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Schwarz writes: "When Barack Obama leaves the White House, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer will almost certainly be elected Senate minority leader - and therefore become the highest ranking Democratic official in America."

Senator Chuck Schumer. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty)
Senator Chuck Schumer. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty)

Chuck Schumer: The Worst Possible Democratic Leader at the Worst Possible Time

By Jon Schwarz, The Intercept

18 November 16


hen Barack Obama leaves the White House, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer will almost certainly be elected Senate minority leader — and therefore become the highest ranking Democratic official in America.

That’s a terrible roll of the dice for Democrats, because Schumer might as well have been grown in a lab to be exactly the wrong face for opposition to Donald Trump:

  • Schumer, who’s just about to turn 66, grew up in Brooklyn and went to the same high school as Bernie Sanders. Then their lives diverged: Schumer, the smartiest of the smartypants, got a perfect score on the SATs and then went to Harvard and Harvard Law School. He was elected to the New York State Assembly at 23, the U.S. Congress at 29, and the U.S. Senate at 47. He’s never had any adult job outside elected office.

  • He possesses the same impressive political acumen as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, sagely explaining “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”

  • Schumer’s done more than anyone except Bill and Hillary Clinton to intertwine Wall Street and the Democratic Party. He raises millions and millions of dollars from the finance industry, both for himself and for other Democrats. In return, he voted to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 and voted to bail out Wall Street in 2008. In between, he slashed fees paid by banks to the Securities and Exchange Commission to pay for regulatory enforcement, and eviscerated congressional efforts to crack down on rating agencies.

  • Schumer has long been the Democrats’ point man in efforts to craft a bipartisan deal to slash taxes on multinational corporations.

  • Schumer voted for the Patriot Act in 2001, and sponsored its predecessor, the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995. During a Senate hearing, Schumer explained that “it’s easy to sit back in the armchair and say that torture can never be used. But when you’re in the foxhole, it’s a very different deal.” In certain cases, he said, “most senators” would say “do what you have to do.” Schumer also defended the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims across the region, which Trump has cited as a national model.

  • In October 2002, Schumer voted for the Iraq War by giving George W. Bush authority to invade. In a speech explaining his vote, Schumer warned of Iraq’s imaginary yet “vigorous pursuit of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.”

  • Schumer voted against Barack Obama’s deal to limit Iran’s ability to enrich uranium and potentially develop a nuclear weapons program.

  • Perhaps worst of all, Schumer gave Anthony Weiner his start, first hiring him on his staff, then encouraging him to run for office and then endorsing Weiner in the race for Schumer’s seat when Schumer was running for the Senate in 1998. Thanks, Chuck.

Are there any positive things about Chuck Schumer? Well …  he did vote against NAFTA in 1993, and while he’s supported other trade deals since, he made negative noises about the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Also, he’s a talented matchmaker with as many as 11 marriages to his credit. And he’s the second cousin once removed of Amy Schumer, which you might see as good or bad, depending. your social media marketing partner


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+57 # librarian1984 2016-11-18 09:53
Saw the press conference. VERY unhappy to see Sanders standing silently behind Schumer. SANDERS just won millions of young voters. Schumer didn't. Warren didn't. But Sanders gets tossed some bone while Schumer grabs the leadership?

Heard recently the average age of the GOP leadership is 48, that of the DP 74. Younger DP members are frustrated.

This leadership has overseen not only the further bastardization of democratic principles, they've also orchestrated disastrous electoral losses and few legislative accomplishments.

Harry Reid is gone. Pelosi should step down. Schumer should move aside and let the OBVIOUS leader of the DP lead the party -- but apparently he, like Hillary, has decided it's HIS turn.

When is it OURS?
+24 # Buddha 2016-11-18 12:06
Quoting librarian1984:
When is it OURS?

Never? The path of least resistance is Vichy, Democrats opening themselves to big money donations and doing their bidding, for as long as the masses remain quiescent and docile sheep during our shearing. Remember, just like the GOP did in the general, sure, the DNC put their fingers on the scale to ensure the Corporate Choice was nominated...but that still wouldn't have succeeded if millions of Left voters hadn't had the Corporate Choice AS THEIR PREFERRED CANDIDATE! The DNC is clearly showing that they have no clue why they lost this election, as they push the same neo-liberal corporatist fossils at us who think they are being liberal by only SLOWLY dismantling the New Deal.

