In the 2016 Democratic Primary, Bernie Sanders won all 55 countries in West Virginia. In the general election, however, Trump took 68.5 percent of the vote . This was his largest share of the vote in any state.
By the time of the 2020 Democratic primary, Sanders had suspended his campaign (after the DNC annointed Joe Biden).
Trump won 69 percent of the vote opposing Biden.
West Virginia is the poorest state in the nation.
The state is characterized by an opioid epidemic.
The death rate in recent years from drug overdose has exceeded any other state.
The cancer rates in the state are high.
The southern part of the state has been turned into a toxic waste dump by coal companies.
West Virginia is a “resource colony” and displays the consequent devastation in the environment and the health of the people living there.
So, why in a state characterized by such poverty, illness and exploitation did people vote for Trump?
Big Coal has orchestrated a decades old long propaganda campaign to convince people who should know better that big coal is their friend.
People identify with big coal and express pride when they, for example, develop black lung disease. The disease demonstrates that they have worked hard all their lives to keep the “lights on” in America.
If evidence comes to light of the egregious exploitation of big coal, people write it off as “bad companies.” These companies are the “bad apples” but not the harvest.
West Virginians have been separated from their own radical past through the suppression of information about actions such as the 1921 armed uprising on Blair Mountain., where miners took on the coal industry.
So, coal and fracking continue to result in environmental and health damage.
People in West Virginia believed Bernie Sanders would do something about changing the conditions of their lives. They, however, did not believe that the corporate Democrats (Clinton an Biden) would.
147 Republican members of Congress voted against seating Joe Biden’s electors. They moved against accepting the votes of the people in this country based on no evidence that there was a significant problem with the voting system.
These 147 Republican members of Congress did not win, but they tried to. There are not 147 Trumps. These people are Republicans. They are Republicans who do not support democracy. But, as of today, they are all still in Congress.
Just like all the other outrages of the Trump administration, the fact that 147 members of Congress tried to throw out the results of an election, is being normalized. Corporate news anchors are repeatedly asking representatives of the Biden administration how they can claim to seek “unity” when they are proposing legislation that differs from (what purports to be) the Republican agenda.
The past four years has been difficult, nerve wracking, infuriating, but since the nomination of Biden, it has been even more infuriating. It is perhaps a bit less stressful since I don’t wake up every morning dreading to find out what the president has done while I was asleep, but the Democrats and the corporate media seen to have learned nothing, NOTHING from the last four years.
The Democrats have not learned how to run against the Republicans, and the corporate media (in the face of an insurrection) is still indulging in mindless bothsidesism.
When Trump was in office, it seemed like a frontal assault, every day. Now, I have the feeling that the corporate media is playing music while people are relentlessly creeping up behind me.
Unlike many of the people I know, I feel no relief with the election of Biden. The Democrats are still talking about “unity” and “bipartisanship” with people who have demonstrated that they want to destroy democracy to maintain their power. It’s like watching a government negotiate, trying to win over the Naxi party. It is enraging and it is terrifying.
While the Democrats waltz around congratulating each other for representational appointments, the Republicans are seizing 2022.
In Georgia, Warnock is up for reelection in 2022. We don’t have six years with Warnock, we have less than two. We have to do this again. We have to drag out a win in what is essentially a red state, and we have to do it in a circumstance where the state government is already actively working to eliminate as many potential voters as possible.
In Georgia, Republicans have proposed steps to make it harder to vote by mail and easier to throw out legally cast ballots. The same Republicans who the corporate media celebrated – Kemp, Raffensperger, Sterling – are beavering away to purge voters from the rolls and make it more difficult for people to vote.
What people need to remember is that Kemp, Raffensperger and Sterling went along with every Trump inspired move to suppress voting except put themselves in criminal jeopardy by changing votes. They are like the gang members who were perfectly willing to drive the get away car, but not willing to go into the liquor store with the gun.
