“The sky is falling! the sky is falling!” “Donald Trump is gaining on Hillary!”
It’s Chicken Little time at the DNC.
Following the dust-up at the Nevada Convention all artifice of civility has been suspended.
No, I’m not talking about the handful of Bernie supporters in Nevada, but the hyperbolic response from the DNC as it closes ranks with what it thinks is the best argument for shutting Bernie down.
This is what it’s come to.
Bernie has been saying since he entered the race that he is in it until the Convention, but apparently the Party elders didn’t believe him.
You don’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs and you don’t mount a revolution spouting nothing but platitudes and pleasantries from a place of no-contest.
Suddenly, Bernie Sanders is evil incarnate and has to throw in the towel so as not to ‘damage’ Hillary.
Newsflash: she’s already damaged; she was damaged coming into the race.
As intelligent and experienced as she is, she persistently transmits inauthenticity and entitlement in an election year that despises both. Even if there were no Bernie Sanders, these traits would not win the day.
And dragging out her equally damaged husband as her standard bearer in the crisis only makes matters worse. It plays to the worst stereotypes about women; the ones we had hoped the first female presidential candidate would kick to the curb.
This is a teaching moment for the DNC: never assume.
Why was Martin O’Malley the only card-carrying Democrat to challenge Hillary for the nomination? There certainly is plenty of talent out there, from Elizabeth Warren to the Castro Brothers and Joe Biden; but no, this one was for Hillary. It had been earmarked by the Hillary camp since 2008.
O’Malley’s only hope was to conduct himself so well in the campaign that he would become the Vice-Presidential nominee. No one was looking at poor O’Malley; quite a decent guy, at that.
Bernie was supposed to be a blip of comic relief; here today and gone tomorrow. No one would really support a democratic-socialist for president! Maybe if Hillary was not so damaged from the start, Bernie’s revolution wouldn’t have taken hold; but she was, and it did.
Just like the Republicans, who refused to believe that Jeb Bush wasn’t inevitable, the DNC made the same mistake about Hillary; only the RNC got ‘lucky’ and a bona fide arsonist named Trump dispatched Jeb and set the revolutionary tone for his own party long before Hillary even took notice of Bernie. Oh, the humanity!!
Now, the RNC is way ahead of the DNC at restoring itself to at least functional unity.
The DNC is still in denial of its diagnosis while the RNC is already at the acceptance phase in the process. They may not like Donald Trump but it it won’t be the first time they’ve gotten lucky with a feckless idiot, and they know that. Think George W. Bush and the miraculously (and posthumously) rehabilitated Ronald Reagan.
Instead of watching and drawing a valuable lesson from Bernie’s ability to engage a whole new and untapped electorate, easily matching those enlisted by DT on the other side, the Hillary Camp (and the entire Party hierarchy) plucked superficially from the message to garnish Hillary’s presentation, like parsley on potatoes.
Only the parsley proved to be much more appetizing than the potatoes and Bernie began to actually win votes no matter how much the convoluted rules worked against that end.
Even burying the debates in impossible time slots did not protect the presumed nominee from damage.
Bernie was apparently not expected to lay a glove on Hillary, and when he actually raised salient questions about her ties to Wall Street, her judgment on matters of war, and the sacred memory of her husband’s global economic policies, the Party twitched visibly but still plastered a strained smile on its lips.
Bernie, they said, would ‘toughen’ Hillary for her ultimate clash with Trump, and that was ‘a good thing.’ Behind the scenes, the Party of Hillary tightened the screws on the inevitability machine even more. Unfortunately, their collective slip was showing, and some Sanders supporters, new to the rigging process, began to cry ‘foul.
The Nevada DNC’s biased chairing of ‘their’ caucus proved to be the last straw for a a few attendees who became loud and abusive in their language, but not violent.
Despite breathless news reports to the contrary, there is no evidence that a chair was thrown. Video shows one man picking up a chair, then putting it down again. There were nasty phone calls and social media outbursts, but these have not by any means been confined to Sanders supporters.
The Sanders campaign condemned the bad behavior, but also condemned the biased conduct that had prompted it. Apparently Bernie was expected to dress in sackcloth and cover himself with ashes, never mentioning the pattern of bias that has permeated the primaries under Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. He did not, and the floodgates of Democratic establishment figures aching to tell him to F.O. was suddenly opened.
One state, one caucus, a handful of Sanders supporters behaving badly, and everyone is insisting that Sanders should do the ‘decent’ thing and drop out before the convention.
Meanwhile, finally under some impulse control by the RNC, Trump has risen in the polls and Hillary has fallen. Much as the DNC would like us to believe that this has something to do with Bernie’s continued resistance to her inevitability, that is not the case.
Trump is proving to be an armor-clad wrecking ball of nastiness. He needs no help from anyone. It’s what he does.
With her extremely long and checkered political history, Hillary is the softest target imaginable. Whether or not she can successfully prevail in the general is looking more and more like an open question.
Further alienating that energized Bernie base by going all Head Prefect on their chosen candidate will not help.
Suggestion? Stop insisting that it’s up to Bernie to unify the party ‘because that’s what Hillary did in 2008.’ This isn’t 2008 and Bernie’s revolution won’t be politically disciplined by a promise of support for 2016.
If the Hillary camp values the support of Bernie’s base, they will have to convincingly demonstrate a willingness to include at least some of that base’s priorities in the party platform, not just pay temporary lip-service and claim to be a ‘progressive.’
Dollars to donuts she won’t call herself a ‘progressive’ in the general, and that’s okay because its only a word; but if she continues to beat a path to the right as she has already begun to do with that remark about having Bill balance the country’s checkbook, she will only reinforce Bernie supporters’ conviction that she doesn’t represent our interests.
There’s only so much that Donald Trump (or Hillary) threats can do to blackmail a disenchanted electorate into turning out to hold their noses at the ballot box.
Time to reassess the fairness and efficacy of a two party system.