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Sanders supporters: By all means, keep fighting for what you believe in. However, take care to fight smart and not stupid.

As I write this, with 92 percent of precincts reporting in California, Clinton leads with 56 to 43 percent of the vote. This is seriously bad. This result pretty much erases any chance Sanders might have had at going into the convention with serious leverage. I do not doubt that there are all kinds of reasons (such as the “no party preference” ballots) why this result does not accurately reflect the will of voters. But here in Real World Land those numbers are all that matter.

The reality is that at the DNC convention Hillary Clinton will officially receive the nomination on the first ballot, and that will probably be one of the first things the convention does. There will be no “contesting.” Sanders simply does not have the leverage to contest anything. Had he won California, or had the vote even been a close second, things might have been different. But they aren’t.

(Note that massive street demonstrations in Philadelphia won’t give Sanders the nomination, either. And if such demonstrations turn violent, they will discredit Sanders and any movement he might lead going forward. I’m not saying don’t go to Philadelphia to demonstrate, but I am saying that if you go, be disciplined and be careful.)

In fact, he probably has more leverage right now than he will later, since the Democratic Party will be just about frantic to get him out of the way asap. The convention is supposed to be a celebratory rah-rah occasion. Clinton will want to be choosing and announcing her running mate and otherwise be getting ready for the big party. So if there’s anything he still hopes to achieve regarding the party platform, convention speakers, or senate committee assignments, IMO he’s got a better shot at getting those things now than he will in July.

So if he does announce that he is suspending his campaign later this week, or after the final primary (DC) next Tuesday, I hope you don’t think less of him.

I’ve also been saying all along that Sanders is not going to run as a third party or independent candidate in November. Because of the way we run elections, such candidacies have no hope of winning and have never accomplished anything but generate meaningless publicity for the candidate. Such an attempt is a prime example of stupid, IMO.

Of course, I don’t know the man personally, and he may continue to campaign, and he may choose to run third party, but IMO those would be terrible misjudgments on his part and would tell me he’s not as smart as I think he is. But we’ll see.

In any event, I urge everyone to get involved in the Brand New Congress movement that some former Sanders staffers started, aimed at having a big impact on the 2018 midterms. Bernie will still be in the Senate, where he can continue to provide leadership. Don’t think of this presidential campaign as a failure, but as a start.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 8, 2016 @9:05 am

    Bernie accomplished quite a lot.
    First and foremost, he DID move Hillary to the left.
    He also left the left with a ton of new ideas and issues.
    He got young people involved. Now, it’s up to Hillary and that inept imbecile, DWS, to keep them in the Democratic fold.

    Considering when and where he started from, he certainly made Hillary and the DNC “Feel the Bern!”

    I look at his as a remarkable campaign.
    Now, he needs at some point, to face reality, and tell his folks to keep up his and their fight within the existing Democratic structure. And to help CHANGE that structure from within.

    We’ve added a lot of more liberal Senators and Congress(wo)men since 2006.
    Now, that work must continue.

    But primarily, we need to stop tRUMP and the GOP.
    We need more liberal House and Senate members.

    So, the battles for progress continue.
    ONWARD’S!

  2. Annie  •  Jun 8, 2016 @11:47 am

    A 13-point margin of victory somehow “does not reflect the will of the voters”? Please.

    To quote Kevin Drum:

    “Hillary Clinton won . . . a majority of the popular vote. If you can’t stand her regardless, that’s fine, but a clear majority of Democrats preferred her to Bernie Sanders. Nothing rigged, nothing corrupt, nothing unfair. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.”

  3. goatherd  •  Jun 8, 2016 @12:54 pm

    Annie, a word to the wise(?). Adverbs can be significant, if you want to be taken seriously, you can’t just ignore them when they are inconvenient. Please note the presence of the word “accurately.” It’s there for a reason.

    In the end, we all want to pull together, and I, for one will do that. But, don’t make me feel worse about it by ignoring the complexities of the situation.

    Of course, I mean no disrespect.

  4. paradoctor  •  Jun 8, 2016 @1:09 pm

    I voted for Sanders because I could, and I shall vote for Clinton because I must. At this point he should wheel and deal and exert influence, on platform or ticket. I regret nothing, and I look forward to the future.

  5. Annie  •  Jun 8, 2016 @1:38 pm

    @Goatherd:

    If a margin of victory — for any candidate — is one or two percentage points, sure, you could argue that it doesn’t accurately reflect the will of the voters. When a margin exceeds 10 percent, that argument is much less persuasive.

