Why Democrats Lost

Kenneth Whitley, WPA poster, 1939

I voted for Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama was absolutely right when he said that there was no candidate better qualified to be president than Hillary Clinton. So, why did Democrats lose?

When asked about raising the minimum wage–while Bernie Sanders was calling for a $15.00 an hour minimum wage–Hillary took the politically safe route and said we should pursue “incremental changes.” Holy crap. My head exploded. Talk about poor optics. Talk about being completely out of touch with your base of support. Let’s do another fundraiser with Wall Street bankers in the freaking Hamptons. Can you imagine how that sounded to a single mother trying to feed her kids on a $9.00 an hour job? Incremental change? We don’t need incremental change. We need someone to call 911. We’re dying here.

Hillary Clinton lost one million Democratic and independent women voters in 2016. Imagine that.

So here’s the not-so-secret answer to why Democrats lost in 2016: Bernie Sanders supporters aren’t a radical fringe element. They are the Democratic Party. They are the ideological heirs of FDR, John F. Kennedy and LBJ. They are the same social democrats who created social security, medicaid, passed the civil rights acts, and protested the unnecessary wars and the military-industrial complex. They didn’t abandon the Democratic Party. They were abandoned by the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party has strived to become more conservative and politically safe. And in doing so has become politically irrelevant.

The Democrats’ Davos ideology won’t win back the midwest

The party has harmed millions of their own former constituents. If they change course, they can reverse their losses

‘The wreckage that you see every day as you tour this part of the country is the utterly predictable fruit of the Democratic party’s neoliberal turn.’ Photograph: Barry Lewis/Corbis via Getty Images

By Thomas Frank

The tragedy of the 2016 election is connected closely, at least for me, to the larger tragedy of the industrial midwest. It was in the ruined industrial city of Cleveland that the Republican Party came together in convention last July, and it was the deindustrialized, addiction-harrowed precincts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin that switched sides in November and delivered Donald Trump to the Oval Office.

I am a midwesterner too, and I like to think I share the values and outlook of that part of the country. I have spent many of the last 15 years trying to understand my region’s gradual drift to the political right. And I have spent the last three weeks driving around the deindustrialized midwest, visiting 13 different cities to talk about the appeal of Donald Trump and what ails the Democratic Party. I met labor leaders and progressive politicians; average people and rank-and-file union members; senior citizens and Millennials; sages and cranks.

And what I am here to say is that the midwest is not an exotic place. It isn’t a benighted region of unknowable people and mysterious urges. It isn’t backward or hopelessly superstitious or hostile to learning. It is solid, familiar, ordinary America, and Democrats can have no excuse for not seeing the wave of heartland rage that swamped them last November.

The wreckage that you see every day as you tour this part of the country is the utterly predictable fruit of the Democratic party’s neoliberal turn. Every time our liberal leaders signed off on some lousy trade deal, figuring that working-class people had “nowhere else to go,” they were making what happened last November a little more likely.

What we need is for the Democratic party and its media enablers to alter course. It’s not enough to hear people’s voices and feel their pain; the party actually needs to change. They need to understand that the enlightened Davos ideology they have embraced over the years has done material harm to millions of their own former constituents. The Democrats need to offer something different next time. And then they need to deliver.

The Guardian

Majority of Democrats Want Sanders to Stay in Race

From “Vast Majority of Democrats Want Sanders to Stay in Race: Poll”

Despite pressure from party establishment on Sanders to drop out of the race, most Democratic voters want the senator to keep running

A cheering crowd greeted Sanders at a Pennsylvania rally in April. (Photo: Penn State/flickr/cc)
A cheering crowd greeted Sanders at a Pennsylvania rally in April. (Photo: Penn State/flickr/cc)

By Nika Knight

A new poll released Wednesday found that a majority of registered Democrats want presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders to stay in the race.

The national survey of 2,001 voters by Morning Consult found that 57 percent of all Democrats polled want Sanders to keep running, while 33 percent want him to drop out. Ten percent have no opinion.

The findings contradict the pressure from prominent Democratic politicians and centrist pundits on Sanders to drop out of the presidential race—some of whom even argue that he’s already lost—despite the fact that several states (including delegate-rich California) and U.S. territories have yet to hold their primaries. (Polls also show Sanders and Clinton in a dead heat in California, which votes on June 7.)

