Tom Rinaldo's Journal
Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 06:39 PM
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Before "primary season" ends at DU, there is something that I think needs to be said. A few players here on GD-P have tried to make political hay by insinuating that Bernie Sanders is the candidates for whites, with unspoken implications that there is an intentional racially tinged divide between Sanders and Clinton and/or between their supporters. It started here early and never was far below the surface. There are genuine points for discussion about why one candidate appeals more to one group or another, but racial support and racial politics are not synonymous.
Sometimes it can be one and the same. Other times not. When David Duke ran for Governor of Louisiana he had strong white support and he also had a political agenda that appealed to white racism. In 2008 when both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton ran for President support for each deviated strongly along racial lines, with Hillary running significantly stronger among whines than she did with African Americans. Does anyone claim that she then had a racial agenda deigned to especially appeal to white sentiments or, even more extreme, to white racists? I don't.
In 1968 George Wallace ran for President soliciting racial support from whites with his clear racial agenda. He did fairly well with many working class white voters. But before Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, Bobby had been wining the loyalty of those same voters instead.
There are many reasons why support for candidates can differ along racial lines, many of those reasons are wholesome and legitimate enough without being evidence that one candidate or another is less supportive of racial justice, or less inclusive of diversity in their vision for America. Hillary Clinton did not fundamentally change as a human being between 2008 and 2016, but the racial profile of her political support during the two democratic primary years clearly did. It is not a bad thing to appeal to white working class voters unless that appeal is based on racism.
It was not a bad thing that RFK won support from voters who then turned to George Wallace after Bobby was gone, it was good that Bobby did. Those voters would have helped him defeat Richard Nixon and end the Vietnam war 5 years earlier. Kennedy stood for racial justice AND won working class white voters, because he also spoke to issues of deep concern to those white voters. Some of those voters no doubt were racist, to varying extents. But that often is how racism is overcome: fighting for a common cause can cause those who once fought each other to discover a deeper commonality.
I was supporting Hillary Clinton here on DU in 2008 when many here were accusing her of appealing to a racial divide in an attempt to maximize white votes for her. I defended her then, but clearly whatever concerns anyone may have had then on that score were not reflected in the results this year when Hilary won very strong minority support, especially among African Americans. I do not second guess why that is so. By whatever criteria those voters held most dear she won their support in 2016, and that reflects well on Hillary. But it doesn't reflect poorly on Bernie that they preferred her over him, unless he himself had run a racist campaign. And he didn't. All of our candidates this year spoke strongly to the importance of racial justice, and they all were sincere in doing so. And as long as that is the case, we should no more fear a Bernie Sanders winning white support in Oregon in 2016 than we dd Barack Obama wining black support in South Carolina in 2008
We need to restore a coalition of common interests among an overwhelming majority of Americans that bridge the walls of racism built to divide and conquer us. It is a lesson labor unions learned long ago before workers could bargain from a position of strength. It is how we some day hopefully soon will have the majorities we need in Congress to repair the damage done to our nation by the oligarchy that now control it.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Thu Jun 9, 2016, 05:01 PM (3 replies)
She will be an infinitely better leader for America and the world than would be Donald Trump. She is a Democrat as that has been defined in recent decades. The Republican Party still poses a grave threat to the economic well being of the vast majority of our nation's citizens, still embracing policies more severe in their negative impact for working and most middle class Americans than those of New Democrats. Beyond that Donald Trump is toxic and unstable beyond words. Hillary has a long and distinguished record of fighting for women's rights. While I don't believe that gender tops policies in picking a leader, it will be good for our nation to finally break an undeviated chain of dozens of male only leaders occupying the oval office.
There is immediate work to be done together to defeat Donald Trump, but the long term work to ensure internal democracy in the Democratic Party continues, as does organizing for a more progressive future where both our economy and our politics do not remain beholden to the same narrow entrenched special interests whose rule extends unbroken.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Wed Jun 8, 2016, 08:11 AM (2 replies)
Nothing illegal would have been required, and the Associated Press wouldn't have to have been "in on" anything for the actual timing of an announcement on the night before California voted to have been set up by Clinton's campaign.
