The Dream Democratic Ticket for 2020

Almost a year ago, I predicted the “dream” Democratic ticket of Biden-Harris. Old white guy, younger black woman, both corporatists, both essentially moderate Republicans (as Obama admitted he was), what could be better for the DNC and its enablers and string-pullers?

My prediction is coming true, not because I’m a great prognosticator, but because the fix was already in when I wrote. The DNC has made it plain: they select the candidates, not the people. So much for democracy in America.

So as we face a global pandemic, a calamity we haven’t faced since the Spanish Flu of 1918-20, our main choices for leadership are Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Both, in their own way, befuddled figureheads.

Sadly, I just heard Tulsi Gabbard has suspended her campaign. Bernie Sanders is likely to follow soon. Progressive voices have once again been silenced by the DNC.

It’s time for new political parties in America. We need a party that actually represents the interests of workers. A party that embraces the agenda advanced by leaders like Bernie Sanders.

By coincidence, the song “Everybody plays the fool” just came on my radio. The song adds, “Sometimes.” Isn’t it time we stopped playing the fool?

Bracing Views

Slate Clockwise from left: Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Beto O’Rourke, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren.  Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Sergio Flores/Getty Images, Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images, Drew Angerer/Getty Images, and Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images.

W.J. Astore

Now that Joe Biden is officially in the race, the dream Democratic ticket has emerged: Biden and Kamala Harris.

By “dream,” I don’t mean the Progressive dream.  I don’t mean the dream of working-class voters who are hurting.  I don’t mean the dream of Americans who are tired of never-ending wars that enfeeble our economy (and kill lots of people, mainly foreigners).  Those “dream” candidates are true Progressives like Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard.  A Sanders/Gabbard ticket would truly shake things up, which is why it’s not going to happen, as much as I’d like to see it.

No — the corporate-loving DNC wants to preserve the status quo, wants to feed…

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29 thoughts on “The Dream Democratic Ticket for 2020

  1. The purpose of a political party is to accrue power. To that end, it has always selected its candidate. To lament an alternative reality isn’t helpful. As someone who isn’t a member of the Democratic Party, Sanders was never going to get the support of the party. Lamenting that he didn’t is to engage in unhinged fantasy.

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    1. These are fair points — if the DNC didn’t run a sham nomination process allegedly open to activism and driven by the popular vote — a process allegedly open to all comers — in a word, “democratic.”

      This is a lie — as you point out.

      Also, Sanders didn’t gain the support of the corporate DNC, true. But he did gain the support of the Progressive base and of Democratic voters under the age of 50 or so. He deserves great credit for offering an alternative vision, even if that vision was sabotaged by the Party.

      Welcome to four more years of Trump!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is what I wrote yesterday, To: info@berniesanders.com
    Subject: Is there no chance (or any chance?) that Bernie could NOW go Green or Independent…Please? (So far no reply.)

    I don’t get it if there is no way or no chance… I believe this is the last chance (or worse) (possibly the last chance for us all)…

    If the argument is to maintain a 2-party system, shame on them. What we have in America is a false dichotomy of one party with 2 versions (neither of which is genuinely different in any “real people” way).

    If the argument is to suppose that going Green (like Ralph Nader did twice) or to go Independent (like Ross Perot did at least once) that it would split the vote enough to almost for sure give Trump another victory. So what? (Against Biden it’s probably already a done deal.)

    So, why not suppose that maybe this time, the time has finally come for a real 3rd Party to be the winner this time that takes it all in November! (To expose and end the 2-party “buddy system” in America.) (To break the legislative gridlock America’s been under since 2000.)

    I concluded my inquiry to the Bernie campaign by mentioning that I’m 2-months older than Bernice, and that they will all be making me nuts if they just fold and stay wedded to America’s fake 2-party system.

    Shame on them if they do that. Shame on all of us if we let them.

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    1. It’s deeply frustrating. But Bernie has already said he’ll support Joe Biden if/when Bernie drops out.

      We need a real Progressive Party in the USA. Right now, we just have a Corporatist Right (the Democrats) and a Know-Nothing Right (the Republicans). What a choice!

