Friday Reads: The Long Tantrum of Bernie and the DudebrosPosted: May 20, 2016
It looks like the Bernie bros are determined to disrupt the Democratic Convention in July, despite the possibility that this could hurt Hillary’s chances to defeat Donald Trump in November.
From NBC10 in Philadelphia: City Approves Four Massive Pro-Bernie Sanders Rallies During DNC.
Four pro-Bernie Sanders rallies, with estimated attendance of 38,000 activists, have been approved for public demonstrations during the Democratic National Convention in July, the city said Thursday.
The four rallies, given permits Wednesday night, bring the total to five for approved rallies and marches during what is expected to be a bustling week of political activity in Center City and South Philadelphia. The convention officially runs July 25-28, but two of the five approved rallies and marches of more than 7,000 activists will be held July 24 — the day more than 4,000 delegates arrive from across the country.
NBC10 first reported Wednesday that an anti-fracking, clean energy group called Food & Water Watch was the first to receive a city permit for public demonstration. A group organizer said more than 5,000 activists are expected July 24 at a march from City Hall to Independence Mall.
For the largest of the four pro-Sanders rallies approved, more than 30,000 people are expected to attend weeklong demonstrations called “March for Bernie at DNC,” which will be held at FDR Park in South Philadelphia. It’s within earshot of where conventioneers will gather at the Wells Fargo Center to nominate their party’s presidential nominee.
It’s not clear if these rallies are being organized by the Sanders campaign or by Bernie supporters or whether Sanders himself with speak at them. I’d be surprised if he could resist appearing before large crowds and drawing attention away from the convention itself.
Their permits were submitted by individuals, and the city would not identify them, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Kenney said.
She cited personal privacy concerns for the applicants.
The fourth pro-Sanders demonstration approved Wednesday has a sponsoring organization identified.
A group called Black Men for Bernie has been approved to hold a “We the People Restoration Rally” at Thomas Paine Plaza across from City Hall on July 27-28. They will be allowed to gather from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sanders and his supporters seem determined to turn 2016 into another 1968. It’s pretty ridiculous when you consider that in 1968 people were protesting the ongoing Vietnam war and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. In 2016, the grievances are about a bunch of conspiracy theories complaints debates, delegates and superdelegates, and the nomination being supposedly “stolen” by the woman who is leading by 3 million popular votes.
Here’s a very good piece from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune by Norman Sherman, who according to the bio at the end, worked for both Hubert Humphrey as VP and then for Eugene McCarthy.
A cheering audience is a political aphrodisiac. Candidates for president, moved by crowds’ affection, become convinced that they are right, their opponents wrong. The pout of political pride makes backing off difficult later on.
Every campaign, no matter how humble and reasonable the candidate at the beginning, encourages a growing conviction of unique importance. This year, Donald Trump is the leading example, but self-importance is not a partisan condition. Sen. Bernie Sanders is justifiably gratified by his leap from obscurity to a formidable string of primary victories and special success in capturing the hopes of millions, particularly the young and idealistic.But Sanders’ criticism of Hillary Clinton — constant and repetitious — has become increasingly bitter. That may be productive now, but those words do not disappear when the convention makes a choice and it is not him. They become weapons for the political enemy. In the mouth of Trump, particularly, they would become bludgeon and meat ax.
Sanders should calm down, save the vitriol and think of the consequences of not doing so.
Obviously, Sherman speaks from experience. You’ll recall that in 1968 Eugene McCarthy was passionately supported by young people. After he demonstrated he could do well in New Hampshire, President Lyndon Johnson announced he would not run for reelection. The Bobby Kennedy decided to get into the race, and many people who had supported McCarthy switched to Kennedy. George McGovern, who would win the nomination in 1972 and lose 49 states, also got into the act. Humphrey ran in Johnson’s place, but it was too late for him to get into any primaries.
After Kennedy was assassinated, Sen. George McGovern took up his anti-Vietnam crusade, and he and McCarthy — like Bernie Sanders today — aroused huge, enthusiastic crowds, including many young people.
McCarthy patronized Humphrey as weak, sometimes ridiculed him, made him damaged goods for the general election. But Humphrey ultimately accumulated a huge lead in delegate votes.
McCarthy, McGovern and Kennedy had provided focus for the antiwar movement and for those who, for whatever reason, were fed up with Johnson and Humphrey. It took courage on their parts. And they had served the country well.
Ultimately, Humphrey lost the election by less than a percentage point. States where McCarthy was immensely popular might have been won with his support and would have provided the electoral votes needed for election.
Sherman says that Bernie needs to decide very soon whether he will be a McGovern or a McCarthy.
Tina Nguyen at Vanity Fair: Is Bernie Sanders Becoming 2016’s Ralph Nader?
Just three weeks after offering a conciliatory statement suggesting he was winding down his campaign, Bernie Sanders’s race for the White House has taken on a renewed urgency that has shocked the Democratic establishment with its newly belligerent tone. Despite the fact that it is practically impossible for the Vermont senator to catch up to Hillary Clinton, party leaders are now grappling with the prospect of an ugly, drawn-out fight that could roil the Democratic National Convention in July.
