Who Would Hillary Rather See Win In 2020– Bernie Or Her Old Friend Trumpanzee?

Written by on March 11, 2019


In June of 2017, Democracy Fund put out a post election study: Political Divisions in 2016 and Beyond– Tensions Between and Within the Two Parties. Among the key findings two standouts were:

1- among populists who voted for Obama, Clinton did terribly. She held onto only 6 in 10 of these voters (59%). Trump picked up 27% of these voters, and the remaining 14% didn’t vote for either major party candidate.

2- In both parties, the donor class is both more conservative on economic issues and more liberal on social issues, as compared to the rest of the party

The author, Lee Drutman noted that “Although there was a bitter fight between Sanders and Clinton, it turns out that their voters are not all that different on most issues.” Bernie voters were less enthusiastic about trade agreements.

The donor class loomed way larger in Clinton-world than in Bernie-world and, as Drutman found, the donor class is far more conservative on economic issues than the rest of the party, Today we find people identifying as Hillary backers to be the most skeptical among Democrats about progressive policies like Medicare-For-All, the Green New Deal, free state college, Job Guarantee, living wage, etc. Is that at the heart of the vicious anti-Bernie jihad by Clintonites this cycle? They reject that if you ask them. But the evidence is glaring. Last week, reporting for Vox, Tara Golshan wrote that former Clinton aides want the American public to know that they’re still mad about Bernie and they spend a lot more time whining about him– everything about him– rather than uniting against Trump. The really deranged Clinton die-hards– the Neera Tandens of the political landscape– hate Bernie far more than they want to beat Trump. They hate Bernie but they also hate his progressive vision for America.

Golshan is convinced that “At the core of their frustrations is a belief that Clinton beat Sanders fair and square and that Sanders was a sore loser. These attacks are their way of warning the American public it could happen again, leaving a divided Democratic party in the general election against Trump… These former Clinton aides aren’t tearing apart Sanders’s current policy agenda (probably because most major Democratic candidates have essentially adopted it). They’re just saying, here’s a bunch of dirt we had and we would like Sanders to have to deal with if he’s going to run again.”

“I’m not necessarily an anti-Bernie guy, especially not when it comes to his policies,” another ex-Clinton staffer, who worked on her campaign’s research team, said. “But he has this self-righteous attitude to himself. If you are not with him you are against him, and I think we are seeing that kind of behavior in the White House, to be honest. And that style is not what we need.”

But in the machinations of the Sanders-Clinton rivalry, in which both camps purport each others’ teams engaged in nefarious tactics to ultimately deny Democrats the White House, one statistic is often forgotten: as best as we can tell, more Sanders primary supporters voted for Clinton in the general election than Clinton supporters voted for Barack Obama in 2008.

And while Clinton’s aides say they are trying to even the playing field in 2020, this relitigation of 2016 is doing more to reopen past wounds than heal them.

The 2016 primary was bitter.

Clinton had been preparing for her moment for eight years through Barack Obama’s presidency. Then Sanders came close to winning in Iowa and handily won the New Hampshire primary, throwing Clinton’s presumptive nomination into question. He mounted a long and serious challenge, staying in the race through every single primary– even after it was mathematically impossible for him to clinch the nomination.

In the end, Sanders lost because Clinton won 34 primary contests, whereas Sanders only won 23, giving Clinton a 3 million popular vote lead and the Democratic nomination.

But throughout it all, a frustration grew over the fairness of the 2016 election. It’s understandable: Democrats were dealt a devastating blow in 2016, and everyone involved feels slighted. Clinton even wrote an entire book about it, where Sanders landed among the factors she has come to blame for her loss.

The bitterness hasn’t gone away.

Sanders’s supporters maintain the 2016 primary was rigged; Clinton was the establishment candidate, lifted by the entirety of the Democratic Party apparatus, from the way the Democratic National Committee scheduled debates to fundraising– and besides, she had the support of the Party’s superdelegates before the primaries even began.

