Thursday, January 2, 2020

Bernie Sanders On Hasan Minhaj | Lefsetz Letter

I want to know what’s going on.

I’ve gotten “The New York Times” since junior high, but I only started reading it cover to cover at the turn of the century. I was visiting my sister Wendy in Minnesota and I had the time and ever since then…I haven’t missed a day, of not only the “Times,” but “The Wall Street Journal.” And I probably get more magazines than anybody you know. I’d be lying if I told you I read each and every one of them from cover to cover, but with no kids to hip me to what’s happening in the schoolyard, no water cooler moments because I work alone, this information is my gateway to what’s going on. And I’m all about the pulse, not the facts, but the meaning.

And despite reading all these papers and magazines, I also get “The Week.” I subscribed once and then didn’t renew, because I was snookered by a skewed article. But I signed back up a couple of years ago, and I wait for Saturday, to find out what I’ve missed. Which is very little. They’re quoting from all the publications I get, not only the NYT and the WSJ, but the WaPo too. Still, every week, there are nuggets.

Like in the latest issue, which I was devouring while I ate my Siggi’s Triple Cream with blueberries and walnuts.

Under the heading “Best columns: The U.S.” was one from “The Atlantic” billed as “America’s third party is under 30.” And when I read the condensed story, I resonated, there was the truth I see nowhere else, how the young are not only alienated, but pissed. The numbers are literally stacked against them.

And catching up on my e-mail, and waiting for one of my computers to update, I followed the recommendation of one of my readers to watch the December 16th episode of “Patriot Act,” Hasan Minhaj’s show.

Now you might think no one is watching, but on the free YouTube feed, there are already 1,140,009 views, never mind those accumulated on Netflix.

That’s right, while Bloomberg bombards TV as opposed to no-ad streaming, hearts and minds are really changed where he doesn’t reach.

So, this “Patriot Act” episode is entitled “Why We Can’t Retire.” And to tell you the truth, I know what Hasan is talking about, I can see where this show is going, until…

Bernie Sanders appears.

Now if you’re following popular culture, if you’re part of the Howard Stern audience, you know about four weeks ago, Howard interviewed Hillary Clinton. Gary had tried to get her on during the election, but of course Howard was too dangerous, she refrained, that’s what happens when you play it safe…YOU LOSE!

And Howard has power, especially amongst the boomers and Gen-X.

Hasan Minhaj has got power with a younger generation, the millennials and Gen-Z.

So Hasan sits down with Bernie and…

Starts asking whacked questions…AND BERNIE PLAYS ALONG! He’s irreverent, he tells jokes at his own expense, he seems completely in touch, like a good hang!

That’s why Hasan features Bernie, he says so, because Bernie is a hero to the younger generation.

Why? Because contrary to the rest of the pols, he’s got credibility, he doesn’t do what’s expedient, he won’t hew to the DNC guidelines, he’s his own man.

So we’re living in two worlds. The big arena, and the sideshow. But one thing the internet has taught us…all together, the sideshows trump the big arena. It’s not the days of three networks, many people tune out the mainstream completely, they want to get their news somewhere else, from trusted sources, like friends.

So last night I’m watching the inane CNN New Year’s Eve show, Ginny likes to tune in. And I’m wondering who Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper are playing too. It’s the essence of network TV, even though it’s cable, it’s made for everyone instead of someone, but in 2020, there is no everyone, everybody is a member of their own tribe.

And then there are the acts appearing for the publicity. No one can say no anymore. They think of all those eyeballs. Credibility is irrelevant, they’re doing the wall street shuffle.

Everybody in America is selling. And I’m watching this production and I ask myself…WHAT HAPPENED TO IRREVERENCE?

That was a feature of the sixties. Boomers have it baked into their bones. Taking the piss out, via irony, via falsehoods uttered with a straight face. It was part of questioning authority. Come on, Frank Zappa specialized in it, and he’s an icon. And of course there was Monty Python… Today everybody’s safe. You’ve got jokes, but you can’t walk the line where people are wondering if you’re joking or not, especially in this era of political correctness. And you need humor to check power. Ask Paul Krassner or Abbie Hoffman or Jerry Rubin, if they weren’t all dead.

