Better, worse and worst

By the combined rules of math and politics, there are a great number of self-described progressives who are in all likelihood going to vote for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and Hillary Clinton in the general election. By the combined rules of politics and the Internet, this mix of candidate preferences is often erased or discounted in progressive discourse.

Instead, the liberal wing of American politics is divided into BernieBros and HillaryBots. Because fights are interesting, and someone has to be bad and wrong.

The Bros are cast as the epitome of privilege: young, white, male and aggressively online. They hound users on Twitter and Reddit, declaring that Hillary is no different from her likely Republican opponents, so why bother voting in the general election if she’s the nominee? They are so earnest — and so very white and male — that non-white and non-male liberals have declared that these Bros are, in fact, Bernie Sanders’s biggest problem. The Bots say they don’t dislike Sanders because Sanders is bad, but rather because his supporters are annoying. And sexist. Even if Sanders himself isn’t. Or maybe is.

This has always struck me as a dodge, a willful ignorance of the very serious critique Sanders is levying against Clinton’s candidacy. Clinton is a product of the Third Way movement that pushed the progressive economic agenda out of the political mainstream. She is either a cynical panderer or a religious zealot. She is more hawkish on foreign policy than not-exactly-dovish President Obama. Perhaps most importantly, as Demos’s Matt Bruenig wrote after being dismissed as a sexist BernieBro by multiple high-profile liberal writers, she is an enemy of the poor:

Hillary Clinton in Cleveland, screenshot via YouTube

Hillary Clinton in Cleveland, screenshot via YouTube

Since I am a big fan of the poor, I have not taken kindly to the suggestion in some camps that we should support Clinton for president because she is a woman. This is not because I disagree with the idea that, all things equal, having a woman president would be a positive thing. It’s because, with Hillary, all things are not equal, and I don’t weight whatever representational gains you’d get from having a woman in office over the fact that Hillary Clinton is an enemy of the poor.

In this debate (which I guess it is now), the participants actually agree on the basic principle that: you should support a woman over a man for president provided that her views aren’t really bad. The only thing we disagree on is whether the proviso at the end of that principle is satisfied here. I think Hillary’s actions and views about the poor are so egregious that they should disqualify her from our support (especially where there is a better candidate out there). Others don’t think they are egregious enough to warrant disqualification.

I have yet to see those frustrated with Bernie Sanders’s (supporters’) whiteness and masculinity make a serious attempt to address this point — especially not since Clinton recently reversed her leftward shift and started touting discredited right-wing talking points concerning Sanders’s domestic agenda. They have also struggled (as in, not even tried) to defend Clinton’s tax relief plans, which are designed to exclude the same low-income families Clinton claims to want to help.

All this is to say that Hillary Clinton really does need to, as she would say, take a backseat to Bernie Sanders when it comes to which candidate in the Democratic primary has a stronger progressive agenda. That seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable reason to vote for Sanders in the primary.

But that doesn’t excuse opposing Clinton in the general election as if she was just another Republican, as Walker Bragman did today in Salon. In his take, Bragman comes off as a caricature of a BernieBro, introducing himself to his audience with the following: “I am a 27-year-old, politically active, progressive millennial voter. I am a political junkie; my background is political science and American history. However, if Hillary Clinton gets the nomination (a big “if”), I will likely not vote for her, and will instead write in “Bernie Sanders” … and I encourage my readers to do so as well.” He then goes on to, over the course of nearly 3,500 words, make the same critique of Clinton that I outlined above.

There are a bunch of problems with Bragman’s post, which the liberal Twittersphere is having a field day with. First off, Clinton’s nomination is not a big if. She has always been, and remains, the prohibitive favorite for the Democratic nomination. You can make the argument that Bernie Sanders would do just fine in a general election were he the nominee, but you really can’t argue that he’s anywhere near as likely to be the nominee as Clinton if you hope to be taken seriously. (Also, a personal pet peeve: If you preface your take by describing yourself as a “political junkie,” it’s a sure sign that your political take is going to be junk.)

Going beyond that, however, Bragman dismisses and distorts just how much worse a Republican presidency — which would in all likelihood be either Trump, Cruz or Rubio — would be than Clinton’s. If the eventual Republican nominee wins the presidency, they will almost certainly hold both chambers of Congress and will be able to make at least two Supreme Court appointments. In other words, they will have total control of the federal government, save for Senate Democrats’ ability to filibuster. The social safety net? Somewhere between decimated and eliminated. Wall Street? Deregulated. Roe v. Wade and other Supreme Court victories? Overturned. Conservative fever dreams like the REINS Act and the Fair Tax? Legitimate possibilities. More war(s) in the Middle East? Absolute certainties.

The reverse does not hold true for the eventual Democratic nominee should they win the White House: Republicans are going to control at least one chamber in Congress no matter who wins the Electoral College. So while debt-free college and universal healthcare are great ideas, and Sanders’s advocacy for them makes me more likely to vote for him in the primary, I’m under no illusions about his ability to make them a reality should he win both the primary and general elections.

Bragman writes that Clinton’s platform is “more about preserving what we have than it is about improving it,” to which I would say: yes, exactly, and that’s acceptable to me. I would think that the choice between keeping and losing Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, Roe, the EPA and pretty much everything else progressives have fought for over the course of the last century would be an easy one. (Yeah, Nixon created the EPA, but look who’s defending it now.)

Believe it or not, you are allowed — even on the Internet! — to energetically support Bernie Sanders in the spring and Hillary Clinton in the fall. Sanders may be better and Clinton may be worse, but the Republican alternatives are the actual worst. To equate the likely Republican nominees with Clinton is to willfully dismiss the consequences of their prospective presidencies.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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102 Responses to “Better, worse and worst”

  1. UncleBucky says:

    When are you leaving?

