Thursday, April 2, 2020

Support the Nurses

National Nurses United 

As politicians grandstand on television, promising time and again that proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is on the way, there is one question on far too many nurses’ minds: “Where is it? Where is the PPE?”
Too many nurses and other health care workers are still going without the equipment we desperately need to protect ourselves and our patients from COVID-19.
That means those of us on the front lines of this crisis are going to work every day wondering when we’ll contract the virus, when we’ll pass it to a patient, or when we’ll bring it home to our families. We have been sounding the alarm since January. We cannot continue to wait for PPE. All of our lives are on the line.
Help us make even more noise: Tell the White House that we cannot delay any further — use the Defense Production Act to get PPE to nurses NOW.
Add your name »
On Friday of last week, President Trump used the Defense Production Act of 1950 to order ventilators from General Motors needed for hospitalized COVID-19 patients. It’s a step in the right direction, but as one nurse recently put it: "Without this PPE, we won’t need the ventilators, because none of us will be around to run them."
It is the responsibility of our employers to provide a safe workplace, including proper PPE, to all their staff. And it is up to our elected officials to make sure our government is doing everything in its power to dramatically expand production and distribution of the equipment we need to protect nurses, other health care workers, and our patients.
The Defense Production Act gives President Trump the authority to direct U.S. manufacturers to mass produce N95 respirators and other critical protective equipment for health care workers. But so far, he has refused to do so.
Please, demand that President Trump immediately exerciseuse his full authority under the Defense Production Act to ramp up production and rush supplies to nurses on the front lines of COVID-19.
We must make our voices impossible to ignore. All our lives depend on it.
In solidarity,
Deborah Burger, RN
Zenei Cortez, RN
Jean Ross, RN
Council of Presidents, National Nurses United

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

How to Stay Sane When the World Seems Crazy

How to Stay Sane When the World Seems Crazy
Stop and take a breath. The world will keep spinning.

By Allie Volpe
·       Published March 23, 2020Updated March 30, 2020

Our constant, relentless exposure to news and headlines has a way of inspiring near-constant dread. As distressing news continually filters to the top of our feeds, phones and TVs, it isn’t uncommon to feel more than a little nervous about the state of the world.
And often, many people are. Over 50 percent of Americans want to stay informed on current events but say following the news is a source of stress, according to the American Psychological Association’s 2019 “Stress In America” survey. More broadly, Americans are among the world’s most stressed people, with 55 percent of adults saying they experiencing stress during “a lot of the day” prior, according to a Gallup poll.
It’s easy to turn on the news and believe the world is ending. When a large-scale news event — say, a pandemic — affects many groups, people want to discuss it more widely and frequently, said Dr. Kathleen Smith, a therapist and author of “Everything Isn’t Terrible: Conquer Your Insecurities, Interrupt Your Anxiety, and Finally Calm Down.”
This constant conversation can lead to a snowballing of negative thoughts. Catastrophizing, or a pattern of thinking that jumps to the worst-case scenario, is an evolutionary response to threat, Dr. Smith said.
“Humans are able to imagine the worst-case scenario, which is a trait most other animals do not have,” she said. “That ability to do that and plan ahead has helped us survive. It has gotten in the way because we have a lot of reality-based problems today that need solving.”
There are ways to cope when things are rough — and ways to remind yourself the world will keep on spinning.
Why we catastrophize
“When people catastrophize, in many ways, it’s a maladaptive way of trying to regain control,” said Dr. David Rosmarin, the founder and director of the Center for Anxiety and an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

