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Jeremy Gordon

What a load of drivel this is.


Hmm. Don't know what Jeremy is on about, but I appreciate the context you're putting out here. You've thought it out well and made your caution and hesitations clear. Thanks for sharing this.


At my Democratic caucus, I had two different (male) Bernie supporters tell me that while they thought having a woman President was an important goal, Hillary wasn't the right woman, and if only Elizabeth Warren hadn't been a little too young. I pointed out that Warren was only two years younger than Clinton, that she had had a whole academic career before becoming involved in politics. (Note, these were not young men; both were older than me.)

Some of us noticed Warren years ago, when she and her daughter wrote The Two-Income Trap. Some of us even know she used to be a Republican.

Chris the cop

"Bernie himself doesn’t have the experience to run on. He can't run on what he's done in the past." The man spent 25 years in Congress in both branches - that's 25 years figuring out how 1 co-equal branch of government branch works so that if you find yourself in charge of another co-equal branch of government, you have a good idea of how to approach the first branch. That's a resume.

To me the fundamental question is what do you value more - fitness for the office or the potential damage to the country. Bill Clinton proved himself to be ethically unfit to be President of the United States (which was why he was impeached, not merely 'because he lied about cheating on his wife.') Yet the country did reasonably well. Hilary Clinton likewise is not ethically fit to be President but would be less of a disaster for the country than Bernie Sanders. Bernie is ethically fit, but would be the actual disaster conservatives believe President Obama to be. Where I stand re: that question doesn't matter but what I'm left with - assuming Hilary and the Donald are the final contestants - are the 2 most appalling choices put forth by the major parties in my lifetime. (I'm 58)

Lance Mannion

Chris, Richard Nixon ran for president three times in your lifetime and George W. Bush twice.

As for Bernie's lack of experience...I wrote this a couple weeks ago in a post called "Qualified" qualified:

"Bernie Sanders’ eight years as mayor of Burlington, sixteen years in the United States House of Representatives, and nine in the U.S. Senate gives him a more imposing resume than either [Lincoln or Obama] had when they ran for president."

So, yes, I know he has experience in a general sense. What I meant here is that his experience hasn't produced a record of legislative achievement or demonstrated a talent for leadership, so there's nothing he can point to in his past that suggests that he'll make an effective president.

Stefanie Murray

Thank you so much for this post. I like your points about purity. I know its allure personally, having voted for Ralph Nader in 1996 and for a Green Party city council member in 2000 (who won, then ended up getting indicted for corruption, FWIW). I remember being disillusioned by Democrats in '96, and wanting to register that there were votes to the left if only the Dems would go and chase them. Of course, the result of that was Dems turning more to the right, because (at least IMO) voting for a third party on the Federal level in the US has never been a way to influence the major party closest to your ideology.*

So when watching the pro-Bernie factions repeat my errors, which can be condensed into "vote for purity, and then take your clean hands home and twiddle those spotless thumbs for four years until your disappointment curdles into cynicism," I worry that that disdain you describe for other Democrats means danger not just for the presidency but even more so downticket. Bernie voters could have helped put Joanne Kloppenberg in the Supreme Court seat in Wisconsin, but many of them couldn't be arsed to vote downticket even to head off more of the shattering corruption they are supposedly so riled up against.

Thank you for putting this so clearly.

*it occurs to me to wonder how many pro-Bernie folks from (my own) middle-aged demographic are remembering their glory days of being cynically disappointed in Bill Clinton, and having invoked the purity of Nader as a "screw you" to the Dems. Maybe they are thinking "we are fighting against the impure Clintons again, and this time we can get it right."


I don't support Bernie and don't think he'd make an effective or even a good president, but I'm not sure what is responsible for the constant need of Boomer-aged people to ignore, belittle and mock the concerns of millennials, which are in actuality Bernie's largest voting bloc.

Clinton is corrupt. No one who accepts as much Wall Street-tainted money as she has and did can be anything but. That's how our political system works, but that doesn't make it right.

That said, would she make a good president? Probably about like Obama, but with more wars, which is to say that no, she would not.

