Sanders takes on the establishment; O’Malley criticizes GOP (and DNC over debates)

MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley
Bernie Sanders admitted that his policies initially put his campaign for presidency in a long-shot position.

The members of the Democratic National Committee meeting at the Hilton Hotel in Minneapolis were thoroughly engaged by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s speech on Friday. But they were inflamed by the speeches that followed as candidates Martin O’Malley and Sen. Bernie Sanders pushed the party’s progressive agenda leftward.

O’Malley called for an expansion of Social Security, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and a stronger defense of unionization — remarks that brought the crowd to its feet more than once. 

And while the former Maryland governor took the obligatory club to the Republican party — “Let their party be led by a hate-spewing carnival barker” — O’Malley didn’t spare the very people he was appealing to. He was blunt in his criticism of the DNC decision to sanction only six debates.

“This is totally unprecedented in our party. This sort of rigged process has never been attempted before,” he said. “Whose decree is it? Where did it come from? To what end? For what purpose? What national or party interest does this decree serve? How does this help us tell the story of the last eight years of Democratic progress?”

O’Malley left the stage to a standing ovation and more applause than greeted him at the start of his remarks.

The applause became ear-pounding noise with the arrival of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — who, far from criticizing the 300 DNC members, praised them. “What you are doing is the most patriotic thing we can do as Americans,” he said.

Then he let the rhetoric rip. Some excerpts:

“What we need is a political movement that is prepared to take on the billionaire class that will work for all of us, not just a handful of the wealthiest people in this country.”

“Let me be as clear as I can be. Democrats will not retain the White House, will not regain the House and Senate, will not be successful in dozens of races unless we … produce a huge voter turnout. That turnout will not happen with politics as usual. … We need a movement which tells corporate America and the wealthiest people in this country that they will start paying their fair share of taxes.” 

“We do not need more establishment politics or establishment economics.”

Sanders’ positions were not so much a poke at Hillary Clinton as a magnification of similar policies she has offered. She wants to overturn Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that allows corporate and union money to flow unfettered to political campaigns. He says he wouldn’t appoint a Supreme Court justice who doesn’t pledge to rehear and overturn the ruling.

Martin O’Malley
MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley
Martin O’Malley called for an expansion of Social Security, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and a stronger defense of unionization.

Clinton has a plan to help students with college loan debt. Sanders wants free tuition at every American college and university.

Sanders admitted that his policies initially put his campaign for presidency in a long-shot position.

“The word fringe was heard more than once,” he said.  “A lot has changed in the last few months.”

So much has changed that while DNC members appeared to give Hillary Clinton an edge in their applause and appreciation, Sanders is holding on to the loyalty of the party’s more liberal members.

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Comments (17)

  1. Submitted by John Appelen on 08/29/2015 - 07:32 am.


    It sounds like the usual speeches… Let’s raise the cost of doing business and living in America. While the American consumers demand less expensive, higher quality and more innovative products and services irregardless of source. I am often amazed at the Democrat’s desire to push even more American companies into bankruptcy, or to force them to move more operations to lower cost countries.

    Now if American citizens were excited to pay more for high domestic content product and services, their model would work. But when even the Union and Tax loving Liberal consumers keep buying high foreign content product and services, or product made in “low union power” states for their own personal advantage… This will be a failed concept.

    They in essence are saying. You American employers must pay more. While we American consumers will buy from the lowest cost highest value supplier…

    • Submitted by Joseph Brunoli on 08/29/2015 - 08:59 am.

