Since we can’t seem to let go of the catastrophic 2016 election, I’ll chime in too: Hillary lost for a lot of reasons.

What is often forgotten is how unelectable she was due to a 20+ year war against the Clintons waged by Rs (and buttressed by the media’s weird fixation on ‘both sides’ / false equivalencies). Right or wrong, they have controlled the narrative on who she is for a lot of Americans.

From the start, I would contend that was what made her so unelectable.


as someone who grew up and still lives in the Midwest, this is what it is all about.

Bernie has a lot in common with the only Democrats that still win difficult races in Ohio - folks like Sherrod Brown and Tim Ryan, and they win because they give a shit about peoples’ jobs and they make that abundantly clear. They’re unashamedly pro-worker, they show up to factories and community events, and they make eye contact and shake your hand the same way a neighbor does. Even people who don’t 100% agree with them at least respect them. HRC wasn’t doing anything to truly convince anyone that she would have cared about something like the GM Lordstown plant shutting down, or Carrier moving jobs from Indiana to Mexico. Trump, even though I think it is mostly bullshit, at least talks about that stuff (and throws blame on things like NAFTA, which is directly connected to the Clintons) in ways that people can get behind when their job or industry is in decline.

With all due respect, this reads like the analysis of a “NYC-classical liberal type with some fondness for Wall Street”, not that of someone who has any idea what it is actually like to live here. Bernie won Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, West Virginia, and a bunch of the plains states in the primaries. Which states just barely flipped for Trump and effectively lost the election for HRC? Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania.

My parents and my partners’ middle-class Ohio parents all voted for Trump. They also all liked at least some of what Bernie was/is about, and at least would have considered voting for him in the general. There was no way my parents would ever vote for another Clinton, even though my mom voted for Bill in 1992. Blame it on “drain the swamp”, Fox News, or whatever you want, but they wanted to at least have the hope that things were in for some kind of change to the pandering political vibe and maybe some economic improvement as they get into their retirement years (there’s a whole other conversation there about baby boomers fucking everything up in the first place with their politics and voting habits, but that’s a different story).

My parents left their “Trump 2016” sign in the yard for probably a year after the election. They also explicitly said they would have maybe voted for Bernie in the general and they voted for Ted Cruz in the primaries. Does that make sense? Not really (edit: NO), but it’s still true, and I don’t think they’re that much of outliers.

Around here, I think 2016 came down to the economy and people sick of half-measures from the literal same family as the out-of-touch millionaires who at least helped put us in the situation we’re in. I’m not convinced that a law professor from Harvard is who people in the Rust Belt/Midwest will trust to get us out of it, but a plain-speaking weird old guy from Vermont gets the point across, even if in overly-simple terms.


I think I said this way earlier in this thread, but running presidential candidates with a vast political history is almost never a good idea. You want voters to be able to project onto the candidate a little bit (feels weird to say, but history has proven this) and that was never really possible with Clinton.

Sanders is almost a weird outlier to this rule since he’s been predicting a political moment for 30 years and his consistency and lack of opportunism stand up extremely well under scrutiny.

I appreciate you stating your take, but I think you might be making the mistake of associating Bernie as the source of these ideas, rather than a political conduit of them. For better or for worse, the ideas represented in Bernie '16 campaign are only going up magnify this time around. I don’t know if Sanders is my #1 choice as the candidate, but he’s going to have a massive gravitational effect on these primaries and I can only see these as a good thing.


this discussion saddens me
i don’t have much to add but am learning quite a bit from each of your perspectives

probably lurk in this thread more than any other without actually chiming in


Conduit or source is irrelevant though. You could claim the same about Trump’s stances given that he’s basically Pat Buchanan with a wig. Trump types have always been a part of the Republican party, they were basically just constantly conned by the establishment “globalists” (my favorites!). Trump is not made more or less dangerous should those ideas had been the sole product of his senile mind.

I’d be all for claiming that Bernie’s candidacy is a benefit to the status quo, except for the fact that he did weaken HRC in 2016 by dragging out the primary and forcing her to focus on primary states rather than general election states just to make sure to secure the nom. I’d expect him to do the same exact thing to Harris, Booker or Warren if any of them ended up become the defacto candidate after a few primary states. Doubly so given the size of his campaign coffers this time around.

