Before We Even Think about Candidates for 2020

We already know how Trump is planning to beat us. Let’s go into that battle with open eyes.

President 46%. In 2016, Donald Trump was elected president with 46% of the vote, beating a Democrat who got 48%. As he was being inaugurated, he briefly benefited from the wave of hope and goodwill that greets all presidents, and for about two weeks his approval/disproval rating was positive.

He quickly dissipated all that goodwill: He gave his scary “American carnage” inaugural address. We saw the flock of shady billionaires, fossil-fuel industry puppets, and alt-right provocateurs he had appointed to high office. Sean Spicer angrily told us that we didn’t really see all that empty space on the National Mall during Trump’s inauguration, and Kellyanne Conway coined the phrase “alternative facts“. Then Mike Flynn resigned under a cloud that had something to do with lies about Russia, the Trump family kept openly profiting from his presidency, and by April his approval was below 40%. It has fluctuated in a 37%-43% range ever since.

Whatever he says or does, or how well or badly things are going, that’s how much support he has. The unemployment rate hits record lows and the stock market record highs, but he can’t get over 43%. He all but kneels to Vladimir Putin, refers to Nazis as “very fine people”, puts kids in cages, and is identified in as a conspirator in a crime Michael Cohen has already been sentenced to prison for, but he doesn’t go under 37%.

There’s a good reason for that narrow range: Unlike all previous presidents (at least since World War II; I’m kind of hazy on the presidents before FDR), Trump continues to serve up the rhetoric his base wants to hear, and doesn’t even try to speak to the nation as a whole. Most of the things he says are easily recognized as false or nonsensical as soon as you leave the Fox News bubble. (The Washington Post fact-checker estimates that during 2018 Trump averaged 15 false or misleading statements per day.) But inside that bubble, he is a prophet; he says the (untrue) things that no other president has ever had the courage to say. Every bad claim people amke about him originates from a conspiracy between the Deep State and the Fake News Media, who are “enemies of the American people“.

Unlike, say, Bill Clinton reforming welfare, George W. Bush working with Ted Kennedy on education policy, or Barack Obama offering a “grand bargain” on the federal deficit to John Boehner, Trump has never given Democratic leaders the slightest reason to hope that they might achieve their goals by working with him. Every gesture towards compromise — like the DACA-for-Wall deal Trump said he wanted or the job-creating infrastructure bill he promised — turns out to be a mirage that evaporates in the light of day. Fundamentally, Trump doesn’t accept the premise of a win/win outcome; in order for him to believe he has won, his opponents have to lose.

Even worse, he seems to take joy in trolling groups that oppose him. He never misses an opportunity to smear Latino immigrants. He makes up derogatory nicknames (like “Pocahontas” or “Cryin’ Chuck”) for U.S. senators. Whenever he needs to rile up the racists in his base, he picks a fight with some black celebrity like LeBron James or Spike Lee. (Try to remember any previous president of either party trading insults with a celebrity outside of politics, no matter what opinions they expressed.) He refers to black-majority nations as “shithole countries“, and contrasts them with countries he’d like more immigrants from, like Norway. He encourages police to be more violent with suspects.

So how does Trump plan to win? That kind of behavior raises an obvious question: How does Trump think he’s going to get re-elected? Something like a third of the country may worship him. (Literally. It’s not uncommon to run across people saying that Trump was chosen by God to be president.) They may indeed be so devoted that they don’t care if he stands “in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoots someone”, much less if he violates campaign finance laws or commits bank fraud or is a ventriloquist’s dummy for Putin.

But how do you win an election if you don’t do anything to grow a base that’s barely more than a third of the country?

Answer — the same way he did in 2016. Eezy-peezy: Rile up your third of the country so that they’re sure to vote (and depress the rest of it so that they’re not), making them maybe 40% of the electorate. Get another 6% to hold their nose and vote for you because they’re scared of your opponent. Encourage (maybe with some social-media help from Russia) 5% or so to vote for third-party candidates who have no chance to take any of your states. (Howard Schultz has already volunteered for that role.) Then count on the Electoral College to install you in office even though your opponent has more votes.

