James Carville on the 2020 Democratic candidates

Who doesn’t like James Carville? He’s smart, strongly liberal and pro-Democratic Party, and has an impish look but a potty mouth. His Louisiana accent is endearing. And he’s famous as a campaign strategist and for posting these three mantras on the wall of the Clinton election’s “campaign war room” in 1992:

  1. Change vs. more of the same.
  2. The economy, stupid.
  3. Don’t forget health care.

The man doesn’t mince words. Carville now teaches at Louisiana State University, and he’s still married to conservative Mary Matalin (I have no idea how that marriage works!).

So Carville has a recent interview in Vox with Sean Illig, and makes some strong pronouncements about how the Democratic Presidential race this year is going south, and what we need to do to fix it. Click on the screenshot to read it. I’ve given quotes below from only a part of the interview, which you should read in full

Carville has a lot to say.  He avers that he’s not a centrist but a liberal, but that the Democratic party has tacked to the left—”off the damn radar screen”. He’ll vote for any Democratic candidate, including Bernie, whom he doesn’t much like, but says the Dems have to coalesce around a central message that can appeal to everyone. And they’re not doing it by promoting policies like Medicare For All or “free college tuition or debt forgiveness.” But on to the quotes:

Sean Illing

What’s gone wrong? Who’s responsible?

James Carville

I don’t know. We just had an election in 2018. We did great. We talked about everything we needed to talk about, and we won. And now it’s like we’re losing our damn minds. Someone’s got to step their game up here.

Sean Illing

What does that mean?

James Carville

In 2018, Democrats recruited really strong candidates, really qualified candidates. And the party said, “This is what we’re going to talk about and we’re going to keep talking about it.” And you know what happened? We fucking won. We didn’t get distracted, we didn’t get deflected.

Sean Illing

Give me an example of what you mean by distractions.

James Carville

We have candidates on the debate stage talking about open borders and decriminalizing illegal immigration. They’re talking about doing away with nuclear energy and fracking. You’ve got Bernie Sanders talking about letting criminals and terrorists vote from jail cells. It doesn’t matter what you think about any of that, or if there are good arguments — talking about that is not how you win a national election. It’s not how you become a majoritarian party.

For fuck’s sake, we’ve got Trump at Davos talking about cutting Medicare and no one in the party has the sense to plaster a picture of him up there sucking up to the global elites, talking about cutting taxes for them while he’s talking about cutting Medicare back home. Jesus, this is so obvious and so easy and I don’t see any of the candidates taking advantage of it.

The Republicans have destroyed their party and turned it into a personality cult, but if anyone thinks they can’t win, they’re out of their damn minds.

Like many of my friends, including the most liberal ones, Carville isn’t enthused by Bernie, but he’d still vote for him (as would I).

James Carville

Look, Bernie Sanders isn’t a Democrat. He’s never been a Democrat. He’s an ideologue. And I’ve been clear about this: If Bernie is the nominee, I’ll vote for him. No question. I’ll take an ideological fanatic over a career criminal any day. But he’s not a Democrat

. . . But back to Sanders — what I’m saying is the Democratic Party isn’t Bernie Sanders, whatever you think about Sanders.

Sean Illing

A lot of threads there. First, a lot of people don’t trust the Democratic Party, don’t believe in the party, for reasons you’ve already mentioned, and so they just don’t care about that. They want change. And I guess the other thing I’d say is, 2016 scrambled our understanding of what’s possible in American politics.

Are we really sure Sanders can’t win?

James Carville

Who the hell knows? But here’s what I do know: Sanders might get 280 electoral votes and win the presidency and maybe we keep the House. But there’s no chance in hell we’ll ever win the Senate with Sanders at the top of the party defining it for the public. Eighteen percent of the country elects more than half of our senators. That’s the deal, fair or not.

So long as [Mitch] McConnell runs the Senate, it’s game over. There’s no chance we’ll change the courts, and nothing will happen, and he’ll just be sitting up there screaming in the microphone about the revolution.

The purpose of a political party is to acquire power. All right? Without power, nothing matters.

Two more quotes (I can’t resist: Carville doesn’t mince words!):

Sean Illing

So your complaint is basically that the party has tacked too far to the left?

James Carville

They’ve tacked off the damn radar screen. And look, I don’t consider myself a moderate or a centrist. I’m a liberal. But not everything has to be on the left-right continuum. I love Warren’s day care plan just like I love Booker’s baby bonds. That’s the kind of stuff our candidates should explain and define clearly and repeatedly for voters and not get diverted by whatever the hell is in the air that day.

Here’s another stupid thing: Democrats talking about free college tuition or debt forgiveness. I’m not here to debate the idea. What I can tell you is that people all over this country worked their way through school, sent their kids to school, paid off student loans. They don’t want to hear this shit. And you saw Warren confronted by an angry voter over this. It’s just not a winning message.

The real argument here is that some people think there’s a real yearning for a left-wing revolution in this country, and if we just appeal to the people who feel that, we’ll grow and excite them and we’ll win. But there’s a word a lot of people hate that I love: politics. It means building coalitions to win elections. It means sometimes having to sit back and listen to what people think and framing your message accordingly.

That’s all I care about. Right now the most important thing is getting this career criminal who’s stealing everything that isn’t nailed down out of the White House. We can’t do anything for anyone if we don’t start there and then acquire more power.

And what about Mayor Pete? (This interview was before Bloomberg seriously began campaigning and debating.) I like Carville’s implicit critique of the Bernie Bros here:

Sean Illing

Buttigieg seems to model the sort of candidate you think can win.

James Carville

Mayor Pete has to demonstrate over the course of a campaign that he can excite and motivate arguably the most important constituents in the Democratic Party: African Americans. These voters are a hell of a lot more important than a bunch of 25-year-olds shouting everyone down on Twitter.

. . . Falling into despair won’t help anyone, though. I mean, you can curse the darkness or you can light a candle. I’m getting a fucking welding torch. Okay?

I’m pretty much with Carville on his view that sharp tacking to the left won’t do the party any good, that many Democratic candidates are supporting positions that won’t play well with “non elite” Democrats or with African Americans, and that I find no candidate who stands out strongly from the pack.  I’ve always liked Carville, and agree with him here. I mean seriously, free college tuition for people in college now but not those who just graduate? Open borders? Now that is going to play well with Middle America? Or debt forgiveness for those who have debt now, but “screw you” to those who already paid off their debt? This kind of stuff is going to make voters angry. It may not make them vote for Trump, but it may well keep them from the polls.

165 Comments

  1. Posted February 19, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I do not know enough US history, but why has there not been a socialist party in the US? It is not as if there have been no radicals. I’d have though socialists would have established themselves in states where slavery had been ubiquitous, for example…

    • TJR
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      There are, they are just very small.

      Look at the notorious “butterfly ballot” from 2000 and you’ll see two socialist candidates in the list.

    • Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      There was a fairly active one, from what I understand, around the time of the first world war or ther abouts. But labour unions and such were also brutally attacked (by Pinkertons, I seem to remember) and the movement has never really recovered.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Hell, we’ve even got a communist party here — CPUSA. They’ve always been thin on the ground, and for the longest time they were propped up by all the undercover FBI agents J. Edgar Hoover had implanted within as part of his “COINTELPRO” counter-intelligence program. They were the only ones capable of paying dues. 🙂

  2. GBJames
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    “…and he’s still married to conservative Mary Matalin (I have no idea how that marriage works!”

    This used to puzzle me a lot, too. And then along came George and Kellyanne Conway…

    • darrelle
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      🙂

    • DrBrydon
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Yes, the Conway Show is perplexing.

  3. Posted February 19, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Carville is the best! He was recently on Showtime’s “The Circus: Inside the Craziest Political Campaign on Earth”, which I highly recommend. (Beware that they change the show name after the colon with each “season” which screws up DVR recording.)

