On mourning a loss

Following up on Tom’s post this morning, I want to say a couple of words about the Sanders’ campaign.

Losing sucks.

I’ve been lucky in that the last two contested Presidential primaries, my preferred candidate won.  In 2008, I was basically happy with either Clinton or Obama but finally went Obama about a month before my state voted.  If the results were reversed, I think that by the time Obama wrapped up his concession speech and I had finished my second beer of the evening, I would be on board with voting for Senator Clinton and e-mailing a good friend who was one of her regional organizers about where they needed a volunteer data geek to help cut turf.

I don’t begrudge Senator Sanders running for as long as he did.  The Presidential primary process for candidates who aren’t selling books or getting in on the grift  is effectively a single iteration game with effectively winner take almost all pay-outs.  Promises made by the winner to everyone else have weak enforcement mechanisms.  From this perspective as long as a candidate has resources and a plausible path to victory, I understand why they stay in.  I understood why Senator Clinton stayed in for so long in 2008.  Odd events (such as the  John Edwards fiasco or a heart attack) happen, so playing a bad hand that is not yet a guaranteed loser of a hand is logical.

Furthermore, as campaigns go on, especially campaigns that aren’t going too well, there is often an incestuous feedback loop.  Romney in 2012 believed that the polls were skewed and he was a favorite going in to Election Day.  None of his advisors were able or willing to break through the bullshit that campaigns tell themselves every day that there really is a plausible path forward to victory.  Campaigning for most people sucks (Bill Clinton exempted) as it is exhausting, repetitive, stressful work.  The hope that it will pay off provides motivation for the candidate, for the senior staff, for the field organizers and for the volunteers.  Election results are a clue by four towards reality.  Re-adjusting to the actual reality instead of the hoped for reality takes time and at least for me, one or two stupid statements.

Today is a recovery day for Senator Sanders and his campaign.  Tomorrow is a reassessment day with a meeting between Senator Sanders and President Obama who can gently deliver any needed clue by fours and provide credible guarantees towards policy/platform enforcement mechanisms.  I would be totally happy for Senator Sanders and his campaign to finish out the string in Washington DC next weekend and then start a wind-down with a concession by the middle of the following week.  It takes time to mourn a loss and organize a wake, so fellow Clinton supporters, give the Sanders supporters that time please.






31 replies
  1. 1
    Trollhattan says:

    clue by fours

    So stealing this.

  2. 2
    aimai says:

    From your mouth to Bernie’s ears.

  3. 3
    dmsilev says:

    I think (hope?) he’ll wind things down cleanly by the time of the DC primary or a day or so later. I did notice that his speech last night didn’t have any of the attacks on Clinton or the DNC or whatever that his stump speech used to have, which I take as an encouraging sign.

  4. 4
    burnspbesq says:

    I can’t shake the feeling that Sanders is going to walk into the Oval Office with a list of demands. Articles like this aren’t helpful in that regard.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/av.....bd27ff79f7

  5. 5
    hovercraft says:

    Be gracious towards the Sanders supporters is necessary, we are all on the same team. I understand the desire to lash out because your candidate lost, but there is a limit to how much patience I have. At the end of the day they lost. Next Tuesday is the last primary and he has every right to keep going till then. In the meantime however, they need to stop denigrating the nominee and the process. Bernie choose to run in the democratic primary with all it’s arcane rules, because he felt that was his most viable option for victory. It sucks to lose but he did.
    So I’ll play nice, but they need to as well.

  6. 6
    Poopyman says:

    It’s mourning in America?

    Well, I guess just a minority. By definition, as a matter of fact.

  7. 7
    Soylent Green says:

    The jury is still out on Bernie himself, who has yet to say whether he will support the party’s nominee.

    But you’re right, it’s time to make amends with everyone who isn’t still throwing shade on Clinton. I especially like the thoughtful path that Applejinx has taken toward party unity. In the primaries, forty something percent of Dem voters chose Sanders and that ain’t chopped liver. I think their guy was the wrong choice, but his stated goals are worthy.

