I've only written about half of my series "The Trouble with Bernie Sanders" [see: The Trouble with Bernie Sandres] but I saw an article by Robert Reich that expresses some of my own feelings but reflects someone who has not been a part of the bitter and dishonest propaganda parts. I love Robert Reich. So I'll segue off of what he says, some of which I largely concur with. But a lot of which I think reflects his cocooned role as a professor:
"With the Democratic primaries grinding to a bitter end, I have suggestions for both Clinton and Sanders supporters that neither will like.” [Reich]
The Real Problem
Actually the problem, Mr. Reich, is that your suggestions reflect the false equivalence proposition that somehow Bernie is being treated unfairly, which is part of the problem. The Real Problem is that Hillary is being depicted as being the problem. Instead of Bernie trying to Enlist her he's trying to destroy her and damage the party in the process. I was initially for Bernie Sanders. I liked his and your message. There seems to have been a major misunderstanding.
Drum Him Out???!!!
So when he says;
“Don’t try to drum Bernie Sanders out of the race before Hillary Clinton officially gets the nomination (if she in fact does get it).” [Reich]
I wish that were what were going on. We aren't trying to drum Bernie out before she gets the nomination. We are trying to deal with the defamation and nastiness aimed at her and many of us just want Bernie to just go away at this point. Many of us would be fine with him staying in if he'd moderate his efforts to cast his every defeat as only the result of some kind of cheating and focus on the positive parts of his message without defaming the whole party.
His ruthless tactics and defamations are the reason that:
“Some of you say Bernie should bow out because he has no chance of getting the nomination, and his continuing candidacy is harming Hillary Clinton’s chances.” [Reich]
No, It's not his candidacy that is harming Hillary, it's his mouth. He and his surrogates went dark. They are giving credibility to GOP slanders. Bernie doesn't have a chance of getting the nomination, but even if he did get the nomination he'd be subject to even worse slanders than Hillary is getting. He admits he's trying to wound Hillary for the General, and his main argument right now is that he'd do better against the GOP Cons.
Winning by Destroying
He and his surrogates have been feeding a sense of being ripped off, "cheated" and a narrative that Hillary is winning because the primaries are rigged. In the process he's trying to destroy her not merely beat her. And in the process he's also aiming bombs at the party. It's the politics of destruction.
“It’s true that Bernie’s chances are slim, but it’s inaccurate to say he has no chance. If you consider only pledged delegates, who have been selected in caucuses and primaries, he’s not all that far behind Hillary Clinton. And the upcoming primary in California – the nation’s most populous state—could possibly alter Sanders’s and Clinton’s relative tallies.” [Reich]
He can win at this point. By continuing to cheat. Ironically he's challenging every primary. He's claiming he's been wronged whenever he loses. He's claiming that the Democrats should open their races to every Tom Dick and Harry who wants to vote for him, even those Tom Dick And Harry's who are GOP strategic voters. Even a win in California, unless it is a blowout, won't affect the relative tally. And you admit the reason:
“My calculation doesn’t include so-called “superdelegates”—Democratic office holders and other insiders who haven’t been selected through primaries and caucuses. But in this year of anti-establishment fury, it would be unwise for Hillary Clinton to rely on superdelegates to get her over the finish line.” [Reich]
Why would it be unwise? Before recently we had a completely indirect election system. Bernie has won more pledged delegates than he's earned because he's won in small States and Caucuses where the delegates reflected turnout, not the general popularity. Hillary is winning in actual votes by 2 million people. Super Delegates count for a reason. They reflect the sense of the party as a whole.
“Sanders should stay in the race also because he has attracted a large number of young people and independents. Their passion, excitement, and enthusiasm are critically important to Hillary Clinton’s success, if she’s the nominee, as well the success of other Democrats this year, and, more fundamentally, to the future of American politics.” [Reich]
All well and good. But he and his surrogates seem to be aiming at destroying the allegiance of those young people and independents permanently. Their passion, excitement and enthusiasm has been turned negative by an emphasis on how corrupt, sleazy, dishonest and how our party's "political power" is not only part of the problem, which most objective Democrats would concede, including Hillary, but they are being depicted as more evil than the GOP in some circles.
It takes a Movement/Party to Accomplish Change
So your next comment is part of the problem!
