The 2008 Democratic presidential primary fight proved that the Clinton machine can be beaten despite enjoying enormous advantages in terms of funding, connections, and name recognition. The question is: can Bernie Sanders repeat in 2016 what no one thought possible in 2008? Although Sanders can’t mechanically follow candidate Barack Obama’s playbook, team Sanders has to adapt some of that playbook’s strategic principles to have a shot at winning.
Mark Lause, in his denunciation of Democratic Socialists of America’s support of the leftmost Democrats, claims that every single Democrat is a “Wall Street flunky.” I must assume that this means that he thinks that every single Democrat is taking cash from finance capital, if not some other corporate source.
By Ethan Young
Dan La Botz’s description of the Future of the Left/Independent Politics Conference makes another introduction redundant. Instead, I’ll add my own observations. I come from the other side of this discussion: I hold with the ‘inside/outside’ approach to electoral politics, as pushed by the late Arthur Kinoy, a radical lawyer who led the National Committee for Independent Political Action in the 1970s and 1980s. Putting it simply, I supported left independent Barry Commoner for president in 1980, and Democrat Harold Washington for mayor of Chicago in 1983. This year, I support Kshama Sawant and Bernie Sanders.
I see no contradiction – in fact I think it’s the only approach that makes sense. Continue reading
Dear Friends in Chicago,
I’ve asked my fellow Vermonters Corey Decker and Jeremy Hansen to convey my very best wishes for a productive and successful conference this weekend. We need many more people like you, throughout our country, who are willing to challenge the stranglehold of big money on politics. Continue reading
“We will be campaigning with Sanders supporters against the corporate politicians while politically arguing for Sanders to run all-out through the November 2016 election, as a step toward building an independent political alternative for working people.”
This is the conclusion of Socialist Alternative’s wide-ranging and enthusiastic article about Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential run. Although it’s a welcome break from the vitriolic sectarian humbug about Sanders peddled by the likes of Black Agenda Report and Socialist Worker, the article doesn’t actually endorse him!
A nasty debate is brewing on the American left over what to do about Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and most of the nastiness is on the anti-Sanders side. Now that Sanders is trending upwards in polls (tripling in Iowa from 5% to 15% and reaching 18% in New Hampshire, two key early primary states) liberals are starting to get hysterical. Articles like “Bernie Sanders Is Already Making It More Likely Republicans Win The White House In 2016” will soon become the norm from this crowd as the primary contest heats up and the Establishment front-runner Hillary Clinton has to defend her Iraq war vote and pro-free trade stance against Sanders’ anti-war, anti-free trade record in six live television debates. Continue reading
Arun Gupta’s “The Only Article You Need to Read About the 2016 Election” avoids the typical, weak ‘left’ objections to Bernie Sanders’ decision to seek the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination and bases itself instead on undisputable facts — namely, that “progressive challenges [to] the mainstream Democratic candidates” such as Dennis Kucinich in 2004 or Progressives for Obama of 2008 have not dragged the Democratic Party to the left politically but instead dragged progressives and socialists to the right. Gupta’s argument is that this is will be the social function and/or objective outcome of Sanders’ campaign, its socialist gloss and the genuinely oppositional intentions of its participants notwithstanding. Continue reading
From a reader (with minor edits).
Overall: The premise of the Socialist Worker article is that had Bernie decided to challenge Peter Shumlin for the Gubernatorial office, he could have used that position as a base to build a statewide Progressive Party analogous to the organization he built in Burlington. That’s unlikely, and here is why: Continue reading
“No chance of winning.”
These are the words
Hillary Clinton’s camp Socialist Worker, newspaper of the International Socialist Organization (ISO), uses to describe Bernie Sanders’ candidacy for the nomination of the Democratic Party in response to a (rather lackluster) endorsement of Sanders by Jacobin which is published by members of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). The delicious irony of the ISO’s arguments is that they actually want Sanders to run a doomed, no-chance-of-winning presidential campaign, as they readily admit in the same editorial: Continue reading
Serious questions demand serious answers. To seriously answer the question of whether Bernie Sanders could win the November 2016 election, Sanders supporters must put aside our preferences and partisanship to soberly appraise the likely terrain of the 2016 Electoral College and how Sanders would fit into that context as the Democratic nominee.
Safe and Swing States and Sanders
In the past 6 consecutive presidential races, the Democratic nominee has won 18 states and the District of Colombia for a total of 242 votes in the Electoral College while the Republican nominee has won 13 states for a total of 102 electoral votes. States that vote reliably Democratic (blue states) or Republican (red states) are what’s known in American electoral jargon as “safe states” while the states that could vote in either direction are known as “swing states.” Continue reading
The corporate commentariat anointed Hillary Clinton the winner of the fight for Democratic Party presidential nomination less than 24 hours after Bernie Sanders declared his candidacy. Nate Cohn of the New York Times writes, “The left wing of the Democratic Party just isn’t big enough to support a challenge to the left of a mainstream liberal Democrat like Mrs. Clinton” and Bill Sher of Politico notes, “With Clinton generally polling around 60 percent among Democrats, having four candidates divvy up the remaining tally is a recipe for a Hillary coronation.” Even the usually careful, data-driven site FiveThirtyEight.com exclaims that Sanders “doesn’t have a shot” since “polls show Sanders doesn’t match up well against Clinton. He trails her by nearly 57 percentage points nationally, 54 percentage points in Iowa and 40 percentage points in New Hampshire.”