They will be even more willing to drive the car now because they are trying to get back into the good graces, and the donations, of right-wing supporters.
Across the Country
Emily Singer (1/22/21) is reporting in the Independent that efforts to make it harder to vote are going on in most of the GOP-controlled state legislatures. They are introducing legislation to make voter registration and voting by mail more difficult.
These voter suppression moves have been practiced by the Republicans for decades, but picked up steam especially after Biden’s win in 2020. Republicans are daily pointing out the dangers of what they see as “voter fraud” and legitimating moves to keep people from voting in the name of eliminating “voter fraud.”
In Montana, the state House began hearings on a bill which would eliminate same-day voter registration. This is what the SOS refers to as “election integrity.” These measures are expected and intended to affect the voting of Native Americans and students. Both groups vote Democratic by a wide margin.
In New Hampshire, the GOP-controlled House started hearings on a bill that would repeal same-day registration and putt barriers to students who want to vote. Students must, if the bill is passed, prove that they qualify for in-state tuition before registering to vote. Republicans passed a similar law ahead of the 2020 election which required students to become permanent residents to vote. This law was struck down by a judge.
In Arizona, a GOP-run legislature is weighing getting rid of the state’s Permanent Early Vote List, which allows residents to register to receive mail-in ballots automatically. They are also working to impose restrictions on recounts and add other burdens to discourage people from voting.
In Pennsylvania, a Republican state senator introduced a bill that would eliminate no-excuse absentee voting.
In Mississippi, a Republican state senator proposed a bill which would lock Mississippi from releasing vote totals in presidential elections until after all states had cast their votes in the Electoral College.
Democrats in the House are working to pass H.R.1, which would require states to implement automatic voter registration and limit their ability to purge voters from the rolls. An identical bill passed the House in 2019, but McConnell blocked it from getting a vote.
So, Democrats are trying to make it easier for people to vote. Republicans, who realize they cannot win if there is a popular vote, are working furiously to purge voting lists and make it more difficult for people to vote.
One Party is advocating and working for democracy. The other party is fighting against it. You choose.
I don’t pretend to fully understand the ideology of Chris Hedges or Glenn Greenwall, and there are important positions I disagree with them on. But, I think they are important to at least listen to given the lack of criticism on the part of the corporate media for the Biden Administration. CNN is doing a “celebrity piece” on Kamala Harris where she is asked to tell stories from her life.
The media is supposed to be a critic of those in power, not their best friends.
These are notes from an interview Chris Hedges did on his RT program “On Contact.”
Points made by Greenwald:
• Bernie Sanders was rebuffed in his attempt to get the Secretary of Labor position in the Biden administration. Sanders has expressed frustration with the Biden appointments.
• AOC was denied a position on the Commerce Committee.
• (Note: The DNC also refused to give Katie Porter a waiver to stay on another important committee)
• What the Biden nominations represent is a third term of the Obama administration.
• Susan Rice was nominated for the Domestic Policy Council
• Biden has a long completely obvious history. He has supported militarism. He was a key supporter of the Invasion of Iraq, 2002, as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
• Biden’s state is the center of Banking and credit card industry. He was so supportive of them that it provoked Sen. Warren to get into politics. Biden was the architect of a bankruptcy bill that made Warren furious.
• Biden, in addition, was more responsible for the crime bill than anybody else.
• Biden has shown himself to be a man who serves imperialism and corporatism.
• Wall Street celebrated when he picked Harris as Vice President.
• (Greenwald lives in Brazil.) People ask him why Brazil suddenly lurched to right. He explains that after years of what billed itself as being a “liberal” system, the system failed people. They rallied behind anybody who seemed to oppose the system that failed them. That’s what has happened with Trump.
