Obama Hints Sanders Should Leave the Race. Why?
Members of the club enjoying a round of golf. Do they fear a Trump presidency more than you do? Or less than you do?
by Gaius Publius
Now that the halftime entertainment is over and we're starting the second half of the Democratic presidential primary — the Sanders half, mind you — President Obama tells Democratic donors that it's "nearing" the time for Sanders to get out.
Quotes in a minute, but first, you could read this in two ways. One, Obama is sincere in thinking that Sanders can't win and is harming Clinton's chances (though, as you'll see, he fully understands that Clinton is already harming her own; search the article for the word "authentic").
Or, Obama actually thinks Sanders can win, and wants to clear him out of the mainstream neo-liberal way. You know, the way that led Obama to nominate Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. (I'll have more on Garland in future.)
Here's the piece courtesy of the New York Times, itself a naked advocate for Clinton on its sandbagging "news" pages. Note that the writers, Maggie Haberman and Michael Shear, are important bylines at the paper (my emphasis):
Obama Privately Tells Donors That Time Is Coming to Unite Behind Hillary ClintonIs this a hint that Obama thinks Sanders should get out? Obama parsed his words carefully, but people in the audience took it that way:
By MAGGIE HABERMAN and MICHAEL D. SHEAR
In unusually candid remarks, President Obama privately told a group of Democratic donors last Friday that Senator Bernie Sanders is nearing the point where his campaign against Hillary Clinton will come to an end, and that the party must soon come together to back her.
Mr. Obama acknowledged that Mrs. Clinton is perceived to have weaknesses as a candidate, and that some Democrats did not view her as authentic.
But he played down the importance of authenticity, noting that President George W. Bush — whose record he ran aggressively against in 2008 — was once praised for his authenticity.
Mr. Obama made the remarks after reporters had left a fund-raising event in Austin, Tex., for the Democratic National Committee. The comments were described by three people in the room for the event, all of whom were granted anonymity to describe a candid moment with the president. The comments were later confirmed by a White House official.
Mr. Obama chose his words carefully, and did not explicitly call on Mr. Sanders to depart the race, according to those in the room. Still, those in attendance said in interviews that they took his comments as a signal to Mr. Sanders that perpetuating his campaign, which is now an uphill climb, could only help the Republicans recapture the White House.Obama, of course, didn't acknowledge that Clinton could easily lose to Trump. Nor did he acknowledge to the well-moneyed crowd that they could all lose if Sanders shuts down the DC casino at which no one with money comes up empty. About that well-moneyed crowd:
The Austin event was hosted by Kirk Rudy, a real estate executive, and raised money for the Democratic National Committee. Attendees paid as much as $33,400 a ticket.
Mr. Obama acknowledged that Mrs. Clinton is perceived to have weaknesses as a candidate, and that some Democrats did not view her as authentic.And:
But he played down the importance of authenticity...
Mr. Obama acknowledged what have emerged as the central complaints about Mrs. Clinton among Democratic activists: that she is not generating enough excitement in her campaign, and lacks the “authenticity” of Mr. Sanders. ...And:
Mr. Obama indicated that he knew some people were not “excited” by Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy, a White House official confirmed. ...Hmm. I do think, in an entirely dispassionate way, that Obama sounds worried. Otherwise, why all the reassuring?
What Does Obama Fear More, a Trump White House or a Sanders White House?
Which brings me to my central question. Does the Democratic Party want to win with its strongest anti-Trump candidate, or risk a loss with a weaker one? Because if they're determined to choose the latter — the Party along with all of the mainstream broadcast media I follow (looking at you, MSNBComcast) — they must have calculated that the cost to them of Sanders' "political revolution" is greater than the cost to them of a Trump White House.
Or more simply — Obama thinks Sanders should exit the race. Why? What does he fear more, a Trump presidency or a Sanders presidency?
Think about that. If you, like me, fear a Trump presidency more than any other outcome — and everyone I talk with does — what would possess "your" party to take that risk, of putting Trump in the White House? Their own self-interest, and the interest of everyone else in "the club," is the best answer I can come up with. But maybe there's a better one.
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