Sunday, February 07, 2016

The Worm Has Turned-- Barring Unforeseeable Events, Bernie Sanders Will Be The Democratic Nominee


The Clinton campaign is collapsing. Built for an outdated presidential race from the past two decades, it underestimated the changing times, a unique opponent, and increasingly savvy voters.

Its first mistake was to take the traditional approach of sitting on a lead. That would have seemed a safe bet. The party's elected politicians would rally to her as the presumptive nominee-- and they did. Donors were lined up for a big hau-- and they gave. The media would willingly marginalize Sanders-- and they tried. And the voters could be quickly frightened with specters of Republicans into sticking with the establishment candidate-- but they weren't.

Despite every institutional advantage and a made-to-order GOP horror show, voters could not be scared away from Sanders. The more intently the machine insisted upon Clinton, the more suspect Clinton became. And now her campaign is out of options.

There are no more endorsements left to get. She's squandered her financial advantage by outspending Sanders by many times in Iowa, only to tie. Her big donors have largely maxed out in direct contributions, leaving Super PACs as the only vehicle through which she can make up the losses (less than ideal optics). And the media has already stooped so low in its dismissal of Sanders that there is no credible room left to expand that endeavor. At this point, Chris Matthews would literally have to beg viewers to vote Clinton in order to outdo his current advocacy.

On unfamiliar territory and feeling desperate, the inflexible campaign appears to be doubling down on its voter containment strategy and has completely given up on converting any new voters. There is no obvious goal or governing principles coming out of her camp at this point. No lines in the sand she's promising to draw as President. All that's left is jeering smack-talk of "Bernie-Bros," pie-in-the-sky aspirations, and sexism-- suggesting that anyone who still likes Sanders has been cut from the target audience.

It isn't working.

Why should it? People aren't idiots. Shirley Chisholm, Jan Schakowsky, Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee, Elizabeth Warren and many others have shown us that women can confront our sexist culture and still refuse to bed down with the male-dominated influences that have ruined our economy and democracy. And consider politicians like Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, who have also battled untold sexist barriers to achieve their groundbreaking professional goals; only the most deluded Democratic voter would consider handing them high office as compensation for their troubles.

Essentially, the Clinton campaign is wrapping a sexist appeal in the veneer of feminism: because she was a woman, Clinton couldn't help but play ball with corporations, so give her a girl pass. What a slap in the face to every woman who never sold out or gave up. It's one thing to point out that a woman went through a mountain of man-shit to obtain her rightful due, or blazed a path for future women, however imperfectly; it's another thing, completely, to insist voters to overlook corruption because the candidate is a women.

And as the campaign lashes out in a panic, other wheels are starting to come off the bus.

In the last debate, Sanders addressed race on three occasions: 1) asked about the death penalty, he noted that innocent people of color are more likely to find their way to death row; 2) asked about our criminal justice system, he made sure to include in his answer the fact that we incarcerate mostly people of color; and 3) when responding to the Flint disaster, he asked a type of question rarely heard from a Presidential candidate: what would have happened if Flint's population was middle class and white?

Clinton said absolutely nothing about race. Well, almost nothing. At the debate's conclusion, with the last question answered, Clinton wondered aloud why there weren't opportunities to talk about race.

How must that have sounded to black viewers, who surely noticed not only Sanders' pointed and appropriate injection of racial concerns into his answers, but the absence of any equivalent from Clinton? I'm sure she had good sound bytes at the ready; she just lacked the intersectional ability to weave them into a question that didn't parade itself as race-focused.

Is it any surprise that public figures from the African American community are beginning to withdraw their endorsements of Clinton and line up behind Sanders?

It is as though the Clinton campaign was designed to last only so long; slap-dash construction enduring for the short time it would take to push Sanders out of the frame. When that didn't happen, there was no Plan B. The public didn't care who Congress endorsed, and they didn't care what the Chris Matthews of the world said, and they aren't buying the argument that everyone troubled by Clinton is somehow hoodwinked by Republican misogyny. They want actual representation and appreciate a candidate who shoots straight.

And this is the nail in the Clinton political coffin. The American people are beginning to realize they have the ability to elect someone they're not supposed to elect. Clinton represents everything "normal" about elections that are now universally recognized as abnormal. She is a safe bet only in a fictional world that is being dismantled. She has become the past and the future has become viable.

Berine Sanders' support will continue to swell, as it should, and Democrats need the courage to call this a good thing—a great thing. No longer can we permit our values and agendas to be boxed in by the very influences that oppose them. Time is running out on our ecology, our economy, and our social fabric, and nothing less than an out-and-out champion for our future will do.

You probably already know this. And that's probably the main reason you are voting for Sanders in your Democratic Primary. It looks like you'll have plenty of company.
Goal Thermometer

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At 8:44 AM, Blogger MikeAdamson said...

Maher's right when he says to throw out the traditional rules until events dictate otherwise. I still can't believe that Hilary can lose but she should and so why not.

At 9:06 AM, Blogger Un Known said...

This column of yours is a beautiful thing, so much clarity and insight, perfectly told. Bravo, DWT!


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