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The Sanders Endgame

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This inside-baseball account of the Sanders campaign will get a lot of attention, and it’s certainly interesting reading. A few points:

  • One thing about pieces about losing or lost campaigns is that they inevitably tend to frame choices as mistakes, and to assume that these perceived mistakes are pivotal. For example: “He chose the knife fight over calling Clinton unqualified, which aides blame for pulling the bottom out of any hopes they had of winning in New York and their last real chance of turning a losing primary run around.” Did the “unqualified” line help? Probably not. Was there the slightest chance in hell Sanders was winning New York even had his campaign been flawless? Nah.
  • The problem with seeing the Sanders campaign through the lens of its mistakes (actual or perceived) is that the campaign surpassed any reasonable expectation. On balance, they did a lot more right than a lot more wrong, and if Sanders’s aides want to blame him for the inelegant endgame he has to get the vast majority of the credit for overachieving.
  • Sanders does come off as bitter and petulant at times in the article. But it’s worth putting this in context — as I’ve said before, Clinton’s campaign in 2008 didn’t handle it any better, and while Clinton lost more narrowly the ideological stakes were also lower.
  • I’m not at all concerned that Sanders will fail to strongly support Clinton in the general. Sure, he didn’t drop out tonight, but then Clinton in 2008 didn’t even concede until several days after the last primary. More important was that he opened fire on Trump while notably avoiding attacks on Clinton. He’s not, even in milder form, going Nader. And if he wants to stay in to D.C. that’s his privilege, he’s under no obligation to drop out.
  • He didn’t win, but he accomplished a lot.

 

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  • So I hear, Sanders is going to go and contest the DC primary, where he will get creamed even worse than in California.

    • AMK

      Right, but per the reasoning on display in this article, it will be entirely because some aide wanted to spend X amount of money on digital instead of TV, and some Dem congressperson said something mean about Sanders on one of the cable news puppet shows. Conspiracy!

    • Thrax

      Yeah, it’s not going to be a great way to end his campaign. I haven’t seen polls, but a city with a large black population is going to support Clinton overwhelmingly.

      • Arouet

        We’re either black or bureaucrats/pundits/think tankers/staffers who know how the policy process works and who would better be able to navigate it (or both!)…. that will not go well. Just look at the inside-the-beltway returns for MD and VA if you want proof.

        • Anon21

          Or, y’know, both.

          • Arouet

            I said that!

            • Anon21

              You did indeed. Sorry I missed that.

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          Also a lot of gays. The gays seem to be for Hillary.

          Then again, DC gays are probably not representative of all gays, and my circle of gays is not either.

  • wengler

    I think Bernie’s campaign highlights the problems that independents have when running in a major party’s primary. The lack of connections to the power structures and patronage networks can easily hamstring newcomers, and the rules preclude many potential voters from even being able to cast their ballots.

    I think this election proves that it’s nearly impossible to build an alternative political party base while also winning the election. It happens over time but in the meantime it might be possible to pick off some of the bad apples in the Democratic Party starting with Debbie Wasserman-Schulz.

    • eh

      Publicly financed campaigns would change some of that.

      • ajay

        Publicly financed primary campaigns? Seriously?

        • Heron

          You kinda have to. If you instituted a publicly financed election system and didn’t also make primaries publicly financed, or at the very least didn’t include as part of it rules to cap spending on primaries, then you’d just be pushing the moneyed influence off the general and into primary races. Any attempt to thwart plutocratic influence has to be comprehensive, or the money’ll just find another way into the system. It ain’t like rich people are going to stop wanting to get their way.

      • Having open primaries in all 50 states would help a lot.

        • Karen24

          No, because open primaries permit the opposing party to vote for the other side’s weakest candidate. Shorter registration times would be a good reform, but I can’t support a system that encourages sabotage.

          • Then allow same-day registration, then. Whatever it takes to bring these folks back into the fold.

            • cleek

              if the prospect of President Trump isn’t enough, then “these folks” were never in the fold to begin with. if the prospect of a guy who advocates the opposite of exactly everything Sanders stands for isn’t enough, then we’re not talking about people who have actual policy convictions.

          • witlesschum

            Who owns the political process, the people or the parties? I’d argue strongly it’s the people and their interest in having candidates of their choice far outweighs concerns about sabotage.

            Besides, sabotage is a Michigan tradition and it’s fun when it happens to George W. Bush or Pete Hoekstra.

            • njorl

              The political parties belong to the political parties. If they don’t want internal democracy, they should have the right not to practice it. It is up to the voters to make them pay the price for acting that way by making the offending political party irrelevant.

            • L2P

              What about the people who choose to be in a political party so that they could agree on the candidate that best represented their collective views? Don’t they have in interest in having the candidate of their choice? Or is that only for people who don’t join parties?

              • so-in-so

                This.

                If you aren’t affiliated/registered for a party the wait time to sign up is usually much less than switching and you can go back to unaffiliated afterward if you like. I find the idea of open primaries odd, like a company allowing non-share holders to vote at it’s meetings or a state allowing residents of other states to vote in local elections.

            • Who owns the political process, the people or the parties? I’d argue strongly it’s the people and their interest in having candidates of their choice far outweighs concerns about sabotage.

              I’d like to see the argument, instead of this mere assertion.

              It’s very easy to get radically counterintuitive effects with that sort of open, cf california. If the republicans are united and the dem field split, then a small number of cross overs can deny the majority of dems the candidate of their choice.

              I mean, my Republican candidate of choice right now is a small squirrel. I’m sure I can get loads of other democrats to join in with me on that preference. What exactly is the point of that?

              • cpinva

                “I mean, my Republican candidate of choice right now is a small squirrel.”

                I believe your choice is representing the republican party in the general. it just happens to be sitting on Donald Trump’s head.

              • mikeSchilling

                I’m with you 100% if his running mate is a moose.

        • JMP

          No, getting rid of open primaries would help a lot. If you’re not willing to register as a Democrat, you shouldn’t get to pick the Democratic nominee.

          • cpinva

            one could also argue that if you’re not willing to register as a D for 40 years of your public career, why the fuck should they let you run in their primary?

      • xq

        Sanders raised plenty of money. That wasn’t his problem at all.

      • Aexia

        Sanders often outraised Clinton (Super PAC aside) and outspent her on TV in many states.

        Money wasn’t a problem.

    • junker

      I think you’re getting the causality backwards. Sanders lost because his views are not, currently at least, in line with the majority of Democratic voters. The establishment, whatever it is, has its shape because it responds to where the party is right now. The voters shape the party, and the establishment reflects that – not the other way around.

      If it’s true that Bernies views are the wave of the future for the party then someday people like him will make up the leaders of the party, and the establishment.

      • Agreed.

      • DocAmazing

        The voters shape the party, and the establishment reflects that – not the other way around.

        Forgive me, but I find this naive. There is indeed an establishment; it it utilizes its financial and procedural advantages to its own benefit; it frequently acts in ways that are not the will of the voters. That’s politics for better or worse. We are at a point where activists have succeeded in influencing the direction of the Democratic Party, but that’s a long way from “the voters shape the party”.

        • FlipYrWhig

          IMHO the “Democratic Establishment,” such as it is, is far less interested in feathering its own nest than in wanting to win elections. If they were corrupt and self-serving, they’d be members of the Republican Establishment. The DLC, for instance, wasn’t trying to get rich; it was trying to find a way to outflank Republican dominance by peeling off socially tolerant white professionals.

          So I agree with junker and C.V. Danes — the Democratic establishment, and its inherent temperamental caution, and all the faults that come with that, are trying to stitch together 50%+1 from the demographic segments they know exist. This is why they don’t put particular stock in changing the discussion or challenging the status quo: they work within the status quo instead. That’s why people on the left don’t like it, think (like Bernie Sanders) that they’re chicken, and so forth.

          But the long and short of it is that the “Democratic Establishment” isn’t parallel to the “Republican Establishment” insofar as both are greedy rich people trying to get richer. That’s not how the Democrats work.

          • Heron

            Yeah. That democratic admins and congresses don’t immediately produce a rash of corruption and embezzlement scandals, while Republican ones do so uniformly, and don’t institutionalize corruption in states they long control as Republicans do(as in Texas), shows the DNC isn’t explicitly about self-enrichment and looting in the same way. Sure, there are higher-ups probably drawing larger salaries than their work deserves, but that’s the upper class “elites” for you, wherever you look.

          • Phil Perspective

            IMHO the “Democratic Establishment,” such as it is, is far less interested in feathering its own nest than in wanting to win elections.

            So why do they repeatedly get boat-raced in the midterms? Why is DWS still DNC chair despite suffering near-historic losses under her watch? They don’t care about winning elections as much as you think. They just care about their power.

            • FlipYrWhig

              They lose campaigns because they run a very cautious, high-floor/low-ceiling version of a somewhat dated playbook (basically the Bill Clinton ’92 “I won’t waste your tax money and hamper your business like some other liberals do” strategy). But recently we’ve seen people like Terry McAuliffe run versions of the Barack Obama ’08 people-of-color/social justice/tolerance for all strategy and win, and if that playbook proves to be a consistent winner, the “Democratic Establishment” will roll it out pretty much everywhere.

            • so-in-so

              a: You can’t do ANYTHING if you don’t get elected.
              b: If the “care about power” then your first points are null, losing the mid-terms and keeping a ‘failed’ chair don’t enhance their power.

              2008-2010 was, I think, a change-over from the the older triangulating Democratic Party in a defensive crouch viz the GOP to a newer, left leaning party.

            • mikeSchilling

              So why do they repeatedly get boat-raced in the midterms?

              Because they’re not organized for local politics the way the GOP is, from school boards al the way up to statehouses. It’s not about ideology, it’s about dedication and competence.

            • SNF

              They just care about power, but they don’t care about winning?

              That statement seems to refute itself.

          • I mostly agree, and I think the heart of it is that somewhere in the Democratic genome is the belief that good government works for all, whereas the Republican genome is based on the belief that government is only good when it works for me.

        • Emmryss

          Remember the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party?

      • xq

        Sanders lost because his views are not, currently at least, in line with the majority of Democratic voters.

        If this is true, why is ideology a weaker predictor of Sanders support than gender, age, or race?

        • witlesschum

          Yeah, I think even among the Democratic primary electorate, there’s a range of how ideological people are.

        • rea

          If Sanders isn’t attracting voters on the basis of ideology, then what’s the point of what he is doing?

          • cleek

            maybe the core ideology is simply anti-establishment / lazy anarchism.

            “Burn It Down, heheheh.”

            and actual policy outcomes are beside the point.

            • xq

              Yeah. My best explanation for the Democratic primary is that the main division is attitude towards the establishment, which is only weakly correlated with actual policy views. This is consistent with the demographic patterns and it explains why Sanders does so much better among independents.

          • FlipYrWhig

            I think this hasn’t been said enough. The whole point of the Sanders campaign was supposed to be to demonstrate the viability of liberal populism as a campaign stance, and thereby to arrest any likelihood that Hillary Clinton would run as a triangulating centrist, right? That’s why the people I know who were most amped up about Bernie Sanders got excited in the first place: FINALLY A REAL LIBERAL! But somewhere along the way the people who were excited that there was finally a real liberal threw in their lot with the people who think the Democratic Party, and especially Hillary Clinton, just plain suck, not because they’re not liberal enough, but because they’re icky. You could see from those polling results that showed that people voting for Sanders were on the whole LESS likely to support redistribution of various sorts than people voting for Clinton. But still there’s been this lingering sense that the Sanders vote is uniformly the True Liberal vote. That’s not how it played out, and it’s important for taking stock of the future course of American liberalism to acknowledge that.

            • Linnaeus

              But still there’s been this lingering sense that the Sanders vote is uniformly the True Liberal vote. That’s not how it played out, and it’s important for taking stock of the future course of American liberalism to acknowledge that.

              Agreed that the Sanders vote isn’t uniformly a “true liberal” vote. I think the reason for the lingering sense that you identify is that people are trying to find some explanation for Sanders’s overperformance in this primary. It’s not due solely to his ability to attract the left wing of the party, but it’s indicative of something.

