"Not me, us."

People will recognize this as the slogan of Bernie Sanders' campaign. "Not me, us," simply means that creating a new America will require our effort, and not merely the effort of a single politician. A political "us" is thusly constituted in his campaign. Here's Bernie Sanders, explaining what it means.

Toward that end, the end of "not me, us," Sanders stands by a platform that will benefit the great mass of Americans: College for All, Medicare for All, the Green New Deal. The platform is Sanders' contribution to "not me, us."

Other politicians also stand by platforms of "not me, us," but the "us," for most of them, means billionaires and other special interests. That's the "us" that currently misrules America -- the plutocracy. Maybe there are a few exceptions, but the plutocracy would not be a plutocracy if it did not command the allegiance of most of America's politicians. Of course, within that "us" are plutocrats so wealthy that for them it is all about "me" -- Michael Bloomberg comes to mind. Perhaps for Bloomberg "us" was constituted by people on his payroll.

At any rate, an examination of "not me, us" would not be complete without an examination of its opposite: "not us, me." Obviously everyone needs to do things to protect themselves, when the groups they are part of are confronted with losing situations. This is what happened when Bernie Sanders conceded in 2016 and endorsed Hillary Clinton. Clearly the program was dead, and so Sanders had to protect his own political fortunes, which were tied in with those of the Democratic Party. Perhaps Sanders was doing it "for us" and Clinton would have been a better President than Trump; but any improvement under Clinton would have been an accidental byproduct of Clinton's primary relationships, which were with plutocrats. The fact of the matter is that a political "us" died when Sanders' campaign died. Technically there might have been an "us" in the sense of "we Hillary Clinton voters" -- but it wasn't really a political "us," just a bunch of people who could be identified together as having voted for Hillary Clinton for various reasons, some of them related to personal gain, others badly compromised.

The main advantage of the plutocrats and their client candidates is that there is always a political "us" for them. Perhaps the slogan of the Democratic and Republican Parties ought to be: "Us, not you." It would certainly reflect the last forty years of their policies.

So, by the same token, when people say "I'm never voting for Joe Biden," it's also a "not us, me" moment. "Yeah not me boy I'm not voting for Joe Biden." JtC argues that "We, the disaffected left, have the power to split this Party," but that "we" isn't really constituted by anything more than a bunch of individuals, all of whom for various reasons are not going to be voting for Joe Biden this year. Or at least I should say it isn't yet politically constituted as an "us." Most eligible people don't vote in America; the margins of victory for Donald Trump in 2016 were constituted by people in Florida and in the upper Midwest who had voted at least once for Obama but who didn't vote at all for President in 2016. This is the problem with all "boycott the vote" campaigns: nonvoters do not constitute a political "we."

So today we may observe a great deal of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth on Facebook, the major social arena left in America after quarantines destroyed the rest of the public sphere, over how the so-called "Left" is obliged to prop up Joe Biden's lame candidacy, else it will be held responsible for his defeat. "Enjoy more Trump, MAGA," they say, absent an immediate pledge of allegiance to the flag of Joe Biden. The serious answer to all of this weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth is that Joe Biden does not represent "us." I've already gone over the many defects of "lesser evil voting;" here is Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti breaking down the current dilemma:

So basically the problem here, as Krystal and Saagar echo, is one of how the political "us" is constituted. It will mean nothing to declare one way or another about Joe Biden unless there is a PERSISTENT alternate political "us" constituted in America -- one that can survive bad election results -- and when that happens, watch out.

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PriceRip's picture

          "My Vote Doesn't Really Count" followed by "My Vote really Counts". To make the same point that Bernie makes. It is silly and ultimately destructive to maintain that one person's vote makes a difference in the way elections, policy, et cetera play out. The reality is that we only accomplish to the degree that we cooperate and drive the change we seek.

          Anyone experienced in transformative actions know what this means. Unfortunately far too many haven't been involve in a pattern of successes over an extended period of time. Far too many people (some of which are here a c99p) are discouraged because they are too into nit-picking the details to actually see the "bigger picture", and this is heart-breaking.

