It's not the 2020 Democratic clown car!

I've been referring to the gaggle of 2020 Democratic hopefuls as "clown car" because Democrats used that term to refer to the gaggle of Republican hopefuls in 2012 and and 2016, when Democrats ran only their anointee du jour. IOW, I fell victim to classic Democratic PTB framing, namely, making the more democratic way seem oh! so laughable and oh! so "less than: the undemocratic way. (Needless to say, the 2008 Democratic field of Biden, Dodd, Hillary, et al. was "an embarrassment of riches," not a "clown car.")

Of course, the more democratic way is that anyone who wants to run for POTUS and qualifies constitutionally does run for POTUS--and without being made to seem like a traitor to the Party, maybe even to the nation.

Currently, America has only two political parties with any realistic hopw of electing a U.S. President, now or in the foreseeable future. So, if each of those two parties were to twenty to thirty candidates--a total of sixty, at most--would that be too many from a population of over 327 million souls? I think not. Then, why refer to a starting field of about twenty Republican Presidential hopefuls as a "clown car?" Because the Democratic PTB's undemocratic anointing of Obama in 2008 and 2012 and Hillary in 2016 was better for Americans than a larger primary field? Again, I think not.

Moreover, upon reflection, "2020 Democratic clown car" was both a false equivalence and--for my purposes--a strategic error: By implying an equivalence between relatively large Republican Presidential fields 2012 and 2016, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the 2020 Democratic starting field of almost thirty, I was doing the Democratic PTB an unintended favor.

IMO, Republicans had large Presidential nomination fields in 2012 and 2016 simply because no Republican POTUS was running and the Republican PTB had not anointed anyone, not even, JEB!. IOW, the Republican gaggles were formed by people who wanted the Republican Presidential nomination and believed it might be his or her time to win it. Moreover, the Republican PTB did not characterize--or expect establishment media to characterize--any of the hopefuls as an interloper with no chance of ever winning the Republican Presidential nomination, much less the general election.

As best as I can tell, no malovent, undemocratic scheme, field enlarged the Republican Presidential field in 2012 0r 2016, nor did the Republican National Committee take sides. And, please remember that Democrats, not Republicans, invented super delegates. Although Republicans did eventually follow suit, Republicans gave their super delegates less power.

Contradistinctively, the 2020 gaggle of Democratic candidates seems to have been calculated to ensure that the primary vote is sufficiently split to prevent Bernie Sanders--or any populist candidate--from winning the nomination. Maybe even split enough that the nomination gets thrown to the convention. In a convention battle, of course, super delegates would likely be the deciding factor. Of course, super delegates consist of big donors to Democrats and present and former Democratic officeholders--aka, the Democratic bribers and bribees. So equating the large Republican fields of 2012 and 2016 to the even larger Democratic field of 2016 flatters the Democratic Party by failing to differentiate the undemocratic machinations of the Democratic PTB. (Has ever a political party been so ironically named?)

The Democratic PTB has always chosen the Presidential nominee and will fight any attempt to yield that power to Democratic Presidential primary voters. The same is likely true of all national offices, maybe even all elected offices. It's good to be the kingmakers. Democratic plutocrats ain't giving that up: Democratic primary voters finally getting to choose a Democratic Presidential nominee? Heaven forfend! /s

Share
up
0 users have voted.

Comments

k9disc's picture

it is to attack the very principles of democracy. It is a VERY easy to gaslight argument.

"Man, what's wrong with you people... Always for democracy until it hurts your candidate's chances."

There are endless rationalized outs to prop up cognitive dissonance and to weaponize. I appreciate you highlighting the point. It is a bit counter-intuitive.

So the question becomes how do you surgically dismantle this frame, as I think you have to do, and how do you reframe?

up
0 users have voted.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

@k9disc @k9disc

For instance to attack what is to attack the very principles of democracy? And beyond having posted this essay, I'm not sure what it is I have to do about its subject matter.

However, I do know that I am not among those who is for or against something until it becomes inconvenient. If my conscience or principles conflict with my candidate, too bad for my candidate.

up
0 users have voted.
k9disc's picture

democracy.