    I also recommend “K Street” (2003), a short-lived show revolving around a political consultancy (evidently many are on K Street in DC) headed by the Carville and Matalin. It’s dated now but if you haven’t seen it, you might enjoy it.

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0364822/

  4. DrBrydon
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Carville speaks sense, and he’s right about the revolution and politics (which is why he’d be one of the first one’s up against the wall). Here is my favorite recent Carville, though:

    “Last night on CNN, Bernie Sanders called me a political hack,” Carville said. “That’s exactly who the f— I am! I am a political hack! I am not an ideologue. I am not a purist. He thinks it’s a pejorative. I kind of like it! At least I’m not a communist.”

    • Posted February 19, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      LOL, that’s funny!

    • YF
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Bernie is not a ‘communist’ or ‘ideologue’. He is simply articulating what needs to be done in order to restore some reasonable balance to American society. Same for Elizabeth Warren.

      I think Carville should retire from politics, along with the rest of the Democratic establishment, which has grown out of touch with the needs and desires of the majority of ordinary American citizens- particularly the younger generations, which are doomed to be worse off than their parents. Continued policies of deregulation and Reaganesque ‘trickle down’ economics under both Republican and Democratic administrations have failed them.

      • Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        We shall see in November what the “needs and desires of ordinary American citizen are.” In the meantime, I disagree with your claim that stuff like “Medicare for All,” open borders, and forgiving all college debt will restore “reasonable balance to American society.

      • Mark R.
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Sanders isn’t a communist, but he is very much an ideologue. He’s ideological, uncompromising and dogmatic; that’s pretty much the definition of an ideologue.

        • YF
          Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

          Having strong views, which happen to be shared by many, many ordinary Americans, doesn’t make someone dogmatic. Demonizing Sanders as a ‘communist, ideologue, dogmatist, radical, etc. is the tactic Democratic establishment, which wants to get rid of Bernie and retain power at all costs, just like the Republicans.

          As the notable economist Robert Reich commented in his recent Frontline interview, the deepest division in America is not right versus left…it is as it has been for centuries: rich versus poor. Now Republicans and Democrats are both influenced by the rich and we the middle class and poor get the shaft.

          I submit that if Bernie loses the nomination, we should get ready for another 4 years of the orange menace.

          • DrBrydon
            Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

            Reich is making an argument, not stating a fact.

            • YF
              Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

              He’s making an argument based on facts. See the interview here, which I believe will be well worth the time of many here:

              America’s Great Divide: Robert Reich Interview | FRONTLINE

          • EdwardM
            Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

            “I submit that if Bernie loses the nomination, we should get ready for another 4 years of the orange menace.”

            I submit that you have this exactly backwards. In fact, because of the Bernie Bros, I submit we are already doomed to another four years of the Orange fool. Nominated or not, Sanders is Nader and we will all lose.

            • GBJames
              Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

              My own submission is that neither of you knows how this will play out. Nor does anyone else.

              • EdwardM
                Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

                I agree. I was hunting wabbits.

              • merilee
                Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

                Wascally ones?

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

                When is comes to so-called “electability,” Nobody knows Anything (as the screenwriter William Goldman once said about making Hollywood movies).

            • YF
              Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

              Sanders is not Nader. He is not trying to crash the Democratic party. He is trying to help it find its way back home. Social justice and economic justice are (or should be) fundamental democratic values.

              • Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

                As Carville says: Bernie has never been a Democrat. In my opinion he is trying to hijack the facilities of an existing party structure (shall we call the the “means of production”?) to his own benefit.

                And more power to him if he can pull it off. I will be voting and for whoever gets the Dem Nomination. But if it’s the Bern, I will be in fear. The Bern lovers love him and can’t see his negatives, it seems to me.

                Carville is dead-right about the Obama voters who went for Trump in 2016 (and plenty of other people): Bernie will turn them away.

                I am going on what I heard in a recent call-in on my local NPR station, on the question of who would be the Dem Nominee.

                It was a resounding chorus of: I hate Trump, but Bernie and Warren are too far out there. Give me a Dem I can vote for: Bernie or Warren is not that. There were even numbers of “lifetime Republican voters” who were calling in and saying this.

                The wokeness, the “free stuff for everyone”, (please read that linked article on the interaction between Warren and the student’s Dad: There are tons of people in that boat.
                The guy captures it well.), the identity politics, the “open borders” talk are going to drive those working class people into the arms of the GOP.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted February 19, 2020 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

                In my opinion he is trying to hijack the facilities of an existing party structure (shall we call the the “means of production”?) to his own benefit.

                Class exploitation per dialectical materialism? 🙂

          • Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

            Sorry, but no. Demonizing Sanders is NOT about “retaining power at all costs”. Sanders is not being demonized regardless, just his ideas are deemed wrong. I’m pretty sure he’s a nice guy and not a demon.

      • Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        I agree with Carville. Bernie’s ideas are too radical to go up against Trump. I’ve heard that the GOP is urging Republican voters to register Democrat for the primaries and vote for Bernie. They evidently think he’d be the easiest to beat in the general election. I agree with their assessment.

      • eric
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        Let me ask you a personal question. Let’s posit that some parts of ‘what needs to be done in order to restore some reasonable balance to American society’ are deeply unpopular with the voters as a whole. In this hypothetical case, would you rather Sanders or Warren (whomever is the candidate):
        (a) stick to their guns, and lose, or
        (b) compromise (and I mean publicly, out loud, before the election – as in take more moderate positions and stick to them), win, and enact only a partial restoration

        ?

        • Posted February 19, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

          Not the person you were replying to, but which policy did you have in mind that’s so unpopular that it alone is going to hand the presidency to Trump? And what compromise do you think will win it back? Without spelling out some details your question is impossible to answer. (E.g., if the unpopular position is go carbon free by 2050 and the compromise position is business as usual for another 40 years, well I don’t care if Trump wins because that’s hardly worse.)

          • eric
            Posted February 19, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

            For sake of argument, let’s say the issues that need to be compromised to win are: abandon medicare for all (accept medicare option), and abandon any federal funding for collegiate education beyond some moderate improvements to student loan rates and conditions.

      • Roger Lambert
        Posted February 20, 2020 at 2:35 am | Permalink

        ” Dems have to coalesce around a central message that can appeal to everyone. And they’re not doing it by promoting policies like Medicare For All or “free college tuition or debt forgiveness.” ”

        LOL!

        These are some of Bernie’s planks. And he is leading all polls now. Including polls of all Dems vs Trump. He supposedly has great crossover appeal as well.

        Carville can not face reality. Or he is just trying here to manipulate it.

        • W.Benson
          Posted February 20, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

          Here is a link that documents that voters not only prefer Bernie over Trump, but Bernie does as well or better than almost any other Dem candidate in head-to-head match-ups. You wouldn’t know this, of course, if you only watched TV news.
          https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/

          • Posted February 20, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

            The informal polling (call-ins on my local NPR station (Minnesota) goes against this, big time.

            It was a near-unanimous chorus of: “I hate Trump; give me a Dem I can vote for. Bernie and Warren are not that.”

            • Posted February 20, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

              Are these callers by any chance mostly over 40?

              • Posted February 21, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

                Don’t know for sure; but I would suspect so.

              • Posted February 21, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

                As I thought.

  5. Kevin
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    I’ve always loved Carville. And he is absolutely right.
    Moderate liberals should be attacking the loony left as vociferously as anyone. If you want to be certain Trump is re-elected, keep advocating open borders, free college, men in women’s sports, etc.

    • Gordon Anderson
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Of course the US “looney left” is right-wing in many countries.

      My New Zealand right-wing (by NZ standards) brother in law went to the US during an election a few yeas back. He went thinking he would probably be moderate republican – came back saying he was to the left of the Democrats.

  6. Posted February 19, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    To link this to your recent post on biological males competing in female sports, think of how many families are cheering on their biological daughters in high school sporting events versus how many families are cheering on their biological male children who take the field in girls’ events. In general, Jerry, I am as much for trans rights as you are, but in this case alienating all those families cheering on their biological daughters seems a losing electoral strategy.

