I’m sharing a post from one of my favorite political magazines, Jacobin. Noam Chomsky was probably the first great dissident I discovered by myself. (I was already introduced to I. F. Stone, Howard Zinn, and others by my mentor in college the late William A. Dorman.) I later learned just how great the professor emeritus from MIT is. (Also, I don’t think Chomsky is a “leftie” or leftist; I believe he’s more of an anarchist, just to be clear.) Fast forward to 2018, and an unknown bartender from the Bronx defeats one of the biggest names in the Democratic Party. The Congresswoman’s name now can be found in several books about the small but growing progressive movement in America and the co-sponsor of the Green New Deal in 2019 and 2021 and was one of the subjects in the excellent documentary Knock Down the House. She’s also regularly derided on Fox News for just about everything she says and does, so she must be doing something right.
This is the interview hosted by progressive-minded Laura Flanders. Below is a link to an edited version of the interview. You can see the entire conversation at https://lauraflanders.org/.
Yes, you should absolutely call your mom today. But you should also know that Mother’s Day isn’t just a holiday for greeting card and chocolate companies to make a buck, but of radical antiwar and feminist organizers. Women Strike for Peace activists at a Censure Nixon rally in Washington, DC, on January 18, 1972. (Dorothy…
I’m a bit of a grump when it comes to what I call the “fake holidays”–the ones created, for the most part, by greetings card companies to sell sentimentality and paper goods. I felt rather stupid when I found out there are some actual events behind Mother’s Day. Here is a piece by one of my favorite magazines about the day’s history.
I ran across this article in Jacobin here on WordPress and wanted to share it. I have always enjoyed Oscar Wilde’s work but didn’t know he wrote a political essay supporting socialism. It just made the top of my Goodreads list! To some degree, it makes sense that he would be a socialist or an anarchist, his biting satire of the Victorian Age alludes it. He was also gay, which, in those times, almost ensured he would be on the outside. Read on.
Oscar Wilde is known today for his satirical wit and literary accomplishments. But he was also a socialist committed to the fight against oppression and exploitation. The great satirist Oscar Wilde believed that a better society was possible under socialism. (Pixabay) That Oscar Wilde found much to ridicule in the conventional values of late Victorian…
If only Woody Guthrie was around today I’m sure he would have a song or two about Donald Trump–he had one for his father. Arvind Dilawar interviews Will Kaufman author of three books on Guthrie for Jacobin.
Legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie is best known for his anthem “This Land Is Your Land,” which can come off as an innocuous ode to America if you aren’t listening closely. But the singer-songwriter was a lifelong socialist. Woody Guthrie, 1970. (Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images) I suppose that Old Man Trump knows just…
I like David Doel’s The Rational National. It is my favorite channel on YouTube.com. (Though I have to admit, lately I am watching more and more of The Hill’s Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti insightful Rising.especially as the Democratic Primaries approach. The clip below is from TYT’s No Filter with the excellent Ana Kasparian. Here she interviews Doel about a recent piece he did on Meghan McCain’s foolish criticism of the Medicare for All issue. I know it seems better to ignore McCain and The View, but as long as nearly three million people tune in to the show every weekday, these kinds of stupid comments–especially coming from someone of privilege–need to be exposed.
I ran across this the trailer to the film “Mister America” while reading Louis Proyect’s blog and was fascinated with this satirical performance piece by the actor/comedian/writer/musician Tim Heidecker. Heidecker plays a variation of himself, eschewing a character name. Proyect likens the performance to something similar to the late Andy Kaufman and it is easy to see the similarities.
Heidecker (I’m referring to the character) decides to run for District Attorney in San Bernardino County, California, though he isn’t a lawyer, doesn’t live in the county, and was prosecuted for the murder of 18 people who bought toxic e-cigarettes from him at a music festival he organized. He’s not in jail due to a mistrial. Still, he wants to get back at the DA that almost sent him to prison by challenging him in an election.
