After Years of Courting Affluent Suburbanites, Democrats Deserve Kyrsten Sinema

by Keaton Weiss

As you’ve probably observed if you’ve been paying any attention to the ongoing negotiations over infrastructure spending, Democratic lawmakers and voters are growing increasingly frustrated with Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema. She is one of two Senators currently preventing the passage of a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill which would finance long overdue additions to the social safety net, including universal pre-K and expansion of Medicare.

Whereas her partner in crime, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, has at least gone through the motions of making a counter-offer, Sinema has been defiantly silent throughout the process, dodging the media and her own constituents, and instead meeting behind closed doors with her corporate donors.

Her silent obstructionism has many Democrats upset that she is inflicting further damage upon an already embattled Biden White House by denying the administration a sorely needed legislative win. Progressives always knew Sinema would be a problem, even if many did support her challenge to Republican incumbent Martha McSally in 2018, but even her fellow “moderates” seem to be catching on to the fact that she’s an enemy of progress.

And while moderate liberals’ increasingly open disdain for Sinema is a positive development overall, these same Democrats ought to remember that their party, since the 2016 election, has tailored its messaging and policy positions specifically to court affluent white suburban voters – the very people who elect Senators like Kyrsten Sinema.

Progressives were told in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns that Bernie Sanders, while exciting to the young, progressive base of the party, couldn’t win a general election because his ideas were too “radical” to be embraced by this emerging cohort of upper-middle class suburban voters – or, as Rahm Emanuel branded them, “Biden Republicans.”

And so, in both primary contests, the party brass put its thumb on the scale against Sanders’ candidacy, in favor of centrists who they felt would deliver them this new coalition of well-to-do suburban centrists who were liberal on social issues, but economically more conservative. These kinds of voters were critical to putting Sinema over the top in her 2018 Senate bid, as well as to the Democrats’ overall success in those midterms. They’ve been been explicitly catering to them ever since.

It therefore stands to reason that the party would eventually face the very crisis in which it now finds itself. Sinema is a newly elected moderate sent to Washington by fiscally conservative independents, and she’s acting accordingly. Democrats can be upset about this all they’d like, but they have only themselves to blame for their current predicament. Because Sinema, an eccentric bisexual who votes against minimum wage increases and the strengthening of social programs, represents the exact kind of voter Democrats welcomed into their party with open arms these past three election cycles (2020, 2018, and 2016).

And so, the current stalemate within the party between progressives and centrists makes perfect sense. The very premise of the Democratic Party – a party “for the little guy,” funded by wealthy donors and corporate interests – is a laughable self-contradiction. Should anyone be surprised that it’s having trouble unifying behind even the most modest of public investments like hearing aids for senior citizens?

Comedian and political commentator Graham Elwood aptly describes the Democratic Party as “Goldman Sachs with a rainbow flag.” Tell me that isn’t spot on, and tell me it doesn’t describe Kyrsten Sinema to a tee. If you can’t (and you can’t), then it should come as no surprise that the party of corporate wokeness and virtue signaling neoliberalism is eating itself alive in a doomed effort to negotiate its way out of its own inherent and inescapable paradox.

The Democratic Party had a chance, in 2016, to become the kind of party that would have no problem passing legislation like the Build Back Better Act. Party leadership vehemently opposed such a shift, and a majority of Democratic voters followed their lead. This embarrassing public implosion in which the party “for the people” can’t even unify behind measures as basic as adding dental coverage to Medicare, is just punishment for their disgraceful behavior these past five years.

Unfortunately, we’re all collateral damage.

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123. w/ Alexander Sammon – The Humiliating Collapse of Centrism Due Dissidence

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Progressives’ True Test Arrives as Biden Signals Major Infrastructure Compromise

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that President Biden, in meetings with House Democrats, has significantly lowered his goals on additional infrastructure spending. Until now, he has thrown in with progressives who insisted on passing a $3.5 trillion package in addition to the $1 trillion bipartisan bill.

Biden’s new ceiling is apparently $2.3 trillion, a drastic reduction from an already compromised number (as Bernie Sanders has repeatedly stated, progressives initially wanted a $6 trillion deal).

