Conciliation is not the right response to Donald Trump

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President Obama shaking the hand of a huckster who entered politics by promoting a racist conspiracy about his birthplace.

The 2016 presidential campaign was the most bitter in recent history. Donald Trump was so loathsome that Hillary Clinton’s attack ads consisted of little more than the bigotry and sexism that came out of his own mouth. Clinton was so corrupt that Trump threatened to jail her. And after it was over, everyone decided to play nice. The loser called the victor, the winner thanked his opponent, the current president wished Trump luck, and talking heads encouraged us all to give the president-elect a chance.

Tens of thousands of Americans weren’t having it. Protests erupted the day after Election Day in Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Portland, Austin and elsewhere. In New York, some 100,000 people demonstrated their opposition to the incoming president. In Austin, protesters chanted “Immigrants are welcome here.” Graffiti saying “Fuck Trump” and “Black Queer Trans Lives Matter” was found in Chicago. For such marginalized individuals, there is a palpable sense of worry about their rights and status. Continue reading

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Democrats have a lot to learn from Bernie Sanders

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Bernie Sanders appears with Native American leaders to express his opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Hillary Clinton’s stock is falling. Even her prominent surrogates and media advocates are conceding that Donald Trump has a serious chance of becoming the next president. The two historically unpopular candidates are neck-and-neck in national polls and Clinton has fallen behind in crucial swing states like Florida and Ohio. Meanwhile her primary challenger, Bernie Sanders, is surging, boasting an 87 percent approval rating among his electorate and enjoying a nationwide favorability of +18 to Clinton’s -14.

Any Democrat worried about the outcome of the 2016 election should be analyzing that discrepancy. All during the primary, the news media and Clinton’s surrogates pushed the narrative that she was the strongest general election candidate. Now is the time for establishment Democrats to take their cues from Sanders and his supporters. If she maintains her current course, Clinton probably cannot win this election. Continue reading

Media declares Clinton victory in a contest that isn’t over

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Imagine waking up on election morning and seeing this before you’d even had a chance to vote.

The media delivered good news Monday night to people who hate democracy: there’s no need to bother voting in the six states that hold primaries on June 7 because Hillary Clinton has already secured the Democratic nomination for president. Sometime Monday evening, the AP came to this conclusion by surveying super delegates, Democratic Party insiders who can vote for the candidate of their choice regardless of how the constituents in their states vote. Continue reading

Sanders won’t cost Clinton the election – she will

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Sanders supporters voice their outrage at the Nevada Democratic Convention.

Intra-party turmoil among Democrats is at a fever pitch. Despite an overwhelming media narrative that the party’s nominating contest is over and Hillary Clinton has won it, Bernie Sanders continues to pick up primary victories. The Democratic establishment in media and politics are worried that Sanders’s continued presence in the race is hampering Clinton’s prospects against Donald Trump in November. And a season-long feud between Sanders supporters and the DNC erupted last week at a chaotic state convention in Nevada. Continue reading

Why it’s now more important than ever that Bernie Sanders stays in the race

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By wishing Sanders and his supporters would just go away, Clinton is dooming her general election prospects.

Hillary Clinton’s lead over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary is cushy, but other factors continue to dog her. The FBI has been interviewing former Clinton aides and may yet indict Clinton over material found in her emails. She recently lost to Donald Trump in a Rasmussen poll. And Sanders is continuing to win primaries, including in Indiana this week.

After that Indiana win CNN host Dana Bash questioned Sanders on why he isn’t dropping out, perhaps setting a new standard for establishment condescension. But with momentum still strong on Sanders’s side, with the possibility of Clinton’s indictment, and with the longstanding myth that Clinton is more electable disappearing, it’s more important than ever that Sanders stay in the race. In fact, the best part of the election may still lie ahead of him. Continue reading

How Bernie’s movement should ‘support’ Hillary Clinton

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Sanders’s grassroots-driven campaign drew record-breaking crowds and donations, which famously averaged a mere $27.

Hillary Clinton had a huge night on Tuesday, winning four out of five states and expanding her already substantial delegate lead. From here Bernie Sanders needs to win about 1,000 of 1,200 delegates remaining to clinch the nomination. Not even the most inspired idealist can fail to recognize the rapidly shrinking prospect of Sanders becoming the Democratic nominee. Tradition dictates that a losing candidate’s supporters vote for the party’s eventual nominee in the general election, but this election has been anything but traditional. Continue reading

Hillary Clinton is a historically bad candidate

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Hillary Clinton in 2015 giving what CNN described as an anti-Wall Street speech.

Almost from the moment she lost to Barack Obama in 2008 predictions about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign began. In the intervening eight years no other names were even seriously floated. Yet for all the presumptuousness and all the leg-ups she’s received from donors, corporate media and the Democratic establishment, the fact remains that she is just not a good candidate. Whether she ends up with the nomination or not, Clinton’s 2016 run has been a debacle highlighting the worst of American politics.

Clinton began the 2016 race as the only household name on the Democratic side. In the campaign’s early months she enjoyed national polling that consistently had her at a 60-point lead. Now she’s jockeying with Bernie Sanders for the national lead and with Sanders’s 13-point win in the Wisconsin primary, Clinton is on a six-state losing streak in the nomination process. She remains well ahead in delegate count, but considering the advantages she had she’s done about as badly as possible.

In an election that’s largely been a referendum on decades of neoconservative foreign policy and Washington’s coziness with Wall Street, Hillary Clinton is as entrenched a figure of that establishment class as there can be. It’s a testament to our system’s thorough corruption that she’s in the race at all. Continue reading

How Garry Kasparov misses the point about Bernie Sanders

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Garry Kasparov spent almost 30 years as the #1-ranked chess player in the world. He’s considered by many to be the greatest of all-time.

Chess grandmaster and Russian dissident Garry Kasparov sees the failures of his homeland reflected in the policies of Bernie Sanders. Last week he took to Facebook and The Daily Beast to warn of the dangers of big government, writing, “I’m enjoying the irony of American Sanders supporters lecturing me, a former Soviet citizen, on the glories of Socialism and what it really means.”

Kasparov grew up in the Soviet Union and ran a courageous presidential campaign against Russia’s oppressive Vladimir Putin. He doesn’t need a lecture, but his article needs counterpoints. Even with his unique political experience Kasparov states his case in overly black and white terms. He ignores the prominent role social programs have played throughout American history and writes as though private business ventures are the world’s best – maybe only – force for good. Continue reading

Super Tuesday results: Sanders movement still alive despite media’s momentum narrative

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Bernie Sanders appears with his wife Jane to give a speech on Super Tuesday.

As results from Super Tuesday poured in last night, the media narrative began to hold that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were the night’s biggest winners and would, eventually, square off against one another in the general election. While there’s plenty of reason to believe this will be the case, the media’s horse race-style coverage of the primaries leaves important aspects of the story untold. Continue reading