Damn, How I Hate Democratic Presidential Primary Season

There was a time in 2004 that if one were not totally in the tank for Howard Dean, one was a Republican shill. I remember writing some complementary things about Wesley Clark on a liberal forum and was promptly screamed off of it for selling out.

And don’t get me started on 2008. Supporting Barack Obama cost me some friendships I never got back.

And now social media seems entirely taken up with Clinton and Sanders supporters hurling juvenile insults at each other. Just from a social-psychological standpoint, it fascinates me that Hillary supporters are utterly unconscious that they are just as bad as the so-called “Bernie bros.” They seem to feel entitled to stoop to whatever kindergarten-level insult they want about Sanders and his supporters while patting themselves on the back for being mature and un-divisive. The Sanders people also indulge in cheap insults, but most of them (that I’ve seen) seem a tad more self-aware about it. Both sides are equally bad at over-simplifying issues, mindlessly repeating second-hand talking points and painting everything in black-and-white terms. There’s lots of political naïveté out there.

One actual difference that is emerging is that Clintonistas see themselves as pragmatic incrementalists, while Sanders supporters are calling for revolution. As I wrote earlier this week, there is a strong argument to be made for the incremental approach — call it half a loaf is better than none. On the other hand, a Sanders supporter recently commented that HRC is promising half a loaf, which means maybe we’ll get a couple of slices.

Sanders is calling for two loaves, and Clinton people doubt he can deliver even the two slices. On the other hand, maybe the time has come to stop accommodating our expectations to the power of the Right. Maybe the time has come to demand two loaves, because the Right ain’t what it used to be. Maybe now is the time to think big, while the Right is in chaos.

Just analyzing myself, I realized eight years ago that one of the reasons I supported Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton, in spite of the fact that their stands on issues were nearly identical, is that I resented the hell out of being told, over and over, from 2004 on that Hillary Clinton would be the 2008 nominee. No one else need apply.

Dear DNC: Don’t tell me who I’m supposed to support. In a democracy, I’m supposed to be allowed to make up my own mind. Thanks much.

And then, of course, Obama ran a very smart campaign, while Clinton did not. This rather put the lie to the claim that she was the only one who was “electable.”

Per Charles Blow, Clinton is repeating many of the mistakes she made in 2008. Not being able to learn from mistakes is not a good sign. See also Corey Robin on the basic dishonesty of Clinton’s current campaign.

On the other hand, without some backup from Congress Sanders possibly couldn’t deliver the two slices. And he seems weak on policy details, while Clinton is a super-wonk.

So there really is a serious debate to be had here about which of these two should be the nominee. It’s a shame we can’t seem to have it.

My sense of things is that this election is going to break some old molds. Already Nate Silver has been found to be out of his element. This would argue that we’re about to see a major shake-up in the political system.  We’ll know more once we see some primary results, I think.

18 thoughts on “Damn, How I Hate Democratic Presidential Primary Season

  1. I’ve read lots of the comments on both sides. Tiresome as hell to see Dems already doing the ReTeaVangeliKKKlan job. I try to post reasonable lets-loo-at-both-sides stuff and get some likes for it, but some still fall right back into old ways. I wish HRC and Bernie had a love child. I’d hope she had Bernie’s spirit and HRC’s wonkiness.

  2. One of your very best posts.

    Not one single GOP hopeful would do anything positive for America. That’s nothing new. What’s new is the two current front runners are scary like the La Pennes (?) in France our scary.

    Given that Congress will give NEITHER Hillary nor Bernie ANYTHING, why not go for the Gold and pick the inspirational candidate, the one who might get people get people off their tushes to actually VOTE? Scary vs visionary, the latter coming with a fair number of EV’s from CA, the Northeast, and etc.

  3. I know many under 40 year old women who are struggling to “feel the Bern” because of the arrogance and anger coming from the Bernie Bros. Since the most vocal are young, white men it can come off as very aggressive. I’ve even had one tell me women and people of color need to put their “special interests” aside because Bernie will help everybody. Something I doubt Bernie would agree with this. Due to my particular social group, I’m not seeing Hillary people bashing Bernie. At worst it would be “nice guy, don’t think he can accomplish what he promises” which is very different than “I won’t vote for that c***”. I think both are strong candidates but with all the in fighting we could end up handing the election to the right. The left’s biggest weakness has always been we fight amongst ourselves instead of focusing on the right. A lot of this is arrogance that of course the left will win because we’re always right!

  4. Leave the tearing apart of the Democratic candidates to the GOP.
    After all, it’s the thing that they do best.

    The only other things their politicians do well, is love harming most Americans in one way or another, to satisfy special interest groups – especially one that benefits the rich and powerful, and hope some crumbs or a small feather-bed eventually come their way.
    And if they remain faithful to Conservatism, that Wingnut Welfare will carry them to a comfy retirement.
    And their rubes just love stewing in their hate, fear, and bigotry, cheering on the stomping on those just a bit below them on the social ladder.

    Eventually, most of to us liberals/progressives do coalesce around some cadidate – but only after planting plenty of sh*t for the GOP pigs to wallow in, come election time.

    I didn’t think we’d do badly no matter who won the nomination in 2008, and I don’t see any reason to think differetly now.

    Let the ideas shine, and stop smearing the candidates others support.

    The goal is to stop the GOP from stacking the Federal Courts and the SCOTUS with more psychopaths like Scalia and Thomas, and corporatist sociopaths like Thomas and Alito.

