Naomi Klein: Forget Bernie vs Warren and Focus on Beating Biden

Centrist Democrats and Wall St. would like NOTHING more than to see Warren and Sanders’ camps go at it, debilitating each others’ campaigns. Naomi Klein’s message: We can’t let that happen. The 1%, the corporatocracy and the centrist wing of the DP realize that either candidate represents a legitimate threat to them so the battle is not Warren vs. Sanders, but both vs Biden.

NM Congressional Delegation Introduces Bill Seeking Huge Increase in Federal Funding to Resolve Aamodt Decision.  La Jicarita reported yesterday that there is an effort to restart the Aamodt process with funding that would significantly expand the capacity to implement the Aamodt decision. La Jicarita’s post includes comments from advocates and stakeholders on both sides of the dispute and from local and national politicos and lays out the financial impact if this becomes law. At the very least, it demonstrates that our delegation understands what is required to get this done and with a change in administrations in 2020, would be something very doable.  Click here to review the La Jicarita post. This would seem to be good news, but this is an issue that is out of my depth. I’ll be interested to hear from one of our readers, Devin Bent, who has followed this closely.

More Breaking News:  A big win for Rio Arriba county progressives.. Last week we highlighted the Jemez Electric Coop election with progressives seeking to wrest control of the board. Last night, the District 5 election was held and Stan Crawford won, resulting in a 5-5 tie on the board. In an interesting twist, a flip of the coin will be held with the winning side picking the 11th council member. As was noted in one of their alerts over the weekend, a 50-50 shot at control is way better than none. Congratulations to Stan Crawford and all the advocates who supported him.  It am guessing that this win and the funding announced above must be bringing smiles to the faces to our allies in Rio Arriba county. Now if anyone has a weighted coin we can use in the coin toss…..stay tuned.

It’s Almost Debate Time

Wednesday and Thursday, June 26 and 27. 6pm for food & conversation. 7pm for streaming debate sponsored by the Santa Fe Sunrise Movement and Santa Fe Democratic Party. 1420 Cerrillos. For those watching from home, the debates will air at 7pm MT on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo.

Warren Versus Sanders is Not the Battle, But Rather Justice Versus the Status Quo

If you’ve read this blog for long, you know that I am a big fan of Naomi Klein. If you have not read both No Is Not Enough and This Changes Everything, I highly recommend you do so. She is both principled and extremely inciteful. Monday in the Intercept she published a new article: Forget Bernie versus Warren: Focus on Building the Progressive Base. Her point of departure was her describing how she made a benign comment on social media about the differences between Sanders and Warren, a comment not really favoring either candidate. She was instantly buried in caustic comments from both sides, very much in the style of the 2016 primary campaign. She drew two conclusions: social media is toxic and, as she put it: “The very last thing we need is for the two strongest left/progressive candidates and their supporters to tear each other apart for the next eight or so months, in a desperate bid to discredit a perceived rival.”  She goes on to note how the 2020 primary is far different from 2016:

Today’s electoral dynamics are absolutely nothing like 2016. That was a two-way race between two candidates with radically different records and ideas, in which one candidate’s gain really was the other’s loss. A winner-takes-all race like that pretty much always turns into some kind of death match. These primaries are another species entirely. There is a small army of candidates, with two of the leaders running on platforms so far to the left, they would have been unimaginable for anyone but a protest candidate as recently as 2014. The frontrunner, meanwhile, is eminently beatable (especially if Joe Biden keeps showing us exactly who he is, as he did about six times this week).”

Klein then describes how, the focus should be in expanding the progressive base, whichever progressive candidate is gaining traction. Klein describes how together Warren and Sanders already outpoll Biden and that by continuing to build the progressive base, there will just be more progressive voters in their camps, voters who are likely to be comfortable with either candidate.  She asserts that the goal now is to ensure that not only do we defeat Biden but any of the dozen or so other centrists eager to pick up Biden’s mantel.