Ethan was walking to the office and was listening to a podcast: “Global Meltdown.” He loved his new noise-cancelling headphones. They made everything around him seem insignificant. The world is coming to an end! That Swedish girl is right, and no one is listening to her, except Ethan, Ethan was all ears. Behind him, a driver was unloading Red Bull from a truck when he fell off the ramp, spilling cases of the drink all over the street. Ethan didn’t hear the crash nor the sound of the exploding cans as the carbon dioxide gas released into the atmosphere.
For all the Marianne Williamson naysayers, who claim she’s a political lightweight, a spiritual leader who has no business in politics, check out Williamson schooling conservative pundit Dave Rubin in this hour-long interview on his show, The Rubin Report. There are some truly golden moments here where the “hot grandma,” as someone reduced her during the first Democratic Debates, schools the once comedian and ex-liberal.
Assuming Trump isn’t ran out of office on a rail before November 3, 2020, some serious decisions have to be made on who is going to run against him. Chances are we won’t be hearing of any fed up group of Republicans running through the West Wing with a long piece of timbre while the Grand Old Party (GOP) controls the upper house. It is morbidly fascinated how the GOP carries this vulgarian’s water. What will they say when their constituents have had enough of Trump and the voters will finally move them to act after going along with his dubious actions all this time? In the meantime, all we have is satire as in the bitterly humorous Saturday Night Live faux-film trailer The TBD Story. If Trump goes he will most likely be voted out of office in 2020 and that will be a harder task than some think.
In the meantime, the minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour for at least ten years, we need to re-tool our health care system—either by plugging up the holes in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or moving to a Medicare for All solution. We are in five wars in the Middle East and Africa, we need to address climate change, clean up our electoral system, and get money out of politics to name only a few of the many serious challenges. There are some who believe that in order to defeat the sitting president these issues will have to be placed on the back burner go with a more moderate candidate.
Or maybe not.
With the exception of top-polling Biden, most of the Democratic candidates have platforms that are more to the Left than in any other time since the 1960s. It’s too early to tell, but maybe we are seeing the beginning of the end of the centrist Democrat. If you miss the Biden elephant (err donkey) in the room, it looks like the popular Democrats are beginning to lean to the Left. Maybe it is time for a change–I mean real change. But as I said, it’s too early to tell right now. Regardless of how things are right now, presidential elections are always both exciting and frustrating we also have a Republican who is challenging the president. Bill Weld could win if the Right ever finds the courage to stand up to Trump, which doesn’t look like that will happen since it would initially hurt the party.
So here is the list in quasi-alphabetical order. I gave each of my favorite candidates a *. While Bernie currently has my vote, I’m using my coveted splat, to separate the good (or great) from the rest of the meh-to-ugh herd. These aren’t predictions just a very brief evaluations of the current contenders. I also gave these candidates Greenpeace’s rating on their plans to address climate change. (BTW, both Trump and Weld got F grades from the environmental organization.)
Here are my main picks.
Joe Biden Then again, maybe my title is bullshit. Since declaring his candidacy, Biden has threatened to kill all chances of getting someone on the Democratic ticket that will promise any substantive change in Washington. Either Sanders or Warren could still prevail, but the centrist’s hope of a 2016 do-over is alive and well with Joe in the race.
Moderates believe that Biden has the best chance of pulling some of Trump’s votes away, though that is debatable. Just because Biden was Obama’s Vice President (VP) doesn’t necessarily mean the people voted for Obama then switched to Trump will now vote for Biden. It is true how it didn’t take some people long after Trump’s win to start pining over the good old days of the Obama years. Or as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) said in an interview on Yahoo News Skullduggery TV, “There’s an emotional element to that…But I don’t want to go back. I want to go forward.” Joe is a throwback to the perceived good-ole-days of Obama. Biden still believes in the ACA despite the corporate-friendly’s less than perfect success rate that stranded 30,000 Americans from health care.
