The Scourge of the Progressive Movement

HeManWomanHatersLet me ask you a question. Now, this question is rhetorical, so I don’t expect you to answer it for me, although there is a comment section, so feel free. If there is something you should have learned about by now, after reading this and other blogs I have maintained over the last 15 years, it’s that I am not guided by my ego. There’s a reason for that, which I’ll get to. But here’s the question:

If someone is passionate about an issue on which you disagree, and they scream at you like a crazy person and call you stupid when they find out you don’t see the issue the same as they do, how likely are you to change your mind?

If you’re being honest, you know you won’t change your mind. In fact, if you are anything close to the average human being with a working brain, you are probably going to be more certain that you are right about your position. Rather than change your mind, you’re most likely to never discuss politics with that asshole ever again. No one responds well to insults and innuendo, and they are less likely to look things up to see if you’re right than to write you off as a crazy nutbar and speak badly about you to others. 

Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis know that I take accuracy much more seriously than “being right.” That’s what makes PCTC different from the myriad blogs that make up the professional left. I would like more clicks, of course, and I’d like to make a little more money off this blog than I do, but money is not important enough to sell my soul. If people who read what I and my guest bloggers write, and I can’t be proud of the product, there’s no point. I don’t write with my ego in mind, but I am human, and I have one. I just think information is precious, but only if it’s accurate.

I was lucky enough to work at a real city newspaper when I was in my teens and I carried the lessons of journalism with me when I left there, and continue to do so, more than 40 years later. I will never claim that what I write is journalism; sitting at a desk or on my bed and writing up my opinion based on what Is easily found on Google (meaning that someone else found it first and already wrote about it) is not journalism. However, I do maintain journalism standards, which means checking something I read before I pass it on. The few times I have violated that policy in the past, I have regretted it. I’ll be honest; I wonder how the proprietors of a lot of professional left blogs sleep. I couldn’t.

Pro lefties and the most vehement Bernie Stans have a lot in common, mostly because they’re the same people and live in the same bubble. They will repeat anything they hear/read/see if they like it, or if it will get them either attention or clicks. Just yesterday, someone on my Twitter feed claimed that Bernie’s large crowd at Washington Square Park in NYC drew 30,000, but no news outlets were covering it. So, I went onto Google News and guess what I found? Yeah, you know what I found; every major news outlet covered it. All of the New York and East Coast press, all of the cable “news” channels, NPR and even Fox News. In other words, not only was this person butthurt over something that doesn’t count, they were also wrong, which everyone with Google would know almost immediately.

Bernie VivaHere’s the thing; if you truly want people to take you seriously when you discuss issues or candidates, you’ll actually have to be serious yourself. When you are advocating for a candidate or a cause, you have to do so in a way that draws support and is not open to ridicule. Just as importantly, you have to tell the truth and use facts. Don’t just say something because you think someone will really like it. If a bystander decided to check it out and finds out you lied, you’re done. That’s the double-edged sword of social media; there are innocent bystanders.

For example, if you’re going to claim that Bernie Sanders is losing because of shenanigans by the Democratic Party, you can’t be taken seriously. No one in the Democratic Party is doing anything to Sanders at all. He was, is, and always will be, an underdog. Everyone knew that going in; the whole idea was to move Clinton a bit to the left, which he has done. When was the last time you saw a Democratic field arguing over who is “more progressive”? He was never expected to win, and he won’t. Yes, I know, Obama started out as an underdog, too, but Sanders doesn’t have anywhere near the political chops of Obama. In fact, one reason Hillary Clinton ended up losing the nomination was because she went negative, as the Sanders campaign is doing right now.

Let’s face it; the reason the Sanders campaign is behind is two-fold. First, it’s a poorly-run campaign. It was started as an insurgent campaign and it’s never gotten off that footing. He is a few weeks away from having spent an entire year giving the same stump speech and no one can win that way. His campaign appeals to the same white far lefties who click on and share the types of bullshit the professional left propagates.

Is “income inequality” a problem? Yes and no. It’s not as simple as it sounds. The average worker wouldn’t give a shit how much the one percent make, if they were economically secure. President Obama is doing everything he can under the circumstances, and the circumstance is that the GOP is running Congress, which is the end product of these “Bernie or Bust” idiots and the professional left and their insular world. They talk to each other and never have anything to do with the “great unwashed.” Listen to them; many white liberals seem to think that simply being liberal gives them a pass when it comes to racism. They dismissed Clinton’s wins in the “Confederacy” without even considering that most of the Democrats voting in the south were People of Color. What the hell is that about? First of all, the red states Clinton won are far more winnable than the ones Sanders won, which I will get to in another column. But who the hell are Bernie Stans to dismiss black votes? Black people are the goddamn Democratic base, not white liberals, especially since most of them proudly declare that they’re not Democrats, but “Independent.” It IS a Democratic Primary, after all.

adimageIf we could strengthen the economy more, strengthen the union movement to a greater degree and get wages up at the bottom, no one working for Walmart would give a rat’s ass that the Walton Family pulls in about $30 billion every year. If we were back on a footing where a family with one or two breadwinners could live well on a basic full-time job, no and the government was providing the service we expect from them, the answer is no; “income inequality” would not matter one bit. That means getting rid of the GOP. Period. If anyone cares which Democratic candidate gets rid of the GOP, they don’t understand how politics works.

