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comment by Rook

I'd like to offer a perspective here, in response to the title of the post.

I am what you would probably call a moderate - a member of the illusive "center" whose views defy total binary categorization into "Democrat" and "Republican".

I am driven away from either of the two major parties by the way they cling to their fringe elements. In appeasing the far left and the far right, both parties alienate me to a point where neither remains a viable choice for representative government, because simply put, they do not represent my views. Or perhaps more accurately, they choose to prioritize views to which I can not in good conscience give my mandate by supporting their candidates.

That being said, I registered as a Democrat to vote for Bernie Sanders. Even before the way the Democratic primary came out, however, I would not have voted for Clinton or Trump. I view this position as the result of my responsibility to vote with my conscience, as informed by reason and research... and furthermore as the result of my right as an American to a representative government.

I have read many opinions akin to the title of this post, particularly casting blame on those of us around the left-of-center mark for not knuckling under and voting for Clinton, as if that movement were somehow entitled to our votes. However, with all politeness, here is the thing those who sit solidly on the left need to understand:

You are not entitled to our votes. No matter how right you believe your cause to be, you cannot control how others think and act. You can only control how you think and act, with the hope that it will yield the desired result from others. I, too, yearn for compromise and solidarity, but it is a two-way street.

The realpolitik result of this (I suspect I was not alone in my decision) and other factors, is the Trump presidency. The long-term effects of this presidency are yet to be seen, though as long as the house is on fire, I hope we take stock of what turned out to be flammable.




goobster  ·  191 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I've read through all the comments on your post, and - kleinbl00's incendiary, yet effective, language aside - I think the key statement you make is this:

    "...You are not entitled to our votes..."

You and your ilk seem to think that you exist outside the reality that everyone else lives within. If you just hold out in your fortress long enough, the right traveling salesman with the right magic elixir will come to your door a'knockin.

And that just ain't gonna happen, toots.

The fact is that the vast majority of the population understands that the actual political system - as it is practiced beyond the keyboard - has little to do with whether you put a little R or D (or any other letter) next to your name. All that indicates is where your funding comes from, and if you don't have an R or D, I think you are adorable and plucky and an inspiration to kids everywhere that if you have a trust fund you really CAN be anything you want to be... but the one thing you will never be (outside of a fringe state like Vermont) is a Politician.

There is never a time - past, present, or future - where the Rs or the Ds will come to you. Because you simply are not playing in the big leagues. Your t-ball game prowess does not get you a seat on the Mariner's starting bench.

I too registered Democrat and was a delegate for Bernie Sanders. Do I like Democrats? Not really. But I thought the SOLE living effective Independent pinning the yellow D of shame to his breast, was something that could be a game-changer. He had momentum. He had a rigid set of beliefs that has been consistent in every breath he drew for more than 70 years. And that was something I could get behind. A guy who actually believed in SOMETHING and worked like a dog to get there.

You want to co-opt his work, put on his mantle, and claim some sort of partnership with him... and then expect the Ds and Rs to come to you begging for your support?!?

Ain't gonna happen, snowflake.

And that's why Kleinbl00 and I have zero tolerance for you and your type. You bring nothing to the table, and want all of the concessions to go your way.

That's not how this - or anything, really - works.

(Final note: WELCOME TO HUBSKI!! In all seriousness. We love it when new people from Reddit show up with actual thoughts and opinions, and are willing to engage in debate. Can ya tell? :-) Seriously. Stick around. You touched the third rail on your first post, so... honestly... how much worse could it get? :-)

OftenBen  ·  190 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Answer me this please.

You said

    There is never a time - past, present, or future - where the Rs or the Ds will come to you. Because you simply are not playing in the big leagues.

The Rs and Ds do come to someone. Who do they come to? Who do they court? What determines if a grassroots candidate moves up the party hierarchy?

goobster  ·  188 days ago  ·  link  ·  

They don't come to anyone.

Eventually, people come to them.

Being intractable and stubborn and dogmatic is what it means to claim your fealty to the R or the D side. Variance is not allowed. (Post Bill Clinton, at least.)

Did Hillary do a single thing to bring Bernie supporters into the fold? To appease them in any way at all?