    As for the B or busters and assorted Naderites, Trotskyites, and other D Party haters still hanging in, fuck those guys.

  8. 8
    Betty Cracker says:

    Nice post. As long as the Sanders campaign winds it up next week — which I still believe will happen — it’s all good. No dragging this thing out until the convention, though. I feel certain PBO will give notice that he’s coming off the sidelines, so hopefully that delusion will pass.

  9. 9
    Suffragete City elftx says:

    I don’t begrudge Senator Sanders running for as long as he did.

    I’ll take the over on that one.

  10. 10
    tobie says:

    All this solicitousness of Sanders and his supporters sounds condescending to me. It’s been clear since the mid-Atlantic primaries that there was no way that Sanders was going to be able to surpass Clinton in terms of either the popular vote or the pledged delegate count. It was irresponsible of the candidate to drag his supporters on but they were also willing accomplices. Old enough to vote means old enough to do the basic math. They chose not to. What’s really bothersome in all this is that in an effort to placate Sanders’ supporters, we’re not letting Hillary and her supporters take full credit for the historic victory she and they achieved. We’re raining on her parade. One should be gracious in victory but one shouldn’t have to muzzle the joy of having won a drawn out and often nasty fight.

  11. 11

    Enough about BS and his fee-fees, its time for him to man up and accept the inevitable.

  12. 12
    cckids says:

    @hovercraft:

    Next Tuesday is the last primary and he has every right to keep going till then. In the meantime however, they need to stop denigrating the nominee and the process.

    I so agree. I don’t get the people wanting/expecting Bernie to concede last night; he’s said since forever he’d fight on through the last primary so everyone got a chance to vote. I respect that. But he’s built resentment and this belief that the system’s “rigged” into too many of his young supporters, and I’m afraid it will bite the party in the ass.

    Just the fact that it gives Deadbeat Donnie the opening to make shitty remarks to “appeal” to them like he did last night is too much.

  13. 13
    Applejinx says:

    None of his advisors were able or willing to break through the bullshit that campaigns tell themselves every day that there really is a plausible path forward to victory. Campaigning for most people sucks (Bill Clinton exempted) as it is exhausting, repetitive, stressful work. The hope that it will pay off provides motivation for the candidate, for the senior staff, for the field organizers and for the volunteers. Election results are a clue by four towards reality. Re-adjusting to the actual reality instead of the hoped for reality takes time and at least for me, one or two stupid statements.

    Yep. I’m real disappointed in some of the procedural stuff being flung around lately, but it’s asking a lot of a human being to be seemingly close to ‘leader of the free world’, surrounded by incredible committed passionate energy, and then to just switch it off and go ‘oh, all right, not me after all’. I think it’s telling that Hillary Clinton knows to be gracious even when it’s not strictly deserved. She knows what this is like, and Bernie’s too old to take a second chance. It’s Vermont for him, and the movement goes on without him.

    I would suggest not getting too heavy into a ‘mourning the loss’ narrative, because apart from the figurehead what’s lost, exactly? Their platforms are shall we say NOT wildly different. Talking gravely of loss suggests that Sanders people will have their hopes dashed and will see none of what they wanted, policy wise. In fact it’s looking like with Hillary they will get MORE of what they wanted than Bernie could have delivered.

    Oh, sure, he’d make all the good speeches, but getting it made into law? If he was that good at overpowering the system he would have won. And if Hillary wasn’t good at working the system to her ends, she would have lost…

    If it is ‘not me, us’, then news flash: WE are still here, and what’s more we held common goals anyway. The crap spewed by ‘Berniebots’ does not represent what Hillary ever intended, or any reality that I can see. I can’t believe that hype anymore. (especially when, in New Hampshire, some of the people who spewed the most relentless anti-Hillary hype were useless at getting campaign stuff done. They weren’t there for us, they only turned up to eat our donuts and bitch. On the other hand, a Hillary staffer turned up at our office to offer shaky but sincere congratuations through her tears, and our lead organizer rushed down the stairs to catch her before she left and thank her for her kindness. Both women, BTW, and that taught me something too)

    This is not a loss for anybody. This is a win for everybody, clearing the path for a liberal warrior and then selecting the best one to take that path. Nobody loses, not really. Except Trump :)

  14. 14
    HRA says:

    Very nice post, Richard Mayhew.