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      1. If Bernie has already said he’ll support Joe Biden if/when he (Bernie) drops out… I don’t remember ever hearing him say that (or know what the context of him saying that might have been) but I would be very happy to forgive him for having said it (if he did) so he can go on running as a candidate one way or another… But I would not be able or willing to forgive him if he just folds up and backs out again like he did in 2016 with Hillary. There was no one left for me to vote for (for President) in 2016 after Bernie dropped out. So, for the first time in 56 years (since voting for JFK in 1960) I stayed home and didn’t vote for anyone. I was totally demoralized…like I’m starting to feel again.

        I’m a survivor of Vietnam. (Which for me was another demoralizing experience…) Until then, I had always been very proud of what I thought America stood for. But I saw first hand in Vietnam that we weren’t always as honorable as we could have been. (It even seemed to hurt worse then death sometimes for me to have to admit that to myself, while many seemed happy to tell me how and why I should have known better the whole time!)

        What I’m feeling now reminds me of how I felt sometimes in Vietnam — totally lost and betrayed but still alive. So, I hope Bernie can break his promise to Joe if he made one… I don’t think Joe deserves to go on with Bernie’s endorsement and support. (Biden, Trump & Hillary all add up to being the same things to me…) It’s 2016 all over again.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. PS: The Dream Ticket for me would be the “other one” you’ve mentioned (more than once I think) the ticket of Bernie and Tulsi. The perfect combination of youthful speed seasoned skill and gender parity…among many, many other things, all of them good!

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    1. The DNC, using a complicit media, conspired against both Bernie and Tulsi, red-baiting them and dismissing them as dangerous, radical, fringe, crazy, etc. And it worked.

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      1. Yes. In the name of solidarity, I suppose.

        Perhaps she sees it as bowing to the inevitable, but I’m disappointed. Sure, I was expecting her to drop — but not to endorse Biden, or not this quickly.

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        1. Ditto that, I guess… But now I’m feeling even more lost and betrayed then I was…by what I was hoping and thinking… No doubt I suppose that I should have known better the whole time. Or something?

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  4. Here’s a good article at Fabius Maximus:

    https://fabiusmaximus.com/2020/03/19/elderly-presidents/

    Why do we get these people [Biden and Trump] on the ballot? Because they are brand names, and we vote for people like we pick breakfast cereals. I discussed this in We need leaders. We elect figureheads. Here’s why.

    This behavior is appreciated by our ruling elites because it makes us easy to rule. It also justifies their belief in our unfitness for self-rule. As does our gullibility (see the Big List of Lies in Our leaders so often lie, but we still believe them).

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    1. OK, I checked it out, and maybe that does explain it… But why did she (Tulsi) have to switch to the Biden old guy instead of sticking with the Bernie old guy? Bernie hasn’t changed back (yet) to where he ended up in 2016… Has he? Or has he and she knows it? (That he’s not going to strike out on his own and take her along with for the ride…?) Or what?

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  5. If we’re talking about the same song (which I can boast I saw/heard performed live at Carnegie Hall by The Main Ingredient, opening for Stevie Wonder, c. 1973), it contains the lyrics “There’s no exception to the rule/Everybody plays the fool.” No waffling about “sometimes”!!…At any rate, to clarify things for Kenneth Smet, Bernie promised to support Biden at the most recent “debate.” As for a “third” party, we have one that has gotten on the ballot in some states consistently in recent election cycles. I refer, of course, to the Green Party. Leaving aside some allegedly questionable stances by Dr. Jill Stein, this party has had its thumb for many years on the reality of today’s greatest existential issue: the Global Climate Catastrophe. Yes, that’s what it is; “crisis” is a woefully inadequate descriptor. The problem with ANY such party, though, is establishing credibility in the ranks of an electorate so thoroughly mentally conditioned to believe that voting for such a party is throwing one’s vote away–because there’s no hope of victory at the polls! Talk about a self-defeating “circular firing squad,” right? And almost certainly, sadly, this will be true. It would take many, many years for the Greens to emerge truly “viable” on a coast to coast basis. At this point, I feel I cannot vote for Corporate Joe. My township will almost certainly vote for Trump again, unless this virus situation keeps the economy in the crapper through November. I will just have to once again register my protest against the status quo by wishing a pox on the Dems and the GOP.

