Bernie for President

Bernie Sanders has officially announced his candidacy for the Presidency, entering an already-crowded field of democrats.

I’ve been wondering which candidate I should support. Now I know. Sorry, Elizabeth, Kamala, all the rest of you. I like you, really I do. My choice is clear: Bernie.


24 responses to “Bernie for President

  1. Do you really want a president who will be 83 by the time he leaves office? He is already looking less energetic than in 2016.

    [Response: If it’s Bernie Sanders, your goddamn right I do.]

  2. I am for Bernie. Kamala Harris would be good running mate, much more of a centrist and I think she’s a woman, etc.
    I have voted for Jill Stein several times, but I would jump away from the Green vote for Bernie. Doesn’t matter in my state which is a solid blue state and pushes its electoral votes in the dem column reliably.

  3. Of course, when in doubt, support an old white man over a field of very qualified women and non-whites.

    [Response: I have two absolute, non-negotiable requirements for which candidate gets my support. #1 Climate change is the most important issue. Not just important, *most* important. #2 No blackface.

    In the debates against Hillary Clinton, Bernie was asked — on national TV with everybody watching — to name the most important issue. His answer consisted of two words: climate change.

    I have two questions for you: #1 Which of those other potential candidates has unambiguously identified climate change as the most important issue? #2: What does gender or ethnicity have to do with my #1 requirement?]

  4. I agree with you on the requirement for anthropogenic climate change to be the unambiguous #1 priority for any candidate to get my support. However, that will not apply if I perceive a realistic possibility that such support would result in Trump getting re-elected. So I am reserving judgement until much deeper into the primary process.

    [Response: Regarding your second and third sentences, you might be interested to know, that during his announcement of his candidacy, Bernie Sanders said … pretty much exactly the same thing.]

  5. Personally, I’m reserving judgment–and hoping that the primary process serves to air ideas and policies, as well as personal fitness for the office, and political pragmatism. Trump MUST NOT be reelected, for reasons too numerous (and in this context, too obvious) to attempt to catalog.

    But Bernie’s clear prioritizing of climate change is certainly a very good point in his favor. It’s true that that should be criterion #1, which is why I have this as my email signature:

    It’s been critiqued by some, probably with reason, but if it’s to your taste, feel free to use it. (I may do an update, now that the 2018 annual data are up.)

  6. When looking at a candidate, there are several questions that (in my opinion) should be asked:

    1) how does the candidate align with your positions?
    2) how effective would the candidate be if elected?
    3) how likely is the candidate to be elected in the general?
    4) how does supporting the candidate in the primary change the primary race?

    I think on question 1, we have different opinions: despite working on climate issues for my own full-time job, I think that climate is only one of several important issues for a US presidential candidate to address. But I acknowledge that having climate be priority one is a defensible position.

    On question 2: I have some concerns about Bernie’s ability to work effectively from what I’ve heard from friends who have been Senate staffers. So I think it is possible that electing someone who has climate as their number 2 or 3 priority but who is more effective working the levers of the executive branch and getting congressional buy-in might actually achieve more for climate (as well as for my other priorities).

    On question 3: Based on the fact Trump was elected, I obviously have no idea what makes for electable candidates.

    On question 4: I worry about all the candidates I like dividing up the votes of people who vote like me, and letting a bad candidate through (see, e.g., Trump taking advantage of all the “sane” republicans dividing up their votes. Also, Martha Coakley somehow winning the Massachusetts gubernatorial primary in 2014 after having lost to Scott Brown for Senate, in my opinion because the other two candidates split the non-Martha vote). But so far, I’d be pretty okay with any of the top 10 democratic candidates (except maybe Bloomberg, if he runs).

    After all that… I think I understand why you support Bernie. However, I would personally rank him pretty low out of the top 10 field. I can’t really define my reasoning, though… his approach just turns me off somehow. I don’t know how much is residual angst from the Clinton-Sanders primary (of course, I supported Obama in Obama-Clinton, and had no problem switching my support to Clinton 8 years later, but there’s less bitterness when the end result turns out okay). I don’t know how much is that I think Bernie is too unrealistic with his policy proposals, or whether I think he’ll be vulnerable in the general due to the “socialist” tag, or age-ism, or if it is the ineffectiveness messages I’ve absorbed from my Senate staffer friends. Having said that: if he wins the primary, I’ll be one hundred percent behind him, as I would be for almost any Democratic nominee…

  7. A lot of folks supported civil rights, but it was Martin Luther King with his thunderous speeches that inspired millions more to join the cause. So for me, a candidate’s stance on a given issue is only part of the story. Just as important is his/her ability to motivate others.
    I’m reserving judgement until I see the rallies, town halls, debates, etc. of all the Democratic hopefuls.