We try to regulate our emotions when life feels out of control, Dr. Rosmarin said. But anticipating ultimate doom and gloom as a means of taking control in uncertain times is not particularly effective. Jumping to worst-case scenarios breeds poor decision-making, he said: People tend to adopt a “who cares” attitude, which can contribute to hopelessness and despair.
Sometimes the catastrophic thoughts can become self-fulfilling prophecies, Dr. Smith said. For example: A widespread panic about a toilet paper shortage indeed resulted in a mass of shoppers rushing to buy toilet paper, thus creating a shortage. “We think we need to fix the problem, whether it’s based in reality or not,” she said.
Accept uncertainty
Although recent history may paint a tumultuous picture, we live in relatively safe times, Dr. Rosmarin said. Less than a century ago, he said, real, consistent threats of war were a reality in ways to which we’re now unaccustomed. (And constant news updates weren’t even present to perpetually stoke fear.)
Because of that general feeling of security, we’re not used to dealing with uncertainty, Dr. Rosmarin said. To better accept the unknown, we have to relinquish control, he said, and maintain trust that the powers that be are working to solve large-scale issues — which is what we subconsciously do any time we use public transit and airplanes, for example.
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“When the cabin door to the cockpit closes and I’m not the one inside,” he said, “I’m happy because I don’t know how to fly a plane and you don’t want me flying a plane.”
Stick to the facts
Anxiety makes us feel powerless, said Dr. Steven Stosny, a therapist who coined the term “Headline Stress Disorder,” or the feeling of stress borne from the news. A sense of powerlessness then breeds fear that we won’t be able to handle the consequences of a terrible event, whether unemployment or sickness. However, we tend to exaggerate the severity of the threat and underestimate our ability to cope, he said.
“We cope better than we think we will,” he said. “And that’s survival.”
Instead of feeling powerless, evaluate what you know to be true in this moment — and don’t exaggerate — to help ground you. Think: I have my health, I have my family, I can still make delicious meals.
Take stock of your reality by asking yourself straightforward questions, like, “What are my responsibilities to myself, my family and the larger community?” and “What reality-based problems do I need to solve today?” Dr. Smith suggested.
“To me, that’s being very responsible because you’re responding to reality and not the nightmare, which is easy to,” she said. “If you jump to the worst-case scenario it doesn’t equip you to help yourself in any way. You freeze up because it becomes unmanageable.”
Avoid all-or-nothing thinking
When news and facts are constantly changing, it can be easy to jump to conclusions and fill in the blanks, Dr. Smith said. However, we shouldn’t rush to process current events with black-and-white thinking. Absolutist, or all-or-nothing, thinking, isn’t a healthy way to cope, and is common among those with depression, researchers found in 2018.
To avoid this thought pattern, give the circumstance nuance. Just because a handful of events were canceled, for example, doesn’t mean the world is tumbling into isolation — it means our leaders care about our safety and are taking precautions. Dr. Smith suggests writing down such nervous thoughts or giving anxiety a name. “I call my anxiety Carl,” she said. “Carl says the world is probably going to end — and that makes me go, Carl probably doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Sometimes adding a little bit of humor can help.”
Take care of yourself
Research has shown anxiety impacts our decision-making skills, and in frenzied times, you want to make the most informed decisions for yourself and your family. Keep yourself in tiptop shape with elements of self-care: Studies have shown that exercisedeep sleep and social interactions — even if it’s just a phone call or video chat — diminish stress and anxiety. You may also want to step back from social media or find ways to make the experience less nerve-racking.
Perhaps most importantly, cut yourself some slack.
“Don’t beat yourself up for worrying,” Dr. Stosny said. “That’s only going to make you worry more.”
Even if group gatherings aren’t feasible, take part in one-on-one video hangouts, FaceTime calls and text threads, Dr. Rosmarin suggested. “Just because we’re socially segregated doesn’t mean we need to be socially isolated.”
But remember to turn off the tech eventually. In times of crisis, Dr. Rosmarin advised avoiding phones and other news sources at least an hour before bed.
Get involved
Donate or volunteer with an organization you feel is making positive contributions, whether locally, nationally or internationally. Not only does volunteer work lower the risk of depression and gives participants a sense of purpose, it also may reduce stress levels.
“Anything you do proactively will help,” Dr. Stosny said. “It helps ward off some of the powerlessness or anxiety, even if it’s small.”
And it’s OK if those charitable efforts end with a virtual happy hour or dessert as a reward.
A version of this article appears in print on March 30, 2020, Section B, Page 5of the New York edition with the headline: Staying Sane When the World Seems CrazyOrder Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

Monday, March 30, 2020

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Trump Coronavirus

I accuse.

