Friday, June 10, 2016

On the home stretch to the Democratic convention

Here are a few worthwhile pieces on the current state of the Democratic Party. Or, to put it another way, on the state of the efforts of the party base to get the party establishment to act like Democrats.

Bernie Sanders talks campaign's next steps after White House visit PBS Newshour 06/09/2016:

Conor Lynch, The Democratic Party derailed Bernie: How the establishment has worked to discredit Sanders’ movement Salon 06/10/2016. The headline isn't that representative of the article, which discusses the nature of the higher popularity of Bernie Sanders among younger voters. Lynch doesn't mention this factor, but I think the increasing time distance from the Cold War has also freed up more people's thinking about fundamental problems in the economy. Previously, it was easier for conservatives to stigmatize fundamental criticism or major reforms - much less anything "revolutionary" - as being the Other Side of the national enemy. Islamic fundamentalism isn't quite so well suited for that purpose since its current variations aren't particularly associated with progressive economics. Ironically, the Republicans have been proclaming "revolutions" for decades now. The Reagan Revolution. The Gingrich Revolution. The Bundy Bumpkin Revolution. (On the latter see: Charlie Pierce, The Hottest Trend in America Is Armed Insurrection Esquire Politics Blog 06/10/2016)

Robert Reich, A Public Note to My Friend, Bernie Sanders Truthdig 06/10/2016: "At the start they labeled you a 'fringe' candidate – a 74-year-old, political Independent, Jewish, self-described democratic socialist, who stood zero chance against the Democratic political establishment, the mainstream media, and the moneyed interests."

Christopher Faricy, Is It Time for a New “New Deal?” The American Prospect 06/09/2016:

Clinton’s increasingly liberal tilt comes not just in response to the Sanders insurgency, but to burgeoning demographic and economic trends that will last well beyond the 2016 presidential election. Indeed, emerging economic and electoral forces are poised to move the political boundaries of public policy from decades of center-right prescriptions—defined by privatization, deregulation, and devolution—to more center-left policies.
Charlie Pierce getting Lincolnian in We Now Know the Stakes of This Election Esquire Politics Blog 06/10/2016

"The middle" ... is not where it was when HRC's husband had the big job. "The middle" is not even where it was when this president was inaugurated. Right now, as even the president admitted last week while talking about expanding Social Security (in Indiana), "the middle" is a place that has slid decidedly to port. The reason it has done so is that the old Bill Clinton solutions—many of which merely amounted to survival strategies, for his party and, ultimately, for himself — now represent the dogmas of the quiet past which are insufficient to our current stormy present.
John Nichols, For Sanders Supporters the Struggle Has Always Been About Issues — and the Struggle Continues The Nation 06/09/2016: "For Sanders, electoral politics has always been an extension of movement politics."

Obama grants Clinton an endorsement, while Sanders vows persistence PBS Newshour 06/09/2016:

Nadia Prupis, Obama Endorses Clinton, As Sanders Vows To Fight On for Progressive Future Common Dreams 06/09/2016:

Sanders mentioned some of his signature campaign platforms, including addressing the issue of poverty in a wealthy country, the cost of college education, and rising economic inequality between the middle class and the billionaire elite.

"These are the issues that we will take to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia at the end of July," Sanders said.
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, Wasserman Schultz Has a Change of Heart, But Too Little, Too Late Moyers & Company 06/07/2016:

The lust for loot which now defines the Democratic establishment became pronounced in the Bill Clinton years, when the Clinton-friendly Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) abandoned its liberal roots and embraced “market-based solutions” that led to deregulation, tax breaks, and subsidies for the 1 percent. Seeking to fill coffers emptied by the loss of support from a declining labor movement, Democrats rushed into the arms of big business and crony capitalists.

This is how Susan Watkins describes the US Democratic Party in Oppositions New Left Review 98/Mar-Apr 2016:

In European terms, the Democratic Party is not really a party at all, but simply a framework within which candidates can run for office; when there isn’t a Democrat in the White House, it doesn’t even have a national leader. There are no party members, only affiliated voters, who register as such with their states rather than with local party branches, and don’t pay dues, attend meetings or decide policy. States’ laws, not party rules, determine who can vote in party primaries; the actual delegates to the National Convention are overwhelmingly selected by elected officials—those who have already won public office—not by voters. Higher-level elected officials and ‘distinguished party leaders’ then allocate themselves extra votes at the Convention, as super-delegates. In a system run by dignitaries, quid pro quos prevail; Clinton’s campaign is a text-book example. In theory, though heavily rigged, the process is not entirely fool-proof: a popular tsunami could overwhelm its defences and nominate an outsider; in practice, the obstacles to that are immense. [my emphasis]

Eric Levitz, One of Secretary Clinton’s Top Nuclear Security Advisers Was a High-Frequency Trader (Who Donated to Her Campaign) New York 06/10/2016

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