Democratic Candidate 2020

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secret squirrel
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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by secret squirrel » Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:53 am

plodder wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:46 am
"organiser in chief" my arse. That's exactly not how it works.
So you don't think a grassroots mass movement is more likely to advance its agenda if the president is literally the person who inspired the movement? I see you are a politics understander of the highest caliber.

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by plodder » Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:57 am

That's right, I don't. That's because the pres is bound by compromise, and they will inevitable have to sell out or water down the grass roots organisation.

If a grassroots organisation is really successful, and is already setting the tone of public debate (say, for example, christian fundies demanding stricter abortion laws) then a sympathic president can be useful. But otherwise, no.

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by secret squirrel » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:01 am

plodder wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:57 am
That's right, I don't. That's because the pres is bound by compromise, and they will inevitable have to sell out or water down the grass roots organisation.

If a grassroots organisation is really successful, and is already setting the tone of public debate (say, for example, christian fundies demanding stricter abortion laws) then a sympathic president can be useful. But otherwise, no.
So yes then, so long as the left keeps organizing properly and builds momentum, which is what I'm saying they should do.

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by plodder » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:36 am

OK, read what you want into what I'm saying. Presidents cannot lead grassroots movements. Only grassroots movements create major structural change. Presidents can be influenced by grassroots movements. Any grassroots movement led by Saunders will be sold out.

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by dyqik » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:38 am

I really hope Bernie is not taking such a childish approach and expecting it to achieve real change. "Organizing" is for fighting entrenched power and for building partisan political movements. Organizations built like that fail quickly as soon as some small change is achieved. Talk of organizing when you are already head of the largest organization is just Donald Trump's "Drain The Swamp" nonsense at his current rallies in alternative words.

How you change a country for the better is by building and changing the institutions that control the power. That's how FDR changed things, what Eisenhower tried to do, what was done with Obamacare, what Warren mostly achieved with the CFPB, and it's what McConnell is trying to do in his own evil way with judicial appointments.

A competent President should not need to spend time organizing. Organizing is for the weak and powerless. He should already be talking about plans to change the existing institutions and get real institutions built. That needs political coalition building, not organizing grassroots movements.

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by secret squirrel » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:51 am

Yeah this the standard centrist line, but centrists 'working within the system' have a terrible record. Their record is so bad that tiny steps forward (e.g. Obamacare) among all the steps back get talked about like wins. I mean, when you've retreated so far that implementing a severely hamstrung version of one of your opponent's ideas from a few years before feels like an achievement, well, that's not winning.

FDR specifically got things done because there was a mass of people reeling from the Depression, and the specter of communism was haunting the public consciousness with visions of a better system.

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by dyqik » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:02 pm

secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:51 am
Yeah this the standard centrist line, but centrists 'working within the system' have a terrible record. Their record is so bad that tiny steps forward (e.g. Obamacare) among all the steps back get talked about like wins. I mean, when you've retreated so far that implementing a severely hamstrung version of one of your opponent's ideas from a few years before feels like an achievement, well, that's not winning.

FDR specifically got things done because there was a mass of people reeling from the Depression, and the specter of communism was haunting the public consciousness with visions of a better system.
This isn't about "working within the system". It's about how you actually build a system that continues to work once the protest movement fades. That takes real structural work and structural change to institutions, not just organizing movements.

A president that spends all their time organizing grassroots movements won't achieve any real change. Change happens when institutions are changed and built, and become the new normal. If you are organizing protest movements, you aren't achieving change.

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by plodder » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:12 pm

dyqik wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:38 am
How you change a country for the better is by building and changing the institutions that control the power. That's how FDR changed things, what Eisenhower tried to do, what was done with Obamacare, what Warren mostly achieved with the CFPB, and it's what McConnell is trying to do in his own evil way with judicial appointments.

A competent President should not need to spend time organizing. Organizing is for the weak and powerless. He should already be talking about plans to change the existing institutions and get real institutions built. That needs political coalition building, not organizing grassroots movements.
Yes. If Saunders is using the language and concepts of opposition, not leadership, he'll get what's coming. Opposition.