• Now, the Biden administration is going to do exactly what the Obama administration did, nothing, for regular people. And so, if you are doing exactly the same thing, you have to expect the same outcome. The Obama failures led to the Trump administration. And, now the Biden administration is setting itself up to repeat Obama’s failures. (Note: See Majority Report discussion noting that the Biden Administration seems to have learned from the failures of the Obama administration.) According to Greenwald, the Middle class will continue to be destroyed. Jobs will continue to be moved overseas. The drug addiction, suicide, and anger that characterize working class communities will all continue to get worse.
• Note: There were such enormous hopes for Obama. My brother, noting the support enjoyed by Obama, said “He could be the next Roosevelt.” But, Obama wasn’t the next Roosevelt. Obama was constitutionally predisposed to behave himself in many senses of that. No matter what happened, Obama was going to behave himself. Research the discussion about “behaving” and race. Also, the Obama administration assumed that the Republicans were operating from a position of good faith, (what ever that means). The Republicans are definitely not operating from a position of “good faith” and have not done so for decades. How long it will take the Democrats to acknowledge this, I don’t know. And, Obama was never a progressive, never a supporter of real change. The movement that helped Obama get elected was jettisoned immediately after the election in 2008. The group organizing for him were told to “behave.’ People were told not to give money to these groups, but to give the money to support Obama. These groups, by and large, went silent under Obama.
Christ Hedges: Biden and Obama regard progressives as the enemy.
• Biden has always had contempt for the left. As has Obama.
• And, the left is now more submissive than ever. They are even praising Biden for distancing himself from Bernie, saying it was a savvy political move. They played along with the excuse was that it was better to leave Barnie in the Senate than appointment his labor secretary.
• There are no progressives in the cabinet.
• And, even with this fact, there is little dissent on the left.
• The choice that is presented is you can either unite behind the Democratic Party or succumb to fascism.
• The left has embraced censorship coming from corporations, and Biden is calling for new terrorism law. Biden was an architect of the Patriot Act.
• Hedges brings up the Hunter Biden laptop story which, he says, was censored out of the Intercept (the organization Greenwald co-founded).
• Hedges points out that progressives supported Markey in Massachusetts against a primary challenge from Joe Kennedy. After Markey won, he participated in a hearing with Zuckerberg. Markey told Zuckerberg: we don’t believe you are censoring too much, you’re not censoring enough.
• Obama released a statement before election in which he said that the internet was the greatest threat to democracy.
• The political center has decided we cannot have free speech in this technological age. The center was pleading with billionaires to censor people even before the election.
• World leaders denounced the banning of Trump from the internet (Merkle, Obredor of Mexico).
• These leaders are well aware that tech corporations can do this to them (censor them) and their countries. The EU has tried to break up these big Silicon valley companies without success.
• What Google has done is to destroy a competing platform, Parler (AOC, Khana, and others supported this).
• This will make more difficult the ability to organize on the internet. Corporations are outside democratic accountability.
• Hedges points out that Greenwald has gone to Substack as has Matt Taibi.
• This is an effort of destruction of any outlet that permits independent voices of dissent. They are laying the groundwork for rightwing censorship. They will go after others. It won’t be long before they are Turning guns on Substack and Patrion.
• Greenwald became concerned (about the media) when, during the Bush administration, the mainstream media presented torture as a “both sides” issue. They wouldn’t call torture torture because the Bush administration said it wasn’t torture. They took the position of “who are we to decide?” We can’t call it torture because the Bush administration says it’s not true. We’ll just present both sides and let you decide. This is not journalism.
Article about Greenwald, Counterpunch
• Greenwald first came to prominence as an anti-Bush blogger
• He published much of the Snowden reporting in “The Guardian.”
• He co-founded along with Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras, The Intercept.
• His columns have become “insufferable.”
• There is “almost no ideology besides reflexive contrarianism.”
• Greenwald is “a kind of fanatic.”
• The tendency toward contrarianism has led him to increasingly align with the far right.
• For example, Greenwald has made comparisons between Trump and Bernie.
• Matt Taibbi has taken a “similar turn.”
• He is an opponent of the national security state.
