Tag: Sanders

Have You Never Been Mello? On Bernie and Abortion in Omaha

I think Sanders’ defense on NPR of supporting candidates who are anti-abortion is completely wrongheaded. The bottom line commitment of the left is to freedom, to emancipation from all manner of domination, and reproductive freedom is a critical part of that program of emancipation. I simply don’t see how the state or a parent or a husband or a boyfriend or anyone can force a woman to carry a fetus to term and bear a child against her will. I don’t think the left should compromise on that. At all. (Though the left makes all manner of ugly compromises all the time, so it would be a big mistake to cast this entire discussion as strictly about political morality. Like […]

Political Criticism in the Age of Trump: A How-To, or A How-Not-To

At some point in the coming weeks, I’d like to write an essay, a brief essay, on political criticism in the Age of Trump—a how-to, or a rules-of-the-road, for the way we ought to be doing analysis right now. One of the counters I often get to the various claims I make about the weaknesses or vulnerabilities or incoherences of the Trump regime—or when I point out policy moments when I think those weaknesses, vulnerabilities, or incoherences are being expressed—is this: Well, even if Trump pulls back from position x or even if he does action y (where y is not as a bad as z), he’s still awful, he’s only doing it to save his ass, he’s not giving […]

Season of the Bro

It’s interesting for me, reflecting upon the months and months that I’ve been called a bro because of my support for Bernie Sanders. Me, who listens to Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland, who couldn’t throw a ball if my life depended on it. What’s interesting is that the Clinton supporters in the media and on Twitter would never call men in the military or major league sports a bro. Those people they accord a fawning, almost embarrassing, reverence and deference.

Was Carl Schmitt Right After All?

Since I came online, I’ve been involved in or watched a lot of fights and really bitter campaigns. Over Israel/Palestine, neoliberalism (not the recent tempest in a teacup but the great neoliberalism wars of 2011), Charlie Hebdo, campus speech codes, labor unions and Wisconsin (that was fun!), Occupy, Jacobinghazi, libertarianism. Not just fights where the obvious suspects lined up on the obvious sides but where friends took opposite positions or desperately (and unsuccessfully) tried to avoid taking a position at all—if for no other reason than to avoid alienating someone they cared about. But nothing I’ve seen online (this is entirely impressionistic) has been as divisive, acrimonious, emotional, as the Clinton/Sanders race. Not just among partisans of the two candidates but […]

What did we learn today?

What did we learn today? Clinton’s big money supporters are trying to kill single payer in Colorado. Her possible VP pick has “a more nuanced position on abortion than many liberals.” John McCain’s right-hand man declared, literally, “I’m with her.” And the Jewish socialist from Brooklyn just won the Indiana primary. All the rest is commentary.

Magical Realism, and other neoliberal delusions

1. At Vox, Dylan Matthews offers a sharp analysis of last night’s debate, which I didn’t watch or listen to. His verdict is that the three big losers of the night were Hillary Clinton, the New Democrats, and liberal technocrats. (The two winners were Bernie Sanders and Fight for $15 movement.) As Matthews writes: But just going through the issues at tonight’s debate, it’s striking to imagine a DLCer from the ’90s watching and wondering what his party had come to. Sanders was asked not if he was sufficiently tough on crime, but if his plans to let millions of convicted criminals out of prison would actually free as many felons as promised. Clinton was criticized not for being insufficiently pro-Israel, but […]

A Very Brief Intellectual Autobiography

Reading Samuel Freeman’s review of Roger Scruton in the latest NYRB, I had a mini-realization about my own work on conservatism, which features Scruton quite a bit. In the mid-1970s, conservatism, which had previously been declared dead as an intellectual and political force, began to have a major impact on liberalism. Politically, you could see that influence in the slow, then sudden, retreat from traditional New Deal objectives, culminating in the election of Bill Clinton. What that meant was a massive turnaround on economic issues (deregulation, indifference to unions, galloping inequality) and a softer turnaround on social issues. While mainstream Democrats today are identified as staunch liberals on so-called social or moral issues like abortion and gay rights, the truth of the […]

We’re Still in Nixonland: 20 theses about the state of politics today

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. Here’s my summary of these weeks that were. Merrick Garland 1. President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland as the replacement to Antonin Scalia was accompanied by this tweet from the White House. “Merrick Garland would take no chances that someone who murdered innocent Americans might go free on a technicality.” —@POTUS #SCOTUSnominee — The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 16, 2016 Last Sunday I said we were still in Reaganland. Now I think we’re still in Nixonland. 2. That tweet was no errant message. When it comes to the rights of criminal defendants, Garland is no judicial liberal: The former prosecutor also has a relatively conservative record on criminal justice. A 2010 examination of his decisions by SCOTUSBlog’s […]