It is true that Biden has had a bad week. But if Biden implodes, there’s a phalanx of other candidates, recently seen hopping from one $2,800-a-head Wall Street fundraiser to the next, all with variations on the same reassuring message: I’ll change things just enough to fend off the pitchforks and to save you from the social embarrassment of Trump, but not so much that you will notice a thing.”

Klein then goes on to cite another Intercept article by Mehdi Hasan, AOC, Bernie and Warren are the Real Centrists, As They Speak for Most Americans. His point–one made by Retake repeatedly– is that the media and centrist Democrats are doing their best to characterize progressives as being unelectable and extreme, holding positions that America can’t simply abide.  Except that there is this inconvenient truth that poll after poll shows that Americans do actually support most progressive positions.

Take Ocasio-Cortez’s signature issue: the Green New Deal. Former George W. Bush speechwriter — and torture advocate — Marc Thiessen claims that the Green New Deal will “make the Democrats unelectable in 2020.” The Economist agrees: “The bold plan could make the party unelectable in conservative-leaning states.” The Green New Deal “will not pass the Senate, and you can take that back to whoever sent you here and tell them,” a testy Diane Feinstein, the senior and supposedly “moderate” Democratic senator from California, told a bunch of kids in a viral video.  But here is the reality: The Green New Deal is extremely popular and has massive bipartisan support. A recent survey from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University found that a whopping 81 percent of voters said they either “strongly support” (40 percent) or “somewhat support” (41 percent) the Green New Deal, including 64 percent of Republicans (and even 57 percent of conservative Republicans).”

Hasan goes on to cite one progressive policy after another with polling data showing strong support for each policy, everything from a woman’s right to choose, minimum wage increases, universal healthcare, gun violence prevention, and many more policies. To check it out click here. It is fascinating how the purchased media and centrist Democrats are so adept at circulating false information about policies that threaten the 1%.  Trump is not the only one to make it up whenever convenient.

Klein then notes that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was absolutely right when she said on ABC’s This Week,” “We have a very real risk of losing the presidency to Donald Trump if we don’t have a presidential candidate that’s fighting for true transformational change in lives of working people in the United States.” And we won’t nominate a transformational candidate if we conduct civil war over who is more transformational. And if you don’t think that Trump could win, Klein cites recent elections here and in other parts of the world as evidence that a Trump win is very possible.

That was clear on the morning of November 9, 2016. In case more proof is required, see the recent devastating elections in India and Australia, where right-wing incumbents won despite predictions to the contrary, as well as the results of the European parliament vote, most notably in France and Italy, where the far right has surged. Again and again, we learn the same lesson: Tepid centrists carrying the baggage of decades of neoliberal suffering are no match for machineries of scapegoating willing to stop at nothing to win.”

Click here to review Klein’s full Intercept article.  

My takeaway from all of this is that there are substantive differences between Warren and Sanders but if I were given the opportunity right now to flip a switch that guaranteed my second choice won the presidency, I’d do it in less than a heartbeat. Klein noted that neither of these figures would have had any chance of being even considered a viable candidate as recently as 2014. Yet, in large part due to Bernie’s pioneering 2016 campaign, many of the slumbering were woke (like Roxanne and I) and there is an army of folks ready to line up behind either candidate. If Biden wins the nomination, I suspect all of that army will vote for him, but I also suspect damn few will canvass, call or contribute.  For the next eight months, the opposition is Biden not Trump and with so much momentum building around progressivism in the US, we simply can’t allow internecine warfare to result in both candidates hemorrhaging and Biden becoming the nominee. Too much is at stake. We just lost 4 years in the battle against climate catastrophe, we absolutely can’t afford another four years of Trump, but four years of Biden leadership is simply not going to get it done either.

From Biden when addressing a room full of wealthy donors, pretty much the only place he is to be seen these days:  “The truth of the matter is, you all, you all know, you all know in your gut what has to be done. We can disagree in the margins but the truth of the matter is it’s all within our wheelhouse and nobody has to be punished. No one’s standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change,” he said.  Oh, my am I ever inspired.

