My real irritation at the endless replaying of 2016 is that it’s the superficial part of what happened. Bernie said such and such, the DNC did X, Hillary didn’t back Y, and so on. After a certain point it’s just boring to rehash this stuff endlessly. But there was a philosophical dimension to it that hasn’t really been explicitly stated and that is probably why the situation still evades resolution. It’s essentially this: Hillary Clinton argued, in essence, that she knew the system very, very well and could get it to work for everyone, while Bernie Sanders argued that the system was broken and couldn’t be made to work, and also for whom again? Clinton supporters got mad at that second part of the argument, which was fair. But while it’s a simplification to argue that Sanders’s supporters were people with little to lose from the system crashing in the ocean and Clinton’s tended to be people who had a lot to lose (or, at any rate, perceived that they had something to lose) from it, it’s not all that inaccurate.

Of course, Bernie’s revolution was sort of full of shit. He wasn’t talking about trashing the Madisonian system and introducing something different, he just wanted to pass some Nordic social legislation through the existing system, apparently by mass mobilization behind him personally. Which is to say, via normal politics. Clinton could have mentioned this contradiction, but she apparently preferred the backhanded insult of saying he was overpromising, which seriously misunderstood the depths to which a lot of liberals were disappointed in what was accomplished under Obama and probably helped him. The philosophical differences have therefore never been addressed, but it’s a difficult situation because both sides can essentially look down on one another with a sense of superiority rather than have a dialogue. This isn’t a new division on the left and I think it could be finessed by someone with the right skill set and political intelligence. Probably can’t solve it though, unless one side or the other is proven right and the system either shows new signs of workability or it collapses like so many other polarized presidential republics. But could we debate that instead of the petty stuff? Please?


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