Michael Wolraich's picture

    Insurgency: The Difference Between Democrats and Republicans

    The insurgent impulse is not unique to Republicans. The right has its Trump. The left has its Sanders. But last night's debate illuminated the stark contrast between Democratic insurgents and Republican insurgents.

    In his debate performance, Bernie Sanders showed himself to be principled, passionate, knowledgeable, and virtuous. He argued relentlessly against the corruption of money and the plight of American workers--as he has for decades. When he had an opportunity to prick Hillary Clinton over the email scandal, Sanders chose instead to dismiss the brouhaha as a distraction from the issues that matter. He is a revolutionary in the finest tradition of high-minded American revolutionaries, from George Washington to F.D.R., who would change the world without sacrificing dignity or decency. He is, to use my grandfather's term of highest praise, a mensch.

    Trump's idea of political change is less sweeping, to put it mildly. He would build a wall. He would lower taxes. He would negotiate harder with the Chinese, whatever that means. He hates Mexican immigrants. His insurgency is not principled, it is personal, and his personality differs from the Democratic insurgent's in everyway. Where Sanders is self-effacing, Trump is egomaniacal. Where Sanders is consistent, Trump is mercurial. Where Sanders is knowledgeable, Trump is ignorant. Where Sanders is "classy"--a word that Trump worships but doesn't understand--Trump is crass. Unlike Sanders, Trump never forgoes an opportunity to excoriate his opponents, and he revels in banal and puerile insults. If he had been on that stage last night instead of Bernie Sanders, the debate might have been more entertaining, but it would have been shallow, nasty, worthless. Trump is, to use my grandfather's harshest insult, a schmuck.

    This does not mean that Democrats are naturally mensch-like or that Republicans are inherently schmucky. Both parties have plenty of both. But it is telling that mensches rise to the top of the Democratic Party even among anti-establishment insurgents, while would-be Republican revolutionaries are pathetically in love with a gang of schmucks.

    Michael Wolraich is the author of Unreasonable Men: Theodore Roosevelt and the Republican Rebels Who Created Progressive Politics



    That is really offensive.


    Trump, you're a schmuck.

    Feels good.

    Let's also blow him a raspberry..

    Take this schmuck....please..

    It all comes down to the eternal question: who would you rather have an egg cream with?

    Nice Mike, spot on.

    I skipped the debates but have been heartened to see that the morning after reaction, beyond who won, is that the event actually promoted the Democratic brand.  The party came out looking better. A potential question in the general will be whether voters believe that the system can be reformed by high-minded professionals or whether a wrecking ball is called for.  In general, people don't pick the latter.

    Thanks.  I enjoy this kind of thing.  Bernie supporters have been very creative with videos.  

    Every poll and focus group showed that Bernie Sanders won the debate last night.

    Corporate media claims that Hillary won.

    This Election is The People Vs Rule by Corporations & Billionaires so in that context what is happening makes more sense.

    The People value substance, the establishment values 'politicking'.

    And Time Warner among other corporations are Hillary contributors which would be lost on most of the audience.

    I believe the 'establishment' has not fully realized that much of America is done with the status quo.  They believe they can roll along, business as usual.




    Thanks for posting this.  I haven't been on face book since last night.  I usually read Politicususa there.  

    I personally thought he was a winner because of his defense of Hillary and because of the way he took on her approach to Wall St.  Both times he made great one liners that will be remembered.  I am also very enthusiastic about him being in the race. I figured I was a little biased so it didn't matter what I thought.  

    The Latinos for Bernie had a debate party at a local artisan brewery.  Local news showed the place was packed and now I wished I would have went.  It would of made a good blog. My son and I talked about it but he had a long day and was tired. 

    Clinton's make up artist was really good. The first thing I noticed was her bags under her eyes were concealed. I wonder if that person was from Las Vegas. My 67 year old dark circles under mine could use a little of that magic. 

    I( went to a debate party of over 100 people at a local brewery.  We had a potluck there and it was a great night.  I brought my laptop and tweeted the debate for Bernie.  I started tweeting just for Bernie:)  This after debate interview is a gem, I think. 


    Isn't it amazing how people are now organizing with out official campaign people on the ground. I am sure there was more then a 100,000 that was at house parties. 

    I haven't seen any polls yet and focus groups are worthless garbage. Any question you ask 20 people is meaningless and cannot be extrapolated to the larger population as the sample size is too small. And in a focus group each person hears the previous people answer the question which likely skews the answer.

    We should start seeing good polling outfits early next week with their results. Also some smaller outfits in Iowa and N. Hampshire. I am really curious about this debate. 

    I am with you about flash polls.  They don't mean much.     

    I don't really care who "won" the debate. I support Hillary and all I care is that she did a good job in the debate. She exceeded my expectations. I also want Sanders to do well so he's a credible challenger to Hillary. I want the debate to be about liberal principles and policy and Sanders will drive the debate in that direction. Sanders also did a good job. So I'm very happy so far and it doesn't matter to me who won that debate.

    I'm just pushing back at the bad information that implies online polls open to all without demographic balance and focus groups have any statistical relevance.

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