Some thoughts about the present state of some of the presidential campaigns.

a response to Cassiodorus' article about the West campaign.

West has hired one Peter Daou (PD) as his campaign manager. I wonder who is paying PDs salary. His lengthy interview with Sabrina did not convince me that he has seen the light. I think he is still an operative who wants to be important. I rather suspect that he has found that his status as exotic immigrant does not carry quite the clout that it once did.

What the West campaign badly needs, IMHO, is a way for the candidate to connect with voters across the country who do not inhabit the various academic/leftist political/online echo chambers wherein West is much respected. PD does not provide that. Maybe I missed it, but during the Sabrina interview, I did not hear one single policy proposal advanced. As in, for example, Dr. West will continue and expand the Biden anti-trust policies. He will strengthen SEC and appoint a director who is not a creature of Wall Street. I am not going to vote for someone because the likes of the morally compromised PD thinks, or rather says he thinks, the person is a saint. In contrast, Kennedy hardly does any interview into which he does not interject some sort of policy proposal.

I don't care if West wants to talk about white supremacy because I don't doubt that such attitudes have been a painful part of his life experience, and folks who hold those beliefs are not going to vote for him anyway. But I do want to hear some actual policy proposals. When Jackson was running for president, he had policy statements on almost every conceivable issue. He was calling for farm price supports at 90% of parity. So far as I know, West has no farm policy and doesn't think rural issues are important.

As for Kennedy running as an independent, such efforts have not done well in American presidential elections and the candidate knows this. He won't leave the Democratic Party until he can plausibly claim that he has been forced out, at which time he can make the case that Biden's Democratic Party is against a negotiated settlement in Ukraine, is against taking foreign policy back from the neocons, and freeing the EPA, USDA, FDA, et. al. from corporate control. Meanwhile, he claims and I have no reason to doubt him, to have offices and organization in all 50 states. I would suppose that those persons know very well how to get their candidate's name on all 50 state ballots.

As for Sabrina, I find her a most appealing and intelligent commentator, but I do wish she would take less than 60 or even 90 minutes to make a point. I accept that she has her preferred style of discourse, but she needs to understand that viewers have other things to do besides to listen to her. But then, I doubt I am part of her targeted audience.

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usefewersyllables's picture

I've referred to our presidential farce as "our quadrennial mastubationfest".

I don't see anything on the horizon to change my mind. They mail me my ballot, but even that may not be enough to get me to bother this time- assuming that we haven't been vaporized by then, in any case.

One thing is for sure- I am now a single issue voter. If a candidate does not whole-heartedly espouse peace as their primary goal, I'm not fucking voting for them. Period, end of statement, full stop.

Things being what they are, I don't anticipate having anyone to vote for.

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Twice bitten, permanently shy.

@usefewersyllables @usefewersyllables a candidate with a stronger antiwar position than RFK Jr. End Ukraine war. Dismantle our hundreds of military bases and reduce wasteful Pentagon spending. End CIA's unwarranted power grip.

Agree war has to be easily the most important issue voters consider, although for some reason this is not yet at the top of the list for a majority of poorly counseled Americans. I think we are 1-3 yrs from toe-to-toe with the Russkies, as TPTB (CIA/Pentagon/State) show no signs of interest in negotiations or pulling back. The country is sleepwalking into WW3.

Only RFK Jr has a strong position on war/peace. West, busy talking about White Supremacy, trims at the edges at best. Marianne kinda supports Joe on Ukraine. Rs may not all like the Ukr war, but if they don't, to make up for that softy defeatist attitude they sure would like to start one with China.

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usefewersyllables's picture

@wokkamile

I'll be very sad when they kill him. No smiley.

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Twice bitten, permanently shy.

@usefewersyllables voters to the polls in 2024. One, as you say is peace. Another is immigration. Sorry to have to break the news to all fine folks, but the seductive ideology of multiculturalism is Dead. dead. dead. It has in fact been dead for a while; the burning of libraries in France put a stake in the corpse. Voters want the borders closed. All of them. I cannot leave my house without meeting at least one person who is in desperate circumstances. Sure, I can give them a few dollars and I do, but that won't pay their rent or their medical bills. So, I and I believe many others are asking what about Americans who need "a better life". Is someone going to give them a bus ticket to destiny city? BTW, I live in a perfectly respectable working class neighborhood, not in a ghetto or other depressed area.

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Mary Bennett

just about all your points.