Up to this point, House progressives have wisely touted their support from the president, and attached themselves to Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda. Perhaps it was their legitimate claim to Biden’s allyship that emboldened them to hold firm at their $3.5 trillion price tag, as they have maintained their position over the past several weeks despite pressure from moderates in the party and their corporate backers.

Now that Biden has essentially caved (editor’s note: surprise, surprise), progressives’ true test has arrived. They now must have the courage to remain steadfast in their demands without the cover that comes with attaching themselves to the leader of their party, the President of the United States.

Now that Biden has signaled that the high end of the settlement will be more like $2.3 trillion, the same progressives who banded together to block the $1 trillion package last week will have to publicly defy party leadership – including the president – if they want to drive that amount higher.

Whether they have it in them to do that remains to be seen. In the American Rescue Plan negotiations, House progressives didn’t put up a fight to keep Bernie Sanders’ minimum wage provision in the bill after eight Senate Democrats teamed up with Republicans to defeat it. So if past is prologue, there’s little reason for optimism.

If there is cause for hope, it’s that they have publicly dug in already on this infrastructure fight, and that caving now would be seen as yet another humiliating defeat for the Left. Pramila Jayapal instantly rejected at Joe Manchin’s ludicrous $1.5 trillion offer, saying plainly, “That’s not going to happen.” Whether she and her caucus can maintain that same level of confidence without clear support from party leadership is now the big question regarding the fate of the infrastructure bill.

Lauren Steiner, activist and host of The Robust Opposition, joined us on our podcast for a deep dive on the state of these negotiations. Click the player below to hear our full conversation, and subscribe to the Due Dissidence podcast on Apple, StitcherSpotifyCastbox, Google Podcasts, or any major podcast player.

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Biden’s Failing Presidency is a Tragic Reflection of America’s Decline

by Russell Dobular

These days Joe Biden is a tragic figure and also a symbolic one. As he dodders and mumbles his way through the rare press conference and occasional speech, it’s hard not to feel like we’re into the final scenes of King Lear, with the monarch’s mind crumbling under the weight of too many cruel realities arriving at a time in life when he is least able to manage them. Watching him try – and fail repeatedly – to master situations from Covid to Afghanistan to a dysfunctional Congress, gives one the uncomfortable feeling, no matter your politics, of catching a glimpse at our own national reflection. 

If Trump represented America’s wounded Id having a tantrum, Biden is its increasingly out of touch Ego, seeing a man of 35 in the mirror, even as everyone around him prepares to fight over the estate he’s going to be leaving behind very shortly.

As in any great tragedy, the seeds of Biden’s destruction were sown in the very moment of his triumph. Having resoundingly lost the first three primary states, he was rescued only by divine intervention, or the Democratic Party equivalent: an intercession by his old boss, Barack. But there are consequences for foisting a candidate on the public that no one particularly likes, trusts, or believes in. In exit polls, 44% of Biden supporters saw their vote as a rejection of Trump. Only 54% saw it as a vote for Biden. For Trump, those numbers were 22% and 75% respectively.

It could be a case of Yeats’ lines regarding the lack of conviction among the best while the worst are full of “passionate intensity,” playing out in real time, but it probably has more to do with the fact that Trump’s voters actively chose Trump. 

Biden, on the other hand, was never anything more than a hastily constructed bulwark against the party’s rising progressive wing.  That’s a flimsy premise for a presidency and was never going to hold up for very long to the scrutiny that comes with the job. It’s also a weak hand to play in negotiations with both official Republicans and the unofficial ones within his own party.  

Manchin has so little care about incurring the historically unpopular Biden’s wrath (only Trump was more disliked at this point in presidency) that he literally talked down to his own voters from the stern of his yacht this week as they demanded he support $3.5T in infrastructure spending. And Sinema seems to take a special delight in defying him, as if she’s fantasizing about all the lucrative board memberships she’s going to accumulate when her public service is done and she’s able to cash in her chits.   

If we get an infrastructure bill at all, it’s going to be even more woefully inadequate to meeting the needs of the moment than the one currently under consideration.  

It’s often been observed by his opponents on the left that Biden turned out to be better than anyone expected, but that’s only because the bar for his presidency had been set at a subterranean level. This is the man who gleefully incarcerated a generation of black men, while bragging that his crime bill would “do everything but hang people for jay walking.” Anything short of riding up to the White House on a horse in full Grand Wizard regalia to take the oath of office was going to look like a miracle of late-in-life progressive conversion.