That would sound like one of the Brain’s plans to take over the world, if we hadn’t just seen it work.

Let’s not get fooled again. If you know the trap your enemy is setting, the obvious counter-strategy is to refuse to walk into it. Since the trap is two-pronged (motivate his voters, depress and split ours) we should look for two things in a potential Democratic challenger:

  • Someone who raises progressive enthusiasm, so that marginal Democratic voters (especially non-whites and young people) are drawn to the polls.
  • Someone who doesn’t scare Republican voters outside Trump’s base (especially educated suburbanites and moderates) into supporting him.

The problem: While those two are not directly contradictory, they do generally point in opposite directions. A candidate with sweeping progressive proposals (like Bernie Sanders) tends to scare the Right, while a “safer” candidate (like Joe Biden) may leave low-motivation voters wondering why they should bother.

Moving either way increases the third-party threat. In 2016, Jill Stein got votes from people who would have voted Democratic if Bernie had been the nominee. But Schultz has openly said that his motivation to run as a “centrist” arises from fear of Democrats nominating a progressive like Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

Trumpists are preparing for either possibility. You can bet that any moderate candidate will face the same kinds of attacks “Crooked Hillary” did: He or she is a tool of the powerful special interests that are threatened by Trump’s attack on the Deep State. But CPAC (over the weekend) was a testing ground for attacks on progressives: They want to turn the US into Venezuela and even take away your hamburgers. The Green New Deal, Trump summed up, means “No planes. No energy. When the wind stops blowing, that’s the end of your electric.”

Any Trump challenger will face personal attacks that make him or her seem uniquely horrible. (“I mean, I don’t like him either, but couldn’t the Democrats have picked somebody else?”) It doesn’t really matter that the charges be true, only that they take time to refute. We’ve already seen this with Warren and the Native American issue. (Lots of people are convinced she made up her native ancestor in order to take advantage of affirmative action. There is zero evidence for this, but the issue never goes away.)

I think progressives underestimate the effectiveness of this kind of stuff, largely because Bernie never had to face it in 2016. (Republicans were counting on him to wound Hillary, so they mostly laid off of him, portraying him as a good guy with some wacky notions. Trump would occasionally cry some crocodile tears about the raw deal Bernie was getting.) It’s a mistake to draw the conclusion that Bernie was shielded by his fine moral character. Anyone can be lied about, and it’s usually not that hard to find some factual foundation to build a lie on. In a sufficiently large cloud of lies, the many absurd charges (think Pizzagate) can seem to support each other. (“I don’t know. It just seems like there’s something wrong there.”)

Don’t help him. The most important thing Democrats can do is to avoid slandering their front-runners. We need to make sure that candidates have answers for any serious questions that are bound to come up eventually, but attacks on a candidate’s fundamental honesty and decency shouldn’t be tossed around lightly.

So it’s fine to ask why Amy Klobuchar doesn’t support Medicare-for-All, but not to jump to the conclusion that she’s a tool of the insurance companies (unless you really know something). It’s fine to wonder how Bernie will pay for his proposals, but not to accuse him of trying to turn the US into Cuba.

And I don’t want to hear about how Kamala Harris isn’t black enough, or that Kirsten Gillibrand doesn’t know how to eat chicken. We’ll get enough of that kind of BS in the general-election campaign. We don’t need to start it now.

Can anybody thread the needle? The most successful Democratic campaigns of the Trump era have somehow managed to split the difference. Doug Jones won an unlikely senate seat in Alabama by avoiding progressive positions like Medicare-for-All, but the very thought of a Democrat beating Roy Moore inspired high turnout in Alabama’s black neighborhoods. Beto O’Rourke ran a surprisingly close race in Texas by creating an exciting progressive image without taking many progressive stands on the issues. That is also the path Obama took in his 2008 landslide. Obama himself was the excitement, not a revolutionary platform.

