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beastie boy

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Member since: Fri Mar 18, 2016, 11:21 AM
Number of posts: 2,710

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New Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries

Source: The Hill

Sen. Cory Booker (D), who dropped out of the presidential race last year, easily dispatched progressive activist Lawrence Hamm, holding a nearly 80-point lead with over 32 percent of precincts reporting.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee who had earned the ire of progressives over his refusal to embrace the Green New Deal, defeated Russ Cirincione, a government attorney, and Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, an author who runs MuslimGirl.com.

Meanwhile, Rep. Albio Sires (D), who raised eyebrows by going negative against his progressive challenger Hector Oseguera, won with 76 percent of the vote, while Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D) easily prevailed in the 12th District.

A couple of races remained uncalled as of midnight on Wednesday, though in both cases the incumbents had built substantial leads, with Rep. Bill Pascrell (D) leading by about 70 points and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D) leading by nearly 40 points.

Read more: https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/506325-incumbents-steamroll-progressive-challengers-in-new-jersey-house-primaries

An interesting post-Primary article in the Jacobin

Titled The Liberal Center Must Be Beaten, it is the most telling and unobscured by the restraints of electoral politics insight into some key positions of the left wing represented by Jacobin I have seen so far:

While desperately and unconvincingly trying to conflate the terms "liberalism" and "neoliberalism" by using them interchangeably (these terms, of course, are not at all interchangeable, which betrays the author's desperation to obfuscate their respective meanings), the author makes a clear breaks between "the Left", represented by the campaigns of Corbyn in Britain and Sanders in the US, and "Liberal", or "Center-left". The author also talks about combining what he calls "parliamentary" and "extra-parliamentary" organizing of politics, which to me was the most dangerous part of Bernie's campaign. To me, if there is no distinction, or a commitment to maintain distinction between the two, it smacks too much of Weimar Germany in the 1930s. It would make it even easier for a populist leader to slide into authoritarianism than it has been for Trump to do so under our current system. Finally, the author talks about supplanting the current "establishment" of the Democratic Party with that of the left wing. This process, which started in 2016 with Bernie demanding, and getting, unprecedented input into determining the platform of the Democratic Party, is equally dangerous. It would have made one of two major US political parties an instrument in advancing the "non-parliamentary" means of getting and retaining political power.

The Liberal Center Must Be Beaten
Luke Savage
The bitter defeats of Corbyn and Sanders have changed nothing about the task before us: supplanting the neoliberal center and offering ordinary people a real alternative to the neo-nationalist right.


While both [Corbyn and Sanders] were certainly feared and hated by traditional conservatives, the force that ultimately hindered their efforts came not from the Right but rather from what is still, albeit with increasing absurdity, known as the center-left: that is, from people who might broadly be called liberals in the post-1970s sense of the word. Though arguably weaker and more ideologically exhausted than at any point since its zenith in the 1990s, this strand of market centrism still dominates the nominal “left” in many national party systems and, perhaps more importantly, its adherents mostly retain control of the levers of power in individual party apparatuses even when their ideas are discredited or their dreadful campaigning bungles winnable elections (as in 2016).
This peculiar combination of weakness and strength is the paradox at the heart of modern liberalism and the vulnerability both Corbyn and Sanders were nearly able to exploit. Had either succeeded in transforming their respective parties and winning power on the popular programs they championed, the undead center-left that has carried on in zombified form since the financial crisis of 2008 might finally have been buried for good. Alas, the task remains incomplete and the enervated neoliberal project continues to hold the reins of what is nominally the reform-minded electoral alternative to conservatism in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The Left should not be content with this state of affairs.
Insofar as it still has a coherent objective that can be articulated, liberalism seeks not so much to humanize capitalism as it is to give capitalism a human face — that is: to provide a facade of inclusion and shared prosperity while fundamentally protecting the role of markets and the positions of their greatest beneficiaries. It is now, more so than at any point in its long history, a set of hollowed-out dogmas and unthinking reflexes without a real program or political imagination; so interwoven with wealth and celebrity it now sees them as ends in themselves.
That millions of ordinary people beset by declining living standards, weakened welfare states, increasing corporate incursion into daily life, and a planet growing less inhabitable by the day are routinely compelled to cast votes for people who do not represent them — be they neoliberals or formations on the nationalist right — is a predicament no socialist or small-d democrat should be willing to accept. Ultimately thwarted by the liberal center, neither Sanders nor Corbyn succeeded. But their efforts revealed the widespread appetite for a genuine alternative to neoliberalism and underscored the utility of leftist involvement in mainstream politics.

This is scary as hell. I am so glad Biden won the Primary.

Bernie won.

I truly and firmly believe that more of Bernie's agenda will be passed into law under President Biden than it would have been under President Sanders.

More importantly, both for Bernie and his supporters, by withdrawing his bid for Presidency he may have saved his movement from losing a great deal of its relevance. A presidency would have hampered his effectiveness in being a movement leader. Having a long record of ineffectiveness in building coalitions and passing legislation, President Sanders would surely have highlighted his shortcomings as a head of state, especially compared to his now legendary (in more ways than one) reputation as a leader of a movement, and would have likely tarnished its image, perhaps irreparably.

So without any intent to be ironic or facetious, I join all of Bernie supporters in having a promising future to look forward to.

Hell, even Sirota may come out a winner in this: I hear Trump is having trouble finding the right press secretary (Ok, I am being facetious just a little bit).

