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Thursday, March 31, 2016

At what point does a movement become a mob?

The problem with Sanders supporters is exemplified by this article, in which a Bernie-ite confronts a pro-Hillary superdelegate. The Sanders supporter obviously feels that the superdelegate system is unfair. A defensible position, that -- although we should note a certain hypocrisy, since Sanders' own strategy depends on the superdelegates. But Bernie-ites venture into the realms of High Paranoia whenever they imply that anyone who does not favor the Socialist Messiah must be in the pay of the Evil Clinton Conspiracy.

Here's the telling part: We learn, in the course of the above-linked article, that the superdelegate has become so entrenched in her position precisely because Sanders supporters keep acting like obsessive, paranoid, Trumpian loons. Their behavior hurts their cause. But instead of allowing themselves the luxury of reflection -- instead of asking themselves "How can I change my behavior in order to create a better outcome?" -- Berniebros will always double down on obnoxiousness.

The Trumpian hordes can say to the Berniebots: "We're not so different, you and I." They both favor the politics of rage and resentment. They both automatically presume corruption on the part of all who disagree. And they both never apologize.

The Berniebot is a different kind of lefty. In previous times, American leftists constantly questioned themselves; this characteristic was both their weakness and their strength. But the new left is like unto the old right: They never apologize, never retreat, never tolerate criticism, never allow self-criticism, never waver in their conviction that they and only they have been granted the beatific vision. Having climbed atop their high horse, they cannot dismount -- not even when doing so would help them go where they want to go.

That obdurate psychopathology is what one should expect from a group of people who have blinded themselves to all political reality. We're talking about people who have seriously claimed that electing Sanders will result in a wave of progressives overwhelming Congress, thereby ushering us all into Socialist Paradise. What nonsense. If Sanders became president, a right-wing backlash would become inevitable -- and the backlash would probably take this shape.

None of these realistic concerns matter to the Berniebots, who automatically presume bad faith on the part of anyone who won't share their hallucinations.

The greatest of these hallucinations is that Bernie is electable. He isn't. Sorry, but he just isn't.
Sanders’ self-identification as a “socialist” is all that many voters would need to know to reject him. A recent Pew poll found negative reactions to the word “socialist” outpacing positive reactions by two to one—59 percent to 29 percent.

In June 2015, Gallup asked people whether they would vote for a “well-qualified person for president” who had various possible characteristics, and “socialist” was a deal-breaker for more Americans than any other attribute, including gay, Muslim or atheist.

“Socialism” is the label Republicans have been trying to pin on Democrats; it is not the flag Democrats want to be waving. Not only would Sanders find it difficult to get elected, Democratic candidates up and down the ticket would disassociate themselves from him.
Numbers are numbers, folks.

Even if you try to educate the public about the various types of socialism, even if you are always careful to precede the S-word with the D-word, even if you tell the world a million times that Einstein and Helen Keller were socialists, the one inescapable fact of our political life is that most Americans associate "socialism" with Stalin and Mao.

When confronted with these numbers, Berniebots counter that -- according to recent polls -- young people are less sour than their elders are when it comes to the term "socialist." The bots seem be under the impression that only young people will vote in 2016. But the election won't take place in the far future; it's happening this year.

(I think that youngsters have warmed to the S-word because the Fox Newsers have redefined that term as part of their effort to smear the current president. Ill-educated young idiots believe that Barack Obama is a socialist, which is like mistaking ketchup for tequila. The RNC's propaganda campaign had an unintended consequence.)

Facts are facts: You will not have -- should not have -- a socialist president without first building a socialist movement. And that, my friends, is the work of decades. There's no such thing as a one-move checkmate.

The automatic presumption of bad faith. I have been accused of taking a Clinton pay-off, even though no sensible political campaign would ever want anything to do with so weird a blogger. Truth is, I can't even afford to take my dog George to the vet. If I told the Berniebots what they want to hear, I could have a successful fundraiser; as things stand, I would not dare try. Not to worry: an extra gig came my way, so the doggie doctor should soon receive a visit.

