Lesser Evilism vs Addressing Reality

In the Democratic party today, there are two schools of political thought. One says that their opponent to defeat is the "Republican menace"- which means any policy perceived as slightly better than said Republicans is fair game. This view is held primarily by insulated, corporate serving politicians who have built careers out of strategic sponsorships of profitable "incrementalism." Through defending ineffective measures as pragmatism while attacking bold action as radical extremism, the well-off wing of our "People's Party" gained enough control to stop reflecting the will or needs of the masses, instead indoctrinating them to manufacture consent.

This has led to a Democratic party nearly indistinguishable from the Republican party in terms of fiscal and foreign policies. They separate themselves instead using wedge issues such as LGBTQ+ and abortion debates. While important, filling the government's role as valid representation for We the People means delving into deeper and broader issues than personal identity conflicts. That cannot happen so long as the minority business class continues to fund both political "options." Democrats who allow monopolies to write their own laws are representing only themselves and their rich sponsors, not us. They're merely socially liberal Republicans.

Which brings us to the second school of thought, which addresses our reality in rational and historical contexts. This situation has occurred before, after all. FDR had to fight very hard to pass his "New Deal," which gave us many of the services we now take for granted- such as Social Security. While wages have stagnated and wealth inequality has skyrocketed, pay-to-play politicking has become increasingly legalized, keeping a minority in power and continually re-elected- despite record low public approval ratings. This is neither sustainable, nor does it qualify as legitimate representation. We need another FDR-style political course correction.

Locked in perpetual partisan soap opera gridlock (whilst moving right financially and militarily) has become the norm for American politics. Treating it like a team sport has kept it profitable but cost all authenticity and trustworthiness. This has gone on for many decades now, and the evidence is irrefutable: nearly half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and can't afford an emergency. Our children are swamped with debt, have a lower standard of living than the previous generation, and our life expectancy is now decreasing. Healthcare costs have people dying from rationing insulin and using GoFundMe for critical surgeries. This is not okay.

Anyone claiming that just being better than who's currently in office is sufficient needs to check their privilege, and voters need to follow the money pushing that message. Maintaining a status quo that doesn't work for everyone isn't any form of success. And the old cry of middle-ground half-measure incrementalism which got us here won't undo this worsening situation either. Contrary to the few who own the microphones and media, the many are not served merely fighting for a color banner that doesn't respect them. If there is always money for war and buying elections, then there is money to invest in education and the well-being of our citizenry.

Don't believe those claiming that's a radical notion; many industrialized nations have universal health care and free tuition. And it would have already happened in America, but for a firewall of minority-paid politics protecting minority profit with legalized media public relations fronts to justify it into normalcy. Again, when caring for our own is smeared by wealthy political figures, follow that message back through their campaign donors. Empty rhetoric is easy to contrive, but unpurchased principles are what makes real leaders trustworthy. Capitalism must get balanced via humanity, or else we are simply disposable slaves in a corporate machine.

So when you listen to candidates trying to win your vote, consider more than the softball topics raised or identity pandering offered on the surface. Ask the real question- how will this resolve the worsening fate of our children? Is "better than the worst" really our only goal when facing climate change, increasing despair and budget-hungry eternal power and resource wars? Or should we just finally raise the bar above scripted superficial talking points and corporate network poll consensus to select bold plans for change that a majority can support? That's our actual choice. That's the path to real representation. And that's what this election is about.

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

you say,


So when you listen to candidates trying to win your vote, consider more than the softball topics raised or identity pandering offered on the surface.

Where I'd differ, slightly, is that I believe that it's up to each individual to determine what the 'real questions' should be (for them), when making a judgment as to which, if any, candidate, or cause(s) they can support.

I only say that, because, occasionally, I've seen both essayists and posters get rather agitated, if their particular views are not considered to be the correct or good ones. So, as much as possible, I'm still striving to learn 'how' to say what I 'think,' but, not suggest that Everyone else must agree with my assessment. It's harder said, than done.

Pleasantry

An important topic. If I get a chance, after I help Mr M will his Excel spreadsheet, might expound on my own definition of LOTE. When I use it, I don't mean it literally.

Again, good work.