Can I just say that Sam Nunberg is an imbecile. He was in an important position in the Trump as a “campaign advisor” because he is an imbecile and now CNN is interviewing him as if he is this expert on anything.
Nunberg at one time faced prosecution because of his role in the Trump campaign and he is saying about Trump: “He is not a perfect man.” Nunberg, says that he has no regrets about working to get Trump elected. This fruitful line of discussion was cut off by the CNN anchor. But, Nunberg continued: “I don’t regret the Supreme Court. I don’t regret …Israel.” “He (Trump) did a service to the forgotten men and women…” “I am happy he beat Hillary Clinton…”
Tony Schwartz, who was also on the CNN panel broke in to confront Nunberg. Schwartz said it was “sad to hear somebody say I don’t take any responsibility.” “Come one Sam.” “It’s time to say the truth about this man.”
But, Nunberg, growing visibly angry, just continued to defend Trump.
While CNN cut this discussion off, it is an important one. What it demonstrates is that these people around Trump (even those who have been left out to dry in terms of prosecution by the Trump administration) have learned nothing. To the extent that Nunberg is willing to criticize Trump and those around him it is because they didn’t step in to legally protect Nunberg.
On to another topic raised by the CNN coverage this morning. Tony Schwartz said that this might be his last public statement about Trump because everything that can be said has been said.
I agree with Schwartz. I am completely disgusted with this continued cheap psychoanalysis of Trump that takes up hours and hours on corporate news. I don’t care what Trump thinks. I don’t care what is “inside Trump’s head” as CNN purported to cover this morning. I care about what Trump does and what he represents and what the complicit group of people around him are fomenting. This is a movement and make no mistake, Mitch McConnell is as much a part of it as is Donald Trump. Getting rid of Trump (if we even can) is not going to solve the problem.
This is one of the reasons why people in my intellectual territory of the Democratic Party shudder every time Biden or his cohorts starts to talk about “healing” or “unity” or (to repeat Obama’s line) “moving on.”
McConnell may have decided that he has gotten as much out of Trump as he can, and is now ready to kick him to the curb. But, moving on means McConnell and the Koch’s will find somebody else, smarter, cleaner, more devious, and more palatable to carry on the fight to establish an authoritarian one-party Christian nationalist state. That’s where they have been going for decades and where they will continue going, with Trump at the head or not.
Mitch McConnell (and McConnell’s wife), Bill Barr and others are making self-serving statements, so that they can live to fight another day. And, the corporate media is already complicit in laundering the reputations of prominent Republicans. Joe Scarborough is a prime example of someone who will happily criticize Trump (who threatened to out his adulterous affair, and who called Scarborough a murderer) and then turn around and laud Republicans who are complicit in advancing Republican goals while making superficial criticisms of Trump.
“I don’t regret the Supreme Court” should be tattooed on the foreheads of Mitch McConnell, Steve Schmidt, Joe Scarborough, Elise Jordan, Nicolle Wallace, Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey, Ben Sasse, John Bolton, George Conway, Bill Kristol, Michael Steele, Jeff Flake, Justic Amash, David Jolly?, John Kasich, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, Susan Collins, Richard Burr, James Lankford and many others.
Folks, these people are not our friends. They cannot be our allies. They have worked for decades to bring this situation about. They established the groundwork for this situation. They cannot plead ignorance and innocence now.
A lot of people were extremely upset with the Democratic leadership for loudly proclaiming on the one hand, that Trump presented a grave danger to the country and on the other, calmly informing us that they were going to wait over the weekend to start impeachment proceedings.
I was one of those people. This morning, turned on my computer to find that someone named Samantha Corbin was lecturing me about House rules. According to her, Democrats could not reconvene until Monday without Unanimous Consent and Kevin McCarthy was holding this up. So, I could just shut my uninformed mouth and stop carping.
Others who were disgusted with the Democrats were also lectured on Twitter their lack of understanding of House rules and procedures and chided for childish impatience.