  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Carville is correct, the Democrats don’t seem to land on anything and just take shots at each other. I would still like to know how it makes sense to have something called a debate with 8 or 10 people at the same time? It is worthless. Also, 90 percent of what Trump is doing is not even mentioned by any candidates. That also makes no sense. They don’t even define the enemy other that to say that old nothing saying – beat Trump. It is pathetic. If the candidate is going to be Bernie, I think we are screwed. He has done nothing to address the need to take the Senate and I don’t think he has a clue. So now we bring in the New York billionaire who is mostly a republican. What a mess.

    • GBJames
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      I don’t know…. It seems oddly ironic for Democrats to take pot shots at other Democrats for taking pot shots at each other during the primaries.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        If you have nothing to say, please say it somewhere else.

        • GBJames
          Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          Noting the recursive nature of some political commentary is not exactly “nothing”.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

            Again with nothing. Must be looking for a job. I’m not hiring.

            • BJ
              Posted February 19, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

              You used to reply this way only to complete disagreement with your posts. Do you really have to insult even people who simply don’t entirely agree with you?

  8. YF
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    I strongly disagree with Carville.

    Far from being an ‘idealogue and fanatic’ Bernie embodies democratic ideals far more than any other candidate besides Elizabeth Warren. What is so ‘fanatical’ about social justice, the idea of universal healthcare in the richest country on Earth, and making the ultra rich pay their fair share of taxes?

    The Democratic establishment is worried about Bernie, because they realize that the American people are waking up to the reality that they have been short changed under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

    • Rita Prangle
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      I agree, and I dislike seeing Democrats fall for right-wing talking points, such as equating de-criminalizing illegal border crossings (making it a civil violation) with open borders. They are not the same, and I think Carville knows that.

      I do hate the “debate” format. It is a terrible way to get the candidates’ positions communicated to the public, and all the debates do is supply more sound bites for the right-wing to circulate.

      • Filippo
        Posted February 20, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        ‘I do hate the “debate” format.’

        It is a circus. The audience imposes its Pavlovian responses/interruptions. Candidates interrupt each other mid-sentence. Give me the Nixon-Kennedy format. But I gather that in the 21st century that is “out of touch” or “tone-deaf” or other some such palaver.

    • Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      I would vote for Bernie in a heart beat, but he is stubborn and ignorant about many things particularly nuclear energy and religion. If he is an atheist why doesn’t he just say it?

      If he really wants to know what the future of energy will be on our planet then why isn’t he talking seriously about the challenges we have to take in order increase our reliance on nuclear energy?

      • YF
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        I agree that the neglect of nuclear energy is a big mistake. I think a candidate’s religion vs non-religion should be the least of our concerns now as we are facing an existential crisis.

        • Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, ‘we are’ is the operative word.

          Christians should be the one’s facing the existential crisis as the current POTUS is the most orthogonal to Christian values in our country’s history.

          • GBJames
            Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

            I hear this “POTUS is the most orthogonal to Christian values in our country’s history” claim all the time from my political side of the spectrum. I don’t buy it.

            Christian values, like religious values in general, are not nice. And the idea that religious folk who make up the bulk of tRump’s support aren’t really religious is such an obvious No True Scotsman argument that I don’t understand why it keeps being made.

          • BJ
            Posted February 19, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

            I’ve asked many Christian people I know who voted for Trump about this, and their answer is simple: it’s about court nominees, and the Supreme Court in particular. They don’t care if he upholds or even believes in their values; they care that he appoints judges who are more likely to uphold their values. And, frankly, that makes them a hell of a lot more politically savvy than people who want to nominate Sanders for this election, as that will almost certainly lead to another four years of Trump, which means another four years of federal and Supreme Court justices nominated by the Trump administration.

            While the Christian Right is playing politics, the far Left is applying purity tests.

            • Posted February 20, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

              Dead-on.

              What has Trump given the right?

              Gorsuch
              Kavanaugh

              And deep bench of other federal judges that Moscow Mitch refused to fill for Obama.

              Dirty pool; but they have gotten away with it.

              You think they would “let the voters decide” if RBG were to die tomorrow? Ha!

    • Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Moreover, from what I understand, polls show that many “radical proposals” (i.e., what would be centrist at best in traditional western Europe) of the Sanders sort are actually supported by clear majorities *of self-identified Republicans* (not their leaders, of course). The trick is to not label them as such. Tribalism is a horrible thing.

    • eric
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      The Democratic establishment is worried about Bernie

      No, they’re worried about losing. Give them a crystal ball that shows them the party wins the presidency in 2020 with Bernie as the candiddate, they’d back him wholeheartedly.

      Secondly, and this is just my personal opinion, but anyone who thinks Bernie is going to change the system hasn’t been paying attention to history. Bernie has been a congresscritter since 1991. He’s not some maverick working against the system, he IS the system – at least moreso than any other candidate except Biden. Independent or not, he’s pretty much the poster child for a Washington insider. And if he were to win, he wouldn’t be scaring Democrats, he’d be working hand in hand with them – exactly the way he’s worked with them for the past 29 years.

      • Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        Although my knowledge of his record is slim, my impression is that Bernie has been fairly ineffective considering how long he’s been in the Senate. Some have said “No one wants to work with Bernie.” Perhaps that is a bit harsh but not completely wrong. His strange relationship with the Democratic Party is also more evidence of a real problem. If he does become President, it is hard to see him leading any kind of revolution except with his hard-line supporters.

        • Mnrich@gmail.com
          Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

          When it comes to revolution, if a Dem wins POTUS, I can see Trump and his Cult45 creating a revolution, and not the type that Sanders is talking about.

          • Mike Anderson
            Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

            Right wing terrorism is one of country’s biggest problems and the FBI is already giving it a good amount of attention.

          • Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

            I think it’s called a “coup d’etat” when you don’t like the outcome. Along with Bill Maher and yourself, I fear it also.

            • Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

              I am seriously concerned the the orange narcissist will refuse to step down when voted out. There’s already talk about a third term! (Constitution? That’s what I wipe by cheeto ass with!)

              And then what? Who steps up? Who summons the military to toss him out? Moscow Mitch? Ha!

              I just hope there are sufficient career people (non-political appointees) left in the DoJ to enforce the results of the election without recourse to tanks.

              • Mike Anderson
                Posted February 19, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

                And then what? Who steps up? Who summons the military to toss him out?

                The Secret Service and/or the FBI will toss him out. More likely, they’ll just let him know they will toss him out if he doesn’t leave peacefully, and then he’ll leave.

              • Posted February 20, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

                Mike A: From your lips, straight to Hank‘s ears.

    • Posted February 19, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      I strongly agree with you.

      It’s surreal that many self-identified Democrats/liberals on this site are fawning over Bloomberg who was a Republican just a few years ago. That people who recognize “law and order” as racist dog whistle think stop-and-frisk is totally legitimate law enforcement. That people who’d chastise Republicans for “they only care about winning” are now arguing that their candidates should be willing to compromise on just about anything their base actually vote for just to win.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        It’s surreal that many self-identified Democrats/liberals on this site are fawning over Bloomberg who was a Republican just a few years ago.

        I’ll be voting for Bloomberg because I think he’ll beat Trump by the biggest margin and it will trickle down to Senate races. Bloomberg + Democratic Senate will get much more liberal stuff done than Sanders + Republican Senate.

        • Posted February 20, 2020 at 12:18 am | Permalink

          I may well be wrong but I suspect last night’s debate might have shaken your view a bit.

          If Bloomberg becomes the nominee there might not even be a Democratic Party by November.

          • Mike Anderson
            Posted February 20, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

            Yes, Bloomberg’s poor debate performance has caused me to rethink my vote.

    • Posted February 20, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      If you can define “social justice” in detail, I might go for it. So far, no one has done that, as far as I know.

