As Biden’s Pandemic Response Fails, Democrats Scapegoat Podcasters and the Public

by Keaton Weiss

A recent Pew poll shows waning confidence in President Biden’s ability to “handle the public health impact of the coronavirus outbreak.” As shown below, Biden’s numbers on covid have plummeted more than 20 points in less than a year. Last March, 65% of Americans were optimistic that the new administration would effectively pull us through the pandemic – currently, only 44% feel that way. Most troublingly for Biden, the number of people who say they’re “very confident” in his handling of covid has decreased by more than half. A mere 15% of the public now expresses such a level of trust.

Down the home stretch of the 2020 campaign, a poll by the same organization showed Biden trouncing Donald Trump 57-40 on the issue of pandemic response. Given how unexpectedly close the race turned out to be, it can be reasonably assumed that the people’s relative confidence in Biden’s covid performance over Trump’s is what pushed him over the top and made him our 46th President.

Now, one year, several variants, and approximately half a million deaths later, the country is recognizing that their high hopes going into 2021 were likely misplaced, as the rosiest outlook on covid now seems to be that it will soon enter an endemic phase.

None of this is to say that covid’s resilience is the fault of the Biden administration. Even New Zealand, which virtually rid itself of coronavirus from May 2020 through July 2021, has seen a dramatic resurgence in cases these past six months. Rather, it seems that covid is an especially transmissible disease that simply can’t be eradicated entirely. Even vaccines, which have proven highly effective in preventing serious illness and death, do not stop the spread of the virus itself.

But regardless of whether or not Biden bears sole responsibility for rampant coronavirus, the political truth remains that he was elected largely based on the premise, and the promise, that he had a strategy to control the outbreak.

Now that he hasn’t delivered the results, the American people, including his own Democratic base (the same new Pew poll shows Biden’s overall approval rating at a miserable 68% among Democrat/lean Democrat voters), are quickly souring on him.

And so, the Biden administration is desperate for some explanation that neither implicates them nor paints too bleak a picture about how they’ll never be able to truly “control” the virus in a way that they signaled they could. Admitting fault or owning up to the fact that covid is here to stay in some form or another are both politically disastrous for a government already facing a dire confidence crisis.

In plain English, they need a scapegoat. They need to deflect the public’s frustration over covid’s staying power in a direction that both exonerates them from blame and creates the impression that a covid-free world is possible but for x. Finding a variable that satisfies those two conditions is necessary to keep their fragile legitimacy from collapsing altogether.

“Misinformation” – those who spread it, and those who fall for it – is the perfect culprit. Media figures who traffic in vaccine hesitancy and the dupes who listen to them are now in the crosshairs of the establishment. We’re supposed to believe that they’re the ones standing between the rest of us and a return to our normal pre-pandemic lives. The government and their media mouthpieces want us, the vaccinated majority among which, by the way, I count myself, to hold purveyors and consumers of misinformation responsible for the ongoing covid crisis.

If they can make this idea stick, they’ll be off the hook in two ways. First, the people will trust that Biden and his government have done all they can do, and that it’s now up to the unenlightened masses to cooperate and follow the plan. Second, and equally importantly, it will keep hope alive that a post-covid world is attainable.

Now to be clear, I would never argue that misinformation isn’t intrinsically bad, and that we as a society wouldn’t be better off without it. The question here is not whether misinformation is good or bad, but whether or not it’s the primary driver of coronavirus in 2022. My point is that if we’re to be convinced of the latter, we’re fooling ourselves into both excusing our leaders’ failures to manage it more effectively and believing that a small minority of our fellow citizens are responsible for its continued existence as a going concern.

This is precisely the delusion that the government, their media allies, and their most loyal supporters (ie, the 15% of Americans who still express strong confidence in Biden’s handing of covid) want to perpetuate. And of course, this is what the campaign to cancel Joe Rogan and shame his audience is really about.

The Biden administration recently urged Spotify to take further punitive action against Rogan, rendering obsolete the already ludicrous “private companies” defense put forward by liberals who suddenly forgot every critique of corporate power they ever heard. This of course came after Neil Young and a handful of other musicians pulled their catalogues off of the platform to protest Rogan’s podcast.

