February 14, 2019

Leftist congressladies will not campaign for Bernie 2020, reverting from socialism back to social justice-ism

This week Ilhan Omar, a Congressional freshman, decried the influence of the Israel lobby in DC, and predictably got smeared as an anti-semite by the shills for Zionism.

What was not predicted was her supposed leftist comrade, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, joining in the pile-on against her -- not only amplifying the consensus smear, but going further to police dissent from the Left, by scolding non-Jews against telling Jews what they can and cannot be offended by.

I.e., if you thought about telling Zionist shills to not equate the state of Israel and the Jewish people, you're just goy-splaining their feelings of ethnic victimhood. So, only Jews are allowed to debate the issue of AIPAC's role in DC, rather than the entire American citizenry whose government they are blowing millions of dollars trying to influence.

Ocasio-Cortez could have simply stayed quiet on the sidelines, for strategic reasons. Instead she lept off the sidelines to help Omar's attackers drive the shiv further into her back. With revolutionary friends like these, who needs status quo enemies?

All politics is coalitional, and if one of these "new faces for a new party" cannot even rely on others from their cohort for solidarity, then there goes their attempt to realign the party. Again, staying silent is one thing -- actively joining an attack on a friend is quite another.

And because the betrayal was public, everyone else now knows that this group of freshmen would-be realigners should not be taken seriously, if they can't even stick together. Why would anyone in the great big Establishment give them anything against the Establishment's interest, if the would-be realigners have no cohesion, and therefore no collective action potential to throw their weight around? Those who are divided, get conquered.

A different option from taking on the Establishment head-on is to throw in with some other figure or faction that has greater political capital, while still inclined toward realignment. Then it wouldn't matter that the newcomers have minimal political capital of their own to withstand attacks from the Establishment.

If the goal is wealth redistribution from rich to poor -- broadly construed, from taxation to re-writing trade deals to breaking up monopolies -- and keeping out of multiple global military interventions and occupations, there is only one faction for them to join -- Bernie Sanders'. None of the other declared or potential candidates is even close. That is, other than Tulsi Gabbard, but I think she's running just to raise issues, then drop out before voting begins, when she'll enthusiastically endorse and campaign for Bernie.

Can the same be said for the Three Amigas backed by the Democratic Socialists of America -- Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Rashida Tlaib? In recent interviews, all three have more or less openly stated that they will not get involved in the 2020 election on Bernie's behalf. With the rate things are going, maybe they'll go further and campaign against him. See the Appendix at the end of this post for the quotations.

Even though Bernie has not officially declared his candidacy, it's pretty clear that he will, and in any case endorsements could be stated conditionally. ("Assuming he does run, of course I'd love to do whatever I can to help him win the primary!")

For now, the rationalization they're giving is along the lines of, "Well, he was a good candidate at the time, and we appreciate that campaign, but that was then and this is now, so we need someone new." In practice, they mean someone with Bernie's commitment to economic populism and de-militarization of foreign policy, but who also checks off a bunch of masturbatory identity boxes -- not a heterosexual old white guy.

And gee, these new badass Congressladies are all branding themselves as equally populist as Bernie, but with higher diversity scores. It's not necessarily self-serving -- "Vote for me, I'm like Bernie only more diverse" -- but propping up the larger collective of like-identifying people ("populist feminists of color").

If they were working on his campaign in 2016, when he faced a greater uphill challenge in the primary, as a total unknown at the outset, let alone in the general when his party had been incumbent for two terms and no longer popular -- why aren't they willing to work on his campaign in 2020, when he's a nationally known and trusted figure, who faces a divided and weakened Establishment field, and who would face a deeply unpopular president of the rival party?

Their evasions reveal that the supposed socialist turn within the Democrat party, or the Left overall, has in fact been a reversion toward social justice-ism, in which material matters of economics and empire are given partial weight, while airy-fairy issues of social-cultural identity have de facto veto power.

As I detailed in a historical parallel here, the coming realignment will not resemble the New Deal but the Gilded Age.

The robber barons who controlled the Lincoln-era GOP had their own woke rationalizations -- "We're importing millions of foreigners to be wage slaves, not chattel slaves, and we're enslaving our fellow white people via Ellis Island, not racistly stealing more blacks out of Africa." On the foreign policy front, it was the White Man's Burden -- "Only greedy ethnocentric white racists would want to isolate themselves and withhold all of the white man's goodies from the Third World."

So, too, will the newly ascendant Democrat coalition become the party of woke capitalism and woke imperialism.

Appendix: Social justice-ists against Bernie


I am a horse-race hater. I hate them. I’m like, I’m like don’t ask me until the day before the New York primary is like, how I feel!

But I do think that obviously from — maybe not obviously but I think it’s pretty obvious like what we’re trying to do is is frame the debate and the conversation that are going to be happening in the next, that we’re going to be having in the next two years regardless of what that candidate is.