Texas and Alabama are both in the South, where a Democratic presidential nominee will only win as part of a national landslide. So I don’t think those races should define the limits of acceptable positions. But I think each issue needs to be weighed on the inspiration/fright scale. Reparations for slavery, for example, is a trap issue for Democrats. No one really believes the next president can get a reparations bill passed — and I don’t even know of a plausible reparations proposal — so I doubt the issue will inspire new support. But it will scare a lot of white people and lend itself to exaggerated charges.

At the moment, things look relatively good. The latest poll has Trump trailing a generic Democrat by 48%-41%. But of course, many polls showed even larger leads for Clinton at some point or another. That 7-point lead comes before the actual nominee either raises enthusiasm or gets torn down. It also comes before the Mueller report appears, and before investigations in the House nail down charges that Trump supporters have been able to wave away so far. There’s a strong chance of a recession beginning before the election, and who can guess what foreign crises will erupt between then and now?

The idea that 41% of the public might be able to look at the last two years and say, “I want more of that” is both scary and mind-boggling. But that’s the world we live in. Trump has about that much support and always has. He’s going to try to win again without building that base, and we know exactly how he’s going to try to do it. No matter what happens in the internal dynamics of our own process, we can’t ever lose sight of that.

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  • Kaci  On March 4, 2019 at 10:36 am

    Those two desires pointing in opposite directions are definitely what scares me about this election. I wish they were our two parties, instead of trying to fit both in one party to defeat Trump. But this is what we have. I lean more on the left side of the party, but I will absolutely vote for whoever wins the nomination.

    • Meg LeSchack  On March 4, 2019 at 11:11 am

      Concise and cogent, Doug. How strengthening it is to read REAL facts and good, supported thinking! It’s head-clearing and spirit-comforting.
      Thank you!
      To Kaci: I wish Lefties could be more realistic about the financial requirements for programs. We MUST begin to manage the national debt. And be wise about how one size does NOT fir all. The needs of people in NYC and other urban areas are different from those in rural areas. And needs for NYC differ from Miami’s, differ from Las Vegas, etc. And rural A rizona’s needs differ from rural Maine, differ from rural Nebraska’s.
      I think candidates should encourage regional thinking and cooperation, speak to that. I also think that they should stop responding to nonsense issues like Warren’s heritage. She could say ” The facts and information about my history have been published widely. Today I’m going to speak about responses to the issues presented by climate change here in the southern Mississippi region — [name the states that make up a good geographical and social region there]. Same for other big issues, noting how urban and rural areas may differ.
      And while the eternal human issues of housing, education, health care, available jobs need our attention, we now have an urgent, global issue requiring national and global investment of thought and action – three words: Catastrophic Climate Change.
      Sorry to be so long-winded– provocative topic!

      • Kaci  On March 4, 2019 at 11:16 am

        I’m with you on catastrophic climate change, and I think that’s going to be extremely expensive to deal with, both in preventing it from getting worse and in mitigating the effects.

    • Guest  On March 4, 2019 at 11:48 am

      The two desires/opposite directions is what scared me the most about Doug’s post, Kaci. To a certain extent it is a false dichotomy based on a deeper misunderstanding of vulnerable Americans, which is not unique to the Sift.

      Under a fundamentalist-type approach to a left-right spectrum paradigm, it makes no sense that someone pigeonholed as far left would be able to win over moderates let alone folks on the right. Setting aside the fact that most progressive positions enjoy plurality if not majority support among the American public, there is another paradigm at work that we too often ignore, which is something like status quo vs meaningful change. Vulnerable folks are well aware that the status quo is failing them and are open to people who they trust to shake things up. In that scenario, it becomes readily apparent that someone like a Bernie Sanders can have his cake and eat it too, generate enthusiasm for the base AND win over moderates and Republicans disillusioned by the status quo.

      For Democrats who still can’t wrap their heads around a “far leftist” like Bernie doing better among moderates and Republicans than more “centrist” status quo oriented Democratic candidates, I’d point to polls going back to 2016 showing Bernie as an ideal candidate in a match up with Trump, Clinton’s under-performance in the Midwest and eventual loss of the White House, and town halls that Bernie has done in deep “Trump territory” where we wins over the room in rousing fashion.

