Sanders Supporters Begin to Abandon Clinton
Ignore Chris Matthews' aggressive pro-Clinton badgering. Focus on Turner's determination to keep her progressive powder dry ... for the moment.
by Gaius Publius
I'm not saying this is a trend ... yet ... and I'm presenting this just as news, not as something I do or do not want to happen.
Frankly, part of me is watching this drama with a novelist's fascination, or more accurately, with a novel reader's fascination. We're in the middle of one of those turning-point political stories — the fall of Athens perhaps, or the year Atilla showed up — where anything could happen, all of it seems to matter, and everything starts to point to a final transformational clash on a world-historical scale. Or at least so it seems.
As a result I'm riveted, and refuse to preference an outcome. For one thing, I have no idea what it would be best to want, outside of a Sanders presidency. None of the other outcomes seem ... well, easy to live through, to tolerate as a "shape of things to come." But who knows?
Too Many Possible Outcomes
There are way too many possible outcomes for this story. One of the possible outcomes of this watershed election season is a Clinton win against Trump in a two-person race, which will enable the neo-liberal ("we serve the educated 10%") Democratic consensus to keep control of their own party through the next four years, for better or worse. That outcome would also allow the billionaire ("we serve the .01%") Republican consensus to reassert control on their side of the aisle. (After that, I don't think the Republican consensus will come apart, but I think the Democratic Party could split, depending on what Clinton does as president.)
Another outcome is a three- or more likely, a four-person race — Clinton, Trump, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson — with the outcome (or outcomes) very much in doubt. I'll treat those hypotheticals separately.
In any case, the real deciders will be the mass of "radical independent" voters, who have control of the story this time around.
Sanders Tries to Lead the Flock to Clinton...
Let's assume that Sanders is sincerely trying to lead the people empowering the "Sanders political revolution" to support Clinton. (I've read plausible speculation that his motives may be multiple, including making sure that if she does still falter, in the polls or in the courts, he's now tied so closely to her that he's the only one next in line. Still, speculation.)
If Sanders is trying to lead the flock, how is he doing so far? With voters, not that well, though it's clearly early days. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, is polling above 3% nationally, and there's a fair amount of talk on Sanders-supporting social media about turning to her, and also about getting her above the controversial 15% polling threshold that would make her eligible for the presidential debates. Her star seems to be rising on Sanders media. If interest in her candidacy — and she's doing all she can to spark that interest — reaches critical mass, Clinton could have a problem. She's already on thin ice of her own in the polling, running roughly even with Trump in key battleground states at this point.
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, is polling above 5% nationally. We'll know soon enough if those numbers will increase as well.
...While Some of Sanders Leaders Are Defecting from Clinton
Which brings me to the part of the tale that just caught my eye. Within the last week or so, several of Sanders' strongest public supporters, including surrogate Dr. Cornel West, have respectfully but publicly declined to support Clinton, despite Sanders' decision to do so himself.
Cornel West, writing in The Guardian, starts with President Obama's decision to go to Dallas, but not Baton Rouge or Minneapolis, to address racial justice and killing (my emphasis throughout):
Obama has failed victims of racism and police brutalityWhich leads him to this reflection on neo-liberal notions of justice:
The president and his cheerleaders refused to engage deeply with systemic problems facing our country. That came back to haunt America last week
A long and deep legacy of white supremacy has always arrested the development of US democracy. We either hit it head on, or it comes back to haunt us. That’s why a few of us have pressed the president for seven years not to ignore issues of poverty, police abuse and mass unemployment. Barack Obama said it very well, following the shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, that some communities “have been forgotten by all of us”.
And now – in Dallas, Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights and beyond – this legacy has comes back to haunt the whole country.
Obama and his cheerleaders should take responsibility for being so reluctant to engage with these issues. It’s not a question of interest group or constituencies. Unfortunately for so much of the Obama administration its been a question of “I’m not the president of black people, I’m the president of everyone.” But this is a question of justice. It’s about being concerned about racism and police brutality.
I have deep empathy for brothers and sisters who are shot in the police force. I also have profound empathy for people of color who are shot by the police. I have always believed deliberate killing to be a crime against humanity.