      Every time someone asks for specifics, I just hear a lot of foot shuffling.

      I strongly support equal opportunity.

      Equal outcomes is a pipe-dream.

      It goes against human nature. Studies show that people, everywhere, all ages, think equal distribution is correct only when everyone is contributing equally. If not, they think it’s wrong. People actually don;t want social equality. They want fairness (and not Trump’s kind).

      I don’t think anyone here is arguing against the wealthy paying more or that universal health care is needed and morally correct. I would wager everyone agrees with these. What we don’t see is Bernie as the best vehicle to get there.

      (And, ad nauseum, I will vote for Bernie, if he’s nominated. In fact, I’ll be so worried, I might vote more than once. Just kidding.)

  9. Tim J Reichert
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I don’t like James Carville or anyone else from the establishment wing of the Democratic party. Carville thinks the Dems need to go centrist, but can he explain what happened in 2016? They went with the centrist establishment candidate, the most qualified person ever to run for president apparently and she got beat by Donald Trump! Bernie would have won because the people wanted revolution, and they are not yet satiated on that front. Only a populist will win now and that’s Bernie. Now that Yang is out the Dems only have one candidate with a chance to beat Trump, and that’s Bernie. And the fact that Carville doesn’t see this is evidence that he is out of touch.

    Carville and the establishment Dems gave us Trump. God help us if we listen to them again. Only the Dems who are owned by Wall St. dislike Bernie. Everyone else knows what time it is. It’s revolution time. It’s time for healthcare and post secondary education for all! It’s time for Jeff Bezos to pay billions in taxes instead of zero in taxes. Carville needs to retire with his millions to Boca Raton and leave us alone IMO. His only claim to fame is helping elect a man who flew 35 times on Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet. We don’t need more of that kind of Democrat.

    • YF
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      I couldn’t agree more. If the ultra rich just paid their fair share of taxes (oh,the socialism! How radical and fanatical!), there would be no need for Davos, to where ego-driven billionaires fly in their private jets so that they can pat themselves on the back for ‘saving the world’- or rather buy their individual vision of the world.

      An important and great book on this topic by the way:

      Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World

      by Anand Giridharadas | Oct 1, 2019

      • DrBrydon
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        I agree; it’s high time for a flat tax.

    • Bruce Cochrane
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      I don’t like Sanders, but I agree completely with Tim about Carville and his ilk. I’m not sure Bernie would have won in 2016, but we know that neoliberalism, personified by Hillary (and Bill) Clinton lost. What I’d like to see is a practical progressive, who is wed neither to the past nor to policies (e. g. Medicare for All) that have no chance of becoming law. The problem – I don’t know who fits the bill.

    • Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      I can explain it: Enough disappointed Bern supporters said “F-you” and sat on their hands. (WI, MI, and PA, I’m looking at you.) I watched this happen on social media. And many Bern fans spent the entire campaign rattling on about what a POS HRC was. Not exactly a brilliant get-out-the-vote strategy.

      77,000 votes in WI, MI, and PA gave Trump the win. $th tightest EC margin since 1920.

      HRC won the popular vote by >2%

      And, HRC made some major blunders. A few more factors:

      Russian interference and chaos-sowing
      Voter suppression by the GOP
      Comey and his insanely timed “releases”

      And Bernie has never been a Democrat. Why would the DNC be enthusiastic about him?

      • Tim J Reichert
        Posted February 20, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        The DNC is corrupt and owned by the same people who own the republicans. Bankers and oil companies. So the DNC should definitely not be enthusiastic about Bernie. But anyone on the left who is not in the pocket of Wall St. and oil companies should most definitely be enthusiastic about Bernie because he is the real left and he can win. And if any other democratic candidate wins there will be no change in American policy. Wealth inequality will continue to worsen. The military industrial complex will continue to thrive. And the average American citizen will not.

        • Posted February 20, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          As I’ve replied to many FB friends who argue that DP=GOP:

          [sarcasm] Yes, the priorities of the 2009 congress and the priorities of the 2017 congress: Exactly the same, right? [/sarcasm]

          DP=GOP is simply nonsense.

          (And I am pretty certain that it is energetically bruited about by the Trump people and the Russians. It’s a wonderful voter-suppression tool.)

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    … he’s still married to conservative Mary Matalin (I have no idea how that marriage works!)

    The Ragin’ Cajun and his better half seem to have a Gable-&-Lombard or Tracy-&-Hepburn thing goin’ on.

    The political marriage that utterly baffles me is the one between never-Trump Republican (and scathing Trump critic) George Conway and the the Donald’s own odious West-Wing liar-in-chief, Kellyanne.

    I mean, WTF?

  11. Mark R.
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Nevada: Bloomberg’s first debate, and the first primary with lots of Latino voters. Should be interesting. Sanders is leading in all the recent polls; I still think he has a harder time beating Trump than, say Klobuchar. Once the GOP machine starts vomiting Sanders’ oppo research I have a feeling many Independents and centrist Dems will be scared to vote for him. If he can successfully rally the Millennial’s and other young people, he has a good shot, but motivating the amount of young people to offset the independents and centrists is a big “if”.

    I also agree with Carver that flipping the Senate with Sanders is much more difficult than with a candidate like Klobuchar. And Bernie is a fool if he thinks any of his major lifts will get through McConnell’s Senate. If Dems win POTUS but don’t win the Senate, they won’t even be able to replace any Supreme Court justices.

  12. Oran Bouville
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, since I had to pay a student debt and tuition, so must you. I will not have it that you won’t be miserable, too. Also, no cures for diseases I suffered from or lost loved ones to. And no one is to drive a better car than I did, or have cheaper health care. You’re pain is all that sustains me now. I demand satisfaction!

    • Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      I’m reminded of the physicians who said that because they had to do 48 hr shifts as residents, their students have to do the same. Nevermind that everyone knows now that lack of sleep is a great way to create medical errors, make your students burn out, etc.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Makes about as much sense as the townfolk in Shirley Jackson’s celebrated short story “The Lottery.”

    • Historian
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you that if the elimination of student debt and free tuition at public colleges is a good idea — for society as a whole, not individuals then the line has to be drawn somewhere. For almost all legislation dealing with money, there are winners and losers. The losers are never happy, which will be the case here should Bernie’s proposals ever become law, which will not happen anytime soon.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        I think free two-year community college is a doable waypoint on the road to free four-year university education. (After all, free public education in the US has been capped at 12th grade level since the late 19th century.)

        Similarly, I think a “public option” for Medicare is a doable waypoint on the road to a single-payer healthcare system (which is where this nation, like every other modern Western democracy, will eventually wind up). It’s just a matter of overcoming GOP opposition (although even most Republicans now claim to be in favor keeping coverage for preexisting conditions, notwithstanding their near-decade-long mantra about repealing Obamacare).

        Except in times of major hot wars or the Great Depression the USA has been a nation of incrementalist change.

      • Kogda del Morte
        Posted February 20, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        “Whenever you draw a line, there are going to be people just on the wrong side of it.”
        –from an Op-Ed printed in the Hannibal (MO)
        newspaper after the 1973 floods, which caused widespread damage in the poor parts of town, just a year after an Army Corps of Engineers project was downsized. The tributary which flooded was Bear Creek, previously immortalized by Slim Pickens in ‘Dr. Strangelove’. Never mind.

    • Posted February 20, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      This guy captures the feeling of many parents really well.

      To be honest, I feel this way. Hank knows how many vacation trips and times dining out and toys I did not gratify myself with to save for my son’s college education. And, basically, saving for your kid’s education just screws you in the game of getting financial support. (We are not rewarding the right things. This said, I do support assistance to the people who truly don’t have the money. But just handing out get-out-of-jail-free cards, after the fact, isn’t the way to do it.)

