Sanders Missed His Moment By Not Endorsing Hillary Last Week

18 Jun 2016

Clinton On Message; Sanders Under Pressure

On June 7th, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made history, becoming the first woman to be named presumptive nominee of a major political Party. Clinton won her Democratic primary battle against Bernie Sanders resoundingly, besting him by 387 pledged delegated and almost 4 million votes. Senator Sanders ran a strong campaign and for that, he should be proud. Yet his decision to break his promise “not to go negative,” besmirching Hillary’s character and record, coupled with a bewildering choice to call her “unqualified” in New York, where she had been a very popular two-term Senator, precipitated his demise.  Instead of conceding obvious defeat, however, Sanders vowed to fight on, not yet endorsing Clinton.  One assumes he thinks this will increase his leverage at the Democratic Convention, though day by day, it is apparent the opposite is true.

Clinton has the endorsement of 42 Democratic Senators. Sanders has 1 – well he had one.  Even his lone Senate endorsement, OR Senator Jeff Merkley, has switched to Hillary, as have the most powerful of his few House endorsements (AZ Rep. Grijalva).  Sanders has been in Congress almost 30 years. As an established part of the government fabric, he knows how this works.  Clinton’s was not a narrow victory. Sanders, an Independent, used the Democratic Party apparatus to gain money and publicity for his campaign, which is fine, but as such, he knew the rules.

Far from conceding, Sanders is now making a bucket of demands of the DNC and Hillary’s platform, as if to hold his endorsement hostage.  When even powerful allies like MoveOn.Org are urging him to smell reality, he risks appearing both the spoiler and exactly what former Congressman Barney Frank (of Dodd-Frank) called him – a self-righteous, cantankerous “know it all” who will take his marbles and go home if he doesn’t get everything he wants; someone who alienates his own natural allies.

Perhaps it’s a good thing the Primary season is unmercifully long, because character emerges under the glare of the hot lights.  Hillary Clinton, despite once again enduring the most negative press coverage on record, ran an effective, classy campaign. Apart from calling Sanders out for his troubling record on gun control and the vagueness of his economic proposals, she saved most of her ammunition for Republican demagogue Donald Trump. In fact, she more or less moved on from Sanders months ago when it became obvious that his winning would be mathematically impossible. However, Sanders current behavior is making the case for why his colleagues were loath to endorse him in the first place.

Barbra Streisand, among many others, tweeted this graphic, aptly summing up the situation:

Sanders Missed His Moment By Not Endorsing Hillary Last Week

Imagine if their roles were reversed and Hillary “dared” to behave this way. She would be hung in effigy on every street corner, and excoriated by the beltway press.  Sanders on the other hand is being coddled, with his more powerful supporters “gently” urging him from the stage. I know the better part of wisdom is for me to ignore his conduct and let him take as much time as he needs to “land the plane” as one commentator put it. But I find it offensive that once again the woman, the winner, is told to make concessions to the loser, a man, in the what…vague hopes that he sort of won’t notice that he lost?

In 2008, in a much, much closer contest with then-Senator Obama, then-Senator Hillary Clinton and her supporters were told to sit down, shut up and “get over it.”  No coddling was done of her and no demands were made by her.

What is also unfortunate is that Senator Sanders is harming his legacy; diminishing his moment in the sun. He could have been a hero, making a magnanimous speech discussing how rhetoric naturally gets heated in battle, but at the end of the day, Hillary’s record and guts make clear she is the better leader. Had he endorsed her and urged his supporters to unite behind her to defeat Trump, Sanders would have marched into the Convention as an endearing figure, capable of a generosity not before evidenced by his long tenure.  Instead it is looking like he is insisting on nursing his drink well after last call when the lights at the bar have been turned out.

Sanders will soon discover that 85% of his supporters will follow Hillary and the remaining diehards are likely those who would never have voted for her in the first place.

