March 13, 2019

Yang's proposals could only be delivered by Bernie, who has political coalitional capital

Andrew Yang is a dark horse candidate for the Democrat nomination, who just qualified for the primary debates by getting 65,000 individuals to donate to his campaign. He did this by appearing on Tucker Carlson and Joe Rogan, which sparked enough interest to ignite a grassroots social media effort.

His distinguishing pitch is a form of Universal Basic Income -- $1,000 a month for every American over 18 -- although he supports other populist proposals like Medicare for All, winding down the over-extended military occupation of the whole world, etc.

A fair amount of his current supporters are disaffected Trump voters, who chose Trump because he was running against the status quo of the past 40 years (neoliberalism) in the areas of trade / industrial policy, foreign policy, and immigration. With all of those areas having gotten catastrophically worse under Trump's actual presidency, they're done supporting him and the GOP in general.

That defection is a welcome sign of party realignment -- not because a handful of meme warriors have the ability to re-shape the party system, but because they're a reflection of a broader discontent with the system among the masses of normies who voted for Trump (a decent share of whom also voted for Obama). Indeed, the normies who voted for Trump's heterodox platform soured on him awhile ago -- witness his cratering approval ratings in the industrial Midwest. If anything, the meme warriors are better-late-than-never arrivals to the "dump Trump" party. Self-styled vanguards are typically bandwagon jumper-on-ers.

And most of the populists and anti-globalization voters who were sympathetic to candidate-Trump, and have defected to the Democrats, have chosen his natural counter-part -- Bernie Sanders. Even as they hear Yang's message during the debates, and assuming they warm up to it, they will still stick with Bernie, who they know has a real chance of becoming president and enacting his agenda, unlike the outsider Yang.

The former Trump supporters should know better than others in the Yang Gang that getting an outsider into the White House will only result in him getting instantly swamped by the institutional forces that want to keep the status quo going. Trump entered DC with zero political capital, aside from his grassroots support, which he failed to ever draw on. Even if he had activated his base, they would have been ultimately over-ruled by literally every other politician and interest group that had taken control of the White House (the Pentagon, agribusiness, the oil cartels, the Koch Brothers, etc.).

Yang as president would be in a similar position -- he would have no stock of political capital, no favors owed to him, no roots or networks to draw on in Washington. As a venture capital guy from Silicon Valley, he may be able to get some support from that interest group, which controls the Democrats, but unless he were at the level of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, it's doubtful he could single-handedly get anything done as an outsider, unless it was already palatable to the status quo preservers.

Bernie has been in national politics for decades, including at the high rank of senator, was nearly the party's nominee last time, has a 20-something percent floor of support this time around, has built a broad and loyal coalition over the past four years, both inside and outside the political world, is the most popular national politician, including with social moderates and conservatives and flyover country normies, and has delivered the goods on a wide range of topics -- getting the Senate to withdraw support for the Pentagon's ally Jihadi Arabia in their war against Yemen, bullying Jeff Bezos into raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour for Amazon's workers, and voicing disapproval for the current neo-con regime change effort against Venezuela. What tangible results can other candidates point to in order to sell the voters on their ability to deliver the goods?

It's not as though Bernie was predestined to be the one who accumulated all this political capital by the 2020 election, but he took a chance in 2015, and it has paid off for four years. Other Democrats, even those who share his proposals, simply do not have all of that political capital and coalitional support to enact their would-be realigning agenda. You can't spend political capital that you don't have, and that rules out everyone but Bernie from being able to enact a bold post-Reaganite agenda.

Yang himself seems to be mainly interested in running an issues campaign to influence the eventual nominee, which will not be him. That's fine, and there's no reason Bernie could not incorporate a form of UBI into his platform, along with Tulsi Gabbard's signature issues about non-intervention in foreign policy. But Yang and Gabbard cannot win the nomination, nor the general election, nor compel the institutional forces in DC to yield even one inch were they to occupy the White House.

To realign the party system, everyone opposed to the status quo must focus on the main enemies -- the entire Republican party, which created the current paradigm under Reagan and continues to benefit the most from it, and the Reaganite appeasers on the Democrat side -- Biden, Warren, and the rest.

Among realigners, the Bernie camp is in a league of its own, measured by political capital and coalitional cohesion. So they should welcome the Tulsi and Yang supporters, especially if they are former Trump voters -- you will never realign the system without a major defection from the existing dominant coalition. If Tulsi and Yang are lifeboats that people are jumping into as the GOP ship sinks at the end of the Reagan era, let them get away from that mess first. Then steer toward them and offer to hoist them up onto battleship Bernie, and whoever joins, joins.

Likewise, the Tulsi and Yang supporters should recognize that the Bernie coalition is the only game in town when it comes to delivering the goods on Medicare for All, non-interventionist foreign policy, UBI, etc. Trying to attack the Bernie coalition will backfire because they're far more committed, and for a longer time, than supporters of either Tulsi or Yang. They will simply reply as I have: that Tulsi and Yang cannot win, and even if they were magically placed inside the White House by meme-Jesus, would wield so little leverage over the institutional players who want to preserve the status quo, that they would just wind up as ineffective as the incumbent outsider president.


  1. I was arguing with a Sun-Belter on another site about how regions differ. I tried to explain that Southerners like him don't have any problem which they didn't inflict on themselves, given that periods of rising corruption and lawlessness (such as, oh, 1840-1890, and 1980-present) feature Sun-Belt elites importing tons of cheap (or free) labor which wreaks havoc on economic and ethnic stability, while resisting economic localism and government efforts to regulate our affairs. But the good news is that people eventually tire of the bullshit, which is evident by which regions we draw presidents from. In the mid 19th century, we elected several presidents from the South or the outer Midwest (Lincoln), all of whom collectively failed to unite this country for a good cause. American got sick of it, and in the late 19th and early 20th century everybody we elected was from the Northeast or Eastern Midwest (Ohio in almost every case). Once America was firmly headed in the right direction, in the mid-20th century, we then were able to go out on a limb and elect Truman (Missouri) and Eisenhower (Kansas); but that wasn't pushing it too much. Then we elected New Englander JFK. The 1970's were a turning point; we felt "brave" enough to elect Californian Nixon and Georgian Jimmy Carter (neither of whom left office with a sterling reputation). In the 80's and 90's, we'd entered a cycle of such corruption that Reagan/Bush 1 and Clinton (California, Texas, and Arkansas) were the best that we could evidently get. Then Bush fended off Gore and Kerry, both of whom are from more Eastern regions. That was the last straw; just like how the public lost patience with the South/West atmosphere of lawlessness in the late 19th century, so too was the public doing the same in the early 21st century. So we elected Obama and Trump, neither of whom has ever even pretended to represent the Sun-Belt or Wild West.

    After 40-50 years of chaotic bullshit, the public throws up their hands and says "enough". Then come the Northeastern Progressive presidents, who at least try to do something to reform the system, even if results don't come immediately. For example, Trump pre-election was never a sentimental/romantic moron who waxed poetic about freedom; no, he instead focused on specific policies, and whether they really delivered results or not. No empty platitudes, no nonsense. But Trump got cock-blocked by the modern GOP's Southern and Western base, neither of whom give a shit about NAFTA or what have you. Fortunately things will get better; they have to get better. We can't let ourselves get bullied forever.

  2. Yang is a late X-er, BTW; this fits the pattern of late Losts and Late X-ers being much more pro-social and optimistic than the nihilist wierdos who infest the earliest born Lost and X-er cohorts. Studies tend to show that starting with those born around 1973, there's a fairly pronounced drop in support for the GOP. And to the extent that late X-ers or Millennials support the GOP, it's generally not on the grounds of extreme social Darwinism or fundie extremism (Time magazine did an article about Millennials in the GOP, saying that inevitably the same old GOP crap is going to die off because Millennials don't believe in it; it noted that young Republicans are not repeating the cliches that journalists expect Republicans to spout).

    Perhaps once we can get over the deadweight created by all the Boomers and early X-ers still stuck in 1985, maybe we'll finally get to move on.

