Robert Reich nails it: This is what this election is about

Robert Reich writes that he often is asked for his comparative analysis of, e.g., Clinton’s and Sanders’ tax proposals – and he’s cool with that, he has been a policy wonk for decades. But, he says, detailed policy proposals are not at all what this election is about, are as relevant to it as “that gas giant beyond Pluto.” Rather, this presidential election is about the distribution of power.

He then discusses the Gilen-Page study – the recent Princeton study that concludes, “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically nonsignificant impact upon public policy” (compared with the preferences of the rich) – and points out that this study looks only at a period before Citizens United, McCutcheon, and the rise of Dark Money.

Ain’t it the truth? Explains a lot of this cycle’s weirdness, don’t it?

(Oh, and, FTR, Hillary Clinton is going to be the next POTUS. Mainly because she is indeed “the most qualified candidate for president of the political system we now have,” i.e., the least-objectionable to both the PTB and the voters. But that invalidates nothing of the above.)

Thank you for that post, BrainGlutton. Robert Reich is underappreciated.

Wouldn’t it be great if a new political movement could unify these disparate people? Many divisive issues should be ignored in order to focus on these important issues that unite Trump and Sanders supporters! In a current GD thread about “a new political party” I tried to suggest as much. Instead, some in the thread are working out the details of their choice/life compromise. Soon, I’m sure, they’ll get around to compromising between 10= and 20-round gun magazines. :smack:

There are claims that Occupy Wall Street moved the debate forward on these issues, but I think progress is much too slow compared with billionaire-funded movements like The Tea Party.

How specifically would nominating and/or electing Bernie Sanders reduce the political power of the rich?

Sanders authored a constitutional amendment to place an asterisk on the First Amendment in order to silence his politic enemies. That’s authoritarian every bit as much as anything Trump has done. Of course this doesn’t bother Reich. He doesn’t need to spend money to have a voice. He has a huge megaphone given to him for free by way of patronage.

Trump and Sanders are similar. Both of their messages are primarily about aggravating and leveraging grievance. The biggest difference between them is that Sanders supporters like to think of themselves as sophisticated.

He’d be able to convince the Republican Congress to overturn Citizens United, and enact crushing tax increases on “Wall Street”. And best of all, he would do this as the loser of the 2016 general election!! The guy is just that good.

It wouldn’t, immediately, but it would shift the Overton Window that way. In fact, just the fact of his running as a serious candidate might. Which is the real reason he’s running, IMO – not to win, but to start something that will not end in July 2016 and will not end in November 2016, no matter what happens between now and then.

Why? What is the radical thing he is advocating that will shift the Overton Window?

:smack: :confused: :eek: :smack: :confused: :confused:

The comments here are atrocious.

Look, Sanders has little chance of being POTUS. If he were elected, he’d have little chance of making immediate substantial change unless some like-minded folk were also elected to Congress. Duuuuuuh.

That’s not the point.

Reread Reich’s piece (and to imply he’s an overpaid mouthpiece is ignorant) and reread my comments. Then decide whether you want to use your vote and influence to push the U.S. back towards democracy … or to continue pushing it further into the hands of the billionaires.

And so, again, assuming for the sake of argument that it were true that billionaires have too much power in our political system, how does voting for Bernie “push the U.S. back towards democracy”? Like how specifically does it do that?

You may not believe it, but everyone doesn’t consider the fact that billionaires can spend there money saying things to be a pressing problem, regardless of what they are saying.


Just for starters; would you prefer that Sanders or Rubio select the next Supreme Court Justice? IIRC, Citizens vs Billionaires was decided by a 5-4 vote.

Now, I’m not sure what your precise point is. Voting for Sanders probably won’t be enough to get him elected. But I’m not sure how to proceed in explaining things to you since you almost imply that you disgree that “billionaires have too much power in our political system”.

So what? You can vote with the Tea Party, while Americans-with-a-Clue enact reform. We don’t need 100%, just 60% or so.

But what does that have to do with the OP? That’s just a generic argument for electing Democrats. It’s not even an argument for Sanders > Clinton or O’Malley.

