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Author Topic: Bernie Sanders
velcro
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I have decided to support Bernie Sanders. I’d like to discuss why that is the case, answer questions, clarify misconceptions, and possibly learn something that changes my mind.

Here’s my summary of what he stands for in no particular order. (based on the website berniesanders.com)

Addressing the decline of the middle class and income inequality
Taking money out of politics
Reforming Wall Street
Better jobs, minimum wage, family leave, sick leave
Racial Justice
Climate Change, Environment

Also single payer healthcare (Medicare for All)

My impressions:
He seems to be the only candidate who is not being paid for by billionaires.
He is not partisan. (He’s officially Independent).(Partisan means toeing the party line, which he does not do)
He is willing to compromise to achieve good results.
He does not have consultants telling him what tie to wear, and obviously is not getting $300 haircuts.
He has done well by veterans, getting awards from the American Legion, the VFW, and the Military Officers Association of America.
He opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the Patriot Act.
He takes questions from the audience.
For the cynical, he is beating Hillary in Iowa polls, and Republican front runners in other polls.
He has said that as President, there is not a lot that he can do. A grassroots movement is needed to change the way money affects politics. That kind of humility, and honesty about the power of the President, is very refreshing.

I look forward to a vigorous, enlightening, and civil conversation.

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Greg Davidson
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One of my concerns is the degree of emphasis he and his campaign will place on explicit party-building activities such as down-ballot candidates and voter registration.

I cannot envision a scenario in which Republican resistance to Sanders would be any less virulent than the opposition to Obama or Bill Clinton. And because Sanders is even more aggressively targeting powerful interests, that leads to the conclusion that the opposition will be even stronger (hard as it is to imagine going beyond government shut-downs, impeachment, and threatening to default on the debt).

Consequently, the net effectiveness of Sanders will not be based on what he does even if survives the brutal campaign and remains wildly popular, it will be in the down-ballot races that shape Congress or eventually shape how Congressional districts will be formed, how state officials implement (or take to Court) federal policies, etc.

I don't plan to pick a candidate until 2016, but I do agree that there are some appealing aspects to Sanders. They had a clever Facebook poll where you put in your positions and they tell you which candidate you come closest to. It was a little staged to get the intended result (no gun control questions, for example, because Sanders is to the right of Clinton on that issue). The surprising part was not that I found my score slightly favoring Sanders over Clinton, but instead one of the conservatives I argue with often on Facebook also supported Sanders more than any other Democratic or Republican candidates.

[ August 15, 2015, 03:50 PM: Message edited by: Greg Davidson ]

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Fenring
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I fully agree that Sanders would make for a legitimately different President. He is my favorite Democrat candidate by a landslide. He is also the only candidate around who supports the kind of reforms that speak to the centre and address the concerns of the vast majority of Americans other than partisan fanatics and the very rich.

Regarding how much he could actually get done during his Presidency, I think for me the two key issues he might be able to do something about would be hawkish foreign policy, and possibly campaign finance reform. General banking and political reform is a longer project, but only one or two tweaks need to be made to campaign finance to make a big difference, and if he made that his #1 mandate he might be able to get somewhere.

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LetterRip
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I'm curious what effect Lessig's campaign will have.

https://lessigforpresident.com/

It seems pretty obvious that Lessig and Sanders have the most overlap in terms of voter interest, and thus Sanders has the most to lose with Lessig running. I suspect that Sanders will quickly adopt finance/corruption reform as his main goal to get LEssig out of the race ASAP.

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Rafi
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I'm very excited about Bernie Sanders potentially becoming the Democratic nominee. As he gains momentum, the media will go into support mode and publish stories insisting he's not really socialist (as Bernie himself claims) and otherwise fashioning him for mass appeal so we don't know what he really is about - he first post above is a great indicator of what's to come.
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scifibum
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Republicans will almost universally refuse to acknowledge g the distinction between "socialism" and Scandinavian style "democratic socialism" (the latter being Sanders's actual self designation). The above post is a great example of how this will go.

