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Jun 22

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We Have a United Democratic Party

Bernie Sanders - We Have a United Democratic PartyYesterday, I heard a bit of Majority Report. This sometimes amazes me because it goes along with my thinking so much. I hear from other people that I’m really rare, yet here is this very popular podcast with people who agree with me almost all the time. Ultimately, I think we have a united Democratic Party; it’s just some who can’t stand minor differences between us.

What I heard was another podcaster calling in. He was a Bernie Sanders’ supporter, and he was complaining that the show wasn’t being harsh enough with Hillary Clinton or positive enough for Bernie Sanders. That’s an outrageous claim.

Their position on Sanders and Clinton is the same as mine. They supported Sanders during the primary. They still would have preferred to have had him as the Democratic nominee. They have many problems with Hillary Clinton. Just the same, they fully supported her during the general election.

(And let’s be clear: how could you not be in favor of Clinton in the general election? There were two parties running. If people want to make themselves feel good by voting for Mickey Mouse — or Jill Stein, who had as much a chance of winning — fine. That’s their choice. But the most important thing about that choice is that they are choosing not to be a factor in the election. A vote for Stein was certainly not a vote for Trump; but it was a vote for no one. So the position of the Majority Report folks just seems obvious to me.)

“The Election Was Stolen!”

But this guy who called in went on and on about Democratic Party malfeasance during the primary. His proof? The Democratic establishment wanted Clinton to be the candidate from the beginning. Who cares? Really! Who cares? Isn’t this what we expect? The fact that they set up the debates to make it easier on her is expected. But the truth is that the Republican Party actually did worse to Trump, and he still managed to get the nomination.

It’s sad for me to say, but Sanders lost the primary because he lost the primary. And I really think that had he been our candidate, he might be president right now. But this is hardly the first time that the Democratic establishment has convinced the voters to choose the “electable” candidate, only to lose. Remember how we chose electable John Kerry rather than unelectable Howard Dean, even though political science shows that if any Democrat would have won that year it would have been Dean?

“I Hate Sanders ‘Cause Some Idiots Like Him”

Hillary Clinton - We Have a United Democratic PartyOn the other side, I hear almost nothing about Sanders except as it is filtered through this caller’s lens. Because that’s all Sanders is. Take his most wacky supporters and define him as such. Matt Yglesias pointed out that the populist demographics in the UK went along with Hillary Clinton voters, “Corbyn’s electoral map, in the end, turns out to look a lot like Hillary Clinton’s. He did well in the most diverse and most educated parts of the United Kingdom and worst among older voters.”

The truth is that most people who prefer Sanders still like Clinton and vise versa. And generally, liberals are becoming more economically liberal. It makes sense. The truth is that economic inequality is the greatest tool that conservatives have against gender and race inequality. The whole of the Democratic Party has turned left — including Hillary Clinton. (Who thinks that Bill Clinton circa 1992 could win a Democratic primary today?)

We Have a United Democratic Party

I’m getting tired of this. Yes: both sides can find people on the other who are annoying as hell. But I think we have the most united Democratic Party in my lifetime. I also think it is more economically liberal than it has been in decades.

One thing that unfortunately also seems to be true is that most of the Democratic Party elite is afraid of this left turn — just as they were in the UK Labour Party. I think that has more to do with their wrong assumption that moving to the left is bad politics. They’re wrong, and they will eventually learn that — or they’ll figure out that they aren’t actually liberals and move to the Republican Party.

The Change Has Already Come

I think I’m a typical Democrat. I think the people on Majority Report are typical Democrats. And yes, I would prefer that this tiny minority of Sanders supporters would run for office rather than try to litigate the 2016 Democratic Party. And I would prefer this tiny minority of Clinton supporters who can’t find it in themselves to support Sanders would do the same thing.

But if not, I don’t suppose it matters. We have a united Democratic Party. We don’t need to change to come.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/06/22/united-democratic-party/

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2 comments

  1. Lawrence

    Well, you do get the “Of course policy X is desirable but it can’t be done now” from leading Democrats. But I tend to assume the reluctance on liberal economics is due to the tax policy preferences of the donors and the politicians themselves. Money, apparently, is one hell of a drug.

    Your post about quotation marks has made me self conscious about my usage, which tends to be indiscriminate in comment posting. I’ll try to maintain a consistent style here.

    1. James Fillmore

      Honestly, I wonder if what it will take for Democratic leadership to get with the program is funding starting to dry up. Traditionally many big donors give to both parties so that they have connections with whomever wins, but with the Democrats getting whipped at almost every level, why bother funding them?

      I think Frank’s right, in his annoyingly usual way. Democratic voters are pretty united. Poll numbers among African-American and Hispanic voters are overwhelmingly in support of universal health care, criminal justice reform, and raising the minimum wage. White liberals aren’t far behind. I agree with Naomi Klein (who also has the annoying habit of being often right) — we’re at a point where things are going to go downhill, very very fast, or we’re going to see a rebirth of truly progressive politics. The energy’s out there, and people barely need a spark to start getting politically involved. In both the fascist and progressive directions. Which catches fire first? Your guess is as good as mine, but I try to be optimistic.

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