Some question what motivation would cause Hillary's team to want events to play out that way, when the optics potentially were so much better to clam clinching the nomination at a victory Party in Brooklyn after the NJ results came in. It would have allowed Hillary to announce with fanfare that she had won by securing the majority of pledged delegates at stake in the overall contest - a far more powerful taking point than relying on a secret poll of nameless party apparatchiks to declare victory. True, no doubt that was Plan A.
Why might Hillary's team have benefited by ditching Plan A then, and moving instead to a Plan B? That's pretty simple really; to better manage the news and spin cycle if the Clinton campaign's internal polling numbers for California had turned bleak. If she was headed toward an embarrassing loss in California, with high voter turn out in a highly diverse state which she won in 2008 against Barack Obama - that would be a reason to reshuffle the deck with an 11th hour call of victory before polls actually opened in California.
If one assumes that team Hillary feared a pending loss in California with the inevitable subsequent media commentary about her limping across the finish line for the nomination showing clear sign of weakness, then it all makes sense. As it stands now though she is benefiting from a full day positive news cycle focused on becoming the first woman ever called the presumptive presidential nominee of a major political party. Had the Associated Press not stepped in with their call last night, Hillary still would have claimed overall victory at her campaign party today in Brooklyn as planned. But the positive glow from that would have competed with election returns in progress and lasted at most a few hours, if she still went down to a humiliating defeat out west. Why would she take that chance if she didn't have to?
Now Hillary is guaranteed to escape that worst case scenario, even if she does still lose California. She can simply say her voters chose to stay home after the nomination was called for her, having nothing left to prove, while Bernie's people still turned out to cast a protest vote. Overall voter turn out in California will almost certainly be depressed below potentially record breaking numbers now as well, and that too will help reduce the sting of any loss Clinton may suffer there.
So I think the motivation may well have been there on the part of the Clinton camp to have this race "called" last night, but how about the means? That part would be pretty straight forward. Both the Clinton and Sanders camps know exactly who at AP was conducting ongoing Super Delegate polling. Hillary Clinton, it is safe to say, has plenty of friends within the structure of the Democratic Party who just so happen to be Super Delegates. I'm not saying they are not sincere and honest people, let's assume the best about all of them. Some may have held back on pledging their support to Hillary before now for any number of reasons. For example, maybe some of them are from states that are finally voting today, and maybe it had been their intention not to announce until that voting was over. Whatever, we will never really know, because the Associated Press is hiding their identity from the public.
Hillary's team could have prevailed on a number of them to make their preference known to the Associated Press a day or a week earlier than they had originally planned, so that the nominating contest could be called for Hillary at the last minute before California voted. They could have reached out to the Associated Press, not the other way around. It was entirely possible, and it would not have been very difficult, for the Clinton team to determine the timing of when she got declared the presumptive nominee by the Associated Press.
Is that what happened? I don't know, I can only say that it is plausible that it happened. And that clearly points to what sucks about how the political game gets played in a system where a significant percentage of the delegates are unaccountable to any real electorate, and remain obscure if not totally anonymous. And where the stating of an intention (to later vote for candidate "A" or "B") is equated with an actual official vote by the electorate in a primary that binds delegates to support the person thus favored by registered voters.
If that happened it was all quite legitimate, in that the game got played consistent with all stated rules. But those rules suck whether or not they lent themselves in this instance to that kind of political hardball on the eve of today's important vote. They need to be changed before another Democratic presidential election cycle comes around again - because any system that suppresses or disenfranchises voting has no place in a party that calls itself Democratic.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Tue Jun 7, 2016, 03:11 PM (93 replies)
You have lost it for now. Not that my individual respect means a hill of beans to anyone, but it is mine to give or not to give and that is where matters stand. Had you waited until this Wednesday, I would likely feel differently about it. I'm not sure I would agree with you on that even then, but then that debate would at least be honorable. Now I find it deplorable. Virtually everyone who is making the case for Sanders to "make peace" now is a die hard Clinton supporter, and it was Hillary Clinton herself who refused to "make peace" in the name of party unity until the voters had had their say and the 2008 primary season was over. Now it is about "stopping Donald Trump". In 2008 it was about life and death and the war in Iraq, and the danger of another pro War Republican again taking control of the White House. At this point in that cycle Hillary remained defiant. As did almost all of her supporters.
