Democratic Party Establishment Excludes Bernie Sanders From “Ideas Conference”

The Center for American Progress held an Ideas Conference but The Nation reports that Bernie Sanders was not welcome:

But there was an awkward absence: Senator Bernie Sanders. He was not invited to the “Ideas Conference,” and his exclusion makes clear that, while Democrats are converging around a general set of ideological principles, the party still faces some serious coalition-building problems.

CAP president Neera Tanden explained to The Washington Post that “We were trying to emphasize a new generation,” and a CAP spokesperson told The Nation that nobody who ran for president before was invited.

That’s true as far as it goes, but with any scrutiny it feels more like a post facto justification for not including Sanders. There’s a big difference between Hillary Clinton—now a private citizen with no future electoral plans—and Sanders, a sitting senator who polls as the most popular politician in the country and who has pointedly not ruled out a 2020 presidential campaign. The press materials for the conference proclaimed it would “bring together national leaders of the progressive cause,” and there’s no real way Sanders doesn’t fit that description, or rationally should have been excluded simply because he ran for president last year. (The presence of Susan Rice and Tom Daschle onstage also puts considerable strain on the idea that only new voices were being elevated.)

This division has help to show who has sold out to the establishment and who is really for reform.

Daily Kos founder and self-appointed “granddaddy of the resistance” Markos Moulitsas drove the point home when he huffed during a panel about “that grassroots Bernie thing” and how it was a detriment to the party.

This comes from someone who made the Iraq war his main litmus test in 2004. Now that he is part of the establishment, he backed the candidate who was one of the strongest proponents of military interventionism.

The article concluded with a look at the division between “the elites” and “the grassroots.”

It’s hard to envision a functional political party where there’s such a fissure between the elites and the grassroots. It has already caused the Democrats no shortage of pain, even in the Trump era: The race for DNC chair was also much less about ideology and more about who would get control of the party mechanics—the established hands or the newcomers.

Elbowing Sanders out of the party isn’t going to solve this problem, though many Democrats seem intent on doing it. Politico ran a story on the same day as the Ideas Conference quoting several top Democrats who clearly want Sanders to go away, while blaming him for the party rifts. “He’s a constant reminder. He allows the healing that needs to take place to not take place,” one said.

Meanwhile, being shunned by party bosses is rocket fuel for the Sanders movement. “If you want to understand why establishment Democrats lose, look at CAP. They hold their…grassroots conference at the Four Seasons and don’t invite grassroots progressives,” one progressive strategist affiliated with Sanders but not authorized to speak for him told The Nation. “They charge $1,000 per ticket to attend their ‘Progressive Party’…and eat canapes while wondering why they are out of touch with the rest of the country.”

While there is division in the party between the establishment and reformers, and considerable disagreement over the nomination of Hillary Clinton, at least most Democrats will hopefully agree on opposing Donald Trump. The New York Times noted this aspect of the conference:

In a speech to the liberal Center for American Progress on Tuesday, Representative Maxine Waters of California drew applause and whistles when she reminded the audience of her insistence that Mr. Trump be driven from office. But even more notably, Ms. Waters, a veteran lawmaker, has also been intensifying pressure on her colleagues to recognize the threat she said is posed by a reckless president.

Update: Democrats Risk Continued Failure In Denying Reasons For Clinton’s Loss

Update II: Democratic Party Stronger Without The Clintons (How Bernie Sanders Has Reshaped The Democratic Party)


  1. 1
    Donna Benedict says:

    #DemExit there is no Democratic party left withput Bernie Sanders. 

  2. 2
    Bruce W. Dobbins says:

    It appears to be true that the only way to clean the corruption out of the Democratic Party is to BREAK the Democratic Party.  What a shame; because there won't be an progress in the Democratic Party unless the progressives take the lead.  Either that, or we go ahead and form our own Progressive Party and leave the remnants of the existing Democratic Party as an empty husk on the side of the political road.

    Life is full of choices; and the leadership of the Democratic Party seems to be making theirs.  What a shame.

  3. 3
    Kenneth Barnhart says:

    The two mainpolitical parties in the U.S. have become inbred.  People who have made their mark in politics run their party to sustain their status, rather than improve the lives of people.  The precepts of success such as setting goals, establishing measures to measure achievement of the goals and a culture of constant improvement are mostly absent. There seems to be a short term, next election focus. There is talk about things that the party wants to do, the platform, but gathering money seem to be the main objective.  Those who contribute money get to determine what the party does.  Both parties seem to have become mirror images of corporate America. There is not much interest is dramatic change. Incremental actions, even one step forward and two steps back seem accepted.  A visionary has little support in the two political organizations. People like Bernie Sanders make traditional party leaders nervous. My senator Jeff Merkley seems a bit too bold for the party loyalists.  It is is hard to see how today's political parties will make changes happen.  Only when the mood of the population makes change essential does the sleeping change reluctant political apparatus come alive.  Something must be done to revitalize and modernize our political parties.  They don't inspire people any more.