Nope. Nada. Zilch. She didn't have to. Her company had control over the party purse strings, and simply pulled them shut.

"Grassroots candidates" are a convenient fiction. People like Randy Bryce show up now and then, but they aren't connected to the right people or channels, so they can't leverage any of the existing infrastructure that the parties have in place.

Political parties are industrial-era machines. Letting a little guy come poke his head up from time to time is good for the morale of the electorate, and makes us think we have some power or input into the process. So the parties let them percolate up, maybe bring a specific issue to light, and then switch the narrative away from the little guy and back to the party-approved candidate.

No matter how far down the rabbit hole you go, it's dollars, all the way down.

kantos  ·  188 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    "Grassroots candidates" are a convenient fiction. People like Randy Bryce show up now and then, but they aren't connected to the right people or channels, so they can't leverage any of the existing infrastructure that the parties have in place.

Explains the "Bernie isn't/wasn't even a Democrat" discussion susinctly.

mk  ·  192 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I am what you would probably call a moderate - a member of the illusive "center" whose views defy total binary categorization into "Democrat" and "Republican".

    I am driven away from either of the two major parties by the way they cling to their fringe elements.

Can you explain why you then registered to vote for Bernie? He is quite left of center.

Rook  ·  192 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hi, as a fresh Reddit refugee, thanks for inviting me to expand on my view instead of meeting me with a self-righteous tirade! That knee-jerk hostility is the kind of behavior I am trying to get away from.

The first thing I should probably break down is that to me, there are important distinctions between "left" and "Democrat".

In that vein, the first thing to note about Bernie Sanders is that before running as a Democrat, he was the longest serving Independent member of Congress in the history of the United States. Just like any number of people who registered Democrat to vote in the most recent primary, Bernie partook of the Democratic Party in order to gain access to a discourse that has been dominated by the two party system. However, it doesn't necessarily make one a true Democrat.

So what about status-quo Democratic politics differ from the Sanders campaign? My key issues with the Democratic Party are that they have eagerly lined up behind Wall Street in support of the Neo-Liberal economic agenda, and are strongly biased towards entrenched, lifelong politicians who do not favor productive change. From my perspective, this is evidenced by the general lack of progress in most spheres of American politics during my entire life. By contrast, the post-election Sanders camp has been all about getting younger people with fresh perspectives into office, which I, as a fellow reformist, support.

As for the question of just how left Bernie leans, I'd actually like to talk about one of the major moderating influences on his politics: he is from Vermont, a relatively rural state for the East Coast. I grew up splitting a lot of time between urban and rural settings, and have come to view certain divisive political issues, such as gun control, as a largely urban vs. rural culture problem. So, I like that he is moderate on these issues because I see it as necessary to healing some of those rifts and uniting the political center.

I also support many of his Socialist leanings, if not all. Without totally going down the rabbit hole of every policy item, I think there are reasonable limits and requirements to be placed on social and economic systems. Quite a few of his proposals make sense to me on a rational, humanist level, and seem like they might actually work. So really, the matter of where his policies fall on the political spectrum doesn't even enter into it.

mk  ·  192 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Fair enough. Makes sense.

But what I don’t understand, is once Bernie was out, why not choose Hillary over Trump? Trump is probably going to do damage that could be permanent, like exiting climate talks for example. There is a huge difference between the two. I have a five year old daughter, and I don’t want her to even see or listen to him. He’s an incompetent racist misogynistic fool. Why no impetus to keep him away from the Whitehouse?

BTW I fault Hillary for not begging Bernie to be VP. That ticket would have been a lock.

Rook  ·  191 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I mean, don't get me wrong, "President Trump" is like a Stephen King character or something. I don't like him.

On a personal note, though, I grew up in what was probably the most institutionally liberal place and time to ever exist - the East San Francisco Bay Area in the last part of the last century. I was raised with progressive values which I hold dear. However, I have seen over and over again how easy it is to twist those values into something that looks more like a conservative religion than a society with freedom of thought and conscience. So I have a real leeriness of what looks like entrenched dogma, and to me that was what Clinton and the DNC represented.