Those urging coddling or hand holding of Senator Sanders, while well-meaning, are participating in a sexist double standard wherein we look askance at the woman pursuing power and are somehow terrified to take it away from the man. If women are expected to put on their big panties to sit at the big table, then no man should get away with less adult behavior.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Once again the Clintonites cannot understand, or will not understand, that this is more than an election. If Sanders endorsed Hillary, it would mortally wound the movement – yes movement – that he has inspired. It would be politics as ususal, like Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Repugnant. The young and not-so- young members of the Sanders campaign are on a mission to reform the government and the politics at the party level that create a government. In the minds of most Sanders supporters both are corrupt, decaying institutions. They no longer meet the needs of the nation’s people and must be reformed or replaced.
    So, if Hillary is waiting for an endorsement, it will have to wait…

    • Yes. Bernie just like Jill Stein of the Green Party just simply has zero interest in having a great legacy as a loyal humble realistic Democrat. Shocking but true. Odd thing on the right Donald Trump is an equally horrible Republican and the Republican establishment will wait a long time for idiot Trump to tap dance to the RNC band. Bernie simply will not do the DNC dance as all good Democrat “losers ” are obligated by tradition and every possible standard of loyalty or reason in DNC land. It really is a different kind of year but a bit of a mirror opposite reflection on left to right. Somehow I think we know Bernie the Independent who was in the Democratic caucus and who calls himself a Democratic Socialist not a Democrat just might March to a different drummer but look at the record. He always has. It is what it is.

    • And what movement would that be? The movement that he was absent from last week when democrats got real reform? Or the movement where he asks for 27 more dollars? Or is it the movement of irony, where he helps elect a real CEO named trump to possibly confirm 4 Supreme Court justices that will appeal all the progressive gains we have gotten over the last 8 years?

    • elizabeth Says: June 21, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      if that is the CASE.. then he should have run as an INDEPENDENT.. BY RUNNING UNDER THE DEM BANNER.. he must KNOW and FOLLOW THE RULES OF GAMESMANSHIP.. he cannot have it both ways..
      I’m so sick and fed up w ith such selfoish self serving rubbish of bloody excuses.. nothing more

  2. First time in a very very long time I agree with Barney Frank. I remember Bernie from way back and even met him once in the early 80s when he was mayor of Burlington. His post Hillary win behavior doesn’t surprise me because he doesn’t really understand how to gauge and truly comprehend what the voters really want. He was a boutique type of Congressman, not presidential material. Hillary fought a hell of a battle overcoming negativity, some of which I understand and agreed with. However, in the end and despite it all, she is the best we have for sure.

    Anita, you have been an unyielding supporter. I sure hope Hillary knows what an intellectual commentator you have been for her, standing up on the written podium fighting a battle towards this moment when many were attacking her with machetes of truth and not and,most horrifically, personally. You should be seated at the “head table” when she wins.

  3. George Blake Says: June 19, 2016 at 11:05 am

    My initial interest in Hillary is related to watching Election with Reese Witherspoon. Both the character and the real life presidential candidate are rightfully ambitious, well thought, well presented and…hated. But I’ve never been one to root for the underdog, and I have not with HRC. Your article speaks for the many of us who have well balanced views of HRC and the sexism no one wants to acknowledge. If this were an alternate but parallel situation with Pres. Obama as the presumptive and HRC demanding to take her toys and go home, the backlash would be horrendous. Still, I don’t root for the underdog, even in that situation. Everyone knows what they signed up for, and she has made strides. The lack of reporting on her incredibly successful campaign is a weird mix of misogyny, overexposure, and media bias. It seems to be turning, but I want the true journalists to stand up and say what it is we all see, but don’t like to say. Thank you for being so insightful, fair-minded and pleasant.

    • Thanks, George, for your thoughtful comment. Harvard just did a study about the horrid biased coverage she has received in 2016. I myself wrote a book about the disgusting coverage she got a 2008. A shame how little has changed.

  4. Tara Browne Says: June 19, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Anita, you should stick to what you know, which is plainly not the hearts and minds of progressive and independent voters. This article is completely misses the point of Bernie’s campaign, which is to inspire the reclamation of our democracy, whether he wins the Oval Office or not.

