Thursday, June 09, 2016


Politico is reporting that Bernie Sanders seems to be on the verge of a rapprochement with Hillary Clinton, but I'm not so sure:
After spending an hour meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House, Bernie Sanders vowed to stay in the race for Tuesday's District of Columbia primary while acknowledging that he would work with Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump in the general election.
Did Sanders acknowledge that he would work with Clinton? Based on the quotes in the Politico story, I don't think so. I think he acknowledged that he planned to discuss the terms under which he'd work with Clinton. Not the same thing:
"Needless to say, I am going to do everything in my power and I will work as hard as I can to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States."

Sanders continued, "I will of course, be coming in the D.C. primary which will be held next Tuesday."

... Sanders said he spoke "briefly to Secretary Clinton" on Tuesday night, congratulating her "on her very strong campaign."

"I look forward to meeting with her in the near future to see how we can work together to defeat Donald Trump and to create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1 percent," Sanders concluded.
It's pretty obvious how Sanders can work with Clinton to defeat Donald Trump, Bernie: He endorses Clinton. He campaigns for her. He encourages his supporters to vote for her. He tell them that she's still a hell of a lot better than the alternative. I'm not sure what needs to be discussed, except a quid pro quo that the two sides might not be able to agree on.

Meanwhile, check out the very beginning of this short clip of Sanders. It suggests that he's still collecting and curating grievances:

Sanders says:
Also, I look forward to the full counting of the votes in California, which I suspect will show a much closer vote than the current vote tally.
Look, Bernie, it sucks, but you came up short. Is it worth obsessing over the final California totals? You ran a hell of a race. You gave the party establishment fits -- in fact, you're still doing that. Will a shift of half a percentage point in California really make a huge difference to you?

Are you as emotionally needy as Donald Trump?

On that subject, I'm reminded of a detail from Robert Costa's story in The Washington Post after Tuesday's primaries were over:
Taking the stage on Tuesday to Bruce Springsteen’s “We Take Care of Our Own,” Sanders basked in the adulation of more than 3,000 supporters gathered in an airplane hangar in Santa Monica. Swelling cheers lasted nearly three minutes as the hoarse senator said “thank you” and waved from his lectern.

“They’re with you,” Jane Sanders whispered to her husband. “They’re still with you.”
That's the sound of a wife whose husband needs regular reassurance of his self-worth.

Now, obviously this kind of insecurity is widespread in the world of politics (and in ordinary life). Sanders is far from unique. But I'm really starting to wonder if this is the principal reason for the overly prolonged endgame.


The other possibility, of course, is that Sanders is hinting at the notion, widely shared by his most fervent followers, that he's the victim of widespread voters fraud. (My favorite Internet headline on that subject: "Bernie Sanders Wins California Landslide BUT 2/3 of his Votes Aren’t Counted.") If that's the case, he needs an intervention.


Palli said...

"Curating" greivances. Forgive my bias as an art historian & artist, but I wish that word would stop being used in any & every context.

On the subject of grievances: just which ones are not germane to the Democratic party mission to serve America thru politics.

For example, many of them do relate to the electoral voting process. How many unopened, uncounted provincial ballots are in CA now? How long were lines, how effective is poll worker training, how does each state (& in each election) tabulate the count? DNC have lost elections by overlooked these nationwide problems. Kerry OH 2004? Dems don't seem to care that election integrity is eroding away. Or are we to think the Dems don't care about safe & honest electoral process because "2 sides do it"?

Victor said...

Bernie will stay in to maximize the opportunity to shape Hillary's message.
The longer he stays in, the better his position to help shape the Democratic message!

That's NOT a bad thing!

However, there's a time to get what you can, and get the hell out!
Hopefully, that'll come soon after the DC primary.

Hanging out until the convention, is a mistake, and I think he knows it.
He'll come around.
He's got to go through the stages of grief. And he has to help his supporter go through it too.
If he quits too soon, he looks like a sell-out. So, I don't blame him for staying in for a while.

Cathie from Canada said...

I read a blog post somewhere today to the effect that Sanders should have a "co-leader" role with Clinton -- ie, that he should be entitled to pick some of her cabinet members, should have a role in determining her legislative priorities, etc.
I wonder if he actually expects this, or thinks he is entitled to it.
You know, the longer this goes on, the more I start to sense a whiff of "she has to let the man do it".

Never Ben Better said...

Meanwhile, the mere hint that Warren might endorse Clinton has throngs of Bernie-or-busters swarming Liz's Facebook page to spew outrage at her as a sellout fraud, in league with the DNC and Obama to overturn the will of the people.

I think Sanders is going to see a segment (hopefully small) of his own most cultish followers turn as viciously on him if he gives full support to Clinton. Some of them really are unhinged.

Steve M. said...

Meanwhile, the mere hint that Warren might endorse Clinton has throngs of Bernie-or-busters swarming Liz's Facebook page to spew outrage at her as a sellout fraud, in league with the DNC and Obama to overturn the will of the people.

Called it.

Tom Hilton said...

Cathie from Canada, I think that may have been Jeffrey Sachs' piece (the guy who set up the not-actual-meeting-with-the-Pope Vatican trip). And yeah, it was appallingly stupid and offensive.

Never Ben Better said...

Yeh, Steve, anyone who was paying attention could see that coming a mile away. Hell, that faction is still convinced that it was Warren's unprincipled, sellout refusal to endorse Sanders that cost him the Massachusetts primary, and they attacked her just as viciously then.

