Kamala Harris

S3E45:Harris falters, the Bernie blackout and contested convention

On today’s The World As I Like It To Be podcast we discuss the exodus of Kamala Harris from the 2020 democratic race for president.  Denise from California has strong views on this and so do I.

Next week Thursday’s debate will have only six candidates and no persons of color.   Harris has said she has departed the race due to lack of funds and, as previously reported, a SuperPAC supporting Cory Booker has shuttered due to its inability to raise funds on his behalf.

Meanwhile, Politico reports Andrew Yang, contrary to our podcast, will qualify for the debate next week Thursday bringing the total to seven.  The report notes the DNC has not acknowledged this yet.  

Meanwhile Tulsi Gabbard whom, as we mention in the podcast, has only one more qualifying poll to make it in the debate, has reportedly said she will not participate in the next debate even if she does qualify.

Bernie Sanders scored a big progressive endorsement as the Center For Popular Democracy has announced its support for the Vermont senator instead of Warren.

Meanwhile, nationally, a new Monmouth University Poll (which Fivethirtyeight.com gives an A+) has Biden at the top of the pack with Sanders and then Warren. Mayor Pete has not moved in the polls, behind in fourth place.

Mike Bloomberg, who has used his billionaire dollars to carpet bomb the air waves with ads, has entered the poll for the first time at 5 percent.  This is on par, if not better than, candidates like Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, Tom Steyer and Tulsi Gabbard who have been campaigning for months.

Want to know what we think?  Check out our podcast below:

Where the candidates stand

For those looking to see where each candidate stands on every issue (including new entrée Deval Patrick) before the debate, visit Politico’s website to see an in-depth break down. 

Below are the candidates who are scheduled to appear as of this posting:

Amy Klobuchar


Bernie Sanders


Joe Biden


Elizabeth Warren


Tom Steyer


Pete Buttigieg


End At Will Employment

As mentioned in the blog, Bernie Sanders has a plan.  It’s called the workplace democracy plan.  According to an op ed in Business Insider it would in part end at will employment. 

For those who are not familiar, at will employment allows an employer to fire an employee at will (this does not include discriminatory reasons) just as an employee can leave a job at will.

Sander’s plan would institute a “just cause” law that would threaten employees with court action for unjust firings.   The left wing Jacobin describes it as:

….just cause laws aim to standardize the employee-employer relationship and create a uniform system of employment protection for all workers. The Nordic countries in particular have strong just cause laws.

In Norway and Sweden, if an employee can no longer perform their job duties because they are pregnant or have a disability, the employer has to accommodate, rather than fire, the worker. Regardless of the model Sanders chooses, his just cause legislation should prevent employers from using legal pretexts to “coincidentally” lay off employees who they would otherwise fire at will.

As stated in the podcast, Business Insider op-ed says Sanders campaign makes a compelling case by looking to improve worker security, but the unforeseen costs could be quite severe.   Business Insider indicates:

A Rand Corp. study in the early 1990s found that states adopting the broadest “good faith” or public-policy compliance exceptions (again, weaker than what it appears Sanders envisages) saw employment levels fall by between 2% and 5%. Large businesses and those in retail, finance, and real estate were hardest hit.

… these laws supposedly protecting workers end up reducing the number of people who get hired and fired and the number of companies that start up.

Sanders’ agenda doesn’t just risk unemployment, though. A just-cause law would likely weaken productivity and hence wages too. Silicon Valley’s success has been credited with an ability to hire and fire workers quickly according to a company’s needs. 

Making it difficult to hire and fire leads to workers in jobs to which they are not best suited, or else convinces employers to explore needlessly costly mechanization, reducing their efficiency.

Warren’s attacked by the Jacobin

Speaking of the Jacobin, here is the article I quote in which the liberal website attacks Warren over her positions. Below is the Politico article I reference in my podcast in its entirety:

It wasn’t so long ago that you could read an article in Jacobin that argued, “If Bernie Sanders weren’t running, an Elizabeth Warren presidency would probably be the best-case scenario.” In April, another Jacobin article conceded that Warren is “no socialist” but added that “she’s a tough-minded liberal who makes the right kind of enemies,” and her policy proposals “would make this country a better place.”

No more. A selection of Jacobin headlines from November: “Elizabeth Warren’s Head Tax Is Indefensible,” “Elizabeth Warren’s Plan to Finance Medicare for All Is a Disaster” and “Elizabeth Warren Is Jeopardizing Our Fight for Medicare for All.” In October, a story warned that a vote for Warren would be “an unconditional surrender to class dealignment.” Even a recent piece titled “Michael Bloomberg? Now They’re Just Fucking with Us” went out of its way to say that Warren is insufficiently confrontational to billionaires.

Bhaskar Sunkara, the magazine’s 30-year-old founding editor and publisher, has been a member of DSA since he was a teenager, and he was recently vice chair of the organization. DSA endorsed Sanders in 2016 and did so again this past March.

Sunkara rejects that theory—as do other DSA members. Technically, he points out, Jacobin and DSA are separate, neither taking its marching orders from the other, even if many writers are members. More broadly, where DSA focuses on supporting campaigns across the country that align with its socialist mission, Sunkara considers Jacobin’s role as more “abstract.” The magazine is still figuring out how, and if, it wants to be involved in electoral politics at all, he said.

“We can’t directly convert people,” he said. “What we can do is try to cohere together—from all these different strands and threads—some sort of left opposition to liberalism, give it a name and call it democratic socialism, and create a debating grounds for these broad sets of ideas.”

That broad set of ideas has included everything from the proposals now commonly referred to as Medicare for All and a Green New Deal to more radical concepts like prison abolition—all of which are also components of the Democratic Socialists of America platform.

The change in the publication’s treatment of Warren, Sunkara told me, was not a conscious decision or directive from higher-ups like himself.

But it does reflect, he said, what Jacobin’s mostly young left-wing writers and contributors, many of whom are open Sanders supporters and even campaign volunteers, are thinking. Where a previous generation might have been more than satisfied with a candidacy that would have been a socialist dream a mere decade ago, a younger generation tired of tempering its hopes is hungry for what it thinks could be a more revolutionary outcome.

What a contested convention looks like

I mention in the podcast, the media blackout of Bernie could be a bad thing as it might lead to a contested convention.  Michael Moore showed us what that looked like in his movie Fahrenheit 11/9.

Democrats who voted for Warren or Biden or Buttigieg could get the feeling that Bernie supporters are somehow cooking the books.  This, of course, would not be true and this could only work to help Michael Bloomberg who is not going to be on the debate stage and not campaigning.

But as Charlie Cook from the Cook Report stated on the Last Word, without a clear nominee a second round of voting would include superdelegates who could be persuaded by Bloomberg to vote for his candidacy.

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