Beyond Rogan, we’ve also seen a barrage of attacks on the unvaccinated themselves – ie, those on the receiving end of misinformation. In September, Biden himself said his “patience [was] wearing thin” with unvaccinated people and declared covid a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” In November, Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell echoed many of these same sentiments in a viral Twitter thread. CNN’s Don Lemon called them “idiots.” Longtime Democratic strategist James Carville just this week called them “piece[s] of shit” who he wishes he could punch in the face with impunity. Perhaps most famously, Howard Stern railed against the unvaccinated on his show, saying, “Fuck them. Fuck their freedom. I want my freedom to live.” He added, “I want to get out of the house.”

Stern’s comments, more than any other’s, get to the crux of the matter. And again, just as it was necessary to clarify that misinformation is intrinsically bad, I should also state emphatically my belief that being vaccinated is intrinsically good. I am vaccinated and boosted, as is my wife, and we both mask up in public and limit our exposure to large crowds, seeing as we have twin three-year-olds who can’t be vaccinated yet. But just as in the misinformation example, the operative question is not whether vaccines are good or bad, but rather, are the unvaccinated to blame for people like Howard Stern being too afraid to leave their homes? Given the CDC’s confirmation that covid can still spread amongst vaccinated people and the record surge in cases this winter even in highly vaccinated population centers like New York City, it seems like the answer to this question is decidedly no.

And this, once again, explains the Biden White House’s great predicament. If they can’t effectively scapegoat podcasters and the public for their inability to beat covid, they’re left with two equally dismal political options: accept blame themselves, or tell the public to accept that covid is unbeatable and that concern over it is something we’re all going to have to learn to live with indefinitely.

Both would cause irreparable damage to the administration, the political system more broadly, the economy, and institutional trust, and so neither are acceptable. Instead, we’re all supposed to buy into the increasingly implausible narrative that Biden has done all he can, and that we can be rid of covid if we all just get our acts together.

Of course, canceling Joe Rogan won’t get us any closer to victory over coronavirus. Even if half of Joe Rogan’s listeners are unvaccinated, and all of his unvaccinated listeners are only unvaccinated because they listen to Joe Rogan – an extremely, comically generous assumption – that’s still only about 5 million people; roughly 1.5% of Americans, assuming (wrongfully of course) that all of his listeners live in the United States. More realistically, we can estimate that the number of unvaccinated Rogan subscribers who refuse the vaccine based solely on Rogan’s skepticism is at most a few thousand – not anywhere near enough to make a significant impact on covid cases.

For a third time now, I should clarify what might be to some a point of confusion. I personally wish Rogan were more encouraging of his listeners to get vaccinated, and I don’t think it is inherently good to understate the vaccine’s efficacy. Again, the question is not whether or not Rogan is doing his listeners a service by expressing vaccine hesitancy, but rather, is he to blame for the ongoing crisis? I don’t think an honest and reasonable person can make such a claim, and I also think, as outlined above, that the establishment has its own reasons for convincing us that Rogan and his audience are the real problem.

The main issue here is an extremely contagious virus that likely cannot be contained to the extent we all wish it could be. Given its ability to spread even among vaccinated people, an endemic phase is probably the best we can hope for at this point. This is likely true no matter who’s President. But Biden’s election was predicated upon the people’s belief that a complete return to normalcy was possible and that Biden was better suited to get us there than Trump. The only way for his administration to keep people under this impression is to direct their disappointment away from the government, and at each other.

In reality, no good will come from de-platforming podcasters or publicly fantasizing about punching unvaccinated people in the face and getting away with it. But to those attempting to cancel Rogan, doing good isn’t the point. The point is to convince those who still hold out hope for a successful Biden administration that they’re doing something to try and contain covid, and that it’s our fellow Americans, our “idiot” little people, whose ignorance and selfishness is preventing us from entering the illusory post-covid future.

It remains to be seen how long they can keep this ruse going, but the sooner we recognize it the better. Because while elimination of covid might not be possible, there are far more productive ways to mitigate the damage than to muzzle podcasters and ridicule their listeners. A Universal Basic Income to alleviate some the constant pressure most Americans feel to keep money coming in would be a great place to start. Medicare For All, which a recent report suggests would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives during the pandemic, is another achievable goal worth fighting for. Supporting union efforts so that workers can more forcefully demand safe working conditions is an obvious one. Expanded remote work availability to keep symptomatic people home when they might be carriers is another practical measure we can implement. Virtual learning as a contingency plan in case of further surges seems like a no-brainer. A four-day work week is worth considering. These are just a few examples of political battles whose victories would actually help usher in a new normal that is as safe, as comfortable, and as fulfilling as possible. The cancel crusade against “misinformation” is little more than short-term political damage control for a failing President and an illegitimate establishment. We shouldn’t partake in it.