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    1. Greg: Yes, the Main Ingredient. The chorus:

      Everybody plays the fool sometime
      There’s no exception to the rule
      Listen, baby
      It may be factual, may be cruel
      I ain’t lying
      Everybody plays the fool

      Note the “sometime.” We don’t have to play the fool all the time!

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  6. Okay, I am humbled. Unfortunately, with many of our fellow citizens “sometimes” is damned near “always”!! That is, politicians fool “damn near all the people damn near all the time,” to slightly modify something I believe is credited to a certain Mr. Lincoln.

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    1. If the Democrats choice of a VP candidate is believed to be the biggest factor in getting Uncle Joe elected, then I think we can just settle in for four more gut-churning years of Trump. I doubt many people remember Clintons’ VP choice and none will remember his.

      Still, as you said I think it’s likely to be either Harris or Abrams – I’d give the better odds to Harris, who has national experience and wouldn’t be too far to the left for neoliberal Joe.

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      1. Yes. Who remembers Tim Kaine except political junkies like me? And Kaine was a disaster. A non-entity who was more conservative than Hillary.

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  7. So now Tulsi has dropped out, and in the spirit of national unity has endorsed Joe Biden. I am profoundly disappointed, but I respect her point of view, as far as it goes. However, on the other hand, she stated:

    “I know Vice President Biden and his wife and am grateful to have called his son Beau a friend who also served in the National Guard. Although I may not agree with the Vice President on every issue, I know that he has a good heart and is motivated by his love for our country and the American people. I’m confident that he will lead our country guided by the spirit of aloha — respect and compassion — and thus help heal the divisiveness that has been tearing our country apart. … So today, I’m suspending my presidential campaign, and offering my full support to Vice President Joe Biden in his quest to bring our country together.”

    Now there, in my opinion, she has gone over the line. Joe Biden does NOT have a good heart, so she can’t “know” that he does; nor is he motivated by his love for the country and the American people.” Joe Biden is bought and paid for, is a racist and a warmonger, and loves no one but himself and (perhaps) his cronies. He is thoroughly corrupt and aims at nothing more than serving his corporate masters, maintaining the rackets of his fellow party members, and (especially) feathering his own nest. And Biden hasn’t a clue about what Tulsi calls “aloha”. He’s a sleazeball all the way down. His long career attests to all of this. Tulsi knows it—she is very intelligent and a good judge of character—and so this is the first thoroughly dishonest thing that I think she has done. She would have done better to maintain her integrity. She could have dropped out, and even endorsed Biden, without telling what she knows is an egregious fairly story. Tulsi’s being a buddy of Beau Biden—about whom I know nothing—is irrelevant; and she knows that, too. Thus has she sold out.

    Joe Biden is sufficiently weak and demented that voting for him will be like voting for FDR in 1944. What will matter is who his running mate will be, and it looks as if it will be Kamala Harris, another fraudulent and cynical corporate shill who hasn’t a clue as to how to fulfil the function of Chief Executive. She’ll be working, along with Biden, for Wall Street and for the neo-cons. Since Biden now has a real shot at the presidency (the current situation makes previous reasonable predictions obsolete—it’s a new ball game), one has to hope that he will go with Stacy Abrams as his VP. She seems to be a genuinely good person (unlike Biden), apparently honest (unlike Biden), and very intelligent (unlike Biden)—of course one cannot really know these things, but her record suggests that she is the real deal, at least as far as domestic issues go. The likelihood is unfortunately that she’ll turn out to be a Russo- and Sinophobe who will be a pawn of the military and the usual neo-con gang, with whom Biden will surely surround himself, just as the sainted Obama did.