At this point in the cycle it is not only about winning or losing, it is also about leverage. Even during her gracious performance at the 2008 Democratic Convention, Hillary was proud to point to "18 million cracks in the glass ceiling". She was counting every vote she won and making sure the whole world, Democratic Party and its presidential nominee included, knew about every one of them. And Hillary fought hard to the bitter end, and was lauded by her supporters for doing so, trying to wrack up each vote that she could. They all contributed to Clinton's continuing standing and power inside of the Democratic Party looking forward, after her defeat by Barack Obama. Had Hillary taken her foot off the throttle weeks earlier than she did, her influence would have been diminished. She would have been viewed predominantly as a defeated rival, not as the leader of a political movement that fell just short of making Hillary President.
The time for Party unity is at the Democratic National Convention, on its final day with all of it's leaders standing arm and arm and smiling together on a stage together. It can happen sooner, sure, but that is subject to negotiations. There is not all that much to negotiate when a contest ultimately is one sided, a commanding victor dictates the terms. That is how a winning camp prefers it of course. That is at the root of much of the weeks, if not months long, frenetic campaign by Team Clinton to force Sanders to concede early defeat - sapping energy from his subsequent campaign. But Sanders isn't just campaigning for himself, he is also fighting for a cause. Had Bernie dutifully backed down when "Party Elders" long ago asked him to, and scaled back the intensity of his campaigning, what he fought for would have faded from the public sphere and public mind.
The highly anticipated vote tomorrow in our nation's largest state would instead have been a mere asterisk on the 2016 election. By fiercely contesting (and potentially winning as a strong underdog) a California Primary that Clinton herself won in 2008, Bernie Sanders ensures that his message will remain front and center at Philadelphia come July. For all those so obsessed with talking about "the Math"; the margin of a victory is as relevant to determining the relative strength of the key elements of a coalition within it, as the outcome is to determining who ultimately heads it. The Democratic Party is and always has been a coalition. In a two Party political system both political parties by necessity become coalitions with various factions having varying degrees of strength.
We, the People, collectively exercise our peak level of influence on the internal dynamics of the Democratic Party during a contested presidential primary season. We, rather than the often personally dedicated insiders of the Party, get to make our own will known through the counting of ballots in every state in the nation that conducts a presidential primary or caucus. Those of us who support Bernie Sanders have already made a strong impact on the Democratic Party through the success to date of Bernie Sander's once thought wildly improbable presidential run. They wanted to ignore us, they thought they could but they couldn't. A few weeks ago they made yet another concerted attempt to turn the page and relegate us again to the past. They wanted voting in California drained of further meaning. Why even bother, hey implied, the race is over?
It is that attitude that I find unforgivable, especially from a camp that eight years ago knew full well why California, and other late voting states, still mattered, irrespective of "the math". Assuming that hundreds of Democratic Super Delegates who now support Hillary Clinton don't discover very compelling reasons to switch to Bernie, Hillary will be our Democratic nominee. Under that likely scenario it will be official by the last day of our national convention. Under a similarly likely scenario we will have Party Unity by then as well. Whether that happens two days from tomorrow or two days into our convention is subject to negotiations, and it takes both sides to conduct a negotiation. I am not any kind of high up Democratic insider. I don't know what was negotiated between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in the final stage of their contest in 2008, or exactly when agreements between them were reached. I do know however that the fact that Hillary carried California over Barack was a relevant factor in those negotiations.
When it comes time to negotiate a contact between organized labor and management sometimes those talks go on past midnight of the day when a strike was threatened to be called. Sometimes a settlement is reached weeks earlier. It all depends on the issues on the table, the relative strength of the parties to the negotiations, how badly each side wants to avoid a strike, and yes, the skill of the negotiators. The deadline for Democratic Unity falls during the Convention in July. I hope a good deal is reached before then, I pray that a good deal is reached by then, but I am not in a position to second guess all of the specific tactics of the negotiators. For now I am focused on urging support for Bernie Sanders in the States voting tomorrow. My reasons for doing so ow are at least as strong as those advanced by Hillary's supporters back in 2008.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Mon Jun 6, 2016, 10:52 AM (183 replies)
Most of them I'm sure think they have good grounds for hating her, and that like all things is subject to debate. But most of us here on DU who oppose Hillary becoming the Democratic nominee do not hate her, we simply oppose her for that role for any number of reasons, with varying degrees of vehemence.