  2. repugnicant says:

    Like I said, Hillary thinks in terms of what she believes is possible with the ‘tools’ available. Yes, some people don’t like that, perceive it as kowtowing to ‘special interests’, but those are all very powerful people a president has to deal with. Seems far more logical to try to convince them to voluntarily give up ground rather than trying to forcibly take it. Sanders and Clinton have the same goals, its just who has a better strategy to keep things moving. There’s no need to ‘hold your nose’.

  3. Moderator3 says:

    Sometimes a total ban is appropriate. You really don’t want to see what those commenters say. Bill has a right to his opinion, and we really don’t want to deny him a platform. He just needs to pull in some.

  4. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    And the rest of it?

  5. SL Abrin says:

    You’re going to get war with Hillary. Make no mistake.

  6. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    Well, darn! Then we should just elect any old fool then! I mean, it’s not like voting for one other the other matters, so LETS LET DONALD TRUMP ROCK OUT IN THE WHITEHOUSE!

    No. We can’t for certain say what a politician would have done if elected, or what he will do if elected. But we can predict.

    Donald Trump, for instance, would quite happily feed his base by putting the screws on organizations that help women get abortions and immigrants get help. He’d run rough-shod over the Middle East and gut our economy in the process. Sure, he might not do everything he promises, but on the balance, his choices will be much worse for the United States than Obama or Clinton’s choices would have been.

    Sure, Obama didn’t give us everything we asked for. I know, Single Payer, the dismantling of the Surveillance State, slow economic growth, and slow progression to things like gay marriage. It grinds my gears too. But it’s a damn improvement to what Bush did.

    And if you think McCain/Palin would have done anything even beginning to resemble that? I have a bridge to sell you. Souter and Stevens would have hung on as long as they could, but Stevens is 95 today, and Souter is 76 and was wanting to leave the court and retire. If either of them retired (or didn’t vote as their replacements did), we’d not have gay marriage today.

    One of the biggest reasons Liberal voters don’t get what they want is they get so frustrated with the process so quickly that it allows Republicans to weasel their way into power and then entrench themselves. Pissy at Obama because of not getting everything you wanted and a pony too? Well, that was 2010 you stayed home, and now the Solid South is quite locked in for Team Red thanks to reapportionment. Fortunately 2020 will be a Presidential Election year….

  7. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    I’ve got it too. Sometimes very enlightening.

  8. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    You do have a point here. I don’t like Hillary because she’s too easy at triangulating and has no real fire for taking on the establishment of her own party or the crazy-stupid of the other party, but it can be unrealistic to expect that Sanders will do everything he wants.

    I personally will vote for the guy (or gal) who best matches my priorities. I won’t participate in the caucus here in Colorado (I find caucuses to be ‘whoever can shout the loudest’ and I’m rather soft spoken), but I prefer Sanders. If I get Clinton, I’ll hold my nose and vote for her, just because Team Red is so much worse. I wish I had a better choice than that, but that’s not in the cards. Not now at least.

  9. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    This is a welcome relief from other sites out there, and is balanced. Warning, then a set length of ban, with an opportunity to return when the ban is served. And hopefully Bill will get the idea and not try to escalate on returning.

  10. repugnicant says:

    Clinton is the only one who talks realistically, factoring in the complexities of how our government works when she makes proposals. Sanders people seem to think you can just flip a switch and start over, wiping out several decades of voter complacency that allowed Republicans to stack everything in their favor. Pure laziness and totally unrealistic.

  11. Moderator4 says:

    Don’t worry about it. We are well aware of Bill_Perdue’s MO, he is currently on a brief time-out, and he will be monitored most closely when he returns.
    We do not like to ban people unless absolutely necessary for egregious infractions, but an ever-increasing number of somewhat smaller irritants and mis-directions from an individual commenter can certainly rise to that level.

  12. Doug105 says:

    Oh, I have it most don’t

  13. Silver_Witch says:

    Actually there is a groovy app that shows the number of down votes. It is run.

  14. FLL says:

    I can’t let the phrase in Bill’s reply to you, “being opposed to both major parties,” pass by without commenting on its accuracy. Below is the standard operating procedure I’ve seen, and it doesn’t seem to oppose both major parties:

    (1) Insulting invective directed at any Democratic candidate or supporter.
    (2) Insistent complaints directed at Jon or any other blogger who posts an article critical of major Republican candidates or the national Republican Party.

  15. Moderator4 says:

    It’s time for you to take a time-out and perhaps reflect upon your approach. You will be allowed to comment again in two days.

  16. Bill_Perdue says:

    What you do is up to you. I intend to present the left perspective and that means being opposed to both major parties. Anything less on my part would be dishonest.

  17. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    I agree. In the Primary Season, vote for who you think is the most liberal Democrat. Stump for Sanders. Spread the word. But if Hillary makes it to the General, and you stay home and don’t vote because she’s ‘not liberal enough’, well….

    I hope you like the war you fear, because you’re going to get it.

    I hope you like the religious assaults on our liberties, because you’re going to get it.

    I hope you like a damaged, if not destroyed, economy, because you’re going to get it.

    I hope you like everything all the above entails.

    Forced vaginal ultrasounds.

    Right-wing replacement of Supreme Court justices.

    Roll-back of ACA, back to where we were before.

    Increase of college tuition.

    Stagnant wages.

    Job losses.

    Devaluation of retirement investments, if you have them.

    Devaluation of your home’s worth.

    The list goes on and on, and you’re going to get every single bit.

    I hope you like not having a voice at all in government, because you’re going to get it. And more importantly, you will deserve that lack of voice, because you stayed home because ‘Team Blue wasn’t blue enough for me!’

    If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain. Too bad my mom couldn’t tell you and others like you that, like she told me when I was getting to voting age.

