HomeUncategorized8/17 News Roundup & Open Thread
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so well written.


John Nichols interviews Bernie


Bernie Sanders will address the Democratic National Convention this week, not as the nominee of the party he had hoped to lead against Donald Trump but as a supporter of the Democratic ticket of former vice president Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris. Since Sanders and Biden stopped competing for the nomination, Sanders has worked with Biden to unify the party. He will continue to do so this fall.

But the senator from Vermont still sees himself as an outsider, who is battling against status quo politics and the caution of contemporary Democrats who lack the bold vision that Franklin Delano Roosevelt outlined in his 1944 “Economic Bill of Rights.” This is a subject Sanders and I began to explore last year when I interviewed for my new book, The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party (Verso). We returned to it last week when the senator and I discussed whether Covid-19, mass unemployment, and the demand for racial justice might create an opening for the bolder politics he advocates. Sanders offered a vision for the party that is rooted in its history and focused on its future—and gave a glimpse of what he’ll talk about at the convention.

JN: You’ve made it clear that you believe electing Joe Biden is a big deal because of the necessity to beat Donald Trump, But it’s also fair to say that you have developed a relationship with Joe Biden where you think you can talk to this guy and—even if you do not always agree on everything—to work with him on at least some issues.

BS: Well, number one, the first absolute necessity is to defeat Donald Trump. Trump is the most dangerous president in American history. Trump is an authoritarian who is trying to undermine American democracy. Trump is a pathological liar. Trump does not understand or believe in the Constitution of the United States or the separation of powers. He does not respect Congress. He is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, and a religious bigot. For all those reasons and more, Trump must be defeated.

My view is that, after we elect Biden, what we’re going to do is everything that we possibly can to move his administration in a progressive direction. Biden has told me, and I would not say it if he hadn’t made the same statement publicly, that he intends to be the most progressive president since FDR. That’s a noble ambition, and our job is to hold him to that goal. I think millions of people are prepared to do that.

JN: There’s a story, told with many variations, that FDR, when confronted by activists making demands for economic and social and racial justice, would say: “Go out and make me do it.”

BS: Right.

JN: So the hope is that a good Democratic president, a wise Democratic president, understands this dynamic of wanting to have pressure for a more progressive agenda, or at least to have the activism that makes demands, that opens things up. That makes it easier for a president to move into a more progressive space.

BS: Right! Look, on issue after issue, the American people are supporting the progressive agenda while the corporate elite is vigorously opposed to that agenda. Our job is to make the Biden administration understand that it makes a lot more sense to be supportive of what the American people want rather than what the moneyed interests want.

That’s what our task will be the day after the election. Right now, obviously, the most important task is to elect Biden. I think it’s going to be difficult. I know a lot of people are assuming, “Oh, the polls look so good, Biden’s going to win–no problem.” I don’t believe that for a second.

I think this is going to be a very tough election for a whole lot of reasons. I worry very much about what happens on Election Day and the counting of ballots, how mail-in ballots are counted, whether people in fact can even cast those ballots, whether the Postal Service is going to be sabotaged, etc.

What I am pledged to do in the next three months is everything I can to see that Biden is elected; and the day after that election, when he wins, to make sure that we move him in a progressive direction.



On Sunday morning, Sanders took to ABC News’s “This Week” to mollify concerns progressives are hesitant to support Biden and argued “an overwhelming majority of progressives understand that it is absolutely imperative that Donald Trump be defeated.”

The senator from Vermont, who is speaking tonight at the unconventional convention, previously urged his supporters to tamp down attacks on candidates and party leaders. He even required some of the delegates representing him at the convention sign agreements barring them from airing “negative statements about other candidates, party leaders, Campaigns, Campaign staffers, supporters, news organizations or journalists,” our colleague Sean Sullivan reported in May.

Sanders himself has worked closely with Biden and his campaign team heading into the general election, creating joint policy task forces aimed at finding common policy ground. Shakir credits Sanders’s approach to the Biden team — and the Biden campaign’s outreach to Sanders — for the harmony that eluded the Democrats in 2016.

“The truth of Bernie Sanders is he doesn’t BS you,” Shakir told Power Up. “So he was being serious about his commitment [to the nominee] and as soon as the math showed he wasn’t going to win, he move quickly to get behind Biden and Biden has benefited from that.”