This all came to a head in July 2016, when the DNC’s then-chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to abruptly resign just as the party’s nominating convention began. The central issue was leaked emails (now believed to be hacked by Russians) showed Democratic leaders disliked Sanders. After the election, Donna Brazile, who was appointed to replace Schultz, revealed that the DNC, deeply in debt at the start of the 2016 cycle, had struck a deal with Clinton in 2015, essentially trading some of its autonomy for Clinton’s fundraising help. To Sanders supporters, this was all evidence that the primary was rigged from the beginning.

But Clinton’s team says Sanders was just a sore loser. Sanders didn’t concede the primaries even when there was no path to the nomination, saying he wanted to see his “political revolution” to the end. His campaign manager told Bloomberg Politics at the time that their campaign “would like to get to a place where we could very actively support the nominee,” hinting that Clinton would first have to adopt a more progressive vision.

Sanders endorsed Clinton in July of 2016. But tensions remained. Recently asked whether he would seek advice from Clinton’s team, Sanders said “I think not,” giving Clinton surrogates more fodder to say Sanders was never on their side.

“The one difference between Clinton people and Bernie people is we would vote for Bernie if he got the nomination,” the former Clinton research staffer said. Exit polling tells a different story; there wasn’t a massive Bernie Bro defection in 2016.

There aren’t that many truly deranged Clinton die-hards; but they have a lot of mass media access. Their Democratic Party is the socially liberal, economically conservative Democratic Party. They’re the identity politics people who fear real systemic change. No way Trump can be reelected? Just watch the Hillary hard core in action.

I don’t know where Glenn Greenwald stands politically anymore. I lost track of him years ago and largely stopped trying to figure him out. But when he’s right, it’s worth taking him at face value and a week or so ago he pointed to the dishonesty at one of the mainstays of the Democratic Party establishment: MSNBC programming. He called them “a dishonest political operation, not a news outlet. It systematically and deliberately refuses to adopt a defining attribute of a news outlet: a willingness to acknowledge factual errors, correct them, and apologize. That they not only allow their lies to stand uncorrected but reward their employees who do it most frequently– especially when those lies are directed at adversaries of the Democratic Party– proves that they are, first and foremost, a political arm of the Democratic establishment. The most recent example is as glaring as it is malicious. On Saturday in Brooklyn, Bernie Sanders delivered his first speech for his 2020 presidential campaign in front of thousands of people. MSNBC broadcast the speech live, and anyone can watch the full two-hour event, or just Sanders’s full 35-minute speech, on YouTube”:

As a result, there’s no confusion possible about what was said. Everyone can see it with their own eyes.

Before Sanders spoke, he was introduced by a series of speakers including three African-Americans: South Carolina state Rep. Terry Alexander (who spoke of Sanders’s lifelong commitment to equal justice and opportunity), former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner (who heralded Sanders’s long-time commitment to racial justice and his status as “only one of two white elected officials” who supported Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign run in 1984), and racial justice activist (and Intercept columnist) Shaun King (who described in detail Sanders’s history as an anti-racist and civil rights activist in the 1960s and his decadeslong devotion to issues of racial equality).

After Sanders’s speech, MSNBC immediately asked its panel for reactions. The first person they turned to was Zerlina Maxwell, who the host identified only as an “MSNBC analyst.” What the host omitted, but which Maxwell herself acknowledged, was that she was a paid official for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign against Sanders: that, revealingly, is the first person MSNBC had opine on Sanders’s speech.

After the host noted that Maxwell was making gestures of disapproval throughout Sanders’s speech and asked her what the cause was, Maxwell proceeded to state demonstrable lies about that speech. She said:

To be very serious about it, I clocked it. He did not mention race or gender until 23 minutes into the speech. And just for point of comparison, I went back and looked at Elizabeth Warren’s opening speech, for example. She mentions race and discrimination in the first paragraph. So that’s a big difference.

