Team Sanders, and Why I'm Not on It

[Content Note: Privilege.]

Yesterday, Bernie Sanders' senior strategist Tad Devine incredibly claimed: "Almost all of Secretary Clinton's delegate lead come from states where she faced little or no competition. Her grasp now on the nomination is almost entirely on the basis of victories in states where Bernie Sanders did not compete."

This is, for the record, a bald-faced lie. Even MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who has been a reliable Sanders supporter and defender, had to admit that Sanders spent more money in the states in which Devine claimed Sanders did not compete.

Devine also said of Clinton: "She has emerged as a weak front-runner."

This, too, is untrue. Clinton is a strong contender, whose supporters, by their own assessments, report higher levels of enthusiasm for their candidate than Sanders supporters.

Then, last night, Sanders surrogate Susan Sarandon appeared on Chris Hayes' MSNBC show, where she explained that she might not be able to bring herself to vote for Clinton, if she gets the nomination, because Sarandon wants a revolution, and "some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in, things will really explode."

When Hayes asked her if that wasn't potentially very dangerous, Sarandon replied: "It's dangerous to think that we can continue the way we are with the militarized police force, with privatized prisons, with the death penalty, with the low minimum wage, threats to women's rights and think you can't do something huge to turn that around."

Just breathtaking privilege, that—for reasons I explained, in part, here.

Meanwhile, presumably many of the same Sanders supporters who were (and continue) harassing Clinton voters are now harassing Clinton superdelegates. A spreadsheet with their names and contact info is being passed around, and a number of superdelegates have reported receiving pressure, harassments, and threats.

There has been an enormous amount of talk among Sanders supporters, surrogates, and staff about the establishment, and superdelegates, and coin tosses, and various conspiracies about why Bernie Sanders isn't winning the Democratic primary.

The truth is, he just hasn't run a very good campaign. His team isn't as effective or decent as they need to be. Sometimes, as yesterday, they lie and say stupid things. A lot of his supporters haven't done him any favors, either.

There's no grand conspiracy, or collection of smaller conspiracies. It's just basic politics.

He hasn't done enough to win.

* * *

A few days ago, I went back and looked at what I wrote when Sanders announced his candidacy.
Senator Bernie Sanders, the only Democratic Socialist serving in the US Senate, says he is considering running for president. Good luck, Bernie Sanders! I would almost definitely vote for you!
That was me, two years ago, when Bernie Sanders announced that he was thinking of running for president.
Senator Bernie Sanders, the only socialist (♥ ♥ ♥) in Congress will reportedly announce tomorrow that he is seeking the Democratic nomination, too. Good on ya, Bernie. I don't think you can win, but I think you can bring some important progressive ideas to the Democratic primary! Please say the word abortion a lot thank you!
That was me, one year ago, the week Bernie Sanders officially threw his hat into the ring.

My vote was his to lose. Despite the fact that I am routinely accused of being in the bag for Clinton, Sanders had a chance—clearly a very good one—to win me over, and he failed.

I've said a few times now, as the campaign goes on, the more I see of him, the less I like him.

People have accused me of being a paid shill for the Clinton campaign, and, perhaps if I were, my increasing displeasure with Sanders' campaign would be more tolerable to his most fervent supporters.

But I'm not. And this is the truth with which they have to reckon: It's not payment from his opposition, nor a reflexive support of Clinton from Day One, nor any other nefarious influence or sinister agenda that has lost Sanders my vote.

It's just that he has simply, straightforwardly failed to win it.

* * *

I am not alone in this conclusion. Many of the Clinton supporters I know were ready to give Sanders a fair shake—in many cases way more than a fair shake. But he didn't deliver.

And I'm not discounting the wide popular support he does have. I get that lots of people like him a lot! It's just that there are, so far, fewer of those people than the people who prefer Hillary Clinton.

That's what a primary is. It's people deciding between candidates. And Sanders isn't losing because of some shady plot. It's really nothing more complicated than this: He's not as popular as Clinton.

Sanders' most conspiratorial supporters can caterwaul all they want that it's because of name recognition or fundraising or party preference or media coverage or whatever the hell else they want it to be, and maybe for some people some of that mattered, but it didn't matter to me. I was open to supporting Sanders. My vote was his to lose.

And he lost it.

Perhaps it's time for some people to consider, quite seriously, that I (and other voters like me) aren't the epic monsters with fat pockets full of Clinton cash they accuse of us being, or "low-information voters" who aren't familiar enough with Sanders, but simply people who made a different choice. For any one of a number of reasons.

And that their candidate isn't actually the messianic figure they assert that he is, but instead just another politician, whose campaign simply hasn't resonated as strongly with as many people as someone else's has.

And that all of that is okay.

I've been accused by Sanders supporters countless times during this primary of not understanding how politics works. I actually do understand how politics works. This is how politics works.

In politics, sometimes your guy loses, because he didn't do what it took to win.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus