Tuesday, September 08, 2015


In the previous post, I noted that the advocates of Bernie Sanders don't like it when you mention certain facts of life, such as the fact that a majority of Americans won't vote for an elderly socialist. It's all a matter of attitude, we are told. Positive thinking can work miracles.

Here's how one Positive Thinker reacted to my display of negativity:
Attempting to rebel against the greatest military power on the planet in 1776 was also a doomed effort. Anyone with any sense could have told you so, which is why those traitors Washington and Jefferson ended up being drawn and quartered and the Queen's birthday is a national holiday here in the colonies.
Challenge accepted! Let's compare the popularity of socialism in 2015 to the popularity of rebellion in 1775. Care for a little reality?
YouGov's latest research shows that when Americans are asked whether they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of socialism and capitalism, capitalism comes out on top. 52% of Americans have a favorable view of capitalism, while only 26% have a favorable view of socialism.
Remember, the red states have a built-in advantage in the general election, thanks to our beloved electoral college. If you mention the word socialism to most red staters, they don't think "Olaf Palme" -- they think "Josef Stalin." (Most red staters don't even know who Palme was.)

Keep those poll numbers in mind as we turn our attention to the American Revolution. How many people living in the colonies in 1775 were Loyalists and how many were revolutionaries?
Historian Robert Calhoon said the consensus of historians is that between 40 and 45 percent of the white population in the Thirteen Colonies supported the Patriots' cause, between 15 and 20% supported the Loyalists, and the remainder were neutral or kept a low profile.
Very different numbers.

In order for someone like Sanders to succeed, you need to change the numbers. That is, you need to increase the number of Americans who view socialism favorably.

At the very least, you need to increase the number of Americans who understand that there are many varieties of socialism. Many Americans don't know that socialists have played important roles within most European democracies for more than a hundred years. The result was not Total State Control. Churches were not burned, businesses were not shuttered, and citizens did not turn into glassy-eyed human robots mindlessly shouting "Long live the Collective!" Thanks to the work of socialists, workers in Germany and other European nation get one full month of paid leave each year. Labor is represented in the boardrooms of the major corporations. Health care is considered a right.

Fortunately, younger voters are increasingly receptive to the argument that some aspects of socialism are attractive and beneficial. Most Americans who came of age during the Cold War will never listen to that argument.

Someone like Bernie Sanders will have a real shot at the presidency in the future, perhaps within your lifetime (though probably not mine). But that shot won't come until the poll numbers change, and changing those numbers will require hard work. Books, articles, speeches, constant argumentation. Work.

Joining the cult of positive thinking is no substitute for doing that work. Quite the opposite: Positive thinking is a form of magical thinking. Positive thinking is lazy.
Clutch your handbag and head for the fainting couch...if you must.

Nothing could be better for the country than to have a Bernie* vs Donald* debate...where Americans can freely choose between two MADE IN AMERICA candidates...right now, it looks like a real toss-up, should those two survive the hostilities of their respective parties.

*neither are my chosen candidate, nor is Hillary [and yes, Hillary is yours]
How interesting that you claim to know my preferences better than I do. I note that you take no issue with my numbers.
As I've said before, anyone who wants Bernie Sanders running in the general should be comfortable with a Jeb presidency.
The brand known as "socialism" may do poorly in the polls, but specific policies identified by some as "socialist" consistently have public support. Like Social Security. Or the public education system. Any party running on a single payer health care system would win, at least in the blue states. The foolishness starts when it is determined that everything should run according to an ideological system - capitalism or socialism.
The problem, Joseph, is that you have no alternative to offer. I agree that Sanders is probably unelectable. So what's your counter? Hillary? Biden, the author of "bankruptcy reform"? Do you intend to elect yet another DINO and resolve to "hold his/her feet to the fire", as the Obots said they were going to do in 2008? How well did that work out?

Any D is preferable to any R -- and that goes even for the Ds that I personally despise. You ask for an alternative? In politics, the alternative often comes down to a choice between awful and awfuller. That's your damned alternative. Sorry to say it, but there it is.

Insert standard warning about the Supreme Court here.