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Photos: White House, Joe Rogan Experience

It’s Time to Start Counting Deaths Under Capitalism the Way We Do Under Communism

by Keaton Weiss

“Amazon won’t let us leave.” These were the last words Larry Virden communicated to his girlfriend via text message before being killed when a tornado struck his place of work, an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, moments later. Virden was one of six Amazon workers to die that night.

Not far from there, in Mayfield, Kentucky, workers at a scented candle factory were threatened with termination if they went home to take shelter from the coming storms. Eight of them were killed when tornadoes ravaged the building.

Everyone acknowledges the tragedy of these 14 combined deaths, and most would agree that they were preventable. Few would go as far as to ascribe them to capitalism. But we should.

Over Thanksgiving dinner, if you’re the type to pick fights with your Republican uncle, it’s likely your advocacy for a modest social democratic policy like paid family leave was met with something like “You do know Communism killed 100 million people, right?!”

Unfortunately, your tryptophan-addled relatives who you deal with once or twice a year aren’t the only ones making this point. Pp-eds printed abound in many a mainstream outlet echoing the same message, which perpetuates peoples’ tendencies to attribute deaths under communism to communism.

This would be fair enough if capitalism were similarly held to account for its own exorbitant death toll – but it isn’t. By the same logic applied to assessing the harm that communism has wrought upon the human race, the combined 14 people who died in Mayfield and Edwardsville on the night the tornadoes struck died under capitalism and because of capitalism.

Amazon’s rules against cell phones on the floor kept workers unaware of the developing storm system until it was too late. Mayfield’s candle factory insisted on maintaining its 24/7 operations to keep up with holiday demand, and, once again, threatened to fire anyone who went home before the end of their shift.

Additionally, a text exchange verified by local St. Louis area news shows a driver alerting his dispatcher to tornado sirens in his area. When he asked if he could return to the warehouse for shelter, dispatch responded, “If you decide to return with your packages, it will be viewed as you refusing your route, which will ultimately end with you not having a job come tomorrow morning.” Thankfully this particular incident didn’t result in death as the former two did, but it very well could have.

Of course, these decisions to push forward with business as usual even in the face of a deadly storm were made for no other reason but to maximize efficiency, productivity, and profit. Therefore, it is reasonable to attribute these deaths to the capitalist system that not only permits, but encourages, employers to maximize worker output under any all circumstances, often making little to no exceptions to account for their safety.

We can look to history to further compare the death counts of capitalism vs. communism (the Transatlantic slave trade and the European conquest of the Americas alone both boost capitalism’s total well into the millions), but the current pandemic itself offers ample perspective on the question.

The United States, the “richest” nation in the world and the only developed country on earth without a universal government-guaranteed healthcare system, leads the world in coronavirus deaths. And it isn’t even close. At this writing, the U.S. death count stands just above 800,000. In second place, with just over 600,000 covid deaths, is Brazil, which has been governed by far-right president Jair Bolsonaro since 2018.

To go back slightly further, The New York Times published a review of a book entitled Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism on March 6, 2020, a week before the initial covid lockdown. It showed soaring rates of these “deaths of despair” over the past three decades among non-college educated workers, who struggle disproportionately with alcoholism, chronic pain, unhappiness, and, of course, inadequate healthcare coverage.

These are the very kinds of people who found themselves held hostage at Amazon’s warehouse and in the Mayfield candle factory this past week, even as tornado sirens sounded all around them.

Inevitably, some will argue that these recent examples of the Amazon warehouse and candle factory collapses are not problems of capitalism itself, but rather are the results of greed and recklessness on the parts of individual companies. This sounds awfully similar the argument that “true” communism has never been tried and can therefore not be fairly blamed for fiascos such as the famines under Stalin.

But if the mass starvation that resulted from forcing peasant farmers to collectivize against their will and ability can be blamed on communism, then capitalism ought to be the logical culprit when workers are forced to remain on the job during a tornado warning in order to keep the product going out and the money coming in, safety concerns be damned.

If we’re going to seriously evaluate these competing economic ideologies, it’s long past time we start judging them by the same standards and using the same criteria. The simple declaration that “communism killed 100 million people” tacitly assumes that capitalism has killed no one.