“Finally and not the least, Sanders has been telling a basic truth about the American political economic system—that growing inequality of income and wealth has led inexorably to the increasing political power of those at the top, including big corporations and Wall Street banks. And that political power has stacked the deck in their favor, leading to still wider inequality.” [Reich]
We've been fine with that message. Even agreeing with it. But Bernie and friends segued into bashing US as somehow stacking the elections against Bernie Sanders, when that explanation for his defeats is just not true. That is why I want him to stay in the race til the DC race. And I want Democrats to send a message to Sanders that his accusations are that "three fingered thing." It takes a party, solidarity, courage, commitment and resourcing to accomplish change. The moneyed interests have an interest in a sustainable future too. And we have never been able to wait on them before addressing those issues. And indeed, the following is simply not true:
“Nothing important can be accomplished—reversing climate change, creating true equal opportunity, overcoming racism, rebuilding the middle class, having a sane and sensible foreign policy—until we reclaim our democracy from the moneyed interests. The longer Bernie Sanders is on stage to deliver this message, the better.” [Reich]
We can chew gum and walk at the same time. But it takes folks not shooting at us in the back as we try to muddle through. It is in the better interest of even some of the monied interests to do so. They aren't monolithic. And indeed some of them supported Sanders or he'd have never gotten a place on the stage. Getting paid for giving speeches doesn't (it's a non sequitur) equal proof that she's corruption.
Putting the Genie back in the bottle!
Bernie's rhetoric of destruction has been so successful that some pollsters say 20% of his supporters will vote for Trump and a good number say they'd rather write him in or not vote than support Hillary. All this is based on the success of his incredibly negative messaging, much of it borrowed from Right Wing paid 501C3s who've been deliberately fanning the flames. So how is he going to put that back in the bottle?
“Next, my advice for Sanders supporters: Be prepared to work hard for Hillary Clinton if she gets the nomination.” [Reich]
Unfortunately Robert Reich is the only one saying that. Bernie and his surrogates are reinforcing the demonizing, hate filled feelings of the "Buster" movement. How are any of them going to do an about face now?
“Some of you say that refusing to fight for or even vote for Hillary will show the Democratic political establishment why it must change its ways” [Reich].
Legal challenges to democratically created rules. Efforts to force open primaries that only benefit GOP strategic voting, dishonest attacks on both the party and the leadership aren't designed to show the political establishment why it must change its ways --> they are an attack on the Democratic establishment. And your next line just helps reinforce that meme.
“But the “Democratic political establishment” is nothing but a bunch of people, many of them big donors and fundraisers occupying comfortable and privileged positions, who won’t even be aware that you’ve decided to sit it out – unless Hillary loses to Donald Trump.” [Reich]
Actually the Democratic Political Establishment is hundreds of thousands of people who work together to accomplish progressive causes, fight over issues but come together in solidarity on what is important to them. Yes the big donors and the fund raisers won't notice. They'll just cynically switch parties and support Trump. But many of those people are not evil and your implying that "many of them" are big donors and fundraisers is just reinforcing the meme that the rest of us don't count. It's part of the "both parties are the same meme" that is driving the defection of Democrats to the Libertarian movement or the "I don't vote" movement.
Of course there is a real difference between Hillary and Trump. It's not just those two. It's all he rest of us trying to get things done and who initially welcomed Bernie and the hard left because we thought we were getting energetic young people and people on the same journey! AT least I did.
“Which brings me to those of you who say there’s no real difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.” [Reich]
You shouldn't have to say that Robert Reich! Bernie started out with that message,...
“That’s just plain wrong. Trump has revealed himself to be a narcissistic, xenophobic, hatemonger who, if elected, would legitimize bigotry, appoint Supreme Court justices with terrible values, and have direct access to the button that could set off a nuclear war.” [Reich]
And Bernie, with his constant attacks on the party is revealing himself to be a narcissistic, radical, hatemonger who if elected would be fighting everybody, getting nobody appointed and would have access to that nuclear button, but would probably have no policies short of using it to deal with world bullies.
