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Old 02-18-2020, 09:51 PM
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Ok, just how damaging is the 'socialist' label, really?


I think the entirety of people's reluctance to rally behind Bernie Sanders is the fact that he's a self-described democratic socialist, and that that label will doom him in a general election. But the thing is, would it really?

I mean, I think that a world in which Donald f'n Trump is president broadly means that *any* major party candidate is electable. Sanders opponents frequently point to the epic loss of McGovern as proof that Sanders would get clobbered, but...most of the people who voted in that election are dead now, so does it actually portend anything?

Note that even I don't have a clear take on the socialist question. The GOP undoubtedly has been crying wolf on "socialism" for 40 years - and they will call *any* 2020 Dem a socialist regardless of whether the nominee is Sanders - so there's a decent chance that the term itself is mostly meaningless now. Still, Sanders's *embrace* of the label could prove problematic. I really am just trying to work this question out.

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Old 02-18-2020, 10:01 PM
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I think America can probably get past it at some point. Right now isn't the best time for revolution....... it's time for stabilization. In hindsight, 2016 probably would have been a better time to give Bernie his shot.

To answer the question, yeah...... the label is going to take a beating in 2020.
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Old 02-18-2020, 10:29 PM
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Most people who are scared of it are already republicans, and the GOP have used labels like communist, socialist, liberal, etc as slurs for decades so most people have probably already made their minds up about it.

They called Obama a socialist, a communist and a nazi for 8 years, and he got about 70 million votes.
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Old 02-18-2020, 10:38 PM
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I'm not worried about the Republicans who are afraid of democratic socialists. I'm worried about the Democrats and Independents who are ignorant about it.
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Old 02-18-2020, 10:39 PM
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It's a dog whistle for conservatives in their talk radio and news as something to be feared and reviled, and will mean giving up liberties and paying more taxes for social benefits for lazy layabouts and illegal aliens. It's been that way since conservative talk radio and media began, so the label runs deep with the GOP and yes, it will be used as a cudgel in the election.

They are pointing to Venezuela as a failed socialist state - ignoring the fact that most of the problems there are due to corruption. They conveniently ignore successful socialist-style states.
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Old 02-18-2020, 10:47 PM
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It's even less impactful than calling Trump or Trumpers fascist. Not only has the GOP been crying wolf for decades, but we are long past the Cold War era and the label means nothing. Plus, young people have been considering Che Guavara and Che T-shirts chic ever since Che was a thing, for instance, so not only is "socialist" not bad, it's actually hip and edgy for many.
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Old 02-18-2020, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by 2ManyTacos View Post
...self-described democratic socialist...

1. ... Sanders opponents frequently point to the epic loss of McGovern as proof that Sanders would get clobbered...

2. Note that even I don't have a clear take on the socialist question. The GOP undoubtedly has been crying wolf on "socialism" for 40 years - and they will call *any* 2020 Dem a socialist regardless of whether the nominee is Sanders - so there's a decent chance that the term itself is mostly meaningless now.
1. I agree there. Nixon v McGovern shows that a Democratic presidential candidate too far to the left of where the general electorate is can be be badly beaten by an otherwise not so popular Republican incumbent. It doesn't prove Sanders v Trump would fit the same template. And obviously nobody on either side is going to score an electoral college margin like Nixon '72 in 2020 (or Reagan v Mondale or even Bush I v Dukakis). More states now are a lock for one party or the other almost regardless of nominee.

2. As to the 'cry wolf' argument it's a matter of perception how central the label 'socialist' has been to Republican campaigns up to recently. Sure, right leaning people on the internet and talk radio throw that label fairly often. But whether that's been central to GOP presidential campaigns themselves is more debatable IMO. I mean to the point that persuadable people would tune it out wrt to a Democratic nominee who, as you stated upfront, calls *himself* a socialist. It's not clear to me that would be such a minor problem. But there's also Sanders' policies themselves, whether enough people think they are really workable or constitute 'overturning the apple cart' and if so whether it's a good time to do that.

The only real answer is "if Sanders is nominee, we'll see". But even so a Sanders loss wouldn't prove the specific of question of how important the 'socialist' label itself was compared to the proposals separate from labels.

Last edited by Corry El; 02-18-2020 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:03 PM
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Sanders opponents frequently point to the epic loss of McGovern as proof that Sanders would get clobbered, but...most of the people who voted in that election are dead now, so does it actually portend anything?
It doesn't. The 1970s were far less polarized than today. Today, both parties have an automatically baked-in floor of 40% no matter what. Even if Bernie ran the worst campaign a Democrat has ever run, he'd probably still get 200 electoral votes at the minimum.