Yes, Biden is better than anyone expected him to be. But he isn’t nearly as good as we needed him to be. We needed the FDR, or failing that, at least the LBJ that Biden reportedly sees himself as. What we got is a walking, talking, daily reminder of just how far we’ve fallen as a country. His befuddlement, frustration and ineffectiveness are our own, as is his nostalgia for a time when we had more turns left in the game, and our possible moves seemed infinite.  

A serious nation that is qualified to lead the world, even in a lets-start-pointless-wars-in-order-to-enrich-our-corporations kind of a way, would never have elected Biden or his predecessor. Our allies and enemies alike have noticed and their way of dealing with the United States is now along the lines of the way one deals with a crazy, rich uncle.  Think about the inheritance. Smile and nod. Remind yourself that he won’t be around for much longer.

Thank you for reading. We are a completely independent outlet, and so 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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The Taliban Was Always Going to Take Afghanistan, But Biden’s Withdrawal Was Still a Disaster

In the wake of the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent usurpation of the Afghan government by the Taliban, there seem to be two competing widespread opinions. Predictably, the corporate media, essentially an arm of the military industrial complex itself, has been nearly unanimous in its messaging that the turmoil in Afghanistan is a cautionary tale for why America must remain the World Police, and that the Biden administration’s decision to withdraw was a disastrous one.

Ironically, many on the Left are finally praising President Biden for sticking to his guns and defending his decision to pull out of Afghanistan after a 20-year occupation. Kyle Kulinski went as far as to (half seriously) brand himself a “Biden bro,” lauding the withdrawal of troops as “the best thing he ever did.”

What most in both the mainstream and independent media are missing here is that the decision to withdraw, and the manner in which the US went about its execution, are two different issues. Many would scoff at this, as Kyle himself has, and point out that no matter how long we remained in Afghanistan, this outcome was inevitable, and therefore it’s petty to critique the way in which the withdrawal was carried out.

Is he correct? Yes and no. But mostly, no.

He, as is almost everyone on the Left, is undoubtedly correct that the political outcome itself – i.e, the Taliban reclaiming Afghanistan – was a foregone conclusion no matter how the withdrawal was executed. But what wasn’t inevitable was the extraordinary level of chaos that ensued during this “transfer of power.”

Just six weeks ago, Biden expressed confidence that the Afghan army was ready to defend its country, insisting that a Taliban takeover was “not inevitable” (a prediction which directly contradicts his latest statements in which he emphasizes that it was). Had he and his administration been better prepared for this outcome that they now claim was inevitable from the beginning, surely a safer, more orderly evacuation of personnel and equipment would have been prioritized in anticipation for what was certain to unfold.

Instead, we saw horrific images of Afghans clinging to the sides of airplanes and then falling out of the sky from 2,000 feet in the air. We saw traffic jams of desperate people trying to flee at the last minute as the Taliban took over. And now, the Taliban has control over stockpiles of military equipment that we left behind.

So the questions of whether or not we were right to get out, and how do we go about doing so as safely and responsibly as possible, are obviously two different questions, and the latter is just as important as the former. Many have said that to obsess over the execution of the plan without acknowledging the overall merit of the decision to withdraw is to somehow nitpick and split hairs. This is absurd.

When the Seattle Mariners built their beautiful new Stadium, Safeco Field, they decided to demolish the Kingdome, its unsightly and retrograde predecessor; a decision almost everyone agreed was the right one. But if the demolition took place during a game, with 30,000 people inside, then of course it would be apropos to emphasize the extraordinary recklessness and incompetence with which the decision was carried out.

This is common sense. The way in which Biden’s administration went about this withdrawal was obviously a complete disaster that could have and should have been mitigated by ample preparation, if it could not have been avoided entirely. Acknowledging this in no way suggests that the decision to withdraw is itself a bad one.

We discuss the Afghanistan withdrawal and more on episode 118 of the Due Dissidence podcast. Click the player below to hear our full conversation, and subscribe to the Due Dissidence podcast on Apple, StitcherSpotifyCastbox, Google Podcasts, or any major podcast player.

