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The Sanders Conundrum

By       Message Gaius Publius       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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From Smirking Chimp

Protesters camp out in Senator Chuck Schumer's Capitol Hill Office, November 14, 2016
Protesters camp out in Senator Chuck Schumer's Capitol Hill Office, November 14, 2016
(Image by Nation of Change)
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co-nun-drum (ko-nun-drum) n. A paradoxical, insoluble, or difficult problem; a dilemma: "the conundrum, thus far unanswered, of achieving full employment without inflation" (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.)

I'm writing this to pose a question, not to offer an answer, at least not for now. Consider:

1. It's important to oppose Trump, especially now that buyer's remorse is setting in and Trump's voter base is freaking out about, among other things, Republican (non-)support for Social Security and Medicare. It's important for progressives to get involved in that discontent and help guide it.

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2. Among progressives, Bernie Sanders is the perfect messenger and catalyst to speak to and for that discontent, that reaction and rebellion.

3. And yet, if the way he catalyzes, inflames, and channels that opposition also blesses the neo-liberal wing of the Democratic Party (who also want to cut Social Security and Medicare) as something better than they are -- if Sanders helps paint them in false colors -- is that really a win, either for Sanders or the nation?

Again, the last is a real question and not just a rhetorical one, since opposition to Trump must be effective or we're all in trouble.

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The question is a conundrum, as defined above, and I don't think I'm ready to answer it. But I do think it the question must be asked, and asked now, before we get too far into the game of "Making Neo-Liberal Democrats Look Like What They're Not ... Again."

Because if this is the wrong game to play, the repainting neo-liberals game, Bernie Sanders of all people is exactly the wrong person to be playing it.

Here's TYT reporter Jordan Chariton making the case that Sanders is making a mistake. Note: I'm not making that case until I give more thought to the alternatives, but I do want you to notice that the question Chariton asks is a valid one.

Writing at Mediaite, Chariton says (my emphasis):

"Bernie Sanders Has The Right Message -- But The Wrong Strategy

"As a progressive journalist who doesn't hide the fact that I personally support Bernie Sanders, it's bittersweet to come to this critical conclusion: the progressive icon has the right message, but the wrong strategy.

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"Sunday was a classic example. Sanders, alongside Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, brought out 8,000 people to a save Obamacare rally on a freezing cold Michigan day.

"And trust me, they weren't there for Schumer's electrifying speech.

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A writer who contributes to a number of publications, including digby's Hullabaloo, Down With Tyranny, Naked Capitalism, Truthout and Alternet.

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