  3. Yang being Gen X is another reason why he won't be pres, since generational turnover only takes place during the stable / consensus phase of the regime cycle.

    During the trailblazing phase, the realigner is from the generation that ruled the previous regime's heyday. He serves as a bridge between the old order and the new, to reassure the system that it isn't a total upheaval or take-over by hostile outsiders, but a genuine change of direction for the previous ruling elites.

    Most recently, Reagan (and Bush Sr.) were Greatest Gen -- the gen that ruled the heyday of the New Deal and after (JFK forward).

    The founder of the New Deal (FDR) was from an earlier generation, that ruled during the heyday of the Progressive Era GOP (Roaring Twenties presidents).

    The neoliberal regime hit its stride during Clinton, Bush, and Obama, who are Boomers. Sadly, that means the next realigner will be a Boomer -- Bernie is technically a Silent, but close enough (off by about 5 years).

    That also suggests Bernie may not make the cut-off -- and no president has ever been a Silent, despite getting a major-party nomination (Mondale, Dukakis, Perot if you count a double-digit third party as major, Kerry, and McCain). They got skipped over, with the Greatest Gen passing the torch to the Boomers, not to the Silents.

  4. "Most recently, Reagan (and Bush Sr.) were Greatest Gen -- the gen that ruled the heyday of the New Deal and after (JFK forward)."

    Which disaffected Boomers never tire of pointing out; the fact that GIs and Silents permitted Boomers to enter mid-upper management from the mid-1970's thru mid-1990's (at which point Boomers fully took over) is conveniently glossed over, as is the fact that nearly every single yuppie shit-bag, who insisted on trampling over every form of tradition, ethical norm, and common decency, was born after 1924 (most GIs were retired by the mid-80's, anyway).

    "The founder of the New Deal (FDR) was from an earlier generation, that ruled during the heyday of the Progressive Era GOP (Roaring Twenties presidents).

    The neoliberal regime hit its stride during Clinton, Bush, and Obama, who are Boomers. Sadly, that means the next realigner will be a Boomer -- Bernie is technically a Silent, but close enough (off by about 5 years)."

    So basically, young presidents are for the mature portion of an era (JFK, later New Deal, Obama, later neo-liberal era). Makes sense, I suppose. But at least Yang grasps the era we're in, unlike the laughable campaigns put forth by Ted Cruz (pious doofus) or Rubio (who at one point invoked the "Reagan youth" meme that couldn't have landed with a bigger thud among Millennials who don't remember Reagan being re-elected).

    Bernie is a cultural Boomer. He was part of the 60's protest culture. But his socialism-lite terrifies people born before 1970, who still think that the "capitalist" USA is the good guy (note that Boomer activism was never based on resource distribution, and generally not on overall labor issues, either; they took it for granted that America was the land of opportunity, we just needed to be more woke about colonialism, POC, women, and the environment). If Bernie would shut up about Robin-hoodism, I'm sure he'd do better with middle-aged to elderly voters.

    If Bernie isn't the next nominee, or is the nominee but doesn't win, then who else is it going to be? Any ideas, or do we just wait things out? You've also suggested that Trump won't run. Then who else would it be?

  5. Yang sounds very technocratic, too. I'd have to imagine this will really put off baby Boomers who want a "rock star" (back in reality, worn-out Gen X-ers and dyspeptic Millennials understand that we need to start acting like grown-ups, and electing accordingly, rather than expecting and demanding that our politicians do the political equivalent of a Bruce Springsteen knee-slide or a David Lee Roth stage jump.

  6. I'm #YangGang even though I've thought of and agree with every one of these points. Ex-MAGA is engaging and trying to make its voice heard within the Dem primary, and some certainly realize this will pull Bernie toward them; there are two poles now, Right-Populist and Neoliberal, and the former is finally making its presence known. Another thing I love about the phenomenon is what a lie it puts to the notion that Trump was elected due to his personality, not his positions. "The Bag" of $1,000 a month is such a hilarious and brutal rejection of conservative economics and government, I mean, it doesn't get any purer than that.