      TRUE FACT: Democratic Socialism is Better for Business

      What most people don’t know, and what will probably come as a surprise to you, is that it is much easier to start and grow a small business in “Socialist” Europe than in the US. This is due to several reasons:
      1. Lower regulatory burdens – yep, it’s true, according to the OECD
      2. Lower taxes – again, it’s true according to OECD
      3. Better access to working capital (World Economic Forum)
      4. Lower employee costs for healthcare (which are 0 in the EU because they have Single payer nationalised health care)

      Small business’s share of the U.S. economy is slowly shrinking and is less significant than in many European economies. This is because of crony Capitalism and “laissez-faire” attitude that believes in the so-called “Free Market” – when there is no such thing. Europe’s political and economic system is from the 20th century, and America’s is from the 18th. Viewed in those terms, it is not hard to believe that the European-style “Democratic Socialism” that Bernie is pushing is the way to go for entrepreneurs and believers in free enterprise.

      But don’t take my word on it – this is all from BusinessWeek:

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/29/2015 - 11:03 am.

        Apples and Oranges

        Though I agree with some of your comments, the reality is that consumers in Europe are very different from consumers in America. European citizens are biased towards supporting their companies and employers, maybe similar to the USA in the 1960’s. Whereas American consumers seek what is best for themselves with little thought to the impact on our wages or society. I mean Walmart is the largest retailer for a reason. (good value for the customer)

        And please remember that their tort law is hugely different.

        The interesting thing is that European consumers are changing. The Swedish are starting to buy Hyundais, not just Volvos… And VW is moving many of their jobs to low cost countries to avoid the high costs of operating in Germany. Times are a changing.

        • Submitted by chuck holtman on 08/30/2015 - 09:08 am.

          Yes, John, this is your common refrain

          But it assumes that consumer demand is an independent variable.

          For decades, the dominant features of the establishment economic programme have included: (a) free global movement of capital and goods; (b) maintaining cheap production inputs in foreign nations (low wages, no environmental controls, etc); (c) deeply suppressed fossil fuel prices (cheap transport); (d) propagation of a concept of self-interest that carefully steers the population away from any recognition that one has the responsibility to consider the broader ethical ramifications of one’s personal choices; (e) the unceasing message that happiness comes from consuming; and (f) the maldistribution of social wealth that coerces most folks, even those who would do otherwise, to buy cheap. All of these flow from the incentives that our economic system puts in place, and thus your argument doesn’t deflect the critique of this system, it supports it.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/30/2015 - 03:42 pm.

            Please Explain

            So the system has brainwashed people to by Subaru, Samsung, best personal value, etc? (ie almost 0 domestic content)

            Please explain.

            • Submitted by chuck holtman on 08/31/2015 - 08:07 am.

              If you

              would like to offer a complete thought, I’d be happy to reply.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/31/2015 - 08:35 am.

                Your statement

                “All of these flow from the incentives that our economic system puts in place, and thus your argument doesn’t deflect the critique of this system, it supports it.”

                Your statement in essence says that “the system entices them to do it”.

                I say that normal America Consumers will spend their personal money on the item or service that gives themselves the best value. (ie best quality, lowest overall cost, highest mpg, best features, prettiest, etc) Subaru and Samsung are two foreign brands that offer excellent value from the perspective of certain consumers and provide almost zero domestic content. Not even design, corp offices, etc.

                Please explain how you believe the system is enticing American Consumers to buy these products over GM/Ford and Apple/Motorola/GE/Whirlpool that have much more domestic content?

                Please remember that when a consumer buys a Toyota Prius instead of a Chevy Volt, they are supporting overseas jobs and weakening the UAW. Two things that Liberals say they are against.

                Remember my bumper sticker game… I keep looking to see liberal bumper stickers on domestic vehicles. Unfortunately rarely does this occur.

                • Submitted by chuck holtman on 08/31/2015 - 02:17 pm.

                  Yes, my general point applies here.

                  First there is the broader context of social messaging and coercion that largely defines the demand for these goods. Then you say that people look for “best value.” Our society teaches that “best value” is a highly selfish concept and doesn’t consider the ethics of my choice or whether that choice if made by all is consistent with a sustainable society. Chief among criteria is price, even moreso because the wealth of the average person is below what it would be if social wealth were distributed more appropriately. If production is less expensive elsewhere (by virtue of more cost externalization) and there are no barriers to distant and decentralized production, then vehicles produced overseas will have an advantage.

