Why on earth does anyone care what Bernie Sanders thinks about the Democratic Party?
HE IS NOT A DEMOCRAT.
If he were, he'd probably know that many of us are already represented by Democrats who aren't "rigidly" supportive of reproductive rights or gun regulations, but then again, if he were a Democrat, he probably wouldn't have sued the party in the midst of a primary.
To be utterly blunt, Bernie Sanders ran a disorganized, deceptive campaign that was disastrous for the Democratic party. I haven't forgotten the Politico article by Gabriel Benedetti and Edward-Isaac Dovere that detailed Bernie's damaging decisions:
It was the Vermont senator who personally rewrote his campaign manager's shorter statement after the chaos at the Nevada state party convention and blamed the political establishment for inciting the violence.
He was the one who made the choice to go after Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz after his wife read him a transcript of her blasting him on television.
He chose the knife fight over calling Clinton unqualified, which aides blame for pulling the bottom out of any hopes they had of winning in New York and their last real chance of turning a losing primary run around.
And when Jimmy Kimmel's producers asked Sanders' campaign for a question to ask Donald Trump, Sanders himself wrote the one challenging the Republican nominee to a debate.
And let's not forget this gem:
But more than any of them, Sanders is himself filled with resentment, on edge, feeling like he gets no respect — all while holding on in his head to the enticing but remote chance that Clinton may be indicted before the convention.
Bernie Sanders was hoping that Hillary Clinton would be indicted.
This is not a man with the good of the Democratic Party in mind.
Recall that the 2016 primaries were Bernie Sanders' first primary. He's run as an Independent in the House and the Senate, but enjoyed a cozy arrangement with Democrats since 1990. He benefited from the overt intervention of the DCCC against a Democrat in 1996. In fact, I have written previously about the many, many times Bernie Sanders has been happy to have the Democrats genuinely "rig" their process--on his behalf. But when it came to actually running in a contested Democratic primary, he couldn't seem to do it. As I wrote previously:
Maybe an actual Democratic Party primary DOES feel unfair to Sanders. After all, he's never actually had to win one. He's always gotten his name on the D-ticket, effectively, without having to compete.
There's definitely someone in this race who is used to showing up and getting a coronation from the Democrats. Someone who is totally out of their depth when faced with a very liberal opponent who is not taking this for granted. Someone who is acting hugely entitled and freaking out because they actually have to follow the rules of the party whose nomination they want.
And that Someone is not named Hillary Clinton.
To be utterly blunt, Sanders proved that he doesn't understand how a party actually works. He utterly failed to follow the First Rule of Democrat Club: Don't damage your opponent—or the party—so much that it hurts in the general.
Now, to be fair, perhaps in another year without Russian bots and trolls amplifying every bit of Democratic Party drama, and without Wikileaks releasing nothingburger-but-much-hyped emails, it would have been different. But this wasn't that year.
Instead, we had Bernie Sanders, so unaccustomed to being challenged from the left that he thought being pressed on his gun records was an unfair attack, and couldn't handle being called on his sexism:
Since the first debate, Clinton, also without naming Sanders, has pushed back on his assertion there that "all the shouting in the world" would not fix the country's problem with gun violence.
"I've been told to stop shouting about guns," Clinton said at a rally in Virginia on Friday, a line she repeated Saturday during her remarks at the J-J dinner. "Actually I haven't been shouting, but sometimes when a woman talks, some people think it's shouting."
"We'd be very happy to have a straight-out debate on issues that matter to people and confine it to that," [consultant Tad] Devine said. "But if they're going to have a campaign that attacks Bernie on gun safety and implies he engages in sexism, that's unacceptable. We're not going to stand for that. We're not going to sit here and let her attack him. We're going to have to talk about other things if they do that. If they're going to engage in this kind of attack, they need to understand we're not going to stand there and take it."
Welcome to the Democratic primary, Mr. Devine and Mr. Sanders! Where sexist bullshit isn't welcome, and where your liberal cred is not beyond fair dispute, and where pointing out that you are not a Democrat is a fact, not an "attack."
Why would anyone give a Trumppence, let alone Ronpaulbuxx, about the opinion of Bernie Sanders, the man whose campaign improperly accessed proprietary data from a rival campaign and then sued the party in order to avoid the consequences of their actions?
Yeah, that sounds like a guy with the best interests of the Democratic Party at heart. Here's what the staffers did, by the way:
Another person familiar with the investigation also told NBC News that a total of four individuals affiliated with the Sanders campaign appear to have accessed the data, including Uretsky and Deputy National Data Director Russell Drapkin.
A series of documents outlining an audit trail maintained by the database company, obtained and reviewed by NBC News, shows that the four individuals spent a total of about 40 minutes conducting searches of the Clinton data. Those searches included terms that point to Sanders' team gaining access to proprietary lists from more than 10 early voting states of Clinton's likely supporters as well as lists for Sanders backers. That data was saved to personal folders.
It also appears that Drapkin "suppressed" two folders after the database company became aware of the breach.
To be clear: Sanders sued the DNC after it temporarily suspended his campaign's access to a system they had flagrantly misused in order to access data they had no right to.
Am I missing something? We're supposed to think he gives a shit about the party after that?
