A Short History of the Lesser Evil

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    • #372945
      • Total Posts: 8,410


      There has never been an American election not based on the “lesser of the two evils.” Even the presidential campaigns of Franklin Delano Roosevelt were not for the pure of heart. Comparing him with either Hillary or Biden (let alone Eleanor with Melania) would be absurd. But FDR’s politics was not without flaws. He left Jim Crow basically untouched, tempered the more radical demands of strikers in Flint and elsewhere, and twisted traditional norms by running for four terms and trying to “pack” a reactionary Supreme Court (which might yet prove necessary should the Democrats win the presidency and the Senate in 2020). Regarding foreign policy, moreover, he privileged dictators over popular movements in Latin America, created an Office of Naval Intelligence, provoked Hitler with his lend-lease policies, placed a stultifying embargo on Japan, supported secret attacks on Japanese forces, and provoked Pearl Harbor.

      All of this occurred while much of the pacifist and radical left embraced the slogan “Never Again War!” Roosevelt was also blamed for failing to end the Great Depression of 1929 by communists and other radicals who demanded “more” government intervention in the economy. Other than the fringes, however, those further to the left had the sense to vote for him. Had Roosevelt lost those elections, the New Deal would never have been passed, and the welfare state would have remained an object of opprobrium. What’s more, while the result might not have been as bad as the Nazi takeover envisioned in Phillip Roth’s Plot Against America, it would have been bad enough; Roosevelt’s defeat would surely have cost England the war.

      There were far louder cries on the far left of “sell-out” during the presidential campaign between two former vice-presidents in 1968: Richard Nixon vs. Hubert Humphrey. That remains a particularly sensitive topic for my generation. Everyone despised Nixon, including his former boss, President Dwight D. Eisenhower. That was perhaps even more the case with Nixon’s now-disgraced and forgotten vice president, Spiro Agnew, the former Governor of Maryland, whose gangster-like greed and sheer stupidity somehow anticipate Trump. In any event, Nixon was completely upfront about his agenda. He called for increased military intervention with respect to the Vietnam War, which later resulted in the genocidal bombing of Cambodia. Nixon also employed the “Southern Strategy” to full effect by using racist tropes and opposing the civil rights movement. With the staunch assistance of Agnew, moreover, Nixon appealed to the “silent majority” and supported attacks on intellectuals and experts (let alone anti-war critics) as “nattering nabobs of negativity.” Indeed, this should all sound very familiar.

      Vice President Hubert Humphrey was considered a war criminal by most of the left. He couldn’t rid himself of the stench emanating from his boss’s genocidal Vietnam policies. But he was clearly a better man than Nixon, who engaged in the crudest form of red-baiting in his defeat of Helen Gahagan Douglas – calling her “pink right down to her underwear” – in the California senatorial campaign of 1950. Humphrey bravely opposed the segregationist “Dixiecrats” at the Democratic Convention of 1948. A staunch supporter of civil liberties and civil rights, he was a critic of McCarthyism and an intrepid advocate of the “great society” programs, which today mark the flip side of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s legacy.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

    • #372961
      • Total Posts: 5,827

      “Trump the neo-fascist vs. Biden the slightly-left-of-mainstream Democrat”.  Oh, please.  Biden is not even slightly left of many Republicans.  Biden applauds and enables fascism.

      Also blames Jill Stein voters for Hillary’s loss, and avers that the votes of those who stayed home or voted third party belonged to Hillary.  Even bandies the “purist” word about.  And says Biden is not a pathological liar.  Um, what?

      Also says social movements can raise issues but of course many of those issues are “unrealistic”.  This is just a long-winded condescending and a bit sneering (casuistry?!) vote for the blue screed, with great lashings of personal-opinionated takes on history.


      America is not a country, it's just a business. (Brad Pitt, Killing Them Softly)

    • #372971
      Ohio Barbarian
      • Total Posts: 19,954


      Rutgers. Board of UNESCO. Contributor to lots of Very Good Liberal Causes, no doubt. Easy for him to pontificate about the Lesser of Two Evils, for he will remain comfortable either way.

      My family is screwed either way. Fuck that LOTE shit, and fuck liberal professors emeritus telling me how to vote.

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

      • #372973
        • Total Posts: 2,325

        At what level of evil does it become acceptable?

        Once you let the tiniest bit of evil in, it becomes easier the next time to let more in.

