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There’s a big reason Democrats’ (relatively small) policy differences shouldn’t matter that much in the presidential race

This is roughly where we are.

Nothing matters more, in the race for the Democratic nomination, than finding a candidate who can defeat Donald Trump. The damage that Trump will do in a second term, to our institutions and to our national soul, are hard to measure but very large.

Unfortunately (in case you agree with my assertion just above), it’s also unknowable who that candidate is. Even the self-declared great and “stable genius” himself, seems to have gotten that one wrong, assuming that the biggest threat to defeat would be Joe Biden (which is why he abused his powers, perfectly, to undermine Biden’s campaign), whereas, at the moment, Biden’s campaign is struggling to survive. 

It’s my belief that we don’t, because we can’t, do a poll that will reliably tell us which of the Democratic candidates is likeliest to win in November. I wish there were. 

In the absence of such knowledge, perhaps we should decide whom to support based on their policy differences. Let’s take, as an example, the divide in the Democratic field between the single-payer/Medicare-for-all candidates and those so-called moderates who reject doing away with private insurance but nonetheless favor saving and expanding the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare. That seems to be one of the substantive dividing lines within the field, separating the leftier candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren from the still-liberal-but-more-moderate group, including Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Michael Bloomberg, who want to preserve and expand the ACA in various ways, but stop short of doing away with private insurance,

This is well-argued turf. Personally, I favor whatever path will actually moves us closest to universal coverage, joining most of the rest of the wealthy democracies of the world. But a Friday piece by Julia Ioffe of the Washington Post argued, fairly persuasively, that that latter dichotomy also doesn’t really matter much. As long as the Senate is controlled by Republicans, none of those plans will pass and be signed into law. It’s pretty hard to argue against that assumption, and those who handicap such things do not believe the map of Senate races for 2020 provides much hope of Democrats taking over the Senate.

Which leads back to argument No. 1: that the relatively small policy differences within the Democratic field are not of primary importance. Preventing four more years of Trump is of primary importance. And, even if we can’t rely on current polling (or anything else) to tell us clearly which Democratic nominee would maximize that outcome, that’s the goal that matters.

So, fight it out in the primaries and at the convention, sure. But make sure that supporters of Bernie or Pete or Amy or Joe or Mike all keep in mind that it is of the utmost importance that Democrats and persuadable independents of the moderate or far-left variety don’t get so pissed off about not seeing their first choice nominated that they fail to unite behind the last Democrat standing after the convention.


Comments (186)

  1. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 02/14/2020 - 03:48 pm.

    Well, Pete or Joe or Amy or Mike might not be Trump, but they are continued income inequality, systemic pollution, eternal war profiteering and species extinction. There’s only one candidate I know of who really even acknowledges any of those issues, which are existential. So I feel a very different kind of urgency.

    • Submitted by tom kendrick on 02/15/2020 - 07:23 am.

      Well, Mr. Duncan, you are absolutely right that any of the Dems, should they succeed in beating Trump, still operate within the same system of income inequality, systemic pollution, eternal war profiteering, and species extinction that we have always had. But how would you have us proceed in facing those endemic problems if not within the social structures we have built? Our three branched-democracy is rapidly being dismantled, and this is happening not because of an egomaniac at the top but by all the people who support him in destroying what has been, warts and all, the best shot at lifting people up and creating new possibilities for freedom and the pursuit of happiness that this world has known – American democracy, even with all its shortcomings and inequalities and its painfully slow evolution in including all people. We are a work in progress, and I feel a sense of urgency about that experiment in democracy being destroyed in my lifetime. It seems the most urgent thing to do is get Destructo Boy out of the White House. I shudder to think of four more years.

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 02/15/2020 - 05:06 pm.


        For all of Trump’s authoritarian, anti-democratic tendencies, I would like to point out that Bill Clinton de-regulated the Banks and Media, which have become anti-democratic monopolies, and he offered up the anti-democratic, pro-corporate NAFTA, and vastly expanded the industrial prison complex and mass incarceration.

        Obama handed the keys of the kingdom to the Banks after the 2008 collapse, he sat by as the total surveillance state was institutionalized, his Federal Reserve created $4.5 trillion dollars out of the ether and handed it to Big Banks and Private Equity to buy up and control ever more of the economy, soaring income inequality, pollinator numbers collapsed throughout his presidency, he sat down every Tuesday to decide who would die by the drones of the eternal war profiteering complex, and he offered up the hideously anti-democratic TPP/TTIP/TISA trade agreements handing over massive power to international corporations, taking power from governments and people.

        So from my perspective, Trump is not worse than Clinton or Obama, he is just less slick/more crass about it. So if Bloomberg, Hillary Clinton, Buttigieg, Biden or Klobuchar want to carry on as Dems have since Bill Clinton, then I have no place in the party, and will not vote for any of these, or anyone who supports them.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/17/2020 - 09:21 am.

          “So from my perspective, Trump is not worse than Clinton or Obama, he is just less slick/more crass about it. ”

          Yes, President Hillary Clinton would have appointed Gorsuch and Kavanaugh tot eh Supreme Court and made Betsy DeVos Secretary of Education.

          • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 02/17/2020 - 10:09 am.

            No, she would have appointed neoliberals who would be happy to extend protections to the LGBT ETC community, but would otherwise protect corporations, banks and billionaires taking over the economy. What did Bill Clinton or Obama do for education? I don’t know other than help raise the cost of college, which I would expect from a Hillary admin.

            So, of the things that I mentioned about Bill Clinton and Obama, can I assume the “moderate” stance thinks all that is A-OK?

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/17/2020 - 10:41 am.

              You can assume that we are never going to get a President (or, in all likelihood, any elected official) who is sufficiently pure and progressive to meet your criteria. You can assume that our best choices in voting are often going to be the ones who do the least amount of damage. You can assume that, because of the inherent nature of our system, absolute perfection in a candidate is never going to happen.

              Frankly, the nihilism of those who are going to refuse to vote for anyone other than their favorite candidate is at once tiresome and repugnant. Running away and hiding because you’re not getting exactly whom you want goes a long way to a second Trump presidency.

              As John Stuart Mill put it, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”

            • Submitted by BK Anderson on 02/17/2020 - 10:49 am.

              Hillary Clinton ran on the most progressive platform in the history of the Dem party, but whatever…

              We are on the edge of an ethno-nationalist autocracy and the end of liberal democracy in America and you are threatening to take your ball and go home if your first choice doesn’t win. That’s remarkable for a proclaimed progressive.

              But obviously it’s preferable to have actual regressive reactionary movement away from all of your goals than to have demonstrable (but inadequate!) movement towards them.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/17/2020 - 11:07 am.

                “But obviously it’s preferable to have actual regressive reactionary movement away from all of your goals than to have demonstrable (but inadequate!) movement towards them.”

                Consider it the first step. Those contradictions aren’t going to heighten themselves, you know.

                • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 02/17/2020 - 03:43 pm.

                  So basically, you all are saying I should vote for whoever the Democrats nominate, even if as in the case of the last two Dem presidents, despite a lot of happy progressive talk from both of them, income inequality soared, total surveillance increased, eternal war profiteering progressed, systemic pollution increased, species extinction was exaserbated, consolidation and Monopoly increased, and climate change continued?

                  If you all think Hillary Clinton was a progressive, then you all are Republican-light. It is authoritarian to say I am a “nihilst…tiresome and repugnant” because I won’t vote for the one who will do less damage.

                  I’m not looking for perfection in a candidate (Bernie being very far from “perfect”), I am looking and advocating for a course change…someone to gather the people to take down WallStreet, the unaccountable and much privatized Intelligence Community, the eternal war profiteers, racketeering in health care and higher education, corporations and particularly Monopoly, billionaires and industrial agriculture.

                  BTW, saying I am doing nothing because I won’t vote Republican-light is just silly.

                  • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/17/2020 - 09:47 pm.

                    Dude NO ONE, Bernie included (who is my first choice too btw) is going to do those things you listed. If you think they are, you are hopelessly, terminally, naive. I am not gonna bother trying to persuade you, but if even one iota of this persona you’ve inhabited is not an act, a second Trump presidency would literally be an apocalypse for all of the positions you supposedly hold dear. That you would welcome that abyss, vs. even the marginal chance that one of the candidates you don’t prefer might defy your expectations is the utter definition of nihilism. Best to just head to some hole in the ground and await the end, if that is your decision.