  8. Susan Anderson

    Lands sakes. Time to wake up.

    I am sick and tired of Bernie Bernie Bernie. He’s got good ideas, but the way he goes about them are wrong and have caused a lot of harm. We deserted him for Hillary a long time ago, thanks to his impracticality and his attacks on people whom he should have supported. I’m not thrilled with Hillary, but he and Jill Stein did a real number on her. I do wish he’d been the candidate in 2016, so you all could see how deeply impractical and dangerous he was.

    His loyal supporters are wilfully blind.

    [Response: This idea that Bernie “did a real number on” Hillary Clinton is ridiculous. You debase yourself to the level of a Russian troll when you say that.

    She did a number on herself. Congratulations on your self-awarenes, deserting Bernie for such a super-duper deserving candidate so effective and infused with “practicality” she couldn’t even beat Donald Trump.]

    • Susan Anderson

      You have a real problem when you are able to equate me to a Russian troll. You are better than that. That is **exactly** the problem I describe. I have no great love for Hillary, but the hatred and bile are exactly what elected Trump.

      [Response: Get off your high horse. When you accused Bernie (and Jill Stein) of tanking Hillary, you told a lie. That’s a goddamn lie. But it sure made for a convenient character assassination of Bernie Sanders. Troll is as troll does.]

      • Susan Anderson

        You still haven’t applied your undoubted statistical objectivity to what I actually said. Exactly like climate denial. I suggest you calm down and actually read what I wrote. I apologize for overstating my case, however.

    • Susan Anderson

      I am sorry that you were able to cherry pick my comment to get the meaning you got from it; it’s partly my fault for not picking my words more carefully. The ability to turn allies and friends into enemies in seconds is my complaint about Bernie. It’s not so much his fault as that of what I call, for want of a more precise description, Berniebusters. I think I did say that I like Bernie’s ideas. Given a choice over the last couple of years, I’d choose Elizabeth Warren, but I’d be happy with most of the Democratic field, with the exception of Joe Biden, Bernie (despite that I support almost all his ideas, because of his self-righteousness and intolerance), Gillibrand … so far. Slogans can be very successful, but there’s a long path between than and execution.

      I love almost every minute of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and am interested to watch her grow and succeed. I think being a bartender is superb preparation for politics, but many people don’t know much about her. Here’s what a friend turned up [(with apologies for going slightly off topic, but we are talking and Democratic Socialism, which I wholly support): “Searches related to AOC submitted her high-school microbiology project in 2007 and won second place globally at Intel’s science and engineering fair, has an asteroid discovered by Linear named after her because of it. She majored in economics and international relations, impressing her professor of an antitrust economics class, who has stated AOC has “great analytic abilities.” She advocated for improved childhood education and literacy and started a children’s book publishing company. She served as NHI’s (National Hispanic Institute) Educational Director of the 2017 Northeast Collegiate World Series, and named their Person of the Year. She served as an intern in the immigration office during the final year of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy’s tenure. She graduated Cum Laude from Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences in 2011.”]

      What I fear is a knock-down drag-out between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, with loyalty trumping reality. I have an elderly father and I’ve watched the steady deterioration that comes with advancing age. He’s still the same great guy, but he’s lost some of the nuance. This would be an almost exact reprise of the Democratic primary, except for the absence of women.

      [Response: Galileo urged us to give every writer the benefit of the best possible interpretation of what has been written. He was smarter than I am.

      I love AOC, and she has put climate change front-and-center. Unfortunately, she doesn’t meet the constitutional age requirement for the presidency. Pity, if you ask me.

      I do not fear a Bernie-Biden cage match. I fear climate change.]

      • Trump needs to go for someone who has some reality contact. That issue overrides everything else.

        I have the same problem with Bernie people as I had with Ron Paul people. There are just too many high up who are intolerant and close-minded. Too close to the loony left that had me voting rep in the 60s/70s. To my mind, one of the better things Clinton (Bill) did was to largely remove them from the levers of party power at just about the same time the reps allowed the far right loony wing to get their hands on the rep party levers.

        I don’t see Bernie translating to a win but rather intensifying more of the same rigidity and purity-testing and very possibly losing to boot. I could be wrong but that is my fear.