  7. Michael Tracey recently wrote an article, worried that Bernie has terrible advisors steering Bernie toward ID pol and away from his signature outlook that made him so appealing. Yang has done what Bernie so far has not: appealed to Trump voters and independents. Bernie 2016 went to Liberty U, I can't imagine Bernie 2020 doing that or going on Rogan or Tucker.
    In other words, Yang currently is the purest populist in the field and his actions show this. Bernie should not take it for granted.

  8. Bernie has been appealing to Trump voters / indies since 2017, when his stump speeches explicitly said, "I don't think Trump voters are racists, and candidate Trump had good views on trade policy, which made a lot of desperate people take a chance on him. But now he's not fulfilling those promises, so dump Trump and vote for Bernie."

    He's not commanding the co-front-runner status by only appealing to far-left / prog / etc. voters, or only to coastal elites. He does the best in the Midwest, then the West and Northeast, and worst in the South.

    He should definitely go on Tucker, though. Why not? Tulsi and Yang already have -- so has Michael Tracey, Angela Nagle, Glenn Greenwald, Zaid Jilani, and others who are not partisan-polarized retards.

    I think Bernie was dabbling in idpol in order to shore up his support from blacks -- and he now does a lot better with them, he's the only candidate who polls better with blacks than whites. But that's on economic appeal, with blacks being lower on the economic pyramid.

    He seems to have figured that out by now, though, and is not succumbing to the reparations narrative designed to suck him into the idpol vortex. As long as he's talking about jacking up the minimum wage, universal healthcare, and redistributing wealth from the top down, average black people get it.

    It's only the paid neolib blacks on social media who hate Bernie, and who dig Kamala Harris, whereas real-life black people couldn't care less about her.

    I've noticed that everyone on the Right, whether populist or cuckservative or whatever, thinks that blacks hate Bernie like it's still the 2015 heyday of BLM, and that they're all-in for the black SJW Kamala Harris. Totally wrong. Bernie had no national profile back then -- now that he's one of the most well known and goods-delivering Democrats, blacks who are loyal to the Dem party love him as well.

    But right-wingers are still jacking themselves off to their dystopia porn about being locked up in FEMA camps by dark-skinned dominatrices, so they still see Harris as the unquestioned frontrunner and eventual nominee and president. Stop jacking yourselves off and read a few polls!

  9. Yeah, Yang is more a technocrat than a big-picture guy, and realigners have to talk about the whole big system that needs changing.

    Bernie, as I said back in 2016, is an Old Testament style prophet, not a king. He doesn't have the killer instinct (perhaps being a Silent rather than overly ambitious Boomer). But at least now he's a prophet with a hell of a lot of political capital, meaning he could actually play a realigner role.

    Still, I think 2020 will be the neolibs blocking Bernie in the general by voting for Biden or even the Republican (not Trump; e.g., Kasich), the GOP winning, and realignment postponed until 2024, when it'll be someone other than Bernie who wins and kicks off the realignment.

    Bernie is John C. Fremont, not Lincoln. But that still makes him the right choice in our neo-1856 election -- whoever brings us closer to realignment, when the old system is increasingly blowing up in crises.

  10. "That also suggests Bernie may not make the cut-off -- and no president has ever been a Silent, despite getting a major-party nomination (Mondale, Dukakis, Perot if you count a double-digit third party as major, Kerry, and McCain). They got skipped over, with the Greatest Gen passing the torch to the Boomers, not to the Silents."

    Some of this is due to happenstance peculiar to the America of the 60's and 70's; Bobby Kennedy and ML King got gunned down before they were able to finish (or even attempt) a presidential campaign. Ted Kennedy destroyed his pres. prospects with Chappaquiddick.

    Mondale and Dukakis were ideologically wrong for the moment. Kerry and McCain were me-too also rans after their party had worn out it's welcome the preceding 8 years.

    Silents have done much better as pres. candidates in other Western countries. American Silents have been the victim of poor timing and tragedy, more than the victims of GI or Boomer prejudice. Of course poor Bernie got hit by the Silent curse as well, when the Boomers and X-ers who make the modern Dem's sausage jobbed him in the 2016 primary.

