Friday Morning Open Thread: Let Them Call It A Win, If It Stops the Argument…

Look, any Bernie supporters want to declare victory and get out, I am more than willing to give ’em a big hand on their way. Even better, should the more realistic ones choose to actually become Democrats, I’ll give ’em a second chance to show that they’re willing to do the hard work of winning voters, not just stanning a celebrity. From Politico (so: whole shaker of salt), “Bernie 2016 alums wary of 2020 sequel”:

With the Vermont senator kicking off a nine-state tour on Friday with stops in Iowa, South Carolina, Nevada and California, a sizable contingent of the people who helped build his insurgent 2016 campaign is ambivalent about a second run, according to interviews with more than a dozen former staffers. Many of them are looking for a different progressive champion to finish what Sanders started.

Sanders should just declare victory, they said, content in the knowledge that much of his 2016 platform has been adopted by other ambitious Democrats considering White House bids. Plus, he’s a white man who would turn 80 in his first year as president, who’d be trying to lead a diverse party fueled by the energy of young voters, women and people of color.

“I think that if a younger candidate can pick up the mantle and have Bernie’s support, I think that would be a better option for 2020. I feel like 60 to 70 percent of former staffers are looking around for another Bernie-esque candidate this time around, even if it’s not him,” said Daniel Deriso, a field organizer for Sanders’ 2016 campaign who went on to help run a successful insurgent mayoral campaign in Birmingham, Ala., last year. “But if Bernie called me to have me work on the campaign then I’d do it.”…

Enough fervent supporters — from the 2016 campaign’s top officials to field organizers — are wary of a 2020 run that it could be difficult to reignite the 2016 movement. Jeff Weaver, who managed the 2016 race, has been talking about the idea of a “Draft Bernie PAC” of sorts after the midterms. But many supporters have been noncommittal, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions…

A common frustration among former staffers is that they feel Sanders and his tight circle of aides have taken their support for granted and failed to keep their 2016 team cohesive, which would have been an inherent advantage in a second run.

Multiple former staffers said that the Clinton campaign alumni network is far more connected and active than Sanders’…

“He’s the grandpa of the movement,” said another campaign worker from 2016, “but that might not make him the best choice for 2020.”

So… People who want an actual career working in politics have accepted their loss and are calculating their next moves. Tad Devine is lying low, waiting for Robert Mueller to wrap up his various investigations. Jeff Weaver wants to get the band back together — but being the Media Village Idiot’s “More Virtuous Than Thou” Gadfly is pretty much a one-man enterprise. Just look at the latest performance reviews for its most famous modern exemplar:

(If Nader is hoping / expecting Bloomberg to throw him a bone, or a paid consultancy, he must really be desperate. Mayor Mike has been content to let the Horserace Pundits do his testing-the-candidacy-waters media for free, all these years; I seriously doubt pity, or excitement at Nader’s celebrity, will loosen his pursestrings at this point.)

Late Night Open Thread: Well, That Explains Tuesday…

… but this was Monday:

Late Night Crankypants Grifters Open Thread: STFU, Sen. Sanders

Sanders, as predicted, has gone full-metal Ron Paul: Now his Travelling WWC Economic Anxiety Tour is solely a tool for separating his cultists from their money. Unfortunately, the Media Village Idiots hate Democrats almost as much as they love Republicans, so they’re a lot more interested in megaphoning St. Bernie’s attacks on our party than they ever were in helping Dr. Ron (or his idiot son Rand) abuse “his” party-of-convenience.

If there was one day this year when the red-rose-in-their-twitter-profiles “Socialist Progressive” manbabies and the women who love them could’ve profited from not insisting that every political statement or action should revolve around them, you’d think the commemoration of MLK Jr’s assassination (by an economically-anxious WWC guy) would’ve been that day.

