osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

I keep rediscovering why I took a FB vacation

I really, really need to stop posting political analysis on FB during election season. Like any human endeavor, FB concentrates human traits. In this case, the intensity around the election is insane.

Mind you, I'm reading Chernow's biography of Hamilton, and the frenzy around the election, including relentless personal attacks, is certainly consistent with his description (and that of others) of politics in the immediately pre and post Revolution and in the early days of the Constitution.

Anyway, I cannot help but observe that while I understand the AP's rush to declare Clinton the presumptive nominee, a declaration that she has won the number of delegates based on Super Delegates is sure to fan the flames of disunity and conflict. It is especially irritating since today Clinton is likely to clinch the deal with a sufficient number of pledged delegates.

This does not, however, cause despair to supporters of Sanders who are not unalterably opposed to Clinton as the nominee under the right circumstances. (I will add that I consider Clinton a perfectly good candidate in her own right. Likewise, while I favored Sanders, I do have concerns and disagreements with his potential as President as well. But I digress.) To the contrary, Sanders has proved not only that the Democratic base is much more open to a progressive message than many people (including many long-time Democrats) believed, but that Democrats can attract independents by explicitly adopting (and implementing) more progressive policies and embracing a role of government in improving people's lives.

This means, going into the convention, that Sanders has considerable influence to shape the party platform and begin the internal process (with the rest of the "Warren wing") of shaping the post election party. This takes some considerable skill.

Centrist democrats in the DNC are like any incumbents -- they dislike change, especially change they do not control. This is not so much corruption but human nature -- albeit human nature that lends itself to corruption. As always, most of what happens will go on behind the scenes, with endless speculation (as it is now). What makes this more difficult is that Sanders is not so much the leader of a movement as its representative. He knows that he cannot turn his supporters on and off like a switch, nor would he want to do so if he could. That means that he needs to woo his base to support a Democratic party that incorporates whatever changes and commitment he gets.

This is not to say that Sanders will simply "take what he can get." Part of the purpose in continuing on in a challenging manner despite the oft repeated points about math is to persuade the centrists that they will need to make real changes to win over the Sanders wing. It is still possible that these negotiations will fail, and that Sanders and his supporters will need to withhold support. That would be disastrous in the short term. But time favors the younger, more progressive wing of the party. The evidence of the last 12 years is that the future of the Democratic Party lies less with the 1990s coalition of centrist professionals and traditional labor and civil rights leaders, and more with the rising tide of new civil rights and social justice activists and a minority/majority working class. Conservatives were defeated in their attempt to take over the Republican Party in 1976, but wildly successful in doing so in 1980. Democrats looking for a melding and transition from the 1990s philosophy that was essentially conservatism with a conscience with the more progressive philosophy of the incoming generation of Democrats would do well to identify their own core principles and negotiate a merger of the two wings of the party in good faith, rather than simply resist all changes.

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