Arguing against more voices, or this spectacle, can be dismissed as arguing against a robust democracy. "Like 20 years ago, you wanted MORE people on the stage other than the anointed ones... make up your mind!" It's easy to straw man the argument.

"OK, so you don't like Delaney, but that doesn't change the fact that Tulsi is polling at just above 0%."

So my point was, I think the same as yours, the clown car framing is a loser.

But the spectacle of putting all these grifters on stage is a winner for the Establishment for the very same reason. It makes people attack democracy and choice itself. We poke ourselves in the eye as we delegitimize underdog or dark horse popular/populist candidates. It's a winner.

As to you not being a citizen of convenience, I agree, and I know you are not. Delaney, Ryan, and a few of those others really have no business being up there - or rather they are conducting business while they are up there, or it is distinctly their business being up there - something to that effect. You know that, I know that, everybody with a functioning brain knows that. But game it out.

"So you're pissed off about the Delaney shillery and Big Corporate & the Oligarchs controlling who's up there. How do you explain Tulsi's appearance up there? "

And now we're talking about bullshit. Complete bullshit that begs for the anointing of "special" candidates instead of talking about "the undemocratic machinations of the Democratic PTB." and their nefarious plan to choose a corporate stooge at all costs - even losing to Drumpf.

@HenryAWallace

up
0 users have voted.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

@k9disc

A candidate field, large or small, that forms organically smells like democracy to me, as does 1 person, 1 primary vote.

What does not smell like democracy to me? In 2012, months before the Presidential election, Shrum and Shields were on MSNBC saying, "If Hillary wants the 2016 nomination, it will be hers. No Democrat will oppose her."

Given that many politicians have Presidential ambitions, how (and why) could Shrum and Shields have reached that conclusion in 2012?

up
0 users have voted.

@HenryAWallace unfortunately.

up
0 users have voted.

@Dr. John Carpenter

up
0 users have voted.
Steven D's picture

as a joke.

up
0 users have voted.

"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

@Steven D

Whether that makes it better, I must leave to others.

(Nice to see you.)

up
0 users have voted.

@Steven D

up
0 users have voted.
gulfgal98's picture

There is an unconfirmed rumor that Mike Gravel is endorsing Bernie Sanders this week thus causing some Twitter users to call for Tulsi Gabbard to drop out as "her candidacy is hurting Bernie's chances."

This comes on the heels of a live chat that I watched on Saturday between Mike Gravel with Joe Lauria and Eliabeth Vos of Consortium News. During that live chat, Mike Gravel touted Tulsi Gabbard as having the greatest gravitas he had ever seen in a Presidential candidate and that he would be acting as her surrogate during the time she is away for two weeks of National Guard duty this month. I do not know what to make of all this, but why would Mike Gravel offer to act as a surrogate for Tulsi Gabbard if his endorsement of Bernie Sanders is imminent?

Regardless, the fact that some Sanders supporters are already saying they want Tulsi to drop out reeks of the entitlement we saw in Hillary supporters in 2016. We have not even come close to the first primaries and they are talking about trying to get the most Googled candidate who gained nearly 40K new unique donors since the last debate to drop out. That is ridiculous at this point in the campaign!

I personally want Tulsi, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang in the race as long as possible because each one of them brings a unique perspective to the issues outside the establishment talking points.

up
0 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"I am done with it all. Life is just a charade in which we are all unknowing pawns." ~gulfgal98

gulfgal98's picture

@gulfgal98 @gulfgal98 Everything I had read up to this point quoted the Gravel teens, not Mike himself. Now this makes more sense to me.

Update #2: Primo Nutmeg personally spoke to Mike Gravel to clarify his position, so it is a double endorsement coming from Gravel himself, not the teens.

up
0 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"I am done with it all. Life is just a charade in which we are all unknowing pawns." ~gulfgal98

@gulfgal98

and the Democratic PTB can be useful, I think. "Embarrassment of riches" and "Republican clown car" were both terms I first heard on either MSNBC or one of the Sunday morning talking head shows.

I'm delighted that Gravel is endorsing both of Gabbrd and Sanders. (I think, early on, he said Gabbard was the most "progressive" candidate running.) My growing dread is that neither Gabbard nor Sanders will be the nominee, and for all the same reasons that Sanders was not the nominee in 2016. His campaign does not seem to have figured out how to combat those things, a fear I posted about here early on.

