Tom Rinaldo's Journal
Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
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Number of posts: 16,943
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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, 09:52 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, 02:15 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, 03:10 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, 12:55 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, 11:19 AM (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, 11:46 AM (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, 03:14 PM (2 replies)
I don't mean disagreeing with him on policy, or even expressing concern over how his continued candidacy might possibly adversely impact Hillary Clinton moving forward. And this has nothing to do with whether you think it is crazy to still hold out hope that Sanders still can win the nomination. I'm talking about the future of the Democratic Party, and that has nothing to do with whether or not you consider Bernie to be a good Democrat, or a Democrat at all. It does have to do, however, with the millions of people who have mobilized to support him for President, whether or not they previously, or even now, considered themselves good Democrats.
Since the overall craziness of 1968, I can only think of two times when the Democratic Party was this divided this late into a Presidential election year; 2008 with Obama and Clinton, and 1980 with Carter and Kennedy. It is worth noting that in both instances the loser of the nomination in those years did not exactly fade into the background afterwards, they remained major players in the Democratic Party and they continued to have a strong base of support within it. So yes, our Party has been split deeply before and that split doesn't magically vanish even when a Democrat wins the Presidency, it requires continued care and management or ill effects linger.
And yes that is a two way street, but the winner in any primary fight starts out with an advantage; they won. Power and respect flows naturally, at least to an extent, toward the winner of such contests. That heals lots of wounds. But the primary battle we now find ourselves in the midst of in 2016 is atypical in a very significant way; it has exposed a deep chasm generational divide among Democrats. The only thing close to this that has happened with Democrats before happened in 2008, and that year the candidate backed by youth won. No perceived door was thus slammed in the face of their future hopes and aspirations.
Hillary Clinton is far, far, far from being an idiot. For that reason among others, should she win the Democratic nomination, I expect her to be quite deft in her efforts to appeal to Sanders' base of support. I have less confidence in the wisdom and ability of most of the Democratic Party establishment to deal with Sanders supporters, at a more local level, with the same degree of tact. Because in many cases, often justifiably, they feel personally threatened by the gathering forces of the political revolution that Bernie Sanders has begun to harness. The handwriting though is very much on the virtual wall that tens of millions of younger Americans log onto daily. The extent of the ideological demographic shift, along generational lines, now sweeping across the nation is staggering. Either the Democrat Party will learn to accommodate it, or it will be swept away and cannibalized for parts by new political alignments that will rise up in its wake.
The Democratic Party establishment would be wise to recognize that in Bernie Sanders it has a potentially invaluable ally in helping it make the turn that will enable it to survive, albeit it in a significantly reformed new version of itself. Bernie is no wild eyed radical, he is a deeply progressive pragmatist who has worked alongside of establishment politicians across the political spectrum, within the system, for all of his long and productive life. Either the Democratic Party can help Bernie Sanders channel the cresting new generations of progressive political activists into the Democratic Party, or it will suffer the inevitable and grievous consequences of having failed to do so.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Tue May 24, 2016, 12:52 PM (60 replies)
Both literally and figuratively. Literally in that the percentage of Americas who identify themselves as Democrats has spiraled dramatically downwards. Literally in that Democrats now struggle to win majorities in Congress with Republicans more often than not there ascendant. Literally in that Republicans now win most of the governorship in America, and overwhelmingly control the majority of state legislatures.
Figuratively in that today's Democratic Party more often than not now advocates policies that the Republican Party was championing 25 years ago. Figuratively in that today's Democratic Party is more beholden to Wall Street than it is to Organized Labor. Figuratively in that today's Democratic Party struggles to hold on to even a sizable minority of working class voters in most elections.
So the movement that Bernie Sanders is now spearheading is about something much larger than the 2016 election alone. It is about our entire political future, which is controlled by two establishment institutions, the Republican and Democratic Parties, that increasingly represent the same narrow economic interests. When checkbooks held by roughly a dozen families and individuals are capable of funding most of the costs associated with a national political campaign, it is extraordinarily difficult to organize a force capable of countering that influence. Bernie Sanders has effectively been doing exactly that over the course of the last year through the means of his presidential campaign. It is a movement being built to last far beyond November. The largest state in the Union, California, is just starting to become directly engaged in that campaign, but some say it is time for Sanders to stand down, tone down, and/or send down instructions to millions of his followers that they need to immediately fall into line, again, behind a sinking Democratic establishment.
Were Sanders to do something of that sort now, as opposed to waiting for the Democratic Convention to gather and discuss the future of both the Party and our nation, some argue that could make the difference as to whether Hillary can defeat Trump. Can we pause here for just a moment and simply ponder that statement? Just how utterly pathetic is it to suggest that Hillary Clinton can't win an election in America against someone as vile as Donald Trump if Democrats are allowed to give full throat to important differences among us during this, the primary season? How terribly sad, not to mention alarming, is it to suggest that Americas below the age of 45 will desert the Democratic Party in droves to either back Donald Trump or stay at home if Bernie Sanders doesn't become a cheerleader for Hillary Clinton RIGHT NOW? How deeply unnerving is it to consider that an arrogant Billionaire like Donald Trump may win the support of a majority of working class Americans over the standard bearer of the Party of FDR if Bernie Sanders doesn't start to prop up Clinton RIGHT NOW?
That is the real story. The establishment of the Democratic Party dutifully lined up behind Hillary Clinton before this primary season even began, and they never budged. They adamantly refused to change course though the Party has been sinking now for decades on the course it is set on, kept partially afloat on the Presidential level only in recent years by "the Obama Coalition" formed behind the America's first African American President who also strongly appealed to the hopes and aspirations of America's youth. Now the young are increasingly disaffected, and in classic shoot the messenger form the establishment wants to blame Bernie Sanders for that. They refuse to be accountable for their own actions.
If this were only about the Democratic nomination then this would only be "about the math", but it isn't of course. If those who know that the Democratic Party needs to change course for America were to stand down now, before using every opportunity to mobilize offered by a slowly moving presidential campaign that ultimately sweeps into every corner of our nation, this moment will be lost rather than seized. It's not about one election only, it's the forest not one tree that it is essential that we see, because the Democratic Party has wandered off the path and increasingly stands lost in a wilderness of hollow values.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Fri May 20, 2016, 08:24 AM (47 replies)
Aren't we lucky that they are all such ethical people and believe so strongly in transparency that they would never post such violent filth while pretending to be anyone other than themselves? If they had less integrity they could anonymously threaten to kill someone's grandchild and claim to be a disgruntled Democrat making that threat. They might wreak havoc among their enemies by doing so, but they wouldn't really do that because they are intrinsically too honorable to ever lie in that way. That would be dirty politics after all, and neo-Nazi KKK militia types are all clean as a whistle when it comes to interpersonal relations, especially with their perceived enemies.
Besides, they could never get away with anonymously impersonating some one with views contrary to their own. The media would be all over it. There would be investigative journalists working to get to the bottom of it, not just parroting back inflammatory claims without questions. Not that their investigatory work would be easy mind you, anti-war, environmental and women's rights activists, who believe black lives matter and that workers deserve a living wage, are so easily confused with those who threaten to kill innocent children.
Thank God for good reporting, and for Democratic Party Leadership that isn't quick to cast aspersions onto half of their base, and instead works to deescalate tensions among Democrats when they arise rather than castigating some with fabricated reports of violence that never happened.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Wed May 18, 2016, 03:40 PM (11 replies)