Joe wouldn’t be on the top portion of this list if it weren’t for his popularity. He should be in the afterthoughts with Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, and Tim Ryan. The most significant reason Biden has a good chance is brand recognition. Of course, like everyone else in the horse race, history may catch up with the career politician from Delaware. Every candidate has some bad history to deal with, but Biden is a career neoliberal politician–there’s plenty of shit:
His pro-corporate voting record in the Senate
His tough-on-crime legislation that has resulted in more severe sentencing on African Americans and Latinos than Whites
His horrible handling of Anita Hill questioning during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings
His hawkish voting record including his votes on the Iraq War
All of that makes his shoulder rubs and hair smelling seem petty–at least for now.
It’s no surprise that Joe received a D- from Greenpeace on plans to address climate change.
Steve Bullock Governor of Montana successfully expanded Medicare in his state and is also pro-LGBTQ rights and pro-choice which shouldn’t be a big deal considering he’s a Democrat, but he’s done this and has been reelected in a Red state that Trump won in 2016 by 20 points. Never mind the Bullock, he failed to make on to the first Democratic Debates on June 26 and 27.
While he thinks he is a pro-environment governor, Greenpeace thinks differently, giving him a D on his Greenpeace report card. Ouch!
Pete Buttigieg Mayor Pete is a likable guy who had virtually no name recognition when he began his campaign. Now Buttigieg polls in the top five of the Dems. The Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, initially comes off as a very friendly and bright candidate. He claims to be a great admirer of Bernie Sanders, but he’s more complex, with plenty of contradictions and recently he gave in to big-money contributions and his past actions aren’t as friendly as his smile and demeanor and smile express. After he graduated from Oxford with a Rhodes scholarship the Sanders admirer, spend three years working for the controversial consulting firm of McKinsey & Company that helped the brutal Saudi Arabia regime and pharmaceutical companies like horrible Purdue Pharma push pain killers like OxyContin. His views on higher education are very different from someone like Sanders. His views on Israel and Palestine further separate him from the progressive wing of the party and his anti-Iranian comments are not what the Dems need–at least not what the Dems this side of Obama would desire. Buttigieg, like everyone else who is polling well at this point (except for Sanders and Biden) has jumped on a modified Medicare for all bandwagon, liking a single payer option while Sanders is still for the most ambitious version and Biden sticking with the ACA (at least for now). Buttigieg is not that great in my humble option, but the Democrats could do a lot worse. (Biden and all the candidates in the lower half of this post, for instance.)
Mayor Pete received a lowly C from Greenpeace on plans to address climate change.
Julian Castro Obama’s former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Castro’s says the three main planks to his platform are establishing a humane immigration policy that also entails revamping immigration enforcement by breaking up Immigration and Customs Enforcement, adopting universal health care, and aggressively addressing climate change.
Greenpeace gave Castro a lowly D+ score. Shame!
Bill de Blasio * (?) I was proofreading this post when I heard of Mayor de Blasio’s entry into the 2020 Presidential race. Prepping this post for publishing and de Blasio still doesn’t have his platform out for America to see, just this self-serving, but accurate (to the best of my knowledge) campaign ad. The ad says more about what de Blasio has done as a mayor than what he would do as a president. I have followed NYC’s mayors from Rudy Giuliani’s response to 9/11 (and downhill from there), through the Stop & Frisk years of Michael Bloomberg, and what I interpreted has far superior leadership of the current mayor. The only reason why I place the question mark after the * is because while I’m impressive with de Blasio the Mayor de Blasio the Presidential Candidate hasn’t provided the voters with a campaign platform.
The Mayor announced after Greenpeace submitted their questionnaire to candidates on plans to address climate change.