They'll probably even push the meme that any such distinction is dishonest, or even Orwellian. They do enjoy that kind of irony.

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velcro
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Rafi,

First, a clarification. Sanders identifies as a democratic socialist. As he describes it:
quote:
“Democratic socialism is taking a hard look at what countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway (and) Finland … have done over the years and try to ascertain what they have done that is right, in terms of protecting the needs of millions of working families and the elderly and the children. And I think there’s much that we can learn from those countries that have had social democratic governments and labor governments or whatever.”
Second, I may be misinterpreting, but you seem to be implying that my post is "fashioning him for mass appeal so we don't know what he really is about". Can you please confirm or deny this? If you confirm, please provide details about how my post obscures "what he really is about".

Greg wrote
quote:
Consequently, the net effectiveness of Sanders will not be based on what he does even if survives the brutal campaign and remains wildly popular, it will be in the down-ballot races that shape Congress or eventually shape how Congressional districts will be formed, how state officials implement (or take to Court) federal policies, etc.
As I hinted at in the OP, Sanders is taking this into account.
quote:
"What I have said throughout this campaign is electing Bernie Sanders as president is not enough. Not going to do it. We need a mass grassroots movement that looks the Republicans in the eye and says, 'If you don't vote to demand that your wealthy people start paying their fair share of taxes, if you don't vote for jobs, raising the minimum wage and expanding Social Security, we know what's going on, we're involved, we're organized, you are outta here if you don't do the right thing.'"
I just looked at Lessig, and at first glance agree with his ideas, but according to Wikipedia (please let me know if this is not accurate)
quote:
His prospective campaign would focus on a single issue: The Citizen Equality Act, a proposal that couples campaign finance reform with other laws aimed at curbing gerrymandering and expanding voting access.Lessig has said he will not serve a full term if elected because once the Citizen Equality Act becomes law, he plans to resign from office and turn the presidency over to his vice president.
I can't really support a one-issue candidate.
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LetterRip
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velcro,

yep. I'm fairly certain it won't be successful as is, but I think he has a good chance to make his 1 million mark, and get enough support that it will draw votes away from Sanders in the primary.

The reason I think he will hit his numbers is that the average size of donations keeps increasing (a few larger donors driving the average up significantly - it was around 87$, the first three days, now the cummulative average is 115$). Nearly a third of the way to the goal amount with about 80% of the time remaining.

Once the threshold value hits - he has a lot of matching funds that have been promised.

Also Jimmy Wales has a lot of donor contacts through his wikipedia work.

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LetterRip
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Lessig also already has more twitter followers that BernieSanders, although both of them are less than 1/10 of HCs.
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velcro
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FWIW, Lessig has 350K, Sanders has 340K on his presidential twitter, and 572K on his senatorial twitter.
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D.W.
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quote:
just looked at Lessig, and at first glance agree with his ideas, but according to Wikipedia (please let me know if this is not accurate)
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
His prospective campaign would focus on a single issue: The Citizen Equality Act, a proposal that couples campaign finance reform with other laws aimed at curbing gerrymandering and expanding voting access.Lessig has said he will not serve a full term if elected because once the Citizen Equality Act becomes law, he plans to resign from office and turn the presidency over to his vice president.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I can't really support a one-issue candidate.

Isn't this the guy who said he would resign as soon as he won and let his VP running mate take the reign? He has no intention of being president. (was the impression I got)
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LetterRip
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DW yep that is his plan.
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KidTokyo
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It is worth noting that "democratic socialism" is not the same thing as "social democracy." It is bizarre and slightly alarming that Sanders conflates the two. Scandinavian-style "social democracy" has little to do with socialism -- it's a mixed capitalist system with systems of redistribution, controlled democratically, based on prevailing notions of "social justice." It does not, to my knowledge, advocate for any kind of fundamental reorganization of economic structures. Democratic socialism would be far to the left of that.