Mollie

“Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.
~~Roger Caras

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"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

@Unabashed Liberal
I agree, but with the caveat that prioritizing individual preferences over mass effect doesn't serve us. I see every different shade of identity politicking represented in the Democratic candidates, but very few who directly address the corporate sponsorship ties which make them all more similar than different. And some issues, with respect, matter a bit less if we ignore others.

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

@CharredPC @CharredPC

my comment as a criticism.

Since I'm mainly 'issues-oriented,' I'm not one who's particularly bothered by criticism of the Presidential candidates, for instance. Or, even by the application of the LOTE standard.

And, from where I stand, anyone can say anything they want about their preferred issue(s), --whatever. I'll take no personal offense, if I don't agree with their sentiment(s).

OTOH, since I know that not everyone feels that way, I attempt to steer clear of stating 'what I think that others should believe.' Including, what their top priorities, or issues should be.

Another way to look at it, is--one could say that climate change should be a top priority, for everyone. Period. End of Story. Seems reasonable enough, right?

But, say you've got a poster, here, who's terminally ill--and either under- or uninsured. Is it truly fair to expect them to concentrate more on the climate, as opposed to the issue of healthcare? I don't think so. But, hey, just my 2 cents.

Appreciate your essay!

Mollie

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"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

@Unabashed Liberal
Then I'd suggest a candidate who's equally committed to universal health care and climate change. Having one doesn't benefit you much without the other Smile

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

@CharredPC @CharredPC

again, to concisely make my point.

My comment was not intended as a critique of whether IdPol, or climate change (which you mentioned) are the most, or least important topics.

For the record, don't care for IDPol, either. Yet, Dems have greatly elevated this issue for 2020.

Now, I don't know a lot about climate change, but, I read about it, and am trying to learn more. Magi's work has helped me see its importance.

Having said that, neither of those topics--nor, any that have been named in this convo--are the issues that I was trying to address. My bad. Guess I'm doing a poor job of making my point.

I was expressing that I've seen folks get agitated, and a thread war break out, because some felt that others were 'telling them how they should feel.' (Or, at least, that sentiment has been expressed.)

Otherwise, agree with every word. Mr M needs me to do his spreadsheet, but, I'll try to drop back by, and address the LOTE issue. I hope I can do a better job with that, than I've done with this topic.

PleasantryMollie

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"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

smiley7's picture

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snoopydawg's picture

Whenever the democrats take power they can count on the republicans blocking their legislation every damn time, but when the republicans are in power the democrats work hand in hand with them. Trump was supposed to be the scariest president ever and yet there are the democrats voting for most of his legislation. Even his unqualified right wing judges are being confirmed with vote from the democrats.

And the democrats are staying very quiet about the things Trump is doing to the regulatory agencies which is setting back decades of progress on environmental protections and other issues. I'm not seeing any outcry by democrats over this. And while many of us are upset about what is happening at the border with the children Nancy just told her pals that yes indeedy you can still go on vacation.

And as for lesser evil presidents every one that I voted for has done a lot of evil things. Just read about how Obama will go down in history as one of the best presidents ever to hold office. Yuck!

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

Unabashed Liberal's picture

@snoopydawg

why, if I can finish work for Mr M, I wanted to tackle the topic of LOTE.

(since it's been brought up)

For some reason, it's been taken literally, lately.

Yikes!

Later.

Mollie

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"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

Unabashed Liberal's picture

@snoopydawg

said that, when I use the term "LOTE"--I mean it figuratively.

I only bring this up, because, recently, I used that term, saying that I didn't "vote LOTE."

Only to see that a several paragraph comment materialize, shortly thereafter, which painstakingly discussed LOTE, and the differences in the 'level of evil' of various Dem candidates. Since I saw no other mentions of the term (in that thread), I assume that the poster may have taken my words, quite literally.

FWIW--it's just an 'expression' to me. Obviously, of "strong disapproval." But, nothing more.

To my mind, it's about the same as if I were to say, "pick your poison." Clearly, I wouldn't mean that I actually hoped someone would swallow a pesticide, or poison of some kind. Right? Smile

Just wanted to set the record straight, even if it is 'Silly Season.'