Biden mounts behind-the-scenes mission to win over wary progressives

With full appreciation of the progressive voters being a far broader segment than just the die-hard Bernie fans, Joe is implementing a behind-the scenes push to bring them to his side. This may explain why Bernie is so unnerved lately and so reluctant to drop out of the race: as far as Bernie is concerned, this is a direct assault on his movement, not just his presidential aspirations. He can only counter Biden's efforts to bring large portions of Bernie's base to his side if he remains in the race and maintains some semblance of an alternative to Biden.


Joe Biden’s campaign is mounting an aggressive behind-the-scenes effort to address the biggest weakness of his candidacy: A lack of enthusiasm among the liberal base, particularly young voters.

Since his landslide victories earlier this month, Biden’s advisers have engaged in talks with a range of top progressive groups, including some that endorsed his chief rival, Bernie Sanders, according to multiple sources familiar with the conversations. The outreach to left-wing organizations and individuals — representing causes from climate change and immigrant rights to gun control and mobilizing underserved black and brown communities — is focused on young activists. Broadly speaking, they viewed Biden as one of the least-inspiring candidates in the sprawling Democratic primary field.


“The dirty little secret is everyone’s talking to Biden’s campaign,” said Sean McElwee, co-founder of the liberal think tank Data for Progress. “There will be fights, but at the end of the day, progressives still hold votes in the Senate and increasingly Democratic voters stand behind our views. I expect we’ll see Biden embracing key planks of the ambitious agenda progressives have outlined on issues like climate and pharmaceutical policy.”


The moves are just the beginning of a “coordinated and robust effort to unite the party and beat Donald Trump,” the adviser said.

Biden aides are taking a two-pronged approach. They're reaching out to what they see as traditional progressive groups with longer legacies such as Planned Parenthood, with which the campaign held a long call ahead of the most recent debate, and movement groups that came of age more recently, including liberal organization Indivisible and climate change-focused Sunrise Movement.

Biden has also backed proposals from Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in recent weeks on the issues of student debt and free college, respectively.

Just pulled this flyer out of my mailbox. WTF???

It was an unsigned, undated, unmailed and otherwise unidentified sheet of paper printed in plain text and just stuffed in my mailbox by hand. First, excerpts from the content:

Hi neighbor,

I write this note regarding the upcoming New York democratic primary.

Like many of you, I've been closely watching the primary unfold. In particular, I've been paying attention to Joe Biden's public appearances for the past six months or so. And what I see brings me an acute sense of worry.

I'll never forget when my grandmother first started showing symptoms of Alzheimers. Small details of memory loss were brushed aside at first: forgetting what she had done the day before, taking longer than usual to recall my name, etc. It wasn't until several months later when symptoms worsened that we realized that these instances were the early signs of a deeper, more tragic problem.

It brings me no joy to say that I intuitively recognize these symptoms in Joe Biden.


I am not a doctor, but I know what it is that I see in Joe.

Many of us know and love people with Alzheimers/dementia.It's a brutal, unforgiving and tragic illness. From the bottom of my heart I hope Joe receives the treatment he needs. But I can't sit back and watch a candidate with symptoms that are all too familiar to me to become the guy we pitch up against Trump. Trump will be, and has already shown himself to be, merciless and offensive about Biden's increasingly apparent memory issues. The Joe Biden of 4 years ago could trounce Trump. But running the current Joe Biden against Trump would be handing easy prey to a bully.

I simply ask that you consider the risk of not only Joe's electability, but his overall ability.

Now, the WTF part: This shit is so patently provocative, it could only be the product of a troll farm. I live in Max Rose's district, the part of it that is made up of a quirky mix of staunch conservatives, liberal old-timers and lots of young people moving in. My first impulse, given the author's references to the Democratic primary and author's grandmother, was to attribute this pamphlet to a young supporter(s) of a certain Democratic candidate whose campaign is in a slump. Then I thought, nah. This shit is too stupid to take at face value. So I am not discounting the possibility of a Repub troll farm trying to undermine Biden and make it appear like Bernie deserves credit for it.

Has anyone in Brooklyn received anything that resembles this shit?

Can't blame Bernie. He is doing what he does best.

He is leveraging what little influence he has left to its maximum, while he still can.

Bernie is smart enough to know that his "the people" vs "establishment" narrative has fizzled. The Primary results are clear on this. He is now falling back on the "we won on ideological grounds" narrative, which is also unfounded, but this is not yet as obvious as the failure of his populist message. This will become obvious in time, but not yet. Bernie still has space to maneuver, but it is shrinking, and fast. The next debate gives Bernie the opportunity, possibly his last one, to solidify the grounds for demanding and getting concessions from the Democratic Party to include items from his agenda in its platform. This is why he is pushing so hard right now. This will surely change, commensurate with Bernie's ability to retain relevance in this race.

He is unlikely to succeed to the degree he did in 2016. In fact, he is unlikely to retain sufficient relevance to last him until the convention. My sense is, the sooner he makes an endorsement deal with Biden, the better off Bernie's position will be in the end. My guess is, Bernie will endorse Joe by April. Possibly a day or two after Warren's endorsement, but that's a whole different calculus.

FiveThirtyEight: Biden's chances to win the Primaries moved from 15% to 88% in less than a week!


I am speechless...

Ari Melber on MSNBC just now: Sanders outspent Biden $30 per vote to $10 per vote.

That's 3 times more of the progressive working class money than the Democratic establishment billionaire money.

What is wrong with this picture? Is it OK to use the working class money so frivolously, or is the "establishment billionaires" buying elections for Biden bullshit falling apart?

Methinks it could be both.

It's sad. So many good people dropped out.

What's Tulsi still doing in the race?

Biden is ahead of Sanders among self identified "very liberal" voters in SC exit polls.


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