    IMHO This could possibly be Senator Sanders’ last stand to fight for what he believes would help the less fortunate people in the US. It could very well be why it is so hard to face the defeat and not go on. He will eventually stop and hopefully join in the campaign to defeat Trump or defeat another R if Trump.is replaced.

    HRC is the winner. She was not defeated. I think it helped rather than hindered her to have a primary opponent. Celebrate and make plans for the next phase of the process to elect her.

  15. 15
    Luthe says:

    @Trollhattan: I like “clue by four with the spiked nails of reason” myself.

  16. 16
    Reggie Mantle says:

    Who are you people, and what have you done with the real Balloon Juice?

    But seriously folks…another good and thoughtful post, and some thoughtful comments like this:

    @Soylent Green:

    In the primaries, forty something percent of Dem voters chose Sanders and that ain’t chopped liver. I think their guy was the wrong choice, but his stated goals are worthy.

    are worthy of respect.

  17. 17
    Mai.naem.mobile says:

    It isn’t going to cost Clinton.anything to wait and be nice for a few more days. From the hammer if he doesn’t wrap it up by next week. The RNC will use some of his quotes for anti-Hillary ads but,hell, the Dems have so so many more from Trumpster’s former opponents,now endorsers.

  18. 18
    Jacel says:

    In 2008 I started out as an Edwards supporter, having been impressed by the message of his 2004 campaign and the ways he built on that message productively in the following years. From the early stages of the 2008 Democratic campaign, I was impressed by the quality, experience, and discourse of the overall field of candidates (such as Gov. Richardson) When Edwards dropped out (this was quite a while ahead of the public revelation of his misdeeds). I was a little surprised that my support shifted to Obama. I hadn’t been as familiar with him as Hillary Clinton, but what I came to learn impressed me more and more.

    This time around, I started out happy to have Hillary be the candidate in 2016, but I hoped there would be some other contenders, simply to prevent a total news blackout of any mention of Democrats for over a year while the shiny Republican campaign played out. I was surprised to find Sanders, someone I had respect for over a long time, entered the race. I supported him, voted for him yesterday, and was amazed and encouraged that he drew as wide support as he did. I’ll gladly support Clinton the rest of the way into November and beyond.

  19. 19
    D58826 says:

    @Applejinx:

    I would suggest not getting too heavy into a ‘mourning the loss’ narrative, because apart from the figurehead what’s lost, exactly? Their platforms are shall we say NOT wildly different. Talking gravely of loss suggests that Sanders people will have their hopes dashed and will see none of what they wanted, policy wise. In fact it’s looking like with Hillary they will get MORE of what they wanted than Bernie could have delivered.

    The only one who can convince the more passionate Bernie supports of this is Bernie. If they believed it coming from Hillary they probably would have voted for her in the first place.

  20. 20
    Reggie Mantle says:

    Thanks, Tom and Richard. It’s just sad that the blog owner is so obsessed with keeping the liberal electorate divided by shitting all over Sanders voters. Well, you tried.

  21. 21
    tones says:

    @Reggie Mantle: it is a symptom of fear and shame.
    They are too fearful to have nice things, and cannot believe that we can achieve anything nice , so why try?
    better to accept the status quo than to risk emotionally the possibility of failure.
    The Bernie supporters are the opposite – as in there really is nothing left to be lost…we have already lost everything that made this a forward thinking nation and unless you support endless war and corporate oligarchy then there really was no one to vote FOR.
    Well, besides Bernie Sanders, the only one in my lifetime that has said ANY of the right things, and was nailed to a tree for it.
    cheers,

  22. 22
    debbie says:

    Nice post. And not a single “moron” in it.