That doesn't stop people like Chris Matthews from predicting a 49-state loss, though.
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:09 PM
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I think the entirety of people's reluctance to rally behind Bernie Sanders is the fact that he's a self-described democratic socialist, and that that label will doom him in a general election.
As someone who goes back and forth between supporting Sanders or Warren, I don't think you're capturing all the objections to Sanders here. He's not famous for schmoozing, and that's a pretty big part of getting things done in DC. He's not always great at the fine points of plans. There are questions about whether his plans are financially sound. He's a hedgehog, not a fox.

These are all legit concerns about him. I don't agree with all of them, but I can respect folks who aren't willing to back him based on these concerns.
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:31 PM
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Bernie's supporters may also play a role in dampening his chances of being elected. Bloomberg ran an ad on it.
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:50 PM
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Kind of depends whether the conversation focuses on current Bernie, where his socialism consists of universal health care, free college, and higher taxes on the rich; or past Bernie, where his socialism consists of, or at least can plausibly be focused on, apologia for the USSR, praise for Venezuela, etc.
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Old 02-19-2020, 12:23 AM
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I'm afraid Sanders will do poorly, but a 49-state loss seems absurd. I don't watch much news; is Chris Matthews a moron?

Two or three of the top newsmen at CNN are utter idiots; how did news in the U.S.A. become so dismal? I mostly click to Aljazeera these days when I want news. The best American newsmen today seem to be the comedians Trevor Noah and Bill Maher.
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Old 02-19-2020, 12:49 AM
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Note that even I don't have a clear take on the socialist question. The GOP undoubtedly has been crying wolf on "socialism" for 40 years - and they will call *any*. 2020 Dem a socialist regardless of whether the nominee is Sanders - so there's a decent chance that the term itself is mostly meaningless now. Still, Sanders's *embrace* of the label could prove problematic. I really am just trying to work this question out
It's not true that Republicans would always call the Democrat a socialist. I don't recall it being a major theme of Trump against Hillary. Perhaps he used the word some time but I don't recall it in the debate or in a major attack ad and certainly it was not a major theme of his campaign.

In 2011/12 Romney explicitly said it would not be a good idea to label Obama a socialist.

Secondly the really important question is not whether the Republicans use the label but whether it sticks. They did sometimes call Obama a socialist but it never really stuck. With Bernie by contrast it is bound to stick since he proudly claims the label. And it will hurt him because the label is certainly unpopular. He will be constantly put on the defensive having to argue that socialism has been misunderstood and is really not that bad. It will just be a pointless deadweight on his campaign.
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Old 02-19-2020, 03:22 AM
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Yes, it is absolutely a problem. As Gallup described in their "Bottom Line" on a poll released just this week, in which a majority of independents said they would not vote for an "otherwise well qualified" socialist:

https://news.gallup.com/poll/285563/...gn=syndication
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As the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries get underway, it may be instructive to know that little prejudice stands in the way of Democratic as well as national support for candidates who happen to be Catholic, Hispanic, Jewish or female. Being especially young or advanced in age could pose minor appeal problems.

Being gay or lesbian, Muslim, an atheist or a socialist wouldn't cause much stir among Democrats, but these candidates could have difficulty attracting support from Republicans and, to a lesser extent, from political independents.
Bernie has problems with three of those: "advanced in age", atheism, and socialism. And out of all the characteristics Gallup polled, "socialist" is the only one that has gotten MORE unpopular since it was last polled, in 2015.

But Bernie has not been just a Scandinavian style socialist for much of his career, even if that's what he mostly talks about now (although as recently as 2011 he seemed fond of Venezuela's form of socialism).

https://www.thedailybeast.com/when-b...erica-a-lesson
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But despite its aversion to elections, brutal suppression of dissent, hideous mistreatment of indigenous Nicaraguans, and rejection of basic democratic norms, Sanders thought Managua’s Marxist-Leninist clique had much to teach Burlington: “Vermont could set an example to the rest of the nation similar to the type of example Nicaragua is setting for the rest of Latin America.”[...]

In 1985 Sanders traveled to New York City to meet with Ortega just weeks after Nicaragua imposed a “state of emergency” that resulted in mass arrests of regime critics and the shuttering of opposition newspapers and magazines. While liberal critics of Reagan’s Nicaraguan policy rounded on the Sandinistas (talk-show host Phil Donahue told Ortega that his actions looked “fascist”), Sanders refused to condemn the decision. He was “not an expert in Nicaragua” and “not a Nicaraguan,” he said during a press conference. “Am I aware enough of all the details of what is going on in Nicaragua to say ‘you have reacted too strongly?’ I don’t know…” But of course he did know, later saying that the Sandinistas’ brutal crackdown “makes sense to me.”

