Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Bernie/Hillary Battle: Commentary from the Left (New Politics) and Mainstream (Politico)

Speaking of elections
I'm finally getting revved up to watch the show on both sides of the aisle unfold. I'm starting to balance the still remote possibility Bernie will win the nomination with the electability of a Jewish socialist. But then again, how electable is Hillary at this point? Even the most rabid Bernie fans, face it. If given Hillary vs any one of the Republican candidates most will hold your nose and vote for her.

What is interesting to me is that Bernie is winning the young and the white working class which rejected Obama and will reject Hillary. Imagine a Bernie vs Trump or Cruz election. Can Bernie win?

Yes, he has problems with people of color, in particular the black community. It is not just that he comes from a white state but there has also been issues between Jews and Blacks for decades, especially here in NYC going back to the 1968 teacher strike which was often framed as Jewish teachers opposing Black community control. As a teacher I often found that my own kids had certain attitudes toward Jews and they were surprised I was Jewish because they had a certain image of Jews - but then again that was in Hasidic Williamsburg.

This country brands itself as a Christian nation. Many Jews believe that it the Obama election was more likely than a Jew being president. I can remember as a young child being told we would never see a Jewish president, forcing me to give up my political career when I was 3.

But when people of color are faced with the stark choice what will they do?
And then again there is Michael Bloomberg jumping in if Bernie looks like he can win.
Imagine this: Bernie vs. billionaires Bloomberg and Trump.
How will that play out with the added factor of having 2 of the 3 being Jews?
But reality bites. The Democratic Super delegates in a close race will hand it ti Hillary and even in not a close race.
No wonder I love 2 major things: sports and politics - better than any other entertainment you can get.

Here is a selection of readings for this cold day from Politico and from New Politics.

New Politics, Winter 2016 Issue

A Discussion of the Sanders Campaign

Some months ago I responded to a piece that appeared on the New Politics blog by my longtime fellow NP editorial board member and friend Barry Finger.1 In my own blog, I argued that Barry had a better, more sophisticated understanding of the peculiarities of the Democratic Party and the U.S. electoral system than do many on the radical left who refuse to support any Democratic candidate regardless of that candidate’s personal political platform. However, I also made clear that I believed that Barry still suffered from certain misunderstandings regarding just how different American political parties are from parties that exist anywhere else in the world, and this meant there were defects in his suggestions as to how left-wing socialists should relate to the Sanders campaign. Other defects still characterize the arguments of those who claim that to support Sanders, however critically, is to support a candidate of a party of capital.
While invoking my debate with Barry, I’ll touch upon those other arguments and their problems and explain why I think that critical support for the Sanders campaign is a necessity if we’re to build a much larger socialist movement and how the campaign may lay the basis for an independent party of the left.

The Sanders Campaign and the Left, Lance Selfa and Ashley Smith
Senator Bernie Sanders’ run for the Democratic Party nomination for president has certainly energized thousands. It has also rekindled an old debate on the American left that revolves around the question: Should the left join, endorse, support, or work for campaigns in the Democratic Party?

Politico has some more traditional stuff:
HILLARYWATCH -- "The gaping hole at the heart of Hillary Clinton's campaign," by Paul Waldman in WashPost's PlumLine blog: "[R]ight now, the Clinton campaign has a much bigger problem than the story it wants to tell about New Hampshire. That problem is this: the campaign has no story to tell the voters about Hillary Clinton and why she should be president. Having a good story doesn't guarantee you victory, but nobody becomes president without one ... Now tell me: what's Hillary Clinton's message? She doesn't have one."

BENJAMIN WALLACE-WELLS on, "The Clintons Have Lost the Working Class": "Most arrestingly, Sanders won voters with an income of less than fifty thousand dollars by 2-1. There's a lot of talk about Clinton's campaign repeating the chaos and errors of 2008, but that year she had the white working-class vote. Clinton's candidacy looks narrower than ever, more confined to those whose experience of life approximates her own. ... That is not the most promising platform from which to begin a general-election campaign in any year, and especially not in a vigorously populist one."

AMB. HOWARD GUTMAN on Politico, "Why Sanders' Win Is Good for Clinton: The socialist senator has been a saving grace for the Clinton campaign. Best to keep him around as long as possible": "This campaign season, the socialist senator has been a gift to Clinton. He's pumped a huge amount of oxygen into a race that could easily have been starved for attention. And even more importantly, he's made sure that the biggest story in the race isn't Clinton's own background."

MARGARET CARLSON on Bloomberg, "Beware a Wounded Clinton ": "Maybe it's HDTV, but stagecraft is so obvious now. Clinton's sense of entitlement comes through, while Sanders' basic decency is apparent whenever the camera lands on his wild hair, bad suits and Brooklyn accent. The Clintons exude the belief that we would be lucky to get them back not the other way around."

- WNYC's Rebecca Ibarra: "What Will it Take for Black Voters to Choose Bernie Sanders?"
-- WNYC's Andrea Bernstein: "If There's One Thing Hillary Clinton Knows, It's How to Come Back from Defeat"


  1. Count me as the exception. No effing way I am voting for her. NY goes blue anyway. I am done voting for degrees of evil. Never again.

  2. I don't hold my nose and vote anymore. Jill Stein is a good choice-pro education!

  3. Here's why I think the opposite of what you write about "holding your nose":

    There's a significant chunk of Bernie voters who wouldn't be voting Democrat if it wasn't for him specifically -- the people who normally vote Green, or Independent, or who abstain from voting against their values. If Hillary wins, they're jumping ship. Hillary voters on the other hand are tried and true lesser-of-two-evils voters. Hillary supporters will suck it up and vote for Bernie should he win the primary. So it is Bernie who would be able to absorb Hillary's base, not the other way around. I say Hillary should quit right now -- she's the greatest enabler of Donald Trump winning the election.


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