No one’s keeping anyone out of the Democratic party.

From a Candidate of with a Very Little Brain

From a Candidate of Very Little Brains

Bernie Sanders is officially cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.  After a number of his supporters in Nevada behaved very aggressively at the Democratic convention in that state over the weekend, throwing chairs, screaming at party leaders, and leaving vile and harassing voice mails for party officials, he says this today:

 

The Democratic Party has a choice. It can open its doors and welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change – people who are willing to take on Wall Street, corporate greed and a fossil fuel industry which is destroying this planet. Or the party can choose to maintain its status quo structure, remain dependent on big-money campaign contributions and be a party with limited participation and limited energy.

Nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands.

I think he meant to say low energy there, don’t you?  In other words, “nice party you’ve got here.  Shame if anything happened to it!”

It’s not just the BernieBros.  As Benjamin Franklin once said, fish rot from the head.

Politics ain’t beanbag, and all that, but seriously:  who’s keeping anyone out of the party?   It’s hardly exclusive:  All you have to do is register as a Democrat!  No one is keeping anyone out–all they have to do is check a box on their voter registration form.

Sadly, checking this box doesn’t mean you’ll win every election!  Sometimes you lose.  Sanders needs to let his supporters know that losing an election doesn’t make it unfair, undemocratic, or “rigged.”  It just means that you lost.

19 thoughts on “No one’s keeping anyone out of the Democratic party.

  1. Yeah, this is nuts. I was just reading about this in the NYT, and thinking, “why not welcome these spirited new voters by giving each of them two votes? And the pre-amnestied right to throw one chair per event per state in each election cycle for the next four years?” Look, I went through this agony with Eugene McCarthy. It’s tough to crusade and run out of gas. You don’t have to be a good sport. But the irony of the guy who tends to win in caucus states, where “win” has nothing to do with, you know, actual votes, but is rather predicated on a variety of arcane algorithms, complaining about the rule-making… It’s not surprising that the chairs go aloft when somebody who you haven’t been sleeping with manages the algorithms. And chairs are nothing compared to three texts a minute about knowing where your kids are, wishing you a good journey on the way to hell, etc. As the paper noted, the Dems are hoping that what happened in Nevada stays in Nevada. I hope so too.

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    • I agree that the big money in politics is troubling; however, Sanders has raised and spent more than Clinton has. His candidacy has been propelled by small donations, but he’s spent every dime and more. I think we need public financing and a time-limit on campaigns; these two-year campaigns are just exhausting and ridiculous. We should be like France or Britain–6 weeks (or whatever it is), then vote.

      I disagree that primaries should be open to non-party members. It’s so easy to join a political party–if you want to have a voice in who that party nominates, just register in time and check a damn box. Open primaries are way too open to mischief from people who are either of the other party persuasion, or who are otherwise not very committed to the party whose primary they’re voting in.

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      • Small donations, by and large, fall under any reporting radar. Anyone could be contributing to the Sanders campaign — the Trump campaign, the RNC. All you need are cooperative front people. Or you take the odds that no one in charge of campaign oversight can possibly monitor all small donors.

        You’re right about the mischief potential of open primaries. Here in Michigan, there’s an “honored” tradition of using them to screw the other party. Given that, it wouldn’t surprise me if Sanders’ narrow victory here was the result of some calculated crossover voting. Either weaken the likely candidate, or even upset that candidate in favor of someone you deem easier to beat.

        I know that at the moment polls indicate Sanders would do better than Clinton against Trump. But Sanders has actually benefited from light media scrutiny. Should he manage to be the nominee, the Republicans won’t pull punches like the Clinton campaign has. Sanders’ defensive reaction to that mild criticism doesn’t bode well for his candidacy in the general election.

        I like a lot of Sanders’ stated agenda. It’s Sanders I don’t have faith in to implement it. Or to stand firm for any issues specific to women.

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      • As for campaign finance, of the two Dem candidates for the nomination, only ONE of them has received 2 FEC letters, neither of which have been responded to as of yet (Sanders’ campaign requested and was granted extensions):
        http://www.politicususa.com/2016/05/20/obscene-calls-bernie-sanders-fec-troubles.html

        As a life-long Dem, I agree with our host; I am against open primaries. I think committed party members – of ANY party! – are rightfully the people who ought to select their nominee. It’s not “unfair” that Dem members solidly prefer a nominee that has been a party member for 35 years, who has real fundraising chops, who has supported down-ticket races her entire career, and who embraces the party platform *at the same time* as wanting to move that platform to the left in key areas.

        Perhaps Clinton’s leftist priorities are not yours. They are mine, and are of increasing relevance, given the GOPs march to the far right on issues of gender & identity equality, reproductive rights, and the social safety net. That Sanders’ priorities do not resonate with the larger Dem-voter demographics OUGHT to be a message that HE is the one who maybe needs to shift positions in more progressive directions. However, he appears to have no such intentions nor to have heeded the feedback from the people he proposes to represent on the national level.

