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Clinton’s figured out how to ensure her victory: Threaten Sanders that if he doesn’t endorse her, pronto, she’ll begin campaigning as a triangulator.

The risk is that [Sanders] will lose his moment because some Clinton partisans already see a more centrist campaign as the best way to win over millions of middle-of-the-road voters who find Trump abhorrent. Sanders has to decide if accelerating his plans to endorse Clinton is now the best way to maximize progressive influence.

Sanders is making his long goodbye count, E.J. Dionne, Washington Post, today

So there it is.  The moment that Sanders endorses Clinton, Clinton will conclude that a more centrist campaign is the best way to win over millions of middle-of-the-road voters who find Trump abhorrent.  Because there are just so very many middle-of-the-road voters who find Trump abhorrent but find the idea of a Medicare-for-all-type healthcare system, a $15/hr. minimum wage, tuition-free public colleges and universities, and compelled reduction in the size and consequent economic and political power of a few mega-banks even more abhorrent.

Throw in sizable tax increases on the wealthy, and the abhorrence of this platform as compared with a Trump presidency shoots off the charts.  At least if you’re a Clinton partisan—Bill Daley, for example, who’s a Democrat only by convenience—and your Wall Street career depended initially upon your family contacts and later upon your Clinton ones.  Or you’ve made your Wall Street fortune the new-fashioned way: private equity.

The very definition of middle-of-the-road, in other words.  Just not the definition of middle-class.  Or working-class.  Unless your work is parlaying your money into ever greater political power in order to ensure a continued inflow of huge amounts of money.

Working-classless, maybe.

In any event we have it now from the horse’s mouth—someone in Clinton’s inner circle.  The risk is that Sanders will lose his moment because some Clinton partisans already see a more centrist campaign as the best way to win over middle-of-the-road voters with millions of dollars who find Trump abhorrent.

Too late, Bernie.  You missed your moment.  You can now withhold not only your endorsement but also your mailing list of three million donors, none of them middle-of-the-road ones.

And some of those three million donors and the many millions more who voted for you, being deemed not as important as the middle-of-the-road voters who hate the idea of a Medicare-for-all-type healthcare system, a $15/hr. minimum wage, tuition-free public colleges and universities, and compelled reduction in the size and consequent economic and political power of a few mega-banks, even more than they hate Trump, may find themselves hating Clinton even more than they hate Trump.  And every bit as much as those millions of middle-of-the-road voters hate a progressive policy platform.  Which is even more than they hate Trump.

What prompted this threat, presumably, was Sanders’ response in an interview with Jake Tapper on Tuesday, when asked what he thought it would take for Clinton to win over his supporters.  “We are trying to say to Secretary Clinton and the Clinton campaign, ‘Make it clear which side you are on,’” he said.  The punditry is up in arms about that.

I myself thought it was a bit harsh, when I read about it on Tuesday.  But Sanders’ instincts were right, apparently.

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A final post for me (for now; I’m out of breath) on last night’s debate and mainstream journalists’ coverage of it

 

E.J. Dionne just posted a column online that will be published in tomorrow’s Washington Post.  Here are its last three paragraphs:

But the debate’s most substantive contribution was to the larger philosophical argument the country needs to have in 2016. Republicans plainly still believe their central mission is cutting taxes, shredding regulations and shrinking government. Americans who agree should vote for them.

Democrats clearly believe that government has a role to play in solving the problems of unequal opportunity, imbalances between family life and work, concentrated economic power and wage stagnation. Clinton’s best personal moment may have been when she defended mandated paid family leave from the critique advanced by Republican contender Carly Fiorina that it would be an excessive burden on small business.

Clinton went straight at the GOP’s contradictions: “It’s always the Republicans or their sympathizers who say, ‘You can’t have paid leave, you can’t provide health care,’ ” she said. “They don’t mind having big government to interfere with a woman’s right to choose and to try to take down Planned Parenthood. . . . We should not be paralyzed by the Republicans and their constant refrain, ‘big government this, big government that.’ ”

And one way to end this paralysis is to show, as Sanders is doing, that social democratic countries — including Denmark, another of the night’s stars — have thrived over the years with far more social provisions than we have.

Setting the boundaries of debate is one of the most important tasks in politics. We now have a more realistic sense of the choices before us: Sanders’s unapologetic democratic socialism, Clinton’s progressive capitalism, and the Republicans’ disdain for government altogether. Guess who occupies the real political center?