    As per Turchin's cycle of collective violence theory, do the Dems dare screw over the Bernieites and Yangians again? Massive turmoil, including riots and terrorism, probably isn't out of the question if the Dems stab Bernie in the back again. Remember that some Democrats did endorse Bernie in 2016; would some of the party's heavy hitters make waves if they sense that the fix is in, again?

  11. Yang Gang hating on Bernie, the obvious populist choice for masses of normies, will show how little power there is in "meme magic".

    There was the same meme war for Ron Paul in 2008, and it went nowhere in the material world -- online only, under-40, male. (Trump, in contrast, appealed to older voters, who are off-line, and female as well as male.)

    Memes only serve to reinforce what is already going on in the zeitgeist. People either resonate with the memes, which amplifies their feelings, or they do not, which makes them ignore the memes.

    Yang Gang memes will have an effect of turning people off to Trump and the GOP, and to begin looking for options among Democrats. But they won't have an effect of souring people on Bernie.

    If you want a populist realigner Democrat who's going to use the state to protect ordinary people -- including poor NEETs -- you're naturally going to lock onto Bernie's campaign.

    Only if your goal is belonging to an online sub-culture of obscure appeal, would you warm up to Yang while souring on Bernie. The principles and real-world outcomes should put you as sympathetic and open to voting Bernie, but just preferring Yang over him ideally. If it's not about principles and outcomes, only belonging to a sub-culture, then you'll love Yang but hate Bernie (and also hate the mainstream sell-out Trump).

  12. I've seen very little of Bernie hate. I shared one because I thought it was do funny, but I didn't think of it as hateful, but more like I'm exasperated with you. I'd yell at Trump in 2016 when he did something I didn't like or what have you, but never thought of abandoning him. Same thing here and I suspect the majority of the very few Bernie-critical Yang memes are made and shared in a similar vein.

  13. Maybe I'm seeing more b/c they're trying to invade anti-idpol Left places like the reddits for Stupidpol and the Red Scare podcast.

    I don't mean "hating on" as in being viscerally hateful, but trash-talking and trying to clown on him. Calling him a corporate sell-out -- after he bullied Jeff Bezos into raising his minimum wage to $15, and campaigns on breaking up the big Wall Street banks.

    Or trying to paint him as an anti-white idpol guy, when he's explicitly rejected the reparations trap set by the true idpol Democrats. It's just based on an admittedly cringe line from the debates in 2016, about how black poverty stings worse than white poverty. Stupid line, but one he has not repeated since.

    If he were the anti-white idpol Dem, then why do West Virginia Democrats love him so much?

    Yang Gang doesn't go after Biden, Kamala, or Warren as much as they go after Bernie. They rightly see him as their main competition for populist Democrat, especially with his floor in the 20-something percent range.

    If they don't want to fuck things up, they should not make everything into a hyper-narrow competition between factions who are supposedly on the same big side -- replacing the worthless GOP and its Reaganite appeasers on the Dem side. They can't win that battle anyway -- their attempts to swing people on Stupidpol and the Red Scare reddit have largely landed with a thud, when they go to the extent of slamming Bernie in favor of Yang.

    They need to just chill out on the other realigners like Bernie and Tulsi, and train their fire on the main enemies -- the whole rotten GOP, and the mainstream Dems.

    1. Yeah, I've only checked out the hashtag on twitter and anti-Bernie stuff is rare and none of it approaches what Trump is getting. The only stuff that's bothered me is the MIGA stuff. It's a small minority, still larger than anti-Bernie stuff, but very demented.

  14. I don't think the Yang Gang truly believes the trash they talk about Bernie, though, it's more of a rationalization for why they should not support the wildly popular populist Democrat.

    Their main motive is to be a vanguard -- to back an underdog at the outset, see that candidate's popularity soar, hopefully win the election, and then claim vindication for having backed them from the start (and then angle for higher status for having been an early adopter).

    They did that with Trump, and now that he has gone mainstream and won the election but failed to deliver the goods, they have to dump him.