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Blue Pilled: The Left Should Take Credit for the Progress Being Made, Not Deny It

One day into Joe Biden’s presidency, Liza Featherstone published a piece in Jacobin entitled “If Joe Biden Moves Left, You Can Thank the Left.” The thrust of her argument was that the Left should take credit for any progressive actions Biden takes, pointing to years of Left organizing and activism against all odds that brought progressive economic policies into the mainstream, particularly since the 2016 Presidential primaries.

After Biden’s first 100 days, however, much of the online Left seems committed to doing just the opposite. As the Biden administration passed a $300 per month, per child UBI, and has recently proposed plans for funding guaranteed paid leave and universal pre-K, many on the Left seem determined to minimize the significance of these plans, going as far as to accuse progressive House members of “gaslighting” their supporters by acknowledging and applauding such progress.

On the one hand, this should come as little surprise. After all, a great many podcasters and YouTubers have built their brands around criticizing the Democratic Party from the Left. We’re among them. And there is undoubtedly a wealth of material for critics of Joe Biden to sink their teeth into. His failure to lead on the minimum wage, neglecting to explicitly and unequivocally endorse the Amazon workers’ union efforts in Bessemer, Alabama, deception surrounding the ongoing role that the U.S. will play in the Saudi war on Yemen, are three important and legitimate criticisms among a plethora of others.

But to deny the significance of programs like children’s UBI, paid leave, and universal pre-K, is to deny reality. Currently, the average American family spends 23% of its income on childcare, while family benefits account for an embarrassingly low 0.64% of GDP. UBI for parents combined with universal pre-K and paid leave will obviously have a tremendous positive impact on the ease of family rearing in a country that has fallen woefully behind the rest of the developed world in this respect.

By pretending otherwise, the Left not only appears bitter and delusional, but worse, they project their own powerlessness and irrelevance to the rest of the country. If Leftists disavow these programs and accuse those who tout them of being compromised “gaslighters,” “sellouts,” or “careerists,” we signal that we want nothing to do with the proposal and passage of the very policies we have been advocating for so long.

Is this really the road we want to go down? Do we want to cut off our noses to spite our faces, just because we don’t like the president or the party in power? Do we want to project our own irrelevance by denying our role in promoting these popular Left policies that are finally seeing their day in the sun?

A much better approach would be to tout these accomplishments as our own. The Hill recently published an article entitled “We must thank Sanders for Biden’s success.” That sounds a lot more like it. It’s not about giving Biden credit, it’s about giving ourselves credit for forcing these ideas into the mainstream.

We discuss this and more on episode 112 of the Due Dissidence podcast. Listen to our full conversation by clicking the player below:

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

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Rainbow Bombs and Broken Promises: Things are Finally Getting Back to Normal

by Russell Dobular

I’ve been holding my fire, ’cause fair is fair; we had to give Biden a little time to either break his previous mold or prove to be the war mongering corporate stooge he’s always been. The latter was always more likely but there was a slim chance that a man of his advanced years would want to be remembered for something besides mass incarceration and making it harder for people to declare bankruptcy. I know exactly two voters who thought Biden should be the president on his own merits, and not just relative to Trump, but I know a lot of people who got caught up in the “Dear Leader,” state TV style coverage of the inauguration. Those folks are mostly silent now as Biden demonstrates the kind of bait and switch “leadership” that’s made the Democratic brand so toxic since the Clinton era. Let’s take a look:


Silence on the Amazon Union Vote, Then a Half Endorsement

The self-described “union man” remained entirely silent as Amazon workers voted to unionize in Alabama, until under pressure from even friendlies in the press, he finally issued a lukewarm statement supporting the vote.  Not the union necessarily, just the vote. This is inarguably an improvement over his old boss, who took $400 million from organized labor then screwed them over for 8 years like it was his job (which, along with a 22% spike in Obamacare premiums in several swing states right before the 2016 election, is a criminally under-examined element of Trump’s victory),  but it seems like a union man might want to be a little less ambiguous about his support for the most important union drive since the 30’s.  The fact that Jay Carney, Biden’s communications director in the Obama White House, is now doing the Lord’s work as Amazon’s chief PR flack, ain’t helping the optics among those who are paying attention. Like the workers taking the vote.