              • FlipYrWhig

                I think the Sanders vote is a confluence of the “I want a president to be as liberal as possible, and I remember the 1990s” vote (which a huge chunk of the blogosphere, including people like Atrios, Booman, and Billmon), the anxious young person vote, and the “Hillary Clinton is a bitch” vote. Take those all together and it’s 40%+ of the Democratic Party. But that doesn’t mean 40%+ of the Democratic Party is clamoring for more liberalism, or more populism, or more redistribution, than they think Hillary Clinton will provide.

                And the other thing to be careful about is (mis)understanding the Bernie Sanders vote as “the base.”

                • Matt McIrvin

                  I came very close to voting for Sanders on case 1 grounds. Didn’t because, in the end, I didn’t see him as temperamentally suited to be President. I found myself wishing that he’d do well but not actually get nominated, and finally decided that if I didn’t want him nominated I ought not to vote for him (on Super Tuesday, when the possibility of him taking it was far from foreclosed).

                  And I wondered a lot about that call, but I think the way things played out actually vindicated it.

                  I confess that the flip side of remembering the 1990s, though, is an intense yearning to cram President Hillary Clinton down the throats of the American right. She’s the nightmare they’ve been having since some of them were small children.

            • junker

              I saw on Twitter that Sanders consistently won people who thought Obama isn’t liberal enough… but also people who thought Obama was too liberal. I wonder how many Sanders voters care less about the Sanders revolution and more about voting for the candidate that isn’t claiming the mantle of Obama, whatever form that takes.

              • FlipYrWhig

                Sanders consistently won people who thought Obama isn’t liberal enough… but also people who thought Obama was too liberal.

                That’s been my favorite datum of the primary season. Useful when skirmishing with people who think the Sanders campaign represents the arrival of the leftist vanguard.

      • kped

        I’m still struggling to see how Bernie’s wing is the “future”, when he got massively less votes then Obama did in 2008, and he struggled everywhere that wasn’t majority white (exception was Hawaii, but that was a caucus, so hard to see how that would translate in a real election).

        I just don’t see this sea-change in the electorate that some people do. Yes, many young people voted for him. But many, many more voted for Obama the last time around. The only way this new coalition is the future is if the future is dim, because those aren’t a lot of voters unfortunately.

        • xq

          Sanders has done substantially better among young voters than Obama 2008.

          http://www.vox.com/2016/6/2/11818320/bernie-sanders-barack-obama-2008

          • tsam

            Right–and if doing something about income inequality becomes a bigger party goal, then Sanders has done a great thing for the party and the nation.

            I just wish he hadn’t fed that “they’re all corrupt and the whole system is rigged!” bullshit. That’s a lazy and stupid way to think about party politics, and pouring cynicism on young people can make pure nihilists out of them if they aren’t careful with it.

            • CD

              This.

              Sometimes you just lose. The stunning fact about Sanders’ campaign is how well he’s done compared to the long history of lefties running in the Democratic primary.

              But to the diehards, the only acceptable explanation for losing is teh establishment.

              • tsam

                Yes–sometimes you do just lose. There are millions of reasons people voted for Sanders and millions of reasons they didn’t.

                I’m locked in a life-long struggle with lazy cynicism, and I do NOT want to pass that down to my daughters. I still want them to believe in something, but not be chickenshits that throw their hands up and parrot “both sides do it”, “they’re all corrupt”, and other villager tropes that dominate the thinking of self important knuckleheads who think they’re the smartest person in the room at all times.

          • kped

            I’m not sure how much i believe that. Obama had millions of more votes than Sanders. His base included many young people. I’m not sure exit polls are all that useful in the primary.

            At worst, I’d say they were close to even, but hey, could be wrong. Just doesn’t feel right.

      • I disagree; I think he lost mainly because he got in the game a lot later than Hillary did, and hadn’t been campaigning to be president since 2008 like Hillary has been. There’s no question she had a better organized and connected campaign (both with state and local Democratic leaders & the media) than he did. I think that particularly hurt him with African American voters in the South; given how early those primaries are/were, that put him behind the 8 ball, which, given Clinton’s advantages in organization & connections, was nearly impossible to overcome.

        I mean, really… you think the majority of Democratic voters (regardless of their age, race, gender, etc.) would listen to one of Hillary’s speeches to Goldman, Citigroup, UBS, Deutsche Bank, and say “I agree with what Hillary is telling these guys. They’re good people.

        Mandatory disclaimer: Even though I am a Sanders supporter, and believe he should take this to the wire (while continuing to run a positive campaign, focused on issues), I will vote for Hillary Clinton in November, regardless of how many times she tells Goldman Sachs bankers they’re great guys who don’t deserve any additional regulatory scrutiny or blame, or whatever she tells them, in exchange for millions of dollars.

        • cleek

          speaking of speaking… do you happen to know what she told the Society for Human Resource Management, the American Society for Clinical Pathology, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Association of Realtors, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc., the International Deli-Dairy-Bakery Association, the United Fresh Produce Association, The Gap or the Commercial Real Estate Women Network ?

          • ochospantalones

            And what did she tell the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal? Is she in the pocket of Big Bagel? Will she enact a wood-fired oven mandate?

            And what did she promise the Economic Club of Grand Rapids? Is she relocating the State Department’s headquarters there?

            • And what did she promise the Economic Club of Grand Rapids? Is she relocating the State Department’s headquarters there?

              Of course not.

              Think “Big Furniture.”

              • calling all toasters

                What does Lily Tomlin have to do with it?

                • petesh

                  +!

          • ajay

            do you happen to know what she told the Society for Human Resource Management, the American Society for Clinical Pathology, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Association of Realtors, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc., the International Deli-Dairy-Bakery Association, the United Fresh Produce Association, The Gap or the Commercial Real Estate Women Network ?

            It’s even creepier when you realise that she was speaking to all those organisations simultaneously. I have a transcript of the speech here, and the gist of it is that she recommended taking all the female realtors who had been laid off after the property bubble and saving on their redundancy payouts by recycling them into sausage (irradiated to prevent the transmission of tapeworm), which could then be made into tasty burritos and sold in corner groceries by attractive multi-racial staff in comfortable leisure wear.

          • Dilan Esper

            That’s cheap. So she spoke to a lot of groups. How does that possibly justify taking lots of money from big finance and not telling us what she said to them?

            • mongolia

              Leverage

              Neither her primary opponent nor her at the time most likely general election opponent had done the standard presidential candidate practice of releasing their tax returns, and her likely general election candidate also had highly-compensated speeches. Remember, the only reason we know HRC gave those speeches was because of her transparency vis a vis her taxes, which iirc only jeb? matched in terms of returns going back decades. Fortunately for her this time, she can hammer DJT on both taxes *and* transcripts if he tries to pull the “she’s bought by GS” card, which I think works in our favor*

              *Hopefully they bring up the sycophantic doctors note regarding his great health along with this

        • njorl

          It’s just as likely that Clinton points out to bankers that a well regulated economy avoids economic disasters and that the S&P increases twice as fast under Democratic presidents than it does under Republicans.

          Rich people who just want more money should be voting for Democrats. Only rich people who want more power should be voting for Republicans.

          • Linnaeus

            Rich people who just want more money should be voting for Democrats. Only rich people who want more power should be voting for Republicans.

            Eh, money and power are rarely, if ever, separated in US politics.

            • GFW

              I think the point here is that money can be absolute, while power is pretty much always relative. So you can have a better standard of living with everyone getting effectively wealthier without concentrating power (the more Democratic result in the modern era) or you can say “f-ck it, I want to control people” and actually do less well in absolute wealth while having more power (the more Republican result in the modern era).

        • FlipYrWhig

          regardless of how many times she tells Goldman Sachs bankers they’re great guys who don’t deserve any additional regulatory scrutiny or blame

          Why do you think she told them that? I think she probably told them, like all her other audiences from the speaking circuit, that the future is full of challenges and that women have a lot to give, because that sort of pap is what they pay for, because the point isn’t to conspire and curry favor with Hillary Clinton, the point is to entice bored people to spend part of their afternoon sitting in an auditorium chair in proximity to a celebrity.

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          While I think it was partly that Bernie got in the game later, as I’ve learned more about him, I don’t think it’s merely a matter of her deciding she wanted to run for president earlier, or merely that she was the wife of an ex-president.

          Sanders seems temperamentally less inclined to cultivate connections and relationships of the sort that delivered Clinton her overwhelming establishment (and African-American) support. Even if he had been planning this since 2008, I doubt he would’ve had the necessary relationships. He surely would have done better. Even just registering as a Democrat in 2008 would’ve helped there. But I don’t think he could’ve beaten Hillary at that game.

      • Dilan Esper

        Sanders’ positions on militarism, trade, and Wall Street are a lot closer to the party’s voters than the Establishment’s are.

        • so-in-so

          Closer to considerably less than half the party, it would seem.

          • MyNameIsZweig

            Were those positions the sole determinants of how people voted?

            If not, then you’re reaching.

      • cpinva

        true, but first they actually must join the party.

    • Gee Suss

      With the notable exception of Donald Trump?

      • xq

        And even Sanders did pretty well. Running as an anti-establishment candidate has its challenges, but also major advantages in an environment in which both parties are unpopular. Given Sanders’ success among the young, it seems quite possible that the advantages will exceed the disadvantages next time.

    • efgoldman

      I think Bernie’s campaign highlights the problems that independents have when running in a major party’s primary. The lack of connections to the power structures and patronage networks can easily hamstring newcomers

      Everything that everyone says here about policy is true BUT…..
      Not only in this primary but generally, 1) it’s the candidate that wins or loses, especially when the policies of two or more candidates are, when you drill down, pretty much the same, although HRC’s solutions are obviously set out better; and 2) and related: You have to know how to do politics. You may not like it, you may think it’s irrelevant, it might make you angry or frustrated, but trying to get elected without doing politics is like skating and shooting in a hockey game, while your goalie just stands there: it looks pretty, but you lose.

    • Halloween Jack

      Well, if you’re going to build an alternative political party base, then fucking build one, instead of piggybacking onto an existing party that you only joined to run in the primaries of and then incessantly bitch about how they won’t change the rules to favor your personal voter base. And, while we’re at it, maybe we could drop the demonization of DWS, who, while being not without her faults, is not really the problem here. (She is certainly nowhere near as bad as human dumpster fire Reince Priebus, or Michael Steele before him.)

      • Aexia

        And probably don’t back a guy challenging her FROM THE RIGHT as part of your progressive purity parade.

  • Kazanir

    Good comments Scott. Refreshing post for a primary which has been so often marked by Democrats taking leave of their capacity for rational thought. Campaign inside baseball is even more notorious for this than other topics so it is always nice to see a level-headed take on whatever Politico is pushing today.

  • ploeg

    Bernie’s superdelegates will start to tell him that he needs to cut a deal and exit gracefully or they’ll bolt. There will be zero support from these politicians for continuing the primary season for much longer. The question of continuing is not entirely up to Bernie to decide.

    • Gee Suss

      I’m hoping the meeting with the president on Thursday will be his day to exit.

      • cpinva

        that’s kind of what I was hoping, a sit down with Obama, who will congratulate him on an excellent showing, and strongly suggest the time has come to gracefully, with applause from a grateful party at his back, retire from the fight.

  • shah8

    Oh gawd, looks like the jester had delusions.

    1) There is one simple answer to why Bernie didn’t win. He had no institutional support, and was always supposed to be the Washington Generals to Hillary’s Globetrotters. Have no clue about how O’Malley floundered, though.

    2) Because he was never intended to be a serious candidate, he never had the sort of people that you need for currying favor, and he didn’t get in the race soon enough, and mix with people early enough to win. I think that was a, if not the, major reason why he lost the non-white vote by so much. No credibility of a winner, pretty much a stranger to the minority people who mattered, and never really buttered them up.

    3) He changed nothing about the race or move Clinton by very much at all. It’s not what people say about policies. It’s about creating a constituency for a policy. Jesse Jackson, for example, created an actual constituency, or Ross Perot. What constituency did Bernie Sanders create? A generational one? For what? For who? If anything, the strength of Bernie Sanders run is reflective of anti-Hillaryism, all else is vapor. It’s not as if Bernie Sanders ever cultivated that free college stance or give depth to his foreign policy or do much but say true things about Clinton that, practically speaking, means nothing and convinces nobody.

    He was favored and he was lucky, and he still wants to be all bitter about this shit. I guess it’s all the hates to lose thing, but he never, in fact, belonged in the ring.