As for 2008: Obama was in many ways as bad as I predicted, and in some ways worse. I am still glad that I took the stance that I did during that campaign season.

That said, there have been some pleasant surprises. Big exxample: My brother says that he owes his life to Obamacare, and this is nothing I can dismiss lightly. Sorry, but my brother is my brother, and as far as I am concerned, his word trumps ANYTHING you might say on the topic.

Obama did not go to war with Syria in 2013. I like the Iran deal. Far too often, Obama has been an enabler to the neocons, but at other times, he has resisted them. The die-hard Netanyahu supporters seem to hate Obama, which is a point in Obama's favor. Obama finally let the Bush tax cuts lapse, and our tax system has finally become more progressive. Unemployment is actually pretty good right now.

I doubt that there will be any pleasant surprises of any kind if any Republican is elected. Trump has said some good things (particularly about raising taxes on the wealthy) but I cannot easily believe him. The man is extremely dishonest -- even moreso than Obama was in 2008.
Bernie won't make it but his voice is making other D's take notice. I support his candidacy for now because he, along wth Warren, Franken and a few others are forcing some overdue conversations about inequality and the plutocracy.
You forgot Canada. Socialist Tommy Douglas gave us universal health care for which everyone is thankful. So much so that Canadians about ten years ago voted him the greatest Canadian in history.

Last year my appendix burst and they had to slice me open and yank it out. I spent exactly ten days in the hospital recovering. Out of curiosity I researched what it would have cost me had I been American: anywhere from 15 up to 25 thousand. As a Canadian, the only thing I had to pay was the prescription costs for the Morphine they sent me home with.

Some socialist policies just makes sense. That a society can agree that cops and firemen are an acceptable collective tax burden but not the sick and dying, is incomprehensible.
"...you claim to know my preferences better than I do"

Bound to happen when you broadcast your opinions 24/7.

And before start with the mock outrage, there is nothing wrong with you broadcasting your opinions...only you wanting everybody to agree with you.
Like I said, I would certainly vote for him in the general election. I really can't imagine how he'll get that far though. Hillary is the chosen for this election (for the Dems, anyway, no guarantee she will win though, of course). I really hope that Bernie's popularity will force her and everyone else further to the left, but I'm not holding my breath. If his campaign can just get the others to focus entirely on the issues, I think that will be quite revealing to a lot of people.
S Brennan, I would take offense if I didn't think you were silly.

A long time ago, I gave up on the notion of ever convincing anyone to agree with me. How can a contrarian have such an expectation? Disagreement is in my soul. If someone says the sky is blue, I feel obligated to say that the sky is some other color.
joseph, there are a lot of things i like about your viewpoints and see your point here too..however s. brennan is doing the simple math..if you are voting democrat, who else other then hilary will you be voting for, unless some magical event takes place where sanders overcomes hilary as rep for the democrat party?

the one comment i don't agree with you on is 'obama didn't go to war with syria in 2013'... if an ongoing covert war on syria isn't a war, then technically you are correct.. until they make the announcement public, all the frame up's in an attempt to justify one, just haven't worked out to date.. however any fool can see readily how involved the usa has been in both syria and ukraine and that is all under obama's watch.. both parties - democrats or republicans are war parties.. they summarize my own view on the usa being a country consumed in war, and the thought of war - always on others soil of course.. here in canada, our idiot for pm harper - is working hard to create a similar framework.. we have an election oct 19th and i am hopeful he doesn't get anymore time as a leader to ruin whatever canada might have represented a long time ago before he was put in power.. - james
james, objectively speaking, you are doing the RNC's work for them. "No Dem is good enough or pure enough -- so STAY HOME, liberals!"

I'm not saying you were paid to write what you wrote, because I don't believe that you were. But let's just say that you missed an opportunity.

And if you were awake and paying attention in 2013, you know that the whole "gas attack" charade was instigate to push Obama into overt war. He didn't fall for it. That was the moment when I began to turn around on Obama. Thank god McCain didn't get in! You know damned well what would have happened.

The twerps who are forever telling us "both parties are the same" were proven wrong on that occasion.
well, lets agree to disagree then.. james
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