    • Bernie is not reclaiming anything. He wants to take our country to a place that has failed miserably – see Greece, Spain and other socialistic countries. Wonderful places to visit but I wouldn’t want to live under their financial mess as a result of “free” services for all.

      • Hoosiermamma Says: June 19, 2016 at 5:40 pm

        Bernie bashers usually point to Venezuela as the cautionary example of socialism, so I guess Spain and Greece are an improvement.

        But I do have to wonder why you don’t mention successful democratic socialist countries such as Norway – with its large middle class, low income inequality, excellent education, healthcare, longevity, excellent business environment, etc. Or Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Germany, France, or the UK, also successful societies with more or less socialist governments.

        All of those countries score higher than the US in many important aspects of life.

        We beat them re: how much we spend on healthcare, total gun deaths and per capita gun deaths,and our outlay for our military. We also have more children living in poverty than any of those countries.

        I think it’s a shame that you have discounted Bernie’s campaign and the ideas that he championed, because 12 million of us (and counting) believe that the greatest, richest country on earth should do a better job of taking care of ALL of its citizens than it does. That was Bernie’s message, and the second President Clinton would do well to heed it.

        • The Swedes pay the majority of their income in taxes for services.
          Swedish tax rates (2013)
          Local taxes in Sweden range from 28.89 per cent (Vellinge municipality) to 34.32 per cent (Hofors municipality).

          National income taxes
          None on income up to SEK 413,200
          20 per cent on 413,201 to 591,600
          25 per cent on income over 591,600

          Income from capital
          30 per cent (state tax)

          Corporate income tax
          22 per cent

          Inheritance tax was abolished in 2005.

          Sources (links in Swedish): Swedish Statistics Bureau Swedish Tax Agent

          To note, people seem happy with that. Our government can’t get TSA right, our Veterans are deprived of quality care, we spend far more then the money we have, etc, etc, etc. Glad a man who never held a job beyond being a politician lost.

          • Forgot to mention, the value add taxes Swedes pay too. Little left after all of that, but everyone is happy to let government care for them like a kid counting on its parents until they run out of money and need more.

    • Bernie doesn’t have to stop his movement to endorse and congratulate Hillary for her hard fought win.

      Bernie supporters should follow him by getting elected and making change from within.

  5. Kathleen Wynne Says: June 23, 2016 at 9:10 am

    What I find impossible to accept with the Bernie supporters is that they believe they and only they want real change. If you support Hillary, you are a sell out. FYI, Bernie supporters, we Hillary supporters want the same change. We recognize that this kind of change won’t happen over night. Achieving it incrementally is better than achieving nothing at all. Such arrogance, as shown by Bernie and his supporters, is a totally selfish viewpoint. No change ever happens in a vacuum and screaming at the top of your lungs about everything which is wrong with the system and making demands that everybody simply lay down and do what you say is what a spoiled child does when they don’t get their way. No revolution occurred in an election cycle or ever will and Bernie has had 30 years of being part of the very establishment he claims to be against and has not achieved one thing during that long time while feeding off the establishment teat! Why didn’t he use that time wisely (as Hillary has in a lot less time) by building coalitions and consensus with those who would join him and help achieve the change he so wants to see in our government? He basically wasted 30 years and on the taxpayers’ dime and the best he could come up with in making a stand for these changes his mantra “it’s my way or the highway”….

    It takes hard work, focus and a willingness to study the problems we face and come up with real solutions that can be achieved and a willingness to work across the aisle to bring about the change Bernie is talking about. Bernie has never worked or played well with others in congress and that has always been his problem in achieving what he is supposed to be so passionate about. Change of the kind he wants can never be achieved overnight and he is old enough to know that. Sadly, people want to hear what they want to hear and if you say it loud enough and long enough, they believe you have all the answers. It’s clear, Bernie did not and never has had all the answers. He, like Trump, has never understood the power of humility in finding answers and building coalitions. Thank God, Hillary has.

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