                    • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 02/18/2020 - 10:57 am.

                      “hopelessly, terminally, naive” is thinking one of the “moderate” candidates is going save America from the “apocalypse” of resource limits, climate change, species extinction, systemic pollution, or gov, Corp, bank and billionaire authoritarianism. As long as the belief of eternal Growth and Progress definite this culture, it really doesn’t matter who is president, global consummer demand will continue to turn this earth into a desert planet.

                      I am definitely not sticking my head in the ground about that. Nihilism is thinking it will all just work itself out as long as we vote for the “center”, or as long as Trump does not have another term.

                  • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/18/2020 - 01:03 pm.

                    See there’s your problem, I KNOW it will not work out if Trump gets another term, that’s it, game over. There is a chance that any of the Democratic candidates can change their approach. If you don’t believe that, then you are just sticking your head in the sand, and acceding to burning it all down. Where you’re truly mistaken is in believing there will be anything left to save after you do.

                    • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 02/18/2020 - 05:25 pm.

                      “There is a chance that any of the Democratic candidates can change their approach. If you don’t believe that, then you are just sticking your head in the sand”

                      Do you remember “Hope and Change”?

                      What changed about the following? And what hope grew?

                      “resource limits, climate change, species extinction, systemic pollution, or gov, Corp, bank and billionaire authoritarianism….global consumer demand turn(ing) this earth into a desert planet.” (I forgot to add income inequality.)

                      Obama changed his approach. Just one example (which helped elect Trump): He let the Federal Reserve create 4.5 trillion dollars out of the ether, giving it to the big banks and private equity to buy up more of the economy, while 9 million foreclosures left millions of people without hope.

                    • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 02/19/2020 - 08:56 am.


                      Maybe I will vote for a moderate, if the moderate wins outright. But not if Party elite take it away from Bernie and hand it to Bloomberg or Hillary or whomever.

  2. Submitted by Mike Schumann on 02/15/2020 - 06:27 am.

    Sorry, but all of this doesn’t matter. When you talk about all these policies, peoples eyes glaze over. Nobody is voting for this policy or that. They are voting their emotions. And right now, everyone, on both sides of the aisle is pissed. They aren’t pissed about policy issues. They are pissed about a dysfunctional system where nobody is talking to anyone else, and instead of working on solving the government’s problems our politicians are spending 30 hours a week in phone banks trying to raise money to stay in office for another 2 or 4 years, so they can continue to do nothing but argue with each other.

    If the Democrats keep going on their current path, they are toast. Impeachment was a complete fiasco. Nothing new came out. Everyone, including his supporters, already knew that Trump was a complete slime ball. Nobody cares. What they do care about is the fundamental issue that we are facing in the country. Does personal responsibility matter? Do people who work hard get to keep the rewards of their personal initiative, or are we going to subsidize and bankroll the slackers who either don’t want to work, or make stupid decisions to spend zillions of dollars on useless degrees that don’t lead to gainful employment?

    Then, on top of everything, Iowa demonstrates that the Democratic party can’t even count votes in a simple presidential caucus. And we are suppose to trust them with running the country???

    The final straw was Nancy Pelosi’s temper tantrum ripping up Trump’s speech. That little video clip is NEVER going to go away. That’s the kind of crap that people are REALLY pissed off about.

    • Submitted by tom kendrick on 02/15/2020 - 09:46 am.

      Thanks for your comments, Mr. Schuman. Yes, everyone is pissed off, but the question remains – where do we go from here? I am left-leaning in my politics and have mostly voted Democratic since Carter ’76. Frankly, I don’t want the left to take over, but neither do I want the right. What has worked in the United States is that we have had elections for over 200 years, elections with hotly debated positions going one way or the other, and the transfer from one administration/party to the next is generally peaceful. Do you realize how rare that is in the history of the world? Our system, our imperfect system (ask women, blacks, etc.) is a living, growing and evolving thing that continues to represent more and more people. Think bigger umbrella, and always expanding. We are a work in progress. And it has worked because our system itself is strong, and it is the balance of opposites and the healthy tension between the two that keeps people of divergent perspectives still united as a country.
      But along comes the current occupant and his ilk and they want to take apart the very government that has gotten us this far. This is not “conservative” opposing my liberal inclinations; this is an effort at usurpation and personal power placed into far fewer hands, with fewer checks and balances. The rule of law is what is under siege and this is very serious.

      To me the first order of business is getting Trump the hell out of there. Find someone who will right the ship to the point where we can talk about our precarious situation.
      What do you propose as a way forward?

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 02/15/2020 - 10:39 am.

      Actually the Dem House has passed literally dozens of bills seriously addressing a great many of the enormous problems of the country, including campaign finance reform and election security. It is the Repub senate that literally refuses to advance ANY meaningful legislation whatever, mostly because (despite your sincere desires) the conservative movement doesn’t pretend to have the solution to any problem facing America today. Indeed, your catalogue of (unhelpfully general) “problems” supposedly facing the nation sounds precisely like those that were the rallying cry of St. Reagan in 1980.

      It certainly seems that (after 4 decades!) “conservatism” can’t do much about any of them. How low are taxes supposed to go, Mike?

      As for the continuing difficulties of the Iowa caucuses (which afflict both parties, BTW) and Pelosi (quite calmly) ripping up Trump’s nauseating campaign-speech-masquerading-as-a-SOTU, the “outrage” over those is all on the conservative side (and quite phony at that), but they are nice talking points.

    • Submitted by Robert Ahles on 02/15/2020 - 01:11 pm.

      “Everyone, including his supporters, already knew that Trump was a complete slime ball. Nobody cares.”

      I agree with your first statement that everyone knows that Trump is a complete slime ball but I have to take partial exception with your second statement. I agree that most Republicans don’t care but I am convinced that the majority of Americans do care and wanted to see this serial liar removed from office.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/17/2020 - 09:51 pm.

      Hard to solve problems when the only goal of one group (those you label hard working) is to make darn well and certain that everyone else is as miserable as they are. Until such pettiness is dispelled, no way forward exists.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/17/2020 - 09:58 pm.

      BTW no, personal responsibility doesn’t matter when the so much of ones personal circumstances boil down to random chance of birth. Don’t bother with anecdotes of rags to riches apocrypha, for the overwhelming majority of human beings born in our society, how rich or poor they were born determines their success in life. The biggest lie of all is that this country has ever been anything but an aristocracy, and that if given the chance, those at the top would gladly name themselves nobility and return us to the feudal underpinnings against which our founders supposedly rebelled. That they had no such intention, but simply wished to ascend to the top of the hierarchy is the gravest lapse of historical knowledge our country will ever maintain.

  3. Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 02/15/2020 - 08:36 am.

    Even if there’s a Democratic majority in the Senate, I think Medicare For All will be watered down to a Public Option. That’s not necessarily a bad thing unless private insurers siphon off the healthy and leave the less healthy to the Public Option. Consider it an on-ramp to Medicare For All.

    If we do have Medicare For All, we may still see private Medicare Advantage plans that offer increased services for increased cost. Not necessarily a bad thing as there is still the underlying Medicare for anyone who cannot afford the “add on” plan.

    Right now I’m on a Medicare Advantage plan. I pay a bit extra as it includes better dental coverage. I’m as happy with my coverage now as I have ever been with employer based plans (and I’ve had good employer based plans).

    But we still need to attack the problems that affect healthcare in general, including Medicare. Medicare For All, in and by itself, won’t be a panacea.

  4. Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/15/2020 - 08:41 am.

    Many Americans resent the Left, and their accomplice media, for their relentless drive to undo the election of 2016. This effort started before inauguration and reached its apogee with impeachment. No surprise to even the casual observer, the President’s approval also peaked with impeachment.

    Continue doing what you are doing, no matter which candidate you give him to defeat.

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 02/15/2020 - 03:23 pm.

      “started before inauguration”…

      Ah, you mean like how Gravedigger of Democracy McConnell clandestinely got together with the remnants of the Repub party leadership in Dec 2008 and pledged to do everything they could to block the efforts of the newly elected, popular vote-winning Dem president?

      It’s a mystery what exactly conservatives think Dems immediately “did” to “undo the 2016 election”, but you might bear in mind that relying on the most anti-democratic elements of the Constitution to “win” power naturally cannot confer any democratic legitimacy upon your popular vote-losing “conservative” prez-elects. You want acceptance of an election? Try running a candidate that has a ghost of a chance to win a national majority of votes.

