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February 25, 2016


Peter G

I'm still not sure about this money thing. I don't think Sanders could win mind but his favorables reflect the fact most Clinton supporters have at least a grudging admiration for Bernie if not an active liking. This does not seem to be well reciprocated with a significant portion of Bernie's base. Who thinks Bernie's favorables among Democrats vis-a-vis Clinton will maintain this happy state as the primary campaign continues?

Tom Benjamin

His favourables will start to fall when it becomes clear that he cannot win the nomination. If he continues to attack Clinton and the Democratic party after it becomes clear he can't win more than a handful of states, I think a lot of the admiration for him will drift away.

Tom Benjamin

For as long as I have followed politics - 1960 was my first election - white male progressives have always focused on the class struggle. If that battle is won, they say, everything else will follow. Equal rights for women, or even civil rights were progressive causes, but victories in those spheres didn't really change anything as long as the plutocrats ruled.

Thus Hillary is not a real progressive because her career has mostly been devoted to women's issues. Equal pay is a woman's issue. Racism is a black issue. The class struggle is the only true progressive issue. Blacks think the system is rigged, but from where they sit, Wall Street is not the enemy. The white establishment and white privilege is what does the rigging. Women think sexism is political.

Bernie Sanders - like most progressive males - believes blacks, Hispanics and women would support Bernie's stand against the plutocrats and let their issues slide if only they understood his program. All they have to do is listen and learn and they will put their issues on the back burner for Bernie's one trick pony. Bernie and his troops don't even realize how insulting that is to blacks or women.

I suspect this is because for the white male progressive, the class struggle is safe. They aren't rich. They aren't responsible for income inequality. But misogyny or racism? White males - even progressive ones - share responsibility and guilt for misogyny and racism. One can dislike both woman and people of color and support Bernie. One can support Bernie's agenda and still think institutional racism and sexism is bullshit.


General election polls are meaningless at this point, and something as subjective as feelings for a candidate are less than meaningless. The reason to vote for Bernie in the primaries is to continue pulling the Democratic Party left. If they're allowed to just waltz into the White House with no obligations put on Hillary there's a good chance we'll be seeing them abandon much of Obama's progress and return to their decades long morph into the Republican Lite Party.


Are you trying to make an argument that Bernie's supporters are racists? I commend your novelty, but would point out that Rep. Keith Ellison, Lucia McBat, Spike Lee, Cornel West, Sen. Vincent Fort, Rep. Justin T. Bamberg, Danny Glover and about 1/3 of the black population of SC, just to name a few, wouldn't agree.

Marc McKenzie

I don't believe that Tom was saying that about all of Bernie's supporters, Bob--but he did make a very legitimate point.

That said, there are far more AA supporters for Hillary. And for the love of God, do not include Cornell West--he has hated President Obama since 2009 and his statements about Obama drip with racism.

Unless, of course, you think that West's statement that Obama is America's first "niggerized" President is valid.

Marc McKenzie

...there's a good chance we'll be seeing them abandon much of Obama's progress and return to their decades long morph into the Republican Lite Party.

I strongly disagree. From where I see it, it appears that Bernie plans to abandon much of the progress made by Obama. And to be brutally honest, some of Sanders' supporters already consider Obama--arguably one of our most progressive Presidents--as "Republican-lite" Even thought the GOP has done everything to stop him. And if Hillary is also a Republican, then explain why the GOP hates her.


It seems fairly straightforward that some minority members agree with Bernie's case for change and some feel loyal to the Clintons. West, I'd agree he has an edgy persona, is an intellectual and probably therefore more open to the socialist outlook. Since I'm not black I don't feel qualified to criticize his critique and simply see it as a data point.

I'm not quite sure what Tom is getting at. That's why my answer started in the form of a question. According to some definitions I'm not white myself, but I'm white enough to have lived my entire adult life as a white male progressive. Legal equality for all has always been a concern. Class struggle is part of the package. The '60's civil rights and anti-war activists were in part concerned with the allocation of wealth. After all, it's hard to be equal if you're poor, and the military-industrial complex soaks up a lot of wealth, often to bad effect. Bernie was associated with the civil rights movement.


What progress by Obama does Bernie want to undo? If you mean change the ACA into a "Medicare for all" system, please explain how that's a step backwards.