Remedying the Rigging of our Economy
Robert Reich is damning her with faint praise in his next comment;
“Hillary may not possess Bernie Sanders’s indignation about the rigging of our economy and democracy, or be willing to go as far in remedying it, but she’s shown herself a capable and responsible leader.” [Reich]
The trouble is that Bernie's indignation is aimed squarely at her rather than the real corruption or the real "issues." Democracy isn't in the machinery, it is in the participation. And the foundation of the Democrats has always been a push for popular franchise and participation. Our Demo-Kracy is under attack because of an imbalance of power that can only be rectified with concerted, unified action from people in solidarity from one another. You don't reject money or help because someone is rich, but only when their advice is deleterious or selfish. She knows we need to remedy this, and she also knows that the way to do this is through institutions and networks of people. She's a capable leader because she is able to unite and work with those institutions and networks. We've known this answer since the early 20th century. The only way to deal with the concerted power of a cabal of rich people is with the concerted power of everyone who has a good heart and is willing to challenge them. If we don't give people like Hillary support they are forced to compromise with those who will help them.
So Actually, we Democrats have been fighting the rigging of our economy and anti-democratic efforts for as long as he has. We just believe we need to work together in solidarity and as a party to accomplish them.
“Some of you agree a Trump presidency would be a disaster but claim it would galvanize a forceful progressive movement in response.” [Reich]
It's not just the Trump Presidency. But the GOP continuing a majority in Congress and State Governments.
“That’s unlikely. Rarely if ever in history has a sharp swing to the right moved the political pendulum further back in the opposite direction. Instead, it tends to move the “center” rightward, as did Ronald Reagan’s presidency.” [Reich]
And the fact is that people are scapegoating Hillary and our ineffectual efforts to reverse 36 years of right wing successes with the Clinton and Obama Presidency. And most of that ineffectualness has come from people who don't understand democratic process. Don't have a clue about what progressive change is, and aren't willing to support a progressive movement on the premise that "they are all the same." And Bernie's narrative rather than galvanizing a progressive movement is shorting it out. WE are feeling Bern out.
“Besides, Trump could do huge and unalterable damage to America and the world in the meantime.” [Reich]
Electing Bernie without coat tails could have the same effect. He'd deal with constant investigations, impeachments, have his cuts nixed and never get his legislation without a progressive majority in Congress!
“Finally, some of you say even if Hillary is better than Trump, you’re tired of choosing the “lesser of two evils,” and you’re going to vote your conscience by either writing Bernie’s name in, or voting for the Green Party candidate, or not voting at all.” [Reich]
And Robert! That "two evils" meme comes right from Bernie Sanders, his surrogates and his followers!
“I can’t criticize anyone for voting their conscience, of course. But your conscience should know that a decision not to vote for Hillary, should she become the Democratic nominee, is a de facto decision to help Donald Trump.” [Reich]
That isn't enough of a reason, Mr. Reich. People should support Hillary because it takes a party to make change. And she's been a stalwart Progressive the whole time! We should be rejecting the rewrites of history that depict her as a "Republican", as neo-liberal, or as being a conservative. Even if she has that inclination, with enough people pushing a progressive congress she'll do the right thing!
What is Hard to Swallow is the Moral Equivalence
“Both of my morsels of advice may be hard to swallow. Many Hillary supporters don’t want Bernie to keep campaigning, and many Bernie supporters don’t want to root for Hillary if she gets the nomination.” [Reich]
We don't want Bernie to stop campaigning so much as to stop defaming Hillary. Is it that hard to figure out? See my previous post on the subject. As I said previously "Bernie had the opportunity to bring transformative change to the Democratic Party and he's blowing it."
And the problem is that he sees dysfunction and then preaches that that dysfunction is caused by Hillary. [see Hanlon's Razor and the Bernie Corrolary
“But swallow it you must—not just for the good of the Democratic Party, but for the good of the nation.” [Reich]
Problem is that we shouldn't need to swallow anything. We need someone to admit he's been lying, exaggerating defaming and being unfair to Secretary Clinton. And that is probably not going to happen. And because that is not happening we just wish he'd go away.
- Reich:Robert Reich: It’s time for Clinton and Sanders supporters to swallow some tough medicine in Raw Story
- Related Posts:
- Winning doesn't always mean getting elected
- The Trouble with Bernie Sanders:
- Part I What Bernie is doing Right: [http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2016/05/what-bernie-is-doing-right.html]
- Part II Hanlon's Razor: [http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-trouble-with-bernie-sanders-part-ii.html]