      I watched one of my wife’s colleagues be wildly spendthrift (buying new Hummers on a starting teacher’s salary, for instance) and then turn around and declare bankruptcy and totally blow it off. I admit being glad she couldn’t get out from under her student loans. (She really complained about this.)

      If you are getting a BA in sociology, what the hell are you doing borrowing $250K at an Ivy League school for this non-economic degree? Seriously? Do people think they should have the entitlement to float free of economic realities (for that wonderful college experience) and expect the taxpayer to pick up the tab? Should the taxpayer pay for their spring break cruises as well? That’s a fun experience too.

      Shit, I ate bananas and popcorn, couldn’t afford to drink (at all: Partying? Give me a break!), I worked the entire time during my college education, rode the free campus bus and walked to and from school (5 miles of walking, backpack and shoulder bag, through Minnesota winters, before setting foot on campus) economized very severely as I worked on my engineering degree (which would certainly pay back economically). Cruising? Very funny.

      “Free stuff for everyone!” won’t wash with the working class people who moved from Obama in 2008/2012 to Trump in 2016.

      I have personally watched the GOP drive the reduction of government support for state universities for the last 4 decades (including my time at a state school, where my tuition went up by a factor of 10 during my four years), and I have opposed this every step of the way.

      I think we should restore our support for state universities and lean on them to emphasize teaching.

  13. Oran Bouville
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, since I had to pay a student debt and tuition, so must you. I will not have it that you won’t be miserable, too. Also, no cures for diseases I suffered from or lost loved ones to. And no one is to drive a better car than I did, or have cheaper health care. Your pain is all that sustains me now. I demand satisfaction!

    • Oran Bouville
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Sorry for the double. Browser problems.

  14. Jon Gallant
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    So, “it’s revolution time” is it? According to the Weather Underground’s timepiece, it was also “revolution time” in the early to mid 1970s. Others continue to discover an
    incipient revolution when reading entrails every few years. And now Uncle Bernie confuses the program of the Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti of 50 years ago with the word “Revolution”.

    Among Mr. Carville’s many shrewd points, I thought three stood out. (1) He emphasized that the Democrats won the House in 2016 with candidates who were pragmatic rather than “revolutionary”. (2) He noted how down-ticket Senate races in 2020 would be affected by “revolutionary” posturing at the ticket’s top—a crucial matter, if any Democratic legislation is to be enacted. (3) He was appalled that none of the Presidential aspirants had yet made an issue of Trump’s proposed future budget, with its projected cuts to Medicaid and Medicare.

    Mr. Carville is puzzled, as we should be,
    about the way the Dem presidential aspirants slip into a woke, virtue-flaunting manner in place of the historic pragmatic-Liberal outlook of the Democratic Party. It is as if this fashion trend has somehow diffused from its center in Academia into the Party. An analysis of this diffusion process is needed, before “Diversity Statements”, incessant cries of “cultural misappropriation”, denial of Biology, and all the rest, becomes all too conventional—unless it already has.

    • Jon Gallant
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Correction: I meant the Dems won the House in 2018, not 2016.

  15. Historian
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Some pundits have already ceded the nomination to Bernie. Assuming this happens (which I do not all consider a sure thing), we can be certain of one thing: Bernie will be accused of being a radical socialist, thousands of times in Republican attack ads. We have already gotten a preview of this in a Washington Post column by conservative Megan McArdle. What is uncertain is how well Bernie will be able to withstand the assault. Centrist Democrats are worried about this, but as everyone else, they have absolutely no idea what will happen. Everything is guesswork.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/18/bernie-sanders-is-not-just-garden-variety-social-democrat/

    • EdwardM
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      “…but as everyone else, they have absolutely no idea what will happen…”

      … which will stop exactly no one from pontificating.

    • Harrison
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      I mean assuming there is a Democrat running against a Republican, the Democrat “will be accused of being a radical socialist, thousands of times in Republican attack ads.”

      Why worry about something that’s gonna happen no matter what you do? It’s a lot of energy wasted on something futile.

      • Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        Bernie is actually claiming to be a radical socialist, more or less. That has to make a difference in how Republicans’ claims are taken by voters.

    • EB
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Obama withstood accusations of radical socialism, at least enough to be elected twice, the first time winning both houses of congress. All we heard about was his association with Bill Ayers. I think Sanders can take the criticism just fine, especially since it every time this is done, he will have the opportunity to compare globally mainstream social democratic policy with our corporate neoliberal hellscape. I could see him inching up in the polls every time.

      Kyle Kulinski (of youtube’s “Secular Talk”) predicts that if Trump had any sense, he would try to run to the LEFT of Bernie on a range of issues. Otherwise, he comes out as a lapdog of plutocracy. Moreover, Sanders may have a very good rejoinder up his sleeve: Trump is an enthusiastic supporter of terrorist fundamentalist Islam as embodied by the leadership of Saudi Arabia. That may well be a politically fatal point of attack, if hammered consistently.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        Chrissake, to the reactionary rightwing (which has usurped the Republican Party under Trump) anything to the left of child-labor laws constitutes “radical socialism.”

      • Harrison
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

        Trump running to the left of Hillary on foreign policy is at least a part of how he managed to squeak out a win (and that’s something I wish people would keep in mind; Trump’s 2016 victory was a squeaker).

        He can’t really run as the outsider candidate anymore though. He has become the swamp and then some.

        • EB
          Posted February 20, 2020 at 12:16 am | Permalink

          Good points, but who knows. This time around, Trump likely sees an opening on prison reform. And what the hell, he might take up UBI for all we know (only to spike the matter after the election, of course). The future is wildly uncertain.

        • Posted February 20, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

          Trump’s EC victory (nevermind his spouting on about an EC “landslide”) was the 4th closest since 1920. The 11th closest ever (of 58).

          The only ones closer since 1789 have been:

          Year EC Vote EC(%) President
          1800 0 0% Jefferson
          1876 1 0.3% Hayes
          2000 5 1% G W Bush*
          1796 3 1% Adams
          1916 23 4% Wilson
          1824 15 6% J Q Adams
          2004 35 7% G W Bush
          1884 37 9% Cleveland
          1976 57 11% Carter
          1848 36 12% Taylor

          2016 77 14% Trump

          (* Nader, I’m looking at you.)

          Trump won by 77,700 votes distributed in WI, MI, and PA.

          State Pop Margin Percent
          Michigan 10,704 0.24%
          Wisconsin 22,748 0.82%
          Pennsylvania 44,292 0.75%
          Totals: 77,744 0.59%

    • Posted February 20, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      These (and probably others) will play 24/7 from 17-Jul-2020 through 3-Nov-2020 in every TV market in every battleground state:

      Bernie saying he’s a Socialist

      Bernie praising bread lines in Nicaragua

  16. Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Market Watch in 2017 ran an article on the cost of an education in 2016 vs 1987.

    https://www.marketwatch.com/graphics/college-debt-now-and-then/

    You will note that it also covered working part time to fund tuition fees – part time wages more than covered university fees in 1987, they only cover about 68% now.

    Further, Biden’s bankruptcy bill meant that students can’t simply declare bankruptcy to get out of that debt, which is very different to what the older generation had to go through.

    But of course so much of what Carville says is “It doesn’t matter what you think about any of that, or if there are good arguments” – a phrase which exposes him for being every bit the ideologue he claims Sanders is.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      I interpreted him to be saying that the only thing that does matter is what potential voters think about the candidates positions. He was saying that it doesn’t matter if you favor the positions or have good arguments to support them, it only matters if you can convince enough voters to vote for you.

      His point is that he thinks that expounding on these kinds of “far left” policies may lose more votes among demographics that don’t like them than it will gain among demographics that will like them. He pretty clearly said that he is making a distinction between what and what not to say in order to get the votes needed to win versus loudly and frequently stating positions that are not popular among a sizable portion of the voters you need to vote for you. He’s making an argument for pragmatic campaigning, appealing to as wide a coalition as possible.