  18. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    I’m absolutely certain that if we dig deep enough into any candidate out there, including those you supposedly support, we’ll find something to dislike about them. The difference is we’re not pursuing the impossible — the perfect candidate. We’re pursuing the best we can in a nation where fully a third of us vehemently oppose any sort of leftist policies.

    For a moment, let’s take you at your word. You want true leftists to run the show. Supporting a third party, splitting the vote, will result in what happened to Canada — Team Red coasts to majority while Team Blue and Team Green fight over the liberal vote. And then both Green and Blue’s voters get exactly the opposite of what they want. Make no mistake: this is what happens when you have a split vote.

    Like how you portray yourself here, Team Red has ideological purists as well. They scream about how “Republicans in Name Only” ruin the country as bad as the Democrats. But they have a different strategy which has seemed to work well for them — vote for the Conservative in the Primary, vote for the Republican in the general. This is a better strategy than having two Liberal parties that will share the 60% of the vote they can get and the Conservative party that will coast to victory with its 40% and run the country counter to both Liberal parties policies.

    Everything above this line has been objective and free from personal attacks. Now I get into opinions down here, and yes, I’m going to make an attack against you. The fact here is that your brand of purity will ensure that you and other liberals get nothing you want. So, either you are too bullheaded and foolish to recognize the damage your position will bring to your cause, or you are not what you present yourself to be. Conservatives would sure love us to to squabble and refuse to vote for the Democrat in the General, and they fear us doing something similar to what they did — vote Liberal in the Primary and Democrat in the General. And what do you know. We’re on the Internet, where the Men are Men, the Women are Men, the Boys are FBI Agents, everyone is a small business owner, and nobody knows I’m a cat. So, we come to my favorite theory about you: You’re a right-wing plant trying to sew discord on Team Blue’s side of the argument and ensure that enough of us stay home on Election Day to get Team Red elected. And add the fact that you love you some personal attacks against both Team Blue politicians and voters? That makes my theory all the more likely. But I’m sure if you keep this up, the problem will solve itself soon enough. :)

  19. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    What’s an attXKA lqack?

  20. Moderator3 says:

    Bill, you must be aware of what we can do. We can see what your very unimpressive record of flags is. Commenters are absolutely upset with you.

    You say that you are a communist. It doesn’t seem appropriate that a communist would do what they want to do and ignore the desires of others. This is my final warning.

  21. Bill_Perdue says:

    Lemieux is not telling the whole story. He’s exaggerating because it’s an election year and the word has gone out from the DNC – get out the vote. As if that mattered.

    There’s no doubt that Republicans are rightists and there should be no doubt that Democrat politicians are just as bad. That’s why things don’t change as a result of elections. That’s what the Princeton study proved. That’s what the last century, since the ‘anti-war” candidacy of the racist Wilson, proved conclusively.

    When compelled, by unions or mass movements like the antiwar movement of the last century, politicians will make concessions and it doesn’t matter if they’re Democrats or Republicans. The difference now, or in the period since Carter began massive union busting, is that the ownership of both parties by the rich is open. They’re not hiding anymore. They think no one will present a fundamental challenge to them or to the parties and politicians they own.

    They’re dead wrong.

  22. Bill_Perdue says:

    I’m happy to be able to point out that fewer and fewer people will be joining you.

    “… the biggest In 2012 Obama got 66 million votes out of a total of 126 million cast and 222 million eligible voters. Increasing People don’t buy your line and are deserting both your parties.

    Rebranding didn’t stop Democrats from losing the House and then the Senate and it didn’t slow the bleeding from his party. Nor will it slow the political demise of his brothers and sisters the Republicans. Both are parties of losers and both are parties of NO when it comes to LGBT equality in the form of ENDA or a CERA.

    In 2012 Obama got 52.% of the actual and a mere 29.% of the eligible vote. Voter turnout dipped from 62.3 percent of eligible citizens voting in 2008 to an estimated 57.5 in 2012. That figure was also below the 60.4 level of the 2004 election… Despite an increase of over eight million citizens in the eligible population, turnout declined from 131 million voters in 2008 to an estimated 126 million voters in 2012 when all ballots are tallied. Some 93 million eligible citizens did not vote.

    “the American electorate — at large — doesn’t care for the 2016 field. Every major candidate in the poll, including non-candidate Joe Biden (at least for now), gets a majority of voters saying they are uncertain/pessimistic about their ability to do a good job as president vs. optimistic/satisfied. According to our pollsters, there is no precedent for that level of negativity for the entire field in the history of the NBC/WSJ poll on this question.”

  23. FLL says:

    I am more than willing to meet the blog owner and moderators half way in the interest of creating a collegial atmosphere. That’s why I added the overstrike to the last two sentences in one my comments at the top of the thread and said that I wouldn’t use humor to make a criticism about name-calling in the future. The reason for my annoyed response was the use of the nonsensical phrase “limp personal attack.” The word “limp” is only used to describe physical objects or parts of the body, but never an abstract idea like a personal attack. The phrase doesn’t even look like English; it looks like a computer-generated error. I’m sure no native English speaker has ever heard the phrase “limp personal attack.” But then the regular Americablog reader sees that it was written by Bill, who has a history of calling male commenters who disagree with him “Republicans in drag” (which he did for years on end until he finally stopped), and on other blogs, claiming that male commenters who disagree with him are “imitating Roy Cohn.” Ooooooh, I get it. “Limp-wristed personal attack.” And I thought, “Here we go again.” Hence my annoyance.

    I don’t think that the really colorful insults like “Dixiecrat,” “Republicans in drag” or “limp” add anything worthwhile. But if I have a criticism about vacuous name-calling, I’ll address it in a straightforward way with no humor. I hope that’s fair enough.

  24. UncleBucky says:

    Bubba, I will vote DEMOCRATICALLY and that is that.

  25. Bill_Perdue says:

    What you do is up to you. I intend to present the left perspective.