    If we blow this 2016 election, there’ll be no progress for decades. And that’s if, IF, we Americans survive the coming wars over resources like fresh water and untainted food, and don’t have regional wars ledby War Lords.
    And this isn’t limited to just America.
    The whole world is looking at us, and wondering if we’ve lost our senses again, like they did after 2000 and 2004, or is our system so corrupt, that with the rediculous SCOTUS’s Bush v. Gore decision, and the questionable election results in 2004, whether we’re just another Banana Republic, only one armed to the teeth, ready to strike them and seize the resources we need?

    No joke.

  5. I’ll vote for either one. Clinton’s advantage as I see it is she’ll have longer coat-tails. As much as the Tea-Tards whine about Hillary her presidency wouldn’t energize them (like they where in 2010) like Bernie’s would. I like Bernie more tahn Hillary and have no problem with the term “Democratic Socialist” but that is red meat “moran” bait for the ignorant rubes on the other side and their corporate propaganda media overlords. I’m not sure Bernie could beat Trump much less take the Senate back. I think with Hillary we will not only win the Presidency but also take back the senate. My two cents!

  6. My only hope is to defeat the Repugs. I like what Bernie has to say and I’m in agreement with his objectives, but unless he upsets Clinton in the primary and is able to run away with the nomination then I can’t get behind him at this point. I’m not all starry eyed about Hillary either, but I have a sense that she’s been so maligned, battered, and negatively portrayed by the right for over 20 years that she is a least deserving of a fair shake in seeing who she is and what she stands for.
    I’ve never cared for Hillary.. But I don’t know to what degree my attitude toward Hillary has been shaped by the constant barrage of right leaning criticism. The only time I can remember having a soft spot for Hillary was when she had to deal with a philandering husband.
    Part of my bias toward Hillary stemmed from my previously held male conservative views where a woman who asserted herself in a man’s domain was just a jockstrap wearing bitch. My shortcoming..not hers. I have matured and repented.
    I’m a registered independent so I have no say in a primary vote here in Florida. I do know without reservation that if Satan were to be put on the ballot as a Democrat.. Not only would I vote for him..I’d cheerlead for him…Anything but a Repuglican.

  7. If you had Abe Vigoda in a “Death Pool” for the last 20+ years, you can finally cash in!

    If any other members in your Death Pool are still alive, that is. 😉

    A fine actor.
    RIP Abe Vigoda.

  8. I’ve had John Lennon’s “watching the wheels” in my head for the past several days. There are no problems, only solutions. I’d like to get off this merry -go -round, you just have to let it go.

  9. Imagine a one room house in a desert with a wooden door and no windows. Hillary is the door stopper that will crack the door and get some air in, while allowing flies, mosquitoes and other pests to get in as well, alleviating very little a miserable situation. Bernie is advocating building a screen door.

    If Hillary wins, she might get the door cracked a half an inch, at best. Sanders may not get much either, but at least we’ll be able to envision the solution a screen door would be.

  10. “Unfortunately, most men under 35 (we know exceptions) cannot express themselves without coming across as jerks.”

    Guilty as charged, and as hard as we try, we never quite lose all the jerk. Sometimes the jerkiness or the residue, causes problems for us all, as Amanda noted above. I am sorry for that, but, I am afraid there is no cure.

    I’m probably ignorant of most of the dynamics and nuances of this political contest. We killed our TV for other reasons, but an escape from long, agonizing, campaign seasons is another great perk.

    Swami, said a lot of things I would have attempted to say, probably a lot less clearly.

    I would be just fine with either HRC or Bernie Sanders. The right wing has carried out a no holds barred, relentless assault on Hillary Clinton for a couple of decades now, and she has been strong enough to take it. The fire has been so intense that even dyed in the wool Democrats feel the need to qualify their support for her by paying lip service to right wing smears. I suppose they feel the need to appear, objective, serious and seasoned. But, in effect, the right wing assault has worked.

    In the days of my youth, I believed that we could elect progressives and we would be on a sure course towards a bright future. Pretty soon, I realized that the best we can do is muddle through and try to avoid turning everything bollocks up. The political process is full of posturing, drama and charade, we all know that it is. We should know that disappointment and frustration are part of the game. What we don’t know is what the real world is going to throw at us and our hopes for progress, and how well we’re going to deal with them. So, I’ll gladly accept any shred of progress or any disaster, avoided with gratitude.

    We should all take a page from Saint Ronnie and never say an unkind word about another Democrat, and we should especially avoid, the slurs and innuendo that rob us of our unity and our energy. if we don’t, the right wing paymasters will have gotten their money’s worth.

    I live in an area that is so deeply red that political discussion would be futile. I think of Wallace Shawn in “My Dinner With Andre” when he talks about waking to breakfast in his apartment, “If in the morning, I don’t find a dead roach floating in my coffee cup, I’m overjoyed.” (or something like that.)

  11. “Looks like the Bundy boyz are going to be moving their protest to Leavenworth, Kansas”

    Yes and one of them will have all the liberty that can be had in a 28″ x 82″ box! Good Riddance!

  12. OT, for your amusement, Donald Trump erotica

    …The novel finds the real estate magnate in a torrid affair with a hotel bellboy in Hong Kong. It was written, reports the Guardian, in just four hours. But that was long enough for Daniel to come up with lines like “the door creaked open and there he was, handsome as ever, like a giant melting fat carrot with fake hair.”

    Daniel announced his plans for the novel on Twitter, writing, “i’m going to get drunk tonight and write an entire donald trump sex novel like 50 shades of grey & put it on amazon tomorrow i swear to god.”

  13. i’m going to get drunk tonight and write an entire donald trump sex novel like 50 shades of grey & put it on amazon tomorrow i swear to god

    Which, as I understand it, is pretty much how EL James wrote the original 50 Shades, minus any redeeming wit or social satire.

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