As disastrous as Trump? Probably not, though Trump is not as likely to start overseas wars. Clinton is very much a hawk.

"NAFTA didn’t cause the decline of American manufacturing; it was an attempt to bring it back."

Talk about re-writing history. Good grief. (And of course most mainstream economists are going to argue NAFTA cost no jobs. That's how they keep their salaries!)

"Rather than creating the promised hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs, NAFTA has contributed to an enormous new U.S. trade deficit with Mexico and Canada, which had already equated to an estimated net loss of one million U.S. jobs by 2004."

The rest of your piece is just an exercise in oblivious "Get-off-my-lawn-ism" and not much worst responding to point by point; old people afraid of the future need their cris de coeur. I understand that need. I'm not a millennial and often write the same sorts of thing myself.

Lance Mannion

LibraryGuy, thank you. I'm choosing to think he's a George Lucas fan who didn't like the suggestion that Star Wars is any way derivative of The Searchers.

Sherri, Warren does look younger than she is but too young to be president? They think she's 34? I wonder if they were confusing her with somebody else and who that might have been?

Having been a Republican into your 40s is not as evil as having been a Goldwater Girl when you were 16.

Stefanie, thank you for this comment. This is one of my concerns, that the middle-aged Bernie guys are teaching my students' generation that lesson. And what happened in WI is, as you point out, very telling. Your last point, though, that these guys are nostalgic for the days when they were young and full of their own sense of moral purity may explain a lot.

Lance Mannion

Mike, I don't think you're going to find much Millennial bashing on this blog or any dismissing of their concerns. Certainly there's none going on in this post. As for NAFTA, I didn't say it was a success or even a good idea, but at the time it came into effect, January 1, 1994, the American steel industry had been in sharp decline for twenty years, the auto industry was reeling, the electronics industry was virtually gone, and the clothing industry was on its way out. So, yes, NAFTA was an attempt to deal with that.

Chris the cop

"What I meant here is that his experience hasn't produced a record of legislative achievement or demonstrated a talent for leadership, so there's nothing he can point to in his past that suggests that he'll make an effective president." I get that now that you've spelled it out.

I just don't think it was as patently obvious about Nixon and Bush-2 before they were elected than Trump and Hilary in terms of a coming disaster. That's why come election day, my more politically active daughter is going to accompany me into the voting booth and pull the lever for me for Hilary. It hurts just to write about it, let alone cast the vote.


You've hit on what's bugged me about this election cycle on the Democratic side, which is the way it's been hyped as a Manichean, good vs. evil bout. In truth about any political candidate you can pick will make decisions that disappoint you, whether by expedience or genuine difference of opinion. But there's a narrative in the air of Bernie being all good and Hillary being all bad.

I don't want to overgeneralize, since in my hometown - Providence, RI - anyone you talk to is likely to be a Bernie supporter, some for eminently defensible reason of liking what he says. But some negative voters don't think anyone can have a good-faith disagreement with them, and this seems like a bad trend.

Net Denizen

I'm pretty sure there was lots of opposition to welfare reform, and that it didn't need to be reformed as such, but people were adamant that "the poors" needed to be taught some kind of life lesson on not relying too heavily on government assistance. I do know that I was in Wisconsin when THEY decided to "reform" welfare in the name of "providing a hand up rather than a hand out." There was this great new restriction on public assistance which stated you had to be in training for a new job/career in order to receive benefits. And the republicans (go figure) decided that funding the agency which was responsible for job training and placement was unnecessary to the success of the program. Their only goal was to get people off of welfare, at which they did a great job.

Too bad for the people who got that assistance that they not only had no job, but they had no help making ends meet anymore either. This is the exact "reform" welfare got when Bill Clinton decided to take it on. I knew a number of people who got screwed by the changes in TANF and they had to take drastic measures to survive, but they did just fine before "reform" got in the way. I think it's true that the changes were a result of the times they came up in, but that was more to do with yet another capitulation to Republican values by the Democrats in order to appear "moderate" rather than a problem that required a solution.

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