  26. Bill_Perdue says:

    The only question is whether or not it’s important which party appoints judges.

    In terms of social questions judges move when mass movements make them and not before. In Cali they first supported us and after Obama galvanized the bigot vote they supported Prop 8.

    The answer is that it’s not. Both parties are equally right wing and the elections they stage change nothing in terms of policy.

    That’s reality.

  27. Don Chandler says:

    So Bill, why did all but one judge that helped overturned Prop 22 in 2008 suddenly change heart and support Prop 8 in 2009? This is very inconsistent! Judge Moreno was the only dissent in the 2009 prop 8 case. Moreno was also one of the essential votes overturning Prop 22 in 2008. So Judge Moreno was the only consistent California Supreme Court Judge on Marriage Equality. He was a democrat appointed Judge (Clinton at the federal level and later Gray Davis at the California level.) So, you see, there were some benefits to having Bill Clinton as President. The whole point is it matters who is president. They get to select more than just a couple Supreme Court nominees. Savvy? I thought not.

  28. Moderator4 says:

    Well, this is Bill_Perdue’s modus operandi, isn’t it? He is never at fault, everybody else is. And he is starting to skate on thin ice. Perhaps we should give him a warning.
    I mean, a more robust warning.

  29. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    I define ‘Dixiecrat’ to be a southern racist. The name is of course plagued by legacy problems — Dixiecrats, as you pointed out, were Democrats until Team Blue had a civil rights epiphany and kicked them to the curb. They might have formed a sort of Quebecoi type party if it hadn’t been for opportunistic jerks on Team Red who saw opportunities for votes, so now they have a voice again, this time in the Republican party. But they are still distinct from the GOP in the sense that the old-school GOP was just pro-business. Their distinct brand of ugly regionalism and racism has converted the GOP from that old pro-business basis to a nasty party of sectarian hatred and insularism. Maybe we should just come up with a new name for them. I vote Racist Buttmunches myself. ;)

  30. Moderator3 says:


  31. kladinvt says:

    So basically, the writer here is repeating the same tired fear-tactics used to get Liberal/Progressive voters to support Hillary in the general election, even though her only advantage is, is that she’s not a registered republiCON. If in the 2016 general election, our choices are Hillary or a republiCON our nation will be guaranteed another war of profiteering and it will come about because a group of CONServatives will goad her into it, by claiming she’s not tough enough, whereby she will have to prove them wrong.

  32. Bill_Perdue says:

    This thread is full of personal attXKA Iqacks.

  33. Bill_Perdue says:

    Bill Clinton is a bigot. So is HRH HRC and it doesn’t matter at all if they rebrtanded.
    The Cali Supremes who granted marriage equality were led by Republcians.
    You seem confused, again.

  34. Bill_Perdue says:

    More anonymous personal attacks. That’s a sure sign that things went badly for the Democrat/Republicans.

  35. crbngville says:

    As long as you keep voting for the establishment candidate, the politics of the 1% wins.

    Vote for a corporate, third way, neoliberal/neoconservative candidate if you so choose. I choose not to.

  36. Voodoo Chile says:

    The timeline as I see it:

    Once Bernie Sanders started gaining some traction, the first slanderous rumours to come out were that he was a racist. This was primarily the work of Joan Walsh of (watch her battle Christopher Hitchens on YouTube for some admissions of her partisanship), but the interesting thing is that 3 such articles hit at the exact same time in various major outlets. These slanders came out before the death of Sandra Bland, and before Netroots Nation, and such rumours paid handsome dividends for the Clinton camp. Once the rumours that Bernie Sanders and his supporters were racists started to die down, stories about how he and his supporters were sexist. If you’re a fan of Karl Rove / Lee Atwater style dirty politics, then this is something you probably enjoy.

    So now we have the term “Bernie Bro” floating around. Sit back and think about it – it’s truly an amazing piece of propaganda. We all know that “bro” is meant to conjure up the image of the date-raping frat boy with a rich father and a popped collar. And yet it’s applied to the kind of many who is drawn to the most liberal candidate in any race! The kind of man who is dying for Elizabeth Warren to be our next president! These “bros” have a disproportionately large number of your typical far-left liberal type: skinny vegans with ironic moustaches, grandfatherly old men who listened to the Grateful Dead and protested the Vietnam War, and effeminate gays (we’re all friends here, right?). These are the type of men we’re calling “bros” and agents of the patriarchy. It’s a coup de grace of political propaganda.

    Jon Green, I point my finger at you and say that after looking at your profile picture and being familiar with your writing (which I like), that you are one of these alpha male “bros” that we are meant to hate so much.

  37. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    Yeah, can’t scare the cats. That’s not ever a good thing. ;)

  38. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    Dude, I don’t argue with you because you are like all the Team Red people out there. You’ve got your own team you’re cheering for, and you manage to be a rare monkey indeed and throw poop at BOTH Team Red and Team Blue. But make no mistake. You’re still a monkey flinging his poop at anyone he believes is wearing ‘the other team’s jerseys’. Like a Raider’s fan bashing on the Broncos and the Patriots, you’re not interested in having your mind changed, just in tarring ‘the other teams’. And to continue the football analogy, your team has as much chance of making the Whitehouse as the Raiders do of making the Superbowl — virtually none! So, why argue with you? You’re not here to have your mind changed, so any citations or opinions I waste on you are just that. Wasted.

