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Why I Am Not On Bernie Sanders Bandwagon

April 1, 2016

First, and foremost I think about politics, policy, and how government should work each time I sit down to blog.  I have been quite dismayed over the past months with the Bernie Sanders campaign and some of his backers on Facebook who state they can not support a nominee other than Sanders in the general election.

Needless to say it is those types of comments which add weight to the mature voices in the Democratic Party who speak of pragmatism.  At the end of this process Sanders and his adoring fans will be left with some campaign bunting and a memory that wanes over time.

But what I desire for my nation and my party–a party Sanders only recently joined and now wants to radically change–is a victory this fall by a Democrat for the White House.

I want to win.

Over the weeks I have taken to this blog to register my unease with Sanders and what he is doing by elongating this nominating process.  Sanders has exactly zero chance of securing the nomination but can harm the eventual Democratic nominee by his actions.   But since he is not a Democrat what the hell does he care?

This week I posted that Democrats need to ask if Sanders is not the modern-day Gene McCarthy?  My blog post was picked up and linked by the Capital Times.

History shows what happened when a failed candidate and his youthful, but short-sighted followers, failed to support the eventual nominee.  Richard Nixon won the White House, expanded the Vietnam War, undermined the Constitution with all the crimes that fall under the term Watergate, faced articles of impeachment, and resigned.

Those words are simply the truth as history clearly proves.

Today Paul Fanlund, Editor of the Capital Times, nails if perfectly in a column as to why he has differences with the Bernie Sanders campaign.  I absolutely concur with his words and sentiments.  He too echoes back to the time when Nixon won due to short-sighted reasoning.

Even in liberal Madison, many progressives regard Clinton as the logical successor to Obama, and more importantly, as the candidate with the widest general election appeal. Some of us remember how Richard Nixon got elected president in 1968 because liberals just couldn’t get excited about Hubert Humphrey. The result? The Vietnam War — and the military draft — went on for years. 

That brings me to Ralph Nader, who, like Sanders, remains a darling of the far left for his ideological purity.

Four decades ago, I recall my unbridled admiration as I heard Nader speak in person on Capitol Hill. Nader was already a celebrated consumer advocate and I was in graduate school in Washington, D.C.

But today, I could hardly be more disdainful of Nader.

In a recent opinion column in the Washington Post, Nader defended Sanders against criticism by Democratic leaders after the senator said he was running as a Democrat to raise money — not, apparently, out of affinity for party principles.

Think about that: Sanders apparently believes he has the charisma and the message to recreate a party substantially to the left of the one that’s been led by Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. That party is apparently the one Nader sneeringly refers to in the Post as the “corporatist, hawkish establishment.”

In that column, Nader also described himself as “one of the more successful third-party presidential candidates in recent U.S. history.”

Yes, Nader’s right, if your definition of success is depriving Democrat Al Gore of enough votes in 2000 to defeat George W. Bush. That Bush victory, in turn, delayed action against global warming, brought the unspeakable carnage and ongoing quagmire in Iraq and helped set the stage for a financial crisis unmatched since the Great Depression.

That is not my definition of success.

With true believers such as Nader and Sanders leading the way, you say you want a revolution?

You can count me out.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2016 6:30 PM

    I’ve got nothing against Obamacare. In fact, I think it’s well past time that our government worked to ensure health care for all Americans. But I’m one of those people who played by the rules (put myself through college, never took public assistance). Ditto for my wife. We’re nearing retirement now and the future looks bleak. We can’t afford any more of the status quo. We won’t survive it.

  2. April 2, 2016 5:16 PM

    I understand your words and the angst that exists in the land. But I also think the outrage is used as a campaign tool by both Trump and Sanders to paint the very worst about darn near everything. The trade deals are only spoken of with revulsion to the exclusion of being honest about how they also improve lives. Health care is reviled even though under Obama a massive footstep was made to improve lives and coverage. I could list other items. There is not now–nor has there ever been– a perfect candidate or a simple way to get all we want from government. But to listen to both sides over the past months would make one think we have slipped into a dark hole. And that is not representative of the facts.

  3. April 2, 2016 4:04 PM

    With all due respect, Gregory… a lot of us still remember how Bill Clinton deregulated the banks and rammed NAFTA through Congress. That really hurt the working class. You’re from a working background so I’m sure you know what I mean. Hillary is just more of the same. She isn’t going to come down on Wall Street and you know it. She isn’t going to shake up the status quo. Well, a lot of us are sick of seeing our dreams (which we WORKED HARD FOR) swirl down the bathtub drain. Bernie Sanders and The Donald were created by politicians who ignore us and work to prop up the status quo, year after year after year. To hell with them all.

  4. April 2, 2016 12:49 PM

    The time to make demands in 1968 was at the convention. Once Humphrey was the nominee it was time to think long-term. No one is discounting the war that was raging or the need to end it. But there was nothing to gain—NOTHING–by allowing the party to be weakened and the GOP to prevail.

    As to this area for the April primary—there is not enough patchouli and prayer that can save it.