  23. 23
    randy khan says:

    @tobie:

    It’s a tricky balance. (I’m going to be more candid here than I would be on, say, Facebook, for reasons that will soon become obvious.)

    A fair number of Bernie supporters have entirely unreasonable expectations about how much leverage supporters of a candidate who lost the cumulative popular vote by a margin of about 3.5 million and is going to lose the pledged delegate count by something like 375 to 400 delegates (because, let’s face it, Clinton is going to cruise in D.C.) actually have. They don’t understand that Clinton already is being nicer to them and to Sanders than she needs to be, particularly in giving Sanders seats on the platform committee, and want to hear affirmations about how much they and their candidate added to the primary process. And anything short of treating them with way more respect than, say, Obama treated Clinton supporters or Kerry treated Dean or Edwards supporters will seem disrespectful to them.

    So I’m not blunt with them. I’m as nice as I can be. Frankly, I think that probably comes off as condescending to some neutral observers, although I’m aiming for obsequious. It’s a small price to pay.

    Now, the ones who think Clinton is evil incarnate, they get a somewhat more blunt response.

  24. 24
    John W. says:

    I’m an old. If there is a single benefit from old, it is, if you hold your mouth just right, patience. Bernie is quite the firebrand and I appreciate that. Once upon a time I was too. I’m sure that he’ll come around. Time for all of us to pull for Hill.

  25. 25
    John W. says:

    @Reggie Mantle: WTF is wrong with chopped liver? Well, I suppose it depends upon whose liver.

  26. 26
    billb says:

    Lovely Post! In the fires of partisan divide, one ought to recall that the Dear Senator got the votes of more than FORTY % of the D Party, and all the Youngs. He earned the right to be VP and have a Portfolio in the Clinton WH to bring forward a Program for his [youngs] folk into the future.

    Anything less is a certain tRump Win. The only person with moral authority on the national stage is Bernie, and only Bernie can slay the dragon tRump, and bring the young’s to the Promised Land.

  27. 27
    elizabeth Mercer says:

    @Applejinx: Well said.

  28. 28
    elizabeth Mercer says:

    @Reggie Mantle: I disagree with your assessment. I loved the blog. With the greatest of respect, the fact is the berniebots and berniebros were and are responsible for the division in the party. Most responsible is Sanders himself. He stated the major parties were Tweedledee and Tweedledum, publicly. He stated running as a democrat was expedient, admitting he had no issue using the party name just for the media attention ( free attention) gained by running as a democratic candidate. In addition, Sanders would have had no issue using the party structure and funds in a run for POTUS should he have won the nomination. His policies were not going to be paid for , I read the PDFs . What was offered was a dream, and while many of us shared some, (but by no means all of those ideas and dreams) , those of us who voted for Clinton wanted a candidate who understands that good ideas on paper often require not just compromise but acceptance when reality exposes any plan fatal flaw. Sanders has never presented himself as such a candidate. Please understand that mourning the will of the people when presented as a whining conspiracy theory will not elicit sympathy for many of us who actually Are democrats.

  29. 29
    elizabeth Mercer says:

    @billb: I disagree. I found Sanders less than credible after I vetted him. My hope is that after the convention, should we be lucky enough to win the administration and perhaps regain the Senate that Sanders will simply be quiet.

  30. 30

    @Reggie Mantle: Just to make you feel at home — go fuck yourself

  31. 31
    tilzey says:

    @hovercraft:
    I agree. With kindness, and from a lifetime as a competitor where there is only one 1st Place, I have little tolerance for the BS supporters who have no idea that their choice was a distant 2nd Place candidate, from the beginning.
    There is nothing wrong with “Also Ran” because that means they showed up and ran from beginning to end.
    I have no tolerance, thus no acceptance of the cruel words, the “hate her” dialogs and the Press that continue to provoke division instead of inviting discoveries of common ground.

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