So, she might endorse Bernie when it's too late to affect her own state's important primary, which itself comes late in the primary calendar, dooming any chance that she could affect the bulk of the voting schedule. I wonder if she'll issue a proper tweet of her own, or just passively re-tweet someone else's endorsement, 30 minutes before the polls close?

Ilhan Omar

MH: OK, and on Bernie Sanders, are you team Bernie for 2020 if he decides to run again? Do you think he should run again?

IO: I actually believe that ship might have sailed.

MH: OK. You think there’ll be other progressive blood in 2020? Obviously, you think there should be someone with his platform running in 2020, at least?

IO: Yes, I do. I think there is an opportunity for new leaders to emerge.

MH: Is it Elizabeth Warren, that person, because that’s what it comes down to now, people say — any time you talk to lefties, it’s “Who is going to run in 2010 on the left? Is it going to be Warren or Sanders?”

IO: There are a lot of people that I’m excited about. I think I would be excited about a Warren candidacy. I’ve always thought of myself as part of the Warren wing of the party. I would be excited about Senator Kamala Harris running. I could see Senator Cory Booker thinking about it.

So, Bernie's ship might have sailed, but not the sturdy and sea-tested ship of freshman Senator Kamala Harris? As we've discovered this week, it is Omar's ship that has sailed.

Rashida Tlaib

MH: Fair enough. One last question: A growing number of Democrats are now launching presidential bids, a record number of women too. Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand just this week. Do you have a favorite candidate yet?

RT: No, I’m really focused on the shutdown...

MH: But it’s important. It’s not unimportant, obviously, who the candidate of your party to take on Trump.

RT: Of course it’s important but think about it, right now, there’s like more federal workers going to pawn shops to pawn off their goods because they’ve got to be able to make some sort of living. I don’t know. I’m so focused on that right now, and to be honest —

MH: But you were a Bernie supporter in 2016.

RT: Yes, but I —

MH: Would you encourage him to run this time? Even if you’re not coming out in favor of someone.

RT: I can tell you this is a man that has a tremendous amount of courage. He started talking about universal healthcare and supporting the right to boycott and the understanding that women deserve equal pay and all of those things and that’s something that I’m very passionate about. He has moved our country more and more towards these issues. That to me is real leadership and I support any of my colleagues who want to run but I hope they use that national stage, right now, at this moment, to get our government back up and running.

I notice this use of the past tense or present perfect tense in describing Bernie's noble role -- in the past. He "started talking about" this, and he "has moved" the country toward that. Not "is (still) moving" this, or "will do" that into the future. He was the John the Baptist to whoever will be the socialist Jesus -- and apparently Tlaib thinks that could be "any of" her colleagues. Who knows, any of them could be wealth redistributing Jesus, including Wall Street puppets like Corey Booker.


  1. Agree with your assessment of the women. Before Omar went after AIPAC, she'd gone after the Covington teenagers just a few weeks prior, earning her a distinction as being, I think, the only member of Congress getting sued over that. It's not fair what's happened to her, but she's not the hill to die on for the reasons you gave plus she's kind of a thug. Anyway, couldn't agree more and just hope you're wrong about the neo-gilded age. I can't imagine things getting worse!

  2. Framing the debate vs. building the coalition, that's the key difference in strategic orientation between these badass Congressladies and their cheerleaders on the one hand, and their critics on the other.

    They have either spontaneously come up with the idea, or had it implanted in their receptive minds from others (who are either cynical and manipulative, or just as naive), that by framing the debate to be about certain issues, and certain positions on those issues, they will force any candidates in the future to pass through their filters.

    But they're not simply trying to frame a debate, in tandem with a political coalition-building effort, to reinforce the ideological and the political levels. They're abandoning the only existing coalition and leader that would move society toward their supposed goals, as though Bernie and his team and his supporters don't matter in themselves. As long as Ocasio-Cortez et al frame the debate in the right way, hell, even Cory Booker will be forced to adapt to wealth redistribution, and he, his team, his donors, and his supporters would serve just as well as those of Bernie toward socialism!

    That's the idealist position -- that material conditions and collective action potential among a mass of people don't matter. By merely framing the debate, these real-world factors will be bent toward the ideological zeitgeist.

    The opposite position is materialist: that Bernie's coalition is the only game in town, so get on board or just stay home. It's not that Bernie is predestined to be the realigner -- it could easily have been someone else. It's historically contingent. But, the way events have actually transpired, he is the only one to build a massive coalition around replacing Reaganism / neoliberalism with something fundamentally different.

    If the idealists throw away all the coalition that has been built over the past 4 years -- with Bernie as the nucleus -- then they are surrendering. They're striding into battle against the Establishment with absolutely no cavalry to call upon -- they don't have to, since they've spent so much time framing the terms of the battle beforehand, that will ensure that some cavalry shows up from somewhere to back them up when the fighting truly begins.

    Gee, why are we all alone in this battle, and why are we getting our asses handed to us so effortlessly?

  3. If the badass Congressladies are being told by the Establishment to ditch Bernie's coalition in order to get bread crumbs on their own pet issues, they're still being naive and surrendering, and the idealist nonsense about "framing the debate" is just a coping rationalization.

