Probably not much

I read an article in Jacobin last night that was a diatribe against, of all people (or should I say candidates) Elizabeth Warren. Her candidacy, it was said, has no potential to end the “class de-alignment” that structures U.S. politics in various ways. Only Bernie’s candidacy possesses that potential, even if Bernie is “only” a social democrat. I can’t recall any mention of the urgency of defeating Trump and the necessity of broad democratic unity that should flow from that imperative.

There is a lot to take issue with in this article, but thinking more about it, I began to wonder how much such thinking resonates with people in general and young people in particular. Probably not much.

Reprise of 2016?

I’m afraid that if Bernie doesn’t secure the Democratic Party’s nomination (and Bernie would make a great candidate), some on the ideological left will take a pass on the general election. They may vote, but do little, practical speaking, in the months leading up to election day, while damming the nominee with faint praise. It will be a reprise of 2016, although lesser so, I suspect. It is hard to sustain such a position in the face of the prospect of a second term for Trump with all its attendant dangers.

Don’t let the bastards grind you down

In the House Judiciary hearing last night the politics of resentment and grievance were on full display as GOP House members turned the impeachment of Trump into a concocted attack on Trump’s supporters. More than one said that it was an attempt to nullify their 2016 vote. They did it with a full mix of lies, demagogy, sheer invention, and plenty of outrage.

But I wonder if it resonates much beyond Trump’s loyal supporters. My guess is that it doesn’t. But maybe that isn’t its purpose anyway. Maybe it’s to confuse and wear out the rest of us. Maybe it’s to make us throw up our hands in despair and retreat into our private lives where we can find some happiness and solace from the storms and recriminations in the public world. My only advice to this abusive and sustained onslaught is to repeat what a much older friend would invariably tell me (in Latin no less) upon finishing our occasional lunches together: Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down!

Without complaint

These days the problem isn’t the “deep state,” but the takeover of the state by Trump and his gang of lunatics. It proceeds apace, despite the stubborn resistance inside and outside the state.

We have an immediate chance to derail this growing danger as Democrats press ahead with the impeachment of Trump. But it is an uphill climb given the makeup of the Senate.

Next year’s elections, however, offer a far more favorable terrain on which to confront and challenge this existential danger, provided we accent unity at every phase of the election process. One can express differences in the primaries with one or another candidate without taking them to the woodshed or intimating that you might sit out the fall election if you’re candidate of choice doesn’t win the nomination.

I will, without complaint, canvass for Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren, or anybody else that might secure the nomination. Hopefully, I will do so somewhere in the Midwest.

Even as a first cut

The center of gravity in the Democratic Party is shifting in a progressive direction, but it is far too early to conclude that the space for moderates — some say the center — has nearly evaporated as a broad current in the Democratic Party or the country. Thus, it is a mistake, even as a first cut, to reduce the Democratic Party or the democratic coalition to two wings, one corporate and the other progressive. That characterization not only misses the complexity, multiple tendencies, and heterogeneity in Democratic Party and the larger democratic coalition, but also blurs, even misconstrues, the tactical challenges facing progressive and left people in the near and longer term.

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