"Progressives Frustrated With Bernie’s Capitulation Strategy"
The Jimmy Dore Show (January 23, 2020)
Jimmy Dore: “I just want to get your opinion on this Michael. I’ve been criticizing Bernie’s tactics and strategy and people have conflated that with me criticizing Bernie, which is f…-ing annoying, especially people who know better. So, would you agree with my assessment that Bernie’s campaign has been schizophrenic, at best, by saying at rallies: "I’m going to run against the Democratic establishment." And then he does a DNC video talking about unity before one vote is even cast in the primary talking about how we all have to come together to beat Trump and the billionaires and he’s got two billionaires in the unity video with him. We’re supposed to come together with billionaires? They’re the problem, Bernie. Joe Biden is the problem. You’re not supposed to be coming together with Joe Biden and f...-ing Bloomberg to fight anything. You’re supposed to be fighting them. And then he does this thing where he just repeats Maddow talking points about foreign policy and impeachment. It gets him nothing, in my opinion. And it doesn’t take a genius – that’s the whole point – it gets him nothing. Not one god-damned vote does it get him to do those things. So what would be your assessment?
[1:23] Michael Tracy: “Because if you’re a Maddow voter, you have another candidate, anyway. It’s not as though you’re going to be entertaining the prospect of voting for Bernie, right? You’re probably mad because Bernie is perceived as having mistreated Hillary in 2016 when that wasn’t really true. So what are you gaining? How are you broadening your coalition by doing this? I don’t know. I understand the frustration with having to differentiate between a criticism of Bernie’s tactics and Bernie himself. Like you, I broadly support the Bernie political program. But, I think it does raise some red flags when he appears to be consistently giving in to the temptations of just becoming another member of the Democratic coalition, and just singing from the same hymnbook as them. Because people don’t like that hymnbook. People want something new, which was why Bernie was such a novelty and was so refreshing when he first ran because he was presenting something different. So, the more and more he becomes the same, the less and less that appeal has any resonance.
[2:31] This is so ironic because Tulsi is now left with giving voice to those frustrated Bernie voters who say: “No. Reject this. Stand up and actually speak the truth. So at every one of Tulsi’s events, she always talks about the New Cold War and Nuclear Arms Race. And part of that New Cold War is the insanity that has engrossed the entire American political system by way of Russia-gate, such that now the knee-jerk position by both Republicans and Democrats is to demand further hawkish antagonism towards Russia. And she’s the only one giving a countervailing view. Whereas,I haven’t heard anything from Bernie on that subject. In fact, he always just gives credence to whatever the Democratic talking points on this subject are. In fact, he gives left or progressive credence to those talking points which is even more destructive, because he has credibility among some people who might, on an instinctual level be skeptical of the Russia-gate or impeachment narrative but when they hear Bernie enunciating it, they thik Oh, there’s some validity here.” Whereas all you have is, really, Tulsi saying something different. Just yesterday, somebody ...
3:40] Jimmy Dore: “Yes!”
