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Joe BidenCongratulations to our presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden!

Mon Feb 3, 2020, 05:08 PM

 

The realist's lament.

A couple of years ago, I was chair of the faculty assembly for my college. We were facing some unusual challenges that year - possible efforts to break the college up, major turnover in the offices of the provost and dean, and some quasi-union-related conflicts.

At one point, someone who felt very strongly about a particular cause stood up, pointed at me, and shouted, "You.....you realist!"

I've always thought it best to work in the real world. Yes, I want the world to be better. And yes, I'm working to improve it. But that doesn't allow me to ignore the world as it is. Like I once said of a colleague, "his strength is an ability to think outside the box. His weakness is forgetting where the box is." So although the person who called me a realist presumably meant it as a perjorative, I was flattered.

A lot of us want change. Gerrymandering has to end. Citizens United has to be overturned. The Electoral College shouldn't be a thing anymore. And the two-party system, as it currently exists, is strangling the country.

Countries with parliamentary systems often have multiple parties. This means voters are better represented by their elected officials, but it can also lead to instability if one party can't form a majority. If the coalition built to form a government collapses, so does the government itself.

In the US, the parties are the coalitions. The Democratic Party, in my lifetime at least (but see below), has been a coalition of progressives, intellectuals, labor, and (for the most part) African-American and Latinx voters. These parties can destabilize (e.g. when Dixiecrats became Republicans), but by and large, they're more stable. This is good.

But this also means people at the distal ends of the ideological spectra tend to be marginalized. Which, if you're closer to the center, isn't necessarily a bad thing, until one of the parties falls into a death spiral created by talk radio loudmouths, gets pulled way to the far right, and refuses to cooperate with the other party. And the center begins to look more and more like the left. Stability becomes stasis.

All of this is central to the thinking of many people I know. They support certain primary (or, in my state, caucus) candidates because they promise to "shake things up." And more than a few are suggesting they might abstain from the general election or cast a protest vote if the primaries don't go their way.

Herein lies my dilemma. I am very sympathetic to what they say. We need to shake up the two-party system. But that won't work unless both parties are shaken up at the same time. Try to bring down the DNC, and the result isn't a more progressive Democratic Party - it's a much stronger and emboldened Republican Party, along with efforts to bring the Democratic Party closer to the center.

So I find myself begging these people - many are good friends - to be realistic. Some of these candidates are never going to be president. It doesn't matter whether I like these people or agree with some of their policies. They're never going to be president, and all of the highfalutin' speechmaking they make won't change any of that.

How do I reach out to these people? How do I get them to see we're all in this together? That a less progressive candidate may not accomplish as much as we want, but it's better than getting nothing we want? That incrementalism is bloody slow, but it's the only approach that works?

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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Reply The realist's lament. (Original post)
cab67 Feb 2020 OP
Sloumeau Feb 2020 #1
redqueen Feb 2020 #2
squirecam Feb 2020 #3
calimary Feb 2020 #4

Response to cab67 (Original post)

Mon Feb 3, 2020, 05:43 PM

1. Nothing helps me more to convince people of political things than knowing political history.

 

There are four sets of Democratic Party presidential primaries that every Democratic Moderate should be familiar with during this primary. They are as follows:

[link:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Democratic_Party_presidential_primaries|]

[link:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Democratic_Party_presidential_primaries|]

[link:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1972_United_States_presidential_election|]

[link:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_Democratic_Party_presidential_primaries|]


The 2016 Primaries will help you to understand where we can expect a candidate like Bernie Sanders to be stronger and weaker, and it will help you to understand where you can expect a candidate like Joe Biden to be stronger and weaker. You would use Bernie Sanders as the model for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton as the model for Joe Biden. Things will not be exactly the same. Bernie has a competitor for the leftmost political lane in the form of Elizabeth Warren, and Biden has a ton of competitors for the Central Moderate lane. Yet, the 2016 Democratic primaries will help you to understand how things will should go this year.

The 1992 Democratic primaries will show you that a candidate like Joe Biden does not have to win either Iowa or New Hampshire in order to win the nomination. Bill Clinton won neither Iowa or New Hampshire, but he won the nomination because he was strong in the South and strong with African Americans--Just like Joe Biden is.

The 1968 and 1972 primaries in some way mirror the 2016 and 2020 primaries. In 1968, the Democrats lost an extremely close General Election, just like in 2016. Then the Democratic Party, under the guidance of George McGovern, made changes to how the primaries worked, just as Sanders supporters pushed and got changes for the Democratic Primary system after the 2016 election. In 1972, the young more liberal Democrats voted for McGovern. The Moderates tended to vote for Humphrey. The Conservative Southern Racists voted for Wallace. McGovern only got about 25% of the vote, but he became the nominee. He was the choice of the youngest voters and the most liberal voters. In this primary, Bernie Sanders is the choice of the youngest and leftmost voters. You can look up the 1972 Presidential Election at the link below to see what happened the last time that the youngest and most liberal voters picked the nominee:

[link:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1972_United_States_presidential_election|]







If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Mon Feb 3, 2020, 05:47 PM

2. Why are you in a rush to change their mind?

 

If their chosen candidate is so unfeasible then just wait till they drop out and then try to win them over.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Mon Feb 3, 2020, 05:47 PM

3. You tell them the truth

 

Sometimes it hurts.

But tp or staying home isn’t an option.

You don’t need to be excited for a candidate this year. You just need to be angry enough to vote out trump.

We can return to the merits of policy positions when the threat to our democracy and rule of law is gone.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Mon Feb 3, 2020, 06:10 PM

4. I hear ya.

 

I remember when the young people were utterly enraptured by George McGovern. En masse. He had their hearts. They were crazy in love. He was absolutely positively IT.

And McGovern won the nomination.

And McGovern went on to LOSE 49 STATES. Including his own (South Dakota)! He carried ONE state: true blue Massachusetts, and also Washington DC.

So how’d that hot romance with the relentless blue team renegade “lefty” maverick work out for us all? We got another four years of Nixon.

I’ve already been through that, my friends. Many of us in our 60s and 70s have personally watched that play out. I don’t claim to speak for others in my age-peer group but I DO know I DO NOT want to go through it again. It absolutely positively sucked. I freakin’ DREAD it happening again. Unfortunately I see the same thing starting to play out again. I DO NOT want history to repeat itself.

It did teach me something that I think is perhaps the most valuable lesson I personally have ever learned: whenever it comes to “head versus heart” decisions, I always go where my head tells me to. My heart can very easily be led astray (and in many really important crossroad points, it almost did - which would have resulted in a freakin’ nightmare each time). I’ve learned, for me, always trust the head. For me, it’ll be head-over-heart EVERY time.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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