      • Susan and Tamino,
        The NH primary is still nearly a year out. IMHO it is waaaaayyyy too early to pick a horse. And it is way, way too late to cry about the spilled milk that was the 2016 election. I understand that feelings are still raw around the Democratic primary. The party made a clusterfuck of the process by doing what parties do–preferring one of their own to an outsider (Bernie is not a Democrat, and he did not have a history of bringing in money for other Congressional candidates). It is natural that Bernie supporters resent the process.
        I supported Hillary all the way through. My wife supported Bernie in the primaries and Hillary in the general. Some friends and family who were strong Bernie supporters refused to vote for Hillary in the general. It is natural that Hillary supporters resent the lack of support, especially from the hard-core, anyone-but-Hillary Bernie bros.

        FWIW, I think Hillary would have made a good President. She was a lousy candidate, though. Hell, she even got her back up on Fresh Aire–putting her in the company of Billdo O’Reilly and Gene Simmons. She was never able to control the narrative–failing to counter the ludicrous conspiracy theorists (over 20 years!), always taking the bait from Trump,…. And she had that fatal flaw for a policy wonk–the inability to make policy come alive and be fun.
        That is all done. The reason AOC is exciting is because she insists on dancing at her revolution. She has shown that goals that bring us closer sustainability can actually be exciting. We need to make that contagious.

        If we want candidates to embrace the challenges of climate, we have to find ways of convincing them it is a potentially winning issue. We have to describe where it’s leading–the land where democracy is safe, rather than the ugliness of the war to make it so.

      • Susan Anderson

        Thanks Tamino. I too fear climate change more than anything else. I will apologize again for the failure to look more closely at what I wrote and see how it would look to somebody who isn’t inside my brain to understand all the hedges and caveats I hold as I write things like that.

        To all: yes, it’s too early.

        And no campaign should ever be characterizeable as a “cage match”. That is the problem in a nutshell.

  9. I don’t think that Bernie Sanders can win. But he can split the democratic vote as he did in 2016. That will be a great help for the re-election of Trump in 2020. Of course I may be a pessimist. I was so in 1989 when I could not believe the wall could fall! Maybe miracles do happen.

  10. If climate change is the motivation for support, Jay Inslee might be an alternative contender:

  11. Hillary Clinton did beat Trump, by 2.9 million votes. The electoral college gave it to Trump.

  12. This is why H.R.C. ‘lost’?
    “And it’s deadly. Doubtless, Crosscheck delivered Michigan to Trump who supposedly “won” the state by 10,700 votes. The Secretary of State’s office proudly told me that they were “very aggressive” in removing listed voters before the 2016 election. Kobach, who created the lists for his fellow GOP officials, tagged a whopping 417,147 in Michigan as potential double voters.”

  13. My favored candidate is anyone who can beat President Goodbrain–pretty much literally anyone. If Bernie gets the Democratic nomination, he will have my vote, my full support and all the effort and persuasion I can muster. I can pledge the same to any candidate who is not a vile, racist, misogynist, anti-science imbecile, because that is what we are up against.

    Having said this, I think that this thread raises some of the reservations I have about Bernie. He arouses very strong reactions, both positive and negative, and I fear that we could have a similar situation to 2016 where hardcore Bernie supporters withhold their support from whoever does finally take the nomination. That, and a centrist third-party candidate–even an unpopular coffee baron–could hand Trumplethinskin the second term that our survival dictates we must deny him.

    I do not blame Bernie for Hillary’s defeat. I blame
    1) Russian trolls,
    2) an obtuse FBI director,
    3)over 25 years of political hit jobs by ratfuckers like Roger Stone, Jerry Corsi, and all the other denizens of the rightwing fever swamps
    4) the American public for buying into all of the above
    5) and not last, a very smart, but not congenial candidate who does not project well onto a large political stage

    All of these factors, coupled with a nightmare candidate created by a reality-TV culture contributed to the mess in which the US–and the world–now finds itself. The candidate may be different this time, but the situation will not be better.

    The Orange nightmare has the full power of the Presidency behind him. He has Stockholmed the country and much of the press into accepting this as the new normal and pretending that it is just fine to have a serial molester, Nazi sympathizer and (at best) Russian asset in the highest office in the land. His hardcore base has only grown. He has the party establishment behind him this time and a huge group of dedicated–and potentially violent–supporters.

    We cannot afford to be divided. We cannot afford to fuck this up.

