Podcast: Inside the Democrats’ War on Bernie Sanders – w/Branko Marcetic

Branko Marcetic, staff writer at Jacobin and author of the book Yesterday’s Man: The Case Against Joe Biden, joined the podcast to discuss his thorough and insightful review of the new book Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won The Presidency by Amy Parnes and Jonathan Allen.

Listen to our full conversation by clicking the player below, or watch on YouTube.

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Photo: Brittany Greeson, Getty Images

After a Progressive Sweep, Did the Nevada Democratic Establishment Just DemExit?

Progressive candidates swept control of the Nevada Democratic Party on Saturday, March 6th. With the backing of the local DSA chapter, Judith Whitmer was elected chair of the state party, and four other Left candidates also prevailed in their respective races. Immediately following their victories, they received word that the entire staff of the state party was quitting, and terminating their contracts with independent consultants as well. The Intercept also reported that before Saturday’s election, the Nevada Democrats transferred $450,000 out of the party and into the DSCC, which will work to re-elect incumbent Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto in 2022. Whitmer, in her appearance on the Deconstructed podcast, did not confirm or deny that, but she said that she has enlisted an attorney to try and prevent any similar shenanigans.

Ironically, prior to the vote, the Harry Reid machine‘s slate of candidates billed themselves as the “Progressive Unity Slate,” and criticized the socialist-backed roster for being too divisive to unify the party. But for all their talk of party unity, the establishment in Nevada made clear that unless the Democratic party serves the corporate interests that fund it, it’s of no real use to them. They essentially DemExited within 24 hours of realizing that the party would no longer be aligned with their agenda, and are now, according to The Intercept, setting up “an independent shop.”

Jon Ralston, the Nevada reporter who falsely claimed in 2016 that Bernie Sanders supporters erupted in a violent fit of chair-throwing rage at the state convention, lamented the fall of the party establishment, which he called “the most effective Democratic Party in the country.” Ralston also wrote that “[the] machine will still be there next year…it just won’t be called the Democratic Party.” As much as we might not want to admit it, he’s right about that. The same machine will still be there, just under a different banner.

This is the problem with progressives’ inside-the-party strategy: by the time the Left does “take over” the party, the infrastructure that makes the party so powerful will likely have been sold off, rendering the party an empty shell of its former self. The money, the personnel, the consultant relationships, will all be gone, and we’ll essentially be tasked with creating a new party anyway – because the Democrats, as they demonstrated in Nevada, will bail on the party, and immediately create a proxy party, if it comes to that, on a national level.

Are we not better off just creating a major new party right now? Why waste time wrestling over the name “Democrat,” which is toxic to so much of the country in the first place? Why ask permission from Democrats to control their institution, if they’ll gut the party so it’s of little use to us if and when we do eventually win?

We discuss all of this and more on episode 109 of the Due Dissidence podcast. Listen to our full conversation by clicking the player below:

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Dissident Detox Hour 10/17: Rogan Confronts Gupta, Bernie & Manchin Spar, Trump Threatens a Boycott Due Dissidence

Photo: Gage Skidmore

Joe Biden is a Trojan Horse: Inside is the Democrats’ New Right Wing Coalition

by Russell Dobular

In spite of what you might have heard, Democrats aren’t stupid. Nor are they spineless, cowardly, incapable of messaging, or any of the other things offered as explanations for their decades-long failure to win most elections in most places, or to secure meaningful policy reforms for their voters. In the now famous words of Marco Rubio, spoken during his campaign-ending broken robot moment on the 2016 debate stage, “Lets dispel with this fiction that Barrack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing.” 

Yes, he does.  And so does the rest of the Democratic Party.  If you understand the Democrats as a party whose first priority is to win elections and then serve their voters once in office, then you have to look for far-fetched explanations for their actions, which often appear to be completely at odds with those objectives. What party eager to win over the middle of the country would repeatedly vote to make a wealthy San Francisco doyenne like Nancy Pelosi their Speaker? She’s a walking advertisement for the image of Democrats as a party of out of touch elites, more concerned with arcane speech codes than labor laws. But if you understand the Democrats as a party primarily concerned with raking in big bucks from wealthy donors, while drawing enough superficial distinctions with their opponents to maintain their identity as a separate party, then everything they do is pretty frikkin’ brilliant. Like forcing Joe Biden on their voters.