Common Dreams

The New York Times’s (and Clinton Campaign’s) Abject Cowardice on Israel

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010. Clinton said the "time is ripe" for Mideast peace, but that without face-to-face talks Israel can't expect lasting security and the Palestinians can't create an independent state. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010. Clinton said the “time is ripe” for Mideast peace, but that without face-to-face talks Israel can’t expect lasting security and the Palestinians can’t create an independent state. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)

By Glenn Greenwald

In January, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon delivered a speech to the Security Council about, as he put it, violence “in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory,” noting that “Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation” and that “it is human nature to react to occupation.” His use of the word “occupation” was not remotely controversial because multiple U.N. Security Resolutions, such as 446 (adopted unanimously in 1979 with 3 abstentions), have long declared Israel the illegal “occupying power” in the West Bank and Gaza. Unsurprisingly, newspapers around the world – such as the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, the BBC, the LA Times – routinely and flatly describe Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza in their news articles as what it is: an occupation.

In fact, essentially the entire world recognizes the reality of Israeli occupation with the exception of a tiny sliver of extremists in Israel and the U.S. That’s why Chris Christie had to grovel in apology to GOP billionaire and Israel-devoted fanatic Sheldon Adelson when the New Jersey Governor neutrally described having seen the “occupied territories” during a trip he took to Israel. But other than among those zealots, the word is simply a fact, used without controversy under the mandates of international law, the institutions that apply it, and governments on every continent on the planet.

But not the New York Times. They are afraid to use the word. In a NYT article today by Jason Horowitz and Maggie Haberman on the imminent conflict over Israel and Palestine between Sanders-appointed and Clinton-appointed members of the Democratic Party Platform Committee, this grotesque use of scare quotes appears:

A bitter divide over the Middle East could threaten Democratic Party unity as representatives of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont vowed to upend what they see as the party’s lopsided support of Israel.

Two of the senator’s appointees to the party’s platform drafting committee, Cornel West and James Zogby, on Wednesday denounced Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza and said they believed that rank-and-file Democrats no longer hewed to the party’s staunch support of the Israeli government. They said they would try to get their views incorporated into the platform, the party’s statement of core beliefs, at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

The cowardice of the NYT regarding Israel is matched only by the Clinton campaign’s. Clinton has repeatedly vowed to move the U.S. closer not only to Israel but also to its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Pandering to Israel – vowing blind support for its government – is a vile centerpiece of her campaign.

The Intercept

Bernie Sanders Declares War

“Bernie Sanders just declared war on the Democratic establishment”

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders Photo credit: Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders
Photo credit: Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post

By Chris Cillizza

If you want to make a politician really, really angry, endorse their primary opponent. That’s exactly what Bernie Sanders did Saturday to Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

“Clearly, I favor her opponent,” Sanders said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper set to air today. “His views are much closer to mine than as to Wasserman Schultz’s. Let me also say this, in all due respect to the current chairperson: If [I am] elected president, she would not be reappointed chairwoman of the DNC.”

That puts Sanders on the side of Tim Canova, a former Capitol Hill staffer who has enjoyed considerable fundraising success — he’s raised more than $1 million — thanks to an anti-establishment message in his primary challenge to Wasserman Schultz.

And it ensures that the nastiness between Sanders and his supporters and Wasserman Schultz and the mainstream Democrats she represents will now surge into a full-blown battle.

You can be certain that Wasserman Schultz has spent the past 12 hours making sure that every one of her colleagues is aware of what Sanders has done. If he is willing to do this to me, don’t fool yourself into thinking he won’t do it to you too, she’ll argue. Yes, that’s a fundraising ploy. But, it also speaks to the very real threat that a free radical like Sanders presents to the established order.

That’s exactly how Sanders likes it. His brand is shaking up the establishment — just as he has done in the presidential race against Hillary Clinton. His supporters will love that he is willing to put some political capital on the line against Wasserman Schultz, who many of them believe is rigging the race for Clinton behind the scenes.

The Washington Post

The Case for Bernie Sanders Running as an Independent, If Clinton Is the Nominee

Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders Holds Election Night Event
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event in Huntington, West Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Sanders’ single win in Rhode Island out of the five contests held on Tuesday puts his opponent Hillary Clinton on the brink of the Democratic presidential nomination. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images

By H.A. Goodman

For the record, I still believe Bernie Sanders will become president, especially since the FBI is conducting a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and server. According to The Daily Banter recently, “She almost certainly isn’t going to be indicted.” This is about as reassuring as phrases like “It’s highly unlikely you won’t die from this medication,” and “Don’t worry, the brakes on your car have an 85% chance of working.” In reality, what loyal supporters of Hillary Clinton fail to realize is that even best case scenarios (she doesn’t get indicted, but the FBI confirms Obama’s assertion that she was “careless”), will only hurt Clinton’s already low national favorability ratings. Six months before Election Day, she’s not far from Trump in terms of negative favorability ratings, and in some polls, Trump is seen as more trustworthy.