Yet, Obama didn’t go to Baton Rouge. He didn’t go to Minneapolis. He flew over their heads to go to Dallas. You can’t do that. His fundamental concern was to speak to the police, that was his priority. When he references the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s to speak to the police. But the people who are struggling have a different perspective. ...
Unfortunately, Obama thrives on being in the middle. He has no backbone to fight for justice. He likes to be above the fray. But for those us us who are in the fray, there is a different sensibility. You have to choose which side you’re on, and he doesn’t want to do that. Fundamentally, he’s not a love warrior. He’s a polished professional. Martin Luther King Jr, Adam Clayton Powell Jr and Ella Baker – they were warriors.
Obama’s attitude is that of a neo-liberal, and they rarely have solidarity with poor and working people. Whatever solidarity he does offer is just lip-service to suffering but he never makes it a priority to end that suffering.Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr., prominent black writer and intellectual leader (and frequent guest on the old Rachel Maddow AAR show), writes in Time:
Obama has power right now to enact the recommendations made after Ferguson. Better training, independent civilian oversight boards, body cameras. But he has not used executive orders to push any of these changes through.
This November, we need change. Yet we are tied in a choice between Trump, who would be a neo-fascist catastrophe, and Clinton, a neo-liberal disaster. That’s why I am supporting Jill Stein. I am with her – the only progressive woman in the race – because we’ve got to get beyond this lock-jaw situation. I have a deep love for my brother Bernie Sanders, but I disagree with him on Hillary Clinton. I don’t think she would be an “outstanding president”. Her militarism makes the world a less safe place.
My Democratic Problem With Voting for Hillary ClintonWill this trend continue? It's early days, as I said, but these events are important enough that I want to put them on your radar now. I don't expect Robert Reich, another Sanders surrogate, to follow Dr. West's lead, but you never know. I do have my eye on Nina Turner, however. Watch her again in the video above and decide if she'll ever drop her coin in the Clinton slot.
Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. | July 12, 2016
Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., is the chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University and the author of Democracy in Black.
I'm turning my back on the party that turns its back on our most vulnerable
I am not voting for Hillary Clinton, regardless of her endorsement by Bernie Sanders. My decision isn’t because of the scandal around her emails or because of some concern over her character. My reasons are pretty straightforward. I don’t agree with her ideologically.
Democratic values centered on economic and racial justice shape my own politics. I’m not convinced those values shape hers. Nothing Clinton says or intends to do if elected will fundamentally transform the circumstances of the most vulnerable in this country—even with her concessions to the Sanders campaign. Like the majority of Democratic politicians these days, she is a corporate Democrat intent on maintaining the status quo. And I have had enough of all of them.
What has Clinton offered the American people as a substantive alternative to the status quo? How would her position on free trade, her view of foreign policy, on immigration, her call for “common sense policing” in the face of the murders of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge or Philando Castile in Minneapolis redirect our course as a nation? Transform the condition of black and brown communities?
Given the state of the country and of black and brown communities, these questions must be asked. But for many, especially for Clinton supporters, these questions reek of the unreasonableness of the American left or of people like me: that somehow to ask them reveals that we don’t understand the incremental nature of American politics or that we have crossed over into some forbidden realm of politics. ...
Maybe not. The mark of the Sanders campaign is its adherence to principle and policy, not personalities and candidates.
Playing God's Spy
This is a very rocky road, the one ahead. I don't envy any of these people the decisions they have to make. Me, in my chair by the window, I have only one decision between now and this November — try to keep you caught up on the unfolding drama played by better men and women than I.
As one of those better men once wrote:
So we’ll live,Not sure there's much else for us to do. Those with real "agency" (as the kids say today) are the mass of Sanders supporters, the millions who turned out for him, plus the few with "names" who joined him in those stadiums offering public introductions and praise. We in the bleachers are relegated to a less prominent position — "God's spies."
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news, and we’ll talk with them too—
Who loses and who wins, who’s in, who’s out—
And take upon ’s the mystery of things
As if we were God’s spies.
As long as that's our role, we may as well watch.