Remembrance of Elections Past
D.D. Guttenplan encouragingly describes Bernie’s “soldiers” as energetic, intelligent, and realistic in “The Future of Bernie Sanders’s Grassroots Army” [June 20/27]. Yet too many of them are planning to duplicate my mistake of 48 years ago. In 1968, I worked for Gene McCarthy. You all know what happened. Hubert Humphrey was not my candidate, and I chose going down in flames over selling out. Richard Nixon became president.
I know it isn’t solely my fault that we ended up with Nixon. Still, I will vote for Hillary—as will Howard Dean, Elizabeth Warren, Jerry Brown, and, no doubt, Bernie. To do otherwise risks killing what remains of the New Deal. We need a progressive Supreme Court. We need Obamacare. Hillary’s coziness with Wall Street and hawkish international posture give me pause. However, voting for her is the best we can do in 2016. A Trump presidency will make the Nixon presidency look like the good old days.
No Justice, No Unity
The Nation’s case for Sanders supporters to “unite” behind Hillary Clinton in order to thwart a Trump presidency is beguiling and articulate, but hardly compelling [“A Future to Believe In,” June 20/27]. The fears of a Trump presidency are unwarranted. Virtually every day, his epic incapacity for public office is magnified by one outrageous action or another.
You mention the accommodations to the Sanders campaign made by Clinton and the Democratic National Committee: Clinton’s partial move to the left on policy, Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s progressive appointments to the platform committee. To think these will result in substantive change is either hopelessly optimistic or profoundly naive. The Sanders-versus-Clinton contest is not about choosing between two candidates with marginal policy differences; it is a clash between two entirely different versions of the Democratic Party. One is the party of FDR and JFK, in service to the American people and to the nation’s working families in particular. The other is the party of today’s “New Democrats”; it was created by the Democratic Leadership Council and the Clintons in the 1990s and demonstrably serves the nation’s elite. These two parties cannot be “unified.”
Richard W. Behan
Sign of the Times
Eric Alterman’s detailed article “‘Both Sides’ Do It” [June 20/27] states clearly what many New York Times readers like myself have been noticing: One of the major American newspapers has become a timorous provider of platitudes. If we are to have an aware citizenry, we need to find in the press clear and courageous statements about current events. This is especially true when a dramatic electoral season heralds the coming of a new president. Being objective does not mean refusing the responsibility to analyze and judge fairly actions and events.
Angela M. Jeannet
chapel hill, n.c.
Seth Freed Wessler’s “They Knew Something Was Going On” [July 4/11] attributed to Doug Martz allegations that former Bureau of Prisons director Norman Carlson attempted to influence the BOP’s contracting decisions after joining the leadership of a private-prison company. Other former contracting officials at the BOP charge that Carlson influenced decisions, but Martz did not make that claim.