Let’s be absolutely clear: Bernie Sanders would undoubtedly have been the party’s nominee this year without the interference of its leadership. A lot of ink has been spilled about the failings of Bernie 2020, and some of those points are valid, but let’s not forget that Sanders won the first three states in the primary calendar, all while facing unprecedented hostility from the corporate media and party elites, so clearly he did a lot of things right. No other candidate has ever won the first two states without going on to secure the nomination, much less all three. 

But no other candidate so universally feared and loathed by the money people and the consultant class has ever gotten so close to the big prize. Close enough that they were willing to drop all pretense of neutrality and fairness to ensure on the eve of Super Tuesday that instead of facing a fractured field of milquetoast moderates, Sanders would be going mano a mano with only Joe Biden, a man who voters had completely rejected in humiliating fashion right up until South Carolina. Remember, this was before we understood exactly how bad the coronavirus was going to be, or how badly Trump and the GOP would botch their response. No modern Democrat has ever won without high youth voter turnout, and there’s no way they didn’t understand that crushing the candidate of young voters was going to suppress their vote. Nor has any modern Democrat ever won without a high share of the Latino vote, and yet they chose to publicly and openly conspire against the candidate who was the clear choice of Latino voters. 

All this in order to run a notoriously thin-skinned politician in the obvious throes of cognitive decline against the world’s most infamous bully. Without coronavirus, Biden was a sure loser and there’s no way the party’s decision makers and strategists didn’t understand that. No, they aren’t that stupid. If you consider that the battle they’re fighting is only secondarily against the GOP, and primarily against the left wing of their own party, what they did was actually very smart.

These folks can read a poll as well as anyone, and they understand that in the normal course of things their days are numbered. For years, Democrats have talked up their coalition of the ascendant; the new, young, diverse, and thoroughly blue no matter who electorate that was going to someday hand them majorities as far as the eye could see.  But now that it’s on the verge of arriving, it doesn’t look quite like what they were expecting. Turns out that rising electorate wants policies that will actually allow them to rise in more than a symbolic sense and isn’t quite as satisfied by platitudes and kente cloth as the old white liberal coalition was. They want universal health care, they want higher wages, they want student loan forgiveness, they want free college; in other words, they want the people they vote for to do something for them beyond diversifying their office staff. The problem for Democrats is that all the things they want them to do are a direct threat to the grift they’ve been running since the day Bill Clinton formally announced the death of the party’s animating FDR spirit by proudly informing the public that “the days of big government are over.” The Reaganite small government ethos that’s ruled both parties ever since, simply cannot be reconciled with the demands of voters whose first priority is economic justice.  So what do you do when your base sees through the hollowness of your politics and demands that you do better? Find a different base.  And that’s where Joe Biden comes in.

The Biden campaign is a Trojan horse in the truest sense: it’s an empty vessel through which the Dems are attempting to substitute a portion of the GOP’s base for a portion of their own. The Democrats gearing their message towards white, professional class suburban voters is nothing new. They’ve been doing it for at least 30 years, first winning over the socially liberal/economically conservative “Rockefeller Republicans” in order to make up for their losses with union voters in the wake of NAFTA. Now they’re attempting with this election to win over the even more conservative “moderate Republicans” of this generation by running the kind of candidate who would promise in the midst of a pandemic and an ongoing populist uprising to veto Medicare for All, and not raise taxes on anyone making less than $400K a year. They’re not worried about handing over control of the party to Republicans in the process, because a Democratic Party dominated by moderate Republicans doesn’t look very different from what we have now – there’s hardly a shade of difference between your average liberal and your average “Never Trumper” ideologically. 