Over 100,000 will die.  Perhaps millions.
Our economy will be set back again- worse than 2008-2012, that will
cost homes, lives, careers, families,  and more.
By a virus that began in China and has now spread world wide.
The U.S. has more cases than any other nation on earth, including China.
Why ? In part the incompetence of the Trump administration. 

The U.S. was not prepared. When the Trump administration first knew of the virus they hid the information to continue to promote Trump.  Then, they misdirected and lied to avoid blame, all the time the problem was growing worse.  Masks, ventilators, safety equipment should have been placed on emergency orders by Feb 1- it was not.  People will die.  Brothers, sisters, grandchildren, parents will die. 
The CDC bumbled the initial testing production, adding to the crisis and the lack of ability to respond. 

Austerity, promoted by Republicans nationally and in the states, and some governors,  under funded  public health systems.  We need a positive, ready, public health system.  We do not have one. (Mostly a state and local level responsibility). These were budget choices.

Thousands, perhaps millions will now die in the richest country in the world due directly to incompetence by the Trump cabal and the underfunding of public health choices.
Now, many of us will die.  Our children, our grandchildren will die. 

There are many guides to dealing with the virus.  Here is the CDC.  Also, check your local, regional county or state government sites.

Duane Campbell, Sacramento

See. This Is Barbarism post below.

Friday, March 27, 2020

DSA - This is Barbarism

Choosing Democracy: DSA - This is Barbarism: This Is Barbarism Over 100 years ago, in the midst of the death and destruction of the First World War, German socialist leader Rosa...

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

"Which Side Are You On?" New Bernie Sanders video

The Bill Is a Step: But, Not Good Enough

Last week we asked you to call congressional leaders and members of Congress to demand they fulfill their moral and constitutional responsibilities to the American people and expand the emergency provisions to care for us all and enact our Moral Agenda immediately.

You let your voices ring out throughout the Capitol, and our leaders responded.

Because of you, the Senate was forced to reconsider and make some amendments to a stimulus package that favored corporate bailouts over the cries of 140 million poor and low-wealth Americans who need immediate assistance and access to quality health care, paid leave and living wages

But our work far from done there is so much work to do. This bill is still not the kind a response necessary to help poor and low wealth communities We ask that you continue to demand that our leaders present long-term solutions to the ever-present crisis of systemic poverty and its interlocking injustices of systemic racism, ecological devastation, war economy amidst this pandemic.

We won’t be silent anymore. And together, we will make a difference.

Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, President of Repairers of the Breach

Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis, Director of the Kairos Center

Co-Chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Repeating the Mistakes of the 2008 Bailout

Repeating the Mistakes of the 2008 Bailout: We needed to rescue the financial system in 2008, and we need to support sectors like airlines and aerospace now—but TARP is the wrong model.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Trump Removed the Scientist Whose Job It was to Warn the U.S. About Possible Virus from China

President Donald Trump loves to blame China for the coronavirus pandemic, but new information surfaced over the weekend that the administration eliminated a position last July that potentially could have helped the US get an earlier jump on a response to the crisis, suggesting the president may need to place blame a little closer to home.
The Trump administration told the United States’ embed at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the position would be defunded, causing her to leave her post in July 2019, according to a report from Reuters’s Marisa Taylor. The embed helped train Chinese pubic health experts and served in part as a liaison between Chinese officials and their counterparts in the US. 
With the administration planning to discontinue the role, the embed return to the US about five months before China began to see its first Covid-19 cases. Under normal circumstances, the embed likely would have passed information about the novel virus to US officials. Instead, Chinese officials were able for weeks to conceal the virus and the threat it posed, leading to a delay in the world’s response to what was then a matter of great concern and is now a pandemic.

