07.26.2016 07:33 AM

Berned: it matters


I was at Star Trek Beyond with Sons Two and Four, last night, so I missed much of the antics by the Bernie Brigade.  With their booing, or with their mouths taped shut, they actually reminded me of some Canadian sore losers, the ones who wore black arm bands way back.

Son Two is a big Bernie Sanders fan, still, and we debated all of this stuff before and after Star Trek.  He thinks the DNC stole the nomination from Bernie.  I disagreed, and gave him this rationale about why I (an ex-pat Democrat) could never support Sanders, and he shouldn’t, either:

Don’t believe me? Ask Paul Martin, who never got his Bernie-style supporters to respect a democratic outcome, either – and who consigned the Liberal Party to a decade in the wilderness as a result.

And that matters, or should.




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    Luke says:

    I assume you are talking about the hypothetical case where Bernie Sanders actually won the nomination, rather than the real outcome.

    I am flabbergasted.

    Do you think it is bad for independents to demonstrate interest in reforming the Democratic Party into something that actually resonates with the younger half of the population if they legitimately work within that party’s own rules in running for the nomination, power their campaign with donations from millions of actual humans, and strive for legitimacy by way of winning a democratic contest? Would you prefer that the Dems instead stifle interest from the outside, particularly from the young voters who enthusiastically backed Sanders? You should be happy then, because there’s plenty or room for those disaffected voters feel alienated by the Dems. Namely, the apparent partiality of the DNC potentially compromising the legitimacy of the contest, and the choice of a super-boring VP nominee rather than someone (say, Sanders) they could entrust to sincerely carry the torch.

    You think having brought all this enthusiasm to what would have been a boring snore-fest of nomination contest weakened the Democratic cause? If the Democratic cause can’t withstand a competitive contest driven by the influx of considerable influx of fresh, young interest, perhaps the Dems need to reconsider what the cause is. I expect the Sanders campaign probably helped far more than it hindered. It kept the Democrats in the headlines because something interesting was happening, injected new interest into the party and politics, and offered a great opportunity to the Dems.

    Yes, he is Occupy’s Candidate. I can’t believe you think he is too late, and that such a candidate doesn’t belong with the Democrats. (If so, the Democrats are going to be irrelevant unless they wake up and recognize that the young people who identify with Occupy are becoming increasingly politically active, and that they obviously represent where politics is going.) All those sentiments are still there, and that is why Sanders demolished expectations and mounted a serious and unprecedented campaign. It is also why Trump’s protectionist positions are resonating — there is a certain amount of overlap between Trump’s antiestablishment positions and Occupy’s anger. That overlap is not going to benefit Hillary Clinton. She is the secretive anti-Occupy candidate entrenched in the establishment, at the receiving end of Wall Street donations with an interventionist foreign policy record including support for the Iraq War. Donald Trump is despicable and unworthy of the presidency, sure, but the potential for a coalition of xenophobes, protectionists, nationalists, gun-nuts, conservatives, sexists, uneducated jobless, and those who secretly want to watch it all fall to pieces for the sake of SOME kind of change, is real. The Dems had their chances to embrace the Occupy component of the electorate, but they mismanaged it. They will lose many of those voters to abstinence, third party support, and Trump.

    I still bet Trump wins.

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    dean sherratt says:

    I am surprised with the willingness to accept the efforts by the DNS, hideously documented in hundreds of e-mails, of their efforts to defeat Sanders and crown Hillary. The tactics resorted to by an organization in a role to be impartially presiding over a fair process of nominating a candidate, is shameful and at best, would give Chicago politicos a refresher course in how to fix the system.

    It is also too late for the Democrats to exclude from their bosom “Independent” Senators like Sanders, Angus King and (recently) Joseph Lieberman who caucused and voted with the Democrats. Lieberman even running as the vice presidential candidate in the 2000 Democrat ticket with Al Gore.

    One cannot have it both ways…either the policy differences between the two candidates have been narrowed and are mutually inclusive or the achievement of a common platform was a fraud.

    There is a big difference between the two and yes, this matters…the Democratic apparatus in every way tilted and collaborated with Hillary’s people to elect her while marginalizing and out-maneuvering Sanders. If I had been there and of their mind I would be most grievously angry…even to the point of being considered a poor loser, which is very much a small vice compared to the sea of iniquity that the Democrat Party seems to like to sail.