      The simple truth is: Repubs can’t do that (and, with Trump, aren’t even deigning to try.) And thus their presidential “winners” are quite sensibly opposed from day one, since they have no mandate whatsoever.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/15/2020 - 09:37 pm.

        2016 pre-election article from a Politico regarding the Trump impeachment:

        Trump won the election in the way in which votes are counted, according to the Constitution. It wasn’t close. If popular vote victory is considered a mandate, you’ll soon see one.

        • Submitted by BK Anderson on 02/16/2020 - 11:35 am.

          States are not citizens; they are (largely fortuitous) geographical entities arising directly from Britain’s Imperial/colonial age. So hiding behind the hollow legalisms of the sclerotic 18th Century constitution doesn’t really get you anywhere in terms of actual democratic legitimacy, IMO.

          And until the (first) modern electoral college (Repub) president in 2000, it was conventional wisdom that the American people would not accept another Rutherford B. Hayes. But that was before it became clear that electoral college failure would only benefit the Repub party and its minority faction of citizenry. Then the electoral college suddenly became the “Framers’ Greatest Achievement”!

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/16/2020 - 07:27 pm.

            Hardly sclerotic, our Constitution has been amended many times and is regularly tested by the courts. What I find rigid and unbending is the sore-loser-ism that rails against the Constitution.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/17/2020 - 10:44 am.

          Gee, whipperkins! An article speculating on the possible impeachment of a then-hypothetical President Trump if he were to do some of the outrageously unlawful things he talked about doing is proof for sure of a Deep State/liberal media/smartypants academic conspiracy against Our Beloved Leader! Get the rope and string ’em up!

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/17/2020 - 11:25 am.


            Impeachment first brought to the House floor by Representative Al Green in May 2017.


            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/17/2020 - 12:06 pm.

              And if he had been listened to then, we would be rid of Trump! Hindsight is always 20/20, isn’t it?

              I know insulting Our Beloved Leader is a mortal sin of the highest order for you Trump supporters, but what earthly difference does it make? While you may regard congressional independence as treachery worthy of the Ninth Circle, it is something built into, and thus, by implication permitted, by the Constitution you claim to revere.

              Presidents face opposition. Only a few of them have been sufficiently unhinged to descend into rage-induced fits of revenge, and I can’t think of another one who has had so many cultists justifying such behavior.

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/17/2020 - 02:46 pm.

                Do tell, what would have been the Articles of 2017 that would have convinced the House and Senate to remove him? Delusion does not make a convincing impeachment article.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/17/2020 - 03:12 pm.

                  So why bother bringing it up again, if it’s a mere delusion?

                  I’ll bet a lot of Democrats voted in favor of that resolution, didn’t they?

                  • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/17/2020 - 10:23 pm.

                    The point would be hear how a 2017 impeachment, had it gone forward, would have led to the President’s removal by now. It is a story that hasn’t been told, that would be of great interest.

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/18/2020 - 09:13 am.

                      Regrets, we’ve had a few. Yes, Trump should have been removed in 2017.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/15/2020 - 03:58 pm.

      Once again, undoing the election would mean impeaching BOTH Trump and Pence (which would make Pelosi president).
      Otherwise, Republicans remain in charge of the executive branch.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/15/2020 - 05:31 pm.

        Pence can’t be impeached while Trump is President. With Pelosi next in line, the Pence impeachment would be fast-tracked through the House.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/15/2020 - 09:36 pm.

          ANY government official can be impeached. However, I did not mean that both necessarily had to happen simultaneously.
          And of course any impeachment would be followed by a lack of conviction (at least in the current) Senate.

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/16/2020 - 11:40 am.

            No, there is not an impeachment solution available for any government official.

            The point of my comment regarding undoing an election is that the Left has been colluding and scheming to disenfranchise all Trump voters since before he took office.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/17/2020 - 09:23 am.

          “Pence can’t be impeached while Trump is President. ”

          And your authority for that assertion is . . .

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/17/2020 - 12:03 pm.

            You are correct, he could be impeached. However, he would be replaced by appointment, like Gerald Ford. For Pelosi to become President, both POTUS & VP would need to exit simultaneously.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/17/2020 - 01:26 pm.

              First, because I know you value precision in these matters, impeachment does not necessarily mean removal from office.

              Second, if Pence were removed from office and no replacement were confirmed by a majority vote of both houses of Congress, there would be a vacancy in the Vice Presidency (U.S. Const. Amend. 25) and Rep. Pelosi would be first in the order of presidential succession.

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/17/2020 - 02:52 pm.

                Indeed, that is the mechanism by which Pelosi would be President. Thank You.

                And, the groundwork has already been laid for that narrative. If Ukraine could have been effective against Trump, it may have also worked with Pence.

                “Vice President Mike Pence is among the top officials culpable in President Donald Trump’s efforts to bend U.S. foreign policy for personal gain, according to a report released Tuesday from House Democrats investigating the potential impeachment of Trump.”


                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/17/2020 - 03:14 pm.

                  She would not be President. She would assume the duties , but she would be only the Acting President.

                  • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/17/2020 - 04:05 pm.

                    Clearly, you and others have given this some thought. What are the differences in the powers of a President and an Acting President, beside the power of incumbency for two more terms?

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/17/2020 - 05:25 pm.

                      I have given this no more thought than making myself minimally familiar with the Presidential Succession Act.

                      I believe the Acting President has all of the powers of the President, but does not assume the title.

  5. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 02/15/2020 - 08:49 am.

    From day 1, I decided that voting for the Democratic candidate, no matter who that ends up being, is the only reasonable choice. Our democracy will not survive four more years of Trump, who is now convinced that he is going to do whatever he wants to whoever he chooses. Americans must reject the would-be dictator and all who support him.

  6. Submitted by LK WOODRUFF on 02/15/2020 - 09:27 am.

    There are those like the Kochs and Murdochs who have invested heavily for many years now to grab control in every way possible through building vast political networks to spreading planned and purposeful propaganda, all designed to keep the rest of us under their thumbs. They keep our wages low, dont want employers to provide benefits, and know that keeping us all hungry, I’ll, working long hours yet still in debt also keeps us at each others throats fighting over everything. They understand well that keeping us busy at that means we don’t have time to pay attention to what they are doing–taking over the country in every way–or if we do care, well there are only 24 hrs in a day and trying to corral groups of citizens into effective action is expensive, time consuming and near impossible anymore cuz it’s David vs Goliath. They are counting on us all just giving up. So this is why we must not! It is every citizen/voters job to do their research and homework and to be well educated on every candidate and policy so we can all make informed votes in Nov. We are on the edge of the cliff: we can go over like lemmings or we can stand strong TOGETHER to take back our cherished democracy and the American Dream life as we have known it. The time is now!! Who you gonna support??? Those behind the takeovers…or those who want us ALL to succeed, instead of just a few greedy and already wealthy types. The labels, the name callers, the ones who never seem to grow or learn or evolve are mindless types. Ignore them. They take up space. There are, I firmly believe, enough still standing who care deeply about each other, the planet, equality per our Constitution, clean and and water, an educated citizenry and more who CAN make a huge difference in this next election. Who can and will clean house of all who denigrate us and rub and bully us and look down on us while doing still more power grabs. These types DO NOT and NEVER WILL act on YOUR BEHALF. Understand this. Be crystal clear about it. THEY are only looking out for themselves!!!! They care not one iota for YOU, or your CHILDREN or your GRANDCHILDREN. They dont care if they destroy the planet and all living on it cuz they adhere to some absurd notion that a coming apocalypse will destroy everything but then all will be ‘fixed’ magically and the righteous will be saved (meaning them, not you). So clean house, people. In November exert your power–before the REPs take it away completely with gerrymandering and voter suppression–and VOTE OUT every single senator supporting this cruel, utterly destructive “president’ (actually fascist dictator wanna be) and start fresh by filling every slot with younger, non-government types who are educated, live our democracy and believe in the government we used to have, and who understand what it means to be a public servant for a limited amount if time before exiting so others can then do their stints. The stakes have never been higher and there has never been so much at stake as there us now so please clear your heads and stop just always reacting and do some deep thinking over the next months. Then allow informed decisions only to drive your votes next Fall. I implore you!

