So much for Clinton party unity: Senior aide says Sanders should tone it down or “fuck him”
Well, David, it appears that “destructive” was just a very mild way of saying what Clinton & Co. actually thought: Fuck party unity. An “anonymous” Clinton senior aide was a little more blunt – and did quite a bit more damage to that whole “party unity” thingy they pretend to be working on (and this from the same people who told Bernie to “watch his tone” or they wouldn’t agree to a New York debate). As reported by TalkingPointsMemo:
Reflecting on Clinton’s double-digit victory, the anonymous senior aide told Politico: ‘We kicked ass tonight . . . I hope this convinces Bernie to tone it down. If not, fuck him.’
Well, Clinton, stay classy (and this from the people who condemn Bernie supporters as rough and tumble thugs and street brawlers). The Clinton camp may be gloating today after her New York win, but there are still quite a few roadblocks ahead. Let’s start with the obvious one: That a New York win in this election cycle doesn’t mean a hell of a lot, considering the voter purging, voter irregularities, voting locations opening hours late, voting locations changed without notice, and a lawsuit filed against the Board of Elections that the judge is permitting to go forward. There were just a host of things that got our spidey senses tingling. As Ben Norton at Salon reported,
Sanders won the vast majority of New York state, but Clinton won the densely populated urban areas, particularly New York City. In Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, the candidates were neck-and-neck, but Clinton pulled just ahead. Voting day was plagued with enormous problems, leading to widespread accusations of voter suppression and disenfranchisement.
Since last fall, the New York Board of Elections mysteriously purged more than 125,000 Brooklyn Democrats from the voting records without their knowledge. Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged that there had been ‘purging of entire buildings and blocks of voters from the voting lists.’ The New York City watchdog, Comptroller Scott Stringer, said all of this happened ‘without any adequate explanation furnished by the Board of Elections.’
There were also countless reports that residents were given wrong voting information, people were sent to wrong polling locations, voters were forced to fill out affidavit ballots that may not count, poll workers did not know how to operate the voting machines and voting machines were broken.
So yeah, I wish Bernie had won New York – but given Clinton’s iron grip on the establishment, her old boy network in New York, and her willingness to play fast and loose to win, I’m more angry than sad today. And Clinton, despite calls for unity in her victory speech, isn’t likely to practice what she preaches. What “unity” means to her is control of Bernie Sanders’ supporters, and their millions of $27 donations. What “unity” means to her is for Sanders to bow out, hand his people over to her, and let her take a nice little stroll to the nomination. What “unity” means to her is for Bernie Sanders to quit contrasting their astonishingly polar opposite visions for America and quit making quite so much noise to quite so many people about her many, many flaws and vulnerabilities as a candidate.
“Unity” my ass. That’s about as real as the hot sauce in her bag. Or her contrived southern accent when talking to black voters. Or playing dominoes in Harlem. Or caring about Flint, Michigan, water victims until she lost the state. But Bernie’s not bowing out and he’s not going to be encouraging his supporters to support Clinton – because for one thing, we won’t, and for another, he knows she’s bad for this country. As Lucia Graves over at The Guardian noted (in a snarky kind of “I’mwithher” way that I’ll ignore, because she makes some points I’ll address in a moment),
. . . [H]e’s not ready to give up on his revolution because as soon as he throws his support behind Clinton, the movement he’s fought for is over.
So instead, he’s blasting out statements about winning through adversity. He’s decrying the politics of closed primaries and talking up his chances in the upcoming primaries of Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland. He’s unleashing his campaign manager on national television, to say things like that they’ll fight all the way to the Democratic convention in July, working to flip superdelegates rather than unite behind the Democratic nominee.
These are not the noises of a man or campaign preparing for a hearty and imminent embrace of Hillary Clinton . . . Clinton has been desperately trying to pivot toward the general, but at this critical juncture anyway, Sanders seems utterly unconcerned with helping her do that. And while it may be a bad look for Democrats, that’s hardly been Sanders’ concern. Until he ran for president, he wasn’t even a Democrat. In fact, throwing her his support would be at odds with the ideological purity he stands for. Sanders prefers not to get nasty, but he’ll go there to defend his revolution . . . Some would argue he’s already been heard. That he’s already pushed Clinton left on everything from Keystone to trade policy and the minimum wage. That he’s already helped fire up a grassroots movement that will continue to push for his message long after he’s ceased to be a viable candidate. But Sanders still isn’t satisfied. It’s part of his charm, and also, why he’s so dangerous for Clinton and the party – he’ll never, ever be satisfied. He’s a good revolutionary that way.