      He also clearly stated that he would vote for Bernie.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, Carville (like his old running-buddy Paul Begala) isn’t so much an ideologue as an electo-logue. The onliest thing he cares about is beating Republicans at the voting booth.

        • Posted February 20, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

          As as been said over and over: The Dems want to “fall in love” and the GOP just wants to win.

          We need to take that page from the GOP play book.

      • Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        He was saying that it doesn’t matter if you favor the positions or have good arguments to support them, it only matters if you can convince enough voters to vote for you.

        Except – that makes no sense. In order to convince voters to vote for you, you need to convince them to support the policies you favour.

        Which means that it very much does matter if there are good arguments, as good arguments can sway the vote one way or another.

        For example if you can demonstrate that no, the current university experience isn’t the same, that changes how people feel about free tertiary education.

        My issue with him isn’t that he doesn’t support Sanders, it is that what he’s presenting is dogma, and he’s presenting as dogma while trying to claim someone else is an ideologue.

        • darrelle
          Posted February 19, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

          I disagree. It does make sense. It reflects reality quite well. Many people are not persuadable by well reasoned argument and facts. Certainly not in the context of a political campaign. We may want to live in a world in which voters rationally and accurately evaluate candidates policies and related facts and decide how to vote based on that assessment, but that isn’t the world we live in.

          • Posted February 19, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

            If they’re not persuadable, then it won’t make any difference if you go with Sanders or Klobuchar. As you say, they’re not going to be amenable to well reasoned argument and facts, so once they’re like that it doesn’t really matter what the candidates’ policies actually are.

            The thing is you don’t need everyone to be persuadable, you just need enough people for it to make a difference. Which is to say, the arguments matter, and they’re always going to matter.

            • darrelle
              Posted February 20, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

              “If they’re not persuadable, then it won’t make any difference if you go with Sanders or Klobuchar.

              This makes no sense. How does not being persuadable equate to there being no difference in how they think about Sanders or Klobuchar. Of course many of these people see them differently. They see one as the evil socialist they’ve been programmed all their lives to hate. They see the other as not that. I’m not positing this, this is what many of these people have been saying. No amount of explanation or facts attempted by the candidate while campaigning is going to change their mind about someone who stumps for all the evil socialist stuff they’ve been brought up to hate. I’m dumbfounded that you find this hard to understand.

              “The thing is you don’t need everyone to be persuadable, you just need enough people for it to make a difference. Which is to say, the arguments matter, and they’re always going to matter.”

              I find it hard to believe you actually read the interview. Neither Carville nor I have said the arguments don’t matter in an absolute sense. Of course they matter, are effective, for some people. Just as certainly they do not matter for other people. Carville is saying that in this particular situation those are the people that can make or break this election for the DP. He’s saying that the DP candidates should not be pounding on things that turn those voters off.

              Now, you can certainly disagree with Carville’s assertion that those voters are not an important block, that it’s not important to try and convince them to join the coalition, but misrepresenting him so you can comfortably categorize him as an enemy isn’t a very smart thing to do. If nothing else look at it as a view from inside the enemy’s mind.

              In case you missed it Carville is on your side in this. And he’s trying to tell you how to win. He may be wrong, but he may be right too.

              • Posted February 20, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

                This makes no sense. How does not being persuadable equate to there being no difference in how they think about Sanders or Klobuchar.

                If they’re not persuadable – then they don’t see one evil socialist they’ve been programmed to hate, they see two.

                Recognise every single Democratic politician gets called Socialist. If facts and arguments don’t matter – then there is no counter to that no matter who runs.

                You need people to be at least somewhat persuadable to even make a distinction between the potential candidates.

                And so far Carville is concerned he’s not on the same side as me, because he thinks the policies I favour should be deemed outright unspeakable. That’s not someone on my side, that’s someone deeply and fundamentally opposed to my side.

            • Posted February 20, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

              It (the Bern/not-Bern argument) comes down to this:

              The judgment call on will Bernie’s positions and statements (and videos, see below) attract or repel more voters. Especially those voters who voted for Obama and then switched to Trump, in my opinion.

              In my opinion, the Bernie supporters, in general, have “fallen in love” with him and are not properly assessing his negatives.

              In my opinion, he will not bring back those voters. I base this on everything I am hearing on social media (I have many relatives who voted for Trump) and on my local (Minnesota) NPR station. What I hear there is nearly universally: Give me a Dem I can vote for. Bernie and Warren are not that. Even coming from “life-long GOP voters” calling in to the station.

              I will enthusiastically vote for Bernie if he’s the nominee and I will spend the campaign encouraging as many as I can to do the same. But I will do it in fear (of Trump II; I don’t think RBG can last five more years).

              Bernie saying he’s a Socialist

              Bernie praising bread lines in Nicaragua

  17. EB
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I dislike Carville and very much disagree with his take (Did he predict 2016? How can he be so confident in his assertions?). Political consultants are butthurt about their fading relevance, especially in a political landscape that will be increasingly dominated by anti-establishment figures. Carville’s main contribution, getting Bill Clinton in office (as rightwing a Democrat on economic issues as they come) may be among the chief causes of rising Republican insanity, as Republicans are forced to distinguish themselves on cultural issues, since Democrats parrot a lot of the same points on the economy. Given the choice the between Republicans and “the second most enthusiastic capitalist party” (to quote Nixon strategist Kevin Phillips), I can see why Democrats lose so badly so often.

    That being said, Medicare for All is popular with a large majority of Americans, and will almost certainly save us a pile of money. (See the Lancet study from this month, as well as the recent meta-analysis in PLOS Medicine from last month). And calling Bernie “a communist” is just a lie. Has he, even once in his wild-haired youth (as opposed to his wild-haired present), called for replacing market allocation with central planning? If not, then what are talking about?

    • YF
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      I agree. I find it disturbing that so many here are buying into the Democratic establishment’s demonization of Sanders. Medicare for all in the richest country on Earth, making the ultra-rich pay their fare share of taxes, and alleviating crippling student debt? Oh no, these ideas are just too ‘radical’ and ‘socialist’. And as you noted, they are evidence-based- not dogmatic or ideological. How can anyone besides the ultra-rich deny that is something deeply wrong with our country when the bulk of our economic growth goes to the top 1% at the expense of everyone else?

      • Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        Most commenters here are interested in fixing our health scare system and making college affordable to all. You are going over the top with your demonizing tirade.

      • Mark R.
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        “Medicare for all in the richest country on Earth, making the ultra-rich pay their fare share of taxes, and alleviating crippling student debt? Oh no, these ideas are just too ‘radical’ and ‘socialist’.”

        I don’t think readers are saying these are radical and socialist (except for Sanders’ open borders stance). What readers like me are saying is that the Senate will be harder to take with Sanders leading the ticket, and if the Senate stays with Moscow Mitch, Sanders won’t get anything done, including sitting federal judges. I’m not only looking at this election through the lens of who can beat Trump, but also who can win the Senate. Hard core Sanders supporters never talk about what happens if the Senate stays with the GOP. Remember what Carver rightly points out: “Eighteen percent of the country elects more than half of our senators. That’s the deal, fair or not.”

        • Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

          Clinton was supposed to have long coat-tails, and it didn’t exactly work out that way did it?

          Trump swept all three houses, I think because he was seen as the underdog and America likes to balance its ticket.

          What Americans expected to see was president Hillary Clinton, so you got more votes for the Republicans down ticket.

          I think Sanders would thus have a similar effect – people don’t expect him to win, so they’ll vote down ticket accordingly.

          Personally I’d prefer Klobuchar or Buttigieg win the nomination, I think the most extreme position has to win a mandate and I don’t see winning through a split vote as giving that mandate, but in all honesty, I think there is an argument that Sanders would larger coat-tails than a lot of people expect.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      I’m no fan of Bill or Hillary (though, between the two, I voted for them three times). And say what you will about James Carville. But Carville, Paul Begala, George Snuffleupagus 🙂 , and a few other hearty souls helped put an end to 12 years of Reagan-Bush.

