I’m borrowing this image from Wonkette to set the tone for today’s inevitable Hilldo vs Bernbro skirmishes:
Some folks around here have been fretting about the increasingly acrimonious tone of the Democratic primary campaign for weeks. Not me. I think the drawn-out tussle in 2008 ultimately strengthened then-candidate Obama and kept everyone focused on the race, giving voters more of a stake in the outcome (and thus a reason to turn up at the polls).
But now I’m officially joining the worrywarts. Last night’s debate was nasty, sarcastic and personal. I think Sanders realizes New York is his last stand, and I don’t blame him for trying to win. But if he loses, a grownup needs to pull him aside and tell him to dial it back before he damages our chances in the fall.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz certainly can’t be that grownup. Maybe it’ll fall to our designated national adult, President Obama. But someone damn sure better do it. The Democrats lost the debate last night.
I’m not saying Sanders should drop out if Clinton clobbers him in New York as polls indicate she will. But both candidates need to stop trading accusations of corruption and cluelessness right about now.
Clinton made noises about the need to unite the party last night, and she’s right, though of course it comes across as self-serving since she’s firmly in the lead. But it is time to come together.
One thing we’ve talked about during this campaign is the division among Democratic voters. Clinton appeals to folks who wish Obama could run again, and Sanders is the candidate for voters who think things are fucked up and bullshit.
Remember that voters’ guide decision tree illustration someone posted that asked, “Is shit broken?” The assumption was that people who answered “no” would be in the Clinton or Kasich camp and those who answered “yes” would choose between Sanders, Trump or Cruz, depending on whom they blame.
Well, shit is broken. It’s no knock on President Obama to admit that — he’s made real progress despite the wholesale obstruction of a horde of treasonous Orcs. But shit is still broken, and maybe if the Democrats can come together around fixing that for the remainder of this primary, we won’t blow this chance to hang on to the White House.
What that would look like from Sanders would be exhorting his most passionate followers to make a political revolution happen by voting for Bernie in their primaries, yes, but also making a commitment to throw the Orcs out of Congress and statehouses and that a Democrat gets to make the next SCOTUS picks.
From Clinton, it might look like acknowledging that while the Democrats are the only party that gives a shit about working people, women and minorities, the party has very often done a crappy job of that and will recommit itself to that effort going forward — from top to bottom.
This isn’t too far off their messaging now, so it needn’t be some obvious pivot. But the time for trading insults is over, and if the campaigns can’t figure that out for themselves, someone needs to clue them in.