    • Brien Jackson

      “2) Because he was never intended to be a serious candidate, he never had the sort of people that you need for currying favor, and he didn’t get in the race soon enough, and mix with people early enough to win. I think that was a, if not the, major reason why he lost the non-white vote by so much. No credibility of a winner, pretty much a stranger to the minority people who mattered, and never really buttered them up.”

      Not necessarily for tactical reasons, but if there’s a “this is when you lost” moment with Sanders I’d say it was when he angrily rescinded his campaign’s “apology” to Black Lives Matter. Probably didn’t sway too many votes in and of itself, but it was obvious at that point Sanders just wasn’t going to bother trying to get the levels of support from African-American voters he needed to be viable.

      “He changed nothing about the race or move Clinton by very much at all. It’s not what people say about policies. It’s about creating a constituency for a policy. Jesse Jackson, for example, created an actual constituency, or Ross Perot. What constituency did Bernie Sanders create? A generational one? For what? For who? If anything, the strength of Bernie Sanders run is reflective of anti-Hillaryism, all else is vapor. It’s not as if Bernie Sanders ever cultivated that free college stance or give depth to his foreign policy or do much but say true things about Clinton that, practically speaking, means nothing and convinces nobody.”

      Yep, this is mostly right, and a huge part of my annoyance early on with Sanders was specifically in the way he implied much bigger disagreements with “the establishment.” Implying that Clinton was in favor of Citizens United was probably the worst. But, Sanders did put the fact that Democratic voters have moved to the left in stark relief and he definitely impacted the scope of issues Clinton had to address in the campaign. You can probably give him credit for free college becoming an issue as well.

      • petesh

        Yes, he lost me over BLM, or at least I put the bumpersticker on the shelf instead of the car. Cornel West was the cherry on top of that. And then … and then … I came to see a lack of empathy; and finally I came to see him as a nasty person. More to the point, I decided that he might have the view on inequality that I do (or something closer to it that HRC) but he’d be a lousy President.

    • ajay

      Because he was never intended to be a serious candidate, he never had the sort of people that you need for currying favor, and he didn’t get in the race soon enough, and mix with people early enough to win. I think that was a, if not the, major reason why he lost the non-white vote by so much. No credibility of a winner, pretty much a stranger to the minority people who mattered, and never really buttered them up.

      This doesn’t sound great – minorities need “buttering up”, and you need to “curry favor” with them? But white folk don’t?

      • efgoldman

        This doesn’t sound great – minorities need “buttering up”, and you need to “curry favor” with them? But white folk don’t?

        All of the major constituencies who might vote for (or against) you do. HRC has a long-time connection to the African American constituency, without which no Democrat can win a national primary, especially in the South. Sanders, while certainly strong on civil rights and no racist, spent the last 20+ years running in a 96% white electorate. He never built the bridges because he never had to.
        Then he compounded the problem by bringing in Cornel West, a brilliant man but known vocally to oppose and insult the sitting president of the same party, who also happens to be black, and by insulting black voters after the big Southern primaries by saying their votes shouldn’t count because they voted in states that won’t go blue in November.

        “Coddling” or “buttering up” isn’t the same as “establishing political connections with a major constituency without which you can’t win the nomination.”

        Or you could just be a stone racist makimg trouble.

        • ajay

          “Coddling” or “buttering up” isn’t the same as “establishing political connections with a major constituency without which you can’t win the nomination.”

          No they aren’t. “Coddling” is something you do to infants, and “buttering up” is something you do to fools who can be swayed by flattery. “Establishing political connections” is what you do to people you take seriously.

          • cpinva

            and the Clintons have taken the AA vote seriously since first he entered politics.

      • kped

        Different groups. One group has been marginalized and had to fight for every single thing they’ve achieved politically. They want a seat at the table, they want to feel like they can actually trust that you will listen to their concerns, because they’ve learnt the hard way that most times, people don’t. It’s not buttering them up. It’s actually listening and making promises and being held accountable.

        White people are different. White men especially so. We know we have a seat at the table. We know our concerns will be dealt with. Remember the freak out about white people deaths spiking? It got questions during debates of both parties…until further digging revealed it was white women, and then it was swiftly ignored in all subsequent debates.

        • cpinva

          “We know we have a seat at own the table.”

          there, fixed that for ya. makes more sense now.

    • AMK

      If anything,the strength of Bernie’s run is reflective of anti-Hillaryism, all else is vapor

      I tend to agree. For whatever reason (because she’s plastic on the stump, because she’s a nakedly ambitious woman, because she’s awkward about her wealth and connections) there has always been a large anti-HRC segment among Dem voters. Obama and his people managed to tap that very artfully in 2008 by positioning as an alternative with just the right balance between progressive cred for voters and reassuring establishment policy for elites, plus more charisma. If we’re being honest, a big reason why Obama was able to strike that balance (at least initially) was because he was a black outsider without being the “black candidate”….something that another relatively progressive-establishment candidate like, say, Martin O’ Malley obviously couldn’t do this cycle. Bernie inherited the anti-Hillary role and ran with it as pure white liberal “socialist” id, which obviously wasn’t going to be enough.

      • DocAmazing

        For whatever reason (because she’s plastic on the stump, because she’s a nakedly ambitious woman, because she’s awkward about her wealth and connections) there has always been a large anti-HRC segment among Dem voters.

        “For whatever reason”. All of the very bad decisions of the Bill Clinton administration (in which she was an active partner, let us remember) like Ending Welfare As We Know It and the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, as well as her brass-plated hawkishness (we won’t even get into sideshows like Jeff Sharlet’s investigation of her weird religious networking) provide plenty of non-misogynistic, non-stylistic reasons to be at least very wary of Hillary Clinton. It gets very tiresome to hear people puzzle at antipathy toward Clinton as though there were no such thing as history.

        • cleek

          it’s also very tiresome to have to keep pointing out that Bill and Hillary Clinton are actually different people.

          • witlesschum

            Indeed they are. And to go from Doc’s list, Hillary Clinton’s the one who voted for the Iraq War, hung around with the so-called Family and generally gives hawkish answers to foreign policy questions, including disagreeing with Obama’s foreign policy from the right after leaving office as Secretary of State.

            • cleek

              FP is my only real policy complaint with Clinton.

              but, there’s more to Presidenting than FP. and, Sanders never convinced me that he had any interest in it, or that he had any capability to handle it. frankly, i thought his didactic, finger-wagging inflexibility would be a hindrance. he’s not a diplomat; he’s not a team player; and he doesn’t appear to have great ability to draw his peers to his side. so, no thanks.

              plus you know, he’s really not the white-knight peacenik that a lot of the internet thinks he is.

              • Dilan Esper

                Lesser of two evils.

                Don’t you clinton fans always tell us that we have to accept that reasoning? Sanders isn’t a white Knight on FP but he is clearly superior to Clinton, who has basically been wrong on every single debated FP issue her entire political career- she’s a complete idiot and Sanders is smarter.

            • cpinva

              “Hillary Clinton’s the one who voted for the Iraq War,”

              no, she didn’t. she did, however, vote for the AUMF, which merely authorized Bush to use force if necessary. that vote was based on the lies of the Bush administration, which Ms. Clinton, and a lot of other members of congress believed, as did a lot of us not in congress. who the hell knew the president would lie us into a war? shit, even LBJ had a real war on his hands when he entered office, he didn’t create it out of completely whole cloth.

      • wengler

        For whatever reason (because she’s plastic on the stump, because she’s a nakedly ambitious woman, because she’s awkward about her wealth and connections) there has always been a large anti-HRC segment among Dem voters.

        Or maybe it’s because of easily referenced ideological reasons running the gamut from terrible foreign policy decisions from Iraq to Libya, to anxiety over what her domestic policies might be because of her husband’s rampant ability to enact Republican legislation.

    • So, you’re saying that Clinton would have been better off if Bernie had never stepped into the ring? Really?

      Without Bernie to sharpen her up, she’d be marching merrily towards destruction right now after what would have been the lowest Democratic primary turnout in history. All the little knife cuts he inflicted during the primary are nothing compared to the machete attacks that the Republicans are going to launch on her, now that she is the ‘presumptive’ candidate.

      • Thrax

        If Bernie had never run, the anti-HRC vote would have gone to O’Malley. He might not have done as well as Bernie, but it wouldn’t have been a total cakewalk.

        I don’t think Bernie has ultimately hurt her, but she’s familiar with all the “machete attacks.” I doubt running against Bernie made much of a difference in that regard.

        • Yes, and all the anti-Bernie rhetoric we’re hearing right now would be anti-O’Malley rhetoric.

          • EliHawk

            Given that O’Malley is by all accounts a less obstinate, stubborn pol who had to build coalitions in a diverse city and state and has a much bigger institutional investment in the Democratic Party (and, in an alternate universe where he cought on as the anti-Hillary, a political future beyond being Secretary of the Interior), I don’t think we’d be getting the same rhetoric against him, because we wouldn’t be getting the same rhetoric from him.

            • Dilan Esper

              In that case MOM wouldn’t have helped Clinton like Sanders has.

              • EliHawk

                How do you figure? You can help some one be a better candidate by running a good race without being a burn it down asshole. See 2000, 2004, 2008, etc.

          • ColBatGuano

            O’Malley certainly wouldn’t be running on a “the Democratic Party is fundamentally corrupt” platform.

            • cpinva

              this. O’Malley also doesn’t come off as an entitled sounding asshole. unlike Sanders, O’Malley actually had to work to get elected, as opposed to the Democratic Party handing it to him on a silver platter, for nothing in return.

        • cleek

          given the number of (Ron) Paulites among Sanders supporters, Rand Paul would’ve probably also done better if Sanders wasn’t in the race.

      • ajay

        Without Bernie to sharpen her up, she’d be marching merrily towards destruction right now after what would have been the lowest Democratic primary turnout in history.

        Yes indeed, who could be more doomed than the highly popular and world-famous Secretary of State of a highly popular President, running on a growing economy with no major wars? That’s a recipe for electoral disaster.

        • Dilan Esper

          That’s how you view her, but most of America does not.

          • ajay

            That’s how you view her, but most of America does not.

            Just the ones who vote, huh.

          • cpinva

            just the substantial majority that voted for her. she didn’t just beat Sanders by a whisker, she pretty much trounced him, in all the ways one can be trounced, in that situation.

        • wengler

          Yes indeed, who could be more doomed than the highly popular and world-famous Secretary of State of a highly popular President, running on a growing economy with no major wars?

          Is this some other country or are you just well off?

      • kped

        “are going to launch”….bwahahahahaha

        Have you been living in a cave the past 30 years? Did I miss the part where Republicans stopped attacking her for even a second?

        I agree that the primary wasn’t bad for her, but to think she’d be caught unaware of the Republican smear campaign is the dumbest thing I’ve read in days. Maybe all year.

        • sam

          heh. I have no doubt that it’s going to get uglier from here until November (just this morning, NPR played a clip of the orange one saying he was going to give a “major speech” next week about all of the Clinton scandals), but the idea that she and/or the DNC haven’t had an entire team sitting in a room somewhere since at least 2012 compiling all of the attacks that have ever been levied against them and responses may be the funniest thing I’ve heard all day.

          And if they DON’T have this, then she deserves to lose, because that is flat out incompetence.

      • junker

        It’s worth noting that there is little to no evidence linking primary turnout to general election turnout.

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          Primary turnout matters for… the results of the primaries.

          And associated general elections that may occur at the same time (which is BS – general elections should not be tied to partisan primaries, IMO).

    • twbb

      The problem with the “institutional support” argument is most people just aren’t hooked into political party governance in any meaningful way; in the last several months especially Bernie could match the scope of Hillary’s ad spending and had just as much (and more positive) media coverage.

      “Institutional support” becomes some sort of vague bogeyman that people use to make it seem like their candidate was unfairly shut out by elites. The only real legitimate “institutional support” claim are the superdelegates, and in this case it’s not particularly relevant since Hillary was winning the popular vote, too.

      This isn’t the 19th century; the voters who were voting for Hillary over Bernie weren’t doing it because the ward boss promised them a job.

      • DocAmazing

        If you don’t like the phrase “institutional support”, replace it with current hip terms like “ground game”. Clinton got a favorable debate schedule, was already working with local Dem organizations and politicians before Sanders even announced, and so on. That’s “politics”, and Clinton’s got more practice at how to do it on a national level. Add in the overt support of the DLC, and yes, that’s “institutional support”.

