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Self-preservation fuels the Democratic base’s lurch to the left — before the rich take it all

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- Commentary

In 2016 all the corporate news media outlets, NPR included, predicted that Trump would lose. They just did not recognize the discontent in America’s rust belt because the economic dislocation that had, and continues to define life there, was just not part of their personal frame of reference.

They thought the country was several years into a recovery and the national aggregate unemployment data they had commissioned confirmed it. But nobody lives or votes in the aggregate. And it wasn’t until Trump flipped the 200 counties that Obama had carried twice, that the corporate news media started paying some attention.

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And yet, based on the latest handicapping on the 2020 Democratic Primary they appear to be setting themselves up for another big miss that they will, of course, universally declare nobody saw coming — the huge left-wing surge that’s making democratic socialism mainstream and will likely be more seismic than the 2018 mid-terms.

Just look to the West Coast and the latest Los Angeles Times poll that has Joe Biden at 22 percent, Elizabeth Warren at 18 percent, Bernie Sanders at 17, and favorite daughter Kamala Harris at 13 percent. So, just what percentage of that fired up 48 percent that believe in Warren, Sanders, or Harris is Uncle Joe going to peel off with his retro-incrementalism?

It is most likely already over for Uncle Joe. His wing of the Democratic Party got rich sticking up for the credit card companies while they insured the 40 million Americans who owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt can never be free of it even if they declare bankruptcy.

That whole Clinton corporatist shift to the right abused the poor, criminalized drug addiction for communities of color, and betrayed the American labor movement with global free trade. After eight years of George W. Bush, we got President Obama who chose to bail out Wall Street and let them have the spoils of the foreclosure crisis that their unprosecuted criminality set into motion.

In the media there is a conventional wisdom in heavy rotation declaring that the country’s lurch to the left, as demonstrated by Senator Bernie Sander’s rise in 2016 and persistence in the top tier in 2020, is the result of idealistic and naïve young people who don’t know any better.

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Yet, as a Harris Poll conducted recently for Axios found “55 percent of women between 18 and 54 years old would prefer to live in a socialist country rather than a capitalist country.”

“We’ve seen this pattern of behavior where women are turning out in higher numbers as voters and as candidates than we’ve ever seen,” Axios’s Alex McCammond said on HBO. “They’re getting elected in higher numbers than before. They’re pushing the conversation in different ways.”

So, what wouldn’t these women like about our current capitalist system?

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First, they are right in the thick of it with a record number of mothers working fulltime and 41 percent of them the sole or primary breadwinner. Consider that according to the National Women’s Law Center that while women who work fulltime make 80 cents on the dollar of what their male counterparts are paid, mothers working full time “are paid just 69 cents for every dollar paid to fathers.”

NWLC reports that gap “translates to a loss of $18,000 annually” and “exists across race, state, and occupation, and compromises families’ economic security” according to the advocacy non-profit. The gap opens up to a yawning canyon when wages for mothers of color are compared to white, non-Hispanic fathers. Black mothers get just 54 cents; Native mothers 48 cents; and Latina mothers just 46 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic fathers according to NWLC.

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Why should they be impatient? We only passed the Equal Pay Act in 1963. These disparities have consequences and ignoring them has resulted in a major crisis that’s Exhibit A for the failure of our particular strain of late-stage vulture capitalism epitomized by President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell.

No, the desire for radical change is not idealistic or naïve. For working class and poor families, it is about survival and a better future for our children and our grandchildren free of the debt and scarcity generated by a political structure that has only served the rich.

At his signature address at George Washington University Senator Sander’s gave an unflinching account of just how skewed things have become.

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“When we talk about oligarchy, let us be clear about what we mean. Right now, in the United States of America, three families control more wealth than the bottom half of our country, some 160 million Americans,” he said. “The top 1 percent own more wealth than the bottom 92 percent and 49 percent of all new income generated today goes to the top one percent. In fact, income and wealth inequality today in the United States is greater than at any time since the 1920s.”

And he pointed out that as the very rich are getting much richer . . . tens of millions of working-class people, in the wealthiest country on earth, are “suffering under incredible economic hardship, desperately trying to survive.”

Capitalism needs to be changed because it’s not working.

“Today, nearly 40 million Americans live in poverty and tonight, 500,000 people will be sleeping out on the streets,” said Sanders. “About half of the country lives paycheck to paycheck as tens of millions of our people are an accident, a divorce, a sickness or a layoff away from economic devastation.”

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This did not all happen overnight. This is what happens when the elected political leadership of a nation becomes totally untethered from the circumstances of their electorate.


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2020 Election

Trump’s latest attack on Joe Biden is stunningly delusional — even for him

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Few ever accuse President Donald Trump of subtlety. But in a new speech in Cleveland on Thursday, he let loose with a particularly wild rant against his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, that was over-the-top, even for him.

It’s worth just quoting in full:

He’s following the radical left agenda. Take away your guns. Destroy your Second Amendment. No religion! No anything! Hurt the Bible! Hurt God! He’s against God! He’s against guns! He’s against energy, our kind of energy. Uh, I don’t think he’s going to do too well in Ohio.

Many people pointed out that there’s much more evidence that Biden is a committed Christian than there is for Trump. But almost that seems to miss several key points about how wild this is:

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Angst-ridden Republicans should have acted when Trump put his reelection above national security concerns: conservative columnist

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Writing in the Washington Post this Thursday, columnist Jennifer Rubin says that Senate Republicans are in serious trouble, especially in light of the stimulus bill they rolled out this week.

According to Rubin, the Senate GOP is in dire straits because "they have allowed the anti-government, anti-science Trump sycophants to disclaim any interest in the bill, thereby handing the reins to Democrats."

Rubin writes that some Republicans saying they want to see essential workers being taken care of in the bill are speaking up too late. "If only they they had some power in February to remove the unfit and corrupt president from office, instead of leaving him there to purge witnesses from his administration, seek vengeance on foes, force out inspectors general and botch the response to the coronavirus," Rubin writes.

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2020 Election

Facebook removes network of fake accounts that posed as Trump supporters

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Facebook said Thursday it took down accounts running a deceptive campaign out of Romania pretending to be Americans supporting US President Donald Trump ahead of the coming election.

The leading online social network removed 35 Facebook accounts, three pages, and 88 Instagram accounts as part of an ongoing fight against "coordinated inauthentic behavior," according to security policy head Nathaniel Gleicher.

"The people behind this network used fake accounts to pose as Americans, amplify and comment on their own content, and manage pages including some posing as President Trump fan pages," Gleicher said.

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