Sunday, February 21, 2016

Why I'm Voting For the Nominee

Before its too late I thought I'd get my licks in.

Why I'm voting for the Nominee. 

 I am avoiding watching any TV, or attending any rallies for any of our candidates, because I really don't care which of them gets the nomination. I will vote for the nominee, donate to the nominee, work my heart out for the nominee. I'm actually agnostic as to which I prefer because I don't think either of them is as good as they say, or as bad as their critics pretend they are. But having said that, because I'm voting for the nominee, I'm also, in essence, voting for the Democratic party as it is currently consistuted. Not as I wish it were consituted. Not as a perfect liberal dream of a Democratic Party, but also not as an obstacle to be overcome. 

 You go to an election with the party you have, not the party you wish you had. I need my future President to share my values and goals, and to promise to work hard for women's rights, minority rights, climate change, and a whole lot of things. But I also need a savvy infighter, someone who knows the ropes and knows where some of the bodies are buried. Because in the best case scenario, the one where we manage as a party to retake the House and Senate, or just the Senate, even a holding action is going to require some incredible negotiating skill, parliamentary maneuvering, and ability to lay off the slagging and trash talking. Is that too small bore? Too merely “liberal” and not progressive enough for you? Sorry to be so practical and down to earth. Sorry to talk in prose when some want poetry. Sorry to be an incrementalist. No doubt these are all dirty words. 

 But the reality of our political system is that no savior from outside of the party, no holy fool* with excited rallies but no tolerance for minutiae is going to be able to wring anything from the choked sewer that is our political system. You need a forensic plumber (hat tip Miles Vorkosigan) not a hand grenade. 

 I'm reminded of something some commenter said to Ralph Nader during his run for the Presidency. “Ralph,” she said (and I'm paraphrasing here) “You are like a great pair of shoes that I really want, but which are too expensive and I know they are going to pinch if I buy them. I want them, but I can't afford them.” If I imagine that the Presidency is like being King for four years, I'm excited for Bernie. When I remember that a far more skillful political actor, a deeper political thinker, and a younger and stronger person named Barack Obama just tried to run the actual office of President for 7 years, and what happened to his attempts, I despair for the Bernie victory. I think he can win. But I don't think we can afford him. I don't think he has the temperament or the skill to work with the party apparatus, state by state, congressional district by congressional district, to get anything done. Not a few limited things. Anything.

ETA to add paragraphs and break up the wall of text. And to add that I cross posted at my own blog I Spy With My Little Eye.

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13 comments:

Victor said...

Yeah, I'm with you, aimai.

Hillary has battled these bigoted bastards for over two decades, and is unfazed by their hatred. Dare I say, "she welcomes it?"

I like Bernie just fine, and he's done a good job getting her to move left, but I don't know if he's tough enough to handle the poo-flinging monkey's on the right on a daily basis.
She's shown me that she is.

Bernie is a terrific shoe, but a Trump, Cruz, or Rubio victory would be a hard and horrible kick in the ass for 4 or 8 years.
We just did that 16 years ago.
And how'd that turn out?

oc democrat said...

" Not as a perfect liberal dream of a Democratic Party,"

Senator Professor Elizabeth Warren is Mine!

Erik C. said...

aimai, I think you might need to put a space after that link in the midle of your post.

aimai said...

Thank you! Erik C.

Auntie Social said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. And I say that as a Bernie supporter in the primary -- but in a state that votes so late, it's OK for me to express myself until the nomination is made and the rubber meets the road. GO NOMINEE!!!

Never Ben Better said...

Agreed. If our nominee does turn out to be Sanders, I will work just as hard for him as for Clinton, but none of his grand promises will be fulfilled (assuming he even makes it past the right-wing attack machine to win the election), he'll probably get even less accomplished than Obama, and the passionate fans will turn on him as furiously as they did on our current President when he fails to deliver on their dreams.

Tom Hilton said...

Yes, absolutely--the party, flawed and dysfunctional though it is, is much more important than any individual candidate. (And I'm very skeptical of any candidate who doesn't acknowledge that.)

And I agree generally with your approach to picking a candidate.

Ten Bears said...

The Party, flawed and dysfunctional though it is, is much more important than the individual.

Wasn't that a Soviet slogan?

aimai said...

Well, that's tendentious, ten bears. I'm not calling for show trials. I'm simply observing that in a political system like ours, which is a two party winner take all system for the presidency, with many chokeholds and two houses of congress plus the supreme court no single individual, acting alone can effect change. You have to be working with other people. You have to be working in coalitions and you have to be working systematically to effect change. Despite all the bernie revolution talk there is not going to be a revolution from the top. If Obama couldn't effect one Bernie can't. But Obama did show us, and HRC and Pelosi and Reid are quite capable of, complicated maneuvers to get blood out of turnips and turn sawdust into wine.

Never Ben Better said...