If the Democratic Party blatantly ignores the values and beliefs of millions, and then risks a mutiny from an independent campaign because of this hubris, then it’s the DNC that must acquiesce; not the voters against Clinton’s neoconservative appeal, or ties to Wall Street.

If you’re a Hillary supporter and fear the repercussions of a Trump presidency if Bernie runs as an independent, then switch to Bernie if he runs an independent campaign. This way, you’ll ensure that your candidate isn’t at risk of an ongoing FBI investigation, and you’ll ensure (since Bernie Sanders defeats Trump by a wider margin), that Trump will be defeated. Refusing to support Bernie’s independent run, would also be admitting that you don’t truly fear a Trump presidency; you just want to instill that fear into others.

From war to Wall Street, and flip flops on everything from the TPP to Keystone XL, a great many Bernie supporters will never support Clinton. On a national stage, Clinton has negative favorability ratings in every single national poll. Beyond the confines of the Democratic establishment, it’s a different ballgame. The DNC can’t limit debates with Trump, and believe me, Trump won’t watch his tone.

No, America isn’t a closed Democratic Primary.

Also, Sanders would easily beat Trump at his own game. Independent voters are the biggest partisan group in the United States, with around 43% of American voters identifying politically as independent.

With around 43% of American voters independent, 44.7% of independents favor Bernie Sanders, while 25.9% choose Trump, and only 8.6% side with Hillary Clinton.

The Huffington Post

Big Union Leaders Betray Sanders and Workers

 Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders waves as he marches with supporters in the Labor Day parade. (Photo: AP/Jim Cole)
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders waves as he marches with supporters in the Labor Day parade. (Photo: AP/Jim Cole)

By Ralph Nader

Around a conference table inside the large Washington headquarters of the AFL-CIO, a furious exchange occurred between labor union presidents. It was late February and up for decision by the Executive Council was whether the country’s principal labor federation was going to make a primary season endorsement of Hillary Clinton as favored by the leaders of the largest unions.

According to insiders, tempers flared when smaller unions challenged the Hillary-endorsing big unions such as AFSCME (public employees), the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the Service Employees (SEIU) and the Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). These large unions came out for Clinton in late 2015 and early 2016 before they sensed the growing rank and file workers’ preference for the lifetime advocate for workers and union backer, Bernie Sanders.

Listening to the nurses union head speak out for Sanders’ strong pro-labor history, Lee Saunders, president of AFSCME, interrupted her, exclaiming: “I will not allow you to do a commercial for Sanders.” She retorted, “You mean for the only candidate who has a 100% labor record?”

A union leader of postal workers charged the unions backing Hillary as being “completely out of touch with their workers.” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka then cut off their microphones.

All over the country, the observation by the postal workers’ leader rings true. Even as Lee Saunders read the names of the Democratic presidential contenders at a large Washington state AFSCME membership meeting last October, “only Sanders’ name brought loud, sustained applause,” according to Bloomberg News.

Few union leaders allow a worker referendum to make the endorsement decisions. The 700,000-member Communications Workers of America (CWA) does, and the result was a “decisive endorsement of Sanders,” reported Rafael Navar, the union’s political director. Whether it is the level of enthusiasm, campaigning to get out the vote or talking up their candidate’s record on such issues as minimum wage increases, abolition of public university and college tuition, full Medicare for all (single payer system) and credibility in standing up to Wall Street, Hillary’s votes and statements do not come close to respecting the working families of America compared to Bernie’s consistent 30-year record.

Common Dreams

Bernie Sanders Will Make the Economy Great Again

Liberal critics like Paul Krugman argue that Sanders’s economic platform is unrealistic. They are dead wrong.

 Bernie Sanders attends a rally in Upper Senate Park with striking workers to call for a minimum wage of $15 per hour, November 10, 2015. (Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
 Bernie Sanders attends a rally in Upper Senate Park with striking workers to call for a minimum wage of $15 per hour, November 10, 2015. (Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

By Robert Pollin

Does Bernie Sanders’s economic program amount to pie-in-the-sky nonsense? The short answer is no. All of his major proposals are grounded in solid economic reasoning and evidence.

