The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Who I Bleed With and Why Bernie Is Trusted

So, identity is and always has been one of the most important forces in politics, the rise and fall of empires, etc. This was true long before “identity politics” or intersectionality and it will be true long after they are forgotten.

Identity is who you feel with. Who you bleed with. If people like you are hurt, you hurt. You can see this in degrees in terrorist attacks and natural catastrophes. If it’s the Brits being hit, Americans care. French? Somewhat less. Baghdad market bombing? Don’t give a shit. (Yes, you are special flower and do actually care, which may well be true, as you are one of my readers and self-selecting for caring more about people not like you, but most people don’t. I wish they did, but they don’t.)

This is also true for good things; they matter more if they happen to people I identify with.

My primary political identification is with the precariat: The working class who aren’t even stable working class. They can lose their jobs at any time, they live in bad housing, they are one bad bounce away from the street. In the US, they can’t afford healthcare even if they have insurance, in most countries they can’t afford dental care and you can see it as they get older in their yellow teeth.

These are the people who are always scared, who will work until they die or physically just can’t, and who will push far past what “can’t” would be for most other people. They work through pain and illness because, even in most countries with sick days, a week isn’t enough if you’re precariat: When you eat badly, and you work hard, your health breaks at some point.

I’ve been precariat a lot during my life. I’m precariat now. I’ve belonged to other classes, I’ve even been well off, upper middle class. I’ve hobnobbed and lived with the upper classes plenty, I grew up with them in boarding school. I can fit in with most classes, as long as I have the wardrobe, though as I get older and look older it becomes a bit harder: I don’t have the shiny well-cared for, calibrated, drugged look the upper classes have at my age.

Some of my identification with the precariat is simply that I often am one. But I could choose to identify with other classes or groups, I’ve been among many of them at some time. People can be stubborn about identifying with a class they no longer have the material circumstances for–they can hold on to that until they die, acting as if they still belong and often getting away with it. It’s worth doing, because lower class people are treated worse.

Period. They are treated worse, always. I put on a suit and clean up and I see the change. I change my manners and act middle class, and how I am treated changes, always for the better.

Lower class people have manners and attitudes which are recognizable, and higher orders, even the people only a little higher, shit on them the moment they recognize those manners. Exceptions exist, and I’ve gone out of my way when my circumstances are good to be an exception (which is why service staff anywhere I go regularly always like me), but they are exceptions.

But while some of my identification is simply positional, a lot of my political identification stems from the fact that the precariat, more than anyone except those who have fallen out of the system completely, are the ones who need the help. They tend to work very hard and get very little for it. I’ve done office work, construction work, retail and food prep, among many, many jobs, and the psychological stress of office work can be real, but it’s not the same as a hard physical job, where in any case the bosses are often still assholes. (This is especially true in retail in my experience. Never did manufacturing.) Office workers also tend to have a bit of protection from the most abusive behaviour, because of a certain shield of civility which does not apply to those at the bottom.

So, I am for Bernie, and I was for Corbyn, because they will do the most for those who need the most help. I can argue that most of what they want to do will also be excellent for everyone but the very rich, even if many of those people don’t recognize it, and it’s true, but I don’t care very much. The self-identifying middle class, the upper class, and the rich (three separate classes) are mostly either actively scum, or passively scum. The “middle class” has thrown everyone, including their own weaker members, under the bus in a pathetic attempt to keep their perceived status. The upper class are the rich’s close retainers, executing their policies and about one member of the rich out of a hundred who has power is doing more good than evil.

Identification is a matter of feel. When the precariat are hurt, I hurt. I feel their pain. This isn’t theoretical, you can see it on brain scans. When something good happens for them, I am happy. This is true even if it has no effect on me; I’m Canadian, and have universal health care–yet I have spent much of my career advocating for the US to adopt universal care.

One reason that Warren never had a hard core of supporters the way Sanders does is simple: She doesn’t identify as lower or working class or precariat. She doesn’t feel like one of the body. She doesn’t actually seem to feel the pain. Bernie, despite having been in Congress for ages, has a lot of Jewish working class feel. The anger that turns off the technocrats as inappropriate for the office is real to working class types. If there’s reason to be angry, be angry. And Bernie is angry because their bosses are treating them like shit.

Warren wants to be the good boss; the good intellectual. The savior.

Bernie feels like one of us and he’s angry with us.

He may or may not win the nomination (though I think he can win the election.)

But it’s why there’s a core of people who trust him through thick and thin.

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Elizabeth Warren’s “What Am I Moment”


Open Thread



    Hey Dem establishment, cheaters that you are, I don’t feel for you one bit and in fact support the GOP in raking Joe & Hunter over the coals. Ya’ll deserve it at this point, and frankly have deserved it for quite a while now. How much you want to bet Biden makes Romney his running mate. Romney’s auditioning for the part as we type. What a ticket it will be. They’re sure to win come November. What a crazy general it will be. It will be a face-off over who’s the more superior cheater. The voting machines are going to be so hacked, they’re going to overheat and explode. Dueling hacks.

