Liberal Cannibalization Update

First, let’s get this out of the way: Congress has a low approval rating. Why? The main reason is partisan gridlock.

So what would happen, as a congressperson, if you voted in such a way that you might be perceived as less partisan? It might go something like this:

The Intercept: “Fourteen senate Democrats joined all but one Senate Republican in confirming Rep. Mike Pompeo as the new CIA director on Monday evening, failing a crucial first test of whether Democrats would present a united front to defend human rights and civil liberties in the Trump era.”

Common Dreams: “With Help from Dems, Torture Supporter Pompeo Confirmed for CIA Chief”

A bit of reality (not mentioned in either of the above articles) from Vice:

Democrats do not have many tools at their disposal other than delays. Even if Democrats embraced a strategy of unified resistance, the 52 Republicans don’t need any of the 48 Democratic votes to confirm all of Trump’s nominees. In 2013, Democrats changed the rules requiring a 60-vote majority for such confirmations to only needing a simple majority.

The article goes on to say how much many liberal activists love Kirsten Gillibrand for not bending to the will of Trump. Of course liberals should vote for her in 2020 if she’s the candidate. If left-leaning people want to take back the government, though, they need to vote for the most liberal candidate who can get elected, even if that’s someone they don’t agree with 100% (which, face it, isn’t possible). Moreover, they should focus their criticisms on that person’s opponent rather than on the candidate (at least until that candidate is elected).

From Elizabeth Warren on why she voted to confirm Ben Carson: 

Can we count on Dr. Carson to keep [his] promises? I don’t know. People are right to be skeptical; I am. But a man who makes written promises gives us a toehold on accountability. If President Trump goes to his second choice, I don’t think we will get another HUD nominee who will even make these promises – much less follow through on them.

From Vox:

There’s also the strong institutional pull for Democrats to follow historical precedent and let the president choose his Cabinet nominees. In its history, the Senate has only voted down nine presidential Cabinet nominees, according to Josh Huder, a congressional scholar at Georgetown. Almost all of President Obama’s picks sailed through in 2009 without much resistance. And that was at a time when Republicans in the minority could still filibuster them — meaning they could have blocked them, but didn’t.

It may be helpful to revisit a bit more of the Intercept/Common Dreams thinking that helped elect Trump. Here’s Jill Stein on October 12th last year:

It is now Hillary Clinton that wants to start an air war with Russia over Syria by calling for a no fly zone. We have 2000 nuclear missiles on hairtrigger alert. They are saying we are closer to a nuclear war than we have ever been. Under Hillary Clinton, we could slide into nuclear war very quickly from her declared policy in Syria. I sure won’t sleep well at night if Donald Trump is elected, but I sure won’t sleep well at night if Hillary Clinton elected. We have another choice other than these two candidates who are both promoting lethal policies. On the issue of war and nuclear weapons, it is actually Hillary’s policies which are much scarier than Donald Trump who does not want to go to war with Russia.

As a reminder, if everyone who voted for Stein had instead voted for Hillary, Hillary would have won the election:

Yes, it’s possible (probable?) that those Stein voters would have stayed home and not voted at all, but this doesn’t change the fact that they still failed to vote for the most liberal candidate who actually had a chance of winning.

By allowing differing degrees of ideological commitment to divide them, left-leaning people helped invite in a president who hopes to do everything in his power to undo or undermine decades of global diplomatic progress as well as environmental and energy progress.

Hillary advocated for a no-fly zone to help ameliorate what António Guterres, the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees called, “the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.”

Why do you think Stein left that part out? Yeah, I don’t know either. And where on earth would she have gotten that terrifying idea? Tough to say for sure, but maybe it came from Russian ultra-nationalist and Putin ally Vladimir Zhirinovsky who said the same thing she said the same day she said it.

Just to sum that message up briefly: “Don’t elect the candidate who wants to stop us from killing thousands of children and other civilians and displacing millions of people. If you do, you’re going to start a nuclear war with us.”

Sounds like something a bully would say, right? Well, it convinced Jill Stein apparently. Stein, being extraordinarily highly ideologically aligned with Bernie could have recognized the stakes of the election as Bernie did:

Perhaps the worst offense that one can level at Obama was his use of drones. Obama used drones a lot. And civilians were killed. Drones will probably continue to be used. Is this justified? It’s difficult to say. The individual cases appear to be classified. So it must come down to whether or not we trust Obama. Is he the type of person who would sign off on drone strikes likely to kill civilians just for the hell of it? I would submit that no sane person would do so.

So I’m inclined to take him at his word:

As commander-in-chief, I must weigh these heartbreaking tragedies against the alternatives. To do nothing in the face of terrorist networks would invite far more civilian casualties—not just in our cities at home and facilities abroad, but also in the very places — like Sana’a and Kabul and Mogadishu — where terrorists seek a foothold. Let us remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians, and the death toll from their acts of terrorism against Muslims dwarfs any estimate of civilian casualties from drone strikes.

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