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comment by mk

    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  ·  1120 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  ·  1120 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  ·  1120 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  ·  1119 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.