      • weeklysift  On March 4, 2019 at 12:01 pm

        The Bernie-will-get-moderates-too point strikes me as a progressive-echo-chamber truth. I hear it a lot, but I see no evidence.

        I’m waiting to see a Bernie-style progressive win a Doug-Jones-like race. I still haven’t.

      • Guest  On March 4, 2019 at 12:55 pm

        The evidence is there, Doug, and I think you don’t see it because you are a “comfortable” American rather than a “vulnerable” one, so the status quo/change dynamic is largely lost on you, as it was on the Clinton camp.

        From the May 2016 NBC News article “Who’s More Likely to Beat Trump – Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders?”:

        “…there are two significant groups that Sanders wins over by much larger margins than Clinton and help him beat Trump by double digits: Republicans under 30 and Independents who do not lean toward either party.”

        Importantly, the NBC polling data is NOT an outlier. Bernie consistently polls as the best Trump opponent. The only person to come close has been Biden recently, who hasn’t announced yet.

        If the extensive and consistent polling evidence isn’t visceral enough and you prefer something more anecdotal, check out the May 2017 town hall Bernie did in West Virginia to see the dynamic play out in real time.

        We can disagree over whether seeing a Bernie-style progressive narrowly defeat a confirmed pedophile in a red state is the best litmus test. But if election results matter, then surely the most relevant is the failure of centrist, status-quo Democrats to win the White House, even against the most unqualified of opponents.

      • George Washington, Jr.  On March 4, 2019 at 2:34 pm

        I’ve heard that same argument, that “every poll” showed Sanders beating Trump by a wide margin. The problem is that all of those were taken while Sanders was still the nominee, and was not subjected to serious negativity by either Clinton or the Republicans. I think progressives underestimate the effect of right-wing talk radio bleating about the choice between capitalism and “socialism,” while overestimating the ability of the average voter to distinguish between Democratic Socialism and “communism.” That didn’t happen in 2016, but it will happen in 2020, and no amount of repeating “but a majority supports Bernie’s proposals” will help.

        A recent poll shows that there is more support for a gay or Muslim president than there is for a “socialist” one. Obviously, we need to educate people as to what “socialism” actually is, but keep in mind that we will have to do this over a continuous scream of “he’s a communist” that many people will respond to.

      • Guest  On March 4, 2019 at 4:24 pm

        “(Sanders) was not subjected to serious negativity by either Clinton or the Republicans.”

        lol! This is a joke, right? Have to think this is a joke. The user name kind of points in that direction too.

        Since 2016, polling data has consistently shown Bernie as the most liked, most popular politician in the country, and as the candidate best poised to defeat Trump in a general election, with more support than his Democratic peers from not just the progressive base, but moderates, independents, and Republican voters. I understand that is an uncomfortable truth for a lot of Democrats, but it is the truth. No amount of spin on your part is going to change that, George Washington Jr!

        We ignore the data and the status quo/change dynamic at our own peril.

      • George Washington Jr.  On March 4, 2019 at 8:15 pm

        Glad you like my screen name, “Guest.” It’s not as imaginative as yours, unfortunately.

        Yes, we keep hearing that Sanders did great in polls taken before the nomination. I get that you like him – I like him too. I wish he’d been the nominee.

        Clinton was basically hands-off during the primary because she didn’t want to alienate his supporters. We know how that worked out. And outside of calling him “crazy Bernie,” Trump and the other GOP candidates went pretty light on Sanders, too, because they were hoping he would be the nominee, and they thought he would be a less formidable opponent than Clinton, so they didn’t want to discourage anyone who would have voted for him.

        If you think that amounted to serious attacks on him, you have no idea.

        Now, half of the Democratic field is saying the same thing Sanders is saying. In 2016, a $15 minimum wage, free public college, and single-payer health coverage were radical, but Sanders single-handedly managed to make them all mainstream Democratic positions. In 2016, he was the only progressive candidate. Now the question is whether he’s the best person to push those policies in 2020, because he’s not the only one saying them anymore.