Anybody remember how the national Dem Party under Obama basically did nothing during Walker's recall and stood aside to allow Koch money to buy that state and successfully assault unions? Then Obama has the corporate lobby write TPP and he pimps that out as "Progressive"? The Democratic Party has lost all connection to their union and working class roots and were doomed as soon as the GOP ran a "Populist" demagogue.

I don't think the Democratic Party is savable.
+1 # Jim Young 2016-11-20 12:38
Ah Wisconsin, I'm trying to find out if Reince Priebus was in any way involved in what I think I recall as memorandum 34 in which the state party decided all the funds raised (including from liberal and moderate Republicans) would only be spent on the very most conservative candidates. Worse they seemed to use some of the funds to campaign against popular moderate Republicans.

All traces of the stories seem cleaned from the internet, but perhaps I can find some written versions I sent my mother-in-law back in 2000, I believe the last time some of us formerly life long Republicans still voted for a few Republicans.
+3 # MsAnnaNOLA 2016-11-18 18:04
These Dems are going to create a GOP permanent majority if Trump does any of what he promises.
0 # Caliban 2016-11-20 02:32
Possibly, but what are the chances of the Trump administration doing 1/10th of what they are promising? Miniscule, I'd say.

Doing nothing, unfortunately, may not hurt Trump the way it does most politicians. I mean -- what had he done for anybody but himself and his family BEFORE being elected in 2106?
+6 # anthraxripple 2016-11-19 07:45
I don't think Senate Minority Leader (or House Speaker) are really EVER a decent path to the presidency. I have no idea if Sanders is thinking of 2020, but the minority leader is a blame magnet.

Point No. 2:

Schumer is terrible. He'll make sure to EARN our blame.

I can't really think of a "long list" of strong Democrats with any convictions. The Democratic Party has become the party of self-imposed weakness. In fact, that seems to be a major part of the perceived PLATFORM!

Strength and courage of convictions are ALWAYS seen (by Democrats) as "naïveté")

They've played the part of the battered housewife for so long that they're afraid to make a change, even if one is right in front of their face.
+7 # librarian1984 2016-11-19 11:57
Good points!

1) Just watched Sanders at at the Monitor Breakfast on Thursday. He charmed the room and spoke on many issues. He lambasted the USA Today reporter who wasted his question asking about 2020. Read the last chapter of my book, he says, on corporate media. We haven't even inaugurated the new president and you're asking about 2020. There are real issues facing the American people and they want to hear about climate change and pay equity.

haha Carter is the best ex-president. Bernie will be the best ex-presidential candidate.

Nina Turner said that Sanders "has no ego". As time goes on I find myself further appreciating her insight. Bernie really does not care who gets credit or what his title is. I think he would be willing to let Schumer and Trump take every bit of credit if it meant getting through single payer health or free college.

Sanders makes lemonade, and I can see him using his Outreach mission to good effect. He is going to keep his message out there. He is going to shift this country left.

No matter what his title is, Bernie Sanders is the de facto leader of the Democrats. An interesting question is -- how will Schumer react to that?

2) I think the DP transitioned relatively smoothly from feckless to corrupt. Bill Clinton shifted them, after minor resistance, to a full spectrum of lucrative governance. They WERE weak. Now they're rotten. The GOP is the big bully. The Dems are their whimpering sidekick.
+34 # Macserp 2016-11-18 10:17
More to your point by point breakdown, Schumer is not even really a Democrat.
+13 # FIRSTNORN1 2016-11-18 12:35
Quoting Macserp:
More to your point by point breakdown, Schumer is not even really a Democrat.