Then there’s breaking up the banks, another Bernie oldie-but-goodie that doesn’t even make sense. At a time when the economy is expanding, what would be the point of breaking up banks for no reason? The problem with “too big to fail” wasn’t the “too big” part, it was the “to fail” part. The problem was that letting them just be destroyed would have ruined millions of families. The fact is, a lot more damage was done by SMALL banks that failed , many of which were bailed out by the so-called “too big” banks. The problems that caused the Great Recession had nothing to do with bank size; it was a mortgage market established by the Republicans in Congress, that was unregulated and resulted in brokers presenting mortgages to banks that shouldn’t have existed in the first place. The banks should not have signed onto them, it they did because they knew they could resell the mortgages to this unregulated market and not have to worry about them. The problem was a huge injection of fake money into the system because $150,000 homes were being sold for $400,000 using paper that had no real value. Everyone had a role in the failure; banks, insurance companies, investors, mortgage brokers and even the people who bought homes they knew they couldn’t afford. To put all of it on banks misses the point. That $17 trillion the economy lost? Well, let’s put it this way; the total assets of all of the “too big to fail” banks was barely that much, and there were thousands of banks that were not “too big to fail” and, in fact, failed.

I’m getting away from my point, but the thing is, the average voter doesn’t want the president to have the power to force him to move his money from Bank of America to his local credit union. I’m not going out on a limb when I suggest that they’re also not comfortable with giving the President the power to unilaterally decide which private companies get to exist, based on the phrase, “If (a company) is too big to fail, it’s too big to exist.”

And that’s the point. Ego makes PUBs (Progressive Unicorn Brigade) and the pro left think their positions on issues are universal when they really can’t be. The bubble they relate for themselves is not really that big, which is why they have a tendency to say such stupid shit and think that “everyone” thinks the way they do.  The Sanders campaign is built upon the same premise; that Bernie is right and everyone agrees with him on everything, and everyone who doesn’t think the way he does is absolutely wrong. That’s one reason they lose, but there is more to it.

The campaign’s most, um, “fervent” followers spend almost no time actually advocating for Bernie. They spend the bulk of their time either denigrating Hillary Clinton or complaining and acting butthurt because Sanders isn’t getting the “right kind” of media coverage. In a two-person race, why would anyone with any political chops whatsoever think a Hillary voter is more likely to vote for Bernie because his supporters invoke the same smears that the Vast Right wing Conspiracy has been using since she was the First Lady of Arkansas? And since your goal is supposed to be more votes and thus more delegates, why would you not try to court voters, rather than ostracize them?

Those are among the primary reasons why Sanders is not going to get the Democratic nomination. Nothing they do provides any voter with a reason to vote for Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee. And believe me when I tell you, their wishes are no one’s command.  What really loses Sanders voters comes when people make stupid accusations that anyone with Google can refute in about a minute or two. The latest ones have to do with twin examples of complete and utter bullshit that come up over and over lately. One is the implication that super delegates are somehow a cheat that favors Clinton and (this is my personal favorite so far this primary season) the one implying that New York’s voter registration rules somehow give the advantage to Hillary Clinton and they’re “ridiculous.”

Start with the super delegates. Super delegates are not a plot. They are un-pledged delegates who represent the Democratic Party, which is the organization choosing the nominee. Bernie should know all about this because he is a super delegate and Tad Devine should know about them because he helped create the system. And yet, to hear his campaign and the Bernie Stans tell it, their existence is a plot to supplant the will of the people. Because they live in the United States and they have free speech, super delegates have the option of telling everyone who they plan to vote for, and many have. Of course, they can also choose to not decide, and many do so. Isn’t the First Amendment great? Whoever they say they support doesn’t matter, what matters is how they vote at the convention. Since most of them are politicians or party officials, they will generally follow the will of Democratic voters. No one has ever won the nomination solely because of super delegates.

