Sunday, November 13, 2016

That whole Bernie thing

Since the election loss, there have been recriminations and accusations flying all over the place, most of them fired-off by Democrats. One of the areas where the most fervent Leftists are fighting with mainstream Democrats is over the Left’s contention that “Bernie would have won”. This is a stupid fight to be having.

Let’s get one thing clear up front: The main problem is that too many Democrats voted Republican. Nearly half of Americans didn’t vote at all, meaning there were a lot more votes available that could have made Hillary Clinton president. Even so, she won the popular vote by a wide margin. Her failure wasn’t in not getting enough votes, it’s that she didn’t get them in the right states.

Some on the Left have claimed that Bernie could have taken votes off Don. Seriously?! Do they really believe that a 75-year-old Jewish socialist with a strong New York accent and who looks like someone’s grandpa would have won the votes of Don's fans? If so, they're absolutely deluded and clearly weren't paying attention.

The only legitimate question is this: Would Bernie have energised Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents to vote without ALSO energising even more Republicans to vote for Don? Bernie would have riled up a segment of the Republican Party’s base, people every bit as passionate about stopping everything Bernie stands for as Bernie’s most fervent fans were passionate about backing him. Would Bernie have motivated more Democrats than Republicans?

Also, what would have happened if Russia and Assange hadn't tried to steer the election toward Don, or if the Republican FBI Director hadn't played partisan political games only days before the election in order to help Don? Did those things depress the vote for Democrats?

There’s a simple answer to all those questions: We CANNOT ever know, end of story.

In fact, none of that even matters now, and focusing on those things is nothing more than arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin: IT DOESN'T MATTER!

Don and his Republican gang are in total control of the US government and will harm the country and its people over the coming years. Arguing over whether "Bernie would have won" is pointless and stupid: The ONLY thing that matters now is getting Don out of power in 2020, and dumping the Republicans from Congress in 2018, and to keep them out, Democrats need to re-take state legislatures.

This means that hard work is all that matters, not rehashing the election that's over. This also means that Bernie's supporters have to stop trashing Hillary's supporters and Hillary's supporters have to stop trashing Bernie's supporters—nothing else is acceptable in this time of crisis, and this is completely non-negotiable.

We need to get real: Mainstream Democrats and Leftwing Democrats probably agree at least 95% percent of the time; if we keep focusing on the maybe 5% where we disagree, the USA will slip into full-on fascism while we continue to argue over whether Bernie would have won.

Republicans don't act like this. Their party has hard-core anti-abortion people, hard-core anti-gay people, racists, the sexist and misogynistic folks, the gun nuts, the Christian fanatics, the folks who only care about the oligarchs and plutocrats, and all these factions often openly despise each other. But you know what else they do? THEY UNITE FOR ELECTION CAMPAIGNS! If the Left cannot do that, then there is truly no hope.

This bigger reality in all this is that infighting does nothing to advance our goal, and it's nothing but divide and conquer: Why else would Don keep talking about Bernie being “cheated” and how the Democratic nomination process was “rigged”? He didn’t care about that at all: All he wanted to do was to sow division among Democrats, and it worked! He played us like a violin.

Democrats had to pick one candidate, and we did that, right or wrong. Now we need to end that argument and find ways to work together to defeat Don and the Republicans. After all, there’s no “do over”.

We need to work out the future direction of the party, what it stands for, what its heart and soul are. But we’ll never get there if Democrats continue the war over Bernie v. Hillary, which is, of course, what Republicans want us to obsesses on. We need to end that fight because it is selfish and self-absorbed to dwell on that when there’s real harm coming to real people.

Let’s be better than that, let’s be smarter than that. Let’s be a different kind of Democratic Party, one that wins all the time. Let’s begin the hard work to get there now. It is our duty and our mission, because Hillary was right about one thing: We truly are Stronger Together.

Update – November 15: Bernie Sanders was on CBS This Morning (available on YouTube) and said even HE didn’t know if he could have won against Don.

Also, Kurt Eichenwald has written a strongly-worded piece for Newsweek, “The Myths Democrats Swallowed That Cost Them The Presidential Election”, taking apart all the myths of the “Bernie-or-Bust” crowd, as well as Democrats generally. He's notable for being pretty much the only mainstream journalist who reported on Don fairly, accurately, and usefully. He said in his article, “In reporting on Trump and his campaign, my job has never been to promote or oppose his election. I believed the media was letting him slide toward Election Day without conducting the normal examination performed on all presidential candidates…”


Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

I think I'm getting used to us seeing so many things similarly.

I saw Bernie on CBS This Morning, thanks to the wonders of YouTube (where it was helpfully included in "suggested for you"—apparently Google's algorithms have defined me rather well).

I also thought that Newsweek article was particularly good, and addressed points I think are important, but didn't want to talk about in this post.

I've added links to both in an update to this post.

rogerogreen said...

Bernie was on CBS News This Morning yesterday. HE doesn't know if he would have won. I see you saw my FB post re the Newsweek article on this topic. (I hadn't seen YOUR post until just now! Yikes, we DO think a lot alike!)