What “made sense” to Sanders was the Sandinistas’ war against La Prensa, a daily newspaper whose vigorous opposition to the Somoza dictatorship quickly transformed into vigorous opposition of the dictatorship that replaced it. When challenged on the Sandinistas’ incessant censorship, Sanders had a disturbing stock answer: Nicaragua was at war with counterrevolutionary forces, funded by the United States, and wartime occasionally necessitated undemocratic measures. (The Sandinista state censor Nelba Blandon offered a more succinct answer: “They [La Prensa] accused us of suppressing freedom of expression. This was a lie and we could not let them publish it.”)[...]

While Freedom House and Amnesty International agitated on behalf of La Prensa, Sanders was making excuses for the government that censored its articles, prevented it from buying newsprint, harassed its staffers, and arrested its journalists.[...]

When asked about the food shortages provoked by the Sandinistas’ voodoo economic policy, Sanders claimed that bread lines were a sign of a healthy economy, suggesting an equitable distribution of wealth: “It’s funny, sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is, that people are lining up for food. That is a good thing! In other countries people don’t line up for food: the rich get the food and the poor starve to death.”[...]

Through the Mayor’s Council on the Arts, Sanders tried to bring some revolutionary third-worldism to Vermont when he funded cable-access television that showed “films from Cuba [and] daily television fare from Nicaragua.” At a press conference, Sanders highlighted the grants that allowed the importation of “films produced in Nicaragua, that appear on Nicaraguan [state] television, on Channel 15. We have films from Cuba on Channel 15.”

Ah, yes, let us not forget the democratic socialist Shangri-La in Havana. In 1989 Sanders traveled to Cuba on a trip organized by the Center for Cuban Studies, a pro-Castro group based in New York, hoping to come away with a “balanced” picture of the communist dictatorship. The late, legendary Vermont journalist Peter Freyne sighed that Sanders “came back singing the praises of Fidel Castro.”

“I think there is tremendous ignorance in this country as to what is going on in Cuba,” Sanders told The Burlington Free Press before he left. It’s a country with “deficiencies,” he acknowledged, but one that has made “enormous progress” in “improving the lives of poor people and working people.” When he returned to Burlington, Sanders excitedly reported that Cuba had “solved some very important problems” like hunger and homelessness. “I did not see a hungry child. I did not see any homeless people,” he told the Free Press. “Cuba today not only has free healthcare but very high quality healthcare.”

Sanders had a hunch that Cubans actually appreciated living in a one-party state. “The people we met had an almost religious affection for [Fidel Castro]. The revolution there is far deep and more profound than I understood it to be. It really is a revolution in terms of values."
Mike Bloomberg needs to start running anti-Bernie ads highlighting this stuff ASAP. Republicans are sitting on all this, holding their collective breaths, hoping Bernie gets nominated--at which point they will start unleashing it. It needs to become known in a widespread way NOW, before it’s too late!

And yes: I do know the context of Latin American politics of the 1980s and Reagan's illegal support of the contras and right wing death squads elsewhere in the region. My Marxist parents were active in the sanctuary movement. (I also know that when Ollie North appeared before Congress in his uniform, the country fell in love with him despite the blatantly illegal nature of his actions.)

I am arguing this on the politics, not on the merits (not entirely, anyway: I will say that I don't want a Cuban-style government attempted here, even as I acknowledge that in Latin America, that was better than getting a typical corrupt pro-business banana republic type government.) I went to the USSR as a teenager with my grandfather in the early 1990s, just before it collapsed. I saw a lot to be admired in Gorbachev's vision of socialism (although I was sad to see the young people I met there did not). But any candidate who represented my own political viewpoints frankly, I would vehemently oppose nominating. As Adlai Stevenson (perhaps apocryphally) is quoted as saying in response to a supporter declaring that "All thinking people are behind you": "That's not enough, we need a majority."
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Old 02-19-2020, 05:10 AM
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I used to think that openly ignorant, openly hateful, openly incendiary, etc., was totally unacceptable to the American people. Obviously that was wrong. Praising authoritarians is fine, even -- including praising communists.

I'm unconvinced that socialist will be worse than all these things, especially noting the last. Conservatives don't seem to care that Trump has, on numerous occasions, praised authoritarians and communists. I'm skeptical that somehow identifying as a socialist will be much worse.
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Old 02-19-2020, 06:21 AM
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I really don't understand why Sanders calls himself a "democratic socialist" and not a "social democrat."