  7. Submitted by Tom Crain on 02/15/2020 - 10:02 am.

    It’s true Eric, we can’t rely on current polling to predict the outcome, but we can rely on the Primary process. In fact, that’s all we have. If the Democratic party can manage to keep the Primary process fair (big IF), and it is perceived as such, the majority of Sanders supporters will vote for the nominee. Fear not.

    If we see the type of issues we had in IA continue in other primary states, or worse yet, if one candidate earns the plurality of votes going into the convention but is still denied the nomination, we surely will have reelected Trump.

    The Dem party machine and the corp media are starting to come to terms with the likelihood of Sanders winning the Primary. 538 polling aggregator now gives Sanders a 1 in 3 chance of winning the majority of pledged delegates, a plurality win is even more likely. Recent polling shows Sanders with leads in delegate rich states like CA and TX. The centrist, status-quo lane is crowded with it’s four major candidates showing no sign of quitting.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/15/2020 - 04:01 pm.

      The primaries will show that more people like to talk about supporting Sanders than will actually vote for him.

  8. Submitted by BK Anderson on 02/15/2020 - 10:20 am.

    It is certainly the case that no one really has any idea of the candidate that is most “electable”. There’s no metric for that, and there never has been. The very fact that Repubs gleefully chose an utterly unqualified conman with obvious severe personality disorders in 2016 who then went on to “win” (with an assist from the failed Constitution) makes that quite clear.

    But while “electability” is apparently only an issue for Dems, you are also certainly correct that the policy differences among the remaining Dems are rather small, with the caveat that Sanders has from the very beginning made climate change a bigger focal point of his campaign than others have done. Indeed, he was the first candidate ever to declare the climate crisis an existential one, although other Dems have now followed his lead on that.

    But it will be the Congress and not the president that will be determining national policy in all these areas from health insurance to climate change to fiscal solvency to immigration reform. The current paralysis and maladministration of government resulting from the corrupt “conservative” movement has made us forget that. And if the Gravedigger of Democracy McConnell continues to hold power in the senate, there will be no possibility of meaningful movement or action on any of the myriad crises facing the nation, and we will continue with rule by (temporary) executive order.

    Now, it is of paramount importance to rid the WH of the stench of the political criminal currently abusing the office, whatever may happen with the control of Congress. If Trump (and his wretched hive of scum and villainy) are “re-elected”, that actually will be the end of this version of American “democracy” for upwards of 50 years, and the by then the world’s ecosystems will have long since collapsed. The idea of a “democracy” in those circumstances will be merely bitterly ironic.

    The manifest failures of 21st Century America (all brought on by the horrendous conservative movement) have brought us to the edge of the abyss. We know that around 45% of the populace wants us all to jump off the cliff, just as an approximately equal number of citizens in Weimar Germany opted to do in 1933.

    A democracy cannot be better than its citizens, especially one that permits a minority faction to win/retain control of the government. We shall certainly see the character of the (white) American electorate in 2020. It demonstrated its complete incompetence in 2016, and now 2020 will demonstrate how deep its desire for national suicide.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/15/2020 - 04:47 pm.

      That’s a quite a dystopian alternate reality you have spun there. While such outcomes were forecast for the Trump Presidency, none have come to pass. There is good economic news for many Americans, including lowest ever unemployment for Blacks and Hispanics.

      Deciding which Democratic candidate to put forward is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It just doesn’t matter.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/15/2020 - 09:38 pm.

        There’s unemployment and then there’s underemployment.
        The fact that someone has a job does not mean that they earn a living wage, even without ruinous health care costs.

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/16/2020 - 11:47 am.

          Wages Rising. Don’t take my word for it; read it here;

          Millions fewer on welfare and food stamps. It is hard to spin that as bad news, yet there are those that persist.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/16/2020 - 09:07 pm.

            Yes, wages have been rising at least for the past dozen years.
            The rate at which they’ve been rising has been essentially constant.
            If you zoom in, you can see that hourly wages have actually slowed a bit in the past few months (I wouldn’t take this limited sample too seriously).

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/17/2020 - 08:54 am.

              Salient points (so much good news) from the Markets Insider link above:

              The US labor market entered 2020 on a stronger-than-expected note, adding jobs for a record 112th month.

              The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday said 225,000 nonfarm payrolls were created in January, compared with economist forecasts for 165,000.

              Average hourly earnings rose 3.1% from the same month last year, compared with a 2.9% year-over-year rise in December.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/16/2020 - 09:09 pm.

            And of course one reason for fewer people receiving SNAP and other forms of welfare has been cuts in those programs, not a decrease in the number eligible by previous standards.

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/17/2020 - 08:50 am.

              So many claims, so little sourcing.



              “But analysts say that while reinstating work requirements has contributed to the drop in program participation, so has the better economy, since fewer people are in need. Data show that the share of the U.S. population participating in SNAP tracks with the share at or below the poverty line. So the lower number of recipients, says Melissa Boteach, vice president for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress, a nonprofit, is “a good thing if more people are finding jobs and finding higher wages.”

              • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/17/2020 - 09:26 pm.

                Quoting claims from conservative think tanks is not sourcing facts.

                • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/18/2020 - 12:16 pm.

                  Newsweek is a conservative think tank? Really?

                  It is merely another ad hominem attack when you can only challenge the source and not the argument.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/20/2020 - 09:21 am.

                  To be fair, the quote was an article from Newsweek, which was itself quoting someone from the Center for the American Experiment. It’s a sort of meta-quote.

                  Note also that Newsweek refers tom the CAE as a “non-profit,” and not a “think tank.” Finally, someone gets it right!

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/17/2020 - 10:12 am.

            Your link refers to jobless rates, not wages.
            And it doesn’t take into account dropouts from the work force, who lower the jobless rate.
            Did you actually read the link you posted, or just pass it on?

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/17/2020 - 11:54 am.

              From reading that link,

              “Average hourly earnings rose 3.1% from the same month last year, better than the 2.9% year-over-year increase in December. While wage growth has continued to outpace inflation, it has held below what economists would hope for with historically strong employment levels.

              • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/17/2020 - 02:29 pm.

                Averages (means) are distorted by the ends of the distribution.
                The old fable:
                Two guys are sitting in a bar; they each earn $50K a year, so the average in the bar is $50K.
                Bill Gates walks in; now the average in the bar is a billion dollars. However, the original two guys are still only earning $50K.
                The median (the middle point where half of the values are above and half below) is a much better measure. The median earnings in the bar haven’t changed.
                End of statistics lesson.
                In this case, most of the increase in average earnings is due to increases at the top of the scale; the top 10%.

                • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/17/2020 - 02:55 pm.

                  Statistics lesson: Population n = 3 = meaningless.

                  Labor statistics are based on millions of Americans.

                  • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/17/2020 - 09:28 pm.

                    Multiply my numbers by a million; it won’t change the results.
                    I was trying to keep it simple; apparently not simply enough.

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/18/2020 - 12:18 pm.

                      Statistics require real samples and sufficient population sizes; you have neither.

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/17/2020 - 08:22 am.

          Always moving the goal posts aren’t you? You never said a word about wages while Obama was in office. All you could talk about was all the jobs he (he wasn’t) was creating yet you never said a word about them being low paying jobs but now suddenly that’s the problem.

          Also, as for that tax cut for the rich, corporate tax revenue year over year from FY19 to FY20 is up about 26%… looks like those big corps are paying more in taxes and paying their fair share after all. (Table 3 here: )

      • Submitted by BK Anderson on 02/16/2020 - 11:12 am.

        Yes, you are quite correct that “it just doesn’t matter”, since all the various polls seem to indicate that Trump is well underwater against every Dem candidate. And I certainly hope that Trump is pinning his “re-election” hopes on doing much better with the Black and Latino vote–that’ll be a great strategy for him! “Build that wall! Sh*thole [African] countries!”

        My dystopic thoughts above are directly towards the destruction of American democracy by the conservative movement, not particularly its current (debt-fueled) economy. I’m happy to grant that unregulated and largely un-taxed capitalism generates very substantial profits/wealth for a relatively small slice of the citizenry, and also that the ongoing expansion has generated significant numbers of (scut-work) jobs.

        But as with all conservative “policies”, the difficulties only arise when the unregulated boom and fiscal misrule inexorably crashes, leaving the Dems to pick up the pieces when the next economic calamity begins–in this case including environmental calamity as well. But fortunately for the Repub party and “conservative” movement, the American people are too stupid to see the pattern or ever figure out the con!

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/16/2020 - 10:17 pm.

