Don’t Fall for it, America— Centrists Stand for Nothing

While Bernie Sanders emerged the clear victorious winner based on the popular vote, Iowa was still duped by Buttigieg’s insidious, empty, feel-good messaging. New Hampshire — and the rest of the country — shouldn’t make the same mistake.

Democratic candidates Joe Biden (finishing 4th in Iowa), Amy Klobuchar (5th), Pete Buttigieg (tied with Sanders for 1st on delegates, 2nd on popular vote)

“You know, I don’t understand why anybody goes through all the trouble of running for the President of the United States just to talk about what we ‘really’ can’t do and shouldn’t fight for., Elizabeth Warren remarked during the July 2019 Democratic debate.

To an extent, Warren describes what’s been the inherent platform of any given moderate in this race. Front-runner candidates Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, and Amy Klobuchar don’t offer any real vision like Sanders or Warren do — they effectively offer an anti-vision.

First, they play a condescending process of elimination game of so-called “radical” leftist proposals like M4A, GND, student+medical debt cancellation, and wealth taxes. They do this by citing defeatist arguments on how any proposals promising systemic change will bankrupt the country, are too difficult to universally scale, and are undesirable to the broader American public.

Then, upon finalizing what crumbs of watered-down, incrementalist policies are left to scrap up, they tout these as realistic, sensible ideas that they can “actually get done”. They do this to appeal to “the center” by taking zero risk in attempting to shift the Overton window on any given issue — necessary risk that could revolutionize what that “center” believes in in the first place. This is what Sanders has managed to do in his nearly 40-year political career — on universalizing healthcare, dismantling corporatism, ending multi-trillion dollar wars, and moving the needle on the viability of socialism itself — America’s favorite boogeyman. He’s shifted the conversation in constituting things which could be “public goods” — like education, housing, and healthcare — as rights deserved by all, not merely privileges. Whether or not you agree with Sanders’ ideas, it’s hard to deny that this what real deal leaders do. Not centrists, though. Seriously. Even Beto “Man, I’m Just Born To Be In It” O’Rourke once straight up told you he would take away your guns.

So many would kill for the opportunity, especially in fighting the most dangerous, fascist-wannabe president America has seen in modern history, and 3 of our top 5 Democratic candidates are absolutely blowing it. As the Democratic establishment does, every damn time. If half of Trump’s win in 2016 can be attributed to all the “isms” in the book, the other half can be solidly be attributed to how awful a candidate Hillary Clinton was. Yet Tom Perez and the neoliberal DNC want to employ the same vapid “Stronger Together” playbook and lose out to fascism once again.

For better or for worse, if anyone has the ability to move mountains, it’s the President of the United States. It should be canonized in the U.S. Constitution that any person holding this office must be revolutionary, fearless, unapologetic, and morally consistent (in addition to being 35+ of course, the far more crucial requisite). Buttigieg & co. are far, far from it. They will fight to the death for the ineffective gradualism that has only ever kept working class Americans in a perpetual yearning for structural change. They simply want power, and by never doing the ugly work of disrupting the status quo, they believe they will get that power by choosing the path of least resistance. In this case, no resistance.

Klobuchar: She’s a real one. She makes it no secret that she’s a die-hard pragmatist who doesn’t actually believe in things like the GND or M4A in spite of cosponsoring the former and claiming she wants universal healthcare. She touts her prolific Senate record of having the most number of passed bipartisan bills to prove she’s the antithesis of the radical leftists and far-right fascists on either side of her. She’s uncritical of the likely detrimental concessions she’s had to give to Republicans that’s allowed her to be this prolific, because “getting things done” — no matter what those “things” are — is viewed positively. She claims that she will be able to get the banal, incrementalist shit done, and I believe that she would. She’s unapologetically uninspiring — I respect that.

Biden: Joe “Nothing Will Fundamentally Change” Biden has already lost the “electability” argument — the entire genesis and basis of his campaign. He’s not that far off from Klobuchar in being fairly open about who he is. He fights for the pre-status quo — the Obama era marked by promises for “real change” that manifested in corporate welfare, drone strikes, regime change wars, and modest change on liberal issues. Biden represents comfort in the familiarity of an idyllic past for people who have nothing to materially gain from any social justice, working class movement. Or perhaps do, but are too disillusioned and disaffected by the whole system to actually know that Joe has no substantive value to add. This latter group represents the very “center” that could totally be up for grabs for the Sanders and Warren camps to move further to the left.

Buttigieg: Buttigieg appears to be the far more sinister of the three in his brand of centrism. He’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing, while Biden and Klobuchar are merely sheeps — not just on the basis of not being duplicitous, but also on the basis of having no guts to resist a broken system.

Anyone who’s already:

…earned the moniker “Wine Cave Pete” in reference to billionaire fundraisers underneath Swarovski crystals

…closely connected with the company who developed the shady Iowa caucus app

…taken money from the industries he pretends he will fight (who does this remind you of? hint: lost 2016 election)

…backtracked on all the progressive policies he initially pretended to be for

…has the highest number of billionaire donors, and in favor of super PACs

…in a series of shady McKinsey-related scandals including bread-fixing

…and has virtually no support from people of color

— should be sending you major warning flags.

But watch out— he has plenty of “feel-good” speeches to cover up these things and make him appear as a misunderstood, decent guy. He represents the insidious Obama-style centrism that hides behind MLK-esque platitudes of hope, unity, and change in absence of the radical vision of MLK — dismantling capitalism, militarism, imperialism, and poverty.

Pete often co-opts progressive lingo to keep leftists interested, and it potentially sounds convincing to someone who’s otherwise not closely following the race. He’s even said something as profoundly noble and true as “We’ve had a lot challenges in this country, but the one that actually almost ended this country in the civil war was white supremacy…[…] could be the lurking issue that ends this country in the future, if we don’t wrangle it down in our time.” It’s too bad he won’t be able to back up this warning with policy, given that he couldn’t even correctly handle racist police officers *in his own hometown* of South Bend. He’s a centrist in progressive clothing, and it’s quite easy to buy it at first. I did.

One thing I’ll concede is that I could be giving Buttigieg & co. too much credit in saying they stand for “nothing.” In reality, they actually do stand for something: upholding the neoliberal order that’s resulted in four decades of corporations winning their civil rights, and trampling over humans’. And that’s probably worse than being a quasi-nihilist. But it’s correct to say they don’t stand for anything with respect to achieving real restorative justice for anyone and meaningfully serving the American people.

They’ll do absolutely nothing to stop oligarchical nonsense like this, where billionaires with zero grassroots support can purchase a presidential candidacy the way you and I purchase our groceries:

They support a living wage while giving tax breaks to corporations who employ “race to the bottom” strategies to pay people as little as possible. They support gun control at home while voting for and funding perpetual wars abroad, which make America billions through weapons manufacturing alone. Is this even what they — in their heart of hearts — want? The answer doesn’t matter, because they’ll go with whatever the “center” wants, and they — in their heart of hearts — think it’s this.

Their policies, platforms, and platitudes merely reflect whichever direction the wind blows, while Sanders and Warren take the chance in directing the wind westward.

Don’t let them — especially Buttigieg — trick you into believing otherwise.

hey young world, the world is yours