Schumer, the skunk, should *fall on his own sword*. The point at which I saw his true colors was when he would not support Obama's *Iran nuke deal*. I could have understood this position if he were a senator in a swing state like Ohio, but in a solid *blue* state like New York, there is no way he would ever lose an election to a Republican.Quoting Macserp:
More to your point by point breakdown, Schumer is not even really a Democrat.
+22 # jwb110 2016-11-18 10:25
Who is a Democrat anymore? I haven't seen one, other than a hybrid Elizabeth Warren, is many years.
+8 # BoomerZoomer 2016-11-18 11:37
Amy Schumer would be a better choice to lead the Democrats against what is coming from the GOP and Trump, and to muster support from voters across the nation.
+9 # elizabethblock 2016-11-18 14:46
Yes. I voted for Clinton, but NOT for Schumer. He is a bloody Zionist, and I mean that almost literally.
You may have noticed that many American Jews, in reacting to Trump's election, have made it clear that anti-Semitism doesn't matter. Criticism of Israel does.
+16 # Helen Marshall 2016-11-18 12:31
Left off this list is Schumer's total support for anything that Israel wants and does. AIPAC-Man in high standing.
+2 # Bryan 2016-11-19 17:48
If anyone doubts he influence of the Jewish lobbies and money on congress all they need to do is go to and look at the bills congress passes every year for Israel.
In average years its around 36 bills---or 3 bills a month for something (trade, aid,resolutions , etc ect) concerning Israel.

In the past few congresses it has jumped up to 55 and 61 bills a year.

That's more than a bill a week being written for Israel in the US congress .
0 # Activista 2016-11-19 20:54
Schumer, speaking at an Orthodox Union event in Washington D.C, in June 2010, made comments regarding Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip that were later criticized.[133 ] He called on Israel to "strangle them economically until they see that's not the way to go". He explained that the current Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is justified not only because it keeps weapons out of the Palestinian territory, but also because it shows the Palestinians living there that "when there's some moderation and cooperation, they can have an economic advancement."[1 34][135] He also said, "The Palestinian people still don't believe in a Jewish state, in a two state solution... They don't believe in the Torah. They don't believe in King David. So, they don't think it's our land..
+14 # librarian1984 2016-11-18 12:38
Just heard that establishment pols close to Obama and Clinton are trying to find an alternative to Ellison at the DNC. Obviously THEY do not think the DP needs to change. Of course it's in their interest to protect the party they head, but they shouldn't have much say.

The DP has fewer members nationwide than at any time since Reconstruction. The DP needs new ideas and new leadership -- and it should be PROGRESSIVE and focussed on economic issues.
+9 # Radscal 2016-11-18 16:02
Ellison was a cheerleader for the destruction of Libya back in 2011.

Ellison has been calling for "regime change" in Syria since 2012, including HRC's No Fly Zone that could have resulted in war with Russia.

He stopped talking about that during the Sanders campaign, but late in 2015, he said he faulted Obama for not bombing Syria and imposing the No Fly Zone years earlier.

Ellison takes cash from Wall Street.

I'm having a really hard time finding the gold at the end of any Democratic Party rainbow.
+5 # anthraxripple 2016-11-19 07:52
I agree with both of you.

Radscal, Thanks for pointing out that the Democratic Party's principles need to be more than just economic.

I'd say:

1. TRUE national security (i.e. a PEACE agenda)
2. environmentalism
3. civil rights & human rights
4. future-minded infrastructure (e.g. national power grid to move wind & solar power everywhere; redundant power transformers (to protect from solar flares)
5. RESPONSIBLE technology (i.e. tech that doesn't undermine the other 5 items I've listed)

THESE should be the agenda. We can't afford to unilaterally narrow our focus to the point of minimizing our appeal.
+2 # Radscal 2016-11-19 17:29
That sounds good. It also sounds like the Green Party.

The Democratic Party is where progressive ideals go to die.
+2 # anthraxripple 2016-11-19 18:27
I'm for the Green Party IF it replaces the Democratic Party.

I won't support the less known if both continue to exist.

BUT, I DID vote for Stein in this election.

So, unless the Green Party can replace the Democratic Party, I fully support taking advantage of it as a way to put leverage on the Democrats.

It's up to the Democratic Party to listen.

By "listen", I DON'T mean serve us up the same stealth Republicans who currently run everything.

What I'm really talking about is newcomers taking over and acting like an army of Bernie Sanders'. Frankly, that's the only chance this country has.

Short of that, I can imagine a scenario where the Democrats fade and are slowly replaced by Greens over the course of the next 20-30 years.

I don't want to wait that long. If there was ever a chance for the green party to make a real ripple in election year politics, 2016 was it. EVEN I VOTED FOR STEIN!