        I don't waste my time teaching pigs to sing.

    • #372974
      • Total Posts: 8,843
    • #372975
      • Total Posts: 3,662

      Unlike those who profess to know what they are talking about*.


      *But don’t.

      Corporate America consists of totalitarian entities laser-focused on short-term greed.

    • #372977
      • Total Posts: 3,152

      I absolutely refuse to let well off elitists who will be all right no matter which awful candidate wins a phony selected put up job tell me I have to do things their way when I am not a member of their economic class and they have absolutely no interest in the needs of the class to which I belong.

    • #372999
      Scott Crowder
      • Total Posts: 253

      Proving the elections were fraudulent and always have been.


    • #373038
      • Total Posts: 2,173

      In theory, I suppose.  So, no, not going to vote for evil.

      The opinions and personal views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and should never be taken seriously.

    • #373052
      • Total Posts: 730

      The common thread through all of these VBNMW polemics is that we leftist are “purists” who demand perfection from candidates.  This article makes that assumption then points out to leftists that our past heroes were imperfect, with the implication that our current demands for “perfection” are flawed.

      But that’s not it at all.

      We’re not looking for “perfection.”  We simply want politicians to at least try to advance a progressive agenda.  Democrats repeatedly admonish us that trying just isn’t possible and therefore we must rubber-stamp their neoliberalism so that Republicans won’t win.  They tell us this because they don’t WANT to try – they’re happy with their place at the DC feeding trough, and they insist we should be happy with it as well.

      Until faux-liberal Democrats actually decide to try they have nothing of value to say.



      His body recovered from his torment and became hale,
      but the shadow of his pain was in his heart;
      and he lived to wield his sword with left hand
      more deadly than his right had been.

    • #373060
      • Total Posts: 1,207

      When I observe an administration actively pursuing PEACE

      and switching Pentagon budget money to the people, I might

      support it. However, I think that this will not happen during

      my lifetime.

    • #373073
      Ohio Barbarian
      • Total Posts: 19,954

      @maedhros My sentiments exactly, but my liberal Democrat friends get upset when I tell them that. Very upset. Republicans are more understanding of that position. Strange but true.

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

    • #373084
      Babel 17
      • Total Posts: 4,631

      There was still the legacy of the politics that led up to the Civil War, and followed on the aftermath. The party of Lincoln was pro-business, and trade. It was strong in the North, and it had the banks and railroads. The 99% of white Southerners weren’t too keen on Republican politicians, and weren’t going to give Lincoln a chance, even though he was a transformative Republican, one who was even privately sympathetic to the economic ideals of Socialism, though he very much embraced the idea that the expansion of businesses was generally a good thing.

      Anyway, those Civil War Democrats had kids, and grandchildren, and they were part of Roosevelt’s base. Heck, in 1936 there was even still a number of veterans of the Confederate army above ground, and they mostly weren’t voting Republican, nor were their kin. 🙂

      Roosevelt inherited the base of Wilson.


      Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856 – February 3, 1924) was an American politician and academic who served as the 28th president of the United States from 1913 to 1921. A member of the Democratic Party, Wilson served as the president of Princeton University and as the 34th governor of New Jersey before winning the 1912 presidential election. As president, he oversaw the passage of progressive legislative policies unparalleled until the New Deal in 1933.


      Scholars have generally ranked Wilson as one of the better U.S. presidents,[2][3] although he has received strong criticism for being a supporter of racial segregation and white supremacy.


      The Old South had a vigorous two-party system, with the Whigs strongest in towns, in the business community, and in upscale plantation areas. The slightly more numerous Democrats were strongest among common farmers and poor western districts. After the end of Reconstruction in 1877, black Republicans were largely disenfranchised, leaving the Republican Party as a small element based in remote mountain districts. The region was now called “the Solid South“.

      Caveat emptor, this all just my general impression, I’m no student of any of this.

    • #373092
      • Total Posts: 442

      I say…

      Vote Valdemort

      Why settle for the lesser evil.

    • #373095
      • Total Posts: 3,361

      Stephen Eric Bronner is Board of Governors Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science >Sometimes before I read something I scroll down to find out a little more about them. I stopped reading after this. Another longwinded egghead. 

      All governments lie to their citizen's, but only Americans believe theirs.