I agree some of Sanders' supporters are ignorant. Please name the pol who has no ignorant supporters.

Gosh, the Republicans all hate each other for not being pure enough. Why wouldn't they hate a Republican Lite and in particular one who's married to a guy that made them crazy?

Peter G

Are we talking Senator Sanders from about the whitest state in the US or presidential candidate Sanders. The latter did not hesitate to vote with the Republicans to kill immigration reform and very specifically state that he didn't want "those' people driving down wages or taking American jobs. Which became at president running time a valiant attempt to protect those same people from slavery in the US. In between was Senator Sanders trying to get the slavery program extended to the dairy industry in his state.

Bernie is like any other politician. His firmly held beliefs can be quite flexible as required by re-election strategy. Bernie did indeed get a few votes among the black population. But when superdelegates become the decider he won't have many among the black congressional Democrats. Because they all have just such a vote. Now Bernie might do one of two things with those superdelegates. He can rail against the undemocratic existence of superdelegates or try to persuade them to switch their votes which they can do at any time. If I know my purists it'll be railing time. I am dying to see how he handles this issue. You see they won't really give a shit if he wants to disenfranchise them no matter how noble he claims his aims might be. And they very much are part of the despised Democratic establishment.

Tom Benjamin

No, I'm not. I'm saying there has always been a schism in the Progressive wing of the Democratic party. Back in the 60's blacks had race and the war. Women had the ERA and the war. White men had the class struggle and the war. It was the war that united them.

White males have always mostly given short shrift to the other two issues - they support the right side, but it was never a political issue to them because there is nothing in those issues for them. Also because they are white and because they are male. Their demographic is part of the problem and their privilege is what is being challenged by both feminism and by civil rights.

Their interests are best served by focusing like a laser on the single issue while tending to leave feminism to the women and anti-racism to the blacks. They define progressive by their attachment to the class struggle issue. Or at least this is my experience.

Racist and sexist are both too strong, but they are frequently tone deaf. Bernie was surprised by the BLM movement. His program is the best program for blacks, he thinks, and so as soon as they understand him, they will be with him. In fact most blacks don't give a shit about Wall Street. The income inequality they care about is between blacks and whites. Their single biggest issue is they want cops to stop killing and jailing their kids.

The core of Bernie's case is that trillions of dollars has been transferred from the (mostly white) middle class to the (almost entirely white) top 1%. How does that resonate with blacks?

Bernie is a feminist, his supporters say, so it doesn't matter whether we actually see a female president. Some day it will happen, they assure women. Just not now.

Tom Benjamin

I don't think he has pulled the party to the left. And his most effective issue by far is campaign financing. The party hates him for this because he knows there is nothing the party can do about it even as they agree with him.

Second, this Republican lite stuff is nonsense. You know where the country was in 1992. Obama would have been pasted. More government? Tilt left? That was a non-starter not because Democrats opposed it. It was a non-starter because the American people opposed it. Ross Perot. In 1992, Bernie would have been laughed out of the Democratic race.

Bill Clinton was never an ideologue. He was always about winning. Say what you want about his failings during those years, Bill Clinton felt pretty fucking good to me after 12 years of Republicans.

What has changed is that Barack Obama pulled the country to the left. He's made more room for the entire party, including Bernie.


Thank you for clarifying, Tom. I agree with most of what you write but would add that the divisions between civil rights groups were never as deep as you might think. The fight for both blacks and women included a lot of white men. There were also a lot of men and women of color that protested the Vietnam war. What we all had in common was being treated badly by the government. Look up some of the old video news coverage.

Not that good intentions can't always go bad. One lesson white progressives took from the struggles of the 60's and 70's is how much it sucks to be poor. What followed was not always helpful.


Since the war and Southern wings of the Democratic Party eventually destroyed it, Clinton does get some credit for putting it back together in a form that won elections. That said, DLC Democrats were only different from Republicans in degree. The Telecommunications act finished what revoking the Fairness Doctrine started. The Omnibus Crime Bill needs no further mention. Welfare reform is now indefensible, as is the Financial Services Modernization Act and other deregulation, DOMA and on and on.

The left base feels betrayed by Obama too, though in my opinion they don't have good reason. Pretending they're just being stupid is pointless. Hillary has moved left because of Bernie. It's been written about extensively. Here's one example that seems appropriate here:

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