                  Two other points.

                  First, there is a knowledge problem. You seem to pay great attention to the types of figures to which you link. You are an anomaly. There is a substantial time burden to do that sort of research and a challenge to finding figures that are understandable and reliable. Large concerns that benefit from moving capital to places where they can produce more cheaply work pretty hard to obfuscate, prevent and pollute just the sort of data sources that you suggest people use to inform their purchasing decisions.

                  Second, there is a substantial collective action problem here. A person who supports a more localized or domestic economy knows that her single purchase won’t have an effect on this. Given the magnitude of a car purchase, paying a large additional increment just on principle becomes a decision of luxury that few can afford. One reason government exists is to overcome this sort of problem by mandate.

                  Finally, I don’t know why you end up with the non sequitur about liberal bumper stickers. This doesn’t have anything to do with a distinction between liberals and not-liberals.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/31/2015 - 03:03 pm.


                    It seems you support government control of many things, which makes sense if you like Bernie. (wealth redistribution, demand shifting by mandate, supply shifting by mandate (ie anti-free trade), etc)

                    The reality is that price is set mostly by market factors, so one can buy a Malibu for the same or less than a Legacy. Or a Cruze for a similar price as a Jetta. People are just choosing not to.

                    The reason I bring up bumper stickers is that it is a simple measurement that everyone can do when stuck in traffic. Liberals absolutely villify businesses, the rich and managers for moving jobs to low cost countries or weak Union states. All the while these same Liberals are sending their money to those countries and states of their own free will. I just think it is ironic and worth raising often.

                    • Submitted by chuck holtman on 08/31/2015 - 05:58 pm.

                      I support ordered (i.e., socially maximized) freedom

                      To get there, I find market theory an invaluable heuristic toward optimizing social welfare but recognize that real economic life is beset by profound and thoroughgoing forms of market failure that require mediation thru collective efforts (what you call “government control”). Demand- and supply-shifting certainly are a part of that, where market failure distorts demand and supply.

                      I don’t “support” redistribution, I support a framework of laws and norms that produces an initial distribution from private economic activity that more reasonably reconciles our interests in productivity, avoiding excessive undermining of autonomous preference, and social insurance, and therefore requires less corrective redistribution thru collective political decisionmaking. I think Sanders does, too, and I think he would get over a hurdle with certain demographics if he found an accessible way (i.e., unlike mine) to make the distinction.

                      I don’t know why you term your bumper sticker observations ironic. Liberals receive different social messages and process them differently than not-liberals, but they are equally subject to all of the elements of choice distortion that I listed initially.

  2. Submitted by Wes Davey on 08/29/2015 - 08:19 am.

    Was former Senator Jim Webb invited to this DNC gathering?

  3. Submitted by Joseph Brunoli on 08/29/2015 - 08:56 am.

    Hillary Will Lose – Here’s Why

    “Brother Bernie” (as Cornell West calls him) is right on. If Hillary gets the nomination, she will lose.
    I really believe the old maxim, “Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line.” In my 50+ years experience, this has always proven to be true: Democrats cannot win an election unless they have a charismatic candidate that is beloved by the base, so that the base turns out in force on Election Day.

    Hillary is not that candidate.

    Sure, “Email-gate” may pass, and Benghazi is just something that GOP wing-nuts (plus Carly Fiorina) go on about, but Hillary’s favourability ratings as well as her “trustworthiness” ratings are in the toilet. You simply cannot depend on her to galvanize and excite an Obama-like coalition to save the day on November 8, 2016.

    Let’s face it: such phrases as “she’s the only viable candidate”, “she’s better than what the GOP has” and worst of all, “think about the Supreme Court” are simply NOT the rallying cries that will get the Democratic base to the polls. And we all know that when people stay home, Democrats lose.