What irks me is the paranoid presumption that opposing Sanders is somehow in my personal financial interest, even though the opposite is true. The same thing happened in 2008: At least one progressive blogger was privately appalled at the treatment of Hillary, but refused to speak up in public, for fear of injuring the flow of contributions.

At what point does a movement become a mob?
The "automatic presumption of bad faith" is a characteristic of authoritarian thinking. The Bernie folks--like the Obamabots before them--are lefty authoritarians.
This is depressing to me, but I've always been a realist. I've experienced this aversion to the word Socialism first hand. A coworker, who I am good friends with who is very intelligent and mostly pretty liberal (though she flirted with Libertarian-ism and Ron Paul support back in did I). When I first talked to her about Bernie Sanders, she immediately said, "yeah, he seems like a good guy but isn't he a socialist?". I then had to talk her through why socialism isn't necessarily a bad thing and how much of what is good about our country is because of socialist policies. She eventually came around and remembered that she had known all of that in the past, and had just been spending too much time reading libertarian based web content (the same thing happened to me between 2004 and 2008....Bush had a way of making radicals out of reasonable people, just because he made us so incredibly angry). Anyway, I suspect that millions of Americans are in a similar situation to my friend. They have been told so many times that Socialism = totalitarian communism (though they should know better, since most of our allies are quite socialist), that they have forgotten that socialism made this country great (not by itself, of you have mentioned in past posts, a MIXED economy is what made this nation great).

So yeah, I like Bernie and agree with more of his platform than Hillary's, and tend to trust him as a politician more than Hillary, but I'm becoming convinced that he's just not electable. The very last thing I want is Trump or Cruz in the white house.
Assholes are assholes, they come in all types throughout society. Left or right.
Way to smear all Sanders supporters with the same broad brush. You have lots of company in this -- I rarely see anyone acknowledge that most Sanders supporters are not the paranoid, irrational Hilary haters that you describe. Just because those are the loudest people in certain comments sections does not make them representative of a majority.

About electability: I'd agree with you if the GOP nominee were anyone but Donald Trump. As reported today, if nominated he would have the worst negatives of any nominee in modern history, at -31. Sanders is 40 points better at +9. The HuffPo average has Sanders beating Trump by 12 points in the general, even with Sanders' professed socialism being pretty well known. Obviously Sanders has yet to endure the withering attacks that the GOP would launch, but I have a hard time believing they could get Sanders down to below Trump numbers.
In one of Toni Morrison's books someone was commenting on a guy who became psycho killer he doesn't kill because he is in the organization, he joined the organization to kill. Sometimes I think those bernies are there because what they call movement gives them a seemingly legitimate outlet for all the hate and anger boil inside them. The cause is irrelevant if it's not this one they would have found another. That in no way discount the importance of the issues raised by Sanders himself. Also to the most appalling is the refusal of his followers to examine his record closely. They are will to send his to the white house without looking at his achievements or lack off during the last 25 years. But what bothered me most is that seems to encourage it.
Another thing that bothered me so is that his supporters, some of them are quite bright, never questioned why a socialist is treated so softly by the establishment. The US through history chased and destroyed most of the socialists in the world, ruined countries economically and militarily because of that. But Sanders inside the US is pampered and protected. Does the establishment Know something the rest of us don't. I am wondering from a leftist position.
Thanks for fighting the fight. I keep waiting for the Bernie bots to do some research on him instead of mindlessly lining up. He is the Ted Cruise of the left who will never accomplish anything. One just has to look at his history to realize that. Hopefully people will wake up.
This is cult-like belief/behavior. Even when the policy measures make no sense, the St Bernard Brigade refuses to look at details. The college remedy is a case in point: tution-free college and university promises which rely on states chipping into the Federal program. Sorta like the ACA. Only Republican controlled states refused free money altogether because . . . Obama, the faux socialist. Specifically a state like Wisconsin where Scott Walker cut $250 million in higher education last year, the state would be expected to toss in $300 million.

In what alternative Universe would this be happening?

The counter reasoning is that students would then flock to states that did go with the flow. Only to overwhelm the existing, participating universities. But it will all work out, we're told, because . . .Bernie.