    So. I return to the fact that you’re a broken record. Keep it up. We need entertainment around here. :)

  39. Sam Eggers says:

    Jon I urge you to watch this and then tell me why hillary should be the presumptive nominee and why so many people not just bros prefer sanders REAL honesty:

  40. Jon Green says:

    fwiw, here’s Scott Lemieux on SCOTUS/Congress appointments:

    “Republicans will almost certainly control the House for the first term of the next presidency and very likely the second as well. So what Congress will do about economic inequality and climate change is, at best, nothing. What a president can do about them is to address them at the margins through appointments to the executive and judicial branch and through the regulatory state while preventing Congress pillaging the best he or she can. And while I wouldn’t say there’s no difference between what a President Clinton and a President Sanders would do with the available tools, 1)it wouldn’t be very different, and 2)it would be something and not enough. Not inspiring until you remember that if Clinton or Sanders doesn’t become president we will get one who will do what he can to restore McKinleynomics, and unlike his Democratic counterpart he’ll be able to get statues to this effect passed while also letting neoconfederates loose to wreak havoc on the executive and judicial branches.”

  41. emjayay says:

    Yeah, I objected to that also. There is something called a reasoned choice. I’m not a bot of anyone (despite once being called an Obamabot right here which I was rather stunned by, but I didn’t go away anyway).

  42. emjayay says:

    Worked out pretty well with Bush and Gore when you voted for Nader, right?

  43. nicho says:

    Common political fallacy. You can’t say what any candidate will do if elected or would have done had they been elected. Given the right circumstances and the right faulty intelligence, it’s quite likely that Al Gore might have invaded Iraq just as Bush did. You can’t say otherwise.

  44. Moderator4 says:

    Bill_Perdue, since you are someone who routinely calls other commenters confused, wrong, or their comments worthless, it seems as though you engage in personal attacks of your own. One of the features of this blog is the back and forth between commenters. Sometimes they disagree, and attempt to persuade others by making cogent arguments. Trying to cut off disagreement with you by calling other commenters “confused” or “wrong” is getting tiresome, and you need to rethink your strategy.

  45. FLL says:

    Republican officials have even said, word for word, “the less people who vote, the more likely we are to win.”

  46. FLL says:

    Dead on target.

  47. FLL says:

    Thanks for the reference, Doug. I found the quote when Janet Reno’s Justice Department indicted the Kock brothers (link here):

    “This record civil penalty sends a clear message to those who transport hazardous materials: You cannot endanger public health or the environment,” said Attorney General Janet Reno. “We will not let you foul our water and spoil our land by breaking the law.” [,1/13/2000]

    Love letters from the Koch brothers will obviously be going to the Republican candidates, not to Bill or Hillary.

  48. FLL says:

    Obviously society has always exerted an influence on the political process. You ask “Why not both?” Since the Democratic presidential candidates are mostly supportive of progressive initiative and the Republican ones are solidly against, I’ll ask my own version of the question. “Where’s the harm?” This is Bill’s answer:

    Why not both? Because the victories for marriage equality came after mass actions and the growth of mass movements, not before, and because, as I pointed out, each of them were bipartisan, in fact the victories in California and Massachusetts were primarily due to Republican votes.

    What Bill is spelling out here better than anyone else could is his belief that the possible harm is endangering Republican victory. He even emphasizes his belief that good things are “primarily” done by Republicans, and in the rest of his comment emphasizes that bad things are primarily done by Democrats. That is why Bill complains every time you criticize a Republican. That is why Bill follows Ronald Reagan’s eleventh commandment, “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.” Jon, I don’t think Bill is really even being subtle here.

  49. FLL says:

    Another recurring phenomena on these comment pages that has yet to be explained is the use of the word “Dixiecrat” in terms of current politics. The term “Dixiecrat was sometimes used to describe conservative Southern Democrats between the 1940s and the 1990s. The reason for this is because after the 1990s, even state-level Southern conservatives had switched to the Republican Party. Democrats lost control of the North Carolina and Alabama legislatures in 2010, the Louisiana and Mississippi legislatures in 2011 and the Arkansas legislature in 2012. Using “Dixiecrat” as a lame insult to describe Democratic voters today is beyond stupid, not to mention just plain historically inaccurate. There are no Dixiecrats left; they are Republicans today. The occasional—and inexplicable—use of “Dixiecrat” here makes the Americablog comment pages unique on the Internet. Sometimes “unique” is interesting. Other times, it’s just a not-so-bright curiosity.

  50. Don Chandler says:

    It’s okay to be wrong, Bill. “Moreno is a federal judge who’s had nothing to do with the rulings of the Cali State Supreme court”–bill perdue nonsense.

    Judge Moreno was on the California Supreme Court between 2001 and 2011. He had everything to do with the RULINGS on same-sex marriage. Don’t be so pigheaded. And next time I tell you to look deeper, plz look deeper.

    Looks like Bill Clinton isn’t so anti-gay after all. And it looks like the country was ripe for “marriage equality” in 2012, not 1996 or 2000 or 2008.

  51. crbngville says:

    Some of us are just tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. I, too, will write in Bernie Sanders name in November if/when Hillary wins the nomination. Just because a Republican does not deserve my vote, doesn’t automatically mean Hillary does.

  52. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Normally, I can just ignore his comments, but every once in awhile, seeing his comments makes me want to throw my laptop at the wall, and I’m certain that would scare my cat.

  53. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I guess we should be kind to ol’ Bill. He must be exhausted from spending all day yelling that the kids to get off his lawn.

  54. Bill_Perdue says:

    It’s a limp personal attack.

  55. Bill_Perdue says:

    Another non political personal attack.

  56. Bill_Perdue says:

    That has nothing to do with the decision of the California Supremes in early 2008, before Obama’s bigotry ensured the passage of Prop 8.

    You’re confused.

  57. Bill_Perdue says:

    Another worthless non political comment.

  58. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    Meh, not that big of a deal to me. :)

  59. Doug105 says:

    While it doesn’t show any more without an extension, down voting you know who will still help drive his comments to the bottom of the page.

  60. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    For all the talk of socialism and power of the people, you sure do have a knack for trying to sell people stuff. All the drive of a used-car salesman, but none of the charisma….

    But keep it up. Life wouldn’t be the same without you poo-pooing the Democrats. Really, you’re the GOP’s favorite voice here on Americablog!

