The new mainstream media message that echoes Hillary Clinton's own closing argument last night in Iowa is that we should all "get real" and choose the pragmatic Hillary Clinton over the idealistic yet naive Bernie Sanders.
Paul Krugman urges us to face healthcare realities and give up on the progressive vision for universal healthcare.
John Avignone at Salon rushed to tell us that "quixotic insurgent campaigns" have "been the road to ruin of every political movement and every political party" that have tried them.
Both argue that we need to nominate Hillary Clinton, the pragmatic, realistic candidate who will work with a GOP-controlled Congress to make incremental progress. Bernie has great ideas but Hillary is the one who will "get things done."
I'm sorry, but how can anyone be so fucking naive?
First, how can anyone keep a straight face while reminding us that the GOP will likely still control the House and in the same breath claim that Hillary Clinton will be able to work with that Congress? Have you been watching Congress for the past 8 years? Hell, do you remember the last time a Clinton was in the White House? The Republican House impeached one Clinton and I'm sure they are chomping at the bit to make it two for two. As we know from before, they don't even need a good reason!
The majority of GOP House seats have been gerrymandered into rabidly red districts where the voters already HATE Hillary Clinton. The only danger they will face is getting primaried by someone who faults them for not impeaching the second Clinton fast enough. They are going to double down on the "make a one-term president" strategy they employed against Obama and say no to absolutely everything.
Hillary Clinton has no better chance of passing progressive reforms through Congress than Bernie Sanders does. Period.
Second, to the extent that she could get anything done, it's precisely what might get done that scares the hell out of me.
You may be right that Hillary Clinton is more likely to find common ground with a GOP Congress on certain issues than Bernie Sanders would. But let's think for a moment about what those issues would be…
Remember the common ground the first president found with a GOP Congress? Remember welfare reform? Remember financial de-regulation? Remember the expansion of free trade agreements that were devastating to American workers?
Hell, look at where the current president is finding common ground with Congress to pass the TPP over the objections of BOTH sides of the political spectrum. Or expand drone strikes and the surveillance state.
Yes, I can see Hillary Clinton finding common ground with a GOP Congress to do all these kinds of things. Anti-worker free trade laws. Hawkish foreign policy. Cuts to vital social services. Raising the retirement age? Tax cuts for Wall Street?
When I think about what Hillary Clinton might actually "get done" with a GOP Congress, it scares the hell out of me.
Third, in the face of an intransigent GOP opposition, we need a president who will use the bully pulpit of the Oval Office to fight for progressive ideas and win the battle for hearts and minds that will lead to electoral victories so we CAN pass progressive legislation.
Sanders can start to make incremental changes with good appointments to the federal agencies. Sanders appointees can start to reign in Wall Street and bolster workers by implementing new policy in the Departments of Treasury, Commerce and Labor. And Sanders can continue to give voice every day to the progressive changes we need.
Did you know that during one of the Democratic debates, one of the most googled phrases was "universal healthcare"? Already more Iowa Democrats are comfortable calling themselves "socialist" as opposed to "capitalist". A majority of Americans support Sanders on nearly every major issue. We need those issues to be what is being talked about and debated and discussed. We need a champion for those issues with the biggest microphone there is—the White House.
We got our asses kicked in 2010 because Democratic leaders bent over backwards to work with GOP Congress that voted no on everything in the end anyway. Progressives stayed home because Democrats didn't actually act progressive once in office. We didn't even get a fucking public option.
The stimulus was too small and too focused on tax cuts. Wall Street got a bail out, homeowners got none and we didn't prosecute the banksters.
And establishment Democrats can whine all they want that Republicans wouldn't have let them. But how do we know? They didn't even try! It would have been better to propose real solutions to our problems and LET the Republicans vote now and block it. Let THEM be the reason we failed. Then go back to the people and tell them to kick the bums out!
That's how we win in 2018 and 2020. Not by passing shitty legislation that continues the transfer of wealth to the top one-tenth of one percent that has been going on for thirty or more years.
So don't be so naive again. Let's get real and vote for real change. And keep voting for it until we get it.