Lazy Saturday ReadsPosted: June 18, 2016
I’m feeling particularly lazy today–mostly I just don’t want to read any news. I’d rather be reading a novel, a true crime book, or maybe a biography. But I’ve been forcing myself to surf around to see what’s going on, and here’s what I’ve come up with.
The primaries are over, but Bernie Sanders is still hanging around like party guest who won’t leave even after everyone else has gone home and the party-givers have done the dishes and are dying to get some sleep.
Tommy Christopher on Bernie’s Thursday podcast to his supporters: Bernie Sanders Flips Off Black Voters On His Way Out the Door.
Bernie Sanders is going to delay getting into the fight against Donald Trump so that he can get a few good ideas, a few iffy ideas, and a few bad ideas into the Democratic Party platform, a document that is about as useful as a roll of Charmin, but considerably less soothing to the skin. Just for good measure, he wants to get rid of Superdelegates and open up the primaries, which will work out great for Bernie Sanders from a year ago, but which will suck the first time Democrats have to run a primary against an incumbent Republican president, and Republican voters decide to vote in Democratic primaries just to mess with us. Brilliant, but none of which required him to continue to slight Hillary Clinton, except he might make Susan Sarandon and her purse dog mad.
Instead, Bernie will wait until he’s good and ready to make a half-assed endorsement of Hillary Clinton that will succeed only in winning a news cycle or two for Donald Trump, as he and the media rehash every attack he’s made against her, and every painstaking yank of the pliers it took to extract said half-assed endorsement.
But there’s something even more revealing about Bernie’s speech to supporters, because wrapped around those relevant 107 seconds was about 22 other minutes of Bernie boilerplate that neatly laid out his priorities. Throughout this campaign, Bernie and his supporters have continually insisted that if black voters would only stop and listen and give him a chance, they’d be dazzled by his down-ness and abandon their habitual support for Hillary….
Black people got tacked onto a few lists of other things, and some lines about failing schools and criminal justice reform. Or to put it another way, what black voters could expect from a Rand Paul speech. Not a syllable about ending police brutality or racial profiling, nothing about the Voting Rights Act or any other Republican schemes to disenfranchise black voters, and those are just the easy ones. Fifty-six seconds out of 23 minutes, and none of the bullet points he rushed up onto his website when #BlackLivesMatter protesters hassled him almost a year ago. Yeah, black voters had Bernie all wrong, didn’t they?
Watch Sanders’ almost-nonexistent thoughts on the Black vote at Mediaite.
More commentary on Bernie’s remarks from Matthew Yglesias: One sentence from Bernie Sanders’s speech last night that really enrages Democratic leaders.
As you can probably guess, most Democratic Party insiders were really hoping Bernie Sanders would formally drop out of the race this week and offer Hillary Clinton a fulsome endorsement. But they also recognize that he’s stopped attacking her, is promising to work against Donald Trump, and has basically accepted that the race is over — so if he wants to fade away slowly, they are happy to live with that.
The aspect of Sanders’s speech that really set them off last night was something entirely different. Not the fact that Sanders said he wanted his supporters to continue to influence the direction of the party but the specific way he characterized this direction:
I also look forward to working with Secretary Clinton to transform the Democratic Party so that it becomes a party of working people and young people, and not just wealthy campaign contributors: a party that has the courage to take on Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, the fossil fuel industry and the other powerful special interests that dominate our political and economic life.
It’s incredibly frustrating for people who’ve been working in mainstream Democratic Party politics to hear their party described as something other than a party for “working people.” Clinton won the votes of millions of working-class Americans, primarily people of color, throughout the 2016 primaries; and in the 2012, 2008, 2004, and 2000 election cycles there’s been a pronounced tendency for lower-income voters to back the Democratic candidate and higher-income ones to back the Republican.
Similarly, it comes as a shock to people who participated in the passage of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill (or the White House’s series of later anti-bank regulatory actions) or who’ve worked to uphold the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plant rule that they apparently lack the courage to stand up to Wall Street and fossil fuel interests.
It’s one thing to disagree with people about policy substance or political tactics. But something Sanders has done throughout his campaign and very pointedly did here is straightforwardly challenge the good faith of the vast majority of his colleagues in Democratic Party politics. It’s worked pretty well for him on the stump, but it doesn’t win you a lot of friends. And to be honest, it’s simply wrong — you can raise a lot of objections to Obama’s approach to Wall Street or climate change, but the fact is that the financial services industry and the fossil fuel industries have been fighting him every step of the way.
Barney Frank was right. Bernie Sanders alienates his natural allies, whether deliberately or because he’s simply a terrible politician.
on Thursday, the Vermont senator announced he had an announcement to make. It’s been a long campaign, and Hillary Clinton bested him on every conceivable metric—albeit narrowly in some—other than the party-liquefying convention nuclear option to which Sanders doesn’t have the codes anyway. So, on Thursday night, the Vermont senator gathered friends, loved ones, and supporters around the country to huddle around a live video feed to humbly announce: He’s still running for president.