Unless your program involves nationalizing the means of production, it's simply a massive unforced error to call yourself a socialist.
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Old 02-19-2020, 07:39 AM
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Iím a liberal and I donít like the policies that self-described socialists are proposing. There, I said it.
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Old 02-19-2020, 08:48 AM
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Kind of depends whether the conversation focuses on current Bernie, where his socialism consists of universal health care, free college, and higher taxes on the rich; or past Bernie, where his socialism consists of, or at least can plausibly be focused on, apologia for the USSR, praise for Venezuela, etc.
And the notion that child hunger in America is because we have too many different kinds of deodorant.

Part of the reason socialism is unpopular in the US is that it is a crackpot theory, and part is because it attracts crackpots who make it look even more crackpotty than it is.

The only thing worse for socialism in America than a Bernie nomination and loss, would be a Bernie nomination and a win. Bernie has achieved nothing in his quest to bring socialism to America during his thirty years as a Senator, thank God. He would achieve much less than that in four years as President.

Or, more probably, two years. As in, Bernie is elected, the markets crash, the economy tanks, we go into recession, the deficit balloons, no politician who wants to be re-elected considers anything Bernie proposes for a split-second, and the GOP takes the House back over, widens its lead in the Senate, and Bernie and the socialist movement get sent packing back to coffee houses and Berkeley where they belong. And that's assuming Bernie doesn't have another heart attack and Vice President Whoever He Picked is the one gibbering irrelevantly on the sidelines as the Dems lose everything in 2024.

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Old 02-19-2020, 09:01 AM
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Part of the reason socialism is unpopular in the US is that it is a crackpot theory, and part is because it attracts crackpots who make it look even more crackpotty than it is.
Is this why Canada is such a poverty stricken shithole-wasteland, with millions of desperate refugees clambering to cross our northern border to gain access to our precious non-socialist economy? Or why Denmark and Finland score so incredibly low on various statistical indicators of human development, health, and happiness?

I'm sorry that the consideration of emulating the systems of Canada and Denmark is so frightening to you. Hopefully the rest of America will look at the examples of those countries and consider the terrible price that socialism has wrought when evaluating whether to support a candidate that advocates similar policies.

Watch out! America might become a bit more like Canada! Terrifying!

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Old 02-19-2020, 09:02 AM
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And the notion that child hunger in America is because we have too many different kinds of deodorant.

Part of the reason socialism is unpopular in the US is that it is a crackpot theory, and part is because it attracts crackpots who make it look even more crackpotty than it is.

The only thing worse for socialism in America than a Bernie nomination and loss, would be a Bernie nomination and a win. Bernie has achieved nothing in his quest to bring socialism to America during his thirty years as a Senator, thank God. He would achieve much less than that in four years as President.

Or, more probably, two years. As in, Bernie is elected, the markets crash, the economy tanks, we go into recession, the deficit balloons, no politician who wants to be re-elected considers anything Bernie proposes for a split-second, and the GOP takes the House back over, widens its lead in the Senate, and Bernie and the socialist movement get sent packing back to coffee houses and Berkeley where they belong. And that's assuming Bernie doesn't have another heart attack and Vice President Whoever He Picked is the one gibbering irrelevantly on the sidelines as the Dems lose everything in 2024.

Regards,
Shodan
Someone was saying something about the expected dramatic decline in support for Trump among conservative voters in the 2020 election?

Here's a conservative poster who, for all his numerous faults, was not a Trump supporter (AFAIK). But I bet my hat he'll tick the Trump box if Bernie is the nominee. There is no candidate like Bernie to galvanize the disenfranchised Republicans to hold their nose and vote for Trump.
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Old 02-19-2020, 09:03 AM
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Is this why Canada is such a poverty stricken shithole-wasteland, with millions of desperate refugees clambering to cross our northern border to gain access to our precious non-socialist economy? Or why Denmark and Finland score so incredibly low on various statistical indicators of human development, health, and happiness?

I'm sorry that the consideration of emulating the systems of Canada and Denmark is so frightening to you. Hopefully the rest of America will look at the examples of those countries and consider the terrible price that socialism has wrought when evaluating whether to support a candidate that advocates similar policies.