But you actually do speak to some of my hopefulness when you talk about the question of "permanent damage". Not that I want permanent damage! Let me explain:

I think Trump is doing damage, yes. However, I actually think that the benefit of it may be in its very impermanence.

As someone who wants systemic reform, I think this presidency is showing us where we are weak. Showing which systems are too easy to corrupt or destroy, challenging entrenched views, and exposing cultural rifts. If society is a social organism, then the function of pain is to indicate damage. And much of that damage was already there... Trump is just exacerbating it.

Barring the possibility that left-wing fervor drives the center towards the right in the next election, we won't have Trump for much longer. But we will have the legacy of being shaken up and shown what we need to fix.

The most truly lasting damage I think he has already inflicted is in diminishing America's presence as the global hegemon... but even in the case of things like climate change, this may drive other nations to take action of their own accord without relying on the United States, and I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

ThurberMingus  ·  191 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    But you actually do speak to some of my hopefulness when you talk about the question of "permanent damage". Not that I want permanent damage!

Let's not jump off a balcony to see whether our ankles or knees are weaker.

I think you are to optimistic about 2020. Look at the kind of people who get elected: if America is rolling on the ground with a broken ankle some are definitely going to exploit that for personal gain. And if "now that we see the weak points we'll fix them" was a valid assessment, we wouldn't have elected Donnie at all.

kleinbl00  ·  192 days ago  ·  link  ·  

And I'd like to offer a perspective here, in response to the gist of your post. With all politeness, here is the thing those who sit solidly on their lofty principles and morals need to understand:

Get the fuck over yourself.

No one is acting entitled to your vote. No one is "believing" shit about causes. Hillary Clinton was, objectively, the most qualified person to ever run for President of the United States. Donald Trump was, objectively, the least qualified person to ever run for President of the United States. Now - you can get all high'n'mighty about that. You can get all principled. You can pucker so hard your tighty whiteys floss your goddamn teeth but the fact of the matter is, populists and opportunists wanted to break some shit because they preferred failure to business as usual and, to the precise expectation of all thinking human beings, failure has not been productive.

I give absolutely zero fucks about your politics, your morals, your standards, how you've voted, how you'll vote in the future, any of it. If your sink is backing up and you have a choice between the plumber that charges you too much while he lectures you about garbage disposals behind his plumber's crack or the manic street preacher who thinks it might be fun to be a plumber, you pick the fucking plumber. I don't care if he goes to a different church, drinks at a different bar, votes for a different party, wears the wrong clothes, eats cereal for dinner, whatever. If one guy knows how to use a pipe wrench and the other one doesn't, VOTE PLUMBER.

Save your compromises and two way streets for areas of nuance.

Rook  ·  192 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hey, thanks for chiming in because you demonstrate exactly what I am talking about.

You can come on here and curse and storm and argue for the annihilation of nuance and ethics in favor of blunt realpolitik, but at the end of the day this self-righteous edginess accomplishes nothing but alienating a potential ally.

If there is anything that this most recent election has proven, it is that you as a Democrat need me more than I, as a moderate, need you.

You are right about one thing, though, which is that I prefer short-term failure (from which we might actually learn something) to the long term status quo, which I sincerely believe would lead to ultimately more catastrophic failure when it would be too late to change.

tacocat  ·  192 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Aww. He's really a teddy bear.

kleinbl00  ·  192 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hey, thanks for hanging on to your self-righteousness like a coat of many colors. Does it keep you warm?

You're not a potential ally. You never were. Sure, you held your nose and voted for Bernie but what's most important to you is that we all know how distasteful you find everyone else's position before you ask what they are. Meanwhile you get a chance to expound on your Goldilocks politics whereby to "earn" your vote one must triangulate to exactly the sort of magical policy choices you demand so that the rest of us know this whole Trump thing? Yeah, you're above all that.

You're principled. Go ahead and say "realpolitik" again, it makes you look so clever.

I'm right about a lot of shit. You act like I've never talked to you before, like I've never had these discussions with beard-stroking brow-knitting thinkers who insist that the water must not be too hot, must not be too cold must be just right or they won't go swimming. Who universally refuse to acknowledge that for fuck's sake, man, the middle has been marching to you at double-time since Kennedy fuckin' died. Who insist they're "moderates" even though Clinton was slightly to the right of Nixon. Who somehow can't grasp that they're actually pretty goddamn right wing and the real problem is that the Right has grown so populist that Buckley wouldn't approve so they have to lodge their disapproval by slummin' it with the Lefties.