We can do better than that.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne




Categories: Election, Political Reform & National Politics, Uncategorized

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9 replies

  1. This election is not about what “progressives” want. It’s about what we can get the majority of average Americans – the “unwoke” perhaps – to actually vote for, so we can stop this fascist train wreck and begin to work on making things better.

  2. Hi Paul and Roxanne. Given the polling data you just described, and the millennial group and the baby boomers both facing the same catastrophe, this is how I see what will transpire.

    In the last election, without the overwhelming support of African American voters that got Obama re-elected, the centrist Democrat won the popular vote. If her campaign had not been so arrogant and inept, she would have won the blue wall states too. 80k votes total. That is with the massive interference engineering via Russia, and the in-house, state-by-state manipulations of minority voters in about six other states. It is pretty clear progressives voted for her overwhelmingly, but many centrists stayed home, thinking it was a done deal.

    The problem is not the progressives, it is the centrists, who are not uninformed as much as manipulated and ill-informed by their own so-called leaders. Here it is, the centrist cabal of Dems are DINOS, not beholding to principles of the Republic any more than the now completely non-existent Republicans, who died out when Ray Gun was crowbarred into power in the first of many coupes.

    Where do you make up the voting difference? Millennials and wise baby boomers, AND the elephant in the room, Independents. I read some nonsense a few months ago about there being really no independent voters, because they almost always fall in line with Dems. Well, duh????

    I am one of the many Independents who have been forced to accept tepid sellouts, controlled by big money, for decades. These sellouts are always Dems, centrist Dems, and they turn my stomach. Obama, who I liked very much as a thoughtful man with some intelligence, was quite centrist, and made his deals with the devils repeatedly.

    Some believe this is about what progressives want. No. No. NO. Wants went out the door years ago. Again, look at polling, actual issues polling, not popularity contests. The majority of voters, and many non-voters who stay out due to cynicism, know what is NEEDED, absolute decisions that are very controversial to the status quo, but that if thwarted again, will seal the fate of the human race and the planet’s living ecology.

    Courage is a dangerous thing. It requires some honesty and discernment about what is actually taking place in the reality we ALL live within, not individual bubbles of economic prosperity and ideological pre-occupation. Klein is on target with her observations. People who lack courage to change what they know is needed because it is NIMBY, not in my back yard, are cowards and sell outs. I cannot tolerate them, Democrat or not. They might as well vote for the giant tapeworm and its gaggle of slithering sycophants.

    Something I learned long ago, while living in a very conservative, very white, very racist, very isolationist state was this: as long as you go along to get along, you are forced by your own cowardice to eat the crow of people who will like you only when you eat their crackers and drink their koolaid. If you buck that system, they will soon, if not immediately, see you as the enemy, and since you were just another sycophant anyway, you would not even be put on the last car, in standing room only, on the train riding the tracks to the town of Perdition.

    Revolution or Extinction. I am betting on extinction. Humans are a failed species, and many of their behaviors are absolutely disgraceful.. The crime that is being committed is not against humans, it is against all real life forms, who, for more than a billion years, have done the heavy lifting and learning FOR humans, and now keep them alive, to their own demise.

    We are not only biting the hands that feed us, we are eating them, and labeling it wisdom.

    Mick Nickel

  3. I believe that there is not such thing as ‘progressives’. My understanding of our country since Reagan was put in the presidency by the fascists–the .1%–is that America has been moving to the far right for two generations now and thus, almost everybody’s thinking is right of center, even so called progressives. The worse part is that we do not know it!
    The proof is in the fact that people think that there is a difference between dems and reps. or that the constitution is of any value for the bottom 80-89% or that the supper rich did not run the empire for their benefit since the first independence day.
    People, those wanting change, equal rights, end poverty, etc. do not understand that we carry the system we want to change in ourselves. Just as our grandparents and parents did!
    Imperial minds, those at the top of the social class ladder, know very well that in order to have an efficient empire they first need to colonize the minds of its own population. So that they will be willing to go and kill, and die, for the benefit of the super rich (not for democracy or mother country, etc.)
    The first order of business is to understand that we have always lived in a capitalist culture which is, in essence, the best tool the imperial consciousness has developed so to exploit people and planet. The second order of business is for all of us to undergo de-colonization of our minds and hearts.
    Know thyself first!