“The other equation is Joe Biden,” Shakir added. “To his credit, his campaign worked with us to form Bernie-Biden task forces. They moved many of their campaign positions to be more progressive. That’s something that doesn’t generally happen in a general. It’s remarkable to have a nominee moving in a progressive direction.”

Yellow light: Shakir said progressives will want to see results if Biden secures the White House. “We will maintain the pressure…We’ve been trying to help organize to come in the day after the election and fight to move the dial to the most progressive position possible.”

Listing left: Biden did move left to embrace a more ambitious climate change proposal though it fell short of the progressive dream plan in the Green New Deal. Economic proposals “include more expansive and expensive plans than [Biden] has embraced” in the primary, reports the New York Times. But Biden notably rejected progressives’ Medicare-for-all rallying cry in favor of strengthening the Affordable Care Act, and stuck with other more moderate stances on key issues.

More mainstream observers say Biden seems to have done enough to smooth over the ideological rifts, at least for now.

“Sen. Sanders clearly deserves a lot of credit for helping to turn down the heat on ideological divisions and keep Democrats focused on the imperative of beating Trump,” Democratic pollster Geoff Garin told Power Up.

Garin said the Biden campaign incorporated more progressive policies from rival campaigns, “so people who aren’t necessarily on the same page as Biden on some policy questions at least feel listened to, respected, and included.”

“He has articulated a solidly progressive agenda that may not be everyone’s ideal, but most Democrats can at least see their values reflected in the policies he has laid out,” said Garin. “And when you are trying to unify a party, as opposed to shape it in your own image, it helps to be a nice guy, and Joe Biden definitely is that.”

There is polling to suggest Biden’s efforts at coalition building might be working. A New York Times/ Siena College survey of six battleground states released in July indicated “if there was a Bernie-or-Bust movement, it has either faded with the conclusion of the Democratic race, or it never existed in serious numbers in the battleground states.”

“Over all, voters in the battleground states who said Bernie Sanders was their top choice for president said they backed Mr. Biden over President Trump, 87 percent to 4 percent,” the Times’s Nate Cohn reported.

“To be sure, the Democratic left is not necessarily excited to support Mr. Biden. Only 21 percent of Sanders voters and 40 percent of [Elizabeth] Warren supporters say they have a ‘very favorable’ view of [Biden], compared with the 77 percent of Biden backers who say they do. By 69-26, Sanders supporters say their vote is more a vote against Mr. Trump than a vote for Mr. Biden. Warren supporters also say it’s mainly a vote against the president, by a margin of 61 percent to 36 percent.”


yup. he should have this in the bag.


Not so fast! I see a rerun of 2016 with the same people in charge.

Whose bright idea was it to give John Kasich a speaking slot?


humphrey: that is a d🤬ed good question. And the DNC is going to let GOPuke Kasich attack AOC and everyone she represents?? Good gawd, are they stupid and clueless! Glad I am skipping the whole debacle!😖



Warren is a fake Progressive. 🐍 This 2020 DNC bunch is Raygun GOPuke Yuppie Lite. I strongly opposed them in 1980, and I sure as hell’s bells oppose them now. I have that ‘luxury’ as I have no kids, etc. to answer to. I feel for the folks who aren’t in my shoes but someone has to stand up to these frauds!🤬🤮



Bernie Sanders opens the week with his keynote address on Monday evening, dubbed “We the People” night by the DNC. Sanders will then hold a virtual town hall, apart from the convention, which will feature Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., fresh off her easy primary victory, along with progressive organizers and Joe Biden’s director of progressive outreach. Sanders delegates also plan to hold a “shadow convention” outside the DNC.

Leading Sanders surrogates Rep. Ro Khanna of California and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan have already announced they plan to vote no on the DNC’s platform — which does not include either support for Medicare for All or marijuana legalization, two progressive policies that garner majority support with Democratic voters. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is the only Sanders supporter, aside from the former candidate, who gets a speaking slot this week even though about one-fourth of this year’s delegates are Sanders supporters. She only gets one minute.

