Tumpocalypse – President Sanders

He’s an independent Senator from Vermont who identifies as a socialist, and who decided to run for the presidency as a Democrat. He made great strides, promising social justice, stronger welfare benefits, free college, single-payer healthcare, and many other things that appealed quite aggressively to those on the left, and to no small number of centrists and those on the right. And had he been the choice of the Democratic party, he would now be our president elect.


Or so the theory goes.

In reality, Bernie Sanders never stood a chance. He lost in the primaries by about the same number of votes as the polls indicated he would. There were no surprises there, aside from in some areas where he did better than expected.

But even had he gotten the nomination, he would have been a far weaker candidate than Clinton. Why?

First, let’s get the two biggest issues out of the way: religion and politics. Sanders has Jewish heritage (in as much as a religion can be inherited, but we’ll skip that for now), and though he doesn’t appear to be a practicing Jew, he does appear to be an atheist.

Now tell me; do you honestly think that the large portion of Trump supporters that made up the “basket of delporables” would have been willing to vote for a Jew/atheist? Trump himself made comments toward the end of the campaign about “international bankers”, which is dog-whistle for “Jews run the world.” The right-wing religious supporter of the Republican party would have been equally unlikely to cross the aisle and vote for an atheist.

This is a very serious problem, and it would have been tough for the Sanders campaign to overcome. Had it been just this, then they possibly could have pulled it off. But there were other issues, too.

The politics issue basically boils down to one word: Communism. Sanders is a Western European-style socialist, and I am as well. We, and most of the people in this country, “get” what this style of socialism is, and how it’s very different from Communism.

Now consider the largely poor, largely rural, largely white electorate who voted for Trump. Do you really believe that they would have crossed over to vote for someone like Sanders after months and months of the Trump campaign talking about him as a Communist? Of course not, and a number of more mainstream Republicans would have had problems with it, too. Hell, even some moderates would have raised an eyebrow or two over his politics once it has an unhappy label.

Then we get to the scandals. What scandals, you might ask? Go ahead, ask. I’ll wait.

How about something he wrote in 1972 talking about women fantasizing about being raped by three men at once? Yep, he did that thing. Now in context it’s not that bad, and certainly less terrible and easier to excuse than Trump’s video comments, but it isn’t great, either.

Or what about his praise for Fidel Castro and the Sandinistas? That happened, too, in 1985, and it’s on video. Now he’s walked back those comments, and I’m ok with this all in context. But how do you think this would have been received by mainstream America? Picture those comments on loop in a commercial or news cycle and you tell me.

Ok, so these two things aren’t that big of a deal, you might think. But let me ask you this: given that I got these two things with a cursory Google search that took me a total of about two minutes to get together,  how many other scandals do you think are out there?

I  mean this was almost literally no effort to find. It was stupidly easy. Now put the national media (who didn’t bother really investigating Sanders), and the RNC machine onto the case, and just what do you think they’ll scrape up about him? In fact there are many other negative things out there that have already been looked into, but imagine how many more there might be lurking in the shadows.

Now does all this mean that Sanders would have definitely lost to Trump? No, but these things also make a victory against the man very uncertain. Sanders had and has considerable baggage that would have presented a severe problem, and pretending otherwise is just putting your head in the sand. He might have been able to overcome them, he might not have been. We’ll never know for sure, obviously, but given that he couldn’t even make it out of the primaries, I suspect the results in the general would not have been what the Bernouts would have wanted.


How to Regain My Respect

Bernie Sanders is doing it right now. He’s making a full-throated endorsement of Hillary Clinton, and talking about how much more important it is to elect her than it is to allow Trump to win. It’s a good speech, and I’m glad he’s making it.

And I really, really hope that the Bern Outs I know are paying close attention, and will vote for Hillary in November. I know it sounds like a cliche at this point, but it really is true that a vote for anyone else amounts to a vote for Trump.

To My Fellow Liberals: Stop Acting Like Spoiled Brats

So did you hear? It’s such a scandal. Apparently the Democratic party leadership did whatever they could behind the scenes to ensure that the Democratic party nominee for president in 2016 was someone who had been a Democrat for their entire political career, had campaigned for Democrats, raised money for Democrats, supported the Democratic party, and generally helped the Democratic cause.


Yes, apparently they went out of their way to support the Democrat that was in the race instead of supporting the guy who became a Democrat only a few months before deciding to run as one.

The horror.

First off, this scandal isn’t really much of a scandal at all. As I pointed out, it’s perfectly understandable that the party leadership would support someone who has supported the party. That’s reasonable, right, and proper.

Second…you know, there really isn’t a second here. The first is all that I need, because it’s entirely correct.

Since 1992, the right wing in this country has been consumed with Clinton Derangement Syndrome. Since that year, they’ve hounded Bill and Hillary like no other president has ever been hounded. Hearings? Yes. An impeachment? Oh, yes. Actual convictions? Not really.

The Republican establishment has spread lies, innuendo, and blown every little possible thing out of proportion for the last 24 years. Republicans soak their minds in this. They believe utterly in the evil, corrupt, lying bitch version of  Hillary.

So it’s no surprise to me that people who have been alive about that long, even liberals, also share that view.

But it is very sad.

It’s sad because Hillary is a fantastic candidate. She’s the ultimate survivor in politics, taking everything that can be thrown at her, and remaining a decent person. She would really be an amazing president.

It’s also dangerous for liberals to share this “evil bitch” view of Hillary. You may not have noticed, but this past week the Republicans selected a neo-fascist white nationalist to lead their party. There is a very real chance that this person could be the next president of the United States.

If you are a liberal, that should trouble you way more than any problems you think the Democratic party has or that Hillary has. You have issues with the party? Join the party, work with the party, and help change the party. You have issues with Hillary? Suck it up and deal.

Because no candidate is perfect. None. But while both Trump and Hillary are imperfect, there’s a gigantic difference between the levels of imperfection. Donald Trump is the single most unqualified person ever nominated by a major party, and he has plans to advance a large number of extremely un-American goals.

And Hillary? She’s not quite as liberal as you might want, and might try to enact only 50% of what Sanders promised rather than the 100% he would have tried to enact. It’s worth noting that she’ll probably succeed in that 50% where he would have largely failed.

So you don’t get to vote for your perfect candidate? Tough shit. Be an adult. You can’t afford to be a spoiled brat right now and say, “Well, they’re both the same, so fuck her, and fuck Trump, and I’m voting for Jill Stein!” Because, yes, voting for the anti-science Green party is a smart move!

Politics is about compromise. It’s about not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. It’s about accepting that you can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you can get enough of what you need.

Hillary may not be what you want. But she’s substantially better than Trump. She’ll preserve and expand the ACA. She’ll preserve gay marriage, and the right of gays and transgendered people to serve in the military. She’ll protect abortion rights against the forced birth crowd. She’ll work to increase the minimum wage. She won’t start a war with Poland because of what someone said about her hair. She will be a pragmatist who will work hard to bring what change she can to improve all our lives.

So grow up. Stop whining. Accept reality, and quit looking for excuses to not vote for Hillary. The stakes are just too damn high.