Dear Democrats: Please Face Reality

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Sanders and Clinton

Martin Longman writes,

So, what the Sanders campaign really is when you get past the idiosyncrasies of Bernie Sanders, is an expression of dissatisfaction with the status quo and a desire to change the party to meet the needs of the country on a more urgent basis. And the practical way that can be done is by having their voices heard at the convention. To the degree that this ambition is shunted, the progressive conscience of the party is marginalized and frustrated.

The focus shouldn’t be so much on personalities or the worst behavior of the loudest and most annoying people. It should be on the big picture. Young people, in particular, are vastly more attracted to the Sanders message than what is being offered by Clinton. These are potentially Democratic Party members for life, but that isn’t going to happen automatically, and especially not if they feel that their beliefs are unacceptable and have been defeated.

The youth, the committed organizers, the fighters who stood up when no one else would, these are not simple Bernie Bros. or chair-throwers or disloyal Johnny-Come-Latelys. If they are lumped all together, insulted, and told that they are not welcome, that’s going to come with a cost for the Democratic Party that the party won’t want to pay.

Clinton will be the nominee of the Democratic Party, and she wants to win. That means that dealing with this division in the party is her problem. She’s got to figure out the best way to bring the party together. If that means being a bigger person, or if that means making an uncomfortable concession, or if that means adopting or even co-opting some of the Sanders agenda, then those are things she’ll have to consider.

What won’t work is pretending that progressives are all primarily concerned with one individual named Bernie Sanders and that this is all about him.

“The youth, the committed organizers, the fighters who stood up when no one else would, these are not simple Bernie Bros. or chair-throwers or disloyal Johnny-Come-Latelys. If they are lumped all together, insulted, and told that they are not welcome, that’s going to come with a cost for the Democratic Party that the party won’t want to pay.”  This is something I’ve been saying all along.  For the past several years the Democrats have been assuring us that, some day, all the stupid old conservative, bigoted white people will die off and be replaced by younger, more liberal, voters. And then the Dems will be winners!

But now I’m watching the establishment Democrats kiss off a whole generation of voters, telling them to go home and play with their toys and leave politics to the grown ups. Good luck turning those people into Democratic voters in the future, geniuses.

Let’s review:

(Source: “Bernie Sanders Is (Still) the Future of the Democratic Party” by Matt Yglesias.)

I told someone this morning that it’s starting to feel like 1971 again; Sanders supporters are the antiwar movement, and the Democratic Party and its loyalists are the Nixon Administration. What should have been a temporary disagreement is turning into a generation-changing moment that will hurt the Democratic Party for years to come.

Martin Longman suggested also that Clinton herself step up and show some leadership to bring the situation under control:

What I think people should be focused on, and by “people” I mean the folks at the top of the Sanders and Clinton campaigns, is how to mend some fences and get this craziness under control. Precisely because Clinton has this thing wrapped up, she doesn’t need to resort to procedural hardball to squeeze every last delegate out of the process. She needs the votes of Sanders voters in the fall more than she needs a couple more delegates out of Nevada or a disproportionate number of seats on the power committees at the convention.

He had advice for Sanders also; he’s not saying Clinton alone should take action. He wants Sanders to be more forthright in telling his followers to cool it. But then Nancy LeTourneau — and I really like Nancy LeTourneau — argued that it wasn’t fair to expect Hillary Clinton to be magnanimous, because she’s a woman.

So…there is nothing wrong with expecting the winner to be magnanimous. But the truth is, women have been doing that for centuries. We’ve been smiling and taking it because to do otherwise diminishes our ability to reach our goals. When we ask this of Hillary, women all over the country know exactly what that feels like and we risk triggering their ire in response. In this case, what we have is a white male candidate whose supporters claim grievances that are expressed via tantrums and threats. But we place the burden on the woman to reach out and make nice.

Excuse me while I pound my head against a wall for awhile. In the meantime, read Shaun King at the NY Daily News.

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18 Comments

17 Comments

  1. MilitantlyAardvark  •  May 19, 2016 @9:13 am

    “When we ask this of Hillary, women all over the country know exactly what that feels like and we risk triggering their ire in response.”

    It seems to me remarkably patronizing to assume that women (as a group!) are incapable of seeing the merits of commonsense and sound strategy because they are simply too prone to emotion.

    I think you might find this article congenial:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/19/bernie-sanders-establishment-democrats-stop-arguments-primaries

  2. Looney Tunes  •  May 19, 2016 @9:52 am

    She should be the ‘bigger & magnanimous person’ because she is going to be the winner, who also happens to be a woman. Are not the best leaders the ones who lead by example?

  3. c u n d gulag  •  May 19, 2016 @9:58 am

    I’m already sick of this election year, and the Dem’s are still in the primaries!

    And then we still have over 5 months before the actual election!
    Months of listening to tRUMP, that bigoted, big-mouthed thug, with Cheetos-powder make-up and a rediculously bad combover!

    King has some real good points! Hillary’s current situation is of her own – and DWS’s making.
    On the other hand, Hillary has gotten millions of more votes than Bernie. She did better in open and closed elections (the latter, one of Bernie’s problems with the D primary system); Bernie did better in caucus states.

    Imo – they both need to stop whining and flingimg poo at one another and their followers.
    But it’s Hillary’s job to bring the party together. She needs to do what she can to placate Bernie, and bring his energetic followers into the Democratic Party.