IN the last thread on CW, I was thinking about the significant gap between RFK Jr's output in speaking substantively about various major issues and West's rather meager level of output on same. Kennedy easily outshines all other candidates in either/any party in being steeped in a wide range of issues, often impressively deep in his knowledge.

By stark contrast, West has yet to show much range or depth outside of the racial discrimination area. All the more striking coming from an Ivy League academic. Further, it doesn't take a massive campaign war chest to communicate with the public. A decent video camera to upload content to social media is one easy way. RFK does video messaging constantly on a variety of discrete issues. He is very active and substantive on his Twitter/X feed. He's constantly speaking before a range of different groups. Cornel is a major underperformer in all these areas from what I've seen.

Agree on Jesse Jackson. He was much more impressive a candidate, and as a debater, than West.
Self confident in his presentation and he had the great rhetorical flourishes. West is mostly about the leftyish-radical style and bluesy rhetoric.

Re RFK Jr and leaving the Ds: tough call coming up, as the establishment voices are being heard here and there for Joe to drop out, and if he does, does Joe delay the news until the convention? Kennedy is likely getting advised on the latest date he can switch to indy and still make the ballot in 50 states. I would imagine that date is still months in the future.

Check on Sabby. Likable personality, but badly needs a video editor.

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A snippet -

The much broader and far more important issue, however, is in how our elections work to begin with. The media has total control over who’s allowed to be nominated, as they control the platforms that give voice to potential candidates. They can ignore and blackhole anyone who’s not an establishment candidate as they see fit.

Or if the candidate poses no real challenge (as in C. West) they will pretend to be OK with
challengers. RFK Jr, Tulsi, Bernie, Nader, Kucinich and others are not allowed. IMO

https://darkfutura.substack.com/p/rebooting-america?publication_id=14638...

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Cassiodorus's picture

RFK Jr.'s primary audience isn't primarily Democrats. So -- as Salvati also asked -- what's he waiting for? Jaime Harrison, the head of the DNC, has already told the world that Biden will be the Democrats' nominee. The Democrats will, in short, make up rules until RFK Jr.'s bid for the nomination is irrelevant. "Candidates are not allowed to sneeze." "Oops, you sneezed. We're disqualifying you." It seems to me that the ban on campaigning in Iowa and in NH has de facto forced him out already. The corporate media do not take him seriously as a Democrat -- that's pretty serious.

It's not a question of ballot access machinery so much as it's a question of time. The longer RFK Jr. waits to leave the Democratic Party, the more onerous his ballot access problems will be. It will, for instance, be good to avoid the invocation of "sore loser laws" in which major party candidates are disallowed from running as independents in general elections. Maybe he could invent his own version of the Democratic Party, and invite Democrats to join it. That option would take time too. It would be good to have that stuff nailed down ASAP.

I have to wonder how Peter Daou is going to proceed. Green Party candidacies typically run without money, as damned near next to nobody will donate to them. They typically end up with about 4% of the vote. One of the commenters on an RBN video said, "I would have liked to see a campaign oriented toward community organizing." This criticism is more interesting than others typically launched against Peter Daou. As I stated in the earlier diary, there needs to be a change in approach.

At any rate, as a Green Party voter registered in the state of Oregon, I will be able to vote for Cornel West in both the primary and general elections. As it stands, I won't be able to vote for RFK Jr. in either election. I presume the policy discussion is coming at some point -- I don't expect that any Green primaries West might consider are of much importance, so the policy stuff might be later rather than sooner. I don't think Cornel West expects to win. (I certainly don't think Joe Biden will win.) He does, however, float well with the notion that the real goal here is to carve out a space outside of the Democratic Party, so that America can be more than a place where either you hate pregnant women (R) or you want World War III (D).

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"Israel is in the process of destroying itself" -- Miko Peled

@Cassiodorus at least not at first. New info about President Kennedy's murder came out a few months I think it was before RFK, Jr. announced, and I wonder if that wasn't a kind of last straw for him. He also must have seen how much influence Bernie has had even while not (being allowed to) winning. Bernie's candidacy paved the way for the handful of progressives in congress right now. I wish Sabrina would quit moaning about Bernie and the Squad betrayed us, waaa! I think they have accomplished quite a bit, did Sabrina think the Rethuglicans and the Corpodems, not to mention AIPAC, would not fight back?

I suspect that Kennedy decided that if he spoke up, told the truth as he saw it, and made no compromises, folks would listen and he might have some influence. I think he already is making a difference. Do you think his cousin, the Ambassador to Australia, would be floating the idea of a plea deal for Assange if Kennedy had not publicly said I will pardon Julian Assange? I know, I know, there should be no question of a pardon because Assange should never have been prosecuted in the first place, but we are where we are.