Ken_L said...

I agree with Cathie. Sanders' statement smacks of a man who believes he's entitled to be an equal partner in the rest of the campaign "to stop Trump" .... not "to elect Hillary". It's past time someone explained to him that Hillary treated him with extraordinary kindness during the primary when she could have left him badly damaged goods. Presumably she did it for the good of THEIR party, and it's time he adopted the same priorities.

He lost. It's time he exited stage left so Hillary can get on with her campaign.

Never Ben Better said...

Of course, it's that same obsessive faction that, if Sanders did become President, would turn on him too as a fraud and sellout once it became clear he couldn't come through on his promises and had to compromise with the political power realities of Congress to get anything done. Same thing happened to Obama.

Hopefully it's a small fraction of Bernie's supporters.

Never Ben Better said...

Hate to say it, but I think Sanders has gotten high on his own supply.

Kathy said...

Good God, that "Bernie gets 2/3 of California vote" link is batshit crazy.

Cathie from Canada said...

When I read twitter today, its a little surprising just how many people I follow just don't believe Bernie will grow up and quit gracefully and exercise a little leadership to get his followers onside.
Maybe I'm just following too many cynical people....
Then again, I find in general that the Lily Tomlin rule still applies "no matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.}

KenRight said...

Might the time come soon in the US when the people who glibly refer to politicians who "couldn't come through on their promises" experience profound but too belated regret that their own passivity was a key in producing the multifaceted calamities which make a street-pacifying solution a Herculean task.

Unknown said...

Bernie very simple. Instead of Hillary winning by 900,000 votes she won by 890,000. OK. Feel better?

Halcyon said...

I mean, there is another possibility, isn't there? I'm not suggesting the man is a saint or anything, but maybe at least part of it is that he really does feel that we need to make sure all the votes in California were counted because counting everybody's votes matters? That's one of those things we're supposed to care about as Democrats and Liberals, making sure everyone is treated fairly. And maybe at least part of it is that he really does think that the voters in the remaining states deserve to have someone take their preferences seriously.

And sure, some of it's probably that he doesn't want to admit that it's over. No one is at their best while losing, after all. But it seems at least plausible that part of the reason is that he actually at least partly believes in stuff like that.

I mean, it's entirely possible I'm being insufficiently cynical, but hell, this is the year one of our major parties is going with Donald Friggin' Trump. Is that more insane than the idea that Bernie is doing it at least in part because he believes some of those things?

Feud Turgidson said...

I'm with Victor.

(I wonder who many times I've posted that over the past 5 months? No, I don't know Victor. No, Feud Turgidson is not any human's given or taken name ... AFAIK!).

NMMNG's reader thread most of the time largely reflects a little community. We see the same phenomenon around Pierce with his FBers, the LG&M crowd, the WaMers and Booman's loyal tadpoles, the TPMers, increasingly the regathering about Kilgore, many who regularly post in one or more of all them also post at Eschaton, and among the wider crowd of regulars at Drum's blog at MJ.

I see these same points being stated at ALL those sites, and more. I fully expect they portend a coming together in each community, and each coming together to a shared larger one, by the time Philly opens - actually, I expect all that before Cleveland.

This is one of those instances where, IMO, Bernie's going to have to follow and listen if he has any hope of usefully leading - if I'm not to obscure here. He's going to have to find and fit into the communitarian aspect of a party that welcomed his visits before, but of which he's ever been a registered member until less than a year back and still IMO has distance to cover IF he can gain sufficient trust to be granted anything like the level of leadership he seems surprised (unreasonably but hardly inexplicably) he's failed to command.

The striking thing about Sanders' campaign is how few of his closest Congress comrades endorsed him. Merk and Raul are who leap to mind, both great Ds. OTOH, Franken was on O'Donnell last night reiterating that HE committed to HRC 18 months ago. Except for Merk, Raul and EW, all members of Progressive Study Group Sanders has been proud to openly identify with as for a quarter century, came out for HRC. That should tell us something important about their consensus judgment on Bernie vs Hillary. (I have a LOT of time for Senators Boxer, Franken and Whitehouse in particular.)

Bernie's no dummy or oblivious egomaniac; but he IS the truest inheritor Congress has to the spirit of the mileage-will-vary-on-great but undeniably and important Alinsky (I'm sure all or close to have read him, but how many here met him? He was a surprising arresting character, a bigger influence on me than even the unarguably great Studs Terkel, who I grew toward more over time.)

I like what Biiden said: show some grace, given him time. Odds are he'll be fine, and there's no sound basis for betting against him being a lot better than that. American socialists get lots of opportunities to manage disappointment then hurl themselves back at the barricades.

Never Ben Better said...

Feud T., I never posted this at Booman's (or anywhere else, come to think of it) because I didn't want the inevitable outraged blowback, but it occurred to me quite a while ago that Elizabeth Warren didn't endorse Sanders, despite their close agreement on key issues, at least in part because she'd gotten to know him as a fellow senator and thought he'd make a lousy president. I also suspect, based on nothing more than gut instinct and having observed my senator for several years, that while she and Clinton have their policy differences, she sees Hillary as a highly competent person who can be effectively worked with. Warren is progressive and principled but she's also pragmatic and clear-eyed about the realities of power.