The trouble began at the Nevada state convention on Saturday, which turned violent after Sanders’s supporters rebelled against party rules they perceived as unfair by throwing chairs and screaming at Democratic officials they accused of favoritism toward Clinton. Sandersbarely apologized, instead launching into a verbal assault against the D.N.C., infuriating party figures eager to move on to the general-election fight against Donald Trump. Suddenly, it seems the anti-Establishment rage that until recently threatened to tear apart the G.O.P. is at the Democratic Party’s doorstep. What changed?
According to advisers who spoke to The New York Times, Sanders was re-energized by several polls that suggested he would beat Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, by wider margins than Clinton in several key states. And while his campaign previously signaled that they are aware he can’t win, Sanders is now willing to harm the Democratic front-runner in order to gain maximum political leverage at the convention in Philadelphia. “We have to put the blinders on and focus on the best case to make in the upcoming states,” strategistTad Devine said. “If we do that, we can be in a strong position to make the best closing argument before the convention.”
What closing argument? The race is already over and Bernie lost. If he ever had any realistic chance of getting superdelegates to switch to him, he certainly can’t convince them after attacking the DNC, the Democratic Party, and the likely nominee. But apparently he just can’t accept that he lost to a woman.
That closing argument, increasingly, is taking the form of a concerted attack on the D.N.C. itself—exactly at the moment when Democratic leaders were preparing to shift their energies toward Trump. Now, they face a two-front battle, with Republicans bashing Clinton on one side, and Sanders’s surrogates condemning their own party system on the other. In the wake of the Nevada-convention debacle, the Sanders campaign has doubled down on its critique of the D.N.C., which they accuse of favoring Clinton, refusing to hold additional debates, and helping the former secretary of state fundraise. Animosity toward the front-runner has reached a fever pitch in recent days. On Wednesday, campaign manager Jeff Weaver accused D.N.C. chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of “throwing shade on the Sanders campaign from the very beginning.” And Devine, Sanders’s senior adviser, told theTimes that his team was “not thinking about” whether their efforts might help Trump in the long run. “The only thing that matters is what happens between now and June 14,” he said.
Last night the Daily Show weighed in on the Bernie bro situation. You can watch the video at The Wall Street Journal: ‘The Daily Show’ Spoofs Impassioned Bernie Sanders Supporters. I know it’s supposed to be satire, but the woman played by Eliza Cossio is pretty realistic based on what I’ve seen on Twitter and in videos.
Played by “Daily Show” correspondents Roy Wood, Jr. and Eliza Cossio, this Bernie Bro and Bro-ette weren’t so much using their screen time to stump for their preferred Democratic candidate as they were parodying the fervent nature of Sanders’s followers.
If anything, the segment showcased the increasing divide between the Bernie Bros themselves, as Wood portrayed a Sanders supporter who at least seemed willing to vote for Hillary Clinton if and when she claimed the Democratic nomination. Cossio, on the other hand, portrayed a Bro-ette who was steadily losing her grip on reality….
When it came to discussing the recent unrest at the Nevada State Democratic Convention, Cossio and Wood held vastly different stances: Cossio was all for it, whereas an embarrassed Wood said, “Actually, I wasn’t so hot on that – all that unruly behavior, we just can’t be lashing out everywhere.”
Cossio and Wood also disagreed on the death-threat-tinged harassing messages left on Nevada state party chairwoman Roberta Lange‘s voicemail (you can hear excerpts in the video):
“That’s passion,” observed Cossio. “No, that’s a felony,” corrected Wood.
Check out the video at the WSJ link.
The case Bernie has been making is that he is a working class hero who can lure white voters away from Trump in the general election. Is there any truth to that argument? I don’t think so. I think he’s like Gene McCarthy–most of his followers are young people who are idealistic but ignorant about politics and government. Here’s Jeff Stein at Vox: Bernie Sanders’s base isn’t the working class. It’s young people.
After Bernie Sanders crushed Hillary Clinton in the West Virginia primary last week, the national media was ready with an explanation: the white working class.
The New York Times and The Atlantic, for instance, bothattributed Sanders’s win to his strength among low-income white workers. “White Working-Class Voters in West Virginia Pick Sanders Over Clinton,” read NPR’s headline.This trope has become the conventional wisdom in the media, with the Wall Street Journal, the Nation, The Huffington Post, and a host of other outlets (including me at Vox) stating as fact that downscale whites have formed a crucial piece of Sanders’s base.
This interpretation makes for an interesting narrative, but it’s missing the real story. Sanders’s victories aren’t being powered by a groundswell of white working-class support, but instead stem from his most reliable base since the start of the primary: young voters.
Because young voters also tend to have lower incomes, the massive age gap between Sanders and Clinton has sometimes looked to observers like a gap in economic class, according to political scientists Matt Grossmann and Alan Abramowitz.
But the most salient divide in the primary is not between rich and poor. It’s between young and old — and between white and black.
Please go read the rest.
I’d rather be writing about Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump today, but Bernie and the bros just won’t go away. I think we need to be prepared for their tantrum to continue for a long time. I hope Bernie wakes up and decides not to be this year’s Gene McCarthy or Ralph Nader, but I’m not holding my breath.
What stories are you following today?