[3:49] Michael Tracy: Whereas all you have is, really, Tulsi saying something different. Just yesterday, somebody at a small town, Joffrey, New Hamshire, and they said, I’m really concerned about this super-delegates potentially thwarting the will of the voters. ‘ And I haven’t heard Bernie talking much about that potentiality’
Jimmy Dore: “Me neither”
Michael Tracy: And Tulsi said that’s why we have to totally reform the Democratic party. We can’t just play nice. We can’t just pretend that everyone is unified in terms of how the Democratic party is structured, how it has behaved in the past, and could behave in the future. No. We have to be sort of clear eyed about the corrupt influences of the party. I’m just sort of paraphrasing and summarizing what she said. The quote is somewhere. That’s the gist of it. And she actually gave an anecdote about how in 2016 after Bernie started raising a lot of money through small-dollar donations, Tulsi recalled being on the floor of the House with a colleague. And Tulsi recounted how she was excited by Bernie’s success in this small-dollar fundraising that had been outpacing Hillary and was sort of a ground-breaking model for galvanizing political support. And Tulsi expressed that to one of her colleagues and the colleague was like: ‘No. You don’t understand. This is a threat to us. And by “us” the colleague meant the moneyed incumbents who rely on the backing of corporate lobbyists and PAC dollars and such. And Tulsi said that that was an eye-opening moment for her because it showed her how entrenched those interests are. And I think that’s sort of how she ended up on the trajectory she is on now, where she’s saying, ‘Look, it’s sort of incumbent upon me to try to put forward this message which is demanding a full scale departure from business as usual in the party whereas Bernie, for his own specific political reasons is having to play nice with the party and to pretend that there aren’t major schisms in it that could really doom the prospects, potentially, of the ultimate nominee. You see that in the way that they were so panicked about even coming, even approaching, looking like they were going to go after Elizabeth Warren after she launched one of the sleaziest political hit jobs in recent memory. Because they don’t want to disrupt this idea of a unified progressive front in the party. I think Liz is the one who disrupted that notion when she colluded with the corporate media to drop the equivalent of a thermonuclear bomb on Bernie’s campaign and accuse him of sexism based on gossip. So that was always a fantasy.
[6:45] Jimmy Dore: “And Bernie’s response to that is tepid, at best, right?”
Michael Tracy: “Yes. Tepid at best. They say that they don’t want to continue to feud, right? They want to focus on issues. Well, who is the leading progressive candidate who I was told for years was Bernie’s chief ally and she had to be treated with kid gloves and everybody had to appreciate her contributions? It’s an issue if that person decides, three weeks before the Iowa caucus to launch this orchestrated smear job in conjunction with CNN that makes out Bernie, essentially, to be a misogynist, and she’s using that now as a Hillary-style tactic when in fact, Hillary never resorted to such sleazy tactics as that [Oh, yea? What out the “Russian asset smear?] Because what Warren did, she revealed what was ostensibly a private conversation. At least when Hillary attacked Bernie, it was about, somewhat, the issues. Now it was a distortion of the issues for the most part, but it was more or less about the issues. This was a personal attack by Warren which involved her divulging private communication. So it’s really worse than anything Hillary ever did [again, Huh? WTF?] So if you want to talk about how we need a progressive front, and you want to do that by obscuring what machinations Warren really pulled here, then I don’t trust that you’re operating in good faith. At the least, you’re not being honest about what has transpired.
Jimmy Dore: “You’re talking about Bernie’s campaign. ...
[8:43] Michael Tracy: “Bernie’s campaign to some extent, but you also have these progressive groups who have been wringing their hands and saying ‘Oh, god, please, let’s everybody get along. Progressives need to come together.’
Jimmy Dore: “That is such a bullshit take, Michael. That is such a bullshit take. Can’t we all get along? Fuck you. That is not what primaries are. That is not what Elizabeth Warren just did. And right now, if Bernie’s campaign had a f...-ing brain-cell working, they would go nuclear on her and end it. And make anybody else afraid to do this to him again. But they’re never going to do that because what I wanted to bring up to you was, the week after Bernie did a unity video with two billionaires and Joe Fucking Biden, which totally muddies his message, a week later AOC comes out and says “I’m fucking the party. I’m not going to be fund-raising for the DCCC. I’m setting up my own fund-raising thing and the DCCC can go fuck themselves. Because they’re working against us.’ Which is exactly what Bernie should have said to the DNC!”
[9:47] Michael Tracy: “Right. The DCCC are the ones who presided over the recruitment of candidates for the 2018 midterms, right? And who did we get as a result of those DCCC efforts? Former CIA officials. These sort-of careerist former prosecutors who appeal to certain suburban districts but who are really out for their own self-interest. They’re not going to press for any quote-unquote “progressive” change. They’re just going to do the bare minimum. And that’s because they were embraced by the party apparatus, and that’s what the party apparatus is comfortable with. And that’s not the kind of individual who is going to get on board with far-reaching Bernie-style reform agenda, right?