    If she doesn’t, then the Democrats will stand to blow this election.
    And tRUMP, his gang of ‘Know-Nothing’ followers, and the band of bigoted escaped mental asylum patients that comprise the Republican Party, will win.
    And will stock the courts – including the SCOTUS – with “Originalist’s” and “Christian” bigots, and the country will continue on its journey – halted for 8 years of Obama – into becoming the best armed 3rd World Banana Republic on this planet.

    I’d continue, but I’ve expended enough word-turds.
    Readers here know the whole story, and can put it better than I can – so, have at it!

  4. bill bush  •  May 19, 2016 @10:03 am

    I’ll mansplain here: HRC is as manly as any man out there when it suits her. She is cooing granny when it suits her. Like any politician in the media age, she is a performer. Her indignation, her hurt, her everything is a play to the cameras. She can look out for herself. She clearly does. I wish she had more forward vision and was not connected to the banksters and WalMart types. I will still vote for her when it comes to that. But she is sure as hell guaranteeing a 3rd party will raise its backstabbing head.

  5. Swami  •  May 19, 2016 @12:50 pm

    It seems to me that magnanimity isn’t what you do, it’s more of who you are. But if Hillary doesn’t have a magnanimous spirit I’ll accept that at face value.

    Today’s reading of The Daily Bread had an interesting scripture…I think it’s from Psalms…” What portion does sincerity have in triangulation?

  6. c u n d gulag  •  May 19, 2016 @1:00 pm

    Morley Safer has just died.
    Oy…

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/morley-safer-cbs-news-anchor-dies

    RIP, Mr. Safer.
    YA DONE A LOT OF GOOD!!!

  7. joanr16  •  May 19, 2016 @2:33 pm

    I will always fondly remember Morley’s interview with Miss Piggy. Like Morley, I was laughing until I cried.

  8. grannyeagle  •  May 19, 2016 @4:02 pm

    I’m with Gulag. I’m sick and disgusted with the whole process. I don’t want to disparage the “oldsters” because I am one of them but all the candidates are old and have been in the system for a lifetime, it seems. Even though Trump has not been in politics, he has developed a way of being in the world that just doesn’t seem to work anymore. Then again, Obama is not that old but he has succumbed to the system’s way of doing things. So what is the answer? I really don’t know. I just know things have to change and I know they will. It is the only thing we can be certain of. But it probably will not be easy, may even be traumatic. After all, are humans really in charge or are we just delusional?
    In the meantime, I will do what I think best and sit back and watch the show.

  9. Doug  •  May 20, 2016 @8:46 am

    “I’ve known Hillary Clinton since she was 19 years old, and have nothing but respect for her. In my view, she’s the most qualified candidate for president of the political system we now have.

    But Bernie Sanders is the most qualified candidate to create the political system we should have, because he’s leading a political movement for change.”

    – Robert Reich

  10. Brian  •  May 20, 2016 @12:50 pm

    “But we place the burden on the woman to reach out and make nice.”

    This is just plain stupid. We admire people who are gracious in defeat, but Hillary can’t even manage to be gracious in victory. For some time now, it’s been clear she will win the nomination. And yet, her ongoing response to roughly half of the Democratic electorate, in some subtle and some not so subtle ways, has been essentially, “F-you. I won, so deal with it!” This is not “toughness.” It’s arrogance, foolishness, ignorance and stupidity.

    Despite her intelligence, it seems she just can’t help herself. I’m truly afraid that she’ll offend enough people to force us all to face a future with a president of the United States named Trump.

  11. Joel Dan Walls  •  May 20, 2016 @1:19 pm

    This is why I read Martin Longman’s stuff regularly.

  12. c u n d gulag  •  May 20, 2016 @4:21 pm

    Joel,
    Yeah, he’s a must-read for me too!

  13. Doug  •  May 21, 2016 @7:22 pm

    OT but critically important – DWS is going down in the primary election. I mean she’s going to be defeated (before gulag decides to go there) – This just out.

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/21/politics/bernie-sanders-debbie-wasserman-schultz/index.html

    Bernie will tomorrow on the Sunday talk shows, throw his support behind Tim Canova, who is already poised and in striking distance having raised in the neighborhood of 7-digits, far less than the chair of the DNC will spend, but potentially enough to put his candidacy before the residents of S. Florida.

  14. c u n d gulag  •  May 22, 2016 @8:56 am

    Doug,
    YAY!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Billikin  •  May 22, 2016 @12:39 pm

    I have a somewhat different take on the history of the oppression of women. It is not so much that they have been required to be magnanimous in victory as that they have been required to be gracious in defeat.

  16. someofparts  •  May 24, 2016 @11:55 am

    Years ago I ran across a post from Greg Palast where he made an observation about Al Gore that reminded me of some of things you are saying about Hillary.

    Palast noted that Gore was dismissive and snooty when the debated Ross Perot. However, Perot had about 19 million supporters who were turning to him as the only person speaking out against things like NAFTA.

    Palast said that Gore’s behavior in that debate alienated those millions of Perot voters and cost the Democrats votes in a big way.

  17. maha  •  May 24, 2016 @2:57 pm

    someofparts — When would that have been? Perot ran in 1992 and 1996, against Clinton and (a) Bush I (b) Dole.

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