Monday, February 03, 2020

The Stop Bernie Movement Is Inherently Anti-American


He Can Do It, detail, by Nancy Ohanian

We should know results from Iowa soon but an AP VoteCast just released within the hour indicates that "The first voters to make their choice in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination are desperate for fundamental change to the political system. Roughly two-thirds of Iowa caucusgoers said supporting a candidate who would transform how the system in Washington works was important to their vote." And the two big issues are both Bernie issues-- healthcare and the Climate Crisis. Only a third of caucus-goers said that they would prefer restoration of the political system to the way it was before when Status Quo Joe was VP.

Yesterday, our old friend Tim Canova, a progressive Democrat who took on status quo establishment hack Debbie Wasserman Schultz, only to see her political machine rig the election against him, wrote to his supporters that "The past few days have brought news that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is stacking the deck again in its 2020 presidential nomination process, much like the DNC did in 2016. First, Tom Perez, the DNC chair, announced a tidal wave of appointments of corporate lobbyists to the party’s Convention Committee-- a practice started at the DNC by Debbie Wasserman Schultz when she was putting both thumbs on the scales against Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primaries. Several days later, the DNC announced it was relaxing its own debate rules to make room for billionaire candidate Michael Bloomberg in the next debate. This comes after months of DNC strict adherence to debate rules to undermine the candidacies of Tulsi Gabbard, Corey Booker, Kamala Harris, and just about anyone else outside the top tier of candidates – even though nearly half of Democratic voters remain undecided in many key states. Next came news reports that the DNC may amend its rules to allow superdelegates to vote on the first ballot at the Convention– clearly aimed at blocking Bernie Sanders or Tulsi Gabbard, if need be, at the Convention."

He wrote that he is "not among those surprised or suddenly outraged by the DNC’s latest actions. Nothing much changed after 2016. The party remains owned by and under the control of the same powerful corporate interests that have selected past presidential nominees and have impeded all kinds of progressive reforms under Democrat and Republican administrations alike. Our fight in South Florida is the same fight across this country, to restore democracy by first restoring integrity and justice to our elections. We need a system of 100% hand-marked paper ballots counted by hand in public, as was done in the United States for more than two centuries. With the Iowa Caucus just days away, it’s good to remember why it’s difficult for the DNC or anyone else to steal Iowa. It’s because Iowa is a caucus, and therefore by its very nature, the votes are made publicly and counted in public. The same cannot be said of primaries, all of which use electronic voting machines that are inherently vulnerable to outside hacking and insider manipulation of the software. It’s important to also remember that the DNC establishment has not changed its stripes. Since the 2016 election, lawyers for the DNC and Wasserman Schultz have even argued in open court that the DNC has the right to rig its own presidential primaries and nominations process, and that it has no duty to abide by its own rules in its own corporate charter. Anything to rig elections against the party’s own grassroot supporters."

It isn't just the Republicans and Vladimir Putin who are out to steal U.S. elections. Establishment Democrats can be just as self-interested and ruthless. That said, I do want to add that Christine Pelosi, one of the loudest progressive voices on the DNC told me that there is virtually no chance that the Stop Bernie plot to allow superdelegates to vote on the first ballot will succeed. "This," she said, "was a handful of DNC members who griped about having to go to a second ballot and wondered if they could change the call to convention and roll back our reforms. WILL NOT HAPPEN... as the most prodigious author of DNC Resolutions, I know the members very well and am aware of their concerns about decisions made without transparency and about a repeat of 2016." I trust her judgment on this.

I also trust Luke Savage's view, written out yesterday for Jacobin, about the impetus behind the Stop Bernie Movement. He wrote that "'electability' is the public rallying cry of the Stop Bernie campaign. But look a little closer, and the real issue becomes clear: the establishment fears having a democratic socialist in the White House."
Bernie Sanders’s recent rise in the polls has elicited an entirely predictable reaction from all the usual suspects who make up America’s op-ed pages. But, personally offended as the chatterati are, there are signs that the prospect of a Sanders victory in the Democratic primary contest is awakening an altogether more vicious beast that’s long been in the Vermont senator’s crosshairs.

This week, NBC, the Associated Press, and Politico all reported on the emerging anxiety within elite Democratic circles about Sanders’s ascent in the polls and nascent efforts by operatives to arrest his momentum. As journalist Andrew Perez noted, all three reports cited one Matt Bennett, cofounder of the organization Third Way, who issued boilerplate warnings about the supposed dangers of a Sanders nomination. In a pattern that is almost certain to be repeated in the coming weeks and months, Bennett’s intervention was framed as an earnest expression of concern by a moderate Democrat mindful of taking what he believes to be a major political risk

But it was actually something else, given Bennett’s job at a self-identified “think tank” that has received extensive contributions from corporate patrons, including health insurance company Humana and Koch Industries. Washington is packed with groups like Third Way and others in the same mold, the function of which is to provide a layer of institutional sediment separating corporate interests from the mouthpieces they fund to advance their interests. In the gelatinous mass of lobbyists, megadonors, corporate spokespeople, and political operatives resulting from this arrangement, it can often be difficult to tell where the private sector ends and the public sector or party apparatus begins.

Nonetheless, Bennett’s anguished intervention is a telltale sign that panic about Sanders is starting to spill outside the op-ed pages and into the boardrooms of corporate interests-- from pharmaceutical companies to Wall Street investment firms-- who have an immediate pecuniary interest in opposing his program. If Sanders’s performance in the first round of primaries and caucuses matches current expectations, big business will undoubtedly intensify its efforts to stop him-- likely aided, as in this case, by centrist Democrat operatives who sit at the noxious juncture of party politics and corporate agitprop.

A more overt harbinger came in the form of a recent MSNBC appearance by former Obama administration adviser, Wall Street financier, and Narandra Modi enthusiast Steve Rattner-- who currently works as Michael Bloomberg’s personal money manager and is reportedly worth well over $100 million. Though he took care to repeat the meta argument so fashionable among neoliberal Democrats that Sanders “can’t win,” Rattner’s primary concern seemed to be something else:
The more that Bernie Sanders rises... the more people are getting scared about a Bernie Sanders candidacy, for two reasons. First, because they think he’ll lose. And second, they think if he wins, he’ll implement the kinds of policies... which are so far away from the center of the Democratic Party. So there’s a lot of activity around trying to quote “stop Bernie,” although it isn’t called by that just yet.
Goal ThermometerRattner is, of course, quite correct to suggest that a Sanders presidency would move to implement policies opposed by the “center of the Democratic Party”-- an innocuous-sounding phrase leveraged to obscure the vast web of Wall Street firms, pharmaceutical giants, insurance companies, and other corporate interests that have long found a home within the Democratic establishment, dictated the limits of the party’s policy agenda, and stuffed the upper echelons of its donor and consultant class.

More than any expressed concerns about his viability in a general election, opposition to the Sanders program and what it would mean for corporate balance sheets is what Stop Bernie is really about.
The anti-Bernie smear ads on TV in Iowa and New Hampshire could easily be seen as... well, almost pro-Bernie. David Doel showed them on his show and explained why they're so patently ridiculous and utterly ineffective. Spoiler: "Bernie Sanders wants to give everyone health insurance. He's more radical than Obama was!"

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At 6:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

horse shit.

stopping Bernie, rigging elections, smothering progressivism.. all very much American.

America has been utterly corrupt for many decades. American leadershit has been rigging elections at all levels and smothering progressivism also for decades.

and voters just smile, bend over and take it. they'll do it again this time.


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