Saturday, March 25, 2017

School Scope: War in the Democratic Party as Bernie Popularity Soars

March 24, 2017

School Scope: War in the Democratic Party as Bernie Popularity Soars
By Norm Scott

Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in America, by a wide margin of 61% according to a FOX news poll ( . Yes FOX. Now Bernie is not actually a Democrat but calls himself a Democratic Socialist and at this point there is no such viable party in this nation as there is throughout the world. People tend to conflate social democracy with communism and nothing could be further from the truth. Stalin wiped out social democrats, as have every communist nation because SDs believe in private property, a fundamentally free market economy and regulated capitalism. Scandinavian nations are prime examples. Universal single payer health care is an essential, as is free education. Both of these were basic to Bernie’s program and both ideas seem to be fundamentally off the table to both parties. Don’t expect me to explain Bernie’s enormous popularity as his basic ideas are ignored and in fact often mocked, not only by the right, but by the center and even many liberals.

There is a tendency to place all Democrats into one big lump and declare them all liberal/lefties when in fact there is a wide range of division. The right-center flank of the Democratic Party is pretty much where the mainstream Republican Party was pre-Reagan. The so-called center is now being branded as the Clinton/Obama wing of the party, which includes the party leadership (Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi) while the left of the party is the Bernie wing. Make no mistake about it, war is raging in the party if not openly at this point but behind the scenes and certainly in print.

The flash point came recently in the election for the relatively obscure Democratic National Committee chair. Early on, Bernie’s people backed a left-leaning Ohio Congressman, Keith Ellison, who is black and a Muslim. This was soon after the Hillary election disaster and the Clinton/Obama wing was busy licking its wounds. In the vacuum, many people signed on. But it didn’t take long for the C/O wing to fight back. Apparently Obama – and those of you who think he is a lefty, you are reading the right stuff – convinced his labor secretary, Tom Lopez, who did nothing for labor, to run against Ellison. Perez won, but by the narrowest margin in history – basically it is the super delegate types who voted. He tried to make peace by naming Ellison a co-chair, but the entire affair hasn’t played very well with the real left of the party – the Bernie wing – which wants the party to break ranks with its corporate money wing which supported Hillary.

There also happens to be a left to the left of the party of varying degrees of leftism and there is talk about the need to leave the Democratic Party and form a new party – maybe even one along the lines of the European social democratic parties.
The Greens seem to occupy some of that space. Others want something even more left – a labor party and an avowed anti-capitalist party.

For a political junkie like me, this is better than sports and in fact I now divide my time between watching/listening to sports on WFAN and to NPR and CNN, though I do get things confused at times. Who’s pitching for the Yankees? Keith or Tom?

Anyone who writes, or reads, were saddened by the death of people’s journalist Jimmy Breslin. I never met Jimmy but did get close a couple of years ago when I was the cameraman on a shoot in his apartment where his wife, major political figure Ronnie Elbridge, was being interviewed for a feature for a show called Active Aging, a Manhattan Neighborhood Network program about people of a certain age who keep doing amazing things. Jimmy was home but in another room so we never got to meet him. Don’t we need an army of Jimmy Breslin-type reporters, a pretty much extinct breed, today more than ever?

Norm shares his junkie thoughts  on his blog,

1 comment:

  1. The Republicans just took down themselves by not having a vision. In November, the Dems did the the same thing. In one of the links you posted, the commentator said journalists should not ask why people voted against their own interests, but why they felt so desperate that they voted the way they did.

    Dems have no vision at this point. All they are doing is trying to hold onto their diminishing power. Like Bernie said, they don't mind going down with the Titanic, as long as they keep their 1st class seats.

    They should use their 'down' time to put together a vision and a couple of versions of important bills. The Reps didn't, will the Dems?

    Also, it's very interesting about the protests. Some of it, was probably because Americans don't generally like bullies-remember the weakest among us are targeted. But also, some of it was probably that, on some level, people realized that for a long time the Dem politicians have worked against regular people. This president is against immigrants, but the last president was the deporter in chief. Test and punish flourished under the Dems. The president doesn't work alone, Congress ok'd these actions. These protests were catalyzed by the new President, but the pressure had been building.

    And finally, while my choice is Bernie or a Bernie surrogate, if a clear, pro-public education plank is not part of the platform, it's a no-go. Public ed needs some changes, but also support. I overlooked being overlooked in 2016, but with 4 years to think about it, the candidate needs to have clear, productive ideas.


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