Tulsi Gabbard (nearly a *) It took me a while to find a website where Tulsi has laid out an aggressive platform, but her campaign wants you to check out a new website which doesn’t have her platform unless I’m blind. (Is she backing out of some of her campaign promises already?) While I can understand that Tulsi is behind Harris and Buttigieg in the polls–they have a certain star quality even if they have serious flaws—it is depressing to see that the promising Congresswoman from Hawaii is not keeping up with the likes of O’Rourke, Booker, Klobuchar, Castro, and Hickenlooper. This is a bad sign for the much better candidate. She has more political courage than nearly all of the candidates polling better than she does. For instance, she has said that Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange’s charges should be dropped, and Edward Snowden should be pardoned. She explained, “There is not an actual channel for whistleblowers like them to bring forward information that exposes egregious abuses of our constitutional rights and liberties, period.” Regardless of what you think of these actors, it takes guts to make these statements ahead of virtually everyone else.
I would love to give her a *, but I have concerns about Gabbard. Her views are, at times, anti-Arabic and often pro-strongman. Though her comments on Syria’s Bashar al-Assad are well known, thought out, and refreshing, as is her stand against regime-change wars, her admiration for brutes like Abdel Fattah el-Cisi of Egypt and Narendra Modi of India should give the voter pause. What’s worse, her perceived anti-Islamic stance have garnished her the unwanted support of the KKK and some other hate and fringe groups. There is also the issue of her views on LGBTQ rights. Gabbard opposed civil unions and same-sex marriage until the early 2000s. This was due to her Christian upbringing. She has been for same-sex marriage and LGBTQ rights since the mid-2000s. Finally, while most of her money comes from individual contributions, she has taken Big Pharma contributions. This may be why her Medicare-for-all stance is not as progressive as other candidates are.
In 2016, Gabbard, who was a co-chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), criticized Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz decision to hold only six debates during the 2016 Democratic Party primary season rather than the usual 12-16. Many progressives, Bernie supporters, and politicos saw this as more of a coronation of Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) by the DNC instead of a fair primary season. Gabbard resigned her post at the DNC in protest of the committee’s perceived unfair support of HRC and openly endorsed Sanders. She also was on the right side of Standing Rock—taking her place with the Native Americans and other protesters facing off against the militarized police and their water cannons. Elizabeth Warren only came out with objections to these injustices long after the dust had settled and it was politically safe to do so.
Sadly, she only received a B from Greenpeace on plans to address climate change.
Mike Gravel * Mike Gravel has been in the fight against war and supports social justice longer than Bernie has! Gravel isn’t putting a lot of effort into this campaign. I think he’s only in the race to mix things up—to keep candidates honest by offering the best policies and then to compare them to others. He also didn’t make it to the first Democratic Debates on June 26 and 27, which is a shame. He would have challenged a lot of the biggest bullshitters like Biden, Booker, and Harris.
I would suggest we all follow Mike on Twitter @MikeGravel. His critiques of the other candidates, especially centrists, are spot on and, at times, quite funny. Here’s one from early June, “In a time when the global fight is between progressivism and fascism, history will not look kindly on those who declared themselves ‘moderates.'”
Greenpeace didn’t give Gravel a grade.
Kamala Harris Despite her desperate attempts to let us all know she is Black (playing Tupac at book signings, dancing to Cardi B, using Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday the day to announce her run for the presidency.), Harris’ record with black Californians when she was Attorney General (AG) isn’t something very soulful. Harris is one of the better bets for the Democratic nominations. She may sound kinder, gentler now, but she wasn’t a progressive when she was California’s AG. Check her record. Besides her lock ‘em up approach in California, she’s a run of the mill centrist Democrat cut from HRC cloth. Her idea of giving a tax refund of $6000 to families making less than $100k a year and a refund of $3000 to individuals making less than $50k a year is a backward approach to solving poverty. Also, this plan doesn’t address folks who are unemployed or retired.
Tut-tut, Harris only received a C- from Greenpeace on plans to address climate change.