But that hasn’t stopped a major swath of leading liberal economists and commentators to insist otherwise. Paul Krugman has led these attacks from his New York Times perch, charging repeatedly that Sanders makes “outlandish economic claims,” embraces “deep voodoo” economics, is “not ready for prime time,” and so forth. A recent Washington Post article by columnist Steven Pearlstein cites several other liberal economists criticizing Sanders’s support for Scandinavian-style social democratic policies, concluding that his program “promises all the good parts of the Scandinavian model without any of the bad parts.”

Sanders’s economic agenda certainly represents a dramatic departure from what has come out of mainstream Democratic Party circles for a generation, to say nothing, of course, of the Republicans. The key elements of Sanders’s program include a “Medicare-for-all” single-payer healthcare system; an increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour; free tuition at public colleges and universities, to be financed by taxing Wall Street transactions; opposition to trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that have weakened the wage-bargaining power of US workers; large-scale public investments to build a clean-energy economy and rebuild the crumbling US infrastructure; and strong Wall Street regulations to promote productive investments and job creation over casino capitalism.

By contrast, the Democratic Party under Bill Clinton embraced an only moderately less aggressive pro-business agenda than the Republicans. Clintonomics featured Wall Street deregulation, NAFTA, and only tepid support for policies benefitting working people and the poor. This is how, over the full eight years of the Clinton presidency, average wages ended up being 2 percent lower than the average under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and nearly 10 percent less than under Jimmy Carter’s “years of malaise.”

The Nation

Why Mainstream Media Marginalizes Bernie Sanders

Robert Reich: Here’s why mainstream media marginalizes Bernie Sanders

Robert_Reich
Former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich

“Bernie did well last weekend but he can’t possibly win the nomination,” a friend told me for what seemed like the thousandth time, attaching an article from the Washington Post that shows how far behind Bernie remains in delegates.

Wait a minute. Last Tuesday, Sanders won 78 percent of the vote in Idaho and 79 percent in Utah. This past Saturday, he took 82 percent of the vote in Alaska, 73 percent in Washington, and 70 percent in Hawaii.

In fact, since mid-March, Bernie has won six out of the seven Democratic primary contests with an average margin of victory of 40 points. Those victories have given him roughly a one hundred additional pledged delegates.

As of now, Hillary Clinton has 54.9 percent of the pledged delegates to Bernie Sanders’s 45.1 percent.That’s still a sizable gap – but it doesn’t make Bernie Sanders’s candidacy an impossibility.

Moreover, there are 22 states to go with nearly 45 percent of pledged delegates still up for grabs – and Sanders has positive momentum in almost all of them.

Hillary Clinton’s lead in superdelegates may vanish if Bernie gains a majority of pledged delegates.

Bernie is outpacing Hillary Clinton in fundraising. In March, he raised $39 million. In February, he raised $42 million (from 1.4 million contributions, averaging $30 each), compared to Hillary Clinton’s $30 million. In January he raised $20 million to her $15 million.

By any measure, the enthusiasm for Bernie is huge and keeps growing. He’s packing stadiums, young people are flocking to volunteer, support is rising among the middle-aged and boomers.

The 4 Things You Need to Know About Bernie Sanders’ Historic Comeback

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a rally Friday, March 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a rally Friday, March 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

By Seth Abramson

Bernie Sanders will win more pledged delegates than Hillary Clinton in the second half of the Democratic nominating season.

In fact, he’ll almost certainly win more pledged delegates than Clinton in the final three and a half months of the primary season.

And virtually without question, he’ll win more states than Clinton in these final three and a half months — it’s just a matter of how many more.

He’ll also close out the primary season, it appears, beating Donald Trump by as much or (more often) substantially more than Clinton in nearly every national and battle-ground state poll taken.

Yet none of it is a surprise, even in the context of a race the media told us was essentially over a month ago.

In fact, everything that’s happening now in the Clinton-Sanders race was predicted, long ago, by either Sanders himself or the hard data of this election season. Moreover, none of what’s happening is a surprise to the politicos on the Clinton side, either; that’s one reason they’re working overtime to control and then shift the narrative from the inevitability of a major Sanders comeback. While it’s still up in the air whether that comeback will be total or near-total, only by manipulating the narrative can the Clinton campaign keep Sanders at bay.

And that’s why understanding that what’s happening now is no more or less than what was readily predictable a year ago is crucial to understanding the current state of the Democratic primary race. This means unpacking not just the Clinton camp’s transparent attempts to skew the media narrative, but also, and more importantly, the hard data behind a comeback that could end up being every bit as historic as Sanders supporters are now suggesting it will be.

The Huffington Post