        • kped

          The debate schedule was ultimately meaningless. Most debates reactions were “Hillary won, she’s a great debater”. Having more of those wouldn’t have changed the race at all.

          • EliHawk

            And, when you outspend someone $60M to $45M on the airwaves, you don’t need the debates for free media. Only person the debate schedule screwed was O’Malley, because his broke campaign desperately needed the free media and possibility of a breakout at some point.

        • twbb

          But “ground game” is something accomplished by the candidate, and their party. “Institutional support” as used here almost inevitably suggests unfairness and back-room conspiracies, which is the use I’m criticizing.

          The debate schedule was hotly negotiated, and both sides had to agree with it; there was no DLC fiat. Yes, Clinton was already working wiith local politicians and organizations; my point was that it doesn’t really matter as much as people seem to think, and to the extent it does well, Bernie could have done the same.

          • Scott Lemieux

            DNC. The DLC is no longer even a thing. And, also, people tend to massively overstate the power of party chairpeople.

            • kped

              No way man. DWS personally rigged voting machines across the nation for Clinton. Ever notice how off the exit polls and election results were? DWS is the reason. So she must be primaried in favor of a guy who wants states to print their own currency and to rip up the Iran agreement!

            • Phil Perspective

              LOL!! You mean like Chicago or George Norcross in southern New Jersey?

              • ColBatGuano

                You’ve picked the finest cherries.

          • GeoX

            THERE’S NO DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT?!?

        • junker

          The scare quotes around politics are a nice touch. “It is completely unfair that Clinton is better at the things that win elections than my candidate!”

        • mongolia

          The debates schedule was negotiated between the candidates, and iirc it was primarily between the HRC and MOM campaign, with HRC wanting less and O’Malley more, i.e. BS wasn’t personally pushing much for more debates. Also, I honestly think more debates would have hurt him; if the Dems had as many debates as the R’s did pre-Iowa, it could have either (a) made Bernie look like a one-trick pony by constantly answering every question as “income inequality” and “millionaires and billionaires”*, or (b) showing he isn’t interested in any policy specifics if there was a wonky discussion between HRC and MOM, suggesting that he’s out of his depth. Hence why they made it a talking point *after* New Hampshire.

          *note – it was this tone-deafness and one answer to all problems that made me go from neutral to pro-Hillary

        • cpinva

          “in the overt support of the DLC, and yes, that’s “institutional support”.”

          which she has earned over the past 30 years, by being a consistently strong supporter of the party. in the meantime, Sanders used the party when it was to his benefit to do so, and has offered nothing in return. so yeah, no real surprise that the the “institution” Hillary has supported lo these many years would in turn, support her. it’s called politics. look it up.

      • Linnaeus

        “Institutional support” becomes some sort of vague bogeyman that people use to make it seem like their candidate was unfairly shut out by elites.

        Not necessarily. It can also mean that a candidate was able to garner the support of key party interest groups and the institutions that represent, to a greater or lesser extent, those interest groups. This is something that I would expect any competent candidate to attempt to do, and it doesn’t, in of itself, mean that the candidate was only able to win through back room dealing.

    • Halloween Jack

      It’s not as if Bernie Sanders ever cultivated that free college stance or give depth to his foreign policy or do much but say true things about Clinton that, practically speaking, means nothing and convinces nobody.

      He never really gave depth to his domestic policy. It’s worth revisiting his disastrous New York Daily News interview and remembering that they were asking him questions about the cornerstone of his whole campaign, not some obscure gotcha question about policy wonkery.

      • ColBatGuano

        Yeah, they weren’t asking him who is the president of Tajikistan.

        • cpinva

          or what newspapers he reads.

  • Regulust

    I think his end-game is beneath him to be honest. The candidate who was such a staunch advocate for the will of the voters is now all of a sudden pretending that a victory by super-delegate chicanery is possible, despite losing by a substantial margin of popular votes. I know everyone is a hypocrite but speaking as a Bernie supporter, I would have preferred a more graceful ending.

    I don’t see any indication that he’s going to strongly support Clinton in the general but I don’t think he’s under any obligation to do so anyway and I don’t think it’s essential for Clinton either. I’m pretty sure he’s ignoring the Green Party’s invitation for a Nader-like run and that’s good enough for me as long as he doesn’t suddenly change his mind.

    Despite the sloppy landing, I still think Sanders has had positive net effect for sure & I’m very grateful that he made Clinton work harder for the nomination.

    • addicted44

      This is of course the biggest problem with comparing 2008 and 2016.

      If Hillary could make a plausible argument that she was a better general candidate than Obama then there was no reason for her to not try and way the super delegates towards her. Nor that they would overturn the will of the voters but there wouldn’t be anything wrong about it. Especially since that primary was much closer.

      But for Sanders to do that when the entire campaign has been so heavily based on the idea that super delegates are screwing Bernie out of a win is pure chutzpah.

      Bernie isn’t gonna go Bader, and I think this politico article is simply a few insiders throwing him under the bus, but it’s been fascinating to watch the Sanders supporters lecture all other Democrats about how undemocratic the primary system is while sustaining the campaign on the parts of the system which are most undemocratic.

      • Regulust

        Right, I mean the popular vote in the 2008 democratic primary was practically a tie, with less than 1% difference between Clinton & Obama so a protracted primary & appeal to super-delegates was more justifiable.

        Bernie’s purported plan to convince the superdelegates to ignore Clinton’s sizeable lead in popular votes, state contests & pledged delegates, in other words her irrefutable victory, is inherently undemocratic.

        Then again this could just be another example of Bernie sucking at BS. It’s entirely possible he already knows he lost, and so just came up with whatever justification to keep the campaign going for as long as possible, so he could keep spreading his message for as long as possible.

        • Brien Jackson

          Clinton could have also argued that Obama’s pledged delegate margin was heavily built on undemocratic caucuses as well.

          • cleek

            IIRC, she did. or, at least her supporters did.

            i was an Obama supporter then, and i remember the only good reply to that was shrugging and saying “welp, them’s the rules!”

            caucuses suck.

            • ColBatGuano

              caucuses suck.

              Surprisingly, this is the one thing I’ve never heard all these “the system is rigged!” say.

          • Aexia

            That’s true but Obama still had the popular vote lead.

            Anyone saying otherwise is including Michigan where Obama wasn’t on the ballot.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Trying to get the MI and FL primaries to count ex post facto strikes me as worse than anything Sanders has tried to do.

      • ajay

        Bernie isn’t gonna go Bader

        As in, he’s going to continue standing?
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Bader

        • Brad Nailer

          Actually, I thought the reference was this until I realized my speling was wrong.

        • addicted44

          I need to stop posting from my cellphone.

        • ColBatGuano

          I misread it and thought it was a reference to the Baader-Meinhof terrorist group. I should hope Bernie isn’t going Red Army Faction.

    • This has nothing to do with the superdelegates. This is merely Bernie keeping up the rhetoric to try and get as many concessions from the Democratic platform as he can. And he’ll keep it up until the convention until he’s satisfied. It would be an absolute waste of the momentum he has achieved during the primary for him to do otherwise.

      • Manny Kant

        Because the platform is important now? You know what will secure better outcomes? Electing Democrats to the House and Senate. If getting meaningless platform concessions makes that harder, fuck Bernie’s platform demands.

        • Rob in CT

          If (big if, IMO) Bernie can secure extra votes in the general for HRC & downticket Dems and if HRC can secure Bernie’s best effort on that by agreeing to some meaningless platform concessions… why not just do it?

          • Dilan Esper

            Because HRC supporters know she isa terrible candidate and are afraid any little thing could cause her to lose.

            • JMP

              This looked like a good sarcastic joke – but then you see who it’s from an realize that no, they’re actually serious with this ridiculous crap.

        • Because the platform is important as a symbolic rallying point. You put some of Sanders’ planks on there, it makes it easier for Sanders to tell his troops that they moved the Dems, so now it’s ok to get behind them. You get Sanders’ troops behind you, you can build that wave we need to flip those down-ballot races.

        • Phil Perspective

          You know what will secure better outcomes? Electing Democrats to the House and Senate.

          I guess you didn’t notice he endorsed two more House candidates yesterday. Isn’t that like 7 so far? He hasn’t endorsed any Senate candidates.

          • ColBatGuano

            7! Wow, really going all out there. Maybe by August he’ll be up to double digits.

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            I thought he had endorsed Feingold in WI.

    • cpinva

      I still hold out hope that, after his meeting with Obama, he comes out determined to help Hillary beat the living daylights out of Trump, and the entire lunatic fringe GOP.

  • Dudeist Tech Support

    It’s worth pointing out that when his campaign started he was not likely to win, and anyone who was paying attention knows this, a group I believe includes Sanders himself. Winning the nomination was never his primary goal; introducing and spreading awareness of issues affecting ordinary US citizens was, and in these terms his mission was a success. I have doubts Sen. Clinton would have talked about a 15 dollar minimum wage or debt free college if Sen. Sanders hadn’t run, to give two examples. He and his movement pushed her to the left and made her articulate a vision that’s not just resume-based, and that’s a good thing for the country.

    • Winning the nomination was never his primary goal; introducing and spreading awareness of issues affecting ordinary US citizens was, and in these terms his mission was a success.

      \

      I think this shifted as he overperformed. That’s part of what’s making it hard to let go.

      It’s pretty clear that his recent strategy hasn’t been aimed at influence but at winning and, if the Politico article has any truth to it, settling some scores.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        yeah I have to think Sanders has a lot of “if only” going on in his head that he didn’t expect going in

        also I thought as he got more involved in campaigning against the primary process he sort of lost his thread and I wonder if he wouldn’t have done better had he stuck with his original line

    • Winning the nomination was never his primary goal; introducing and spreading awareness of issues affecting ordinary US citizens was, and in these terms his mission was a success.

      Exactly. And what he is doing now is keeping up the heat until he can convert his momentum into as many lasting planks on the Democratic platform as he can get.

      • Amanda in the South Bay

        Ah, the extortion/blackmail/threat model of politics. Perhaps that’s what I’m not grasping that my 20/30 something Bernie supporting friends do.

        • Well, that’s how the game is played. Politics is not for the faint of heart :-)

          • Yes, but it can backfire.

            I mean, if the Politico article is correct, Bernie is a grudge holder. Other people can also be grudge holders! And holding a grudge can be useful in some circumstances, but it has limits.

            Bernie has a weaker hand than he wants. Getting a few more delegates is not going to strengthen his hand at all and there’s some risk it would weaken it. Any convention shenanigans will almost certainly work out poorly and persistent threats to do so with outrageous asks is really bad.

            Now, I don’t think he’ll do that. I believe he’s a better politician than that. I think he’ll pull a Clinton 2008.

          • cpinva

            “Well, that’s how the game is played. Politics is not for the faint of heart :-)”

            true enough. however, when you overplay your hand, it comes back to smack you in the face.

        • JL

          What the heck do you think politics is? It’s the building of power (through influence with other political players, through horse-trading, through coalition-building, through mobilization of those likely to be supporters, through protest and disruption and ability to cause disruption, through persuasion) and use of it to advance certain values and causes.

      • CD

        The platform is meaningless, except that it gives opponents a talking point or two.

        “Lasting planks”? It is to laugh. How often do platforms actually influence policy?

        • cpinva

          um, hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, let me think…………..nope, can’t think of anytime.

    • FlipYrWhig

      Winning the nomination was never his primary goal; introducing and spreading awareness of issues affecting ordinary US citizens was

      Then why did he spend several months laser-focused on superdelegates and primary rule-mongering? He spectacularly failed in “spreading awareness of issues affecting ordinary US citizens.” He succeeded in spreading awareness of issues affecting grassroots(ish) presidential candidates. I don’t understand how that came to pass, but IMHO it was the single worst aspect of how Team Sanders conducted itself–after the shock victory in Michigan, they had an opportunity to do something much more ambitious with the future of liberal politics and policy, and they frittered it away fussing over process arcana.

      • i8kraft

        Yes. I don’t know how much of this was mirroring Trump’s success peddling whines about rules, and how much of it was Bernie really believing it, but the focus for a long, long time was not the policy, but the politics. And for a campaign that was supposed to be talking about new possibilities for all Americans, he sure focused on the “process arcana” affecting only him.