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by Herainestold » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:07 pm

You don't need a moderate Democrat to win.

You need a Democrat who appears to be moderate.

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:42 pm

I see a lot of talk about the necessity of compromise, and building a broad coalition of support, on left-leaning websites. But that doesn't seem to have been necessary for the extremists within the republican party, who have been more successful than any other group in US politics when it comes to having their agenda implemented in policy and practice.

So are those people wrong, or are things inherently different for leftist ideas (e.g., as dyqik alludes to, the general necessity of constructing things rather than just knocking them down).
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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:51 pm

BTW there's an interesting interview with Sanders and AOC clarifying the "Organiser in Chief" comment - it doesn't really sound like he's going to spend all his time organising protests or anything. But there is an acknowledgement that grassroots pressure needs to continue after winning an election, in contrast with Obama's strategy. Right-wingers increased their demonstrating after Trump won, rather than going home for five years.

https://theintercept.com/2019/10/20/ber ... interview/

"In Chief" is probably doing a lot of mileage. The "Commander in Chief" doesn't micromanage military operations either, but does make the final call on big picture stuff and key campaigns.
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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by dyqik » Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:37 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:42 pm
I see a lot of talk about the necessity of compromise, and building a broad coalition of support, on left-leaning websites. But that doesn't seem to have been necessary for the extremists within the republican party, who have been more successful than any other group in US politics when it comes to having their agenda implemented in policy and practice.

So are those people wrong, or are things inherently different for leftist ideas (e.g., as dyqik alludes to, the general necessity of constructing things rather than just knocking them down).
I think it's mainly the latter, plus that most of what the right wants to build is institutional opposition to difficult things like equality and fairness, and entrenchment of things that happen "naturally" under laissez faire systems, like the rich getting richer, self-segregation, religious majorities defining the law for everyone, and poor people not being able to access justice, etc.

Building and maintaining institutions and systems that work against those tendencies is hard. Maintaining systems that follow those tendencies is fairly easy.

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by bolo » Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:47 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:42 pm
I see a lot of talk about the necessity of compromise, and building a broad coalition of support, on left-leaning websites. But that doesn't seem to have been necessary for the extremists within the republican party, who have been more successful than any other group in US politics when it comes to having their agenda implemented in policy and practice.

So are those people wrong, or are things inherently different for leftist ideas (e.g., as dyqik alludes to, the general necessity of constructing things rather than just knocking them down).
The structure of the Senate is a big factor. Most major legislation requires a 60% supermajority, and the makeup of the Senate is heavily weighted toward small states, which happen (at this moment of history) to be right of center even by US standards.

Which is why the big legislative proposals of some of the Dem presidential candidates are nothing more than a distraction. There is almost zero chance of enacting anything like Medicare for all, even if the Dems win the presidency in a landslide and do better in the Senate than anyone expects.

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by Herainestold » Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:11 pm

bolo wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:47 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:42 pm
I see a lot of talk about the necessity of compromise, and building a broad coalition of support, on left-leaning websites. But that doesn't seem to have been necessary for the extremists within the republican party, who have been more successful than any other group in US politics when it comes to having their agenda implemented in policy and practice.

So are those people wrong, or are things inherently different for leftist ideas (e.g., as dyqik alludes to, the general necessity of constructing things rather than just knocking them down).
The structure of the Senate is a big factor. Most major legislation requires a 60% supermajority, and the makeup of the Senate is heavily weighted toward small states, which happen (at this moment of history) to be right of center even by US standards.

Which is why the big legislative proposals of some of the Dem presidential candidates are nothing more than a distraction. There is almost zero chance of enacting anything like Medicare for all, even if the Dems win the presidency in a landslide and do better in the Senate than anyone expects.
Is there no way for a President with a strong mandate to neutralize/bypass the Senate? Trump seems to have no problem doing what ever he wants, although it may take a while.

The right wing/Republican/christian group appears to be consolidating its grip on the American system. If (and it is a BIG if) the left Democrats prevail in this upcoming election, is there any way to consolidate their power and keep the right in its place for the forseeable future?