Watch out! America might become a bit more like Canada! Terrifying!
You're absolutely right. But that's entirely beside the point.
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Old 02-19-2020, 09:07 AM
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I have always said that American socialists should have rebranded their name to anything other than Socialism a long time ago - it would have made it so much easier for the ideas to make progress here.
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Old 02-19-2020, 09:11 AM
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You're absolutely right. But that's entirely beside the point.
Right, but I'm unconvinced so far that socialism is as scary for voters as the conventional wisdom suggests. Bernie is openly socialist and has been for years. Videos of him talking about Cuba and whoever else have been out there for years -- I remember watching them in '16. I think people who are really scared of socialism already know Bernie is a socialist. I think this is already baked in, just like all of Trump's awfulness is/was baked in. Trump has said far, far worse things, including praising authoritarians, than Bernie -- far more often and far more recently.

I'm sure there are some non-zero numbers of voters who might vote for Bloomberg or Biden but won't vote for Bernie. Just like I'm sure there are some non-zero numbers of voters who will vote for Bernie but not Bloomberg and Biden. Which number is bigger? We'll probably never know for sure -- this is one of those unknowable things, because we can't watch two different universes at the same time. And there's almost know data that tells us who would be more "electable". Nate Silver says it's awfully hard to predict this, especially this early.

So I'm going by the issues, and who strikes me as having the most enthusiasm and excitement. I am convinced that the best chance to win is with enthusiasm and excitement. I've been contacted in person, at my house, by 5 different Bernie volunteers canvassing the neighborhood, from 5 different Bernie-supporting organizations. I've received phone calls and texts from a dozen more. Only one other candidate tried to contact me personally -- Bloomberg (a phone call)... and it wasn't a volunteer (does he even have any volunteers?). Right now I think Bernie has the best chance to win. It's not a confidence or even a particularly strong feeling, but every argument against this has struck me as no more than a wild guess, the same as my predictions that Trump would be easy for Hillary to beat. I don't have a problem if others think that some other candidate is more electable -- they're making different assumptions, and essentially different guesses, than I am. We'll see. This stuff is not obvious or self-evident, as much as you or anyone else might be convinced it is. It's all guessing.

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Old 02-19-2020, 09:18 AM
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Like I said, I don't stay awake at night worrying that there may be some democrats for whom Bernie is too much of a socialist. If nominated, I have little reason to fear that these folks will not vote for Bernie to defeat Trump. 99.9% of the time.

What I worry about is that Bernie will drive the recovering Republicans to Trump by either voting for him or staying home in large enough numbers in KEY BATTLEGROUND STATES that will help neutralize another Dem majority vote victory.
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Old 02-19-2020, 09:22 AM
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Like I said, I don't stay awake at night worrying that there may be some democrats for whom Bernie is too much of a socialist. If nominated, I have little reason to fear that these folks will not vote for Bernie to defeat Trump. 99.9% of the time.

What I worry about is that Bernie will drive the recovering Republicans to Trump by either voting for him or staying home in large enough numbers in KEY BATTLEGROUND STATES that will help neutralize another Dem majority vote victory.
It's a legit worry. Every candidate has some legit worries about them. By my judgment, the legit worries about Bernie are the least significant, but this is just a guess. Just like any other estimates of which worries are most/least significant.
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Old 02-19-2020, 09:35 AM
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Itís completely off base to think that voters all know about Bernieís admiration for Castro. I watch network TV news (on both CBS and ABC) to get a sense of what regular folks know, people who donít read, donít watch cable news. Which is a LOT of people. And they have never talked about this stuff. But they will!

The really sad part is that his following will never admit they were mistaken even if he loses badly to Trump. They might claim a mainstream Democrat would have lost even worse. The other factor will be that if he is tanking in the polls, Democrats in downballot races are likely to disavow him: every man and woman for themselves as they try to survive. After itís all said and done, the progressive wing will claim that this is actually the reason he lost. If they would just have kept the faith and rallied behind him, it would have been the promised great political revolution for everyone.

My hope is that Bloomberg will hit him on this stuff and then the Bernie bros will go apeshit, launching into full Chomsky/Zinn mode: ranting about how evil the US is and opining that Bloomberg is just afraid he will be up against the wall ďafter the revolutionĒ. When regular Democrats get a good look at what that crowd is all about, they are going to recoil.

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Old 02-19-2020, 09:39 AM
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Itís completely off base to think that voters all know about Bernieís admiration for Castro. I watch network TV news (on both CBS and ABC) to get a sense of what regular folks know, people who donít read, donít watch cable news. Which is a LOT of people. And they have never talked about this stuff. But they will!
Why would 80s videos of dumb things Bernie said about dictators be somehow INCREDIBLY RELEVANT AND POWERFUL, but many more 2018-2019 videos of Trump saying dumb (much dumber, in fact!) things about dictators wouldn't matter?