Here’s the thing: Ms. Graves can mock Bernie’s revolutionary ideas all she wants, but she’s right on that Bernie doesn’t care about being a loyal Dem (what have they done for him lately?) and isn’t eating humble pie because of the loss of one state. All the blows that Clinton has aimed at Bernie have not landed because we don’t care that he’s not a Democrat – most of his supporters feel strongly that the Democratic Party has abandoned us, we embrace his “ideals” as the only way to aim high and get anywhere close to what this country needs, and we reject the establishment as something out of the old politico days where back rooms were filled with cigar smoke and deals were cut by 1%’ers without voter input – a place Clinton would feel right at home. As Ben Norton at Salon wrote, Hillary Clinton represents the very worst of the Democratic Party:
A new strategy has emerged in the Hillary Clinton camp: No longer even try to match Bernie Sanders’ left-wing politics — which the Wall Street-backed multimillionaire war hawk Clinton is fundamentally incapable of doing. Instead, appeal to authority and accuse the democratic socialist of disloyalty to the corrupt Democratic Party.
Clinton’s campaign did just that this week, condemning Sanders for ‘trying to convince the next generation of progressives that the Democratic Party is corrupt.’ The notion that Sanders had to try to convince progressives of this in the first place is ludicrous. The warmongering, corporate-funded, pro-privatization Democratic Party leadership has long made it loud and clear that it is thoroughly corrupt and reactionary. Yet Clinton and her supporters happen to be correct about one thing; they are just right for the wrong reasons. Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat. And this is a good thing. What the Clinton camp appears to be incapable of understanding is that the Democratic Party is less and less popular among progressive Americans.
And while Amanda Terkel and Sam Stein over at HuffPo would love to think that Bernie Sanders’ plan to capture superdelegates at the convention by convincing them he’s the stronger candidate will put his “progressive” voter base in a bind, that’s about as valid as saying Bernie was finished after Super Tuesday. We’re not a “progressive” voter base, by common definition. We are millions who want to see the status quo overturned, the establishment and everyone in it busted apart, the Democratic machine grinding to a halt, and the people who run all that and who benefit from all that driven out of town. The HuffPo article implied that Sanders supporters are hypocrites – on the one hand saying that the superdelegates should support the winning candidate, and on the other saying that if Bernie can convince them to flip at the convention, even if he’s not winning in pledged delegates or popular vote, good for him. It’s not a contrary position. We know the system is rigged – against him. We know Clinton had hundreds of superdelegates locked up the minute she declared, if not before. We know that the DNC and mainstream media has done everything in its power to diminish Bernie Sanders as a candidate, and we know that Clinton and her groupies have worked hard to make sure he doesn’t get any benefit of what the establishment Dems offer her. We know that, even in states he’s won by a landslide, superdelegates still cling to Clinton. Given all that, we don’t care if he rocks the boat at the convention. We want him to rock the boat at the convention. We want him to make her sweat every second until July. We want him to put pressure on the superdelegates who ignore their states’ voters and are in the bag for her regardless. We don’t care if it sounds unfair, because there is nothing fair about this cycle and there has been nothing fair about the way Bernie Sanders has been treated by the Democratic establishment, from undermining his civil rights record to accusing him of all manner of dishonest and offensive policy positions (like supporting vigilantes). We don’t care what the establishment thinks. We want him in, we want her gone, and that’s the long and short of it.
Millions of us won’t support her in the general if she gets the nomination – and no, we won’t budge. Millions of us are no longer feeling any loyalty to the Democratic Party – and no, it’s not just “spoiled, petulant millennials.” Millions of us are no longer willing to vote for the lesser evil out of party loyalty – we don’t have any.
So let Clinton’s camp muddle about, courting Bernie supporters with one hand and insulting with the other. We don’t care about that either. We’re Bernie or Bust, and the verbal blows are just fly specks to him and to his legions of full-throated supporters.