      • Chester Allman

        This is my biggest disappointment with Sanders. I’ve liked the guy for a long time and I was really glad to have him in the race, precisely because it looked like he was going to provide a prominent platform for left-liberal ideas and focus on intensifying the leftward shift among Democrats on a range of policy ideas.

        Instead, the takeaway from his campaign, especially now, is the horribly toxic claim that “the system is rigged” and it’s all corrupt. That’s not being an a powerful advocate for progressive ideas. That’s just undermining the progressive movement’s ability to win elections and influence policy in both the short and long term.

        What started off as being about something great is now all about Bernie’s own sense of self-victimization. I’d have no problem with him staying in the race to the convention if he really was focusing on policy, but all I’m hearing from him and a lot of his supporters these days is bullshit, destructive claims about corruption. If that’s what he’s planning to run with through to July, he should get out now.

      • Halloween Jack

        Precisely this. Precisely this. It became about complaining that a party that he obviously joined for convenience’s sake wouldn’t change their rules to suit his campaign.

      • Morbo

        “I don’t know who advised him that this was the right route to take, but we are now actively destroying what Bernie worked so hard to build over the last year just to pick up two fucking delegates in a state he lost,” rapid response director Mike Casca complained to Weaver in an internal campaign email obtained by POLITICO.

        “Thank you for your views. I’ll relay them to the senator, as he is driving this train,” Weaver wrote back.

        • cpinva

          which, if it goes on much longer, may well turn into a train wreck.

  • Breadbaker

    No one likes to say this, but the reason he lost is that Hillary Clinton is well-liked by a number of groups that dominate the Democratic electorate: women and people of color. Bernie Sanders did not appeal to these groups. Yes, he appealed to young people (including young women and young people of color), but they don’t make up a plurality of the Democratic electorate and never can. If the result of the primary had been different, the groups that would have considered themselves ignored and marginalized by their clear choice being ignored would have given us a far greater risk of a Trump presidency (notwithstanding Hillary’s undoubted enthusiastic endorsement of yet another male candidate) than we have now.

    • MDrew

      So you’re saying if women and people of color had voted the same way they did, but Sanders had found enough others (that would be white men) to vote for him to allow him to win, the women and people of color whose votes were outnumbered but nonetheless were being ignored would be more inclined to defect to Trump than those of the white men whose votes were in fact outnumbered and are being ignored? Hm.

      Of course, had Bernie won, it’s likely that women and people of color wouldn’t have voted exactly how they did.

      • DocAmazing

        Missed that word “young”, huh?

        • MDrew

          I’m not really sure exactly how the young demo plays into Breadbaker’s point or my response. The youngs seem to be sort of a solid Bernie block that kind of does its own thing on the basis of whatever it is about being young that makes you like Bernie. No one’s really quibbling over them. For these purposes, I think we can sort of set them to the side and just say that they’d be for him in either imagined universe. Breadbaker seems to do that rhetorically, and within the context of the point we’re discussing, I don’t much disagree.

          You do?

          • DocAmazing

            I find Breadbaker’s point a bit of a refinement of the BernieBro/Bernie’s too white meme. It assumes that Clinton’s advantages in the African-American community were due to something other than superior organizing; it ignores the trends among Native folks and the apparently fairly even split among Latinos; and it assumes that minority voters would take their ball and go home if they didn’t like the outcome of the primaries. Am I misreading her/him?

    • No one likes to say this, but the reason he lost is that Hillary Clinton is well-liked by a number of groups that dominate the Democratic electorate: women and people of color.

      Literally everyone has been saying this. And why wouldn’t they? There’s nothing wrong or shameful about the fact that Hilary appeals to women and PoC, despite some attempts to act as if only the votes of white men count.

      • ajay

        No one likes to say this, but the reason he lost is that Hillary Clinton is well-liked by a number of groups that dominate the Democratic electorate: women and people of color.

        Again I am reminded of the Onion article about the Nigerian presidential election in which the winner attributes his victory to his successful courting of the black vote.

    • No one likes to say this, but the reason he lost is that Hillary Clinton is well-liked by a number of groups that dominate the Democratic electorate: women and people of color.

      This is just false. I like to say it. Just about everyone is happy to say this. It’s accurate and fine. I think the fact that she does better in electorates which better reflect the overall demographics of the party is a good thing.

    • I agree that he did not have a plurality of the Democratic base, as it now exists. However, I think his proposition was much stronger with the coalition of liberal Dems and Independents. If the Dems had had open primaries in all states, I think the contest would have been much closer.

      • Amanda in the South Bay

        Ugh, this is pure Calvinball. You want to retroactively change the rules to make you feel better for Bernie losing, regardless of how that could negatively impact the future.

        • No, the game is played with the rules that exist. However, if you want to bring the Independent liberals back into the fold, then either open the primaries or allow same-day registration so that they can vote. Unless you don’t want to strengthen the liberal coalition, that is.

          • BubbaDave

            if you want to bring the Independent liberals back into the fold

            Seems like a lot of work for 20-30 votes.

            • Have you been to a Bernie rally? There’s a lot more than 20-30 votes on the table.

              • so-in-so

                How many are “liberal independents” who will go home or vote Trump(!?) but would become strong Democratic voters going forward if allowed to vote in the primary?

                • All you got to do is get them in the door. Once people have made a decision, they tend to stick with it. There are a large number of young people that could be brought into the ranks before they settle on a party.

          • los

            BTW, every electoral system is “rigged”.
            AFAIK, US law (state laws likely add complexity) allows political parties much flexibility in nominating candidates.
            so…
            The DP needs to “rig” to maximize
            1. member representation and benefit to all residents
            2. maintain internal ethics.
            3. mobility (“keep ahead of the curve”)[1]
            4. win offices

            _______
            1. avoid xenophobia, yet resist “munich beer hall putsch”.

          • However, if you want to bring the Independent liberals back into the fold,

            Again, the literature is overwhelming that independent “liberals” vote overwhelmingly like registered democrats. They are already in the fold.

      • Actually, he didn’t overwhelming win open primaries either.

        There’s good poll sci theory that a lot of nominal independents are really merely unaffiliated partisans with only 8% being “true” independents. So if the general composition of the lean democratic independents is similar to the registered democratic cohort, it wouldn’t make an outcome difference. (So you have to be careful that the open primaries that exist didn’t take place in Sanders favourable general states to draw conclusions about his projected performance in uniform open primaries.) So, a risk is that you draw in lean republican independents which are people who almost certainly won’t vote for the democratic candidate in the general. I think that’s really not a good idea even if they aren’t consciously ratfucking.

        • sam

          Also, and this is pure anecdote/anecdata, but almost everyone I know who registered as an “Independent” did so at the time because they liked to claim that they were taking some sort of principled “I don’t want to sully myself with a party label, I’m too good for that” kind of argument. Your basic political snob bullshit.

          (This is by NO MEANS the majority of independents – but a certain segment, sure. A segment that *may* have a correlation with the pseudo-libertarian-occupy-brocialist crowd? that would be pure conjecture)

          But you don’t get to be all “principled independent” too-good-for-this, hanging out with the smokers on the edge of campus and not joining any clubs because you’re so much cooler than everyone, and then whine about the fact that you didn’t get an invitation to the dance.

          • Also, and this is pure anecdote/anecdata, but almost everyone I know who registered as an “Independent” did so at the time because they liked to claim that they were taking some sort of principled “I don’t want to sully myself with a party label, I’m too good for that” kind of argument. Your basic political snob bullshit.

            (This is by NO MEANS the majority of independents – but a certain segment, sure. A segment that *may* have a correlation with the pseudo-libertarian-occupy-brocialist crowd? that would be pure conjecture)

            Actually, my impression (only an impression) from the literature’s that some variant of this snobbery is about right. I became independent back in the day because my mom kept saying you had to vote the candidate, not the party. I switched to Democrat when I realised that in this day and age voting the candidate of the wrong party is voting for the wrong party.

            • Scott Lemieux

              You’re right. The literature clearly establishes that most declared independents vote as hardcore partisans. Actual swing voters, as opposed to independents, are a small slice of the electorate and shrinking.

            • Rob in CT

              Yes, this is my experience too.

              Back when I was unaffiliated, it was basically snobbery, and *uninformed* snobbery to boot!

              When I talk to people who proclaim their independence today, it’s all both sides suck I’m a thinking person blah blah bullshit.

              It’s basically a brand. Openly associating with a political party means having to own whatever negatives are associated with that party, and people shy away.

            • sam

              Yeah – I just didn’t want my own impressions to be one of those “I don’t know how Nixon won, none of my friends voted for him” situations.

              I think there are probably a lot of independent voters who may be ‘last minute’ low info voters as well, but they’re not the ones clamoring to vote for Bernie in closed primaries. Or maybe they’re simply apocryphal at this point.

          • GeoX

            I changed my registration to independent some years ago because I was pissed off at Obama or Democrats generally for some reason that I can’t even remember anymore. It never mattered, though; I still always vote for Democrats.

            • sam

              Right, and how much effect did this have on them? None. But if you live in a closed primary state, all you did was cut off your nose to spite your face.

              If you live in an open primary state, obviously it’s a non-issue.

        • Aexia

          This is exactly what happened in West Virginia. Sanders’ margin of victory came from Republicans who had no intention of voting for him in the general election.

      • Boots Day

        If the Dems had had open primaries in all states, I think the contest would have been much closer.

        “Open primaries” would also mean no caucuses. Given that Bernie did much better in caucus states, I doubt that this would have been a net plus for him.

        • sam

          Someone (Nate Silver or similar) did an analysis at one point of all of the different scenarios claimed by the Bernie camp. In EVERY SINGLE ONE, Hillary still won.

          Sometimes by a little less, sometimes by more, but nothing could change the fact that at the end of the day, more fucking people voted for her.

          • petesh

            And of course if you aint legal to fuck you aint legal to vote.

          • tsam

            but nothing could change the fact that at the end of the day, more fucking people voted for her.

            Well that hardly seems fair.

      • Scott Lemieux

        If the Dems had had open primaries in all states, I think the contest would have been much closer.

        No, Clinton would have won by a significantly greater margin, because Sanders wouldn’t have benefited from caucuses.

      • brendalu

        Yeah no. This is from a couple of weeks ago, so the details will have shifted, but there’s not really a clear divide there. From 538:

        [a shift to all open primaries] wouldn’t make all that much difference. Just 11 states held closed primaries, so the national vote is mostly reflective of a process open to unaffiliated voters. Indeed, Clinton has won 14 primaries open to independent voters, while Sanders has won nine.

        Her margin shrinks some, but it’s no magic Bernie bullet. And assuming under this scenario we also get rid of caucuses, where does that leave Bernie?

  • PatrickG

    I’m a bit skeptical of any Politico piece.

    Full stop.

    Moving on. I’m even more skeptical of any Politico piece that quotes rats fleeing a sinking ship, namely Weaver and Devine. Especially given that the choice quotes are from Devine:

    Since he finished approving the ads for California not long after the Kentucky strategy spat, Devine has been back home in Rhode Island, noticeably missing from cable news

    The entire piece is a few quotes from Weaver, and a lot of quotes from Devine. Plus lots of “emails obtained by”, “people familiar with the campaign”, “aides say”, “some senior aides”, “people complained”, etc. Color me skeptical, and then some.

    So yeah, I believe Bernie is a tool who micromanaged. I highly doubt his top-level campaign staff are as blameless as this piece makes it appear.

    Rant:

    For the record, after watching Bernie’s speech tonight, I want his movement locked in a coffin, nailed shut, and nuked from orbit. I am not ok with his decision to end in a Pyrrhic victory. I’m also not ok with his decision to let people boo Hillary Clinton. You can’t transition from how Trump is awful to letting people boo the presumptive nominee without looking like a colossal fucking ass.

    End rant.

    • PatrickG

      Adding:

      Sanders never followed up himself.

      Worth quoting the last part of that “article” blaming Sanders for #AllTheThings. I’ve learned to hate many things this election cycle, but uncritical references/sourcing to Politico is right up there.

      *virtual head shaking*

    • A few weeks back, the word was that Weaver was the dead-ender-in-chief of the Sanders campaign. So, like you, I am deeply skeptical of this latest expose.