That's not saying anything that most members of DU don't already know, but here is why I think it bears repeating. While there may be some who would like nothing more than to see Hillary politically destroyed, or even thrown in jail, that represents a small fraction at most of those of us who now express unease over the latest developments in the saga over her emails. Speaking for myself, I always expect those who achieve real power in our society to show a tendency to routinely bend rules to their advantage, whether for convenience or for gain, when they believe that is called for and can be gotten away with. If everyone in government and/or politics with that inclination was rooted out and replaced, we truly will have witnessed a sweeping revolution.
I think Hillary displayed some serious bouts of poor judgement in how she handled her email set up initially, and in how she has managed the fall out from it subsequently. For me that is of more real concern to me than whatever risks to national security her actions may or may not have contributed to. Espionage goes on all the time through hundreds of different means, the lessen is always to learn from our mistakes and move on. Poor judgement is harder to tighten up against than a security system lapse, but even that is not my main concern. If I look close enough I can find instances of poor judgement committed by anyone, starting with but not limited to myself.
My biggest concern now is with the Fall election and stopping Donald Trump. Like the strong majority of Sanders supporters I am not Bernie or Bust. I'm old enough to have been following politics closely during Watergate, and I remember how that scandal had already started perking while McGovern was running against Nixon. McGovern still lost in an overwhelming landslide but subsequently Nixon was forced out of office once the facts caught up to him. Compared to the Whitewater probe and Nixon's reelection campaign, the machinery of investigation is far more engaged now than it was at a similar point in the election cycle in 1972, so more potential "dirt" and allegations are already breaking now in the public sphere prior to the November vote.
And here is where I may surprise some Clinton supporters who still may be reading this rather than having fired off a reply after the third paragraph. I am not hoping for Hillary to get into legal difficulties, and I am not at all convinced that she will. What I am worried most about now is the drip drip dripping of unflattering revelations about all that has happened to date in the national media. And not all of that concerns whether there theoretically may be grounds for Clinton's prosecution, much of it revolves around perceptions of her character and yes, truthfulness, and therefore ultimately trustworthiness.
Here is a point I think is especially relevant to us here on Democratic Underground. We are participating in a skewed universe. Who we each back for President is usually a byproduct of years of intense political thought about what is right and wrong about America and what we need to do about it. We, and others like us gathered elsewhere on the internet, are not, by and large, a representative sampling of anything other than hard core political junkies and grassroots political activists. We argue with each other a lot and sometime it seems that besting an adversary in debate at a place like Democratic Underground will defuse or solidify support for, or opposition to, the candidate we want to win. But I'll say this with a fair degree of certainty. The problem that Hillary is grappling with now over the issue of her emails is not materially effected by any rantings by Bernie supporters here or anywhere else. It is already out there loose in the nation, where it may or may not come to anything more than just reenforcing some of the negative feelings that already preexist about Hilary among a large part of the public.
What the Hillary campaign, and her supporters , and ultimately all non Bernie or Bust Democrats will have to figure out should Clinton win the nomination, is how to counter those feelings effectively. Blasting them as misguided is not good enough. Bernie supporters, no matter how extreme any of us may seem to some, did not cause this problem and attacking us over it will not solve it either. Dismissing all of us who worry about this matter as Hillary Hater's or the like, will not make it better. It is the general public that needs convincing that Hillary is trustworthy, I don't need convincing she is more trustworthy than Trump. If you believe it well past time to pivot to the fall election, that is where to start. It never helps to blame the messenger, whoever that may be.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Mon May 30, 2016, 03:15 PM (32 replies)
I'm sorry, I don't care what angle you look at it from, that is what it finally boils down to. It is unheard of, and verging on pathetic, for a sitting United States Senator to call for a primary election to be neutered in her own state (asking a candidate to suspend his campaign there), days before all of it's citizens actually get to cast their ballots. Interest in this primary is sky high and growing, and new registrations for it came in at a record pace. Maybe if Feinstein had called on Bernie to withdraw a month ago, one could give this a different (but still not positive) read, but the campaign in California is already in full swing and has been for weeks.You can count the days left to it's culmination on your fingers without needing to resort to any toes.