This obviously isn’t even close to being the case, and so it’s about time we start more fairly keeping score.

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How Neoliberalism is Crippling Our Pandemic Response

In her December 6th press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki sarcastically mocked a reporter’s suggestion to make Covid tests free of charge to whoever needs them. Instead, she described a convoluted scheme in which qualifying individuals would be able to seek reimbursement from their insurance companies after being tested, and implied it would be too expensive to simply provide them outright (watch the exchange below):

This is the latest in a continuing series of examples which demonstrate the failure of neoliberalism to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The implosion of the Build Back Better negotiations is another. At this writing, the second-most costly provision in this supposed “human infrastructure” bill is a $280 billion tax cut for the rich, courtesy of the same party that won’t fund tuition free community college.

Perhaps most egregiously, the Biden administration continues to drag its feet on waiving vaccine patent protections, an essential step in making the vaccine available to everyone in the world. Weeks ago, Biden announced his support for taking such action, but as of yet it hasn’t happened. Every day it doesn’t is more money for the Pharma giants who developed the formula.

The federal government isn’t the only perpetrator. As journalist Walker Bragman lays out in his recent article, New York governor Kathy Hochul is pushing for workers to return to the office as soon as possible, despite her administration’s growing concerns about the omicron variant.

Hochul recently took emergency action to better prepare hospitals for the arrival of omicron, as Covid cases are spiking throughout her state. Why, then, out of the other side of her mouth, is she stressing the importance of ending the era of working from home, a safe and efficient alternative to commuting?

Bragman suggests that the answer lies with her tight connections to New York commercial real estate interests, who have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the state Democratic Party in recent years, and supported Hochul herself when she was Andrew Cuomo’s lieutenant governor.

From real estate to Big Pharma to the various special interests who successfully gutted the Build Back Better plan, it’s clear that even in the most dire circumstances, our leadership is still committed to the neoliberal premise which works backwards from the premise that the solution to every problem is and must always be market-based.

Psaki’s knee-jerk dismissal of free Covid testing shows the lack of imagination and will power to provide a universal public service, no strings attached. Instead, we insist on devising overly complicated bureaucratic arrangements which attempt to reconcile the needs of the public with the profit motive of dominant market actors.

The result is a pandemic that’s poised to enter its third year on yet another upswing, with no real end in sight despite the development and distribution of the vaccine.

Walker Bragman joins us on our podcast to discuss his article and how neoliberalism is killing our pandemic response. Listen to our full conversation by clicking the player below, and subscribe to the Due Dissidence on Apple, StitcherSpotifyCastbox, Google Podcasts, or any major podcast player.

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Photo: White House (Public Domain)

Why the Capitalist Class Got Caught Off Guard by The Current Wave of Labor Strikes

by Keaton Weiss

“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.”

Ursula K. Le Guin

You may not have been familiar with that quote until now, but it’s more likely that you’ve seen this viral image of a striking Nebraska Kellogg’s worker holding down the picket line in the pouring rain:

Though arguably the most determined, he’s hardly the only American worker emboldened and enraged enough to finally assert the value of his labor against an increasingly petulant capitalist class whose refrain these past six months has been “No one wants to work.”

Of course, recent and ongoing strikes like those at Kellogg’s, Nabisco, and John Deere (just to name a few), aren’t organized simply because employees no longer “want to work,” but because they no longer care to work in lousy conditions for lousy wages.

Their newfound defiance has taken employers by surprise, as many business owners expected that a “return to normalcy” was upon us as vaccines found their way into the arms of millions of Americans, and businesses began to reopen after a year of lockdowns and quarantines.

During such time, as was pointed out quite often in conservative circles, many workers were indeed making more on unemployment than they had been at their jobs. The additional UE benefits allowed millions of working class people to put food on their tables, pay their bills, and maybe even have a few bucks leftover, without having to toil at exhausting dead-end jobs for most of their waking hours.

Once padded unemployment checks and eviction moratoriums could no longer be taken for granted, owners and managers across the country assumed that their employees would have no choice but to return to work, and that over these next few months, things would start to look just as they did in February of 2020.

But what the capitalist class didn’t realize is that while they were itching to get back in business during the still and silent period of the coronavirus shutdowns, many of their employees were finally getting a taste of what life is like without the physical strain and psychological stress of working 60 hours a week for $11.50 an hour and still having barely enough in the bank to make rent at the beginning of the month.