True believers have to believe because otherwise they'd be faced with inconvenient questions they cannot answer. Instead, any criticism is met with howls of outrage. The biggest canard is that Bernie would be a stronger candidate in the GE. The GOP hasn't laid a glove on the man, yet. But they would gleefully slice and dice him if he were ever plopped into a General Election. No birdie on his podium would save his ass and the moniker 'socialist' would be branded indelibly across his forehead. Fair or not, the assault would be vicious and deadly. St Bernard would ultimately die the death of a thousand cuts, as would his more important stands on economic inequality and corruption.

A vote for Bernie is a vote for Trump.

Hillary Clinton has been tested and put through the Republican Grind Machine repeatedly. She's still standing which is one of the reasons the Republicans hate her so much. Her voting record is 85% liberal. No it's not 100% and no she's not perfect. But she can win in November and help Dems down ticket, as in winning back the Senate and closing the gap in the House.

Change of any kind requires winning the election, not embracing mythical Revolutions that the likes of Susan Sarandon can afford.

Hillary Clinton can win this thing. Bernie Sanders cannot.

In what alternative Universe would this be happening? A universe in which college students need emergeny counseling because they saw Trumps's name written in chalk on the sidewalk.
Anon 7:35 PM.........too bad most of that story is false:
Hello Joseph. I've resent an email to your yandex address about making a small donation. You didn't reply to the last one so thought I'd post here in case you need to check your spam filter or some such email nonsense. Thanks again.
In the past I would have agreed that calling one self a Democratic Socialist would have been a non starter for a Presidential candidate. But we've reached a tipping point in this country where people are so angry with the elite who control the government that old labels like socialist which once had power, are now meaningless to most people. It's pretty hard to scare people about some vague socialist boogey man when we're currently living through a vulture capitalism horror show. So I think you're going to be surprised how little labels end up meaning in this election.
People have reached the limit of their tolerance for the current system, which has failed the vast majority of Americans. My prediction is that many truisms which have applied for decades, will no longer matter in the 2016 election.
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Mike, your rhetoric and wishful thinking offer no reason to discount consistent polling evidence.

You suffer from a malady that afflicts many Sanders supporters. I call it "Me and my buddies" symdrome. You believe that just because your hipster friends think a certain way, that your opinion must be shared by the majority of 300 million-plus Americans.

Not the way it works.

Look, I honestly wish that Americans would react more intelligently when they hear the S-word. But one must be realistic. Things are the way the are. Incessant libertarian propaganda has had an impact. If I recall correctly, polling indicated that even the Occupy Wall Street protestors were more inclined toward libertarianism than toward socialism. The vast, vast majority of this country thinks that our most threatening problem is Big Gummint.

You are saying that we should choose a sure-to-lose candidate as the only person standing between Donald Trump and the nuclear launch codes. Seriously, that's the risk which the Berniebots want to take. They are so insistent on preserving their beloved hipster purity (not to mention their Clinton Derangement Syndrome) that they are willing to let a loon like Trump get hold of our nuclear arsenal.

Are you out of your freakin' mind?
Everywhere Bernie goes he garners support...his message, whether you label it socialism or not, is wildly popular with the former middle class and working poor...he has beaten Hillary in election day voting in state after state, and he polls much better against Trump than Hillary. Bernie would destroy Trump in a debate. I'm sorry you can't see it but Hillary has compromised herself by taking Wall Street money. So I think I have a pretty good grip on reality.
That's enough out of you, Mikey. I announced a troll-free policy weeks ago.

You are either paid to spew lies or you are delusional. Hillary is the one who has won state after state. Bernie does best in caucus states which, as we all learned in 2008, are easier to rig.

Hillary is ahead not because of some weird Illuminati scheme (the scenario which sick Berniebots prefer to believe) but for one reason: More people voted for her. Stop kidding yourself. Stop pretending that your candidate is more popular than he actually is.

Also, stop pretending that Hillary has gotten all sorts of positive coverage and your boy has not. That claim is at a 180 degree remove from the truth.
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