I love this column.  For one thing, it reminded me of the one line of Clinton’s that warmed my heart: “We should not be paralyzed by the Republicans and their constant refrain, ‘big government this, big government that.’ ”

For another, I can’t think of a more apt description of what my candidate, Bernie Sanders, has done. And it shows that Clinton’s sleight of hand will not work.  She’s won’t after all get away with conflating Denmark and the old Soviet Union.

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Finally … The Change We’ve Been Waiting For

This was a throw-down-the-gauntlet speech.  

We have ourselves a leader.  

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UPDATE: E.J. Dionne equates this speech with FDR’s second inaugural speech and Reagan’s first one, in its importance. I hadn’t thought of Reagan’s–and of course the substance of today’s speech was the mirror image, the opposite, of Reagan’s–and I wasn’t alive for any of FDR’s speeches. But my very first reaction to the speech today was to think that it probably was similar in its essence to FDR’s 1937 inaugural speech. Just an instinct, but apparently I was right.

PS: Also, be sure not to miss Greg Sargent’s specific comparison of the speech to FDR’s second inaugural one.

It’s happening, folks. It’s finally happening. It’s finally our turn.

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It’s Happening. The pundits are now recognizing what HAPPENED last night.

Okay, thus far it’s just one major pundit, the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne, whose column posted at 1:58 p.m. demolishes the media’s Conventional Wisdom of last night and this morning, which focused mainly on Romney’s two gaffes, and concluded that Obama had won but only barely.  Binders-full-of-women is irresistible fun, but ultimately unimportant; Romney just misspoke, G.W. Bush-style.  And the clarity of Obama’s Rose Garden statement could be debated; it could depend on what the meaning of “is” is.

But now the focus among the punditry will change.  Dionne captures it:

Any high school debate coach would tell a student that declaring, “Believe me because I said so,” is not an argument. Yet Romney confused biography with specificity and boasting with answering a straightforward inquiry. “Well, of course, they add up,” Romney insisted of his budget numbers. “I — I was — I was someone who ran businesses for 25 years, and balanced the budget. I ran the Olympics and balanced the budget.” Romney was saying: Trust me because I’m an important guy who has done important stuff. He gave his listeners no basis on which to verify the trust he demanded.

Romney’s stonewalling was so obvious that it opened the way for one of Obama’s most effective lines of the evening: “If somebody came to you, Governor, with a plan that said, here, I want to spend $7 or $8 trillion, and then we’re going to pay for it, but we can’t tell you until maybe after the election how we’re going to do it, you wouldn’t have taken such a sketchy deal. And neither should you, the American people, because the math doesn’t add up.” Obama sought to make that point in the last debate. This time he had a metaphor and a story to go with the arithmetic.

Romney also covertly disclosed that he, like George W. Bush before him, has every intention of cutting taxes on the rich. Like Bush, he used stealthy language to try to achieve a great fiscal coverup.

Here was Romney on Tuesday: “I will not, under any circumstances, reduce the share that’s being paid by the highest-income taxpayers.” Here was Bush in 2000: “After my plan is in place, the wealthiest Americans will pay a higher percentage of taxes [than] they do today.”

This really matters: Romney intends, as Bush did, to push for steep tax cuts for the wealthy. His only pledge is that he’ll keep the share of the total tax take paid by the wealthy unchanged, presumably by reducing other taxes too. And this is supposed to lead to lower deficits? How?

The most instructive contrast between Debate I and Debate II was the extent to which Romney’s ideas crumbled at the slightest contact with challenge. Romney and Paul Ryan are erecting a Potemkin village designed to survive only until the polls close on Nov. 6. They cannot say directly that they really believe in slashing taxes on the rich and backing away from so much of what government does because they know that neither idea will sell. So they offer soothing language to the middle class, photo ops at homeless programs to convey compassion and a steady stream of attacks on Obama, aimed at shifting all the attention his way.…

In the first debate, Obama let Romney back into the race by failing to shake his opponent’s self-presentation. But Romney also put himself into contention by pretending to be a moderate, shelving his plutocratic side and hiding his party’s long-term objectives.

In the second debate, the disguise fell. Romney revealed more of himself than he wanted to and asked voters to endorse a radical tax-cutting program without providing them the details that matter. Sketchy is one word for this. Deceptive is another.

Romney’s candidacy will not survive an ad by the Obama campaign that explains what the meaning of “reduce the share” is.  In actual math.  And that asks voters whether they think Romney intended that they think he meant … something else.

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