On Politics

I’m fascinated by the Republican-fascist rhetoric that attempts to paint Joe Biden, a loyal representative of corporate America over decades of service in the Senate, as a “Marxist” puppet and tool of “dark forces” like George Soros, a favored target of anti-Semitic conspiracy-thinking. (If “thinking” isn’t too strong a word.)

As a person of the left — not a “liberal” (though v. liberal socially) nor a “progressive” — I view the narrowness of the acceptable American political spectrum through jaundiced eyes. The “left-right” divide here is hardly that; it’s more a center-right (albeit with liberal social tenets) versus extreme right, which, oddly enough, services oligarchic interests just as the center-right does. The enlightened billionaires who voice support for BLM, LGBTQ, and abortion rights are also fine with low wages and a neo-feudal precariousness amongst those who work for them. LGBTQ hero Ellen DeGeneres is worth 330 million, is palsy with the odious pre-Trumper George W. Bush, and treats her employees like shit. The same corporations who fund the Democrats fund Republican fascism.

Of course I’ll be voting for Biden/Harris. We have to popular front this year. 2020 is a defining moment in American history. Nobody can afford to throw away their vote on a third-party candidate, even in Electoral College irrelevant states. As to those sitting on their hands and not voting at all — primary turnout this year was less than 2016, even before March’s coronavirus breakout — note that DECADES have passed by without concerted efforts to register and GOTV new voters, much less give them something to want to vote for.

Anyway, Matt Karp has an excellent dissection of the lessons of Bernie Sanders’s defeat from an actual leftist perspective.

As Karp sees it, Sanders failed for three reasons, beyond the corporate-dominated Democratic Party united effort to neutralize him. He couldn’t make inroads which black voters, who remain strongly attached to establishment Democrats even as they voice support for social-democratic programs the establishment is dead-set against. Although he did well with working-class Democrats (defined as those without college degrees), especially Latinx, he failed to raise participation rates for them: across the board, working class whites, blacks, and Latinx voters just aren’t turning out in elections. And finally, Sanders was clobbered by the rich suburban whites Karp calls “Haliburton Democrats,” former Republicans who went for Biden or Bloomberg: “Not only do many merchant princes of the billionaire class — perhaps a majority, outside a handful of extractive industries — already lean Democratic; their corporate vassals, in prosperous metropolitan areas from Houston to Charlotte to Grand Rapids, are now trending Democratic, too.”

Karp’s silver-lining is young voters, generously defined as under 45, who supported Sanders over all others. Initially, participation rates among young voters, traditional the worst demographic for our kabuki democracy, suggested they didn’t turn out as strongly this year as 2016. Karp questions the methodology of this narrative; I’d like to see more about this.

One thing about the left: we’re always looking to the future.
The plant pictured above is one of the bur marigolds, genus Bidens. Maybe tall beggartick, B. vulgata.

1 Response to “On Politics”

  1. 1 Monica M September 7, 2020 at 8:21 am

    Third party voters + non-voters = the thing currently in the White House. AGAIN.

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