Tag Archives: Democratic National Committee

Would Bernie have won?

A lot of Bernie backers are reacting to Donald Trump’s victory by blaming the victim — Hillary Clinton — and asserting that Bernie Sanders would have won this thing.

Which, first of all, is absolutely unknowable.

Second, the odds would have been longer for Bernie.

There are a couple of layers to this. First, the belief that if the DNC hadn’t had its thumb on the scale, Bernie would have won the primary. And second, as the nominee he would have been a more effective opponent to Trump.

Let’s take the first. Bernieacs are fond of blaming the superdelegates for Clinton’s victory. But the fact is, Hillary clinched the nomination without the superdelegates. Throughout the primary season, she ran ahead of Bernie. Slightly ahead, but ahead.

Bernie never showed that his progressive agenda could attract voters beyond his core support. He racked up a lot of his victories in caucus states, where a small but enthusiastic base could carry a candidate. He was never able to consistently beat Clinton in actual primaries.

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Bernie’s Trickle-Down Politics

In the aftermath of the Vermont primary, in which Hillary Clinton failed to reach the 15 percent threashold needed to qualify for convention delegates, there’s been more pressure on superdelegates who back Clinton to switch to Bernie Sanders. Because to vote for Clinton, the story goes, would be to ignore the wishes of the electorate.

Which fails to consider the disenfranchisement of the 13.6 percent who voted for Clinton. I’m not making that complaint; I have said the parties have the right to determine rules for choosing a presidential candidate, and I stick by that. I’m just pointing out the hypocrisy, that’s all. Both candidates benefit, and lose, in different ways that roughly cancel out.

What I am here to say is there are very good reasons for Pat Leahy and Peter Shumlin and Billi Gosh to support Hillary. They may believe she’s the stronger general-election candidate. They might value her long and loyal service to the Democratic Party, contrasted with Bernie-come-lately who has been harshly critical of the party but has also benefited, throughout his political career, from his arm’s-length affiliation with the Democrats.

And here’s another one, a big one, courtesy of the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank:

Hillary Clinton has raised $26 million for the Democratic National Committee and state Democratic parties so far this campaign. And Sanders? $1,000.

That’s no typo. Clinton is doing more to boost the party’s 2016 prospects than Sanders by the proportion of 26,000 to 1.

… Clinton has pledged to rebuild the party and has begun to make good on that promise. Sanders, by contrast, has shown little concern for the very real crisis the party faces beneath the presidential level.

Let me pause here and state, clearly, that I don’t blame Bernie for making this strategic choice. He has a revolution to build, and that costs money. His first priority is fully funding a presidential campaign, which is a very costly undertaking. He is doing what he needs to do.

However, as Milbank documents, the Democratic Party structure is in critical condition.

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Worst… Conspiracy… EVER

When I defended the Democrats for saving “superdelegate” seats for key officials, I expected to get blowback from Bernie supporters. And I did. And that’s fine. But I think something needs to be said in response.

The tenor of the blowback is basically that the Democrats are rigging the game for Hillary Clinton.

Well, if this is true, then it’s a woefully inept conspiracy.

Quiet! DNC At Work!

Quiet! DNC At Work!

The Democrats have set aside 15 percent of their delegate slots for officeholders and party leaders. These people can cast their convention votes as they see fit. Those who get superdelegate spots are not chosen for their loyalty to a particular candidate. If they were, then Sanders supporter Rich Cassidy wouldn’t have a superdelegate slot from Vermont. Hell, Bernie himself is a superdelegate — and he’s not even a Democrat.

And so far, less than half the superdelegates have endorsed Clinton.

And they are free to change their minds at any time.

That is one weak-ass conspiracy.

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Bernie wins a round

Well, I was wrong.

Recently, I was critical of the Bernie Sanders campaign for endangering a possible New Hampshire debate by insisting on a further expansion of the debate schedule.

And last night, the Democratic National Committee capitulated. 

“Our Democratic candidates have agreed in principle to having the DNC sanction and manage additional debates in our primary schedule, inclusive of New Hampshire this week,” [DNC Chair and Representative Debbie] Wasserman Schultz said in the statement.

Mighty white of her, considering that she had stubbornly resisted any changes to the previously agreed debate schedule. I don’t know if it was Jeff Weaver’s persuasive charm, or party leaders finally realizing they’d shot themselves in the foot with a minimal and weirdly-scheduled slate of debates.  But something finally penetrated the DNC’s shields.

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WTF, Bernie?

For months, the Bernie Sanders campaign has been complaining about the lack of debates and their odd placement in low-viewership time slots. But this week, the New Hampshire Union Leader and MSNBC pulled a nice little jiu-jitsu move, inviting the three Dems to an unsanctioned debate next week, just before the #fitn primary.

Martin O’Malley leapt at the chance. The Hillary Clinton camp, rather surprisingly, said she would participate if Bernie Sanders also accepted.

And Bernie said “No.”

I don’t get it. The door was open to a debate in weeknight prime time, at the very peak of interest in the early primaries… and he backed away.

Bernie’s calling for a political revolution. That isn’t the act of a proud revolutionary. It’s the act of a political operative playing the angles.

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The wrong time to start a fight, and the wrong fight to pick

So the Bernie Sanders campaign is mad as hell and not taking it anymore. “It” being the alleged pro-Clinton bias of the Democratic National Committee. And they have a point: the DNC has made some decisions that favor the front-runner. But c’mon, what do you expect from a party that believes it has a strong, electable candidate with deep roots in the party versus a self-described political insurgent?

Of course the party is going to favor the “stronger” candidate. For that matter, it’s unseemly for the vanguard of a “political revolution” to start whining about the unfairness of the establishment. That’s what you expect from the establishment, and that’s why you’re fighting them.

Besides, it’s not like the DNC has done anything horrendous. Yes, the debate schedule is too limited, which has turned out to be a tactical error, ceding the spotlight to the Republican circus. But the truth is, debates don’t swing elections unless a candidate makes an absolute fool of him- or herself.

Beyond all that, two points:

— The Sanders camp is in the wrong on the data-breach issue, and is trying to change the subject.

— This is the worst possible time to pick a fight.

Details after the jump.

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