I think this is just more pretending Trump is special and magical, and every other candidate is different and the public will necessarily see and treat them differently. If this stuff really matters a whole bunch, then it would have devastated Trump. I don't buy it -- or at least I don't buy that this is anything more than a wild guess. We'll see.
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Old 02-19-2020, 09:46 AM
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Most people who are scared of it are already republicans,
Oh? Is "most" 51% or like 90%
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They called Obama a socialist, a communist and a nazi for 8 years, and he got about 70 million votes.
Did Obama ever call himself a socialist? Did he do anything with the Socialist Workers Party?

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Old 02-19-2020, 09:47 AM
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Someone was saying something about the expected dramatic decline in support for Trump among conservative voters in the 2020 election?

Here's a conservative poster who, for all his numerous faults, was not a Trump supporter (AFAIK). But I bet my hat he'll tick the Trump box if Bernie is the nominee. There is no candidate like Bernie to galvanize the disenfranchised Republicans to hold their nose and vote for Trump.
Correct on both counts. I didn't vote for Trump, and if it looks like Bernie has a shot at winning I am voting for Trump.
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Is this why Canada is such a poverty stricken shithole-wasteland, with millions of desperate refugees clambering to cross our northern border to gain access to our precious non-socialist economy?
Maybe Canada has fewer kinds of deodorant available. That must be why nobody wants to get into America.

Regards,
Shodan
  #30  
Old 02-19-2020, 10:12 AM
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Why would 80s videos of dumb things Bernie said about dictators be somehow INCREDIBLY RELEVANT AND POWERFUL, but many more 2018-2019 videos of Trump saying dumb (much dumber, in fact!) things about dictators wouldn't matter?

I think this is just more pretending Trump is special and magical, and every other candidate is different and the public will necessarily see and treat them differently. If this stuff really matters a whole bunch, then it would have devastated Trump. I don't buy it -- or at least I don't buy that this is anything more than a wild guess. We'll see.
Trump supporters have already decided. There is almost nothing so terrible that Trump has done or can do to lose their loyalty. It's baked in.

Similarly, though morally a world apart, for Bernie supporters.

It will be up to the voters on the margins, the disenfranchised traditional Republican voter, to decide whether Trump's known negatives are worse than Bernie's less well known negatives. But it's naive to suggest that they will be less afraid of Bernie's socialism than of Trump's corruption.
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Old 02-19-2020, 10:13 AM
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Trump supporters have already decided. There is almost nothing so terrible that Trump has done or can do to lose their loyalty. It's baked in.

Similarly, though morally a world apart, for Bernie supporters.

It will be up to the voters on the margins, the disenfranchised traditional Republican voter, to decide whether Trump's known negatives are worse than Bernie's less well known negatives. But it's naive to suggest that they will be less afraid of Bernie's socialism than of Trump's corruption.
You're just laser-focused on a specific slice (and a pretty small one, I believe) of voters. If those are the only ones to consider, then I'd agree with you. But there are tons of other voters, including lots of voters who will vote for Bernie but no other Democrat. We don't know, and can't know right now, which group is bigger.
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Old 02-19-2020, 10:30 AM
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But there is nothing to prevent us from speculating with wild abandon.
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  #33  
Old 02-19-2020, 10:38 AM
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But there is nothing to prevent us from speculating with wild abandon.
Of course!
  #34  
Old 02-19-2020, 10:49 AM
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There's capitalist societies which have a strong social safety net (e.g. the touted "Scandavian socialists", or, I suppose "Democratic Socialists") and the socialist societies that take over the means of production (the "Socialists Socialists", or, as Republicans say "Commies"). It's not that difficult to get behind the former, but unfortunately Bernie has a long record of getting behind both. While he may not be singing the latter's praises lately, I have not heard any strong repudiation of his past remarks and associations. He generally is dismissive, with comments like "Why don't you bring up my 3rd grade book reports?" This in spite of the fact that he was grown man at the time. Yes, I do think that will be a problem for him if he wins the nomination, because Republicans are not going to go at him with kid gloves about that.
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Old 02-19-2020, 10:56 AM
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Why would 80s videos of dumb things Bernie said about dictators be somehow INCREDIBLY RELEVANT AND POWERFUL, but many more 2018-2019 videos of Trump saying dumb (much dumber, in fact!) things about dictators wouldn't matter?

I think this is just more pretending Trump is special and magical, and every other candidate is different and the public will necessarily see and treat them differently.
That's not "pretending" - that's the defining reality in US politics today.

There's long been a double standard, and it's grown astronomically in Trump's case. Remember 2016?

