Late Night Bern-Off Open Thread: Go AWAY, Bernie

bernie granpa in the war toles

(Tom Toles via

Unlike the Blogmaster, I was not impressed by Senator Sanders’ My dream will never die, screw the rest of you” non-concession speech this evening. Of course, I am a Hillbot, and more important, have been a Democrat all my life, good times (and candidates) and bad. So, yes, I am biased against the old crank who shows up at the block party without an invite, doesn’t bring so much as a bag of store-brand chips to share, harangues everyone he can corner, pisses off the people who’ve been doing the grunt work for years and encourages the malcontents and youngbloods to pull stupid stunts. If I wanted to listen to a cranky old alte kacker yarp on about how he was the only pure operative in the entire world, I could’ve stayed in the Bronx — and he could’ve stayed in Brooklyn. Okay, he’s “excited a new generation” and “moved the discussion leftward” (for some tightly defined values of excitement and leftward). At this point, he’s just leaching attention away from our real enemies, who happen to be in charge of the Republican party.

Before Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) headed to the floor yesterday to begin a marathon gun safety speech, his office reached out to members of the 46-member Democratic caucus. By the end of it, early Thursday morning, Murphy announced that the Democrats would get votes on Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s legislation to prevent people on the terror watch list from buying guns, and his own legislation to expand background checks. Thirty-eight of his fellow senators joined the filibuster, allowing Murphy to rest, reading comments from the Internet or describing mass shootings in their own states.

Not among them: Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The runner-up in the Democratic presidential primaries was in Burlington, Vt., ahead of a simulcast speech to supporters today. (He is not expected to concede.) He’d been in Washington the night before the filibuster began, for the Democratic luncheon and a meeting with Hillary Clinton, but he was not able to return to the city…

Sanders, who opposed the Brady Bill that expanded background checks and waiting periods, has since come into sync with the Democratic caucus… On Wednesday, he tweeted in support of the filibuster…

He sent a tweet — what more do you expect? One thing Bernie does have in common with Donald Trump, apart from their mutual unwillingness to release tax returns: He can’t be arsed to do anything that doesn’t immediately redound to the greater glory of His Own Magnificent Personage.

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Last Exit Before Palookaville

Bernie Sanders is staging a virtual campaign rally tonight. According to Maddow, the event won’t include a concession and endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Early indications are that Sanders will attempt to settle scores and assert co-leadership on policy with the actual winner of the primary all the way to Philly.

How will the party respond to its rogue runner up? Here’s what I’d say on the process issues if I ran the zoo:

1. Debbie Wasserman Schultz stays. Look, I’m not her biggest fan either, okay? But she’s moving on after the election anyway, so demands for her scalp now are petty score-settling. Besides, she serves at the pleasure of the president, not the 2nd place finisher in a party primary.

2. We’ll revisit superdelegates before the next presidential primary but after 2016. Superdelegates had fuck-all to do with the outcome in 2008 and 2016. But if the fondest hopes of the Berniacs come true, we’ll need superdelegates this year to serve as deus ex machina to hand the nomination to Sanders, right? Issue tabled.

3. The states get to decide whether to hold open or closed primaries. Joining a party is free. If you’re in a closed primary state and want to have a say in who gets the Democratic nomination, join the fucking party! You can always unenroll after the primary if you’re afraid of establishment cooties. If you have quibbles about time requirements, etc., join the party and try to change them. And if you care about small “d” democracy, agitate at the state level to abolish the patently undemocratic caucuses. (Oh wait…)

As for policy issues, is the Sanders campaign even talking about them anymore? If so, the Sanders people should hash that shit out using the extraordinarily generous allotment of platform seats ebil witch DWS assigned them. But the primary is over, and Clinton won. She gets to campaign on her policies, however unfair that may seem.

Contrary to the opinion of some Sanders detractors here, I think Sanders has some genuine accomplishments he can point to in the race. He eschewed super PACs and still managed to raise an astonishing amount of money. His surprising competitiveness kept his signature issues front and center throughout the primaries.

I don’t think he dragged Clinton to the left as much as he imagines since she was mostly there anyways; their Senate records weren’t that far apart, and President Obama’s success and the Republican fail parade has allowed the party to more boldly claim its traditional turf. But arguably Sanders made Clinton’s previous support for TPP untenable and compelled her to focus on the minimum wage and college tuition more than she would have otherwise.

Sanders’ biggest asset in the primary was his ability to appeal to young voters. That’s important. But he’s busily squandering the value of his base by insinuating that the process was unfair and that he (and they) were robbed, thus removing their motivation to vote for the Democrat in the general election.