I think billionaires have a ton of power in our political system. I think it has very little to do with campaign finance laws, and a lot to do with the fact that they have billions of dollars. I think that nothing in the marginal differences between Sanders and Clinton would make any difference in the extent to which the power is curtailed.

But many Sanders supporters appear to believe that if Sanders were president he would change, or set us on a better course to change, the political power of billionaires in a way that another generic Democrat (Clinton, O’Malley, whatever) would not. I’ve yet to see that put into specific terms.

Couldn’t he, for instance, direct the DOJ to prosecute more financial crimes?

FWIW, I’m rooting for Hillary because I think she’s more likely to win in November, and would probably be a more effective President than Sanders anyway.

I’ve been a fan of Robert Reich for some time. I’d not be surprised if he agrees with this and is hoping for Hillary. I didn’t read his piece the same way you did.

Mr. Glutton posted this in the Elections forum because Mr. Reich connects his views to the unusual repsonse of people in this cycle … drawing connections between Trump supporters and Sanders supporters.

I find those connections interesting. Do you, Richard Parker?

One of my generic complaints about discussions at SDMB is the need to Jump to Conclusions. When I call attention to environmental dangers of GMO food, I’m immediately attacked! (“Why do you want to starve billions of people, septimus?”) Aren’t the environmental dangers worth understanding even if we conclude they’re the appropriate least-of-evils approach?

Isn’t Reich’s observation pertinent and helpful even if we don’t rush out and buy a Sanders bumper-sticker?

The OP quotes Reich saying that he’s making an argument about Sanders vs. Clinton, which is also how OP interpreted the Reich piece. Reich says, “But Bernie Sanders is the most qualified candidate to create the political system we should have, because he’s leading a political movement for change.” And so what I was asking is in what sense Sanders is “most qualified” to change this aspect of the political system.

Sure. Both he and Clinton have said they would do so.

Whether it would result in more prosecutions depends on why you think more haven’t happened. I do not believe that U.S. Attorneys are declining to prosecute Wall Street executives out of some bias toward the financial industry, mostly because I see no evidence to support that conclusion. I think they haven’t prosecuted more because proving financial crimes is hard and because no one who is serious thinks that criminal behavior is what principally caused the Great Recession or causes economic harm more generally, and so the priority level of financial crimes is not as high as some people would (irrationally, in my view) prefer.

It is also much harder to convict rich people of crimes in our fucked-up criminal justice system, and that contributes some. But I don’t hear any plans to fix that from either candidate.

In a GD thread, there’s some talk of designing a new political party. Right now, I think they’re negotiating whether foetus life beigns at four months or five. Next I suppose they’ll work on the 2nd most important issue in American politics: Whether 16-round magazines are OK, or magazines should be limited to 14 rounds.

But some people don’t consider these to be the most important political questions facing America. I think it is very interesting if Sanders and Trump draw support from the same real sentiments about what I (and many many others) do consider the most important single problem.

(And yes, financial greed and malpractice was the main cause of the 2008 credit crisis. Obviously there’s a line between “smart business” and “criminal fraud” and much of the misconduct on Wall Street was legal. But there was also much that was surely fraud, if difficult to prosecute.)

For those who think the 99% should be drones to serve the appetites of the 1% you can stop reading now. But the rest of us might draw an optimistic message from the idea that Sanders’ and Trump’s supporters have a common cause. Can you imagine the Hyuuuge(!) political power if these groups combined?

I don’t see it happening soon, of course. Trump, regardless of his true feelings, is forced to hate abortion and love guns in order to stand on the GOP stage. Sanders, despite his D- grade from the NRA, is being chastised for supporting rural gun rights. And yesterday’s thread in GD is trying to split the difference – I don’t know if they’ve decided on 14-round magazines or 16-round magazines. OWS, IIRC, lost power because some of its supporters wanted platform planks supporting vegetarianism, etc.

But I’m a dreamer. There’s surely more than 51% of Americans who agree with the broad aims Robert Reich outlines. Can you imagine the joy if a unified movement came into being?

(But no, it won’t happen in 2016. Nor anytime soon, I’m afraid.)

Reich offers us some interesting anecdotal information. Is there some actual data out there to support his thesis?

Robert Reich addresses Bernie skeptics.

(I post this for the record. I imagine everyone here has already made up their minds.)