And if Senator Sanders couldn’t find a single commemoration in his home state (there are certainly civil rights supporters in Vermont, many of them presumably Sanders voters), surely he could’ve found an appropriate event in the Washington DC area. But the national media attention was in Selma — so to Selma, Bernie rushed!…

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Late Night Russiagate Sidebar Open Thread: Beyond His Skill Set

I think Dana Houle is right — as much of a gift as it must have seemed at the time, the mainstream media’s cossetting of Sanders’ 2016 campaign did him no favors over the long term. Between their long-term baseless hatred of HRC, her campaign’s unwillingness to be (further) labelled as ‘divisive’ and ‘anti-progressive’, and the Putin regime’s covert thumb on the scales, the old man never had to stretch himself. He could trundle happily around the country, demanding the Democrats fund his private planes and top-line venues, preening for more cameras than he’d ever drawn, repeating his greatest hits (bankstahs! bill-yanayahs!) in front of adoring audiences. When he confronted genuine opposition (like those BLM activists in Seattle), or was challenged to explain his policies (consider the Daily News fiasco), he did so very poorly — but those shabby little failures were easy to overlook in the non-stop rush of Trump-Mania and But Her Emails!!! “news”. And he never *did* have to address any other-than-hagiographic stories from his own past. Now he seems to be revving up for another national campaign… and he’s already showing how very little he’s learned from the last one…

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“Progressive Independent” Open Thread: Death Wish

… AWAY & SHUT UP, if I get my wish.

If we Democrats do as well as projected in 2018, St. Bernie will be scrabbling for figurehead position on the bandwagon. If we, Goddess forbid, don’t, he’s all set to work the “Buy my book, and make a token $27 contribution to my exploratory committee” circuit, right across the aisle from Newt Gingrich. Except, as ever, the man’s timing is impeccable…

Bernie Sanders on Wednesday blamed Hillary Clinton for not doing more to stop the Russian attack on the last presidential election. Then his 2016 campaign manager, in an interview with POLITICO, said he’s seen no evidence to support special counsel Robert Mueller’s assertion in an indictment last week that the Russian operation had backed Sanders’ campaign.

The remarks showed Sanders, running for a third term and currently considered a front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, deeply defensive in response to questions posed to him about what was laid out in the indictment. He attempted to thread a response that blasts Donald Trump for refusing to acknowledge that Russians helped his campaign — but then holds himself harmless for a nearly identical denial.

In doing so, Sanders and his former campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, presented a series of self-serving statements that were not accurate, and that track with efforts by Trump and his supporters to undermine the credibility of the Mueller probe.

“The real question to be asked is what was the Clinton campaign [doing about Russian interference]? They had more information about this than we did,” Sanders said in the interview with Vermont Public Radio.
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Late Night Opportunistic Grifters Open Thread

Well, he never was a Democrat. And now that he’s been rejected by Democratic voters — but not before picking up an addiction to the perks of Presidential candidacy — it looks like Bernie Sanders is lunging for the “disaffected GOP populist” vote. Because Trump’s unlikely to be a candidate next time round, since the odds are he’ll be in jail or dead of a fatal infarction!

But I don’t think he’ll win *that* primary, either. I stumbled over this clip from last month’s televised “tax debate”, and what I see is a flustered old man getting pantsed by Ted Cruz and Tim Scott, hardly the deadliest assailants. Good fun for GOP sadists during the early primaries, but Repubs aren’t pity-voters.

Murphy the Trickster God, do I get tired of these crappy never-ending premature reboots!

Late Night Rant Open Thread: Speaking of Cranky Old Grifters…

Politico, of course, is rooting for Democratic injuries — but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a real problem. I give Bernie Sanders due credit: With a mere fraction of the economic advantages Donald Trump or even Jill Stein were born to, he (eventually) achieved a rewarding career that did not require more than three days’ work per week, and that doing what he loved best. Tragically, a confluence of larger forces during the 2016 election gave him a much larger platform for his talents, attracting a motley crew of fellow cranks and perennial malcontents along with the media-friendly innocents who actually believed that he offered a working alternative to our current two-party political system. If he’d only had the smarts to shut up and go back to his Senate sinecure no later than December 2016, I would not dismiss him as the least effective Presidential Change Agent since Leon Czolgosz

But it’s not just the outside agitators that Democratic lawmakers, operatives and activists are annoyed with: They’re tired of what they see as the Vermont senator’s hesitance to confront his own backers, either in public or through back channels.

Tensions boiled over recently when a handful of Sanders loyalists bashed freshman Sen. Kamala Harris — a rising star in the party and potential 2020 hopeful — as an establishment tool. Democrats were also rankled that other prominent Sanders allies said support for single-payer health care should be a litmus test for candidates.

In response, Democratic senators and outside groups have begun telling Sanders and friendly intermediaries that if he wants to be a leading figure for Democrats ahead of 2020’s presidential election, he needs to get his supporters in line — or at least publicly disavow their more incendiary statements…
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