Saturday, April 23, 2016

Can The Corrupt Democratic Establishment Buy Off Bernie's Movement?


If Bernie loses the nomination, will he go the way of Howard Dean, who currently makes his living as pharmaceutical lobbyist and works as a commentator for MSNBC pushing Hillary. Has Dean lost the respect and admiration of his former followers? Well... well DFA (now Democracy for America but originally Dean For America) asked it's members to vote on an endorsement for president this year, Dean wrote an impassioned letter for his corrupt, conservative, lesser-of-two-evils candidate but something like 9 out of 10 DFA members ignored his letter and voted for Bernie, who DFA endorsed despite their founder's strong endorsement of Hillary. The movement he built waqs more than a cult of personality-- as is Bernie's revolution.

Democrats, Inc-- so the part of the Democratic Party unrelated to policy, values, principles, etc. is drooling over the Bernie wing and expecting Bernie to "turn it over" to them so they can start raising money from it. That's incredibly cluless since the underpining of that wing is built on opposition not to Republicans, Inc or even just conservatism, but on opposition to conservativism AND corruption, which describes the Democrats, Inc very nicely. if they're laboring under some delusion that Bernie and his team can just flip a switch and turn the passion behind the political revolution into cash flow for the Democratic machine, their stupidity is as strong as their greed.

Unless Hillary does something significant-- like dumping her wretched VP choice (Julian Castro) and picking someone like Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley or Barbara Lee, if they're lucky, they'll get Bernie supporters to hold their noses and persuade themselves she's the lesser of two evils and it's worth voting for the lesser evil for all the old reasons we keep humoring Democrats, Inc, cycle after cycle after cycle. I suspect most Berne fans will do that just because the idea of a Trump or Cruz or Ryan is too horrible to contemplate. But $40 million/a month-- or even $4 million a month-- from the Bernie wing, maybe with Elizabeth Warren as the running mate and Hillary not renegging on all the policy positions Bernie forced her into over the last year. Maybe.

Although that wasn't how Gabriel Debenedetti and Darren Samuelson wrote about it for Politico Friday evening. "The fate of Sanders' golden catalog of donors and volunteers-- his email list-- is the talk of the Democratic Party," they reported. Operatives from Democrats, Inc "have already begun strategizing about how to access the list through informal conversations with people close to the Sanders campaign."
For those fighting for the issues Sanders has made the centerpiece of his campaign-- like campaign finance reform, the environment, and economic justice-- his list of several million fervent activists willing to volunteer and donate money, often repeatedly, is regarded as something of an electoral gold mine.

...Several Senate and House campaigns are respectfully hanging back and waiting to formally ask for access to the Sanders list as soon as he officially exits the race, according to multiple operatives involved with down-ballot 2016 races. Several sources said they’d prefer to reach out to the Sanders backers while they’re still engaged, and not several months down the road once the memories fade of the Vermont senator who has given Clinton a much more competitive race than she expected.

Indeed, Senate Democratic leaders like Minority Leader Harry Reid and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Jon Tester have already been in talks with the Sanders camp over how to share his data when he’s ready.

“There’s efforts ongoing,” said Faiz Shakir, Reid’s digital director, pointing to Wisconsin Senate hopeful Russ Feingold as the kind of candidate-- a liberal in a state where Sanders campaigned extensively-- who lines up ideologically and would be eager to use the list.

“He’s built up an incredible list of passionate believers in bold, Democratic ideas,” added Shakir. “In order to remain impactful, relevant, and helpful to the party, I think you have to find a way to leverage the enthusiasm he’s generated after his campaign has concluded."

Sanders’ staffers won’t comment on the exact size of the list, but his campaign has said it has 2.2 million donors, and the New York-based firm eDataSource estimates that there are 5.2 million email addresses on it. The very fact that Sanders’ online fundraising prowess has become a focal point means that the question of what to do with the list is all the more complex.

“There’s this view among the Washington consultant class that these members are an ATM and you throw some words at them and they’ll give you money no matter what,” said Neil Sroka, a former Obama 2008 campaign aide now working as communications director of Democracy For America, which has endorsed Sanders. “Everyone in the Democratic Party is going to want Bernie Sanders’ seal of approval and a chance to share their message with the people on his email list."

The Democrats’ eagerness to get their hands on Sanders’ list took off after he sent emails for congressional hopefuls Lucy Flores of Nevada, Zephyr Teachout of New York, and Pramila Jayapal of Washington. While it’s still unclear exactly how much of a Bernie bump they all got, Las Vegas ABC affiliate KTNV reported earlier this week that Flores had already raised $428,000 in mostly small-dollar contributions. Sensitive to any implication that Sanders may lose the nomination to Clinton, the campaign has yet to offer any hints of its plans for the list.

...Some Sanders backers have higher ambitions for the list and cringe at the idea some of their fellow Democrats are eyeing it in pure dollars-and-cents terms.

Erich Pica, the head of Friends of the Earth Action, said such partisans don’t “understand what Bernie is creating, nor do they value, I think, the deep activist commitment that the Sanders campaign has been able to organize over the last year."

“It’d be a shame if the list and fundraising capacity was used for the short-term transactional nature of presidential politics,” he added. “There’s something greater there that needs to be used for generational change."

The question of how exactly Sanders organizes himself and his data after his presidential campaign ends also must be answered. He could create his own new organization — much like Dean did with Democracy for America in 2004 (its email list now exceeds 1 million) and Obama did with Organizing for America in 2009. Those close to Sanders expect him to take advantage of his email list in the future no matter what happens in the ongoing race. And given how the independent senator has responded in other high-profile political and policy fights, they expect him to ultimately play ball with Democrats.

“Bernie usually finds a way to be helpful at the end of the day,” Shakir said. “That’s always been the case, whether it was the Affordable Care Act, Dodd-Frank. There are places where he might have, initially, some concerns. At the end of the day, he’s found a way to be helpful. That’s his instinct, and my sense is he’d be similarly disposed on this, as well."

This has been made painfully more complicated because Schumer has explicitly threatened Bernie with loss of the Budget Committee chairmanship if he interferes with Schumer's corrupt conservative candidates in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. The Schumercrat in Ohio has already beaten the progressive and Tuesday will either find Schumer without a candidate or having to accept that Pennsylvanians don't take orders from a sleazy and despised New York ward healer. Florida's primary, pitting Bernie endorser Alan Grayson against Wall Street's (and therefore Schumer's) top choice of the cycle, Patrick Murphy, isn't until the very end of August. It will be interesting to see if Bernie even pays lip service to assisting the grotesque candidates who espouse the essence-- the way Murphy does-- of everything he has built his movement to oppose. Meanwhile, you can give directly to the Grayson campaign here:
Goal Thermometer

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