  61. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    Yep. Ol’ Bill here is so reliable at bashing Team Blue you can almost set your watch to it. And your statement was nothing more than a statement of fact. Methinks ol’ Bill here doesn’t know a true attack. A true attack would be calling him a concern troll or just going the whole 9 yards and calling him a right-wing plant.

  62. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    It’s neither a political reply or a personal attack. It’s the song that plays in my head whenever I see one of your comments.

  63. Don Chandler says:

    Bill, your superficiality is showing. He was originally appointed by Bill Clinton:Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of CaliforniaIn office
    February 4, 1998 – October 18, 2001Appointed byBill ClintonPreceded byRobert TakasugiSucceeded byCormac CarneyPreceded byVinai ThummalapallyAssociate Justice of the California Supreme CourtIn office
    October 18, 2001 – February 28, 2011Appointed byGray DavisPreceded byStanley MoskSucceeded byGoodwin Liu
    Gray Davis was also a Democrat.
    In 2008-2009, Carlos Moreno was on the California Supreme Court.

  64. Bill_Perdue says:

    You’re confused again.

    First the California Supreme Court enabled marriage equality in 2008.

    Then Obama made sure that Prop 8 passed in November of 2008.

    Later the feds ruled on Prop 8 in 2009.

    You’re confused again. Moreno is a federal judge who has noting to do with the rulings of the Cali State Supreme court.

    You’re confused again. The Chief justice of the Cali Supremes at the time of the first decision.was a Republican appointed by Reagan. So it doesn’t matter which party controls the judiciary.

    If by one tick pony you mean that I dislike bigots from your party and bigots from your Republican brothers and sisters, I agree. I just plain don’t like bigots.

  65. Bill_Perdue says:

    “unprecedented emissions standards and coal-fired power plant regulations” – Who said they weren’t?

    “Deepwater Horizon explosion is now a matter of public policy” What does that have to do with what I said.

    Obama is Bush Lite. Policies don’t change no matter which party wins. That’s a fact, not a theory and not an opinion.

  66. FLL says:

    Mass actions change the courts, not political affiliation.

    Supreme Court Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts have never stood up for the rights of working families or union families. Neither have they ever stood up for women’s reproductive rights, nor have they ever stood up for civil rights in any form. Never. Not in their entire tiresome careers. I find no end of amusement in the limp fairy tale that “mass movements” would have one iota of influence on Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts. If the entire membership of the Occupy Movement set their hair on fire and ran down Pennsylvania Avenue naked, it wouldn’t change a single vote or opinion on the part of Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts, and everyone knows it. A Republican president replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg might result in a 5-4 split, and not in a good way. The occasional commenter should understand that “fairy dust” is just a figure of speech. It’s not a kitchen cleaning product that’s meant to be inhaled.

  67. Jon Green says:

    The Deepwater Horizon explosion is now a matter of public policy but unprecedented emissions standards and coal-fired power plant regulations aren’t? I think I’m done here.

  68. Don Chandler says:

    From Wiki (doesn’t support your statement about the California Supremes):

    In considering the cases within the state courts, on November 13, 2008, the California Supreme Court asked California Attorney General Jerry Brown for an opinion on whether the Court should accept these cases for review and whether the measure should be suspended while they decide the case. On November 19, the Court accepted three lawsuits challenging Proposition 8, which consolidated into Strauss v. Horton.[207] The Court rendered its decision on May 26, 2009. The majority decision was that Proposition 8 “carved out a limited [or ‘narrow’] exception to the state equal protection clause”; Justice Moreno dissented that exceptions to the equal protection clause could not be made by any majority since its whole purpose was to protect minorities against the will of a majority. Until overturned by Hollingsworth v. Perry (below), the ruling established that Proposition 8 was valid as voted, but that marriages performed before it went into effect would remain valid.

    Bill, you need to look a bit deeper. Moreno was appointed by … Bill Clinton. Eat some crow for once. Moreno’s view actually is consistent with the end result….think about it…democratic appointment….he prevails ;)

    So where is the mass movement? Actually, pollings pretty much reflect the outcome of Prop 8: 50% against same sex marriage and 47% for same sex marriage. We eventually won in at the supreme court in 2014. Of course, Obama looks just like McCain to you. And Biden must look just like Sarah Palin. But back in 2008, an eternity in the internet age, marriage equality hadn’t gained the political movement it would gain in 2012: hence Obama’s commitment to Marriage Equality…maybe at Biden’s suggestion…but probably not. And so, a would be president might hedge in 2008. I know it’s hard for you to see it, but he said in your clip, he wouldn’t support a constitutional amendment. He is also talking about how for him…HIM…it’s between a man and woman. And he makes a distinction between sacred marriage and civil marriage. That is the most important ‘evolution’ in his stance. Because he is setting up a day when it is politically feasible to be pro-marriage equality. He needs an evolution among the masses…not quite there in 2008. You’re a one trick pony. Again. And again.

  69. Bill_Perdue says:

    You’re just confused. Again.

    The California Supremes, with a Republican majority and a Reagan appointee as Chief Justice, voted for marriage equality In re Marriage Cases, 43 Cal.4th 757 (2008).

    Mass movements does not mean the same thing as the number of people galvanized to vote against marriage equality by bigots.

  70. Don Chandler says:

    Political affiliations lead to GWB being elected at the SCOTUS. Also, California’s marriage equality didn’t win on mass movement. It won by a narrow 5-4 margin and only applied to California:

    Majority: Roberts, joined by Scalia, Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan

    DissentKennedy, joined by Thomas, Alito, Sotomayor–wiki.

    It was an unusual vote. I think it was technical win that perhaps the only people that could understand it were the SCOTUS members themselves. Since there were no California government officials behind prop 8, even Scalia decided it was not legit. But strangely, Justice Kennedy wanted to support the California voters who passed prop 8…which certainly means that mass movement was more against marriage equality in California in 2008.

