Sanders Can Win the Democratic Presidential Primary — Here’s How

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.

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Principle 1: Pledged Delegates Are the Key

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One Divides into Three? A Report on the U.S. Left Unity Conference

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

Animal Rights as Smokescreen: The Land-Grab Behind the NYC Horse Carriage Ban

Behind the hue and cry so-called animal rights activists are raising about New York City’s horse carriage industry stand definite material, class interests. If the city’s local government decides to ban the horse carriage industry, there will be winners and losers. Continue reading

What Socialist Worker Got Wrong About Vermont Politics

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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

Can Bernie Sanders Win the 2016 General Election?

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

Why Pundits Are Wrong About Hillary Clinton’s ‘Inevitable’ Victory Over Bernie Sanders

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

The Black Political Class and the García Campaign’s Mistakes Re-Elected Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

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

Should Chicago Unions Have Backed a Socialist Instead of Chuy García?

Rahm-Emanuel-Chuy-Garcia-montageThe “see, we told you so!” reaction by socialists to Rahm Emmanuel’s victory over Jesús “Chuy” García in the recent mayoral runoff was as predictable as it was hypocritical. Scott Jay’s editorial in New Politics is but one example of this kind of reaction which combines self-vindication and bravado with an utter lack of awareness of Chicago’s political terrain. This know-it-all know-nothingism becomes painfully obvious when Jay writes: Continue reading

#BlackLivesMatter and Political Change in #Ferguson

Eight months after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson triggered raucous protests around the country and transformed the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter into a nascent movement, the political scene in Ferguson, Missouri where the shooting took place has changed dramatically. Continue reading

Is Kshama Sawant Caving to the Democrats, or Are Democrats Caving to Kshama Sawant?

A good fighter, a friend and a longtime activist, MB re-posted an article on Facebook that attacks Kshama Sawant, Seattle’s socialist City Council member, for attending a fund-raiser for Larry Gossett, a member of the King County Council and a Democrat.

The underlying issues are serious enough to deserve a thorough response. Continue reading

People Will Take Socialism Seriously When Socialists Start Acting Seriously

Kshama Sawant’s essay in The NationWant to Rebuild the Left? Take Socialism Seriously” asks people who lean to the left to take socialism seriously and points to signs of the massive political potential that exists for a new generation of reds in the United States.

This plea is somewhat misguided. Continue reading

Politically Assessing Year One of de Blasio’s Rule

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Democrat (and former self-described advocate of “democratic socialism“) Bill de Blasio has been mayor of New York City for one year having won 73% of the vote (roughly 700,000 votes) in the 2013 mayoral race. The same election saw the city council’s Progressive Caucus double in size and with the council’s 48-to-3 Democratic-to-Republican majority, de Blasio has been able to get a lot done during his first year in office. Assessing these achievements and understanding what de Blasio and his administration represent politically is critical to correctly orienting to the actually existing class and political struggle at the local level. Continue reading

Lessons from Socialist Alternative’s Loss to Democrat Frank Chopp

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By Tom Barnard.

The Jess Spear campaign for WA State House had been hopeful. Volunteers were growing. Money was coming in at a strong enough pace to pay for door hangers and flyers. Door knocking, especially in working class neighborhoods, was getting a good reception. Neighborhood corner standouts were enthusiastic and well attended. Though no one inside Socialist Alternative was uttering the word “win” it seemed nonetheless that momentum was building, and her 20% primary total would increase. But on election night, Rep. Frank Chopp, the Speaker of the House in the Washington Legislature, easily defeated her, and even lowered her tally to 16.5%.

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