  2. elissa3

    Ian, you nailed it. Over the past several years I’ve undertaken a personal journey that involves consciously divesting myself of what can be called “identifiers”, except for one. That is the place that I live in. The town, the immediate geographical area where I physically live. I identify as a part of the (fortunately) diverse community and will make what efforts I can to help it thrive. Born an American, I cannot identify as such any more. Retired, I pay some taxes and need a passport to travel to other nations, but loyalty to the actual US regimes that have existed in my lifetime? No.

    So, does it make me a hypocrite, or is the above argument disingenuous when I think your argument for Bernie is right on? True, he is far from perfect, but who is? A President Sanders, at least, would mitigate the ongoing pain and repression in our barbarous nation state.

  3. nihil obstet

    Another very sad conclusion I have come to, discussing politics this year, has been that members of the remaining professional/managerial middle class are “classist” in the way they accuse the less credentialed of being racist. It’s not just that they’ve thrown their less lucky peers under the bus to preserve their status. It’s that they want status differentials to continue and maybe even intensify. After all, their mental framework is competition within a meritocracy. Their value depends on others’ losses.

    Every one of them would be horrified at this description. They want everyone to have equal opportunity and everyone to get help when needed. But they’re realists who understand that most Americans don’t really want “free” stuff, and so you can’t argue for it. The deficit would hurt the country, so you have to have a plan to pay for anything you want to do except police, the military, economic incentives to corporations, and any threat to themselves, like a disease that they aren’t adequately protected from. The most important electoral goal is to beat the other party, which is the worst in the history of the country but are really like us and so bipartisanship!

    But they’re still determined to help those who need it. Because of the horrible other party that will block anything good but will be a bipartisan partner, you can’t do anything big. Success comes from wonky little programs — you can get health insurance subsidies if your income is no more than 400% of the federal poverty level for the year and even if your job is precarious you should know what your income will be and what the federal poverty level is and a bunch more conditions written into the realistic program.

    To avoid the downside of helping those who don’t need it, they’ll means test everything. This involves a lot of gate keeping and essentially ritual humiliation. Why is this necessary? They’ll give a dozen reasons, many of them contradictory. But listening to them this year I’ve concluded simply that it keeps the relative status of the needy and the middle class clear. People who don’t agree with these targeted frequently demeaning programs are greedy, selfish, ignorant people. But they are good, intelligent, caring people with earned superior status.

  4. anon

    Identity politics has ruined America. Americans have chosen identity in favor of their economic interests time and again. We see this with working class whites voting for Donald Trump and older blacks voting for Joe Biden. I’m not sure if people will ever learn. The electorate has been brainwashed by cable television and fake news on social media. Our schools, by design, aren’t teaching basic skills let alone critical thinking skills. I hope you’re right that Sanders can pull off a win, but the odds are and always have been against him, even when he was in the lead. The so-called moderate corporatist majority of the Democratic Party was never going to let Sanders win the nomination without a fight, even it meant having to disenfranchise and cheat to do so.

  5. Trouble with the credit card society is everyone thinks they’re better off than they are. Better, than they are. Suburban-class entitlement. They may be trust-funder punks who’ve never done a days’ work in their lives or it may be dad’s working two shifts down at the tar pits with mom doing e-Bay from a 7/11 to pay for the house in Palmdale, working-class who’r so far in over their heads they’ll never escape but like the trust-funders have convinced themselves that house, that boat, pick-up, car trailer whatthefuckever makes them better than all the rest of us. A false sense of entitlement. Distinctly different, Nihil, I think, than the working-class we boomers are acquainted with, one I’ve only been giving thought to since the turn of the century (pig era). I don’t think it a liberal estimate at all that better than half the country are living in la-la land, have no grasp of reality, so wrapped up in their manufactured self-image of themselves they are blind to all else. Induced dyslexia.

    If there’s a silver lining to these dark clouds it’s in come November the 450 collective will disappear as quickly as it appeared. That increase in traffic you see Ian are reich-wing trolls taking notes.


    Too funny, Ten Bears. Everyone’s reich-wing to you, aren’t they? Ten Bears is getting excited about a Biden landslide in November. He’s a big Biden fan and he knows Biden will deliver the goods. I mean, afterall, Ten Bears was once rooting for Kamala Harris.

    News for you, Ten Bears, at this rate the election in November will be canceled and there may be a military coup by then considering COVID-19.

    The ten year treasury note yield has set a record. It’s below 1% which is unprecedented. The rich are panicking. COVID-19 does not discriminate. There’s no where to run to, no where to hide for the rich. They don’t no where to park their money. The only thing left is the mattresses and a run on the banks.