This is so characteristic of the Democratic elite I just don’t know where to begin.
First of all, on the rules question. Corbin and evidently Pelosi’s daughter @sfpelosi (whose tweets I am prevented from seeing because she strictly limits access) presented this rule about reconvening as iron clad. The House could not reconvene until Monday, period. No way, no how without the unanimous consent of the House.
But, as other people in the Twitter discussion pointed out, it was simply impossible to believe that there was not a way around this rule. What happens, for example, if the House needs to meet on a Sunday because of a national emergency (which this is)? Are they sincerely telling us that under no circumstance can the House meet before Monday without unanimous consent?
And @MattGlassman312 contested Corbin and Peliso’s read of the rule. He wrote that was required was “consultation” with the minority leader, not consent, and definitely not unanimous consent.
So, there is a question of whether what Pelosi et. al. are asserting about the rule is even correct. And, even if it is correct, aren’t there ways around the rule? If Nancy Pelosi is the strategic genius her supporters (and her daughter) maintain she is, why hasn’t she figured out how to get around this rule? I would be willing to take a bet that if this rule was constraining Mitch McConnell he would have figured out a way around the rule or would simply violate the rule and worry about the consequences later.
And, as another person in the discussion pointed out, even with all this self-righteous lecturing about the rule, we don’t know whether Pelosi formally requested a weekend session and McCarthy objected or whether the Democratic elite were simply assuming that McCarthy would object and not bothering to even ask. One of the people in the discussion points out that a “statement would be helpful.” Ya think?
Pelosi et. al. are whining on Twitter about being misunderstood, receiving unfair criticism from ignorant people, but we wouldn’t even be in this position if the elite in the Democratic Party felt it in any way incumbent on them to explain to the American people what was going on.
For at least yesterday and today, Pelosi’s phone couldn’t be reached. The mailbox is full and nobody is answering. Now, if Nancy Pelosi sincerely wanted to know what the unwashed masses thought, she would arrange for her phones to be working and messages to be taken. But, the truth is that she doesn’t care.
If indeed the Democrats absolutely cannot convene until Monday, they should be all over the news explaining exactly why and who is holding them up. They aren’t. This is the very first time I have ever heard that the rules prevent them from convening and that McCarthy is holding them up.
Why, oh why, can’t the Democrats seem to understand that every time the Republicans obstruct them, pointing this out gains them political points? What’s so hard about that? Why can’t the Democrats bring themselves to tell the truth about their “colleagues?”
There is political advantage to be gained by first of all explaining what they are doing to the American people and second of all scoring points off the Republicans’ obstruction. They just won’t do it. You tell me why.
Part of the attitude seems to come from an unbelievable hubris that characterizes the Democratic elite and the absolute belief that a class of professionals who make an enormous amount of money for consulting and advising, know what’s best. They aren’t out there explaining to the rest of what they are doing because they don’t think they have to. They regard us as a necessary evil. It reminds me of that line in “The Postman Always Rings Twice” where the lawyer (Hume Croyn) says with sinister finality: “When I say I’m handling it, I’m handling it.” The Democratic elite doesn’t feel a need to explain. They don’t feel a need to answer their phones in a crisis. And, they get damn offended if anybody questions them.
Nancy Pelosi and her minions have managed to create this narrative that Pelosi is this genius strategist and that the rest of us just aren’t smart enough to understand the three-dimensional chess game she is playing. I have heard this mouthed by Mika Brzezinski and Jennifer Rubin, to name but two. The “she’s a genius” combined with a big chunk of “you’re just criticizing her because she’s a woman” intimidates a lot of people.
As another person in the twitter discussion (@RhiFionn) pointed out: “If you want understanding, explain what’s going on…”
The Attorney General of Texas was awaiting trial on securities fraud charges when he actively lobbied Donald Trump for a pardon. How can a man who has been charged with securities fraud and who used the powers of the office of the Attorney General to harass the enemies of his cronies, stay in power? And, now, after lobbying Trump for a pardon why is he still in office?