    Anyway, no doubt the Supreme Court is important and progressives will be better off with a democratic president–give it up, Billy.

  71. Bill_Perdue says:

    The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and subsequent environmental disaster occurred under Obama, as well as ongoing disasters because of fracking and offshore drilling.

    “While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they’ve taken from the oil and gas giant over the years.

    BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.” Read more:

    You were saying?

    Policies don’t change no matter which party wins. That’s a fact, not a theory and not an opinion.

  72. Bill_Perdue says:

    Why not both? Because the victories for marriage equality came after mass actions and the growth of mass movements, not before, and because, as I pointed out, each of them were bipartisan, in fact the victories in California and Massachusetts were primarily due to Republican votes.

    It was Obama, joined by Democrats, who want to gut Social Security and who has gutted Medicare, who busted unions, who spread wars of aggression from Libya to Pakistan and who murders Arab American citizens and signed off on detention without trial (NDAA). Why do you want more of that?

    It was Bill Clinton who gutted regulation and imposed DADT, NAFTA and DOMA on us. The record of your party is as bad as the record of the Republicans.

    The Clinton’s are not exactly the same as Trump and Co. However, the status quo is murder in the Middle East, union busting, attacks on the Bill of Rights, and all the rest. Tens of millions have quit your party over that and many more will.

  73. Jon Green says:

    You say doling graft and peddling influence. I say controlling the federal bureaucracy that decides whether, say, EPA regulations and consumer protections are actually enforced. And as long as Democratic presidents have Republican Congresses, the bureaucracy is where the governing is going to happen. That absolutely matters.

  74. Jon Green says:

    “Mass actions change the courts, not political affiliation.”

    Why not both? Courts are responsive to public pressure, but they’re still partisan appointments. Especially when one party makes repealing certain court decisions a litmus test for nomination in the first place.

    What’s more, you still haven’t engaged the point (though in fairness, it wasn’t the first question I asked of you) that the consequences of a Clinton presidency will be status quo, while the consequences of a GOP presidency — which comes with control of the other two branches of government — entails a full repeal of every progressive priority of the last century *and then some.* My issues with Clinton are well-documented, but the idea that her upshot is *exactly* the same as her opponents seems forced to me.

  75. Bill_Perdue says:

    Vote Democrat or vote Republican. It doesn’t matter in the least.

  76. Bill_Perdue says:

    That’s not a political reply, it’s a rather limp personal attack.

  77. Bill_Perdue says:

    It only matters in terms of doling out graft and peddling influence. Policies don’t change no matter which party wins. “As Gilens and Page write, ‘the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.’ In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.”

  78. Bill_Perdue says:

    It doesn’t matter. Mass actions change the courts, not political affiliation. If that’s not true explain why we won marriage equality in Massachusetts and California where their Supremes were mainly Republicans or explain why we marriage equality on the federal level.

    Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) was the product of steady pressure by the black community and by leftists abroad who depicted the US as a racist backwater. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. (1973) and Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003) were likewise influenced by domestic and foreign politics, not by the party affiliation of the Supremes, who are, after all, just robed politicians.

    Aside from it not mattering who makes judicial appointments, why do you want people to vote for wars of aggression, union busting, attacks on the Bill of Rights and environmental disaster because that’s what working people will face if either HRH HRC or Trump is elected.

  79. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Billy could only sing one note, and the note he sang was this ^

    over and over and over.

  80. Bill_Perdue says:

    The only effect of the Sanders candidacy will be to drive deep political wedges in the Democrat party, which is a right centrist party, not a centrist of leftist party. Trump and Carson are doing the same thing to the Republicans. Anything that splits and weakens the Democrat and Republican party opens the way for the left, which will use the pressure of mass actions and mass movement to compel real change.

    Because of that fact and because Democrats will continue to pursue border racism, wars of aggression, a failing and crappy medical care program (1) and more attacks on unions and the Bill of Rights. Expect more massive desertions from those decrepit Whigs no matter who wins what in 2016.

    Why are these men laughing?

  81. Jon Green says:

    Neither would. That’s my point. Which party controls the executive branch matters a great deal.

  82. Doug105 says:

    The GoP loves when people don’t vote, it’s why they make it as hard as they can get away with.

  83. Doug105 says:

    Also not one word about the Southern Strategy that siphoned off most of the dixiecrats before the mid 70’s.

  84. Knottwhole says:

    Would Bernie?

  85. Jon Green says:

    Is Hillary Clinton going to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a justice that opposes both Roe and Obergefell?

  86. Bill_Perdue says:

    She can be both and, as we’ve seen before, fool a lot of people. Then we’ll hear something like this: “The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican.” Obama, in an interview with Noticias Univision 23. ABC News, 12 15 2012

    It’s another demonstration of the utter failure of liberals and liberalism.

  87. UncleBucky says:

    “Instead, the liberal wing of American politics is divided into BernieBros and HillaryBots.”

    THAT’S LIKE SAYING… that the Republican Party is all Teabagguers….


  88. Bill_Perdue says:

    They were fighting for oil but now it’s to control the supplies of oil and gas.

    The US is now a leader in oil and gas production thanks to Obama’s environment killing fracking and offshore drilling and will so be exporting oil and LNG to Europe and elsewhere.

    The current American empire is modeled on the English and Roman empires.

  89. Bill_Perdue says:

    Hillary Clinton is a warmonger, a barely rebranded anti-gay bigot, a critic of abortion, a union busting scab and an opponent of the Bill of Rights. The same is true of anyone the Republicans nominate.

    Voting for any Democrat is a vote for the Republicans. The differences between he parties are cosmetic and unimportant. The results of the rigged vote, which only offers horrific choices are unimportant.