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Mary Bennett

Cassiodorus's picture

@Nastarana -- is this small-potatoes talk about how The Squad have accomplished "so much." Did they all accomplish, I dunno, doing so much as putting, I dunno, Medicare for All back on the Federal agenda? Oh but do you know what's really on the agenda in DC these days? (raises hand) I know this one! Proxy war in Ukraine!

This, you see, is the real accomplishment of Team Biden, and it's a REALLY BIG one. It dwarfs by Avogadro's number everything The Squad has ever accomplished outside of the Democratic Party consensus over the entirety of its existence. They've gotten the nice liberals, the people who put The Squad into office ferpetessake, to endorse the proxy war in Ukraine. Opinion polls will reveal as much.

And who opposes disastrous Biden foreign policies? RFK Jr. and a fraction of the Republican Party. This togetherness in opposing proxy war is also, it must be added, one reason why RFK Jr. is no longer actually talking to an audience of Democrats.

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"Israel is in the process of destroying itself" -- Miko Peled

@Cassiodorus and I think it will be because of two issues, no more overseas wars and immigration.

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Mary Bennett

@Nastarana that among Rs it's the perceived open-borders illegal immigration and D-led major city property crime and homelessness which lead the issues pack, at least from what I read on social media. Than the perceived inflation and uncertain economic situation. Ukraine might be in the 4th position for typical R voters.

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janis b's picture

@Nastarana

their more authentic voice and purpose is repressed. I agree that Bernie’s voice, despite the outcome made a difference, just like I think that RfK Jr and Cornel West’s voices can. Continuing to speak up despite the opposition is what is important.

I like your Mary Bennet reference

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@Nastarana more specific and with a cite for that "new info" about JFK's assassination prior to RFK Jr announcing in April?

My understanding is Kennedy probably grew up knowing his father's view, that it was a conspiracy with likely the CIA as the mastermind because, after all, his father's first instinct was to suspect CIA. RFK Jr several yrs ago publicly stated for the first time his conspiracy view, and in more recent times spoke of the CIA angle. So I don't think there was much revealed recently sufficiently earth shaking to rouse him to run.

My sense is he was very troubled with the way the US gov't trampled on our basic rights during covid then followed up with more censorship as it undertook a costly, unnecessary and dangerous proxy war in Ukraine. Those 2 issues, and the way he was being silenced everywhere in the MSM and on major social media led to his tipping point.

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@wokkamile @wokkamile @wokkamile pertaining to the assassination. I remember seeing complaints that the Biden admin. was holding some docs. back, in order, it was suggested, not to embarrass the CIA.

Candidate Kennedy has also said that he became convinced in about 2006 or 7, I think it was, that while Sirhan Sirhan was involved in the plot to kill RFK, Sr., he was not the actual killer.

I do agree with you about the other issues which contributed to a tipping point, and the candidate has said as much. I can't help thinking there is also a personal motive. He said in his announcement speech that he had been either silent or silenced, I forget which, for twenty years and he had a lot to say.

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Mary Bennett

wasting too much valuable ink trying to predict Nov 24. This cycle is the most unsettled, in flux presidential cycle since 1968. Both the incumbent and the leading R are in danger of not being the nominees, one for age/senility and possibly some Hunter-related misconduct, and the other for a long list of officially charged crimes. A prominent spokesman for the Deep State has just called for Biden to step aside for reelection, and a few other Beltwayers have joined that call. Will Joe pull an LBJ, which would lead to a wide open primary contest, or will he wait until the convention, in part to keep the scorned and dangerous RFK Jr censored and cancelled?

No doubt Biden's shaky status is one key factor in Kennedy's decision making and timing.

Re DNC rules, I'm only aware that the party has determined officially that SC shall be the first state to hold a primary contest. Tentatively it has talked about reducing/eliminating the delegates for any state that proceeds counter to this rule, but NH and IA have been given another month's extension to work things out. All the rest, afaik, is just talk at this point. True enough, this kicks the can down the road and also squeezes RFK Jr, but from what I can tell he still has some time to think things over while the Biden status uncertainty plays out.

No doubt also the MSM would continue to denigrate and deny Kennedy's standing as a strong challenger, but with Biden out and an open primary they would stand exposed as hardcore Kennedy haters and party propagandists to even the dimmest Dem if Kennedy stays in the party and continues his campaign.

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