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Response to Sanders-as-sheepdog

February 12, 2016

Below is my response to the to this WSWS article  [via WordVirus]  


It is indeed probably at least partially true that Sanders is this election’s “sheepdog” candidate, stringing along Democratic voters for another cycle of Hope-and-Change (Bait-and-Switch), keeping the party’s left from wandering off to form a third party.

Nevertheless, even if we adopt this pessimistic-but-plausible expectation, consider this:

Simply to offer up the Hope (Bait) part of the deal, the Dem. establishment must, and are, on a national level, legitimizing the following:

1. The idea that economic inequality is a top-level issue
2. Rehabilitation of the word “socialist” in American popular discourse from its century of McCarthyist exile
3. Laying to rest the once-popular idea, that the present form of the U.S. political system is on the side of the regular American. Laying to rest the idea that the U.S. political system is capable of forging an actual partnership between disempowered-individuals-acting-collectively and concentrated moneyed interests when they are distilled into their machine-like corporate mode of operation — rather than rolling over for business interests as the Obama presidency demonstrated in the wake of the Financial Crisis. Up through Obama, a lot of Democrats seriously bought into the idea the U.S. political system, as it now exists, could harness the U.S. government in a way that looked out for most people’s interests. The financial crisis and OWS knocked this naiive belief down, and it may well get finished off this cycle.
4. Similarly, lay to rest the illusion that establishment Democrat party folk can be trusted by the voters, at least not without a very deep overhaul.

With those illusions out of the way, the country can move to the much easier questions of “How?”. (Hint: paint a target on the 2-party duopoly pattern. Break that pattern using the technique of proportional representation / instant runoff voting, beginning at the local level and working up).

If Sanders does another Hope-and-Change / Bait-and-Switch, then the result ought to be that the Democratic party goes down with it. Leaving space for something new and better can take its place on the left side of the balance. Clearing the illusions above, as Sanders’ campaign has potential to do, sets up this possibility.

I am sometimes tempted to feel pity for those who call themselves “moderate” democrats, but offer only that they are “not as bad” as Republicans. It is true that the analog of the Sanders pattern on the right brings the added elements of demagoguery and racism and belligerence so forth. — But —  what is really happening if you buy into the “not-as-bad-as-Trump” argument? You are being held hostage, that’s what.

Long time beneficiaries of the 2-party duopoly would, as their last defense, resort to hostage-taking behavior, to hold off leftist objections to the Democrat party’s complicity 2-party duopoly. This kind of hostage taking behavior should be called out for what it is.

The only way out of it is to allow ourselves to permanently give up on the fraud which is the “moderate” (aka center-right) wing of the Democratic party.

Ultimately, the “principled left” and the extreme right will have to sort things out, and business interests may have to choose between those two somewhat more extreme options, at least one of which is more insistent on a compromise between business and individuals — in contrast with today’s situation where the demands for compromise are spoken during elections but mostly dropped when really making policy.

Keep in mind, if there is not enough compromise between big business and less empowered individuals, you can get social instability. Nobody wants that.

All this is admittedly still most optimistic, and there are many ways it can go wrong, but it is better than a simple Bait-and-Switch with no upside whatsoever, and is FAR better than the even LESS attractive Bait-and-Switch which Hillary has to offer. The third option, of a genuine third party, must first clear the roadblock of our winner-takes-all voting system which necessitates the “triage voting”, or “least-worst” voting strategy. Until that is removed, we are stuck with the 2-party duopoly. With both major parties semi-discredited at the moment, the time to remove their lock-hold on U.S. politics is now. Sanders is a vehicle to do so.

Ok, Rant off. Peace and Blessings to all.

-peteybee 2016.02.11


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