It is possible that Sanders does not know the difference, or does not care. I like the guy, but I do not get the idea that he is terribly bright. At any rate, his policies would be considered centrist by American standards just a few decades ago.

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velcro
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I agree, it would be better if he stuck to "social democracy", although 99% of the population don't care, and when he explains his beliefs, it is clear he means social democracy.

I don't really get a sense of how bright he is, although he did go to University of Chicago, FWIW. Where would you place him in comparison to other candidates?

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by velcro:
I don't really get a sense of how bright he is, although he did go to University of Chicago, FWIW. Where would you place him in comparison to other candidates?

Primary axis of comparison should be honesty and trustworthiness. A candidate who is very clever and also not trustworthy is a double danger, rather than having a positive and a negative. Someone who is too simple in thinking manner to play the obfuscation game, and is also trustworthy, is a double boon to the people.
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DonaldD
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Or someone who is too stupid not to realize the ways in which he is being manipulated by smarter people...
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:
Or someone who is too stupid not to realize the ways in which he is being manipulated by smarter people...

It's funny, but I actually think being smarter can make it easier to be manipulated. People with simple and clear notions have a funny way of not being confused by nonsense, even if the nonsense is very intelligent and well-presented.
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KidTokyo
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quote:
I don't really get a sense of how bright he is, although he did go to University of Chicago, FWIW. Where would you place him in comparison to other candidates?
He's smart enough...I didn't mean to sound too harsh. I would take him over any of the other candidates in either party in a heartbeat, even though at least a few are probably "smarter." There's a neurosurgeon in the mix after all.

quote:
It's funny, but I actually think being smarter can make it easier to be manipulated. People with simple and clear notions have a funny way of not being confused by nonsense, even if the nonsense is very intelligent and well-presented.
I would actually submit that the two things are essentially unrelated as human characteristics. I would also submit that people with "simple and clear" notions are constantly being manipulated quite effectively -- even as others with "simple and clear" notions are very disciplined skeptics.

I do agree though that members of the intelligentsia are subject, as a matter of social convention, to more strict systems of indoctrination on certain matters than most people, and as a consequence are taught to apply their intellect only to very narrow problems. I don't think this is a direct consequence of intelligence, but more a matter of their expected social roles.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by KidTokyo:
I do agree though that members of the intelligentsia are subject, as a matter of social convention, to more strict systems of indoctrination on certain matters than most people, and as a consequence are taught to apply their intellect only to very narrow problems. I don't think this is a direct consequence of intelligence, but more a matter of their expected social roles.

This is more or less what I meant; it would be silly to suggest that merely having good problem-solving skills suddenly makes you gullible. But in an arena rife with vanity, bluster, and a certain paradigm of truth whereby 'if you're smart you'll agree with this' then it would take a lot of discipline to be smarter than most and not succumb to the accolades that come with conforming and rising high in - as you say - a very narrow field of vision.

In short, I was using the term "smart" in a fairly flip sense, which I think is the way in which Bernie may not appear to be "smart." What this really means is that he isn't groomed in the same way as the other candidates and doesn't mince words. Being a senator from a libertarian state it's only fitting he should be cut from a different grain and speak to people more like a person and less like a politician.

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LetterRip
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The risk of being 'smarter than everyone else' - is that you can fool yourself into believing you are always right even when your wrong - due to superior debating skill and generally being more knowledgeable.

You see this a lot among engineers and programmers.

You have to actively try to prove yourself wrong to not fall into that trap, unfortunately it seems extremely rare that smart people do that.

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DonaldD
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Yes, but someone who is too simple to be able to "play the obfuscation game" is on another level than the smarter and less smart people to which you are referring above.
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cherrypoptart
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He talks about the negative impact immigration, both legal and illegal, has on jobs and wages.

But then he supports a path to citizenship aka amnesty.