      • weeklysift  On March 5, 2019 at 7:10 am

        Polls are one thing, election results are something else. I think 2016 made that clear. I want to see a House or Senate or governor’s race where somebody carried the Democratic Socialist label into a red or purple state or district and won the kind of victory progressives say is possible.

        Ditto for those polls saying that progressive positions are popular. Some are, and you can tell because they pass in statewide referenda — anti-gerrymandering in Michigan, felon voting in Florida, minimum wage or marijuana legalization in several states.

        But issue polls not tied to actual elections, where the respondents aren’t exposed to legitimate arguments against the proposal, much less to the onslaught of lies a real campaign would include — I don’t trust them. I need to see real voters turn out in support. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request.

      • Guest  On March 5, 2019 at 2:34 pm

        Thanks, George, I’m always grateful that Guest wasn’t taken.

        I don’t bring up Bernie doing great in the polls because I like him, it’s because it’s meaningful data. And the data indicating he is the best candidate against Trump is NOT confined to the period prior to the 2016 nomination, it’s been consistent since then through present day. You guys seem to be approaching Romney 2012 levels of data disdain and it is scary to see.

        Re: Clinton and Republicans going light on Bernie, I think it’s laughable. You must not have been paying close attention, or else getting all your news from the pro-establishment sources and the mega media corporations that never skip an opportunity to kick and marginalize him.

        “Polls are one thing, election results are something else.” Fair point, but both things point to Bernie solidly outperforming “centrist” Democrats in a general election! Clinton (like Kerry and Gore before her) lost the White House, and I have yet to hear why we should downplay the results, particularly when the polls are confirming it. Again, shades of Romney 2012 in the Democratic party. It’s baffling to hear that polling data is trash and that it’s elections matter, just to see you ignore the most relevant election results to the discussion, namely, modern presidential elections.

        By shifting the goalposts to State elections, Doug, I think we risk comparing apples to oranges. There’s too much nuance State to State, and I think the status quo/change dynamic is most pronounced in a national general election. If I can make one more point along those lines, yes, progressive positions really are popular, BUT, and this seems particularly true on the national level, the status quo/change dynamic trumps that progressive popularity. Serapion touches on this below. That hunger for change, coupled with data showing us that Bernie wildly outperforms among independents and Republicans, goes a long way in explaining, among other things, those sinister Sanders-Trump voters.

      • Larry Benjamin  On March 5, 2019 at 5:45 pm

        My concern is a repeat of 2016, where if Harris wins California and the South on Super Tuesday and is unstoppable, Bernie’s supporters will undermine her for not passing the progressive purity test, and will say she’s the Hillary 2.0 “establishment candidate.” If Sanders gives a full-throated endorsement to whoever the winner is, or drops out if it becomes impossible for him to be the nominee, that would help. The goal should be to nominate whoever can beat Trump.

        I’m curious what negativity you think Sanders faced in 2016. I don’t count random trolls on Facebook calling him a “communist.”

      • weeklysift  On March 5, 2019 at 5:51 pm

        I think it would be odd if the first election where a theory works is a national presidential race.

    • jh  On March 6, 2019 at 1:52 pm

      But that’s my problem with those on the left. I was a former conservative. I voted for McCain/Palin. Let that sink in. I voted for that moron Palin. I held my nose because I was a republican.

      In contrast, even in the last election, I kept on crossing paths with people who said “But Hillary” or some other nonsense. They couldn’t see a difference between Trump and Hillary or a difference between a vote for Stein or a non-vote vs. an affirmative vote for Hillary. It’s a deeply psychological problem that the left has where they need their candidate to be pure as snow. Conservatives don’t have that problem. Remember, voted for that idiot Palin. And I thought she was a moron even then.