Vox news

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Robert Reich and the Covid - 19 crisis

I am so furious that I need to shout from the rooftops. But we're in lockdown, so I'm emailing you: No industry—not airlines, not hotel chains, not cruise ships—should be bailed out.
Congress is feverishly negotiating a sweeping economic stabilization bill that is expected to pass as early as tomorrow. The details of it are changing rapidly, but Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are proposing hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts for the airline industry and other industries that recklessly mismanaged their budgets by fattening the pockets of their CEOs. And now, these wealthy executives are begging Republicans for a taxpayer handout.
But guess how much the lowest-earning Americans would have gotten from McConnell's initial proposal? As little as $600.1 It's disgraceful.
Duane, breaking news indicates that House is drafting its own bill, that Democrats aren't ready to rubber-stamp the Republican corporate bailout proposal, and this legislation is not yet a done deal.2 But we have only a couple of days to pressure lawmakers to rise to the challenge of this unprecedented moment and make sure that our government bails out the American people, not corporations. That's why I'm writing to you now.
Think about all of the people across America who are constantly checking their local newspapers' websites to learn the latest about how the pandemic is affecting their communities; that's what I'm doing, and you might be, too. But what if, in addition to showing the much-needed news updates, the newspapers' websites showed ads pressuring Congress to give a lifeline to people, not corporations, in the economic stimulus bill? These ads will make lawmakers, who I can assure you care about what's said in their local papers, take serious notice.

As former secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, I can tell you that there is no justification whatsoever to bailing out corporations right now. The airline industry certainly doesn't deserve a bailout: The biggest U.S. airlines spent 96% of their cash flow over the past decade to buy back shares of their own stock in order to boost executive bonuses and please wealthy investors. American Airlines alone repurchased more than $12.5 billion of its shares over the past 10 years.
But McConnell expects us to bail them out to the tune of $50 billion?
The airlines can stay in business by borrowing at rock-bottom rates, using their assets as collateral. Regular Americans living paycheck to paycheck don't have that same option.
 we need to come together right now to demand Congress put people first and pass an economic stimulus bill to support Americans in need, not provide bailouts for big businesses.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Pandumbic 2 (The Sequel) | The Daily Show

Not enough ventilators

When Even Medicare for All Isn’t Enough. Let’s talk ventilators—the medical machines that help patients breathe or breathe for them. Obviously, they’re a necessity to saving the lives of patients with severe cases of COVID-19.

And guess what? Hospitals can’t afford them. The cost of a single ventilator ranges from $25,000 to $50,000, according to an article in today’s Washington Post, and that doesn’t factor in the cost of training medical personnel to use them.

Currently, American hospitals have 62,000 state-of-the-art ventilators and roughly 100,000 not-quite-that-advanced-but-still-serviceable ventilators on hand. Problem is, by at least one estimate, they may need 900,000 as COVID-19 rages on. Also currently, manufacturers turn out 50,000 ventilators a year.

And the reason they don’t turn out more is that hospitals don’t have the money to pay for more. Even allowing for hospitals’ notorious desire to pass on expenses to someone else (surprise billing, anyone?), it’s clear that they haven’t budgeted for the kind of mass purchase of ventilators they now need. “Hospitals can’t eat the cost,” health care attorney Julie Letwat told the Post, adding that the one institution that could pay for both increased production by the manufacturers and increased consumption by the hospitals is the federal government.

As my colleague David Dayen has noted in his daily reports, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and other progressive members of Congress have urged the administration to invoke laws that would enable it to make just such interventions. And be it noted that this goes beyond making health care a right by creating Medicare for All; it is what would happen if we socialized medical supply as well as treatment. Which, it turns out, is exactly what we need to do. ~ HAROLD MEYERSON

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Coronavirus Capitalism — and How to Beat It

Trump, Republicans, Cut Paid Sick Leave from Bailout Bill

Trump said he’d expand paid sick leave during the crisis. That’s not happening.
By Emily Peck and Igor Bobic, Huff Post.