    • #373115
      • Total Posts: 2,117

      @djean111 I had a ‘discussion’ with one of the vote pushers from the dem party yesterday and if she said ‘not realistic’ any more times I was going to blow a fuse. This is their take, the things we (millions of us) want are unrealistic and we have to learn to compromise. I ended up telling her I’ve been there and done that. That I’ve been around since the ‘60’s and watched the Democratic Party fail over and over again. I also told her that Obama hates progressives and she got upset with me then. I usually don’t engage but they (multiples) text me and I text back ‘stop’ and they keep texting me. They are totally brain washed and can’t stop and look at what reality is. It’s all right there in front of them and they can’t see it.

      The DNC “big tent” excludes Nina Turner but includes John Kasich.
      God, guns, and gobbledygook...we live in an aquarium of nightmares.

    • #373129
      • Total Posts: 1,328

      Ha with out the Roosevelt England would have lost, here is another A-hole who does not acknowledge that it is because of Russia we won the war. This is the new left and right pretend history doesn’t exist Except in their own image


    • #373134
      • Total Posts: 1,328

      I always wondered why the elite professors were taken out, I think it must be overall their willingness to use their educational elitism to do the bidding of empire


    • #373196
      • Total Posts: 1,287

      …when compared to the Free Republic?

      Ifso, if one is less evil than the other, I am still uninterested in either.

      IMO, each are propaganda outlets for corporate evil.

      Corporatism is not fixing our environment.

      Corporatism is not feeding the starving.

      Corporatism is not healing the sick.

      Corporatism’s only interest in global climate change is in how it can profit from it.

      Corporatism seeks to rob the citizenry of it’s labor, it’s money, it’s property and its blood.

      Arguably even though it is not self aware, corporatism is evil.

      If both “sides” in this election are strongly backed by corporatism, how are they not complicit in corporate evil?

      No, I’ll not support corporatism by voting for evil, nor will I support evil by voting for corporatism.

      In my heart, I believe that the majority of the citizenry would support the things it needs for it’s survival moving forward.

      Given the chance at self governance, I believe that the citizenry would seek out and employ the tactics needed to halt global climate change…

      …to shelter and feed the homeless…

      …to heal the sick.

      The citizenry of this planet, when compared to corporatism, are not the lesser of two evils.

      By and large we just want to be comfortable…nothing evil in that.

      If only we had politicians in our government that represented the citizenry instead of evil.



      • #373296
        • Total Posts: 5,827

        are at least straightforward.  SV and the Vichy Dems they support are devious undermining liars, disguised with the tattered rags of what the Democratic Party is supposed to stand for.

        A difference, IMO and all that, is that Freepers seem to genuinely believe in all the issues they believe in, for better or worse, while SV and Vichy Dems have turned ALL issues that affect people into mere fund-raising and campaign pandering talking points.  Like – Freepers, it seems to me – are genuinely against abortion, while the Vichy Dems see the right to abortion as something to campaign about and raise money off of.  Especially since it does not matter to corporations or the MIC, because it does not cost them any money.

        Also hilarious how Freepers screeched and maundered on for eight years about how Obama was going to be arrested, how Obama was not going to leave the White House, how Obama was building interment camps for anyone who objected.  And now SV/Vichy Dems are parroting the same bullshit, using it as scare tactics and fundraising.  “Trump puts children in cages!!!!!”.  Um, “cages” that Obama built and filled.  And Hillary sent children who made it to the safety of the United States from Central America right the fuck back, because she wanted to make the point that people can’t just expect to send their kids here so they would not get killed.   The children who were sent back and were killed or harmed?  Collateral damage.  Like the half million Iraqi children who died during the tender administration of Madeleine Albright- the US made its point, achieved its goals.  Biden is part of that contingent.

        Great list about corporatism!


        America is not a country, it's just a business. (Brad Pitt, Killing Them Softly)

    • #373209
      • Total Posts: 506


      If you call out the fallacy by name, it can greatly shorten the argument.

      Otherwise neolibs are happy basically to claim our demanding a car that doesn’t drive us straight into a ditch every time is the same as asking for a free La Ferrari.

    • #373215
      • Total Posts: 506

      Have yet to hear a solid argument that it’s sleepy joe.

    • #373273
      • Total Posts: 8,410

      This means that party coalition s must form before elections instead of after them.  Anyone want to be a precinct captain for a party other than Dems or Reps?  That’s the only way to build an electoral organization.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

    • #373303
      Ohio Barbarian
      • Total Posts: 19,954

      @eridani So what’s the point of having precinct captains?