  7. Dan

    There was an excellent discussion on this very issue this morning on Rising. Warren had much more populist appeal before she went identitarian:

    By the way, if it’s just about the precariat sans any identification, the why the need to invoke Sanders’ “Jewish working class feel.” What is “Jewish working class feel” and how does it differ from other working class qualities? Is that qualifier really necessary? Is it helpful? It seems that as everyone else’s cultural heritage is being washed away, the Jewish cultural heritage is simultaneously being strengthened. That never ends well.

  8. John B.

    You are a fool

  9. Ten Bears

    Go fuck yourself, dog-shit.

  10. someofparts

    It’s like a restaurant everyone is enjoying except for that one guy who is relieving himself on the furniture. People stop by, see that he is still there, and decide to come back later. This is the worst extreme I’ve seen though. Does not appear to be any hour of the day or night, or any day of the week, when it is not underfoot. This must be all that it does, which might mean it is getting paid.

  11. someofparts

    and for a counterpoint to Ian’s profound decency, we have this

    great headline too

  12. Jerry Brown

    Really was a great post Ian. You nailed it as elissa said earlier. If I could write half as well as you what would turn out is what you wrote. Thanks

  13. Z

    Warren never changed her tactics of going after Bernie long after it was obvious they weren’t helping her campaign. Her campaign is finished now, but “she’s still in the fight” she says. And apparently last night on Maddow she was still banging on the Bernie Bros and not saying much about Biden.

    She’s never once gone after Biden over his bankruptcy bill which is entirely in her wheelhouse, but she pounds on Bernie well after it ought to matter.

    Again, I think they’ll make her Biden’s running mate, if he wins, and then pull the rug out from under Biden and act like they’ve discovered his dementia and there will be Liz. She had her test run beating up on billionaires when she went after Mikey $B. The media will be very supportive.

    She probably won’t win, but if she does our rulers know they can control her. Just let her have some small wins that pad her ego and image which don’t reset the structure of the game like her consumer bureau win she got. Now the average credit card interest is over 20% while the banks get free money from the Fed. What’s not to like about that for Liz and the rest of our ruling class?


  14. V

    Ten Bears
    March 6, 2020
    Go fuck yourself, dog-shit.

    Well and succinctly put…

  15. Stirling S Newberry

    The issues aren’t going away. It is how much pain we are willing to go through. Given how bad things got in The Great Depression, we have a long way down.

  16. DMC

    Ten Bears
    March 6, 2020
    Go fuck yourself, dog-shit.

    Well and succinctly put…

    It’s like the Algonquin Round-table around here, I swear….

    What worries me at this point is if Biden winds up being the “place holder” for a potential HRC nomination as VP. Old Joe has an attack of some kind and is out of the race, the veep candidate “bravely carries on” to the inevitable thumping DJT will administer in November. I wouldn’t put anything past the Dems these days.

    On the bright side, maybe the COVID-19 virus will wipe us all out.

  17. different clue

    Identy is a real thing. The various identies . . . ethnic, religious, linguistic, other, . . . are real identies. Every wolf knows its own pack. Every pack knows its own wolves.

    When cynical operators use and exploit identy for guilt-mongering and superior-ascribed-morality assigning in order to divide from eachother various identy-groups of people who show signs of helping eachother pursue shared pragmatic power-political-economic interests; then those interests go unserved and inter-identy-group jealousies and envies and rivalries and hatreds are carefully fostered for further present and future exploitation.

    The SJWs ( Social Justard Wokeholes) are a good example of willing crowbars eager to let the Overclass Elites use them for conquering by dividing.

  18. Hugh

    Warren made the argument that she lost in part because she was a woman and that her loss was a loss for women. I would have thought that running as a progressive without actually being one was a far more likely reason.

    She could have endorsed Sanders in 2016. She didn’t. She could have supported his run in 2020. She didn’t. She entered the race herself and slammed Sanders when her campaign started going south. Now she’s out. If she was going to endorse Sanders and for that endorsement to be meaningful, it would have been made by now. It hasn’t. I don’t know about you but I am seeing a pattern here.

    Warren ran as a technocrat. She was concerned with problems, not people. She had a plan for everything. Thing is for the life of me, while I know where Sanders stands on student debt, healthcare for all, and the Green New Deal, I can’t remember one of Warren’s plans.

    After the Democratic party coup against Sanders, I don’t see him winning the nomination and I don’t see a lot of progressives, independents, and Millennials voting for Biden. I think the Establishment Democrats have managed the near impossible. They have found a way to lose to Donald Trump. It’s 2016 all over again. And the losers in all this? The lower 80% of us.

