19 votes

Stop trying to shame socialists into voting for Joe Biden: It’s really about performatively denouncing leftists as irresponsible, for the edification of the liberals who are watching

49 comments

  1. [34]
    goodbetterbestbested
    Link
    Paraphrasing from something I saw on Twitter yesterday: it's pretty weird how the approach to moderates and independents in this election is to soothe their concerns, yet the approach to...

    Paraphrasing from something I saw on Twitter yesterday: it's pretty weird how the approach to moderates and independents in this election is to soothe their concerns, yet the approach to progressives is predominantly shaming and cajoling. Perhaps those who wish to see the Democratic Party win in November, like myself, should think about that old saw regarding honey and vinegar. I've been guilty of shaming and cajoling myself these past few weeks and I will change my approach.

    12 votes
    1. [28]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [20]
        goodbetterbestbested
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        It's because the progressive wing of the party has been burned and burned again for almost 30 years by the "moderate" (in a global context, right-wing) faction of the party. There is a history...

        It's because the progressive wing of the party has been burned and burned again for almost 30 years by the "moderate" (in a global context, right-wing) faction of the party. There is a history here, it's not just something that sprang fully formed this year, with leftists suddenly and irrationally and without provocation attacking the innocent moderates who were just trying to bring the party together.

        In that time, the progressives have become stronger and stronger as a faction, but their concerns have not been proportionally allayed by the moderate wing which has maintained control over the party as a whole. The predominant strategy of the Democratic Party since Clinton has been basically to presume progressives will show up anyway, so few concessions need to be made to progressives, but independent/Republican "swing voters" need a lot of convincing to show up, so many concessions are made to that group. Today, the progressive wing is more powerful than ever, and the political landscape has entirely changed, but the Democratic Party still seems to be operating on a Clintonian triangulation handbook from the 90s, undercutting its core values in an attempt to appeal to these nigh-mythical swing voters, which leads to a decrease in turn-out among the base--and, consequently, lost elections.

        Biden has made overtures but notably has not made any concrete commitments to policy from these "working groups" yet. It's a valid question from the progressive wing: why not just make appeals to progressives by the normal method of endorsing some of the positions of the group you want to attract, instead of this wishy-washy working group stuff? (edit: On further reflection, I do not believe the working groups are necessarily wishy-washy, and I am optimistic about them. Biden needed to show alliance with progressive figures like AOC and this is one way of doing so.) Like, for example, vowing not to veto Medicare-For-All legislation if it came to his desk?

        If Biden wants to appeal to progressives he should backtrack on statements like that one...you know, not saying he'll veto probably the #1 policy goal of progressives if it even makes it before him...But of course, since he has already said he would veto the #1 policy goal of progressives if it made it to his desk as president, it's understandably going to be tough-going for progressives to trust him.

        16 votes
        1. [6]
          gpl
          Link Parent
          He has adopted some progressive policies wholesale from Warren, notably her bankruptcy plan. And the working group strategy stands to give Sanders and the progressive wing more leverage in that...

          Biden has made overtures but notably has not made any concrete commitments to policy from these "working groups" yet. It's a valid question from the progressive wing: why not just make appeals to progressives by the normal method of endorsing some of the positions of the group you want to attract, instead of this wishy-washy working group stuff? Like, for example, vowing not to veto Medicare-For-All legislation if it came to his desk?

          He has adopted some progressive policies wholesale from Warren, notably her bankruptcy plan. And the working group strategy stands to give Sanders and the progressive wing more leverage in that they're helping write the party platform, which has yet to be finalized and won't be until the summer. As has been said, unity is a process, and we probably won't see that process fully play out until the convention sometime later this year.

          If Biden wants to appeal to progressives he should backtrack on statements like that one...you know, not saying he'll veto probably the #1 policy goal of progressives if it even makes it before him...But of course, since he has already said he would veto the #1 policy goal of progressives if it made it to his desk as president, it's understandably going to be tough-going for progressives to trust him.

          He's not backtracking for precisely this reason. His calculus was that Medicare-for-all, especially not the Sanders style version that raise taxes and phases out private insurance, was a winning issue in the general election. People by and large feel the need for healthcare reform, and Medicare-for-all has support in the abstract. But polls show that support dropping, even among Democrats, as voters learn more about it. Obviously this isn't hard and fast evidence that the political support isn't there, but the Biden campaign made the decision that they would be in a better position in the general election by opposing such a policy. Going back on it now would 1) hurt them later on, and 2) only produce marginal goodwill with progressives because most will question how they can trust Biden when he said he'd veto it.

          These unity negotiations are precisely that - negotiations. The progressive wing of the party is in a strong position than it has been in the past to effect real change in the party platform, and Biden is most likely going to be campaigning on the most progressive party platform in decades. But that wing also has to realize they are not negotiating from a position of great power because they did not turn out as needed in the primaries, and they will likely not get concession on their #1 policy goal, as you note. The sad political reality is that you don't get to lose elections and still implement your policies.

          10 votes
          1. [5]
            goodbetterbestbested
            Link Parent
            The Biden campaign has made an error because he does not need to outright oppose Medicare-For-All in all circumstances in order to distinguish his plan from it. He did not need to say he would...

            the Biden campaign made the decision that they would be in a better position in the general election by opposing such a policy

            The Biden campaign has made an error because he does not need to outright oppose Medicare-For-All in all circumstances in order to distinguish his plan from it. He did not need to say he would veto a Medicare-For-All plan if it had already passed Congress in order to distinguish his plan. It is doubly insulting to progressives that he did so weeks before a pandemic demonstrated the need for national health care, and that during this period, Biden disappeared for a few weeks.

            The sad political reality is that you don't get to lose elections and still implement your policies.

            Which is why I still think socialists and progressives should hope that Biden wins in November: at least they have a seat at the table, then.

            But progressives need to be reassured if they are going to turn out. No amount of rational lesser-evil argumentation will win them over without first reassuring them. I find lesser-evil reasoning compelling, but it can't be the main basis on which a candidate stakes their candidacy.

            My prediction? Biden will lose in November because Democratic women, a core constituency of Democrats, will not turn out as they previously have, because many don't want to "be the type of person" who votes for an accused sexual assaulter. Even when he's up against someone who has been accused of rape multiple times, because Democrats care about rape, while Republicans don't unless it helps them attack a Democrat. It will only be a secondary drop in progressive turn-out that seals his fate.

            4 votes
            1. [4]
              gpl
              Link Parent
              I certainly agree here, which is why I am hopeful about these working groups between the Sanders and Biden campaigns. I think it's important to keep in mind we are early in the cycle still, and...

              But progressives need to be reassured if they are going to turn out. No amount of rational lesser-evil argumentation will win them over without first reassuring them. I find lesser-evil reasoning compelling, but it can't be the main basis on which a candidate stakes their candidacy.

              I certainly agree here, which is why I am hopeful about these working groups between the Sanders and Biden campaigns. I think it's important to keep in mind we are early in the cycle still, and there is plenty of time for Biden's and the party's platform to develop.

              My prediction? Biden will lose in November because Democratic women, a core constituency of Democrats, will not turn out as they previously have, because many don't want to "be the type of person" who votes for an accused sexual assaulter. Even when he's up against someone who has been accused of rape multiple times, because Democrats care about rape, while Republicans don't unless it helps them attack a Democrat. It will only be a secondary drop in progressive turn-out that seals his fate.

              My somewhat cynical take is that the majority of Democratic women won't care that much - assuming the accusation and evidence doesn't develop more than what we know now. Obviously if there is hard evidence - the complaint she says she filed, e.g. - that could quickly change. But as of right now I personally don't think it will greatly effect turnout. I think many Democratic women find Trump so much more repugnant than Biden that they would be willing to vote for Biden anyway. But at this point I'm just spitballing, so I'll leave it to Democratic women to voice how they feel by and large.

              At the end of the day, I think there are obviously legitimate reasons for progressives not to be satisfied with Biden. I also think everyone should be trying to get him elected regardless.

              6 votes
              1. [3]
                goodbetterbestbested
                Link Parent
                I agree that the majority won't care that much. I agree most will correctly see that Biden is strictly preferable to Trump, who has been accused of rape many times over. My concern is that enough...

                My somewhat cynical take is that the majority of Democratic women won't care that much

                I agree that the majority won't care that much. I agree most will correctly see that Biden is strictly preferable to Trump, who has been accused of rape many times over.

                My concern is that enough will care and will stay home that it will cause Biden to lose the election, since Democrats rely heavily on women voters. 21% of Democratic women voters didn't believe Biden's denial. If even half that number sit out the election, Biden will likely lose.

