Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Jeff Stein at Vox:
Many at the Bernie or Bust rally [in Philadelphia yesterday] argued that one failed Trump administration would be better than giving Clinton the chance to control the Democratic Party for two terms. "Bernie is willing to fall on a grenade to stop Trump," Sparks said. "But I'd rather have four years of tyranny than eight."
Dave Weigel in The Washington Post:
“I fear Hillary more than I fear Trump,” said John Deebus, 66, who attended one of the many alternative events for democratic socialists and left-out activists in Philadelphia. “If Trump wins, he’s in for four years. If Hillary wins, she’s in there for eight. That’s not how we stop the corporate parties.”
Where did this idea come from? Why do some Bernie Sanders diehards thinks Donald Trump would inevitably be a one-term president, but Hillary Clinton would be rubber-stamped for a second term?

I haven't traced this meme back to its origin, though I found it five months ago in (of course!) a Sanders-oriented Reddit thread:
I think that four years of Trump being obstructed and leading to a Warren presidency in 2020 might very well be better than eight years of Hillary and a validation of Third Way Democrats strategy. Hell, Trump might even advance single payer healthcare.
In the wilds of Reddit, I find a lot of confidence that Trump can be limited to one term:
There's only so much harm that Trump could even do, especially if we all vote down ticket dems. He's not king, and Russians/Putin love him. If he is truly horrible, we impeach or make him a 1 term president.
The power of the American president has been limited because of the partisanship of the Congress and the Senate. Due to this there is a limit to how badly an American president particularly in one term can damage the country. I believe sincerely, and this is why I will support him over Hillary, that the country will be more fucked under the leadership of Hillary Clinton than it would be under the leadership of Donald Trump, regardless of the fact that her platform is more in line with mine as a liberal.
In fact, Clinton is likely to have a hard time winning reelection. American voters chose a president of the same party three times in a row as recently as the 1980s (Reagan, Reagan, and Bush the Elder in '80, '84, and '88), but no party has won four elections in a row since the '30s and '40s, when FDR and Harry Truman won five straight. And remember that when Poppy Bush won the GOP's third straight victory in '88, he, like Hillary Clinton, was an older political veteran who was mistrusted by some in his party -- and then he lost reelection. If Clinton wins this year, she'll have to work hard to avoid Bush's fate in 1992.

Trump, on the other hand, reminds me of the Tea Party governors elected in Barack Obama's first term -- angry, polarizing, filled with self-importance and revolutionary fervor. A lot of those governors did a terrible job, but most, including some of the worst, got reelected -- Sam Brownback in Kansas, Rick Scott in Florida, Scott Walker in Wisconsin, and the one who most resembles Trump, the knuckledragging Paul LePage in Maine. Republicans can always win reelection on the constant wave of anti-Democratic hate generated by the right-wing media. (When there was no Democratic president in the Bush years, the conservative press warned the heartland of the clear and present danger posed by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, not to mention Dan Rather and the Dixie Chicks. Update as necessary for the Trump years.) And this assumes that we'll have normal politics under a President Trump, and not genuine repression.

(And I know that Trump has hinted he might not even serve as president if elected, but I think he said that just to throw us off stride.)

So why do Berners think Trump would be out after a term and Clinton wouldn't? I suspect it's because, when they're not getting their news from Sandersite sources, they're picking up what they know about the government from the mainstream media. The mainstream press regularly tells us that the problems in Washington are the fault of two parties that are equally polarized and corrupt in exactly the same way. The Berners buy the notion that Trump is an outsider who'd incur the wrath of "the two-party duopoly." On the other hand, they seem to believe the political establishment, across the spectrum, would welcome Clinton with open arms and make life easy for her, because she's one of them.

It would be funny if it weren't so naive.


Knight of Nothing said...

Yes. The fantasy of Trump being a single-term president is a corollary of the "heighten-the-contradictions" strategy that still resonates with some of the dimmer members of the progressive left. Spoiler alert: it has never worked and will never work.

KenRight said...

It might be naive but it is more naive to believe the bipartisan Elite differ in any meaningful way. Or to believe the Elite as presently constituted can be reformed by gentle increments from within and in such a way not to continue to supervise the rapid decline of the United States.