  19. different clue

    @ nihil obstet,

    Naked Capitalism has been running articles and posts from time to time about the danger to society posed by the Professional Managerial Classes. I would add in with those classes anyone who identifies with those classes.

    Sometimes naming something can help improve thinking about it. Because the Meritocracy thinks of itself as a “natural and naturally-deserving Aristocracy”, perhaps we could call it the Meristocracy. And its members are the Meristocrats.

    Hillary Clinton and her supporters are a perfect example of the Meristocracy. Surely everyone here has read the worshipful descriptions of Clinton as being the most qualified person ever to run for President. By qualified, what they really mean is credentialed. Her negative and destructive performance in many of those positions is irrelevant to the Meristocrats. The mere fact that she had all those posts on her resume’ is proof enough of how qualified she was.
    And if you think that mere credentials really are qualifications, then you will be ever so impressed at how qualified Clinton is. And Buttigieg, too, for that matter. He is also a minor junior Meristocrat, what with his going to Yale or Harvard or wherever it is he went to . . . and his languages . . . and his working for McKinsey . . . and his having been a Mayor. Qualified. Just like Hillary Clinton. Qualified. Just like Barak Obama. Qualified . Qualified. Qualified.

  20. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Sooooo…belonging to the True Pure Left entails the delusion that qualified is bad, and unqualified is good?

    If yes, the Horseshoe Theory is reinforced yet again, because that’s how the White Trash Core of the Treason Party (fka GOP) feels.

    Anti-intellectualism remains a perennially favorite bigotry among “Real” (that is, White Trash) Amurkans.

    Oh, and by no means are all White Trash poor and/or Southern. If they were, Benedict Donald would never have obtained enough votes for his master, Tsar Vladimir, to finagle him the rest of the way to “victory”.

  21. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Indeed, the supreme example of non-poor, non-Southern White Trash is Benedict Donald himself.

  22. different clue


    The campaign commercials practically write themselves.

    ” My name is Joe Biden! And . . . uh . . . and . . . and I forgot this message!”

  23. someofparts

    “Because Bernie’s damage to the big bosses is already done. In the ’16 race, his treacherous sabotage by the Party machine in favor of Hillary was revealed for the world to see. By that, and in denigrating him and his ideas, intensifying now many fold, he has consistently shown them up for what they are: … That exposure can’t be eradicated, regardless of what happens to Bernie.”

  24. Ché Pasa

    The illusion that “exposure” or “taking the mask off” somehow changes things for the better is strong but wrong. Recognition that politicians are hypocrites and worse or that the administrative/managerial class doesn’t necessarily have the interests of the majority at heart should be understood, axiomatic. Having the mask slip shouldn’t tell you anything you didn’t already know.

    The illusion that you learn something profound from the exposure of political chicanery and hypocrisy has the downside of preventing much being done about it, ever. An individual may pay a price, but the system that put them in place remains, and someone else, potentially worse or much worse, will take up the cudgel and increase the beatings.

    And there’s always the other side: it could be worse and likely it will be one way or another for unfavored groups and individuals.

    Minor improvements for key groups for a relatively short time are really all that’s necessary to keep the system going indefinitely.

  25. 1)can we disagree without being disagreeable? sometimes not, it seems

    2) not just in the comments here, i mean – i am struck by the high levels of personal hostility and contempt – to bernie, to joe, to elizabeth warren, to hillary, to trump – expressed by the people i encounter, commenters on the internet, the person in the street interviewees, the talking heads on tv

    3)maybe the objects of our hatred deserve it on some level – if we all got what we deserved, who would escape whipping?

    4)in “money and the meaning of life”, jacob needleman contrasts the generally shared viewpoint that people are neither as great as they like to think sometimes, nor as bad as they secretly fear in their dark moments, with a perspective which he regards as based in the wisdom traditions – that people in their current state are much worse than they realize, but potentially could achieve heights of wisdom and generosity that they cannot currently imagine

    5)Maurice Nicoll, British psychiatrist who was initially a Jungian, before taking up the esoteric approach known as the Fourth Way, states (in Psychological Commentaries On Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, Vol. 1, written in 1941), “The hypnotism of life is very powerful. The object of nature is to keep man asleep and to keep him based on violence, so that he serves the purposes of nature.”

    William Hutton goes on to summarize:

    Nicoll explains that humanity on this planet is in a strange situation. Looking at history, man has not really developed. Yet people are prone to imagine that passing time means progress, and that any contradictions to this perception are exceptional. People usually regard war as exceptional, but most of history deals with war. Indeed, history repeats itself because groups of individuals attract again and again the same circumstances, feel the same things, say the same things, and so on. But almost nothing actually changes because people’s beings have not changed. We need to realize that each of us is at a different level of being. However, a higher level of being lies immediately above each of us at this very moment, now. It does not lie in the future of time. All work on oneself deals with stopping negative emotions, not being identified with one’s personal troubles, with not keeping accounts [editorial note: “keeping accounts” = holding grudges], and with self observation; that is, with actions that can take place now.

