By Robert A. Vella
The political dynamics inside the Democratic Party have reached a crucial point. What happens over the next two months will set the tone for the unpredictable and potentially volatile 2016 presidential election and beyond. Will America’s long-suffering progressive heart, which powered the party and the nation to their greatest heights, finally be cutoff from the body politic? Or, will the Democrats’ corporatist, technocratic establishment find a way to accommodate it within their 21st century political machinery? The resulting consequences could be huge.
Here are some musings on the matter for this Sunday morning.
From the Campaign for America’s Future – What Does Bernie Want?:
The Democratic establishment and liberal commentariat lathered itself into a fine hysteria last week. What began as a Hillary Clinton surrogate meme – (Bernie has done his job, but now he’s hurting Clinton and should get out of the race) – became a maddened chorus.
The predictably angry reaction of Sanders delegates — and truly deplorable behavior by some — to peremptory rulings by a pro-Clinton Nevada party chair was blown into a mythical scene of chair-throwing violence, based largely on a report by a biased reporter who wasn’t even there. The divisive Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz did her best to escalate rather than defuse the situation. Zealous Clinton advocates like Barney Frank and Paul Krugman slurred Sanders’ character because he wouldn’t drop out of the race. Pundits like Eugene Robinson (“behaving like a two-year-old”) and Jonathan Chait (“maddeningly narcissistic”) piled on. Sanders voters were scorned as befuddled innocents who can’t do addition, or, as Hillary Clinton earlier suggested, dupes who are being misled by Sanders misinformation. The New York Times and The Washington Post fanned the flames with alarmist headlines.
Slurs and insults are an odd way to build party unity.
So why the hysteria?
The Clinton Problem
The problem, of course, isn’t the Sanders’ obstinacy; it is Clinton’s weakness. The Democratic establishment essentially cleared the field for her. She started with all of the money, all of the endorsements, universal name recognition, a forbidding lead in the polls, and her pick of the best campaign operatives. She’s battle-tested. She’s intelligent, with remarkable energy and unmatched experience. But somehow she can’t lock up a convention majority from elected delegates against a septuagenarian democratic Socialist who is funding his campaign with small donations.
Turns out the being the establishment candidate grates against the growing number of voters who realize the establishment has failed them. The big money backing Clinton had its costs when voters think our politics are corrupted. Her experience has liabilities, as she moved to disavow the policies her husband and she championed from trade deals like NAFTA and the TPP, to harsh and biased criminal sentencing measures, to banking deregulation and more. She is burdened by scandals, old and new, some self-inflicted, even if inflated by right-wing hit squads.
Worse, she chose to run as the candidate of continuity when voters are looking for change. She made herself the champion of incremental reforms when voters – particularly young voters — yearn for much more. She purposefully presented herself as more hawkish than Obama— an “interventionist” Joe Biden called her – at a time when voters are weary of endless wars without victory.
The result is she’s almost as unpopular as Trump is — and recent polls show him closing the margins between them.
Americans are not likely to elect Donald Trump president of the United States, but the Democrats are about to present the nomination to one of the few candidates that could make the race close. For this, Sanders is not to blame.
From The Hill – Clinton urged to go liberal with vice presidential pick:
“She [Hillary] needs to do something in the coming weeks to show that she’s also trying to unify the party,” one Clinton surrogate said. “And that would be a clear signal.” [clarification by The Secular Jurist]