PleasantryMollie

“Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.
~~Roger Caras

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"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

dkmich's picture

If they can't back up what they say, what's the point? Talk is cheap. Obama taught us that hands down. Biden is status quo, a liar, and too old to remember what he said let alone do it. Warren isn't about fundamental change. She is a "capitalist to her bones". Tulsi is taking up space as are so many of the other so called candidates. That leaves Bernie. He's as credible, viable, and for fundamental change as it gets.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

@dkmich @dkmich

depends on facts.

And, we're not hearing a lot of them--meaning, truth--lately.

I'm still concerned about the privatization of the VA. After Bernie, McCain and Jeff Miller pushed through the 2014 VA Choice Act (informal name), McCain boasted in 2016 that they had already achieved farming out to the private sector--one-third of VA medical services. (Dont' know what the stat is today.) As I've mentioned, previously, dismantling/diluting that medical system is very 'personal' to me, since Mr M is a Category 3 Veteran. So, I can't ignore it. (Although, I realize that this is not an important issues for many others, here.)

What worries me most, though, is that Dems are pushing to dismantle/replace Traditional/Original Medicare, when it's absolutely not necessary.

There is simply no reason that they can't use the current/existing 1965 Medicare law--and amend it. That is, if all they want to achieve is to expand the services available, and, open the program up to Everyone. I would happily support that.

I hope people will read the legislation. I've linked to it at EB, and, I've posted two passages which demonstrate that the Sanders and Jayapal Bills would dismantle TM. The passages come from the section on 'services,' and on 'financing.' It couldn't be more clear, since their own bills, literally, spell it out.

I haven't forgotten the effect of the so-called "Cadillac Tax" on group health plans. It's near destroyed the plans for many folks. (I'm referring to the soaring OOP costs.) One example - our RX co-pays went from $7 and $12, to having no stand-alone RX coverage. IOW, after we had to meet the major plan 'deductible,' then, the group plan picked up 80%, leaving the employee to pay 20% of all drug costs. Whoop dee doo!

/snark intended

All that was needed to do--to insure 30 million more people--was to amend the parameters (income/assets/etc.) for eligibility of existing federal programs--like Medicaid, or, even Medicare.

As far as I can tell, Pay-Go Pelosi and Chuckie Schumer are still calling the shots (in the DP). Pelosi is adamant--the only healthcare option she'll consider, aside from bolstering the ACA, is a public option. And, those proposed plans will impose between $12,000 and $15,000 OOP costs (on a couple), depending on which one she gives the nod to.

That's compared to '$0' OOP under current coverage--TM and Medigap--for a couple.

Looks to me like we're cooked. IMO, it's far worse than being a matter of 'incrementalism.' It's a matter of continuing to chip away at what's left of our current social safety net.

I just wish that someone from outside our corrupt neoliberal political system (and, I don't mean Andrew Yang--a libertarian, for goodness sake!) would do for Dems, what DT did for the Republican Party.

[Edited: Deleted "first."]

IOW, come in, and take it over. But, for the good!

Mollie

“Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.
~~Roger Caras

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"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

dkmich's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

Obama promised a whole bunch of good stuff and delivered nothing. Talk is cheap.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

@dkmich

"talk is cheap."

But, to be honest, we can't stand any more of the Dem Party lawmakers' so-called help, after what's happened to us under the ACA, and, later, to the VA System which affects Mr M's earned benefit.

Hey, maybe they're all well-meaning.

But, it doesn't really doesn't change anything (for us), considering that their health care 'solutions,' thus far, have been increasingly harmful to us.

And, that's all that we've got to go on--"how the policies affect us."

As it is, if Democrats continue to weaken our health care system through implementing more 'reforms'--whether it's to propose more public/private solutions like the ACA, and the Marketplace Exchange, propose even more privatization of the VA System, or, what they're proposing now--converting Traditional Medicare into a managed care system--making it similar to the Medicare Advantage program, we'll have to leave the country, if we hope to have decent medical care.

If none of this affects you, that's great. But, we know that we'll suffer the repercussions, mightily.

And, I totally respect your right to agree with their reforms, if that's what you're saying. But, they'll be detrimental to us.

We've already done the math, based on the White Papers that were published. And, that includes for a couple of the 'Buy-In Plans' that are being bandied about--not just Bernie's and Jayapal's UMFA proposals. We are better off keeping our current coverage (financially). BTW, that could vary, from person to person, or, couple to couple.