          Trump is well underwater in February according to nobody’s polls.

          Monmouth poll from five days ago; Headline: “Most Expect Trump Will Be Reelected; Sanders Overtakes Biden Among Dem Voters”

          And there is this emerging trend: “In national general election match-ups, Trump trailed former vice-president Joe Biden with registered voters by four points (50%-46%); Vermont senator Bernie Sanders by two (49%-47%); and Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar by one (48%-47%).
          Those deficits against the top Democrats have roughly halved since a similar poll at the end of 2019”

          It won’t be too many more weeks before deficits are erased completely and gaffe-machine Biden won’t even be in the race.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/17/2020 - 10:14 am.

            You might take a look at 538, which aggregates polls.
            It shows Trump underwater by about 9 percentage points.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/17/2020 - 10:14 am.

            Right now the deficit has reached a record high do to Trump’s tax giveaway.

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/17/2020 - 01:13 pm.

              If you complained about President Obama’s giveaways, including failed billion dollar stimulus and cash-for-clunkers, I will hear your complaints regarding this President’s deficit spending.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/17/2020 - 03:22 pm.

                Let’s put your comment into context: Did President Obama promise to eliminate the deficit in eight years? Yes, he promised to cut it in half (“cutting in half” does not mean “eliminate”), and did not do so. He did, however, reduce the deficit.

                He also acknowledged that he could not keep his cut-it-in-half pledge. He did not deny having said it, and he did not castigate any media outlets who reported him as having said it. Nor did he work to deny federal contracts to businesses connected with anyone who reported it.

  9. Submitted by Constance Sullivan on 02/15/2020 - 11:56 am.

    We don’t have to worry about how strongly some of the Democratic candidates for nomination will fight for whoever gets the nomination: Warren, Biden, Klobuchar, Buttegieg will back the party’s nominee.

    We still know little about Mike Bloomberg, who is in his heart a Republican billionaire who thinks, much like Donald Trump, that money can buy you love.

    What we have to worry about are several demographic groups who helped to elect Trump in 2016 by that minuscule margin of 77,000 votes across three or four Midwestern states, that denied the vote-count winner election by tipping the Electoral College.

    tThose groups? First and foremost: the Bernie Sanders fanatics, who don’t understand or accept that the majority of Americans will not vote for a socialist who yells at them that we need to upend the U.S. in his revolution. Bernie’s supporters either stayed home or voted for Jill Stein or someone else, rather than for a superbly qualified woman, and tossed the 2016 election to Trump.

    Don’t deny it. It happened. And will happen again because Bernie’s folks are ideologues, not political fans of the United States or worried much at all about what Trump is doing to us.

    Second, we have to worry about all the African Americans who also sat out the 2016 election. They didn’t have a black candidate to support, so they just didn’t bother. In the hundreds of thousands, they didn’t bother to vote (significant Black activists from several generations rolled over in their graves at that Black laziness about exercising their right to vote!)

    Another demographic might not be so cavalier: the youngest voters, who I think sound appropriately concerned about the planet’s health and the desperate need to do something to forestall the Earth’s demise as a livable climate.

    Those who are Democrats at heart will support the nominee, whoever she is. America patriots will make sure as many of us as possible cast ballots.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/16/2020 - 12:20 pm.

      Recent history indicates that if Bernie is unfairly treated by the Democrats, or if his supporters feel that he is, they will not vote for whoever she is.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/17/2020 - 10:06 pm.

        Somehow, I don’t suspect you are in a position to know the minds of many Sanders supporters much beyond what you glean from the cesspool that is the internet commentariat.

  10. Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/16/2020 - 01:28 pm.

    The biggest problem with Medicare-for-all isn’t the Senate, although that is probably an insurmountable problem. Its the Supreme Court. Does anyone actually think after the court has barely let parts of the ACA survive, that its going to allow a complete government takeover of the health care system? That it would be constitutional to eliminate private coverage? Its a non-starter, especially since a couple of Trump appointees have joined since the big ACA decisions.

    Sanders is burning political capital on an issue that is going nowhere. If he’s the nominee, Trump will say Sanders wants to take away your healthcare and force you to rely on the government. MFA polls horribly when that part of the equation is explained. Healthcare in this country is a disaster, but many people have employer-based insurance. The unions in Nevada are going after Sanders because they don’t want to lose the good healthcare they fought so hard to get.

    So from a policy standpoint, Sanders won’t be any different than Biden or Bloomberg. But the unpopular policies he is pushing may hurt him electorally.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/17/2020 - 08:34 am.

      Healthcare in America isn’t a disaster.. it’s the best healthcare on the planet. It’s just expensive. But that is easily fixed if you know WHY it’s expensive. It’s only expensive because the Government refuses to enforce 100+ year old Anti Trust laws. Every Politician in DC knows what the problem is and that fixing it creates a big (short term) depression and none of them want that on their record because many won’t be re-elected.

      Would you support your local gas station if they didn’t post prices per gallon and when you went inside to pay, you were charged more (or less) per gallon than the person ahead of you? of course not and you would report them for that behavior. Yet we don’t do that for healthcare, big pharma or insurance.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/17/2020 - 10:18 am.

        By what outcome measure do we have the best healthcare on the (which?) planet?
        Certainly not by longevity or days missed from work do to illness.
        Nor by the percentage of the population actually receiving health care.
        At best, we have the best care for rare diseases if you’re rich enough to obtain it.

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/17/2020 - 08:55 pm.

          18 of the top 20 hospitals worldwide are in the US. Everyone comes here for treatment (see how many foreign leaders have come to the Mayo for example). Rationing of care also drives people here… see Canadians crossing the border to get care here that they have to wait months for up there.

          A couple of things you seem to have ignored… the US has longer work weeks than many of the nations you’re talking about (yes we worker longer and harder here). Those nations (until recently) weren’t being invaded by millions of 3rd world people who not only couldn’t support themselves but also brought with them many illnesses we had eradicated (not to mention their less clean ways of life). If we were to kick out the 30+ million illegals (and many others from south of our border) here then our healthcare system would see a drastic reduction in use. We also have immediate care, unlike many of the places you’re talking about. We’re also the 3rd most populous nation on Earth so of course we’re going to have more sick people and more problems (the UK has 67 million people, that’s 20% of our population so it’s hardly a comparable situation).

          I’ll take the US healthcare system over any other place on Earth. If you don’t like it here that much, why not go over to the places you seem to like better?

      • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 02/17/2020 - 11:41 am.

        The reason the government refuses to enforce the 100+ year old antitrust laws against the insurance cartel is because the insurance cartel is exempt from the antitrust laws under the 1946 McCarran-Ferguson Act. The McCarran-Ferguson Act exempts firms engaged in the “business of insurance” where such business is subject to state regulation. State laws across the country which purport to regulate the business of insurance cartel only indirectly regulates insurance pricing by preventing price competition and allowing group ratemaking.

        Congress could in theory repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act (fat chance) but the Act was adopted in the first place because the insurance cartel feared price competition. The “industry” feared true competition would eventually bankrupt the entire cartel and lead to the eventual (shudder) “government takeover.”

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/17/2020 - 08:40 pm.

          Not really the case. Insurance has lost twice before the SCOTUS even with McCarren-Ferguson in place. It should probably be repealed (the GOP tried but Dems wouldn’t go along). They are not exempt from certain Anti Trust laws.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/17/2020 - 01:38 pm.

        Most industrialized countries provide universal and affordable healthcare for much less than what we pay. No one in those countries is dying because they can’t afford their life-saving medicine. The idea that our healthcare is the best in the world is nonsense.

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/17/2020 - 08:45 pm.

          First off that is a seriously flawed statement that doesn’t account for a lot of things. Places that offer Universal care pay nearly what we pay AND they are exempt from paying the high drug costs we pay here. Take that out of OUR equation and our costs come way down. Also, those places have much poorer quality of care (as 18 of the top 20 hospitals in the World are in the US). In fact, the UK has been trying to privatize their system for several years now.

          Secondly, no one in this country is dying because they aren’t getting medicine unless they simply aren’t going to the doctor/hospital in the first place. And as I have said repeatedly, if ANY AG would simply enforce the anti trust laws, those drug prices would be so low that anyone could pay cash for pretty much every drug on the market.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/17/2020 - 10:14 pm.

