But hey, we're in an extraordinary moment right now, and it's worth commenting on it.
On the Democratic side, all the anxious questions about what Bernie's endgame is may now have an answer: it doesn't matter. I think Steve M. had it right a week ago when he suggested that Clinton can probably win without the bitter-enders. On Thursday the Democratic party picked up and moved on to the general, leaving Sanders to work out his own issues on the sidelines. President Obama endorsed Clinton. Vice President Biden endorsed Clinton. Senator Warren endorsed Clinton. Jeff Merkley, the only Senator to endorse Sanders, endorsed Clinton. And everyone said very nice things about Sanders--Obama, as is his wont, was especially gracious--but the message was unmistakeable: with you or without you, we are doing this. All those endorsements mean Sanders is no longer in a position to drive the news cycle. And whatever President Obama said to him in their meeting (a lot of people are guessing it was something along the lines of "my offer is this: nothing"), Sanders seems to have at least started out on the path to concession.
But it wasn't the endorsements in themselves that mattered most. What really mattered was what they did with them, which is hammer the living shit out of Trump. This at the same time as Priorities USA launched a $25 million buy in swing states, starting with a devastatingly effective ad (more about that in another post). Timing is everything, and it thrills me to see the Democrats exploiting an opportunity that might not still be around in July.
That opportunity being the situation on the Republican side, which is summed up nicely in this tweet from Josh Barro (after Clinton's foreign policy speech):
I don't recall ever seeing anything like the paralysis that currently grips the Republican party. Part of it is that much of the GOP establishment still clings to fantasies of dumping Trump at the convention (Oh yeah? Hugh and what army?); part of it is that a lot of the people who are resigned to Trump are under fire or looking for an escape hatch; part of it is that the campaign is broke. Meanwhile, Trump hasn't figured out yet that the general electorate isn't the party. They're trying to cut down on his off-the cuff racism with a TeleprompTer, with not entirely encouraging results, but he hasn't really changed his pitch; as Stuart Stevens says, he's "an Amway dealer selling to Amway dealers."
Hillary has made "he could start a nuclear war" her central argument against Trump and Rs can't even bring themselves to say "no he won't"— Josh Barro (@jbarro) June 3, 2016
And the truly extraordinary thing is that for once in our lives the Democrats have the resources, the smarts, and the will to exploit this Republican moment of extreme weakness. If they succeed in defining Trump (as unstable and incompetent, as a sleazeball whose business model was screwing the little guy, as a crass and cruel bully), the way Republicans defined Dukakis and Kerry, it won't matter how Trump attacks between now and November.
And yes, we could still fuck it up. Bernie could incite riots in Philadelphia and then urge his supporters to write him in (though I don't think anything short of that would hurt too badly), or god knows what else. Democrats have been known to blow a winning hand before. But for now, I'm going to enjoy the moment.