    Why don't they go with the next in line for populist politicians, Bernie? Because he's already completed his rise from obscurity to mainstream adoption, and they couldn't fool anyone, including themselves, into believing that they were on the vanguard of that political coalition's rise to influence and power.

    Normies don't care about being part of a vanguard, so they're happy to dump Trump in favor of Bernie, if they chose Trump for populist reasons.

    Only those inclined toward sub-cultures will balk at joining the Bernie coalition this late in its maturation, since they can't claim credit for meme-ing him into power. They'll have to go with the next unknown populist.

  15. If the Yang Gang want to rationalize their future support for Bernie, while staying true to their vanguard motivations, they can tell themselves that when they were not meme warriors for Bernie, he lost the primary and couldn't even compete in the general election.

    But now that they're supporting him and waging meme war on his behalf, he stands a good chance at winning the primary, and even the general.

    They should start planning for that, since Yang isn't going to go far in the actual primary voting, and they'll need someone else to latch onto. It won't be Blormpf, definitely will not be whatever clown the RNC ends up replacing him with, won't be any of the Reaganite Dems, and won't be Yang any longer.

    They'll have to go with Bernie at that point, on the rationalization that their meme war is going to give him a fighting chance this time around.

    If they've trash-talked him too much by the time primary voting begins, they will have too much crow to eat as they have to change lanes from Yang to Bernie. Even if they don't want to hype up Bernie before then, they can't trash-talk him, or they'll only make it harder on themselves to join his coalition later on. Leave that option open.

  16. Yang mentioned Peter Turchin in one of his books, yay.

  17. Holy shit, Yang is wise to elite over-production and Turchin:

    ' In his book Ages of Discord, the scholar Peter Turchin proposes a structural theory of political instability based on societies throughout history. He suggests that there are 3 main preconditions to revolution: 1. Elite oversupply and disunity; 2. Popular misery based on falling living standards; and 3. A state in fiscal crisis. He uses a host of variables to measure these conditions, including real wages, marital trends, proportion of children in two-parent households, minimum wage, wealth distribution, college tuition, oversupply of lawyers, political polarization, income tax on the wealthy, trust in government, and other factors.

    ' Turchin argues that societies generally experience extended periods of integration and prosperity followed by periods of inequity, increasing misery and political instability that lead to disintegration and revolution—and according to his data, we’re in the midst of the latter. Most of the variables that he measures began trending negatively between 1965 and 1980, and are now reaching near-crisis levels. By his analysis, “the US right now has much in common with the Antebellum 1850s [before the Civil War] and, more surprisingly, with... France on the eve of the French Revolution.” He projects increased turmoil through 2020 and warns that “we are rapidly approaching a historical cusp at which American society will be particularly vulnerable to violent upheaval.” '

    WTF, now I love Andrew Yang? Still have to vote for Bernie, though -- he's the one with political capital.

    But Yang definitely ought to be in the ear of the Bernie crew, especially on their "college for all" plan -- the one major plank I'm dead set against.

    That would only exacerbate the over-production of aspiring elites, and since there's no surge in the supply of elite spots, would ramp up the ranks of failed aspiring elites, resentful and wanting to just blow shit up rather than re-build our broken society.

    That's why Yang emphasizes vocational and trade schools over higher ed. Same as Trump's platform on education, during the campaign anyway.

    The New Deal had only 15% attending college, not 100%. Everyone else had a good-paying, secure job with a fair amount of workplace democracy compared to now, thanks to unions.

    Now the professional-managerial class radlibs are really going to freak out about Yang -- he represents the old New Deal approach of the very top of the class pyramid uniting with the bottom 80% in order to keep the overly ambitious top 2-20% from plunging society into chaos due to their status war arms race.

  18. Bernie needs to pivot toward class collaboration as well, getting the top 1% or 0.1% of the Democrat sectors (central bank, Wall St investment banks, FANG) to team up with the labor unions and other working poor, against the professional-managerial striver class who have been wrecking society since the Boomers kicked off the higher ed bubble and became rapacious yuppies.


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