These are strange times for those sympathetic to “socialist” ideas.
Trump could have the White House painted high gloss black and order the Treasury Department to deliver pallets of hundred dollar bills to the front door, and the Democrats would accuse him of a cover-up and ordered another hearing.
Pelosi had a chance on Thursday at her weekly press conference to tell the world that Trump is an out and out felon, and we’re going to impeach him starting today. Instead, she called Mitch McConnell the Grim Reaper and put up a poster showing a cemetery filled with the headstones of the bills he hasn’t passed.
The next time Trump has Stephanopoulos over to the Oval Office for a lecture on the Way the World Works, he’s going to call off the election, turn to the camera and say, now what are you going to do?
Impeach him? Is it even a question anymore? If not now, when?
Fortunately, we’re now at a place where a significant number of people are beginning not to buy the fear-mongering about the “s” word, especially when McConnell represents a socialism for the 1%. Add that corporatist welfare to the Trumpian nationalist memes now back to criminalizing flag-burning and you have … wait for it … an ersatz “National Socialism”.
Straight Pride Parade in Ada Oklahoma.
This picture says it all. You've got a trump banner in the background, a Confederate flag, a "Straight Pride" sign and a Nazi salute. pic.twitter.com/1i79T90RXV
— Jason Cutter (@JasonCutter11) June 16, 2019
So what we are talking about, and what the definition of democratic socialism is to me, is making certain that economic rights have to be seen as human rights—not just political rights are human rights, which we believe strongly in; but economic rights are human rights, as well.
Bernie Sanders has been talking about democratic socialism for decades, as a mayor, a member of the US House, and a member of the US Senate. But now that he is a serious contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, and now that more and more elected officials and activists are identifying as democratic socialists, President Trump and his Republican allies are attacking socialism as a threat to “liberty and independence.” On Wednesday, with a major address at George Washington University, Sanders is pushing back. He’ll explain that his vision of democratic socialism extends from the themes outlined in the 1944 State of the Union address, where Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared: “We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.” Arguing that the United States must finally recognize that “economic rights are human rights,” Sanders plans to outline a vision of democratic socialism as an alternative to a system that is organized to benefit a handful of oligarchs—including Donald Trump—rather than the great mass of Americans.
Sanders explained why it is important to discuss democratic socialism as the 2020 race fires up, in a conversation with The Nation’s John Nichols, who has written about the senator and democratic socialism is a number of books, including The S Word: A Short History of an American Tradition… Socialism (Verso).
“We have to talk about democratic socialism as an alternative to unfettered capitalism, where the rich get richer and almost everybody else is getting poorer. I think that’s a message that young people are receptive to, and I think it’s a message that working people are receptive to.” — Bernie Sanders
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Less than half of Americans (47%) say they would vote for a qualified presidential candidate who is a socialist — the same percentage Gallup found in 2015. A socialist candidate is the only one among a dozen hypothetical candidates about whom a minority of Americans say they are willing to give their vote.
Why 'socialism' conveys one thing here, and another thing there https://t.co/bVsEcTeWpF
— Bloomberg (@business) June 16, 2019
….the YouGov survey that reported that given a choice, 44 percent of young people between the ages of 16 and 29 would prefer to live in a socialist nation rather than a capitalist country. Another seven percent would choose communism. However, the same poll revealed that only 33 percent of the respondents could correctly define socialism as based on the common ownership of economic and social systems as well as the state control of the means of production. What most millennials mean by “socialism” seems to be a mix of our welfare state and what they perceive to be Swedish democratic socialism.
My colleague @RepAOC and I have a radical idea: maybe Congress should stand up for ordinary people. Join us at noon today on Twitter as we launch our legislation to protect consumers and take on the greed of the big banks. https://t.co/3eLeok1LB7
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 9, 2019
Matt Taibbi does still seem to continue on a contrarian tack in terms of low-balling Sanders while trashing other analysts.
Bloomberg’s Jonathan Bernstein just published a new piece called, “Is Bernie Finished?” Citing Iowa poll numbers that show poor Sanders “essentially in a three person race for second” (he actually is in second, but whatever), its premise is that Bernie now rests “at the fringes of plausibility.” Worse, he could “fail to reach the delegate threshold” in Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina.
The across-the-board failed prognostications of last election season were a thing to behold. They constituted one of the larger industry-wide failures in a journalism business that has seen a few of them since the Iraq fiasco. Literally every major news outlet called the 2016 election wrong.
The most inexcusable mistakes involved the complete dismissal of Donald Trump’s chances at the nomination at a time when he was either leading the Republican field or in clear contention.
This is similar to what’s going on now with Sanders, who is sitting firmly in second place nationally, at about 17%, as Bloomberg is wondering if he’s “finished.” But what happened with Trump in 2016 was even more bizarre.
Trump’s thin Electoral College win against Hillary Clinton was a similar story. One of the most amazing stats from Election Day was that around one in six of Trump’s voters in November 2016 actively disapproved of him.
This allowed him to enter the White House with a ridiculously low 38 percent approval rating.
What predictions can you possibly make in a political environment so saturated with ambivalence and pessimism that a person with a 38 percent approval rating can win the presidency? The answer should be none, or nothing obvious.
2016 was an indication that voters had traveled so far off the reservation that any choices they made going forward were likely to be hard to predict.
Pundits however didn’t go back and recalibrate after 2016. A common explanation for Trump’s rise was that he was a “black swan” event. As Vanity Fair noted, this was a concept developed by risk analyst Nassim Taleb to describe “incredibly rare, hard-to-predict events, like the 9/11 attacks.” Trump, it was argued, was someone whose uniqueness defied models, which meant the Great Pundit Whiff of 2016 deserved a mulligan.