Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: DNC 2016: Beyond weird, most of the way to scary

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  • Russell Brown,

    Wowzers. Respected liberal journal the American prospect is getting pretty terse with the Bernie-or-Bust contingent:

    When it was Sanders's turn to speak at the convention, his message was clear: “I am proud to stand with her.”

    Nevertheless, several Sanders delegates told MSNBC at the end of the day that they weren't yet ready to support Clinton. Delegates cited Clinton’s need to earn their “trust,” their anger that more Sanders supporters, despite receiving half the slots Monday, weren’t given more convention speaking roles, and their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement—even though Clinton is on record opposing the TPP. One particularly misguided Sanderista from Vermont complained that Sanders had been relegated to speaking last—when, in fact, his 10 p.m. slot, a prime time for the national audience, gave him the honor of closing the night.

    How many other Bernie-or-bust delegates (and their counterparts around the country) share this basic ignorance about how politics really works and what Clinton really espouses?

    Certainly the media are giving the Bernie-or-bust crowd much more attention than it deserves. This group represents no more than 10 percent of the Sanders delegates in Philadelphia, and probably even fewer. But news outlets can’t resist the dramatic story line of a convention and a party beset with internal conflict.

    As Sanders reminded the rabble-rousers in his speech, he may have lost the nomination, but he has won the battle of ideas. His presence in the Democratic campaign has pushed Clinton to the left on issues from the minimum wage to debt-free higher education, tougher Wall Street regulation, TPP opposition, and expanding Obamacare.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The implications of his tax proposals have never really had a major public airing, because he wasn’t the frontrunner, Clinton didn’t want to go hard and it suited Trump to pretend to sympathise with him. The Atlantic looked at it in February. It would have been a bloodbath.

    That Atlantic article appears to get a lot of things wrong, very simply and quickly, regarding the Sanders' tax plan.
    Eg:

    The taxes Sanders is calling for are in a different league from any peacetime Democratic candidate in history.

    Leaving aside how one defines 'peacetime' (the US has been engaged in near-perpetual war since at least 2001 - coupled with tax decreases) income tax under Roosevelt in the depression went from 25% in 1925 and finally to 24% in 1929. In 1932 the top marginal tax rate was increased to 63% during the Great Depression
    And talking about Sanders' single payer health-care as a massive tax increase when most economists agree it would decrease the overall cost of healthcare in the US is beyond disingenuous.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Zach Bagnall,

    Presidential terms becoming entrenched at 8 years is making campaigns more fraught, I feel. When each administration is going to be there for half a generation, the stakes are high. The last single term president was Bush (Senior).

    Colorado • Since Nov 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    And talking about Sanders’ single payer health-care as a massive tax increase when most economists agree it would decrease the overall cost of healthcare in the US is beyond disingenuous.

    What’s not disingenuous is thinking about how big tax increases play out in an election campaign. Yes, overall healthcare costs would decrease, and yes, many individuals would be better off with big tax increases and big reductions in healthcare costs. But campaigning on a platform that promises big tax increases is a sure way to provide extraordinary ammunition to your opponents. The problem is not necessarily the tax increases per se, it is the politics of campaigning on big tax increases.

    Being idealistic and hoping for extraordinary change is great, and we need those ideals in order to keep on pushing us in better and better directions. But we need a big dose of pragmatism too: what do we need to do in order to be elected?

    I want both: the ideals, and the on-going pragmatism to work with people to get elected and actually get the opportunity to do things.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Deborah,

    I want both: the ideals, and the on-going pragmatism to work with people to get elected and actually get the opportunity to do things.

    And the Democrats appear to be getting both, with Sanders there explicitly to push the envelope and get ideas on the table, and Clinton to run the middle of the road path and win the election. Hopefully by a landslide, because while some might deride Saunders as a wingnut... on the other side they don't appear to have wings, just nuts. The scary thing with the media narrative is that they're trying to reinforce and normalise the idea that there's a big mass of Sauders-Supporters-for-Trump voters. I don't believe everyone in the US media is too stupid to see that.