        No, people would prefer to avoid a depression because it would cause untold suffering and misery for hundreds of millions of people. Are you some kind of sadist? As for competition, kinda hard to say no to price when the alternative is dying, don’t you think. Why this is so hard for conservatives to understand will continue to boggle my mind. In what world do you envision a private healthcare industry will NOT be able to hold you over a barrel, extracting every last cent, unless you no longer are concerned with living? There is no choice, or options, or market, when the trump card is death (or the virtual death, in every practical purpose, of undischargable debt).

  11. Submitted by Misty Martin on 02/17/2020 - 08:00 am.


    Have to agree with you on this one, especially, your first paragraph. At this point, even a chimp who knew sign language (so he could effectively communicate with his staff) would be a better P.O.T.U.S. than who is presently in the Oval Office. And a LOT cuter.

  12. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/17/2020 - 09:26 am.

    I fervently hope that Steve Rose, in his last comment above, is wrong. If he’s right, we could be looking at 4 more years of slippery-slope slide into what we used to call a tin-hat autocracy, Trump is as lawless, and has the same disdain for the law, as any other common criminal. In some circles, sadly, that’s viewed as a plus, mostly by people who’ve never had to live in a society where what they currently think is kinda cool – sticking it to “the man” – is being practiced on THEM. And it will be. Dictators, as the Current Occupant has already amply demonstrated, don’t like dissent.

    Democrats, especially, but also every other citizen who values an independent judiciary, an environment we can live in, and an economy that works as well for the secretary or groundskeeper as it does for the CEO, should keep their eyes on the prize. If Mr. Rose is correct, all of us who are not right wing sycophants will have many reasons, over the next 4 years, to regret it.

  13. Submitted by BK Anderson on 02/17/2020 - 10:05 am.

    Our conservative friends at EB Ink have a singular message for America in 2020: “What a great economy!” They don’t make the slightest attempt to defend or justify Trump’s actual behavior in office, which is understandable since since it’s indefensible, and getting worse by the day.

    So what we have is essentially the accolade accorded Herr Hitler: “He made the trains run on time!” Trump isn’t that competent, of course, but the sentiment is the same, as is the danger.

    We are now in a situation where approximately 45% of the citizenry is so debased that they can watch an demented autocratic criminal dismantle the American government yet happily exclaim: “He made the trains run on time!” In a modern functioning democracy, they and their desperately desired reactionary dictator would be defeated by the (democratic) majority, but, of course, we do not live in a modern functioning democracy.

    I am being somewhat disingenuous here, because I suspect most of our conservative friends also approve of having a reactionary dictator like Trump on a variety of policy grounds as well, but they know that likely isn’t the best way to sell the dictator to the hapless apolitical voter who doesn’t understand that Trump is in every circumstance the greater evil. So we get nothing but “It’s the trains, stupid!”

    It’s idle to try to figure out who (and what) is most at fault here. Is it the liars like Trump, Gravedigger McConnell and the Rightwing Noise Machine, or is it the voters who just love, love, love being lied to? What came first, the chicken or the egg? But if the remaining 55% do not band together in 2020, there will be a very long time in which to sort out the blame for the certain destruction of the country and planet.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/17/2020 - 11:47 am.

      It didn’t take long in this conversation for Godwin’s Law to show its face.

      “Certain destruction of the country and planet” This is the hyperbole that got Trump elected and will re-elect him. This President is a flawed individual, and he doesn’t hide it; what you is what you get. But criticizing him for his actual shortcomings and mistakes is not enough; continuous over-the-top charges against him are the order of the day.

      “Trump’s actual behavior in office, which is understandable since since it’s indefensible, and getting worse by the day.” Do tell, what behavior yesterday topped his behavior of the day before? Press on to election day.

      BTW, have I made any defense of the President?

      • Submitted by BK Anderson on 02/17/2020 - 12:40 pm.

        No, Trump certainly doesn’t make an effort to hide his “flaws”, but as the Mueller report and Impeachment trial demonstrated, he does (sometimes) attempt to hide his crimes and abuse of office.

        As for “hyperbole that got Trump elected”, that’s a remarkable claim of un-provable causation. And if true, more’s the pity. I surely won’t stop making the argument.

        And, no, you aren’t defending Trump’s behavior, that’s my point. You are simply clamoring your support for his re-election, while ignoring (or being completely indifferent to) his, um, “flaws”…

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/17/2020 - 01:20 pm.

          I have not clamored for the President’s re-election, though I have forecasted it (and why), just as I forecast on the MinnPost comment board in November 2014 that Hillary Clinton would not be President (and why).

          Neither the Mueller report nor the impeachment found any crimes. Why else would the Articles of Impeachment contain no crimes? Just repeatedly using the word crime doesn’t actually create a crime charge.

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/17/2020 - 03:20 pm.

            “Neither the Mueller report nor the impeachment found any crimes. Why else would the Articles of Impeachment contain no crimes?”

            Do you want them listed chronologically or alphabetically? And Trump’s buddy Stone just got tagged with 7 felonies. Could we at least be a little honest? And for some reason you think that folks can’t recognize a rigged jury? Its like calling a sports game fair, when the officials only call penalties on 1 team. We need not re-litigate again the corruptness of Trump, Barr and the perjury of the Senate republicans save 1. It really is an insult to a lot of folks intelligence.

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/17/2020 - 04:10 pm.


              Is the House a rigged jury? It was the House that failed to write an Article of Impeachment that stated a crime. Refer to the Clinton impeachment if you would like to see one that included a crime.

              • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/17/2020 - 05:42 pm.

                Again, can’t we be honest? Why don’t we re-litigate the war of 1812 while we are at it? So please high light the area that says a crime is required”
                “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

                Please also explain why Hamilton in Federalist # 65 spoke about impeachment as follows. The preferred republican literal translation does not say “crime required” again please highlight where I am mistaken.

                “The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL,”

                13 Russian Nationalists and 3 Russian companies
                12 Russian Intelligence officers

                As we all know, criminals are always surrounded by the best of people, except in Trumps case, he is the Saint surrounded by the devils henchmen.

              • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 02/17/2020 - 06:31 pm.

                Both of the Articles alleged “high crimes and misdemeanors” which would have been charges of bribery and obstruction of Congress if alleged in an indictment against a person who didn’t hold himself “immune” from such charges while in office. I love the shell game conservatives like to play: you can’t indict a sitting president for a crime you can only impeach a President. So the President is impeached and conservatives complain, “but you didn’t impeach him for an actual crime!”

                That sort of argument would get any lawyer laughed out of court. But in 2020 USA, being a Republican and a conservative is an all weather, all season defense against any wrongdoing or corruption, when it’s not, “both sides do it.”

              • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/17/2020 - 09:31 pm.

                And again, impeachment is not a legal process and does not require the commission of a crime.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/18/2020 - 09:34 am.

                You are deliberately ignoring the fact that Articles of Impeachment need not charge an actual violation of a criminal statute in order to be valid.

                • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/18/2020 - 01:03 pm.

                  I understand that a crime is not required for impeachment.

                  Consider the context that I am responding to a commenter (BK) who calls the President a “demented autocratic criminal”, and says that “he does (sometimes) attempt to hide his crimes and abuse of office.”

                  This doesn’t pass the sniff test. If Trumps crimes are so legion, then why does one not appear in an Article of Impeachment?

                  No crime, and no member of the President’s political party nor all Democrats voted to impeach. How could the impeachment be weaker and more hyper-partisan?

                  • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/18/2020 - 01:22 pm.

                    It is a grave moral failing on the part of Republicans that none of them voted to impeach. They are willing to trade all principles, all pretense of constitutionality, all notions of presidential accountability for the approval of a bunch of shrieking reactionaries in red caps.

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/18/2020 - 06:54 pm.

                      A grave moral failing?

                      The party of partisan hatred, the party that sat on their hands at the State of the Union Address when the good economic news of the lowest unemployment ever for African Americans and Hispanics was reported, they sit in moral judgment?

                      No, no they don’t.

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/20/2020 - 09:19 am.

                      Republicans who whine about incivility and disrespect deserve no response other than loud, derisive laughter.

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/20/2020 - 09:35 am.

                      What is laughable is the Democrats claiming moral high ground, passing pious judgment on those they look down upon.

                  • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/18/2020 - 04:53 pm.

                    And how many of Al Capone’s henchmen do you think testified against him at trial, or would have voted conviction if they were in the jury? You are trying to claim the Senate Trial was fair, It was a rigged as a banana republic election, and all the windmill battles you want to fight will not change the fact, that Trump and the Republican senate save 1 are the definition of corruption reflected in human form.

