The Official Opposition?

This is something I’ve been wondering about for a while. And it is something that is a subset of the point I made last month about the unique nature of the Democratic nomination process in 2016 – with Hillary Clinton so seemingly unchallengeable that the intra-party negotiation and jockeying which normally takes place between rival candidacies has shifted to different factions and constituencies contending over the terms and nature of their support for Clinton’s candidacy.

Here’s something I’ve noticed over the last few weeks: The DNC is sending out a lot of Bernie Sanders emails.

Here’s one blast email that came into our main company email address this morning.

Now this is pretty indistinguishable from what I might expect to get from the Sanders campaign itself. And Sanders did just jump in. So you might expect a shout-out from the national party. But it’s a bit more than that.

Here’s my inbox for the company email with the search ‘democrats.org sanders’.

That’s a lot of Bernie Sanders!

Even Bernie and Hillary!

Now, I do not remember anything comparable to this in 2008. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything comparable in any race ever. Can you imagine during the heat of the 2008 campaign the DNC sending out anything comparable to this – and if they did the other campaigns scrutinizing and seething over it?

At this point I think it’s fair to say that Hillary essentially owns the DNC or that the DNC is so bought into Hillary (as is really the whole informal Democratic party structure) that it amounts to the same thing. I half expect to start getting emails from the Hillary campaign telling me how awesome Bernie Sanders is.

If you want to be arch about it there’s a bit of this that reminds me of how things operate in one-party states where there are usually a few official opposition candidates who are harmless and make nominal runs and everyone gets along and goes along. (Wait, don’t send your angry emails yet!) I think there’s some element of that – Hillary does kind of need and want the Sanders candidacy.

But this sort of embrace of Sanders by the formal party structure as this awesome guy who really fights hard against inequality is also just a loud – perhaps thunderingly loud – tacit recognition that everybody gets where and how this story ends.

So let’s draw close, hug fulsomely and all commit to everyone’s awesomeness. Because we’re all awesome. And we all know where this ends.

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