    The irony, of course, is that we have seen this all before. Remember the catchphrase from the 2004 election: “dated Dean, married Kerry” ?

    We all know how well that “sensible choice” turned out – let’s not make that mistake again. FEEL THE BERN!!

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/29/2015 - 10:04 am.

    Little Correction

    It’s been widely observed that Sander’s has and is pulling Clinton to the left, Sander’s has been advocating these positions for decades, it’s Clinton that is now echoing Sanders, not the other way round. For instance Sanders has been calling for free college for years, Clinton just came out with her “plan” a couple weeks ago, so no, Sander’s isn’t “magnifying” Clinton’s agenda, on the contrary.

    Sanders doesn’t “poke” at Clinton in any event, he focuses on issues and steadfastly refuses to attack the other candidates.

    Sanders and O’Malley are correct, democrats need to accept the fact that they have a liberal “base” and they can only win elections if that base votes for their candidates. Democrats always talk themselves into thinking they’ll win elections with republican votes, the fact is the republican pool is shrinking to the point where it’s barely large enough to get republicans let alone democrats elected. Sanders and O’Malley are simply making a basic mathematical observation… you can’t win elections in this country, no matter how much you spend… with 1% of the vote.

  5. Submitted by John Appelen on 08/31/2015 - 09:15 pm.


    “where market failure distorts demand and supply.”

    Who among us is smart enough to decide this is happening?
    Who in government do we trust enough to act on this judge’s belief?

    “framework of laws and norms that produces an initial distribution from private economic activity that more reasonably reconciles our interests in productivity, avoiding excessive undermining of autonomous preference, and social insurance, and therefore requires less corrective redistribution thru collective political decision making.”

    “Framework of Laws” requires political decision making. Are you thinking maximum and minimum compensation laws or something else?

    Oh come now, the irony of people doing what they say is improper is always amusing. Remember those Evangelical Pastors who are caught with their hand in the til, or arm around the secretary.

    • Submitted by chuck holtman on 09/01/2015 - 10:40 am.

      It’s our society.

      We decide on the structures of social and economic interaction that “order our freedom.” Action is action, inaction is action. Allowing wealth to concentrate in a way that undermines the freedom and autonomy of the vast majority is a choice. Adjusting our structures for a different outcome is another choice.

      In certain realms of the left, among those who are more considered as to the role of citizens in a (purported) democracy, it is understood that one’s political choices are guided not by self-interest, but by one’s judgment as to the laws that best approach our society’s fundamental goal (of ordered freedom). We set aside knowledge of our own circumstances, as best we can. This is the Kantian “ideal legislator,” or John Rawls’ “veil of ignorance.” We all have a duty to inform ourselves and to be thoughtful, so that our political decisions reflect the considered judgments of all of us (channeled thru our representatives). This view appears foreign to those on the Right, who seem to accept that one’s political role is entirely to argue in one’s selfish interest.

      So the answer to your question is: We all make the decisions. And whether we’re smart enough to do so is beside the point. There’s no option but to do the best we can.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/01/2015 - 09:25 pm.


        “This view appears foreign to those on the Right, who seem to accept that one’s political role is entirely to argue in one’s selfish interest.”

        The people on the Left, many who are poor or lower middle class, vote for significantly increased social spending (ie freebies) and very progressive tax rates… And you say that the Conservatives are voting for their self interest.

        Personally I think there is an equal mix of selfish and idealistic people on both sides. There are people like me who give a lot to charity and vote fiscal conservative because I am a huge fan of carrots and sticks as an external motivator for people. I truly believe this is much better for America than taking a huge amount of money from people who make good decisions to arbitrarily give it to other people. (some who are making very bad decisions)

        One of my favorite sayings is “always assume good intent” unless you know the individual personally and have ascertained that they are “evil”. I believe most Conservatives and Liberals want a strong America. They just have different views on how to get there.

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