That’s it. That’s the outreach. Former Ohio governor John Kasich, a Republican, will receive a bigger platform at the Democratic convention — and that just about sums up the state of the party less than three months ahead of the election. The triumphant center claims it is extending a hand to progressives and NeverTrump Republicans but is leaning hard in onl one of those directions.

Yes, these are serious times and the threat of a second Trump term should be all the persuasion necessary this go-round for both groups to support Biden. But Democrats are clearly not capitalizing on their nearly all-virtual convention to reach key groups it failed to reach last time. “The four-day event includes only three Latinx headliners and entirely leaves off Muslim Americans, each making up a complex, diverse group of individuals who Biden is hoping to turn out in record numbers,” progressive activists pointed out to the Daily Beast. The convention is supposed to be a unifying event for the party where Democrats from all factions come together but this year’s DNC lineup doesn’t reflect the political complexities of the moment, as Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir recently took note:

Ever since Biden swept to victory on Super Tuesday and the subsequent primaries, Democratic primary voters in various places have delivered a different and more complicated message. Three more longtime incumbent members of Congress have been primaried out by more progressive opponents this year, including a committee chairman, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, and the scion of a Black political dynasty in St. Louis, Rep. William Lacy Clay of Missouri.

Another committee chair, Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, survived by an eyelash after a painfully slow six-week vote count. Two other New York progressives — City Councilman Ritchie Torres in the heavily Latino South Bronx, and former Justice Department lawyer Mondaire Jones in the largely-white northern suburbs — defeated establishment-supported Democrats for open House seats, and will become the first two openly gay Black members of Congress. Similar conflicts lie ahead: Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and grateful recipient of Big Pharma and financial industry dollars on a grand scale, faces an intriguing challenge from Alex Morse, openly gay 31-year-old mayor of the working-class city of Holyoke.


If the braindead DNC thinks speeches by Kasich, $hrill the loser, and Bubba are going to fire up the base….man, what a bad joke!


The DNC isn’t serious though, they could’ve put a few more of Bernies people in critical positions, adopted M4A and given AOC more than 60 seconds. If they want someone that can get a crowd going its Nina that girl is passionate!!! But nooooo were stuck with a lack luster neolib corporate owned shit show



Sanders insisted that the top priority for progressives is electing Biden. But, once that’s accomplished, “we have got to do everything we can to mobilize people to fight for an agenda that works for working families,” which may not mean always lining up with the new administration.

Sanders used his vast contact list to send 350,000 texts and raise more than $730,000 for like-minded congressional and local candidates who competed in Aug. 4 primaries around the country. That included more than $100,000 for Cori Bush, a racial justice activist who unseated longtime Missouri Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay, who was endorsed by Harris.

In March, Sanders-endorsed Marie Newman, who topped moderate Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski in Illinois.

Those close to Sanders also credit him with convincing activists and others who might not have run for office to become candidates, effectively “lowering the drawbridge” that had barred access to electoral politics for many.

One example is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who will help nominate Sanders at the convention and is widely seen as his successor in leading progressives. The New York congresswoman easily won her primary and further demonstrated her power by helping former middle school principal Jamaal Bowman take out long-serving Rep. Eliot Engel in New York’s primary.

Similarly, Ocasio-Cortez’s close allies, and proud fellow members of “The Squad,” Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, both bested primary challenges from more centrist Democrats. Their message in Congress often overlaps with protests against institutional racism that spread around the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody.

“You can’t really have one without the other,” Lorella Praeli, president of Community Change Action, which works to empower low-income people, especially those of color, said of progressive values and the push for racial and social justice.

“I just think that we’re kidding ourselves if we don’t confront a hard truth,” Praeli said. “We can try to do it by coming up with and delivering a Band-Aid solution, or we can say we have a once-in-a- generation opportunity right now to really get at the root of the problem.”

That’s a part of a larger fight that could dominate future presidential races Sanders won’t run in. He said it is “very unlikely” that he’s a 2024 presidential candidate, but also refused to speculate on who might succeed him as the movement’s next White House hopeful.

“They want to know who’s running in 2092,” he joked. “In 2092, there was a baby that was born yesterday that announced her candidacy.”


T and R, LD!! 🕊😊👍 Hope all is well in D/FW. 🗽


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DNC trying to SILENCE AOC with 60 second speaking slot at Democratic National Convention