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by secret squirrel » Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:39 am

dyqik wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:02 pm
This isn't about "working within the system". It's about how you actually build a system that continues to work once the protest movement fades. That takes real structural work and structural change to institutions, not just organizing movements.

A president that spends all their time organizing grassroots movements won't achieve any real change. Change happens when institutions are changed and built, and become the new normal. If you are organizing protest movements, you aren't achieving change.
Well I don't interpret the comment as meaning that Sanders will literally be organizing rallies and such like. More that he intends to use pressure from grassroots movements that share his agenda as a major tool in coalition building. We've seen that trying to reach across the aisle doesn't work anymore, because the Republicans have no interest in that kind of thing.

As I said before, Sanders getting elected is just the first step. Change will require a huge amount of effort from ordinary people. It will involve things like protests and general strikes. I'm not saying Sanders necessarily has a good chance of succeeding with even half the things he wants to do, but with climate change time is running out. The world needs the Left (read 'slightly left of center democratic socialists') in power in America, not in a hundred years, but now. I just don't see a strategy of 'more of the same' from the Democrats as being a safer one, a) because they often don't win with their right wing candidates anyway, and b) because when they do win they make barely a dent on the general decline. Indeed, they often end up normalizing extreme right wing ideas as being part of the political center.

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by Woodchopper » Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:50 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:42 pm
I see a lot of talk about the necessity of compromise, and building a broad coalition of support, on left-leaning websites. But that doesn't seem to have been necessary for the extremists within the republican party, who have been more successful than any other group in US politics when it comes to having their agenda implemented in policy and practice.

So are those people wrong, or are things inherently different for leftist ideas (e.g., as dyqik alludes to, the general necessity of constructing things rather than just knocking them down).
It depends upon what you mean by ‘extremists’, but as far as I can see they haven’t been successful either. Trump has achieved very little. To take a few examples, at the federal level abortion is still legal, income taxes remain and even most of Obamacare remains in place.

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by jimbob » Sun Feb 16, 2020 2:59 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:50 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:42 pm
I see a lot of talk about the necessity of compromise, and building a broad coalition of support, on left-leaning websites. But that doesn't seem to have been necessary for the extremists within the republican party, who have been more successful than any other group in US politics when it comes to having their agenda implemented in policy and practice.

So are those people wrong, or are things inherently different for leftist ideas (e.g., as dyqik alludes to, the general necessity of constructing things rather than just knocking them down).
It depends upon what you mean by ‘extremists’, but as far as I can see they haven’t been successful either. Trump has achieved very little. To take a few examples, at the federal level abortion is still legal, income taxes remain and even most of Obamacare remains in place.
Yes, but if it had been Pence instead, the policies would have been equally right-wing but put forward by someone who isn't literally senile.
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by secret squirrel » Sun Feb 16, 2020 4:25 pm

jimbob wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 2:59 pm
Yes, but if it had been Pence instead, the policies would have been equally right-wing but put forward by someone who isn't literally senile.
This is the beauty of Trump from the Republican perspective. He's manifestly a buffoon, and he makes a lot of noise about ridiculous things like The Wall that the party's business backers don't care about, while in the background the party machinery gets on with the business of cutting taxes for the rich, deregulation, and funneling public money into private hands. As a bonus, mainstream Democrats are so outraged by Trump's personal obnoxiousness that neocons like GWB get rehabilitated just by being rude about him, which normalizes what should be seen as an extreme ideological position.

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by dyqik » Sun Feb 16, 2020 5:02 pm

It's also the destruction of the GOP. It's driving right wing conservative moderates away from them, and as soon as Trump disappears, they lose half of his base with him (to non-voting)

