Thursday, February 13, 2020


This time last year, everyone who announced they were running for the Democratic nomination was running using chunks of Bernie Sanders' 2016 platform. Everyone supported a $15 minimum wage and Medicare-For-All. It was then announced that the health insurance industry was going to go all out in terms of the money they were going to spend against a single-payer system, and as the months went on, not only did all those people walk back their support, or attribute the phrase "Medicare For All" to their own plans which were not that, more people announced they were running, who never claimed any of these beliefs. Many candidates have dropped out, many more have joined. While once it seemed like everyone was claiming Bernie's policies, but offering a more diverse slate of identities, now everyone is running to the right of him, with more and more people joining to be even farther right still.
Honestly, the very fact that Bernie has not caved, when everyone else did, in the wake of all the money which is very clearly stacked against him, should put you in his corner, if you believe that integrity matters in the slightest. What's going to drive me insane is that it feels like the forces arrayed against him are specifically AGAINST integrity, the very idea that someone cannot be bought. I am aware my ideas might seem like "conspiracy theories," but it's all so out in the open that it genuinely feels more like terrorism. Anti-abortion activists killed Dr. George Tiller, and now less people receive the medical training to perform the procedures he performed. What we are witnessing now is that money will be spent to kill your career, if you want to get money out of politics.

A few months ago I was insisting no one under forty was going to vote for Joe Biden. Now, to take his role in the race, of "old white man with right-wing politics who is ostensibly electable in terms of being able to win over voters who are undecided between Democrats and Republicans despite the fact that no one likes him" is Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg is, somehow, worse than Joe Biden; arguably, perhaps even probably, worse than Donald Trump. Like Biden, there's a long history of racism and sexism in terms of policy he has pushed and things he has said.

Michael Bloomberg spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2004, in support of George W. Bush, at the height of the Iraq war. He also supported stop and frisk in New York City, and changed the laws so he could run for a third term as mayor: Everyone worried about Trump declaring himself "president for life" and not retiring quietly should look to Bloomberg's example of how plutocrats bend the rules in their favor. I don't believe he would win an election, he is a truly sub-John-Kerry proposition. However, it is arguable Bloomberg would be a worse president than Donald Trump, able to impose right-wing policies without any of the opposition Trump enjoys. That opposition, as it is, feels pretty nominal, and the fact that Democrats seem to prefer Bloomberg be the nominee over Sanders points to why. It feels like the idea of insisting people vote for Bloomberg for the sake of "beating Trump" is psychological warfare, not a "compromise" but intentionally designed to degrade and demoralize not just "the left" but anyone with any sort of historical understanding or basic opposition to right-wing hegemony.

I will not vote for Michael Bloomberg in a general election. If offered the false choice between Bloomberg and Donald Trump, two Republican plutocrats, we should give up on the idea that democracy exists and all become full-on anarchists. It is in both the Democratic party's interest, and my own personal psychology, to avoid making me feel this way about the assorted other candidates running. I basically avoid learning too much about Pete Buttegieg, though I already resent that I know how to pronounce his last name. I truly hope he goes away forever. Elizabeth Warren would've been, at one point, an "acceptable compromise" between the left and more moderate wings of the party, who I would be happy to support, but her campaign is now being run by people interested in the paradigm of degrading the left and it's pretty depressing to think that she has no interest in actually passing Medicare-for-all or any of the other large, sweeping changes this country sorely needs. I think all these people, Bloomberg and Biden especially, would lose an election. Regardless of my vote, I believe that Bernie Sanders is the only person who can win, although perhaps he can only win if the entire media apparatus is not violently opposed to his campaign.

To his credit, he is not actually publicizing this conspiracy for the sake of his campaign. He did so in 2016, when he was running against Hillary Clinton. It is considered "divisive" to do so. Sanders instead is basing his campaign on how many people his policies would help, how painful our current society is, how much pain there is in our society. I feel like I have made it obvious, in other places, how this includes me. I've written often about being poor, and having limited options in this society, despite my assorted privileges. What's funny is that I feel like something I have in common with Sanders, besides our Jewish heritage, is a disinterest in talking about ourselves. I don't want to say "My life is pathetic, I am poor, and voting for Bernie would help me out." And Bernie doesn't want to say "All these bastards are arrayed against me, vote for me so they can lose power and we can start to have a functioning democracy." So it's my role to say what Bernie won't.

There are people who think talking about Sanders, and his obvious integrity contrasted with other politicians, is akin to believing in a cult of personality. I don't want to accuse everyone of participating in acts of projection, but what's interesting is I think centrists largely believe that every politician has integrity. That's why they don't think it matters when someone takes high-paying gigs giving speeches, or whatever. There isn't the same understanding of power acting to protect itself by maintaining a status quo. Without this basic belief in what integrity is, the whole fact of Sanders' popularity seems suspect. There are pundits who describe the fact that Sanders has large crowds of passionate supporters as in itself Trumpian, whereas Bloomberg and Biden, with their histories of racism, sexism, mental decline, lying, and support for the rich, actually manifest the parts of Trump's being that are the problem. Bernie Sanders is real, he's genuinely what every person who has professed liberal opinions over the past thirty-odd years claims to be. The people who hate him are not all political operatives, but they're people who think like those operatives do, fake as hell smiling backstabbers who are allergic to the real. There are huge contradictions between the values they claim to have and how they act, and so they are unable to see the lies of the politicians they support. However, the rest of us, the vast majority of society, see through all of it, and recognize Bernie Sanders as being genuine. This is why Bernie Sanders can win, and why he should win, and why he'll be able to be a good president once in office. He's right, when everyone else for the past forty years has been wrong. Bernie Sanders is right because he's the only person who is not lying to themselves, and that gives him an enormous advantage in terms of his basic relationship to reality.