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      FlyingSquirrel says:

      Just a quick note on Lieberman – he was a Democrat when he was Gore’s running mate in 2000 and when he ran for the nomination in 2004. He became a Democratic-affiliated Independent after he lost his primary in 2006.

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    G. McRae says:

    Shrinking the tent is never a good election strategy. See Manning, Preston, 1993, 1997.

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    Sean Cummings says:

    Respectfully, Warren, Hillary should be trouncing Trump and she’s not.


    She’s actually losing.


    She should have trounced Bernie and she didn’t. She is not a strong candidate whereas the polling for Bernie shows him trouncing Trump.

    She doesn’t have HOAG which you talk a lot about.

    If it’s about winning in November, it seems to me that it doesn’t matter whether Bernie is a real democrat at all (didn’t Hillary campaign for Goldwater in ’64?) it should be about winning. If there is no post convention bump in the polls for Hillary Clinton, the Dems are in big big trouble. We are all of us in big big trouble.

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    Ridiculosity says:

    Breaking news: http://www.back2stonewall.com/2016/07/cleveland-hotels-report-huge-loses-white-sheets-republican

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    Liam says:

    I think we breezed past the most important part here:

    What did you think of Star Trek?

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      Warren says:

      Loved it. Was epic.

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    MississaugaPeter says:

    The whole idea that there are only two alternatives (parties) in a country of 300M+ is so, so ridiculous.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but you seem to suggest that Hillary should have been coronated. Hillary, an individual whose negatives are so ridiculous that Trump is ahead of her.

    Sanders ran for the Democrats since they were the closest of the two to his mindset and 13M+ disenfranchised others. With the WikiLeaks information, Bernie could have stabbed the Democratic Party and Hillary (Paul Martin would have). He didn’t, and IMO, the comparison to Paul Martin is as a result severe.

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    The Doctor says:

    Warren, although some of your points are a bit overstated, I largely agree with you. Especially re: the flag of convenience point. A lot of Sanders supporters are very ideological, utterly unpragmatic “cause” people. They are Democrats like David Orchard’s insurgents were Progressive Conservatives, i.e., not at all.

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    Tim says:

    The free world is poised to be run by a megalomaniac that intentionally paints himself orange and we have Sanders fans crying (literally) about the process. It may have not been fair… but greater shit is at stake and these idiots need to save it for later. For the sake of America and the World, Donald Trump cannot be elected.

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      Vancouverois says:

      When you constantly refuse to listen to voters’ legitimate concerns and instead resort to electoral blackmail (“you MUST vote for our candidate, because the alternative is TOO TERRIBLE!!!”), the electorate will eventually get fed up and vote for the other guy. No matter how much you insult and belittle them for not agreeing with you.

      In fact, the MORE you insult and belittle them.

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    doconnor says:

    It matters that it’s even more futile to start a third party in the US then it is in Canada.

    It matters that the messages and ideas of Occupy have become more mainstream and accepted in the last 8 years.

    What the DNC did was like if people in Elections Canada where thinking of ways to undermine the NDP. I think everyone would agree that would be totally unacceptable.

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    Michael Bluth says:

    As for the point about Bernie hurting the Democratic cause with the way he ran his campaign, well past the point that he could not win.

    Wasn’t that the exact same thing Hillary did in 2008?

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    Lance says:

    NONE of it, no matter how bad, would EVER have fazed you, Scot(t), so this talk about “receptive” is laughable.

    This is only the first wave of email drops. You think the leakers wouldn’t save the best for last? However, like I said, it will NEVER matter how bad it gets so…….forward!!

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      Lance says:

      I don’t hope for the worst, but when it comes to Hillary Clinton, it can certainly be expected.

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    Gilbert says:

    Let me say first of all that Bernie Sanders is too left-wing for me. But he seems more honest than Hillary Clinton. Her positions on the minimum wage, on trade and other issues don’t seem sincere to me. I think she moved to the left to please the supporters of Bernie Sanders, but many people just don’t trust her.