She still got less than 2%.
+2 # librarian1984 2016-11-20 09:24
Quoting anthraxripple:
She still got less than 2%.
But did she? Someone said exit polls showed Stein got 7-8%.
-1 # anthraxripple 2016-11-20 16:31

How can I rely on that? It's not like the Sanders theft, where we have absolute evidence that it was being actively stolen from him, from many sources all over the nation.

I'd love to think Stein caused that much mayhem, but somehow I suspect the 1.5% figures are actually accurate.
-2 # Robbee 2016-11-20 17:03
Quoting librarian1984:
Quoting anthraxripple:
She still got less than 2%.
But did she? Someone said exit polls showed Stein got 7-8%.

- every 16 years or so leftist morons find it necessary to elect a repug monster - hence they run campaigns like "never gore"

the only longstanding good that comes of voting for ralph or jillie is that their candidacies die off - did nader run again? - will jillie run again?

there's a pattern! notice?

a nader or jillie - only arise after a dem administration recovers our economy from near ruin - in 16 years if rump is not, in the meanwhile, declared prez for life - another nader or jillie will arise to restore repugs to their rightful place ruling amerika
+10 # elkingo 2016-11-18 12:59
What do we do about the extreme and pervasive money-addiction and commensurate compassion vacuity of this culture - make that world culture?
+2 # elizabethblock 2016-11-18 14:47
I'm afraid that to run for President, or for that matter for any major office, in the USA requires money. Lots of it. And you have to get it from the people who have it. That means that after you're elected, you're in hock to them.
No, I can't see a way out of this, barring the kind of election-fundin g reform that's just not going to happen.
+11 # Radscal 2016-11-18 16:05
Perhaps the best lesson from the Sanders campaign is that the 99% will fund candidates who sincerely speak to our values.
0 # Jim Young 2017-01-02 19:44
We're back from a trip to Maine and (after seeing what jury duty brings) ready to mix and mingle with the "Brand New Congress" coalition in the hopes of identifying and supporting candidates that actually want to represent the 99% with a progressive agenda people of any party can support.

They plan to support 400 candidates from any and all parties that actually listen to what the people they want to represent, whether they are seasoned new to the game or have years of experience in parties that no longer support real representatives of real people.
0 # Jim Young 2017-01-02 19:37
Try the Brand New Congress movement at
and their plan to fund 400 candidates for congress (regardless of party) that will support a progressive agenda.

I also was followed up the Dec 5th Democracy Now interview with Noam Chomsky and Harry Belafonte with a peek at
+8 # danireland46 2016-11-18 17:05
Schumer, like HRC is a neoliberal, not a Democrat. He's more aligned to the GOP than the concerns of the common man or the common good. He's a shill for Wall Street, and a detriment to the true spirit of Democracy.
+1 # Jim Young 2016-11-20 12:43
The worst Democrat and the worst Republican (even to many in the Republican Party) actually seem more likely to produce the results described at
+1 # Woratnac 2016-11-20 16:30
I am part of a resistance against the AIM (Algonquin Incremental Market Project) pipeline soon to carry gas within 105 feet of the accident-riddle d Indian Point nuclear power plant. An explosion in the gas line - not unlikely: more and more of these rushed-into-ser vice gas lines serving the fracking industry are having accidents including explosions - would ignite the nuclear power plant and destroy the New York Metropolitan area. Chuck refused to see protesters. He refused to have us into his office. He refused to answer our demands. He is a total schmuck. He did oppose the pipeline verbally but then, when push came to shove and he'd have had to lean on Obama to make FERC cease and desist, he would not do it.
+2 # willsud24 2016-11-20 17:21
They refuse to learn. I mean come on, they lost an election to Donald Trump, a complete bafoon. Chuck Schumer is another neoliberal corporatist like Obama and he's working for the same corporations. The DEMS never learn and you can tell by the neoliberal losers that they're already talking about running in 2020: Corey Booker, Michelle Obama, Kamala Harris, Tim Kaines, etc.

What is a Democrat? What do they even stand for these days? The Democrats know the rhetoric that working people relate to, but their neoliberal policies do the exact opposite of what they preach. I found Obama to be the biggest disappointment of all time, he's utterly useless IMO and all signs indicated Hillary would've been just as useless.

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