      When they got behind Bubba early on for the ’92 race, Poppy Bush was coming off his splendid little victory in the First Gulf War and cruising along with an approval rating upwards of 80%, while all the weak-kneed Democrats with an eye on the Oval Office had headed for the hills to wait it out until 1996.

  18. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I’ve kinda narrowed my choices down to Mayor Pete and Amy Klobs. Each, in his or her own way, is the polar opposite of Donald Trump, which is what the Democratic Party needs, I think.

    As for the others, Uncle Joe is staggering. Bernie is too damn old, and he and his bros are too damn divisive. Bloomberg is a former Republican and a plutocrat trying to buy his way into the top rung of Democratic contenders. We’ll see how he fares on the debate stage tonight.

    Pete or Amy need to shore up support in the African-American community, but I think they’ll be up to the task once that community gets to know them better, and if one or the other shows he or she can go the distance. Plus, should either of them get the nomination, they can excite turnout on election day by making a wise, ticket-balancing, minority pick for their VP.

    And, FWIW, speaking of Mayor Pete, you can put me back down for taking the piss out of recent Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh, his recent medical diagnosis notwithstanding. That sonuvabitch is still on the air and busy casting homophobic aspersions on Buttigieg, claiming Pete likes to make a show outta kissing his husband in public and wondering how that will play on a debate stage while he’s standing next to — swear to Christ these are Rushbo’s actual words — “Mister Man, Donald Trump.” Screw him.

    • merilee
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Can a straight man like me have “gaydar”? When Mr. L. says something like that, I sort of wonder … not that there’s anything wrong with that! 🙂

      • Posted February 20, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Indeed, some of the most vociferous Xian Evangs against gay folk turned out to be … having gay sex.

    • Posted February 20, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Sounds good, Ken.

      Kamala Harris for VP.

    • Hopalong Cassowary
      Posted February 20, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      I think that Rush contemplated his body of work, or his CV, in the light of his impending mortality, & decided that he had to up the ante.
      He has been counting on being admitted to hell as a supervisor. Nobody wants to be admitted to hell in an entry level position.

  19. Mike Anderson
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Carville:

    For fuck’s sake, we’ve got Trump at Davos talking about cutting Medicare and no one in the party has the sense to plaster a picture of him up there sucking up to the global elites, talking about cutting taxes for them while he’s talking about cutting Medicare back home.

    In other words, “it’s Medicare and Social Security, stupid.”

    • eric
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Pretty much. I’m trying to think of a Carville list for 2020. Maybe something like this:

      1. Fix health care gaps
      2. Be every American’s President
      3. It’s the economic distribution, stupid.

      • Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        I would add to that constant uncovering of Trump’s cons. Virtually everything he’s promised is either terrible policy, hasn’t worked, or he does the exact opposite of what he promised but claims he’s done what he promised anyway.

        • Posted February 20, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          Yes, this needs to be relentlessly hammered home.

          His trade war has reduced job growth and reduced GDP growth by as much as 1%, depending on estimates.

          And the American people are paying the tariffs. Not China.

          • Filippo
            Posted February 20, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

            And poor Apple (and billionaire investors), what with their low-wage Chinese factory servants staying home weathering the coronavirus storm.

        • Posted February 20, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          And in the debates, the Dem Candidate needs to say, “There he goes, lying again. Actually …”

          Gloves off, tell it like it is, call a lie a lie and a con a con.

          • Posted February 20, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

            Yes, but what debates? It is really not much use calling Trump a liar during the Dem debates like last night’s. As for debates with Trump, I can’t really see him wanting to debate anyone. One good question for the next Dem debate would be, “Assuming Trump refuses to debate you, what are you going to do to call Trump on all his lies and failed policies?”

            Of course, ads and social media is all that’s left. I suspect that everybody against Trump will be spending their money on such ads. I would like to see such an ad campaign that is independent of the Dem candidate. Rather than a “Vote for Bernie” (or whoever) ad, just slam Trump’s bad policies and con jobs one at a time.

  20. Historian
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    The debate on this site, as well as countless others, as to whom would be the best Democratic candidate to defeat Trump is reflective of the bitter division within the party activists, if not the general Democratic voter. Bernie and Bloomberg loathe each other. Can the party unite once the nominee is chosen? In addition, the possibility that no candidate will have a majority of the delegates at the convention (the fivethirtyeight site gives this possibility a 2 in 5 chance). If this happens, the ensuing chaos can only help Trump. Would the Bernie Bros vote for Bloomberg if he gets the nomination? I have grave doubts of this happening. When unity is an absolute necessity in the party, it may not happen, thus resulting in the nightmare of another four years of Trump.

    By the way, in the debate tonight and in the subsequent months, we should expect the attention to be focused on Bloomberg, who will be accused by the other candidates of trying to buy the election. I do not support Bloomberg, in fact, no candidate particularly excites me, although my top choice is Klobuchar. By attacking Bloomberg for attempting to buy the election, I don’t think the other candidates understand the implication of this. They are saying that because the Democratic voters will be bombarded by thousands of Bloomberg ads, the voters are too stupid or too lazy to rationally decide who the best candidate is. In effect, they are saying that the Democratic voters are really no better than the Trump voters. The other Democratic candidates should avoid accusing Bloomberg of trying to buy the election. They should concentrate on attacking Bloomberg’s policies and past actions.

    • EB
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      In my opinion, it’s a primary, and they are each trying to win, so it’s par for the course to point out Bloomberg is trying to buy the election, especially since that is the plain truth. The outrage is proportionate to his brazenness. Also, if a sizeable percentage of Bernie Bros (or Warren stans, Klobuchar cadets, Buttigieg blokes, etc.) can be expected to sit out the election with Bloomberg as the nominee, then that should count as a strike against his nomination. Not sure what else there is to do, other than harangue voters, which won’t work beyond a limited extent.

      • Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        I agree. We hear this same old story during every primary. “If only the candidates would stop fighting each other and go after the real opposition.” I don’t see how candidates are going to run against each other without slamming each other’s policies, character, etc. We just have to grit our teeth and wait for it to sort itself out.

        The alternative is for party honchos to do it all behind closed doors. I think that’s how they did it in the old days and no one should want that to come back. They tried a “lite” version of that in 2016 and look how that turned out.

        • Mark R.
          Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          This year there is a good chance it will be a brokered convention, and so the party honchos (superdelegates) will get to put their thumb on the scale. (I know it’s more complicated than that.) Bloomberg has given a lot of money to mayors and this will potentially influence the superdelegates as many are mayors, ex-mayors or worked for mayors. Bloomberg really knows how to buy influence, I’ll give him that.

          • Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

            True but a brokered convention will still be better than the old smoke-filled room as everyone will be watching, which will tend to moderate the behavior of the super-delegates.

            • Mark R.
              Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

              Agree.

        • Posted February 20, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

          The DNC has been course-correcting on the convention and nominating process since 1968 (the ultimate smoke-filled-room convention).

          In 1972, it flopped to pure democracy. And handed Nixon tone of the biggest landslides in history (3rd largest EC margin since 1920. Roosevelt in 1936 was the largest EC margin. He also got 61% of the popular, compared to 37%.)

          The DNC tried this for a while, 1976, 1980. (Carter’s election is likely what delayed super delegates to 1984 — there was a glimmer of success.) 1980 and 1984 were massive GOP landslides (4th and 2nd largest EC margins since 1920).

          After that, super delegates began, as a sort of Senate of the DP: a stabilizing agent. A nod to the party core and faithful.

          They course-corrected again in 2016-2018.

          How will that turn out? We’ll see.

    • eric
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Can the party unite once the nominee is chosen?

      Probably never as well as GOPers do. But I expect ‘more than in past elections’.

      The other Democratic candidates should avoid accusing Bloomberg of trying to buy the election.

