Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Reality Bites

As expected and as preordained, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have "won" the closed primary election in New York State. The marathon presidential horse race is now entering its final lap. 

But even with the long shots now painfully limping up the backstretch as Donald and Hillary stampede toward the finish line, the profiteers of the game are suddenly bellowing "Whoa, Nelly!" 

Not so fast. 

The show must go on. If they call the race too soon, the rubes will stop placing their bets. The crowds will dwindle, the cameras and the bookies will disappear. The cable channels will have nothing to yammer about while they're sitting around hoping for the next big terror attack or mass shooting. So, the media and the partisans are all getting together today and urging Bernie Sanders and John Kasich to stay in the race till the last advertising dollar rolls in. Those two candidates might be nags compared to the thoroughbred front-runners, but they're still worth mega media bucks right up to the day when the glue factory guy finally shows up.

Even though the contest is fixed and the challengers hobbled before they even got started, this is still the best democracy money can buy in the best of all possible countries. The New York Times, which helped to fix the race in the first place with all that free advertising for Hillary and Donald, has decreed it.

After months of alternately castigating and ignoring Sanders, the Times editorial board has come out with a sanctimonious screed urging him not to quit the race just yet. Since all that Hillary has got going for her is the victim card, she still needs grumpy Bernie to pester her in order to get more sympathy votes from people for whom identity trumps policy. Without the mythical Bernie Bro terriers nipping at her heels as she canters around the track toward the finish line, where would she be? Alone on the trail, that's where, in all her empty pantsuit glory, without so much as a single pearl to clutch. But with Bernie occasionally getting a second wind and threatening to overtake her, she can keep up appearances as Fighter For You with even odds in her run for the poses.

The owners and the trainers and the groomers desperately need Bernie to stick around and eventually morph from gelding into sheepdog, the better to herd the millions of young people so energized by his message into the strict confines of the Democratic veal pen. The guy already is an underdog as well as a nag, but people do love their underdogs.  And the profiteers love the people who love their underdogs, because the people have parted with millions of their dollars to keep this whole underdog thing going. Every time Bernie loses, he makes money! Just think of where all that money could eventually wind up. Ka-ching goes the beat of the DNC's alleged heart.

Therefore in the interest of big money, the Times must now pretend to love an underdog, too.  Run, Bernie, Run! they screech in their most liberal, D-Flat Minor tones: 
Mr. Sanders has always stood more for a vision than for reality, especially with a Republican-led Congress. As he and Mrs. Clinton tore into each other in last week’s debate in Brooklyn, some Democrats worried that the nasty fracas would hurt the party. Others want Mr. Sanders to get out and let Mrs. Clinton focus on the Trump threat.
 Mr. Sanders’s presence has made this an immeasurably more substantive race, in which both candidates’ policies have been better vetted, and as a result, better delineated. That’s the best preparation for the general election. Yes, Mrs. Clinton’s lead is nearly insurmountable, but it should be voters who erase the “nearly.”
Are they magnanimous, or what?

My published response:
 The Times gives the game away with its admonition that Sanders has always been more about "vision" than about "reality."
Whose reality?
The "reality" of which the Times speaks is a manufactured set of rules designed to enrich only the already obscenely wealthy. What the Sanders campaign has revealed to millions of people is the power of the Possible. Possibility can forge its own reality. The terms are not mutually exclusive.
Who, besides the plutocracy, says that we cannot have free public college tuition and government-run single payer health care? As democracy has been whittled away by the malign forces of neoliberalism, too many of us have been cowed into believing that there is no other way but the rule of the market god. We are so alienated that we haven't realized how alienated we have become.
 Don't tell us that it's only the nasty old Republicans preventing the humanitarian Democrats from forging a better life for millions of disenfranchised, dispossessed Americans. The whole rotten system has been exposed for all to see, even those who've been willfully blinded.
I don't know if Bernie has a chance of winning the White House or not. What matters is that the consciousness of a nation has been raised, a solidarity is being forged, and we will refuse to be atomized into a state of helplessness any longer. Just as the Clintons gave birth to neoliberalism, so too may the Clintons officiate over its funeral.
Long live possibility.
Whose reality? Our reality.


Anonymous said...

KG I agree with you, heart and soul, but I am baffled by why the "dispossessed and disenfranchised" and helpless are standing with Billary. I sort of understood the hypotheses of why this was happening in the deep south, but not the northeast. The exit polls are very puzzling. I hope it is not as bad as it seems. Down by 15+ points in NYC where the almighty dollar rules is better than Barak did in 2008.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Jay–Ottawa said...