                3 votes
                1. [2]
                  SantalBlush
                  Link Parent
                  They won't stay home. It was women who voted for Biden in the first place. They are aware of the accusation, and they've seen the videos. It's just not a priority for many of them, especially...

                  They won't stay home. It was women who voted for Biden in the first place. They are aware of the accusation, and they've seen the videos. It's just not a priority for many of them, especially given the threats to Roe v. Wade and our current president.

                  1 vote
                  1. goodbetterbestbested
                    Link Parent
                    A majority, perhaps even a vast majority, will vote for him in the end. That I do not deny. What I am concerned about is that if even ~10% of Democratic women stay home due to the allegation and...

                    A majority, perhaps even a vast majority, will vote for him in the end. That I do not deny.

                    What I am concerned about is that if even ~10% of Democratic women stay home due to the allegation and not wanting to vote for a rapist, who would have otherwise voted, Biden will likely lose the entire election. Many people view their political identity as something central to their persona. In "trolley problem" terms, these people would not pull the lever to kill 10 people to avoid the deaths of 100. Deontological reasoning like this may seem irrational to many people but it is extremely commonplace.

                    1 vote
        2. [13]
          NaraVara
          Link Parent
          This is nonsense. Joe Biden was the second-to-last choice among a giant swathe of the Democratic primary electorate and he only won because, for many, the conduct of Bernie Sanders' campaign made...

          There is a history here, it's not just something that sprang fully formed this year, with leftists suddenly and irrationally and without provocation attacking the innocent moderates who were just trying to bring the party together.

          This is nonsense. Joe Biden was the second-to-last choice among a giant swathe of the Democratic primary electorate and he only won because, for many, the conduct of Bernie Sanders' campaign made him their last choice. It's not like supporters of everyone from Cory Booker to Pete Buttigieg to Elizabeth Warren were all excited to get on the Biden train. The idea that the Jacobin brigade are the only ones who are being asked to hold their noses to do the right thing here is ridiculous. The reason there is derision is because almost all of them don't like the options, but they're willing to be adults about it in ways that performative social media "leftists" are not.

          but the Democratic Party still seems to be operating on a Clintonian triangulation handbook from the 90s, undercutting its core values in an attempt to appeal to these nigh-mythical swing voters

          The only reason people keep saying this is because they have a set of camo-painted goal posts that they move every time the center of the party tacks Left. Biden is running to the left of 2008 Obama and 2004 Dean. The "center" of the party today is well to the left of where it was in the 1990s. It's some sort of no-true scotsman fallacy that gets applied any time a centrist steals a good idea. Warren proposed a 5 year phase-in period for M4A and suddenly this was her "walking back her commitment." Sanders proposes the same period of time and it's crickets. It's very hard for this sort of person demand concessions when it's pretty clear to anyone watching that their political identity is motivated more by hatred of the institutional Democratic Party than it is by any actual programmatic policy goals.

          instead of this wishy-washy working group stuff

          This here is the main problem. You're talking about sloganeering as a "concrete commitment," but hiring actual personnel to have a hand in drafting your platform and crafting your policy as "wishy-washy." This is the opposite of how things actually work. Personnel is policy. Working groups are the ones that actually do the work. Sloganeering is pure theatrical performance. The only way you could dismiss personnel decisions as not signifying a real commitment is if you're hunting for post hoc rationalizations for casting doubt on the guy.

          8 votes
          1. [12]
            goodbetterbestbested
            Link Parent
            You think that Clinton's third way politics that has dominated the party since the early 90s is "nonsense"? Okay. It's a part of the historical record but you're free to ignore that if you wish....

            This is nonsense

            You think that Clinton's third way politics that has dominated the party since the early 90s is "nonsense"? Okay. It's a part of the historical record but you're free to ignore that if you wish.

            It's not like supporters of everyone from Cory Booker to Pete Buttigieg to Elizabeth Warren were all excited to get on the Biden train.

            Right. Which is why I'm concerned about Biden's electoral chances. Former Pres. Obama made phone calls in order for the moderate wing of the party's candidates to coalesce around Biden before Super Tuesday. I'm concerned that their supporters will not follow suit in November.

            they're willing to be adults about it in ways that performative social media "leftists" are not.

            From the article:

            We believe swing state leftists should vote Biden, not because he deserves it but because a Democratic administration offers more fertile ground for the left than a Republican one, where we desperately scramble to fight for basic union, reproductive, immigrant, and queer/trans rights. For those seeking to build third-party power, we’ll do better under a Democrat as well, since Trump generates a false sense of “resistance” unity that obscures the deep divisions within the Dems.

            This represents the main current that I have seen from the left, not the childishness that you and the New York Times would like to smear the left with. The fact of the matter is that Biden's enthusiasm gap is a problem, and it doesn't go away just because you call people who are not enthused about Biden and have the gall to say so publicly children.

            Warren proposed a 5 year phase-in period for M4A and suddenly this was her "walking back her commitment." Sanders proposes the same period of time and it's crickets.

            Interesting that you would choose this example, because you got the time order reversed. Sanders' plan always included a phase-in period, it just got ignored every time he was asked questions about it.

            Working groups are the ones that actually do the work. Sloganeering is pure theatrical performance. The only way you could dismiss personnel decisions as not signifying a real commitment is if you're hunting for post hoc rationalizations for casting doubt on the guy.

            This is an interesting line of argument given that this "working groups" arrangement is highly unusual and unprecedented. I'm glad Biden formed them, don't get me wrong, and I hope they are fruitful. But it's not a dumb question to ask, "Why are we doing it this way rather than how it has been done in the past? Why not just make the commitments as prior candidates have done?"

            9 votes
            1. [5]
              dubteedub
              Link Parent
              Do you have a source on that? I think the biggest difference is the timing that Bernie dropped out and endorsed Biden. There actually is time for them to sit down and develop a policy platform...

              Obama made phone calls in order for the moderate wing of the party's candidates to coalesce around Biden before Super Tuesday.

              Do you have a source on that?

              This is an interesting line of argument given that this "working groups" arrangement is highly unusual and unprecedented. I'm glad Biden formed them, don't get me wrong, and I hope they are fruitful. But it's not a dumb question to ask, "Why are we doing it this way rather than how it has been done in the past? Why not just make the commitments as prior candidates have done?"

              I think the biggest difference is the timing that Bernie dropped out and endorsed Biden. There actually is time for them to sit down and develop a policy platform since they are no longer competing with each other until just before the convention.

              4 votes
              1. [3]
                goodbetterbestbested
                Link Parent
                Here's a source on the phone calls Obama made to encourage the other centrist candidates to drop out. Apparently Klobuchar denies she spoke to Obama prior to Super Tuesday, even though she dropped...

                Do you have a source on that?

                Here's a source on the phone calls Obama made to encourage the other centrist candidates to drop out. Apparently Klobuchar denies she spoke to Obama prior to Super Tuesday, even though she dropped out at the same time as Buttigieg.

                I don't even think that's underhanded, in contrast to some of my comrades. If Warren had dropped out immediately before Super Tuesday and endorsed Sanders, no one on our side would be calling that a sneaky move--it's just normal politics.

                There actually is time for them to sit down and develop a policy platform

                I honestly hope it's fruitful and doesn't end at the same place it started, re-affirming Biden's platform all along, while giving it a patina of progressive approval. I'm open-minded about it, as I support Biden for the party behind him, not for the man himself. But I understand why others might not be ready to believe that concessions are being made yet.

                4 votes
                1. [2]
                  dubteedub
                  Link Parent
                  It looks like the NY Daily News link you shared is a third-hand source based off reporting of others. Even still, they even acknowledge that Obama did not encourage an endorsement of Biden. It...

                  It looks like the NY Daily News link you shared is a third-hand source based off reporting of others. Even still, they even acknowledge that Obama did not encourage an endorsement of Biden.

                  Obama, who holds enormous sway over Democratic voters, told Buttigieg that he should consider using his “considerable leverage” at a pivotal moment in the race. But he did not specifically encourage him to endorse Biden, according to reports.

                  It looks like the media are all using this New York Times article as the original source.

                  Mr. Buttigieg talked with Mr. Biden and former President Barack Obama on Sunday night, according to a Democratic official familiar with the conversations. Mr. Biden asked for Mr. Buttigieg’s support and the former mayor indicated he would consider the request. Mr. Buttigieg wants to sleep on the decision, he told aides, some of whom believe he should move quickly to endorse Mr. Biden.

                  Mr. Obama did not specifically encourage Mr. Buttigieg to endorse Mr. Biden, said the official, who insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations. But Mr. Obama did note that Mr. Buttigieg has considerable leverage at the moment and should think about how best to use it. Should Mr. Buttigieg endorse Mr. Biden on Monday, it could reshape the Democratic primary if many of his supporters shift to Mr. Biden, creating a more formidable centrist challenge to Mr. Sanders’s progressive movement.