I lived in California for 27 years and I can tell you that Californians in general are not exactly thrilled that their votes generally aren't even noticed when it comes time to pick a Presidential nominee - the deed is generally done well before they get any chance to weigh in. Normally Democratic politicians jet into the Bay Area, or LA, for big ticket fundraisers, pocket the cash, and then fly off to South Carolina or Michigan to actually campaign Campaign rallies in California, in recent years, are about as rare as Democratic Governors in Texas. This year is different, this year interest in politics among young voters there too is at all time highs. That is exactly what a state wide elected Democrat is supposed to be praising and encouraging, not trying to shut down instead.
And for what? Does Feinstein really believe that anything Bernie Sanders will say or do in the next 8 or so days will mortally wound Hillary Clinton's candidacy now, after dozens of other states have voted, after a string of debates between them have already been held, and the one Feinstein should have been a booster for in her own state has been reneged on by Clinton? Feinstein's appeal to Sanders to suspend his campaign is the type of message that should have been assigned to someone like Claire McCaskill if the Clinton camp was so desperate that they thought they needed the primary season called off now with just a few days remaining in it. The fact that a California Senator made this appeal is, frankly, cringe worthy. "Don't let our people speak" Really?
Whatever negative press Clinton now is facing is not being driven by the Sanders campaign. It is being driven by the recent State Department Inspector General report. If anyone thinks Sanders commenting (in response to a direct question) that it is something Super Delegates will look at, that THAT is the kind of fierce attack on Hilary that will cripple her chances to win the Presidency unless Bernie goes away RIGHT NOW before California votes, stay away from the brown acid.
Diane Feinstein is afraid that the results of the California Primary may reveal how soft support for Hillary Clinton really is, that is the only explanation that makes any sense for her wanting Bernie to withdraw now, five yards from the finish line. The fact that she concedes that Bernie has the right to remain in the race if he wants to is about the same as some cop conceding that I can remain outside after dusk unless martial law is declared. It is not Bernie's fault if Californians don't want to vote for Hillary even though it is a diverse state with high numbers of minorities. I don't recall Feinstein wanting Hillary to call off her campaign in California in 2008 days before the primary, in the name of party unity, because Obama was then the certain nominee. I'll take back what I wrote above. This doesn't verge on being pathetic, it flat out is.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Sun May 29, 2016, 04:10 PM (27 replies)
It wouldn't be a Coup, it would be closer to a court ordered Conservatorship. The Super Delegates to the Democratic Convention are overwhelmingly positively disposed toward her candidacy and always have been. Hillary started out with 400 Super Delegate votes already in her pocket before a single primary contest vote had been cast. No way those people want to take the nomination away from Hillary, rather they have done everything in their power to make sure that she gets it.
In order for them to take the Presidential nomination away from Hillary now they will have to become convinced that she has become too gravely disabled for her to control her estate - in this case that "estate" would be the Democratic Party. They would only deny Hillary the nomination if they become convinced that it is their moral and quasi legal obligation to do so, to protect the interests of the institution which she has lost the ability to successfully manage due to a grave (political) disability.
Talk of any Convention Coup is ridiculous, it is like saying that the Democratic Party Establishment would be seeking to overthrow itself. They would only do so as a last resort to protect critical assets currently entrusted to Clinton's leadership. They would only do so if they believed that Democratic possession of the Presidency itself was at mortal risk, and they would do so most reluctantly. But if they do, it will not be a coup.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Sat May 28, 2016, 01:55 PM (43 replies)
The primary season essentially ends in less than two weeks. Washington D.C. votes just after that which I think is a shame because they should vote right after New Hampshire, and not be last in the nation. I'm not saying what the Democratic candidates should not be discussing between now and then, or even before the Convention in July. I'm not convinced that Bernie Sanders can not still become our nominee either - though that's a real long shot. Of course he should keep competing. There are real issues that matter to America that need to be addressed more in the coming months, not less. Which issues remain front and center from here on out, and how they are framed, are still very much effected by the Democratic Primary contest that is still being waged.
What is clear to me now though are the possibilities, however one might rank their likelihood of playing out. Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. There is nothing about any real or imagined sense of self entitlement, any real or imagined recklessness regarding National Security matters, any real or imagined collusion with ruling class interests, or any real or imagined untrustworthiness about Hillary Clinton that makes her less qualified to be President of the United States of America, or more dangerous to the world in that role, than Donald Trump would be.