And let's not forget the role of Sanders and Weaver in keeping the lie alive that leaked emails "proved" some kind of improper bias against Sanders during the primaries—the "rigged" claim. This never made sense if one bothered to look at the dates of the emails. DNC staffers snarked about many things (probably unwisely) but the comments about Sanders same from emails late int he game, after it was clear he couldn't win. Per Eichenwald at Newsweek:
According to a Western European intelligence source, Russian hackers, using a series of go-betweens, transmitted the DNC emails to WikiLeaks with the intent of having them released on the verge of the Democratic Convention in hopes of sowing chaos. And that’s what happened—just a couple of days before Democrats gathered in Philadelphia, the emails came out, and suddenly the media was loaded with stories about trauma in the party. Crews of Russian propagandists—working through an array of Twitter accounts and websites, started spreading the story that the DNC had stolen the election from Sanders. (An analysis provided to Newsweek by independent internet and computer specialists using a series of algorithms show that this kind of propaganda, using the same words, went from Russian disinformation sources to comment sections on more than 200 sites catering to liberals, conservatives, white supremacists, nutritionists and an amazing assortment of other interest groups.) The fact that the dates of the most controversial emails—May 3, May 4, May 5, May 9, May 16, May 17, May 18, May 21—were after it was impossible for Sanders to win was almost never mentioned, and was certainly ignored by the propagandists trying to sell the “primaries were rigged” narrative. (Yes, one of them said something inappropriate about his religious beliefs. So a guy inside the DNC was a jerk; that didn’t change the outcome.) Two other emails—one from April 24 and May 1—were statements of fact. In the first, responding to Sanders saying he would push for a contested convention (even though he would not have the delegates to do so), a DNC official wrote, “So much for a traditional presumptive nominee.” Yeah, no kidding. The second stated that Sanders didn’t know what the DNC’s job actually was—which he didn’t, apparently because he had not ever been a Democrat before his run.
Bottom line: The “scandalous” DNC emails were hacked by people working with the Kremlin, then misrepresented online by Russian propagandists to gullible fools who never checked the dates of the documents. And the media, which in the flurry of breathless stories about the emails would occasionally mention that they were all dated after any rational person knew the nomination was Clinton’s, fed into the misinformation.
And here is Jeff Weaver, breathlessly repeating Russian propaganda about the emails' content:
Weaver said the emails showed misconduct at the highest level of the staff within the party and that he believed there would be more emails leaked, which would "reinforce" that the party had "its fingers on the scale."
"Everybody is disappointed that much of what we felt was happening at the DNC was in fact happening, that you had in this case a clear example of the DNC taking sides and looking to place negative information into the political process.
Apparently, Weaver was upset someone in the DNC called him a liar. I WONDER WHY THEY WOULD DO THAT.
I could go on and on, but the point is: Neither Bernie Sanders nor those most closely associated with him in his campaign really seem to have given a fuck about the Democratic Party, nor put much forethought into how their attacks would weaken the Democratic case in the general. And that goes for Tad Devine, as well—long described as a "Democratic" political consultant. Devine was the one who convinced Bernie to run as a Democrat, but I seriously question why any Democrat would go near him ever again if he was really behind the DNC lawsuit:
The biggest transformation for the campaign started out as a kind of nightmare. Everything changed when staffers woke up the Friday before Christmas to stories about the Democratic National Committee shutting them out of the party voter file after a Sanders staffer had used an opening in the system in an apparent attempt to swipe piles of Clinton campaign information.
The 8 A.M. campaign call started confused and frightened, but Devine and Longabaugh cut everyone off. What they should do, they said, was fight. They wanted to sue. In a smaller follow-up call—Devine and Longabaugh sitting next to each other on a plane about to leave Reagan National for Burlington, Weaver in the campaign office, Sanders and his wife at their home—they agreed
That's the same Tad Devine who, with Paul Manafort, had no problem working for ruthless Ukranaian politician Victor Yanukovich. You know, the guy who tried to kill his rival with dioxin poisoning.
Somehow, I can't be arsed to care about Tad Devine's opinions on the Democratic Party, either.
It's not that the Democratic Party is without flaw. But asking Bernie Sanders what it needs to do to fix itself is asking a guy who inflicted plenty of the damage from which it's now reeling. He and his campaign were the unwitting dupes of Russian propaganda, but they also made up their own damaging myths about the party—that there were too few debates, that it was unfair for his campaign to be held to account for stealing data, that Clinton had done something indictable, etc.
If Bernie Sanders wants to help with the Trump resistance, I welcome that. If the Democrats are willing to work with him, I welcome that too. But I don't welcome the opinions of someone so hostile to the party, and to its base of nonwhite voters, and so unwilling to own the damage he's inflicted.
Over and over, Sanders has made it clear: He does not like or respect the Democratic Party. And he's welcome to that opinion, but it doesn't really qualify him as a good faith advisor on its future.
You want me to care what you say about the Dems, Bernie? Then you can start by joining the party.
P.S. If you want to see a most righteous takedown of Bernie being ready to deal on women's bodily autonomy, but Wall Street not so much, then don't miss Imani Gandy's amazing tweets.