36 votes

Reality has endorsed Bernie Sanders: His policy proposals are especially apt now, when the coronavirus crisis is revealing an economy organized around production for the sake of profit, not need

12 comments

  1. [2]
    Death
    Link
    The impression I sometimes get of the US' political community is that they seem to persistently believe they somehow have no control at all over the national conversation and so need to be...

    Thus far, the Trump Administration has predictably bungled the response to the coronavirus. But the Democratic Party’s response has been hampered by its shared hostility to unleashing the power of the state, through the advance of vast universal programs, to attend to an unprecedented, devolving catastrophe.

    In the last Democratic debate, former Vice-President Joe Biden insisted that the U.S. doesn’t need single-payer health care because the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy proved that it doesn’t work. Strangely, he simultaneously insisted that all testing and treatment of the virus should be free because we are in crisis.

    The impression I sometimes get of the US' political community is that they seem to persistently believe they somehow have no control at all over the national conversation and so need to be constantly running after common talking points. So you get these weird, seemingly contradictory positions which seem incredibly disingenuous because there's no real through-line other than "we've followed the polls and the news cycle". It's like "the customer is always right" but for voters. If nothing else, a lesson you should be able to take away from the Republican strategies (culminating with Trump) and Sanders is you can have some kind of influence on the national conversation and dictate which topics people talk about.

    I realize this isn't a binary, and that the Democratic strategy probably does include attempts to steer the conversation towards topics they know they can win on. But it still seems like a lot of moderate American politicians are more comfortable pretending to be answering everyone's concerns rather than presenting a more focused vision and insisting it, in and of itself, contains the answer to people's concerns.

    10 votes
    1. Kuromantis
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I think there are a few reasons for this, mainly: 1: Private money in politics (Congresspeople spend more time fundraising than making actual legislative work) which makes them unable to actually...

      The impression I sometimes get of the US' political community is that they seem to persistently believe they somehow have no control at all over the national conversation and so need to be constantly running after common talking points.

      I think there are a few reasons for this, mainly:

      1: Private money in politics (Congresspeople spend more time fundraising than making actual legislative work) which makes them unable to actually endorse those proposals simply due to them not being good for their donors which will make reelection harder because most people don't actively search out their congressional district representatives and so they need to reach them by ads and the like. (And given gerrymandering, it probably doesn't matter in most districts either way.)

      2: Cable news outlets who (usually subtly, see tactical framing) show their biases against welfare proposals or ignore them because of advertisers' (who very often are also donors) revenue, therefore forcing politicians to toe the line the media toes that large corporations create.

      3: A lot of people just are well off enough to not care. People who owe student debt only make up 15%) of the adult population and people who have trouble paying medical debt is 26%. That means a majority of people in the US don't have these problems and no one ever said they would care about those who do. In that case, why would you bother with such a narrative at all?

      IMO if it wasn't for these 3 things, American moderates wouldn't exist.

      7 votes
  2. [3]
    moonbathers
    Link
    I wish this energy was focused less on Bernie Sanders and more on building the community bonds we need to make some of those ideas a reality. The primary's basically over.

    I wish this energy was focused less on Bernie Sanders and more on building the community bonds we need to make some of those ideas a reality. The primary's basically over.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      moocow1452
      Link Parent
      Agreed. Bernie isn't the end all be all of the progressive movement, and while his skill set is helpful for turning heads and bearing torches, he never struck me as the one with the plan so much...

      Agreed. Bernie isn't the end all be all of the progressive movement, and while his skill set is helpful for turning heads and bearing torches, he never struck me as the one with the plan so much as the one who leads the charge of that makes any sense.

      8 votes
      1. Loire
        Link Parent
        He's a fighter, an incredible and consistent one, with strong moral principles, but he doesn't really know when or how to transition to a mediator or conciliatory position when the moment calls...

        He's a fighter, an incredible and consistent one, with strong moral principles, but he doesn't really know when or how to transition to a mediator or conciliatory position when the moment calls for it.

        That was incredibly important in 2015 when the progressive movement in the U.S. was, at best, nascent. One could argue it was important throughout this primary previous to super Tuesday. But now, with the nomination a foregone conclusion Sanders and that particular small cadre of his supporters are hurting any chance whatsoever of his policies becoming reality at any point in the next 30-40 years. Right now is the time to be using influence to direct Biden, not to fight him to the bitter end.

        Sanders will forever be -the- guy that jumpstarted the new progressive movement in America. That's a very important role. Now it's time for the next group of progressive leaders to take that torch and start organizinf effectively at the local, state and federal levels. The Republican powerbase derives from their strengths organizing at all three levels. The left, despite it's demographical strengths, suffer for their continual focus on the Presidency.

        10 votes
  3. dubteedub
    Link
    I am interested to hear how the Democratic Party should be able to pass a vast universal healthcare program given that the Senate and Presidency are controlled by the GOP. One thing that really...

    Thus far, the Trump Administration has predictably bungled the response to the coronavirus. But the Democratic Party’s response has been hampered by its shared hostility to unleashing the power of the state, through the advance of vast universal programs, to attend to an unprecedented, devolving catastrophe.

    I am interested to hear how the Democratic Party should be able to pass a vast universal healthcare program given that the Senate and Presidency are controlled by the GOP.

    One thing that really frustrates me about a lot of these think pieces and conversations that I have seen online is the level of agency directed at the Democrats that is never prescribed to Republicans.

    The Democrats seem to always be blamed and shamed for failings of our government or the fact that legislation does not go far enough when they are hampered by an obstinate Republican opposition that does not participate in good faith.