So it’s almost self-defeating in a way for Bernie to have this conciliatory posture and say ‘We’re all Democrats at the end of the day, so even if you’re Tom Steyer or Michael Bloomberg I’ll appear in a video with you ...
[10:54] Jimmy Dore: “It’s fucking crazy”]
Michael Tracy: “Like, really? Fast forward [rewind?] to four years ago, does anybody in their right mind think – can anybody envision if you sort of transplant yourself to four years ago – Bernie appearing in a unity video with Michael Bloomberg? Does that seem in keeping with his broader political. . .
Jimmy Dore: “You mean the billionaire to instituted stop and frisk? Dose that muddy his message? Yes it does! A thousand percent. And anybody who doesn’t know that is fucking lying to themselves. And if you want to attack me for pointing out shit strategy by his campaign then go ahead. Because I can’t stop saying it. Because it’s obvious to you, it’s obvious to me, it doesn’t get him one god-damned vote. I mean, the people inside his campaign, I’m sure most of them are nice people but there are splits in every campaign, and I’ve been told there is ... like that Faz guy ...
[12:07] Didn’t Faz work for Harry Reid? And if you ever got disgusted with Harry Reid’s capitulation, now you’re seeing it happen again with the Bernie Sanders campaign
[12:18] Michael Tracy: “Even these progressive operators have career interests in mind. And calling for a unified progressive front is how they insure job opportunities for themselves. So that’s the key thing to remember when you have these guys pleading for unity. It’s like “unity for me because I need to get a job later on. And if you are seen as someone who is a divider or someone who is provoking discord [i.e., thinking?] within the so-called “progressive” faction within the Democratic party, it’s going to be harder for you to find employment later on.” And sometimes it’s just as simple as that
13:05] Meanwhile you have Tulsi putting out fund-raising e-mails skewering Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer for trying to buy the election with their zillion, billion dollar largess. And going after Mayor Pete saying he’s basically a puppet of the Military Industrial Complex who is backed by CIA spooks of every sort.
[13:27] Jimmy Dore: “But that’s the campaign Bernie should be running.
Michael Tracy: “For one reason or another he can’t be compelled into letting loose against some of these clowns on occasion.
[14:43] … which is intolerable to Tulsi because she doesn’t want the support of those people. The type of spook, of defense contractor, sinecured types backing Pete and Warren. She doesn’t want those people. And she’s willing to call them out, call out their corrosive qualities because it emphasizes her singularity. And again, it’s ironic that you need Tulsi to be making these points instead of Bernie. But it could actually rebound to her political advantage because there is a section of Bernie supporters who, I bet, some of them who do feel a bit disenchanted with this "let’s all get along" approach that he has taken vis-a-vis the Democratic party
[J.D. “There has got to be”
Michael Tracy: “… Somebody who is a little more of a bomb thrower. Who doesn’t tolerate B.S.
[15:37] Jimmy Dore: “Michael, let me ask you this question. So, I haven’t been to a Bernie rally in awhile. The last one I went to was here in Pasadena about six or eight months ago. But do you know if he still starts his campaign speeches by saying ‘It sounds like you’re ready for a revolution.’ Because if he’s still saying that he’s a revolutionary and then he’s making unity videos with billionaires that seems to be inconsistent, at best, and shame on his campaign for having such a schizophrenic message.”
“I haven’t been to any recently to any of his “Bernie is Back” rallies in New York with AOC. When was that, in October or so? I think he did call for a political revolution there. So, I don’t know if I would accuse him of schizophrenia necessarily. But there is a little bit of schizophrenia just in terms of the coherence of the message.
[16:25] Jimmy Dore: That’s what I’m saying.”
Michael Tracy: “How is a political revolution consistent with joining arms with Michael Bloomberg. I mean, that’s just sort of laughable.