Right. If Bernie stays put, or bows out, he's complicit with the DNC. If he doesn't go Third Party after the NY primary, you can be sure he's sheepdogging for Hillary.

Bernie, running as an independent need not be suicidal, or vengeful (by splitting the vote total to the left of Trump, thus allowing Trump, or whoever becomes the Republican nominee, to win in the general election with a plurality).

Bernie just lost in NY by a hefty margin, 58% - 42%. But that's not the reality in NY. Thousands of NYers who would have voted for him could not unless they were registered Democrats. However, an open primary in NY might have given Bernie the 58% and Hillary 42%.

Those uncounted votes for Bernie are still around, in the wings, and they'll show up at the polls in November. I suspect there's an enormous number of unregistered voters for Bernie. I'm one of them, an absentee voter residing in another country. I bailed out of the Dems in the early 90s, so I could not vote for Bernie today (Tuesday). In the general election, if Bernie is running under another banner, people like me will be able to weigh in. Some anti-Trump Republicans, too.

Look at what happened in Michigan a few weeks ago: Bernie won big, surprising the pollsters as well as Hillary. Why? Because Michigan's primary was o p e n like a general election to all interested voters.

So, Bernie Babie, stamp your feet and run as an independent. The crowds you've drawn lately couldn't make it to the polls today, but they'll be there for you in November. You have nothing to lose, except maybe a dog collar.

April 20, 2016 at 1:31 AM

annenigma said...

Here's part of my comment from a previous post:

By staying in the race, Bernie is lending legitimacy to a charade of democracy. The two major parties are in on it and they're now rubbing our faces in it. Donald Trump is speaking out, but Bernie's still playing along when he should be making a loud racket about the election racket.

Since his campaign is about a political revolution, Bernie should refuse to keep participating in the sham and instead endorse the DemocracySpring movement. The corporate media STILL isn't covering it, but they'd have to if Bernie joined in. He should retire from the Senate to lead it.

The Superdelegates, which even includes some corporate lobbyists, own the system anyway, so let them have it. Let's vote with our feet since they clearly DON'T WANT our votes to count.

There's a movement that needs Bernie far more right now than Hillary does. I hope he keeps his priorities straight.

Make like a bird, Bernie! Fly the coop and be free.

annenigma said...

On the topic of comments, check this out from Bloomberg News. There's a trend of charging for comments. Actually, I think the NYT already bases their Verified (instant acceptance/top of the heap) status on paid vs. unpaid subscriptions.

'News Sites Start Charging Readers to Comment on Articles'
A startup thinks newspapers can profit by getting people to pay to elevate their rants—or advertisements—to the top of the comments section.

"Readers can earn points, which can be used to buy more prominent placement for their comments at the end of news stories, by posting comments, visiting the site regularly, or spending real money. The newspaper sells 800 points for $10."

"Not everyone who wants to leave a comment has to pay. SolidOpinion leaves the bulk of the comments section to operate as it always has, but it adds three slots at the top for “promoted comments,” which can be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Publishers have the option of using SolidOpinion's software to moderate all their comments. The startup's service is free to use, but it takes a cut of all cash transactions."

annenigma said...

Here's my comment to another article about whether Bernie should drop out or not:

Hillary needs three MORE months to excite us after being in our faces for the past 30 years? My God, this isn't the first time she's running for President! It's the third! The first time was the 'co-Presidency/get 2 for 1', in case anyone is too young to remember. Then again just 8 years ago. How can anyone not know Hillary Clinton inside and out by now? That's the problem!

We were more than familiar with her 8 years ago, and we didn't want her then when she ran against the guy with just a half term experience in the U.S. Senate. So what's different now? More scandals, more miles traveled with an official title to fight for more wars and regime changes, and a ton more bankster money. Three more months is just more time for more scandals.

But I do agree that Bernie should drop out. Why? Because there's a special place in Hell for Democrats who don't support the Chosen One, and they'll NEVER let anyone forget it. Just ask consumer activist Ralph Nader who they claimed 'stole' votes from Gore by not dropping out of his race for the Presidency. Reality check: Gore never owned anyone's vote, so it couldn't be stolen by anyone else. I wouldn't have voted for him or his warmonger VP Joe Lieberman if you paid me. My vote can't be stolen from Hillary either.

Bernie can only hope to be able to redeem himself by doing everything he's told to try to get Hillary elected. But he shouldn't hope to still have his good name in the end WHEN SHE LOSES.

