become less interested in Trump’s racist demagoguery as their lot improves but I don’t think that will be most.

      My expectation is this is a “herd immunity” type of thing. The disease is manageable at X% prosperity, not detectable above that, and you run the risk of wildfires if you’re much below it.

      So there are tipping points… and unfortunately a really good demagogue can take advantage of Y% while his less talented/ruthless/evil rivals can not.Report

  10. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    New polling for California has Harris first, Warren second, Biden third, and Bernie fourthReport

  11. Avatar RN says:

    Bernie’s views are radical in a sense that he is the other side of the Trump coin (who is radical whether you are for or against him). Where Trump blames immigrants, Bernie blames corporations and wealthy people. It’s a nice old tactic of blaming “the enemy” as opposed to admitting it’s complicated and finding sustainable solutions for it. Bernie’s policy of free higher education, more taxes on the wealthy or minimum wage Are certainly crown pleasures for people who may feel left behind but when you dig into these policies, you’d see that they don’t resolve the fundamental problems of Americans. It’s merely a temporary bandaid and an unsustainable one.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *