Will The Democrats Learn Anything From The Sanders Campaign?

Moderates for Bernie

Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee unless outside forces, such as an indictment based upon the FBI investigation, alter the situation. Clinton is trying hard to obtain the support of Sanders’ supporters. The degree of support received by Sanders, accompanies by the lack of support for Clinton among younger voters, independents, and progressives, should have been a wake up call for the Democratic establishment. Matt Taibbi warns that Democrats Will Learn All the Wrong Lessons From Brush With Bernie:

If they had any brains, Beltway Dems and their clucky sycophants like Capeheart would not be celebrating this week. They ought to be horrified to their marrow that the all-powerful Democratic Party ended up having to dig in for a furious rally to stave off a quirky Vermont socialist almost completely lacking big-dollar donors or institutional support…

The twin insurgencies of Trump and Sanders this year were equally a blistering referendum on Beltway politics. But the major-party leaders and the media mouthpieces they hang out with can’t see this, because of what that friend of mine talked about over a decade ago: Washington culture is too far up its own backside to see much of anything at all.

Democratic voters tried to express these frustrations through the Sanders campaign, but the party leaders have been and probably will continue to be too dense to listen. Instead, they’ll convince themselves that, as Hohmann’s Post article put it, Hillary’s latest victories mean any “pressure” they might have felt to change has now been “ameliorated.”

The maddening thing about the Democrats is that they refuse to see how easy they could have it. If the party threw its weight behind a truly populist platform, if it stood behind unions and prosecuted Wall Street criminals and stopped taking giant gobs of cash from every crooked transnational bank and job-exporting manufacturer in the world, they would win every election season in a landslide.

This is especially the case now that the Republican Party has collapsed under the weight of its own nativist lunacy. It’s exactly the moment when the Democrats should feel free to become a real party of ordinary working people.

But they won’t do that, because they don’t see what just happened this year as a message rising up from millions of voters.

Politicians are so used to viewing the electorate as a giant thing to be manipulated that no matter what happens at the ballot, they usually can only focus on the Washington-based characters they perceive to be pulling the strings. Through this lens, the uprising among Democratic voters this year wasn’t an organic expression of mass disgust, but wholly the fault of Bernie Sanders, who within the Beltway is viewed as an oddball amateur and radical who jumped the line.

Nobody saw his campaign as an honest effort to restore power to voters, because nobody in the capital even knows what that is. In the rules of palace intrigue, Sanders only made sense as a kind of self-centered huckster who made a failed play for power. And the narrative will be that with him out of the picture, the crisis is over. No person, no problem.

This inability to grasp that the problem is bigger than Bernie Sanders is a huge red flag. As Thacker puts it, the theme of this election year was widespread anger toward both parties, and both the Trump craziness and the near-miss with Sanders should have served as a warning. “The Democrats should be worried they’re next,” he says.

Taibbi looked at some of the key issues of this election, but also missed other issues which will hurt the Democrats long term if they follow Clinton’s policies. This includes her extreme views on military interventionism, along with her conservative views on civil liberties and government transparency.

It might not matter short term. Donald Trump’s lead over Clinton in the polls has evaporated, with Trump doing a dreadful job of transitioning from the primaries to the general election. Long term the Democrats risk a continuation of the trend towards losing in Congress and state governments, along with losing support from independents and an entire generation of new voters.


  1. 1
    DK says:

    Will "progressives" learn anything from Bernie's campaign? I think not, since they still don't get it: you can't be taken seriously trashing Hilary Clinton and everybody else for not being progressive when you're enthusiastically behind Bernie, a candidate whose record is full of holes that disqualify him from being the bouncer at Club Progressive.

    You can't be taken seriously criticizing Hillary's alleged closeness to Wall Street while supporting Bernie, who gladly took Wall Street money for his Senate campaigns for years — schmoozing with big bankers at high-dollar DSCC retreats — and who was the only candidate in the race who ever actually voted to deregulate Wall Street banks.

    You can't be taken seriously by Latino Democrats while supporting Bernie, who voted to support right-wing border militias, profits personally from environmental racism with the Sierra Blanca waste dump he co-sponsored, went on Lou Dobbs in 2007 and trashed Latinos for allegedly taking American jobs, and voted against the comprehensive immigration reform bill supported by Ted Kennedy, Dolores Huerta, La Raza, SEIU, UFW, and Hillary Clinton.

    You can't be taken seriously slamming Hillary for alleged conservative views while supporting Bernie, a candidate who sold out to the corporate gun lobby multiple times — voting five times against the Brady Bill, voting for the loophole that lead directly to the Charleston church massacre, voting against Sandy Hook families and with the NRA to protect the gun lobby from liability, and voting to allow loaded guns in public parks and on public transportation.

    You can't be taken seriously calling out Hillary for allegedly extreme views on militarism while supporting Bernie, who voted in support of regime change in Iraq in the 90s, voted to give Bush unilateral war powers, voted to bomb Somalia and Yugoslavia and Kosovo and Libya, voted for every one of Bush's wartime defense budgets, and supported a Republican-backed resolution endorsing a Gaza War while Hillary was negotiating a peaceful cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

    You can't hold Hillary accountable for a crime bill she never voted for but addressed in speech two years after it passed while giving Bernie a pass for actually voting for that crime bill, for giving a floor speech calling its targets "sick and sociopathic," and for bragging about his vote on his website for years until it was time to pander to progressives. 

    You can't criticize Hillary for evolving on gay rights along with the rest of the country while supporting Bernie, a candidate who was M.I.A. during the AIDS crisis unlike Hillary, who never marched in Gay Pride parades when it counted unlike Hillary, whose staff told papers he was only opposing DOMA on states rights technicalities not principle, who signed a traditional marriage day resolution in 1982, who voiced support for a Cuban dictator who put gays in concentration camps, and who is quoted in Vermont newspapers as recently as 2006 opposing gay marriage.

    It wasn't progressive of Bernie to white flight to one the least diverse states and to never hire a black staffer in four decades until it came time to pander to blacks. It wasn't progressive of Bernie to dismiss Southern Democrats, who are disproportionately nonwhite and who are trying to make progressive gains in hostile territory, as "conservative." It wasn't progressive of Bernie to lie about having Super PAC support, neither was it progressive of him to steal Hillary's voter data and blame others rather than take full responsibility. It wasn't progressive of Bernie to fake endorsements from veterans groups, neither was it progressive of him to take no responsibility for his VA oversight failures as chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee. It wasn't progressive of Bernie to vote against Amber Alerts. It's not progressive of Bernie to complain the process is "rigged" why enthusiastically supporting caucuses, the most undemocratic election method possible, neither is it progressive to try to delegitimize Hillary crossing the delegate threshold when Bernie had no problem endorsing Obama in 2008 as a superdelegate and declaring the race over before all states voted once Obama had passed the same threshold the same way. It's not progressive to insult black history by exaggerating Bernie's role in the civil rights movement. It's not progressive of Bernie to flaunt precedent and only release one year of taxes, hiding his true income and investments. And it definitely wasn't progressive of Bernie to lie to his supporters that it's possible to have Scandinavian-style "free" and unrationed social programs without levying Scandinavian-level tax rates of 50%-70% on all levels of income.

    The hypocrisy is stunning and reveals that "progressive" complaints about Hillary are not about principle but about 1) white identity politics and 2) pro-Bernie personality cult. If you want your "progressive" criticisms of Hillary to be taken seriously, first hold your candidate and yourselves to your own standards.

  2. 2
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    They should learn to close all the primaries and make a year of membership in the party a condition for competing in them.

    And get rid of those stupid caucuses.

    And have more office holders and party officials as super-delegates, most of them free to vote as they wish on all ballots.

    But they won't, if people like you who are not Democrats at all get their way.

    The Republicans should learn the same lesson to keep future riff raff like Trump from even getting close to the door to the White House.

    But they won't, either.

    Both parties suffer from an overdose of democracy.

    It's bad for them and dangerous for the country.

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    DK demonstrates the typical 3-D Clinton response to criticism. Deny, distract (in this case with lies about Sanders’ record which have already been debunked during the campaign), and demonize. Plus not a word about Clinton’s conservative DLC record. A party which conducts itself in this manner will only further alienated voters.

    One other tip for DK. This has nothing to do with a “pro-Bernie personality cult.” Liberals and progressives opposed Clinton this year for the same reason we opposed Clinton in 2008 and opposed Bush in 2004. It is Clinton’s policies and her corruption. Sanders was just the only candidate running against her, and a far better choice.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    Right Philo, make the Democratic Party even less Democratic. The party is already losing terribly in Congressional and state elections, alienating independents, and losing the support of those under 45. Your ideas will just accelerate the trend.

    Maybe we should do what you say. With a DLC Democrat like Clinton, there isn’t much difference between the parties anymore. Maybe we should accelerate the process and let the two major parties die out–or have the Democrats and Republicans merge into one conservative party and we can form a second liberal party which is open to independent support.

  5. 5
    DK says:

    Ron demonstrates the typical Berniebro fact-free hypocrisy I pointed out: call people who point out the many, many, many progressives deficiencies in Bernie's record liars (without pointing to any specific "lie" of course) , deny, deflect by Clinton, and insert the words "conservative," "corruption," and "DLC" — again with zero specifics. *yawn*

    I pointed to specific votes. For example, it's a simple, plain, unadulterated fact that Bernie voted against immigration reform in 2007. It's a fact he voted against the Brady Bill. It's a fact he voted in 2000 to deregulate Wall Street in 2000. His pro-war votes are a matter of record. It's a fact he voted for the crime bill. It's a fact that Bernie is quoted in Vermont newspapers in 2006 opposing gay marriage. And all the other conservative votes I point out are a matter of record. Anyone can look them up and verify them.

    Rather than address these facts, pathological liars like Ron will call people who point them out "liars" to deny and deflect from their own hypocrisy. Because the facts of Bernie's voting record are inconvenient to the myth of his personality cult and its "Hillary is an evil conservative, but Bernie is a holy and pure progressive who has never done acting in any way non-progressive" bullcaca.

    You can claim all you want it's not about Bernie, but the picture of the big Bernie rally on this proof is just more proof that the claim is just another example of your rank intellectual dishonesty. Bernie and Hillary voted together 93% of the time, and Bernie's record is full of conservative votes no matter how much you want to deny it, so no, it's not about policy either. And, like Bernie, you can't point to a single instance of alleged Hillary corruption — although we do know it's Bernie took Wall Street money for his Senate campaigns and voted to deregulate Wall Street.

    Hillary won millions more votes than your hypocritical "movement" — so just keep up the hypocrisy and the lies: it's obviously a huge turnoff to the voting majority and a recipe for continued electoral irrelevance.

  6. 6
    Ron Walter says:

    I think Ron Chusid has pretty much covered the propaganda pretty well, but I'll just say this, DK, if you were as knowlegable about the facts behind all the Clinton noise machine spin, as you are of the Clinton noise machine spin, you wouldn't even be here posting. As Ron already noted, much of that is lies that were already exposed over the months of this primary, but there's no accounting for cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias with you folks, that I already know.

  7. 7
    Ron Walter says:

    Philo, independents now number many more than either republicans or democrats, and will soon number more than both combined, if I don't miss the general mood of the American voter. Your plan is one of marginalization of the majority, that's not democratic, that's a plan to occupy the dustbin of history. Sorry, it is what it is.

  8. 8
    Unhappy Democrat says:

    Wow, I think that DK managed to repeat every lie told during the campaign by Clinton and her supporters. And what is the point of further alienating progressives at this point? You can't pick up any more votes beyond Washington DC by spreading such lies, and most people reading a blog like this are too smart to fall for a liar like DK.

  9. 9
    Ron Chusid says:

    DK, not only have I debunked your lies about Sanders’ record many times, the media fact checkers have debunked your claims. Go through the Clinton and Sanders tags if you want the facts. I am certainly not going to waste my time repeating the same arguments made many times in the past just because you accumulated so many of the Clintonista lies here.

    Voting record is a quite dishonest way to compare candidates with most votes being along party lines and over procedural matters. When it counted, the two were quite different. Plus that doesn’t even look at how militaristic she was as Secretary of State.

    Clinton was hardly liberal when she supported making flag burning a felony, censoring video games, restricting freedom of speech to fight terrorism, parental notification laws, making abortion rare (a statement which stigmatizes women who have abortions and plays into GOP attempts to restrict abortions), leaving gay marriage up to the states (a position she finally changed but lagging behind the country tremendously), the Patriot Act, the discriminatory Workplace Religious Freedom Act, her belief in religion intruding in public policy and hostility towards the principle of separation of church and state, opposition to needle exchange programs, her hard line on the drug war, her opposition to programs to distribute free condoms, hostility to government transparency, unethical conduct as Secretary of State, pushing for the Iraq war based upon clearly false claims of a connection between Saddam and al Qaeda, pushing for military intervention in Libya and Syria, and her views on resuming the Cold War with Russia.

    Sanders was prmoting liberal goals in Congress. Clinton joined up with The Fellowship to promote the goals of the religious right. There is no comparision between the two.

    You really think anyone is going to take you seriously in claiming “Bernie’s record is full of conservative votes” when you are backing somoene as conservative as Clinton?

  10. 10
    Ron Chusid says:

    Unhappy Democrat,

    The “point,” as much as there is one, is that Clinton supporters like DK are like Bush supporters who continued to insist that there was WMD in Iraq years after even the Bush administration gave up on the claim. They are cultists who want to insist they are right even when all the facts show how wrong they are.

  11. 11
    Ron Chusid says:

    DK's lying is also similar to Clinton's lying in another way beyond the three D's in listing so many lies that it was not feasible to spend the time to go thorugh them all-especially as they have all been throughtly debunked in the past. Clinton herself was chastized for using a similar tactic with her lies during one of the debates:


  12. 12
    Ron Walter says:

    You post a bunch of garbage, hoping no one will take it point by point, and you're right at this point, but I will take one and expose it. " it's a simple, plain, unadulterated fact that Bernie voted against immigration reform in 2007 " That much is true, what you fail to mention is that the Southern Poverty Law Center called several of it's provisions "virtual slavery" and in the final version presented, your candidate also voted against it, despite voting for it in it's less amended forms earlier.


  13. 13
    Ron Walter says:

    This correct the record bs is so tiresome, especially since we know a lot of the profiles spouting it aren't even real people, as was exposed when some shmuck hit the wrong key and a ton of fake profiles answered a comment with the exact same comment, exposing them as fake.

  14. 14
    Jeff Blanks says:

    Boys!  BOYS!  Sit down!

  15. 15
    liz allen says:

    Bernie and his record have always supported the working people and middle class. Bernie would have won that election if not for the Clinton machine and the dirty deal with the DNC in March 2014….when they established the Hillary Fund. The Hilary Fund did a dirty deal when they told the super delegates the fund would also fund their campaigns if they signed on as her super delegate…that was 6 weeks before Bernie entered the race. Schultz and her comrades at the DNC along with every STATE Party Chair rigged the election. I blame Bernie for one thing…HE didn't expose the rigging. Why? Perhaps because the powers that be (in the establishment) of both parties….want to choose our president…they don't give a damn about our vote or the candidtate we support. What I know is this: Trump is a vile con man, who has robbed every working man or women he could. He sues if they dare file a lawsuit to get their wages. Everything he has touched is a con….he is only in this race for power and greed. On the other hand, the Clintons have never been liberal or progressive they took the Democratic Party and turned it over to the plutocrats. We the American people are screwed no matter which one of these cons win.

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