Monday, January 13, 2020

Bernie-Elizabeth Tacit Alliance Frays


The SEIU, one of the biggest and, usually, one of the more progressive unions, is staying neutral in the presidential race, at least nationally. But not in New Hampshire. The crucially important State Employees’ Association/SEIU Local 1984 voted to endorse Bernie late last week. Richard Gulla, President of the union: "Bernie Sanders has a long history of fighting for working people. He shares many of our members’ goals and values. He is not afraid to take on Wall Street and will fight against corporate greed and corruption. Bernie supports every worker earning a livable wage allowing them to care for and support their families. He is also respectful and supportive of the collective bargaining process. He understands that many of our young people cannot afford to attend college so they can prepare for the jobs of this century; and that our senior citizens are not being afforded a dignified retirement... We look forward to supporting Senator Sanders throughout the primary race and will be prepared to support the most labor-friendly candidate post primary."

The media hasn't reported this and isn't interested in it. I guarantee you, neither Rachel Maddow nor Anderson Cooper will be interviewing Richard Gulla.

The media has a very different story it wants to stoke: a war between Bernie and Elizabeth. The worst of all the anti-Bernie reporters, vile Wall Street lackey Sydney Ember, who was assigned by the New York Times to lead their character assassination efforts against Bernie, helped manufacture a war between him and Elizabeth on Sunday. And a desperate Warren, watching her support collapse as Iowa and New Hampshire approach, took the bait.

Ember, gleefully: "A nearly yearlong run of good will between two of the leading progressives in the 2020 presidential race, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders, appears to be evaporating in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses. Ms. Warren said on Sunday she was 'disappointed' that Mr. Sanders’s campaign had been using a script for volunteers that suggested she was appealing mainly to highly educated voters and would not be able to expand the Democratic Party coalition. 'I was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me,' Ms. Warren, of Massachusetts, said. 'I hope Bernie reconsiders and turns his campaign in a different direction.' After months of studiously avoiding any negative words about Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren went on to cite the divisiveness of the 2016 primary race between Mr. Sanders and Hillary Clinton, implying it had helped President Trump. 'We all saw the impact of the factionalism in 2016, and we can’t have a repeat of that,' she warned. 'Democrats need to unite our party and that means pulling in all parts of the Democratic coalition.'"

Because Shane Goldmacher, a professional journalist, shared the byline with Ember, the Times included:
In a rare question-and-answer session with reporters after his final event of a weekend Iowa swing, Mr. Sanders — in response to a question on whether he approved of his campaign’s criticism of Ms. Warren-- denied responsibility for the script, saying he himself had never attacked Ms. Warren. And he blamed the news media for overstating the tension between the two campaigns. “I got to tell you, I think this is a little bit of a media blowup, that kind of wants conflict,” he said.

“Elizabeth Warren is a very good friend of mine,” Mr. Sanders, of Vermont, said. “We have worked together in the Senate for years. Elizabeth Warren and I will continue to work together, we will debate the issues.”

“No one is going to trash Elizabeth Warren,” he added.

The Sanders campaign did not provide any further information on the script. Pressed again on the topic, Mr. Sanders said: “We have hundreds of employees. Elizabeth Warren has hundreds of employees. And people sometimes say things that they shouldn’t. You have heard me give many speeches. Have I ever said one negative word about Elizabeth Warren?”
Just as the media had hoped, Warren then sent out an attack e-mail aimed at Bernie:
Last night, we got some disappointing news.

Bernie Sanders’ campaign is instructing volunteers to dismiss our broad-based, inclusive campaign by saying the “people who support [Elizabeth] are highly-educated, more affluent people.”

When I heard that description, I didn’t recognize it, Jacqueline. That doesn’t describe me or many of the passionate volunteers and organizers I know. This type of attack isn’t about disagreeing on issues-- it’s about dismissing the potency of our grassroots movement.

Let’s be clear: As a party, and as a country, we can’t afford to repeat the factionalism of the 2016 primary. To win in November, we need a nominee who can unite a broad coalition of Democrats-- who will excite every part of the Democratic party and inspires more people to join the fight.
The Jacqueline mentioned above is Jacqueline Propps, an East Bay super-volunteer-- as well as a Blue America activist. "What a load of crap," she raged in a note today. "SHAME on her campaign and HER for letting them do this. As explained, it was a non-staffer volunteer and the comment was taken down off slack immediately. I have un-subbed from every Warren list and told them why she is no longer my #2. So disappointed."

