On the formation of a Third Party of progressives…
This Bernie Sanders acolyte is making a lot of news lately. Whether it is from her take no prisoners style of handling conservative scam artists, or speaking out – Former State Senator Turner is in the news.
Hillary’s landslide win in California puts a punctuation mark on her campaign to become the Democrat nominee for President. Sanders last gasp effort to carry California couldn’t overcome a better ground game, a better party network, and Clinton’s strong ties to both the Hispanic and black communities.
Hillary is going to beat the Chump, and with momentum, keep the Senate in Democrat hands, and possibly take the House back. I think the American voters have had about enough of whack job, wild eyed extremism – and it is time to take the trash out.
I also believe that in order to keep that majority, Hillary and the rest of the Democrats had better pay rapt attention to the sort of economic changes sought by both the Bernie Bros., and which feuled the Chump’s rise.
Time for Bernie and co. to quit pouting, and go home – until the convention, where they certainly can have an impact on the Party Platform, help energize the faithful for the upcoming vicious battle against the Chumpazoids, and start building a consensus for Progressive candidates at the national level in the house and senate.
During his barnstorming rallies to massive audiences, Bernie Sanders is fond of declaring “enough is enough!” And after the latest round of primary results, many Democratic party leaders will be hoping Sanders now feels similarly about his own campaign.
Sanders and his team should take immense pride in what they’ve achieved over the past 12 months. On July 8 2015, the RealClearPolitics polling average had the Vermont Senator on a mere 14.3%, almost a full 50 points behind the apparently bulletproof Clinton. To the extent he was noticed at all, Sanders was treated by the press and Clinton supporters as a benign but crusty uncle, well-meaning but toothless.
One year on, Sanders has emerged victorious in more than 20 states, and at one point in April he reduced the gap in that same average to just 1%. And those victories are just half the story.
Most importantly, Sanders and his followers have played a role in forcing Clinton to embrace her own progressive instincts rather than taking to the safety of the centre ground. He has also ensured that “socialism” is no longer a taboo word in American politics, at least not in a Democratic primary. Meanwhile, Winnie Wong, the digital strategist behind #FeelTheBern, will probably never want for work again.
Despite all these achievements, Bernie has fallen short. So what should he do now? If we look to the recent past, there are a few well-trodden routes he can take.
Path #1: unity at all costs
Sanders doesn’t have to set his own example of how to unify the Democratic party after a divisive and close primary campaign. Eight years ago, Hillary Clinton herself showed everyone how it’s done.
After an equivocal statement on the night of the last primaries, Clinton formally dropped out four days later and gave Obama a full-throated endorsement. Later that month, in a symbolic gesture, the two former rivals made a joint appearance in the aptly-named New Hampshire town of Unity, where they had both captured 107 votes in the state’s primary.
And to cap it all, it was she who stopped the (well-choreographed) roll-call of delegate votes at the Democratic convention to formally seal Obama’s nomination. She then used her convention speech to declare: “Barack Obama is my candidate, and he must be our president.”
Despite the lingering bitterness of a rancorous nomination battle, her friendship with Republican nominee John McCain, and the encouragement of hardcore supporters (rallying under the slogan Party Unity My Ass), she then hit the trail and worked hard to help secure Barack Obama’s victory.
Path 2: Berning down the house
Another option for Sanders is to act as a disruptive force and weaken Hillary Clinton ahead of the general election, as Senator Ted Kennedy did to President Jimmy Carter in 1980.
John F Kennedy’s younger brother had already shown he cared little for party unity by challenging a sitting Democratic president, and he continued to show contempt for the principle even after Carter won enough delegates to secure the nomination.
Path 3: viva la revolución!
Perhaps the best parallel for Sanders is the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who ran two trailblazing campaigns for the Democratic nomination in 1984 and 1988. Sanders, mayor of Burlington at the time, was one of the few white politicians to endorse Jackson’s 1988 run – and like Sanders today, Jackson was hardly beloved by the Democratic establishment, but on his second attempt he finished a surprisingly strong second place to the eventual nominee.
The culturally and racially diverse “rainbow coalition” that Jackson formed in 1984 helped propel Democrats to victories in the 1986 midterms, and his strong performance in 1988 suggested that the power of the coalition was only growing.