Jimmy Dore: “It’s laughable on its face and everyone can see through it. So when he does that stuff it makes him seem like what he is not, which is just another politician. It hurts him. It doesn’t help him. I’m saying that his campaign strategy is showing Bernie off to the country in a way that will lose him votes instead of showing him off to the country in a way that will get people off the couch, who didn’t vote in the last election and vote for him because that’s the biggest voting block and that’s the people Bernie should be focused on not fucking Hillary voters, not Warren voters, not Biden voters but the hundred million mother fuckers who wouldn’t get off their ass to vote last time, people who voted for Barack Obama twice. Those are the people he needs to be exciting. And you don’t excite those people by doing a unity video with two billionaires.
[17:23] Michael Tracy: “Right. If you go to New Hampshire, you’re going to see ads for all the candidates, pretty much. And it strikes me that when you do occasionally see a Tulsi ad. She doesn’t have anywhere near as much money as some of the leading candidates, but they have bought ads, And the ads she’s choosing to run right now are anti-war ads. And what she’s saying is: ‘Hey. Trump promised in his rambling, inarticulate way, a revamping of the way the United States conducts its foreign policy. And he has not fulfilled those promises.’ That is something that you can only convey in a plausible way if you are speaking from a standpoint of independence. And not just shrill partisan reflex. And the more that Bernie sounds like he’s just repeating Democratic party talking points the more and more that he is going to be hamstrung, for example, from putting forth a coherent anti-war message. Who knows what’s going to happen with Iran. Maybe it flairs up again. Maybe the state of war that we’re now in escalates into a broader conflict. And if Bernie can be dismissed as just opposing it because he’s against Trump or wants to help the interests of the Democratic party, I don’t think that the independents or even some of the Trump-allied people who maybe would be receptive to a thorough-going anti-war message, I don’t think they will be drawn to the cause of Bernie in high numbers now because of all the concessions that he has made. And it’s unfortunate. And again, that’s why I’m sort of struck when I see Tulsi running these anti-war ads in New Hampshire. Because she knows there is an opening there, at least in a section of the electorate for somebody who is speaking from a standpoint of principle, not tethered to the interests of any one political party, who can say that ‘I understand that you are disillusioned with how things have turned out. And I can provide an alternative to you that isn’t necessarily through the framework of just restoring the Democratic party to power.’ And I don’t think that Bernie is necessarily, deep down, hoping just to restore the Democratic party to power. But he has now got to do some calculations in order to secure the nomination to give that impression and it just doesn’t garner him many additional votes to my mind. Because the people who just want some sort of singing of Kumbaya among the Democratic party establishment are going to have other candidates to choose from.
Jimmy Dore: “What is the lesson that the Bernie Sanders campaign or what has any Democrat learned from the Trump victory over Hillary Clinton? They are not learning the lesson. And the lesson is that not only do you run against your opponent, but you run against your own party. Why? Because the political parties are the most unpopular things in the world. They’re less popular than fucking Congress. They’re less popular than the media. So they should run against, just like Trump did, run against his own party and expose the corruption inside of it. Do you think that Trump would, for a second, put up with god-damned super delegates? Do you think that for a second he would put up with that? No.”
Michael Tracy: "He would have called for an armed rebellion."
Jimmy Dore: “Yes. So Trump puts the fear of god into the Republican party whereas Bernie has the fear of the Democratic party in him. All too often. Again, this is because I’m frustrated. Not because I don’t want Bernie to win. It’s the exact opposite. And it’s just a shame that Tulsi is running the kind of campaign that if Bernie was running he would be laying waste to this field, right? But because she gets such negative press and because everybody in her own party is against her, it’s hard for her to gain traction. She might next time around, right? In four more years, I think people are going to figure out that "Maybe she isn’t a Russian and I think it is a bad idea that we’re still in Syria," even fucking four years later we’re still in Syria. Because you know we’re not getting out of there.