osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

June 7 can't happen friggin' fast enough

First, credit to Nate Silver as being the only number cruncher in all this who actually has attempted to adjust for the systemic polling problems by developing a demographic predictive model. He had Bernie in KY at 2%. Clinton has won (pending the tally of absentee and provisional ballots) by ..5%, which is within the margin of error for an experimental model.

And Sanders showed he could win closed primaries in Oregon.

The KY result is insanely annoying because a close victory for Clinton invariably produces more accusations of vote rigging and chicannery than a clear win. Clear wins, of course, also produce such complaints, but they have less resonance outside the core Sanders supporters.

But really what the primary showed was the stability of the Democratic primary race. It confirms, again, that the progressive/Sanders wing of the party is about 40-45%, with centrist wing at about 55-60%. Depending on if you look at the present or the future, it means that either the progressives need to accept that a solid majority of the party is unwilling to accept their choice, or that the Dems need to embrace the progressives to attract the younger voters and Dem-leaning independents critical to the future of the Democratic Party as a party.

This should not be a surprise for those who have followed the Democratic party for the last 12 years, since Howard Dean first proved there was a faction seriously dissatisfied with the D party leadership and the direction of the party. That faction has grown significantly.

Which is why I remain impressed with how the Ds are showing their amazing genius for self-destruction, egged on by the press -- which needs a story to replace the "internal GOP struggle" they had been getting psyched for this summer. Those of us who can still remember all the way back to '08 will remember how this goes. Hillary was in it to win it until after the primaries ended. Then she maintained radio silence until just before the convention, which (and I say this as one who was there), was carefully engineered to minimize the likelihood of PUMA attacks. Heck, we even started to call the ballot and got about halfway through the first delegate count before Hillary withdrew and the convention selected Obama by acclamation.

Sanders, however, is different from Clinton in several important respects. First, Hillary has always thought of herself as a staunch member and supporter of the Democratic Party. Loyalty to the party qua party, and seeing it emerge unified behind a single candidate, was important to Clinton as an independent value. Additionally, Clinton still planned to serve as a leader of the party -- either as a Senator from NY or in some other capacity.

Sanders is not particularly concerned about the Democratic Party qua Party. Nor does he have any future with the Democratic Party. Unlike Elizabeth Warner, who has taken a "Reform from within" approach to the Democratic Party (staking out progressive positions within the party, but also raising money for D candidates from progressive Democrats and working within the party structure for Committee seniority), Sanders has taken the role of outside critic and revolutionary, directly criticizing the leadership and party structure. Accordingly, we can expect his reconcilliation (assuming it happens) to be somewhat more contentious.

Additionally, unlike Hillary, Sanders wants significant change within the party governing structure, to embrace not only a more populist platform, but a more populist governing structure (such as elimination of the super delegates). This will not go down well with the party leadership outside of Clinton. OTOH, there are plenty of folks within the party who quietly agree with Sanders general points about needing to embrace the 40-45% of the progressive voters (and encourage the dem-leaning independents to vote D and turn out for non-presiential elections), which will help in bringing things together.

Meanwhile, while Hillary and her campaign have been making concilliatory noises, we have the crusty old punditry, the hardcore party leadership, and waaaaayyyyy too many Clinton supporters on FB, trying to browbeat Sanders and Sanders supporters into submission.  Needless to say, this has gone over supremely well in encouraging party unity.

There is absolutely no reason for Sanders to drop out, other than it would make a bunch of people heave an enormous sigh of relief. While there is certainly a vocal "Never Hillary," many more Sanders supporters have taken the "Hillary must earn my vote" position. i.e., no free ride just because Trump is the opponent on the other side. This has prompted the predictable centrist response that worked so well in 2010 and 2014 -- "If you don't vote against the Rs, then you are an evil person and handmaid to the Republican triumph." So, naturally, there is a group of Sanders supporters that is ramping up its own response, fighting (literally) for every delegate, accumulating a greater sense of resentment against Hillary and her supporters and locking themselves into the Never Hillary position when they could have been pesuaded otherwise (and might still be).

Democrats maketh my head to hurt.

But here are things to consider. First, as long as Bernie has any kind of a chance to win the pledged delegate count, Sanders will continue. The entire point of the Sanders campaign is that a dedicated and passionate army of underdogs can defy the experts and the odds and bring real change to the country. Unlike centrist Dems in office, who generally quit early when it becomes hard, Sanders and the progressive orgs backing him have a long history of fighting impossible fights until they win -- even if that takes years. Fight for 15, the Dreamers, #BLM all were movemets against the odds and were all in the face of centrist Dems and the punditry explaining how they had no chance and were marginalizing themselve by not going smaller and being "pragmatic."

Similarly, the tactics being used by the protesters are those tactics that have proven effective in other venues. Turns out nobody likes being pushed. But relentless pushing does have impact. Cooperation, by contrast, has proven remarkably ineffective in generating long-term change. You get what you reward, and our political system at the moment does not reward playing nice.

Finally, for Bernie to extract maximum value from the centrists, his threat to withhold support and jeopardize the D party likelihood of winning the WH and Senate needs to be credible. That means not giving up and holding out the possibility that he and his supporters might recapitulate Kennedy's tactics at the 1980 convention.

One last thought. The Democratic Party establishment now has the nominee they wanted and the opponent they wanted. If they cannot win this election, then they really need to step aside and let other folks give it a try. And no excuses! Sure, it is always easy to explain why it wasn't your fault and other people undermined you and it was all the fault of those people who refused to rally and listen to you. I've been there. But in the end, if you could not persuade those who needed persuading, then you lost. If you keep losing, then you really need to consider that someone else might actually be better at this.

So the next 3 months or so culminating in the D convention are going to be an enormously irritating pain in the ass, which is why I am hiding out here rather than hanging on FB. I'm not sure I could srsly follow FB for the next 3 months and not end up punching people in the nose. Curating my own FB timeline was taking way too much effort.

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