  4. 4
    Gina says:

    The DNC is committing suicide. No Bernie, breaks the party.

  5. 5
    John D. Nugent says:

    Yes, I am in agreement. The Democratic Party needs to be broken.

    As for the new Party, I don't get the idea of reforming the aforementioned Party from within. We have played that game since the Third Way Neoliberals officially held their hostile takeover in the early 90's. The Party is beyond salvage.

    The new Party – even if we pull a Debs, and create a blanket Party for all the Leftist Third Parties – has a couple major things wrong, however: the electorate and the electorate. We need to solve this.

    No matter who we might run, the Democrats will always find some bogeyman among the Republicans, whose entry into positions of power must be prevented at all costs. They've been extorting the Independents and the Third Parties with the bs "lesser of two evils" line since a time when the Republicans were basically Moderates. If we are to reach that precious percentage to be permitted into the arena, the Independents and Third Parties must ally with one another and not be swayed by the misdirections from the Duopoly.

    It would also help if an Independent Council would take over the Debates – such as if the League of Women Voters would take it back. Otherwise, once we reach that voting percentage, the Duopoly could just raise [the required percentage], thus saying we didn't make it.

    With Public Elections, this may not be a problem. It depends on how they are managed. The idea is, of course, to get the Debates out of the Duopoly's direct ownership and control.

  6. 6
    robert Prentice says:

    I think these people are out of their collective minds to exclude Bernie.

  7. 7
    Jack Rosenblum says:

    Excluding Bernie Sanders from a conclave entitled The Center for American Progress does not seem like a brilliant idea.  In fact, it sort of continues Debbie Wasserman-Strauss' practice as head of the Democratic Party of tipping the scales toward Hillary and away from Bernie.  We saw how well that worked out.  Bernie has a huge following.  He may well be too old to run for the Presidency in 2020, but in the meantime, he can surely be part of the solution.

  8. 8
    FDR Dem says:

    We made Hillary lose and apparently they're too stupid to put 2 + 2 together.  If I can survive Trump and Pence for 4 years, I can survive them for 8.   #PUMA   

  9. 9
    Joseph Auclair says:

    Fact is, the real Bernie is too red, too easily red-baited, and was and is far too obvious in his genuine disdain for and even hatred of Democrats and their party.

    The Democrats need to be pushed in a more vigorously social democratic direction, and though Bernie may be the only guy around to do that he is in fact not the guy to do that, for oh so many so well known reasons. 

  10. 10
    Chris Vince says:

    It's a shame the Dems didn't learn their lesson when they supported HRC over Bernie. What do they have against him?! They pull this shit again and they will continue to shoot themselves in the foot. I for one will go "I" v "D" if they start acting like GOP'ers!


  11. 11
    Timo says:

    THIS is the reason that Trump won the WH! The arrogance of the DNC is astounding still! Don't they learn from experience? Evidently they do NOT! Keep doing this and the GOP will rule until they REALLY embrace progressive ideology!

  12. 12
    Terry Brawley says:

    Meanwhile, 80% of the DNC platform was put there by Bernie… DNC must stand for Deliberately Not Coherent

  13. 13
    Jack Daly says:

      Painful as our Present Reality may be, it is akin to Growing Pains. The at-best myopia…and at-worst chicanery evinced by the Dems… from the start of Primary Season to the Present Moment.. only serves to make clearly evident the fact the Existing Political Two-Party System King wears No Clothes. Suffer through this period, I guess we must….a time for this snake to shed its skin and move on in a New Form.


  14. 14
    Robert J Kolker says:

    Hillary's buddies up to their old  tricks in the DNC.  Will these people ever learn?

    Hillary is damaged goods.  

  15. 15
    Marie Duggan says:

    OK, there goes Daily Kos.  No more will I subscribe. 

    Yes, Bernie Sanders raised up the possibility that we intellectual people could be on the same side as working Americans.  I had started to think that accepting 675,000 for speeches to Wall Street was inevitable.  But he reminded me that it's not. There are a lot of us that would NEVER accept that sort of thing, under ANY circumstances.  Let us stand up.  At his rallies, I saw so many good people.  I'm so disappointed in the Democrats now.  I don't think I can be part of their party. This isn't me exactly saying I want to vote third party, it's more like they just keep pushing the likes of me out, so maybe…Such fools not to let Bernie bring me back IN.

