Sanders had little control over his delegates, who seemed unwilling to get behind his endorsement of Clinton. This was in part a matter of sloppiness on the part of Sanders’s team in selecting delegates. But as one operative told me, there was another reason Sanders’s delegation was so unruly: Everyone was so afraid to cross Clinton by serving as a Sanders delegate that he couldn't convince the kind of party loyalists who normally take the job to do it.Is it true that party regulars wouldn't become Sanders delegates because they feared the wrath of the Clintons? I have no idea. But if it's true, then Team Clinton is made up of thugs who are really, really bad at thuggery.
Instead, many Sanders delegates come from the world of left-wing protest culture rather than party politics. And on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center, they acted like it.
If Yglesias's operative is correct, the Clinton campaign scared off ordinary political activists who would have caused few problems for the candidate at the convention -- and saw those operatives replaced by furious activists who are causing a lot of problems for the candidate at the convention. If you're going to use strong-arm tactics, I think you need to be a tad more results-oriented about it.
I suppose the same thing could said about the efforts by Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other pro-Clinton party insiders to structure the primary season in ways that favored Clinton -- yes, Clinton won, but it was a pretty incompetent job of "rigging" the vote, given how many contests Sanders won and how much opportunity he had to stir up his base by castigating Clinton.
A real thug would act more like Donald Trump. When Ted Cruz stood in Trump's way, Trump insulted Cruz's wife's looks on Twitter and threatened to "spill the beans" about unnamed aspects of Mrs. Cruz's life (probably her battle with depression), even as he alleged that Cruz's father was involved in John F. Kennedy's assassination and as his pals at the National Enquirer concocted a Cruz adultery scandal. Cruz kept coming back, but he was effectively neutered. That's thuggery.
I laugh when people talk about "the Clinton crime family," and I used to laugh when they called Bill Clinton "Slick Willie." Slick? He and his wife always get caught. They get caught when they haven't actually done anything wrong. They're among the least slick people in politics.
(Poll link via Steve Benen.)