I really just don’t know what sort of positive effect he will have with Warren in the race. Everyone but Klobuchar is basically rooting for Medicare for All and a better deal for college students.


I just want to comment that regardless of economic policy, it is very likely we will either be in a period of retraction during the next election cycle or before then regardless of the politics of the hopefully incoming new president or outcome of the election in general. The consensus seems to be that this should happen sooner than later but we’ve been hearing this for years. I think its important to focus on policies that may lead us through another macro pull-back of some sort.

EDIT: this isn’t to say that the outcome of the election won’t be a factor, but there could be a variety of factors in play during the next cycle, not the least of which being we are “due” for one.


Not sure how I feel about him running again, but this is one of his most appealing qualities. Sad that it’s such a rare trait in politicians.

To @jasonw22 's point…I can’t cope with a nearly 2 year primary/reality show though, so I’ll be trying to go back to silent on this for awhile :slight_smile:


I cannot be certain that Harris, Warren, and Booker would not drive us into worldwide environmental collapse based on their lack of conviction to meaningful changes to energy and related policy even in the face of data indicating that outcome, but I’m sure Bernie and Buttigieg would concertedly try not to.

which is more important, and who decides?

some more discussion of past primary blame

until they’ve won the nomination, they aren’t nominated. personally, I really am repulsed by any sense of entitlement to a nomination or election until the literal last votes are counted. why should Bernie (or anyone, but especially a relatively radical, massively popular insurgent candidate) back off just because it looks like someone else is going to win?

from the other side, what if HRC and/or the DNC would have prioritized electability based on general election polls and chosen Bernie to run in the general instead? a stretch, sure, but maybe he would have won and this would all be a moot point, but naturally HRC wanted the nomination and fought to win it. why shouldn’t an underdog fight til the end, as well?

one could make a similar claim that Booker/Harris/Warren/etc should step aside and let Bernie build momentum since he is by far the most popular and well-known going into it, but no one really takes that stance though it is the most reasonable if you use the imperfect logic that contentious primary = weak candidate.

another perspective is that Warren missed her shot by sitting out 2016 leaving a massive void to the left of Hillary which led Bernie to run in the first place, and maybe Warren would otherwise be president now; that certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but nor is really anything else. this blame game is a waste of time.

Bernie’s persistence, like it or not, is at least a significant factor in having made Harris, Booker, and, to a smaller degree, Warren appealing to a much wider audience because they’re adopting massively popular parts of his platform that they otherwise would not likely support. insisting that he step aside or something seems counter-intuitive given that truth, especially if he continues to remain more popular than any one of them.


I have always bemoaned single issue voters but I’m afraid I’m now becoming one of them with regards to the environment. I like Warren and genuinely love that in any room she’ll likely be the most informed and thoughtful person on any issue but she’s an ardent defender of capitalism which, in my mind, puts her at odds with any sweeping environmental policy that is desperately needed. I would be very happy to be wrong on this point!

Regarding Bernie (who, full disclosure, I am tentatively supporting at this point) - my most cynical self can imagine the scenario where he’s the 2020 candidate and loses to Trump (or Pence or whoever, haha) due in part to members of the centrist, HIllary wing of the dems sitting out the election out of spite because they felt that not enough Bernie people voted for HIllary in 2016 after the HIllary camp attempted (and continue) to smear them as a bunch of racist, misogynists (which, (un)ironically, is also an effective way to dismiss and silence the voices of the many POC, women, LGBTQ individuals who did support Bernie - though perhaps this is not a problem for those who feel the road to dem victory is through converting frustrated older, white Trump voters through political centrism rather than inspiring younger people and people who feel unrepresented with bold progressive ideas). It’s madness!!

I’d also love to see Buttgieg get some more attention based on that New Yorker profile linked above.