      I find it interesting that those who criticize third party voters always point out that we have this horrible electoral system and then at least implicitly accuse those who want to fundamentally change it as being out of touch with reality, while they themselves refuse to acknowledge that there is no democracy in the first place. Only oligarchy, so accept the duopoly and pick your poison. No thanks. I’ve learned my lesson.

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

      • #373543
        • Total Posts: 8,410

        That is, assuming that minor party voters are interested in doing that, and not just opting out of electoral politics.

        Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

    • #373334
      game meat
      • Total Posts: 1,453

      It’s almost as shameful as the way republicans trot out the “We are the party of Lincoln!” line from time to time. What once was no longer is.

      Imperfect is not synonymous with useless. FDR/LBJ were imperfect and considered not good enough by the standards of some leftists at the time, but they still accomplished some good things. Fine, that’s true, but what does that have to do with Biden who is proudly bought and paid for by a constituency of Randian capitalists who are fully committed to working against the interests of the people? What does the democratic party of the new deal era it have to do with the 21st century democratic party? Apple to oranges…

    • #373400
      • Total Posts: 1,287


      I can see how from the sense of acting on a belief system that causes harm vs deliberately and knowingly causing harm for profit might be separate items categorized by degrees of evil.

      Religious beliefs are a powerful motivator.

      Greed is another powerful motivator .

      In your abortion issue example, from the standpoint of the religious “pro life” point of view, lives are saved.

      …and yes, ‘right to lifers’ do believe in their cause but tragically, (and history proves this), their philosophy enacted into law causes loss of life too.

      I am of course refering to the loss of lives we saw historically from back-room abortions gone wrong.

      Removing myself from this bit of cultural bias, right to lifers are just as aware of this loss of life ‘externality’ as I am.

      Generally speaking, their responses to this loss of life externality is to blame the victim.

      From what I can tell, this response, in their own frame of reference, absolves them of that particular form of mortality.

      Putting myself back into my own cultural bias: their response is evil.

      Similarly, when Conservatives blame the victims of hunger or homelessness, stating that the victim’s own laziness is the cause for their predicament for instance,  this for me is evil as well.

      For example: IMO, an evil can be where someone causes a car accident then leaves…

      …also an evil can be from someone passing by the victims of that car accident without rendering aid.

      In my above frame of reference, SV is perfectly ok with causing the car accident, FR is perfectly ok with driving by while believing that: “There but for God’s grace go I” or “Let the police and aid units tend to this” or “Hope they have good insurance”.

      So while I agree that there can be differences between SV and FR cultures when it comes to types of evil…

      ….overall both cultures are to blame for the victim’s predicament, imo.

      Therefore, try as I may, I am unable to remove my personal bias that see both SV and FR as equally culpable in evil.

      No, I do not see the majority of SV’s or FR’s subscribers as evil.

      Nor do I see most of the supporters of either of our duopoly as evil either.

      I see them as fully enmeshed in a propaganda bubble created by capitalism.

      Capitalism is a construct-arguably a Frankenstein’s monster.

      As a Progressive, maybe even a Progressive tainted with Libertarianism, I want our planet’s society to be done with kings, queens, dictators, masters or capitalistic rulers.

      Overall, I do not see the citizenry of our planet as evil.

      We are stuck with systems that result in evil.

      We citizens are in the vast majority. If we are to survive imo, we need to come together as a unit to hammer out a better system.



    • #373533
      • Total Posts: 535

      all else is


      Tilting at windmills – Quintessentialruminations

      your very constitution cock-blocks a political party of your liking ever coming to power at a national level

      someday some may realise I speak the truth

      there is never going to be a viable actual socialist party in the US at a national level (maybe in the physical area of some of what is now the US after the nation collapses, but some (most?) on this board may well be dead by then (old age-related death, not killed, unless the collapse is via an actual kinetic civil war)

      Punch Nazi GIF - Punch Nazi Fight - Discover & Share GIFs

    • #373540
      Cold Mountain Trail
      • Total Posts: 12,044

      “Freepers, it seems to me – are genuinely against abortion”

      some are, & some are just as machiavellian as Ds — particularly the leadership.

      can’t remember who the latest R was with an abortion story (wife or mistress?) — seems like it was not that long ago


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