  16. 16
    William McLaughlin says:

    The Dem party is intent on suicide.  Those who have not already fled  the party now have more reason to do so.  Once again they will likely snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  What brilliant strategist dreamed this one up —Debbie or Donna or ????  Dems were warned before that coronating HRC would likely lead to loss of the House, Senate and Supreme Court as well as the Presidency. Slow slow learners who don't want off of the corrupt gravy train, even at the expense of losing another one.

  17. 17
    Ted Hawken says:

    I USED to be a Democrat! Let both corrupt parties DIE. I've joined the other 50% of INDEPENDENT voters waiting for someone with integrity… Like Bernie Sanders. Is this all we have to offer for leadership? I think not. May he run as an Independent next time. Fuck the DNC losers.

  18. 18
    Judy Sandness says:

    The DNC remains corrupt and should not exist.  Maybe there should be no parties, but people should have all the information on each candidate and vote.  No big money involved, no buying politicians.  Would sure be easier.  Glad to be an Independent now would never be a Democrat or Republican both corrupt. 


  19. 19
    Jody Harlan says:

    I like Senator Bernie Sanders. He is not a Democrat. He's an Independent. Why isn't he treated like a Democrat? That's could be the reason.

  20. 20
    Ron Chusid says:

    Bernie has consistently voted with the Democrats. He far more supports Democratic principles than people such as Clinton do. He also has many supporters, and Democratic leaders are foolish to alienate them, especially if they want to expand the party and win elections.

  21. 21
    Judie says:

    1.  He is the Senate Democrat outreach person to bring more people into the party.  He already has a way to offer his ideas.

    2.  No one who has run for President has ever been included.  Why should Bernie be treated differently or get special privileges? 

    3.  He is not a Democrat.

    4.  Why won't his strong supporters realize that there are other people who can present the progressive ideas?


  22. 22
    Steve Heminger says:

    But I thought the Dims wanted us to all come together….

  23. 23
    Ann says:

    The establish democrats will never get it.  The Coronation of Hillary Clinton and the way they treated the Bernie Sanders supporters was an atrocity.  The Democratic leaders need to take responsibility for their actions and know that they are the reason that Hillary lost the election.  She was not a viable candidate because of the constant scandals and the fact that she is in bed with Wall Street and a WARHAWK.  That is not the Democratic Party I want to be part of.  Ignoring your parties corruption is being complicit. The fact that Tulsi Gabbard had to stepdown of her position in the DNC to support Bernie was ridiculous!  The fact that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was the representative for the DNC was one of the biggest mistakes of Hillary's campaign.  The DNC needs to pick up the clue phone or break the party.  Actually in my humble opinion it would be best that the DNC is broken and is a neo liberal party.  Call it the NEOLIBERAL party and move on!

  24. 24
    Demi says:

    Maybe he should fly under his Liberatarian flag and stop trying to shelter under the Democrats.

  25. 25
    Rob Litchfield says:

    It should be obvious to almost everyone by now that the reason Bernie is so unwelcome to so many Democrats is simply because so many so called Democrats are, in reality, Republicans!  Under Bernie's Democratic Socialistic leadership, this fact would be constantly pointed out to their great chagrin and embarrassment!  There is truly only one major party,  which I will name the Corporate Republicrat American Party, or CRAP for short.  Bernie will do well to divorce himself from any and every association with the old, misbegotten travesty of the Democratic Party; it does not nor will it ever again serve our country's needs!


  26. 26
    Rixar13 says:

    "This division has help to show who has sold out to the establishment and who is really for reform."

    ↑↓ ← #DemExit → PERMANENT

  27. 27
    Annevar says:

    Sanders is not a Democrat, never has been an asset and never will be; he is in no small part responsible for the Trump administration, having fueled that camaign's cannons against the interest of all Democrats and progressives. So go ahead, exit and form your own party, malcontents. You are a hindrance and we have work to do, and will be better off without you.


  28. 28
    Ron Chusid says:

    Wrong. Sanders has always caucused with the Democrats. He was a candidate in the Democratic primaries. While an independent, he represents traditional Democratic values while Hillary Clinton and her allies in the party machinery have turned the party into a Republican-lite Party, not far from where the Republicans were in 2003. Moving to the right and failing to stand for anything, resulted in Democratic loses in 2010, 2014, and now in 2016. Those who supported the nomination of a candidate as terrible as Hillary Clinton are responsible for Donald Trump being president. If the party had not rigged the nomination for Clinton, we could have a Democratic president and Senate right now.

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