TPM Readers on Sanders #9

TPM Reader PL has a take on the Sanders-Clinton battle which I agree with in a lot of ways. As he puts it, he never thought Sanders would be the nominee. The aim was to push the party left and show the establishment that the the left-wing of the party is growing, strong and has teeth. Now, they refuse to go away.

I really couldn’t agree more with this. I’m not sure who wants Sanders and his supporters to go away. I know those people exist. But they’re stupid. As TPM Reader JR noted in his last email, a big part of Sanders success was based on the face that Clinton so effectively cleared the field of other candidates. Once it was just the two of them, he was going to do pretty well. But that doesn’t explain the scope of his victories. Some of this is just the left-wing of the Democratic party which is always there. But the heavy weight of young voters supporting Sanders is a genuinely new thing under the sun. Sanders has managed to garner a huge amount of support for a range of policies and basic perspectives about market economies that would have seemed anathema to most Democrats or at least politically fatal only a few years ago.

That’s something new. It’s not going anywhere any more than a whole generation of people is going to just disappear. It needs to be woven into the fabric of the Democratic coalition. If it has legs and I think it does it needs to start building the left wing of the party at the local and state level, where party change actually happens.

The key in my mind is whether Sanders continues to push his arguments about a rigged system against the Democratic party itself, which he’s very much been doing. Making ambiguous remarks that in various ways suggest that Clinton didn’t clearly win the majority of votes and delegates is toxic. Pretending that Super Delegates are going to overrule the primary process and make Bernie the nominee is only a recipe (hard to believe not at some level intentional) to build up a deeper sense of grievance and embitterment against Clinton’s candidacy and the Democratic party itself. In any case, TPM Reader PL

I am a Sanders supporter who has never believed he had any real chance of winning the nomination. Clinton’s institutional support in the party and its associated interest groups has been nearly that of an incumbent President. Add in the prospect of being the first woman President, Clinton access to big money and hostility to Sanders’ policies from corporate media and she has always been unbeatable.

As a progressive, I wanted Sanders to force her and that establishment to understand that much of the party base is in fact more progressive than they have been, and that we should be respected and feared. The goal has always been to move the party and policy. I also never imagined a successful campaign could be run with only small donors, and that has been a huge plus and maybe a model for other candidates. In those regards, the Sanders campaign has been a rousing success, especially in its ability to enlist young voters.

The media and Democratic establishment now want him to go away, but that is not his plan or (I believe) the desire of his supporters. To keep it going, he is now making some far-fetched statements to give supporters some hope he still has a chance. That isn’t working, and he should stop talking about flipping the establishment people who are superdelegates. He needs to just keep plowing ahead with his issues through the convention and beyond.

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