      The eternal political question: go negative? It produces short term gains, but long term headaches.

      I haven’t watched any of the debates since the first couple. I’ll probably watch this one, just to see how the other candidates handle Bloomberg.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Bloomberg, I believe, has pledged to cut loose with some of his billion$$ to defeat Trump no matter who the ultimate Democratic nominee turns out to be. Hope he’s good to his word.

      As for there being a brokered convention, the nation hasn’t had one (which is to say a convention that’s gone to at least a second ballot) since the 1952 DNC nominated Adlai Stevenson to run against Ike. I thought it might happen with the GOP last year, since it had a large field with a few contenders who looked to have the financial wherewithal to take it deep into the primaries. It wasn’t to be, as Trump mopped up.

      As a betting man, I’ll lay Nate Silver’s 3-to-2 odds against it happening this year.

      • Posted February 20, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        He has.

        And he was good to his word on 2018. He largely financed 21 successful DP house candidates in 2018, of whom 15 were women.

        This seems like something of an antidote to the misogyny charge.

    • Filippo
      Posted February 20, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      ” . . . in fact, no candidate particularly excites me . . . .”

      Acknowledging the reality of excitement, “connecting-with”, “getting,” charisma, etc. being the sine qua non of motivating the Amuricun human primate tribe to go to the polls, I gather that you would nevertheless vote were all the Democratic candidates monumentally boring.

  21. darrelle
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I see a whole bunch of “low-decoupling” among the comments here.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Sounds dirty; I like it. 🙂

      Maybe next we can go for some high contextualizing. 🙂

      • darrelle
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        You are a treasure Ken. 🙂

  22. Darth Dog
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I have a question for YF and all the other people on this thread saying “Bernie will win because the people want revolution”. How many of you live in a state that voted for Donald Trump in the last election?

    I do, and I am pretty sure that nominating Bernie is not going to change the state from red to blue.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      I agree, Bernie will give it to Trump. He is what Hilary said – for 30 years he did nothing. So all of a sudden nearing 80 years old he is the one?

    • Mark R.
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      I said this up thread, but in red states, if Trump loses, the revolution may come from Trump’s Cult45. And it won’t be pretty.

      • sugould
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        If he dies in office from choking on a BigMac— or anything really— we can still have that revolution. His folks are itchin’ for a fight, and they love conspiracies.

  23. Posted February 19, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    This election will probably depend on a hundred thousand or fewer swing voters in a few states. Those same voters elected Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump. In 2000 it was a few hundred older voters in South Florida who could not follow the lines across s paper ballot and punch holes in the tight places. In 2016 relatively few voters in three states.
    I can’t see Sanders or Bloomberg getting those votes. But who knows.

    I have seen James and Mary together on talk dhows interacting. Easy to see why their marriage lasts.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      In 2000 it was a few hundred older voters in South Florida who could not follow the lines across s paper ballot and punch holes in the tight places.

      You sayin’ those Palm Beach County alter kockers didn’t actually mean to vote for Pat Buchanan? 🙂

      • Filippo
        Posted February 20, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        I myself like a little elbow room when hole-punching.

        In contrast to the “kockers,” I’m reminded, from reading Susan Jacoby, of a survey, the results of which stating that 25% of 19-25 year-olds (college age) being unable to locate countries on a map of the world showing the names of countries.

  24. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    this career criminal who’s stealing everything that isn’t nailed down

    So there is at least one sharp Democrat, even though he is not campaigning for the presidency.

  25. BJ
    Posted February 19, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    I would give 2:1 odds to someone on a $100 bet that if Bernie is the nominee, he will lose by at least 100 Electoral College votes. More likely, he’ll get a near-McGovern-like drubbing.

    The Democratic Party is facing the most important Presidential election in probably a century and it seems like they’re going to nominate an ideologically stubborn man who recently had a heart attack, sticks to policies the vast majority of the US hates, and comes off like a loon at times. I truly, truly fear for the coming election. It’s remarkable to me that people would rather nominate someone who they like over someone who would win when the opponent is Trump. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

    A Sanders nomination means four more years of Trump. Simple as that.

    • Mark R.
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      No, nothing in this 2020 election will be “simple as that”. Hell, we’ve only had two primaries. I still think any of the top 4 candidates can beat Trump, and there’s no knowing the bs that Trump will be hurling around from now to Election Day. Trump is his own worst enemy when it comes to motivating democrats and I’m sure many independents- especially women. And a simple truth still stands- there are a lot more of us than them.

      • EB
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        Spot on, Mark. I mean, who could have predicted the precipitous drop of Biden, who held steady for months on end? Who could’ve predicted Warren emerging as the top progressive leader in Oct-Nov, only to drop hard in December? And who could’ve foresaw Bernie, of all people, leading in the vast majority of states as of this date? This season has been a rollercoaster, and we’ve only gotten started. The lesson of 2016 is that embracing confident predictions in electoral politics is a fool’s errand. (I was also convinced Corbyn was destined to be Prime Minister. Boy was I wrong).

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 19, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, who knows what kinda additional crazy crap Trump will get caught trying to pull between now and election day (not that any of it would matter to the dead-enders that constitute Trump’s “base”).

        Today, for example, the lawyer for Julian Assange of Wikileaks (you remember them, right, the propaganda machine Trump said he “loved” 45 times during the last month of the 2016 election?) claimed in court in London that Trump offered to pardon Assange for his pending US criminal charges, if only Assange would state publicly that Russia hadn’t hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails from the DNC. (Keep in mind that Fox News and rest of Trump’s wingnut propaganda machine had originally claimed, with the acquiescence of Assange, that the DNC hack was an inside job pulled off by a young staffer named Seth Rich, who was subsequently murdered by Hillary Clinton for his betrayal).

        This pardon offer is alleged to have been passed along to Assange by former US Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. (You remember him, dontcha, the fella known as “Moscow’s man in congress,” the one who current House minority leader Kevin McCarthy was caught on a hot mic in 2015 telling Paul Ryan and others in the Republican House leadership that he and Trump were “on Putin’s payroll”?) Roherbacher has denied it, as has Stephanie Grisham (Donald Trump’s soi-disant “press secretary,” who has yet to hold a single actual press conference during her nine-month tenure in office), although records show that Roherbacher did have a meeting with Assange during the time frame alleged at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Assange was hiding out, and that, pace Trump’s denials through Grisham, Rohrabacher also met with, and was endorsed for reelection by, Donald Trump at about the same time.

        Now, the three principles involved — Assange, Roherbacher, and Trump — are all stone-cold bullshit artists, so there’s no telling how much, if any, of the tale is true, although the whole thing would certainly be on-brand for Donald Trump.

        • merilee
          Posted February 19, 2020 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

          At the risk of being pedantic, Ken, I think you meant principAls. These three ain’t got no principles.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted February 20, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

            Right you are; my fingers often get out ahead of my brain on homonyms.

            • merilee
              Posted February 20, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

              🤓

  26. Posted February 19, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    College debt forgiveness is not gonna cost any Democrat more votes than it mobilizes among those whom are hard to “get out the vote”. But Carville has one big point right – it’s not too early for candidates to start running in the general election, even during primary debates. Hammer away at the central issues: healthcare; economic growth that lifts all boats and not just yachts; Trump’s corruption.

    • Posted February 20, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      The “free stuff” argument from Bernie isn’t going to wash with the working class people Trump took from the DP in 2016. And it will be a negative with many other reliable voters.

      • Filippo
        Posted February 20, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        I trust that the objection to “free stuff” extends to corporations that pay $0 in federal income tax (when their low-wage servants cleaning the executive toilets have to so pay).

        I understand that Amazon was mentioned in this regard at last night’s debate. (Re: Meryl Streep’s ending soliloquy on the matter at the end of “The Laundromat.”)

        • Posted February 20, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

          Unfortunately no. The GOP have somehow convinced much of the US electorate that if they give money to corporations, they will give it back.


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