Jay Inslee Inslee seems like a one-plank candidate, but it’s the right one: climate change. His campaign website doesn’t betray that rather myopic approach to running a presidential bid. As he told Dave Roberts of Vox, “I believe there is one central, defining, existential-with-a-capital-E threat to the future of the nation: climate change. It is clear that it will only be defeated if the United States shows leadership. And that will only happen if the US President makes it a clear priority — the number one, foremost, paramount goal of the next administration.”
Jay gets the highest grade out of all the presidential hopefuls from Greenpeace on plans to address climate change: an A-.
Bernie Sanders* Bernie announced on February 19 and in 24 hours raised $6 million blowing the rest of the pack away. He also led the pack in the polls until Biden announced. He’s popular enough to get targeted for being too old (remember the press going after both Bernie and HRC last time?), a socialist (Yawn), and his base (they were too young to know better or the “Bernie Bros” were a bunch of misogynists). These days the press is going after his wealth (I guess being a rich Democratic Socialist is hypocrisy) sometimes throwing in some All-American antisemitism too! (He’s rich and stingy, folks and we all know what that means, wink, wink.)
Bernie has a comprehensive and detailed platform. As we have heard many times on TV and on YouTube, if you are paying attention, Bernie is for higher taxes on the 1% including raising the Estate Tax for multi-millionaires. He has a robust foreign policy platform—something he was criticized for lacking during his last presidential bid, Sanders hired Matt Duss, a foreign policy wonk who has filled in any gaps his previous presidential bid had.
Sanders is not perfect; he voted for Bill Clinton’s devastating Crime Bill though, is on record as being very critical of it up until he voted for the thing. Some of his floor votes having to do with our endless wars in the Middle East were dubious. For instance, he has criticized drone attacks on their ineffectiveness rather than their use. There’s plenty of other stuff to criticize him on, but he still is the best bet here unless you want to vote for Gravel or wait for an excellent third party candidate to throw away your vote on while feeling good about yourself.
In his latest book Where We Go From Here, Sanders correctly explains that while the U.S. has two major political parties when it comes to domestic issues it really only has one party when it comes to foreign policy. I’ve been studying this for years and it was vindicating to read it in an American politician’s letters. It’s interesting to note that part of Sanders’ success is that he has evolved from a time when he referred to both the Democrats and Republicans as “the ruling party.” When he first elected it to Congress in 1991, he was known as a political outsider and renegade. Consequently, he couldn’t get on a committee seat. I read somewhere (not in any of the Sanders books I have read) that Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank told him to “stop pissing in the punch bowl” (or something to that affect). Sanders mellowed out and finally struck a balance. He was then able to quorum with the Democrats and has grown in popularity ever since.
Much to my surprise, Bernie received only a B+ from Greenpeace on plans to address climate change.
Elizabeth Warren * Warren isn’t a progressive, as she and most Democrats call themselves these days. (I believe the only Democrats running for president that are progressive are Gabbard, Gravel, Sanders, Williamson, and maybe de Blasio.) I still like her. She is probably the least favorite/most practical vote of the candidates I have given the treasured *. If it boiled down to Biden, Warren, and anybody else except for Bernie, I would betray my progressive allegiance and cast my vote for Liz.
In fact, Warren is far from a progressive. In Jacobin, writer Shawn Gude once compared Warren with Sanders: “Warren is a regulator at heart who believes that capitalism works well as long as fair competition exists; Sanders is a class-conscious tribune who sees capitalism as fundamentally unjust.” This is why I would always choose Sanders over Warren, but the senior Senator from Massachusetts is a decent person, a good lawmaker, and if Bernie doesn’t make it I think she is my candidate. Her campaign website is thorough though her views on war, intel, and security make me think she’s been hanging out with Diane Feinstein too much!
Warren received a B from Greenpeace on plans to address climate change.
