First of all, hurray that the Bern is in the race! I said multiple times during 2016 that I’d like to see him go up against Trump. Now it could happen. He is a better campaigner than Clinton, and from what I’ve seen so far, a better campaigner than his current crop of opponents. He’s even better looking than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
But, you say, Bernie’s a crusader, and crusaders don’t win American political contests. Populist William Jennings Bryan comes to mind, as does socialist Eugene Debs. Bernie’s a populist and a socialist. Try to imagine Bernie in a MAGA hat. On the other side, Sanders trounced Clinton in Michigan in the 2016 primary, and he gave her a good run in several other states. Throughout that campaign, people said the race would be close if Clinton did not have the super-delegates locked up. That’s how parties work: they predesignate their nominees in what appears to be a closed contest, and then lose.
The Democratic National Committee did not like Bernie in 2016, and it does not like him now.
Of course, the Democrats don’t actually want to win in 2020, either. How do we know that? They’ve hauled out affirmation forms for all their candidates! An affirmation form is like a loyalty oath, except we don’t call them that because it sounds too close to Joe McCarthy and his wild campaign to make un-Americans into Americans. Just as Republicans want to expunge all RINOs from their party, the Democrats want to rid themselves of DINOs, if they can root them out. Comrade Sanders, they say, might want to run under the donkey banner, but he’s a Democrat in name only.
The Democratic National Committee did not like Bernie in 2016, and it does not like him now. He tried to crash their party – their political organization and their long-awaited celebration for Hillary – the last time around. They don’t want this frumpy old guy who doesn’t own a hair brush to steal votes from their pre-selected darlings again. If Sanders thinks he can beat Trump, they mutter, then let him run as a Socialist.
This committee is apparently the same astute DNC that thought Clinton was their best shot at the White House in 2016.
There you have it: if a proven vote-getter and fund-raiser walks in the front door to offer his services, show him out the back door. The DNC has not learned a whit about open primaries. This committee is apparently the same astute DNC that thought Clinton was their best shot at the White House in 2016, the same DNC that couldn’t keep its email servers secure during the campaign, the same DNC that thought it could blow off Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in favor of California, and still win. These jokers would not know how to defeat Trump even if he closed his Twitter account, which would essentially silence him forever.
Why do you suppose the DNC would demand a loyalty oath from its candidates? No one from the Sanders campaign ever suggested that if Bernie defeated Hillary for the nomination, he would campaign as anything other than a Democrat in the general election. The resentment against Sanders in the party is palpable – Clinton loyalists even blame him for her loss in the general election.
Aside from Clinton’s weakness as a candidate, the way the DNC treated Sanders explains why the Democrats lost. On election day across the country, Democrats and Independents thought, “Good God, if that’s the way they treat the one person who can get in the ring with Trump, why the hell should I vote? I’ll just stay home today.”
Now the DNC wants to extract a loyalty oath from each candidate, in a transparent attempt to keep the socialist from Vermont out.
National leadership of the Democratic party has been pusillanimous since the House impeached Bill Clinton in 1998. The party rolled over for the Supreme Court in 2000, when the Court unconstitutionally appointed George W. Bush president. It rolled over again for unscrupulous swift boaters in 2004, and gave Kerry no support when he needed it. Barack Obama did not give a damn about party leadership, as you could see from his reactions to astonishing losses across the country in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016. Each time, he said, “Well I guess we took another shellacking,” as if his weak party leadership did not have something to do with those routs.
Now the DNC wants to extract a loyalty oath from each candidate, in a transparent attempt to keep the socialist from Vermont out. Good luck, folks. You are asking for four more years of Trump, which I suppose you deserve, given the way you acquit yourselves every day.
Candidates have declared themselves at a pace of approximately one a week since early January, yet the DNC’s affirmation form does not come out until Sanders announces his run. I’ve been waiting for you, the DNC seems to say. One suspects that form would have stayed in its drawer if Sanders had decided to take it easy during the next twenty-two months.
Why does the DNC even want to enter this kind of discussion? Their job is to assist the state parties, as all fifty of them prepare to nominate their candidate in July 2020. If I help to lead a state party right now, I want to know, “Why the hell does the national committee think it can decide who is a candidate in my state?”
The Democratic party’s national leadership already alienated Sanders supporters in 2016, with telling results.
The Democratic party’s national leadership already alienated Sanders supporters in 2016, with telling results. Does it want to make the same mistake a second time? Surveys indicate that about twelve percent of Sanders’ supporters voted for Trump in 2016. When a party loyalist votes for the enemy, that’s a double hit, like scoring a goal for the other side. Add Sanders supporters who voted for Trump to all the the people who stayed home because they could not understand why Democrats treated Sanders so shabbily, and you have a big basket.
Hillary gathered a big basket herself, three million more votes than Trump. She still lost. Does the DNC think a newbie can take on an incumbent president and win, where veteran Clinton could not defeat the untried maverick showman four years earlier? Anything is possible, but my bets are on a war horse like Biden or Sanders. I don’t think Trump’s denigration and ridicule will work so effectively on these silver-haired gentlemen.
If resentment toward Sanders persists so long after he created considerable enthusiasm for Democrats in 2016, you want to ask why.
Consider what happened to Republicans in 2012 when they snubbed a war horse of their own, Ron Paul. Romney lost. Paul had a host of supporters, many of them young, who wondered, “Why should I vote for a mainstream politician like Romney, when the party won’t even let Paul speak at the convention? Don’t they want me to have a voice?”
Parties gain nothing when they snub their insurgents. They lose both enthusiasm and votes. If resentment toward Sanders persists so long after he created considerable enthusiasm for Democrats in 2016, you want to ask why. It indicates the party prefers recrimination to victory.