      I found the Bernie Bros frustrating because they seemed to underestimate the right wing attack machine and the general smear tactics that work. Jesus would have been crucified by both the conservatives and the “moderate liberals” easily after a run through the right wing machine. When you break down the election, Hillary did run a competitive game. It was a minuscule number of votes in three states. We didn’t blame previous democrats who happened to also be white males when they fell further than Hillary. So what could have been the difference that led to us excoriating Hillary’s performance but giving a pass to male white liberals who … pardon the french … fucked up even worse? Let’s face it – our liberal side has a massive sexism and racism issue that simmers under the surface. Personally, I think it’s weighted towards sexism because every liberal wants a “black friend” to prove that they aren’t a racist. The social penalty for sexism is far less than racism in liberal circles.

      I understand exactly why black people supported Hillary. Any culture that has struggled understands exactly how difficult it is to get any change in a positive direction. Bernie’s little “economics” speeches didn’t quite cut it for that group because what they knew would happen is that all the money would go to poor white areas and the blacks would continue to be screwed. Bernie’s naivete could only be subsidized by white liberals. In contrast, Hillary actually invested time in the black community and spoke their language. White liberals who never really understood discrimination never understood what Hillary’s appeal was to the black voter.

      Liberals need to stop talking about feelings or engaging in purity politics. I don’t care if some white moron wore black face 20 years ago. I do care what that white moron’s policies are now. I care about the change and how people will be impacted now. I don’t care if somebody has an “anger” issue whatever that means. I don’t care if somebody has something “vaguely” wrong with her. (And it’s always a woman who has that “vaguely wrong” with her characteristic. I wonder why…)

      At the end of the day, liberals need to start running hard numbers rather than playing wish fulfillment. It’s a numbers game. It’s all about market share so liberals need to start understanding that it doesn’t matter. You vote party preferentially at that stage. You don’t get to play a “I’m a pure Virgin Mary” archetype because all that tells me is that you’re stupid and naive.

      And liberals need to fight back. They need to start pre-emptively smearing conservatives. No faux respect. Americans like truth telling. Liberals aren’t going to get the Trump crowd. That’s a religion. Who they can get are the people who hear a politician give it to them really. When those politicians personalize it so that the white conservative leaning middle class guy understands why taxes are the way they are and what the rich are screwing him over for. That white (it’s usually always white) conservative suburban couple has to understand that they are getting screwed over financially. (it’s always going to be appeal to finances. Whites rarely give a shit about blacks or DACA and democrats need to stop playing a “if you vote democrat, you are a good person” bs. Most whites remain quiet as children were separated. You don’t see any mass revolt. A bunch of white people rioting in the streets would cause immediate changes in policy. A bunch of blacks who finally riot after stressors get shot at, a white group rioting = they have valid concerns. Ferguson reference btw).

      I’m nauseated by the current crop that has come out for reparations. It’s not going to happen. So why pick an issue that antagonizes that spoiled ignorant on the fence white conservative couple that might be tempted over to our side? Their votes will help elect either a conservative loser who will definitely harm black people or DACA or whatever vs. helping vote a liberalish politician who won’t harm them as much and may do more good. And democrats need to create dog whistles so that liberals can pick up on the more progressive message while the majority don’t see it. A way of secretly energizing the base without being obvious just like the racist conservatives who used to be a lot more discrete in their dog whistles.

      Instead of going after Ilhan Omar – who has a valid point in questioning Israeli PAC money and how it influences our goverment – the democrats need to start going after the republicans and their islamaphobia bs. Don’t eat your own. When AOC makes a mistake, be a good team member and mitigate that error. Democrats, for all their “team member cooperative” vibe, are the worst team members a person can have. Who needs enemies when you are a democrat? Notice how the republicans circled the wagon? We need some of that as well. Sometimes, I look at democrats as if they are angry vegans. One random mistake of having a chicken product and you are crucified. Ignore the overall picture where the person is an ethical vegan and does their diligence and will probably get back on track after the mistake. Just pound hard and hard on that one mistake and never let up so the victim gets pissed off and says “fuck it. Vegans are shit. I’m done with it.”