There are Trump supporters who nevertheless believe it would be best for Clinton to win but be left so wounded her presidency would be vulnerable to all manner of cataclysms from within and without.

Now that's a scenario you had perhaps not considered.

W. Hackwhacker said...

KenRight - I would find it absolutely plausible that Trump supporters would accept a scenario that would lead to "cataclysms from within and without." After all, 1) they're supporting Trump, and 2) they're of a party of nihilistic obstructionists who could care less about what happens to this country as long as it advances their political power.

CF2K said...

Does KenRight even read the discussion on this blog? Or maybe the most plausible explanation is that he's a bot.

Philo Vaihinger said...

"Duopoly" is a Nader word commonly used by the anti-capitalist left.

Zinn, Chomsky, and others.

Steve M. said...

Does KenRight even read the discussion on this blog?


Or maybe the most plausible explanation is that he's a bot.

Or a paid Russian troll.

Unknown said...

I find it hard to believe that any progressive would think a Trump presidency would be OK. A Trump White House would rubber stamp any regressive Republican legislation.

Feud Turgidson said...

So: WARREN tells Berners: Vote Hillary,
and ERNIE tells Berners: Vote Hillary,
OH NO, Berners aren't STOOPID.
Berners are PLENTY SAVVY at this poli ticks thingees.
No way Berners R fooled by the very person they want as POTUS
or the very person they'd follow over a cliff to get her in.

Smmmmart, those Berners [points to head]; they'll go far.

[Malcolm Tucker: "Fetus boy, Lesson One. I'll tell you to fuck off: what do you do?" "Mm ... eff off?" Tucker: "You'll go far! Now fuck off.".]

Instead of following political left OR right news/punditsphere,
the ever-cogitating Berners follow ... the msm [oooo, so clever]
cuz everyone knows the msm has no agenda, right?
They'll go far.

I've watched more than a dozen interviews of Berners since Sunday. Pierce is gentle, patient, kind, because he knows what he's dealing with.

I have relatives like this. We see each other socially, this comes up (like, ALWAYS: they raise like they think I'm not aware of the year.), I say my piece. Then, days, weeks after, out of the blue, I get "Oh, and another thing" e-mail from them. In my experience, the only folks who do this are zealous missionaries, Alan Grayson, and Berners.

Some of these relativees are in their 50s - 2 in their 70s. I don't get how that's even possible. Oh, sweet mystery of life, You confound me ...

Never Ben Better said...

Whole lotta magical thinking out there, innit?

CH said...

Fortunately, the polls seem to show that around 90% of us Sanders supporters, or "Berners" if you will, are going to support and vote for HRC & Kaine. I suspect that's pretty accurate. We're by no means all fanatics, any more than all HRC supporters are. Trump's supporters, well... that's, as they say, another story.

Unknown said...

Feud Turgidson, you forgot Glenn Greenwald in your list.

Severian said...

Two words:

Marc McKenzie said...

@Fred Turgidson: Thumbs up to you for bringing in the Malcolm Tucker quote. I myself tend to turn to using Mr. Tucker's words when dealing with those on the far Left who insist on the "both parties are the same!!" meme even though the evidence clearly says otherwise.

You know, the ones who insist that Trump won't be as bad as Hillary.

Green Eagle said...

I fear you are wrong. Trump will absolutely be a one term President; that term will just last until the day he dies, when his son will take over. Sort of like the way things work in Syria.

Rand Careaga said...

Since you mention Paul "Human Bowling Jacket"* LePage, we do well to remember that lefty vanity candidate Eliot Cutler played a very helpful role in 2010 and 2014 putting LePage over the top. Just sayin'.

*Charles Pierce's soubriquet, I believe.

sdhays said...

@Green Eagle: The country's institutions would be under assault like nothing since the Civil War and after Trump's incompetence enables another 9/11 or two and the resulting chaos of that and just his "governance", what you say is not nearly as crazy as it should be. We have a strong, stable democracy...until we don't.

Pete Thottam said...


Trump over Clinton. It's all about the U.S.A.'s military industrial complex folks.