    6)nicoll persisted with running his study groups even during world war ii – he died in 1953

    7)in my youth i was much struck by a remark of woody allen, whose attempt to publish an autobiography has been in the news this week – “humankind stands at a crossroads – one way leads to total despair, the other to complete destruction – let us hope we make the right choice”

    8)and lawrence “yogi” berra pointed out “you never know when something surprising might happen”


    Sure, okay, let’s ignore the fact the Dem primaries on Super Tuesday were massively rigged and instead it was blacks in the deep south and soccer moms who came together to deliver resounding victories for Biden in 10 of the 14 states.

    The narrative now is, a false narrative I might add, that in order for Bernie to win he must get his shoe polish out and paint his face black like Biden has done and has always done despite his horrendous policy record when it comes to blacks. He must endear himself to the “black community” because, afterall, blacks are a monolithic homogenous group despite what the occasional insane black race traitors say.

    Once Bernie empties the shoe polish container onto his face, he should announce Oprah as his running mate and make an exception for black billionaires. There should be no billionaires except black billionaires and that exception can be considered a form of reparations.

    I really think this is a winning strategy and Bernie can even, with the new AI software, create one of those realistic fake videos where Obama effectively endorses Bernie’s new approach.

    Don’t quite know how to break the news to Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Robert F. Smith, David Steward and Shawn Carter, a.k.a. Jay-Z. But if Bernie Sanders makes it to the White House, they had better pack their bags and head for the hills.

    That’s because Winfrey, Jordan, Smith, Steward and Jay-Z, the five richest black people in America, are among the 607 Americans who landed on Forbes’s annual billionaires list.

    The very thought of that list seems to sicken Sanders. “There should be no billionaires,” he flatly declared in a tweet last fall.

  27. bruce wilder

    I agree with
    mistah charley, ph.d. that the hostility and contempt so many express as their lead political attitude ought to interest us more. It is symptom of a political disease. I doubt that a transformation of consciousness is a remedy, though I am inclined to think hypnosis plays a large part in the pathologies of political persuasion as practiced.

    Identity politics breeds a combination of contempt and the evasion of responsibility downward for performance in a really odd way. Grievance is its weapon, but a weapon that can only be wielded from a base position of class privilege. Sexism, racism, white male privilege, “Bernie bros” are ready made means for deflecting criticism of performance.

    Trump Derangement Syndrome is contempt doing overtime in creating an alternative reality in which the drama is narcissistic, controlled by the narrator and never checked against objective facts. Hillary Clinton personally seems to positively seethe with contempt. Contempt for libruls from a segment of the right defines the Sean Hannity / Rush Limbaugh approach. Both MSNBC and Fox News seem to design their propaganda to turn old people, mean — as an essay previously linked in comments showed.)

    I binge-watched on Netflix season 2 of the ABC tv series, American Crime. Season 2 revolved around a case of sexual assault against a scholarship student — a boy — at a rich, private school in Indianapolis. Felicity Huffman does a star turn as the Headmaster, who masterfully manages the narrative, while unintentionally but very effectively visiting evil on everyone and avoiding all responsibility.

    Meristocracy?!? Maybe that is part of the essence of it? That being the avoidance of all responsibility downward for performance. Wrong about everything has been a formula for career success in politics and political journalism for so long it almost does not seem odd.

    We can think that there is some responsibility shown upward for “getting results” but maybe not a lot there beyond supplying an insulating layer and keeping the money spigot flowing up, up, up. The real business end of class in politics is no one showing up to rival Bernie, or to be Bernie in the next generation.

    Dutifully lining up to endorse the senile Biden is a clear demonstration of where this lot think their “responsibility” lay and it isn’t with the welfare of the people or the working class or the merely middle class even. All of the loser candidates except Bernie saw a chance for themselves and the path of that chance lay in the same general direction. (Warren started out differently, but we saw where she trod). They all looked at the political environment, the ecology of politics, and calculated ways and means, searched for a niche; not one succeeded and yet not one deviated in a populist direction. And, though they failed I cannot say they were exactly wrong in their calculations, with regard to the hazards and lack of means along any alternative path. (See the fate of Tulsi Gabbard.)

    The Resistance is resisting something and I think it is responsibility for the general welfare of the country, not Trump per se. That resistance requires a big dose of contempt for those harmed by that abdication as well as great powers of self-deception. The bizarre Russia,Russia,Russia narrative embodied both the deception (being an exercise in gaslighting) and the total evasion of and disregard for responsibility. And, it seems to work for an elite, who maybe are detached from it — they would have to be detached from really believing Trump a traitor — and somehow it still works to motivate some mass of followers, voters. Admittedly, some of those voters are “voters” — mere artifacts of vote-rigging and voter suppression. But even vote-rigging requires a mass of real voters and a mass of people who never question the legitimacy of the count or (this is maybe closer to where we are) question the importance of losing integrity.