And there is nothing real or imagined about Bernie Sanders' "wild" prior record, real or imagined about his supposedly rigid ideological bent of mind, real or imagined about the implausibility of his platform, real or imagined about his cantankerous opposition to business as usual in either America or the Democratic Party, that would make him less qualified to be President of the United States than Donald Trump, with all that would entail.
But here is the real kicker for me. There is virtually nothing left that I or anyone else posting opinions on boards like this can do, unless it directly relates to fund raising and mobilizing partisan voters in the remaining primary states, to alter the trajectory and outcome of the Democratic Primary Contest. The only possible exception to that rule of thumb I can think of might be if you happen to be on close talking terms with one or more Democratic Super Delegates, if you honestly have their ear, and they personally value your opinions. Aside from that the forces are already in motion
I am not claiming that the future is cast in concrete. Essentially the reason why I do not rule out Bernie Sanders still winning the nomination is because there are significant balls in play and we do not know with certainty where they all will land. The Democratic Party has not been on the brink of nominating a Presidential nominee less popular than Hillary Clinton since the last time Harry Truman ran (yeah I know, he still won, but it's not a good strategy to go looking for that quality in a candidate). California happens to be the largest state in the Union, and a very influential one to boot, so any major repudiation of Hillary there (with it's large minority population and record of supporting her in the past) would leave a bad mark. But that wouldn't be enough to lose Hillary the nomination. That might only happen if the majority of Super Delegates become really fearful that the Party will go down in flames in November is she is our standard bearer.
And that could only happen if the fall out from the probes of her prior personal email server practice escalates dramatically beyond where things stand now, and if, as a result, support for Hilary in polls nationwide begins to really hemorrhage - with that reflected in the California vote and then unraveling further from there before the Democratic Convention convenes. I don't care how likely or unlikely anyone here thinks that scenario may be - our speculation doesn't matter nor, honestly, do our opinions on that anymore. That ball is now in play. It will either drift down lazily into an outfielders glove, or get picked up by an unexpected mighty gust of wind and carried outside of the ball park.
I won't be throwing any activist fuel onto that current brush fire (yup, I changed metaphors). All we tend to do here now when we get into it is get each other angry and divide us. We do not drive this story now, we only drive each other crazy by arguing over it. Either the media will aggressively pursue the email issue as a scandal now or it won't. And if they do try to either new dirt will be dug up or it won't. And even if more dirt emerges either enough of it will stick, and stick quickly enough, to make a difference on the nomination outcome, or it won't. Far as I'm concerned there isn't enough dirt in North America - nor any valid fears bout Hillary Clinton strong enough, for me not to fear a Trump Administration over hers.
Meanwhile I'll keep sending money to Bernie because, at the very least, I still want him out there discussing the issues that matter to me. And I'll stay tuned, knowing that they'll be wok to do during the Fall campaign at AND below the Presidential level.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Sat May 28, 2016, 12:19 PM (19 replies)
I think this is where I would be at now. Most likely, if I were typical, I would both be supporting Clinton and also resistant to nominating Sanders for President. I would have assumed until now that Clinton both had the nomination in the bag and that she would fairly easily defeat Donald Trump in the Fall. Now I would be just starting to question the latter assumption, in light of what I once dismissed as a mere witch hunt showing some signs of possibly turning into a legitimate scandal. I would most likely not be convinced there's much in the way of real fire behind all the smoke, but the thought at least would be crossing my mind; what if there is?
I don't expect any Super Delegates to decouple from the Clinton bandwagon now. They still both hope and believe that Hillary has or soon will weather the worst of any storms associated with use of her private email account at State. But the clock is ticking on the Convention and some contingency planning may now be in order, very quietly.
Her Super Delegate supporters won't want to do anything publicly to undermine Hillary, first and foremost because they still expect her to be our next President. No hints of any possibly anxiety will be visible before the California Primary at the earliest (if ever) - they still want her to win there and if possible win big. There is no downside from their perspective to holding firm for Hillary because even if Clinton over exceeds expectations on that day Super Delegates will continue to hold the keys to her potential nomination, and they could still lock that gate in Philadelphia if Hillary started to go down in flames.