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/18/2020 - 10:29 pm.

                      I made no statement whatsoever regarding the Senate trial.

                  • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 02/19/2020 - 11:48 am.

                    But the Articles specifically and clearly alleged bribery (soliciting a bribe from the Ukrainian President) and obstruction of Congress. Or don’t you believe these really qualify as crimes?

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/19/2020 - 03:45 pm.

                      Here is a clear explanation published by the Washington Post, titled, wait for it:

                      “Why the articles of impeachment don’t include a bribery charge”


                    • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 02/19/2020 - 07:48 pm.

                      @ Steve Rose and “clear explanation” in Washington Post opinion by Randall Eliason.

                      And here is an even clearer explanation by the same Randall Eliason of why the charges of Bribery against Trump (“Bribery is a “high crime and misdemeanor” actually spelled out in the Constitution) would and could have been brought and proved by a federal prosecutor:


                      Trump wasn’t indicted by any federal grand jury because Trump controls Barr and the DOJ who are the only lawyers who can present such a charge to a grand jury. Good soldier Mueller didn’t exceed his limited brief as a “special counsel” by trying to indict Trump either. He cited the White House Counsel position that a sitting President cannot be indicted but that’s a theory never tested or able to be tested as long as the Independent Counsel statute (under which roving prosecutor Kenneth Starr operated during the Clinton years) remains sunseted. Mueller and his team would have been swiftly disbanded had they tried it. Maybe Trump didn’t conspire with Russians to undermine the 2016 election. But we’ll never know because Trump has obstructed all investigation of the matter that would point to his involvement in such a conspiracy.

                      Trump supporters will never admit that their guy is a criminal or done anything wrong. But if that’s not arguing they believe Trump is “above the law” because he’s President, what, if anything, does that mean, or better still, do they even believe it?

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/20/2020 - 09:41 am.

                      All that to say that no crime needs to be included in an Article of Impeachment, even though it would have give the Senate something of substance to consider. Any witness the House wanted the Senate to call, they could have called themselves, had there not been such urgency – Articles held by Speaker for 33 days. At least the Clinton impeachment included a crime.

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/17/2020 - 09:07 pm.

          Except you seem to have ignored that Mueller found no wrong doing and no crime. Nor did the impeachment.. in fact the ONLY witness who actually was on the call said there was no quid pro quo. No crime was found nor did the House prove it’s case which is why the Senate ended the whole charade. Remember, Bill Clinton actually committed a crime.. he lied under oath which is why he was impeached. When you make these claims that Trump is a criminal or destroying democracy or whatever outlandish other claims you make just destroy your credibility.

          Trump is not a perfect person (none of us are). He’s also not a very good President because he failed to uphold his campaign promise to cut spending and to fix the healthcare system properly by going after anti trust behavior. But he’s not a criminal. He didn’t drone a US citizen (esp without even attempting to have said citizen’s citizenship removed first … ahem Obama). He didn’t run guns to Mexico that got at least 1 border agent killed and who knows how many other people (fast and furious). He didn’t start an illegal war like Obama did in Libya. In fact, the previous President actually did commit a number of criminal acts while in office yet no one on the left ever said a single word about it. But when Trump brags about something, you act like he’s the worst criminal in the world.

          In the realm of policies.. 80 to 90% of Trump’s policies are the same as Obama’s and Bush 43’s and Clinton’s et al. The only real differences between Presidents these days are little things around the edges. The budget keeps increasing (spending) at roughly the same pace under each. The debt keeps going up at nearly the same rate (obama nearly doubled it.. we’ll see if Trump does the same). We see a few changes in tax rates, we see some changes in foreign policy, and we sometimes get a pet project passed.. like ACA (which was a disaster from day 1).

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/18/2020 - 09:40 am.

            “Except you seem to have ignored that Mueller found no wrong doing and no crime.”

            Except you ignore the fact that Mueller said he was not making a judgment on whether the President committed crime out of deference to the DOJ policy that a sitting President may not be indicted. You are also ignoring the fact that Mueller said the report does not exonerate the President. You are also ignoring the detailed description of acts that would be prosecuted as obstruction of justice if committed by anyone other than a President with an obedient Attorney General and a compliant Senate.

            “No crime was found nor did the House prove it’s case which is why the Senate ended the whole charade.”

            Do you honestly think the Senate voted to acquit because they thought Trump was not guilty? Do you really think that Senator McConnell put aside his publicly-acknowledged biases and gave the evidence a fair hearing? Do you think the Republicans acted out of any motive other than placating the MAGAs?

    • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 02/17/2020 - 11:59 am.

      And in fact, the Trump administration has been as destructive of the economy as it has been of all other elements of our nation, once one rejects the corporatist framing of economic measures. The criteria for a “good” economy are: (a) that it produces enough to meet our principled needs; (b) that it distributes what it produces fairly; and (c) that it is sustainable.

      Particularly in the face of the existential threat of climate change, an economy that relies on growth and is turned in retrograde fashion back toward fossil fuels and mineral extraction is the definition of a poor and destructive economy, whether or not job numbers are up or returns to capital are looking good.

      • Submitted by BK Anderson on 02/17/2020 - 01:03 pm.

        Sure, but unfortunately that’s likely persuasive to about 10% of the citizenry, the most left-leaning.

        And then even some of them threaten to sit out the election if they don’t get their preferred candidate!

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/17/2020 - 04:11 pm.

        Even Bernie is not so socialist as to champion Degrowth or Steady State Economy.

        • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 02/18/2020 - 09:18 am.

          Yes, I understand that you must use the word “socialist” in every sentence.

          A true market economy would have a far, far lower rate of growth and would have been done with fossil fuels long ago.

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/18/2020 - 01:04 pm.

            Bernie refers to himself as a socialist. There, I did it again.

            • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 02/18/2020 - 01:54 pm.

              Bernie Sanders refers to himself as a “democratic socialist.” Just like the many “democratic socialist” parties of Europe. Democratic socialist policies defined Western Europe for the post-WWII era and still provide the foundation for Western European domestic policies today balancing market capitalism with a broad array of social benefits.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/18/2020 - 11:38 am.

        I’m shocked beyond belief, are you suggesting that Adam Smith had that 5 letter word “social” and corporate social responsibility linked with free market economics? Blasphemy I say sir, pure blasphemy!

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/17/2020 - 02:32 pm.

      Actually, I believe it was Mussolini who claimed to have made the trains run on time.

  14. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 02/17/2020 - 06:12 pm.

    I can’t wait for the next debate where all of the candidates on stage admit that “they all have relatively small policy differences”. Perhaps the author can call one of the moderators to have them ask the question if they all believe this to be true Maybe they could raise their hands if they believe it to be true. Maybe we’d find out if the author is correct or not. As citizens, don’t we deserve to know?

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/18/2020 - 01:44 pm.

      Could not agree more; candidates are on spectrum as they always are. Once primary attack season is in full swing, each will tell us where the others stand.

      Eric is campaigning for everyone to have a primary position of Trump defeat; nothing else matters.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/18/2020 - 02:51 pm.

        “everyone to have a primary position of Trump defeat; nothing else matters”
        We agree 100%, as Savoy Brown would say, “Going down the Road on a Hell bound Train” Unlike the grave digger and the republicans that did everything to limit Obama to one term and put us on “This Hell Bound Train”! Yeah some of us want to turn it back,

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/18/2020 - 10:31 pm.

          Yah, that didn’t work out so well for Hillary. She ran on not being Trump and now she is not President.

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/19/2020 - 10:18 am.

            Despite wining the majority of the vote! Hey crooked is how the right wing likes it, lies, hypocrites, corruption, cheating in elections, etc. etc. etc. The term is Machiavellian, what I don’t understand is why more of you folks aren’t like Stone, proud of your corrupt craft and willing to brag about how you are so good at creating propaganda and undermining our democracy, why try to deny those dirty tricks and corruption, you all should be proud of those accomplishments? Shoe fits where it proudly.

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/19/2020 - 10:44 am.

              Still don’t understand how election results are tallied? A candidate interested in winning the election campaigns to get the votes to win. Results were not close; Trump needed 270 and earned 304.

              Voters interested in a candidate not crooked, not corrupt, not a cheater, nor hypocritical would clearly vote for Clinton. The purists.

              • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/19/2020 - 01:52 pm.

                Its simple: Win 20 delegates each by 1 vote you get 20 delegates, win 20 delegates each by 500,000 votes still 20 delegates. Win 20 football games by 1 point each 20 wins, win 20 games by 20 points each, still only 20 wins. Now you know the fallacy behind the electoral college. To add a little fuel to the fire, Wyoming gets 2 senators, population of the state south of 578K, California gets 2 senators, population just south of 40M, Wyoming 1 senator per every 290K people, California 1 senator for every 20M. Do you understand the concept of minority rule of the majority now? Typically the reason most governments fail, “minority rule” no respect for the majority, why do you think our senate is so dysfunctional and biased against the majority? Good old Machiavellian leadership, screw the majority, and hang on to rule as the minority at all costs.

                • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/19/2020 - 04:58 pm.

                  So using your reasoning, California should have 53 seats in the House and 53 Seats in the Senate. What were the founding fathers thinking? They should have established just one legislative body; no need for two.

                  • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/20/2020 - 10:11 am.

                    Times change, and yes you are right there are quite a few folks that think its time to abolish the Senate and the EC, to let the majority rule, and not be subject to the tyranny of the minority. But then again, got folks that seem to like tyranny! Guy in the WH at the top of the list!

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/21/2020 - 10:21 am.

                      The Great Compromise, as it was called when it was adopted by the Framers, required that all states have two senators. Compromise is no longer so popular; this deal wouldn’t have gotten done today nor will it get undone.

                      Defenders of the Electoral College view it as a sort of affirmative action program that prevents rural America and all of the fly-over states from being overwhelmed by densely populated urban centers like New York City and Los Angeles.

                • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/19/2020 - 06:31 pm.

                  The word “democracy” appears nowhere in our nation’s two most fundamental documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The founders established a representative republic. They were wise to the tyranny available to a majority. We don’t have a democracy and we’re not going to get one.

                  • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/20/2020 - 10:18 am.

                    This is the same goofball argument as “crimes in impeachment” Trump can murder 250 people but no problem because the impeachment clause doesn’t mention murder! As before can’t we be a little intellectually honest about things. Your conversation directions reminds me of the Dunning-Kruger effect. Of course you are invisible! .

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/20/2020 - 06:00 pm.

                      Same argument? murder 250 people? I am invisible?

                      As so common, those charging Dunning-Kruger Effect are exhibiting it.

                  • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/20/2020 - 11:24 am.

                    As Edward Burmila has said, “In the end, invoking republicanism is little more than a way out for the many Americans who honestly think they support government Of, By, and For the People but are perfectly happy with undemocratic processes that produce the outcomes they want . . . It is a cheap rhetorical sleight-of-hand, then, to justify outcomes or processes on the basis that America is ‘not a democracy,’ not that such a statement is ever made as a legitimate argument in good faith. “

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/20/2020 - 01:36 pm.

                      In Federalist No. 10, widely regarded as the most important of the 85 articles, Madison discusses the means of preventing rule by majority.

                      Majority rule thinking was anticipated by the founding fathers about 240 years ago; it was discussed, debated, and then prevented by the Constitution they created. Majority rule is cool if you are in the majority; otherwise, not so much. Start your own country or convince some other country to do it; John Madison and I don’t want it here.

                • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/28/2020 - 05:01 am.

                  You described the fallacy that is the Super Bowl. The NFL Champion should not be the team that is undefeated in the playoffs. The Championship should be awarded to the team with the most cumulative season points, even if they end the season on a losing struck. Just like the popular vote.

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/20/2020 - 02:48 pm.

            To pick up below: , please be a little specific on #10 kind of like “it may be concluded that a pure democracy” (You know that word you claim has no mention in the constitution etc. or for that matter I suspect the documents leading to it!) Or perhaps its the “The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced in to the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished”
            Looks like Madison warning us about Trump 200 + years ago!

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/20/2020 - 03:24 pm.

              Spoiler alert, I am the one that brought #10 into the democracy discussion. Madison warned against it. “Democracy” is not used in the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution. You are correct that democracy was warned of in documents leading to the Constitution. Thank You for that.


              The concept of states is so central to our form of government that the word “states” is included in the name of the country. .

              Tenth Amendment, Bill of Rights, states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” And, the Constitution gives specific powers to the states to select Presidents; The Electoral College.

              • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/20/2020 - 04:00 pm.

                Your claim “no democracy” my claim, democracy is referenced, Your suggesting because it isn’t specifically mentioned it can’t be! Just like murder an impeachment, since not specifically mentioned can’t be. So you agree: Trump could sit outside the WH and mow down 100’s of people, no problem, because that “murder” word is not specifically called out in the impeachment clause. Its a derivative of your own argument! i.e. democracy not allowed in America because it is not specifically called out in the constitution. Neither is free market or capitalism! guess that makes you a socialist or communist “Bernie Supporter”!

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/20/2020 - 05:37 pm.

                You need to crack open a history book and learn what James Madison thought “democracy” meant. At the time of the ratification of the Constitution, it was understood to mean the type of direct democracy as practiced in Ancient Greece, or in pre-Imperial Rome. Madison even said as much, which you will recall from your thorough study of Federalist 10: “a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person . . .” No, that is not what the Founders intended.

                In fact, it’s not at all clear that they would have intended a “republic” as the term was commonly understood at the time. There weren’t that many republics around. The Founders would have been familiar (at least in theory) with, say, the Venetian Republic, but the leader there was selected by a vote of the wealthy oligarchs, and not the people.

                If we take Madison as the final word on what the Founders may have intended, it’s clear that he meant a democratic republic: “the delegation of the government . . . to a small number of citizens elected by the rest . . .” We would be a republic, but one cast in a democratic form.

                Using 18th Century political theory to justify anti-majoritarianism in the 21st Century is lazy at best, deeply cynical at worst.

                • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/21/2020 - 10:16 am.

                  The final word? The final word is the Constitution, which bears James Madison signature. That is the final word. To suggest otherwise is dishonest.

                  • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/21/2020 - 11:12 am.

                    And that comment has nothing to do with what I said. Good job.

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/21/2020 - 12:22 pm.

                      Your claim regarding what the Founding Father’s may have intended from the Federalist Papers, written October 1787 to May 1788.

                      “If we take Madison as the final word on what the Founders may have intended, it’s clear that he meant a democratic republic …”

                      Are you claiming that the Father’s intended something other than the ratified Constitution – June 21, 1788. Do the math on the last word.

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/21/2020 - 01:13 pm.

                      Dude, you’re the one who copied and pasted the Wikipedia article on Federalist 10 as support for the sad “republic not a democracy” trope. Don’t you read your own posts?

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/21/2020 - 02:20 pm.

                      I quoted Federalist #10, which supports my position.

                      The main purpose of The Federalist Papers was to explain the newly proposed constitution, supporting it in the upcoming ratifying convention.

                      Wax wise and philosophical about what you claim are “undemocratic processes.” It won’t change the fact that we don’t have the democracy that you want, that the Electoral College system selects Presidents and Vice Presidents, and that each state has two Senators in the United States of America.

  15. Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/20/2020 - 08:28 am.

    Back to the original premise of this column, “Democrats’ (relatively small) policy differences”. Did you catch the Nevada debate? I didn’t see all of it, but enough to witness Bloomberg call Sanders a communist. Other attacks included Warren tattooing #metoo on Bloomberg’s forehead; Warren handcuffing Klobuchar and Biden to McConnell. There seem to be a lot of interest in creating separation; Mayor Pete was downright mean to Amy. Mayor Pete was into Bernie before it was cool to be into Bernie, but he apparently grew out of it. Joe grabbed Pete by the arm. A lot to think about.

    There was an abundance of sound bites generated for the Trump campaign ad library.

  16. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 02/20/2020 - 04:55 pm.

    Take your left hand and spread your fingers as far apart as possible.

    Now take your right hand and make a fist.

    Next spread your arms apart as far as you possibly can.

    Your left pinky is Bernie, your left thumb is Bloomberg, your right fist is Trump.

    The folks on the stage last night are so focused on the space between their fingers that they can’t even see the Trumpian fist 6′ to the right.

    Every question should have been answered as to how they will defeat Trump, not why their XYZ program is incrementally better then the guy next to them’s XYZ program. Total incompetence. Their only hope is the monumental incompetence and dis-likability of Trump.

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