                  I agree that it does not seem underhanded at all and in fact looks like Obama was trying to make a point not to tip the scales in any direction.

                  2 votes
                  1. goodbetterbestbested
                    Link Parent
                    I wanted to share the NYT link but as I've used up all my free articles, it wouldn't load to let me find that part...

                    I wanted to share the NYT link but as I've used up all my free articles, it wouldn't load to let me find that part...

              2. scissortail
                Link Parent
                NBC has Obama calling Buttigieg the day he dropped out, with a bit more hazy theorizing about Obama 'sending the signal' that Biden is the candidate to back.

                NBC has Obama calling Buttigieg the day he dropped out, with a bit more hazy theorizing about Obama 'sending the signal' that Biden is the candidate to back.

                3 votes
            2. [6]
              NaraVara
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              The issue with with the whole narrative framing. The Democratic party has been in a push and pull between many various factions for decades, so trying to pretend it's a 2 way battle between the...

              You think that Clinton's third way politics that has dominated the party since the early 90s is "nonsense"? Okay. It's a part of the historical record but you're free to ignore that if you wish.

              The issue with with the whole narrative framing. The Democratic party has been in a push and pull between many various factions for decades, so trying to pretend it's a 2 way battle between the Third Way and Progressives is just an ahistorical lost-cause narrative. Trying to pretend DLC/Third Way pols were always running a triangulation playbook is a criticism one would levy if all their perspectives on politics ossified sometime around 2006 and they haven't really made any new observations since. Any time you try to condense a large and diverse coalitional group's decision making into a reductive, monocausal explanation, it's bound to be nonsense because the real world doesn't work that way.

              Former Pres. Obama made phone calls in order for the moderate wing of the party's candidates to coalesce around Biden before Super Tuesday.

              These "fact"-patterns are things the Jacobin-adjacent media have concocted to explain away the fact that they were just bad at politics from the get-go. It's fairly standard for a people who were serious contenders for a primary to get calls from influential members of the party to talk them through what it's like, make them feel better about failing, and talk to them about what their future might hold. They all got calls from Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter too. Even Sanders got a call from Obama before dropping out (and he did in 2016 as well). Rather than doing some actual introspection about why their campaign strategy couldn't manage to get more than 30% of the Primary vote for a Senator with over 70% approval ratings, we get to blame Obama for having the field consolidate, just like the field has consolidated in every primary election before.

              It has nothing to do with Obama calling. Most people don't want to wage quixotic, doomed political campaigns. They would prefer to cut their losses at a point where they have the most leverage. For Pete and Klobuchar that was before South Carolina. Any halfway competent campaign should have foreseen this instead of believing they could win an election by appealing to only 30% of the vote and count on everyone else being hopelessly divided forever. This was a horrible own goal and they've been struggling mightily to avoid owning up to any of it.

              This is a general pattern with Jacobin-centric discourse where they're the only legitimate actors in the field, the only ones who care, the only ones with sincerely motivated beliefs. It couldn't possibly be that Mayor Pete would recognize he had no shot and would send feelers out to other campaigns to get concessions before dropping out. For them it's a story where they are the heroic protagonists and, therefore, everything that happens has to be about them.

              It's not a Bernie thing really, though. It's a fanboy thing. The same thing happened to Hillary. You could have all the actual reasons for not wanting to vote for her, but in the eyes of her most die-hard fans everything looks and sounds like sexism. Just because they admired her for being a seminal figure in feminist history, they couldn't imagine that a person could, in good faith, think other stuff she's done outweighs her merits. They can only imagine that if you're not with her, it must be because you're against the thing that drove them to her. Again, they're the heroes in the story and everyone else exists only insofar as they play into Hillary's heroic journey (and the people who vicariously live through her).

              So it is with the Sanders brigade. There are a thousand reasons why someone might have been ambivalent towards Sanders. But to his hardest core fanboys, the only reason could ever be that you're a member of the triangulating, neoliberal establishment. What makes it especially eye-roll worthy, though, is the constant posturing as being these clear-eyed political organizers, like they're the only ones who understand strategy. At least when you're dealing with some suburban wine-moms, they're willing to own their basicness, make some Harry Potter metaphors, and not try to posture as some above-it-all intellectuals whilst being just as blinkered as the rest of us.

              So much of the "New Left" media (Jacobin, The Intercept, and Current Affairs among them) torched their credibility this election cycle by turning into one-note Sanders campaign mouthpieces. The obviously motivated reasoning to valorize whatever the campaign happens to be doing at that moment, instead of actual fair-minded analysis or commentary, became difficult to tolerate. Once you see writers you admire let themselves go in for making intellectually dishonest arguments week after week it gets hard to maintain any respect for them.

              This represents the main current that I have seen from the left, not the childishness that you and the New York Times would like to smear the left with.

              Ok. But you can't deny that the undercurrent of childishness is there. So then the question becomes why get so up in arms about anyone criticizing childishness? If you don't think the behavior being criticized is emblematic of the Left, then why get defensive whenever that behavior is criticized? The original NYTimes article was pretty careful in its word choice to not use too broad of a brush, but the Jacobin response still insists on diving in front of the brush to get some of that paint on. But this doesn't help any left political prospects in any way. Why would we want to sit here and spend all our energy carrying water for stupid people who want to be stupid? All that does is attracts more performatively stupid people to our side, which isn't the kind of allyship we need.

              If you think of "Leftism," broadly, as a commitment to some kind of egalitarian and redistributionist policy agenda it shouldn't matter to you what people say about "The Left." You just work on your agenda. The fixation on defending the honor of "The Left" any time a person in that group gets criticized isn't coming from any sort of socialist impulse, it's just tribalism. These publications don't give a damn about about actually having anything cogent to say about the world, they're just click-farming by cultivating beefs. (So click-ranching I guess?)

              1 vote
              1. [5]
                goodbetterbestbested
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                I agree that there is a more complex story to be told, but equally I think that it's clear third way politics had a large influence on both Clintons and Obama, as well as Gore and Kerry. Remember...

                The Democratic party has been in a push and pull between many various factions for decades, so trying to pretend it's a 2 way battle between the Third Way and Progressives is just an ahistorical lost-cause narrative.

                I agree that there is a more complex story to be told, but equally I think that it's clear third way politics had a large influence on both Clintons and Obama, as well as Gore and Kerry. Remember when Obama was first president and there was all that talk about his mimicking a Lincolnesque "Team of Rivals"? That seems pretty naive in retrospect, doesn't it?

                They all got calls ... Most people don't want to wage quixotic, doomed political campaigns. They would prefer to cut their losses at a point where they have the most leverage.

                Is it true that in previous Democratic primaries, it's been common for several candidates to drop out the day before Super Tuesday rather than after Super Tuesday, when the vote has been taken? Because in my recollection, most of the time, candidates have waited until after Super Tuesday to drop out. It's all a moot point anyway because there's nothing underhanded about it.

                fanboy thing ... There are a thousand reasons why someone might have been ambivalent towards Sanders. But to his hardest core fanboys, the only reason could ever be that you're a member of the triangulating, neoliberal establishment. ... suburban wine-moms ... So much of the "New Left" media (Jacobin, The Intercept, and Current Affairs among them) torched their credibility this election cycle

                I really think this is an unfair characterization, and dismissing concerns about the strategy of triangulation like this is dishonest. I think you have a cast of stereotyped characters in your head that you are responding to and not as much to the underlying arguments. There is some merit to what you say regarding reporting in the sources you mentioned, though.

                why get so up in arms about anyone criticizing childishness

                Because it's extraordinarily condescending and off-putting, when the moderate camp instead needs to be reassuring the progressives, not insulting them to their faces and calling them children. Even if there is an "undercurrent" of people acting childishly, it is the job of politicians to gently prod people in their direction--calling them children is dismissive and gets you nowhere. Biden's brushes with Democrats who criticize him, telling them to vote for Trump, is exactly the wrong message to be sending to people with legitimate concerns about Biden's record.

                it shouldn't matter to you what people say about "The Left."... it's just tribalism

                No, it is the normal interaction of various political factions competing for influence in a capitalist democratic system. Don't make the mistake of smearing that as mere tribalism. If it didn't matter, why would you bother saying it? Smears of a political faction demand a response from that faction.

                These publications don't give a damn about about actually having anything cogent to say about the world

                Fair point, but a separate one regarding only the publications you listed.

                6 votes
                1. [4]
                  NaraVara
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  Not really. If you're coming at this under the assumption that everything would have been great, if only those neoliberals weren't around to screw it up maybe. But then you're not considering a...

