May 29, 2016

Bernie is not Ron Paul of the left (he's the Trump of the left)

[This is the first of two posts comparing the 2016 and 2008 electoral climates. Second post here]

What role does the Bernie phenomenon play in the current party re-alignment? The obvious, and correct, parallel is to the Trump phenomenon -- anti-Establishment, at war with their own party, bringing in loads of new voters, yuge rallies, against foreign interventionism, not beholden to Wall Street, and not in favor of globalist trade agreements.

But some on the right and the left have tried to draw parallels to the Ron Paul movement of 2008, and (if they're on the left) asking if the Dems need a Tea Party movement of their own. They point to a group of activists who despite losing the nomination process, still try to pack their own delegates into the state and national conventions, who feel betrayed by their own party's leaders, and who are treated heavy-handedly by those leaders when they act up.

Yet the Republican Tea Party movement was not anti-Establishment like the Sanders supporters are. It represented one faction of the longstanding GOP coalition feeling slighted by the other faction -- the junior partner going rogue against the senior partner.

As detailed in this earlier post, it was a civil war between the Cultural Right and the Wall Street puppets. They were not opposed to Wall Street's overall agenda -- they were content to allow that agenda as long as the Wall Street-funded power brokers allowed the Cultural Right's agenda to go forward. Since only the Wall Street agenda was actually being promoted, the Cultural Right voters rebelled and elected a wave of supposedly hardline candidates on cultural and social issues, against the RINOs.

These Tea Party politicians were all Wall Streeters in disguise, only going the extra mile to put on a convincing performance as hardline right-wingers to fool the gullible cuck voters. Ted Cruz is the epitome of this type of co-opted pseudo-conservative elected on the rise of the Tea Party voters.

The Trump movement is at war with both of those factions of the old GOP coalition, sidelining the identity politics concerns of the Cultural Right (where the identity group is natalist apocalyptic cults), while taking square aim at the globalist and elitist agenda of the Wall Streeters. Hence Trump's two main rivals being Bush early on and Cruz after that.

Sanders supporters are clearly more similar to the Trump supporters than to the Tea Party. They're largely uninterested in cultural and social issues (although they are generally liberal, just like Trump people are generally conservative). Identity politics on the Dems' side is based on racial and ethnic minorities, feminists, and homosexuals. Bernie rarely touches on those topics, other than to discuss how many blacks are locked up in jail for minor drug offenses -- but then that is really a matter of how the government works (law enforcement), rather than a matter of identity politics per se (like "being culturally marginalized in the mass media").

And certainly the Bernie crowd is taking square aim at the Wall Street donors and their legislative agenda (TPP, campaign finance, etc.). That puts them at war with both factions of the longstanding Dem coalition -- the Cultural Left and the Wall Street neoliberals.

Anyone who thinks the Cultural Left loves Bernie Sanders just has to remember those lardasses from Black Lives Matter hijacking Bernie's rally in Seattle last summer, sanctimoniously berating the whole Bernie crowd for white privilege and bla bla bla. Or the endless scolding of "Bernie bros" for not voting for the First Woman President. If Hillary were not in the closet, her supporters would also be castigating Bernie people for supporting the heterosexual candidate over the dyke.

Just like Trump is returning the Republican Party to the Progressive era of McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt, so Bernie is doing his best to return the Democrats to the era of the New Deal. Race, religion, sex, and sexuality played little or no role in defining the bases of the parties in those eras, when the focus was strictly on economic and governmental matters.

Sure, the progressives in the Bernie movement identify more with the Cultural Left, just as the Trump movement identifies more with the Cultural Right. But Bernie and Trump are both emphasizing the economy and government at the expense of social and cultural issues, which is felt as a provocation by the Cultural Left and Right, who have now turned on the class-oriented movements within each of their parties.


  1. I'm not sure what your characterization of the Ron Paul movement is. The same, or nearly the same thing as the Tea Party?

    I believe very strongly that the Ron Paul movement, which I was a part of as was most of the Alt-Right, was the nascent Populist Right movement of which Trump is now the standard-bearer.
    Nascent in 2008, a near-credible threat in 2012, and now we've arrived.
    Ron Paul is a Texan Libertarian, so hardly the greatest fit, but then again, neither is Trump. But he offered us paleo-conservatism.

  2. Ron Paul and his supporters were more on the libertarian side, as you say.

    Populism is supporting a hefty tariff on off-shored manufactured goods in order to protect the American way of life for blue-collars. Ron and Rand Paul would be adamantly opposed to that.

    He is on the non-interventionist side, vs. globalism, and so is a paleoconservative.

    The Trump phenomenon is the combination of populism and America first.

    As such, Trump has great appeal to blue-collars, to non-voters, and disaffected middle-class voters. Ron Paul had no appeal to the working class (no libertarian ever has -- typically college kids and upper-middle-class adults).

    He also emphasized the Pro-Life Movement and other standard planks of the Conservatism platform. He fell within the Reagan-era coalition of the GOP, whereas Trump is a fundamentally new constituency and orientation.

    Ron Paul would take potshots at liberals, whereas Trump explicitly tries to downplay the lib vs. con war.

  3. You go to war with the general you have, not the general you want ;)

  4. The Tea Party was not really Wall St in disguise. It was Wall St astroturf full stop.

    The institutional infrastructure for the movement was built in 2002 and 2003 by the Koch brothers. The movement broke into prominence in 2009 when CNBC reporter Rick Santelli delivered a (presumably) scripted rant on air when the evil government turned a tiny little bit of its 2008/9 bailout largesse towards bailing out homeowners instead of bankers. The Tea Party was explicitly about "freedom" and was explicitly not about the culture war. They said this over and over again.

    The rank and file who showed up were the most pathetically cucked subset of the GOP. So, it was libertarians and 'gelicals. People who know they are being screwed, but who think that the solution would be for Buck to screw them even harder.


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