    • The Lorax

      Amen. I started as an early Bernie supporter. A pretty fervent one. But then I felt like he was BSing us on policy issues, and was selling a really cynical view of the country. The more I saw of him, the less I liked of him. And I’m a pretty staunch progressive: I consider myself a social democrat in the Western European sense of the term. So, I happily voted for Hillary here in CA today. She will make a god president. And Kamala will make a great senator.

    • Brien Jackson

      There is no Bernie movement. There could be, with another canddiate, but Bernie Sanders just isn’t capable of organizing or leading one.

      • los

        um, visit reddit. Sanders “ignited” this effort, but this wasn’t led by Sanders.
        think of it perhaps as the older cousin of Occupy?

        • kped

          Sanders reddit is full of conspiracy theory nutjobs who think exit polls are more accurate then election results, and “i heard a guy on the news say all these new registered voters are Bernie supporters, so him losing seems suspicious”. Like, stupid, stupid people.

          Reddit is for the lullz. It means nothing.

        • ColBatGuano

          As soon as reddit generates more than MRA bs is when I’ll believe they’ve started a political movement.

      • tsam

        I don’t think that’s fair. There’s a movement there, but part of the movement is blowing up what they call the establishment–the establishment that gave such atrocities as the New Deal, Civil Rights/Voting Rights Acts, PPACA, etc. It’s just not how the system works, and their claim that if we sawed off the Democratic leadership and their systems, everything the Bernie movement wanted would suddenly become reality is just fucking nuts.

      • PatrickG

        Well, there’s still that portion of the following that’s busy unskewing polls to prove they really did beat that b—- Hillary. Those followers who boo’ed Clinton louder than they did Trump.

        That’s the movement I want to die in a metaphorical fire with a stake through its heart so it never rises again. Wishful thinking, I know.

  • MacK

    You don’t have to “support” Hillary to make the point that, for anyone who believes in the things he espouses, Trumps as President, especially Trump as Presidents with the House, Senate and probably 2 Supreme Court Appointments, and a certain one to keep the right wing majority, would be a catastrophe (that is unless you are Nader, or a nincumpoop like Sarandon.)

    But there is a stronger than usual streak of narcissism (he is a pol) and self indulgence about Sanders – something he shares with Nader. Moreover, Sanders has never been a member of the Democratic Party and has never helped any Democrats down-ticket, whether they agree with his politics or not. Which leads to the question, why would he change now? Sanders is very much about Sanders. His supporters are dedicated Green Lanternists, who, because of that attitude, cannot seem to conceive of the importance of taking the House and Senate. Again and again you here them ranting about policies that are not in a President’s control – but rather in the control of Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court and the statehouses – suggesting that either Hillary would not implement them, or Sanders would.

    Trump offers the Democratic Party a huge opportunity – a chance to not just take the presidency, but to savage the Republicans in the down ticket races – to tie them to Trump and illustrate how they do in fact broadly agree with him, and perhaps to take back the Senate and the House. Moreover, it also, perhaps, creates an opportunity to push for ballot measures in a large number of states, seekingc redisttricting reform – to follow up on the one massive mistake of the right on the Supreme Court Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission and push for independent non-partisan electoral districting in most states by 2021.

    • MDrew

      Trump does offer that opportunity, and what Sanders supporters have been wondering all cycle is why the Democratic Party has been so dead set on not taking the step that in their view would maximize its chances of capitalizing on it: nominating Bernie Sanders and candidates like him.

      Trump is an opportunity that the party, and especially progressives, may be failing to seize by rejecting Sanders for Clinton.

      • MacK

        Trump is an opportunity that the party, and especially progressives, may be failing to seize by rejecting Sanders for Clinton.

        My late father would make a marginal notation when reviewing documents – “HUH!” – when an argument or point made so little sense as to be incomprehensible.

        HUH!

        • To requote another Irish vessel I quoted last night,

          I have found nothing half so good
          As my long-planned half solitude,
          Where I can sit up half the night
          With some friend that has the wit
          Not to allow his looks to tell
          When I am unintelligible.

          Not a strategy to be adopted during document review!

        • MDrew

          It’s speculative, but I don’t see how it’s incomprehensible.

          From the progressive standpoint, Trump’s exceptional liabilities as a general election candidate create an opportunity for someone more progressive than could normally win the general to be elected – if they could be given the nomination of a major party. The point that much policy is made not by the president doesn’t change the fact that it matters a great deal who is the president, even within a party. Does anyone doubt that Sanders would beat Trump, but not a number of more competitive Republicans that Hillary might beat? If Sanders is preferable to progressives, then not nominating him is a lost opportunity that they’re leaving on the table, opting instead for the ultimate safe (in their minds) choice, when the circumstances called for a move to capitalize on a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Oh, btw, if you don’t like Sanders but think other progressives would be preferable to Clinton, then the lost opportunity being provided by Trump’s ascension is being lost to the fact that they didn’t run, which is a shame – a point I’ve been making for a year on this blog. Oh well.

          The point that Hillary may be better positioned to take advantage of the opportunities at the down-ballot level could be true, but I’m not really sure that it is. With the party behind him, Sanders could be great at it for all we know. With the party against him, there’s not much he could do to show us what he could do. It’s a good rejoinder and potentially a fine reason to on balance support Clinton, but my point isn’t incomprehensible.

          • Gregor Sansa

            Sanders got an awful lot wrong. But I supported him to the end because of the real opportunity he represented. And no, that wasn’t the chance that he would accomplish more progressive goals as president than Hillary will. Facing the same congress, Hillary would accomplish marginally more good things. (I’m not counting foreign policy, because though I far prefer Bernie’s naive neo-isolationism over Hillary’s COIN kool-aid, neither one is really progressive.)

            The opportunity that Bernie represented was that of a clear example of a grass-roots organizing victory that would energize a generation. In that sense, his talk of “political revolution” was exactly correct.

            • Karen24

              What’s the point of a revolution that doesn’t actually accomplish any policy goals? If you like rallies, support a sports team. There’s no reason for anything in politics that ends up anywhere but with a signed bill.

              • Gregor Sansa

                Build the bench.

                Note that I said that with the same congress, Hillary would accomplish more. But in 2020 I think Bernie (or, if he’s showing his age, whoever replaces him) would have much longer coattails than Hillary. From then on, you’d start to see points on the board in Bernie’s favor.

                • so-in-so

                  True if the Bernie supporters all go home, but also true if a Pres. Sanders fails to accomplish much and they bail in disappointment. If they are willing to continue working for their “revolution”, then they may eventually increase their power in the party.

                • Karen24

                  Sorry, but the only way to build the bench is to win. Winning with a slightly less idea candidate gets something done while flattering the egos of special snowflakes doesn’t.

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  totally anecdotal, but I think the bench is building already- locally, we had a lot more interest in being delegates to district and state conventions from thirty-something people, not only on the Sanders side but also the Clinton. Even in 2008, when we had monster turnout from younger people for Obama, it didn’t translate into engagement beyond caucus night. So I, anyway, see something that does transcend the current candidates

                • But in 2020 I think Bernie (or, if he’s showing his age, whoever replaces him) would have much longer coattails than Hillary.

                  I thought your line was plausible early in the primary, but I’ve become less convinced. Furthermore, if the Poltico piece is remotely accurate, Bernie was really never going to do that.

                  Obama had similar grass roots success (esp. in advertising) and wasn’t able to turn it into a sea change. Channeling a movement into structural change is really hard.

                • Chester Allman

                  Building the bench is an excellent idea. Too bad Bernie specifically passed on a golden opportunity to do exactly that, at least in the Senate (if you believe the Politico piece):

                  Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s call was part advice, part asking a favor, urging Sanders to use his now massive email list to help Democratic Senate candidates. Russ Feingold in Wisconsin was the most obvious prospect, and Reid wanted to make introductions to Iowa’s Patty Judge and North Carolina’s Deborah Ross—to help Democrats win the majority, but also to give Sanders allies in making himself the leader of the Senate progressives come next year.

                  Reid, according to people familiar with the conversation, ended the discussion thinking Sanders was on board. He backed Feingold. But that’s the last anyone heard.

                  Word got back to Reid’s team that Weaver had nixed the idea, ruling out backing anyone who hadn’t endorsed Sanders. Weaver says it’s because the Senate hopefuls had to get in line for Sanders’ support behind top backers like Gabbard and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.)—though neither has a competitive race this year.

                  Sanders never followed up himself.

                • kped

                  Build the bench is great. Problem is, Bernie never seemed to care much. I mean, apart from the nutter he is supporting over DWS, he’s not been very vocal in supporting like minded candidates.

                • Manny Kant

                  That was unbelievably damning – he’s really going to use his resources to back supporters who aren’t even facing competitive races rather than trying to influence actual contests?

                • Phil Perspective

                  Too bad Bernie specifically passed on a golden opportunity to do exactly that, at least in the Senate (if you believe the Politico piece):

                  Patty Judge? Why should Sanders help her? She was parachuted in by the DSCC. Two other candidates are running against her. We’ll see what the outcome is there when Iowa has their primary. Sanders has endorsed Feingold. How did you miss that? Don’t know anything about Ross of North Carolina. Did she win last night? Is she the kind of candidate Sanders could support? She might not be. The DSCC loves themselves corporate stooges.

                • Hogan

                  She was parachuted in by the DSCC.

                  How do you parachute someone into a state she’s lived in all her life?

                  Two other candidates are running against her. We’ll see what the outcome is there when Iowa has their primary.

                  I guess we will.

                • sharculese

                  How do you parachute someone into a state she’s lived in all her life?

                  Honestly, at this point I’ve come to the conclusion that Phil just does not like women.

              • ColBatGuano

                Patty Judge? Why should Sanders help her?

                Because she might have a snowball’s chance in hell of defeating a Republican incumbent?

                • ForkyMcSpoon

                  Wish more people would realize that electing a Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, or even a Joe Lieberman is far preferable to a Chuck Grassley or Richard Burr.

        • los

          and the internet would mark your response as “Whoosh”
          /harshback

          Even the “GOPe” has known that #TrumpWreck is a disaster.

          Do you not recognize the political significance/opportunity when tweeters and bloggers with red white and blue eagle avatars are still claiming that he/she will “vote for hillary”?
          lygfy:
          “Vote for Hillary” Cruz | Rubio neverTrump

    • The Lorax

      To be fair, not all Sanders supporters are GLists.

    • bender

      Maybe progressives should also be organizing to get more states to adopt the original Progressive Era initiative, referendum and recall laws. I’m bringing this up because California adopted an independent non-partisan electoral redistricting commission not long ago as the result of an initiative.

      California’s initiative process has resulted in some laws I don’t like, such as legislative term limits and the constitutional ban on gay marriage that was overturned by the court. Some good initiatives such as GMO labeling were defeated by corporate spending. This doesn’t always happen–an initiative that was transparently intended to preserve a monopoly for profit-making utility companies was trounced. It’s a little too easy to qualify an initiative in CA; general election ballots are overcrowded with major and controversial initiatives and voters don’t have time to get educated on all of them.

      I think the net effect in California has been to make the state government more progressive.

  • ForkyMcSpoon

    Sure, I agree Hillary Clinton did not handle the final weeks of her campaign very gracefully.

    I’d be interested to hear if she was as interested in score-settling as that article paints Bernie, however.

    I do think he’ll get over it over the next week or so though. I hope he doesn’t squander any progressive policy gains or the opportunity to contribute to crushing the Republicans over stupid shit like whether Barney Frank is on the DNC rules committee.

    • MacK

      A while ago Slate published an article that laid out what a negative campaign against Sanders would look like – and that is one that does not use the last few weeks. Be absolutely clear on this, if Sanders were the nominee, he would be savaged – and every hole, easy gloss, and any panders to his base would have become a liability.

      It is important to recognise that Hillary has given Sanders an easy ride because she does not want to alienate Sander’s supporters – and not all of them are complete “tools” or Nader-esque nincompoops. She has in fact been very gentle with a Sander’s campaign that has done little to entitle it to such kind treatment. One effect of Hillary’s gentleness is that people gave Sanders high rating in polls – rating that would have largely disintegrated by the general.

      Trump by the way, also benefitted from the same gentle treatment from the band of dwarves running against him – which is part of why, now that he is running against Hillary, his previous barely touched vulnerabilities are getting savaged.

      The whining of Sander’s supporters about his treatment by Hillary is really quite remarkable – have they any idea of what would have happened in the general. Do these delicate flowers have it in them to deal with that … their complaining now suggests not.