Marianne Williamson * Williamson is a terrific spiritual counselor, author, and activist who has helped and mentored countless people, including celebrities like Oprah Winfrey. I have listened to her speak many times dealing with matters of the heart, spirit, and love. Since she began her campaign, I have heard her talk politics, and I am impressed, but not entirely surprised. She has been an activist most of her life–working with the HIV/AIDS community, women’s advocacy, as well as fighting poverty and hunger. Check out where she stands on the issues. In my view, she would be better than almost all of the candidates listed here and she holds her own in tough TV interviews. Of course, she doesn’t stand a chance, though don’t tell that to my yoga teacher! She thinks she’s the answer to Trump. She deserves a place at the debates, but she might not meet the DNC’s new criteria for either of the upcoming debates. We will see.
I was surprised to see that Greenpeace gave Williamson only a C on plans to address climate change.
Andrew Yang* I firmly believe Andrew Yang is a candidate that needs to be heard by more people. He is by far the most thought-provoking candidate on the 2020 campaign trail. (Noticed I didn’t say the best.) The Democratic Leadership in Iowa said he has the “most detailed and comprehensive set of policy proposals we’ve ever seen at this stage in the campaign” and it even dwarfs Sanders and Warren’s policy page in depth and breath.
If nothing else, Yang has provided us with the best quote
from any candidate in this election cycle:
“The opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math.”
Too, he has the best anti-Trump campaign merch: A black baseball cap with the word “MATH” on it standing for “Make America THink” but I think it also implies “look at the data—don’t listen to the rhetoric.” While I like to think that most candidates are trying to reach Trump’s base, if at least to try to appeal to their rational side, Yang’s cap comes off as a “fuck you” to them. If I’m right, he will not reach the ex-Obama supporters who voted for Trump in 2016.
Yang calls himself the first nerd to run for president, and he just might be, but don’t be taken in by his charm. Looking at his proposed polices means some severe sacrifices to be made and chances to be taken. Adopting Yang’s ideas is in some ways abandoning Sanders’—many of them have become hard-won DNC policy objectives. Where Sanders says, “we have to fight for the little guy,” Yang almost suggests throwing in the towel. It’s what he wants to do with this growing amount of displaced workers that I find so fascinating. Where Sanders believes we can bring jobs back in one form or another via something like national works programs as in FDR’s New Deal or Rep. AOC/Sen. Ed Markey’s Green New Deal, Yang believes the jobs are going and will not return—at least in their original form. He refers to this as “The Great Displacement” in his book The War on Normal People.
Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are destined to replace truck drivers, assembly line workers, distribution line workers, fast food workers; as well as many educated, white collar workers like call center workers, radiologists and other medical staff, even investment advisers and no political movement will be able to stop this product of The Fourth Industrial Revolution which we are on the cusp of right now. Re-educating workers—something Sanders and others believe in–has a horrible success record, Yang claims. In his book, he treats automation and AI as our destiny, and that is where Universal Basic Income (UBI) comes in, what he calls the “Freedom Dividend,” giving it a political spin. If you don’t have the time or inclination to read Yang’s data-heavy book, check him out on YouTube.com. Many countries in European and around the world have implemented UBI with success, and Alaska has had a form of UBI in place since 1982.
Yang’s Freedom Dividend would place $1000 in the pockets of all adult Americans every month. It doesn’t matter if you have not participating in the workforce for years or you are David Koch–everyone gets the Freedom Dividend each month. Yang isn’t the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. While he says he’ll fight for your Freedom Dividend, he won’t “Fight for $15.” In fact, Yang doesn’t believe in a minimum wage—your Freedom Dividend will pick up the slack while freeing up business owners to determine how much you are worth an hour. Hmm. His ideas have garnered him a patchwork of followers comprised of progressives, libertarians, socially-conscience Republicans, and yes, math nerds.
