Any candid opinions on Nader's spoiler effect on the 2000 election? Wiki seems inconclusive. i voted Nader in NJ where Gore was a done deal and i thought bumping Nader's numbers would help get a message across. My second disclosure is that I'm onboard with HRC this round. My rationale is we need to bring our biggest stick to knock down the opposition on election day and I think that's HRC for better or worse (i'm not blind). I dont think Sanders can beat any of their top 3 in a general election. so i guess there are two points embedded in this post.  

- bill 2-06-2016 7:37 am

comment threads are the pits and frequently off topic as is this statement in relation to RN's OP, however it address the integrity vs strategy question which i am curious about:

"Well, people suck down myths in this so called 'Republik' like grape kool-aid and blow bubbles. Frankly having taught for a long time, I've found that a majority of college students reflect the opinions of those closest to them. Very few think for themselves. To wit . . . the Nader fable spread by the Democratic establishment, is parroted over and over. Here is the bottom line. Those of us who voted for Nader were not Democratic defectors. We were Green Party progressives who would never have voted for Gore. We refused to vote for the "lesser of two evils." We insist on voting our conscience for what we believe. Even if we lose and lose badly we retain our integrity. That integrity is exactly what modern politics lacks!!!!!!"

Most of the political noise in my FB news feed is pro Bernie as i would expect since most of my friends and the people I follow are pro Bernie. Last week some of the media characterized some of the more negative personal smear rhetoric as Bernie-bro activity. I'm familiar with HRC negativity and it can often get pretty nasty. It's offered as self evident. She is any easy mark and in comparison Bernie is Mr. Clean by most standards. I still think HRC will receive the nomination and I wonder if the Bernie followers will be able to change gears and make the compromise most HRC followers have already made. Q: Will the Bernie followers "refuse to vote the lesser of two evils"  Will they "insist on voting our conscience for what we believe." Because even if they "lose and lose badly we retain our integrity." Or will they vote strategic?


- bill 2-08-2016 10:22 am

the first sentence is salvageable but i have no idea what that last sentence is trying to say. have some more tea and try again.

i think we supported strategic voting for gore in 2000 but i could be wrong. nader needed to reach a specific percentage of the vote to ensure public financing for the green party in the next presidential cycle which seemed like a worthwhile goal at the time. i still dont fault nader voters in florida. its true, they were probably mostly stupid college kids or thereabouts still possessed of "convictions," but then blame the democrats for not appealing to them rather than chastising them for not playing along. its funny how gore became an icon on the left for his climate change stance but didnt make that a cornerstone of his appeal probably because his advisors said it made him look too liberal. so i blame him for not having the courage of his convictions. did we suffer a terrible eight years as a result? yes. but the amount of awfulness was in the near term unforeseeable. and the american people had a chance to make amends four years later but swiftboated itself instead out of stupidity and faux patriotism. this country gets what it deserves for its pervasive idiocy.

- dave 2-08-2016 10:56 am

Thanks Dave. Not sure if I knew about the funding threshold thing. I had taken for granted that the Gore climate push was at least partially a mechanism to salvage his own political identity. an after thought to losing the election.

- bill 2-08-2016 2:30 pm

i think he was fairly sincere within a neoliberal context about environmental concerns for a long time preceding 2000. this page points to his initiatives as far back as the mid 70s. then if you look at this wiki outlining his major campaign talking points theres no mention of the environment. and he chose joe fucking lieberman as his running mate, an absolute f.u. to the liberal constituency.

i have no idea if he though it a mechanism to salvage a political identity, id like to think he was freed from the constraints of party politics and focused on something he was passionate about. maybe im naive.
- dave 2-08-2016 5:09 pm

or maybe i'm ill-informed and cynical.

- bill 2-08-2016 6:05 pm

Krugman on electability

- bill 2-15-2016 12:02 pm

Mr. Krugman, I have weighed the evidence and come to to the conclusion that we've had 16 years of Clinton style neoliberalism and it's time to try the "FDR democrat" approach again, updated for our present circumstances. "Electability" is what you talk about when you can only envision the status quo. Moreover, Hillary Clinton is a semi-competent leader. Based on her handling of the 1993 health care legislation and this decade's handling of Libya, I'd say we'd have another dithering, Carter-like president with her in charge. She and Bill genuinely believe "entitlements" need to be rolled back and that the US needs the TPP trade bill, and those are two things you can guarantee she'll work on, despite what she might say in the campaign.
- tom moody 2-15-2016 12:23 pm

Good Larry David voice Tom.