                  Remember when Obama was first president and there was all that talk about his mimicking a Lincolnesque "Team of Rivals"? That seems pretty naive in retrospect, doesn't it?

                  Not really. If you're coming at this under the assumption that everything would have been great, if only those neoliberals weren't around to screw it up maybe. But then you're not considering a counterfactual scenario where we got a Secretary of the Treasury who didn't know where any of the bodies were buried, like Geithner did, and ends up botching the recovery big time despite having all the best intentions. Without buy-in from the banks who is going to guarantee they comply with the restrictions in the ARRA? Who makes sure you get people like Lieberman, Schumer, etc. to back you if you ever do want to play hardball? Without them backing you, nothing you try to do has any teeth. Their lobbyists can work behind your back. Very few calls in policy are good or bad, almost every decision is one where you're picking the least-worst option.

                  Is it true that in previous Democratic primaries, it's been common for several candidates to drop out the day before Super Tuesday rather than after Super Tuesday, when the vote has been taken?

                  There is no "common." Stop looking for precedent in a Democratic Primary process. Not only is it a different set of candidates with wholly unique sets of strengths and weaknesses every time, but they change the rules every damn time so the optimal strategies keep changing. That this ends up being the argument just makes it look like an exercise in finger-pointing and blame shifting.

                  I think you have a cast of stereotyped characters in your head

                  They're not stereotyped characters. They are the specific writers at the specific publications I mentioned.

                  Even if there is an "undercurrent" of people acting childishly, it is the job of politicians to gently prod people in their direction

                  So when FDR said the bankers were unanimous in their hatred of him and he welcomed their hatred was he not doing his job? When McCain checked a guy at one of his rallies who was trying to say Obama was a Muslim was he expected to stand there and mollycoddle him instead of checking him?

                  People say they want a strong hand who doesn't bullshit you. We say we want a politician who is honest and candid about how they feel. But then Biden tells off a guy he thinks is approaching him disingenuously and you want him to be. . .more fake? More polite? Less candid? This is what I mean about camo-painted and ever-shifting goalposts. You're painting the guy into a corner where he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. If he makes overtures it's insincere. If he doesn't then he needs to work harder to win support. What exactly is he supposed to do?

                  No, it is the normal interaction of various political factions competing for influence in a capitalist democratic system.

                  If you purport to be a Leftist I don't think arguing that you need to use the master's tools to dismantle the master's house is the argument you want to be making. What you've described is literally "factionalism" which is basically an other manifestation of tribalism and utterly unhelpful. Most importantly it is the opposite of solidarity, which would demand you stand with the people most vulnerable whenever they are attacked rather than prioritizing loyalty to whatever particular faction you belong to over their well being.

                  2 votes
                  1. [3]
                    goodbetterbestbested
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    That's all well and good but let's return to your original point of disagreement, which is the notion that third way politics hasn't been in the driver's seat of the Democratic Party from Clinton...

                    [discursion regarding the 2008 financial crisis and Geithner, Lieberman, Schumer]

                    That's all well and good but let's return to your original point of disagreement, which is the notion that third way politics hasn't been in the driver's seat of the Democratic Party from Clinton up through Gore, Kerry, and Obama. I thought that this was a commonly-accepted idea among people interested in U.S. politics and I didn't expect to encounter so much intransigence at its suggestion. Obama described himself a New Democrat. What is a New Democrat, according to Wikipedia?

                    New Democrats, also known as centrist Democrats, Clinton Democrats, or moderate Democrats, are a moderate ideological faction within the Democratic Party in the United States. As the Third Way faction of the party, they support cultural liberalism but take fiscally moderate or conservative stances. New Democrats dominated the party from the late-1980s through the mid-2010s.

                    So at least through the mid-2010s, which presumably must include the 2016 election since, you know, the other name for New Democrats is "Clinton Democrats," the third way faction of the party dominated the party, as I have been maintaining, while you go down historical rabbit holes about the financial crisis.

                    There is no "common." Stop looking for precedent in a Democratic Primary process.

                    Your contention was that there was nothing unusual in several presidential primary candidates dropping out the day before Super Tuesday in order to endorse an opponent. My question was whether it was true that this was not unusual, since I agree with you that there was nothing untoward about it. It's also pretty rich that you go ahead and say things like "it's fairly standard..." while I get excoriated by you by even asking a question about precedent. And I don't even think there was anything wrong with it!

                    So when FDR said the bankers were unanimous in their hatred of him and he welcomed their hatred was he not doing his job? When McCain checked a guy at one of his rallies who was trying to say Obama was a Muslim was he expected to stand there and mollycoddle him instead of checking him?

                    There is a large difference between listening to big bankers/anti-Muslim bigots and listening to an immigration activist. There is a large difference between someone criticizing a candidate based on their perceived religion and someone criticizing a candidate based on his record of deportations. Comparing an immigration activist to big bankers and anti-Muslim bigots is not a good comparison. Obviously no one needs to "mollycoddle" anti-Muslim bigots, but when someone is airing grievances about deportations, that is the time for a politician to show some restraint and empathy.

                    You're painting the guy into a corner where he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. If he makes overtures it's insincere. If he doesn't then he needs to work harder to win support.

                    No, I'm not. It is not a crazy unreasonable ask for him not to dismiss people who have legitimate questions about his immigration record by telling them to vote for Trump. It is possible for a person to distinguish between situations where the person needs to be made an example of--the anti-Muslim bigot--and situations where the person needs to be listened to and not immediately dismissed--an immigration activist.

                    I don't think all his overtures are insincere, I am optimistic about it actually, but based on his record and recent statements, people on the progressive side are understandably having a hard time believing him--even if, at the same time, it's utterly clear that he is the better option to run the country, out of the set of plausible 2021 presidents. What is he supposed to do? Not be dismissive of progressive concerns, for starters. I think the task forces he set up are a decent idea and as I've said numerous times, I hope they are fruit-bearing. I want my comrades to be convinced to vote for Biden. Time will tell.

                    If you purport to be a Leftist I don't think arguing that you need to use the master's tools to dismantle the master's house is the argument you want to be making.

                    That little phrase from Audre Lorde is a vast oversimplification of left-wing strategy, if what you're trying to say is that it's 100% pointless for the left to engage in electoralism. All it really means is that there are some injustices in society that cannot be solved electorally--not that all electoralism is doomed to failure. A strategy of engaging with electoralism to ward off the worst excesses of capitalism while exerting pressure on the system itself is the one adopted by serious left-wing activists in the U.S. today.

                    What you've described is literally "factionalism" which is basically an other manifestation of tribalism and utterly unhelpful.

                    The existence of political factions is not just "basically another manifestation of tribalism," it is concomitant with democracy and absolutely indispensable for democracy.

                    Most importantly it is the opposite of solidarity, which would demand you stand with the people most vulnerable whenever they are attacked rather than prioritizing loyalty to whatever particular faction you belong to over their well being.

                    Political factions can stand together in solidarity without absorbing one another. The progressive faction doesn't need to stop existing in order to "stop being divisive" and be absorbed by the moderates, and vice versa.

                    2 votes
                    1. [2]
                      NaraVara
                      Link Parent
                      You're the one who brought it up man. Also "dominated" just means the biggest player, not the only player. This all seems like you're trying to just shuck away from points you can't defend. Before...

                      while you go down historical rabbit holes about the financial crisis.

                      You're the one who brought it up man. Also "dominated" just means the biggest player, not the only player. This all seems like you're trying to just shuck away from points you can't defend.

                      Your contention was that there was nothing unusual in several presidential primary candidates dropping out the day before Super Tuesday in order to endorse an opponent.

                      Before Super Tuesday or after Super Tuesday is just stupid hair splitting. There is no merit to nitpicking at that level since, like I mentioned, the rules change every time. It's not even about toward or untoward. It's about Sanders running a stupid campaign by operating a strategy that expected other people to behave irrationally in order to win.

                      There is a large difference between listening to big bankers/anti-Muslim bigots and listening to an immigration activist.

                      This is just special pleading. The activist wasn't there to hear from Joe Biden, the activist was there to be the subject of a viral video clip. Biden knew that and dismissed him because his presence wasn't there in good faith and it is literally impossible to engage productively in that context. You just want him to lay down and take whatever abuse people you perceive as your allies want to throw at him, but it's not at all clear how it benefits Biden's electoral prospects to do that.

                      That little phrase from Audre Lorde is a vast oversimplification of left-wing strategy, if what you're trying to say is that it's 100% pointless for the left to engage in electoralism. All it really means is that there are some injustices in society that cannot be solved electorally--not that all electoralism is doomed to failure

                      Whoa buddy. I was talking about tribalism. If you're conflating that with how electoral democracy that doesn't suggest anything good about how you engage in the political system.