People in the middle need only one reason to vote for the Republican, and only one reason *not* to vote for the Democrat.
  #36  
Old 02-19-2020, 11:15 AM
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I think this is just more pretending Trump is special and magical, and every other candidate is different and the public will necessarily see and treat them differently. If this stuff really matters a whole bunch, then it would have devastated Trump. I don't buy it -- or at least I don't buy that this is anything more than a wild guess. We'll see.
OK, by this reasoning Bernie would also be safe talking about Mexican rapists and grabbing women by the pussy. Trump proved that's ok for anyone to talk like that. Right?
  #37  
Old 02-19-2020, 11:19 AM
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Someone was saying something about the expected dramatic decline in support for Trump among conservative voters in the 2020 election?

Here's a conservative poster who, for all his numerous faults, was not a Trump supporter (AFAIK). But I bet my hat he'll tick the Trump box if Bernie is the nominee. There is no candidate like Bernie to galvanize the disenfranchised Republicans to hold their nose and vote for Trump.
If there was any prospect of a big decline in support for Trump among R/R-leaning voters he'd be cooked, but I don't know of evidence of this lately.

And to the extent such a decline might arise, or repeat the (proxy) abandonment of Trump by R-leaning voters in swing House districts in 2018, we're talking 'soft Republicans', not actual conservatives. Actual conservatives with enough problem with Trump to perhaps not vote for him, knowing that's helping the Democrats, exist. Public pundit type example exist. But I believe it's a quite small group of voters.

But as for the relevant group soft/moderate R/R-leaning, to either not vote, or perhaps less likely vote for the Democrat, I think there is a risk of not only self described socialist but the actual policies, aura and persona of Sanders. Which could also affect those moderate House D's who won 2016 Trump districts in 2018. Giving the House back to the GOP and Trump a mandate is more of a possibility I believe by nominating Sanders than others. I however doubt anyone's ability to foresee the outcome accurately. I don't think it's even possible to say Sanders is more likely to lose than the other major choices, though I do think a relatively big loss is more of a possibility.

Last edited by Corry El; 02-19-2020 at 11:24 AM.
  #38  
Old 02-19-2020, 11:28 AM
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If there was any prospect of a big decline in support for Trump among R/R-leaning voters he'd be cooked, but I don't know of evidence of this lately.
Just to be clear, that is also my position; Trump has not lost significant support, and those who are not happy with him will continue to hold their nose and vote for him in the coming election. Especially if the socialist boogeyman is the alternative.
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  #39  
Old 02-19-2020, 11:32 AM
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OK, by this reasoning Bernie would also be safe talking about Mexican rapists and grabbing women by the pussy. Trump proved that's ok for anyone to talk like that. Right?
That's not really my point -- my point is about people who are really, truly scared of someone who has praised authoritarians and communists. Further, that this stuff is already baked in, because it's been known for so long. Bernie saying something now that's really terrible is different than bringing up already-known clips from Bernie in the 80s, especially when Trump has said the same and worse just last year.

But this is all just based on my feelings. I understand that others will have different feelings -- my main point is that all of this is feelings right now, with virtually nothing in the realm of data and facts. We just don't know what's going to happen, or who is more likely to win.
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Old 02-19-2020, 11:37 AM
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I know it's not your point. It's the immediate implication of "if Trump is immune to backlash for praising dictators then why would Sanders?" Is praise of dictators "special and magical" or can we not apply the same reasoning to pussy grabbing and Mexican rapists?
  #41  
Old 02-19-2020, 11:40 AM
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I know it's not your point. It's the immediate implication of "if Trump is immune to backlash for praising dictators then why would Sanders?" Is praise of dictators "special and magical" or can we not apply the same reasoning to pussy grabbing and Mexican rapists?
It's not that Trump is necessarily immune -- it's that if this kind of thing matters in the election, then it will harm Trump far more than Sanders, because Trump is guilty of it more often than Sanders, and much more recently than Sanders. If rape and sexual assault matters, then it will harm Trump far more than Sanders.

I recognize that this could be a real line of attack against Sanders, I'm just skeptical that it's somehow obvious or self-evident that this is enough to sink him and make him unelectable (which is the conventional wisdom AFAICT, both out in the media and on this board). It's a legit worry, but IMO it's not as bad as the legit worries for all the other Dem candidates.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 02-19-2020 at 11:42 AM.
  #42  
Old 02-19-2020, 11:49 AM
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It's just not really something you can make a straight equivalence. They have different core supporters and different reluctant voters. Praising dictators isn't going to have the same effect on their respective groups.

