Monday, June 01, 2020

What's the Earliest a Progressive Democrat Can Be Elected President?


by Thomas Neuburger

Among the many thoughts these rebellious times inspire is this one: How will it ever end?

It could end in mass and chaotic violence, of course, with anti-killercop protests hijacked by cop provocateurs and Proud Boy "bust 'em up" squads, followed by the inevitable law-and-order crackdown that shuts the whole thing off in a National Security State way — a crackdown that white and suburban liberals and conservatives alike will applaud till the sun sets in the west.

That's certainly one of the choices.

It could end like the sixties and seventies Movement ended, with a Jimmy Carter in the White House (our proto-neoliberal), followed by the end of the Vietnam War, a temporary end to the war on pot, the so-called "greening of America," and hippies going back to their day jobs with a sense of having won at least something for the effort.

But it won't — that's not one of the choices, simply because there's no slack in the schedule for the Late Seventies and Reagan Eighties breather that sent people dancing to Disco and off to watch, in envy and hope, the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

That's certainly not a choice given what's teed up for us today — relentless economic neoliberal misery; ongoing unrelieved anger and resentment; ginned-up battles between a "left" that pretends to stand for workers and doesn't, and a "right" that pretends to stand for freedom and doesn't; and the Big One, William Gibson's "Jackpot," the worldwide climate conflict that won't end till we stop feeding money to the Carbon Barons — and even then, if we don't start stopping soon, maybe never.

It could also end with the election of a true progressive president, a real FDR, an unbought, skillful champion of the people, who "welcomes the hatred" of the rich and destructive and means it. Not a pretender; the real thing.

When Is the Earliest the Nation Can Elect a Progressive Democratic President?

With the last thought in mind — it ends when we elect an actual progressive — let's see when's the earliest this could occur. (The following is borrowed and expanded from this insightful piece at Reddit's "Way of the Bern.")

Consider these scenarios:

• Trump wins in 2020. With no Democratic incumbent, a progressive can run and (if she's not sabotaged) win in 2024.

• Biden wins in 2020 and he or his VP (who will always have the inside track) loses to a Republican in 2024. A progressive can run, and maybe win, in 2028.

• Biden wins in 2020 but isn't on the ballot in 2024. His faux-progressive (neoliberal) VP wins in 2024 and but loses to a Republican in 2028. A progressive can run, and maybe win, in 2032.

• Biden wins in 2020 but isn't on the ballot in 2024. His faux-progressive (neoliberal) VP wins in 2024 and 2028. Then his or her same-stripe VP loses in 2032. A progressive could run in 2036.

• Biden wins in 2020 but isn't on the ballot in 2024. His faux-progressive (neoliberal) VP wins in 2024 and 2028. Then her same-stripe VP wins in 2032 and 2036. If her VP doesn't run, a progressive could run against a non-incumbent Democrat in 2040.


Biden picks a progressive VP in 2020, a real one, someone Sanders-like, who would run in 2024 if Biden doesn't.

But would anyone with sense take a bet he'll do that? Consider: Barack Obama put Biden where he is precisely to stop a Sanders-like candidate from winning. Why would Biden or the people behind him throw that gift away?

Biden's same-stripe VP picks a progressive VP, a real one, someone Sanders-like, who might possibly be allowed to run in 2036.

That last is too far off to bet on, but I would take the bet that says neoliberals will make a hash of the climate emergency that's sure to show up by then, making all bets on democratic governance afterward moot.

We're left with these conclusions. We can run a progressive against a non-incumbent Democrat:

• In 2024, if Biden loses to Trump.
• In 2028, if Biden wins and his VP loses in 2024.
• In 2032, if Biden wins, his VP wins next, but loses in 2028.
• In 2036 or later in all other cases.

Do you see where this is headed? 2036 is more than a decade away. Because no progressive will win — and likely won't even run — against a Democratic incumbent, either the Democratic Party must self-reform, or a Republican must take the White House before a progressive Democrat can run.

In other words, unless the Democratic Party becomes suddenly anti-neoliberal, the answer to our initial question — What's the earliest a progressive Democrat can be elected president? — is Never or Too Late.

Not sure I like the look of that.

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At 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What's the Earliest a Progressive Democrat Can Be Elected President?"

Never. Corporatism will never allow it. They own the government which made their proprietary and easily-hacked voting machines mandatory for elections. As Stalin allegedly said, it isn't who votes - it's who COUNTS the votes.

"It could also end with the election of a true progressive president, a real FDR, an unbought, skillful champion of the people who "welcomes the hatred" of the rich and destructive and means it."

We thought we had one in Bernie Sanders. We saw how quickly the corporatists can mobilize and end a threat to their maintenance of power. Bernie caved ignominiously under the pressure.