Here’s why three big reasons why they’re wrong. Continue reading
By Lisa Kaiser
Local historian John Gurda is slated to give the second annual Frank P. Zeidler Memorial Lecture tonight on Milwaukee’s Socialist legacy. But he spoke with the Shepherd last week about his thoughts on how the Socialists saved Milwaukee. Here are some of his observations:
Shepherd: What was going on in Milwaukee when the Socialists emerged?
Gurda: They began to run candidates for office in 1898. That was the first year that David Rose was in office [as mayor]. Milwaukee was thoroughly corrupt. It was as bad as Chicago on a bad day. Everything was for sale, which was not atypical. That was the pattern in American politics back in what was called the Gilded Age. Milwaukee was also very heavily industrialized. This was a working-class town. More than half of the male working population would have been engaged in manufacturing of some sort. It was a visibly dirtier city than it is today with coal smoke and just incredible pollution in the rivers. It was also very compact and congested. When you look at the older part of town today there are a lot of open spaces, there has been renewal or removal of some kind. That was not true then. It was cheek by jowl.
By Dustin Guastella
The Democratic Field: Clinton v. Warren v. Bernie
The media have already christened Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee. Clinton’s coronation should come as no surprise, as she has positioned herself as a friend of Wall Street (and Wal-Mart). She advocates fiscal discipline and so-called “privatized Keynesianism” and takes her political advice from “the markets.” She prides herself on her role in gutting welfare, her aggressive foreign policy and her close relationships with Republican leaders. Most damning of all: BENGHAZI! I don’t think I have to convince readers of this blog that she is the epitome of a neoliberal Democrat and her candidacy represents what Tariq Ali calls “the extreme center”.
By Dustin Guastella
Senator Bernie Sanders has been mulling over a presidential run for the past few months and is set to make an announcement this week or next about his potential candidacy. Bernie, a self-proclaimed and vocal socialist, is a talented campaigner, a remarkably successful politician and broadly popular across the ideological spectrum in his home state. Should he decide to run, socialists need to play an active role in building his campaign, but we also need to think carefully about why a Bernie candidacy is important and how socialists should best support and shape such a campaign. For starters, I don’t think socialists should work for Bernie in the hopes of “reclaiming” the Democratic Party (when was it ours to begin with?). Further, Bernie’s presidential run shouldn’t be seen as a means to pull Clinton to the left, a failing strategy for sure. Continue reading
By Bob Roman
The usual practice for lefties defeated in electoral politics is to claim victory, victory in the sense of having spread the word, victory in the sense of building an organization, victory in the sense of whatever plausible argument comes to hand. In the case of Jorge Mujica’s campaign for 25th Ward Alderman, we can safely assert it was a successful proof of concept: The “socialist” label, in some neighborhoods, is not a handicap even if it is not an asset. Begging your pardon but I’ve been saying as much for years. Through our participation, Chicago Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) did earn a reputation as an organization that delivers on its commitments. But the campaign intended to establish a socialist presence in Chicago government and that requires victory. Continue reading
A Critical Battle for Working People and the Left
The strong record of Socialist Alternative Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant in achieving victories by organizing and activating working people is the basis to win more, especially for affordable housing. After winning legislation for a $15 an hour minimum wage, the task to make Seattle affordable for all is far from done. Donate and volunteer in this year´s referendum on the first open socialist elected in the city in a century.
This campaign promises to be the most highly visible city council race Seattle has seen in decades, one that pits the corporate establishment against the only consistent voice for working people on the council. Moreover, the impact of this campaign will extend far outside of Seattle, with the potential to inspire more independent, left-wing, pro-worker challengers to the two parties of big business nationwide. Continue reading
“Socialist administrations were most often elected in small or medium-sized railroad, mining, or industrial centers. Where the worker was not a worker or trade unionist himself, others in the administration often were. In Butte, Montana, the Socialist mayor was a minister; the police judge and city treasurer elected with him in 1911 were miners. In Lackawanna, New York where a socialist mayor (occupation unknown) was elected in 1919, the two Socialist councilmen were trade unionists. Similarly in Davenport, Iowa, which elected a Socialist doctor to the mayoralty in 1920, the Socialist city clerk was a machinist. Continue reading
By Bruce A. Dixon
The results are in, and the truth hurts. Rahm Emanuel will sit in the mayor’s office on the fifth floor of Chicago’s City Hall four more years. Despite fudging police stats to make murders disappear, despite stonewalling on police torture and atrocities, despite deliberately shortening red light camera intervals to raise revenue for his buddies, despite closing and privatizing more than 50 public schools, almost exclusively in black and brown neighborhoods, than anywhere in the country, and despite his facing a solid progressive Democrat challenger, Rahm Emanuel carried every single ward in black Chicago, not by big margins, but by enough. Continue reading