- bill 2-15-2016 4:21 pm

I'm really not liking the little foreign policy stuff I'm hearing from Sanders, but Clintons neoliberal R2P style interventionism (she's seriously saying she would implement a no fly zone over S400 protected Syrian skies) risks a direct confrontation with Russia. No thanks. And domestically there's no contest in my mind. Sure, Sanders might actually crash the economy sooner than Clinton, but it has to crash so we can get back to markets that actually function as price discovery mechanisms and the only question is whether we are going to protect poor people (and maybe penalize those who set it up to crash) when it does all come down or not. There are hard times ahead I think either way, and I have a lot of reservations, but I just can't vote for Clinton. I don't want war and I don't want to kick the can any further down the road on the economy. I think this Ian Welsh piece is worth a read for one version of a reply to the "Bernie Sanders is a naive dope smoking hippie who won't be able to get anything done" argument.

- jim 2-16-2016 7:55 am

Thanks, Jim, that's how I feel (my Larry David voice notwithstanding, whatever that means -- I thought it was my "replying to Paul Krugman voice"). I like Welsh's "theory of change" idea where bad, but status quo bullet points ("we have to roll back entitlements," "we have to make the US competitive globally with a strong trade bill") are gotten out in the open and debated.
- tom moody 2-16-2016 9:11 am

Going back to Bill's original reason for this post -- one person's theory of change is another person's spoiler effect. Meanwhile, over on the right, they're finally debating Bush's foreign policy (which Hillary Clinton supported with her Iraq war vote, another reason to remember her during primary season).
- tom moody 2-16-2016 9:30 am

TOC presupposes mini steps. I suggest that the consequences of not voting Democratic in November could/would lead to a Republican in office (a step right off the cliff!). With the penchant for chaos they embody I would forsee a "you can't get there from here" status of our mutually desired change. I think getting HRC in office and staying on her back (riding her ass) would help stear things in the right direction and keep the crazy right at arms length.

- bill 2-16-2016 9:44 am

Riding Obama did nothing -- once he was elected he blew off his progressive base. Hillary has no progressive base but she would do the same. Given the Republican clown car, this is one election season where "hold your nose and vote for a Clinton" isn't as compelling a fear tactic.
- tom moody 2-16-2016 10:32 am

I was only talking about the primary. November will be a sad sad (but not difficult) choice for me if it's Trump vs. HRC. One is a racist and likely psychopathic supporter of torturer, with otherwise very good positions. The other hasn't officially endorsed torture (but...) and holds mostly catastrophic policy positions (more global trade agreements, less enforcement of Wall St., more central bank meddling in the economy, more antagonizing of Russia.) I'll have to vote for her but I won't be happy about it.

Still, thanks for the thread Bill. I'm not trying to get into an argument. It's likely I'm wrong. But there you have it...

I guess the argument for a vote for Sanders in the primary not meaning an automatic Republican presidency is something like: There are staunch life long Democratic supporters (would never vote for a Nader, or Sanders, or anyone not sanctioned by the DNC in a primary,) and then there are people who could vote Democratic (but probably mostly just don't vote: young people, poor politically unengaged people, people who have given up on the process.) Any Dem is going to get the first group of voters (especially against Trump,) but to win you need to energize and turn out the second group. That's how Obama did it. HRC will only get the first group and most of the second will stay home. Sanders will get the first group too, and a lot of the second group. This not only gives the Dems the White House, but all those reluctant voters will make the Dems do MUCH BETTER down ticket. An HRC white house means a republican landslide in Congress. Just my $.02.

- jim 2-16-2016 12:04 pm

Thanks Jim, strong arguments. Thanks Tom. Krugman is keeping it going this week. Note his unicorn problem model.   

- bill 2-16-2016 6:30 pm

Krugman's logic is we'll never be Sweden, so smell the Clinton glove. Not very inspiring. The voice of the weary realist -- he's been doing this too long.
- tom moody 2-17-2016 10:49 am

Key word "realist."