  6. maha  •  Jun 8, 2016 @2:02 pm

    Annie — I was speaking to Sanders supporters, who have reason to believe the vote tallies in California and elsewhere do not accurately reflect popular will for a variety of reasons. That’s not saying the same thing as “Sanders should’ve won.” And, in fact, the total vote tallies nationwide really don’t mean that much considering they’re mixing primaries and caucuses. But I’m telling them basically what you said — when the margin exceeds 10 percent, you’re leverage is gone, handwriting on the wall, etc. Nobody needs you to point that out, dear; I already did.

  7. chris  •  Jun 8, 2016 @6:29 pm

    Sanders said early on he will not run as a third party candidate, as he wants to be sure a Democrat ends up in the White House.

  8. chris  •  Jun 8, 2016 @6:39 pm

    Also Reid may be looking to get Warren in as VP. http://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/elizabeth-warren-harry-reid-vice-president-223892

    While it would assure a complete domination of the election for the Democrats, I really doubt Hillary would be willing to give up the spotlight. Mind you, not share, as Warren is a bigger superstar and has more positives than Clinton.

  9. grannyeagle  •  Jun 8, 2016 @8:48 pm

    Why does everyone think you’ve got to be either prez or VP to be effective? Warren is doing fine right where she is. Besides, can you imagine the uproar if there were two women on the ticket? OMG, they’re (the women) taking over. I sincerely think HRC realizes she will have a better chance of winning if she picks a male. After all she’s been through, she doesn’t want to rock the boat.

  10. goatherd  •  Jun 9, 2016 @2:10 am

    Yes, Annie, I agree with your last comment. I suppose we are all looking at the processes involved more closely than usual, some of us are not so pleased with what we see.

    The important thing is that we come together, and I am ready to do that and support Hillary.

    Although our politicians are in perennial campaign mode, the volume does seem to be bumped “up to eleven,” as the actual election comes around. I think a lot of us have two contradictory feelings, on one hand I can’t wait for the dratted thing to be over, and on the other, the haunting fear that a loss means a ruined future. I used to think that “if we survived ‘W’ we can survive anything. Now, I am not so sure.

    I am still recovering from Swami’s comment about the $12,000 Armani jacket. It’s easy to think that such things exist where I’m living. Maybe it came with two pairs of pants.

  11. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 9, 2016 @8:11 am

    goatherd,
    tRUMP would make W look like a cross between FDR and Churchill!

  12. csm  •  Jun 9, 2016 @10:22 am

    In the end I would not characterize Sanders campaign, as some within the democratic sphere are wont to do, as somehow having been a negative effort or a “loser.” Clinton got more votes than he did, the Byzantine and corrupted process notwithstanding, and that makes her the nominee. Unfortunately it is what it is.

    In any case the Sanders campaign was a net positive for the party, for generating excitement, hope and interest in a segment of voters that could sustain the party for decades to come. His campaign gave visibility to progressive issues, some of what could be seen as “traditional democratic values,” that are popular with a majority of voters but don’t get the attention and focus of the party because they are anathema to the current democratic leadership, given their alliances with donors.

    My hope is that Sanders will have the influence at the convention he deserves by virtue of the success of his campaign, and that those who have fought so hard to ensure the outcome they got will see the wisdom and value in letting go and incorporating Sanders issues into the party platform.

  13. csm  •  Jun 9, 2016 @10:50 am

    An observation that I may get raked for, but what the hell…

    The other day I was listening to a discussion on a left/progressive radio show. A caller said he voted for Sanders in the primary, but because a Trump presidency would be an unmitigated disaster will vote for Clinton as a “lesser of evils.” He acknowledged that, by no stretch of the imagination is there any equivalency between the two. Just that Clinton’s policies of the past don’t directly address the needs of voters or position the party for the future.

    He got raked over the coals by some Clinton supporters, who asked if we could envision Trump’s “finger on the nuclear button.” And for that reason, we MUST support Clinton, without offering any positives as to why Clinton should be president. E.g. lesser of evils. And as “evils” go, there is a vast difference between Trump and Clinton. Clinton is qualified, Trump is simply not.

    This is something I have experienced personally with friends who are Clinton supporters. Whenever I ask them to tell me why they support Clinton, its either you don’t want Trump or Sanders can’t get what he is asking for. Then there is almost as much if not more vilification of Sanders as there is for Trump. Its never because “Clinton will…” fill in the blanks. You don’t inspire any enthusiasm with that.

    I recall the deep bitterness in 2008 of Clinton supporters and the heavy shade they threw at Obama that lasted well into his presidency. It was as if he stole something from them, personally. And now these same supporters wax indignant at any challenge to Clinton taking her rightful place — the Presidency.

    I believe the difference is as simple as this: Clinton supporters are voting for the person, where as Sanders supporters are voting for the change.



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