I think 2016 was a weird inflection point where we could see the demographic shift coming, but it hadn’t quite arrived yet. I wouldn’t draw too many conclusions about 2020 from 2016. Lots of people turned 18 between then and now.


bernie is the logical candidate to me and the one i feel most enthusiastic about. him being 79 in 2020 doesnt really bother me at all, in fact it has pros to it (read: the boomers still arent done wanting boomer presidents + a sort of unspoken “maybe im just a one term guy to right the ship” ethos isnt bad at all). bernie is the antithesis to trump and trump is scared of him, whereas with literally every other candidate in the field i can see trumps politics of character assassination being frighteningly and sadly effective, and he has a sterling record of actually being a human and standing against the elements of american politics that i find so craven and disgusting


This thought process drives a lot of the conversation around the primary and it is frustrating.


yeah this is the “we need a centrist!” mindset which is completely wrongheaded and the reason boomer dems have a history of backpedaling and kowtowing and framing their beliefs as though they’re not valid if not outright totally compromising them. this politics needs to end now.


I recently started following Andrew Yang’s campaign for the Democratic primary. I think his UBI proposal is a half-measure and I’m more skeptical of capitalism, but he is extremely articulate and informed in the interviews I have seen. His points about automation are extremely on-point and is something we should be more concerned about as a society.


In all but one respect but it’s an important one, both Bernie and Trump represent a return to the past and the centering of the white working class, Middle American subject whereas the USA is and always has been much more than this.

I think this is understood but there’s a more subtle point – it’s not an easy matter of taking the white 1950’s or 1980’s middle-American subject-position and diversifying it, as if “diversity” were something external, something to be added. The very issue of how we go forward needs to be thought out of a completely different subject position. A subject who represents the America that is already great, and one – this is perhaps the most important thing – one that is strictly future oriented and sees the past for what it actually was.

We need a perspective that remembers the 1980’s not as some mythic time before Big Tech when we had community and dreamed of the future but an era of Michael Sembello, Air Supply, duck and cover, AIDS quarantine proposals and racist drug laws.

We need to remember that when the punks said NO FUTURE in 1977 they meant it also as we do today.

So while I agree with Bernie’s positions I fear that his narrative may just end up playing into Trump’s as it did in 2016. AOC understands this better but even she falters when adopting the 1930’s “New Deal” language. No doubt, Bernie’s positions need to be taken as a litmus test. Certainly Hillary or the latest avatars of neoliberalism (Booker, Harris, Warren, Klobuchar, Howard Schultz etc.) are already DOA.

But Left MAGA must be a nonstarter as well. Bernie’s policies, yes, but with a different face and narrative. The narrative needs to be antithetical to Trump’s in every way, and foreground a positive vision of the future, not the past. A vision founded upon the ways America is already great. It’s not fair to Bernie or his policy ideas or the tremendous achievements of his career but these narratives are much larger than any one person, and they do matter.


They are appealing to the actual voters. Young people of today don’t vote in nearly the same numbers for many reasons and this is a recent trend. I read that the gap is about 10-20%. The politicians are catering their politics to the majority of people they believe will show up. Its hard to see that trend changing any time soon until the majority of eligible voters (which is mostly young people) show up to vote. More boomers voted decades ago and more boomers continue to vote now.

I realize your point about the discussion around progressive politics and crafting a platform for the interests of young people - I just don’t know how to reconcile that with research showing that previous generations voted in greater numbers at any age.


right. and in this particular election this is (sadly/unfortunately) actually a political advantage. trump fears him precisely because he is the only dem candidate who by virtue of precisely the stigma you identified can potentially and decisively expose trumps completely fraudulent almost malevolent falseness as a public servant to them


yet another case for bernie imo


I want to agree with this, but the thing that gives me angst about doing so is the fact that nobody really comes to mind at the moment…

Fighting disenfranchisement/gerrymandering and volunteering for GOTV campaigns are the best ways I know of to diversify American political demographics.

That being said, @bradfromraleigh makes it sound like we’re dealing with a horrible downward trend. It’s really not that bad:

If fact, looks like an upward trend since the late 90s to me.


Just jumping in here in the middle of a many hundred post thread that I have read only a small part of… but wow, how does this kind of understanding account for a world-transforming event like the Buddha’s enlightenment experience?