      • los

        dead trope. Conservatives have been ‘savaging’ Sanders since at least August 2015.

        • The Lorax

          They really haven’t been. Not like he would have been attacked in the general.

        • kped

          ? Where? They’ve run anti-Clinton adds to help Sanders in various primaries. Their candidate has been praising Sanders on various stops.

          He’s been handled with kids gloves this campaign.

        • Halloween Jack

          Ha ha, no.

        • Aexia

          How many negative ads against Sanders have actually aired on TV?

      • Halloween Jack

        This, too. Bernie was the GOP’s dream opponent in so many ways.

        • cleek

          so much that almost half of all those who voted for him in the WV primary said they would vote for Trump over Sanders in the general.

          that’s what an open primary yields.

      • Phil Perspective

        It is important to recognize that Hillary has given Sanders an easy ride because she does not want to alienate Sander’s supporters ….

        Such garbage. There has been plenty red-baiting coming from certain sections of her supporters. But keep believing those delusions.

        • ColBatGuano

          Ah, those all powerful blog commenters. They are truly running Clinton’s campaign.

    • What I think is that Elizabeth Warren will now come off the sidelines and broker a deal between the two factions. Yes, you will have some die-hard Bernie supporters who will go home and cry into their hemp-stuffed pillows, but the majority will rally behind Clinton once Sanders feels that he has gotten as much as be can bargain for and uses that to gracefully get behind Hillary.

      If Hillary is smart (and I believe she is) she will concede some planks to provide Bernie a way to save face while he exits and provide a path for him to rally his troops behind her.

      • Gee Suss

        Sanders is meeting with Obama on Thursday. I wonder who else will be there?

        • Halloween Jack

          I think it’s just going to be the two of them.

    • ColBatGuano

      Sure, I agree Hillary Clinton did not handle the final weeks of her campaign very gracefully.

      How’s the weather on Bizarro Earth?

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        Let me clarify: I was referring to her 2008 campaign.

  • MDrew

    I find the notion that his not attacking (except simply by the implication of his judging that he has reason to stay in the race even after he can win because Hillary is still not representing the values he’s fighting for sufficiently) is indicative of anything rather odd. There is literally no reason left for him to overtly trash Clinton in this – or much of any – setting. Even if he intends to make a full-court press to super delegates to switch their support, which is the maximally unity-defying path still available to him (and I’m not saying that’s even a thing), clearly starting that off by trashing the presumptive nominee, whom that group has chosen overwhelmingly, favors politically, and in many cases loves personally, whom he’d have to peel away with appeals to reason and party interest (aka the polls) not emotional bombast, with further attacks on her integrity or policy righteousness, in a context in which they dearly hope for conciliation, would be the most backward way for him to approach what is now (would now be) a completely different task from winning the votes of regular people. If he chooses that path, he has to try to persuade people to go with their heads over their hearts – he’s not going to change the hearts of SDs whose hearts are with Clinton. And for those whose hearts may be with him but whose heads give them doubt (i.e. don’t trust the current head-to-heads enough to go with ther heart), the argument is the same, and in any case he doesn’t need to appeal to their emotions, either. He’s done that. The task, if he chooses to pursue it, is different. So the approach will be. And for that reason it doesn’t indicate much about his intentions that he did not attack Clinton tonight.

  • eh

    Lots of unfamiliar nicks in this thread.

    • Halloween Jack

      I’ve seen the phenomenon before of lurkers decloaking long enough to go around the block on their particular hobby horses.

  • shah8

    I’ve come across Ezra Klein’s Vox article.

    That one has to be the worst ever gooey praise for Clinton.

  • The thing that always annoys me about articles like this is their assumption that what elections come down to is how well you gamed them. That if you had made a certain speech here, or a particular ad buy there, everything would have been different. And I suppose there are some cases where that’s true, but this isn’t one of them. When it comes down to it, Sanders lost because not enough people were buying what he was selling. What he needed, in order to win, was to be a different candidate.

    I can see why the people being interviewed are invested in that point of view (or at least in propagating it). Their careers depend on the perception that they can deliver results. And I can see why Sanders (and his supporters) would like to believe in the Sorkin-esque notion that the only reason you’ve lost is that not enough people heard what you have to say. But there’s no reason for journalists to buy into it.

    • Brien Jackson

      This is mostly true, but there’s a big nugget you can takeaway from this that tells you a lot too: Sanders never had a chance because he’s such a caustic personality who just had no real chance of winning over enough voters/surrogates to win. That matters too, which you can see by contrasting Obama and Sanders prior to running against Clinton.

      • I have to say, that’s not been my impression of Sanders at all. He comes off as caustic in this article, but only when dealing with other politicians. His public persona has veered more towards “crotchety but beloved uncle”. And while there are some problems with how he’s embodied that type – chiefly his inability to cope with criticism, particularly when it came from BLM – on the whole it’s been an asset.

        On the contrary, I’d say that if either of the democratic nominees have a personality problem it’s Hilary, who is not very charismatic. (We shall leave for another date the discussion of how “crotchety” is a winning strategy for a man but never a woman, and how Hilary’s lack of affect is at least partly the outcome of twenty years in which any attempt to display a personality has led to vicious misogynistic attacks.)

        • Karen24

          There is no way to discuss the ‘she lacks charisma’ line without facing the double-bind against women in demonstrating that quality. What does that type of unobtanium even look like in a woman? Leading great cheering crowds with inspiring speeches? Have there been any woman in politics EVER who did that? Does it mean charming? How does a woman who’s even old enough to run for office exhibit charm and sex appeal without looking ridiculous?

          • Denverite

            I was going to say Sarah Palin until the last sentence.

            • I was actually thinking of Palin when I wrote my comment above. I think what it comes down to is that the right is willing to forgive a lot of the things it considers unforgivable in female candidates if they come from someone spouting the right agenda. Where “right” often means anti-woman, among other things. Palin is a blatant example, but it’s also true of pundits like Ann Coulter.

              • los

                Joni Ernst. Schlaffly (A Trump supporter apparently). NOM. Really, a good sized portion of female RWNJs.

                But it seems that fewer female, than male, RWNJ hold campaign rallies in which they shoot full auto weapons to stir the loins of supporters.

          • so-in-so

            Eva Peron? Margaret Thatcher? Indira Gandhi?

            Probably not an AMERICAN woman politician.

            • Thom

              Benazir Bhutto?

          • witlesschum

            Senator Professor Warren, who a lot of Sanderites wanted to run for president comes to mind, no? Not that I’ve ever been to a Warren speech, but she seems like she’s pretty good at rhetoric.

            • sam

              I love Warren, but let’s not forget that she won by the edge of her teeth in one of the “most liberal” states in the country. I think she’s got longer legs now, but she’s not the sure thing people always claim her to be.

              Side note – her husband was my most favorite professor in law school – I took all three classes he taught. But he actually has a (mild) speech aphasia when giving lectures – that’s probably why any campaigning you ever saw him do for her was the one-on-one, visiting constiuents stuff. I don’t think he’d actually be able to do crowd work – it’s the sort of thing that, as students, we stopped noticing after two weeks because he was so great and engaging, but you don’t get that kind of space on a campaign trail. That’s not to say it would keep her from running nationally, but I have to think it’s something that goes into the mix of things she thinks about when getting lobbied to run for bigger offices.

              • Phil Perspective

                I love Warren, but let’s not forget that she won by the edge of her teeth in one of the “most liberal” states in the country.

                Yes, because most of the Boston media was fluffing Mr. Male Model, Scott Brown.

                • Rob in CT

                  Which is unusual in what way? In other words, why do we think the national media would be more favorable to Warren?

                  I like her too! That doesn’t translate into super electability.

            • ajay

              Senator Professor Warren, who a lot of Sanderites wanted to run for president comes to mind, no?

              That would be Professor Warren who voted Republican until the mid-90s, when she abandoned them because she felt they weren’t pro-market enough?

              “Warren voted as a Republican for many years, saying, “I was a Republican because I thought that those were the people who best supported markets”.[21] According to Warren, she began to vote Democratic in 1995 because she no longer believed that to be true, but she states that she has voted for both parties because she believed that neither party should dominate”

              • Matt McIrvin

                The ridiculous “Goldwater girl” slam against Hillary Clinton actually works better as an attack on Elizabeth Warren. And I say this as someone who would have probably preferred Warren as the nominee, had she been inclined to run.

              • ajay

                Well, presuming that “she states that she has voted for both parties because she believed that neither party should dominate” means “since I became a Democrat in 1995”, which in context seems likely… she’s not just a Goldwater Girl, she’s a Gingrich Republican.

              • ajay

                But agreed – that doesn’t make her a bad candidate. Churchill got slammed on exactly the same grounds during his Oldham campaign in 1906 and responded “When I was a conservative, I said a lot of very stupid things. And I became a liberal so that I would not have to go on saying very stupid things.”

              • Phil Perspective

                That would be Professor Warren who voted Republican until the mid-90s, when she abandoned them because she felt they weren’t pro-market enough?

                That’s a flat-out lie. It was while she was researching her book and she got pissed off at how corporations always got away with everything. Screwing the little people.

                • Hogan

                  That’s a flat-out lie.

                  Then she should really stop telling it.

                • Rob in CT

                  Your perspective really seems reality-challenged at times.

                • Rob in CT

                  Not for nothing, but both statements are true. She was a market-oriented person who was a Republican and who then had doubts about whether Republicans were really the pro-(functioning)-market party. And then she researched her book and that completed her conversion.

                  Which is great, I’m glad she converted.

          • bender

            Elizabeth Warren. That only one name comes to my mind shows how difficult it is.

            Barack Obama had to thread a similar needle to get to the top. Remember when he first ran, some African Americans were quoted in the press as saying he wasn’t black enough?

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      One of the other issues he had to overcome was skepticism by people who were initially supporting Hillary – addressing their question of “who is Bernie Sanders?” basically. There was a phenomenal piece in Yahoo after the SC primary that described several mistakes the Sanders camp made in voter/ group outreach & some clumsy interactions that basically failed to overcome this skepticism. Obama faced the same problem in 2008, of course, but was apparently better able to define himself in a way that persuaded skeptics. Of course, a lot of Sanders voters are skeptical of Hillary (and the skepticism is arguably based on familiarity rather than unfamiliarity), but they’re a smaller group it seems.

  • los

    Clinton’s campaign in 2008 didn’t handle it any better,
    a point I didn’t finish making (with copious linked quotage) in the other lgm “it’s over phew!” thread.

    Weeks ago, I already made the sibling point about Sanders supporters going Trump. (Though what happens on the internet stays on the internet is not true) it’s easy to find 2008 Clinton supporters vowing to vote McCain… yet that hardly happened.

    ————-
    A new pet peeve:
    I often see from every ‘side’ and in the MSM, “blah blah won the primary.” “Won” an election is nonsense when election outcomes aren’t “winner take all”.
    The Senate as whole is obviously not “winner take all” when, e.g., seats are split between parties at 51 to 49

  • Personally, I think that Bernie will keep up the rhetoric until he feels that he has wrung as many concessions from the Democratic platform as he can. Then he’ll toe the line behind Hillary.

    I also think that now is when you’ll see Elizabeth Warren come off the fence and broker a deal between the Bernie and Hillary camps going into the convention.

  • LosGatosCA

    Never understood any of the Bernie appeal from the start. Pure projection/green lanternism on the part of his supporters.

    Too old, too crotchety, too unrealistic, too anti-establishment, etc. to win. Doomed, but overachieved. The way he handled BLM and stressed the ‘rigged’ theme set his ceiling firmly short of winning the nomination.

    Blaming everyone else for your own limitations/choices just seems patently stupid to me (seemed like a foreshadowing of real governing frustration). Frankly, even if he had been able to limp to a victory in the general, governing would have been an unmitigated disaster. Not only would he very likely have no down ticket coat tails in 2016 but the 2018 election would look like 2010 but without anything like Obamacare preceding it.

    • I agree with this.

    • cleek

      seconded.

    • DocAmazing

      Re: “handling” BLM: the candidate who was praised for best “handling” BLM was Martin O’Malley–the guy who set the stage for Baltimore’s cops to shatter Freddie Gray’s spine. The Democratic candidate who handled BLM the worst was, of course, Clinton–that video was painful. This is the triumph of image over substance. I doubt that BLM activists want to be “handled”.