Another main plank to Yang’s comprehensive platform is Value-Added Tax (or VAT). VAT is what would finance for UBI. Also, if VAT is implemented it would be an unavoidable tax, everyone pays; from the manufacturer to the distributor, to the seller, and ultimately the buyer and that includes many corporations that currently dodge taxes like Amazon. View the short video above to see how VAT generates revenue. Many countries around the world successfully employ VAT.
Yang is for a conservative variation of a single payer health system. He has had an up-close experience with our byzantine health care system working as a VP of the software startup, MMF Systems, Inc. So, his experience with health care in America is unique on why we need to change our health care system especially because he sees so many jobs disappearing and with those jobs, many will lose their health benefits.
Before my oldest son got me to check out Andrew Yang and his Freedom Dividend idea, I read Rutger Bregman’s brilliant Utopia for Realists. The Dutch historian’s little masterpiece covers the history and benefits of UBI (as well as ideas on reduced work hours and open borders). I have attempted to reach Bregman for his thoughts on the only U.S. presidential candidate who is pushing for UBI, I haven’t heard word back, but I am sure the Dutchman and the candidate disagree on far more things than they agree on. As I recall Bregman stresses how UBI can fight poverty as well as the depression that often comes with long-term joblessness. I believe in $15 an hour minimum wage, labor working with businesses when integrating automation and AI, and instituting UBI (having VAT pay for it). Let’s be honest, $1000 a month to someone who is gainfully employed would be great–it would allow for more recreation time and the spending would stimulate the economy. To the unemployed, $1000 would be a helping hand. Also, to a homemaker or a single mom (Yang often references his wife who works at home and doesn’t get a dime for it) $1000 would give the homemaker more free time. Though I know Bernie Sanders is not a fan of UBI, I think UBI would benefit Sanders’ and other candidates’ platforms.
Here’s a Marxist reply to UBI as a replacement for lost jobs due to automation and AI. Note: If you don’t want to watch the whole program skip to the 19:25 mark where Professor Richard Wolff gets to the solution.
Despite Yang’s impressive proposed policies, Greenpeace only gave him a lowly D+.
Finally, there are these boring candidates:
Michael Bennet Bennet’s campaign page reads like a middle school civics text book–something your parents would approve of, but with a conservative approach to our health care problem and our climate change challenge. We could do better.
Cory Booker The once heroic mayor of Newark, NJ, is now someone I wish would just go away. He–like everyone in this sad grouping has been bought by corporate America.
John Delaney Delaney is a boring centrist who sounds similar to Biden: uninspiring, suggesting half-measures, and seems to be focus solely on beating Trump. He deserved being booed for a solid minute at the California Democratic Convention after telling the crowd that Medicare for All is neither good policy nor politics. He’s another multi-millionaire politician protecting his Big Pharma backers. Next.
Kirsten Gillibrand Senator Gillibrand fancies herself a progressive. Oy! She used to be a Blue Dog Democrat when she was in the House, which is to say she sucked. If she really is a progressive, she’s a shitty one–taking all that money from Wall Street and big law firms. Pass.
John Hickenlooper The guy with the last name you just can’t imagine the word “President” in front of without laughing is another boring centrist that that once compared Sanders to Stalin. He deserved the boos he received at the California Democratic Convention like Delaney. The only thing interesting about him is his surname.
Amy Klobuchar She’s famous enough for Grammarly to correct my failed attempt at spelling her name and there are some other interesting things about the U.S. Senator from Minnesota, but it is quite a tell when Republicans like this Democrat. She’s known to be a pragmatist—having a good relationship with Republicans as well as neoliberal Democrats (not including some staffers, I understand). This reminds me of Obama, and we all know how that turned out.
Wayne Messam His “Change Can’t Wait” commercial is stylistic and the tagline sound familiar. There’s not much more I can say about him other than he didn’t make the debate cut.