But this is where the projections really go wrong:

"• Trump wins in 2020. With no Democratic incumbent, a progressive can run and (if she's not sabotaged) win in 2024."

There WILL be sabotage. There WON'T be an election.

The nation by 2024 will have experienced the "inevitable law-and-order crackdown that shuts the whole thing off in a National Security State way" due to the incredible damage that the Trump cabal has done to the national economy with near-unanimous Democratic assistance. The great needs of the people will go unaddressed and generate massive protests. The cops will stop "playing nice" and start shooting to kill.

Any and all progressives -real or imaginary- WILL be rounded up and put into the camps that the rabid gun-toters of the Right ascribed to FEMA years ago - only FEMA won't be running them. You can expect DeVos' asshole brother Erik Prince to be making a "princely" sum (sorry - couldn't resist) running them with the worst dregs of humanity the world's militaries can produce.

Corporatism will demand that the foolishness of elections end, because no corporation ever puts decisions to the workforce. They do as they are told on the job, or else lose the job. They will demand the same on the national level - and get it.

Gaius left off one possibility from his list:

"• Biden wins in 2020 but isn't on the ballot in 2024. His faux-progressive (neoliberal) VP loses in 2024 to a Republican. No progressive can run, and maybe win, ever again."

No matter how 2020 elections turn out, the Republicans will retake the Congress in 2022 just like they did in 2010. Most of the Blue governorships will turn Red, legitimately or otherwise. The Democrats will have AGAIN let the people down by not meeting their needs and lose what support they had.

Empty promises and lame platitudes that they are better than the GOP won't ease the great distress people are only now beginning to feel. The Democrats can no longer hide that they sabotage the people this way after their blatant support for corporatism with the "stimulus" bills, and the huge "bonus" they dumped on the Pentagon. And -when the people give up and take to the streets- the "Democrats" WILL be lined up with the Republicans and demanding "law and order" - but NOT for corporations.

It's time to realize that this "democratic" republic is down and done. The ref has counted to ten. The bell has rung. Destruction IS our lot, and it DID come from among us.

The first wave of the graphic has yet to hit with full force, with the other, larger waves lined up for their turns to devastate. There will be no recovery, no return to "normal" times. We will all look like Puerto Rico after the double hurricane hit, only no one will be throwing us rolls of paper towels.

Mad Max is ringing the doorbell. It won't matter if you don't answer, because it's coming in anyway.

You allowed this to happen.

At 12:11 PM, Anonymous Librarian Guy said...

Sadly, I think "Anonymous" above is pretty much entirely corrupt.

The 'Mericun people are sheep, hypnotized. A few thousand folks with their backs against the wall can riot and loot over being targeted for Police State murder, but as to "elections", the 1% has Solidarity thru the 2 Party duopoly and they and their captured press will destroy this country in the name of saving the Elite's $$$ & privileges.

US (pronounced USE)America delandum est.

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Librarian Guy said...

Entirely correct!! Not corrupt
That's not even friggin' autocorrect I dunno what happened there

At 12:26 PM, Blogger CNYOrange said...

Welp, can AOC run in 2024? She turns 35 in October and that election is Nov 2024. The conservative democrats will definitely come together and try to smash her, I think she has enough savvy though to beat them all.

At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nodding enthusiastically with all of the above.

In fact, when we DID get a "progressive" elected, he actually ran as the slightly better capitalist (that was FDR in '32).

Only after he was sworn in did he become FDR, they guy against whom all democratic and democrap candidates should be measured.

Voters are dumber than shit, but maybe more important, they are gullible as 3-year-old catechism students. IF the teevee machine says Bernie is unelectable, they believe. If the teevee machine says biden is the best one, they believe.

So even if AOC ran on Bernie's platform, as gorgeous and likeable and charming and charismatic as she is, I doubt the money would have a problem convincing the potted plants to NOT vote for her.

With the DNC actively defrauding and suppressing and $uperdelegate-ing anyone that is not in their club, there is absolutely no way the PARTY will allow a progressive anywhere near the nomination.

The only way I can see is if someone that the party believes is one of them wins the nom but then flips on the party once in office. Like happened in '32.

But here's the thing: The party would have to magically see the light and follow that president's program and pass lege and reverse the fascism and all the previous evils and restore democracy and all the rest.

And after a 40+ year culling of anyone who with that potential... THAT ain't never gonna happen.

There is 2020 and, MAYBE, 2024. After that I'd put the odds of another election, even a charade on the order of 2020, to be 70 - 30 against.

If trump wins 2020, 95-5, there will be no more elections.
If biden wins 2020, 2024 will happen just so the next worse-than-trump Nazi can get elected and then HE will dispose of elections.