Not that Obama gets any credit from the purity brigade for the amazing amount of stuff he has accomplished.

critter spigot said...

"But having said that, because I'm voting for the nominee, I'm also, in essence, voting for the Democratic party as it is currently constituted. Not as I wish it were constituted. Not as a perfect liberal dream of a Democratic Party, but also not as an obstacle to be overcome."

See, this is why I don't want Bernie to be the nominee. I completely understand where you are coming from here, and I actually think Bernie is probably a mostly nice guy, who has the best intentions, and has some fairly noble attitudes towards politics. However, this being said, the man has a notoriously antagonistic attitude towards the Democratic party. I worry that he won't be cooperative with either the Democrats or the necessary Republicans in order to push for policies the Democratic party has been trying to accomplish. I worry that he has been to antagonistic toward the Obama administration. I worry that he doesn't really want the Democratic party to succeed, and that he cares more about pushing his own personal ideals than cooperating. I recall that he once said that there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans, that they are Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

I want to see a continuation of the gains of the current administration, even though this process is lengthy, frustrating, and a constant uphill battle. But I believe in this constant uphill battle more than a quick populist revolution, and I believe in the probability of winning this uphill battle for the long haul, while I don't believe there is any suitable justification for the constant antagonism coming from Bernie Sanders.

It's not that I don't sympathize with the guy and his supporters. I understand and empathize with the frustrations with our two party system. But saying that Democrats are just as corrupt as Republicans, or that the two parties are essentially the same, is misleading and deeply insulting to the stark differences in ideology and the goals each party has.

With all the rhetoric coming from the Bernie camp, all the negative things to say about the Democratic party and President Obama's administration, which are very damaging to this party in that it turns impressionable idealists against the party, I often wonder why Bernie Sanders even bothers running as a Democrat at all. He never has before. The only reason I can think of is that he knows his chances of being the nominee would be very slim if he were a third party candidate. But the odd thing about that is, he talks as if he's above adapting to partisan politics for the sake of accomplishing his goals. His idealism and rhetoric seem to insinuate that he would never stoop to that level-- the dirty Democrats. Yet, here he is. Running as a Democrat. I just don't get it. I feel like he's doing more damage than good.

critter spigot said...

Another point of contention that has been bugging me is the essential, profound differences between Bernie Sanders and the rest of the current Democratic party in terms of how these politicians understand the cause, and therefore remedy, to our nation's problems. To Bernie, Wall Street is the ultimate evil, and therefore, regulating and taxing Wall Street to support social programs is the ultimate solution to literally every single one of our problems, in his view, as far as I can tell. This is problematic, never mind the fact that a Tobin tax alone won't generate enough revenue to support all the programs Bernie Sanders wants to fund, yet he's not talking about his plans in regard to income taxes or capital gains taxation. Even if that were not an issue, there is a deeper problem with this. |
The rest of the Democratic party just does not agree with him on this.
Now, I have no issue with philosophical diversity within the Democratic party. There is philosophical diversity within it already, and I think that is a good thing.
However, in this case, something just irks me. When Hillary Clinton says that she believes in breaking down barriers, plural, she's not just regurgitating a campaign slogan, although it's that too, ad nauseam. What she is doing here is drawing a distinction between herself and Bernie Sanders. Between the Democratic party as a whole, and Bernie Sanders. There's a reason most of the Democrat senators, representatives, and governors who have so far come out in support of a candidate, have come out in favor of Hillary, and I think it has to do with a lot more than this being a matter of the Democratic establishment supporting an establishment candidate. I think they are saying that they are uncomfortable with Bernie Sanders' ideology. And I think I have to agree with them.
I don't inherently hate democratic socialism, Marxism, or any other leftist theories that deal primarily with economics. In fact, I often agree with socialists about particular policy stances. But I take issue with their claim that all social ills emanate from capitalism alone. And I think Bernie Sanders' obsession with Wall Street is too similar to that ideology. When he calls himself a socialist, I don't think he's just talking about social programs and biting back at right wing rhetoric. I think he means socialism in the traditional sense, and I haven't seen enough Democrats taking that seriously.

I don't think Bernie Sanders will prioritize "cultural issues" enough, such as gun violence, systemic racism, and institutional sexism. I think the rest of the Democratic party has a firmer grasp on these issues than he has. When running against Madeleine Kunin, he called women's issues a distraction from real politics. Unfortunately, I don't think his opinions have evolved on this issue, and I just don't trust him to be lead the national discussion on these issues, at a time when really talking about these problems has become so critical. I can't imagine him delivering a satisfactory State of the Union Address the way I can imagine Hillary doing it, based on her talks in Beijing and with the UN Human Rights Council. It's scary to me that Donald Trump has a better understanding of the importance of Planned Parenthood than Bernie Sanders has. I never thought I'd see the day, but I've seen it. And it is severely off putting.

Please excuse the fact that this comment was, like, basically the size of a damned novel. :P

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