  4. Try talking to some average people in, for example, Ohio. The word “socialism” freaks them out. I’m talking about a wide range of people who are not in the Santa Fe bubble. College professors – male and female, black and white. My former students – mostly black. Computer professionals. Urban liberals. Rural Ohioans who are into motorcycles and don’t read and rarely watch the news. They will not buy the whole cornucopia of progressive ideas. What WILL they buy? We need to excise these mega-fascists from the governance of our country. We need to stop the murderous policies of these global capitalists plutocrats. They will not stop until they’ve totally destroyed the planet, and then they plan to get on one of Branson’s space vessels and go colonize Mars and mess up the rest of the galaxy. Have you seen the movie “Elysium”? Not so far-fetched. Progressive and Dem candidates are bashing each other. Local progressive “leaders” are bashing candidates. Ridiculous tribal in-fighting. I heard Mark Rudd say something to effect that we don’t need to worry about “them” dividing and conquering us. We will do it to ourselves. I support all the progressive ideas, but we must be PRAGMATIC and figure out what we can actually accomplish given the existing culture and political economic system and pervasive brainwashing of the American sheeple. Is a socialist utopia achievable? Can we really “smash patriarchy”? Let get real and quit destroying ourselves on the sacrificial altar of purism.

    • Retake has been writing about capitalism and democratic socialism a good deal. Roxanne has shared your view that language matters and that we might try different language to broach the same concepts but: a) I was stubborn and think people need to learn that capitalism is, in fact, the enemy and socialism in some modern form is the answer; B) then the other day I began reading this article which I’ll feature in the Sat blog and they talk about “next systems” without calling it socialism and they say we need to “democratize our economy.” I think you and Roxanne are right about the use of language and I think I will try to limit references to socialism and use the democratizing the economy as a replacement. Thanks for the comment, Linda.

  5. I’m in the progressive “army”, though a pacifist. But I will NOT vote for Biden. This life-long Democrat has had enough of DINOs.

  6. Cm’on You Guys!

    I don’t see anyone pointing out the media manipulations. CNN and MSNBC presenting Warren and Biden as a competition. Since this is where a lot of people get their news this subtle subterfuge is even worse than Faux News.

    NPR got on the bandwagon of attacking Iran, spreading fear and misinformation,

    They topped it off again with this, This is not about immigration, it is about American Interference in Central America, leading to people fleeing for their lives. Our intelligence agencies appear to be caught unaware, by this. Indigenous people and journalists are being killed for criticizing multi national mining companies. These companies were given green light by our administration.

    No one is looking at how these lies and propaganda are being spread right here, by our TV stations, Radio stations, and local newspapers. Ralph Nader was on RT last night, no American mass media will allow him to speak for the “Other Side.” He reminded us that the airwaves belong to Americans, yet look at what the average person is exposed to. It is no wonder they are either misinformed or not engaged. Many of the comfortable white people follow their investments, and get exposed to a complacent dangerous false narrative, along with it. Our public TV and radio is funded by the financial industry, and run advertising for the healthcare Industry and others.

    Democracy Now, ran a good segment about Biden, affable old Joe. It is no wonder they dragged him out, and presented him as a candidate. His long record on Integration is mind boggling. It is no wonder they partnered him with Obama.

    The only person who gets it, is Umair Haque! Nobody is calling out the language, not our politicians, not anyone in mass media.

  7. Even the local news we get in Santa Fe from ABQ is loaded with propaganda.

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