    That’s what Tulsi would NOT have done. “I may not agree with the Vice President on every issue”, she says. But that is reducing to triviality the imperialism and forever-wars that she alone has stood against in this electoral process. Bernie Sanders, for all of his merits, is a thoroughly flawed individual in that department, and he would have needed Tulsi with him to make up for his defects. It’s doubtful that he has the courage for that, but it would have been worth a shot.

    Tulsi adds, “I will continue to advocate for a 21st century foreign policy. One based on mutual respect and cooperation instead of confrontation, where we as a community of nations can work together to overcome the challenges that our people face — preventing and stopping pandemics like the coronavirus that is now affecting all of us, tackling climate change, combatting terrorism, and removing the existential threat of nuclear war which hangs over the heads of all of us. I will continue to do everything I can to help bring an end to the new Cold War and nuclear arms race, and end regime change wars, which are costing us trillions of dollars, so we can invest these precious resources in the needs of the American people — health care, rebuilding our infrastructure, education, and so much more.” Yes, that’s what we (the human race) need; but how are you going to have any influence at all in these matters, Tulsi? Particularly since, if Biden gets elected and the great Trump threat is overcome, none of the electorate will show the slightest interest in peace, respect and cooperation that was your distinctive portfolio.

    Now Biden is claiming that he will adopt the “progressive” agenda, except for Medicare for all; but of course that won’t be “socialism”. It would only be socialism if Bernie Sanders did it. Apparently, those who realize that they were snookered by Obama are now falling all over themselves to be snookered by Biden. Biden is desperate not to have the Sanders supporters decline to vote for Uncle Sleazeball—hence this “progressive” cant of which he means not a single word, but it could conceivably work—and he’s going to have a black woman VP to keep his hold on the black vote, apparently not realizing that he’ll have the black vote no matter whom he chooses as his running mate. This misperception could work to the advantage of humankind, if he goes with Stacy Abrams, a person who would, it seems, actually be worth voting for. Then one could hope that Biden will elected and will drop dead in his first week in office. On that scenario, we’d all be a bit better off than we are now. There’s no longer another scenario that would get us anywhere.

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    1. What’s worse is that Biden has been almost invisible during this crisis. Meanwhile, Bernie has been raising millions for charity and offering many helpful ideas — some quickly adopted by Trump.

      Biden is, and will be, a disaster. Trump is an empty suit. Tulsi sold out. But Bernie still has integrity and is still working for all of us.

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      1. I don’t see a Biden presidency as “a disaster.” Except to the extent that the planet will continue going to hell, and he won’t (as a Corporate puppet) be enthusiastic to make big change. But this would be the case pretty well regardless of who holds the office next. Once again, my apologies for not being able to locate my rose-colored spectacles!

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        1. Dear Greg Laxer,
          I think that your pessimism is entirely warranted. Even if Bernie were to get elected along with Tulsi, any attempts they might make to change anything in a healthy direction would be blocked by the Congress—the Democrats as much or more than the Republicans—and the “leadership” of both parties. A popular revolt that backed them up would be the only possible way in which they could get anything done, and it seems that the democratic electorate will support its corporate masters, all to its own detriment and the detriment of humankind. However, why would this not make a Biden presidency a disaster? The whole business is a disaster. If your choice is between being shot or hanged, I should think that either fate would be a disaster for you, as well as the fact that having only that choice is a disaster in itself. Also, I doubt that anyone responding to this blog is wearing rose-colored glasses. But if the public had gotten behind Bernie and Tulsi, it would have been a step toward breaking the hold of the duopoly system that might have been followed up. Bernie thinks that the route lies in reforming the Democratic party. I think that it was always clear that that hope was ludicrous. The bind is that a third-party run in the present context would insure Trump’s election (which is likely to happen anyway), and Bernie suffers from Trump derangement syndrome. So there’s no path by which he could lead us out of the bind; he’s not willing to accept the cost of breaking up the Democratic establishment, and neither is the anti-Trump electorate. So the likely outcome is that we’ll get Trump back again, or, if not, something that’s arguably no better; but whichever it is, the vicious Democratic party machine and its congressional minions will be more solidly entrenched than ever. And THAT is surely a disaster, because it leaves no opening for hope.

