The fringes on both sides of the political spectrum have created a vacuum. The Radical Middle must rise and create a new Common Ground and move our country forward. Reasonable, Sensible, Balanced. Outrage does none of us good. Let us stop screaming at each other and get to work!
Thursday, May 19, 2016
The Process, the Blame Game, and the Sanders Campaign
Finally, we're nearing the end of the primary season. It appears that life in the Democratic Party has become more difficult. That is normal given the stakes. It's important to analyze the messaging of both campaigns, especially the rhetoric that is divisive and potentially damaging to the process.
Bernie Sanders has made many claims about the process being rigged against his campaign, being rigged against his supporters, and even allegations of violence and proven acts of intimidation have begun percolating across the country aimed at state party and other elected officials. Now, more than ever, it's crucial to discover what has happened and why.
Proportional allocation of pledged delegates in every state is only done in the Democratic Party's primaries and caucuses. Not only does the Democratic Party award at large state delegates this way, but they also award delegates by district as well.
The Democratic Party, therefore, awards participation in the process.
It's his campaign's responsibility to understand the primary process and to win the nomination through that process.
The problem with Sanders campaign strategy is that they relied on expensive rallies and not on connecting to more people on the issues that matter to them where they live. Sanders said this himself after his NY primary loss. However, he didn't change how he campaigned.
Each state's democratic party chooses if they have an open primary or a closed primary. And, I do understand how that is frustrating for independent voters, but it protects the party from bad actors. In most of the states that do have a closed primary or caucus process, it's because the other party has chosen to do so. However, there are a few states that have hybridized primaries, meaning one party is different from the other, like California where independents can vote in the Democratic primary.
The evidence of bad actors being present in the process was in West Virginia, an open primary where Bernie won. However, only 64% of his voters said they would vote for him in November. That is compared to 82% of Clinton voters saying they would vote for her in November.
The fact that Sanders has won many closed primaries and caucuses is proof that closed election systems are not always rigged against him.
His problem has been broadening his appeal among Democratic voters. He obviously has courted millennials quite successfully. However, he's not broadened his support. He's not changed his message.
That's his campaign's inherent problem, a lack of depth in his message in order to reach the majority of Democratic and independent voters.
His claims of bringing in lots of new people into the process just didn't coalesce into real numbers at the ballot box.
His big rallies are impressive and have the appearance as if he's achieved this. This just hasn't turned into the hard numbers that matter . . . enough votes on election days to win enough pledged delegates to win and compete for the nomination.
Sure, everyone cried foul when the number of debates were announced. Guess what, more debates and more candidate forums were inked and broadcast.
So, when does Sanders have enough rope given to him that he'd be satisfied with the process?
His campaign stole campaign data from the Clinton campaign. He got away with that.
His campaign broke the actual campaign finance laws we do have every month this year. He continues to get away with that while leveling daily accusations at the Clinton campaign for abiding by those campaign finance laws.
He's not released his tax returns. He continues to be given a pass on a lack of transparency while asking much more from his opponent.
What Sanders has been perpetrating at this point is a fraud. That somehow it's the majority of voters' fault, those that have voted for Hillary Clinton over him, that he's not the nominee. That somehow it's the process to blame, the same rules that were in place over a year ago, that he's not the nominee.
Instead of owning his campaign's failures, he's blaming the voters and the process. And, he's made the establishment the enemy as part of his theme throughout his campaign. He's never bothered to prove any of it.
The establishment . . . What is it? He says not him. They're the problem, too.
A progressive . . . What is it? He’s the only one in the race, he claims.
Bernie also often mentions the polls that show him beating Trump by larger margins then Hillary does. But, these same polls show that more Americans would be concerned with Bernie as President. What is their support about? What could their concern be about?
It's possibly because people don't know Bernie Sanders. They do know Hillary and they do know Trump. They hate Trump and they're not particularly fond of Hillary. So, some people who don’t follow politics and government would favor a relatively unknown person over the other two. That's why head-to-head match-ups today, while the primary is still ongoing, are fairly irrelevant and hypothetical.
For example, Michael Dukakis was way up in the polls at this time during in 1988. And, we all know what happened to Dukakis. In fact, in May of 1988, Dukakis had a 54% to 38% lead over then Vice President George HW Bush. Dukakis led HW Bush all the way through August.
Bernie also has a leadership problem. Instead of vocalizing his condemnation of the demeanor of his supporters, he has someone in his campaign send out a press release about it where the condemnation is buried at the end of the press release.
That is not a leader. That is someone that doesn't care what he has to do to further his own personal political ambitions.
I sincerely believe Bernie Sanders is a dangerous voice that doesn't inspire respect and decency when it comes to doing the difficult work of reforming our broken government, broken economic system, and making both work better for the American people. He weaves a message of open hostility to Wall Street, big business, and public officials. He does this not to better the system but to break it.
We need leaders who will unite this country, not destroy those who stand in their way. That's what Bernie has represented ever since it became apparent that he could not win the nomination. What once was a campaign based on the issues and of diagnosing the nation’s problems became an angry movement about blaming others for their own failings and failures.
We can work together to move forward. We shouldn't do it at the expense of common decency and mutual respect. Somewhere, Bernie lost respect. I'm not sure why. I
I do know, at least for me, it’s been a painful journey of disillusionment.