RIP

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Alligator Ed's picture

@PriceRip for the trees. They miss the big picture. Today NHK has an excellent article about Dems Plan A collapsing, so now Plan Biden is here. We will witness, behind closed doors, War of the Roses with Team Hillary contesting against the hated Team Obama (that man of color, ecch an attitude HRC overtly exuded). This war of the roses will only die when the main protagonists die--which actually may not be too long from now as most of this motley crew is 60 or older.

To which end I dedicate this song:

[video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJgv-qBBT3Y]

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Cassiodorus's picture

@PriceRip though whether your vote for President counts, individually, will vary to the extent to which you live in a so-called "swing state." The inverse is even more valid: If you live in California, for instance, and your vote for Biden is really important, Biden has already lost the election as a whole by a significant margin.

I prefer to focus upon the "we only accomplish to the degree that we cooperate and drive the change we seek" portion of your message. "Not me, us."

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'French theory is a product of US cultural imperialism." -- Gabriel Rockhill

PriceRip's picture

@Cassiodorus

          but different amount and selection of words.

          If Biden loses by N or (N+1) the loss is still a loss, so once again my vote does not count. Do not confuse the probability with the actual. Far too many of my colleagues do this and as a result they publish articles with questionable titles.

          If we agree that Bernie winning is a desirable outcome, then a large fraction of Bernie voters not voting is not acceptable.

          Pretending polls tell you the future, is stupid thinking.

RIP

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snoopydawg's picture

@PriceRip

Guess you have never watched the video Corruption is Legal? It shows that no matter what steps we take to get congress to listen to us they will not. In over 20 years the video shows that no protest, email and phone call campaign or anything else has moved the needle one iota.

I won't go into my reasons for why I don't vote again, but they are valid reasons.

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Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

Voting is like driving with a toy steering wheel.

Alligator Ed's picture

When the Dems talk of their benevolent attitude toward the people because they have enacted M4A over Trump's veto--oh wait. I think this must be a mistake. How far did Bernie's bill get in the Senate? Oh yeah, as far as John Conyers' failed several attempts to get his proposal passed, even though he was establishment Dem par excellence--except in this respect.

If an Aloha party does not sprout from the grassy meadows, then we should establish an Ant Party. In the Ant Party, there is a front and always foremost recognition that we, tiny sentient beings are to the elite what ants are to our unfeeling, uncaring shoes as they effortlessly, emotionlessly crush the ants on the pavement. We are the Ants. Yessir. Ants is what we is. Ants is what we remain until the Second Coming. Hallelujah!

Nice essay.

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orlbucfan's picture

I am getting really sick and tired of getting on blogs like this one, and being embarrassed. Not all Floridians are stupid political dumbshits. In fact, our Primary Day is 3/17. A lot of folks like myself and my sister will cast our ballots on that day.

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2 users have voted.

Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

I've been dreading a scorched earth knock down of 2016 again. You make so many points. Maybe writing in "not you, us" as an identifiable protest vote? There has to be something to do. I keep thinking if a vote was worth a buck, big deal, not worth much individually. Put a million together and that commands attention. Read "not you, us" on a write in ballot and know you could have had those votes.

It's apparent that for 40 years the DNC has put forth the candidate they wanted to. That's the dem leaderships most important factor. They keep pointing at McGovern as not wanting to chance losing with a "far left" candidate, but after picking so many losers with unpopular candidates, losing is secondary to picking "their" candidate. Biden and Clinton is the proof.

Another thing that hit me is the concept of defeat. With the DNC, somehow in a 60/40 split the "losers" should shut up and disavow everything they believed in. There should be no concessions to the "losers", their cause failed, and blind obedience to the winner is the only thing required of them. Climate change, health care, wages all irrelevant to winning. No wonder that for many, it doesn't matter which party wins.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Snode

With the DNC, somehow in a 60/40 split the "losers" should shut up and disavow everything they believed in.

This is the Biden bully's position. In fact, they assume the 60/40 split goes in their favor long, long before the elections have been concluded.

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'French theory is a product of US cultural imperialism." -- Gabriel Rockhill

magiamma's picture

about Bernie by Hedges (starting where he talks about Bernie)

[video:https://youtu.be/7BVDZELQ370?t=150]

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

Cassiodorus's picture

@magiamma I can see how this issue of Bernie's tendency to capitulate is going to demand a separate diary.

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'French theory is a product of US cultural imperialism." -- Gabriel Rockhill