Hiding Behind the Senate Parliamentarian to Avoid Increasing the Minimum Wage.

This is a classic Democratic Party maneuver: pretending that you can’t do something that you actually can do because of procedural obstacles or Republican opposition. That’s how Barack got away with dropping the promised public option from Obamacare, after making a secret backroom deal with insurance and drug companies. In reality, Harris can overrule the Parliamentarian.  So why doesn’t Biden have her do it? It goes back to the General Unifying Theory of the Democratic Party: the donors wouldn’t like it.  Most of the time when Democrat politicians say one thing and do another, all you have to do is follow the money to figure out what they’re doing and why.  

Bombing Syria

‘Cause why not? Especially on a Friday. Just a little TGIF love to all the defense contractors.  And let’s face it, nothing says, “America’s Back Baby!” like bombing the fuck out of a Muslim country.  And when you pluck a Defense Secretary right from the board of Raytheon, you’re kind of telling people straight out that we’re going to be finding lots and lots of pretexts over the next four years for making lots and lots of bombs. At least we’ve got a black man bombing brown people now, which is surely a great comfort to them.

Going Small on Student Debt

Biden claimed at a town hall that he can waive $10,000 in student debt, but not $50,000, once again using the procedure excuse. There’s actually no legal basis for that claim. He just doesn’t really want to waive student debt. Which should come as no surprise, given that Biden is as personally responsible for the system of student debt peonage we have today as any living politician.

Going Big on Neera Tanden

While soft-pedaling it on every key policy promise, he’s still pushing corrupt political hack and professional asshole, Neera Tanden, for a job which she is completely unqualified for, while hiding behind claims of racism and sexism as the nomination blows up in his face. Someone told me after the election that the “smart money” was on Biden appointing some progressives to his cabinet in a spirit of reconciliation. Given that Biden wouldn’t even hire them for his campaign, the real “smart money” knew he wouldn’t put any in his cabinet. Instead, they’ve tried to rebrand people like Tanden, who in the past has advocated for cutting social security and Medicare, and invading Libya for their oil, as progressive. Not like the Blue MAGA’s are going to argue.

Turning $2,000 Checks into $1,400 Checks

When you stand up in the middle of Georgia and loudly declare that if the voters elect Democrats to the Senate, they’ll be getting $2,000 checks “immediately,” most of them think that means they’ll be getting $2,000 checks immediately. Not $1400 checks eventually. If you don’t understand why that might piss people off, you’ve probably never really, really needed money right away, or been in a position where $600 was all that stood between you and homelessness. That being the case, your political opinions here are about as useful as fishing tackle in the Mojave. For the sake of not making more Republican voters, you might wanna sit this one out.


That’s an incomplete list of some of the lowlights of the new administration. I ain’t gonna go so far as to say that the new boss is the same as the immediately preceding boss, but the new old boss is definitely shaping up to be the same as all the Democratic bosses we’ve had from Clinton on down. Which is disappointing, but shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who looked into Biden’s record before they voted for him, a group that presumably excludes most of the people who did so in the primaries.

The difference for Biden from the most recent Democratic presidents is that he has assumed power in a much poorer, sicker, and more desperate America, with an organized left that’s paying attention. Sure, the suburban base would watch Biden take a shit on the desk in the Oval Office and call it ice cream, but the number of people who are that mindless has dwindled in direct proportion to the share of national wealth that ends up in the hands of the citizenry. That’s the thing about crooks: they never know when to leave well enough alone. They always have to push it, until they break it. America has been driven to a breaking point by its oligarchs and a corrupt political system whose primary purpose is to serve their interests, and Biden is the last person to summon the imagination or political will to either understand what America finally snapping is going to look like or do what would need to be done to prevent that from happening.

‘Sides that, unlike Slick Willy, and Barack, Biden is a congenital moron, with the speaking skills of an angry drunk two steps into the program.  Imagine Uncle Joe trying to sell people on the idea that the meaning of “is” is up for debate, as Clinton did, or fake-drinking poisoned Flint water to convince people that its safe, as Obama did in a bit of black-on-black prop comedy violence. While the press has been applying the same kind of obscurantism that critics deploy to convince us that crappy modern art isn’t crappy to Biden’s God-awful speeches and town hall appearances, there’s only so much they can do to cover for a man so intrinsically dumb that he had to drop out of his first run for the Presidency after getting caught plagiarizing a speech, without even bothering to change its biographical details.   

