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Sun May 29, 2016, 01:21 PM

Tim Wise on Bernie or Bust, elections and harm reduction

From Facebook:

I think there are some misunderstandings about my views on Hillary, Bernie, the Democratic Party and the upcoming election. First, I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton. Nor am I an uncritical supporter of Bernie Sanders. But my politics are much closer to Sanders, obviously (indeed, to his left).
Secondly, I believe elections are harm reduction and the bulk of the work is in the streets, in the neighborhoods, at the worksite, in the classrooms, etc. In other words, electoral politics are NOT the place where our ideology and philosophy and values are likely to be best expressed, ever. This is because we live in a nation that is deeply divided politically and where probably anyone who seeks major national office (or even statewide office in most places) will have to appeal to a broad group of people in order to win, many of whom will not share our beliefs yet (left/progressive/radical, etc). And so at the national level, I believe that one must often choose the least bad option and then do the work to force that person, whomever it may be, to move in a more progressive and left direction. At the local level, where a candidate can really get out and get to know folks one on one, and have time to meet them, talk with them, etc. I think said candidate wouldn't have to compromise as much perhaps, especially in pretty progressive districts/neighborhoods, which is why I think 3rd party politics are best initiated locally rather than nationally.

But all in all, my point is, harm reduction matters. And I get that it sucks to have to do it. But lots of things suck. Having to drive and contribute to fossil fuel emissions sucks. Having to buy things to wear that were likely produced under exploitative conditions, or having to use a computer made in such a fashion sucks. But we make compromises every day, all while still trying to move the needle in the right direction. And in this election, I simply cannot see how folks could decide that risking a Trump presidency was worth it, and thus, they would refuse to vote for Clinton if that's what it comes down to. Yes, I would blame the Democratic Party for giving us that choice, but in the end, blame doesn't really matter. Winning the blame game won't mean much to the nation when the forces Trump represents are emboldened by his win. And they would be. These are people who are already writing to me and saying that when Trump wins, it will be open season -- not just on immigrants and Muslims and LGBT folks and Black Lives Matter, but also on folks like me: antiracists, and especially Jews who many of them view as the "real enemy" to be dealt with. Oh sure, they may be all talk, but you'll excuse me if I'd rather not find out.

At the end of the day, the respective bases of Clinton versus Trump really do matter. Clinton's base, according to polling and survey data appears to be white women over 40 and black folks and some union folks in certain states. There are others, but those are the consistent bases it appears. And Trump's base are white middle aged men, high on racial resentment and who favor authoritarian leaders (again, according to research on them). Those bases of support really are very different in terms of what it would mean to have either of them feeling as though they had won. That they were empowered now, or emboldened by their candidate's victory. I have all the respect in the world for what Sanders has done, and how hard his supporters have fought and are fighting. And I would love to see him be the nominee because yes, I suspect he would do better in the general election. But part of the reason for that (I think) is because more of Bernie's supporters seem unwilling to stop Trump at all costs than Hillary's supporters would be unwilling to do. And ultimately that's on Bernie supporters, myself included, to change, or so it seems.

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Arrow 17 replies Author Time Post
Reply Tim Wise on Bernie or Bust, elections and harm reduction (Original post)
gollygee May 2016 OP
rurallib May 2016 #1
PowerToThePeople May 2016 #2
gollygee May 2016 #3
PowerToThePeople May 2016 #4
gollygee May 2016 #5
PowerToThePeople May 2016 #6
gollygee May 2016 #7
PowerToThePeople May 2016 #9
Garrett78 May 2016 #13
larkrake May 2016 #16
woolldog May 2016 #8
PowerToThePeople May 2016 #10
BzaDem May 2016 #11
PowerToThePeople May 2016 #12
Garrett78 May 2016 #14
zazen May 2016 #15
vintx May 2016 #17

Response to gollygee (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 01:30 PM

1. Thanks for posting this

Tim Wise is one person who can cut through the bullshit.

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Response to gollygee (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 01:31 PM

2. Electrocution or Water-boarding?

 

I choose none of the above.

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Response to PowerToThePeople (Reply #2)

Sun May 29, 2016, 01:35 PM

3. Hyperbole

Clinton is not akin to either of those.

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Response to gollygee (Reply #3)

Sun May 29, 2016, 01:36 PM

4. Neo-liberalism is.

 

Clinton will continue neo-liberal policies in my opinion, based on her historical actions.