      I can see Trump winning again. I can see more republicans picking up offices. Democrats just have to play the party of the loser like they usually do. This reparation bullshit and this over concern for DACA sure sounds noble. But all it does is energize the white conservative base who doesn’t want to get taxed more, “don’t see color”, and think that minorities are lying. That white conservative base lacks the imagination to understand how much they benefit … or rather, they are willfully lacking in understand how the system benefits them. Never underestimate human selfishness. Liberals need to stop pretending that people are nice. We’re mostly shit. Former conservative, current liberal – think far end progressive liberal. I’m a rare case. But hopefully I can give some insight into how a conservative thinks and sees things. Think the worst and then, you’ll be right 75% of the time. (yeah – I’m pulling that number out of my ass. that’s what any good conservative will do because my former tribe works off of emotion rather than fact checking and rational thinking. Liberals are slightly better than that but still over emotional when it comes to analyzing their own actions.)

  • Meg LeSchack  On March 4, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Concise and cogent, Doug. How strengthening it is to read REAL facts and good, supported thinking! It’s head-clearing and spirit-comforting.
    Thank you!

  • Janet  On March 4, 2019 at 10:47 am

    I would like to see a Democratic Presidential candidate that constantly tells people that they will work for the people of the United States. Not the corporations, or the special interests, or the NRA, or the .01%, or the religious groups. Just, and always, for the people. Better health care, better education, joining the world in preventing climate change, more equality of opportunity and wages and taxes, less fear, more hope, and a focus on moving towards a better country for all.

    • George Washington, Jr.  On March 4, 2019 at 2:35 pm

      They’re all saying that.

  • Barb  On March 4, 2019 at 10:49 am

    Again, Doug finds the nail and whacks it hard. You need to write similar things throughout the next 18 months. I admit that I am still bitter about Bernie’s behavior in 2016 and think he could have done a LOT more for the ticket back then than he did, but if Bernie somehow became the nominee this year I would definitely jump on board.

  • WTS  On March 4, 2019 at 11:27 am

    Apologies if it’s been posted here before, but I’m a fan of the “Unify or Die” fund to support whoever the Democratic nominee is.

  • Anonymous  On March 4, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    I am becoming convinced that Trump (and social media fraud) will make any opponent seem despicable, enough to get him another electoral college win.

  • The Serapion Brotherhood  On March 4, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    The Sift talks about people who would have voted for Sanders, but voted Green (me, for instance), but a much larger number of people voted for Sanders in the primaries, then voted for Trump. They wanted radical change because they recognize their position is desperate and, if it hand’t been obvious he was lying, Trump did promise what they wanted (drain the swamp, give everyone health insurance, etc., give everyone one a job–socialism, basically). Progressive policies are all supported by large majorities; the only thing the Republicans have to challenge them is racism, surely someone can figure out how to overcome that.

    The third largest contributor to Klobuchar are drug and health insurance companies (and that is only in public records–who know about all the secret money that is now allowed–and the largest contributor by sector is law firms–who knows who they are really representing). What more does the Sift want to know about her?

    If someone owned by the rich and corporations is the Democratic nominee–someone like Harris–I’d have to vote Green again. The rich win if the Republicans win,and they when if “centrist” democrats win, so there is no choice there.

    • weeklysift  On March 5, 2019 at 7:28 am

      There’s considerable debate about who the Sanders/Trump voters were. One alternative theory is that they were conservatives who voted for Sanders in the primaries to screw up the Democrats. No doubt there were some of each.

      I’m looking at the Klobuchar page on, and I don’t see what you’re talking about. Contributions from insurance sources are far down the list.

      One tactic I find deplorable is to talk about contributions from individuals in an industry as if they came from the corporations themselves or their industry PACs. Klobuchar gets a lot of contributions from individual lawyers, not from “law firms”.

      • Larry Benjamin  On March 5, 2019 at 8:05 am

        The “purity test” where a candidate must have never accepted corporate contributions in their life, or they’re forever tainted, sounds a lot like concern trolling. I’d much rather have a Democrat whose campaign is partially funded by corporations, than Trump, who is literally appointing corporate hacks to his cabinet. There’s not a single Democrat in the race who will do that.


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