Anyhoo, even PNHP has acknowledged that under this proposed system--there will be winners and losers.

So, good luck - hope it works out better for you and yours.

Mollie

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"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

polkageist's picture

This is a subject that most people here understand. But it is really necessary to keep saying it. So many Americans still think Obama was a good President and that the Democrats are still for regular people. The truth can't be said enough times until the rest of the populace understands what has happened and will continue to happen until enough people stand up and demand change. We probably don't have enough time, but we shouldn't stop.

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Greed is not a virtue.
Socialism: the radical idea of sharing.

Unabashed Liberal's picture

@polkageist @polkageist

everything that I can surmise, don't think that more than a fraction of the actual Dem Base (this crowd excluded, of course) has a clue about the DP Establishment, including their propensity for austerity.

The reason that so many in the AA Community are going along with Uncle Joe, is because of 'O.' (think most folks would agree) And, good luck, if you think that you can convince many of them that he tried for six years to dismantle Social Security and Medicare--aka the 'Grand Bargain.' My Spouse actually tried to explain the 'GB' to a few die-hard Dems, a few years back--he said they looked at him like he had '3' eyes, or something.

(BTW, we listen to C-Span's call-in program, Washington Journal. If anyone thinks I'm kidding, please listen for a few weeks. I'm dead serious. It's surreal.)

I don't know the answer. Just that the DP machine, and their "talking points," are very powerful.

Mollie

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"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

earthling1's picture

on our military machine has widespread support from all sides of the citizentry. The promise of ending our foreign adventures in regime change was what got Trump elected in the first place.
Regardless of whether he fulfilled that promise, his base supported him in that direction.
It wasn't just his base who wanted this, but most of us on the left supported his position, even if we didn't vote for him. Even the libertarian base sided with the peaceniks.
Not so for the Corporate Dems, who are in the pocket of the MIC and have seized control of the party.
It is regime changes that brought asylum seekers to our southern border, as well as Europe's.
Slaughtering our military budget is in the best interest of the entire world and would solve an overwhelming number of problems we, as Americans, and the rest of humanity face.
In my humble opinion.
Thanks CPC for your intelligent and thoughtful post.

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

@earthling1

when you said,

Slaughtering our military budget is in the best interest of the entire world and would solve an overwhelming number of problems we, as Americans, and the rest of humanity face.

Mollie

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"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

@earthling1
I absolutely agree. My favorite question to ask politicians is essentially the following:

"I am one of many non-represented citizens who are anti-war. Partisan debates are over where to deploy American drones, troops and bases, but never if we should be doing so at all. If elected, will you defend the basic, humane concept of de-escalation and peace? And if not, could you explain why?"

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skod's picture

@CharredPC the only actual realistic choices remaining to us would appear to be “bang” or “whimper”.

Not a fan.

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Cassiodorus's picture

is typically the bogeyman of those who would had government over to said Republican Menace. Witness the Democrats under Barack Obama. They surrendered 900 state legislative seats, the Congress, the Senate, the Supreme Court, and ultimately the Presidency to the Republicans when Obama was in office. Opposing the "Republican Menace" means "we neither need to promise nor to deliver anything, because we oppose the Republican Menace."

As for "another FDR-style political course correction," it looks good amidst the wasteland left behind by a political system in which you can vote for the Republican Party or the Bipartisan Party. The problem is that it's still nowhere near enough. Keep in mind that if we extend the analogy far enough we can remember that before World War II FDR did nothing near what it took to end the Great Depression (the national emergency solved that problem) and that the political formation he left behind did not solve the problem of the apartheid state in the South. Moreover, it enacted regressive laws in labor rights (see "Taft-Hartley Act" and in individual human rights (with the empowerment of secret agencies after 1950). After the New Deal came the Red Scare.

Confusing the issue further is Bernie Sanders' conflation of his own social-democratic opinions with "socialism," which previously was a word which meant public ownership of the means of production, something Sanders has not yet advocated. The world needs something far better than the chorus of murder-suicide which dominates American media thought, but it also needs some genuine public ownership and control of the means of production. It, in short, needs something better than an FDR revival.

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"The degree to which liberals are coming to inhabit an alternate reality, impenetrable by facts or reason, is actually frightening." -- Steve Maher