Even if you take the hardcore Sandersite view that Clinton is a principles-free triangulator (which I emphatically do not), does it make sense to remove your bargaining chips from the table and force Clinton to rely on peeling off disaffected Republicans to beat Trump? How does that advance progressive causes?

But there’s still time to take the last exit before Palookaville. That our opponent is a stunningly malignant buffoon should be all the motivation a person who puts country before self needs to do the right thing.

Sadly, I no longer expect that Sanders will. But happily, I don’t think it will matter all that much anyway.

Allow Me a Moment to Rant about the God Damned Kids (Alternate Working Title- Your Drum Circle and Feelings Entitles You to Zero Votes)


So right now, this is where we stand.

– Hillary has won an outright majority of pledged delegates. She has won 2184 of them to Bernie’s 1804.

– Hillary has won an outright majority of the votes, She has, as of right now, 15,571,64 to Bernie’s 11,888,779, a margin of 3,682,864.

– She has won the majority of primaries. Bernie has most of his wins in caucuses.

– She has an overwhelming majority of Superdelegates.

And yet we are met daily with a barrage of “the system is rigged,” pissing and moaning about closed primaries, and mentions about the kids and the future.

I’m sick of it. The future is the future. This is about here and now. She’s won. End of story. Anything else is just delusional.

But let me get back to the god damned kids. I honestly don’t care if a bunch of political neophytes have a sad because Bernie isn’t going to win. I don’t care if they hold a hissy fit. It’s time for them to grow the fuck up, and I am tired of the Bernie or Busters trashing the Democratic party because they don’t get their way.

Here’s the deal. I was a republican for years. I was a member of the party. I donated to them, voted for them, and worked to elect Republicans. I then realized I was an idiot and all the things I thought they stood for they don’t, and I beat a hasty retreat.

I looked around. I thought about just going independent. I nixed the idea because I realized this is a two party system, and if I want to be an effective part of the process, I had to be involved. So I joined the Democrats. I donate to the DNC, the DSCC, the DCCC, to individual candidates, to Democratic causes. I went and will go door to door. I phone banked. I helped raise money for Democrats. I feel a bit of ownership in my party. And my party chose Hillary Clinton, and that is who I am going to support in the fall.

I am also an adult, and realize that you take the good with the bad in a party. For every Sherrod Brown and Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, there is a Ben Nelson. But that doesn’t change the fact that overall, the Democratic party has and continues to be, overall, a force for good. I’m proud to be a Democrat. I like putting the sticker on my car and the sign in my yard, because I am proud of the party. I feel a sense of ownership an d personal pride because I have helped to make the party what it is.

So it really fucking pisses me off when I hear a bunch of kids who just recently even became old enough to vote, or a bunch of disaffected independents who could never bother to commit to a party because they are just above it all or too special to fit into the confines of the two parties or angry bitter old leftists screaming that Nader was right and the Democratic party is no different than the Republicans screaming that their guy, who has been a Democrat for a year, doesn’t get to win because they have really strong feels.

I want to kick puppies when I hear the whining about closed primaries. I wish they were all closed primaries. I think Democrats should choose the Democratic candidates. Fuck you, you special flower. Go join the Greens and vote for Jill Stein. In the general, you can vote for whomever is on the ballot. But in the primaries, you have to choose a party. Fucking deal.

I’m sick of the bullshit. Every time I hear the whining about the kids- “They love Bernie. They are the future!” – all I can think is well, maybe the can join the Democrats, put in the money, blood, sweat, and tears, and in a couple cycles they will create a movement within the party large enough that someone like Bernie Sanders will win. And you know what, if they do, loyal Dems like me will phone bank and go door to door and work to elect that person.

Basically, what we are dealing with when we hear about the kids not getting their way with Bernie is the political equivalent as the same annoying entitled fucks who at the age of 22 go on House Hunters and demand granite countertops and stainless steel appliances and his and her en suite bathrooms and wood floors and a big deck because “they like to entertain.” Go earn that shit, and until then, go fuck yourself. Here- a bunch of old dudes wrote a song about this before you were born, you obnoxious little shits.

Your drum circle entitles you to zero votes. Also, get off my grass.

PS- Richard and Tom are far more mature than me. But we all knew this.

Late Night Cranky Open Thread: Bernie Sanders Finds Bernie Sanders A Man of Many Talents

I can call spirits from the vasty deep. —
Why, so can I, and so can any man; but will they come, when you do call for them?