                      The existence of political factions is not just "basically another manifestation of tribalism," it is concomitant with democracy and absolutely indispensable for democracy.

                      George Washington and James Madison both disagreed very strongly with this assertion. The entire point of having a strong centralized government instead of a bunch of totally independent states was to tamp down on the excesses of factionalism. Big ponds force people to work together and compromise. Small ponds let a few cliques of big fish push everyone else around.

                      Political factions can stand together in solidarity without absorbing one another. The progressive faction doesn't need to stop existing in order to "stop being divisive" and be absorbed by the moderates, and vice versa.

                      Again, I talked about setting difference aside for the greater good and you're conflating this with ceasing to exist or "being absorbed." If you perceive compromise as a form of self-destruction it's hard to imagine any road forward where you can build workable alliances with other people.

                      1. goodbetterbestbested
                        (edited )
                        Link Parent
                        I brought up the talk about a "Team of Rivals" which was more extensive than just the people Obama hired to help with the financial crisis. No, it's a lot more like you are attributing arguments...

                        You're the one who brought it up man.

                        I brought up the talk about a "Team of Rivals" which was more extensive than just the people Obama hired to help with the financial crisis.

                        This all seems like you're trying to just shuck away from points you can't defend.

                        No, it's a lot more like you are attributing arguments to me that I did not make. I never said that the New Democrats/third way Democrats were the only player, simply that they have had a dominant influence over the Democratic Party since the early 90s. That's what "being in the driver's seat" means--there are other passengers!

                        Before Super Tuesday or after Super Tuesday is just stupid hair splitting.

                        Sure but if you are trying to make it seem like it's normal for primary candidates to drop out 1 day before the vote has been taken, it's a legitimate question whether there is historical precedent for that or not. Again, I agree with you there was nothing wrong about it; I disagree that it was par-for-the-course in Democratic primaries. Unusual, but not untoward.

                        It's about Sanders running a stupid campaign by operating a strategy that expected other people to behave irrationally in order to win.

                        I don't see how Sanders had any control whatsoever about the moderates initially splitting their votes, then managing to coalesce around a single candidate at the last moment, while at the same time the other progressive challenger (Warren) declined to drop out.

                        This is just special pleading. The activist wasn't there to hear from Joe Biden, the activist was there to be the subject of a viral video clip.

                        It's not "special pleading." I am saying that an immigration activist, even a disruptive one, should not be dismissed and told to vote for Trump by the candidate running against Trump. I am saying there is a relevant difference between an anti-Muslim bigot being disruptive and an immigration activist being disruptive, and they should be treated differently by someone nominated to run for president under the aegis of a party that is supposed to represent immigrant interests.

                        In the 1960s, if a civil rights activist interrupted a JFK rally regarding segregation, would it be "special pleading" for someone to argue that JFK should treat that person differently than a KKK member? I'm not saying that this situation is exactly equivalent, I am saying that clearly the details of why the person is being disruptive matter, and need to be considered in formulating a response.

                        You just want him to lay down and take whatever abuse people you perceive as your allies want to throw at him

                        No, I do not. I want him to do his damndest to engage constructively with progressives and I am seeing him begin to do that now. Lashing out at the people he needs to persuade in order to win is not the right strategy, even if they are acting foolishly on occasion. Obama knew how to handle situations like that, he didn't lash out, didn't tell disruptive immigration activists to vote for his opponent, he would either listen to them or crack a lame--but not as dismissive--joke.

                        I was talking about tribalism. If you're conflating that with how electoral democracy that doesn't suggest anything good about how you engage in the political system.

                        You were saying that the existence of political factions is tantamount to tribalism, and I was responding to your invocation of Audre Lorde's quote regarding the master's house and tools, since that quote is so often misused to imply that all electoral engagement by the left is pointless.

                        George Washington and James Madison both disagreed very strongly with this assertion.

                        One of the things that the Founding Fathers were most obviously mistaken about was the notion that factions were automatically harmful to democracy, and avoidable besides. Almost instantaneously after the U.S. was founded, political parties began to crop up. And all large political parties have internal factions. (The Founders used the term "faction" to refer to what we know as political parties.) Political factions are a central part of what makes democracy work--people naturally come together to represent their common interests in official organizations. The Founders were simply wrong in their opinions about political factions being necessarily harmful, and the remainder of U.S. history serves as an example. Factions can be harmful, but they are also the vessels through which democratic politics is sorted out.

                        I talked about setting difference aside for the greater good and you're conflating this with ceasing to exist or "being absorbed."

                        And you are conflating the existence of political factions with "tribalism" as though those two things are the same.

                        I do not perceive compromise as a form of self-destruction and, again, I never said anything like that. (It's very irritating when someone is clearly arguing with an amalgamated person that exists in their mind rather than the person they are actually talking to.) Factions need to compromise with each other in order to achieve power to enact their goals, but the existence of factions itself isn't a bad thing, it's a normal and unavoidable part of democracy. The progressives and the moderates need to come to a compromise, but it has to be one that recognizes the increased influence of the progressive faction of the party. I am optimistic about this!

                        1 vote
      2. [6]
        mose
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I think with respect to current Biden/DNC/etc overtures, leftists are (reasonably imo) skeptical of the sincerity and commitment a Biden administration will make to progressive priorities. They...

        I think with respect to current Biden/DNC/etc overtures, leftists are (reasonably imo) skeptical of the sincerity and commitment a Biden administration will make to progressive priorities. They may also be disappointed by some of the overtures (for instance, in https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/09/us/politics/biden-sanders-medicare-student-debt.html the proposal to lower the medicare age to 60 is pitched as a concession, but I suspect most leftists find that to be quite insufficient. In terms of concessions/overtures, I think something like medicare for all for children would go over much better). Of course, there's room enough to disagree about the sufficiency.

        In any case, I think the notion of fault and blame is central here. Biden's proposed overtures aside, I think the referenced NYT article is representative of a common tendency and attitude of moderates (who overwhelmingly maintain control of the party) towards the leftwing. Shaming/scolding some constituency for their voting behavior doesn't really make sense as a method of political persuasion (but does make sense if you think you deserve those votes a priori). Biden himself was often quick to tell various voters on the campaign trail "go vote for Trump" when he received criticism from the left (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2019/11/22/joe-biden-tells-immigration-activist-you-should-vote-trump/4273814002/). This tendency seems to be in stark contrast to the approach moderate Democrats take towards moderate independents and Republicans. Which I think makes sense, because I think they (moderate Democrats) are really trying to appeal to those voters -- shaming them into voting D certainly isn't going to work.

        It's interesting to compare the relationship both parties have to their more radical wings, as I don't see a similar dynamic between the center-right and the more radical right (though admittedly not an area I spend much time observing).

        (In the end though fwiw, my bet is whatever percentage of left wing voters usually come out and vote for the Democrat will be the percentage that comes out in November).

        4 votes
        1. [5]
          NaraVara
          Link Parent
          This argument might come through more strongly if most of the publications complaining about it weren't the very same ones scolding supporters of everyone from Buttigieg to Harris to Warren as...

          Shaming/scolding some constituency for their voting behavior doesn't really make sense as a method of political persuasion

          This argument might come through more strongly if most of the publications complaining about it weren't the very same ones scolding supporters of everyone from Buttigieg to Harris to Warren as being neoliberal shills.

          6 votes
          1. [4]
            mose
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Shaming/scolding not an effective tactic across the board in my opinion. But the neoliberal shill stuff isn't necessarily (probably depends on the article) shaming/scolding in the same sense --...

            Shaming/scolding not an effective tactic across the board in my opinion. But the neoliberal shill stuff isn't necessarily (probably depends on the article) shaming/scolding in the same sense -- that's a substantive (again depends on the article) criticism if you think Buttigieg's platform embraces neoliberal policies and you think neoliberal policies are bad. I think it would clear the air a bit if the criticisms from the center were just straight "socialist policies are bad." But doing that would recognize the left as an independent constituency that must be considered alongside independents and moderate republicans.

            Edit: just to add I think there's a performative element here too. A "this guy is a neoliberal shill" article could aim to persuade the center, but it's just as often about appealing to the base you already have or others (not necessarily moderates). And that's precisely the point made in the Jacobin piece:

            it’s about performatively denouncing leftists as irresponsible, for the edification of the liberals who are watching.

            Which is fine, I guess, it's just not persuasive.

            4 votes
            1. [3]
              NaraVara
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              I guess I just don't see how that counts as "substantive" if "Hey guys, maybe feigning indifference to the outcome of a battle between liberalism and fascism is a bad look for you" doesn't. That's...

              that's a substantive (again depends on the article) criticism if you think Buttigieg's platform embraces neoliberal policies and you think neoliberal policies are bad.