- bill 2-17-2016 1:04 pm

Key word "weary."
- tom moody 2-17-2016 3:04 pm

Get off it, he's 62! Mr. Tea Pot.
- bill 2-17-2016 3:25 pm

Krugman was great when he was the only person in the media questioning Team Bush. He seems to have lost his purpose around 2008. The Sanders campaign has been a fresh wind and all he can say is "oh you naive kids." Restoring the US to the FDR safety net is not wacko.
- tom moody 2-17-2016 5:34 pm

Tom's OPINION. Opinions without a persuasive argument supported by facts are not too productive in a comment thread.  Characterizing Krugman without addressing the substance of his column is just unwelcome trolling. Thanks anyway. 

- bill 2-17-2016 5:54 pm

someones a little grumpy. you all in on hillary, bill? you may not be swayed by toms take but i dont see how its not valid.
- dave 2-17-2016 6:12 pm

I see enough unsupported opinion already. And if you can't get your point across without paraphrasing. It's not what he said.

- bill 2-17-2016 6:41 pm

"Larry David voice" and "Mr. Tea Pot" seem like trolling to me. Also "unicorn." Clinton's handling of the 1993 health care bill, her warmongering in Libya and elsewhere, her Iraq War vote, and, let's add the $153 million in "speaking fees" she and Bill have accrued since 2001 are factual matters, not opinion. We could quibble about the particulars but she has strong negatives that many people outside the DC opinion bubble have picked up on. These could affect "electability."
- tom moody 2-18-2016 2:27 pm

I'm done tom. tell it to the marines.
- bill 2-18-2016 2:57 pm

OK, fine. This has been a great, surprising campaign season so far. It started with the DC punditocracy saying we all needed to be grownups and concentrate on our only two viable choices, Hillary and Jeb. Then you had Trump hanging George Bush around Jeb's neck, and Sanders pointing out we were in another Gilded Age and HRC was on the side of the gold. And both of these viewpoints have gotten traction (that is, are resonating with the public). All HRC's followers have is (i) to abuse Sanders supporters and (ii) keep harping on the conventional wisdom of her "electability." In truth, most Americans don't find her inspiring at all. She'll say anything, in carefully parsed, triangulated statements, and people tend to distrust that.

- tom moody 2-19-2016 10:23 am

From Nathan Tankus, The Crackpot Realism of Clintonian Politics:

Even Krugman who coined the phrase “Very Serious Person” [I think that was Atrios --tm] is chiding people because they “don’t want to hear that they’re being unrealistic”. One gets the feeling that the Iraq war was a personal affront to Krugman because he couldn’t help but be on the wrong side of mainstream punditry of the time and now that both the war and the great financial crisis [are over] he can finally return to his proper role as a conventional commentator.

- tom moody 2-19-2016 2:34 pm

Greenwald did a piece on Krugman's recent "Very Serious People" flip flop:

For years, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has repeatedly complained about the D.C. orthodoxy-enforcing tactic of labeling only those who subscribe to Washington pieties as “Very Serious People,” or “VSPs.” It’s a term Krugman borrowed (with credit) from the liberal blogger Atrios, who first coined it to illustrate how Iraq War opponents were instantly marginalized in establishment discourse and only war advocates were deemed to be Serious. Krugman mockingly uses it so often that the New York Times created a special tag for the term. The primary purpose of the “VSP” tactic is to malign anyone who dissents from D.C. establishment pieties as non-Serious or un-Serious, thus demeaning the person as someone who can (and should) be ignored as residing on the fringe, unworthy of engagement or a real platform regardless of the merits of their position.
Yesterday, one of the purest and most noxious examples of this tactic was invoked — by Paul Krugman. The longtime Clinton defender announced that all Serious policy experts “lean Hillary”; he even used the term “serious” unironically to advance his claim...

- jim 2-19-2016 3:02 pm

Thanks, I missed this. Greenwald notes that "170 policy experts... signed a letter endorsing Sanders’ financial reform plan over Clinton’s." That's impressive and I didn't realize momentum for Sanders had gathered to this extent. To ask in the middle of this upward surge of hope in a saner future if these people will support Clinton when Sanders loses seems like the real "spoiler effect" at the moment.
- tom moody 2-21-2016 8:30 am

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