If Bernie lusts after the super delegates so much, one has to wonder why he has been running for a year and has spent almost no time courting them. He doesn’t have to, of course; he could easily win the bulk of them by getting a lot more votes and delegates than Hillary Clinton. Of course, given that super delegates are Democratic Party people, it’s probably not a great strategy to attack Democrats as much as they do. His campaign and the Bernie Stans have been attacking Debbie Wasserman Schultz for a year, as if voters give a shit who is in charge of the DNC. She’s not a problem, really, and the constant comparisons to Howard Dean miss a couple of key points. One is that Dean had Obama at the head of the ticket and also didn’t have to deal with the aftermath of Citizens United. If you are still touting a “50-state strategy” in this day and age, I’ll just ask a simple question; where does the money come from? She has done an amazing job of assisting with the recruiting of House and Senate candidates to run this year, and Democrats have an excellent bench now. But again, I digress…

The reason super delegates exist is as a fail-safe of sorts, to make sure that a campaign doesn’t pull any shenanigans and steal the nomination and a bunch of pledged delegates, even though they didn’t receive a majority of votes. Or, if something happens between the last primary and the convention. If you can’t imagine such things, consider this; Donald Drumpf seems to be running all over the Republican field, even though he has well under 40 percent of the Republican vote. Many of his delegates were won with less than one-third of the vote. Overall, most polls suggest he only has the support of about a third of the GOP in November and there are signs that Republicans are about to see the lowest turnout in their party since 1964. Put simply, because of the primary rules the party put in place after 2012, which they considered a disaster just four short years ago, a minority candidate is quite possibly going to steal the party’s nomination. In part because of super delegates, that can’t happen in the Democratic Party. That’s a good thing. In fact, it’s likely the GOP wishes they had that system in place.

As for the complaints about New York’s registration cut-off, that is certainly not an anti-Sanders move, at all. New York, and most states, have a statutory cut-off date for registrations before an election, in part so that election officials have time to process them. Are these rules not ideal for this time in our history? Sure, but everyone, including the Sanders campaign, know about the date of the primary a couple of years ago and knew that the cutoff would be March 25, because the details are in the statutes. New York tends to be a little behind the curve when it comes to election procedures; they only got rid of lever voting machines after Obama was elected. So, if a “revolutionary”knows that his revolution depends on getting the most people behind him and that means telling New Yorkers that they only have until March 25 to engage in “revolution,” why is their lack of preparation everyone else’s problem. Back in my retail management days, I used to rock a sign in my office and I still live by it. It said,

“A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.”

The Sanders campaign has known what to do for years. If he wants to win, there are things he has to do. It’s that simple.

One last thing to keep in mind; primaries are not elections, which should be obvious to pro lefties and Bernie Stans, given that most of his delegates he were obtained from caucuses, which are about the opposite of elections. They are supposed to be a party deciding who should represent them in the election in November. If you are going to whine about the Democratic Party failing at “democracy” and you’re going to dismiss Democrats in some states that you believe can never go “blue,” and you’re going to suggest that Bernie should get the nomination, shut up. No, really, shut up.

There is no criteria by which Bernie Sanders is leading this race. He has fewer pledged delegates, and most of the pledged delegates he has are from caucus states with almost no Democrats (Utah? Wyoming? Idaho? Really?). If you want to talk democracy, he’s received 2.4 million fewer votes. There is no way for him to win unless he gets more than two-thirds of the vote in the remaining states. That’s right; it doesn’t matter if he wins New York, Pennsylvania or Maryland; he has to blow her out. Therefore, your proclamations that he’s cut Clinton’s 20 point lead in half in New York is worthless. First of all, the poll you cite shifted from “all voters” to “likely voters,” which would explain most of the difference. However, he also needs to gain about another 30 points, which doesn’t seem likely. I worked in politics in Maryland for a long time, and Bernie will do well there, but there is no way he’ll win by 20 points. And Pennsylvania? I don’t even see him winning there. California? He will have to win with at least 65% in a state where Clinton has a very strong base of support.

I’m sorry to tell you the truth, but I am not now, nor will I ever be, part of the professional left. I appreciate everyone’s support, both the nice words I receive and the money, but I will not lie to get it.


The Scourge of the Progressive Movement — 2 Comments

  1. Well done Milt, as always. And you’re right, Norbrook. These poorly informed people are doing Bernie no favors.

  2. One correction, Milt. The deadline in NY to register as a new voter was March 25’th. The deadline to switch – or declare – a political party if you were already registered was October 9’th. The state’s election laws allow you to change your party by sending in an amended registration form, which must be received at least 25 days before the general election. It doesn’t take effect until a week after the election. So you can change it once a year. That hasn’t stopped them from screaming about independents not being allowed to vote.

    Speaking for myself, i was neutral, with a slight lean toward Bernie until late January. Then I got hit with the “BernieBro’s” and started digging in. It didn’t take me long after that to end up on Hillary’s side, and the longer this has gone on, the less I care for Bernie. I’ve heard a number of others say the same thing, so if they’re trying to drum up support for Bernie, they’re failing miserably.