Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Wisconsin Is Part Of History Now-- What Next?


authenticity matters

Bernie won a very healthy victory in Wisconsin last night, 563,127 (56.5%) to 429,758 (43.1%)-- and by a bigger margin that the polls and pundits predicted. Independents went for him overwhelmingly-- better than 70-30! He did really well with the kids-- voters under 50. Hillary did well with the elderly, especially with voters over 65. CNN exit polls showed Bernie evenly split the female vote with Hillary and trounced her with men. Wisconsin projected that the turnout was higher than in any presidential primary since 1980. Bernie took 47 delegates and 36 went to the establishment candidate. On top of that, she has the super-delegates who her campaign has bought. (Bernie won 36,000 more votes than GOP front-runner Ted Cruz won and Hillary beat GOP runner-up Don Trump by 46,000 votes.)

Well aware she was about to lose in yesterday's Wisconsin primary, the Clinton machine sent out it's most revolting and dishonest surrogatesto back up her latest smear campaign against Bernie: that his claim to being a Democrat is illegitimate. A few days ago, when she first started testing the new strategy we showed clearly that Bernie has long been the far better "Democrat"-- unless you mean the collection of self-serving careerists known as Democratic, Inc in DC-- than Hillary has been. Remember, when she was the president of the Young Republicans at Wellesley College, he was the President of the Congress of Racial Equality at the University of Chicago. And while neither position is explicitly Democratic Party territory, Bernie's position is aligned with the values and principles of the Democratic Party and Hillary's was the polar opposite. Over the years, whenever opportunism or pressure has forced her to change her values-free positions-- currently at a rate of about once every two weeks-- she has still always been a conservative and always will be. She was well into her "adult life" (about to celebrate her 50th birthday) when she told an NPR audience on the radio that "I feel like my political beliefs are rooted in the conservatism that I was raised with... I'm very proud that I was a Goldwater Girl." That conservatism is at the root of her horrible, Republican-lite record as an elected and appointed official and at the roots of her corrupt Republican instincts, instincts that have her in cahoots with Wall Street banksters that belong in prison and that make her thing its perfectly fine to socialize, emulate and defend a war criminal like Henry Kissinger.

Before voting was underway yesterday, John Wagner reported on Bernie's efforts to respond to her orchestrated barrage of deceitful attacks. "Sanders," he wrote, "touted his long-standing support for labor unions and his opposition to a series of  'disastrous trade deals,' setting a contrast with Hillary Clinton that he’s pressed in other Midwestern industrial states."
“I am not a candidate who goes to the unions, goes to workers, then leaves and goes to a fundraiser on Wall Street,” he said, taking a  jab at Clinton, whose ties to the financial sector Sanders has repeatedly criticized. “You are family, and I have worked with unions my entire life.”

...Speaking at a union hall here, Sanders recounted his opposition to trade deals dating back to the North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990s,, when Clinton’s husband was president. The former senator and secretary of state has supported “virtually all” of the trade deals since then, Sanders told his audience.

“I’m glad that she’s going around the country talking about the need for more manufacturing,” Sanders said. “Well that’s a great idea, but maybe she should have been there 20 or 30 years ago when we started hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs in this country largely because of the disastrous trade policy.”
So now she's expanding the sleazy attack to claim Bernie hasn't been supporting down-ballot Democrats. Bernie however, has always emphasized that for his political revolution to succeed it has to be participatory in a mass movement kind of way. It can't be about passively rooting for an identity-candidate or presenting yourself as the lesser of two-evils-- the only way Clinton and the establishment Democrats know how to campaign. Bernie is inspiring a genuine political awakening-- the last thing either partisan establishment would ever countenance-- and a mass movement while Hillary, always the transactional over-achiever, is making shady deals to buy super-delegates, not help down-ticket candidates per se.

Goal Thermometer What Bernie has done is inspire his followers to raise money and to volunteer for the campaigns of the down-ticket candidates who are running on his platform. I'd proud to say that Blue America was the very first standing organization in the whole country to "get it" and do just that. We have an ActBlue page for down-ticket candidates, "the Bernie Congress", that has now raised over $50,000 for congressional candidates on that one page (including recurring monthly contributions). And the contributions are not just for incumbents who have endorsed Bernie-- like Raul Grijalva (AZ), Keith Ellison (MN), Alan Grayson (FL), Marcy Kaptur (OH) and Peter Welch (VT)-- but for challengers like Tim Canova (FL), Maria Chappelle-Nada (MO), Tom Guild (OK), Bao Nguyen (CA), Alex Law (NJ), John Fetterman (PA), Pramila Jayapal (WA), Zephyr Teachout (NY), Lou Vince (CA), Dave McTeague (OR) Sellus Wilder (KY), Eric Kingson (NY) and a dozen others. Please consider tapping on the thermometer to the right for that page and letting your better angels take over from there.

Steve Benen ends his essay on the subject with an interesting possibility:
I honestly have no idea whether, and to what extent, rank-and-file voters are going to be moved by any of this-- as a rule, fundraising tallies and strategies are seen as a small detail of interest to those who follow campaigns at a granular level-- but it’s probably safe to say Democratic officials who serve as superdelegates are taking note of these developments. If pressed in the coming months to influence the outcome of the nominating race, it’s easy to imagine some of these officials asking the candidates, “What have you done to help the party?”
In that case, corrupt establishment shills and careerists like Debbie Wassermann Schultz, Donald Norcross, Steny Hoyer, Chuck Schumer, Patrick Murphy, Sean Patrick Maloney and Kurt Schrader might see it one way-- the Hillary way, of course, while Democrats concerned with returning the Democratic Party to a time when it was a legitimate vehicle for the aspirations of working families might see it another way.

The perfect way to end a discussion of what happened in Wisconsin though is to flip over to the Republican race for a moment. Wisconsin Republicans held their collective noses and voted for the loathsome Ted Cruz to stop the even more loathsome Don Trump. And Trump's "concession statement" showed another little something that even great sums of money can't buy: grace. Just read this statement, written, albeit in the third person, by Trump himself:

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At 10:38 AM, Blogger Elizabeth Burton said...

Should we take it as coincidence that AmericaBlog launched an article blaming a "Sanders supporter" of having released information on Superdelegates in a spreadsheet and urging people to harass them on Bernie's behalf? Because the whole "Berniebro" narrative, it's becoming increasingly clear, was launched early to provide fertile soil for that kind of attack on Bernie's biggest qualification: his honesty and integrity.

It's hard, when you're dealing with political newbies of the kind supporting Bernie, to convince them they need to channel their outrage in productive ways. The encouragement to nag Superdelegates seems like a great idea to someone who doesn't understand the nuances, and it's likely there were a number of honest supporters who contacted Superdelegates among those who drove them nuts after the spreadsheet went public. Unfortunately, it's also likely there were a fair number of paid trolls, the ubiquitousness of whom is going to cause a major headache for Bernie with people now sold on "Berniebros" who aren't aware there are HRC supporters acting just as badly.


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