Under the category of “How we got here”
The DNC pushed new untried technology into the Iowa caucus process in 2020. The story was that the DNC wanted to know in real time exactly what the vote count was. But, the new technology was a disaster and the Iowa vote count was also a disaster. Because the new technology caused such a chaos, the win was not immediately announced and this left Pete Buttigieg a window to declare himself the winner.
The upshot of all this was to deny Bernie Sanders, who polls showed was going to win Iowa in a landslide, crucial momentum, and an untold amount of free publicity which would have come with a clear win.
The DNC has plead incompetence, which is, I suppose, better than admitting that they interfered in the process deliberately to deny Sanders a clear win.
And, it is important to remember that Pete Buttigieg quit the run for president and endorsed Biden right on cue, along with all the other corporate democrats. As a reward, Buttigieg has just been named Secretary of Transportation.
In talking about his fitness for the job, Buttigieg said that he had always liked transportation as a kid (had a train set?), and that he had proposed to his partner at an airport. You can’t make this up.
While corporate media pundits spend time interviewing each other about interviews they have done ( Lemon interviewing Tapper about his interview with Biden, dogs sniffing assholes) and touting their books (Maddow and Scarborough), Trump has dangerously upped the ante in the crime spree that has been the Trump/Republican administration. They are stealing billions from the American people and neither the corporate media nor the Democratic Party is screaming bloody murder as they should be.
As just one minor example of a story that should have been hammered for days, Trump, after getting rid of a top level of Pentagon officials, has appointed stooges (Lewandowski) who will facilitate the massive grifting of the federal government.
With this top layer of sycophants in place, it is being widely reported that (the devil himself) Erik Prince has been awarded a “classified contract” to take over military operations in Africa.
This move would help facilitate a long-pursued project of Prince’s to take over military operations for the U.S. government (he proposed doing so in Afghanistan) and for the Republicans to privatize the enormous defense budget every more than it’s already been farmed out to giant defense contractors.
It was reported that Prince proposed a take-over of the Afghanistan war to the Trump administration earlier in the year. It is not clear why he was turned down. He has come back with his hand out for part of the spoils being awarded by Trump and the Republicans.
In case you don’t remember, Erik Prince is the brother of Betsy de Vos. He was the founder of a mercenary contracting group that was unleashed in Iraq and wreaked so much uncontrolled, unfettered terror among the population, they finally had to prosecute Blackwater and some of his operatives.
Erik Prince is another of the multitude of people (Paul Manafort, Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump,Jr. Jared Kushner, Roger Stone, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, etc.) who would already have been in prison in 2016 if we had a functioning Justice Department which prosecuted white collar, corporate and political crimes (See “The Chickenshit Club” by Jesse Eisinger).
Also see Jeremy Skahill’s book about Blackwater and (the Devil) Erik Prince.
It is increasingly apparent to me that watching the corporate news will be as difficult over the next four years as it was over the last four.
Nicolle Wallace, one of the Never-Trumpers that the corporate Democrats love so much, just begged a reporter for information on Republicans who are likely to cooperate with the Democrats. The reporter cited SUSAN COLLINS as one of those likely Republicans. Susan Collins? If we are pinning our hopes on Susan f…ing Collins, we are in sad shape.
Wallace and the reporter spent ages discussing how “fascinating” watching the relationship between Biden and McConnell was going to be. It will be a real test, the reporter said, to see if Biden can move McConnell on “anything at all.”
There is no test here. And, Biden is wasting his time. McConnell is not going to cooperate with Joe Biden because Biden’s a nice guy. The Democrats essentially nominated and ran Biden not for any policy agenda, but because he was a “nice guy.” Well, I will just go out on a limb here and say that Mitch McConnell is not going to change the total obstruction that has characterized his entire leadership due to the power of Joe Biden’s personality.