Dorothy Reik, a member of the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party and president of one of the most progressive and most activist Democratic clubs in Southern California-- Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains-- also seemed mortified by Warren's attack. "As the primaries approach it is finally time for Bernie to point out that he and Warren are very different people even if many of their positions seem to be the same," she told us early this morning. "If Warren's supporters see the pointing out of these differences as criticism they should act to correct those differences where they can. A life history, however, cannot be changed. Bernie has always supported working people. He has never been a registerd Republican. Warren is a capitalist.  Bernie is not. If she feels pointing that out in terms people can understand is wrong then maybe she should stop calling herself 'capitalist to the bone' and perhaps rethink her commitment to a system that has caused so much suffering to so many while enriching so few."

Politico's Holly Otterbein's dawn post this morning helps put Warren's desperation into context: Sanders surges as progressives flock to him over Warren--The consolidation of left-wing support is a remarkable turnaround for Sanders..
Something’s happening with Bernie Sanders that looked unlikely to many a few months ago: Progressive leaders and organizations are lining up behind him, not Elizabeth Warren, in the lead-up to voting.

Two groups run by young people-- the Sunrise Movement, which seeks to combat climate change, and Dream Defenders, which advocates for people of color-- endorsed him last week. He’s also won the backing of People’s Action and the Center for Popular Democracy, which together claim more than 1.5 million members, as well as three lawmakers in the so-called “Squad” and liberal-minded labor unions.

The consolidation of left-wing support is a remarkable turnaround for Sanders. In September, the Working Families Party became the first major national progressive group to endorse a candidate when it picked Warren-- despite siding with Sanders in 2016. Warren was surging at the time, and looked poised to overtake Sanders as the leader of the progressive movement and a frontrunner for the nomination.

But now it’s Sanders with the wind at his back. The endorsements, on display here Sunday when Rep. Rashida Tlaib and the Sunrise Movement joined him for a rally attended by more than 900 people, are giving him a jolt of momentum weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses and supplying him with fresh volunteers in key areas.

“I’m not surprised that Bernie is increasingly consolidating support,” said Waleed Shahid, an aide for the left-wing group Justice Democrats, which has not yet endorsed a candidate. “Many of his staff have backgrounds in community organizing, his 2016 campaign helped grow the progressive movement, and he received [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's] endorsement, who is shaping the future of the progressive left in significant ways.”

Many Bernie supporters-- though not Bernie staffers-- have long advocated a unity ticket between Bernie and Elizabeth. Unless the two candidates are working behind the scenes to mend this rift now, the chances for that have probably ended, something that will only go to help the status quo establishment-- Biden among Democrats and, worse, Trump. The media is rubbing its collective hands together in anticipation of tomorrow's debate at Drake University in Des Moines, a debate with a far less crowded stage. (The only candidates who have qualified at Bernie, Biden, Elizabeth, Mayo Pete, Klobuchar and, somehow, Steyer.) The RealClearPolitics polling average in Iowa stands like this:
Bernie- 21.3%
Mayo- 21.0%
Status Quo Joe- 17.7%
Elizabeth- 17.0%
Klobuchar- 5.7%
Yang- 3.3%
Booker- 2.7%
Steyer- 2.0%
Pig man will do anything he can to make sure Democrats nominate Biden, the easiest candidate for him to beat

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At 9:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The great thing about a contested primary is that it tends to show us how people respond under pressure. Early in the process I was a Sanders-leaner, open to seeing how Warren performed. Warren ended up being a clear #2. Her cave on Medicare-for-all after she started rising in the polls, and weak and late responses on the Bolivian coup and Trump's possible Iran War helped to set Sanders apart. This obviously manufactured, petty, lame attack -- pushes her more into the "everybody else" category. Not a good look, as the saying goes. Trump has picked up on this today too, which tells you something. He clearly sees Sanders as a credible threat at this point. He should.

At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those of us who know how the game is played saw this sort of dirty trick coming a while back.

As 9:23 pointed out, Warren has done things which weaken her support among progressives. There were other things about her which point out that she isn't the best possible candidate for progressives. Remember when Ayanna Pressley had to step in to rescue her from hecklers? What would she do when Trump confronted her?

Warren has some good ideas, but this isn't about ideas. This is about performance. I don't see that she's got what it takes. She's had plenty of time to display what she's got. It's getting too late -with the caucuses and primary elections about to begin- to avoid honest evaluations about one's prospects.

I wish Warren could see that her real value to the nation is to remain in the Senate where her financial knowledge and experience would be very valuable in reining in the excesses of Wall Street.