              I guess I just don't see how that counts as "substantive" if "Hey guys, maybe feigning indifference to the outcome of a battle between liberalism and fascism is a bad look for you" doesn't.

              just to add I think there's a performative element here too

              That's an understatement on par with saying there's a "performative element" to a Broadway play.

              It is worth mentioning though, that the original letter doesn't denounce "leftists." It is very precise in its targeting to denounce performatively not voting for Biden. The article's writer specifically names the DSA for making a performative non-endorsement and articles in Jacobin. It is Jacobin's interest to lean into it and claim that they're the true tribunes of Leftism and any criticism of them constitutes a criticism of the Left. But this is just self-aggrandizing bullshit and doesn't deserve to be taken seriously.

              This is honestly just GamerGate all over again. It's that same motte and bailey where they say/do an irresponsible thing, and then any time the irresponsible thing is criticized they run back to the motte and say "why do you hate ethics in games journalism/the Left?"

              2 votes
              1. [2]
                mose
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                I'll just say as explicit socialist entities it'd be kinda strange for DSA and Jacobin to endorse Biden. As it would be equally strange to see an article chastising Libertarians for not endorsing...

                I'll just say as explicit socialist entities it'd be kinda strange for DSA and Jacobin to endorse Biden. As it would be equally strange to see an article chastising Libertarians for not endorsing Biden (and they're actually going to run a candidate it sounds like). I'm not sure these non-endorsements are performative; they seem completely consistent and coherent with their ideological positions and missions.

                Ultimately, most eligible voters aren't going to vote for Biden (Trump voters + 3rd party voters + non voters) (I will though fwiw). Given this, and with respect to doing and saying responsible things for the purpose of defeating Trump, I'd probably look more towards what the candidate (and folks who get op-ed space in a paper with 500k daily circulation) is doing to persuade these voters.

                Not familiar with "GamerGate," so can't speak to the comparison.

                Edit: Just to reiterate though I don't think shaming and scolding is a useful way to do politics and advance your agenda, whether it's in Jacobin or NYT.

                5 votes
                1. NaraVara
                  Link Parent
                  I don't see what's so strange about explicit socialists advocating for harm mitigation. You can't convince someone who doesn't want to be convinced and will engage in extremely motivated reasoning...

                  I'll just say as explicit socialist entities it'd be kinda strange for DSA and Jacobin to endorse Biden.

                  I don't see what's so strange about explicit socialists advocating for harm mitigation.

                  I'd probably look more towards what the candidate (and folks who get op-ed space in a paper with 500k daily circulation) is doing to persuade these voters.

                  You can't convince someone who doesn't want to be convinced and will engage in extremely motivated reasoning exercises to not be convinced. The only way to deal with them is to encourage everyone else to not take them seriously so they can't signal boost counterproductive propaganda that depresses turnout. No audience, no power. This is a play to cut off their access to a bigger audience by clueing them into the game they're playing before they can get suckered in.

                  1 vote
      3. Arshan
        Link Parent
        In what way have progressives treated the Democrats and the DNC like shit? And to be clear, I do not follow Twitter politics or consider it at all in this. The only progressive political leader...

        In what way have progressives treated the Democrats and the DNC like shit? And to be clear, I do not follow Twitter politics or consider it at all in this. The only progressive political leader that isn't officially a Democrat is Bernie, and he was running for President as a Democrat. For better, but more honestly worse, progressives are Democrats.

        Now assuming you meant moderate Democrats of the liberal vain, they got the presidential candidate they wanted. Biden is a moderate Liberal through and through, down to his electable old white toes. Biden has performed some lip-service to progressive causes like prison reform and healthcare for all, but only the minimum required. Leftists are tired because yet again we are forced to choose between the lesser of 2 evils. We are forced to choose between voting for a candidate that doesn't represent us or throw away our votes in one way or another.

        My personal anger in this election is less toward Biden or even Trump, its towards the system that makes me choose between them. We are forced to choose between a probable sexual predator and a 100% serial rapist. Both of them are shitty human beings. Neither represent my personal beliefs at all. Sure Biden's better in every regard, but just because I would drink piss before eat shit doesn't mean I want to do either. I am especially sad because Bernie is one of the very few politicians I respect, unlike either of the candidates (if you couldn't tell). Not voting means that if Trump wins, liberals will act like my not voting lost them the election, when in reality most elections fall into statistical error between either candidate. If Trump loses, a potential senile man who does not reflect my beliefs will be president. Leftists are pissed off because they lose no matter what, and Liberals are angry that the Left isn't happy about losing.

        4 votes
    2. [6]
      moocow1452
      Link Parent
      It makes sense if the DNC is operating under the assumption that the progressives aren't nearly as fickle as moderate Republicans who can be turned. Any vote that you turn on that end is also one...

      It makes sense if the DNC is operating under the assumption that the progressives aren't nearly as fickle as moderate Republicans who can be turned. Any vote that you turn on that end is also one that isn't going to Trump, compared to trying to win over the leftists who are going to vote for whoever you put up or just not vote period.

      2 votes
      1. [5]
        goodbetterbestbested
        Link Parent
        There are myriad problems with that assumption. 2016 should have taught the Democratic Party the lesson that it ignores its base at its peril. The country is so hyper-polarized today that trying...

        There are myriad problems with that assumption. 2016 should have taught the Democratic Party the lesson that it ignores its base at its peril. The country is so hyper-polarized today that trying to appeal to people who still cling to the label "Republican" at this point in history is quixotic in the fullest sense of the word (tilting at windmills...) Elections today are won not by appealing to a vanishing and always rare "swing voter" but by getting the base to turn out on election day. It's about convincing people who generally support you to show up, not about convincing people who don't generally support you to switch their allegiance and show up. In trying to get the base to turn out, you reap more returns with a carrot than with a stick.

        4 votes
        1. [4]
          gpl
          Link Parent
          I'm not sure the evidence from the 2018 midterms bears this line out. Most seats that were flipped were in suburban districts and won by moderate Democrats who were able to convince traditionally...

          It's about convincing people who generally support you to show up, not about convincing people who don't generally support you to switch their allegiance and show up.

          I'm not sure the evidence from the 2018 midterms bears this line out. Most seats that were flipped were in suburban districts and won by moderate Democrats who were able to convince traditionally Republican voters (mostly college educated, middle class, and white) to vote for them. Obviously many progressives won as well, and in some more high-profile races, but they were not the majority nor really the reason for the blue wave we saw. This, coupled with the fact that the battleground states in 2020 are likely to be those with similar demographics, leads me to believe appealing to the center is the move to make in this election.

          I also don't think the Biden campaign's strategy is to shame socialists into voting for him, any more than Bernie's strategy was to shame liberals into voting for him (although online surrogates are surely doing it in both cases). Biden has been making seemingly meaningful overtures to his left, much moreso than could be expected from someone focusing on an upcoming general election. He has wholesale adopted some progressive policies (mostly Warrens), and he has formed joint committees with Sanders to hammer out policies in other places as well. In my opinion, the left wing of the party is actually getting more of a say in the building the platform than their electoral record would suggest. I think this is probably a good thing for the country and the left wing of the party overall, even though it might make the general election more difficult. Is this not an effort to persuade the left? It may not be enough of course, but it seems silly to me to complain about an op-ed in the NYT when the party is actually doing what the author wants.

          In any case, on the level of purely cynical political calculus, it makes sense to woo the center and more or less assume the left will come along. The center is more or less at the midpoint between two options and could conceivably be convinced to go either way (again, see 2018 midterms), whereas it is undeniably in the left's interest to avoid a second Trump term 'even' if it means a Biden presidency. I think arguments that the two outcomes are the same (or even that a Trump term could be preferable in some accelerationist viewpoint) are incredibly politically naive and stubborn. The linked article more or less acknowledges this with its concession that swing state voting for Biden is probably warranted.

          3 votes
          1. [3]
            goodbetterbestbested
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            This is a presidential election cycle, not a mid-term, so a better comparison is to 2016, in which the bottom fell out of Democratic turnout, in part due to having an Establishment centrist...

            This is a presidential election cycle, not a mid-term, so a better comparison is to 2016, in which the bottom fell out of Democratic turnout, in part due to having an Establishment centrist candidate with image issues up against a bombastic anti-establishment (at least in rhetoric) opponent.

            This year, it appears we will, again, have an Establishment centrist candidate with substantial image issues, a man who can barely form a coherent sentence on national TV (and who Trump will attack as senile), who has vowed to veto Medicare-For-All if it makes it to his desk, who voted for the Iraq War, who told rich donors "nothing will substantially change," and who has been credibly accused of sexual assault.