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by jimbob » Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:02 pm

secret squirrel wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 4:25 pm
jimbob wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 2:59 pm
Yes, but if it had been Pence instead, the policies would have been equally right-wing but put forward by someone who isn't literally senile.
This is the beauty of Trump from the Republican perspective. He's manifestly a buffoon, and he makes a lot of noise about ridiculous things like The Wall that the party's business backers don't care about, while in the background the party machinery gets on with the business of cutting taxes for the rich, deregulation, and funneling public money into private hands. As a bonus, mainstream Democrats are so outraged by Trump's personal obnoxiousness that neocons like GWB get rehabilitated just by being rude about him, which normalizes what should be seen as an extreme ideological position.
They didn't need any excuse or figleaf. Instead they have a president that managed to achieve little even with both houses.
dyqik wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 5:02 pm
It's also the destruction of the GOP. It's driving right wing conservative moderates away from them, and as soon as Trump disappears, they lose half of his base with him (to non-voting)
Also this. It is almost like a boil that is coming to a head.
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by bolo » Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:31 pm

bolo wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:47 pm
Which is why the big legislative proposals of some of the Dem presidential candidates are nothing more than a distraction. There is almost zero chance of enacting anything like Medicare for all, even if the Dems win the presidency in a landslide and do better in the Senate than anyone expects.
See also in today's Washington Post:
Democrats are wasting time fighting over policies the Senate will not pass

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by secret squirrel » Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:57 am

jimbob wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:02 pm
secret squirrel wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 4:25 pm
jimbob wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 2:59 pm
Yes, but if it had been Pence instead, the policies would have been equally right-wing but put forward by someone who isn't literally senile.
This is the beauty of Trump from the Republican perspective. He's manifestly a buffoon, and he makes a lot of noise about ridiculous things like The Wall that the party's business backers don't care about, while in the background the party machinery gets on with the business of cutting taxes for the rich, deregulation, and funneling public money into private hands. As a bonus, mainstream Democrats are so outraged by Trump's personal obnoxiousness that neocons like GWB get rehabilitated just by being rude about him, which normalizes what should be seen as an extreme ideological position.
They didn't need any excuse or figleaf. Instead they have a president that managed to achieve little even with both houses.
They have steadily advanced the basic Republican agenda, taking an extremely economically right wing country further to the right, and economic right wingers in the party look reasonable to so called moderates now because they don't post bollocks on Twitter etc.

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by secret squirrel » Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:59 am

dyqik wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 5:02 pm
It's also the destruction of the GOP. It's driving right wing conservative moderates away from them, and as soon as Trump disappears, they lose half of his base with him (to non-voting)
I guess it's going to be all Democrats from here on out then. Maximum wait just under five years. The planet is saved. Shall I open the Champagne now or save it for later?

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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:18 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:50 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:42 pm
I see a lot of talk about the necessity of compromise, and building a broad coalition of support, on left-leaning websites. But that doesn't seem to have been necessary for the extremists within the republican party, who have been more successful than any other group in US politics when it comes to having their agenda implemented in policy and practice.

So are those people wrong, or are things inherently different for leftist ideas (e.g., as dyqik alludes to, the general necessity of constructing things rather than just knocking them down).
It depends upon what you mean by ‘extremists’, but as far as I can see they haven’t been successful either. Trump has achieved very little. To take a few examples, at the federal level abortion is still legal, income taxes remain and even most of Obamacare remains in place.
I don't think the GOP really cares about abortion - it's just to get the fundies rilesld up.

Income and corporation taxes have been cut.

Obamacare proved pretty popular with voters (and was originally a Republican's plan known as Romneycare).

The US is out of the Paris agreement, burning loads of coal, drilling in nature reserves, fracking everywhere and so on. The richest country in the history of ever is dragging the world to a climate apocalypse (only a generation after it nearly brought us to nuclear war) by resisting meaningful progress.

TBH part of me hopes the Fox pundits are right and a Sanders presidency does destroy America. We seem to be at an impasse: they go, or we all go.
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Re: Democratic Candidate 2020

Post by secret squirrel » Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:49 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:18 am
(only a generation after it nearly brought us to nuclear war)
Nuclear apocalypse is still on. The probability may be lower now than it was in the 60s and early 80s, but it's non-zero and increasing (and will increase rapidly when climate change really starts to bite). And after all, it only has to happen once...

Aside: Read 'the Doomsday Machine' by Daniel Ellsberg' if you're interested in nuclear weapons and worried you might be sleeping too well.

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