    The case has never been clearer for a transition to Medicare for All, but its achievement clashes with the Democratic Party’s decades-long hostility to funding the social-welfare state.

    I mean come on. The Obama administration worked for a single payer system and it was shut down by Senate Independent Joe Lieberman and the death of Joe Kennedy. Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats fought incredibly hard for the ACA to pass and helped millions of Americans get health coverage, despite knowing that many of those who voted in favor of the bill would lose their re-election bid.

    These were not decisions Pelosi took lightly or without understanding what most House Democrats wanted, said former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who infamously declared health care reform dead in early 2010, only for Pelosi and other party leaders to prove him wrong. There simply weren’t enough votes in Congress to pass a more progressive health care bill, and Pelosi knew it, he said.

    Frank and other veterans of the health care fight in 2009 and 2010 point out what the years since this bruising legislative battle, and a leftward shift within the Democratic Party, have obscured ― namely, that the reform effort nearly foundered on more than one occasion.

    The bill was widely assumed to be hopeless after Republican Scott Brown won a special election for the Senate seat of the late Democrat Edward Kennedy in January 2010. This deprived Democrats of the filibuster-proof majority that passed the upper chamber’s more moderate version of the health care bill ― and Pelosi was as responsible as anybody for figuring out a way to pass legislation in the aftermath.


    By the end of the nineteen-eighties, the Democratic Party was championing law-and-order politics and harsh, racist attacks on welfare entitlements.

    Just to point out, this was not just the Democratic Party calling for law and order politics, but by black community leaders, pastors, activists.. In fact, the bill was more embraced by nonwhite voters than white voters, by 58% to 49%.

    It is very clear now that their thinking was wrong and policies like the 1994 Crime Bill were incredibly destructive, but we have the benefit of hindsight now.

    Again, I am just pointing out that some of these attacks on the Democrats seem disingenuous.


    This includes universal health care, an indefinite moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, the cancellation of student-loan debt, a universal basic income, and the reversal of all cuts to food stamps. These are the basic measures that can staunch the immediate crisis of deprivation—of millions of layoffs and millions more to come.

    I agree generally with these goals, but in order to accomplish them we have to actually win elections and gain political power.

    5 votes
  4. [6]
    skybrian
    Link
    It's not clear to me that Sanders' policies would work on an emergency basis. Yang's signature policy (UBI) got some attention but was less practical politically than a one-time money drop, which...

    It's not clear to me that Sanders' policies would work on an emergency basis. Yang's signature policy (UBI) got some attention but was less practical politically than a one-time money drop, which is what we got. Has Sanders had any influence on the stimulus bill that Congress actually passed?

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      dubteedub
      Link Parent
      No. Rather than working in D.C. to help with negotiations, Sanders was at his home in Vermont campaigning. In fact, he skipped one of the votes on the bill in order to participate in a virtual...

      Has Sanders had any influence on the stimulus bill that Congress actually passed?

      No. Rather than working in D.C. to help with negotiations, Sanders was at his home in Vermont campaigning. In fact, he skipped one of the votes on the bill in order to participate in a virtual campaign event with AOC, Rashida Tlaid, and Ilhan Omar. The only other Senators that missed the vote were five Republicans who were in quarantine due to potential exposure to the coronavirus.

      In fact, the amendment to the bill that helped expand unemployment relief to gig workers and freelancers that was being touted and attributed to Senator Sanders was actually written by Michael Bennett.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        drannex
        Link Parent
        He skipped the vote because his vote wasn't needed, the package required a 60 vote block to get passed. Voting against it has no effect on it if the yes votes can't reliably get to the 60 vote...

        He skipped the vote because his vote wasn't needed, the package required a 60 vote block to get passed. Voting against it has no effect on it if the yes votes can't reliably get to the 60 vote count.

        There was no reason for him to be in the senate that day.

        3 votes
        1. dubteedub
          Link Parent
          Except that just a couple of days before when he was asked about his 2020 presidential campaign his response was: And then instead of actually staying in D.C., working to help the negotiations of...

          Except that just a couple of days before when he was asked about his 2020 presidential campaign his response was:

          "I'm dealing with a f---ing global crisis. Right now, I'm trying to do my best to make sure that we don't have an economic meltdown and that people don't die. Is that enough for you to keep me busy for today?"

          And then instead of actually staying in D.C., working to help the negotiations of the bill, drafting amendments that could be included, or literally doing anything substantive to help the crisis, Bernie went back to his home in Vermont and did some virtual campaign events.

          Oh, and then, when he was asked by another reporter why he didn't participate in the vote, Bernie's response was:

          “Stay away from me. There’s a CDC requirement. Please follow it.

          and

          "Right now the most important thing that anybody can do, and that the progressive movement can do, is to make sure that working people get the protection that they need. I'm going to use every tool that I have to make sure that that happened.”

          Bernie Sanders has a job right now as a Senator. He could have been working to convince others to back some of his big ideas or build progressive policies that could help Americans. Instead, Bernie spent the time at his home in Vermont dragging on a dead Presidential campaign.

          1 vote
    2. [2]
      vord
      Link Parent
      The idea is that we should fast-track the policies for emergency relief, then keep them. It worked for the Patriot Act, why not something good?

      The idea is that we should fast-track the policies for emergency relief, then keep them.

      It worked for the Patriot Act, why not something good?

      4 votes
      1. GnomeChompski
        Link Parent
        I think the problem is the will of the current Administration and Congress is not inline with that goal.

        I think the problem is the will of the current Administration and Congress is not inline with that goal.

        2 votes