The youth abhor the fakery. Yup, the pols and the corporate wankers who lie and spin the truth and are completely untrustworthy. The youth feel powerless. Which is why when Bernie lost the nomination in 2016, many didn’t vote for Hillary, they voted for Jill Stein or stayed home.

You see our country is changing. The Republicans have no plan for the future, and now even Trump’s handpicked panel scorns science, it’s on the front page of today’s “New York Times,” which goes unread by the right but that doesn’t make it wrong:

Science Panel Staffed With Trump Appointees Says E.P.A. Rollbacks Lack Scientific Rigor

The right plays a long game. And now they’ve taken the NYT and the WaPo off the table.

But the truth is there are more of us than there are of them. Forget them, focus on us.

What does the Democratic Party stand for? Beating Trump? That’s not enough!

So you watch Bernie on “Patriot Act” and you realize why Joe Biden will lose. No one young is passionate about him, he’s out of touch with the jargon and he doesn’t know how to make jokes and you wonder if he’s even in touch.

Whereas Bernie is aged, but so sharp, he’s totally present.

Now if you read the “Atlantic” story, the author says the youth are doomed, because there are too many conservative boomers. And I’m not talking about Republicans, but conservative Democrats. One thing about a boomer, they can’t sacrifice. Sure, others can be lifted up, but not at their expense.

Now one thing the last election taught me, and this cycle is reinforcing, is that big time news has no idea what is going on. Why do I know? Because I hear from the right wing all the time, the blowback is intense. The left wing is nowhere near as organized, or as passionate, the right wing is working the refs all the damn time, to the point where those who speak become inhibited.

You don’t have to be educated and rich to be a music fan. But to write for the paper, to work in the government, the floor is quite high. And if you never interact with people, you’ve got no idea what they think.

Trump had a scorched earth campaign back in 2016, he felt he had nothing to lose. Bernie Sanders is playing the same way, he’s not triangulating, not backing off Medicare For All, he said taxes would go up, he didn’t pussyfoot, he owned the facts. Are people smart enough to understand the facts? If they’re paying attention, most are.

So what I’m telling you is don’t underestimate the youth vote.

I know the canard…that they don’t vote.

But they never had this much on the line, and back in the heyday of Vietnam, they weren’t old enough.

So how do you reach people today?

By working from the bottom up. Top down no longer works. You get a ray of attention, that most people don’t see, and then you’re gone.

If you want hearts and minds you’ve got to roll with the changes, make some jokes, not talk down to people but be seen as a part of their fabric.

I won’t guarantee Bernie Sanders will win the nomination, but one thing’s for sure, if Biden is the candidate, he will lose.

The DNC is not run by the youth, it’s got an investment in the status quo. And that status quo resonates with very few. The Democrats have been shedding constituents for fifty years. The unions, the blue collar workers, it goes on and on.

I just want you to think, where this country is going. Big change is necessary, and if you kick the ball down the road you’re just delaying and intensifying the crisis.

And the youth know the rich got richer, and that Trump’s 2017 tax law was a giveaway to the corporations.

“How Big Companies Won New Tax Breaks From the Trump Administration”

Now I’m not writing this for the right, even though I’ll hear from more of them than I will from the left, I’m writing for everybody else, to tell them that times have changed, everything has changed. Don’t fight the last war, the Facebook/social media ads, go where people are really listening. And talk to them on their level. Didn’t they call Reagan “The Great Communicator”?

I didn’t think so, but many people did.

Think about who is communicating on the left, and who they are reaching.

This is not about data, this is about emotion, feelings, connection, hope. Ignore the polls. Put your finger to the wind, try to take the temperature, try to see what’s really going on, even though it’s nearly impossible. I know, because I’m trying!

“Why We Can’t Retire-Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj”

“The Millennials-Versus-Boomers Fight Divides the Democratic Party-The young left has become sort of a third party.”


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