    If there is no sense of responsibility (downward) for performance or results — it is all managing the narrative and who cares if the narrative is in any sense true or consistent with facts — there is no use left for integrity, of persons or process.

  28. bruce wilder

    Yves Smith linked to an AOC tweet highlighting an interview given Al Jazeera by Lindy Li.

    Lindy Li is fierce, and claims to be “traumatized and terrified” at the prospect of a Sanders Presidency, while swearing to otherwise vote a straight Party ticket.

    “traumatized and terrified”!!

    It doesn’t get any more solipsistic, any more narcissistic.

    Her actual goals and motivations are, of course, hidden from view as well as discussion by this choice of political expression. It is the strategic choice of a bully, and a bully up to no good for anyone except herself.

    She is constitutionally barred from the U.S. Presidency for life, so there is that, but she is running for Congress and is a Biden delegate to the Convention apparently.

  29. different clue

    @ bruce wilder,

    If you or anyone else decides they like the word meristocracy . . . meristocrats . . . meristocratic . . . feel free to use it and see if it spreads.

    Meristocracy of the credentialed and the crony-qualified. I have already discovered that using such language to express such concepts tricks the sort of people who mistake a mirror for a window into revealing themselves. ( ” Show them a mirror, and they think its a window.”)

  30. nihil obstet

    The field of the hostility and antagonism in modern American elections was planted in the Jesse Helms vs. Jim Hunt senate campaign of 1984. It got nationwide attention for negative campaigning. That race and subsequent research showed that driving up your opponent’s negatives is more effective electorally than publicizing your own positives. So if you want your candidate to win, attack everything about the other candidate.

    All the rest follows. Identity politics is just one way to seek for negatives in the opponent — she is inadequately tuned to your specific issues.

    I keep hoping the negative campaign model will run its course and be rejected by a population seeking decent government.

  31. NRG

    “And apparently last night on Maddow she was still banging on the Bernie Bros and not saying much about Biden.” – Z

    This is exactly what happened. I expect her to endorse Biden on the basis of that interview, which would be a horrible betrayal of her stated ideals. That said, she endorsed neither Clinton nor Sanders the last cycle. I’ll be wholeheartedly supporting Sanders at this point. Sanders is right on damn near every issue, and slurry-speech Biden is like a punch-drunk sparring partner for Trump to pummel. An older, slower Hillary Clinton.

  32. bruce wilder:
    That person went on Ben Shapiro’s show the other day. Seriously. She’s a grifter and a fraud. She once tried to run for Congress in the Philly suburbs and asked the local DSA for their backing. Look it up.

  33. anon

    bruce wilder: AOC is correct once again. Bernie supporters are constantly asked if they will support Biden if he is the nominee.

    But all I’m hearing are Biden supporters always stating that they would support anyone but Bernie or they just say they aren’t sure if they will support him. To me, that sort of uncertainty is an endorsement of Trump.

    Today I had a Boomer Biden supporter tell me Bernie supporters made Hillary Clinton lose because they voted for Jill Stein. I really think this is a common belief among Clinton’s most rabid supporters and those looking for any excuse to hate Bernie.

  34. KT Chong

    Bernie supporter here. Ain’t gonna vote for Dementia Joe. If it’s Trump vs. Biden in November -and- if I somehow have the motivation to vote in that scenario, I will vote for Trump. I’ll give you three reasons why:

    1. Biden supported the TPP. Trump kept his promise and killed the TPP.

    2. Biden supported and voted for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Trump has just signed a peace deal with the Taliban, and we are finally pulling out of Afghanistan.

    3. Both Biden and Trump have dementia, but Biden is in a late stage while Trump is in an early stage.

    If the warmongering corporatist neoliberal establishment shills want to blame people like me for Hillary and Biden losing to Trump, so be it. As if we care what those morons think.

    I will vote for a third term for Trump if Democrats run another corporatist neoliberal establishment candidate in 2024.

  35. KT Chong

    Also, I think it is over for Bernie. Biden is about 100 delegates ahead of Bernie, has the momentum, is currently polling about 20 points ahead of Bernie in just about every poll, and will have the advantage over Bernie in most of the remaining states in the primary. Bernie’s only advantages were in the Super Tuesday states, and he blew it. IMO, Biden will finish off Bernie in Michigan.