While Jackson hoped to become the first African-American to run on a national ticket, Dukakis refused. He nonetheless enjoyed a primetime speaking slot at the convention, and his campaign secured changes to primary rules that made the voting process fairer and more proportional. These changes are now credited by some with opening the door to Obama’s victory a generation later.
In the middle of a massive rally in Seattle, a little bird decided to express approval…
Big upset last night. Despite the MSM Polls showing Hillary with a huge lead, by the time the votes were counted, the Bern won by a small majority. Even 538 got it wrong, projecting that Hillary had a 90% chance of winning in Michigan. Bernie also chipped into Hillary’s lead in black voters with his best showing so far. The math behind that is fairly simple. Economic issues in an area devastated by loss of jobs mean more to black voters than in the South where some companies have relocated due to cheap labor. As such, folks in the industrial heartland are more likely to resonate with Bernie’s economic platform, than folks living in the Republican red zone South where race is the predominant issue.
Bernie’s speech last night –
The next group of states favor Bernie – so the number of delegates is going to be a lot closer. If Bernie wins in Ohio, then things may well turn on their head. He has at least an outside chance of winning more delegates to the Democrat Convention. The downside for Bernie is Hillary owns the super-delegates, who are made up of party insiders and luminaries. So Hillary still has the inside track.
Looks like Bernie is stealing Hillary’s thunder with black folks…
The future of American democracy depends on our response to the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. And that legacy is not just about defending civil rights; it’s also about fighting to fix our rigged economy, which yields grotesque wealth inequality; our narcissistic culture, which unleashes obscene greed; our market-driven media, which thrives on xenophobic entertainment; and our militaristic prowess, which promotes hawkish policies around the world. The fundamental aim of black voters—and any voters with a deep moral concern for our public interest and common good—should be to put a smile on Martin’s face from the grave.
The conventional wisdom holds that, in the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton is the candidate who will win over African-American voters—that her rival, Bernie Sanders, performed well in Iowa and won New Hampshire on account of those states’ disproportionate whiteness, and that Clinton’s odds are better in the upcoming contests in South Carolina and Nevada, two highly diverse states.
But in fact, when it comes to advancing Dr. King’s legacy, a vote for Clinton not only falls far short of the mark; it prevents us from giving new life to King’s legacy. Instead, it is Sanders who has championed that legacy in word and in deed for 50 years. This election is not a mere campaign; it is a crusade to resurrect democracy—King-style—in our time. In 2016, Sanders is the one leading that crusade.
Clinton has touted the fact that, in 1962, she met King after seeing him speak, an experience she says allowed her to appreciate King’s “moral clarity.” Yet two years later, as a high schooler, Clinton campaigned vigorously for Barry Goldwater—a figure King called “morally indefensible” owing to his staunch opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And she attended the Republican convention in 1968! Meanwhile, at this same moment in history, Sanders was getting arrested for protesting segregation in Chicago and marching in Washington with none other than King itself. That’s real moral clarity.
Needless to say, some moral clarity set in as Clinton’s politics moved to the left in her college years. After graduating from law school, she joined the Children’s Defense Fund as a staff attorney, working under the great King disciple, Marian Wright Edelman, with whom she struck up a friendship. Yet that relationship soured. This came after Hillary Clinton—in defending her husband’s punitive crime bill and its drastic escalation of the mass incarceration of poor people, especially black and brown people—referred callously to gang-related youth as “superpredators.” And it was Bill Clinton who signed a welfare reform bill that all but eliminated the safety net for poor women and children—a Machiavellian attempt to promote right-wing policies in order to “neutralize” the Republican Party. In protest, Peter Edelman, Marian’s courageous husband, resigned from his assistant secretary post at the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Clintons’ neoliberal economic policies—principally, the repeal of the Glass-Steagall banking legislation, apparently under the influence of Wall Street’s money—have also hurt King’s cause. The Clinton Machine—celebrated by the centrist wing of the Democratic Party, white and black—did produce economic growth. But it came at the expense of poor people (more hopeless and prison-bound) and working people (also decimated by the Clinton-sponsored North American Free Trade Agreement).
Bill apologized for the effects of his crime bill, after devastating thousands of black and poor lives. Will Hillary apologize for supporting the same measures?
It’s no accident that Goldman Sachs paid Hillary Clinton $675,000 for a mere three speeches in 2013, or that the firm has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to her campaigns or that, in total, it has paid her and her husband more than $150 million in speaking fees since 2001. This is the same Goldman Sachs that engaged in predatory lending of sub-prime mortgages that collapsed in 2008, disproportionately hurting black Americans.
