RedBlueAmer­ica: Is the Demo­cratic Party just as trou­bled as the GOP?

Calhoun Times - - OPINION/COMMENT -

The con­test to be the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee hit an ugly new low last week­end, when Ne­vada sup­port­ers of Sen. Bernie San­ders re­port­edly threw chairs and made threats against a se­nior state party of­fi­cial af­ter 64 San­ders del­e­gates were dis­qual­i­fied at the state con­ven­tion. San­ders said he does not sup­port violence, but there are now wor­ries the party’s con­ven­tion in Philadelphia could face sim­i­lar in­ci­dents.

Why can’t Hil­lary Clin­ton wrap up the nom­i­na­tion? Is the process rigged? Should we worry about po­lit­i­cal violence? Joel Mathis and Ben Boy­chuk, the RedBlueAmer­ica colum­nists, de­bate the is­sue. JOEL MATHIS Is there a way to call off this elec­tion? Any­thing in the Con­sti­tu­tion that al­lows for a de­fer­ral, a do-over, a sec­ond chance start­ing again next year, maybe, af­ter ev­ery­body in the coun­try has had a chance to take a re­me­dial civics course?

No? Well that stinks. This whole elec­tion just stinks.

As long as the violence and the threats were con­tained to Trump ral­lies, we lib­er­als could at least com­fort our­selves with a bit of moral su­pe­ri­or­ity: We’re not like those guys, right?

But the thrown chairs and threats in Ne­vada last week­end make it dif­fi­cult to hold the high ground. We’ve all for­got­ten how to do democ­racy, ap­par­ently for­got­ten that some­times in a democ­racy you lose, and that the cor­rect re­sponse to los­ing is to work harder and bet­ter at per­suad­ing peo­ple you have the right ideas.

Now the se­cret to win­ning is ap­par­ently this: Make peo­ple afraid of what you’ll do if they don’t join you. This isn’t democ­racy. It’s thug­gery. And it should be em­bar­rass­ing to all Amer­i­cans.

Here’s a text the chair­woman of the Ne­vada Demo­cratic Party re­ceived from a San­ders sup­porter this week­end: “We know where you live, where you work, where you eat. Where your kids go to school/grand­kids. We have ev­ery­thing on you. We are your neigh­bors, friends, fam­ily, etc.”

And an­other: “Some­one will hurt you.”

And an­other: “May ret­ri­bu­tion come fully and harshly upon you. I CURSE YOU.”

Scary, right? And these are just the messages we can print in a fam­ily news­pa­per.

We’ve been mov­ing steadily to­ward this mo­ment for at least two decades: Ge­orge H.W. Bush Ron­ald Rea­gan’s suc­ces­sor is the last pres­i­dent I can re­mem­ber who wasn’t widely de­picted as wholly evil by his op­po­nents.

Bill Clin­ton was ac­cused of murder. Ge­orge W. Bush didn’t even win a ma­jor­ity of vot­ers in his first term. Barack Obama is a Kenyan-Muslim, et cetera, et cetera.

We’ve reached the lim­its of such rhetoric. Fists and threats and maybe worse are next. Can we step back? Do we even want to? We’re about to find out. BEN BOY­CHUK Re­mem­ber when ev­ery­one thought the Repub­li­cans were the sui­ci­dal party? With the me­dia fo­cused on Don­ald Trump’s in­cred­i­ble rise, few peo­ple seemed to no­tice the Democrats were self-de­struc­t­ing.

Here’s the truth: Hil­lary Clin­ton can­not wrap up her party’s nom­i­na­tion be­cause a siz­able mi­nor­ity of Demo­cratic pri­mary vot­ers sim­ply doesn’t like her.

They don’t trust her. They be­lieve she’s cor­rupt. That she’s part of the mon­eyed and pow­er­ful. That she doesn’t re­ally care about them. And they’re right.

Trump has al­ready started re­fer­ring to Clin­ton as “Crooked Hil­lary.” Ex­pect the nick­name to stick. Bill and Hil­lary Clin­ton have be­come mil­lion­aires many times over by sell­ing ac­cess to for­eign and do­mes­tic cor­po­ra­tions through their al­legedly “char­i­ta­ble” foun­da­tion. As a result, a fed­eral grand jury is re­port­edly in­ves­ti­gat­ing the foun­da­tion’s ac­tiv­i­ties.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors might be in­ter­ested in the work of Wall Street an­a­lyst Charles Or­tel. Last week, he re­leased a se­ries of re­ports al­leg­ing the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion has skirted state and fed­eral dis­clo­sure laws and has never sub­mit­ted to a re­quired in­de­pen­dent au­dit. It sure would be nice if some­body got to the bot­tom of that be­fore Novem­ber.

But even if the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion comes out look­ing squeaky clean or, at least, not hope­lessly cor­rupt, it’s far from ob­vi­ous that Clin­ton can close the deal with vot­ers. She’s an aw­ful politi­cian.

How many times has Clin­ton re­booted her cam­paign so far? Four? Five? Here’s a head­line from The New York Times last April: “Hil­lary Clin­ton Re-emerges, by De­sign (but Also by Sur­prise).” And here’s the Times again, in Septem­ber: “Hil­lary Clin­ton to Show More Hu­mor and Heart, Aides Say.” And here’s a head­line from the Hill news­pa­per in March: “Hil­lary Clin­ton takes new tack to boost her im­age.”

If at first you don’t suc­ceed, maybe af­ter the third or fourth time you should stop try­ing.

Many Democrats know the sys­tem is rigged. Bernie San­ders was never sup­posed to come this far. Clin­ton con­trols most of the so-called su­perdel­e­gates, top party of­fi­cials who are free to vote for any can­di­date they like, re­gard­less of what vot­ers say. When the out­come is pre­de­ter­mined from the start, wouldn’t you be an­gry? How can the Democrats call them­selves democrats?

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