Mitch McConnell, Bill Barr, Pompeo and others are on a mission. They perceive themselves to be fighting a war and that war didn’t end just because we were lucky enough to have Trump turned out because of mail-in ballots.
The entire Democratic nominating convention was a celebrity creation exercise. It had nothing to do with policy which was hardly mentioned. It was about creating and marketing a celebrity. Part of that process was trying to convince the consumer that the power of Biden’s personality was going to change politics in Washington.
I am afraid that Biden has come to believe his own hype and truly thinks that he’s going to walk into the Senate, put his arm around Mitch McConnell and say, “come on man” and McConnell is going to go down on his knees. It ain’t gonna happen. I’ll say it again. It ain’t gonna happen.
But corporate media hosts like Nicolle “I facilitated torture” Wallace will spend hours of valuable ideological real estate publicly wondering which Republicans are going to “cooperate” and the ins and outs of some kind of personal relationship between Biden and McConnell.
The corporate media and the Democratic Party still perpetuate the notion that Trump and the Republican Party are different. Biden has said that once Trump is gone, the Republicans are going to return to “normal.” The Republicans were completely willing to use Trump and his crazed supporters as a vehicle to advance their agenda. They are not going to stop advancing that agenda, not now, not when they are this close to establishing a one-party authoritarian state.
If Democrats think that the power of Biden’s personality is going to change what is, for Republicans, a holy war, they are delusional. But, I guess we already knew that.
Biden’s choice of Neera Tanden to head the Department of Management and Budget is yet another slap in the face of progressives and a further indication that progressives need to leave the Democratic Party.
As Briahna Joy Gray, a former press secretary for Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, tweeted about the nomination: “Everything toxic about the corporate Democratic Party is embodied in Neera Tanden.”
Since 2003, Tanden has been the head of what some in the media term a “left of center” think tank, the Center for American Progress. This think tank was supposedly established to counter more conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation.
But, according to article in Business Insider, “Tanden has come under scrutiny from some of her own colleagues over allegations that she censored employees who were critical of Israel while the organization attempted to build a stronger bond between the Democratic Party and the right-wing Israeli government. Under Tanden, the think tank shut down its independent journalistic arm, Think Progress…following its unionization.”
Former employees of CAP also criticized Tanden for using the think tank as more of a vehicle for her own ambition than an institution based on any left of center policy commitment. Tanden has openly opposed single payer health care, supported cuts in Social Security, and is friendly with Israel’s conservative leadership. That simply cannot be termed “left of center.”
Tanden is being nominated for this important position after having been a close advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 and 2016 presidential campaigns, both failures. And, she was closely involved with engineering the ACA, another notable policy failure.
But, Tanden is part of the entitled professional class surrounding Clinton and Obama who are being put back in government by Biden just as progressives warned. As Biden said in a speech to wealthy donors – “nothing will change.” That’s what progressives who were being badgered to vote for Biden feared, and that is what we are seeing.
The nomination of Tanden is yet another indication that the corporate elite in the Democratic Party have contempt for the progressive vote and are determined to block any meaningful social change.
“There are very few people who have been as aggressively critical — I would say sometimes obsessively critical — of the progressive left, and in particular of Bernie Sanders, than Neera,” a former senior Center for American Progress employee told Business Insider.
Tanden is already cynically using her supposedly deprived family background to try to evoke sympathy. She is saying that her family found it necessary to use the social services she will have an impact on funding. She is evidently using this argument as a way of placating the progressive wing of the party. But, this only means that her opposition to Medicare for All and adequate funding of Social Security is all the more ruthless and contemptuous of working families. She had to rely on these services herself, but that doesn’t mean she believes others are entitled to them.
Neera Tanden is part of a little mafia of women (Zerlina Maxwell, Jennifer Palmieri and others) who felt themselves entitled to win the presidency, entitled to be in the White House and livid that Bernie Sanders had the nerve to run against the Queen.