'Spoiler' alert, indeed.

Pearl said...

The Empire Strikes Back: Donny and Hill's Big Night via @truthout

Valerie said...

Brilliant comment, Karen.

JayOttawa has a good point. I expect - if Bernie isn't too enthusiastic in his support of Hillary - there will be a big write in movement for Bernie and he will pick up a lot of votes from Independents who are tired of the arrogance of the Green Party and are weary of the TLOTE (Lesser of Two Evils) choices the DNC are offering us.

Look, I don't blame Bernie for running as a Democrat. He has been allowed to participate in a lot more debates and has been able to get his message out in a way the Ralph Nader was never allowed to do. He signed a deal with the Devil in agreeing to support the "winning"candidate but that doesn't mean his supporters are going to go placidly to the polls for Hillary. I imagine they will either write in Bernie or vote for the Greens.

My gripe with Bernie and the Greens is that they seem to want to keep a healthy distance from Ralph Nader - as if he is some kind of pariah - when he is one of the most ethical (if not THE most ethical) and intelligent men in politics. Both would do well to invite his wisdom and advice and should be proud to be associated with Ralph.

Erik Roth said...

For what it's worth (and plainly I believe worthwhile), allow me to add this, my comment submitted on the latest Charles Blow op-ed that no doubt the NYTimes editors will deem unfit to print:

Erik Roth
"Pending Approval" ...

Long ago, I stopped reading Mr. Blow's superficial bloviating, as well as the pandering pap of Paul Krugman, and the pompous postings of the insipidly smarmy David Brooks.
But the headline to this piece aroused my curiosity enough to check on the always interesting comments posted to the Gray Lady's pieces.
Yet seeing the bulk of those venomously attacking Bernie and his supporters by practically cultish devotees to Hillary and to the Democratic Party, as the elites have established that to be, only confirms my conviction to support Sanders until the endgame.
You all just don't get it.
This is about issues, not personalities, or parties.
It's about the direction and indeed fate of our democracy.
Hillary Clinton is not merely the lesser of two evils (all the Republicans are repugnant).
Hillary is the status quo, and that is the problem.
I consider her character so abominably reprehensible, her pronouncements so totally untrustworthy, her record so terribly destructive, her ties to the military-industrial-financial complex so sinister, her fawning over Lloyd Blankfein and following Henry Kissinger so appallingly offensive, that I can never in good conscience vote for her.
I will vote for my convictions, not against my fears.
If Bernie is not on the ballot, I will vote for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate.

Now here, for all the sensitively astute Sardonicky readers, to show reason for my conviction, please heed this:

Part of the way the U.S. Empire's elections are rigged is the corporate media's censorship of third-party candidates, despite their nationwide campaign efforts.
The Green Party, running Dr. Jill Stein for President — on a platform more progressive than Bernie Sanders — has been totally ignored by the establishment.
Abby Martin sits down with Dr. Stein to look at how her career in medicine helped her diagnose America's "multi-organ failure," and why her ideas pose such a threat to Empire.

annenigma said...

Good one, Eric! Imagine all the great comments that the NYT won't allow to see the light of day. I wish they've have a reject bin. I'd read it first.

I have a comment about Hillary that I'm sure won't be printed by the NYT, so here's mine in response to the NYT article 'How Hillary Became a Hawk':

Clinton's "jet-fueled ambition". What a great description! Now we're getting to the crux of the matter. Hillary actually wants to be Commander-in-Chief, the first female CiC. Those war games Hillary played as a child where she was the General giving orders in her command must have been exhilarating. Yes, sir!

What I find so incongruous with her strong martial inclination is her staunch opposition to weapons at home while supporting wars abroad. When it comes to lethality and the physical, emotional, and psychological impact of violence on individuals and families, "What difference does it make!"? People are humans, at home or abroad. Ordnances are deadly, no matter the size, shape, and delivery system.

Does she care only about guns that never leave our shores? Because there is a trillion-dollar weapons industry fueling conflicts and profiting around the world that she supports wholeheartedly - and who support her.

Even worse a concern than someone of two minds about violence is someone who, as this article mentions, has a fondness for 'stiff drinks'. Alcohol can exacerbate aggressive tendencies and contribute to depression which can also have an aggressive side, whether it be lamp throwing, suicide, or mass murder.

When President, the day never ends. Decisions should not be infused by alcohol or adrenaline. A blowhard teetotaler who prefers to make a deal might be far safer for the country than someone who self-medicates their personal problems with war.