Friday, June 17, 2016

Bernie Goes Bust

While his colleagues in the Senate were dominating the news cycle with a poignant and powerful filibuster in support of strong gun control measures, Bernie Sanders was holed up in Vermont, polishing remarks he delivered to supporters on Thursday night. The speech itself was familiar. A greatest hits of Bernie’s preferred policy positions and a call to arms for his people to get involved in the political process at every level of government. But for a guy who boasted of his online fundraising prowess and unexpected success during the primaries, his 23-minute speech landed with a thud. Although more than one million people registered for the online stream, at its peak, a mere 218,000 people viewed it and cable news quickly cut away as it became clear he was giving a glorified stump speech lacking a concession to Hillary Clinton.

The past few weeks have been unkind to the 74-year old democratic socialist. After camping out in California for weeks on end in the hope of winning that state’s primary, he got stomped, book ending a day that began with a 30-point blowout in New Jersey and the media’s designation of Clinton as the party’s presumptive nominee. Since then, Sanders has been further marginalized. A meeting with President Obama was quickly overshadowed by the President, Vice President, and Senator Warren’s endorsement of Clinton. As the nation reeled over the mass murder in Orlando, Sanders chose that time to issue his set of demands to the Democrats, including the removal of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Instead of supporting his “fellow” Democrats during the aforementioned filibuster, Sanders skipped it. And through it all, he has refused to concede even as the few supporters he had in Congress abandoned ship.

All of these events would have been enough to shrink whatever leverage Sanders had before his crushing loss in California, but Donald Trump’s implosion has worsened his situation. As Trump has become unmoored – lashing out at a federal judge, claiming the President was somehow complicit in the Orlando attack, accusing soldiers of theft in Iraq – and polling shows a consolidation of Democratic support for Clinton and a steady erosion of Republican support for Trump, it is becoming clear that Sanders’s blessing is not nearly as important as it looked to be just a few weeks ago. Clinton now has a posse that includes a fired up (and very popular) Barack Obama, working class hero Joe Biden, progressive champion Elizabeth Warren, her husband (and still-popular ex-President) Bill Clinton, and whoever she selects as her running mate to eviscerate Trump and rally Democrats, Independents and sane Republicans. Bernie’s support would be helpful, but no longer appears necessary.

Sanders played a weak hand hoping to maximize his return, but he pushed too hard. Instead of quitting while he was ahead, he went all in and lost. Voting ended in California 10 days ago (no mention of Bernie’s 60 point loss in Washington, D.C. earlier this week is needed) and Sanders has shown no sign of getting with the program. He could have giving a gracious concession speech, pledged his full support to Clinton and called on his voters to do the same, all of which would have enhanced his standing in the party. But he did nothing of the sort.

This is telling. For whatever lip service Sanders pays to being a Democrat, his actions tell a much different story. He has now spoken publicly, and with meaningful media attention, three times without so much as gracious and heartfelt congratulations to Clinton or an acknowledgment that the campaign is over. On the most important topic of the day, when his voice could have added weight to Senator Chris Murphy’s filibuster, Sanders was AWOL. What we have seen instead is a refusal to admit defeat, a self-righteousness bordering on narcissism, and a delusional belief that a guy who registered as a Democrat for political expediency now thinks he can tell his newfound party what to do.

When Sanders does not get all he wants, or is denied things he thinks he is owed, do not be surprised when he takes his toys and goes home, which is fine by me. His allegiance to the party was only as strong as his potential to win the nomination. With that gone, and with his endorsers abandoning him, I fully expect Sanders to revert back to being an independent – which is what he has been in his heart the whole time.

Follow me on Twitter - @scarylawyerguy


  1. He really blew it by not being on the senate floor for one of the most inspiring filibusters in the last few years. He said he'll be there for the vote. First time earning his congressional salary all year.

    The media of course gives him a pass with his list of "demands". Why does no one ask him why he thinks he deserves anything? Hillary Clinton has a platform of her own, and the voters (and especially those that identified as democrats) choose her and her platform over Bernie. It wasn't even close! He got his ass kicked. Why would we adopt his losing and unrealistic platform? He was never in any position to bargain, but the longer he drags this out, the more pathetic he looks and sounds. Everyone is moving on and accepting reality except him and a small cohort of his most radical supporters.

    Jeff Weaver said they are not lobbying superdels anymore so he's obviously not going to get the nomination (not that that was ever a realistic plan). It makes no sense for him to STILL be in. He is a selfish, egotistical asshole. He won't congratulate Clinton on her historic victory because he'd have to admit to himself that he lost. The "revolution" failed. And too bad, because he could have had plenty of influence and power in the senate had he handled this like every other second place finisher. He's choosing to be petulant.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. "Barely fill a school gym" lol. You're obviously a brainwashed BernieBot to think that. How many times do you people have to be told that rallies are not votes? What actually matters is showing up at your POLLING PLACE and casting your vote. Or mailing it in. Bernie Sanders has gotten beaten fair and square in every region in this country and in US Territories. It's not even close.

    And as for California:

    "To surpass Clinton, Sanders would need to win remaining votes by a greater than two-to-one margin, according to Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll. It is likely that Clinton’s lead in California will shrink, possibly to single digits, he said. But nothing in the ballots counted on election night or in subsequent days suggests Sanders can overtake her.

    “It’s almost impossible,” DiCamillo said."

    Doesn't matter anyway. She is way over 2383, including almost 400 pledged delegates. Sanders did well, but not as well as Clinton. Millions more actual people voted for her, and that is the basic truth.

    And there will be a vote tomorrow on the gun measures. Things in Washington move at a snail's pace. If Sanders is a democrat or not, he should have been there. He says he's an active candidate for the Democratic party's presidential nomination. Two republicans participated in the filibuster too. No excuse.