Public figures are commonly warned against believing their own press releases. Senator Sanders seems to have gone beyond mere belief, to discover in the Bernie Sanders described by his supporters one hell of an amazing fella, capable of feats no mortal politician could claim. He will quell the rebellious Repubs by the might of his loyalist mill-yuns, and accomplish historic progress by the sheer genius of his executive orders. From the Rolling Stone interview:

To put it in terms that you were talking about tonight at the rally, I think the critique is not blaming Bernie Sanders for thinking too big, but critiquing Bernie Sanders for sweeping the “unpleasant truths” of our political system right now – the way it ties everything up in knots – “under the rug.” Many people say you’re right as rain on the policy and the objectives, but “Boy, I just don’t think he can do it.”
Yes …

So how do you do it? What are the specifics that allow you to—

What are the specifics about how I, personally, all by myself, do what nobody in American history has done? And I’m being criticized? Why don’t you do it? Why doesn’t the editor of Rolling Stone do it? Look. You know. With all due respect, that’s an absurd question.

Hopefully, we will end up winning the nomination and winning the general election. If we don’t do that, which is certainly a possibility, we will have accomplished an enormous amount. Could we have done better? Could I do better? Of course. I’m not quite sure what the—

The question is: Assuming you’re president and you’re dealing with a Congress that looks like the one we have today…
Let me just comment on that. If I am elected president, the odds of the Senate remaining Republican would be minimal. You’d have very large turnout helping Democrats up and down the line.

But you’d still likely face Paul Ryan as your negotiating partner. And I’m trying to figure out how you get something like public-college-for-all passed with Paul Ryan as your counterpart. Given that you just said today that they won’t play ball.
To answer that question successfully requires us to think outside of a zero-sum game. You’re saying to me, and it’s a fair question: “Bernie, if you sit down with Paul Ryan and say, ‘Paul, I want a tax on Wall Street speculation to make public colleges and universities tuition-free and to lower student debt,’ the likelihood is that Paul won’t say, ‘Hey, Bernie, why didn’t I think of that? Fantastic idea! Let’s go forward together.'” So what’s the strategy? The strategy – which is unprecedented, and this is where we’re talking about thinking outside the box – is to have a president who actually, vigorously goes around the country and rallies the American people, who are in favor of this idea. This is not some sort of fringe idea. The American people want it. And [the president] rallies the American people and makes it clear that people in the Republican Party – or Democratic Party – who are not sympathetic will pay a political price. That changes the dynamics.

Everything that I campaign on – they’re not fringe ideas. They’re not radical ideas. They’re ideas that the American people support. What we’ve got to do now is close the gap that currently exists between the American people over here [gestures to one side of the table], who have needs and goals and desires, and a Congress [gestures to other side], which in almost every instance is ignoring what the American people want…

Because, of course, we have no recent Democratic presidents — for example, the man now occupying that position — who were willing or able to “actually, vigorously go around the country and rally the American people, who are in favor of this idea.” Only a superior political intellect like Bernie Sanders could have imagined so powerful and lambent a tactic! One part Bully Pulpit, two parts Green Lantern…

Matt Yglesias, at Vox, has convinced himself that “Bernie Sanders will drop out and endorse Hillary Clinton soon”…

… While Sanders’s hypothetical campaign would be premised on the idea of winning superdelegates over to his side, the reality is that after California and New Jersey vote, the opposite is going to happen… [T]he small number of Sanders supporters who are also elected officials — most important among them Reps. Keith Ellison and Raúl Grijalva and Sen. Jeff Merkley — will abandon him on the same grounds. They’ll say the campaign accomplished a lot and proved people-powered politics is the wave of the future, but Clinton won fair and square and now it’s time to unite for a higher minimum wage, making the rich pay their fair share, comprehensive immigration reform, and all the rest.

At the same time as the more establishment-oriented wing of the Sanders movement abandons him in favor of Clinton, the more radical wing will also abandon him. Sanders’s core voting base in the primary has come from young people who probably didn’t participate in the 2000 campaign. But several of Sanders’s more prominent surrogates — people like Cornel West and Susan Sarandon — are longtime critics of the Democratic Party who backed Ralph Nader back then…

At the end of the day, Sanders is a Democrat
Decades ago, when America’s political parties were less polarized and when Sanders was more invested in anti-anti-communism as a foreign policy, Sanders was truly a political independent. He won a tough third-party campaign to be elected mayor of Burlington, and he tangled with Democrats on the city council early in his term…

But once in Congress, Sanders settled into a comfortable modus vivendi with the formal Democratic Party. He caucused with the Democrats for the purpose of obtaining committee seats and seniority, and Democrats stopped running candidates against him. In 2006, when a Senate seat opened up in Vermont, the party’s national leaders — everyone from Nancy Pelosi to Chuck Schumer — cleared the field for him so he could win the Democratic nomination unopposed. Having won it, he then officially declined it in order to run as an independent in a race with no Democratic nominee…

I read this history and see an opposite future: Sanders was happy to accept all the benefits of being a Democrat, and even to cast his very precious extremely independent vote with that less-elite gang, as long as he wasn’t required to lower himself to the grubby moil of vote-trading and donor-coddling. But if the benighted Establishment Democrats are not willing, at this shining moment, to acknowledge his singularity and step aside for his nomination… he will NOT BE IGNORED.