My best guess about a typical Democratic Super Delegate is that they like Hilary, and clearly still want her as the nominee - and they would rather avoid Bernie getting the nomination instead if Hilary self destructed. The best way to avoid the latter is to stand firm for Clinton now and deny Sanders as many delegates as possible heading into the Convention. The real test will be during the time window after the close of voting and before the Convention opens. Will there then be any credible rumors of behind the scenes talk about a Biden, Warren, or Kerry emerging as a "consensus" alternative to Hillary Clinton should her prospects in the fall by then seem gravely wounded?
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Fri May 27, 2016, 12:46 PM (10 replies)
When I step back from the ruckus I can understand where different sides are coming from, even though I am a partisan to one side in it. For starters I believe that a strong majority of the sentiments expressed by supporters of both Hillary and Bernie are sincerely felt. I also believe that a potent minority of such sentiments expressed are anything but sincere, and in fact are highly suspect. Having said that I think it is pointless as an individual for me to try to sort out who is and isn't a Troll. That quickly leads to witch hunts which are destructive to any community sharing an overall common purpose, beyond this one presidential contest. Real trolls mimic real people, that is how they are effective. I'll leave it to the team running and monitoring DU to use tools I don't have to root them out when they surface.
OK, some observations on the race itself. I know and accept that there are major veins of of strong genuine activist support for Hillary Clinton within the Democratic base, and that includes support from many genuine progressives. Hillary also has benefited greatly from the early and consistent support from the vast bulk of the Democratic Party establishment. Aside from the Obama Presidency, the Democratic Party establishment has on whole been losing ground to the Republican Party establishment, nation wide and locally, for most of the last decade when it comes to electing our side into office. On the whole, nationwide, there has been greater activist enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders than for Hillary Clinton, especially among the young (those below 45, but especially those below 35).
Those who early on warned that the electorate as a whole did not relish another Bush vs Clinton dynastic presidential election sequel have been proven right. Jeb never could be propped up as a candidate, and Hillary has historically high disapproval numbers for a leading presidential contender (second only to Donald Trump) among the general public. No one can pretend that the overall public mood this year has not been anti-establishment. Jeb represented the Republican establishment and Hillary still represents the Democratic establishment. Fairly or not (and I subscribe to thinking it is a combination of both) Hillary Clinton it is turning out to be a fairly weak candidate for our side. I am not speaking here about whether she would make an excellent or poor President, that is largely a separate issue, I am speaking about her as a candidate.
As it has been noted by others on this board, Clinton's trust issue with the public (well documented whether or not deserved) will now be hindered even further by the latest developments in the ongoing investigations into her use of a private email account and server while Secretary of State. I'm not going to go into details about that here, I stand with the official Sanders campaign in that regard - I leave it to the appropriate authorities to sort out. Fortunately there is a Democratic Administration controlling the Executive Branch, I trust it will not come down on Hillary for partisan reasons. I will suffice it to say that I found some of the details in the internal report just issued about her email use to be far more troubling than what I expected.
Having said all that I still find it extremely unlikely that Hillary Clinton will not be the Democratic Party nominee for President - though I am not quite as certain of that today as I was a week ago. Let me put it this way; as it is turning out I'm glad that the Democratic Convention is still almost two months away and that our final presidential choice will not be made before then - no one will get to Philadelphia with the nomination sown up with pledged delegates only. It would take a frightening strong deterioration of Hillary's presidential prospects between now and then to turn enough Super Delegates against her to deny Hillary the nomination. Were that to happen I would hope that she would voluntarily withdraw her candidacy, but if not, under that worst case for her scenario, I would hope that the convention denied her that nomination. Again though, I still don't think it will come to that, I expect Hillary to be our nominee.
If she becomes our nominee, I want her to defeat Donald Trump. In short I am not Bernie or Bust. There is another thing that I am not however, and that is I am not exclusively focused on the outcome of the 2016 presidential campaign as the only essential task now before us. The political drift, both in America and the Democratic Party, has been steadily to the Right for several decades. Big money interests and conservatives have consolidated their hold on traditional national media, and both political parties go to the same special interests cup in hand looking for money to fund their activities and campaigns. Job killing, Union busting trade agreements and the deregulation of Wall Street advanced with strong Democratic support. I've said this before and I'll say it again. We have become locked in a pattern where incoming national Republican Administrations take us 5 steps to the Right, while incoming Democratic Administrations move us back two steps toward the center. Then the pattern repeats. It is nothing but a waltz toward (and some day soon over) the cliff.
