Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Just When You Think the Democrats Are Gonna Be The Sane Ones In This Election

Last night my Twitter feed exploded.

Two things happened:

Campaign strategist Ted Devine argued the Sour Grapes theory that Bernie Sanders didn't seriously campaign in certain - Deep South - states, basically arguing that "they" let Hillary have easy wins in the states she did win in big blowouts:

“[Hillary Clinton’s] grasp now on the nomination is almost entirely on the basis of victories where Bernie Sanders did not compete,” said senior strategist Tad Devine. “Where we compete with Clinton, where this competition is real, we have a very good chance of beating her in every place that we compete with her.”

Devine named eight states where he said the Sanders campaign did not compete with a big presence on the ground or much on-air advertising: Texas, Alabama, Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and Arkansas...

Rachel Maddow and her crew kind of blew that story out of the water, showing that Sanders did indeed set up offices in those and made serious efforts, and still got stomped. This hindsight "Oh we COULD have won if we really really REALLY really tried harder" is a lame-ass excuse. As Steve Benen notes in his article:

...But as a rule, presidential campaigns don’t get to lose a whole bunch of key primaries by wide margins and then declare, “Yeah, but we weren’t really trying.” If these eight nominating contests have left the Sanders campaign at a disadvantage they’re unlikely to overcome, it’s actually incumbent on his top aides and strategists to explain why they didn’t make more of an effort in these states.

It’s easy to imagine folks from Team Clinton saying they weren’t exactly going all out to win in Idaho and Utah – states Sanders won easily – but competitive candidates for national office don’t get to use that as an excuse when things aren’t going as well as they’d like.

At its root, Devine’s argument is that Team Sanders identified a series of early, delegate-rich states, but they chose not to bother with them. That’s not just a bad argument; it’s the kind of message that’s probably going to irritate quite a few Sanders supporters who expect more from their team.
A lot of sniping - from the Bernie backers defending Devine's statements and the Hillary backers calling for Devine's resignation - ensued.

The other thing that blew up on my Twitter feed was Leftist celebrity Susan Sarandon dissing Hillary Clinton yet again while being interviewed by Chris Hayes for not being "pure" enough to be the Democratic front-runner, and suggested this:

“I think Bernie would probably encourage people, because he doesn’t have any ego in this thing,” Sarandon told him. “But I think a lot of people are, ‘Sorry, I just can’t bring myself to [vote for Clinton].”
“How about you personally?” Hayes asked.
“I don’t know. I’m going to see what happens,” Sarandon said.
That bit of honesty prompted Hayes to stop in his tracks. “Really?” he asked incredulously.
“Really,” Sarandon said, adding that “some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in, things will really explode...”

From that statement, I'm inferring that Sarandon is thinking a Trump victory would get the Left-wingers of the nation so outraged that they will FINALLY rise up in anger and finish off where all the Iraq protests of 2002-03 and the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2008 and the Black Lives Matters protests of 2013 onward failed to accomplish.

I dunno if Sarandon realizes how much that mindset explains the poor midterms turnout of Democratic voters in 2010 and 2014. Refusing to show up - or worse voting for the worst possible human being to run for President since Thurmond in 1948 - is not going to lead to the glorious street revolution Sarandon fantasizes having. It's going to lead to more depressed grumbles from the Left about why this country's going to Hell in a handbasket while waiting for the Angels to come down and blow it all into the sea for them (this is a mindset very similar to the Rapture Republicans who WANT bad things to happen so they'll get their Armageddon).

Hate to break it you, Mrs. Sarandon, but the Leftist movement in this country isn't that violent and not that driven to go that far. You're confusing that with the Right Wingnuts who have their militias raid and wreck national parks while their drinking buddies open-carry AR-15s at little league baseball games.

I get the feeling she wants the uprising she craves but wants everyone else to clean up the mess that will happen. These revolutions she's so blithely happy to see happen tend to get messy and bloody and drag in the very people who called for it early on...

Sigh. Just when you want all the stupid crazy stuff to stay with the stupid crazy party in the Republicans, here comes the Democratic Party to show they can dive into the stupid crazy stuff as well. /headdesk

Now let's face it, a primary race is going to get ugly when it boils down to two serious competitors and their more fervent backers are going to fight like war wolves over who gets to win the nomination. And to be honest, when I'm looking at the polls of actual voter turnouts and voter enthusiasm, the Democrats overall are content with the two choices they have with Hillary and Bernie and are emotionally up for the coming general election.

But this brush war bullsh-t has got to de-escalate. Who cares if it's the Judean People's Front or the People's Front of Judea, the party has to recognize that there's a lot on the line here - not just the threat of Republicans driving this nation backwards to the horrific years of 2001-2009 but falling right into outright authoritarianism under Mussolini-esque Trump - and that the party has to remain civil within its own ranks and focus on November.

Dear Democrats:

Okay, this is coming from a No-Party-Affiliate guy, but I'm siding with you because the modern GOP is batshit insane and because God Help Us if Trump ever even gets an invite to use the White House bathrooms.