  5. Solly permalink
    April 2, 2016 12:31 PM

    Yeah Gene was really being selfish for making some demands for his endorsement. What was it? A seat in front for the inauguration? A bag of presidential seal m&ms from Air Force 1? Um, no, an end to the war in Viet Nam. An end to an unfair draft system which allowed the sons of the privileged and connected and chicken-hearted-hawks like Dick Cheney to avoid service while the sons of minorities and factory workers and miners and the poor went to war. An end to the corrupt political system (sound familiar) where party bosses and big donors chose a man who didn’t place himself before the voters but depended on Mayor Daley to bash enough heads to keep things under control. Watching, I was proud of the Wisconsin delegation who stuck to their principles and decried the scenes from Prague West and Abraham Ribicoff calling out the gestapo tactics being used by the police. I guess they should have made a motion to nominate the Hump by acclimation, sung Kumbaya and then gotten ready for no movement on Viet Nam. Maybe we’d even still be there, breaking the Afghanistan record. Yeah, good ol’ Gene, he sure was selfish.
    With regard to your first retort, you reply to a suggestion of cherry picking by getting out the old Door County cherry picker to shake another state out of the tree, ignoring the pile of states Gore’s inept campaign failed to carry after he and Bubba did the two times before without any influence by Nader.
    But I really think you and Paul Fanlund should take a handful of Hillary brochures and each take a side of Jennifer St. and tell the people how Bernie has no business in the race and they should drop their naïveté and be enthusiastic about it. We’ll check results on the 6th Ward on Wednesday.

  6. April 2, 2016 11:20 AM

    There is also the way you seem to easily dismiss that once a nominee is selected by a party there is a need for all those who failed to get the prize to then fall in line for the sake of the party. You make my point that McCarthy was acting in a shameful way. The sake for some promises about policy moves in the general election seemed more important to Gene then thinking what the long-term harm might be should the opposition win the WH. We have both worked in government and we know looking in through the windows at those seated where the powerful make the decisions is not very useful. Half of a loaf is better then no loaf. That is not a hard lesson to understand but this past week with the likes of Sarandon making her statement I do wonder what will happen this fall.

  7. April 2, 2016 11:14 AM

    Or it can be viewed another way with the use of facts. Nader won enough votes in two states — Florida and New Hampshire — to put either of them in Gore’s column. Nader won 97,488 votes in Florida, which easily could have swung the election to give Gore the state’s 25 electoral votes, and there would have been no need for a recount. Even without Florida, adding Nader’s 4 percent of the New Hampshire vote to Gore’s 47 percent would have given Gore a 270 to 267 victory in the electoral college.

  8. Solly permalink
    April 1, 2016 10:30 PM

    A previous commenter on your blog did a pretty good job disproving the idea that Nader cost Gore the election in 2000. https://dekerivers.wordpress.com/2016/01/21/what-i-would-tell-democratic-voters-in-iowa-and-new-hampshire/ So when I read you repeating the same idea by Paul Fanlund (a not very good writer for the Cap Times) it smacks of Faux News repeating what they know is not true to support a weak argument. Here is the pertinent comment: “and in West Virginia, which the Dems carried in 14 out of 17 elections since 1932, except for the Ike, Nixon and Reagan landslides, Shrub won by 41,000 and Nader had 10,000 votes and wasn’t a factor. Bore would have won with those electoral votes. Or, Bore’s home state of Tennessee, which Shrub won by 80,000 votes and Nader took 19,000+. But to cherry pick one state’s results and blame it on Nader voters in Florida is kinda piss poor and disingenuous analysis. Plus the fact that Buchanan most likely took 17,500 votes from Bush, more than the margin of victory in Florida. But, the people who engineer blah candidates and then tell voters to choose Tweedle Dee or lump it like to deflect responsibility. To put a finer point on it, one of the reasons generally given for Gore losing WV, AR, TN, OH, NH and some others (as well as losing the House and Senate) was the gun control measures implemented during the Clinton terms. ”
    Oh, and maybe Pauly Fanlund should remember this about liberals and HHH in 1968: McCarthy held out on endorsing HHH because he wanted him to “shift his stance on the Vietnam War, a change of the military draft, and a reform of the Democratic machine politics. Humphrey discussed the demands with McCarthy via telephone, and responded that he was “not prone to start meeting conditions.” [Eugene’s Stand Saddens HHH”, The Daily Collegian (University Park, PA) 69 (16), October 10, 1968, p. 4] Humphrey finally broke with LBJ’s policies and McCarthy endorsed him a week before the election. Let’s place the blame where it belongs, not with the liberals hesitant to support HHH who espoused LBJ’s policies until it was too late. And Fanlund blames Nader for Bush and the Iraq war. Um, how about his co-dependent and enabler, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who voted for the war as a U.S. Senator!
    A much better editorial in the Cap Times appeared here: http://host.madison.com/ct/opinion/editorial/editorial-this-sanders-clinton-race-is-healthy-for-progressive-ideals/article_8b3f2d70-1b9b-5d8d-b40c-c7554e0621bb.html
    BUT, then I realized this isn’t Deke’s repetition of faulty logic, false assertions and gobbledygook, it’s his idea of an April Fools joke to get his fact-based readers all worked up. Good one Deke!!!

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