Thursday, March 24, 2016
Washington State Democratic Presidential Caucuses
The Democratic presidential precinct-level caucuses take place in Washington State this Saturday. Bernie Sanders is expected to win by 30 percent.
The weekly newspapers appear each Wednesday. We still have two in Seattle, the Seattle Weekly and its longtime rival The Stranger. Starting in the 1990s, I used to read both, probably up until 2004, when I severed my relationship to the local Green Party. The Stranger, founded the same month that Nirvana's Nevermind was released, is 15 years the junior of the Seattle Weekly. The Stranger has always been the more self-referential, satirical, brittle, pompous and interesting of the two.
Walking back from a lunchtime coffee, I spied the cover (see above) of the new issue of The Stranger. At first I thought it was a gag, a ploy to make readers pick up the paper. But it is real. The paper is calling on voters to caucus for Hillary this week. The staff explains their reasons why in "Support the Real Progressive: The Stranger Election Control Board's Endorsement for the 2016 Democratic Caucuses."
It reads like talking points distributed by the Hillary campaign. We shouldn't caucus for Bernie because:
1) Trump is really, really scary and we should be very, very afraid. (Get ready for a steady diet of this one. It is basically all we're going to get from June until November. In fact, It has already started.)
2) Bernie has been rejected by black voters. (This should be familiar to all old Naderite Greens whose organization was dismissed as insufficiently progressive because it failed to attract significant numbers of African Americans.) How much attention do you think Hillary is going to shower on Alabama and Georgia blacks this summer? Do you think she is going to be spending a lot of time campaigning with the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner?
3) Sanders is a disingenuous peddler of pie-in-the-sky, a craven pol who suckles at the teat of the NRA. (See any of the Democratic presidential debates for Hillary's version of this line of attack.)
4) Hillary is actually a practical progressive -- imperfect, albeit -- who gets things done. Hillarycare is touted as a precursor to Obamacare (as if we all agree that Obamacare has been a complete success), and Clinton is praised for her championing of women's rights when she was first lady. Not a word about any legislative success she achieved while representing New York in the U.S. Senate, nor any accomplishment as Obama's Secretary of State. What are Hillary's accomplishments? That is going to be my question to any Clintonista who tries to lobby me at the Saturday caucus.
While it is too much to say that The Stranger's endorsement of Hillary would be like The Phoenix endorsing Hubert Humphrey in 1968, it does seem to me another sign of the world gone wrong. At least the Seattle Weekly has fulsomely endorsed Bernie.