"It's deja vu all over again." Yogi Berra.

It's deja vu vu. Me

up
0 users have voted.

@gulfgal98

Regardless, the fact that some Sanders supporters are already saying they want Tulsi to drop out reeks of the entitlement we saw in Hillary supporters in 2016. We have not even come close to the first primaries and they are talking about trying to get the most Googled candidate who gained nearly 40K new unique donors since the last debate to drop out. That is ridiculous at this point in the campaign

Its odd to me that people can’t see this for the entitled attitude it is. It’s more ironic given the history with Sanders in 2016. I don’t see how Gabbard leaving the race at this point would be anything but a negative for people with any progressive streak at all.

up
0 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@gulfgal98

unless the person has committed a crime or is involved in a truly horrendous scandal.

up
0 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

gulfgal98's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal What I have been seeing reeks of entitlement and tribalism instead of allowing for the various policy stances of each of the candidates. Some of those candidates are people I would probably never vote for but they do bring new an different ideas to the conversation.

up
0 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"I am done with it all. Life is just a charade in which we are all unknowing pawns." ~gulfgal98

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

if by candidate-shaming one means "shaming someone for the act of running for office."

All of this is designed to shift Americans' expectations so that they forget what democracy actually is. Then politicians and talking heads can vociferously defend "our democracy" from Trump--in words, at least--while opposing democracy's basic functions.

up
0 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

2016 Republican clown car could have been imagined to be remotely qualified to be president -- including the eventual victor.

With the 2020 Dem candidates, this is not at all true. I mean -- no, I don't think very many of them would be good presidents -- but the front-runners are almost all serious people with the sorts of credentials ordinarily expected of presidential candidates, if not actual presidents. Buttigieg might be too big for his britches, but compare him to almost-ran Herman Freaking Cain. Harris might be a fascist, but compare her to Ben HerpaDerp Carson. Santorum? Fiorina? Rubio? Cruz? An astonishing string of clowns -- intellectual lightweights, fail-uppers, religious lunatics ... e-freakin-gads.

up
0 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

the opiner's political view. I imagine that a Republican might find a Romney, Santorum, JEB!, Gingrich, Huntsman, Roemer, Cruz, Kasich, Graham qualified to serve, while finding some on the Democratic side downright scary--especially the Democrats we Caucusers tend to prefer (not to mention the double standard in how a large field is characterized).

But the issue is whether a field constituted itself organically, or whether it was engineered to deprive voters of choice or to frustrate voter choice. Is it a case of "Gee, we've just gotta encourage better people to run," or "They've cheated us voters out of a real choice. Again." I think some Republicans would rather that Trump had not been the nominee, but I don't think that the RNC ensured a large field in hopes of defeating him. Graham may not have run if Trump had not been in the picture, but that seems to have been Graham's idea, not that of RNC, its large donors and its friends in the media acting in concert.

Depriving Democratic voters of meaningful action is by no means new to the Democratic Party. For example, Henry A. Wallace was fine as FDR's running mate, until FDR looked ready to drop dead soon after inauguration. Then, America was given Truman, reportedly over FDR's objection (and therefore Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the start of our involvement in Vietnam, the Korean War and the start of the Cold War, among other undesirable things).

Another is Estes Kefauver, who won every primary (fewer primaries then), or just about--haven't double checked--but was not the choice of Truman or the other party bosses. Hence Adlai Stevenson, who entered no primary, but got buttonholed at the convention.

Hubert Humphrey did even enter a single primary, either, much less win one, but got the nomination through the "favorite son" system (which I confess I have not taken the time to learn).

And, of course, Democrats, not Republicans, invented super delegates. While Republicans eventually adopted something similar, the Democratic super delegates have much more power.

I don't like either party anymore, but I used to vote Democratic and I've never once voted Republican, even for coroner. Still, I have to say that Republicans treat their voters better than do Democrats, very ironic, given the name of the latter party.

Republicans may also be better at giving their base what their base seems to want. Compare the kinds of majorities and mandate Obama had during his first two years with those of Trump during his first two years. Then compare the performance of each during his first two years. Which base was happier?

up
0 users have voted.