Edgy? Naah, dude, I'm giving you the whole axe because you're a fraud. I don't even care what you believe; it doesn't really matter because the reason you believe it is it makes you special not because you've thought much about the way the country oughtta run. So go ahead, drop the mic. Mate the check. you've solved me, bitch. You were Right about the Left which is why you Left the Right or some shit. "Realpolitik" is full of assholes like me that will forever be jealous of your brilliance. The principled thing is to never vote again.

At least until you figure out that politics is about something greater than yourself.

Rook  ·  192 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The hell do you want from me, anyway? You want me to say, "Fuck you, too"?

If I wanted that kind of interaction, I could just stay on Reddit.

You know why I came here? This:

What makes for a good comment?

The best comments are those that generate thoughtful, civil conversation. You don't have to agree with others, but be respectful. Good comments are not necessarily popular perspectives, but are well-supported ones.

If you assert a strong opinion, try to back it up with facts, or an insightful rationale.

If you want to hit reset and actually have a conversation, I'm willing. But if all you have for me is a steaming pot of "Fuck you," I'm not biting.

kleinbl00  ·  192 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I want you to not waste my time. I want you to not waste anybody else's time. What kind of interaction do you want? That's pretty fuckin' obvious from your first two comments - the one on my post where you said seven paragraphs of nothing so you could sound clever and the one on this post where you say pardon me, I'm special, don't insult me three days ago when I wasn't even here.

Check this shit out:

    This idea that giving in to the fringes to appease them would somehow move the parties to the center is, however, sadly misguided. History has consistently shown that the strategy of appeasement can only fan the flames of hatred.

and

    ...here is the thing those who sit solidly on the left need to understand: You are not entitled to our votes. No matter how right you believe your cause to be, you cannot control how others think and act.

So which is it? Should we hold firm against the fringe or should we appease you? Inquiring minds want to know what this hapless Democratic party should do to hold the right edge and you held two oppositional viewpoints in the space of an hour.

So welcome. Thanks for joining our conversation. Now make some good comments because so far all you've accomplished is a bunch of pseudo-intellectual posturing that isn't even internally consistent and I don't need that shit in my feed. Make an argument, support it and add to the conversation. Insist that discussions must align to your sensitivities? Isn't that what Tumblr is for?

keifermiller  ·  191 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Everyone here will place emphasis on different parts of that blurb, though.

Some people balance out the whole thing equally. Others value the 'civil' and 'insightful' bits with different weights. Each has their own interpretation of what those terms actually mean.

People will rub each other the wrong way from time to time.

Instead of down votes, you'll find moderation tools for each user on the left hand side their profile page.

You'll also find filter links at the top of the feed pages for tags and webdomains.

You can use these features heavily, or not at all. It depends on what you want.

oyster  ·  192 days ago  ·  link  ·  

But... Bernie isn’t moderate. You can’t really say you are moderate when you want to vote for the guy who’s the opposite of moderate. You said you don’t like Democrats for pandering to the far-left and that it alienates you but Bernie was the one doing that.

Rook  ·  192 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You should see my other comment above, because I talk about some of this there.

If the extremes are campus radicals and the alt-right, then Bernie is not that far left. He is also more conciliatory than party-line Democrats or Republicans.

I would also argue that what "moderate" (or perhaps more accurately "independent") really means in the modern context is not as simple as falling squarely between Democrat and Republican values on any given issue. I have views that go both left and right, at least as typically defined by people who disagree with them. I call my views "moderate" because it is easier to understand than saying that they are part of a coherent worldview that is not defined by our simplistic binary party system.

I don't think this is a term that should really need to be defined - it's not as though everyone who identifies as moderate is from Futurama's Neutral Planet.

oyster  ·  191 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Moderate doesn’t mean independent, you can’t just make up the meaning of words and then expect to have a decent conversation with other people who actually know what the words mean. Words do need to be defined and moderate will never mean socialist AF.