Political moderation in these times is a vice

So the Democratic primary race is down to Bernie and Biden now. Warren dropped out yesterday and there’s been lots of speculation as to whether she’s going to endorse Sanders. Twitter is a complete mess right now, and I haven’t been on any other social media. I can just imagine how toxic Facebook is at the moment.

The only thing I’m really paying attention to is the delegate race. Biden has a slight lead, but is barely a quarter of the way to securing the nomination. Last I checked, there were still enough undecided delegates in California to give him the lead, so I’m not resigned to Biden as the nominee just yet.

Sam Harris had Scott Galloway on the most recent episode of Making Sense. It was an interesting conversation. I’ve heard Galloway speak in support of his book before, but the conversation took a more political turn toward wealth inequality, what they call “class warfare within the Democratic party, billionaires, and of course, cancel culture. Galloway professes to be progressive, but disdains the Warren/Sanders economic platform.

Galloway has an interesting outlook on life, and I’m not sure I have the words to describe it succinctly. At one point, when Sam asks him whether he should use Facebook for marketing, given their role in destroying our Democracy, Galloway goes on a tirade about how Facebook is the most dangerous company on earth, calls Zuckerberg a sociopath, and then says that Harris should “absolutely” use Facebook’s advertising. He then adds that he’s happy to make money off of their stock, before calling for the government to take anti-trust action against the tech giants. He uses the breakup of Ma Bell, pointing out that after the split, each of the companies created were worth more than the original AT&T.

Galloway is full of these contradictions, and has some fascinating arguments. I’m still having trouble reconciling his acknowledgment of American socialism, namely the California university system that he benefited from, with his rejection of Sander’s policies. The interview, recorded before Bloomberg dropped out, goes into stop and frisk. Galloway talks about his support for Bloomberg, and makes some compelling arguments about why Bloomberg is well positioned to beat Trump in the fall.

During his defense of billionaires, he acknowledges most American’s wealth aspirations, and goes on to make the observation that most moderate American’s “don’t care about what happens in the African American community.” Those are the people that you have to win over to defeat Trump, he says.

I can’t recall ever listening to someone who I both agreed and disagreed with so much at the same time. It seems that Galloway has decided that the world is a certain way, and has taken a brutally pragmatic approach to life. Whether it conflicts with his personal beliefs or not, so be it. Facebook may be destroying to country, but I’ll be dammed if I ain’t going to profit from it in the meantime. He somehow expects the government to step in and do something, all while acknowledging that government has been bought and paid for by these same tech firms. I can decide whether it’s cognitive dissonance or some kind of ingenious rationality.

The conversation is very interesting, and there are couple portions that I’d like to excerpt and share if I have time. I think Galloway’s mindset, or at least his rationale, is prevalent within many political and business elite, and this conversation offers an interesting argument for a moderate candidate to run against Trump in the fall.

That said, I don’t buy into all of his argument, and still support Sanders for the nomination. I think Galloway makes some comments that actually can be used to better frame the case for Sanders. The conversation around means testing Social Security, has some very interesting points.

Galloway ultimately is saying the quiet parts out loud. He isn’t afraid to think out loud, and I think what he’s saying is important for those on the left to hear, and ultimately be able to rebut.

This metaphor of the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic party as a bird bothers me. “You need both wings to fly.” Yes, but does the metaphor really hold up. I don’t think so. The entire moderate position seems predicated on attracting conservatives who are fed up with Trump, people like my dad. They preach “party unity”, but only as a way to solidify their position to the middle. They assume that radical economic policies won’t have traction with voters in red states, but I’m not sure that’s necessarily true. We’ll have to see how the primary plays out to know how that goes. Moderates may have coalesced around Biden, at the moment, but we’ll see how the voters turn out now that the choice is down to the two of them.

I’m going to finish with this clip that I saw this morning, between Simone Sanders and some lady that had the audacity to whitesplain Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. It speaks more to why I think moderation within the Democratic party is perhaps more insidious than anything Trump is doing.

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