Heading into California primary today, Donald Trump is catching up toHillary Clinton in the general election polls. According to political analysis from statisticians like Nate Silver, the reluctance of some Bernie Sanders supporters to back an alternate Democratic candidate is part of the reason for Trump’s boost. Sanders’ backers tend to identify as progressive, according to Silver, but not necessarily as Democrats. “If Clinton wins over those voters, she’ll gain a few percentage points on Trump in national and swing state polls,” Silver explains. “If not, the general election could come down to the wire.”
With many months to go before the conclusion of the US presidential primaries, battles lines in the Democratic party have become deeply entrenched. Just as right-wingers love to claim that Hillary Clinton is a radical liberal disguised as a moderate, so too are many progressives inclined to see her as a conservative corporatist whose liberal stances merely pander to the Democratic Party base. This is partially because her 2016 campaign received contributions from various wealthy interests. But it also stems from the clear way that her ideology has evolved from centrist to progressive over the past quarter-century. It is tempting to characterize this evolution as proof that she lacks core convictions—especially if one is a Bernie Sanders supporter or a jaded liberal.
“The only index by which to judge a government or a way of life is by the quality of the people it acts upon. No matter how noble the objectives of a government, if it blurs decency and kindness, cheapens human life, and breeds ill will and suspicion—it is an evil government.”
I posted this quote not only because I agree with its contents, but because it perfectly encapsulates my reason for not considering myself to be an ideologue, either liberal or conservative. Ideologues on both sides are prone to making a terrible mistake – i.e., they start to care less about whether their policies are adequately serving important human needs than they do about the strictness with which those policies are hewing to a set of abstract philosophical concepts.
In tonight’s Democratic presidential debate, Bernie Sanders will take his first big step in avoiding the fate that befell another Vermont liberal, former Gov. Howard Dean, whose candidacy tanked after the public got a negative first impression of him following his defeat in the Iowa caucuses. Part of this will depend on his own performance, but much more will have to do with whether he is truly bringing about the radical game change he claims to represent.
Published: mic (March 31, 2014)
The Obamacare deadline is Monday, and a flurry of reports, headlines and talking heads are weighing in its success or failure. But sometimes politics cannot be understood without a human touch.
One of the most devastating aspects of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) implementation, flying under the radar, is the unwillingness of Republican-led states to accept the Medicaid expansion provision included in Obama’s legislation. This, and not the law, is making health insurance cost prohibitive for many — forcing people to choose the annual fine rather than accept the costs of even the cheapest plans.
Published: mic (August 25, 2013)
On the centennial year of his birth, a renaissance of interest has occurred about President Richard Nixon. First came Penny Lane’s documentary Our Nixon, which compiles home movies shot by the 37th president’s closest aides as a way of humanizing the much-maligned “Tricky Dick.” Then came the release of The Butler, which adds further nuance to Nixon’s cultural image through John Cusack’s performance. Finally there was the recent release of the final batch of secret White House tapes, where Nixon discusses everything from Watergate strategies and circuit court nominations to fielding an accidentally placed phone call from a regular citizen.
No one wants to be an ideologue. Defined by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as “an often blindly partisan advocate or adherent of a particular ideology,” ideologues are correctly viewed as one of the banes of the political world. While at their most extreme, they provoke violence and oppress non-believers, even the more innocuous ones manage to hinder debate and exacerbate social divisions, often being as obnoxious as possible in the process.
Yet although no one wants to be an ideologue, the indisputable fact remains that ideologues are still everywhere. They just don’t view themselves as such, which brings us to the purpose of this essay – how to tell if you’re an ideologue.
Published: The Morning Call (November 21, 2011)
If I were a Republican, I would be very concerned right now about the future of my party.
Allow me to explain. As of the moment, President Barack Obama is an extremely vulnerable incumbent. Unemployment remains chronically high, his approval ratings are mired in the low 40s, and he has done a horrendous job of selling his signature achievements to the public. While other geese have been in far hotter water than this and still managed to escape uncooked, it’s clear that the Republicans can walk away with this thing if they nominate the right candidate.