As we approach the end of the primary process, the rift that has become apparent is widening, not receding. As Bernie Sanders is scheduled to meet with Hillary Clinton next week, her supporters are more certain than ever that Clinton’s victory signifies the vanquishing of Sanders’ progressive platform and a green light for a renewed prominence of centrist policy-making. From recent replies to a comment I made in the New York Times:
On news of a new Clinton scandal involving influence peddling:
“First, my guess is that the majority of people who receive anything close to lofty positions in various administrations have personal relationships with higher-ups. Indeed, how many ambassadors are chosen on the basis of campaign donations? it is a long, well-known and seldom-criticized practice and happens in every administration.
What about the possibility that a quite qualified person who had donated to the Clinton Foundation was chosen for the position because he was, well, quite qualified? Does his donation disqualify him?”
“The ABC link is classic smear – a bunch of stuff strung together by those with an agenda.”
The kind of activity described in the ABC News report, which came with copies of email evidence, is not covered in Citizens United among the ways one can make political donations legally, but in the classic definition of bribery. What is described about the relationship between the Clintons and Raj Fernando is more indicative of quid pro quo than it is of fundraising by an ardent supporter. Raj Fernando abruptly resigned from the board he was nominated to, as Clinton’s chief of staff was emailing State Department press relations officials to stall on replying to ABC News for 24 hours. This confirms that the front office at State knew it had a problem.
Such displays of partisanship reach a new and worrisome level when voters not only to refuse to look at adverse evidence about their candidate, but accuse those who submit it for evaluation of disloyalty.
For any Liberal Democrats to consciously brush aside actions of this nature is worrisome. We are, after all, about to elect this person to the highest office in the nation. During the MSNBC New Hampshire Democratic debate against Senator Sanders, Hillary Clinton defiantly asked for proof she was ever influenced by donations she received:
“Name one time I changed due to Wall Street money.”
This is not only about Wall Street or free-flowing money in politics changing votes or policy, but a real example of its corrupting consequence. It should not matter whether it is perpetrated by politicians on the right or left. The existence of evidence of corruption and, therefore, the potential for illegal political activity must be acknowledged and dealt with. Ignoring it confirms to the perpetrator that they can do no wrong and emboldens them to carry on as they have.
Indeed, as the preamble to the July Democratic convention unfolds, Lee Fang and Zaid Jilani of The Incercept report:
“Wendy Sherman and Carol Browner, two of the representatives chosen by Clinton, work at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a “government affairs” firm that was created in 2009 through a merger with Madeleine Albright’s consulting company and Stonebridge International, a defense contractor lobbying shop.
The website for the company touts its ability to win favors and influence with government officials throughout the world on behalf of corporate clients, from shaping regulatory standards in the U.S. for a European automotive business to engaging “with the highest levels of the Saudi government.””
This is precisely the kind of thing for which progressive voters chose Sanders to put an end to. If liberal voters don’t mind this kind of influence-peddling arrangement, progressives do. Moreover, it turns out that a significant number among the unpledged superdelegates who support Clinton are industry lobbyists.
There are several petitions to end Democratic party superdelegates. One of those petitions is by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who recently resigned as vice chair of the DNC. The Democratic party of West Virginia passed a unanimous resolution calling for that practice to end.
On centrism vs. progressivism:
“You people have already moved Hillary too far to your small progressive side. The reality is smart liberals also like capitalism. It is the system by which we make a living and influence the world.”
“California is a blue State; Hillary Clinton will carry California. We don’t need her to partner with Elizabeth Warren or any other progressive.”
“uncounted votes in CA? The media withholding news to promote HRC? What’s next, the NV delegates or some other totally debunked nonsense?”
Eight million Californians voted. Two and a half million Californian’s votes remain unaccounted for. That’s over one quarter of the total votes cast on June 7, 2016. Realistically speaking, it is unlikely that all of the yet to be counted votes went to Sanders. That said, they still need to be counted.
As of the evening of June 12th, the California Secretary of State’s statewide results website still shows “Statewide 100.0% ( 22,356 of 22,356 ) precincts partially reporting as of June 10, 2016, 6:43 p.m.
California voters have the ability to check the status of their votes online. My own vote has not yet been counted, according to the Orange County, California voter registration website.
With 45% of Americans eligible to vote in a Democratic primary having voted progressively, compromise and unification doesn’t appear to be where things are headed. If anything, the signs point to the progressive movement leaving a party that is so wedded to corporatist doctrine that it will not allow a return to the policies of FDR.
Senator Bernie Sanders met with President Obama on June 9th. Shortly after, President Obama released a video of his endorsement of Hillary Clinton that, clearly, had been recorded two days earlier, giving the impression that the meeting that preceded its release was more to appease, rather than unify. Events centering around the meeting received wide coverage, with media personalities injecting their own personal views:
“Am I living in the same country as the current editors of the mainstream media and the high-placed officials of the Democratic Party? Do we speak the same language?
The New York Times reported Friday morning on the “carefully choreographed program” in which cameras showed Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders — the “vanquished Vermonter” — strolling amiably at the side of President Barack Obama before later rendezvous with the Senate Democratic leadership and, finally, Vice President Joe Biden. It appears that these party leaders were hoping that “given time and space,” Sanders “would not make trouble for them at their convention and eventually would endorse Mrs. Clinton.”
Trouble for them at their convention?”
As Sanders has stated, Hillary Clinton will have to earn his supporters’ votes. But that isn’t the message conveyed, perhaps as trial balloons, via the press. In “Primary wins show Hillary Clinton needs the left less than pro-Sanders liberals think,” the Washington Post’s James Hohman writes:
“California was the biggest delegate prize of 2016 for Democrats. Sanders spent the better part of the past month camped out there. And Clinton beat him by 13 points – or nearly half a million votes.”
Just as we’ve spent the last seven years talking about the fact that the right wing has its own set of facts, we are now beginning to discover that the liberal wing has its own narrative as well, and is not shy to impose it through a media that is willing to risk its reputation and disenfranchise millions of readers and viewers. MSNBC began its purge of progressive personalities over a year ago, with the cancellation of some of its most popular shows. The New York Times opinion and news sections have shown plenty of bias over the past year and completely ignored the very loud protests of its readers in the comment section.
Many pundits are positing that 2016 will be no different than 2008 and progressives will fall in line and vote Clinton. I see far more voters expressing a wish to force a reset on the Democratic party this time around, than I did in 2008. Then, unhappy voters who wanted Clinton over Obama were not expressing deep discontent and disgust with their party. The same cannot be said, this time around. I’ve written some pieces on the rift within the party recently and was surprised to find this post on Robert Reich’ wall:
The surprise isn’t that Reich made these posts, but that he did this soon.
Unfortunately, the media is doing nothing to bring greater awareness to liberal consumers of these widening divisions. The result is in an obvious change in tone by liberals in social media; one of superiority and derision for a block that has grown in size. 45% of a political party is significant. If Trump is such a frightening prospect to all, then the mere thought of losing any portion of Democratic voters should be at least as scary.
If the party is to survive as a big tent, then liberals need an attitude adjustment. Failing that, given the demographics of Sanders voters, progressives ranks may have grown sufficiently enough to warrant starting their own party, with reasonable expectation of success and longevity.