    Frame the debate all you want, but no Green New Deal is getting implemented without Bernie Sanders as president. No tax hikes on the rich and corporations. No winding down of our endless military occupations. Goals get achieved by a team of committed individuals who have built up lots of political capital, large-scale trust, and the social and material infrastructure to activate a mass of people when needed -- going to the polls, carrying out a strike, etc.

    Why would president Pelosi / Harris / Booker give these novices what they wanted, if the novices are not part of a larger army threatening the Establishment? It will be bread-crumb-ism all over again.

    In a certain way, Ocasio-Cortez and the others are a greater threat to the realignment than the Establishment is. The opposition to redistribution, etc., from the Establishment is a given -- they're the enemy, they are going to put up a fight no matter what.

    But Ocasio-Cortez and crew are going around campaigning -- not to further solidify the Bernie army, but to disband it! Break it up, show's over, it was fun and correct to do back in 2016, but that was then and this is now. We need a whole new army to form around a different leader, a different support staff, a different list of people to call on for favors, and so on and so forth. Folx, it doesn't matter whether it's the Bernie army or the Booker army -- as long as we frame the debate properly beforehand, either one will help us win our goals against the Establishment.

    That's what makes me more convinced that we are not getting something like the New Deal after Reaganism, but largely more of the same, only serving a different set of elite sectors. Finance, tech, media / entertainment, as opposed to military, energy, agriculture, and manufacturing.

    Like the Gilded Age that "replaced" the Jacksonian era, there will be some notable changes. They'll amnesty the illegal cheap labor, akin to freeing the slaves. They'll build some more infrastructure, although probably more informational (broadband for all) to serve their own sectors. And they'll stabilize the finance system somewhat, after the utterly deregulated anarchy that has taken place when they were not in power.

    But at the big-picture level, it will be our century's version of the plantation owners being replaced by the robber barons as society's shapers.

  4. OT: how do you feel about Bernie's chances? Should populists in closed-primary states switch parties? Make much difference? As a Catholic, I won't vote pro-abortion, but if they all are in the Dem primary, I think it would be ethical. Far away still, though...

  5. Populists have only Bernie to rely on at this point, after the complete implosion of the Trump experiment. With decent chunks of the so-called Left abandoning his campaign, it's all the more urgent that he get help from disaffected Trump voters.

    He is the 2nd most popular in polls, after Biden, but that doesn't mean the Establishment can't rig the primary or run a spoiler in the general if they let Bernie get the Dem nom.

    Still, there is no alternative at this point -- it's Bernie or bust.

    BTW, voting Republican is pro-abortion, de facto, notwithstanding the cheap talk they give during election season. The Reaganites only went mainstream by throwing the Religious Right under the bus. The Supreme Court in the Reagan era has enshrined abortion at every chance -- including Roberts recently casting the deciding vote with the libs re the Louisiana law.

    1. BTW, what are your thoughts on Sherrod Brown?

    2. I could see disaffected Trump supporters, or even not so disaffected Trump supporters, having an impact in open primaries. Don't know how caucuses run. Most of us aren't very ideological and would rather have two populists to choose from rather than one. I'll happily make the switch in my closed primary state, but I suspect the numbers will be tiny. As far as the pro-life thing, it's a conscience vote and I'd like to leave it at that. I'm trying my best to be supportive in other ways.

  6. Sorry, OT again. This is the strongest example of rapid aging I have ever seen. 40 y/o! I double checked to make sure he wasn't promoting an old man character like for a show; in other things there's obvious Botox, but this is really him. And since you're the only one who's written about this phenomenon...

  7. Ocasio spox: “We’re not thinking at all about the next election.” Doesn't mention Bernie, only that “We’re excited to see so many progressives in the race.”

    AOC MIA. She got captured by the radlib blob once in DC, only bolstered by the radlib constituents who sent her there (prof-managerial class whites and Asians; she did worse with blacks and Hispanics and poors).

    Now her only role is casting a vote in the House when the realignment has already been achieved. She won't play a role in bringing it about, though, unfortunately. Don't bother paying her attention.


  8. The Young Turks crew has been solid on supporting Bernie, unlike the ungrateful badass Congressladies of color that Justice Democrats got elected (Justice Dems being a TYT electoral effort).

    TYT are not stylistically radical, their brand is simply progressive. But they're committed to more sweeping changes than the stylistically radical liberals who put rose emojis in their Twitter bio, diddle themselves to Ocasio-Cortez's tweets, and then apathetically sigh when Bernie announces, to be followed by reluctantly voting for Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris, who get defeated by Nikki Haley / Marco Rubio in the general.

    Style is immaterial. Emma Vigeland is a more valuable coalition member than the "I'm to the Left of Bernie" radlibs.

    It's encouraging to see large-platform progs like TYT stick to their guns and go all-in for the Bernie coalition, and not fall for the id-pol crap that infects both mainstream and marginal media outlets.


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