Under pressure from the White House and business groups, House Democrats agreed to further water down paid sick and family leave provisions in the coronavirus emergency bill currently awaiting a Senate vote.

Democrats had already vastly scaled back their proposals for paid sick leave and paid family leave. Instead of covering all workers, millions were left out of the version of the bill passed over the weekend. Still, the original compromise bill included 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for workers with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, symptoms of COVID-19 or those caring for others who are sick.

Now, after the legislative text was updated, those family leave provisions in the bill are much weaker. Paid family leave would only be available to parents who are home with kids due to school closure. The extended leave wouldn’t be available for people who are sick with COVID-19. Those workers would only be able to take 10 days of paid sick leave ― and only if they work at a company with less than 500 employees. What’s more: Companies with fewer than 50 workers can apply for hardship relief and get out of providing both sick and family leave.

“The carve-outs that came in last night through pressure from Republicans and the White House have dramatically weakened what started out as a strong paid leave proposal that would’ve made a difference to tens of millions of families during this crisis,” said Jessica Mason, senior policy analyst at the National Partnership for Women and Families. “The so-called corrections actually gut those policies and weaken our nation’s response to this pandemic.”

Employers are also allowed to secure exemptions for individual employees who are first responders and health care professionals who may have to deal with emergency issues.

“Politicians like to talk a good game about providing paid sick days to everyone, including Trump,” said Vicki Shabo, a senior fellow and paid leave expert at New America.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Painful Decisions That We Face because of Trump Incompetence

Because we have a private, for profit health care system, we have far too few hospital beds, hospitals, medical staff, and respirators. See the post below about the lies about available testing.
Because the Trump administration is incompetent, and because he lies,  we did not begin to build up and to create the needed supplies and hospital rooms.
This austerity approach has also dominated Italy for the last several decades.
Here is what they now face.

The Coronavirus and the Extraordinary Decisions Facing Italian Doctors
Italy now has too many coronavirus patients for each to receive adequate care. So those who are too old to have a high likelihood of recovery, or who have too low a number of “life-years” left even if they should survive, may be left to die.

We must anticipate similar conditions. 
We wish you and your family good health.


Trump's Bogus Google Claim on Convid 19

According to the Washington Post, Trump has lied 1,400 times since becoming President.
So, what should we expect ?  On Friday.

President Donald Trump announced Friday that the US government’s coronavirus testing apparatus, which has lagged badly behind other developed nations, would soon get an assist from Google. The search and advertising giant will create a website, Trump said, that would help Americans figure out if they need a test for the virus, and if so where they can find one.
The only problem: There is no nationwide site like the one Trump described. And Google had no idea the president was going to mention one.
A source at Google tells WIRED that company leadership was surprised that Trump announced anything about the initiative at the press conference. What he did say was also almost entirely wrong. There will be a coronavirus testing site, not from Google but from Alphabet sister company Verily. “We are developing a tool to help triage individuals for Covid-19 testing,” Google tweeted in a statement. “Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time.”
Even that, though, was not the original plan. The Verge reported Friday afternoon that Verily had intended the site for health care workers only. After Trump unexpectedly publicized the effort, Verily decided it will let anyone visit it, but can still only provide people with testing site information in the San Francisco area.
Google did not respond to requests for comment. A Verily spokesperson characterized the intention of the site differently from the Verge report. "We were initially planning to focus on highest risk populations, which includes healthcare workers—but this was not solely intended for them," the company said. "We are collaborating with organizations like Quest Diagnostics and Labcorp as part of this initiative, and local organizations to determine what will work best. At Verily, we are focused on developing a tool to help triage individuals for testing."
It's unclear whether senior Google or Alphabet leadership was aware of Trump's plans, but CEO Sundar Pichai apparently made no reference to the impending White House announcement in a company-wide memo about its coronavirus efforts Thursday, which was first reported by CNBC. In the memo, Pichai told employees that "a planning effort is underway" for Verily to "aid in the COVID-19 testing effort in the US."
The White House declined to comment on the record, but did not dispute that Google was unaware that Trump would announce the site Friday.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The Virus and Trump Incompetence

South Korea currently tests about 10,000 people per day, and the virus is slowing,
The US tests less than 200 per day, because we don’t have test kits distributed. We can not get more test kits because the administration cut the health budget each of the last two years,.  And, the virus is spreading, Even in the nursing home in Seattle where many have died, they can not get test kits to test those remaining alive.