In addition, these women felt that they had some kind of right to the presidency because of gender. A question asked Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary sums it up. Yamiche Alcindor (who, after confronting Sanders, went from being a low level New York Times reporter to being on television every night and then hosting programs on NPR) asked Sanders if he didn’t think it was sexist to run against Clinton.
This little mafia ring of women never stopped blaming Sanders for all their own failures in the Clinton campaigns. And, they never missed an opportunity to slam and slander Sanders and his campaign in the corporate media.
Neera Tanden, as Gray says, is just the beginning and she illustrates everything that is wrong with the Democratic Party. The leadership in the Democratic Party is smug, entitled, vindictive, ruthless and bought up to the eyeballs by corporate money.
Mike Siegel, progressive candidate for the House in Texas is interviewed by Deconstructed. The district Siegel ran in was drawn to be permanently Republican through gerrymandering.
According to Siegel, the Democratic Party has a narrow range of issues it “recommends” their candidates run on. The Party does the research, the polling, and tell the candidate what they should do. If they receive any push back, it is possible for them to withdraw funds and ruin the campaign, so most candidates find themselves in a position to go along.
Party pollsters do the research and tell the candidate what the talking points are, what segment of the voting population the candidate should reach.
Organizing with poor people is a long difficult process and it doesn’t appeal to the donor class. As Siegal says, “We need to get out the non-voters.”
The Party, Siegal says is “too invested in conservative donors” These donors are “moderating the message” so that only an extremely narrow set of issues is ever talked about. “They (the party operatives) are cynical about democracy…”
Party consultants produce TV ads in a quick time frame. Then, they come to the candidate and say: Give me this many dollars, we can run this may ads, we can expect this much shift in the polling.
The consultants tell the candidates: We made 2,000 calls, these are the issues that matter. These are the issues you should stress. These are the talking points. As Siegel says, “it’s relatively conservative.”
The consultants do their research and say your issue is, for example, health care, these are the talking points.
As Siegel says of the party consultants: “They completely narrow what they think you can accomplish.”
If the candidate disagrees or tries to change the messaging of the campaign, the consultants say: “That doesn’t poll quite as well as health care.”
“At every point they (the consultants) push back against you.”
As Siegel points out, there are not pollsters and consultants who work with a populist message. There are no people you can hire who know how to run what Siegel calls a “left campaign.”
The framework, according to Siegel, is how can you raise and spend x dollars and change vote this much.
Siegel challenged one of the wealthiest members of congress, and had a lot of progressive support, but came up short.
Siegel says: “We need to do deep organizing.”
But, the take-away from the interview is that the Democratic Party, their donors and their elite consultants have no interest in “deep organizing.” Deep organizing takes time and money and an actual interest in the problems of working and lower class people. It involves demonstrating to people who have seen politicians come and go and their lives not change, that politics is important to them. The issue is demonstrating this, not just telling them.
Another problem is that the Democratic party is a party obsessed with technocratic solutions. One of the points that screams out from this interview with Siegel is that pollsters are dominating party strategy. These are the same pollsters who (based on their scientific models) predicted landslides in 2016 and 2020. Either their technology was wrong, or Republicans are systematically stealing elections through electronic voting manipulation. There are no other options. But, electronic voting manipulation is an issue that Democrats consistently refuse to talk about. In fact, just raising the issue provokes angry denials and even more angry accusations about the motivations of people who talk about the issue. It is the unspeakable topic.
The Party pollsters would rather point to their own failures in predicting the outcomes of the last two elections than admit that the vast difference between the poll numbers and the election results might be the product of cheating. There is a very good reason for this. If, in fact, Republicans are cheating, systematically, repeatedly then pollsters become irrelevant. The last thing they want to be is irrelevant because they would then be out of business.
So, the consultants and pollsters themselves acknowledge that their predictions have been wildly inaccurate, but they are still put in the position of essentially determining the way individual Democratic campaigns are run. How does this make sense?
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