At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now it's escalated, as the Warren camp plants the CNN story smearing Bernie as a sexist — the exact same lie Hillary used in 2016, the year when Warren declined to endorse Sanders and then pined to be Hillary's running mate. It's a tired old playbook. Howie, I've agreed with you for a year that Warren made sense as the junior half of a leftist "Dream Team" ticket. If this story originated with Warren as it now appears, to me this is disqualifying for Warren — a desperate move that damages the nation's best hope just to save her own sinking campaign. If that's how it plays out, I hope you'll take a firm stand on it accordingly. Very disappointing.

At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I smell a rat. There is some anti-progressive bullshit going on behind the scenes by someone or group to scuttle the leftist candidates in this race. Don't trust a damned thing you read about this.

At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Warren may still be quite good in a cabinet position within a Sanders administration (with all the usual caveats -- he has to win the nomination and the general election -- still big "ifs" although more credible now than 2 months ago). But have more doubts about her now as a VP. Don't think she would match-up well with Trump.

e.g. as bad as Klobuchar is on policy, and as bad as she is as a boss (allegedly), she has a bit of an edge that might be helpful as a VP. Dream ticket would be Bernie and Barbara Lee. Although, (if) Bernie wins he's likely going to need to consolidate party support with a reliably middle of the road Dem. e.g. Klobuchar or Stacey Abrams (e.g. in terms of appeal Abrams would probably strengthen and expand Sanders support more than anyone else on the net; policywise she seems pretty conventionally middle of the road; unlike Klobuchar it sounds like staff likes her).

I haven't heard anyone talk about it yet, but Howie what do you think of Reagan v. Sanders parallels 1976/1980 v. 2016/2020? e.g. not in terms of ideology, but in terms of their relationship to the party establishment, thinking that they are "too radical", and "too old". Clinton reprising the role of Gerald Ford. The Trump - Carter parallels are there as political outsiders who are loathed by a large segment of the population. Of course there are critical differences as well. Thinking in part though of an NPlusOne Article from Jan. 2017 that made a Trump-Carter comparison:

"At the end of each regime—after it has completed its three-quarter orbit of reconstruction, articulation, and preemption—comes the politics of “disjunction.” Jimmy Carter is the most recent case; before him, there was Herbert Hoover and Franklin Pierce. Disjunctive Presidents are affiliated with a tottering regime. They sense its weaknesses, and in a desperate bid to save the regime try to transform its basic premises and commitments. Unlike reconstructive Presidents, these figures are too indebted to the regime to break with it. But the regime is too dissonant and fragmented to offer the resources these Presidents need to transform it. They find themselves in the most perilous position of all—hated by all, loved by none—and their administrations often occasion a new round of reconstruction. John Adams gives way to Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams to Andrew Jackson, Carter to Reagan, [Hoover to FDR]."

At 3:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a related vein, since Hillary was brought up by 2:19, her campaign's many racist smears of Obama (sources of specific instances at linked article) may well have disqualified her with many Black voters, especially with Milwaukee voters. There were at least enough found to have actually stayed home there because they felt that there would be no benefit in voting for Clinton.

"...the uncomfortable fact remains that black voter turnout in 2016 was down in over half the country. In Wisconsin, the decline in black voter turnout between 2012 and 2016 was 86,830 votes. Hillary Clinton lost the state by a mere 22,748 votes. If Clinton won over more of the black Democrats who voted in 2012 in just three states —Wisconsin, Florida, and Michigan— she would have won the election. [Source

One has to wonder about Southern Black voters sometimes. I have been unsuccessful in locating an article I once found about how Mississippi Black Democratic voters were backing the then-current white Republican Governor of that state in his re-election bid over a Black Democratic candidate. But there is clearly something going on there when a Black Democrat runs on a platform of "working across the aisle" as if that will help him get elected:

"[Mike] Espy, a former secretary of Agriculture in the Clinton Administration and a member of the House of Representatives from 1987 to 1993, ran as a conservative Democrat...Espy has a history of collaboration with the Republicans, having crossed party lines in 2007 to endorse Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour in his bid for re-election." [Source]

There is every reason to expect that Biden's racist record will be thrown in his face by Trump in an effort to weaken Black voter support if Biden is handed the nomination, especially in South Carolina. I am frankly amazed that no Democrat has already done so, especially since Hillary herself set the precedent.

At 4:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the 2:19 poster, and I agree with 3:08's comment that Trump would get big mileage out of trashing Biden's racist record to black voters. I believe Trump supporters (Cambridge Analytica?) used this strategy very effectively in 2016 through targeted Facebook ads to get blacks to stay home, and if Biden's the opponent now they'll do it again.

At 12:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When even Michael Avenatti is calling the attack out as an act of pure desperation, it's probably time to call it quits. It's no longer possible to exit with any dignity, but the sooner the exit, the easier it might be to contain the damage. What a mess


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