That is a big difference. It’s also a total lie. Sanders mentioned race, gender, and discrimination multiple times at the beginning of his speech and long before the 23-minute mark, as anyone who actually watched it — which presumably includes all the MSNBC personalities on that panel who sat silently as this lie was broadcast — obviously knew was a lie.

…All one needs to do to prove this is an obvious lie is look at the video of Sanders’s speech– which the MSNBC panel had just done as it allowed Maxwell to deceive its audience this way.

Before Sanders even began the substance of his speech, he thanked those who introduced him, saying of Shaun King’s anti-racist activism: “All over this country– and I’m going to say a few words about it today and more tomorrow– people understand that we have a broken criminal justice system, and there are few people in America fighting more than Shaun to change that system.”

In the very first sentence Sanders spoke to define his 2020 campaign– which came, at the latest, at the five-minute mark even if one counts all the cheering, chanting, and obligatory acknowledgments that preceded the substance of the speech– Sanders proclaimed that the core message of his campaign is that “the underlying principles of our government” will “not be racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and religious bigotry.” He then vowed, “This campaign is going to end all of that.”

In the very next passage of Sanders’s speech– at most six minutes into it– the senator vowed that “the principles of our government will be based on justice: on economic justice, on social justice, on racial justice, on environmental justice.”

Sanders then devoted several minutes to denouncing the inequities, unfairness, and destructive effects of America’s criminal justice system and the drug war, contrasting the severe punishment meted out to low-level marijuana and other small-time offenders to the full-scale protection and even bailout for the Wall Street tycoons who crashed the economy in 2008. His other principal policy focus during that part of the speech was what he regards as the evils of Donald Trump’s immigration policies and the xenophobia that drives it.

The disparate treatment of the criminal justice system, as I documented in my 2011 book on that topic, is racially motivated at its core, and while Sanders did not explicitly use the word “race” in discussing it, he did so– again– immediately after when, at the 20-minute mark, he said Trump “wants to divide us up based on the color of our skin, based on where we were born, based on our gender, based on our religion or sexual orientation.” The Sanders campaign at its core, he said, is about doing “exactly the opposite. We’re going to bring our people together: black and white, Latino, Asian-American, Native American, gay and straight, men and women.”

At the 22-minute mark, Sanders, as he’s been reluctant to do for most of his political career, shared his personal experiences that shaped his political ideology, including not only his working-class background but also his father’s experience as an immigrant from Poland fleeing not just “crushing poverty” but also “widespread anti-Semitism,” a decision that saved his father, since “virtually his entire family was wiped out by Hitler and Nazi barbarism.”

In sum, Sanders did not just mention race and gender once in his speech before the 23-minute mark Maxwell claimed, but did so repeatedly. It was not only the major theme of the speakers who introduced him, but a primary theme of his own speech from the start: both explicitly railing against the evils of “racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and religious bigotry” and vowing to usher in “social justice and racial justice,” but also launching full-scale, vehement attacks on the policies– inequities in the criminal justice system and immigration abuses– that have as their primary targets racial and religious minorities.

…Despite all this, there is no correction from MSNBC or Maxwell– par for the course for this Democratic National Committee operation masquerading as a news outlet.

Indeed, as is almost always true for MSNBC, all of these pleas that they correct their false claim have been steadfastly ignored– no correction issued– because, as I’ve repeatedly documented, lying about adversaries of the Democratic establishment is not merely tolerated or permitted at MSNBC, but is encouraged and rewarded. That’s why they purposely had the very first person to comment on Sanders’s kickoff campaign speech be a paid Clinton 2016 campaign official highly embittered toward Sanders, and it’s why MSNBC does not correct lies no matter how loudly, clearly, or indisputably you document those lies to them.

News outlets correct lies. Slimy political operations deliberately use lies to advance their agenda and smear their adversaries. MSNBC has proven over and over again that they are decisively in the latter category. This is just the latest but by no means the only or even worst example.


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