Favorite or not Hillary Clinton faced a challenge in attempting to secure the Democratic Presidential nomination, certainly, but her basic mission was linear and clear cut; win the Presidency. By any definition hers is not an insurgent campaign. Hillary entered this race already established as one of, if not the, leading political figures in America and the World. Over the course of 25 years and several national campaigns she and her husband have built a strong web of contacts in the Democratic Party nationwide. They are the insiders, and they've used their fame and stature to help advance a lot of political careers (nothing wrong with that) so a lot of people owe them a lot of favors. Hillary Clinton has never had any trouble getting national attention for her own political agenda, it rests rather comfortably within the spectrum of conventional establishment politics.
That has not been the case for the progressive left wing of the Democratic Party. Voices like Amy Goodman, Noam Chompsky, and Michael Moore are infrequently heard in the mainstream media, and theirs are among the highest profile voices on the Left. The Sanders campaign is not only about winning the Presidency, at its most basic level it is also about breaking through the media blockade and being heard with an alternative progressive vision for America. Because of the Sanders campaign for President, that is finally starting to happen. I'll give you a fairly minor example that involves someone I'm personally slightly acquainted with; Jonathan Tasini (I helped in his campaign when he opposed Hillary Clinton in a Democratic Primary for her seat in the U.S. Senate). Google him sometime – he has solid leftist credentials and a pretty strong list of accomplishments, but he's the kind of guy who never would have gotten any real national media time before now, even if he staged a three week hunger strike in front of the White House. This year I've seen Jonathan often on TV, as an advocate for Bernie Sanders,
Bernie Sanders is helping build a strong and hopefully lasting movement among a leftist constituency that the Democratic Party, frankly, had largely long taken for granted and been faintly dismissive of. And with every state primary or caucus victory Sanders secures, both his own political standing and that of the movement that has coalesced behind him continues to grow. In short, it would be foolish and counter productive to his goals for Sanders to stop pushing his political agenda now while remaining presidential primaries still afford him a strong national platform to do so. And the thing is, aside from the passions that have risen due to an intense presidential contest, I believe many current Hillary supporters would ordinarily be happy to see Bernie do so, just like they too would like to see the corrupting influence of Wall Street money removed from politics.
Some say Bernie is hurting Hillary by aggressively remaining in this race. I won't say that he isn't, instead I'll say – barely. On one hand her supporters say that her current personal unfavorable numbers should be discounted, because she has been hit with constant Republican attacks for twenty five years and counting. When it is just her against Trump, they say, she will forcefully face him down and the public will overwhelmingly back her as the superior choice. That may be true, but it hardly squares with all of the hand wringing that anything Bernie Sanders says about Hilary now can seriously wound her: he who never drags up tawdry sexual charges against her husband, or blasts Hillary over Benghazi or her emails. There is nothing that Bernie Sanders has or would say against Hillary Clinton while running against her that doesn't pale in comparison to the mind boggling negative things that have been said about Donald Trump by the Republicans who ran against him. I am not worried about old campaign footage. Bernie Sanders has been far milder with Hillary Clinton than Barack Obama was in 2008, or than she in turn had been with Obama during their nomination battle.
Here is what does worry me. The national mood still remains strongly anti-establishment and against the status quo, which works against Hillary's strengths, and may work against Trump's weaknesses. Should Clinton become the Democratic nominee she stands to strongly benefit from every ounce of authenticity and anti-establishment credibility that Bernie Sanders possesses if he is standing in her corner after the dust has cleared. And Sanders will maximize, rather than squander, all that by seeing his quest fully through until the end, into the convention with the agenda that empowered a movement behind him. Hillary will need the heart of that movement behind her also if she emerges from Philadelphia as the Democratic standard bearer. She will need that energy and some of that passion. If she positively and convincingly acknowledges the significance of that movement, perhaps she could still win enough of that in order for her to win in November. Now is not the time for her campaign and its surrogates to train their fire against supporters of Bernie Sanders, there's been far too much of that already. It is the definition of counter productive.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Thu May 26, 2016, 04:14 PM (2 replies)