  90. UncleBucky says:

    I will vote for Sanders in our state’s Primary.

    But no matter what the outcome, I WILL VOTE DEMOCRATICALLY, I WILL VOTE BLUE, I WILL VOTE FOR THE BIG D in the General Election of 2016.

    Any non-vote, any vote for a third party, any write-in, no matter, WILL BE A VOTE FOR THE GOP.

  91. Doug105 says:

    The Democrats are far from perfect especially after taking in so many RINO’s driven out of the other party, I would think the dream would also be without blue dog democrats. And however bad the Democrats are the republicans have totally lost it.

  92. Indigo says:

    Obama could have done that but instead of closing Guantanamo and pulling out of the Iraq-Afghanistan quagmire, he stuck around and now we’re embedded in that region. If the next president gets aggressively warlike, we could wind up with an impressive oil-rich empire not easily governed unless we get domineering in a way the world hasn’t yet seen. No coffin needed.

  93. Don Chandler says:

    Kasich is the only republican to challenge the Great Wall of Trump. His poll ratings went down. Well, maybe Bush did but his poll numbers went down for being a dumbass blowhard. I’m pulling for Sanders. And he IS pulling Hillary to the left. My biggest fear is that the conservative Millennials are more likely to vote than the progressive Millennials…Jon excluded ;)

  94. BeccaM says:

    True — out of all of them, only Kasich (who is corrupt as all hell) is GOPer who I don’t think would necessarily destroy the country and/or launch a nuclear war.

    The way I see it, Clinton is light years better than any of the Republican candidates. Not perfect, but still. And I’m glad Sanders is in the race because he’s pushing a progressive / socialist narrative which is undoing at least a little of the steady rightward conservative ratcheting of the Democratic party.

  95. BeccaM says:

    Yeah…but for at least some of that, the Dems preferred the corporatist policies. They’re the ones, for example, who keep pushing for the trade agreements — whether it’s NAFTA or TPP — which never really benefit anyone but the corporations.

    We could have had significant action on several of those items, such as student loan reform and a higher minimum wage when the Democrats held the presidency and both houses of Congress in 2009 and 2010 — but they didn’t even try. The last increase was in 2009, but was the last step of a law signed by Bush in 2007, mainly because the Dems had managed to get it added as a rider to an omnibus military spending / business tax cut bill. (Tipped-position wages remain at an appallingly low $2.13/hour, a number which hasn’t changed in decades. And restaurants have found ways to exploit that, by assigning supposedly tipped employees duties which would not generate tips, such as dish washing and cleaning.)

    We could have had a public health insurance option, but we learned after the fact that Obama had taken it off the table, along with drug importation and Medicare medicine price negotiation, at the very beginning. Not to please the GOPers, but to keep conservative Democrats in line.

    As regarding wars for profit, both the Democrats and Republicans kept proposing increased defense spending, only the latter yawping that it needed to be much, much higher, as if spending on the military never costs anything. But military spending continues to go up, and U.S. troops are still in Afghanistan and Iraq, and apparently with some more now in Syria. Sure, the overall numbers are down, but now the U.S. is pissing off nations throughout Asia and Middle East with profligate drone-launched assassinations and outright murders in defiance of international law.

    Then there was the Simpson-Bowles infamous ‘Cat-food Commission’ — with members chosen specifically by the Obama administration, who then proposed raising the retirement age, cutting Medicare, and instituting chained-CPI to erode Social Security pension benefits, with not one penny of increased revenues through measures such as lifting or eliminating the FICA tax cap.

    There’s the phrase “more and better Democrats” — we’ve needed significantly more emphasis on the latter word, ‘better,’ and not just more of them, not when they keep supporting pro-corporate / anti-populist measures, especially in economic matters.

  96. Don Chandler says:

    If you think free tuition and universal health care are a reality, the millennials need to vote a change of congress too. They also will need to “astroturf” in the same way the teaparty was formed…through protests of obamacare and endless whining. Won’t matter whether it’s President Clinton or President Sanders…still need to whine like a millennial has never whined before: squeaky wheel gets the oil. But there ain’t no chance in hell if a republican is elected president. GWB did so much damage in his 8 years of unelected office. Trust me, a president Trump can double damage the US. A President Cruz could undue “marriage equality”. A president Carson is unimaginable.

  97. BrianG says:

    Jon, I must respectfully disagree with one of your major suppositions. You state that free public tuition and universal healthcare are great ideas but are unlikely to become reality. I for one am willing to try a progressive approach.

    Let’s look at the last two neoliberal presidents, Clinton and Obama. Both campaigned on change and populism. Clinton promised to put people first, and we got him pleasing the bond market, reforming welfare, traiangulation, and signing off on Nafta.

    Obama after campaigning on “hope and change” immediately reverted to his Hamilton Project persona and immediately began pining for a “grand bargain” with entitlements, keeping the Bush tax cuts, engaging in “bipartisanship,” eliminating the public option etc.

    In both cases, the democratic president blurred the lines between the two parties, abandoning the base, and having stunning midterm losses in Congress. I say, elect Sanders, and maybe he’ll make the GOP vote against universal healthcare and free college tuition and I dunno maybe make it an issue in 2018 and maybe win Congress and pass the agenda after all.

  98. nicho says:

    Wake me when she starts rattling. She was kind of a soporific senator and a feckless SoS. So, I will await her metamorphosis into a liberal firebrand from her present role as a Wall Street lickspittle.

  99. 2karmanot says:

    Hillary, may very well be the one who will go down in history as the aggressor who put the final nails in the American Imperial coffin.

  100. Indigo says:

    I’m with whomever the convention nominates but for now, I like Bernie but he puts me in mind of Eugene McCarthy (1968) who was genuinely inspiring but not really national winning material. I’m for Hillary unless the convention says otherwise. She’s got what it takes to rattle the Congress and put ’em to work!

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