STOP WITH THE GODDAMN IN-FIGHTING. I swear I am gonna stop this car and turn right back for home if you kids keep acting up in the backseats like this.

YOU ARE ALL DEMOCRATS. You are all focused on key political issues: Pro-women, Pro-diversity, Pro-family, Pro-education, Progressive. You WANT government to work, you don't want to drown it in Grover's bathtub, you want social services to get better funding so we can stop the downward slide of millions of families crashing into poverty.

Stop dividing yourselves. The enemy isn't Hillary or Bill or Obama or Bernie. The enemy isn't really big business or unions or deep-pocket backers. The enemy is Ignorance, willful and fearful and sexist and racist and VIOLENT, the true power driving the modern Republicans: and it is that Ignorance that is threatening our very lives and future.

We need to remain united against that Ignorance, and against that Fear. We need to back, with a whole heart, the final nominee when the convention in Philadelphia rolls around. I want it to be Hillary. I want it to be Bernie. I want voter turnout for either to be above 70 percent when the November election happens, and I want to see the Senate flip to the Democrats with 68 seats and I wanna see the House flip to the Democrats with Ryan and his fellow safety-net slashers booted out the door.

We can do this, this election cycle, as long as we have enough candidates running in all the races and as long as the Democrats - and the independent voters aligned with you - remain united and focused.

Witty Librarian, Second-Tier Officer of the Lost Battalion of the Horde

Update 7/31/16: You know, it's been nagging at me for some weeks now that what I've written above is something I've ranted about before. It wasn't until today that I realized that yes dammit I DID write an open letter - on Emily Hauser's epic blog - to wobbly Democrats years ago, in defense of Obama:

...This is all in spite of the fact that Obama has faced the most outrageous, slanderous, bullshitty wave of personal attacks and hate-on since Abraham Lincoln got slimed by the pro-slavery Confederates. Clinton got off light compared to what Obama’s getting now. The entire Republican Party, led about their collective nose by the far wingnut psychos of the Teabagger brigades, is openly working to make Obama FAIL, and are prideful of that effort. Even if, and especially if, they can make Obama fail and have the nation suffer for it. Right now, the core ideology of the Republican Party is “If Obama’s for it, then we are against it.” Just look at their flip-flopping on Libya for God’s sake.
Dear Democratic base: do not blame Obama. BLAME THE GODDAMN REPUBLICANS WHO ARE STILL SCREWING US AND THIS NATION. The same Republican Party that refuses to compromise on easing up on the Bush-era tax cuts, the very cuts THAT CREATED THE MASSIVE DEFICIT WE’RE IN.
If Obama seems weak because he’s trying to compromise, that’s because as a politician he’s EXPECTED to attempt compromises. A majority of American voters, even the majority of Democrats, expect that. The problem isn’t Obama: the problem is a Republican Party THAT REFUSES TO COMPROMISE AT ALL, AND INSTEAD KEEPS MAKING HARSHER DEMANDS.
The Republicans are at war with the people of the United States: they are at war with minorities, they are at war with teachers, they are at war with unions, they are at war with women, they are at war with anyone under 55 and anyone whose income is under $100,000.
The solution here is not to abandon Obama: any other Democratic leader would be facing the same problem because THE REPUBLICANS DON’T CARE WHO THEY HATE OR HURT.
Look at here. Look at Florida. In 2010, we had a choice between a Democrat who uses a Blackberry over a Republican WHO COMMITTED MEDICARE FRAUD. And Florida has more registered Democrats than Republicans (this is true, by 900,000 voters). And yet, voters were so glum or refused to turn out to vote. As a result, Rick “MEDICARE FRAUD” Scott won by less than 5,000 votes. The state of Florida is now getting screwed over by a crook who wants to privatize everything, kill our schools, destroy health care for nursing homes and the elderly, shut down unemployment benefits, force workers to take urine drug tests at HIS clinics, and give massive tax breaks to his corporate buddies… all because not every Democrat turned out the vote...

This was back in 2011. We are still dealing with the same unhappy Far Left people who want their utopia on gilded wings and bathed in shining starlight. Sigh.


Keith said...

A sensible accounting. But I wonder, can sense survive Twitter?

Paul said...

only when it's nonsense.

dinthebeast said...

Kind of reminds me of a Zappa lyric from "Dumb All Over":
"...It won't blow up and disappear,
it'll just look ugly for a thousand years..."

-Doug in Oakland

Sidney Schwab said...

I just wrote about this, too, though less eloquently. Same reaction, though, to Sarandon, and wondering how many Democrats, especially the young Berners, would follow suit. Ds are nothing if able to grab defeat from the jaws of victory.


Paul Wartenberg said...

Kinda with you on that, Sidney. Both parties - yes, I am going there - have their issues with their true believer core: the Far Right keeps dragging the rest of the Republicans into a racist/sexist mosh pit, the Far Left keeps retreating to a forest meditation resort and refuses to come out until the Democrats write them a Dylan-esque love ballad.

The good news is, from the polling numbers most voting Democrats are content to show up and vote either for Hillary or Bernie: what we're getting is just the Twitter agitators that make up the very vocal very small factions of the party.