  36. anon

    KT Chong – I had a Bernie supporter tell me that publicly she will lie and say that she will vote for Biden, but will either sit out or vote third party. Its the same with Trump supporters, no? People know the consequences of coming out as a Trump supporter, so they lie about their political affiliation, but no one knows what actually happens in the voting booth. I had a nice older upper middle class white man talk to me yesterday about how Trump is pro-business and will try his best to keep the economy running, like he had no problem with Trump. I was taken aback at first because, as a liberal with my own biases, I was thinking, wow, did he admit to being open to another Trump term? But at least he was frank. Many people lie about their secret support for Trump, so I don’t think the polls are accurate about Trump’s amount of support or who will vote for him on Election Day.

    It’s up to Democrats to convince independents and Republican leaning moderates to vote for its chosen candidate. It’s not Bernie’s fault and he did more than enough campaigning for Clinton in ‘16 to show his loyalty to the party.

  37. anon

    I agree that Bernie will likely lose at this point. Kamala Harris just came out to endorse Biden. Biden has the black vote over age 45 locked firmly in his corner. Bernie cannot win with the youth vote alone in the Midwest and South. I expect Elizabeth Warren to endorse Biden after Tuesday or wait until he is coronated at the convention. It’s sickening and it’s my goal to help progressive candidates after this election. The only way to win this is from the ground up and have more AOCs slowly take over the party. Bernie paved the way for progressives but he wasn’t able to win this battle at the national level.

  38. KT Chong

    Youths have NOT turned out for Bernie. So, even if Bernie somehow miraculously win the Democratic nomination, he will still lose to Trump. At this point, I would say Biden has a better chance at beating Trump than Bernie, (based on the primary results,) but Biden will still lose.

  39. anon

    I agree with your assessment, KT Chong. I’d rather have Bernie lose the nomination and let Biden lose the general. If Bernie lost the general, we’d never hear the end of it.

  40. Willy

    Who’s “we”? Are we now the Democrat establishment?

  41. S Brenann

    Ian, I think it’s fair to say, in spite of all the strident protestations to the contrary that, fewer people trust Bernie in 2020 than they did in 2016…before…Bernie endorsed Hillary.

  42. different clue

    In 2016, Sanders had to promise the DemParty that he would endorse whatever DemNom emerged. He didn’t get to issue any caveats about ” but only if that some-other DemNom won without DNC fraud and cheating”.

    So having to endorse the Clinton was the price Sanders had to pre-pay. And as hard as Sanders ended up going around the country campaign for the Hillarrhoid, the Clintonites’ filthy ingratitude to Sanders is all the more disgusting.

    I am voting for an agenda. I trust a President Sanders ( if there is one) to try advancing that agenda. I don’t demand or expect Purity Posturing from a professional politician like Sanders.

  43. different clue

    Bideno-Clintonites have already boasted about how they will never vote for a Nominee Sanders.
    You can read them bragging about it on the ever-flowing sewer called The Confluence.

    For my part, I will never vote for a Bideno-Clintonite. If the Corporate Fascist Pig Democratic Party nominates a Bideno-Clintonite other than Hillarrhoid Clinton, then I will vote for some vanity third party candidate. If the CFP Democrats nominate the Hillarrhoid itself, either for Pres or Vice Pres . . . after all that has happened . . . I will vote for Trump all over again.

    If any Clintonites are reading this: God damn you each. God damn you all. God damn you every one.

  44. S Brenann

    Whatever the rationalizations DC, such as “I must keep an oath…even to despicable people who never keep their oaths”, my point still stands. Supporting Hillary in 2016, for whatever reason, substantially cut the numbers of people will to trust Sanders.

    Additionally, Sanders unwillingness to show any loyalty in 2020 to those who trashed their careers for him back in 2016 resulted in fewer people trusting Bernie in 2020.

  45. different clue

    @ S Brennan,

    Thank you for your interest in my comment. I am always happy to hear from you. Please let me know if you have any other concerns.

  46. S Brenann

    DC, thank you for commenting on my original comment:

    “Ian, I think it’s fair to say, in spite of all the strident protestations to the contrary that, fewer people trust Bernie in 2020 than they did in 2016…before…Bernie endorsed Hillary.”

    And for manplaining why it was okay for sanders to support Hillary in 2016 and for then commenting on my reply:

    “Whatever the rationalizations DC, such as “I must keep an oath…even to despicable people who never keep their oaths”, my point still stands. Supporting Hillary in 2016, for whatever reason, substantially cut the numbers of people will to trust Sanders.

    Additionally, Sanders unwillingness to show any loyalty in 2020 to those who trashed their careers for him back in 2016 resulted in fewer people trusting Bernie in 2020.”

    Please continue to remark on my remarks and please feel free to cry foul when I remark on your rejoinders.

  47. StewartM

    Here’s why I bleed for Sanders, even though I now am at about the average (not median) US income and maybe at the 75 % -tile of wealth.

    1) My family was lower-middle class. My neighbors were likewise.