This is incompetence- and it kills,
We now have had more than a month to prepare to defend our people against the spreading virus. The U.S. still is not responding at the necessary level because the Trump government is spending its energy and time managing perceptions to influence the stock market.  See the statement by the nurse’s union.
They have not used emergency authority available to them to mass produce masks and test kits. They also need to be preparing auxiliary hospitals for the coming surge !

This is incompetence.  People will die because of the incompetence.  I hope that it is not you or a member of your family.

See more:

How delays in testing set back the U.S. response

White House over rules CDC on elderly

Get serious about fighting the Virus,


Trump and his administration have proven that they will continue to put profits for the wealthy and corporations ahead of the needs of the rest of us. Trump is empowering Big Pharma and showing concern for industries that he and his cronies are personally invested in—while overseeing an inept and dangerous response to this crisis. From gutting the federal agencies tasked with coordinating the response across states to spreading inaccurate information on Fox News, to appointing Mike Pence to lead the efforts when Pence doesn't believe in science to putting a former pharmaceutical executive who oversaw price gouging of lifesaving medicines in charge of ensuring treatments remain affordable, the federal government's response has been harmful and continues to put more lives at risk as the health crisis grows.
Furthermore, this crisis is exposing the failings of our health care system. No one should have to worry about a medical bill causing bankruptcy, or have to put off going to the doctor because they can't afford the cost of the visit or the time off from work, or be denied care because they can't pay. We must move toward a universal coverage system like Medicare for All to ensure that everyone is able to get the care they need, and workers should have paid sick time so they can rest and recover, or care for their loved ones. We starting to see some progress, as a number of companies have announced paid sick leave for employees and several states have directed insurers to cover COVID-19 tests—but it's far from enough and leaves out the uninsured, so we need to make sure that everyone has access to health care, paid sick leave, and other social safety net supports.
And this crisis is exposing racism and xenophobia. Viruses know no nationality. But just as this viral outbreak is exposing failures of our health care system, it's also uncovering racism and xenophobia toward Asians in America. Attacks against Asians are on the rise, Asian-owned businesses are losing customers, and biased media reporting is fueling misinformation and fear. We now see Republican officials misidentifying the virus intentionally to lay blame at Asian countries and deflect from their own responsibility for a failed response—and this could lead to more hatred, fear, prejudice, and even violence.

A Health Emergency Demands Treatment Not Tax Breaks
Progressives need to need to enunciate and fight for a plan to deal with the potential pandemic. Leaving solutions up to those who have made the situation worse makes no sense.

Monday, March 9, 2020

The Largest Women's Organization in the U.S.- Unions

We salute the women throughout history who stood against injustice and who continue to fight for a better future for all working people.

The largest women’s organizations in this country? Unions! When women have unions, we don’t ever have to walk alone. Our union representatives, shop stewards and fellow members are with us so that we can tackle whatever injustice with strategy and power.
The founder of International Women’s Day was union organizer and socialist Clara Zetkin. She called for the holiday at the second International Conference of Working Women in 1910, in direct response to mass strikes by women workers in the U.S demanding better pay, shorter working hours and the right to join a union. Zetkin also understood the links between workers and war, taking strong opposition against the First World War. She said:
"Who profits from this war? Only a tiny minority in each nation: The manufacturers of rifles and cannons, of armor-plate and torpedo boats, the shipyard owners and the suppliers of the armed forces' needs. In the interests of their profits, they have fanned the hatred among the people, this contributing to the outbreak of the war. The workers have nothing to gain from this war, but they stand to lose everything that is dear to them."
Though its revolutionary roots is often overlooked in the big business media, this day was inspired by the struggles of working class women and our collective power as workers. We demand changes that are structural and transformative, not cosmetic and corporatized. We build to awaken women's class consciousness and to incorporate them into the class struggle. We salute the women throughout history who stood against injustice and who continue to fight for a better future for all working people.
Yasemin Zahra
Chairwoman, USLAW

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Rev. Dr. William Barber: We need to center poverty in building antiracis...