The rising left, however, is an existential threat to the party’s modern make-up, ideology, and standard operating procedures. If they lose to Trump while trying to make the shift, something that was almost guaranteed at the time they decided to force Biden down the country’s collective throat, that’s really not a problem. Trump is great for fundraising and his sheer awfulness takes the onus off the Dems to be much better. Just being a little better than Trump is all they really need to be for as long as he’s in office. Seen from that perspective, Biden is a win-win. They either crush the left by assembling a new, even more conservative coalition, or they once again scapegoat the left for their losses and spend another four years pretending the country didn’t go to shit until 1/20/17. So if you’re a deeply corrupt member of the fake-left half of the country’s ruling elite, where’s the downside? It’s nothing but upside for everyone except the voters.

There’s only one flaw in this plan.  It doesn’t take into account the dangers of breaking the social contract so severely that the population becomes ungovernable.  Only a fool would believe that we can continue on our current course of spiraling wealth inequality combined with a collapsing quality of life, now severely exacerbated by a global pandemic, without a reckoning. Unfortunately, in keeping with their French, Chinese and Russian predecessors, our leaders are those fools. History shows us that those most in danger of getting on the wrong end of a People’s Tribunal, are always the last to see it coming. With Trump we get there a little faster, with Biden a little slower (maybe), but the American economic and political system as currently constituted is clearly unsustainable. 

Vote your conscience in November in light of these realities (personally, I’m writing in Dave Chapelle), but know that the real battle is going to start the day after the voting ends.

Photo: Eric Thayer, Reuters

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As Trump Implodes, Democrats Roll Out the Red Carpet for Bush Era Republicans

In the pre-Covid world, Trump was consistently favored across numerous betting markets and forecasting models to win reelection, and the Republicans maintaining control of the Senate was a virtual lock. Alas, however, times have changed. As the coronavirus rages out of control throughout the country, Donald Trump’s poll numbers continue to plummet, and his chances of victory dwindle by the day. Suddenly, it seems the Republican Party is in danger of losing not only the Presidency, but their Senate majority as well, a prospect thought to be unthinkable just a few months ago.

While most Republicans seem willing to go down with the Trump ship, we are also seeing a number of Bush-era neoconservative politicos aggressively attacking the Trump administration in the run-up to November. The most prominent of these groups is The Lincoln Project, a PAC started by Bush and McCain campaign alumni which has run a number of hard-hitting ads against Donald Trump, and is committed to ousting him from office this Fall.

Democrats, desperate to remove Trump, are welcoming this effort with open arms. Liberals’ hearts have always been warmed by the idea of Republicans putting “country before party” and supporting Democratic candidates. MSNBC’s coverage is rife with “Never Trump” conservatives like Joe Scarborough, Nicolle Wallace, and Steve Schmidt (himself a Lincoln Project member) who, on a daily basis, can be seen imploring their party’s representatives to break from Trump in the name of decency, mercy, patriotism, etc.

But is The Lincoln Project actually committed to creating the kind of America that liberals, never mind progressives, ostensibly want to live in? Of course not. These are establishment Republicans looking to curry favor with the Democratic Party leadership, and, just as important, the Democratic electorate, in order to maximize their leverage over a potential Biden administration. By helping the Democrats achieve their paramount short-term goal of defeating Trump, these neocon Republicans are buying themselves influence within the party they’ve spent their lives demonizing, in order to pull it even further to the right.

And so for all this talk of Bernie-Biden “task forces,” and “concessions” to the more progressive wing of the party, there is an ongoing effort to counteract these developments being waged by lifelong Republican operatives, who now see the Democratic Party as a more viable vehicle for their agenda than the ill-fated Trumpian GOP.

What does all of this mean for progressives’ place in the Democratic coalition? Why is Trump failing so miserably? How did the “Never Trumpers” infiltrate the Democratic Party, and why are mainstream liberals rolling out the red carpet for them? We discuss all of this and more on our latest podcast episode.

Have a listen to our full conversation by clicking the player below:

Subscribe to the Due Dissidence podcast on  Apple, StitcherSpotifyCastbox, or any major podcast player!

Photo: Zach Gibson/AFP/Getty Images

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this content, you can help us create more of it by making a secure donation via PayPal, or become a member at Patreon.com and access exclusive patron-only content. Thank you for your support!

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