Tuesday, January 26, 2016

We need a new word

Brian Beutler looks at the Bernie problem in The New Republic.
Polling this far removed from the general election means very little, which should chasten both Sanders supporters and critics. The polling that shows Sanders beating Republican candidates by wider margins than Clinton is just as suspect as polling that suggests a socialist is unelectable. The term “socialism” is highly unpopular, but it does far more damage when it’s deployed generically than when it’s rendered as an attack ad against a well-known candidate.
No evidence whatsoever buttresses that last statement. Only a fool would dismiss the importance of a poll like this one:
Voters lean solidly against electing a socialist, which is bad for self-described “democratric socialist” Bernie Sanders.

The one good thing for Sanders: The groups most open to a socialist include parts of the Democratic Party base most likely to vote in primaries. That includes liberals, with a plurality of 39 percent definitely willing to vote for a socialist, and “strong” Democrats, with a plurality of 37 percent.

But should he win the Democratic nomination, the general election could be hostile territory for his brand.

“Socialist is an automatic no,” said Ryan Uehling, 44, a Republican who works in pharmaceutical sales in Fresno, Calif. “It doesn’t work anywhere, it’s never worked.”

A solid 50 percent of voters say they would definitely vote against a socialist. That is driven by a solid no from 77 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of independents.
I'll say it again: Another poll, cited in earlier posts, holds that 69% of the country thinks that our greatest problem is Big Government. A socialist cannot win in such a culture.

Even though Trump is not popular with with much of his own party, and even though most Americans consider him a self-absorbed dolt, support for him will solidify if the alternative calls himself a socialist.

Yes, I know that Bernie isn't a real socialist, if we define that term to mean the advocacy of state ownership of the means of production. And yes, I know that socialism has always come in different flavors. I know these things and perhaps you know these things, but the people who live next door to you do not. And they will not listen to you if you try to set them straight.

Words have set meanings -- they are born of history; they fire off associations within the mind. Americans will always associate the word "socialism" with the USSR and China. When you say the S-word, Americans do not think of George Bernard Shaw, Martin Luther King, Helen Keller or Albert Einstein -- they think of Mao and Stalin.

This will always be so. This will never change.

Do not fool yourself into thinking that mere argument, mere logic can counter a century of indoctrination. Most Americans aren't fans of logic. If Sanders supporters think that they can re-educate the public on the meaning of the S-word, they are wrong. Hell, even the term "re-educate" conjures up images of tyrannical Bolshie robot factories.

Noam Chomsky and others have fixed on the label "Democratic socialism," but that won't do. We need a new word altogether. A different concept demands a different terminology. Do you want to convey the impression that what Bernie Sanders and Noam Chomsky stand for is somehow related to what Mao and and Stalin stood for? No, you do not. Therefore, you should try to come up with a completely unrelated label.

Suppose I said: "I'm a serial killer -- but I'm not like Ted Bundy or Jack the Ripper. I'm a nice serial killer -- a Democratic serial killer, a patriotic serial killer, a jovial serial killer, an anti-racist serial killer, a charitable serial killer." Would you continue to read this blog? Probably not (unless you work for the FBI). The term "serial killer" cannot be redeemed, even if that hated term comes garlanded with much nicer words. A serial killer will always have, at best, a niche popularity.

For a solid majority of your fellow Americans, the word "socialist" equals "serial killer." That's a reality. Instead of wasting your time trying to convince yourself that this reality is not real, you should spend the next few minutes trying to think of a better word.
In 1968, the year he was killed, Dr. Martin Luther King was working on the most audacious Occupy movement ever conceived in the3 USA. The Poor People's Campaign intended to bring 500,000 people--Latinos, Blacks, Native Americans, Asians, and Whites--to camp out in the National Mall and lobby Congress for fundamental change. Bobby Kennedy was on board.

The phrase I've heard used to describe the goal of this effort is "economic justice". I think most people are aware that well-connected sharpies have been bribing Congress for decades now to serve the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us.

"I think most people are aware that well-connected sharpies have been bribing Congress for decades now to serve the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us."

True, and that is a WINNING issue.

So: When I say "Come up with a new word," I mean -- first and foremost -- a word universally understood to mean THAT.

And do not sneer (as too many progs do) at the politician who says "Yes, I've taken money from the elites, but I long for the day when I don't have to." That attitude is a step in the right direction. None are without sin in this fallen world, but there is a profound difference between the sinner who loves sin and the sinner who hates sin.
As long as we are being honest, I would suspect that many of the people who would never vote for a socialist (using that term to define themselves, of course), would also equate "socialist" with "Democrat". I have come across more than a few people that think Hillary is a Socialist (maybe just trying to hide it though). Heck, at least half the country thinks Obama is a Socialist die-hard. How do you overcome that?? I guess the new word you are asking for. I just wonder if any Dem can escape the Socialist label (I've seen right wingers actually say that at least Sanders ADMITS to being one, so they'd prefer him to Hillary......which, of course they would since he'd be easier to demonize since he actually wants to do things they don't agree with, unlike Hillary.....though they'll certainly demonize her anyway because she has a "D" beside her name).

I just don't know what word you could use that actually means what it says that the Right won't be certain just means "Socialist". I hope another reader can come up with one though, and that it can be used by a decent Dem candidate (which I'm not convinced either Hillary or Bernie is).
Some, even many, on the right have convinced themselves that they only get rejected by the electorate when they trim their sails and compromise stated principles from the hard right positions they hold.

They are quite mistaken about that, imo. Rs get in national election trouble when they ignore Nixon's prescription, to run to the right in the primaries, and then go back to more the middle ground for the general.

There seems to be a parallel strain of thought on the left. I think it is equally mistaken, as to the electorate. There may appear to be a majority of the public supporting that full more leftward agenda (if not labelled invidiously), but they do not vote.

The accompanying theory is that they would come out to vote if offered the real thing, the fuller left agenda, unadulterated with squishy moderate style compromise.

That's speculative, and I doubt it, but what is certain is that it would energize the opponents to redouble their efforts.


Moderate Fiscal Socialist. That's what Bill Clinton was, although some think his workfare program was horrible.
"holds that 69% of the country thinks that our greatest problem is Big Government"

holds that 69% of the country thinks that our greatest problem is Big Corrupt Government

Fixed it.

That's my beef with govt. the govt agencies that suppose to protect the citizens of this nation are run by the ones that need watching. Flint a perfect case. Then the dod vendors steal at will and are rewarded with more contracts. wall street destroys the world economy and not one goes to jail do to doj is run the by the banksters lawyers. I could go on but what the point.

The term I thought of a few years ago to describe liberals from the Democratic side of the Democratic Party was "FreeDems."

As in free and independent of the ruling Purple Party comprised of red and blue establishment types who pretend to have traditional party affiliations.

And if I were a FreeDem candidate and mocked for wanting to give away "free stuff," I would just smile real big and say "Right on, my brother – free healthcare for all and free college for those who want it."
A slight correction in my previous missive:

If mocked as a FreeDem candidate, I would respond, "Right on, my brother / SISTER, free health care, free college and FREEDOM FROM ENDLESS WARS.

And then I sit back and wait for my invitation to be the grand marshall of November Dallas parade.
Fiscal Socialist is what I thought someone might counter to Moderate Fiscal Socialist. Since no one did, here it is, Fiscal Socialist implies "help those who deserve help but don't bankrupt the country doing it."

By the way, the new I'm not a robot visual puzzle tests before posting are slowly turning into I.Q. tests so that we can be profiled I.Q. wise. I don't like it.
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