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          1. Let’s talk about The New Deal for a moment. It was the response of a Democratic president (an actual member of a Ruling Class family, mind you!)–and his Brain Trust, to be fair–to an unprecedented disaster. There had been economic crises in the US before, but this was first since the country had become so industrialized, with Detroit humming along cranking out cars, trucks and tractors, steel plants busy, etc. It was The New Deal that left the Dems with the image of “the party of handouts, the Mother of the Welfare State,” all the things Republicans still love to bash FDR for, even though his intent was “merely” to rescue Capitalism from potential mobs of torch-wielding unemployed workers!! But we know that by that time in our nation’s history, the “two” major parties were solidly under the control of the corporations. Indeed, we can argue that never in our history was there a “viable” (having electable candidates for national office) political party that genuinely fought for the interests of the common people. I relish the dandy irony that suddenly, after initially pooh-poohing the severity of this pandemic, the GOP wants to put cash in our pockets (“Free Money!”), and to hell with what this crisis response does to the National Debt! But the severity of the impact on the economy of this pandemic can’t possibly be overstated. We are truly in uncharted territory. As I’ve stated numerous times on this site, Capitalism itself–no need to single out Dems or GOPers–is light years beyond the point where it can be reformed. Since our fellow citizens are not up for an actual revolution–Couch Potatoes in revolt, what a concept!–the current System will simply collapse, implode if you will. Talk about uncharted territory! Sorry, I can’t specify the exact date. IF Bernie and Tulsi could get elected, AND both chambers of Congress went a majority Progressives, we could get some Humanitarian Reforms. That’s the best we could hope for. But that “minimal program for change” has already been reduced to a pipe dream. Here’s one for you: “Refusal to think independently is the Opiate of the People.”

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  8. A sincere “thank you” and “well done” to MIKJALL for the extensive comments — on March 21, 2020 at 5:28 PM and March 22, 2020 at 8:18 AM — above. I suggest bookmarking links to them for future reference. As events unfold over the next few months, we may have reason to revisit these excellent analyses as a baseline for understanding what actually happens, when it happens.

    I have some comments and observations of my own to offer, but these will take me some time to put into reasonable prose (since I prefer to work in verse). I just wanted to say here — again — that I wholeheartedly concur with what MIKJALL has written. I would only add at this time that I don’t blame Tulsi Gabbard for quitting her campaign (how I loathe that weasel word “suspend”). She didn’t have the resources (I couldn’t give her any more), the Democratic Party establishment had effectively marginalized her, and the primary voters had little or no interest in what she had to say. Not her fault, but there you have it. A simple statement acknowledging this reality would have sufficed.

    But no. She just had to keep on talking. And talking. And talking.

    More on this later as time, or interest, allows.

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    1. Thank you Michael. I will look forward to your comments and observations, whether in prose or in verse — and I suppose, or at least hope, that we all will.

      Here’s how Tulsi explained herself on the Jimmy Dore show:

      I am still of the opinion that she should not have given a speech whitewashing Biden and that she did herself and everyone else a disservice by doing so. Quitting the race and even endorsing him was disappointing but understandable. She sincerely believed that it was the right thing to do in order to bring people together and avoid four more years of Donald Trump. I would not have endorsed Biden in her place, but I can respect her decision. I don’t, however, respect the whitewash of this evil man. Like Trump, he doesn’t merit anyone’s support, or vote, assuming that he survives until election day.

      Still, in this Jimmy Dore interview, Tulsi comes through as an intelligent, articulate, human, authentic, courageous, and prescient person, whom Democratic voters ignored in favor of a bunch of phonies, shysters and sleaze balls unfit to shine her shoes. She hopes to be able to influence American foreign policy. I hope that she can, but I don’t see how.

      It’s a sad world.

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      1. “Tulsi comes through as an intelligent, articulate, human, authentic, courageous, and prescient person…” And there ya have it, precisely why the Dem. Machine couldn’t get behind her!

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