A Man Apart

As a Democrat, I welcome Bernie Sanders. I only wish that both he and Jim Jeffords could serve in the Senate. A coalition built on a moderately liberal party, flanked by an centrist independent and a socialist independent, could build a de facto majority, a powerful antidote the corporatist/theocrat coalition that now defines the Republican party. But if Bernie is the lone independent in the Senate, then when Rick Santorum throws “Socialist!” at a Democrat, Bernie can rise and say, “No, that’s me!” Go, Bernie, go.

Maury Hal Marcus
Dallas, Texas

Let Them Eat War

Of course, none of this has anything to do with the fact that the Democrats
haven’t done any more for the “blue-collar guys” in the last 30 years than
the Republicans have, while promoting policies that would seem to be
designed to alienate the blue-collar vote (such as gun control).

Yes, from your point of view, Bush is an idiot, but look at it honestly.
Were any of the major Democratic candidates really any better, or all that
much different? If the Democrats want to win again, they’ve got to field
better candidates and abandon some of their more divisive policies. Maybe
it would help if they actually had policies that the blue-collar vote
thought would help.

Roger J. Henn

The Scourge of Militarism

This is a great article, but a distinction should be drawn between the
ruling class, who support an imperialist foreign policy, and the majority of
people in the U.S., who would prefer to focus on problems closer to home.
I’ve worked in many factories, restaurants, warehouses and other middle- and
working-class establishments, and I’ve never once heard someone say “What
this country needs is tens of thousands of troops stuck in endless wars
around the globe to build and defend an empire.” They were more likely to
express sentiments similar to “Why are we spending all this money on other
countries when we can’t fix the pothole in front of my house?”

Make no mistake, average Americans do have a cultural superiority complex, but
unlike the British, they feel no need to shoulder the “white man’s burden”
and force that culture on others. The fact that the military is in a
recruiting crisis bears this out. Rather than flocking to sign up for
Kipling-esque adventures in the far reaches of the empire, young Americans
are avoiding military service in droves. There’s a reason that Bush and
company had to create this elaborate fiction about WMDs and ties to
Al Qaeda; they knew the American public would never support a war unless it
appeared the nation was in grave danger. Now that their lies have been
exposed, support for the war has predictably unraveled. In the end, Bush
overestimated the public’s support for empire building, just as he
underestimated the Iraqi people’s will to resist.

Daniel Bayer


The Side Effects of Truth

Thanks for the article and the troubling truth about Dr. David Graham. “A true democracy will not condemn those whose devotion to principles leads them to unpopular courses, but will reward courage, respect, honor, and ultimately recognize right” (JFK 1956). We have nothing remotely close to these principles today when it comes to protecting those with the courage to take a stand. I was sued by my former employer and its substantial parent company for internally questioning fraudulent and deceptive business practices that have been the cause of over 500 job losses and much more. The civil “legal” system (“justice” has got nothing to do with it) serves those with the most economic resources. Finally, after trying everything I was supposed to do, I went to the SEC with “insider” insight and documentary evidence to significant corporate felonies and multiple violations of SEC rules/investor protections. I was summarily ignored. The SEC is systemically unable, under-staffed, under-funded, and ill-equipped technologically to fulfill its mission to act as the watchdog protecting average citizens and the integrity of the markets. Please consider reading GAO reports 05-80, 02-302, and 02-864.

Thanks for listening and reporting what mainstream chooses not to.

Mark J. Novitsky

Why the Democrats Will Keep Losing

Looks like it won’t be just the Democratic party who will be losing ground to the structural bias in our electoral system. Mr. Hill made it very clear that the Democrats are facing an overwhelming geographical political bias. But how about all of us working-class folks, including red state Democratic supporters? The misguided voting of the majority of red state working people will drag us all down if they don’t start looking out for their own economic interests soon. Unfortunately their stupidity is being buttressed by this outdated electoral system.

If it were just them suffering the consequences, a reasonable person could argue that it would be a just outcome. But damn it, throughout the nation many Democratic supporters will also get caught in the downward economic spiral caused by this continuous Republican domination.