    Rob, I've seen numbers that suggest the USA has been "not in active conflict" for about 10 years since it was founded, most of those more than a century ago. One of the problems of running an empire is that there's always someone, somewhere, who's angry with you.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1229 posts Report Reply

  • Zach Bagnall,

    Someone's got to figure out a way to sell Medicare For All to a population with Stockholm syndrome for health insurance and an allergy to federal tax. Higher tax - health insurance premium - deductible - outrageous overcharging throughout the system = more health and more money in yer pocket.

    On November 8, Colorado is voting on whether to adopt a single-payer healthcare scheme dubbed ColoradoCare. The misinformation circulating it is super depressing. Even Democrats are campaigning against it.

    Colorado • Since Nov 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Deborah,

    But campaigning on a platform that promises big tax increases is a sure way to provide extraordinary ammunition to your opponents. The problem is not necessarily the tax increases per se, it is the politics of campaigning on big tax increases.

    I think a particular problem is that the benefits are back-loaded – people would see across-the-board tax increases before they got any upside. You'd also be asking people to walk away from their existing coverage to get that benefit, and we saw the resistance to that with Obamacare.

    As others have pointed out, Republicans have dishonestly campaigned on supposed Democratic tax increases for years – they've been able to convince many voters that their taxes will go up when they won't. In this case, they'd have the advantage of it being true.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Just now, from Bernie Sanders at the convention:

    "I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the Democratic nominee for president of the United States."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Zach Bagnall,

    Yep, that was smooth.

    Colorado • Since Nov 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Autism isn’t an “epidemic” and it’s not caused by bad food.

    Vaccines, innit. (I'll go get my hat...)

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2932 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Leaving aside how one defines 'peacetime' (the US has been engaged in near-perpetual war since at least 2001

    The US has been engaged in perpetual war since 1942. The military-industrial complex didn't happen overnight in 1958 when Eisenhower warned about its growing power.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2932 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Just now, from Bernie Sanders at the convention:

    "I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the Democratic nominee for president of the United States."

    That's the man I salute, as much for this as for anything else. Love to have him in the White House, but glad he's having an impact wherever he is.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2932 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Cubey,

    This New Yorker piece on Gary Johnson is fascinating.

    Wellington • Since May 2008 • 66 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Zach Bagnall,

    Presidential terms becoming entrenched at 8 years is making campaigns more fraught, I feel. When each administration is going to be there for half a generation, the stakes are high. The last single term president was Bush (Senior).

    Meh.

    Since the amendment's adoption, four presidents have served two full terms: Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. Barack Obama has been elected to a second term, and will complete his term on 20 January 2017, if he does not die or resign before that date. Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush sought a second term, but were defeated. Richard Nixon was elected to a second term, but resigned before completing it. Lyndon B. Johnson was the only president under the amendment to be eligible to serve more than two terms in total, having served for only fourteen months following John F. Kennedy's assassination. However, Johnson withdrew from the 1968 Democratic Primary, surprising many Americans. Gerald Ford sought a full term, after serving out the last two years and five months of Nixon's second term, but was not elected.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_the_United_States#Tenure_and_term_limits

    It's easier for an incumbent to be re-elected than a challenger to break in. Johnson would probably have been re-elected (despite the war) in 1968 over Nixon, but he could not stand again under the 22nd Amendment.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2932 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Mark Cubey,

    This New Yorker piece on Gary Johnson is fascinating

    Yes, I've been watching him. Not a snowball's chance in hell (probably less than Stein) but he may prove a safety valve for Republicans who can't stand voting for Trump and can't bear to vote for Clinton.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2932 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden, in reply to nzlemming,

    It’s easier for an incumbent to be re-elected than a challenger to break in. Johnson would probably have been re-elected (despite the war) in 1968 over Nixon, but he could not stand again under the 22nd Amendment.