To be fair, Sanders hinted that soon he will be done and his “role” will change in a “very short period of time,” but he notably stopped well short of even remotely ending his campaign or endorsing Hillary Clinton.
Frankly, I doubt if he’ll ever endorse her, and I just don’t care. I don’t want him to campaign for her; I just want him to disappear.
One more by Sahil Kapur at Bloomberg: Sanders’ Long Refusal to Endorse Clinton Hurts His Leverage.
Even with his path to the Democratic presidential nomination rapidly disappearing, Bernie Sanders couldn’t bring himself to publicly accept defeat. Along the way, he overplayed his hand and squandered the political capital he’ll need to force policy and procedural reforms on the Democratic Party, according to allies and party strategists.
“We’re already way past the maximum point of leverage that he and his movement built up. It’s definitely dissipating every day,” said Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist and veteran of presidential campaigns.
Trippi put the high point of Sanders’ clout at April 9, after he won seven straight contests ending with Wyoming. But he lost seven of the last nine contests, walloped by 58 points in the District of Columbia, which held the final primary of the season on Tuesday. Hillary Clinton already had locked up the nomination with a decisive victory in California a week earlier, and some of the highest-profile Sanders supporters—including Senator Jeff Merkley, Representative Raul Grijalva, and the liberal activist group MoveOn—are now lining up behind her.
Read the rest at the link.
While Bernie continues to wallow in sour grapes, Hillary Clinton has been very busy defining Donald Trump for the folks who are just beginning to pay attention.
FirstPost.com: Hillary Clinton brings out ads to give Donald Trump “rude awakening.”
Hillary Clinton and her Democratic allies have invested at least $41 million in commercials in crucial states such as Ohio, Florida and Nevada over the next six weeks, a series of summer broadsides against her Republican opponent. Those messages will be echoed by hundreds of Clinton workers in those same states and amplified by President Barack Obama and other top Democrats.
Trump has made few preparations for contending with that sort of well-oiled political machine. His campaign has no advertising plans and is just now hiring employees in important states. Republican leaders are far from agreement on how best to talk to voters about the polarising billionaire, or if they will at all. And Trump is running out of time: Early voting starts in Iowa in just three and a half months.
“It’s political malpractice,” said Mitch Stewart, Obama’s 2012 battleground states director and a Clinton backer. “He’s in for a rude awakening. This isn’t a national vote contest where you can be on cable news every day and dominate coverage. This is literally going state by state and coming up with a plan in each.”
Clinton’s large June and July ad buy comes as a reward for her near-constant fundraising. In May, she raised $27 million in primary election money that must be used before she accepts her party’s nomination at the convention in late July.
Trump is playing catch up. He did not begin raising money in earnest until 25 May, having largely financed his primary bid through personal loans to his campaign.
Clinton’s latest spots, highlighting her past advocacy for children, are an attempt to reintroduce the returning presidential candidate — she lost the 2008 Democratic primary to Obama — to general election voters. Her campaign is spending about $23 million on ads by the convention, according to advertising tracker Kantar Media’s CMAG.
But those voters are also hearing from Priorities USA, a super political action committee financed by millions of dollars from Clinton’s staunchest supporters. The goal of those that $18.7 million batch of ads: cast Trump as a con-man and bully unprepared to be commander in chief.
As I wrote on Thursday, it’s beginning to look like Trump isn’t making even a halfhearted attempt to run for president. He seems to be focusing on deep red and deep blue states and ignoring the swing states he would have to win in order to have any hope of beating Hillary. He spent yesterday in Texas.
Yesterday the AP learned that the Trump campaign has only 30 paid staffers on the ground nationwide.
His campaign roiled by infighting and Republican revolt, Donald Trump is working to address a battleground state staffing shortage that highlights his reliance on a skeptical GOP establishment.
The New York billionaire has slowly begun to add paid staff in a handful of swing states — Wisconsin and Iowa, among them — even as campaign officials concede the presumptive presidential nominee has little desire or capacity to construct the kind of massive national operation that has come to define modern-day White House campaigns. Trump plans instead to depend upon the national Republican Party to lead state-based efforts on his behalf, while Democrat Hillary Clinton has had an army of staff dedicated specifically to her campaign in general election battlegrounds for months.
“It would be disingenuous and wrongheaded to take a playbook that has been used over and over again,” said Trump senior aide Karen Giorno, in charge of an 11-state Southeastern bloc including battlegrounds Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. “We are creating the playbook.
The unconventional approach reflects Trump’s disdain for traditional Republican campaign practices and inclination to implement businesslike decision-making. It also carries substantial risk.If, for instance, Trump is lagging Clinton badly in polls come early fall, there is nothing to stop the RNC from cutting its losses and focusing instead on saving Republican control of the Senate or other competitive contests also on the ballot this November. Beth Myers, who managed 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign, said White House candidates have unique needs that a broader-brush approach cannot always meet.
“We are creating the playbook.” Unbelievable.
What stories are you following today?