But the big difference is how/why they praise dictators. Trump is talking about how these guys get shit done, awesome executives. Bernie is talking about how great it was they redistributed the wealth so well. These are different messages.

Last edited by CarnalK; 02-19-2020 at 11:51 AM.
  #43  
Old 02-19-2020, 11:51 AM
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I know it's not scientific, but I hear a whole lot of people saying "I don't like Trump one bit and would vote for a Democrat this year--unless it's Sanders or Warren."

Now, maybe they'll never vote for a Democrat, I don't know. But it concerns me.

Personally, Bernie's ideas are fine with me. (I worry about his effectiveness, not his policies) But I have learned since 2016 that I am not a typical voter.
  #44  
Old 02-19-2020, 01:38 PM
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The main line of attack will be "Bernie is a socialist who will destroy the economy and take away your private health insurance". It will be highly effective and may well win the election on its own. A secondary line of attack will be that "Bernie hates America and has palled around with left-wing dicators for decades" It will be moderately effective with older voters.

There is some veteran Republican attack artist out there who learnt his trade at the feet of Lee Atwater who is licking his lips at the prospect of taking on Bernie. Bernie's young fans are mostly ignorant about politics outside the blue bubble and they are completely unprepared for the shitstorm that will engulf their hero if he does in fact become the nominee.
  #45  
Old 02-19-2020, 01:40 PM
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https://thehill.com/homenews/campaig...s-by-15-points
  #46  
Old 02-19-2020, 02:06 PM
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Depends. Is social security, farm subsidies, NASA, the highway system. medicaire and just about every other federal government program about the same as socialism?

Thing is all those programs, even though they are government run, use local private contractors.

And that is the way I think it should be. I for one, would not want to go to a "government" hospital. However I dont have a problem with one that is private run yet bills the government like medicaire does.
  #47  
Old 02-19-2020, 02:35 PM
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With convenient timing, Steve Benen over at MaddowBlog Is also pondering this question.

Though he lists other possibilities, my thoughts echo this:

Quote:
It's also possible that the public's reservations about Sanders are genuine, but a whole lot of voters won't let those concerns outweigh their desire to vote against the incumbent president. Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), for example, after ending his long-shot GOP presidential bid, was asked on CNN recently whether he'd vote for Sanders over Donald Trump. "I would rather have a socialist in the White House than a dictator," he replied. I suspect Walsh isn't alone.
  #48  
Old 02-19-2020, 03:16 PM
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I have always said that American socialists should have rebranded their name to anything other than Socialism a long time ago - it would have made it so much easier for the ideas to make progress here.
But they did; most of us call ourselves liberals and the Repugs make that into a term of opprobrium. Not that we are (classical) liberals, any more than Bernie is a classical socialist. He is a social democrat, just like FDR. Don't forget that he is a self-decribed socialist and yes, that will hurt him. The Repugs will call any Democratic nominee a socialist (hell, if Romney ran as a Democrat they would call him a socialist and bring up Romneycare in Mass).

The funny thing is that there is probably a majority in favor of each of Bernie's specific proposals, but the whole will be labeled socialist and people will reflexively vote against it.
  #49  
Old 02-19-2020, 03:24 PM
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Depends. Is social security, farm subsidies, NASA, the highway system. medicaire and just about every other federal government program about the same as socialism?

Thing is all those programs, even though they are government run, use local private contractors.

And that is the way I think it should be. I for one, would not want to go to a "government" hospital. However I dont have a problem with one that is private run yet bills the government like medicaire does.


This. This is why we can't have nice things.
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  #50  
Old 02-19-2020, 03:57 PM
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I know it's not scientific, but I hear a whole lot of people saying "I don't like Trump one bit and would vote for a Democrat this year--unless it's Sanders or Warren."

Now, maybe they'll never vote for a Democrat, I don't know. But it concerns me.

Personally, Bernie's ideas are fine with me. (I worry about his effectiveness, not his policies) But I have learned since 2016 that I am not a typical voter.
This is exactly my experience talking to friends and acquaintances, the ones who haven't drunk the Trump koolaid. They generally vote Republican, but really don't like Trump. They could see themselves voting for a Democrat, but not Sanders or Warren, that's just too far left for them. I can see it myself. I've voted Democrat and Republican, depending on the person and the office. Didn't vote for Trump. I can see myself really supporting the more centrist candidates, and will likely vote for whomever goes against Trump, but in terms of having more of an overall chance of success, I really hope it's not one of the far left candidates. That would likely leave a lot of voters who want someone other than Trump, but not THAT guy. And I want the best chance of getting rid of the orange menace.
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