That doesn't make any sense at all. Why curb legal immigration and then reward over ten million people who broke our laws with citizenship while encouraging tens of millions more to try for the same thing in the future?

Why? Obviously because the Democrats expect it to increase their power base even as some of them like Sanders say it hurts American workers.

In other words, on the most important issue facing the nation right now, he's just like every other Democrat and almost all of the Republicans. Not for me, thank you. None of his great ideas matter in the least if a country doesn't have a controlled border.

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TomDavidson
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The idea that border security is the most important issue facing the nation is something that I find so incredibly off-base that it's baffling. I honestly don't know how someone with a lick of sense can hold that opinion.
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LetterRip
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cherry,

the current illegal immigration is because the US currently encourages it, even if it is technically illegal.

If the government wanted to eliminate illegal immigration it is trivial to do so - enforce labor laws, and have harsh penalties for any business that violates those laws (construction companies, farming, day labor companies, restaurants, hotels, cleaning services, childcare). Right now there isn't even a slap on the wrist for hiring illegal labor.

The current illegality of the immigration is to have an excuse to deport individuals that are annoying, not to have any actual prevention of it.

So it seems rather unfair to be encouraging it and then punish people for responding to that encouragement.

So the position is rather consistent

1) forgive those who were simply doing what we were tacitly encouraging before

2) end the practices that were doing the encouragement

[ August 18, 2015, 09:26 AM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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DonaldD
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An open question, and one that is not specific to this particular aside: is punishment of the guilty more important than the functioning of society? Specifically, when punishing the guilty is in conflict with the overall well-being of the rest of the people making up the society, is it more important to you to punish the guilty or to better the lives of the rest of the people making up the society?
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D.W.
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Too broad a question DonaldD. It’s more important to fix society than it is to punish illegal immigrants. It is more important to fix society than to punish employers exploiting illegal immigrants. It is more important to fix society than to build a wall.
JUST granting amnesty would be horribly stupid. Doing it at the same time as granting amnesty for employers paying people under the table and then changing the laws to, not fine, but destroy, any place of business employing an illegal immigrant would do the trick for me. You don’t need a wall if employers are terrified to not play by the rules for fear of loosing everything.

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DonaldD
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Like I said - the question is not specific to this particular issue.

I think, however, that you will find many people actually do believe it is more important to punish the immoral, even at the cost of having a 'less good' society.

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D.W.
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Or they just believe that under the threat of punishment a society will become 'more good'. It's not like they don't have about forever's worth of history of governments and religions to drill that into their heads.
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DonaldD
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There are some that do think that way - but I am not asking about that scenario.

I have met people who claim to prefer punishment, even at the cost to society; I am mostly trying to start some introspection.

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LetterRip
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DonaldD,

that is a classic psychology research finding. Punishing 'cheaters' is deeply ingrained in our psychology and many are willing to pay quite a bit in terms of personal/public benefit to do it.

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KidTokyo
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I must admit that, in the age of NAFTA, I find any attempt to "secure" our borders from contiguous territories to be manifestly unfair and oppressive. No one in the political mainstream (aside from Trump in very limited and hypocritical circumstances) speaks of securing our borders to international business or international trade -- quite the opposite, efforts never cease to make the laws of sovereignty disappear altogether for the benefit of the rich and powerful. Only individuals who labor are expected to observe territorial boundaries.
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DonaldD
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LR - yup. Again, I mostly wanted to start a dialog on those positions. So many debates would devolve to the following if the underlying rationales were made clear:
A: Punishing people in this case in no way benefits society as a whole, in fact it has a non-trivial 'cost' to society, so position 'X' is the best position.
B: Why should societal benefit trump punishment? The value of seeing punishment done outweighs any likely benefit to society in this case, so position 'Y' is a better position.
A: Punishment with no benefit to society is immoral!
B: Declining to punish just in order to benefit society is immoral!
A:...
B:...
Both: Oh.

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