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    PJ says:

    Someone needs to remind them about 2000. Remember all the progressives who voted for Ralph Nader because they though Al Gore was no better than Bush, A President Gore would not have gone to war in Iraq and we would not have ISIS today.
    If the Bernie or bust voters decide to stay home, or vote for the Green Party candidate they will get to enjoy 4 years of a President Trump cozy up to Putin. They can spend the next 4 years regretting their choices.

    Candidates for office are imperfect human beings but to suggest that there is no ideological difference between Clinton and Trump is mind boggling. I’m sorry I don’t understand it.

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    Jay Currie says:

    Real world politics is messy. Normally the sausage making is hidden from the innocent youth. But “normally” was the good old days of a quiet drink with a friendly reporter and a smear coming from “nowhere”. Those days are gone.

    None of these emails – well except for the spreadsheet with the payoffs to donors by way of federal appointments – is really all that damaging to Clinton in themselves. Rather it re-enforces the idea that Hilly and the DNC are sleeze buckets of the first water.

    She lied to the Benghazi mothers, she lied to Congress, and now it turns out she corrupted the DNC, she lied to Bernie.

    Can’t wait for the debates because The Donald is not a gent. “You could have said no, Mr Turner.” will rate as a kiss. And you just know that, no matter what the topic, Trump will cast her as “Crooked, Lying, Hillary”.

    The biggest worry the Trump war room has is that he will beat her up so badly she’ll attract a sympathy vote.

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    Peter says:

    It’s just you, Scott. Trump seems to have caught Hillary in the polls and it’s a long way to November. Do you really think your Chicken Little schtick will carry you through till then?

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    Robert M. David says:

    Warren, you spend your entire article trying to prove in point form why Sanders and his supporters are not real Democrats, and then plead for him to get his “lunatic fringe under control,” meaning presumably to get them to vote Democrat?!

    I would suggest you’ve done more to convince them to vote for another party or even stay home, than vote for HC and other Dems in November. You may even convince HC supporters to question their decision… And that matters too.

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    FlyingSquirrel says:

    While I agreed with Sarah Silverman that the “Bernie or Bust” people were being ridiculous and thought he should have conceded and dropped out once all the actual voting was over, I disagree with some of what Warren wrote here. I’m not somebody who feels a great deal of tribal loyalty to the Democratic Party, but I nearly always vote for Democrats (when I don’t, it’s usually the rare circumstance when an Independent or a Republican actually runs to the left of the Democrat), and I’m registered as one so I can participate in the primaries.

    I voted for Sanders not so much because I wanted him to actually get the nomination – by the time my state came around, it was pretty clear that Hillary had it in the bag – but because I wanted to demonstrate that there is a growing constituency for a more robust form of social democracy, bring those ideas into mainstream debate, and create a foundation for the Democratic Party to move in that direction over time. I don’t see this as some sort of wholesale change in Democratic politics, just an evolution towards being willing to challenge capitalism’s excesses more aggressively. Despite all the debate over the word “socialism,” there are already progressive Democrats in Congress who believe in a lot of the same things Bernie does, and I still think that what he’s really talking about is closer to social democracy than true socialism. (I don’t recall him ever talking about nationalizing industries, for example.)

    And if we don’t try to promote these ideas within the Democratic Party, well, where *should* we do it? There’s no equivalent of the NDP here, and the combination of a strong Presidency, the electoral college, and the first-past-the-post system makes it even more likely that trying to create an NDP-style party would be counterproductive by tipping key states to the Republicans. The only other way to pursue this kind of agenda that I can think of would be for a Green or Social Democratic / Labor party to try to win seats in the most left-wing districts in the House of Representatives and then bargain for policy concessions in return for supporting a Democratic Speaker of the House. But the nature of American politics and media coverage almost requires that you participate in presidential politics if you want to be heard and have influence.

    Would it have been better if someone with a formal affiliation with the Democratic Party – a Sherrod Brown or an Elizabeth Warren – had played the role occupied by Bernie instead? Probably, but that’s out of the control of the average voter. Plenty of us saw Bernie’s candidacy not as an attempted entryist takeover, but rather as moving the party towards the sort of economic populist stance that it once embraced more openly and that many of its members and supporters still do embrace.

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