    Actually he could have stood for election again, because he served only the final 14 months of Kennedy's term. Here is the language of the relevant amendment:

    "Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term."

    However, in a nationally televised address on March 31, 1968, Johnson announced " "I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President."

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Joe Boden,

    Actually he could have stood for election again, because he served only the final 14 months of Kennedy's term. Here is the language of the relevant amendment:

    Oh really? I thought he was there longer. Huh. Retract. Thanks, Joe.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2932 posts Report Reply

  • Biobbs, in reply to nzlemming,

    Oh really? I thought he was there longer. Huh. Retract. Thanks, Joe.

    I think the wording of the Wikipedia article is slightly misleading. What they meant was, he served 14 months of Kennedy's term, plus a full four-year term of his own (1964-68), making him still eligible to run again in 68. Had he served two years of Kennedy's term instead of 14 months, then he would not have been eligible in 68.

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to nzlemming,

    Yes, I’ve been watching him. Not a snowball’s chance in hell (probably less than Stein)

    I think I saw a poll where he was running at 10% vs Stein's 5%, so he may have a better chance of reaching the 15% benchmark for admission to the debates than her.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I think I saw a poll where he was running at 10% vs Stein’s 5%, so he may have a better chance of reaching the 15% benchmark for admission to the debates than her.

    Stein doesn't have a hope in hell. The Green Party isn't even on the ballot in a number of states, and is nothing at all like the properly organized Green Party here in NZ or in Australia.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden, in reply to Biobbs,

    I think the wording of the Wikipedia article is slightly misleading. What they meant was, he served 14 months of Kennedy’s term, plus a full four-year term of his own (1964-68), making him still eligible to run again in 68. Had he served two years of Kennedy’s term instead of 14 months, then he would not have been eligible in 68.

    That's right. Had Gerald Ford won in 1976, he would not have been eligible to run again in 1980 as he had served 2 years and 5 months of Nixon's second term. But the small matter of Ford pardoning Nixon on 8 September 1974 took care of the 1976 election.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Deborah,

    What’s not disingenuous is thinking about how big tax increases play out in an election campaign.

    Sure. But there's got to be a way - because MOST VOTERS would be BETTER OFF in terms of money in their pockets. Call the 'tax increase' better and cheaper health insurance ... ?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to nzlemming,

    Leaving aside how one defines ‘peacetime’ (the US has been engaged in near-perpetual war since at least 2001

    The US has been engaged in perpetual war since 1942.

    I wrote 'pretty much forever'. Then thought: NEVER WRITE ANYTHING ON THE INTERNET YOU'RE NOT WILLING TO SPEND HOURS DEFENDING WITH RESEARCH, YOU DILAPIDATED GOOSE.
    Yeah, I sometimes shout at myself. It's necessary - I'm subject to selective deafness :)
    But what Sanders does that no-one else in US politics dares - at all, I can think of - is explicitly tie some of American's sense of the world getting worse and their lives collapsing to the endless clamour for tax cuts.
    All while Donald Trump straight up lies that the US is 'the most heavily taxed nation on earth.'

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I think I saw a poll where he was running at 10% vs Stein’s 5%,

    He’s starting to poll above 10%. 538 puts Johnson at 10% currently. But I’ve seen 12 somewhere. No money, but a small chance he’ll get on the ballot.
    He also says he’ll give up the pot during the campaign and continue if elected president. "I want to be completely on top of my game, all cylinders."

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Johnson,

    The word “feel” is a word that has no worth in true modern political discussion. But it’s a feel versus fact election and a young generation of voters who see through a southparkian blur of politics that said subject is so soiled, they see no reason to participate, backed up by a russell brand type coolness of surrendering democracy.

    hamilton • Since Mar 2016 • 99 posts Report Reply

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