Democrats Can't Afford to Lose the Young

A Cautionary Look at Biden’s Wins and Sanders’ Losses

By John Judis

March 4, 2020 10:09 a.m.

To state the obvious: Joe Biden now has to be the favorite to win the
Democratic nomination. Once he showed that he could win a primary,
Democratic voters concerned above all about winning in the fall
flocked to him; and Bernie Sanders is basically too radical for most
of the Cold War-era voters over 40 or 45 years old. Of course, nothing
is certain in politics these days, but if Biden’s lead holds up, what
does that mean for the future of the Democratic Party?

On Monday, I wrote an email to Pat Buchanan, whose presidential
campaigns I covered and whom I got to know during the 1996 campaign,
and told him that what was happening with Sanders reminded me of what
happened to him in 1996. After Buchanan won New Hampshire, the GOP
establishment closed ranks around Bob Dole, and after Dole beat
Buchanan in South Carolina, the battle for the nomination was over.
(There was even a self-funded rich guy in the race, Steve Forbes, who
dropped out.)

Why that analogy is possibly interesting is that in 1996, Buchanan was
appealing to GOP voters on much the same issues that Trump did 20
years later. Trade, footloose multinational corporations, illegal
immigration (squared), abortion (about which Buchanan was genuinely
more passionate), guns, political correctness, and some version of
affirmative action. (Unlike traditional Republicans, he didn’t
threaten to cut social security or Medicare in order to balance the
budget.) But at the time, there weren’t enough working class and small
business Republican voters who responded to this complex of issues. By
2016 there were, and Donald Trump was very much Buchanan’s successor.

Sanders has attracted young voters who were born after the Cold War,
who don’t have the same compunctions about socialism, who understand
democratic socialism could actually be something good, who in the
absence of union protection on their jobs, and union-negotiated
insurance and pensions, look to the federal government to do something
about these things — and also want the government to do something
about access to higher education, student debt and climate change,
which to them is what nuclear war was to my generation. Biden can
mouth the words, but he doesn’t get it. Bernie does.

Moreover, Bernie appeals to the young across income group, race, sex
and nationality. I’ve looked at the polls, and I have gone to quite a
few rallies. The fabled white working class? He gets the younger
voters many of whose parents have become Republicans. Warren the
Harvard professor didn’t reach them. Pete Buttigieg, to paraphrase
what my former colleague said of Al Gore, is an old person’s idea of a
young person. The electorate that Bernie appealed to could be the
future of the Democratic party the same way — and I am not making
invidious political comparisons here — I am a Bernie Democrat — that
Buchanan’s electorate became the future of the Republican party.

So what I would say to my fellow Democrats about Super Tuesday is
this: be optimistic that you may have a candidate who can beat Donald
Trump in November, and that is super-important. But be worried that if
the Democrats can’t hold onto the Bernie generation of voters, Biden,
if elected, will become the placeholder for a Republican majority led
by the likes of Josh Hawley or Marco Rubio — younger politicians who
are trying to take what is positive in Trump’s economics — in
particular, the economic nationalism that Sanders also promoted —
while ditching his bigoted social policies and adolescent behavior. I
am hopeful that the young Democratic activists who have come to life
over the last five years won’t let that happen, but I fear the dead
hand of the K Street and Wall Street Democrats who have had much too
much influence on the party over the last forty years.

John Judis is editor-at-large at Talking Points Memo. He was a senior
editor of The New Republic and senior writer for The National Journal.