If somenow biden or biden's veep wins in 2024, there could be another one in 2028 just to coronate the American Nazi reich.

and you know what? the parties will simply merge and won't care. the voters are too stupid to understand, so they won't care.

China will be pleased that they will now be the world leader and own the world's reserve currency... and the usa will finally and for good economically collapse.

Sadly, I won't be around to yell at all you potted geraniums "I told you so".

At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AOC has already been smashed, CNYOrange. She recently put out a video promoting the very non-Green nuclear power industry as a signal that she has been tamed and leashed by the corporatocracy. If she runs, she runs as a corporatist who is owned lock, stock, and barrel.

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think the first post probably sums up the reality. I would only make one change. The last line should say 'We' not 'You'. Unless our anonymous poster wants to reveal their identity as a non-citizen then they share the blame.

At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about I didn't vote for corporatist candidates, 12:59. Does that suit you?

At 2:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@12:53 is correct. AOC is already backsliding.
Check out some of Jimmy Dore's recent videos discussing her & the Democrats' feckless response to the financial crisis.
You don't reform the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party reforms you.

At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In agreement with the above on AOC, all you need to do is listen to her deafening silence on MFA, her big issue, since January. She's been silent since she was elected, but January was when the pandemic started up.

If you truly believed in MFA, a pandemic is your invitation to make a lot of noise.

her silence is even louder.

At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So easy to point fingers. Just because you 'don't vote for corporatist candidates' doesn't mean you don't share in the blame as a citizen. When did you start this noble voting pattern? Did you vote at all? Does voting (or not voting) absolve you of the fact that you take part in this sham of a system? I am pretty damn sure you have never run for office, never knocked on doors for a non-corporatist candidate, didn't give up all your worldly belongings in support of justice. Take your blame like the rest of us.

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started this in 1980. I have voted in every election, national and local, since I gained the franchise. I have donated to those few candidates I considered worthy despite being on a fixed income.

Now - justify yourself. What have YOU done besides act all holier-than-thou on this blog?

Walk your talk or STFU.

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holier than thou! LOL You are the one telling everyone else they are the problem! You have voted in every election and yet since 1980 your votes have done jack shit. Maybe you should have looked in the mirror and tried to understand why you are always outvoted. I am guessing instead of building relationships you shit on everyone else. Great job!

I'll admit that I have made mistakes in the few times I have voted. I largely sit out because I am not the sort to go out and canvas during primaries to get decent candidates and so I don't vote for one of two people who are going to screw me over. I don't go out and try to build support for 3rd parties either. I have never run for office. I agree with your assessment and have seen the likelihood for years, but I also don't point fingers at others and blame them when there is much more I could have done. Voting and donating money and then pointing fingers about the state of things is holier-than-thou.

At 1:09 PM, Anonymous NonnyO said...

One of your best posts ever, if not the best, Gaius Publius. Thank you.

One commenter is correct, too: We (not the accusatory "You") let this happen.

There are not enough ordinary people smart enough to vote wisely, nor rebel when election fraud via rigged e-voting machines and cockamamie voter registration and separate ballot systems combined between various states really select the "winners" of the primaries and the general election. We should never be forced to accept only two corporate political parties as a valid electoral system.

Bernie's lack of reaction to election fraud and going along with the big lie that Russia magically "interfered" with our 2016 election and caving to, and sheepdogging for, the DNC is still the most bewildering thing that's happened in the last five years.

I had high hopes for AOC for a few months. Now she's making conciliatory sounds about "compromising" Medicare for All with passing the public option on the road to M4A, and most recently her "compromising" language on nuclear energy (with its radioactive waste!), it seems she has been co-opted by the senile Nancy Pelosi, et alia. For just a very, very few months I hoped I could vote for AOC as the first female president if I live long enough for her to turn 35 (in Oct 2024) and run for president. It seems my hope was misplaced.

Howie Hawkins doesn't have the balls to be president; compared to bright shiny pennies like AOC (who many people will now vote for in the future since she is mouthing compromising platitudes), Hawkins is a drooling village idiot. He doesn't believe in Medicare for All is my personal #1 reason to dump Howie in the dustbin of minor electoral history.

Whatever else came out of the last five years, Bernie political platform is the dream platform for those of us who loathe corporations and want ALL of them removed from government (why Congress outsourced government duties to so many corporations is still beyond my comprehension), not to mention a complete repeal of the unconstitutional and illegal AUMF '01, the Patriot Act (and later renamed USA Freedom Act), MCA '06, FISA '08, MCA '09, NDAA '12, and all the illegal, unconstitutional wars need to be stopped and the troops be brought back to American soil.


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