Having been afforded some time away from the daily grind, the working class was finally given the opportunity reflect on whether such a seemingly endless and inescapable struggle ought to be their destiny.

This period of introspection, combined with headlines reporting “labor shortages” and “supply chain issues,” has led workers to realize that they do in fact deserve better, and that circumstances have aligned such that better work in better conditions for better wages are all demands that they are better positioned to leverage than ever before in their lifetimes. And they’re seizing the opportunity.

The virtues of capitalism once seen as virtually “divine” are now being exposed for the lies they’ve always been, as this supposedly unimpeachable economic system is unable to dig itself out of the hole its found itself in.

After all, the obvious market-based solution to a labor shortage can be summed up using simple supply and demand logic: the higher the demand for a product or service, the higher its price. But rather than satisfy such a demand by increasing wages, the ownership class is choosing instead to cry foul at the very system they’ve exploited their entire lives, and falsely complain that “no one wants to work anymore.”

And so while their bosses throw their tantrums, laborers are learning firsthand that despite the dominance of capitalist hegemony, as Le Guin said, “any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings,” and they’re mobilizing to make these changes happen.

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Photo: Twitter

Podcast: Kamala Goes to Guatemala, TYT Goes Full Russiagate, Lab Leak Theory Goes Mainstream

We discuss the news of the week, including Kamala Harris’ message to Guatemalan refugees, TYT jumping the shark, and the increasingly probable “lab leak” coronavirus theory.

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Will Democratic Voters Make Harris Pay for Caving on the Minimum Wage? Don’t Count On It

by Keaton Weiss

When Barack Obama took the lead in the 2008 primaries, many of us who supported him at the time were surprised to learn of people called superdelegates: party big-whigs who got to cast their own heavily weighted votes in the Democratic primaries. At the beginning of that race, a great majority of them had pledged their support to Hillary Clinton, and it seemed possible that if they remained committed to her, she might prevail over Obama in the end, despite losing the pledged delegate count. Chris Rock famously joked that “nobody had ever heard of a superdelegate until it looked like a black man was about to win the nomination,” a humorous nod to the idea that whenever it seems something good might be on the horizon, some unexpected obstacle presents itself and threatens to thwart progress.

Fast forward to this week, when Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate parliamentarian, ruled that Democrats could not make a $15 minimum wage part of the coronavirus relief package that they are attempting to pass through budget reconciliation. It’s difficult not to be reminded of Chris Rock’s joke, because just as many of us hadn’t heard of superdelegates until they became an issue in 2008, almost none of us had any idea what a “Senate parliamentarian” was, until this recent ruling of hers against the minimum wage provision. Once again, it seems that just as we’re about to achieve something meaningful, some annoying little thing materializes out of nowhere to stop us.

Of course, this “ruling” by the “parliamentarian” is no ruling at all, but rather, a recommendation. Kamala Harris, as Vice President, has the power to overrule her. Several progressive organizations like RootsAction, Our Revolution, and the Sunrise Movement, are urging her to do just that. However, word from the White House is that she isn’t going to:

Should she “weigh in” and overrule the parliamentarian, it would require a 60-vote majority to rebuke her. Since there’s no possibility of 10 Senate Democrats breaking ranks, this would mean the minimum wage increase would be included in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. In this scenario, Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who both oppose a $15 minimum wage, would have to vote against the entire upcoming stimulus in order to vote against the minimum wage hike.

If the $15 minimum wage is not included in the relief package, it will likely fail as a standalone measure, since in that case, it wouldn’t be tied to any other important initiatives like a crucial relief package, meaning that Manchin and Sinema could cast a No vote without the added pressure of having to reject a stimulus package – one that includes direct cash payments – in the process.

This is why the aforementioned progressive groups, along with writers at outlets like Jacobin and Common Dreams, are demanding that Harris overrule the parliamentarian, who David Sirota rightly points out is effectively an advisor to the vice president in this case. Robert Reich put it especially pointedly:

Good question. Of course, in his mind, he knows the answer – after all, he was among the most prominent progressives who made the case for voting Biden to oust Trump in 2020.

Progressives like Reich, Sirota, the Sunrise Movement, RootsAction, and Our Revolution, have three things in common as it pertains to this issue:

First, they all supported the Democratic ticket in 2020.

Second, they all will support the Democratic ticket in 2024, no matter who’s on it.

Third, and most importantly, they all seem to be under the illusion that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can be goaded into doing the right thing, and be made to understand that they will suffer political consequences if they don’t.