      • Aexia

        Let’s not forget Sanders reaction was to storm off stage in a huff and then cancel the rest of his meetings with activists.

        He also got savaged by immigration activists at Netroots as well but that got overshadowed by BLM to an extent.

        • Brien Jackson

          I don’t even think this was the damaging part. What really made him look bad was his campaign staff putting out a make nice letter to BLM groups, and then Sanders going into a rage and disavowing any “apology” hhis campaign put out when he found out about it on TV.

      • LosGatosCA

        ‘handled’ simply means beneficially interacting with.

        That interaction will be defined by what each party wants to get from the relationship.

        If Bernie didn’t want the votes of BLM supporters, then he ‘handled’ it well.

      • EliHawk

        Re: “handling” BLM: the candidate who was praised for best “handling” BLM was Martin O’Malley–the guy who set the stage for Baltimore’s cops to shatter Freddie Gray’s spine.

        It’s not surprising he had the best reaction to BLM. He’s probably won more black votes every single time he was on the ballot than Bernie Sanders won in his whole career.

    • Gregor Sansa

      Sanders got an awful lot wrong. But I supported him to the end because of the real opportunity he represented. And no, that wasn’t the chance that he would accomplish more progressive goals as president than Hillary will. Facing the same congress, Hillary would accomplish marginally more good things. (I’m not counting foreign policy, because though I far prefer Bernie’s naive neo-isolationism over Hillary’s COIN kool-aid, neither one is really progressive.)

      The opportunity that Bernie represented was that of a clear example of a grass-roots organizing victory that would energize a generation. In that sense, his talk of “political revolution” was exactly correct.

      • Brien Jackson

        Conversely, I thought it was pretty obvious that a Sanders administration would be so bad as to completely negate/reverse any “enregizing” his campaign/election did.

    • twbb

      As a Bernie supporter who isn’t fanatically anti-establishment, there are several reasons I preferred him:

      1. First, I think his foreign policy choices would be far superior to Clinton’s, and that would be something he would have a great deal of freedom to conduct without Congressional approval.

      2. Second, his crossover appeal on the right was surprising. Obviously that would have been cut down a lot in the campaign, but I think it was an opportunity to inject a bit of sanity into the right. I was particularly impressed by his speech at Liberty University, and the reactions to it.

      3. The implosion of the GOP made it possible for a far-left candidate to win for the first time in…well, ever. I think it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity there.

      • Rob in CT

        Similar to you.

        I agree with #1, though it’s pretty obvious he didn’t really consider FP to be that important, which dampened my enthusiasm. For me, this was a key mistake of his. I think he could have made more of an effort to articulate a non/less-interventionist FP position and it might have helped. Maybe that’s just me.

        #2 I never bought. IMO, maybe 1 in 100 Bernie-curious right wingers would actually vote for him in November. The crossover appeal he has, I think, is amongst people who aren’t necessarily super left-wing but are marginally attached voters (typically either don’t vote or vote in ways that make little sense – green one year, libertarian the next, the way I did in my early 20s). The big question has always been how many of those people are there and how many could a Bernie nomination on the D ticket actually activate?

        #3 This I sort of agreed with, though I went wobbly after his campaign’s response to the criticism of his healthcare proposal/rosy projections of same and wobblier after his NY Daily News interview.

        But in the end he got my vote b/c he was pushing some ideas that I think need to be pushed and also b/c HRC’s FP views worry me.

        But I never expected him to win, and have soured on him a bit down the stretch.

        • witlesschum

          This was mainly me. Foreign policy is the biggest worry with Clinton and he said some of the right things against her.

          Plus, the rhetorical value in electing someone who called himself a socialist at one point president of the United States was worth something.

        • Linnaeus

          it’s pretty obvious he didn’t really consider FP to be that important, which dampened my enthusiasm. For me, this was a key mistake of his. I think he could have made more of an effort to articulate a non/less-interventionist FP position and it might have helped. Maybe that’s just me.

          It isn’t just you. Foreign policy is supposed to be one of Clinton’s strong points because of her experience as Secretary of State, but I thought it was actually one of her weaker points, especially considering that a central theme of her campaign is that she will be a worthy successor to the Obama legacy. Sanders is probably closer to Obama on foreign policy than Clinton is. That was a real missed opportunity for Sanders.

          • petesh

            It was a missed opportunity for fantasy-Sanders. He really didn’t seem to know or care much about foreign policy, and I am reluctant to support anyone based only on their “instincts” about it.

            • Linnaeus

              Even a real-life Sanders could have figured out enough about foreign policy to credibly challenge Clinton’s positions, both present and historical. He didn’t do that, and that was a serious oversight.

          • Matt McIrvin

            Foreign policy is the one area in which I see some people who can form coherent sentences actually constructing Bernie-or-Bust arguments. Commenter “Nombrillisme Vide” over on Obsidian Wings, for instance, is still mulling refusing to vote for Clinton on the grounds that a completely erratic, incompetent Trump administration would be less damaging worldwide than a competently run militarist empire, which they believe Clinton would bring.

            I don’t buy it, though. Consider George W. Bush: his incompetence actually made his imperial adventures more dangerous, not less, with a much higher body count. The idea that Trump would be any kind of consistent paleocon non-interventionist is a delusion, too; the man floated bringing John Bolton into his administration. His “policy” is whatever he blurts out off the top of his head, and whatever Grand Viziers he appoints to be the power behind the throne are as likely to be old neocons as anything.

            Sanders seemed to believe that he could just repeat that he opposed the Iraq invasion as a substitute for any kind of foreign-policy vision. It’s the same pattern he followed with other constituencies: find one good talking point, hammer on that and just tell people that ought to be enough for them to get on board, instead of listening to what they might actually be looking for.

            • FlipYrWhig

              Yep. And Sanders isn’t some sort of radical purist antiwar candidate: he supported the Afghanistan AUMF, and hasn’t been critical about drones, to name two. So I’m not sure what his vision is, other than to be skeptical about war, but that’s not particularly innovative or unique among Democrats, none of whom–even the most noted hawks!–are _eager_ for war, “militaristic”/”imperialistic,” etc. IMHO mainstream Democratic foreign policy boils down these days to a Bosnia/Kosovo/Libya “responsibility to protect,” which has many risks, but surely doesn’t stem from empire-building or blood-lust.

              • LosGatosCA

                So I’m not sure what his vision is,

                I don’t think Bernie supporters know either. For me this was the clearest case of projection.

                Perfectly fine to criticize Hillary on this point. You can certainly even say Bernie couldn’t be worse. But I’m hard pressed to say anything affirmative about Bernie’s FP other than he mainly punted on this topic.

              • Rob in CT

                I’m not sure what his vision is, other than to be skeptical about war, but that’s not particularly innovative or unique among Democrats, none of whom–even the most noted hawks!–are _eager_ for war, “militaristic”/”imperialistic,” etc.

                Well, I like me some skepticism about war. I agree it’s not necessarily a policy, but this goes back to “don’t do stupid shit” and HRC’s response to that (which I *hated*).

                I won’t call her a warmonger, but she definitely meets my definition of a (liberal, certainly) hawk. Basically she lacks (enough, in my view) skepticism about war.

                But if Bernie wanted to make hay on that issue he would have needed to: 1) bone up on it and articulate something beyond skepticism; and 2) be prepared to defend/explain his FP record, which as you note wasn’t pure.

                • Matt McIrvin

                  Yes: “don’t do stupid shit” is an organizing principle, a fairly excellent one actually.

                • FlipYrWhig

                  But that’s the thing: everyone in the Democratic Party has skepticism about war. Certain figures in the party believe in the merits of “humanitarian intervention” (or whatever the term du jour is), which divided the left in the 1990s and still hasn’t quite been worked out. Hillary Clinton might have a lower threshold for humanitarian intervention than Bernie Sanders. But then there’s all the drone/surveillance/counterintelligence stuff, where Sanders hasn’t particularly distinguished himself as a fierce opponent, either.

            • Rob in CT

              I don’t buy it, though. Consider George W. Bush: his incompetence actually made his imperial adventures more dangerous, not less, with a much higher body count. The idea that Trump would be any kind of consistent paleocon non-interventionist is a delusion, too; the man floated bringing John Bolton into his administration. His “policy” is whatever he blurts out off the top of his head, and whatever Grand Viziers he appoints to be the power behind the throne are as likely to be old neocons as anything.

              100% concur.

              Sanders seemed to believe that he could just repeat that he opposed the Iraq invasion as a substitute for any kind of foreign-policy vision. It’s the same pattern he followed with other constituencies: find one good talking point, hammer on that and just tell people that ought to be enough for them to get on board, instead of listening to what they might actually be looking for.

              Yeah, that sounds right to me.

        • Matt McIrvin

          #2 I never bought. IMO, maybe 1 in 100 Bernie-curious right wingers would actually vote for him in November. The crossover appeal he has, I think, is amongst people who aren’t necessarily super left-wing but are marginally attached voters (typically either don’t vote or vote in ways that make little sense – green one year, libertarian the next, the way I did in my early 20s). The big question has always been how many of those people are there and how many could a Bernie nomination on the D ticket actually activate?

          I think his crossover appeal was exaggerated, especially in the late primaries after the R nomination was settled, by people who were always planning to vote for Trump in the fall, but crossed over to vote for Sanders in the D primary to get in an early shot at Hillary Clinton. That was clearly what was going on in West Virginia.

          • FlipYrWhig

            Yeah, I think the “crossover appeal” was basically “that’s guy’s a hoot, but at least he speaks his mind, not like that calculating lying biyotch Hillary Clinton.” It’s a crossover purely on a personality basis that never would have translated into votes.

            • Yeah. No Republican will vote Dem. I always thought that the thought of a Sanders/Trump coalition was laughably stupid, like mixing nitro and glycerin. Shake it up and the results are bound to be explosive.

              • brendalu

                Side note – I was surprised and encouraged to see this being shared around the other day among the few conservatives left on my FB:

                <a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/burka-blog/conservative-case-hillary-clinton/&quot; rel="nofollow"

              • Matt McIrvin

                On the other hand, Josh Marshall just quoted a PPP poll writeup claiming that 10% of Sanders > Trump voters in Pennsylvania are Sanders > Trump > Clinton, and 6% are Sanders > Jill Stein > Clinton–either of which would enlarge Clinton’s margin considerably if she could get them:

                http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-whole-story–2

                It’s worth mentioning that PPP, while it has a liberal reputation, seems to have been one of the more lowball predictors in Clinton vs. Trump head-to-head questions this cycle. And, of course, there’s a long tradition of Democrats coming home later in the cycle than this.

            • Rob in CT

              I think he had real appeal to disaffected left-leaners who usually don’t vote or vote Green. The first part of that (usually don’t vote) are fairly large in number and therefore theoretically quite valuable, but I’ve never really believed he’d bring them to the polls in November. The Greenies are so few they almost certainly don’t matter (though, obviously, 2000).

        • bender

          Same here. I sized up Sanders as someone who already has the job he is qualified to do. I sent him some money to support his advocacy of economic reforms.

          In 2008, I was happy with Obama and would have been happy with Clinton. This year, the challenge has been figuring out who the lesser evil is.

  • TribalistMeathead

    Yeah, I’m not concerned at all about #4 – neither Clinton (Bill or Hillary) strongly supported Obama in 2008, which was Good News For John McCain.

    • Matt McIrvin

      They played nice at the convention, though, with major speeches. Bill’s was particularly well-regarded.

    • TopsyJane

      HRC was considerably more gracious in 2008 than Sanders was last night. He is, I’m sorry to say, giving new meaning to the term “sore loser.”

  • tsam

    Wrong thread.//deleted.

  • UncleEbeneezer

    Bernie acted as if the past 8 years of Obama had been some sort of horrible failure. Voters disagreed. That was his biggest mistake, imo.

    • petesh

      Right-wing framing from a left-wing guy = incoherence

  • tonycpsu

    I was pretty convinced by Scott’s analysis, but then Bernie’s campaign put this out. I know he has to keep up appearances for his supporters, but that goes way beyond, and makes me think he’s really going to take this thing to the convention.

    • Juicy_Joel

      Hey I got this e-mail! It asked me to give $15 to “show that you want to see our fight for a progressive future continue all the way to the Democratic convention” which… yeah no thanks.

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