The Winners’ Choice

January 19, 2016 § 2 Comments

The Endorsements

Democrats are faced with a choice:  Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.  [I do not believe Martin O’Malley has a chance to be the nominee.  I will ignore him in the following discussion.]  I have discovered a resource online I believe provides significant information relevant to that choice.  I urge my readers to review carefully the information posted there.  Here is a link:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endorsements_for_the_Democratic_Party_presidential_primaries,_2016#Hillary_Clinton

This site consists of 10 or 15 pages of tightly packed lists of people who have formally endorsed Hillary Clinton.  They are separated into labeled categories:  Former Presidents (one listed); Governors and former Governors; Senators and Congressmen; State Legislators; Local Officials; Members of the DNC; Celebrities; Actors; Musicians; Writers; . . . .  On and on and on and on….

This is a list of the status quo winners in all categories.  It is indeed an impressive list.  It obviously is the result of a major recruitment effort.

After you have been suitably impressed by Hillary’s supporters, you might be interested in Bernie Sanders’ list of endorsements.  It is sparse and brief.  Here is a link:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endorsements_for_the_Democratic_Party_presidential_primaries,_2016#Bernie_Sanders

My Reaction to The Endorsements

I believe this information is important because it suggests a basis for choosing between these two candidates.  It seems obvious to me that those who have been winners in our present system of distributing and exercising political, social  and economic power probably have limited enthusiasm for making fundamental changes in those arrangements.  The terms “incrementalism” and “tweaking” seem appropriate to describe the policies they will likely find comfortable and satisfying.  So, if you share those ideas of what the Democratic Party should seek for the next four or eight years, Hillary is your logical choice.  If elected, she will become the “Tweaker in Chief”.

If, instead, you are dissatisfied with the status quo and want some significant changes in the balance or power between the powerful and the powerless – some re-defining of the proper role of government as a shield and a weapon against the impoverishment of workers and the enrichment of the rentier class – then you might be less impressed by the winners’ choices and might choose a candidate whose history and rhetoric is less attractive to the present winners.  Bernie may be a little hazy about guns, but his intentions about the status quo are crystal.  And the difference between him and Obama is that he will spend all his energy mobilizing the grass roots behind his policies.  The campaign will never end for Bernie.  His vision is of a movement, not a campaign tent show to be dismantled the day after election day.

But What About Electability?

I was born at night, but not last night.  I suffered through the debacles of McGovern, Dukakis and Mondale.  I have plenty of past political deals and compromises of which I am not proud.   So I understand that some honorable liberals are thinking, “Sure, I like Bernie and he’s right, but I’m afraid he can’t win.  Half a loaf is better than none.”  I suggest that this is a situation in which, as the stock market disclaimer goes:
“Past performance is no guarantee of future success.”  So, here is my pitch:

The previous failures occurred when two  powerful political forces were active:

One, racism was rampant and powerful.  Remember the GOP’s “Southern Strategy”?

Two, Democratic Party candidates were anti-war when wars were politically powerful issues.  The “Communist Menace” and “Viet Nam”.  Remember?

Today neither of those dogs will hunt.  We have elected a black president and the demographics of America have changed and are changing.  It is no longer smart politics to “play the race card”.

The only war politically relevant now is the war against ISIS.  Obama has done a good job waging that war and the recent experience with GW’s war in Iraq has cured the public’s gullability about sending American troops to war.  Also, “trickle down” economic policy has been tried and proved to be a fairy tale.  The white people over 40 who have had the “American Dream” snatched from them will be hard to convince that rewarding the rich will be helping the “job creators”.

This may be the “tipping point” we have been waiting for and Bernie Sanders may be the “tipper” whose time has come.

But What About All Those Hillary Endorsers?

So far as concerns the Wall Street tycoons who have endorsed Hillary, Bernie will never get their support if he is the nominee.  Most of the rest of those Hillary supporters, however, will fall in line, led by Hillary and Bill Clinton and Barak Obama, to support Bernie for president.  And if the GOP is suicidal enough to nominate Trump or Cruz, Bernie will look like the epitome of rationality to both Democrats and independents.

Conclusion

Well, that’s my argument.   If I turn out to be right, it may prove the old East Texas saying that “Even a blind hog finds an acorn sometimes.”  My record for picking winners is abysmal but maybe this is my year.

 

 

§ 2 Responses to The Winners’ Choice

  • Sid says:

    Hi Bob:
    My problem with your argument is twofold: first, that were Bernie elected he would not be able to pass ONE SINGLE PROGRESSIVE PIECE OF LEGISLATION. Period. I would think that this is beyond dispute. The second is that were Hillary elected and were to face the same legislature that is presupposed in the Bernie win, there may be some movement. Will it be incremental? Of course, but that’s not due to Hillary, but to Congress.

    Now, it we want to believe in miracles, that not only will Bernie win but that he will sweep congress before him… I’m your man!! Unfortunately, this man doesn’t believe in miracles.

    Hillary is a liberal at heart, and his been surrounded by rabid dogs now for so long that she’s overly defensive and overly cautious. Who wouldn’t be with the wounds she bears. However, I’m convinced she has the heart of a liberal that still beats… behind well guarded walls.

    Just my 2 cents. I love Bernie, but I’m not willing to sign on to 8 more lost gridlock.

    Like

    • Bob Hall says:

      Sid everything you write is true. I didn’t include this in my post but here is the reason I think Bernie could accomplish some changes. We have never had a President who, after he was elected, used basic organizing tools plus the latest social media technology to mobilize the country in support of his program. The only time that has been tried was when Martin Luther King and his team of organizers energized what was good about America and produced pressure that could not be ignored. I have dreamed for most of my life about a similar effort in support of economic justice. Bernie Sanders could assemble a team of organizers to build organizations in Congressional and Legislative districts that could not be ignored. The template for this kind of politics was created decades ago by Saul Alinsky in Chicago. A friend of mine, Ernie Cortez, built effective organizations here in Houston and in San Antonio and in South Texas. He did it without the backing of the President of the United States or the money that could be raised by a political organization that elected him. I don’t know whether it would work or not but I’m sure of one thing. If we continue to rely on the kind of poll-driven money-driven hopeless politics that have claimed all the energy since the days of FDR, nothing significant is going to happen. I think Bernie Sanders understands that a political campaign is useless unless it sparks a peaceful populist revolution. I think Trump has proved that frustration and anger can be used to fuel an insurgency. I think a Bernie Sanders presidency would attract many of those Trump fans. The most likely problem would be that black leaders would perceive Sanders as a threat to their power. That has thwarted previous efforts. I believe Sanders could overcome that obstacle. He has no trace of racism in his personality or his history so he could confront that kind of barrier fearlessly. There need not be a conflict between racial justice and economic justice. I think Barak Obama would join Bernie’s organizing effort. When he was young, Obama was an Alinsky-model organizer in Chicago.

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