Frankly — and I hope he makes a liar out of me — at this moment, I’m predicting a future for Senator Sanders as the Joe Lieberman of a new generation. Come 2019, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him on Pete Peterson’s payroll, in the latest incarnation of #NoLabels “sensible centrism”, decrying the coarse anti-American partisanship of the party in power… especially if (goddess please make it so) that should be the Democratic party.

Supplementary sniping below the fold… Read more

Brown’s Statement


Not sure how much impact this will have on the race in California, but Jerry Brown has weighed in:

On Tuesday, June 7, I have decided to cast my vote for Hillary Clinton because I believe this is the only path forward to win the presidency and stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump.

I have closely watched the primaries and am deeply impressed with how well Bernie Sanders has done. He has driven home the message that the top one percent has unfairly captured way too much of America’s wealth, leaving the majority of people far behind. In 1992, I attempted a similar campaign.

For her part, Hillary Clinton has convincingly made the case that she knows how to get things done and has the tenacity and skill to advance the Democratic agenda. Voters have responded by giving her approximately 3 million more votes – and hundreds more delegates – than Sanders. If Clinton were to win only 10 percent of the remaining delegates – wildly improbable – she would still exceed the number needed for the nomination. In other words, Clinton’s lead is insurmountable and Democrats have shown – by millions of votes – that they want her as their nominee.

But there is more at stake than mere numbers. The Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has called climate change a “hoax” and said he will tear up the Paris Climate Agreement. He has promised to deport millions of immigrants and ominously suggested that other countries may need the nuclear bomb. He has also pledged to pack the Supreme Court with only those who please the extreme right.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. Our country faces an existential threat from climate change and the spread of nuclear weapons. A new cold war is on the horizon. This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other. The general election has already begun. Hillary Clinton, with her long experience, especially as Secretary of State, has a firm grasp of the issues and will be prepared to lead our country on day one.

Next January, I want to be sure that it is Hillary Clinton who takes the oath of office, not Donald Trump.

With respect,

Jerry Brown

Meanwhile, the last sane man, Paul Krugman, fights on:

This is my fifth presidential campaign as a New York Times columnist, so I’ve watched a lot of election coverage, and I came into this cycle prepared for the worst. Or so I thought.

But I was wrong. So far, election commentary has been even worse than I imagined it would be. It’s not just the focus on the horse race at the expense of substance; much of the horse-race coverage has been bang-your-head-on-the-desk awful, too. I know this isn’t scientific, but based on conversations I’ve had recently, many people — smart people, who read newspapers and try to keep track of events — have been given a fundamentally wrong impression of the current state of play.

And when I say a “wrong impression,” I don’t mean that I disagree with other people’s takes. I mean that people aren’t being properly informed about the basic arithmetic of the situation.

Now, I’m not a political scientist or polling expert, nor do I even try to play one on TV. But I am fairly numerate, and I assiduously follow real experts like The Times’s Nate Cohn. And they’ve taught me some basic rules that I keep seeing violated.

First, at a certain point you have to stop reporting about the race for a party’s nomination as if it’s mainly about narrative and “momentum.” That may be true at an early stage, when candidates are competing for credibility and dollars. Eventually, however, it all becomes a simple, concrete matter of delegate counts.

That’s why Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee; she locked it up over a month ago with her big Mid-Atlantic wins, leaving Bernie Sanders no way to overtake her without gigantic, implausible landslides — winning two-thirds of the vote! — in states with large nonwhite populations, which have supported Mrs. Clinton by huge margins throughout the campaign.

And no, saying that the race is effectively over isn’t somehow aiding a nefarious plot to shut it down by prematurely declaring victory. Nate Silver recently summed it up: “Clinton ‘strategy’ is to persuade more ‘people’ to ‘vote’ for her, hence producing ‘majority’ of ‘delegates.’” You may think those people chose the wrong candidate, but choose her they did.

I feel his pain. I miss Shrillblog.