    2) I was poor during my youth and worked at shit jobs (I once told an aspiring top-scoring SAT college applicant to work at a janitorial job, as I had done (at a hospital), because you would find out what it’s like to have bosses who had never done the work themselves making up impossible to-do lists and having (in my case) doctors and orderlies coming up to talk slowly to you LIKE YOU’RE STUPID, and see how most people don’t care if they make extra work for you, and the myriad of other little indignities you can suffer. For you, I said, this will only be a temporary hell, but you will know what these people have to go through every day of their working lives.

    3) Even after you get some money (and I lived like a miser after getting my ‘good job’) you realize it doesn’t take much to put you back there. You know that you’re only an accident, or act of violence, or a calamity, or a diagnosis away from being in need, so you support public support programs and want to improve them for your own potential benefit, plus those currently on them. I can’t fathom how some people can be that blind to think *they* will never be in those shoes.

    4) Even though now I am doing ‘ok’, I would do far better under a Sanders presidency. For one thing, using a calculator that calculates what your income would be if Reagan never been, even though I’m at about the average income *I’d be making c. $25,000-30,000 a year MORE* if wages had kept up with productivity, which they did not.

    Moreover, that increase goes up for those beneath you. Many people I know, including myself, have had to use their money to ‘rescue’ family or friends because their incomes have been squashed even more than ours. Those on the bottom tier would be making c. double of what they make now if Reagan had not been. I have a relative, who also had a ‘good job’, and who retired, but now who has had to go back to work because of the dire need of several family members–he’s supporting *seven people* now. So although he’s a Fox news devotee, he’d be better off himself under a Sanders government.

    Ian, I agree with you on many of the middle class people. A lot of them were assholes who cheered when the poor were crushed under Reagan. I was poor under both Carter and Reagan, and I saw the difference immediately–under Carter, I actually managed not only to pay my own bills, but (by working two jobs) managed to build up a small nest egg of a couple thousand dollars. Under Reagan, it was nearly impossible for those of us making near-minimum wage to make ends meet. I kept afloat by working and going back to school, and used my student loan money to make up the difference. Now they are getting likewise crushed, and while I do not cheer this, I ask “did you not realize the poor were your canaries in the coal mine?”

    Plus cheering when your own social insurance is being gutted is also particularly stupid. I’ve never been on public assistance in my life, but just like I want good insurance elsewhere, I want it there too.

  48. StewartM


    Sooooo…belonging to the True Pure Left entails the delusion that qualified is bad, and unqualified is good?

    Not “qualified’, “credentialed”. There is a difference.

    Your whipping boy Trump is “credentialed”, too! Does that make him smart?

  49. Trinity

    This idea that everyone should be \”reasonable\” and not display animosity towards those they \”disagree\” with is EXACTLY how we ended up here in a really shitty world with little to look forward to and everything meaningful dying around us.

    So yeah, keep being reasonable and don\’t question anyone, and keep assuming everything is going to turn out just fine while the clearly insane people at the helm Hoover your bank account dry on their way to Idaho and their luxury private hideyhole to wait out the coronapocalypse.

    And don\’t you dare EVER exhibit any hostility and animosity to your betters. You must not only genuflect but KNEEL if they say so.

    Right? Mistah Ph.D.?

  50. bruce wilder

    “qualified” is such weasal word in this context — not wise or skilled or competent; nothing about integrity, commitment, purpose, dedication, insight, or even talent

    in constitutional law the only qualifications are citizenship by natural birth and being past the age of 35. the lawyers quibble about what constitutes citizenship by natural birth.

  51. different clue

    @ S Brennan,

    Thank you for your comment thanking me for my commenting on my interest in your comment.

    And thank you for the verbatim word-for-word repetition of what you had already said in the comment to which I written my comment. It was very thoughtful of you to have repeated all those words in case I had missed some of them upon first reading. In fact, I had read them all the first time, but thank you again for having been thoughtful enough to repeat them all again. Also, thank you for not offering any new or different words out of regard for my limited intellectual capacity. I like to think I could have handled a few new and different words, but thank you for not putting me under the pressure of having to find out.

    And thank you for purity ponysplaining about how Sanders has disappointed people by failing to be just too good to live in this world.

  52. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    “If any Clintonites are reading this: God damn you each. God damn you all. God damn you every one.”

    I gather that DC will be terribly disappointed if he reaches the afterlife, and discovers that damnation is actually not eternal; also, far from being some stupid medieval torture chamber writ large, is actually a humane, civilized rehabilitation process, in keeping with the actual nature of God.

    Of course, humane and civilized rehabilitation is still rehabilitation, and I would prefer to avoid it. Even if it be nothing worse, I am sure it would be dreadfully tedious.

    I don’t remember who said this, but I read years ago that hatred is an acid which does more damage to the vessel in which it is stored, than the object on which it is poured.

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