First, to put my cards on the table, I’ve admired Bernie Sanders’ Anti-Establishment, Pro-Humanity philosophy AND behavior for 25 years. So I think he is, BY FAR, the best candidate for president in 2020. He has integrity AND vision, two things that have been lacking from the candidates favored by the Democratic centrists over the past few decades.
Which leads me to ask: which candidate does the writer of this article I’ve quote, Jonathan Chait, favor? From doing even some perfunctory reading of his pieces this morning, I think it’s likely he supports Joe Biden, but I never did come across any article where he outright said it.
Has he? If so, please share a link, I’d love to know.
The media has an accountability problem and there are some legitimate reasons for this. Perhaps a bit more transparency by media members could change that.
Writers like Chait often hide behind an identity as simply a critic without his own biases. And people like him are often the ones who most often wonder why the public no longer trusts them and then answers: Russia! Russian bots! Russian bellydancers! Russian roulette! Ugh!!
I was a journalist in the 1990s but dropped out of the game mostly because I was frustrated with what I found was an increasingly disingenuous media landscape where reporters and outlets professed “objectivity” when that was more of a goal than actual fact. I felt then, and still do, that folks like Chomsky are more right than wrong about how the US propaganda system worked.
Ultimately, transparency and honesty are going to be key for the media to restore trust but I’ll drop that point there to get to my main point about this article.
And that is, I question Hait’s premise that Democrats can better win the battleground states by moving to this “center,” which Hait admits is a “hazy” concept. Why?
First, Hait refers to “a bunch of persuadable voters who can be pushed away from a party based on their perception that it’s too radical.” When we talk of such “voters,” are we talking only about those who voted in the 2016 election and who usually vote (about 58 percent of eligible voters or around 139 million people?)
Probably so. So that leaves 40–45 percent of eligible voters — to potentially rally out to the polling booths. Wouldn’t appealing to their concerns be an intelligent strategy?
Some are saying that there will be more voters in 2020 based on midterm turnout in 2018, the highest since 1914, so we are talking perhaps 20 million more voters.
Point is, things are changing in America. Staying true to the “center” was one of the main reasons the Democrats lost in 2016. Such a concept is hazy precisely because there is no real narrative to explain what it means to the lives of voters. At the same time, because of the track record of centrists, voters also understand that a lot of what centrists say amounts to hot air. “Hope and change”? Is that really what Obama brought?
Meanwhile, progressive Democrats like Sanders and, to a lesser degree, Warren, have both vision and passion for their vision. They aren’t being hidden away by their campaign operators like Biden. Isn’t that a worrying sign that a campaign believes its best strategy to win is to keep the candidate off the campaign trail?
Will such behavior really drive voters, old and new, to the voting booth? Because as much as centrists want to convince us all we have to do is defeat Trump and return to “normal,” most people weren’t feeling that “normal” was such a great thing in 2015–6 and that’s how we ended up with Trump, a person that centrists promised us could never win the election in the first place.
There are many other points I could raise about why Hait’s article flies in the face of the actual reality on the ground, why it is folks like him who are the ones in fantasy land, not those of us who simply want the United States to be on the level of other countries around the world that offer their citizen quality health care and college at affordable costs without the specter of financial debt slavery or health-caused bankruptcy hanging over their heads.
Such realities don’t exist in the country I’m writing this from — Japan — and this isn’t exactly a country with its head in the futuristic clouds.
Ultimately, maybe centrists can spend the next year actually listening to the people out there in the country who tell them why they are apathetic about voting, actually considering that these are intelligent people with reasonable ideas for why voting is a waste of their time, not brainwashed numbskulls who bought into the propaganda of overseas bot farms. Maybe stop using scare tactics to alter those perceptions that Hait wrote about.
A guy can hope, right?