Will Clinton Attempt to Bring Sanders Supporters into the Democratic Fold?
Clinton to Sanders: "No, you come to me." Can you read that headline any other way?
by Gaius Publius
Something to keep your eye on in the lead-up to post-East Coast voting, and something that could well affect the voting after that. Will Clinton move toward Sanders' positions, as an appeal for his supporters, or will she, as I've said elsewhere, insist the mountain (of his voters) come to Mohammad?
Seems the latter.
First, Clinton operative Peter Daou, in the headline above, makes the position clear:
"If Bernie Wants Real Progress He'll Align His Message With Hers"No link, but the google will find the piece for you if want to read it.
Second, note this from Josh Abramson, in a Huff Post piece called "5 Things We’ve Learned About Hillary Clinton Since She Won the New York Primary". I'll let you read the other four things he says we've learned (do read; it's a nice piece). But here's the fifth point (my occasional emphasis):
5. There will be no attempt whatsoever to bring Sanders supporters back into the Democratic fold.Is Abramson right? He could well be. Everything through the second large paragraph is true. Will his conclusion prove true as well?
Sanders supporters knew Clinton was angry at them for voting for Bernie — they could tell by her comment saying that she “feels sorry for” young voters too misinformed to vote for her; or by Bill Clinton saying that Sanders voters are so unsophisticated that they just want to “shoot every third banker on Wall Street”; or by David Plouffe (a Clinton ally) saying that every person who donates money to Sanders is being taken in by an obvious “fraud”; or by the unnamed Clinton staffer so certain she or he was speaking in a tone and manner consistent with the view of the Clinton campaign that she or he told Politico that the Clinton campaign “kicked Bernie’s ass” in New York and that Sanders can “go fuck himself.”
And so on.
But who knew that, with almost twenty primaries and caucuses left, and more than 1,400 delegates left to be awarded, Clinton would start vetting potential Vice Presidential picks in full view of an electorate she says she’s still working hard to win over? And who knew that not only would Sanders not be considered for a unity ticket, but — apparently — her top picks for VP, Cory Booker and Julian Castro, are reliable Clintonites with no ties whatsoever to the Sanders campaign or the movement he heads? And who knew Elizabeth Warren would almost certainly be frozen out of the VP conversation due to her decision to stay neutral in the primary race rather than endorse Clinton?
Everyone who knows the Clintons, that is.
So, if you’re either a Sanders supporter, sympathetic to the Sanders campaign, or a Hillary voter desperately hoping she’ll do something to bring into the Democratic fold the 40 percent of Sanders voters who say they won’t vote for Hillary in the fall — all but ensuring a Trump presidency — here’s some news for you: the signals are now being sent that Sanders and his people will, by calculated design, get absolutely nothing.
Hillary lost in 2008 and received the second-most powerful position in the world [note the assertion of a trade for SoS].
Sanders will be ignored and shunned.
What lies behind this “strategy” for the fall election — if we can call it that — is the same hubris that permitted Secretary Clinton never to reveal her Wall Street transcripts, to condescend to millennials at every turn, to refuse to apologize for bad judgment in the whole email-server affair, to refuse to apologize for her 1994 crime bill vote, to try to get away with (during the Michigan debate) the lie that Sanders had opposed the auto bailout, and so on.
In other words, America is already seeing the Hillary Clinton they’ll get during the fall election campaign — and also, should Clinton somehow manage to squeak by Donald Trump in November, the sort of Nixonian White House we can expect in consequence.
And it isn’t pretty.
To test it, I'd look for this — Sanders and Clinton will have the discussion they've started to have. Sanders is saying, in effect "I can't snap my fingers and make my supporters vote for you. You have to convince them yourself." As evidenced by her response to Maddow in their recent town hall, this goes up Clinton's back. Her response, in effect, "I'm winning because of my own positions."
My suggestion, watch as this plays out. It's a clear dividing line. Clinton seems to want Sanders to "throw some words her way" (my phrase, but it reflects the way candidates like Clinton seem to campaign, by figuring out in an advertising sense which words to throw out); wants Sanders to bless her with a kind of public holy water that (she thinks) will magically erase the voters' memory of his reservations on policy. And she thinks his supporters will accept it if he does that and consider her new-blessed and suddenly known-good.
I think she's wrong, that this is an issues campaign, not a cosmetic or personalities one, and to win Sanders supporters, she has to at least appear to bend his way. Will she do that? Will she at least "throw some words" at his supporters? It's really a test of wills and dominance at this point. Will she see it that way and harden her will against him? Or soften and surrender just a little? The election could turn on that decision.
Finally, did you notice the word "hubris" in the Abramson piece above? So did I And I've been using the word a lot myself as well. This isn't just about wills and dominance, or calculation and policy — it's about Zeus and his lightning bolts getting revenge, or more mundanely, spiking the ball in the end zone in your defender's face. Hubris, and a decision to make.
The path is littered with them these days. This is one more American crossroad, this time for her. What will Clinton do? Will she swallow her hubris and pride and at the very least pretend? Or will she carry on with talk like, "Rachel, can't you see I'm winning?! Now let him come to me."
If she can't, in pride or the flush of victory, make herself move in substance to the mountain of Sanders voters, can she win in the general election? Place your bets. The answer is just months away.