The Corporate Democrats’ “electability” Argument — a historical fallacy

Posted: February 27, 2020 in Livin' in the USA, Politics
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The primary argument against Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders is, that even though they’re right about the most important issues (healthcare, climate change, decent treatment of immigrants), they’re “unelectable.” This is pure b.s. as the the following list of “electable” Democratic nominees shows. All of these candidates were “electable” centrists, except Obama, who ran as a progressive, but then screwed the people who elected him, leading in large part to the red wave election in 2010 and today’s political catastrophe.

Here are the list of centrist “electable” Democratic nominees over the last four decades. Please think about how well this all turned out, before hitting the panic button and voting for “electable” Joe Biden. The Democratic Party has done nothing but nominate centrist corporate Democrats since Reagan took office. Here they are:

  • 1980, Jimmy Carter
  • 1984, Walter Mondale
  • 1988, Mike Dukakis
  • 1992, Bill Clinton
  • 1996, Bill Clinton
  • 2000, Al Gore
  • 2004, John Kerry
  • 2008, Barack Obama
  • 2012, Barack Obama
  • 2016, Hillary Clinton

Despite his progressive rhetoric, in 1992 and 1996 it was quite apparent that Bill Clinton was just another Republican-lite corporate tool. He won anyway, while the economy was good. In 2008 and 2016, Obama won while running as a populist. He was a phony, but he won anyway. And in 2016, Hillary Clinton, running against the most grotesque, personally disgusting authoritarian the Republicans have ever nominated (Nixon included), managed to lose an election that was hers for the taking.

Why? 1) She had exceptionally high unfavorability ratings, but the establishment powers-that-be thought they could cram her down our throats because the Republican nominee was even more unpalatable; 2) She offered nothing positive, no real change, didn’t give people a single reason to vote for her other than that she wasn’t Trump — and Bernie was too far left and “unelectable” (despite him beating her in the primaries in almost all of the potential swing states).

Her campaign slogan, “I’m with her,” pretty much says it all: “I want it, I’m entitled to it, I’m going to do nothing for you, and what are you gonna do about it, vote for Trump?”

Well, that wasn’t good enough. Hillary, the “electable” candidate, lost. And only 59% of eligible voters bothered to vote. She got 28% of the popular vote (of eligible voters), Trump got 26% (but won the electoral college by about 70,000 voters in swing states), roughly 5% voted for third-party candidates. And a full 41% of those eligible didn’t even bother to vote. If only 10% of those 41% (overwhelmingly black, latino, and poor) voters felt inspired to vote, it would have been a landslide. But why didn’t they vote?

In all probability, it was because they saw no reason to, no reason to choose between a mad-dog, obvious phony Republican, who promised to shake things up, and a Republican-lite candidate who offered more of the same old same old, without even attempting to disguise it.

Over the last four decades, the Democrats have nominated eight “electable” centrist corporate Democrats. Six of them lost, and the last one who won, Obama, ran as a progressive. He didn’t win because he was a centrist, corporatist tool and was honest about it, he won because he lied to his supporters. If he’d run on what he actually was going to deliver, the only reason he’d have been elected was because of the 2008 economic meltdown, pure voter desperation, and the desire for anything different. In other words, if he’d been honest about delivering more of the same old same old (which is what he did), he might not have won.

Today, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Amy Klobuchar, and Pete Buttigieg all offer a “return to normalcy” — a return to business as usual as the top 1% rape the rest of us, without all that nasty culture-war b.s. of the Trumpies.

The “lesser of two evils” strategy failed in seven of the last ten presidential elections. (The 2008 election was an anomaly, as Obama ran as something better, and then didn’t deliver.)

Why on earth would you think it would work any better now? Why on earth would you vote for a loser such as Biden, Buttigieg, Bloomberg, or Klobuchar?

For once, vote for a candidate who gives you a positive reason to vote for them. Odds are that a lot of previous nonvoters will join you.

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