Emma Vigeland, Sam Seder, and Alex Pareene predicted on The Majority Report last Friday that Kamala Harris will pay a political price if and when she seeks the Democratic nomination in 2024 should she not go all-in on the minimum wage. This is consistent with what many others in progressive media are insisting, which is that pressure can be exerted on Harris and that she will be held accountable if she fails to deliver.

As much as I would love to agree with them, the idea that Democratic voters will hold moderate Democrats responsible for their terrible decisions flies in the face of the recent history of Democratic politics. Progressives have been prosecuting the case against corporate Democrats’ abysmal records for the past six years, and yet the last two Democratic presidential nominees have been Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. To believe that rank and file Democratic voters will turn on Harris in the 2024 primaries over her failure to fight for a $15 minimum wage is to believe that Lucy will finally hold still when Charlie Brown goes to kick the football.

In addition to recent examples, there is a decades-long history in the Democratic Party of voters giving their leaders a pass for one betrayal after another. What reason do Joe and Kamala have to believe this time will be any different? The progressives who are currently “pressuring” and “pushing” them, have proven to be reliable Democratic voters come general election season, and the liberal base of the party can be counted on to either defend, excuse, or altogether ignore these policy-based critiques. On issue after issue of material consequence to ordinary Americans, from the Iraq War, to the Bankruptcy bill, to mass incarceration, to corporate trade deals, the Democratic base has demonstrated their willingness, if not eagerness, to forgive and forget every policy transgression committed by their beloved party leaders.

So if past is prologue – and there’s still no reason to believe it isn’t – then neither Biden nor Harris will pay any political price for abandoning the $15 minimum wage fight. Sure, the Democrats will lose the midterms, and Harris could lose the general election in 2024 due to low base turnout. But losing to Republicans is a risk the Democratic Party has always been willing to take if it means stopping leftward momentum within the party.

Claire McCaskill, moderate Democrat from Missouri, lost her Senate re-election race due to low black turnout in St. Louis, and had a job as an MSNBC contributor waiting for her, where it’s safe to assume she earns a higher salary than she did as a Senator. This is one of many examples to signify that in a corrupt system of revolving doors and neoliberal hegemony, loyalty to the system itself will always be rewarded, one way or another.

The system offers no incentives for politicians to commit procedural faux pas like “overruling the parliamentarian” in order to pass a living wage. What we must now realize is that Democratic primary voters are as much a part of this system as anyone else. Liberals have become such useful idiots that they may as well be co-conspirators. No matter what, they can be relied upon to flood the voting booths and pull the lever for whichever party favorite the media tells them deserves their support. They are the true gatekeepers of the status quo, the foot soldiers for the elites. They ensure that establishment politicians are protected from negative consequences that, in any healthy democracy, would result from reneging on core campaign promises and selling out core constituencies.

Will this time be any different? I’ll believe it when I see it. In the meantime, I have a few predictions to make:

First, progressive champion Nina Turner will lose her primary to party loyalist Shontel Brown, who will go on to become the next Congresswoman from Ohio’s 11th District. Second, John Fetterman, the only statewide office holder in Pennsylvania to endorse Bernie Sanders in 2016, will lose his Senate primary to the Biden-backing Malcolm Kenyatta, who will then lose the general election to the eventual Republican nominee. Third, Kamala Harris will cruise to the Democratic nomination in 2024, and lose in November of that year to whoever the Republicans put forward.

I very much hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am. I don’t say this to depress you, but rather to save you the time and effort you might be thinking of expending in the hopes that Democratic voters might finally be on the verge of waking up. Because they’re not.

The best we can do as progressives now would be to back as many efforts as we can whose successes don’t depend on convincing Democratic voters to vote the right way. The current union vote by Amazon workers in Alabama is one great example. Such a victory, if it’s replicated throughout the country, could politicize enough working class people that a viable threat to the Democratic establishment can be levied from the Left.

Unless and until that happens, we’re just pissing in the wind, because the bottom line is this: there’s no persuading the liberals of anything – they’re too stupid, selfish, and superficial to absorb any substantive arguments about why they ought to turn on the party bosses. They can be outnumbered, eventually, if we organize effectively. But progressives who still, after the past six years, invest in any project to convince the Democratic primary electorate, as it’s currently constituted, to hold Joe Biden and Kamala Harris accountable, are wasting their time.

Photo: Jessica McGowan, Getty Images