Liberalism and the Millennials

Last night, Hillary Clinton and her online supporters went after Bernie Sanders over his support in the 1980s for Fidel Castro and the Sandinistas. Glenn Greenwald shows why Clinton is in no position to be lecturing Sanders about tyranny in other countries. Clinton has not only walked the walk, but also talked the talk, on behalf of serial violators of human rights across the globe: Saudi Arabia, Syria, Israel, Honduras, the Gulf states, not to mention “Kissinger is a friend, and I relied on his counsel when I served as secretary of state.” As I said in a tweet last night, “Sanders stood with the Sandinistas, Clinton stands with Kissinger. Is this really a tough one?” But Glenn raises another […]

Super Tuesday: March Theses

I. Sanders won four states: Oklahoma, Minnesota, Vermont, and Colorado. Clinton won seven states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia. That means, altogether, that Sanders has five states (those four plus New Hampshire) and Clinton has ten states (those seven plus Nevada, Iowa, and South Carolina). But here’s the critical thing: the elections in Nevada, Iowa, and Massachusetts were either close or extraordinarily close. A little bit more time here, a little bit more organizing there, and they could easily have tipped his way. In other words, Sanders could very easily have eight states now to Clinton’s seven [Thanks, Mom, for catching my error!]. He doesn’t, and coulda shoulda woulda is just that. But what this does mean, going forward, is that we […]

Notes on a Dismal and Delightful Campaign

I’ve been posting about the presidential primaries on Facebook and Twitter, and neglecting the blog. I thought I’d gather all the posts here. Some notes on an often dismal—and sometimes delightful—campaign… 1. Amid all the accusations that Hillary Clinton is not an honest or authentic politician, that she’s an endless shape-shifter who says whatever works to get her to the next primary, it’s important not to lose sight of the one truth she’s been telling, and will continue to tell, the voters: things will not get better. Ever. At first, I thought this was just an electoral ploy against Sanders: don’t listen to the guy promising the moon. No such thing as a free lunch and all that. But it […]

The Blast That Swept Him Came Off New Hampshire Snowfields and Ice-Hung Forests

Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire Democratic primary tonight. Edith Wharton described it best: The blast that swept him came off New Hampshire snow-fields and ice-hung forests. It seemed to have traversed interminable leagues of frozen silence, filling them with the same cold roar and sharpening its edge against the same bitter black-and-white landscape. Some fascinating tidbits about the Democratic primary voters from the New York Times exit poll: 72% of the voters said that the candidates’ issues were more important to them than the candidates’ leadership or personal qualities; only 25% of the voters said that the latter was more important to them. This confirms what Jedediah Purdy argued in this excellent piece contrasting the Sanders’s candidacy with Obama’s candidacy. Obama’s […]

To My Friends Who Support Hillary Clinton

According to the latest polls out of New Hampshire, Sanders is currently leading among all Democratic women voters there, and not just among women millennial voters. In Iowa, Clinton beat Sanders among women by 11 points; now she is losing to him in New Hampshire among women by 8 points. I thought this young woman quoted in The Washington Post, who’ll be voting for the first time in this election, explained well why women more generally are turning to Sanders: While many older women’s rights advocates see the election of Clinton as the next logical step in a broader movement, some younger activists have expressed resentment at the notion that they should feel obligated to vote for Clinton simply because she’s a woman. […]

On Electability

I would have thought—after the surprises of the 2008 campaign and now this primary campaign—that media folks and academics would have acquired a degree of circumspection, if not humility, about their claims to know who is or is not electable. What these recent campaigns have shown is that the electorate can upend our expectations and that the opinions of voters are not static. Those opinions can change in response to the changing dynamics of an electoral campaign—you know, what we used to call “politics.” Not only did the voters in 2008 cast their ballot for a black man—something many right-thinking people were sure was not possible in the United States (remember the Bradley Effect?)—but now, to an increasing and unanticipated degree, they are casting their ballots for […]

Clinton’s Firewall in South Carolina is Melting Away…

In my last post, I talked about the liberal pundits who see black voters as “Hillary’s Firewall.” Even if Sanders wins in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, which have large white populations, the pundits say he’ll find his support plummeting in a state like South Carolina, where black voters are firm Clinton supporters. I pointed out that in 2008, Clinton saw that firewall in South Carolina quickly melt after Obama’s victory in Iowa and his strong second-place finish in New Hampshire. I also pointed out that South Carolina representative Jim Clyburn, who is African American and one of the top Democrats in the House, was cautioning against the notion that black voters were solidly behind Clinton this time around. Turns out, he was right. […]

Bile, Bullshit, and Bernie: 16 Notes on the Democratic Primary

For the last two weeks or so, I have been trying to stay focused on my work on Clarence Thomas, but all the liberal commentary on the Democratic primary has gotten me so irritated that I keep finding myself back on social media, posting, tweeting, commenting, and the like. So I figured I’d bring everything that I’ve been saying about the election campaign there, here. In no particular order. 1. Clintonite McCarthyism According to The Guardian: The dossier, prepared by opponents of Sanders and passed on to the Guardian by a source who would only agree to be identified as “a Democrat”, alleges that Sanders “sympathized with the USSR during the Cold War” because he went on a trip there to […]