Given that he wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer in his prime, putting a sundowning Biden in charge of a crumbling America was always bound to look something like this. Cabinet appointments that often feel like they were produced in a process that involved shaking up two paper bags, with one labelled, “Donors We Have To Fellate” and another labelled, “Members of an Identity Group,” then affixing the results to a corkboard; identity politics deflections from all questions about or criticisms of said appointments (the real purpose of the aforementioned corkboard selection process); bullshitting about what he can and can’t do without Bill and Barack’s ability to really convince anybody; picking the kinds of pointless fights that angry drunks pick, like the one currently unfolding over Tanden.

And we haven’t even crossed the 100 day mark yet, after which things always get a lot harder, even for a President who didn’t Forrest Gump his way into the job.  We’re rushing quickly towards the day when the North Korea-style press coverage, can no longer credibly paper over Biden’s deep flaws and personal defects.  Which is why reports of the demise of the Republican Party should be regarded as greatly premature.


We discuss these topics and more on episode 108 of the Due Dissidence podcast. Listen to our full conversation by clicking the player below:

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

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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Photo: Jonathan Ernst, Reuters

The ‘Bernie’s Mittens are White Privilege’ Essay Shows Liberals, Not Leftists, Have Gone Crazy

by Keaton Weiss

For a brief few days after the inauguration, it seemed as though the country actually had been unified. Not by Biden’s speech, or the pageantry, or the poetry, but by the virally memed image of Bernie Sanders, sitting by himself in his winter jacket and giant mittens, with his cheap blue mask on crooked, arms and legs crossed. His attire and attitude reflected the opinion that yeah, electing this asshole was probably necessary, but man, is this some bullshit. This is a mainstream opinion in America, as post-election polling shows that even a vast majority of Biden voters are more thankful to have ousted Trump than to have elected Biden.

And so of course, the politician who embodied the dominant sentiment amongst the general public would steal the show, as opposed to the vapid pomp and circumstance that was everything else. Everyone, it seemed, even many on the Right, were delighted by Bernie’s wardrobe and demeanor, creating and posting their own Bernie memes and inviting each other to share a good laugh.

By now, Bernie supporters have come to wait for the other shoe to drop whenever he gets any positive press, and this week, we finally heard from the one faction of the American electorate who found no joy or comfort in his mittens, his coat, his mask, or his posture – the humorless Blue MAGA liberal wokescolds.

These are the people who really were smitten by Michelle’s burgundy coat, and Joe’s “presidential” speech, and who embraced this moment as a genuine “triumph of democracy.” They loved the orchestra, and the poetry recital, and the video of George Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama bonding over their shared reverence for the “peaceful transfer of power.” To these people, Bernie’s get-up was a disturbance – a glitch in the matrix that, for an instant, threatened to snap them out of their blue pill (pun intended) reality.

One of these unfortunate people is Ingrid Seyer-Ochi, a high school teacher who saw Bernie’s presentation as a display of “white privilege.” In her essay published on January 30th by the San Francisco Chronicle, she paints precisely the picture I speak of, describing hers and her classes’ view of the inauguration as follows:

“We took in the meaning of the day, the vulnerability of democracy, the power of ritual, traditions and the peaceful transition of power.

We talked about gender and the possible meanings of the attire chosen by Vice President Kamala Harris, Dr. Jill Biden, the Biden grandchildren, Michelle Obama, Amanda Gorman and others. We referenced the female warriors inspiring these women, the colors of their educational degrees and their monochromatic ensembles of pure power.”

But then, of course, like a splash of cold water to the face:

“And there, across all of our news and social media feeds, was Bernie: Bernie memes, Bernie sweatshirts, endless love for Bernie. I puzzled and fumed as an individual as I strove to be my best possible teacher. What did I see? What did I think my students should see? A wealthy, incredibly well-educated and -privileged white man, showing up for perhaps the most important ritual of the decade, in a puffy jacket and huge mittens.”