Seth Moulton This guy didn’t make it on to the debate stage either. I sure sign he won’t be a round very long. The only thing good I can say about Moulton was something he said to a reporter from Intelligencer when the reporter commented that Joe Biden is the “most foreign-policy forward person in the race” and “the one with the most legislative and executive experience” Moulton shot back, “I think it’s time for the generation that went to Iraq and Afghanistan to replace the generation that sent us there.” Aside from that, he mainly spouts more uninspiring centrist tripe. Next.
Beto O’Rourke Barack Obama told David Axelrod on the podcast “The Axel Files” about his one-on-one meeting with O’Rourke, “He’s Barack Obama, but white.” Not the ringing endorsement you might want, especially when O’Rourke came into the race with no platform, telling his audiences he was looking for ideas. Beto doesn’t fill me with much–if any–confidence. I liked him better when he was trying to take Ted Cruz’s seat because anybody would be better than Ted Cruz would. Just like when he was in the House of Representatives, he is still taking corporate money, so it is no surprise that O’Rourke is backing Medicare for America.–the medical industrial complex’s answer to the rising popularity of Medicare for All. I’m sticking with Bernie’s plan. Hey Beto, if you run against Ted in 2024 I’ll throw more money your way.
Tim Ryan There’s not much to say about Congressman Ryan representing Ohio other than he makes me sleepy just listening to him. He appears to have no fresh ideas. I was surprised he is in the first round of debates.
Eric Swalwell Swalwell is the guy who has promised he would choose a female as a running mate if he were nominated. Good for you, Eric!
Then there are the Third Parties and Independents In 2000 I was one of the spoilers that helped George W. Bush win the presidency by voting for Ralph Nader. Well, not really, but I pissed some people off when, after the election, I told them I voted for the Green Party Candidate. In 2012, I cast a “protest” vote for Jill Stein. In both cases, my votes had no affect except to make me feel good.
It’s too early (for me at least) to pick any obvious candidates from a third party that I would want to win, and I get to vote for someone that makes me feel good–like Ralph Nader. Instead, I get the feeling that, like in 2016, I’m going to be holding my nose and voting for an unpopular Democrat in 2020. Looking at the long list on the Ballotpedia site I found such Independent and Nonpartisan presidential hopefuls as “Sexy Vegan,” “Seven the Dog,” “Internet Beef,” and representing the “Ace Party,” “Voice Over Pete.”
One thing is for sure, there’s one person (besides Trump, of course) who I definitely won’t be voting for…
Howard Schultz (What is the antithesis of an *?) With candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the field, there is a chance we can have a candidate with a progressive tax system. Enter Howard Schultz, the billionaire coffee magnate and ex-NBA team spoiled-sport owner that promises to protect our limousine tax code, not improve our horrible health care system, just make things better than they are with Trump. His campaign should be called “Let them drink lattes!” So far, the only “campaign” promise he has made is to ensure that the tax dreams of lawmakers like AOC, Warren, and Sanders are nothing more than that. His stalled campaign only harps on how horrible Trump is and that the two-party system is broke. Stop the presses, boys, Howie has a revelation! Recently, people close to him have explained his silence: business-friendly Biden is now in the race. If Biden is not nominated, Schultz may run as an Independent, possibly siphoning off some votes that might go to a Sanders or a Warren. That is making some progressive politicos like Mike Figueredo (below) very angry.
So there you have the candidates–well, at least the ones with name recognition. Of course, some of these may drop out before the debates start, and even more before the convention. But would if it comes down to Biden? I mean, look at the field? The majority of the candidates would throw their support to Biden over Sanders. Maybe this is why I can see most Democrats holding their collective nose and “voting sensible.” I guess my Yeats pun would “fall apart.” (Okay, I’ll stop.)
While the Democratic Party seems to be moving to the left, the specter of four more years of Trump governs that forward motion. And that is truly depressing. It’s too early to tell at this point, but the prospect of a truly liberal and anti-neoliberal party is almost enough to make jump for joy, but it’s too early for the streamers, balloons, party hats, and horns.
I’ll leave the last word about moving forward in American politics to a Dutchman.