These ties are far from being “old news” or an “artful smear,” as Hillary Clinton recently put it. Rather, they perfectly underscore how it is Sanders, not Clinton, who is building on King’s legacy. Sanders’ specific policies—in support of a $15 minimum wage, a massive federal jobs program with a living wage, free tuition for public college and universities, and Medicare for all—would undeniably lessen black social misery. In addition, he has specifically made the promise, at a Black Lives Matter meeting in Chicago, to significantly shrink mass incarceration and to prioritize fixing the broken criminal justice system, including eliminating all for-profit prisons.
Clinton has made similar promises. But how can we take them seriously when the Ready for Hillary PAC received more than $133,000 from lobbying firms that do work for the GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America—two major private prison groups whose aim is to expand mass incarceration for profit? It was only after this fact was reported that Clinton pledged to stop accepting campaign donations from such groups. Similarly, without Sanders in the race to challenge her, there’s no question Clinton would otherwise be relatively silent about Wall Street.
The battle now raging in Black America over the Clinton-Sanders election is principally a battle between a declining neoliberal black political and chattering class still on the decaying Clinton bandwagon (and gravy train!) and an emerging populism among black poor, working and middle class people fed up with the Clinton establishment in the Democratic Party. It is easy to use one’s gender identity, as Clinton has, or racial identity, as the Congressional Black Caucus recently did in endorsing her, to hide one’s allegiance to the multi-cultural and multi-gendered Establishment. But a vote for Clinton forecloses the new day for all of us and keeps us captive to the trap of wealth inequality, greed (“everybody else is doing it”), corporate media propaganda and militarism abroad—all of which are detrimental to black America.
In the age of Barack Obama, this battle remained latent, with dissenting voices vilified. As a black president, Obama has tended to talk progressive but walk neoliberal in the face of outrageous right-wing opposition. Black child poverty has increased since 2008, with more than 45 percent of black children under age 6 living in poverty today. Sanders talks and walks populist, and he is committed to targeting child poverty. As president, he would be a more progressive than not just Clinton but also Obama—and that means better for black America.
Now, with Obama’s departure from the White House, we shall see clearly where black America stands in relation to King’s legacy. Will voters put a smile on Martin’s face? It’s clear how we can do it. King smiles at Sanders’ deep integrity and genuine conviction, while he weeps at the Clinton machine’s crass opportunism and the inequality and injustice it breeds.
Have to feel sorry for the Irish, though…
It could be Ellis Island in reverse for Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
The pugnacious pundit has vowed he will quit the United States for his ancestral homeland of Ireland if Bernie Sanders is elected president.
Sanders’ plans to expand Medicare and Affordable Care would mean “it would be much more than it is now,” O’Reilly scoffed on The O’Reilly Factor on Thursday.
“And you know, look, I’m fleeing,” he warned. “If Bernie Sanders gets elected president, I’m fleeing. I’m going to Ireland. And they already know it.”
But no one in Ireland knows that O’Reilly – who has an estimated net worth of $85 million – has been contemplating becoming a tax exile there. Some Irish pundits are already claiming he’d be as welcome as someone who has just passed gas in a space suit.
Knowing that the thought of him shipping off to the Emerald Isle was probably delighting his critics on both sides of the Atlantic, O’Reilly added: “I shouldn’t say it publicly because that will get Sanders more votes. But I’m not going to pay 90 percent of my income to that guy. I’m sorry. I’m not doing it.”
O’Reilly might want to take a closer look at the nation he’s planning on fleeing to however. Ireland is the first country in the world to vote in favor of marriage equality for gays and its health and social welfare programs can make Bernie Saunders look like a fiscal conservative.
Perhaps instead of a world map, O’Reilly and other deep pocketed patriots might be better off looking for a time machine?
It’s the fourth time the Irish American pundit has threatened to quit the states and move overseas over taxes. In 2011, he vowed to retire if his income taxes went over 50 percent and to stop investing if his capital gains taxes went over 20 percent.
Then in 2012, he vowed to move his money out of the country rather than pay higher taxes. That same month, he had also threatened to stop “aggressively putting any money in the market.”
$85 million still isn’t enough apparently. You can only buy so many falafel’s on 15 million a year.