            It doesn't matter that Trump has these issues as well (in terms of his election chances), because Republicans don't give a shit about any of that; only Democrats care about Iraq's war dead, increasing power concentrated among the wealthy, and sexual assault.

            Don't get me wrong. I want Biden to win against Trump. I am just extremely skeptical of almost the sole argument for his being nominee, that he's "electable." It really looks to me like the Democratic Party is step-by-step repeating the mistakes of 2016.

            The center is more or less at the midpoint between two options and could conceivably be convinced to go either way (again, see 2018 midterms)

            How large is this "center" that is truly ambivalent between Trump and Democrats? Why is it assumed that progressives will inevitably show up, but centrist Democrats need to be convinced? Why is it that a major party's strategy is to appeal to an ever-shrinking number of "swing voters" when the primary reason they lost in 2016 was due to Democratic voters not showing up, when political scientists have been talking about increasing partisan polarization in the U.S. for years? You are essentially repeating the theory of Clintonian triangulation, which has led to loss after loss for the Democratic Party since 2000 (Obama campaigned as a progressive, even if he didn't govern as one.) It's an over-simplified view of how politics works in the U.S., to put it mildly.

            I am not arguing that Dems and the GOP are the same. They aren't and I want Dems to win. That's why I am invested in ensuring they don't repeat the same mistakes that caused them to lose previous elections.

            5 votes
            1. [2]
              gpl
              Link Parent
              Yes, and turnout is always, always higher in presidential elections than it is in Midterms. Turnout in 2016 was higher than in 2018, and higher than when a 'progressive' ran in 2012 (as a...

              This is a presidential election cycle, not a mid-term, so a better comparison is to 2016, in which the bottom fell out of Democratic turnout, in part due to having an Establishment centrist candidate with image issues up against a bombastic anti-establishment (at least in rhetoric) opponent.

              Yes, and turnout is always, always higher in presidential elections than it is in Midterms. Turnout in 2016 was higher than in 2018, and higher than when a 'progressive' ran in 2012 (as a percentage of voting age population). Democratic turnout was also roughly equal to Republican turnout, so there were broader issues leading to depressed turnout than just one party's choices. Turnout was not the issue in 2016 - it was turnout in the key states that Clinton needed to win but choose to pretty much not campaign in (Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, etc). I simply don't think Biden is going to make those same mistakes. To put it simply, it doesn't matter if a million more people would turn-out to vote for Sanders if they're all concentrated in places like Illinois, New York, and California. Democrats need to win Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania to have a good chance of winning the electoral college, and Biden clobbered Sanders in those states in the primaries. Now, I know that primaries are not some magical oracle for the general election, but if Sanders couldn't even win one county in the Democratic Michigan primary, I find it difficult to think he would win in a general election there.

              This year, it appears we will, again, have an Establishment centrist candidate with substantial image issues, a man who can barely form a coherent sentence on national TV (and who Trump will attack as senile), who has vowed to veto Medicare-For-All if it makes it to his desk, who voted for the Iraq War, who told rich donors "nothing will substantially change," and who has been credibly accused of sexual assault.

              Even though I disagree that some of these are even image issues, I do think that regardless of who won the primary, they would face a concerted effort to ruin their image in the general election. I've commented about the possible image issues Sanders would face in a general election campaign before, and quite frankly I think the issues facing Biden will fare better in the battleground states than the issues Sanders would be facing.

              It doesn't matter that Trump has these issues as well (in terms of his election chances), because Republicans don't give a shit about any of that; only Democrats care about Iraq's war dead, increasing power concentrated among the wealthy, and sexual assault.

              I agree there.

              How large is this "center" that is truly ambivalent between Trump and Democrats?

              Large enough that its shift towards the left in 2018 led to Democrats picking up a ton of seats in formerly Republican voting districts.

              Why is it assumed that progressives will inevitably show up, but centrist Democrats need to be convinced?

              Because an underlying assumption in any political analysis is that voters will rationally vote for a candidate in their best interest, and Biden is undeniable better for the interests of the left than Donald Trump.

              I understand that you and I are on the same page about a lot of things, which is good. I think a lot of how people feel about 2020 and the Democrat's chances depends on what they think the reasons are for their loss in 2016. If you think that the primary factor was their decision to nominate a centrist candidate, I can completely see concerns about Biden in 2020. I happen to think the issues were deeper than that - namely, that Clinton was a uniquely unpopular candidate (beyond her centrist positions) who had been unpopular with large portions of the country for a long time, and that she also ran a very bad campaign.

              1 vote
              1. goodbetterbestbested
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                Yes, I know this, and didn't state otherwise. I just think comparing 2016 to 2020 is a more apples-to-apples comparison than 2018 to 2020, for a variety of reasons. The difference in a...

                turnout is always, always higher in presidential elections than it is in Midterms.

                Yes, I know this, and didn't state otherwise. I just think comparing 2016 to 2020 is a more apples-to-apples comparison than 2018 to 2020, for a variety of reasons. The difference in a non-presidential election year and a presidential election year is not solely turnout.

                Turnout was not the issue in 2016 - it was turnout in the key states that Clinton needed to win but choose to pretty much not campaign in (Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, etc)

                I'm sure Biden will campaign there more than Clinton did and that makes me hopeful. But I don't know how much campaigning there will make up for the loss of turn-out due to Biden's lack of credibility among progressives, and the sexual assault allegation...

                I do think that regardless of who won the primary, they would face a concerted effort to ruin their image in the general election

                Right, of course any Dem candidate will face opposition research from the GOP. I'm not saying Sanders would not have. I am saying that the whole narrative that Sanders' socialism would be electoral poison that would doom his candidacy, which I heard from Biden supporters throughout the primary, is pretty rich now that Biden got #MeToo'd for sexual assault. The essay that Sanders wrote that included a line about rape fetishes would of course be used by the GOP, but it was an attempt to criticize patriarchy in that essay--not an actual allegation of sexual assault.

                Large enough that its shift towards the left in 2018 led to Democrats picking up a ton of seats in formerly Republican voting districts.

                Just because the Democrats picked up seats doesn't mean they picked up seats because they convinced Trump voters to switch. It's just as probable--I would say more probable--that they picked up seats primarily because Democrats turned out to vote in 2018.

                Because an underlying assumption in any political analysis is that voters will rationally vote for a candidate in their best interest

                I don't think this is the case at all. Political analysis need not hew to a naive framework like this and most of it doesn't.

                Clinton was a uniquely unpopular candidate (beyond her centrist positions) who had been unpopular with large portions of the country for a long time, and that she also ran a very bad campaign.

                I agree that Clinton is uniquely unpopular, but I think that Biden is going to lose because he has been accused of rape, and Democratic women turn-out will be depressed for that reason. Many will correctly conclude that Biden is by far the least-bad realistic candidate, but enough won't that it will cause his loss. Only 56% of Democratic women believed his denial, while 21% did not. If even ~10% of Democratic women sit out this election, it's probable that Biden will lose.

                1 vote
  2. [4]
    vegai
    Link
    I'm not American, so this might be a stupid question. Why do people need to be persuaded to vote for Biden in the current situation?

    I'm not American, so this might be a stupid question. Why do people need to be persuaded to vote for Biden in the current situation?

    4 votes
    1. vord
      Link Parent
      And that question is precisely why this is the worst time to field a moderate. The centerists (nigh, any sane person) will vote against Trump in November. Since I was born, we've been making...

      And that question is precisely why this is the worst time to field a moderate. The centerists (nigh, any sane person) will vote against Trump in November.

      Since I was born, we've been making progress in a '1 step forward, 2 steps back' fashion. We need to start making 3 steps forward consistently to undo the damage done over last 3 decades.

      This is the best possible time to get a candidate running that will seriously push to undo the damage the Republicans have done in my lifetime. Everyone arguing that we need to take baby steps towards progress hasn't been paying attention to how long that has been a losing strategy.

      The last best possible time was in 2008, where Obama was shouting progressive rhetoric from the rooftops, and it turned out pretty well relative to 2016.

      7 votes
    2. goodbetterbestbested
      Link Parent
      I'm going to vote for Biden. I think it is incumbent on all socialists and progressives to minimize damage done to minorities and the working class. But I'm not everyone. Biden stands a...

      I'm going to vote for Biden. I think it is incumbent on all socialists and progressives to minimize damage done to minorities and the working class. But I'm not everyone.

      Biden stands a substantial chance to lose because no one is excited about him, in a nutshell. Unlike Sanders, he has no movement of people behind him--Biden could barely fill a community center before COVID. People get up off their asses and vote when they believe in the person they are voting for. Fewer people get up off their asses and vote when they are voting only to avert a worse outcome. The latter is the main reason Clinton lost in 2016.