My only hope is that someday soon a majority of working folks in red districts and states will get sick and tired of being sick and tired of their declining economic conditions, and do something about it. Like support some Democrats for a change. Because one thing is certain: Republicans will not even attempt to give them any economic relief.

Gary Anderson
Kalispell, Mt.

This article underscores the urgency which the airwaves, especially
those that reach non-urban or rural citizens, must be used by
progressives/liberals to broadcast sanity and reason, and debunk Rush
Limbaugh and his clones. The rural AM airwaves, and increasingly FM
too, are ruled by evil-spewing partisans that have bamboozled this part
of the country by continually lying to them. Progressives must mount a
massive media campaign to undo what has been done to this nation “on the
air.” Broadcast outside the cities, now, or we risk this trend
continuing long after I’m dead.

And now you know another reason why broadcasting was deregulated.

Geoffrey Knobl

1. Even if it’s true that “the winner-take-all system distorts representation,” then the leverage for a shift toward a Democrat would be enormously profitable. Gaining back that small margin of votes in Ohio (and I believe that Hillary could have carried it off last November) would bring the Democrat a hugely disproportionate gain. That factor is not stacked against Democrats, at least not in this most notable recent instance. Hill and others are still a long, long way from evidence that the system is really being gamed by Republicans. And un-gaming the system isn’t the best route to a return to power by a party that couldn’t even find out that our own candidate was really the superficial, learning-to-fly dummy by actual measurements.

2. I learned decades ago that gerrymandering produced election districts that were shaped like the Jabberwocky. But now Steven Hill says that “nice, square districts” also are gerrymandered. Cries out for explication. The Republicans openly gerrymandered Texas for the last election. And of course New York and New Jersey, our kind of people, never would do that. This could be very important, if Hill can make sense out of it. But he will have to do better than this article with its internal contradictions and obvious illogic. After foiur readings I still can’t get Hill’s paragraph in which he says these phenomena are not the result of partisan GOP manipulations, which is “a whole ‘nother form of shennanigans.” Well, what is that, and where is it, and how is it done and undone?

L. Vincent,
Mystic, CT

Steven Hill does a good job of analyzing the political numbers but I wondered while reading if he understood that each party and each person has been and is free to advocate any position they wish. Ideas and policies appeal to different voters in different ways. Thus, just as a businessman may market his product in a manner that produces optimal results for his business, he cannot then complain that some folks are not buying his product, a circular argument. It is not built-in strucual biases holding the Democrat Party back. Democrat ideas and policies are holding the Democrat party back.

Howard Lohmuller

Sorry pal. You got it wrong too. Democrats keep losing because they are ideologically, morally, emotionally and patriotically bankrupt. And the country knows it. All you’ve put forth here is another excuse to avoid confronting the real problem with democrats – looking in the mirror. Additionally, democrats all live together in big enclaves because the rest of the country can’t stand to have them living next door to them. Who wants a loud-mouthed, immature, air-headed parasite telling them how to live their lives? What was that crack about Republicans not doing an honest days work in their lives? Who are the welfare voters? Who are the union members? Who are the teachers? Who are the lawyers? Who are the government bureaucrats? Yep! Democrats all! Not an honest days work in the bunch! When democrats learn to grow the hell up, and start acting like mature, responsible adults, maybe, just maybe, they will be taken seriously again. Of course, hell could freeze over, too.

Andy Ferrari

Steven Hill writes: “It’s hard to hold out much hope for the Democratic
Party as long as it remains railroaded by structural biases built-in to our
basic electoral institutions of which they appear to be blissfully unaware.”

But once upon a time, Democrats were in the majority, despite those
structural biases. What was different between then and now?

John Lyon
Austin, TX

Against Discouragement

Thank you for your wonderful magazine. In particular, I am so grateful that you published Howard Zinn’s commencement address to the Spelman graduating class.

I know I should not give in to despair, [but] all that is happening both here in Australia, the US and beyond is devastating. Howard Zinn made me feel a little bit better and just in awe of what an amazing thing it is to be part of the broad family of the left even if we seem to be have more defeats than victories these days.

Thank you,
Irene Baghoomians

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