  14. In normal times, I’d agree that we should focus on the candidate(s) with the best climate policies/agenda.

    But these are not normal times. For me, the #1 issue in the 2020 election is not climate policy, but ability to defeat Trump. Every other issue is (far, far) secondary. I’m quite sure that every Democratic candidate has a better climate policy than Trump anyway, so we would at least get a (massive) improvement on the climate front by defeating Trump, regardless of (Democratic) candidate.

    If – but only if – it appeared that several Democratic contenders would definitely defeat Trump, then other issues (e.g. climate policy) could take central focus in deciding between them.

  15. One of Hillary Clinton’s mistakes, I’ve heard, was her ‘mostly’ claiming she wasn’t Donald Trump, rather than (mostly) being for something. We could make the same mistake again (“anybody who isn’t Trump”). What’s Einstein’s definition of ‘insanity’?

    I’ve been claiming I am a one-issue voter (climate change) for six or ten years, but who I support in an election is more nuanced than how candidates answer a particular question. (I changed my voter registration in 2018 so that I could vote for a sane Republican in the primary.)

  16. I recently watched Michael Moore’s Farenheit 11/9 and, if what was said in that about Bernie being robbed of the nomination after winning so many primary counties, then Bernie would also get my vote, if I had one but you’re right, climate change is number 1 priority. Sadly, I can’t see a president of a major political party ever putting climate change over economic issues, entirely.

  17. You are welcome to disagree with me, but I’d like you to be specific – rather than calling me a Russian troll.

    My argument has two parts, which relate to 2019-2020, and to 2016. Tell me which bits of the argument below are wrong.


    a.) Sanders is a candidate who is old, angry, doesn’t work with others and rants at people. That’s pretty important, in an election which is large part popularity contest, and is set up to find an alternative to the orange man who embodies all of these traits.

    b.) Sanders platform has been adopted by other candidates who are significantly more electable.

    c.) Sanders has absolutely no track record of getting legislation through. If you care about climate change, this is important. It’s vitally important.

    d.) Sander has bruised a lot of people who will never accept his nomination – not because they’re members of a Wall St Worship Cult, but because his actions last time aren’t forgotten. They’re #neverBernie.

    Whether or not you think they’re reasonable, they exist and form a large section of the party.


    I say the things below believing that a primary should not be a coronation, and that a real contest is good for many reasons. Clinton was certainly not without faults, but this is about the actions of your preferred candidate.

    a.) From April 2020 there was no real path to the nomination, and by mid-year it was mathematically impossible. He actively encouraged his supporters to think that Hillary, the Democratic Party, and politics in general was “rigged” and “crooked”. That massively helped Trump, who was the real outsider.

    b.) Clinton’s campaign was forced to be play softly to Sanders in order to try to pull across his supporters, and because using any of the attack lines that the Republicans would use would have been further proof that the whole thing was terribly unfair.

    c.) Meantime, that was months of extra spending and time when they couldn’t act as the nominee and focus their attention on the real opposition. Trump had complete freedom to attack Hillary at the same time. That hurts you badly when you’re running a campaign.

    d.) All of the above was preventable, and all of the above was Sanders fault.

    [Response: Why is it so many Hillary Clinton supporters are so desperate to blame her loss on anything but her own shortcomings? Rather reminds me of climate deniers who will blame global warming on anything *but* CO2.

    Bernie Sanders inspires people — at least, enough to set a new record for campaign donations in one day.

    It’s particularly fascinating that you mention how Bernie’s “platform has been adopted by other candidates.” How did those ideas get to be such a mainstream part of the national discourse in the first place? Bernie. That’s called “leadership.”

    I welcome a real contest. If you can’t take the Bern, get out of the kitchen.]

    • In response to your italicized comments:

      I said almost nothing about Clinton, who is not running in this election. My comments are about the person who you’ve endorsed as candidate for President.

      Things I agree with:

      A large one-day campaign haul suggests that there is residual support for the candidate left-over from the last election. That’s good for him, but as you know a single day record doesn’t determine a trend.

      The policy landscape has changed on a lot of issues, from gun control to minimum wages to climate change. There’s a huge movement for all of those things, and Sanders was able to use that energy because he believed in some of those things. Full credit to him – few people deny that his campaign raised the temperature on this issues it took on. There are now other candidates who hold all of those positions strongly, because the national conversation has changed.

      Things I disagree with:

      You thinking that this negates his very evident weaknesses and issues which are outlined above. Those weaknesses are a threat to our global climate, because they represent a greatly increased chance of Trump’s re-election.

      [Response: The italicized comments were my response, not his claims. I’m the blogger (Tamino).]