      6 votes
    3. mose
      Link Parent
      I agree with your implicit point (if I understand it correctly as the current situation is so dire that one ought to vote against Trump by voting for Biden). But voting behavior will be what it is...

      I agree with your implicit point (if I understand it correctly as the current situation is so dire that one ought to vote against Trump by voting for Biden). But voting behavior will be what it is (we had 55.7% turnout of eligible voters in 2016) and usually the margin at the national level is relatively tight. And so persuasion is necessary to the extent that the needle can be moved in your direction in this context (get non voters to vote, get potential third party voters to vote for you, get opposition votes). For some reason, persuasion is viewed as a reasonable and good for the "get opposition votes" case, but -- as the Jacobin article argues -- is seen as something that shouldn't be necessary for the first two.

      4 votes
  3. [4]
    moonbathers
    Link
    Since everything else in the article has been discussed, I want to point out how ridiculous it is that the author dismisses the idea that Trump is fascist. How ignorant can you be to not be...

    Since everything else in the article has been discussed, I want to point out how ridiculous it is that the author dismisses the idea that Trump is fascist. How ignorant can you be to not be really, really worried about him winning another election? I don't know if I would say W was fascist, but he did do a lot of really shitty stuff that set us on the path toward it. The author must not be one of the undesirables that Trump and Pence hate, aside from being anti-capitalist.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      goodbetterbestbested
      Link Parent
      I got the opposite impression from the article? He's criticizing the fact that NYT didn't believe the reader needed any convincing that Trump is a fascist, as though that assertion requires no...

      I got the opposite impression from the article?

      He scoffs at Daniel Finn’s argument in Jacobin that Donald Trump is no fascist, but he evidently doesn’t believe his reader requires any convincing on the point. (The irony involved in comparing Trump to fascists openly, in the pages of the country’s leading newspaper, is evidently lost on him.)

      He's criticizing the fact that NYT didn't believe the reader needed any convincing that Trump is a fascist, as though that assertion requires no argument, rather than directly criticizing the assertion "Trump is a fascist." And I think the parenthetical bit is saying, "The fact that we're even arguing about whether Trump is a fascist is a terrible situation." It isn't exactly clear, I'll give you that.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        mose
        Link Parent
        Hm I interpreted that parenthetical as "being able to call Trump a fascist in the NYT is evidence he's not a fascist" (not something I agree with, but that's how I read it)

        Hm I interpreted that parenthetical as "being able to call Trump a fascist in the NYT is evidence he's not a fascist" (not something I agree with, but that's how I read it)

        2 votes
        1. goodbetterbestbested
          Link Parent
          Now that you mention it, I think you're right. I don't think Jacobin should be involved in refuting charges of fascism against Trump. There's good arguments that he represents a fascist strain in...

          Now that you mention it, I think you're right. I don't think Jacobin should be involved in refuting charges of fascism against Trump. There's good arguments that he represents a fascist strain in politics even if he's not literally endorsing the policy platform of the NSDAP. Jacobin isn't helping the left by refuting the claim Trump is a fascist, that kind of thing only operates to Trump's benefit.

          That part of this article I submitted really rubs me the wrong way, too.

          4 votes
  4. [7]
    Grawlix
    (edited )
    Link
    There are some users I recognize on this site who, almost without fail, absolutely jump at any opportunity to shame the left. They are by far the most toxic users tolerated on the site, and...
    • Exemplary

    There are some users I recognize on this site who, almost without fail, absolutely jump at any opportunity to shame the left. They are by far the most toxic users tolerated on the site, and ironically (and hypocritically) constantly blame the behavior of toxic leftists while engaging in the same sort of general toxicity they claim to be bothered by.

    They're the reason I hate political threads on Tildes, because I know if I make a point, they'll show up, call me thin-skinned and delusional, argue against points I never made, and prefer to attack me directly before or even instead of the point I'm trying to make. They will then, without a hint of irony, turn around and bemoan the toxic behavior of anyone left of the DNC for being even moderately critical or upset. Even now, I expect they're going to call me a hypocrite over behavior I never engaged in or endorsed, and that was never endorsed by my preferred candidate. It makes me flinch expecting some new frustration if I get a notification about a new message.

    It's a double standard where leftists have to answer for all other leftists, real or imaginary, while no one else is really being pushed to consider their own behavior. I don't say I'm going to abstain from voting because Biden supporters were being mean to me on the internet, and if that kind of thing did change my vote, that'd be ridiculous. Same goes for anyone else else who let the narrative about "toxic behavior" change their vote. It's mostly just an excuse to "fight back," even when the person had nothing to do with it.

    I try to assume good faith in any discussion online unless and until proven otherwise, but it is exhausting, especially when the same courtesy isn't extended in return, and doubly so when that person is trying to claim the moral high ground.

    10 votes
    1. [5]
      precise
      Link Parent
      I've been rather turned off by these comments. There are some folks, both left and neoliberal who are making good points here, but others... not so much. So it's not even a matter if I agree or...

      I've been rather turned off by these comments. There are some folks, both left and neoliberal who are making good points here, but others... not so much. So it's not even a matter if I agree or disagree, I'm seeing a lot of the same tactics I see on Twitter (ffs!). People attacking sources cited, slandering publications rather than addressing points. I'm seeing very aggressive posturing that in a less moderated space would easily devolve into insults and direct attacks. It all comes across as "I'm right, you're wrong." when in actuality there's a conversation to be had. I posted about verbosity the other day, and I think this is one of the exceptions. Throwing a wall of text at someone during a political conversation in an attempt to prove you're right, but at the same time not entirely addressing what the person prior said and introducing more only tangentially related points is unproductive. This thread almost reeks of a pissing contest to see who can be more "right".

      As for why I didn't participate, well I could bite the bullet, but why should I when I know I'll be told my opinions are wrong, not even what I base them on, but my opinions?

      9 votes
      1. [4]
        Grawlix
        Link Parent
        I think your last point is particularly salient, because I got a couple other direct messages from people saying that, yeah, the behavior from some users in these threads prevents them from...

        I think your last point is particularly salient, because I got a couple other direct messages from people saying that, yeah, the behavior from some users in these threads prevents them from participating in the first place. It happens to me, too. Sometimes I have something to say, but I don't bother because I know that I'll get dragged into an argument with one of the regular problem users.

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          precise
          Link Parent
          I think the idea of "I don't owe you anything" when properly calibrated is applicable here. As community members we owe it to follow community standards, we do not in any capacity owe a response...

          I think the idea of "I don't owe you anything" when properly calibrated is applicable here. As community members we owe it to follow community standards, we do not in any capacity owe a response to anybody who feels the need to respond to what we say. I think this is what leads to a lot of very long winded threads that often end up going in circles.

          This might be rooted in that by not offering a rebuttal, you think you are letting the other side win. I think that thought process does not belong on Tildes and it leads to a lot of the above, but also in the long run it leads to lack of energy and willingness to participate. The reason this thinking doesn't belong here is because right now Tildes is looking to weigh quality more heavily than quantity. It's entirely OK to make a point, have someone offer a rebuttal and then let the other readers decide who they agree with, if anybody. In an ideal Tildes, both quality comments would be equally voted to indicate that they belong on Tildes.

          I have unfortunately seen several instances where this is not the case, involving and not involving myself. Two comments of equal quality, posted soon after one another, making good points yet one comment has maybe 5 votes but the other has 15. It's often not that drastic, but the universal common denominator is that politics is the topic. I don't know what to do, but even at Tildes' young age, I already see it as a burgeoning problem. Luckily, votes aren't weighted too heavily in the sorting system, but that might not always be the case.

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            Grawlix
            Link Parent
            True. Granted, there's usually going to be a back and forth, but at a certain point, if the conversation is really about the subject matter and not just a fight, then there's a point where you can...

            True. Granted, there's usually going to be a back and forth, but at a certain point, if the conversation is really about the subject matter and not just a fight, then there's a point where you can feel like you said your piece, gotten as far as you ever will with the other person, and be happy with how the conversation looks for passers-by.

            There are times where it's easy to get sucked in, though, sadly. Maybe someone is being disingenuous and getting away with it. Maybe they misrepresent what you said and you want to clarify. Maybe they're just being a bully, to you or someone else. On the other hand, we don't owe them a response, but on the other, it's a digital shared space, and sometimes you feel like you have to speak up, you know?

            3 votes
            1. precise
              Link Parent
              I can very much relate, I've definitely been drawn in a time or two.

              I can very much relate, I've definitely been drawn in a time or two.

              3 votes
    2. Litmus2336
      Link Parent
      I personally feel constantly exhausted by infighting in the democratic party.

      I personally feel constantly exhausted by infighting in the democratic party.

      2 votes