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Response to PowerToThePeople (Reply #4)

Sun May 29, 2016, 01:38 PM

5. It is a continuation of what we have, I agree with that

But it isn't like a change to torture. It is a continuation of what we have. And I know there were hopes for a change to something different (and I voted for Bernie and had those hopes too.) However, there is a huge difference between "more of the same" and Trump.

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Response to gollygee (Reply #5)

Sun May 29, 2016, 01:41 PM

6. My votes for Obama were votes for change.

 

Change away from the "continuation of what was."

My support of Dean in '04 was for change away from the continuation of what was.

All of my voting history has been for a change away from what was.

Why should I be expected to vote for no change now?

edit- I do not think Trump can win, he will not let himself win as he was chosen by the Clintons to be the Republican nominee. The Democratic primary IS the general election.

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Response to PowerToThePeople (Reply #6)

Sun May 29, 2016, 01:46 PM

7. Bernie is the first candidate whom I have felt is as left as I am on economic matters anyway

Obama came after GWB. Maybe the issue is that we've had a Democratic president for the past 8 years. Because I can tell you, after Reagan, Bush I, or Bush II, I would have voted for pretty much anyone and been glad to vote against the GOP candidate.

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Response to gollygee (Reply #7)

Sun May 29, 2016, 01:54 PM

9. I think the thing is

 

Obama did not supply the change we were looking for.

We are still looking.

He did not drop us back, like the Republican's would have. In that he was a success. He continued many of their bad policies, but the ACA did help many people (myself included). I still wish to see single payer or medicare for all. ACA was the neo-liberal answer imo.

Obama won in '08 on a VERY believable progressive campaign. Hillary has too much documented history to the contrary to pull that off.

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Response to PowerToThePeople (Reply #9)

Sun May 29, 2016, 02:22 PM

13. Personally, I have the same expectations for Clinton now that I had for Obama 8 years ago.

People confuse style and substance. Policy-wise, they're cut from the same cloth. Unforeseen events notwithstanding, a Clinton Admin is going to operate in the same fashion as the Obama Admin has.

The US is extremely individualistic and oriented toward the Cult of Personality. As a result, people overestimate the power and influence of individual actors and underestimate systemic forces.

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Response to Garrett78 (Reply #13)

Sun May 29, 2016, 03:16 PM

16. I respectfully disagree. Obama is not a hawk and he cares about people

 

He is a magician at progression dispite obstruction. She isnt a chess player. She rules by intimidation and has never been productive nor succeeded in being progressive

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Response to PowerToThePeople (Reply #6)

Sun May 29, 2016, 01:50 PM

8. So you didn't vote for Kerry?

Dean is certainly voting for Clinton in the GE, btw.

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Response to woolldog (Reply #8)

Sun May 29, 2016, 01:55 PM

10. I voted Kerry

 

Anyone but Bush.

It is not 2004 anymore and we do not have a sitting President who is an international war criminal.

My expectations are higher.

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Response to PowerToThePeople (Reply #10)

Sun May 29, 2016, 02:00 PM

11. So you think Trump would be better than Bush? n/t

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Response to BzaDem (Reply #11)

Sun May 29, 2016, 02:03 PM

12. I do not think Trump will be President

 

He only ran because of the Clintons' desire for it, he is her trump card for potus. He will do his job and self destruct his campaign this fall.

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Response to gollygee (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 02:27 PM

14. I'll share a similar article from a while back.

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Response to gollygee (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 02:59 PM

15. excellent post and argument--thank you very much for posting. Harm reduction DOES matter.

And we make those kinds of awful choices every day, as he points out.

Here's where I'm newly, really concerned: I used to be enraged that the DNC shoved another neoliberal down our throat for a POTUS election that was ours to win.

Now I think, this candidate not only represents more and worse neoliberalism--neoconservatism, in fact--but she may cause us to LOSE this election.

This is far more horrifying and frankly even more selfish than I thought her cronies could be. They'd rather the whole country suffer Trump than give up control of their party and their kickbacks because a more leftist candidate is more popular and could defeat Trump and rollback a lot of neoliberal policies.

That's why I've written elsewhere, I hope she releases her delegates and the DNC just picks whatever neoliberal they want who isn't under investigation, but for the love of God, don't let us risk losing the White House to a rapist sociopath.

The Clinton supporters are the ones who need to engage in "harm reduction" by supporting another Dem candidate, because anyone--probably even Ted Cruz and certainly our Democratic conservatives--is better than that maniac Trump, and HRC staying in the race is causing us to risk it all.

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Response to gollygee (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 03:17 PM

17. Im in TX so if she's the nominee, my support is going to the Green party at the top of the ticket

 

And downticket straight Dem (as always)

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