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