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  2. Now the Bros. are coming to Philly, and folding chair futures are going through the roof around here. How is this not being a running dog for Trump? Who is the system “rigged” for when one candidate wins decisively on a one-night basis, and then tens of thousands of people who actually have things to do go on and do those other things, while hardcore zealots stay around for seventeen more rounds to try to chip away at the lead? The whole caucus model is a perfect system for disempowering majorities, slathered under a romanticized rhetoric of participant democracy.

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  3. At church you watch you washes the coffee pots and puts away the chairs. They may not have titles, but they are respected and powerful. (And really, when people who have been washing coffee pots and putting away chairs for years want to set rules for how you get to go to the big blow-out they hold every four years, why shouldn’t they.) So if you want a revolution, you can’t just show up at the big moment, you have to do a lot of scut work first. HINT: The revolution will not come from an inspiring leader, unless its a fascist revolution. It comes from building networks at the grassroots. That involves talking to people who don’t agree with you all the way, or don’t agree with you at all, and setting up chairs, and washing coffee pots. And folks, the right has been doing this for years.

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    • What I’m reading now about the Sanders campaign (after the meltdown in Nevada last weekend, in which something like 300 of his delegates failed to show up, and some others were disqualified) is that they spent their money on massive rallies rather than on the local and micropolitics of organizing and knowing the rules.

      Pitching a fit because your delegates slept in rather than show up at the state convention is a rookie move! Like you say Susan, setting up and putting away the chairs and washing out the coffee pots are a crucial part of political organizing. They’re not fun and exciting like going to a big rally where a popular band will play, but it’s work, and that’s why it’s more effective at getting out the votes when and where they count.

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    • Did Professor Susan mean to say Marxist or Fascist? We shouldn’t be denying Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Che or Pol Pot their share.
      Regards — Cliff

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  4. Hmmm, interesting point about putting away the chairs and washing coffee pots.

    I would take a gander to say that there might also be gendered elements to these activities. I know that Sanders’ highest-paid top 10 campaign staffers are all men, so I wonder if there has been some devaluing going on of these “lesser” female-coded organizing activities. In my experiences with community organizing, the people who show up to do or watch the big dramatic activities (give the speech! be the cool guy on the news!) are not always, heck not even often, the same people who show up to do the less spotlighty things that are nonetheless crucial to building trust and community.

    There also seems to be a lot of ego involved in the Sanders campaign, almost as though the “not me, us’ slogan is a bit, shall we say, protesting too much. Like, he can’t stand that he’s losing (and to a woman!) so he has to constantly claim that the whole entire process is rigged against him. I’m just not sure what he expects, at this point – being about 3 million votes behind Clinton. A coronation, maybe?

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    • Great points, Fannie. If most caucuses (cauci?) are anything like the ones I’ve seen in Weld Co., Colorado, they’re all run by women. The male pols occasionally swan in to give a speech, but the people who show up with the computers and the clipboards and who run each precinct meeting have all been women. (Same goes for most election volunteers and poll watchers too, although I’ve been voting by mail now for 5-6 years so my experience with that has been limited as of late.)

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      • On the gendered bit of politics: a good friend of mine is running for the state legislature. His wife, who works full time, making, I believe, more money than he does, is helping to run the campaign events. Their large group of friends is virtually all highly-educated professionals and academics, a very self-consciously egalitarian and liberal group. But at the big campaign event every single person running and working at the welcome tables, the kitchen, etc., was a woman. (Well, maybe a couple men did some chair-moving at the end.) I do know that there are men doing canvassing with him, and there’s been a lot of that. And of course I chose to do the event stuff rather than canvassing – it’s not as if he’s pushed me into that role because I’m a woman! But I thought this was interesting.

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      • I’ve also been noticing how much of the Sanders’ campaigns animosity at Democratic officials has been aimed at women Democrats in particular. Clinton herself, Madeleine Albright, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Roberta Lange — all seem to be taking the brunt of the campaign’s anger, some of it in explicitly gendered terms. Would Howard Dean have been doxxed, called a c*unt, or had his grandchildren threatened if he was in charge today? Just as it’s difficult to parse out how much Obama hatred is due to him being a black man and how much is due simply to his being a Democrat, it’s hard to separate out here how much of a role misogyny plays and how much is honest criticism.

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  5. A big shout-out to the new “presumptive nominee” (maybe the year’s most interesting contribution to American political vocabulary) on the Democrat side! There will now officially be at least one candidate who is not certifiably crazy. Not to take the edge off the contests tomorrow. New Jersey gets bumped aside a notch on the contributions side, but California is always a fun scrimmage. Philadelphia is open for business. Is it really almost “next month” already?

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