Before we go any further, there’s much to be gleaned from these two excerpts. The most revealing words amongst them: “pure power.” Pure power seems to be the fixation of mainstream liberals, who see power itself as the ultimate goal, especially when such power is secured by race and gender groups who are underrepresented in government. How they obtain that power, and how they wield it, are distant secondary and tertiary concerns.

Here, Seyer-Ochi saw Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, and Kamala Harris as symbols of this “pure power,” and therefore, it was their “monochromatic” wardrobe ensembles that should have been the talk of the nation in the days and weeks following the ceremony. When Bernie, in his Vermonter ski jacket and handmade mittens, with his mysterious manilla envelope and paper receipt in hand, won the day, she “puzzled and fumed,” and she “thought her students” should do the same.

And then, the conclusion:

“I am beyond puzzled as to why so many are loving the images of Bernie and his gloves. Sweet, yes, the gloves, knit by an educator. So “Bernie.”

Not so sweet? The blindness I see, of so many (Bernie included), to the privileges Bernie represents. I don’t know many poor, or working class, or female, or struggling-to-be-taken-seriously folk who would show up at the inauguration of our 46th president dressed like Bernie. Unless those same folk had privilege. Which they don’t.

The absurdity of her argument is truly a wonder to behold.

The very reason people responded so favorably to the image of Bernie on his chair is precisely because it represented the underprivileged person who never in a million years would dream of scoring an invite to a presidential inauguration. The fact that he showed up looking like “struggling-to-be-taken-seriously folk” was exactly the point. The vast majority of Americans, who aren’t so deranged as to be moved to tears by Michelle Obama’s golden belt buckle, got a kick out of seeing someone in the audience who dressed just as they do when they make a grocery run.

Another irony of her thesis: she implies that Bernie takes for granted that he’ll be taken seriously no matter what, yet most liberals like her don’t take Bernie seriously, and never will. If I were an identity politics-obsessed liberal myself, I think I could make a pretty strong case that there’s a fair amount of anti-semitism in the liberal class’ dismissive categorization of Bernie Sanders as a “stubborn,” “loud,” “finger-waving” socialist who’s unelectable in a national race. That aside, the establishment liberal media’s treatment of Bernie ranges from indifference to contempt, as he himself understands (Seyer-Ochi even employs a dismissive tone in her article, i.e, So ‘Bernie’). The main point, though, is that the way Bernie presented himself at the inauguration has nothing to do with how he wishes to be perceived, but rather, is a fitting metaphor for how most Americans perceived the event itself.

Of course, this was an insult to liberals who were invested in viewing this inauguration through rose-tinted glasses. These are the same people who share articles about the Bidens’ dogs, unironically promise to get more sleep now that Biden is president, and whose admiration for Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki is just downright fucking creepy. They had been desperately and anxiously anticipating January 20, 2021 since November 9, 2016. To them, this was a glorious day whose memory should be cherished until the end of time, not soiled by the image of a curmudgeonly old man like Bernie, who many of them blame for Trump’s victory in the first place.

Personally, I love that Ingrid Seyer-Ochi is so upset that Bernie ruined the inauguration for her, and I love that she felt compelled to embarrass herself and liberals like her in front of the entire country by writing such an insipid and transparently fatuous op-ed. I love that the San Francisco Chronicle debased itself by printing it. Because the article proves something I’ve been saying since the first Bernie campaign in 2016: that liberals, not leftists, are the ones who have lost their minds in their obsession with identity politics. In this case, as has been the case several times over the past five years, America’s furthest Left candidate, and his Left supporters, have been targeted by identity politics-crazed liberals, whose actual material agenda is anything but “Left.”

I hope that independents and conservatives who have swallowed the establishment propaganda that the “Left” has gone crazy, will take note of this op-ed, and realize that it’s the centrist liberal establishment Democrats and their media allies like whichever imbeciles at the Chronicle who thought this piece was worth printing, who have gone utterly insane both in their lust for power and their seething hatred for anyone who challenges it, which includes Bernie Sanders and the actual, real-life Left.

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Photo: Brendan Smialowski, Getty Images

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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123. w/ Alexander Sammon – The Humiliating Collapse of Centrism Due Dissidence