Now comes more hard work for Mrs. Clinton. Many in this newest generation of American voters say that they don’t trust her, or that she represents a Washington disconnected from their struggles. They backed Bernie Sanders and his demand that government provide health care, education and opportunity for everyone. Among some of his supporters there will be lingering frustration and a belief that the party’s leaders conspired to deprive them of their choice.(Emphasis added.)
This isn’t an accurate or fair assessment, but Mrs. Clinton must address it. Unlike the Democratic stalwarts Mrs. Clinton delivered to Barack Obama in 2008, younger voters, including many Sanders supporters, are generally less likely to turn out. Unless she makes a substantial effort to win them over, they might stay home, and low turnout historically helps Republicans.
Why is this her responsibility? Why is it not the responsibility, at least in large part, of the Sanders campaign, which has allowed that notion of a "rigged system" to fester and metastasize among supporters?
A story that appeared at Politico last night makes clear that Bernie Sanders really is not interested in reconciliation:
There are many divisions within the Sanders campaign....He made clear in his speech last night that mending fences is not a priority:
But more than any of them, Sanders is himself filled with resentment, on edge, feeling like he gets no respect -- all while holding on in his head to the enticing but remote chance that Clinton may be indicted before the convention....
Take the combative statement after the Nevada showdown.
“I don’t know who advised him that this was the right route to take, but we are now actively destroying what Bernie worked so hard to build over the last year just to pick up two fucking delegates in a state he lost,” rapid response director Mike Casca complained to Weaver in an internal campaign email obtained by POLITICO.
“Thank you for your views. I’ll relay them to the senator, as he is driving this train,” Weaver wrote back....
Top Sanders aides admit that it’s been weeks, if not months, since they themselves realized he wasn’t going to be win....
They haven’t been able to get Sanders focused on any of that....
“He wants to be in the race until the end, until the roll call vote,” Weaver said.
In a speech of striking stubbornness, he ignored the history-making achievement of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, who became the first woman in American history to clinch the presidential nomination of major political party....At this point, I think in some ways it's less important for him to say nice things about Clinton than it is for him to say that she won fair and square. He doesn't even have to stop complaining about what he regards as inherent problems with the Democratic primary process. But he needs to say that this was a legitimate election. This is important because a significant percentage of his voters don't believe that.
At almost every turn, he was grudging toward Mrs. Clinton, passing up a chance to issue the kind of lengthy salute that many, in and out of the Democratic Party, had expected and craved.
I live in New York, where there's no early voting, where primaries are closed, where unaffiliated voters who want to register with a party have to do so many months before an election, and where elections are controlled by incompetent hacks who can't manintain voters rolls properly. All of this should be reassessed. None of it was in place specifically to thwart Bernie Sanders.
The superdelegate system wasn't put a place specifically to thwart Sanders. The notion of a Super Tuesday, early in the primary season, that's focused largely on Southern states wasn't put in place specifically to thwart Sanders. Good or bad, these were fixed aspects of the primary process. There's nothing devious or secret about them. It was up to Sanders to find a way to address them. (Superdelegates were always likely to gravitate toward the party favorite. Barack Obama had to overcome that hurdle in 2008, and he did.)
What's happened now is that many Sanders voters now sound like Obama birthers or 9/11 truthers -- to them, at this point, every fact or rumor or offhand remark or stray pixel in a digital file becomes part of an ever-expanding web of deceit.
Trump World is now taking advantage of Sandersite fraud memes. Donald Trump said this in his speech last night:
To all of those Bernie Sanders voters who have been left out in the cold by a rigged system of superdelegates, we welcome you with open arms.Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit, a Trump backer, is spreading the ridiculous notion that the Clinton campaign was "CAUGHT COLLUDING With AP" because graphics in a Clinton campaign email celebrating her attainment of presumptive-nominee status were apparenly dated a couple of days before Clinton actually reached that status, as determined by Associated Press and other media organizations. The notion was first spread by Sandersites.
Basic notions of delegate math that are knowable and have been accepted throughout the world of politics for many election cycles are now deemed fraudulent by conspiratorial Berners. Delegate math is why the Clinton could foresee victory this week and had a staffer creating victory graphics over the weekend. But Sandersites are scrutinizing those graphics the way wingnuts scrutinize Obama birth documents.
Sanders needs to tell his followers that this was a legitimate election. This absolutely isn't, as the Times ed board argues, all Clinton's responsibility.
But I don't think Sanders will ever do this. He's too angry.