Saturday, May 14, 2016

Satisfied Yet, Bernie?

From the minute he announced he was running for President, Bernie Sanders has insisted that the major reason he was running was to move the Democratic party and our political discourse to the left. Unfortunately, as he showed a strength among Democrats that surprised everyone, he turned away from his long-held positions, to campaign more and more on attacks on Hillary, which do nothing but reinforce the lying Republican narrative that she has fought for a quarter century.  The result: an apparently growing bunch of "Bernie-bots" who hate Hillary as much as the Republicans do, and swear that they will never vote for her.

So, we see the likes of this headline in the Los Angeles Times this morning:

"Clinton zeroes in on moderates scared by Trump"

In fear that Bernie is poisoning her chances with large numbers of left wingers and younger voters, Hillary has been forced to look for votes where she can find them; and those votes lie not to the left of her, but to the right of her.

As long as Bernie ran an honest campaign, he was having considerable success at moving Hillary in a more progressive direction.  That's all over now, thanks to his poisoning the political well.  Instead of creating a new, more progressive Hillary, he has forced her to move toward the already right-leaning "center," and every move in this direction she has to make will only increase Bernie's attacks on her character.  At this point, I believe Bernie has permanently alienated millions of potential Hillary voters, in an act that Trump could only dream of doing.

I hope you are satisfied with the damage you are doing, Bernie, because if you don't stop it immediately, it marks the end of any pretense that you are a mature, issue-oriented candidate.  If Hillary loses in November because of your Nader-like treachery, decent progressive people will be through with you.


Mister Sterling said...

Come on, Green Bird. Can't you acknowledge that the reason Bernie is still around is because Clinton doesn't excite people? She is more conservative than Obama, and that has clearly divided the Democratic base. I agree Bernie should step aside if he respects the DNC. But that's just the point. The DNC doesn't respect him. And I am among millions of former Democrats who are fed up with the party not reflecting our liberal values. While the GOP is imploding, the Democrats have no liberal leader to unify it.

Infidel753 said...

I wouldn't put too much stock right now in polls showing that so many Bernie supporters won't vote for Hillary. That kind of thing happens in most hotly-contested nominations, and in the end most voters do stick with their party's nominee. Recall the PUMA phenomenon in 2008 and how little difference it ultimately made. The Republicans' divisions are far more substantive, but even on their side there's some movement to coalesce around Trump.

At this point, much depends on what Bernie does after Hillary is formally nominated (as opposed to merely being the inevitable nominee as she is now). If he keeps his implied commitment to strongly support her against the Republican candidate, he can probably bring most of his supporters along. If he goes rogue, he could do some real damage. In that scenario -- or, really, regardless -- Hillary might be well advised to choose Elizabeth Warren as a running mate. Most of Bernie's supporters are the kind of people who wish Warren was running and settled on him as an acceptable substitute.

But, yes, this whole thing is a distraction we don't need.

MS: the reason Bernie is still around is because Clinton doesn't excite people

It was a month or two ago, but I've seen polling data showing that Bernie and Hillary supporters are actually about equally enthusiastic about their candidates. Moderates are part of the Democratic base too, and the idea of the first woman President does excite a lot of people, just as the idea of the first black President did. And while Hillary certainly isn't as radical as Sanders, she deserves to be called a liberal, based on her position on most issues. And she's a lot more likely to be able to actually get things done if elected. I care about practical results, not ideological purity.

Our party has to unify whether the nominee is a leftist or a moderate, because the Republicans are insane. I've supported Hillary through the whole campaign, but if Bernie had won the Democratic nomination I would have done my damnedest to help him get elected despite the flaws I see in him, because making sure the next President is a Democrat is far more important than which Democrat it is.

As things turned out, it's Bernie's crowd that now needs to recognize that. It shouldn't be beyond them.

Green Eagle said...

Exciting people. Hitler excited people. Mussolini excited people. FDR won not because he excited people, but because he represented the only sane change from the policies that had already brought three and a half years of depression. I'm only speaking for myself, but I don't want to be excited; I want a competent leader who can be trusted if not to do the right thing all the time, at least to not do the wrong thing every time. And by the way, I've listened to Bernie for years on Thom Hartmann's show. I like him a lot but he is as capable of being wrong as Hillary, or any of the rest of us, is.

Infidel, I agree that things depend a lot on what Bernie does after Hillary has a lock on the nomination, but it didn't need to come to this point, where he essentially has a lot of damage to undo. As for the PUMAs, I followed them fairly closely in 2008, and I think that most of them were not Democrats at all, but Republican dirty tricksters. A lot of the Bernie-bots may be too, but there are a lot that aren't. Of course, as I predicted (no credit to me- it was obvious) the Republicans are all going to get in line behind Trump, but there is a difference between the left and the right. I quote again the well-known saying: Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line. And it's a lot harder to fall out of love than it is to get into the approved line.